I’m celebrating reaching 666 likes on Facebook! Who wants a surprise package?!

I will select a winner on Thursday, July 31st at 6pm EST. The winner will receive a surprise package from me!

To enter:
- comment below with your favorite summer activity [please only leave one comment]
- make sure your e-mail address is accessible within the comment form so I can contact you
- be a follower of Uncustomary Art on Facebook and/or Bloglovin

(If you win, I will e-mail you to ask for your snail mail address so I can send you the package.)

Thank you to everyone who makes these giveaways in honor of growth possible!


How To Find Motivation For Creativity | Uncustomary Art

When it comes down to it, this blog is about creativity. Sometimes that takes the form of snail mail, focusing on positivity, or just plain fun. Whatever your creative outlets are, though, I’m sure you’ve experienced some sort of creative block or lack of motivation. We all have. I felt like it was important that I addressed this topic, but instead of me telling you my opinions, I have asked some of my favorite creative souls to share their advice with you.

I think you’re going to find it really helpful. There are some conflicting ideas in here, which I think is great. Creativity is different for every single person, and I’m hoping that you find something here that really resonates with you for finding motivation for creativity! If you do, you might enjoy checking out their space on the internet. Click over, have a look around, and tell them Mary sent you!

How To Find Motivation For Creativity | Uncustomary Art

What do you do when you are lacking motivation to be creative?

“This usually is a sign that I need to be inspired again. If I can, I like to go to a museum exhibit or gallery, or simply get out of the house, take a walk and look at the world a little differently. When I can’t do that, I look up other people’s work online who inspire me –like Uncustomary, for example! Once I feel revitalized, it’s important that I get to work right away while I am still feeling inspired.” – Olivia Arrow

“I feel very blessed when it comes to finding inspiration–I’ve got the kind of mind that is ALWAYS dancing about and my “To Create” list is always overwhelmingly long. However, sometimes I still need the motivation to actually embark on these creative endeavors. I wish I could say there’s some magic trick to this motivation thing, that there’s a quick or easy or brilliant (or how about all three!) solution, but when it really comes down to it, this is my motivation to be creative: I think about all the amazing things I want to do, and how excited I am about them, and how I could totally start on them tomorrow because right now it’s easier to sit back and eat fudgesicles and Instagram, but I think about how freaking HAPPY I will be if I just put away the technology and I just get to work. It’s not easy, and sometimes there’s a lot of laying on the floor just thinking involved, but it’s only in the moment that I decide that I’m not going to put it (whatever creative “it” thing it is today) off anymore, is when I feel motivated. And then once I start, baby, I can’t be stopped.” – The Confetti Monster

“There are a few main ways that I get myself out of a creative block:
#1- Set a deadline for yourself, or have a reason to be doing what you’re doing (the latter is more effective.) I find when I’m taking a class, or have some other concrete reason to show work, I find a way to make it happen.
#2- Put yourself around people actively creating, and doing the work you want to be doing. Go to a museum, a poetry reading, or to see a show. You’ll be inspired in no time.
#3- Take your mind off of it, and do a simple and/or enjoyable activity. Sometimes we continue the cycle of being blocked simply by thinking about blocked all the time! Take the pressure off yourself by going to the park, reading a book, or riding on public transportation (I find movement especially inspiring and meditative.)” – Chantilly

“I used to tell my students to ‘just do something’ even if it’s cleaning up your studio(you could find something to spark your interest) also places like pinterest have so many creative people doing all sorts of things.. I find lots of ideas of things to try there…it’s always about the process of creating (to me) not the end result…the real joy is in the making-experimenting – doing something you’ve not tried before. Even if it doesn’t work out , it can lead to something wonderful you would have not tried with out the ‘experimenting’.” – Lee

“That depends. Sometimes I just need a break and do some living instead of art’ing (although living surely is an art form, and art is such a big part of life), because that’s where I draw my inspiration from a lot of the time, through coincidental meetings and situations, good conversations, music, movies, day dreaming and soul searching.

Other times I ache SO badly to make something creative, but have no idea what to make! It can actually be aggravating, ha ha. My go-to in those situations are blogs I love, instagram accounts and pinterest. I search for pretty much anything that can inspire me to think outside of the box and embrace the magic, weirdness and all the shades that is life.” – Trine

Lots of things help me when I’m feeling unmotivated. Sometimes just getting out of the house for a bit does the trick. Even a short walk usually gets my blood pumping again and helps me break out of a slump. It’s even better if I go to one of my favourite places.” – Miss Limboo

“I have found that I have two types of creative blocks.
One of them is when I’ve been working on something for hours and it’s just not coming right.
The other one is when I am too lazy to get a pen and paper together.

When it is the first one, I walk away from the project. I come back to it a day later, see how I feel. If I’m still not happy with how I’m going, I usually scrap it and start again. Something that often works for me is making a mood board, choosing an item for my inspiration, or setting limits. You would think that the restrictions would hamper my creativity but I find that it really helps me get into flow. Usually if I’ve made something within limits, once I’m done I can create something even more amazing outside of the box.

If it is the latter, I’m going to force myself to do it. I no longer believe in “creative moods”, although there are times when it comes easier than usual. I push through the laziness and try come out the other side with something… anything… even if it’s embarrassingly awful. Even if I create rubbish for five hours straight, in the sixth hour, I know I’m going to have something. Plus I’ll have five hours worth of lessons learned. I’ve started scheduling creative time. Creative thinking is a muscle, and it can be taught. That has been my experience.” – Caylee Grey

“Silkworm and I would live uninspired for a bit if we could, but we breathe inspiration fumes, so when the tank runs empty, filling it up is necessary. We especially like to go sailing in our walnut boat to search for inspiration, but otherwise we’ll usually settle for a bike ride or some kind of exploratory adventure. Focusing on bugs or other itty bitty things is also a pretty reliable method, from our experience.” – Carly and Silkworm

My secret is to have a bunch of creative projects in various phases of completion. That way, there’s always “something” artfully productive to do. Something to match my mood, energy level, time & space available. So that might mean editing an article I drafted a week ago, adding gouache to a drawing or adding words to an art journal page. It’s all about forward momentum!” – Tammy of Daisy Yellow

How To Find Motivation For Creativity | Uncustomary Art

What advice do you have to someone in a mental block, who feels they lack motivation and inspiration to make the things they love?

“You can try going for a walk – it clears the mind and helps generate good ideas. Seek out those who inspire you and let their intoxicating vibe of creativity infuse your self with inspiration. Put on some music you love that awakens the passionate sides in you – and/or maybe a movie that does the same?!

But, most importantly, and the best advice I can give, is to truly forget about perfection. Allow yourself the pleasure of trying without judging your creations. That way you won’t set boundaries that block your way (‘cause how many of us haven’t given up before we properly try at something, just because it didn’t turn out perfect on the first try), and your ideas are free to unfold. Maybe some of the more «shy» ideas that never dared to peek out earlier due to the weight of perfection-pressure WILL dare to come out now! Also; you can try doing something you love, in order to relax and not think about it for a while. Sometimes all you need is a break.” – Trine

If you love something you find a way to do it…if you don’t love it- find something else. Try something you’ve never done before. Take a workshop on something you’ve never done. You may find that ‘thing’ you thought you loved wasn’t really what you wanted to be doing. Don’t just think outside the box..make a box…put yourself in a box & create from inside of it…think/create/enjoy the process” – Lee

“If you’re in a creative block, you know your body. If it’s one where you just can’t create, then give yourself a break. Don’t keep thinking about it. It’s like when a couple is struggling to get pregnant. As soon as they stop trying, and stop stressing about it, bam! there’s a little baby.

Practical advice for breaking through the creative block:
+ Try a different kind of craft or way of being creative. Being creative in one way usually spurs on another.
+ Use this time to collect inspiration. Get away from Pinterest, damnit. That’s not real inspiration. Go to a park with your notebook. + Sketch or doodle the things around you even if you’re really bad at it.
+ Keep an Ideas Notebook. Write a list of things you’d like to do. Get specific. Write through the decision making process.
+ Journal.
+ Learn something. There are oodles of ecourses and video classes out there. Find something you’re interested in and finally do it.
+ Do something else with your hands. Cook a fantastic dinner.
+ Accomplish something else. Easy things. Once you’ve got a few going, you can build up your courage for the big thing.
+ Have a bath. Take a nap. Paint your toenails.
+ Clear the clutter on your desk.
+ Leave the house.” – Caylee Grey

“I think it’s really easy to go on any type of social media and feel inferior to all the great stuff out there. And, at first, the things you make or put out there might not be that great. But, you’ve got to start somewhere. Someone doesn’t just wake up one day and open up an Etsy shop and have amazing product photos, unless they already have a photography background. So, when you’re feeling like you lack motivation and inspiration, sure, go get on that social media and be overwhelmed with the amazing stuff out there, and then take a walk or dance wildly or doodle or journal or go have tea with a friend and talk, let all the amazing inspiration ruminate in your mind, and then make something of your own. Doesn’t matter if you’re the only one who digs it at first, doesn’t matter if you don’t think it’s anything special yet. Just make make make make make and fall in love with your creations and the world will fall in love with you in return.” – The Confetti Monster

“Don’t force it and be kind to yourself. Creativity can’t be forced, so if you’re stuck, try not to put too much pressure on yourself. Instead, try doing something else for a little while to give yourself a refreshing break and redirect that stuck energy. Sometimes the best ideas come when you’re doing something else, like working out or cooking or taking a bath. And when the motivation returns, pounce!” – Olivia Arrow

“I would say that you’re probably having a mental block for a reason. First, try to find out what that block is. Why do you feel unmotivated? If it’s a negative reason, how can you turn those thoughts around into positive things? If it’s a logistical reason like lack of time- see if you can carve out 15 minutes here or there after work to make some time for yourself. Then make it 20. Then 30. Etc. Next, take steps to get yourself on the right track again- even if they’re small steps. Like buying yourself some new paints, signing up for a writer’s workshop, or just getting a book about creativity or inspiration. Lastly, put yourself around people who are supportive of your creativity, and understand why you need to be an artist. Don’t try to do it alone! Community is so important.” – Chantilly

“Do something–go for a walk, draw, write a stream of consciousness–and wait patiently. It’s no use trying to light a match by striking it on a surface not meant for striking matches. You’ll just tear it all up ’til there’s nothing left to catch fire. I think the best thing to do is to use your thinking thing–that brilliantly beautiful brain of yours–to think deeply about every little piece of the universe you spot, from a cardinal chirping a song to a dandelion seed floating past your eye. Create stories for everything.” – Carly and Silkworm

“This is a fabulous question! You could follow a journal prompt; this gives you a target or goal and a bunch of constraints. You can also go back to the basics, like drawing repeating patterns with a permanent black marker or india ink​. This is calming and meditative and helps your mind focus. It’s also helpful to brainstorm or do a mind map. ​For example, challenge yourself to write your name or a symbol in 100 different ways.” – Tammy of Daisy Yellow

Here’s a recipe I often use to get out of a slump:
1. Get dressed into something fun and colourful. Wear your entire badge collection and some cat ears.
2. Go to the craft store and look at all the neat stuff
3. Buy something inexpensive – like a colourful marker pen you are drawn to or glitter glue
4. Maybe buy some really good coffee to try out at home
5. Try something different from what you normally do. Losing motivation for me often comes from feeling like everything takes too much energy and effort and also from being sick of doing the same thing all the time..
6. If you don’t have the energy to do much try looking at inspirational creative blogs.
7. Start small and get carried away.
8. Don’t worry so much
9. Enjoy small moments
10. Garnish with pickles and glitter and you’re ready to go!” – Miss Limboo

Phew! Okay, did we miss anything?! Share your thoughts below.
And if you want some daily inspiration sent straight to your inbox on topics including motivation and creativity, check out my e-mail subscription.

Get your own Inspiration Guide poster through SARK

Ups and downs are the way of life, huh? The good news is that both are inevitable. So even when you’re down in a valley, you can be sure that something good will happen again. [It will.]

This week has been full of beautiful things, for the most part. I went to Artscape, which was a blast. I got to dance in two flash mobs, go pantsless as a political statement, and get my groove on to Galactic playing live. The theme this year was movement, and one of my favorite installations was just this little patch of grass that was full of pinwheels, twirling in the wind. It made my heart feel full.

I got to go to a stand up show and laugh my butt off. We partied with some of the comics after the show, and I’m really proud of my friend, Sara, for getting out there and being funny! In addition to the Artscape festival, I also got to go to a carnival in Westminster. I played the duck pond game and won a tinsel baton, rode on the Ferris Wheel, ate cotton candy, and saw some really beautiful rides. I feel like not enough things are shaped like candy in every day life.

Extra Sparkle:  new bras and underwear  the way my new curtains transformed my room  strangers coming up to me at bars to compliment my dancing  the weird and delicious crust Pizza Hut is using  going to a WaWa in Westminster at 4 am with no one there, and enjoying the serene parking lot  getting matching 90′s outfits with Ashley  dancing on stage at the gay bar  ridiculous photoshoots with friends  running into friends from high school  a burger with fried mac and cheese on it  taking a tour of a Victorian art school  covering Charlotte’s trunk in “I love my ___” [insert dog breed] magnets for her birthday  opening beautiful packages from friends  helping Ashley move her cat, Neko, from her parents’ to her house  this conversation: Me: “Why are my eyes watering?” Ash: “You have guacamole in your eye.”  being able to send gifs via text  riding in carts, laying on display beds, and speaking loudly about straws in Big Lots  the way my friends and I play “Marco Polo” when we’re lost in any store  being able to pick myself back up  beautiful gift bags  Brad Pitt’s character in “Snatch”  approaching my one year anniversary of starting my business  your reactions to my Glitter Goggles post  singing songs in an environment that makes them literal  setting my standards higher

We’ve been partying pretty hard this summer. Sometimes you need a power nap in between adventures. Sending love your way!

PS – Looking for some more inspiration? Check out my Pinterest board.


I have a special treat for you today! K.P. is here to enlighten you on the Fun she creates in California! She is truly a kindred spirit, and I know you’re going to enjoy what she has to share.

Hi, I’m K.P. and I am a fan of Mary and all her shenanigans. It’s my 8th visit to this blog today. I keep coming here for inspiration or direction on how to write this post. I want to make a good first impression, but every time I come back here, I read something I relate to, or something inspirational and I find myself clicking away at the mouse virtually frolicking with Mary and her friends. I have to reel myself back in and focus-“I am supposed to be writing a guest post”. There is a lot of fantastic stuff on this blog.

I am a practitioner of Funism. I spend a lot of time talking about this concept on my blog: At Home in the Fun Zone. I do my best to bring joy to a stranger’s life every day. Sometimes I re-purpose old card holders with messages and fill the inside with glitter dust. (Glitter dust is like glitter, only finer. I suppose some people might use it for embossing things, at least that is the section of the craft store you will find it in.)

Funism Guest Post Uncustomary Art

Funism Guest Post Uncustomary Art
Sometimes I make origami envelopes and leave them in coffee shops or on the shelves of grocery stores.

Funism Guest Post Uncustomary Art
Whoever found this one got to read “Miracles happen every day” while glitter dust sprinkled around them.

Mainly, in my neighborhood, I am known as the “Chalk Bandit” and I leave chalk messages on the cement wall that keeps the sand from the beach off the bike path.

Funism Guest Post Uncustomary Art
I like to write on this wall because there are a lot of people here every day who exercise alone, headphones in their ears, absorbed in their serious thoughts about their serious lives. I am so lucky to live by the beach, in sunny southern California. I don’t understand why more people aren’t happy and smiling. I do this in the light of day, but I try to keep my identity hidden because there are some people who think that chalk is a gateway to graffiti. For a while I cut back on the chalking, to give the naysayers their way, but there were many emails and messages on Instagram telling me the positive messages are missed.

I also like to paint tiny canvases and attach magnets to them, and leave them around town for people to find and take home. This one says “Hug your people” and I left it on a pole next to the house used to film “Beverly Hills 90210”. This is actually at the North End of the Hermosa Beach Strand, not in Beverly Hills.

Funism Guest Post Uncustomary Art
Sometimes 1.00 a canvas can be expensive, especially if I want to leave at least one a day for someone to find. The craft store also sells balsa wood panels for only 20 cents a piece. They are sturdy and work fine to paint on, or make a collage or whatever crafty thing you enjoy doing. I happily take any magnet a pizza place or Dr. office hands out, and I glue them to the back of the balsa wood panels with gluestick.

Funism Guest Post Uncustomary Art
I believe that any of us can change the world, one smile at a time. What I have learned from interacting on social media (Like Mary’s blog and instagram) is that there are so many like minded people out there. We all just feel alone- wanting to make a difference. But one person can make a difference, and every person should try. Together we are changing the mood of the world. Dr. Seuss says Fun is Good and I think we should trust him, he is a doctor.

Funism Guest Post Uncustomary Art

See what I mean? Go visit K.P.’s blog or Instagram and tell her I sent you over! And take a lesson from her and never let Negative Nancys stop you from doing what you love.


Glitter Goggles | Uncustomary Art

You’ve probably heard the expression “rose-tinted glasses”, meaning that someone only sees the good parts of life. It’s something I’ve been accused of often. People can assume that because you’re recognizing the good that you aren’t aware of the bad. Now, I’m not going to say that there aren’t people like this, and I’m not claiming to be a saint, but viewing the world through a positive lens is not ever a bad thing.

Do I sometimes shield myself from negative things? Absolutely. Sometimes I refuse to keep up with current events because it hurts my heart too much. I purposefully avoid knowledge to keep my brain in a positive space. That can be a terrible thing. But ultimately, seeing the good things in the world, or as I call them, “sparkly linings“, is a skill. It’s easy to get bummed out by humanity, and you know what? Sometimes we should get bummed out by humanity.

Human Condition Baltimore Street Art

One day, on a walk through the city, I spotted this message written on the side of a broken down truck. I don’t know who Giver is, but I completely agree. Sometimes the human condition is horrible. We murder, rape, and betray not just innocent people, but those who we love the most. Every day there are multiple new stories on the news, or even in your own neighborhood, that will make you question if there is any good left out there.

A couple weeks ago, I was at the MVA getting my license renewed. The MVA (or DMV) is a place where almost every adult has to go. It’s almost never a pleasant experience, and is viewed as an unwanted chore by pretty much everyone. As I sat in that waiting area, I noticed how miserable everyone was, and I decided that I would come back the following week with some sort of present for everyone in the waiting room.

Lollipop RAOK | Uncustomary Art

The next week, I returned with 150 lollipops that I had wrapped in festive cupcake wrappers, creating a little flower effect. I skipped into the MVA and began to ask people if they wanted a free lollipop while they waited. Not only did a lot of people say no, but some people were straight up rude to me. As I reached across to give a lollipop to a child who actually wanted one, a woman said “EXCUUUUSE ME” in a way that made me laugh out loud. For about thirty seconds I was horrified at this experience. Was this gesture that came from a place of kindness worthy of looks of disgust and rude remarks? I knew the answer was no, but what made me sad was that it seemed I was the only one who thought so.

I kept going, though. I went through every row, asking every single person if they wanted a lollipop. There were almost 200 people in there, and I passed out less than 20 of the lollipops I brought. But as I walked out the door, anything but empty handed, I just kept thinking about how everything was okay. Everything was going to be okay. It’s okay that these people hated what I did. All I wanted to do was make a bleak situation a little more fun, and I did my best to do so. The outcome kind of sucked, but this can not discourage me from continuing my mission.

A few hours later, I came back to these thoughts to reflect. I thought about the times that people have told me that I view the world with rose-tinted glasses, and how those same people probably would have told me that I “should have expected” that reaction at the MVA. But you know what? I’m glad that I didn’t. I’m glad that I walked through those doors full of optimism, and I’m glad that I left with my head held high.

I don’t view the world with rose-tinted glasses, though. I see everything with glitter goggles. Even my periphery is sparkly. Stay optimistic, my friends. [8 Tips On How To Be Optimistic]


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