Thursday, September 08, 2011

Finding Inspiration

Several years ago I was asked by Scrapbook News & Review to answer the question I got asked most often which was (and still is): Where do you find your inspiration?

It’s such a good question and my answers are just as true today as they were when I was first asked, so I wanted to take today to share them with you in case you missed it the first time around. I’ve updated the examples just a bit but most of this text was taken directly from this article: HERE.

“Where do you find your Inspiration?”

This is such a loaded question because for me there is no one answer or one place but rather I find inspiration all around me. Here are a few of my favorite ways to get inspired to create and I hope that they inspire you as well.


My absolute primary inspiration comes from the photos I take. Whether it's an important event, an everyday moment or formal portraits, photos just speak to me. I most often let my photos dictate how I am going to scrapbook with them be it by color, subject, theme, whatever. I scrap only those photos that speak to me and inspire me. I don't feel the need any more to scrapbook every single picture that I take. I look for the ones that will tell the story I want to tell and tell it the best!

I know many of you were probably *very* familiar with the Silly Bandz crazy of the past year. These crazy little bands were our *jelly shoes* or friendship bracelets and they. were. every.where. My kids were no exception and my littlest wore his constantly. I snapped this photo at our local ice cream shop where the light from the window was fabulous. I knew immediately that it would be the perfect photo to document the fad.



However, there are times when the photos just simply aren't enough, so then I search for….


I love color! LOVE! Color makes me insanely happy so the more color the better as far as I'm concerned. Color has a way of conveying mood just as much as words (if not more so) so I am constantly looking for new or unique combinations. I find them often in nature, in magazines, in fashion or just about anywhere. I'm a huge fan of Pantone's website ( as a tool to create your own interesting color combos. If you're the type that likes to have colors pre-selected for you, my friend Janet also has a website, , completely dedicated to just that. It is a sure bet to get your creative juices flowing.

This color combination below was based off the flowers I brought to my father’s gravesite on the 10thanniversary of his death. I fell in love with the rich autumn palette and worked up a color scheme to scrapbook these very precious photos.


This layout was originally done for a BasicGrey sketch using one of Becky Fleck’s sketches which leads me to the next topic. Sometimes even wonderful photos and the perfect color combination aren't always enough because then the question becomes “How do I mix them together??!” For that, I often turn to…


First, my own.

There was a time when I never used a sketch, much less sketched myself. I would gather up all the paper that I thought I would want to use for a project, pull all the coordinating embellishments and then push paper around for hour while I was making up my mind in how I wanted to go. I found that process took TONS of time and as I started working full-time as a scrapbooker, I needed to find a way to move faster! Enter the sketch! Rather than spending hours moving paper around, I would use a notebook and jot down all the things I hoped to accomplish with my scrapbook page - things like the story I wanted to tell, an element I wanted to use, and even how I thought I might like to lay out my design. I used the paper as a stream-of-conscience way to get everything down and I found I could eliminate ideas much quicker that way.

This sketch was from when BasicGrey’s new Lauderdale line came out for Winter CHA. I jotted down in my little notebook some things the line reminded me of and perhaps some things I wanted to consider using on my layout. The result was not only this sketch but this final design!


And Other People's…

But believe me I don't like re-inventing the wheel. If someone else has done a sketch that I love and it will work for the photos I have, I'm not above using it! There are several sketch sites I like to frequent but two of my favorites are and Both Becky (of Page Maps) and Valerie (of Got Sketch) are incredible sketch artists and their designs are versatile and timeless.

Here is an example of how I interpreted one of Becky's sketches from Page Maps.



Another favorite place to get inspiration is from scrapbooking product itself! Find an element or a design, a manufacturer or a product you love and start building your design around that! Since I happen to work for a manufacturer, I have to use this one a lot! (It's a good thing it's a favorite, eh?!) I have my “go to” items when it comes to scrapbooking and one of them is element stickers. BasicGrey’s element stickers come with every complete collection pack and they are by far my favorite cheap embellishment. I will often cut them apart, layer them up and build my entire design around it. I did that in both of the layouts below where I clustered the element stickers as my embellishments and then the layout just flowed.


Another vast area of inspiration comes in the form of…

5. The MEDIA

By far one of my favorite places to get inspiration whether it is in magazines (both scrapbook and non-scrapbook related), on websites or on personal blogs. In fact, the media is how I first started feeding my love of scrapbooking. Every morning I'd log on to one of my favorite scrapbooking websites and I'd sit for an hour browsing and praising all the beautiful projects that caught my eye. And as I was looking, I'd pick up a technique here or an inspirational color scheme there. I'd bookmark projects I thought I might want to try and I never tired of all the inspiration I was getting. I still do that to this day, especially when I feel I'm in a creative funk or just need some eye candy.

A couple of my favorite sites beyond the ones I've already mentioned are Two Peas in a Bucket and And even better, both of them have wonderful shops so that once you're inspired, you can go shopping for exactly what you need!

I also keep an inspiration journal both in a file folder on my computer and an actual binder where I've pulled pages from magazines that I want to have at close reach. It's a fantastic resource when you just can't seem to get things going on your own.

And with the introduction of, there is a never ending source of pretty images AND tutorials. I could get lost in that site for hours if I let myself!

But sometimes even that's not enough! So when all else fails, I often turn to….


That's right! I'm not above lifting myself and taking something that I loved and was successful in creating before and do it again! If the photos work for a design, give it another shot! Perhaps rotate it or flip it, but I bet you'll find that even if you stick to the exact same design, it'll still look brand new with new papers and embellishments.

But when I had to do another layout quickly using an entirely different line, I went back to the same basic layout design, but flipped it horizontally. I think you'll agree that the look is the same, yet entirely different with minimal time invested!


I sincerely hope some of these ideas have inspired YOU and make you want to get creating yourself! And remember - my OXFORD giveaway is still open as well a couple of posts below! Get in on that one, too! :)

Happy Thursday and Happy Scrappin'!



Anya said...

Awesome! We LOVE your work Kelly!!!

Michelle L. said...

Thanks for this posting, Kelly... I love your work and find your layouts to be the most "scraplift-enticing" I have seen. Many of my own layouts are variations of things that I saw you do in your work, and so my family reaps the benefits of your artistic eye. Thank you so much!

lunetapatineta said...

Thank you so much for all the amazing tips!!!!!

Julie Howard said...

Wonderful post. :)

Linda L said...

Wow thank you for that Kelly. I loved reading your ideas for inspiration and what a gorgeous bunch of layouts...just awesome!

{dawn} said...

Love this post about how you find inspiration! I was especially glad you mentioned finding inspiration from yourself because your layouts have truly been inspiring to me! Several of the layouts you feature in this post have made it into my scrapbooks in one form or another! I love your eye for color, and combining papers and embellishments; and your photos are truly beautiful!

Wendy said...

they are all so gorgeous, i cannot pick my fav! thanks for the ideas!

Blessed so much said...

Love being inside your head, Kelly! Thanks for the insight.


Freezer Meals said...

Always inspiring Kelly!! said...

WOW thanks for sharing all this information Kelly!