I am often asked how I can keep coming up with new and different ideas. When I think about it, I realize that it isn't really a conscious thing that I do. Actually, it seems that when I try the hardest to think of something to design, it tends to be when I have the most difficulty thinking of something that I really can get excited about. It is funny how that works.
Lately it seems that I have more ideas then I have time. For a designer, that is a good thing. While we sometimes feel that we are accomplishing very little of the things that we set out to do, it is nice to have the sense of security that we feel when we have some ideas in reserve – just for those days when we aren't feeling very inspired.
I used to keep quite a detailed list of future ideas. But I admit to you all that I have become somewhat lax in that practice. When I look back to check on the list I realize that the last time I updated it was many months ago, and I know that there have been many other things in the works since then. But I still feel it is a good thing to do, as even now when I glance at it, I have those "oh, yes!" moments when I am reminded of something else that I want to create. While it may be somewhat overwhelming for the moment, when I already have several things in my head and I am fighting with myself to decide what to work on first, I still like the safety net of those few ideas that will keep me moving ahead on those days when inspiration eludes me. It is like an insurance policy.
So where do these ideas come from?
I can't really pinpoint it. If I were to answer in a word or two, I would have to say "attitude".
I bet you are probably thinking "well – attitude is not a THING or PLACE”. I think you would be correct in thinking that. But to me, attitude is somewhat of a lifestyle, and one thing that I like about attitude is that not only does it have a very heavy influence on our daily lives, but it also can be very much under our control. And that, my friends – is what I feel is a wonderful key to being creative.
My partner Keith often teases me because he says I like to live on a "pink cloud". By that he means that I tend to be an optimist about things. I can take even a not so good situation and I will try to rationalize something good from it. This doesn't happen by chance, although by now it has become quite a habit. I think it is my way of dealing with negativity and bad situations. I try to find the small bit of good in them – be it a lesson, a learning experience, reason for change, etc. Sometimes it is difficult to do, but usually I can succeed. I do this because I try to search for something to make me feel better, even in the worst situation.
Some people choose to feel better by sharing the negative things that happen to them. That's OK for them, but to me, I feel that only perpetuates the hurt, pain and bad feelings. I feel that for myself, looking on the brighter side of things helps me heal quicker and move on to better things ahead. My favorite saying "we follow where we focus" is one that applies to my every day life. This applies to so many aspects of our lives. It doesn't mean that we don't feel when something bad happens. But when something happens like the senseless tragedies that pepper the daily news occur and we feel helpless, sometimes re-focusing can be the best response.
My favorite way of doing this is by doing something to make someone happy. I know that is a vague statement, and it is a very broad way of thinking. Some people call them "Random Acts of Kindness" (RAK's) and I think that I have been doing them all along. It could be something small like taking the time to give a genuine compliment to someone. Or sending someone an extra pattern. Or taking the time to write a short note just to see how a friend or acquaintance was doing. These things cost little, but mean a great deal to people. And it feels good to me to think that I made someone smile – even for a minute of their day. I think if we all tried to do at least one RAK a day, the world would be a happier, softer and more creative place.
Yesterday I was on the receiving end of one of these random acts. I received a "Treasure Box" from a wonderfully creative friend of mine that I met through a painting exchange on Facebook. We were partners this summer and have developed a lovely friendship of kindness and inspiration to each other. She had sent me some unexpected 'goodies' before, and I had sent her some in return. "Just because."
But the box I received yesterday was filled with lovely gifts of things that I had mentioned that I liked. I was certainly taken back by her kindness and generosity.
There were treats, an ornament, a beautiful painted plate, a darling pin that said "hope" and I think my favorite piece was an adorable prim kitty named "Boo."
All the things were hand crafted by Sue and they were all wonderful! (Sue's Facebook page is here – Andersons General Store if you would like to see or purchase some of her art) I had seen the kitties when she posted them, and loved them so much! I was going to make a 'kitty' for Edgar my little Elf that I got from Brenda at The Rusty Thimble last year, but I just haven't had the time. I love "playing" with my elf and my 'real' cats enjoy him as well. He makes my life FUN! We even have an Elf Club with all of our elves that came from Brenda. It may seem like utter nonsense, but it brings joy and makes us laugh. And I believe that is what life should be all about. I think that Edgar and Boo make a perfect pair!
As you can see, they have become fast friends. :)
It is things like this that inspire me. Sometimes it requires looking at life through a child's eyes. Sometimes it means acting just a bit silly or 'quirky'. It seems for me that the more fun I have and the more positive I think, the more inspired I am.
I try to wake up happy each day. Even if I don't, I try to search for a grain of happiness from someone or something around me.Or I do something to make someone happy. There are so many things in life to be grateful for. Good health. Wonderful friends. A sense of peace. I find if we focus on the good things around us, finding inspiration in them is easy and endless.
That's my story and I am sticking to it!
Have a wonderful Friday and a beautiful, inspirational weekend!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"