Growing up, my Mum always encouraged us to be creative. She would do oil paintings, pastel drawings (I still remember my favourite one of my sister in the Gardens in Canberra as a toddler with the curliest hair you’ve ever seen and a hot pink thick winter jumpsuit), water colours and sometimes even bring home a big slab of clay for us to create with. I’ve known how to knit most my life, and my Mum couldn’t wait to buy both my sister and I a sewing machine on each of our 22nd birthdays, because that was what she was given for her’s. I used to organise ‘Crafternoons’ with my friends a few years ago too, so we’d get together with delicious snacks and tea and create something for the fun of it while chatting away.
About a week ago, when I was in Melbourne and Albury I got to spent time with some incredibly creative friends of mine and I felt warm, fulfilled and inspired. You see, these friends of mine are mostly musicians, and I admire them, not only for their courage, but for their talent, hard work and abilities. One of my best friends is a beautiful painter (you may have noticed the piece of hers that sits in my room in this post – behind the turquoise pot) and I would love to live with her again so that I can just paint random shit and just have fun with it (but alas, I will have to wait a while for that to happen).
While I was there, it dawned on me that it’s been a long time since I’d created any art and craft (and actually completed it) which is how I suddenly I came up with (what I think) is a fantastic idea!
The Faraway Friendship Project
The premise is simple; bring together the people in the community that I’m creating through Miranda’s Wellness to foster some fun, friendship and creativity.
A Pen-Pal Program
And I’m launching it today!
The rules are simple.
- Sign up by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject ‘Faraway Friendship’ giving me your name, suburb/town and state (in Australia) by 15th February 2015
- On 16th February, check your email for the address of your assigned pen pal, and send them a note to say ‘Hi’ and get their postal address
- Once a month, send your pen pal a letter with a gift. The gift may be handmade or purchased (but don’t go breaking the bank).
- If you like your present, post it on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook on my wall with the hashtag #farawayfriendship (and don’t forget to tag me so I can see it). I’ll pick the best ones to share on my blog on the 16th of every month.
- I will leave applications open so that every 16th of the month, any newcomers will be assigned a pen pal
- Each new month I will come up with a list of 5 questions you can answer to your pen pal (possibly with a theme each month) and you can share your favourite answers if you’d like me to share those on the blog too!
The creativity of this comes in the gift part (although you can be as creative as you like with the letter writing). The gift could be as simple as filling the envelope with confetti or glitter, or could be something you’ve made yourself. For example, you could: make a friendship bracelet, homemade biscuits, write down a favourite recipe, send a song you’ve written, write a poem, send a favourite book, send a drawing/painting, create a mixed cd, send a small present you saw and thought of them, send a photo to give them more insight to your life, fold some origami, send them a jar of homemade jam or chutney, knit/crochet/cross-stitch/long-stitch/macrame/sew something small and special. (Does anyone else remember those chain mails with the cookie dough?)
It’s just about taking the time to do something that you wouldn’t necessarily do, get your brain working in a new way, and give yourself permission to do something creative with no other purpose than to make yourself (and of course, your pen pal) feel good.
Doing something creative gets your brain working in a way it wouldn’t usually, and because you get to choose what you’re doing you can do something you know you enjoy, or something you’ve always wanted to try, with no pressure for it to be perfect (because that’s not what art and craft are about).
Best of all, you get something special in the snail mail to brighten your day, and the chance to make a new friend in a way that is completely different to how you usually would.
I can’t think of a better way to start the Feb Refresh than with a fun new project to be involved in – can you?
So sign up (and encourage your friends to, too). I can’t wait to see all the loveliness you guys create!