What will I do with it?

Hi friends!  Yesterday I took a photo of a pretty bouquet at a funky restaurant and I decided I wanted to paint it while it was fresh in my mind. I wanted to use a large sheet of really nice watercolor paper and just express the colors from my photo. I quickly started to gather my supplies before the Practical Party Pooper (aka the PPP) could chime in. I am sure you have heard the “PPP” before. That that voice in your head that says “What will you do with that after you make it?” or “What’s the point of that silly project?” Often the point in in the creation! Do children wonder what they are going to do with the mud pies after they make them? No! They have fun and play in the dirt. The joy is in the process!

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I went to the bookstore with my sister a couple of weeks ago and I was pondering the choices in the art and craft section. I saw a wonderful book on bookbinding. It’s called Making Handmade Books by Alisa Golden and there were like 100 different binding techniques and ideas.  I was delighted by the projects and photography and I knew it was something I would enjoy reading as well as trying the projects inside. I almost didn’t buy it because of the PPP. “You have so many sketchbook and journals, what’s the point of making more?” and of course the old classic “What will you do with the handmade books after you make them?” And I thought you know what?  I don’t have to “do” anything with it. I can make it because I enjoy it. I can give it away. I could put it in my next craft fair booth. I can set it on a shelf and look at it. I can store it. I can use it or it can just be. Your art does not have to have another purpose other than to make you happy. Art is meant to be created. An artist creates. That’s what we do. What happens to the creations after we are done is not as important as the process we go through to create it. That in itself is enough. Nobody asks a musician “What are you going to do with that song after you play it?” They just play it! Musicians play, actors act, runners run and artists create! Enjoy the process. Sure, we all want something to show for our effort. Nobody wants to feel like they are wasting time or materials or feeling like our creations are useless dust collectors but if you think of the “product” of our art to be personal enrichment and education you can let go of that pressure.

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It’s why I like working in a sketchbook so much, even if the art isn’t anything I want to display I can keep it stored compactly and look at it later to see how much I have progressed. But don’t let that stop you from making something big and impractical once in a while. The real waste is art supplies and our creativity going unused. I think one of the downsides of going through the Konmari method (the decluttering technique from the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo) and paring away excess is that I have avoided making some things that I really enjoyed because I didn’t know what I would do with it afterward.  That that is the main “Con” of Konmari LOL! Everything in moderation, especially moderation! Go make something fun and frivolous and til next time Happy crafting!

PS I will share that big painting of the bouquet I mentioned with you on Wednesday with a tutorial, sneak peek of the first layer above:)

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Got Cabin Fever? No Creative Mojo? Try Frictionless Crafting!

Hi friends! As I write this it’s snowing and already we have about 6 new inches of snow atop what we already had. It’s pretty, I’ll give it that but come March I am pretty stick of cold weather and being stuck inside. Short day and cold temps can have you feeling tired and unmotivated. In today’s video I’ll try to help you overcome it!

It occurred to me that many times when I was lazing on the couch watching TV that I would much rather be creating. Instead I might scroll through my phone hoping to be inspired or start the next episode of a show I am watching. Why am I spending my doing these passive activities when I really want to go make something. The reason is simple. These actions are frictionless.

To start a new project I need to leave the room, think of an idea of what to make, gather supplies, clear a space to work, make the thing and then clean up afterward. It can seem much more appealing to stay put and keep scrolling but you can engineer your crafty time to be more frictionless. Companies like Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and yes, even YouTube have engineered their platforms to be easy to use and consume more and more. The good news is that you can apply this trick to your crafting!

Overcoming our own blahs…

Complaint: I’m too tired to get off the couch and start a project.

Solution: Keep a portable project kit next to the couch. It can be a knit/crochet project, stamped images and coloring tools, a small set of watercolors or watercolor pencils and a waterbrush and sketchbook or even a subscription box if you have any. That what you can create and not miss an episode of Friends!

Complaint: I don’t know what to make!

Solution: The next time you are scrolling Instagram and a project looks fun stop and go to your supply closet and see if you have the stuff to make it, pull those supplies and save the inspiration photo for reference. Then your workspace will be set up when you have the time to create.
Tip: A great time to pull materials is when you have a 15 minute gap of time like you are preheating an oven or waiting to put laundry in the dryer. Use those “too small to do anything” scraps of time.

Complaint: I hate looking at the white canvas, I don’t know where to start.

Solution: Find a photo of something you want to paint and draw (or trace) it on your canvas. It will be more fun when you return to it if the drawing is done and your materials are laid out.

Basically you are removing as much friction between you and starting that project. You can do it! Think about how easy it is to go on amazon and order craft supplies. It’s frictionless. *Tip, I remove my payment info from my account so if I want to order I have to go find my credit card, see it works both ways LOL! I hope this video inspires you to create today and til next time happy crafting!

Get Unstuck!

Hi friends! Given the fact that we are on the internet right now there is a good chance we are procrastinating. I totally get putting off an unpleasant task but what about when we put off something that we love to do, like creating? Today we are going to talk about creative block, perfectionism, getting stuck and getting started so hopefully by the end of the video you will be ready to jump into your next creative project!

Did any of those points resonate with you? Let me know in the comments below and if you want to hear what John Cleese has to say about creativity you can watch his talk here. Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

I didn’t fall out of the canoe!

Hi Friends! I’m back from vacation! We had a wonderful time. It was the first time we ever took a week off as a family. We rented a cabin on a pond. It was tranquil and relaxing with lots of swimming, canoeing and just enjoying life! I made sure to bring some art supplies (you can see what I packed at the end of this post) so I could do some nature sketches because this vacation was all about downtime. I really needed to relax and I think my kids did too because we all had a great time and I did not hear “I’m bored” once! That say’s a lot because there was no internet or cell phone service there…I was surprised at how easily I could do without the internet…I just might become a recluse one of these days LOL! So, do you want to see what I painted? Have a look at the video:

Here are close ups of a few of my favorite vacation paintings:

This painting was done from the canoe, I really like how the rock turned out thanks to my credit-card scraper!

This painting was done from the canoe, I really like how the rock turned out thanks to my credit-card scraper!

This is a quick colored pencil sketch on blue paper of the view from our deck.

This is a quick colored pencil sketch on blue paper of the view from our deck.

A watercolor postcard painting of the view from our dock.

A watercolor postcard painting of the view from our dock.

Waterlily in pastel the day it bloomed.

Waterlily in pastel the day it bloomed.

Waterlilies in watercolor the day after the first waterlily painting, another one bloomed! The flowers only opened in the morning. I sat on the dock with my coffee and paints. My dog shook all over this painting after she went for a swim, I think she helped it LOL!

Waterlilies in watercolor the day after the first waterlily painting, another one bloomed! The flowers only opened in the morning. I sat on the dock with my coffee and paints. My dog shook all over this painting after she went for a swim, I think she helped it LOL!

I'm calling this the "moonlight paddle painting" because I painted it from the canoe in the middle of the pond.

I’m calling this the “moonlight paddle painting” because I painted it from the canoe in the middle of the pond.

And here is what I packed for creativity:

Thanks for keeping everything running while I was away. I was happy to see folks helping one another out with their crafty questions here, on facebook and on youtube. I really appreciate that! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

 

 

 

How do YOU make time for creativity?

Hi friends! I think that creativity is like a muscle that needs to be worked to be effective. I think you need to use it or lose it and the more ideas you try to explore the more ideas you will continue to have! The only trouble is, in this fast-paced day-in-age, how do we make time for it?

Here are ways I stay creative everyday:

  • Keep a notebook/planner/sketchbook for jotting down ideas and notes. My infamous “request List” for viewer tutorials is written on a collection of note paper and clipped into my day planner, whenever I need an idea I can always have a gander there.
  • Partake of portable crafts. I keep a current yarn project in my bag at all times for waits at ball practice and doctor’s offices.
  • Keep watercolors in the glove box. In my car is my travel set of KOI watercolor with a waterbrush and a postcard watercolor pad. Perfect for painting on the go and I don’t even need to remember to bring it.
  • TV time multitask! Keep stamped images in an envelope with coloring media of your choice and color while watching TV.
  • You can keep a tray of beading supplies handy too, they even make covered bead boards that will keep your projects in place when you are not working on them.

What are your strategies for keeping fit creatively? Share what works for you! What are your struggles? Find reason TO create instead of excuses of why you can’t. Trust me, the dust bunnies will be there tomorrow and after you vacuum them there will be more next week where as something you create will stay done!  I’m not saying neglect your responsibilities but give yourself a creativity break once in a while(and I mean daily) and you will be more happy and energetic in the rest of your endeavors. That’s why I always say Happy Crafting!

Turn your “Buts” into “What ifs” and your “If onlys” into “Why nots?”

Howdy friends! Today I am talking about excuses. You know, when you want to do something but you talk yourself out of it. For instance “I want to scrapbook but I don’t have the space” of “If only I had the time and energy to create…I guess I’ll watch TV instead.” But wait! Try this: “Hey! What if I clear off the coffee table and make a couple of layouts while I watch my favorite TV show!” and “Why not put all the supplies I need in a tote or basket and I can bring it to the living room with me and put it in the closet when I am done!” Now, look at that, you have turned an excuse into a solution.

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I was so afraid to use the resin that I bought. I kept coming up with reasons why I shouldn’t. This green frame was one of my first experiments and it turned out great, I’m so glad I tried it!

The other day I was enjoying a cup of joe on the front porch when I was absolutely disgusted by the crud on my railing and ballasts. I thought “if only I had a power washer, I would have this clean in a  jiffy” but I changed it to “Why not get a pail of warm soapy water and wipe down the rails and mop the floor. The girls can help and we will be done in 20 minutes!” Well, it took a bit longer than that but not much and once you get started (which is the hardest part of any project) it goes pretty quickly.

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More of my first resin experiments. I actually had a lot of dangles on this necklace but I changed my mind and took them off and left only these. See, you can change your mind and undo stuff, just because you make something with a supply it doesn’t mean you can’t undo it if you change your mind.

I can understand making excuses to get out of something you don’t like but why do we make excuses to get out of doing things we love? Maybe we feel guilty spending time on ourselves, or maybe we are afraid of making a mistake, doing something wrong or wasting precious supplies. Newsflash: You will make mistakes, if you don’t you are not learning. You don’t even need to be good at something to enjoy the process, for instance I am an awful singer yet I love to sing. You are worth spending time on! Maybe you are afraid of making a mess in a shared space. Why not pull together the supplies for a small project that can easily be tucked away in a box while it is in progress like a jewelry project, cross stitch or watercolor card.

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Experimentation is good for the soul! Dive in! I love my first glitter pendants too!

My point is stop making excuses! The next time you catch yourself saying “but” , “if only” or “I wish” stop and say “what if…”, “I will…” and “Why not…”  no one else is going to make you be creative (well, except me, I’ll give you a kick in the pants!) except yourself. Don’t discourage yourself before you start. Pick something you want to do and DO IT! So, if you are feeling inspired I want you to leave a comment and tell me what you are going to make next, don’t be shy, the act of telling someone and writing it down will help you achieve it! Please let e know when you finish your creation too as I would love to see it. You are worth it! Now, go make something! Til next time happy crafting!

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