Listen

Do you love writing? Do you love stories and storytelling and find pleasure in doing the work, writing your stories, creating your characters?  Sometimes I let it become nothing but work, just another thing on my to-do list. I forget sometimes to reconnect with the pure pleasure and fun of making things up.

This fabulous episode of the even more wonderful Magic Lessons podcast from Elizabeth Gilbert is about the fun of making things just to be doing it.  It's a great reminder and listening to these wonderful women talking about creating for no one but yourself is a beautiful thing.

Listen, then go make something. And have fun!

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8

Filled
Midori-style Notebook

I love that word, "traveler."  It's right up there with "adventure" and "wild" for me, favorite exciting words that make me want to jump up and do something.  And of course I love notebooks.  I'm pretty sure that's come up before.  So last week when I got a glimpse into the world of the Midori Traveler Notebook, I was hooked.  Sort of.  I didn't like the sizes.  I don't want to have to send away for inserts all the time, and I don't want to have to make my own all the time.

I decided I would just make my own Midori Traveler (also called "fauxdori" which is so cute!) in a size that works for me.  I spent hours on Pinterest, Etsy, and YouTube (favorite links below) looking at examples and watching how other people made theirs.  I came up with a plan, picking my favorite parts from everything I looked at, and I got started.

Raw Materials
Raw Materials

I decided on red vinyl for the cover because I didn't feel like waiting until I could get to the leather store.  I was going to line the vinyl with fabric, but I found this fabulous stuff called Kraft-tex Kraft Paper Fabric.  It acts like fabric and paper--its wonderful.  I picked some up to paint and collage for my liner.  I got turquoise embroidery floss to finish the edges to make sure there's no peeling of the layers, and I got rainbow elastic because I needed elastic, so why not rainbow?

I painted and collaged the liner then glued it to the vinyl.  Then I used a five-pronged leather punch to make holes for the embroidery floss all around the edges of the notebook.

Ready to Stitch
Stitching Tools
Inside and Out
Inside and Out. Covers glued and stitched.

I added the rainbow elastic, mostly the magenta and flame orange section (because it's one five-yard piece of elastic, so I picked a section).  I decided to put the holes side-by-side rather than one above the other (which is how it's set up in the real Midoris) to give me two same-sized bands on the inside.

Rainbow Elastic
Rainbow Elastic

Then I added the elastic "belt".  In the real Midoris the hole for this is in the middle of the back cover.  I saw a few people putting theirs on the spine, so I did that with mine, too.  So far so good, although I just finished the notebook about an hour ago so it may be too soon to tell.

 

Elastic Belt
Elastic Belt
Closed 2
Closed

I gathered or created my filler books.  The first one is a Moleskine Cahier that I worked a few pages in several years ago then let languish.  I decided I should go ahead and use it, so I changed the title on the cover and put it into my fauxdori.  It's going to be for project plans and notes.  The next one is a greeting card that I added some decorations to and then filled with scrapbook paper to make a sort of Smash Book for visual journaling and glue-booking. The third is dot-grid printed paper bound into pretty scrapbook paper.  This one will be for writing practice, notes, etc.  And the last one is a blank book that came inside an art journaling book I got several years ago (and can't find in my house to tell you the name of).  I cut it down a bit so it will fit into my notebook.  The journals that I bound are half-sheet size (US 8.5 x 11 inches) while the Moleskine is slightly smaller, but I don't mind the disparity in size.  They are all close enough that they work fine together, and I like the idea of making my book a size that lets me pick up refills when I want instead of always having to make them.

Fillers
Fillers

Here's the filled book:

Top Edge
Top Edge

 

Bottom Edge
Bottom Edge

I used the elastic to insert the middle books and then large rubber bands to attach each of the outside books.

 

Rubber Bands
7" Rubber Bands

Last but not least, I added Post-it pockets inside the front and back covers to hold all the little notes and scraps of paper that accumulate.

Envelopes
Post-it Pockets

And now it's ready to use for creative planning, note taking, writing practice, vision collages, and whatever else I think up, all in one place!

Do you have a Midori Notebook story?  I'd love to hear how you use yours.  And if you have pictures, please link in the comments so we can all enjoy them.  Thanks!

Links:

There's a ton of stuff out there.  I still have loads of videos saved to watch later, and every time I open Pinterest there are new posts.  So go browse around, see all the cool stuff, and maybe make a Traveler of your own.  Have fun!

 

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6

A little late with On My Table this week.  I love those three-day weekends, but they always throw off my schedule.  I might work on planning around that one of these times.

Meanwhile, here's what I was playing with last week.  I am in love with these little Strathmore artist tiles.  I think several of my 100 Paintings are going to end up on these little squares because I am so enamored of them.  And now that I have several going (two are even complete!), they are starting to make a beautiful little series.  These are the 4" squares; I may do some on the 6" squares, too, just for fun.

Squares

So what about you?  What's making you happy in your creative life these days?  What projects are you working on.  I'd love to see what you're doing!

P.S.--Check back Friday.  I'm going to have an opportunity to get in on a beta test of a coaching circle I'll be running from late June through the end of July--there's going to be a great discount, but spaces are going to be really limited, so if you're interested you'll want to get in on the sign-up list I'll be sharing on Friday.  Hope to see you there!

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20

Last week got away from me a bit, so I'm combining my announcement about my Big Project with this week's On My Table.

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The beginnings of 100 Paintings

The project: Complete 100 paintings
The deadline: December 31, 2015
The media: Mixed media on various backgrounds (because I just love paper so much that I want to paint on all of it!)

I've had this project on my mind for a long time.   A little inkling of the idea sprouted a couple of years ago when Lisa Sonora Beam started her 1008 Paintings project, but I brushed the idea of doing anything like that aside.  I was a writer and a coach.  Painting was incidental, something I did now and then, nothing I was good at.  Never mind those longings, ignore those, move along.  (A side note: DO NOT ignore those longings!  They are important!  They are trying to tell you something.  I would never advise anyone to ignore them, but sometimes it's hard to remember what to do when it's for yourself.)

I ignored my desire to paint for the most part, focusing on writing while getting in some occasional painting in my art journal.  Then last year I read an article by Joe Bunting on Quantity Versus Quality, and my interest in doing a lot of paintings surfaced again.  I didn't have time for that kind of thing!  What was I thinking?

I brushed the idea aside again and focused on wrapping up a bunch of projects I had going.  Then I took a nice, long hiatus after a couple of years of doing too much stuff.  I really needed a break.  I gave myself permission for a few months (Late-December to April-ish) to not start anything new, to do what I felt like, to read a lot and daydream a lot and play a lot.  And you know what I felt like doing?  (After three weeks of watching a lot of TV and napping, I mean.)  Painting.  And writing.  And talking to people about all things creative.  Letting myself dream and listen to those dreams brought me back to the things I really love.  And then this project idea came back to me, and I decided to give it a go.

I spent some time toying with different deadlines and rules and things for the project, talked about it with some friends, tweaked the idea until it started feeling just about ready.  The final bit fell into place when I gave myself permission to paint on all sorts of surfaces, mostly paper, instead of trying to make myself pick one.  Finally, I felt like I was ready to do this.  And I am!

Why such a long time frame?  I want this to be a fun immersion and deepening relationship to something I've always loved--paint and color and playing with paper.  I don't want this to be a chore.  I want this to be a joy.

As the project starts up, I'll create a page for it and write more about why I think taking on a huge project is a good idea.  I'll write about how painting feels, and I'll write about the details of it.  I'll share the process and my thoughts about all of it.  But for now, here is the beginning.  Supplies gathered, a date set, an intention put out into the world.

What about you?  Is there a big, impossible seeming project calling to you?  Tell me all about it--we can share stories and cheer each other on while we do our great big scary fun things!

 

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First, sorry I missed posting on Friday.  The day got away from me.  Life, yes?

This week's On My Table is an old, stalled project.  In July, 2012 (yes, almost two years ago), I went on a trip to Santa Monica.  I made a gorgeous journal for the trip out of a gessoed map and a vinyl coated shopping bag (you can see more about the journal in this post).  I wrote in it and glued in a few things on the trip, but then I never finished it.  This week I am finally getting back to it.

Journal, printed out photos, an envelope of ephemera
Journal, printed out photos, an envelope of ephemera

My plan is to glue in some photos, do some collage/art journaling to remember the feel of the trip, and fill up the remaining pages so I have a pretty little reminder of the trip to go through any time I need a beach escape but can't actually go to the coast.

It can be hard to get back into an old project.  You've moved along, become involved in other things.  It's hard to get back to the mindset from back then.  Here are a few things I'm doing to help me reconnect with this project so I can finish it:

  • Reread or look at everything already in the journal
  • Do some freewriting about everything I remember about the vacation and also about what feelings I want to express in my collages and writings
  • Write down a few words about each photo or item I'm planning to use to help me remember why each one was taken, is special, etc.

Do you have any old projects you'd like to get back into?  I'd love to hear about them and about how you're planning to dive back in.

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The past week was kind of overrun with too much stress--mostly car troubles.  So I made myself a reminder to have more fun:

Why So Serious 3

Do you every find yourself needing a reminder to have fun?  What do you like to do when you notice you haven't been having enough fun?  What are your favorite fun infusions?  Let's see if we can get a great list put together to come back to whenever we need a fun boost!

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I love color.  You have probably noticed this by the colorful background on my website and from the photos of my work I post here.  Color!  Bright, happy, beautiful color!  And sparkles.  I'm all about the sparkles.

This week, I went completely opposite from my normal tendencies:

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Quite the departure from my norm, isn't it?  The only hint of color (besides the edges of other pages showing) is the smaller circles which are actually an off-white color.  This was an interesting exercise--when you aren't using color to balance things, draw attention to areas, etc. you have to look a little more carefully at where you're putting everything.  I think I will want to revisit this exercise now and again to see what else it brings up.

What about you?  Have you ever purposefully made something completely outside your normal tendencies?  What happened?  How did you feel?  Drop me a note and let's swap stories.

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It's been a busy few days with lots of creativity happening. I feel like I'm in creative overdrive!  Do you ever have times where you feel like you're turned up high and you find yourself creating and making things and doing thing, and it all seems to flow nearly effortlessly?  It doesn't happen to me all that often, but I love when it does.

Over the weekend I created an art journal spread on the background I had been so busily admiring last week.  I made a terrarium, and I already have ideas for several more I'd like to create, and I painted another art journal spread.  Here's my harvest:

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So far for me these highly prolific, creative, productive times seem to happen randomly, but I'm wondering if there's some way to call them to me.  I'm interested in what kinds of circumstances might help us get into that flow.  Any thoughts on that?  Do you have anything that you do that seems to really boost your creative flow?  Anything you think might help even if you haven't tried it yet?  I'd love to hear your experiences.

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2

I'm a few days late with this post this week. You may have noticed. It's been a busy week, and I got off track. Part of the busy-ness was a guest post from Morgan Dragonwillow about her new book of poetry, Wild Woman Waking, with photography by Tui Snider.  If you haven't checked out the post and the book, go have a look.  It's good stuff.

So what else have I been up to?  I got a new laptop, and I'm feeling all fancy and techy.  Still setting it up, but I am loving having a fully functional computer again.  I've also been up to this:

This is a background in my Book of Days.  I loved it so much, I had to let it sit for awhile before putting anything else on it.
This is a background in my Book of Days for Effy Wild's class. I loved it so much, I had to let it sit for awhile before putting anything else on it.

And then these:

These are some pages from my sketchbook for Lisa Sonora Beam's Dreaming on Paper.
These are some pages from my sketchbook for Lisa Sonora Beam's Dreaming on Paper.

I am working at getting back on track and writing more articles and things to put here.  I have been visiting with Lull--a wonderful muse we work with in Kaizen-Muse™ Creativity Coaching whom I don't spend enough time with.  But with the coming Spring I am finally feeling like I'm rested and ready to stir things up around here, bring in some new energy and get things rolling.  First, though, I need to get a few things back in order after this odd week of everything happening out of turn and at different times than normal (I blame the time change!).

What do you do when things get off track in your life?  Any hints and tips the rest of us can use to get back on track?

 

 

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Yesterday was overfilled with Life.  Too much stuff!  So I couldn't quite get a post together.  But here I am today all back in the swing.

This is a spread I did from Moonshine for the New Moon.  The New Moon Vow is to remind myself to keep a positive attitude because sometimes it's too easy to let the dreary thoughts take over.

New Moon March 2014

 Yesterday, I made something new in digital art, too, so I thought I'd share that as well.  A bonus!

I used a website called Pixlr.  You can do a lot of Photoshop-type effects, but there are simpler, quicker menus and things to play with as well.  There are also apps for iPad and Android, so it's cross-platform.  I've only played with it a little bit so far, but I think I'm going to like it.  This is a detail from one of my art journal spreads arted up in Pixlr:

Soul Peek

Finishing up this spread and playing with some digital art really helped me shake off the Negative Nelly talk the was trying to crowd into my head.  I'm feeling inspired and ready to make more stuff!

What about you?  What do you do when negative thoughts are trying to derail your plans and goals?  I'd love lots of tips and tricks and thoughts!

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