I refurbished a vintage Yngve Ekström Ruster lounge chair. Sounds fancy right? And very Swedish. We bought the vintage chair second hand last summer. Since then I’ve had the desire to reupholster it (something I have never done before).

Joran was in charge of sanding and oiling the wood. Me of everything else.

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Things I love about my reupholstered chair:

  • The rich colour
  • The contrasting yellow buttons 
  • A polka dotted bottom (just knowing that it is there – even though you don’t generally see it makes me smile)
  • Proof that I learned a new skill
  • Re-loving an old piece instead of buying something new
  • The sleek design in general
  • I know it inside out
  • It’s living proof of my creative abilities. 

I don’t mean that last one in a smug way. Let me explain. 

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A bundle of questions lie in my windowsill. No, not metaphorically. Actual physical paper cards with questions. Yesterday, they moved to our kitchen counter (also: you can see through our spotless windows again). And so I casually read the top one to Joran:

‘What did you love doing as a child? Do you still do this?’

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Him: Basketball, no. Crafting, yes. For example: creating a chain reaction for fun, improvising a trellis for our vegetable garden.

Me: drawing, not so much. Reading, yes. Crafting, yes. I pointed around the room to the paper craft deer head, the butterfly shadow box and our refurbished chair. 

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We tend to define ourselves by what we do.

Sometimes, that can be a pit of doom. I’m not productive so I am not worthy. My art sucks so therefore I suck. Not exactly the sentiment we’re aiming for here.

BUT. We can also use this trait to trick ourselves. I don’t know if this is a psychologically sound thing to do, but I know it makes me feel better, sometimes. 

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Surround yourself with subtle reminders of your creative abilities

If you love creating, chances are, you will have surrounded yourself with some objects that are living proof of that. A DIY craft cabinet, a stained glass window or an art gallery featuring paintings you made

Those object then, become subtle daily reminders of your creative abilities. Those physical representation of your creative bliss will be there, even if it hasn’t been your day (your week, your month or even your yeaaaaaar. Are you also singing this to the FRIENDS theme song?).

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Let’s assume you want to spend more time on creative passion projects. Your creations then become evidence of your best creative self. They show a tiny part of who you are; a part that you want to bring out more.

Some days, I simply can’t muster the creative energy. There are absolutely no creative vibes. My brain gets trapped in doom visions of the future and gloomy reminiscence over the past. And trust me, it’s no fun.

On days like those nothing helps except crying in a foetus ball and eating chocolate it can help to look around, and see things your best version accomplished.

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It can be really powerful to showcase your badges of honor.

I’m not talking about hanging diplomas to impress colleagues. No, I’m talking about reminders of your best self, to inspire nobody other but your worst self. 

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You don’t necessary need to start a new project or learn a new skill to feel creative. 

Perhaps though, you can feature old creations that you are proud of. Frame that drawing you made as a teenager. Transform your best Instagram-shots into fridge magnets. Actually wear that dress you made. 

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Some days, you simply don’t have the energy to create. Or mental capacity. And that is fine. On those days, I hope you can look around your room, and see your beauty reflected back. In pictures of loved ones you befriended, in the grit it took you to install that floor, of your creative capacity in that cup you made in a pottery workshop. 

And those objects will whisper reassuringly: you have it in you. It’s all there. It’s just waiting to come out, whenever you’re ready. 

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Refurbish a vintage Yngve Ekström Ruster lounge chair was #9 on my Creative Dream List. Check out the other creative projects I’ve accomplished as part of this list here

Also, if you are looking for a professional upholsterer who can redo your old furniture in Eindhoven area, Susan of Stoffig Hout generously helped me with materials and advice. I would definitely recommend her.

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Do you have physical reminders of your creative abilities in your space? If so, what are they?

If not, is there anything you could feature that gives you all the proud creative vibes?



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