little things.

i made a treasury on etsy this morning i wanted to share. i have been in the mood for “back to school time”. not so much school as the feeling of school. you know- cool mornings in new clothes (clothes that will make you sweat by the end of the day, because it is after all still august!), the thrill of seeing faces you recognize, learning something new, packed lunch, fresh notebooks begging for doodles,  fresh crisp fall air, schedules and full calendars, lists! …i could go on and on. i love the beginning of every season. the first few days of hot, hot, hot when i would give anything to sweat in the sun; the freshness and newness of spring- new bugs, new blooms, new birds, cleansing rain; the first breathtaking snow and ice storm that make me crave hot chocolate, fire places, cozy blankets and good thick books; and this feeling of starting the cycle over again, of cooling down and bundling up, of a different kind of new beginning, and of back to school in fall. this feels like the beginning, because for most of my life it was the beginning. summer ends and another year begins. so it goes.

enjoy the beginning of your year!

*image: 1888 antique map*

unplugged.

on friday evening, while looking at cars online our computer just stopped working. the irony is that it is an hp laptop, and hp announced saturday morning that they would no longer be making computers. figures. my first thought was “not again…not another thing!” (see the post threes.)  my next thought was full of panic: “what about all my photos!” of course i didn’t back them up, OF COURSE I DIDN’T BACK THEM UP! i was really worried and so angry at myself. it looks like the smarty-pants guys at the computer fixer store will be able to recover all our data, though, so that’s a welcome relief. the down side, of course, is that we had to buy a new computer- we just can’t live without one. in some ways i was shaking my head at how pathetic and spoiled that sounded to my ears. “wah, no internet! what am i gonna dooooooo?” yeah, well, we really do depend on it! mike sells regularly on amazon and i have my etsy shop, not to mention my social connections are all dependent on the internet too (okay, see…that part sounds SO bratty!) so, by sunday afternoon, i was feeling a little out of breath and anxious about this whole computer issue. i was torn- fact: we need to get a computer fact: we can’t afford to get a new computer fact: we can’t afford NOT to get a new computer fact: spending mucho money is super stressful.

and so, onward and upward , we got new computer. and so, after only a few days without access to the internet and all it provides for me, i feel relief and comfort.  i sometimes fantasize about living a simpler life. i imagine no computer, no cell phones, less stuff. in my fantasy this space would be filled with more- more time, more money, more breathing, more quality time, more space, more rich living.  and after some time to adjust, i really think it would wonderful in many ways. the drawback is that now i do most of my communicating through email, facebook and this blog.  i have connected with people i would never have otherwise met. i keep in touch with cousins and far away friends. i have cultivated my business through etsy and brick & mortar shops. i have started this blog and “met” other inspiring bloggers. all that said, i love the technology i have and don’t mind feeling a little dependent. i know when to stop, put down the computer, turn off the phone and look at my husband. i know when to make plans and visit face-to-face. i am able to separate and disconnect in order to live that simple life i fantasize about. i can live that life and this one, no problem. it’s all about balance. i talk and think about balance a lot. the ebb and flow of life- daily routines, unexpected this or that, happy, sad, up and down- it is all about balance and confidence. i just have to remind myself that being “plugged in” is okay, as long as i know when to unplug and step away from the computer and go confidently into the world!

part of this balance i speak of comes in the form of a schedule. i work well with structure…not so well without it. i can keep myself busy all day long doing this or that but this and that is often not what i should be doing with my day. some of this and that is cleaning and general straightening/organizing, but i can waste weeks organizing and re-organizing my house & life. it’s my busy work. and i love doing it, so even better. the problem is, it looks like i did a lot and i feel accomplished until i realize it has been weeks since i sat down at my sewing machine. not good. in the spirit of school starting all around me, i have decided to make myself a schedule and stick to it. (these cool fall-like mornings get me all jazzed up for new beginnings and fresh starts, similar to cool spring mornings). so, starting today i am on a schedule…and i have 5  minutes to wrap this up and move on to part 2 of my day!

i thrive on balance. live by it. without it i would lose hope. i see your ebb and raise you some flow! be brave.

the above artwork is by the amazing sally harless of sadly harmless. you have seen her here before, and these new shadow boxes are just the bees knees! they inspire me. thanks for that, sally.

(and i am already behind on my first day with a schedule. eh, balance, right?)

to-do list.

on monday morning i made a massive “to-do this week” list. i love making list. love. it. however, as much as i love a list of tasks, i am a realistic to-do lister. realistic meaning- “there is no way in hell i will get all this stuff done today/this week/this month/this year.” but i list anyway. it feels good to have written proof of my intentions. and even better when i cross off even the smallest, teeny-tiniest items (clean bathroom mirror), completely obvious items (shower), everyday items (dishes/vacuum), and indulgent items (eat ice cream/read outside in hammock/take nap).

check,cross, check, cross, check and check. it just feels good.

i am also known to add to my list after i have done something not on my list! this makes complete sense to me- why not give myself credit? so what if i didn’t think of “organize tool bench in garage” on monday when i made the original list- i thought of it now! check. the problem with this tactic is that my to-do list becomes a mile long and eventually feels a little overwhelming. well, then i just make a new list, all fresh and clean, ready to be crossed and checked.

i have been busy these last two days checking things off my big list. (yeah, so none of them were on the list already, whatever). one of the items that has been on my to-do list for a long time (but for some reason didn’t make it in writing on this latest list) was: organize studio- AGAIN. this is constantly on my lists. but this time it was because i finally got that big expedit book case from ikea i have had my eye on for months. i just knew this piece of furniture would be the magic ticket to organizing my constantly messy studio. i have had piles of fabric sitting all around the studio on every possible surface forever, and i was ready for some order. i have also had an ultimate plan in mind to get this room together since april (see this old post creative space). i work better when i can see my materials, when everything is in order and when i have plenty of light and good music. so, this is why i spent the last several hours today adding things to my list like “sort through old files” and “purge un-needed craft supplies” and “rearrange furniture” and “re-organize studio” and “photograph new & improved studio” and “post photos of new & improved studio”. wow!  look at me, all go-get-em and list-checker-offer!

i know you are on the edge of your seat, just dying to see my even-better-than-before studio so here. it. is.

see how inspiring all that neatly folded fabric looks?

{p.s. that isn’t even half of my fabric collection…eeek!, AND }

prints by sally harless…still need to put everything else back on the walls

{damn, i just saw mike’s shirts hanging there, waiting for me to iron them for um, a month maybe. i hate ironing.}

i need to make curtains…put that on the list!

oh and the lovely frances simone loves her new feather hat (it was my grandmas!)

back to the list. next up- vacuum, dishes, paint (on the list)

-or- shower, read outside, knit (new additions just waiting in the wings)

saturday.

this afternoon i went to the farmer’s market/ a fair of the arts to visit the lovely Talia of conduit press and Sally of  sadly harmless. both their booths looked great! it was quite a hot day but full of energy and happy people! markets are stressful and don’t always pay off  financially, but the energy keeps you going back (as an artist).  just the exclamations of people admiring your art can make a long hot day worth the effort.

conduit press

sadly harmless

i hope Talia and Sally, along with all the other talented artists, had a great day!

threes.

my friend Talia just wrote a post called “it happens in threes” on her blog conduit press and it got me thinking. i have always been told that bad things and deaths come in threes.  i always cringe when i hear someone say “wonder who’s next” after one or two related deaths (you know, friends, family, political figures, movie stars- there always seems to be a pattern to the “three deaths”) it’s all so very morbid, isn’t it. so, is saying this just a way to cope with death and bumps in the road? was this once some person’s clever way to console a friend after a loved one had passed away? in the last year and a half mike and i have had round after round of “the bad things 3”. i have to say if three was the limit on challenges, disappointments, and set backs i would be just fine with that! but what is the time frame here? are we saying three bad things/death within a week, a month, 6 months? this doesn’t comfort me in the least because when one bad thing happens it leaves you on the edge waiting for “the rest”. when a one loved one dies you begin noticing the frailty of other people you love and wonder if they might be next. it’s just pessimistic and sad, this whole threes thing.

and i have often wondered, do good things come in threes too? well, my answer is- the good things are just uncountable! there are simply too many good things happening amidst all the bad to count them at all, let alone in threes. during the worst of our “bad times”this past year+ i found myself feeling beat down and wondered what i had done to deserve all this pain, financial stress, disappointment- then i looked at my husband, my mom, my best friends, and my family and i saw so much love and innumerable good things that i stopped counting up all our bad things. those people and the good they bring snap me out of all that tallying of bad things, out of the despair, and back to real life where good and bad take turns. life ebbs and flows- getting lost in the count can be a comfort (although false, because there is no end to this give and take of ups and downs) but it can also be a blinder.

we can get lost and lose sight of all the goodness happening minute by minute. it is so easy to get lost in all the bad things because they are big, HUGE- they are cars breaking down, unexpected surgeries, losing loved ones, breaking appliances, bad plumbing, storm damage, hard decisions, disappointment, etc. these bad things consume us and stress us to no end. Talia says she’s trying to look at the brighter side of things and i couldn’t agree more. this tiny shift of perspective can be very powerful. we must celebrate the lives of our loved ones and even all those big bad boulders set along our paths. without hard times and tough decisions we would be boring and lack character. and maybe we just need these groups of threes (bads) (such a manageable number, really) so we can get focus more on the groups of  trillions (goods)! i love that Talia turned the loss of her dryer into hanging clothes outside- “no big deal”. while we wait for the other bads to follow, we make the best of our situation, we persevere and change our course. and that other shoe, that big number three that proves the saying is true? well, maybe you won’t even notice that it never comes to pass.

try counting all the good things in your days this week. i dare you!

 

goin’ to the fair.

i grew up going to the county fair. the fair was like our own little universe where we were free from our parents, made our own decisions and never tired of circling the tiny fairgrounds. we spent our money on lemon shake-ups, carnival games and ride tickets. we wandered around and around visiting our friends who had animals and flirting with cute boys from other schools. we would stay until closing time-our parents would pick us up at the front gate. on the “late” nights there was even more intrigue- the smells were stronger, the lights on the rides zoomed past our heads, our skin was tanned and salty from sweating in the july heat, we felt dizzy with freedom and the dark night made us feel daring.

the fair isn’t really like that anymore for me. it seems smaller now. instead of feeling dizzy with freedom, i feel dizzy just looking up at those crazy rides. i do enjoy observing the “new” fair kids-cowboy boots with tiny shorts, giant belt buckles, mullets, girls flirting with boys from other schools…it all brings back such funny memories. the kids look more grown up, but i suppose we looked like that too (you know, through the eyes of old ladies like myself!) i no longer want to ride those dangerous, way-too-fast rides or play carnival games, but i do see the odd beauty in those things now. county fairs are a culture of their own- the animals, food, music, rides, games, people, style/costumes, demolition derby, etc. going to the county fair now is like visiting a place i used to know well and remember fondly. i can now look at it through older, wiser eyes  and yet still appreciate what the culture has to offer.

{notice i had a mustachioed husband to accompany me to the fair.}

{p.s. the mustache is now gone!}


family.

here we go again…5 days since the last post, really? i have had a really busy week- good busy, friend-filled busy, crafty busy. and as promised, i will now share some photos from one of my many recent summer adventures!

family reunion. (also known as “baby fest 2011”)

*cousins*

*gage*

*logan*

*ava*

*nicholas**elliana*

{note: there were also adults present at the family reunion, of course, but who wants to look at adults when we can look at adorable babies?!}

{more adventure photos on the way}

busy day.

i know i promised more photos from my last few weeks, but i have been having too much fun to edit & post those photos! i have a busy day today- i am taking engagement photos for my cousin, liz and her beau zach today.

but for now i just have to share these amazing little creatures with you:

(found via boho baby bumb blog)

find more of these dolls and more at takaiyaje’s flicker page.  i just love them! so much detail! i am planning on adding outfit pieces to my dolls this fall & winter, so this is great inspiration!