Nicole Stevenson is a writer, illustrator, maker, teacher and creative business consultant. Her path includes time as a street artist on the Venice Beach boardwalk, costume designer, DIY workshop instructor, co-founder of a non-profit that produced art shows benefiting charities, owner and designer of Random Nicole (an art-inspired clothing line carried at over 250 locations) and owner of craft workshop studio and retail store: The Craft Kitchen. She has a BA and MA in creative writing and is currently working on a non-fiction book about her crafty adventures. She’s the founder of Show and Tell Design Studio, a boutique design studio that creates illustrations, branding and logos, editorial design and custom invitations. She’s also the co-founder of Dear Handmade Life which produces Patchwork Show: Modern Creative Festival, Craftcation: Business and Makers Conference, a podcast, online workshops, a blog and more.
When she’s not working, you may find her breaking up scuffles between her dog and three chickens, couch crafting while watching a film she’s seen too many times to count, playing guitar with her husband, sitting in her backyard with good friends and a margarita while playing Cards vs. Humanity or squeezing in time for a quick trip to a lovely place where people are scarce and trees are not.
Today Nicole is sharing a glimpse at what helps her day-to-day as a creative, inspires and motivates her, makes her work life a little bit easier, and some just-for-fun stuff that brings her joy...
This trick of the trade.
Google Docs! My business partner Delilah Snell and I run our business Dear Handmade Life from different parts of California, so sitting down together to go over spreadsheets or documents requires a ten-hour drive. Before we started using Google Docs we’d send spreadsheets or documents back and forth and had a hard time keeping up with edits. With Google Docs we can see edits in real time, which saves us tons of time and frustration.
I’m a pretty dedicated homebody, so it shouldn’t come to the surprise of anyone who knows me that the place where I’m most inspired is my home! I’ve traveled a bit… mostly through the Northern East Coast and up and down the West Coast but also a bit in Europe and Hawaii. I’ve seen some really breathtaking places like Hanalei Bay in Kauai and San Sebastian in Spain, both of which are a close second to home. I spend pretty much all day and night at home since I work out of my house. I do get stir-crazy sometimes, but when I do get out I can’t wait to be back in my studio writing or making stuff, under a blanket on the couch with the fireplace going while watching a movie with my husband, or in my backyard barbecuing, drinking margaritas and playing cards with friends.
It’s really hard to pick just one. There have been so many books that have inspired my creative work whether it be my writing, making or entrepreneurship like Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott, The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, Losing My Virginity by Richard Branson and Manage Your Day to Day: Build Your Routine, Fine Your Focus and Sharpen Your Creative Mind.
Right now I’m reading Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert which I’m LOVING. She has such a natural writing style that almost feels like you’re reading a letter from a dear friend who knows you well and wants to do nothing but give you the best tools and advice for your creative journey. When I read any book, I underline passages that I want to remember and when I’m done with the book I handwrite them out on notecards. I have a HUGE stack already from Big Magic (like this one: “The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.”) and I’m not even halfway through the book. Big Magic is helping me remember to focus on the process of making whether I’m creating an event like Patchwork Show: Modern Makers Festivals or Craftcation: Business + Makers Conference, making pottery in my free time, designing a logo for one of my clients at Show and Tell Design Studio or cooking dinner.
I think all creatives should know about Bloglovin’, which is more of an app than a website. There are so many awesome blogs out there but I found myself having a hard time keeping up with them until I found Bloglovin’ which allows you to add blogs to your feed and scroll through them all from the same website or app. One of my favorite lazy morning things to do is lay in bed with the windows open and listen to the sound of my neighbors fountain, the breeze jostle the leaves on the big oak trees in my backyard and my chickens clucking as I scroll through my favorite blogs. I follow 150+ bloggers that write about DIY, style, creative business and life on Bloglovin’. It not only helps me stay current on trends in my industry but is a one-stop-shop for content that I curate based on my interests.
One of my go-to songs when I’m feeling down is Odetta’s Hit or Miss. It’s all about celebrating your uniqueness and letting go of what other people think about you. It’s THE BEST for days when you have a wicked case of imposter syndrome or just need a little inspiration. I LOVE this live version… so much passion!
Take Five with Creatives is a short-format glimpse into the lives of makers, artists, crafters, bloggers, writers, designers and female entrepreneurs who are paving their own creative way. Photos by Nicole Stevenson.