<![CDATA[CARMEN BOHN - Blog]]>Sun, 12 May 2024 14:46:22 -0400Weebly<![CDATA[Hello from HERE]]>Tue, 12 Sep 2023 21:28:15 GMThttp://www.carmenbohn.com/blog/hello-from-here
I've been writing over on the Ply Studio website for years - and this week I migrated all the best blog posts over to this site. Because I'm soon going to close down the Ply Studio website. It's time to keep evolving and moving on. But it's not goodbye. 

From this vantage point and 2 1/2 years after officially launching Ply, I'm jumping out from behind that brand and comin' at ya as simply me. Carmen Bohn. 

My offerings are now focused on designing awesome team building experiences. While each is unique to the team that engages me, most of these experiences have a creative element (as that is my thing; the thing that moves me) but also go deep on what connects and engages us. I spent decades leading teams as a really great manager (I can send you some references if you want to know more about that) so I've got a lot of experience, tools and tips to inspire GREATNESS on your team. With YOU as the leader. Think of me as your creative coach, mentor and guide.

Apart from my team building work, I also design kick-a#$ digital courses and workbooks (send me an email and I'll send you an example!). My content is developed with a focus on wellness and wellbeing. And for me (and the thousands I have worked with) the tools that I love to design and teach are all about creativity and mindset. If you want to read more about that, just keep on scrolling down.

I will continue to add posts to this blog periodically with a focus on:
- team building (ideas, tips, resources),
- productivity tools and resources,
- modern workplace learning; and,
- creativity and wellness.

So, if you are interested in any or all of that, join my email list (you will receive timely updates there first) or bookmark this page and come back and visit often.

And of course, you can also book a call with me to start a conversation about what I can do for you and your team. I'd love to help you thrive.

- Carmen

p.s. I make working with me simple - because I know you are a busy being ... here's what it looks like ...
<![CDATA[What happened to Ply Studio?]]>Thu, 07 Sep 2023 17:47:10 GMThttp://www.carmenbohn.com/blog/what-happened-to-ply-studio
*originally published May 30, 2023

Just this morning, a nice partner of a soon-to-be-weaver pulled up at my old Studio space on Crichton, looking for a package he was instructed to pick up. He sat on the stairs leading down to the old Studio, perplexed. 
The package wasn't there. 
The call went out. "It's not here". My phone rang. The package? Just where I had left it. At my new studio space AKA my home, just around the corner.
Problem solved. But.
I realized I have been a little silent over here since moving out of my studio space known as Ply Studio in early April. Some believe I'm still there.
And while I slowly transition all the things and places where that old location shows up (Google searches, my website, social media, people's memories, etc.), I thought it was time to talk about that space and tell you about how you can continue to be part of my world. 
If you visited Ply Studio over the last 2.5 years, thanks for stopping by. If you had planned on visiting but never quite made it (I get it), this is not the end of my creative business. 

Moving out of my studio space was a natural progression in my business. It was always part of my plan. I had never intended to have a physical space (especially a 1,200 square foot one) for as long as I did, actually.
Truth is, more and more of my work is going digital and virtual (I'm talking digital courses, online workshops and even a podcast - coming soon!). Also, I'm working with an increasing number of teams in their corporate habitat (aka boardrooms). So, the need for my studio space has been diminishing steadily since last summer. 

Though I loved having all the space to spread out my spinning wheels, looms and fibre supplies, the reality was that I really didn't need all that space. In fact, when I wasn't running a workshop or holding an event, the studio felt lonely. 
Also, my business has changed a LOT since I officially launched the Studio in late 2020. While I originally planned for a full slate of arts workshops and events taking place around the clock, the pandemic (and my energy reserves) had other plans.
Here's the other thing: running a business means you need to have an audience AND solve a problem they have.
While I've been steadily building my audience, I've had to do a whole lot more education on the creative wellness side than I ever thought I would have to. I mean, I thought EVERYONE knew that making stuff by hand could make you feel better (not kidding here; it's a foregone conclusion for me, but it turns out it is NOT for others).

So now, as my business continues to evolve, I have my focus squarely set on only 3 things, which I am freely sharing them with you here because I want you to join me... 

1. Creative team building experiences, like corporate creative arts workshops, modern workplace learning based activities & creative mindset activities. Wondering what the #%%## all of this means? Email me {carmen at plystudio613 dot com}. I'd love to start a conversation with you and design something specifically for you and your team. Get your boss to pay for your creative time! It's possible and I can show you how the 12 other teams I've worked with so far have done it.

2. Digital courses, workbooks and other free & paid resources, all centred on creativity and creative wellness. I offer up a lot of free content to inspire and unblock your creativity. I also have paid programs like "6 Weeks to Creative Wellness" and "Your Simple Creative Summer" (opens for enrollment June 12th!).  If you want to know more about this and jump in to experience the wonder and wellness that you will feel, get on my email list to be the first to know when it opens and get one of the limited edition supplies kits to get your creative making all revved up for the best summer to come! 
3. A podcast. More details on the title, topic and launch date are coming soon. All I will say at this point is that it's been on my 'reach for it' list for awhile and I'm finally making it happen and I couldn't be happier about it.

Now, if you've read all of this and are really just wondering "where the heck we are meeting because I'm registered in one of your upcoming workshops?", then this next bit is for you.
They will take place in and around my home - primarily on my beautiful deck and in my nicely appointed sheltered outdoor spaces, as well as in neighbourhood collaboration spaces and wherever you might want me to show up (yep, I can come to you!). I send out an email to all registered guests a few days before each event.
Following my passion and purpose as a creative business owner has been one of the greatest (and most challenging) rides of my life. Teaching others to tap into their creativity in order to feel well has been a joy. I love this ride I'm on. I hope you'll join me in one of my coursesteam-building events or pop-up workshops soon. 
Create, be well, be nice to others, do good in the world.
- Carmen xo
<![CDATA[3 Things You Can Do To Feel Better Today.]]>Thu, 07 Sep 2023 17:34:29 GMThttp://www.carmenbohn.com/blog/september-07th-20233819939
*originally published January 11, 2023

New here? Glad to have you!

Let's start at the beginning.

There is a reason that I talk about creativity and share this passion with anyone and everyone that will listen. It’s part of my story.

My Story

If you’ve been following me since the beginning, you know that I took a major leap of faith and quit my day job of 15 years to go all in on my own creative arts studio, Ply Studio, in early 2021.

It was a mind-numbingly hard decision for me to make to leave my day job. 

I actually loved what I did as a senior manager and learning specialist for a great organization that was like a home away from home for me. 

I was well paid and well regarded. But my gut was telling me that I just had to try - to get going and really pursue my passion. And stop being grumpy with those that I would read about or listen to for being brave in their own ventures.

Did I know what my passion was? You bet I did!

I wanted to devote more time to the act of making things by hand, to being creative because every time I did, I would feel better. I wanted to share this passion with others in the hopes they would feel better too. I wanted to teach them what it was like to drop their screens and get off their laptops and pick up something tactile. 

The thing is, years ago I didn't know exactly what to call all of this. In fact, I wasn't sure that all of THIS was even a THING. I had a hard time even differentiating it from a hobby. Often when I spoke about my creative outlets, people were interested but also dismissive.

Now, years later, I am increasingly laser focused on this topic that I am still so passionate about. 


So, what is it?

Basically, I define creative wellness as that feeling we get when we put down our screens and pick up something tactile, creative, and artsy. These things actually slow us down, lower our heart rates, temper our worries and anxieties and might even make us feel happy. 

An impressive body of research has been emerging for a bunch of years now that suggest  it’s true, getting creative through music, paint, drawing, textiles, creative writing and more is good for us. If you’re interested in this research, I have linked it up in a few of my blog posts in the last few years. You can just search for the term ‘creative wellness’ on this blog and you’ll find it.

Some people talk about art therapy. Engaging in creative activities can be used as a form of therapy to help individuals cope with stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues. 

There are other definitions, too:

Creative wellness = using creative activities as a form of self-care and personal growth. 

Creative wellness = tapping into our inner selves, expressing ourselves, and finding a sense of fulfillment and well-being. 

Creative wellness = creativity as an outlet to improved physical well-being and can even address chronic health conditions. 

Why is creative wellness so important to me?

One of the ways that I grounded myself in order to stay well (before outright quitting my job) was to keep creating stuff by hand.

Whenever I was feeling stressed or overwhelmed, I would reach for my knitting.

Eventually I needed more than a 10 minute break to knit. I sought permission to take breaks or sabbaticals from work to try to recover the creativity that was often being sucked out of me in corporate culture.

I would pick up my fibre art during these breaks to centre myself. It made me happy and kept me well.

Ply Studio is built on this premise. To put down our screens and pick up our craft. To connect, create and be happy.

And now I’m creating a bunch of other products premised on the theme of creative wellness. Oooh, curious? Soon.

But, you want to know what the concept of creative wellness can do for you TODAY, right?

First, Grab my creative wellness workbook if you don’t yet have a copy. 

Let's look at page 4. Use the prompts on that page to reflect back and gaze forward. Journal your insights. Don't be scared. I'm not asking you to become a journalling master. I AM prompting you to consider the act of writing some things down in order to tap into some creative reservoir you likely have burbling below the surface.

Next, consider walking. Can you take a brisk morning walk every day for the next week? Even if it’s -20? It’s amazing what a little bit of outdoor, fresh air will do for us. For me, it gets me in the right frame of mind for the whole rest of the day. It helps to start tapping into my creativity for the day. It makes me feel lighter and more capable of taking on everything that is waiting for me when I get back to my desk or studio.

Third and final idea for today ... make something. You don’t have to have an easel and a set of paints handy. Try:
  • Collaging with old magazines and a dollar store sketchbook.
  • Drawing or doodling in the margins of your notebook while on a work call.
  • And here’s a novel one for you - putting something tactile in your hands (like a ball of yarn) and just letting it run through your fingers. Feel it. Let it calm you down. Let it inspire you. Get curious about it. You don’t even need to make anything with it. Just put it in your hands on your next zoom call. 

I’ll send you off with those for now. If you want to know more, grab the workbook, peruse the rest of this website, read other blog posts, send me an email to let me know if you tried any of these things.

Yours in creativity,
- Carmen xo

p.s. Sign up for one of my FREE live virtual masterclasses in February HERE (and I'll give you 5 strategies to help you find your creative spark TODAY).
<![CDATA[Be Still. Your Creativity Is There.]]>Thu, 07 Sep 2023 17:19:41 GMThttp://www.carmenbohn.com/blog/september-07th-2023
*originally published January 18, 2023

Is stillness part of creativity?
Is being creative something we can DO or BE by getting still?

I’ve been thinking a lot about these questions, especially in these winter months when I am allowing myself the freedom to be still and rest. 

This might be the first winter in my adult life when I am actually stopping or saying NO to things that feel too much. 

I am creating boundaries that allow me to take a pass. To find a way to honour myself. To let others know that it is truly NOT them, it is me. I need space and time and rest. And so, I’m taking it.

As I work on this and figure out how to be kind to myself and others, I am abandoning my lifelong need to please other people. 

I am embracing the darkest time of the year by cozying down at home and in my studio (mostly). I am preparing my spirit for the months of growth ahead. 

I am dreaming. Manifesting. Nurturing. And even celebrating the fact that I am getting through these dark months (which I normally dislike) with a bit more positivity. It IS possible.

So, in my stillness, I breathe. I meditate. I stretch. I write. I create.

I still work and play, but I do both of these things while really listening to my body and my needs. 

I give myself grace. 

So, stillness is most certainly part of my creative wellness strategy.

Let's talk a little more about WHY stillness is important to creativity and what you can do to cultivate it.

One of the things I hear from so many people that come to my workshops or who respond to my emails is:

“How do I know what creative act I’m called to? I’ve never considered myself creative?”

I believe that a lot of this boils down to listening to your inner voice.

And how do we find that inner voice? Get still. 

So, just stop. Right now.

You might be multi-tasking so just STOP. 

Take a big deep breath.

Breathe in for 4 … hold for 4 … out for 4 … hold for 4.

Do that a couple of times. What do you feel? Did your shoulders release a little? Did your stomach knot start to ease? 

When we breathe slowly, our heart rate and blood pressure decrease, which can lead to a state of relaxation. Slow breathing can also help to decrease feelings of anxiety and stress, and may even help to improve our sleep. Additionally, slow breathing can help to increase the amount of oxygen that reaches the body's cells, which can improve our overall health and well-being.

Can you see how that would be a more fertile ground for getting creative?

A few other tools that I like for focusing on stillness. Yes, it’s a focus because many of us never slow down. Our minds are constantly racing. Our bodies are always in motion. 

If you find that your mind IS racing, grab a sheet of paper, a pen and do some flow writing, also known as stream of consciousness writing. Perhaps you need to get some things off your mind so that you can actually be still. Put them down. Write until you feel a calm come over you. Notice that in this calmness you may start to see things differently. 

Another one to try ...

Pull up the Insight Timer app. Search for ‘sound healing’. There are a bunch of free ones there and you can sit and just listen. Try not to fidget. Go with a short one to start. Advance onto the longer ones and sit still longer, if you like. Another one like this is ambient music

One more you can try today to get still: a body scan, perhaps focusing on the chakras?
Here’s how this one works …you can do this one guided (which I suggest if you are new to this) or on your own. You’re going to find a quiet spot where you won’t be disturbed. Start with some box breathing to calm yourself. Then, starting at the crown of your head with your eyes closed, imagine a bright, warm stream of light working it’s way from the top of your head all the way down through every part of your body. Use your mind to really tune into every bit of your body from the tip of your nose to the back of your knee. Go slowly. If you lose concentration, just come back to your breath and keep working your way down your body.

This takes practice and you may find yourself thinking of other things or even sleeping. It’s OK. Try it again tomorrow. 

So, these are a few things you can do to bring more stillness into your day. It’s intentional stillness, not sleeping. That’s different (and important, too). But that’s a topic for another time. 

If you want some more ideas of things you can do TODAY, grab my free workbook

And then once you have focused on your stillness and may be feeling a wee bit of space for creativity, you can check out the workshops on offer at my studio, read some of my other blog posts or follow me on social for ideas on what to do with that energy.

- Carmen xo

p.s. Sign up for one of my FREE live virtual masterclasses in February HERE (and I'll give you 5 strategies to help you find your creative spark TODAY).
<![CDATA[Creative Wellness?]]>Thu, 07 Sep 2023 17:15:48 GMThttp://www.carmenbohn.com/blog/creative-wellness
*originally published May 5, 2022

In the fall of 2020, I decided it was time to live a different day-to-day. So I quit my full-time day job to pursue the passion and indeed, POWER I feel about art. More art-making for me personally and more creative art exploration for others through the programming I develop for my Studio.

I have found that some of the first words out of my mouth when I’m standing on the sidewalk talking with neighbours or on the phone with a loved one, when they tell me that they are feeling low is:

Have you tried making something by hand?

It’s not just my tagline in my business. It is a deep-seated belief I hold that when we put down our screens and pick up something tactile, creative, artsy it actually slows us down, lowers our heart rate, tempers our worries and anxieties and might even make us feel happy. 

In fact, the studies I continue to read (strange infatuation) give me impressive evidence backed by researchers and doctors that it’s true.

Getting creative through music, paint, drawing, textiles, creative writing and more is good for us.

A few years ago, I wrote this piece and posted it here on my blog. I spoke about dopamine as a natural antidepressant and the good feelings we get by picking up a craft.

Shortly after that piece was posted (February 2020), most of us saw our anxieties blow up to a point that we have never experienced before. In the early days of the pandemic, there was confusion, panic, fear and sadness. We changed our work lives, our school lives, our shopping habits, our travel plans, our family and friend gatherings - everything.

Well, almost everything. 

The one thing that did not change (for me, at least) was the absolute need to pick up my yarn, to let it run through my fingers to bring about a sense of calm. All was not lost. I still had this.

So, as everything changed around me, I made sure that I continued to make time to make stuff by hand. And so did my kids on all those LONG days when the schools were closed and we pretended to home school. This was a place that I knew and that I could still get joy from, even when joy and happiness were in short supply in most other facets of our lives.

Now, over 2 years later and there is more and more evidence (just Google mental health/benefits of craft/art therapy) that we can do well for ourselves if we just spend some time with pencil, paint, yarn or some other medium.

This is creative wellness.

I have many friends that tell me, ‘oh, I’m not crafty!’. To that I say, try. Try knitting. Don’t like it? Ok, try painting. Too messy? Ok, try molding some clay in your hands. Yes? You like that? Good! Keep going. 

I give myself license to make stuff by hand everyday. Not because it is now my full-time job (which it is) but because when I don’t, I feel flat, unhappy, and sometimes even angry. I might be an extreme example and you might be thinking, there is no time for this. So, here is a challenge to you - similar to ones I used to throw out to my colleagues about creating time to learn everyday …

Put a little time in your calendar starting TODAY to make something.

Start with some doodling in your notebook while you’re on a Zoom call if you have to. But just start. As you create this time, notice what it feels like to get off your screen and onto the paper, canvas, knitting needles. Can you take a deeper breath? Can you find a small smile on your face to further encourage yourself to tap into something that might feel like happiness?

Tell me about it in your comments. If you need some guided art-making time, check out our workshops. Take one with a friend or family member as a way to connect to one another AND to craft. I also have some cool DIY kits and other supplies if you prefer to go solo. 

Want more ideas? Here’s a nice article.

Now get off your screen and go make something. I’m heading to my loom now for a little weaving time before my kids get off the school bus.

​- Carmen xo
<![CDATA[7 Creative Hacks to Help You Stay Happy & Well.]]>Thu, 07 Sep 2023 17:09:43 GMThttp://www.carmenbohn.com/blog/7-creative-hacks-to-help-you-stay-happy-well
*originally published April 7, 2022

I carry around with me a deep-seated belief that everyone is creative.

And because I put that belief out in the word (and increasingly so), people are always asking me what I suggest to get them back on track with their creativity. What they can do to boost it, kick-start it, find it.

Now, before you say that you really aren't (creative), please know that your biggest block might be your own perception of what you are or aren't.

Being 'creative' doesn't mean that you always know what you are doing. Or that you can brandish a pair of scissors and cut out a detailed silhouette of your dog while others stare on in amazement. Ok, that's a weird example, but you get the point.

I want you to see that creativity can be realized in the way that you cut your vegetables up for soup. It can be exercised through the media you choose to consume each day. It can be ignited in so many of the small things you do every day - it's just in the way that you approach them.
  • Can you find a different way to do something you have done a thousand times before?
  • Can you do something with your non-dominant hand to see what it would feel like?
  • Can you close your eyes and use your imagination for a minute?

Here are 7 more of my creative hacks for staying happy & well.

1. Knit, crochet, sew or something while on your Zoom calls. And don't ask anyone permission to do so. Anyone that knits, crochets or sews KNOWS that when you pick these things up and work on them while in conversation, most of us tend to find a greater focus on the conversation. So, if anyone says, 'Hey! Are you paying attention or are you just knitting?' you can tell them that you are probably paying a whole heck of a lot more attention than the other 97% of the folks on the call who are simultaneously answering emails or scrolling their phones.

2. If you really can't put your phone down, use it for something good - like taking/editing photos. Even though I'm on a mission to have everyone put their phones down more often (in order to use their hands for something crafty that will make them feel better than doom-scrolling), there are some beautiful things about carrying this awesome computers in our pockets ... like the ability to take gallery-worthy photos. So, go take that walk and while you're out there consider taking a few photos of things you see. And then jump into your phone's editing software (Most photo programs have it built in) and play with the editing functionality. Change the light levels, crop it, rotate. Have fun with it!

3. Meditate. I use Headspace and have for years. But lately, I've also been using the Insight Timer and it's great (and completely free)! I especially like Sarah Blondin and any of her talks and meditations. Take a minute (or 10), head on over to your Insight Timer app and discover all the amazing talks, music and meditation that are waiting there for you to ground into and perhaps find your creative edge.

4. Engage some tactile stimulation. Even if you don't do anything with textiles or fibre, just the act of grabbing something that feels luscious in your hands can bring a smile to your face. I actively encourage people that visit my studio to touch my yarn and the objects I create out of it (decidedly NOT like a gallery!). So, even if you don't do anything with the fibre, just grab some (you can even head over to your local yarn shop - like the fabulous Wabi Sabi if you live in Ottawa - if you don't have any of your own) and do some finger (as opposed to window) shopping. WARNING: you might end up coming home with some (and if you do, come on over to the Studio and learn what to do with it!).

5. Ask around for suggestions on classes or workshops to take - either in-person OR virtually. Know a friend that has their ear to the ground on all the fun things happening in your area? Tap into their knowledge! Of course, I wish you would all come over to my Studio and take a workshop here, but understandably, I might not offer something that interests OR you might live in San Diego. 

6. Read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert and/or The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. Here's an excerpt from Big Magic to entice ya:

But surely something wonderful is sheltered inside you. I say this with all confidence, because I happen to believe we are all walking repositories of buried treasure.I believe this is one of the oldest and most generous tricks the universe plays on us human beings, both for its own amusement and for ours: The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.

The hunt to uncover those jewels—that’s creative living.

7. Listen to a favourite podcast while taking a walk in nature. A podcast I have enjoyed for the last couple years and listen to regularly is "Art For Your Ear by the Jealous Curator". Danielle Krysa (AKA the Jealous Curator) also has excellent books and even a subscription service that you can sign up for that will deliver a daily dose of art inspiration straight to your inbox. Genius!

Let me know if you try any of my hacks ... and if you have others to add to future lists. Here's to your health and creativity!

- Carmen xo

<![CDATA[What are you making today?]]>Thu, 07 Sep 2023 17:05:53 GMThttp://www.carmenbohn.com/blog/what-are-you-making-today
*originally published February 6, 2020

​Whether you are a photographer, quilter, ceramicist, knitter or painter, there’s a set of positive feelings many of us have when we are creating something.


How do YOU feel when you are making things by hand? Generally, making something by hand is satisfying and a nice break from screens, dinner dishes, laundry, errands and more. 

I’ve been reading about the mental health benefits of crafting for quite awhile. It started when I got curious about scientific or statistical data that backs up why I feel better when I knit, crochet, spin, weave, paint, etc. 

And it turns out, there is. The reward centre in our brain releases dopamine when you do something pleasurable. Dopamine is really a natural antidepressant - a non-medicinal way of stimulating that reward centre. And since most of us consider the act of creating something with our hands pleasurable, we get a nice hit of that natural antidepressant every time we take up our craft. 

I recently read about a study of more than 3,500 knitters published in The British Journal of Occupational Therapy, which said that 81% of respondents with depression reported feeling happy after knitting. More than half reported feeling "very happy." I think this is worth sitting up and taking notice of.

Let’s fill ourselves up with dopamine from making stuff by hand! I’m working on a whole slate of workshops and a roster of incredible artists and makers to help you do just that. Look for fun and 'outside the box' learning opportunities coming soon to my website.

Now get off your screen and go make something.

- Carmen xo

P.S. if you want to know more about the links between art/craft and mental health, this article as well as this one and this group are super interesting.
<![CDATA[16 Awesome Things.]]>Thu, 07 Sep 2023 17:01:33 GMThttp://www.carmenbohn.com/blog/16-awesome-things
*originally published April 11, 2020

I hope this message finds you and your loved ones well. We're hanging in there and really, should be grateful for so many things. But some days are hard, and there are just so many long days right now.

So, I've been loving anything that lifts my spirits. Of course, things that are art-y or craft-y always give me pause and put a smile on my face. But there are so many beautiful, light-filled, joyful things to read or look at that I thought I would share some in case you, too, are looking for something to bring a smile.


1. Wool and the Gang (particularly loving granny squares right now but there are all kinds of ideas here so keep making stuff!)

2. The Sorry Girls (how is it possible that watching DIY YouTube stars can be so enjoyable?)

3. Make your own earrings! (nothing will make you feel better than wearing your own pair of kick-a$$ earrings!)

4. Younion Meditation Studio offers amazing virtual sessions!

5. Saana Yoga offers daily classes on Instagram

6. Heather Robertson will kick your butt (in nice, short workouts that you can squeeze in when you need a break from the other things that are kicking your butt, like your kids)

Advice from hilarious (and brash) Moms:
7. Glennon Doyle on IG

8. Cat and Nat on IG

9. Pivot with Jenny Blake

10. How I Built This (NPR)

11. WorkLife with Adam Grant

12. Where Should We Begin? with Esther Perel

My kids' favourite app right now:
13. Caribu (a lovely way for your kids to connect with family and friends while not being able to connect)

Other things:
​14. Shira Gill for closet and home organization

​15. CreativeLive online classes

16. Julie Nolke explains the pandemic to her past self!

Stay well, calm and positive. And keep crafting like it's nobody's business!

 - Carmen xo 
<![CDATA[16 (MORE) Awesome Things!]]>Thu, 07 Sep 2023 16:56:43 GMThttp://www.carmenbohn.com/blog/16-more-awesome-things
*originally published November 25, 2021

It's been a little while since I updated my AWESOME things list (you can visit the original one back in the April 2020 blog), so I'm doing that today. Cue the enticing music.

Over here in Ottawa, it's rainy and dismal today so clicking around the interweb and reminding myself of some of my fave things was just the thing to lift my spirits.

As always, I'm sharing with you in case you, too, are looking for something to bring a smile. Or maybe something that would make a sweet Christmas gift (if you're not gonna buy them a Ply Studio gift card, which I'm sure was your first choice :). So, grab your coffee or tea and have fun poking around in these completely awesome things!

 Austin Kleon's Gratitude Zine (and a few others that are equally cool)! 

A list of 30 Christmas projects to get you in the spirit.

Lia Griffith's website is PACKED with DIY ideas - and super well organized, too! 

Gifts for Kids
Boolah Baguette is my very favourite custom doll maker, located in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (shout out!). Even if you can't snag one of her amazing creations in time for Christmas, you simply MUST check out her work - it's just so cute! (and thanks to one of my sisters for putting me on to BB many years ago)

KiwiCo has brought most of my nephews, nieces and my own kids great surprises and hours of fun through the mail. PLUS, you can shop last minute and not miss anyone!

The Kindred Studio is great for kid apparel AND laundry detergent. :)

Gift ideas for the bigger people on your list
Knitbrooks is a small-scale, handcrafted fibre tools company located in Nova Scotia. Beautiful stuff!! Great stocking stuffers for the fibre enthusiasts in your life!

ANIÁN is a great company located on Canada's west coast. I love their melton wool blankets and plan to pick up a couple for those hard to buy folks on my list. I ALSO love their company statement: ANIÁN was designed to create garments for a variety of social occasions and weather conditions without harming the environment. Simple. Beautiful.

Uppercase is my favourite magazine of all time (well ... maybe after Sassy when I was a teenager). It is ads-free and created by a one-woman team in Calgary (little known fact: the editor's office is in the same office building AND suite that I used to work in when I lived in Calgary! How's that for a sign from the universe that I was bound to LOVE this publication so much??).

Headspace has been my go-to app for years - for meditation and focus music.

Do Yoga with Adriene - maybe try her last 30 day challenge?  

Get Organized!
I'm trying to get on top of all my digital organization (uh). This video really helped me to organize my 24,384 photos and thousands of videos. Not joking.

I have loved Cathy Heller's podcast for many years. Don't let the title throw you off if you AREN'T ready or interested in quitting your day job. So much other great content and she is just a really good interviewer.

Other things
Brain Food from Shane Parrish and Farnam Street. His Sunday newsletters are packed with interesting insights and well-curated writing.

The Art of Doing Stuff is clever, funny, AND useful. Check it out!

STILL ON THE LIST (because the pandemic is still a thing)
Julie Nolke is still just so funny (as she explains the pandemic to her past self). You'll want to watch everything on her YouTube channel! 

I hope you truly stay well and happy through this holiday season. If you need a break from it all, stop by the Studio and see what we have going on? Like some handspun pom pom garlands (December 5th)seasonal mandalas (December 12th)felted ornaments (December 14th) or just general merriment! You're always welcome here (with masks and double vaccination, of course).

- Carmen xo
<![CDATA[Clean. Reuse (in your art). Sleep. Repeat.]]>Thu, 07 Sep 2023 16:50:36 GMThttp://www.carmenbohn.com/blog/clean-reuse-in-your-art-sleep-repeat

*originally published May 2, 2020

Have you been doing a little more spring cleaning than 'normal' this year? Cleaning and purging are making us feel better in this moment. It's something we have control over. It has an immediate benefit in reducing our stress and anxiety. Much has been written about this, but I found this website this morning and think it is rather clever if you can get past the name.

My message today: As you clean and purge, consider transforming those discarded (and found) items into inputs for some great pastimes. 

I did the curation for you. Here are my top 6 picks for making old new again.


#1. Make your own t-shirt yarn and then knit and crochet all kinds of things out of it. (Photo/maker credit: Sustain My Craft Habit)

#2. Paint a mandala stone! (Photo/maker credit: Lydia Mae YouTube channel)

#3. Make natural dyes for ... Paper! Yarn! Fabric! (Photo/maker credit: Pop Sugar)

#4. Melt all those little crayon bits into something new. (Photo/maker credit: Martha Stewart)

#5. Make your own soap! (Photo/maker credit: Getty Images/The Spruce Crafts)

#6. Make a rag rug with old fabric scraps! (Photo/maker credit: Master Sergeich YouTube channel)

Stay well. Stay creative.

- Carmen xo