No Backlash Backsplash

It’s funny how nature’s perfection can inspire me to be courageously imperfect.

Like doing my backsplash, for example.

I’ve never done it before and I’m horrible and cutting straight.

But when I saw things like this:

It made me inspired to tackle a kitchen backsplash. Peel and stick ones (I got mine from Home Depot) are super easy I’ve found. It literally just takes cutting with an x-acto knife, peeling the back and sticking it onto a clean surface. I’m really happy with it. But I’ll let you know how it goes after a few weeks of aggressive use.

Backsplash

If you remember, then you must have followed my blog for awhile. This is how our kitchen used to look after the remodel and before a ton of kids:

{Nearly done.}

These chicken wire cabinets have the same shape as the new backsplash. Happy accidents are the best!
Kitchen cabinets

 

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The Secret to Success: Care Less?

{Etsy print by Art Problems}

{Etsy print by Art Problems}

I always believed if you work really hard and you really, really wanted something, you’ll get it. If I’m going to be honest, it’s how I’ve gotten everything I wanted or avoided what I didn’t want. It’s how I’ve accomplished the big things like get my first copywriting job with no prior experience and get out of things-paying tickets/admission/etc.

Besides that, it just makes sense.

Hard work = big pay off.

But there’s another important ingredient in the recipe of success that I often forget and that’s much harder than any time you put into working.

Doing. Nothing.

It’s something I don’t do enough of. I actually created a challenge for myself and you guys to do more by doing less in 2011. I can’t believe it was 3 years ago! It’s still an important reminder.

You can only do so much before you reach that point where you’re either going to burn out or become ineffective.

During moments when I’m feeling desperate like I’m trying to force something to happen, I take a breather. If you’re like me, you’ll need a little push to do nothing.

Nothing, after all, feels like failure. It feels like laziness. It feels unproductive.

But when we give ourselves time to sit and stare off in space, to read a book just for the fun of it, to draw even if our scrawls resemble our child’s, we open the door to inspiration. And in that place, life rewards us with the thing(s) we really needed anyway. So let this be your excuse to play.

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Love on a Monday

I’ve been busy writing these past few months. Business is booming, which is always a good thing. Look for my articles in Go Kapolei and the Star-Advertiser in the next several weeks. I’m also [*crossing my fingers] working on a few other magazines, an essay and what I hope to be a published fiction story one day. Now that I put it out there, you need to hold me to it!

In the meantime, I’ve realized the importance of prioritizing play, which explains this…

You are so loved

I know everybody has their own version and mine’s is a little on the childish scrawl version. But painting is so soothing and love? Well it’s a much needed reminder these days that it’s the most important thing.

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Using Art to Move Your Life

{Not all sharing is a good thing. An alley wall full of chewed up gum.}

I’m currently taking Brene Brown’s The Gift of Imperfection Life Class. That along with twice a day walks, listening to Oprah and Deepak Chopra’s free Destiny meditation and cutting out refined and processed carbs has completely changed me inside and out. It’s slowly lessening the gap between who I am on the inside and the me I show the world.

One of the things that has specifically shifted is my intention of being authentic, expressing my true self and using artistic expression and creativity to push me forward. That sometimes means dragging a paintbrush across a canvas, decorating a room, or writing down a poem. Sometimes I share it here. Other times I hide it away in a book.

When do you share and when do you keep things to yourself?

In Brown’s class, she discusses what it means to be vulnerable. Sharing what we feel is vulnerable is one way we release shame. {Kind of like this poem I wrote here.} The difference with sharing too much and sharing enough depends on your ability to be okay regardless of the feedback.

The same thing may happen if you’re deciding whether to share something deeply personal with the world. Maybe it’s a dream, a secret, a trauma, an amazing accomplishment, a fear…Whatever it is feels terrifying to share. But secrets can eat you up from the inside. The only way to freedom is through reaching out. The key is to be very discriminative about who you choose to share what to.

I’ve made this mistake too many times in entrusting my precious thoughts, feelings and dreams to people who couldn’t hear it so they a) criticized it b) tore it apart c) told others about it. In the end, expressing my dreams felt dangerous and left me feeling wounded. What I learned in the process it that if I could use art and creativity to work my way through what felt hard and personally dealt with it, then I had the inner strength to share the work with those I loved, trusted and felt safe around. And that in return, felt wonderfully healing.

These days, social media makes sharing all too easy. When we’re pissed at a friend, a relative or a boss, it’s so easy to vent but so hard to take back what’s been sent.

Here’s my suggestion.

The next time you’re going through a rough situation. Put a pause on blogging, updating and tweeting to the world. Instead open up a journal, write down your thoughts or take a pen, crayons, pencils, paint and draw it in on a canvas. Then when you’re ready and not depending on what others have to say about it, share it with those who are near and dear to your heart.

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Why You Should Never Give Up

{Random abstract watercolor painting I drew up with watercolor pencils and a paintbrush.}

We often hold back from our true potential out of fear. There is a small, but demanding voice that screeches at us and says, “No one cares about what you do. You’ll never be good enough. ” Like a mosquito, it buzzes in our ears, annoying even the most confident and successful amongst us.

It’s not that some people are just more talented, hard working or lucky. It is true that there are people who fall into those categories. But that’s not what got them where they are.

What gave them the ability to surpass the doubts and hurdles that overcome all of us is the belief they will eventually get there.

Even if their prose is so bad that it causes loved ones to swallow criticism in fear of hurting their feelings.

Even if their hours of work is not only monotonous, but heartbreakingly unproductive.

Even if you are not where you want to be.

Even if all signs seem to point to failure.

If you still are passionate about what you do, do not give up!

I realized after five years of writing professionally that there is a natural ebb and flow that comes with the territory. There will be moments when my ego believes, “This is it! I finally made it.” As if a single project could validate my existence. And there are equally moments when the jobs start to dry up that I begin to question my purpose.

None of that is important. These are mere external circumstances required to change as we do. If anything, they are there as lessons-inevitable opportunities to practice patience, faith and the type of unrelenting persistence required to accomplish big feats like finishing a marathon or that story you have tucked away in a drawer.

It took me a long time to realize that it’s not about proving myself. It took me years to realize that there’s no magic fairy dust that graces the head’s of only certain individuals. The way you make luck for yourself in life is to keep trying.

This means that I will pick myself up after every inevitable fall. It means that just because my rough draft sucks doesn’t mean it won’t sing after a dozen or more revisions.

What it means it that I don’t equate my bad days with the good of my soul.

It takes courage to meet our fears. But it’s the only way we’ll get there. And dear friends, we will get there, as long as we keep on going.

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Crafty Friday: Sir Mix a Lot

Since we’re still in the process of packing and unpacking, I haven’t had much of a chance to craft. But I have moved things around for a little fun. Exhibit A: The coffee table

I nabbed the napkins at a local Kailua store Kai Boutique, the flowers were from my husband. Everything else I already had except the photo in the frame. It was an iPhone picture taken of my own homemade art ala oranges and printed on our printer. The framed looked was created courtesy of my iPhone cover. In other words, completely by accident.

Forgive me, if you find that amusing at most. I really need to get back to real crafting. In the meantime, here’s an old post I did when I had more time. It’s just me putting paintbrush to canvas scared out of my wits whether it’d turn out or not. It sort of turned out like tulips. What do you think?

Floral Acrylic Painting

It was painted after another week of beautiful blooms bought for me by my husband. It’s part of my weekly splurge, a little happy pick me up and something to inspire me for the week. This week I got hydrangeas. Not sure if I can tackle them yet. But we’ll see…

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When Creativity Stops

{by The Inspiring Bee}

You might have experienced a flow of creativity in the past. Ideas were popping. Creativity was flowing. And then zilch. Just like that the river’s run dry. Does this mean you pack your bags and fly toward a new career?

Nope. Not quite.

Like anything else, creativity has its ups and downs. Just because you’re soaring on creativity Cloud Nine doesn’t mean you won’t end up in a valley somewhere. Similarly if you’re stuck in a creative rut, don’t give up just yet. You’ll eventually get back to the mountains.

The thing is we only ever hear about the triumph, the success stories, the grand accomplishments. We rarely hear about the failure, the surmounting challenges, being in the midst of defeat.

Most people want to glorify the former and forget about the latter. Either that or like labor, we forget about the pain it took to birth that beautiful baby.

In Jonah Lehrer’s new book Imagine: How Creativity Works he magically says the following. Yes I said magically. More on that later.

“Every creative journey begins with a problem. It starts with a feeling of frustration, the dull ache of not being able to find the answer. We have worked hard, but we’ve hit the wall…”

It’s a normal part of the journey. But as Lehrer points out. Here’s where the magic comes in.

“When we tell one another stories about creativity, we tend to leave out this phase of the creative process. We neglect to mention those days when we wanted to quit, when we believed that our problems were impossible to solve. Because such failures contradict the romantic version of events-there is nothing triumphant about a false start-we forget about them…Instead, we skip straight to the breakthroughs.”

The magical part is two-fold: 1) He reveals the truth no one likes to talk about-that all creative success involves failure. 2) It’s a natural step in the course of creativity.

The answer lies not in doing more work, forcing yourself to become creative or even giving up completely.

It’s in taking a break from finding out what’s next. It’s the unknown that holds your answer.

So the next time you feel frustrated and catch yourself in the midst of a difficult problem, don’t sweat it. The answers will come. Creativity will flow again.

Your biggest enemy toward your creativity isn’t outside yourself. It’s your own negative, critical thoughts and fears that hold you back.

When creativity stops, rest. And rest assure, the floodgates will eventually open again.

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