Dry Spells Along The Lakeshore and 6 Steps To Get Through It

Wow, could I come up with a longer title? Probably.

Anywho…

It’s hard to believe we have droughts along the lakeshore. But it happens. The grass was beginning to brown and get crunchy. Farmers were running their irrigations. It was hot and dry. But finally the other day it rained all day long, so things perked up a bit. My point is droughts usually end at some point. As do creative dry spells. Though it may not feel like it.

All us creative types hit a dry spell every once once in a while. It can be quite a hard time. You’re truckin’ along, making art left and right and then, out of nowhere, zilch! Nothing. Drought City!

Wanting to create so badly, but feeling like you can not. Its maddening. For me, anyway. Suffice it to say my Mojo went on vacay and doesn’t seem to be returning.

So, what can I/we do when this happens? Behold! A list of 6 things to do to keep yourself sane during a dry spell.

1.Cry. That’s it. Just get it all out. A lot of our dry spells have to do with other things going on in our lives. That can lead to getting really frustrated because we can’t create anything worth while. Acknowledging what we’er feeling can really help.

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2. Get outside! Go for a walk in the woods. Go to the beach if you have one near you. Fresh air will do you a world of good. Mentally as well as physically. Just walk and be open to the sounds and sights and smells. If it doesn’t help you creatively, you’ll probably feel better emotionally.  Luckily I live in Michigan and there is no shortage of forests.


3. Peruse Pinterest. Yes, I know Pinterest can be a black hole in which a person could get sucked into very easily. I personally don’t mind this. hahaha

Instagram works for this too. Just follow the hashtag #artjournaling or something similar. These two platforms can help to spark my creativity.


4. Take a break from your normal form of  art. Do something completely different. Sew. Try indigo dying, eco printing, or my personal favorite – rust dying.


5. Number four leads me directly to number 5. Take a break completely from art. Read a book or two maybe. Here is my GoodReads list, if you’re interested. Listen to new music. I highly recommend Carolina Story Whatever you do, ignore that stack of laundry that needs to be folded, okay? Just set your art supplies aside for a while.

6. Number six, is the opposite of four and five. Create ugly art. I mean it. Just make a huge mess. Because sometimes the biggest messes have the most beautiful outcome.

 

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Not that my messes are anything near Jackson Pollock, but you get the idea. 😉

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As I am in the middle of a dry spell, I’m really hoping blogging about it well help me push though. I do feel it lifting ever-so-slightly. I see light at the end of the tunnel. A very, very long tunnel.

I hope this helps, or at least makes you chuckle a little. What are some of your go to methods for busting through a dry spell?

Maybe, to spark our creativity, this video I did for Roben-Marie Smith’s Design Team a while ago and just reposted it to my channel will help.

 


And to fnish out this post, here is some Carolina Story right here.

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Not Everything Needs to be Fantastic

Ugh, y’all. I’ve hit a bit of a slump. A metaphorical wall. A point where I just want to sleep and read and watch reruns of Law & Order. I totally ship Amanda and Carisi, by the way. Needless to say I haven’t felt like doing any painting/art journaling.

When I get like this I sometimes wish I didn’t feel anything. I think, to be numb, that’d be great. Of course that wouldn’t be good either. But sometimes…

I become really down on my life and my work and I get pretty fed up with myself. I wonder why am I like this? I have no reason to feel this way. So why do I?

It’s here that I need to remind myself that it’s okay to feel this way sometimes. It’s okay to take a time out. It’s okay to just read on a Sunday afternoon. It’s okay to not create anything for a few days. It’s okay to watch video after video of Bunny Meyer when you can’t sleep at night.

It’s important that we be gentle with ourselves, to give ourselves as much breathing room as we would someone else.  After all, we are sometimes hardest on ourselves.

But today, I began cleaning off my work table because in my “absence” it had become a catchall for other stuff. Like a bottle of concentrated liquid cleaner and my son’s allergy meds (don’t get those two mixed up!).

By taking that little step to clean off my desk, it made me want to get my hands painty. I ended up with lots of scraps that I didn’t want to toss. I might be a hoarder. I didn’t have any expectations on what it’d turn out like. And it’s a good thing, because it is kinda’ a hot mess. And that’s okay, not everything needs to be fantastic – in life and in art journaling.

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As you can see, my desk doesn’t stay clean for long.

I haphazardly glued down the scraps, covering them with Titanium White and different inks as I went along.

The point is not perfection, the point is to do something. To get the juices flowing again. Because having a hodge podge mess is better than nothing at all.

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And I think Spring is letting up, so Yay! Summer is a-comin’.

Now for the winner of the giveaway! Didi congrats! I sent you an email!! 🙂 Thanks for entering everyone. I still have some stamps and other fun stuff in my Etsy shop if you missed it.

And always, a little music to get you through.

Day Four! And The Post Where Technology Hates Me

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WELLLL yesterday I made an art journal page out of the mini rusty/tea dyed journal. Did I record it for today’s video? Nope. Totally forgot. So I tired again today and now the video editing program won’t work. I’m giving up for today. *sigh*

Anywho, these are the pages I made trying to make up for not videoing today’s video yesterday. (Yeah, its okay if you don’t understand what I just said.)

That is if I can get them to upload to flickr.  The universe is against me today.

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With these pages, alongside my scallop and scribbles and cloud stamps as well as the “inhale exhale” stamp, I did a little art journal gluebooking.

What is art journal gluebooking? Here is a video I did on it a while ago, but in short it’s just gluebooking and art journaling.  Using found images and words and “traditional” art journaling techniques.

I love using found images and words and combining them with paint and stencils and layers or whatever else I happen to find.

This is why art journaling is such a great outlet. There are no rules. You can do what you want, how you want to. Some people will try to instill rules (this is not the same as suggesting useful tips or tricks, I’m talking about hard and fast rules that they think you must abide by) to art journaling, but it’s really not necessary.

You do what you want in your journal! Life is full of rules. Have you noticed that? I’m sure you have. When I’m in my art journal though, anything goes. I’ve never been good at following rules anyway.

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Click here to watch my Art Journal Gluebooking video

But, I digress.

Tomorrow is the big day! The day the stamps go on sale! I’m so terrified excited! They will be available in my Etsy shop sometime after noon (EST).

 

 

 

So please come back tomorrow and check in. I’ll announce here and on my Instagram and various other social media outlets when they are listed and ready to go.  Also don’t forget to enter yesterday’s giveaway. And thank you all so much for all your kind words and thoughts about losing my dog. I miss her so much, but I know time will help lessen the pain. Until then…

See you all tomorrow!

 

On Being a Big Ol’ Ball of Anxiety – and a Huge Announcement

I always loved art, but never felt I was any good at it. The household I grew up in used any vulnerability I had against me, against anyone, really. IF it was noticed, I’d be teased mercilessly. So what little art making I did do, I kept it mostly to myself. Afterall, my ninth grade art teacher said I wasn’t good at art, because I couldn’t draw. She must know. She’s the educated one. *rolls eyes* Needless to say I didn’t do much art because of those external factors.

When I was a young mom, (ugh, I feel old saying things like ‘when I was a young mom’) I began scrapbooking. It was a fun and easy creative outlet. I couched it. Kept it simple and without much emotion or feelings displayed. I definitely didn’t do a whole lot of journaling alongside my pictures. Because, oh.my.gosh. what if someone saw it and made fun of it.

Art is very personal. Not that scrapbooking isn’t. I personally just kept my scrapbooking more generic I guess.  Art is a different monster all together.  Something everyone seems to have an opinion on.

The old me, the me from even a few years ago, would have never in a million years think she could create art. I mean, just who did I think I was? Someone special? Nooooo way, Mister.

In the few years since I began making art, even though I’ve worked hard, I still encounter this negative self talk. It’s buried so deeply in my psyche, it’s ingrained into my thought pattern. A side effect of growing up in a negative and abusive environment.

It’s no secret that a traumatic childhood can lead to mental health and emotional problems later in life.  Problems ranging anywhere from depression to drug use. It’s really quite sad how we carry all that baggage into adulthood, whether we realize it or not.

Anxiety seems to be my “emotional problem” of choice. Except it’s not a choice. 

Yes, I know. Everyone gets anxious. It’s normal – whatever “normal” means. Trust me when I say this is different kind of anxiety.

Anxiety is as unique as the prints on your fingertips. It’s different for everyone. For me, my anxiety feels… suffocating. Like there is a brick on my chest weighing me down, interfering with my ability to breath correctly. It’s living in a constant state of unease. Irrational, intrusive thoughts interrupt my day/hour/minute.  It’s feeling so wrong and so bad and not being able to explain exactly why.  It feels like I’m drowning. Some days it’s all consuming. On the worst days, it takes all my energy just to function because I’m sinking under the weight of it.

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This. It feels like this.

It’s so easy to remain stagnant. To get stuck in this pattern. But it was no longer serving me (not that it ever did) and over time, I realized I had to get past this if I ever wanted to be released from its grasp.

SO, how did I “fix” myself, you ask? Or maybe you’re not asking, but I’ll tell you anyway.

Are you ready? Its pretty earth-shattering. Basically this is what I did:

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That’s it. I stayed away from people that made me feel like shit, cutting most, if not all, contact.

Okay, it’s not that simple. And it sure wasn’t easy. It also didn’t fix things wholly. (Wow, that word looks wrong, but it’s the correct usage. Promise. I looked it up.)  It was a start. I also found a therapist.

Another major thing I did was to begin working on art again. Painting. Creating. Making a general mess. I hid it away at first. Again, who did I think I was?

As time passed, I became more confident in my art and felt compelled to share it on Instagram.

I began to shed the abusive baggage in my life and began talking a little bit more openly about my anxiety as well as my art. People were kind and understanding and, to my surprise, interested.

I’m not so great at saying what I’m feeling, but I can express myself with art in way I cannot convey into words.  Even if I don’t understand exactly why I’m anxious, which is most of the time, I can sit down at my desk and create something and feel tremendously better. And if I don’t feel better at least I’ve done something that day other than fixate on my anxiety.

Simply put, Art Heals!

I stumble. I have bad days. But now I have the tools to help me cope. One day I hope to not have to consciously fight off anxiety. Hey, a girl can dream can’t she? Until then, I have my art.


The girl I used to be would never had shared her art with anyone, forget about doing so on multiple social media outlets. And never would I have thought I could open an Etsy shop and actually sell my art and the things I make. It’s amazing how situations can can change when you work on them.

When you keep moving forward.

So, it’s with great excitement (and a tad bit of anxiety) that I am trying another thing I never thought I could do (thank you Sherry and Michele for convincing me I should do this)…

And that’s release my own stamps!

I know, I’m shocked too.

The designs are simple and versatile, easily added to your own journals. Not sure where to start or want to add a little somethin’ somethin’ to your journal page? These are perfect for that.

If you’ve followed me for any significant amount of time, you know I’m a huge fan of scribbling. Hate your writing? Scribble. Don’t want anyone to read what you’ve written? Scribble. Want to add something else to your art that’s not obvious? Scribble. With the stamp set Scribble Scribble Dot Dot, it makes it super easy.

And the stamps of the Art Heals set, in my own scribbley handwritten font, are a positive reminder to add to your journal to keep you going in the right direction.

These stamps aren’t overly complex. I kept them simple for a reason. Life is hard, art journaling doesn’t have to be. 😉

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Scribble Scribble Dot Dot Stamp Set

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Art Heals Stamp Set

Here is a couple pages I’ve done with the stamps.

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For more information see this video.

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To see the stamps in action, check out this video.

 

To a lot of people releasing my own stamps probably  seems so insignificant. So unimportant. And it probably is in the grand scheme of things. To them. To me, though,  it’s a step in the right direction, a step away from my anxiety.

Please check back throughout the week for more sample pages using the stamps and maybe a giveaway or two. 😉

 

 

Why We Create

Really, it’s not so much of why we create as it is just something we feel we have to do.

And that’s the point. Creating, for me, is a way of life. If I couldn’t be creative in some facet or another, I honestly don’t know where I’d be right now. I’d probably be rocking back and forth in the corner eating my hair.

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Gilmore Girls reference for the win

Seriously though, I can’t help but wonder why some people feel they have to create, and others just don’t feel compelled to do so, which is fine. (Then there are others who are afraid to. But that’s another blog post all together.)

For me, it’s something to keep my mind busy. It’s a great way to get out what’s bottled up inside. Getting my hands painty and messy soothes my overactive mind and worn out soul.

It’s a way to express myself without saying, “Today I feel…”. Saying what I feel is something I’m not so good at, though I’m working on it.

It’s therapeutic slapping down paint and pushing it around a page without much thought and just letting my feelings, most of the time my subconscious feelings, guide me.


Veering a different way for a second…. let’s talk about Highly Sensitive People (HSP).

The term highly sensitive is basically described as someone who has a more sensitive nervous system. They are more aware of the slight subtleties that the average person doesn’t notice and can become more overwhelmed in an over-stimulating situation or environment.

It’s said that only 20% of the population is highly sensitive.

It’s also said, a good portion of that percentage is a creative of some type. Artist, actor, designer, ect.

Coincidentally, or not so coincidentally, there are other studies that show a correlation between trauma in childhood and being highly sensitive and being creative. I believe one can be born this way. We are the way we are, you don’t necessarily have to put a label on everything. But being a child in an abusive home can increase one’s chances of being highly sensitive, or make an already existing highly sensitive personality more zealous.

Being in an abusive situation, their nervous system is kicked into overdrive.

It makes sense in my case. Growing up, I wasn’t allowed to feel. I wasn’t allowed to be too happy, too sad, or, heaven forbid, angry.  I grew up in a constant state of alertness to my parents erratic moods and my fathers psychological abuse. I knew how to make myself small and quiet. Insignificant .Which has, not surprisingly, given me a nervous system that is just plain ol’ wore out.

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I’m not sure if I’m highly sensitive, or just accustomed to reading people’s moods and ignoring my own feelings which has given me a case of the anxieties.

One thing I do know is art journaling gives me an outlet.


Okay, now all that being said, let’s back to the topic at hand…

That’s not to say I don’t get frustrated while creating. I go through dry spells and there are times where everything I make is sh…. ummm, not good.

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This one, for instance, gave me fits! I wish I would have taken process pictures. I suggest you do that, by the way. Sometimes it helps to see the stages an art journal page takes. But this one, it was so ugly and then magical things happened. I kept haphazardly throwing adding layers of paint and ink and papers and it turned into this.

And all the sudden I feel better. The frustration I felt about this page in particular, as well as some things in my life, just lifted. I felt so much better after creating something.

And this is why I create.

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I used to think there wasn’t meaning behind everything we do. Now, I know there is more to life than free floating along. There is meaning. Even in our little art journals.


Side Note, I have some exciting things coming up so stay tuned  😉 Here are some sneak peaks.


 

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Here is a link to my latest video


And once again for your listening pleasure:

On Being Afraid…

Fear is a pretty prevalent emotion in our society. Lots of talk about anxiety disorders and panic disorders. And that’s great, we should talk about it. I have anxiety disorder with a side of PTSD from a traumatic childhood that I never dealt with until recently. So, I know. I know.

I know how paralyzing fear and anxiety can be. I know about the self doubt, lack of self worth. The negativity you feel about yourself. The persistent and unexplainable uneasiness.

While there is positivity if you look for it, the negative sometimes seems to be more prevalent, no? And easier to believe.

And what is the basis of negativity? (In my opinion, anyway.)

It’s fear.

Fear is a natural emotion. It is important. Fear can steer you away from dangerous situations. It can tell you when something is wrong.

But isn’t is strange how much fear can keep us from doing the things we want to do?

While fear can keep us safe, it can keep us stuck. Stagnant. This is true from something as big as quitting your job and embarking on a better opportunity, or it can come in a simpler form, such as living a more creative life.

Because what if…

What if we just make a mess? What if we waste money? What will others think of what we create?

I’m not even going to pretend I don’t struggle with all these things.

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But if I let fear control my ability to be creative then my anxiety gets worse and then depression joins the club. And that’s just no fun at all. I can’t let those negative what-if’s effect me. Even when my self doubt and anxiety is kicked into overtime.

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A page i did in about 10 minutes .It doesn’t take very long to make a pretty mess.
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This page I did throughout the day. A few minutes here and there.

When this happens, I have to force myself, yes, sometimes I have to force myself, to take even as little as five minutes to just slap paint down onto paper. Usually five minutes will turn into ten and then ten will turn into twenty and before I realize it I’ve created something I love (or not) and I feel better than I did when I sat down. I count that as a win. I won against fear if only for a little bit that day.

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The more you do the things you’re most afraid of doing the more LIFE OPENS UP

Because staying stagnant in your fear and anxiety won’t get you anywhere.

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Click here for my latest video 

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And just because for your listening pleasure…