It’s week five of the 5 Things to Help You Become Better, Creatively.
You’re in the right place if you’ve read the posts from the first four weeks. If you haven’t, here are the links:
5 Things to Help You Become Better, Creatively
Becoming Better, Creatively: Baking & Understanding It
Becoming Better, Creatively: Decorating Cakes & Cookies
Becoming Better, Creatively: Where Baking & Crafting Meet
Some of these have been short and sweet posts, but you don’t need long and drawn out to learn. Sometimes, “less is more” and there are times when “more is more”. We will cover two different areas in this post: inspiration and meanings of some terms mentioned in previous posts.
How to look for inspiration- When looking for inspiration, how do you do it? Do you open up Pinterest or Google and endlessly search? Do you have one thing in mind and search?
Sometimes this works, but sometimes it doesn’t. This is where the “less is more” and “more is more” thing comes in. Before you look for inspiration, think about your style and what looks best in your style. I don’t care what anyone says, not all styles can be applied to everything and turn out cute. Don’t let anyone tell you that lie. Most of all, don’t tell that lie to yourself. If you’re making a Winnie the Pooh-themed baby shower set for someone, but you like a vampire style, think about how well that will sit with your client—moving along. Other things to think about are your mood, what room you’re going to hang it in, who it is going to, and to what audience you are presenting the finished product. The more questions you ask yourself and answer, the more you can narrow it down.
Where to look for inspiration- Where do you search for inspiration? Is there a place or a specific set of places you go to? Do you use social media? Do you use what’s around you (outside, in your home, at the store)?
No matter where you look, just know what you’re looking for. If you got through the “how,” the “where” will be easier. If you’re a wide searcher no matter how much you narrow something down, then you’re a lot like me. If I want to learn how to make something but don’t have a recipe to refer to, I look for no fewer than ten recipes to compare the similarities.
A good example is when I learned to make red velvet cake. There were so many different recipes and so many different things about them. A result being, that the two things that stuck with me were that the cake was red and chocolate. I then made my chocolate taste as rich as I want while using the amount of red food coloring I wanted…but that’s the end of the story.
How to use inspiration- Do you go straight in on the first thing you find? Do you take something from each and make it something else? Do you duplicate it, or do you use it as a foundation?
Let inspiration be just that. Back to the red velvet example and before I started comparing recipes, I did make the mistake of using the first one I found. Before comparing all the recipes. I tried one of these red velvet cake recipes before going out on my own, and it was the worst cake I had ever eaten. I knew how to bake, and I made it twice, which eliminated my mistake. It was super sweet. And the icing on top of super sweet was a no go for me. It was also unappealingly red…and my favorite color is red. Red is one of those colors that’s supposed to make you hungry, but if misused, it doesn’t work. This is what led me to compare recipes and techniquing and tweaking.
This may sound like I’m knocking duplicating, but I’m not. Just make it work for you and ensure it’s right for you or whoever you’re giving it to. If I hadn’t made that mistake, which caused me to technique and tweak, I would’ve failed myself. Me sending a cake like that cake out my doors with a customer would’ve been a complete disaster. “What works for someone else may not work for you.” I don’t know who said that but it’s true.
- Technique With a Tweak or Techniquing & Tweaking- Taking what you’ve found and learned and making it into your own. You may do this a lot or a little, but if you’re doing it, it shows you have passion for your work and for leaving your mark. So we change it until it comes out the way we want it.
- BangQuality- Shopping + Techniquing & Tweaking = BangQuality. We shop for what we can afford in any part of our lives. Looking for the best bargain or the cheapest item isn’t always the best. I want everyone to remember when something is mass-made, it’s more likely to be defective than other items. It’s not that the one you paid more for can’t be defective, but the chance of it being defective is less likely. I’m not going to get all into the business stuff here, but its something you’ll notice when you buy the same type of item from two or more different stores over time. BUT when someone says you get what you pay for, it’s real. This applies to food and non-food items alike. Ask yourself, “Do I want to come back to this store, in the middle of what I’m doing, and buy the better brand since I went cheap the first go-round?” That’s time and money wasted.
- Example: I used to buy Great Value Marshmallows all the time. They melted with no problem. I’m not sure what changed years later, but the marshmallows refused to melt. I thought they were out of date or I had them too long. But no, I had just bought those two days and checked the dates before. I had to go back to the store in the middle of what I was doing to get some Jet-Puffed Marshmallows. I don’t know if it was that batch or the recipe was changed, but I no longer buy Great Value Marshmallows unless it’s for hot chocolate.
- Learning How to Buy It- If you want it, buy it. I’m not saying go against your budget. Just think about how many trips to the store you’re going to make or how many more times you’re going to need to order it. It’s not about quantity; it’s about quality unless its something where the quality doesn’t matter. I’m not saying go out and buy the most expensive artificial flower or powdered sugar off the shelf, but make sure you know how that item works, tastes, or how it stands up to what you’re using it for.
- Example: Heavy whipping cream is quite pricey, no matter which brand you buy. My husband and I were at a store where I don’t usually buy heavy whipping cream. We picked up the Shurfine brand and went about our business—first and last time. Thinking back on this upsets me so much that I don’t want to talk about it. It separated.
This isn’t inspiration versus duplication. Don’t go out here spending all your money. Weigh your options. They’re there; you have them, open yourself up to them. Know your situation and know your creation. Be practical and efficient. Don’t forget to have fun. There are ways to do all these things, but you have to make it work for you. Just ask yourself questions and give yourself answers.