Inspiring Lessons from The War of Art

The War of ArtIf you haven’t had a chance to read Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art, I can assure you it will be worth every special minute of your time. It’s incredibly motivating – like the kind that kicks you in the couch potato pants and gets you moving in the direction you were meant to travel.

In fact, this is one of my favorite passages that inspired me to write today’s post:


Are you a born writer? Were you put on earth to be a painter, a scientist, an apostle of peace? In the end the question can only be answered by action.

Do it or don’t do it.

It may help to think of it this way. If you were meant to cure cancer, write a symphony, or crack cold fusion and you don’t do it, you not only hurt yourself, even destroy yourself. You hurt your children. You hurt me. You hurt the planet.

You shame the angels who watch over you, and you spite the Almighty, who created you and only you with your unique gifts, for the sole purpose of nudging the human race one millimeter farther along its path back to God.

Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.”


Talk about motivation. I don’t know about you, but that last line is a bone-chilling challenge. Let’s accept. What do you say?

If you’re a painter, paint. If you’re a teacher, teach. If you’re a leader, lead. If you’re a mom, mother. The people in your world need you.

For those who aspire to be writers or artists, and who fall near and dear to my heart, here’s an added challenge.

  1. Accept you’re a writer or artist. Another brilliant quote from Pressfield suggests, “If you find yourself asking, ‘Am I really a writer? Am I really an artist?’ chances are you are. The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death.” The more scared you are about a calling, the more you can be sure you need to do it.
  1. Get started. Grab your computer or paper and pen. I’ll wait… Okay, now start writing and don’t stop until you’ve hit at least 1,000 words. What should you write about? Anything. It could be about a crappy day you had, your best friend in grade school who always made you laugh, or your obsession with Snicker’s bars. Need more inspiration? In the movie “Finding Forrester” the character played by Sean Connery, who is a reclusive writer, asks his student to take an existing piece of work as a starting point. The student transforms it into something unique. You could try that, too. Take lines from your favorite song and create characters and a storyline around their relationship. You may surprise yourself with where you end up. The goal isn’t necessarily in the masterpiece. What matters most is that you’re writing – and doing what you were put on this earth to do. If you’re an artist, do the same exercise, but draw or paint for at least 30 minutes. Do this every day, and the great masterpiece will be your life.

Here’s to you and your amazing talents. Now go get ’em!

-Kate

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Creative Habits

IMG_5301Habits are a funny thing. Sometimes we want to kick them and other times we want to form them. I’m always in fluctuation between the two. Right now I’m desperately trying to drink more water during the day. I religiously drink coffee every morning, so you’d think remembering to water myself would be a cinch.

Water on Head

More water!

Just like anything, there are good and not-so-good habits when it comes to creativity. Keeping a sketchbook and people watching (a favorite pastime) are fun habits and can do wonders for creative thinking.

Sketchbook

Sketching is awesome!

Other habits simply make you lazy and turn off your brain. That’s not exactly the recipe for developing imaginative ideas. For instance, I have a habit of driving the same way to work, which literally keeps me from seeing new sights. Remember the scene from National Lampoon’s European Vacation when they keep driving past Big Ben? That’s me…constant loop.

national lampoons

Look kids, Big Ben!

It’s easy to fall into routines. When you do them long enough, you create a well-worn path that deepens into a rut, making it harder to get out. I never want to be the kind of person who “phones it in” when it comes to offering creative ideas.

So I’m in the process of assessing my habits, and I’ve decided that instead of kicking stale habits, I’m going to shake them up. (Thanks for the motivation, T. Swift.)

Here are a few ideas:

  1. Rotate artwork and photos in my office. The family pics don’t have to rest on the desk. I can move them to a side table and bring a fun piece of art from the living room into my office. It’s gettin’ crazy up in here.
  2. Sit in the visitor’s chair. My office has several chairs reserved for guests. Why not become a guest in my own space? I wonder what new ideas I’ll think of from the other side of the desk?
  3. Use a different restroom. Since “bio breaks” tend to be the only times I actually leave my seat (another bad habit), the least I can do is head to the next closest bathroom in the building and potentially run into new people along the way.
  4. Take a short break (other than going to the bathroom) and talk to someone new – on purpose.
  5. Listen to a new station on Pandora. This means giving up Blind Pilot and JT for a while, but I’m okay with that. I have a feeling there are a few country singers out there who have a lesson or two about life I could use. Consider this student “present”.
  6. Pull out a sketchpad instead of the laptop. I enjoy sketching, but when it comes to thinking of ideas for work, I tend to lean on the computer – literally. I’m going to kick it old school and sketch my next round of thoughts. Sketchnoting, here I come.
  7. Use different color ink. Black and blue are for bruises. I’m going to mix it up with orange or green and just see what happens. Maybe nothing, but at least my notes will be prettier.
  8. Go outside and park it on a bench for a few minutes. Nothing beats stale ideas like some fresh air and new surroundings. It seems simple, but I don’t get outside nearly enough during the day. My Fitbit would agree with me, too.

I hope you’ll join me in trying some of these ideas or thinking of a few new ones yourself. Please share!

In the meantime, have an enormously creative day.

-Kate

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Five Must-Read Creative Books

creative booksIf you have a shred of desire to be more creative and leave a beautiful or thought-provoking mark on this earth, I believe it’s essential to always be on a path of trial and knowledge. And some of the most necessary fuel for exploration and learning is found in books.

As a busy mom, I don’t always have time to sit and read. The growing stack of books on my nightstand is enough to prove that point, but there are certain books that come along and change things. They help shift priorities and feel worthy of an all-night reading binge.

Here’s a list of five books that fit this description, and what I consider must-reads for creative types.

These are in no particular order and include a few of my favorite excerpts from each.

{ONE} Creativity, Inc.Creativity Inc“Always take a chance on better, even if it seems threatening.”

“Ultimately, what we’re after is authenticity…You’ll never stumble upon the unexpected if you stick only to the familiar. In my experience, when people go out on research trips, they always come back changed.”

{TWO} Imagine: How Creativity WorksImagine“In fact, the only way to remain creative over time, to not be undone by our expertise, is to experiment with ignorance, to stare at things we don’t fully understand.”

{THREE} The War of Artwar of art“Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember one rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.”

“Put your ass where your heart wants to be.”

{FOUR} Steal Like An Artiststeal like an artist“You are, in fact, a mashup of what you choose to let into your life.”

“Be curious about the world in which you live. Look things up. Chase down every reference. Go deeper than anybody else–that’s how you’ll get ahead.”

{FIVE} The Creative Habitthe creative habit“Creativity is the product of preparation and effort, and it’s within reach of everyone who wants to achieve it. All it takes is the willingness to make creativity a habit, an integral part of your life.”

It’s your turn! What’s your favorite book on creativity? How did this book help you? Tag and tell me on Twitter or Instagram @katejandersen.

Have a creative day!

-Kate

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Creative Tip: Take a Field Trip

One of the best motivators to clean your house is to invite guests over. Am I right? Well, the same goes for visiting nearby museums. Sometimes it takes a visitor to get you out the door.

That’s what happened this weekend. It’s been forever since I’ve trekked (all of 18 miles) up to Bentonville to visit Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. When family came to visit this weekend to celebrate my father-in-law’s 80th birthday, we decided to spend a day touring the museum. #bestdecisionever

State of the ArtRight now CB has an exhibit called State of the Art, which is incredible. It’s only here until Jan. 19th, so I would have kicked myself if I missed the chance to see this American wonder.

To quote the ads, “Over the course of a year, the (curatorial) team logged more than 100,000 miles across the United States and visited nearly 1,000 artists looking for people who haven’t been fully recognized on a national level, yet.”

The result is an exhibition that draws from every region of the country and offers a diverse look at American art. Everyone should have a chance to review and absorb this beauty. The museum feels this way, too, which is why admission is free of charge.

This field trip did wonders for my creative spirit. I didn’t realize how stagnant I was until I saw such inventive and thoughtful art.

I snapped a few pics of my faves to share. It was tough narrowing these down, though.

Compilation

(L to R) 1. Avery & Clara in the crocheted tunnel by Jelia Gueramian; 2. Hand-cut paper moth by Hiromi Mizugai Moneyhun; 3. “Forever” by John Salvest made with secondhand romance novels; 4. “World Map” by Emily Erb made with dye on silk. I wanted to wrap myself in this veil of softness – but that would have ended our visit all too soon.

Forever Books

A close look at some of the books in “Forever”.

crochet tunnel

A wide shot of the crochet tunnel. It was wild and colorful – like a page out of a Dr. Seuss book.

Lottery Tickets

“Ghost of a Dream” by Adam Eckstrom and Lauren Was made with discarded lottery tickets. There’s a closeup pic on the bottom. Can you believe someone found beauty in a scratch ticket?

Ghosts of Consumption

Here’s another ghostly image. “Ghosts of Consumption” consists of objects and trash found in ocean water off the coasts of Hawaii, Alaska, Greece and Costa Rica. I spy a bike petal. Whaat?

 

Telescope

A telescope made from holes in the drywall by Chris Sauter. Brandon had to point out how this was made – and it was even cooler once I made the connection to the wall. Thanks, sweet B.

Circle

I was really drawn to this painting by Kelsey Brookes. It’s reminiscent of 60s culture, and the center of the painting “moves” as you walk past the art. Super interesting.

Compilation2

I love this collection pulled together in one picture. (L to R) 1. Emergent” by Isabella Kirkland, an artist and scientist who has documented endangered and extinct animals; 2. Daffodils encased in glass composite by Flora Mace; 3. “Anthropocene 1” by Pam Longobardi painted on copper

Stairwell of String

This pic was snapped in the stairwell where hundreds (maybe thousands?) of multicolored threads were stretched from wall-to-wall creating a gorgeous spectrum by artist Gabriel Dawe. A sight to see!

While the tour ended here, the impact of the outing has stayed with me. I was reminded how important it is to get out of our comfortable homes and workplaces every now and then to see what the rest of the world is up to. I certainly I felt a jolt of inspiration on this visit, and I wish this upon every creative soul out there (and that includes you).

When I started this creativity blog, I told Brandon how sad it is to hear people say, “Oh, I’m not creative.” That simply isn’t true, and I want to help people connect back to their creativity.

If you woke up and dressed yourself today, you are creative. Look at the fabrics, the colors, the accessories, and the way you styled your hair. You made creative decisions all morning! The secret is to recognize and be grateful for your expressions – and more opportunities to feel this way will show up.

It’s okay to start off by following other people’s lead. My daughter Avery came home from our field trip and started painting her own version of Sonya Clark’s “Albers Interaction” series.

Avery's Art

Avery’s painting is at the top. The bottom art is by Sonya Clark who wrapped colored thread around stacks of hair combs. Clark actually makes a direct reference to Modernist painter Josef Albers and his “Homage to the Square”. So it’s like inspiration inception!

Avery started to dismiss her work by saying she just copied what she saw. I told her that her work is just as important because she made it her own. Once she got it, she felt inspired to keep going. That’s the point. Keep going. See what new paths you can carve, and don’t stop there. Even if it takes being inspired by someone else to get you started.

Trust in yourself and your creative voice. It knows the answer to everything. Sometimes it just takes stepping out for a bit to hear what’s inside.

Avery Admiration

Avery contemplating our visit at the museum  – or just looking for some fish 😉

What’s your favorite place to visit for inspiration? Share with us here, on Twitter or Instagram. Use #CreativeTipTues or tag me @Katejandersen.

Most creative wishes to you!

-Kate

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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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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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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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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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