Art camp

Illustration: Thinkstock

Art Camps
Pack your bags—and let your creativity flourish.

Art Camp for Women
Winter Park, Colorado
Against stunning Rocky Mountain views, learn fabric dyeing or bookmaking.

Tribal Dance Camp
Ingram, Texas
Pack your finger cymbals for a camp where belly dancers can teach you to gyrate like a pro. Post-class fun includes campfires and henna parties.

An Artists' Retreat
Carmel-by-the Sea, California
Experiment with different painting and drawing media, from wax to pencils to gouache (a watercolor-type paint), at this tranquil camp.

Ladies Rock Camp
Portland, Oregon
Pick up a musical instrument and channel your rock star self with female-led lessons.

Photo: Marko Metzinger/Studio D

Making your bed takes on new meaning with Inmod's customizable duvet patterns. Fabric? Color? Embroidery thread? It's your call.

Starting at $160;

Photo: Thinkstock

Three ways to nourish your inner chef.

Eat Your Words
You could copy your beloved peach pie recipe for yet another friend—or you could take a minute and upload it to TasteBook. The design-your-own-cookbook site lets you mix your recipes and photos with favorites from across the Web, then save your collection online or print it as a hardcover version.
Explore Your Past
Great-great-grandma Lorraine's technique for making authentic schnitzel may have been lost a generation ago, but that doesn't mean you can't tap into your roots and cook the way they did in the old country. Trafalgar's foodie-focused Be My Guest tours offer a rotating list of hands-on cooking lessons taught by locals, from how to make macarons in Southern France to empanadas in Argentina.
Serve It Up
If displaying your famous vanilla-bean pound cake on a plain white plate leaves you cold, consider the customizable serving trays at Play around with the site's funky-chic designer templates or upload your own favorite photo; either way you'll get a sweet backdrop for your baked treats.

Illustration: O, The Oprah Magazine

Doodles and Drawings
Even if you can't tell a pencil from a pastel, these books will coax your artwork onto the page.

Illustration: Rob Dunlavey

A spritz of perfume may be the classic way to make a letter seem special, but why not imbue your notes with an even more personal touch? For illustrator Rob Dunlavey, that meant painting a watercolor sailboat on the inside of an envelope to send to his fiancée. ("We were sailing into a new stage of life together, and I wanted to capture that," he says.) Fueled by her delight at the unconventional love letter, he spent an hour most mornings over the next year working on a different envelope picture. (To let your own personalized note unfold, simply grab an envelope...and unfold.)

Photo: Getty Images

"When I'm designing a new collection, I pretend I'm dressing myself. I imagine a new character that I'm going to inhabit, then I ask: 'Who is this girl? What's her lifestyle? And what's in her closet?' One season she was a parochial school girl with a street edge—everything was plaid and leopard. My spring collection is all about dressing a voluptuous woman who loves her body. No matter what, I'm usually a mix of pretty and punk, beautiful and edgy. It's a battle to keep designing clothes that are so far out, but that energy is what keeps my work fun." —Betsey Johnson, fashion designer

Get Designing
Make-it-happen advice from designers who turned their dreams into reality.

"Adobe Illustrator makes turning hand-drawn patterns into 3-D digital renderings almost effortless, and YouTube has great tutorials on how to use the program." —Sinje Lesemann, accessories designer

"To show the craftsmanship of your work on your Web site or look book, great photographs are essential." —Arin Maya Lawrence, accessories designer

"The Fashion Designer Survival Guide, by Mary Gehlhar, belongs on every aspiring entrepreneur's bookshelf." —Christine Alcalay, clothing designer

Photo: Marko Metzinger/Studio D

If you've ever doctored a bowl of boring vanilla or mused aloud on the ratio of Chunky to Monkey, you likely have an answer to Becky App's favorite question: "What flavor would you be if you were gelato or ice cream?" App herself had so many answers that she cofounded eCreamery, a create-your-own-flavor site that lets you turn your sweet-treat dreams into lush, scoopable reality.

$50 for four pints;

Photo: Marko Metzinger/Studio D

You can kick up any outfit with a pair of heels that are perfectly you, thanks to the do-it-yourself site Shoes of Prey. Click through silhouettes, materials, colors, and embellishments, then scrutinize your design in the 360-degree-view tool. Purple leather slingbacks with silver edging in a size 6? Done. Glittery size 8 peep-toe T-straps with blue bows? In your cart in less than five minutes. All shoes are built by hand and can be returned for any reason.

To start you off on the right foot, O's creative director, Adam Glassman, shares a few tips for customizing wisely.

Platforms are more comfortable than other types of heels, and they provide an easy way to play with color blocking.

Pointy toes, T-straps, and trimmed edges tend to draw the eye in, subtly flattering wider feet.

Don't forget foot proportion when choosing a heel style: Stilettos look great with narrow feet; thicker heels are a better match for wider ones.

Animal prints are more versatile than you may realize. But if you want to add even more pizzazz to your zebra-print heel, choose color trim rather than flashier embellishments like bows or studs.

Starting at $180;

Photo: Courtesy of Mykea

Walk into a friend's home and you can immediately spot the Ikea (my, what a lovely Billy bookcase you have!). But easy-to-apply graphic stickers from Amsterdam-based Mykea quickly transform those mass-market modulars into personalized masterpieces. Browse dozens of designs—rainbow polka dots, origami-like flowers, vibrant geometrics, a charcoal sketch of whales at sea—submitted by artists all over the world. Then pick the Ikea furniture you're looking to enliven and order cut-to-fit stickers. The adhesives peel right off, so redecorating is as easy as changing your mind.

Starting at $20;

Photo: Marko Metzinger/Studio D

Nothing trumps the thrill of responding to a compliment on your jewelry with the comment, "Oh, thanks. I made it myself." Create your own wearable art in minutes with design-it-yourself jewelry sites and, which specialize in gemstones and metals. Or visit to browse beads, and virtually string bracelets, necklaces, or earrings.

Photo: Thinkstock, Marko Metzinger/Studio D

Winston is gluten-free. Molly prefers raw foods. Thurman is watching his weight. Health-crazed foodies? Nope. They're pets. And now, thanks to RedMoon Custom Pet Food, cat and dog owners can express exactly how much they love their four-legged family members with meals tailored to their needs. The kibble blend is made from hormone-free meats and raw fruits and vegetables.

Starting at $2.65 per pound;

Photo: Marko Metzinger/Studio D

Pucker up and kiss your creative side hello at custom cosmetics site Giella.


Photo: Getty Images

"Music is a wondrous language that exists out in the ether—all I do is make myself open for it to pass through me. This means that my creativity can be volatile. And fleeting. My best songs have come quickly—they surface when I'm really not even aware of the writing process. I pick up a guitar, and 20 minutes later I have a song like 'Kiss from a Rose.' The music just passes through me and feels divine in that way." —Seal, singer

Your Turn: Get Recording
Make and share an album without leaving your desk.

Plug In
Your computer likely has a built-in microphone, but for clearer sound, try a noise-canceling version like Logitech's USB Desktop Microphone.

Feel the Beat
The music software GarageBand is like a tiny recording studio right on your Mac: Sing along to imported songs or mix beats to make a new tune. Mixcraft is a similar program for PCs.

Spread your sound to thousands of listeners on, a community of passionate music lovers who share and comment on one another's tracks.

Make It Physical
Visit to design artwork that you can print and use as a CD-case insert. For a more professional look, Amazon's CreateSpace lets you upload photos and text, and then prints the complete CD—right down to the barcode.

Photo: Courtesy of Austin Kleon

Newspaper Poems
Does the poetry in your soul retreat at the sight of a blank piece of paper? Try starting with a page already crammed with words. When Austin Kleon was battling writer's block, he found an unexpected way to lower the stakes by picking up a newspaper and a marker. "I started deleting some words, and pretty soon I'd made the text into my own thing," he says. "I thought, 'I must be onto something.'"

He was right. While not the first person to create poetry from existing text—Thomas Jefferson took a razor to his Bible; William S. Burroughs scrambled printed phrases into kooky combinations—Kleon helped fuel a movement with 2010's best-selling Newspaper Blackout. (His follow-up, Steal Like an Artist, will be released in March.)

To get started on your own newspaper poem, just grab a section of any paper, identify an "anchor" (a word or phrase that conjures an image), and find words that connect, idea-wise, to the anchor. Black out everything else. You can post your work—and enjoy others'—at

Photo: Courtesy of Judith Klausner

If you've ever made a stack of heart-shaped flapjacks or decorated cupcakes to look like tulips, you have a soul mate in Judith G. Klausner. Using straight pins, toothpicks, and a deep well of patience, Klausner sculpts crème-filled sandwich cookies into art reminiscent of cameos. "I feel most comfortable letting the figure come as I work," she says. Each piece takes up to six hours to make; when they're not being displayed, they live in Klausner's refrigerator.

Photo: Lisa Moran

Capture an image of the world exactly as you see it with these fun photography tools.

Snap It
Turn even a humdrum photo into a vintage-quality keeper with mobile apps. Instagram ( lets you doctor shots with dreamy lighting and faded edges. With Hipstamatic, apply lenses, films, and flashes to personalize how your camera takes photos.

Effortlessly transform the traditional lens on your camera phone into a wonderfully warped fish-eye, telephoto, or wide-angle lens, with a trio of magnetically attached lenses.

Share It
Get your photos off your phone—and into one of Printstagram's itty-bitty printed photo books. Each 1.7-inch-by-1.5-inch bound book holds two dozen of your favorite snapshots and doubles as a fridge magnet.

Paint Inkodye, a light-sensitive dye, onto the front of a T-shirt, lay your black-and-white negative on top, and set it in the sun. Within minutes, your photos will have developed into a print you can wear.

Make family photos instantly interactive by turning 22 of them into Photo-opoly, a Monopoly-variation board game starring your snapshots. "Do not pass Molly's first birthday party. Do not collect $200."

Illustration: Thinkstock

From Debussy to Einstein, many creative masters have sung the praises of silence. Here are three ways to tune out the world's noise and tune in to your own creative voice.
Reverse graffiti

Photo: Moose Benjamin Curtis

Reverse Graffiti
Pollution residue on a stop sign. Algae at the bottom of a public fountain. For most people, such accumulated grit is a dirty, if often overlooked, fact of modern life. But for "reverse graffiti" artists, that dirt is a beckoning canvas.

"Reverse graffiti is about removing layers to create an image," says Paul Curtis (a.k.a. Moose), a pioneer of this art form. Curtis uses water and oversize stencils to clean specific patches of sooty walls in public spaces, "etching" intricate images from grimy backdrops. "What I do is like drawing in the sand," he says. "My work will fade, but the fragility is part of the beauty."

Photo: Marko Metzinger/Studio D

History may belong to the history book writers, but your story belongs to you. Five ways to capture every bit of it in a scrapbook:

Lasting Mark
Pigment-based Pigma ink is fade-resistant, chemically stable, and lasts longer than traditional dye-based markers.

Never-Ending Story
You can add pages as you go to Kolo's sleek and colorful blank books, bound in cloth, soft leather, or Italian merino wool.

Stamp of Approval
Your daughter's doodle or the family crest can be ink-ready as a rubber stamp in three weeks or less.

Think way beyond color, with decorative paper made from woven fibers, stitched with thread, or coated with glitter.

Cut Up
The Silhouette Cameo looks like a printer, but instead of ink it uses a blade to cut designs into paper, card stock, adhesive vinyl, or fabric.

Photo: Courtesy of Haddock Way

With the furniture-making Web site Paddock Way, you bring to the table exactly what you want: Choose the perfect accents, legs, skirts, and stretchers for the coffee table, nightstand, or hall table of your dreams. Your custom design is then fabricated by hand, using sustainably harvested North American black cherry and bird's-eye maple.

Starting at $300;

Photo: Marko Metzinger/Studio D

Brighten your mood on a gray-sky day with a made-by-you umbrella. Use Artscow to print a photo—your niece on a swing, your poodle in the tub—onto the fabric. Or visit Over Our Heads to create images for your eyes only: Designs are handpainted on the underside.

Left: Starting at $19; Right: Starting at $120;
Vision Board


Vision Boards
The paper collages you probably made as a teen were feverishly personal manifestations of what you loved. Vision boards, the grown-up alternative, can be just as passionate—with more intention and, possibly, fewer cutouts of dreamy movie stars. Grab a stack of magazines and have at it, or for an endless number of images, go digital. The O Dream Board lets you print your final product for take-anywhere inspiration. At, you can share your vision across social media sites.

Photo: Bili Bidjocka/Map Paris

Bili Bidjocka created a series of gigantic books, and the artist is asking people around the world to inscribe a message as if it's the last thing they will ever write by hand. "I want people to think about it as a poetic experiment," he says of the Infinite Writing project. "These are not books to read; they are books to write." When full, the eight massive journals (some as heavy as 200 pounds) will be taken to a secret location and sealed as time capsules. You can track the eighth book's location at, and upload your own note in the online gallery.

Photo: Design I/O 2011

Xbox Kinect
Not all video game devices equal brain burnout. The Kinect for Xbox 360 was built with easily modified technology, so anyone willing to tinker can make it do any number of things. Designers Theo Watson and Emily Gobeille created digital shadow puppets—life-size birds that appear to move, squawk, and breathe fire. (The Kinect tracks movements and transfers them onto the puppet; when a user opens her fingers, for example, the bird opens its beak.) Next: dinosaur puppets.

Photo: Thinkstock

"Every season I visualize what I want my garden to be: What colors will I incorporate? What varieties? What scents? In 2010 a friend of mine passed away. She was from Oklahoma, and as a tribute to her I planted wildflowers like snapdragons, marigolds, black-eyed Susans, and baby's breath. I wanted people to feel as if they were walking through America's heartland when they visited my garden. Digging in the soil always feels like an expression of my soul." —Donna Brazile

Get Gardening
From a community dirt lot to a tabletop, we've got ideas to get you growing.

Plant Smarter
Snap a photo of your yard, then use the Eden Garden Designer app to map out future plantings and virtually see what your garden will look like in any season.

Plant Smaller
A greenery kit you can send through the mail, PostCarden unfolds into a 3-D paper scene that you then sprinkle with seeds and let grow.

Plant Together
Don't let a lack of outdoor space thwart your green thumb. Search for a thriving community garden in your neighborhood.

Photo: Thinkstock

You don't need a winery (or a relation named Coppola) to be a winemaker. The next best things:

Lodi Old Vines Zinfandel Kit
These make-wine-in-your-kitchen kits from Selection Estate include grape juice, additives, and easy instructions. $140,

Vintage One Wines
At this Toronto winery, you have a hand in the entire process, from selecting grapes to helping with the crushing to customizing your label. Starting at $76 for 24 bottles,

Specialists guide you from vineyard selection to barrel type to bottle design. Then host a tasting at the winery in Sonoma, California—you'll barely make a dent in your 25 cases. Starting at $6,000;

Next: Mini-memoirs: Your life story in six words

Written by Rachel Bertsche, Lillian Cunningham, Arianna Davis, Nicole Frehsee, Holly Hays, Rebecca Little, Crystal G. Martin, Stephanie Palumbo, and Jessica Silvester