Sunday, June 19, 2011

8 Weeks to a Better Me: Week 8/Awakening Your Creative Side

Oh my goodness! It's already been 2 months since I first began this little feature series, and today Leigh-Ann is here with the final week, all about awakening your creative side. I thought that LA was the perfect person for this last installment; she's one of the most talented and creative ladies I know, and it's such a pleasure to have her here on Sometimes Sweet today. Her contribution is absolutely amazing, and I know it's something I'm going to revisit time and time again when I need a little inspiration. I think there is absolutely something for everyone here.

I'll be back next Sunday with a rundown of all 8 weeks and my goal progress, so if you've been participating in this series be sure to check back again for one more week of 8 weeks. Thank you to both my wonderful contributors and to you, my readers, for making this project so fun! I've legitimately made positive changes due to the inspiration I've gained from these ladies (and one gentleman!) and I can't wait to do the final post. But for now, here's LA!

Hi :) I'm Leigh-Ann, a girl who gets obsessed with new things regularly… currently: songs (99problems by JayZ), tv shows (Community), colors (orange), habits (using iCal for everything), foods (I crave burritos for every meal), beverages (I drink way too much coca cola), clothes (i love my new skinny jeans), blogs (I can't get enough of a certain few), and hobbies (laying at the park/field under blankets). I live in Winnipeg, Canada and co-own Freckled Nest, a design and craft company that specializes in blog design and community. :) I have a lab named Lola and my boyfriend has a boston terrier named Tom. :) We love our little family and will soon be living together, eek! :) I just returned home from vacation in Missouri and San Francisco and feel totally refreshed and inspired… I can't wait to make a mini album with all my photos and stories. I love making stuff :)

The topic of Awakening your Creative Side is special for two reasons: firstly, when I embraced my creative side around age 23, I felt like I came alive, like there had been a missing piece of my life that was falling into place. Secondly, creative life has become both my passion and a huge part of my career. With each blog design client I accept, I want to create a totally unique website that embodies both my aesthetic and the clients style (based on the inspiration homework at the beginning of the process).  Since fresh designs are an important part of my work, I've made discovering new inspiration and ideas a regular part of my week and it's something that recharges me constantly-- I get an adrenaline rush just finding a new font nevermind a new concept for a whole project! ;)

Today I want to share a start to finish approach for Awakening your own Creative Side that includes:

1) Finding Inspiration
2) Translating it
3) Making a project with your inspiration in mind.


Whether intentionally or accidental, most creative goals or projects start with inspiration-- an idea, material, theme, visual, instinct, interaction, storyboard, etc. Below, I've shared 14 different approaches and options for seeking new inspiration; for now, choose 2 methods that appeal to you and give them a try over the next month, gathering a collection of ideas and things that inspire you.

Ideas for Seeking Inspiration:


1. Carry your camera in your purse so that you can point and shoot pretty & interesting things, building a photo album of your favorites :)

2. Write a list of all the things you love! Celebrating every big and little thing that make you happy will give you a mega boost!

3. Connect with another creative spirit. You will feed off of each other and thrive at the opportunity to share every exciting thing. That's how Red Velvet started and look where they are now! Creative friendships are powerful and so fun!

4. Start a Pinterest account to collect photos that inspire you and reflect your style (seeing eyecatching photos and collections will ignite ideas when you go to create your own project).

5. Join a weekly or monthly craft club where you work on your own creative project while visiting with others in the group (you can do this online or locally).

6. Gather a collection of your own favourite things! You probably already have some really cool stuff-- something from your grandma, a treasure from the day you fell in love, a neat box from a garage sale… make a nostalgia vingette on your dresser to inspire you every morning :)

7. Create a tradition to celebrate the opportunities you have to nurture your creative-side.
Ideas: a special apron, a favourite drink, a new album on itunes, your partner takes care of the kids, a Skype chat with your bestie while you craft long distance, a sweet set-up in a corner of your home, quiet time by yourself, or maybe it's just a journal entry celebrating what you're doing.

8. Read blogs where creative people share DIY's, stories, completed projects and inspiration--and that they motivate you to do the same :) Creative role models with a magnetic personality have a contagious energy and joy!

9. Make a style binder that collects your favourite magazine pages and clippings.

10. Blog about your inspiration finds and creative projects. Sharing is exhilarating!

11. Listen to your daydreams and night dreams (I once build an entire mini album in a dream while I slept, then woke up and realized I could make it for real!).

12. Reorganize your own craft supplies to feel a fresh start. Along the way, you might rediscover supplies you forgot about and project ideas you haven't had a chance to start (or complete).

13. Look for themes from your childhood. Games, TV shows & Movies, Toys, Vacations, Friendships… they can all offer fun inspiration and ideas for your crafts!

14. Vintage items have awesome stories, texture and style-- go on a thrifting field trip to search for inspiration (and supplies)!

Be present in everything you do-- when you're *watching* for inspiration, you will see it much more easily and life is even more fun!


Collecting inspiration is invigorating; so is wallpapering your teenage bedroom with pictures of soapstar hunks (I did that) but if you collect forever and never use it, you might be an "Inspiration Hoarder". Let's talk about translation and application :)

Inspiration usually translates into two types of application:

1) Inspiration can offer motivation and 'a high' to get you started. This charge happens naturally when you've found a piece of inspiration that connects perfectly with your style and personality or you find a project that you 'have to' make or you have an interaction or experience that invigorates you.

2) Inspiration can initiate a set of ideas that give your project strong direction.

Identify what you like about each piece of inspiration.

The color scheme?
The photography style?
A font?
Supply that was used?

Once you figure out the key part that you're drawn to, evaluate if it's something you can use too or how you will adapt it to be unique to you (and respect the original creators work). Doing this regularly, you will recognize your style coming together or evolving and the process will feel very natural in no time! Then, when you sit down to make something, you will have a great collection of ideas to draw on and play with :)


Now that you've awakened your creative side, you're more than ready to start using it! Pick a project, gather some fun supplies that reflect your inspiration and then-- make it. Easier said than done right? Making it is sometimes the hardest part… we put pressure on ourselves, overthink it, feel like we need "___" in order to get started, or-- maybe we're just afraid to "be creative".  This is probably why inspiration hoarding comes so naturally, we're safe in the stage of identifying creativity, an endless journey. If you feel scared or procrastinate, you're not alone… it's hard to try something new, with no rules, coming up with ideas that feel right to you. BUT, it is totally worth it to push past those fears, be willing to make mistakes & not be perfect, and actually make what you want to make! Be brave and make it. Why?

The journey is so fun!
You will feel amazing!
You will make neat stuff that you are proud of (and can use!!)
Working with your hands to create something original is incredible!
Translating your inspiration into a craft is a thrill!
You get to *use* those supplies you love shopping for!
Your friends and family will be so impressed, it's crazy fun to give handmade gifts!
You will come alive, honestly :)

Choose to awaken your creative side: Find Inspiration, Translate it and Make, make, make :) I hope you have so much fun that you explode :)

Love, LA

1. This week, I am going to finally start using my Pinterest. I've had an account since it began but was a little wary to get sucked into a new site...I'm totally inspired now to get all of my inspiration in one place. It will be nice to have a place I can go when I need a little creative recharge, suited just for me.

2. I loved what Leigh-Ann said, "Creative role models with a magnetic personality have a contagious energy and joy," and it is so true! This week I am going to focus on visiting my most favorite inspirational blogs, and find some energy and joy through some of these amazing women.

3. Go on a few walks this week for the sole purpose of finding inspiration, rather than tuning out and just trying to exercise. Take it slower, maybe take some photos too. Enjoy my surroundings.

How about you? How are you going to awaken your creative side?


  1. Oh, LOVED reading this! This was the perfect read for me as I have been trying to be much more creative this year! Thanks LA! :)

  2. Great post and series. I'm going to have to go back and read the other seven weeks! I love the "carry the camera" idea. I'm definitely going to try that.

    And it's always nice to find another Coca Cola addict :)

  3. I've been stopping on my morning runs to take photos since we moved to Vancouver. It means that I really enjoy & take notice of my surroundings. You should make sure that you do this one, it's great & even if you exercise on the same route each day, you'll always see something different if you're looking for it xx

  4. I'm going to retweet this for ALL the creative moms out there. Thank ya! Even some things I took from the post, and I'm a guy!

  5. i just discovered your series. i will definitely be going back and reading all the posts! so great! and i love LA- she is super creative, positive and inspirational!

  6. Oh my, I really enjoyed reading this post. It's just so incredibly inspiring! <3 xx

  7. I just started blogging (literally about a WEEK ago @ and I have long been reading Sometimes Sweet. This has been one of my FAVORITE posts yet. Very inspirational! I have to agree to Pinterest is awesome and really helps me keep track of my thoughts and new inspirations. I hate to see this 8 week series end =(

  8. i haven't been participating in the 8 week project, but this has been my favorite week so far!

    i love crafting, just about anything, but i'm the biggest procrastinator in the world. i need to go back and read this post pretty often. :)

  9. This post was just what I needed! Thank you LA for all the great pointers. I will definitely be going back to read the previous 7 weeks :) xoxo

  10. Danielle! You have a pinterest, but didn't share what your account is! I am more than curious what your pinboards look like! Pinterest is a huge addiction of mine, haha : ) This was my favorite of the 8 weeks series! Exactly what I needed. Thanks LA!

  11. lovely post! definitely some creative ideas....definitely carry my camera wherever i go! :)

  12. this was super inspiring! my fave fave so far. xx

  13. I just stumbled across you browsing blog lovin' and I have to say this is very inspirational and along what I've been trying to do with myself in recent months. Thank you for sharing.

  14. I really enjoyed this post today and I love everything LA does - I need to get back into my creative side.

  15. Leigh-Ann had some great tips! I really needed this to give me the kick in the pants to get out of my rut! Thanks for another great feature! xo

  16. hello, my name is jess and i am an inspiration hoarder. this advice is great and can't wait to use it :)

  17. What a great her tips for finding inspiration and not being afraid to create. I love photography so I definitely want to start taking random inspiration photos.

  18. Rach @inspacesbetween

    Wow, LOVED reading this! I'm on a quest to take (lots) more photos and this has given me the nudge that I need! Thank you xx

  19. I LOVE this post! It is so inspiring and full of great ideas and great explanation behind the reason for each part. I'm definitely going back to check out the previous 7 weeks - better late than never, hey!

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  21. This is great advice! Thank you for sharing!