I am constantly looking for new things to joyfully create with, and using things found in nature is one of my favorite things to do.

The Joy of Creativity: Pinecone Practice! As I was perusing DIY crafts at Woman’s World online, I found this terrific post on painting pinecones, which literally transforms them into gorgeous zinnias. This lovely idea came from Vanessa Valencia of “A Fanciful Twist.”

I love this idea on so many levels, especially because time in nature has so many well-being benefits. And, one of the cornerstones of all I share through my Creative Awakenings programs is that combining creativity with nature and mindfulness exponentially increases the benefits of each, in the same way that diet and exercise work better together.

That being said, here is my addition to Valencia’s wonderfully joyful craft: while you are gathering pinecones, you might as well stop and smell them, super-charging this pinecone practice. Here’s how:

  1. Sit down on a nearby rock, tree stump or even the ground.
  2. Close your eyes, and breathe deeply, in and out, several times. Allow nature’s sounds, smells and sensations to become part of your consciousness, helping you clear your mind. Do you hear birds? Sounds of leaves blowing? Is there a breeze caressing your skin? Allow your senses to drift to whatever calls your attention. If thoughts arise, no problem; gently bring your awareness back to what you are hearing, smelling and feeling.
  3. Stay with it for just a few minutes, longer if possible.

You will be amazed at the results of indulging in outdoor mindfulness. Also, while you are outside, be on the lookout for other cool things to paint: rocks and branches will also transform when you give them your creative love. Finally, after you’ve soaked in enough nature, collected materials and painted what you’ve gathered, gift yourself with a few more minutes of noticing the joy and relaxation you are likely to be feeling.

Vanessa used acrylic paint to achieve the gorgeous colors on her pinecones: dare I suggest also trying metallic gold and silver spray paint for a potential indoor centerpiece?

Enjoy this simple, DIY idea here and remember: Creative time is your time: it’s a gift that you deserve.

Creatively yours,

Elizabeth Bryan-Jacobs