oil and cotton

How to make the most of National Self-Improvement Month


Hello, everyone! My name is Alex Hughes, and I sell my globally inspired prints and illustrations through my business, Wandering Paper Co. I went to college at TCU, where I majored in graphic design, and I now live in the DFW area with my husband Philip and our cat Athena. 

I don't know about you, but I'm so excited fall is here. The breeze is blowing, football season is upon us, and the infamous PSL is back. Yes, I know it’s still 90 degrees outside, but 90 is better than 100, and in Texas, we’ll take what we can get.

It's funny, every year when school starts I have the urge to take up a class or two myself. Maybe it’s the shiny new school supplies (it’s hard to say no to a new leather-bound notebook from Ox and Pine, or a witty to-do list from Kat French Design) or maybe it’s just the feeling of working toward a goal, but I miss the feeling of satisfaction that comes with learning something new. It’s fitting, then, that September is National Self-Improvement month. It's the perfect excuse to take a class, read a book or take on a new challenge. So I've put together a few ways to make the most of self-improvement month. Feel free to give them a try.

Start a Journal
I’m a recent fan of journaling after reading The Artist’s Way and doing the corresponding journal exercises. According to the Huffington Post, journaling can help boost self-confidence, create mindfulness, and even help you achieve your goals. For the full list of benefits, check out the full article on the benefits of keeping a journal. Plus, starting a journal is a great excuse to buy a cool new notebook. 

Ox & Pine premium leather notebook

Ox & Pine premium leather notebook

MadeByRori Dickens gratitude journal 

MadeByRori Dickens gratitude journal 

Visit a Museum
The Dallas Museum of Art, the Nasher Sculpture Center, and the Perot Museum are three of my favorites. The best part is, they are all within walking distance of each other. Take yourself on a museum date, then stop by the food trucks at Klyde Warren Park for lunch or a mid-afternoon snack. 

Take a Class
I love Oil & Cotton and the wide array of adult classes and workshops they offer. I’ve taken portrait watercolor and marble paper workshops there and loved both. They have lots of new offerings this fall, including felting, interior painting, photography, and intro ceramics. Check out their full fall lineup here.

Join a Gym
Yes, I know, everyone’s favorite subject. Luckily, there are tons of fun alternatives to a boring 30-minute treadmill jog. Go climbing at Summit Climbing Gym, try kickboxing at Title Boxing Club or join a recreational kickball league at Big D Sports. You may have so much fun you forget you're exercising.

De-Clutter and Decorate
Okay, maybe this is less ‘self-improvement’ and more ‘life-improvement,’ but de-cluttering always makes me happier and less stressed. First, choose a small area of the house, like a bathroom or a closet — somewhere that can be organized in one day. Next, take a page from Marie Kondo and keep only the things that spark joy. Once you have de-cluttered and organized, a new piece of art is a great way to give a space new life. I've always been a fan of these origami koalas from Tokodots, and I've had my eye on this hand-drawn map of White Rock Lake from Joy Street Maps for my living room.

In any case, once you have given away all the clutter, every time you pass that space you will feel lighter and more carefree.

Learn a Language
I love to learn new languages, which is why I’m a big fan of the app Duolingo. It's free, and the exercises are only 5 minutes long, so it’s easy to practice every day. Plus, you can find your friends and keep track of points. 

Take a Bath
You deserve a reward after all this self-improvement. Taking care of yourself will give you the energy you need to stick with you new habit. Winding down with a bath, a book or a good movie is a great way to de-stress and get ready to tackle the day tomorrow. 

What are your plans for self-improvement month? Do you have any self-improvement tips you would like to share? Let us know in the comments.

It's a Craft Party and You are Invited!

Two Dallas creative powerhouses, Etsy Dallas and Oil and Cotton, have joined together to bring you a celebration of meeting, making, creativity and community. Come meet your crafty community and share in a creative skill. We hope you will join us as we have fun and party down with scissors in hand! 

Where: Oil and Cotton, 837 W. 7th Street, Dallas, Texas 75208
When: Friday, August 24th
Time: 7-9pm 
What: Two craft tables, raffle prizes, photo booth, food and drinks
Cost: FREE!!!

Weekend Guide: December 9 + 10 + 11 + 12

etsy817 Handmade Holidays 

Date: Friday,  Dec. 9th and Saturday, Dec. 10th
Time: 12noon-7pm (Friday), 10am-4pm (Saturday)
Location: UTA - Maverick Activities Center (MAC), 500 W. Nedderman Dr., Arlington
More Info:   http://etsy817.blogspot.com/ 

Etsy Dallas Member Participating: childsPLAYdesign

White Rock Local Market 

Date: Saturday, Dec. 10th
Time: 9am-3pm
Location: The Green Spot, 702 N. Buckner, Dallas
More Info:  http://www.whiterocklocalmarket.com/ 
Etsy Dallas Members Participating: Dowdy Studio, La AliciaRegal CottageReGEARED  

AIGA DFW's 1st Annual Creative Flea 

Date: Saturday, Dec. 10th
Time: 4pm-8pm
Location: Oil and Cotton, 837 W. 7th Street, Dallas
More Info:  http://aigadfw.org/2011/10/25/the-first-annual-creative-flea/ 
Etsy Dallas Member Participating: Dowdy Studio Wagon 

The Pig and the Peacock Trunk Show

Date: Saturday, Dec. 10th and Sunday Dec. 11th
Time: 9am-1pm (Saturday) and 11am-2pm (Sunday)
Location: Abundance Boutique at Move Studio, 17062 Preston Rd., Dallas
More Info:  http://movestudio.com/ 
Etsy Dallas Member Participating: The Pig and the Peacock 

Dowdy Studio Wagon at Good 2 Go Taco 

Date: Sunday, Dec. 11th
Time: 7am-3pm
Location: Parking lot of Good 2 Go Taco + Goodfriend 1146 Peavy Rd, Dallas
More Info:  http://dowdystudio.blogspot.com/2011/03/wheres-that-wagon.html
Etsy Dallas Member Participating: Dowdy Studio Wagon 

PRINT HAPPENING at Oil and Cotton 

Date: Monday, Dec 12th
Time: 6pm-9pm
Location: Oil and Cotton 837 W. 7th Street, Dallas
More Info: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=266846413364484&set=a.12491237...
Etsy Dallas Member Participating: Dowdy Studio Wagon

Sponsor Spotlight: Oil and Cotton

Every year when the temperature starts to drop and the sun goes down way too early, I begin planning out what I am going to make my friends and family for holiday gifts. (Because handmade gifts are the best gifts!) Recently I've been clamoring to learn a new crafty skill and surprise everyone with something a little out-of-the-norm from what I usually send.

If you're feeling the same way, I would highly recommend checking out the classes offered at local studio Oil and Cotton, located in Oak Cliff. They are passionate about resourcefulness, doing things the old-fashioned way, and community involvement... the studio actually began as part of the Better Block Project and had such an overwhelming response that owners Shannon and Kayli decided to make it a permanent fixture.

Here is a highlight of some of the holiday workshops offered at Oil and Cotton:

In addition they offer several ongoing classes:

As well as art classes for kids, teens and adults.

So go on, get crafty!