The mounting needs of our house and growing family was a turning point for us. Armed with time and a willingness to learn, we eventually shaped our lives and our home to fit who we are. Without realizing it, creatively solving everyday problems became a way of life for us.
How We Live Creatively As Homeowners:
Over the years, we have worn many hats. "A" has learned the ins and outs of plumbing, and become the resident electrician. He taught himself appliance repair, fixing our dryer and dishwasher by taking them apart and observing how they work, then finding the defect. He replaced our roof, completely renovated the kitchen, plastered a few new ceilings, and installed crown molding. (Of course, his trade is carpentry, so he did not walk blindly into many of the home-improvement projects he tackled.) He has also built many pieces of furniture in our house, the majority of which was made from scrap material left over from jobs.
Me? I learned how to sew roman shades, refinish furniture, and install a thermostat. I became the household painting extraordinaire, furniture rearranger, and declutterer. I managed to repair our quilt, and rigged up a funky shower curtain to help with our weirdly-shaped bathroom situation.
We have made our home into a place that reflects us, not worrying too much how things will effect the resale value someday down the road.
How We Live Creatively As Parents:
We have all become teachers to one another. Informal art lessons as well as silly doodle time are regular occurrences, and art and craft supplies abound. At-home piano lessons give way to intense jam sessions with a recorder. Classical music plays on shuffle between U2, Pink Floyd, and Bob Marley.
There is nothing better than good ol' fashioned outside play, or a couple of crayons and a sketch book. A visit to the library, a walk to the playground, or a quick soccer game usually keep our girls engaged. We have multiple toy boxes full of toys, but they have languished, losing out to rowdy spy games with their neighbor friends. The girls have embraced their inner MacGyvers with their inventions and gadgets, and Daniel Boones, running free and plotting adventures, as kids should.
Our house is full of books—quite possibly, too many. Children's books, grown-up books, glossy picture books, a selection of the classics, and craft books for all ages and skill levels. So many books means there is always one within arms reach, to leaf through, pour over, or get lost in.
How We Live Creatively In General:
There are so many resources and opportunities now, which makes creative living quite easy. Anybody willing and able can learn a DIY method of doing just about any task these days. With the help of books and online video tutorials, "A" has repaired our cars time and again, and we have even learned to fix our own tools.
Creativity in the kitchen is something we all have to face at one time or another and, like most of you, I have pulled-off some epic meals and snacks made from random pantry items.
A little ingenuity goes a long way. Freecycle and Craigslist are scoured regularly, and odd needs are fashioned from re purposed items. We barter, and trade services when we can. We search for information online, and call experienced friends for advice (or even better, for help).
We have failed many times. Fixing the digital camera (friends, please do not attempt this at home) or figuring out where, exactly, the water dripping into our bedroom was coming from were forays we were not successful in. Sometimes we are victorious in our efforts, other times not so much.
We have also gone without, and learned to be grateful for what we do have. After all, it is times like these when living creatively—through creative problem solving—matters most.