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!

In 2015…

You may recall from previous posts that I welcome a chance to reflect and renew my resolve. New Year’s, naturally, is one of those times. Our family is just back from a winter break in the mountains, the kids are back at school today, and my husband and I are also doing our best to return to reality. I don’t like unrealistic or impossible resolutions, but I do have things I’d like to work on in the new year.

1. Toxic relationships need to go! I tend to be very open and friendly with people, but the last several years, I’ve been a little too much so, and it’s hurt me deeply when people have taken advantage of it. I also tend to be the “fixer” – instead of letting the other person uphold their end of the friendship, I go too far out of my way to try to make everything work, even when the other person is being blatantly disrespectful. I still believe in being kind and friendly, and in giving everyone a fair chance. But I’ve also realized that when you devote too much time and energy to toxic people, you are diverting it away from the people in your life who really do deserve your best. My resolve for the new year is to not waste any more energy on people who choose not to show common courtesy and respect, and to instead focus my energy on my family and the people in my life who have proven themselves to be true friends. Even though this means a change in certain relationships and I’ve had a hard time with that in the past, I have grown enough to be sure of where I stand. Closely linked to that is learning to listen to my gut right off the bat instead of excusing bad behavior.

2. Being grateful. This includes the big things like two healthy kids and a good husband, and the small things, like the way my cats are happy to pitterpat around me in the mornings when I’m fixing breakfast and school lunches. Focusing on the things you’re grateful for makes it easier to keep negativity at a distance.

3. Gratitude leads into my next resolve, which is to be very controlling about how I think. The last few years, as I dealt with the above-mentioned toxic friendships, I often found myself in a very dark, sad place. It is hard when someone is making you feel bad to realize that it is still up to YOU to decide to stop the cycle and control your own thoughts and emotions. So, in connection with being grateful, I am also resolving to be more in control of my thoughts and who is allowed to affect my emotions.

4. Of course, I also have some artistic goals, in case you were starting to wonder. I have read many articles about the benefits of focusing on one thing at a time instead of trying to do too much multi-tasking. To that end, I will continue my goal from last year of trying to pare down how many projects I have going at one time. It has been beneficial to focus on finishing things, but I still find myself wanting to start too much at once. But I have made progress!

5. Another resolve, artistically speaking, is to continue to develop a habit of sketching regularly. This not only helps improve drawing skills, but it also makes a visual record of fleeting ideas that I’d forget about if I didn’t draw them immmediately! A note about keeping a sketchbook – don’t be intimidated by your drawing skills! The main point of it is to be able to come back to it later – if you can “read” your drawing a month later, then that’s all that matters!

What are your resolutions for 2015? I hope as you look back at 2014, you can see progress on whatever you worked on last year, and that as you look ahead, you feel the same motivation and positivity that I do!

5 Habits

I appreciate when life offers us little periods of time to reboot. For many (and for myself too), this is New Year’s. Starting a new year fresh with goals in mind and a new energy is great, but for me, the fall is an even better time to try to develop good habits. I’m much more rested and refreshed after the summer than I am in January, and I always consider how I can make the school year a good one for the kids as well as more productive and creative for me while they’re in school. So, here are five habits I’m working to develop, and I’d love to hear yours!

  1. Work in sketchbook daily. I do work in my sketchbook quite often, but I wish it was a more developed habit. Every successful designer I know does this, and when I was in art school, it was the first thing all the teachers encouraged us to do. My drawing skills aren’t up to the standard I’d like, but a sketchbook is invaluable for remembering ideas. I write alot of notes, but honestly, no matter how fast and scribbled my drawing might be, the visuals are always easier to go back to later.
  2. Set specific goals and build in rewards for when I accomplish them. The last few years I struggled alot. I got very sick for about 6 months, and had to go back and forth to the doctor to get myself sorted out. I was so tired I could hardly make it through a day without a nap. I also worked nonstop, and as soon as one thing was done, I moved onto the next. I realized I was losing the joy in life, even in the things I most love to do. The key, I think, to avoiding such complete burnout is to set specific goals, and to celebrate accomplishments with a day off. I plan to allow myself the pleasure of a day out shopping (or a day at home with a good book, depending on my mood) before rushing into the next big challenge.
  3. Even when you have a job you love, there will always be tasks you just don’t love doing. And they mount up very quickly when you procrastinate! My new goal could be termed “Don’t procrastinate”, but more specifically, get the tasks you hate out of the way. Even though this takes discipline, it does help free your mind for the things you love!
  4. Learn to focus. Sometimes life requires us to shift gears more than we want to, but especially when it comes to crafting, we have alot of control over this. In my previous post I mentioned how I had way too many projects going, or just sitting around because I lost interest. What I learned over the summer is that it is so much more productive to focus, and it’s also much more likely to get things finished when I do!
  5. Give more, share more. I really love this video. I think it’s extremely important if you work by yourself to keep up interaction with other people in the same situation, to know when to ask for help, and to also be willing to give other people the same support. I want to get better at this, and plan to spend at least a little time each day keeping up with what my fellow designers and crafters are doing.