{this moment}

…taking inspiration from SouleMama in celebrating {this moment}. There are no words to this Friday ritual. Just a sweet and simple moment from the week to remember, cherish and absorb just a little bit longer.

My sister Eliza made me this fabulous pair of leather earrings.  They were made in beautiful colors shaped like leaves, long and layered.  I feel fun, fancy and slightly exotic when I wear them.  And who doesn’t need some more of that?

A few scrap pieces of leather,  a nice sharp pair of scissors,  some earring hooks and a pair of round nose pliers were all it took to make a mess of lovely earrings.  Some are leaf-like, some maybe more like feathers.  All are earthy and warm in shades of brown and black.  I experimented with stitching on some of them.

There are two girls down the street  who come over to hang out with Eli, play with Soren, eat homemade baked goods and do a lot of crafting in my office.  They were over-the-moon for these earrings.  Scissors were snipping, tiny pieces of leather were flying and there was a whole lot of happy chatter going on.  The 11-yr-old made herself a pair of white leather heart earrings around which she painstaking stitched a purple border.  So cute.

Since the earrings were such an easy joy to make, and since they were eagerly adored by the young-girl sector, I packaged some up as gifts for a young friend of ours who recently had a birthday.  She got her own little set of leather feather earrings and I so hope she’ll feel all the fun and fancy in the world when she wears them.

{this moment}

…taking inspiration from SouleMama in celebrating {this moment}. There are no words to this Friday ritual. Just a sweet and simple moment from the week to remember, cherish and absorb just a little bit longer.

These happy little bird houses made their way into our New Year’s celebrating this year.  They came via kits from Paper Source and were assembled on New Year’s Day by hands both young and old.  The idea was to write our resolutions on the paper perch, all rolled up for safe keeping.  Things deteriorated slightly when it was suggested that we write resolutions for our spouses.   It went, as you might imagine, quickly downhill from there.  Fortunately we were laughing all the way.

Once we returned home after days of visiting, gathered around our warm and quiet (okay, only quiet by comparison) family table, we wrote our honest aspirations for 2012 and tucked them cutely into our little bird houses.  Soren, given that he’s not writing, or even really talking for that matter, was given a honorary resolution to “keep being awesome”.  I don’t think that will be a problem.

As we tinker into this bright and bold new year with a brand new tradition, some of my older, more familiar traditions are getting some exercise.  The house gets a good scrubbing as it really feels nice to start things off fresh and clean.  A couple strong weeks of cooking, celebrating and visiting can surely inspire a good, hearty cleaning.
And last year’s calendar gets made into this year’s envelopes.  My 2011 calendar (also from Paper Source) made such pretty, vibrant envelopes and I had fun pairing them with note cards from my scrap drawer.  My pen pal has months of delightful mail awaiting her and I have the thrill of turning the old into the new and starting 2012 off with the very best morsels of 2011.  Sweetly marked into last year’s calendar squares, birthdays and soccer games, vacations and visits with friends all got neatly folded into fresh, new envelopes.  For a whole new year of correspondence.

Happy, Happy New Year to All!  May this year bring beautiful moments to cherish and a whole slew of bright new traditions.  Hazzah!

merry making

There was some serious making happening over here in the sparkling days leading up to Christmas.  The merriest kind of making.

There was the stitching and glue-gunning of felted acorn and little clothespin elf ornaments.  I was delighted that Eli wanted to join in.  Really I think it was the lure of the glue gun, but he quickly got swept up in the fun and the two of us cranked out enough little ornaments to bestow upon family and friends.

The jams and relishes that were processed during the height of warmth and sun and tangerine-colored nasturtium vinegars were dressed up pretty with tags and twine.  Strawberry, blueberry and raspberry jams were given.  Along with delicious Roasted Beet Relish made in the weeks of farm boxes overflowing with beets.  I used a recipe from The River Cottage Preserves Handbook and would gladly make it again.

And my salve… my salve!  This month I made the first batch of salve that I’ve made in many years.  I was so excited by this batch because I was able to include oil extracts of my own garden’s comfrey and calendula.  It felt extra special.  I added cocoa butter, shea butter, beeswax and some drops of essential oil and oh my, is it ever a dreamy combination.  We’ve already dived into some here and it’s been amazing on diaper rash (that would be Soren’s), weird face rash (that would be Eli’s),  cracked, weathered skin (that would be mine) and fingers that got a bit grated with cheese grater (that would be Jeff’s).  It’s already a hardworking family medicine in our house it was so fun to share.

I hope your holidays have been merry and that you find many more beautiful moments to relish in as the new year creeps in.

My sisters and I have been after my dad to open up his own Etsy shop for some time.  He’s always been a tinkerer and woodworker and creator of unique and wonderful things.  He’s been retired for a few years now and so his workshop has seen a lot of action.  He always has something new to share with us.

Running an Etsy shop is not at all a fun or realistic possibility with dial-up internet.  And so my dad has continued to tinker away for his own enjoyment.  Recently though, there’s been talk.  Talk of high-speed internet.  Talk of shop names.  Talk of things to be made.  It’s all very exciting.

In the meantime, I’ve been so excited to collaborate with Dad on this sweet little calendar.  I designed the pages with a collection of my favorite designs from 2011 and Dad came up with a rustic and lovely birch wood display stand.  The wood is cut from the woods behind his workshop (happy woods, woods that I grew up in) and sanded smooth and polished with a little beeswax polish.  It’s woodsy and rustically beautiful.  Just the thing for my favorite designs.

It’s winter solstice.  We’re spinning back towards the sun again.  And as 2012 sneaks its way in, I feel like this little calendar is a retrospective of my work and loves over the past year and a mantra of good things to come.  I’m eager for many more interesting and wonderful collaborations down the road.

a little bit of green

I love snipping a little bit of this and a little bit of that to decorate my holiday wreath.  It’s the ritual of gathering a little bit of green.  And boy do I love those green things in the middle of deep winter.  The balsams and the boxwoods and the hollys.  They pep up our winter landscape that would otherwise look so bleak.  Anyway, clip-clip and snip-snip and my plain balsam wreath got some added color and texture.   Some moss made it’s way in this year.  It was found during a run one morning as I pushed Soren in the jogger past a mossy stonewall.  Somehow a few good chunks of the lush green stuff had wound up in the middle of the sidewalk and well, isn’t that what the pockets on those jogging strollers are for?  Picking up little bits of nature that wants to come home with you?  I thought so.

Fortunately now my door is decorated with these bits of nature.  A lovely holiday nod to those gorgeous greens that remind us that even in the wintry depths of New England, there is life!

{this moment}

…taking inspiration from SouleMama in celebrating {this moment}. There are no words to this Friday ritual. Just a sweet and simple moment from the week to remember, cherish and absorb just a little bit longer.

{this moment}

…taking inspiration from SouleMama in celebrating {this moment}. There are no words to this Friday ritual. Just a sweet and simple moment from the week to remember, cherish and absorb just a little bit longer.

tis the season…

There is so much making associated with this season.  Much of it falls into the work category, it’s true.  There are many orders for holiday cards and gift tags to be fulfilled.  And I love all of it.  I really do.   But there is also the making which falls into the personal category.  My own gift-making and decorating.  And wouldn’t I be a big liar if I didn’t say that these things are the most fun of all?

I’ve had a bucket of felt balls and a bucket of acorn caps sitting in my studio for weeks now.  Today with the “help” of some tiny hands and my trusty glue gun, they were transformed into a whole bunch of little Christmas tree cuties.  I’ve made these little felt acorn ornaments before and I’ve been eager to make more.  As I was making this time around, a handful of clothespins (doesn’t everyone keep clothespins in their office?) got a little too close to my glue gun and a whole bunch of acorns jumped on.  Or something like that.  These are my new favorites now.  They clip right onto those fragrant boughs and add a whole lot of handmade charm.  They’d look real cute clipped onto a pretty package too.  I’ll be honest though, I’m not sure I can part with them.   When I was little, our family ornaments were largely homemade.  My artist uncle had painted up a whole lot of clothespins as toy soldiers in various colors and they made up a good portion of our tree’s adornments.   As a result, I have a particular fondness for the rustic charm homemade ornaments.  And isn’t it nice when something as simple as a Christmas tree covered in clothespins can make you feel all warm and cozy inside?