Creative space creates space

One of the most indulgent things for me is time with a new magazine and a pot of tea. A few moments to sit, peruse and be inspired. I discovered ‘Flow’ magazine this week, and what a find! This magazine oozes inspiration, motivation and creativity. The articles in this particular issue focused around happiness, mindfulness and the wealth of time.

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I am in a stage in my life where I feel there is simply not enough time in the day for me to express and engage in the hurricane of creative ideas whirling through my mind. I go to bed every night feeling as though I missed an opportunity to learn something or try something new. I never imagined that this freedom of creative space I enjoy would cause me angst. But it does.

After reading some of the articles in Flow, I have been inspired to ponder on why I feel this way.  Does my creativity needs to be harnessed in order for me to regain the sense of playfulness that began this journey of simplicity, sustainability and creativity for me a number of years ago? I believe it does. So what does one do to regroup, and restore some balance with creative passions and the ordinary-ness of  everyday life (which is totally able to be EXTRA-ordinary too, when we live creatively!) ? Here is what I plan to do:

1.  Slow the thinking down for a bit

So many of my creative endeavours – those that have begun and those still in concept stages – are a labour of love, an active process of trial and error, planning and lots of mess making (which then needs to be cleaned up – agh!).  I strongly believe passive creativity has its place, and I aim to indulge in more of this to regain a sense of calm and fun in my creative pursuits. Passive creativity is still inherently creative, and still engages those creative parts of our brains, but with zero stress! Colouring in is my passive creative outlet of choice, and Johanna Basford is my artist of choice. What exquisite colouring books she has created, so that you and I can enjoy creativity any time, anywhere. Narrowing the creative decision making to colours as opposed to broader ideas, is a simple, yet effective way, to come back to the pure enjoyment and simplicity of creative endeavours. Just watch a child when they colour, and the calm and focus they have as they create a masterpiece. Now, you have a turn!

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2. Celebrate creativity with others

I have started hosting Crafternoon Tea and colouring parties at my house as a way to get together with friends, and to inspire and enable them to pursue creative pleasures in a way that is manageable for the stage of life we are at (children, school, sports etc).  Through setting aside pockets of time, the creator within gets a chance to be at the forefront.  Other things are set aside, and creativity reigns for an hour or two!  Hosting these get togethers has made me realise how much others crave creative outlets, and are sometimes just waiting for an opportunity to allow themselves to set aside responsibility, and nurture themselves.

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3.  Create for fun

When I have a period of time when I am not under the pump with orders for my Flair Enough business, I love to create things that are just for fun. Stationery is often my creation of choice when I get the urge to make.  I have been posting snail mail using my handmade stationery, as a therapeutic way for me to engage with people in a  simple and whimsical way. There is something magical about a handmade note in the letterbox, written for no particular reason other than to say “hi”. Snail mail is a lost art in many ways, and I want my children to see the value of handwriting, expressing oneself through the written word, and the joy of posting and receiving mail. What is your creative outlet of choice, just for fun?

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4.  Pots of tea

Tea is known to have relaxing properties, but a tea bag just doesn’t cut it, in my opinion. The ritual of pouring a pot of tea, drinking from a tea cup and saucer is good for the soul. When we drink a teabag infused cup of tea, there is often a sense of rush from the outset. But a teapot needs time – time to infuse, time to rest.  We need to do the same every now and then, so brewing a pot of tea serves as a reminder and a prompting to take some time to just BE.

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5.  Kids are creative beings – take a leaf out of their book

My children are incredibly creative, and sometimes their idea of fun is not mine. But usually, when I go along with their ideas, I get caught up in the flow and have a blast! Floor time with children is a wonderful way to foster theirs and our creativity.

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Making room for creativity, creates space in our minds. When we nurture creative thinking, we find our creative problem solving capabilities increase, we think outside of the box. Creative space creates space. But we need to create space for creative space to enjoy the benefits – and we also need to ensure that our creativity is harnessed well, rather than utterly chaotic to maximise the benefits of our creative pursuits.

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Flair Enough

I have done it AGAIN. I will never win Blogger of the Year, of this I am certain. I just get too easily distracted.

FLAIRENOUGHSIX_clipped_rev_1As you would know, if you  have read at least a few of my blog entries, I am passionate about simple living, upcycling and being mindful of what really matters in life. An outworking of these together this year has been the creation of said distraction – Flair Enough. After receiving a lot of feedback from friends and hearing for the 100th time that I should consider selling some of my pieces, I decided to take the plunge. If you head on over to my Facebook page, I would love to hear your thoughts.

‘Reimagining Home and Play’ is our catch cry. Rethinking what we think we need, what we think our kids need. Reimagining a piece of discarded furniture, that can be transformed, or some old timber off cuts that hold the potential for a world of storytelling and adventure. Flair Enough is a play on words speaking of what we are passionate about.

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Reclaimed chair, reupholstered and painted.

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Preloved storybook and reclaimed timber transformed into storyblocks ❤

Fair prices & Enoughism – we have enough crap in the world, and we certainly have enough overpriced crap in this world. We offer a superior starting point in gift buying or home decorating than mass produced, plastic or poorly made items. Flair Enough is about using what we have, because we have ENOUGH to go around, and adding flair, so that these pieces can be given a new life and be enjoyed once more.  If it is not upcycled, reclaimed or handmade, you will not see it on our page 🙂 Come on over and say hi xoxoxspots tent

Planning my Planner

I love lists. And pens. And washi tape. I also love paper planners as opposed to using the iCal app. So I thought I had found the perfect planner, but it disappointed me. I then turned to Pinterest to search for the free PDF downloads that would surely be the solution to my organising needs. I quickly became disheartened at the thought of trawling for hours through printables that would be fun and colourful, but not necessarily suited to my style of list making.

Then I remembered a graph book I got from Office Works and decided to draft my own planner pages for this week. My plan for my planner is this: I will hand draw each week, using what I liked from the previous week, and tweaking or removing what isn’t so useful.

There is truly something therapeutic about using colourful pens. You should try it if you haven’t in a while.

This week I have included: Finances for the week at a glance, School stuff, Menu Plan, Dream cloud for ideas and inspo, and my take on the ‘To Do’ list – the ‘Ta Da!’ List, which is much more exciting. Because when I get to tick something off, I will be all like, “Ta da! Look at what I did today! How clever am I?!”

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I best stop planning my planner page, and get planning my week. Well, what is left of it.

Gift Giving Guidelines for 2015

Over the past few years, we have dramatically changed the way in which we consume in this family.  So much of what we own is second hand, and a lot of it has been spruced up to suit our style. I started a Facebook page last week to chronicle some of my projects – Flair Enough.  The name of the page implies a few things I am passionate about – fair trade, enoughism (we have enough, we don’t need to succumb to the pull of thinking we need more), supporting local, and working with one’s own hands to create something. I am saddened that we live in a society that, to a great extent, values the glitz of shiny packaging and plastic over the innovation of resourceful creativity.  I have enjoyed many projects where I reclaim something that was no longer wanted, and transformed it into something we use, enjoy and others always notice. The latter is never my motivation, but it always happens. Resourceful resonates with the people I know, because there is a fascination with many regarding the simple act of transforming someones trash into a delightfully practical addition to our home.

This year, I am going to try and focus on transforming our gift giving for birthdays,  births, weddings, Christmas, Mother’s and Father’s days… My aim is to do one of the following things when it comes to giving gifts:

1.  Shop at home first – Use what we already have in our present box.

2. Buy second hand – Often times you can find new things that have been thrown away, or at the very least, a great quality second-hand item that can be repurposed or given flair.

3. Support local – A beautiful gift of flowers or condiments from the farmers markets, or pieces from local designers are a much better choice than mass produced plastic.

4.  Experiences – Rather than the standard fare of plastic, an experience is a great gift alternative.

5.  Make it – Handmade is a winner with me, and I believe this to be true for many.  To be honest, I am not sure of how well I will go with this one, because I do have a boom or bust reputation with all things handmade, be it crafty or cooking. Sometimes I nail it, other times, it is catastrophic. Like the time I posted a photo to Facebook of a caramel slice I made. I asked people to guess what it was. Lasagne they said.

I guess at the end of the day, I think we have enough of the stuff that they keep trying to sell us more of. I like to put a lot of thought into gifts, but I find that it is hard when others do not share the values that I hold to, so I then crumble under the weight of invisible expectations and buy the sub-standard gift.

I will leave you with this print I found at the thrift store on the weekend, which serves as a wonderful reminder to us.  I wonder if you will consider joining me on this journey?

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x

Sprucing up: Bathroom Edition

I love sprucing things up. I get a real kick out of reclaiming discarded furniture and revamping it so it can be enjoyed once again. There is something deeply satisfying to me about painting over an offensive wall colour with a shade that changes the mood of a room. Finding ways to recreate a space on a minimal budget is something I have done for many years, and now we are doing it on a larger scale in our ‘new’ 1974 home.  We have been here for 9 months now, and despite being utterly sleep deprived juggling three busy lads, we have managed to make a number of changes which make this 1974 beast feel like a home that fits who we are. I will be sharing the revamping journey of our home over the coming months as we, bit by bit, wall by wall, room by room, begin to transform our home, the frugal way!

To give you an idea of what we are working with, here are a few ‘before’ photos:

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Can you guess why all of the brown was starting to do my head in? I felt like I was living on the set of a bad 1970s Australian sitcom.

But the reasons we purchased this home trump the brown-ness of it. The view, location, space and configuration were the selling points for us.

195 Carella Street, Howrah, Tas 7018

Taking a long shower is supposed to be relaxing. Do you think you could relax in that bathroom? Our original, 1974 bathroom has been quite the talking point for our friends, and incredibly, a number of them were disappointed when we painted over the tiles!

After ripping up the floor tiles, replacing some rotting boards, painting them with paint suitable for wet areas, we started to see that this budget update might really work.

The tiles were primed and painted over using White Knight tile paint, in Stone Jug and Pebble Grey.  The shower base was primed and painted with a laminate paint, and it feels relaxing, clean and fresh.

Matt installed the new vanity which he found on sale at Bunnings, and I picked up the blind from Freedom reduced from $220 to $50.  The grand total for the bathroom revamp was $700.

Feeling cushy

Tonight it felt good to start and finish a project in an hour. I whipped up a few cushion covers using thrift shop items: a pillow case, off-cut fabric and zips. I paid around $1 for the supplies I used.

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I am thinking some napkins might be next on the list of straight line sewing projects for me.

Loveliness

It’s a week of loveliness. I’ve decided. It’s a very busy week, but it’s lovely.

Aren’t clean windows lovely? I washed our windows this afternoon. When you appreciate the lovely things in your life, even the tedious things are acts of loveliness. To enjoy our stunning view through clean (well, a few smudges here and there) windows is thoroughly gratifying.

Isn’t biscotti lovely? To bake something extra special to share with my family is lovely. Messy, but deliciously lovely. (Experimental success: gluten free, pistachio and chocolate biscotti, mmmm.)

Sunsets; they happen every single day, but never cease to be lovely.To walk along our beach at sunset… You guessed it- lovely.

To find my post-exam creative project – a vintage telephone table that I can add some colour to – that’s luxuriously lovely!!

So there you have it, I’ve decided. Despite being the big study week, this week is going up be a lovely week, full of lovely things, lovely moments and lovely thoughts. Ah, lovely.

I hope you find and create the loveliness in your week.

xx

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Creative urge splurge…soon

I want to plan our 2014 holiday (because we are taking the lads overseas).

I want to redecorate our bedroom (thanks to Kirstie’s Vintage Home).

I want to recover a chair (because I have cute boys with messy hands).

I want to paint my office chair (because white is nice, but green might be fun).

I want to dust my camera off and take some photographs (because it makes my heart happy).

 

But I must study (because I have a Child and Adolescent Development exam in 10 days and I have a LOT of content to cover).

 

Multi-tasking has always been my way, yet I have managed to get things done in life despite my tendency to become easily distracted. But the past four months have shown me things about myself that I am quietly pleased to recongnise.  I have been more focused than I have ever been in my life. I have prioritised more efficiently, and I have delayed gratification like I never have before.

My creative urges are screaming out for attention, but they are being told to wait. Not to go away, but to take a seat and wait for me to finish what needs to be done.  At 11.10am on the 12th June, I will leave the exam room and these urges can have my full attention for five whole weeks.  Delaying gratification makes the gratification so much more…gratifying!!! Creative urge splurge coming up! (Be still my beating heart, get back to the books).

On that note, I best get back to what needs to be done 🙂

Shadows

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Shadows

We have had a few sheets of black cardboard Matt bought home from school last year that are a bit damaged from being used as backdrops for displays. Tonight as we were looking through a Science experiment book from the Library, we stumbled across this and I remembered the cardboard.
It was the first ever shadow sketch experience for the lads, and we got to turn the lights out and use their Lego man torch, which of course made the whole process so much more fun! They were amazed when we cut their silhouette out. We now have beautiful, frugal, simple art in the play room.

Fort Frenzy

We are fast approaching the end of our first week of school holidays. They always go so fast! The weather is crazy; cold and gusty, but altogether cosy indoors, so what did we decide to do today? Why, we let our inner architect out to play and created an indoor fort, of course!

We used sheets, clamps, pegs and rope and the lads have been in there ever since, reading, watching ‘Spy Kids’ and making frequent requests for food. Their Dad is in there with them, showing no signs of coming out of this boy cave anytime soon… I have a feeling this may stay for a while.

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