#35 Make a Movie

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.

#35

Make a Movie

Creativity and imagination are some of the things that came naturally to most of us as children and for some, they develops – for others, they morphs or die. Why not try your hand at combining creativity and imagination again by making a movie? It’s easier than ever and there are a number of smartphone apps that practically do it for you. In fact, there are a number of movies presented at festivals that were entirely filmed on an iPhone. An idea and some ingenuity can go a long way.

Facts

For most of us, the most obvious choice is to record a home movie. Many of us have a collection of video clips that we’ve accumulated from special moments that could be strung together in a fantastic memory video. If we don’t have anything to start with, it’s super easy with phones, tablets, and portable video cams that are inexpensive and easy to use. It could also be a ‘movie’ that’s simply a collection of photographs with title cards and sound effects; a live photo album of sorts. This is a standard these days at weddings, graduations, and funerals but why wait? A collection of Johnny’s little league days is just as much of a keepsake as his high school graduation.

We have hours upon hours of Christmas day videos through the years that was shot when you placed a huge contraption on top of a tripod and left it there for the 4 hours it took to open presents…. Watching those things is almost painful. Digitizing the tapes and editing them to create something worth watching is a chore to be sure but also a pleasant treat that will be treasured for years.

Fiction

You could also create a story line, employ some actors/actresses, and direct your first feature. You could be part of an elite group who is recognized early in the career process and with raw talent. It may be as easy as going with your gut and allowing creativity to flow through you. Why not? If you play the lottery, the odds may be just as good.

Creative Energy

The point here is to step outside of your comfort zone, create memories, have fun, take a risk, embody creativity and honor your imaginative side. With any of those efforts, you are enhancing elements central to the happiness principle. So, go ahead and step out of the box….

Make a movie.

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

#58 Build a Sandcastle

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.

#58

Build a Sandcastle

Hopefully, it’s not 30 degrees where you are currently… making this suggestion sound utterly ridiculous and unattainable for several months. If it’s a bit warmer, it may actually be the perfect time to try this happiness tip because the beaches are probably mostly deserted and/or there’s bound to be a sandbox that could use a little TLC this time of year.

Why?

Building a sandcastle may be an activity that epitomizes childhood. We don’t seem to care how many crooks and crevices get filled with sand when we are children and believe it or not – it works our brain.

Cooperation

Most of us don’t build sandcastles alone. When we enlist the help of others, we are automatically thrown into the task of cooperation. It’s a great way for children to learn how to cooperate and for others to delegate. It’s a useful opportunity for a group of people to see how individual efforts contribute to a bigger project and outcome.

Creativity

It may be obvious that building a sandcastle employs a certain level of creativity. Most of us have not studied castle structure or architecture and so we are building based on memory of books and television; maybe even solely from our imagination. We have the opportunity to design anything that we fancy and so it’s a great outlet for creativity.

Spatial Skill

It’s a time when dimension, volume, and depth become important to the overall task. It forces us incorporate vision and make adjustments for scale – at least a little. Our brains will naturally attempt to make modifications when an element is too distorted and so it is good practice for spatial awareness.

Sensory and Motor Skill

Working in the sand engages your brain in a couple of other interesting ways. Our senses are often intrigued with the juxtaposition of water and sand and even more so when they are combined to create an entirely different texture. It’s a great time to be intentional and savor the experience. Additionally, there’s a certain level of motor skill involved; both gross and fine. Shoveling sand to build a mound and then carving the sand for detail uses different muscles as well as different areas of your brain.

Family Time

I’ve outlined why building sandcastles is good for your brain and dexterity. It’s also a fantastic family experience and it doesn’t have to be a summer beach day in order to enjoy it. A sandbox in the backyard or in the park can be accessed at any time and if you can get past the idea of sand covered clothing (it is easier to wash off with a dip in the ocean) ~ it’s a wonderful treat for the entire family.

Treat yourself to a free play day by getting outside in the fresh air and …

Build a sandcastle.

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

#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.

#102 Create a Personal Space

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.

#102

Create a personal space

I grew up knowing that the back room in my Grandparents house was “Grandaddy’s Room”. It was the part of the house where he could sit on the couch in dirty farm clothes, leave his boots where he took them off, and keep the newspaper open – if he chose. My Grandmother even had a room dedicated as an ‘office’ way before it was chic to have that space even though she didn’t work from home. Today, the terms ‘Man Cave’ and ‘She Shed’ are common terms often woven into real estate descriptions to entice buyers with the idea of dedicated personal space.

Regroup Space

Our ability to establish personal spaces like the ones described above means we have a place to go to ‘regroup’ when necessary. It can be a place for us to collect our thoughts, calm down, and gain perspective.

Refuel Space

Dedicated space can be a ‘pit stop’ for us… a refueling space where we can go for quiet time, reflection, meditation, prayer, or exercise. It’s a way for us to shut out the outside world temporarily.

Creative Space

Creative expression is an important element in many of our lives and it can get loud, messy, or downright dirty! Having a dedicated space to participate in a beloved activity can not only ‘refuel’ us but also save the sanity of our other family members by not exposing them to the mess or noise. It can act as an adult ‘play space’.

Personal Expression

A personal space offers people the opportunity to have a dedicated area that is completely representative of their own personality. A home is often an integration of what she likes and what he prefers. She may not paint the bedroom walls pink out of consideration of the fact that he sleeps there too. Likewise, his vast collection of baseball paraphernalia may not be a mutually desirable choice for family room decor.

Happiness

When we have personal space in which to regroup, refuel, express our creativity and express specific parts of our personality, we are likely to feel happier in general. When we are happier, our relationships benefit, our health benefits, and our productivity increases. Indeed, the list of advantages is long.

If you haven’t done so already, take a look around your living quarters and think of how you might…

Create some personal space.

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.

#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.

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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.

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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.

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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

 

#184 Carve Something

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.

#184

Carve something

This suggestion is entirely recommended for the creative side of you. It’s something that is probably off your radar and yet it’s fun, challenging, and possible for even the most basic beginner.

To start you need a small knife; preferably a handy-dandy pocket knife with a selection of blades but a small paring knife will also suffice in these early stages. The only other requirement is a bar of Ivory soap or a piece of Balsa wood; either choice is soft and easy to carve with little pressure.

This creative option is often taught to children in scouting programs which, may be the last time any of us made an effort to try this activity. Yet, today your dexterity is far more developed and with a little patience your imagination can transform the soap or wood into an entirely different shape and/or a functional item.

I can imagine a few of you wondering “why?” – thinking that I am stretching this ‘creativity’ piece a little far and yet I’ll reiterate that just ‘trying’ new things is good for your soul. It’s great for building your imagination, your confidence, and your curiosity. It’s a wonderful way to foster creativity and wonder.

Soap carvings make great gifts! Even if you carve small hearts and put them in a box with a little essential oil… what a nice gift for a guest bathroom! Carving little figurines, small toys, or an ink stamps from balsa wood can also make great gifts. This is also one of those little thought of talents that can come in really handy when you need something unique and custom – as in an ink stamp or a unique name.

Try a Google search of ‘beginner wood carver’. Hop on YouTube to watch a demo. Both will get you the basics and begin to satisfy, challenge, or develop a number of little personality characteristics that get stimulated with creative energy! Find an easy project and challenge yourself to …

Carve something.

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.