Tag Archives: Art and Creativity

September goals + a printable calendar

I’m pretending all the days leading up to Labor Day are still August.  Mostly because September feels like the time when all kinds of things change.  And I’m only 82% ready for those changes.  

Grace starts preschool next week, which means we’ll have a new routine to follow (and lunches to pack), along with a bit more structure to our days.  Structure sort of thrills me… so there’s that.  Meanwhile, she’s really excited to see her friends, “do letters” and be a good listener.  While she’s doing her thing three days a week, baby Nick and I will have some one-on-one time (and I’m hoping I’ll, like… maybe get the laundry done).  

Before I left my career to be home with the babes, my work life revolved around the academic calendar (minus the cool stuff like summer and holiday and February and April vacations), so it feels sort of natural to be back on that track.  

At the same time, I’m holding onto summer for dear life and hoping we get at least a few beach days in before September is over and I skip straight to Christmas time (you know how I feel about Halloween and fall colors and wool sweaters and hay and stuff like that… no thanks).

So this month’s calendar is an attempt to savor these warm days and ocean views before we need to do things like wear pants.  And roll our eyes at anything pumpkin spiced.  Please note that I finally wised up to the fact that I can’t paint numbers in a straight line, fired myself from that part of the job, and replaced myself with a robot computer.  The end is near.

SEPTEMBER GOALS + A PRINTABLE CALENDAR

september goals printable calendar

Click here to download your free, hand painted calendar

Materials used: Cold pressed watercolor paper, Winsor and Newton professional watercolors (tubes), round brushes (sizes 2, 6, 10), liquid gold gilding (so fancy)

Health + wellness

  • Keep up with a regular self care routine: This sounds super woo-woo, but whatever.  I’ve been making an effort to do little things for myself here and there, and I think these little things are making a big difference. For example, two Fridays in a row, I took a nice salt soak after the babes went to sleep.  I’ve decided adults should have bath time too.  Why let the kids have all the fun?  I have more ideas for easy ways to incorporate self-care, but that’s a different can of worms (gross expression, sorry) post altogether.
  • 4+ workouts/week
  • Meal plan and prep on the weekends
  • Register for 2+ fall races
  • Incorporate more yoga… ’tis National Yoga Month, after all! 

Family

  • Spend as much time as possible with our new + perfect nephew
  • Super fun date night
  • Make a list of fall-ish family adventures
  • Playdates!  We haven’t seen some of our favorite friends in far too long.
  • Finalize plans for baby Nick’s baptism in October
  • Keep better track of the amazing things Grace says on any given day (I recently overheard her asking Clark if he wanted a kitten… and if he did, she would ask me, since he can’t talk… and that I might say no, but then I’d say yes… whaaaaat?)

Miscellaneous

  • Re-start The Artist’s Way
  • Get my hair cut, colored + straightened (I accidentally haven’t had a hair appointment since May… so I am basically more poodle than human)… priorities, people
  • Donate/share all the clothes both babes seem to have outgrown over night
  • Do some important research about when the new emojis will show up on my phone

Let’s have a lovely month, my friends.

Also On Tap for Today:

What are you most looking forward to this month?

August goals + a printable calendar

Current mysteries of my life:

  • How did I get poison ivy on both feet and between all of my toes?
  • What is the point of a shirt that looks like a decent bum-covering tunic, but then has slits on both sides that go all the way up to your armpits?
  • Why is it August already?

I just don’t know.  I don’t.  Here’s a calendar.

AUGUST PRINTABLE CALENDAR

august goals printable calendar

One day I will use a ruler and paint those numbers in a straight line for you.  That day is not today.  But maybe it’s September 1st?  Only time will tell.

Click here to download your free, printable August calendar

AUGUST GOALS

  • Log an average of 20 miles a week for Charity Miles
  • Complete as many summer bucket list items as possible
  • Make it to all 3 Mama Beasts classes each week
  • Follow up on a volunteer opportunity for the fall
  • Share my “streamline everything” progress (believe it or not, there has been some progress!)
  • Watch as much of the Olympics as humanly possible

BACK TO SCHOOL WITH HOLLAR

back to school hollar

And because it’s nearly back-to-school time (I know, I know), I have something extra cute to share today.  Grace starts preschool in just a few weeks and our friends at Hollar (our new go-to spot for gifts and goodies) hooked her up with an Elmo backpack and all kinds of art supplies and learning tools.  Check out Grace’s feature on the Hollar blog here.  We’re really grateful to have partnered with them on this fun project.

Hope your month is off to a lovely start, friends.  And that you don’t step in any poison ivy.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s On Tap for your August?

What I made | 007: Gouache edition

What I made | 007 sounds so… James Bond.  I assure you what follows is less secret agent and more… lady making a mess on her coffee table.  I’ve been completely swept up in Mary Ann Moss’ Oh My Gouache class and have been using gouache in place of my usual watercolors, acrylics and inks.  I even made my own sketchbook (Who am I?) and promptly began painting ships in bottles… and bottles of Polar Seltzer.  

what i made gouache

So this post is all gouache, nothing but the gouache.  So help me, gouache.  

No need for more nonsense.  Here’s what I made recently:

What I Made | Gouache from Elizabeth D. on Vimeo.

I’ve also been making salads, fall schedules, and less-than-mediocre videos.  So there’s that.

Also On Tap for Today:

What are you makin’ these days?

July goals + a printable calendar

July’s printable calendar is inspired by the matching popsicle pajamas Grace + Nick wore last night.  As soon as the paint on this sucker dried, we hit the road, staying up past our collective bedtime and making decent time from the city to the Cape.  

Nothing beats an actual popsicle on a hot July afternoon, but popsicle pajamas are pretty great.  And these painted ones aren’t so bad either.  They’re mess-free and calorie-free… which is occasionally a good thing.  Like, say, if you’ve already eaten four real popsicles.  Or whatever.

JULY GOALS + A PRINTABLE CALENDAR

july goals printable calendar

Click here to download your free July calendar

And now for a few goals:

Wellness

  • A new Mama Beasts challenge kicks off on Sunday, which makes setting wellness goals extra easy — I find these challenges to be super motivating (a new session of classes just started, check out the website for more info) and love feeling extra inspired both during and outside of class.  
  • In addition to specific challenge activities (increased vegetable/fruit intake, mileage, core work, etc.), I will also be conscious about staying adequately hydrated.  I usually drink at least 100 oz. of water, but I’ve been slacking lately (and feeling ridiculously thirsty at night).  
  • Start (and, like, somewhat finish) sleep training.  We moved Nick in with Grace a month ago… and then he cut 5 teeth and stopped sleeping so I moved him back to the co-sleeper in our room.  I love having him in there.  But I haven’t slept for more than 4-5 hours straight since 2013.  And I think that’s probably not okay.

Home

  • I want to streamline everything.  I was reading about people who eat the same breakfast everyday in order to not waste their decision making braincells (or whatever) and started noticing how much time and energy I waste waffling (which, disappointingly, has nothing to do with waffles).  This is obviously not a fully developed idea, so I suppose my goal is: Figure out what “streamlining everything some things” would look like.  

Family

  • Check off a few summer bucket list items 
  • Plan for fall classes (a child development class for me and baby Nick, and register for Grace’s next gymnastics session)
  • Cook up 9,000 things to do/eat/wear during the Summer Olympics (I’m so obsessed)

Popsicle time.  Toodles!

Also On Tap for Today:

What is your favorite Summer Olympics event?

 

What I made | 006

It’s been ages since I’ve shared what I made.  Grace and I spend plenty of time drawing things like “Dad with a stroller” and “Dad with shoes” and “Grace in a bed” and “Grace in a different bed” and “Baby Nick with a shoe” and “Mom in a bathing suit.”  My solo creative time, however, has been a bit limited lately.  Everything is a bit rushed, weird, slightly ugly, and mostly unfinished.

Oh, and I’ll spare you the bathing suit drawing.

WHAT I MADE | 006

thoughts become things

Materials used: Actual gouache (Holbein, jet black and Winsor and Newton, gold) and Holbein Acryla Gouache — which is not really gouache, but it is really fun to use (pale aqua, luminous lemon, pale peach and pale mint), Bee Paper cotton watercolor paper (6 x 9 inches, 140 lb)

Just a quick little doodle while thinking about… thinking.  And the power of thoughts.  Keep ’em positive, people.

portrait collage

Materials used: Random letter stickers, Pilot Varsity pen (pink, water soluble), magazine clippings, matte medium, watercolors

The new season of the Get Messy Art Journal program centers on the theme of introspection (much more my jam than last season, which just didn’t do it for me).  This is the first self portrait I’ve done in years.  It’s a bit wonky, but so am I.  So maybe it’s very true to life?

season of introspection

Materials used: Acrylic paint (sky blue and black), magazine clippings, matte medium, Micron (black 01), Gelly Roll pen (white), watercolors

I love that smiling, proud lady.  I’ve been holding onto that image for a while and figured it was time to put her somewhere more dignified than in a stack of tear-outs.

ink blot

Materials used: Acrylic paint (Golden heavy body + high flow), watercolor and gouache paint

I really liked this week’s Get Messy prompt around ink blots (members have access to a great tutorial from Vanessa on this).  The mix of paint made for some really fun texture.

Materials used: Goauche (a mix of brands — Holbein, Winsor and Newton, Plakkaatverf, Daler and Rowney), Bee Paper

The top paintings were inspired by this month’s painting-a-day challenge on Creative Bug, hosted by Jennifer Orkin Lewis, a favorite artist of mine.  I love these courses for their short and sweet videos — perfect for inspiring a daily art making practice.

And the bottom doodle was in preparation for Mary Ann Moss’ gouache class, which starts Friday.  Just a little playing around with paint mixing and experimenting with how much/how little gum arabic would prevent my gouache pans from cracking.  Judging by the crack-iness, I didn’t exactly handle it

Also On Tap for Today:

What are you making this week? A mess?  A new playlist?  Some cookies?

Don’t quit before the miracle | Midweek motivation

Because your Monday motivational pep talk (…to yourself) may have worn off, here’s a bit of mid-week motivation.

Don’t quit before the miracle.

don't quit before the miracle

Don’t quit before the miracle.  Keep working.  Keep praying.  Keep reaching.  Keep remembering to pack snacks.  And six changes of clothes.  Just in case.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s your current mantra?  

Today: May goals + a printable calendar

This May calendar is coming to you a day late (sorry)… but it doesn’t matter if you’re a dollar short.  Because you can download it for free.  Or whatever. 

may goals printable calendar

If you’re down with the whole coloring book craze, this one’s for you.  And if you hate the rainbow and are a strictly black and white kind of person, this one’s for you too (just skip the coloring part… obvi).

printable may calendar coloring book free

Materials used: Black watercolor paint (Winsor + Newton professional, ivory black), round brush (size 2), Micron pen (black, 01), Canson mixed media paper (160g)

click here to download your free printable May calendar

May goals 

Family

  • Make plans to catch up with friends + babies
  • Complete a 5k with both kids
  • Look into a summer CSA/weekly share
  • More Cape time!

Wellness

  • Aiming for 50+ miles (running/walking) this month
  • Log water intake (I’ve been slacking… and I’m thirsty)
  • 4+ workouts a week
  • Continue with Sunday meal/workout planning

Home

  • Drop off Cradles to Crayons donation — Mama Beasts has a donation drive going on this month, and I finally finished cleaning out Grace and Nick’s (shared) closet.
  • Make plans to move baby Nick into Grace’s room
  • Is it too early to think about herb and tomato plants?  (Why did this list of goals turn into a list of things to Google?)

Okay.  Get the crayons out.  Let’s color.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s On Tap for your month?

Today: April goals (and a printable calendar).

I didn’t feel like painting April showers, so I skipped right to the May flowers.  Hope you don’t mind.

April goals (and a printable calendar)

april calendar printable

Materials used: Winsor + Newton professional watercolors and gouache; round brushes (4 and 8), liner brush (0); super-inexpensive mixed media paper (from the kids’ craft aisle at Target)

click here to download your free, hand painted April calendar

April goals

Family

  • Set plans for Nick’s baptism
  • Pick a new Audubon sanctuary to visit this month
  • Make a “warmer weather” bucket list (because I never did this in March… semi-related, it’s going to snow next week…)
  • Day trip to the Cape

Wellness

  • Continue to workout at least twice in the real world and twice at home (per week) and increase weekly mileage
  • Increase low plank hold to 45 seconds, high plank to 2 minutes (gettin’ there!)
  • Continue to keep food diary (this is something I got back into a few weeks ago — it’s been really helpful… and eye-opening)

Home

  • Donate newborn and baby clothes (seeing as both my children are toddler-sized, including the four-month-old)
  • Consign or sell our single running stroller
  • Get the deck ready for spring/summer
  • Continue to meal plan on Sundays (it’s really helping to cut down food waste)

Bring on the April showers.  So we can cut to the May flowers.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s On Tap for your April?

Today: What I made | 005

So, we know I both fear and loathe Las Vegas going to the dentist, right? And that I semi-accidentally didn’t go for several years?  And that, ironically, I broke a tooth (more accurately: an old filling fell out) while flossing, prompting an emergency visit to that place of fear and loathing?  (If you didn’t know those things, consider yourself fully caught up.)

its a good day to have a good day

Materials used: Pentel brush pen (pink)… and, um… that’s it.

It’s been a year, and I’ve stuck with regular cleaning appointments and approximately 800 other appointments to replace various old dental work and (shame on me) tend to one or two… fine, three cavities.  I have one more visit to go and then I’m done with my treatment plan, which feels mostly good.

The last couple appointments, though, have been especially uncomfortable and annoying.  A temporary crown fell out twice in one day.  Oh, and a dental assistant tried to pull out a permanent tooth instead of the loosening a different temporary crown.  It was all I could do to not flee the office and cry in my car.  Or stress eat an extra gluten-y donut.  I know it’s silly, but I can feel my heart rate quicken even thinking about being in the dentist’s chair.

If you’re wondering what the H the dentist has to do with art-making, welp… Not much. But I did find my mind wandering away from the drill and that annoying suction thing and toward my sketchbook.  I thought about what I would paint or draw or paste if I wasn’t, you know, at the dentist.  Much of what I made in the last week or two was cooked up there.  And that cooking up (along with a pair of noise canceling headphones and some Led Zeppelin) got me through those appointments.

This is a super roundabout way of saying that you don’t need to be sitting before an easel to be creative.   And creative thought can be just as powerful and transformative as the actual act of creating.  You simply need to be open to possibility.  (Dental insurance doesn’t hurt though.)

Anyway…  Here’s what I made.

What I made | 005

rumi quote heartMaterials used: Gifted scrapbook paper, Sakura Gelly Roll pen (white), gel medium (matte), scissors (obvi)

I come back to this poem often.  When Graham (a fellow Get Messy member) sent me a beautiful packet of pink papers, I started snipping and doodling away.  Sometimes pages feel like they make themselves.

I weirdly enjoy drawing hearts and regret not being a better student in biology.  Just think what else I would be able to draw if I had spent more time paying attention and less time being grossed out and/or fainting.

wendell berry peace of the wild things

Materials used: Strathmore Artists Tile (black), Sakura Gelly Roll pen (white), magazine pages (Edible Boston), Winsor and Newton professional watercolors, random alphabet stencil, Micron 01 (black)

This is an old work (and one I’ve shared before, I think),  but it feels sort of like a cousin to the one above.  And I get the same comfort from reading Wendell Berry that I do Rumi, so I thought it worth sharing again.  I recently came across this recording of Berry reciting the poem quoted here.  It’s just perfect.

  • Other writers and poets that I constantly return to: Thomas Merton, Mary Oliver, and Hafez.

this too shall pass

Materials used: Starthmore Artigan paper (black), Sakura Gelly Roll pen (white), gel medium (matte), magazine pages (WSJ magazine).

Another collage, and more evidence that I don’t really know what body parts look like.  For the record: that’s a head.  With ears.  And a neck.

Moving on: How divine are these words?  They sort of stop me in my tracks.  And I have a crush on my own handwriting.  

watercolor pattern

Materials used: Winsor and Newton professional watercolors, round brushes (2 and 6, I believe).

Just some good ol’ watercolor doodling while watching The Americans.  (I am convinced Clark, who came to us by way of Russia, is a spy waiting to be activated.)

root down to rise up

grow up

Materials used: [top] Micron 08 (black), acrylic and watercolor paints, colored card stock, glue stick [bottom] Magazine image (Real Simple), black acrylic paint, colored card stock, gel medium (matte), glue stick

I really love how these two turned out.  They’re sort of half flower show, half yoga class inspired.  

P.S. The next Get Messy Art Journal season starts next week — it’s a collaboration with 30Lists and should be really interesting.  A new season is a great time to join Get Messy, especially if you’re looking to jump start your own creative routine.  No emergency trips to the dentist required.

Also On Tap for Today:

What did you make this week?  Which poems or stories or quotes do you keep coming back to?

Today: What I made | 004

It’s 70 degrees and the sun is shining in Boston, so we’re making a dash for the Harbor Walk (it’s where we do our best puppy watching).  I’ll leave you with a few sunny creations from the past week or so.

What I made | 004

Materials used: Small hardbound sketchbook, watercolors, round brushes (sizes 2 and 6), Winsor and Newton drawing ink and acrylic paint.

I’ve been following along with Courtney Pilgrim’s Make Your Mark prompts — they’re the perfect way to keep up with a daily creative practice.  The last painting (sort of abstracted storm clouds) is my favorite, so far. I think a weather series would be fun.  The senior citizen in me just loves a good weather forecast.  And trips to the post office.

Materials used: Acrylic paint, black gesso, watercolors, Winsor and Newton drawing ink, white gel pen, and a pair of small + extremely sharp scissors (I’ve got the wounds to prove it).

I can’t believe the first Get Messy Art Journal season of the year is already winding down.  I’ve filled this sketchbook with lots of bright colors and happy sayings, though these pages are a bit moodier than others.  The quote about breaking through is from a recent Elephant Journal post.  It just seemed right to cut the edges of that page, and I’m quite pleased with how it turned out.

Materials used: Cold pressed watercolor paper (9 x 12), watercolor paint and a round #2 brush.

These paintings for Grace and our two nieces came together really quickly (as things must during Grace’s naps, which are getting shorter and shorter).  I almost made one for Clark… but no.

Also On Tap for Today:

What did you make this week?