Creative Friday: Got My Paint Brush On

I’ve been dabbling here and there with painting my own mini calendars. But I’ve been craving something more. So I devoted a whole night to enjoying the pure sensation of painting.

Although it’s no van Gogh or da Vinci, it’s still my own. And plus, I know you guys won’t judge (too harshly) right? Anyway, engaging in something creative feels healing to my soul. Here’s something I whipped up in a water color painting fury.

And for a fun sepia version:

It’s inspired by Sedona sunsets and the colors from my hometown of Oahu.

Have you been whipping up something crafty yourself lately?

I’ve been on a crazy crafting binge since 2012 and have stocked up 3 weeks of creative posts to share with you. But I’d love to know what you’ve been working on. If you’ve got it, flaunt it in the comments below.

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How Being Creative Can Help You Live Your Life

{flickr photo by: creativedc}

If you asked me if I was creative person, I’d hem and haw for a bit. You see as a child, I was very much the creative elf. In the midst of chaos and stress, I found solitude, peace and stability in the process of being crafty (a.k.a. being sneaky). I once, for example, made a ruckus by stringing together old soda cans and tied them to my closet. {Just in case someone tried to sneak in where they were not wanted.}

But I certainly didn’ t think I was creative. More like rebellious. I painted pink butterflies on my mom’s white walls, for example. Or nerdy. I often cross-stitched until I was cross-eyed and my hands hurt. Or sneaky. I once sat under a table and tape recorded a conversation my uncles were having while drinking beer and playing cards.

Still I didn’t think I was creative. Maybe just bored.

The word carried so much meaning. I didn’t want to pretend like I thought I was Van Gogh. And I wasn’t trying to be. I simply enjoyed the process of turning nothing into something.

I still do.

The Fear of Being Creative

But as I grew older, I started to hide behind the word. I put away my crafty tools. Told others I was anything, but creative. And even moaned and groaned whenever I was forced to do anything artsy.

And I stayed away from doing so for awhile. That’s until I started to feel a lull in my life. Writing was my passion, but I felt like it had gone stale. Starting my own blog inspired me to start creating again.

I began painting like a crazy fiend. I made necklaces and picture frames and other simple crafts here. It was liberating! Even though nobody was buying it, praising it or even seeing it, I felt sheer pleasure just from being in the moment of creating.

Why Creating Can Cause Happiness

I didn’t know there was a legitimate reason why I derived so much happiness from creating until I read Martha Beck’s latest article, “Now, Don’t Get Excited…” in O magazine. In it, Beck says:

“…while reading up on the latest research in positive psychology, I discovered a two-word instruction that reliably ushered me onto the plains of peace when I couldn’t force my brain to just ‘be still.’ Here it is: Make something. You see, creative work causes us to secrete dopamine, a hormone that can make us feel absorbed and fulfilled without feeling manic…Research indicates that we’re most creative when we’re happy and relaxed, and conversely, that we can steer our brains into this state by undertaking a creative task.”

Beck says engaging in a creativity activity, not only increases self-efficacy, not to mention a feeling of accomplishment, but wards off depression. Wahoo for that!

It’s just another excuse reason why I vow to keep creating throughout 2012. It makes life fun. It reminds me to not take myself too seriously. It teaches me to accept my mistakes and shows me that sometimes mistakes end up being beautiful, necessary and meaningful.

What compels you to create?

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Holiday Creative Friday: DIY Calendar

Happy Early Merry Christmas!

I’m keeping it light today since the holidays festivities are in full swing with a short post on my latest holiday project.

Every year, I order mini calendars from Snow & Graham. And over the years, I’ve hung them in my home office:

And when the year passed, I used them to re-cover my mini wooden clothespins:

But for 2012, I decided to do something different.

I was super excited then when I found blank calendars at Paper-Source for just $8.95 (compared to those mini calendars from Snow & Graham at $14.95). Like a blank slate, it was mine to  paint. I’m not finished yet, but thought I’d let January make its debut a bit early:

This simple birdie drawing was inspired by a CB2 catalog. Love getting inspiration from catalogs!

What about you? 

Are you still in the creative mode? Or are you in need of putting your creative muse to rest?

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Creative Friday

I’m deeming Friday’s as a day devoted to fun and creativity {you can click on over here to see more of my crafty posts}. Although it’s not associated with Creative Thursday, one of my favorite blogs, it’s definitely dedicated to it in true wannabe mode.

Wanna join in?*

Just post a link to your favorite creative craft or comment on what you’re creating right now.

Why add creativity on an inspiration blog?

The two go hand in hand. Without one or the other, I feel like a Mad Hatter. Feel free to read it, skip it, or join in.

Now for the first one.

This pencil made frame actually was a bit time-consuming. Just like any project or endeavor to pursue one’s deepest dreams, it was a lot more difficult than it appeared.

The idea came while shopping around at Paper-Source. My light bulb moment came when I saw this:

Then, I grabbed these to get started.

What You’ll Need

  1. Box of pencils (Grab the color you want your frame to be.)
  2. Unfinished wooden frame (A 3.5 x 3.5 works best, but any frame will work. Keep in mind though that the bigger the frame, the longer it will take you to finish.)
  3. Spray paint
  4. Scissors to cut the pencil length.
  5. Glue gun


The Steps

  1. Spray the frame first. It’s much easier to do so at the beginning (before all the pencils are stuck on) and will leave a finished seamless look once it’s done.

2. After the paint dries, individually glue the wooden pencils to the frame. I had no order on what pencil went first. The key is to get as much pencils on there until you need to start cutting them to fit into the square.

Be very careful when using the glue gun. That glue burns worst than melted wax so make sure to place the pencil on a surface instead of holding it with your hands (something I learned in the process!).

3. Cut your pencils to fit snugly against your frame. After you’ve gotten as much of your whole pencils (minus the erasers, which is surprisingly easy to pull off) glued onto the frame, you still need to fill up those empty spaces. You can cut the pencils with scissors. If you’re a perfectionist (that’s not me for sure), you can measure the empty spaces with a ruler first and mark the pencil with a pen before you cut it. In the end, my DIY frame had a woodsy, cottage-y (a.k.a. imperfect look), which perfectly matched what I wanted.

4. If you want your frame a different color than your pencils, get ready to paint again. After all of your pencils are glued on and dried, take it outside, place newspaper/old magazines on the ground or a table and spray paint away.

The frame freshly painted white.

And here it is after it's been sprayed with 2 coats and dried.

I experimented with a few options for what to put in the frame. I was contemplating adding a photo from my photo site. But since I’m into instant gratification, I started digging around my house for something I could use.

Like this Ikea print, for example. It was an option, but I just didn’t think the modern print matched the cottage-y look I was going for. That’s when I found this…

As a reminder of a relaxing trip to Point Reyes, I printed out a photo I took there.

Voila! Instant back to vacation mode.

I have to say, I can’t be any happier with the results!

*If you want to read about how one full-time editor took a leap and pursued her full-time freelance dreams, click here.

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