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Manifest Headboard

March 21, 2013

When your mom is an artist, sometimes you get to have really cool requests fulfilled, like a mural in your house.  This particular request was for killer whales to put in my bedroom.


killer whale


Whether or not there are such things as totem animals or spirit animals, I’ve felt an affinity for the killer whale for a long time now.  They are strong, powerful, and playful.  And I’ve always been fascinated with their beautiful black and white colouring.

I’d painted my own Haida art-inspired interpretation of a killer whale for my entrance hall, but my mom’s watercolours were even more spectacular than I could have imagined. I tried to get the best shots I could, but I hope you can somewhat see the beautiful purples, blues, and turquoises in the water.  She chose them because they are my favourite colours:




After a couple of years of living with the killer whales, I decided I was sick of white walls.  I stumbled on a can of “oops” in a paint store – somebody’s mis-tint and my $7 oceanic bargain – that seemed perfect for me and my mom’s paintings.  And for a few years, this was how my bedroom looked, with Mom’s paintings over the bed.


bedroom old.

Of course the nice thing about living in a two-bedroom Treehouse is that whenever you get tired of the old colour, you don’t necessarily have to re-paint.   You just paint the other room while it’s empty and then put your furniture in there!

When I did move my furniture into the newly-painted room the last time, I realized I hadn’t liked the killer whales over the bed.  I couldn’t really see them from my vantage point.   Plus, you know, I was worried about them falling in the night and death by glass shard.  So now they’re on the opposite wall, and this artwork (which I purloined from over the sofa) is less likely to outright kill anyone:



I’m sharing photos of both the old and new room because the layout is similar, and it shows what a difference colour can make in a small space.  (And age on taste, lol.)




I love thrift shopping.  I always have a list of things I am looking for.  Chairs or black skirts or plant pots, whatever.  Of course there IS the delight in discovering something I never knew I wanted till I saw it.  But there isn’t any point in going without the purpose of finding some desired object, anything, no matter how obscure.  To have it on the list.  And to find it.  It always feels like I manifested it to happen that way.


I found this headboard the day after I decided I was looking for one, in a thrift store about twelve blocks from the Treehouse.  It had just been loaded in, not even on the floor yet.  The finish made it look ugly (black-flecked ash-blond wood dipped in 27 coats of plastic-looking poly), but I liked the carved leaves and the silhouette.  I saw potential and asked the sales clerk what it was worth.  It didn’t even have a price yet.  She had to ask her manager.



Five dollars.  One of the best bargains ever, found on my first try.

A little white paint brought the carvings and silhouette to life.  Treehouse-appropriate headboard, manifested.


Figuring out where you are going creatively is a little like thrift shopping.  You hope for the magic of pure discovery as you create, but you also must bring a purpose with you when you start.  The writer or painter staring at the blank paper with nothing to put on it is the shopper entering a store without needing anything:  what, exactly, are you there for?  If you don’t know what to buy, you don’t need anything.  You are only there for the sake of spending money and acquiring things needlessly.  If you don’t know what to write or paint, you don’t even know what you need or want yet.

But then, too, there IS the joy of discovery.  Wandering aimlessly through a thrift store with no idea of anything in the world that you need, then finding some quirky thing, can be magical.  The joy of writing out any words that come into your head, or splashing paint any way that seems to suit you, playing any notes or chords on an instrument…there is joy in that.  It’s satisfying.  To a point.


Still, eventually the object you spot out of the corner of your eye, the shape that forms in the words or the paint or the notes – eventually a suitable purpose must be found.

Whether decorating a home or writing a book or painting a masterpiece, we have to formulate the vision of what we want, then recognize and adapt the pieces as we find them.

That’s how manifesting works.


Dodie Goldney

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related posts by Dodie Goldney:

The Mural That Ate My Dining Room

Creative Tools

Procrastination and Perfectionism


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