Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Secret Ingredients for Creative Fun

I just wrapped up a most pleasant afternoon with the delightful Patricia Zapata of A Little Hut. Patricia and I first met at Maker Faire Austin back in October, and instantly bonded (talk of balancing kids/crafting/work/laundry will do that for ya) I love following Patricia on Twitter, and was giddy to see the following tweet from her yesterday:

Getting everything ready for overnight trip to Austin.

After suggesting we try to hook up for a "paper playdate" and realizing our kids (who are almost the exact same ages) could play together, we arranged an afternoon meetup to play with the Cricut paper cutting machine.

Patricia recently wrote a two-part review of the Cricut that included some beautiful projects. I got a Cricut from the Provo Craft folks during Maker Faire Bay Area a few weeks ago, and had been dying to try it out. We introduced the kids, tossed 'em out in the back yard and dug in to the Cricut box. With Patricia's skillful guidance, it wasn't long before we were cutting out all kinds of fun shapes and designs.

There was so much laughter - even when the kids started running around inside the house, screaming at the tops of their lungs - and we had fun trying out all kinds of different things on the Cricut. After Patricia left, I headed back to the table to pick up a little bit, and was struck by the remnants of our crafternoon.

The kitchen table was a "mess" but it was a beautiful example of the most important ingredients to creative fun: collaboration, experimentation, and a big huge .... MESS.

Because we didn't have anything specific we were trying to make, we were completely open to just trying anything and everything. We both had some similar ideas we were wanting to try, and somehow, working together made it much easier for us to just throw caution to the wind and try every crazy idea we had.

I'll be posting pictures of some of the things we made in the next day or two, but I think what's more important than *what* we made was our *process*. I love to be on my own and work alone, but sometimes the creative spark you need can only be lit when you are with someone else. And having a special "playdate" or occasion also seems to free up some of the inhibition to making a mess. When you have collaboration, laughter, lack of fear and lots of mess, you are pretty much gauranteed to get something really beautiful in return.

The afternoon was also a great lesson in spontinaety. Patricia and I laughed at the thought that this fantastic afternoon was in thanks to Twitter. But it was also being sponatneous enough to say, "Hey ... why don't we..." and "Yeah, that sounds like fun" I had to not worry that my house wasn't clean (it's summer, folks, things are in a constant state of chaos over here) and Patricia was really great to be so flexible and willing to just come over to the house of someone she'd only met once before. Those little risks added up to big time fun. So what little risks are you taking today?


  1. How awesome! Looks like you guys had a great time, and how cool that you got to meet and hang out. Wish I could have been there, too!

  2. Sounds like the absolute best way to spend an afternoon - er, crafternoon - love that term!

  3. Absolutely, I agree with you 100%--in the end, it's about fun. I love that your afternoon was all about the process. I LOVE my Cricut, Cuttlebug, etc., etc., and to me the funnest part is "in the making".

    --Gracie from Imagine That, formerly Everything Cricut

  4. I could not have said it better myself. I, sorry 'we' (the kids were sad to leave) had a great time too!! We must do it again soon!

  5. Craft play dates are the best invention ever! From the looks of things, you two were totally "submerged in the moment". Can't wait to see the results.

  6. From a messy day.. comes great experiences..


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