You can do it, lovely friend.

The days are getting shorter and the lists of things to do longer. What’s a crafty girl to do? Today I just wanted to leave you a bit of encouragement, some “yes you can!” and general positive vibes. Recently I got hit (smacked, thrashed, etc) with a TON of negative happening all in just a few days. It was so brutal I thought – geez just give up!

Ah but then I fell back on a simple old habit: Just do 3 things. It’s a rule I have when I’m feeling crummy or want to just give up. I can, but first just 3 things. What usually happens is by 1/2 way through the second item I’m feeling motivated and by the time I realize it – I’ve done extra things!

Now some days yes, I get to the third thing and it is just DONE – but that’s ok too. Because tomorrow when I wake up I’m not as behind (I did 3 important things, after all) and I can start over.

Anyhow as I was working I stumbled across a lot of photos, projects, and things I *HAD* done recently. I was reminded of how much progress I am making on craft and personal passion projects even if it sometimes doesn’t feel that way.

I made my own Rainbow Brite belt just 2 months ago – how quickly I forget when I’m struggling with a new project how I succeeded before by keeping at something! How easy it is to believe the negative, the ‘bad reviews’ so to speak and how hard to hold onto that good.

I keep busy and as I’m sure you can guess the actual crafting portion of my day is precious – and sandwiched between all the other hats I wear as a full time work at home mom. So whether you are struggling with good (or bad) habits, being in a creative fun, or anything else I want to offer you encouragement and perhaps some suggestions here today.

above: Me at Disneyland Paris – talk about a dreamy day! 

When I feel anxious/sad/otherwise bad:

  • Do something for someone else. Hey if I feel like junk – I’m sure someone else feels worse! This helps me take my mind off my own woes and often works wonders in addition to being nice!
  • Let myself do something from the “wanna do, but can’t justify time” list of things I always have going
  • Leave 10 comments on blogs and/or social media that are kind or praising folks out there sharing their goodness.
  • Clear out tasks that are causing me anxiety or feeling overwhelmed! Clear the decks!
  • Schedule a fun thing – could be a movie, could be a vacation.
  • In other words… suck it up, and get the worst of my chores done!

By the time I’ve worked out, done nice things, and done one fun thing… well if it hasn’t solved my issues it has me on track and I will keep on repeating and repeating until I’m even stronger in my good habits as well as my good mood restored. I’m a firm believer that actions help me way more than waiting for my mood to change or to simply feel better by chance.

Creatively speaking… what about a rut or total disinterest?

Over the years I’ve expanded my “what I do” creatively to help with just this. As of now I enjoy: gardening, baking, gift wrapping, scrapbooking, card making, mixed media canvas, tags, altered arts, sewing, felt crafts, home decor making, photography, creating banners, jewelry making, seasonal decorations, costume/cosplay making, cooking, writing, and even I’m going to add here organizing as sometimes I get quite creative with that. I’m looking to add cross stitching, quilting, and a few other things to my list! Basically? There are a TON of ways you can be creative big and small, fancy and simple. So if I’m not into one thing? I just grab another from the long list! If that doesn’t work…

  • Lift/copy another artist’s work just for the process of doing. (And remember: give credit if posting a photo of said work!)
  • Pick a color and a product (example: green paint) and just move it around on paper. NO rules, no expectations
  • Try a new recipe or idea OUTSIDE the normal for me
  • Release yourself mentally from all “I must…” creative projects
  • Intentionally make an ugly project/art journal entry/etc. Let go of idea that it’s got to be good
  • Ask someone if they need any crafty help! This has helped me more than once as someone requested a specific project/theme/idea
  • Make something as a gift for someone else
  • Revisit a childhood favorite
  • Sit and color/paint/otherwise just doodle – even if writing “I have no ideas” for an hour.
  • Take a class
  • Get together with friends or find new friends by visiting a local craft store and seeing what they are making
  • SHOOT ME AN EMAIL! Let’s help each other!

Basically? There is one rule and one rule only: DO NOT WAIT FOR YOUR MUSE TO RETURN! What I’ve found is that creativity is a muscle that requires exercise, and when I neglect it nothing but ‘doing’ is gonna bring it back. So do! Make! And let go of any expectations or rules. Just relax and that’s right…

No rules, just happy crafting.

I made this Nightmare Before Christmas necklace one day when I just couldn’t decide what to do or make. Love that I did! 

Generally speaking, I find that there are a few things I’ve always got to do for my own health and sanity to have any chance of a happy creative life and life in general. They’re super sexy – ready?

  • Sleep enough so I don’t have to set alarms, I’ve gotten enough sleep on my own
  • Water, water, more water. No dehydrated self! No sugary drinks
  • Lots of veggies + protein + nutrient packed foods. LIGHT on the treats, junk, or empty calories
  • Exercise in some form, every day

If I’m doing those four things to my best, generally those times are when I’m at my best. When I find myself struggling more? Often one of those four needs a boost. Sometimes like last week? ALL of them needed a boost!

I’m craft-overwhelmed!

I found a list made in September with a ton of stuff to do in October… and hello. That’s not happening at this point. Freak out? NO! We mustn’t get into a place of anxiety and stress and freeze up. Instead, here’s what I do:

  1. Remove anything optional. Just take it right out.
  2. Look at what I think is mandatory. Are these legit deadlines? Are these truly “must do or else” projects?
  3. Find the quickest ones, knock those out! Satisfaction and a sigh of relief when multiple things are done.
  4. Don’t jump around multi-tasking unless it really makes sense. Stick with something, see it done, get that satisfaction.
  5. Look again for anything I can cut back or streamline so that it gets done.

There are times like now where I had some grand creative plan, and the reality is a small fraction of what I wanted. Disappointing? It can be, but what I’ve truly found is I’d far rather have semi-homemade, or simple projects done than a stack of complex things that I never found enough time for and sit unfinished or not even started.

I honestly try here on my blog and online in general to keep it pretty positive. To be specifically on the creative side and not dive into personal drama or daily issues. I feel like we all have our stuff like that and sharing it in particular isn’t gonna help me or you be our best selves. I hope that if you’re struggling or needing a boost I’ve given you an idea or two!

I also hope that you’ll share with me what is or is not working for you, as well as your success- or failures! Sometimes my craft fails become my favorite stories, and sometimes I think it is a fail and others pipe in to say otherwise. Like my Pusheen cake ‘fail’ below. The girls all loved it – I was the critical eye and it wasn’t a fail at all.

I wish you all the joy and creative peace of the season – with minimal stress. I know we’re gearing up towards “that time of year” – and I hope you can pause and enjoy whatever you do find time to create. Got good ideas or recipes? PLEASE SHARE! I’m looking for some new fun things to add to my Fall & Winter line up…

5 thoughts on “You can do it, lovely friend.”

  1. Great post, May! I’m currently working on a gift 30 Days of Gratitude for someone going through health struggles. I hope that it will show her that she has so much to be grateful for and help her focus on the positive vs. The negative and downward spiral. Thank you for your sharing all you do!

  2. Love this post, May. Ive been feeling overwhelmed with stuff so I cleaned our kitchen bench and dining room table yesterday and that made a huge difference. After work today I’m going to clean my desk so I can spend 10 min a day creating. Thanks for sharing this post – more water and exercise are definitely needed right now.

  3. I plan to open this post in my browser at home and refer to it as necessary! I’ve been in not so much of a crafting slump as I’ve been in a huge reading mode — I tend to flip back and forth between these two states of being. I finished my simple Week in the Life pages in early September, but haven’t really made anything else. I’ve got some ideas . . . just need to actually START! Thanks for your good ideas.

  4. Thank you May. I need the reminder that sometimes a little bit can make a big bit of difference. Off to just tidy my scrapping area and maybe find a little crafty thing to do 🙂

  5. I’m so sorry you’ve had a bad time. You are such an amazingly positive person that I can’t imagine anyone being anything but nice to you.
    I need this post today – my son is in hospital again – second time in two months!

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