Where creativity grows

Tag: #creativebug

A self-care buffet

When the pandemic started, I entered survival mode. I did what I could to just allow myself to put one foot in front of the next. Sometimes that meant cooking elaborate dinners for us. Sometimes that meant baking delicious brownies and eating half the pan in one sitting. Sometimes it meant killing a 10-mile training run in ridiculous temperatures. Sometimes it meant breaking down into a blubbering mess. As the months have worn on the latter has been more frequent and it has been exhausting. Tom and I have talked and talked and talked about what I could do to help me find my center and until the last week or so nothing was helping. Being here in The Oodlearium is truly the only time I feel complete joy and peace, but even lately that has been hard.

Why does any of this even matter and why am I talking about this on a blog about creativity? Stress and depression/anxiety are some of the greatest blockers to creativity. I know that I am not the only one who has felt overwhelmed and this past year has amplified all of those feelings. I often describe my life as juggling 100 plates of fire and then every once in a while someone pours gasoline on it and everything comes crashing down around me. That is not the way I want to go through life. 

During our last post-breakdown chat, Tom was emphatic that I needed to practice daily self-care. That buzzword has always bothered me, because I associate it with yuppy soccer moms who want to justify getting their nails done in the middle of a pandemic. But, I understood his sentiment. I needed to take time for ME to make sure I am good every single day. 

We brainstormed a long list (have I mentioned how obsessed I am with lists?) of ways that I could take care of myself. I wanted to create a buffet of options so that I could pick and choose depending on my mood. I wrote each idea on a notecode and clipped them together with a binder clip. They sit next to my journal in the middle of The Oodle Surface where I see them every single day. Each day when I have practiced my self-care, I jot the date and anything noteworthy on the back of the appropriate card. It has been tremendously helpful and has kept me focused on taking care of myself.

Here are some of the activities on my cards:

  1. Yoga
    1. I LOVE Yoga with Adrienne. She has a video for every situation, but she is also incredibly loving and supportive. I just did her Yoga for Healing video (only 10 minutes) and I felt like a new person.
    2. This Yin Yoga Foundations video is excellent. It is 45 minutes, but it definitely calms my mind and my body.
  2. Meditation
    1. I try counting my breaths and staying focused on my breath. 
    2. I have also started using my hour glass to work on staying focused.
  3. Take an online art class.
    1. I recently purchased a five month subscription to CreativeBug for $5.
    2. There are TONS of classes on YouTube. Consider creating a library that you can go to when you want to watch something later.
  4. Write thank you cards.
    1. This book changed my life. 
    2. Have a stack of thank you cards ready (you can get them super cheap from the Dollar Store) and then you can just write it out quickly.
  5. Do a pour painting.
    1. If you are a regular reader of my This Week in The Oodlearium, you know that I am obsessed with pour painting.
    2. If you need a lesson in letting go, pour painting is a great way to do it.
  6. Take a nap.
    1. Most people go through their lives extremely sleep deprived.
    2. Don’t fight it. Your body is telling you that you need rest.
  7. Get out in nature.
    1. Fresh air ALWAYS helps.
    2. My husband set up a patio shelter last summer to block the harsh afternoon sun. It made such a difference and we spent so much more time outside than normal. 
  8. Index card art.
    1. This idea goes hand in hand with mindful doodling. 
    2. Grab a stack of notecards and a pen and fill the card with a pattern. Go back and color it, if you fancy. Base the doodle around an inspirational quote or even a power word such as strength.
  9. Read.
    1. My husband and I are reading Seth Godin’s newest book The Practice.
    2. We have both been profoundly moved and inspired by his message.
  10. Self-massage.
    1. This book has kept both of us out of the ER multiple times. Daily self-massage can help release the tension that builds up during our chaotic and stressful lives.
    2. Consider investing in a Theragun. We are not a gadget gadget family, but the $199 investment we made in our Theragun last summer has been life changing. As a runner, it has helped with recovery after long training runs, but it helps just loosen up sore muscles from life.

Download a printable copy of my cards here. (This link will force you to make a copy of the document and save to your Google Drive. From there, you can open it in Google Slides and print it out with six or nine slides / page onto card stock.)

Until next time, Oodle on and make sure you are taking care of YOU.

This week in The Oodlearium

What a week this has been! We are deeply entrenched in the coldest and snowiest winter we have had in quite some time. I won’t lie- it has been hard to stay focussed on the good. That means that The Oodlearium has been even more of a sanctuary than in a normal week.

A dear friend and fellow creative recently told me about a website called CreativeBug. I am pretty anti-subscription services primarily because they can quickly get out of control (Prime, Hulu, Netflix, Disney+, are just a few examples). However, when she forwarded me an email that said I could get 5 months of the membership for $5, I hopped on without giving it a second thought. Over the course of the week, I have been playing around with a few different classes. I did a bit of work with brush lettering, which is something I have wanted to learn for a long time. I started the creativity boot camp, but need to get some more supplies before I can continue work on that one. When I stopped I had created a relatively creepy self portrait that quickly got crumbled into a ball and recycled.  I ended with a bit of work on doodling that inspired me to start work on a different project. I’m looking forward to playing around a bit with learning something new each week without the pressure of feeling like I made a huge investment. Check it out!

I am absolutely not a materialistic person. In fact materialism is something that turns me away from people, but this week I received two packages in the mail that have been awesome additions to The Oodlearium. A few weeks ago I ordered an hourglass from Etsy. I am disappointed to learn that Etsy no longer is a site for artisans to sell their handmade work. Anyhow, the hourglass I purchased arrived and looks beautiful on the oodle surface. I use it when I am writing to make sure I stay focussed on what I am doing and not on going back and forth to check my social media. It has been awesome. And my second Pilot Metropolitan arrived and I am so excited to be able to have an everyday pen and a special pen for cards that will have my colored inks in it. 

Last week I think I mentioned that I was going to host my second creativity chat today. There were three of us and it was fabulous. I was in a pretty meh mood when we started, but by the end I was overjoyed. My friend Karen lives in Israel and she taught us about the Jewish holiday called Purim. She was dressed in costume today as part of a long standing tradition she and a good friend have for this holiday. Someday when my husband and I visit her in Israel we want to go during this time of the year to experience this holiday— the focus of which is doing kind things for friends and strangers to make them joyful. What a beautiful gesture! Another friend taught me all about the Cricut vinyl cutter and inspired me so much that we went out and bought one today. I am thrilled at the prospect of what we can do with this amazing tool. 

I have amassed quite a collection of pour painting canvases, so I am trying to avoid making new ones without some goal of moving a few of the ones I have out. I had a few canvases from when I first started painting that were not successful. This was the first time I ever tried painting over a canvas and trying a second pour. The colors I chose were not the best, but the pour definitely worked. I have a few more that I can rescue, so that was great news!

My husband spotted a few fun items at the craft store this morning— a plastic mask— perfect for Karneval. I’m going to pour that later this week. Then also some super cute wood cut out bunnies perfect for Easter ornaments. So many ideas…so little time.

Finally, this week’s 52Frames theme was one of the most challenging ever—golden hour! Remember what I said about the weather. I am proud of myself for coming up with a way to meet the challenge, but it was tough for sure. Check out my image on Tuesday when the album goes live.

One last thought before I go…I need to write a separate piece about creativity in the kitchen. I had a unique experience in the kitchen yesterday and I am excited to share it with you. I just can’t do it right now 🙂

Until next time, oodle on! 

This week in the Oodlearium

52 Frames 2020

In December I became a 3X Warrior with 52 Frames, which means I had submitted a photo every week for 156 straight weeks. Each year at the end of the year, I print a book with all my images and captions. I have been using Blurb with the In-Design plugin for longer than I can remember. I have always been incredibly happy with the quality and price, but most of all with the customer service. Check out my 2020 book here.

Valentine’s Day Cards for Senior CenterI randomly heard about an opportunity to make Valentine’s Day cards for residents at a local senior center and I jumped on the opportunity. After sending out so many Nerdy Bird and Fuzzer cards last year, I want to take a break. This project was the perfect alternative. I had some super fun doodles that I made last year for a running club event.They were perfect for making some sweet  cards for the residents. I cannot imagine how hard it must be— unable to see family and friends and many times not as tech savvy…I hope these little cards brighten a few people’s day!

The Mandalorian

Had you asked me a year ago if i was going to recommend a Star Wars show, I would have told you you were crazy. But, here I am emphatically recommending that you watch the Disney show The Mandalorian. Listen- my husband and I don’t pay for movie streaming services. We are not in the group of people with Netflix, Hulu, Prime, Disney and all the other services. We spent $6 for one month of Disney and it was the best $6 I have ever spent! 
If you don’t like sci-fi type stuff, I totally get it. But, I do highly recommend watching the behind the scenes documentary about the making of the show. It will give you an incredible appreciation for what they did to make the show as incredible as it, but it is also fun to watch a group sit around a table and just geek out on something they love with all their hearts. What they do in that documentary is exactly what I am trying to accomplish in my creative chats. More on that soon.

Personal on-site

I recently posted about how my husband and I like to do personal offsites a few times a year. Of course COVID-19 has rendered that impossible. Over the course of the week, I found myself getting a bit overwhelmed by all of the ideas I have for my time here in The Oodlearium. I have my idea journal, but I also have little slips of paper and stacks of books and post-it notes and the projects I’m already working on. In addition, I am trying to spend more time with creatives and figuring out how to do that in the middle of a pandemic has been challenging. So, I decided to take yesterday and spend the entire day here in The Oodlearium. It was not as effective as the offsite, because I definitely did get distracted by stacks of dishes and loads of laundry. If I do this again, I will have to prepare in advance so that I am not stressed out about chores. I was able to get all of my project ideas into one spot— huge help! I’ll be spending more time with creatives starting on Tuesday. My husband was an angel and talked through some major issues I was having with a couple of other situations. Overall, it was a worthwhile experience.

Light, Science, MagicA while back a fellow Framer recommended a book on lighting called Light, Science, Magic. I was dismayed when every copy I saw was almost $200. However, our awesome library tracked it down for me and it’s sitting here waiting for me to crack it open this week. When I just searched for the link right now, I was amazed to see some super cheap used versions of it. Fingers crossed that it lives up to the recommendation.

Oodle Doodles

I’m still working on stories— a little bit almost every single day. This week I was taken aback when I read a story to Tom that I loved and he suggested a few tweaks. I was not mad at him. He was absolutely right— the story didn’t flow. I just hadn’t realized how attached I was to the project. I rewrote it and the revised version about celebrating National Dessert Day is great! I’m thinking I am going to do a separate post each time I update a story on the site, so that people don’t have to go hunting for them and you get a bit of funness delivered straight to your in-box.

CreativeBug

A friend told me about the site CreativeBug that offers some seriously fun looking classes. It’s a subscription service, but the cost is pretty low. You can do it month to month and cancel at any time. I’m gong to sign up today for their free month trial and see if I like it. I really want to branch out into some new directions and this looks like the perfect way to learn something new. Check it out! 

52 Frames

If you haven’t seen my water image from last week, check it out here. So many of the comments are people in complete disbelief that it is ice on our bathroom window. It really did look like someone did a 3-D rendering of a tapestry in ice. I have never seen anything like it and probably will not see it again. I’m trying to figure out a place to hang this. Maybe when we eventually redo that bathroom…
This coming week’s theme was horizon. Remember the two winter storms I mentioned? Yeah, that meant I was not going out looking for what is already mediocre scenery in our area. Tom was the one that suggested I play around with the oodle surface and our wine charms. I’m super excited how the shot turned out and I am hoping it brings a smile to people’s faces this week. The album with my shot will go live on Tuesday.

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