On creativity and the gift that keeps on giving

Last year I read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. It’s a beautiful inspirational book about creativity – how to make time for it in our busy lives and how the act of creation can be so beneficial to us as human beings. I loved the book, it spoke to me on so many levels and it made me think of ways in which I can bring more creativity into my daily routine and get rid of that “I don’t have time” mantra that threatens to take over my life. I think this thought was lurking at the back of my mind the minute I saw the package and it sprung up the minute I saw the wrapping paper.

The package was a Christmas present from my blogging friend, Vishy. It traveled all the way from India and came to me just as I was beginning to think that maybe it got lost somewhere in the deep dark recesses of a storage room, there to die a lonely death. I’m so glad it didn’t. Thank you so much, Vishy!


Inside was this bubble wrapped package with a card. Oh, the suspense!


And inside the package, a book I have been looking forward to reading for years – The Mountain Shadow by Gregory David Roberts, which is the sequel to Shantaram, a book I read and loved five years ago. The sequel only came out in October last year. That’s a long time between books…I can’t wait to see if this is as good as the first one.


As soon as I saw the beautiful wrapping paper I knew it was perfect for my next notebook cover. Luckily, given the size of the book, a large section of the paper was in good shape so I even had enough for a bookmark. The timing was perfect, as the notebook I usually carry with me has only a few pages left, so this new one is ready to take its place in my little backpack. I always carry a notebook and a pen with me – I find it so much more comfortable jotting things down on paper rather than fiddling around with my phone.

It took me a few days to finish it, working an hour or two a day when I had time. It’s a lot easier to glue paper in the dry, cold weather we’ve been having here, as opposed to the stifling humidity of Bangkok. I’m definitely going to miss this when I get back there. The little string bookmark I used came from a jar of jam. It was wrapped around the lid as a decorative item. The colors – red, yellow and blue, symbolize the Romanian flag. So now not only do I have a new book (and chunky, too at nearly 900 pages!) but also this notebook and a lovely paper bookmark. I can’t wait to use them both.


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22 Responses to On creativity and the gift that keeps on giving

  1. Stefanie says:

    What a wonderful gift and what a great way to use the paper too! It makes for a gorgeous notebook and bookmark!

    • Delia says:

      Thank you, Stefanie. It was such a wonderful surprise to receive this gift.
      I really love the paper, I haven’t seen anything even remotely similar where I live.

  2. Brian Joseph says:

    What a great and thoughtful gift. The fact that you also were able to put the wrappings to such good use is really nice.

    Enjoy the book!

    • Delia says:

      Yes, it was. Friends who love books are wonderful and I’m so fortunate to have them. I knew it was a book but not what book. It made my whole day a lot better. And the fact that it’s a book I’ve wanted to read for a long time…I’m like Gollum with his precioussss. 🙂
      It was a pleasure to work on the notebook

  3. Vishy says:

    Glad to know that you liked the book, Delia 🙂 Happy reading! Will look forward to hearing your thoughts on it. You are so creative! You made a beautiful notebook and a beautiful bookmark from the wrapping paper! I love the colours of the Romanian national flag – makes me think of the ‘Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite’ themes of the French flag. Do you also have a theme for the three colours of the Romanian flag? I loved your comment about being like Gollum with his preciousness 🙂

    • Delia says:

      Thanks again for sending me the book, Vishy. I don’t know if I should read it now or wait until I’m in the mood for a chunkster. The size of it! I wonder how much from the previous book I will remember.
      I’m glad I was able to use the paper, it’s so beautiful. I’m going to brag now but I have the loveliest notebook and bookmark. 🙂

      It is possible that the Romanian flag may have been influenced by the French one. When it was first constituted as a flag, the colors symbolized Liberty, Justice, Fraternity. When I was young I remember people saying blue was for the sky, yellow for the fields of wheat (we, Romanians are voracious bread eaters) and red for the blood.

  4. Deb Atwood says:


    You’ve got the creativity thing going on here! What a lovely notebook cover and bookmark. I agree that it feels so good to re-use items in creative ways. Hopefully you’ll love the book as well. What a precious gift!

    • Delia says:

      Thanks, Deb. I really like making notebooks, it relaxes me and gives me all sorts of ideas. I now have an old magazine cover which I’m planning to turn into a notebook cover, fingers crossed that I don’t mess it up.
      I like making something new out of something that’s been used before, it’s like giving a new life to an object.
      I’m curious to see if I’m going to enjoy this book as much as I did the first. Sequels are tricky.

  5. Hi Delia, what a lovely idea! They look amazing. 🙂

    First of all, you had the patience to unwrap it in a civilised fashion. If I were you, I would have shredded it like Boo, because of excitement, and impatience. 😀

    And, thank you for recommending ‘Big Magic’ — the book changed my life to a great degree.

    • Delia says:

      Thanks, Deepika.
      First of all, I’m a patient person and second, how could I mess with that beautiful paper? 🙂 Besides, I leave the shredding part to my dogs, they “unwrapped” a book for me once but luckily, apart from a set of teeth in a few pages, they left it alone.

      Big Magic is a great book. It made me as well look at creativity in a different way. I’m so happy I recommended something you enjoyed.

  6. Priya says:

    Wow! The paper reminds me of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers. It is interesting that those are the colours of the Romanian flag. You are so creative. To be making such beautiful things out of scrap! You make me want to read Big Magic.

    • Delia says:

      It does look a bit like that. I never knew until now. I think this is the Asian version. 🙂
      I’m grateful Vishy sent me a big book so I had just enough paper.
      You should read Big Magic, lots of interesting things in there. If you want the condensed version, there’s a YouTube video here:

      • Priya says:

        Wow, it is a very inspiring interview. I must read this book!! I have read nothing by Gilbert (only seen the Eat, Pray, Love movie. 😛 ) but she seems like such a warm, intelligent person. Thanks for the link, Delia!

        • Delia says:

          I’m glad you enjoyed the interview, Priya. She seems to be a kind soul. I follow her on Facebook, she posts there quite often and I like her posts.
          Did you like the Eat, Pray, Love movie?
          She wrote a book called “The Last American Man”. I want to read that too.

  7. Athira says:

    What a wonderful gift and what a wonderful way to use wrapping paper! Your notebook and bookmark are both beautiful. I tend to save wrapping paper but they just collect dust. I think you have given me some great ideas – I cannot wait to do something like this.

    • Delia says:

      Hi Athira,
      I used to save wrapping paper as well, but once it gets bent out of shape it can rarely be used again. I have become much more aware of how much stuff I actually throw away and now look at things and ask myself if I can reuse them in some way. This paper was too lovely to just throw away and it was in really good shape. It was love at first sight the minute I saw those bright colors.
      And the book isn’t bad either. 🙂

      I look forward to your creative post. I wonder what it is. 🙂

  8. Delia says:

    Vishy, maybe my dogs are book lovers but not in a good sense. 🙂 On the other hand, it could have been worse. Much worse. At least I saved the book and got to read it.

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