Monday, May 2, 2016

How to Break a Creative Rut

I have to admit, I’ve been in a creative rut for a couple of years. I have not created something for pleasure since 2014. Shocking, right? Actually, not really. I got into a routine of just doing the projects I was hired to do. Did these contract projects spark my imagination? The short answer is no. I was happy to complete projects, but found myself not enjoying the process. I’ve been working on plenty of new projects. But, none of them have fed my creative desires. I’ve been going through the motions and designing what I’m hired to design. I get it, we all have to pay our bills. So you take on any project that comes your way. Typically they are projects that someone else already designed in their head, and you are hired to simply execute it.
It gets to a point where you are no longer enjoying what you do. I started turning down work, and feeling like my craft was no longer pleasurable for me. But even worse, I didn’t turn around and start creating just to create. It was time to broaden my horizons and get back into designing for fun. It’s important to break out of the cycle. Simply working and creating just to pay the bills can become monotonous. Remember when you were so excited to start a new project? Remember when you would spend hours just playing and brainstorming ideas? 
I recently discovered my passion again. How did I do it? I started listening to new music. I re-organized my office/studio space. I changed my environment by hanging up artwork that inspired me. I bought houseplants and flowers to rejuvenate the air in my work space.

Not only did I change my environment, but I changed my inspiration. I started looking for new ways to spark my imagination. I found my love for color again. I re-learned to appreciate the shapes, sounds and spaces in the world around me. 

I found inspiration in other artists! I reminded myself to appreciate every form of creative passion. I’m a graphic artist by trade, but that doesn't mean I can’t appreciate a mosaic artist, or a landscape designer. I began looking at other artist’s work. Anyone who creates is an artist. I found passion in looking at images on Instagram. Then, one day I picked up a sharpie and started drawing. The next day I picked up a paintbrush and added paint. Within the week, I had bought a new set of paintbrushes and fresh paint. I created my first painting. Remember, I am not a painter. I’m a graphic designer! I never knew I could paint! What made me pick up a paintbrush? I was inspired. I thought it would be fun to put some color on paper. Here is my first painting I painted that week.

Since then, in only a couple of weeks, I have painted more than 20 paintings! I joined a 100 day project on Instagram that requires I post a new project daily. 

This has kept me accountable, but has also kept me inspired to keep going! I’m loving life again! I’m loving the process. I really appreciate my environment. I look forward to waking up in the morning. I am constantly looking at nature, the sky, the trees and flowers. I’m looking at their colors, and imagining how I can put that color on paper and turn it into a piece of art.
It’s been a fun couple of weeks. It was a process to get to this point. The process definitely didn’t happen overnight. It started with one small change that led to another. Soon I was full of inspiration and excitement again.
These are a few of my first sharpie drawings that I am in the process of re-producing into t-shirts for sale.

All of these t-shirt designs will be available for purchase on May 14th.

Happy Designing!


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Home project: Garden Fence

Kevin and I built our own garden fence for the chickens and the vegetable garden.
This was our first diy project together! Neither of us have much experience building things, but we had fun working together and we are pretty proud of the finished product!

And I decided to put in a stone garden path! I love how it turned out!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

A piece of Heaven

My new favorite spot in the whole wide world. Our new room has become the new family room. We gather around and play games, snuggle up to read, and enjoy family movie nights in this new cozy addition. I've been feeling under the weather again lately, and there is no better place to heal, right here in front of the fire with a hot cup of tea. Be happy and be well my friends!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Fun Christmas Keepsake Crafts

My kids came up with a fantastic idea this year to make their own crafts and sell them for charity. They spent hours upon hours painting, glueing and crafting!
We came up with some great crafts that would sell and become a keepsake for anyone who took them home.
We had a table at a local craft fair last weekend, and they sold more than half of the crafts they made.
All of the proceeds went to a local charity which buys warm clothes for local families in need.

I am so proud of my kids!

Here are a few of their masterpieces:)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Getting through the summer (happily) with your kids

Summer is here.

For some of us, things won't change much, except our kids will be sitting around the house with nothing to do while we go to work.

For those of us who are fortunate enough to be home with our children, we are either dreading all of the spare time and the summer " boredom"  blues, or we are looking forward to some good, quality family time with our kiddos! I am the latter!

I have been planning and waiting for summer break almost as long as my kids have! They are 9 and 6, and have been anxiously awaiting all the "fun" things we're going to do all summer long. As summer break approaches, I had to come up with a system for my kids to get their chores done, help around the house, keep positive attitudes and still have fun!

I know there will be pool days, park days, lazy days, theme park days, ice cream outings and much more. I want to enjoy all these pleasures of summer right along with my kids, but I don't want my kids to think all of these privileges come easy, and at no cost.

Over the past few weeks, I designed this clip-chart, star system. For every positive thing my kids do, they can "clip-up" for one star. The list of "positives" are shown below. And for every "negative" behavior or thing they do, they "clip-down" or lose a star.

As you can see, this list includes everything from good behavior to chores. They are constantly encouraged to "clip-up" for all the positive things they do throughout the day. The stars are tallied at the end of each day and input into the iRewardChart app on my iPhone. They can use those stars as currency to buy rewards. The kids and I came up with the rewards together. We talked about each fun thing or activity they would like to do, and then we decided how much it should "cost". The reward chart we came up with is also pictured below. Everything from going out for ice cream, to an hour of T.V. time is on this list.

There is one stipulation to cashing out, they must always have at least 50 stars in their "account" which I keep track of on my iPhone with the iRewardChart app. This is an incentive to save, and not deplete the account.

We have had this system working for nearly two weeks now, and my kids are absolutely loving this game of earning stars and buying rewards! Neither one of my kids have "purchased" a reward yet, they are both working vigorously on stock piling their stars so they will have enough to do all of these fun things they want to do!

It is a win-win! My kids are being held accountable for everything they do, and in return they are also learning the value of earning something!

They will have bad days, but they know they will always be held accountable, good or bad, and they know exactly what is at stake for everything they do or say! It is visual and instant.

Enjoy your summer, and let me know how you are keeping your kids happy, healthy and responsible!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Typography Trend - Go large.

Improve Readability. Super size your text.

Up-sizing your text is a great way to make an impact. Large text isn't just for headers anymore either. A decade ago, 8-point fonts were commonly used for body type. However by 2009, 13-point body text became the most popular. It also isn't unusual to see 16 and 18-point type creeping into websites. Large fonts are easy to read and, emphasize key phrases.
With more 45% of users preferring mobile devices for reading, it makes sense to improve readability on smaller screens. Large fonts don't get lost on widescreen desktop monitors.
Support your Farmers! They are needed to keep sustaining us.
I love my Minnesota Farmer!

Beautiful Spring Country Morning

It rained most of the weekend here in beautiful Southern Minnesota. We woke up this morning to the birds chirping and vibrant colors everywhere. It is so beautiful! I went for a walk through the countryside with one of our furry 4 legged family members, Katy. I marveled at the beauty all around us and the peacefulness that surrounds me on this beautiful day.
As I count my blessings and thank the Lord for our safety and comfort today, my heart goes out to those suffering through the painful aftermath of the tornadoes in Oklahoma. In an instant their lives were  turned upside down. I pray for peace, strength and restoration to all of the victims, their families, the authorities, volunteers and medical personnel working tirelessly to bring hope back to those communities.
Stay strong!