A few words on CREATIVE energy...and gratitude

February Tulips

My youngest son and I were driving to town this morning and I remarked that I felt really good today, brighter in some way, better than I had in a while. He asked if that was because he worked all weekend and was working a full day today. I said yes...partly, but for good reason. It gave me time to navigate my life around the house, something I promised myself in the month of January. It was time to delve into those boxes we save for a rainy day, in the cupboards we close as quickly as we open and think "not now". It was time. I had left it for nearly two years, it was time to properly unpack our belongings from Vietnam and place them where they needed to be. I knew it would be a lengthy task and I knew I could think of better things to do but we had rain for two days and I didn't feel like skating on ice. I put my apron on and thought...right..

The basement "disaster zone" that I mentioned in my last post has now become my 'creative space' where my creative energy can be put to good use until our carriage house/barn studio is up and running. I have three 6' folding tables which I have used for a multitude of activities and in my mind this is by far the best. Add to that a large desk waiting for a studio and we have lift off.

Table #1
I have one table for all those family photographs that have piled up over the years. I had a fit of brilliance about ten years ago and took all our photos out of photo albums to do something clever with them. It ended there. The great divide is around 1999. Life prior to that was all printed photos, life since has been digital. Lucky for me I have not printed many since I moved to digital but I do have A LOT of photos going back generations and I need to revisit them. I plan to share the love and pay it forward with many. I imagine they will bring a smile to family and friends. A very worthy creative project.

Table #2
If you have been following Collage of Life for a few years you will know that I have a love for postcards. There have been several mailings over the years to readers and I always love my time doing so. It also gives me an excuse to buy one for you and one for me...or maybe two or three in case I need them for a creative project. Well...I have A LOT of postcards and I am nostalgic for each and every one. They were a great source of creative energy in the past and I know they will be again. Don't be surprised if another postcard mailing comes up as a result. ;)

The Postcard Collection

Table #3
The creative table is the most important of all. This is the center of my creative energy, where the sparks of brightness are coming to light. It started last year while living in Sydney, with a silversmithing class and other creative workshops. Lately I have been dabbling with this and that, creating essential oil remedies for friends to try, topping off little sample bags for friends of 'Tahilla Farm Tea', a special blend I created during a workshop at Glenmore House.  The table is a collection of creative projects that are brewing away...

Table #4
I call this the expat table. Not nearly enough space but the center for all those things I collected during our lives in Vietnam, England, Australia and New Zealand. The paintings, artifacts, textiles, clothes, hats...you name it and it is there. It has been a wonderful walk down memory lane for me and with it a reminder of what I had intended for so many of them...another spark of creative energy.

I have a study, which I reluctantly use, I say reluctantly for lots of reason but one is that I do not feel the love in this room. It's a bit dark and for the past two years has become the 'dumping ground' for all those things I need to figure out what to do with someday. Over the past months I added a carpet, a coffee table, moved a few chairs, added FIVE lamps...but still...nothing, no love. I realized it was lacking all those things we need to spark creative energy...namely my books. Up to now I have been looking at a series of mystery, military history and assorted out of date text books belonging to Mr. H.

EPIPHANY....move the books!

Fortunately for Mr. H, he has a built in bookshelf in his wardrobe/closet. He now has a well ordered bookshelf of all his favorite authors. Mrs. H currently has a well ordered bookshelf of her 'bookfriends' the ones she likes to refer to when on a writing quest along with years of journals both filled and new. Amazing what a bit of book sorting can do for creative energy. I carried on to the guest rooms, the reading nook and the master bedroom. They have been defined by subject...travel, gardening, decorating, cooking, art and so on. Nothing like a well ordered library to get the creative energy flowing.

It is only natural that when you open one door, it will lead you to another and another. The doors I recently opened were to my past and sometimes you need to look at your past before you can move forward. One of the boxes I pulled out was years worth of "ideas" for blog posts, the ones I hoped to get around to one day and never did. I read through them all and tossed most. What I did love was reading the old posts I had written and the comments that followed. I cherished the fact that so many of you are still with me all these years later. Reading about life in New Zealand and the move to England and then the move to Vietnam and the purchase of Tahilla Farm and the move to Hong Kong...it was surreal to go back and read our thoughts on it all. I admit I cried...mostly because I was thankful that I had written about it and thankful so many have been there to share the journey, both in the written word and in person. When I think of all the people I have met through Collage of Life and the fact that Tahilla Farm would not exist if I hadn't...well, it makes my creative heart just explode with joy.

Last weeks view...Tahilla Farm

On that note, I am going to take my creative energy and get back to work...the creative center is need of a bit more organization and my son finishes his work shift in a few hours! ;)

From one creative heart to another...
for I know you all are!
Thank you!

Gratitude unlocks
the fullness of life.
It turns what we have
into enough, and more.
It turns denial into
acceptance, chaos to
order, confusion to clarity.
It can turn a meal
into a feast, a house
into a home, 
a stranger into a friend.

-Melody Beattie

Jeanne xx

How about you?
Any creative energy happening in your life?
If you would like to share your thoughts, 
I would love to read them.

You can write to me


  1. Thoughtful post sets the mind to sorting clarity with nostalgia
    The tables, that image signals space, a release of things waiting. I love the Melody Beattie poem.

    I've been trying to mold my wishes around my circumstances for years. Sorting, shedding, and shredding. Top on the list is the shredder. When that pile is gone, the air is lighter and brighter. Strange such a small thing is so liberating.

    1. Couldn’t agree more May...such a small thing can be very liberating. We bought a shredder last year...a mighty little gadget! Simplifies recycling too! :)

  2. Several years ago I received a beautiful postcard from you. It came at a not so great time in my life.......And I appreciated it so much. This card was put on my cork board - and stays there. Thank you for all your wonderful posts which I follow faithfully ! I feel the same way about books, recently downsizing, I did have to part with a few hundred. Not to worry I am still buying....

    1. Ahhhh....that touches my heart Eleni. I will think of you as I sort through my postcards. As for books...when we moved from Australia to New Zealand, I had a big garage sale, selling many of my books. I felt anxious as each one passed. By the time we moved to New Zealand I had garage sale remorse. I proceeded to buy many back to replace the ones I sold and started the Brown Paper Book Club as a result. Would love to resurrect that as well. I will pop the post on my sidebar in case you are not familiar with it. So glad you are continuing to buy books! :)

    MY PROBLEM I donot want to TOSS ANYTHING!I DO HAVE A PAPER PROBLEM!The BOOKS are in PILES.........The piles cannot be on the FLOOR as BANKSY the TEA CUP will MUNCH!I did clean off the washer /dryer space SUNDAY...............I could not STAND IT anymore!
    LET's DO this together!!!!!!!!!!

    1. I am with you Elizabeth! Happy to move on this creative energy together. Makes me laugh to think of Banksy the Tea Cup munching on your books! Book piles are good but not for a pigs meal...and a cute one at that! ;) Cleaning off the washer/dryers space is a good first step! :)) xx

  4. Since becoming acquainted with you through Collage of Life, I feel a closeness as your thoughts so often mirror my own and I wish I could have written the words. Your life continues to change and you meet each challenge so admirably. It seems you have found some permanence at Tahilla Farm which has sparked a new energy. Onward, my friend.

  5. Lovely post Jeanne, thank you.. for filling my creative energies across the miles. My creative self has been energized by your words.. as I find myself amongst packing cartons, I'm itching to unpack and get settled into a glorious light filled apartment, again. For surely, for me, its in moving home, that I discover myself, in packing and unpacking, in setting up decor spaces that speak to our hearts, that we once again find ourselves.. for so easy, are we creatives, lost within the clutter of life's 'stuff.' We like to be extremely well organised.. xx good luck with your three tables, they sound a fabulous idea. Here's to spring visiting you soon. xx j

  6. It's always inspiring to come here and read what you've written. I seem to be feeling more creative this year. It took a change of heart to bring it about though. My resolution for 2018 was to try and focus on the positive. I have not always managed. There were days when trouble at work made me forget that commitment. But I would say that, overall, I have been able to stick to my plan and it is helping me a great deal.

  7. Jeanne,

    I am at a stage in my life where I feel the need to purge. When we moved here from FL I donated several hundred books and like you I felt remorse, but then I imagined all of the people that were enjoying them.

    I am continue to buy and they are piling up but they are so comforting. Magazines are so hard for me to part with, I get distracted for hours while culling the piles looking back at the folded pages wondering what it was that I liked.

    As for being creative, I am not really artistic but I decided this year that I wanted to learn how to watercolor. I will let you know how that goes. I find that my creative outlet is baking and so far it is working out well.

    Good luck as you clean your tables and organize your photos.

    I am so happy that I found your beautiful and creative blog all those years ago and have been able to follow along on your journeys from Australia to London, to Vietnam, NH and Hong Kong. So many adventures.

    Have a wonderful week Jeanne


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Can I just say....that I so enjoy what YOU have to say. If you would like to write to me directly, I would love to hear from you... jeannecollageoflife@gmail.com

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