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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