Category Archives: Projects

Fine Dining Takes Time

Fine Dining Takes Time

I am so happy to be back in the garage stripping furniture again. It’s been a while, a long while. Now that the clutter has been eradicated, I have room to work again. I’m working on a dining room table  that I purchased some time ago. It’s been waiting patiently for it’s transformation.

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When I saw it in the thrift store, I immediately thought about it’s Pottery Barn cousin, selling for a whole lot more.

pottery barn Tivoli dining table

 

 

Of course I saw beyond the dated parquet top.

 

 

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I wanted a light finish table this time around since my previous dining room tables have had a dark finish. My dining room is really small and I think a light table might help give the illusion of more space.  I saw a bleached wood table I saw in a magazine years ago and always wanted to give it a try. However, After sanding and bleaching it, however,  I didn’t quite get the results I anticipated. Yes, it is a blotchy mess.

 

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So I have to decide, do I give in go with a dark stain or do I paint it ?  I’m a light color. I’m actually on the fence about it. I also was thinking about a two tone finish, with the pedestal base in a different color. I can always try a dark stain and if I don’t like it, paint over it. Decisions, decisions; sometimes, I just can’t make up my mind and get paralyzed by all the options playing out in my head. What can I say, fine dining take time :)

Are you ever unsure how to proceed with any of your projects? What do you do to get off the fence?

I’m sharing this post with:

Miss Mustard Seed: Furniture Feature Friday

Funky Junk Interior: Party Junk

Coming Out of a DIY Slump

Coming Out of a DIY Slump

The last few months, I took an unintentional break from DIY . Let me rephrase that, I’ve planned, I’ve started, I’ve dabbled but I haven’t completed anything  that I was inspired to write about.  Hence the blog posts have not been forthcoming because I’ve been in a DIY slump.

Happily though, I think I am now back into the DIY spirit and started finishing a project I started last November, my kitchen. It was suppose to be a two week facelift but one thing lead  to another and it turned into a mini makeover.  I have a ways to go and will post about it soon.

Mr. DIY and I have been tackling the dreaded garage for three consecutive weekends.

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I realize this before shot could qualify for an episode on Hoarders and  is rather shocking. But we are ready for change.

We devoted two hours each weekend  and we made real progress. We donated a lot to Build It Green

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Doing our best to spare the landfill as much as possible..

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Then week 2 and  another trip to Build it Green, minus the dishwasher which is going to the salvage yard.

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And, finally, week 3 and another donation.

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As, the clean out progressed we were throwing away less which always makes me happy.

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These days, things are a little more orderly now. Not pretty, just orderly. I can find things again! Yeah!

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One more weekend and we should be done and then it’s garage sale time.

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And, of course,  whatever doesn’t sell will be donated.

Our Summer plan is to turn the garage into a functional workspace . That is a DIY dream that both of us share. Oh that would be such blissful goodness:)

Do you have one of those spaces that always seems to turn into a dumping ground?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring has Sprung!

Spring has Sprung!

I think Spring has finally sprung and so have my seedlings. Yeah!!

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I know I’m a long way from success but I choose to focus on the possibilities rather then the end result.

 

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Whether or not these young tender plants establish themselves and hold their own outdoors awaits to be seen.

 

 

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I planted everything at the same time yet the tomatoes are ahead of the game. The eggplant and peppers are taking their sweet time.

 

 

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Can you see the little guy there trying to pop up?

I’m waiting patiently.

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I resist the urge to be a helicopter gardener:)

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So I placed this pretty peachy Begonia next to my young seedlings for gentile encouragement.

 

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Again, win or lose, I focus on the possibilities.  I will be cheering them on all the way.

Have you planted your garden already? What’s growing in your garden? Have any tips to share?

The Meaningful Memories of Our Lives

The Meaningful Memories of Our Lives

In my continued quest to scrutinize all my home’s belongings, it is now time to deal with the ephemera of or lives.

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This, by far, will be the toughest challenge. I have saved a lot of snippets from my children’s lives and have my own memory boxes filled with the remnants of my life too. Letters (who gets those anymore), programs, cards and …….. There’s a lot and way too much to continue storing.

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The good thing is it is it’s all organized and much of it is labelled or in folders and archival boxes. And then there are the photos.

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Trust me, that’s not all of them, there’s more. I attempted a few albums here and there. however, the majority are in photo boxes rarely viewed. That doesn’t serve me or my family. I can do better.

So I’ve decided to reevaluate, purge, reorganize, digitize and assemble these meaningful remnants of our lives in a way that can be appreciated. I want to create containable stories of our lives that we can peruse instead of having to pull them from boxes in a closet to reminisce.  And so I have been perusing the internet looking for ideas and advice. I encountered this divide between those that save everything and those that save very little or nothing.

Aside from report cards and awards, I plan to ask my children what they value and evokes meaningful memories. And I’m sure this report on Mesopotamia won’t make the cut..

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I want it to be about them and for them. And if they don’t want to be bothered in the decision making  then I will have to rely on my own discretion. Hopefully,  a memory box, a binder and a photo album should suffice. The rest will be digitized and only a click away from their viewing pleasure if they would like  to take an all inclusive trip down memory lane. art page I get paralyzed by the artwork, though. I just love these chalk prints. Their masterpieces in my mind. I know, I know,  it’s not about me, it’s about them.

art page evan

 

 

I titled this one “boy floating in water”. I framed and hung it up on No 2 Son’s bedroom wall.

 

 

 

He painted it some time ago and has since taken it down and replaced it with this one. That’s a tell tale sign of what’s important, wouldn’t you say?

 

 

 

And it has gone beyond my children and extended it to my nephews and their basketball careers.

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My sister’s youngest is currently playing for the Boston Celtics.

And then there’s the sand art No. 1 son and I did together.  He was both Batman and Robin for Halloween. Hmmm, the creative wheels just started turning!  These might be  a nice added touch to a scrapbook page!

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Once framed and hung, I recently discovered.a poster from elementary school in the recesses of a closet. That handsome guy with the missing teeth is now  23 years old.

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It’s going to be hard to let go of some things, but it’s time and very necessary. I know it  will be in our best interest  to downsize our family’s memories into treasured keepsakes, manageable and in plane view, for our everyday enjoyment.

Okay so now it’s your turn!  Can you relate to any of this? Do you have a tough time letting go of life’s remnants and ephemera of yesteryear? What are your secrets for both enjoying and containing the memories? Please leave a comment below, I would love to know your thoughts.

 

 

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Between Naps on the Porch:Metamorphosis Monday

My Home is Almost Cured!

My Home is Almost Cured!

I haven’t been online too much because I am trying to keep up with my assignments for the Apartment Therapy January Cure; I started it at the same time I vowed to explore minimalism; actually both work hand in hand beautifully and shoving things in a drawer or closet is no longer an option.

So this past weekend, the assignment was to deep clean the living room. It wasn’t too difficult because my living room was already in a good place. To be true to the assignment,however, I did move all the furniture and vacuumed thoroughly including the baseboards. I’m still in the process of doing a family photo collage wall (Assignment 6 Making Your Home Your Own: Prep Artwork for Framing & Display). Haven’t located all the photos just yet and have to paint some of the frames but I’m just glad that I am on my way.
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I recently did a collage on the other wall after painting, but I’m altering that as well. I guess I have a thing for collage walls; perhaps because they can be rearranged and edited pretty easily.

Assignment #12 was bedroom  and wardrobe cleaning which I blogged about here and almost completed with the exception of my closet. Oh my closet, as tiny as it is, was a disaster. I’ll spare you the before pic. I took everything out and dove in.

 

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As I mentioned in a previous post, I want to try Project 333, limiting your wardrobe to 33 pieces of clothing for 3 months. You can read more about it here. It’s suppose to include shoes, but I didn’t take it that far, although I did downsize my shoes collection and donated 10 pairs and plan to list a couple I never wore on Ebay. The beauty of the Project 333 challenge is you can adjust it to your comfort level. There are no hard and fast rules. You decide what works or doesn’t work for you. So here’s my tiny closet that makes me smile each and every time I open it!

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I now have empty hangers!  And the top shelf  is devoted to most of my out of season clothing stored in those two grey totes.

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Assignment # 15, Declutter and Organize Bathroom Cabinets Cleanout,  which includes the linen closet, since there’s just no storage space in our pint size bathroom. Let.s just say it was another disaster that happened over time.

 

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You can see why it took me the better part of the day to get the job done and restore order.

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And yes, my heart sings once again. I’m in love with the order of it all.

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For those of you who may not know, square footage is a premium when it comes to New York real estate. I just went to an estate sale this past weekend. The home looked fine from the outside, but the entire inside needs to be gutted and the unfinished basement has some serious water and foundation issues; it was over-the-top moldy. The asking price is $869K. Realistically speaking, it would take at least $250K to fix it up. I know I digressed but I just wanted to explain why the majority of us live in tight spaces, real estate is very expensive. Even the million dollar homes are small and can still need work.

Back to the linen closet , would you believe I found a pair of my earrings stuffed in a bag of toiletries, left over from one of our family travels? They almost got thrown away!

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Here’s my outbox, a designated spot to put things to be donated tossed or waiting for a new home, looked like after a few of my assignments and decluttering sessions.

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I dropped off most of it off over the weekend. And a local animal hospital was as happy to take my old sheets and towels as I was keeping it out of the landfill. Yeah!

Flowers area a part of the weekend assignments so I picked up some from  Trader Joe’s. Their flowers are reasonably priced and I usually separate them and make two arrangements. One for the dining room table

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and one for the bedroom.

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Although this is the last week for the cure, I have a ways to go. The room by room project list I created at the start of the cure will take a while to complete. But in the meantime, everything is looking up! My home is almost cured and I am steps closer to my goal, keeping only what truly matters:)

 

 

Making Progress

Making Progress

Well I am making progress following Apartment Therapy January Cure and my quest to embrace minimalism. Although I am not completing all the assignments as scheduled, I am making a world of difference in my home and retaining only those items that serve me and donating the rest. Speaking of donating, I found a couple of new places like Project Linus, which takes quilting fabric donations and the New York Public Housing Authority which takes furniture and household items for  residents in need. It takes a litte effort and a few phone calls to locate the right places; however, it is well worth it. Not only does it  spear the landfill, it also is helpful to people who need help.

Back to the Apartment Therapy January cure, I decided t spend a day restoring my bedroom to it’s former glory. It never got back to normal after painting it.

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This says it all. Aside from the messy desk, notice the headboard behind the chair. It never got attached to the bed after the bed was moved to the front of the window. How sad. Never rehanged the curtains, mostly because I didn’t want to use the same ones that I had taken down.

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And the shelves have become overloaded with too much stuff.

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I belong to a book club and  I donated most of the ones stacked back there.

So, I tidied up the desk and vowed to stop  using it as a dumping ground anymore. Those vertical surfaces are so inviting and become magnets for anything and everything, don’t they?

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Attached the headboard to the frame.

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By the way, this headboard used to look like this.

headboard-before_2503 copy

You can see the transformation here

Next, I tackled the shelving and got rid of the excess clutter.

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So much better now.  Changed the lower fabric containers since they were getting a little too floppy with these sturdy replacements.

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I didn’t bother to style the shelves in my effort to keep it real. The books, binders and paperwork hidden away in the magazine holders are used regularly.

As  for the drapes, I have amassed a large collection of drapes over the years but,I just wanted something different and my color and design aesthetic is changing AGAIN. I was  a  brown, cream, blue fanatic, however, these days I gravitate more toward all shades of blue, various shades of white and cream for a  more airy and soothing pallete. And, I am only interested in furniture and  furnishings that are versatile and will work in almost any room. I like to have the ability to mix it up when the creativity juices start flowing..

So I  hung these Ikea sheer curtains I haven’t used for a while.

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I love them! In the daytime especially because they let all the light in.

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And now, I have a blank canvas to work with. The board you see leaning on the desk, actually there are two,  will serve as my inspiration boards.  I need to hang them and decide what else to hang on the other walls as well.

 

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Also want to purchase some adjustable arm lighting fixtures for each side of the bed. Just haven’t found any that I like just yet.

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Oh and yes, those temporary vinyl shades need to be replaced; yet another thing that i have procrastinated about all because I keep changing my mind about what type of shade to get. Lastly, although I changed the dust ruffle, I didn’t get around to changing the rest of the linens. I have a collection of shams, blankets, quilts and throws to choose from. As you may have guessed, I have a thing for linens and I have to get in check because they take up way too much space and conflict with my new minimalist mindset. A lot has already been donated. Future purchases will be scrutinized or maybe I will just stay out of the home stores because, quite honestly, I’m a linnen addict.

For now, I’m just glad the bedroom is decluttered and ready for the final touches.

bedroom IMG_9979

 

How about you? Any decluttering or changes going on in your home?

Happy 2014!

Happy 2014!

 

2014

I have a real good feeling that 2014 is going to be a great year for everyone, including you! Although I am always optimistic, this year I am over-the-top optimistic and I’m welcoming the feeling with open arms because it feels good . Every year, I take time to reflect on the past year and think about what I want to focus on in the coming new year.

This year, I decided to focus on separating what really matters from the things that no longer serve me and hampers my creativity. My creative abilities and insight is a huge part of who I am and serves me in my everyday life. Recently, I discovered a collection of podcasts at Untitled Minimalism containing very meaningful discussions about living life to the fullest.  The timing couldn’t have been any more perfect for me. By the way, please don’t let the name  or subject matter deter you; the discussions go way beyond eliminating the excess in our lives. After listening to several of the podcasts, my take away has been a heightened clarity about how meaningless stuff interferes with your life’s true path.

Spending way too much time looking for something I know I have but can’t find because it got lost in an abyss of clutter in our two problem areas, the unfinished part of our basement and the garage doesn’t serve me. Both areas have turned into a chaotic nightmare that is both overwhelming and anxiety inducing. Realizing that when you have a home, even a small one like ours, it enables one to save stuff, too much stuff, for a “maybe one day” that might never happen. What’s the point? It’s my hope and mission to have in my home only what matters.  I intend to spend the year scrutinizing everything, deciding if it has purpose and whether it serves our family. If the answer is no, it got’s to go! Hey that rhymes:) Nothing will be off limits, including my creative supplies; trust me, that’s going to be very hard but I’m ready for the challenge!  I even plan to whittle down my wardrobe even though it is fairly small to begin with. I rather have a few pieces that I wear consistently than hold on to things that rarely see the light of day and may be of use to someone in need.

As always, I plan to take a creative approach to my first steps to a clutter controlled life. You see, I always fantasize about living in a one room cottage surrounded by nature.

dream cottage
courtesy of tinyhouselistings.com

with and outdoor area that looks like this

outdoor bliss

I will keep these retreats in mind as I scrutinize my belongings. Furniture aside, I will keep only the meaningful items that I would actually take to my fantasy dream cottage. I sure hope you will check back regularly to see how I am progressing. Yes, 2014 is going to be a good year!

What are your plans for the new year? Wishing you a very Happy and Blessed New Year!

I Found Gold!

I Found Gold!

I found gold, vintage gold that is. I was in Home Depot and something told me to stop in the Salvation Army store a few blocks away. I am so glad I listened  to that inner voice because I found all of these beauties sitting on the shelves waiting for me.

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Wait, let me zoom into these colorful beauties.

 

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When I spotted them I was in ornament heaven! In their original boxes and MADE IN AMERICA! Wow! I love how some are really showing their vintage age..

 

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And look at these beautiful shades of blue. I love, I love.

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Only one green and three red,. but don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining.

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Now I have what I need to make a vintage ornament wreath. I decided to use a straw wreath like Virginia used over at   Live Love DIY. She filled in every nook and cranny so there’s no evidence of the wreath form underneath.

Live Love DIY ornament wreath colorful

I just have to purchase a wreath form. All out at the closest Michaels. I will have to try another location and, hopefully, I will be able to start working on a vintage ornament wreath of my very own.. Wish me luck!

Sharing this post with Between Naps on the Porch: Metamorphosis Monday

Let’s Hear It For the Leftovers!

Let’s Hear It For the Leftovers!

Happy Post Thanksgiving! I hope  your Thanksgiving was just what you wanted it to be. I definitely ate a little too much. But what I love more than the big day are the leftovers to be enjoyed the next day. Speaking of leftovers, I enjoy crafting leftovers too.

See those rubber remnants pieces in the background?  I just couldn’t throw them away after I finished cutting cut out the art stamps.

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I had an inkling I could do something with the leftovers  and when I saw the holiday  Crate and Barrel catalog,  I was immediately inspired.  I love their aesthetic and I frequent their store on occasion, however, this time I was inspired to DIY instead of  BUY. I used scissors to cut and shape the pieces to mimic the images shown on this page.

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Then, I used my good friend, the Dremel  Moto-Saw, to cut the plexiglass to the sizes I needed. Originally,  I purchased it to trim my art stamps; however,  I find myself using it for other things.  It is so handy when tackling a variety of crafting projects that require precision cutting.

dremmel

So from some crafting leftovers, I  now have some fun holiday inspired stamps.

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Some stamping is definitely in order. Can’t wait to get started. Let’s hear it for the crafting leftovers! Used any crafting leftovers lately?

 

 

Sharing this post with Between Naps on the Porch: Metamorphosis Monday

Remember to Play!

Remember to Play!

5 book steps to discovering your personal muse

It is so easy to get entangled in our everyday lives, overwhelmed  by our day to day responsibilities and consumed by the never ending “to do” list.  And if you’re a mom, your job is 24/7, period. So why not make yourself a priority, schedule a few minutes and give yourself permission to play. And by that I mean spending time doing whatever allows you to experience joy. It might mean coffee with a friend that makes you laugh, participating in an activity that keeps us in the present moment or just doing something that deviates from our normal routine. Or, it can be as simple as curling up with a favorite book or magazine and closing the door to everything else. And guess what? The world is not going to stop revolving and the “to do” list will still be waiting for you upon your return;however, it will  be easier to tackle because you took time to care of yourself. It’s not selfish, it’s selfless because now you offer the world a better you.

So my question to you is, how do you play? What is your idea of fun time? For me, in addition to the things I mentioned above, it’s getting into a zone, where I find myself creating and meditating simultaneously. Creativity isn’t limited to producing magnificent works of art – painting an impressive masterpiece, sculpting exquisite pottery or writing a best selling novel; creativity is discovering yourself from the inside out, honing your talents and gifts and using that specialness to make your personal mark on world! How you do that is a manifestation of your uniqueness. So, If you think you’re not creative, please, please, please kick that notion to the curb. I’ve written about this when I first started this blog, here and touched on it again, more recently, here. It’s part of my calling and it’s important that I write about it and put it out there. We’re all creative, just not in the same way; that’s what makes each and every one of us unique. and special beings.

But just in case you have yet to find your creative genre, no problem! You are only 5 book steps away from discovering you personal muse!

Step 1. 344 Questions: The Creative Person’s Do-It-Yourself Guide to Insight, Survival, and Artistic Fulfillment (Voices That Matter) by Stefan G. Bucher, a book full of questions designed to document who you are, where you are and where you want to go.

344 Questions_

Step 2. How to Be an Explorer of the World: Portable Life Museum by Keri Smith prompts you to be observant about your often overlooked surroundings.It provides a fun way to appreciating the tiny details in everyday life.

How To Be An Explorer Of The World_

Step 3. Finish This Book, also by Keri Smith, offers inspiring activities using found objects and writing prompts is perfect for all ages and a great summer activity for children.

Finsish This Book

Step 4. 365: A Daily Creativity Journal: Make Something Every Day and Change Your Life! by Noah Scalin provides 365 simple project ideas; however, they are just that, suggestions. He encourages the reader to incorporate their own interests and passions and/or take a theme approach to ones daily projects.

365 A Daily Creative Journal

Step 5. Living Out Loud by Keri Washington is filed with activities, games, projects and more to begin your journey to creativity and personal discovery.

Living Out Loud

Perhaps, you will find one, or all, of these books helpful in connecting with the creativity that resides within you. Please let me know your thoughts and, remember, don’t forget to play!