Creating Creative Lives Interview: Elise Blaha Cripe

I am just beyond about what I’m sharing with you guys today. This is the first in a series of interviews I’ll be conducting with some of my favorite creative women on the web. And I couldn’t pick a better person to start things off. 

With a creative portfolio that includes running her own business, writing an incredibly popular blog, and leading online and in-person workshops, Elise Blaha Cripe is certainly an inspiration for anyone hoping to infuse a bit more creativity into life. If I have time for just one blog on any given day, I head over to Elise’s happy little corner of the internet. I would go just for the crafting and the pictures and the storytelling. But it’s more than that. Elise’s approach to her art, her business, and her blog are so joyful and life-affirming that I can’t help looking at my own days with new, more appreciative, eyes.

If you’re new to Elise’s blog, here are some of my very favorite posts:
And, without further ado, Elise’s own words:
1. What is the first thing that you ever remember creating?
I remember asking for a scrapbook for Christmas when I was about 9 and then gluing photos and writing all over that. In high school, I had a "frame business" where I decoupaged wooden frames and sold them to my classmates for $10. I remember them being a big hit around Mother's day. :)
2. You started working for yourself full-time over a year ago. What was the biggest challenge about making the transition from a traditional job to self-employment?
Thankfully, I was able to ease into it. I went from working full-time out of the house to working part-time to less time and finally full-time in house. I am grateful for the transition time because I think it helped the process feel less overwhelming. I never struggled with time management because I slowly added my "free-time" into my schedule.

3. Your business comes across as joyful and spontaneous as well as professional and successful. Did you have a role model for the actual process of creating it? 
I think I am inspired by many women and men online who just go after what they want. It's nice to see that making your own job out of many different things is possible. I love that you described it as spontaneous. That is a word I would not have thought to use but absolutely something I strive for. If I don't act on an idea RIGHT AWAY, I know I never will because I'll start to worry about all the obstacles and get distracted.
4. What is your creative process like, both for your writing and for your art?
This is what my brain looks like : "No ideas... no ideas... hmmm, when where there be an idea?... hmmm..... IDEA! EXECUTE!" I have learned to not force it and just be patient. The new idea (for a craft project, for the shop or for the blog) WILL come, but I have to wait for it. And then, while it's here, I have to act immediately. :)

5. Is there a medium that you'd love to work in/with but don't out of fear or impediments?
I would love to play with black and white film and do my own photo developing (something I did in high school and again in college) but it's difficult to find a darkroom and then expensive to pay for supplies and studio time. Plus - I have no real plan for how I would use the photos ... I just remember it being a blast in college.
6. How do you deal with the "down times" of creating, those times when you're in a rut or lacking confidence?
I try to use those times for other things - getting the house back in order, running, reading, cooking - whatever. I do my best to stay busy at all times because in the past, that's how an idea has come and I've escaped the rut.

7. What do you like to do when you're not creating things?
Run, watch TV with my husband, cook dinner, read, hike!
8. If you could live anywhere in the world for one year, where would it be?
I am sure the "proper" answer to this is somewhere fabulous, like Paris. But, I am so happy with where we live now and so relieved to have my husband home from deployment that I have no desire to move. But in a dream world? I would love to live where it's warm and sunny every single day... so Hawaii would be fantastic. 

I hope you've enjoyed reading Elise's take on her creative life as much as I have! Make sure you pop on over to her blog and her shop to see some more of her fabulous prints and minibooks and read her inspiring words. 


{all photos from Elise Blaha Cripe's personal collection}