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Creating A Space of Your Own

Several days ago, I tried to write a blog post and two hours later when I closed my iPad I laughed and thought, wow, writing that post was the equivalent to wading knee-deep through wet concrete. Somedays the words and the creative spirit don’t sync. Even though none of the words I wrote that day are making it into this post, I’ve been writing long enough to know that no writing is ever wasted. Sometimes the crappy stuff we write is simply a warm-up to something better.

Which reminds me: The intergalactic space mystery with out-of-this-world recipes you wrote three years ago to which you swear no human or alien will ever lay eyes on are NOT wasted words. Why? Because the words, the writing, the effort, the discipline it took for you to write a novel are all there. Any guilt you might have over spending so much time on writing, photography, paper crafting, lettering, etc. when you could have been doing other things should be banished. Now.

Guilt does not serve your creative spirit nor your creative projects. All those words, photographs, oil pastels, whatever it is you’re doing, learning and loving are building blocks for future work, good work. If you’re a maker, continue making, whether you deem it “good” or not. The good stuff is coming. Sometimes you just don’t know when it will show up.

So… stepping off my soap box and into my sunroom this morning

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as I was sitting sipping my coffee, it hit me that although this room is not usable during the winter because there are only screens and no windows, this could be my morning place in spring, summer and early Fall. My morning place. I liked the sound of it.

As the rain pitter-pattered on the roof and a little fox loped across the backyard, my thoughts were far away from my not-so-great writing session. I was fully in the moment of this little world I’d created and nature beckoning me to come play outside. The words, my morning place floated by again and I was suddenly reminded of an article I’d written a few months ago. Before I knew it, I was off and running on my blog post, fingers flying, not a hint of wet cement anywhere in sight.

My morning place.

My morning place.

I’m only including some excerpts from the piece, A Space of Your Own (published in Glo, May 2016) in italics because it would simply be too long to post in it’s entirety. If you’d like to read the whole article, you can go here

Glo (May 2016)

A Space of Your Own – While we’re busy nurturing our careers, relationships with family and friends and transforming our houses into homes we’re often the first to admit we have difficulty finding time to nurture ourselves. Everyone deserves and needs a place to unwind, reset and refill the creative well. If we have no place to go for a moment of solitude, our mental and physical health suffers.

Plan Your Escape
It can be as simple as a chair where reading for ten minutes centers your world, or a place where your papers won’t be disturbed. Claiming an entire room for yourself might be difficult but big or small, this spot in your home that’s yours alone should reflect your style, tastes and interests. It can be as simple as a comfy chair in a quiet corner of a larger room or a sleek midcentury desk under a stairwell. Other areas such as the laundry room, basement, spare room, or sun room can be transformed with a little imagination along with a comfortable chair and cozy throw. I’m definitely getting a cozy throw for the sunroom for cool autumn mornings and evenings. Delineating your space with a curtain, screen, shelving, tall plant, or lighting can add some privacy. Pinterest is a terrific place to go for ideas for spaces large, small and teeny-tiny.

Personalize It
Incorporate personal items that have meaning. Photographs with a theme, such as family, pets, travel and girlfriends etc. A future project of mine is a Kick-Ass Women photography display of all the strong, courageous women in my life, past and present. Favorite books, a journal and candles, combined with anything you love and find calming are a must.

Adding things which reflect your interests should be included too. A nature lover might include stones, a beach glass collection or seashells gathered in a small dish. Bird lovers might include a display of new and vintage birding books and some decorative accent pieces. Travel buffs could display a stack of vintage suitcases for visual appeal as well as storage for all those travel books. Old maps or globes would also be fun.

Back in the sunroom…sitting here, watching the rain, thinking how pretty it is now and wondering why the heck I haven’t been doing more of this over the past ten years, brought me the words I needed. Like I said, you never know when or where the ideas will come. Just roll with it!

A space of your own is a good place to go when your creativity feels likes it’s gone on vacation without you. It should be a spot where you just “be” with no judgements. A place to rest, a place to play, surrounded by things you love. You never know, on a rainy, dark day the creative spirit might show up, pull out the chair next to you, take a seat and whisper; “What about trying this?”

And you’ll smile, sit back and say; “Why thank you!” and go back out into the world refreshed, renewed and ready to create.

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Do you have a space of your own? A place to refill the well and moodle over your life’s direction, your projects? Where do you go to reset and nurture yourself? I’d love to hear about your favorite spots.

Have a HAPPY day!
Hugs,
Nancy

Coming next time: Gratitude and some serious blog love. See you then!

 

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Summer Isn’t Over

Summer isn’t over…

Really, it isn’t. Not if you’re thinking about picking up a copy of Project Calm this weekend. It’s like summer camp for adults especially if you’re an adult looking for new ways to be creative. Summer isn’t over and it’s time to play!

I’ve been wanting to to try something new. Writing is my love and always will be but lately I’ve been thinking about the crafts and creative outlets I used to do as a child and young adult and how they fell by the wayside. I was perusing the art and craft magazines at my local Barnes and Noble and found Project Calm. It’s published in the U.K. (lucky people!!!) and this is the debut issue.

I took it on our family vacation to Northern Canada a few weeks ago and my daughter and I had a ball thinking about projects, doing them and generally being in the moment. Inside Project Calm there was a beautiful botanical papercutting page (which included a background to place behind it ) which read,

She believed
she could
So she did
from U.K. papercutting artist Samantha A. Sherring Samantha sells original templates  and papercutting on her Etsy shop if you’re interested in seeing more.

Almost every vacation day, my daughter Natalie took the papercutting outside to a little table overlooking the lake. Relaxing, fun, mindful, blissful. When she frames it, I’ll post a photo for you.

On our morning lake walks we picked flowers to dry and press, then place into float glass frames, (haven’t done that since I was a kid!) and we photowalked around the little town of Perth. In the U.K. there are scheduled meet-ups to photowalk. Doesn’t that sound like great fun? Here’s a cozy little public garden we found on our photowalk. Of course we had to sit for a bit and enjoy.

Photowalking in Perth, Ontario

Photowalking in Perth, Ontario

When I returned home I pulled these fabulous wreath prints from Project Calm, bought inexpensive white frames and put them above my kitchen cabinets. My photo isn’t the best to show off the artist’s work but trust me when I say they look fresh and fun with my chintz and toile teacups:)

Healing Wreath Prints

Healing Wreath Prints

With further investigation I found out the Healing Wreath artist, Katie Vernon lives in Bloomington Indiana which is 140 miles south of us. (Lucky me!!!!) The prints are studies of plants grouped together for their healing properties. It’s nice to think that family and friends are surrounded by health, happiness, energy and harmony when they gather in my kitchen. Links to her Etsy shop for prints like these and original art are on her site.

This is only the tip of the iceberg with Project Calm and my exploration of finding new ways to be creative. Summer isn’t over, it’s not too late to pick up a copy of this great book-azine or any other art book. It’s never too late to try something new or return to something you loved once upon a time.

Come on. Let’s play. It’s still summer!

What about you? Have you decided to try something new or go back to an old craft or hobby you used to love? Any other creative ideas for extending summer?

Enjoy the weekend!
Hugs,

Nancy

Tips for Writing A Personal Essay

Ha! I’m back! I’m doing a happy dance, finally, a normal day after weeks of *&^%$#@!!!! Earl is snoozing and

I’ve been thinking a lot about writing personal essays. Eight years ago I’d written a handful of essays for the back page of a local magazine, enjoyed it immensely but never gave much thought to writing them again once that particular publication closed down. Now, I love reading essay collections especially humor stories by Connie Schultz, Sloane Crosley, Erma Bombeck and Mindy Kaling (yes, The Mindy Project, Mindy Kaling) What I wouldn’t give for a kitchen table discussion with these ladies about their writing craft.

If, like me, you’ve been thinking about writing personal essays and honing your craft here are three terrific links with solid info you can put to use right now.

1) Writing A Personal Reflective Essay

A deep dive into the parts of a personal essay and how to put your words to work:)

2) How To Write A Personal Essay That Will Tell Your Story The Way You Want It To

13 tips with keen insights to take you from draft to finished product

3) 8 Tips For Dazzling An Editor With Your Personal Essay

An editor who is also a writer and teacher offers her tips for writing the personal essay.

How about you? Ever thought about writing personal essays? Any resources. books or authors you’d like to share?

Have a happy afternoon and evening! Earl says;

You should really get back to work now!

“You should really get back to work now or bake me a chicken.”

Smooches!
Nancy