TODAY: Creative Ways To Heal A Broken Heart

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I recently went through a painful breakup with my boyfriend of five years. It was the longest relationship I’ve ever had and extremely heartbreaking to let go of and accept its end. Coming away from the relationship feeling more heartbroken and emotionally wounded than I’ve ever felt before has prompted me to really commit myself to the process of healing. I know that I don’t want to stay living in my past, thinking about “what might have been”. I want to accept all that’s happened, reflect on the lessons I’ve learned and look forward to the future. I want to heal my heart so that it can reopen fully to new relationships and discover deeper connections with others.

One of the first things I did after the shock of the breakup wore off was go to my local bookstore and pick up a copy of the book, How to Survive the Loss of a Love. I stared at the relationship self help aisle for a long time, overwhelmed by the amount of weird relationship books. I flipped through books like The Breakup Bible and others but decided I wasn’t really interested in reading stories about other people’s horrendous breakups. What I wanted was some simple words of encouragement and a flexible guide to help me through the healing process. Originally published back in 1976, How to Survive the Loss of a Love walks you through the stages of recovery from a loss which are: survival (shock/denial/numbness), healing (fear/anger/depression) and growth (understanding/acceptance/ moving on), and then goes through a sort of checklist with suggestions, reassurances, and resources.

Now that I’m in the healing stage of recovery, I’m learning more and more about what it actually means to heal. For me, it means giving myself time to mourn the loss. My instinct is to push away any feelings of sadness, pain, and anger. But pushing those emotions away for me means holding them in and I’ve learned the hard way what can happen to your body over time if you hold that kind of negativity inside. So instead I’m trying to be with my pain now. To really feel it and allow it to pass through me and be released rather than compartmentalized and ignored.

Creative Ways To Heal A Broken Heart

Being with my pain now has also made me learn to experience the loss differently. At first feeling the fear, anger, desolation and pain would completely overtake me and become too overwhelming to experience. So I’ve learned how to mentally step out of my feelings and simply be with them like I would a close friend, allowing the tears and emotions to flow but focusing on my body and breathing, and telling myself, “You’re OK”, “Everything is going to be OK”.

The ability to self soothe is an extremely valuable skill to have especially when recovering from a loss. Only you can heal yourself and knowing that you have the ability to calm and comfort yourself without having to rely on others is extremely important. You might find your friends and family becoming impatient with your healing process, so it’s important to be able to soothe yourself and stay on track in your healing process without relying on help from others.

Creative Ways To Heal A Broken Heart

There are lots of ways you can self soothe when healing from a loss. Here are some of my favorite creative activities that help to ground me, calm my nerves, and relax:

DIY: Watercolor Affirmation Cards #tutorial

Affirm Yourself.

Combating negative self-talk is so important when healing. We all have moments of feeling unloved, unloveable, fearing that we’ll forever be alone, and the pain will never end. Whenever negative thoughts like that start to creep in I make sure to acknowledge them and then counter them by telling myself, “I am loved and lovable”, “I will recover and things will get better”, “I will find new love”. Make your own cute affirmation cards to carry in your wallet or purse and post in little places around your home and workspace to remind you to think positively.

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Art Journaling.

Express your feelings through Art Journaling or try Soul Collage. Art journaling has been a favorite activity of mine since high school. These days I turn to my art journal whenever I feel like I need to reconnect with my true self. Allowing my intuition to cut, paste, paint, draw, and write helps me to process my emotions and release them into the pages. When working in my art journal I try not to judge or worry about what my finished pages will look like. The focus for me has always been on  the process so instead I draw my attention to color and shape, to my paint or scissors and let my intuition guide me.

Creative Ways To Heal A Broken Heart

Coloring Books.

Adult coloring books are all the rage right now and studies have even shown that coloring is like a form of meditation. So play some soothing tunes, get out your box of markers and colored pencils and spend an evening coloring (and sipping a glass of wine).

Cleanse your space.

Clearing out my closet and sorting through and getting rid of stuff was one of the first things I did after my breakup. I rearranged my entire living room and redecorated my bedroom so that my space felt like the “new me”. I also recommend smudging your space to help get rid of any lingering negative energies that might be stagnant in your house. If you’re curious to know more about the art of smudging, check out this article I wrote for Molly Muriel.

DIY: Jersey Macrame Hanging Planter #craft #home #decor

Get a new houseplant.

After I finished cleansing my space, I shopped for a few new houseplants to give my home some fresh energy. Being close to nature is extremely cathartic for the body, mind and spirit. Bringing nature into your home is an easy way to get creative too with decorative planters and arrangements. Check out a few things I’ve made recently like a Macrame Plant Hanger and Mini Crystal + Succulent Garden.

DIY: Culinary Herb Wreath

Start an herb garden.

Herb gardening is another new hobby of mine and I love that it can be done both indoors and outdoors. Not only has watering and caring for my herb garden become a relaxing part of my daily routine, I also have have fun finding creative ways to harvest the herbs both in the kitchen and in the craft studio. A few of my most recent projects were making an Herb Wreath and also a batch of Legendary Four Thieves Vinegar

DIY: Mini Crystal Succulent Garden

Crystal Healing.

This might sound a little too woo-woo for some of you, but I’ve found having a few healing stones and crystals to be extremely soothing. Each stone has a metaphysical quality that relates to the chakras and a special vibration or resonance that gives them the ability to restore stability and balance the body’s energy systems. I recently went to my local rock shop and treated myself to a handful of crystals specifically for healing the heart chakra. I like to choose one stone to carry with me and draw my attention to it throughout the day. You can also place a few stones near your bed or even under your pillow when you go to sleep at night.

Use Color To Uplift Your Spirit.

Color can have a big impact on our general mood. Uplift your spirit by surrounding yourself in cheerful colors through the clothes you wear, the food you eat, the room you spend most of your time in, etc. Red, orange, yellow and pastel colors are all in the “up” spectrum of colors. Green is also a great choice because it is soothing and promotes healing and growth.

A few more suggestions:

  • Keep a journal. If you find yourself stewing in pain or anger or any sort of negative emotion, write it all down in your journal. This can help to get things out of your mind, set them in order and release them.
  • Pamper yourself. If you have a broken leg or are hospitalized, friends and family bring you flowers, send baskets of fruit, and you get to lie in bed all day reading and watching TV. In short, you are pampered. If you have a broken heart, that’s not the case. You are still expected to fulfill your obligations and show up for work with the same energy and efficiency you normally have. So what do you do when the world does not accept the fact that emotional pain not only hurts, but can be debilitating? Pamper yourself! Take a hot bath, get a massage, buy yourself a beautiful new book or magazine, treat yourself to crazy delicious chocolate fudge ice cream, buy yourself a bouquet of flowers.
  • Make plans. Sometimes there’s nothing worse than sitting at home by yourself on a Saturday night. So call up your friends and/or family. Reconnect with people you’ve lost touch with and plan to do something fun together.
  • Let yourself heal fully. If you can, don’t take on any new responsibilities. Don’t get involved in an all-consuming passionate relationship or start any big projects for a while. Let your healing process run its course. Just follow your daily routine and let yourself heal.

 

TODAY: Be Inspired, Not Intimidated.


I’ve been kind of at odds with my work lately, and I’ve been drowning myself in busy work to keep from having to address the elephant in the room- What do I do next? I’ve spent the weeks since the store closed doing anything but the things I need to further my art, and the longer I waited the harder it became to pick up a pencil again. Somehow in that time I became more and more discouraged by the truly awesome work I saw all around me, and I’ve decided it’s time to do something about it.

The internet is an amazing thing for an artist. Snap your fingers (or ask Google) and you have access to a million inspirations and a trillion resources. (Also a gazillion distractions, but that’s beside the point.) We don’t even have to go to a library or a museum to be exposed to new work or new concepts; it’s just there, in our Facebook feed.

With such luxury, it seems like our possibilities for inspiration are endless, and yet all these amazing things can be just as intimidating as they are stimulating. How can you ever draw that well? Why can’t you come up with the perfect idea? Why should you spend hours on something that they can do without even a sketch?

Thus begins the cycle of stagnation: 1: Get discouraged, 2: Can’t work, 3: Don’t get better at what you do (and don’t get to enjoy the process), 4: Spend more time on the internet looking at “inspiration”…. Rinse and repeat.

So, lets turn this whole thing on its head, and figure out how to see inspiration as just that.

1: Acknowledge talent, and move on.

Even is your first defensive instinct is (like mine) to pick apart the work of other artists, try to instead see what is causing you to react. It’s likely envy, and that’s just silly. There isn’t a finite amount of talent to go around.
If someone is awesome, let them be awesome. Admire what they do, and that they do it well. Move on.

2: Realize that what you like in your work does not have to be what you love in someone else’s.

I love looking at realistic art. I love looking at landscapes that seem to miraculously appear from patches of paint. I like mosaics built from found trash that take on a whole new life in their new format. I have no intention of doing any of those things. I am never happy trying to be realistic. I like lines, not plains; and when it comes down to it, I really just want to make functional art.
You’re no less an artist because you do something differently- obviously art is all about being different. You can be an artist in the kitchen, an organizing savant, an expert at standing on one foot while you knit– and all the while you can love the things you don’t do. Maybe you can love them more because you DON’T do them.

3: Spend a little time looking at things outside of your comfort zone.

I have a long list of blogs in my feed reader and I almost always read the web comics and interior design blogs first. Now, as a dedicated blog contributor I should probably be looking at things that are a little closer to home- but I get inspired by things that are outside of my experience.
You can find inspiration anywhere. In a history book that talks about the mysterious ins and outs of the past. In a mystery novel that lets you see out the eyes of someone else. In a garden reference that talks about permaculture and the growth of magnificent living things. Even in a cute kitten video. (That one’s a little bit of a stretch, but if it feels good it can’t be all bad!)

4: Get away from it all.

If you are seeing too much, close your eyes for a while. Unplug from the constant stream of visual information and take a deep breath. It’s okay. The internet is forever, and you can always go back and see things later. When you’re ready.

5: See your work for what it really is.

I don’t know everything, but I suspect that we mainly make because we are trying to express ourselves. We are trying to show everyone else how we see the world, trying to highlight and solve a problem, trying to learn. So, if someone else is doing that differently, it’s alright.
I am who I am, and you are who you are, and I like it that way.

TODAY: It’s time to take a break.

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The sun has been visiting, the plants are growing, and there’s change in the air.

If you know anything about my other venture, So There, you know that in a couple of weeks I’ll be closing our current brick-and-mortar shop. It’s been a whirlwind couple of years and I have big plans for the future; but right now all I want to do is spend a month getting to know myself again and spending quality time with my garden, my friends, and my kitties. The past two years I’ve been extremely guilty of “powering through” things.  I kept working through the loss of my grandfather, father, cat-friend, and through illness, injuries, and disappointments. I feel like this transitional time is the perfect chance to give myself time to work through everything.

It’s time to think and play.

I think as artists (professional and casual) we have a tendency to try to keep working, when what we should be doing is giving ourselves some time to process, think, and breathe. We can’t grow as people or as artists if we don’t take a moment to change our patterns and look at ourselves and our lives from a different viewpoint.
But we have to give ourselves permission to pause. Set down the knitting needles and paintbrushes, stop the plans and the sketches, and just be present. Breathe.
While it’s true that our work is powered by our emotions and experiences, we can’t fully process those experience without time and work. It makes sense to take regular breaks to improve your life and your art. It makes even more sense to take those breaks before you absolutely. have. to.

There’s a reason for those million clichés about taking a break.

With that in mind, Rachel and I have given ourselves permission to let the blog pause from time-to-time, and this start of summer is a wonderful time. We’ll be back and bushy-tailed in July with a brand-new Craft Challenge and lots of new ideas. It’s unlikely we can go totally cold-turkey, so make sure to keep an eye on our twitter and instagram feeds (#adventuresinmaking) for the occasional transmission and peeks into our June break.

 

See you soon!

TODAY: The Magic is in the Making


Every month we send handmade badges to our favorite DIY Challenge entries. Rachel has made most of them, because she’s a whiz, and I was too scared to attempt embroidery. When I finally sat down to try* I found myself enjoying the process, and realized that the little imperfections were just fine. They were evidence of my process, and the process is everything.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the little monsters that keep us from creating. The doubt that we feel about our talent and ability, the fear we have that what we make will be judged by others, the comparisons we make to those who we feel are more talented.

Well, those are my little monsters. They make it difficult for me to call myself an artist, even when people specifically ask me if I am. Even when I’m working on rearranging my studio to work better for the way I make things.

But here’s the thing. When I take a step back from my own insecurities I see that for me the value of art isn’t in the product; and it definitely isn’t in the value that someone else places on the product. All the value and happiness is in the making.

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When I’m making something, I get to do all my favorite things. I solve problems, like what tools to use to get the result I want. I teach my hands to move in new ways. I explore the interaction of materials- the way certain paints soak into wood, the way paper is cut by different blades, the way it curls. I train my eyes to see the world differently, to take items out of context, to turn a stick into a story. I play with the sound of words in my head, the picture they can paint with a little touch of color.

So what if all that beauty in my head and in the world turns into something that no one understands but me? Who cares if the end product is less “art” and more evidence of exploration? The magic is the way I feel when I’m working.

What do you think? What part of making brings you the most joy?

 

*I used a lot of the techniques from Rachel’s Alphabet Hoop Art tutorial, craft felt, embroidery floss, and good ol’ creative drive.

TODAY: Have a Happy Little Valentine’s Day!

love2680Put your heart into doing something crafty today, and be sure to snap a picture and share it with us!

february-diy-challengeSend us photos of your handmade valentines, crafts and treats! Hearts are the theme for this month’s DIY Challenge and we invite you to join in the fun. Submit your project for a chance to win a special award and handmade felt badge! The last day to submit is February 26th. We’ll showcase everyone’s projects on February 27th. Happy crafting! ♥

TODAY: Resolutions for a Creative 2015

I’m not usually one for New Years Resolutions, because I feel like the best resolutions are the ones you come up with throughout the year- the little pep-talks you have to encourage yourself to look at challenges as possibilities.

But if there’s a good time to put all those thoughts together into one big life plan, New Years may be it. So here’s a list of my goals.

Keep Moving Forward

Sometimes it is so much easier to stand still and let the world settle around me. It’s easier to watch TV than try out  new tools. It easier to be disappointed with the things you’ve already done than be excited about the things you’re going to do next. But if you stagnate and let life become a series of routines then you will stop seeing the possibilities to grow and explore.

So I’m going to let go of 2014. I’ll remember the good, and sweep away the bad. It’s a new year after all.

Do It Quick and Cheap First

Sometimes the ideas come at me in droves, and it’s tempting to go out and buy every tool or supply I could possibly need. But then I’ve invested money and time in a project that might or might not work out. So I’m going to try to do things on a small scale first. Low pressure and low investment to judge how much enjoyment I’ll get out of a project before I take a bigger leap.

Look for Challenges

To keep the ideas from drying up, I’m going to seek out challenges and chances to let my brain run. I’ll keep looking at my trash as a source of art supplies, and seek outside inspiration. (If you’re looking for some help on the inspiration front- join our DIY Craft Challenge.) Rather than buying something, I’ll try to make it first.

Cork Robots. Definitely weird.

Cork Robots. Definitely weird.

Try something weird

I’m going to try to do more projects outside of my normal wheelhouse. I’ll use materials I’m less comfortable with, make things that are more whimsical than practical, and just generally try new things.

Cut Back the Pressure

The pressure to make something (especially to make something “good”) can get so overwhelming that I get the maker’s version of writer’s block. So this year I’m going to practice what I preach and give myself a break whenever I feel like I need it.

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Have More Craft Couseling Sessions

Also known as a PARTY. I’m going to try to have more craft parties with my friends, and do all sorts of things I might not do otherwise. I love being surrounded by other people with the drive to make stuff. (Our craft parties take all different forms, but my favorite have always been the ones where everyone brings something to work on, and shares with the group. Like nail polishin’.)

Don’t be a Craft Hoarder

I love to collect tools and supplies– and that can be a problem when my collections get overwhelming. So this year, I’m going to use minimalism as an inspiration to make more (and make faster.) If I don’t use something in a reasonable amount of time, I’m going to get rid of it. That way I’ve either done something, or I have space to put the next thing I DO make. (Sound familiar?)

Look at Everything

I get overwhelmed by what’s going on in my life. (If I say “I’m just so busy” one more time…) Sometimes that means I start living a more internal life, and stop noticing the beautiful things around me. It’s easier, but it’s not sustainable. This year I want to do more looking. Looking at the weird plants in my yard, looking at the work of artists and crafters– just generally seeing more.

Pay it Forward

Finally, I want to keep building a creative community that embraces our need to make, build, problem solve, prettify… you get the drift. I want to help everyone see the creativity in their lives, and chase away the little voice that says “you can’t do it”. (Because you can. I know it.)

 

I’m sure I’ll have a million other little rules for myself this year, but I think this is a good start.
What are your plans for 2015?

 

TODAY: Have yourself a merry little

IMG_5240We’ve been hard at work recharging our creative batteries, but wanted to wish you and yours a very happy holiday! Remember to take a minute to appreciate the creativity in everything you do– from the dinner you cook, to the tree you decorate, to your reaction to those gifts (think Jazz Hands.)

When you’re done with that, gather the people you love and enter our DIY Craft Challenge! Share the craft, and keep on adventuring.

 

TODAY: Begins A Winter Slowdown

Winter Slowdown #24daysofpresence

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been feeling the strain and stress of ‘the holiday hustle’. A recent move from my home of four years added to chronic pain management and family troubles has ensured nothing goes as smoothly as it should. With all the packing, unpacking, doctors, and the effects of the winter blues, it’s been hard to feel the magic and joy this holiday season. (All I want is to stay in bed and hide from the world!)

Well this week I realized that I need to make a conscious change and allow myself time for the things I need most: rest, healing, spending time with friends, and working on self-nourishing projects that I haven’t made time for (like working in my art journal, drawing, and crafting with friends). No more pushing through stress and pain to keep up with the busy-ness of the season. It’s time to join the Winter Slowdown hosted by Oh My! Handmade Goodness.

So we’re going to slow. things. down. for a couple of weeks…

Instead of our regular posts and social media-ing, we’ll be posting just once or twice a week now through December 31st. But don’t worry we’ll still be posting the results of our December DIY Challenge on the 29th and we’ll be back in January to show you all the things we’ve been up to.

We’d love for you to join us in spending time on the things that are really important. More time with family and friends, appreciating the things we have, and having fun.