My husband knows how to save stuff. Plenty of stuff. Usually related to old cars and trucks or other (often broken) mechanical things or construction paraphernalia. Thank goodness he’s also a neatnik, so his stuff is organized and doesn’t create a visible eyesore. And if I’m perfectly honest, some of the stuff is at least interesting-looking. Decay carries with it a certain amount of natural character.

Occasionally, I’ll peruse his stash and find some great stuff to capture on camera. That’s where I found a double-rusty, vintage iron grate. The finished photo showed the grate, overlaid with a tumble of dried weeds, casting sharp shadows. It was striking. I brought the photo into Photoshop and stared at it for a while and began to see graceful, tapered leaves and a sort of tulip shape. From there, “Renewal” blossomed.

rusty grate beside final abstract artwork of tulip-like flowers and graceful leaves

And now that the grate has been used as basis for an artwork I plan to prop it up in one of our planters and let some flowered vines have their way with it!

The artwork was created for SFA, but the process and the garden ornament, née rusty junk, are for me. It will improve my environment, add a story to my life, and put a smile on my face.

And that’s the point. We want you to fill your environment with things you love, but especially things that you used your “creative eye” to find or make or repurpose.

This is an opportunity to think differently about how to incorporate things that are relevant to you into your special spaces. It might involve turning something useless into something worthy. Or it might involve using your discernment to pick through unusual items in an upscale import store after lunch with your BFF’s.

You can find interesting things that tug at you anywhere as long as you’re looking with intention. No telling where or when the magic will happen, but your creative eye must be ready.

Of course, we encourage you to acquire fine art as well – in prints or originals, whatever suits you. After all, that’s what we do! But to make your slice of haven your own, it’s also a good idea to support your art with your favorite personal projects, photos, or meaningful items you’ve discovered along the way. All those things together – the fine art and the “personal” art – add to your story and brings the essence of you into your space.

A grouping of abstracts, photos, a large wood numeral two and a set of vintage keys Your creative eye will help you mold your spaces into retreats that bear your signature. If your corner of the world reflects who you are you’re more likely to feel calm, relaxed, creative, and productive. A positive “you” environment will feed your spirit. Your comfort there will also make others feel more welcome because you are sharing a part of yourself with them. What better way for others to get to know you!

You might not have access to an organized pile of rust to turn into treasures, but you have a discerning eye that will work anywhere, anytime. Hopefully, you are inspired to put that eye to work to make a sanctuary that fills you up – whatever that means to you.

Let's Muse Together

Yo! Grab a cuppa something foamy and a low-cal pastry and let's chat about creating havens in our lives - with art, with things we love and with people we love.


  • Kathi Gerritsen: March 30, 2023
    Author image

    Thank you Diana & Wendy! You’re so kind to respond to our post! I’m glad if it inspired you. And Diana, this grate would probably make a good boot scraper, too! Blessings!

  • Wendy Marquis: March 30, 2023
    Author image

    I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS. Thank you for such inspiration!

  • Diana Simpson: March 30, 2023
    Author image

    Hi Kathi – I LOVE the “Blue” artwork you created from the image of the rusty grate. I thought the grate was a boot scraper. It will be a “great” grate in your garden with sweetpeas climbing over it. Hope all is well, Diana

Leave a comment

All blog comments are checked prior to publishing