Monday, December 24, 2012

christmas wishes...

i've been taking a little break so that i may make a little magic with my family.
but i've been thinking about you and i wanted to send a few wishes your way.

  i wish you bright happy days and dark sparkling nights.
i wish you happiness and peace within.
i wish you the love of family and friends.
and of course, i wish you a bit of magic too.

see you next year...

Friday, December 14, 2012

finding the magic within...

i left the kids home last night while i went to pick up my husband from work.  a short while later, i got a phone call from home.  my youngest.  in tears.  i actually wasn't too surprised.  it happens sometimes when you leave an 11 year old home with three teenagers.
  i asked him what was wrong and he proceeded to tell me between sobs.  "they said". sob.  "santa". sob.  "isn't real".  and my heart nearly broke in two.
i had to think fast.  he was genuinely upset and i needed to say the right words just then.  and this is what i said.  "just because your brother and sisters don't believe, that doesn't mean he is not real.  now that you're older, i think you can understand this.  santa may not be that guy they portray in all the stories.  no one really knows.  i believe santa  is a mystical being.  santa is a kind of magic.   santa is the kind of magic that comes from within yourself.  it comes from believing in good things.  if we didn't believe in good things, our lives would lack meaning and that would be so sad.  we all need magic in our lives and i'm sad your siblings have lost it.  but that doesn't mean that you can't still believe.  to them right now, christmas is just what kind of present they are getting.  but to those who believe, christmas is so much more". 
after i spoke with the teens, i realize that they didn't mean to to crush his spirit.  they were having a conversation and it just sort of came out that they no longer believed.  but i'm sad that they have lost the kind of innocence that makes them believe in magic.
thinking about it later, i wondered if maybe i had lost a bit of the magic myself.
lately, i've felt so weighed down by all of the preparation.  it's been a struggle to keep a positive point of view and to focus on the things that are truly important.  for me, there is the religious significance of christmas.  but i do enjoy some of the other aspects.  i like decorating and i like baking.  but my favorite part is the coming together of our family at christmas.  we live far from family and it is a gift to be able to travel and see everybody.

  i'm sure a lot of us have lost the magic at some point or another.  but it's never too late to get it back.  you just need to believe.  in something that is bigger than ourselves.  whatever that is for you.

i hope you find the magic this holiday season.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

no. 488 and 489...and how the pizza guy inspired me to keep going...

i know...i haven't updated you on my crane folding status since May.  you probably thought that i had given up.  but, once i get an idea, i don't give it up too easily.  i was just taking a break.

my daughter requested these teeny, tiny earrings the other day.  to give to her friend as a birthday gift. so, being the mom that i am, even though i was getting ready for my show, i stopped and made them for her.  those tiny ones are hard to fold!   and then my other daughter spotted my bag of  "excess" cranes in the closet and she thought it would be pretty cool to have a "crane tree".  well, yeah.  so, even though we had already decorated our tree, we took everything off and turned it into a "crane tree", with book page cranes and crocheted snowflakes and sparkly silver stars and glittery pinecones.  and white lights.  lots of white lights.  my sons hate it, but us girls, we love it.  of course these were all previously folded cranes.  i still hadn't planned to start folding again.

and then we ordered pizza.  pizza guys usually just show up with your pizza, collect their tip and head out.  but as soon as this pizza guy stepped in my foyer his eyes lit up.  "whoa", he said, "did you make that?"  well, i've made pretty much everything in my house, so i had to turn around and see which thing he was talking about.  he was looking at my "crane hanger", which is actually just an embroidery hoop onto which i've strung a few hundred of my cranes.  all in neat rows, color coded.  because that's how i am.  "that is so beautiful", he said, "just so beautiful".  he went on and on about it for a few minutes.  i was a little stunned or i might of thought to give him some cranes.  next time.  of course, my daughter said that wasn't all he was looking at.  but really, i'm practically an old lady and he couldn't have been more than 25.  so yeah, i think he really did like the cranes.  anyway, that kind of sparked something in me and now i'm back to folding.  working towards my goal of 1000.  because it's nice to inspire people, pizza guys included.

and i know this isn't a great picture, but this "crane hanger" is big and hard to photograph.  so, just trust me, it's cool.  and beautiful.

so, my craft fair went well.  it was the best one i ever did (even though i've only done 5).  it was well organized, decorated nicely and it was busy.  there's nothing worse than not being busy, when you've spent weeks preparing.  so, i sold quite a few books, met some nice people and had a lot of fun.  it's given me a boost of confidence in the right direction.  and i'm really glad i did it, despite my anxiety.  and now i guess it's time to think about Christmas shopping and all that stuff.  i plan on doing some shopping on Etsy this year.  i think my family might be getting tired of my stuff, so it's time to support some other artists out there.  i hope to share some of my finds with you soon.  any ideas?

Friday, November 30, 2012

craft fair time!!!

i've spent the last few weeks getting ready for this.  it's exciting.  but also a bit scary.  i have to make myself do these things once in a while.  you know, step out of my comfort zone.  it's good for me.  even though i might rather be home in my cozy little studio.  i'll probably have fun.

i've been working hard.

on some new designs.

and some old favorites.

and some one-of-a-kinds.

which are my favorites.

and maybe they will become someone else's favorite.  so, i've attached the last price tag.  checked my list 129 times.  it's all packed and ready to go.  except...

...ah, here it is.  just what i needed. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

bare inspiration...

this morning the sun was so bright and so happy, i grabbed my camera and went outside to take some pictures.  as i looked around though, i didn't feel very inspired.  everything was so bare and brown and drab.   so instead, i went back inside to make myself a cup of tea to go with that leftover brownie.  as i waited for the water to boil, i looked out the window and had some thinking time.  i'm an artist, i thought.  shouldn't i be able to find inspiration even when there seemingly isn't any?  i thought, maybe i just need to look at things a bit differently.  there must be something of beauty out there on such a sunshiny day.  

so, i stepped out onto the back deck, where the sun was making nice shadows over the old worn wood.

i noticed a few stubborn flowers on a summer plant.  reaching towards the sun it seemed.

i decided to walk out into the yard a bit.  our backyard is like this.  a nice clear area with some grass and then a really leafy area (because i can my husband can only rake so much) with some cool big rocks and then the forest.  when we first moved into this house we had about 6 inches of backyard and then the jungle forest.  but my husband has single-handedly (meaning, i didn't help at all) cleared a much larger yard area over the last 7 years.  so every year, our yard gets a little bigger, but we'll always have some forest back there.  anyway, as i was saying, i ventured past the grassy area.  normally, i would never do this because of large forest bugs and spiders and ticks and who knows what else.  but, it's been chilly, so i was feeling safe from small creatures.  and i had my boots on.

i found some rocks with some really green moss.  i love moss, don't you?  it always reminds me of fairies.  and i do believe in fairies.  that inspired me to keep going.  down a leafy hill, whoops-a-daisy, grabbing hold of some branches on the way to keep myself upright.  all the way to the water. 

 which doesn't look like much really, a small, rocky stream, maybe 2 feet deep in some spots.  but it runs through all the backyards, under some streets...  a few miles, i think.

without the leaves, the sun shined down in a beautiful, warming kind of way.  i basked for a little while.  feeling the sun on my face.  listening to the water trickle over the rocks.  i stayed there until my fingers got cold.

and then i headed back up the mossy, leafy hill.  back to my warm little studio to do some work.  but something was different.  i was feeling refreshed from my little trek into the unknown.  i was feeling calmer.  and yes.  i was feeling inspired.  sometimes, you just gotta look a little harder.

Friday, November 23, 2012

a haircut of epic proportions...

he asked me to make him an appointment for a haircut.
  he said he was thinking of something a little different this time.

his hair had gotten pretty long, longer than mine even.  so thick.  and golden.

i settled down with a magazine.  there were gasps in the salon.   

all that hair now on the floor.

our neighbor, the one who always good-heartedly kids with him about getting a haircut, did not even recognize him when he walked past.  his cute little girlfriend squealed with delight.  his sister said it made him look taller.

i like his new "faux hawk".  a little bit unique, just like him.

now, i'm going out to find some really good gel.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

happy thanksgiving...

i wish you all the happiest of happy days


  put your worries aside
think happy thoughts
count your blessings
give some hugs
get some hugs 
eat too much pie
with extra whipped cream
have fun

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

thankful .04

i was looking through my most prized treasure box this morning.  it is a sweet little cedar chest filled with little notes and hand spun gifts from my kids over the years.  it's helpful for me to look through this box from time to time.  especially since i have teenagers.  it reminds me of a simpler, more innocent time.

my favorite is this little tin of "wishes" that my daughter collected for me.  she thoughfully lined the inside of the tin with masking tape, as this was formerly her special tin for collecting ABC gum.  for those of you who don't know, ABC gum is "already been chewed" gum.

there are some sweet little notes as well.

and drawings.

and little works of art.  like these carved "fairy chairs".

really, none of this stuff probably looks like much to someone else.    but to me they are great and wonderful treasures.  which brings me to the thankful part.

i'm so very thankful for my family.  they stick with me in good times and bad.  they love me despite all of my quirks and i love them back fiercely.  they make my life worth living.  and, as Martha would say, that is a really good thing.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

thankful .03...

thankful this morning for "muffins with mom".  this was a little event that the PTO put on this morning at the middle school.  i went to school with my son and had muffins and lively conversation with him before class.  it was a nice time and a fun way to start the day.

i've been a stay at home mom since my daughter was born 17 years ago.  it wasn't something i planned.  i really thought that i would go back to work, but once i held her, so tiny and precious, i got a deep ache in my heart at the thought of leaving her for a job i really didn't enjoy all that much.  so, with the support of my husband, i followed my heart and quit my job.  we were so unprepared.  but somehow, we survived those years of having no money and those other years of having even less money than that.  life is mostly easier now and in retrospect those really were good times.  times that helped shape me into the person i am today.  and i have absolutely no regrets about any of it.

i'm so very thankful that i was able to stay home with my kids.  thankful for my husband, who at times worked two jobs to make it all work.  thankful that i can do these little things that mean so much to my kids.

all that from a lil' ol' muffin...

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

thankful .02...

thankful for this little favorite furry little friend.  he gives me comfort and unconditional love.  i love how he plunks his warm little body on the couch in my studio and naps while i work.

i love how he will do anything for a biscuit.  anything.  he was so easy to train.

  i see him graying at the temples, just like me, and i hope for a few more good years with him.
yeah, i really love this guy.

Friday, November 9, 2012

thankful .01...

so thankful...for days like this.  days when the sun shines so brightly, that even the trees and the grass weep for joy.  this is the kind of day that makes my heart fill with gladness to be alive in this world.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

i got hit in the face with some love...

i was taking my morning walk today and i walked right into this heart-shaped leaf.  it literally just smacked me in the face.  so i plucked it right off the branch and took it with me.  for my daughter, i thought.  because i do corny stuff like that.  i occasionally leave them little flowers or feathers or a little note by their bedside.  just to remind them that i love them.  and it's been a while since i did that.

a little ways later i noticed another one, this one a bit smaller, but very much heart-shaped.

and then this little pair of hearts.

and then a really big one...

it seemed like they were all over the place and before you know it i had one for everyone in the family.  even the dog.

i've been quiet lately.  sometimes i get busy.  and sometimes i just can't think of anything to say.  i like to keep things positive and inspiring.  i really believe in that.  but occasionally, as is true for all of us, i let my pessimistic side take over and then i have to take a little break.  to recharge.  to look for inspiration.  to get hit in the face with a heart-shaped leaf or two.  and that really helps.  so thanks for being patient and coming back for a visit.

i like November because of Thanksgiving.  i think it is the best holiday.  i like to celebrate it simply.  a casual dinner with my husband and kids and a few days of relaxation together.  just hanging out.  no shopping.  turkey sandwiches.  and lots of pie.  this time of year always makes me think about all of the things in my life that i am so thankful for.  and over the next few weeks i would like to share some of those things with you.  and i would love to hear from you as well.  so, i'll see you soon...

Wednesday, October 31, 2012



Tuesday, October 30, 2012

and the storm has passed...

the weather on the east coast has been quite unruly over the past few days and even though i am a few hours from the coast, i have felt a bit of anxiety over this storm.  our bad storm this past june is still very fresh in my mind.  the winds were terrifying.  and then we lost power for six days and it was so, so hot.  and we were so unprepared.  i felt more prepared this time, but whenever there's strong winds, there's always some worry about the big, huge trees that surround our house.  i was woken up several times in the night by the wind and it was hard to get back to sleep, lying there and hearing the trees creaking and cracking.  i imagined that they were falling all over the place.  but when i woke this morning, i went outside straight away to assess any damage and there really wasn't any.  only one large branch fell.  just inches from our car.  we did try to park it between trees last night.  i feel so lucky.  i know others have not been so lucky.  i have you all in my prayers.

this morning i delivered about half of the items in my etsy shop.  they are on their way to a holiday craft fair in Roanoke this weekend.  i have been working hard these last few weeks on new journals and things for Christmas.  the ones i've shown here are for my etsy shop and i hope to get them all photographed and listed in the next week or so.

i hope to be a part of a craft show here in Lynchburg in December.  i'm crossing my fingers while i wait to hear if i've been accepted.

i feel blessed that the ideas have been flowing so freely.  it isn't always like this.  sometimes the ideas just don't come as easily.  the whole summer was kind of a dry spell for me.  but since the kids have returned to school, i feel like i've settled into a routine that's working for me.

i used a birthday gift certificate to purchase some beautiful handmade papers from our local art store.  they are so beautiful, it was hard to cut them, but i did and i feel like they add that special little something to my journals.  the one above is my favorite.  it is thick and soft and almost feels like fabric.

i added a few pieces between signatures to a black leather book.  i tore it and left the edges rough.  it gives the book a nice rustic look.  i'm thinking of making a small, simple book and using a piece of this paper as the cover.  it's just too pretty to hide inside a book.  some day i would love to try making paper myself.  but for now, there's a lot of beautiful paper out there for me to try.

this piece of leather is sitting on my table today.  it's purple metallic.  i only have one small piece and i'm still mulling over the design of this book.  of course, i don't have any purple waxed linen for the binding but this purple silk just caught my eye.

and maybe some of this wonderful swirly purple paper...yup, i think i've got it now.  back to work...