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!

from my hands to yours

These are the hands that make everything around here. They pick the leaves, mix the inks, cut the linen, make the folds, and thread the needles. They type these lines, tie the bows, and carry packages to the post man.

I encourage you to choose handmade gifts this season. There are still some goodies left in my shop or you can find other makers nearby or faraway. Explore the multitude of talented sellers on etsy, and big cartel. Visit your local holiday craft markets and shop in the small stores in your neighborhood. Choose something beautiful, alluring, and unique.

I will be at the Holiday Craftacular downtown Charlottesville this weekend, along with 15 other artists – all with hands similar to mine. Hope to see you there!

hearts for haiti

Oh' Suzannah, one of my absolute favorite Charlottesville shops, is making a contribution to help the Haitian earthquake victims, by selling these precious hand felted hearts. Suzannah, the owner, and her crafter friends have made dozens of them in a collaborate effort to reach out and help Haitians in need. By buying one or two, you can make a contribution as well. The hearts sell for $10 - 20 and all proceeds from the sales will go towards the relief and rebuilding effort in Haiti. I can't imagine a better valentine token.

gifts in times of stress

I try to focus on the little things. The dogwood tree's bright berries and mauve tinted leaves. The big smile on my son's face after a couple of saves in the soccer goal. The cool fresh air during early morning runs... But it is difficult to ignore the stress these days. The markets are crashing and those precious college funds, needed in just a few years, are dwindling. Inleaf sales are meager as well, and lets not get started on the cost of groceries...

In the midst of anxiety and distress my newfound Swedish blogger friend and artist Eva-Lena Rehnmark is promoting a world wide movement called the 29-day giving challenge, in which you pledge to give something every day for 29 days. Eva-Lena will donate an original painting (see above) to a giver who is willing to comment about their giving experience on her blog. The deadline is November 4th, and you don't have to finish the full 29 days to enter. The daily gift can be anything from a kind word to a stranger, a pile of old sweaters to a homeless shelter, a cooked meal to someone in need, or a monetary contribution to a charity. It is the spirit that counts.