Welcome to Day 17 of 31 Extraordinary Days to Be…  Or…simply: Be…
Together, we will learn to Be… to live fully and beautifully in our “skin”
and in our homes and beyond.  If you missed The Introduction or you’d like
to follow the entire series, you can find each post listed here.

31 Extraordinary Days to Be... AnExtraordinaryDay.net


My good friend often says to me, “Diane, you think too much.”

Have you been guilty of thinking too much?


We are creative people.

Yes, even you.


The problem is that creativity gets hindered when we think too much.

And that gives way to this exclamation, “I’m not creative.”


Day 17 of #31Days :: Be Creative ~ Play ::  Put a sweater on the vase :: AnExtraordinaryDay.net


Play is the springboard for creativity.

Obviously this is true for children, because their life work is play.

This old, and no doubt familiar, proverb from the 1600’s is so true:

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

As adults, we need to play too.  Not only do we work too much, many of us are guilty of thinking too much.

I’m much more creative when I gather a bunch of supplies with a general idea in mind, and then give myself permission to play around with my supplies.


Day 17 ~ Creative Expression :: Warming the Mantel with a Sweater :: AnExtraordinaryDay.net


Explore.  Ask the question, “What would happen if?”  And then experiment.

Play. Exploration. Experimentation.

Too many times we work towards the desired outcome and lose our creativity in the midst.

It’s the times when we create with abandon that we are most creative.  It’s then, we are happiest with what we write, craft, cook, etc.


If either of us are to be creative we must allow our ideas to bloom.

When we second guess ourselves, or become critical of our work, or start to compare it, we think too much.  We squelch the creative process.

When we force things and try too hard, we also squelch our creativity.

But, when we allow ourselves to play….our creativity flows much more freely.


Day 17~#31Days :: Creative Expression :: Warming the Mantel with a Sweater :: AnExtraordinaryDay.net


Do you remember the sweater pumpkins I made for my table?  (You can check out that post here.)  I didn’t need the sleeves of the sweater for the pumpkins, so I thought I’d cover some vases with the sleeves as I’d seen in blogland in the past.

That wasn’t really a creative expression, though.  I was merely copying an idea.

The creative expression came in creating a pumpkin designed to lay on its side from the oddly shaped upper portion of the sleeve that didn’t end up around the vase.

The creative expression came in tromping along the roadside and fields looking for nature’s treasures and coming home with still green oak leaves and arranging them in the now sweatered vases.

The creative expression came in shopping around the house for a few objects to create a mantel display.

The creative expression came in playing and seeing what would happen…and not thinking too hard.

The creative expression came in allowing myself to be creative.


17of#31Days :: Creative Expression :: Sweater Vase Decor ::  AnExtraordinaryDay.net


The mantel is today’s creative expression.

The mantel will change.  The oak leaves will dry out and I’ll find something else to play with.

What counts the most isn’t the perfect mantel.

What counts the most is having a place to create and make beauty that makes a house a home.

It’s playfully expressing the creativity we each have within us.

Day 17 Challenge:  How much time during your day do you allow for creativity?  Do you think too much?  Do you complicate things?  Do you allow time in your day to play?  What is it that unleashes your creative juices?  What creative endeavor has brought you the most joy or satisfaction?  What do you need to do to “be creative”?


Off to play….


 I hope you’ll consider visiting each day during this #31Day series.

All the posts in the series will be added to this page each day of October.
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subscribe now.

What a wonderful adventure this will be as we journey together to Be…


  1. Kathy T says

    I love your sweater vases and I love your mantel. Simplicity merged with creativity –what we all strive towards, -Thanks for sharing .

    • Diane says

      Your sweet words just made my day! Thank you Kathy!!
      Hope your weekend is extraordinary!

  2. Tammy says

    Wow! The sweater sleeve worked perfect for that vase.

    • Diane says

      Aww…thanks Tammy. 🙂 I was really happy that it turned out so well.
      Hope your weekend is Extraordinary!!

  3. Love it! Your creative mantel expression and your thoughts about being creative! Many times we’re so hard on ourselves, when we just need to play 😉 Have a great weekend, Diane!

    • Diane says

      Cristina, I really appreciate your kind thoughts. 🙂 I know I am especially hard on myself, too. Silly of us.
      Hope your weekend is Extraordinary!!

  4. Mel says

    Yes, I think too much. Yes, I complicate the simple. And yes, yes, YES I PLAY!! A whole lot…with bubbles and sidewalk chalks and baskets of toys we have in this house (and at the office. LOL!!). And I play with paper crafts and beads and doo-dads AND…I’m very accomplished in getting others to come play with me. 🙂 Even stuffy Englishmen will sit on the sidewalk and join in. Yup, it gets washed away with the rain…but it’s a fresh canvas then. I haven’t excelled in dragging that creativity into the house to create as you do. I might take stabs at it, but notsomuch being successful at it at this moment in time–not consistently. But I’m loving my tray with gourds on the coffee table!! (It’s where I get to do my healing, dontchaknow!) So maybe there’s hope for me, huh! 😉
    I adore the sweater vases with the birdies peeking out. Your friend must think you’re the bee’s knees!!

    • Diane says

      I love how you are very accomplished at getting others to play with you….especially stuffy Englishmen. 😉 I think there’s plenty of hope for you. Especially since you spread it around so well. 🙂
      Thanks for your kind words about the vases. 😉

  5. The sweater vases are so clever! I love to have some creative time each week! Thanks for linking to TTF!

    • Diane says

      Thanks Linda!! I think we NEED our creative time!! 😉

  6. Pinky says

    Love the sweater vases!!! VERY good idea!

    • Diane says

      Thank you Pinky!!! It was a fun and easy project. 🙂
      Hope your weekend is Extraordinary!!

  7. Gwen says

    I too love the vases! I have never seen a sweater vase stretched over that unusual shaped one. I’m too tired to want to know where you end the sweater. Under the vase?? Edge of bottom of vase?? So if I find a sweater instead ill just play around until it works!!!

    • Diane says

      Thanks Gwen!
      I made a few quick stitches under the vase to give the vase with the cuffed top a more finished look. The vase with the flare is stitched top and bottom. The top stitching works great because it acts as a sort of ‘frog’ to hold the stems in place.

  8. Love the texture this adds. 🙂 Thanks for joining the party! Please be sure to add link backs to the posts you added to the party this morning. Thank you! 🙂

    • Diane says

      Thanks Amanda! I’m all about texture. 😉 Haha!!! Truly!
      Oh my! I’m looking at my desktop and I didn’t link back to anything today!! I have a bunch of tabs up there…yours included. 😉 I was only walking away from the computer for a minute….yeah…that was this morning!! LOL!! I’m on my way to fix that. 🙂

  9. Who knew sweater sleeves could make such a difference? And I love the branches and leaves, so simple and beautiful!

    • Diane says

      I was ready for some simplicity. [wink] It’s really amazing how the textural interest of the sweater could do so much for the mantelscape.
      Thanks for your kind words, Krista! 🙂

  10. Kim @ Curtain Queen Creates says

    Lovely! And, a very practical way to use those sleeves! 🙂

  11. Oops. I didn’t realize when I made the previous comment that it was linked to the former address of my site. Sorry!

    • Diane says

      No problem…fixed, Kim!!
      Hope your weekend is Extraordinary!

  12. Marti says

    Your mantle is beautiful! I love decorating with sweaters. I’m so glad you linked up at Sewlicious Home Decor!

    Have a great week!


    • Diane says

      Thank you so much Marti!!!
      Hope your weekend is Extraordinary!!!

  13. Babs says

    Love your cozy vase covers and oak leaves. I love cutting branches from shrubs or trees to bring into the house. Visiting from Seasonal Sundays.

    • Diane says

      Thanks Babs!! It’s so easy to cut those and they lend such wonderful drama to the space too!!

      Hope your weekend is Extraordinary!!


  14. Carol says

    I really like your idea to cover the vases with old sweaters. It looks so warm & cozy. Thanks for the inspiration!


    • Diane says

      Thank you Carol! 🙂 I’m so glad you like the idea. It really does provide that warmth with textural interest. 🙂
      Wishing you an Extraordinary week!!


  15. You’re always welcome at Seasonal Sundays.

    I don’t think we ever allow enough time for creativity.

    – The Tablescaper

    • Diane says

      [smiling] We sure don’t! Hope you find many creative moments for play this week. [hugs]

  16. Holly says

    The simplicity with the texture of that sweater is very warm and beautiful.

  17. Love this. I’ll be looking for a sweater at the thrift store next week!

    Clickin’ in from Marvelous Mondays.

    • Diane says

      Yay!! It’s so fun! Hope you find the perfect one!!
      Thanks for popping by Shana!!
      Wishing you An Extraordinary Day!

  18. Linda says

    Lovely mantel. Such inspiration. I’ve got to get going on my Fall mantel also. Best wishes, Linda

    • Diane says

      Good luck with your mantel Linda. 🙂

  19. I was thinking these exact same thoughts this past week, and looking at two sweaters I have but never use and wondering if I should take scissors in hand and cover some vases.

    I love the simplicity of your mantel and your sweet birds! Nature is truly our best designer.

    • Diane says

      Go for it Doreen!!! It’s so easy and I loved the texture that it provided for these cooler days!!
      Thanks for your sweet words!

  20. I am soooo guilty of over thinking things! Must be the teacher in me!!! Thanks for the reminder to be gentler with myself and to allow myself to play more!!!

    • Diane says

      You are so welcome Valerie. 🙂 Now if you lived close…wouldn’t it be fun to play together?

  21. Beautiful idea! I’m hosting a fall wreath giveaway that you should enter!

  22. So pretty…love your sweater vase!

    • Diane says

      Awww….thank you so much Martina!! 🙂

  23. Love this-I love recycling and oak leaves are beautiful all on their own-no flowers needed.

    • Diane says

      Thank you so much Vickie!!!!
      I, too, have always been smitten with the oak leaves. 🙂
      Wishing you An Extraordinary Day!

  24. Oh I love your sweater vases and the leaves are fabulous. So simple, and totally stunning. Thanks tons for linking to Inspire Me. Hugs. Marty

    • Diane says

      You know, Marty, I’m leaning more and more toward simplicity these days. Maybe there really is a big truth in the “less is more” statement.
      Thanks always for your kind words, and for taking the time to stop by. You are amazing and so sweet!!

  25. What a cool project! I seriously need to hunt down some cable knit sweaters. Thanx for partying at my place!

    • Diane says

      It was such a fun and easy project. I know you’d enjoy making a little warm texture for a vignette, too, Pamela!!

  26. Sandi says

    Very cute, Diane, and creative! Thanks for sharing.


  27. Cindy says

    Sweater vases, so clever and cute! Love your mantle! Thanks so much for sharing at AMAZE ME MONDAY!

    • Diane says

      Thank you Cindy! They were fun so fun to do, too!!!

  28. I love this idea. Your entire mantel is beautiful, but I really love how you used the sleeve to cover vases. This is the first time I’m seeing that on the internet so, a borrowed idea or not, they look great. Thank you for linking up to Thrifty Thursday.

    • Diane says

      You know how we see something and we think the whole world has seen it? I guess this was just a good lesson for both of us. If we see something and duplicate it because we love it…it’s worth sharing. Thanks for helping me learn that today. 🙂 And thank you for your kind words, Ruth! Blessings!

  29. What a great idea! I’m going to look for some sweaters like that next time I’m at the thrift store. Love it!

    • Diane says

      Oh Chelsea…you’ll have so much fun with this project!!! Let me know when you dress up a vase and share it on your blog. 🙂

      • Diane- I shared my take on your project today! I couldn’t help it, ran right out to the thrift store to buy a sweater because it was just too cute! My mom has already texted me 2 pictures of vases she’s covered. Thanks for the inspiration!

        • Diane says

          I am over-the-top excited for you Chelsea!!
          How fun that you were able to quickly put your vases together. And your mom did too!!
          Thanks for letting me know.
          You’re Extraordinary!!!
          p.s. I shared your post on my FB page. 😉

  30. Jen says

    This is fantastic! Playing…love it!

    • Diane says

      🙂 Thanks Jen! Hope you have lots of ‘playtime’ this week! 🙂

  31. So sweet! Thanks for sharing at Silver Pennies Sundays!

  32. Kathy says

    Hello Diane, love your creative and generous ways! Your sweater vases are quite warming and you’re right – the decor often changes, things don’t last, but what should be important. I am delighted that you shared with Home and Garden Thursday,

    • Diane says

      Awww…thank you my sweet friend!! 🙂 Isn’t it funny how a sweater on a vase can be so warming?

  33. Jody says

    Diane, Just wanted you to know I will be featuring this creative idea at Simple & Sweet Fridays this week. I love this project, just the right thing to add to a mantel for Fall!! Happy Halloween too!


  1. […] Day 17 ~ Is Your Creative Expression Stifled? :: Warming the Mantel with a Sweater […]

  2. […] the sweater sleeves I made for a couple of vases for the […]

  3. […] saw the cutest idea at the blog An Extraordinary Day about how to dress up a boring vase with a sweater. This project just feels like […]

  4. […] You might remember my pampas grass wreath here, my grapevine wreath decorated with privet berries and colorful leaves here, or my oak leaf branches here. […]

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