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From Inspiration Hoarder to Maker

Today’s the day to make the shift from inspiration hoarder mode to a maker mindset. There’s just a few steps to get started. 

Today's the day to make the shift from inspiration hoarder mode to a maker mindset. There's just a few steps to get started.

Here’s the story.

Today you are going to transform from an inspiration hoarder to a maker.

Tell me if this sounds familiar.

You love finding inspiration – whether it is on Pinterest, blogs, magazines or somewhere else. It doesn’t matter if it is craft projects, DIY projects, or something else entirely. You are constantly coming across totally awesome stuff you want to make. But, after awhile you start to notice that you have collected hoards of inspiration but have yet to do anything with it.

Today that changes.

Today you go from inspiration hoarder to maker.

Maybe you collect all kinds of ideas because you like them – great, you should continue to do that – but you have a hard time getting started with them because you don’t necessarily have the skills to do it, or the project materials might be expensive, or maybe you don’t have the time right now to commit to completing the project. Any one of these reasons could be what is keeping you from getting started.

So you don’t do that project – then you don’t do any project.

Your goal today is going to be to find a project that you can complete. Keep it small, minimal, somewhat simple. You want to get an easy win on this one and transform your mindset from someone who collects inspiration but does not follow through into that of that into a maker – someone who see an idea or finds inspiration + actually creates something.

If you want to be a maker, you actually have to do that work – you have to make stuff.

The first thing to decide is what you want to make. This should be easy because you already have so much inspiration saved up. Head over to wherever it is that you collect your inspiration – Pinterest, a journal, a notebook, a bulletin board, a folder on your desktop, etc. Go through it. Pick something simple. You are looking for something that will take an hour or less of your time. Also, choose a project where you already have the materials or you can easily find them at a local store. Choose a project that will allow you to get started right away.

If you’ve got a big long list of inspiration, go through and cross off the ones that are going to take you too much time. Then cross off all of the ones that you need to learn a new skill for. (One point – I’m not saying cross them off forever, just for now until you get started with a creative habit). Cross all the ones that require materials that are too expensive.

Here’s my example. Here is my DIY board on Pinterest. These are all things that I think are awesome, pretty, or in some cases totally awesome. I want to make them all!

Today's the day to make the shift from inspiration hoarder mode to a maker mindset. There's just a few steps to get started.

Now here is my board with projects crossed off that I thought would be too difficult, too time consuming or too expensive for my first one. Here’s the project I am going to do first.


Today's the day to make the shift from inspiration hoarder mode to a maker mindset. There's just a few steps to get started. I picked my project – something easy with only a few materials and hard to mess up – the project that is going to help me go from inspiration hoarder to maker.

Next, I am going to figure out what resources/materials I need to complete this project. I’ll make a list and gather them.

Then, if I think about my time – when can I actually do this? During my kids’ nap time? After work + dinner? A chunk of time on the weekend? If you are actually going to do this, you need to prepare so that when you have that chunk of time, you actually execute – you make something! Instead of saying that I only have an hour and I need to decide what I want to do, go to the store, learn a new skill, etc. Not going to happen that way!

Set yourself up for success by doing the preparations first. 

Finally, Is there anything you need to learn before trying? If I I want to hand-letter, should I watch some Youtube videos, or should I just start making. Decide now.

Go make.

Wait, wait, wait. Hold on. One very important point I need to make.

Your first go round is probably going to suck. Most likely it won’t look just like that pin from Pinterest. It’s not going to look just like that Instagram post. You are probably going to feel bad about that, it’s natural. But, then stop and think. Whoever made the source of inspiration probably made it a few times to get it to look perfect. Or, they practice their creativity all the time, so it is going to look amazing. Whereas this is the first time you have tried it, so of course it is not going to look the same. Understand that as you shift from inspiration hoarder mode to a maker mindset, you are probably going to create some total garbage at first. But you have to do that in order to get to the good stuff. You might even throw away some of the stuff you make – that’s okay. You are putting in the practice so that you can increase your skills.

Okay, back to it – go make something!

You did it? Awesome some sauce.

Okay, here is the deal. Going from inspiration hoarder to maker is not a one time transition unless you actually make a practice habit out of it.

Here are some links to making a creative practice habit. Here and here.

Get started!

Today's the day to make the shift from inspiration hoarder mode to a maker mindset. There's just a few steps to get started.

Flip Your Problems Into Creative Inspiration.

Flip Your Problems Into Creative Inspiration


Flip Your Problems Into Creative Inspiration.Inspiration can come from even the most unlikely sources…like from your problems.

Wait, what?

Yep, it’s true. My problem?

Easy. I have always had creative envy.

I think I have always been jealous of anyone with artistic talent – designers, artists, photographers, musicians – the list goes on. When I was in grade school, I even remember seeing another girl’s handwriting and wishing mine was as pretty as hers. I loved the way she wrote her lowercase a’s and I started to copy her. So creative envy is not a new problem for me.

Fast forward to me in my early 30’s and not much has changed. A few years ago, I started reading a lot of blogs, mainly DIY and craft type blogs. Many of them were not only inspiring and helpful, but I also loved reading the posts because the writers were fantastic storytellers. I couldn’t get enough ideas and creative inspiration, but after awhile I made myself stop reading almost all of them.

Crazy, I know.

Why would I stop if I found them inspiring?

Because in addition to finding them inspiring, I was also jealous of them. I would read a post and think I could have done this.

Great – that’s awesome. I could have, but I didn’t. So I would get mad/annoyed. Then I would make all kinds of plans to start a blog. Perhaps even create one or two or three. But, then I didn’t do anything with it/them. I never took it any further.

My problem: I had some serious creative envy (not really a problem), and I didn’t do anything about it (the problem). After much research and reflection, I was able to pinpoint that I was not challenging myself creatively. This is not to say that all creativity and creative activities were gone from my life, but I needed more than what was currently there. For example, as a 7th grade history teacher, my job challenges me creatively each and everyday.  However, that creativity does not serve me, it is for and about my students. I wanted to focus more on me.

I took some time to reflect and had a few realizations:

  1. I did want to start a blog/website.
  1. I did not want to start a craft/DIY blog. This one surprised me! I like – no LOVE – craft and DIY blogs, but I actually did not want one myself. The reason I was having so much trouble getting started with one was because I wasn’t as excited about it as I should be.
  1. The only way to get over my creative envy? Do something about it.  It took me awhile to launch Greens & Blues Co. It was an idea formulating in my head (and in the countless emails I sent myself) for about two years before I launched my website in July 2015. In that time, it underwent many changes but all the while creativity + teaching were at the heart of it. A few of my previous ideas were: 
  • teaching adults technology in in person classes.
  • opening a physical location that provided creative, maker type opportunities for adults and children
  • launching a DIY/craft type blog
  • I can’t remember the rest….

My solution: I will probably always have some kind of creative envy – that just means I am inspired by others – but seeing others do awesome and inspiring work will no longer make me feel bad about myself, because I have pushed myself to try something new.

So my solution was to “do something about it.” I registered the domain www.greensandblues.co, set it up and started my website/blog. I got to work developing content, building relationships, and creating courses.

Whether or not Greens & Blues Co. is successful is not the point (obviously I would much rather have it be successful though). Since I have been working on this, I have learned so many new things (how to set-up a website), have fed my curiosities (the amount of books I have read on creativity is kind of gross), have pushed myself to take risks (put myself out there in a way that feels more like me than anything else I have done – scary stuff), and have been taking time to congratulate myself, even for minor accomplishments (figuring out html and css to make something look “just right”).

Where will this take me? I honestly have no idea. But, I’m more fulfilled and definitely happier for having realized this and then done something about it.

Your Turn

Pinpoint your problem. What’s holding you back creatively?

Is it confidence?


Not sure you are creative?

You don’t know where to start?

Figure out what your problem is. That’s the first step.

Then, flip your problem. You can read more here about the process of flipping your problem into an opportunity.  

Daily Acts of Creativity: 10 Ways to Inject Creativity Into Your Daily Life. Click to find out more about each.

Daily Acts of Creativity: 10 Ways to Inject Creativity Into Your Daily Life

Daily Acts of Creativity: 10 Ways to Inject Creativity Into Your Daily Life. Click to find out more about each.

Everybody is busy. It doesn’t matter who you are, most likely you have a lot going on. However, lack of time cannot be an excuse to stop (or never start) practicing your creativity on a daily basis. Finding a creative outlet that fulfills you and inspires you is too important to not pursue. It can be difficult to figure out how get started, so I did it for you! You’re welcome 🙂

Here are 10 ways to inject creativity into your daily life – and the best part? Each of them will take 10 minutes or less each day!

Number 1

Start a visual thinking journal – similar to a one line a day journal, you illustrate one aspect of your day. Could be as simple as the weather or a happy face if it was a good day. I bought a blank notebook from Michaels and I write several entries on each page. Usually it takes me less than 2 minutes, but even still I feel as though it is pushing me to up my visual thinking game because I have to think of a creative way to illustrate something from my day. Each day that I do it, I get better at visual thinking.

Number 2

Write for 10 minutes a day – set a timer for ten minutes, hit start and get writing. You can hand write in a notebook or just start a Google Doc and continually add to it. Write whatever comes to mind – fiction or non-fiction. The next day, just pick up right where you left off, or start a new strand of thinking if you feel like it. In the future, when you get stuck, you can return to your writing and steal one of your own ideas!

Number 3

Photo Challenge – Set an alarm on your phone to go off at the same time everyday. Take a photo of whatever you are doing at that moment each day. At the end of a set amount of time (a month, 6 months, a year, etc.) look back and reflect. Are you happy/satisfied with the way you are spending your time? Is there anything you would change?

Number 4

Read for 10 minutes each day – read a book, e-book, newspaper, graphic novel, online article, etc., – it doesn’t matter what you read, just read something. Even though reading is consuming information rather than creating, I still consider it a creative act because learning something new can help you be more creative as it can provide you with skills or insight to create something that you previously would not have been able to do. Reading can also serve as inspiration for your next idea!

Number 5

Spend time alone – spend 10 minutes by yourself (preferably outside) just thinking about whatever you want: your goals, dreams, new ideas, what you are thankful for, etc. Record your thoughts  in some way.

Get the free email series - Practice Your Creativity - 10 ways to practice your creativity in ten minutes or less.

Number 6

Talk it out – open the audio recorder on your phone, hit record and start talking. See where it takes you. I use this more often than I ever thought I would, especially when I have an idea for something but I’m having trouble fleshing out it. If I sit down in front of the computer, it doesn’t go anywhere. But, if I hit record and just start talking about an idea, eventually I am able to make sense of it. Later I play it back and type up my ideas in a Google Doc. Seriously, this helps me every time I do it!

Number 7

Chunk a Big Project – Think you don’t have time to complete a long project? Find one (sewing, building, knitting, etc.) Break it down into ten minutes chunks. Add it to your calendar – be specific. What do you need to accomplish each day? After a while, you will have made something or completed something!

Number 8

Chunk Your Learning – Same ideas as above but instead of making something learn something new. Decide what you want to learn. Gather all of your resources. Break it down into ten minute chunks. Add it to your calendar – be specific. What do you need to accomplish each day? After a while, you will have learned something new!

Number 9

Sign up for a free course online. There are so many free courses available on so many different subject areas. It’s pretty likely you can find a course about something you are interested in. The best part of a free course is that it is likely self-paced. You can work on it just ten minutes a day (or more if you want). Of course, I am partial to one of my free courses such as Challenge Your Creativity or the Find Your CREATIVE SPARK Adventure. Sign up for one of them today!

Number 10

Brainstorm 5 new ideas everyday  – start a Google Doc or a new journal just for this purpose. Each day, add 5 new ideas. Guaranteed that most of them will be absolute crap, but amongst all that crap will be a couple of pieces of gold. Whenever you are feeling stuck, return to it and read it.

Do you need to do all ten of these? Of course not. Read through the list again. See what one speaks to you. You can do it exactly as described or your own interpretation of it.  Or, you can come up with your own. Are you going to paint for at least 10 minutes a day? Are you going to dance? Sew? Draw? Write? Design? Build? You definitely have ten minutes to spare everyday – how will you make the most of that time?

Now that you have decided how practice your creativity for at least ten minutes each day, make a plan to implement in your life. Instead of just saying I am going to start tomorrow at some point. Decide when. Your lunch hour? First thing when you wake up? Before bed? If you don’t make a plan it is very unlikely that you will follow through with it.

I can’t wait to hear how you are going to practice your creativity. Leave me a comment and let me know how you are going to practice your creativity on a daily basis!

Get the free email series - Practice Your Creativity - 10 ways to practice your creativity in ten minutes or less.

Creative Challenge – What’s Your Idea?

Challenge You Creativity - What's Your Idea? Using What To Do With An Idea? as your guide, determine what your idea is. The one idea you can seem to get rid of . Click to learn more.

If you have not had the chance to read What Do You Do With an Idea? by Kobi Yamada, I suggest adding it to your to-do list (in case you missed it, last week we talked about making a creative to-do list). I can’t say enough good things about it. In addition to being beautifully illustrated, the author captured the exact emotions of having an idea – what to do with it, trying to live without it, the fear, and more. I found myself shaking my head yes to each and every page.

I am a huge proponent of adults reading and finding meaning in books that were clearly written for children. What Do You Do With an Idea? should be required reading for all adults. Below are of a few of my favorite quotes from the book accompanied by my own thoughts.

“I didn’t know what to do with it. So I just walked away from it.”

At first, some ideas are too big – or at least they feel that way. We often think something is a great idea, but aren’t sure if we are the ones meant to see it through, or if even know how to take it and run with it. Instead of trying to get rid of the idea or storing it away for another day, what if you just went for it? Just started.

“I tried to act like everything was the same as it was before it showed up.”

When we do this, we soon realize the difference between ideas that are meant for us and ideas that are not so great. We can’t get rid of the good ones. Even if we are thinking it will take a lot of work, or we might fail – we can’t get rid of it. You are driving in your car, and need to stop and send yourself an email with a new idea. You are on Pinterest and you see the perfect inspiration for your idea. No matter what you do, your idea always seems to be hanging around. What if you just went for it? Just started.

“I showed it to other people even though I was afraid of what they would say.”

This more than any other line in the book hit home for me. I’m usually a pretty confident person, but when it comes to my ideas for Greens & Blues Co. I have a ridiculous fear of sharing it with people I know. The point of it all is of course to share it with the world, but I have had a really hard time sharing it with people whose opinions I value. I know it is the fear of looking stupid, but I have been unable to get over it. But, what if I just went for it? Just started.

“It encouraged me to think big…and then, to think bigger.”

My idea for Greens & Blues Co. has been circling around in my head for the better part of two years. In that time it has changed dramatically. I have changed the types of classes I want to offer, who my targeted audience is, how I will teach the classes and more. I have been able to alter my course of action by constantly learning and consistently reflecting on my idea and what I want.

Your Challenge:

Read What Do You Do With an Idea? Read it again and again. Then I challenge you to do something with your idea. More specifically – tell one person your idea. Someone you know in person. Once you get over that hurdle, tell a few more. The more you say your idea out loud the more your confidence will grow, and the better your idea will become.

Start right now. In the comments,  share your idea. What’s the idea you can’t seem to get rid of despite the fact that you have not acted on it? What idea follows you around because you know you want to do something about it? The idea that scares you a little bit? I can’t wait to hear from you!

p.s. This is an excerpt from my free course – Challenge Your Creativity. If you enjoyed this, click here to enroll in the course now.


What Makes You Happy?

Creativity, teaching, and learning make me happy. One of my favorite things is to share amazing resources with other people. Nothing would make me happier than sharing something that will help you in someway – whether it is something I created or just something I found.

Looking for some creative inspiration? SIgn up for a free course, Challenge Your Creativity now.

What makes you happy?

As I said, I love to share cool things I find with others. For me, most often, this takes the form of book recommendations. I can’t even begin to explain the joy reading and just looking forward to reading brings me. What’s even better than finishing a book you loved (besides realizing it is part of a series)? Sharing it with someone else of course.

My free course, Challenge Your Creativity, grew out of my love of books. This course is made up of ten sections. Each section includes a required reading and a challenge to put what you learned into action. Some readings will actually be on the subject of creativity while others will provide that much needed creative spark; it is up to you to decide how to respond to the challenge.

One of the book recommendations included in this class is A Whole New Mind: Why RIght Brainers Will Rule the Future by Daniel Pink. This book is one of my favorites – both because of the content included and because it was what first pushed me to start thinking about creativity, being creative, and what I could do to live a happier, more fulfilled life.

Daniel Pink argues that the future belongs to right-brain careers, and as a middle school history teacher, I do not feel I traditionally fit into that group. Even though I am extremely happy in my chosen profession, this book made me wish I had taken advantage of creative opportunities when I had the chance in college. But, like many people, I did not. This book is the perfect solution! This is not to say that you need to quit your job and become an artist, but you can jump start your creative life, your creative path. This book can be the kick in the butt you need to get going.

A Whole New Mind is one of my favorite nonfiction books. While I often read my favorite fiction books (i.e. Harry Potter) over and over again, I rarely open a nonfiction book twice (this is coming from a history teacher). So it is saying something that I have read this book cover to cover three times and reread individual chapters even more.

To find out more about this book and nine others, click here to enroll in the free course, Challenge Your Creativity.

All right, enough about what makes me happy. What makes you happy? Do (at least) one thing today that makes you happy.

September Inspiration

Like many people, I my absolute favorite time of year is fall – September and October are where it’s at. Because I am so over the top about fall, I made sure not to include the obvious fall choices in this list – but of course I am loving pumpkin candles and such right now. So here is my short list of what is inspiring me currently.

My sister Becky’s instagram account. I may be a biased because she is my sister, but the photographs she takes on her phone are ridiculous. Also, she makes a habit of only spending time in the most beautiful places in the world. Prepare to be awed.

I came across this picture on Pinterest months ago and I keep coming back to it because I love everything about it: the colors, the textures, the composition. It has been my inspiration for several projects.

My favorite online shop for digital downloads is Caravan Shoppe. I absolutely love everything there! Even better, if you browse around, you can find some free downloadable prints. Just looking around the shop makes me want to go create something.

Last week on Pinterest I came across this pin and was introduced to Two If By Sea Studios. I absolutely love her work. The post she writes is definitely worth a read – a great reminder about making time for creativity each and every day. In addition, the graphics in posts are photos of her sketch book and I’m love all of them.

What is currently inspiring you?

#CreateShare2015 Final Reflection


Yesterday wrapped up #CreateShare2015. It was my first time hosting a challenge on social media, and I am so happy that I had the opportunity to co-host it with Veronica and Anna.

I have had some time to reflect on it and here a a few thoughts:

It is so awesome to “meet” new people and see the awesome work they do. More than anything else, this challenge provided me the opportunity to extend the circle of people I follow on social media or of blogs I read. I am extremely grateful for that.

For a week, creativity was constantly on my mind. Some for good reasons and some not so good.

First, the good:

It is called a challenge for a reason. Over the course of the seven days, I found myself looking for more pockets of time to accomplish some creative projects that I had been putting off for months because I felt like I did not have enough time. But, when I had something driving me to get it done, I found that some of the projects took a lot less time than I had thought. I had been making them into a bigger deal in my head than they actually were.

In addition, I made time to reflect on all of the small, not so obvious ways that I was creative in my daily life in addition to the big projects I was doing. This was an informative exercise for me and opened my eyes to how creative we all and the many different forms creativity takes (more coming on that soon)!

The not so good:

At the beginning of the 7 days, I found myself stressing about making time to do a project so that I could share it. Now I know that I do not need to share something every single day, but as someone c0-hosting the project, I felt that I should. If this was just something I was participating in, I would not have felt the need to do that.  A creative project should not bring stress into your life, in reality it should do the exact opposite.

So about half-way through the seven days, I had to stop and re-think this process. That is when I decided to look for the ways I was creative in a normal day instead of manufacturing creative moments.

In the end, I think it is good to have a nice balance of natural creative moments that come about in the ways we choose to live our lives, and then the big creative projects as well – as long as they are bringing you joy.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the challenge. I hope to do another one in the future.

#CreateShare2015 Starts Tomorrow!

Just a quick reminder that #CreateShare2015 starts tomorrow, Wednesday September 16th.

I hope you will join us, whether you are someone who is in the habit of creating each and everyday, or if this is the kick in the butt you need to get going – either way, I can’t wait to see how you practice creativity.

If you are unsure of where to start, take a look at this graphic below to get some ideas:


**Quick note – you do need to follow the prompts in order to participate. We simply created them just in case anyone was having trouble getting started.

Follow me on Twitter and on Instagram to get all of the latest updates on #CreateShare2015



Book Love: Show Your Work!

Show your Work by Austin Kleon. Go read it!
I just finished reading Austin Kleon’s book, Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered for the second time. I first read it when it came out last year. I thought it was great then, but it was even better reading it now when I am in the middle of launching Greens & Blues Co. In addition to providing great advice, Kleon delivers it in a no nonsense fashion that when accompanied by his awesome illustrations makes for a quick and entertaining read.

I could go through the book page by page and list off all of the great ideas he has, but I won’t -just read it. It’s great.

One of my favorite parts of the whole book is near the beginning (pg.9) when he introduces the idea of a scenius. Kleon credits musician Brian Eno with this idea. A scenius is basically a group of people who come together to collaborate and create  -while a genius is the individual, a scenius is the group. Each individual is made better by the collective group.

This really stuck with me.

Let’s back up and I’ll explain why.

Since launching Greens & Blues Co. in July, like most people who are just getting started, I have struggled with how to get people to my website or my social media accounts. I know that it takes time and consistency to grow readership, but still I have wondered if I could be doing more. I have read probably every article on possible on the subject.

One idea that I consistently came across is  that you need to participate in the conversation: by commenting on blogs, following people and commenting on Instagram, just doing anything you can to engage others.  Okay, that makes sense. So, I started following lots of people on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. I wasn’t really sure where to begin, so I looked at people who wrote blogs that I admired or had Instagram accounts I enjoyed. I looked at who they were following and started following many of the same people. My feeds were now full, however a few days later it became clear to me that I had a problem.

I didn’t care about any of the people I was following or what they were posting about. Therefore, I had nothing to add to the conversation.

I don’t mean this in a negative way, because the people I was following were posting photos to Instagram that were so amazing that I could only hope to one day possess the skills to take photographs that beautiful.  Or, they were providing content that was both interesting and inspiring. Just not interesting or inspiring to me.

My problem was that I joined someone else’s scenius – not my own.

So I spent some time brainstorming.  I reflected on the following:

  • What was the point of Greens & Blues Co?
  • What I was hoping to accomplish?
  • Who was my ideal audience?
  • Who did I consider my peers (or my competition)?

Before I could create my own scenius, I had to get to know myself and my brand a little better. So I unfollowed anybody I wasn’t generally interested in hearing from on a regular basis. Now, slowly, I am finding my people. I realize it is not something that will happen overnight. The more I put myself out there, the more opportunities to get to know other people I will have.

I challenge you to look through your blog reader and your social media accounts.  Is there anyone on there that  you never actually read? That you like the idea of more than you actually like the content? If so, unfollow. Unsubscribe. Trying answering the questions I posed above and start to find your scenius.

Free WorkBook: Click.Create.Share.

click create share
Another free WorkBook!. This WorkBook is filled with challenges and projects that will prompt you to think about the photos you take. Designed to be completed over 4 weeks, you will practice your storytelling skills while getting out and taking more photographs.

Click.Create.Share. – As this  title indicates there will be creative prompts for you to challenge your photo-taking skills. In addition, along with each challenge, you will receive directions to complete a project.  To complete each project, you will use the photographs you took that week based on the challenge.  Finally, I encourage you to share your final projects. Whether you want to share a particular photo you are proud of, or an entire project you finish – put yourself out there. Share your work!

Projects from this WorkBook include creative storytelling based on the photos you take for the week. You will also use the photographs you capture to reflect on your own life and tell a story using them. Finally, you will have the opportunity to create an amazing gift for someone while challenging yourself and your photographic skills.

In addition to challenges and projects, this WorkBook includes ideas for resources you can use to complete your stories. You may find these resources are helpful in future projects you have.

Why should you use this WorkBook?  It will challenge you creatively: first, to take photographs that tell a story, and second, you will be inspired to create based on those photos. This WorkBook can be used as a fun challenge or to steer you out of a creative rut.

I’m excited to see what you create from this WorkBook.  Please share using #greensandbluesco or by emailing greensandbluesco@gmail.com.

Click here to get your free WorkBook: Click.Create.Share.