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!

studio life

My studio is located in the most beautiful room of our house. It has a 10 foot ceiling, and three enormous windows. Late last week, after a series of deadlines had left this magical space in an undignified disarray, I embarked on operation clean-up. The photos above shows the progress... It is almost done. Most of my beautiful fabrics have been pulled out of the closet, and placed on open shelves and display racks. I love having it all right there for reference and inspiration. I also have cleared out two work stations - one for cutting and assembly and another one for sewing. Right now, when everything still is in place, it feels luxurious. I am wondering how long the order will last. The voting is in full swing over at poppytalk, and I would love to receive yours for favorite handmade housewares, if you are inclined...

the sewing corner, with lots of room for big projects

my favorite (for the moment) fabrics on display.

where the cutting, assembly, labeling, and packaging happens

could not resist this crate from three potato four

more textiles; vintage, new, dyed, delicate, heavy...

pin board with sketches, inspirations, and various treasures from friends and family

the computer corner...

to dos

My friend Mike doesn't do to-do lists. He is convinced that his former obsession with list making was one of the reasons his first marriage failed. My lovely husband keeps a long list of chores and projects on the computer, adding and deleting things as they come up or get done. He is perfectly content with his system.

I am always in to-do-list limbo. I am compelled to jot things down as I think of them, but these notes are scattered all over the house. If I am lucky enough to find them I will consolidate them into one list. Sometimes they get organized under random heading such as URGENT, BY MONDAY, LATER. But honestly, once a list is complete I rarely go back to check it. The longer the list, the more stress it induces. I don't like stress. Therefore I still keep my most pressing to-dos filed away in my brain, panic is never far away...

What is your relationship with to-do-lists? Do you add a recently completed task to the list, just to be able to cross it off? Do you use color codes? How do you organize your life? I would love some guidance and constructive advice on how to not let task lists overtake my life.

Check out my line drying post on the garden blog. I am in love with my clothes line and want to share that love with everyone. A special thanks to Jessica, who wrote so sweetly about inleaf and my work on her blog yesterday.