Updated August 13, 2023.
I think I should buy double-sided tape by the case; I use it so much. That’s because I keep notebooks. Most importantly, I keep what I call “inspiration notebooks.”
These notebooks consist of clipped-out pictures from magazines and books that I like. They might be there because I thought the color was pretty (a lovely carnelian crystal is there just for its color), or because I think it would be so easy to translate to needlepoint (many quilts are there because of this). But it goes even further. I have craft ideas, house ideas,even a few dresses.
Many teachers and books on art will encourage you to start keeping notebooks. But usually they suggest keeping them by topic, or making sketches. I have never been able to keep a single subject notebook for very long, even though many of the same themes appear repeatedly. And as for sketching, I started to needlepoint because I can’t draw.
I love the serendipity and ideas that come from these neatly pasted pages living in happy anarchy. Because that chance juxtaposition fuels my imagination and that, in turn, fuels my creativity. I never know what will catch my eye today.
I go to my notebooks when I need an idea or when my creative well runs dry. I put the notebook on my lap with a pad of PostIt flags nearby. When I see something that looks as if it might work or if it just looks interesting, I flag it. When I’m done, I feel refreshed, and I have more ideas than I could ever stitch.
So buy yourself a notebook, cut out pictures of what you like, get some double-sided tape, and start pasting without a plan. Maybe the quilt next to the oddly painted house will be just what you need to create your next needlepoint masterpiece.