work in progress.

1. Go for a walk. Draw or list things you find on the the sidewalk. 2. Write a letter to yourself in the future. 3. Buy something inexpensive as a symbol for your need to create, (new pen, a tea cup, journal). Use it everyday. 4. Draw your dinner. 5. Find a piece of poetry you respond to. Rewrite it and glue it into your journal. 6. Glue an envelope into your journal. For one week collect items you find on the street. 7. Expose yourself to a new artist, (go to a gallery, or in a book.) Write about what moves you about it. 8. Find a photo of a person you do not know. Write a brief bio about them. 9. Spend a day drawing only red things. 10. Draw your bike. 11. Make a list of everything you buy in the next week. 12. Make a map of everywhere you went in one day. 13. Draw a map of the creases on your hand, (knuckles, palm) 14. Trace your footsteps with chalk. 15. Record an overheard conversation. 16. Trace the path of the moon in relation to where you live. 17. Go to a paint store. Collect ‘chips’ of all your favorite colors. 18. Draw your favorite tree. 19. Take 15 minutes to eat an orange. 20. Write a haiku. 21. Hang upside down for five minutes. 22. Hang found objects from tree branches. 23. Make a puppet. 24. Create an outdoor room from things you find in nature. 25. Read a book in one day. 26. Illustrate your grocery list. 27. Read a story out loud to a friend. 28. Write a letter to someone you admire. 29. Study the face of someone you do not like. 30. Make a meal based on a color theme. (i.e. all white). 31. Creat a museum of very small things. 32. List the smells in your neighborhood. 33. List 100 uses for a tin can. 34. Fill an entire page in your jounral with small circles. Color them in. 35. Give away something you love. 36. Choose an object, draw the side you can’t see. 37. List all of the places you’ve ever lived. 38. Describe your favourite room in detail. 39. Write about your relationship with your washing machine. 40. Draw all of the things in your purse/bag. 41. Make a mini book based on the theme, “my grocery list”. 42. Create a character based on someone you know. Write a list of personality traits. 43. Recall your favorite childhood game. 44. Put postcards of art pieces/painting on the inside of your kitchen cupboard doors, so you can see them everyday (but not become deaf to them.) 45. Draw the same object every day for a week. 46. Write in your journal using a different medium (brush & ink, charcoal, old typewriter, crayons, fat markers. 47. Draw the individual items of your favorite outfit. 48. Make a useful item using only paper & tape. 49. Research a celebration or ritual from another culture. 50. Do a temporary art installation using a pad of post it notes & a pen. 51. Draw a map of your favorite sitting spots in your town/city. (photocopy it and give it to someone you like.) 52. Record all of the sounds you hear in the course of one hours. 53. Using a grid, collect various textures from magazine and play them off of each other. 54. Cut out all media for one day. Write about the effects. 55. Make pencil rubbings of six different surfaces. 56. Draw your garbage. 57. Do a morning collage. 58. List your ten most important things, (not including animals or people.) 59. List ten things you would like to do every day. 60. Glue a photo of yourself as a child into your journal. 61. Trasform some garbage. 62. Write an entry in your journal in really LARGE letters. 63. Collect some ‘flat’ things in nature (leaves, flowers). Glue or tape them into your journal. 64. Physically alter a page. (i.e. cut a hole, pour tea on it, burn it, fold it, etc.) 65. Find several color combinations you respond to in public. Document them using swatches, write where you found them. 66. Write a journal entry describing something “secret”. Cut it up into several pieces and glue them back in scrambled. 67. Record descriptions or definitions of subjects or words you are interested in, found in encyclopedias or dictionaries. 68. Draw the outline of an object without looking at the page. (contour drawing). 69. What were you thinking just now? write it down. 70. Do nothing. 71. Write a list of ten things you could to do. Do the last thing on the list. 72. Create an image using dots. 73. Do 3 drawings at different speeds. 74. Put a small object in your left pocket (or in a bag), Put your left hand in the pocket. Draw it by feel. 75. Create a graph documenting or measuring something in your life. 76. Draw the sun. 77. Create instructions for a simple everyday task. 78. Make prints using food. (fruit and vegetables cut in half, fish, etc.) 79. Find a photo. Alter it by drawing over it. 80. Write a letter using an unconventional medium. 81. Draw one object for twenty minutes. 82. Combine two activities that have not been combined before. 83. Write about your day in an encyclopedic fashion. (i.e. organize by subject.) 84. Write a list of all the things you do to escape. 85. Cut a random shape out of several layers of a magazine. Make a collage out of the results. 86. Write an entry in code. 87. Make a painting using tools from the bathroom. 88. Work with a medium that is subtractive. 89. Write about or draw some of the doors in your life. 90. Make a postcard that has some kind of activity on it. 91. Divise a journal entry using “layers”. 92. Divise an entry using “layers”. 93. Write your own definition of one of the following concepts, sitting, waiting, sleeping (without using the actual word.) 94. List 10 of your habits. 95. Illustrate the concept of “simplicity”.

Check out more from Keri at www.kerismith.com/blog/

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I don’t even think my candle has ends anymore.  It’s more like a molten lump of wax that’s totally used up!

Between my daughter’s doctor visits, work, schoolwork, kids obligations, housework, etc. etc. etc. there has been little time for me, and even less time for creativity.  I have had ideas – tons of ideas – but no time to do anything about them.  The time well is dry.

What can I do?  Well, for now I am writing down lots of notes.  I don’t want to forget some of the inspirations that come to me at off times.  I keep a small notebook with me at all times for this purpose.  It doesn’t matter how random, I write it down.  I have folders at home I stick stuff in like “blog,” “website,” and “inspirations.”  It’s simple enough to slide the notebook sheets in when I get home.  Of course my purse usually looks like a spot hurricane hit it, but I can live with that!  It’s a small price to pay not to miss a good inspiring thought.

Another thing I did while spending some time with my kids watching “our” show, American Idol.  This is something we carve out time for.  We record it to watch when we are all together.  Anyway, I struggle with sitting still without something in my hands, so I started shredding yarn scraps from a knitting project.  It was fun!  And best of all, it didn’t require brain cells.  I kept going (because I never through away those gorgeous yarn scraps) and now I have this big pile of yarn fluff and threads, perfect for some collage/multimedia project down the line.  It really helped me unwind, too, so I think I’ll keep this one as a down-time ritual.  It can all be randomly shoved into a Ziploc bag for later use.

So, even though my wick is  burnt out and my well is dry, I am like a squirrel before hibernation – storing up the things I will need when the time comes.

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I admit it.  I am a total bead shopping junkie.  If I can’t get to a bead store, I’ll be on a website looking for my next big thing.  You  know, that thing that will inspire you, drive you to creative heights you’ve only dreamed about, make you rich and famous…THAT next big thing.

So what do you do when the economy pinches your pocketbook?  When a new bead order is just not in the stars for you?  How do you stay creative in times like these? 

Today I had a creative awakening when I took a new look around my studio.  There are drawers I haven’t opened in months.  There are piles of idea sheets I haven’t gone through in years.  Stacks of old bead magazines with sticky notes hanging out are piled in the filing cabinet.  I literally have hundreds and hundreds of dollars in beading supplies just existing all around me while I always gravitate toward favorites.

But what if this economy forces us to take a second look?  What about that bead strand that looked so cute in the catalog but wasn’t what you thought it was once you got it?  What if you took another look with new eyes?  As for me, I have a huge bin of tarnished and broken jewelry that only need to be cleaned up, taken apart and sorted.  Voila!  Beads again!  I have a treasure trove of tarnished silver that would probably pay for a year of college just sitting around unused because it’s – gasp! – tarnished.  Well, this bead chick is getting out her cotton gloves and getting down and dirty!

What about a new line?  What about that technique you’ve always wanted to try but didn’t take the time?  What about incorporating the beads you already have and aren’t using into a new type of craft project?  I’m looking into incorporating my collection of old jewelry into some new purposes – collage, sculpture or wire working.  I took a basketryclass once and loved it…can I somehow use that?  How about practicing soldering like I always planned on but never took the time to do? 

And, with those things I can’t use, I can always bag them up and sell them on Etsy or eBay, because I’m sure someone else out there can use them.  Then I can use the extra cash to put gas in the tank or something. 

I will keep you posted on my new visions, and I’d love to hear about your ideas for stretching your beading budget during these tough times.  We can all share and help each other out, which is what makes the tough times bearable.

Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion magazine

While I have tried to be more conservative about my budget, one item I could not do without was my subscription to Mary Engelbreit’s Home Companion magazine.  What a feast for creative people!  I get excited when I see the magazine in my mailbox…I can’t wait to turn the pages.  It is filled with artists and ideas and inspirations.  If you haven’t seen this magazine already, you need to get ahold of a copy really soon. 

I had seen an Internet rumor that the magazine was ceasing to publish and I panicked!  But after visiting the website I am now calm again – my bi-monthly fix is still alive!  Hurrah!
From one artist to another, take a minute to check them out.  I think you’ll be happy you did! 
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