Enhance Life by Learning Something New and Creative

If this year finds you coloring within the lines of your creative life, there are a multitude of ways to break out in a rainbow of expression. Studies of health have linked education to living longer, and by extension, the engagement and fulfillment we get when trying new things helps keep the brain limber. In his formative work, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, psychologist Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi outlined the theory that people are happiest when they are in flow—a state of concentration or complete absorption with the activity at hand and the situation. Craft books for beginners teach both ancient and quirky arts. Here are a few of our favorites to help you find new ways to go with the “flow.”

Macramé, Fanny Zedenius. With a refreshing twist on a 1970’s craft, this book teaches the essentials of macramé—with a glossary, tips and fully-illustrated instructions for 22 projects from plant hangers to wall hangings.

Amazing Origami, Tuttle Publishers. Using the simplest of materials, a single piece of paper, origami is a relaxing way to challenge the mind while creating harmonious designs. Begin with a kit that gives step-by-step instructions, diagrams and papers.

Pure Soapmaking, Anne-Marie Faiola. A collection of 32 recipes for creating all-natural soaps in a home kitchen. The cold-process of soapmaking combines skin-nourishing ingredients with natural infusions, and essential oils to create unique and luxurious blends.

Botanical Inks, Babs Behan. Learn how to direct transfer plant dyes and their herbal qualities into cloth using simple kitchen equipment. Find explanations of natural, non-toxic dyes and how to create different effects with eco-printing techniques.