Creative Overkill

Have you ever worked a good idea to death?

Two months ago, I had the great idea of  painting and decoupaging the drawer fronts of an otherwise plain dresser which we keep in our den.

My inspiration for the idea was this lovely example I discovered on Pinterest:

Photo courtesy of

Brimming with inspiration, I grabbed my scissors, measuring tape, Modge Podge, and piles of pretty paper and eagerly began planning out the perfect design.

Usually I just wing it on creative projects, but since I wanted to transform this chest of drawers into sumpin’ special, I took very careful measurements of the drawers’ dimensions.

Next, I selected a funky mixture of patterns in a color scheme I thought would compliment the future decor of the den.

(And by “future decor” I mean, “still undecided”.)

Finally, I mapped out my design, cut out my shapes and glued everything into place.

Et voila!

Darling decoupaged drawers!

Pleased with my work, I put away all my art supplies and happily fell asleep.

And then I woke up.

Have you ever awoken in the morning, immediately recalled the events of the previous day and thought, “What the heck was I thinking??” 

Somehow, eight hours of sleep allowed me to see that my creation looked more like something fit for a child’s nursery instead of a classy-yet-countrified den!

I hated to destroy my work, but it simply would not fit the room.  A week later I had a new plan!  This time, I would use my new Van Gogh poster (which I plan to hang in the den) as inspiration.

Simplifying my design and color scheme, I selected turquoise, black and white damask paper and got to work.  After a brief attempt to pull up the old paper (Modge Podge don’t budge!), I decided to just glue my new design over the former.

Et voila!

Sleek and stylish decoupaged drawers!!

Super pleased with my work, I put away all of my supplies and went to bed again.

And then I woke up again.

This time, my eight hours sleep revealed to me that I should not have been so matchy-matchy with the Van Gogh poster.

Ugh!  What was I thinking??

On a side note, my Ms. Practical side made sure to tell me, “I told you so!”:

“I TOLD you not to address the accessories before the basics!”

I know, I knowwww!  I need to establish the basic pieces of our den such as curtains and slipcovers, etc. before I go experimenting with patterns and colors for one piece of furniture.

In the meantime, I am locking up my art supplies and turning a blind eye to my flashy drawers.

Have you ever had a creative idea turn sour?

Today I am linking up with Pancakes and French Fries‘ fabulous William Morris project.  Thank you, Jules, for creating this avenue of inspiration!


18 thoughts on “Creative Overkill

  1. I saw a really great film one time of Picasso painting. It was time-lapsed over several hours (maybe days?) and he painted with extreme detail and changed this and that and then painted over it all only to do it all over again until finally he settled on what would be “the finished project.” I think about that often when my projects turn sour (which they often do, and my attempt to salvage something only seems to make it worse)…just remember, even the greats have moments of complete and utter creative fails 😉

    • What a beautiful story, Shannon. That made me smile. I wonder which other paintings have other creations hiding under them. 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

  2. I thought this was going to turn into a “nailed it” story! haha But I thought both drawer designs were pretty…

  3. This was fun! I’m sure you’ll wake up again soon with a brand-new vision for your drawers. Maybe you’ll get inspired and take on your kitchen cabinets! 😉

  4. Hi, Leilani! I came across your site via afternoon popcorn, and I know how frustrating art projects can be. The one thing I’ve learned is to take a step back and look at it as a whole. Walk around, walk faaarrr away, and then come back and work on it some more. Hope to see more projects, happy Friday! 🙂

    • Thanks for your comment and advice, Jennifer! I shall walk far away, indeed. Checked out your site–I can’t wait to experiment with that sweet potato haupia pie. 🙂 Glad to have met another food and cat lover!!

  5. I really appreciate this post. So often all we get to see in blogs are the things that work out. And I’m guessing you’re right–that you’re having a hard time figuring out what you want it to be because you don’t yet have a vision for the whole space. But I so get wanting to do this first–this is a fun project! Sometimes the creative process is messy; I think there are no real mistakes, just things that help you figure out what you *really* want.

    • Thank you, Rita, for your sortatotallyencouraging comment. 🙂 I cannot agree more with the importance of vision…and the reality that we sometimes want to jump the gun. Here’s to [perhaps less messy?] creative processes!

  6. Nice job on both attempts. I think it looks good now but see how it could get a bit too busy with everything else going on in the room. But hey, you definitely have the process down pat now. And you deserve a hand just for doing the task twice in shut a short time span!

  7. hey, you’re getting some good practice… anyhoo, the only thing I ever mod podged was a jigsaw puzzle. Yeah. I’m a nerd.

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