My 2018 Word of the Year : Love

Lately I’ve noticed a trend where people select a “word of the year” at the beginning of each year. This word will set the tone for the 365 days to come. The word I’ve selected for 2018 is “love.”

2018 Word of the Year - Love

Art Journal Page – Gesso and Marabu Art Spray over Caran D’Ache Neocolor II Artist Crayons. Detail done with Stabilo Fine Liners, markers, and paint pens.

Why “love?”

I chose the word “love” because it’s what I’d like to radiate into the world. It feels like social media sometimes makes us critical of ourselves. 2017 was an especially tough year for me, and I felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere with my goals no matter how hard I tried. I know there have been times that I judged myself based on someone else’s highlight reel. I had forgotten that the road to success isn’t linear and we all have our struggles.

My word is “love” because I want to focus on loving myself and others as much as possible.

For me…

  1. Focus on my health: my physical, emotional, and spiritual needs
  2. Do what I love: make time for it and don’t keep pushing it to the back burner
  3. Accept myself: stop trying to be the person others think I should be

For others…

  1. Step up for BEE Liberia: leave a legacy in volunteerism
  2. Go outside my comfort zone: discuss my feelings and show appreciation
  3. Be kind, compassionate, and understanding: start at home! Be the best wife, daughter, sister, and friend that I can be.

We may often think that to change the world, we must do something grand and earth-shattering. I think that we underestimate the everyday things that make such a huge difference in bettering ourselves and helping others. Love can do so much, and that’s why I’ve chosen it as my word of the year.

Have you picked a word of the year? Have you set any new goals or made any resolutions?

Artfully Megan Signature

Artfully Megan’s 2017 Post-Christmas Review

Another year, another Christmas…and that means another post-Christmas review!

Christmas 2017

This year, my husband and I visited our families in New Jersey. I’m an introvert through and through, but I do enjoy being surrounded by friends and family. I love participating in the usual holiday traditions, like Nochebuena and going to mass. Now that I’m married and my family has grown even more, I’m joining in a lot of new traditions. Wayne and I are even starting to create our own!

One new thing we tried this year was Hallmark Christmas Bingo, downloaded from Addie Zierman’s 2015 blog post. A lot of the movies share recurring holiday themes, character archetypes, and plot lines. We thought for sure that we’d fill our cards within the first 30 minutes, but getting bingo was quite elusive. I won twice, but it took until the end of the movies to find exactly what I needed. We definitely recommend giving it a try in 2018 if you’re looking for something unique.

Christmas Tree 2017

This year’s tree, decorated with ornaments gathered through the years and some new ones we received for our wedding last year.

Gifts I Received

I feel really blessed to have a husband that supports my creative endeavors. This year, I received a lot of arts-related items. I’m looking forward to using them!

 

2017 Christmas Gifts

Some of the arts-related gifts I received this Christmas. Left to right: Homecube Pencil Case, Mongol Pencils, and Reclaimed Fabric Tote Bag

Homecube Pencil Case

This pencil case is small, but can fit so many supplies. I’ve already filled it with Stabilo mini pens, Sharpies, fountain pens, a mechanical pencil, a pencil sharpener, ruler, and eraser. Would you believe that it’s still not full? It will be perfect for taking with me in all my travels, near and far.

Mongol Pencils

I remember being totally enamored by the crazy amounts of stationery I saw when my family visited the Philippines in 1996. We did all of our supply shopping for the next school year there. I distinctly remember picking up several boxes of Mongol pencils, which I fondly remember as the pencils I used when learning how to draw. These were purchased from CW Pencil Enterprise and are every bit as soft and pigmented as I remember.

Reclaimed Fabric Tote Bag

I’ve been looking for a convenient tote bag to carry my books and art supplies with me in 2018. I saw this on Etsy (seller: MaeganJeanette) and thought it would be perfect! It is made from a reclaimed National Westminster bank bag and even has vintage fabric on the inside. This is a one-of-a-kind item, but the seller has a lot of other wonderful items in her shop.

The Rest of Vacation

Now that the holiday rush has subsided, I’m excited to focus on my hobbies. Some things on my to-do list:

  • Work on my blog
  • Bullet journal
  • Draw
  • Read (currently rereading The Monster of Florence by Douglas Prescott, Mario Spezi)
  • Art journaling

I’m looking forward to taking some time to take care of myself and make sure I go into 2018 energized and refreshed.

How did you spend your holiday? Did you receive any creative goodies this year?

Artfully Megan Signature

Artfully Megan’s Holiday 2017 Gift Guide

Artfully Megan 2017 Holiday Gift Guide

Did you scoop up some good deals on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday? Thankfully, most of my shopping is complete because I like knocking it out as early as possible. But for those of you that haven’t found something yet for the creative person on your list, here is my 2017 holiday gift guide.

 

Subscription Box

In Christmas 2015, my husband got me a Sketchbox subscription box. At the beginning of each month, I received a box containing art supplies and a piece of artwork by a featured artist. I enjoyed trying out new supplies and revisiting old favorites. Around this time, I was starting to get more into mixed media and layering, so it came in handy.

There are plenty of other art-themed subscription boxes at various price points. I’m confident you’ll find one that suits your loved one’s interests and fits your budget.

Day Trip to an Art Museum

Another idea is to plan a trip to museum. I adore visiting museums and think museum trips make great outings. Whether you visit a local museum or one miles away, it’s a great opportunity to bond over a nice meal. It’s also a chance to see other sights, if there’s time.

If you’re in the Greater Philadelphia region, some of the museums I visited this year and enjoyed are:

Magazine Subscription

I don’t get magazines often (usually just when I go on vacation!), but I like them for learning and reading about art or my other hobbies. This might be a good idea for a collage artist because when they’re done reading, it’s becomes a new stock of collage materials.

As a style and beauty enthusiast, I usually pick up magazines like InStyle and Vogue.

Art Books

Truth be told, this is an item on my personal wishlist. I’ve gone to a few exhibits this year and longingly looked at the books in the gift shops. A lot of them are beautifully done and are sometimes paired to specific exhibits at the museum.

I see them as a way to view esteemed pieces right from your home. They can also be another way to learn and get inspired.

Gift Cards

When all else fails, gift cards are always appreciated (at least, they are for me!). Shopping for an artist sometimes feels like shopping for the person that has everything. Gift cards ensure that the person can get what they like based on their preferences and supply needs.

What are your favorite art-related gifts that you have received? What is on your wishlist for this holiday?

Artfully Megan Signature

Keeping Creative While On Vacation

What do you do when your company introduces a “use it or lose it” vacation policy? Take vacation, of course! I took five days off for a total of 11 glorious days away from the office.

Canada and New Jersey

I spent the first part of my vacation prepping for a trip to Canada to attend my cousin’s wedding. Though uncharacteristic (I prefer to be a passenger), I drove the ten hours both ways. I don’t know if it was the picturesque hill views or the changing autumn leaves (or the awesome playlist!), but it was as if a calmness took over that helped me get through it.

On the way up, I was reminded of the ways that art is everywhere. We stopped at a rest stop shortly after crossing over the Pennsylvania border into New York. As I waited for my husband and my brother, I noticed a framed message on the wall. It indicated that the glass sculpture above was on loan from the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, NY.

I looked up and saw a fun sculpture with colorful glass orbs. I’ve really been liking glass lately and have always wanted to try glassblowing, so hopefully I can make it to the museum sometime!

Glass Sculpture at New York Rest Area

Glass sculpture at New York rest area, on loan from Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, NY.

After our Canada trip, I had a few days of downtime to tidy our apartment and do some baking for Thanksgiving (oatmeal cookies and a poke cake, for anyone curious!). Though we live in Pennsylvania, my husband and I are both New Jersey natives. For Thanksgiving, we visited both of our families–his in North Jersey and mine in South Jersey. There were so many people to see and catch up with that almost every day was packed full of activities.

Travel Setup

Somehow I managed to find a little bit of time to work on more creative things. Everywhere I went, I toted my journal and sketchbook. Here’s what I brought with me!

Travel-Setup-Journal-Sketchbook

What I traveled with throughout the Thanksgiving 2017 holidays.

  • A Colorful Life Journal
    Posman BooksPonce City Market in Atlanta, GA
    I purchased this journal when we vacationed in Atlanta in August. I’ve been using it to collect my thoughts and memories.
  • Fabriano Sketchbook
    I received this sketchbook as part of my SketchBox subscription a few months ago. It’s thin (only 40 sheets), but it’s perfect to travel with when I go away for work or on vacation. Pictured is my first page, which is a work-in-progress black and white dot drawing of Audrey Hepburn from Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I’m still working on it, but I hope to fill it completely with dot drawings done while traveling.
  • Slim Pencil Case
    Phenomenal Women Shop – Etsy
    I have only ordered from this shop once, but I use their products on a regular basis and think the quality is great! The slim pencil pouch is petite, but can hold a lot more than what’s pictured here. The material is soft and durable. There are several items in varied materials in their shop, and I would definitely recommend them!
  • Mechanical Pencil (Papermate Clear Point 0.7mm) and Pen (BIC Velocity 1.0)
    I do have my favorites, but I’m not picky with what I carry in my travel pencil case. These do just fine!
  • Sakura Pigma Micron Pens (02, 03, and 05)
    These were the same kind of pen I used when I was first drawing with pen and ink! I like Sakura products and use them in so many of my projects. I find that these work well for the dot drawings and help me to get neat, precise lines and dots.

What did you do over the Thanksgiving holidays? If you traveled, did you pack any of your creative projects to take with you?

Artfully Megan Signature

The Commute That Inspired Gratitude

Have you ever had a cathartic moment while doing something mundane? I had a moment that inspired gratitude while on the airplane last Monday.

I was feeling a bit disgruntled, as I often feel on Mondays when I’m commuting to work. I’d be spending another week away from home and, on top of that, the forecast was all clouds and rain. I sighed and looked out the window, watching the raindrops roll along the plexiglass as we sped down the runway.

I gripped the armrest and said a prayer as we lifted off. I looked down at the gloomy landscape below and mentally reviewed my list of grievances for the week. The airplane continued to climb and soon the dreary, rain-soaked Philadelphia scenery began to fade and started to be replaced with bright white clouds. On the other side of the clouds was the most beautiful sunshine and sapphire blue sky. It was then that I had my moment.

Airplane in Clouds

My view from above, somewhere over Pennsylvania.

I was living in a world of rain storms and I had forgotten about the sunshine on the other slide of the clouds.

This Thanksgiving week, I want to remind myself to focus on gratitude and incorporating it as part of my mission to live a more meaningful life. There are so many things for which to be thankful, both big and small. Here are two ways I want to express gratitude in my daily life:

Express appreciation and thankfulness when I feel it.

Rather than keeping quiet or weakly acknowledging it, I want to sincerely let others know how much I appreciate them. I have started writing more Thank You notes this year and I definitely want to continue and expand upon it.

Write more positively in my journal.

My journal is the perfect place for me to gather my thoughts and work through issues, but lately it’s been too negative. I want to try to find more balance and mention at least one thing that brought me joy that day.

Have you ever had a moment like this? What are your thoughts on gratitude this year?

Artfully Megan Signature