Inspiration - Imitation - Innovation

I've noticed a pattern in my crafting and making over the past few months. I find inspiration (usually from all the wonderful blogs out there), I attempt to imitate the idea, then I branch off from the original idea and create something new or different from the original inspiration. I've been mulling over the process this week, looking for evidence to support my inspiration-imitation-innovation theory, and I discovered that this process occurs over and over again. And it's not just me.

This morning I was working in Aidan's kindergarten class. Today was the 100th day of school - a pretty big deal for kindergartners. The children had to finish the following statements:

I Could Eat 100...

I Could Hold 100...

I Could Run 100...

But I definitely wouldn't want 100...

The teacher shared how she would finish each statement, and for the last statement she answered "brussel sprouts". Another child in the class shouted out, "green beans!"

Well guess what? Many of the children, inspired by their teacher and classmate, responded that they definitely wouldn't want 100 green beans or brussel sprouts.

We so often imitate those that inspire us. If I take a good look at the way I dress, how I decorate, the books I read, the things I make, how I parent, even the way I speak, I can trace many of these things back to a source of inspiration - a person I admire, an article I read, a picture I saw in a magazine, a movie I watched. Blogs and Flickr friends provide even more inspiration.

What I love most though is when inspiration and imitation lead to innovation. Coming up with a different approach, a new (to me) idea, an original twist, a compilation of ideas resulting in something completely different. This is the creative process I love so much.

It's not news that I am deeply inspired by Margie of Resurrection Fern. Over the weekend, I found some motif patterns in an old crochet book and made a few covered stones similar to the stones she makes. Good old fashioned imitation.

this stone needs a new home

this stone needs a new home

Avery and her friend, inspired by the covered stones, came up with their own versions.


Now that's innovation.

Inspiration - Imitation - Innovation. Now that I understand the process, I see it everywhere.

If you've followed my rambling this far, I have a surprise for you. A little giveaway.


These two imitation stones need new homes. Leave a comment and I'll draw two names Monday, February 2nd (can you believe it's nearly February?). If you're inclined, share a personal experience of inspiration-imitation-innovation. If not, finish this statement: I definitely wouldn't want 100 ... I'm sure Aidan will get a kick out of your answers (and for the record, he answered brussel sprouts).


  1. I wouldn't want a hundred chicken nuggets (I am a vegetarian)!!!! My children imitate me everyday...the latest is wanting to cook their own meals! Since they are 1 and 4 I try to limit them to stirring, mixing, etc.!

  2. Could Eat 100... nachos

    I Could Hold 100... puppies

    I Could Run 100... computer programs

    But I definitely wouldn't want 100... punches to the face

    Your rocks are lovely.

  3. what a great post.

    I wouldn't want 100 cookies because then my pants wouldn't fit. But I would want 1 or 2.

  4. I definitely would not want 100.....houses to keep clean!

  5. Seriously a great post. I find this process happening with me all of the time, and the part where innovation happens is my favorite part too. It's all very important to the creative process. When I was in art school, the first time, something they taught right out of the gate was imitation, to get techniques down. And then once you've mastered the technique, you use it to make something of your own. I notice this happening with my creative process all the time, but, quite often I don't realize when this is happening in real life. Or, I realize it, but don't connect it. Or something.

    I don't deserve a covered stone, of course, since I have a piece of covered driftwood. I keep wanting one of Margies, but missing her shop updates. I would pay you to make me one, though, in a classic crochet pattern like these.

    And I wouldn't want 100...rabbits living in my backyard, because they'd eat my whole garden!

  6. I Could Eat 100... Lindt Dark chocolate Truffles

    I Could Hold 100... Chinchillas

    I Could Run 100...Laundry cycles (And still never be done).

    I Wouldn't Want 100... Stubbed toes.

    I love the rocks... any chance on a hint as to how you made the Winter berries?

  7. oooohhh fun - hmmm...

    I love brussel sprouts - seriously. I'm addicted. I could eat 100 but I wouldn't feel very good after. Left-overs? Yum!

    Your crochet wire leaf on your pear has inspired me to try and braid or crochet or knit all kinds of things. My most recent attempt involved very thin birch tree branches that I found in our backyard. The pliable ones went together very nicely.

    As I jump into imitation or inspiration, I always wish I knew more about what I was doing so I could move forward with less trial and error - even though I know that trial and error is sometimes where the best innovation arises. If only I had more time and resources for the trial and error!

    Could I soften the birch branches even more with a soak in warm water?

    I love your stones. Thanks for the giveaway!

  8. I definitely would not want another 100 inches of snow!!! We are still stuck indoors, and we have a lot of hard work ahead of us!

    By the way, brussel sprouts rock! They are yummy! So sad the teacher had to use a veggie! Veggies get a bad rap....

    Enter me! I get inspired by your posts all the time, and I do start creating. So thanks!

  9. I definitely wouldn't want 100… cats in my apartment! My apartment is so tiny as is.

  10. I love to imitate mini-scrapbook ideas, then innovate them to new ideas that need to be journaled/created. I wouldn't want 100 children! I have my hands full with the ones I already have.

  11. I definitely wouldn't want 100 spiders! Although, when I was in high school I protected a clutch (?) of (many!) spider eggs laid in the hole of a notebook in my basement bedroom. Go figure! I don't remember what happened when they started to hatch. Did I take them outside? Assume we would live together happily in the basement? Leave them in their safe jar? Hmmmmmm....

    I'm imitating a quilt block from "The Quilter's Gift", but with my own applique design of flying birds in the borders. I love the process! A little artistic evolution.

  12. I wouldn't want 100...children ! (just 1 more!)
    Beautiful stones !

  13. For Aidan..
    I definitely wouldn't want 100... buttons!
    (from Cole)

    But I would! I would just keep them and look at them, but I probably wouldn't use many for anything crafty ;)

  14. I wouldn't want 100- Dirty dishes. I loathe doing the dishes.

    Great post today.

  15. I wouldn't want 100 more things to do today.

  16. I definitely wouldn't want 100 spiders living in my house. ; ) And even though I like good quality brussel's sprouts, I wouldn't want 100 of them either...

    I have experienced the Inspiration-Imitation-innovation cycle over, and over, and over again. That is, after all, what true creativity is.

    Remember the wire leafs you gave us a tutorial on? Here's were I documented my innovation variations based on them. http://christinahomemaker.blogspot.com/2008/12/christmas-cheer-shared.html

  17. Thanks for the fantastic giveaway.
    I'm inspired by Wardrobe Refashion. I love seeing what everyone is doing to re-make old clothes.
    I definitely wouldn't want 100 bee stings! I don't know why, but that was the first thing that popped in my head.

  18. I'm definitely throwing my hat in the ring! And yes I totally get your theory of inspiration-imatation-innovation! I think that's how I operate as well. Let's see:
    I could eat 100 jelly bellies
    I could hold my children's hands 100 times plus
    I could run 100 miles in a month
    But I definitely wouldn't want 100 wedgies!

  19. Oh, and what is on Avery's and her friend's rock? It looks familiar but I can't place it....

  20. i wouldn't want 100 peas. yuck!

  21. Skunks!
    I am always inspired by quilts, which I start to imitate and there is usually an innovation before I am finished. That is what makes it MY quilt.

  22. This might sound awful or really sennsible but the first thing I thought of was I definately wouldn't want 100 children...I am a little over the summer holidays and really need some respite!

  23. Those rocks are beautiful!
    As a graphic designer, I follow the three I's daily. Creativity dervies from inspiration. Then applying the idea to a job is soon to follow. Then you realise how you can improve on the idea and make it your own. Its what makes design. You are spot on with your theroy!


    (hi avery! i live in australia, its the middle of summer and its so hot i just filled 3 swimming pools with sweat! im so jealous of your winter days!)

  24. I wouldn't want 100 pimples.

    Your crochet work is so pretty. I really like how the delicacy plays off the stones.

  25. Holy Smoke!
    I wouldn't want 100 letters from the I.R.S. (shudders. violently)

  26. Hi Molly! I wouldn't want 100 best friends. Just one or two, good ones for life. And then a few more every few years who go through a particular phase of life with you, or you and your kids, and so you are bonded forever over some feeling that can't be described later on, you had to be together in the feeling of it. We all have these friends, I know. But we don't need 100 of them.
    I looked here a couple of hours ago and was going to be the first commenter...and then got pulled away by dinner and kids etc... and here I am the twenty-something-eth. I think maybe we can all use 100 blogging friends, though.
    Take care! tt

  27. I wouldn't want 100 zit. The 4 I have right now are just plenty, thank you.

  28. I could listen to the marriage advice of 100 first graders
    I could eat 100 double chocolate cookies (made by my daughter Elise!)
    I definitely would not want 100 more essays to grade, but alas, they keep coming!

    I love reading your blog for inspiration to be creative!

  29. I don't want to enter the contest but I just wanted to tell you I am very honored by your imitation. You did a absolutely wonderful job covering those stones.

  30. I do not want another 100 days of winter!!!

  31. i could eat 100... cupcakes

    i could hold 100... sleeping babies

    i could run 100... loads of dishes in the dishwasher

    i wouldn't want 100 ... mosquito bites

    great stones molly!

  32. It seems that every morning, when I take the train to work, I see at least one girl who has on an outfit to die for. Put together, chic, effortless. An outfit that I must try to imitate. Le sigh...

  33. I could work 100 craft projects
    I could eat 100 vegan chocolate cookies

    Can't come up with more, but I love your blog and rocks.

    Thanks for the contest.

  34. I could eat 100 pieces of watermelon

    I could hold 100 daffodils

    I could run 100 rivers

    I would not want 100 bombs

    I love your rocks and your generosity

  35. I definitely would not want 100 chigger bites! Those are the worst!

    I've pretty recently been introduced to the blog-o-sphere and I have been greatly inspired by it. I've been getting ideas for making things like ornaments with my daughter and new recipes to try. I was even nudged to start my own little blog. It's nice to sit down after the kids have gone to bed and read everyone's reflections and ideas.

    I would love to win those stones. I've been a rock lover since I was little. Whenever we go on vacation I come home with at least one bag of rocks. My husband laughs at me, I guess I laugh at myself, too. Anyway, thanks for the chance to win. They are beautiful!

  36. I could eat 100 avocadoes, or olives, or Brussels sprouts, roasted to perfection!

    I could hold 100 tiny soft newborn babies.

    I could run 100 loads of dishes in the dishwasher after a soiree at my house (you keep finding dishes everywhere, you know?).

    I wouldn't want paper cuts!

  37. The latest inspiration was hearing a woman say she kept her umbrella in an old tie in the trunk of her car. In imitation I came home and chose a tie from my thrift store collection. But my innovation was not to put it in the trunk of the car: before putting in the umbrella I tucked the narrow end of the tie into the wider end, secured it with two safety pins, slipped the umbrella into the opening and immediately had an interesting carrying case to drape over my shoulder.

  38. Wonderful post, Molly and beautiful stones! I wouldn't want 100 more things on my "to make" list, but I sure would want 100 more hours a week just for creativity and playing!

  39. I'm so inspired by all the creative blogging mamas out there. I wouldn't want 100 of anything really--I'm afraid if I had too much of even my favorite thing, I might not like it anymore. Too much of anything takes away its specialness. (Except kisses from my kids, those are always special)

  40. I definetely wouldn't want 100 diet sodas- I'm allergic to Nutra Sweet!

    Can't wait to see who wins the rocks- they're beautiful!

  41. I love reading your words and hearing your thoughts, Molly.

    I definitely wouldn't want 100 mosquito bites.

  42. I definitely wouldn't want 100... stinky socks. Pee-yew! ~H

  43. Inspiration:
    My creative, crafty peers in blogland, who seem to sew, knit, crochet, and cook as easily as I breathe.

    I could too, right? So I sign up for a charm square swap, though I have never been to the funky fabric shop on the other side of town and do not know how to use the sewing machine shoved in the back of a closet.

    Will I learn to quilt? Or are those 4" squares heading my way destined for something else? There's only one way to find out...

    And I definitely wouldn't want 100 Magic School Bus Books (we are a tad obsessed around here...), but I'd love to eat 100 brussel sprouts.

  44. There is a theory in anthropology about innovation being the norm, instead of invention. Once one culture had language, others tried it. Same with written communication, math, the wheel, weapons. Very rarely will we find an absolute isolated invention coming from no influence whatsoever.

    As I clean my house today, I know that I would definitely not want 100 toilets.

  45. No need to enter me in the rock drawing, but I wanted to share my agreement with what you've discovered with inspiration, imitation, innovation. I, too, get a lot of my inspiration from things I see and people I admire, and every once in awhile I get down on myself for being such a copycat, but then I tell myself that I have added my own ideas to it and tweaked it to make it my own, so that it no longer looks like the original. It makes me feel better to know I'm not the only one with "borrowed" ideas.

    And by the way, I definetly wowuldn't want 100 angry bill collectors banging on my door!

  46. I could eat 100 tomato sandwiches.

    I could hold 100 newborns.

    I could run 100 loads of laundry.

    I definitely wouldn't want 100 more toys in this house.

    I am inspired by the crafty mama blogs I visit. Thank you for continuing to be a source of inspiration.

  47. I wouldn't want 100 bills (invoices) but at least those beautiful crochet covered stones could act as paperweights ... should that nightmare become reality!

  48. I could eat 100 wasabi peas ...

    I've been thinking the very same thing lately about the projects that I'm doing. You (as usual) have phrased it so eloquently.

    I love the crochet rocks so much, but cannot provide a good home for them, as we're in heavy discard mode just to find horizontal space.

    If you should choose me, please select the comment below.

    Best ...

  49. yep, that's how we learn since we are born, by imitation and on innovation lays our creativity, I think. Nice post! I wouldn't want so many. One hundred is a lot. I wouldn't want 100 days of pain. Ouch!

  50. ohhh I could eat 100 tacos...I love tacos...

    please enter me into the drawing...I would love to see one up close :o)


  51. We are living in Uglydollistan right now because the girl visited with a friend who has several and then begged for one as we passed a comics store. After seeing the price, I decided to make some from some felted sweaters we have. The first was an amalgam of two that we saw on the internet and after that the girl designed and I produced (as per family tradition). I'm currently on #5, and still have many ideas to go.

  52. what an insightful post molly! I continue to be inspired by others, attempt imitation, and am blessed by my own innovation.

    thanks for sharing your rocks with us. I don't crochet; I've had a rock project in my craft room waiting for me for months; you inspired me to begin creating with my rocks! this is my innovation that was created soon after reading about your new rock project: http://kristynknits.blogspot.com/2009/01/big-rocks-of-my-life.html

    I wouldn't want 100 snakes at my feet!

  53. I definitely wouldn't want 100 spiders let loose in my room at night.

    I love your creations!

  54. I definitely wouldn't want 100 kidney stones! (The few I've had over the years were way too many!) However, I would love one of your covered stones. :)

  55. I KNOW I've had lots of III moments . . . I just can't remember any. lol So, here's an answer for you:

    I could eat 100 different ethnic dishes.

    I could hold 100 hugs from my kids.

    I could run 100 projects, one after another.

    I wouldn't want 100 bowls of ice cream. Think of the tummy ache!

  56. I definitely wouldn't want 100 maraschino cherries. Ick. :)

  57. Oh, I'd LOVE to live with one of these beauty covered stones! Thanks for giving us an opportunity to try.

    I definitely wouldn't want 100 weeds to pull.

  58. I wouldn't want 100 days without your companionable, inspiring, and soulful innovation. No ma'am. You have got my wheels turning on this one. I feel like I don't get past the inspiration stage...innovation seems light years away...

  59. "Everybody needs a rock" - Byrd Baylor

    love 'em!

  60. I like your associations although sometimes the process doesn't get past imitation. But when it does, it's sweet.

    As for something not so sweet...I most definitely would not 100 cockroaches!

  61. I guess some things are so inspiring that they can't be missed: I also made myself a bunch of crocheted stones like those ones...

    BTW: We named our son (born in june 2006) Aidan. As far as I know, there is no other Aidan in France (we are french...).

  62. these are SO gorgeous! as someone who is just learning to crochet - i am so impressed!

    i could eat 100 cadbury mini eggs

  63. Your bird-covered tree branch inspired my holiday tree this year. Rather than buying a tree we tromped out in the woods and cut a lovely moss-covered oak branch. It hung from our ceiling and my children trimmed it with bits and pieces and pretty natural things.

  64. Well I definitely would not want 100 more papers to grade, but I would want 100 lavender plants of various varieties in my front yard....(can you tell I have been oogling the catalogs that are arriving at my house lately)

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  67. I Could Eat 100... warm home made chocolate chip cookies!

    I Could Hold 100... lbs of happiness when i hug my niece

    I Could Run 100... normal minded folks crazy :)

    But I definitely wouldn't want 100... spoonfuls of mayonaise. sick!

  68. I could eat 100 bowls of homemade mac and cheese. I have to say, I am totally inspired by the interior decoration I get glimpses of on many blogs. I may not even realize it until I am holding an object in a thrift store and thinking "this is so.....(insert blog name here)." LOVE the rocks.

  69. I definitely wouldn't want a 100 slugs in a stew.

  70. I would not want 100 socks to fold. (That's why I'm here today, too many socks, shirts, pants, undies to fold!)


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