Cabinet of Curiosities

Are you a collector? 

Do you find yourself drawn to certain things and ever wonder why that is?

Over the years I collected the typical things like dated Christmas ornaments, figurines, and dolls. But I’ve also collected things that wouldn’t exactly be considered ‘collectibles’. My first collection (I remember very well and was very fond of it too) was clothing tags that I placed on my bedroom wall. It wasn’t only the tags I was interested in but the arrangement as well – maybe more so; I would spend a considerable amount of time moving them into pleasing compositions. 

More recently, and for the past several years now, I’ve amassed quite a collection of fragments of various things, mostly vintage and usually favoring a certain color family (usually from the mid-century) as you can see from this photograph of my cabinet of curiosities. And the more broken, the better. 

I wonder what Freud was have to say about that. 

According to Wikipedia…

When people think of collecting, they may imagine expensive works of art or historical artifacts that are later sold to a museum or listed on eBay. The truth is, for many people who amass collections, the value of their collections are not monetary but emotional —and often, not for sale. Collections allow people to relive their childhoods, to connect themselves to a period in history or to a time they feel strongly about. Their collections may help them to ease insecurity and anxiety about losing a part of themselves, and to keep the past present [1] Some collect for the thrill of the hunt. Collecting is much like a quest, a lifelong pursuit which can never be complete.[2] Collecting may provide psychological security by filling a part of the self one feels is missing or is void of meaning.[3] When one collects, one experiments with arranging, organizing, and presenting a part of the world which may serve to provide a safety zone, a place of refuge where fears are calmed and insecurity is managed.[4] Motives are not mutually exclusive; rather, different motives combine in each collector for a multitude of reasons.
(Psychology of Collecting – Wikipedia)











An overheard fragment of a conversation,

words from a song on the radio,

a certain stanza of a poem read aloud,

the way a shadow dances across a wall.


dreams while sleeping,

juxtapositions from nature,

unnatural sources.

It is never planned;

and there is no warning of its approach.

But when it does arrive,

Pay attention to it.

Like a clue on a treasure hunt;

or the needle on a compass;

it is the answer to a question not yet asked.




Sense the importance.

Trust the gift enough.

And save it for another time.

This is what inspiration is like for me.


Infrared photograph of the trees in my forest.

Raise your Sights

Now is the Time…

to look up

Take the opportunity to raise your sights – literally.

Look up from your normal field of vision:

take in the roof lines of buildings, the hills, skies, treetops, birds.

There’s a whole new world there.

It’s all about changing your perspective.

“Our senses don’t deceive us: our judgement does” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)

from the book, Now is the Time, by Patrick Lindsay

(cell phone image – abandoned building, lakewood, texas)

a new year, a new you?

There’s something special about a new year.

Every new year feels this way to me.

Even the numbers seem to reflect it…the ‘11’ looks a bit tired – the ‘12’ looks perky and fresh. It’s a time when any and every possibility seems almost attainable – no matter what it is or how difficult (we thought it to be at one time).

I’m not the only one who feels this way.  I’ve heard there are others.

So…what should we do with this new-found optimism?  Should we make a list or should we just pick a ‘thing’ and ‘go for it’?

“Leap and the net will appear”, as they say??  Is this the year?  Will we finally begin that thing – the thing we’ve always wanted?

We really should strike while the iron is hot… it’s already the 11th…time is a wastin’!!

Wish Brainstorming

I was doing an on-line search for ‘personal mission statements’…

A personal mission statement is a brief description of what you want to focus on, what you want to accomplish and who you want to become in a particular area of your life over the next one to three years. It is a way to focus your energy, actions, behaviors and decisions towards the things that are most important to you.

but what if you don’t KNOW what it is you want??

This led to more on-line searching which led me to this page (found on about ‘wish brainstorming’.

Thought it was interesting…

Wish Brainstorming for Goal Setting

Wish brainstorming is a tool that can help you figure out what you really want.

Wishes are a simple way to capture things that you may need, desire or want without necessarily committing to doing them.

Because your wish list only represents things that you may want to pursue, it’s easier to release any judgments about how/when you are going to do these things and focus instead on what you truly want.

Rather than trying to wish for everything that you want in all areas of your life, it is useful to focus on one result area at a time. Once you’ve brainstormed your wishes for this area, you can move on to another area.

Wish Brainstorming Guidelines

Brainstorming works best when you use questions to stimulate your thinking. You simply try to come up with as many answers to the questions as you can. It’s simple because your mind is programmed from early childhood to answer questions.

As soon as you ask yourself a question, your brain will shift into high gear trying to come up with answers. All you have to do is listen for the answers, and write them down. You should try to write every thought that pops into your head, whether it looks like a good answer or not.

The key is to reserve all judgment, criticism and doubt until later. The first step in brainstorming is to generate as many ideas as you can without thinking about them. So go ahead and write down any crazy, silly, weird or seemingly useless ideas. The reason for this is that judgment, criticism and doubt block the stream of ideas and shut down the creative process.

If you get stuck at any point and can’t come up with anything else, ask yourself the question again and wait for a few seconds. Repeat this a few times. If nothing comes, read a few of your answers. Reading your answers can often inspire related ideas or thoughts.

Wish Brainstorming Questions

Use the following questions to help you get started with your brainstorming session. Each set of questions is divided into one of four categories corresponding to the types of wishes that they help you think about.

Wish Type One – Want and Don’t Have

The first wish type represents the things that you want and don’t have. This is the most common type of wish and is based on a motivation toward things you want, desire or find pleasurable.

Use the following questions to brainstorm for things you want and don’t have:

  • What would you wish for in this area of your life if you had unlimited financial resources?

  • What have you always wanted to do or accomplish in this area of your life but have never attempted? Because of lack of time? Money? Experience? Resources?

  • If you could have, do or be anything that you wanted in this area, what would you wish for?

  • What would you wish for in this area if you were absolutely confident that you could accomplish it?

  • What habits, skills, abilities or personality traits that you see in others would you like to develop?

  • What knowledge, experience or expertise would you like to gain in this area?

  • What would you like to learn? (Learn to speak Italian, Learn to cook, Learn about astronomy, Learn to Tango)

  • What positive traits or habits would you like to develop? (Be more patient, Be more confident, Manage my time better, Read more often)

These questions are designed to stimulate your thinking while removing common barriers such as fear and doubt.

Wish Type Two – Don’t Want and Have

The second wish type represents the things you don’t want and have. These could be things like an extra ten pounds, a lousy job, or a mean boss. This second wish type is useful because many people find it easier to list the things they don’t want. This is based on a motivation away from things you dislike.

Use the following questions to brainstorm for things you don’t want and have:

  • What would you like to change, remove or eliminate from your life? (Lose extra ten pounds, Change jobs, Less stress)

  • What bad habits or personality traits would you like to get rid off? (Stop interrupting people, Eat less junk food)

  • What do you currently have that you don’t want in your life? (A mean boss, Too many demands)

Wish Type Three – Want and Have

The third wish type represents the things you want and have. Wishes of this type could represent things you want to appreciate or treasure more, good things in your life that you want to have more of, or things that you want to preserve.

Use the following questions to brainstorm for things you want and have:

  • What about this area of your life do you like and want more?

  • What do you enjoy doing but haven’t done in a while?

  • What would you like to improve or enhance about yourself?

  • What are the blessings in your life that you would like to appreciate more?

  • What good things in this area of your life do you want to preserve and avoid neglecting?

Wish Type Four – Don’t Want and Don’t Have

The fourth wish type represents the things you don’t want and don’t have. Examples would be things like heart disease, bad health, financial problems, and other risks that you want to avoid.

Use the following questions to brainstorm for things you don’t want and don’t have:

  • What problems or pitfalls would you like to prevent?

  • What bad habits or negative traits would you like to avoid developing?

Turn the Negatives into Positives

While the “Don’t Want and Have” and “Don’t Want and Don’t Have” wish types are useful during brainstorming to help you identify wishes, especially if your motivation style is away from things you dislike, they don’t make good long term wishes.

In goal setting, it is always better to focus your attention on the things you want rather than on the things you don’t want. A useful exercise is to convert all your negative wishes into one or more positive counterparts.

For example, if one of your “Don’t Want and Have” wishes is to get rid of an extra ten pounds, you would convert this into a positive wish: “I weight a healthy XXX pounds,” where XXX is your target weight.

Similarly, you can convert “Don’t Want and Don’t Have” wishes to their positive counterparts by wishing for things you can do to prevent or avoid these negative wishes from being realized.

Prioritize Your Wish List

Now that you’ve created your wish list, it is time to prioritize it based on what is most important to you.

A useful prioritizing tool is the ABCD method. In this method you prioritize wishes into one of four categories:

  • A’s represent things you really want

  • B’s represent things you want, but not as much as the As

  • C’s represent things that are nice to have, but you don’t necessarily want at this time

  • D’s represent things you definitely don’t want to pursue at this time

Why include the C’s and D’s in your wish list? Because you already went to all the trouble to think of them, you might as well write them down. You never know if you might want to change your mind later.

Once you’ve categorized the wishes, go over the A’s and rank the top five to ten items (A1, A2, A3…) based on importance and urgency. Try to find the wish that you really want the most right now and make it your A1 priority. Then proceed to find the second one, and so forth.

Another way to prioritize your wishes is to ask yourself which of them would have the most positive impact on this part of your life? Review your priorities from this perspective and make any necessary adjustments.

For the Love of (light) Blue

Cyanotype photography refers to the process of printing a picture by using sunlight and a series of chemicals. The chemicals involved in cyanotype photography include Prussian blue, aqueous potassium ferricyanide and aqueous ferric ammonium citrate. When producing a cyanotype picture, the paper (or other printing medium) is treated with each of the chemicals.

The image is then placed upon treated paper, weighed down with glass and taken out into the sun. The combination of sunlight and chemicals will then imprint the image onto the paper in a dark blue or gray color. Keep the paper in the sun for five to fifteen minutes, or until the paper is visible bluish-grey.


When the paper has turned, remove the glass and rinse the chemicals off the paper. After the paper is dry, the print is complete.

Objects used in cyanotype photography should be flat and opaque. When using the cyanotype method, remember that the prints turn out best with greater contrast. Also, wear gloves, as the chemicals stain.

Cyanotype is not only cost effective, but it also serves as an effective alternative to a darkroom. In fact, the most expensive aspect of this method is the cost of paper. Those beginning to dabble in photography should begin experimenting with cyanotype to learn the mechanics of printing photographs.


I LOVE cyanotypes!  Of course it probably has something to do with the fact that they are blue…but still, I LOVE THEM.  I always have.

I’ve dabbled in the cyanotype process some and really enjoy it.  Its just sometimes difficult to do when the outdoor lighting conditions (sunlight) aren’t just right.  Its one of those things you need to set a specific time for and I tend to be of the more spontaneous nature (I never seem to get the timing right), i.e. I miss out on making cyanotypes a lot!  😦

BUT, I have this great book I love to flip through occasionally (to get my fix) and one day I was looking at it and decided to photograph some of the photographs using my infrared camera.

I love how they turned out…

Hope you do as well!

so…did you?

Did you look outside your box?

Its not too late.

Tomorrow is December 31st…think about the boundaries you’ve created for yourself. They’re self-inflicted you know.

Its all about perception.

If you can see the horizon clearly…you can expand the limitations of your box.

It’s up to you.

Happy New Year!





5 Minute Christmas Decoration

What can I make with a box of sewing notions I got for a dollar (at an estate sale I visited today)?

Let’s see…

Here’s the box of notions

Hmmm…this spool is interesting.  Reminds me of a Christmas tree.

And I’ve got some vintage jewelry around here somewhere


A 5 Minute Christmas Decoration for a tabletop!



(everything looks better under glass!)

Creativity, Inspiration 5 minute idea, antique thread spool, Christmas decorations, Christmas in a snap, Christmas tabletop decoration, Christmas under glass, , estate sale, , sewing notions, vintage Christmas idea, vintage tabletop 0 Comments

Get your Shrine On

A shrine is a place or piece of furniture used to remind us of meaningful intangibles through the display of meaningful tangibles.  It’s also a place or piece of furniture that can be an on-going art project in three or more dimensions.  How about creating such a shrine and spending a minute (or several) with it every day?  Could a shrine improve your outlook on life (as well as your home decor)?

How about some incense and a candle or two to go with your items of inspiration?

A shrine doesn’t need to take up a lot of space.  How about putting a few reminders of your creative self and the vast unknown in a cup or tray?  What about a portable shrine?  A key-chain shrine?

A shrine could be placed on a shelf, on the floor or in a cabinet.  A used piece of furniture could be converted to hold meaningful books, beads, letters, candles, artwork, etc.  A shrine could be simple or ornate and it should evolve over time and always remain fresh and relevant to you.  As an artist, this is your chance to create a piece of meaning and beauty relevant to you and you alone.

How often do you get to do that?

-taken from the book, Creative Sparks: An index of 150+ concepts, images and exercises to ignite your design ingenuity by Jim Krause

Kitty Realized…

I actually got out into the studio and created something!  And before the weekend was over! I’m surprising even myself these days!

So…I bought the book “Taking Flight” (as mentioned in last night’s post) and bought a few supplies (’cause I’m so sure I didn’t have something just like it or very similar to it in my studio already) …yeah right.

I’m (kinda) following along with the project in the back of the book…the encaustic one – because ENCAUSTIC ROCKS! – and because I knew I had most of the supplies I needed already and well, because, ENCAUSTIC ROCKS!

Oh, and let me mention I cleaned my studio this morning so it was all pretty and organized and stuff.  I love working in a clean studio!

Ok, back to the project..

Here is the art board with a bit of paint on it and some markmaking attempts…I quickly realized I didn’t have any heavy bodied acrylics in the studio (how could that be?? I have every thing else you could buy in the studio).  I know you can make heavy bodied acrylics but pretty sure I didn’t have any medium (that, I’m pretty sure of).

I realized my stamping wasn’t working too well due to the lack of a more textural background – i.e. no heavy bodied paint.

And as I was sitting there staring at the board (with no heavy bodied paint on it) I decided it didn’t need any more stamps anyway.

Cause I’m a minimalist.  If I haven’t mentioned it before. (A minimalist who collects stuff).

This can be a problem.

Ok, so now I’m at the point where you’re supposed to ‘paint your subject in’.  That part always gets me.  I considered the fact that since I’m a minimalist – I should be able to just put the pen down and call it a day – but decided against it (a good example of the ‘problem’ part).

So… I’m looking at the pile of catalogs on the table (I can’t throw them away – there’s so much good stuff in ’em and I don’t mean stuff to buy – I mean good inspiration stuff, all the colors and patterns, etc.) – I start flipping through them…

and I find this (kitty) and decide that there is no rule that says I have to paint my subject in…

So here it is – my subject – adhered to the board.

I write a few meaningful words…then head out to the encaustic studio to do the fun stuff

And here it is…

‘Kitty realized it was time to start living her life’