Keeping an Inspiration Book

After so many years of crafting, I have several patterns and instruction pages for various projects and techniques. Despite my normally organized manner, I have had a tendency to just lay these down and forget lose them. After three years of planning an organizational system for these little gems, I finally sat down and organized what patterns and instructions I could find.

I took a three-ring binder (which I will eventually decorate) and filled it with sheet protectors. Then, I placed a sheet of paper in each sheet protector and placed one pattern on each side of the paper. I grouped everything by type of craft. Those that came from kits have their front cover as the first page so I can see quickly what is in the side of that sheet protector. I have also put pattern pamphlets in the back. Everything is conveniently placed so that I can find it quickly.

I like to periodically flip through my book to see what’s in there. It’s rather relaxing, actually. Usually, instead of being inspired to revisit one of the projects in the book, though, I find myself inspired to work on a project that is not in the book. It’s a little recharge. Of course, the reverse happens, too. I’ll be looking for a project to work on for a tournament, find something, and think, “Wow, that project in my book would work really well with this!” Sometimes I act on it, sometimes the whole project gets forgotten. I’m very grateful for having the book together to fuel my creativity.

At Amtgard, when someone is just starting in the arts and sciences, we often advise new people to start one of these books. They rarely listen. Now I’m suggesting that regardless of what sort of activity you do, make yourself an inspiration book and use it in a way that inspires you. If you love crafts, make a book of patterns and techniques. If you love any sort of graphic design work, keep scraps of wallpaper with appealing color combinations and articles on current design trends. (Hey, laughter and nostalgia are two of the strongest motivators out there.) If your true love is cooking, collect pictures of table layouts and old-style menus.

You get the idea! Build it for yourself. Use it to inspire yourself. Share it with others so that they may be inspired, or at least so they can envy your “with-it-ness”.

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