10 Creativity Tips to inspire you

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Color markers
I would consider myself a creative person, but I wholeheartedly will admit that sometimes it is hard to keep your energy up. Seems like theres work, family, and other stresses that can sometimes break our creative spirit. Here’s a few tips fog getting your mojo back and letting that creative juice flow!

1) Constantly observe! Sometimes we get in a rut and don’t really SEE. Force yourself to see new things. How, must you ask? Limit yourself to a small space (your yard, a room) and observe all the angles, shapes, shadows, colors maybe you hadn’t noticed before. When you do this you are exercising your creative muscles and you can notice other interesting things in daily life!

2) Break your routines. If you go the same way to work every day, eat the same thing, or use the same materials in your art, mix it up. You may discover a new love or a cool new spot in town! I find that a lot of the times I don’t want to get out of the house (sometimes I can be a homebody), but an evening out can produce great experiences and great photos for myself. Win/Win!

3) Be inspired by your own photography. Whip out your camera phone while in a store and snap signage, patterns or graphics you like. Think about how you could execute or do them differently in your own art. Take photos of textures, colors, shadows, anything that you find fascinating. It’s fun to look back and pull inspiration from!

4) Be a kid again. Playing is so important to creativity. If you are always stressed overwhelm, one of the best things you can do is get out of that environment. Go ride a bike, twirl in the yard, or visit the playground. Laugh and experience the joys of life. It will send you positive vibes that you can translate into your projects!

5) Get back to basics. Get some of the most basic art materials together and just go at it. Get paint under your fingernails, color outside of the lines and doodle to your hearts content. Don’t think about it, just do it with wild abandonment and enjoy the process. It’s not about the finished piece or perfection, it’s about living in the creativity of the moment!

6) Surround yourself with other creatives. Whether it be a musician or someone who likes to play around with different ingredients in the kitchen, open your mind to them and learn from them. Creative people feed off each other. I find that sharing ideas and struggles can help you find solutions and overcome fears. Creative people tend to be so supportive of each other and their goals. Stick together and do something fabulous!

7) Find time to journal. Document your personal experiences through word. Make lists, jot down funny things you hear, and record your life on paper. Let the words flow and don’t write to make your words perfect. Since we tend to be so digital typing and texting, it’s nice to put pen to paper and get in tune with our own creative spirit.

8) Become a master at your craft. Take courses at your local college, attend meetup groups, find online workshops or forums to participate in. The more you know about your creative skill, the more passionate you will become about it. So dive in and find what is out there at your fingertips to be had!

9) Practice makes perfect! Find a space of time each day or each week to do something creative or work on your art. It’s just like exercise, if you get into you, you will see results, but if you put it on the backburner, you will feel the drain. Stick with it!

10) Find your own voice. Don’t creatively compare yourself to others. This is one of the hardest for me! You need to find your own creative voice and it truly is hard when the internet is so saturated with great discoveries everywhere we turn. Take a moment to evaluate what makes you unique and different from everyone else out there. Whatever your creative goal may be, stick with what works for you and be honest with yourself. Your art will take on a whole new meaning and purpose when you stay true to your own voice!

Until next time Swellions!


5 fun and creative discoveries


This photo and glamourous Derby fascinator from Chamberry Cherry’s shop. It makes me want to go to the Kentucky Derby. I lived there for 30 years and never went once, though I did go to Churchill Downs. Woe is me.

DIY Decal Headboards found on Decor 8’s blog by Blik.

The Celebrity Junk Drawer artwork of Jason Mecier. Yes, it really is made from personal junk from celebrities. Awesome little vid!

I’m very much intrigued by the texture and imagery in this pretty SEW collage found on Wendy Rago’s blog.

This masking tape installation art by Rebecca Ward is so amazing! I wonder how many times she got the tape twisted or stuck to itself! It would be a nightmare project for me!

Hope you enjoyed these fun inspirations!

Until next time Swellions!


Create a mini Idea book

great idea book

I don’t know if you are like me, but I’m always coming up with ideas and usually write them down on a random sheet of paper that I ultimately lose. I really seriously need to have a more organized approach to this, so I decided to jazz up my own mini idea book. I wanted it to be a reflection of me, so I took this mini cardboard journal and got out my markers and pens and doodled it up!

Since it is small and handheld, it’s the perfect little journal to put in even the tiniest of purses. I’m thinking about finding a mini pen to attach to it as well.

It’s good to get ideas/thoughts out of your head and just write them down. Not all of the ideas are going to be executed or even go beyond that page, but atleast jotting them down helps you clarify and get the thought process going.

These are the few things I find myself needing this journal for…

– quick design sketches
– mini creative lists
– products that I can research/remember later
– names/authors of books I want to look into
– trends I see while shopping
– color inspiration
– blogs/web sites/e-mails
– doodles
– blog topic ideas
– new project ideas
– measurements
– lists
– phone numbers

You may even want to create little pockets in your journal to slide down in clippings or crafty business cards!

Obviously, anyone who keeps a journal will do what they do with their own, but having your own may just be the perfect tool to helping you organize your ideas and give you some creative clarity!

Oh, and by the way, here’s the back of my little journal!

back of great idea book
Until next time Swellions!


Postcard pop art project

crafty pop art project

So, I made this tonight. Here lately, I haven’t really had much great craft revelations or things I’ve been dying to make. I guess everyone goes through a more or less inspired phase, right? Well, I have been wanting to make stuff, but honestly, like many people, I have soooo much stuff that I need to use before I buy new and if I do go and buy stuff at the craft store it just inevitably becomes more stuff. So this is another good ol’ recycled project!

My surface

This box top was my surface. It was to a photo box that has now basically collapsed and really doesn’t need a top anymore. I saw it sitting there, and thought, “Hey, I’ll just use that!”. Anyway, I didn’t have a rhyme or reason to what I created. I just created in my own way. I would describe my intuitive style to be graphic, bold, and bright. For me, paper crafting and collage is very planned. Some people take a little more loose and almost spiritual approach to placing their art together, but the graphic designer in me always wants control, grids, and boxes. That’s the way I’ve designed for a really long time. Everything has it’s own space and doesn’t intersect. I guess those sensibilities go beyond the computer screen.

Another thing about my own crafting style is that I am very messy. I just cut out scrapbook paper with scissors and glued it into place with Aleene’s Tacky Glue. I then used a postcard from a POP ART postcard book that a friend got me for the central focus. For this project, I did it for more personal reasons, so I seriously didn’t care if it was perfectly cut even. For me, it’s all about creating, then going back in and modifying and covering up any trouble spots. If I sewed more stuff, you better believe I would be putting lots of fancy trims and ribbons on it to cover up my mistakes. I’m very messy and imperfect.

When I was in college, I would submit my stuff into shows and it would rarely get in. I was often discouraged about this. I didn’t really have enough insight at the time, but I really think it was judged more crafty than art. It was like having a crafty sensibility was a bad thing. I wish now that I would have been able to realize that my craftiness is a good thing and that I should have pushed myself harder to create high-concept craft pieces (I think a lot of stuff back then lacked general direction). The act of creating is so powerful and different for different people. I’m glad that I’m able to accept how I create now. It’s something I would get discouraged about. I think just getting older and more knowledgable about my skills has helped in this area.

So have you ever felt like you had to defend or downplay your craftiness in the name or art and did you have to come to terms with your creativity? Or have you always just gone your own way and totally owned your creativity? I think this is definitely something we as crafters think about! Let me know your thoughts.

Until next time Swellions!


My Polyvore outfit and an important creative lesson

my polyvore outfit

I’ve known about the site Polyvore for a while. I’ve seen people put together fun little clothing and home collages. I got a sudden urge to do one after seeing a fun collection of 80’s/spattered paint images that someone had done.

There are thousands of high-end and low-end items to choose from to create a great outfit with. I’m not entirely sure how they are compiled, but I’m guessing either web designers at the Polyvore site gather images from various sites and do a very fast magic selection around them in Photoshop and then nsert them into the program –or– they are submitted by users. Anyway, whichever way they compile them and program them into Flash for us to move and manipulate in our browsers, it’s pretty darn fun. Here’s a pic of what the site mainframe actually looks like if you decide to try it:

polyvore screen shot

You would think this would be a relatively easy task for me to compile one of these, but I’m incredibly hard on myself in judging certain things. I’ve never been a fashionista, though I do think I have some knowledge of what’s on trend or looks good. Just on a regular basis, you probably wouldn’t know this based on the clothes I wear. I’m a basic jeans, black tee, and funky accessories kinda gal. So putting together a complete look mystifies me a bit. For this look, I was trying to put together something I thought I could actually see myself wearing if I had a reason to wear it…I guess a funky party dress combination is the look I was going for. I actually think this loud mixture of prints is really fun. I like the playfulness of it with the yellow trim and bow. For the accesories, I went with simple things with a bit of a funk. In my own personal style, I love bangles and bling. I also love the texture in the open toe snakeskin pumps and the pleats in the purse.

Putting this entire look together took me an hour….I mean afterall, I wanted to create something I was happy with, but wouldn’t hopefully get readers thinking, “Man, this girl really doesn’t know what looks good.” I hope I succeeded. I always put a lot of pressure on myself in things like this that showcase my creative skills. It’s like I set this bar for myself that I think others have of me, and I’m afraid I won’t live up to. One time, while visiting with a friend who I really respected as a graphic designer, we made mother’s day cards (we even went to michaels to buy materials). I was sooo consumed with the fact that my friend wouldn’t like my work or think it was good enough that I ended up wasting all my paper cutting it up into stuff I didn’t like, and I walked away without a complete card. I was measuring myself against her and what she thought of my skills it wasn’t a good thing.

So this is the deal…even though I struggled with this and worried whether or not you guys would like it, I also have come to the realization that it’s ok if you don’t like it or get it, I’m happy with it and that’s all that matters. I don’t think I need to put so much pressure on myself to have this perfect finished product to show off, it’s about getting there and being confident in myself and my decision making.

So Swellions, while I hope you like my creation, the more important thing I want you to take away from this post is to not over complicate your creativity or set measures too high for youself when creating. It totally weighs down the creative process and what’s the fun in that?

Until next time Swellions!


Finding my blog niche and Friday Faves

scanned nostalgia
I know this pic is really random, but that is my head at the moment and I just didn’t have any pic that screamed BLOG. Also, I think this one is some visual 80’s eye candy, and I am sending it your way straight from my heart 🙂 BTW, I submitted this for a now Defunct 80’s desktop article for Creative Techniques. It was of 80’s memoribilia that I collected and I was trying to show the way you could scan in objects to create a custom desktop background for your computer. Anyway, I digress…

One of my main focuses as of late has been updating and reinventing this blog. I’m sure if you have a blog, you know the chore involved in posting, staying active, and keeping it fresh with fun and interesting content. But, seriously, it is a really hard thing to do. I keep asking myself, “What do people want to read?” This is a legitimate question, but I think when I really analyze it, I need to really be centered on WHO AM I? and WHERE DO I WANT TO GO?

See, the thing is this…I don’t really know. I am a person that pours my creativity into many different avenues. You name it, I like doing it. Tonight, for example, while over dinner I came up with some fun party planning ideas for a bachelorette party and then discussed taking candid photos at a wedding. I then gave my friend some tips on scrapbooking and then told her that we should have all our friends together for a cupcake decorating party. Yes, I’m all over the place, indeed. It’s not a bad thing that I have a lot of creative outlets, but reeling them in is the difficult part. I want to emcompass all my passions…trend-spotting, marketing, blogging, photography, crafting, digital crafting, jewelry making, entertaining, (and the list goes on) into my blog. I don’t think it has to be just one thing, but it is still a challenge for me, a random girl who has ideas popping up all over the place.

I’ve been searching as of late for ways to market and create traffic on your blog…I came across this insightful article that I found to be insightful. I am discovering a lot of new things and things like memes and bloglists. It’s actually all a little overwhelming.

So, as I go along, I’ll be tooling with the format of this thing and figuring out what works best for me. I’d really like to discover a way to more efficiently post (and have it not feel so excrutiating – coming up with ideas and executing them is work!). I’ll try not to bore you with anymore details, but you have any suggestions for me, I’d really appreciate them.

And while we’re at it, if you are reading this and have your own craft or life blog, I’d love to trade links! Leave a comment or e-mail me at swelldesigner@yahoo.com. Us creative types have to stick together and be supportive of one another. I truly feel that friends (internet ones, too), are invaluable for success in what we want to do, and I’d be more than happy to help you out, if you help me 🙂

Now onto my Friday Faves…. Today, I want to share a couple of my recent fave craft blogs and sites I’ve discovered. I’m just dipping my toes into some of this scene, so excuse me if it is old news, but it is new to me and I wanted to share…

Design Sponge
Really love the layout and look of this one. So simple and fresh. Lurve the mini trends section and the diversity of crafts,trends, and décor this site has to offer.

This site is really smart and witty. And it’s got the perfect portion of craft, technology, celebrity gossip and pop culture. I think I’m in love!

This is a great blog. Love the illustrations and the observations and all the little details in between. It really is a nice, little slice of life I appreciate.

Anyway, off to bed. Going tomorrow back home to visit the folks and to photograph my parent’s 45th high school graduation. My dad has organized it and I’m taking photos and selling CDs to all the folks with the pics on them. Should be fun. From what they’ve told me, they are some of the spirited reunion goers I’ve heard of. Placemats with senior pics, red and black everywhere…they’ve got it going on and I look forward to sharing with them and meeting some of the people I’ve always heard them talk about.

Toodles, Swellions.