Springtime Updates

Spring has surely sprung here in Northern California- My husband’s been out planting vegetables in the back yard, our sheep are grazing through fresh new pasture grasses, tank-top weather is upon us, and the Inspired Barn studio windows are wide open!It’s been a busy few months of designing and crafting around the studio. I recently rebranded my blog and social networks from Just Something I Made to Cathe Holden’s Inspired Barn: Creative Lifestyle.And… if you’ve been following me on Instagram, you may have noticed I’ve been working extra hard on ME! Since last October I’ve been on weight-loss and exercise programs that are working out pretty darn good. As of today I’ve lost right close to 70lbs with just a bit more to go and a goal of maintaining a healthy weight for life. Good health brings extra energy and confidence and will surely bring even more creativity! So stay tuned for some pretty exciting things to come.

Speaking of creativity, I just announced a new workshop for June- Ephemera Collage Decor with Custom Stencil. I will be teaching a cool way to balance your art through color, texture, and pattern. You can find more information and register to attend on my EVENTS page.

Next month I fly out to sunny St. Louis to Mary Engelbreit’s studio to celebrate her 40 years in art licensing. (Pinch me!) Along with a handful of incredibly talented women I’ll be teaching a craft workshop to 22 special guests. I can hardly wait to share all the fun. I’ll be streaming good stuff LIVE on the Cathe Holden’s Inspired Barn Facebook Page, so be sure you’re following!

Happy Springtime!

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Getting Unstuck: Victory over Creative Block with Small, Quick Projects

catheholden-brushesI made a new friend recently who, after visiting my barn studio, stated that she has several large canvases started but can never seem to make the time to finish painting them. Therefor she may feel reserved about starting any other new creative projects. I think many of us go through feeling creative but having limited time and resources, and often limited space, to create. We also feel at times no creativity flowing at all. For any who aren’t creating art or crafting on a daily basis, or do but find themselves lacking motivation, often the most achievable-yet-gratifying projects are those can be started and finished in one day from conception and sourcing supplies, to making the project, and, of course, clean-up. Often, a project that can be squeezed in after dinner or on a Saturday morning can be just enough to exercise your creativity.catheholden-3inch-canvasAnother friend of mine, a professional artist, suffered a series of life challenges and became artistically stuck and was avoiding her studio completely. To pull herself out of that negative current state, she devised an exercise to get her juices and motivation flowing again. She purchased packs of 3-inch square stretched canvases and every day committed to decorating just one. This was a very achievable daily project that could take minutes or hours, depending on the mood. She decoupaged vintage ephemera scraps, painted, and sketched. After weeks of merely moments in the studio, she’d finished multiple canvases, each representing a day in her struggle and efforts to overcome it. All the finished canvases placed together created a meaningful assemblage of beauty in healing. I am so inspired by her story that I make an effort create routinely, on even the smallest scale, no matter how stuck I am for creativity or time. Which brings me to stencils and decoupage.IMG_7165Stencil art is a fun, quick, and satisfying craft. Stencils can be used on so many surfaces with supplies such as paint, ink, texture paste, bleach, embossing ink and powders, glue and glitter. With all supplies in hand, a stencil project can be done in merely minutes yielding exciting results.IMG_5718 Decorative vinyl and coated paper stencils can be purchased in stores and online. If you have a digital cutting machine, they can be cut from coated card stock or stencil material using SVG designs purchased and downloaded from the internet.IMG_7152 Stencil canvas, clothing, thrifted paintings, blank wood boxes, frames or boards, greeting card background surfaces, a suitcase, a lampshade, a rug… there’s just no end to the things you can stencil in a short amount of time.fullsizeoutput_83fDecoupage is a meditative craft that can enhance many objects such as boxes, wood scraps, and wood or canvas boards into beautiful home decor. Images and graphics printed from your computer to plain paper (using water-resistant inks) can be ideal for layering with Mod Podge, or other decoupage mediums. Trimming the multiple printed or photocopied images for future use can be a pleasant project in itself.catheholden-decoupage-papersOf course, if you have a whole day to create, combining decoupage with stenciling you can attain many layers, incorporating paints and rubber stamps, to craft larger mixed media projects. IMG_7150You don’t have to be an expert or know your paints and pastes to get moving, just get moving. Experiment! You can also search YouTube or online craft video channels to learn about techniques and products quickly. Then get right back to creating.

For more visual inspiration, follow my Instagram feed @catheholden.

And remember, maybe all you really need to get out of that rut and jump-started back into creativity is a pack of 3-inch canvases.

What do you do to keep your creativity flowing?

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Adobe Photoshop Elements 15 GIVEAWAY!

Earlier this month I was invited along with several other creative bloggers to visit Adobe San Francisco for a DIY workshop hosted by It’s Always Autumn featuring the all new Adobe Photoshop Elements 15.psee-02I’ve been working with Photoshop for several years, but this latest version of Photoshop Elements is just plain magic I tell you! You don’t have to be a professional photographer to utilize amazing professional editing tools and techniques, nor will you need to pay the cost of the pro version of Photoshop. For under $100 you can have software that easily transforms, fixes, and organizes any of your precious photos. Adobe’s Photoshop Elements intro video explains it best.psee-04Our DIY project at Adobe was an image transfer craft with Mod Podge, our favorite photos, and natural wood discs. Within just a few minutes we took our photos from ordinary to extraordinary and ready for printing using Painterly, one of the fun edits in the over 40 guided edits available. Some of us crafted coasters from the prints we transferred to discs, but I chose to make ornaments for our Christmas tree.psee-01So whether you’re a blogger, semi-professional photographer, crafter, designer, artist, or someone who simply takes a lot of photos, Adobe Photoshop Elements 15 software will be your new best friend in 2017! Here are just a few tips & tricks:elements-tips-and-tricks-finalVisit the It’s Always Autumn blog for fun and easy tutorials like a photo blanket and storyboard photo display. Also, follow Photoshop Elements on Facebook for more project ideas and the latest product news and promotions.

Photoshop Elements 15 Giveaway!psee-03Adobe is giving one lucky Just Something I Made reader FREE Photoshop Elements 15 (including Premiere Elements 15 for video) software!


  • Entry open to US residents only.
  • One Entry per person and household.
  • Please leave a kind, relevant comment below.


  • Enter by noon (PST) on Christmas Day, 2016.
  • The winner will be randomly chosen, notified and posted here shortly thereafter, and shipped right out.

Congratulations to the winner: #38 KV!

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