National Creativity Day

As I moved through my day, I stayed open to what I would be writing about this evening. I had a couple of ideas. And I wanted to create a new vignette on the little entryway table, so that was a possibility too. I realized my ideas all centered around creativity, actually. As I settled in at home, late in the afternoon, I starting getting the nudge to check online to see what unique holidays were being celebrated today. There are more than 1,500 unusual holidays throughout the year. I occasionally find a fun one to celebrate and write about.

After being repeatedly drawn to look, I finally gave in and and checked to see what special holidays were on this date. And there it was, my story inspiration for the day.

National Creativity Day

Hal Croasmun and ScreenwritingU founded National Creativity Day in 2018 to celebrate imaginative spirits everywhere and to encourage them to keep creating. The Registrar at National Day Calendar declared that National Creativity Day will be observed annually on May 30.

This is the first National Creativity Day, ever, and I was drawn to participate in the inaugural celebration. Creativity is my thing. I focused on it last year as a theme. The creative urges I experienced throughout the day were guiding me to a fun way to unleash my artistic side.

Creativity can be expressed in many ways…through music, gardening, drawing, sewing, photography, film, poetry, writing, painting, decorating, coloring, fashion design, storytelling…the possibilities are as varied as the people who create.

I chose to celebrate National Creativity Day in these ways:

National Creativity Day

National Creativity Day

• Creating vignettes – I reset this little chippy table by the front door with items that make me think of summer. The rustic wooden box, made by Greg, holds a watercolor painting by Ray Moore, who passed away in 2002, a blue ceramic cup with a beach theme, and an assortment of seashells.

The bottom shelf features a butterfly painting, green glass bottle and a large shell. All of these items came from Greg’s mother, Leta. I added a couple of tea lights and moved on to the next creative project.

National Creativity Day

National Creativity Day

• Plant Based Cooking – I am loving my plant based journey, and the rewards of cooking nutritious and delicious meals and snacks at home. Several years ago I expressed a desire to be more creative in the kitchen, and this shift in my diet has provided that opportunity.

I have at last perfected a non-dairy, gluten free, no refined sugar blueberry scone! I found a recipe on Pinterest that I adapted with great success. I’ll share the recipe soon. I don’t indulge in this treat often, however I made a batch of scones this afternoon, in honor of the day.

For a simple but colorful and healthy dinner, I added fresh organic cauliflower, asparagus, zucchini and yellow squash to my pressure pot and steamed everything together for 4 minutes. This is my favorite way to prepare a quick, wholesome meal. I seasoned the veggies with a few sprinkles of sea salt, black pepper and garlic powder before steaming. Yum! I purchased tomatoes at the Webb City Farmer’s Market yesterday, and sliced the first one today.

National Creativity Day

National Creativity Day

• Sketching/Coloring – My favorite creative project tonight was working in my book that I’ve repurposed into an art journal. When I saw the page that included a scene from Lord of the Rings, my heart beat faster. I knew Arwen…the brave, compassionate Elven Princess who rode swiftly and battled the evil wraiths so that Frodo could be saved….would be the perfect illustration for this page. But could I capture her likeness? I decided to be brave myself, and go for it.

And you know what? I did it. I am very happy with my Arwen sketch. I thoroughly enjoyed drawing her and then using my colored pencils to lift her from the page. My manga lessons helped me tremendously. I started with Arwen’s head and face…and the three quarters view!

How grateful I am, that I followed Divine promptings and discovered National Creativity Day. What fun I had, expressing myself in these artistic ways. I even did a little playing in the garden, after washing up after dinner. My heart is centered and full and overflowing with joy, which is the perfect way to end a day of celebration.

National Creativity Day

Flowers from Grandma Ruby

When I began this year of stories, one of my intentions was to occasionally feature one of the vintage items that I own. I wanted to share the stories behind those special pieces. I began recently with the story of my mom’s wooden shoes from Holland. Tonight’s vintage story features beautiful floral needlepoint pieces, from Greg’s grandmother, Ruby Moore.

Flowers from Grandma Ruby

Even though she was not my biological grandmother, this matriarch of the Moore family was always Grandma Ruby to me. She insisted. Our families actually had connections that went back generations. The first time I met Grandma Ruby, Greg and I had barely begun dating, and had not considered marriage at all. Grandma greeted me enthusiastically and told me immediately that she hosted a baby shower for my grandmother, when she was pregnant with my mother, back in the “hollow”. “And now look,” she announced, “you are part of the family!”

I was both amused…and embarrassed!

Flowers from Grandma Ruby

When I did eventually become a part of the Moore Clan, I was a bit intimidated by Grandma Ruby. She was a strong woman, with strong values and equally strong opinions, about everything. I was afraid to speak up to her, and certainly never wanted to cross her or cause her disappointment. In her strength, she could appear severe, or even harsh. And yet, I sometimes caught glimpses of her tender heart.

The first family Christmas gathering I attended, prior to my marriage, was at Grandma and Grandpa Moore’s house. They were not expecting me, and I was not expecting a gift. Grandma Ruby slipped away to her bedroom and returned moments later with a gift she had hastily wrapped. She gave me one of her own bottles of perfume.

My relationship with Grandma Ruby shifted while I was expecting my first child. At least one afternoon a week, she would drive to my house, while Greg was at work, pick me up and take me home with her. There was always a plate of food waiting for me. I’d watch as Grandma Ruby worked on the old cradle that held her sons when they were infants. We sat together for hours as she stripped layers of paint, applied fresh stain and waxed the wood to a soft finish. The cradle would hold my baby when she was born, and as I sat watching her restoration progress, I felt the love that Grandma Ruby poured into that project.

Flowers from Grandma Ruby Ruby Moore, about 1915.

The best part of those afternoons with the Moores was listening to their stories. Grandma Ruby would haul out an old battered suitcase, full of photos, and tell me story after story from their youth. I heard about their early lives, their fun escapades, and their hardships. Their faces softened into smiles and Grandpa Bill would shake his head and chuckle as he remembered the young man he once was. I loved these glimpses into their pasts, and into their hearts.

Some of their stories were quite shocking. Perhaps because I had not grown up with them as my grandparents, or perhaps because freedom is won in advanced age, they felt comfortable telling me things that their own grandchildren had not heard. Whatever their reasons, I treasured those stories. I came to love and appreciate Grandma Ruby very much.

Flowers from Grandma Ruby Ruby & Bill Moore, March 2, 1916, ages 17 and 18, respectively.

Later, when Grandma Ruby and Grandpa Bill were gone, and their house with all its contents had sold, I was allowed to run in and grab one item. I am grateful that Grandma Ruby showed me the suitcase full of photos. That’s what I grabbed. I rescued those old photos, with those young smiling faces and sparkling eyes. As a bonus, we discovered bundles of letters and postcards within the suitcase, correspondence between Ruby and Bill before their marriage. He is polite and friendly as he writes. She is playful and flirtatious and sometimes downright naughty! I love that about her.

I have more than those photos and letters and that vintage suitcase that I create vignettes in. Through Greg’s parents several pieces of exquisite needlepoint came to me, crafted by Grandma Ruby in the 1960s and early 70s. Those pieces have places of honor in my home. The footrest shares my studio with me, parked near my thinking chair. I often tuck it beneath my writing table and prop my feet on it, if I’m going to be working for a long period of time.

Flowers from Grandma Ruby

The other two pieces hang on a wall in my bedroom. They are both florals as well. The bell pull has a working bell that does indeed ring merrily when the pull is tugged on. My granddaughter has a fondness for that pull, and uses it to announce her trips to the bathroom. Ironically, the cat that shares Aubrey’s middle name also rings the bell, if she wants to go outside and I’m ignoring her.

I think of Grandma Ruby every time I look at the footrest, the bell pull and the framed flower needlepoint. I remember her great heart and how generously she shared it. I look at photos of her near the end of her life and now I can see beyond the serious expression on her face and the somber demeanor. In her face I can see the young woman there, eyes crinkled up with a mischievous glint, a hint of a smile at the corners of her mouth.

Thank you, Grandma Ruby, for the flowers that will not fade. Thank you for the gifts of your time, your presence and your stories. And thank you for loving me as one of your own.

Flowers from Grandma Ruby

Manga Teen Boy Profile

I made the decision early this morning to get into my manga workbook this evening and continue my sketching lessons. That proved to be a good decision, as I had a busy day. I have a story I want to tell, by way of drawings in a cartoon panel format. Manga is is preparing me for that project.

Manga Teen Boy Profile

This practice has been valuable for me. My skills are increasing. I am much more at ease as I sketch and I’m finding the sessions fun and even relaxing.

Manga Teen Boy Profile

Here is tonight’s lesson.

Manga Teen Boy Profile

In contrast to the teen girl profile, the boy’s features are more angular. The eye is smaller and set back a bit more from the edge of the head.

Manga Teen Boy Profile

I drew guidelines to help me correctly place the eye, nose, lips and ear.

Manga Teen Boy Profile

The jaw is more squared off. The mouth is suggested with a simple line. The lips protrude slightly.

Manga Teen Boy Profile

The eye gets a highlight and definition is added to the ear. The hair flops over the forehead and eye and closely follows the contours of the skull.

I truly am enjoying these creative sessions. I have been able to draw a face looking straight ahead or at a slight angle. Profiles, looking up or looking down were more challenging. These easy to follow lessons are helping me tremendously with perspective and placement.

I was impatient to move to the next section of the workbook, but the additional practice has been great for me. I have a couple more lessons featuring the teen boy and then it’s on to drawing the body. I’m looking forward to sketching a whole person!

Manga Teen Boy Profile

Relax…and Create

This is an amusing story, that provides a little peek into my magical life. I realized last night that I still had Easter decorations out, even though that holiday was last Sunday. I decided this afternoon to remedy that, even though I had a full day scheduled well into the evening.

Before starting dinner, and trying out a new recipe, I packed away the items that were definitely related to Easter. That didn’t take long. The vintage wooden sieve on the dining room table was now completely empty, so creating a fresh vignette there became my focus.

Relax...and Create

Pulling together fresh vignettes are fun for me. I like to change things up and move things around, trying out a piece here or grouping items together for the first time. No two vignettes ever look exactly the same, even when I am creating in the same space. I typically come up with a focal piece and then build the vignette around it, hunting through the house and rummaging through closets and drawers as I look for the right items. As often as possible, I like to use what I already have on hand.

The problem today was, I didn’t have a focal piece. I was wandering around aimlessly, not sure what I was looking for, which is a bit unusual for me. Where was my inspired download? Because, I feel like these vignettes are inspired. I usually receive at least a partial mental image of what the finished vignette will look like…a theme, a color palette, the focal piece. This form of creativity is play between me and the Divine. I love it.

Except today…I had nothing. I considered moving on to dinner prep and trying again tomorrow. Perhaps inspiration would appear later. As I tidied up, I kept getting the word “relax” in my mind.

Relax. Oh, I thought, I just need to relax, and allow myself to receive.

Relax. Yes, I thought, relax and create. Relax and go with the flow.

Relax. Oh! Relax!

I literally held the word in my hands several times this afternoon. I have a charming, colorful wooden sign that spells out R E L A X. The sign usually goes out on the front porch, but I am moving things around. The sign had been lying on top of my big plastic tote full of spring decor. It fell off. I picked it up and moved it several times as I packed Easter items away. Relax.

Curious, I popped the sign into the round wooden sieve and it fit perfectly, without needing a stand. I had my focal point! In a few minutes I had gathered the rest of the items and completed a simple vignette that was totally different from any that rested before in the sieve. I like it.

And I had to smack my forehead and laugh. Relax. It wasn’t a command to go with the flow. It was a creative suggestion…an actual sign. The only thing more obvious would have been if the sign had fallen on my foot to get my attention.

I grinned while I turned my creativity toward dinner. Relax, Cindy…

Relax... and Create

Finding Julia

As I listed people in my last blog post, who have had an impact on my life, I almost included Julia Cameron, bestselling author of The Artist’s Way. That book, about accessing and developing higher creativity, was influential to me in 2016. I had been aware of The Artist’s Way and the author for years, but I had not purchased the book. Elizabeth Gilbert shared, during the speaking event I attended, that she worked through this twelve week creativity course before she began each new project. I consider Liz a mentor. I bought the book immediately.

Today I happened to be in a Barnes & Noble Bookstore, with some time to kill. The book I hoped to purchase wasn’t available. Julia Cameron came to mind. I have benefitted tremendously from working through her first two books. I knew she had a third one in the series. I wandered into the self help section.

Finding Water was not on the shelf. However, high above me I spied a book that had the characteristic look of a Julia Cameron workbook. Pulling it down, I was thrilled to discover a fourth book in The Artist’s Way series, It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again.

The subtitle for this book is Discovering Creativity and Meaning at Midlife and Beyond. This books arrives in my life at the perfect time. I am not a retiree, but at age 60, I am most definitely at the “midlife and beyond” point of my life. Intrigued, and feeling guided to this book today, I purchased it.

My intention was to start into this new twelve week course on creativity on March 1, or perhaps next Monday. Because don’t we tend to begin new programs on Mondays? I dropped the book onto my writing table in my studio and left it there. But it kept calling to me. I realized I had used my other two Julia Cameron books in my Creativity Vignette. Before preparing a healthy dinner, I read through the introduction of It’s Never Too Late.

Julia writes, “It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again is a twelve week course for anyone who wishes to expand his or her creativity. It is not meant only for ‘declared’ artists. It is aimed at those transitioning into the second act of life – leaving one life behind and heading into one yet to be created.” Those words so resonated with me.

Each week I will work through a chapter and complete the tasks within. In addition, there are four basic tools.

Morning Pages – three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing done first thing in the morning. These pages are for “my eyes only”.

Artist Dates – a once weekly solo expedition to explore something fun.

Walking – a twenty minute solo walk, twice weekly, without a pet, friend, family member or cell phone.

Memoir – a weekly, guided process of triggering memories and revisiting my life in five year increments.

I am so excited to begin this twelve week journey that I am beginning right away. Not March 1. Not next Monday. Tomorrow morning. I am familiar with the Morning Pages. I love the free-style flow of words onto paper. The purpose is to energetically clear the mind and heart so that there is room for new experiences in the day ahead. The Artist Dates are incredibly fun for me, as I do things that my inner artist, my inner child, enjoys.

I have felt ready to get back into a walking routine. This course presents the perfect opportunity. And I had no idea there was a Memoir writing task included weekly as part of the course. With my word for 2018 being Story, this book seems absolutely right for this time in my life. I was moved by these words in the introduction, under the Memoir section: “Everyone’s memoir will be different. You may choose simply to answer the questions and list the memories they evoke in standard prose form. Alternately, you may sometimes find your answers coming out as poems, drawings or songs.” Way before discovering this book today, I have felt drawn to sketching out portions of my life story.

I am grateful for all the seemingly random events that led me to finding Julia today. I know that truly there weren’t any coincidences. I was led. I followed a trail of bread crumbs, moving forward step by step until the trail ended and I looked up to find my prize. I am ready to let this journey unfold.

You can order It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again or The Artist’s Way by clicking on the links below.

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Dreamer of Dreams

I have been in creative mode today, which lent itself perfectly to creating a vignette. I have been participating in Mike Dooley’s Love Your Life in 30 Days program, which includes expansive daily exercises. One activity was to create visual representations for each of five areas in my life that I am focused on growing in.

I chose to put together five new vignettes…a fun activity for me. So far I have created a Travel vignette, and an Abundance one. Tonight, it was time to assemble a Creativity vignette.

The creativity vignette seemed to belong in my studio. And the ideal spot in my studio for this new work was the vintage ironing board, serving as a table.

Here’s how the vignette came together, and the story around its creation.

I knew I wanted to use this framed quote as one of the pieces. It is meaningful to me. As I gathered other items, I realized the tray I had set aside for the vignette was not going to be big enough to contain my idea. So the vignette outgrew its “box”, spreading across the wooden surface of the ironing board. This is very like the way creativity can start from a small seed of an idea and expand.

Next to the framed quote I added a stack of coloring books. Their covers connected together beautifully, through colors of cream, gold, silver and copper, which led me to plop the similarly toned candle holder atop of them. Mason jars held bouquets of colorful pencils.

The tray at the other end of the ironing board holds a collection of creative items.

The bright fabric balls reflect the colors of the pencils. The ceramic jar was made by my younger daughter, Adriel, when she was a child. It holds folded slips of paper for when I play the Inspiration Game.

I created the flower print, using a page from a vintage encyclopedia as the background, and colored pencils to fill in my sketch. And the canvas print has one of my favorite quotes on it, about being creative.

Blessed are the gypsies, the makers of music, the artists, writers, dreamers of dreams, wanderers and vagabonds, children and misfits: for they teach us to see the world through beautiful eyes.

I placed a wooden candlestick outside the tray…and lit the candles. It is important to me that each of the five vignettes has a light source. Light represents inspiration to me, which flows through all areas of my life.

I am pleased with the Creativity vignette. It will inspire me every time I walk into the room, and send forth my desire to live intentionally in creativity, beauty and art.

The vignette reminds me that I am a dreamer of dreams. And, I am blessed.

Starting Inspirational Fires

This is the blog post that almost wasn’t. And it is one of those twisty, turny journeys that needs a bit of backstory to make sense. Bear with me.

In July of this year, I felt drawn to create what I dubbed Inspiration Starters. Read about those HERE. I wrote creative ideas, with the intention of challenging myself, on 32 slips of paper and dropped them into a container. I randomly selected one of those Inspiration Starters a few days later. And then, totally forgot about them, as in, they passed from time and memory. Until this past week. Decorating for Christmas I opened the ceramic jar and thought, oh yeah!

I had 31 slips of paper left. December, with its 31 days, was about to begin. I decided what a great way to finish this Year of Inspiration, this time of living with a focus on creativity and treating others with kindness. I could draw a slip of paper each day, beginning December 1.

I was excited to draw the first folded slip today. When I played a similar game last year I was amazed by the synchronicities, the Divine guidance, the remarkable alignment of perfect conditions that appeared around each of those slips of paper. Drawing them randomly takes me out of the equation and opens my heart, spirit and creativity to a power greater than me.

What would I select? Honestly, I had created the Inspiration Starters five months ago. I had forgotten all that I came up with, which was good. I could be surprised.

I drew:

My first thought was, Well…even though this is Friday, and this Inspiration appears perfect, it won’t work this weekend. I have an out of town family birthday party tomorrow and an open house Sunday. There would be no get away this weekend.

My second thought was, This one is a miss. The timing was off. And, there was more to it than that.

I have been thinking much about a weekend get away lately, just me and a journal and a pen. As this year winds down, I feel drawn to go off by myself and think and dream and plan, a releasing of 2017 and an anticipation of 2018. I want time to commune with the Divine and meditate and go within. With that desire in mind, I asked the Divine to arrange the get away weekend, guiding me to the right place, at the right time, by way of signs, symbols and synchronicities.

To make it an even more fun and challenging quest, I asked EL-LE (my personal name for God, pronounced like the letter L), for a very specific sign. I would know it was all EL-LE’s doing in two ways: The weekend away, alone, would cost me nothing, or very little, allowing me to be open to all kinds of opportunities beyond simply staying in a hotel somewhere. And, I would know which place was the right one because it would have a particular symbol attached to it, that is significant to me.

Drawing that slip of paper today threw me. Nothing appeared to be in place for the weekend get away. It did indeed seem to be a miss, timing wise. I decided to keep a weekend away in mind during this month, and just see what unfolded. I left the slip of paper on my writing table in my studio.

I’ve had other things going on today. I’ve been busy and didn’t dwell on that Inspiration Starter. I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about this evening but I trusted the right thing would come along at the right time.

It did. And it connected back to the weekend get away paper that I drew.

As I was finishing my last task for the day, I was offered an amazing, and surprising, gift. This person, who wishes to remain unnamed, did not know that I have been asking EL-LE for a weekend away, or that I had drawn that slip of paper earlier in the day. I was gifted with a check, for a generous amount, and instructed to get away for a weekend, to have some time alone. I was told that the thought suddenly came to my gracious benefactor late today, seemingly out of the blue, accompanied by the urge to give me this gift.

I am undone. I am so grateful. A miss? No. The slip of paper I drew earlier was a wink from the Divine, a hint that it is almost time for that weekend get away I have been longing for. And as I hoped, as I trusted, all is being arranged.

I am looking at the end of the month for my special weekend. Or perhaps the first week in January. I have no doubts that I will know which weekend is perfect, and where to stay. I am being guided. I am involved in an ongoing conversation, an intimate dance, with the Divine.

The December creative game is underway. This must be why I completed my Christmas decorating early this season. I needed to be free. Something bigger is unfolding. I am going to finish out this incredible year by starting 31 fires that will ignite my passion, creativity and imagination. I am setting my heart aflame.

Tis the Season

It is the last day of November, and I experienced a first today. My house is completely decorated for Christmas. It is the earliest I have ever accomplished this task. I don’t know what happened!

Here is a pictorial trip through my house with some of the highlights and a peek at what’s new this year.

Aunt Annie’s red box on the porch. The metal luminary with the Joy & Cheer cutout out is new this year.

I love including vintage pieces and family treasures in my decor, like Great Aunt Roxie’s little red wooden foot rest, flipped upside down to hold fabric trees and mason jars.

Vintage poinsettia dish grouped with Dayan’s first Christmas photo shoot (he’s 18 years old now), an antique ceramic candle holder, a tiny early 1900s Christmas card that I framed, and a flea market white tree I bought several years ago. Even the ceramic polar bear is getting old, a Bath & Body promotional piece from 2009.

The Snowman Village, featuring the framed snowman artwork. Greg’s brother, Ray, who passed away 15 years ago, drew this dapper snowman as a child. I framed it last year. The wooden sieve is one of my favorite vintage pieces. It gets new vignettes throughout the year.

An eclectic mix of snowmen and light. The brightly glowing square glass box, filled with miniature lights, was given to me by my friend Beth years ago. Every Christmas I replace the string of lights within it, plug it in, and leave it shining brightly until the little bulbs burn out…about late March. It is a beacon of friendship and hope.

My grandfather’s WWII army trunk now holds vintage quilts, little Christmas trees, metal stars and a trio of mason jars with tea lights tucked inside.

The ceramic nativity set was made by Greg’s mother Leta more than 60 years ago. The wooden shoes on the shelf below were a gift to my mom from her uncle when he returned from the second world war. She was five years old. She wore them, as did my sisters and I, and my children and grandchildren.

The rustic wooden box in my bedroom gets a simple and homey redo. The ceramic bird came in from my front porch, where it perched all summer. I like to mix in everyday items with my Christmas decor as well.

Silvers and golds, with touches of blue and brown, in the old battered suitcase. When Greg’s dad and his brother sold their parents’ home after they passed, they included all the contents of the house in the sale. Prior to the completion of the sale, I asked for permission to run inside before the house was locked up, and get one item. I grabbed this suitcase from a bedroom closet. It was full of old photos.

I am really pleased with this new display. The cross-stitched silhouettes were made by my mom in the 70s. Their original frames had fallen apart. I found the stitched works of art again today, and purchased new frames for them. Look how cute they are with the tartan plaid scarf and plaid Christmas tree! The display sits atop a chest that is more than 150 years old. My mother’s great grandmother traveled by covered wagon with this chest, which Greg restored for me eight years ago.

Also newly on display, this embroidery piece that reminds me of a snowflake. I found this still in its embroidery hoop, with the needle pushed through the fabric, in a drawer at Leta Moore’s house. She never quite finished it. The fabric balls were in the same drawer.

Another fresh piece, this one a vintage card tucked into an old copper-look frame. This is the fifth vintage card I’ve turned into art. I would rather display them than forget about them, tucked into a drawer somewhere.

The last photo, posted below, is of the vintage wooden ironing board that I recently set up in my studio. It has a festive green plaid scarf thrown over it, and a couple of little vignettes displayed on its wooden surface. The antique porcelain doll, from the late 1800s, has taken up residence in my studio for the first time. She is sharing space with a fabric tree made by Leta Moore and a couple of Kirkland purchases from last year. I found the gingerbread house, trees and man at Michaels a couple of weeks ago.

I not only love this time of year, I love being creative and using a mix of old and not so old, Christmas decor and everyday items. Every piece tells a story. I enjoy walking through my house, and hearing those narratives. Love, hope, survival, and family are the themes that thread those those tales, weaving a rich and varied tapestry.

Tonight the candles are lit throughout my home for the first time this season. It won’t be the last. How homey and festive and full of cheer it looks and feels. Tis the season…

Vintage Ironing Board Makeover

When we emptied Greg’s parents’ house, after his father passed away, one of the items I carted home was a vintage ironing board. I could tell, without removing the cover, that the board was made of wood. I hated to throw the old ironing board away. I figured eventually I’d find a new use for it. That ironing board has been tucked away for more than two years. This week, it suddenly popped back into my awareness. Today, I repurposed it.

This is how inspiration works in my life. The ironing board has been in my house for almost 2 1/2 years. I don’t see it most days or think about it. Two days ago, without looking at it, the board suddenly came to mind. I’ve been wanting to do a creative project. Apparently, it was time to do something with this vintage piece.

As I thought about the ironing board, I got a visual “download”, images of how I could transform the board into a table, where to put it and even what items to place on and near it. This is the kind of information that I most often receive when a project, literally, comes to mind. My work, then, is to create in reality the idea I’ve been given.

Here is the fun process of making over the ironing board.

This is what I started with. I knew I wanted to set up the ironing board table in my creative studio.

I had to remove some modifications that Greg’s dad made years ago, to protect the floors or to prevent slipping. On the foot of the longest leg of the ironing board there were scraps of carpet secured with black electrical tape and wire!

I did find a wooden top after I removed the cover and an old foam pad, which had crumbled into dust. I was surprised to discover a huge paper label attached to the surface of the board. It is brittle with age and I considered removing it. I was able to look up the ironing board, though, thanks to the label. This model of ironing board was produced in the early 1940s. Greg speculated that his parents, who were married in 1941, received this practical necessity as a wedding gift. I left the label attached.

At one end of my repurposed table I placed a lamp, and a couple of rustic pieces. The minnow bucket turned candle holder normally lights my garden. It is the first item that I saw on the ironing board when I visualized this project. The concrete bird holds a tea light, and also moved indoors from the garden. I frequently use stacks of books to create height.

The framed quote by Elsie de Wolfe, “I’m going to make everything around me beautiful…that will be my life”, moved from a vignette in my bedroom to my creative studio.

At the other end of the ironing board table is a collection of books, with an old iron and a jar candle as bookends. I added a metal bowl with colorful fabric balls.

Beneath the table I’ve used a vintage metal olive bucket to hold an adorable scruffy looking tree, pulled out of my Christmas collection. Another stack of books is topped by my journee sign and another metal bucket with a tea light tucked inside.

And this is what the table looked like, after the repurposing process was completed.

I am quite pleased with the finished results! I enjoy using vintage pieces in fresh ways. I’d much rather use them and see them daily, than have these keepsakes packed away in a closet. The old ironing board reminds me of Greg’s mom and dad, who both shared in the chore of pressing clothes and linens.

I don’t need another ironing board. I rarely use the one I have. However, I can always use another table, another surface to create upon. I am very happy with this one.

Inspiration Starters

Lately I’ve recalled with fondness the month I spent last year randomly drawing creative actions out of a glass pitcher. I selected a folded slip of paper each day during the month of June, in 2016. Those activities were fun, and they not only revved up my creativity, they also deepened my trust in the Divine’s guidance in my life. 

This evening, after working most of the day, I was deciding what to write about when those folded slips of paper came to mind again. Yes. It was time to stop thinking about how much fun that exercise in creativity was, and take action again. 

Inspiration Starters
Of course, I changed the game up a bit. I cut 32 slips of paper and wrote out an inspirational activity on each one. Guided by this year’s theme of Inspiration, which includes Alan Rickman’s words about making life a bit more tender and art a bit more robust, and my greater health awareness, I chose to challenge myself. 

Inspiration Starters
Not every activity pushes me, but I attempted to come up with suggestions that take my creativity or compassion or health consciousness beyond where I am, currently. I included writing exercises…and challenges to submit my work for publication. Travel inspirations came to me along with designing, sketching and expressing tenderness in new ways. I won’t draw an activity every day. I’ll reach into my little ceramic jar, made by my younger daughter Adriel when she was a child, and “randomly” draw out a slip of paper when I feel drawn to. 

Last year this type of creative play formed the foundation for this year’s theme. I learned so much about myself, about how life works for me, and about the constant guidance I receive from the Divine. 

I am open to receive whatever comes from this experience this year…open and unattached to outcomes. The phrase I made up for these slips of paper seems apt. Fire starters are little pieces of wood that are soaked with a flammable solution that then ignites logs to create a bigger, hotter fire. May these inspiration starters ignite within me a creativity that burns brightly and feeds my artistic soul. 

Inspiration Starters