It’s time to bust that stash!  You have massive piles to use up but no idea where to begin or what to make.  Crafter’s block is frustrating, though overcoming it may not be as difficult as you think.  If you’re feeling stuck in a creative rut the best way out is to try something different.  When you’re feeling less-than-inspired, here are a few exercises to help get your crafty neurons firing again.

1.  Touch Your Supplies

It may sound silly, but handling your stash is a great way to jump-start your creative side.  Close your eyes and feel the weave of your fabrics, the softness of your yarns, or the texture and weight of your papers.  What do these sensations make you think of?  I find that often, the tactile experience gets my brain moving in directions it may not have otherwise gone.

2.   Sort Your Supplies

There are a couple of ways that sorting your supplies can help to give you new ideas.  First, doing a general sort of your  stash will make exactly what you have on hand fresh in your mind.  You might come across a gorgeous sheet of stickers or a funky remnant of fabric you’d forgotten you had.  When you originally bought all of these things, something inside you saw a glimmer of inspiration.  Seeing your collection through fresh eyes can take you back to that moment in time and remind you of what you saw in each item.

If you have specific project needs, such as a piece for your mantel or a gift for a baby shower, try sorting your supplies by colors.  If you want to do an Easter project, for instance, go through everything you own and pull out anything that is in pastel colors.  Don’t discriminate based on the type of materials in your stash; include everything you can find that’s in the right colors.  For example, even if you’re making a greeting card, don’t hesitate to include materials that weren’t intended for paper crafting.  Seeing these supplies in a new context can lead to surprising and ingenious results.

3.  Randomize Your Supplies

Still stumped?  Then how about playing a fun game?  Try getting crafty MacGuyver style!

Start by writing down a list of your supplies and cutting the list out into slips of paper.   Be specific; say “pink and white gingham” or “blue grosgrain” rather than writing “fabric” or “ribbon.”  Fold up your slips of paper and put them in a hat, then draw three random items.  Challenge yourself to make something that incorporates all three of  these items somehow.

To avoid further frustration when you pick a seemingly impossible combination, give yourself a time limit.  If you haven’t come up with any ideas after 15 minutes of brainstorming, put the slips back in the hat and draw again.

Well, what are you waiting for?  Go play with your stash; it’s not going to bust itself!

[photo by taysm @]