Category Archives: Mixed Media

Celebrating Love As A Verb With Wedding Greeting Cards

Tom and I will be celebrating our sixth month anniversary of being married in less than a week! We renewed our marriage vows for the first time at mass this past weekend as part of World Marriage Day. Also Valentine’s Day is in two days and I’m planning the home cooked meal that Tom requested for his Valentine gift as I work on my projects this week. Love is definitely in the air!

Renewing our vows is a good reminder that love is a verb and marriage is something we celebrate and practice every day…so I don’t feel too bad that I’m still working on a couple of projects that incorporate greeting cards that we received for our showers and wedding. (Cards are still trickling in, actually, so I’m really not behind!)

The number of cards we received is astonishing. My Mom kept her wedding cards in a scrapbook. I like to scrapbook, and working cards into scrapbooks and journals is something I’ve been doing for awhile. I love to make handmade books and journals of all kinds and I’ll use almost any excuse to make one. I wanted a guestbook to use at our picnic wedding reception so I naturally made my own. I decided to work greeting cards from our showers (we’re spoiled, between the two of us we had three!) into the guestbook pages. At one of our couples showers there was a fun activity where the other shower guests wrote marriage advice on pieces of paper and we read them out loud. I put those paper pieces in the guestbook also. I intended for the unfilled parts of the guestbook to function as a photo album too, so whenever we look at our wedding photos (which I haven’t even gotten printed yet) we will remember greetings and wishes of happiness from our loved ones.

I was able to incorporate nearly every card we received prior to the wedding day into the wedding guestbook/scrapbook which is at the right side of the photo above. I made the covers from scrap mat board which I covered with map patterned paper to fit our nautical theme. The picnic reception was at a lake and Tom and I brought our kayaks. I made nautical themed collages for the front and back covers of the guestbook, protected them with a layer of transparency film, then attached them with decorative metal brads. I used metal binding rings made by 7gypsies to hold the book together at the spine. Before I fastened the collages in place, I scanned them for use as background graphics on our wedding web site. Papers for the collages came from Canvas Corp, their brand 7gypsies and other sources that I’ve collected over the years.

Here are three examples of 8.5 x 11 inch pages from the guestbook. On some pages I covered nearly the whole page with cards, notes and assorted embellishments. Other pages had blank areas for messages and later photo mounting and journaling. I used a lot of nautical themed paper from Canvas Corp, assorted goodies from my extensive paper stash and added in a little traditional wedding related imagery to blend with the greeting cards. My new Mother In Law is very talented, she painted the card with the two kayaks. She also gave us a great watercolor painting with nautical flags spelling out “Love Lives Here”. A most thoughtful and personal gift that we will always treasure!

At the wedding and since the wedding, we have received many times more cards and if I did what my Mom did and mounted them all on scrapbook pages, I would be making several huge books that would take up a lot of space. I very much wanted to keep all the cards. So I started thinking – several sides of these cards are either blank or have minimal content. What if the cards were not mounted into a book, but instead became the book? Then I could use empty space on the cards to write or mount photos or other memorabilia and embellishments. The cards could become a memory book for reminders, experiences, meditations, thoughts and much more.

I had in my stash some clear tag shapes for making handmade books that were about the size of the cards, so I used one of the plastic tags as a template and I started tracing around important sections of the cards to make tag-shaped book pages.

On sides that had something I wanted to cover up such as card manufacturer information on the back, I laminated with glue some paper with lines printed on it to make a good journaling surface. The example below left is paper from Canvas Corp. I bought a bunch of that design because I make a lot of journals. Some card backs like the seashore themed example below right are good for writing on or adding small photos just as they are.

I have not done a lot of reading yet on Love Languages, but I’m aware of what they are enough to know that one of my ways of giving love and feeling like I am loved is gift giving on special occasions. The gifts don’t have to be expensive, they can be handmade or simple. A good gift for me or Tom could be an experience like a Birthday hike. Tom and I also both think acts of service are a way to give love and to feel love, so when giving gifts to Tom I try to work that in there somehow. The image below shows an example of that on the left – Tom is sporty and we both like to participate in fitness activities so I made him a set of two-sided “coupon” cards good for a workout with me. The idea is to put a date on the cards as they are redeemed and put them in little pockets in my initial tag book. On the right below is an example of a tag page that I have treated like a scrapbook or journal page by using graphics from card parts, scrapbooking-type embellishments and patterned translucent vellum paper so that the cards are visible after they go into a pocket.

Realizing I would end up with enough tag shapes to make several books, I noticed a card with a graphic of a piece of toast on it. I decided it would be cute to cut the toast shape out and use it as a template to cut some of the cards into pages for one or two toast shaped books.

I’m going to keep our wedding memories alive for years as I use these little books to document and journal about our marriage. Happy Valentine’s Day and Anniversary Tom! I love you!

 

Fun With Silk Flowers

Painting silk daisies with Color Wash paint by Tattered Angels.
Painting silk daisies with Color Wash paint by Tattered Angels.

Recently I went to Leftovers, Etc., a teachers resource recycling center, to stock up on donated silk flowers to upcycle. There were several items I wanted to make for my upcoming wedding so I bought up what donated silk flowers I could find in my color scheme of white, navy, lime green, and red/coral. I purchased extra white flowers so that I could experiment with painting some of them lime green. I added some flowers from JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts to supplement the supplies available at Leftovers, Etc.

Painting faux flowers with Color Wash paint by Tattered Angels

Painting some of the silk flowers and faux flower clusters made with little white stryrofoam balls was easy. I pushed the stems into chunks of scrap styrofoam from product packaging then made a 50/50 mix of Tattered Angels Color Wash Paint in the colors of Lime Cordial and Lemonade. I painted this mixture onto the faux flowers that I wanted to turn lime green. The results were fantastic – the paint is designed to tint and stain surfaces and it flowed and wicked it’s way into and over the faux flowers in a way which tended to give a natural appearance. That effect really shows up well on the lapel flowers below – I didn’t have to do anything special to get the paint to pool at the tips of the faux rosebud petals and give extra depth to the color application. If you enjoy silk flower arranging Color Wash paints can give you lots of additional creative options.

Lapel flowers - I made six of these.
Lapel flowers – I made six of these.
Finished flower girl head wreath and basket
Finished flower girl head wreath and basket.
Small wreath with upcycled flowers and foliage and purchased lovebird ornaments.
Small wreath with upcycled flowers and foliage and purchased lovebird ornaments.

These floral accessories are only a sampling of the items I’m making for my wedding. It’s going to be a real DIY event! A good friend of mine even made my dress and the ties for the male members of the wedding party (I’m not practiced enough at machine sewing yet to do those myself). As the wedding approaches and for some time afterward probably, I’ll be posting the finished DIY projects on my wedding Pinterest board – check it out!

Link to Pinterest board – Wedding

Tutorial – Make a Shadow Box From An Old Drawer

Make a Shadow Box From An Old Drawer

It’s a lot of fun to salvage an old drawer and turn it into an attractive and functional shadow box. Last week I taught a class at Schnarr’s Hardware in Webster Groves to show people some creative possibilities for old drawers and give them some ideas for displaying memorabilia. The day after the class we published a tutorial and some video of the class so you can try the project at home.

Read more on the Schnarr’s blog

Upcoming Class at Schnarr’s: DIY Shadow Box on June 21

DIY Shadow Box – $20.00 Class

It’s easy to turn an old drawer from an unloved piece of furniture into an attractive and functional shadow box that fits your decor. Learn how from artist and designer Carolyn Hasenfratz at Schnarr’s Hardware in Webster Groves. Most materials are included, including the drawer. If you want metal feet on your box we have some along with some extra decorative hardware available for purchase.

CLASS DETAILS
Thursday, Jun 21 2018
05:30:00 PM
Price: $20.00

For More Class information or to Sign Up – Click here

Make letter charms from paper collages

Letter charms made by making a paper collage then adding letter stickers and jewelry parts.
Letter charms made by making a paper collage then adding letter stickers and jewelry parts.

I love to make mixed media charms and beads to use in jewelry making. Recently I participated in a charm swap and made some initial necklaces for friends at JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts where I am a teacher. Learn how to make these charms by reading my tutorial on the Canvas Corp Products blog!

Read More:
Combine Collage and Letter Stickers to Make Initial Letter Charms

Making Signage From Letter Stencils: Part 1

As a member of the “gig economy” I do contract and part-time consulting, marketing and customer service work for various clients. Two retailers I work with recently had need of some in-store signage. One is a hardware store and one is a craft supply store and they both sell stencils. I’ve been experimenting with letter stencils to make signage that gets the message across and at the same time demonstrates how to use some of the products that the stores sell.

JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts in Maplewood, MO has a teaching department of which I am a member. The education coordinator asked each teacher to make a sign or two for the classroom samples display to highlight the categories of classes we teach. I was assigned “Kid’s Crafts” and “Jewelry”. I was given two blank pieces of foamcore already cut to size and access to the classroom supply cabinet. Fun!

I like the look of cut-out letters layered over a background. To help me visualize how to arrange the letters on the foamcore board, I cut out some pieces of scrap chipboard and used a letter stencil to trace the outline of each letter in position. Then I decided what colors to use in the actual sign. Since it’s spelling out “Kid’s Crafts” that’s a good excuse to use some really bright colors!

Planning the placement and colors of cutout letters on a sign

I traced the letters again onto the colorful cardstock pieces I selected then cut the letters out with an X-acto knife. I’ll save the cutout letters in case another suitable project comes up.
Cut out letters

Next I selected papers to use as backgrounds for each letter. I marked the foamcore as a rough guide to where I would place the background for each letter.

Selecting backgrounds for the cutout letters

A little black and white in a design is a great way to add visual interest. Some of the background papers already have some white in the pattern. To get some black in the design, I outlined each cut letter with a black Sharpie marker and drew some faux sewing stitch lines to help convey the hand crafts theme. The black outline also covered up my pen lines from when I traced the letters. Black Sharpie markers are such an essential part of my tool kit (like glue sticks) that I buy them wholesale because I go through so many!

Adding details with a black Sharpie marker

In order to read well from a distance, I thought some of the letters needed an improvement in the contrast. I added high contrast solid paper behind the letters that needed to pop a bit more. Then I added a strip of black and white paper tape (also known as design tape and washi tape) to the top and bottom edges for a more finished look.

Assembled sign with paper tape

The final finishing touch was to glue on a few colorful buttons here and there. I used a similar design idea to make my sign for Jewelry. That was fun to make because it gave me a chance to use some “shiny” supplies that are appealing but hard to find a use for that is tasteful and appropriate – metallic papers, silver ribbon, glitter papers and plastic jewels! I outlined the letters in the Jewelry sign with a metallic gold Sharpie paint marker that looks good with the jewel-toned papers and theme. The paint marker also has good enough coverage to conceal my pen lines.

Finished signs for the Jewelry and Kid's Crafts classroom display signs.

These signs were fun to make and also stretched me creatively because I used a few materials and colors that I don’t design with very often. That’s good exercise for any designer!

Mixing Brands in Vintage Inspired Handmade Journals

My paper crafting and mixed media supply stash is substantial. Recently when I wanted to make some vintage inspired handmade journals as gifts I was faced with a pretty overwhelming number of options. Sometimes if you have too many supplies you can feel overwhelmed and a little inhibited. To get my creativity revved up I decided to see what I could come up with if I limited myself to three brands only – Canvas Corp Brands, Tim Holtz and DCWV. Those three brands still give you a huge number of options don’t they – not much of a limitation! I narrowed the possibilities a little further by setting out items from this list in my studio:

  • 7gypsies Gypsy Paper Pack Collection – American Vintage
  • Architextures™ 12×12 Papers – Collection I
  • Canvas Corp Black & Kraft Postcard Paper
  • 7gypsies Gypsy Moments Cards: Are We There Yet?
  • 7gypsies Gypsy Paper Pack Collection – Gypsy Seamstress
  • Architextures™ 12×12 Papers – Collection 2
  • Canvas Corp Nautical: Black and Ivory Compass Paper
  • Architextures™ Parchment Rub-On – Build
  • Canvas Corp The Watering Can: Seed Packets on Ivory Paper
  • 7gypsies binding rings
  • 7gypsies ephemera (discontinued)
  • 7gypsies papers (discontinued)
  • 7gypsies paper tape (discontinued)
  • DCWV Everyday Essentials Stack
  • DCWV Heirloom Stack
  • Tim Holtz design tape
  • Tim Holtz papers
  • Tim Holz ephemera
  • Tim Holtz mini brads
  • Ok I cheated a little bit – in the second journal I needed some patterned translucent paper so I slipped in some Vellum Swirls paper by Paper Pizazz.
  • Yes, that is still a lot of product to choose from, but it’s at least a somewhat more manageable subset of my stash! These slide shows feature 8.5 x 5.5 inch pages in pairs, starting with the front and back covers.

    Vintage Look Journal #1

    Vintage Look Journal #2

    Give Your Mason Jar Gifts a Beachy Look

    Handmade candle in a Mason jar, decorated with collage papers and a handmade tag.
    Handmade candle in a Mason jar, decorated with collage papers and a handmade tag.

    My tutorial on decorating the lids and making tags for seaglass-colored Mason jar candles has been published on the Canvas Corp Brands blog.

    Read More
    QUICK AND EASY – PRETTY PACKAGING FOR MASON JAR CANDLES

    To learn how I made the candles, you can read my tutorial on the Schnarr’s Hardware blog:
    Make Old Wax Candles Into New Candles

    Schnarr’s Hardware sells several sizes and shapes of Mason jars as well as lids and other canning accessories.

    Making Greeting Cards From Scrap Papers

    Do you have the patience for playing around with lots of fiddly paper bits? If so you might enjoy collecting paper scraps and making them into interesting greeting cards. I’ll show you how gluing small bits of paper to strips of scrap cardstock can give you exciting design options.

    Tools and Supplies:
    Self-healing cutting mat
    Paper cutter
    Rubber stamps with greetings and sentiments
    Permanent black rubber stamping ink
    Clean scrap paper
    Bone folder
    Glue sticks
    Scissors
    Metal ruler
    Corner rounder
    Old food lid to use as a palette
    Rubber stamping ink in complementary colors
    Rubber eraser with flat sides
    Palette knife and/or old credit cards for spreading glue
    Yes Paste

    An assortment of recycled papers:here are some suggested sources
    Gift wrap and tissue
    Gift tags
    Books
    Calendars
    Folders
    Used postage stamps
    Magazines and catalogs
    Old greeting cards
    Wallpaper samples
    Paint sample cards
    Attractive product packaging
    Scrapbooking paper scraps
    Scraps from your old projects
    Paper company sample books and promos
    Ephemera from travel – maps, brochures, tickets, etc.

    I’ll show you two different card designs that you can make by collaging scraps of paper onto cardstock strips.

    Make an assortment of collaged strips

    1. Cut some strips from plain scrap cardstock that are 1/2 to 3/4 inches wide. Old folders are a good source of scrap cardstock weight paper.

    Strips of scrap cardstock and paper scraps ready for gluing
    Strips of scrap cardstock and paper scraps ready for gluing

    2. Lay out a bunch of small paper scraps and glue them down in a row down each strip. You might choose papers at random or try to follow a planned color scheme. When glue is dry enough to handle, use a scissors to trim the strips from the back to make the edges even.

    Gluing paper scraps onto the cardstock strips
    Gluing paper scraps onto the cardstock strips

    3. Choose a color of rubber stamping ink that will help unify your design and squirt a little of it onto an old food lid. Dip the edge of a flat-sided eraser in the ink and apply a line of ink to the edges of your collaged strips. This is a small step that makes a huge difference in the visual appeal of your finished piece.

    The strip at the lower left is in the process of having scraps glued to it. The middle strip has been trimmed and the upper right strip has been stamped along the edge with rubber stamping ink.
    The strip at the lower left is in the process of having scraps glued to it. The middle strip has been trimmed and the upper right strip has been stamped along the edge with rubber stamping ink.

    Instructions to make card design #1:

    1. Print a selection of sentiments with permanent rubber stamping ink on strips of light colored paper to use on the card that you make. Select one to use as the main theme of your card.

    Rubber stamped sentiments on strips of scrap paper.
    Rubber stamped sentiments on strips of scrap paper.

    2. Choose a piece of scrap cardstock or heavy paper to use for the base of your card. Fold it in half. Measure the front of your card.

    3. Next select a piece of thin scrap paper that would make a good background for the front of the card. Tear out a piece that is 1/2 inch smaller than the front of your card, using the metal ruler as a tearing aid.

    For example, if you fold an 8 1/2 x 5 1/2 inch piece of paper in half, the front of the card will measure 4 1/4 x 5 1/2 inches and the background paper for the front of the card should be 3 3/4 x 5 inches.

    4. Next choose a simple shape to put on the front of the card – you could trace around a found object, use a cookie cutter or a stencil as a source. Trace one copy of this shape onto plain scrap cardstock. Make another tracing on the back of a piece of paper that harmonizes with the chosen colors for your card.

    5. Cut out both shapes with scissors. Set aside the one in the harmonious color to glue to your card later.

    6. Take the shape on plain cardstock and glue your sentiment across the middle or wherever looks best. Just below the sentiment, glue a section of one of your collaged and inked strips from earlier.

    7. Moving from the inside to the edges, glue strips of scrap paper in complementary colors on either side of your sentiment and collaged strip for a striped effect. Cut around the base shape to trim when all covered.

    8. Using the glue stick glue the colored shape you cut out earlier to the front of the card.

    9. You will probably need some more robust glue to hold the collaged and inked shape since all the layers of paper will have made it pretty thick. Use Yes Paste to attach the striped shape to the front of the card. Trim if needed.

    10. If needed, glue plain light colored scrap paper to the inside of the card to make a clean area for writing a message.

    Instructions to make card design #2:

    This second card design is designed to made from a piece of 4 1/4 inch by 8 1/2 inch cardstock.

    1. Fold the cardstock in half and the front of the card will end up as a 4 1/4 x 4 1/4 square.

    2. Cut a 3 3/4 by 3 3/4 inch square from plain scrap cardstock.

    3. Glue a sentiment, a collged and inked strip and scrap paper strips to the cardstock square.

    4. Trim around the square and round the corners with a corner rounding tool.

    5. Glue the trimmed square to the front of the card with Yes Paste.

    Extra Tips and Techniques for working with paper:
    Cover up unwanted parts of found papers by laminating with other paper.
    You can get wrinkles out of paper by ironing.
    How does one glue down delicate tissue paper? Stabilize by gluing to a stiffer piece of paper with a glue stick and smooth out wrinkles with a bone folder.
    When working on other projects, if you have leftover paint or ink use it up on plain paper scraps. Save these scraps and add to them whenever you have leftover art media. In time, you will have a lot of interesting scraps to work with.
    If your paper project warps or curls, press it between heavy books with clean scrap paper around it to protect both card and books.

    Embellishments that can be recycled and used on cards:
    Buttons
    Thread, string and yarn
    Ribbon and trim
    Fabric scraps
    Wire
    Beads and charms
    Game pieces

    Self-help techniques for depression

    Last year at this time I was fighting major depression as a result of abuse. I am thankful that this year is much better for me but I know some people who are really struggling right now. I vividly remember how last year’s Holiday season made me feel worse. Winter weather and less daylight contributed to the struggle also. I had counseling and intensive outpatient therapy to help me recover. I learned some new techniques and tips to help me pull out of depression and here are some actions that I found to be the most effective for me. Please keep in mind that I’m not a professional therapist or a doctor and I needed professional help along with the following practices I could do on my own to recover. Please get professional help if you are suffering from depression. If you are afraid that you might harm yourself, please call 911 or a suicide hotline immediately. Here is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline phone number – 1-800-273-8255.

    Action #1
    Help someone else who is suffering – No matter what your situation is, there are always going to be people who have it even worse than you. I’m not saying this to invalidate what you are feeling because you feel how you feel no matter what other people are going through. Maybe you can visit a lonely person or make a phone call, make someone a nice baked good or homemade gift, do a good deed for a neighbor or volunteer for a charity. No matter how humble you think your gifts are, someone out there can use them. I know that one of the most depressing thoughts you can have is that you don’t matter or no one would care if you are gone. It’s not true, even if other people have tried to make you think that. Doing things for people helps you prove that to yourself and the gratitude you get is very healing.

    Action #2
    Explore DBT skills for emotion regulation – DBT stands for Dialectical Behavior Training. While in group therapy we practiced some DBT techniques which helped me out a great deal. The concepts were new to me and I wish I’d known about them earlier in life. I kept printouts about the anger and sadness emotion regulation techniques hung up in my bathroom for months so that I could perform normal life functions and do things I needed to do for recovery. I recommend you get the workbook and if you can, take classes. When I was feeling overwhelmed with emotions the techniques on the worksheets were invaluable.

    This slide show provides a good overview of distress tolerance and includes some good techniques: DBT Distress Tolerance Skills

    For example, I had to learn to tolerate distress because I was in a situation that I could not fix. You can’t make the trauma not have happened. There were people in group therapy with me that were rape victims, crime victims, were homeless and in other situations that could not be undone or fixed quickly. You have to learn to tolerate your situation to avoid making it worse. For example there were many times at work when I had to run to the refrigerator to put a cold drink on my head and do breathing exercises so I could do my job – that’s an example of learning to cope to avoid making things worse. It wouldn’t help my recovery to add financial and career problems to the trauma I already had. I was left with a huge therapy bill, enough to buy a good used car, and adding unpaid bills to my other problems would not make me feel better!

    Intrigued? Here is some more information about DBT.
    Dialectical Behaviour Therapy

    Action #3
    Attend support groups – Some people tell me that support groups are not effective for them but I find them valuable. It’s a good place to discuss painful things with people who understand some of what you’ve been through and will listen without being judgmental. Sometimes there is no one else in a person’s life to provide this. If you do have people in your life who will listen you have to be careful not to burn them out. It feels good to provide this service to other people in the group because you know how valuable it is. Also you can learn from the other members’ experiences and get good information about resources you may need.

    Action #4
    Use AND statements in your internal dialougue – I learned this in a support group and it’s one of the most helpful things anyone has ever told me. “I feel ______ AND I’m going to _______.” This is a good way to remind yourself that there are a lot of things you can do despite how you feel.

    Examples of AND statements I’ve used to motivate myself:
    “I’m angry AND I’m going to give this customer extra good service and make their day easier.”
    “I’m sad AND I’m going to take a walk and enjoy nature.”
    “I’m tired AND I’m going to go grocery shopping so I have nutritious food to eat.”

    Action #5
    G.R.A.P.E.S. – This is an acronym to help you remember to take steps each day to help recover from depression. When you are really depressed, it’s difficult to take any kind of action. I learned from experience that if I did everything on this list daily I would improve. It was hard. It took a long time. But it did work!

    • Being Gentle with yourself
    • Relaxation
    • Achievement
    • Pleasure
    • Exercise
    • Social

    I made a set of felt ornaments for a friend to put little pieces of paper in as a reminder of which activities have been done that day and motivation for getting as many as possible completed each day. I suggested she start with the papers on the sun side and move them to the moon side as they are finished to get more out of the cycle of each day. I also made a set for myself. The patterns for the sun and moon came from the book “Forest Fairy Crafts”.

    I made a PDF file that includes reminders that you can print out on cardstock or on clear sticker paper to incorporate them into different systems that you might use for motivation such as calendars or planners. I threw in some motivational sayings that are designed for cards the size of ATCs (artist trading cards). Some people call these “self care cards”.
    Download PDF here

    Action #6
    Light Therapy – Other people can explain better than I can the science behind improving your mood with light. I just know that it works. I give myself exposure to a natural light lamp and try to get natural sunlight on me as much as possible. Of course that is difficult in winter when you have to cover up to be outdoors but I use the outdoor activities I enjoy and gardening to motivate me to get what sun exposure I can.

    Action #7
    Meditation – I never tried meditation before I was in group therapy. I was having severe sleep problems and a group meditation session got me closer than I had been to sleep in quite some time. I decided to download some apps to help me meditate on my own and I’ve enjoyed using them ever since. There are guided meditations designed especially for problems such as sleep, anxiety and depression. Meditation has been a great discovery for me!

    Action #8
    Collect motivational and comforting sayings – fighting depression feels like you are fighting your own brain and your own thoughts all the time. Putting an input of healthy thoughts in my brain is helpful. I put some of them in my journal where I can use them for inspiration, a journaling prompt or just a reminder to get my thoughts in a healthy direction. You might put such sayings on the wall, on a fridge, on a computer slide show, on a Pinterest board or wherever it’s convenient for you.

    In a support group meeting that I go to, we read affirmations at the end. We are supposed to pick ones that resonate with us at the moment. Sometimes I or other people have to look at the list a long time before we see one that we think is the truth. I know what it’s like to read an inspirational or motivational saying or affirmation and think “yeah, right”. Give it a chance and give it time and maybe more and more of them will seem true to you.

    Action #9
    Try new activities with a group – Doing something fun with a group of strangers may not be a substitute for having a close friend to do activities with. However, I think it’s much more likely to lift your mood than staying home alone. You’ll also get the opportunity to make some friends. For example I do a lot of activities with groups on Meetup.com. There are groups you can join for every interest and activities for every budget.

    Action #10
    Journaling – there are several ways my art journal helped me fight depression.

    I wrote down thoughts which helped get them out of my mind. Once expressed, it was easier to get my mind on something more pleasant.

    I gained new insights through writing. Forcing myself to organize my thoughts by writing them down made me understand situations better.

    I kept track of my tasks. I found it much more satisfying to do what I needed to do to get better if I made a task page or some kind of task listing for it in my journal/planner. I found it motivating to fill in or mark completed tasks as opposed to just keeping track in my head. Seeing tangible evidence of the completed tasks made me feel proud.

    Do artwork that expresses your feelings. Some of my best artwork was made when I was really having a bad time. It makes me feel a little bit better to know that if I had to go through the feelings, I at least got some strong artwork out of it. Here are a couple of art journal pages that I did Christmas Day 2016. I hope I never feel again like I did that day but I did get quite a bit of satisfaction out of my artistic expression.
    “Going Cheap”
    “Secrets”

    I made gratitude lists. It’s easy to forget about the good things we still have – referring to a list of things to be grateful for is a good reminder that life isn’t all bad. As an exercise when I felt like I “hated everyone and everything” I decided to go through two magazines and make a collage out of things I was grateful for. I realized that even if I could not enjoy them now I would again in the future.

    I made a list of my progress. Seeing what I’d achieved in recovery then referring to it when I felt frustrated by my seemingly slow progress was a great motivator for me. I had been taken down so far by abuse that performing normal, everyday activities became milestones. Keeping track of them DID help me realize I was slowly getting better and gave me determination to keep working.

    Action #11
    Spiritual practices – In my life I’ve gone back and forth from having religious faith to having serious doubts. I’ve resolved my doubts for the most part at this stage of life but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy for me to take time out for prayer and worship. However, I’ve found spiritual practices are one of many things where if you don’t “feel like” doing it, if you do it anyway the feeling will follow. In other words, let feelings follow the actions, don’t let feelings dictate your actions. Is this proof of the existence of God or just how the human brain works? Either way, if you’re open to it spiritual practices have been a source of strength and healing for me. I’ve prayed for strength in many tough situations and received it and I am very grateful.