Finding Inspiration in the Smallest of Things

Today I ordered a pizza, which welcomed me with this little surprise:

Pizza Box Tent inspiration Angela Conley creativity dreams goals

Why did this little plastic doo-dad (apparently called a “box tent”) bring me great satisfaction? As a child, I used to use these for my Barbies and other dolls… in their decor. I re-purposed them as tables (they really do work well) into the little vignettes I’d craft out of other items.

The reason this made me smile hard is because remembering this very bit of nostalgia was the confirmation I needed to forge ahead with a decorating career. Before this, I’d been pushing myself as a freelance artist for several years, painting watercolors and striving to make myself known. (You can check out my watercolors & prints here.)

The art world really is a tough one to break into here in Toledo, OH. But I kept plugging away because painting was my passion. In the midst of this I also started getting into DIY projects and making over my home. I think it was a way to distract myself when painting & marketing myself got challenging.

I never wanted to just be a freelance artist. That didn’t seem like it would be fulfilling enough as a career. I considered other career paths in which I could help others while being an artist, but still struggled to find my way and determine which direction would be best.

And then one day, the thought of being an interior decorator/designer came to me. It’s a career path I considered long ago, among many other creative occupations, so I let my mind take me down that road and imagined what it would be like.

At first, I felt like I’d be betraying my given talent for painting and even betraying a part of myself. But when I considered how decorating is still a highly creative job and something I’ve consistently enjoyed, I felt at ease. I still can’t imagine not painting… only now, it’s making over a piece of furniture with a paintbrush or creating a unique piece of art to decorate my room.

So here I am today, looking at this tiny, plastic table and reflecting on how I loved collecting these as a child. I haven’t seen these in a long time, so I washed it up and will keep it as a reminder… a reminder of my dreams, my passions, and my desire to evolve.

Do you have any symbolic mementos like this that you hold on to? Do you find joy in small things? What inspires you creatively?

4 thoughts on “Finding Inspiration in the Smallest of Things

  1. Angie that little piece of plastic is called an answer to your prayers/dreams. It is telling you sometimes you have to take a risk and run with it. just like when you were a child and were not afraid to dream. Even if this takes you in a different direction it does not matter because it only means as you have matured and what you are dreaming for has changed. Instead of feeling tied to your art you have decided you want to do something you enjoy. Just don’t ever be afraid to dream and love because our purpose changes as we mature. We love you and support you and will always be here to give you the encouragement to go girl go. Love Dad and Ruth


    • Thank you, those were very sweet & motivating words. Something you said too made me think about how important it is to live like a child. Children aren’t yet jaded or biased in their beliefs and they live and think freely. Very important for us as grown ups to touch base with that way of life.


  2. Great post! I, too, used those for dolly things. Actually, when I was a child, I made all of my own doll furniture. There is a book that I checked out from the library almost every week that described how to make doll house furniture from household items.

    Pursue your dreams!

    As an aside, although I am from Baltimore, Maryland, I have a few friends in Toledo, Ohio. Surprisingly, Toledo and Baltimore are very similar.


    • Lol at the library book. I’ve done that as an adult. And I’m tempted to check out a book like that now, just for kicks!

      People here like to say Toledo is small and we all know each other. I don’t think it’s all that small but it does seem easy to play the “6 degrees of (insert name)” game. Have you ever been to Toledo?


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