Over Labor Day weekend, the stars aligned and something magical happened. My two sisters and I, under one roof, getting along AND laughing…my Grandma would be so proud. Of course, there was some bickering and arguing before they arrived at my home for a sleepover on Friday. There always has to be some arguing in every family happening, doesn’t there? But at the end of the day, I still texted my sister Jen saying “You are always welcome at my house.” And at the end of the day, Kristy and Jen still arrived at my apartment, ready for some quality time together. It seems like magic that we were all together at once because just a few years ago, Kristy lived in Texas, and therefore, wasn’t around for lots of the memories made. Also because Jen has a tough work schedule, in which she works every weekend. But, like I said, the stars aligned, and we were all together under one roof.
The next morning, Saturday, we hung around the house, baked strawberry cupcakes in honor of Jen’s belated birthday, and talked. There was slight tension that morning, but nothing serious. I’m coming to realize with my family that we bring out the best in each other when we spend shorter spans of time together. We get along for so long, and then have to go our separate ways. After hanging around the apartment for a while, finishing the cupcakes, and realizing we weren’t going to make the trip to the post office we planned, which closed at 2 PM, we went to Target for gummy bears and deodorant. Not making the post office put us on less of a time constraint, more freedom means less tension. WIN! We wandered around crowded Target for a while, first stopping at the Dollar Spot (always the first stop in Target), then wandering around looking at various things. My absolute favorite time is spent when I have nowhere to be and nothing to do.
While at Goodwill, we parted ways and looked at what we wanted, but kept calling each other over to look at our findings. “This is good for you.” “Jenny would like this.” We can spend hours in Goodwill looking at everything, and, sure enough, we were in Goodwill approximately three hours or so. There were racks of Halloween stuff, which meant Jen made us laugh uncontrollably by trying on silly hats. A turkey and the snowman from Frozen. We literally could not stop laughing. Somehow we ended up near the sweater racks and then it got serious. My Grandma taught us to shop before and after seasons because that’s when you find the best deals and things. It was 85 degrees outside and we were looking at sweaters. Needless to say, there was no one around us, and we got the pick of the best sweaters. We each found a few sweaters that were in great condition and were name brand. Score! We each walked out of the Goodwill with a few things, which makes for a happy day. By this time, Alex was awake and wondering where we were…
We went home for sandwiches and hot tea. Slowly since Friday, I was developing a sore throat and sniffles. By the time we went home, I was blowing my nose uncontrollably. We hung around the house, now with Alex, and watched Grown Ups and Grown Ups II. It was nearing the time for Kristy and Jen to go home, and it made me sad. (Just like when we had to leave Grandma and Grandpa’s house to go home). Jen had to work the next day (Sunday) and I was getting sicker by the minute. Plus, we had had such a great time the last two days, and all got along, and I have learned to savor this time with my family, and move on. And not push it. It’s just the way our family works. So late at night, Kristy and Jen went home, and I took a much needed nap on the couch.
Don’t get me wrong. Having days to “do nothing” is great, I highly recommend it to everyone. But the thing I have learned about creativity and motivation that totally sucks is: the longer you stay away, the worse it gets. I myself have been the queen of excuses lately when it comes to why NOT to create: I have ‘x’ amount of things on my To Do list, I “should” be doing this instead of scrapbooking, I’m tired and don’t feel like it, or (my biggest excuse lately) is I’m not super happy so how can I scrapbook happy things?
I really think that being creative is sooo important in our lives: for our mental health, for a way to unwind after a long day, to let out our inner-artist. So many reasons. I could go on forever and ever! I’ve been realizing this so much more lately, and so my creativity and motivation has slowly been building more and more each day. I can honestly feel my happiness growing, too! And it has been majorly helping with life situations that hubby and I have been going through (because sometimes we just need to stop thinking about tough life situations, and think about something else). Hearing that my sister was going through a similar feeling that I once had made me so sad. Her job is tough. My job can be tough, also. We both have regular, long hour, day jobs. It sucks sometimes but this is what we do to make a living. I don’t want Jen to lose her love for scrapbooking, documenting, or just creating in general, like I did for a while. I went through this learning process and it sucks, and I don’t want her to go through the same situation. So I’m hoping this post inspires her, and maybe others out there as well, to keep going and feed your creativity. By doing this, maybe, just maybe, even 15 minutes of something creative will make you feel like a million bucks. And your inner self will love you immensely!
I also wanted to share a few tips that have worked for me for getting back into a creative flow:
2) Trust your first instincts, they’re usually the best. Sometimes, when I get to my desk, I think “I just want to play with something pretty, but…I should finish those cards or this Project Life page.” But that can seem like such a daunting task, such a big project after a long day. Often, this has made me just get up and walk away and do nothing at all. So, I’ve been trying to trust my first instinct and do what it is telling me. This happened the other day and I created an awesome art journal page that I LOVE LOVE LOVE instead of pushing my creativity to something I didn’t really want to do at the time, and end up with something that I wasn’t happy with.
3) Appreciate the time you have and set small goals. I’ve been trying to appreciate the little time I have to create. Before my goal would be “finish that pocket page layout,” but really I don’t have time for that anymore and my schedule doesn’t allow for lots of time to sit and create for hours on end. So, when I have 15 minutes to create, I work on one pocket (add journaling, add embellishments, create a title, whatever) and it makes me feel so good! Yes, I didn’t finish the whole pocket page, but if I have 5 of these 15-minute sessions, then my page is done at the end of the week, and I still get that feeling of accomplishment. Yah!
4) Don’t over indulge on inspiration. This was a huge HUGE issue for me and a big reason why I lost so much motivation to create. I spent so much time on Pinterest or blogs, looking at other people’s work, sometimes even comparing my work to others. Or maybe just pinning, in general. Pinning and pinning. You spend so much time looking at other people’s pretty projects that you could have a) had some solid time to create something of your own and b) could have created something beautiful that you love and is totally you. I have limited my time looking for “inspiration” and this has helped so much!
5) Do what works for YOU! I recently listened to Amy Poehler’s book and she said in there “Good for her. Not for me.” I love certain scrapbookers’ styles, and I love looking at projects they create, but I have realized that I like my projects to be clean, or organized messy, whatever you want to call it, and that’s what works for me. So I’m not fighting it. I’m not trying to change my style. I’m trying to GROW the style that works for me, and what I like. And this makes me sooo happy.
I am by no means an expert on being creative or finding ways to get through a period where you feel unmotivated, but this has been the way I have felt for sooo long. And it freaked me out! And I thought I was losing my interest in scrapbooking. But really, I was just changing, and my life schedule was changing, and I just had to go with it, and continue to try and find what works for ME. It may never be a perfect balance, but instead of fighting it, if we go with it and adapt, we can create things we LOVE and continue to have a hobby we LOVE, instead of letting it go altogether. Remember this my dear Jenbabe!
The rest of the cake pretty much went down without a hitch. Getting the lamb out of the mold was only the hardest when we got to the nose. That sucker was stuck on there and did not want to come out. It took us about 30 mins to finally get the lamb out completely! Next time, we’ll use a little less flour and it should be fine.