Hey! I'm Carrie Stephens, an artist and DIY creator of crafty things. Welcome to my corner of the internet, InspirationalZest.com. Find out more about who I am, including my personal struggles with weight regain, my online businesses (semi-passive income) and other equally boring details helping you learn a bit more about where I started and why.
Describing oneself in a few paragraphs can be challenging–especially when you are a bit of an introvert!–but I'll give it a shot. Authenticity is becoming scare on the internet with the rise of AI and it's important to know who we're giving our trust and attention to. I'm a dreamer and skeptical optimist. I find it difficult to support and trust anyone unless they are willing to tell me who they are.
My name is Carrie Stephens, A hot mess, middle age (perimenopause here I come), ADHD mother of two adult children. I am blessed to be living in beautiful Southern Ontario, Canada🍁 with my husband Scott + two sweet kitties, Minx and Milo.
If you have questions and would like to get in touch with me, you can contact me here!
The fam — sans human kids (for their privacy)
While I really don't consider myself a TRUE expert in any one specific thing, I have a curious, creative mind that led me to trying out a variety of creative pursuits. As a result of all the trial and error, I acquired huge variety of useful skills in my 40+ years living on this beautiful earth. 🌎
So, no I don't have a fancy formal art and graphic design degree, but, i was busy following my dreams! Instead, I have learned to adapt, sought out the online courses and worked my way through countless tutorials to gain the skill of determination–even when nothing is going my way–resulting in whole lot of self-taught life experience!
DIY Home decor projects, paper crafts, Painting and Drawing to Creating digital art in photoshop / illustrator, are among my favourite things to do! I have been fortunate to be able to follow those creative passions in life, while raising my family.
Some of my favorite creative adventures have resulted in decades long opportunities, and others, epic fails. Failures are part of life, all that matters is picking myself right back up. Being inspired by the next creative thing, moving forward through the tears and fears to adapt and learn more lessons, just as I am doing in creating this blog!
About Inspirational Zest
My goal with Inspirational Zest is not only to continue my creative career online, creating what I love, while sharing everything I have learned about art & creativity. I hope this may inspire others to dig deep into their creative souls, get passionate and never give up!
Forever dreaming of once again crafting my own unique space online where I can nurture my creative projects and ideas has long been a daydream goal of mine.
My aspiration is to infuse that special spark, that extra burst of inspiration, into fellow seekers of creativity, igniting a fire to kickstart various crafty endeavors is what lead me to the idea of Inspirational Zest.
What does inspirational Zest Mean?
“Inspirational Zest” suggests a combination of inspiration, upliftment, motivation, enthusiasm, energy, and excitement.
Ultimately, the motivation is to pursue something meaningful or worth while, with an uplifting approach. Creative inspiration, driven by my personal values and a desire to help others create unique things that speak to their soul!
So, here we are, I'm sharing my passions and skills and hopefully encouraging other creative scatterbrains like myself to delve into their creative hobbies, explore new inspiration or perhaps even embark on entrepreneurial journeys selling their own designs or handcrafted treasures.
Join me on the journey!
I really am happy you are here and i do hope you stick around!
Random FACTS ABOUT Carrie Stephens
1. Crafting does not come naturally to me.
So, if I am not a natural at making crafts, you may wonder why on earth I have a craft based blog, then? haha, i know, right? I will explain!
Drawing, doodling and making art is my thing, the step by step process of making crafts or crafting with paper, glue or tools does not come as natural. I still really want to do all the fun crafty projects and stretch myself a bit further and I believe it is an important part of the process for all of us creative types!
It doesn't mean i can't, I just have to work a bit harder at it! As you can see in the photo of my “art studio” portion of my office, I tend to over do it with the mess, i get lost in the process, jumping from project to project (thanks adhd brain) it's that mess that makes me unorganized. I don't like to clean it up! haha (If I wont the lottery, I would pay someone big money to follow me and clean up my messes and reassure me that my art and crafts aren't ugly all day.😆)
All that to say, If I can make it through a craft project from start to finish, you can too!
2. I have been SELLING My digital art Online for 16 years!
A love of art and taking photos of my babies, evolved into creating digital scrapbooking graphics, clipart, coloring illustrations, printables and print on demand products!
How It started
Digital Scrapbooking was first. It all started with a micro-community of SAHM's on email groups. (I can't even remember how that was a thing?) We found a community by teaching each other how to use photoshop to create digital graphics for email signatures and scrapbooks.
Of course, as a true DIY'er and lover of all things creative, I knew this something that I could do while my baby slept, or during school hours. I was excited that it didn't involve pulling out a bunch of art supplies, buying things out of my budget or making big messes.(I love making messes but, not cleaning them up! LOL)
Instant love! I began teaching myself how to use photoshop and illustrator through lynda.com. (Thank you Deke McClelland!) aka: linked in learning. It didn't take long until I wasn't just making digital scrapbook layouts, but creating digital graphics for scrapbooking kits to share and sell.
Eventually the digital kits and scrapbook layouts evolved into the digital products you can download in my shops today. Clip Art illustrations, digital backgrounds, repeating patterns, svg cut files, paper crafts, printables, stickers and more.
3. My Online business was formerly known as FishScraps.
Okay, Don't laugh, it was my first online business and creatively weird–just like me. Clearly I had no idea what I was doing, there was not an abundance of tutorials or marketing gurus back then to follow. I was just going for memorable + whimsical. 😂
Through Fishscraps I had gained many wonderful and loyal supporters and online friends who purchased my scrapbooking kits to scrapbook their families memories, allowing me to work from home. 🏡 doing creative things I loved.
My business FishScraps served me well from 2006-2010. If you want to check out a snapshot of Fishscraps for yourself and have a laugh, you can see it via the way back machine!
Looking back, some of those graphics and patterns were downright UGLY in comparison to the digital scrapbook kits available today. Girl, the internet was mainly dial up and photoshop was at version 6! 🤪 It was what it was.
We had an amazing community of creative moms, I made so many wonderful friends from all over the world. I sure do miss those days!
Sadly, I outgrew the hobby of digital scrapbooking once my kids started getting a bit older and didn't want their photos taken.
Not to mention, I also started to get nervous about sharing their lives too much on the internet, once I realized it was becoming a bit more than, just for our entertainment.
It felt like it was a different time back then, but it was my first time realizing that almost anything was possible on the internet if you put your mind to it!
If you want an online business, build it, work hard and they will come.
4. I sell my digital art on several online shops!
My digital art business is Carrie Stephens Art! There are several shops that you can find my artwork in many different formats. From printables, vector graphics or raster clipart, as well as printables for crafting. Not only that, but i also sell my art as products on Redbubble and Amazon merch!
Check below for some of the many places you can find my hand-drawn artwork for sale!
Carrie Stephens Art – Etsy Shop
CarrieStephensArt : My successful Etsy Shop with over 40.000 digital product sales features a selection of digital clip art & background papers for personal or limited licensed commercial use!
CS PRINTABLE Art – Etsy shop
CSPrintableart : a shop focusing on printables | coloring pages, stickers & digital transfer images.
Carrie Stephens Art – Teachers Pay Teachers
A shop at Teachers Pay Teachers with licensing terms more suited towards Educators creating lesson plans to sell in their own shops.
5. I lost 135 lbs and gained it all back…
Something that has kept me a little quiet over the last three years is the embarrassment I felt from losing and then gaining back a lot of weight. It was easier to be overweight, than to be the girl who lost it and gained it all back.
I lost 135lbs with weight watchers. Unfortunately, life stresses overtook my ability to focus on myself and shortly after, the pandemic also happened. Before i knew it, I managed to gain it almost all back over the course of two years and never wanted to leave the house or show my face again.
Yes, it's silly, i know. I am finally reflecting back on that “failure”, and I am working once again towards treating myself well again. Focus on art and craft is important to that health journey. Hopefully I will be brave and share my progress again online one of these days. It felt so good to finally have more energy and feel good about myself! It also made me way more creative.
6. I draw my digital art on paper first!
After sketching illustrations or patterns on paper or in a sketchbook, I take a photo, redraw in illustrator and then bring the vectors into photoshop for the finishing touches!
Suggestions where to head next?
Have I mentioned how happy I am that you are here? Really, I'm just tickled if you have found yourself all the way here at the end of my somewhat boring about page! If you haven't found just the right thing to tickle your creative fancy yet, here are a few suggestions!
➡️Search Inspirational Zest
➡️Get email notifications
Sign up, it's easy peasy and that way, you won't miss out on anything new! You can subscribe using this form, directly below, or if you prefer to learn more first, check out IZ newsletter subscription details first!
➡️Discover what's New on the Blog!
Find all of my latest blog posts in chronological order here. What's new at Inspirational Zest.
👀Looking to The future
When it comes to what's next, I am focused on my mission and I'm not letting anything get in my way, anymore. I am doing this for my people, the ones like you who have read all the way down my about me page to read more to find out about me, what I'm all about and decide they still want to stick around!
Thanks for stopping by, hope to see you again soon!