Speaking of design inspiration…


I discovered this amazing shop from an original post by Tulle & Trinkets back in August of last year.  I was taking in some great table top and nursery designs on Sarah’s blog and somehow stumbled on this older post.  I was in love with this picture:

Copyright Tulle and Trinkets, 2014

Copyright Tulle and Trinkets, 2014


Vintage stuff, candles and old books – a perfect vignette!  I knew right off the bat that I had an old measuring cup like that floating around the house, a random item left over from a bushel full of old, rusty kitchen gadgets that we picked up at The Cleveland Flea for $5.  I immediately recognized the orange enamel pourer as my mother had one when I was growing that we always used for syrup during a sit down breakfast.  What a great idea to turn these into candles!  Turns out there’s a lot more and they’re actually available to purchase from Antique Candle Works.  I’ll probably try my hand at one myself, but there are some great vessels from the shop directly that I’d love to get my hands on.Antique Candle Works


Wait a minute…what happened to the decorating shows?

carol duvallSaturday morning I had an urge to settle in for a few hours of home decorating and crafting TV. My New Old House project was longing for some well deserved inspiration. While I perused the guide I noticed how completely my favorite line-ups have changed.  And it’s been like this for years now!!  I just never put it all together.  I guess I assumed that the real decorating and crafting shows were now on at some mysterious time when I happened to absolutely never be watching TV.  Looking at the TLC, HGTV and DIY line-ups now, though, drove home the fact that if this continues I will never again learn how to make 10 different holiday decorations from toilet paper rolls from Carol Duvall.  Nor will I watch neighbors get angry with each other because they allowed a decorator to convince the other to cover their fireplace and install a floor to ceiling climbing wall instead (“The ONE thing I said I didn’t want changed was the FIREPLACE!!!”).

christopher lowellAll that we have today are people buying and selling properties or doing “crash” 2-day renovations.  Don’t get me wrong – I love the design style of Joanna Gaines.  I get design inspiration from watching Fixer Upper and Property Brothers and we’ve picked up loads of yard and garden ideas from Yard Crashers.  I really miss the how-to aspect of the old design shows, though.  Watching Christopher Lowell walk you through his step by step theory for designing the perfect space was what I looked forward to on a sick day from work, before I owned a DVR and could fill it up with countless episodes.  Then there was this AMAZING design style show on HGTV, which I unfortunately can’t even remember the name of now, where the host would walk homeowners through a series of selections for finishes, colors, etc and come up with their perfect design style.  I could pick up so many ideas!

trading-spaces-georgetown-mortgageDesign on a Dime, Trading Spaces, the one where they would redocrate a room for under $500…..sure, there were some misses here and there and to watch them now they would probably be pretty dated, but to me there were so many more ideas – so much more to fill my design toolkit!  I always wanted to be an interior designer and these were my little windows into how I could make that a reality, even if it would just me in my own little corner of the world.

Now – the craft shows!  There is not a single crafting TV show that I can find today with the possible exception of Sewing with Nancy on PBS (I haven’t looked – I just assume it’s still on).  Before you could find kitsch crafts, sewing, a little bit of everything from Carol Duvall, knitting – even jewelry on the DIY network.  There was this magical thing called VARIETY.

Today’s saving grace?  Pinterest….where former decorating and craft show junkies turn for support and ideas in this generation.  Thank god – I will never run out of things to do with my toilet paper rolls again.

(Please note, I really don’t do crafts with my toilet paper rolls.  I did once try to organize my beads and jewelry supplies with them, but that’s another story.  A much less successful story.)

Happiness Habit: Rename your Project

Go figure….I found a great book.  This one, Get in Done, focuses on moving beyond procrastination to fulfill your creative desires by taking it all just 15 minutes at a time.  It’s really something how much you can actually get done in 15 minutes.  What’s even more interesting, in my own life and I suspect in yours, is how many ways you can find 15 minutes.  Since I started reading this I started waking up earlier and grabbing some time before I had to get in the shower.  I started measuring what I wanted to accomplish each week, in regards to reading or being creative (even exercising) in 15 minute increments.  Just the main theme of this book has broken down a number of barriers for me.  And that is just the beginning of what it really has to offer.

One of my biggest takeaways to date was a great suggestion for motivation block.  As a creative person I’m looking for inspiration and fun in what I’m trying to do.  Yet when I would sit down to create a to-do list, or set my creative priorities, it would look something like this:

  1. Start blogging again.
  2. Sew myself some clothes.
  3. Create new jewelry designs.
  4. Finish household DIY projects.
  5. Develop a plan for a floral and decor rental business.

Pretty cut and dry and rather direct if you ask me.  To the author’s point, sometimes we’ve been living with a project for so long that the name of it is now associated with a sort of punishment every time we think about it.  That was definitely my case.  I had wanted to start blogging again for a year.  Every time I sat down to think about restarting or revitalizing the blog, though, I was just frustrated and anxious about the fact that I ever stopped in the first place.  Her exercise in Get It Done suggests renaming your projects to give yourself a fresh, perhaps lighter and less oppressive, perspective on what you want to accomplish.  One step to it:  work swiftly and begin writing down a few possible fun, silly or sexy names for the project in question.  I discovered as I started that it didn’t take nearly as long as I expected to rename all my major projects.  One idea would turn into another, and into another and before I knew it I had EXACTLY the right name for each.

By renaming your projects to something fun and, sometimes, more meaningful it makes it less like work and more like creative play – which is exactly what artists and creators need to get inspired and get moving.  I haven’t started all of them yet, but when I stop to think about what I want to do creatively I get excited every time.  So, what are my new projects?

  1. (re)making Moe:  Little did I realize that when I renamed the blog project it would actually inspire the new name for the blog itself that I had been searching for.
  2. Rip It and Zip It:  Because my sewing aspirations involve not only from scratch/pattern sewing but also a lot of thrift and vintage redesigns it totally works.  Utterly cheesy? Yes.  But it feels far more fun than simply “sewing”.
  3. Grammy’s Jewelry Box:  My grandmother has always been a HUGE inspiration for me.  She did everything.  I still have a small jewelry box (that was actually my grandfather’s) that I dig through just to reminisce.  I remember being little and digging through a big bin of my mother’s old costume jewelry for hours just taking in the pieces.  Man do I wish I had that bin today.  The name Grammy’s Jewelry Box wraps all of that into one simple statement for me.
  4. Our New Old House:  When the restoration of our house was finished after the fire and we talked about moving back we called it our “New Old House”.  As a result, this project rename was way too easy.
  5. Ultimate Garden Party:  This project really revolved around everything I love about decorating with flowers or decorating outdoor spaces.  I spent about a year working in a flower shop and I miss it frequently.  What I would love to capture through this project is that perfect outdoor space, for weddings or for parties, combined with the sense of a street-side flower market.  Exactly what is states – my ultimate garden party.

Renaming these projects didn’t just make it easier to think about working on them but it kick started my creativity overall.  I have continued to add idea after idea to each of these over the last 2 months since I took that one simple step.  Do you have a project your procrastinating on?  I can bet you it has a crappy, homework like name.  Spend just 15 minutes today – pick one and rename it.  The magic will follow on its own.