This is a simple, quick farewell gift for a friend. It’s a container from a pre-made cappuccino mix, covered with paper, decorated, and personalized. You might not be able to read the near side because of the shadow–it has ‘peace’ and ‘aware’ on it.
(I didn’t color the above; this is from this person.)
One easy and fun way to get inspiration is by coloring. It also has the benefit of being something you can do along with your children! I particularly enjoy coloring mandalas. In particular, I use them as springboards for color ideas. I can try out different color combinations to see how pleasing they may be, or where they might work. Sometimes they spark an idea, such as, “These colors would look pretty on a Mother’s Day gift. I have a box they would be perfect on!”
Some people use coloring in general, and mandalas in particular, as a sort of meditative practice. Meditation in itself can be a source of clearing your mind to allow creative thoughts to flow.
This designer created dust jackets where a complimentary bookmark continued the artwork off the 2D cover. The ability to envision familiar things in a new way is a key skill for a creative type. It is not necessarily innate — it can be actively cultivated even if you don’t think you have the knack for it.
If you feel stuck on your way of viewing the world, try some of these “playful but practical ways to cultivate creativity.”
Personally I’ve been working on being more aware of the world around me, and using that to deduce things (a la The Mentalist). With this comes the usage of a memory palace where I may be “storing” objects of inspiration and ideas for future projects. I’ll report back on the progress and results of that!
Let me know if you try anything or have tried anything that works for you!
One thing that I find valuable is looking at the deeper implications and consequences of our everyday activities. Since this is a crafting blog, I will be writing about the more philosophical aspects of crafting activities.
Today I’d like to write about the use of crafting to overcome personality flaws. We all have aspects of our personality that could be improved–despite being unique, beautiful, absolutely perfect snowflakes! In the act of crafting, this improvement often occurs through happenstance. However, this can also be done very deliberately.
Perfectionism and procrastination are two of my personal flaws which I’ve worked on through crafting. I have a tendency to think through projects very thoroughly, then do mock-ups, and then take a while getting the final product just right. Sometimes when things don’t quite end up according to my standards, it is discarded or abandoned. Many times I will drag on my feet on starting or finishing a project — some never to come to fruition at all — because I want it just right. Besides the practical effects of taking an inordinate amount of time on projects, thus reducing my productivity, I believe that this flaw in myself is a false idol. No person, no creation, can ever be perfect — the only one perfect is God, and we certainly cannot do any better than what he has already created!
From this flaw flows the related flaw of not trying new things. Since an awareness of failure is always lurking in the back of my mind, it is a disincentive to branch out and perhaps find an area of arts and crafts that truly delights me and serves others.
Other areas where I can easily see possibilities for self-improvement include developing patience, overcoming selfishness, overcoming reliance on others, developing self-confidence, overcoming excessive shyness, developing humility, or even overcoming false humility. I’m sure there are many, many other aspects of one’s personality which could be influenced through this process.
Though a lot of this does happen naturally as we gain experience and wisdom, it is only when we exercise self-evaluation and awareness that we are able to deliberately, and thus most effectively, work on improving these personality flaws. I could go on happily humming along not getting a prolific amount of projects done, but with each of them produced according to my exacting standards. Or not produced. But I’m sure they wouldn’t have come out well, anyhow.
In noticing this tendency and thought-pattern, I am now actively working on improving it. For example, this week I had a substitute babysitter to watch my children during the mornings while I worked at my full-time job. I had been vaguely thinking about getting or making her a thank-you gift, but when yesterday evening rolled around I hadn’t done anything (procrastinating on starting). The perfectionist in me tried to say, “We haven’t planned anything! It’s way too late to do anything that wouldn’t be too embarrassing!” Knowing that this was my weakness, I decided to make it into a kind of speed challenge. Just get something, anything, done. If it wasn’t perfect, that’s fine–nothing I make is ever perfect, so how would this be any better?
In the end I was pleased with the results. It took much less time than a lot of projects which I would judge as being of equal quality. And I didn’t miss an opportunity to give a personal touch to a helpful friend. I also felt it had a much more whimsical flair than I usually have, and I was surprised by what I came up with — as though I were more truly letting my creativity flow.
How about you? What personality flaws have you noticed being improved through crafting or other “making” activities? Do you have any ideas for how you can deliberately use this process to your advantage? Please let me know in the comments!
The above is a beautiful piece by Yulia Brodskaya (here). She does oh so beautiful quilled paper works, typography, plus much more.
To get you started on doing projects in a similar vein, I have had this tutorial in my queue for a while now: http://www.instructables.com/id/Quilled-Monograms-Cheap-easy-no-special-equipme/
Expect to see from me something along these lines soon!
If you are interested in ordering or commissioning a piece, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 641-260-0582. If you have a vague idea for a gift, or concrete desires, or admire something you’ve seen here–I will consider it all!
This is a gift for my soon-to-be-published author friend, Ellie Ann. Her book, The Silver Sickle, is coming out in July! I figured she could wear the bracelet to book signings, and when it starts to feel unreal, look at it and realize, “It really IS me they’re all here to see.”
The full tutorial to make a card of your own is available here: http://www.instructables.com/id/Medieval-Heart-Card/