4 Quick and easy ways to feel inspired that doesn't take much time or planning

I have time but.... no motivation to create!


oh man, Been there done that! I could go on about how many times I have been there.

The dirty little secret is this: It's crazy simple: the more you do the work (aka create something) the more inspiration follows. 

Sound too good to be true right? Let me give you this example, and it's true with any art forms, fine arts, music, acting, writing, you name it.

I was recently at a girls weekend at Pine Lake, one of the prettiest lakes in Iowa, imagine, I had the whole weekend to my self to work on painting, and creating whatever my little heart wanted. So I planned on what I wanted to do, packed the backend of my flex with art supplies, and off I went for the weekend for some much needed "me" time. It was amazing! I thought for sure I would get into a slump and not want to create much by the end of the weekend, that never happened! I was filled with more and more ideas, until, I got carried away. I came home with even more inspiration than I did before I left.


I think it's because I showed up to do the work, and once you are in your zone your artist child is like, hey remember this, yeah that sounds like a lot of fun, it's just paper try it and see what comes of it. When you are creating you are really telling your artist's that you are ready to listen to it, and do the actual work or creating. It's really that simple.

However, if you are new to this do the work complex, or principle, here are some great ways to help you feel inspired.

a fun kid activity I love doing!
1. List your favorite things to do as a child, (from Ages 8-12) is my sweet spot. Was it being outside and exploring? listening to music and dancing? For me, it was being outside in nature and taking in the beauty. Guess what I do every day? I walk on a trail with my dog to just be in nature, it truly inspires me! I also had fond memories of coloring, water coloring, and making patterns with my crayons.

Now do one or two of those things on your list. It might be just too doodle for 30 min. it's worth it.

2. Do something with your hands that doesn't take creative brain power, like baking bread, or a making a pie, or for me, it's in the kitchen, I just made a pumpkin pie for my family, it was worth the time I put in for my family and for my artist's brainchild. Other ideas would be to work out in your garden, work on your bike, Do something with your hands, like knitting. Although you will never find me knitting. (hand-eye coordination, with sitting for a period of time is not my idea of fun.) I remember last year in December I made chocolate peanut butter cups for the first time, I felt so empowered after making them I had to create something. Sing it with me, gotta be starting something, gotta be starting something.... Sol!

What do you love to create with you hands that isn't "art"

3. Visual boards are so underestimated, it sounds as cheesy and it is, but starting a visual board of things that interest you is one of my all-time favorite ways to be inspired, I often start a visual board when I am working on a specific subject, like flowers, or trees, or seasons, or colors, the idea behind this is it's a great way to see what inspires you, collect magazines, cut out pictures that you want up on a board, my cabinets in my art room/studio is always plastered with at least one visual board. My visual board is magazine pictures taped onto a white piece of butcher paper. within an hour I have a vision board that helps me see what I want to paint or create. It's usually not other people's work of art. They are things/nouns that I can see that makes me happy. Follow me on Pinterest

Last but not least, my favorite help tool for finding inspiration is this:

4. Write it out, talk it out and clean it out! When I am at a creative halt, I dig my heels in and say I am going to create even if nothing comes of it.... not always a great idea. I truly feel that my creativity and my soul is linked. If something is not well with my soul, whatever I make is futile. What I need to do then is to literally call on my bff, or write it out, I am sometimes surprised what had been bugging me just by writing it out, and letting the issue air out a bit, so to speak. If you are not in the creative mood just write it out or talk it out. My favorite is to talk to a friend while cleaning. Then I feel energized to finish the painting I have been neglecting, or starting a project that has been on my mind.

Doing small creative things to help you feel inspired and ready to start a project is always worth the extra time!

What about you, what is your go too for feeling more creative?

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4 Desing tips for making a Christmas Shaker Card and what not to do!

I had a truly magical afternoon making these cute shaker Christmas tree cards for some pretty awesome kids, (mine) for Christmas Day!

While taking a class at Taylored Expression's studio (totally amazing people and company.) I realized what had been holding me back from ever doing shakers, and that is I could wrap my mind around the foam aspect of shaker cards, once I understood that to make a good shaker card is to use foam adhesive sheets, I was set to make more! So off I went!

To make a Shaker Card I found this tutorial to be very helpful!

 I have a couple design tips when creating the Christmas tree card.

1. Using Taylor Expression's Foam double-sided adhesive sheets were perfect for this die, a must if you want a shaped shaker card! You use the foam sheet with the tree die and run it through the sizzix, as if you were making a frame. Then you do it again with your pattern paper that you want to put over the foam.

2. Keep it simple. I learned with Taylor's class to keep the shaker element simple the focal point is the shaker element. The more "stuff" you have the less the shaker card is going to shine. use minimal embellishments. (although you do need a good amount of sequence.)

3.Keep with a color combo, and use coordinating paper if at all possible! My Shaker cards have at least two colors, not a ton. This card is meant to use colors as a design element, use them wisely!

4. Don't have the sequence blend into the background, the red and white works together because of the contrast. The blue and white works well with the white background because it's semi monochromatic.

While designing these shakers cards, I did use a build a scene sequence from Taylor Expression for the blue and white card, which I love, for the other cards, I used sequence in the kid and craft aisle at the local craft store. I got three different sizes of red, and then to add to the texture of the sequence, I added some gold stars. For a good shaker card, you want a variety of sizes and colors that coordinate with the paper! 

For this card, I had printed out the Merry Christmas sentiment on cardstock that I was going to use with Washi Tape, but doesn't this work well with the sentiment? This card is a great example of choosing a sequence that blends into the background, it's not my favorite one, but I wanted to show you that if you chose a red background with red sequence, it doesn't pop as well. (lessoned learned.) In hindsight, I should have added just one more layer on top of the red, to make the Green Tree stand out with the red sequence. Again, learn from my mistake!
See this card, much better right? I pulled in the red, and the green with some pink that makes it all work! ahh, my eyes are better!

When you think of Shaker cards, think of color as the most important element, then the shaker and your card will look great!

Here are the links to the Christmas Tree Die, while your at TE's site, order your foam adhesive sheets and the clear window acetate for the shaker cards.
I also used TE's Christmas Rejoice sentiments for cards that were stamped.

Making the most of your Creative Time!

I love having time to spend with my family, I don't always have the time to spend a long time on a card. I have found that stamping and water coloring can really help you get a beautiful card done in no time. so here is what I do to free up some Christmas time with My family:

I have learned how to easily paint a Pine tree, it could look like a Christmas tree, or it could look masculine. It's easy for me to paint, and I am done in a minute, pair that tree with a sentiment and you are done. No extra time needed. Is there a watercolor technique that you love and get beautiful results?

paper and ink!
Layered Coordinating paper
 I use paper packs of cards. I can really get a lot of layered cards done fairly quickly when you are using coordinating paper. I love the packs that have a sentiment already printed on the paper, that means with just a bit of pop dots, and cutting I can come up with some cards on the fly, they look pretty, and doesn't take to much time to devote to making a couple cards. If you plan it right, you can get a lot done in a short time.
Ideas to cut time:
Cut panels ahead of time
use the card sketches to help you with a composition and layouts
use ink blending to get that designer quality in your cards.

My favorite way to come up with a quick card is more in the process or my workflow. If I have 20 minutes but am not feeling super creative I do the mundane tasks, like cutting paper to make 4.25x5.5 panels for cards, or I make my own card bases, so I cut and fold the bases. If I am feeling a little more creative I will emboss some cardstock to use for cards, that way when I want something embossed it's already done for you when you need it.

 Or.... Becuase my creative mood changes daily:

sometimes all I want to do is to just create, so I will spend an hour with a color scheme in mind and just play with colors, and two or three stencils and stamps to see what comes about. usually, after an hour, I have at least 10-20 panels that all it needs is an embellishment, and a sentiment to make it look polished and ready for a card. I also use this same process with Washi Tape, because it's fun!
Which reminds me, I may need some more ink (which is French for, I don't have all the colors from the Tim Holtz distress ink yet.)

The creative process is real! When I have the paper pre-cut, and all I have to do is reach for the paper, and start creating, it doesn't kill my muse when I am ready to create. having little things done before you start on a card really does help.
watercolor with a stencil!
Such an easy panel to use!

What did I miss? What do you do to make a quick card? I just scratched the surface!
 If you want to learn more about watercolor cards, my friend Angela has an amazing class!

I use affiliate links to help support my blog

I am entering the Merry Christmas Card into the Penny Black Saturday Challenge

Need a Me time class during the holidays? I got it for you!

 Want a coupl hours to your self during the Christmas season? Me too!

 I am teaching at Memory Bound on the 28th on November,  1-3 and 6-8
$22 for 4 cards
My goal is for all my students to come away feeling inspired and happy.
These cards look amazing and the awesome part is, they are easyily created with the help of 4 stamp from Penny Black. We use Tombow markers, and distress inks to make the panel, and then we add stickles to help the images to sparkle a bit. Really who doesn't like glitter on their Christmas cards? Who I ask?

If you are looking for a way to make a couple cards for  your dear loved ones, and need some "me time" this is the class for you, we are also providing some beverages! It's going to be a fun class, can you tell I am excited?

See you there!
Happy Creating!

Magic of Christmas

This is one of those awesome stamps that takes like 10 minutes to make a beautiful card! This card is also going to be a Make n take for Memory Bound in Ankeny IA Wednesday December 6th, come in from 1-6, $3 material fee. 

To make this amazing card that was so fun to design you need distress ink, yellow, red, green. Stamp the Red Delight (Penny Black)

I watched this video to get a better idea on how to make this card.

I am entering this in to the Card Concept

If you enjoy this post please follow me! 

Happy Creating!
xoxo ~Lisa

Leaf Prints for Cards

Don't you just love love love when distress inks work in your favor? When you use distress ink you can get some really neat looks like this crazy easy card that looks so stunning!

Supplies used
Tim Holtz Leaf Prints stamp
Penny Black Heartfelt Thanks stamp
MISTI stamp positioner
Watercolor paper cut to 4x5.25
Embossing ink
Clear embossing powder (Ranger Thick clear embossing powder)
Potting soil Archival ink
Potting soil embossing powder
Heat tool
Tim Holtz Distress Ink: Fired Brick Red, Orange Marmalade, Peeled Paint, Fossilized Amber, Walnut Stain.
Spray bottle
Distress ink blending tool
Bo Bunny back to basics brown
Light brown paper (scrap from craft room)

Instructions: blend the ink on the watercolor panel, I did sections, of the different colors watching for what colors blend well with others, so picking a warm color family works well for this technique you don't want any mud, and bright and vibrant colors at this point is the goal.

This is the time that if you want to add some texture do it! Get out your spray bottle and spray with water to get water droplets. let it dry organically.

Then with your card panel on the MISTI start arranging your leaf stamps. (I liked the size of Tim Holtz stamps but any leaf pattern stamp will work well for this. I inked the stamps with clear embossing powder, then heat set it.

once the card cooled down I took my blending tool and went in with the walnut stain ink and some green distress ink and started inking the background, the bright orange and reds that are stuck under the embossing powder stay, the embossing powder preserves the color! so add as much dark color as you want, the darker you go the more vibrant the leaves become!

I wanted the sentiment to pop so I added that to a strip of scrap brownish yellow paper I had and stamped the sentiment and adhered that with pop dots!. Easy as that!

What fun ways do you like to use leave stamps for?

My design tip: I've said this all the time, but say what if? and then say this may not work, but if it does It's going to be awesome! TRY NEW WAYS TO USE A STAMP! I will spend a whole day playing with stamps to find the perfect way to utilize the stamp. Sometimes it's not what I expect! Give yourself time to just play around and say this may not work.... That's usually when the magic happens!

I love having card panels done ahead of time for unexpected events. Just another way to use what you have!

I am entering this card at
Fusion Card Challenge
Freshly Made Sketches
Penny Black Saturday Challenge

Happy Creating!

WHY paper flowers?

That is the question I ask my self all the time. I go back to because you can do so much more with them. I am sorta a control freak, so when I can make my own thing... That's a good thing.

The  History:
Paper flowers have been something for me to create since I was little, give me some tissue paper and I was golden for like hours as a child.

I started really making paper flowers when I learned that patients in intensive care units in the hospital can't have any live plants because of bacteria, (controlled environment issues) (talking about control freaks) Just kidding I understand about controlling an environment for patients that may not have a very good immune system.

While my mom was in the ICU, I was sad that I couldn't bring her flowers, so I went home that night bought some bright tissue paper and did "my thing" I made a mess on the table, and floor and came out with a simple bouquet of carnations made with pipe cleaners.  I remember seeing that same bouquet 7 years later in her home when she passed away, the emotion and sweet memories of her came sweeping through my mind at that moment.

Paper flowers for me have a very special near and dear place in my heart. 

I truly believe that paper flowers can bring peace to the troubled heart.

My style of tissue paper and pipe cleaner flowers evolved into a more modern elegant look. My favorite thing about paper flowers is that I can make springtime a real thing in my house with beautiful flowers in January. Last year while dealing with seasonal depression, the bright daffodils I crated and bright flowers all around me helped me to feel cheerful!

You can create to your heart's content, and the flowers never wilt, That is why paper flowers are so perfect for weddings, and formals, you can choose the size, the bloom, the colors, well in advance and they never wilt! Talk about control issues!

Realistic if the paper is cuttable, it's fair game. love the cubbies I could make you a Cubs Rose or any team logo paper into a rose. Want sheet music from your first dance of your wedding as a flower, I could do that, if you can print it on paper you can get a flower made! That simple!

Happy Creating.

How are you crafting homemade joy to make a difference right where you are?

I create homemade joy by doing the little creative things in my daily life to help those around me.

Let me explain, I am a much better mom when I have time to create by my self in my little studio. Sometimes the things I create are just horrible, but that's ok, I am learning and experimenting with style, product, techniques, it's the process that really counts right? 

Realistically when I create something homemade, cards, jams, jellies, paper flowers, I create them because I have this need to create something, I know that eventually, those paper flowers I make will go to a friend that had a baby, or for a loved one that is sick in the hospital. The cards I make goes to friends and family members that love my cards, I could sell my cards, and some days I think it would help, but I get free babysitting from family, and support from my friends that giving them some cards so they can send a card to their mum in Europe, or sending a sympathy card to a family friend, you can't put a price on that. 

One of the best ways I love to share Homemade joy is by teaching, I am blessed with lots of opportunities to teach friends and family my creative process and help them learn how to make paper flowers, cards, watercolor. To me, teaching is one of the best ways to spread joy throughout the year! This is the motivation for my blog, to help you see my process. I then hope to inspire you or share with you how the process works, for the appreciation of the art!

Crafting joy isn't a hard thing, especially during this holiday season, When I sit down about this time every year to think about what could I make for my loved ones, It's always a fun planning session. 

These are some of the things that have worked out well for my family:

caramel packaging I made

1. Scrapbook an event for someone, A simple picture book will do!
2. Calendars are one of my favorite ones to give, usually with lots of pictures of our family
3. Something you love to eat. I have 24 jelly jars filled with Apple butter, that I can't wait to give out to teachers, friends, and family! They go fast, so I am in the process of making some mixed berry Jam, and some Christmas Jam if needed. 
3 Home candy (peanut brittle is so easy and economical to make.) I like to make Caramel and tape washi tape on them for a Christmas feel!
4. Never underestimate the power of handcrafted packaging. Buy someone their favorite candy in a package you made, and you will feel the joy! The more personal the better!

Caramel with washi tape for packaging
Spreading homemade Joy brings me and my family peace and joy, year round, I think it's because I made something with my hands that no one else can, yes you can paint, stamp, ink the same stamp but it comes out differently for each person doing the same project. Why? It's simple, it's your work.

I got this question I am asking you fromTaylored Expression's blog post: why cards matter, this blog post is very inspiring if you need encouragement! The story is amazing too! 

I want to leave you with this thought, that goes well with created joy:

Is it possible that all the things we create really do help make our family's stronger?

How are you crafting homemade joy? I would love to hear about your projects and your traditions! Leave a comment, Bellow

Since publishing this post, I wanted to add my experience on this matter. I recently packaged up 60 cards to give away, they were Christmas, birthday and all occasion cards. I let my friends and total strangers take some of my handmade cards, I said, as long as you can use these cards to brighten up some one's day, it was worth the effort to make these cards. I had people say, oh I know so and so, they are ...... they could really need a card to help them feel loved. What an amazing feeling I had! You never know who's life you are touching when you give the gift of creativity!

Fall Mum cards

Fall Mum's Penny Black Peony Brushstrok stamp

Watercolor and stamping are made for each other with Penny Black's line of brushstroke stamps.  Penny Black Peony stamp works perfectly for fall stamped cards and panels.

Here are some of my tips to get 6 different looks:


I like to have an idea of what I am doing with my card before I start. Have a plan. Are you wanting a simple background, or more of a stamped background, lots of ideas and options so have a plan before you start stamping! (although as an impatient person, I like to start stamping and then figure it out, sometimes that works.)

For masking this particular flower I didn't need to use masking paper,  I wasn't worried about the placement because I wanted some space between the background stamp and the flower stamp. I didn't want the flower to feel crowded by the background stamp. 

The pop of yellow was used with some artist's tape or painter's tape to mask off a frame, making sure to keep the sides even. 

For washes, it's easier said than done, you want a lot of water for this, (lots of movement for this technique.) Make sure it's dry before you stamp!!!! Do this first before you start stamping!

Stamping with Distress Inks

Distress Inks work well for a watercolor look because they are water-soluble.  Use them and brush water over the stamped area and watch the ink act like watercolor. 

Don't wipe the stamp off right away, you can use the leftover ink to do a second generation stamped image... it's light but can still give a nice effect! 

To get more movement with the ink you will need to spray the ink once it's on the stamp with a spray bottle, helps the ink look lose and more like watercolor. (which I like) the drawback is that you lose some of the details.

The beauty of this technique with the distress ink is that the more the inks blend and you let the ink do what it's meant to do to, you get beautiful results!  Use this to your advantage and chose inks that blend well with others (same color family like red and orange, or blue and purple, or purple and red.) Colors that blend well will give you the best results! 

I love the MISTI stamp positioning tool because you can control what you want to blend and what you don't want to blend... (stems and leaves should be stamped after the flower is dried so there is no blending. 

Stamping with Watercolor

I love Kuretake Watercolor and Starry Colors for watercolor stamping.  You want a pigment that is has a good quality, You can now if it's good quality by the way it blends, If it has a chalky feel and look to it, it's not the quality that you want.

With a cosmetic sponge, or artist's natural sponge spray the sponge with a bit of water, and spray the paint with some water first, let it sit for a bit to get the water to activate the pigment. Then dip your sponge into the watercolor, and start applying the pigment to the stamp.

To get a good blending effect, you start with the lightest value (yellow) and then get the red, and apply the red pigment on after the yellow is applied. mist the stamp with a bit of water, not to much, you can always add more water.

To add the gold paint to the card, I like to think of sunshine coming through the flowers, so where ever you want a bold contrast to start there and move outward. I usually have a clean brush for just water in one hand and a brush with gold watercolor in the other to direct where I would like the gold watercolor to go. 

The workflow for creating these 6 cards:

Start by working on the backgrounds first, do the wash, and the masking frame first. 

I then started with the distress ink, the first one is always the hardest, you have to get just the righ amount of ink on the stamp, with some water to get it to look like watercolor, once you got it, then you can do a second generation stamp on a panel. 

Then I work on the watercolor cards, then once the pannel was dried I add the gold accent after the stamped image has dried, then I add the sentiments, and the Nuvo drops to the flowers. 

I am entering these cards into these stamp challenges:
Freshly Made Sketches
Penny Black All Sorts Blog

Happy Creating! 
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