How I mentally file inspiration

Today I had it made in the shade. I had just rolled up my sleeves and was going to kick up some real DIY Christmas dust… when the phone rang.

My son’s retainer (braces thing) snapped, so it was time to head to town to get it fixed immediately.

After mentally switching gears and leaving the house, I honestly didn’t feel frustrated with the quick shift.

I felt… grateful. Grateful I was home, where I could just up and leave to help my son. My Mom job. The job I’m now capable of performing at the drop of a hat.

That is just something I will never take for granted. #soblessed

We quickly stopped off at Tim Horton’s on the way, with my dark medium one & one. (Have you tried their dark roast coffee yet? They’re not bad!) Once our appointment was done, I couldn’t bring myself to ‘just drive straight home.’ 

Maybe I had cabin fever? I dunno. I just needed to refresh ‘the card file’.

My friend Dan calls it “building up the mental card file.” When I’m out and about, I rarely just focus on driving from point A to point B. I’m looking, searching, studying, thinking, dreaming… lots and LOTS of squirrel type moments transpire.

But that’s where inspiration is filed away inside the mental filing cabinet for another day. 

And pictures help me file things away in full colour.

So here’s how I mentally file inspiration.

BC Fruit Packers crate markings / part of How I mentally file inspiration via

C / Crates / Crate markings

Like this fruit bin. I love authentic markings on crates. I take a quick pic when I see one I like. I don’t have to understand why I like it or even have a reason to like it. The whys are generally addressed later.

Filing is free, after all.

Ammunition crates / part of How I mentally file inspiration via
C / Crates / Crate packaging

Is it weird to fall in love with cute ammunition crates and not care in the least what’s inside?

This makes me laugh. When we pass McDonald’s, my son ALWAYS reads the road side sign aloud… “Coffee & Muffin 299”.

Here it comes…

“Mom, two hundred and ninety nine dollars for a coffee and muffin is lots, right? Would you play that?”

Yes son, it is. And no I wouldn’t. (Unless it was during a Survivor food challenge.)

Kinda like I wouldn’t pay $259.99 for a crate!

But luckily I got ‘the file’ for free. 

Pinecone wreaths in a crate / part of How I mentally file inspiration via
W / Wreath / Pinecone wreath / in a CRATE

I’m currently working (well, attempting) with some pinecones lately, so this pinecone wreath caught my eye. I loved the tied cinnamon sticks. But I loved the framework of the crate even more. It’s there to protect the wreath, but in my world, it would be hung up as is.

In fact, I may even make one for MY wreath. Hmm…

I also looked at new faux Christmas trees, but none of them looked real enough. Close, but not quite. Pass.

Do you also see a crate theme here? Funny how they follow me everywhere.

Maleficent spinning wheel / part of How I mentally file inspiration via
W / What would you do with this?

And then I hit a thrift store. I have no idea if this spinning wheel thing from Maleficent is new or old or whatever, but I was oddly intrigued with it. But at $40 and no picture flashing before me on what it could become, I left it. Too big to store.

I dunno. What would you do with this?

But… I still wasn’t ready to go home. It was like I was being led here and here and here.. and then along the mountain road beside the river.

How I love this little drive! Remember the house where my friend and I were dreaming of hosting a workshop? It’s in that area.

My bigger dream is to have a cabin or live near water one day. So I like to look near water. Just in case. Of what I don’t know.

And then… gasp. One of my fav houses had a for sale sign in front of it…

House for sale along a river / part of How I mentally file inspiration via

Dang! Cabinish – backing onto a mountain, with a greenhouse, outdoor firepit, lots of pavement (little lawn! yes!!),and a lovely double car garage… I parked. To look. Isn’t it gorgeous?!

Right after I add a few authentic crate stampings on some of those beams… it’s in the card file.

Not sure about that road right there.. who thought that up? 

Anyway… that porch?

House for sale along a river / part of How I mentally file inspiration via

Looks at this. Such a boring view… with not a building in sight. πŸ™‚

I immediately saw myself (pushing the house across the traffic infested highway) darting across the meandering quiet road, barefoot, in pjs, with hot coffee in hand, seeking out my fav spot to just sit and sip, while listening to the water gently sing its magical song to me.

H / House for sale / by a RIVER! Look at the price when you get home!

Stumps along the road / part of How I mentally file inspiration via

By now I was on a mission to get home to look at that house price. But not until I drove past these stumps.

So gorgeous! They couldn’t be that big or heavy, could they? Nah… Lemme see if I can squeeze a new coffee table in the back of my truck…

Stumps along the road / part of How I mentally file inspiration via

R / Realty check / NOT HAPPENING.

Moving right along…

One last stop had me passing a New and Used store. There wasn’t much going on today, except those oil cans. I see the oil cans each and every time, but have yet to witness a mental flash on what they needed to do for me.

Until today. BAM!

Antique oil can / part of How I mentally file inspiration via
Do you see what I see? I’ll keep this file card secret for now. πŸ™‚

As for the house?

H / HAHAHA / You’d better win a lottery, girl!

And strangely enough, the scratch and win tonight did not win me a cent.

F / Faulty ticket. 

I didn’t like the road there anyway…

S / Silver linings make me feel better

How do file away your inspiration?

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Categories: Career building, Inspiration, Off Topic, Personal, Rambling
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25 thoughts on “How I mentally file inspiration

  1. I absolutely LOVE your post this morning. Finding myself nodding and smiling as I see myself doing the same meanderings…(although I might have had to go out to look at those logs a little closer!)

    Thanks so much for the tour

  2. Oh Donna, you sound just like me. I love driving down the road on “Big Trash Day” – before the trash men come. More than once I’ve driven home and recruited my (reluctant) husband and his truck to help me get a large item worth saving into the vehicle. Those finds make my day! Around here, garage sales are held on Wednesdays, so I try to schedule my appointments on Wednesday afternoons, so I can hit sales all the way there. Ahh…there’s a method to my madness…

  3. I print out my favs and put them in a folder for inspiration “later”. I like to use my phone for pics, but I never seem to getting around to put them on the computer where I can review them over and over. It seems I’m an old-school person that likes pictures in a folder. Really important pictures I tape to my work shelves. I have a color diagram on how to re-wire vintage floor lamps that I have taped right out in the open so I don’t have to root around looking for it. I would love to use an old binder with document protectors to keep all my inspiration pics in good condition. Maybe I’ll “shop” in my basement this weekend and look for that binder…….

  4. Fantastic post! It’s a area that we don’t talk about very often. Inspiration can come from the most awkward things sometimes. I put my two rings on different fingers. If I move one ring, that means I have one thing to remember. If I move both rings to different fingers, I have two things to remember. Beyond that, I break out the phone and email myself. The rings on different fingers feels awkward enough to keep it on my mind long enough to get home. It’s usually ideas on what to work on in the garage or a small idea for a bigger build.

    Great post! And I definitely see you some day in your own cabin next to some peaceful water. It will happen!

    • Oh Brian… your ring thing is brilliant, but I’d forget what I was suppose to remember by the time I got home! LOL to the emailing yourself. Now THAT’S brilliant!

      Thanks for being on my side with the cabin… I need the support! haha

  5. Donna you crack me up! Kindred spirits live alike! I too, do most of my thinking/creating while driving…otherwise I’m trying to stay busy doing something! Funny, how while driving and creating, you realize you don’t remember driving the past 10 miles…any hoo…inspiration can come from anything or anyone and anytime..and I love that about life! Crates…such a perfect companion-even back in College they were the dorm room furniture of choice. I agree, house too close to the road, and your cabin in the woods will come….you are on the right track!! I do snap pics here and there, mainly to show clients while I’m out shopping, but occasionally for my “stash” need to use the phone more for that. Love that you are doing what you love full time, I’m so thrilled for you that you stuck it out and will continue to reap!

  6. oil can. hmmm. I see a lovely little Christmas tree coming. The spout is a perfect support for ???? greenery, pinecones, crate parts.
    It is too cold and snowing for roadside gleaning today. staying in to paint.

  7. I love crates as well, I don’t know what is about them. Sorry about the house but someday…
    I’ll try your method of mentally filing. My mental file has a large leak in it.
    btw love Timmie’s new coffee-brought some home with me since we don’t have them south of the border here.(Washington state)I have heard they will be opening some soon.

  8. I luv todays posting too! That cabin looks fabulous – except for the road/highway….Where abouts is that? I’m looking for some ideas of areas around here that are a bit more interesting ‘nature’ than here in Steveston/Richmond…TO hone my photography skills…

    • I’m so giddy no one’s guessed what I’ll be doing with the oil can! haha

      As for that craft weekend?! Oh my goodness… that right there is Heaven on earth for the creative types! Darling place! I have it bookmarked… just in case. πŸ™‚

  9. Oh Donna
    Some of those crate finds are gorgeous.
    I wish we had items like that in Oz, but we’re a nation of ‘land fillers’ so old/junk/vintage things just end up at our rubbish tips.
    So depressing πŸ™

  10. hey Donna – I saw little oil cans used as ring holders, so I got one to put in my window to hold my rings when I wash dishes……I love them!!! Love all your posts, you are one heck of a lady!! Keep up the good work!

  11. Oh Donna, I’m so glad that you’re working at your passion now. Your whole post just sounds so happy, even though you had to deal with a broken retainer (sigh – I used to have braces, I know all about the trials and tribulations of ortho…).

    Love that house! And doubly love all of your crates. I’ve been hunting one down for a Christmas present. For some reason, they aren’t popping up everywhere for me.

  12. I love oil cans and have made oil can snowmen and Christmas trees out of them. You can check them out on my facebook page Crafts by Gail. I will be posting an example later today.

  13. Donna, I live in 400sqft. and would love to also live on the river…but I think on the river with the river as your back yard is best. Then u don’t have to run across the road in your pj’s. πŸ™‚

    OIL CAN….I see it being cleaned out and hand lotion in it. OR 3-oil cans on your mantle display with an old wheel behind them…sort of the industrial age look…

    Happy Thanksgiving and keep posting!

  14. How do I file away my inspiration? In the garage – as in last night while taking my grandson home there was a roll of screening on the side of the road. It was still there when I was on my way home, so in the car it went (it was dark out and yes a neighbor stopped to make sure I was ok)and home it went to the garage for the screen repair that needs to be done on my back porch! All I could think of was “Donna would have done the same thing”!

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your son!

  15. I love your blog! Ya make me smile.I love roadside treasures.I decorated my first home with many throw always. I had a van and three sons.They hated curb shopping, but they did my bidding! Only one son carried on the tradition.

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