How To Draw Inspiration From Something Without Copying It.

In this world of blogs and Pinterest there is inspiration EVERYWHERE.

We are inspiration addicts.  We just can’t get enough of it.

Thousands of pins later we don’t know which way is up or what we actually like because WE like it and it speaks to us or what we like because we are bombarded with it because everyone else is obsessed.   We lose our own voice and opinions because of beautiful images that draw us in and make us feel like if we could have THAT rug, or THAT bedroom, or an all white kitchen that our lives would somehow be more fulfilling.

Load Of Crap

So what do you do?  How do you right yourself and find your own voice? (Besides being a part of the FFA) How do you find inspiration in things without feeling the need to duplicate it exactly?

My friends never fear,  MANDILICIOUS is here!!!  And I have the perfect example to inspire your guts out.  This is how I draw inspiration from other peoples projects.

I loved this post from Jenny @ Little Green Notebook.

She had these panels of beautiful hand painted paper that she mounted to the wall in her dining room.  I LOVED how she used something that I never would have thought of.  This traditional Chinese wallpaper rocks my world.  Its so chic and unique and lovely.

But just because I love it doesnt  mean that I have to do exactly what she did.  I filed it away in my brain of something I was moved by.  That’s all.  Then I went on with my life.

That is what (IMHO) a great blogger/inspiration source does.  They inspire you to look at the things around you differently.  To judge things less and to push you beyond what you are.  They can change your perspective with one project.  Jenny is a WONDERFUL example of this.

Fast forward a few months.   I saw 2 of these lamps at the DI (Utah’s version of Goodwill)  They were brass(!) which I loved but not the good tarnished brass.  The gaudy high polished kind. (Check back tomorrow to see how I took the A*$ out of brass and made them lovely and slightly tarnished.)  But etched into the sides were oriental scenes.  AMAZING!!

Do you remember my rule?!  If you see 2 matching lamps BUY.THEM.RIGHT.NOW  because you can always spruce them up and its always a room killer if you need 2 lamps and only thrifted one.  And if you want to hear my voice saying it every time you see a set of lamps you can watch this clip from Nate

Oriental Lamp


Had I not seen Miss Jenny’s  wallpaper I might not have snatched them up.  But because she made me feel something when I saw her project, the dots in my brain connected and I found a way to incorporate something classically traditional in a way that was my own.

Oriental Brass Lamp


And I got the lamps for $8.00 each so that doesn’t hurt either…


Pretty fun right?!

You can love something  from someone else and still make it your own,  just don’t be afraid of your own voice.

What is your favorite source of inspiration?

Love  Your  Guts,  Mandi


  • Kathryn 09.05.2012 at 15:37

    oh personal voice. Why do we get so afraid of using it as we get older. I teach this concept all the time to my students, good to remember how to use it at home.

  • Hayley 09.05.2012 at 15:38

    I think it’s too easy to just copy a room, but I find when I do try to just copy, it never turns out as well as the original (they’re professionals!) and I’m disappointed. I love pinterest (a lot more organized then the files on my desktop were). I’ve been trying to design a “big boy” room for my toddler, since we just found out baby #2 is a boy and he’ll be going in the nursery. I just like to pin anything I like and then go over them a million times to figure out what elements I like from each. Then try and focus a plan that can bring all of those elements together cohesively. That’s just how I work.

  • Kari 09.05.2012 at 15:44


    You’re total awesome sauce! I love mix and matching-when I see something I love I try to think of ways I can incorporate it into my room. I like to bring in a whole bunch of different ideas and play around with them until they work. That way I’m making something that has all the elements I love and therefore it’s uniquely me.

    Thanks for being so rad!

    Newlyweds on a Budget

  • abigtadoooverglue 09.05.2012 at 15:45

    Great post Mandi. I also watched the clip from the Nate Berkus Show. I had seen all of the pictures of the finished rooms and hallways before but having you there to explain exactly what you did was a real inspiration.

    I love how you use common items and transform them into something extraordinary. I can tell that the more I craft, thrift and repurpose, the more original in my own designs i become.

    Thanks !!

  • Tauni 09.05.2012 at 15:49

    Mandi, I think that this may be one of my favorite posts yet. Very well written. Thank you!


  • Kristiina 09.05.2012 at 15:53

    Love this post! Also, it was fun meeting you at Snap!

  • Katie {Sweet Rose Studio} 09.05.2012 at 16:05

    Mandi. Miss Mandi. Thank you for always keeping it real and telling it like it is. It is so refreshing to have someone let you know how to go about being your own person, just like a close girl friend would. Love YOUR guts!

  • Catherine L 09.05.2012 at 16:34

    Hi Mandi, I first heard of Vintage Revivals when I was at Snap this year (I know….WHERE WAS I to not know about this fun blog before???) I didn’t get a chance to meet you, but what I saw was that you RADIATED style and beauty and fun! Thank you for sharing this post – it’s something I know I struggle with when I’m creating (especially the feeling-overwhelmed-with-all-of-the-inspiration part). You are delightful (sounds Mary Poppins-ish, but it’s true!) and I look forward to following your blog!

  • Key Interiors by Shinay 09.05.2012 at 16:51

    Hi Mandi, thanks for this post,
    I am one who hates the idea of copying others work in fact it’s a pet peeve of mine. The copy word is not in my vocabulary but of course like anyone I love being inspired by something or others for that is what gets the creative juices flowing but when it comes to copying others it’s a no-no for me Heck I have trouble copying my own work. My husband ask me one time “why are you making it so difficult for yourself while decorating a clients room when all you have to do is do something you already done before”. My response to him was every person is different with their own personality and I love the challenge of doing something nothing like anyone else. Furthermore about Penterest your right it’s so easy to get caught up in all styles that is why I made a board that say (This is so me!). Because there is a difference from what I think is cool and beautiful than what I think is so me.

  • allenaim photography and design 09.05.2012 at 17:06

    I love this post and was just thinking about the same stuff last week…my solution was boredom. get bored and then let inspiration come instead of searching for it…I argued that “inspiration” is the weaving of ideas from various sources and the culmination in unique thought etc.

    Here’s the post if you’re interested…

    …and may I just say that take the a$! out of brass is HEElarious…

  • Rhiannon 09.05.2012 at 18:00

    at first look, eeekkk… but the design GORGEOUS!!! Ooh I cannot wait to see what beautiful things you do with them and for $8 each dang!

  • Kim @ Plumberry Pie 09.05.2012 at 18:03

    Good stuff, Mandy, good stuff!

  • Kim @ Plumberry Pie 09.05.2012 at 18:04

    sorry, just realized i spelt your name wrong, oops. thanks Mandi! there, got it right that time!!!:)

  • Emily 09.05.2012 at 20:09

    I love this! Even though I’m not crafty, I do look for inspiration in posts and writing styles but want to make sure I keep my own voice. :)

  • Anonymous 09.05.2012 at 20:17

    I am so glad that I bookmarked your blog, and read this post today. As I peruse pinterest, magazines, home decor show, etc….. I often think to myself that is “too perfect” or “too trendy” for me. This was a great reminder, that although I am neither perfect nor trendy, I can be inspired. Thanks!!!

  • Tobey 09.05.2012 at 21:58

    Love this post Mandi, people come into my home and see a mish mash of styles, because I love many different type of styles and I take what I see and make it my own. It may not be any type of style but it is my style and thats what matters. I have always said to surround yourself with the people you love and the things that you love and what makes you happy. My home hugs me like a warm comfy blanket on a cold night, it is unique and different just like me. Love your blog Mandi, you are such a sweetie, hugs Tobey

  • thelinenhouse 10.05.2012 at 00:53

    Great post! My dilemma is simply that I truly love many, many different styles and colors and patterns…I can pin five radically different rooms and love and want to live in each of them! However, the longer I look for inspiration, the more I discover what makes my style unique and original, and the less copycatting that I think I do. Sometimes I look back over pins or blogs I used to like and realized that they don’t truly express my uniqueness and individuality.
    Sometimes you just have to give yourself permission to like what you really like, too. I’ve always loved gold, but when brushed silver was “in” I felt like I didn’t have permission to like it…I’m realizing now that I just need to stay true to my own tastes and not worry about what other people might think :-)

  • Rebecca (joe's mom) 10.05.2012 at 13:11

    Love those lamps. Great score for $8! I also love how you arranged those flowers and the photo with the flowers in the foreground and lamps in the background. You must have some AWESOME thrifting haunts where you live.

  • Like Me Some 10.05.2012 at 14:26

    Fabulous post and so true!! So often we are able to take our own spin on someone else’s amazing idea! I live how you see something like this and them it makes you look at things in a different light, just like lif, huh?!
    Great lamps and post!! Pretty sure we had a set growing up, figures now I can appreciate the look!!!

  • Ashleigh 15.05.2012 at 06:24

    I love this post Mandi! I get in crazy ruts when I look at pinterest too long! The best feeling is when I truly let myself play and not care how it turns out, or what anyone else thinks. My personal voice is in there somewhere!!! Thanks for reminding me of this and for reaffirming that we are allowed to be-and should be- different!!!

    It was so great to meet you in person at SNAP. You are even more craptastic than I thought you were!!!

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