• whatpennymade

Regrow, Renew, Revive...



Spring is literally just. around. that. corner... and I can't hardly stand to wait! I get so excited for the resurgence of all that is green and growing this time of year. There's so much happening!


In this spirit of revitalization, it's also around this time of year that I go back and review the projects that I've been working on or thinking about over the past months. It's like year-in-review meets spring cleaning. We remind ourselves of the good stuff, and think about what we still want to keep.


a messy pile of post-it notes with ideas scribbled on them in the artist's studio.
A clump of post-its growing in its natural habitat.

I flip back through my sketchbook and revisit the doodles and ideas and thoughts I had. I revisit the themes and ideas I've been mulling over in my art journal. I take some time to go through my cluttered mass of post-it notes with snippets of project ideas.


Perhaps most importantly, I make time to look through my "failed" projects. My flops. My embarrassing ugly children. These are the things that I took a stab at, and then quickly put away when they didn't quite turn out the way that I had hoped.


Why would I do such a thing to myself?

I'm glad you asked.


Here's the thing: I think it is of the utmost importance that we keep our old stuff. Our failed projects. The things we tried that didn't work out.


Because lot of times, after a break and distance, we can look back and think that the stuff that was a failure in the moment... really wasn't so bad after all. We can come back and see it in a new way. I have often revisited old projects I'd been embarrassed of... only to see (with great relief) that they really weren't as bad as I'd remembered.


While it may have "failed" in embodying our original vision that first time around, upon reconsideration, it might prove to have turned out pretty great- if not in the way we'd originally had in mind. It still might have great potential elsewhere- something we couldn't see in the moment when we were too embarrassed by what we thought of as a flop at the time. And if, it fact, it really is as horrible as we remembered, we may find we can muster the courage to try again.

Often, I find I may have an original spark of inspiration that fizzles out rather quickly. I'll get discouraged or bored and put the project away for awhile- But I don't get rid of it! Sometimes we can find that an old, less-that-great project really did start with a great idea. And if we think I have the energy to give it another go, then we should!



It's like tending a garden. There are new seeds and perennials. Stuff we prune back, weed out, and things that come up again when spring rolls around.

Maybe the camellias didn't do well last year.

Whaddya' say let's do our research and give 'em another shot?



Do you keep your old works? Have you ever come back to give them another chance? What about revisiting old ideas and breathing new life into them? I'd love to hear your experiences!

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