This World of Creativity

I am completely happy–not just joyful (and there’s a big difference)–when I’m with a pen, paper, and surrounded by this world of creativity. A cup of coffee in hand, and a camera nearby to capture the moment.

Am I making a ton of cash in the freelance writing world?

Absolutely not.

But I am tethered by no deadline until 2019.

I am happy (as well as joyful).

And could anyone ask for anything more out of life?

This World of Creativity

My work space from March 9, 2018 was Lowe Mill, a huge artist community in Huntsville that is housed in an old brick factory with hardwood floors and tall windows.  I chose Lowe Mill because it’s one of my favorite places.  It fuels my creative spirit because of all the artists who have studios there.

I can take a writing break and go talk to photographers like Stephanie Schamban.  If I get hungry, there’s a vegan food truck, Chef Will the Palate, run by the owner, right outside the building.  (That smoothie was so creamy and delicious!!!) Or I can get an avocado popsicle from Suzy’s Pops.  Yummmmmmmmmm!!!

There Ain’t Nothing that’s Going to Steal My Joy

In an hour, perhaps, the happiness will drift away…It may fade, because such is life.  

But no one, absolutely no one can ever take away my joy.

No matter my life circumstances.

It will always remain.

longhand writing

Longhand writing

Here I sat and wrote, accomplishing so much. Adding word after word to my novel that I want to pitch at a writer’s conference this spring. It’s a tall goal–trying to write around 20k words before I can say I’m done, but it’s the goal I set for myself back in January.

So yesterday, I wrote what I put in italics today.  I’m back in my little home office now, which isn’t as much fun or as bohemian as yesterday’s environment, but I hope to go to the library and write some more…Longhand, just like writers in the past.

Lowe Mill water tower

Lowe Mill Water Tower — View from Below

professional photographer

Kindred spirit, photographer Stephanie Schamban

professional artist

Window of Artist Heather Baumbach

tall factory windows

Tall factory windows of Lowe Mill

view of green door from window

Sweet green door, view from 2nd story

green grass means springtime

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Beautiful Day in Downtown Huntsville

Downtown Huntsville Big Spring Int’l Park[/caption]For the first time in months,the temperature rose to nearly 80 degrees.  It was sunny, and a lot of folks were out in the downtown area.

I needed a protein drink…desperately.  Fortunately, I met Ty Blackwell who runs a local Wheelys Cafe along with his family. Known as “the World’s Fastest Growing Cafe Chain,” Ty’s family only just started about 3 days ago. I don’t know about the other days, but this was the perfect day to run that kind of business.

Wheelys Cafe food stand Ty at Wheelys Cafe

A Beautiful Day

I knew I was going to be in the Downtown Huntsville area this morning, so I brought along my little Nikon d7000. I also know how much y’all like photos of beautiful southern architecture. I didn’t have to stray far to get some good shots (IMHO) of buildings and water features. We really do live in a beautiful southern town!couple in Downtown Huntsville

Huntsville’s Big Spring International Park

They’ve done a lot of work to make the Big Spring International Park area even more gorgeous than it was when John Hunt built his cabin nearby in 1805. I gather it was probably a pretty primitive place back in the 1800’s. That seems funny, considering the fact that Huntsville is now known as the engineering capital of Alabama. Not far from John Hunts settlement are law offices, engineering firms, and some of the best restaurants our town has to offer.

By the way, in case you haven’t guessed, our little southern town was named in honor of John Hunt!

So, there’s this fountain underneath the big bluff at Big Spring International Park. People go here to get prom, wedding, family, and senior portraits made.

Then, it’s the home of lots of ducks and koi.

a ducky life in Huntsville Big Spring DuckThese sweet little ducks were just hanging out in the water, just enjoying the day. That’s the life!

Isn’t this a beautiful bank? I think they say it was built in the 1800s. We have a few Greek-revival-style places around Huntsville. You can read more about it, here.

Greek revival architecture bank at Rocket City

Downtown Huntsville

door Downtown Huntsville

Huntsville’s Old Harrison Brothers Hardware Store — Dusty Wood into Vintage Treasures

The other day, I posted Huntsville’s Old Harrison Brothers Hardware Store — Part I.

Here’s the second part of the story, where I turn dusty wood into vintage treasures!

Before….

The Project

I first brought all those wooden treasures home in the back of my car. It drove me nuts, because they bumped and jangled all the way home. (Because bumping and jangling stuff in my car drives me nuts.)

I didn’t stop to shift the wood because I was too excited to slow down, visions of my Flea Market Flip-esque project dancing in my head.

Once at home, I dragged Lefty (my left-handed, left-brained husband) and Princess Buttercup (my adorable daughter) out of the house to see what I’d bought.

They were over-the-top excited for me.

I made that last sentence up.

Before…

 

Cleaning up the Wood

My first step was to sand the dusty wood. Sanding went a long way in cleaning up that wood.

I pulled out rusty nails with Lefty’s hammer, nicking my left palm in the process.

(Stay tuned for my Lock-jaw post to be posted in a week or two!!!)

Next, I went to the store and buy wood cleaner. Except, I couldn’t remember what the stuff was called.

“May I help you, Ma’me?” asked a man at a computer.

“Yes, I would like wood cleaner. I know what it looks like, but I don’t know what it is called.”

Interesting wooden drawer, now cleaned up.

The man typed in “wood cleaner.” His two colleagues were punching each other behind his back. I wanted to say, “Hey, boys! Knock it off! I’ve got an amazing DIY project on the line, here!” But I maintained my southern manners and bit my tongue.

“Do you mean,like, hardwood floor cleaner?”

“No. Nevermind. Thanks anyway.”

I’d seen that stuff before. I’d used that stuff before. As much as I hate hunting for stuff, especially in one of those big warehouse stores, I decided to search on my own.

I finally found it! Murphy’s Oil Soap!

Back to the house I went, purchase in hand.

Anyhow, after the wood dried, I tried to paint it with acrylic paint.

No good. It looked like a Kindergartener’s work.

Wood Painting Class at University Pickers.

But here’s the good news…Today I signed up for a sign painting class at University Pickers! I’m well on my way to creating beautiful home decor with sweet quotes and Bible verses for Sweetgum House!
More to come on how I turn dusty wood into vintage treasures from Huntsville’s Old Harrison Brothers Hardware Store…

This is what I want my sweet home decor signs to look like.  I got it at Mill Clothing Company.

More Home Decor Ideas.

I got a lot of terrific suggestions about how to turn my dusty wood into vintage treasures.  What do you think so far?

Dusty wood crate into wall art.  I haven’t hung it yet.  I’ll have to get Lefty to put it up for me if I can figure out the best place to hang it.  Or I may turn it into a coffee table.

Dusty wood crate into fire wood box. I got all the firewood from the forest at Sweetgum House.

Top Ten Christmas Activities

What are your top ten Christmas activities?  I’m listing mine below  (in no particular order) and would love to hear from you!  Merry Christmas, and God bless us, everyone!

window_wreath_Christmas

Decorating the Christmas Tree and our whole house for Christmas.

I so enjoy home décor, period, but I get so much joy in pulling out meaningful ornaments and making my Christmas trees pretty.  I had planned to buy another tree for my dining room, but they were so expensive that I decided to wait for the after-Christmas sales.

Fortunately, my next-door-neighbors were tossing their tree because the lights weren’t working anymore.  They said I could have it, so I drug it across the street and put new lights on it.  I used only silver ornaments, while we used the other ornaments on our living room tree.  My “silver tree” is so beautiful–one of the prettiest I’ve ever had.  It lights up the whole dining room with it’s white lights and silver elegance.  (At least I think so!)

dish_foliage

Hearing my husband read the story of Jesus’s birth in Luke 2:1-20.

The story of Jesus’s birth is so beautiful.  The verses are like a balm in their rhythm and the hope they give us in our world.  I think people are more generous and kind at this time of year because so much is focused on our Lord, the Light of our complex world.

church_ornament

Baking Christmas goodies

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Grandmother Lindsey (who lived just across the pasture from us, when I was growing up in rural south Alabama) used to always make the best in sweet Christmas goodies.  My favorite were her date balls, fudge, and divinity.  When I was supposed to be practicing the piano, I’d go swipe a piece between songs.  But I think she knew about it! 😉

Shopping for Christmas gifts for everyone.

Carefully selecting Christmas gifts for everyone is a favorite hobby of mine.  I like to get the best gifts at the best prices and be a good steward of my cash.

Santas1_edited-1

Crafting hand-made presents for family and friends.  Being crafty in wrapping gifts.

I am in my element, my happy place, my zone when I’m making presents for family, friends, and Princess Buttercup’s teachers.  Furthermore, I like adding just a little bit of creativity when wrapping my gifts.  I’d better get on it, actually.  I’ve got only 2 weeks till show time!

Singing Christmas carols.

We went caroling last year.  I did that for the first time when I was in college and loved it!  I want to get a brave group to sing in our new (as of June 2016) neighborhood.  Any volunteers?

Spending time with family and friends.

Spending time with those I love makes Christmas a special time for bonding and building memories.  It’s the time of the year that Lefty takes time off of work, and Princess Buttercup and I love that!

Opening presents.

I’ve gotta be honest…opening presents is just plain fun!

silver_ornament

Silver snowflake, a gift from my friend Kibbers.

Attending all the parties and eating all the good food!

We southerners are known for our food.  It just wouldn’t be Christmas without the feasting.

SouthernLivingChristmas2017

Smiling and saying, “Merry Christmas” to people I meet.
</h1>Like I said for my second activity on the list, people are so much friendlier around Christmas time.  True, traffic can be a nuisance.  And true, we’re southerners, and people from other places say that we’re friendly, anyway.  But I think people are kinder around Christmas because so many more are thinking of the Light of the world, Jesus Christ.