Learn How You Find Inspiration // Meet Lauren and Maria – Handlettering Artists (and more!)

If I were going to create the hand lettering version of a fantasy football team, Maria and Lauren would be my quarterbacks. Seriously, I love following these two on Instagram and seeing what they create. Although they’re both hand letterers, they have such unique and amazing styles. They also both have great thoughts on creativity and finding inspiration. 

You can find Maria on Instagram at @mariaharmandesign and you can see her portfolio here.

You can find Lauren on Instagram at @blushriverdesign and you can purchase her Procreate brushes (and more) on her Etsy shop!

First up, Maria: I’m an aspiring Hand Letterer and graphic designer. It’s taken me years of creating to finally come to terms with the fact that I’m creative haha. Ever since I can remember, I’ve been doodling words and letters in the margins of papers, or even tracing them with my finger on table tops (which my friends have lovingly assured me is not quite normal haha). I did receive a BFA in Graphic Design from USU five years ago and that has given me almost like an official stamp of approval that I really am a creative person.

I honestly almost feel compelled to create at times. It’s such a personal vehicle for self expression that I think I kind of feed off. Plus, there are so many different type faces and styles of illustration that I feel like I’ll never run out of things to try.

Where do you find inspiration/how do you get out of a creative funk?

I like to look at the work of people I admire. Instagram and Pinterest have become such a source of inspiration to me, from color palettes to type styles, I constantly find myself saving other artist’s work to reference later that makes me excited to start creating again. Oh, also vintage labels and ads are so so dreamy and always get my little retro loving heart beating faster and ready to create.

I’ve been completely smitten by @bydylanm as a source of creative inspiration lately.

What is your favorite quote about creativity?

“Perfection will only hold you back.” – Stephen Kunz

What is your favorite creative activity that someone might not expect?
I adore makeup! It’s been a side hobby of mine for at least ten years and I love creating new eye looks that are bold, colorful, and still (mostly) appropriate for every day life.
Meet Lauren: I make and sell Procreate brushes and color palettes, SVGs, fonts and digital prints. I have always been aware that I am a creative individual, I believe we all are. I have further refined and developed my creativity by simply doing it often and not being afraid of “doing it wrong”. I try to make a conscious effort to squash any power fear is trying to get.
I deeply believe that we came from a Heavenly Father who is the ultimate creator. I believe a huge part of my purpose gets fulfilled when I create. My mental health is stable when I create, because it lets me express myself. It helps me to work out my emotions in a healthy way. It releases tension and stress and makes me feel like I am being productive.
Where do you find inspiration/how do you get out of a creative funk?
When I am in a creative funk for designing something new or unique – I simply just play and have fun. I let go of any expectations or negative feelings and I just do anything I feel passionate about at the time. I don’t allow any external influences to come in, and I only do intrinsic led activities. Comparison is a major flame dampener for me, so I just let what is inside of me come out. Then I make sure to put it out into the world, and decide before hand that I am happy with it. This helps me to kill any of the power fear might have in my creative block.
I follow a lot of people on Instagram, but I don’t look to any one person for inspiration. It’s a really big deal to me to be intrinsically motivated. So I try not to get ideas from any one person.
What is your favorite creative activity that someone might not expect?
I actually love cooking. I went to school for Professional Cooking in college. I also love crocheting/knitting/sewing were my passions before I started digital design and modern calligraphy. I still love them immeasurably, but with 3 kids that are 3 and under it’s just not feasible at the moment. I used to design quilts, and knit/crochet patterns. I designed my wedding quilt that I had quests sign instead of a book, which I still look at often, it happens to be on my bed right now. I designed an amigurumi bunny, designed a C2C Christ block for my crochet Christmas blanket. When my children are a little older, I’ll definitely be doing it again.

Give Yourself Permission to Make a Mess // Meet Jessica Daly

I’ve been inspired by Jessica since the day I discovered her Gingerbread Joy Project on Instagram. I fell in love with the creativity and skill behind these projects, followed her personal account, and learned to love her even more. She’s kind, inspiring, brave, talented, and creative in so many aspects of her life. I’d like to be Jessica Daly when I grow up. 😉 

You can find Jessica on Instagram at @jessica.n.daly.

I’m currently a stay at home Mom extraordinaire. Most of my projects are devoted to teaching my babies and giving them a magical childhood.

Creating is important to me because it’s how I express myself. I think the internal gratification (and external praise) feels good. The “look what I can accomplish!” feeling. 

I definitely would label myself as creative. My parents called me Jessica the Messica growing up and would motivate me by telling me I could create something in the kitchen for doing chores. It paid off for them when I became a professional chef. I think being creative is something everyone has, but it takes time and effort to cultivate and develop those talents.

When I’m in a creative funk, I turn on some music and give myself permission to make a mess. Whether that’s in the kitchen or sewing.

Creating Helps You Find the Best Version of Yourself // Meet Katie Lee

First, and most importantly, press play on Katie’s brand new single for the perfect soundtrack to this post/your Saturday.

Katie Lee is a singer/songwriter and photographer. One thing I love about following Katie on social media is the passion she portrays in all that she does. Her excitement and joy for her photography and her music shines through in everything she shares. Her confidence in her performances inspires me. Without further ado, here are some thoughts on creativity from her!

Everyone has creativity within them. It’s so healing for the soul so just try new things until something sticks and brings you joy. Creating is important to me because it’s an essential part of my life. I feel like the best version of myself when I’m creating a song. I love that it can be like therapy. I can spew out so many feelings and repackage them into something beautiful.

When I’m in a creative funk, I usually go to the mountains or listen to or watch people that are really good at the same things I am. It inspires me to see what people can accomplish. I love photography and have been really working on that lately but I also love art and I’m trying to carve out space to do more of that.

I was always a creative child. I loved art and music and luckily I had parents that wanted to foster that. They put me in voice lessons, piano lessons, choirs, art classes, etc. When I got older it became something I wanted to do of my own accord and actually wanted to put time into building.

Katie’s Favorite Instagram Inspirations:

Photography: @aubreebellephotography
Photographyy: @loriromneyphotography
Music: @kimberlyknightonmusic


Creativity is More than Art // Meet Camille from Friday We’re In Love

Camille from Friday We’re In Love is a business girl with an MBA and she is one of the most creative people I know. She applies her creativity to her weekly dates with her husband, parenting her two darling boys, running her business, and more! I’m excited to share some of her thoughts on creativity with you today.

Meet Camille Whiting from Friday We’re In Love: A family lifestyle blog sharing creative date ideas and intentional family fun.

Why is creating important to you?

It’s my outlet, it’s my job, and it’s a source of learning for me.

When you are in a creative funk, what do you do to reignite your creativity?

Travel, go for a run, go out on the town.

Would you label yourself as “creative”?

I haven’t always labeled myself as a creative, but I do now! Where I lack traditional art talent, I’ve learned that I create original ideas and concepts regularly. I’m a business girl with an MBA and I’ve learned creativity applies to the traditional left-brain practices as much as it does the right! I’ve had to solve big problems creatively. One of my finals was to invent a new accounting system for a country without a standard currency showing booking for U.S. tax purposed. Three hours later I was like– I just created a financial system and either aced or failed a class! I’m pleased to report it was the former.

How have you developed creativity?

I’ve learned to come up with new ways of doing things in so many aspects of jobs I’ve had and in my own business. I run a digital publication and it took me a long time to appreciate the original ideas and innovations in what I do! But aside from that, I love to learn and try new things. I love to cook, to photograph, and I really love to write. I’m always learning and trying new things in so many different formats that it’s made realize I am a creative after all!

Plus, I’ve made to small humans from scratch. Infertility is a piece of my story, so the fact that I’ve realized motherhood and two tough pregnancies only to see these perfect little humans reminds me every moment that I’ve been blessed to experienced the ultimate in creativity!

What is your favorite creative activity that someone might not expect?

I’ve always wanted to publish a children’s book. I have a few I’ve drafted and one day it’s something I’d love to achieve!

Who do you follow on Instagram for creative inspiration?

@jennykomeda and @angelarosehome for home ideas, @weekendcraft for crafty projects, @elisecreates for creative business ideas, and @simplyonpurpose for creative parenting solutions.


Follow Camille on Instagram at @fridaywereinlove or visit her blog at fridaywereinlove.com! You’ll love her creative date ideas for every couple and her newest launch– a free printable kit for a year of dates to give as a gift to your significant other. I’m biased, because I helped design it, but the creativity she has put into this gift idea over the years is amazing.

If you haven’t signed up for Let’s Create October yet, click here to join the daily challenges!

Creative Halloween Costumes for People Who Don’t Love Dressing Up

I love Halloween. I’m not interested in scary movies or anything haunted, but I love the creative side of Halloween — dressing up, make believe, tutus, sparkles, tiaras, you name it. Since I was a little girl, I’ve started planning my Halloween costume in March or April.

My husband, however, is not a dress up for Halloween kind of a guy. It’s just not his personality, and that’s okay! It has actually created a fun challenge for us every year we’ve “dressed up”. We find a costume theme that allows him to wear something he’s comfortable with and doesn’t really feel like a costume. T-shirts and scrubs based costumes are our BFFs.

Here are some fun ideas for simple, almost-not-a-costume Halloween Costume ideas for anyone who needs a last minute idea or a more mellow way to join in on the costume fun.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases when you use the links in this post. There is no additional cost for you to use these links. 

Shawn Spencer + a Pineapple

We both love Psych and really enjoyed rewatching the series together the first year we were married, so this costume pair was a natural fit. We ordered a Psych t-shirt for him, and pineapple leggings and a bright yellow dress for me. I made the headband with glitter cardstock from Hobby Lobby.

Doctor + Operation Game

I’m not really sure what inspired this costume, but it was definitely a fun one! We found some inexpensive scrubs for him and a hospital gown for me. I cut out the operation game shapes in red felt and sewed them on. (You could totally do iron on as well!) I also sewed a little square of velcro on top of each red shape. Then, I cut out a white game piece for each shape and sewed the other part of each velcro square onto those so my “game” was interactive. We live in Northern Utah where it often snows on Halloween, so I opted for fleece lined leggings under my hospital gown.

A Muggle + a Hufflepuff

It’s no secret that we’re big Harry Potter fans. It was, however, still a secret that I was pregnant the Halloween we chose these costumes. I wasn’t feeling great and we decided to go for extra simple costumes this year. We used my Cricut Explore Air 2 to create the “Muggle” letters for his shirt and I wore my Hufflepuff sweater from Harry Potter World. Funny sidenote: When I posted this picture on Instagram, we cropped out the wand because it was accidentally pointed at my stomach and we didn’t want this to be mistaken for a pregnancy announcement. 😉

I can’t wait to show you our family costume for this year! It’s going to be fun to include a toddler in our costume themes for a while until she has an opinion of her own.

If you take anything from this post, I hope you feel inspired that, with a little creativity, you can come up with costumes that don’t break the bank and don’t have to go all out.

Of course, if going all out is your style, I’m here for that too! And if you need inspiration for that, you should check out my friend Camille’s family/couple costume ideas. Here’s last year’s costume reveal and links to other great ideas.

Lettering Love: Inexpensive Materials for Beginners

When I was about 14, I remember doodling in a notebook during a choir practice. One of the tenors leaned over to me and said “Wow, you should design fonts.” I smiled, thanked him, and kept doodling whatever I was doodling.

Years later, I now know that what I was “doodling” is actually called lettering. Lettering is a form of art that basically means drawing letters instead of writing letters. I spent a lot more time doodling letters and words than I ever spent doodling people, places, or things. My chemistry notebook from my Junior Year of High School has some really pretty lettering of words like “barium” and “molecules”.

It wasn’t until I graduated from college that I started investing in more “advanced” markers, pens, and tools for lettering. One of my favorite things about lettering is the fact that there is SO much you can do with inexpensive tools. Grab a pencil or ballpoint pen and you can start right away. However, if you’re ready to experiment with new lettering tools, I’ve got a list of favorites for you to start with and most of them are under $15.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases when you use the links in this post. There is no additional cost for you to use these links. 

  • Tracing Paper – Good paper is always my first recommendation. Using printer paper can shred the tips of your markers, so it’s important to use smooth paper. Tracing paper is an inexpensive way to go!
  • Marker Paper – Marker paper is a step up from tracing paper. When I’m just practicing, I love to use one of these two types of papers.
  • Crayola SuperTips – These are the perfect place to start if you love the look of brush lettering. The tips of these markers offer great angles for downstrokes and upstrokes.
  • Tombow Fudenosukes – These come in both soft and hard tip. They’re a great place to start for brush lettering.
  • Tombow Dual Tips – These are my personal favorites. I love the larger brush tips and the variety of colors. The non-brush end is a nice round marker tip. It’s labeled as “fine” but it’s somewhere between a Sharpie and a fine point Sharpie. I think it’s the perfect size.
  • Micron Pens – I love having a set of these in a variety of sizes. These are fun for a variety of lettering styles and for embellishments and floral frames around your letters.
  • A Round Brush and a basic watercolor set – I learned that it was easier to manipulate the style of my brush lettering with an actual brush. Once I found my groove with a brush and watercolors (you can practice with these on watercolor paper or printer paper), I was better at using the brush tip markers.

One of the best things you can do is to just become familiar with how the markers and pens work and what kind of strokes you like. Seriously – just have fun. Once you’re more familiar with the tools, then it’s time to start with tutorials and finding your style.

I’m working on a whole series of Lettering Love posts. Comment below and let me know what you’d like to learn next!

Closet Creativity

This post is brought to you by My Sister’s Closet Boutique. Dress styling and opinions are my own.

I am in love with the color of this dress. The color + the bottom ruffle remind me of Maria’s blue dress in the Sound of Music. And I seriously love the Sound of Music.

Since I am nearly six feet tall, I often run into length challenges with pants, shorts, and dresses. When I first tried on this dress, I was sad that it didn’t quite come to my knees like I hoped it would. I know slip extenders have been around for a while, so maybe adding one of those doesn’t feel super creative to you, but I had to keep in mind that it changes the feel of the outfit. I didn’t want the lace combined with the buttery soft material of this dress to make it look like I was wearing a nightgown. So, I made sure to add dressier sandals instead of casual flip flops or ballet flats (you know, staying away from the slipper look. 😉 ).

Sometimes, a simple creative approach is all it takes.

As easy as it is for me to feel discouraged when I’m dress or pants shopping, it’s even easier to feel discouraged when I’m working on a creative project.

When a project isn’t matching my vision or the right idea just isn’t coming, it’s hard to feel creative. And it’s difficult to create something when you’re not feeling it. But since creativity is the nature of most everything I do, I’ve had to learn how to get the creative juices flowing even when I’m not really feeling it.

One of my best pieces of advice is just to start.

I’m not one to say that you should “never give up”. There are times when it’s time to move forward or move on. But I am a big advocate for not giving up too soon. I’ve loved handlettering for nearly 20 years now, but I didn’t start experimenting with brush lettering until much later. I was so excited to get my Tombow brush pens in the mail and get started creating Pinterest-worthy works of art. I was certain it was all in the markers. And I was wrong. It takes time and practice to learn new techniques and tools and I should have known that brush pens would be no different. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I felt like throwing the markers away a few times. But I kept trying. I did more research and learned about better paper to use with my markers. I tried brush lettering with watercolors and an actual brush and learned that the strokes felt easier for me that way. Once I mastered the strokes in that method, it was easier to use the brush pens.

Start and be patient with yourself as you learn. There is something to be said for a need to create. Like needing a simple, creative solution for this dress, approaching your creative challenges with a sense that there is a creative solution to be found can help you to just start and ultimately to create something amazing.

If you’re in Utah and you’re a Julie Andrews mega-fan like I am, or if you just love this dress, I’ve got great news for you! My Sister’s Closet will be part of Draper Days and Spanish Fork Fiesta Days this weekend (July 19th & 20th). This dress will be available for an awesome discount of only $20 at these events and it comes in black and rose as well! This dress is available in sizes S – 3X and they’ll have other cute items available for great prices.

Event Details:

Draper Days – Draper City Park -12500 S. 1300 E

Spanish Fork Fiesta Days – My Sister’s Closet Sidewalk Sale – 3650 East Powerhouse Road, Suite A

Prime Day Deals for Lettering Lovers

Whether you’ve been interested in handlettering for a while, or you’re just starting out, today is a great day to stock up on some supplies! And if you don’t already have Amazon Prime, you can try Prime for free for 30 days! And if you don’t love it, just set a calendar notification to remind you to cancel it before your full subscription starts.

As As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases when you use the links in this post. There is no additional cost for you to use these links. 

If digital lettering is your jam, I highly recommend investing in an iPad Pro + Apple Pencil. You can also use an Apple Pencil to letter on the newer iPads, but the screen is a little bit different and the way the pencil communicates is a different experience. The iPad pro + pencil combo feels a bit closer to a paper-like drawing experience and I’ve found I prefer that.

Here are some of today’s iPad pro deals:

If you’re more interested in learning lettering on paper, there are a couple of good deals on markers as well. (Note: I highly recommend buying marker paper or tracing paper to use if you get brush markers. They are better for the tips. More on that in an upcoming blog post. 🙂 ) Here are some great marker deals:

And, last, but definitely not least, are two awesome Cricut deals. I have been having a lot of fun taking my lettering and turning it into wall decals and other fun Cricut projects. This Harry Potter reference on my daughter’s wall is probably my top favorite lettering + Cricut project I’ve done. It’s so meaningful to have my own lettering on her wall.

Here are the Prime Day Cricut Deals:

Let me know if you take advantage of any of these deals! Happy shopping!

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

A picture is worth a thousand words, yet somehow, without words, nobody could ever understand exactly what this picture means to me. 
[90] Most of the nails are not all the way in the board, but that rusty nail is the one that towers over them all. Welcome to my life as the tall girl with acne. When I took this picture, however, I focused on the rusty nail because it was beautiful. It stood out. It has tone and color and texture. It tells a story. And in its weathered, beaten state it still retains its metal core and holds strong. Perhaps, sometimes, we’re meant to be a little weathered and beaten. 
[81] Look at that focus, the clarity, the perspective, the lighting, the composition. Think of the training behind this picture: which lens to use, which f stop to choose, which angle to shoot from, where to focus, how to focus. Some of it is left to chance opportunity. How did I spot that nail? How did I happen to find it during such ideal lighting? I’ll let you run with the billions of life analogies that can come from photography on your own.
[84] The place where this photo was taken, Wheeler Farm, holds so much of my childhood. We often passed it on the way to my grandparent’s house, we’ve had family reunions there, I went on field trips there, and one time during an Easter egg hunt I got “lost” in the woods with my cousin, Ashley, and we found a mysterious plastic egg filled with a creamy white substance. (Let’s just say that shaving cream is less appetizing when you think you’re getting marshmallow cream.)
[150] The day this picture was taken was an incredibly happy day. It was a warm Sunday afternoon. Nothing but sunshine, the cute boy I was dating, a camera, and endless photo opportunities. For a while after that boy and I broke up, I couldn’t look at this picture. No matter how proud I was of the quality and beauty of the picture, it reminded me of a happy time that I wasn’t having anymore, because I attached that happy time to that boy. He was, of course, a big reason for that happiness. But, my happiness didn’t end because the relationship did. There is beauty in happy memories, in fresh starts, even in being single. With time and learning, this picture has come to represent hope. A wonderful boy loved me once and it wasn’t right. Someday, a wonderful boy will love me again. And someday it will be right. 
405 words.
Not even half of a thousand and not even half of what the picture means to me. 
Or what it means to you.
Maybe it speaks to you differently.
Maybe it doesn’t speak to you at all.
Isn’t it beautiful to know that somehow, even though we all have separate brains, life stories, experiences, and emotions; through images and words we can share and experience life through others?