Month: May 2014

New in New York (Week 28)

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wallTo be sure, recovery has brought me to a lot of new places. And it has brought me there anew. Refreshed, stronger, a bit worn, but weathered and wiser for the way on.

This week I have traveled to Brooklyn, New York with my husband. I haven’t been to this city since my honeymoon nearly 9 years ago. It is a gift of recovery for SURE that we are revisiting this place–what is not only a momento of the painful past, but a sweet and tender reminder of the work and surrender that brings us here. It’s a talisman I will carry forward into the future, into my marriage, into motherhood, and on and on.

This week’s creative project: Before I Die… photo spy

While walking today, I spied some inspiring street art. The wall, painted black, featured a headline of “Before I Die, I Will…” and left space after space for passers-by to fill in their wishes and hopes and courage markers. The wall filled 2 city blocks and begs me to consider the challenge.

Before I Die, I Will… Be better at truly loving myself and be more generous with my love of others. Because I’m worthy. And so are they.

I Will… How about you?


Delicate Planting (Week 27)

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Since I was young, I admired the jade plant my paternal grandmother inherited from her mother. The plant spans decades, looks more like the Tree of Life than a small succulent, and has survived storms & droughts & deaths & births. As a child, I thought how I’d like to have a planting from this awe-inspiring succulent. So, being the calculating, perfectionist, and ever-planning person I am, beginning in my college years, I bought jade after jade, hoping to prove to myself that I could be a worthy enough caregiver to request a sprout from my grandmother’s divine tree. But jade after jade died under my watch.

Recently, I visited my grandmother at her home, nearly 400mi away. While there she showed me all the transplants she has been preparing for her children, my cousins, her friends. And somewhere something rustled within (I call it recovery’s gift of living in today & not being hindered by fears of “what if”), & I decided to ask for my very own transplant to make a part of my home. She had a small set of sprigs she was re-rooting & planning to re-pot, which she gladly entrusted to me. Honored (& a little terrified), I asked for all the care tips she could offer & crossed my fingers that the plant would at the very least survive the long drive home!

This week’s creativity project: The delicate job of re-potting & feeding the jade.

Good news: it made it back to Nashville with me, survived my clumsy re-potting effort, & hasn’t died (yet)!

I invested in proper succulent soil, plant food, & a light-handed watering schedule that feels foreign to me. (I’m pretty sure my helicopter watering practices of yore is what did in my previous jade plants!)

So here’s to letting go & enjoying each day with this lovely plant, which never fails to bring to mind a woman I am privileged to love–my grandmother–& her long legacy with a lovely plant.

Asparagus Grilled Cheese & Summer Salad (Week 26)

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photo 2Eating beautiful foods inspires my creativity. So, this weekend, after having a beautiful brunch with a friend at a local French bistro, my creative juices were whetted…as was my appetite! I decided to recreate my gourmet meal at home.

This week’s creative project: Asparagus Grilled Cheese & Summer Salad

Using my taste buds and the memory of a brief menu description, I gathered up ingredients and got to work making “brunch for dinner.” This was surprisingly easy, and I was especially excited to find all needed ingredients in 1-stop at my local Aldi (yum savings!)…

photo 1Asparagus Grilled Cheese:
–Asparagus, toss in oil & s/p, roast at 400′ fo 10-13 minutes
–Crusty bread, buttered one side
–Provolone and Goat cheese (any combination of soft, spreadable,
or easy-to-melt cheese will do)
–Layer sandwiches with cheese & roasted asparagus
–Grill butter side out in heated skillet until melty perfection


Citrus Salad Dressing:
–Juice and zest of 1/2 Lemon
–Stone Ground Mustard, 1 tsp
–Olive Oil, 1 tsp
–Water, 1 tbsp
–Red Wine Vinegar, 1 tsp (rice wine vinegar would be a nice alternative)
–A few diced herbs to taste (I used 1 basil leaf and some rosemary sprigs for fresh flavor)
–Wisk ingredients together
–Toss with mixed greens for a refreshing salad


Furniture Rehab: Desk (Week 25)

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ImageI’ve been meaning to share some exciting news with you, my blog friends: I’M PREGNANT! And an extra sweet detail, my due date marks PRECISELY 1 year from my first Creative Recovery Blog post (my 1-year weekly blog project)! I’m just throwing it out there, but it would be pretty awesome if my 52nd post to mark the end of the year in “creative” recovery could be made from a hospital room, sharing with you all the MOST creative thing I could EVER make 😉 –and what signifies so much of what I’m gaining along this recovery journey–serenity, dependence on a tender Higher Power, humility, and oh-so-much surrender!

So, I’m not sure if it’s pregnancy-induced nostalgia, but I’ve been wanting to surround myself with the memory of my grandmother, who died 19 years ago. She was my ultimate kindred spirit, a woman who modeled for me so many of the interests and passions and that are a part of my identity today. So, without further ado…

This week’s creative project: Furniture Rehab, my Grandmother’s Desk

This desk featured a dated wood stain and sealer as well as the original hardware. To acclimate the desk to the style of my home, I decided to re-stain with my fave wood stain–pickling–and replace the old hardware with something more my taste**.

Steps are pictured below. The entire process (including sanding, cleaning, staining, and replacing hardware) took merely a few hours. The only time-consuming aspect involved filling and re-drilling hardware holes on one drawer (the old hardware was smaller than then new). What made this time-consuming was waiting on the filler to dry before new, wider spaced holes could be drilled. Minus the patience required by wood filler dry-time, all-in-all a super simple and quick process.

**Hardware: A very fun way to recycle…. When I moved into my house 7 months ago, I found that a set of original hardware from old cabinets was left in a kitchen drawer. Very aged and discolored, but such cool design (1950s mod). I had no clue how or when I’d reuse, but I bagged em up and tossed them in the garage. For this project, I used 4 handles from this stash–happy to have combined my grandmother’s beloved desk with the roots of my new home.

Just How to Frame It (Week 24)

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ImageAs a gift, I wanted to frame an article for a friend. The article was an odd size for a frame, so no pre-cut matte was gonna cut it (excuse the pun ;). Though I haven’t used one in over a decade, I decided to give a matte cutter a try for a more precise, personalized look.

This week’s creative project: Matte Board Cutting

I happened to have a scrap piece of matte board* to fit my 8×10 frame. So with some careful measuring and (eek) math involving fractions…a handsomely matted gift was born 😉

*P.S. I always have scrap matte board…great for book-making! But if you don’t want to buy a full piece, you can request scrap pieces from professional framers.