For the love of paper

Bella Grace magazine |
The very first time my name was mentioned in a newspaper was 1988. I was 15 and had won first place in a local painting competition. Seeing my name — and photo! — in the local paper was thrilling, and also a little embarrassing. But mostly thrilling.

The next time my name appeared was as a byline attached to an article in a national Sunday newspaper. I was 26-year-old mature student in the final year of a journalism degree, working as an intern for no money but a lot of experience. That first piece spun out into a regular weekly column and heralded the beginning of my short-lived but much appreciated career as a journalist.

Between then and now there have been many published articles in newspapers, magazines and websites. The loveliest thing is seeing my name in print never gets old — it’s always as thrilling as it was that first time. Obviously these days I mostly write here and I truly love the freedom to share whatever’s in my head or heart — I am the ruler of my own virtual queendom here and I like it! But there’s also a beautiful new magazine on the block and I’m thrilled — there’s that word again — to be a part of it.

Bella Grace is Stampington’s newest baby, a gorgeously tactile cross between a magazine and a journal. Imagine your favourites bits of the creative blogosphere mixed together with dreamy photography and inspiring words. As the internet takes over the world I’m glad there are still publishers creating magazines I can hold in my hand. I love my Kindle but I prefer paper books, and I adore Pinterest but I’d still rather collage images cut out of magazines. Bella Grace is now sitting in my pile of favourites, alongside Cereal, Kinfolk, Frankie and Flow. She’s a beauty :)


To celebrate the magazine’s launch I have a copy of the premiere issue to giveaway PLUS I’m adding THREE places in the September session of Journal Your Life which starts on Monday. So that’s 4 winners in total!

To throw your name in the hat, leave a comment on this post with the answer to this question: what’s your favourite way to get creatively inspired?

I’ll update this post with the winners’ names on Sunday and will be in touch by email to get your deets — good luck! xo

* And the winners are! Heather, Michelle, Francine and Danielle — emails coming shortly x

245 responses
  1. Becky

    Best inspiration for me is to go for walks with my camera in hand. Seeing the world through the confines of a lens helps me to appreciate the details and beauty of what is right in front of me. Would love to work with you in *Journal Your Life*. Thanks for the opportunity to win a spot!

  2. Penny

    I daydream, doodle, check through the pages of my creativity journal, but mostly, I play. I play until inspiration tells me this is the right direction to turn and I always follow that path. It feels to me, that its all about staying open to the flow, and not trying too hard.

  3. teri

    My favorite way to get inspired is to look through magazines like Sommerset. Seeing what other artists are doing makes me want to try it too.

  4. Amy

    My favourite way to get creatively inspired is to go somewhere new. Whether it be on foot or on public transport, I love to travel and not know the route or how exactly I’ll get to a new destination. The chance to people watch, to see new things and experience life without control or a plan. The world is such a fascinating place when I step outside of my comfort zone.

  5. Ellen

    I love magazine pictures too, I have scrapbooks full, but I love photography,
    Printing with found objects, dyeing fabric and
    yarn. Thanks for the opportunity.

  6. Michele

    Nature – I think it’s always nature. Being out in the ‘wild’ changes my perspective and reminds me of how I want to be. And I take some of the energy of outdoors back home with me… thanks for this opportunity :)

  7. Alexis

    My favorite source of creative inspiration is to read and write. Great contest Sus!

  8. Michele

    (Many apologies – I posted with the wrong email address in the above comment *blushes* Correct email address is connected to this comment. But it’s still nature that inspires ;)

  9. Cherie

    My favourite way into creativity is usually sparked by lighting incense & putting some music on.

  10. Nicola dent

    I like to go for a walk in the country or by the sea and dream. I also love reading blogs and magazines. I love Stampington. I wish they were easier to get hold of in the UK.

  11. sherry butcher

    I use print magazines as much as possible after that I use Pinterest. TFS.

  12. RACHEL

    I like to go to a shopping mall or art gallery, anywhere there are people really & just sit & watch & ponder the human condition. Sometimes I’ll let my mind wander & imagine what the mannequins get upto when the lights go out or maybe that security guard is a time traveller on a secret mission from the future etc etc. If any of that can be fuelled with cake or fine wine then an inspiration party can happen where any idea is welcome!

  13. Karen Mary

    My favorite way to get inspired is by leafing through my favorite magazines. I’m eager to add bella Grace to the collection!

  14. misty

    When I feel drained and uninspired I know I need a break from my routine, so I do something totally different. Just last week I took myself to the movie The 100 Foot Journey. (It was so good BTW.) Little artist dates like that bring new ideas to mind and get me back into a creative groove.

  15. Mindy

    my favorite way to get creatively inspired is to curl up on my front porch, with a hot cup of coffee and my mason jar full of colorful markers, notebook in hand, and begin my gratitude list :) once i start writing out all that i’m grateful for, my creative kicks into high gear and the writing pours out of me. fueled by my cup of coffee and the beautiful mountain range in my front yard.

  16. Katherine

    I find inspiration in lots of ways, depending on my mood and circumstance. Mostly, I love to sit on my bed in the lamplight, candles lit, my journal, life planner and ‘mood board’ notebook spread around me, brainstorming my future. Other times, I love to wander the streets and parks of London alone, ipod on, camera in hand. And I love the calm and inspiration that walking through the countryside or by the sea brings – the quiet energy that comes from being closer to nature and to the seasons. I do find it’s possible, though, to find inspiration anywhere – in the midst of rush hour on my packed commuter train I flick through images on Pinterest and am immediately transported to somewhere I want to be.

  17. Beverly

    Going to a museum is my fave way to get creatively inspired. Whether I’m taking in paintings or artifacts, I find myself making associations, asking questions, and playing “what if”…all sure to set my mind on a new journey!

  18. Wendy watson

    I love to view blogs, scan Pinterest, and take e-courses to get inspired.

  19. loriSW

    I like to check the blogs I follow and view Pinterest to find inspiration, for creating.

  20. Donna Mohney

    Photographing nature~

  21. Cyndi s

    Thanks for the chance. I am inspired by learning something new- be it online class, magazine, book, trial and error. Play is always inspiring- whatever form it takes- games with my kids, sports, pets, any type of play. Crossing my fingers- would love to be in your class…

  22. Anne

    Barely awake, steaming coffee cup in hand, I plop onto the dew-damp deck chair, letting the early morning breeze fill my lungs with the smell of wild clover hay field next door. Ethel’s silky tail tickles my ankles and makes me laugh at the sheer deliciousness of cats and coffee on a summer morning. This morning is new, lighter, darker, warmer, cooler. Birds and bugs announce themselves as Ethel and I stretch for the day ahead. The sun rises, washing fresh colors over the Kansas wheat field across the road, awakening new possibilities. Colors that seemed so yesterday suddenly feel ripe and luscious when that perfect shade of green gold wheat flits across the distant horizon. I’m awake, rejuvenated, ready to discover the day’s promise.

  23. Kimberly

    My little garden is where I find inspiration…its where I can just relax, close my eyes and listen to the world around me…this is when ideas start to flow, words beg to be written down and colours connect….

  24. Stacey @ The Anonymous Blonde

    Hmm…let’s see….there’s always taking a nice long bath by candlelight, walking on the beach, art journaling while listening to french pop music in the background, traveling somewhere I’ve never been…..

  25. Ellen Bard

    My favourite way to get inspired?

    Read read read.

    Everything, anything.

    How have people shaped a world with words? How do they put me in another person’s head? What new perspectives can I get on the world?

    I prefer fiction for the range of views it provides me with, but I usually have a non-fiction on the go too.

    I am addicted to language…

  26. charlotte

    I get creatively inspired by other peoples sharing of their hearts…the flickering light of a candle…music…and a wide open sky.

  27. Mary

    To get creative I like to look at inspiring photos and quotes and to let my brain winder

  28. J.B.

    Ohhh, let me see – I love to watch the birds at our birdbath and birdfeeder – and to hear them – and to smile at them. I take a hot cup of tea outside, wear my hat, and relax quietly in the sunshine, watching my little friends. That is my inspiration and joy.
    Thank you for offering such wonderful gifts….

  29. Mb

    Unable to be out in the high temps of summer has lead me to a new avenue to inspiration- The Gelli Plate, squeezing out bright colors on to the slick surface, using brayers ( my rolly pollies) random stencils. Texture making any things Then choosing a paper to print on, current obsession DELI PAPER, WHICH AS IT TURNS OUT is a different texture and quality across the globe, as well as. Store to store
    Rolly pollie it down, then the magic of slowly revealing what has resulted!
    This repeated process ,allowing complete random outcomes, stimulates my creativity while relaxing me
    It’s rather hard to put into words, but I recommend it to everyone of every age!

  30. Amy patterson black

    I like to walk in the woods and listen to the sounds of nature, see the vibrancy of her colors, the change of the seasons, the scampering and flittering of her creatures. I get ideas for color combinations from wildflowers and fall leaves, sunsets and sunrises. If I am unable to get outside, I will often page through illustrated children’s books. The whimsical images and fun colors seem to trigger ideas and put me in a better mood, too. I especially love the works of Jan Brett and Graeme Base. I look forward to reading Bella Grace and would dearly LOVE attend one of your workshops! Thank you for the chance. :)

  31. LiNdi

    To get creative, I read your blog. I love it. Thank you for sharing so much.

  32. barbara

    I find my creativity making photos, reading an interesting book, staying in nature, I love water,the sea, the sky and flowers. I love reading blog ,above all, story of the lire. I find ideas seeing the world around me.

  33. Michelle

    Is it too light to enter? I hope not. My favourite way to be creatively inspired is to just go out and live life. Explore somewhere new (even if that is in my own town), spend time on a train or a bus to somewhere, see things ‘freshly’ with new eyes. And spending time with creative friends. That always leads to a bubbling of ideas.

  34. Phoebe Reid

    Good morning! My favorite way to get inspired is to travel. Something about being in new surroundings and having my senses stimulated at every turn with the sights, sounds and smells of a different place really makes me want to absorb it all and then create something out of it.
    And if I can’t travel then I love to browse pinterest and my favorite blogs for some creative inspiration.

  35. Sarah Brockington

    I have so many ways of finding creativity. A picture, a beautiful song, quotes, my children, God, a wonderful story, a place, a person. It could be anything. You just have to see it!

  36. Tracey

    Inspired by walking through gardens to look at colours/formation/petals and the overall joy of flowers, sipping coffee, listening to music and sitting down with my art supplies. Thank you for sharing your copies and for the chance to win (I have not been able to find this magazine in my local area)

  37. Claire

    I get inspired looking at other peoples art working and having a look at pinterest. Also just having a doodle helps.

  38. Anab

    sit in front of my paints and blank canvas and start playing. thinking nothing but just feeling the colors that speaks to me and start with that :)

  39. Delicia

    I am creatively inspired by being outdoors in nature, whether I go for a walk, I’m travelling, taking photographs or simply being, nature inspires me deeply each and every day.

  40. Charlotte Goodluck

    creativity? go out side and look to nature and you will see mother earth’s daily gift to us regarding creativity and beauty…everywhere you look you will see ideas for creativity, from flowers, earth, sand, leaves, trees, animals, sky, clouds, etc. You can use it as a canvas of ideas, dreams, and hopes for your inner creative juices. Have fun.

  41. Jet Harrington

    When I am struggling with words, I turn to images, making photographs. When I am having trouble with photos, I turn to my journal. When neither work, I start a collage mess, with words, photos, sparkle, sequins, washi, and whatever else, layering it until I feel open again.

    Or you know, just go the water and SIT. Always, always, always works to calm the beasties and open myself up to my own flow.

  42. Kathy

    Discovering new artists and new websites is always an inspiration but also love quiet time for contemplation – taking a hike or walking on the beach.

  43. Susan

    The sun on my back. Listening to the stillness of the night. Memories of times with those I love. Fur people.

  44. Gill

    Walking round my garden, enjoying the flowers & shrubs, but also looking up at the sky & the clouds, & across the valley to the moors at the other side.

  45. Carol

    My creativity comes to me from your gorgeous artsy magazines as I reread them.
    Sometimes I take my time and “shop” in my studio, finding supplies and found objects I had forgotten about.

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