We are at Day 3 which is Schedule. You can find the 2016 post on this HERE.
You’ve penciled into your calendar some “happy me time” yesterday. Now let’s look at holidays and birthdays.
Make a list of all the holidays and events that you want to make something for. Be sure to include things such as teacher appreciation gifts, expectant mothers, upcoming weddings, and of course birthdays and Christmas and any other holiday you celebrate. On your list, include what you would like to make for each person.
Next schedule in some time a month or two prior to the event or holiday to begin making the project. Be sure to allow yourself plenty of time. This is particularly important for holidays such as Christmas when there are many gifts to give, or if you have several birthdays or other events occurring close together.
A real benefit of having this list is so you can be prepared. For instance, I always like to embroider a shirt for my husband’s birthday. It is on my list so I can watch the sales and when I find a shirt I like on sale, then I can get it.
Don’t stress out here. Remember, creativity is to be our happy time, our health improvement time, not a chore. Scheduling just helps in planning and I’m a planner. I know some of you are a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of gal so this might not work for you. Just use what ideas inspire you and discard the rest.
Tomorrow we are going to take a look at our UFO’s, those UnFinished Objects that we all have in our closets.
To catch up on your reading for this series, you can find:
I hope you will all take a peek at last year’s blog post because I feel like it really encompasses the planning we can do to help ourselves be the best we can be when it comes to making time for creativity. I also don’t want to repeat myself here, so if you go back to last year’s post, I promise it will give you lots of food for thought when it comes to creativity planning.
Take a moment friends and look at what you wrote down on your reflection list from Day 1. yesterday.
In particular, look at what you wrote down for “What made me happy?” and “What are my favorite memories?”
Take a calendar and add one or two items onto your calendar each month that you know will make you happy or create good memories. One such item on my calendar is to take a class every month. I love meeting people and getting out of the house. Even more, is I love to learn something new. One thing I want to learn to make this year are the rope coil bowls.
I know I could watch a YouTube video on it, but my local quilt shop offers this as a class and I just love to be with the ladies there. Other happy moments might be writing the dates of your quilt or sewing guild onto the calendar. Maybe it is marking a date of quiet time just for YOU once a month where you can be alone with your embroidery machine and not be disturbed. -That also makes me VERY happy. 🙂
Another thing that makes me happy is beautiful food and good cooking. When I find the time to be creative in the kitchen I’m in my happy place. For me personally, there is nothing better than giving food gifts pared with a bit of embroidery.
Anyway, take some time now to do some planning. These plans don’t have to be set in stone, but you will find them useful as guidelines throughout the year.
Remember friends, like I said yesterday….Creativity is good for our health. It is good for our soul and it absolutely MUST be a form of creativity that feeds us and fuels us in a good positive way.
Last year, I did a blog series titled, “A New Year, A Creative New You”. I’m going to revisit as well as update it a bit in hopes that we may inspire each other to use our creative talents throughout 2017.
So much happens in those 365 days that have just flown by. (Side note: This year, one of my resolutions is to spend time at the end of each month to document all the good things that happen throughout the month.) For now though, sit down with pen and paper and take time to really reflect back over the course of 2016. Here are some questions to ponder.
What worked well in my life during 2016?
What were lessons learned?
What made me happy?
What did I accomplish?
What are my favorite memories?
Then think of the opposite because these are the things that we don’t want to repeat. It is surprising how often we can repeat the negative in our lives.
What didn’t work well in my life during 2016?
What kept me from being happy?
What is left unfinished?
You can think about all the above questions in a general context, but for the purposes here, look at it in the context of your creative time and projects.
As you write your answers. Focus on the positive, the accomplishments, the favorite memories you had from using your creativity. Did you start a new hobby or find a style of embroidery you just love doing? Did you create some meaningful gifts for family and friends? These are the things worth repeating and these are the things that we need to build into our lives.
Keep your pen and paper handy throughout the day and even week and add to it as I’m sure things will pop up into your thoughts about this past year.
Reflection and appreciation of all the good in our lives is imperative. The more I’ve read about this, the more I realize just how much this affects our health and also how being creative in ways that make us happy benefit our health by lowering our stress and anxiety which keeps our blood pressure down, it keeps our mental health in tip-top shape, and it also keeps our hormones in balance so that all our body systems work efficiently.
So in order to keep us happy and healthy, lets be creative in a really great way during 2017!!
I just want to quickly share that did you know there are only 156 days till Christmas! How on earth does time fly so fast.
It is a good time to take a moment and reflect back and that gives us the direction we need to move forward. Are we on the right track? Do we need to pivot? Are we reaching the goals we set for this year? Do we need to change our goals?
Remember at the beginning of the year, we went through a week of “A New Year – A Creative New You”. That week went step-by-step in helping you think about your creative goals for the year. You can review each of the days here:
Beginning July 29th, Embroidery It is celebrating a 3 day Christmas in July event with all new designs to get you in the holiday stitching and gift giving spirit. I always like to offer a special thank you to my newsletter subscribers. It means a lot to me that you allow Embroidery It into your inbox each week. Therefore, there will be a link in the July 29th newsletter for this sweet in-the-hoop candy cane holder FREE for you, my newsletter subscribers.
And here it is made with glitter fabric. I wish I could capture the true sparkle that it really has. 🙂
Please know friends I’m very grateful for you and I really appreciate your sharing the word about Embroidery It.
We are already through January. 1/12 of the way through the year! At the end of each month it is a good time to look back and to reflect. I hope in your reflection time you find you have made progress towards some of your creative goals.
Looking back at my schedule of creative plans is something I enjoy doing. It lets me see how far I’ve come and what I still need to do.
Take a moment to reflect back as well as to look forward. What worked for you last month? What didn’t? Did you enjoy your creative time? Use that knowledge in moving forward. What creative plans do you have for this month? How will they be fit into your calendar? How will you most enjoy your creative time?
For me, two things that really worked were scheduling creative time on the calendar and daily journaling. I journaled 23 out of 31 days and it became a great way to process thoughts which in turn helped my productivity immensely. Because of such good results, you better believe I plan to continue scheduling and journaling.
Here are some of the creative things I made during January.
I embroidered two shirts for Mike’s birthday. Both designs came from Designs by Sick.
A Valentine Treat Bag for Emily with her sorority letters. My own creation.
I have also found a new quilt shop here in Grand Rapids!!!!! Yippee!!!! It was total eye candy. I am hoping to take a class that will be in April which will be a lot of fun.
Another thing I did here in January which relates to creativity is I joined a local group of business women entrepreneurs that meet monthly. It’s nice to get out of the house and share ideas with others in person. It’s easy for me to stay at home–too much so I need to make a real point of getting out of the house more. I came home from the January meeting fresh and inspired and look forward to our next meeting.
If you would like to look back and refresh yourself on any of the A New Year, A Creative New You posts, you can find them here:
Today is the most important of all the days in this series. It is about enjoying and appreciating every moment that is given to us. It is our final day in the series and I am throwing colorful virtual confetti! Thank you so much for being with me this week. If you missed a day, you can find it here. Day 1Day 2Day 3Day 4Day 5
As mentioned back on day 1 it is easy to get so involved in the “needs” of everyone and everything pulling us in so many directions that we lose focus on beauty and appreciating and enjoying our creative time.
Here is a list of ways you can keep the enjoyment of the creative process alive and well.
Begin each day with a statement of gratitude. “Thank you God for this beautiful day.” “Today is going to be a great day.” What we place in our minds first thing sets the tone for how our day will be. It may be cold and raining outside but if we wake up and say, “this is a beautiful day,” our mind will find things throughout the day that are beautiful.
Write 3 things down each day that you appreciate. Of course you appreciate your family and your home, but look for the little things in life like seeing that perfect six pointed snowflake, the creaminess and sweetness of your morning coffee, or the crisp look of your freshly made bed. This little exercise takes only a minute and will train your brain to see beauty even in our darkest days.
Keep your creative calendar that we have been making handy and schedule in specific creative time for yourself. During this time the focus is only on you and enjoying the creative moment.
Look for little 15 to 20 minute pockets of time in which you can be creative. Take along some knitting or hand embroidery to the doctor’s office to work on while you are in the waiting room. Those little pockets of time really add up and it is surprising how many projects can be completed by just working on them in short chunks.
Limit the negative thoughts that come into your head. Turn off the doom and gloom news. You can get all the important information just be scanning the headlines of news on your computer. You can do that in 2 minutes vs 30 minutes of news on the TV.
Learn to focus and not multi-task. Learn to really give your attention to one thing at a time and not be distracted to the e-mail and text messaging bells and beeps.
Take a walk outdoors. Even if it is just to the end of your driveway and back. Deep breaths of fresh air and a simple change of scenery can do wonders for our soul.
Find the enjoyment and creativity in all things. Appreciate the beauty of a freshly dusted shelf and add to it something seasonal. Enjoy the process of cooking a healthy meal and the beauty of the food we eat. Find ways to infuse creativity into work outside the home, even if the only way you can is by wearing a special necklace or setting a plant on your desk.
I hope you have enjoyed this series and that it helps bring to you a very beautiful and creative 2016.
Welcome to day 5 of 6. Thank you so much for joining me this past week and if you have missed any of the previous days you can find them here. Day 1 Day 2Day3Day 4
You know most often I finish my blog posts and my newsletters with the phrase “be creative daily and live life beautifully.” That is a motto I try to live my life by. I seriously do. I feel that the good Lord has blessed us all with the gift of creativity though at times we may not be able to see that in ourselves.
There are days when we just don’t feel like being creative? It is normal and it is ok. You know God scheduled in a day of rest too.
Today I’m going to offer a few simple solutions for you to keep in the back of your mind if you are feeling less than creative.
Look at yourself and your life. Perhaps you are tired and do need that time of rest. When my father passed away this past November I lost interest in creating. I needed to give myself some down time.
Look at your surroundings. Does your creative space need a fresh facelift? It is easy to get too many things out of place that crowd us. Soon all we see is our creative clutter and clutter is hard on our eyes and spirits.
Turn on some of your favorite music, tv show or podcast so that you have some company while you create.
Speaking of company, join a guild or take a class. Invite a friend or two over to sew and craft with you.
Change it up. I find myself being the least motivated to create is when I am bored. Try a different embroidery technique, or do something different all together like painting or jewelry making. Even going into the kitchen and trying a new recipe and jazzing it up by putting it on a special plate can be just the thing to get out of a creative rut. Look for the beauty in the small things like good food and the special plate.
Spend some time looking at new inspiration in magazines or on Pinterest.
Share your projects that you’ve made in your Facebook or Yahoo groups. Having others give comments on them is extremely motivating.
Most importantly though, if you have lost your creative mojo is that you do take that time of rest. Don’t force yourself. Do what we did on day one of this series, we reflected. Reflect on what is going on in your life. You need the understanding of this so that you can make the necessary changes to move forward.
Tomorrow we finish up the series of A New Year, A Creative New You.
Today is a tough assignment. One of the things we haven’t looked at yet, and needs to be addressed, are the current projects we have going on that are unfinished. If you need to catch up or are just joining us, you can find the previous days here. Day 1Day 2Day 3
With your notebook in hand, list the projects you have not completed.
Next, give them a completion date and add them to your calendar. Or…are they really going to be finished? Is it something you’ve lost interest in? Consider donating or giving away the unfinished item. Consider throwing it away.
It can be difficult to move forward when we have a pile of unfinished work staring at us. Please friends consider this. If you have unfinished projects and you know they won’t be done in the next 4 months, put them in a tub and put them away and out of your sight. Put them in the basement or under a bed.
Unfinished projects can give us guilt. Guilt that we spent money and time on them but did not finish them. It is time to move past these feelings. Appreciate the fact that even though the project is unfinished, it brought you enjoyment at the time and perhaps you learned something in the process. Perhaps you started the project with a friends and you got to enjoy their company at the time. These are all good things that came out of the project and the fact that the project doesn’t get completed doesn’t take away from these things.
So today’s assignment is to list those unfinished projects. Then either schedule their completion, put them away, or get rid of them. This is unbelievably freeing to not look at unfinished projects.
We are now on the back half of getting prepared for a creative 2016. Like I said earlier, this is a tough assignment. You can do it!
Thank you for joining me here again today. You can find the previous days here for review. Day 1Day 2
Today we are going to get into the meat of things. We will need our list we created yesterday as well as our calendar or monthly planner as we will be transferring and scheduling our list.
This is one of the most important days. Before beginning, look back to what you reflected upon and wrote down back on day one. Look at what was and was not working for you. You need to consider this reflection about yourself as you schedule into your planner.
Before we begin, if you have events you know about for the year, go ahead and fill them into your calendar. These would be things like taking a vacation. Or perhaps you are going to be a new grandma and you plan to help your daughter out for a couple of weeks. Another thing to write in is if you have a busy project with a deadline that will consume your time. Write those items in your calendar first. Those are expected and planned times that will keep us from creating and we all have them. We just need to be aware of them so we can plan around.
Now lets continue by looking at our list and determining what events need to be done in what month. This may feel like it is similar to yesterday, but yesterday was all about list making and this is about the actual scheduling. If someone has a birthday in June then perhaps we will want to make their gift in May. As an example, my daughter’s birthday is June 1st. So in my calendar in May I would write Emily’s birthday. If I know what I want to make her, I’d go ahead and write that down now too.
Finally we need to look specifically at Christmas time as that is an especially busy time of year. I know for myself that December is ALWAYS the busiest month of the year and yet it is the one month I yearn to slow and savor. It seems we can never quite do enough for this time of year, but we can do some planning which will help. If we spread our Christmas creating throughout the year by making a couple of projects each month then by the time Christmas arrives we are ahead of the game. Write those projects in our calendars now.
Throughout the year, as we think of projects such as, Sue would like this for her birthday, write the project down in the notebook and calendar and be specific about it. Take a quick phone picture if possible to keep a record of it.
An added bonus in knowing what we are going to make ahead of time is that now we can watch the sales throughout the year to get any needed items to finish the project.
This finishes Day 3. I look forward to seeing you tomorrow.
Welcome back! Thank you for joining me for Day 2. If you need to look back, here is Day 1.
Yesterday we spent time looking at our past to what was holding us back. That gives us the framework we need to move forward from where we currently are to where we would like to be. So in looking where we want to go, we are going to look forward through this year. Get your notebook with some pretty pens and lets make some plans!
Making plans is exciting. Seeing things written on paper give us direction and what tell us the next steps to take. When things are written down, the clutter is out of our heads and we can think of other things, and that alone improves the creative process.
For today, write each month at the top of its own separate page in your notebook. Under each month write down events you would like to make something special for. Use the following list as a guide for holidays and events. You are important too so be sure to include yourself on this list. Don’t forget to make something special for you and your home this year.
As an example, in my notebook I would write at the top January. In January there are two events I want to make something for. Mike’s Birthday and Vicki’s Birthday are this month so I would write those two events under January. On the next page I would write February and under February I’d write that I want to make a potholder for our quilt guild’s annual Valentine pot holder swap, I also want to make a little something for each of my two girls for Valentine’s day as well as a Valentine kitchen towel for myself. And so on.
Use this list as a guideline to get started.
4th of July
Father’s Day/Mother’s Day
People and Groups
Sunday School Class
Red Hat Society
Last Day of School
If you already know what you are going to make for people or events, go ahead and write those details down. If not, now you have a list and you can keep your eyes open throughout the year for projects you would like to make.
Get your calendars ready for tomorrow as we will begin scheduling some creative time that is planned and unhurried and that we can fully enjoy.
Thank you so much for joining me here. Today we begin our series, A New Year, A Creative New You.
This series is about enjoying the moment and enjoying the process of being creative. For many of us this enjoying and appreciating our creative time has been lost and pushed out of our lives where we are rushing to finish projects and not really taking the time to smell the roses along the way. It is about slowing and being thankful.
As with most things in life, before we can move forward we need to take the time to look back and on what we have learned, good or bad. We need a starting point.
So today is a day of reflection. You will want your notebook today and open it up to a fresh page. Take time to really think about these questions. Ponder them throughout your day and write your answers in your notebook adding to those answers as new thoughts come to you.
So the first question is, In looking back throughout the years, when did you feel most creative in which you enjoyed and got lost in the process of making something? Write about it. Write about where you were and what was happening in your life at the time. Write about what it was that you were making.
Now think back to just this past year. How did things go this past year? Write about it now. Write about those things you did that worked for you this past year. Because if it ain’t broke it don’t need fixin’ and you will want to keep on with those good actions. We all have things in our lives that are working and it is important to acknowledge the good.
What in this past year didn’t work or would you like to change. Write those thoughts down so they are not repeated.
Once we have evaluated these things, it gives us our starting point to direct us to move forward which is just the direction we will be heading in the next few days. Continue adding to these lists as ideas come into your head about what did and did not work well this past year.
This finishes our task for day one. We will continue using our notebook tomorrow.
Friends, As young children we were encouraged to use our imagination and be creative. You can remember back to sitting on your mother or grandmother’s lap as they taught you to use a sewing machine. Perhaps they also taught you to knit, crochet, or hand embroidery on tea towels.
Looking back on those moments comes with memories of appreciation of the blessings we had. It was a time when we lived in the moment of the creative process enjoying each step along the way.
Fast forward to today and we are bombarded with the facets of life which often times pull us in multiple directions at once. Our spouses need us. Our children and grandchildren need us. Coworkers and bosses need us. Church groups and other organizations we belong to need us. And then, of course, our home needs us with its constant cleaning, laundry and never ending meals all pulling for our attention.
It’s no wonder we’ve lost some of our creative mojo and appreciation of the little blessings of life. For many of us, when we are creating, all the needs in our lives are floating around in the back of our heads nudging us to be doing something else and keeping us from truly enjoying the creative process that we once used to take for granted.
The intent of this series is to help bring back some of those feelings we had of enjoying and appreciating those creative moments as well as the beauty and blessings around us. It is about not letting those needs interfere with the enjoyment of the creative process.
Get ready for A New Year, A Creative New You. This free blog series begins January 1st. To get yourself ready you will want to have a notebook and calendar or day planner as we go through the series.