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Happy New Year! ‘Tis the time to get real about your creative habit – without stress or judgment. Right? Of course right.

Have you been desperately wanting to prioritize your creativity but feel like no matter what you try you just can’t manage to follow through? Maybe you’ve tried a 100 Days challenge, or tried making a certain kind of thing every week, but then you miss a day and then another and, well…

Or maybe you used to have a rock-solid creative practice, but over time it’s eroded and you’d really like to commit the time and effort to getting it back into shape?

The Daily Making Jumpstart LIVE is a two-week online workshop with daily prompts and exercises to get your creative habit up to speed – no stress involved.

The next session begins on January 8th, 2019, and includes 10 live video hang-outs (that will be recorded, because we’re all busy and who can attend ten live video sessions anyway?).

Read all about the Jumpstart and register right here!

 

2018 Gift Guide for Creative Adventurers

Approaching a new year is a giant blazing invitation to get our priorities straight, whether we love or loathe setting New Year’s resolutions. This list includes all kinds of things I truly love and that will help any sort of creative adventurer prioritize their creativity and making stuff in 2019. (Some of these are affiliate links.)

 

Gifts to Spark Imagination & Making

 

For More Books, Kits, Tools & Materials for Your Favourite Creative Adventurer ↡

How to Pack for a Crafty Road Trip

Summer is for road trips – crafty road trips – and one of the things I love most when a trip is looming is planning the project(s) I’ll bring with me.

(Ok, sometimes by “favourite” I mean “most stressful.”)

It’s a deserted-island kind of situation, planning a crafty project for a trip. It doesn’t even matter if I’m traveling to attend a craft-related conference – during the packing stage it always feels as if I’ll never be near a craft store again in my life, and so I must pack everything I might possibly need. And not only for the obvious project I’m already working on, but also for the three or four other projects I must bring in case I get stranded at an airport for seven months and finish my in-progress project on the first day.

At the beginning of summer, with camping trips looming, I feel a special kind of packing excitement/anxiety. Because in addition to the traveling part, there are the very specific considerations of lots of time spent in a cramped moving vehicle and lots of time spent outdoors.

I’ve started compiling a list of tools and materials I take with me (all of it if it’s a long trip, a selection for shorter trips).

Obviously, crochet and knitting projects are my general jam, and they’re great for lots of time in the car. (Also obviously, I never travel with blanket projects. Way too big, way too much stuff, guaranteed to get dirty and/or ruined.)

And so I always travel with my knitting-needle kit and a variety of crochet hook sizes. You never know when you’ll need a replacement, or when you’ll pop into a yarn shop in a far-off town and simply have to start a project with the locally made yarn you discovered.

If I’m going away for more than a few days, I always get it into my head that I’ll want to keep a travel journal, or at least add stuff into my bullet journal. (Do I? Rarely. But I always plan to do this anyway.) So I keep a small pouch with double-sided tape in it, and I always bring a few of my favourite pens and also a variety of markers or gel pens.

This summer, I have it in mind to make some proper friendship bracelets. I was a fiend for friendship bracelets when I was a kid, especially when I was away at overnight camp. They’re so much fun to make, so easily portable, and so satisfying to give away.

And since I’m going to bring embroidery floss for bracelets, I’ll also prep an embroidery project. Or, now that I think of it, I’ll pack up the sampler I started last summer.

What would you add to the list?

(Some of these are affiliate links. Thanks for your support!)

Welcome, Costco Readers!

Managing a writing project through small steps, by Kim Werker – Costco Connection July-August 2018

I occasionally write a business column for the Canadian edition of the Costco Connection magazine. Looks like the Back to School issue is already out!

Everything I know about managing a big writing project I learned in 7th grade. Read about it right here.

I didn’t have much space in there to explain what it was in 7th grade that made such an impact, though.

That was the year, as I say in the article, that I was assigned my first proper science report (it was about starfish). The kicker was that the report was marked both by my science teacher and by my English teacher. Each student received two grades – one on the science content and one on the writing.

I’m not sure if my teachers’ goal was to make a life-changing impact, but their decision to team up sure conveyed the importance of good writing, no matter the topic. At the age of twelve, I learned very well that writing is not only an English-class thing. Writing is everything.

When I wrote Make It Mighty Ugly, I used colour-coded index cards just like I had for my starfish report when I was a tween. Several times as I was writing the book, I spread the cards out all over the floor and moved them around to get the flow of information just right. And just like when I was in grade 7, I’d then pile them up in order, take one from the top, and write and write and write.

If this is your first time here, hello and welcome! I write about creativity and making things, and it’s my firm belief that using our hands and imagination together is a key to a happy life, whether we make masterpieces or total messes (or both). Subscribe to my newsletter to fuel your creative life no matter what you make (or want to make).

Camp Thundercraft 2018 Was an Amazing Business Retreat

I was thrilled to debut my new Email for Personal Connection class at Camp Thundercraft! This is the first in a new series of classes I’m preparing that focus in one way or another on writing.

There are loads of courses and tutorials for how to set up an email list, how to build your list and how to get into the nitty-gritty of using any of the wide variety of email platforms, but there aren’t many resources out there about what to actually say in your emails.

Email for Personal Connection walks small business owners through the steps of identifying their most salient and important stories – the big ones that define their business and the small ones that provide peeks behind the scenes – and then establishing an editorial calendar and clear workflow to make the work of prepping and sending emails low-stress and high-impact.

Look for an online version of the class in coming weeks!

Now, for the event itself. Camp Thundercraft is a retreat for indie craft business owners, held at an actual summer camp on Vashon Island, near Seattle. Campers sleep in cabins and otherwise enjoy the camp setting, bordering on both the woods and water. Even in the pouring rain, it was such a welcome getaway to be out in nature this early in the spring. (And the food was amazing.)

For a relatively small retreat, there’s a huge variety of classes and programming running the gamut of business topics and including lots of hands-on crafting. I took both Blair Stocker’s class on sashiko embroidery and Yuko Miki‘s class on block printing on fabric. I’ve long wanted to try sashiko (man, are my stitches uneven!), and even though I’ve done lots of stamp carving over the years, I learned a ton about printing on fabric, specifically, in Yuko’s amazing class.

I so enjoyed this retreat, and I’m already looking forward to going back next year.