Boost your Creativity with Inspiration Adventures

red pin wheel
Last weekend I took an Inspiration Adventure. What’s an Inspiration Adventure? I made that term up, but not the concept (although, I’m sure someone else has used the term, as well!). An Inspiration Adventure is where you depart from the usual inspiration models — scrapbooking magazines, blogs, and websites — and you actually go somewhere for new types of inspiration where you’ll use your body and your senses.

Mini Adventures

  • In your home town
  • Between 20 minutes to an hour in length
  • See old things with new eyes — because these adventures are local, and we tend not to appreciate the subtle and common beauties of our own towns, these require us to search deeper and observe more.
  • Can be done often and regularly

Major Adventures

  • Away from home
  • Might take a day or an entire weekend or more
  • See and experience new things

My adventure of last weekend was a Major Adventure. Izzy and I took a weekend visit to an artist town a few hours away called, Sedona. Sometime in the future I will share photos from my local mini-adventures. Here are some of the inspiration photos I brought home with me from the Sedona Major Adventure. . .
Rose in front of blue wall




Creative Stimulation & Idea Gathering

By walking around, you are stimulating your creative mind in a different — a very healthy and active — way. Take your camera with you, and possibly a notebook to write down your thoughts. You will bring home new inspiration and energy, which you can use immediately.

You will also have a supply of photos you can look to any time, now and in the future, as a resource of ideas for new color palates, textures, and interesting lines and shapes to translate into your projects.

Arch and wood

Flowers in front of blue wall

sophocles eyes

plafully industrial

roses with peaceful foot

Colors and texture

red and orange

Roses in front of blue wall

peaceful hand

So how do you embark on an Inspiration Adventure?

1) Get on your feet — or on your bike — and go explore an interesting area.

Are there no interesting areas in your town? Then explore a non-interesting area. I used to think I lived in an uninteresting town, but once I started looking at it through my camera, I realized I was wrong. Also, uninteresting things can be made fascinating through the lens.

Here are some areas to start with . . .

  • nature areas
  • independently owned shops, both inside and out
  • larger shopping areas, including those filled with chain stores, focusing on the landscaping, decorating, and architecture of the outdoor area
  • downtown area
  • museums
  • run down neighborhoods
  • art galleries
  • parks
  • zoos

2) Take Two Types of Photos

  1. inspiration images (colors, shapes, textures, material), like the pictures above
  2. inspiration projects (actual projects you want to make yourself)

I like to take the first type — inspiration images — with my good camera. They are a great way to practice seeing objects in different ways, and to practice composition, creating lines and the juxtaposition of different textures, shapes, and colors. These photos force you to look at the details.

For the second type — inspiration projects — I just use my phone’s camera and I don’t worry about composition or getting a good shot. I only capture these so I can remember the idea I had for a specific project. While the point of my adventures are to get inspiration, the point of this second type of photo is just to remember a specific idea.

3) Translate your Inspiration Images

Here are a few different approaches . . .

  • Analyze and learn. Digest the inspiration and let it mush around your brain with what is already inside. It will take its own form and translate indirectly in your future projects.
  • Practice translating the inspiration directly by experimenting with the colors, textures, and lines in an art journal or practice book.
  • Translate directly by conceiving and starting a specific project that incorporates some of the colors, textures, or lines.

the hard part . . .

The hardest part in all of this is to learn to see that there is inspiration where ever you are and where ever you live. The second hardest part is learning to give yourself the opportunity to actually do it. You can help yourself out by deciding right now where you could go this week — somewhere within 15 minutes of your own home. Commit yourself by sharing the destination of your upcoming Inspiration Adventure with us in the comments!

Weekly Roundup

Heads Up!

  • Paperclipping Live! – This live scrapbooking show is every Tuesday at 6:30pm PST. Are you free? We’ll be giving away one entrance to Lain Ehmann’s Layout A Day month-long challenge event, and we’ll have a professional organizer call in for part of the show!
  • The next Video Tutorial will go out to the Paperclipping Members next week! If you’d like to get your membership set up in time for it’s release, please visit the Membership Information Page. You’ll get immediate access to the archives of over 150 tutorials!

Before I sign off, I wanted to remind you to share with us where your Inspiration Adventure will be! And don’t forget this week to have fun paperclipping!

  • Sue

    My husband is our family photographer. I think he has been doing Inspiration Adventures for quite awhile, but now we have a name for it! I'd love to see how you scrap photos like this (if you do), because I have lots of them!

  • I'm not sure if I'll scrap these. Maybe if I ever make a book about our love

    for Sedona in general, but I will only do that after a few more trips, I

    think. I would probably pick a handful and put them together into a collage

    to give a feel for the city.

    I use these mainly for inspiration and personal art education, though, and

    they don't have the same importance for me to actually scrapbook them as

    other, more personal stories. Of course, that could change eventuall!

  • LOL! And I am SO in need of an “Inspiration Adventure” Noelle! Thank you for sharing yours with me this morning as I won't be seeing beyond the dry grass, golden hills and scrub oaks until tomorrow afternoon! :D

    Sedona is definitely a must-see whenever anyone is traveling through Arizona … love, love, LOVE it!

  • Steph H.

    Does that mean you two left those adorable kiddos behind? If so, yeah for you two! We couples need alone time! Loved the tips and the reminder to get out and shoot, something I love doing but have been remiss in doing lately.

  • Steph H.

    Does that mean you two left those adorable kiddos behind? If so, yeah for you two! We couples need alone time! Loved the tips and the reminder to get out and shoot, something I love doing but have been remiss in doing lately.

  • Painter40

    I think it is REALLY easy to be inspired in Sedona. What a gorgeous place!

  • S Van Sluytman

    Just a few weeks before this post I went with a group of friends to a city about an hour away to antique shop and for 2 of us to play with our cameras. We go camera playing a couple times a year to try new things, learn from each other and get to know our cameras better, but best of all to see the areas we visit a little more intimately. I'll definetly have to look at them now as Inspiration adventures also! One thing I do with the photos is make cards with them. Just a blank card and add the photos to the front. My favorite is a kraft or paperbag like card, they make a great background for the pictures. The photos you have above would be beautiful cards and then you could share the inspirations you found with others.

  • Yes, we did! It was a very nice little weekend. :)

  • So true!

  • Maybe I'll send that one of Sophocles's eyes to someone I want to wig out a

    little. Hee hee, just kidding. I love that idea! I'll have to take another

    look at those photos…

  • I was in desperate need of one too! It was perfect timing, as I was getting

    really antsy to go do and see something!

  • Irene

    Loved reading this week's Newsletter Noell. I am so inspired to grab that camera of mine and taking a long walk around this little township where I live. I have actually been going to do this for some time so thanks for the prompt. I have also learnt a new word “Juxtaposition” lol.

  • That's a pretty cool word, isn't it? :)

    Where will you be starting your adventure in your township?

  • Pingback: { free friday finds } for Sept. 17, 2010 | Simple Scrapper()

  • Your pictures make me want to grab my camera and go somewhere, but I must go to work instead. Maybe this weekend. Too bad it is going to be so hot again here in AZ.

    Thanks for the inspiration.

  • I know, it's crazy! I think it's supposed to go back down below 100 by the

    weekend, though.

  • Thecoffeedevotee

    Thank you, Noell, for this inspiration! That is an excellent thot. I recently went back to my hometown, to take pictures of all my old haunts when I was in elementary, jr. high, and high school, because I had not appreciated these things enough to take pictures before. There was an old East Side Store, a local “everything” store where we used to stop after school for popcycles after school, the theatre we used to go to on Saturdays, to watch movies, parks, etc. I am 63, a slow learner, for sure!!!! I should have done this years ago. But, thanks to my new, 3 yrs old, interest in scrapbooking, I began to realize how important it is to get these memories captured and put in a book. Lucky you, you are doing this while you are still young!!! smart girl! Thanks again for the tips. We all need to stop and smell the roses, and this is another reason for doing so! Blessings!

  • Irene at

    I mentioned and linked to your inspiration adventure in today's national scrapbook news article at :) Have a happy Friday!

  • Emeraldvalkyrie

    I try to challenge myself with a theme very so often. I often take a walk around our neighborhood with my son.This summer, I challenged myself to take photos of flowers everywhere we walked. I then made up an LO about all of the flowers we found. I alos did a page about bugs…which may seem weird. However, as I started looking, I found some amazing beetles and ladybugs. It also challenged me as a photographer to get in close to my subject. My current porjetc is local birds.

  • How neat the old shop and theater must look now! From your comment, it

    sounds like they're still there? Very cool!

  • Great idea to go with themes, especially if you're making a repeat “tour” of

    a spot.

  • LCSmithSAVED

    Going out of town to an antique show this weekend – planning to spend more time “snapping” than shopping.

  • Oooh, good for you! I have one on my calendar for November. That sounds like

    a great place for adventuring, doesn't it?

  • Irene

    I think I shall park the car in the main street (it takes about 3 minutes to walk the length of it – I did say ” little township” LOL) and keep my eyes open for the unusual as well as the Magpies, they are nesting at the moment and are swooping passerbyers. Might even capture a juxtapoition photo.

  • Candy

    I have always enjoyed Sedona too. Visited when we lived in Phoenix. A unique place. Did you know that Seattle has a giant troll under a bridge? Lots of unique stuff here too.

  • Candy — a troll statue? Very interesting . . .

    Some day I will visit Seattle! I have to get to Portland first, though. :)