Guest blogger series | Everyday inspiration

by Admin on 08/09/2011

in Art+Design, Guest blog series2 2011

Alexandra Smith aka Lola, writes the blog Lola Nova – Whatever Lola Wants. She is a mother, wife, designer, musician, and maker of 100% pure handmade goodness.  She lives in a little green cottage in the Pacific Northwest United States with her family, some lovely lady hens, The Buddha Cat and an ever changing population of fish.

Everyday Inspiration

How lovely to be asked to guest post here at, a place so chock full of inspiration and wonderful folks, thank you Kathreen!

So I have been thinking about inspiration lately; where does it come from? In this modern life we live, we have access to so much through our technology; there are amazing blogs, fantastic music, images from all over the world at our fingertips. Many of us have access to museums, galleries and exhibits that fill our heads with new and exciting ideas. However, in this modern life we live, there is also an issue of time. We are all so busy; we have jobs, families, homes to manage, etc. and often it is a struggle to find time just to make something – let alone go to a museum, craft fair or to spend hours scouring the internet. I am no exception.

Recently, I was caught up in the whirlwind of everyday life, feeling un-inspired and a little sorry for myself if the truth be told. After a long afternoon of wearing my grumpy pants and punctuating my chores with heavy sighs, I looked around and realized that no one was going to take me by the hand and say, “There, there dear, why don’t you take the afternoon off and go to the museum and while you’re at it, get yourself some cake.”  No, I was going to have to buck up and find my inspiration in the everyday stuff.

Here are some of the ways in which I found inspiration in the small details of everyday living:

*I picked up a new notebook, made myself a little pouch to keep the essentials in… a small pair of scissors, tape, a glue stick, pens and pencils, as well as a wee sewing kit. Now armed with everything I needed, every outing became an opportunity to look for inspiration. I collect things; a feather, an interesting scrap of paper, a leaf to press between the pages, and I add them to my notebook. Some days it is just a single tidbit with a small note, other days it may fill up a few pages with drawings, observations and thoughts. Whatever the case may be, I find it opens up my eyes and my imagination.

*I engage my daughter in the exercise as well, she has her own notebook and we talk about what we find and why we chose those things. If we don’t have time to put everything in our books, we save things in our pouches until we have a moment to stick them in.

*I take my camera everywhere; going for walks, trips to the park, even to my back yard, and I take pictures of things that strike my fancy. No pebble, stick, fence post, storm drain or bit of dandelion fluff is safe from my lens. I discover patterns, colors, shapes and textures that fascinate and inspire me.

*My daughter and I play a game while riding in the car that is a little like “Eye Spy” only we call it “I Like.”  We call out, “I like the way that yellow sign looks against the blue sky!” or “I like that giant letter M on that brick building!” or “I like how that tree looks like an old man!” It’s all about opening our eyes to the little details we often miss.

*I remind myself to turn on music that makes me happy. It just works.

All of these things make an impression and they lead to inspiration that makes its way into my work. Not all of it turns into a dress, a quilt, a cushion, or a handbag but, I am often surprised how these little inspirations show up in something I have made, sometimes in ways I would never have imagined.

…and yes, I have even been inspired while doing the laundry.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 jojoebi September 8, 2011 at 7:09 am

I really like the ‘I like’ game, I do that in my head, I never thought of doing as a car game, thank you xxx


2 Jodi Anderson September 8, 2011 at 9:12 am

I am totally playing the “I Like” game with my daughter. Never mind that she is 19 because I know that she’ll love it. And I will too. :)

Alexandra, this is a beautiful kick-off to the guest blogger series. I especially love that first photo.


3 Cami September 8, 2011 at 9:17 am

Wonderful insight! I always walk around with a notebook. I would also like to walk around with my camera, but I don’t feel very safe here in my city.

I loved your “I like” game, such a great way to open your eyes to the beauty of the world!


4 Megan September 8, 2011 at 10:06 am

I absolutely loved this post: what brilliant ways to capture the little details which deserve so much more attention than we often end up giving them.

I’ve been keeping a scrapbook lately, a 12″x12″ one full of page protectors and real scrapbooky things. I have a whole stockpile of crafty supplies to go with it – then I moved to Costa Rica. I made the tough decision to leave all my crafty supplies behind and just not scrapbook my time abroad. Then my boyfriend, while visiting me, said one of those things he sometimes says that make me look at him and say, ‘Good God, I love you’.

He said, ‘Why do you need all your purpose-made ribbons and stickers and stuff? Just buy a nice notebook and some coloured pencils and just draw and write and stick in some pictures and leaves or whatever’. So I did. I’d been overlooking the most raw, basic inspiration there was, and all I’d needed was a little reminding that the things you find around you are enough to create something from. Even without that Martha Steward edge punch.

Since I started work, that little notebook has been a little neglected. I think maybe it’s time to revisit it! Thanks for the reminder : )


5 Sherri B. September 8, 2011 at 11:13 am

What a wonderful idea and a good challenge to us all to, stop, look around and enjoy…then take some artistic action. Great post!


6 Pomona September 8, 2011 at 11:32 am

I love the last pic – a sentiment which truly strikes a chord!

Pomona x


7 Colette Moscrop September 8, 2011 at 3:59 pm

So true that inspiration is everywhere, my daughter got a note book for her birthday a few weeks ago and she takes it everywhere, trips out are regularly punctuated with stops for sketching leaves, doorways, writing down house numbers, she has inspired me to look at the everyday with fresh eyes.
I love the “I like” game, we will definitely be playing that!


8 joanie September 8, 2011 at 6:31 pm

A really lovely post. Thanks for sharing it :)


9 Zombie Leah September 8, 2011 at 11:05 pm

Wonderful post! I’m totally inspired by your inspiration notebook! Thank you! :)


10 olugbemisola September 10, 2011 at 5:54 am

Really one of my favourite WhipUp posts — thanks so much!


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