Releasing My Inner Sparkle Pony

horses in a field minimalist blogWorking any job can turn off the creative switch. It’s so easy to come home and feel too tired to do anything inspired.

In the past year I looked for inspiration in embroidery, resin art, pillow- making, and making barrettes from brass stampings. All of these activities had one thing in common…. they all took up a minimal amount of space in my life.

See, I wanted a creative fix and I was willing to pay for it in two ways.

1) I was willing to have a minimal amount of stuff added to my life in exchange for fulfilling my creative urges.

2) None of these hobbies cost a ton of money. (In a few cases I paid upward of a hundred or so in supplies, and in one case I paid less than ten dollars. It fit my budget.)

This gave me one thing…. the freedom to create without the burden of ownership.

None of these hobbies owned me. I hadn’t sunk my life savings into them. I had given myself a fair amount of space and time to explore the art form and I later made a decision on whether I wanted to keep up with them or not.

It was like having Tanja’s Art Year Sampler, a tour through the many whims of a¬†burgeoning artiste’ as she went through first year art school.

And I slowly peeled off each artistic incarnation and discarded it.




In the past I held on to art forms that didn’t fit me right. I coveted the supplies in case I ever decided to come back to it.¬†I mean, what if I got rid of the supplies and then (gasp) fell dangerously back in love with that particular art form? Could I ever recover a stained glass grinding wheel or a well-running sewing machine?

This was especially true when I had spent lots of money on the art supplies, or scored them at a great deal that couldn’t possibly be replicated.

It was also true when I had devoted lots of space to the supplies, letting them take up a huge amount of my life space.

But my new approach with cheap art forms and minimal space needs really helped me not feel owned by any of these art styles.

I got to play without the burden.

For me this is a simple trick to living simply.

The rules are minimal and the rewards are great.

Don’t invest a lot into something until you’re sure you really love it.

Be willing to release the things in your life that didn’t work out.

In return you’ll have the space in your life to create the next whim that crosses your path.




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10 Responses to “Releasing My Inner Sparkle Pony”

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  1. Hey everyone! Tanja here. Just wanted to share the backstory on the photo. Those are two of the horses who live in a big field across from our apartment complex. They are very friendly and it’s fun to go walking by them every day. They’re also hams for the camera and didn’t mind posing for their beauty shots.

    Anyways, what hobbies have you found that fit your simplified lifestyle…or are you still in the searching phase like me?

  2. Marianne says:

    I can only hope you will blog more regularly-I miss it dearly!!!! Still living the minimal life as much as I can. Christmas was so much easier this year! Baby coming in April- already told Grammy to spoil her with experiences instead of toys. We’ll see…

  3. Alliandre says:

    Wow, such beautiful grey horses :-)
    I couldn’t live with two (TWO!) horses next-door… I wouldn’t work anymore, I’d spend the whole day with them :-)
    I don’t like that fence at all, though. It’s dangerous for the horses, it’s too easy for them to get scared about something (horses get easily scared, sometimes a paper bag blown in a field by the wind is enough to get them all crazy) and run into it, harming themselves. A good fence would be a wooden one, highly visible and with no spikes. I’d talk with the horse-owner about it, it’s not difficult to find cheap fences with no spikes.
    As for minimal hobbies… I run, read on my Kindle (decluttering books, anyone? :-)) and… ride horses at the barn (someone else’s) when I have the time and money to do it :-D
    Alliandre recently posted..An Irish blessing goes:

  4. Mel says:

    Smart way of looking at it, Tanja. :) These days I do more digital art simply because I have no space at the moment to store my traditional art pieces. I get to practice as much as I want while saving on supplies at the same time. There IS the cost of electricity, of course, but it’s a fair trade-off. The awesome thing is, most of the skills I develop on the computer still translate into traditional work, and vice versa. :)

    Miss your blog!
    Mel recently posted..Something New: A Personal Self-Improvement Toolbox for 2013

  5. whisper says:

    I’m slowly decluttering my crafting supplies, but until the last year or so it was something to spend money on to console myself for not making time to craft (oh, those unexamined, illogical thought processes). I love dabbling though, so can only imagine how much fun the past year has been for you.

    I love to take something crafty with me at all time, and I’ve found knitting and kumihimo braiding to both be very portable and inexpensive, with some self control. I can buy a pair of needles and a a skein of cotton yarn, and make dishclothes or washcloths from the ton of free pattern online. Or, some easy-care wool or acrylic, and make scarves or hats to donate. And while there are fancy $$$ braiding stools, with a foam Kumihimo disc and some embroidery floss you can play with Kumihimo braiding.

  6. Love the horses, although a bout with horse-riding lessons in the past made me realize I am not very good with them. I used to paint abstracts on canvases, and I absolutely loved it. But after I had to figure out storage for 40 of these paintings, I realized they were hindering my aspiration to be a minimalist. Instead of stopping the flow of creativity, I use blogging, journaling, and photoshop to create art that inspires me and lets me be creative, without stopping my minimalism flow. Thanks for the post and the reminder.
    Brown Vagabonder recently posted..We Are An Undependable Generation

  7. Willow says:

    I’m a little late to the party, but I thought I’d comment anyway. I’m a knitter and spinner. Knitting takes up very little room at my house as long as I keep knitting DOWN my stash. The spinning requires a spinning wheel and although it is a smaller modern folding wheel, it does take up some room. My knitted items don’t stay in the house for long. If the item isn’t already spoken for, I simply donate it or sell it. My advice to interested knitters or crocheters is to start small and USE up the yarn as soon as possible. I’ve seen some knitters with MORE than a life time’s supply of yarn in an overly stuffed room–horrors.

  8. Nancy H says:

    I am at the beginning of my we are retiring. I have tried to pare down for years..some have said like peeling an onion.
    I am learning it is not just,going through things to donate or get rid of, but a mental process. Uncovering to find the space that is there and letting the light in..means naming and facing down the fears..future scarcity, memories, passed down family treasures. What is helping me is to know someone can use it NOW. Thanks all.

  9. deborah says:

    Your title reminds me of the Portlandia episode LOL!

    It followed a one woman act called Sparkle Pony! :)

  10. typing games says:

    What’s up, I read your new stuff named “Releasing My Inner Sparkle Pony | minimalist packrat” like every week.
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