A Guilded Age

What are these times we are living in? The news is dismal, our connections are weakened by pandemic and politics, and it’s cold when it should be warm and it’s warm when it should be cold. However, we are resilient! And as such, fortunate to have ways and people who continue to leave us the better for time spent – one of MY favorite barometers for days and relationships.

One such person, who brings ways and joy, is my decades long friend, and creative muse, Rena Tobey. Rena is an educator by heart and an Angel in spirit. Years ago, when I met her, she was a Life Coach when it was a new genre. Man, did she have insight by the bushel. I still live by several thngs I learned with her. One, I’ll gift you with: Cherry Pie. When you have a situation and you think it’s only one way , see it as a pie and try to imagine other slices of what might be. This has helped me to soften my stance at times, for my self and others. It works!

Flash forward to today. Here’s her About from her webite www.renatobey.com

Rena values learning, creative possibility, and fun and dedicates her energy to sparking lively minds. Building on an academic and organizational career, she is passionate about engaging people with all forms of visual expression and filling the spoken word with verve.She has a PhD in Human and Organizational Studies, with 14 years experience as an organizational coach, trainer, and consultant.  Recently, Rena completed her MA, art history program at Hunter College, with a thesis on Elizabeth Okie Paxton and her provocative 1910 painting The Breakfast Tray.

That, and so much more, Rena brings to bare. Wanna taste? Check out her latest offering this Thursday – a library program, February 17th at 7 p.m. EST. https://tuxedoparklibrary.libcal.com/event/8828173

And if any of you are watching A Guilded Age, then I think you will appreciate so much of what Rena has to say – she is like having a companion who whispers details and brings to life what you are watching. So fun!! Check her out. I promise you will be the better for poking around her site and finding other books to read, things to hear and insights to carry you away from the news… and toward better moments.

Armchair Travel

Sticking close to home, but yearning to leave? Wanna travel, but can’t bare the thought of “what ifs”? Well, lucky for you – Sketching Spain Barcelona is just the ticket! Pre-Covid, my friend, art teacher and creative Muse, Judith Cassel-Mamet, and her delightful art partner, Danny (who lives in Spain), put together a sketching trip to Spain. But alas, this year’s trip is postponed – in person. Lucky for us, Judith and Danny have made it possible for us to still go – and you can join in, all from the comforts of your own armchair. Check out the links below and see how you can spend the winter months learning how to sketch, enjoying the sights of Barcelona and even learning about the wines that might have been served! So fun, you may want to bring a friend! Give the gift of Sketching Spain to yourself AND a friend! It will truly be the trip of a lifetime. And you won’t even have to wear a mask. Empaca tus lapices y disfruta!

Sketching Spain: All About Vinohttps://online.classes.sketchingspain.com/courses/sketching-spain-all-about-vino?ref=58921e
Sketching Spain: Barcelonahttps://online.classes.sketchingspain.com/courses/Sketching-spain?ref=58921e

MindFULL Evolution


Music Que: Frank Sinatra, My Way

Courage. According to Ellen, it’s “being scared and doing it anyway.” Letting go. The theme of the year. Compaction. My own made up word – a combination of Compassion and Action. Mix it all up and you have, “Time for NEXT!”

For the last year, I’ve written about NEXT, talked to many, many, many  women about where they are with NEXT and given it a lot of thought. I’m in that phase of life, where what was is no longer, and what will be, isn’t yet. I can feel the small subtle shifts of change beneath me, around me and inside of me. And I have to say, after the ups and downs of the last two years, I’m finally ready to get up off the sofa and put down my iPad, bringing to life that which I’ve thought of, talked of and watched everyone else do.

And so, after 7 years of writing The MindFULL Creative, I’ve decided to sunset the blog as it is, and evolve it into something new. The new is in creative development, but the exciting potential has propelled me to sit and write posts that have been collecting in my Blog Box. I think I have enough to share on all the MindFULL Mondays still to come before the end of the year. Please stay tuned!

Thank you to all my friends and readers. Creating this blog was a big leap for me. From learning how to technically execute it, to coming up with a name and logo, committing to its’ content and generating the courage to put myself out to you, I have learned a lot. Most of all, I learned there isn’t one way to do anything. There are many.

As long as one of them is mine…


What have you MindFULLY created and then decided to let go of it? Let us know!


Free The Monkey!

I love signs. Both metaphorically and physically. I look for them everywhere. When the clock strikes 11:11 (which is crazy that I happen to notice it so often), I see it as a sign to set an intention. Years ago I made this little reminder sign and keep it on my shelf – Choice. It’s Yours. Use it.


So it was a sign to me that on Saturday, Ken and I happened to take a road trip to Salida, a small creative town about 2.5 hours from Denver. We had never been and were looking for something different to do for our anniversary (after 28 of em, you have to keep coming up with new ideas, right?) It was a beautiful, vast blue sky, open plains kinda drive. Along the way, we played music and shared stories from the week.

I told him how I learned an awesome metaphorical story from one of my favorite people, and Kabbalah teacher, David. David and I had been talking about Letting Go. He told me about the study of monkeys in the jungle and their bananas. Seems traps were set by placing bananas in cages with small slits just big enough for the monkey to put his hand through and grab a banana. The kicker came as the monkey, while holding tight to the banana tried to pull his hand back out. No can do. The tighter the grip, the less space to pull, and thus, the monkey was stuck.

All the monkey had to do to be free was let go of the banana.

So imagine, my delight when strolling the Salida Art Walk a few hours later and Ken pointed out this sign!


The next day, at 11:11, I set an intention to Let Go and “drop” several bananas. Here’s to one free Monkey!

How do you MindFULLY Let Go ? Let us know!

Crack Me Up

I’ve been on a roll this past week. After months of dormant creativity, I engaged in some serious work about what was blocking me. As soon as I got down and honest, it was amazing how my energy began to flow! I started looking at things that were bothering me, not so much as problems, but as chances to create what I wanted, instead of reacting to whatever was on the 2am list.

And so, when at dinner last week I splattered salmon butter on one of my favorite summer easy dresses, I rushed home to wash it. Despite my best efforts, the spot wouldn’t come out. Bummed, I let it go. And then in the shower, it hit me…tie dye it! Barely dry, I ran out back, made a concoction of bleachy water in a spray bottle, simply rubber banded around the spot and a few other places and sprayed away. Viola’! Now I like it even more!

Check out this lovely essay about Kintsukuroi and then take a look around your home and life. What’s broken that you aren’t willing to throw out and yet maybe struggle to live with? Perhaps there are some relationships that are pretty cracked, but valued. Or maybe there’s an object, like my Bobie’s  cracked vase that I waited years to own. I love it and use it as a planter. I found a vine that sits inside and drapes over the crack. I don’t even notice it when my heart delights at it’s place on my table.


Sometimes it’s easy to see a spot, or a crack, or what is missing in our lives, and feel badly. But sometimes, if we just reframe it, tie-dye it or fill it with gold, we hold it differently and it can become a new and valued treasure.

What was cracked in your life that you were able to MindFULLY  Kintsukuroi?

Let us know!






Launching Creative Inspiration

Joyful Pages-coverF[2] copyHave you ever had a really long flight and wanted something to do, or enjoyed sitting in a café watching the people go by and had an idea, or been somewhere that has inspired you and you wanted to capture the essence? One way I have found to bring MindFULL joy to such moments is via Art Journaling. And I’ve been lucky enough to learn from The Master. And now, you can, too.

My funny friend, and walking buddy, also happens to be one of the best art teachers I have ever had. Her name is Judith Cassel-Mamet. And below is an excerpt from our conversation about her new book, Joyful Pages: Adventures in Art Journaling.

For those of you in Denver, the book launch party will be at the Art Student League of Denver on April 15, 2-4pm.  It is open to the public and there will be some art materials to explore, as well as both the books and journal kits available for purchase. A portion of each sale will be donated to the Student Art League of Denver (Where I first met Judith). You can also get her book on Amazon or her web site: www.jcmamet.net

When I retired from teaching at both the high school and university levels I found a new passion  introducing adults to the magic of playing with colors and creative expression. Working in a journal is freeing compared with trying to create a perfect painting or drawing to hang on the wall. Turning the page  becomes the goal rather than creating a single object. With this in mind, I wrote the Joyful Pages book. It is jam-packed with step by step techniques for layering pages with color and textures. There are suggestions for using your own handwriting for recording thoughts and further anchoring moments both magical and mundane. 

 Just after publishing the book I created a companion kit with all the art materials needed to play with the techniques in a decorative box. I found that students wanted to get their hands on the wonderful sprays, inks and crayons demonstrated in the full color illustrations. Having a sample of everything in one place saves time shopping and gathering materials, so the kit has been a delightful addition to the book effort. 

 In so many ways this book (and kit) project fulfills a long held dream to see the instruction that is often given in a workshop tucked into one package. I have been delighted with the feedback from students; one even sent a message saying she brought the book to southern Australia and was reading it on the beach. 

 I am reminded of a phrase about “my gratitude being greater than my expectations” and feel like it describes this cycle for me perfectly.

Wouldn’t you like to have MindFULL gratitude be greater than your expectations? Check out this link for a tutorial and some Joyful inspiration and let us know! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HE_wyusYNRk

MindFULL Upcycle

drviewIt’s 64 degrees in Denver, which makes us forget it’s January and lulls us into thinking it’s March. With the sun shining in, I feel motivated and a bit utsy. Much to my husband’s chagrin, that means wanting to do a house project. There are a few more big things I’d like to do, but can’t right now. So I have to find small ones.

One of the things I have been keeping an eye out for is a plant stand for my dining room; I’ve been having trouble finding one. After watching too many episodes of Flea Market Flip, I decided to make one. Downstairs, buried under a tarp, was my Bobie’s old nightstand. “Hmmm” I thought.


The fun part of this project was that it cost less than $10!

At first I was going to wallpaper the piece, but wallpaper is not inexpensive and contact paper looked cheap. So, I went to a paper store and simply bought some beautiful paper ($5.99 a sheet). I also bought a small jar of ModgePodge and a sample size of dark brown paint. The nightstand had already been painted white years ago, so the hard part was behind me.

All I did was decoupage the paper onto the sides and wash with ModgePodge. On the top I crumbled up tissue paper and used the ModgePodge to make a textured top. When it dried, I painted it brown. Viola!

papermpodNow I have a surface to put a live plant in my dining room (good Feng Shui) and all I have to do is to remember to water it.

standWhat have you recently MindFULLY “ up-cycled”? Let us know!


It’s Spring! Finally. And for me that means I get to sweep off of the winter dust, fluff the pillows on the porch and see what the decorating magazines, Pinterest and Houzz are showing. Let me grab a vodka seltzer, extra lime, and kick back…

Woa! What’s with all the high prices?

Recently, I saw a pillow that I thought was cute. It was $125. Seriously? No way. I am gonna make it. At least that’s what I used to do. Lets see if I still have it in me:

  1. Went to Ikea and bought a pillow cover – $6 (they give their stuff away)
  2. Went to Michaels and bought iron on letters
  3. Cut out a heart from extra iron on border
  4. Ironed it all on!

photo[3] photo[4] photo[5]

OK, MindFULL readers? What do you think?


Now that Spring has sprung, what MindFULLY creative ideas will you make?

Let us know!

LIghts, Camera, Action


They say that our darkest hours are our hardest. But, I say, it depends on the dark.

Every so often, I duck out of life and take myself to the movies. I love to sit in the dark, turn off the real world and enter the one on the screen.

“Don’t you feel guilty?” asked a friend who does more in a day then most people do in a week.

“Hell no.”

To me, it’s like dropping the oxygen mask on the airplane and breathing first so I can be alert and calm to do everything that requires my attention. When I feel like I have taken some time for me, I am more patient, creative, inspired and hopeful. In two hours, I can gain perspective, get great decorating and dressing ideas, see another point of view and let my mind settle down. It is an amazing use of my brain. And of my spirit.

Sometimes I see really intense movies and other times I see silly ones. The bottom line is that in this small way, I have control and can do what I WANT to do. I don’t have to talk, compromise or negotiate. And in a life filled with talking, compromising, negotiating, work, volunteering, mommy taxi, wife and friend, it’s worth the price of admission.

So, the next cold rainy day, why not give yourself a “time-out” and allow yourself two hours in the dark. Then, when the real darkness shows up, perhaps you will have some light within to see things and do things you might never have thought of!

How do you MindFULLY drop your oxygen mask? Let us know!

Birds Eye View

It’s school break and that means lots of house time. Funny what I notice about my house after sitting in the same chair for hours.

Seeing things with a new perspective can help me think that I have created something new, without spending much money.

Take this drink stand I recently purchased. It just sat in the corner of my dining room, til Colette mentioned what a cool bird’s nest it could be when I wasn’t using it. All of a sudden, the shredded paper in the study had a purpose and everywhere we went, I started to notice all kinds of creative birds! I bought a few and am thinking I may be on to a new collection. I’m gonna work on this. nestbirds

Real Simple magazine has published  their New Uses for Old Things: Holiday Edition. http://www.realsimple.com/new-uses-for-old-things/new-uses-holidays . Perhaps there is something in it to inspire you? After all, you never know what “bird brain” ideas will present themselves when you simply look at things with a new eye.

What have you MindFULLY re-used? Let us know!