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Crafty tutorials and inspiration

Inspiration & Learning

Artist Inspiration at Library: Laura Bray Designs

I've written about how important it is for me to find organic inspiration in a world where are constantly bombarded by other people's ideas and images. One of the ways that I have recently learned to find some inspiration is to go to my library and do research before I begin a project. I feel like this fact finding/inspiration time is vital to taking my work to the next level.

When I first began my arts and crafts career, I was so excited about starting projects. Often, I would think of an idea and then simply rush into the project, eager to begin and even more eager to see it in it's completion. But lately, I've tried to slow down. When I get an idea or an assignment from a client, I try not to jump immediately jump into the project. I take some time to think about it. Then I head off to the library. I bring my Learning Journal with me and I often bring the books,The Artist's Library and Bibliocraft with me as they both offer tips on utilizing library collections as creative inspiration.

Pins Learning Journal Once I get to the library, I grab a table. I open up my Learning Journal and get a page started for the topic I want to investigate. Then it's into the stacks to start finding books about my topic. I drag a huge pile of books over to my table and start reading, note taking, and sketching. It's a relaxing process and it fills me up both creatively and intellectually. Once I'm done studying, I pack-up, head home, and am ready to begin my project. I really do believe I am seeing incremental improvements in my art as a result of this ritual.

Now you are probably wondering why I don't do this research at home, on the computer? Mainly, it's because I LOVE the library. It has been a warm and cozy and happy place for me ever since I was young. So the place itself serves as inspiration to me. But the learning process also feels different to me when I am reading a book. Maybe it's the tactical element of actually holding a book. Or maybe it's the lack of other distractions. The library is pretty quiet. When I am at home, there's other things to attend to and even the computer screen has a lot going on in addition to the paragraph I'm reading. Or maybe it's simply that I am from an age when "studying" meant going to the library, pulling books, and working away in a quite corner.

If you are interested in exploring the creative inspiration of libraries and research, I recommend the following:

Sweet Valentine Box

Valentine Box by Laura Bray Designs

Is there anything more fun than Valentine's Day parties in elementary school? There's so little pressure when you're 9. I mean sure, you hope the boy you have a crush on writes something special on your valentine but if he doesn't it's not like you have to crawl into bed with a bottle of vodkaContinue Reading

DIY Accessories with Mod Podge Melts

DIY Accessories with Mod Podge Melts:

  Last weekend, my daughter was a little emotional. She usually gets that way when I've been working a lot. The best way to reconnect with her is a little crafting time, so I broke out my new Mod Podge Melts goodies and we spent a good two hours, holed up in the studio, makingContinue Reading

Sweetheart Pillow

Painted heart pillow by Laura Bray

I think the easiest way to update your home decor is by changing out your throw pillows. If you use pillow covers, it's easy to store and switch them out. Today, I'm showing you how to create a sweet, heart pillow just in time for Valentine's Day! Supplies to make a Sweetheart Pillow Tulip(R) PillowContinue Reading

Weekend Project: DIY Terrarium

DIY Terrarium with faux succulents

Terrariums are still really trending. But what if you love the look, but have a "black thumb"? You make a faux terrarium of course! I put mine together in all of five minutes and I never have to water it! Supplies for a DIY Terrarium Glass container Rocks-I found a bag of small rocks atContinue Reading

CHA Trade Show Time

It's almost time for the yearly Craft & Hobby Association Trade Show! It's the highlight of my working year. I love to see all my fellow designers, get in touch with my clients, and make new connections. If you are visiting this website because you met me on the show floor, please click here toContinue Reading

My Favorite Projects of 2014

Dyed Tea Box

In my last post, I shared a list of my readers' favorite posts. Or at least what Google Analytics thought were my readers favorite posts. Today, I want to share MY favorite projects of 2014. Dyed Tea Box-I created a Dyed Tea Box for Rit. I love how it looks and I still use itContinue Reading

Most Popular Blog Posts in 2014

Powered Sugar Donuts

It's that time of year again! Everyone is counting down the "Most or Best or Whatever" of 2014. And I'm joining in. Here are my five most visited blog posts in 2014. 5. Baked Donuts-This post has been a favorite for years! And my Pintest Board of donut recipes is always a favorite too.  4.Continue Reading

Red & White Candy Felt Ornaments

Felt Red and White Candy Ornaments by Laura Bray Designs

Last month, I made a cute, felt tree skirt for the Kunin blog. You may have noticed on the post the cute, felt, candy ornaments I showed. They are so quick and easy to make and you only need scraps, so I thought, if you need a last minute gift, you might want to whipContinue Reading

Faux Chalkboard DIY Holiday Gift Tags

Faux Chalkboard DIY Holiday Gift Tags

This week the holiday madness begins. While I'm trying to be very careful to keep things down to a dull roar around here, it's a very busy week. I don't know about you, but I'm really trying not to say yes to everything. I stop before I commit and make sure it's something I reallyContinue Reading