The DIY Craft Challenge is back!

It’s a little late, but we want to wish you all a bright and happy 2016! 2015 was a big year for us, full of laughs and tears both personally and professionally.

After taking a bit of a hiatus, we’re excited to get back to Adventures-In-Making and are making a few changes to push the focus to what we’re really passionate about… getting YOU involved! Tutorials are great, but our goal has always been to make Adventures-in-Making about a community of people embracing opportunities for creativity in their own lives. We want to inspire you, and to have you inspire us!

New Year, New Adventures…

Today we are reintroducing our Monthly DIY Craft Challenge! For those of you who have participated in the past, we welcome you back for more fun! And for anyone new to our website, we invite you to look through our archives, check out past DIY Challenges and stay tuned for the new projects we have in store this week. Each month we choose a new theme to explore from the many shapes, mediums, and subjects that surround us. We invite you to join in the fun and share your own creations with us.

So, What’s New?

Like I said we are changing things up this year! So for the first week of each month we will share projects and posts to inspire you to a new creation, or to share an old one. After week 1, you can find us on social media where we’ll be sharing some of our favorite theme-related projects from both our archives and from around the web. Anyone can submit a project thru the last week of the month (we’ll give you a deadline reminder). Then we’ll do a final round-up post of everyone’s submissions on the last day of the month!

We’re really excited to relaunch our DIY Craft Challenges (especially after all the requests from you guys!) and to let the themes inspire us all to learn and try new things. We hope you’ll join us and help make the A-I-M community a positive force for creativity.

Now without further ado…

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DIY Craft Challenge: Stitches & Threads

Inspiration Sources:

1. Scrappy Applique Embroidery by Jessica Sower
2. Pea Pod Pin Cushion (Source Unknown)
3. Succulent Embroidery by MoonriseWhims
4. Empire Yarn by Jill Draper
5. Embroidered Constellations by Jessica Marquez of Miniature Rhino
6. Embroidery Alphabet by Jessica Marquez of Miniature Rhino
7. Embroidered Gift Tag by About The Nice Things
8. Clothespin Wrap Dolls by This Heart of Mine
9. Cat Embroidery by Bugambilö
10. Many Ways To Sew A Button by The Button Blog
11. I Heart Portland by JessB
12. Crochet Granny Squares by The Writing Tree

FEBRUARY DIY CRAFT CHALLENGE: STITCHES & THREADS

We’re kicking things off with our first theme of 2016 – Stitches & Threads! So get our your favorite sewing supplies and make something new. Don’t know how to sew? Not to worry. Challenge yourself this month and see what you can make with your favorite color yarn or embroidery floss. Experiment with making stitches on paper, learn a few simple embroidery stitches or draw something that is ‘stitch’ inspired. There are no limits to this theme! See where it takes you and most of all, have fun!

HOW TO ENTER

Click here for details on how to enter your project to the DIY Challenge! Don’t forget to share your projects with everyone on Instagram using #diycraftchallenge.

The challenge officially begins today, February 1st and ends on February 27th, 2016. We will post a roundup of everyone’s projects on February 29th. Have fun and happy crafting!

Need more inspiration?

Take a look out our Pinterest board for more stitch inspired project ideas.

BOOK REVIEW: Make It Mighty Ugly by Kim Werker

Book Review: Make It Mighty Ugly by Kim Piper Werker #creativity #read
I’ll admit I’m not a huge reader. I find it difficult to concentrate on words (where’s the pictures?) and I read rather slowly, which usually means I never finish a book I start. I stole Alison’s copy of Make It Mighty Ugly months ago and set it on my bookshelf intending to sit down and read it. Months went by and I still hadn’t picked it up.

At the end of February, I packed up and left for Central America and knew that the month long vacation I had ahead of me would be the perfect time to finally read Mighty Ugly. So with nothing to do but lie in a hammock with a rum punch and a good book, I started reading.

Make It Mighty Ugly is A Handbook For Vanquishing Creative Demons. Author Kim Piper Werker shares personal stories from her own experiences, offers advice from other successful creatives, and provides tools and exercises to overcome what she calls the dark side of creativity, ie. Our creative demons. We all have creative demons to face. Kim discusses the most common ‘demons’ like fear of failure, self-doubt, perfectionism and block. Then she offers exercises and suggestions on how to make friends with and overcome them.

Book Review: Make It Mighty Ugly by Kim Piper Werker #creativity #read

The title, Make It Mighty Ugly, comes from her desire to make ugly things on purpose. She does this as a way to overcome her fear of making something ugly unintentionally. I’m sure we all can relate to the feeling of worrying about what other people will think about the things we make. By setting out to make something ‘ugly’ we are able to free ourselves from the pressure of what the product or end result looks like. It instead allows us to focus on the process – which in my opinion (and Alison’s) is the best part of making anything.

Alison and I have had many discussions about how frustrating it is to hear people say “I’m not creative” because it’s just not true! As children we are born with the gift of creativity and imagination. What happens to a lot of people is that someone at some point tells them that something they created was bad or stupid and that they have no creative talent. What a horrible thing to tell someone, especially a child! Our creativity is what makes us truly unique individuals and expressing our creativity is so important for personal development.

I have been haunted by my own creative demons for years, particularly self-doubt and fear of failure. Years ago back when I had just begun my own creative business, Camp Smartypants, at a time when I had just discovered my creative voice and artistic style, someone close to me lashed out and accused me of being a fraud. I was utterly crushed. And what’s worse is that a part of me believed that she was right. Ever since then I’ve had that demon sitting in the dark part of my thoughts reminding me that no matter what I do or try to create, I am nothing but a big fat fraud.

Book Review: Make It Mighty Ugly by Kim Piper Werker #creativity #read

Reading Make It Might Ugly was such a comfort, learning that I’m not alone in combating creative demons. Until I read Kim’s book, I never really considered that there are ways of ‘making friends’ with and overcoming them either. I had just accepted that they were there to stay, sitting in the shadows of my brain, haunting me.

The biggest thing I learned from Make It Mighty Ugly is that you CAN quiet those mean voices inside your head. You know the ones, telling you how stupid you are and that your creative ambitions will never amount to anything. Creative demons don’t have to rule over you. We all have the ability to tell them to sit down and SHUT UP. All you need is the courage to acknowledge them and with the help of Make It Mighty Ugly you can face them head on. And the next time they start to chime in with their ugly negativity, you’ll be ready to take them down in a constructive, and creative way.

You can get your very own signed copy of the book on Kim’s website. It’s also available wherever books are sold so head to your local bookstore!

TODAY: Why don’t you take a break?

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When you make the decision to make your craft into your career (or a huge part of your life), you’ve entered into dangerous territory. Suddenly the thing that was fulfilling, expressive, and personal has become something that you have to think about from a practical angle. Instead of using the supplies you want, the time you want, and just being happy with the making of it all you have to consider profitability, sellability, and all the other “-abilities” I can make up.

Universally, artists feel the pressure to improve and evolve their work. There’s always something to adapt to make it a better representation of the creative magic within us. The real problem is that those changes come when you’re not looking. They can’t be forced (although they can be coerced.)

So, take a break. Reboot & let all the outside inspiration soak in.

Take a vacation.

I think a vacation can be anything you want, not just going to a new destination. One of the most restorative things about a trip is the break from our routine; so if you can’t get away, take a week to change things up.
• Cook dinner instead of take-out, or vice-versa.
• Play solitaire instead of watching tv.
• Sit under a tree with a book.
• Try weird outfits. Change up your hair. Put on some temporary tattoos…
• Put a radio in your bathroom.
• Get a new candle, and do everything by candle light.
• Have a 10 minute dance party every evening. (Force everyone to join in.)

Try new creative things.

• Play with medium outside of your wheelhouse. It doesn’t have to be expensive- I love doing a papier mâché project from time-to-time to break my routine; and that’s just trash! Cooking also counts.
• Take a class, listen to a lecture, or reach out to someone you admire. A different point of view can help shake things up.
• Use your other hand. No really. It’s hard and fun.
• Make something that solves a problem you’ve been having. I finally broke down and made my own doorstop, and even though it’s simple, it was different enough from my normal work to give me some ideas.

Give in.

• If you’re stuck on one thing, move on to something else. It doesn’t help to sit and stare at a blank canvas.
• Productive procrastination is OK. Really, I swear. You’re still getting something done– even if it’s not exactly the thing you need.
• Take a deep breath, and let the next wave of inspiration come at you.

What do you do when you’re in a creative rut?

 

TODAY: Let Creativity Flow

TODAY: Let Creativity Flow #inspiration
Sources left to right: 1. Collage (Laura Blythman) 2. Well Loved Quilt (Lola Nova) 3. Outdoor Gathering (Green Wedding Shoes) 4. Paint (Source Unknown) 5. Images of Spring (Unknown Source) 6. DIY Confetti Sticks (Best Friends For Frosting) 7. Pretty Girl (Design Love Fest)

I wanted to share a bit of eye candy with you all today! I collected these yummy images from around the web and I think they are oozing with color, creativity, and fun.

My 30th birthday is quickly approaching (this Sunday, August 3!), so I’m giving myself a little break this week to slow down and reconnect with my creative self. I have some methods and activities that I always turn to when I’m getting my creative juices flowing, and I thought I’d share them with you. It’s so important to foster our creativity, stay inspired, and allow ourselves to play– even when our busy schedules seem to get in the way.

Get Out That Art Journal

To me, fostering creativity means getting out my art journal supply kit without having a specific project in mind. I love opening up my art journal, flipping through my collage materials, and just following my intuition and allowing anything to happen. Before I know it, I instinctively choose a color, shape or image and begin filling pages. My mind relaxes and my hands and intuition do their work.

Craft With Friends

Sometimes when I’m feeling stressed, the one thing I need is a glass of wine, a few close friends and a simple craft project we can all do together. We can laugh, talk about what’s new, and pass around the hot glue gun and glitter.

Go Outside & Daydream

On the beautiful summer days, I love taking a walk to the park with a blanket, iPod, water and snacks, and maybe my sketchbook or a craft project. Sometimes all I need is a change of scenery to feel reconnected with my creative self. I relax, listen to my favorite song, enjoy the warm breeze and the birds chirping. I allow my mind to wander and daydream and jot down any thoughts or ideas that come to mind.

How do you reset your creativity?