Sunday, March 15, 2009

DIY Sunday - Get Inspired

Today's post is a bit different - focusing not on a single project (because honestly, I haven't had time this week to Do Anything Myself), but on the muse and how to lasso her. I have a couple of projects bubbling in my brain and as I was scouring the interwebs for some inspiration, I thought I'd share some places where you can get ideas and learn techniques.

There are many fun craft books and magazines out there, but most of the time I find ideas by flipping through them at the bookstore or craft store, rather than buying. That's how the altered clipboards were conceived. The one magazine I'll sometimes buy is Somerset Studio, a paper and mixed-media craft magazine. Mostly, I buy it because it's so darn pretty. is a great place to find ideas for projects. If you're not familiar with Etsy, it's an online marketplace where people sell their handmade items. Even if you're not in the market to buy, browsing through the shops can liven up your own creative juices. And you just might find something that you want to buy, which supports other DIY types out there.

One of Etsy's stars is Danita, an artist living in Ciudad Juarez. Every time I look at her beautiful little paintings, I feel inspired. Danita is self-taught, and draws on folk art, stories, and emotions. She has her own blog as well as her Etsy store.

Through Danita's site, I discovered the blog of Gustavo Aimar, an illustrator. The blog is in Spanish, but you don't need to speak the language to enjoy his fairytale artwork.

For those who are more digitally-inclined, HitRECord (like hitting record on your video camera, not a hit record that sells a million) is an online hub for those who want to collaborate. The site is the brainchild of Joseph Gordon-Levitt (yes, the kid from 3rd Rock From the Sun). HitRECorders post ideas for projects, then other HitRECorders contribute with video, photos, collage, whatever. The media that's uploaded to HitRECord is then available to be used by other members for further collaboration. The site is a bit hard to navigate if you're new, but check out the forums and you can get a taste of what people are doing. (Click here and here to see a couple of photos I have there.)

So once you've gathered up all of these great inspirations, what do you do? Decide what project you want to make. A card? A collage? A decorated box? Jewelry? You may have seen something on a website that you want to replicate, but you're not sure what to do. has how-tos on almost anything you could imagine, including arts and crafts.

Cheeky Magpie is another site where you can find how-tos - and inspiration. It was there that I discovered the anatomical heart Valentine. She includes tutorials on a variety of projects, and her designs are whimsical -- decorated matchboxes, paper appliques, collage using vintage kids' books, and more.

I hope that you're feeling a bit inspired. I know that I am -- I'm going to get up from the computer and go make some art.

Next week - I hope to be able to share some of the results.

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