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My Thoughts On Big Magic

IMG_1863Today’s post is a review of a great book, Big Magic. I hope you read through it, and maybe you can leave me some feedback if you have read it, too, or if you want to read it. Enjoy!

Recently, my friend Ashley lent me her copy of Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
by Elizabeth Gilbert. She’s that woman who wrote Eat, Pray, LoveTo be honest, I haven’t read her most famous best seller despite being a supporter of all three of those aspects of life, but anyway… I really enjoyed her work on Big Magic and I’d like to tell you about it.

Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links for Amazon.

Big Magic Overview

First, for those who don’t really want to read my entire commentary, I’ll give you my general opinion.

I felt like it was a little superficial at times, just scratching the surface of creative genius in talking about creative genius… yet it just kept falling short at getting to the meat of the creativity process. It’s all good in the end, though. Ms. Gilbert knocked it out of the park in the last several chapters. Big Magic is highly recommended in my book. 😀

Poetry

I’ve never read poetry, but I think I would like to read some of Jack Gilbert’s stuff. He’s not related to her. No worries.

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A little paint, a little chalk, a lot of love. My first example of Big Magic creativity for this post.

The Road Trip

The gist is– creativity and fear go on a road trip with me. Fear: you’re important, I see your purpose in life, but creativity and me are the ones driving this bus. Don’t even touch the radio. That’s summarized, but it is a great analogy.

On Inspiration

When inspiration asks you to join, and you say yes, let it to grow within you how it wants, but be sure to cultivate it, nurture it, keep it alive.

Your Day Job (page 152)

Power tools, paint, and a little inspiration.
Power tools, paint, and a little inspiration. Click picture for instructions on how to make this craft.
Just because you want to lead a creative life doesn’t mean that you should (or have) to rely on it for income or your sole purpose in life. Creativity exists as a part of my life to increase my fulfillment as a person.

The Old Woman’s Wise Words (page 174)

We all spend our twenties and thirties trying so hard to be perfect, because we’re so worried about what people will think of us. Then we get into our forties and fifties, and we finally start to be free because we decide that we don’t give a damn what anyone thinks of us. But you won’t be completely free until you reach your sixties and seventies, when you finally realize this liberating truth–nobody was ever thinking about you, anyhow.

My take: create for you. Create for your pleasure. Graciously accept feedback if it is offered, but create for your happiness!!

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Power tools, spray pain, and a little inspiration.

Done Is Better Than Good

Immediately after the above section, Gilbert says some things about Done Is Better Than Good. With Big Magic, I think we should put the emphasis on our creations and releasing them into the world to do what they want to do. Here’s how I see it: we can all be afraid to create something… we can all be scared that it won’t be enough. BUT, what if we consider not ever creating anything due to our fears. Done is better than good. Creating is better than idling.

Crooked Houses

I do not believe in crooked house. Sorry, Ms. Gilbert. Measure twice, cut once. No crooked houses.

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What will you write on your ornament? Joy.

Trust and Stubborn Gladness (page 218)

Trust your creative process. Ms. Gilbert writes that she believes that with Big Magic, “my work loves me as much as I love it,” and I believe in that mantra, too. Blank pages love to be colored. Lego houses love to be built, guitars adore being played. My blog loves to be published. Am I getting traffic? No? It’s okay. I’m adopting stubborn gladness and keeping with my creativity. Maybe my blog will grow? Yay! But if not, I’ll still keep creating. Because it is fun!

Passion vs. Curiosity

Do you have a passion? I don’t. I get irritated when people insist others find a passion, just like Elizabeth Gilbert believes. I just like being curious!!! I will not color every day of my life, but I might spend a weekend coloring on the couch. I might spend a week painting wooden crafts. Or I might spend some time learning a new instrument. Just be interested in living… be interested in cultivating the inspiration & ideas that light on your shoulders.

Big Magic Summary

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I want you to note the difference between my car and my “off road vehicle”. One is a success. The other is just… well… done. The yellow one was a product of instructions. The blue was just a product of happenstance. These lego vehicles won’t change the world, and I’m okay with that. I was just creating to create. Creating out of love for nostalgia. Creating because I wanted to.

In the future, I will sometimes have trouble creating words for this blog. And that’s fine. I’ll just try to keep creating. If you made it this far in this post, congrats. You win no prize, sorry, except for this nugget of advise:

Don’t quit because it’s hard, or because you’re not ablaze with passion. Just create something, anything at all. Create and reveal in all its success, or just that it exists at all. Just CREATE!! Go build an ugly Lego vehicle. Paint some crafts. Use power tools. Be open to the Big Magic that exists around you. And don’t forget to enjoy the process. Big Magic will feed your soul as much as you are open to its nourishment.

DIY Photo Frame Serving Tray Craft Project

I’m hosting a ladies craft night in 2 weeks or so and I figured I needed to attempt the craft myself before I start helping others while simultaneously stocking the chip bowls. We are doing an upcycled Photo Frame Serving Tray!!!

Please remember that I am NOT a DIY guru or craft genius. I just like making things with my hands. Also, this blog is a random musing happy blog, so forgive my less-than-stellar craft photos! 😀

I first found this project on To Work With My Hands and I was super excited to give it a go. But I needed a frame… so of to Goodwill I went! Found a couple of frames, and the one I ended up using for the project was $2.99. WIN!

Also picked up some new spray paint, drawer pulls from Walmart (gag) & Hobby Lobby, and an assortment pack of screws.

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The before: I learned later that my sister actually likes this print. I thought it was lame.

After disassembling the frame and cleaning it up, I sanded it down.

I pre-drilled the holes prior to painting because I didn’t want to screw up my awesome paint job, which was my next step. I think the bronze looks pretty awesome. What do you think?

Oops, I forgot to take a picture of the caulk around the inside of the frame to keep the glass secure. The caulk kind of exploded on me, so I was too busy cleaning that up. Just remember, if the caulk gets on the front surface of the frame then just scrape it off when it is dry. Don’t forget to set something heavy-ish on the glass to anchor it firmly into the caulk as it dries, too.

Then it was time to come up with something to put IN the frame. I used to ugly original print instead of cutting new posterboard, some scrapbook paper, and tape. I suggest going simple and letting the prettiness stand for itself. Let’s be honest– I tried to make a monogram or write out my initials and that didn’t really pan out, so I went simple. Hahahaha!

The end product: success! I LOVED how it came out!!

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What do you want to put in your serving tray?

 

R-U-N Race Bib Craft

Author’s note: this post doesn’t have anything related to choosing happy… unless you count the amazingly humbled happiness the response it was generate on social media! Wow, my happy tank is super full! Enjoy!

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Merry Christmas to my mother and all the other half fanatics that have found their way to this post! By popular demand, I bring you “how to make a race bib craft that wows” or “how to make your mom cry at Christmas”. I’m just kidding, she didn’t cry… I have a video.

 

Step 1: go to any craft store and buy the letters (or numbers) you want
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Some letters are big, some short, some are very thick (ideal for wrapping the bibs around the edges), some are thin. Get what speaks to you.

 

Step 2: buy Mod Podge and your favorite style brushes

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I used foam brushes because I already had them. I also used matte Mod Podge because 8 years ago I bought a container and (the horror) never used it. Mod Podge is the best. We got well acquainted with each other this Christmas season.

Step 3: set up your bib layout prior to glueing everything down with the Mod Podge

I used 18 full bibs and scraps of 4 others to fully cover three letters.

I do not have a picture of this stage because, full disclosure, it was 9pm on a work night (the 18th) and I was racing the clock to get the project done before Christmas. Mod Podge has to be completely dry before you wrap it up!!!

Note: My mom had 20+ bibs hanging from her medal holder I made her 2 years ago. This thing is on the wall right by her bed. I had to sneak the bibs away in sets of 6 or so over the last 2 months just so she wouldn’t realize the medal holder was void of paper. Now it just has bling, as was intended initially. Special thanks to my sister for delivering some on December 11th. And thanks to Travis Booten for having Trivia Night on December 17th… the perfect “excuse” to drive 1.5 hours home to procure the rest of her bibs for the project!

Moving on! Step 4: paint on a smooth layer of Mod Podge

Step 5: place the bibs as you had already decided, it’s okay that some of the bib is hanging over the edge

Step 6: after letting the letters dry overnight (because remember I did this project on a work night), flip the letters upside down and go to work with your Exact-O knife! Follow the edges of the wooden letters and have a pair of scissors handy as needed. Note the scraps of race bib to the right of “U” in the photo below.

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Step 7: use Mod Podge to tack down any areas of the bibs that aren’t glued down enough. You will get this stuff on your hands during this step, be prepared.

Step 8: paint a thin layer of Mod Podge across the top of the bibs and on the side to seal it. You can paint another layer after that one dries if you like.

And that’s it!

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As for the edges of the letters, feel free to wrap the bibs around the sides, use ribbon or scrapbook paper, paint the sides… or just leave it natural like I did. It’s your project. Enjoy!

Post your results in the comments below!!