Think you can’t fit creativity time in your schedule? Think again.
When I talk to people about what holds them back from, it’s always lack of time. There are clothes to fold, long work hours, TV shows to watch… Ultimately, the crafty hour is put at the bottom of the to-do list. If this is you, move it on up, chica! Don’t feel guilty about devoting a few minutes a week to expressing yourself. Incorporating creativity into your life will take the edge off of stress, surge your spirit with girl power self-esteem, and give you something cool to show off to your comadres and colleagues. But only you can take that first step. Here are some tips of getting in the artsy frame of mind.
1. Keep a daily journal.
Pick up a blank book, the kind with the thick creamy pages that are thirsty for your thoughts. Decorate the cover with gems, sequins, ribbons and letters. Give your journal a catchy name; make it your new best friend. Force yourself to write something or doodle everyday. Don’t think about it. Unplug that flashing sign called ‘common sense’, and just let your imagination flow on the pages like soft serve ice cream. Jot down quotes that made you raise your eyebrows, attach pictures and write up funny captions for them, pick up a leaf from the park and insert it in the back pages, use colored markers to practice a new way of signing your name. Fill each page with your wish list of the day, and pick one to focus on. Carry it with you and ask your friends to sign it like a yearbook. Keep a special page to write down your ideas for projects.
2. Plan ahead to get crafty. This doesn’t mean to punch in “8 a.m. Saturday: Be creative” in your Blackberry. All it means is to pick a project, and chew on it for a couple days. See if you have the supplies in your house, if not, add the craft store to your list of errands. Look at the week ahead and pinpoint a block of time when you can get rolling. Even if it means waking up two hours early one morning, do it.
3. Think portable. If you only have little pockets of time available, choose beading, crochet or journaling, projects that can be tucked inside a small purse. These crafts are perfect for when you are waiting for your next class to start, stuck in a doctor’s office waiting room or at a boring party. OK, maybe not that last one!
4. Join a local crafty group. I call it “Craft n Chat”. Check out the local paper or Internet message boards to find “meet ups” for crafting or Stitch ‘N Bitches, for knitting or crochet. This is where people of similar interests get together on a regular basis and gossip, gab or gloat about their lives and others. These kinds of groups always welcome newbies. Better yet, check out page XX to learn how to start your own craft group.
5. Take a class. Some people need a structured environment and that’s just fine. From chain stores to mom-and-pop shops, there are workshops galore on every technique and theme under el sol. Stained glass, mosaics, jewelry making – you name it, there’s a class for it. If you want a flexible alternative, visit a local scrapbook store where they have open labs. You simply pay a small fee to use their supplies, and there is always an instructor around to help. Classes are a great way to “sample” different genres. Once you find one that connects with your personality, you’ll know exactly what supplies to invest in.
6. Have a crafty chica party. Woo-hoo! Call a couple friends and invite them over to make an easy craft, such as greeting cards. Buy a box of blank cards, scissors and glue and tell everyone to bring embellishments to share. At the end, swap them with each other.
7. Set up a cozy corner. Cozy corners are vital to peace of mind. Don’t let anyone tell you different. You don’t even have to craft there, it’s just a comfy area in your home that feels calm and soothing. Find a nook in a room, a cushy chair, a soft throw and a rug that feels sumptuous between your toes. This is a place for you to sip your favorite tea, read magazines, paint your nails, listen to your iPod, indulge a good book or just shut your eyes and pretend you are in a Cuban café listening to a percussionist. While you’re there, you might as well pick up a set of knitting needles and yarn!
8. Take a spontaneous field trip. Have the frump-girl blues? Fight it. Pick a place that is off your radar and go there. I guarantee you’ll become inspired again. Try window shopping at the most expensive mall in the city, visit a coffee house in an uncharted neighborhood, go to an author signing for a book you never heard of, check out the closest cluster of antique shops, visit a local gallery or sit on a park bench and people watch. Heck, just go to a bookstore and grab a stack of design magazines and books. Flip through them and buy the ones that made you think, “Hmmm, I can do that!” Spontaneous field trips infuse your mind with new faces, colors and ideas.
9. Surf the web. Open your favorite search engine and type in “hip crafts” or whatever topic you are curious about such as “altered art”, fabric collage”, etc. you can also sign up for crafty forums where you can mingle with other crafty ladies and share ideas.
10. Visit a new area at the craft store. It’s easy to get pigeonholed into one type of hobby. If you are into scrapping, then you probably know that area of the store like the back of your paper cutter. For one day, ditch the obvious. Visit the kids’ area, the yarn selection, the framing department. Chances are, you’ll learn something new!
Peace, love, and glitter!