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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

My Creative Mind's Eye

Right now, more than ever, I have to work with what I've got. That includes meals, clothing, tools, and landscaping. You may remember, last year we hosted a reception after one daughter's university graduation. Our other daughter will be graduating this year and we are hosting a reception for her, too. I've allocated some funds from the budget for the food for her reception (although this will be scaled back a bit from last year), but there is extremely little in the budget for sprucing up the entry garden, back deck, or yard. A lot of what needs doing is plain old labor to clean, prune, and weed. Last year, though, I had some money for flowers in pots, and that made a big difference in the first glance impression, I thought.

Seeing the ordinary in a new way
Working with what I've got involves taking a second look at many plants, rocks, and pots in our yard and finding the "new" in it all. Here's an example of what I mean.

What do you see in this picture? You probably see a bunch of ivy surrounding a dead shrub of some sort in a pot. Yes, that's what I saw, too. My regular me would think, "let's go to Home Depot and buy a new shrub for this pot." The creative me needs to find a way to use what I've got right here.

And what my creative side saw was the potential for an ivy topiary. After rubbing all of the dead needles off of the shrub I had something that would work as a frame for the ivy.

I also had a terra cotta finial sitting on a shelf in the garage. I trimmed the top of the dead shrub a little and fitted the finial firmly in place. Then I untangled the strands of ivy and wound them around the dead shrub, tucking the ends under to secure them. As luck would have it, there was a twin to this dead shrub surrounded by ivy about 15 feet from this one, and I had a second finial to use. So, I used the same treatment for the second potted shrub and I now have a pair of ivy topiaries, at no cost.  I think they look lightyears better than before.

Another example of seeing things with fresh eyes involves 2 pots at our front door. I usually buy flowers for these two pots. This year, I scavenged the yard for various succulents to fill both of these pots. I found 3 different succulents thriving in my yard. The variety in texture, scale, and color of the succulents makes up for the lack of blossoms. The bonus to using succulents is that I often forget to water the pots in the front of the house, and the succulents are very forgiving in that respect.

Another pot also needed some flowers of some sort. I scavenged some volunteer plants from the yard and popped them into that pot. Sure, I don't get to have exactly what I want. But that's the trade-off to saving money. I get free plants, but I just don't get to choose what they are.

I've got a couple of weeks to get the house and yard into shape, so I'm keeping myself quite busy with this work. I thrive on this sort of thing, though. I'm the type who does well with projects with a specific termination as opposed to ongoing work. So, this is a good thing.

I hope you're all doing well and that some of you were able to use the link for a free Kind bar yesterday. I'll be back tomorrow!


  1. Love them Lil. So creative and will be an beautiful addition to your party.


  2. You certainly have a green thumb. Succulents are the "hot" plants of the moment, so you are current with the trends (I know that isn't your goal, but it's funny that it works out that way).

    Keep in mind that you are probably way more critical of how your house and yard look than any of your visitors will be--I know I can fuss about making things look right before company comes over, and I inevitably find that they are there to visit and not to criticize. :)

    1. Hi Kris,
      It's great when doing what works also happens to be trendy!
      You are right -- I am more critical of myself than others. As luck would have it, we're now in a rainy period, so I can't work outdoors even if I wanted to. I'll just start preparing and freezing food instead! Thanks for your comments.

  3. I am amazed (actually, inspired) you are able to accomplish hosting a reception under tight financial constraints. But I know your concern for your family's welfare is the driving force.

    Interesting that you mentioned that you enjoy working on projects that have a specific termination, as opposed to ongoing, because I am the exact opposite. I like everything that I committ to be open ended and ongoing, that way I can change course as needed, procrastinate, and I guess not fear failure. But nothing gets done, and everything is in an unfinished state. It bothers me at night but during the day I'm perfectly fine with it.


    1. Hi YHF,
      It's a good thing that there are people like you who like the ongoing projects. If the world was filled with all project-types like me, there would be no continuity.

      With regards to the graduation reception -- it is scaled back in cost, but I want to put on something as nice for my other daughter as I did the first. You know how it is with multiple children -- what you do for one, you have to do for all of them. I've spent the last 31 years trying to always be fair.

  4. Good solution. And I agree with what Kris said. People are there more to visit and honor your daughter than to look around. I've found when there are several people milling around with coats, purses, food, gifts, etc. my very nice order is no longer there. And once again no one notices or cares. I don't worry about it when I'm at other people's houses. But from experience, I know that letting go of the details is easier said than done. But I've been working on that and I'm getting better.

    Hope there is good weather for the celebration of this very special event for your daughter. Congratulations!

    1. Hi live and learn,
      Thank you for your comments. I appreciate your wisdom.
      We're in a rainy period right now, so hopefully we'll get all of the rain in the next couple of weeks and then sunshine. It is so unpredictable, here, with the weather.


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