Wednesday, November 19, 2014

nesting

More snow and continued bitter cold is in the forecast. Perfect nesting weather, that's keeping me in cooking, baking, making mode- it's my happy space for the holidays. Soups, muffins, cookies, sewing, carving stamps... They are all happening simultaneously these days!

While in DC over the weekend, I had the most exquisite lunch at the National Art Gallery... felt like a feast from a French country farmhouse- you can find a link to the buffet menu here. I essentially want to just duplicate it for our Thanksgiving dinner. As I was savoring the Pumpkin Bisque, I was trying to figure out the ingredients to repeat it at home... and at the end of the meal they brought complimentary recipe cards to our table. What a sweet surprise to have it handed to me. Here it is for you too! I was thinking- what a great Thanksgiving idea. If you are making/baking something very special- why not print it up the recipe ahead of time to hand out to your guests at they leave- or the host if you are bringing your contribution elsewhere. Perhaps you've already done this or maybe thought of it- but since I hadn't, a reminder to all of you brilliant friends out there can't hurt!

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These are now my go-to pumpkin muffins for my family. And all the kids that frequent our home. I use this recipe from smitten kitchen, but substitute butter for oil, use 1/4 cup less sugar, and add these chocolate chunks and cranberries. We've been watching the Cupcake Wars on Netflix recently... and are inspired to frost EVERYTHING, even muffins. Maybe a honey cream cheese frosting with a sliver of candied ginger- yes? YES!
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The second issue of Mabel arrived in my mailbox, and I enjoyed it last night with a glass of wine and set aside a moment this morning with tea. Perfect by the fire reading-  it's a decadent dessert and comfort food all rolled into one. So proud of my talented friends who have created such a fabulous new edition to the (printed) publishing world... and excited for all of the creative contributors to have a new platform to showcase their work and share their voice. Hello to cover art by my girl- Pixie Lighthorse!

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And this is a sneak peek at a new project I'm working on... the process and testing of new stamps (for something special) is always exciting!

Sending you wishes for cozy and creative days ahead...



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Friday, November 14, 2014

cold

Brrrrr! Along with much of the Northeast, I woke up to freezing temps and this lovely dusting of snow. It inspired some early planting of paper whites. See here for where I'm heading with them.
I even squeezed in some peaceful handwork time. As much as I dread the winter... I sure do love the instant coziness of working with thread and linen as the snow falls outside. It was made all the sweeter having my daughter home with me today. Her enthusiasm for this time of year make everything more fun.
 Hope you can set aside some slow and cozy time this weekend, as well. 


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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

gold leaf

 Our magnolia tree is finally releasing her leaves. On Saturday I had two assistants to help me gather some for an experiment.
 Silver and gold paint. Leaves. Foam brushes. Some newspaper spread on the floor. Hours of engagement! The largest of the leaves are thick and very sturdy, but not so much for the smaller ones.
A couple of days have passed and the smalls are curling up as dry leaves do. The process ended up being far more rewarding than I had anticipated, so if my planned end result morphs that's ok by me.
"Metal" leaves are definitely a new favorite around here.
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Monday, November 10, 2014

foxy friends

Last week I got the call from Quilter's Corner that my sewing machine was ready to be picked up after a much needed servicing. It's always a happy reunion when I've been separated from my favorite machine (a Pfaff classic). My daughter accompanied me. She has the same response to fabric stores that all sewers have... excitement, inspiration, and a desire for just one (or two) more bits of fabric. However, she often claims that she is NOT a sewer- and doesn't like to sew.  Humph. This dichotomy always leaves me a bit bewildered.

When she discovered a foxy flannel fat quarter and began "nicely" begging with clear intentions for what she would make out of it, I couldn't help but get my "mama sewer" hopes up. She knows just how to hook me- and we went home with the sweet flannel below.
Her idea was to utilize the space around each fox and make mini stuffies- a whole family of them. And she did- immediately.
She even taught her friend how to make some later on that day during sleepover. It was a fox frenzy!
One fat quarter of this, makes a lot! And keeps little hands stitching happily for hours with some very immediate results.
The girls even made fox storage pouches and  accessories... sleeping bags, pillows, bowls, messenger bag and a chicken drumstick! And then carefully arranged them for a photo shoot. Thanks girls!
Wouldn't these make perfect little gifts?  Great stocking stuffers or fun presents kids can make on their own are always welcome additions to the holidays... glad my girl got inspired!

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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

all that glimmers IS gold

In the search for holiday simplicity, I'm mining for my usual treasures and striking gold. Literally. I think that there will be some super easy sparkle and shimmer mixed in with my meadow finds this year.

Here are the basic and inexpensive tools I'm using to add a little metal to my nature:
-a foam brush
-masking tape
-Martha Stewart Metallic Acrylic Craft Paint (today I used YELLOW GOLD)
-Sharpie Metallic series (bronze)
I found this feather at my doorstep at dawn... like the last glimmer of a dream. So- a little gold was swept on for that perfect, soft gleam.
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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Novemberease


The days are certainly feeling shorter now that the darkness descends upon our little house so early. My thoughts have turned toward the holidays, gatherings, gifts, and feasts. The last few years have taught me so much about simplification. My focus is now on spending more cozy time with my favorite people and not get swept up in the chaotic energy that arrives with making and buying stuff. Of course, it goes without saying that I love handmade and there are tons of ideas and projects I'm excited about, but the pressure to MAKE gifts with all of the deadlines that this season presents can feel oppressive and overwhelming if I'm overly zealous. I'm sure you know that feeling.  So, I'm giving some careful thought towards how I want to proceed. Managing time with gentleness rather than a crowbar, trying to cram as much into each day as possible, seems like the intention I'm looking for. The crafts, decor, and meals I'm brainstorming are less about ambition and more about pleasure and fun. Doesn't that sound so good? I can't be the only one that loves the idea of abundant delicious ease. On that note, the crockpot is coming out of the cabinet after I press post! 




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Thursday, October 30, 2014

sunrise

Whatever time of day it is for you right now... can we just linger over this sunrise from last week for a moment? INHALE. EXHALE. It was so glorious!  I want to remind myself how fresh and new each day is. Even if it doesn't quite look like this each morning, the potential remains the same. We get to begin again! And guess what I've been learning? We don't need to wait for a literal sunrise to start over. There is an opportunity to start fresh whenever we choose! How liberating is that? I might restart today at lunch... push my refresh button and begin again! You can give yourself permission to start over WHENEVER you need to. Make your own sunrise!

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you. Don't go back to sleep.
-Rumi




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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Writing the Collective


Last week at the shore, I took an amazing writing class with Maya and Amy, of Food for the Soul Train. It was called Writing the Collective: Transcending Creative Solitude. They are hands down some of the most brilliant women I've ever known. I could listen to them speak for hours, as they have endless wisdom to offer around creativity and the writing process.
The majority of my writing experience tends to be in a quiet room with only a cup of coffee or glass of wine for company. Entering a group setting was exciting and definitely a little scary. Tasting trepidation is always a good sign that I'm pushing up against my edges and stretching myself.  It was hard to let go of my previous experience with words and dive into unfamiliar waters. I write slowly, methodically... and use the delete button constantly. I chose a pen and paper for this day and learned to handle fast and furious sessions with prompts.  I produced what I perceived as garbage in the morning. Really. Somehow that liberated me to loosen up and let go. By afternoon I was in all new territory... and loving the words that came flowing out. Some of it was funny. I'm not usually funny, so that was thrilling... to witness something foreign emerging. What a gift. There were many women that day who experienced a similar shattering of the old. In sharing it with others, I recognized how they were growing and stretching too. That only pushed me farther. Oh it was so GOOD- can you tell? 

Maya and Amy know how to pull out your truth and help you to express it in a way that resonates universally. In essence- they teach you how to write your best stuff. In the midst of such big exercise for the mind, they feel it necessary to shake things up- so always find ways to incorporate some serious play. We did an egg and spoon race in the morning and wrote "what we were done with" in the sand with butter knives, before the waves could wash it away. And on a side note... butter knives are the most brilliant sand writing tool ever- just so you know to pack some the next time you head to the shore!
 In the midst of writing this post, Maya and Amy announced that they would be offering this class online! Serendipity for all of you! I would recommend anything that these two do, but after experiencing this very class, I can tell you- it has potential to stretch and shift your writing... and even your life. Here are their thoughts on the teaching experience last week that inspired them to bring it to life on line.You can find out all of the details right here.



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Monday, October 27, 2014

Monday Mandala


I've loved the practice of making a mandala to start each week, and I'm not sure if I'm ready to stop! It slows me down, makes me pause and brings my mind directly to the present moment of gathering and arranging. I spent the last few days at Anymist's Serendipity retreat. The amount of love and deep care that Michelle and Jen put into each detail was so evident in the glowing faces of every teacher/guide and student all week long. Those two are some of the most beautiful and talented women I've ever known... and the women they gather together are some of my favorite people in the universe! Leaving dear friends and finding my rhythm upon return from such events is always bumpy. But today I had my mandala to make! It only took 15 minutes, but it grounded me for the entire afternoon. I will remember this each time I need to find my footing- and encourage you to give it a try too. This mandala was made in honor of all of the lovely women that circled together last week. Each person contributed to the whole of the circle. We were very much a moving flowing mandala of women at ocean.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Where Women Create

 I'm so excited to have my studio featured in the latest issue of Where Women Create! I'm always fascinated by the places other creatives do their work in. Their personality, history, medium and even finances inform the space. It's an intimate window into the world of an artist. My studio is directly off of the kitchen and although it's nothing fancy, so much of my creative soul is showcased along the walls and tucked into buckets and bins. It was the original main room of our very humble 1850's saltbox farmhouse, and is now an open space off of the kitchen. In the summer a huge tree keeps it shady, but right about now the leaves are thinning and the southern window is flooded with light. With all of the writing I've been doing for the last few months, I've missed it!
 
 Seeing it in print feels like a personal invitation to begin all of the projects I have to had put on hold. Each of Stampington's publications are stunning- more like beautiful coffee table books than actual magazines. I feel honored to have been published in quite a few of them, but quite honestly- Where Women Create has been the coveted spot. I'm beyond thrilled! This winter issue is just hitting the newsstands and filled with so many inspiring studios- you much check it out!

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Monday Mandala



We woke up to temps in the mid 30's this morning! I gathered today's materials from the field next to my house in tall boots and down coat.  Brrrrr! The sky was gorgeous, but the cold air had me running inside to assemble this mandala where it was cozy and warm. I believe it's my favorite one yet!  I mingled the last of this year's blooms with turning leaves and golden needles. I'm loving this ritual- and the pleasure and peace that follow it. What a great way to start the week... and how fun it is to share with you!
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Monday, October 13, 2014

Monday Mandala

This is a Monday "night" mandala brought to you by my backyard plus a some acorns from a country drive with my son.

If you've made your own mandala, I'd love to see it. Just share a link in the comment section. Have a
 creative start to your week!
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