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

Day 4: Bring Nature Indoors

Day 4 of the 7 Day Hygge Challenge was a great follow up for Day 3. The spring weather held and I was grateful for an excuse to be outside as I shopped for plants. More vignettes were assembled today as well as I moved spring from the front porch into the house.

Bring Nature Indoors

Thursday – Bring nature indoors

Being a gardener, I was excited about bringing new plants into the house today. In spite of the warm temps this week, it’s too early to be planting in the garden. I knew that for today’s hygge inspired activity, I wanted to incorporate living plants in my vignette. I’ve used cut flowers before, tulips or white daisies, in the vignette on my little dining room table. But today, I preferred living, growing plants that I can later transplant into my garden.

Bring Nature Indoors

As I did on the front porch, I cleared away the previous vignette and started with a fresh space. I love this vintage wooden sieve that I purchased several years ago at an antique shop. And I knew exactly what I wanted to place beneath the wire cloches…herbs.

Bring Nature Indoors

Bring Nature Indoors

I picked up a couple of small, but full, oregano plants. Each one fit perfectly within a small container that I then dropped into a bright yellow ceramic basket. They will get adequate light through the large windows in the dining room. When the ground is warm enough, I will transplant these oregano plants into the herb garden.

Into the wooden sieve went vintage Easter d├ęcor, made by Leta Moore when she took ceramic classes as a young woman. I deliberately left an open spot in the sieve, for purple hyacinths that I purchased today as well. After trying out several containers for the bulbs, and discarding them, I finally settled on two clay pots. I tucked two plants into the larger pot with the chippy white paint, and a single flowering bulb into the smaller whitewashed one.

Bring Nature Indoors

I liked the final results well enough. However, from the living room, an empty wooden box seemed to call to me. I was creating new vignettes on the entry table as well. I was curious to see how the potted hyacinths would look in that box that Greg had made for me.

As soon as I transferred the pots to the box, it felt absolutely right. That’s where the purple hyacinths in their pots belonged…here, not in the dining room. I learned during my Year of Journeys to go with the flow. I shifted and instead of creating one vignette that featured plants, I created two. When something clicks into place it is easy for me to complete my creative project, with little effort.

Bring Nature Indoors

Into this attractive wooden box went the potted purple hyacinths, a pair of metal birds, with chippy paint of their own, and a white pillar candle. I used a small terra cotta pot as a candle holder. Beneath the box is a little wool runner featuring spring tulips. My cousin Mindy, who passed away in 2015, hooked this piece. The flower pots have trays underneath that will protect both the box and the table runner.

I love how that little vignette looks, and how it came together, even though I wasn’t working on the entry table yet. As the hyacinths grow they will add height and color to the vignette. They too will be transplanted into the garden later.

Bring Nature Indoors

I filled the empty space in the wooden sieve with with a white footed bowl. Shirred cloth eggs, in soft pastel colors, are nestled within the bowl. And now I was pleased with this vignette. The colors within the sieve are harmonious and very spring-like, and the white plates with their herbs beneath cloches are nearby.

What fun to include these living plants in my vignettes today. As I cross the halfway mark in my hygge challenge week, I feel around me the coziness and connectedness that are this Scandinavian tradition’s hallmarks. It truly is a hygge spring.

Bring Nature Indoors

Writing Explorations

A very long day results in a short, and easy, blog post tonight. I quickly completed vignette number four, of the Showcasing My Vision series, inspired by my work in the Love Your Life in 30 Days course by Mike Dooley.

Located in my creative studio, the Writing Vignette was built around an item I picked up recently. People laugh at me when, complimenting me on a cute outfit, I confess that I purchased it at…Cracker Barrel. Yep, that Cracker Barrel…the restaurant. I love wandering about their country store. They not only stock cute boho style clothing, they have an eclectic mix of housewares and decorative items.

I was looking at a display, when I realized that this year’s symbol, the feather quill, was waving at me at eye level. I was so excited and immediately bought the white pen.

My new quill matches the writing journal I picked up last year, part of the confirmation I received concerning the word for 2018 and the symbol. The journal is included in the vignette as well.

It rests atop a repurposed book that has become an art journal, and two books by Julia Cameron in her creative writing series, The Artist’s Way and Walking in This World. The books not only encouraged me in my writing and creative endeavors, their covers are great matches with the plaid scarf.

The feather quill rests in a candle holder, made years ago by a friend of mine. The light source for this vignette is provided by a vintage black candle holder. The red taper was too tall, so I cut it in two. Light in my vignettes represent inspiration.

The final piece is one of my favorite writing quotes. I didn’t have a framed art print of E.L. Doctorow’s words, so I very quickly created my own. I always have an assortment of frames on hand. I literally scribbled out the words on cream paper, and colored in a background that coordinates with the plaid scarf that anchors the vignette, in five minutes.

It came together in a flash, however, I like this grouping that reminds me of my desire to keep on exploring writing, and to continue to learn as I go. It is a journey.

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.

Showcasing My Vision: Abundance

Late this afternoon, I created my second specialized vignette, showcasing an area in my life that I want to see continued growth in. I am enjoying Mike Dooley’s Love Your Life in 30 Days online course. One of the assignments was to create a visual representation for each of five areas in my life that I am shifting.

I came up with the idea of creating vignettes for each dream of mine, beginning with Travel. These vignettes are 3D vision boards. They remind me of the transformational play I am engaging in and that it is not my job to figure out the whys and hows.

The area I focused on today was Abundance. For me, abundance is more than a monetary flow. It is being open to receive resources, quality time, creativity, and ideas.

I selected the vintage wooden sieve on my dining room table to house my Abundance vignette.

Here is how the project came together:

I lined the wooden sieve with a pair of silvery placemats. These were recycled from a Christmas vignette.

I spent an hour or more, gathering items to play with in making the abundance vignette. I knew I primarily wanted silver and gold objects.

This silver lamp is actually a tea light candle holder. It adds height to the grouping, and it represents the light of inspiration, which births creativity.

I knew I wanted to include this vintage pocket watch as well. Time is something I hope to have an abundance of.

This pretty box works for several reasons. It has the gold and silver colors I desired, giving it a rich look. I added coins from around the world, representing money, and also travel. And the heart shape signifies love.

I used a silver, gold and black bracelet strand as a garland. The dark beads are hematite, which causes the bracelet to be magnetic. The magnetism is a perfect symbol for attracting abundance. Plus, the bracelet is worn to lessen pain and improve circulation and the flow of electromagnetic energy through the body, making it an ideal symbol for health also.

I got creative in coming up with a framed print to include in the vignette. I don’t own a suitable framed quote, so I made my own Abundance art using a vintage gold and mother of pearl frame, and two gold and silver thank you notes. It’s low tech, and yet it works beautifully!

The pic below shows the completed vignette. I am pleased with how it came together. It has a simple, clean look, and it is full of symbolism. At either end of the table, I added white stoneware plates with beaded garlands, fat white candles and wire cloches.

What I love most about this abundance vignette is the immediate positive reinforcement that I received. The mail arrived, as I was working on the vignette. After I completed my project and took photos, I opened a package that had been delivered. It contained my workbook for the Love Your Life in 30 Days course, which inspired this visual art.

There was a letter included with the workbook. I circled the part that made me laugh. The letter states that as a thank you for ordering the book, a surprise is included. A link is provided for a free downloadable MP3 that I can listen to. The title of this gift? Abundance: 21 Steps to Opening the Floodgates.

It didn’t take long for more abundance to flow into my life. And I am not surprised at all. I am delighted though, and full of joy and gratitude. I marvel at the wonder of it all.

Beauty in Imperfection

I drew a fourth creative action this morning, the equivalent of pulling back on an arrow of desire in preparation for letting it fly. I was delighted to select:

Create a new vignette. 

I enjoy this creative project and I have an assortment of vignettes throughout my house. I especially like creating vignettes in pieces such as my old suitcase or in my vintage wooden sieve, however a shelf or table top works well too. 

Vignettes are slices of life, small scenes, that follow a theme. The fun for me is in gathering items from around my house, to create a fresh grouping that expresses an idea. I could go buy items to create a new vignette, but I prefer being inspired by what I already have. An idea begins to take shape and then it becomes a scavenger hunt to find items in my house to support that idea. 

Here is how a vignette comes together for me. 

When I drew today’s activity, I opened up to creative energy. I wanted to create a vignette that used pieces I’d never used together before. This lovely shell came to mind. I found it at Greg’s parents’ house in Arkansas. When I cleaned it up I discovered it had been broken before and repaired. But it is still gorgeously iridescent. Wabi sabi…beauty in imperfection…came to mind. I knew I wanted to build a vignette around this item. 

With the shell in mind, I selected a scarf and a large crocheted vintage doily. The blue scarf topped with the delicate white doily made me think of water with foamy waves crashing into shore. I’m imaginative, I’m know! The linens belonged to my grandmother. 

The fun begins then. I played around with arranging different items together. Because the interior of the sieve I’m using is fairly small, I stayed with the rule of three. The blue vase was a gift from my grandson Dayan years ago. The sea shells mug was handed down from a friend. To vary the heights, a small glass candle holder was tucked under the doily, and the mug placed atop it. I added clear glass rocks to the large shell and tucked tea lights inside it and the mug. The shell made me think of pearls. I strung a necklace across the shell. 

I trimmed the daisies down, as they seemed too tall. Better. And tried a clear glass globe candle holder. I liked this look as well. I may go back and forth between using this globe and the sea shells mug.

It’s a fresh vignette. Simple. Beautiful. 

The accompanying thought that arose as I completed my vignette was simple too and profound to me. I use items from the past to create these vignettes, finding new uses for these old pieces. My past is not something I want to dwell in. I want to live right here, in the now. 

Bringing a past thought into this present moment, and reframing it in the light of who I am now and what I have learned, is a way to create fresh “vignettes” with my memories. Doing so allows me to see my past, and therefore myself, differently, especially pieces of my past that I’ve considered difficult, flawed, broken. 

Wabi sabi works in my life as well. I have broken pieces that have been repaired, just like my large shell. I can look at myself as unflinchingly as I look at the shell and see beyond the hurts and the fragments of who I was, to the beauty of who I am becoming. I can look at others in the same fresh, open way. 

I am whole. They are whole. We are wabi sabi. We are beautiful in our imperfections.