Being Creative When You're Not an Artist

We currently have Homeland and Hugo checked out from the library. Hawk has made good use of the show, but I haven't made much of the movie because I can't stay in one place long enough to watch anything other than the occassional new episode of Once. The same goes for Ace. When I put Poppy down for her morning nap I need to keep his 27-month-old curiosity contained, so I usually put on an episode of Mighty Machines or Sesame Street and close him in his room. It isn't long before I hear puzzles dumping, trucks ramming, and even singing.

Would you consider yourself to be a creative person? I'm guessing most people would say no because, like me, you haven't published/printed/painted something someone else will pay to have. I'm always telling people that I'm not creative, I'm just a good imitator; I can see something and bring it into my own life, albeit at a lesser degree of quality, but I can't bring something out of nothing. And then I read this:

and my friend's comment, that no one can create in a vacuum and therefore we are all imitators to some degree, became more encouraging.

Since turning 33 last week (I love my thirties!!!), I've learned something very valuable about what makes me happy: I need to be creative most days of the week.

Which leads me to this important lesson:

Isn't that brilliant? I think we fail to try new things because we think they'll fail, but we're left feeling as though we've already failed because we've never pursued it. At least that's how it is for me at the end of the day. And Hawk plays 5+ instruments but believes he's terrible at all of them because he doesn't feel comfortable being creative---he just practices pieces that already exist.

There are few things I believe I must instill/cultivate in every one of our children, and being creative is one. I daydream about our playspaces, different art projects, ways for them to become more tactile, ways for them to experience music, to be silly, spontaneous, and imaginative. And the best way for me to do that is, of course, to model it in my own life.

So the last year I've been checking out more library books to get a starting point. I tend to gravitate toward those that I can apply to life with kids simply because it's efficient and fun for us to do together. The most recent example is The Artful Parent. It's challenging me to try new creative acts in my own life. I've just preordered a copy of her first book because with a pre-order comes a 109-page Spring activities ebook for free!

And while these aren't works of art, they are really bringing joy to my life:

  • I began a sewing class at our rec department (for the very beginner). I sewed a zippered case together. This is unbelievable. 
  • I put together a 300 piece puzzle and then mounted it as artwork.
  • I made pom poms and tissue garland for Poppy's first birthday. Way better than Martha.
  • I edited, pro printed, and framed a photo I took this past summer of Ace's outside painting supplies.
  • I edited*, pro printed, and framed a few photos I've taken of the kids the past year.
  • I painted chalkboards where I want them and where we will use them, and every time I see them I get excited and happy!
  • I made my own chalk paint (not chalkboard paint) and I'm in the process of painting Ace's future big boy bed.
  • I'm making a ribbon canopy over Poppy's crib.
  • I made book shelves I hope to hang in the kids rooms this week.
  • I researched some photos and tutorials about turning ideas into paint-by-numbers because I really want a cool mural in the blue bedroom!
None of these will make me money. None will make me famous. Heck, would most people even think these are that creative? Probably not, but they are all new to me.

And it sure feels good to try things out. And I'm a better woman when I can try my hand at a few new things that weren't there before.

What about you? Done anything creative lately? My friend, Ellen, is making a rag rug. How cool is that?


If you liked this post, check out this one.

*I use Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop but I've found Fotoflexer, a free online resource, is just as good for basic edits.

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