Conversations about Creativity.

Conversations_Creativity_recaps-resources

Mission Bay, San Diego | The Orange Slate

While I’ve been investing a bit of extra time behind the scenes around here to line up some exciting topics for the late summer and fall, I’ve been sharing interviews from past series. (If you are excited about the upcoming interviews, subscribe by providing your email in that box in the right-hand column.)

I’ve so enjoyed talking to the friends who have been willing to share their hearts, but one of my favorite topics (and one of the focus points of this blog) is creativity, so this series was especially exciting for me.

In this (over)busy, (over)connected age, it takes intentional effort to make time to create something truly significant. If you haven’t seen these before, I hope you enjoy the encouragement, inspiration, and rich examples provided by the lovely friends who were willing to be interviewed for this series:

Here are some quick takeaways from this interview series. Pin them as encouraging reminders to yourself!

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Craving more inspiration? Check out these links:

And for more practical encouragement on incorporating creativity into your schedule (especially a schedule involving small children), check out the wonderful book by Amanda Blake Soule (of SouleMama) The Creative Family: How to Encourage Imagination and Nurture Family Connections.

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*Some links are affiliate. Thank you for supporting the Orange Slate!

Conversations About Hospitality.

Kitchen | The Orange Slate

Coffee art | The Orange Slate

Lately, while I invest a bit of extra time behind the scenes around here and line up some exciting topics for the late summer and fall, I’ve been sharing interviews from past series. (If you are excited about upcoming interview series, subscribe by providing your email in that box in the upper right-hand corner.)

I’ve so enjoyed talking to the friends who have been willing to share their hearts, but the series on hospitality was especially inspiring and challenging to me.

Hospitality is really about so much more than new recipes or beautiful table settings. It’s an attitude, a perspective on life, and I’m so inspired by the way this is evidenced by the incredible ladies who shared their thoughts in these conversations.

I hope you enjoy these interviews on HOSPITALITY with Amy, Kathy, Emily, Abbie, Jess, and Shannon (along with my own answers!).

If you need some extra encouragement or inspiration as you entertain others, check out one of the sweetest food memoirs I’ve ever read, Molly Wizenberg’s Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage.

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*Some links are affiliate. Thank you for supporting the Orange Slate!

Conversations About Joy.

Joy | The Orange Slate

Kite | The Orange Slate

Coffee Cup | The Orange Slate

Those of you who have read this blog for a while probably remember the Monday interview series that ran through last fall and winter into the spring. While I took a few months off from the series, it certainly hasn’t disappeared for good.

Of all the freelance projects I have ever done, interviews may be my favorite. One of the first pieces I did as a freelancer right out of college involved an interview – I couldn’t believe I was being paid to make up questions and talk to someone! I love to hear other people tell their stories and reflect on the lessons they learned and when I get to do that *and* share the conversation with other – it’s magical.

I’ve so enjoyed talking to the friends who have been willing to share their hearts on this blog and am really excited about the topics that I am lining up for the late summer and fall.

BUT. Meanwhile, for those of you haven’t been reading this blog for very long, I wanted to share some of the past interviews.

The first set of conversations centered around JOY – check out the interviews with Rachel, Erin, Katy, Stephanie, and Audrey (along with my own answers to the questions) for some wonderful encouragement and inspiration.

And if you need an extra shot of encouragement as you pursue a more joy-centered life, I encourage you to read Bob Goff’s Love Does.

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*Some links are affiliate. Thank you for supporting the Orange Slate!

Conversations about Creativity with Katie

Conversations_Creativity_katie

Creativity with Katie Albania | The Orange Slate

On Monday mornings around here, I interview people who inspire me. In April and May, the theme has been CREATIVITY. Today I’m excited to introduce you to Katie, a fellow blogger and new mommy (she also has two of the cutest dogs!). Katie and I have never met in person, but we have so many things in common that I feel like I know her (among the things we have in common – our babies were born days apart!). I love it when the world of social media feels small and cozy, don’t you?

Have you always thought of yourself as a creative?

Honestly, I haven’t. And I’m not sure even do now, at least not in the sense that it’s my strongest trait, a specific hobby, or part of my career. So I had to think hard about the ways I am creative. I think any creativity I have was developed from two very specific sources when I was a kid- observing my mom and being in 4H. We never had tons of money growing up, so a huge garden and homemade cooking were staples for us.

Watching how my mom tackled everything on the budget {that requires tons of creativity!} was always fascinating to me. And 4H? I know it seems random. But I was in it for 10 years {with projects from foods and gift wrapping to health and consumer clothing}, exhibiting nearly 100 separate projects over that time. I was so stretched to be creative and think outside the box and push myself! Both of those have poured over into my life now.

What are your creative outlets?

I would say I am most creative in how I encourage others. Maybe the sounds silly, but as a social worker and therapist, I have learned so much about relating to others and identifying emotional needs. Every single person needs to be heard and feel understood, but that can look a million different ways.

The way I approach people {whether in actual therapy sessions or in my everyday relationships} is unique and creative. I like to show up for people in ways they maybe aren’t used to and don’t expect, but in ways that encourage them. This could be sending a letter in the mail, dropping off fresh baked brownies on a doorstep, or planning a really fun girl’s night out!

Everyone is so busy! How do you make time to be creative?

Because my creative outlet {relationships with others} is a part of my regular life, I think this just happens naturally for me. Sometimes I’m crazy busy and don’t have time to connect with people in creative ways, but I always feel that gap. I am in a routine of mailing one package a month {a different friend each time!} and two letters a week. Having those constants reminds me to stay creative in loving other people in my life as well.

Who inspires you?

My mom! She is SO creative and is always doing fun things to let us know she cares. Also, Instagram. I’ve intentionally filled my Instagram feed with people who do life in a way that I’d want to- not because I compare myself to them, but because I’m encouraged by them. So I follow women who decorate their homes intentionally, who follow hard after Jesus and share their wisdom along the way, mom’s who raise their kid’s in ways I’d like to, etc. I think surrounding yourself {online and in real life} with people you’d love to be like is so important!

What do you do when you’re in a creative rut?

Read a book or go to coffee with a friend. I’m an introvert, so both of those things fill me up and bring me back to basics!

 Why do you think it’s important to make time for creativity?

Every single person has a creative side- they may just not realize it because they don’t explicitly make/sell artwork on Etsy. Because of that, I think we all need to give ourselves room to create and grow; whether that’s through leadership roles at work, parenting, loving on others, or actually running a handmade Etsy shop.

What are ways you’ve challenged yourself or grown as a creative?

In my professional life, I’ve worked really hard to make play therapy fun and effective for the kids with whom I work. From making up games, art projects, etc, I’ve tried to find fun ways to help kids feel safe and begin to address the issues on their plates. In my real life, I’ve stretched myself to just do something, anything. I think sometimes we second-guess ourselves or think it could turn out silly or we might fail, but there is so much value in the process! I’ve learned the most and felt the most creative when I just simply act on a small idea!

What are some creative goals you have for yourself?

I’d love to start something for women in my community. Maybe a monthly Bible study or mentorship program. Stay tuned!

Check out the other interviews in this series with LindsayMonicaGwen, and myself.

And for more practical encouragement on incorporating creativity into your schedule (especially a schedule involving small children), check out the wonderful book by Amanda Blake Soule (of SouleMamaThe Creative Family: How to Encourage Imagination and Nurture Family Connections.

NOTES:

Connect with Katie: Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest | Blog

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*Some links are affiliate. Thank you for supporting the Orange Slate!

Conversations about Creativity with Emily

Conversations_Creativity_emily

Creativity | The Orange Slate

On Monday mornings around here, I interview people who inspire me. In April and May, the theme is CREATIVITY and there are just a few more really wonderful interviews to come. But for today, I’m going to tackle the questions myself.

Have you always thought of yourself as a creative?

Yes and no. I’ve always loved to create with words. And as a pianist, I’ve always felt like music was tightly connected to creativity. But it wasn’t until the last few years that I saw creating as a broader brush (pun totally intended) that could apply to every facet of my life. Also, despite all of the art lessons my mom tirelessly signed me up for, I’m not the most talented with visual media.

So it’s taken me a while to get brave enough to experiment and stretch in this area, because I know that what I produce doesn’t hold to candle to what other can do. But when I started to think about creativity as something that is good for me, something that is good to practice no matter what the result, I started to be more intentional about trying things and creating, even with imperfect results.

What are your creative outlets?

Writing. This blog. Photography. Different memory-keeping projects. Also, motherhood. I think we talk a lot about how one needs outlets from motherhood (and this is true!), but few people told me how much motherhood itself would become an outlet of sorts for me to be creative. With a growing baby, I am constantly on the lookout for new projects, new games, new ways to play, new ways to help Miles experience the world. My sensory board project was a moment of realization for me – that Miles and I can actually enjoy being creative together. As he gets older I think these kind of experiences will only get better and richer.

Everyone is so busy! How do you make time to be creative?

It would be disingenuous to say that this isn’t really tough. I’m sure it’s tougher for others, but it gets a little crazy around here sometimes – Mark is in school full-time, we both work part-time, and of course we both want to spend as much time as we can with Miles. I try to be disciplined about things that I really want to do. I blog regularly, in part, because of this. If I don’t make a steady habit of it, it won’t happen. I try to commit to projects like CREATE2015 to help inspire myself to try things. I make time to organize my week and if there isn’t enough time for everything, I prioritize and toss to-dos or get up earlier. Some weeks, I feel more tired than creative. But simply being intentional and goalsetting and continuing to work towards carving out time for creativity is a huge part of the battle, I think.

Who inspires you?

Miles and Mark, for sure. Mark is always such a supportive cheerleader, however random and far-fetched my projects. Watching the pure joy of Miles as he experiences life and discovers his world is inspiring – I feel as if I’m rediscovering the world. Bloggers, chefs, entrepreneurs, and artists who have been intentional about their dreams and successful at reaching their goals inspire me. Authors, from now and decades and centuries past are always a source of inspiration.

What do you do when you’re in a creative rut?

I feel like I experience more creative walls than ruts. By that, I mean that I tend towards perfectionism and organization, so sometimes an abundance of possibilities and options overwhelms me to the point of paralysis. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve pulled out a huge pile of pictures only to stare at them in helplessness and just pile them back in the box. Sometimes searching for inspiration from others (Pinterest!) on a similar project helps. But really, it’s normally more beneficial for me just to take a break, go outside, play a game with Miles, read, cook dinner, and revisit the project when I’m in a better frame of mind or have a clearer vision.

 Why do you think it’s important to make time for creativity?

So much of our sense of purpose and meaning is tangled up in creativity. I think God has put these enormous wells of creativity into each of us and – if we’d only be brave enough to let it out of the box a little, in whatever way that looks for our careers or hobbies or families – we’d be amazed at the results. One of my favorite quotes is by Dorothy Sayers: “It is our task to rebuild the world along creative lines.” I think continually creating is part of what redeems us and our world.

What are ways you’ve challenged yourself or grown as a creative?

I’m trying to allow myself to try projects (especially things that fall under that “traditional crafting” umbrella) that I used to just assume were for people who were far more talented than me. Projects like painting lyrics on canvas (ridiculous example, I know) are just so intimidating to me and I realize I’m probably missing out on a lot of fun. So I’m trying to challenge myself to try projects that I know I won’t be succeed at on the first try or that might take practice. I’m also trying to practice just executing. I act as though there’s some kind of bar out there that my memory-keeping or projects have to hit and I intimidate myself with grand illusions and then never start. I’d be better off just starting and (even finishing) something that’s not perfect but that is done. So I’m challenging myself to just execute more this year.

What are some creative goals you have for yourself?

I would love to complete our wedding album and Miles’ 1-year album in the next year. I think one of my Goals with a capital G is to learn how to build a family life and home that encourages and embraces creativity for Mark and me and Miles in an authentic way, even if current schedules and routines don’t allow for crafting or memory-keeping or whatever we brand traditionally as “creative pursuits”. Even if that just looks like time for reflection, imagination, creative thinking, reading or growing a tiny potted garden, then I want to embrace and cultivate that space.

Check out the other interviews in this series with KatieLindsay, Monica, and Gwen.

And for more practical encouragement on incorporating creativity into your schedule (especially a schedule involving small children), check out the wonderful book by Amanda Blake Soule (of SouleMamaThe Creative Family: How to Encourage Imagination and Nurture Family Connections.

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*Some links are affiliate. Thank you for supporting the Orange Slate!