Simply does it | Mindful Puzzles

Simply does it

Artist and illustrator Kerrie Hess invites us on an enchanting journey to indulge in the happiness of simple pleasures and manifest our best lives.


There is something magical about the power of visualisation, starting by committing a list to paper in order to help manifest the objects, milestones, and experiences you want in your life. One step further is creating a visual moodboard. Or, in the spirit of Joy in the Little Things, a joyboard! The simple act of pinning inspirations to a physical board that you will see every day can be incredibly powerful. It pleases the eye and uplifts the spirits. It’s like a window to your dreams, a framework for your ultimate future.

I created my first joyboard back when I was a child and learning to paint the things I loved. Some were items I wanted in my life at the time, such as a pretty dress or a sparkly pair of shoes. Others were simply those things that made me happy to look at… animals, blossoms, rainbows… It all made for lovely wallpaper, too! With my grown-up joyboards, I’ve found that I can experience a similar heart-fluttering satisfaction out of gorgeous images of beautiful things… A picture of an Hermès bag, for instance, gives me so much pleasure that I don’t feel the need to actually own it!

Images of flowers, too, can be as soul-soothing as the real thing. But a joyboard might not be all about material things. You might want to include symbols or images of love and relaxation to denote ‘more time with family’, ‘less work on weekends’, or perhaps a renewed relationship with a family member who has drifted from your life or just more time for self-care. That’s the thing about a joyboard: it’s little snippets and snaps of whatever will make for a happier life.


I have had so many surprising experiences over the years with my own moodboard imaginings, some of which I honestly didn’t expect to happen. One such incident was in 2011, when I was living in Paris. It was a quiet and rainy afternoon, and I was at home painting in watercolour, inspired by the colourful and upbeat designs of Kate Spade. I remember pinning one of my sketches to the moodboard above my desk – it was of a woman in a polka-dot skirt, with a tiny puppy. I posted my ‘Kate Spade-inspired’ image to Facebook without further thought. A few days later, I received an email from the design team of Kate Spade New York about meeting in Paris to discuss collaborating on a project. I looked up at my moodboard and wondered just how much the pinning of the image both on social media and on my personal board had to do with the project that followed: creating a custom range of illustrated fabrics for one of my favourite brands. In all honesty I think that a combination of putting what you would love out into the universe and pinning it on an actual board can be powerful in manifesting that very thing.

This moodboard materialisation is but one of many over the years. I’ve also found that my pins have helped me to hone my decorating style, realise my travel dreams, and focus my vision on achieving work dreams and personal goals.

There is so much power and romance with a physical joyboard, but you can create a digital one, too, with Pinterest. Start a new board, named ‘Joy’ or something similar, and simply pin whatever inspires. In a practical sense, Pinterest is also a wonderful resource when decorating. Try creating a dedicated ‘Might Buy’ board (this may be one you want to make secret) and add anything that captures your imagination. Then you can look back and compare items. I saved seven di­fferent pendant lamp options when looking to light a very specific space in my home. Comparing all the costs and sizes from my laptop, when curled up on the couch in pyjamas, made it so much simpler (and more joyful!) to decide than if I’d trekked from store to store. Something that makes your life prettier and also easier? That’s joy to me!

Ideas for your joyboard:

Home and fashion style: What would you have in your dream house or dream closet if money were no object? Even if the original version is out of budget, you might still be able to take inspiration from your pinnings.

Career aims: What are the 10 things you would most love to achieve when it comes to work? Out of this list, pick and highlight only your top three as the sole projects to focus on this year and cross out the rest. That way you will feel less overwhelmed when faced with everything on the list and will be more likely to achieve and complete the ones most important to you. Once those three have come to life, you can move on to the others!

Personal goals: What are the three most important things to implement that will a­ffect your life and long-term health? Even small incremental changes, like 30 minutes of extra sleep each night or 10 minutes of morning stretches, will enhance how you feel every day.

Reward ideas: Do you need a little help when it comes to motivation? Add images of special treats with which you could reward yourself on the completion of work projects.

Travel inspiration: If your life flashed before you, where would you wish you had visited at least once?

Just because: Anything that makes your heart smile. For any reason – or none at all.

Edited extract and images from Joy in the Little Things by Kerrie Hess, published by Rizzoli Books, RRP $65.00. Available in stores nationally and online.

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