Tag Archives: muse

The Old Trunk Or Creative Jewel?


Here is a fun spot in Hood River, Oregon. Make sure to take your camera to search for all kinds of treasures. Bring money for the ice cream!

by Kimberly A. Cook

Creativity is a muscle that needs to be exercised. One of my favorite ways to get the imagination train moving is shopping antique stores and flea marts. Not only is it a photographer’s paradise, it is so much fun finding treasures hiding in plain sight.


The vinyl mother lode! Actually, I have a cabinet full of vinyl myself, so feels like home. Notice the vintage radios and album carrying cases on top. I have one of those too.

Last week on our road trip we stopped at The Old Trunk in Hood River. This killer combo of antiques and soda fountain, plus fruit later in the year is a fun jaunt. I’ll admit we were lured in by the promise of huckleberry ice cream on their website; I’d go just about anywhere for huckleberries. Ice cream too.


These are cameras before the one in your phone.  Upper left? No batteries, ran on person power.  Viewfinder in the middle with the round disks? Video games for Boomers. Bottom left, Polaroid camera only known to the young people now due to Taylor Swift. Round canisters in the middle? Real film! No digits! Vintage rules.

With the trusty camera along, my creativity gets inspired and things jog my memory or I marvel at items combined in a different way. Of course, seeing all books a buck about sent me into a buying spree. I controlled myself; my bookshelves are overflowing.


Soda fountain! That red contraption in the middle is the soft serve ice cream machine. They mix Tillamook vanilla ice cream with fresh huckleberries, or other berries, and heaven happens.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t buy ice cream! One of the owners described the crowds they are seeing now and how crazy it will get as the season gets warmer. We lucked in between the crowds late in the day at 4 p.m. for a high ice cream, instead of high tea.


Soft serve huckleberry ice cream. Fabuwonderfulfantabulous! Trust me.

Simple pleasures, good friends, good weather and ice cream. Living the dream!

Whether you wander on purpose or journey to a destination, take your camera along and prepare to experience some whimsy.

Exercise your creativity muscles!




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Got Art Projects?

by Kimberly A. Cook                        (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

Perfection is overrated and a creativity killer. It’s a challenge to ignore all our inner and outer critics and go with our heart. This past sunny Friday I had an afternoon to squander cleaning. Garden or garage? My motto is to do what is bugging me the most and the garage was top on the list.


Banker box tops, bark pieces and the sun. Old school supplies. Cheap too. 


Between the monsoon rains in December and the usual crazy, the garage had become another sad victim of the drop and go syndrome. My goal was to excavate my work bench and tidy the joint. On top of the layers of stuff on the bench were banker box tops full of bark pieces I had picked up at Suttle Lake. Took the trays out on the patio and let them have a final sun shot before bringing them inside to my jewelry workbench.

When I first started gathering these bark pieces on one our trips to Sisters, I thought they might make nice pendants. I used a plastic bag in the car to collect my bark booty. Last September I used an orange Home Depot bucket, I was prepared. Another form of treasure hunting for me.


Have bark bucket, will travel. Bark booty!


Do I have enough pieces of bark now? Probably. Maybe. Do I know what I am going to do with them all? Nope. But I like them. I’ve been playing with different ideas. The first thought to be jewelry pendants is morphing into maybe little bark vignettes on tiny easels. Not sure. And that’s the best part of art projects; we don’t have to know what it will become.

I’ve also been on a glitter buying terror recently too. Combo of a half-price sale and the bark pieces. Bling bark? Whether folks color books, paint, sew, cook, sculpt, weave, woodcraft, garden or put glitter on bark, the creative process is all about not being perfect.

Because imperfect is priceless. Got art projects?


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What Would A Writer’s Perfect Summer Be?

by Kimberly A. Cook         (Twitter@ WarriorTales)

When the lazy days of summer roll around, bellying up to the keyboard in my home office seems like a drag. I want to sleep on the lawn swing and doze in the sun spots like Spec Ops Cat.

Sitting and smelling the roses and watching wildlife can refill our energy and provide us with some creative calm in this crazy world. It also opens us up to watching for surprises, unexpected gifts.

On my way into the building at my day job yesterday, I wondered if the resident ducks would be camped out in the storm water swale, not ten feet from the front of the building. Hadn’t seen Mom and Dad Duck for a bit, so hoped to get a peek of them paddling around in the water.

Mom Duck with babies hiding in plain sight. Have you passed by baby ducks?

Mom Duck with babies hiding in plain sight. Have you passed by baby ducks?

Spied Mom Duck and then baby ducks! What an unexpected joy to see the little feather balls gliding around keeping close to Mom. Dropped my bags and grabbed the camera to get a few pictures. Also means we have to watch out in the parking lot since they take off across it at any given time of the day.

While you are day dreaming of summer days and upcoming holidays with extra writing time, slow down and enjoy the everyday part of your writer life. Ponder what the perfect writer’s summer would be for you and then make one of those things happen.

Dream big and stay open to creative ideas and everyday happenings. You might find ducklings!

Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize

they were the big things.” – Robert Brault


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Tighten Your Seatbelt, Here Come The Holidays!

by Kimberly A. Cook                         (Twitter@ WarriorTales)

Chatting with a friend recently whose decided to concentrate on her quilting during the holidays. Such a great idea. Focus is a challenge for us creatives on any given day, but the holidays add a special spice of chaos to the normal distractions. Squirrel! Santa! Cookies! Icky weather! Gifts! You get my drift – pun intended.

Field trips can happen in your backyard. Dashing to work I saw this and snapped two photos. First October frost.

Field trips can happen in your backyard. Dashing to work I saw this and snapped two photos. First October frost.

At lunch with the family in August I asked us to map out the holidays – folks were a little taken aback, but I said it will be here before we know it and voila! When the Halloween, Christmas and Valentine’s Day decorations are all crashing together in the stores right now, overwhelmed is a normal reaction for us.

I cope by surrendering in early August. Like a runaway stagecoach, holidays happen. I make my plans, try to keep things simple and pick ways to celebrate to make it fun and focus on using my off time from the day job for creative activities. Everything from baking cookies to sorting beads and egad, reading, make the list. Keeps my muse well fed and out of the Grinch cranky zone.

Add in the recent time change this past weekend and all I want to do is curl up with a book, blankie, bottle of chocolate milk and hibernate. So planning fun things to do to feed my muse and taking some time for myself is job one during the holiday season.

“Try to do one thing a day for yourself,” my sister told me recently. Actually she said two, but it’s the holidays. Simplify! These are not big things, but small tokens of time which reinvigorate our creative soul and keep us from losing balance. Lunch out with a friend, taking leaf pictures, buying a new writer magazine, actually sitting down on a weekend afternoon and reading, plus watching football or Hallmark movies all work for me.

Keep your muse in mind this holiday season and take it out for a few field trips. See how doing less means more for your creative health. Slow down and smell the leaves, cider or holiday cookies. Be a kid again. Unleash the crayons!

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How Much Bad News Can Our Creativity Handle?

by Kimberly A. Cook           (Twitter@ WarriorTales)

(UPDATE: This post was written before the tragedy outside Oklahoma City. All the people of that great state are in our thoughts and prayers. We’ve got your back. Donate at www.redcross.org Today every American is Oklahoma Strong.)

When I’m going through a stressful time, I tend to be very careful about what I read, which music I listen to and what I watch on tv. We writers are influenced by everything in our world and sometimes the planet gets too pushy and freaks out our creative muse. That’s when it’s time for a crap curfew.

Very scary movie, as you can tell from the poster.

Very scary movie, as you can tell from the poster.

Don’t ask me how horror writers keep sane, or if they even are sane, but when the going gets tough I head for funny romance fiction, HGTV, the Food Network and my cable easy listening music channel without any commercials.  My muse needs good input to stay happy and creative. Positive brain food it might be called.

For folks who think it’s fun to get scared, more power to you. I still haven’t recovered from seeing the movie “Jaws” in the 1970s – amazing what I would do for a date. The Walt Disney movie “The Ghost and Mr. Chicken” scared me as a kid. Maybe it still does today. Those of us with active imaginations do not need any help conjuring up weird things that go bump in the night; we’ve got a full-time freak-out factory in our heads with tons of odd characters running amok.

So how do we tame our internal jitters and not venture into the dark basement? Why do they always do that in the movies, by the way? Nothing good ever happens down there – where is Darwin’s theory of adapting when it comes to dark basements? But I digress. Give your muse a break when times get tense. Take your brain over to Animal Planet’s “Too Cute” show with kittens and puppies for recess.

The muse you save may be your own!

P.S. Link to first ten minutes of said scary movie below, don’t say I didn’t warn you! (You can actually watch the entire movie on YouTube. How odd.)


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