A Mum for the Season

A Mum for the Season

Are you a gardener? If so, I bet you are putting your lawn and garden away for another season.

You most likely are harvesting vegetables, planting spring bulbs, picking up the leaves that are already falling, and closing up the patio furniture. Even with this odd COVID summer, the time has flown and we are closing up our outdoor gardens and yards for another year.

For me, I must have a mum for the season. I don’t need a whole bunch of fall flowers, but I do need a burst of color that reminds me of fall. So, I went out and purchased one large yellow mum and plopped it on my front porch. What a burst of color even as we have shorter days and more rainy days. I can sit and look at my mum and think about all of the beauty to unfold this season.

Do you have a go to plant or flower that you look forward to having around as you change seasons? If so, I hope you will keep your tradition. It’s not quite time for pumpkins and gourds, but soon.

It’s all unfolding quickly…

Creativity Burst: Update a Classic Children’s Book

Update a Classic Children's Book

I always loved the Frog and Toad book series and so was sort of delighted to see this updated little chapter for the times we are in today. Give it a read — it will only take you a few minutes and it’s clever!

However, this whole idea sparked a creative idea out of my own imagination. What would be such a fun way to have a creative burst of energy is to reimagine any of our favorite stories from childhood into a modern version of what is going on in the here and now.

Perhaps you think this is only for kids to do — and, yes, I agree rewriting one of their favorite books with characters they love to think about the pandemic or the election year would be a great way to help them process the news of the day.

However, I also think it would be a fun way for adults to reimagine what is going on in their own lives right now. Did you love fairy tales? Well, tell me then, how does your favorite one handle COVID? How does another handle societal unrest? Sometimes by imagining what our characters would do, we can become creative with what we do to handle the times we are living in.

You don’t even need to write it all down, you can simply tell the story to yourself or to friends and family. I was delighted by learning how Frog and Toad handled their out of quarantine adventures. It helps me think of my own experience imaginatively.

And we could all use a little creative imagination right now to help us bear it all.

Creativity Burst: Painting

Painting

Not sure if it is the pandemic or something else or both, but I look around and see a lot of people painting.

They are painting houses, walls, furniture, rooms, paintings, and more. People have found a color and a brush and are putting both to task freshening up their décor with a fresh coat of paint. It seems like one of the easiest and least expensive things you can do to change the mood of a room a home or a piece of furniture.

Paint it.

Also, the process calls for a creative heart. You get to choose your color. Let’s say your room was dark – now you paint it white. Hello! The whole mood of the room has changed – and vice versa too. 

Painting also often has you taking down your pictures and covering your furniture and that also often gets a creative refresh when you have to choose what goes back up on the walls. Also, you may add other decorative elements to match your new painted walls – pillows, accent rugs, and more.

And don’t think you have to get fancy. White walls are also amazing. Did you know there are warm and cool tones of white that can really change the look of your room. White is anything but boring and will also need some attention to choose how you would like your white to look.

And, if you dare, how about a deep, bold color like red or purple? How about pairing the two together? Sometimes taking a bold step with colors we choose to paint with can be a prelude to other bold steps in our lives.

If it is painting a picture, how expressive. I hear that Paint By Numbers has become fashionable once again. The idea of painting almost feels meditative. One can safely be in one’s space alone or with one’s family and undertake a creative task that is full of color and transformation. Once you are in your new rooms of color, who knows what may alight upon you.

Stay Open and Paint!

Creativity Burst: Cake For Breakfast

Cake for Breakfast

Here’s a fun trick — something I often do the day after my Birthday or when my sweet tooth is really calling out to me: I eat cake for breakfast.

What’s so tricky about that? Not much, except you have to trick your mind into thinking its acceptable to eat cake at 7 am on any given morning and feel good about it. Another favorite tip is to eat breakfast for dinner — say eggs and bacon at 6 pm? Of course, there is always brunch where we get away with eating the sweet and savory all at once during a midday meal.

For me, if I remember to eat cake for breakfast, it really starts my day off fun. Just to look at the cake on a plate early in the morning is decadent. Then to give in and indulge with a nice cup of tea. Could there be anything better?

Change up your schedule and eat different types of food at different times of day. Even something as simple as this can get your creative juices flowing and inspire more creative ideas for your day.

Now, you could even get up and bake a cake to get your day off to the right start — creativity and sweetness. It almost feels like that is exactly what I am doing when I make up a batch of blueberry muffins or cinnamon rolls. Those are so cake-like and sweet, it feels like I am making cake for breakfast.

Try it. Mix up your meals and indulge in something different for you and your family. I will grab my fork and be right over. Let’s see what creative ideas spew forth as we enjoy some cake in the early am hours.

Creativity Burst: Lady With Baguette

Lady With Baguette

Continuing my mid-summer break, here is an interesting photo that I took in Spain last year. I was walking along — she was strolling as any good local would do. Only thing — she had a baguette in her hand.

I usually think of carrying a baguette home wrapped in long paper — not her! She strolled along, baguette in hand.

I see a person like this and immediately begin to build a story in my mind about her and her baguette. Was she headed home to make a tasty lunch for herself and/or her family? Was she taking the bare baguette to a sick friend to cheer her? Was she about to hit someone over the head with it?

My mind went wild with my various stories but around this woman — this complete stranger — and her baguette. A creative little game I sometimes play when I want my mind to wander to someone and a story outside of myself. How could I resist with a picture like this?

What are you seeing today that you could build a creative little story around?

Creativity Burst: Flower Power

Flower Power
Here’s to Flower Power!

Are you enjoying the height of the summer flower season about now? If you just take a mere walk around your neighborhood in the Northern Hemisphere of the world, it seems like there are bursts of flower power color everywhere you look!

One of my favorite parts of summers is hanging baskets of petunias. Not only do I love the color these flowers offer my backyard, it is a season where I get to directly care for living flowers that are in full display this time of year.

From watering them morning and night to dead heading the flowers that have fizzled, I feel so very satisfied as I interact with my flowers. I know others have actually planted flowers and they are being rewarded this time of year. I know others who are buying flowers for themselves and loved ones and enjoying the beauty of arranged flowers.

Flowers do not last — even my pots are really only good for the short season — but how wonderful to be surrounded by their cheer even if only for a few weeks. I have been known to sing to my flowers — they seem to thrive even more when I do this. I also love to just sit amongst my flowers. Such cheer. They help take my mind to something creative, hopeful, and bright. Sometimes I journal beside my flowers — another way in to finding my muse.

How are flowers creative? Think and marvel on the fact of how they grow. The colors and shapes they take on. What images come to mind? What memories may a flower evoke for you? If your flower has scent, does it transport you somewhere? If so, where?

I hope on this perfect mid-summer — height of summer! — day you have some flowers surrounding you, making you happy, providing a creative a burst of color within and toward others.

Here’s to flower power!

Creativity Burst: Fun Clothes

Fun Clothes

I always loved this T-shirt. A friend gave it to my husband years ago and it gave us both a good laugh. It’s summer. The living is easy. It may just be fun to find some fun, happy clothes to don and share a good laugh.

Even better? Make your own fun (and/or funny) clothes. T-shirts where you use fabric markers to make your own would be a great way to get the creative juices flowing. All you need is some plain white T-shirts (or another solid color) and fabric markers — and, of course, some of your own inspiration to make it a fun activity.

Now another part of this project is finding out what makes it fun. Is it the color? Is it the saying? Is it a combination? I remember when tie dye was all the rage. There were no words, just psychedelic colors that you could use to turn your t-shirt into a wild print. Fun! The process of tie dye was really fun – especially with friends.

Your kids could outfit their dogs and cats too. Finding funny sayings and creating an animal shirt to put on the family cat and dog would also be a fun way to create something new. I think the laughs you may get from your family and others when your pet walks around in his funny T-shirt may also boost creative fun. Whether or not your pet will find it funny is another story.

If creating fun clothes is not exciting for you, then how about heading to your closet and shopping it to create fun new outfits. Perhaps the colors clash or two pieces simplyy don’t go together. Now is the time to try and see what new combinations you come up with that are fun, not necessarily ones that you would wear out in all seriousness. Being outrageous with your wardrobe can spark new ideas and ways to use them. Be open and create some fun fashion statements.

Whether creating funny T-shirts for you or your pets or reimagining your clothes into new outfits that may be outrageous, you are leaning into a creative exercise that will spark more ideas of bringing the new to the old and actually lightening up and having fun. It doesn’t take much to get a creative burst of energy.

Creativity Burst: Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds – not that exciting by themselves, as are most seeds. However, think of this creative idea as planting sunshine.

We are limited in what we can do these days, but here is a quick and fun idea to do with your family. Head to your local nursery and purchase some packets of sunflower seeds.

From there, take a drive and sprinkle the seeds as you drive along. This would be best to do on a rural or country road near to where you live. Sprinkle away. If you have kids this could be quite entertaining.

That’s all! Now you have to wait for your sunshine to grow. Whether it be later in the season or next year, take a drive and take in the view of the sunshine you planted long ago. The seeds will take hold and grow. Almost a miracle.

You could also do this in your own back yard or neighborhood if you want to see your results closer to home, but I think a refreshing drive out to the country where you scatter sunflower seeds and then get to see them later is such a quaint idea. It’s one that takes both hope and patience. Whenever we plant, it is an act of not knowing if something will bloom – or not.

Just like in our lives we plant many seeds, but then we often don’t know what is going to take hold and bloom. But we plant and scatter seeds and live in hope that what we put our attention to will bloom. It’s all an act of faith.

Plant some sunshine this summer and wait. What bloomed? Perhaps you.

Creativity Burst: Balloon Parade

Balloon Parade

Ever think of hosting a Balloon Parade?

Today is my Birthday, and I have always dreamed of a Balloon Parade. What does this idea entail? To be completely honest, I am not sure as I have never hosted one before, even as I’ve always yearned for one. As a former kids’ party planner, my mind turns toward inviting friends over and blowing up balloons — or, more likely, having balloons already blown up that each person can grab…and GO!

Go where? Off to a Balloon Parade of our own making. Basically line everyone up and march around my neighborhood or my city with balloons in hand together. Ah, how fun! Although I have a fantasy around my Balloon Parade, I have never made it happen as I don’t want to plan something like this for myself. I resist!

So, I yearn for this celebration and yet I don’t make it happen for myself — and who has time to plan a Balloon Parade? By this time in my life, I think I am more excited by the idea and the dream of it than actually doing it. Have you ever wanted something for so long that your mind builds it up in a way that reality can never meet your expectations?

In that case, I would say just do it — to myself and to anyone else who has a “Balloon Parade” of their own in their mind. Reality is actually always better than fantasy. I doubt I will get around to it this year — I think this is another year where my mind will float over the idea, but, with any luck, I will be here for the next Birthday and perhaps that year I will have the courage to host a Balloon Parade of my own.

To all the Balloon Parades in our minds — Cheers!

Creativity Burst: A Positive List for a Negative Habit

A Positive List for a Negative Habit

How can a positive list change any type of negative habit?

Well, it’s a creative exercise indeed to flip something we criticize ourselves for on its head and see the positive side, i.e. what may be the part of the habit we deemed as negative as something that is giving us something we are missing, longing for, and enacting that feels good.

Usually the way we interact with our bad habits and patterns is to criticize ourselves for having formed and maintained the habits. I often have found the more negative, critical talk about these habits, the more they take hold. Which is the exact opposite of what we want in our heads as we often seek to not do these very things again and again. However, what else to do, but to talk negatively to one’s self and keep up the habit of the negative behavior.

So, it may take a little effort to do this, but if you look at this idea as a creative exercise then it may not feel difficult at all. Also, it will allow for a break from the negativity toward self. In concept, the idea is simple. Take a few moments with yourself and sit down with a pen and paper in hand. From there, write at the top of the page — or wherever on the page — your bad habit or pattern.

Now, instead of thinking about all the bad you think you are for doing this habit and also how you judge the habit to be bad in and of itself — flip it! — and think about all of the good things that you get from doing this habit from the little to the big things. My guess is there is something positive that far outweighs the negative of engaging the pattern or habit that keeps it active for you.

After you see all that is positive in this negative habit, treat yourself compassionately. There are reasons that are valid that drive us to take on “bad” habits and behaviors. By allowing yourself to be compassionate and extending loving kindness may help you get more in touch with how this may be a way for you to express your anger, handle your anxiety, regulate your stress and more. No one action or thing is all bad. Opening up space to look at the positive part of whatever it is may help you tolerate the habit and it may also loosen some of the grip it has on your life.

This is a creative way to approach a bad habit or pattern. Give it a try and see what alights upon you. I hope compassion and kindness above all to yourself.