What sparks your creativity?

I am interested in you.  Yes, you!

I am expanding my painting and designing business, and I would love to get feedback from other creatives types like you.

  • Where does your creative inspiration come from?  What sparks your creative urge?
  • What time of day are you most creative or productive?  Is there certain days or times of the year in which you are more creative?
  • Describe your creative area – place, decor, organizational ideas, ambiance, etc.
  • Describe your creative journey.
  • Do you create as a hobby or as a business?
  • Do you prefer to create by yourself or with others?

Let me share my answers (in case you are interested in my creative process):

  • I get the most inspiration from the ocean.  It’s the one place my mind can shut out the day-to-day stuff and just become quiet.  That’s when I am fully open to the multitude of ideas.
  • Again, it is the quiet times that I find I am most productive and creative.  The quiet times for me usually happen in the early morning “quiet” hours (midnight-4 a.m.).
  • I have two locations in my home – one on purpose, and one I have commandeered.  My “studio” a.k.a. the on purpose room,  is an extra bedroom that has a table for painting & designing, along with shelving and storage areas for supplies.  The table is located in the corner of the room which has two large windows, one in front of the table and the other on the right side of the table, offering great natural lighting.  I have several coastal knickknacks around that help to keep me focused.  I like the room because I can close out the noise of the world if needed.  The commandeered area is the den.  It’s a large space that allows me to spread out if needed, plus it allows me to interact with my husband and guests without closing everyone and everything out.  I try not to over use it because I could easily take it over permanently, and that wouldn’t be good since we use that room for so many other reasons.
  • My journey started with my mom teaching me how to sew, cook and bake, and decorate a Christmas tree.  From there I expanded into calligraphy (“you write so beautifully” – not anymore, ha!), to teaching cake decorating, to learning how to paint, and now teaching and designing.
  • My hobby has turned into a business.  Yay!
  • For the most part I enjoy being on my own … I get more done that way, if the goal is to produce.  But I love to share time with others as well.  It’s a great opportunity to share ideas, to learn new techniques or methods, share my knowledge, and ironically – at times – to be more productive with others’ encouragement.

I’m excited to find out how you spark your creativity!  Thanks for taking the time to share with me.


15 Minutes of Fame…

A couple of months ago I received an email requesting submissions of dessert recipes for an upcoming cookbook.  My first – and truly only – thought was to send the recipe for my famous (among all my friends) LOADED OATMEAL COOKIES.  So many people have asked me for the recipe, so why not send it.  Right?  Right.  So I did.

Definition of LOADED: lots of wonderful flavors like cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and pumpkin pie spice, plus a ton of “goodies” a.k.a. chocolate chips, pecans, coconut, dried cranberries, and toffee bits.

Weeks went by with no word whether it was accepted for the cookbook or not.  Then one day a few weeks ago I received a call from Nicole.  Nicole stated that she loved my unique recipe and wanted to know if I would like to demonstrate my cookies on TV.  On TV?  Um, sure, why not! Thus began my journey to my “15 Minutes of Fame” on KCTS 9.

I was thrilled, yet nervous, to be on TV even if it was for only a quick 10 minutes.  I have had challenges in the past speaking in public, and speaking for a video presentation.  So I wasn’t sure how I would handle this brief LIVE television experience.  (It was going to be part of the KCTS pledge drive.)  All I really knew was that I was getting a chance to share something that I created.  Nicole stayed in touch with me over the next couple of weeks, assuring me that I would have a great time, and how excited the station was to include my very  “loaded” cookies in their upcoming KCTS 9 Cooks: Just Desserts cookbook and program.  I plotted out what I needed to bring, and the various stages of my cookies, including how I would present my recipe.   Dry ingredients.. check.  Wet ingredients… check.  “Loaded” goodies… check.  Finished product… check.  Then the day came.  It was now time to drive to Seattle and continue this journey.  I felt like a kid on Christmas day!

My husband, Jeff, packed the car with what looked like enough supplies to carry us through a long cold winter.  I made sure I had all the ingredients for the four different stages of cookie making, along with extra supplies “just in case…”, and of course, I had all the bowls, measuring implements, utensils, etc.  Seattle, here we come!

Loaded Oatmeal Cookies - ingredients

We arrived at the station a tad early, but we were thankful we did.  We were able to get a great parking space, and we were greeted by very helpful volunteers who helped us unload the car.  We were then greeted by Brett, who took care of making sure we checked in, and that my recipe was correct for the show and for the book.  Then I met Nicole.  I could finally put a face to the wonderful personality I had dealt with on the phone. After everyone arrived we toured the studio and were given a run through of how the day would progress, including each of our segments.  I found out I would be number 8 (of 13) on the line up over four hours.  During our tour we met Paula Nemzek, who is one of the pledge personalities; Carol Dearth, owner of Sizzleworks in Bellevue; and Mark Christopher, a man of many media (and other) talents.  I learned that Carol and Mark would be my guides on the segment.  Thank goodness for these angels!  They were so easy-going and fun that I knew we’d all have a great time.

As we each waited for our turn at the camera, we were treated to wondrous foods … breakfast items, then lunch items, and of course, we got to try each other’s desserts after each segment completed.  All I can say is wow!  We were kings and queens!  And I was surrounded by some very talented cooks and bakers!  I think my favorite dessert (besides mine, of course) was the Semolina Custard Tart that Mark Nass made.  It was so heavenly… layers of Phylo dough, butter, and cinnamon sugar, with a semolina custard filling, that was baked, and then served with a Greek honey syrup and the best pine nut brittle I’ve every had!

In between eating I waited patiently for my turn in the make up chair.  In a short 10 minute time frame I was camera ready.  It was now time to wheel my cart into the studio and wait and watch as Mark Nass presented his Semolina Custard Tart.  The moment he was done, in swooped a team that cleared away all his dishes, emptied out the fridge, removed items from the oven, and cleaned off the countertop.  As that was happening there was a team setting up all my stuff.  All this happened in a short two-minute time frame!  And then it was my turn.  Three cameras standing in front of me, one camera over head, my husband sitting off to the left with camera in hand, Paula off to my right over in the corner making pledge announcements, the phone bank behind Paula taking all the pledge calls, crew members everywhere, the producer in front of me with time cards….  And me… Oh my gosh, I’m standing next to Carol Dearth, and listening to Mark Christopher on my right introducing “Sandy Harvey from Tacoma and her Loaded, and I mean LOADED, Oatmeal Cookies!”  Hey, that’s me!

Hey, that's me!

Hey, that’s me!

OMG, I'm really on TV!

OMG, I’m really on TV!

Carol Dearth, me, and Mark Christopher

Carol Dearth, me, and Mark Christopher

Before I knew it, my segment was over.   I can only relate it to my wedding day.  It was something so exciting that I wanted to enjoy every moment of it, yet I knew I wouldn’t remember a thing about it.  I never once saw any person, heard any phones, saw any time cards or cameras, nor my husband taking pictures.  But I remember exactly what I was doing in that moment.  My world shrunk in a flash, just big enough for me, Carol, and Mark.  I wasn’t nervous (at least I didn’t feel nervous, but after watching the replay I heard my nervous laugh throughout my demo).  Carol and Mark simply led the way and I followed.  And I felt good.  I feel like I did my mom proud.  Let me back track a little.

When I was little my mom was a demo cook for Southern California Edison.  Mom was a fantastic cook and baker, the one who didn’t need a recipe, nor ever made a dish the same way twice, but it was always delicious.  If you asked her what was in the dish, she would say “I don’t know” or “I don’t remember.”  I’m not like her in the kitchen… I need to at least start with a recipe, and then perhaps tweak it to fit my needs or taste.  But I always have a recipe!  I guess it’s my crutch so I don’t fail.  This dessert demo made me feel as if I had completed a baking circle between mom and me.  I felt like she was smiling down on me from heaven.  Thanks mom!

I returned to the guest room to exuberant applause from my fellow demonstrators.  Everyone was very gracious and supportive to each other. Although I was free to leave at that point, Jeff and I decided to stay to watch and support the remaining segments.  By the time we left I felt like we were all family… the KCTS crew and all the demonstrators.  It was such a wonderful experience!  And I consider it a great honor to have been chosen.

But what I most appreciated about this whole journey was the genuine encouragement, support, and congratulations that I received from all my family and friends.  It was nice to share this with all of them.

My greatest supporter!  My hubby, Jeff :)

My greatest supporter! My husband, Jeff 🙂

So, here’s to checking off another item on my bucket list (that I never knew I had), or that it was something I ever wanted to do.  I love how God’s plan for my life unfolds in such unexpected ways!  I’m sure it wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun if it had been MY plan.  🙂

I think my next on-air journey will be something about my painting.  Excited to see where that journey takes me!

Click here to view all the recipe segments from the show.


Blog Every Day in May – Day 31: A vivid memory

Vivid Memory #1 –

Jumping out of an airplane… on purpose! (It was for a good cause.)  And then finding out afterwards that my husband is afraid of heights and absolutely did not want me to jump, but never shared that information with me.  Thank goodness I survived!  And no, I am not planning on another dive.


Vivid memory #2 –

Walking down the aisle, after being pronounced husband and wife, expecting to be greeted by friends and family but instead we were greeted by the Santa Ana Fire Department.  Little did I know that during our wedding ceremony one of my bridesmaids had fainted.  Marie had experienced a bad combination of heat, nerves, and one too many Bartles and James wine coolers.  I was so focused on my tender-hearted groom to notice what was going on behind my back.  Marie recovered quickly and enjoyed the rest of the party.  And we walked away with a lifetime memory!


Blog Every Day in May – Day 30: Letting Go

I never used to let go of things.  I thought it was easier to hold them inside of me.  But I have learned over the years that it is so much better to Let. It. All. Go.

Sometimes I let go by sleeping or reading.  Other times by writing out my feelings.  And at other times I let go of things while I’m painting.  But my most favorite way of letting go… is a long stroll along the ocean’s edge.  Give me a long, sandy beach with crashing waves, and all will soon be well in my world!

Lincoln City ORIMG_0586

How do you let go?

Blog Every Day in May – Day 29: Five songs or pieces of music that speak to me or bring back memories

  1. Send in the Clowns – this brings me back to my 16th birthday, celebrated at Chez Cary in Santa Ana, CA.  This song has always made me sad and brought tears to my eyes.  My boyfriend joined my family for my birthday celebration.  He asked the musicians, strolling around the restaurant, to play a song for me.  You got it… Send in the Clowns!  He didn’t know that this song made me so sad.  He felt bad, and so did I.  
  2. Moments in Love – I first heard this song while I was driving home one day from work in Sacramento, CA.  I instantly feel in love with it, and the  group Art of Noise.
  3. Linus and Lucy – one of my absolute favorite Christmas songs!  How can you not be merry when listening to it?!
  4. Rachmaninoff: Rhapsody on a theme by Paganini – When I started watching Somewhere in Time I wasn’t excited about it.  Then I heard this piece of music and my  life changed forever!  This is movie is my all-time favorite!  All because of a piece of music… and the beauty of Jane Seymour.  Oh, and of course, the beautiful love story.
  5. Popsicle Toes – That’s the nickname my husband bestowed on me.  And it’s true, I do have Popsicle toes!

Blog Every Day in May – Day 27: A letter to my readers…

Dear readers,

Thank you!  Yes, thank YOU… for taking the time to read my blogs as I stumble along this new journey while I find my bloggy legs.

I started my blog late last year but hadn’t done much with it until this month.  My friend Lindsay suggested I think about taking on a blog challenge that was to begin the next day.  I followed her suggestion and accepted the challenge!

And a challenge it has been!  It has tested  – and continues to test – not only my everyday writing abilities, but my creative writing abilities as well.

This has been a fun, and sometimes emotional, journey.  And the reward has been the encouraging comments from readers, and even the not-so-nice ones as well.  The comments are like people-watching to me… first impressions show a lot about the person.

So, dear readers, I think I will continue this journey after the challenge is over.