Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Years ago I worked for a company that had a "Great Ideas" campaign.  I designed these cute little light bulb pins and along with the pin employees won cash prizes for coming up with ideas that made the company more profitable.

At our house we're always coming up with new ideas on how to do things.  My son has been inventive since he was little and keeps coming up with ideas that seem far fetched until we discover that the product is actually available.  His favorite was a shower head that could be set to a particular temperature so that you wouldn't have to let the water run until it heated up,(we live in drought plagued California so water waste is an issue). Lately we discovered that such a product exists.  Now if we could just get him to invent something no one else has....

Anyway, "idea" is a word that always gets me excited.  Yeah!  A new idea!  I just can't wait to see what problem someone has solved for me now.

Of course ideas aren't always good.  They're kind of like "change."  They sound positive, but that isn't always the case.  I've had my share of bad "ideas," and well, "change" hasn't always been for the better, (there've been a few job changes I regret big time!).

I've always been an "idea" person.  Give me a task and I'll find 500 ways to get it done. Not necessarily good ideas, but I'll come up with them!  In my graphic design biz I'm often called upon to come up with fabulous concepts in a very short period of time.  I can't tell you how many meetings I've gone into with one design idea where I've left with an entirely different one.  You have to learn to be flexible and to think outside of your comfort zone.

It's this way with quilting as well.  I've known a lot of quilters who get in their little groove and keep churning out quilts in the same colors and patterns.  Maybe they'll change up a color or try a different pattern but their quilts always end up looking the same.  It's a real trap that you can fall into as an artist.  There's your "style" and then there's your "rut."  Sometimes it's hard to know which is which but I've discovered that when I no longer look forward to doing my "style" then I'm in a "rut" and I need to shake myself out of it.

That's when you've got to turn on that old light bulb in your brain and open up your senses.  When I'm looking for ideas I pore over my quilting books, pull out the fine art books, and start trying to see the things around me with a different eye.  Sometimes a trip to the quilt store helps, or even a scrapbooking or paper store.  Michaels is a great place to go.  It's like the variety store of craft supplies.  So many great ideas!

Last week my son had ARF Camp (Animal Rescue Foundation) and I had 3 hours every day to kill in a city about 30 miles from my house.  It was great because I got to do something I rarely ever do, take my time!  I went into a couple of craft stores and walked every aisle and looked at everything.  I spent an hour looking in a quilt store, and took my time looking at all of the fancy paper goods in another store. 

Now my head is spinning with ideas and I'm once again struggling with finding the time to do something with them.  One thing I did do that I'm pleased about is buy myself a big inexpensive journal where I can write down and sketch my ideas as they come to me.  I keep it by my chair and work on it every night, adding whatever's occurred to me throughout the day.  It's doubtful I'll ever be able to make everything, but now I have another place to go when the idea well has run dry.

How do all of you come up with your ideas?  I'd love to hear...

Happy Stitching!


1 comment:

Sarah said...

I'm nervous to comment, but I enjoy your blog. I do find inspiration in pattens, blogs, etc. Lately, a lot of my inspiration comes when I am actually making something else. I have been squeezing in my sewing time, by making a list on my white board of just the next step in some of my unfinished works. So, when I am not feeling creative, I pick something to do that one step on... usually I get further than that step. And while I am fiddling with basting, or cutting, or whatever, some other idea pops in my head. It's like the act of sewing, frees my mind to come up with other things to sew.