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Posted by on Apr 26, 2013 in Featured Friday Cardmaker, Stars and Stamps | 35 comments

Featured Friday question: How do YOU find your missing mojo?

I have to apologize for last week’s repeat blog post. I’d checked the blog ahead of time and thought it was okay because it was showing up then, but it must have gotten lost in the switchover and I didn’t notice while writing to a Monday deadline.  So, I’ll figure it out and now that Sandy’s gotten us a shiny new site, I can get things back on track.  Meanwhile, everyone was so great last month about sharing shopping regrets, I have a new question for this month.  When your mojo goes missing, where do you go to find it?

mojo jpg

We’ve probably all experienced it.  Whether you call it creative block, artistic block, or missing mojo, there are times when all your mojo just seems to have got up and went.  Most writers I know hate to talk about it because they fear that by saying it out loud, they’ll bring it down on themselves.  (Yes, we’re a superstitious bunch, lol!)

Since my living for the past thirty plus years has depended on creating on demand, I’ve learned tricks to tap into my subconscious and get my characters talking again.  I weed a garden, paint a wall, go for a walk or a drive.  But that doesn’t seem to work for cardmaking, which is, obviously, a more visual medium.

I swear,  it was easier when I first started scrapping and cardmaking.  With not nearly as many cool supplies and tools as I have now, I was less likely to feel overwhelmed.  Now there are days when I get so many things out they cover the long kitchen island, AND the table, and the other counters, and I just stare in despair at this:

FF blank

That’s where often our OWH sketches are hugely helpful and I’ve found that most of my cards now are at least inspired by an OWH sketch.  But sometimes even they don’t help me see through the brain cloud fog, so I asked some members of the OWH blog team for advice.

From Allison:  “I unstick my mojo by using sketches as a starting point – that way I don’t have to think so hard! Another great idea is to CASE a card you really like – also very little thinking involved. LOL! Are you seeing a pattern here?” 

When I mentioned that she’d reminded me that I’m always saving cards to CASE, then forget them when I need them most, she had an answer for that, too!

“I like to print out thumbnails of cards I want to CASE and keep them on my desk where I make cards – I need visual reminders!

I really like that idea. I have a box of stamped images I’ve colored that I go through for inspiration; since my desk is usually covered with research material, I think I’ll make a second box of printed out thumbnails.

From Jan:  “I’ve always enjoyed using sketches to jump start my creativity and the challenge blogs throwing out challenges are helpful too. My cards don’t always look the like sketch when I’m done but that’s ok too! Blog browsing and Pinterest spark my creativity too. ” =)

FF lost mojo reward

More helpful suggestions from Dixie:  “Card block happens at my house all the time! That’s one reason I’ve taken all the classes with Online Card Classes. I frequently look back at those lessons and get a great idea. I’ve also bookmarked blogs that post cards similar to my style, and pin those cards to my Pinterest board. Another idea booster? I’ll pick up a stamp (or stamp set) that hasn’t been inked lately or a pad of 6×6 paper that I haven’t used. I like the challenge of trying to use specific items. I also enjoy challenge blogs, both sketch and color. Overcoming card block, for me, is all about tapping the resources at hand.”

And Paula: “I like to choose a card theme or envision a specific recipient say for example a little boy, then I head off in treasure hunt fashion through my stuff to see what might fit the bill. In this case I might end up with some trucks, a teddy bear or a robot. I will often take a bunch of stuff that fits the theme and typically this results in me having a large enough collection of supplies on my workspace that I can then go on and make several different cards in the same theme.”

Since I always begin my stories with themes, that one really struck home. The OWH Midweek Throwdown challenge is tailor made for theme mojo magic!

mojo keep calm resized

And another great suggestion from Debbie: “I’ve been fighting mojo-loss all week and what I’ve done is dig into my scraps bin and make some simple scraps cards. I’m not blazing any new cardmaking territory but the cards are cute and it keeps me in the crafty headspace.”

Not only does that remind me that when I get overwhelmed, going back to the basics and keeping it simple is great for clearing my mind and reminding me of things I knew but had forgotten I knew, Debbie also shared a link to a previous tutorial on Making Mojo Magic.

And when all else fails, I remember who I’m making cards for, and that’s probably the best inspiration of all!

FF OWH heroes jpg

So, now it’s YOUR turn!  How do you reignite your creativity when it’s fizzled out?  We had so many wonderful comments last month about shopping regrets, I’d love to make this a monthly feature, so if there’s a topic you’d like to discuss, since we’re in the midst of changing our OWH email addys, just email me at joann AT joannross DOT com and I’ll try to make it work.



  1. It makes me homesick for the Pacific NW when I hear you talk about it! I planted my herbs last week and watch them daily for new growth. And that is related to getting my Mojo back. I go outside and weed and trim and soak in some sunshine and daydream and putter! Then when I pull out my OWH sketches, I have a space in my brain for those creative ideas to germinate. Thanks for all the wonderful ways you OWHers keep us motivated and inspired!

    • Trish, funny, I deleted that part about the PNW when I got up at 4 a.m. for dog throwing up and began to worry it might make the post sound more like my blog than OWH. Good luck with your herbs; only my sage, rosemary, and thyme wintered through to spring, so I was super excited to go shopping at the market yesterday! I relate to both the garden puttering and the homesickness. After my husband graduated from Oregon State when we were first married, he took me to the Arizona desert for thirty yrs, then to the southeast for another thirteen. I was homesick all those years, but determined to get us back up here, which I FINALLY did two yrs ago!

  2. I like to visit with a crafty friend or attend a class of some sort! Both things help me get my mojo back.

  3. When my mojo leaves, I usually organize my little craft shed. I will find things I had forgotten I had and move them closer or put them where I can see them. That’s what I’m doing today.

  4. My daughter and I had one of these days recently. A whole day for card making and nothing went right, couldn’t find the right sketch, thousands of embellishments…not one seemed to work…,hundreds of ribbon choices…not one worked…,cutting mistakes, missing images…I know that there were six…now where could it have gone….with our mojo i guess. We gave up after hours of frustration. The next day like magic, 30 cards in a short time. Sometimes just a break can help.

  5. When I have no mojo, I make one of my “go to” cards using patchwork squares. I cut 1 and 1/16 inch squares out of all of my scraps and fill a card front with them (takes 20). Working with the colorful paper without having to think or create usually give me a boost of mental energy. 🙂

  6. The vast majority of my cards are on EZ Mount and then adhered to laminated cardstock inside of a clear sheet protector and then in a 3″ ring binder. All of the stamps are sorted by theme (cats, dogs, horses, Pacific NW, Asian, etc). I’ll start dragging out binders and looking at the stamps, pulling out stamps I haven’t used in a long time (or ever! – I have a lot of stamps!). After I stamp and trim the images I’ve usually sorted through all my papers, ribbons, brads, etc in my mind and can start assembling it mentally. Hopefully the physical card will look as good as the mental card!

  7. For me, I need a break. It may be zoning on the computer or looking at the tranquility of nature. It’s amazing how the brain can function better without my input sometimes. Frustrates my husband, but hey that’s what wives are for, right?

  8. I have always made the best cards when I’m thinking of someone special to make them for. With OWH, I sometimes have problems visualizing the recipient since I don’t know who will receive them. I’ve been trying to go back to my past and use a technique from the past. Finances won’t allow new supplies very often, so I’m using things from my stash.

  9. I clean. It NEVER fails that after a few minutes, I have stopped cleaning/organziing to start making a card with something I found.

  10. I know I’m not in the mainstream with OWH but I do not stamp (gasp!) instead I use clip art (as well as plenty of fancy papers and embellishments) to make my cards. So when I need inspiration, I start clicking through clip art until I hit an image that calls to me and says “Make me into a card!” I could look at clip art for hours (and frequently have) so this is a fun way to get my card-maker motor running. I also keep photos of every card I’ve made so I can go through those, looking for the successes and finding a new way to utilize the basic idea from the past.

  11. When I lack creativity, I use the time to cut cardstock for card bases, background paper, punch shapes and strips, dry emboss backgrounds and flip through the card magazines for ideas.

  12. Honestly…doing gardening actually renews my mojo if only just to get out of the garden and get my hands dirty doing something else.

  13. The sketches always bring me inspiration. Next I look through a idea notebook that I keep. Whenever I visit blogs or different sites and see cards that inspire me, I make a copy in Word. I have a large notebook full of ideas. Once I fill a page with idea photos, I print it out and then make notes about each card, as to what inspires me or what idea I like. My notebook NEVER fails me!The sketches always bring me inspiration. Next I look through a idea notebook that I keep. Whenever I visit blogs or different sites and see cards that inspire me, I make a copy in Word. I have a large notebook full of ideas. Once I fill a page with idea photos, I print it out and then make notes about each card, as to what inspires me or what idea I like. My notebook NEVER fails me!

    • Sorry about the double post. Not sure what happened!!!

  14. Lord knows I am not a great housekeeper, but chores often get pushed aside when I am crafting. When I lack creativity, I clean house which takes very little brain power. My mind wanders and soon I cannot wait to get back to my craft desk.

  15. Pretty sure that “Debbie” quote was actually Julie.

  16. It was fun to read everybody’s thoughts on mojo (or the lack thereof!). It can be frustrating when it vanishes and wonderful when it returns! My chief motivators are the weekly sketch and challenges at the OWH blog, but mojo can pop up just about anywhere. On a recent Sunday at church, the reader’s bright yellow and black blouse caught my eye. It reminded me that I had intended to make a yellow & black card for OWH! So, ya never know where that mojo will show up…

  17. I like to paw through my old supplies and challenge myself to use them. A recent find was an image I stamped probably 15 years ago or more. It’s now in a nice card ready to send. I love that I found the OWH site and have a purpose for that crafting urge.

  18. I clean and organize my craft room, and in the process I usually run into something that inspires me! If that doesn’t get the mojo flowing I look at my Pinterest boards and magazines. If THAT doesn’t work I cut card bases, stamp and tuck, etc. or other tasks that don’t require creativity. I have also started making cricut critters or other layered shapes with no added pressure of getting them unto cards right away.

  19. Every time I print a new digi stamp, or get a new rubber stamp, I stamp or print it multiple times. Then, when I’ve got no mojo, I will just color. Then I will fussy cut or die cut the images and save them until mojo comes back to help me make a card with them. This seems to work well, because I will often remember a patterned paper or other embellishment that will go good with my new colored image, and I can’t wait to complete the card. Unfortunately, this is also what leads to 42 colored hot air balloon stamps and no cards completed yet. That reminds me, I need to go make balloon cards… Mojo found!

    • Not only is that a great idea ( I color on vacation coast or mt vacations), but you made me laugh about your balloons. Glad you found your mojo!

  20. At times I just need a break for a few days! But usually, I can get myself going if I CASE or use a simple sketch. When I try anything complicated with low mojo, it’s just frustration.

  21. My Mojo just tanked! Sometimes all the above helps but sometimes you just have to take a break then …Bam! you are back 🙂 Mostly if I go and purge some ugly left over paper that will help the most. Destination Wedding for me this weekend so I am out on a forced break!

    • Yep, taking a break helps! Have fun at the wedding; I hope the destination is fabulous!

  22. My lifeline has been Microsoft’s OneNote. It came included in a Student software package and I had no idea what to do with it. I finally decided to just figure it out. So easy. I visit a blog, see a picture of a card I like, right click and scroll down to “copy”, then I open OneNote and paste the image into one of several categories. I have cards by theme (birthday, baby, masculine), technique (CAS, doilies, vellum), and names of stamps or sets I own. I am never at a loss!

  23. I mostly don’t stress about missing mojo. We all need down time. Our brains need a rest

  24. Haven’t we all had this happen to us at one time or another? Great question. I usually get out my book where I store all the great card layouts I’ve seen or received. But recently I decided to create a one sheet wonder page with a new stamp set. Well after cutting that page all apart and starting to layer the pieces, I couldn’t get over how my mojo was revived! It was like I’d received some sort of energy shot. I had so much fun adding those finishing touches on the cards. When I was through I’d created 18 cards (that was two one sheet wonders!) I was on a roll and I had such fun.

    Marcy W

  25. I recently had a bout of the “no mojo” flu! 🙂 It helped to go on “Splitcoast Stampers” and look at cards for stamp sets I own. Also just sorting thru my stamp sets sometimes triggers an idea. I loved Becca’s idea of using One Note for card ideas! I usually print them out and put them in a file to look through but it would save a lot of paper to use One Note. I do use One Note to catalog all my die cuts and embossing folders the same way Becca uses One Note for card ideas.

  26. I try a few things: I’ll flip through my card-making magazines; attend a demo at my LSS; visit other cardmakers’ blogs & see if something jumps out at me; google one of my stamps/sets or dies into Google/images to see what others have made with it; pull out my unfinished cards and work on them. Sometimes I just have to take a break for awhile and come back because I just get too frustrated if I feel like I’m forcing it.

  27. I love all the comments about regaining mojo, and I’ve done several of those tricks, but one that isn’t mentioned is a children’s card. For some reason whenever I do a colorful and cute card my mojo comes back.

  28. My mojo always seems to go missing for a few days right after I mail a box to Kris. I take a few days downtime and then I start looking through the OWH photo gallery, sketches and I cruise Pinterest. Seeing all the beautiful cards that others have made is very good inspiration. Many of my cards are inspired by someone else’s creativity.

    • Ann, I’m not surprised by this. Every writer I know feels that way when he or she sends a manuscript off to the editor. We all find ourselves watching TV, or lying around reading or some other less energetic downtime activity. I once, way back in the early 80s, heard a mystery writer describe it being like postpartum depression. Which, since he was a guy, obviously wouldn’t have experienced, but I do think all the creative energy you put out to get those cards made can understandably leave to a creative letdown when you’re done. Which is why it’s important to refill the well. Or, as other writers describe it, feed the muse girls in the basement. 🙂

  29. Believe it or not, I usually have a card that I have already made that I need to make a few more of for OWH, and for the box I keep at work for sale. When My Mojo goes missing, I just make those multiples and by the time I am done, I am feeling the creative juices flowing again! Sketch and color challenges are helpful too. But I really just get feeling creative by creating!

  30. It is so inspiring to read all of your comments and I find it interesting that this topic came up as I am just now coming out of a very long time span of no mojo. Mine ended when my son moved to another state the end of December. He was staying with me until he was able to relocate and we spent time sharing our crafts and bouncing ideas off one another. When he left I missed him terribly. It was hard sitting at the craft table without crying. I have finally got into making my cards again and it feels so good. But in the meantime I would get ideas from all of you here and on youtube and save them. I would play with my sprays and paints for backgrounds and save those. I am now able to sit down and create and actually put cards together. Within two weeks I have made about 50 cards. It feels so good to be able to be creative again.

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