Make Something… Anything!

Make somethingYou've probably noticed that making things is a big part of what we do here at A Beautiful Mess. We make food, decorations, clothes, gifts, crafts, art, mistakes, blog posts and everything in between. We love a good project. And we love learning and experimenting every single day. You might think that it's a quirk or gimmick or just a trend we're stuck on. But it's not. As corny as it may sound, making is the only way of life we really understand. And, oddly enough, it's turned into our career over time.

Why make something? (especially if you could just as easily buy it) Why learn to cook something if you can just eat out? Why sew curtains when you could purchase them from Target or IKEA or (fill in the blank)? Because making can be just as fulfilling as it is functional. Please don't hear me wrong. I'm not saying you should make everything (we buy things all the time). I'm just saying you should make something. Here are a few reasons why:Crochet something!1. Making encourages creativity. Maybe you don't think of yourself as a creative person. It's okay, but I gotta say, I think you're wrong. Creativity isn't just about our traditional idea of art or artists. Creativity is used by scientists, chefs, politicians, business people, etc. It's all about problem solving skills. We make crafts and bake cupcakes, sure, but we also use our creativity to solve business problems we face. Our habit of making has helped us change "I can't…" into "what if…" so many times over the years. We are SO thankful to our mother for encouraging us to be creative our whole lives.

2. Making promotes self confidence. If you are the absolute most confident person in the world, then feel free to skip this point. But, uh, I'm not. There are plenty of times when I don't feel so great about myself. Maybe I am stressing, because I forgot something important, am having trouble with a project at work, or feel insecure because I have a pimple (I'm almost 27, and, yes, I still get pimples). However serious or trivial, we all feel a little less than confident at times. Make something. Anything you want, anything that you can be proud of. And when you are done, look at this thing you have made/accomplished and just try not to feel a little better about yourself. Paint3. Making is personal. The best example I can think of is gift giving. I love trying to figure out the perfect thing to buy someone. Actually, Trey is REALLY good at this. I should probably work on my listening skills. But anyway, I'm not trying to say a handmade gift is better, but I will say that it is more personal. When someone gives me a scarf they knit, I know they thought about me every evening they worked on it. I would appreciate a nice store bought candle too, don't get me wrong. But making is personal. It creates a story behind the objects we give, or wear or make to decorate our homes.

Maybe you're at a place where you have filled notebooks with ideas of things you want to make or projects you want to work on but you not yet had the courage to start. Or the time (that's the excuse I always use). Start now. Make something… anything. xo. Emma

  • Great post!!!! This is everything I believe in!!! I’m constantly promoting creativity, and I’m a firm believer in doing something creative every day – the motto of one of my favorite stores: Paper Source.

    Love it! Thanks for the continued inspiration!

  • I’m so glad to see this post! I think you’re so right. I used to make clothes, bake, and experiment with new hobbies all the time back in high school, but being at college has been so distracting. It was difficult to fit creative time in between reading and writing papers, and it was hard to get supplies/find space. I realized recently that I’d been feeling pretty dissatisfied and restless with my life, and that it was because I’d stopped doing creative projects. Now I’ve started back up again, and the thrill of dreaming about and completing projects has really revitalized me.

  • I agree with you, I love being creative and making things and I feel lost or incomplete when I don’t!

  • Favorite. Blog. Ever. I just moved across the country on a whim and am seriously jonesing for my guitar, my painting supplies, and my craft box! I make more sense when I’m making things. Good thing I can sing/write/doodle anywhere 🙂 🙂 Here’s to creativity!!

  • Yes, yes, YES! The timing of my seeing this is funny because I have been having very similar thoughts on the importance of creating things in my own life recently. I feel unfulfilled and simply not-like-myself when I am not creating…music, art, food, anything and everything in any which combination, but every single day, creating something(s)! Your arguments for being a creator, whatever that means, are well written and I hold all three as part of my personal need system.

    Here is a fitting quipple (illustration) that I did a month ago as proof: 🙂

  • Love this! I feel the same and so do many people out there! I come from a family of makers and am so thankful for that 🙂 Though my teenage self did not always love the home made lunch boxes and jackets Haha! I now look back and I am so happy my parents always supported my artistic interest! You guys give such good inspiration for people to keep creating, thank you!

  • Great post! I love making things all of the time, it makes me so happy, even when people think I’m crazy for always having a project going! 🙂

    This Lovely Little Day

  • I love this! I love your blog and that you guys are so encouraging to others. I’ ve grown up making stuff too and I love craft adventures 🙂 I also secretly wish I could be one of your make over ladies 😉 Thanks for the inspiration! 🙂 em

  • Thanks so much for this post. I love crafting and making things, and I feel that I often have to defend my choice when it is something that could be purchased. For me, making things means that they are that much more precious to me. I love reading your DIY posts and seeing what new inspiration I can garner from them. Thanks so much, ladies, keep being fabulous.


    PS: Stop by my blog if you like thrifting, vintage dresses, flower crowns, Moonrise Kingdom, DIYs, and adventures!

  • It’s so fun to see the things you guys make and come up with everyday. I know it’s not a trend for you guys, but if it were, I’m happy it’s sticking around!

  • thank you so much for kicking me right now in my .. *piep* 🙂 i will do! i´ll start..NOW!!

  • I really like the idea/ reminder that creativity isn’t just about art. I homeschool my kids and creative thinking is so important to me. Time to get out there and create more.

  • You are so right! I feel fully myself when I’m making and it’s taken me a long time to learn that the process is just as important as the product. Thanks for continually inspiring me!

  • Amen! Part of my general resolution for the new year is to make more. I enjoy seeing all the creative things on your blog. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Sometimes it is cheaper. We needed a new dog bed. The one I liked was $79. Yes, seventy nine dollars. As a coincidence, we replaced our bed pillows this month. I whip stitched the two pillows together on the long sides to make them into one pillow. I used two old pillowcases sewn together to make a washable cover with a Velcro closure. Then I used leftover fabric to make a decorative cover on top of that Everything is removable, washable pretty and free as it was all leftover from other projects and saved the pillows from going in the landfill. I am $79 richer.

  • I never thought of myself as a creative person, but sometimes a person just needs to find the right outlet. I never in my life thought I would be making jewelry, or doing diy projects for myself, until I actually tried. Now I love it! I always encourage people to try new things, because you never know what you will enjoy or be great at. And if you arent, at least you tried and you know. Can I draw and paint? No. Can I make a mean pillow? You bet.


  • All of this is so true. I have been in need of some creative therapy recently so I have been jewelry making up a storm recently! Your blog never ceases to inspire me. Thank you so much!

    Juliette Laura
    -I’ve posted some DIY’s and there are TONS more to come!

  • When people ask why I made something instead of just buying it, I question it myself. So it was nice to have the reminder of making things because it encourages creativity as well as adding personal touches to one’s life.

  • New to this site and I can already tell it’s right up my ally! I was nicknamed “Messy Jessie” as a child due to the fact that my artistic spilt over everywhere. This includes floors, couches, clothes and beyound! LOVE IT!

  • Thank you for this lovely post… You don’t know how fitting it is for me right now… I pledged for 2013 to be a Year of Learning and all I’ve learned for now is how to make an origami cube! But it’s a good start, I know…

    A Beautiful Mess will always be one of my inspirations in this quest… 🙂

  • I completely agree with how it promotes self confidence! I always struggled (and still do) with self confidence but making something I am proud of makes me feel great and reminds me that I do have talent

  • Nice post. I definitely consider myself a crafty person, and make things pretty frequently, but I find myself in the last few years being more selective about what I make and what I buy. I guess I am being more picky about what my time is worth to me. Sure, I CAN knit a scarf, or sew curtains, and I have done both! But I would rather pay an artist for a much more beautiful scarf than I can make. And sometimes the cost of fabric plus time involved doesn’t outweigh the cost of just buying curtains from a store for me. Not always, but sometimes. I am hoping to find creativity in decorating my new apartment and practicing PATIENCE to not just go to IKEA and buy everything at once but “curate” things and wait for the right pieces to come into my life. Which I think takes a lot of creativity:)

  • wow, i love this post! Your blog has inspired me to become more creative and really enjoy more arts and crafts things! Thank you!

  • I literally love this. I agree 100% with each item you have here. I have been making things since I can remember. All through out school I took art classes because the act of making things and having something physical to hold in my hands as proof that I learned was really important to me.
    Infact a friend of mine and I just made a blog ( I have felt so confident ever since!
    I love making things!

  • I love making things. Since we moved to SF and since this city is so expensive, I have made some many things for our apartment. It makes me somehow proud to say. “Yeah, I have made it.”

  • Woohoo!!! Making is such an important aspect of my every day life. I love encouraging my friends to try to use their hands and find their creativity and passions. I even made a dear friend of mine a “Craft Kit” to get her started! haha.

    Thanks for this post, you guys are my faaavvvooorrriiittteee. haha.

  • I have to admit that your blog has encouraged me to make things! Maybe you won’t believe me but it’s true. Just yesterday I spent my whole afternoon in a craft store looking for canvases and spray paint. And I’m determined to use all my purchases this Sunday!!!

  • Love this post! I totally agree about it boosting self-confidence, I always feel so happy right after I’ve made something I’m proud of. I used to paint/draw/create all the time when I was at uni, but have found with work and a tiny home that I have stopped. So, this year I made it a resolution to make something every week. 🙂

  • I love and follow this blog religiously. My boyfriend and I are planning to move in together in a few months and I am constantly sending him links to the blog of things I want us to do. Amazingly he’s already started making some.

    Thank you for your inspirational posts and great blog in general.

    Keep it up!

  • Amen! The act of creating is the most powerful and healing thing around. I started making things after a terrible burnout, and it helped bring back my self-confidence. Nothing like watching your hands create beautiful things and delighting in the process. (:

  • The sound of one hand clapping – while I type with the other! Hear, hear. This is BANG on.. love it. Thanks for writing it out so well. Appreciate your transparency and creativity that you show here Emma/Elsie.. it’s a beautiful thing!
    needle and nest design

  • I just used scotch tape and acrylic paint to make a cool striped design on my plain white lampshade. Now every time I walk into the living room I smile 🙂 Thank you for the constant inspiration to create!!

  • It’s really nice to find mesagges like yours when looking for some inspiration on the net.
    I just need to tell you girls, that your blog is amazing and I wanted to send you my congrats.
    You make my days 🙂
    All the best from the other side of the ocean!

  • LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS! I hadn’t been by the blog in awhile, and I am always delighted and inspired when I stop by. Thank you for sharing with us all, and I wish you ladies all the best for 2013!!

  • I adore this post, it has the perfect timming in my life, because I start doing things I have been thinking for ages. Soo thank you, I choose to be a doer to 😉

  • I recently made red velvet cupcakes and Oatmeal raisin cookies with my own spin on it. They were darn good and I was proud of it! I took ’em to work and everyone loved them. I know how you feel about creating something. There’s a satisfaction you get when you make something from scratch. And there’s tons of help out there is you want to learn.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Check out my Red Velvet Cupcake recipe. 🙂

  • Thank you so much for writing this, Emma. It was exactly the push I needed to go into my studio today and start making art (after several weeks of making decorations for an event, which somehow was less intimidating for me). Thank you!

  • Thanks for putting it into words so well! I’m a recent follower of this blog and got the crafty bug from my mother, too. Looking forward to future posts!

  • Such a great post. You girls are very inspiring. I am thinking of opening up my own Etsy shop, and you girls have been my role models when it comes to great ideas and business. Keep it up!

  • Your blog is so inspirational and makes me appreciate that everything we do is a creation, our lunch, our hair, even our attitudes!
    Thank you x

  • You’re so right Emma! Making something just makes me happy and I’m proud of myself, especially as I have to think the whole day as a student it’s the perfect alternative 🙂

  • I used to make birthday gifts to all my friends in middle and high school, because my parents wouldn’t allow me to buy presents for them. The thought got lost in translation, but those who knew me, liked them, and those who stared at me stupid were not my friends after a while. Which was ok for me, I thought it was a valuable lesson, and now my mother and I make gifts for all her teacher friends.

    I have a job that I end up spending 8-10 hours at everyday (advertising), and I feel like I’ve lost my touch with my creativity and I have noticed that my anxiety and stress levels have gone up because I’m TOO TIRED at home to want to do anything. BUT there is a silver lining, I have a friend running a craft show for Leukimia patients, and I’m happily donating my hand made rosaries for the event (Its sponsored by St. Jude’s). I’m headed to Hobby Lobby on Saturday to buy my beads (I haven’t stepped foot in there since I left the company…its always weird to go back).


  • I love this post 🙂 You are both so inspiring and have many times given me the extra push towards creativity when I’ve most needed it! Making things for the win!
    – Kelsey @ Time Stand Still

  • I love coming to this blog to be inspired by new ideas! Finding a picture, idea, or tutorial about what I already love to do and feeling a little kick in the shorts to get going is a great way to start the day. Thank you!!

  • I promote creativity with both my kids and my little one just takes to it naturally. She’s like me, we just have too. My oldest daughter likes to draw so maybe I can get her interested in creative journaling. You just have to help them find what suits them.

  • As someone who feels like they are not creative, I really appreciate this article and am inspired to try something new this weekend!

  • Nice said! I think creating things makes you confident too. Learn new things is awesome. I ‘very joined a knitting and crochet circle and is the best.

  • love this post, and you ladies! my husband laughs at my insistence on making curtains for our dining room or sewing myself a new circle scarf rather than just taking the easy route and buying them. a creative outlet is a must!!

  • Thank you for this post! It’s SO true and I think we could all use a little more creativity in our lives 🙂 Keep on making (anything & everything)–your projects always bring a smile to my face!


  • Well not that I feel completely motivated to make something, but you did bring up some good points. Making something is definitely more personal. In the house or just a gift. It’s your touch or take on life.

  • You girls provide a ton of inspiration with your posts and projects, but reading this is giving me even more motivation to get started on several things I’ve been intimidated to attempt. Thanks for that!

  • I really appreciate this attitude towards creating and making, and I completely agree that all people are naturally creative in some way. I’ve learned to prioritize what I want to create or make – so I actually finish projects and don’t get too overwhelmed!

  • Really agree with your second point! And good to know I’m not the only person in their 20s who gets pimples still…I actually started in my 20s ahh! We’re young that’s why <3

  • Thank you for this post. It was well needed and atm I am making a blog post about a blanket I am making for my baby brother. DIY is life.

  • Wonderful post. I’ve seriously become that person that says “hey , i can make that!” instead of buying it off the store shelf. You guys are a HUGE inspiration! I love seeing every creative post y’all put up 🙂

  • I have also noticed that it is fun to add sth self-made to a shop-bought gift. E.g. last summer I bought my friend a small purse and then made myself matching earrings. 🙂 Every Christmas I make my own Christmas cards, it’s like a holiday ritual (that I usually enjoy in November :D). So yes, making something, anything, is SO much fun! 🙂

  • That is an excellent way to put it. I have just taken on the resolution to make more things. To actually do some of those project ideas I save and pin and list down. This website is a great source for those actually. 🙂

  • Your blog has been such an inspiration to my own blog and my own craftiness! Thanks for inspiring and helping all of us dig deep!!

  • This is a great post. i have to make something every day whether it’s big or small. It makes me happy, it reminds me that I’m more than a mother and a wife. It gives me a sense of accomplishment and joy. You are right a hand made gift is really special.

  • This year I have made it my intention to return to my DIY/crafty roots when I used to make everything – doll clothes, cream puffs, quilts, original paper cut crafts, scrapbooks, cookies, etc, etc, etc. So far, so good. I’m 44. I have 3 boys. I really can’t come up with a lot of sensible reasons to do it. Other than it makes me feel amazing and happy. I also recently heard that creating art is a kind of prayer. Works for me!

  • Oh you girls! This is a so, so, so beautiful post. I am trying to « make » things a little more and a little more often. Just love it when you feel that you know something, that you’ve made it, you can be proud and improve your creativity. And is this area, you always been a lot of inspiration for me!

    Olive xox

  • What a great article. Especially for mentioning mistakes next to the things one usually wants to make intentionally, which is a great reminder that they are normal and ok and even necessary. Next to all the reasons you listed, I like that you can make things exactly the way you want them to be when making them yourself.

  • This is one of my goals for 2013! I want to draw more as well as do more creative challenges. Just for fun, with no pressure and enjoy it even if they are not always perfect.

    Loving it so far and also a great thing to add to my blog.

    Thanks for the added inspiration as always.

  • This is an excellent reminder. I’ve been a creative lady since I was little and I find that when I get to allow my inspiration(s) to flow, it’s very relaxing. Any time I come across a new idea, inspired from many places, I feel excited. It is very rewarding to create something yourself. =)

  • I love this post! It totally captures the essence of why DIY-ers do what they do! It’s so much more than just a trend!

  • Emma, your writing is SO incredibly great! You are a really gifted writer and your personality just jumps from your words. I can instantly tell when its a post that is written by you! Don’t get me wrong, I love every single post whether it be from either you or elsie, but I just love your personality little lady! SO INSPIRING!!!

  • This post is so relevant to me right now!
    I’ve been feeling so blah and uninspired lately – working in an office kills my creativity a bit.
    But I’ve made it a goal to just make things, because once I start creating I tend to get on a roll!

  • Thank you for an inspirational post…so I decided to do something about it this evening to de stress after a long day at work. Whilst looking for ideas on your beautiful blog I saw your super cute pet portrait. I love my dog, so I painted my Lil staffy Betty. She’s the best. I wasn’t that brave and it is remarkably similar to yours… minus the diff pooch…I’ll be more creative next time! Thank you so much for the fab idea xxx

  • I read your blog since a lot of time and I just want to thank you for it! I’m French but I read it every day and sometimes, when I’m not really good in mind, it gives me courage and hope. Thanks for all. Really.

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