Monthly Archives

July 2015

Art & Creativity

How to Throw a Paint Party

July 31, 2015

How to Throw a Paint Party

Making art with a bunch of people around a table is an experience that I took for granted in school, and something I’ve really missed since graduating college. A community table allows you to appreciate and be inspired by other artists’ techniques, and encourages the cross-fertilization of ideas. While creative isolation is more convenient, and rewarding in itself, coming together to share food, conversations and art is certainly a treat for anyone.

With the gaining popularity of wine & painting businesses/events, community art-making has become more easily accessible, but it’s hard to justify spending the participation fee for such classes as an already established Creative. White canvases and cheap paint offer a very crisp opportunity to learn a new skill, yet there’s something extremely inspiring about raw scraps of wood and sharing all your friends’ favorite supplies — plus, it’s practically free.

So last night Drie (Adrienne) and I celebrated 30 days of creating for #SCcreatejuly (see my post about it here) by hosting a painting party. This is how we did it.

The Invite

Paperless Post is fabulous. You can send pretty, classic invites for free (or choose a paid option), and your guests don’t need to sign up for their service in order to RSVP. You can track who’s opening the invites, what invites got bounced back, and even share photos of the event. Click here to view our invite. Five of the ten artsy women we invited showed up, which we felt turned out to be a perfect sized group.

Supplies

  • Surfaces to paint
    My dad brought over a bunch of scrap wood and Chris sanded them all with his electric sander in about 5 minutes. I’d recommend having twice as many various surfaces for your guests to choose from, so no one feels like their’s is the worst. We had 10 boards ranging in thickness and size from 6″x10″ to 14″x16″, including an old skateboard deck.
  • Paint
    Acrylic is most friendly for a range of artistic capabilities
  • Rags for each guest
    I tore up an old drop-cloth
  • Brushes
    Make sure each guest has at least two brushes, and perhaps suggest that your guests bring their favorites with them
  • Water jars for each guest
  • Food & drinks
    You could announce a potluck. We provided the appetizers and a couple guests brought bottles of wine to share.
  • Plates, glasses, napkins & utensils
  • Music playlist

The Assignment

Concepts are intimidating for many artists, and not so much for others, so an assignment for the evening helps “level the playing field” and allows your guests to immediately jump into creating. I gave our guests the task of painting the lovely lady to their left. The assignment was broad enough to allow for extreme variation in execution, and the results were simply awesome.

At the end of your evening decide whether the subjects or the artists get to keep the portraits. The artistas brought home their original paintings after our gathering. Next party, monoprinting?

Friends from the night: Century, Christa, Betsy, Megan & Emilie.

How to Throw a Paint Party

 

Meditations

The Importance of Appreciation

July 27, 2015

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A friend once pointed out that I am happy in any living situation. I do easily adapt to new situations (a common characteristic of a Sagittarius), which I think is due to the fact that I truly appreciate every circumstance. I naturally look at every form of my daily life and environment with positivity. Yet, even though I have felt more whole then ever in my newest life as a mom, running my own business, being surrounded by nature in my mountain hometown, and blogging about my thoughts, style, and DIY tutorials, lately I’ve realized that my appreciation is lacking in relation to my love life.

It could be from my hormones after having a baby or me just concentrating on being a mother, but after turning inward it’s evident that I’ve built up a brick wall since our baby was born.  My Love shares his appreciation towards me all the time but I have had trouble allowing myself to let go and relax in order to receive and give back the love. It is good for your health, your loved ones, and the universe to show your appreciation, so I have decided to do my best to break down this wall that I have created and return the love.

Self-worth & purpose

When appreciation is not shared a person’s sense of self-worth and purpose is diminished. People feel that their existence is meaningful when their actions and presence are acknowledged. If we aren’t acknowledged then we think people don’t consider us important. Showed appreciation gives us a sense of self-love and purpose that makes us conquer more in our lives. Without purpose what are we?

My Love can produce art quick and easy, but when I tell him how much I value his work and his genius as an artist, his confidence is boosted and his creative limits are boundless. Your relationship can be in a staggered place of tension with no appreciation, but if you sink into it and show how much you truly love and appreciate each other, the passion becomes stronger. Knowing that you are appreciated and needed not only for your love, but for your skills, enhances your abilities and enriches life!

Complimenting

Giving: If I saw a girl walk by that had a really cute outfit on, I would keep the compliment to myself — why couldn’t I say it out loud to her? It would only do good! I needed to let go of the fear I felt inside of expressing my inner thoughts out loud and just tell her! So, giving more compliments was one of my New Year’s resolutions and now I express my inner positive thoughts outwardly to spread the love! It feels good hear a compliment because the recipient feels acknowledged and valuable, but it also feels good to give one because you are doing something to make someone’s life better.

Receiving: On the other end of this, I was terrible at receiving compliments.  When someone would say something nice to me I would reply, “nooo…” bashfully.  Then I realized you have to fully take in that energy given to you, truly appreciate it, and complete the cycle of positive energy by accepting the compliment, because appreciation is meant to be shared!  I now try to accept compliments with love and a big thank you.

Show your gratitude

Be grateful for everything and don’t hesitate to share your appreciation with those around you — it’s infectious. We all know we should be grateful, but sometimes we need to be reminded.

I challenge you to spread compliments around, and not hold them in. Hug your momma! Send flowers! Tell your friend how they’ve changed your life! Send out postcards to remind them of their radness! Kiss your lover!

We set artificial limits daily for how much positive energy we can give. Let go and let the positive gratitude seep out of you. Rekindle that spice in your life with appreciation. There is nothing like spreading the love to put a smile on our face and set you up for the best that has yet to come.

Productivity

Clipboard Planning: Week & Month

July 24, 2015

Clip Board Planner Pages download

I’m a planner nerd. I’ve experimented with more planners than I can count. Numerous lists are the only way I can get everything done that I want to while running my graphic design business and being a stay-at-home-mom. Last year I created an entire planner system to organize my whole life by the project, year, month, day and hour. When I was using my planner I was incredibly productive, but it was in this big ole binder that I’d leave at people’s houses or forget in whatever bag matched my outfit that day. And I secretly loved when it got lost. If it was out of sight then I’d just avoid looking at it and I could just laze around. So I decided to abandon it.

I transitioned to my phone, which was a promising shift. All of my appointments and notes were synced between my phone, laptop, and desktop computer and I never missed a meeting. While the “Reminders” iPhone app is great for making lists, it wasn’t in my face. The calendar and Reminders app were both too far removed from my physical environment.

I decided to try a hybrid of the two systems, clamped to a $.99 clipboard, and it’s working fabulously.

planning02

planner03

The new planner sheets I designed are a mix between two of my favorite planner systems: the Uncalendar and the Planner Pad.  I leave it at my desk or on the kitchen counter for easy reference, and there’s page-order flexibility since the sheets aren’t bound. From the Uncalendar I took the blank boxes, so you can customize the planner to your own lifestyle. From the Planner Pad I took their funnel system of first listing your tasks in the top row, dividing the tasks up into days in the second row, and then inserting the tasks into your schedule in the bottom row. I also added a daily tracker area for repetitive daily tasks, which I like to use to create habits (ie: daily yoga, art, vitamins, etc).

I still enter my appointments and meetings into my iPhone since I can’t bring the clipboard with me wherever I go, but I copy them onto my tangible planner so I can easily schedule out my day hour-by-hour. Is that totally insane? Scheduling by the hour? It may be, but it’s the only way I can maintain mindful productivity.

If you’re looking for a new way to bring order to your life, download this first little PDF of planner pages and let me know how it goes for you! This first packet of clipboard planner sheets only includes the weekly, monthly and yearly views, but keep checking back because I’ll be sharing my other project planning and budgeting sheets soon!

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Clipboard Planner Sheets

Download ORANGE

Download TURQUOISE

Notes: I print my sheets selecting the “borderless” option in the Print Settings, using paper that’s at least 30 lbs in weight, though these are only personal preferences. I use a bit of the Bullet Journal planning system also, to prioritize and categorize items.

Little Souls Meditations

Lessons from our Children

July 22, 2015

Lessons from our Children

One year from yesterday I entered a new phase of motherhood. I imagined that having a second child would offer up new perspectives on life and parenting, but I didn’t anticipate becoming a different mother.

Amelie, daughter number one, taught me to share. I will actually willingly share my dessert now. Sometimes. She showed me what raw, uncensored emotion was, which is making me more empathetic bit-by-bit. She’s brought to my attention how unreasonable I am when things aren’t done my way, and made it hard to ignore my OCD tendencies. Most recently she has been a reflection of me, in how she interacts with strangers, how she expresses her anger, and how she cares for her loved ones and belongings.

Lessons from Our Children

But when Simone was born, daughter number two, a whole new set of lessons arose. The existence of a new sister changed Amelie’s family role from the moment Simone took her first breath. This affected the way Amelie interacted with her new world, which brought up things that I’d never analyzed about myself before. How do I acknowledge when people are helpful? How do I deal with noise when the baby is sleeping? What is my take on fairness? It turns out that I’m an angry mother, but a generally happy friend. With two very different daughters teaching me varying sets of lessons I am constantly reminded of who I want to be in the end. I want to be a good friend. Where would I have found such useful tools if I never had children? And such different children?

The benefits of having more than one child don’t stop at the companionship between sisters or brothers. Multiple children drop you down to another level, which may otherwise take much more work to reach. Having another child humbles you in knowing that their character really doesn’t have much to do with your superb parenting. They each bring their own mirrors for you to look at yourself, and they make you appreciate other parents more. The judgements become fewer and fewer because each child has their own unique world to give their parents, made up of numerous lessons. You won’t learn the same lessons as any other parent, but you’ll recognize the look of struggle. When you see a mom dragging their screaming child down the aisle of the supermarket, you can actually appreciate what that mom is going through without questioning their parenting . All children bring up new lessons that we learn to work through, and grow from.

Lessons from Our Children

Simone was born July 21st, 2014 at 9:45 am in a horse trough birthing tub after 5 hours of labor. The sun twinkled on the water as I held her, floating on her back, looking up at us with her dark grey eyes, awaking from the other side. This year she has taught me what it means to level; she has led me to the understanding of what it means to be humble, even though I likely will not master that virtue within this lifetime.

With each child is born a brand new world within us. What worlds have your children shared with you?

Body & Mind Productivity

Choosing Your Own Story

July 13, 2015

On re-writing your stories to better serve you

My mother often questions why her children are so lazy. She’s done this my whole life, and it’s quite understandable. My mom has a fierce amount of energy and accomplishes more in a given day than anyone I’ve ever met. Have you heard about how the average worker is only productive for 3 hours per day? Well, that’s not my mom. She’s productive for about 16 hours per day. So, when she compares her children to herself, of course we’re slow!

I can’t say for sure that my mom’s claims have had a huge impact on my life, but a study done in the late 60s demonstrated how labels can have profound effects on people. Basically, scientists Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson told a some teachers at the beginning of the school year that a few of their students could be expected to have an intellectual boom within the year, even though they were really just average students. But when the students were given IQ tests at the end of the year their scores were significantly higher than the rest of the class. The teachers had unconsciously encouraged their “special” students to excel, spent more time with them, and were enthusiastic about teaching them. With the extra attention, the students felt more capable and intelligent, and performed accordingly. A simple story had a great impact.

I’ve always accepted my mom’s statements as truth: I’m slow and inefficient! I was satisfied with fulfilling her story, because no one expected more of me, and I didn’t need to risk suffering if the world didn’t like what I was producing. However, after recently taking inventory of my life accomplishments, I noticed that I’ve done too much cool shit for a lazy person. After realizing that my mom has really just been telling me stories, a great weight was lifted off my shoulders; I felt productive and able. Inspired by a friend, I then began looking inward to see what other stories was I believing, whether from someone else’s projection, or from comparison to other people. I wrote a list.

On re-writing your stories to better serve you

The ego makes judgements because it thinks those stories will protect. For example, “I’m a terrible writer,” translates into, “as long as I don’t show the world my writings then I will never feel the pain of ridicule.” How does that story serve us? If we were to live without those judgements then our lives would fill with experiences. By rejecting these stories of the ego we enter a fruitful state of vulnerability. Ask yourself, how will your vessel be filled if you don’t place it out in the rain?

The Task

  1. Write down a list of all the stories you tell yourself.
  2. Read the list and smile.
    Seeing your list of stories allows you to step back and see yourself as an individual — a friend. If a friend were to tell you these stories about theirself, they would likely blush, and you would give them a smile and a hug, and tell them that they have nothing to worry about: they are perfect just the way they are.
  3. While reading through your list put a line through the stories that aren’t true. If any are left uncrossed, reread them to see how those stories serve you.  “I’m creative”. Cool. Awesome. Yep. “I’m intelligent”. Yeah, got it. What does any of this mean anyway? Why does the ego even need this sort of validation? Aren’t we enough, just as we are, in the present, without any descriptive words?
  4. Take your list and light that bitch on fire.

Stories are just stories, positive or negative. When you label yourself with adjectives and nouns you are placing yourself in a box. All you need to know is that life is always changing, you are always changing, you are always doing the best that you can at any given moment, and who you are at this very moment is enough.

When we let go of these stories we are able to drop into the moment and experience the sensations of being — our ego drifts away and any worries, doubts, or pretenses dissipate. The present moment has no story. Of course, we can’t stay in this place, but it’s nice to practice visiting.