motivation

Washi Tape Frames and My Favourite Quotes

WashiIf you saw my post about my apartment here in Korea, I’m sure you noticed that like all apartments, it didn’t come decorated, and that there were blank walls as far as the eye could see. If you didn’t notice, it’s clearly a testament to my highly creative camera angles (ha) because trust me, they were there.

DSC_1998Slowly but surely, I’ve been trying to decorate as best as I can. This is a one-year living situation (that I am 2 months into already – how did that happen again!?) and I can’t paint the walls, so I’ve had to get a bit creative. Challenge accepted!

DSC_1995I was inspired by this washi tape frames project I saw on Pinterest, originally from Design Sponge. I was also inspired by Recite This, a website that takes any quote or phrase and transforms it into a beautiful poster with a design of your choice. So I pulled together a little gallery wall with some of my favourite sentiments, most of them taken from my Pinterest board full of quotes I find inspiring.

DSC_2019This project really doesn’t require a tutorial. All it takes is a little inspiration, a bunch of washi tape, and dash of creativity. I bought my washi tape at Daiso stores in Korea and Japan (the Japanese stuff was much stickier and better for this kind of project!), but you can find coloured and patterned tape at any craft store.

DSC_2013Print off some quotes or rip some beautiful photos out of magazines and you’re ready to go! I just put mine up in an arrangement I liked and tried my best to tape in straight lines. I failed, of course, (case in point: the above photo) but I’m still happy with the results.

washi collageHere’s my wall so far. On the left is a cute fabric flag with an ice cream cone on it I bought in Japan. The turquoise poster is just a flyer that I picked up from a stack of advertisements at the Tokyo Metropolitan building. I don’t know what either of them say, so if I have any readers that speak Japanese, please let me know! There’s also a funny little poster with the line “I’m very font of you because you’re just my type”, because I’m a nerd when it comes to typography.

Then I have a collection of some of the quotes that I love. These quotes are such great reminders of many of my favourite life philosophies and seeing them on my walls always gives me a mental nudge in the right direction.

“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” – Aristotle / This idea is always a solace to me when I’m getting frustrated about one particular photo, or blog post, or day of the week, or interaction with a loved one. To me, it means you have bad days but a good life. You may hate something that you create but begin to appreciate it from a distance or when you see how it works with other things you’ve made. If you make a mistake you can start over tomorrow. How you live 80% of the time matters more than the other 20%.

“I want to feel my life while I’m in it.” – Meryl Streep / I want to appreciate the special, magic, wonderful moments as they’re happening instead of after the fact, when I’m looking back. I want to be present and fully engaged for the good stuff (and for the bad stuff). I don’t want to feel like I missed the moment. These are the days!

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt / Self-explanatory, but that doesn’t make it any easier to remember. I struggle with comparison every single day. This quote reminds me to get out of my own head and try my best to stop it already with the comparing game.

“The grass is greener where you water it.” – Neil Barringham / A similar sentiment is “Grow where you’re planted.” This one reminds me that life is what you make of it. With a few exceptions, moving to a new physical place isn’t going to solve all your problems – wherever you go, there you are. And even in the cases when a change of place was really necessary for your emotional wellbeing, it’s still up to you to make it your own.  To me it means: make the most of every situation and opportunity. Reach out, grow some roots, do your best. You don’t get another ride on this merry-go-round.

“No matter what the situation, we are very lucky.” – Julie Andrews / I only recently read this quote, but it struck a chord in me. To me, it just screams gratitude. Count your blessings. Appreciate all the good you have in your life. “If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.” Practicing gratitude instantly gives me a good dose of perspective in every situation.

“This is water.” – David Foster Wallace / I just printed this one off to add to my wall. It’s from a very wise and very wonderful commencement speech that I love very much. In a nutshell, it reminds me to give people the benefit of the doubt, to let go of the feelings that don’t serve me, and to try my best to be a conscious adult. You can watch an amazing version of the whole talk here.

You might notice that the washi tape is peeling on a couple of the posters. One of the kinds I bought wasn’t sticky enough for the texture of the wall, so at some point I’ll probably have to make new frames with the stickier tape or find another solution. For now, though, I love my little art installation – it keeps reminding me to live a better life.

TEDxMcGill: Redefining Reality

Yesterday I was thrilled to attend TEDxMcGill 2011. I’ve always been a huge fan of the TED community, and being able to go to the conference in my city two years in a row has been an an amazing experience. If you have an “X” conference where you live, I couldn’t encourage you more to take the opportunity to go and discover all the great ideas that your community is spreading and soaking up.

I would try and convince you to go, but I’ll hold back from telling you why it’s worth it. Hopefully by not desperately trying to convince you, it’ll ensure that those who do go are 100% enthusiastic and committed to the TED experience and are more than happy to donate their money and their whole day to the cause.

If you’re not familiar with the world of TED, get familiar! (This intro video for TEDxAmsterdam is pretty amazing too.)

The tagline of the organization is “ideas worth spreading”, and I’ve never failed to be either inspired, intrigued, informed or opened up after watching any of the talks. The “x” means “independently organized event”, and they’re held all over the world. The most creative and innovative people come together – people from art, science, philanthropy, engineering, healthcare – and share their ideas, and I find that process one of the most inspiring there is. What could be more beautiful than the sharing of ideas? It’s what makes us human.

Yesterday’s event was no different from my past experiences with TED. This year’s theme was redefining reality, and the speakers team really did an amazing job of organizing the talks into 3 sessions that mirror the process of how we can go about redefining our reality. While I enjoyed every single one of the talks, I want to focus on the ones that left the greatest impression so that I can keep this short and sweet! You can check out the rest of the speakers & their ideas here.

Lessons From NaNoWriMo Week One

Well, it’s official. Today marks the 7th day of National Novel Writing Month, and I am pleased to report that I have been diligently sitting down every day and writing my 1,667 words. Currently I have:

  • 20 pages
  • 10, 219 words
Ooh, it makes me giddy just to see those numbers! It’s true that it’s daunting to have over 39K words left to be written, but I plan to just keep on truckin’ and meet my daily quota. If I do that, I’ll be proud of myself. Today I wanted to share some of the lessons NaNo’s been teaching me over the past week. Hopefully even those who aren’t participating/aren’t planning on it will still find something of value here!

1. It feels good to do something every day.

Lately, I’ve been learning this lesson with respect to my “morning pages” on 750words.com. But adding this crazy project of writing a novel to the mix really hits the lesson right on home. There’s something inexplicably satisfying in doing something, consistently, every day. Gretchen Rubin from The Happiness Project highly recommends doing something every day, saying that it teaches us to find pleasure in our routine.

The things you do every day take on a certain beauty, and provide a kind of invisible architecture to daily life. – Gretchen Rubin

I would also venture to say that doing something every day is a boost to our self-esteem. I know that every time I hit my word quota, my chest practically puffs up with pride. It’s rewarding to see the number creep up, and to have the satisfaction of a job well done.

Writing: Inspiration & Motivation

Since my last post about writing, I’ve been trying to incorporate writing into my day-to-day life. I think I’m making some progress, and that makes me feel so happy. As I said in the last article, writing is something I want to practice, improve and enjoy. I want to make it more of a priority! And I think I’m being successful so far, so I wanted to share some of the things that have been helping me with my goals.

Inspiration

I’ve been really drawing inspiration from the world of writing over the past week! I’ve written out about a dozen cards, filled with great quotes about writing. There are some great resources for quotes here and here. The cards are scattered around my workspace, and my eyes tend to fall on them while I’m spacing out from work. Great system so far!

I’ve read some great articles about the art of writing! My favourite is a piece from The Guardian about various writers’ top 10 rules for writing. There are some contradictions, definitely, but it’s so interesting.

I watched Finding Forrester a few days ago, and definitely got some inspiration! It was wonderful to take a look inside (albeit a fictional) writer’s life, see how they work and what they suggest. His line: “write your first draft with your heart, re-write with your head” is a great one that will stick with me for some time. I hope to watch some other films about writers, like those listed here.

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