12 Creative Things To Try

By Jess Friedman

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I recently heard of the idea of making a creativity bucket list, and I was instantly a fan. One of my new years resolutions is to complete 2 creative projects a month, but I’m falling a bit behind.

Okay, I’m falling a lot behind.

But my friend Amber runs a fun blog designed to encourage women to make time to create, and I have been all sorts of inspired. I do want to make creativity a priority in my life, as I’m a firm believer in the therapeutic, restorative, and inspiring effects of creativity. And what better way to do that than to create specific goals—at least a little more specific than just “complete 2 creative projects each month”? Maybe if I have specific projects in mind, I’ll actually take the time to make them happen.

I’m also a big fan of trying new things. That’s how I got into, well, every creative thing I like to do. While the last thing I need is more hobbies, I would like to try my hand at new forms of creativity that I’ve never done before.

So for the sake of my creative soul (and my resolutions), here are 12 creative things I want to try—or retry—this year.

A variety of baskets
Photo by Zachary Staines (Unsplash)

Basketry

Growing up in Georgia, I looked forward to seeing Cherokee pine needle basket weavers at craft fairs I sometimes went to with my mom. When I joined AmeriCorps*NCCC, our home base was in Charleston, SC. I loved visiting the historic district and the market, where Gullah women would sit and weave gorgeous sweetgrass baskets. Then, when I worked at Philmont, my love for baskets was cemented with my introduction to the colorful Navajo baskets.

I would love to learn how to weave a basket, so I think I’m going to start with a simple coil basket tutorial like this one from Craft School Oz.

Wood Burning

I bought a wood burner a few years ago and haven’t used it yet, but Pinterest has some adorable wood burning (pyrography) projects on it and I’m eager to make one of my own. I’m also a huge fan of my friend Jannie’s beautiful custom wood-burned signs and kitchen goods. Check out her Etsy shop, Red Roof Barn, and if you want to learn more about wood burning, she’s also the pyrography professor at BurnSavvy.com.

Four bars of handmade soap stacked on a table next to several sprigs of lavender
Photo by Aurélia Dubois (Unsplash)

Soap Making

I made cold process lye soap once with a friend who knew what she was doing, and I had a blast. Lye soap takes time and precision, so it’s a perfect excuse to just live in the moment and enjoy creating something useful. Lye soaps take at least a month to cure, too, which was almost more than I can bear. You mean I have to wait to use this beautiful thing I just made? The whole process gave me a much greater appreciation for the fancy soaps you see in boutiques.

Unfortunately, I don’t have the set up to make lye soap (or the room in my budget to acquire said set up), but there are cheaper soapmaking options, like those that start with simple soap bases. And with a variety of soap molds and additives available, you can do some really fun things. This time, I’d love to try my hand at some of these adorable gemstone soaps from DIY in PDX.

Sewing

I have done a little sewing in my time, including some clothing that I’m not too ashamed to wear in public. But I’d really like to be better at it and really know what I’m doing. For my next sewing project, I’m going to finish the dress I started ages ago.

For lots of fun sewing ideas, check out my Sewing board on Pinterest!

Close up of a woman's hands holding a paint brush and a plein air painting of a hilly landscape
Photo by Sergii Mostovyi (Adobe Stock)

Plein Air Painting

My friend Becky is an extremely talented artist, and she introduced me to the world of plein air painting. Plein air is painting on site—so those windswept artists you see in movies with their easels perched precariously on the edges of cliffs are all painting en plein air. This practice teaches you to work quickly as the light changes, and allows painters an inexhaustible list of potential subjects. I’ve wanted to try it for years, and the first thing I thought when I found my favorite park was that it would be a perfect place to try it out.

Embroidery

I love embroidery. My first embroidery project was a stitched pencil bag I made as a gift for a friend, and I was instantly hooked. Most of what I’ve done is simple quotes or line art, but my last project was a detailed puffin that I’m mighty proud of. For my next project, I’m planning on doing a landscape piece, and I’d love to eventually work up to the level of detail I’ve seen in the work of artists like Mmiddlee and MDHandEmbroidery. I’ve also got an idea for a mixed medium embroidery and applique piece that I think will work really well. I guess I’ll have to make it and find out if I’m right. HA!

Handwritten note that says "Hello Spring" in calligraphy next to a midliner pen and surrounded by red tulips
Photo by Alena Koval (Pexels)

Hand Lettering

I’ve dabbled with some very basic hand lettering—just enough to know that I want to do more of it! There are so many fun styles, and it’s such a fun way to liven up a journal or a note to a friend. One of my favorite ways to learn new creative skills is to take online courses. Udemy and CreativeLive both have a great collection of courses to help you learn hand lettering!

Ink and Wash

Ink and Wash is my faaaaaavorite watercolor style. I love how loose it is, and the combination of dark lines with transparent watercolors is just plain magical to me. I find that my visual art tends to be really tight, but I want to learn how to be nice and relaxed with my work.

Abstract alcohol ink painting
Image by eluela31 (Pixabay)

Alcohol Ink Painting

I hadn’t heard of alcohol ink painting until just recently, but my goodness, it creates some lovely effects. And the best part? According to Dream a Little Bigger, you can make your own inks with isopropyl alcohol and markers. Crafting a Green World even reports that you can use old, dried up markers, I’m all about DIY craft supplies—especially when it includes recycling! And since we’ve already established that I love burning things (see wood burning above), I was doubly excited to see that you can get fun effects by burning the ink, as in this fun tutorial from It’s Always Autumn.

Screenprinting

Who doesn’t love a fun graphic tee? And how much more fun is it if you make it yourself? And thanks to this awesome tutorial from See Kate Sew, I plan on learning how to do just that. All you need is a screen, a squeegee, some printing ink, and some vinyl. Can you imagine how many cute gifts you can make with this technique? Look out, friends and family. Christmas is only 6 months away. 😉

Linocut artist carving a block
Photo by Angelina Litvin (Unsplash)

Linocut Printmaking

Linocut is the art of my heart. I love it. I’ve done a few pieces, and I’m always super happy with how they turn out. I’m no Viktoria Åström, but I definitely want to be her when I grow up.  I love her whimsical characters and nostalgic landscapes.Everything I’ve done so far has been small—notecard size—but I would really love to do a bigger print.

Book Binding

I have a songwriter friend who makes her own books for keeping notes and jotting down lyrics. As an avid journal writer, I love the idea of making my own journals to write in. I’m especially a fan of long-stitch bindings, like the one in this tutorial from Tutsplus. And with the rate I go through journals, it might actually be cost effective for me to learn how to make my own.

What creative things are you excited to try?
Tell us in the comments below!

Jess

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12 Creative Things to Try | Jest Kept Secret
Jess Friedman

Jess Friedman

Jess is a Canadian-American who's always ready for the next adventure. She loves all things living, always has a million creative projects in progress, and polishes her nerd badge daily. She is passionate about strengthening families by empowering women to make space for things that bring them true and lasting joy. You can read more posts by Jess here.
Jess Friedman

Jess Friedman

Jess is a Canadian-American who's always ready for the next adventure. She loves all things living, always has a million creative projects in progress, and polishes her nerd badge daily. She is passionate about strengthening families by empowering women to make space for things that bring them true and lasting joy. You can read more posts by Jess here.

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2 Responses

  1. I have tried 5 of these 12 ideas and I would love to try the rest! Such great ideas, Jess!

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