Memory Keeping Q&A | Inspiration

Today's Q&A post is a collection of questions and answers about inspiration.

NOELLE | Where do you get your inspiration for all the different projects you come up with?

AE | Living with my eyes and ears open. Reading the newspaper. Listening to the radio. Watching people. Clicking links. Reading books. Paying attention. Celebrating ideas from others.

DAVEAN | How do you stay so inspired to create such awesome layouts? Do you ever “scraplift” from other scrapbook blogs, magazines, etc? I feel like I always have to scraplift and sometimes by the time I have looked through magazines and blogs to find a page, I am too tired to actually scrapbook!

AE | I don't often scraplift an entire page but I often see things and think, "I'd like to try that." Sometimes I do and sometimes I don't. If I do try something that I specifically saw somewhere else I usually try to make a big deal about where the specific idea came from (such as from a magazine or gallery layout online).

I think scraplifting - or trying on an idea laid out by someone else - is a great way to learn how to find your own method of storytelling. It's through playing and testing things out that you'll find what works great for you and your stories.

It sounds like most of your energy is going into looking rather than actually getting some of your own memories recorded. One thing you might consider is setting aside specific time to just look for ideas with no intention of making anything at that time (that way you don't run into any negative self=talk about taking too long to look at other stuff before you work on your own). Have a notebook or a blank file on your computer open and jot down the ideas you want to try or draw sketches of the layouts you'd like to make. This way you'll have a go-to list of ideas the next time you sit down to make something. From the list of ideas it might be helpful to identify one concept, sketch, theme, idea/etc that you want to try next time and make plans to get it done.

Another thing to consider - I'm a big fan of repeating designs/layout ideas that work for me. You don't need to re-invent the wheel each time you start to make a page. Find something that works for you - it doesn't even have to be the whole page - it might be the way you line up circle embellishments - and do it again and again (maybe even challenge yourself to find different ways to incorporate that idea into multiple layouts).

When you do get distracted by all the ideas and inspiration something you might do is take a step back and ask yourself "why you want to scrapbook?" To record memories? To do something creative? To capture your own personal perspective on the world? To celebrate your family? Whenever I find myself getting bogged down - whether online or otherwise - I remind myself of the real reason I want to do this in the first place. Simply asking myself that question helps me refocus on what's most important and just start making stuff.

BETSY | Who is inspiring you right now? Are these the same people/blogs/publications that have inspired you through the years?

AE | I think this is such a great question - especially in terms of looking at it over time. The things that are inspiring me today "within scrapbooking" are not necessarily the same things/people that were inspiring me five years ago. I definitely see that as simply part of the process of evolving creatively - some things do come back around full circle and others are a part of my personal creative journey. I feel respectful and thankful for people that have inspired me in the past even if that fire isn't the same today as it was yesterday. I see everything that has inspired me along the way as a piece of my overall creative self.

Here's two scrapbooker's who are currently inspiring me:

  • Laura Kurz | Beautifully simple design with an emphasis on photo enlargements. Laura has long been a favorite. She might just be my favorite scrapbooker - I love how she's eliminated unnecessary things. I think there's great skill in using only what's core to the story and just a few selected accents. Especially love this one and this one.

  • Susan Weinroth | Happy, fun, light-filled pages. I pinned this recent page of hers. It's just joy-filled.

LEE | I’m curious about what inspires you, too Are there any non-traditional publications (non-scrappy, non-photo based) or unexpected artists or writers who bring out different perspectives?

AE | Lots of non-scrapbooking things inspire me. In reading your question I think it's interesting that you included "non-photo based" as a qualifier. I'd say most of the things that inspire me often include images (at least initially). That said, I have a definite fondness for the written word and am often inspired by things I read.

Here's a list of things that are currently inspiring me:

  • 3191 Quarterly | I followed 3191, A Year Of Mornings when they first got started posting back in 2007. I loved watching their daily images unfold and I purchased their book as soon as it was released. Looking at thier images both online and in the book was like taking a deep breath. A couple weeks ago I ordered their 3191 Quarterly and loved receiving the last three issues - it was the same deep breath feeling with a little more substance.

  • Pinterest | I tried to stay away. "I don't need another place to go online." is what I told myself. Now I love it and see it as a great way to categorize things I want to remember. Loving it now. You can check out my pins here.

  • natural cook books | I'm big time into reading these right now. Currently I'm switching between The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters, Super Natural Everyday by Heidi Swanson (also love her website 101 Cookbooks), and Moosewood Simple Suppers. I'm even reading them in bed which is a whole new thing for me to actually be reading them vs. just browsing for a recipe.

  • Sunset | I get super excited each month when this home & garden magazine hits my mailbox.

  • Oregon Public Broadcasting | I'm a daily listener to this Portland-based public radio station. Their line-up includes programming from NPR, PRI and the BBC (as well as local shows). It inspires me in all kinds of ways. Storytelling ideas are generated through things I hear on there regularly.

  • Uppercase Magazine | Their tagline is a "magazine for the creative and the curious." This is a more expensive non-monthly magazine but one that I find very visually inspiring each time.

I'm often inspired by links I come across via Twitter. One thing leads to another and another.

I also just added a Online Inspiration page under About Ali. The sites listed there are additional places I read often.

This post is part of a 2011 Memory Keeping Q&A series. Additional posts in this series will be listed below as they are posted. Past Q&A posts are available via the Category Archives here.

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