School Stress

School is upon us again.  I can remember from my school days that school days were some of the most stressful in my life.  What are some creative things you can do to help your child deal with school stress (or help you as a parent or school teacher)?

After School Snack:  They need to eat anyway, so get them involved in making the snack.  This offers them a great distraction and break between school and homework.  It gives them a chance to release school stress and gets the creative juices flowing so they can complete their homework with a fresh attitude and full stomach.

Friday/Weekend creative project:  Having a special creative project to do during the weekends or on Fridays after school gives the kids something to look forward to.  Planting flowers, painting, clay, making wood cars with their dads (or moms!), or something else special.

Homework: Let them display their creative abilities with the homework.  If they think up a new creative idea (something other than a poster), let them ask the teacher if they can do it for a project.  Let them show their creative, entrepreneurial, fun sides, or whomever else they are, through their homework.

Most importantly, talk with them. Hear them out when they’re frustrated and help them be creative.  Ask for their input for snacks and weekend projects.  Encourage them as they do their homework.

What creative projects do you do to relieve school stress? (share below)

Exposing Painting

Painting is one of the oldest forms of art expression in the world.  From old cave paintings, to Van Gogh, to today, painting has captured, revolutionized and intrigued the world.  Painting is one of my favorite creative expressions, from finger painting, to painting pictures, to decorating objects, I love it all.

There are so many different painting styles.  I was looking at several pictures recently that were both floral, but both were softer and less defined.  I prefer details, and edges and shape, rather than soft and undefined pictures.  I’m not talking geometric when I say edges and shape, some simple, beautiful, floral pictures can have edges and shape, but not look flushed out and ethereal. Yet, many people do find less defined pictures appealing.  And I do believe artists who can create either picture are very talented and their work should be appreciated.  Here’s a few pictures from Google to illustrate what I’m saying:

Painting is incredible because not only do you produce beauty you can showcase in your home, you also can share or sell your creations too.  If you want to keep your paintings to yourself, perhaps sharing your artistic painting talents on glassware or collectibles is a more appealing option for you.  I find painting helps me to relax, focus completely on the painting and not on my life as well as helps me feel and be more creative in other areas of my life.

There are tons of places, including Etsy, Total Art Soul and 1000 Markets that you can showcase (and sell) your art on.  So I encourage you to get out there, be expressive, choose a style and be yourself!  What are you going to create today?

End of Summer Parties

My favorite season of all is coming to an end!  I’m definitely not looking forward to cool weather that seems to be sweeping in a little early here in the northeast USA.  Of course I want to send the summer out with a bang, so today we’re going to talk about end of summer parties!

Grill party: Having some fun relaxing in the back yard around the grill, cooking veggie burgers, hot dogs, corn on the cob, and other favorite summertime foods is a great way to end the summer.

Pool party: Relaxing in the pool, eating watermelon, having water balloon fights, and doing other fun water-related games in the backyard.

Beach party: One last day at the beach for the summer! Visit the boardwalk, splash in the ocean, make a sand castle, play volleyball, dig to China, and have a clam bake!

Waterpark party: Great for a weekend getaway with family or friends, riding rides, splashing in water, and eating park food; no cleanup and little planning involved.

Road trip:  One last road trip for the summer.  Go hike a national park, visit a zoo or go see relatives.  Don’t forget the picnic lunch!

How are you going to spend the last week of summer before school starts and things swing into fall mode? (share below)

RESPECT the Break

Have you experienced the overwhelmed, completely done, feeling lately?  Maybe you’re kids were acting crazy, or you were so busy with work that you were just frustrated and exhausted.  Can you even remember the last time you had a few minutes to yourself?  Today as we think about getting back on the track of life, I want to talk about taking a break.

Why should we R.E.S.P.E.C.T. taking a break?

Rest is important for your body.  If you consistently work your body down to the wire, your body will eventually force rest upon you in the form of an illness or something else.

Enjoying life is essential.  If you’re not taking breaks chances are good you’re not taking time to enjoy life.  Sitting down and appreciating all that has become part of your life is important.

Socially you will be more fun.  It’s no fun to get coffee/drinks with someone who is yawning the whole time or complaining about how much they have going on.  Taking a time-out will help you have better relationships.

Psychologically it’s essential to give your brain a rest.  If you’re hyped up on the challenges at work and the problems at home, your brain can’t catch up and connect everything.  It will eventually require, like your body, a rest.

Enhanced creativity is often the result of a break.  You’ll have the breakthrough you’ve been struggling to get for the past hour if you step away for a bit.

Calm, relaxed direction is often the result of a break. You’ll feel fresh and ready to take on your creative projects.

Time is actually not lost but gained if you take a brief break.  Taking a nap when you’re body’s yelling at you will help you be more productive the rest of the day.

I would love if you would share what you do during breaks below!

The Brave Ones

It’s not always easy to be an artist.  From the description of ‘starving artist’ to the measly amounts some individuals get for their gorgeous masterpieces, artists don’t always have the respect they deserve. We also get a ton of criticism for our work!  From those who don’t like it, to those who don’t understand it, to those who don’t care to at least appreciate the work you have done, some days you want to throw in the towel. So what can we do after a particularly trying day, difficult client meeting or poor review of our art?

First and foremost, love what you created.  If you don’t love it, no one else will.  Loving your art, whatever your designs look like, and whatever they’re created using, is the first step to other people enjoying it too.

Second, to a point criticism is important.  We can’t become better artists without a little feedback from clients, teachers or fellow artists.  Yet too much criticism can dash an artist’s creative spirit.  It is important to remember that the criticism is not about you but about your design.  I know it’s hard to separate the two, but if you are going to keep doing your creative gift, you need to realize they do like you, and can help you improve your art.  (But if it’s an exceptionally strange, poor review, don’t take it to heart; maybe they just had a really bad day!)

Finally, look at the reviews and success stories.  Keep records of the great things you have created and people who have adored your work.  It will be easier to move past the criticism if you have some positive feedback to balance it out.

I want to close by adding a BIG thank you to all of you out there who continue to create and be creative.  What you have is a very special gift, don’t be afraid to keep sharing it!

What are some other techniques you use to get through the ‘starving artist’ days?

Beachy Favors

Last week I talked about different events you could have on the beach.  This week, as I’m inundated by wedding pictures from the 6+ couples I know that were married this past weekend, I couldn’t help but share some gorgeous beach themed wedding favors with you.  Here are 10 creative ideas for you!

Fans: These gorgeous fans are more decorative than many, but they were so inviting I couldn’t resist!

Beach Bookmarks: Not only would these be great for save the date, but they also are gorgeous reminders of your special day!

Kids Pail: Not to be excluded, I came across these adorable, and creative, pails just for your youngest guests!

Ornaments: Gorgeous memories of someone’s beach wedding will be remembered even in the cool of winter! (Hang them on your Christmas tree, or anywhere else!)

Candle Holder: This beach scene fits right in with your wedding decor!

Wine Glass: If you’re hosting a small wedding or destination wedding and want to give something special, these glasses are unique!

Bottle Stopper: Keeping in the theme, next is a cute sandy bottle stopper.

Salt and Pepper Shakers: These cute fish are great memories and functional too!

Picture Frame: Give your guests a gift that they can use to remember the fun all of you had together.

Cookie Cutters: No matter what your cooking preferences, beach cookie cutters are a great gift for all ages!

Share your suggestions for beach themed wedding favors below!

Spice it up a Notch!

One of my favorite ways to spend time with myself, relax and rejuvenate is to cook.  Whether I’m adding fresh herbs and rice to a dinner, baking cookies, or cooking from scratch, cooking is an excellent way to reconnect with yourself and relax.   Here are some of my favorite recipes (my recipes vary a little but I’ve included links to similar ones):

Sloppy Joes

Cupcakes

Tuna Sandwiches

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chai Tea

Vegetable Soup

Calzone

If you’re tired of cooking, or eating the same old thing, spice it up with a variation on ingredients, or add some spice to kick up the flavor or heat level.  Cooking, just like life, doesn’t have to be boring.  We’ve all go the option to add some excitement or let it be dry and boring.

My challenge to you: What would you do to spice up my favorite recipes?! Share your suggestions (and favorite recipes) below.  (My favorite spiced up recipe will be mentioned here and you will be credited!)