Finding a little everyday inspiration.

Michele ScottShannon Dennis

By: Shannon Dennis– QCN
Date: 02/25/2010


For me, finding inspiration is more of a journey than a cut and dry formula. Are there specific steps I take when trying to restart my creative juices? Are there tried and true magazines that instantly get me in the creative mood? Am I an endless pit of ideas? Nope!

Each season of my life has provided me with a different source of inspiration. I started sewing punch cards when I was little. You remember them. They came in a little plastic picnic basket, with holes punched around the little plastic animals or shapes. Yarn shoelaces were the tools of the trade for this project! I remember my mom and grandma taking the time to show me how to do a running stitch (and later a slip stitch) around each of these designs. Again and again, they would guide my little fingers until I could do it “all by myself.” I would run to them with a huge smile, waving the perfectly sewn little figures. My inspiration was seeing my mom smile; making her proud and hearing, “that’s perfect” or “what a great job of stitching”. That is all I needed to keep going and try the next shape.

As I got older, my inspiration was to experiment and gain individuality. I wanted to figure out what I could achieve on my own. When I’d hit a stumbling block, I loved having to figure out a new way to get the same result I needed. Most of my teen years were spent sewing garments and costumes. Before Simplicity came out with their amazing Civil War costumes, I was crafting and drafting my own for our family to wear at our re-enactments. I was inspired by having the skill to make things all by myself that no one else had…and in a size that actually fit me!

Now in adulthood, I see my inspiration journey continue to morph. During my two years as a full-time sewing machine educator, inspiration came from all the wonderful tools I got exposed to and had at my fingertips. In the time I spent running the Make It You project, my inspiration came from seeing the latest trends. Now, designing on my own, I find a ton of inspiration all around me (however clichéd that may sound…it is the truth).

I love being creative in practical ways. I love making something I see from flipping through a magazine in the colors I choose on my own, and with a price tag I am willing to pay. I love going to watch my husband’s band shows, seeing a cool embroidery design or color combination, and trying it out on my next project. I’m inspired by the big life changes I go through with my friends and family. With all the weddings, first houses, and babies, there’s a lot to be inspired from.

Now as I step into the inspiring journey of being someone’s momma, I am so excited to see what is in store. Just daydreaming about the little one we are expecting has inspired some of the work I am most proud of. Linen curtains with printed panels, and wall art pieces for the nursery décor feel like one-of-a-kind works of art to me; even though they are don’t contain mind-blowing techniques or elaborate results.

There are some who can be inspired by a shade of blue, or the way a butterfly lands on a beautiful flower. There are others who have different ways of seeking out inspiration, often finding it in the more practical things in life. If you see yourself in the second category, know that you’re not alone (or any less artsy and creative) for putting your own twist on the everyday!

shannon dennis

Shannon Dennis is an avid quilter, educator, author and entrepreneur whose journey into sewing began when she was 7 years old. Shannon’s appeared on TV, written for Sew News and Cutting Edge magazines, and authored two books­- Make It You: Sew Hip (©2006 C&T Publishing) and Make It You: Your Space (©2007 C&T Publishing). Shannon’s website, The Nina Line™, has her latest projects, blog and sewing tips.

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