Last month I shared the stenciled message board I made using some of the materials that you’ll see in the photos below. Today I want to know what you would make with these same supplies. Get creative and share your answers in the comments below!
What’s here: 87 stencils that are themed “family message center”, three sponge paintbrushes, 6 colors of acrylic paint, chalkboard paint
Transitions are tough but they are well worth it.
The quote, which I got from a magazine ad, is attributed to Coco Chanel.
Today I’m sharing a post that I wrote several years ago. It was originally posted on my Real Words blog, which has since been taken down. Although the post is old, I feel like it sounds a lot like something I’d write or think today, and it remains one of my favorite posts …
My favorite feeling in the entire world is inspiration. I love to be in love, I’m thrilled during days when I feel excitement, I’ve even been known to thoroughly indulge in immersing myself in red-hot moments of anger … but if I could only feel one feeling for the rest of my life, I would choose inspiration every single time. Inspiration is that hard-to-capture feeling of being simultaneously aware of your complete interconnectedness with the world around you and yet sure that your voice matters in the big scheme of things. It’s that feeling that you have been so touched by something in life that you are compelled to find a way to channel it through yourself and back out to others, to act as the prism for the light of creativity that surrounds you. Inspiration is why I get up in the morning and work.
And some days, I don’t “work” much at all. But for writers, days off aren’t really days off. Sure, you may take a break from writing (you may even take an unfortunately extended break from writing) but if you’re living life, you are collecting material. Most writers’ books or art guides that you’ll read (and I can say “most” because I have a penchant for such books and have read many of them) will tell you that you need to consistently replenish your creative well. I’ve heard it described in dozens of ways, but what it boils down to is that it’s perfectly okay to give yourself permission to not work and to just be … because for someone whose life work is creativity, just being is the same as working. Because when you are out observing and absorbing the world around you, you are placing yourself in a position that allows for inspiration.
I wrote poetry on the insides of my eyelids the other day as I wandered around SFMoMA. There was art of all kinds on the walls around me … urban drywall installations covering entire rooms, photographs of dancers captured in the height of their movements, scupltures by painters and paintings by sculptors … but I didn’t look too closely at any of it. Instead, I just wandered, meandering through the crowd that fills the museum on free admission day. People-watching. My eye was caught by an older woman dressed in bright blue, with a scarf to match tied around her hat. The hat was yellow straw but she could’ve been a member of the red hat society if her vibrancy was any clue. I eyed her for only a moment, lost her in the crowd and moved on.
The flecks of paint swirled around me on canvases encased carefully on the walls of the museum and crusted onto the jeans of the art students who critiquely walked the rooms. Momentarily, I met eyes with the strikingly bold irises of a student writer who was gathering material for the character for his next book. Or so I think he told me in the brief glance that connected our gazes before one of us turned away. I don’t remember anything about him other than the brightness of his eyes, made brighter by what seemed to be natural eyeliner rimming the bottoms of his lids. The funniest things will make impressions on you if you’ll let them. So I sat and I walked and I stood and I watched, soaking up what was around me without planning to turn it into any kind of writing. I was simply allowing myself to be filled up with impressions. I was refilling the artistic waters of my creative well. I was opening the door of my writer’s mind to the inspiration that I am always hoping will walk through it.
Not all days are good days, creatively speaking. But all of them have the potential to be.
I’m just starting to wake up. For me that means, in part, going through my Twitter feed as I enjoy my first cup of coffee. I followed a link from one of my Tweeps to a video by a man who has done a self-portrait every day for twelve years. That’s a long time to keep committed to a daily project, which is inspiring in and of itself. More that that, though, the well-edited video shows how our daily activities make up our lives and how art can be used to transform our own lives. I wanted to share:
Jeff Harris: 4,748 Self-Portraits and Counting from We Know Music on Vimeo.
For today’s post I’d like to refer you back to another post already on this site:
100 things that inspire me!
Because I is for Inspiration.
The blog Inspiration Morning posted the most lovely thought today and I just really wanted to share it:
“It is our desire that you become one who is happy with that which you are and with that which you have—while at the same time being eager for more. That is the optimal creative vantage point: To stand on the brink of what is coming, feeling eager, optimistic anticipation—with no feelings of impatience, doubt, or unworthiness hindering the receiving of it—that is the Science of Deliberate Creation at its best.”
~ Esther & Jerry Hicks from Ask and It Is Given
They always have inspiring thoughts so I’d encourage you to check out their blog and/or follow them on Twitter @InspirationDay.
I know that I’ve slacked off on being active on this blog. However, I’m getting productive again if for no other reason than because I wanted to participate in a really cool project called Pin It Forward. Through this project, launched by SF Girl By Bay, 300 bloggers are creating virtual inspiration boards and blogging about them this month.
We’re all using Pinterest, a new website where you can “pin” items from around the web onto your own virtual inspiration boards. You simply install the “pin it” widget into your bookmarks bar and then you can pin images from any website and they’ll be attributed back to the proper source. You can add your own thoughts and descriptions to each image.
The theme for this project is “What Home Means To Me”. As you’ll see from my Pinterest board, home to me means everything from a freshly made cup of coffee in the morning to really cool furniture to cuddling up with someone I love.
Make sure to check out yesterday’s post from Il etait une fois and tomorrow’s post by Illuminession. Find links to all of the other Pinterest board blog posts here.
As I mentioned before, I’m one of the lucky 300 bloggers participating in Blog It Forward, an idea launched by SFGirlByBay. We’re all writing about what inspires us personally. We’re each being introduced by the blog before us (thanks to my intro blog, Diary of a Budget Fashionista!!) and we’re making sure that you know to check out the blog after us (definitely check out Dig Under Rocks tomorrow!). I’d really encourage you to check out all of the different posts, though, because they have been so amazing and inspiring in and of themselves!
For my part, I have to say that I really get inspired by everything. I see things and read things and hear things all throughout the day and they inspire me. Some inspire me to write a certain blog post. Some inspire my creative writing or poetry. Some inspire my desire to learn new things. Some inspire me to be kinder to others. Some just give me that wonderful feeling of vague inspiration that doesn’t get channeled into anything specific but makes me feel a little bit brighter about life.
I could go on and on forever about every little thing that inspires me but I’ll keep my list down to 100 inspiring things:
- Live sketching events where artists gather together, create art as you watch and post it on a wall for sale right there
- Watching children do anything that reveals that childlike wonder for things that we adults consider normal or mundane
- Watching people work on computers or consumer electronics because I just can’t do it well myself
- Hearing about the memories of elderly people
- Reading books on creativity and artful living
- Huge libraries filled with floors and floors of so many books that I’ll never be able to read them all
- Wandering around the city people-watching
- Indie arts and crafts events where hundreds of crafters gather together to show off their work
- Browsing through Etsy
- Watching absolutely any film that’s shown in IMAX 3D
- Being handed a plate of food that’s almost too beautiful to eat but tastes so good that you can’t help it
- The smell of coffee
- Taking walking tours especially through areas I’ve seen a hundred times but want to see in a new way
- Those grand things that inspire everyone like magnificent sunsets and huge ocean views
- Finding pictures in the clouds
- Stop-Motion video
- People who can take really amazing pictures and then make them even better with photo editing software
- Listening to auctioneers do their thing
- Checking out antique stores in small towns in the Midwest
- Long road trips with just me, myself and the radio
- Pandora and how well it seems to know what I want to hear!
- Anyone who can find the silver lining in a tough situation
- The amazing women who have entered my life over the years
- Great quotations from authors both known and unknown
- Magic shows
- Cirque du Soleil performances
- Random links posted on social networking sites for me to click on
- Vintage postcards
- Learning new crochet stitches and making something I haven’t made before
- Scrapbooking the photos taken throughout the month
- Reading the published journals/diaries of other people, especially writers and artists
- Documentaries that are both interesting and informative
- Reading “strange news” websites and blogs
- Fingering the fabrics in luxury clothing stores
- Piecing together outfits from the items bought in second hand clothing stores
- The changing skyline of San Francisco
- Everything about my little sister
- Doing things that scare me at first like riding ATVs
- Long hikes
- Long conversations
- Live theatre events where a single actor plays multiple roles
- Listening to people beatbox
- Open mic poetry readings
- Coloring books
- Those 3D posters that you had to really stare at to see the picture
- Crazy competitions like the fastest texters or the fastest Rubik’s cube solvers
- Elaborate sandcastles
- Project Runway
- Women who can walk in six inch heels
- Elderly people who are trying new things, performing in plays, really out there living life
- Anything that manages to actually make me laugh out loud
- Coming across really funny typos
- Stunning strange shoes like these
- Seeing videos of people doing free running and parkour
- Terrific slideshows of beautiful things set to music that just really goes with the images
- Unique architecture, bionic buildings, upside down houses
- That moment when you feel like you’re really connecting with a stranger
- Collage art
- Watching glass blowers in action
- The smell of used bookstores
- Burlesque performance
- How people come together in a crisis
- Getting groups of adults together to do things like color Easter eggs or make gingerbread houses
- Stunning Christmas light displays
- Seeing people use creative approches to doing the things that we do every day
- Viewing other people’s random collections – music or salt shakers or aprons or whatever they may love that I didn’t until I saw their passion
- Children twirling around until they fall down
- Science museums
- Car shows and museums filled with vintage cars
- Articles that show specific changing technology (like how cell phones have changed over the years)
- Yoga, pilates, meditation, and hula hoop dancing classes
- People who speak half a dozen languages or more
- The Northern Lights
- Conventions for odd interests like the movie The Blob or the merging of sex and technology
- Weird niche books on topics like pedestrianism or obituary writing
- Unusual museums like the Liberace Museum in Vegas
- Stumbling upon unique free events
- Travel memoirs
- The fact that scarves can be worn so many different ways
- People who can make crazy outfits or makeup look good
- Costumed events
- Meteor showers
- When you find the exact word to specifically describe something
- Keeping a list of “ugly words” with my dad and getting excited about coming across a new one
- Those moments when I actually feel like I’m really living in the moment
- Weird hotels
- Funny signage especially when it’s not intended to be funny
- Leafy sea dragons
- Visiting aquariums
- Trying to cook something new and having it come out exactly right
- Setting and meeting random goals like trying twenty different sugar-rimmed drinks or watching all of the movies with a particular actor in them
- Riding on the back of someone else’s motorcycle
- Collaborative projects with cool creative people
- Exploring caves and lava tubes and ruins and old mines
- Falling in love
There are a wide range of different topics that I write about on a regular basis. My favorite topic of all is probably creativity. In fact, I try to take a creative slant to almost any other topic that I write about (although I wouldn’t say that I always succeed). I believe that writing about creativity makes me more motivated to be creative in my own life. I hope that it encourages other people to be creative as well.
Several of my recent articles on HubPages were about being creative. These included:
- 10 Fun and Creative Projects to do with your Camera Phone. It was so fun to try to think up different projects that you could do with just the camera on your phone. I have to admit that I haven’t done all of these myself but now that I’ve thought of them there are certainly some in there that I plan to try. I think your camera phone is a great tool for little daily bits of creativity.
- 7 Fun, Free Tag Cloud Programs for Creating Word Art. Tag clouds can be so inspiring. I put this HubPages article together as I was trying to find a good tag cloud program for myself. (I like Wordle best, big surprise). This inspired another article on my own blog about using tag cloud programs to benefit writing.
- 15 Ideas for Using Your Writing to Make Christmas Presents. I believe that your writing can always be used as a gift. Here are some creative and fun ideas for how to turn your writing into affordable and appreciated presents for Christmas.
- 10 Terrific Niche Books for Curious Readers. Creative people are usually readers. These are a bunch of books that I’ve read that are on unusual topics that you don’t normally get the chance to read about. How fun!
- 10 Stunning Surrealist Artists. Finally I recently wrote an article highlighting the work of ten different surrealist artists who are not from the original era of surrealism but instead are putting out amazing works of art today. I’m so inspired by these people!
That’s over fifty ideas, thoughts and sources of inspiration. I hope they make you feel as creative as researching them made me feel!