Going Bohemian in My Backyard 

I am writing my blog post tonight, while sitting in a bohemian tent in my backyard garden. An almost full moon is sliding across the summer sky. I have candles lit and a pot of lemon balm tea near by. Young Living lavender oil is scenting the air, along with the herbs and flowers growing in my garden. I colored in one of my coloring books until it got too dark to see. This…is…bliss. 

Going Bohemian in the Backyard
Inspiration led me here. 

The answer to the question, How shall we play today? seemed to involve coloring. I thought I might gather coloring books and my colored pencils and relax on my bed while a movie played in the background. However, my mind skittered away from that thought whenever I contemplated the idea. 

As I was doing a bit of weeding in the backyard garden, late in the afternoon, I paused, soaking in the beauty surrounding me. Or maybe, I thought, I will light candles in the garden tonight instead. At that moment, the funny quote that says “If you need me, I’ll be in my blanket fort coloring…” came to mind. And with it, the image of a bohemian style tent made out of vintage quilts and linens. 

Yes…yes! There it was. Inspiration, and the day’s creative activity, which included coloring after all. 

Going Bohemian in the Backyard

I created my own boho tent, using one of Greg’s adjustable metal ladders as the frame. A wooden one would work just as well, or two chairs placed back to back. 

Going Bohemian in the Backyard
I layered on the quilts and tablecloths. Bohemian or boho style is about layering. I have many vintage quilts and lace tablecloths that once belonged to Greg’s grandmothers. I gravitated toward a yellow and cream color scheme. 

Initially I had a quilt forming the back wall of the tent, however I realized that might make the interior too warm. I swapped out the quilt for a lace tablecloth, to allow air to circulate. I draped and adjusted until I was pleased with the look, tucking in corners and edges to secure the quilts. I only used one clothespin. I folded a couple of thick quilts to create the floor of the tent and added two small pillows for comfort. 

Going Bohemian in the Backyard
Candles are a must for me. They create such a soft, beautiful atmosphere. Although it is hard to tell from the photos, the candles are all a safe distance away from flammable materials. All of the candles are also in containers, except for the three on candlesticks. I added candles behind the tent as well, so that they would shine through the lace cloth. (Use caution in creating your own boho setting, if using candles, and never leave them unattended.)

Going Bohemian in the Backyard
Going Bohemian in the Backyard
I set up a vintage metal tray to hold a pot of freshly brewed tea, using lemon balm from my garden. 

Going Bohemian in the Backyard

Going Bohemian in the Backyard
What a magical evening. After coloring, I turned so that my back rested against the pillows piled along one side of the ladder, enjoying the candlelight, the night song of insects and frogs, and the cool breeze. I sipped my tea and smiled often as I peeked out the tent opening. 

As a little girl, I loved making blanket tents. The coziness and intimacy within appealed to me. Tonight, I am wondering why I haven’t done this more often. This simple pleasure brings joy to my heart and gladness to my soul. And my inner child thinks this is the best night ever! 

Going Bohemian in the Backyard
Oscar Wilde wrote, “With freedom, books, flowers and the moon, who could not be happy?” 

I would include…and candlelight and a boho tent. Happiness indeed. 

Vintage Page Gets a Fresh Illustration

I am loving the inspiration I am getting from the set of vintage encyclopedias. Printed in 1951, these outdated volumes have no resale value, however, their creative value is high. 

Tonight I had fun creating another artistic project using one of the vintage pages. 

Vintage Page Gets a Fresh Illustration
I carefully removed a page from the “I” volume of the encyclopedias. Using an article about Imagination as my background, I wanted to create a a piece of art that I could frame and display. 

Vintage Page Gets a Fresh Illustration
I sketched and then inked in a dainty milkwort plant, using another vintage page from The Book of Knowledge set as inspiration. I had pre-selected a frame and used the glass as a template to cut the encyclopedia page to the correct size. 

Vintage Page Gets a Fresh Illustration
I enjoyed coloring my completed sketch. The encyclopedia paper is very thin, causing me to color carefully. However, the old paper takes color extremely well. The pencils glided over the page and the colors blended well. 

In a short time, my something-new-from-something-old work of art was completed. It looked great in its simple wooden frame. 

Vintage Page Gets a Fresh Illustration
I knew I wanted to display this artwork in my bedroom. But I didn’t know where I was going to display it, within the room, until I carried the piece through the door. And then it was immediately obvious. Of course. There, on my little bedside table, next to the old phone that Greg’s dad converted into a lamp years ago. The framed art fits perfectly there, a fresh look on an old page, that I created. Behind it all, both figuratively and literally, is imagination. 

And the little milkwort flowers make me smile. 

Vintage Page Gets a Fresh Illustration

Coloring with Cindy Series

Tonight I offer video number two, in a series of coloring how-to videos. People have asked me how to shade or create some of the effects that I do in coloring. Creating videos has been a fun way to share that information, and it pushes me a bit, out of my comfort zone.

Coloring with Cindy Series

For this clip, I did the videoing myself, while also coloring and narrating. Talk about multi-tasking! In addition, there were thunderstorms moving into the area. Although I could hear the low rumble of thunder as I colored, it isn’t evident on the video. However, shortly after I wrapped up, the thunder became quite loud.

Coloring with Cindy Series

I will continue to share videos about different coloring techniques. If you have a question or want to see something specific that would be helpful, please let me know in the comments.

Thank you for watching. And be patient as I perfect my videoing techniques!

I am coloring in Joanna Basford’s book, Secret Garden. The colored pencils I use are the Prismacolor and Crayola brands. You can order all of these items below:

I am an Amazon Affiliate and may make a commission on products sold, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for considering making a purchase of these products, or any other items, through my Amazon link!


An Evening of Coloring

My days have been really full lately. That’s not a complaint at all. I absolutely love my life and my journey. After a busy day I come home, eat a healthy dinner, sometimes do a creative project and write a blog post or two. I’ve looked at the coloring page next to my chair every night for a month, and then after checking the time, I’ve thought, I’ll color on that tomorrow. 

Today I realized I’m up against the clock now. That coloring page, printed from the This Old House website, needs to be finished tomorrow if I’m going to enter it in the contest. 

An Evening of Coloring
So guess what I did this evening?

I came home, rather late, ate a healthy dinner of leftovers…and I colored. I spent the whole evening coloring. Earlier today, I considered not completing the page for the contest. However, the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to make the attempt to get it submitted in time. 

And…I really do enjoy coloring. Laying color on to the page, building up color, creating shading and highlights, is not only fun for me, it is centering, meditative, creative. 

An Evening of Coloring
This is where I started this evening, barely further along than I was a month ago. I filled in sections, one area at a time, using the colors that I felt drawn to. One of the things I love about coloring is how the picture evolves as I work, and often in different ways than I imagined when I began with a blank page. This truly is a creative process and there are no mistakes. What the finished picture becomes is always perfect, as it is. 

That is an important life lesson for me as well. I color in my own life as I go, and I am often just as surprised by what comes together, delightfully so. 

An Evening of Coloring
This is how far I got tonight. I made good progress and I’m pleased with the results. And truthfully, I don’t yet know if I will finish in time. Because tomorrow is another very full day. I will do my best, and enjoy what I do, and live with the “I don’t know” and the outcome. 

Whether I get the coloring page submitted in time or not, I’ve enjoyed the creative process and the lessons learned. It’s all good!

An Evening of Coloring

My First Coloring Video

I’m sharing a fun first tonight, a quick little creative project. I have had several people ask me how I create shading when I color, and give the appearance of highlights. Rather than write about the simple techniques that I use, I decided to create a short instructional video.

My First Coloring Video
I tried setting up something to hold my iPhone  while it recorded my work, to no avail. I couldn’t get the right angle. Special thanks to Greg for being my cameraman and offering encouragement.

Forgive a giggle or two, and a pencil drop…I really just dove right in to this demonstration. It was fun though.

Let me know if this video was helpful! I intend to make a series of coloring videos, each one under five minutes in length, with simple techniques and suggestions. Coloring should be fun, first of all, and art according to the artist’s style and preferences.

Enjoy! Play with shading and highlights. And I’ll see you on YouTube!

My First Coloring Video


You don’t have to own expensive colored pencils. Although I often color with Prismacolor Pencils, I started out with Crayola Colored Pencils and still use them. Check out both brands below:




I am an Amazon Affiliate and may earn a commission on purchases, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for considering making a purchase of these products, or any other items, through my Amazon links!

This Old House Coloring Contest

Tonight’s blog post is brief, and mostly pictorial, as I am working on a couple of different creative projects. Greg drew my attention recently to a coloring contest, sponsored by This Old House and Sherwin Williams. I am excited to participate…any excuse to color is good, after all…and printed out the coloring sheet. 

Although I have until the end of March to submit my finished page, I began coloring tonight. I enjoy very detailed coloring and layering on colors to create depth and shading.  It is not too soon for me to begin! 

This Old House Coloring Contest
Because I am a nerd, and detail oriented, I spent time researching Sherwin Williams’ color of the year for 2017. 

It is Poised Taupe.  Sidenote: I’d love to be the person who names new colors! 

This Old House Coloring Contest
And I studied Sherwin Williams color palettes that complement Poised Taupe, as seriously as I would if I had decided to paint my house exterior. 

This Old House Coloring Contest
This Old House Coloring Contest
Only then did I begin coloring, once I had color palettes in mind and felt inspired. 

This Old House Coloring Contest
A blank coloring page calls forth such creativity from within me. It is an invitation to create with color and shading and highlights. I have barely started, and yet I am enjoying the process very much. Coloring is a meditative act for me, a spiritual practice happily joined with art. 

It doesn’t matter to me whether I win this coloring contest or not. The challenge lies not in competing with others but in doing my best work and having fun while I create. 

Because the play’s the thing. 

Hamlet was remarking about a performance, in which he hoped to gather proof about who killed his father. I mean play, as in having fun and playing. I am playing as I color. I am creating. I am making art a little more robust in my life. 

This Old House Coloring Contest
 You can join in the fun. Go to This Old House on Facebook or HERE

Back to Coloring

I love how inspiration calls to me, as I maintain an open mind and heart. It can arrive and nudge me, or drop a creative idea into my head, in unexpected places, and through unexpected sources. 

Back to Coloring, A Return to My Coloring Books after a Nudge from Inspiration

Today my sister Linda and I took our granddaughters to lunch at one of their favorite restaurants, Chick Fil A. School begins tomorrow, after a long four day weekend. We wanted to get the girls together again before London headed back to Oklahoma. 

A card game came with the girls’ chicken nuggets. Intended as conversation starters, Aubrey opened her deck, selected a card, and read the question: 

If you had free time today, to enjoy a favorite hobby, what would you do? 

Good question! 

We took turns answering. London wanted to skate. Linda picked reading. Aubrey decided she would draw. After sorting through several enticing possibilities, I answered I’d like to color. 

Back to Coloring, A Return to my Coloring Books after a Nudge from Inspiration
That idea stayed with me the rest of the day. As I drove home, well after dark, I thought about the new coloring books I received for Christmas, from Greg, and from grandson Jonathan and his mom. And I tried to recall when I had last enjoyed the meditative art of coloring. It had been too long. The thought deepened into an intention, and I looked forward to gathering my colored pencils and a stack of coloring books when I arrived home. 

What a perfect way to settle in for the evening. 

Back to Coloring, A Return to my Coloring Books after a Nudge from Inspiration

While a cup of hot tea brewed, I returned to my last unfinished project, from the Doctor Who Coloring Book. I felt inspired to add to the coloring page by sketching in a TARDIS in the background. The Doctor’s time machine, cleverly camouflaged as a blue police box, is the quintessential symbol for this long running BBC television show. I like the idea of creating a subtle TARDIS, by way of shading, behind Doctors 9, 10, 11 and 12. 

I became so absorbed in my creation, I forgot about the tea. I am sipping on one strong, and cooled, cup of Scottish tea. 

Back to Coloring, A Return to my Coloring Books after a Nudge from Inspiration

I will enjoy coloring in all of my new books tonight. As I laid color onto the Doctor Who page, I smiled from the pure and simple joy of coloring. I connected again with the pleasure and artistic satisfaction of this hobby, carried forward from my childhood. 

The Lord of the Rings coloring book has rich details and many colorable quotes throughout its pages. It will take me a long time to finish this book, and I am okay with that. It is art, and it will be a work in progress. As I am typing my blog post, the LOTR coloring book is open on my lap, where a scene from the Shire beckons to me. For the first time, I feel drawn to color the pages in chronological order. I will honor that inclination. 

I am grateful for the fun game we played at Chick Fil A this afternoon. And for the invitation that Inspiration offered through a simple question read by a sweet child. 

Yes, I will return to coloring, and open further to where this journey takes me. 

Back to Coloring, A Return to my Coloring Books after a Nudge from Inspiration

The Hedgehog

This was an exciting day, with a twinge of sadness, as the Arkansas house chapter concluded. Greg closed on his parents’ home and we drove away from there, knowing we would not see it again. This evening I returned to drawing a creative action from my glass pitcher, after taking a break yesterday so I could celebrate my grandson with a birthday post. 

Late in the day, I drew this activity: 

Color whimsical animal in EF. 

Again, the perfect arrow to fire after another long day. I was delighted. 

EF stands for Enchanted Forest, a coloring book by Johanna Basford. Within the book are whimsical animals and scenes from the forest. I so enjoyed coloring one of the animals recently, a rabbit, that I looked forward to completing another one. I chose the hedgehog. 

The first whimsical creature that I colored. 

I love these creatures! They are animals morphing into leaves. Or at least, that’s how I viewed them originally. As I colored on the hedgehog tonight, my perspective shifted. I saw that it could be that the enchanted plants in this magical forest may be transitioning into animals! 

Coloring is meditative for me. It slows me down, centers me, restores balance. As I completed my little hedgehog, I felt rested, as if I had taken a nap. My thoughts turned toward the creative activities I’ve drawn this past week, seemingly at random, and I saw the perfection in my journey. 

 Rilynn photo bombs the pic as she checks out my coloring. 

Many of the creative activities that I wrote out and dropped into the pitcher require time to carry out. Although they are intended to be completed within the day, some could take several hours to finish or may necessitate leaving the house. I have already marveled at drawing a rainy day activity on a day when rain was falling. Or selecting one that required me to give away items as we were preparing for a yard sale. 

To draw the coloring activity this evening, so late in the day, amazed me and deeply touched me. I see everything that comes into my life as an ongoing conversation with the Divine. Drawing activities that so perfectly align with the amount of time I have to do them, and the physical ability that I have at that moment to perform them, is part of that conversation. 

The Divine is saying to me, through these simple playful activities written on folded slips of paper, “I see you. I’m aware of you. I’m aware of the day you are having/will have/had. Will you trust me?” 

I answer “I do…” every time I reach into that pitcher, to see what I will draw.  When I began this month this was a creative exercise, something fun to do. I have learned so much about my journey, and how life works for me. I feel humbled and grateful for this time of surrender. It has raised my awareness and deepened my trust. 

This little hedgehog, who is becoming something more as he journeys, became my symbol tonight for this amazing month. Every time I look at him, I will think about what I am learning and who I am becoming as I journey. I named my hedgehog Junebug. 

A Passion Inspired Idea

As I wrote out my Morning Pages, I had a “hit” concerning the arrow of desire that I would draw today. A short time later, as I stirred the slips of paper, I wondered if my hunch would prove correct. I felt a slight resistance toward carrying out that particular creative action, even though I created the activity. 

My intuition was spot on. I drew this creative action:

Name coloring book. 

On the surface, this was a great activity for today, requiring thought mostly, and a short amount of time with pen and paper. Last year I wholeheartedly embraced the adult coloring craze. Coloring has been compared to meditation because of its positive effects on the mind and body. I agree. I find coloring, using colored pencils in a variety of books, relaxing and centering.

Recently, as I was working in the garden, an idea took shape in my mind, for a new coloring book. In a short time, I had the theme worked out and a layout planned featuring whimsical pictures to color with an inspiring quote on the facing page that could also be colored. 

I’m pleased with how it all came together. The theme incorporates a life journey, with different scenes representing different stages of the journey. The style is fun and enchanting, and encouraging too. The pages tell a story without using words. 

And there are subtle teaching elements. For example, all that the traveler in my coloring book needs, is already present. A few objects on the page hint at what lies ahead, “just around the river bend”. While items no longer needed for this part of the journey are left behind, released after serving their purposes. There are clues and hidden meanings and a definite flow, just as there are in life. 

When I wrote out 30 creative actions, 30 arrows of desire, I included two that encouraged me to take action steps toward making this idea a reality. Today I had fun playing with words for a title. Thinking I had to have “Journey” as part of the title, I tried a variety of combinations, such as Life is a Journey and The Amazing Journey. 

I eliminated several titles that I jotted down because they are already in use. Ultimately, I questioned my belief that journey had to be a key word in the title. What flowed, as soon as I surrendered to other possibilities was this:

Beautiful Wandering: A Coloring Adventure

I like it. For now that’s my working title for this project. It captures what I am presenting.  

So why did I feel resistance to creating a title for a fun artistic idea? That was where today’s arrow of desire led me. I know that when I feel resistance it is a signal that I am moving out of the flow. My awareness goes inward, to see what’s going on at a deeper level. 

At the center of my unease I found fear of failure. I received this lovely idea. However, do I believe that I have the artistic ability to bring it to fruition? I truly believe that if I did not, the idea would not have been given to me. Yet deep in my heart, there is doubt. 

I realized that when I was younger, and sketched almost daily, I would have been confident in my ability to draw these coloring pages. The lack of expressing myself through drawing has eroded both my ability and my belief that I can create in this way.  
This then is the perfect opportunity to re-engage my artistic side and to see what I can create. I have been invited to share, by way of an idea that has been born out of my passion for coloring and my passion for journeying well through life. 

I am grateful that I drew this activity today. I needed to track this arrow of desire, to discover what was holding me back. Somewhere in my glass pitcher is a folded slip of paper with another creative action written on it, that will call forth my sketching abilities, challenging me to draw all of the components of Beautiful Wandering. 

Whether this project is successful, or I’m the only one who ever colors on the pages, is not the point. What is important is, will I do something with the idea that has been entrusted to me? Will I stretch and grow…and draw? I believe I can do this. I’m excited. 

In the Company of Women

My ladies group met tonight. We have been a Book Club, and may be again. Right now we are meeting and enjoying different themes: watching a TED talk and discussing it, reading an article or poetry together, experiencing movement and energy, being blessed with a book that was written for grandchildren. This evening we gathered, and colored, each of us bringing a coloring book and supplies. Kathleen brought a project she’s working on.  

We sat in a circle, heads bent over our creative endeavors. In that quiet and sacred space, conversation flowed freely amongst us. We talked about a broad variety of topics, about life, about our journeys. We laughed, and encouraged each other, and sometimes sat in silence for a few moments, the scratch of colored pencils on paper a soothing, grounding sound. 

I thought of how women have gathered together through the centuries, sitting together companionably as they sewed, or snapped green beans, or read aloud. They shared their stories, about caring for their families, entering the work force, growing older. The activities have changed over the years and the topics discussed have expanded, yet that sense of empowering each other and being present has remained. 

Being part of this circle of women is extraordinary to me. I have always preferred male friendships, while maintaining one or two close female friends. In my teen years I mostly found girls to be competitive and fickle in their relationships. In any group of young women there was always drama, hurt feelings, and accusations. By comparison I found it easier to hang out with my guy friends. I didn’t date my male companions, which eliminated expectations between us and allowed us to simply journey together. 

I’ve held to that model all of my life. I’ve enjoyed some good friendships with some amazing women, yet I’ve rarely joined women’s groups, of any kind. Until recently. 

As I’ve grown, my perspectives have shifted and my life has opened. As I’ve journeyed inward first, and then brought my attention outward, content and happy with myself, my friendships have shifted as well. I have more female friends at this stage in my life, than I have ever had. To be a part of this group of women has enriched my life in many ways and broadened my knowledge and my humanity. 

For the first time in my life, I am at ease and at peace, in the company of woman. I’m sincerely grateful.