Saturday, January 1, 2011

Ten Best Objects to Inspire Creativity

Here’s my new year’s commitment: a weekly top ten list on my blog. Hardly an original concept, but good discipline and, hopefully, fun for you as you see the odd and sundry streams my consciousness explores during the course of seven days. Off we go!

Ten Best Objects to Inspire Creativity

Whether for you--to sidestep a deadline, lift you out of a funk, or stimulate your muse--or for your children--when cash is limited, you don’t want to make a trip to the store, or you want to stimulate their muse—here are ten things that offer hours’ worth of entertainment:

1. A box of crayons—best served with a side of paper. My favorite crayon memory: creating a puppet show of Cinderella. I made the characters out of a white shirt box and the theatre out of a brown cardboard box; I worked on that project for days, and enjoyed it for months afterwards.

2. Pipe cleaners—I haven’t seen anyone with a pipe in thirty years, but I presume pipe cleaners still exist—for crafters, if not for pipe-smokers! Great entertainment for road trips (for passengers, not drivers), shopping trips (the kids may not even notice how long it’s taking you to try on those clothes), and those challenging too-old-for-children’s-church-but-too-young-for-the-sermon years!
3. Duct tape—There’s pretty much nothing you can’t create from duct tape. My son has made DT cell phone holders, DT shoes, DT glasses cases, DT wallets…and did you know your teen could win a cash scholarship for creating duct tape prom outfits?

4. Old magazines—Give me a magazine and I can stay busy for days. Paper dolls, collages, “found” poems, writing prompts, paper jewelry, examples of great ads, term paper topics, etc. etc. etc. Needless to say, some titles offer more potential than others. I recently flipped through a copy of Us magazine; oh, my, what a waste of a tree!

5. Fabric remnants—If you like to sew or quilt, the possibilities here are obvious, but even if you don’t, I think scraps of material can set off a maelstrom of ideas. If you have remnants of different textures (like fleece, fur, or satin), that’s even more fun. One of my sons’ pediatricians had a fabric collage of a farm covering one wall of his waiting room, with quilted white batting for clouds, beige burlap for hay, red and white gingham for the barn, etc. Even after all these years, every time I remember that wonderful mural, it makes me want to start piecing together grass and cornstalks!

6. A can of spray paint—This option is probably not good for the under 10 set, but otherwise, a can of spray paint and an ugly, worn out, or cast aside object can make for a busy and productive afternoon. Who knows what “repurposing” possibilities you might have lurking under your sink or in your garden shed?

7. A wicker basket—Any size, any style. Give it a coat of spray paint (see #6!), weave in a length of ribbon or a few silk flowers, add a few cookies, and you have a terrific gift that’s filled with lots of love. Baskets also offer great possibilities as storage containers and wall decorations.

8. Shoeboxes -- Now I tend to fill them with toys and donate them to Operation Christmas Child, but as a child, I turned them into beds for my dolls, decorated them and used them to store “special treasures,” turned them into buildings and made shoebox “villages,” glued same-size ones together to make shelving units, and created custom-decorated homes for critters ranging from frogs to baby chicks.

9. Buttons—Well, you could hunt down the garments they came from and sew them back on, but if the buttons in your button box are like mine, they’ve probably been around so long you have no idea from whence they came. Use them to make jewelry instead, or mix them with construction paper and a few scraps of #5 to create adorable greeting cards. 4-year-olds and up can string them into “button people” with shoelaces or yarn, or arrange them into pictures and glue them onto paper or cardboard.

10. A legal pad—Ah, now this is the best tool of all to get those creative juices flowing! What’s on your mind: a grocery list? Things to do today? An overdue letter to your favorite aunt? A few lines about the chat you had with your son this morning? You’d be surprised how easily the words come when you give them a chance.
My snowman, by the way, which I built Christmas Day on the rail of our deck, was inspired by a tiny little box I found rolling around among some giftwrap. I thought it looked like it had great potential as a hat. When I found a little piece of gingham ribbon a few moments later, and a leftover marker from some long-disposed of game, I knew instantly they had a new purpose in life!


Susan said...

Yes, that is a VERY CREATIVE list!! Love it, Jayne!

Joan Ellen Gage said...

I love the tiny snowman! I must make some! Oh--I'm in Florida, again--sigh.

Jayne Jaudon Ferrer said...

I would bet, after raising four boys, you have some very creative objects on YOUR list, too, Susan!

Joan, come on up; we have plenty of snow to share! As soon as I can get down my driveway and into my office, I'll share my NEW snowman (well, snow LADY) picture. Sadly, she's beginning to melt and lose body parts...

Glenda Beall said...

Legal pads! yes, that is the best. What would I do without them.