My New Habits (New Year’s Resolutions)

make art every day
My desk with the inspirations for making art every day – do you see a theme? 🙂

Happy new year everyone! I know I’m a bit late to the party, as we are already almost at the end of the month, but as this is my first post in 2018, it seems appropriate.

I had major changes in my life toward the end of 2017, and so as we were heading into the new year, I put alot of thought into what I hope to accomplish in 2018. I am feeling very optimistic (which wasn’t the case for much of 2017), and I think it has to do with taking more time than I usually do to make plans for the new year.

My major focus in setting resolutions, if you want to call them that, was thinking about what HABITS I wanted to either break or form. I didn’t want to set short-term goals like “Lose 10 pounds” or “Run a 5k”. I wanted to focus on forming habits that would help me accomplish long-term, ongoing things like “Get better at drawing” and “Be healthy and more energetic”.

To that end, here are the habits I am working to form and maintain for the long haul (hopefully long past 2018!):

Daily Creativity
I bought this book over a year ago, but when I started it last New Year’s, I had to give it up because I didn’t feel inspired by the exercises AND it was taking up too much of my day. But a few months ago, when I was browsing the clearance section at Hobby Lobby, I found this book about mandalas, which have always appealed to me. I realized that mandalas would be the perfect theme to use to work through the daily art book.

I realized that what I need to do is form a habit of daily creativity, not stress about creating 365 pieces of finished work in a year. I decided to set aside 30 minutes a day to sit down and focus on making something. Because it sometimes takes me more than a day to finish a mandala, I am allowing myself to skip the exercises that don’t inspire me. For instance, I LOVED making something inspired by my favorite animal, but was not inspired by the exercise that said to make something out of paper without drawing on it, cutting it, or gluing it. (Anyone have any ideas for this one? I didn’t have much luck making a mandala simply by folding, and to be honest, origami has never been my thing!)

The result is that so far, I have spent 30 minutes daily practicing creativity simply for the sake of enjoying it but will not have a finished piece every day. I am focusing on what inspires me in the book and skipping over what doesn’t. You can see what I’ve produced in my updates here once a week, but if you would like to keep up on a daily basis, follow me on Instagram!

Being Healthy
This is also about habits. I have a few habits I’m trying to break for this one, namely, consuming less alcohol and sugar. Sugar is just bad all around, although I don’t think I’ll ever be able to give up chocolate. But being more controlled about it and eliminating added sugars in food will help.

And alcohol… what can I say, I love a good glass of wine with dinner at night. But I noticed that it affects my sleep patterns, and all the articles I’ve read lately about health and having more energy, losing weight, etc., all say that alcohol is to be avoided. So I am trying to form the habit of drinking more water and saving a glass or two of wine for the weekends.

The other health-related habit I’m working on is exercise. This habit is already partially formed, but I would like to cement it in as part of my lifestyle in 2018. I used to be a runner but have had alot of pain when running after breaking my ankle a few years ago. I have tried a number of different workouts – circuit training, which makes a huge difference but is such a CHORE, and Zumba, which is cardio all the way but is the most fun I’ve ever had exercising.

I’ve had a hard time sticking with anything since I stopped running, so I decided to do the same thing I did with creativity – commit 30 minutes a day to exercise and not worry about getting “in shape” for anything. So far, I’ve been able to maintain the habit, although I have to admit it is always in the back of my mind to be able to run again.

And my final habit is reading for an hour a day. Committing an hour has been difficult on some days, and so I have broken this one a few times. But 30 minutes to get into a book didn’t seem like enough time, which is why I set the goal at spending an hour a day, minimum, for reading. An hour is usually doable, and is a long enough timeframe to get through some of the book. Again, I am focused on setting the habit of reading, and so I am trying not to put too many parameters on the habit. Some days I feel like reading a novel or a fashion magazine, and other days, when I’m not exhausted at bedtime but reading earlier in the day, I study a knitwear design book. I don’t always look forward to, or enjoy, exercising, but this habit is pure enjoyment for me, regardless of what I’m reading.

So let me know, my friends, what are you doing in the new year? If you have resolutions, share them in the comments, and if you want to join in doing something creative every day, whether it is cooking or drawing or whatever else, please post your photos on Instagram to #createwithelizabethkaybooth. Happy 2018 to you all!


Descanso Gardens: Woven

Woven Exhibit at Descanso Gardens
Part of the Woven Exhibit at Descanso Gardens

As far as I’m concerned, a day doesn’t get much better than going to a fiber art exhibit set in a gallery surrounded by gardens you can walk through at leisure. Unfortunately, they’ve already changed the exhibit, and we only got to see it right before it closed, but the gardens are open year-round. I’d recommend them to any of my LA people who need fresh inspiration. Here are photos and names of the artists featured which I hope you’ll all enjoy!

Bound by Thinh Nguyen
Closeup of Bound
And another closeup – if you’re wondering, these balls were all loose on the floor. I had to be careful not to move any while photographing.
I had to take about 100 photos to capture this koi venturing out from the lily pads, but I got the shot! 🙂
The Enchanted Forest is not just any forest…those are California redwoods! My absolute favorite part of Descanso.
Descanso Gardens are well-named. Descansar means “to rest” in Spanish, and it is a very restful place.
Untitled by Echiko Ohira – the most artful use of tea bags I’ve ever seen.
My son admiring the vertical garden just outside the gallery
Xylem 3 by Kristin Leachman
Bouquet for Columbine #2 by Dinh Q. Le – my favorite piece out of the entire exhibit
Closeup – this is basically magazine photos of flowers in different widths that were woven together to create the visual effect.
woven exhibit at descanso gardens
Parachutes by Dinh Q. Le – another piece with the same techniques as above
descanso gardens
Domestic Flow by Meriel Stern – but if it was me, I’d have named it something oceanic because it looks like crocheted seashells to me. 🙂

Textile Artists

Someone on Ravelry posted this link, and I had to

a) thank them for sharing it and

b) immediately share it too!

I love it when people use a traditional medium, such as crochet, and do cool, innovative things with it! But I recommend you browse the site – the books page was pretty awesome too, and I would really love to read some of these. I am not sure yet what a person does with a textile degree, in terms of making a living, but I have always wanted to either go to school for fashion design or go to school for textiles ( I know, general term, but the degree exists!).

Daniel Gordon Studio

I came across this artist’s work in a magazine article and was motivated to look him up. He seems like a younger version of Kaffe Fassett except from a different medium and subject matter. But the way he overloads your eye with rich color and lots of pattern and texture reminds me of a Kaffe piece.

Enjoy browsing his site, and if you’re feeling so inclined, you can even download a PDF and follow the instructions to make the artist’s book.

Elspeth McLean: Dotillism Artist

I am often very annoyed with Facebook. They constantly change things, it often feels like they are the “big man” watching your every move, and now I can’t check my private messages on the app unless I install Messenger, which I stubbornly refuse to do. I also don’t like when they arbitrarily change your privacy settings, and then you have to go back in and reset them the way you had them.

But…gripes aside, it has been a place where I can connect with family and friends and find new and interesting things. A few months ago, a friend of mine liked the Elspeth McLean’s page, and it instantly caught my eye. I have been following her ever since. A quick browse on her website will brighten anyone’s day. She does all of her work with a paintbrush, acrylic paint, and dots. I imagine she must find her work as stimulating, and at the same time soothing, as I find mine. Her site is going to me my go-to place when I need to get out of a funk. Enjoy!

And if you would like to follow me on Facebook, I promise to try to make it worth  your while too!

Maya Hayuk

An artist who produces work full of symmetry, patterns and color inspired by Ukrainian crafts and mandalas (among other things) is an artist whom I can’t get enough of. It’s no wonder she has found success collaborating with fashion companies with her textile designs. I’m fascinated with colors and patterns anyway, and her work is rich in both. When our shop carried the entire range of Manos Maxima colors, I was especially fond of the super bright, almost neon colors. I didn’t buy any at the time, but I would absolutely love to design a few pieces inspired by Maya’s work using that yarn. I hope you have as much fun browsing her site as I did!

My Closet In Sketches

As you all know, I’m a big proponent of drawing. I’m not a talented illustrator by any means, so I try to cut myself slack and focus on sketching design ideas as a record to refer to at a later date. I very rarely show people my drawings, as I don’t feel they’re very good, and most of the time, they’re not “finished”. So you can imagine how much admiration (and yes, a little jealousy) I have for someone who can whip out finished drawings at such a rate they can run an entire blog around them. Of course, I don’t draw every day, and the advice I received throughout art school was to do just that. I’m too busy knitting and crocheting every day, and am not currently in possession of enough free time to add another daily learning habit. But I hope people get as much enjoyment out of looking at the results of my knit and crochet habits as I get out of looking at someone else’s daily sketching. Enjoy!