Home Philosophy

A place to develop the attitude, ideology, aesthetics, and values of your home


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How to Think Creatively: Part 4

source: formalsweatpants.com – “Goddess of Creativity”

Welcome to the last installment of How to Think Creatively!

I’ve been talking a lot about thinking creatively to solve challenges and problems in your life and career. Let’s talk a bit about inspiration and thinking outside of the box for creative projects. Let me show you a quick exercise you can do to become a more creative thinker. It involves a step-by-step creative process. I encourage mind mapping, note taking, whatever you find will help you remember this brainstorm session.

By the way, a quick side note: mind mapping  is a brilliant way to track your business, creative processes, and to generally organize thoughts. Google “mind mapping” and it will come up with tons of great mind mapping software. My favorite is MindJet (Try it out for 30 days. Not free after 30 days.) and my favorite FREE mind mapping software is XMind.

Okay, now to teach you about a step-by-step creative thinking process I like to use for projects.

STEP 1: Think of a subject, object, person, place, etc. that you like or the person/group you’re creating for. Describe its characteristics, qualities, physical appearance, etc. 

Example: Let’s use the Eiffel Tower as a source of inspiration. What characteristics or words describe the Eiffel Tower? Its structure is grand and elegant, its location is romantic, it’s a place people are often proposed to, so love is in the air, the view is magnificent, and the surrounding area has an old beautiful charm. You could even go as far as taking the Eiffel Tower as the initial source of inspiration and expand upon it. It’s in Paris, France, so describe the feelings you have about Paris, it’s characteristics. What other things remind you specifically of France? Think structures, food, transportation, fashion, language.

Essentially, you could spend a ton of time on step 1, branching out on each topic you think of.

STEP 2: Who is your audience? Who are you creating for?

If you are creating for yourself, this step is simple. However, if you are creating for an individual or group, this step takes a little more time. If you are creating something dealing with the Eiffel Tower, who are you going to market to?

Example:  Who are the people that admire the Eiffel Tower? People who have been to France, people who have been at the top of the structure, travelers, those who like European vintage, those who love structural beauty, people who have been proposed to at the location.

STEP 3: Brainstorm useful or beautiful items that can have the image of the Eiffel Tower (or conjures up images of France) that the above types of people would like.

Write down everything you can think of. Don’t limit yourself. Here are some examples:

  • Printed coasters
  • Decorative couch pillow (image of the Eiffel Tower or French words/phrase like “J’taime”)
  • Vintage posters or prints made in Photoshop, printed, and framed
  • Handbag
  • Magnets
  • Journal
  • Knitted beret
  • Mural
  • Calendar

Side note: I saw a charming lamp the other day with the Eiffel Tower as the base!

STEP 4: Now that you have your list, which of those things can you do? Can you learn how to do some of the others?

I’ve talked about getting out of your comfort zone. I believe we should attempt to get out of our creative comfort zone as well, which means learning NEW techniques and mediums. For example: You may be asking, “How exactly do you transfer an image onto a handbag?” Find out! If you have the resources, learn new skills. You never know where they might take you.

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This gist of all of this is to take something of inspiration and extrapolate its characteristics and expand on it. Let’s do a quick example. You picked up a leaf and you’re looking at the details. You notice the color, it’s shape, size, the lines and texture.

The color may inspire the color of yarn or paint you choose for your next project, the color of the felt you want to use to make felt leaves, the color you want your bedroom, or the Thanksgiving cloth napkins you want to make. The texture may inspire you to press it into a clay project for a bowl, vase, or plate or to make a rubber stamp. You may want to make a piece of jewelry the shape of a leaf, or place mats, or garland.

There are endless ways to take an ordinary object, structure, environment, or person, look at the details, and think of other possibilities for it. I hope that you try out this exercise.

Well folks, that’s the end of the “How to Think Creatively” series. I hope you learned something and/or felt inspired. If you have questions, think I should clarify something, let me know! Let’s work together for a common good that is creative thinking. I’d also love to hear how, where, when, and who you get your creative juices from or share your creative thinking secrets with us.

If you missed the other “How to Think Creatively” parts, you can find them here:

How to Think Creatively: Part 1

How to Think Creatively: Part 2

How to Think Creatively: Part 3

Happy creating, home philosophers!

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“Grow Your Groceries”

Growing fruits and vegetables often seems overwhelming and too much responsibility on top of everything else you have going on.

But let me tell you that it’s actually quite simple if you have the right resources to help you. Not to mention the awesome benefits.

1. It’ll improve your and your family’s health. The Journal of the American Dietetic Association published a study that found preschool children who were almost always served homegrown produce were more than twice as likely to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables a day – and to like them more – than kids who rarely or never ate homegrown produce.

2. Save money on groceries. There’s a couple ways this will happen. First, you know you won’t be buying an excess of produce, which is a money waster. I know there are times when a recipe calls for a fresh herb, so I purchase a small container and don’t end up using all of it. Total waste! The second way you’ll save money is by buying seeds, which are inexpensive, and watching your garden flourish with fresh produce. You can even save the seeds from the best producers, dry them, and use them next year. It doesn’t end there though because you could learn how to can and preserve your summer and fall harvest to have tasty meals until the next season.

3. Better tasting food. Tomatoes totally taste better homegrown than in the grocery store.  This isn’t the only food that produces those results. Fresh always tastes better, wouldn’t you agree?

4. You know where your food came from and what’s on it. Okay, so how many people have touched the produce in the grocery store? What’s that waxy stuff on apples? I wonder where that dent came from. That looks like a fingernail went through it. I wonder how much pesticides and herbicides are on this? Now that I’ve grossed you out… 🙂 You get my point though.

5. You’ll be super proud of yourself. The sense of pride one feels when that sprout comes up is a joyous one. It’s working, it’s working! And when it’s fully grown, you pick it off the branch, look at it and realize you accomplished something super cool. You now get the gratification that YOU did this. Growing your own produce has multiple purposes and you made it happen.

Now that you know about the perks, you may be thinking that you don’t have a big fancy garden or your own yard to do this. Well, you don’t need those things. My friend is one of the biggest green thumbs I’ve ever met. She builds her vegetable garden in pots and containers and puts them on her balcony at her apartment. Non-traditional and it totally works.

You can even find out if your city has a community garden where you can rent your own plot. Check out acga.localharvest.org to locate a community garden near you or do a Google search for “[your city] community garden” and see what comes up.

Another amazing resource that I came across is SproutRobot. You put in your zip code and it tells you what and when to plant according to your area. It gives fantastic instructions on how to plant each vegetable/fruit, when it should sprout, and when you should harvest. They even email you to remind you when to plant. It’s easy to use, user friendly, and a fabulous system to have in your life. The site is definitely worth checking out.

Source: sproutrobot.com

If you have children, get them involved. They’ll learn a skill that they can use for the rest of their lives that will help them stay healthy and productive. Help them to develop their own home philosophy all while continuing to develop yours.

Whatever your motivation to start growing your groceries, chances are good that you’ll enjoy a new hobby, thin your wallet, and eat healthier.

This is certainly something I’ve been wanting to do, so try it out with me. I’d love to see photos of your garden (whether it’s in a yard or in a pot) and hear about your experiences.

Happy planting, home philosophers!