Funk, ABChallenge, Mudroom


I’ve been in a bit of a creative funk recently. It feels like Scarlett looks.

(Even though what she’s really signaling here is, “If I don’t make eye contact with you, you can’t see that I’m up here again, biting on the lead blade of the scythe and chewing the potted palms.)

My symptoms of creative funk include seeing everything I do as crap, simultaneous restlessness and fatigue, dropping things on the floor even more than usual, and a sense of dullness.


In a creative funk, even though many wonderful things continue to occur, like finding surprise! beautiful flowers on the doorstep, like magic… well, actually, unexpected kindness does wonders for boosting spirits.

I know to keep breathing through a funk, not push too hard, to listen. Go for walks. Take naps. Soon, I’ll issue the funk an invitation to tea.


I decided some arbitrary and not-too-difficult challenge practice might help, so I started ABChallenge: Take or draw a picture representing every letter of the alphabet, in order from A to Z. Nothing stupid like every day, but don’t be lazy. Why not do it with me? Then we’ll have something to talk about.


I finished the mudroom in the Sea Rise Pavilion remodel, meant to be a shrine for the pieces from Charlene’s Legacy that Keli gifted me us. Here it is the late night of completion, with cruddy lighting.


As seen from the interior.


And through the open back door in the fresh light of morning.

Funk slumps happen to us all, I think. What do you do when you find yourself in one?

30 thoughts on “Funk, ABChallenge, Mudroom

  1. Sheila says:

    Give it a little time and some sun, sun will break up a funk like nobody’s business. When I get one I usually am second guessing everything I built for the last four months. And to get out of it I usually tend to bulldoze on with inspiration pictures of what I could do to perk me up.

    Love your mudroom! Perfect for all the fishing gear.

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Thanks, Sheila. On cue, the sun is out today :)
      Interestingly, one of the poles is a casting rod, and I have been inspired to reread Norman Maclean’s “A River Runs Through It”.
      “At sunrise everything is luminous but not clear.”
      Pure pleasure.

  2. azteclady says:

    ::sending good thoughts your way::

    I hope the funk passes soon; keep breathing through, keep walking, keep looking out and seeing that unexpected beauty, accepting that unasked for kindness. You share with us beauty, dedication, ingenuity. Here’s reflecting it back to you, with thanks.

    • Nancy Enge says:

      I’m sure you do, Joyce. But is that ‘punt’ in the sense of 1) to travel or convey in a long, narrow flat-bottomed boat; 2) to kick the ball after it is dropped from the hands and before it reaches the ground; or 3) to delay in answering or taking action; equivocate? All seem appropriate :)

  3. Megan says:

    Ha ha Nancy, your funk doesn’t sound nearly as bad as my behaviour when I hit one. My laser printer packed up on Sunday morning, just as I was printing wallpaper. I spent the whole day weeping. Actually, the printer was just the last straw in a series of things leading to a funk. I can usually see a funk coming like rolling clouds.
    So, at present I’m sharing your funk.
    When that happens to me, I stop trying to push out any work. But I do spend time on the internet and in books looking at what other people are doing. It recharges my creative batteries.
    I also try to spend more time than usual outdoors, and on physical activities. I think often one of the things that brings on a funk is lack of fresh air and movement.
    When I am ready to sit still again, I take my diary and make plans. Having something to look forward to helps me to make the transition from funk to functional.
    I think your Alphabet sounds like a wonderful idea, and I might join you! People have a lot to say about how bad constantly being with your phone/social media is for you, but I think the ability to photograph and look at our surroundings is a wonderful tool to change our perspective. Even photographing the cup of tea you are drinking, can make you look at it with a different appreciation and gratefulness. Great for lifting one’s spirits.
    Have you seen the book A for Annabel by Tasha Tudor? I recently acquired a copy. Some time I’m going to work my way through the book and make each item of the alphabet. But not when I’m in a funk, that is an ambitious project.
    I do hope you feel better soon. Be kind to yourself. And remember that we love your work!

    • Nancy Enge says:

      I feel your ‘straw vs. camel trigger’ moment, Megan. I suspect there’s a few cumulative events that contributed to my funk as well.
      The Tasha Tudor project sounds charming, a good organizing principle for a build collection :)
      Heartfelt thanks for your thoughts and wishes. Back atcha.

  4. elizabeth s says:

    If I could say anything of encouragement to you Nancy it would be to say that to me, your work is Always TOP DRAWER and I am in constant AWE of the things you can do and have done.
    However, I don’t think that my telling you this will snap you out of your funk, because I know from experience that once in it, you just have to ride it out to the end.
    I usually attribute mine to mini over-saturation and a lack of sunshine, but it could also be that I’m bored.
    At this time of year when I can’t garden, I usually have to take a break and READ something. Sometimes it is a new novel or the Bible, a favorite book or my collection of magazines. Losing myself in an occupation that is not mini related can get the juices flowing again and pull me out of my slump.
    So my advise is not to beat yourself up over your temporary funk; yes they Are a nuisance because they make you feel restless, but usually they’re just passing through.

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Hah, Elizabeth, you nailed it. “Just passing through” has been a catchphrase for my life, first heard as a teenager. It’s not a tagline for despair, more a gentle reminder to lighten up :)

  5. Keli says:

    Oh, I know The Funk.

    First I have to recognize The Funk, that always seems to take longer than it should. Once I do I can let go of the non-making guilt and creative expiration. I shut the door to my studio and go on artistic vacation. It’s a good time for book reading, trip taking, spring cleaning, garden maintenance….

    I also do a self-care assessment. Often when I get in sustained periods of creative burst I let lapse exercise, sunshine, vitamins, proper nutrition, spouse snuggling…

  6. Bennie says:

    When I first saw your cat in the dollhouse I wanted to scream – GET OUT!!! But get out carefully!! The mud room is beautiful, almost too pretty to call it a mud room. I hope you get out of your funk and feel better. We all get those days/weeks. I can’t say I have any methods, just watch some mindless TV (Housewives of wherever, HGTV, Food Network, romantic comedies) and enjoy some tea (or wine). The sun helps too. Today, not so much, fog and rain here but Lord knows we need it for our reservoirs.

    Hang in there, I have faith in you that we’ll see more wonderful creations. And get that cat out of your beautiful, tiny house!!

    • Nancy Enge says:

      LOL Bennie. *Still* chuckling at you yelling at my cat for me. Not that it will do any good, but thanks :) Laughter is a great antidote for a funk.
      I’m glad you like the mudroom. On the ocean it might better be called the salt sea spray room, or the sand room, or the dead fish room; is that better?
      Mmmmmmmm, tea.

  7. Shelleybweb says:

    I think Keli’s answer is excellent.
    I also find doing a kit and following someone else’s instructions helps me to, at least, get back a sense of accomplishment. I like your kits for that because when I do them I find extra treasures included that show your kindness and thoughtfulness. These are small things that could be overlooked. You put Maps in my atlas package that had a significance to where I live. The inclusion of a choice of lid liners and even the punch out sheet from a run of petals for the plants sparked creativity in me. Thank you. I have a photo you might like, I’ll send it to nancyland.

    • Nancy Enge says:

      I’ve been thinking about doing some basket weaving, or taking out one of the eternal miniature needlepoint rugs, from both of which I derive satisfaction in the rhythm and slow progress of making. Thank you for your kind observations, and your weaving work which has sparked a flame :)

  8. Bennie says:

    I have a question for you that is totally off topic. I built a travel trailer kit and want to display it but the darn thing gets dusty. It’s tough dusting a mini house. Do you ever get pieces of plexi-glass to fit in the openings to stop the dust from accumulating? I’m thinking I could maybe hold it in place with Velcro?

      • Bennie says:

        I don’t want to use screws because as the seasons change I like to decorate with pumpkins, spring flowers and of course Christmas decorations. Thanks, that is a good idea though.

    • Nancy Enge says:

      I’ve seen many builds protected in plexiglass cases. Before I had the bad cat and was able to have my builds out, I did not protect them. I do use one of those tiny vacuum cleaner attachment kits designed to clean electronics to dust what is on display (inaccessible to bad cat), and also my work surface mid-project. It helps to have all your accessories museum-waxed in place :)

  9. Barbara W. says:

    Take this time to pause and reflect, but trust your instincts. You have a unique and beautiful style.

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