How I'm Trying To Live a More Creative Life in 30 Days + You Can Too

Hello Lovely,

I’m always looking for ways to stay active creatively. I started a membership for only $5 a month with Creative Bug but never used it. I even suspended my account and considered terminating it, but I wanted to believe that if I kept it, someday I would actually use. When the autmatic bill pay notification came up, I decided to go back to the site. I really didn’t know where to begin. I just wanted to get back into creative things with a manageable project. So when I found this class on Creative Bug, I really wanted to try it. I’m sharing my experience with the first week and I encourage you guys to try it for yourself.

Course description:

So many of us are on a quest to incorporate creativity into our lives, but short on time and resources, we’re not sure how to begin. For inspiration and sage advice, we turn to artist and explorer, Courtney Cerruti, who incorporates art into everything she does and finds beauty in even the most mundane moments. This series is perfect for aspiring artists, crafters who are in a rut, and anyone who suspects that a creative habit would be good for their soul - your eyes will be opened to new creative possibilities that are easy to practice every day. No matter your skill level, we hope you’ll show up, bring a playful attitude and a willingness to try new things.

Learn how to: 

  • Be prepared when the creative urge strikes

  • Utilize your local libraries and museums

  • Find accountability partners

  • Curate collections from everyday objects

  • Explore colors and play with motifs

  • Create on-the-fly art

  • Look at the world around you in new ways

  • Start a creative ritual that will change your life

Day One: Blind Contour

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For my blind contour, I chose to draw a picture of an awesome afro chick I found really inspiring online. I definitely want to get this imaged cleaned up by someone who actually knows how to draw well and incorporate it into a t-shirt design.

Day Two: Daily Observations

6 Things I Saw Today

  • I saw mt friend Gary in traffic this morning

  • I saw students from our school in Exuma visiting us

6 Things I Did Today

  • I wore my hair out today

  • I used pumpkin spice eggnog instead of coffee creamer

  • I ate cereal for breakfast

  • I finally went to the Teacher’s Credit Union to open an account

  • I got my hair done

    I made Apple Pie “Egg Rolls”

Something I Overheard

“Did you say he had a knife?” I work in a school so there are a lot of random things I can possibly overhear in a day. This one is the oddest I’ve heard for the school year. When the principal asks this kind of question, I’m not sure I want to be there for the answer.

Day 3: Be Prepared for Creativity

This day was just about having the proper tools on you for when creativity strikes like drawing tools and a pad. For me, I draw on inspiration through Pinterest. Whenever I have a free moment and I’m feeling creative, I stroll through the site for a few minutes. Looking at all of the creative ideas makes me happy and recharges my brain.

Day 4: Changing Your Perspective

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 Of course, it's easy to look up and look down when you're in a brand new space, but the challenge is to be in a space that you already know and are familiar with and change your perspective about navigating that space. So, if it's your walk to work every day or maybe it's just going into your own backyard and just looking at it in a new way with fresh eyes. 

Day 5: Urban Rubbings

Today’s challenge was about looking around for interesting surfaces to make impression art on. All I needed for this was a couple sheets of typing paper or copy paper and a crayon that has all of the paper peeled off of it. If you want to do this, take a look at the sidewalk and see if there are any interesting textures or impressions in the cement. Look at things like metal grates or building walls and see if there's any interesting bumps. 

Day 6: Become a Collector 

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Day 6 advocates for us to start collecting something, big or small. They could be things that you already might have in your home, but the concept of creating a collection or establishing collection allows you to become a curator and have an editing eye. Let’s say you collect pencils. You don't have to collect all the pencils in the world. So what are the pencils you are gonna collect? Do they have interesting type on them, have people chewed off the erasers, do they have brightly colored erasers? These are the things that you're gonna bring with intention to your collection. I already collect glass bottles and that photo is only a sample of all of the glass bottles I own (there were a good much that didn’t make the photo).

Day 7: Check Out Your Local Library

I am definitely not one to go to the library. I think my early years of college, using a microfiche really scarred me. Now I use Net Galley to find books to borrow. And having an Amazon Prime account also helps me to discover a free new book each month.

I thought I would be doing something like drawing or painting every day but it’s not like that, which is good. The class wasn’t too demanding in the early stages so it requires no financial investment in pricey art tools that you may never use again. The first 7 days were rather easy. While I didn’t find the class particularly inspiring, I will continue with it and see where it leads me. I’ll be sure to share anything interesting that I create. How are you guys getting creative? Share what inspires you in the comment section below!

DIY HALLOWEEN MASK

Hello Lovely,

Halloween is just around the corner! It’s that night of the year where a costume can instantly change your identity and almost anything goes. Sometimes, the best costumes are ones you can make at home. A masquerade or Venetian mask is a great costume solution if you’re short on time or money, or if you want to try creating something you can’t find at a store. So last Monday, on the holiday, I had two of my best friends, Krista and Telia (at this point, they should be your best friends too) and Telia’s daughter Bre, over for a fun craft party. We ate, laughed and created masterpieces. I ended up making Krista’s mask for her and I’m pretty proud of myself! So if you want to make one of your own, here’s the simple steps you can take to have your own masquerade or Venetian mask just in time for the holidays!

GATHER YOUR DIY HALLOWEEN MASK MATERIALS

You can make Halloween masks out of pretty much any material, from felt and balsa wood to paper and ceramics. I invited some friends over to make some simple masks with nothing more than cardboard, construction paper, and a few little bits of crafty scraps.

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MAKE A TEMPLATE FOR YOUR HALLOWEEN MASK

We all started with the same template. I made a basic half-face mask template and loved how we all created our own different interpretations from it. Cardboard was used for the main structure, but the template can easily work as a pattern for paper, clay, fabric, papier-mâché, or anything you can find. Feel free to adjust the eyes and nose areas to fit your face.

ADD YOUR MASK DETAILS

Then it’s time to decorate your mask! I do a little bit of planning of what I want my composition to look like before I commit to gluing things down. A good glue gun and some scissors is sometimes all you need.

ADD THE FINISHING TOUCH

When you feel like your mask is done, you can glue or tape on a wooden dowel to the back of the mask to wear it Venetian or masquerade style, or punch holes and add string to wear it hands-free. This easy, DIY costume is sure to make your Halloween happier!

I can’t wear a costume at my job but hopefully they won’t mind this cute little mask, right? What are you dressing up as for Halloween?

A HUGE THANKS TO THINK MAKE SURE FOR THIS ACTIVITY

Three Classic Wardrobe Combinations That Always Work

Hello Lovely,

My style is constantly evolving. When I was in high school, I rocked the emo look. When I transferred to college in Miami, I started wearing bright colours and made drastic changes. Because I was still trying to find what worked for me, getting dressed often became a chore. No matter how hard I tried to set clothes out from the night before, I often ended up changing my mind in the morning and doubting myself. I even documented this evolution in a Facebook album. Looking back on some of those outfits often makes me cringe, but I learned a lot from it, which really sped up my getting ready process. Getting dressed is so much easier for me now. I’m far more confident because I know what works for me. So I’m sharing three classic wardrobe combinations that always work.

Short Dress, Long Coat

I don’t get to wear long coats very often, but this past weekend, I wore it when I went out with some friends. While a short dress or skirt, especially one that's form-fitting, can feel too revealing, throwing a knee-length coat, trench, or sweater over it instantly elevates it to something that feels elegant and rich. I’ve even worn it with long skirts and it still had the same effect. I’m partial to a neutral dress with my floral duster but I’ve even done it will all neutrals.

Monochrome

You can’t go wrong by wearing the same colour in various pieces. Although I don’t wear this combination as much, it’s definitely a safe bet! Whether you choose all black, all grey, pink, white, or blue, monochrome always looks good!

Basic Blouse, Statement Skirt

I do this all the time at work! It’s easier and often looks cooler, which is why so many of my outfits use this formula. After selecting a knock-out skirt, I reach for almost any neutral top to go with it, that would have looked far less memorable had I paired it with a simple pair of trousers.

Parmesan Crusted Stuffed Chicken Breast

Hello Lovely,

Two Sundays ago, my mother gave me the task of making Sunday dinner for everyone. It was kind of last minute so the only thing we really thought of was Macaroni and stuffed chicken breast. I was going to use my cream cheese until I remembered that cream cheese doesn’t melt very well, and my family more than likely wouldn’t like cheese inside of chicken. So I had to think of something else. It wasn’t until I was actually cooking the chicken that I thought of a spinach tomato combination. This chicken was seriously easy to make. It only needs a few ingredients, and you won’t have to worry about your chicken being dry either. I took a slightly unconventional route by boiling the chicken before baking it because I found it helps to soften it.

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Parmesan Crusted Stuffed Chicken Breast

Ingredients

  • Five large chicken breasts

  • 1 cup half and half

  • Olive oil

  • 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes (fresh tomatoes are good if you don’t have sundried)

  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped spinach

  • 2 tablespoons red pepper flakes

  • 2 tablespoons garlic and pepper seasoning

  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Marinate the chicken breasts in the garlic and pepper seasoning, then leave in the fridge overnight.

  2. Take chicken breasts out of the fridge and boil in a pot of water for 30 minutes. Allow the chicken breasts to cool completely before proceeding.

  3. With a large sharp knife, carefully cut the chicken breasts like hot dog buns. Don't cut all the way through.

  4. Open the chicken breasts up where you cut them and layer the tomatoes and spinach. It's okay if you can't fit all of it in, you can just leave some out. Just squish in as much as you can. Stick a couple of toothpicks in near the opening to keep it all together.

  5. Place chicken breasts in a casserole dish and cover in the half and half and olive oil. This will keep it moist while it bakes. Top with red pepper flakes and parmesan cheese. You can put the pan in the oven at about 375ºF. Allow the chicken to bake for another 30 minutes. Serve warm and enjoy!

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DIY Cat Repellant

Hello Lovely,

I am the proud owner of two 11 year old cats. Cats make the perfect pets for lazy people like me. Feed ‘em, give ‘em water and they take care of the rest. They don’t interrupt my TV shows, I don’t have to bathe them and they play with each other. As long as their litter tray is clean, they’re happy. But there are a few things about cats that aren’t so great. THEY SCRATCH EVERYTHING! On top of that, I can’t leave flowers lying around, or my male cat will eat them. I never understood why cats like to eat plants. After photographing a meal, I usually have to dispose of the plants otherwise I know I’ll find it half chewed or worse regurgitated, somewhere around the house. So when I found this DIY recipe for a cat repellant spray using items I already have at home, I couldn’t wait to try it.

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Because cats are way more sensitive to smells than we are, they are less likely to mess with or chew on the leaves if they smell gross. so I made some repellant spray and hoped it would also work on furniture.

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materials

  • glass mist bottle

  • printable labels

  • printable square label paper

  • essential oils

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directions

  1. In your bottle, mix together 3/4 parts water with 15 drops of each essential oil. cats dislike eucalyptus, lavender, lemongrass, peppermint — just choose the ones you don’t mind the scent of yourself.

  2. Shake the bottle up and spray solution on the leaves of your plant and into the soil.

  3. You can spray your plants pretty liberally, and you can add more or less oil depending on what works for you and your cats.

So does this really work? I used essence of peppermint and this didn’t work at all. I sprayed some old placemats and it actually attracted my cat. He laid comfortably on it until I shooed him. And I never have a problem with them bothering my artificial plants. I was really hoping this would keep them off the furniture but all it really did was make the house smell minty.

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I’ll try this again with lavender or eucalyptus essential oil when I buy some later this month. If you try this, let me know how it works for you. Share your experience in the comment section below.

October: What I'm Doing This Month

Hello Lovely,

I’m so excited that it’s October! There are so many things happening this month, I feel like I’m going to burst! On Monday I was in an extra good mood, which isn’t normal for a Monday, but the first of October signals many things: It’s officially Fall, so no one can hate on me for consuming every Pumpkin Spice; we have and holiday and mid-term break this month and we’re almost to Halloween, which really means, IT’S ALMOST CHRISTMAS!!! I love Christmas. Holiday seasons are the best not only for the time off from work, but the decorations and recipes get me so energized that I’m trying something new practically every day!

This weekend is going to be filled with fun! My niece will be turning one tomorrow! I’ve grown to love her so much this past year. Even though she often bites me, pulls my hair and tries to fight me, she always so full of energy, with the most infectious laugh, I can’t help but love her. She’s standing on her own and grabbing everything in sight. She walks if you hold her hand, but she practically tries to run. She crawls everywhere and is obsessed with sneaking into the kitchen. I even started her own email address and occasionally send photos and videos of her with personal letters that I hope she’ll look at someday. Her parents are having a birthday party at Outback for her. That same day I’ll be attending Shakespeare in Paradise with two of my best friends. I’ve been curious about this show for quite some time, so I’m really interested in seeing how the cast interprets the play. We’ll be watching Short Tales: Ten short works by new writers, directed by new directors. A pair of women plot to seduce a faithful husband. A maintenance court case takes a surprising turn. A radio DJ gives his boss a lesson in community spirit. In keeping with its mission of developing new talent, Shakespeare in Paradise presents ten short plays by ten writers.

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I was originally supposed to spend mid-term break in Houston with a friend, but the airfare wasn’t reasonable for such a short amount of time so I decided on Miami instead. Miami isn’t in any way a better option that Houston (a city I’m still exploring) but this trip is going to be much better. Not only am I meeting my best friend’s baby and catching up with friends I haven’t seen since last October, but my best friend Tiana is coming along making this a girl’s trip! I’ve wanted to have a girl’s trip for three years now, but I could never find a time that worked for everyone. Now that Tiana and I are both teachers in the same organisation (different schools) this is the perfect getaway! Between the shopping, IHOP, shopping, partying, pumpkin patches, eating (and did I mention shopping) this is the break we BOTH need.

There’s so much to do! Monday is a holiday and I could totally use that extra day! I’m planning on hosting my friends over on that day. I’ve stocked up on chips and not much else, so I think I’m ready.

What are you looking forward to doing this month? Any big plans? Share what you’re up to in the comment section below!

The Odd Thing I Started Collecting

Hello Lovely,

There's something about starting a collection that feels nostalgic. When I was young, I collected every Babysitter’s Club book I could find (hoping it would make me millions some day - and the books were just awesome). I even have 3 Barbie dolls in my collection (but still don’t have the one I REALLY want). But that’s not the collection I’m most excited about. As if Babysitter’s Club and Barbie Dolls aren’t odd enough, I have a major obsession with something and it was actually Lauren Conrad who inspired this obsession.

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In this excerpt from Lauren Conrad’s book Celebrate, she explains what she collects: “…my home office is overflowing with an admittedly ridiculous number of gorgeous, patinated brass pieces covering just about every inch of the room. That’s not an exaggeration; I have roughly three hundred brass candlesticks and vases, and I’m always looking for an excuse to use them. But trust me, I have a very good reason as to why I have curated this seemingly absurd exhibit. During the year leading up to William’s and my wedding, I began obsessively scouring eBay, flea markets, and antique shops for vintage brass for our reception tablescapes . . . and I promised him that the collection that was rapidly taking over our home was a thoughtful investment that I would use for years to come. Let’s just say that these days, it’s hard to come to a gathering at our house without spotting some brass. If you’re a habitual party thrower, I strongly encourage you to invest in some key items; it will end up saving you a good amount of money in the long run. It will also make you very popular when your friends are throwing parties of their own.”

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So what do I collect? I became obsessed with collecting glassware and white ceramic dishes. Every time I travel I look for a piece to bring back with me. I have glass bottles from Amsterdam and Switzerland, and can you believe this isn’t all of it? I love going through the home section of TJ Maxx (it’s literally the only section I shop in). I collect cool shaped wine bottles and I only recently replaced my lost rectangular ceramic plate (still haven’t even used it).

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Why do I collect these things? I genuinely admire food photography and became passionate about it, about two years ago. So I’m constantly expanding my collection to have various props, tablescape decorating tools and nice things to serve it in for my recipes. I probably only have just over 40 pieces, but my mother is still ready to put me out over it.

QUICK TIPS ON HOW TO START YOUR OWN COLLECTION - CUPCAKES & CASHMERE

1. If possible, collect something you can use. I love the French vases, because they're something I can display, then pull down to fill with flowers. Collections become sad when they gather dust on a shelf—or in a box.

2. Collect timeless things. Collections can take years to amass, so they should stand the test of time. Rather than collecting something of-the-moment, consider classic items that will be just as cool in five or fifty years.

3. Be mindful of kitschy-ness. The line between kitschy and cool is particularly thin when it comes to collections—a set of ceramic containers can be cool. A set of chicken-shaped ceramic containers? Not so cool. That being said, the beauty of collections is that you're free to collect what you love! If chickens are your thing, go for it.

4. Don't become too attached to your collection. At the end of the day, they're just objects. Be careful not to cross the line from collecting to hoarding.  If you come to a point when your collection is causing you more grievances than joy, either consider editing it down, or find someone to gift it or sell it to.

I'd love to hear: Did you have a collection as a kid? Anything now you could see yourself collecting now? How do you decide what’s worth collecting? Is it sentimental, for profit or do you have a hoarding problem like me? Share your collections in the comment section below!