#62 Make a Collage

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#62

Make a Collage

As I organized the last of the holiday ‘piles’ I noticed that I have quite the collection of Christmas cards – some of which are quite beautiful. Normally, I cut them up to make gift tags but either I am getting a lot of cards lately or I am giving less gifts because they are starting to pile up.

It made me think of a craft project that I had my girls do one year – in an effort to keep them busy while I was sidetracked with executor responsibilities after the death of my grandparents. I gave them a pile of  condolence cards and asked them each to make a collage from the cards. They turned out to be a beautiful collection and ultimately, a keepsake of the sentiments from people who had once known them.

Style

A collage is cleaner and less complicated than a scrapbook as it is usually just one page or piece – as big or as small as you choose. It can be neatly organized into squares, rectangles, or circles or it can be haphazard and random.

It can be a kind of word cloud – cut outs of sentiments or words grouped together in a way that has meaning or conveys a meaning.

Mixed Media

A collage can be made from most anything or a combination of several things. I’ve seen beautiful picture collages that have included brooches and hatpins as well as a more simple design using only white paper with black text in a variety of fonts and sizes. It can be decoupaged, glued, or epoxied. It can be under or on top of glass; in a frame or not.

Gift Giving

Along the lines of memory boxes; those deep frames that contain a collection of mementos from a specific year or occasion, a collage makes a wonderful gift. It can be comprised of all the little yellow sticky notes that helped you reach a goal. Or, perhaps it is a collection of the poetry that your father wrote your mother while you were dating – a phenomenal gift for a significant wedding anniversary or commemorating a life well lived.

Yes, a collage with take a little time and perhaps a lot of thought as you move through the memories and decide what goes where… remember there are no rules and creativity is not that important. It’s more about composing something meaningful in the way that you give it value. Others opinions are unimportant.

As you move through your year cleaning out drawers, purses, and pockets – consider items that may be memorable in some way and put them in a jar for that rainy day when you can finally sit down and…

Make a collage.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#101 Get Inspired

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#101

Get Inspired

Understanding that inspiration is an internal energy that drives action is an important concept. Dr. Wayne Dyer described it like this…

“Inspiration is when an idea gets hold of you and carries you where you are intended to go.”

Inspiration, because it comes from the inside – is an authentic energy; one that we need to find and listen to. How do you find inspiration as you move from day to day? Are you in the habit of noticing when you are inspired?

People

There are people in your life that encourage you to ‘do’ – not what they want you to do – but those things that you talk about doing. Listen and notice when what they are saying connects to an inner part of you… that is inspiration. For example, when someone encourages you to do something and you experience an inner drive to go ‘do’ it… that’s inspiration. “She inspired me to run a 5K.”

Nature

Nature is full of inspirational energy because it is living and moving. We can be inspired by what we see, hear, feel, and smell as we move through nature. I remember standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon and feeling quite insignificant against the backdrop of one of nature’s most compelling creations. That feeling tugged at my core in a way that inspired me to find a way to be more significant in the world… to give back.

The Arts

Dance, music, sculpture, paint, theater… all of the arts are filled with opportunities to discover inspiration. It may be color or form… posture or voice that moves you from the inside out. Even if the arts don’t inspire you to create art – they may tug at your heart in a way that moves you to support the arts or participate locally in a way that benefits others.

Words

Literature, poetry, and lyrics offer, perhaps the most common, form of inspiration. Quotes from these bodies of work are daily inspirations for thousands of people around the world today and there is no shortage of places to find them.

No matter the source, make it a habit to listen to your ‘heart’, the sensation that is activated when inspiration is triggered from your core. These internal vibrations are signals that your most authentic self has recognized something on which to focus your attention. It is the voice that allows you to…

Get Inspired.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#110 Learn Origami

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#110

Learn Origami

When was the last time you even had a thought about folding big paper into little paper? For many, it was the last ‘cootie catcher’ you made in middle school or the last paper ‘football’ you made for the high school lunch table. Some of you may have folded paper in more appealing shapes in girl scouts or a crafting class, perhaps as part of a scrapbooking project. Origami though, takes folding paper to a whole new level.

Art

Origami is a true form of art. It’s attributed to the Chinese dating back to the 1600’s but there is reference to the process in different forms as far back as 1000 A.D. in a couple of cultures. Today, there are a number of world renowned artists whose only medium is paper and whose primary method is to fold.

giang-nudeback

Vietnamese artist Giang Dinh

Origami as therapy

Paper folding is a favorite de-stressing activity for a lot of hobbyists. It’s recommended as a ‘tool-box’ item for anxiety and depression. It’s attributed to lowering blood pressure, increasing attention capacity, and improves dexterity in people who’ve had injury to their hands. Some therapists recommend Origami for ADHD, Addictions, and raising self-esteem. It fosters creativity.

Mindfulness

Origami can be instrumental in the development of mindfulness as it brings your attention directly to the present moment and it can be done anywhere, anytime, and by anybody who has a piece of paper. It can help us let go of our need to be perfect and may foster a form of meditation as the skills develop and focused attention is deepened.

Family time

Some of the basic Origami folds can be accomplished by children as young as four years old. It’s a great activity that can bring the entire family to the table with very little – if any – expense. It has the potential to become a familial hobby – or one that is shared in an adult relationship – fostering time away from electronics and societal noise.

Real Deal

Origami as an art, a hobby, and a therapeutic tool is a real thing. There’s a National association, several annual conventions, and Meetup groups that allow lovers of paper folding to connect and share. So, if you saw the title of today’s suggestion and raised your eyebrow, I suggest you find a piece of paper and find out what all the fuss is by getting started on a basic fold as you watch the video and…

Learn Origami

 

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#135 Create Some Doodle Art

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#135

Create some doodle art

Who hasn’t doodled? For some of us, it’s a passing time activity that barely has any conscious value. Yet, psychologists say that what we doodle actually says something about us. It’s akin to daydreaming in symbols and sometimes it can be downright artistic. Interestingly, doodling can stimulate your brain just enough that it actually pays attention to what’s happening environmentally instead of going rogue and into hyperspace.

Faces

What do you draw when you doodle? Do you draw faces? If you draw an attractive face it symbolizes that you are in a positive state of mind. Ugly faces mean the opposite or perhaps that you may be feeling distrusting of something. People who draw profiles are more apt to be introverted and those who draw wide circular faces tend to be innocent and needy.

Flowers

Flowers are the most popular doodle and imply a gentle or even passive frame of mind. Flowers made of circles and soft lines signify a happy doodler. If there are thorns or sharp petals surrounding a round center, there is a possibility that the doodler is feeling defensive.

Stairs

Stairs and ladders suggest that your inner self is focused on a goal. Psychologists infer that the style of this doodle indicates the level of significance or struggle you are experiencing in reference to this goal.

Tell Tale

Your doodles describe your inner most thoughts, fears, and considerations. They suggest how organized or disorganized you are; how motivated or uninspired you may be; whether or not you take a passive or aggressive stance; if you are generally selfish or benevolent; whether you feel trapped and isolated or free and loved.

Exact Science?

Very similar to dreams, this is not an exact science and the goal isn’t to be self-conscious while you’re drawing… just let your mind do the work. Keep a pad of drawing paper near your work desk and allow yourself to doodle at random times without too much forethought. Once the paper is full, consider adding some color.

Easy

As you’re doodling, consider using different color pens or pencils for the color element. Maybe the easiest doodle style art is simply a random long squiggly line that intersects repeatedly and then colored in a stained glass fashion. This is a great activity to do with kids because there is no right or wrong way to do it and somehow our inner mind leads the way.

Need a break? A way to mentally vent? An inside view to your deeper psyche?

Create some doodle art.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#168 Create a Piece of Wall Art

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#168

Create a piece of wall art

Just getting started in your first home? Feeling crafty? Wanting a change of decor? Creating your own piece of wall art isn’t nearly as difficult as you may think! Depending on how industrious you feel, it can as little as a few minutes with some simple supplies or you can go all out, using power tools and scrap wood.

Starting small and easy is generally a good idea. Some masking tape, a couple of canvases, and complimentary paint colors is all you need for this first abstract look.

wall3

I used this technique for the bathroom walls in my daughter’s hall bath a number of years ago. It encompassed a pack of coordinating scrapbook paper, an inexpensive canvas, and some Modge Podge. Any shape works but this ‘leaf’ or ‘pointed oval’ makes a pretty great flower. You can make this for less than $20.

wall1

Using circles is also a great idea. There are lots of options here…  Paper on canvas, wood on canvas, wood on wood, even plastic. You can use a variety of items here or simply spray paint wood circles and clue them to a painted board or repurposed canvas you pick up at a thrift shop.

wall2

Getting more labor intensive, a variety of wood projects are also low cost. Scrap wood can be purchased at surplus shops for next to nothing and joined to create a panel ready to hang. A painted word purchased on Etsy or at a craft show adds a pop of color and personal interest.

wall5

A creative use of different stains can also be interesting. While the picture below depicts inlaid wood – the same effect can be accomplished by using tape and different stains.

This last piece may be as simple as sending the kids outside to pick up a few sticks nature provided the last time it was windy! Cutting them to fit inside a shallow box you’ve built and painted creates a really interesting focal point for a room anchored in natural elements. It brings the outside, inside.

wall4

These are only a few options and a really great way to decorate on a limited budget. It’s also a great way to change up your home decor without breaking the bank or investing so much that you feel compelled to keep something even though your tastes have changed.

This is a great family activity and a fantastic way to encourage creativity. Art is a completely subjective endeavor and so… if YOU like it – that’s all that matters!  Hopefully, this gets your wheels turning about how to fill some empty space on a wall in your home just waiting for you to …

Create a piece of wall art! 

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below

 

#224 Go to an Art Museum

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#224

Go to an art museum

Very few of us are actually patrons of art. It seems as though if we aren’t creators or investors, our interest in art is fleeting or sporadic at best. If we live in a major metropolitan environment, it is likely that we were introduced to great art via a school trip where we were perhaps more interested in the time away from history and calculus than in the masterpieces displayed in the gallery.

Intrigue

I went to a gallery once on Rodeo Drive just for kicks but fell in love with the work they were featuring that week. I pretended to be able to afford the $10,000 price tag so that I could learn more about the artist’s technique. I think there’s a part of my psyche that wants to cover my walls in abstract creations full of color and light but my pocketbook doesn’t match my intrigue.

Refuge

And that’s the value of Art Museums… they are buildings full of walls that display a variety of talent; from old masters to new savants. On those days when you need a little inspiration or a pick-me-up, a museum offers refuge in the form of a bench in front of some form of art. It’s a place to step outside of yourself, to imagine another human being with a brush, pallet knife, or chisel in their hand – creating their own vision that became the piece you view. Somehow, it puts one’s own life in perspective via an unusual channel.

Give a little, Get a lot

Many museums are free to enter or only charge a small fee. Frequently they offer reduced entry fees for special professional affiliations (i.e., military, teachers, etc.) and most often for just a little more, will offer annual membership. It’s satisfying to know that your entrance payment keeps these national treasures safe, clean, and in good repair – our history depicted in paint, pen, and stone. Whether it’s curiosity, solace, or inspiration you seek – it’s possible you’ll find it if you…

Go to an Art Museum.

I love hearing your thoghts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#225 Finger paint

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#225

Finger paint

I write a lot about creativity, imagination, and the simple art of fun as contributing significantly to one’s sense of happiness.  One of the ways to incorporate all three elements is to don an apron, grab some paper, and dig into a pile of finger paints.

Feel It

Finger painting works at increasing well-being because it incorporates the additional sense of touch. Incorporating tactile senses allows more parts of our brain to be engaged in the activity at hand. Not only are we stimulated by color, creativity, and imagination, we are spurred also by the sensation of the paint and our hands on the paper – sliding across the page with color trailing behind.

Artistic Recipe

You’re never too old to get your hands full of color but if you feel better, or more justified… grab a kid, niece, nephew, or grandchild and make some magic. You don’t have to get any special supplies… just follow the following recipe and make your own!

Martha Stewart Homemade Finger Paint

Stir 4 tablespoons of sugar and 1/2 cup cornstarch together. Add 2 cups of cold water and heat over medium heat until the mixture is thick (the mixture will further thicken as it cools).

Divide into four or more containers, and add food coloring as desired.

Plain paper works, but photo paper is best. As a last resort, just for the fun of it, you can use plastic wrap or wax paper. These last two won’t offer a solution to keep your creations permanently but they make clean up a breeze.

Be Present

Take some time to enjoy the experience. Make sure to be present – stay focused on the chance to imagine and create. Use colors – or combinations thereof – to express feelings, whatever they may be as you…

Finger paint.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#343 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#343

Paint

Paint is relatively cheap – at least to other types of hobbies and/or decorating fixes. I’ll talk about painting in three different arenas:

  • Paint as art – Painting, regardless of your ability level is good for your health and happiness. Just the act of  holding a paintbrush can spur our creative juices, help us enter a state of flow, and promote feelings of happiness. Many of us might agree that the subjective nature of abstract art allows us to be true contenders on the international art scene with the simple act of throwing paint laden brushes of primary colors against a large blank canvas. Whether it is that particular technique or a purchased paint-by-number selection from the local craft supply center – painting an art piece will lend to lower stress levels and enhanced memory.

 

  • Paint furniture – have a piece of furniture that needs updating? If not, score a bargain at a local garage sale or flea market and then go ahead and give it a new coat of paint. You can be creative and paint something ‘artsy’ or go traditional and with the flow of your existing decor. It can be a big piece that you sand down to bare wood so that you have a fresh pallet or something that needs a little scraping, a bit more sanding, and then a fresh coat of a new color. Furniture can be painted to match almost any decor at all. From country chic to glossy sleek – the painting industry has your need covered.

 

  • Paint your house – Maybe not the outside (but hey, if you’re game – got for it), but give your inside a clean fresh look with a gallon or two of new paint. For less than $100, your entire family room can have a clean, crisp feel or your kitchen can be more modern. Painted kitchen cabinets are currently in fashion and while they certainly take patience and technique, the payoff is a whole new look for pennies in comparison to new cabinetry.  Be brave with your paint selection – it’s only color and it can be changed with a little effort if it turns out to be not-your-thing. Creating a space you feel good in can make a big difference in your attitude about being there. If home is where the heart is, then let your heart show there with colors that highlight you.

Don’t be intimidated by paint – regardless of the modality you opt for – as the cost/benefit analysis is almost always positively slanted in its direction. Create a Pinterest board of ideas for inspiration and you’ll be ready when the time comes for you to…

Paint.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

Photo on Foter.com