Inspiring Creative Women #5: Heaven's Walk


When you need a dreamy, serene oasis to drop the day's cares and feel centered and refreshed again, you must treat yourself to a visit to Heaven's Walk.
Meet Laurie, owner of this lovely 12-acre romantic-bohemian-farmhouse, where you will find peace and beauty reflected in the photography, decor, and furniture & craft projects. And to top it off, Laurie's lyrical writing style will soothe you like the waves lapping the shores of Lake Michigan, where she spent the summers as a child. 


The Inspiring Creative Women series is dedicated to
in-depth interviews designed to bring the
creative process into sharper focus.



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{Christina}  Tell us a little about yourself, Laurie.

{Laurie}  I grew up in the city, found my way out to the country 30 years ago, and have never looked back. I've been married to my very patient, loving husband for 28 years.  I love the country life. The peace and quiet out here centers me and makes my heart sing. I am a homebody who enjoys 'floofing' our home and creating a warm, happy and comforting place to live. I love gardening, morning runs, painting vintage furniture, curling up with a good book with Maizie Grace at my side, and blogging of course! I adore my jeans and tees, flip flops, dangly earrings, big statement rings and loading my wrists full of arm candy. I am a middle child and the only daughter, so yes...I admit I am royally spoiled.


{Christina}  You grew up spending summers and your grandparent's lake house. How does that affect your creativity and life today?

{Laurie}  Those were truly the best years of my life. Growing up as a beach-baby gave me an appreciation of God's beauty around me at an early age. 
If I close my eyes, I can still hear the comforting sounds of Lake Michigan's waves rolling onto shore as I laid beneath homemade quilts in Grandma's big old brass bed... 
walks along the beach collecting ladybugs in coke bottles with Mom... 
building shell-studded sandcastles with Dad...
running down Old Baldy --the biggest, baddest dune ever with my brother...
grandfather teaching me how to braid the yellow yarn hair on a purple paisley balsam filled rag doll...
sitting in the sand with my family and watching the sun set into the azure water every evening...
...and waking up to another glorious day full of sunshine and sand.
These things are forever ingrained in my memory and wrapped around my heart. The beach constantly calls to my soul, and you will find bits and pieces of beach trips scattered throughout Heaven's Walk. 


{Christina}  Speaking of what's scattered throughout Heaven's Walk, I love your style!  How would you describe it?

{Laurie}  "Shabby chic bohemian goes country?" or how about "Romantic Bohemian Prairie?" I adore the mix of rustic and feminine. Creamy white walls, planked top tables distressed to perfection, colorful Turkish prayer rugs, Florentine trays, candelabras and blingy vintage chandeliers, faded floral pillows reclining against ruffled white linen, vintage vases filled with blush pink roses, wicker porch furniture, rustic willow baskets, seashells tossed and worn from the ocean, and ruffled linen throws...

{Christina}  Sounds dreamy and divine!  What inspires you and where do you go for inspiration?

{Laurie}  Blogging. Plain and simple. The incredibly creative blogging community ~and the friends I've met there ~continue to be my main source of inspiration. When my computer was being repaired for 2 weeks I thought I'd go nuts! I used to subscribe to many magazines and I've cut back on a lot of them. I still have a handful of favorites, but blogs are my go-to places of inspiration and learning. I love being able to actually interact with the gals who share their homes and projects there. One person I admire most is Ann Voskamp, who is the author of "One Thousand Gifts" and blog author of "The Holy Experience." I love her writing style and the effect her written words have on my heart.


{Christina}  Your own writing style tends toward the type of poetic rhythmic cadence that reminds me of the lake or ocean. It especially comes through when you wrote about your dad and mom this year. How did you find your 'voice' in writing Heaven's Walk?

{Laurie}  Thank you, Christina. I have no explanation except it comes from God. He continually speaks to my heart and the words just form there. I've found that he fills my mind with things I need to blog about while I'm on my morning runs. I start every run with a prayer and from there, my posts are loosely created. When I get home I find myself clicking away on the computer keys to get the words down before I forget them. Sometimes I feel like my heart is just bursting with prose and I can't type fast enough. It's almost like running is my engine and God is the gasoline.

My mother was a librarian and instilled in me the love of reading and words, and respect for books and language. English was always my favorite subject. And now that I sit back and think about this, I realize that through God my mother gave me my love of writing and my father, who loved to sketch and oil paint, gave me my love of art and photography. 

I feel so completely blessed.


{Christina}  Your photography is so beautiful and soothing. What do you look for when you're capturing a slice of 'heaven' through your lens? Give us some tips!

{Laurie}  I am far from being an expert and I don't own a fancy camera, but I've learned about depth of field, bokeh, and capturing a feeling with each photograph. I love to use photo editing sites, too, to help enhance my photos. It's amazing what a bit of extra exposure, soft focus, and shadowing will do to a picture when you don't have a camera with all the bells and whistles. 

Small vignettes are my favorite thing to snap a picture of, as well as the rooms in my house after they're sparking clean and 'floofed' to perfection. Close-ups of faded rose blooms with their soft curling edges and drooping faces, scattered petals on a Florentine tray, and a floral patterned pillow blurred behind it all speaks of simple quiet elegance. My favorite books of vignettes and inspiration are Rachel Ashell's "Shabby Chic Interiors ~My Rooms, Treasures, and Trinkets," and "Romantic Prairie Style" by Fifi O'Neill.


{Christina}  When it comes to your own blog, what projects or posts are you most proud of, and why?

{Laurie}  I think it's the French Side Table that resides in my bedroom next to the overstuffed chair. I love the way the multiple painted layers turned out. It was black when I bought it. I layered three or four different ASCP colors of grays, pale blues, and white, distressed it back in spots, and waxed it. 


{Christina}  Which of your projects says the most about you?

{Laurie}  I've tried lots of different craft projects, which has been so much fun! Some I enjoyed and others I let go because they just didn't speak to my heart. Right now, I'm totally immersed in creating shabby romantic dream catchers. I completely fell in love with making them. Handling the soft, faded cotton fabric strips, the waxy sinew, glass crystal beads, leather cording, and white feathers is almost zen-like to me. It's comforting and calming which is how I hope others see me. While I'm weaving and tying and stringing and tucking, I'm praying that the person who ends up with that certain dream catcher feels the peace and love woven into it. I always incorporate a bit of my faith into each one. So a turquoise stone cross or balsam cross is always added as the last element.  I hope to sell them in my booth next spring.


{Christina}  They are gorgeous! And I believe our intent while we're creating makes a huge difference.  I'm going to bet they're a hit at your booth. Speaking of that, which projects have been the most popular to the public on your blog?


{Laurie}  My most popular post was the French Flower Pots where I used the Mod Podge transfer technique. It was my first attempt at them and I was surprised at how easy they were to make and how well they turned out. It was fun to hear the feedback and to think, "Hey! I just inspired someone. How cool is that?!"


Another top favorite was my French market baskets. Once again, that project was inspired by another blogger. I love how a piece of simple whitewashed basket with a piece of stenciled burlap on it and flowers plunked in it can transform the entire feeling of a room.



{Christina}  Have you ever hit a creative block? If so, what did you do?
{Laurie}  I hit a block this past spring when I had to put one of my cats down because she was so sick. Roni was my "basement buddy." While I was working on a project, she'd be under my feet, licking my toes, rubbing against my legs and "talking" too me all the time. She kept me company. When I went down to do laundry the day after she was gone, I stood there. It was completely silent. No loud meowing. No deep purr to greet me. I looked over to the corner where her bed used to be and saw it was empty. I threw some linens in the washer and escaped back upstairs. To this day, I have a hard time being down there and feeling as "creative" as I used to. I miss her company. So now instead of painting furniture, I began making dream catchers up in my studio office where the memories aren't quite as painful. I'm praying this winter I can start making some fresh, new memories down there and get back to painting again.


{Christina}  I'm so sorry to hear that. Our pets are like our family members, and they are woven into the fabric of our lives, aren't they? But you continue to be creatively occupied, so I'd like to know: 
What's important to you about the creative process? What impact does it have on your quality of life?

{Laurie}  Stepping outside my comfort zone and trying something new is very important to me and good for me, too. I'm not a risk taker by any means. I don't think I have a competitive bone in my body, either. So I tend to be happiest just doing my own thing in my own little world. But I also want to reach out and share that happiness with those around me who are looking for inspiration and encouragement like I am. Everyone has been blessed with some type of God-given talent or gift. It's discovering it and using it to the best of your ability that brings so much joy ~ not only to you but to others, too!  I feel confident that God hasn't even started to use me to my greatest potential yet.


{Christina}  Thank you, Laurie, for sharing your little slice of heaven with us here at I Gotta Create!  Thank you for sharing your talents to help us all feel a little more calm, serene, happy and blessed. I'm looking forward to what comes next...

{Laurie} Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Christina. I feel honored and learned a lot about myself as I thought back on my life, my faith, the inspirations that helped mold my life, and the people who have brought me so much joy.







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