Archive | Creativity

Coloring Books for Adults Are The New Way To Relax

Coloring books for adults are the new way to relax and unwind. ::

The first time I came across a coloring book designed especially for adults was in my local upscale stationary store. I was looking for a new coloring book for my daughter, but my eye was drawn to a display of large, beautiful books published by Usborne for grownups. Of course I had to get one. Since then I’ve been hooked.

I’ve seen mandala coloring bookscoloring patterns drawn by well-known illustrators and books with detailed designs in the style of Zendoodles.

Why so popular? Well, it turns out that coloring is good for adults in exactly the same way it is good for children. Focus on coloring a page stills our minds, while also stimulating the brain areas that control motor skills, creativity, and the senses (at least 3 of them, please don’t eat your crayons!).

Psychologist Gloria Martinez Ayala, quoted in this article from Huffpost Spain,  describes how coloring activates both halves of the brain and promotes relaxation:

The action involves both logic, by which we color forms, and creativity, when mixing and matching colors. This incorporates the areas of the cerebral cortex involved in vision and fine motor skills [coordination necessary to make small, precise movements].

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Workflow Wednesday: How To Start A Painting

How To Start A Painting; A Guide for Mothers ::

I found this post on my old blog recently. Although I wrote it when Bean was just a baby, the struggle to extricate my attention from motherhood to focus on my creativity is no easier now. The details may look different for me now, or for you there, depending on your craft or the age or number of your children, but I’m guessing the struggle will feel familiar to many of you. 

How to start a painting:

Carefully break the sleeping baby’s latch on my breast.
Freeze until I am sure she’s asleep.
Slowly get out of bed, hoping the bed frame doesn’t creak and wake her.
Sneak down the hall, avoiding the squeeky board.
Turn on the baby monitor.
Check the time.
Empty the sink, wipe the counter.
Put away the mail.
Add a couple things to the running to-do list that I thought of while laying in bed.
Empty the litter box.
Peek in the bedroom to make sure she’s breathing.
Check the time.
Start a load of laundry.
Put on some music. Change my mind and leave the music off because it will wake the baby.
Go in the studio.
Go back to the kitchen for the baby monitor and a glass of water.…

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5 Books For Creative Mamas

5 Books For Creative Mamas

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you choose to purchase a product after clicking through a link I will earn few cents from the sale at no additional cost to you. This income helps to support this blog. Thank you!

There used to be a huge Barnes & Noble bookstore a short drive from my office, back when I still worked in an office. On the days when I just had to escape the world of tech and management to reconnect with my creative artist heart, I’d go there on my lunch break and wander the aisles. Usually I’d end up in what I thought of as the creativity corner. Three shelves intersected there. One shelf held the art biographies, and books on art technique, graphic design and typography. Another had crafts – from wood working to knitting and quilting – and the third had the books that were harder to classify: How to get unstuck, how to keep an art journal, 100 ideas for things to draw.

I loved that corner, and over time quite a few of those books came home with me.

Here are 5 of the books I’ve turned to over and over, especially since leaving the corporate world and becoming a mother.…

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A Lesson On Creative Abandon

What can you learn from a child about creativity? Everything. :: nurtured

Tonight I helped Bean put away the PlayDoh she’d been using after dinner while her dad and I cleaned up and lazed around waiting for bedtime.

She had opened five mini containers – three shades of green, one red and an orange. The greens were hopelessly mashed together. I spent a little time trying to separate them by shade and felt myself getting anxious and frustrated that she hadn’t kept the colors separated so we could put them away easily.

But then I realized she didn’t care at all that the colors were mixed up. She was happy to put them back in the containers all mixed up.

She liked mashing the colors together. She wasn’t playing with the stuff with the goal of putting it away easily, she was just playing with the stuff to explore it. The texture, the colors, the shapes we could make with it.

This is the child who will use only the purple pen from any set until it alone is dried up and the tip grows furry, and then maybe she’ll try some of the other colors.

This is the child who will paint a whole page, sometimes two, of the one color she loves best from a paint box until it is gone.…

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Story Stones: Pinned It. Did It.

Story stones are great for imaginative play - make your own! ::

Photo by Miss Bean, age 3.

Have you ever had a project that you thought about for a really long time, and then when you sat down to do it, it took almost no time at all?

That was this project for me. I’ve had a collection of story stones tutorials pinned for nearly a year because I wanted to make a set for Bean, but it wasn’t until the week this post was promised and due to Liz that I finally sat down to make them.

They took only a few minutes. And Bean has been playing with them ever since.

Read about how I made them and how we will be using them over on Liz’s blog in the Pinned It. Did It. series.

And then go start that project you’ve been putting off!

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Five Great Garden Ideas From Sunset Celebration Weekend

This past weekend we attended the Sunset Celebration Weekend show in Menlo Park and now I’m fired up with garden ideas for my home.

Five great gardening ideas from the Sunset Celebration Weekend ::

If you live in the West and are any kind of gardener, traveler, or food enthusiast, you are probably already familiar with Sunset Magazine. Focusing on travel, food, home and garden in the 13 Western states, the magazine has been in publication since 1898. I’ve been a subscriber for at least 10 years. It was the only magazine I subscribed for a while after I let all my other subscriptions go when I left my corporate job. I look forward to reading it every month and I have torn out and saved articles all over my house.

They describe their Celebration Weekend, held on the grounds of their Menlo Park headquarters, as “the West’s ultimate lifestyle event.” This is also the home of their test garden and huge test kitchen. The event draws 20,000 visitors a year to see the gardens, try local wines and beers, meet celebrity chefs and vendors of all kinds, and see demonstrations on entertaining, gardening and travel.

I’ve always wanted to go but this is the first year I’ve actually made it.…

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Things I Learned From Nikki McClure

A gallery walk with Nikki McClure: Art As Life ::

background texture credit: pareeerica via photopin cc

A couple of weeks ago I attended a gallery walk at our tiny local museum with Nikki McClure. I’ve been an admirer of her paper-cut work for years and have a small collection of books she illustrated. My midwife’s office was decorated with several of McClure’s prints and I studied them at every appointment. I love how her work illustrates every-day scenes – mending, nursing a baby, picking berries, toes dangling in a stream. I love how her simple lines and use of limited color can tell such an emotional story.

Her work is recognizable – I see an image in the pages of a magazine, hanging on a wall, or on the cover of a book, and I know it is her. As an artist I have set her on a pedestal labeled “successful.” In other words, not like me. I’m a dabbler artist, not a successful one. My paintings are not in books with hard covers. I’ve never had a museum ask to show my work.

But I didn’t really know much about her. What I learned by visiting the exhibit and listening to her talk is that she is actually more like me than not.…

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How to Have Room Of Your Own

How To Have Room Of Your Own ::

original photo credit: nerissa’s ring via photopin cc

Of the things I crave most about my pre-baby life, stretches of time alone ranks high. Before my partner and his teenaged son moved in with me when I was eight months pregnant, I lived alone for three years. A month later I gave birth to a baby who hated to be anywhere but in my arms.

I wasn’t alone again for more than a few minutes for nearly nine months.

I love my family. I do. But it wasn’t until I learned how to carve out small amounts of time alone that I started to feel like myself again after all of those changes. That was too long to go feeling like a stranger in my own skin.

Are you also someone who craves alone time? Maybe you are an introvert, a writer, or an artist. You need stretches of silence to process your inner world, to make sense of your thoughts. Maybe you just like to read books without people interrupting you. Maybe you have a meditation practice, or would like to have one. Maybe you just crave some time where you aren’t at someone else’s beck and call and can truly sink into rest.…

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How To Be A Passionate Mama

How To Be A Passionate Mama ::

photo credit: BenRo3 via photopin cc

This week I went to see Sting and Paul Simon perform together. Seeing Sting perform live was a long-standing entry on my bucket list.

It was a great show – both artists are incredible and have rich and diverse musical careers individually. It was wonderful to see them each perform each other’s songs and witness their obvious respect for each other and love of music and performing.

But the thing that struck me most about this concert was the band. Behind Sting and Paul Simon were a dozen other musicians, and each of them played several instruments each. They didn’t just dabble in a few instruments, they played each of them well enough to back up Sting and Paul Simon.

And they were having a blast. The violinist played with such intensity that he was shredding his bow. The accordion player was doing a 2nd line shuffle every time I looked at his corner of the stage. One band member switched from cello to electric guitar to recorder and had a special stand so he could play measures on a tenor sax without taking off his guitar. The three (!) percussionists were laughing and egging each other on during one particularly notable rhythm-section solo.…

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7 Ways To Uncover Your Dreams

Recently I’ve been thinking about dreams, big and small.

But what if you don’t know what your dreams are? What if you are still in the trenches with small children, or just realizing you children don’t need you quite as much as they used to and you have room for yourself again. Except you can’t remember what you dreamed about before you had the kids.

Here are 7 things you can do to help you uncover those old dreams, or recognize some new ones.

Make A List

For several years I had a long list taped into the back of my journal. I called it my 100-things list, though it didn’t always have 100 items on it.

It is easy to come up with 10 or 20 things you want to do with your life, but 100? That’s a challenge.  When you really push yourself to write down 100 things you want to do, big or small, you will push past the comfortable, easy stuff, the things you think you should do, and finally uncover the things your heart is really longing for.

When you make a list like this write without editing.…

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