Thursday, April 14, 2022

Filling the Creative Well


I once read about a woman who cared for her mother, who suffered with dementia. The mother had been a quilter and very artistic. As her confusion increased she could no longer create in a way that was meaningful to others. For awhile, she sewed simple squares together on the sewing machine, day after day. Each night her daughter washed the squares to release the water soluble thread with which she had threaded the sewing machine. The mother stitched the same squares day after day, unknowing of the subterfuge, but happy to be creating. 

The daughter also noticed odd placements of objects throughout the house. Disparate objects were gathered together and placed on a table, or the mantel, or the piano. When outdoors in the garden, her mother gathered odd botanical bits and rocks and sticks to arrange and organize, taking time to make them just so. The daughter realized after awhile that her mother was creating. She began to photograph the arrangements as a way to remember her mother's creativity even in dementia. 

The desire to be creative is a deep human need that can be expressed in myriad ways. Writing, fine arts, and music are often the first things that come to mind when one thinks about being creative. For those of us who are not great artists, expressing our creative nature comes in so many ways - the carefully thought out preparation of a meal to nourish people, the beauty of a bed of flowers in a garden, a table set with care and attention to detail, listening with love and care - there is no end to creative opportunities. 

Creativity and beauty seem to go hand in hand. Appreciating the beauty of the natural world and taking the time to look at its intricacies is, as Vincent Van Gogh says, "the true way to understand art more and more." 

When I have not taken the time to nurture my own creativity, I find myself restless and tend towards irritability. It usually happens when I'm busy and have too much on my plate. I've felt that restlessness creeping up on me these last few weeks. 

With Easter approaching I wanted to dye eggs, but as the days marched by, I wondered just when I'd find time. Last night, after dinner my inner creative urge said, "do it now." I boiled up a dozen eggs, and collected my materials. A bit of chopped red cabbage, a few yellow onion skins, some powdered turmeric, and a jar of homemade grape juice from the pantry. I simmered the cabbage and onion skins in a couple of pots of water and drained them. A couple of tablespoons of vinegar went into four quart jars, followed by the dyes. For patterns on some of the eggs, I collected a few snippets from the garden and pressed them onto the eggs, then tied them into squares o muslin. Into the jars they went, some wrapped, some loose. It all took less than an hour, including the clean up. And I felt wonderful!

This morning, I emptied the jars and carefully untied the muslin-wrapped eggs. What rich, yet subtle colours nature provides. I arranged them on a platter with a few bits from the garden before taking a photo. How pretty they look on the kitchen counter. They are there to be admired, and I do. The restlessness is eased for a bit. Making the time to be creative is important. It fills a need within me. 

Are you filled and eased by arranging a pretty vignette, creating a beautiful meal, or puttering in the garden? I'd love to know what fills your creative urge. 

As we celebrate Easter and the hope of Christ's resurrection, I wish all of my readers a blessed Easter, if you celebrate this day, and to all of you, a most glorious spring weekend. 


  1. What a lovely and thoughtful post, Lorrie. And yes, I absolutely have to feed my creative self too, any way I can. While not always having time to be organised and paint or sew, I arrange vignettes very frequently about the house. My father had dementia and after my mother passed, he began to experiment with flowers and plants from the garden, making very attractive arrangements in cases. He also played around with the decor of the house in interesting ways, and we loved it. Your eggs are just so beautiful; I am so glad you made them for Easter. In the last 24 hours I have sewn two different baby wraps and some small baby towels: so satisfying! Happy Easter.

  2. I loved this post Lorrie - so thoughtful and with such a special message re: those who suffer from dementia or similar problems.
    My creativity these days tends to be focused more in the garden especially now our grandchildren are all adults. Filling pots with pretty flowers to place in the porch as a cheery welcome. Removing the dead bits of plants from last year to allow any new growth to fulfill its full potential. Not forgetting to keep the bird bath clean and filled with fresh water so that the birds can drink crystal clear liquid and enjoy splashing around. This provides a pleasure for us too as we watch.

  3. How very lovely, lorrie. You always give me so much to think about and to enjoy.

  4. Beautiful post and eggs. The use of naturally made dyes is a creative way of infusing care into the tradition.

    Creative urge? I write or glue things together, found or broken objects.

    Have a blessed Easter

  5. Those eggs are beautiful! When the creative urge strikes me, I head to my studio and paint.

  6. Such a lovely post...

    Happy Easter

  7. Wonderful job on the eggs! A blessed Easter to you and your family!

  8. Beautiful story, Lorrie. Love your eggs. I did some today also.

  9. The eggs that you dyed are very lovely. I like the patterns formed by leaves.
    I spent hours out in the yard today. I have to take advantage of the dry days.
    Have a blessed Easter with your loved ones.

  10. Those colored eggs are so pretty. I have to say that my creative juices seem to have mostly dried up. I used to love decorating my home, but now when I want to do something creative, I grab my camera and head out to find some beauty to capture.

  11. Such elegant Easter eggs, Lorrie, and your flower arrangements are wonderful as well.
    The story of an old lady with dementia shows that life with such a disease can be at least partly serene and gratifying. Too often I see dementia bringing only suffering... to the person and the family members.
    There are many things I find rewarding: experimenting in knitting, gardening and now also in renovating the home - recycling and upcycling.
    Thank you for the lovely post. Have a peaceful Easter! 🌿

  12. Lorrie, your post completely resonates with me. I can understand the restlessness that comes with not being creative for some time. I do think it is very important to be creative, and yes, it is not only the "big arts" like writing, fine arts etc that ask for creativity. At this time, my main creativity goes in the garden. It fills me with joy and calmness at the same time. I start my day with a walk through the garden, later I often take pictures of it. I love to document how the garden is progressing AND make beautiful pictures. And then I blog about it...
    Your Easter eggs look wonderful, I love the natural patterns and that you used a completely natural way to dye them. So beautiful and I can imagine also satisfying. I assume that this gave you a lot of joy. Your arrangement is beautiful as well - what a lovely creation.
    Happy Easter to you.

  13. Such touching story about the creative needs of this old woman who suffered dementia. I find your Easter egg plate very charming Lorrie! My creativity consists nowadays of writing, photographing, home decorating and making garden bouquets in the summer. In winter I have to visit art exhibitions and garden centers to admire the beauty.

    Wishing you and your family a happy & sunny Easter!

  14. Lorrie - I also can get irritable if I don't have time for my crafts, which often get pushed to the end of the "list". I do manage not to inflict my attitude on others, but I know I am not happy. As you say, there are many ways to scratch that itch, and for me, it depends on time of year. If the weather is fine, the best medicine for me is to be pottering in the garden. Coincidently, it is a beautiful Easter Sunday in the UK, and is snowing back home in Montana! A blessed Happy Easter to you and yours!

  15. It is heart-warming to read of others who have helped parents with dementia or Alzheimers. Everyone is different. My mom, in her alzheimer state, still wanted to serve a meal. She would set the table, leaving out food for family with note for them to help themselves (as she was going out) or bake a cake and set it on the coffee table thinking it was going to be picked up by grandchildren, without them knowing it was there.
    I am inspired by your egg dying. This week I've seen two samples of people using leaves etc for designs. Maybe next year. I enjoy setting a pretty table as well.

  16. i like your eggs colours! Like you I like to create anytime. Today I will get some flowers to put on the windows I am changing the house decor and next week will do some watercolor. Today is a special day to me I am going to be a grandma at 2 this afternoon!

  17. Love the beautiful eggs.

    Your posts are always so insightful and thought-provoking, Lorrie.

    A blessed Easter to you and your family!

  18. I so agree with you on restlessness when not creating. I feel that often and know I must in the very least lift my camera and snap some pictures. I absolutely love your colored eggs and miss not having done that for a few years. That must be remedied.

  19. A lovely post, thank you.
    My (belated) good wishes for Easter.

    All the best Jan


Thank you for your comment. I read and value each one, cherishing the connections we can make although far apart. Usually, I visit your blog in return, although if you ask a question I try to contact you directly.

Days Not at Home

  Last Wednesday morning we boarded a plane for The Netherlands, landing midday on Thursday, Amsterdam time. After figuring out our e-sims a...