Monday, February 28, 2022

gifting myself 100 days of being in the present

Do you ever do something just for the sheer joy of it? Or, are you calculating in the back of your mind how something you're doing for fun can be used or repurposed so that you haven't wasted any time? Attempting a 100 Day Project can help you learn to let go, bolster your feelings of self-worth, and provide a sense of accomplishment.

Between February 13th and May 24th, I'm gifting myself 100 days of creativity. I'm participating in The 100 Day Project (follow @DoThe100DayProject or #DoThe100DayProject) hosted by Lindsay Jean Thomson (@LindsayJeanThomson on Instagram). I'm planning on making 100 collages or mixed media pieces and will be posting my work periodically to Instagram at @RoadToGoodLife.

Permission to Enjoy Judgement-Free Making #DoThe100DayProject 2022 Punchcard


So far I've created eleven pieces and haven't missed a day yet! Read on to learn about this year's one hundred day project and how I'm approaching it.

I've been so conditioned to view my time as currency that I critique almost everything I do and demand perfection even from first attempts. I want to start at mastery and forget the experts or people I look up to have had years of practice. As part of the exploration of my word for 2022–TRUST—this year with the 100 Days Project, I'm gifting myself 100 days of judgment-free making.


This is my fifth time attempting a 100 day art project. Each try, I learn more about myself and my daily creation practices.

Two guidelines that have helped me to various degrees of success in the past are:

  • Setting and sticking to a well-defined scope.
  • Finding an amount of time that works for and blocking it into my schedule.

I haven't followed this advice consistently, but I'm learning not to beat myself up and instead, dust myself off, pick myself up, and try again.

Considering a 100-day project for yourself? Check out Starting a 100-Day Project for Your Well Being for more tips.

Unrolled black and white photograph of a wedding dress with scissors Unrolled black and white photograph of a wedding dress with scissors


one. choose a theme with room for exploration.

The year (2020-2021) I worked on Secret Places was both enjoyable and eye opening. I completed 33 out of a 100 pieces--the most I've done so far--and I think it's because I had a theme guiding what I was making.

The theme I’m exploring this year is infinite paths reflecting on commercialism and discarded objects. You can follow my journey on Instagram at #InfinitePathsProject.

two. find a block of time that works and schedule it.

Unlike past years, I’m limiting myself to 15 minutes a day to increase the likelihood of finishing all 100 works. (The twenty minutes I'd allocated in the past was just enough time to get into my head and start overthinking what I was making.) I'm also stopping when the time runs out. I'm curious to see what I can create when I have to be more in the moment and committed to an idea or an approach.

Preparing for the #100DayProject with 100 Torn Pieces of a Black and White Wedding Dress Photograph


three. tie individual collages or mixed media pieces together with consistent material use.

To tell a cohesive story, I’m relating my individual pieces to one another through the inclusion of a torn piece of a black and white photograph of a wedding dress and a fortune.

18 Fortunes


four. track your progress.

This year I'm using a visual tally to track how many pieces I've made and how many I have left to do. I've got two punchcards; one version I printed out and am keeping with my project supplies and the other I'll use when I post round ups of my work on Instagram every 10 or 20 days (I'm still working out how I want to break up the project).

Unlike past efforts, I’m committed to sharing all of my work this time whether I like a particular piece or not. I may end up posting multiple works together, but for now I'm sharing individually within a day or two of making them.

#DoThe100DayProject 2022 Punchcard


five. celebrate and share your accomplishments.

I’m only twelve days into my 2022 100-Days Project and have no idea what lessons I’ll learn. Right now I’m struggling with running out of time; do I stop immediately and put my hands in the air or do I grant myself an extension to secure the found objects to the “canvas”? Whether I’ve run out of time or not, I’m leaving the day’s work (and the previous body of work) in the past. I’m accepting both as immutable.

Knowing I have a hard and fast deadline, I've started approaching each day’s work differently. I no longer consider hypotheticals: how will this piece fit in with another to create a larger work?

Looking at the work I’ve done so far I may relegate most to the scrap heap. Does that count as failure? Not this time it doesn’t; I’m learning techniques that feel organic and those that feel contrived. As a blogger who strives to have everything be attainable, I feel like honesty and transparency are what you—my readers—expect.

Ten collages and mixed media art created for the first 10 days of the 2022 100 Days Project Ten collages and mixed media art created for the first 10 days of the 2022 100 Days Project


Some of the first ten pieces pique my interest and make me stop and stare. Most, however, don’t. Instead, I look at techniques I hadn’t tried before and wonder how that would look at scale, say as waves kissing the shore of a bay inlet or as tides taking trash out to sea. Or, as a random fortune generator based on patterns I’m discerning from hundreds of fortunes pulled from cookies. What I do know is that the more I ponder where this year’s 100-Day Project might go, the more I’m certain I need to simply go with what I’m feeling on a given day.

Maybe, this year is just about trust and being ok with simply tossing out (or recycling) what I make rather than trying to force it into a space on a wall with certain dimensions. Or, taking a swing even when you’re almost positively certain you’ll strike out, but doing it anyway for the however small chance you’ll knock the ball out of the park.

I do know what this year isn’t about: likes or new follows. And, it might just be the year I banish the voice of the failed artist who raised me from my head.

So, as you look at what others are attempting for their 100-Day Projects keep the following in mind:

  • Most of the value a maker experiences isn’t visible to outsiders (you or me) on Instagram.
  • Posting and leaving a post up with little or no likes or engagement is bad a$$. We’re all human; we crave connection and want to put our best polished foot forward even if it means presenting a less than authentic view by archiving or deleting work we made that didn’t catch on. Leaving a feed that makes one happy, but doesn't have consistent engagement takes guts; be kind to those who show that bravery.



Whether you make it through all 100 days or stumble before day 10, you can still learn a lot about yourself if you approach the project with an open mind.

In 2017, I completed eight pieces. You can view them on Instagram at #100DaysProject_RemnantCollages. Those eight pieces were all it took for me to discover that I struggled with the concept of whitespace. I wanted to cover an entire page with as many things as would fit.

In 2020, I made it a third of the way through my 100-days project, Secret Places. You can view some of the journey as well as what I did with the individual pieces on Instagram at #SecretPlacesProject. Until that 100 days project, I went small and focused mostly on 2-dimensional creations. My goal for that project wasn’t to create something that would eventually hang on our walls; I wanted to explore working with plastic. Each piece in the series had some type of plastic, a fiber element, and something from nature. When it came to assembling the final piece, some types of plastic were removed and many individual pieces were reimagined and recombined in new ways. I love the final piece which hangs in the en-suite bath of our main bedroom because it reminds me of the power of consistently taking time and working on a piece at a time.


I know it’s hard to post into a vacuum; it’s why I try to like or comment on every photo shared as part of my bi-annual #SeeYourOrdinary Instagram challenge.

If you want some encouragement as you work your way through your 100-Day Project, tag @RoadToGoodLife on Instagram. I promise to get back to you within 48 hours with a comment or two cheering you on. If you found this through Facebook, drop an image of your work into the comments and tell me a little something about your hopes and your work.

Credits: All layouts designed by and images taken by Eden Hensley Silverstein for The Road to the Good Life.