holiday at home.

it all started with a wreath this year.

i saw it and instantly felt inspired and joyous!

that was just the beginning…

pennant garland with vintage beads i made last year

glittery deer, mistletoe, cinnamon candle

vintage ornaments in a parfait bowl with my favorite little dear

and we even had a little snow yesterday!

i will keep you updated on the holiday decorating!

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are you happy?

happy is a term we tend to use often, perhaps without thinking about the meaning. sometimes it is used lightly, insincerely, or in place of a more descriptive emotion. other times we use this word with intense feeling, gratitude and are completely aware of the magnitude of happiness.

i think a lot about happiness: am i happy? what makes this or that person happy? when have i been happy? what makes me happy? what is happy? is happiness even definable? why does my definition of happy change…does it change? am i happy enough? why am i unhappy? was i happier when….? why does this or that make me happy? why does this or that make me unhappy?

are you happy?

while on our trip to washington, dc, lola and i played this game- “are you happy?…. i’m happy!” i’m not quite sure how it started (or maybe she was already doing this and it was just new to me) but every time she looked at me with big eyes full of  2 year old sincerity and asked “you happy?” it made me extremely giddy-joyous-happy! i would reply with “yes! i am happy! are you happy?” and lola would giggle and say “i happy!”.

happiness for me is children- their laughter, their wisdom, their raw emotion, their ability to make people smile.

sometimes i ask mike out of the blue, “are you happy?” he almost always stops what he is doing, looks into my face and chuckles a little before saying, “yes, of course i am happy!” he thinks it’s a little silly of me to ask this, but i really want to know. i want to be sure he is happy- all the time- with me, in our life together, in this or that moment.

happiness for me is seeing my husband smile.

i find that i “check in” with other people i love too. i will ask my mom “are you happy right now?” when we are driving together. she laughs and says “yes, silly! of course i am happy!”) i worry about her, my sister, my aunts, uncles, cousins, in-laws…i want my family to be happy, whatever that means to them.

happiness for me is a close and content family.

i even ask myself “are you happy?” occasionally. i find myself smiling when i am completely alone, and say, “huh, i’m happy right now!” i think it occurs to me that i am happy because there have been times in my life when i was decidedly unhappy. miserable and sad and lonely and lost- not at all happy. during those times if someone were to ask me “are you happy?” i may have tried to lie, but it would have been unconvincing.  i wouldn’t have meant it. i tried to be happy and i struggled with the question “what is wrong with me that i am not happy?” so, now that i feel happiness on a daily basis, i appreciate it, i honor it, i acknowledge it, and i celebrate it!

happiness for me is acknowledging/feeling happy in the here and now!

allison is by best friend. we have known each other for 9 years now. she is my oldest friend. i often tell her we are only still friends because of the work she put into our friendship. that is not to say i love her less…it is only to say i am terrible at holding on to people. i tended to push away rather than hold on. allison showed me it was safe to hold on, even rewarding! she has loved me unconditionally, given and taken advice, allowed me to be a friend and to rely on a friend. she is more to me than i even have words for.

happiness for me is allison, a best friend that never ends!

there are always aspects of our lives that could be better- more time, more money, less stress, more this, less that…. sometimes we achieve more and find we are still wanting. sometimes we get what we want and don’t even notice. but sometimes, we work to achieve more or less and find the happy balance.

happiness for me is finding and keeping my balance.

i recently realized that i was missing a community. i needed friends, people like me, women with the same interests and desires. i needed people to share with, to talk with and to be with. so, i sought out my community. for awhile i tried immersing myself into the “family” community, but i found that made me extremely sad because those people all had something i desperately wanted- children.(unhappiness for me is wanting what i don’t yet have)  i wasn’t ready for that community. so i searched more and found a community of women artists. they are artists, wives, mothers, girlfriends, sisters, daughters….they are women who share my interests and my dreams. i mention these women a lot and that is because they make me very happy. i treasure the friendships i have developed and look forward to developing more!

happiness for me is being part of a community and finding friendship.

if you are a regular reader, you may know that the last year was an extremely difficult year for me and mike. i had 2 serious back surgeries which resulted in me spending a LOT of time in bed recovering and out of work for over a year now. as painful, stressful , and depressing all that felt…i still look back and think “yea, i was happy”. why in the world did i feel happy during this past year amid all the sadness, disappointment, struggle and pain? i had mike. i had family. i had friends. i had good doctors and physical therapists. i had hope. and now, i have moments when i stop in my tracks, smile from ear to ear and say “i  am pain free right now!” that makes me extremely happy! mike and i have worked very hard this past year to budget, cut back, and find alternatives…we fought, felt frustrated, stressed and scared. but we are in a good place now (not cushy, by any means), but we are making it- because we work together to make it work!

happiness for me is feeling relief from pain. 

happiness for me is being a successful team with my husband.

you may be wondering what sparked this long post about happiness. yesterday morning i finished a book called hector and the search for happiness by francois lelord. at first i found it cute, but also a little silly…i wasn’t sure where the book was going and had a difficult time getting used to the writing style. but the last few chapters really made me think about my own thoughts on happiness- what does happiness mean to me, how do i measure happiness, what does happiness look like for other people? hector travels around searching for these and other answers. he finds many “lessons” of happiness, like lesson no. 11- happiness is having a home and garden of your own.  and lesson no. 1- making comparisons can spoil your happiness.  many of the lessons hit home with me (like lesson no. 11!) some i hadn’t thought of at all. lesson no. 1 is interesting to me- making comparisons can spoil your happiness…even comparing yourself now to yourself then can either spoil or make happiness! you often hear people say “that was the happiest day of my life”, “i have never been happier”, “i can’t imagine a happier moment”, “i am happier now than i have ever been”… i myself have said some of these things. does that mean that i am truly happier in this very moment than ever before? i think not. i think we have moments of happiness throughout our lives and the most recent moment, day, experience, etc feels the happiest. that is not to say that this moment or that moment can truly pale in comparison…or even be compared at all- happiness is relative– just like pain, love, sadness, loneliness, and most other emotions. what matters is the here and now.

all that said…i challenge you all to acknowledge your happinesstoday, tomorrow, in the past, and in the future. and read hector and the search for happiness… (cause it’ll make you think and it is really quite funny- in a dry humor sort-of way!)

other things that make me happy right now

opposite of far

making things

animals:

(namely- milo, bruce, frankie, kitty, goats, chickens, foxes, owls….you get the point)

good food…and junk food

hot beverages

traditions

taking photographs

bon iver

old books, new books, borrowed books, overflowing bookshelves

a thoroughly cleaned and organized house

a messy, hectic, lived-in house

holidays, holiday decorating

snuggling under my down comforter with a book in the morning

cuddling/snuggling with mike and my pups

……and so, so much more!

i would *LOVE* to hear from you, my dear readers, about what makes you happy, your definition or understanding of happiness, or any other thoughts you want to share!

{i haven’t heard from many of you and would love to know who you are, what makes you tick, and why you read my blog!}

thanks for reading!

thankful weekend.

happy {belated} thanksgiving!

i am thankful, grateful for my ridiculously awesome husband, family, friends- old and new, being *mostly* pain free, my sweet pets, beautiful weather (and rainy weather too!), successful business, finding community, feeling content and happy…and so, so much more!

thursday.

we had a very relaxing turkey day. like, really, really relaxing. the most taxing thing we had to do was drive to cracker barrel to have dinner! my mom came to bloomington (on her harley!), we sat around, had some yummy dinner (without all the cooking!), watched the last 2 harry potter movies, then went to bed! ah…glorious!

harley mama…bundled up cause it’s cold when you ride in november!

turkey day sky

see…ridiculous how awesome this guy is!

snuggled up

friday.

every year on the day after thanksgiving the square in bloomington is illuminated at 7:30 pm. it is joyous, it is bright, it is community!

us

the harding family

little izzy

pretty downtown window

the lights!

ang & max

us again!

love.

saturday.

2011 holiday market! (i won’t repeat those photos!)

and…i had the pleasure of photographing my elizabeth’s family at her brother’s house!

long driveway

izzy…can you believe those eyes?!

holiday spirit abounds!

{elizabeth’s family photo’s to come!}

sunday.

i spent a few hours at paper crane

the rainy & cold weather was a welcome reminder that it is almost december!

i remember when holidays made me feel so sad. i couldn’t be with my family and it broke my heart. i feel SO far away from those feelings now. not only am i closer to “home” (meaning where my mama lives!), but i feel at home where i am! (home is where the heart ishome is wherever you are… and all that!)

if i can’t be with extended family, i still have family right here, in my cozy home with mike and our pets and with my wonderful friends!

*i would love to hear what you did this holiday weekend too! i hope it was a good one!*

pop-up shop.

the handmade promenade holiday pop up shop

you can find the pop-up shop inside the art bank, 811 mass Ave, indianapolis, in

we will be open for the entire month of december! almost ALL DAY, EVERYDAY! 34 days of handmade shopping for you to enjoy!
shop local and shop handmade this holiday at the handmade promenade holiday pop up shop! over 40 local, regional and national artists and crafters will be selling handmade goods throughout the holiday season.

the handmade promenade holiday pop up shop is open November 28th, 2011 through December 31, 2011

Hours:
Monday: 11am-7pm
Tuesday:11am-7pm
Wednesday: 11am-7pm
Thursday:11am-9pm
Friday :11am-10pm
Saturday:11am-10pm
Sunday: Dec. 18 11am- 6pm; Closed on Dec. 4, 11 & 25

Located at 811 Mass Ave inside the Art Bank in Downtown Indianapolis, Indiana. There is some street parking with no meters as well as a parking lot next to the Art Bank. Holiday Shopping on Mass Ave with No Parking Fees! Yay!

**check out most of the vendors here**

you can also find opposite of far at the handmade promenade holiday pop up shop!

saturday at the market.

the 2011 bloomington holiday market was a success! my friends were all very happy crafters at the end of the day!

my good friend talia from conduit press shared her booth with me!

talia’s hollow books, leather journals, clocks and planters make magnificent gifts for just about everyone on your holiday shopping list! it’s not too late to shop conduit press for the holidays! {for clocks and planters, send talia a message!}

near&dear dolls, professor foxes

opposite of far is still taking custom orders for dolls, animals, & masks for holiday orders….but only until dec. 10th!!!

*curly pigtails*

my other good friend, elizabeth makes fabulous clothes for little girls- all organic and completely original designs!

elizabeth’s clothing is B.E.A.U.T.I.F.U.L. seriously- these hats, dresses & separates will put a smile on any little girl this holiday season!

brand new design- the hoodie dress…SO CUTE!

elizabeth & her mom also recently started *bets & mags* – super cute padded carriers/covers for ipads and e-readers! giving someone special an ipad, notebook or e-reader for the holidays…well i think these pretty carriers make the perfect wrapping! they also fit beautifully into stockings hung by the fire with care! 🙂

*sadly harmless*

sally is my favorite print maker! if you need holiday gifts for friends, family and yourself check out sally’s shop!

…and more pretties from the 2011 holiday market…

ah, the famous bloomington tuba santas!

gorgeous dried bouquets

hand-died & homespun yarn

my favorite part of the holiday market…the reindeer!

i am SO in the holiday spirit this year!

*more to come on our christmas decor at home and other holiday preparations!*

local + handmade = happy holidays

upcoming shows/markets where you can find opposite of far this season

city of bloomington holiday market

november 26th from 10am-3pm at city hall- showers building

this market is full of fun for the whole family! there are outdoor farm vendors, prepared food vendors, non-profit organizations and of course the art and fine craft vendors! you can enjoy the TubaSantas, reindeer, carriage rides, and more! come out to enjoy this bloomington tradition and get some holiday shopping done too with super special handmade gifts!

yelp’s totally bazaar holiday shopping party

thursday, december 8 from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m.

{with homespun & sun king}

this event will be fun and just plain amazing! *yelp* is hosting this super exciting shopping event at Indianapolis City Market.

you can check out all the other awesome yelp events on their blog

last minute gift fair at paper crane gallery

december 17th 10 am-4 pm

The Last Minute Gift Fair is a small contemporary art and craft fair. if you are a last-minute holiday shopper who wants to buy unique, handmade gifts and who also want to support local artists- this is the place for you!

the fair will take place at Paper Crane Gallery, located at 401 W. 6th St (6th and Madison).

**attention**

if you cannot make it to any of these wonderful events, you can still give opposite of far for your holidays!

below is a list of where you can find *opposite of far* products

Opposite of Far on Etsy

homespun: modern handmade

5624 E. Washington, Indianapolis, In

nurture: modern baby clothing boutique

433 Massachusetts Avenue, Indianapolis, In

Paper Crane Gallery & Studio

401 West 6th Street, Bloomington, In

we built this city.

i have been away. i have missed this little piece of online community. where have i been?  i joined my good friend angela and her two littles, lola  and max, to visit the very special allison in washington dc. we had a wonderful and exhausting trip. dc is a place i truly love to visit. it is so….patriotic. i love that everything is free. allison reminded me it’s all free because WE own it! how cool is that?! here are some pics to make you feel like you were there with us, enjoying every {good} moment!

day 1- travel day

flight #1 – from indy to atlanta, flight #2- from atlanta to dc

come on airtran….you really think this is the most efficient way to get people from indiana to dc? really?

lola totally owned indy airport at 5 am!

lola enjoying the view

sunset over atlanta

ang & max at the atlanta airport

metro station at the airport

lola passed out & loaded with luggage at the metro station

day 2- first cab ride + the national aquarium

(the only thing we had to pay admission to see…and the only thing totally not worth paying for!)

rainy day cab ride

washington monument through the rainy cab window

“feeshy, feeeeeshy!!!” (this became lola’s new favorite phrase)

jellyfish

sea anemone

albino alligator being fed mice…i suppose this part was worth the $10 admission

{and kitty…let’s not forget kitty!}

lola really loved kitty…kitty mostly loved lola too

so…kitty used to be mine…then after an unfortunate turn of events i entrusted her to allison & greg and couldn’t bear to separate them once i was back on my feet…i still miss my little kitty a lot but love visiting with her! plus, she’s not a big fan of dogs…so she’s way happier with alli!

day 3- first (awake) metro ride+ smithsonian national museum of natural history + washington monument

the washington dc metro is an amazing thing

ang & max on the metro

(well, some of us were awake!)

giraffe, what are you up to?

how cool is this guy!

whoa! watch out for that….ahhhhh!

cutest little dc tourist-ever!

well…close second maybe!

day 4- georgetown shopping day *fail*

(apparently 2 year old’s aren’t big fans of crowded city shopping…who knew!)

in alli’s eyes

before the shopping we had smiles!

and squirrels!

after “shopping”, a much needed beer

day 5- the national zoo- only a few blocks from allison’s house

alli lives on harvard street. which is funny because she went to harvard.

rock creek park, on the way to the zoo

all of us.

super cool amazon display where lola got her fill of “feeeeshies!!”

me & allison at the zoo

“ready, set…..”

pandas are awesome. that is all.

day 6- yummy french breakfast + eastern market + playground break + lincoln memorial + wwII memorial

yummy cappuccino at le pain quotidien

lola devouring her parisian ham & gruyere cheese omlette

lil bro lovin’

“wowa ‘n tess”

lola found her genius at eastern market

chillin’ at the park

a truly beautiful monument

the man

the girl knows how to strike a pose!

wwII wall

day 7- headed home

chatting with daddy before we catch our flight

busy tarmac

toes

clouds over indy

and home. home sweet home.

i missed this guy

and this little guy

and this gal

and even frankie too

it is good to be home. and mike and i are already planning a trip to dc together!

bloomington handmade holiday market.

the bloomington handmade holiday market was da bomb! the organizers (sally, nicole & mia) worked their little tushes off to make this wonderful thing happen! all the artists, i know are very thankful for such a spectacular event! now, for all you bloomington peeps that came but didn’t commit to buying, or didn’t come at all you can still fulfill your holiday wishlists by shopping at paper crane gallery!

we will also be hosting a last minute gift fair on december 17th, so put that on your calendar NOW! (more details to come)

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the tops.

not sure if you noticed but i added a new page titled “top 5” where i will occasionally add lists of top 5 favorites.

if you have any top 5’s you are dying for me to share, please leave a comment here and i will get right on it!

********

here’s what i have so far:

Fall

  1. walking through leaves barefoot cause it’s still 70 degrees in november!
  2. stews, soups, applesauce and crockpot meals that cook all day long
  3.  hot beverages finally make sense!
  4. cozy socks and favorite sweatshirts become uniform
  5. breaking out the cute fall shoes, ponchos, rain boots and other fall-ish apparel

Magazines

  1. Anthropologie catalog…does that count?
  2. Better Homes & Gardens
  3. More
  4. Martha Stewart Living & MS Wedding
  5. O Magazine

Foods (and drinks, ’cause I love me some hot beverages)

1. Starbucks Chai- grande, no water, soy, chai- All. Day. Long!
2. Hot chocolate- with milk and marshmallows, preferably
3. Homemade potpie. Yum.
4. Dessert- pies, cakes, ice cream, chocolate pudding, cookies….anything.
5. Garden/farm fresh fruits & veggies

Blogs I read every single day

1. Enjoying The Small Things
2. Bleubird
3. Dig This Chick
4.  A Beautiful Mess
5.  Design Sponge

Musicians/Bands

(right this minute…it changes- september 2011)
1. Beck
2. Bon Iver
3. Adele
4. Mumford & Sons
5. Avett Brothers

Dates- Husband

1. Fun activity/outing sandwiched by a long drive with lots of loud car-singing (activities: apple picking, pumpkin patch, Big Cat Preserve, festival/street fair, etc.; loud car-singing: Journey, Tom Petty, Adele, Counting Crows, etc)
2. Hike, walk, meander, frolic- hand-in-hand
3. Bonfire- with S’mores!

4. movie at the cinema
5. Dinner, including drinks and dessert

Dates- Mom, Sis, BFF

  1. shopping- Antique Mall, Flea Market, Garage Sale, Target, Outlet Malls
  2. long drives accompanied by singing beyonce, christina aguilera, adele, etc…
  3. chai date
  4. loooooooooong leisurely walks with no destination in mind
  5. crafting

holiday gifting.

gift handmade this holiday season.

it’s so easy to give beautiful and unique handmade gifts with so many talented artists in our midst! and we make it even easier by having HUGE handmade markets where you get all these amazing regional artists together in one room for a whole day! if you don’t know already, i am talking (specifically) about this weekends bloomington handmade holiday market!

you should definitely NOT miss this!

some of the vendors include:

opposite of far (of course!)

conduit press

purple hippo stitches

cordial kitten

sadly harmless

the wind and the sail

mia beach photography

motif

50 little birds

chipmunk cheeks

check out the entire HUGE list of vendors here

sponsors:

WIUX FM

 Bloomingfoods Market & Deli

Sponsor highlight – Shiisa Quilts

(you can find more info at bloomington handmade market)