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Day 351- Happy Valentines Day!

14 Feb

Here is a fun recipe to satisfy your sweet tooth and your sweetheart….coming straight from one of my favorite blogs!

Conversation Heart Cookies

by Emily

I have a rather unhealthy obsession with Conversation Hearts, the candies that come out every year around Valentine’s Day with messages on each one. They don’t taste particularly good, but they bring back memories of awkward parties from elementary school and I never can resist buying myself a box each year. This time around though, I decided to embrace the tradition with a twist. I made my normal sugar cookies (recipe for cookies and icing here), made the icing in the same pastel colors of the candies, and wrote my own little notes.


Day 347- How To: Be Inspired

10 Feb

How-Tuesday: Get (and Keep) Your Creativity Flowing

alrdesignStory by Noah ScalinPublished on Jan 03, 2012 in MakePhoto by Ted Dewan’s “road witch” project in Unstuck.

You’ve flipped the calendar to 2012 and opened to a fresh blank page in your sketchbook. Now what?

Are you feeling like you’re in a creative rut? Everyone gets stuck now and then, but when your livelihood requires creative output it can be truly devastating to hit one of these mental roadblocks. I know from personal experience: I’ve spent over 10 years running my own design and consulting firm, and a few years back I hit a wall. I was feeling completely uninspired, so the work I was producing for my clients and myself suffered as a result. What did I do to fix this situation? I decided to spend a year making skulls!

The Skull-A-Day project was a great long-term solution that has been giving back to me every since. Obviously everyone can’t drop what they’re doing and embark on a year-long path to get their creativity flowing again. Luckily, inspiration isn’t about waiting for your muse to show up – it’s about stoking the creative fires already within you. If often takes just a bit of lateral motion to change your perspective. Suddenly the ideas are flowing again.

So how do you get started? It’s really about committing to taking an action — any action — rather than just thinking about it. But that’s easier said than done, so here are six big ideas from my new book, Unstuck: 52 Ways to Get (and Keep) Your Creativity Flowing, at Home, at Work & in Your Studio.

  1. Let Go of Preciousness. One of the biggest creative stumbling blocks is our need to get things right. Believe me, I’m a perfectionist myself, so I know how hard it is to let that go. The reality is that treating your creations as precious little things to protect keeps you from the world of possibilities the comes from trying new things out, making mistakes, and getting things wrong.
  1. Freedom Comes From Limitations. If someone were to give me an infinite amount of time and an unlimited budget to create something, I would be frozen. It’s only from narrowing down the options that creativity becomes possible, as you are forced to push against the walls that close you in.
  1. Get Out of Your Environment. No matter how inspiring your workspace, there’s only so much creative work that can be done within it. Of course, if you’re in a place that’s not so inspiring to begin with, the need to be elsewhere is even more urgent. Since most people spend the majority of their time inside, they’re missing out on the much wider world right outside their door.
  1. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone. At some point in your life, you’ve probably been told not to make a fool of yourself, but the fact is that it’s one of the most effective ways to get creative inspiration! Fear of rejection and fear of embarrassment: these are the recurring enemies of creativity.
  1. Get Things by Giving Them Away. It may sound counterintuitive, but you get a lot from giving things away. If I had kept my own project under wraps, rather than sharing it as I went along, I probably would have had a fraction of the positive experiences. The more I gave away, the more people gave back to me.
  1. Collaborate. There’s no substitute for the benefits you receive when working creatively with other people. Some of the best things that came out of my own project were the friendships that blossomed from incorporating other people into my work. You get results that are exponentially greater when you don’t work alone.

So now it’s time to put a few of these ideas into practice. Here’s a project that you can try out today.

Meal Emotions:

Mealtimes are one of my favorite times for creative inspiration. Generally you’re away from your usual environment and you have pliable, interesting materials in front of you. This project was developed with a group of my fellow designers when we met up for lunch and wanted to do something other than chatting about our usual work woes.

Surprised by Juliette Oliva. Obsessed by Madonna Dersch. Bemused by Caryn Persinger.

How to do it:

1. Write out a list of emotions on slips of paper and put them in a small bag. Keep them in your pocket, purse, or backpack so you have them when the moment is right.

Suggestions: Silly, gregarious, maudlin, depressed, ecstatic, delighted, bemused, miffed, blissful, enraged, enraptured, expectant, surprised, quizzical, terrified, alarmed, despondent, resigned, bewildered, astounded, satisfied, unsatisfied,  excited, curious, anxious…

2. After you eat, choose one of the emotions from the bag.

3. Using only leftover food and other items on the table, create a face that shows the randomly selected emotion.

4. Take a photo so you can share the results, since this will be a purely temporary creation.

By Noah Scalin.

Bonus: If you do this at a restaurant, consider leaving the face as a surprise for the server. If you’ve made a big mess in the process, definitely clean up as much as you can and leave a nice tip!

Option: Invite a group to do this project with you. It’s fun to see how different people work with similar materials. Keep the emotion secret and then take turns guessing what each face represents!

Alternative: Instead of emotions, write out a list of animals or objects and use them instead.

Be sure to share the results if you give this a try! And definitely stop by Make Something 365 to find a ton of inspiring projects, as well as advice on getting unstuck from other creative professionals.

Day 301- Handmade Holidays

26 Dec

This holiday season I managed to make a few handmade gifts.  I generally like to make quite a few, but with all the busyness of life, I settled with these three.

First, a request from my boss.

I made her this scarf for her b-day:

She loved it so much, that she wanted one in her favorite color, red!  So, this is what I created for her for the holidays:

Secondly, Alica Ryan hinted at wanting a scarf that looks like this:

So, I made her this:

Lastly, each year my family does a handmade Secret Santa.  From the hat I pulled my Step-dad’s name and made him infused vodkas!  Yum!

Infused liquors from left to right- 1) Strawberries and lemon zest and slices, 2) basil and lime zest and slices, 3) peaches and cloves (Cloudy.  Not a very pretty picture, but looks delicious), 4) jalapeno and cilantro.

So much fun and easy to make!

Happy Holidays!

Day 251- How to: Knit

6 Nov

Many people have been asking me for knitting lessons lately.  However, I have been so busy with school and work lately that I haven’t even toughed my own knitting for a month now, let alone teach others.  I so promise to get a knitting lesson/party together soon, for those of you who have asked me.  In the meantime, here is a great website by Wool and the Gang with tons of great knitting tutorials.

First, start with the cast on:


Then start with a basic knit stitch:


I do both my cast on and knit stitches differently than in this video, but if you just wan’t wait to get started, these videos should get you going!

Happy knitting!  Respect the process!

Day 250- How To: Push It

5 Nov

For the past three years in a row, Alica Ryan (my accomplice in this 365 project), and I have dressed up for Halloween together!  Now she is a married woman, which means there will probably be less of these Halloween dress-up parties for the two of us.  Therefore, this year we went out with a bang and dressed up as…..

….wait for it…..

Salt n’ Pepa!

OOOO Baby baby, b-b-b- baby.

We partly chose Salt n’ Pepa for our Halloween costumes because Salt n’ Pepa are just awesome, and partly because I was able to find a tutorial on how to make the Salt n’ Pepa jackets from the Push it video!!  Please take a minute to watch the video.  You WILL thank me later.

Here is the fabulous and incredibly creative tutorial for these jackets.  This tutorial and re-creation of the jackets was made by “ms.sad” (who also happens to be from Seattle!).  She is a self-proclaimed “craft o’ nista,” which is a well earned title after you read this tutorial and her blog about all things crafts.

While I love this tutorial, there are a few notes I would like to share in my experience of creating these jackets:

Supplies: the materials listed on the original tutorial are not very specific.  So, to be clear her is a list of things you will need in order to make 2 of the Salt n’ Pepa jackets:

  1. 2 White jackets– I could not find puffer jackets, so I just bought white jackets from Danskin (Cotton/Polyester/Spandex blend).
  2. Fabric paint– The tutorial doesn’t give exact amounts of paint to buy, so I ended up buying way to much, which was a little sad because fabric paint is quite pricey.  Who knew?  But I was able to return what I didn’t use!  So, for 2 jackets, you will need a total of 1 4oz. bottle of Red, 1 4oz bottle of Green, 1 4oz bottle of black, and 3 4oz bottles of yellow.  Use sparingly.  It take about 4 hours for the paint to dry, so I suggest you cover what you can, let it dry, and then touch up where it needs it.  This way you will use minimal paint and save some money.
  3. 2-3 Sponge brushes- Small-Medium size is best.  The larger brush was very difficult to work with.
  4. One bottle of Slick Dimensional Paint by “Tulip” in black (as described in tutorial).
  5. Felt– The tutorial did not give exact amounts, so I just bought a yard in each color, white, black, red, and green.  However, I ended up having WAY too much.  So try maybe a half a yard for each color.
  6. One bottle of Clear Gel Tacky Glue (as described in tutorial).
  7. Sharp scissors– that felt is damn hard to cut without good scissors.
  8. Paper– this will be used to make the stencils as described in the tutorial.
  9. Blue painting tape- This is not mentioned in the tutorial, but it was the only way I could think to get straight lines….and it worked wonders.
  10. Garbage bags– I used these as a mat to paint on, as well as placed inside the jacket so the paint would not seep through to the other side.
  11. Ruler– for measuring, duh.

That should do it.

Tips about the process:

  1. This jacket is not as easy at it looks….DO NOT BE DECEIVED.  Much blood, sweat, and tears was put into this.  I am only thankful that I started very early, because it took FOREVER!  Give yourself at least a month.
  2. Surprisingly, the hardest part is actually the painting.  The paint does not glide like regular paint because you are painting fabric, which is bendy and difficult to work with.  Use the blue tape to help you make straight lines.
  3. The tutorial says to paint the front side, let it dry for 24 hours, and then paint the back side.  I did not have that kind of ease at all.  It took me many many days to paint the jackets because you have to paint each part in sections.  Start with the yellow paint, which is the largest part of the jacket, then move on to the details with the red, black, and yellow.  I would save the sleeves for last, as they are quite difficult.  Give yourself at least 7 days to paint. Take a piece of paper and fold it in half longwise.
  4. Elbow Patches (the most difficult part):
    1. Fold a piece of paper, longwise.
    2. Open it back up so you can see the crease in the center.
    3. Use your ruler to measure out approximately 5 inches wide and 9 inched long, depending on how large your jacket is you may want to increase that to 6 inches wide and 10 inches long.
    4. Round the edges.
    5. Cut out.
    6. Using blue tape and a lot of patience, use this stencil as a guide to place the blue tape.
  5. Take a look at these pics to see how my painting process went:


The stencils are pretty self-explanatory, just follow the tutorial as best you can, and have fun with it.

Here is our final product:

Oh, and if you are feeling extra creative, then follow this blog for matching rasta nails!

Day 233- How To: Robot Legs

19 Oct

Remember my Robot Heads tutorial???

Well….. I just found a tutorial on the etsy blog for robot legs!

AND just in time for Halloween!  Combine my robot heads tutorial with this robot legs tutorial and you got yourself a great, handmade Halloween costume!

Oh I just LOVE robots!

Day 232- Leave a message at the beep

18 Oct

Living in the present moment is a difficult idea to grasp.  We are always thinking of the past and/or future, but how often do you take the time to just sit in one moment and just be, second by second, not thinking about what happened the moment before or what will happen the moment after?  Even if you are able to comprehend this concept, actually being able to do it is a whole other feat, one that takes great dedication and strength.  Try it out for a minute and see how it feels.  Then try this mission on for size:

Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s newest mission is to leave a message describing your current state….an “inner/outer snapshot.”  All you have to do is call 480-AMY KR-11 and share your present experience.  Amy will then take all these messages and compile them into a larger audio track.  The sole purpose of this mission?…..”to preserve a brief moment in time.”

Good luck!