Remodeling and Home Design

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    Thanks for telling me about the Sketchbook Project! Such an excellent idea, and your Ipanema girl inspired design is lovely. :)

    Thank you Eliza! Kind words are always appreciated.


    SO COOL!!!

    I just love the way inspiration works - how it is different for everyone. I find it so interesting that you are actually inspired by assignments! I am SO the opposite - I always felt that someone was trying to impose something on me. But what you describe is freeing! I love the musical exercise - and the result speaks for itself!
    Right on Kitty SuMo!

    Ivette, I could almost hear your gears grinding to a halt as you read this post. Time limits? Exercises? Discipline!?! Did an engineer hijack Susan's blog? But you might enjoy a creativity exercise more than you think. Imagine if someone gave you 15 minutes and told you to design a garden with only two plants. What would you do? You'd be forced to focus on an aspect of design other than your favorite, or at a minimum, figure out a new way to get a messy, exuberant garden other than stuffing it with lush, man-eating plants (I read your inspiration post, so I know that isn't so far-fetched). You and La Sweet NEED a drill sargent like me looking after you, if only to ensure you don't use up an entire year's supply of exclamation points in one day.

    Robert Webber

    Would love to see your original artwork of the Girl from Ipanema!
    Congratulations on your decision to give your inspirational gifts a stimulus. I think that is quite a bold move!
    You are so right about the inspiration of urgency, but that can be scary.
    I find that very often the space is designed by the time you have the brief and have looked round, or at least done the survey. the rest is confirming that you are right and doing it!

    Robert, I don't actually find it inspiring to be rushed on a regular project. There's a tendency to opt for an easy solution just to meet the deadline. But if it's a fictionalized project, then I love a ticking clock - it's a great way to spur creative thoughts.


    May you have a deluge of inspiration!

    Your garden design is beautiful by the way.

    Ah Brazillian sounds. I love that easy lilt.

    There's a really good Brit band around at the moment called The XX. Worth a download.


    Now of course I'm picturing you listening to retro-hip music while you lounge in your French farmhouse sipping some posh wine and nibbling on canapes.

    I will check them out for sure - I'm ready for a break from the Christmas tunes.

    Jenny Peterson

    OK, I'm officially gobsmacked. That design was awesome, and I can so clearly see how you got from here to there after first listening to a piece of music!

    At this moment, I'm listening to Lux Aurumque by Eric Whitacre, a truly breathtaking work of art that could no doubt inspire the most sublime garden. Thanks for the reminder, Susan, to listen as well as look.

    I see I'm not the only one who has the word gobsmacked stuck in her head! And I'm psyched at all the good music suggestions I'm getting!

    Rebecca Sweet

    Wow - you know how I LOVE comparisons (before & afters, concepts & realities, etc) and your Ipanema garden is just perfect!!! I can see that girl strolling through there, all tan and beautiful, carefully crossing the creek…hey - that's YOU, isn't it!! Lovely, lovely post.

    I do too! I enjoy reading what inspires people, but truthfully, it's even better when you can see WHAT it inspired them to create.


    I'm inspired by deadlines too, Susan. I think it's a holdover from my days as a magazine editor. Nothing like a tight deadline to get the creative juices flowing! I love how you translated a song into a garden design. It's a beauty too.

    Thanks Pam! I figure anyone with the discipline to post every day (I can't even manage weekly these days) is no stranger to discipline.

    Andrew at Garden Smackdown

    LOVE the idea of the Sketchbook Project! It's so true, that ticking clock makes such a difference, doesn't it? When left to my own devices, I either get lethargic and uninspired, OR the opposite happens, which I think is less common and less realized: I plan something and tweak it to the extent that there's no way it'll fulfill my sense of anticipation when it actually comes to fruition.

    Anywho, I'm going to go looking for your sketchbook when it comes to my 'hood!

    Thanks Andrew! I'm SO excited about the sketchbook! It only arrived yesterday but I have all kinds of ideas of what I want to put in it. I have a feeling when the time comes I won't want to send it in.

    jocelyn/the art garden

    LOL!The Girl from Ipanema - and the CD you've featured here - is *my* go-to music for designing, especially when I'm on a deadline! The flow of that music is simultaneously relaxing and stimulating; perfect for letting the mind soar.

    Isn't that great we would both gravitate towards the same music? For the most part, I'm a dead silence kind of a girl, which is why I enjoyed this particular exercise. Truthfully, without being required to do this for an assignment, I would never have looked to a song for inspiration.


    They certainly force one to part with those things that were not so important to the project in the first place.

    No, it's unrealistic client budgets that do that. :-)

    Susan aka Miss R

    Deadlines? Assignments? When I took the time to think about it that way I you are spot on! As for the Sketchbook project, my theme is 'This is Not a Sketchbook' we'll have to look at each others when they come to town!

    I'm excited to start the Sketchbook project - hopefully next week. Thanks for turning me on to it.


    This sounds like a fun project. I think we're having record rainfall here this year and I see you'll be here for the Flower and Garden show (just got the schedule today at a nursery). Too bad this is due before then, you'd get lots of inspiration :)
    I love the garden that was the result of the Girl from Ipanema!

    Catherine, does that mean I might see you at the show? I'd love to meet you in person!


    Susan, Funny, I work best on a deadline and a short list of options, too. I find too many options is stifling for me, I get caught up in the possibilities rather than the solution. Best of luck on the Sketchbook Project, I hope you'll keep us posted on your project after you're finished. BTW, what software are you using for your desgins, it was gorgeous.

    Thank you Debbie! I design in Vectorworks, but the drawing in this post is from an older garden and is hand-drawn and illustrated with a mix of pastels and pencil.

    Annie Haven

    I love your inspiration and yes, I too work best with deadlines...Beautiful garden design place to really unwind and enjoy!

    Toni - Signature Gardens

    I love to see when a garden on paper comes to life!! For some reason, I get more creative under pressure, too. Glad to know I'm not the only one out there!


    How are you my friend? Love that sketchbook idea. Just checked to see how close it will be to Philly, could be closer, but could be much farther.

    I'm doing great! Of course an artist like yourself would appreciate something like the Sketchbook Project. I'm wrapping up my final designs for the year this week and hope to start sketching next week.


    Glad to hear it. Enjoy the sketching... nothing like any given chance to play with color!


    Thanks for letting me Sketchbook Project. This is excellent idea.Congratulations leave your decision-inspired incentive gifts. I think this is a very bold move.

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