/Personal Development

How I Incorporate Creativity Into Everyday Life

Click through to learn how I keep my creative energy flowing each day. Maybe these will help your creative mojo , too!

I feel like I’m starting to make a comeback. When I had my sweet boy Marty a little over a year ago, my creative projects came to a screeching halt–my blog went unwritten, canvases were dry and emails went unanswered. I went into hibernation because I was alllll baby alllll the time, for a long time (being a first time mom,and all).

Although I was frustrated at some points because I just wanted to get back to creating stuff, I knew that I  needed that time to focus on other things.  And in a way it was a gift: coming out of any kind of hibernation is wonderful because you see with new eyes. That hiatus from creating was rejuvenating because it built up a yearning for me to get back to it. I can feel that urgency to create again and I’m excited.

But as I get back into the flow, I realize that I need to be flexible with how I’m expressing my creativity due to time+ life constraints.  It’s just not realistic for me to say I’m going to paint for 2 hours everyday–I don’t have the time or attention span (or cooperative baby!)  I’m a different person than I was, and my art is changing with me.

So I’m practicing new ways to be creative, and some of it isn’t painting either.  It’s ways to incorporate creativity into everyday life to keep that energy flowing.  Maybe you can try a few of these practices in your day, too:

Try a new medium

I moved from canvas to paper.  It’s a lot more portable and more forgiving too!  I can experiment easier and not worry about messing things up.  Also, it’s easy to pull it out really quick with minimum set-up.   Right now I’m using the Canson Mixed Media Pad (11×14) and I love it.  I’m also having a lot of fun playing on Canva (so much that I created a course on it!)  I create all of my blog images and online profile + post pictures there.

Use different supplies

I’m still using acrylics, but I’m using a lot more paint pens and these watercolor crayons.  The flexibility of these supplies is inspiring!  And it’s challenging to incorporate my usual style with new tools (which is good for me).

Dress with intention

Whenever I go out, I try to put on clothes that I love and that make me feel good.  I’ve been purging a lot of old outfits to make room for more ease.  Lord knows I wear the a lot of the same pieces over and over, but at least I really love them.  And at least I’m not bogged down with the clutter.

Take more pictures

I have a Samsung Galaxy phone and love to take pictures with it because the camera is awesome!  Not only can I use the images for blog post background images, but it creates a photo memory of my days and it’s fun to look back and see what interesting views I’ve captured.

Write Down Thoughts As They Come Up

My memory is short these days so when I think of a clever idea I have to write it down immediately.  And even when it’s not so clever, but I feel like there’s something more to explore, I write that down, too.  It’s along the lines of, “entertaining the muse when she shows up” and not judging my ideas right away.   Otherwise if I don’t write things down,  it escapes into the air never to be remembered again 🙂  These days, I’m loving google keep for this.

Look at art videos

I love looking at Flora’s work, I could watch her all day!  And she always gives me new ideas when I watch her paint.  I also love the artist video posts on Stampington, especially the ones about new supplies.  Painting videos really spark my creativity when I’m feeling a lull.

Connect online

I have a private Facebook Group and the sole intention of it is to create a space to share our creative projects.  It’s fun and low pressure to be a part of and gives just the right amount of inspiration and support.  I love popping in to see what everyone has been up to!  The community is growing, want to join?

So those are just a few ways I keep my creativity flowing everyday. I try to change it up/add new things periodically to keep it fresh and fun. Do you have a daily practice that keeps your creativity flowing?  Come over to the group and tell us about it.

Love, Steph

January 9, 2017|Art Stuff, Personal Development|

My Word Of The Year: Self-Care

Click through to see how I'm making my word of the year work for me.

This past year was wild.  It was amazingly beautiful and hard and exhausting and heart bursting and it showed me what it was like to truly care for someone. My baby boy Marty was only a month old when the year began, and oh boy was it an adventure!

I didn’t even make it to creating a word of the year last year because I was so in the weeds. So lost. I was nursing, not sleeping and wondering what I got myself into with a newborn.  After 42 years of doing what I wanted, I was now at the beck and call of a hungry, tiny tyrant.  And most of the time I was totally ok with that, but I will never take sleep for granted again. 🙂

And things changed (as they always do), life was marching on and I wasn’t keeping up with my basic spiritual maintenance.  I didn’t do a very good job of tending to myself + my needs which resulted in some PPD and many tearful days. I put everything I had at the time into my baby and it didn’t leave much for me personally or for my relationship.  I was winning as mommy, failing as Steph.

I realize now that I ignored that age-old saying about putting your life mask on first before you can help others put on theirs. I know that any other mom would say that it’s just how it is in the beginning, you have to lose yourself a bit with the baby for it to work and I agree with that, but at some point there has to be a boomerang back. And I didn’t do that.  Lesson learned.

And so for this reason, my word of the year is self-care.

To me, self care isn’t just about the physical–getting back to the gym or eating more than a PB&J sandwich–it’s also about creating time to do things I love. I know this will be a challenge for me in the beginning but I know when I take more time for myself, I show up for everyone else in such a stronger, more present way.

Navigating being a new parent is a tricky role to get used to: in some ways, it comes so naturally, in other ways I feel like I’m a stranger to myself.  I’m just trying to be patient + compassionate when I think of all of the ways I’m failing. Because in reality, I’m succeeding wildly in many ways, I just need to focus on those areas more.

SO.  These are some of the ways I’m going to express + practice self care:

  • More movies and popcorn.
  • Yoga classes that end with an awesome meditation.
  • Acupuncture that blisses me out.
  • A monthly pedicure (and foot massage!)
  • More pleasure reading and less  TV.
  • Painting, painting and more painting!
  • Conversations that go deep + provoke wild thoughts of expansion.
  • Writing more on the blog and reaching out to connect with others online.
  • Dates with my husband that aren’t always rushed.
  • Juicing more, eating for energy. Less sugar.

That’s just the beginning, but it already feels good just to have said it; I’m excited to get back to being more me.  Farewell 2016, you’ve been quite a learning experience. 2017, let’s see what you’ve got.

Love, Steph

PS Do you have a word of the year, too?  Come join my Facebook Group and tell me what it is.

January 2, 2017|Personal Development, Spirituality|

5 Organization Ideas That Boost My Creativity

5 Organization Ideas That Boost My Creativity

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I have a few organization ideas up my sleeve that I use in order to get my creativity flowing.  Because although I like to think I can just sit down at any  moment and churn out some awesome creative pieces, there’s usually a few steps I have to take to get to that point; I’m guessing you’re the same way. #amiright?

And I don’t know about you, but life often has a tendency to interrupt me juuuuust when I’m getting into a flow of creativity.  It can be really hard to pick up where I left off, so I use a few jedi mind tricks to keep my productivity + creativity flowing.

Make space to create:

I try to consistently set aside time when I know I can create (9am/3 days a week for at least 30 minutes).  It seems so simple, right?  Since I have a baby under 1, those times are often interrupted or eliminated, but it helps to know that I am at least trying and that I have the time set aside just for my creative whims.  He won’t be a baby forever and I want to try to stick to the habit of consistently showing up for the work–I know if I can get my body there, my mind will follow.  And if I’m organized about it, I get even better results.

Get prepared:

I keep supplies easily accessible so that I can take advantage of a free 20 minute block.  I recently bought mini versions of a few of my most used supplies and store them in a totebag, so I can take it anywhere.

The supplies include:

  • A multi-media sketch pad
  • small box of favorite markers, pens and a few paint brushes
  • a small water palette
  • wax crayons (I can use them for heavy vibrant marks or create a watercolor effect from them)
  • gel medium
  • scraps of paper for collage

5 Organization Ideas That Help Me Be More Creative

This way I can create very easily without setting up a lot of stuff.  It has taken the pressure off of needing to only create in my studio because in the past, that’s where all of the supplies were.

Capture images as I go:

I try to take a lot of pictures and document what I do so I can use the images as backgrounds for social media graphics or add to posts later (especially when it’s an art in progress post!)

I try to take photos of everyday life that I know would make a nice background for my blog posts or social media graphics, too.   And the simpler the better–it doesn’t have to be a fancy picture, just something easy on the eyes and in focus always works great.  And don’t worry about needing some fancy equipment.  I take the pictures with my phone!  Most phones have a pretty amazing camera these days so I just use a lot of natural light and get snapping.

Simplify with batching (best organization idea hack):

I try to batch create when at all possible.  If I’m creating a graphic for a social media post or a blog post, I try to create a few at a time, even if it means I’m not going to use them right away.  I have a file folder in my dropbox (more on that below) that is literally labeled “not used yet” and it’s where I keep some images and graphics for future use.  It’s a total time saver!

“I love wasting time,” said no one, ever.

I create paintings in batches as well.  When I’m working on a piece, I usually have a few in rotation that I can go to when one is drying, that way I’m always working on something.  It not only helps keep the creative flow going, but I’m getting a lot done rather than sitting and watching paint dry (literally.)

Store images in a cloud:

Dropbox is my best friend.  There is a free version, but I pay for the monthly version because it gives me a lot more space.  I can access that sweet drive from anywhere!  Not only do I have it on my laptop, but I have it on my phone and I can immediately upload the pictures I take.  It makes creating social media graphics sooooo easy and fast.  Organizing everything into folders also helps keep everything in order and makes the images simple to use.

I don’t assume I’ll remember:

Here’s a simple but powerful organization idea: I try to write any good ideas down when they come up.  Not only do I have an app that will capture inspiration when it strikes (Hello my love, Google Keep) but I also carry around a small moleskine in my purse to make notes or sketches when they pop into my head.  It’s nothing fancy, it’s just to jot things down because sometimes the perfect idea comes to me when I’m in the shower.  You too? 🙂

Hope these ideas are helpful to you–here’s to being more creative!

Love, Steph

 

July 25, 2016|Art Stuff, Habits|

On Creativity: The Ebb + Flow

The Ebb + Flow of creativity can be frustrating. Click through to see the ways I'm finding my way back to the flow!

It’s been a while since I’ve created in my usual way (painting, collaging + writing) and it feels kind of strange to have been away from it for so long.  I miss my quiet time in front of the canvas but these days of diapers and trying to catch up on sleep, I can’t seem to figure out how to get back there.  I used to take a painting class once a week, I painted in my studio at least one day a week and I wrote regular blog posts to spark ideas, too.  I miss it terribly!

I remind myself that I can still follow my artistic whims, I just need to figure out how and when.  I may not have a block of 2 hours to paint, but I can grab 10 minutes to draw something or connect online.  I have to remind myself that I’m creating a new normal now–I need to be more gentle with myself as I figure out exactly what that is.  I really just enjoy exploring the idea of creativity as a whole and can use that as my guide.  

But what happens when life changes and you no longer have the same amount of time to do what you always did to create?

It’s the ebb and flow that happens with any kind of major change (and little changes, too).  I’ve been here before and found my way back, I know I can do it again.  When I resurface, the starting over point is usually to check in with myself and explore just how things have changed.

I’m still an artist, but I’m different.

Even my space to create is different.  My studio is no longer mine and it’s a disaster, so that doesn’t make it quite so easy to bounce back to painting!  I had to pack everything up and shove it in the corner to make room for the bed we had to move out of the new nursery.  Needless to say, it’s not a very inspiring place at the moment:

Disaster studio

 

But I know it’s not forever.  See those shelves leaning against the table?  That’s my starting point to get back to creating.  Once I put them up, I’ll be able to move my supplies up on them and be able to make room for more organizing!  One step at a time…

Here are a few others ways I’m trying to get back on track:

  • Regularly check in with fellow artists, even if it’s just to see what they’re up to on Facebook.  Inspiration comes at the most surprising moments, doesn’t it?
  • Stand in my defunct studio to see where I can begin to reassemble it (see picture)
  • Make a simple sketch in my sketch book when I have 5 minutes of quiet.
  • Connect with you on my blog again (aha!)
  • Walk through the paint aisle at AC Moore and check out the new products.
  • Write down ideas for future paintings in my phone.  A lot of times this happens in the middle of the night while I’m nursing Marty.
  • Remember to take it one day at a time–the fever to create will come back.

If anything, this time has been amazingly affirmative.  It reminds me why I love to create (to have some type of expression + connect with others) and that it’s not going anywhere, no matter how long the break is.

Love, Steph

P.S. Want to share your own creative journey?  In honor of connecting again, I created a Facebook Group for creatives so that we may encourage each other when the ebb + flow happens.  It’s a very new group, I’d love if you joined conversation.  All you do is put in your details and then request to join the group on Facebook.  I’m looking forward to seeing you there!

April 7, 2016|Life Purpose, Personal Development|

How To Stay Positive When You Want To Bury Your Head In The Sand

Looking for a few hints on how to stay positive? Click through to read 5 easy tips to keep in mind to avoid burying your head in the sand!

There’s always something to be happy about in life, no matter what is going on.  But what happens during those times when you hit a mental roadblock and can only see the hurdles? We’ve all been there–that place where it seems like there’s nothing but grey skies and rain headed your way…but fear not, friend!  I have a few simple things to share with you that will get your mind back to thinking blue skies and sunshine daydreams.

Here are a few tricks I use, maybe they’ll help you, too:

1. It sounds simple, but stop looking at the down side. You can find a drawback to everything, even winning the lottery! But what you focus on will grow, so don’t accentuate what you want to change.  Put a kabash on those negative thoughts.

2. Practice loving the silver lining. Thinking positively is actually a habit you can develop.   I promise it’s not that hard!  The trick is this: when you find yourself going down the doom and gloom road, take a detour and mentally put on the brakes.  You can say things to yourself like, “that’s not what I want to focus on” or “that isn’t true to me” and head on over to a sunnier thought.  Stop (the thought), drop (the negativity) and roll (with a better viewpoint).

3. Remember that everything changes. If you DO find yourself stuck in a rut  you can’t get out of, have no fear–nothing lasts forever. One of my favorite things my mom always said to me is, ‘this too shall pass’.  It’s a great reminder that life is always changing, no matter what.  Knowing that simple fact makes it easier to pick up those helpful habits again later when the storm passes.

4. Give yourself an out. We all have crappy days, amiright?  And admitting that can sometimes make it easier to just feel the stink and then move on from it.  It can be as simple as saying to yourself “I feel like crap”.  That small confession can release the tension and start you on the path to a better mood.

5. Connect with someone else. There’s no better way to change your perspective than to ask for a little boost from a friend. Everyone knows what it feels like to be on the road to misery so it wouldn’t be hard for a buddy to relate to your situation + help you steer your thoughts in a different direction. That’s what friends are for!

It’s natural to hit that proverbial wall from time to time, so it’s more helpful to have a plan in place when you do. Don’t let those doomsday thoughts rule your moment–get in tune with what’s happening and change your view in an instant with these simple steps.  And remember: every storm eventually passes.

Love, Steph

 

 

P.S. Stay positive + dig in to your best self

Get inspired, friend! Click through to sign up for the free 5 day ecourse that will get you back on track to loving who you are.

November 3, 2015|Personal Development|

You Need This In Your Life! Digging In: A Free Ecourse To Bring You Back To Yourself


Get inspired, friend! Click through to sign up for the free 5 day ecourse that will get you back on track to loving who you are.

 

You guys, I’m excited to finally tell you what I’ve been working on over here behind the scenes .  I’m really excited to tell you about it because I have been wanting to create something like this for a while!

This blog is all about exploring who we are becoming + beingopen to where that may lead, but I know that this journey can get tricky at times.

I have found that sometimes growth experiences can bring us to a feeling of overwhelm + feeling lost.  Can you relate?

Becoming more ourselves is a lifelong path that never ends.  And although each of our paths are unique + always changing, there are some similar experiences we all share.

So, I’ve been trying to think of ways I could be more helpful to you–to share some tricks + ideas that I’ve learned through my own self-exploring journey that can make your journey easier (other than writing about these experiences on the blog.)

And here it is:

Digging In: The Free 5 day ecourse that willl bring you back to yourself in gentle + motivating ways.I have created a FREE 5 day course that is delivered by emails right to your inbox that will bring you back to yourself in gentle + creative ways.  

Think of it as a little virtual hug/boost/high five to keep going (because that always feels good when you need a little encouragement.)

This course is all about Digging In to who you are, and loving what you find.

What’s in this course, you say?  Let me tell you! Each day’s email includes:

  • Encouraging words
  • Inspiring graphics
  • A PDF worksheet to help you get focused + take action on the given prompt.

The prompts for each day are to help you feel inspired + excited about getting moving in the direction you want to go.  #winning

The good news?  It’s self-paced and there is no one right way to do it.

The better news?  It’s free.  

I think you’re really going to love it!

So are you ready for your boost?  Click on the picture below to sign up!Looking for a simple way to feel more yourself? This simple mini course will help you dig in to who you are + help you refocus.

 

Love, Steph

 

 

 

P.S. Please share this with someone you think needs a little pick me up!

October 15, 2015|Personal Development|