Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Cute Overload!

This is so cute! Just to help you get your daily dose of aaaaaaahhhhhhhhhssssssss.

Well, I finish work tomorrow and after the shock of it all subsided, I'm actually really excited. I will be working 2 days a week Jan & Feb, and I can spend the rest of the time creating and getting ready for the arrival of our baby. Sounds lovely doesn't it?

After work tomorrow we hit the road to start visiting family for Christmas, so I expect things will be very quiet around Inspire Create until 12th Jan when we get home. I just want to wish all my visitors a Christmas filled with love, laughs, family and friends. And here's to hoping that 2006 will bring us all health, happiness and prosperity (in that order!).

Take care,

Love M

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Diversionary Tactics

When the inspiration wanes, or your mind is wandering sometimes the best thing to do is walk away and do something completely different.

So to help with getting your inspiration back, today I thought I'd share some fun stuff that you can use as a diversion. Now, I don't condone the wasting of time on silliness when you should be working - instead please consider this list as a helpful tool to get you inspired (or not!!).

Orisinal Flash Games
Mr PicassoHead
The Scribbler
3Hive - legal music downloads
Candybar Doll Maker
Fish Tank

If you have any time wasters inspirational tools - please feel free to share them in the comments!

Friday, December 09, 2005


Do you get that feeling sometimes when you’re driving that you just feel so free and lucky to be where you are?

I have always loved driving – especially in the wide open spaces in country NSW, Australia. But lately when I’m out and about I often have this feeling wash over me that I am so very fortunate to live where I do – my home, my community, my country.

For some people being in a bustling city really rocks their boat – all the people and action is inspiring. When I visit the city I always enjoy it, but at the same time I can’t wait to get home. I live in a comfy little cottage on a 2000 acre farm (mostly sheep, wheat and canola) and I love it. Sometimes the isolation gets to me – it can be a real pain if I run out of milk because the nearest supermarket is 50km away! But most of the time I love my bit of “big sky country”. I can’t see or hear my neighbours, the noisiest thing we have to deal with is the sheep and the harvesters for a couple of weeks a year. I can sit on my back verandah on the beautiful summer evenings we are experiencing at the moment and look out over a paddock of hay towards a stand of gum trees and watch the sun set. This place makes me feel like I have space – space in my head to think and space for my body to move.

I love the weather here – in summer we have a couple of weeks of 40C+ temps (ouch!) and in winter I only have to drive 15mins to see snow (not enough to ski on, but enough to play in!). I adore these extremes – you really know you’re alive when in the space of 4 months you go from sweltering heat to frosty clear days. The 4 year drought we have just been through wasn’t so great though, it breaks your heart to see animals doing it tough and farm families struggling – but that is the way of nature, we are merely passengers on this ride and we are foolish to think we actually have any say in the matter. The recent floods we experienced are very clear reminder of that!

Since living in this area we have been so fortunate to meet some wonderful people – simple, honest, caring, family-focused people who care about what is going on in your life, but aren’t busy-bodies. Who are always ready to help out when they can and can cook a mean BBQ! It feels good to know we are part of this community.

Everyday I’m thankful to be Aussie. I’m not wearing rose coloured glasses – I know we have social, political, environmental problems, but I also know that Australia lives up to it’s title of “The Lucky Country”. I feel safe, I have access to excellent education and health care, I’m not limited because of my sex or religion. I have clean air to breathe and room to move. I can choose the type of life I want to lead. I can afford to live comfortably and have enough left over to travel. I can explore what it means to be me – my strengths, talents, beliefs, emotions. I can love who I want and be able to openly display my affection for the people I am blessed to share my life with.

So this weekend, I plan to get my in my car, put my favourite music on loud, drive through my beautiful country and sing my heart out! Because whenever I do that I feel so alive and so inspired to make the most of the wonderful place I live. I just wish I could find a way to capture that feeling and express it through some creative means.

How does your home make you feel?

The view from my home office/studio across the neighbours' wheat field.

The view from our kitchen door on a stormy afternoon.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


Well, I had plans for some very inspiring posts today - ideas that have been "marinating" in my mind for days. But then a rather large spanner was thrown in the works - I have just been made redundant from my job! I finish just before Christmas. Great timing eh?

The company I work (worked!) for has undergone huge changes in the last year, and my job has shrunk over the past 6 months because I have finished all the big projects I was working on and am now just in maintenance mode. So, it wasn't completely unexpected, but still a shock as I would be going on maternity leave late February and they wouldn't have to be paying for me then anyway. So, it really just means that I finish work about 6 weeks earlier than I'd planned. The negative side is that I don't have the security of knowing I could have my job back if I wanted it. (Maternity leave laws in Australia guarantee that once you have worked for a company for 1 year before having a baby you can return to your job exactly as it was before having the baby if you want and we can take up to 12 months unpaid leave).

Today has been one of very mixed emotions though - one minute I'm on the verge of tears, the next I'm starting to plan all the things I can do now - start my creative career, do freelance computer work, throw out the alarm clock (yippee! well, at least until the baby starts waking me at all hours), set up the nursery, spend time with family and friends before the baby arrives....

Sometimes these things happen so that we are pushed to do what we really want. For a couple of years now I've wanted to make a change, but haven't felt ready to make the leap, and since finding out I was pregnant I have been thinking about what I would do when the baby arrived. I know I don't want to work away from home full time, so I'd started thinking about what I could do part time from home. Now I've been given the shove, I plan to grab it with both hands and try very hard to make the best out of the situation I find myself in.

Forced change is never easy, but I hope it will all turn out to be the best thing for me in the long run. Mind you, as it all sinks in I may not be so philosophical tomorrow!!

Friday, November 25, 2005

100 Journal Ideas

Keri Smith has a lovely web site - I'm a regular reader of her Wish Jar Journal. I have just found on her site her 100 Ideas for Journals which is a wonderful place to start if you need some inspiration for your journal.

I love the idea of journalling, unfortunately I'm a very irregular writer! I go through stages of writing almost daily to not picking up my journal for months on end. I'm great while I'm travelling - there is always so much to record and I have more time to do it. I've always thought it's such a great way to download (that's the geek in me talking!) whatever your brain is processing and often by writing down a concern I have I achieve the clarity I need to deal with it. I also love looking at other people's art journals.

Anyway - I think Keri has put together a wonderful list of things to get the create juices flowing!


ArtDaily is an online art newspaper. It has reviews of exhibitions, biographies of artists, lists of fairs, links to resources, image galleries and more.

It has lots of information and is updated daily which I love. Sometimes I think I have the shortest attention span - I'm forever jumping around web sites looking for interesting titbits, I love sites that have something new for me everytime I visit!!

Friday, November 18, 2005


I've been thinking about the routines of artists. While in Paris we went to the Picasso Museum, which was fantastic, and I loved Picasso's sketch books. There are so many of them, so full of interesting scratchings. It was especially interesting to see a sketch book that he used as he prepared for a major work, and then to follow that through to the finished piece. It was also heartening to see that a lot of what he sketched was not earth-shattering, in fact often it was pretty ordinary! I say this with the greatest respect, but I found it heartening as often I will create something and be frustrated as it's not as good as I think it should be. This made me realise that artists that do produce what they want, do so as a result of a lot of work - practice, practice, practice.

This then got me to thinking about the routines and discipline artists use to drive their development. So I searched around for some stories on artists and their routines:
This article in the NY Times (free rego required) is an interesting overview of the routine of a wide variety of artists.

Art:21 has a lesson focused on the routines and rituals artists make a part of their work, and it has links to interviews with a number of artists.

Robert Genn's The Painter's Keys has a list of quotes related to routines and art (this site is chock full of great information and you should consider signing up for the twice weekly newsletter - a lovely source of inspiration).

Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way is all about using routines to release your creativity.

Sites like Illustration Friday are good for inspiring the regular output of work.

Then there are projects like Art Everday Month and National Novel Writing Month that would be great for developing a routine (safety warning - these are a big commitment!).

I know that at the moment I can't expect to create as much as I'd like, or to improve my work until I make creating a more regular part of my life. And even though a lot of the above links talk about huge commitments of time and energy, I'm sure it doesn't take that much of an effort - small steps are the best way to start.

I'd love to hear about the routines you follow...

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Keen Look

I've always loved the "Big Eye" paintings of Margaret Keane - and I just found a gallery with a number of her paintings. The children are so sad, yet beautiful...

Margaret Keane Gallery

Monday, November 14, 2005

Relish the moment

Last week in the comments Maria suggested I read a passage by Robert Hastings called The Station. It much more eloquently expresses many of the things I was trying to say in this post. So I have included it below:

Tucked away in our subconscious is an idyllic vision. We see ourselves on a long trip that spans the continent. We are travelling by train. Out the windows we drink in the passing scene of cars on nearby highways, of children waving at a crossing, of cattle grazing on a distant hillside, of smoke pouring from a power plant, of row upon row of corn, and wheat, of flatlands and valleys, of mountains and rolling hillsides, of city skylines and village halls.

But uppermost in our minds is the final destination. On a certain day at a certain hour we will pull into the Station. Bands will be playing and flags waving. Once we get there so many wonderful dreams will come true and the pieces of our lives will fit together like a completed jigsaw puzzle. How restlessly we pace the aisles, daming the minutes for loitering - waiting, waiting, waiting for the Station.

"When we reach the Station, that will be it!" we cry. "When I'm eighteen." "When I buy a new 450 SL Mercedes Benz!" "When I put the last kid through college." "When I have paid off the mortgage!" "When I get a promotion!" "When I reach retirement, I shall live happily ever after!"

Sooner or later we must realize there is no Station, no one place to arrive at once and for all. The true joy of life is the trip. The Station is only a dream. It constantly outdistances us.

"Relish the moment" is a good motto, especially when coupled with psalm 118:24 "This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." It isn't the burdens of today that drive men mad. It is the regrets over yesterday and the fear of tomorrow. Regret and fear are twin thieves who rob us of today.

So, stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles. Instead, climb more mountains, eat more ice cream, go barefoot more often, swim more rivers, watch more sunsets, laugh more, cry less. Life must be lived as we go along. The Station will come soon enough.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Shock leads to Inspiration

Every now and then we are given a wake up call - sometimes we listen, sometimes not.

N and I received a huge one on the weekend when a longtime friend of N's died suddenly of a heart attack - he was only 36 years old. Mixed up with the grief comes a feeling of "am I doing what I want to be doing, because well, you never know what tomorrow may bring. Would I look at my life and be satisfied I'd done all the things I wanted, was the best person I could be". And for most of us we wouldn't be happy with the answers to those questions, because it becomes so easy to just "be in" your life, rather than really "live it". I do achieve goals, have enriching experiences and I make sure I regularly tell the people I care about that I love them. But I still have a very long To Do list - and at moments like these I realise that if I don't get a wriggle on, I may run out of time to get them all done. I mean, this year I've travelled all over the world (South Africa, around Australia, New Zealand, France, Scotland and Hong Kong) and had amazing experiences, we got pregnant, I've supported N through big changes in his career and supported family members through health scares, but I still have things I haven't done, risks I haven't taken, things I haven't said.

At the moment I swing between despair and uncontrollable bouts of tears, to feeling like I'm sparking with inspiration to get on with life. Out of a tragic loss it can be very difficult to find anything positive. Once the pain and shock subsides, I hope I can hold onto this renewed desire to live for today. It sounds wrong, but I feel inspired by the tragedy. It isn't disrespectful, actually I kind of feel it shows a lot of respect - this person meant alot to us and I refuse to let his passing not make a difference to me, even if it is just a slight attitude adjustment to be thankful for everyday I have.

Everywhere, everyday someone experiences tragedy - finding the strength and inspiration to move on, to do better, to be better is the challenge. If you haven't had that wake up call recently, maybe it's time to think back to a time when you did and remind yourself, not only of the pain, but of how fortunate you are to still have the chance to do all those things that are important to you.

I've just been looking at this post for ages - should I post it, should I not... I'm not looking for sympathy - I'm just trying to process the chaos of emotions I'm experiencing at the moment. Trying to remind myself that life goes on, the pain eases and the memories remain. Dealing with the shock of losing someone so young, so vibrant. There are so many wonderful things happening in my life at the moment, that something like this just reminds me to really appreciate them, to not take anything for granted and to get off my butt!!!

Friday, November 04, 2005


IAMcore is a very new web site with big plans to support independent artists. From the site:
"IAMcore is being developed solely as a means to promote and connect artists from all mediums and genres in an attempt to give strength to and enhance the growth of the Independent Arts Movement."

At the moment there isn't much on the site - really just an explanation of what the contributors hope it will become and a call for people to get involved. It has caught my attention, I like the idea of it becoming a community to support independent artists. It does sound a little hardcore (excuse the pun!) for my taste (you know - a bit "rage against the machine"), but I'm interested to see what it becomes. Some of the plans sound really positive.

Something for you to check out and decide if it appeals to you, or not!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


I have been a regular visitor for a while now to a number of bloggers' sites who participate in Illustration Friday. Anyway today I decided I was going about it all the wrong way - I should go straight to the source. So I visited the Illustration Friday site. Now I'm not so sure that was a good idea. If you have nothing to do for, oh say the next month, go to the site and work your way through the list of contributors. At the moment there are 348 who took part in last week's topic of "Broken"!!

Ah well, I didn't plan to get any work done today anyway. Enjoy!!

The Diva

For my Aussie readers - how good was Makybe Diva's win yesterday in the Melbourne Cup??!!! Gave me goosebumps!

For readers from everywhere else a bit of an explanation - the Melbourne Cup is THE biggest horse race in Australia, and when they say it's the race that stops a nation, well that's no exageration. Even those that don't follow horseracing (like myself) watch the Cup because it's more than a race, it's a tradition, it's fun, there are always fantastic stories of triumph over adversity or unnatural skills associated. And yesterday was no exception - Makybe Diva was the first horse to ever win 3 Cups in it's 144 year history, she's a mare (go girl!), she was only entered on the weekend, she was carrying 58kg (it's a handicap race) and she is the most successful Australian race horse having won AUS$14.4m prize money. This site and this one have some history of the race - how's this for a great story - "The first Cup was run in 1861. There were 17 starters and, paradoxically, the prize - apart from the money (170 pounds) - was not a cup at all, but a hand-beaten gold watch. Archer, the winning horse, had walked to Melbourne from its stable in Nowra, New South Wales, a distance of 500 miles (800km)." Aussies love a battler, they love sport and they love a good time - the Cup always meets all these criteria. So if you are ever in Australia on the first Tuesday in November try to get to Melbourne. But be aware - you must get dressed up (dresses, hats, suits, ties, etc are compulsory!) and you will need to book accommodation in advance as Melbourne will be packed! Being miles away from Melbourne, we celebrated at work by watching the race while enjoying afternoon tea and champagne.

Monday, October 31, 2005

The Art of Science

The Art of Science is a competition run by Princeton University to find the most amazing images created as a result of scientific research. Some of the images are absolutely beautiful, the science of some of them though goes straight over my head!!

I love this idea - that beauty can be found everywhere - even in a sterile lab.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Happy Snaps

Due to popular demand - well OK, one request from Maria! - here are some shots from our trip.

As I've been going through the photos we took, I've had the feeling they aren't a full representation of our holiday, and I think I've worked out why. The best times were generally had with friends or family over a lovely meal and we didn't get the camera out because we were too busy having fun, and the things we saw that had the most affect on me were in art galleries. I have a philosophical issue with taking photos in art galleries - I know now with digital cameras that you can just turn off the flash and snap away (as most other people in the galleries were doing), but I just can't bring myself to do it. I feel like it's sacrilege or disrespectful. I like to be able to sit in front of a spectacular piece of art and just quietly soak it up (note to art galleries everywhere - you need more seats!!). I wish I didn't feel this way, because now I would have a fantastic collection of photos of works by people like Monet, Picasso, Degas, van Gogh, Da Vinci, etc, etc, etc. Poor N - he desperately wanted to take photos and I wouldn't let him!! So instead what we did was bought software at each of the art galleries - it's lighter than carrying books and more interactive. So now we have CDs with full reproductions of a dozen of Picasso's sketch books with all the history associated with each one, virtual tours of the Louvre and Musee D'Orsay, etc. Tell me, do I need to let go of this irrational behaviour and get with the times, or do you feel the same?

Anyway, enough talk - here are some of our photos for your viewing pleasure!

Originally uploaded by Mich M.
Vineyards of the Cote D'Or looking towards the village of Pommard. I took this photo one day while out walking.

Originally uploaded by Mich M.
Saturday morning markets in Beaune. These markets were wonderful - all sorts of cheeses, salamis, flowers, fruit and veg, antiques, crafts - my idea of heaven!

Originally uploaded by Mich M.
The gardens at the Palace of Versailles. It was a cool, overcast day but the gardens were still beautiful.

Originally uploaded by Mich M.
The Eiffel Tower from the top of the Pompidou art gallery. Tres bon!

Originally uploaded by Mich M.
A crowded street in Hong Kong. Each day we were there they blocked off the streets in this area to traffic and opened them up to pedestrians - lots of them!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

I'm back!

My sincere apologies for neglecting Inspire Create, it has been in the back of my mind for weeks, but so many other things have been vying for my attention.

So, first an update that will hopefully explain my absence. After my last post I was so busy getting everything done before going away and feeling pretty lonely with my dear hubby N being away. But it was all worth it as we had a wonderful holiday. For the first 2 weeks N was still working, so I took this time to sleep, read, go for long walks and investigate the area around Beaune in Burgundy. Then, we spent a wonderful week in Paris - we focused on visiting art galleries and good restaurants so we fed our creativity and our bodies! It was my first visit to the Musee D'Orsay (I didn't go last time I was in Paris) and I was speechless, what a spectacular collection. We also visited The Louvre, the Picasso Museum, the Pompidou, Versailles, we strolled the Champs Elysees and generally just tried to soak up the atmosphere.

Then we visited N's youngest brother and his family in Glasgow. It had been a couple of years since we had seen him, and the first time we met his gorgeous 9 month old daughter. We had a wonderful, special time with them.

Then we stopped off in Hong Kong for 2 days on the way home to break up the flight. When you live just about as far as you can be from anywhere else in the world the flight is a killer!! I did the trip over to Paris in one go - 42 hours it took. I was beside myself with exhaustion by the time I got there! Hong Kong is mad! Granted we only ventured walking distance from our motel on Nathan Road, so I'm sure what we saw isn't a true indication of all of Hong Kong, but what we did see certainly was a feast for the senses. It was all neon signs, a crush of people, loud noise, great shopping, smog and very interesting smells! We had a ball and plan to visit again. I bought some beautiful semi precious beads for my jewellery making at fantastic prices, which I'm itching to put to use!

My sister had her baby. After a difficult 18 hours of labour followed by an emergency caesarian she delivered a gorgeous little boy. Both are now well and getting used to one another! I am ecstatic about being an aunty and wish I lived closer to them so I could see him more.

I know all that sounds pretty exciting and busy - but the news I'm most excited about is the fact that I'm pregnant with our first child!!!!!! I'm so happy I feel like I'm going to burst. I'm 19 weeks along today and have my second scan tomorrow. I can't wait as N will be able to come along to the scan - he missed the 12 week scan as he was in France. I'm feeling pretty well, and loving feeling the baby move, which only started a bit over a week ago.

So, it's been a wonderful, exhausting 2 months! I've really missed posting here and am looking forward to getting back into the swing of it. I've been slowly catching up on my internet friends' blogs which has been lovely.

I hope you will start visiting regularly again, as I have a stash of inspiring sites and info I'm getting ready to share with you.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Quiet around here and exciting news

Things are a bit quiet around Inspire Create at the moment. There is just so much going on that something had to give. So instead of posting most days, I'm trying to post at least once a week. Apologies to any visitors who come here only to find old news!! As soon as things settle down I'll start posting more often.

But, maybe when I explain what is going on hopefully you'll understand. My wonderful hubby is off to France next week to work for 6 weeks, and I'm going to join him in 4 weeks time!! So I'll be there for the last 2 weeks he is working, then we are going to have a holiday for 2 weeks. We are so excited!! We're not happy about being apart for 3 weeks, but due to work and other commitments I can't get away any earlier.

So aside from planning the trip and getting everything booked, I have heaps to get finished at work so they'll let me take a month off and I'm busy supporting my sister (who is about to have a baby) by doing the paperwork for her business. Plus I have to get a secure yard built at my parent's place so our dogs can stay with them while we are jetsetting, I need to get the car in to the panel beaters' to get the hail damage fixed, I have to get my tax return done, organise to have the mail held, get travel insurance, renew my drivers licence....

ahhhhhh my head is going to explode!!! But in such a good way I can't help but smile.

Kind of cute...

Kind of cute is the site of illustrator Maricarmen Pizano who does the sweetest, most beautiful drawings. She only posts about once a week - but they are always worth waiting for.

I'm loving her contribution the Illustration Friday topic of aging of a little old lady knitting words.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Managing Blogs

BlogLines is a great service for managing your blogs. If you're like me, you have lots of blogs you visit regularly. Bloglines helps by pulling together all your blogs in one place. It saves downloading a site only to find there aren't any new posts, so potentially reducing your ISP costs and you can sort your blogs into folders. I find it a really handy tool. Also helps reduce the guilt I feel for reading so many blogs by making it quicker and easier to quickly review them all!!

Thursday, August 04, 2005


Interestingness is a new feature in Flickr. It pulls together photos that are considered "interesting" based on a combination of factors, including where the clickthroughs are coming from, who comments on it and when, who marks it as a favorite, its tags, etc.

What you get is a daily selection of amazing photos that Flickr members are sharing. Get a cuppa and prepare to treat your eyes.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Craft Marketer

Craft Marketer is an introduction to James Dillehay's books which focus on the business of crafting. As it's really a teaser for his books, you don't get lots of information, but there is still enough here to make it worth a visit. There are articles on selling on ebay, pricing craft items, selling on consignment, attending trade fairs, etc. There are also links to business services and web site development tools.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


I'm not sure what "solipsistic" is, but it's quite beautiful. It's all light colours, grainy photos and interesting prose. I usually leave the site scratching my head, but my eyes always enjoy it!

Counting Sheep

I know this isn't exactly creative, or inspiring - but it's cute and informative, and well I just wanted to share it. Try this test on the BBC web site. It tests your reaction time - today I'm an ambling armadillo in need of a caffeine hit!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

International Children's Digital Library

I think this is so cool - The International Children's Digital Library - where you can read children's books online, complete with all the illustrations. There are 745 books currently available. I love kid's books - the beautiful illustrations, the simple stories with a meaning, I love reading them to my little nieces and nephew. I still have a collection of my books - lots of Golden Books!

Friday, July 15, 2005

Practical Painting

Practical Painting is a new, online art magazine. It has information on art styles, interviews with artists and some articles on techniques. It provides straight to the point, useful information and inspiration. It looks quite new, so I hope it continues and grows.

House of Books

The sculptor Livio De Marchi has carved a house and most of it's furnishings out of wood to look like it was made from books. It is absolutely beautiful.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Feeling Trapped

I want to apologise for how quiet it's been around here lately. Everytime I think "I must post to Inspire Create" - well I just don't feel inspired to!! Terrible state of affairs when this site is all about inspiring people, and I can't even inspire myself.

So I got to thinking about why I feel so uninspired at the moment...and it's because I feel trapped and burnt-out. I know exactly what I want to be doing and how I want to do it. I have saved up enough money to quit my day job and know that I'd be OK for at least 6 months until (hopefully) I started making a living from my creative pursuits, I know exactly what I'm going to do, I've planned my marketing strategies, I've done courses to improve my skills and have made prototypes of my products. I feel pretty well prepared.

So what's stopping me I hear you cry (or is that just the voices in my head?!?). I've thought long and hard about my reasons for not making the leap and I don't think I'm using excuses (you may beg to differ). Yes I am a little scared about leaving my safe, well-paying job, but at the same time I know it's sucking the life out of me.

No, I feel trapped because I have people who rely on me and I take that responsibility very seriously. I'm not going to bore you with the details, but suffice to say, I have family and friends who are currently going through tough times and I know that having me as a safety net (financially and/or emotionally) is helping them deal with the tough times. How can I then say to them "oh, I know a couple of hundred bucks would get you out of trouble right now, but seeing as I just quit my job I can't help you out", or "yes, I know that if I spent my whole weekend helping you do such-and-such it would really ease your stress levels, but I've got a new business to run - I don't have a spare second". So, I feel selfish for even considering putting my dreams before helping them - if you can't help your family when they are in need it's a really sad day. I hope I don't need it, but maybe one day I'll need them the way they need me now.

Sorry to be on such a downer!! But while thinking about all this stuff, I realised that surely I'm not alone. There are other people feeling trapped or burnt out by their responsibilities. How do they cope? So I started looking around the net and found a few articles, which I thought I'd share with you. I still know that I can't follow my dream full time just yet, but at least I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I've also promised myself one night a week to do exactly what I want (see a movie, sleep for hours, read a book, soak in the bath, whatever) as a battery recharge so that I have the strength to deal with all this. Because the fact of the matter is, the sooner everyone is back on their feet - the sooner I can do what I want!!

Finding Hope in Trying Times

The Creativity Beast

The Top Ten Benefits of Play

Chronic Creativity

Talent Development Resources

UPDATE 14/7/05 - ouch - I just reread this post and it's very negative isn't it? This is very out of character for me, my glass is usually always half full! I must say, just getting that off my chest yesterday has made me feel better. When you write these things down I think it helps to put them in perspective.

Friday, July 08, 2005


To-Done is a handy little site with tips and tricks on productivity and achieving a work/life balance.

Many creative people have to combine their creative pursuits with "real jobs" (gee I hate that term, there must be something better to describe the jobs we do that support our lifestyle!) so any tips on being more productive and creating more time to do our favourite things must be good!


It really goes without saying, but my thoughts and prayers are with the residents of London. Everyone seems to have a family member or friend in London or has visited the city, so the pain being felt is international.

Is it hoping for too much that I may see an end to this madness in my lifetime??

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Eden's Atelier

Eden's Atelier is a beautiful site. Eden Maxwell is an artist and author and his site contains some beautiful, thought-provoking articles on subjects such as creativity, imagination, rejection, what is art?, his odyssey to becoming an artist. You can browse his gallery of paintings, or browse his mind through his writing.

I haven't read the entire site yet, but I plan to. Every page I have read so far presents you with a gift of a beautiful phrase, an inspirational quote, a gorgeous painting. Just one example:
"To know much, you have to experience much. If you want depth, you must dig deep. What are you capable of? Do you have deep feelings that beckon you to worlds beyond imagination? Yes? What have you done about it? Are you willing to persevere against the torrential typhoon of conformity to reach the inner calm inside heaven’s gate?"

Eden's Atelier is a special place on the Internet....

Thursday, June 30, 2005

the is a great art portal - lots of links to artists' galleries, information on art movements and artists, links to art books, etc, etc.

A treat for your optic nerve and braincells!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Craft Manifesto

I've been a huge fan of "craft" for a long time - the type that I feel should really be called art. I don't want to sound like a snob, but following patterns religiously isn't what I call art - I look for unique, thought out, clever arts/crafts. I started following patterns, but was quickly bored and disatisfied with that approach. Then I started adjusting patterns, and now I don't use them at all. Don't get me wrong - I love looking at books and magazines on fashion, jewellery, etc - but I only use them for inspiration or to learn new techniques, not for copying. We all have to start somewhere, but I really respect those that grow.

I often think about the definition of art and craft - I feel that often craft is treated like the poor cousin of art, that it isn't as important, that it's considered easy... But anyone who creates items traditionally defined as craft can confirm that it can be anything but easy!

I've also noticed over the past few years a resurgence in the popularity of craft. I love the amazing weekend markets that you can find all over the place, the websites sharing ideas, techniques and support, the "stitch n bitch" style groups forming, etc. So I have been quite interested by a few sites I have discovered recently.

Ulla-Maaria Mutanen's Draft Craft Manifesto lists her thoughts on what is driving the increasing popularity of crafting.

From her site:
1. People get satisfaction for being able to create/craft things because they can see themselves in the objects they make. This is not possible in purchased products.
2. The things that people have made themselves have magic powers. They have hidden meanings that other people can’t see.
3. The things people make they usually want to keep and update. Crafting is not against consumption. It is against throwing things away.
4. People seek recognition for the things they have made. Primarily it comes from their friends and family. This manifests as an economy of gifts.
5. People who believe they are producing genuinely cool things seek broader exposure for their products. This creates opportunities for alternative publishing channels.
6. Work inspires work. Seeing what other people have made generates new ideas and designs.
7. Essential for crafting are tools, which are accessible, portable, and easy to learn.
8. Materials become important. Knowledge of what they are made of and where to get them becomes essential.
9. Recipes become important. The ability to create and distribute interesting recipes becomes valuable.
10. Learning techniques brings people together. This creates online and offline communities of practice.
11. Craft-oriented people seek opportunities to discover interesting things and meet their makers. This creates marketplaces.
12. At the bottom, crafting is a form of play.

I pretty much agree with all these points, and they got me thinking about why I feel so driven to create. Some days I find the urge quite overwhelming, almost controlling! I've come up with my reasons for making crafty things:
- I get to put a little piece of myself into something that I then share with people I care about.
- I love learning new skills and watching the quality of my work improve.
- I lose time when I craft, and that to me is the best sign that I'm doing something that is really "right" for me.
- I love being able to give a gift that I have created - it means more to me, and I hope it means more to the person I give it to.
- It's an escape from the mundane of "real life" - you know washing clothes, going to work, shopping for groceries. Having something to balance out all that stuff helps keep me sane!

Another approach is that taken by the DIY Trunkshow Craftifesto. (I have edited the below to make it more general)
1. Craft is powerful. Anything you want - clothing, jewelry, art, music - you can probably get from a real live person. And buying handmade, one-of-a-kind goods from your neighbor kicks the ass of buying mass-produced, slave-made corporate stuff.

2. Craft is personal. To know that something was made by hand, by someone who cares that you like it, makes that object much more enjoyable. And it makes you feel less lonely when you realize that you know the name of the person who made the bar of soap you use, the earrings you wore when you met that special someone, or the scarf that kept you from freezing while you waited for the train.

3. Craft is political. We're not just trying to sell stuff. We're trying to change the world. We want everyone to rethink corporate culture and consumerism.

4. Craft is possible. Everybody can create something you don't have to be an established business to make stuff. We hold workshops to teach people how to make things. And we're creating friendships and connections between crafters. Being a small business owner doesn't mean you have to work in isolation.

Good points, I think.

I'd love to know what you think - please leave me a comment!

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Blog wackiness

Apologies for the wackiness going on with Inspire Create. Something has gone haywire with the template (I didn't touch it I swear!).

So, please be patient with the oversized font and weird placement of items - I'm working on it!!

Finally - photos from NZ

The view from the Tranzalpine train travelling from Christchurch to Greymouth

Fox Glacier
Fox Glacier. We did a half day hike up onto the glacier - beautiful

Lake Hawea
View of Lake Hawea, late afternoon

Dansey Pass

Hoare frost and fog at 11am driving back from Dansey Pass to Cromwell.
Uploaded to Flickr by Michelle.

More Jewellery

Some more sites showcasing beautiful jewellery - for your viewing pleasure!

Fingers Contemporary New Zealand Jewellery
Rena Tom
Jewels by Jessica
Smallthings (absolutely gorgeous - I want one of these pendants!)


Thursday, June 23, 2005

Enchanted Mind

The Enchanted Mind web site has lots of useful information. There are articles in the areas of the creative mind, inspiration, creativity techniques, creativity-enhancing puzzles, and the science behind creativity.

This quote sums up the approach of the site:
"What is the ultimate creative experience? Getting everything out of life that you want. Sound impossible? That's because most of us are getting what we 'expect' out of life, not what we want. You don't need a magic genie to grant your every wish. You are the creative genie. Creativity is not only about finding solutions to problems or thinking up different ways to do things. Creativity is a life style. Creative living is knowing that you consciously create your life each moment. Finding innovative solutions is the by-product of a creative mind."

I like to read articles like this regularly - it's a virtual kick up the butt to remind me that I'm in control. Often we slip back into our old habits of just going with the flow and we need to be reminded of our potential and given some tools to help us achieve it. I also like that this site combines the "new age-y" approach with the science of creativity.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Creative Education Foundation

The Creative Education Foundation looks very interesting. i just discovered the site, but haven't had time yet to have a good look around. Their mission is to help individuals, organizations and communities transform themselves as they confront real-world challenges. It looks quite interesting. Just wanted to share the link so I don't forget!


Ken Duncan is one of Australia's best known landscape photographers, and for very good reason. He takes the most beautiful panoramic photos. Take a stroll around the gallery and enjoy some of the best my wonderful country has to offer. I'm sitting in a cold office (the airconditioner is on the blink) looking out the window to a bleak, grey day - it's snowing only 30mins drive away. But I can look at these photos and appreciate the true beauty of nature, the sun, the beach....Helps keep the winter blues away!

Monday, June 20, 2005

Believe Street

Believe Street is a new site selling beautiful things - and we can't have too many beautiful things in our life! The reason I am linking to Believe Street is not so much because of what is on the site - it's more about the person behind it and how she went about setting it up. Maria wanted to establish a business selling items that "inspire people through beautiful cards, journals, jewelry, and gifts that carry a message ... to encourage people to dream, to imagine, to believe ... in themselves, in all that's good about life, in the possibilities that open up to us each day".

I love the sentiment behind the business, I'm also impressed with how Maria set goals for herself (register domain name by this date, open bank account by this date, go live with website....etc) and she achieved them. I find that very inspirational.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

I'm back! - Digital Gallery

I'm back from New Zealand! It was wonderful - my dear hubby N and I had a lovely time being tourists and visiting friends. Mind you, we were freezing our butts off!! The west coast of NZ is a very beautiful, rugged place but it is way colder than home. I will post some photos next week - N is still there for a few more days and he has the camera. I can't wait to go through the shots - I think we got some amazing shots at Fox Glacier and of the hoare frost in Central Otago. Anyway... I'll write more when I have the photos to go with it!

New York Public Library's Digital Gallery has over 300,000 publicly available images. The images are sorted into categories, including arts and literature, culture and society, nature and science, etc. This is an amazing resource if you are looking for inspiration, especially if you are researching an era or style.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Friday Dreaming

Well, it's Friday afternoon (yippee!) and I'm sitting at work, looking out the window at the most amazing, clear, sunny, cold winter's day. But I'm wishing for rain! It's so dry here and we need rain desperately, plus I love the idea of a wet weekend. The thought of stoking the fire, drinking lots of yummy tea and eating homemade chicken and vege soup, lounging around reading and watching movies is very appealing at the moment.

I say that - but I can guarantee you I'll be racing around doing housework, driving to town to run errands, buying groceries, doing paperwork, etc, etc. I seem to be constantly rushing lately - thats why I hope it will rain so I will at least relax for a few hours. Plus I have a busy week coming up, so I need to catch my breath.

I'm very excited - I'm going to New Zealand for 5 days! My dear hubby has been working over there for a month, and we are missing each other terribly, so I'm off for some quality time with my man and to be a tourist for a few days. My husband is from NZ, so we try and get over there about once a year, but I haven't been over for 2 years, so I can't wait. Plus, normally when we go we spend the whole time rushing between family and friends' houses trying to visit everyone. This time we have agreed that we are going to be tourists and take time to enjoy his beautiful country. I'll try and post some photos when I get back around 15th June.

Sorry - this post is a bit off topic isn't it! Just started typing and couldn't stop. My trip to NZ will be inspiring as we are going to be seeing some spectacular countryside, plus I hope to buy some paua shell and beads for my jewellery making. Reflecting on previous travels OS, I realise that it's when I'm out of my everyday life that I feel most in touch with my creativity. I think that's because I can't see the basket full of clothes that need washing, the bills that need paying, etc, and because I make the effort to see as many art galleries and beautiful places as I can. Has anyone found how to have that sense of wonder, while still living at home??!!

A Painting a Day

Duane Keiser's blog A Painting a Day has impressed me. What dedication! But what a great way to build your skill and creativity. When it comes to realising your creative potential, I think just doing it is the best place to start. Duane generally does small, postcard sized paintings, which wouldn't be daunting. I often walk into my office/studio wanting to create, only to think "well, I've only got half an hour, and all the things I want to do will take longer than that" so I don't even start. What a poor effort!!

I'm going to get all philosophical and say that the longest journey starts with just one small step, so if you are finding it hard to achieve all the things you want to, try stepping back, choose a little task and do it. You'll be so proud of yourself and it's amazing how motivating it will be!

Thursday, June 02, 2005

1000 Journals

Confession - 1000 journals has been going since 2000 and I only just discovered it! I feel a bit embarrassed and out of touch. It sounds like such a wonderful project - 1000 journals were sent out into the world to be added to and passed on. From the web site:

"The goal is to provide a method for interaction and shared creativity. If you ask a kindergarten class how many of them are artists, they'll all raise their hands. Ask the same question of 6th graders, and maybe one third will respond. Ask high school grads, and few will admit to it. What happens to us growing up? We begin to fear criticism, and tend to keep our creativity to ourselves. Many people keep journals, of writing or sketching, but not many share them with people. (when was the last time a friend invited you to read their diary?) You will not be judged here. And you will have company. This is for you. For everyone."

What a fantastic idea and sentiment. You can view scanned images from journals, track where they are in the world and get updates on the status of different journals. But the above statement also makes me feel a bit down - it's so sad that we lose the link to our inate creativity as we grow older. I could get up on my soapbox and say it's society's fault (the schools don't teach it they discourage it, artists are undervalued, we have to focus too much on earning a living rather than 'playing', etc, etc) but really we each just have to make a choice to not let go of those things that make us happy, even if we can only find the time to do it very occasionally.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005


Venus zine has articles on women in music, art, film, fashion, d.i.y. and culture. I've just discovered it and read a few articles - I like the broad range of well-written articles which include interviews with musicians, artists and fashion designers and reviews of CDs, films, and books.

Quite a nice little diversion....

Monday, May 30, 2005

Aleksandra Zawodzinska

Aleksandra Zawodzinska has a quirky Flash based site, which is in Polish and English. She is an artist and the site is her gallery, sorry to say but her art doesn't really appeal to me as it's quite childish, but the site is beautiful and is a joy to browse around.

Anyway, I thought it was time for some more eye candy!

Idea a Day

Idea a Day is an interesting site. People submit their ideas for inventions, changes, or just for laughs. There are some really clever ideas submitted, and some that are just so obvious you will wonder why you didn't think of it!

I like to use "Idea a Day" as a bit of a brain exerciser - think about the idea, analyse it...then follow the thought process. Being creative is like any other pursuit - it takes practice and training, so using something like this to stretch the braincells has got to help.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Tera's Workshop

Tera Leigh is an artist, author, presenter and generally "crafty person". Her Tera's Wish web site is aimed at helping people think creatively. I must say it all looks a bit "folksy" to me, but that is just my personal taste, I've never been into decoupage, or folk art or all that. I do appreciate the hard work and skill required to do it, but I just wouldn't put any in my house! Sorry to all those that love it, I know how popular it is, please don't hate me!! But what I do like like are some of her articles and the workshop area. I have only read a few articles, but I've already gleaned a number of handy hints, and ideas are starting to churn in my head.

I love reading web sites that get me thinking.....then I start to feel excited about the possibilities.......then I start planning what I'm going to do...... ah, excuse me will you - I have some work to do!!

Project Dream

Project Dream is a "global project created to inspire and motivate people to examine their passions, identify their dreams, and journey toward the realization of those dreams". It has interviews with people who are in the process of pursuing their dreams, or have already achieved it. They are also planning to write books aimed at adults and children and are planning to start educational programs in schools. I think the education program is a great idea - school is fantastic for learning about things, but not so great for learning how to live. Sometimes I feel that I am where I am (feeling a bit stuck and uninspired!) because I have followed a safer path, doing the things I was told I was good at at school. I look back and am so pleased that I did resist once - my teachers told me I should do Advanced Maths for the Higher School Certificate, but it clashed with Art. I always did really well at Maths, but it just didn't rock my boat. So I ignored them and did Art instead! And I have never regretted that decision - I have the fondest memories of my art class. Our teacher, Mr Holdsworth, was a wonderful inspiration - he took us on adventures outside the classroom for inspiration and pushed us to really understand other artists. The one thing that has really stuck with me was his favourite quote:

"A fragment of beauty is complete"

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Biggest Morning Tea

Today in Australia it is the Cancer Council's Biggest Morning Tea. It's an event that gets group of people together to raise money for cancer research. We have just finished our morning tea, we raised $155 which I think is pretty good for such a small group of people.

I'm writing about this today because I think we all need to be inspired to do everything we can when it comes to finding better cancer treatments, and hopefully cancer cures. No-one is immune from cancer, in fact today it couldn't be any more obvious to me. A week before Christmas my Mum had a cancerous lump removed from her breast, and I'm not ashamed to say that I have never been so frightened in my life. Mum is my best friend and the thought of losing her makes my heart stop. Only last week it was revealed that Kylie Minogue has breast cancer. And not 5 minutes ago my boss got off the phone - her daughter rang her to tell her that her English teacher had died earlier today from a brain tumour.

I think those of us not fighting cancer ourselves also need to be very thankful for that fact - and to do as much as we can to help those who are. So, if you are in Australia today - DONATE! $1 can make a difference.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Pants Press Sketchblog

The Pants Press Sketchblog is a community of comic artists sharing their sketches. Some of the text is a bit hard to follow - like joining in on the middle of a conversation when someone is telling an "in joke", but the sketches are great. You get the impression the artists just, you know, oh casually rough up these drawings (I'm too cool for school!) but they look fantastic. Oh to be able to draw like that!

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

5 Keys

5 Keys is an interesting article describing how the brain filters and stores information and a suggested meditation technique to access the stored information and release creativity.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Tidy Up

Lately I have been working on reducing the clutter in my life and getting things in order. So far I have cleaned out the garage (took 7 hours and 4 trips to the garbage dump but now it is clean and tidy!), sorted the pantry, culled my wardrobe (3 garbage bags full to St Vinnies!) and reorganised the bookcases. It is such a good feeling to get rid of the excess and clutter. Some days I wish I could just exist with what I can carry in a backback. It would be Ok for a while, but I'd miss all my books especially and I can't carry all of them around with me!

Yesterday though was the job I've been itching to do - organise the office/studio. For about the past year, everytime I feel like creating something, I walk into this room, look at the shambles it had become and just walked back out. Well, not anymore! I realised that if I want to have half a chance of ever working for myself and, more importantly in the meantime taking time out to create, I needed to have a workable space to do it in. So I cleaned, tidied, sorted, chucked out junk, labelled, archived. The office/studio is now a sparkling, open space just asking for me to get the creative juices flowing in. I will confess and say that still I have a box of stuff I couldn't find a home for - I think I'll buy a big plastic tub to put it in and store it in my clean, organised garage!

Going through all my crafty supplies also inspired lots of ideas - I'm not sure when I'm going to get time to make them, so I just wrote them down or did a sketch, so when I do have a free moment I can get straight to it.

Only problem is now it's Monday and I'm back at work and feeling a bit bummed as I can't be playing in the studio!

Friday, May 20, 2005

My Bookshelf

Yesterday I ordered a heap of books from Amazon and now I can't wait to get them! Patience isn't one of my strong points (as my husband regularly reminds me. If only he'd just hurry up it wouldn't be such an issue!)

I ordered:
- Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
- Claire Shaeffer's Fabric Sewing Guide
- Homemade Money: Starting Smart! How to Turn Your Talents, Experience, and Know-How into a Profitable Homebased Business That's Perfect for You!
- Creative Cash : How to Profit From Your Special Artistry, Creativity, Hand Skills, and Related Know-How
- Handmade for Profit! Hundreds of Secrets to Success in Selling Arts and Crafts
- Web Standards Solutions: The Markup and Style Handbook

Hmmm, it's an interesting selection isn't it! Some motivation to get me started, some technical advice for my sewing and web site development and then information on how to make a living from them. At the moment I'm doing a lot of research into how best to achieve my dream of working for myself. I want to be sure that when I do take the leap I'm well prepared.

If anyone has read any of these, or can suggest others in a similar vein I'd be very interested to hear from you. As I work my way through them I'll let you know what I think.


My apologies for it being so quiet around here - as I mentioned my sister got married on the weekend, so last week was hectic and this week I have been trying to recover! It was a beautiful wedding, exactly suited to my sister and her husband - relaxed, beautiful, fun and full of the people we love.

I wanted to share with you a site I visit regularly for a bit of "girl power" - Empowerment4Women. It is an webzine with articles in the areas of style, attitude, support, spirit and respect. I regularly come across articles that get me thinking and assessing issues, ideas. The authors describe it as being "dedicated to bringing 3rd wave feminism to women and men of all ages and backgrounds. We're not about the shock factor—we're about the realism factor." Don't worry - there isn't any bra burning going on, just concise articles on matters relevant to the lives of women today. You must also check out the karma section and enter the competitions. On my first visit to the site I entered - and won!! I couldn't believe it, I hardly ever win anything. I won the most amazing pair of 'kickass' shoes you can imagine. They aren't the style of shoe I would have ever bought - but everytime I wear them I feel great!

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

My name is Michelle and I'm a jewellery-aholic...

There, I've said it! Only thing is I don't want to be cured of my addiction. Instead I thought I'd share some of the amazing jewellery I've discovered on my web-wanderings. Disclaimer: any excessive salivating or maxing-out of credit cards that result from following these links is the responsibility of the reader - Inspire Create accepts no responsibility, but we do understand how hard it is to deny the temptation!

Lynda Holt
Bernadette Croft
Better Through Daisy
Chocolate Rain
Eni Oken

Hopefully they will keep you busy for a while, as things will be a bit quiet here for the next week. My little sister is getting married on Saturday, so I'm taking the rest of the week off to help her with the preparations. I'm so excited - I'm Chief Bridesmaid (sorry, but I refuse to be known as the "Matron of Honour"!!) so I will be having my hair cut and coloured, I'll be manicured, facialled and massaged and then I'll get "frocked up"!! I love getting dressed up - and what better excuse than a wedding - my favourite. Take care and I'll see you next week.

Australian Art

I like to visit Eva Breuer Art Dealer and dream about buying some of the amazing Australian art available. You can browse by artist or by exhibition. You can view works by well known artists such as John Olsen (who just won the Archibald Prize) and Brett Whiteley - and there are a lot of artists that I have to admit I have never heard of, but I will be remembering their names now having been exposed to them.

A beautiful virtual gallery....

Monday, May 09, 2005


I just came across the most poignant, beautiful site. PostSecret is a collection of peoples' secrets. You anonymously post in a handmade postcard revealing a secret, and the best ones are chosen to go on the site. Some are very sad, some funny, some are clever, beautiful works of art.

I am so impressed by this idea, and I just can't stop thinking about the people who have sent them in....

Friday, May 06, 2005

Beautiful Jewellery

The Australian Fashion Week in Sydney winds up today - I have been checking out all the shows online and I wanted to share one of them with you. Sarina Suriano makes beautiful ready to wear jewellery, but for Fashion Week she pulls out all the stops and presents amazing avant garde pieces. There aren't many of the pieces in this show you could wear, but who cares they are striking, clever works of art. Sarina had to lobby for quite a while to be included in Fashion Week, and now her shows are one of the highlights.

Anyway, I just love eyecatching jewellery and it doesn't come much more eyecatching than this!

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Dealing with the Fear

The article Fear Factor by Suzanne Mulvehill has some great tips for dealing with the fear you feel when thinking about or are actually starting your own business. It is targeted at "entrepreneurs" (a term which always makes me think of dotcoms and tough business) but I think it is extremely relevant to creative people. I think starting an artisitic, creative business is even more frightening than starting something like, I don't know, say a take away food shop - people always need to eat, but will they need my beautiful, one-of-a-kind, handmade widgets? Not only do creative business people have to deal with the issues of will anyone buy my widget, but also will anyone else be drawn to my vision, or understand the hours of work I had to put in to create it?

There are 31 tips in the article - all of them clear, brief and I believe very useful.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005


Lifestylepreneur is targeted at people who have started (or like me, want to start) their own business so that they can have the lifestyle they want. For me that means throwing out my @#@!?# alarm clock, being able to make my own decisions, being able to go for a walk at 3pm when I feel sleepy rather than just struggling through it because I'm expected to stay at my desk, to work at 11pm because that's when I feel inspired (and not at 8.30am when I would rather be sitting in the sun, drinking a cup of tea and reading the paper!) - you see where I'm headed...

Lifestylepreneur has lots of useful information including reviews of relevant books, tips and tricks, a blog and a newsletter you can subscribe to. Maria (the original Lifestylepreneur!) also runs coaching courses which look like great value and have received glowing reviews from previous participants. Maria is also planning for a leap into a creative venture (visit Believe Street) which I plan to watch with great interest. I love visiting the sites of people who have felt the fear and still made the leap - inspiring!!

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Australian INfront

Australian INfront is a collaborative project space and launch pad to Australia's best online designers, artists, companies and other design related web sites. It has regular news and event listings, projects, designer showcases and a forum. For designers, it is a great resource and for non-designers it provides access to some amazing eye candy. I always feel inspired after a visit - the great projects people are working on, the sense of community, the possibilities through the listing of job opportunities, the galleries of work. Have a stroll around this amazing space.....

Monday, May 02, 2005

Creativity Coach

Sorry things have been quiet round here for the past week - I wasn't well, then was snowed under when I got back to work. But I'm back now and keen to find inspiring information to share with you.

Eric Maisel is widely recognised as an expert in the field of releasing creativity and creativity coaching. There is some useful information on his site, plus information on purchasing his books. You can also sign up to a mailing list, but I find this is mainly a listing of his upcoming training, appearances, etc which isn't particularly useful to me as I'm on the other side of the world!

He also runs courses to train you to become a creativity coach. I think these courses look very interesting and even if you never used it to coach anyone else, I imagine it would be very useful for coaching yourself. You can also sign up to receive free coaching by becoming a guinea pig for the creativity coaches in training. This sounds like a really good deal - I keep planning to apply, but then I think about how much time I will need to spend on it each week - and I think better of it. I'm sure the first thing I would learn if I did do the course would be to stop procrastinating and to reorganise my time!!

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Archibald Prize

The Archibald Prize is Australia's premiere portraiture award. Follow the link to view all the finalists, view previous winners and get a history of the event. I have been to the Archibald twice in the past four years and am always amazed by the entries. They are striking, sometimes confronting, but always impressive. Please take a stroll around the virtual gallery - you'll be glad you did! And if you can - get yourself to Sydney for the exhibition (30 April to 3 July 2005).

Friday, April 22, 2005

Artist Entreprenuer

PA Artist Entreprenuer is a community based resource for artists. It does have some information specific to Pennsylvania, USA, but for the rest of us there are interviews with working artists, web resources, info on developing business and marketing plans, etc. There is some useful "artists in business" type information. It requires registration to access the information, but this is free, quick and your privacy is assured, so I think it's worth it.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Ask Einstein

This is an article on an Australian entrepreneur who has just released a set of cards designed to help people get their creative juices flowing. The cards sound interesting, and he has also listed his top 10 tips to expand your innovative thinking. They are simple ideas, but having just skimmed over them I already have some fun ideas starting to form.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005


Just found this cool toy - "byokal-Build Your Own Kaleidoscope" by Ze Frank. It's very clever - have a go!!

Five doorways into brilliance

This is an interesting article on getting the creative juices flowing. It is brief (really just 5 words), straight to the point and very approachable and understandable. It ain't rocket science, but it does pose some questions that we can ask ourselves that may just turn on that lightbulb!

Monday, April 18, 2005

Time Traveler

I just finished reading The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger - it really touched me. I thought it was a unique approach to a love story - beautiful, sweet and sorrowful. Niffenegger succeeded in making a fanciful story seem so believable and real. I laughed, I certainly cried and when I finished the book I felt sad - I didn't want it to end. It was one of those lovely books that comes to a natural conclusion, but you are still left wanting more - what happens to their daughter, how does Clare cope being alone, and on and on...

Friday, April 15, 2005

Creative Tool Kit

This site has some interesting information on creativity techniques and creative tools for problem solving. It is a commercial web site, but drill down from this link and they have some interesting "tools" for releasing creative ideas, some very good quotes and some puzzles to exercise the braincells. There are some great suggestions here that may help you overcome a block.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Share the sharing

3hive is a blog dedicated to sharing sites that have free music downloads available. It all looks legal as they link to the site of the artist or their record label, this isn't a peer-to-peer, file-sharing type site that will have the record industry heavies knocking on your door. But obviously, do your own research.

If you need to create some atmosphere for your creativity to flow, start here.

Monday, April 11, 2005


I just love books - it's almost a religious thing with me. I always treat them with care and respect, because I feel they can be the most beautiful things full of untapped information and adventure.

I believe they are a great place to start for inspiration, so I thought I'd share a few with you.

Barbara Sher writes straightforward, commonsense books about achieving your best. I have read "Live The Life You Love", and I have just started "Wishcraft", which you can download for free here. The books first help you to determine what it is you really want to do, deep down - not what you think you should do or what you have developed skills at, but what you are inately meant to do. Then you are guided through some steps to move towards your goal. They are achievable because she breaks it up into manageable bite-size tasks.

Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way is a classic when it comes to realising and releasing your creativity. It is a 12 week program with readings and tasks to complete. The core of the program are two habits Ms Cameron advocates - Morning Pages and the Artist Date. Morning pages are "stream-of-consciousness" writing that you start your day with to clear your head and deal with any negative thoughts stopping you from creating. The artist date is just about making time once a week to do something to inspire you - like visit an art gallery, go for a picnic, etc.

A helpful little book that I refer to regularly is the Color Index - when I'm feeling a bit stuck, or can't work out what colours will work well together I flick through this. It is very handy for graphic designers or web developers.

Another book that I am thinking about getting is Twyla Tharp's The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life. It has received very good reviews on Amazon. If you have read it, please leave some comments about what you thought of it - should I buy it or spend my money on something else!

Anyway, just a few that come to mind at the moment - I'll try to regularly include a review of a book I have read or heard about. Please feel free to suggest some via the comments.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Art Express

If you live in NSW, Australia you really must try and get to Art Express. It is the display of the highest scoring major art works submitted by students for their HSC (Higher School Certificate). I went in 2003 and it was one of the most amazing art exhibitions I have ever been to. You have to keep reminding yourself while viewing it that all the art was made by 17 and 18 year olds. I still get goosebumps when I think about the quality of the work and the messages many of them carried.

Please go if you can - you will always remember it and there is no better example of the power of youth.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005


10x10 is a project by Jonathan J. Harris that I am really impressed by. It captures the top 100 news images each hour and creates a single image from them. I think this is a brilliant idea - an electronic time capsule.

One Plus One Equals Three

One Plus One Equals Three is according to the contributors: "an Australian blog dedicated to the discussion of design—principally graphic/communication design and interactive design (from Australia whenever possible). 1=1=3 will reflect upon what it is that designers do and how it impacts on people, our culture(s) and our world. 1+1=3 is intended to be a catalyst for discussion about design and intends to make visible and to make public the thinking, the questions and the issues that confront designers everyday. In the words of Josef Albers, pioneering Bauhaus designer and educator: "In design, one plus one equals three sometimes". Design can deliver more than just problem solving (1+1=2) and is not merely an occupation for fashion-savvy stylists. It's at least both those things and very much more."

I find it an interesting resource on design with clear and insightful discussion. Worth a regular visit.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Louvre Museum Official Website

What could be more inspiring than the Louvre Museum? We are all blessed to have such a collection available for us to appreciate. I like to look at the site and reminisce... Just over 3 years ago I was at the Louvre - I was travelling through the UK and Europe with my Mum and we spent a day here. It was exactly as had I imagined - breathtaking. The scale and importance of the collection is priceless. But, if you can't get there, at least you can take a virtual tour via the web site and imagine you are sitting in the sculpture gallery surrounded by some of the most beautiful things you will ever see.....

Friday, April 01, 2005

I'm feeling a bit MoCo Loco

MoCo Loco is a "web magazine featuring modern contemporary design news and views", but I would just say it is a site full of very cool stuff. I'm always amazed to see the brilliance of some of the objects on this site, and impressed by where modern design is at. This site will make you look at household items very differently!


Hi, I'm back! Sorry things have been quiet around here, but I'm back on board now and I promise to try and post a link to a new inspiring web site everyday.

But first, I just have to share a photo from my trip, because well, it was inspiring! We were very fortunate to be able to spend 3 days at the absolutely amazing Kwandwe Private Game Reserve. On our very first drive we found a pride of lions finishing off a kudu (a large type of antelope). There were 7 in the pride - the lion, 2 lionesses and 4 cubs. The lion had had his fill and was sitting just away from the kudu on a small rise watching over his pride. The lionesses were cruising around watching their cubs and the cubs were trying to get the last few tasty morsels off the carcus - fighting just like kids for the best bits! We just sat quietly for ages and watched them all - we felt very blessed to be able to observe such majestic creatures.

Originally uploaded by Mich M.

Monday, February 28, 2005

The World, Her Playground

Adventure Girl is an Aussie living a very interesting life. I suppose it's the life of all flight attendants, but to read her adventures is very inspiring. I have always loved travel, and this site always gets my feet itching!

But I will be doing something about that itch next week, so expect things to be a bit quiet around here for most of March - I'm off to South Africa!! My husband has been working there for the past month, I've been missing him terribly and can't wait to see him. I also can't wait to see some big game especially lions, Cape Town, Stellenbosch, etc.

Monday, February 21, 2005


Utata has enough eye candy to give anyone diabetes. I have been a regular visitor to the site - home of Catherine Jamieson - for quite a while now. Catherine regularly changes the look, and her photos are just amazing. She has a talented eye for composition, colour and light. Catherine also has an interesting story - she has certainly faced some challenges in her life. All in all a very special place to visit.

Friday, February 18, 2005


One place I like to go to for inspiration is ebay (and ebay Australia). I browse through the categories of things that I make, especially looking at those sellers who do it as a business, not just those people flogging off some old stuff they don't want anymore. I like to see what other people are creating, how they promote their business and how they price their products.

I don't do this to plagarise, in fact I can't remember the last time I actually saw something I liked so much I'd consider bidding on it, I do it as research. I live in a remote area, so it can be difficult to get access to other people creating and selling in my areas of interest. ebay gives me access to a whole community of businesses and people that I don't otherwise have access to.

Anyway, just a suggestion for other people who may be feeling isolated but wanting to research their field. Maybe you are thinking - "I wonder if I could actually make a living selling my art/jewellery/dog collars/ironing board covers/whatever" - there are alot of people making a comfortable living just selling via ebay. Take a browse, monitor some auctions to see if they sell and for how much. How many bids did they get? How long was the item listed for, does it make a difference? Is it worth paying to be a featured item? See - there's a lot of info there if you look.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005


biggerKrissy is a web site of wild stuffed toys. Probably not to everyone's taste - but I just find that looking at them always makes me smile. I also really like Krissy's approach and outlook. Worth a visit if you are in need of some smile therapy.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005


Frecklewonder is living my dream life - working from home making jewellery and handbags, selling over the Internet, going to markets, working with her hubby...

Her style is very different to mine, but I really enjoy her positive nature and her operation looks very professional. Take a look at the site and have a read of her journal.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Camp Creative

If you are in Australia (or are planning to visit) Camp Creative looks very interesting. It is "a summer camp for families and individuals - a fun learning event where you mix with happy people of widely differing interests in a challenging and creative atmosphere. The accent is on exploration, imagination and innovation" - all sounds pretty good doesn't it!

Comments Please

I would love some feedback on the links and reviews available here. Do you agree with my reviews, would you like more or less info?

Do you have any favourite sites that you'd like to share?

Please leave me comments and be a part of improving Inspire Create.


Saturday, February 12, 2005

Eye Candy

Eendar is a very beautiful site. It is the portfolio site of Monica Calvo in Madrid, and everytime I visit it I'm inspired by the calm, simply prettiness of it.

A Superhero

Superhero Designs is the home of Andrea Scher - an artist and jewellery maker who always has a beautiful perspective on life. The site has gorgeous photos, and Andrea's artwork is very striking. Definately worth a regular visit.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

The Painter's Keys

The Painter's Keys is the site of Robert Genn - a full time artist. The site has some interesting slideshows on the process he goes through to develop an artwork and it has a great register of art quotes which may be helpful if you are looking for some pearls of wisdom. He also has a mailing list which looks like it shares Mr Genn's responses to letters he receives - all aimed at inspiring artists. I have just subscribed - I'll let you know what I think after I have read a few of the letters.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Get on the Nest

Nest is a web site to promote and inspire female designers. It has information on available jobs, seminars, exhibitions, portfolios, etc. It has links to some amazing web sites. Definately a good place to start if you are looking for some eye candy.

The Shoes

I'm in love with fashion, and would love to be working in the industry. I actually saw a job about 6 months ago that I'm kicking myself for not applying for (couldn't have at the time as it would have meant moving to Sydney - but I could now :( ). It was IT Manager for a fashion chain store - the ad even said all staff get discounts on clothes.... Ahh well, je ne regret rien...

Now, this blog is to be about all things creative and inspirational, not just about my specific areas of interest. But for a giggle wrapped up in fashion advice you have to check out Manolo's Shoe Blog.

Girls At Play

This is the website that started it for me - Another Girl At Play. Full of interviews with women living creative lives (and making a living from it), resources and links. One day, I hope I get invited to be on this site - then I would know I had really achieved what I set out to.

Unfortunately, the owner Alex Beauchamp, has moved onto new things and the site isn't getting the attention it used to - but it's still a fantastic spot to get that "YES - I CAN DO IT" feeling!!


Welcome to Inspire Create!

The purpose of this blog is as an outlet for my web-wanderings in the constant search for inspiration.

I'm a 32 year old IT Manager who desperately wants to quit her office job and make a living creating... I'm happiest making jewellery, handbags, web sites, food... But at the moment I'm not in a position to take that leap, so I'm furiously researching, studying and preparing for the moment when I can. In my never ending hunger to read about those people who are living out loud, I come across alot of wonderful web sites - which I plan to share via this blog.

So, if you know of any inspirational people, please let me know and I'll link to them from here.