The last few months have been slow in the shop – the normal summer lull. I’ve been unmotivated and quite honestly in a creative funk. Now that school is back in session I’m excited to get back into things and get pumped about the Christmas season ahead. Today I thought I’d share a few tips on how to kick a creative funk. Be sure to leave your own in the comments below.

encouragement-wall

have an encouragement wall in your studio/office

I just recently moved my sewing/computer desk under my encouragement wall, so that when I’m working on the blog, shop or Natural Living Real Life, I can look up and see the encouragement of my family, friends & customers from throughout the years. It’s such a joy to look up and see these handwritten notes and it encourages me to keep moving forward with what I’m doing. I’d suggest that everyone have an encouragement wall or at least a box to keep cards in to revisit on a regular basis.

think outside of your normal box

For the last 11+ years I’ve created things that I like personally for my jewelry shop. Lately I feel like that mindset has been stifling me, so I’m working now to branch out and create some styles that might not be my cup of tea but that could be someone else’s. It’s fun to think outside my normal jewelry box (pun intended) and helps stretch my creative muscles. I believe we all need that. We need to be stretched and challenged to come up with something new and different.

photo 1

collaborate with someone else

Collaborating is so important! Of course, you want to be sure that you know who the person is and how they work before you collaborate to protect yourself. However, collaborations can help you get out of that normal box that I spoke about earlier and can stretch you to do something new. It’s also a great way to cross-promote and energize your creativity. I did this the other day with a friend who has a fashion blog. She and I came up with a Belle of the Midwest collection that we’ll be launching next month. At first I was nervous because it’s not necessarily the style that I’ve been doing in my shop, but then I got really excited about what this collaboration can bring. Finally I became excited to create again!

have an inspiration wall or binder (or pinterest board)

We all need inspiration! Creative funks hit everyone. So start saving things that inspire you or that you like. Clip things out of magazines, even if they don’t have anything to do with what you create in your shop. Clip out favorite colors, textures, ideas, quotes – and then put them up on the wall or in a binder that you can look through when you’re in a rut. If you’re more the electronic type, keep a Pinterest board. If you don’t want other people to see it, make it a hidden board that is for your eyes only. We all do it, no shame.

How do you kick a creative funk?

Today I’m excited to share about a business that just opened earlier this year and is full of super cute clothing and accessories for women. It’s called Happy Chic Boutique and is owned by Christy.

shift-dressChristy sent me this super cute Colorful Sift Dress. One of the things that I love about this dress is that it’s lined, so I don’t have to worry about wearing a slip or being self conscious about it being see through. It’s comfortable and kinda funky with the loose sleeves. It’s perfect for the days we’ve been having this past week where the temps for July are lower than normal. So fun! Isn’t it so fun?

These are some of my other favorites from the shop. happy-chicso vibrant dress // over the rainbow maxi // multi chevron infinity scarf

One of my favorite things about Happy Chic Boutique are the prices – nearly every dress is under $30. Which is perfect because Happy Chic Boutique is giving one of you a $25 gift certificate for anything in the shop! You could get a dress, a couple accessories or a few tops. So many possibilities because the prices are so great! You can visit Happy Chic Boutique via the links below and be sure to enter through the rafflecopter app below as well.

shop // twitter // Facebook // instagram

a Rafflecopter giveaway

photo 3When Jess contacted me to do a review & giveaway, I have to be honest that I had never heard of Trades of Hope. Once she explained it to me, I was immediately on board. This sounds like such an amazing organization, leading women out of poverty around the world (which is so near to my heart). I love organizations that teach women a trade so that they can start their own businesses and sell their wares. Amazing. I truly believe this is the way to break the cycle of poverty. Teaching a woman to fish instead of just giving her fish.

Jess sent me this beautiful scarf from Trades of Hope. One of the things I love about it (besides the story behind it) is that it’s so light, but not too light. It’s perfect for this time of the year and I can see it easily transitioning to spring and even summer on those cool nights. The colors are beautiful and the texture of it really makes it unique. It’s a perfect length and the tassels at the end are a nice touch. Basically, I’m smitten with it and am so excited to have my own Trades of Hope piece to wear.

scarf2I wanted Jess to tell you more about Trades of Hope since I’m a TOH newbie, so here she is…

Hello!  My name is Jess and I am am a grateful wife, momma, friend, teacher, and learner.  I am passionate about my family, faith, serving others, and living my life in a way that Jesus may be glorified!  Since the adoption of our daughter from Colombia in 2012, I was excited to learn about a missional business that is committed to empowering women out of poverty. Finding it has recently made a difference in my life and, more importantly, in the lives of countless women whom I may never meet. I am grateful for every day we have with our daughter but I know if there could be fewer orphans in the world, than that would be a great thing. I believe Trades of Hope is doing just that. Trades of Hope partners with missions, co-ops, and organizations from all over the world to help desperate women {victims of abuse, addiction, illness and disease, trafficking, etc.} market and sell their beautiful handmade products through fair trade to make a better life for themselves, their families, and their communities.

Empower Definition I first noticed the beautiful jewelry, home décor, and handcrafts this company offered for purchase in the U.S through home/online parties, but as you read about where and how each piece is made you realize these products and this company are helping improve the lives of women all over the world through parties with a purpose. Since becoming a Compassion Entrepreneur in February 2013, I have gained the ability to share and help others realize the power of their purchases could support and meet the needs of these women artisans.

Many of these women are not in poverty because they lack abilities, but they lack opportunity. They do not want charity…they need an opportunity. Every purchase through Trades of Hope helps provide women and their families with clean water, medical care, schooling for their children, food, and a second chance at life! Women in Uganda can now send their children to school and pay for their HIV medical care by making bracelets; victims of acid attacks in Cambodia are learning the trade of crocheting and knitting while gaining dignity and healing; Haitian women are keeping their babes instead of giving them to an orphanage because they’re making beauty out of cereal boxes; girls in California are learning they are cherished and redeemed while making recycled glass necklaces once they are rescued from sex trafficking in our own country.

to live life one day for another quote

In September 2013, I had the privilege of meeting three of the artisan groups we work with in Haiti. I saw firsthand how they make beauty out of cereal boxes and clay, old oil drums, and burlap. These talented women are able to keep their babes in their homes because of the trades they are taught and it was a gift to learn from and spend time with them.

me and jacqueline in haiti

You are invited to take a look around my site, view the accessories, and read the artisan profiles. You are welcome to host a party with a purpose or purchase a fair trade product and make a difference for a positive change in the world — one accessory at a time. Or you can join me in changing this world by becoming a Compassion Entrepreneur.

For Smiles Like These Graphic

scarf AND I’d love the opportunity to GIFT you with a beautiful Nepali Aqua scarf that is providing freedom for girls from Kathmandu! Did you know that Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world with an unemployment rate of 42%? Many girls are lured into the sex trade to survive. Every year approximately 10,000 girls from ages 9 to 16 are sold, stolen, or forced into brothels. Parents are even afraid to send their daughters to school for fear they will be taken for the sex trade. The girls making these have been given an opportunity to earn a fair wage by making handcrafts which allows them to have hope and dignity. They are being trained to own their own businesses and take pride in their work. That is a pretty powerful scarf!

Follow the directions below to enter the giveaway:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

When I asked my husband to take pictures of me for a What I Wore Wednesday post, he said I should post pictures of what I wore last Wednesday. I figured you didn’t all care to see me in my snow boots, snow pants & jacket so I decided that since I finally got dressed in something other than comfy clothes (for being snowed in) that I’d document the day. It’s been a while since I linked up with Lindsey so here we go!

Y’all, I have a serious issue. I don’t know how to pose for outfit pictures. I’m not going to try to look like a model because I’m not but I do need some help. If you have any tips, leave me a comment! Here’s my Sunday church outfit.

wiww-sageoutfit: chambray top (JC Penney), dress (Target), leggings (UNIQLO), boots (Target)
(bought them all in-store so I don’t have direct links.
I’m a budget shopper so a few were even clearance)

photo 4 accessories: ring from NS Pottery, bracelet & necklace (chain & add-on charms)
from my shop and bag from Sage & Harper (exact bag limited stock left).

photo 5

 Linking up with Lindsey today!

I’m so excited to share some of my favorite handmade items around the web. These are made by people I’ve met or interacted with online and love dearly. The best part is – they don’t know that they’re being featured today! So give them some love and start your Christmas shopping early!

homefor the home:
1. Eva Marie Typography | shop
2. Lettered Life | shop
3. Pen & Paint | shop

bodyfor the body:
1. Hello Hue | shop
2. NS Pottery | shop
3. Amy Cornwell | shop

causefor a cause:
1. 31Bits | shop
2. Two Little Fish | shop

wearto wear:
1. Sew Chatty | shop
2. Sage & Harper | shop
3. So Loved Designs

The gift guide for amycornwell.com is coming soon! I’m hoping to make it really easy to shop for the perfect gift this Christmas season. In the meantime, need an ornament for your tree?