Creative Growth

Hi Friends!

The month of May has always been my happiest month in the garden. I just love watching the daily growth in my perennial and herb gardens. Last week, I took great delight in planting containers of annuals for our front porch and added a few tender herbs to my Herb & Tea garden. Our abundance of rainy days blessed the garden… and the gardener!

On the days when Mother Nature was watering my garden, I retreated to my little Paper Garden studio downstairs. It has been necessary to intentionally plan small, daily steps to nurture my creative growth for quite a while now. In The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron stresses the importance of ”filling the well” to help artists who feel creatively blocked. It was most definitely time to fill my creative well. Little-by-little, step-by-step Springtime arrived in the Paper Garden, too!

On the first day of my special project, I spent hours happily die cutting, layered stamping, and adding highlights with Prismacolor pencils. After several hours, colorful tulips filled my art table. Over the following days, baby’s breath, pussy willows, and cherry blossoms emerged. Ahhh, Springtime! With no pressure to design, the pure joy of creating began filling my creative well… and my heart!

All of these stamps and dies are from The Greetery.

With tiny pots full of Springtime blossoms, it felt almost like being in a flower shop choosing stems to create a bouquet for someone very special. Oh, what fun to clip together tiny paper bouquets! No stress, just pure joy!

Then it was time to fill my tender heart in a very special way…

Mother’s Day was coming… and this would be my very first Mother’s Day without my dear, sweet mom, Darlene. I just knew that Mom would love my plan! I could feel her smile.💕 This May, I decided to celebrate three very special young moms who have become such an important part of my life.

Especially for Ada’s mom 💗

I have known Ada’s mom for a very long time!! She was a student in my first grade class and my second grade class so long ago! For several years, she would come back to help me during her recess time. For many Summers, I looked forward to a very special picnic with her family. During her college years, Ada’s mom would drive over to visit us. She enjoyed picking her favorite ‘tea’ leaves from our Herb & Tea garden and sipping tea together on our front porch swing. My husband and I felt so honored to be guests at her wedding! Ada’s mom now works as a speech pathologist and spends her days helping seniors with Alzheimer’s and other speech therapy needs. She is also working on her PhD in clinical speech pathology. This month, Ada’s mom celebrated her first Mother’s Day! I look forward to meeting little Ada very soon.💗

Especially for Elijah’s mom 💗

Elijah’s mom has been a very special part of our family for three years already. In fact, she is in many of our treasured family photos! She works so hard with everyone at the senior living community where my dad lives. She loved my mom and my mom loved her! Elijah’s mom helps everyone living there feel right ‘at home’ each day. She is always so cheery, whether she is busy at her desk, helping serve meals in the dining room, or running to someone’s apartment to help out. I love to hear stories about Elijah’s day in kindergarten, his current favorite activities, and their family celebrations. Elijah’s mom and I have become ‘sisters.’ (I always dreamed of having a sister.) My ‘sister’ always brightens my day… and gives the biggest hugs! 💗

Especially for Emerson’s mom 💗

I have only known Emerson’s mom for a few short months, yet she has become a true blessing in my life! We are most definitely creative, kindred spirits. Emerson’s mom is the Bereavement Coordinator for the hospice that helped my mom so much last September. When I reached out for grief counseling for my tender heart following the sudden loss both of my brothers to Covid and my sweet mom to an unexpected medical issue, Emerson’s mom entered my life. Her extensive education, experience as a chaplain, and work in the fields of bereavement and spirituality enable her to help children through seniors who are grieving the loss of loved ones. We both enjoy sharing our thoughts and creativity with one another. When I asked her for homework assignments, she began suggesting truly meaningful activities that tap into my creativity in so many ways. I love hearing about her family life and seeing photos of Emerson! She just celebrated her second Mother’s Day! Emerson’s mom and I have been meeting together via Zoom, but we are both looking forward to meeting in person in June. I truly look forward to our growing friendship in the years to come! 💗

How do you fill your creative well when you have difficulty getting started on a project or hobby that you love?

Hope you will share with us!

Wishing you healthy, happy Springtime (or Autumn) days!

Take time to nurture your tender heart, too.💗

Perennially yours,



9 thoughts on “Creative Growth

  1. Dawn, it’s always good to read another post on your blog. You have such a kind heart. I’m pleased to see you creating again, and my what lovely cards. I’m smiling, too, at the Ball jar. I have that stamp and have yet to use it! My goodness I get intimidated sometimes with new things.

    I know your mom would be pleased. The first anniversaries in a year of loss are hard: birthdays, anniversaries, Mother’s Day. You’ve made the best of it and then some. Sending a tender hug across the miles.

    • Big hugs, dear Alys! Heartfelt thanks for always being here. Sharing handmade kindness is so important to me! Nurturing my creativity always feels like a huge part of my self-care. Working through The Artist’s Way again and exploring loss and grief through a lens of creativity has been so meaningful over the past few months. Little-by-little, I am discovering ways to feel both grief and joy.

      Yes, the sweet Ball jar stamp is a favorite! I just love how the stamps and dies from The Greetery all work together. These tiny, Spring blossoms also fit into a pretty pitcher, a watering can, a market basket, and a flower pot. The creative possibilities are endless! 😊 Watch for a new release from The Greetery next week with a gardening theme!

      Very often, I feel intimidated by new things, too. It really helped me to just schedule creative time to ‘play’ each day. No pressure to create a finished project! Those sweet pussy willows quickly became a new Springtime favorite. Wishing you a creative week, my friend!💗

  2. You certainly picked a lovely way to honor your Mom while also affirming your relationships with some young Moms. Your cards are beautiful, and I know they will become a keepsake by the recipients. I’ve been having a challenge coming up with a sewing/quilting project for the past couple of months. I always finish a project so I don’t have any unfinished ones that I can pick up and work on. 🙂 I need to find a small project and get back in the groove. I miss it, but just can’t seem to get going again. Maybe, I’m just too tired from gardening. 🙂

    • Oh, thank you so much, Judy! I understand completely how you are feeling about beginning your next sewing or quilting project. I have everything I need in the Paper Garden. Now it is a comfortable temperature to work down in the studio… but I was feeling so creatively blocked that I couldn’t even begin. So, I challenged myself to spend 15 minutes in the studio every day. (I even put a May calendar there where I had to sign in, write the amount of time there, and what projects I worked on.) It really helped!! Every day, I just did just one small part of a project. Most days I happily created for many hours! I have also been working on lettering and doodling flowers this month. I have been hanging my little, hand drawn Springtime florals along a banner. I think this will be the year to add fun illustrations to my garden journal. Just small steps each day have made a huge difference. I think this has been my most creative month in years! It truly lightens my heart! I’m wondering if you might just buy a small kit containing everything you need for one small project, Judy. It would take away all the pressure and problem-solving of creating an original design. You would experience all of the ‘artist-brain’ benefits of a stitching ‘meditation.’ All of the fun, but none of the pressure!💕

      We are both so blessed to have two wonderful, creative passions, Judy! I have been channeling my ‘inner Judy’ as I navigate all of the changes in my garden this Spring. 😊 Although I am heartbroken to lose my towering pines and the old-fashioned woodland, shade garden beneath them, I am now very busy creating a new Sunshine bed in its place. At the same time, I am ‘right-sizing’ this long, wide, sweeping bed to an easier size! As I dig deep and compost, I keep hearing our words, “They are not children or pets.” 😊 I waited for a big patch of naturalized Lily of the Valley to bloom before carefully digging them up. Today I will be transplanting old-fashioned Phlox that have been growing here longer than my 35 years as a gardener. Transplanting always feels like watercoloring with real flowers! I just love it! This week, they are framing the new house next door. It’s REALLY big!!!! We will literally be the gardener’s cottage in the shade of the big house! I’m so curious to see how our garden conditions will change!! My ‘word’ for 2022 is FLOW.🧘🏼 It is serving me well.
      My achy garden muscles honor your achy garden muscles, dear heart! Take extra good care!💗

      • Thank you! Small steps, that’s exactly what I need. I have dug so many Lily of the Valley this year, that you and I could share a big laugh. I have a lot of old-fashioned Phlox, and they are direct reminders of my Grandmother’s garden. As for muscles, well, I’m using an ice pack as I write. 🙂 I hope your sun garden is beautiful.

      • You might enjoy this lovely ‘small step’ playtime with needle and thread, Judy! Search @missmustardseed on Instagram. In her January 31st post, Marian shared a beautiful workbook of her embroidery stitches. It looks so charming and old-fashioned!💕Just one small step at a time…
        I’m heading out to do more transplanting and digging this morning. ☀️This week, I have been picking small bouquets of Lily of the Valley with Ajuga. Today I will try white bouquets with Lily of the Valley and Anemones. Do you have ANY ideas for containing Lily of the Valley to just one area of my redesigned Sunshine bed, Judy? Have a wonderful weekend!💗

      • I will check her out. Thank you. As far as containing the Lilies, I think you’d have to add some type of barrier around them at least maybe 18″ down. Aluminum sheeting? Piece of aluminum pipe? A container? Something that will keep it from reaching out.

  3. Your lovely cards are heart warming and I am sure the recipients will feel the love. Nature heals the soul, I think. And even your little paper garden is like stepping into nature. It has been a hard couple of years and I think we are all in some way working to recover and heal. I try to spend a little porch time with my coffee and the dogs every morning before the West Texas blast furnace heats up. There is no vegetable garden this year, the writing was on the wall in March. We did finally get some rain last week, the first really measurable amount since last October. When I tell you we are dry, I mean parched, barren dry. And of course our rain came accompanied by hail and wind. My plants all look very beat up, but they’ll recover. Maybe not until Fall but they will recover!.
    Inside the house where I have to spend most of my day, I have gone beyond de-cluttering this spring. I suddenly crave clean, clear surfaces. I don’t even want to see fruit in the fruit bowl, so the lovely wooden bowl sits empty on the kitchen table. The doors to the English secretary desk are closed no longer revealing all the lovelies inside. I love to decorate, I love my house and all my beautiful things, but I feel the need to clear it all out. I’m sure it’s all part of the healing process and eventually I will bring it all back out and enjoy my lovely things. But for now my eyes and my mind need to rest. As I type this in my breakfast room I can see the deer down by the barn. Every other day I put a new bale of alfalfa hay out for them along with feeding them every evening. This place is also their refuge. Their safe place. Often they will lie down and I love that they have a shady safe place to be.
    Enjoy every drop of rain you get even though I know sometimes you wish it would stop. So good to hear from you.

    • Chris, dear friend, you have such a beautiful way with words! I am so very grateful that you stopped to say hello today. Have I told you lately that you are wonderful… and that you inspire me in so many ways?💕
      It soothes my heart to know that you are creating space for peace and calm in your beautiful home. You have created an oasis in the midst of everything. Such a wise thing to do. All of your treasured memories will be there, little-by-little, when your heart feels ready for them.

      It must be so peaceful to sit in your breakfast room and watch the deer come to the place of refuge you have created near the barn. You have found such beautiful ways to nurture Nature, during the long, hot, dry season in West Texas. I truly wish we could send some of our Spring rains across the miles to you. I can send a long letter, though! Watch your inbox this weekend! Sending BIG hugs, dear heart!💗

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