I never know what is going to trigger an idea. More so than not, when I am looking for something, I can’t find anything suitable but when I least expect it, something jumps out at me.
Every project idea that I see isn’t always what I would call ‘original.’ But I don’t think that it always has to be. Lots of times I will see stuff that is already available or on the market that is a cute idea, but I think of how I can modify it or improve on it so that people can make it themselves (and usually improve on the design a bit!) Building on ideas like that is something that has not only been successful for me, but also fun. I do that a lot with cooking, too. If I taste something I like, I try to make it at home and usually I can come close to the original recipe. Sometimes I even do it one better by adding more of what I like the best (like cheese!) and it works out very well. So why not do the same with woodworking, too?
I usually spend the first couple hours of each day going through mail and surfing the net for pictures and stuff to present here on the blog. All the silly cat pictures and things of that nature are the result of various searches I do at this time depending on which subject I wish to emphasize. Lots of times, in my internet travels, I go off on a tangent and follow a path to something totally unrelated to what I was originally searching for. It is at these times that I find some of my best inspirations.
The other day, I was looking for something ‘cat’ and I came across these silly paper clips:
I thought they were exceedingly clever. While I am not one to impulse buy and spend money foolishly on a regular basis, I do have my weak moments and veered off my original path of thought and found where I could order some of these cute office helpers. It seems they were available on Ebay for a fairly cheap price and when I saw that they had free shipping, it was the deciding factor. A couple of clicks of the mouse later and they are on their way here to thrill and entertain me. After all, they were not only adorable, but useful too.
More importantly, from that place in cyber space I was brought to a whole different train of thought – fun office supplies. How nice to have something that isn’t only useful, but fun and entertaining at the same time. Turning something that is ordinary and mundane into something that is not only fun but still functional would be appealing to most people, wouldn’t it? I browsed on . . .
Another item that I thought to be fun and cute was the kitty head shaped chalk board that I used as a picture in yesterday’s blog. I did a search and I found that yes, indeed there were many different shaped boards of that nature, of all different animals. Coincidentally, about two weeks ago I received a nice bottle of Chalkboard paint from DecoArt and I had planned on using it for designing some projects. Everything was falling into place.
I started thinking through how I would make this project into something that everyone would love making. I would need to keep it simple, but I wanted it to be functional and fun too. While I liked the head of the kitty in the picture I used yesterday, I thought that I could greatly improve on the idea. I didn’t like the chalk hanging from the string, as I felt that it would be constantly slipping out and not be practical to have it held that way. I also wanted something that could not only be mounted on a wall, but also on the refrigerator or even standing up on a desk or dresser in a kids room. Giving all these options would not only make the pattern more functional, but add to the value.
And then there was the shape itself. I wanted a full cat, and while there are many silhouettes of cats available on the net, I chose to draw one myself so that it would be completely original. I came up with an idea for holding the chalk, too and I think it is a fun answer to the hanging string. I think the project (while simple) is really looking good so far:
I need to go to get some chalk today, and I will do that while I am in Yarmouth after seeing the accountant. I got everything cut and all I need to do is paint and finish things up. I am happy and somewhat excited about this unexpected project idea and I think that it is something that will appeal to many. While it is a simple project, I think that it is one that many people will want to make. Its simplicity along with the functionality and eye appeal will make it something that would not only be fun for gifts, but also something that would be good to sell at shows and craft fairs and make several of in a relatively short amount of time. And to think it all came from chasing some kitty shaped paper clips! Go figure.
I suppose if I want to rationalize things out, I can say that buying those paper clips paid off in the long run. (And they haven’t even arrived here yet!)
I am very happy with the distraction that I encountered the other day and I feel like it opened my eyes to a world of possibilities for designs. What could be more fun?
I wish you all a good day today. Remember to allow those little distractions in from time to time. You never know where they will lead you.
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"