The Universe is calling you.
Some say that the universe will conspire to lift you up into your place. It will find a way of getting you where you are supposed to be in life - in career and in love. The universe is so powerful at manifesting you, that it will do this without your even asking for it.
I decided that it must be even better if you act as a co-conspirator by being open to nudges and hints along your journey and actually invite them to come.
So, every night, as I am falling asleep, I ask the universe to help me to do more of what I am supposed to be doing - what I am meant to be doing. And in all honesty, I am not sure if this actually leads to anything, but I feel that it can’t hurt. We are all just making our way through the woods grabbing on to whatever is within our grasp.
I feel a little bit like our new dog, Lucy, following a scent - undetectable to me - but still very real to her sensitive nose. With her nose to the ground, she faithfully follows an invisible scent that may lead to a bunny or a deer, or it may lead to nothing.
Are there scents - trails that they universe leaves for us? Do our creative endeavors come to us as whiffs of inspiration that we follow until we discover a dream project? Or, do we at times lose a scent, get distracted, and walk away?
Sometimes I feel like I am following the next thing, the smelliest scent, but I have no idea what the larger picture looks like - will the scent lead to anything, am I supposed to be on this path? I guess I keep moving looking for the next scent and hope that it leads me to a bunny, or a deer, or a squirrel!
Do you feel nudges from the universe? What are they like?
Well, it has been a long time coming, but we finally got a dog at Spring Bird. Even though we had been talking about it for years and have spent hours scrolling through Petfinder, getting a dog seemed to happen so quickly. We went to a shelter in Huntley and fell in love with Lucy right away. She greeted each of us and gave kisses and belly rubs away readily.
As someone who never had a dog growing up, it has been such a joy to watch my kids interact with a dog. While there is such joy in having a dog, we are also learning so much about how best to train her. In response, we have had to adjust some of our behaviors. My desire to walk more regularly has been pushed to the forefront with multiple walks a day with Lucy. We are keeping the floors picked up and sock free, and I'm finally getting the help I've always wanted in the kitchen keeping the floor clean - thanks to Lucy!
I'm looking forward to learning how having a dog will affect how we experience the seasons. Like having a baby, having a dog is helping me to see the world through different eyes. She is so curious! I am also quite enjoying having a companion and cuddly friend.
Below is a comic introducing Lucy to you! I hope you like it!!!!
MORE FROM SPRING BIRD
This dichotomy of scarcity and abundance, has been on my mind for awhile now. I know that I tend to have an ingrained scarcity mindset, which I am working to change.
My scarcity voice sounds like this:
“Make sure you eat that food even though you are not hungry because it is free.”
“You better get it now before it’s gone!”
“This post should be getting more likes.”
“Will I ever be successful?”
“I wish I had more followers”
“If I only had . . .”
A scarcity mindset puts you in a position of lack, owant, and of need, regardless of whether you have much or very little. It’s a state of mind not a state of fact.
People with the most money, food, and stuff might actually have a scarcity mindset. They may be in a pattern of thought that is stuck on a loop “there is never enough X” For me this “never enough of X” is connected to my not feeling enough. It is tied to my lack of self worth.
An abundance mindset, on the other hand, is a mindset in which you have enough. You have more than enough. In fact you have so much that you can share.
The abundant voice sounds like this:
“I can’t wait to share this podcast that I heard - or this idea with my friends.”
“I am grateful for everything I have.”
“I am full, thank you.”
“I have so much to offer the world, what am I going to share next?”
“I am enough.”
“There is so much to learn, to know about, to understand, and I am part of that mystery.”
One of the greatest examples that I have encountered of abundance in action was while volunteering at the shelter for youth experiencing homelessness. They shared everything - even though material possessions were scarce. They shared metra cards and snacks. They accompanied friends to appointments and interviews. They even gave away the art that I was helping them to make. They shared because sharing is survival. They were helping each other survive.
Life is fuller when we live with an abundance mindset. It’s full of love and friendship and not full of resentment, fear, or feeling cheated.
It’s been a constant struggle for me to shift, but it is beautiful thing when it happens.
When applied to creativity abundance mentality explodes! We can share so much with creative expressions and applications and the world is hungry for it - for your creativity. You have something to share that will help us to survive!
Do you struggle with a scarcity mindset?
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Some of my first sewing projects involved making small purses. (I love a good bag. So much to carry).
Nowadays, I consider my textile endeavors to be devotional objects, especially when there is a lot of hand stitching, embroidery, and applique' involved.
I got inspired by Gudrun Sjoden's neck pouches and wanted to try making my own.
I decided on three approaches, but I am sure there are limitless possibilities here.
These tiny pouches are meant to be worn like a necklace, but they could also be wall art -maybe a spot to tuck away tiny treasures.
Check out photos below to see all four pouches in detail.
Below the photos are instructions for making your own quilted version!
What do you think about them? Which one do you like best?
Applique and Embroidery
Pieced Denim with Dyed Yarn Quilting
Instructions for Sewing
At the beginning of my week, I pulled the Butterfly Card. This seemed appropriate since this was my week of no social media, and without the distraction of social media Pat and I had time to nurture an idea that had recently poked its head into our sphere of creativity.
In the absence of social media, we have the room, the space for the dreaming up this next phase for us.
And speaking of phases, that Butterfly Card is about the cycles of creation, which every project goes through.
There is a book that accompanies the cards. Its explanation of the Butterfly Card reads,
You may be at the egg stage, which is the beginning of all things. This is the stage at which an idea is born, but has not yet become a reality. The larva stage is the point at which you decide to create the idea in the physical world. The cocoon stage involves ‘going within’: doing or developing your project, idea, or aspect of personality. The final stage of transformation is the leaving of the chrysalis and birth. This last step involves sharing the colors and joy of your creation with the world.”
This cycle can even be applied to your daily activities. For instance, you may decide you’d like to have a more joyful day. That’s your seed. Next, decide to accept that you want a joyful day. Then decide to take joyful action (however you see fit), and finally, share your joy with others.
All of the creative projects in which we engage fall into one of these four stages. You can examine where you are in your creative project and invite the next phase to come. Just being aware of your developmental stage will help you to evolve into the next phase.
Get yourself ready for the next transformation by appreciating where you are at now, asking what’s the next best thing, and inviting it to manifest.
What phase is your creative project in?
As you know, I preach “follow your curiosity”, and this week I am curious to see what will happen if I take a break from Social Media!
There I said it!
So, let me first declare that I love Instagram. I love sharing, connecting, and being inspired. Instagram makes growing my business possible, but I am also wondering how it may be negatively impacting my creativity. I wonder what effect the constant checking-in with it has on my creativity, and I wonder if there is harm inflicted to my self esteem from constant comparison / analysis of post performance. So, I ask myself, “by refusing to be bored in any given moment, what am I sacrificing?”
Furthermore, I have been thinking (for a year or so, now) about Manoush Zomorodi, her book Bored and Brilliant and her podcast Note To Self. Ever since I heard of her Bored and Brilliant Project that challenges people to be less phone/device dependent in order to encourage deep thinking, I have been curious to take on her challenge, and it seems I am finally ready for some deep thinking!
Also the recent New York Times article about Niksen, a practice of scheduling time to do nothing - like literally nothing, staring out a window and daydreaming argues that having seemingly unproductive time of doing nothing actually spurs creativity and counterintuitively productivity. So, I ask myself, if I stared out windows more and at my phone less, would I be more creative and productive? We shall see this week.
The terms and conditions:
For the next 7 days, I will be posting blogs to my website and podcasts, but I will not be sharing on Facebook and Instagram.
I will not be checking-in on these apps either - not responding to comments, posts, etc.
I will still listen to podcasts and music on my phone, but I might challenge myself to one day without either of these in order to really force myself to be alone with my own thoughts. Terrifying!
And I will also still use my phone for pictures to capture the developments in nature and to document my work.
Through these 7 days, I will be keeping track of my thoughts, emotions, instincts, etc., and I am planning on recording a podcast at the end of this experiment, with friend and artist Sarah Johnson who is also planning on taking a break from social media this week.
So, without further ado, see you in a week. I hope to return with creative inspiration, deeper thoughts, and new perspectives!? Sure. . . See you on the flip side!
When I came across a Spoonflower Magazine (Spoonflower is the company the prints fabric, wallpaper, and wrapping paper designed by artists), that offered a free pattern for making baby hats, I was tempted. Then, some friends having babies, further encouraged me to get sewing.
So, I went to work on some tiny designs for baby hat fabric. Now that I am learning to draw digitally on an iPad Pro with Procreate and Apple Pencil, I was able to learn how to make a repeating pattern digitally. So exciting! Fortunately, Spoonflower's magazine had instructions on how to do this, too! So helpful!
While designing, I decided to make some non-baby fabric patterns for t-shirts for me. :)
I have a favorite t-shirt from Uniqlo that has unfortunately shrunk, while I have simultaneously grown larger. In analyzing the garment, I noticed that it was fairly simply constructed and decided that I could try to copy it.
Until now, I have only made dresses from patterns, which some other brilliant sewist designed.
I entered into this project with that feeling of not knowing how much I didn't know, but as usual I just jump in with fingers crosses.
Below, I show the process of making the hat and a little tale of making the shirt.
I then made more in various prints. See them below. Which one is your favorite?
To make my pattern, I folded my Uniqlo shirt in half length-wise. I traced the permiter of the folded shirt onto pattern paper.
I decided to use 1/2" seams and also added 2" to the width and 2" to the length. So since the pattern represents the shirt folded in half, I added 1 1/2" to the side, 2" to the bottom, and 1/2" to the sleeves, shoulder, and neck.
I cut my pattern twice (one front, one back), and I notched the front pattern to create a slight scoop of a neckline.
I also cut two tiny slivers of patterns for reinforcing the neckline.
After I made the first shirt, I created the remaining three in an assembly line fashion.
The Fashion Show
- The striped jersey had more stretch to it, making it a little more tricky to sew with.
- Something happened with my neckline that made it too tight to pull over my head. So, I had to take out some stitches and make a custom, notched collar.
- Next time I will order more than a yard of fabric for this project. I did not have enough fabric to allow for the print to line up. For instance, for the eye fabric, I was able to run the eyes horizontal on the front, but I had to align them vertically on the back. You can kind of see this in the photo.
One of the rug hooked workshop participants told me of her devoted workshop attendance. She has followed her curiosity, and in doing so, attended a variety of craft and art classes to learn new processes, to understand new tools, and to express her creativity in new ways.
I admire her eagerness to learn and to be a beginner. We can get comfortable in our expertise, and it is challenging to be a novice. Being a newbie is uncomfortable. It’s humbling.
When we learn new skills, we grow our toolkit, which only expands our creative potential. Learning new skills expands our creative horizons not only because of the widened skill set but because we approach our creative project from the perspective of a student. We come at it with questions and curiosity rather than from the perspective of an expert that might make presumptions that close doors to creative possibilities. When we create from the perspective of a student, we have a new opportunity to ask what is possible from ourselves.
After getting past the uncomfortable lumps of learning something new, we can practice our new skills, which boosts our confidence in our creative abilities. Getting comfortable in a new skill allows us to trust ourselves enough to try something even “riskier” the next time the opportunity arises. Learning to knit might lead to learning to dye wool, which may lead to learning to spin. You might not have started spinning wool without first learning to knit. Then, you might need to build your own website or learn how to design your own label etc. It’s endless.
Finally, learning a new creative skill may prompt a deep dive into the creative ocean where you may become a new expert. If that is the case, we may need to come up for air once in awhile to learn something new. And in this way, we practice expanding and deepening our creativity.
Being an expert requires being a student. It’s an endless cycle of learning and mastering. Pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones only deepens our creative potential!
Wow! What a great start to the 2019 “A Season To Make” Workshop Series!
We kicked off the series with learning to make Rug Hooked Pillows. Both days were realizations of my dream of creating opportunities to make in community and in nature, at the cottage.
I have had such powerful and creative experiences at Spring Bird’s Cottage, and this workshop series is one way to share that with guests and participants.
We laughed, created, and had so many great conversations - even confessions! (But those are not for this blog!)
Check out the photos below to see our creations and check out future workshops here!
Anna Lentz, artist, writer, and creativity coach who blogs about making a creative life connected with nature at Spring Bird.
Adventures In Natural Dyeing
A Season To Make
Creativity Tools And Books
Make And Do Art
Philosophy Of Creativity