Random Inspiration Jar

By December 31, 2010General


With the new year comes all the standard thoughts for wiping the slate clean and delving into better routines and striving to live your best life.  I have lots of ares in my life that I certainly wouldn’t mind polishing up a bit, one of which is my stamping and paper crafting habits.  I find that over time I tend to stay within my comfort zone, but at the same time I collect loads of inspiration from magazines, online sources and more, but don’t use it.  I thought I would share with you today a little something that I have created for myself to help me start new crafting habits in 2011.
To begin with, I decided to focus on what aspects of paper crafting appeal to me most, what makes me the happiest, what is the most fulfilling for me.  I realized that I was having the most fun when I tried something new successfully.  I guess in a way it makes me feel as though I have opened a whole new aspect of the craft to myself, something new to pull out of my “bag of tricks”.  Kind of like finding a great new recipe that you know will be a longtime family favorite. 
After coming to this conclusion, I decided to create myself a new system, a new way to challenge myself to try as many new things as possible in 2011.  I knew that it had to be a system that was easy to use, because if you are anything like me, when you sit down to stamp you feel so overwhelmed, you don’t even know where to begin.  I knew the system had to be fun and low-maintenence.  I know myself too well and when starting a new system, I always tend to be a little over-zealous and make things too complicated which in turn leads to me not keeping up with it.  So I ended up deciding that a Random Inspiration Jar was in order (kind of like Random Dancing, like so many of you may be familiar with if you have kids in the house that watch iCarly!).
Jar front

I started with an over-sized jar that I purchased at Hobby Lobby for just a few dollars.  It’s about 9-inches tall and 8-inches wide.  I decorated the front of it with a fun label, because it is always nice to have something sitting on your desk that you love looking at… you’ll be more likely to keep it out and use it that way!  
Label closeup

I started with a basic label that I designed on the computer, printed it on vellum cardstock and then added a few stamped images and embellishments to jazz it up.  I have made the label I designed available here as a free download if you would like to start with the same basic I did.  If you print it on vellum, then you are able to overlay it on top of  any patterns or colors that appeal to you and suit your tastes.
Next up was what was going to go INSIDE the pretty little jar!  I decided that I liked the idea of scrolls in my jar.  Little bundles of inspiration that would be a complete surprise when unrolled.  start filling the jar with random challenges that I have been wanting to try for years!  The beauty of a Random Inspiration Jar is that you release yourself from the pressure of having to decide what to do; you just pick something and go with it!  I decided to include a few of my favorite jumping points, but you could adapt your jar to what kinds of triggers appeal to you most.
I love…
-color inspiration photos
-new techniques
-handmade embellishment ideas
-gift packaging inspiration

To create my scrolls, I went through my “inspiration” file on my computer and printed out my favorite photos that I have collected over the years from blogs and other online sources.  I printed them on regular typing paper, trying to fit two or three per sheet, and didn’t worry about sizing too much.  I trimmed the photos out individually, rolled them into scrolls and tied them with a bit of twine.  I thought the hodgepodge of sizes and lengths would definitely keep the jar looking fun AND it make it easier to add more scrolls in the future.  Just print your inspiration from your computer or cut the images from the pages of a magazine.  Then roll into a scroll without any worries about size or scale!  
Jar side

Once you’ve started your Random Inspiration Jar, you can also throw unconventional things in… like tags from new clothing that inspire you,  tea bag packaging from restaurants or anything else that speaks to you!  Since beginning my jar, I have found myself much more prone to sit down for an hour here or an hour there and just stamp for fun.  Having the opportunity to begin any craft session with a randomly selected scroll is like opening a little gift of inspirational magic!  And really, in the end, this hobby is all about having fun and using our supplies to bring both ourselves (and the recipients) joy!  
Happy “random” stamping everyone! And happy New Year!


Nichole Heady

Author Nichole Heady

More posts by Nichole Heady

Join the discussion 15 Comments

  • 1
    Dorothy says:

    Thanks for this inspiration, Nichole! It’s just what I needed. I’ve bookmarked so many great inspirations during the past year since I’ve started this hobby but never seem to find things when I need an idea. I get overwhelmed to the point of paralysis. Although it may take me the year to even fill my jar, this project in itself sounds like much fun to me. Again, thanks!

  • 2
    Deirdre says:

    Great idea, adore your jar. TFS. Happy New Year to you and your family.

  • 3
    Mary Leeson says:

    What an awesome idea! I can relate. I freeze sometimes when in fact I have so many inspiration ideas in a binder that I just forget to OPEN up!!!

    Thanks for the idea and I LOVE those colors….teal, turquoise, aqua family…they are my HAPPY COLORS that I plan on using to decorate my new crafting area.

    Thanks so much. Love your work~

  • 4
    JeanFB says:

    What a great idea! I am definitely going to do this!

  • 5
    Jeanine says:

    This is a wonderful idea! I continue to get good ideas from so many blogs, but have a hard time deciding on what to do. I think I will have two separate jars, one with general ideas and one for my favorite time of the year, Christmas. This will make sure I don’t wait till the last minute to craft for Christmas. Now when I sit down to craft, I’ll just craft whatever I pull out of the jar!! Thank you and Happy New Year!

  • 6

    What a great idea!!!!! I really need to focus more. Thanks

  • 7
    Romaine says:

    What a fun way to get inspired and use all the ideas that we are all hoarding.

  • 8

    Your idea is so pretty! I have a spiral notebook with sketches I have made and let me tell you, they are NOT pretty! I cannot draw and it is so evident!
    Thanks for sharing your beautiful jar!

  • 9

    Beeeeeutiful! I love Papertrey Ink and all your wonderful inspriation! Thanks Nicole

  • 10
    Claudia Steindl says:

    Thanks, Nicole, for your great idea. I just printed the label (on lavendar paper, just because I never use purples) –it will “inspire” me to pick purple!!
    I’m choosing the jar that sits by my desk full of “snacks” — that takes care of another New Years’ goal.
    Loving my new craft! –and Papertrey!

  • 11
    Bonnie aka raduse says:

    Fantastic idea Nichole. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  • 12

    Great idea!! I think I want to do this. But I think I want to put my stamp sets in a jar and choose a stamp set out that I want to work with. I have so many that I have never used and I think this will be a great way for me to get to use all my different sets.

  • 13
    Diane M says:

    Thank you for a fabulous idea!! This would work so well for me. Thank you also for sharing the great template.

  • 14

    What a fun and exciting idea!! I so appreciate you and your inspiration!

  • 15
    June says:

    I love this idea. I have a paper notebook with inspiration ideas, technique and all sorts of stuff listed. I like the idea of “random” and just selecting one and going with it. And what a fun way to decorate a jar (I don’t even have to buy one – have plenty here).

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