julfrid


Slowly but surely I am getting into the holiday spirit. I am cleaning the house, listening to Christmas songs from my lovely husband's eclectic collection. The sweet smelling tree is ready to be brought in and tomorrow my mom and sister arrive from Sweden. There is still much left to be done - gift gathering/making, cooking, and some last minute work to finish up. But I am getting ready to relax and celebrate the joy of the season.

As always I am already thinking ahead, planning new things for the upcoming year. One of the main things on my mind is to revive this blog. I am so grateful for all my readers and followers, and I am eager to make this experience worthwhile for you. Sometimes it is hard to keep up the pace in this world of instant news report, facebook posts, and tweets. What do you like to see more of? What can you do without? How can the blog become more interactive? I have some ideas of my own, but I would love to hear yours as well.



There are a few goodies left in the store. Notebooks, sachets, and small art pieces all make lovely gifts. Last day to order for Christmas delivery within the US is next Tuesday, December 18.

Warm wishes for a wonderful holiday season! May it be filled with friendship and cheers!







gratitude

This is the season of gratitude. I have so much to be thankful for – life, art, family, work, health, sunshine, and love. All are things that fill my heart daily, never to be taken for granted. And then there are the small reminders of kindness and friendship, such as Jude's appreciative email and blog post this afternoon. Thank you!

The store is stocked with new books, hand stitched sachets, and one of the field study pieces featured in my last post. All orders are 15% off until November 27. Just enter discount code GIVEHANDMADE2012 at checkout. One more way for me to show gratitude.






juxtaposition



Two of my most admired holiday gifts may be regarded as symbols for the contradictory life I am leading.

I aim to simplify, slow things down, and un-clutter my existence. I sort through cupboards, clean out closets, trying to rid us of plastic junk and poorly made things. Mark and Sally Bailey's book The Hand Made Home, is a refreshing inspiration for pared down living. Pages of pages of beautiful images, ideas, and inspirational places. Here, you will not find television sets, computers, or advanced machinery. Everything is tactile and plain, patinated and charming. This is how I want my surroundings to be.

Enter my new iphone. Yes, the one who patiently answers your questions about weather conditions, and nearby grocery stores. I confess, I love this little device. It makes me feel contained and safe, in a different way. It holds the people I cherish, my endless to-do lists, my favorite music, and impromptu photos. It relays emails and messages, and keeps me connected, even when I am all alone. And she does talk.

I hope your holidays where wonderful. May 2012 bring joy, health, and peace. I wish your dreams come true, whatever they are. Happy new year!

wishing warmth and joy


The holidays are near and I will take a break from work and blogging to spend time with my mom and sister who just arrived from Sweden, and my boys who both finished exams and are back home! I wish all of you a joyous and peaceful holiday season.

new home

Some things are just meant to be. For years I have admired the quiet, elegant, and delightful design style of Maria. She is an interior designer and purveyor with impeccable taste and the loveliest persona. She shares her work and beautiful home on her blog vintage simple. Maria recently bought my textile collage whisper, for her new home in Ashville, North Carolina. I am honored and thrilled and I can't imagine a better place for this piece. Thank you Maria for your trust and encouragement!


I am packing my bags again. This time I am heading home with my youngest son to visit family and friends in Sweden. It has been two years since last and I am looking forward to many things, including eating new potatoes and strawberries (they taste much better over there), sipping gin and tonics on my mom's patio, hugging my nephews, and meeting Roxy and Rufus, the new family pets... I will try to post during my trip so stay tuned.

wishing for peace and simplicity


All I want for 2011 is a more simple life. I wish to pare down and live uncluttered and sparse. I want my children to always be happy, and love to be easy and pure. I want open spaces and fresh air, home cooked meals, friendship, and laughter. I want to create my art for the pleasure of making. I wish for no more wants, or musts, or needs.

But life is never that uncomplicated. Cars break down, the milk runs out, and there is always dust bunnies in the corners. And then even worse – someone you love gets sick, the teenager rebels, and passions become lost among demands.

I promise to try. Try to slow down, reach out, and care more about things that really matter. I will share my abundance, and open my heart, and find that simplicity from within.

Thank you for being here, sharing your thoughts, and for your support! I hope the new year brings peace, happiness, health, and much creativity to all of you!

the pomegranate story


Amidst stitching up sachets, pressing towels, and filling orders, I had time for a little dye experiment this past week. Pomegranates left over from our thanksgiving festivities were chopped up, and put to simmer for a few hours. The concoction turned into an interesting shade of grayish, pink-purple, but the cloth placed within came out a beautiful golden greenish tan, pending on the type of fabric.


I love to try new things so before submerging some of the fabric I covered them with leaf prints, using whipped up egg as my "ink" and a leatherleaf viburnum leaf as my printing plate. Once placed in the dye bath the parts printed with the egg mixture reacted stronger to the dye in those places. Quite beautiful and amazing to me...

white silk leaf printed with egg mixture before pomegranate dye

 egg mordant prints on linen after pomegranate dye

egg mordant prints on silk after pomegranate dye

I may not be able to post again before Christmas, so I'll leave you with my warmest wishes for a light filled, peaceful, and joyous holiday season!

giving thanks

There is much to be thankful for in my life. My boys, health, love, happiness, passion, friendship, dog kisses, creativity, and majestic trees in my back yard... all gifts of enormous magnitude. I'm looking forward to tomorrow's feast, with my beloved family. I wish all of you the best of times this holiday season. Happy thanksgiving!

rumination and dreams, part 1

I am surely not alone spending these quiet days after the holidays thinking about life, aspirations, and dreams. I still have lots of immediate work to do - preparing for two upcoming group shows with Fiber Transformed, finishing up the end-of-year book keeping, and readying the online shop for a hopefully busy spring. Yet there is a subtle restlessness setting in, with an urge to clarify an spell out what I want to achieve this upcoming year.

I am 48 years old, with one son ready to leave the nest and the other one well on his way on the slippery road of teenagehood. For the last couple of years I am pursuing my art full time, which makes me feel privileged and lucky. But the truth is that I still work way to much, often on things that I don't feel that passionate about, and that my house, garden, pets, and sometimes my family suffer because of it. Also, despite the long hours, I am nowhere near making a substantial contribution to our family finances. My business is self sustained, but there is not much else to spread around.

In an ideal world I would be in my studio from 9 - 3 every day, delving into one creative project after another. Buyers would be ready to snatch up my work as soon as it was finished, and pay me handsomely for it... The rest of my days would be spent with my boys, cooking scrumptious meals, cleaning, weeding, and organizing my linen closet... My weekends would be devoted to family time, long walks, and dinner with friends.

To off-set this unrealistic vision, I am working on some baby steps that hopefully will bring me a bit closer to a meaningful, productive and more prosperous existence, such as less wholesale orders, gallery representation for my art, more and better marketing, and hired help. Details to come...

The images are from my studio – where happiness continue to happen. Best wishes for the new year. Happy new decade!

winter wonder

Things are crazily busy over here with holiday orders to complete, my son's college applications to finish up, gift gathering, wrapping, tree decorating, cookie making, and so on... I will take a hiatus until after Christmas. I leave you with these wonderful images by UK based photographer Ania Wawrzkowicz. She captured the frozen beauty of her homeland Poland while visiting there last winter. Thank you Ania, for letting me share them. Happy holidays and warm winter wishes to all of you!

© copyright Ania Wawrzkowicz

holiday sale

It is time for our first annual pre-holiday sale starting at midnight and continuing through Wednesday, December 2. Everything in the inleaf shop, is 15 percent off. Just enter inleafholiday in the box on the checkout page. All sales orders will ship by the end of the week and I will gladly provide gift wrapping upon request. Wishing all of you a happy and handmade holiday season!

gratefulness

Miles from the nearest shopping mall, surrounded by loved ones and crisp cool air — we took a nice post thanksgiving family walk this morning at Sugar Hollow at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Everyone had a chance to romp, splash, crash, and converse. So much to be thankful for...

patterns, and textures hiding everywhere

my lovely family

neither Freja the dog nor cousin Liam have time to touch the ground

branches, searching for images for a future project

sword fighting, the stick way

happy all hallows' even

Halloween is around the corner. None of my big boys will be out there tricking or being treated. We are focusing on decorations, and stocking up on candy for all those scary little creatures who are planning to come by our house. Have a fun, fright filled weekend.

happy holidays

The straw julbock has been part of my Christmas since childhood, along with gingerbread cookies, chubby painted candlesticks, and fresh smelling greenery. Over the years we have added new traditions to the old, mixing our Scandinavian and American heritage into something that is uniquely ours. Decorating the tree is one of our holiday favorites. It is now covered in ornaments collected over time — vintage glass balls, straw stars, popsicle stick reindeers, tinsel garlands, and felted elves, all have equal importance. Most of all this is a time to rejoice in life, family, friends, and togetherness. I wish all of you a joyous, peaceful, warm, and happy holiday season.