Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Creativity Inspired

So I've been wanting to write this post for months; I still don't really even know where to start, I just wanted to share with you all some of the amazing places, things, artists, and creations that I've found over my last few years of blog browsing.  Which is really what got me here, to my own blog, in the first place.

The Beginning

Life in the Fun Lane
It all officially really started with one simple search for ideas on how to make our own headboard.  We had just moved into a little place in NW Arkansas to finish school and we had this tiny, old double bed with nothing but that measly metal frame to hold it up...and it had to be stuck on a wall with a window, so our pillows and heads kept wanting to fall into that window box, since we had no wall or headboard.  Thrifty, crafty, resourceful person that I am, I was going to make one!  My search for ideas and help with construction randomly landed me here, and I was hooked.  Over the next couple weeks I read every post from day one of Holly B's blog, In the Fun Lane.  This was the first blog I ever started reading, and following (I still do).  She and her husband, and new baby, were blogging their way through the amazingly stylish do-it-yourself renovation of their new home (you should see their closet!).  But the blog also included all her super clever/cute seasonal decorations she made, a few fashion finds, and the best part- her furniture renovations!
I've always loved building things, working with my hands, tools, and doing stagecraft stuff for productions- so this was right up my ally, and something I've always wanted to do.  It's addicting just watching her do it, via blog posts for the last 2+ years.  I've learned a whole lot from her, and vow to get into it myself someday when I have a home w/ a little space to do it.  It's so fun watching cheap/free ugly old furniture be totally transformed with paint and new hardware.  She was eventually able to make a great business of it, it's so inspiring...that I constantly ponder ways I could make a small business with my own creative talents, while still pursuing my filmmaking dreams.
This is just one of her crafty DIY renovations, that's not even the beautiful furniture you'll see she sells in her WhiteBerry shop.

The Businesses
Ok, so that was my gateway blog, and I've since been wrapped up in so many other wonderful blogs written by industrious women making their own little businesses out of the creative talents God gave them.  And ever since then I've just been itching to create and peddle my own wares through beautiful websites I've hopefully created to be as beautiful as theirs.  
Here are a few more that have given me tons of great ideas.  Some of those ideas I've actually created from on my own, others I've just wanted to replicate for awhile, and hope to soon.

Jones Design Company

This blog website has probably been my 2nd biggest inspiration for expertly and perfectly executing a blog/website/online shop that works, and people love.  Run by Emily L., the Jones Design Co. is a beautiful website; designed so nicely, with everything clean and easy to find.  Her blog is constantly full of either encouraging, thoughtful posts from a beautiful Christian heart, super-inspiring creative tutorials on stuff I always (and often) immediately want to create, or just beautiful photos of her lovely house and gorgeous family.  And that's just the blog posts.  Her shop is quaintly tucked right into her blog, and sells the beautiful art prints and other crafty things she makes.  It really makes me want to emulate her and put my Graphic Design & ScreenPrinting skills to use in just such a shop!  Plus it's always a blessing to hear how this busy, creative Mom loves the Lord through all she does and experiences...oh and she loves typography almost as much as me ;)  which is always fun.

 Paper flower bouquet, one of her great craft tutorials I used for
my Mom's Mother's Day gift this year, but with more colorful scrapbook papers. 

Amy Atlas Events

'Have been admiring this beauty for over a year now.
Amy Atlas' stuff is just too much fun.  I discovered her and her wonderful party dessert bars a little over a year ago, and have been swooning over some of her parties & fancy dessert tables ever since.  Like this beautiful green & white Bridal Brunch dessert table, above.  It made me want to throw gorgeous garden dinner parties all the more!  (The leafy-green parties seem to be my fave, like this one).  When I was planning my wedding about 5 years ago, I discovered the great idea of doing a candy 'bar' guest table full of those wonderful glass canisters & urns that I love so much, filled with various beautiful candies, decorated with pretty ribbons & creative signage for guests to spoon in to favor bags.  But this woman does them up better than anyone else I'd seen before!  I couldn't help but share these photos and the link with my new sister-in-law, Rachel, when she was planning her wedding, in hopes that she might be inspired by it too.  And she ended up having a pretty great blue & aqua themed candy favor table at her wedding last month! ...though she was probably already aware of the concept too.  So for hours of fun, colorful, yummy inspiration, check out Amy Atlas Events' photo gallery or her blog!  Love it  :-d

Candy 'Dessert Bar' by the best in the biz, Amy Atlas Events.

Like I said, either via links from one blog to another, or by being curious enough to click on the blog link of a commenter in a post I read, I've been introduced to a lot of very inspiring, creative web-logs.  I have a lot of them in my follow list, but only a very few that I make sure to actually visit consistently.

This blog's author, Tiffany, is another super creative mom with a beautiful family, and home.  She and her husband are even in the middle of designing/building their second home (I so admire that, 'have always wanted to build our own dream house).  Her husband runs a furniture home/decor type store, and she does some pro interior design stuff on the obviously they have some pretty awesome style going on.
My favorite thing in her blog is the posts on the fabulous parties she throws, especially for her 4 kids' birthdays.  They are a-maze-ing and so creative.  They're never made of the tacky mass-produced character themed supplies.  She always does super tasteful, cute decorations, desserts, favors and invitations, and usually has some really great game/activity ideas too...pretty much all by hand.  The parties always look fun and pretty.  I especially love the ideas I get from her invitations and favors.  These are some of my favorite parties she's posted:  Polar Bear party, 4 yr old RaggedyAnne party, Ballerina Princess party.

Black and White Side by Side
This blog is a great compilation of inspiration.  Maggie's passion is wedding stuff, and she always shows us beautiful examples of wedding trends on her Wedding Wednesdays.  But she also regularly posts on any random craft project, design idea, fashion find, etc.  So I've found a lot of neat ideas, and plenty of other blogs, through her own site which I've only been following for maybe a year or less now.  She's also got a sweet love story of her own, and a great personality that comes through her blogging, which lets her Christian faith shine through as well!  Oh and she even does a few tutorials, and I've found a few amazing recipes from her blog as well.

I'm jealous of her SUPER-cute anniversary photos...I might completely copy them ;)

Just a random example of fun things you'll find there.

Ok, I'm kinda done with all the major creative inspiration stations I wanted to share with you, but I have to tack on one more for good measure.  What kind of person would I be if I didn't tell you about Etsy?

So I know I've definitely already told you all about at the bottom of this post.  But I'm just gonna feature it here, too.  It's the ultimate online, hand-made, boutique 'mall.'  It's a site where artists set up their own shops (not unlike eBay) and list their hand-made creations for sale.  The whole site is exclusively for home-made stuff, and its beautiful.  You can ♥, or 'add to favorites' any shop or individual item...and I've got huge lists of both.  I wish I could share those with you, but only the account user can see their favorites...otherwise it'd be a great wishlist tool to send people!  
I've been 'window shopping' Etsy for several years now, and even bought one or two things.  (The only site in this post that I'd known of before the 'In the Fun Lane' blog.)  It's also been a great place for art inspiration when I was stuck for ideas on some of my art project assignments at JBU...theirs every form of it, from clothes, to print-making, to party decor, etc.  A lot of their shops and items have really inspired me to make things, and even made me want to open a shop and sell some of them...maybe one day.  Until then I'll just have to live vicariously through my sister-in-law, Claire, whom I was really excited to introduce to Etsy last week.  I think she may even be opening her own little shop there soon, and I'm so excited for her!
(Oh, and you have to visit this super fun interactive 'shop by color' page, even if you have absolutely no interest in shopping just fun for your mouse!)

^ {Update!  Claire did, indeed, go the Etsy route and just opened her own little shop there, selling cute & useful memo boards.  Check out her shop!}

Ok, so I thought of another thing to tack on here at the end (even though it's not a boutique).  Pinterest.  This thing is pretty great.  It's a site where you store all your online finds that you want to remember or save for later, in picture form.  Like all of you that have those 'inspiration' file folders on your desktop, filled with JPGs you stole from websites you won't remember later, when you look through the pics.  ;)  Anyway, they let you create 'pin boards' for any categories you want, and you 'pin' each photo to those boards, when you find anything online that you want to keep.  Plus it saves the original URL link so you can always go back to the web page it was from.  You can also follow other peoples boards, to see what they're you can share your own finds with others.  You should definitely check out what I mean, by just viewing mine here:
And I can explain stuff or help you get started if you have any questions, too.  You will love this!

So those are my main stops for creative inspiration in every form.  Definitely check them out, and at least click on the links, if you don't feel like reading through my descriptive texts (but please do).  
Come back here anytime to visit these sites I've compiled.  And I'd love to hear how you liked them, what inspired you...and what places you enjoy, that I haven't listed here.  Send me your favorite inspirations, and we'll spread the love.  Thanks, & I can't wait to hear from ya!  
Happy Creating :)