How to redefine what it means to create

Good Time Charlie, Le Junque

How to redefine what it means to create

Redefine create

I belong here, and so do you!

If you are new around here, then I will bring you up to speed in a hurry.  Over 5 years ago I started this blog.  The main purpose was to provide a web space of my custom painted furniture portfolio.  I was running a busy one woman business of providing custom painted furniture and just wanted an online space to show case my work to potential clients. Let’s just say I didn’t look like this every day.

Karen at Millies 2

Fast forward two years and I decided to rent myself a space at a consignment store to sell my furniture.  To keep my profit margins higher, I started cruising Craigs List for Free Furniture.  When I exhausted this route, I started cruising Dumpsters for cast off furniture.  I soon found my love for all things Free and Dumped.  I found I had an extreme love of rehabbing broken, tossed out, left for dead pieces and parts of furniture and turning them into functional, beautiful pieces of furniture and decor. I love Junk!   And I looked more like this.  Karen and Garbage TruckI started a series on my blog called Trashy Tuesday.  Every Tuesday I posted what I had found for free that week (I still post this series occasionally, but at present, my garage and my warehouse are quite full, no Dumpster Shopping for a bit).   I found I loved Dumpster Diving so much, I created a three part series of blog posts called The Complete Guide To Dumpster Diving, many thanks to the Nancherrow blog for suggesting it!!

Dumpster Diving How To series

Early on in my junking career, everything started coming together like magic.  Chalk Type paints had been introduced to the U.S. at a professionally produced level.  I had a successful linky party then.  Another blogger linked up this project and called it “I love my CeCe Caldwell’s paints”.  I was intrigued.  I had not heard of CeCe Caldwell’s paints!  It was an American company, making a chalk and clay based paint, 100% natural, and all made in America.  Today, CeCe Caldwell’s has not only Chalk + Clay based paints, but a line of all natural clear coats, waxes and ehancments, including my faves, 100% Natural Metallic Waxes.


I emailed CeCe Caldwell’s to find out more.  They were based in the South then, but were about to go National.  One of their Distributors would be in my neck of the woods teaching a workshop in Sonoma soon, would I be interested in attending?  Heck yeah!!  From first brush stroke, it was true love and I knew I HAD to be a part of this company.  I knew, with CeCe Caldwell’s, I belong here.  (Picture from a Video Kim and I made.  How to do Glaze on Glaze with two award winning CeCe Caldwell’s employees in Prescott, Arizona, where CeCe Caldwell’s is made)

Thomasville Teal love CeCe Caldwells sideboard redouxinteriors

CeCe Caldwell’s Paints is a family owned company.  Everything they make is either 100% natural or as close to natural as you will find.  Their cans are recyclable, the paper they print their labels on are recyclable paper.  Their packaging is earth friendly.  Everything about this company completely aligned with my principles.  Tread lightly on the earth, use what resources you have and give them a new life.  Keep it in the family.  Bring joy to other people’s lives by offering something that will enhance their surroundings and not harm their health.  I started out as a blogger with CeCe Caldwell’s and teaching CeCe Caldwell’s Paints workshops.  From there, I started tagging along to promotional events, like this one here at the America’s Mart in Atlanta.  It wasn’t long before I truly felt like I was part of their family.

redouxinteriors americasmart cececaldwells

If you would like to read more about CeCe Caldwell’s and the story of its creation, read this very popular post, “My interview with CeCe Herself”.  It is truly inspiring.

As my involvement with CeCe Caldwell’s grew, I began to redefine what it means to create.  I was teaching, I was promoting, was I still creating?  The answer is yes.  I was creating opportunities I didn’t even know yet existed.  I may not have been painting as much (like 24/7 as I used to).  I was creating ideas.  I was creating skills while teaching new students.  I was creating artistic endeavors and creating joy.  I was creating a much larger world for myself than I ever imagined I would have created when I started this little blog with no expectations all those years ago.

Last January, CeCe Caldwell’s had a need for a new Distributor for the Western Region.  They approached me with this opportunity and my business partner and I jumped in with both feet.  (Most likely creating anxiety for our spouses).  Together, Kim and I started creating a business of Distributing CeCe Caldwell’s Paints to California, Nevada, Utah and Colorado CeCe Caldwell’s retailers.  We are Oui Redoux (We Redo).  ouiredouxportrait

We created more workshops, we have brought on new retailers, and we have created more excitement for CeCe Caldwell’s Paints and Products with our existing CeCe retailers.   Kim and I have been busy creating new businesses.  We have created new retailers in all of these states, which in turn has not only created more of an income for us, but for all of the amazing new retailers we have been privileged to bring into the CeCe Family.

This past year I have been so busy creating a new business that I have really had to cut back on the fundamental things I love to create the most.  Junk makeovers painted with CeCe Caldwell’s Paints and products.  I have been thinking a lot about this.  I don’t get pick up a paint brush as often as I would like.  I don’t get to get in my workshop and tear apart a book case to turn it into a rolling cart (like this one).

dumpster bookshelf turned cart redouxinteriors

I don’t have time to blog and write about what I have created.  Writing is another one of my creative loves, and it has had to take a back seat while I have been busy creating a Paint Business in the West.  As any successful entrepeneur can tell you, starting a business, then making that business a profitable one is hard work and takes all of your might, mind and strength.  But it is creating.  It is a manifestation of what was inside of you, driving it forward and creating something that didn’t exist before.  It is in short, exhilarating.  It is finding out what you are made of, then discovering you are made of so much more than you even knew.  I know, I definitely belong here, where I am now.

Vintage Industrial Dumpster Desk with Karen redouxinteriors

All of this creating has brought me back to my basic question.  How to redefine what it means to create.  One of the most soul satisfying things a human can create is something with their own two hands.  Truly, just with your hands.  Be it typing, writing, or making something.  Using your hands in a repetitive way is Zen like.   Numerous studies have shown how it reduces stress, lowers our heart rates, increases endorphins.  And makes us happier all around.  Especially nice for our loved ones, like Suffering Husband here.

Mark and Karen lunc in Coronado

I am a book junkie (readaholic) and a Podcast junkie.  I recently discovered one of my favorite authors, Elizabeth Gilbert (of Eat Pray Love fame) has a new book coming out end of September. Big Magic.  bigmagic_book

It is all about navigating the creative force within each of us and creating magic with it.  How to overcome the fear of it, and how to make the space for it.  Elizabeth (Liz), we are on a casual name basis now, has a Pod Cast called Big Magic. Every Wednesday she discusses the issues that hold us back from creating and gives the listener all different approaches to going forward. Through interviews with famous artists and authors to interviews with regular folks like you and I, she discusses the creative process in a way that makes me well, sometimes weep!  Today, Liz gave advice to someone who was a photographer that was longing to become a Podcaster.  The guest was discussing her fear of feeling like a “phony” when she was longing to jump into the podcasting world, that she didn’t belong there.  Guess what?  We do belong wherever we choose to create. If we stand up and state, I created this and I belong in this creative space, be it my blog, a podcast, a book I might self publish, or any other space where I create (and I am not violating public or private property).  I belong there.  And so do you.

We so often beat ourselves up that we don’t “create” anything.  We all create something every single day.  We create our lives, we create a mood around us.  We create joy for others if we choose to be kind.  We create chaos if we spread our anger around.  We create.  You and me.  We are creators.  We need to redefine what it means to create.  I created this post about all the things I created with CeCe Caldwell’s Paints.  See how many ways there are to create?  lol.

decorating with cece caldwells redouxinteriors

Back to my creating…I long to have regular time with that paint brush.  I crave the power rush I feel when I fire up my chop saw.  Today, I am announcing to you, and the Universe, I am creating time to create my junk makeovers.  There is a time and a season for all of us to create different things.  We need to remember that creating something, sometimes just for ourselves, not even for public consumption is essential to our very creative natures.  I need to get myself back in creative balance, play with that paint brush, experiment with some of our new CeCe Caldwell’s colors coming out soon. I may not share here all that I create, but I will share this with you.  I have redefined what is means to create.  I belong here, and so do you.signature




  1. Katsy

    Marvelous post, sister mine. Looking forward to reading that book too- and thank you for the reminder that we all need to satisfy the need to create in order to be fulfilled.

  2. Suffering Husband

    Your best blog post ever. The greatest stories are true. You have created much joy and happiness especially to your family.

  3. Barbara Ann

    I miss you soooo much!! What did you found while driving around. How you got it home, and like me, where in the heck to put it??
    A lot of dreams to create and have. I have bought CeCe’s before and had a hard time finding it where I live. I hope we get more distributors soon. (Claremont CA)
    I respect your need to expand your creative side and seeing where it can take you. I’m excited to hear what you’ve done in a short time.
    But I needed to take a step back and really see what I want and need to do.
    What is the next step and do a own a pair of ” big girl pants” that fits so I could just do it…
    I’m gonna take the rest of the year to evaluate. I have one last vintage show to sell this year and I will see if I get a “sign” from the junk’n Gods to tell me what to do.

    But I am excited to see what you paint next time you have time…. also I will check out the Big Magic and see if it sparks me to continue on the junk’n path to create great stuff.
    Barbara Ann

    • GTC

      Thank you so much for your fun comments Barabara Ann! Oh the process of figuring out what to do with your junk is a hard one. Sometimes junk just speaks right up and tells you what it wants to be. Other times it is silent for a long time, just taking up space in your garage/work place until you threaten to throw it out and suddenly it speaks to you! I have found that the more I just dive in, the easier it gets.
      Re Cece retailers, we have one not far from you in Upland. Rusty Gypsy. Here is the info to their store:

      The Rusty Gypsy
      160 C St
      Upland, California
      (909) 908-6236

      Tell Courtney I said Hi!

  4. Audra @ Renewed Projects

    Such a wonderful post on the journey of creating and the many dimensions it takes. Thank you for writing it. 🙂 I agree that the act of creating is therapeutic. The other day I was half joking with a friend that when my kids start stressing me out I feel the need to go sand or paint something! lol Glad that you are carving out time to nourish your soul and continue to develop the God-given talent that has taken you where you are today. 🙂 Look forward, as always, to your posts.

    • GTC

      Audra I can so relate!! I am sure sanding or painting or taking something apart makes you a better mom! It is my favorite sort of therapy. Thank you for your sweet words too, just made my day 🙂

  5. Catherine

    I agree with Long Suffering Husband–great post!
    Don’t you think all creative people go through bouts of -what next, how, where do I belong- along their journey? It seems to be the mantra of us not following the “regular path,” RIGHT??
    Haven’t “talked” with you in SO long–really miss that, but glad things are coming together so well for you–

    • GTC

      Hey you! Oh I so agree that the self examination is part of the creative person’s routine. We finish projects, businesses and then wonder what we are going to do next. The nice thing, usually when we are done with something, it opens up other doors we didn’t even know existed. I do miss talking to you too! I miss a lot of my blogging friends. I pop in here behind the scenes, I am around, just not as public. Hope all is well in your neck of the woods and you are creating more amazing one of a kind pieces.

  6. Vicki Westbrook

    Love the post, was wondering where you’ve been. I, too, am a dumpster diver and always have my “trash eye” open. I feel like I have to “create” something everyday or I just might wither away. It’s just something within. Oh, and I love Ce Ce paints too. Keep on Keepin’ on!

    • GTC

      Hey you! Oh I so agree that the self examination is part of the creative person’s routine. We finish projects, businesses and then wonder what we are going to do next. The nice thing, usually when we are done with something, it opens up other doors we didn’t even know existed. I do miss talking to you too! I miss a lot of my blogging friends. I pop in here behind the scenes, I am around, just not as public. Hope all is well in your neck of the woods and you are creating more amazing one of a kind pieces.

  7. kirby carespodi

    Awesome post! Wish I could create more, and teach less. Someday!

    • GTC

      Being a grown up sometimes is sort of a drag, huh Kirby? I always refer to my “projects” as a jealous boy friend/girl friend. They are always calling you and you never have enough time to get to them. But then sometimes when you commit yourself to them completely, you get tired of them and have to go back to your committed relationship. The real job. Lol. I keep thinking I am getting closer to the point where I can get back to creating on a more regular basis, but business keeps chugging along and gaining momentum. That’s a very good thing.
      Hope the school year is off to a good start for you.

  8. Kathryn Griffin @TheDedicatedHouse

    Girl, I’m so happy for you! I know you are an awesome teacher helping others find their creativity! Have a lovely weekend! Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

  9. Fabiola Garcia

    What a great post. I love it. After reading the 3 series part on Dumpster Diving, a while ago. I started to do my dumpster diving more frequently and following your advises on private property and when and where to go. And it been great. I also started a series of Free Furniture Wednesday. Thanks for the inspiration. Linkin your blog at my FFW, at my post. Thanks and congratulations on your new position at CC Caldwell Paints.

    • Mandi Pike

      Great post!!! I find my self re-creating what I’m doing every few years, though I’ve been thinking of it as re-inventing myself….re-creating makes more sense! I find my creative passions change over time…and while I love all I do, my creative brain needs to focus on fewer things at a time to allow me to do them well. I’m not painting these days (still love me some CeCe’s BC for chalkboards though!) but doing smaller paper and hand crafts like crazy. So happy you are loving what you do and able to share that creativity with others!

  10. JSelep

    Thoughtful topic! I’m interested in the workings of creativity, and you have given me new concepts to think about.

    Be Creative!



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