The Heart-Held Cottage

12:10 PM

The Heart-Held Cottage
Watercolor and Ink
Stillman and Birn Bound Beta Sketchbook
5.5 x 8.5 inches
I recently saw a very sad statistic about how many folks lost their momentum by the end of January when it came to their resolutions for the new year. It was staggering.

While I don't set resolutions, I am all too aware of how easy it is to lose forward motion and the last two weeks were brutally long as I struggled to get past the flu. In January.

I'm sure you can imagine what that did to my forward motion. Gah!

I could feel my frustration and stress levels jacking up higher and higher as I thought of my "to-do" list languishing at my desk. Nothing was getting done!

Since stress is not conducive to healing and I wanted to be over that flu YESTERDAY, maybe even the week before, I knew I needed to offset the rising aggravation.

Welcome to my escape mechanism—the Heart-Held Cottage.

This cottage only exists in my heart, my imagination and my sketchbook. It's based on a number of small houses I've seen over the years—part playhouse, part Hobbit hole, part Elven home, all fun.

And while I'd love to claim the idea as my own, it's actually a take from Cathy (Kate) Johnson's fantasy journal. (If you have a Flickr account, you can see her fantasy journal set here.)

Over the course of the last two weeks, I sketched out the little cottage and then decided to add the floor plans.

Note: I am not an architect nor am I all that interested in reality in the form of physics and such. I was interested in escaping! Below is the first and second floors:
After getting in most of the furniture, I decided to add cats to the couch and bed upstairs. Unfortunately, the cat on the couch looked a lot more like a dead ferret than a cat and so I added a throw over the couch to cover up the dead blob.
Because I had space left over at the bottom of the right page, I decided to throw in a suggestion of what the built-in bookcases and fireplace would look like.

If you enlarge the images, you'll see little splatters of turquoise and scarlet on the pages. This is because these are the last pages in my bound Stillman and Birn Beta sketchbook and well, color happens in the most unexpected places.

One of the fun things about creating a place to escape to is that I get to:

  • Decorate it the way I want. No need to take anyone else's opinion or tastes into consideration—unless I want to!
  • Use color schemes that I wouldn't normally use in my home.
  • There is no clutter, no dust bunnies, no messiness—again, unless you want it!
  • Problems go away. They don't/can't exist in a place like this. When I'm at the cottage, life is wonderful and just the way I want it!
  • I can add my favorite possessions or things I'd like to own. Tired of something? I simply change it!
  • I never have to clean or put anything away. It happens magically! 
  • I'm never rushed here. I have all the time in the world to paint, sketch, read, garden, cook, visit with a few friends, observe nature and pause to enjoy life. 
I'm thinking this won't be my last foray into creating an escape as I thoroughly enjoyed creating the pages over the last two weeks. When I got tired or fell into a coughing fit, I set aside my journal and then continued as the spirit moved me. 

And, yes, it really did help to lower my stress levels!


I agree with Virginia Woolf that it's important to have "a room of one's one." I just decided a whole cottage was even better!

How about you? Ever need to escape life's pressures? Do you ever run away in your sketchbook?

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