Every now and then I like to challenge myself by working to someone else’s specification.

Occasionally my mum will ask if I can make a card for her or my other half will come up with a suggestion for something, but, for the most part, my creations are things that I need or choose to make. If I’m making a card for a particular person then I’ll try and design it to fit their likes, but very little I do involves working to any sort of externally imposed guidelines.

So I go through phases of finding interesting challenges on crafty blogs. The first one I did with any regularity was Gerda Steiner’s progressive challenge, but that ended earlier this year. I also entered the Seven Hills Crafts challenge a few times as well as the one run by Create A Smile. My favourite colouring challenge was always The East Wind, as her digi designs have a style all of their own, but it’s been a while since the last one. This year I have taken part in some more mixed-media-oriented challenges like those organised by That’s Crafty and Country View Crafts.

The one thing all these have in common is that none of them were “anything goes” challenges; they all had themes or requirements or were based on a specific digi stamp. I know I’m being picky, but, for me, it’s not a challenge if you can submit absolutely anything. Likewise, I rarely submit a piece to more than one challenge and the odd occasion when I have done that, I’ve had both challenges in mind while designing it.

Also this year I have started on the GESSO: Primed Creatives blogging challenge. It’s a year-long challenge with a long list of themes for blog posts that make me organise my thoughts about creativity into some semblance of sense so that they are fit to be shared with you all.

All of these things push me a little way out of my comfort zone and make me look at things in a different way. They are challenges and if they weren’t, there wouldn’t be any point in taking part in them.