Join #2030make

Hello!

Want to join a really fun creative challenge? Last year, I launched the #2030make challenge and we’re celebrating with a new updated workbook and emails to encourage you on your journey. Check out the video below + the history behind #2030make. You’re going to love it!

By signing up below, you’ll also gain access to my weekly sketchbook letters that I write to encourage you in your creative journey. Hope you have an amazing day!

Love, Jennie

(Having trouble with the form? Please click here to use an alternate form to get your workbook and join the challenge.)

2030make Challenge
I don’t have a lot of TIME to create these days. And I’m guessing you don’t either. I know, I know, I’m a craft blogger so I’m supposed to be making things all the time, right? But the truth is, even though I love to work on creative projects, life is busy. I’ll make things for this blog but struggle to get past the idea stage for myself. Case in point: I bought yarn last October for a scarf that is still only half-way finished. I wish I could say that it is because it is a complicated pattern but the truth is, I keep forgetting about it. And let’s not even talk about my daughter’s photo book. She is a year younger in photo album years.

Do you relate?

  • You want to make things but the days seem too short.
  • When you do have time, you usually procrastinate and end up doing a load of laundry (or something like that.)
  • You wait until the end of the day to work on your projects and then find you’re too tired.

You’re a creative person who has a lot of ideas of projects you want to make, skills you want to learn, and techniques you want to try. But you don’t have the time. I hear you.

So what’s a creative to do?

That was exactly my question last year when I launched #2030make for the first time. I decided to set aside 20 minutes a day for the next 30 days to work on my projects. And thousands of you decided to join me. It was AMAZING.

In that month, we…

  • Wrote eBooks
  • Finished quilts
  • Stitched up cute gifts
  • Finally finished the baby book
    And basically, got back into our creative grooves

This mindset ended up becoming the driving force behind my concept of creating personal retreats for ourselves. (Yay for The Creative Retreat workbook!) It also completely changed the way I look at my creative life. Instead of being driven by guilt and feeling like I’m always behind and never have enough time, I’ve learned (and am learning) to take each day at a time and to carve out micro-moments for myself to create.

It’s amazing.

So in honor of the one year anniversary of the #2030make challenge, I updated the workbook with a new way to track the days (if you like to color, you’ll love this!) I also added some more information and will be adding a video or two to YouTube throughout the month to talk about creative projects and to encourage you on your #2030make journey.

What I love most about this challenge is it’s all about grace. Your age, skill level, and income don’t matter. All you have to do is set aside 20 minutes each day for the next month to work on your creative projects, whatever they may be.

When you sign up, you’ll receive a FREE workbook that you can use to get inspired and to track your project through the month. You’ll also receive an email each week with some thoughts on the creative process (as well as encouragement to keep going!)

I’d love to see and hear about what you’re working on, so use the hashtag #2030make on Instagram and Twitter so I can cheer you on. You’ve got this!

Hi, I’m Jennie.

I write about simple crafts and living a creative life on my blog, Little Girl Designs. I believe that we’re all creative and that taking time to hone our these abilities truly matters.  When I’m not working on a creative project, you can probably find me chasing my toddler and going on walks with my husband in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Oh, and probably eating some chocolate. :)

Some posts from Little Girl Designs you might enjoy:

Why Happy Journal, Happy Life Isn’t Full of Examples

Since publishing Happy Journal, Happy Life, there have been a few questions as to why I didn’t add more pictorial examples.

There were several reasons that prompted me to go this route. Believe me, I was tempted. But here is why I decided to go light on the pictures.

1. The purpose of the book. The ultimate point of the book is to inspire readers to start their own happy journals. This book is a guide that when finished, can be set aside as you create your own journal. I included open-ended instructions so readers would know what I meant by a “happy journal” as well as some photos. But I didn’t show pages and pages of photographic ideas throughout.

2. The comparison factor. Some people stop in their tracks when they see examples that either don’t appeal to them or that seem “too hard” to copy. I heard from friends and family right away who said they would like to do this but they weren’t artists. I want to communicate that happy journals are what you make them to be: whether that means stick figures or detailed sketches. Everyone can benefit from them.

Here's why I decided to go light on the pictures for my new book, Happy Journal, Happy Life. Hint: It's a guidebook for YOU.

3. I want to be authentic. The pages you see in the book are from my own journals. The problem I ran into is many of my journal pages include names of friends and family as well as personal commentary. I considered redrawing them for the book, and might do so for the printed version, but I find a lot of the spontaneity, imperfection, and warmth that I love in my happy journals is completely lost in doing so.

For those who caught the comment on the printed version, I am working on one that will likely contain blank pages in the back so you can immediately start your journal. I’m excited about this—hoping to have it finished by the new year.

I LOVE how many of you have been inspired to pick up a small notebook and begin recording your happy moments. And I especially love hearing how many of you are doing so even though you don’t consider yourself an artist. Yes!

Keep your happy journal close as we finish out this year so you can reflect on all the good that has been gifted to you.

It’ll become a blessing in a book, believe me.

 

 

How to Combat Creativity Monsters

If blank page syndrome is a real thing (and it is), then surely creativity monsters are right up there on the list.

Creativity monsters are the super unhelpful gremlins that sit on your shoulder and whisper things like . . .

“You’re not that original.”

“Why even try?”

“You’re not going to show that to anyone, are you?”

“You should give up.”

Really helpful, right?

These little gremlins are tricky. If you feed them with additional gremliny thoughts, they begin to fill out and grow. They gain power from struggling artists and LOVE to help you stay in that spot.

But today, rather than giving in to them, we are going to COMBAT those creativity monsters.

In three easy steps.

Ready?

Let’s do this!

How to Combat Your Creativity Monsters

Number one: Spoil yourself.

You heard me.

When those squeaky gremlin voices begin whispering at you, it is time to go into combat mode.

Grab a piece of paper and write down five things you could do TODAY that would help you feel better.

Ideas could include listening to your favorite song, purchasing & eating the best cacao nib bar ever, taking a hot shower, going on a walk in the forest . . . Oh wait, those are my ideas. But you get my point.

Now do those things.

“Oh, sheesh. It’s not that big of a deal. These thoughts get me all the time,” you say.

Okay. If this is a regular occurrence, you especially need to up your self care. Sleep longer, nourish your body well, encourage yourself with treats and things that make you smile, make time for relationships . . .

In short, your creative tank might be dismally empty which makes your heart the perfect environment for gremlins to move in and make their comfy homes.

Secondly: Tell someone. Or someones.

Quick, call your mom. Or your BFF. Or SOMEONE. Tell them you want to quit. Let them talk you down.

And no, please don’t get on to Twitter and tell the world of your angst. This info is for your inner circle (for now, at least.*)

Side note: Don’t tell someone who has their own giga-gremlins and who will encourage you to go to the dark side. Call Sam, not Gollum.

*Additional side note: When you’re really feeling bad about yourself, the last thing you need is strangers who don’t really know you weighing in. There will be a time for you to tell the world, but for now, tell the people who can give you a hug and make you a second cup of hot chocolate.

Gremlins and creativity monsters of all kinds really, really hate it when they are brought to light. It embarrasses them. They realize that they really have nothing that talent, determination, and awesome YOUness can’t fight.

They are just little puffs of fluff compared to what you have to bring to the world.

Telling someone about the discouragement you’re going through will help dissipate it. You will be able to see the true picture behind the smoke.

Oh my goodness, this step is so important. Please go do it today.

Thirdly, and finally, take the next 30 days to start a happy journal.

Yep, 30 days.

You will need one small blank book and one pen. You should also purchase my Happy Journal guide here.

For the next 30 days, draw out one or a few things every single day that make you happy. Keep your eyes wide open if you’re in a particularly monstery time.

If you are already upping your self care and getting some encouragement from cheerleading friends, then you’ll have a couple of items to draw right away.

This practice of recording your happiness will stir something in you. You’ll find that a confidence will grow that will look down at those creative gremlins and actually be able to roll her eyes instead of cowering in fright.

In short, you’ll be growing your brave muscles.

Creativity monsters attack every single one of us. Don’t feel bad when they get you down.

In fact, take a moment and revel in the truth that they are only attacking you because you are actively moving forward on your creative path. The gremlins don’t bother with those who have given up on their dreams.

You got this.

Now go get ’em!

How the Mini Canvas is Changing My Art Life

Do you want to add more creativity to your day? Have you ever considered painting a mini canvas? Here’s how these small paintings are changing my life!

 

Have you heard of the Painting a Day movement? It started back in 2004 when Duan Keiser set out to share his work on the internet.  What started with one man has turned into thousands of artists striving to do one small painting a day – mostly every day. I am always looking for practical ways to get creativity into my life so when I discovered this idea years ago, I was intrigued.

When I grow up, I want to paint like this! Love this mini canvas by Hannah Stevenson!

The part that caught my attention was the idea of using a small canvas to get a whole painting done in less time.  When I say small, I mean anywhere from 2×2 to 6×6 inches small.  So, about a year ago, I went to my local Michael’s, picked up a stack of 4×4 – 6×6 canvases and tried it out.  And, while I don’t get to paint every day, this mini-canvas concept has changed the way I do art.  Here’s why :

Life is BUSY

I don’t know about you but I don’t have hours a day (or even a week!) to dedicate to my art practice.  Motherhood and life, in general, has a way of filling up fast.  But just because this stage of life is busy, doesn’t mean I want to get out of the practice of making art! That’s where the small canvas comes in.  Because of the small size, I can usually make something I’m happy with, in a little over an hour.  I don’t have to tell you how good it feels to actually accomplish something (like a whole painting!) in about an hour.

Wouldn't it be fun to paint a mini canvas portrait of each family member?! LOVE.

I Like To Try New Things

Another reason this idea works for me is that I like to try different kinds of styles.  Because I’m only investing an hour or so and very few materials, I feel more free to experiment with styles or techniques that I’ve always wanted to try.

Carol Marine the author of the book Daily Painting says, “Painting small and often gave me the freedom to experiment.  Every day I got to start on an entirely new project.  No longer did I feel overwhelmed by the large number of things I wanted to paint – I could do them all.  If one subject or one style didn’t work out, well, I didn’t sweat it.  I had only invested a part of a day’s worth of work on it, after all.  My fear of failing disappeared — well, almost. Probably a little fear is good for us. I do know I was no longer making excuses not to paint.”

Super cute mini landscape! What a great idea to use a mini canvas to sneak in more creative time!

I’m Cheap

I think the thing that trips me up the most when it comes to painting (or any medium, really)  is that I’ll waste not only my time but hard-earned cash on something that doesn’t “turn out.” With the painting small concept, those fears all but disappear! Because I’m using a small canvas (that I can usually find for close to a dollar) and very little paint, I can enjoy the process and know that even if it doesn’t turn out to be my best work, I am not out much time or money.

I Get to Improve Quickly

I learn just as much about composition, color, value, etc. when I’m working on a small canvas as I do working on a larger one.  I can then take what I’ve learned from my small painting and implement it on something else.  I have found that I learn so much from these little paintings and have gained more confidence in my skills as I’ve started to improve more quickly.

This mini canvas reminds me of Anne of Green Gables. :) Love!

It Doesn’t Have to Be a Canvas

It’s important to note that this concept really translates to any medium.  I tried it out in my sketchbook with great success.  Just a sketch a day instead of a painting. I was amazed at what I could do in just a few minutes a day.  You could use anything from oils to pastels to charcoal to collage work.

Just make it small and see what happens for you!


Hannah Stevenson is an artist and mom to four. Her passion is to help creative moms make time for their art. Check out her new FREE ecourse The Art Habit for Moms. She writes about about creativity, nature, intentional education, and mindful family life at LilyandThistle.com.  She also makes paper dolls!

 

Anyone Can Start a Happy Journal

This post is from an email I sent out to my subscriber list earlier this week. I wanted to share it with you because I think it’s true: anyone can start a happy journal.

What a delicious week of happiness!

Thank you for all of your support of my new eBook, Happy Journal, Happy Life. I have BIG dreams for this little book because I think it is a method of gratitude that is accessible to so many.

You don’t have to be an ARTIST.

You don’t have to have a lot of supplies.

It makes me so happy to look back on old happy journals. They have been a light throughout my life. I love journaling but these journals are the BEST!

All you need is the ability to stop and observe the world you’re privy to. “Open my eyes so I may SEE,” says the Psalmist. That’s the prayer of the happy journaler.

She is always on the lookout for the goodness of God. For the beauty that still exists in her world.

And she is determined to record it.

She knows how easy to forget the good. The negative moments seem to cement themselves into her brain, endlessly replaying their stories.

Here's your guide on how to start a happy journal today. What would you draw in your's?

But she stops that pattern by jotting down the happy.

Her daughter’s giggles.

The sun shining.

An old friend randomly texting hello.

Her favorite chocolate bar on sale.

They’re small things but she knows those little things are what make her life. And so she draws them out.

We’re on a quest to find the happy things. Want to join us? Here’s your guide.

P.S. I highly recommend creating a happy journal page or two with a child. Their insight is invaluable.

P.P.S. Curious what others are saying about Happy Journal, Happy Life?

It's so important to focus on the positive, as this reviewer points out.

Proof that anyone can start a happy journal. A happy review from a customer.

 

How to Find Awesome Clothes Even If You Hate Shopping {Stitch Fix Review}

Oh my goodness, I think I just found my new favorite. Although I wish to heaven I inherited my mom’s shopping gene . . . (She once walked out of Anthropologie with the cutest house decoration that was under $1!! What?! Even the cashier was in shock.)

. . . Alas, I did not. Not even a smidgen. I actually don’t like shopping at all. I’ll go, if I have to. I’ll go if it’s Target.

But clothes? Please don’t make me. (Is anyone else like this?)

I know that Stitch Fix has been out for a long time, but up until recently I couldn’t see how it would work for me. I don’t need fancy clothes as I’m at home 95% of the time. There are many women out there who would argue with me and who dress up even if their baby is the only one who sees them. Totally fine, that’s just not me.

In the past several years, I’ve purged and then purged some more from my clothes so I have very few “before baby” outfits and no work clothes from back in the day. I read articles about micro-wardrobes and giggle. Mine had become so micro it was ridiculous.

Thankfully, I still had a ton of scarves.

Did I mention how much I dislike clothes shopping? I’m the friend who goes in the store with you, wanders through the entire store, and then finds you at the same clothes rack.

I’m the one who makes a grocery shopping list according to the store’s layout so I can get in and get out in record time.

This dislike of shopping does not extend to bookstores, however. Just to be clear. :)

No more wandering around the mall hoping to find a new outfit. My stylist picks what I need and ships it to my door. I can't even.

Anyway, I began looking for clothing items and what I discovered was I kept on buying things just so I could go home, not because I really loved them. And I felt really overwhelmed with all the 90s fashion coming back because I felt like I was wearing clothes from my high school photos. :-/

So when I saw an ad for Stitch Fix recently, I clicked through, and tentatively took the quiz. (You can take one too by clicking here.) They have you take an extensive quiz where you can detail what you like and don’t like. I was very skeptical but also fairly desperate.

Here’s what I learned:

—You can be pretty specific about what you want/don’t want. When my first shipment arrived, I was in awe of how they nailed it the first time around, but I was also very specific when I took the survey. (I’ve read that sometimes it takes a few tries for your stylist to really get to know your tastes and preferences. By the way, isn’t that so fancy? You get your own stylist!)

—If you can’t stand anything in the box, you can return everything. You will owe only the $20 styling fee, which is less than I would pay for gas to Target and all the things that are not clothes that I would have bought instead. ;)

—If you keep one or more items in the box, they subtract the $20 for the total. If you keep ALL of the items, you get an additional 25% off.

—You can specify whether you need more of certain items or if you have a special event coming up. I LOVED the jeans they sent me, but I don’t need any more jeans for a while, so I let them know for next time.

—You don’t have to do a monthly box. This is SO awesome. You can schedule it for every other month or once a quarter to freshen up your wardrobe for the season.

—The price. If you LOVE to search for a good deal and know the day when the markdowns happen at your local stores, Stitch Fix is not for you. You will think it’s too expensive and wonder if you could have found a better deal elsewhere.

—However, if you’re like me, and cringe when you have to go clothes shopping, Stitch Fix will be your new best friend too. After trying everything on, I was so thrilled that everything fit and that I actually liked the clothes. I was willing to pay a bit more than I usually would because they are higher quality clothes. (Update: I still wear them regularly. As in, I try to not wear the jeans every single day. They are soooo comfortable.)

For my first shipment, I received a dressy tank top, a cardigan, jeans, a long-sleeved casual shirt, and a chunky scarf. They also include a card with pictorial ideas of how to style each piece. This is imperative for people like me.

I wanted to share this with you because I know I’m not the only one who isn’t a fan of shopping but would also like to have more than yoga pants in her wardrobe. My friends who are fashionistas also love Stitch Fix because they receive items they haven’t come across at our local stores. So that works too. :)

Here’s my “share with a friend” link, if any of you are interested in trying it out. And please let me know how your experience is. I’m still in shock that mine has been so good.

Have a lovely {and creative} day, friends! :)

2030make LIVE

Join me for 2030make live on the Little Girl Designs Facebook page
during the month of October. It’s going to be FUN!

Hello, hello!

When I met 1:1 with a mentor during a conference recently, one of my chief questions was how to be authentic and build community in a social media driven blog world. For those of you who don’t own blog businesses, this might seem like a strange question to ask, but for me it is a real problem.

Authenticity is one of my core values, and I cringe when I feel like I’m falling into the trap of “doing all the things” just because someone else is doing them. Or because I’m supposed to, whatever that means!

During our conversation, she gently challenged me to try Facebook live in order to better chat with you all. I mean, writing a blog post or an email to you is somewhat like chatting, but only if you answer back. ;) Sometimes this blogging world can be akin to what it used to be, a virtual journal.

She loved the idea of making 2030make into a live challenge, and I couldn’t agree more.

That particular challenge is one we ALL love in this community—I know several of you have gone through it more than once. It’s the gentle tug I use in my own life to get back into creative making when I feel like I’ve fallen off the bandwagon.

So . . . with that long intro, I’m going to start doing Facebook lives on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday on the Little Girl Designs Facebook page. We’ll start at 6:00 a.m. PST and chat for 30 minutes or so. I have a bunch of topics to share with you about creativity goodness, and we can cheer each other on in whatever projects we’re working on.

Want to join me?

Be sure to follow the Little Girl Designs page so you’ll receive a notification when I go live. You can also watch the replay and leave comments if 6:00 a.m. PST doesn’t work for you.

And yes, I know that’s early for us West Coast people! But we can do this. :)

I’m so looking forward to chatting with you more in the month of October. In the meantime, start thinking about what you want to make for this challenge. Eek! Can’t wait! :)

(Having trouble with the form? Please click here to use an alternate form to get your workbook and join the challenge.)

 

20 minutes, 30 days, what will you make?

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Join the #2030make challenge! I'm busy, you're busy, we're all busy...BUT that shouldn't keep us from creating, should it? Join me on this 30 day challenge where we take 20 minutes a day to work on our projects. Free *updated* workbook and a weekly email on creativity to encourage you included!