A Year of Cultivating Creativity

Posted on January 1, 2016 by prairiemoonquilts in Creativity Challenges

Every year I try to pick a “theme” to work around, something I think I need to work on.

In 2013, I chose 13 things to work on. Some went well, some didn’t.

In 2014, I chose to Simplify. I purged and rearranged, and tried to make my life simpler in lots of ways. It has made me more conscious of keeping things simple, so I’m still constantly working on this.

Last year, I organized, and I dragged a lot of you along with me. And you liked it, even! I made good progress with my organizing, as did a lot of you, but I still have a long way to go, so I’m planning to keep at it this year, and you’re still welcome to join me. I’m switching the organizing tasks to Mondays this year, so check in on the 4th, and we’ll get started with those.

THIS year, my theme is Creativity. More specifically, Cultivating Creativity.

When I was an art student in college back in the day, we were given assignments. While not every assignment was something I liked or wanted to do, I have to admit that most of them taught me something, made me think in a different way, or showed me that I had a talent (or didn’t) for whatever I was trying at the time.

When we’re not forced to stretch outside our comfort zone, we tend to get in a rut. As my sister says, “All my quilts start to look alike.”

Someone or something usually has to prod us to take that step outside, and make us try something new. Sometimes, once we’ve tried it, we wonder why we waited so long — we wonder why we didn’t try it sooner!

This year, I’m planning to offer up a series of weekly Creativity Challenges. I’m doing this so that I can jump-start my own imagination in new directions, improve my skills, possibly add some new skills, keep myself out of that all-too-familiar rut, challenge myself to try new things I might not otherwise try, and hopefully, become way more creative in the process.

I’m inviting you to join me.


I’m not intending for the challenges to cost you anything. Most of them can be done with things you most likely already have on hand, or inexpensive items you can pick up at the dollar store. I will list at the bottom a few things you’ll need that you can start gathering up, along with a give-away right off the bat for one thing I know you’ll need!

The challenges are not all about quilting, but some of them will involve sewing. They are meant to get you thinking and creating in different ways that may well translate into your quilting life — at least I’m hoping they do for me!

Some will be easier than others. Some might seem downright difficult. But I’m trying to recreate that art-school element of making myself do something I don’t necessarily want to do, while knowing that I might learn something from it. Pushing myself outside my comfort zone.

If you’re ready to step outside your own comfort zone, and want to inject a little more inspiration and creativity into your own life, please join me.

I’ll be posting each new challenge on Thursdays. We’ll have a week to do each one. I’ll show you what I’m working on, and you can certainly show and tell what you’re up to during each challenge as well. Do some, do all, you can pick and choose, it’s up to you.

I’ll be having periodic give-aways throughout the year, related to the challenges. And there will be lots of other things I’ll come up with as we go along, to keep us all inspired and motivated.

I hope you’ll join me. I think it’ll be fun and inspiring. The first challenge will be posted January 7th. I’ve created a Creativity Challenge page that will have all the links to the weekly challenges, so you can see them all in one place. And you can visit the category HERE for all the related articles from the challenge as it goes along.

In preparation, here are a few things you might want to make sure you have on hand. You don’t have to spend lots of money on these things. Give each challenge a try, and if you decide you want to do more with it on your own, then you can invest in better supplies later.

  • A sketchbook, whatever size you like
  • An adult coloring book, your choice (or download some free coloring pages online)
  • Colored markers (I use Sharpies)
  • Colored pencils (I got a cheap set of 12 from the $ store, but I also have a full set of Prismacolor pencils)
  • Ink pens (any color)
  • Watercolor paint set (I have the cheap $ store set of 16 colors that came with its own cheapy brush!)
  • Lead pencils, and an eraser
  • Crayons

And there will be various other things we’ll want or need, but we’ll address those as they come up. I’m thinking I already have most everything I need here on hand — you might, too.

And since I’m asking you to get an adult coloring book, our first give-away is right now . . . for . . . an adult coloring book!


If you’re planning to join in on some (or all) of this year’s Creativity Challenges, just leave a comment below for a chance to win the coloring book, and I’ll draw for a winner on the 7th, and announce the winner in the post for the first challenge.

Are you ready to create? I am, and I hope you’ll join me!

PS: Feel free to steal the button above for your blog if you like, and just link back to the Creativity Challenge page. I still, after all these years, haven’t figured out how to give you a code, because for me using WordPress, a simple link just works. And it’s optional, so . . . as my dad would say: “Yer gettin’ whatcha paid for, and it ain’t much!”

UPDATE: The winner of the coloring book is Randy!

88 responses to “A Year of Cultivating Creativity”

  1. Cindy says:

    Hymmnnn, so you are sucking me into something else! You do have a habit of doing that you know. I’m game to try.

  2. Judith says:

    I am so ready for this.

  3. Janet V says:

    I will give it a try. Need to get out of my box

  4. Becka Meyers says:

    I really like your theme for 2016! I’m going to give it a try.

  5. Crystal Farinella says:

    This is so far out of my comfort zone …. I just can’t resist! I’m in all the way!

  6. Meloney says:

    I suppose I’ll give it a try. I have most of the items. I’m actually thinking of putting it on my DD’s homeschool agenda. She loves being creative and this might be just up her alley. We can share and compare.

    I’m so thrilled you are doing the organizational challenge again this year! I am so in on that one.

    Happy New Year!

    • Rita says:

      Thank you for the idea of using as part of homeschool agenda. I am going to suggest this to my daughter in S.C. whose 2 kids are ‘schooled at home” rather that homeschooled.

  7. Shaleen Edmundson says:

    I do believe I will give the challenges a try. O e is never too old to try something new.

  8. Betty K says:

    I bought my granddaughter an adult coloring book. She found some pictures she really liked. I know I would enjoy doing some pictures.

  9. Beverly says:

    I am ready to be creatively challenged. This is retirement day, so I am following you wth great expectations!!!

  10. Barbara says:

    A year of creative thinking is way more fun for me than a year of organization. I’m looking forward to seeing what the exercises bring.

  11. Beth Strand says:

    I may not have time to play along this year (new job, two jobs…blah, blah) but I’m looking forward to being inspired by everyone else and, who knows, maybe I’ll be able to play along occasionally! Beth @ Words & Stitches

  12. Patricia says:

    I am read to create!

  13. Jocelyne says:

    What a fantastic idea.
    Count me in.

  14. Suelynn Williams says:

    Challenges scare me! I like the idea of a coloring book, and I have colored pens & pencils so I am ready to challenge myself with your guidance!

  15. SUSAN RILEY says:

    The FUller Craft Museum in Brockton MA has a wonderful CREATE board with colored strings as background & the word in white. That image has seared into my brain. That’s MY word for ’16. Looking forward to this.

  16. Liz says:

    I have everything on list so I may give it a try. Thank you so much for continuing organizational challenge!

    Happy New Year!

  17. Sue Hook says:

    This sounds like a lot of fun count me in. Thanks for all your inspiration

  18. Susan says:

    I would like your dad! Actually, it sounds to me like you married a man somewhat like dear old dad. =) I’ll be participating, though probably not every week, and I do have just about all of that! Except the coloring book. I know where to find some great free download pages, though, if I don’t win this one!

  19. Susan says:

    I am game for giving this a try. Not sure I will be able to keep up, but we will see how it goes.

  20. Cyndi says:

    I like the idea. I will do it

  21. Kathy F says:

    I’ll try it again. But no promises. I have 2 handicap people in the house. Hubby and daughter. We’ll see how it goes.I’ll do what I can. But, I still have a month of challenges of my own. My sewing room and our basement.

  22. Reeseann Wyatt says:

    Organizing ideas and crafts, sounds like fun

  23. Elaine says:

    Awesome, yeap count me in

  24. Diana C says:

    This sounds like just what I need. Thanks for letting us all join your creative journey!

  25. Joy says:

    How perfect! My youngest daughter gave me a colouring book as part of my Christmas present (?) I don’t colour. Maybe she sensed I was going to need it this year. Also got the pencils , so I guess I’m ready to go.

  26. Donna says:

    I bought a set of 72 colored pencils before Christmas, so I’m ready to begin creating. My goal is to explore other ways to digitally design for fabric.

    • Donna says:

      For interesting free coloring pages, I suggest going to doverpublishing.com. Sample pages of its publications, including coloring books, are offered which can be downloaded.

  27. Barbara W. says:

    I am so ready to try new things!

  28. Carol says:

    I am up for a challenge. At least for today! I am in I have most everything no watercolors and no adult coloring book although I did give one for Christmas.
    Happy new year!

  29. Elaine Walker says:

    I think this is a wonderful challenge. I do need to push myself out of my “comfort zone”. I see things I think would be fun or new, but don’t take the challenge to DO them. { maybe afraid to fail?}

  30. Cindy Dahlgren says:

    Your new plan sounds very interesting, and something I need too! Can’t wait to see what challenges you have, and love, love, love the Dollar Tree supplies too. I can’t afford much, but I can always find a dollar or two! Love your unique approach and participated in most of your organizing challenges last year, even though I seldom reply, I always read!

  31. Sue V. says:

    I’m interested…sounds like 2016 will be a year of challenges, good ones I mean!

  32. Donna says:

    Sounds like a wonderful way to spend 2016. I love lots of different kinds of creativity so I am excited to see what you have planned. Thanks for coloring book giveaway. I would love to learn to doodle.

  33. Cherie says:

    I have been working toward expanding my creativity and skills over the past few years. Bought the biggest box of crayons I could find, lots of pencils, ots of paint and did the FMQ challenge last year. I’m doing the 2012 FMQ challenge just to do it-this year. Always more fun doing it together!!! Great idea–thanks! I would love to come color with you!

  34. Lori says:

    I’m in! Can’t promise i’ll finish it all but it sounds like loads of fun! All I need is a coloring book.

  35. Su Palmer says:

    I love it! A challenge that sounds like a lot of fun. Need to pick up a coloring book and I will be ready for the first post!

  36. Barb Bevell says:

    Count me in! I have my supplies and am ready for class.

    A new year and an exciting challenge. Thanks, Shelly.

  37. randy says:

    whoopie. As a Retired Art teacher and more of an Art Quilter than proper quilter this is right up my allery…

  38. randy says:

    whoopie. As a Retired Art teacher and more of an Art Quilter than proper quilter this is right up my allery..

  39. Doreen Haywood says:

    Can’t wait to take part in the challenge.

  40. Sandra W. says:

    This sounds really fun, Shelly! Bring on the first challenge. That coloring book looks like it could be both fun and relaxing. Thanks for the inspiring post. Happy New Year!

  41. Rosalee says:

    Love a good challenge and coloring too!

  42. sally says:

    I love to color…a lot of the times more outside the lines though. lol I’m not sure what I’m agreeing to yet, but I’ll give it a good try. Need some “newness” in my life!

  43. Becky Huebsch says:

    Okay I’m ready to dip my toe into this adventure with you..I’m not really creative on my own but who knows where this may go!!!!

  44. Sandy Wootten says:

    This might be fun. Can’t wait to get started.

  45. Debi Gorman says:

    OK Shelly, you’ve suckered me in again. LOL
    I’m up for the challenge.

  46. Cathy S. says:

    I am in, I need to get creative this year. I lost focus towards the end of the year last year. Need something to get me back creating again. Thanks for this challenge. I have everything but the coloring book. Need to invest or maybe be the winner on the 7th.. lol … Thanks again.

  47. Sharon says:

    What or who started this adult coloring book craze a year or two ago?

  48. Mary says:

    Yes, I’ll try to follow along and do the creativity challenges.

  49. Rita says:

    This is exactly what I need to fit in with my goal for this year. I have become so overwhelmed with longarm quilting charity quilts for my guild and Project Linus that I find it difficult to find the time to expand my own creativity. Thank you for all that you do for our quilting community Shelly!!!

  50. Gayle S. says:

    This sounds like a wonderful idea and plan to follow for 2016. Count me in.

  51. Patricia says:

    Sign me up!

  52. Linnie says:

    Anything but traditional will be out of my comfort zone but I’m game.

  53. Kathi Benchley says:

    I am looking forward to the creativity challenges. I need something to get my brain and creativity fired up!

  54. Andrea O'Brien says:

    I would love to participate! Sounds fun!

  55. Carol says:

    Ok. I’m ready picked up some water colors I had everything else!!

  56. Marge says:

    I Love Coloring as it is relaxing and stress free. I am newly retired and think this sounds like a fun activity. I doubt that I will be able to participate every week but will do some catch up when I miss. I am not very creative or artistic but I like challenges.

  57. Shirley says:

    I excited to play along! I need to challenge myself! What will I choose? I have to think about that!

  58. Shirley says:

    I’m ready! Sign me up

  59. Jo-Anne LaLiberte says:

    We all need to challenge ourselves from time to time. Sounds like fun. I’m in.

  60. Hi,
    I would love to try this out. Not sure if I can keep up, but I’m going to try my best. Sign me up please. Have a great day!

  61. Sharon K says:

    I’m in! I’ve not participated in anything like this before, and I’m really looking forward to it. Thanks so much for doing this. đŸ™‚

  62. GrannyC says:

    I. Love. To. Color. . . !!!!!!

  63. Anne P says:

    Don’t know how far I’ll get but I’ll give it a go!

  64. Beth S says:

    The Creativity Challenge sounds like just what I need. I LOVE to color, so I’d LOVE winning the coloring book! Thanks for the opportunity.

  65. Sharon says:

    This will get me thinking outside the box. Love the challenge.

  66. Debra Dacosta says:

    I’m ready and up for the challenge. Bring it on!

  67. Cheryl says:

    This sounds fun

  68. Sandi says:

    Looking forward to the challenges ahead.

  69. Karen says:

    In re-organizing my sewing space and bookshelf these past few days, I came across sketch books, paint kits, drawing pencils and markers, all unused. Think it’s time I did something with them! I’m not sure how good I’ll be at this, but I’ll give it a good try. Thanks for offering it!

  70. Tina de la Bruere says:

    I’m fascinated with adult coloring books. I gave away several with colored pencils for Christmas gifts. Will now have to get myself started.

  71. Sherry M says:

    So excited to join this challenge!

  72. Michele says:

    All right! I actually have all these except the adult coloring book – and I can download pages for that đŸ™‚

  73. Stacey says:

    Okay I’m going to dive in and try! This is exciting. I’ve never done anything like this.

  74. Kim Rhody says:

    Your creativity challenge sounds like so much fun and a way to try new things. I’m in.

  75. Gerda says:

    Please, sign me up.

  76. Sounds like a great challenge! Sign me up!

  77. Rose Marie says:

    I stole the button for my facebook page. I love being creative.

  78. Ellen R says:

    So looking forward to the first challenge!

  79. Mez says:

    Sounds like fun. We can all use a creative push, I think. Thanks for doing this!

  80. Char says:

    Yipee. New things to try

  81. Mary C says:

    I am so excited about this challenge. I love to quilt so tend to focus on that aspect of creating. I am looking forward to trying some new projects and see if I can branch out a bit in the coming year. Thanks for helping me. đŸ™‚

  82. Scarlett says:

    Hi Shelly! I believe I will give this Creativity thing a try! Can’t hurt, right? I have looked and looked at coloring books for us, ahem “older” kids, and haven’t found anything I like. I would love to win this one! Thanks,

  83. Stacey says:

    Joining along. I got a nice doodle book from Sam’s Club today. Looking forward to the first challenge. đŸ™‚

  84. Julie in GA says:

    This sounds like a great idea–count me in!!

  85. randy says:

    Thanks , the coloring book arrived. Husband said: Who do you know in Montana? LOL

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