Paper gives us very tactile and cerebral experiences at the same time. Thinking about paper throughout the span of history, we can imagine all the crafts and information, all the great discoveries written and saved on paper. And it is amazing how so many materials and uses are always changing, but paper and paper crafts are still almost the same as they were more than 2000 years ago.
So, the year 2020 showed us that we need to improve ourselves in order not to be stressed during times of unexpected changes. Let’s learn this lesson and start being craftier and specifically with paper, which can give pleasure and relaxation every minute of the day.
1.Write a letter to a friend
…even if you saw each other a day ago. Take a piece of paper and a pen and share the news from the last days, as though he or she didn’t have any news from you from more than a month. Send the letter via post office. Wow! Bet you haven’t done that for a long time! Here you can see some beautiful ideas from Amelia:
2. Start a diary
Did you have a diary as a teenager? I did. Huge volumes with emotions, drawings, stickers all hand drawn by me. It was such fun and a meditation. It was organizing my thoughts as I loved to say, “everything in the proper drawer” and, was always a source of interesting ideas as well. So, I am planning to start a diary again from first of January 2021.
3. Watercolour drawing
Even though your schoolteacher told you will never be an artist (yes, there are some teachers like this), try to mix some colours and to draw something you like or can see through your window. On Twitter, I am following an artist, which has created a wonderful Lockdown diary with drawings (https://twitter.com/RolandN). You will be amazed how many details there are in the view from your window that you haven’t seen yet.
4. Ink drawing?
Many people think that ink drawing is easy or too “flat” to express their artistic needs. But this is not true. Ink provides you with the great possibility to mix different techniques and learn new ones like using water to create new tones and shades in your ink drawings. Remember all those great Japanese art pieces with mountains and clouds? That’s it!
5. Go to the library and look for a very old book
You know those beautiful volumes with decorations and thick paper, already yellowed from the years, somehow crunchy and fragile and the old style of the fonts… Some of them are products of real craftsmanship and – also – real treasures. During my University studies I was fortunate enough to see and even touch manuscripts from ninth century and I can tell you – the feeling is indescribable. It’s not likely your local library will have such ancient texts or allow you access if they do, but all old, beautiful books give wonderful sensory perceptions.
6. Learn calligraphy
When I was a child, we had Beautiful Writing classes at school. Two hours every week. Looking back, I think this was not enough. The problem now is that most children in the Western world don’t study beautiful writing and calligraphy. Actually, many education systems somehow neglect handwriting altogether, but handwriting is very important. It improves the fine motor skills, helps understand the structure of the letters and their connections and is very helpful for children with dyslexia. Calligraphy itself is a form of a meditation and a mindful connection to the words. Follow this Pinterest link for different alphabet ideas:
7. Try papier-mâché
You know that paper-water-glue paste, which you can mould almost like clay and to create beautiful sculptures, ornaments and decorations. I remember creating bowls to decorate my home. In the photo below you can see one of them, and clicking on it, you will see the whole simple, step-by-step process in my other craft blog. The text is in Cyrillic, but the pictures will show you all the details. And, if you’re interested, you can find out everything about papier-mâché online.
8. Create a Dream List
And – of course – handwrite it. Handwrite at least 10 things you are dreaming about and also – your ideas about how to make these dreams come true. The written words can act almost like magic and you will be amazed how easily is to find the way to realise your desires. Ok, write achievable dreams, not something like, “I dream to be able to become invisible whenever I want”… Or, hm… do you know, why not?
9. Find some translated poetry
… from a country or part of the world, which is distant from yours. Take the book in your hands and read it aloud. Touch the pages, the cover. Mostly, poetry books are beautifully made, and the translators are very skilful. Can you write something on the same topic as the poem? I am sure you can!
10. Make a greeting card for someone you love
…using only materials and paper you find at home. Don’t buy anything new. One of the beauties of mindful living and crafting is to train your brain to see new possibilities and ideas.
11. Make your own paper
Old documents, old newspapers and magazines, old bills, paper boxes from different products… Every home has lots of materials to create a lot of handmade paper! I am sure in your home you also have a lot of paper packages which should go to recycling. Why not cut, tear or shred them into small pieces, mix them with water and a small amount of PVA glue and make your own craft paper? Your children will enjoy the process. Paper making is an amazing art! You can even incorporate dried petals, herbs or small textile fibres and fabric pieces. Experiment and have fun!
12. Start writing a book or an essay
Every person has a story to share with the world. I am sure you have one too. And I believe, the more we share our stories, the better we start to understand each other and the live with “others” becomes easier. And who knows, maybe your story will be the next worldwide bestseller? Maybe you will be awarded a famous book prize. This is a very achievable dream and only needs you to just start writing the story which is already inside you.
13. Create your own cookbook
These lockdown times promote the hidden chef’s abilities in a lot of people I know. In the culture I grew up in, it is a shame for a woman not to cook better than her neighbours, so imagine the competition. Oh, ok, my mother and grandmother were not among these great chefs. My mother was and an artist and she was better at “cooking” he colours in her paintings. Her cooking was like her art – a little too expressive for everyday tastes. My grandmother was a historian – she preferred to read or write. Her cooking was also somehow “scientific” – she only ever made a very few things, which were each amazing and I still haven’t tasted them better anywhere else. So, I am telling you this, because even if you think you are not good at cooking, it is still something to share. So, create your cookbook from zero? Make the covers and the pages. Draw the designs for decorating your book – even illustrations for recipes if you like. Bind the pages together yourself or find a book binding artist and you will have a real piece of art. Makes a great present for a friend, for your child or for another loved one.
Inspire yourself with Lily&Val in Instagram:
14. Make a paper flower
I am a flower lover and paper addict, so maybe not I am the right person to ask about whether to make or not to make paper flowers. Of course, make them! Click on the pic below to see how in my blog article:
15. Start a gratitude diary
Chose a beautiful notebook or decorate one yourself. Actually, I suggest taking a not very attractive one and to making it look cute. This will put a double meaning in your gratitude journal. Because the world is full of blessings which we don’t see, because they do not come in a shiny, glittery wrap. Things like having a home, healthy children and a partner… Even to have dreams – which means you also still have hope. And If we still have hope nothing is lost and we have to be thankful for this little glimpse of blue sky too.
16. Hand write a plan of how to improve yourself and your life
I mentioned before about the magic of written text. Write it, make your hand move with every word – this movement will reflect in your whole body. Years ago, as a part of my education I attended a class about the very ancient magic practices of ritual dances. Believe me, handwriting your self-improving plan can work in the same way, because it connects the body and the brain. It makes your body and brain a coordinated team.
17. Go through your old family photos
This can be a bitter-sweet experience, but sometimes we all need to look at the eyes of our ancestors, remember what they did and believe we can do more, knowing that one day one of our grandchildren will look at our photos. What do you want them to see?
18. Frame some of your or your children’s drawings
This is one of my favourites. Before a teacher told my son that he can’t (?!?!?!) draw, he loved drawing. So, I keep at home his great and colourful artworks, full of positive vibes and this amazing way that little kids see and express the world. I have a lot of them framed and love looking at them. They are also full of wonderful memories and are a source of a great and happy energy.
19. Organize your favourite books in a special place at home
Everyone has favourite books. You can create a special reading place, cosily decorated with pillows and a blanket; a good light source for the day and night and a small table for your coffee or tea. I am calling these places a “rainy day shelter” and they work exactly like this. You can also knit there or listen to music or embroider… but don’t forget to keep it always tidy and neat, because messiness creates nervousness and you want your shelter to be a relaxing place.
20. Buy a physical book
The best way is to go to a book shop, but if the pandemic is still not finished when you read this list, buy the book online. I love going in book shops and, if I am honest, this is the experience I am missing the most during last 9 months. The pleasure of walking between the shelves, allowing yourself to be attracted by a cover or a title, to open the pages somewhere in the middle and to read some lines… Priceless!
And something very important in order to have a clean and tidy house in the new year:
Organize every piece of paper in your home
Something to keep, something to throw and recycle, something to use in the paper craft projects above. Enjoy your New Year and your new “me” and feel happy!
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If you are a paper flower lover, check my Garden Peony printable tutorial in Etsy ♥