Yvonne Eijkenduijn • Yvestown

Yvonne injects color and vivacity into every single thing in her life. Her exuberance and love of home bursts through everything she touches like pure sunshine.

you tell us about some of the things on your board?

They are little things that make me happy. I have a color chart from the Paper Source up there with little descriptions of all the colors and I just love it. There are some photos from happy times, cards that make me happy, and photographs of my two heroes Pippi Longstocking and Coco Chanel.

How often do you change the things on your board?

It stays as it is and sometimes I'll remove something to make room for something I add.

Who or what is inspiring you right now?

Interior magazines and books, blogs, and TV shows inspire me. I like to re-watch Sex and the City and The Gilmore Girls. I get inspired by the clothes, accessories, and the set design.

Are there any movies that were particularly inspiring to you?

Love Actually, You've Got Mail, Something's Gotta Give, The Holiday, and The Royal Tenenbaums.

What do you do to "refill the well"?

I take a break from it all. I'll sit on the sofa for a day, browsing magazines and books, watching TV or movies and at dinnertime I'll get a take-out.

How do you come up with your next idea?

I keep a folder on my computer and store all sorts of images that I find inspiring on the internet. I use the bookmarks you get with the Domino magazine and bookmark rooms and ideas I like in magazines and books. Occasionally I'll go through all my 'archives', as I like to call them, and that way I come up with new projects or ideas.

What are some of your current projects?

I've just finished making an Ikea Skruvsta chair slipcover pattern. I really love the shape of this chair but dislike the fabric it comes with. So about a year ago I made a slipcover and because people asked me for the pattern I decided to make one. I'm also looking for a new house.

Looking for a house is a big project. What inspires you when you're looking for a new home?

Everything needs to be right — the outside, the inside, the neighborhood, the pavement, the scenery, old elements, the smell, and the sound. I could never ever buy a house on paper because I cannot touch or feel how the house is corresponding to me.

Which of your projects are you the most proud of, and why?

It's the house I'm living in right now. I've been moving around the world most of my life and since I've met my husband we've been buying and selling but never really finished a house. This is the first house that is actually completely finished and it's decorated the way I always pictured it in my head but never really knew how to do it. I've been dreaming of having my home featured in a magazine ever since I can remember. Like some girls want to get married to the perfect guy or have the perfect kids, I always wanted to have the perfect home. It happened this year; I was featured in a magazine and that made my circle complete. I'm ready to move on to my next project.

Your house is filled with color. I love it. Does your decorating inspiration come from the same places as your art inspiration?

I feel that my house is an ongoing art project, so the answer is yes. Speaking of color, I filled my house with a lot of color but if I'd take everything out it's just a white house. It's a very small house so I decorated using the Swedish philosophy to make everything white because it makes your house bigger when the sun comes in.

Is there something new you want to try?

I'd really love to try upholstering larger items. So far I've been doing chairs but I'd love to do sofas.

What place inspires you?

London. When I'm in London I get super charged. The architecture is beautiful, the shops are great, the food is delicious and the people are fantastic.

What other talents do you possess that we might not know about?

I'm quite musical. I play the guitar, I've been singing in a choir since I was seven years old, I've started taking violin lessons just recently and I'm considering learning to dance the flamenco.

Do you remember something that really inspired you back in the beginning?

My mum ... aww but she really does. I grew up in this fantastic house she decorated so beautifully. She was one of the first mums to work when I grew up and she did that because she wanted to give us the best. A lovely home and all the things that are good in life. I've been brought up quite exuberant and I still have that in me. So when I do simple things like preparing a meal or the laundry I always I think of my childhood and that inspires me to go always over the top.

Do you listen to music while you work? If so, what kind?

I always listen to music doing any work. I love listing to The Steve Show on BBC 6music on my iPod when I clean the house or do the ironing (don't tell Steve). When I'm sewing I love to listen to Lori McKenna, Stevie Ann, or Joni Mitchell. Music is really important in my life. We always have the radio on in my house and we love almost everything that includes musical instruments from classical music to hip hop.

What's your favorite color? Has it always been the same?

Oh it's so boring but it's pink ... always has been, always will be.

What's your favorite thing in your studio and/or house?

My sewing machines. I'm so thankful for them; they are such a nifty invention and I can't consider a life without them. My sister sometimes wants to borrow them but I'm not going to let her anymore because I'm too attached and I need to know there's at least one in the house.

Do you have a favorite spot in the world?

My favorite spot in the world is the pond at Charleston Farmhouse just outside Lewes in the UK.


Yvonne's blog

Yvonne's shop

Yvonne's flickr


Laurie Bertrand • Liquid Paper

Laurie Bertrand makes beautiful things, and then photographs them, beautifully.

Can you tell us about some of the things on your board?

I probably rearrange my inspiration boards once or twice a year. My current board is from last winter/spring. I wanted to make something a little more sophisticated than the view above my desk, which is colorful and packed with favored items.

So, I divided the board into sections and confined myself to a palette of green, white, red and blue. In the center are two photographs (both predominately green) that I ordered from Maditi. I love her work. Then I picked a few favorite clippings from catalogues, a set of Winter photo cards from Shanna of Two Trees, some Yoshimoto Nara postcards, a couple of family photos and some artwork that I hadn’t framed yet.

First I laid everything out, then once I’d found an arrangement I liked, I pinned them up. I don’t know whether I will use the same process for every inspiration board I assemble, but back then I was in the mood for a little bit of controlled prettiness.

Who or what is inspiring you right now?

My creative spaces are in a constant state of clutter, so fresh modern and well-organized rooms really inspire me. For inspiration I often turn to magazines or my flickr contacts and blogroll. I admire people who have the ability to make things that are always unmistakably theirs, and I hope to develop a look of my own for the things that I create. I’m particularly inspired by Camilla Engman’s home and work, and Amy Butler’s studio and fabrics.

What do you do to "refill the well"?

Consistently creating things is the best tool I have for staying motivated. If I can’t be in my studio, I’ll sketch out my ideas in a notebook or make time to get out and about with my camera. Oh, and I love to bake. I can always turn to my recipes when other creative outlets fail.

How do you come up with your next idea?

Necessity is a big motivator for me. Birthday gifts, decorating/organizational needs or pretty whatnots are always demanding my attention. If I’m in the unusual position of having no gifts to make, no decorating/organizing to do and no pretty whatnots to keep me occupied, I look to my bookshelf, stacks-o-fabric or my trusty sketchbook. There are always things to do/make/see in one or all of those places.

What is your background?

Ever since I can remember I’ve loved art and making things. I made my parents shuttle me to community art classes and took almost every art-related class that my high school offered. But in college I panicked. Compared to other “real” artists, I thought I wasn’t talented enough to study art. So I majored in Psychology, a subject that interested me. After college, I worked as a residential counselor in a group home for developmentally disabled children -- a difficult and sometimes rewarding job. After that I moved across the country (to Texas) for a man I later married. I spent the next eight years working as a manager and corporate event planner. Later I moved into media and marketing, where I discovered the joys of Photoshop, Dreamweaver, photography and graphic design. I had a knack for it, and I was hooked. It felt right, like I’d come back to the thing I loved.

What's your day job?

Today I work from home doing graphic design work. It offers me the freedom to do all of the things I love.

Tell us a little bit about your blog/business.

I started blogging almost three years ago. Some of the first things I made were Teensy Pins -- tiny polymer clay sculptures built around the head of a stickpin. So many people were interested in them that I decided to start up a shop and sell them. I sold sets of three pins along with a handmade pincushion.

Those pins grew into making softies, iron-on transfers and more. These days I don’t keep too large of an inventory in my shop. The Teensy Pins are available about once or twice a year, for special occasions. If you visit
the shop, you’ll find that it’s mostly one-of-a-kind pieces made from a combination of reused and new fabrics, plus other materials.

What do you do to keep yourself motivated and avoid burn-out?

For me, burn-out is making the exact same item over and over again. I just can’t do it. As long as I’m using different fabrics, or coming up with new ideas, I’m good. That keeps me motivated. So do the many, many blogs I visit. Reading about other people’s work does two things for me: 1) it makes me feel like I don’t do/make enough, and 2) it makes me want to do better. If I’ve been really unproductive for a while and I see how much other people are getting done, it challenges me to get busy!

Do you listen to music while you work? If so, what kind?

My first choice is usually a podcast. I’m addicted to This American Life. I also listen avidly to the CraftSanity and CraftyPod podcasts. If I’m in the mood for music, I put my iTunes on shuffle. And I’ve been know to pop a DVD into my computer to re-watch (for the umpteenth time) a favorite film.

Any advice to the many people who are inspired by you?

I highly recommend creating a place for yourself. If you have the space, get a desk/work surface and an inspiration board. My first desk was $17.50 from a thrift store and my inspiration board was a hand-me-down corkboard from an old office. If your space is limited, think small and be creative. Having your own space makes it so much easier to work on projects.

I agree completely about having your own space. You're now sharing an office with your husband. How's that working out for you?

Well, it’s only been a week but so far, so good. We’ve always worked together, whether it was in an office or at home, so this was an easy move for us. We divided the studio into three spaces. On one end there’s a library/sitting area and on the other is a work area. The work area is divided into two halves: one for him and one for me, with a large shared table in the middle. My side is along one wall — almost 18 feet of space just for me! And to ease my fears, Mark promised that I can still listen to my podcasts and watch my DVDs anytime I like.

I love your photographs and the way you style your products. Do you have any photography inspirations to share?

Thank you so much. I love photographing the things I make. In my own photographs I tend to gravitate toward simpler images, ones that really show off the subject with lots of white space. When it comes to photographers whose work inspires me, I love Loretta Lux’s portraits, Scott Schuman’s street shots (especially the ones with bicycles), and minimiam by Akiko Ida and Pierre Javelle is amazing and so tiny!

You love to thrift (as do I!) — how do vintage finds inspire you?

It is true, I’ve never met a thrift store I didn’t like. The things I find at thrift stores inspire me because they’re fighters. They’ve survived their past and because they’re not new or expensive, they aren’t too precious to use. I like that in a thing.


Laurie's Blog: Liquid Paper

Laurie's Shop: Mod Dots

Laurie's Flickr


Geninne Zlatkis

Geninne Zlatkis is an artist, illustrator, and graphic designer, living in Mexico, married to an architect and designer, and mother of two wonderful, artistic boys. Geninne works in a variety of media, including watercolor, ink, and pencil. She sews, embroiders, and just learned to needle felt. She carves rubber stamps and so much more. She keeps an amazingly beautiful home and inspirational studio. Oh, and Geninne loves birds.

Can you tell us about some of the things on your inspiration boards?

I simply could not live without an inspiration board of some sort. That's where I put treasured little drawings my kids make for me, gifts that I have received from friends, pretty pictures and postcards that inspire me...having these sort of things around me to look at fuel my creativity and make me happy. I have a little shelf right next to my desk that I've been using as a display or inspiration board, it used to be a sandbox that my husband made for me. I love putting up things there that I like to look at while I work. My ink bottles are very happy to be living there too. :)

Who or what is inspiring you right now?

My inspiration comes from all sorts of places, primarily from nature. I live in a beautiful wooded area so I'm surrounded by all sorts of cute little birds, flowers, and trees. My kids are my everyday inspiration as well. I am also inspired by many of the wonderful and talented artists that share their work and a glimpse of their daily lives on the internet in places like Flickr or Etsy.

What do you do to "refill the well"?

Just spending time with my family doing the things we love refuels me. Going on a walk around the neighborhood, simple things...

How do you come up with your next idea?

I usually spend hours and hours and even have dreams at night thinking about an idea. I hardly ever do sketches on paper; most of my sketches are done inside my head. And when I've "chewed" my idea enough in my mind I just sit down and do it ... directly on my watercolor paper. I'm sad to say I don't have sketchbooks ... what I do have and love to keep is a journal, my journal is a little written inspiration board too:

What craft blogs, websites, and/or books do you enjoy?

There are so many arts and craft blogs that I love. I have a HUGE crush on birds so I visit Diana Sudyka's blog The Tiny Aviary every day to get my birdie fix. I'm also a BIG fan of Laura Normandin's work and visit her blog daily for inspiration. I love Camilla's blog too and many many others. There is so much talent out there!

I LOVE craft books, on my latest trip to the US I bought a bunch of beautiful books to bring home to Mexico. I look at them on a daily basis. These are some of my favorites:

Simple Sewing by Lotta Jansdotter

Handmade Project by Lotta Jansdotter

Quilts by Denyse Schmidt

Last-Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson (owner of the amazing Purl Soho shop)

You recently taught yourself to needle felt. What inspires you to try new things?

I am an extremely curious person and very passionate about finding out how things are made. The internet has opened an enormous world for me and it has also been a huge source of inspiration. I am inspired by other artists work, museums, galleries, art books, magazines, etc. The next new thing that I want to explore is pottery.

Have you worked professionally as an artist or graphic designer?

Yes, I have. I started working as a graphic designer while I was still in college here in Mexico, I quit my day job when I had Israel and have been doing freelance work ever since.

You work in such a large variety of media. How do you move back and forth from project to project?

I think I've been doing that since I was a kid, I was always attracted to many different kinds of artistic activities. But I never leave something unfinished to work on something else. I'm very obsessive in that respect. If I start something new I won't stop until I've completed it. All media are the same to me, just a way to express myself.

Do you remember something that really inspired you back in the beginning?

I was inspired by Danny Gregory's website to start an illustration blog a couple of years ago and it really sparked a creative bug in me.

Do you listen to music while you work?

I love listening to good music while I work. I listen to a lot of Jan Garbarek, Ottmar Liebert, Jesse Cook. Mostly instrumental music. And lots of Bach. :)

What's your favorite color? Has it always been the same?

I think blue has always been my favorite color, but through the years the tone of blue has changed. I'm lovin' turquoise right now.

What's your favorite thing in your studio?

It's hands down my beloved old iMac. I'm having a lot of trouble thinking of replacing it with a new one, but I will have to eventually.

How did having children change you as an artist?

Having my boys has changed my life for the better in every area, including my artistic work. They have made my life richer, and now I have more to bring to my work. They make me laugh more and make me look at things from another perspective.

I know you homeschool your boys. How do you combine your work with raising your children?

I usually work in the morning while they are doing their schoolwork. They work by themselves and I only supervise their work so I have plenty of time to make art right next to them and ALWAYS get their "very honest" opinions about whatever I'm working on.

Do you have a favorite spot in the world?

My all time favorite place to be is sitting at a beach with Manolo at sunset, looking at my kids play in the sand.

What are your future plans?

My future plan with Manolo is to open up a little shop with his furniture and my handmade goodies ... it has been a dream of ours since we got married. No specific plan yet, but we are giving it a lot of thought.


Geninne's Blog

Geninne's Etsy Shop

Geninne's Flickr


Simply Photo

Jennifer Causey is a photographer and artist. Her photographs often focus on moments in life when beauty quietly rises to the surface. She is a professional photographer, sells her work online, and also blogs at both simply photo and simply breakfast. She has just compiled the photos from simply breakfast into a book.

Can you tell us about some of the things on your wire?

I look at a lot of magazines and I am constantly tearing out images that speak to me and that I know I will want to look at again. I also like to have small mementos like a letter I received from my nephew or bits of nature I find on a walk. My inspiration wires are right above my computer desk, so I often look up at them for a little pick-me-up.

Who or what is inspiring you right now?

So many things. I have been very inspired by Japanese food and craft books lately. I love the simplicity of the photos and the muted color palette. These sites are really amazing:
fog linen work

And, spring
Scandinavian design is really big for me right now. All things made of wood, especially vintage teak wood. All things relating to fall and winter: blankets and scarfs made of big chunky hand-knit yarns in neutral colors.

I am very drawn to ceramics right now, like those from Heath, White Bike Ceramics and White Forest Pottery.

Some artists/designers I am loving lately are Alyson Fox, Sally Scott, Bookhou Design, Erika Tanov.

Some photographers who really inspire me are Martyn Thompson, Marcus Nilsson, Roland Bello, Erica Shires, Mikkel Vang and Sally Mann.

What do you do to "refill the well"?

I look at a lot of magazines. I really love European décor magazines and all types of food magazines. I love looking at pictures from everyday life on flickr as well as what other people are cooking and eating. Yes, I am a bit obsessed with good food. I am also inspired by movies and just by walking around. A trip to a book store or a good bakery or coffee shop is great too. Oh, and of course the internet.

I know you enjoy both the city, where you live, and the country. How does each place inspire you?

I find the city inspiring because everything is available at your fingertips; you just may have to seek it out. You can get any type of food, do any type of shopping, see any type of art, any time you want to. I enjoy being able to use public transportation to get me anywhere I need to go. I also love the energy. There are so many people doing so many different things all at the same time. I think I am able to enjoy the craziness of it because I do not live directly in Manhattan. I live in Brooklyn, on a quiet street where I can look out my back window and see nature and trees. I can look out my front window and see the New York skyline. I also live near the water, so I can take a walk and enjoy that as well.

I also love escaping to the country to just relax and not have to be on a constant schedule. Living in New York, you do always feel the constant push to be doing something. To be pushing yourself to do and see everything. I love visiting my parents and sitting outside on their deck and listening to the crickets or taking nature walks through the woods in their neighborhood.

How do you come up with your next idea?

I guess I am always thinking and looking at things in a visual way and ideas just hit me. I don't always follow through with everything, but there is a constant coming and going of ideas. I definitely have times when the well seems dry, but there is so much out there to look at, it usually does not last too long.

How long have you been making your art? How did you start?

I decided to go back to school to study photography five years ago (wow, time flies) and have been constantly taking pictures ever since. When I took my first class, I did not know anything about the technical aspects of taking a picture, so I think I have come a long way. I am so glad that when I was learning, digital was just getting started, so I learned on non-digital cameras and learned to process and develop my own film. It is sad that these fundamentals are becoming extinct. It is often hard to find places to get film developed.

Tell us a little bit about your blog/business.

I started making cards from my photos on a whim and found that people really responded to them. I formulated it into a little business called simply photo; this also became the name of my blog, where I share inspiration on photography and many other things. The business is just something small I do on the side, but I would like to devote more time to it.

I started my simply breakfast blog because I found myself taking pictures of food or my breakfast every day. I wanted to archive them in some way and leave my other blog for other types of inspiration. It is also a way for me to be shooting every day and to start my day off in a creative way. I have just completed a simply breakfast book, which I'm excited about.

Congratulations! What's your perfect creativity-inspiring day?

I love to go out exploring a neighborhood in my city (New York). Checking out all the small shops and stopping for lunch or coffee. Some of my favorite adventures include the Lower East Side or the West Village. I also enjoy a day lounging at one of my favorite parks: Brooklyn Bridge Park in DUMBO or Fort Tryon Park and the Cloisters in Washington Heights.

How did you get your start in crafting, and what kinds of crafts do you do?

I grew up with a very crafty mom who was always making things. I guess I never really thought about how much this influenced me. My dad is also very creative, always building things and drawing things and helping my mom with her projects. I remember a cookbook they made together compiling recipes from all the girls in my brownie troop. I enjoy all types of crafts. My favorite is crochet and sometimes knitting. I also love baking (which I do consider a craft).

What craft blogs, websites, and/or books do you enjoy?

I love visiting: 3191, hoping for happy accidents, the glass doorknob, smosch blog, grijs, fine little day, port2port, maditi likes and so many more.

Do you remember something that really inspired you back in the beginning?

Yes, I was very inspired by this photo blog.

What's your favorite thing in your studio and/or house?

I love a small bowl I have on my windowsill with small bits that inspire me. A piece of string, some smooth rocks, a tiny pine cone, an acorn, etc.


Jennifer's portfolio site

Jennifer's flickr

simply photo

simply breakfast

simply photo shop

simply photo etsy shop


Camilla Engman

Camilla Engman is an incredibly talented artist, illustrator, and graphic designer. She lives in Gothenburg, Sweden, with her friend Morran, possibly the most popular dog in the blog universe. Her work is sold at many different shops including her own.

Can you tell us about some of the things on your inspiration wall?

Maria's big and wonderful spoon photo is hanging on my "wire" waiting to be framed. Some recipes (bills) from my trip to Istanbul --- you don't get handwritten bills very often so this makes me happy. I like the layers that the bag and leaf creates. The leaf is also there because of its graphic shape. Then there is a print from Camilla in Italy and another on from Jules in Australia.

Sometimes the same things hang there for a long time, sometimes I change often. I hang things there for different reasons. Sometimes it is because of pity. I've made something that I know just will end up in one of my drawers. So to give it some kind of acknowledgment, I hang it on my wall for a while. I hang things there that I want to remember, small fragments that inspire me. Things I've done and want to use in a bigger work. Things I don't know where else to put or simply just things I like.

Who or what is inspiring you right now?

Right now, everything that has something to do with paper.

What do you do to "refill the well"?

Listen, really listen, to some good music. Looking through a new book or magazine. Or just take it easy so I'm able to take in more.

How do you come up with your next idea?

Take a long walk, think about the subject. Surf around the web plus all of the things above.

You are a professional illustrator/artist. Where does your training come from?

Two years at Art School and later five years at the School of Design and Craft, Gothenburg University.

What do you do to keep yourself motivated and avoid burn-out?

I try to only do things that I like, things that I want to do.

How do you manage that? Do you have any advice for those who feel they don't have enough time to pursue the things they really want to do?

No, I don't have any advice. Well, maybe one ... don't get used to too much money. If I do an illustration job, I do it for myself in the first place. Of course, the client has to like it. But for me, where I am now, it's more important that I like it.

What's your perfect creativity-inspiring day?

Every day that makes me feel happy and strong.

What craft blogs, websites, and/or books do you enjoy?

So many. It's incredible how many talented people there are out there! One blog that has followed me from the beginning is Keri Smith's. I subscribe to Selvedge magazine; every new issue is a great inspiration source.

What other talents do you possess that we might not know about?

None, this is my only talent :)

Do you remember something that really inspired you back in the beginning?

Maira Kalman inspired me to become an illustrator. Back in my blog beginning I was very much inspired by Rosa Pomar's dolls and website.

What is your favorite color? Has it always been the same?

I love colours. I don't have any favorite but I have some that I really don't like --- a bright blue from the 80's and some purple shades.

What is your favorite thing in your studio and/or house?

The light.

Is what you are doing now your dream job?

This is definitely my dream job! I can't think of anything better.


Camilla's Blog

Camilla's Website

Camilla's Flickr

Camilla's Shop



Meg Rooks makes things. She is a mother, a librarian, and a crafty genius. She likes thrift stores and photography and old children's books, and she turns them into something uniquely Meg.

Can you tell us about some of the things on your board?

I'm obsessed with old children's books and children's book illustrators so there is a good representation of those up there.

Then there are artists that inspire me --- my good friend Jen Judd-McGee, Betsy Thompson, Lisa Congdon...

Then there are lots of old and new pictures of my family. I'm very nostalgic.

How often do you change your board?

I'm always adding things to the board and taking things down, so it's always changing.

Who or what is inspiring you right now?

Right now I'm really into illustrators from the 1960s and 70s. I love love love Brian Wildsmith, Leo Lionni, and Trina Schart Hyman. I am also a big fan of earlier folk illustrators like Esphyr Slobodkina and Lois Lenski.

And I've always been a big fan of patchwork and collage. I like a whole bunch of seemingly unrelated stuff jumbled together in an aesthetically pleasing way.

What's your favorite color?

I don't have a favorite color but I do enjoy a lot of color and usually like it peppered with some black.

What do you do to "refill the well"?

I rarely stick to one craft for any length of time --- I definitely get sick of making the same things over and over again. So I go back and forth between crafts. And since most of my work relies heavily on thrifted materials, a good haul from the thrift store or a flea market can be an excellent shot of inspiration.

How do you come up with your next idea?

I shamelessly steal other people's ideas. Craft blogs, magazines, etc. I'm pretty brazen. Just kidding (sort of :)). Really, though, these are usually jumping-off points for my own ideas.

What craft blogs, websites, and/or books do you enjoy?

There are way too many to list --- I wouldn't know where to start. I will say that I really enjoy older craft books (60s and 70s). I find them very inspiring (and often amusing).

How long have you been making your art? How did you start?

I've always envied and been intimidated by crafty/creative/artistic people. It wasn't until I had children and began staying home with them full-time that I got enough of an itch to try making things myself. I think arts and crafts are appealing to a lot of moms because the day-to-day work of mothering doesn't offer up a lot of tangible results, if that makes sense. I think I felt that way, at least. Anyway, I started off with decoupage and knitting and have since started sewing and rug hooking a little and am always wanting to try something new.

What is your background?

I have a B.A. in history and an M.L.S. in library science.

What's your day job?
I'm a librarian at a school for deaf children 20 hours a week.

Tell us a little bit about your blog and your business.

It's small. I have an etsy shop that I opened about a year and a half ago. I started a blog a little over a year ago to help promote the shop. Now I blog a lot but don't update the shop very often. I'm gearing up to do a show or two this fall. The craft business is definitely a side thing that I love and do when I have the time/motivation.

How do you balance mothering and your creative pursuits?

Oy. That's been a tough one lately. I just started working my library job more, which has really cut into my kid-free craft time. Basically my craft time is after the kids go to bed, when I can peel my lazy butt off the couch. :)

Where does your training come from?

I'm mostly self-taught but would love to go back and take classes now (especially photography, illustration, painting...).

What other talents do you possess that we might not know about?

I can dance an irish jig and reel.

Do you listen to music while you work?

Yes, always and almost all kinds. Frequently, though, I'm listening to my daughter play the piano.

Which of your projects are you the most proud of, and why?

I'm really proud of a rug I hooked for a friend a few years ago and a sweater I knit. Both were first major projects (rug hooking and knitting) and both just gave me a really satisfied sense of accomplishment.

What are some of your current projects?

I just started a new hooked rug that I'm pretty psyched about. And I'm getting back into decoupage and thinking about trying out some different materials. We'll see how that goes

Is there something new you want to try?

Yes --- there is no end to new things I want to try.


Pixiegenné blog

Pixiegenné Etsy shop


Wise Craft

Blair Stocker has worked as a textile and apparel designer, and she now crafts in many different mediums. She writes about her life and her work on her popular blog Wise Craft and sells some of her work on Etsy.

Can you tell us about some of the things on your board?

Swatches of fabric that feel pretty to me right now, a print from my friend Jen of Swallowfield which has beautiful color and simple lines, sweater woolens. There is a floral arrangement from the October Martha Stewart Living magazine that made me gasp (dark maroons mixed with greens and salmony pinks, inspired by Dutch paintings), and almost every page of the Fall 07
Boden catalog (beautiful). Woolen hot water bottle covers (because I'm officially in nesting mode).

Who or what is inspiring you right now?

Fall itself! Big, bulky, woolen plaids with bright shots of color in them, stag heads and tramp art. Amy Butler prints (her prints fell off my radar for a while, but I am officially in love with the new ones).

What do you do to "refill the well"?

Cleaning my studio always recharges me. If I simply can't get motivated to create and start sewing, I'll take an afternoon to go through my space, organize and throw out. Suddenly I can't wait to get in there and make something.

How do you come up with your next idea?

I carry a Moleskine journal with me everywhere. In it, I jot down ideas, no matter how small, the minute I get them because otherwise I will never remember them, which is sad but very true. It's fun to sit down with that journal later and go back over pages and pages of quick sketches and ideas. That's usually enough to spark an idea.

Which of your projects are you the most proud of, and why?

The quilts I've made for my family. Quilts really do feel like some sort of usable, functional artwork, as well as a legacy. Hopefully they will be around for my grandkids to use.

What activity inspires you?

Anything that gets me to try something new and gets out of my comfort zone. Like the other day when I went roller skating.

And how did that go?

I'm proud to say I didn't fall!

What craft blogs, websites, and/or books do you enjoy?

I'm kind of a craft book junkie, recently elevated to include decorating books too. My favorite ones right now are Amy Butler's Midwest Modern, Floral House, Jane Cumberbatch books.

What's your favorite color? Has it always been the same?

Green, has been since I was 8. Before that it was pink.

What other talents do you possess that we might not know about?

I can do uncanny voice imitations. Uncanny, really!

Do you listen to music while you work? If so, what kind?

Any and everything ... classical, 80's alternative music, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Or if I'm looking for something new I'll just see what my husband Peter is playing in his office, 'cause it's usually good.

What is your favorite inspirational quote?

"Teach us delight in simple things." -- Rudyard Kipling


Wise Craft blog

Blair's Etsy shop

E-mail Blair


Secret Agent Josephine

Brenda Ponnay, AKA Super Agent Josephine, is an artist and mother, a graphic designer and illustrator, a blogger and a shop owner.

Can you tell us about some of the things on your board?

For some reason I have a lot of turquoise on my board right now. I don't know why. Maybe the Color Fashion Lords have decided that is the color they are going to push this last fall or something (most of my magazine clippings are from free magazines I was sent from fall). I really like the Tiffany ad and the cover page of the Anthropologie catalogue juxtaposed together. I don't usually like turquoise but these photos use it in the best way possible. I love the chlorine bleached out feeling of the blue. It makes me think of summer and big clear skies, dry dust deserts (where I grew up) stuff like that. I don't have a rhyme or reason for what I tear out and keep up on my board. It's purely emotional but I find myself echoing these emotions in my design work.

Who or what is inspiring you right now?

I guess I already answered that. I'd also say that fall is really inspiring me right now. Rich textures. Wallpapers (I have some on my board), dark-edged photos... I've found myself editing my own photos this way to make them more storybook-like. I think this time of year I am more eclectic in my designs. I don't mind things getting cozy and cluttered. Whereas other times of the year I will just want simple and clean lines. Right now I just want to drink hot chocolate and think about apples and pumpkin pie. I think my inspiration board reflects that.

What do you do to "refill the well"?

Drink coffee. Seriously, that's all I need. I suffer from well over-spillage. I have so many ideas trying to get out of my head I often get frustrated. It's hard being a full-time mom and still letting my inner artist have free rein. I hardly ever get writer's block or the blank-screen syndrome. If I do I just take a spin through some of my favorite artists' galleries and before I know it I'm brimming with my own new ideas.

How do you come up with your next idea?

They just hit me. In the shower, in the car... A lot of my ideas are pieces and parts of my brain trying to solve a problem. Right now I'm trying to find something for my daughter to carry on Halloween. A trick-or-treat bag. I can't find anything anywhere that I like. So I'm hatching up my own design. And of course this trick-or-treat design is overflowing into everything else too. Once I get an idea I run with it until I'm sick of it.

How long have you been making your art? How did you start?

I started at my job as a graphic designer. The company I worked for never liked to buy art so sometimes I would make my own. I was really, really bad at first but I got better and better. I used to make maps. I think that's where I got proficient at using Illustrator.

What is your background?

Journalism actually. Worked on the school paper and got good at using the computer. I broke in that way. I never went to art school. (Which to highly trained artists will be painfully obvious.)

What's your day job?


Tell us a little bit about your blog/business.

I work at night and during the baby's nap times making primarily vector graphics. Logos, web banners, etc... and graphic design. I think graphic design will haunt me forever. But that's not a bad thing.

Is there something new you want to try?

Screen printing or Gocco printing. I know it's really messy but the idea of mass producing my designs in my own home makes me get all googly eyed.

Any advice to the many people who are inspired by you?

You always find time to do what you want to do. Pick your three top things and do them well. Don't sweat it if you can't do EVERYTHING.

What is your favorite inspirational quote?

Do what you love and the money will follow. I have no idea who said that.

What activity inspires you?

Drinking coffee.

What place inspires you?

Don't laugh. Starbucks inspires me (a theme with me, they should pay me). They have great packaging designers. I should say the ocean and my daughter's eyes inspire me... and they do. My daughter is my muse. But a lot of times I'm inspired by other designers' work. I dissect what they do and try to copy them in my own way.

What craft blogs, websites, and/or books do you enjoy?

Penelope Dullaghan,
Wee Wonderfuls, Paris Breakfasts, Anna Maria Horner ... There are so many I hardly can keep up! I don't keep up. I just pick and choose randomly.

Do you have anything else you want to tell us about yourself?

I don't really take myself that seriously. It sounds like it in my answers. Really I'm just a mom and I fit some other stuff in around the edges.


Secret Agent Josephine's Blog

Secret Agent Josephine's Etsy Shop



This blog was established as a companion to the Inspiration Boards flickr group.

Many of the creative artists, writers, and crafters whose inspiration walls, wires, boards, and displays have been featured in Inspiration Boards have agreed to be interviewed about their inspirations here.

Please stay tuned as we share the people, things, and places that inspire us, as well as what helps us keep our creativity alive.