Category Archives: Creative communities

3 Ways to Increase Your Creativity Levels Now

Community painting party in Manchester, CT

The creative process plays an intricate role in most people’s lives. Every day, in some shape or form, the basis of it is used. Creativity lives is everyone, therefore everyone is creative. However there are some moments where it seems that the creative space can not be found even in the deepest crevice of your brain. When faced with those times, you may feel stuck, unmotivated or just plain uninspired. Creativity can indeed be fleeting but here are a few tips to perhaps make it stick around a little longer.

Read a Book

Yes, read. When you feel like you are stuck in a moment where you can’t produce a thought or an idea to save your life, reading will provide a great escape. When you are reading your imagination takes over and someone else’s words fill your mind, taking the pressure off of you for a moment. Allow yourself to get lost in the tale of a fictional character’s life and take a well needed mental break. If you find yourself pressed for time, even reading a short chapter or a few pages will give your brain adequate time to reboot. Reading exercises your brain by flexing your “mind muscles” and as with any muscle, it needs to be exercised daily in order to grow.

Listen to a Guided Meditation

Meditation is one of the most ancient practices of the world, and there are reasons why it is still relevant today. Having a still moment to relax and just be present with your body is something that very few people make time for, yet the benefits are astounding. Listening to a guided meditation will allow you to clear your mind of clutter, de-stress and think more clearly. There are several ways you can practice meditation, however if you find yourself having a hard time being able to silence your thoughts, a guided meditation is the best route. Be sure to create a clean and organized space to clear your mind. You can download guided meditations online or directly from your app store. Meditating does not have to be an extensive or long process in order to reap the benefits. You can find short, yet effective 5-10 minute meditations and enjoy them on a short break.

Do a Brain Dump

Listen, it’s not as bad as it sounds, but incorporating this exercise in your day will definitely help boost your creativity levels. Brain dumping is just a mental exercise that helps you get all of your thoughts out of your mind, and onto paper. Sometimes being stuck creatively just means you have a ton of ideas but you don’t know which direction will lead you to where you want to be.

Grab a pen and paper (no technology, please) and write down any and every thought that comes to your attention. Once you’ve reached a halt, review what you have written on your paper thoroughly. After you go over your list, organize what you’ve written into a list in order of importance. Now that you have everything in front of you, you can use it as a compass to navigate you to your next task or project!

Work with Kids

It’s true that you never quite know what a child will say or do. They are generally free of the inhibitions and self-criticism we experience as adults, and that’s why they can be a great help in unlocking our creativity. Ask a child to think up a story and they’re likely to take you on a journey that zigs and zags in ways you could never have imagined. But these zigs and zags can be quite inspiring. If you have children, spend some time with them creating stories, plays, or art. If you don’t have children, consider becoming a tutor — you can help them with their academics and then offer up a creative exercise you both participate in each session. Or look for opportunities to volunteer with children through arts or literacy programs or your local library.

People tend to think that the creative process has to be a painful, drawn out experience. Finding effective ways to boost your creativity just involves you taking the time to step back and give your mind the time to catch up with your body. When you push yourself to the limit, you block the creative process and compound stress into your body. It’s always good to make nurturing your mind a part of your daily routine to ensure that creativity will always be able to find you.

Thanks to contributor Sarah Lockwood at thepreventioncoalition.org for this wonderful article. We invite guest bloggers to share ideas on creativity, arts and crafts, celebrating special occasions and family life. Please contact us if you’d like to contribute to The Art Truck blog.

 

7 Creative Ways to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

Here are 7  Ways to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day from our guest blogger Sarah Lockwood. Thanks, Sarah!

Like many holidays, St. Patrick’s Day in the U.S. has morphed into “just another big party” for a lot of people—which is unfortunate, because there are so many more exciting ways to celebrate. If you’d rather spend the holiday weekend immersing yourself in a more artful and memorable experience, you’re not alone. Plenty of people are finding creative ways to take part in one of spring’s biggest events.

Whether you want to give a nod to the real traditions of the holiday or prefer to instill your St. Paddy’s Day with art and culture, consider these avenues for designing a one-of-a-kind March 17th:

1. Visit the Irish or British portion of your local museum. Sadly, most city dwellers or those within easy driving distance don’t regularly visit their local museums. Choose your poison, whether it’s a traditional art museum, peculiarium (an oddities museum/gallery), or niche museum specializing in a particular art or practice you adore, and then see if they have any special St. Patrick’s Day exhibits or Irish collections. Some museums even offer discount days and times, so check ahead, and see what part of the weekend is the best time to visit. We suggest the Irish Famine Museum on the campus on Quinnipiac University in Hamden, CT.

2. Face a fear and visit a snake. It’s a myth that St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland, but as a patron Catholic saint, it’s not a surprising fable. Snakes have long symbolized evil in the faith, and the ability to supposedly remove them from an entire country makes for a nice story. However, historians claim that there weren’t many snakes in Ireland at all during that time. Still, if you like the snake tie-in to the holiday, why not visit one yourself? Check out your local zoo or science center and face your fears (or simply visit what you consider a cute and slithering friend).

3. Go green in every which way. From taking a bubble bath with green food coloring (don’t worry, it won’t stain your skin if used in moderation) to eating only green goodies all day long, who says you only have to wear green on St. Patrick’s Day? Green wigs, makeup, scores of green veggies, green tea ice cream and more are all up for grabs on St. Patrick’s Day. (Plus, if you have kids, it’s an excellent challenge to get them to really eat their greens!)

4. Join a holiday fun run or walk. All over the country there are St. Paddy-themed fun runs and walks, often with shamrock- or luck-infused themes tied into them. St. Patrick’s Day is a Friday this year, meaning there are even more options to squeeze in a workout and start the weekend off right. Costumes are often encouraged.

5. Learn some Irish slang. For many Americans, Irish accents are one of the toughest to understand, and it doesn’t help that the language is full of slang terms we’re unfamiliar with. Spend some time educating yourself on the more confusing phrases, like “craic” (a good time), “olagonin’” (complaining), or “noodle” (a person’s head).

6. Learn a traditional Irish dance. At many parades and family-friendly events, there are complimentary lessons for traditional Irish dancing. Alternatively, you can look around at dance studios and see if anyone is hosting a special themed event. Still no luck? Hunt down a four-leaf clover and check out a YouTube instructional video! There are both performance and traditional dances to test out.

7. Go to an Irish poetry reading. Ireland has produced a number of renowned poets and authors, and on St. Patrick’s Day many bookstores will host readings of Patrick Kavanagh, John Montague, W.B. Yeats and more. You can even try your hand at whipping up a limerick.

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with your unique style, and look at all the options available in your town. You’ll be surprised by how many family-friendly opportunities there are, as well as delectable traditional Irish dinners all around town.

DIY Cupcake Ornaments make Tasty Gifts

Our party just guests love using yummy toppings sprays and sprinkles to create edible cupcake sculptures. So, I thought that we’d make non-edible cupcake ornaments to decorate a tree or hang in a special place. Package these trompe-l’oeil treats in a cupcake box for a festive holiday gift. Supplies are available at Michael’s, Walmart and Hobby Lobby.

Craft time: 20 minutes

Dry time: 1 day

Supplies:

  1. Shatterproof white or cream-colored ball ornaments;
  2. Glitter glue pens in silver, white or gold;
  3. Glitter – we like to use two varieties of Martha Stewart glitter in fine and classic for extra color and dimension;
  4. Cupcake tins in silver, gold or red;
  5. Red pom-poms;
  6. Glue dots;
  7. Ribbon;
  8. Empty toilet paper roll;

How to Build your Cupcake Ornament:

  1. Place ball ornament on toilet paper roll.
  2. Use glitter glue pen to lightly draw a skirt around the top third of the ornament – avoid excess glue and dripping.
  3. Select first glitter and gently sprinkle a coating on the glue.
  4. Select next glitter and sprinkle a second coating to add depth and more sparkle.
  5. Place a pom-pom on the top.
  6. Take a muffin tin, open it a bit and place a glue dot in the center.
  7. Place ornament on the glue dot in the tin.
  8. Tie a ribbon through the top and hang on tree or in a window.

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