Now that I've finished my A to Z journal (or at least made it all the way to Z), I've compiled the creative habits I shared throughout the project into one list.
1. Let your ideas percolate. Make lists, write notes, sketch, ponder.
2. Build a bridge: whenever you're working on a project, leave it in a place that makes it easy to start the next time.
3. Find your balance: recognize when you're in a rut (or when you're staying true to yourself in a groove). I also seek the balance between planning and serendipity.
4. Embrace (or at least accept) imperfection.
5. Remember your goal: think big picture.
6. Remember your intention: think little picture.
7. Exhaust an idea: draw a pear every day for a month; create something green every day; use one word in your art over & over.
8. Find a mentor.
9. Do something (it's better than doing nothing).
10. The right tools may not start your project for you, but they'll help you finish it.
11. Make your work portable. Find different places to do your art, or make use of the places where you need to be anyway.
12. When you're frustrated, go away. Work on something else. Clean your studio. Take a walk. Organize stuff. Then come back.
13. Have more than one iron in the fire.
14. Think with your heart for a change.
15. Remind yourself that if you don't like the art you've made, it will at the very least teach you to make better art next time.
Now for the giveaway!
Meet Amery. Amery is new in the shop this week, a cousin to Muriel. You can win your very own self-inking Amery Address Stamp by leaving a comment on today's post: in the spirit of my A to Z book, tell me one letter/word about yourself. Randomness is encouraged! I'll choose a winner on Friday morning.
Yesterday on NPR's Talk of the Nation, a caller wondered if men are more likely to write Top Ten lists than women. Huh? I immediately began compiling a list in my head...creative highlights of 2011 (admittedly, in no particular order):
1. India Flint exhibit at the Katherine Nash Gallery in Minneapolis.
2. Re-reading The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp. (And the many notable stitching/craft/DIY books published this year.)
3. Learning to dye (and drape and felt and discharge).
4. Jane Dunnewold's lecture at the SDA Conference. You can read it here.
5. My handwriting workshop, Love Your Letters. I am just so glad to have finally put this together, after years of thinking about it.
6. Spoonflower. I've had my artwork printed on cotton, linen, knit, silk, and can't wait to show you what I'm working on in 2012. Have you tried it yet?
7. Pinterest. Social media for creatives. Finally.
8. Cleaning out my closet. Is this who I really want to be?
9. Whittling down my Style Statement.
Quite a year, and I'm sure I could add another top ten list of honorable mentions. I would love to hear what inspired you this year!
With my son home sick the past few days, I've lacked the time -- and motivation -- to pay attention to my to-do lists. (Cuddle with warm boy or work on tax prep...hmmm....) But now that he is back in school, and spring break is a little farther in past, I started thinking a bit about all the to-do lists I manage at one time.
There's the family calendar, the work calendar, my monthly plan-everything-at-once calendar, my idea journal (a list of projects I want to try), my project journal (a list of projects I'm in the middle of), the work-brainstorming-notebook (future things to do!), and even a little something I call "my ideal day." (And let me insert here, that deep down there is a little voice saying, "Are you sure you want to reveal that to the world at large? Really?)
One day when I was feeling a little frustrated -- you know the drill: rushing the kids out the door in the morning, wearing the same old-same old, too distracted to notice your own husband's new soul patch, eating two desserts after lunch, it's-almost-five-o'clock-and-I-still-don't-know-what-to-make-for-dinner -- I allowed myself a few minutes to imagine what my ideal day would be. I mean, the day I was having definitely wasn't the way I wanted to live my one precious life. I thought through one entire day, lingering on the details: I'd be wearing clothes I made myself, feeding my family healthy meals, kissing my children good night with intention, enjoying time spent with my husband. I then scribbled out my ideal day, from first thing in the morning to last thing at night, on one sheet of paper. I didn't spend time on an elaborate vision board or even use my best handwriting. And I kept my focus small: one day.
I wrote on purple paper that's easy to spot. I tucked it away and I really only read it when I need to renew my focus (like today). Thinking about my ideal day, committing my ideas to paper, has helped me think about those goals every day, and helped remind me, too, about how fleeting the phases of our life can be. I don't want to hurry, I want to savor.
1. I really do enjoy a brisk walk.
2. Yes, the snow will probably be here for three more months. But that's really only 12 weeks. And a week goes so fast. Right?
3. The kids finally get to experience their first snow day.
4. When my work is done, I can hunker down with projects. And cocoa.
5. Winter exercise: shoveling, ice skating, snowshoeing.
Trying to stay positive, look on the bright side, count my blessings (and there are many).
Just a few more random bits about me:
Next week I'll be sharing the answers of the five giveaway winners. In the meantime, I invite you to post your own either/or interview on your own blog:
And thank you, Michelle, for the Beautiful Blogger Award! Read Michelle's blog here, and I dare your mouth not to water when you see that goo cake (yes, goo). I'm also going to make her pizza sauce, since you may all remember that I make pizza every Friday night.
2 national parks, 2 national monuments, 2 junior rangers
3 scenic drives: Badlands Loop, Iron Mountain Road (my fave), Spearfish Canyon
4 animals: antelope, bison, mountain goat, bighorn sheep
5 days without email
6 inches of snow
I had intended to pre-post some quotations to cover the gap of my break, but just never got there. (At least my desk was clean when we left, and coming home to a clean desk is worth a lot to me.) Tomorrow I'll announce the April giveaway!
If you're a regular reader of my blog, you know I've been working on going through my stuff. Just need a little order in my life, I guess. On Saturday morning I devised Gina's Four Rules of Stuff:
1. Use your stuff. Make what you have work. Repeat after me: Necessity is the mother of invention.
2. If you won't use it, give it to someone who will.
3. Don't buy more stuff until you've tamed what you have. (This one seems to be the hardest for me and I am repeating it like a mantra. Especially difficult at the Treadle Yard Goods sale this weekend. I was only there to get more thread to finish a current project, I swear.)
4. When you need/want something, you don't have to add it to your own ever-growing list of stuff to make. You can actually buy it from someone else. Can you believe this is a relatively new idea for me? I'm very proud of figuring this out. Which leads me to the giveaway:
Melissa from Two Little Tots has graciously offered to give a crayon roll to one lucky reader of my blog. In keeping with rule number four, Melissa is making four hooded towels for me -- two for my own kids (who have loved theirs since birth, basically) and two for long-overdue baby gifts. See, I don't have to make them myself!
Enter before Wednesday night, and I will post the winner on Thursday. Answer this question in your comment: Do you remember having any special little thing of your own when you were a wee one? I remember the plaid taffeta skirt my mother made me for my birthday. It had a ruffle on the bottom, very fancy. I love knowing that when I was four, that's what made me really happy.
I have been soliciting advice wherever I go these days. Part of the mission of this blog is to help me determine if I should keep at my art or turn the corner to who knows where. Here is some of what I've heard so far:
1. Stay the course! (from my dear friend and mentor, Katherine) She reminds me of the flexibility of working for myself, the demands of family life, the challenge of learning something brand new, and all of that mixed together.
2. Interview a librarian (from my sil, Carol) I have a list going already of librarians to interview -- one at an art museum, another at a theater, a corporate librarian, and I'm guessing I could easily find someone at SPPL, where I am a regular patron.
3. "You just have to get over that." (from my former neighbor, Ann, whose children I used to babysit) My first job was elementary teacher -- such an obvious contribution to the community; when I turned to art, I struggled with the place for art in the world we live in (and still struggle). I said to Ann yesterday, I wonder if I am just looking for the prestige/validation of an advanced degree, to which she replied, "You just have to get over that." She also suggested looking into art therapy as a potential career.
4. This blog post. I'm drawn to a creative life, but am I reading the map right?
Do you have any advice for me? I'm all ears!
I am always looking for new ideas for the kids' lunches. They both prefer a lunch from home (to hot lunch) and neither likes sandwiches. Any ideas?
Here is what my girl is getting in her bento box today:
rice in the shape of a puppy
teeny container of soy sauce
two baby carrots
teeny container of ranch dressing
small container of goldfish pretzels
three tortellini on a skewer
one strip of tortilla with peanut butter rolled up and on a skewer
two small apple slices
teeny container of runts (candy)
Plus water bottle and chopsticks.
This sounds like a lot more than it actually is. She has her daddy's metabolism.