Art + Design

From the Design Desk: Creative Projects for Rainy Days

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Spring may be right around the corner, but a slew of rainy days remain in the forecast for many of us. Just because the view out the window may seem wet and gray, that’s no reason to limit yourself to the usual winter activities: movies, baking, mending holes in old socks, and reading depressing Russian novels.

Here are some creative endeavors that might be worth exploring before spring’s arrival.

1. Coffee Table Diving: This may not seem “creative” at first, but going through old magazines and picture books is a good starting point for many projects. Use your time on the sofa with paper media (no TV or movies) for brainstorming.

2. Start a Photo Essay: Just think of something that interests you and document it. Photo essays get their strength from the volume and diversity of the photos. So whether you want to photograph discarded Christmas trees, your culinary creations, reflections in the rain, or a year of mornings, all you have to do is … do it! Just start snapping. Any camera will work.

3. Start a Blog: Blogs are no longer just wordy diary entries or critique platforms. They can be viewing points for the things that inspire you, from parenting to fashion, design, art, crafts, or your Boston terrier. Having a focus generally helps strengthen the blog, making it easier to post as well as define an audience. Some examples: Land of Sparkalot, a Polaroid photo diary, Designer’s Library (with notes on design inspiration and findings), and Design Benign (about design and technology). Take a look at WordPress, TypePad, or Tumblr to learn how to set up a blog.

4. Make collages: Gather old magazines and found ephemera and cut away. You can make cards, decorate plain boxes, or simply make art. You could even reuse the cardboard from old cereal boxes and other packaging as the surface of your creations.

5. Personal History Project: Scan old photos and archive them in Picasa or Flickr. Then you can share with family and friends, or just reflect on your own evolution.

6. Redecorate: Last but not least, there are a million ways to get creative by redecorating. Even simply changing the color of a wall can be immensely gratifying. New removable and affordable wallpaper designs are now available at Target and Home Depot. Get inspiration online at Design Sponge or Apartment Therapy. Or, for more hands-on/ how-tos, check out our craft books. Stencil 101 Decor, Lotta Jansdotter Stencils, and Wallpaper Projects are just a few we’re excited about.

These are just a few ideas. Winter can also be very conducive to sewing, knitting, letter-writing, making music, and all sorts of creative endeavors. And if cabin fever still has a hold on you, grab a blank journal and head to your local coffee shop. After all, rainy days can be wonderful opportunities to recharge the creative batteries. Do you have suggestions for other rainy day creative projects? Leave a comment letting us know!

Suzanne LaGasa
Designer

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4 Comments

  • Kate February 22, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    Make candy! I just discovered the joys of melting sugar in various ways. You don’t need a bunch of fancy equipment (beyond a $10 candy thermometer) and maybe a decent spatula).

    Reply

  • Amanda February 22, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    Great ideas and tips.
    I’ve been shooting a lot more indoors and playing with the light that is available for photography.

    Reply

  • jek February 22, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    how fun! i do most of these things and actually have a photo collection of discarded christmas trees! since i won’t have a home for two months (other than a tent or a borrowed sofa) i think i will have to take up collage. thank you for the inspiration!

    xo
    ~jek

    Reply

  • Patti February 24, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    Suzanne has great ideas in this post!
    And I wanted to shout out for a book that is featured in one of the photos above – HOT SHOTS.
    This is a great, easy-to-use book that shows tricks of the trade for framing, shooting, lighting, exposong and cropping to make your photos more dynamic and fun. Here’s a brief list of some of the topics:
    Faceless Portrait
    Super Color Contrast
    Negative Space
    Capturing the Unexpected
    Cropping and Scale
    Low Point of View

    It is great inspitaion.

    The second printing of the book just arrived and you can order it from our website at:
    http://www.chroniclebooks.com/index/main,book-info/store,books/products_id,7906/title,Hot-Shots/

    Reply

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