Archive for 20 Minute Club

Dec
15

Is Inspiration Like a Butterfly?

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I was at a networking event chatting with someone who studied creativity–the academic, scientificky stuff, the parts of the brain, the naming of the parts.

Does your Creative Breakthroughs Collage tele-class use the “blah blah blah” thing with the brain?

No idea.

But he also didn’t make things. And then when I said to him, “you know, you don’t need to be inspired to be creative,” he looked so disappointed.

I said, “I’ve made things for a living on a deadline for a long time which means that I had to regularly create things whether I was inspired or not. The difference between my inspired work and my un-inspired work is pretty much nil.”

Since this is a favorite topic of mine, (poor guy!) I continued:

“But that’s not a bad thing, it’s a great thing” I said, “because I know my creative abilities are available to me all the time.”

He still looked a little disappointed.

Ah, Romance

Our romantic ideas about inspiration are powerful and sexy and well, romantic.

We love inspiration because it feels good–it feels real and special and different from everyday life, and we ALL love that.

But inspiration is also like a butterfly or a hummingbird–who knows when she’s going visit, let alone land long enough to get a good look at her and breathe in her delicate beauty.

So if you wait to be inspired before you start creating, well, you could wait a long time.

But in the same way a gardener can plant a a butterfly bush to draw butterflies into her world, you can plant the seeds that will invite inspiration into your life more regularly.

Well really, it’s just one seed.

And that seed is? Yep, you guessed it.

Create.

Don’t wait to be inspired to create. Start creating and you’ll get inspired.

That’s how it works. I promise this is true.

It doesn’t matter how simple you keep it. 20 Minutes here, 20 Minutes there is fantastic.

Go be by yourself, or sit in front of the TV with the whole fam, it really doesn’t matter.

Oh, and another helpful thing! Either

  • do something really important to you
  • or try something where you feel less emotionally invested in the outcome

Just do whichever one lets you feel safe enough or motivated enough to get started–it’s usually one or the other.

Be Kind

It does help if you can be gentle and generous with yourself and your creative attempts because everyone, everyone, everyone makes bad stuff sometimes.

Which also means it’s okay to make bad stuff because everyone does it and, THEREFORE, it’s not damning evidence proving that you suck.

And you know, the mean voices keep inspiration away, not the other way around.

Inspiration can’t get rid of the mean voices.

In fact, when you start pulling the mean-voice-weeds out of your creative garden, inspiration will actually start to flutter in more often because it’s safe and you’ve been tending things and making a welcoming atmosphere.

Doesn’t that sound nice?

Now I also know the mean voices can be hard to get rid of, so next week I’ll talk about a meditation or two you might do to make room for other more positive voices.

In the meantime, remember–don’t wait to get inspired to create. Start creating and you’ll feel inspired.

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What do you think? Have you been waiting to be inspired or do you already create regularly and find what I’m saying here to be true yourself? Wherever you are in the creative process, please share your thoughts, I’d love to hear from you!

Nov
19

Receive by Letting Go

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Every Friday for months I’ve been writing the 20 Minute Club Minutes–because using a timer for what I call the 20 Minute Technique can keep your creative momentum going in your busy, time-crunched life–20 minutes at a pop.

This week will be the last of the 20 Minute Club blog posts because I’ve decided to create an extra special “something” just for the 20 Minute Club–like an actual/virtual club! I hope to have it started by the new year.

In the meantime, just know I’ll be working furiously on a fun, cool way for you to connect with other busy, creative souls just like you who want their creativity to be as important as all the other parts of their lives.  And we’ll do it by supporting each others’ efforts to build a soul nourishing, mind-expanding creative momentum–20 Minutes at a time!

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This Week with the Timer

Over the past 6-7 months, I’ve been working on transitioning my digital collages from small to big.

Lots of trial. Lots of error.

My initial small glass pieces were created using an unusual transfer method that I loved, but knew would be impossible to do really big–although I did keep trying to emulate the end result.

Big time-waster.

Which I only realized when my husband finally said to me, (after another disappointing attempt) “I think it’s a mistake to try to make them be the same as the small ones–make a new thing.”

OH. Yes, of course.

And once I truly did let go of wanting my collages to be the same only bigger, a new solution presented itself–quite quickly, I may add.

(See how the universe is? It’s so cooperative when you’re willing to listen.)

And now, the big ones are what they are–30″ x 40″ and laminated onto brushed metal with a sheer matte finish. Yay, sheer matte finish! I’m excited.

This picture shows one of my pieces, Tepotzlan, hanging in a room. What do you think?

The Waiting

During this problem solving period, I didn’t want to make any more digital collages because I knew the final scale and output “substrate” would have a big impact on what I created–so how could I create when I didn’t know those things?

But now I DO know those things, so I decided it was time to get back in the swing.

I used my timer and the 20 Minute Technique to start a new digital collage and I’m really liking how it’s working out. In fact, I think it’s almost done…although you and I both know how that last 10% of any project can take the longest!

I’ll keep you posted. :-)

Appreciation

Appreciating yourself is an important part of the 20 Minute Club because it helps you keep your creative momentum going.

Carving out the time to create is important of course, but it’s not enough. Getting (and eventually staying) on your own side is a critical factor for helping you take bigger risks with your work, get yourself out of a creative rut, or just enjoy the process more.

Taking the time to remember to appreciate yourself and all your efforts (big or small, creative or not) is a powerful way to make this happen.

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Here are my five this week:

1. I appreciate my willingness to grow.

2. I appreciate my willingness to do hard things.

3. I appreciate my willingness to learn the difference between giving something time to work and changing it for the better.

4. I appreciate my desire to change family patterns that don’t work for me.

5. I appreciate my love of creating.

Your Turn

What did you create this week? Did you use a timer? How’d it go? Making any gifts? Please leave a comment, I love hearing from you!

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Nov
16

Breathing Room

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Getting Un-Depleted

When your life is crammed full and you feel depleted by your job and obligations and then feel further depleted because you can’t imagine having the time to make anything, remember this quote:

“What art offers is space – a certain breathing room for the spirit.”  ~John Updike

Your art and creativity will create the space you need to feel rejuvenated and connected–the breathing room your spirit requires. The space you feel is currently not there.

When you feel ridiculously exhausted and depleted (if you’re anything like me) it’s usually because you’re letting the pressing demands of your job or other obligations consume your (supposed) down time as well.

Are you home from work but still thinking about that conflict with your colleague?

Are you worrying that you should really finish that report so you can email to everyone for the meeting next week?

Are you half watching TV but thinking you better wash the kids’ uniforms for the game on Friday and clean that kitchen?

It’s hard to let go of our endless to-dos. We don’t have on and off switches.

But you can give yourself a simple something even while feeling this way–your creativity–and it’s the best interrupter of this pattern of depletion for people like us.

So set aside a few minutes to work on something, or sit in your studio or craft room and ponder what you’ve started (even if it’s months ago), or settle down with a cup of tea and pour over a book of work by your favorite artist and your life will feel less….hijacked.

I promise.

Nov
12

Soothing, Easy & Pretty

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Every Friday I write the 20 Minute Club Minutes–because using a timer for what I call the 20 Minute Technique can keep your creative momentum going in your busy, time-crunched life–20 minutes at a pop.

Please join in and share your 20 Minute Experiences in the Comments–good/bad, it’s all fair game, because sharing your experiences about the process is a great way to figure things out and increase your creativity.

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My life as a juggler of many balls in the air has continued and my brain is on overload.

So this week, my holiday gift making 20 Minute Club minutes had to rely on the tried and true– something I knew I could do without any planning.

For me, that’s my Glitter Decoupage Ornaments! They are soothing to make; I can decoupage those babies in my sleep; and people always like them. It’s a winning combination.

If you like them too, you might want to order them now. (Buy 2 sets and get FREE shipping!)

There’s also still time to sign up for either of the next Telecrafting Teleseminars (on 11/16 or 12/5) and we’ll make some ornament gifts together.

Watch this killer how-to video and see for yourself how fast, easy and fun they are to make:

(If you’re reading this as an email, you probably can’t see the video.  Please visit the site and watch it there.)

Appreciation

Appreciating yourself is an important part of the 20 Minute Club because it helps you keep your creative momentum going.

Carving out the time to create is important of course, but it’s not enough. Getting (and eventually staying) on your own side is a critical factor for helping you take bigger risks with your work, get yourself out of a creative rut, or just enjoy the process more.

Taking the time to remember to appreciate yourself and all your efforts (big or small, creative or not) is a powerful way to make this happen.

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Here are my five this week:

1. I appreciate that I’m keep moving forward with certain projects, even with misgivings and doubt. The way out is through!

2. I appreciate that I keep learning-learning-learning.

3. I appreciate that I meditate. Or sit like I’m meditating. ;-)

4. I appreciate that I had a little meltdown this week. What can I say?

5. I appreciate that I left one of my collages out to ponder, even though I thought it sucked wasn’t working. A solution arrived quite suddenly because of that and now it’s done. Yay!

Your Turn

How was your creative week? Did you make or start any handmade holiday gifts? Yes? Not yet? Please share, I’d love to hear from you!

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Nov
09

In the Mood-or Not

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If you’ve gotten your FREE coupon for the Creative Breakthroughs Collage Tele-class, but haven’t used it yet, I just want to remind you that you don’t have to wait until you’re in the “right mood” or  “feel ready” to jump in and take your class.

Because if you’re feeling stuck or it’s been a long time since you made anything, you probably aren’t going to suddenly “feel ready” anyway–and that’s okay.

Conversely, you might feel like you’re “in the mood” and have lots of cool ideas often–but not when it’s convenient to create.

And in those moments, you might also feel certain that later you’ll definitely create what’s in your head right now, because you feel so darn in-the-mood and ready right now, you can’t imagine not feeling in-the-mood and ready later.

But then later comes, and that “ready” feeling is gone and nothing gets made. And that can feel frustrating.

But this “feeling-ready-at-the-wrong-time” thing happens partly because it feels safe to be “ready” at those wrong times because, well, it’s the wrong time.

When you’re feeling stuck, the scared part of your brain (that wants to protect you) lets you feel “ready” in those oddball moments because it knows it’s safe to do that because nothing can actually happen right then.

So it keeps things safe by keeping things hypothetical. To make matters worse, it also likes to make sure that you think you’re “not in the mood” or are “too tired” when you do have time to create, so that things remain safe and hypothetical.

And to top it all off, it also makes sure that you love that cool, buzzy feeling you get when you’re in the mood or feel-ready-to create-but-can’t, in order to trick you into thinking that you must wait for that feeling again before you can get started.

See how your brain is? Such a slippery little she-devil! How do we outsmart that little vixen?

Mood/Schmood

The truth of the matter is that your mood really has nothing to do with your creativity.

I learned this when I was designing products for a living, Your job as a designer is to create day in and day out–no one cares what your mood is or how ready you feel.

(Except for the fact that everyone else in the company thinks the entire design department is moody and hypersensitive, which is usually true. :-) )

But moody or not, they still expect you to meet deadlines, so you do.

And when you do, you learn that your creativity and your moods don’t really have much to do with each other.

This revelation is very liberating.

Because if you want to wedge some artmaking into your busy life, chances are high that you might not be in the mood when the available time actually arises.

Maybe it’s after work when you’re very tired (and not in the mood). Or maybe it’s before work when you’re very tired (and not in the mood) . You get my drift.

But here’s the secret–the thing that will put you in the mood to create is……creating.

So if you set your timer for 20 minutes in those “not ready” times and promise yourself you can stop as soon as it dings, you might find that your mood has actually shifted in that short space of time–and you’re actually feeling a little more energized and arty–more like your real self.

You know, the one that gets buried beneath the gigantic to-do list of your life.

Which is also why you don’t have to wait to be “in the mood” or “ready” to take your free Creative Breakthroughs Collage Tele-class.

It’s okay to come crashing in at the last second unsure if you have all the supplies that you need, filling your water container with one hand as you shove the headset plug into your phone at 7:30 and a half with the other with no idea how class is going to play out.

Because the rest of us are doing the same!

That’s why I have a nice guided meditation at the beginning of the call to help us transition from the crazy-busy-ness of our overstuffed routines and turn to the illogical, mysterious act of creating.

After that, the technique pulls you through and 90 minutes of creativity fly by.

Free

It’s simple structured actions like these that make it possible to build a creative momentum and start making art regularly.

And when you find out that you can change your mood simply by engaging in the activities that nourish your soul and make you feel connected to the world, well, then lookout!

You’re no longer at the mercy of those moods.

You realize your creativity can be unleashed anytime.

Now you’re a little bit…..dangerous…because you’re a lot more FREE.

And how cool is that?

Nov
05

T.R.B: Think-Rummage-Browse

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Every Friday I write the 20 Minute Club Minutes–because using a timer for what I call the 20 Minute Technique can keep your creative momentum going in your busy, time-crunched life–20 minutes at a pop.

Please join in and share your 20 Minute Experiences in the Comments–good/bad, it’s all fair game, because sharing your experiences about the process is a great way to figure things out and increase your creativity.

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Think

Last week, in the 20 Minute Club minutes, I suggested we all work on holiday gift projects each week–20 minutes at a time.

(I also listed lots of ideas to get your (and my) creative juices flowing in the gift making direction, so if you didn’t read it, you might want to go back there and do that now. :-) )

I didn’t, however do any of that this week. How about you?

I did do a lot of THINKING about it, though, and I’d just like to say that that’s an important first step–which I forgot to mention.

The invisible steps in the creative process are important to acknowledge and something I always have to re-remember myself.

Thinking COUNTS my creative friend–yes, it does!

So for me this week, there was a lot of musing about earrings (who, what size, what beads do I already own?)…stamping and embossing (bookmarks, what shapes, who?) ….holiday card possibilities (Creative Breakthroughs Tele-class–that would be a fun ‘theme’ to see what might emerge)…..etc.

Rummage

If you were in the thinking stage too all week, then may I suggest that the next important step in this process is rummaging.

Set the timer and go through what you already own!

Empty those drawers, pull that big bag out from the back of the closet, or find that little stool so you can take that precarious, overstuffed unmarked box down from that high shelf without killing yourself, and rummage.

This may spark new ideas that you haven’t thought of yet, remind you of cool ideas you had before, or help you actually know for sure what you still need to buy in order to be ready to work on what you’ve decided to do.

And then, the next time you’re driving by your big box craft store, you can actually go in because you actually know what you need.

(Inevitably, you’ll go back for something else, but still, at least it won’t be three six times. ;-) )

Browse

Of course, browsing is also a handy thinking tool, so you might use your 20 minute club minutes and browse for inspiration.

This might be at the aforementioned big box craft supply store, but it also might be somewhere else where you love to window shop. For me, that’s often museum shops or a store like Anthropologieespecially when I want inspiration for jewelry making ideas.

So continue to think, rummage and browse, and get yourself ready to create–because the holidays have a built-in deadline!

(P.S. If you do need some supplies from a big box craft store, I generally get their coupons in my email weekly–if you don’t get them, just write to me and and I’ll send one to you.)

Appreciation

Appreciating yourself is an important part of the 20 Minute Club because it helps you keep your creative momentum going.

Carving out the time to create is important of course, but it’s not enough. Getting (and eventually staying) on your own side is a critical factor for helping you take bigger risks with your work, get yourself out of a creative rut, or just enjoy the process more.

Taking the time to remember to appreciate yourself and all your efforts (big or small, creative or not) is a powerful way to make this happen.

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This week, I was on the phone with a friend right before writing this section of my blog post, and I joked that coming up with 5 appreciations about myself each week sometimes takes me a while. And she said, “Oh, well let me help you!”

And then she rattled off 5 appreciations faster than you can say…Jack Robinson! (And why do people say Jack Robinson? No idea.)

So here are my five self-appreciations as dictated by a good friend. :-)

(If you’ve been having a hard time appreciating yourself, maybe you can look at yourself through the eyes of a friend, or even better, ask a friend to remind you what to appreciate about yourself!)

Here Goes:

1. I appreciate that I have an excellent humor!

2. I appreciate that I’m perceptive.

3. I appreciate that I really follow a thought through–I have an idea, and I finish it.

4. I appreciate that I’m a good friend and I help my friends out.

5.  I appreciate that I’m dedicated–I keep writing these blog posts, for instance, because I believe in this 20 Minute process, even when I’m not sure how many of you that I’ve convinced about this.

Your Turn

Have you been considering making some holiday gifts this year? Are you thinking of using a timer to help yourself out? Are you remembering to  appreciate yourself? Please leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

Categories : 20 Minute Club
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Oct
29

20 Minute Holidays

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Every Friday I write the 20 Minute Club Minutes–because using a timer for what I call the 20 Minute Technique can keep your creative momentum going in your busy, time-crunched life–20 minutes at a pop.

Please join in and share your 20 Minute Experiences in the Comments–good/bad, it’s all fair game, because sharing your experiences about the process is a great way to figure things out and increase your creativity.

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Brain Wave!

It’s almost November. The holidays are right around the corner.

Wouldn’t a great use of the 20 Minute Technique be to use it to work on making some holiday cards or gifts?

Heck Yes!

You know you wish you made (at least some) of your gifts–and finding the time is always the big challenge. But this way, we can make it actually happen together–20 Minutes at a time.

So what do you say we all try to carve out 20 minutes 3x a week to create handmade bits for the holidays?

Are you in?

The trick is to keep it manageable and fun for yourself. Remember, small, handmade gestures go a long way–don’t let your brain turn this idea into such a gigantic project that you end up doing nothing.

With that in mind, I thought I’d create an do-able idea list to inspire your imagination–so after you read this, if you don’t have a timer yet, head over to local electronics store and get one already.

You’ll be amazed at what you can get done–20 minutes at a time!

Handmade Holidays Idea List

  • Handmade Gift Tags or Holiday Cards
    • For another easy, handmade touch, buy your gifts but make your own fabulous gift tags or greeting cards.
    • These could also be stamped and embossed–You could make classic “From/To” tags, or use ribbon and tie your tags around a wine bottle for a cute hostess gift, or send your 10 favorite people a handmade card.
  • Decorate Holiday Gift Bags:
    • Rather than create wrapping paper, it’s simpler to decorate plain bags.
    • Just cut strips of decorative paper and/or use paper punches to create repeat patterns that you can glue onto plain gift bags. to make it feel festive, use lots and lots of curly ribbon around the handle.
    • I made this one on the right for a crafting store one season. (You can get often get pre-cut strips and shapes that make this super easy.)
    • Also, here’s a cute, simple Hanukkah gift pail example I also made just using stickers.
  • Fabulous, Fast & Easy Decoupage Vase:
    • Get a cheap vase on sale at a big box discounter–look for an elegant, simple shape and don’t worry about the color or design on the surface–it’s even better if you hate it–and transform it with decoupage.
    • My Fast & Easy Decoupage Vase video shows you how. People really love this technique–it’s very do-able.
    • Or, use all the same techniques I show on the vase, but on a simple frame or box instead. Make a set if you’re feeling ambitious.
  • Earrings:
    • Earrings are great gifts and perfect for the 20 Minute Club–they’re great gifts and you can make them while watching TV. It’s also a fun way to enjoy using a variety of exciting, special beads without breaking the bank because you don’t need that many.
    • If you want to get started beading or learn about some great online bead resources, click here, here, and here.
  • Frame Your Artwork:
    • Use your coupon for a FREE trial of the Creative Breakthroughs Collage Tele-Class and give a work of art or three. I LOVE this idea and may do this myself with some of the collages I created that I’ve really liked.
    • Make it really special with a gallery mat and get an inexpensive metal or wood frame from a big box craft supplies store–they’re always having sales.
    • You’ll be surprised how much matting and framing will take your collage to the next level.
    • A Tele-class session could also be a great way to create the design for your holiday card this season–all you need is a color theme to give your image holiday feeling–blue and white, red and green, metallics, you name it!
  • Make Pretty Ornaments!
    • My Glitter Decoupage Ornaments are pretty, inexpensive, and super fast and easy to make. Great teacher and co-worker gifts.
    • My Byzantine Baubles Ornament kit is my personal favorite and also great for the 20 minute technique because you’ll probably work on it in stages and it looks GORGEOUS when you’re done.
    • (Buy any 2 kits and the shipping is FREE.)
  • Sew, knit or crochet a gift:
    • It probably helps if  you already know how to sew, knit or crochet, but making a gift can also be an incredible incentive to learn, so if you’ve always wanted to ___________(fill in the blank) maybe now is the time?
    • If threading your sewing machine often stops your sewing efforts, watch my clear how-to video.
    • If you’re looking for inspiring sewing projects for the holidays, I noticed Threads Magazine just released gift project issue.

I’ll keep adding to this list as I think of more ideas.

And if you’ve got some good, do-able ideas as well, please share them in the comments!

Just remember, your handmade gift ideas don’t have to be big. It’s important to keep things doable.

I’ll share my 20 Minute Club gift making efforts with you here each week this holiday season, and I’d really love it if you joined me so you can find yourself adding a wonderful handmade element to your holiday season.

Appreciation

Appreciating yourself is an important part of the 20 Minute Club because it helps you keep your creative momentum going.

Carving out the time to create is important of course, but it’s not enough. Getting (and eventually staying) on your own side is a critical factor for helping you take bigger risks with your work, get yourself out of a creative rut, or just enjoy the process more.

Taking the time to remember to appreciate yourself and all your efforts (big or small, creative or not) is a powerful way to make this happen.

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Here are my five self-appreciations for this week:

1. I appreciate that I took a photo of my latest incarnation in the evolution of my digital collages because I was so struck by how seeing a photo of it hanging up in a room made me feel–so resolved finally–after 6 months of problem solving!

2. I appreciate how much my life in product design has taught me the patience to hang in there through difficult design problems. It took me ages to figure out how to offer my collages big and still have them look the way I wanted them to look, but I just kept putting one foot in front of the other, (often 20 minutes here and 20 minutes there, no lie.) until it worked itself out.

3. I appreciate a shift in my thinking this week where I’m no longer questioning whether things I’m trying are going to work, and instead, just working on making them work.

4. I appreciate that I nervously bought professional lights for my videos and photos a couple of  months ago. Owning them is really benefiting me and my projects now, even though I’m still a novice. The right tools help!

5. I appreciate that I’m getting better and better and not letting the quest for perfect get in the way of the good. It’s very helpful. I hope I keep it up. :-)

Your Turn

What do you think? Are you up for creating gifts using your timer and the 20 Minute Technique? Or have you already started on some holiday projects? Please share your thoughts in the comments, I’d love to hear from you!