Friday, January 30, 2015

52 Weeks from the Heart: Create

My Create Word Art (from the Blue Line 30x30 exhibit) & a favorite Create pin/quote by Sandra Magsamen
Creating brings me such joy, whether it's baking a cake, cooking a meal, taking a photo, writing a blog post, or painting a canvas. ~from my article in the Summer 2011 Create With Me magazine.

I chose to focus on the theme of "Create" this week because it is a powerful concept. As I mentioned in the opening quote of this post, creativity can be expressed in many ways. When preparing meals or special baked treats for loved ones. When putting pen to paper to write a blog post or a journal entry or a thank you card. When capturing both proud and everyday moments with a camera, etc.. But often "create" or "creative" is only linked to artistic expression. But really "create" means so much more.

We create our lives with our choices. We can create our mood with the thoughts we choose to dwell on (easier said than done, but still true). We can actively create the life we want for ourselves with the choices we make. For instance, I would like to regain better health so I need to make the choices that help me create that future. I can create a healthy environment with the foods I bring into my home. I can create the time to meal plan and exercise by choosing how I use my time. Etc.. We create our lives.

Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself. ~George Bernard Shaw

The best way to predict the future is to create it. ~Peter Drucker

Creativity Kit By Jen
My project this week does celebrate the more traditional artistic expression definition of "create." It is a Creativity Kit that I first made several years ago after attending an art journaling class. Art journaling can be a very therapeutic and freeing form of expression. An art journal is like a diary that allows you the chance to explore your feelings by writing as well as by doodling and painting, etc.  It's a safe place, for your eyes only, that you can play and get messy.

But it can sometimes be overwhelming to face a blank page. It can be a struggle to figure out where to start. And so my Creativity Kit was born. The kit includes a jar filled with themes like art, family, and inspiration; three over-sized dice with numerous techniques, media, and shapes to create with; and a handcrafted color wheel spinner to pick a color. It's a fun way to move past a creativity block. Now I just need to make more of an effort to "create" the time to use it on a regular basis.

Friday, January 23, 2015

52 Weeks from the Heart: Action

This week I chose the word "Action" as my theme. Action seems to be big on everyone's mind this time of year as we all continue to tackle our New Year's resolutions. In fact, my beloved Weight Watchers leader, Teresa, chose "Action" as her word this year. Using both the word itself and Teresa as inspiration I decided to create an "Action" word art this week. I know I already started the 52 weeks challenge with my "Open" word art, but it was more collage than typical By Jen word art. Not only that, but I've silently been trying to pick projects that utilize paper as a material for the month of January. So I went to work creating new word art.

When laying out my words, I typically place the frames horizontally, but since I was drawing inspiration from Teresa I decided to use a magic wand, which was rather tall, for the "I." Teresa has been known to wave her magic wand from time to time when helping us through our weight loss journeys. But then at the same time, in my craft space I have a Glinda the Good Witch magnet that reminded me that the magic truly comes from within. We ourselves have the power to take action and make changes. So I was sure to add her wisdom, "You've always had the power."

Action is key to making changes. It's what makes change possible. You have to do something to make things different. It's a big deal. But that doesn't mean that action must be big to be effective. In fact, baby steps are often easier to take which makes them more likely to be repeated. The small steps can really add up to mean big things and big changes. And it all starts with doing something.

You are what you do, not what you say you'll do. ~C.G. Jung

The future depends on what you do today. ~M. Gandhi

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit. ~Aristotle

Take action!

Friday, January 16, 2015

52 Weeks from the Heart: Inspiration

Two weeks into the year and I'm already feeling overwhelmed. The 2015 miles in 2015 challenge, resuming Weight Watchers with the need to really lose 20+ lbs, a new creative project every week, not to mention all the usual stuff that fills our everyday lives. It's exhausting and I am struggling. Somehow I thought starting the new year was going to magically make this all easier. But now that I've started it's proven to be just as challenging as it was last year. But it's still worth the effort. And to help me out a bit, this week I thought I'd focus on the theme "Inspiration."  Inspiration often energizes me as I make changes both big and small, chosen and otherwise. And inspiration will most definitely fuel this 52 Weeks from the Heart project.

For a while now I've been envisioning a book of inspirational quotes using a pocket scrapbooking/Project Life style, much like the one created by Rebecca Cooper. I love quotes and I've been collecting them for years. I thought it would be great to put some of my favorites in a book that I could thumb through when I need some encouragement and motivation.

This week the idea evolved even further as I decided to finally create such a book. I realized printing out many of the quotes and images I'd collected on Pinterest was going to be a large undertaking and as I announced above, life has me exhausted. So I decided to simplify. Rather than have the pressure to fill a larger album, I used an inexpensive 4x6 photo album ($0.97 at Walmart). I then printed collected quotes from my Pinterest board, utilizing the Project Life app. This allowed me to easily include several quotes on one 4x6 layout. The idea evolved even further when I decided to combine some of the quotes with photos of my life and loved ones (true inspiration to me). 

And I couldn't be more pleased with the outcome. I especially love the photos that I added quotes to. I can't wait to add to my book, as time permits. It's a perfect source of inspiration and an accidental reminder of things I am grateful for. I plan to carry it with me since I chose such a portable size (another happy accident). I have taken on a lot this year, and I hope keeping this precious book close will be just the reminder I need when things feel rough.