How to : Cultivate a Creative Life

If you like this post, you may want to read Sarah’s post on how to Cultivate a Life of Travel, but be warned that you’ll have the sudden urge to buy a plane ticket or two!

We’re coming up on a year of living in our house, and I’m still organizing things. Unfortunately (for me) one of the last places to get some special treatment has been my office, but I just recently spent a couple of days unpacking the final boxes and during the process I thought about the things I do around the house to encourage creativity (mine, the boys’, and visitors).

Sarah and I grew up in a house that encouraged creativity in all aspects of life, and I’m working to do the same now, whether it’s trying a new recipe, playing musical instruments, working in the garden, knitting or sewing. So even if you aren’t “crafty”, I hope you’ll find some useful advice in this post.

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Make Time

I know that there are only 24 hours in a day, and there may be moments when you are really pressed for time, but it may also be the case that you just have to reprioritize.

I read this article a few weeks ago and have been inspired ever since. The author talks about how he made a concerted effort to put away technology (think email, social media sites, etc.) and instead picked up a book. The end result was that he started reading more books and in the process actually felt less busy. I think the same can be true for crafting. Imagine if you just replaced the hours and minutes spent on pinterest with creative endeavors?!

Of course, I’m the first to admit that crafting and some technology is not mutually exclusive ~ one of my favorite times to knit is while watching Netflix!

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I also find that one secret to making time is keeping a project with me at all times so that I can work on it during random moments, like the doctor’s office waiting room, on the playground when the boys are happily occupied, etc.

Keep Your Supplies Visible

This tip has the dual purpose of both providing inspiration and making it easy to start a project. I keep my camera in a handy (and safe) spot so that it’s easy to grab when walking out the door for a hike. It’s easy to pick up the violin or ukulele if it’s just hanging on the wall.¬†Just seeing a big pile of yarn in the craft room or jars of ingredients in the kitchen makes me want to do something creative. It also makes it easy to see exactly what I have and know what I may need if I’m going to start something new.

Of course, if your supplies are out in the open, there’s an added pressure to keep everything clean and orderly, but that’s not such a bad thing.

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Get Organized

If you get the urge to start a project, it’s key that your supplies are easy to find. You’ll waste less time digging through materials and more time actually doing. It also makes it easy to help visitors get craft. When Sarah’s in town and wants to work on a project, I can easily direct her to the drawer of glue, canister of googly eyes, and the safety scissors for the anxious two-year-old that’s going to help her make that pinatta.

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Make a List

Sometimes the biggest impediment is indecision. This is especially the case if I turn to my Pinterest boards – there are so many possible ideas on there, but which to choose?!

To overcome this problem, I like to keep a list tacked to the office wall with project ideas. They may be related to the house (make a wall hanging), future gifts (eye pillows for everyone!), or just for fun (knit a new sweater), but the key is that I have the idea and I have the supplies ready. Then the next time I find myself with unexpected free time, I can can look at that list, quickly pick a project and get started!

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Take a Class or Join a Group

Classes and groups have overlapping and unique benefits (who needs a Venn diagram?). Both are great for motivating you to get started. There’s nothing like a room full of people with similar interests to encourage projects, to be ready and willing to share ideas, and to be able to answer questions if you need help.

Classes are useful for learning something new and having the opportunity to speak to an expert. Since coming to Boulder, I’ve take a few classes at the local Apothecary on a wide range of topics from chocolate making to lip balms. I’ve made both in the past, but this was a great way to learn some of the finer points of both crafts. It was also a nice way to learn more about the many ingredients I could use for both and hear about where recipes are flexible and where you have to follow them to a T, something you don’t pick up by just following a recipe in a book or online. There’s nothing like being armed with new information to get you excited to create something.

Groups provide a dedicated time to create and also regular encouragement to keep going and finish a project. I’ve been in both established groups and in ones I’ve started by inviting a few friends to my house that all wanted to learn to knit. I just recently joined a cookbook club, and even thinking about the club’s next meeting gets me so excited about cooking. In addition to providing motivation, clubs are a place get to know other people with similar interests but at different ages, backgrounds, stages of life. A group, just like the creative endeavor itself, can really make your life richer.

And don’t forget the value of lessons! Even if you know how to play the piano, but want to pick it up again, a weekly lesson may be the motivation you need to practice regularly.¬†liveseasoned_spring2016_creativelife2

Avoid “Precious” Supplies

Sometimes we don’t start a project because we treat a supply as being too precious. What if I want that yarn/fabric/vanilla bean for a later project? The downside of that hoarding is that you may never use it, and then what good is it?

Use it and enjoy it! There will always be more. Plus, you don’t want to be dampen a little one’s ambitions because you’re saving the supplies. Encourage them to treat supplies with care, but let them dig in and create!

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So those are my tips and tricks. What do you do to get your creative juices flowing? We would love to hear!

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