Tag Archives: creativity

Mads Makes

Creativity is one of my favorite charcteristics a person can have. It’s fascinating that someone can have an idea in their head of something they want to make. Then one day, after some hard work and tools, they produce a physical product of some kind.

Some of my friends are so talented, like my good friend Mads. She started an art Instagram showing the projects she created in her free time. People were really loving the collages, trinket holders, records, sage holders, and more. So much so that they started messaging her and asking if they could order custom pieces. After doing custom orders for a while, she created an Etsy to showcase all her art.

Here are some of my favorite things I’ve personally ordered from Mads:

I use this holder for my sage.
I’m obsessed with these jewelry holders. They look so cute on my dresser.
Look at those details.
I custom ordered the butterfly.
She threw this extra holder in for me and I love it because it compliments the other one so well!
This tray has real pressed flowers from her yard!
I’ve been using it to hold my bathroom essentials.

I’ve been fascinated with Mads’s art from the first time I saw it. How do you do this!?! I had to know.

Mads uses resin for a lot of her pieces, I had never heard of this particular form of art, so she broke it down for me:

“Most resin is like a hard plastic when cured. Common artists resin is mixed on a 1:1 ratio of resin and hardener. Most problems are from using incorrect ratios or not mixing well enough. Bubbles are also a common nuisance but can be removed with heat before the resin cures. About 24 hours after pouring, the resin will be cured and ready to de-mold. I normally pour another thin layer on the top of the collage to gloss over any exposed paper or fill air bubbles. Don’t forget your signature as the finishing touch.”

Check this out!

Check this out!

Although designing with resin is a strong suit for Mads, she doesn’t like to limit herself to one form of creating because she doesn’t want to restrict herself and her creative ability. As a mixed media artist, Mads really loves collages and giving practically to her art. The resin she uses in her collages allows them to maintain their beauty and structure over time. Mads enjoys that her art doesn’t have to be displayed or hung on a wall, but rather it can be touched and used.

Mads took me through her mixed media art process and I was thrilled to learn what goes into these beautiful products I love so much:

To create a piece I start out sourcing the materials, all found at my favorite used bookstore or thrift stores. When buying new sourcing material I try to find unique images in color. The book should be at least half photos to be worth the space it will take up on my storage shelf.

When starting a new collage I will focus on a concept or theme. Usually this is only 1 or 2 words such as ‘blue’ or ‘nature.’ Then I select 2-5 books that have contrasting ideas of those themes. I flip through until the images jump out at me.

After selecting a background or larger image and a few smaller images I start trying out layouts. This can be trying different arrangements or even starting over if the images just aren’t working together. Pay attention to things like contrast, balance and negative space. Look for interesting textures and patterns. Go for the unexpected and try to surprise yourself. If you like a piece, find a way to make it work.

Don’t glue anything down until the collage is done. After the collage is secured and glued together (I use spray adhesive) it gets placed in a silicone mold for the resin pour. I primarily make large trays but this can be applied to most molds.

I’m ecstatic that Mads has such a lovely way to express herself creatively and share those creations with the world. Her products are not only dazzling, but durable and sustainable as well, but don’t just take my word for it, head over to her Etsy shop and check them out for yourself:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/MadsMakesShop?ref=search_shop_redirect

I got published!

I never thought I’d see a day where my blog would take a backseat and be my secondary writing platform. But after discovering Vocal – a site that pays per views and even easily allows tips – I have been more focused on that. It’s not like I’m abandoning my blog, but I found a way to make actual money from my writing! Okay, it isn’t much, but it’s SOMETHING – which is better than NOTHING!

I found Vocal from an Instagram ad that popped up. I figured it would be too good to be true, but I really had nothing to lose by giving it a chance. I came to my blog and started browsing through some of the things I’ve written.

I figured I’d have the best chance to get published if I submitted something that I really loved. My first submission to Vocal was my blog post Here I Am. It’s one of my favorite things I’ve ever written. It’s went through so many drafts, so many different versions, before it’s gotten to where it is now. I’ve asked several people for feedback on it and there’s even a draft where it was a poem.

I was so excited when it got accepted to be published – I think I actually screamed in excitement. Check out the final version of it: Here I Am.

Since getting that first post accepted and published, I haven’t really been able to stay off their website. I’ve been reading other creators’ stories and feeling inspired to write more!

Up until yesterday, I had only submitted things I had already published on my blog. Play it safe, right? But I recognized that the audiences were going to be a little different. Besides, as an English major, I have tons of content floating around on my computer, so I revisited some old stuff I had written. I found a story about my face being mutilated (sort of) three different times in my favorite place. It’s a story about dog bites, broken teeth, and a black eye. It’s also got a lot of scenery details about this said place, as well as characterization of some family members. Here’s the link if you’re interested: Marlow’s Lotta Fun

I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy and continuing to practice self-care while staying true to their authentic selves. Onward.

Financial Wellness

It’s been a minute since I’ve worked on my Self-Care Series. I planned on writing about one dimension of wellness from SMHSA’s chart each week, but well, to be honest, I haven’t been practicing a lot of self-care lately. Since I want my blog to be a place of authenticity, I couldn’t write about something I wasn’t living out.

I’ve been caught up in my daily tasks, and I haven’t put much energy into staying grounded and checking in on myself. Earlier today, I felt overwhelmed, my to-do list was swirling around in my mind, and I knew I needed to get out of my own head to decompress. I did some deep breathing and tried to focus on my belly rising and falling. About this same time, I got an automated text. FREE YOUR ENERGY flashed across my phone. Months ago, while listening to the Mark Groves Podcast, an author named Sylvester McNutt came on and spread his message of love, healing, authenticity, and freeing your energy. I subscribed to his automated text message service after hearing him speak.

I clicked on the text from Sylvester and saw a link to his most recent podcast episode: “Ignite Your Self-defeating Thoughts” Yeah, I thought, I could use some of that right about now.

The podcast not only pulled me out of the negative thought pattern, but also shifted my mindset, therefore, my reality.

I knew it was time to prioritize self-care again.

Photo by Eternal Happiness on Pexels.com

With all that being said, I have decided to focus on my financial wellness to dive back into this series.

One of my financial goals was to get a credit card and begin building my credit. Not only did I get a credit card a month ago, but I’ve been very frugal with it and very adamant about paying off the balance each time I get a paycheck.

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Another way I’ve prioritized my financial – wellness is by writing down my monthly bills and making sure I correctly budget for them and pay them on time.

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In addition to staying on top of my spending, my dad is going to help me set up a Roth IRA to begin investing in my retirement. He insists this is one of the best ways to earn interest on my savings. He’s yet to lead me astray, so I believe this will be great for my long-term financial wellness.

Photo by Rachel Claire on Pexels.com

Taking care of yourself can be challenging; practicing self-care can quickly get un-prioritized. It’s important to take a step back sometimes and just take some deep breaths. I’m thankful I started this series weeks ago, and I’m thankful I hold myself accountable.

Check out some of the other aspects of my wellness I’ve focused on already:

Emotional Wellness Occupational Wellness

Social Wellness Intellectual Wellness

Check on your friends, check on your family, check on yourself, and stay tuned for my next post on another dimension of my wellness.

Intellectual Wellness

This week looks different than I imagined. It’s day two of being snowed in my house. The temperature hasn’t gotten above freezing and the roads are solid sheets of ice. I don’t trust my little car to make it to work or the grocery store – even though I need to do both.

Thankfully, I’ve been able to work from the safety of my home and I’m digging deep into my pantry and eating random groceries I’ve had for a while. It’s supposed to warm up tomorrow and I will be able to get back to my routine. Fingers crossed.

This week in my Self-Care Series I’m focusing on intellectual wellness from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administrations (SAMHSA’s) eight dimensions of wellness.

SAMHSA defines intellectual wellness as: “Recognizing creative abilities and finding ways to expand knowledge and skills”

Since I’m currently snowed, I figured this would be a good time to explore this dimension of my wellness.

Photo by Maria Orlova on Pexels.com

I started reading a new book called “The Arrivals”. It’s a spiritual fiction book about a group of people that die in a plane crash and find themselves in the afterlife. As most other curious humans, the afterlife intrigues me. What is going to happen?!? Of course, I’m in no rush to find out, but I do like reading other people’s ideas and speculations.

The book itself is fairly easy to read and I imagine I’ll have it finished as my snow days wrap up.

Another way I am focusing on my intellectual wellness is starting a LinkedIn profile. I’m content with my current job, but I think it is a good idea to start networking and see what all is out there. Making a LinkedIn has been on my to-do list for a while, but I keep pushing it off for whatever reason. No time like the present – I suppose.

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While focusing on my intellectual wellness, I have been doing a lot of research on blogging. I stumbled upon https://artofblogging.net/ and found a lot of the tips really helpful. I even listened to a couple episodes of the podcast and found myself jotting down some main points in my Notes app.

This got me thinking about ways to grow and expand my blog and I decided to sign up for the Amazon Associates program. I heard about this program from a friend a couple of weeks ago, but I was hesitant because I don’t particularly love Amazon. Sure, it’s convenient and an incredible business idea, but I’ve heard firsthand that they don’t treat their employees great and well Jeff Bezos in general causes me to eye-roll. BUT I decided to give it a shot. No harm in trying. So be on the lookout for me to review some products soon.

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This post is the halfway point in my Self-Care Series. It’s been beneficial for me to explore the different dimensions of wellness. Each week, I find myself consistently thinking about the dimension I’m focusing on.

Have you guys been following along? Here’s the previous weeks:

Emotional Wellness

Social Wellness

Occupational Wellness

Stay tuned for next week when I focus on my financial wellness!

Occupational Wellness

This week in my Self-Care Series I’m focusing on my occupational wellness. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administrations (SAMHSA’s) defines occupational wellness as “personal satisfaction and enrichment derived from one’s work”

This is a rather slow season at my job. Not a ton of people are traveling to Nashville during these cold, tail-end pandemic months. That means I have to be proactive now in preparation for our busy season that will begin with warmer weather.

Interested in traveling to Nashville? Check out my company’s rental properties HERE: https://luxurynash.rentals/

They’re truly some of the most beautiful homes I’ve ever seen. I might be a little biased, but I believe we offer some of the best properties in this fascinating city.

Photo by Kelly Lacy on Pexels.com

As a society, we have tied productivity with success and I have bought into this. Of course, I feel better when I’m taking care of my responsibilities, but it can be easy to get overwhelmed. Balance is key. One of my favorite things about my company is that we believe in working hard and playing hard. Get everything done then rest and recuperate.

So this week, to focus on my occupational wellness, I am making a monthly to-do list for everything that needs to be done before the busy month of March sneaks up. I always make daily and weekly to-do lists because it helps me feel less overwhelmed. I’m one of those people that check my planner religiously. I’ve found if I write down all my tasks they become less daunting. As I complete tasks, I cross them out and it helps me feel so productive. Once my list is complete and all crossed out, I know I have earned my down time.

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Since I am trying to grow my blog and gain followers and viewers, I have been researching blogging tips. Some are helpful and encouraging while others make it seem nearly impossible to run a blog full-time while still having a life. The internet can be overwhelming, so it’s important to take everything here with a grain of salt. What works for someone might not work for me and vise versa.

I don’t have any unrealistic expectations for my blog. I doubt I will be able to support myself off of it anytime soon, but blogging is something I throughly enjoy. I’ve always loved writing. Even in middle school, I can remember filling notebook after notebook with silly stories and random thoughts. Writing is my outlet. When I can’t articulate myself, I go to the page to get the words out.

So for now, I will leave blogging as a hobby that brings me joy and comfort.

Photo by Rachel Claire on Pexels.com

Another way I plan to focus on my occupational wellness during this time is writing a list of my goals – for my career and my personal life. It’s so easy to get caught up in the day to day monotony and lose sight of everything we want to accomplish. Revisiting my goals is a great first step to making sure that I eventually accomplish them.

Thanks for reading another week in my Self-Care Series.

Interested in the previous weeks? Here’s some links! : Emotional Wellness: Week One & Social Wellness: Week Two.

Stay tuned for next week when I focus on my Intellectual Wellness!