Beads for Brains: 365

Mandy Duffy in Elkridge, Maryland is giving herself a year of self-taught beading lessons at Beads For Brains: 365...   

Why did you decide to do this project? I'm a very curious human being, surfing the web a great deal to find interesting tidbits of information.  I came across a blog where the author was doing a 365 project and was enthralled by the idea!  The same day I ordered the book and started my blog.  Not only do I think it is a wonderful concept and tool for developing creativity I think it can be used for just about anything.  Starting or stopping a habit, gaining perspective of the world around you, looking inside yourself, and so on and so on.  I only deliberated a short time on what my project theme would be.  The month before I started my blog, I took my first ever bead weaving class and I loved it.  I couldn't stop playing around with the beads!  The colors and shapes mesmorized me, and still do.  But being unemployed, I couldn't afford to take the classes.  The cost of the class plus the supplies was just to much when all I wanted to do was learn, learn, learn.  So I've decided to teach myself to bead weave.  My project is to teach myself a new beading lesson, technique, or project every day for a year using books, magazines, and the Internet.

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? I am currently on Day 33 of my beading adventure and I can't believe how much I have learned!  In general, I get very excited about things, but after the initial enthusiasm things peter out and I quit.  I've taught myself crafts before from books, like knitting and crocheting, but I've never gone the extra step to make myself really good at something.  This is the first time with a hobby that I love that I am advancing, quickly, because I am learning something new everyday.  I'm still not producing original works of beaded art, but it's coming, I can feel it.  Everything I've learned so far in my 33 days is building a base of knowledge for the big stuff.  I always want to go right to the hardest thing and get frustrated when I fail.  With this project I am starting small where I should start.  And since my little successes are piling up, I know there will be bigger successes down the road.  I have a feeling I will be doing a 365 project on some theme or another every year for the rest of my life!

See all of Mandy's beaded projects HERE.


Analisa Jaros in Geneva, Illinois is making a Heart-A-Day...

Why did you decide to do this project? I did this project because during the activity portion of your presentation [at Etsy] where you challenged us to make 10 shapes in 20 minutes I had so much fun!  I had one of those a-ha moments running around the house making hearts out of thumbtacks, necklace chains - I had been stuck in a real creative rut with my jewelry (I design, make and sell jewelry on Etsy) but this activity sparked my creative side, got my brain thinking outside the box and I realized this kind of project would benefit my work and my general well-being.

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? I'm only on day 5 but I've already learned a new craft (paper chain cutting) and I've realized how blogging about it is really going to help develop my photography skills - it's almost like a 365 photo project as well.  I have already had a project fail (my heart snowball just wasn't going to happen with brittle, dry snow) but it inspired a new idea.  I love how having this daily task makes me focus my to-do list.  It forces me to work on time management (not my strong suit) and it really pushes my brain, gives me permission to try something, attempt an art or craft I wouldn't have otherwise.  I can't wait to see what happens tomorrow!

See all of Analisa's hearts HERE.

Fraught With Meaning

Took Gallagher in Northville, Michigan is doing what she calls a "daily creative progress report" in her project Fraught With Meaning...

Why did you decide to do this project?  I needed to be accountable to "something" again.  Two years ago I was inspired by Elin Waterston and her carving-a-day project.  I decided to follow her lead, start a blog and do my own 365 Project.  I was apprehensive about writing a blog so I used my various Art-o-mat series as my daily postings.  This also helped me to keep moving forward and stay on track with them.  When I completed that 365 Project I took the next year off but kept the blog.   I didn't post daily and I actually felt "off" most of the time.  I think deep down I really missed the accountability I felt even though I had only a handful of followers...but mostly I needed to be accountable to my self.

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life?  I am feeling "right" again.  I feel productive again.  I love posting the daily entries but I have always dreaded the writing part.  This year I am feeling more confidence in my narrative...I'm not saying it is anything special, I just feel more confident.

See all of Took's creative progress HERE.

The Daily Turtle

Angela W. in Toronto, Ontario, Canada is doing a project she calls The Daily Turtle, where she plans to make or document one in her own collection...

Why did you decide to do this project? I decided to do this because I thought it would be fun!  I did what I called "Project 52" in 2010 where I took at least one photo every week for the calendar year.  I really enjoyed that so I am doing that again this year but I also wanted to do something new.  I am determined to keep these two projects separate.  I am kind of curious to see if I can stay committed to a daily project (I have a hard enough time getting dinner on the table every night), and I'm also curious to see if I can come up with 365 different ideas!

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? Well, I am not too far into the project, but I am already seeing turtles in things that I have never thought of as turtle-y.  I am also seeing crafting possibilities that I hadn't thought of before.  Most of those are temporary, but still interesting to me.  My oldest daughter is concerned that our house is going to become "overrun with turtles"!  She just shakes her head when she sees me assembling broccoli or something similar but then offers to let me play with some of her dough when she is baking homemade pretzels. (I was in the middle of something time sensitive and couldn't.  Maybe next time!)  My youngest daughter tries to help me with my ideas sometimes, and my husband has made me a wooden turtle so it is kind of becoming a bit of a family affair!

See all of Angela's turtles on her site HERE.

p.s. Angela recently won a 365 Merit Badge and she made it into a turtle as well!...

Sketch Every Day

Katie Gaines in San Diego, California is making a Sketch Every Day for a year.

She says, "Inspired by my 6 year-old son, Mason, who loves to draw, as well as Skull-A-Day (and, I started my own 365 project called Sketch Every Day, on January 1, 2011.  Every day I will sketch something in a simple blank journal (I don't know what...just whatever comes to mind or inspires me). The sketch may be a quick doodle or a more well-developed drawing that may serve as a model for a future project. It will use any medium I feel like sketching with: pencil, charcoal, Conté crayon, watercolor, ink pen, Crayolas, acrylics, pastels, lipstick, chocolate...whatever!  The goal is to do it every day and post my sketch/progress on my blog.  Because the project has a lot to do with being inspired by kids’ tendencies to draw and sketch and be creative every day, I also try to feature a kid’s sketch each day along with mine."

Katie's Blueberries

Mason's Blueberries

Why did you decide to do this project? I happened upon the Skull-A-Day project a while ago while searching for skull images for Mason (who’s always loved skulls).  We think Skull-A-Day is so cool and unique!  I became intrigued by the concept of creating something every day and Mason became obsessed with checking the blog for the day’s featured skull.  I’m a decorative painter and stationery designer, so I paint or design almost every day...but for clients.  I felt that in my busy schedule of running my own business and taking care of my family, my drawing skills were slipping and maybe I was hitting a creative plateau.  I remembered the days when I was a kid and I would draw every day, all the time, of anything that came to mind, just because.   I couldn’t remember the last time I did that.  These days, my artwork has become “work” and I felt like I was losing the “art” part in my own life.  I’ve noticed how much of that creative energy and spark Mason (and most of the children in my family) seem to have and it reminded me of my childhood and how much I missed that level of uninhibited creativity and imagination.

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? It’s been a challenge to find the time to do the sketch and post about it every day.  But it has definitely stirred up the creative juices and I’m hoping that the daily sketch will help me work on my drawing skills.  I’m certainly not the best artist by any means, and my sketches are usually quick little 5 minute doodles.  But so far, so good…I’ve been keeping up with it…for over a month now!  And I can see and feel the changes it’s making in my life…and my family’s lives too.  We’ve all been inspired to live life a bit more creatively, to be more mindful of the little things in the world that inspire us in big ways, and my project (and my blog) has become like a daily journal of musings, thoughts, inspirations.  I can’t wait to flip through this book in a year and reflect on the journey.  I take the sketchbook with me everywhere!  Now my two sons and my nieces and nephew are asking to see my sketch of the day.  My 5 year-old niece has her mom send me photos of her daily sketches.  The kids’ energy and enthusiasm for this project helps keep me motivated.  There are many times when the kids and I are all sketching together and it’s really an amazing experience.  No TVs or video games, smart phones or laptops…just some paper, pencils (markers, crayons, paint) and our imaginations…sketching, just because.

See all of Katie's sketches on her site HERE.

I Built That

Beth in North Carolina is doing a project she calls I Built That. She says, " I'm in college, so finding time to make something every day seemed ridiculous at first.  Now it's habit.  I Built That is a way to document this process and keep myself honest."...

Why did you decide to do this project? I needed a change.  I enjoy crafting but I found myself making the same things over and over instead of pushing myself to do something new.  I wanted to do this project to see what I am actually capable of creating with my hands.

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life?
Before this project I was going through a bit of depressed phase.  I was doing the same thing day in and day out, creating the same things over and over.  This project has given me something to focus on that always has a positive outcome.  On the days when I don't feel like doing much of anything and on the days when I don't have time to do anything, it's worth it for me to sit down and create.  It's my happy place that I have committed to make time for every day.

See all of the things that Beth has built on her blog HERE.

Communication Arts likes 365

Thanks to the kind folks at Communications Arts magazine for the nice review of 365: A Daily Creativity Journal in their current issue!

Sketch Before Sleep

My friend Carolyn Belefski here in Virginia shared a project she called Sketch Before Sleep. She explains, "I received a Wacom tablet for Christmas in 2009 and a few days later SKETCH BEFORE SLEEP was created in January 2010 as an outlet to experiment with the tablet. Before I went to sleep each night, I spent a few minutes  to create something everyday as my gift to the world. After I finished each illustration, I would post it on Twitter and Facebook so other people could experience something visual. I know this project has already inspired a few of my friends to draw more, and I hope to encourage others to do something creative everyday for themselves."...

Why did you decide to do this project? My goal for this project is to say I did something creative everyday for at least for one year. I also wanted to get acquainted with using a tablet and creating art digitally.

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? I feel accomplished that I stuck with the mission and it motivated me to draw a lot. I also paid attention to pop culture and media because some of my sketches represented a current event of that particular day. A lot of sleep was lost because being on the internet late at night drew me in to look at things, work on other projects or answer email when most people were sleeping.

See all of Carolyn's sketches HERE.

Bonus 365 Merit Badge Video - Play by Play

Yet another 365 video!

This time from multiple 365er Jess...

...and since I have a few left over she gets a 365 merit badge for her efforts! If you've got a video of your own in the works why not send it in and maybe get a badge too.

Felis Creatibus

Brenda Schack in Connecticut is attempting to "live a more creative life in 365 days" she calls it Felis Creatibus...          

Why did you decide to do this project? Last year my amazing daughter bought me a great book Skulls. Noah Scalin decided to create a skull a day for a year to challenge his creativity. Amazing book. I was in B&N in January fighting off boredom when I started flipping through the pages of a book I randomly picked up: 365 A Daily Creativity Journal. It was my daughter who realized that the skull-a-day guy wrote the journal. Now I have to buy the book – the universe said so.

I love to create things, anything, but really enjoy working with wire, glass, silly objects, enamels, metal, fabric, and tools. I am a tool junky. I drool in Home Depot. I like making jewelry, but have neglected that part of me for over a year now. I needed to feed the artist something other than chocolate and buttered crackers, so this project seemed like the perfect buddy to keep me going.

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? I have been doing this since the beginning of January 2011. It has been great!!! I don't just think about crazy fun stuff to make I am doing it! I don't always follow the prompts in the book, but it's a comfort to know it's there when I have no ideas or energy to dream up a crafty project.

I am now plugged into the blogosphere and exceeding my goal of blogging 3 times a week. It can be tough to write as soon as my project is finished, but I am doing it. Because of my 365 blog I also got a commission for a one-of-kind quilted pillow: The Vibrant Dead Dog. My creative spirit is much happier and I am more fearless with my projects because of 365. In fact I am playing with all kinds of mediums and techniques. Felis Creatibus 365 is the creativity enema I have been needing! Thank you Dr. Scalin for the prescription.

See all of Brenda's creations on her site HERE.

Bonus 365 Merit Badge Video - Wordie

The 365 videos continue to trickle in!

This one comes from Krystal...

...and since I have a few left over she gets a 365 merit badge for her efforts! If you've got a video of your own in the works why not send it in and maybe get a badge too.

365 Duplications in 2011

Georgia Fyke in Oxford, Mississippi has set out to make 365 duplications in 2011. She explains, "A duplication is a set of drawing - one randomly scribbled down, the other a pain-staking copy of the first."...

Why did you decide to do this project? I decided to undertake this after seeing your book. I knew I wanted to do something, but wasn't sure what. After fortuitously sitting next to a girl who is currently a student of my former art teacher on the train back from Chicago, I decided that duplications were where it's at. They aren't really very creative to be honest; it's like transcribing a piece of music. But they're a tool to help me further develop my ability to really see the world. I used to draw every day, and I used to love it. I've been away from it for year, and I want to get back to that place!

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? I've only been doing this for 22 days. I've somehow yet to skip a day. I really enjoy the ritual of it, even during this busy time. I was hoping it would be a centering constant, and it has proven to be so. We'll see how it goes, but I'm off to a rocking start!

See all of Georgia's duplications HERE.


Marianne Bland in Sacramento, California shared a yearlong project she finished last year called ArtProject2010. She says, "I imposed upon myself to make a piece of art from start to finish every day and post it on my blog: for a year. Artwork included drawings, paintings, poetry, photos, linocuts, jewelry, fabric art, sculpture and mixed media work."...

Why did you decide to do this project? I did this project because I wanted to define my aesthetic, force myself to find inspiration from new & unforeseen sources and become a more productive maker of artwork.

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? As a result, I have definitely grown as an artist, but also as a person- I discovered that daily artmaking is really a therapeutic process that helps me get through tough times. I also learned more about the type of art I want to make going forward, and discovered that I CAN make art even if I don't "feel like it" that day. :)

See all of Marianne's art HERE.

Toby's 365

My friend Toby Billowitz in Brooklyn, NY is doing a project he simply calls My 365. He says, "I started out following the daily assignments from the creativity journal and waiting to see if a theme would emerge. Since then, I have freely swapped assignment days and in some cases gone off-book entirely, and a theme that has recurred is self-portraiture. I started out a bit ashamed that I didn't leap on a cool theme from the beginning, but I like what I'm doing better now."...

Why did you decide to do this project? I was a big fan of the skull project. I had started open-ended daily projects in the past that didn't survive very far. The earliest ones were writing assignments, maintaining daily pages for The Artist's Way, and later writing a sonnet every day, which lasted about two weeks. There's a sense of accomplishment however long the project lasts (10 sonnets in twelve days!) but I'm optimistic because of the structure of the journal, my project's alignment with the calendar year and the momentum of the web as a sharing tool. I've always been torn between my creative side and my analytical side, and can't always satisfy both at the same time. The creative has been lacking recently, and this has been a nice way to give that part of my brain some more exercise.

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? With only the first month under my belt, I have already played with a few new skills: writing and recording a song, editing music and video, and I've gotten pretty efficient at editing photos and blogging. I have more confidence in my writing than in my visual art skills, but have become more comfortable thinking in different media. I have had to get creative to adjust the scope of each day's project to my available time, and have been developing my ability to recognize the difference in the time necessary for, say, sculpting cooked rice vs. organizing a flash mob.

See all of Toby's projects on his site HERE.

New Jewelry a Day

The mother & daughter team at GetItDesigns in Washington, DC are doing a project together they call New Jewelry a Day. Liz says, "Every day my kids and I make a new piece of jewelry from found objects. The goal of our project is to exercise the creative side of our brains everyday and share our projects with others in a “how to” format. Our self-imposed rules require that we (1) spend little or no money on our NJAD jewelry projects, (2) use up stuff we already have or can find in the trash or recycling can and (3) blog about it everyday."...

Why did you decide to do this project? Crafting is great fun. Crafting with kids is even more fun. Committing to a daily project not only mandates that we flex our creative muscles everyday, it also mandates that we engage in a project together everyday.

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? The goal was to use up the craft stuff we have and not collect more.  Creating new jewelry everyday did not reduce the amount of craft stuff around our home it just transformed the nature of the stuff from raw material to finished goods. In some cases, making jewelry actually increased the amount of stuff since we repurposed items that we would otherwise dispose. Since found objects are not the genre of jewelry my kids and I typically sell, we need to decide what to do with all the new jewelry.

See all of the GetItDesign family's jewelry HERE.

Move of the Day

Lynn Brown in Brooklyn, New York is doing a Move of the Day. He says it is, "A daily filmed document of movement. Much of it is personal and dance related, but not all of it. It is sometimes narrative, and occasionally just a moment I see that I like for what it says about the infinite qualities of movement in our everyday existence"...

Why did you decide to do this project? I chose to do this in response to something a former composition teacher told me. “if you can make a move a day, you're doing well”

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? My big lesson in this has been how my own perfectionism gets in the way of ideas. Doing this every day forces me to post things I personally find less than ideal. And that's okay. It has sharpened my awareness of subtle forces around me, and occasionally, the responsibility of doing it daily has released something I find really, really satisfying.

See all of Lynn's moves HERE.

Play by Play

Jess Lucia in Richmond, Virginia is documenting a toy every day in Play by Play.

Why did you decide to do this project? After my last hiccup-filled 365 effort (which was more like a 303), I realized that I needed to keep things simple and fun.  My only rules for this year's project are that the photo must be taken on the designated day, and that the photo must contain a toy.  The first week featured a small Swiper the fox figure because I was on a medical outreach trip in the Dominican Republic and needed to pack light.  This little toy has a lot of personality and doesn't crowd the lenses in my camera bag, so he was chosen to come along, and it was so much fun that I'm still featuring him daily.  Will it end up being a full year of Swiper? Who knows!"

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? Even though my subject is lighthearted, I find myself stretching my technical skills.  How does one capture the flame of a broiler? How can I make a toy look like a ghost?  Last year's 365 was an exercise in self-discipline and in figuring out how to frame a project.  This year's is about continuing my journey as a photographer and figuring out how to make that fit into the nooks and crannies of my already-pretty-full life.

See how Jess's year of play is progressing HERE.

Give Wings to the Day

Russell G. Harris III in Richmond, Virginia has set off on a project to Give Wings to the Day. He says, "For 365 days I will find a way to represent wings, or cocoons, or for me both are important parts to maintaining a healthy level of happiness...wings for flight....cocoons to heal when the world throws its all at you and you need to hunker down for a while...but for the next 365 days...I hope to show that an important part of the healing process is letting go of that pain or sadness when it has run its course...that it is important to come out of that cocoon...spread your newly healed wings...and shine again in all of your wonderful glory! *hugs n' luv all around!*"...

Why did you decide to do this project? I decided to do this project for a few reasons...I stopped drawing or doing anything visually artistic for quite a while...I want to grow more...also, I often feel like i haven't completed much as I tend to have a short attention span and I want to learn to focus on one thing for an extended period of time with a fixed beginning and ending. In short...I heard Noah's interview on WRIR where he spoke of his own personal growth...and I figured...I need some of that too and this is a perfect way to do it.

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? I'm less than a month into it now, and the one thing I've noticed is that because of the nature of mine, I have to force myself to make something pretty each day, no matter how I feel or what that day has brought me...and I like that.

See how Russell's year has taken flight on his blog HERE.

365 Smiles

Maria Elder in Richmond, Virginia is "uncovering" 365 Smiles...

Why did you decide to do this project?  I saw it as a challenge to discipline myself to stay with a project. To get out of a creative quagmire.

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? Today at breakfast my kids were fighting over who gets the pancake with the blueberry smile. I said "Yeah, I guess you all better get used to seeing smiles all over the house." My 16yo said "Well, isn't that the point?" Well, actually no. The point was never about The Smiles, but about the dedication needed to uncover one everyday. But. But finding smiles in unexpected places on unexpected days has been a huge bonus.

See all of Maria's smiles HERE.


Donna Meyer in Chloride, Arizona is making a book a day for a year. She says, "Some books will be 'rea' books, with covers and pages, but part of the challenge is to stretch the question 'what is a book?' Most will be a thing you can touch, hold in your hand. But some will be ephemeral, written in smoke or water, or maybe drawn in the sand."...

Why did you decide to do this project? I decided to embark on this challenge after happening across your book on Amazon. I'd been feeling in need of an artistic challenge and a boost to my creativity – which has been pretty dry lately. Since I've made books before, know something of the craft and love everything about books, they seemed the most logical theme for a year of creativity.

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? Only one week in, but already it is affecting my life in many ways. I wake up thinking about what book to make next. I work out technical problems while I'm falling asleep. Anything my eye happens to land on brings up the question. "What can I do with that?" "How can I use that in a book?" It's already a truly joyous part of my life-even when I hear myself groaning "Damn, I still have to make a book today and I don't have a single idea."

See all of Donna's books HERE.