Some Thoughts During Year 2 of Making Something Every Day

So I’m six months into Year 2 of Making Something Every Day. I’ve missed a few more days this year already than I did last year. I felt the pressure of not letting up last year. Not slowing down for any reason for fear of losing momentum. I’m much more laid back about it this year because I know that I’m going to keep doing it. Because, well, I’ve already done it once.

I set my goal for this year of continuing 20 minutes a day but with a couple of rules. Cut down on the yarn posts. Pretty sure that one is a bust but hey, something I can keep working on! And to finish 4-6 canvases/larger pieces this year. That one, I’ve got. In fact, I’ve sold four pieces and finished eight total. I currently have three for sale on my mantel. Hint, hint if anyone is interested.

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A friend asked me to post a few thoughts on the 20 minutes a day process. So here’s a few of those.

Creativity is a practice.

I’ve heard that all my life but the past year and a half have really and truly chiseled that into the granite of my brain. I tweeted this at the beginning of May:

When I studied art history in college, I was always a little bit intrigued/annoyed by the repetition in the body of an artist’s work. Why does this happen? Can’t they see that they are essentially making the same thing over and over again? Don’t they want to do things differently? These are the questions that I’ve kicked around off and on for a large part of my adult life.

What I’ve seen happen in my work over the past 18 months is a slow variation over time of things I’m interested in, skills I’ve mastered, skills I’m attempting to master, and a very large helping of, “Ohh! Look! Pretty!!” I do wonder if other artists are structured with this process. If it’s something they work on deliberately or something that evolves for each of us organically. All I know is that I work a little bit every day: trying new things, keeping what works, doing the things I know to do and then repeating the process. I can attest to it coming more naturally now. I think I’m a bit more creatively/mentally flexible so that once I start, the next thing comes more readily. I love that part!

20 minutes is more time than you think.

I started with the 20 minutes because I thought it would be a slice of time I could give up from all the other things that consume my day and still feel like I was accomplishing something. There are very few days that I work longer than 30 minutes on the current art project. So if you are interested in starting on a project, I very highly recommend 20 minutes a day to start out.

After 18 months, I’ve made 13 finished paintings, several zine style books and notebooks, and a vast number of ATCs and postcards. 20 minutes a day is over 120 hours in a year. While that’s not a huge amount of time compared to say, the time I spend making dinner every day, it is over the course of the whole year. Everyone has 20 minutes that they can free up to do something they love. And now I just feel like I’m plagiarizing this Onion article.

Making Something Every Day is my retreat time.

I know I’m going to get that time in sometime today. And tomorrow. And the next day. Maybe it will be early and I will be really fresh and energetic. Maybe it will be mid-day when I am more apt to be thoughtful and a bit more leisurely. Maybe it will be late and I will be more introspective and moody. Anytime of the day that I get to go do art feels like a little mini vacation. It centers me and lets me de-stress from what the day is dishing out. Yes, it is creativity on demand but on my terms and on my time so even when the art I make isn’t very good it’s still time well spent.

Making Something Every Day is good for my kids.

I want my kids to learn that doing the things you love require practice. Sometimes all of your life practice. And that it’s ok to wear many hats. Maybe you don’t make a living being an artist. But being an artist on the side can make you a better worker at your regular job. I want Eli and Liza to grow up thinking that spending time working on something that you are passionate about is a pretty fine way to spend your weekends and evenings instead of just watching endless amounts of TV. Also some of my best creative times are with Liza in the office with me. She can be working on her own thing or we can be working together but it’s so fun to have her as a partner in craft.

And finally,

Making Something Every Day has allowed me to connect with people.

Posting art every day on the internet is a risk. I am showing people who I am. It’s personal and real for me. I hope that folks connect with the journey even if they aren’t crazy about my particular style of art. People have been encouraging and warm toward this process. I’ve had a lot of good conversations with people about what I’m doing and their creative journey as well. I’ve had several people tell me they look for my posts every day. I’m grateful that I get contribute to people’s joy in this way.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this or your own creativity practice!

Week 18 of Making Something Every Day

Day 120: Everything is glued down. Getting close to being finished with this one. “And Indeed There Will Be Time”
day 120

Day 121: Rushed back home from ATL to put the finishing touches on this painting, I think.
day 121

Day 122: Postcard palate cleanser.
day 122

Day 123: 8×10″ new canvas.
day 123

Day 124: looking at collage pieces and adding more paint.
day 124

Day 125: I just am never gonna be tired of rainbows.
day 125

Day 126: finished gloves.
day 126

2014 Weeks 16 & 17 of Making Something Every Day

Day 106: another close up of commissioned piece in working on.
day 106

Day 107: You can always tell when my mom comes to town because we make stuff like this.
day 107

Day 108: Proud to be putting this piece in the mail for @duchess to give to her cousin! I hope they love it!!
day 108

Day 109: Gelli printing with my dog sister. #imadeit #pixlrcontest
day 109

Day 110: Starting a new painting today, 15×30″
day 110

Day 111: loving the blacks and grays on this one.
day 111

Day 112: working on the next layer.
day 112

Day 113: A baby blanket fit for a Time Lord.
day 113

Day 114: Started ANOTHER baby blanket. (Posted a day late.)
day 114

Day 115: Last day in carline (woo-hoo!) project.
day 115

Day 116: Figuring out my next step.
day 116

Day 117: I will NOT be defeated by a change purse pattern and tiny rolls of yarn!
day 117

Day 118: added a layer. (Posted a day late.)
day 118

Day 119: working out the collage elements.
day 119

2014 Weeks 14 & 15 of Making Something Every Day

Day 92: Have declared myself grade A crafting goddess now that my mom-in-law has taught me knitting.
day 92

Day 93: Finished!
day 93

Day 94: Practicing my knitting while watching the weather move through.
day 94

Day 95: never had to use clothes pins in a crochet project before.
day 95

Day 96: work in progress and a glimpse of the many, many desk accessories.
day 96

Day 97: Work in progress, 16×12″.
day 97

Day 98: Finished. The Music in My Head, 16×12″.
day 98

Day 99: side beni of having the gelli plate down low: art day with Liza!
day 99

Day 100: Found a craft Eli likes to do! A bit of pre-church stamping.
day 100

Day 101: Decide what to be. Go be it. Mini art journal.
day 101

Day 102: Grape Ape construction for Liza’s birthday!
day 102

Day 103: The beginnings of something.
day 103

Day 104: Birthday monkey assemblage happening next!
day 104

Dau 105: Close up of commissioned piece I’m working on.
day 105

2014 Weeks 12 & 13 of Making Something Every Day

Day 78: Coping with ALL THE ANGSTY FEELS today so slinging paint seemed like a fine idea.
day 78

Day 79: Another chance to play name that art.
day 79

Day 80: Some fish in progress on a 12×16′ canvas.
day 80

Day 81: Made a bit of progress on the fish.
day 81

Day 82: I might be done with this one. S Fish.
day 82
It ended up being called “fisheS.”

Day 83: Cut down a HUGE stack of gelli prints to use as postcards.
day 83

Day 84: I colored on some postcards today! Finished one (bottom middle, purple one).
day 84

Day 85: Cigar boxes for crafting. Imagine me rubbing my hands together in glee.
day 85

Day 86: brown and black postcard.
day 86

Day 87: This bundle of joy baby blanket is almost ready for @teamwinks’ new wee one.
day 87

Day 88: today’s progress on the baby blanket.
day 88

Day 89: Egg dying counts as daily art, right?
day 89

Day 90: imperfection postcard.
day 90

Day 91: Sitting in a porch swing, listening to the rain and the birds, working on the boarder of the baby blanket.
day 91

2014 Weeks 10 & 11 of Making Something Every Day

Day 64: 12×12″ collage painting I’ve been working on this week. I think I’m calling it ‘No Words.’
day 64

Day 65: In progress 8×10″ canvases.
day 65

Day 66: Working on Captain USA.
day 66

Day 67: 8×10″ – Have an idea for what to call it but I’m entertaining suggestions if you’d like to contribute.
day 67
FYI: It got called “Bingo Starr.”

Day 68: a little embarrassed at how long this postcard took to put together.
day 68

Day 69: Working on @allyblogsworld’s Captain USA amigurumi. Tiny removable boots. Best. Thing. Ever.
day 69

Day 70: trying to salvage the black and red painting.
day 70

Day 71: What a difference a day makes!
day 71

Day 72: About 7 short rows from being finished with this groovy shawl.
day 72

Day 73: Expect Miracles.
day 73

Day 74: Aquaman joins the team.
day 74

Day 75: Working on two 8×10″ canvases. It’s still too early to tell what they will be.
day 75

Day 75b: I couldn’t stand to NOT work on this one today. Thinking about a title. Suggestions?
day 75b

Day 76: There’s just something magical about taking what is basically string and making a sweater out of it.
day 76

Day 77: My newest hobby, the drop spindle.
day 77

2014 Weeks 8 & 9 of Making Something Every Day

Day 50: another page in my little book.
day 50

Day 51: emergency shawl for a friend of a friend. (Posted a day late.)
day 51

Day 52: Middle spread in the little water book. 2 more pages and I’ll be finished.
day 52

Day 53: Worked on design for the @GlobalWomenGo registration packet all day today, no photos though.

Day 54: The art of the Venn Diagram poster.
day 54

Day 55: My kitchen wall got a makeover today!
day 55

Day 56: Shawl finished for a friend to give to her grieving friend.
day 56

Day 57: last 2 pages of the water book completed.
day 57

Can’t Count! No Day 58!

Day 59: Wonder postcard.
day 59

Day 60: Loxley collage in progress.
day 60

Day 61: Emergency Teddy Bear surgery before I leave for St. Louis.
day 61

Day 62: Art day with @Obajoo!
day 62

Day 62 update: 2 finished postcards and 2 partials.
day 62b

Day 63: “Keep choosing joy every day” postcard.
day 63

2014 Weeks 6 & 7 of Making Something Every Day

Day 36: Working in carline.
day 36

Day 37: working on a new book that’s all my own stuff. So much fun.
day 37

Day 38: reading a friend’s book and have all these interesting images floating around in my head.
day 38

Day 39: best of the prints I made today.
day 39

Day 40: Finished the Oswin shawl. Unblocked on the left. Blocked on the right.
day 40

Day 41: Look! The project I’m about to start is in my favorite colors!
day 41

Day 42: Added some things in my new book including the butterfly that Liza told me to “Put in your book, Mom!”
day 42

Day 43: parts for a bigger project.
day 43

Day 44: Cut out bottles and checking out antiquing inks.
day 44

Day 45: Today’s printing mess.
day 45

Day 46: Did some paper sorting for a new project.
day 46

Day 47: Making a little Water Glass book.
day 47

Day 48: first page of tiny water book.
day 48

Day 49: page inside the water book.
day 49

2014 Weeks 4 & 5 of Making Something Every Day

Day 22: Finished gloves going out to my friend, Jeanette.
day 22

Day 23: More dishcloths.
day 23

Day 24: Page in the book said to collage things I see everyday. I used yarn labels. (In progress.)
day 24

Day 25: This makes me laugh every time.
day 25

Day 26: Instructions – Draw shapes you see. Keep filling in. Add words. Keep adding until the page is full.
day 26

Day 27: Winding all my new Christmas yarn. So fun to consider all the possibilities!
day 27

Day 28: Memories of childhood in my “Art, Doodle, Love” journal.
day 28

Day 29: If Liza & I could commune the rest of our lives with a pile of art supplies, that’d be a pretty good life.
day 29

Day 30: Instructions on page: Write fears, worries, & missed expectations, then cover it with good. In progress.
day 30

Day 31: How do I combat the worries & disappointments in life? Participate in something bigger than me & my problems.
day 31

Day 32: Worked on a prayer notebook for the kids to use.
day 32

Day 33: In the Saturday class, we got these wooden boxes to use as prayer boxes. I added stuff on top.
day 33

Day 34: Struggling this week because of a cold. Managed to make some envelopes with a new template I got for Xmas.
day 34

Day 35: Got yarn for 2 new projects yesterday. This yellow for a shawl. (Posted a day late.)
day 35

2014 Weeks 2 & 3 of Making Something Every Day

Two weeks to view this post!

Day 8: Curly pages. Boo.
day 8
These pages aren’t made for paint. I’ll just have to mash it flat between working in it.

Day 9: Finished cowl for @Sargent and now to the picking out a manly button stage.
day 9
He loves it!

Day 10: Church. In my Art, Doodle, Love journal.
day 10
This pleases me in a way I can’t quite express.

Day 11: Orange stripe postcard.
day 11
Fun with scraps!

Day 12: Started some fingerless gloves. (Posted a day late.)
day 12
These are for my friend, Becky.

Day 13: Lots of unhappy accidents adding up to something pretty good. Postcard.
day 13
This was a disaster from start to almost the end. I put the stencil down and sprayed it with that brown as a joke, my attempt to completely ruin it. I lifted up the stencil and it was magic. I was so excited!

Day 14: Doodle Germ Faces. I’ve started a weekly project with my nephew. We trade pages from our doodle books.
day 14
Sam texts me his work. Usually on Saturday. And sometimes I get video of him narrating his creations. This past week in our text exchange he said that he wasn’t ever finished with his pieces. I’ll be interested to ask him that question in 5 years.

Day 15: Today. In “Art, Doodle, Love” journal. Took WAY longer than 20 mins today. Having too much fun!
day 15
This was so much fun just to play and play and play.

Day 16: Small part of a 7 day spread.
day 16
Don’t know how I feel about these little blocks yet. I did another day later and it wasn’t fit to post! Ugh!

Day 17: Flower power in the “Art, Love, Doodle” journal.
day 17
Love these black lines for some reason.

Day 18: Made Oobleck and Gak today with the kids. So sticky.
day 18
We had fun making a total mess in the kitchen. It was even kinda educational. Stephen came and started telling us about Non-Newtonian fluids.

Day 19: Finished gloves. Whatcha think @teamwinks?
day 19
Love the light in this photo.

Day 20: Fingerless gloves. Lots of crochet over the next few days as I work on The Water Glass stuff.
day 20
Someone offered to pay me actual money to make a pair of these!

Day 21: 3 dishcloths for The Water Glass sale at the Global Women Summit. Only 20 or so more to go.
day 21
I love the times when I make dishcloths for 2 weeks. It’s fun picking out the patterns and I can make 3-5 in a day. So satisfying!