Start the Year with a Vision Board

Yogi Berra quote

I’ve always liked this quote. It’s funny, yet carries buckets of truth.

January is one of the most inspiring months. It delivers a fresh start filled with hope for an exciting year. My husband and I have a tradition each December where we wake up early on a Saturday (which we did this past weekend!), brew a few cups of coffee and plan for the year ahead.

We love our coffee visits. Any time. Any place.

We love our coffee visits. Any time. Any place.

Brandon enjoys planning as much as I do. We’re not overly type-A, by any means. We just like having somewhat of a plan in place. Our annual session always culminates in a vision board, which is a motivational thing for us. It includes words and pictures that represent our goals.

This article offers great thoughts on building a vision board to help your creativity.

To start, here’s the process Brandon and I go through to create our vision boards. Hopefully some of these steps (and a good cup of coffee) will help you, too!

{ONE} Determine Goals

First we just talk. We share personal goals and create family goals for the coming year. We try not to overanalyze. We quickly jot down ideas and assign rough budgets to everything. We’ve come to learn if we skip the money part, our plans are harder to achieve. Even if it requires saving over the course of several years, things and events won’t happen without saving and planning for them now.

{TWO} Pick a Word

Once we’ve chatted, each of us picks a word of the year. It’s a word that has a personal meaning, reminds us of our overall goals, and sets off a spark of motivation when we hear it. So if we’re in a slump or feeling defeated, simply saying the word can jumpstart our engine.

Last year my word was “emerge”.

I found myself in a bit of a rut, occupied with general busyness. You know the kind that keeps you from sitting still and asking what you really need to be happy? That was me, in a hamster wheel afraid to find out what would happen if it stopped. I finally grew tired of feeling dizzy and drained, so I jumped. I spent some much needed time figuring things out.

I ended up changing my work schedule, starting a blog, volunteering more at the kids’ school, and saying “yes” to more social invitations. I found myself “emerging” in new ways and feeling okay with it all. There were tasks that were terrifying, but I did them anyway. I made mistakes, but I learned to stop scolding myself. I embraced imperfection for the first time and kept walking in new directions – regardless of how awkward I may have felt at times. While I will always be on a journey of emerging, I decided to add a new word this year: action. As in, “get up and go, already!”

Now that I have a little more confidence under my belt, I think I’m ready to march toward some dreams I never thought were possible.

{THREE} Create a Vision Board

sample vision board

This sample vision board is from Martha Beck.

Once goals are figured out, and we have a word that can kick us in the pants when we need it most, it’s time to make a vision board.

You can either create one out of poster board and magazine clippings, or go for something digital. Brandon likes using the O Dream Board. You could also try Dream It Alive or any photo collage app on your phone.

I actually like using Pinterest. This year I’m creating a secret board, so I don’t have to share it with the entire world. The title includes the year and my word of choice, so something like: “2015 Vision: Emerge & Take Action.”

Spring hiking

I used this image on my vision board to encourage me to get out and enjoy our beautiful parks and trails with the family.

Next I’ll find images that represent each of the goals on my list. In the caption I’ll write action steps I need to consider. This helps provide guidance and direction for the vision board.

As Antoine de Saint-Exupery stated, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

I’ve already started my vision board. In fact, I just need to add a few more details, so I’m off to finish it now. Good wishes for your personal planning. I’d love to know your “word of the year” or what kind of goals you’ve set for yourself. Share it in the comments or tweet me @Katejandersen.

Your ideas could help inspire someone else – and that’s a beautiful thing to accomplish!

Much love to you all this year,

Kate

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Christmas Blessings

Hello, dear friends. It’s officially Christmas, and I hope you’re having a wonderful day filled with love, laughter and lots of good food! I gathered a few of my favorite sayings and song lyrics to celebrate the day. Feel free to share.

silent night

Source: Nest of Posies

sweetness

This one comes with a lesson in hand-lettering! Source: Skillshare (P.S. A great place to learn or hone your creative skills)

irish blessing

With my Irish roots, I had to include this family favorite. Source: Marie McKeown

Hugs and best holiday wishes,

-Kate

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Preparing Your Christmas Table

Christmas Table

I’m looking forward to using these dishes this year! They were recently given to me by my MIL. Don’t you love family treasures?

Thoughtfully preparing your Christmas table is one way to show guests how grateful you are to have them. Love is definitely in the details, so here are a few essentials I’ve rounded up for you.

Set a Proper Place

There are two ways to set a table: informal and formal. No matter what, you want to keep your table to a minimum so it’s comfortable for guests. Only set out the utensils and glassware needed for what you are serving. For instance, you might not need that cocktail fork if everyone is just snacking in the living room beforehand.

Here’s a printable Place Setting Cheat Sheet. Below is a sneak peek of what it looks like.

Place Setting Cheat Sheet

Source: Damsel in Dior

Include Names with Napkins

If you’re going casual, using holiday-themed paper napkins is totally fine. You can still make them special by personalizing with place cards. Place cards are a thoughtful, simple way to welcome each person to the table. Here are some fun ideas:

Candy Cards

Candy Cane Place Cards

This is such a sweet idea. It’s just a piece of paper with ribbon threaded through two holes punched on either side. Image source: Martha Stewart

Musical Scrolls and Greenery

Scrolls and Holly

To assemble, take a snip of holly (or any greenery) and add a paper scroll, which is just a piece of paper that’s been rolled around a pencil on each end. Image source: Martha Stewart

Holiday Lights

Lightbulb Place Card

If you’ve had a few lights burn out on you, here’s a new way to repurpose them. Paint the bulbs and use as place cards. Throw an ornament hook on there and you have an instant gift, as well! Image source: Taste of Home

If you’re using cloth napkins, try folding them in an interesting way before adding your festive place cards. I was inspired to try new folding methods by my MIL. When we visited for Thanksgiving, she gave me a great handout that includes ways to fold interesting shapes such as fans and pockets. For now here are two holiday-themed folds:

The Tree Fold

Christmas Tree Fold

This is the Christmas tree fold. I’m thinking you could add a paper star at the top that doubles as a name card. Image source: Marmite Pon Pon

The Bow Fold

bow fold

This reminds me of a bow on a Christmas package. In fact, you could decorate a square piece of paper like a gift and use it as a place card tucked under the bow. Image source: Nancy Creative

Add Pretty Centerpieces

You definitely want to treat your guests to something pretty in the center of your table. Go for several low arrangements to make conversation easy. Also add some tea light candles to enhance the festive atmosphere. Some of my favorite flower combinations include:

White Roses and Pine Boughs

White roses and pine boughs

This bouquet was featured on BHG. Simple and lovely. White roses and pine should both be easy to source this time of year.

Sage and Pine Cones

sage and pine cones

I love the silvery look and savory smell of sage. This pairs so beautifully with pine cones. This was designed by Mark Kintzel. You can grow fresh sage indoors this time of year and pine cones can be harvested from any nearby pine tree!

White Mums, Baby’s Breath and Dusty Miller

mums and dusy miller

I’m not usually a fan of mums, but seeing them gathered with baby’s breath and dusty miller provides a whole new appreciation. This was used as a wedding bouquet featured on One Wed, but you could pull these together in a small vase for a breath-taking arrangement. Your local florist should have these items.

Hydrangea and Hypericum Berries

White hydrangea and berries

I love the simplicity of these berries tucked into billowy hydrangea blossoms. To top it off, they’re held in a silver julep cup. This would be gorgeous on any Christmas table. Source: Julie Blanner

Organize Your Serving Pieces

This is a tip for your side table, and it’s something I’ve been doing for years. Place serving dishes and utensils out the day before and label with sticky notes as to what goes in each dish.

Serving Pieces with Sticky Notes

Image source: Kitchen Concoctions.

This step ensures things go smoothly when it’s go-time for serving up the food. Doing this a day ahead gives you time to gather any missing items from your kind neighbor – or closest Bed Bath & Beyond. Planning out each dish also ensures you don’t leave anything delicious in the refrigerator! #beenthere

Enjoy a Toast

Another side-table tip is to create a bar cart with your guests’ favorite beverages. That way you can welcome everyone with a proper toast, as well as save space in the fridge and on the kitchen counter.

Bar Cart

This is a lovely bar cart I saw on this site: Waiting on Martha.

Simply repurpose a side table or wooden tray table with an ice bucket of drinks, bottles of wine, glasses and opener so guests can help themselves at any time.

Here’s hoping your dinner goes off without a hitch, and that your table is as beautiful as you are.

Cheers, my friends!

-Kate

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Five Holiday Road Trip Tips

Holiday Road TripHappy Friday!! Not that I have to tell you, but Christmas is just six days away. Eek! Many of you are planning a road trip over the river and through the woods to your favorite relative’s house or vacation spot. So before you load up the wagon and roll down the road, here are a few helpful tips to keep you organized, safe and happy.

Organized

{1} Pack the bags: Three important words: make a list. Write down all of the clothes you’ll need, gifts to take, and supplies (like baby bottles or puppy chew toys) that your family requires for happiness. Here are a few list ideas from Real Simple to get you started.

{2} Pack the car: As a mom of three kids, I’ve figured out what our family does (paper towels) and doesn’t (a dozen stuffed animals) need on road trips. I made a printable of a Car Packing List that includes the things we like to pack. Maybe it will help you, too!

Safe

{3} Be prepared: You know Murphy’s Law – anything that could go wrong, probably will. But if you’re ready for any kind of emergency, chances are good you won’t have any. Let’s pray that’s the case. It’s super smart – especially this time of year when road conditions can be tricky – to have a few essential items packed away. Things like a tire repair kit, flashlight and batteries could be lifesavers. Here’s a complete list from Farmer’s Almanac to review.

Happy

{4} Eat right: Just because you’re confined to the car doesn’t mean you have to squeeze out good eating habits. Convenience stores have been improving their selection to include cheeses, fruits and veggies. Go for these options or a carton of yogurt or package of nuts (granted you don’t have allergies). These are a good source of protein, and they fill little tummies longer to last you between stops.

We also bring our Tervis tumblers and fill them with ice water along the way. Most places let you fill your own cups with water for free.

Christmas Tervis

A Christmas-themed Tervis would be a fun gift to start your trip!

{5} Play Games: Nothing makes the miles feel shorter than a few good games. With so many electronics these days, kids are usually plugged into their own worlds. It’s good to mix it up a little with some “unplugged” family fun. Here are a few holiday games to consider:

  • Christmas Scavenger Hunt: Try to find these tried and true decorations while you’re cruising the streets of town. This version is from Daily Messes.scavenger hunt christmas
  • Christmas Spelling Bee: Who can be the first to spell “Christmas” using signs and billboards along the road? Once you’ve spelled that, you can move on to other words, such as: holiday, reindeer and Santa.
  • What’s the Next Line: Play a holiday song from iTunes or a CD. Pause at any point in the song and pick someone in the car to sing the next line. If they guess it wrong, it goes to the next person. You can tally points or hand out small treats for each correct answer, like M&Ms.
  • Guess the Christmas Jingle: Someone hums a song and the first person to guess it correctly gets a prize – like an M&M or Hershey’s kiss.

My friends, wherever you’re headed I hope you have a safe and happy trip!

Lots of love,

-Kate

P.S. I’m linking up with Five on Friday, again. Be sure to check out some of the great blogs on the list! Fiveonfriday

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Gift Wrapper’s Delight

Christmas Packages ChristmasPackages2Last Friday I shared an amazing YouTube video I stumbled upon that features the art of Japanese gift wrapping. I was seriously astounded by the simplicity and beauty of this technique. In the meantime I discovered a helpful link that outlines how to do each step in detail – tutorial style.

Japanese Diagonal Wrap

This is an easy tutorial from WikiHow. Be sure to scroll down to part two in the instructions.

These videos inspired me to share some of my own go-to wrapping secrets. They’re all super simps. Even though I love wrapping, I don’t do fussy.

My top five (easy) wrapping styles:

Quick tip: Buy solid color paper so you can use it any time of year. Then customize it with seasonal ribbons and toppers.

{1} Tootsie Roll Wrap

Tootsie Roll Wrap

I love wrapping odd or round-shaped items (like candles) in this fashion. Just roll the paper around the item, gather the ends, and secure with ribbon. I found this glitter paper at Walmart!

{2} Peek-a-Boo Package

Peek-a-boo Wrap

I had a little helper with this one. Those are Avery’s sweet hands. She loves the peek-a-boo wrap. Below are the easy steps.

Wrapping Tutorial

1. Wrap the gift with a solid paper as the base. 2. Measure a second piece of paper slightly narrower than the gift, so the first layer shows on the edges.

Wrap Tutorial

3. Use a hole punch or edging punch to fancy up the edges. 4. Wrap the two sides together before securing with a bow. I use a smidge of double-sided tape to hold the paper in place.

{3} Built-in Card Pocket

Built in Card Pocket

Attaching gift tags and cards can be troublesome if you have to carry your gift very far. This package has a built in pocket for you to easily tuck your card and go! It’s all in how you fold the paper.

Tip: Using striped paper for this particular fold is great because it’s like camo for a pocket. Where did it go?

Card Pocket Wrap

1. Measure and cut your paper several inches taller than your gift box. 2. Pull and fold the paper down to create a little tri-fold. This will form your pocket. 3. Crease and flatten out the paper and then wrap as usual.

{4} Stamps & Such

Ornament Wrap

I always have a roll of white butcher paper on hand for the kids to color or paint. It also makes great wrapping paper. Snaz it up with a few stamps and then add a pretty topper – like these gold ornaments and ribbon.

Gold Stamps

I used a pencil eraser dipped in gold ink to make mini-polka dots on this package. See how easy?!

{5} Showstopper Toppers! These are a great addition to ANY package you wrap.

Pom Pom Gift Topper

Pom-pom toppers are super easy to make. I also like the addition of stickers – like these initials – to further personalize the gift. Yes, this one is for my Clara 🙂

Acorn Gift Topper

Natural elements, like acorns, make awesome toppers. I hot-glued these to some artificial greenery and embellished with some scraps of sparkly ribbon.

Seashell Gift Topper

Speaking of natural elements, I always have more seashells than I know what to do with when we get home from a beach vacation. Using them as gift toppers is a fun way to share part of the shore – especially in the middle of winter! I just hot-glued this to a ribbon.

Holly Gift Topper

I happen to have a holly tree in my yard, so I snipped a few twigs as toppers. Get creative by searching your house and garden for treasures. Anything green and natural will be perfect on a package – especially wrapped with red ribbon.

Okay, show-and-tell time, my friends. I’d love to know how you wrap your gifts and goodies. Comment below or take a pic and share with us on Instagram. Be sure to tag me @katejandersen. Until then, happy wrapping!

-Kate

P.S. Only one week until Christmas!!

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Creative Tip: Collaborate with Kids

Creative InspirationDon’t you adore the carefree nature and creativity of kids? It seems the younger the child, the fewer filters they have for things that are silly or absurd. They’re incredibly open-minded and able to rationalize things that are seemingly impossible.

I remember a conversation with my son, Evan, when he was a little guy. He said the sun warmed the earth by reaching down with its invisible arms and zapping everything with heated light sabers. His complete confidence in the idea was not only adorable, but also inspiring.

It’s good to forget logic every now and then and play the “what if” game. What if the sun did have invisible arms? You never know when this type of harmless exploration could lead to great inventions.

At the very least, it encourages us to see the world with fresh eyes and broaden our imagination.

There’s an illustrator named Mica Angela Hendricks who believes in collaborating with kids to enhance her creative ideas. She pulled out a sketchbook one day and allowed her five-year-old daughter to add finishing touches to her drawings. The result was astounding. She began to work closely with her little girl to create beautiful and wildly imaginative pieces of art together.

A selection of Mica's work is available for purchase at Society6.

A selection of Mica’s work is available for purchase at Society6.

Give it a try for yourself!

I’m not an illustrator, so I might adapt this idea with cutting pictures from magazines and then working with my kids to build out the story. I saw something like this on Artmommie’s blog.ArtmommieAnother fun idea would be to create a book together. Start with a writing prompt, then take turns writing lines of a story from there. Here are Ten Terrific Writing Prompts I developed to help you get started. You can go back and add pictures once the story is written, and then have it published through a site like blurb.

blurb

Blurb is a great site for printing your own books.

I’m sure there are hundreds of ways to collaborate with your kids and ignite more creativity in your life. So be sure to share your awesome ideas in the comments or tag me on Twitter or Instagram with a picture you’ve created and use #CreativeTipTues.

As always, have a creative day!

-Kate

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Friday Wrap

What a week! It was filled to the brim with activities and projects (both personal and work related), and it’s still not over. Give this mama another Starbucks already.

So quick confession, I think I showered maybe twice and pretty much lived in a ball cap all week. I think the number of projects on my plate compared to the number of days lived in a ball cap are directly proportional to each other. I will say, through my blizzard of activities I really did have a good time (still am). Here are a few highlights of the week:

  • {ONE} wedding flowers: My niece, Sarah, and I made these sweet pew markers for a family wedding this weekend. Finding fake greenery that looked natural was a bit of a challenge, but we found nice pine sprigs from Hob Lob and added pretty creme-colored flowers to match the rest of the wedding bouquets. We wrapped them with burlap ribbon and wired on some pew clips so all we have to do is slip them on and go!Wedding FlowersSpeaking of weddings, my niece, Emma, is getting married this June! She’s such a sweetheart and asked me to help with invites and other paper goods. I promise to share my projects and discoveries as I go.
  • {TWO} white elephant gift: My husband’s office party is this weekend, so I had to find a white elephant gift. Talk about a fun shopping project. I knew I’d find something awesome at The Mustache, which I did. I almost went with a boot-shaped shot glass, but I landed on these drink coasters with misheard lyrics. Although, I was like, “Wait, sweet dreams aren’t made of cheese?!” #eurythmics #musicfailMisheard Lyrics
  • {THREE} costumes: Don’t you love it when your child comes home from school (the day before the school play) letting you know she needs a costume? Awesome. I panicked for a moment thinking I had to somehow fashion two costumes (life of a twin mom). Thankfully her twin sister was told to use the sugar bear costume from the music department. Yes, sugar bear. Could you imagine having to come up with that in a night’s time? Avery was selected as a candy cane. Totally doable. I grabbed a white shirt and roll of red Duct tape for instant stripes. Thank the high heavens for Duct tape, btw. It was a little plain, though, so we added a tutu. I took strips of red and white tulle, tied them to a piece of elastic and then secured it around her waist. Done, next!Costumes
  • {FOUR} party clothes: I ordered a couple of cute dresses from LollyWollyDoodle for the first time. Am I late to the party on this one? Regardless, they have some stinkin’ cute stuff on that site. I just hope they arrive in time for our mother-daughter holiday party next week! I’ll be sure to share pics when the dresses get here.Lolly logo
  • {FIVE} genius gift wrap: I’m sure you’ve seen the internet sensation of Japanese gift wrapping – where you wrap a gift in less than 12 seconds with a piece of paper and a few slices of tape. I was in complete awe watching this video. It also inspired me to share some other fun and easy (‘cause that’s how I roll) ways to wrap gifts. So be sure to stop back next week.
Gift Wrap Hack

Watch this video of super-fast wrapping. It should be a sport.

I’m linking up with the fun ladies who sponsor Five on Friday again. Be sure to check them out. As always, they’re amazeblogs! FiveonfridayHave a festive weekend, my sweet friends.

-Kate

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The Best Gifts for Teachers

TeachersThis thankful Thursday is all about teachers. I’m willing to go out on a limb here to say teachers are some of the most patient, kind, humble and intelligent people on the planet. My sister, Debby, has been a 4th grade teacher for many years, and she certainly fits this description. Not all teachers are perfect (who is?), but they’re certainly special. So when it comes to making your Christmas list, be sure to check it twice for those teachers of yours.

Since the best gift is a thoughtful one, I asked a few teachers for some ideas. Here are the top five faves!

GiftCard#1 Gift cards: I was originally thinking of offering a slew of ideas besides gift cards, but after my research it became clear. These are by far the most favorite and preferred gift. If you’re worried about it not being personal, you can make it extra special by getting a gift card from your teacher’s favorite store and wrapping it in a box that’s her favorite color or fits her style.

These adorable gift card holders are on Etsy.

These adorable gift card holders are on Etsy.

Most teachers love gift cards from bookstores, craft stores, spas, coffee shops and local restaurants.

If you have a super organized group of parents, you can coordinate getting one big gift card, which will make that terrific teacher of yours feel like she’s getting a bonus. You could also purchase several smaller gift cards and display them on a photo holder with a pretty bow tied around the base. The holder makes a great desk accessory, too!

Photo Holder

Something like this would be perfect for holding gift cards.

Using a plant or little Christmas tree is another fun way to arrange an assortment of gift cards. My sister had a class use a lavender tree one year, and she said it was lovely.

This is a live tree with gift cards tied like ornaments.

This is a live evergreen tree with gift cards tied like ornaments.

Speaking of group gifts…

#2 Gift Baskets: Jump on a site like SignUpGenious or BringIt to make a list of your teacher’s favorite things. Have each family sign up to bring one item, and then turn it into a big gift basket. That way your teacher gets items she loves or needs – and ensures she doesn’t get another dozen coffee mugs.

One thing NOT to give teachers is coffee mugs. Their desks, counters and cabinets are brimming with mugs, and they don’t need any more to add to the stash.

coffee mug

As cute as this is, just walk away! That goes for knick-knack ornaments, too.

#3 Goodies: I know it might seem like teachers live at school. I thought that when I was little. I’d see a teacher at the grocery store and think, “What are you doing here – in public?” Spoiler alert, teachers have lives outside of school. Many of them are working parents, too. They don’t have much time for things like baking, so edible gifts are a welcomed treat for them to enjoy and take home to their families.

Christmas Goodies

These are peanut butter cookies with M&M features and mini chocolate-covered pretzels for antlers.

If you go the route of homemade treats, be sure you’ve tested the recipe and packaged the goods in a new container that looks appetizing. No one likes sketchy food – even if it is dipped in chocolate.

#4 Board Games: Teachers usually have to provide their own supplies, books and games for the classroom. So checking your teacher’s wish list is always a thoughtful idea. In addition to stocking up on Post-its and pencils, think about adding a fun board game to the class. With a long winter ahead, a quick game of Cranium or Bananagrams might be the ticket to a teacher’s sanity. Here’s an awesome list from Education.com that recommends games by age group starting at preschool.

cranium

Our family loves Cranium.

#5 Handwritten Notes: Good old-fashioned letters that are written from the heart always make priceless gifts. Pretty much every teacher’s goal is to help children, so to receive hand-written confirmation that they’re making a difference in a child’s life can be incredibly affirming and joyful. You definitely can’t go wrong with this gift!

I hope this was helpful. If you’re a teacher, let us know what else you’d add to this list.

May you all have a day full of gratitude! #ThankfulThursday

-Kate

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Creative Tip: Live Like an Animal

As humans it’s our nature to have a bit of a wild side. At our core, we’re really just a bunch of animals (highly domesticated, of course). We have a beautiful and innate ability to explore, run, climb and capture. But sometimes we get caught up in the trap of our own advanced minds. We over think situations; we doubt our abilities; and we allow ourselves to feel alone in our problems. We lose touch with our true selves and feel stressed, worried and sometimes stagnant.Dog TherapyIf you ever find yourself feeling this way, perhaps it’s a sign you need to connect back with nature – your true source. Maybe take a walk, breathe some fresh air, and spend time with an animal. Animals, whether they’re out in the wild or snuggled up on our couches, can serve as an amazing source of inspiration.

I believe animals have three special qualities we can emulate to help us live more meaningful and creative lives.

  1. Instinct: animals never question their decisions
  2. Authenticity: animals simply are who they are
  3. Health: animals constantly exercise, eat what’s right, and rest when needed

Pull out your journal and explore some questions for each of these qualities.

Instinct

  • Do you trust your instincts when designing, writing or creating? When is it harder to do this? Why is that?
  • When it comes time to judge and edit your own work (which is something you should always do after the ideation process), do you follow your instinct for what should be changed or which direction to choose?

Authenticity

  • Do you know your own authentic voice? Look at your previous projects or home. What do you see that’s consistent about your style and your decisions?
  • When do you most feel like yourself? What types of activities are you doing?
  • When you’re in the process of creating, how can you quiet the critics and turn up the volume on your inner voice?

Health

  • Do you take time to exercise? Sometimes a simple walk around the block over lunch is enough to recharge your creativity and mood.
  • Are you drinking enough water and eating foods that make you feel good? There are so many fad diets, and I don’t think you need any of them to be healthy. I believe deep down, you know the foods that are right for your body. Take time to slow down and listen.
  • How many hours of sleep are you getting? Do you feel like it’s enough?

Another interesting exercise to try when you’re faced with a challenge is to think of a solution from an animal’s perspective. It might feel weird at first, but think about how a lion would solve your problem. How would a small bird approach the situation? See where it takes you, and you might find a few surprising answers from simply changing your point of view.

Let me know how this works for you. I’d love to hear your feedback or any tips you’d like to share about how you stay creative. In the meantime, have a wildly fun and inspiring day!

-Kate

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Christmas Mantel Magic

Christmas MantleMantels rank right up there with Christmas trees when it comes to important places in the house to decorate. It’s the first thing Santa sees when he drops down that chimney, you know. Gotta impress the big guy.

I wanted to do something different for the mantel this year, and I love the look of chalkboard messages as the focal point. That was really the main inspiration for this year’s look.

Now, I didn’t want to spend a fortune on a large chalkboard. I also didn’t want to mess with buying hardware supplies and chalk paint to try and make one. I wanted something a little more temporary, but that still looked nice. So…off to Hobby Lobby I went.

After finding black wrapping paper and a box of white chalk, I had a thought…I’d just wrap a painting!

I had NO idea how this was going to turn out. I figured the worst that could happen is I’d be out $6 from the supplies and possibly be featured on Pinstrosity. I decided I could live with that.

Since I already had a large painting, I was able to use that as the base.

Thanksgiving Mantle

This is what things looked like before the Christmas transformation. Notice the painting? That’s what I used for the base of my “faux real” chalkboard.

All I did was roll out the paper and wrap the painting like a giant present. I used double-sided tape to carefully adhere the paper.

Backside of Painting

This is the back where you can see how I just wrapped to the edges.

“Oh Holy Night” is one of my favorite Christmas songs, so I knew I wanted to use this for the art. Chalk CloseupI used regular ol’ chalk to write. I discovered it easily wiped off with my hand. If I felt more confident in my hand lettering, I probably would have used a chalk marker.

Liquid ChalkA note on the wrapping paper. Hob Lob only had glossy paper. It turned out really nice, but a matte finish would probably look even better.

Matte Paper

This pretty matte paper is on Amazon.

Once the chalkboard was up, I added some finishing touches.

Finishing Touches

I added lanterns, paperwhites, and a few red and silver ornaments tucked inside clear cylinder vases with snow at the base.

Bonus idea: Another way to repurpose a picture is to swap it out with a beautiful Christmas card.

Christmas Card PicThis idea is compliments of my sister. She snapped a quick pic of the one in her home, and I thought it was such a creative way to holidate (holiday + decorate) your house. Thanks, Debby!

Now, show me your mantels. (I’m totally making t-shirts that say that.) Be sure to take pics, use #TheNeatNook, and tag me on Instagram @Katejandersen so we can all see your creations.

Have the most creative day, yet.

-Kate

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