Sunshine in My Soul

Hi Friends!

Happy Eclipse Day! There is excitement in the air across America today as a total solar eclipse travels across our country. After a lovely morning in the garden, I am currently watching the progression of the eclipse in a live tv broadcast. Although I won’t be looking skyward during the eclipse, I will spend time on the front porch listening to the changes in the birdsong and the cicadas, as the sky darkens and the temperature quickly drops. Our area will experience 87% totality. Several of our friends and family have made the five hour drive to experience 100% totality over southern Illinois. Are you watching the eclipse today?

My garden is all abuzz with pollinators hard at work. I have also been working hard, week after week, to ‘right-size’ my perennial garden beds. There is sunshine in my soul today as I reflect back on all of the big changes that I made in the garden throughout the Spring and Summer. My big garden projects are now complete for 2017. πŸ™‚Β  There will be a bit more time to enjoy my perennial favorites…Β  all abloom in in mid August.

‘Blue Mist’ Bluebeard,Β  ‘Royal Standard’ Hosta, ‘Annabelle’ Hydrangea, and ‘Early Blue’ Hydrangea

I have been enjoying documenting my garden memories, too. Bright, yellow perennials always have a starring role in my cottage gardens in August. So, of course, I doodled a few yellow coneflowers in my ‘Garden Joys’ journal this month. It’s lovely to look back over all that has happened in the garden so far in 2017.

Pleasant, cool mornings were a delight as I finished the last of the big garden projects that I planned for this summer.Β  πŸ™‚

There will still be lots of gardenkeeping tasks in the coming weeks, but my thoughts will now turn to a few indoor projects.

Best of all, there will be more creative time in my little Paper Garden studio downstairs! I have been longing to practice more Chlorophyll Printing using the herbs from my garden. My first experience with this technique was last December. At that time, my garden was already asleep for the Winter. I couldn’t wait to try this interesting technique again during the Summertime!

So, the other day I walked along the garden path to my Herb & Tea Garden and happily snipped a few of my favorite herbs.

Using my Big Shot tool (Tab 2), I pressed herb leaves on different types of paper to create prints. (See Lydia Fiedler’s full tutorial here. She is my Chlorophyll Printing inspiration!) Instead of ink, Nature’s colors were pressed onto the paper. Heavenly herbal scents filled my little studio as I worked!Β 

I was most successful using Recollections 110 lb Ivory cardstock. Although I really thought that watercolor paper would work well, it didn’t turn out that way for me. I also tried different types of kraft cardstock without too much success. I will definitely continue to experiment with Chlorophyll Printing!

I think it would be lovely to make prints using ferns, too. It will still take more practice to create better prints. Wouldn’t it be fun to create vintage-looking botanical prints of ferns on a kraft background, with the botanical names hand lettered? Oh yes! IΒ  can envision a series of framed prints as yet another way of preserving and displaying garden memories! πŸ™‚

Printed with with Candy Cane mint from my herb garden

I used the best of my Chlorophyll Prints to create a few notecards.

Chlorophyll Print using Chocolate mint from my herb garden


Chlorophyll Prints created with Sage from my herb garden.

Sending ‘happy mail’ while sharing the bounty of my garden with family and friends is one of my favorite ways to ‘give love.’ Finding new ways to combine my passions for gardening and card making truly puts sunshine in my soul!

Lately, I have been very intentional about finding ways to bring sunshine into my soul. Writing ‘Morning Pages‘ continues to help nourish my creative heart and soul. Taking a break from watching the news helps, too. Recently, I lit a candle as I wrote, in remembrance of the terrible events in Charlottesville and Barcelona that have touched all of our lives.Β 

This weekend will be a big opportunity to bring sunshine into my soul. I will be joining with papercrafters from across the globe for the Papertrey Ink Stamp-a-Faire 2017. Although we will be working in our own creative spaces, we will all be working on the same Challenges and sharing our projects with one another online. Video tutorials by the amazing Papertrey Ink design team will present a new Challenge every two hours. (I am a little bit worried because I am a very slow cardmaker!) It’s sure to be three days of learning incredible new techniques and watching our skills grow! If you are interested, take a peek at the Stamp-a-Faire details and the weekend schedule. There will certainly be plenty of sunshine in my soul this weekend!

May your soul be filled with much sunshine, too!


Perennially yours,

β™‘ Dawn





34 thoughts on “Sunshine in My Soul

  1. I was thinking of you today when I dug out some ferns and moved them to the border and filled in with a lovely rock formation. πŸ™‚ To find sunshine it definitely requires less watching of news and hanging out on social media. πŸ™‚ Your cards are lovely but your journal is exceptional. It’s pretty enough to be a coffee table book. πŸ™‚

    • That sounds so lush and lovely, Judy! Hope we will see a photo soon! Are you ‘right-sizing’ your fern bed or ‘redecorating’ it? πŸ™‚ Be sure to take it easy, my friend! Whenever I think of botanical prints, ferns always come to mind. I’m going to try to create prints with a few more ferns. If they don’t work out, I might just decide to press fern leaves and frame them. They would look nice against old book pages, too. Lots of ideas swirling around! Thank you for your very kind words, Judy! I’m really happy that I tried a new style of garden journaling this year. It’s such fun to look back and remember all the sunny hours in the garden! Keep making sunshine for your soul, Judy! β™‘
      P.S. I keep my Garden Joys journal on our coffee table… so I guess it really is a coffee table book! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

      • I have some beds that I am physically unable to remove because of the age of the plants, and I guess my age as well. πŸ™‚ I tried removing a couple of the boxwoods and couldn’t even get the shovel in the ground. So, I’m removing perennials that need maintenance and moving in shrubs that can survive on their own except for some trimming. I’m doing what I can to right size. πŸ™‚

      • Your mature garden sounds so beautiful, Judy! That sounds like a great plan. It will be so much easier to stand and trim shrubs than to kneel, care for the perennials, and weed between them. I remember Kerry Mendez saying that shrubs will always be lower maintenance than perennials! I have similar plans when I ‘right-size’ the large foundation beds along my front porch next year. As I was weeding there this morning, I thought about how those beds have slowly grown, just a few inches per year, over the past thirty years. Just too much weeding now. We are kindred spirits with green thumbs, Judy! Wishing you a sunny week in the garden! β™‘

  2. Wowza! so much beauty!!! your gardens, your journal, your paper crafts. Just beautiful! Watched the eclipse here with glasses. Was very interesting and exciting.

    • Such kind words, Jodi! I really do appreciate your sweet compliments. πŸ™‚ I’m so glad you were able to watch the eclipse! I sat on the front porch at 1:30pm during the high point and the birds were singing wildly one moment and then completely silent. The streetlights came on. It felt eerie… in an exciting kind of way! I waited until the eclipse was completely over and then went for a long walk along the prairie in the bright sunshine. Wishing you a wonderful, creative week, Jodi! β™‘

  3. Dawn, You always bring sunshine through your writings, my friend. I so enjoy seeing your beautiful gardening journal. I don’t know if I mentioned to you that you have inspired me to me neater and try out your bullet journal as a way of recording in my gardening journal. Mine is no where near as lovely as your’s, but I do like the ease of looking and referring to the activities of the day. I’ve even decided to use a better pen! I love the pretty artwork you incorporate in the journal. It’s given me some ideas to make mine prettier.
    I’m so happy you have completed your right size garden job. I’m sure it will reward you in the future.
    The beautiful chlorophyll prints make beautiful one of a kind cards. I really must give this technique a try! I will take a look at your links.
    Have a happy week enjoying your right sized garden, dear one. β™₯

    • Oh, Martha Ellen! It’s wonderful that you are trying bullet-style journaling in your garden journal, too! It’s quick and easy to jot down little notes. I have referred back to my earlier pages several times already. So, it is proving helpful, too! I have a few suggestions… things that I have discovered since I began in March. Maybe you will find them helpful! (There is no wrong or right way, of course!) I have found it easier to design the headers and banners on several pages at a time. It’s much quicker than trying to remember my design every week. Now I set up four right-hand pages at the beginning of the month. Right from the start, I decided to make all of the pages in a single month match. It seems to flow better that way. Then I just doodle the little date icons each time I make an entry. This afternoon, I shopped for a little pencil case to hold just the marker colors that I chose for this month. Originally, I planned to use rubber stamps for the artwork, but I bravely decided to make little doodles on my own! I’m feeling so proud that I have kept this garden journal going for six months so far!! πŸ™‚ That has never happened with a paper journal before! It looks like this book may hold two years worth of garden memories. It will be such fun to look back over the months to see how both my garden and my journaling skills have grown! πŸ™‚ Perhaps the next journal I buy will have watercolor or mixed media paper. I’m quite sure that I will try the same bullet-style memory keeping for my next travel journal, too! Think about it, dear heart! When you try Chlorophyll Prints, be sure to let us know what works best for you, Martha Ellen! We can learn and grow together! Sending sunny hugs! β™‘

      • Thank you for your tips, Dawn. I’ve thought this method would work great as well for a travel journal. I’ve already prepared it and used some lovely Susan Branch stickers gifted to me by a SWEET FRIEND! Noel uses bullet journals also. She keeps one a month for her thoughts and activities. It makes so much more sense than my previous ramblings–though I do enjoy referring to them.
        We watched the eclipse in our Florida room. With all of our windows streaming in sunlight, Grayden made a pinhole viewer out of white paper and a reflected white cardboard on the floor. Samuel made it home from class in time to see it. He was so excited to see his first partial solar eclipse. I’m always inspired by the order of our universe. Have a lovely week, dear Dawn. β™₯

      • Your new travel journal sounds just delightful, Martha Ellen! Before long, it will be filled with treasured, golden memories to hold in your heart forever!:) It’s fun to know that Noel keeps bullet journals, too. Although I’m not a planner girl, I am drawn to the whole idea. (It might be the markers and lettering that have drawn me in!) The Bujo community online is just huge! I have been enjoying Bujo videos by Kara Benz, who blogs at Boho Berry. She is talented, down-to-earth, and has the most positive spirit. Just delightful! I wonder if Noel watches her videos, too?

        I’m so glad that you had sunny skies for the eclipse! I remember making pinhole viewers as a child, and later on with my students. It’s such a great way to experience an eclipse. It’s really nice to have an event that excites the entire country and brings people together!

        I’m counting down the days with you and Grayden. It won’t be long now, Martha Ellen! β™‘

  4. I love your garden journal. Wondered where you found it. It is so beautiful and all the details you have added make it more so. I have dug out all my paper crafting supplies and hope to soon find the energy to get to work with them. Lots of rubber stamps that have never been used but I love the chlorophyll art. Your cards are just wonderful. This brightened my day. Still not getting notifications of posts. Will have to figure out who else to contact to get it resolved. Thanks for a great start to the week. πŸ™‚

    • Many thanks, Marlene! It is a blank journal by Lang, that I bought a few years ago but never used. I chose it because the pages were lined on one side, with a grid on the back. Originally, I planned to sketch maps of each garden bed on the grid paper. So,I must make time to sit and do a pencil sketch of each garden bed at the end of the season right in my garden journal. One thing I will think about the next time I choose a journal is the quality and smoothness of the paper. This one is fine for pen and pencil. It’s not ideal for the watercolor markers I have been using. I’m learning so much as I fill my Garden Joys journal with memories!
      I’m so happy to know that you have unpacked all of your papercrafting supplies, Marlene! πŸ™‚ Start with something really easy. You could make gift tags, bookmarks, decorate recipe cards,… It’s also fun to make color swatch charts to try out your inks, markers, watercolors, etc. Just play a bit, without any pressure to design a project at first. I really think your creative energy will find you!

      Chlorophyll Printing works great with my Big Shot. I’m sure it will also work with a Cuttlebug or any other embossing/diecutting tool. You can find links to some of my very favorite crafty blogs on the Inspiration page of my blog. They all share amazing You Tube videos! Maybe you can check out the Papertrey Ink Stamp-a-Faire this weekend online. They are encouraging us to use what we already have as we try out all of the new techniques they will share. You will even be able to use some of your sewing supplies on your handmade cards! Also think about cutting patterned paper shapes to create tiny paper quilts. You might love that. πŸ™‚ Those are some of my very favorite kinds of cards! Wishing you a nice,creative week ahead, Marlene! β™‘

      • Thank you for all the wonderful and creative ideas, Dawn. I am excited to get started very soon. I don’t have one of those paper cutting wonder machines…yet. πŸ™‚ Lots of books and other tools to work with first. It’s been a very busy summer and I’m really ready for those dreary winter months to get some inside fun done. I’m very inspired each time I read your blog. I’d like to be in there right now but I must do some file housekeeping on the laptop now that it’s repaired. Thank you so much for all the links. I do have cards I want to make and send this week. Sept is a full month of birthdays on my calendar. Looking forward to learning more. Thanks so much and huge hugs. M

      • “Wonder machines” indeed, Marlene! The Sizzix Big Shot was the first major tool that I purchased and I use it on every card I make. If you are making your Wish List, there is one more awesome tool that I recommend. A stamp positioner is really helpful. I love the MISTI stamp positioner. Although I waited and watched card makers using it for an entire year before I took the leap, I wish I had purchased it sooner. There are now other stamp positioners at lower price points that also seem good. Have fun making and sending all of those special birthday cards, Marlene! It is sure to put sunshine in your soul and a smile in your heart! Happy crafting! β™‘

      • Thanks for all the helpful ideas, Dawn. My wish list for my birthday was a working computer and I just got it!! My son put in a new hard drive so I’m almost all set other than a bit of filing. πŸ™‚ Maybe by Christmas I can ask Santa for something fun. (my kids) We shall see. πŸ™‚

  5. Hello Dawn, I’m so inspired by your blog and love reading your gardening and printing adventures. We have many ferns in New Zealand – I’m looking forward to seeing what you create with those. Your gardening journal is just gorgeous and what a great record of your journey. I’m sure you’ll refer to this over and over, and how lovely to open it to see your gorgeous entries and drawings. I think this could be adapted for almost anything we want to focus on. I received the email announcing your new post today and then went down a rabbit hole, reading so many of your posts and the lovely comments your readers have left. What a lovely community you’ve created. I’ve been thinking of starting a blog again and yours more than any other has resonated and has inspired me and shown me a way to move forward on this. Thank you. So glad to have met you in “It’s never too late”.

    • Oh, Vicky! I’m just delighted that you are enjoying our little blog! Heartfelt thanks for being here and joining in the conversation. I’ve always been a letter writer and the blog feels like a natural extension of that passion. People visit from so many parts of the globe that it truly feels like being pen pals with the world! I learn so much from everyone who leaves comments here.

      I’m really enjoying this style of garden memory-keeping. Just using a few basic art supplies in my journal is keeping my interest high. When the garden slows down in Autumn, I’m looking forward to more time to add some creative touches to my Gratitude Journal!

      I’m so happy that we met in the book club, Vicky. It’s so exciting to share this creative journey with kindred spirits! πŸ™‚ As my Memoir Writing continues, I have been thinking about different ideas for compiling a lifetime of memories. Although I am working slowly, I am enjoying it immensely! It’s lovely to discover so many creative passions winding through the chapters of my life like a beautiful ribbon! How is your Memoir Writing going? In the blog archives, you will find some posts from January and February about my earliest Artist Dates. πŸ™‚

      I truly hope you will begin blogging again, Vicky! You have so many important stories to tell and wonderful photography skills to help you tell your stories. I just know that you will also build a lovely little community of kindred spirits. I will be the first to join, as we all learn and grow together! I encourage you to always write from your heart. As Julia says, “It’s never to late to begin again!” πŸ™‚ Sending sunny wishes for a nice, creative week, Vicky! β™‘

  6. Such a lovely, lively post, Dawn, and I can feel the sunshine in the reading of your words.
    Your purposeful moments and journaling is wonderfully fulfilling for you – and for me as an appreciative reader as well. I thank you. Your chlorophyll printing is beautiful. Can this be done on fabric? I’m imagining a collection of napkins.

    • So happy that you can feel the sunshine, too, Penny! πŸ™‚ Happiness is a very contagious thing! It’s a great idea to try Chlorophyll Printing on fabric. I wonder if heat setting the prints might make the natural dyes from the from the plants permanent. I will have to try some experiments using your suggestion, Penny! I have tried Flower Pounding on fabric in the past. Very noisy… but so much fun! Although I have never washed that fabric, the colors have remained bright for many years. I just love all of the ideas that are swirling around here. We are such a creative group of kindred spirits. Enjoy this lovely week, dear Penny! β™‘
      P.S. I’ve been walking along the Prairie, and it’s really colorful right now. Those walks always add a whole lot of sunshine to my soul!

  7. Thank you for your support Dawn. I’ll be honoured to have you as my first subscriber! I did take a look at your January and February posts – that was part of the rabbit hole I went down – I spent a few happy hours reading your posts – one of the things that inspires me is that you’re doing things at your own pace and being true to yourself. I used to write a blog for my coaching business and it was pretty personal, but I can tell my next one will be different as I don’t intend for it to be part of a business – I think that’s the only way I can be really sure I’m being true to myself – without any hint of marketing. It feels very freeing. I’m becoming excited about it. Writing has always been how I’ve figured things out for myself. And how I’ve known what I really feel. I’m a true introvert. I think now I’ve had a couple of years break from my business and my blog, I’m almost ready to launch forth. I’ll keep you posted.

    • I’m so excited for you, Vicky, as you set forth on your new adventure! Just follow your heart wherever it leads you… and let your voice be heard. It’s so true that writing helps us figure things out. It also helps me to follow through on my plans and to move in the direction of my dreams. For me, this has been one of my favorite things about writing Morning Pages. Writing a blog post from your heart and putting it out into the world feels amazing. Friends say that I am brave, but it really feels like something that I am called to do. Sharing kindness and light in the world is another way of ‘giving back’… and I feel so grateful to have this platform to share my stories. I truly believe that everyone’s stories do matter!

      I’m so grateful that you have been taking some time to read my stories, Vicky! Your kind words always warm my heart. Feel free to email me through the ‘Say Hello’ page anytime. I’d love to hear more about your plans! Can’t wait to officially welcome you back to the blogging community. It will be a ‘renaissance’ for you, Vicky, as you share your words and photography with all of us! πŸ’—

  8. Your words and beautiful images are precious to me during this time in our history. The news is mostly grim and your posts, and others, bring sunshine into my soul! Thank you.

    • Oh, Karen! Your kind words bring tears to my eyes! We must focus our hearts on the small moments that bring joy to each day. I’ve been thinking about you and hoping that you are enjoying happy hours in your beautiful garden this summer. Sunshine and flowers soothe our heart and soul every time we walk through the garden! Thanks so much for being here, Karen! Sending warm hugs across the miles!πŸ’—

  9. Dawn, your cards turned out beautifully! I love your design and paper choices. Actually, I like everything about this post: your gorgeous flowers, the journal (Ohmygosh) your lovely hand printing, and your sweet remembrance of the victims of Charlottesville and Barcelona. I know you’ll be having an amazing time this weekend. I can’t wait to see your projects. Enjoy!

    • Huge hugs for your sweet words, Alys! It was fun to pull everything together while the eclipse was happening overhead! (Wish I had thought to observe those beautiful crescent shadows that you documented in your garden!) I am feeling really excited about ~ and intimidated by~ all of the Stamp-a-Faire ‘Challenges’ over the next three days! It should be a truly fun learning experience! Look for my projects on IG all weekend long, sweet friend! πŸ’—

      • Dawn, you’ll be great this weekend (and here it is Sunday). I hope you’ve been having a blast. I understand all too well about feeling intimidated. I stood in front of a bunch of dies at The Island Escape last week, at a loss as to what to buy, what would I use, how would I use it, etc. I got help from one of the women that works there (they’re all terrific). I want to make Halloween cards again this year (my third year running) but using some of the tools I buy (and then choke up). I know you can related. I’m heading back to insta now to see what you’ve created since Saturday. xo

      • Alys, it makes me SO happy to know that you are following along (and cheering me on!). Huge hugs for your sweet comments on IG all weekend long! I’m learning so much and having a happy, creative three-day weekend in my little Paper Garden downstairs!

        Shopping for supplies can be very overwhelming and so expensive! Think about dies that you might use often all year long. I constantly reach for my border dies, stitched rectangles, and stitched circle dies. I just love the Papertrey Ink dies for a fresh, polished touch on my cards. I adore beautifully lettered sentiment dies, too. PTI has lots of great new Halloween stamps! I picked out lovely Autumn stamps that I will use from now through Thanksgiving.

        So grateful for your friendship, Alys! Paper hugs! πŸ’—

      • Paper hugs! I love that, Dawn. Paper hugs to you, too. It’s helping that I’m sharing supplies with my sister. She lives just a mile away, and we’re trying to get together for some crafting here and there. Many years ago, we would attend one of those scrapbooking weekends where they provide food and accommodations and you would work on your craft. Though we always had fun, I found that I got very little done between eating (ahem), chatting, games, etc. I’m beginning to think I’m better as a solo crafter. I love the concept of what you did this weekend, and hope to join next year full on. I did do some more chlorophyll prints this weekend using yet another paper and my pumpkin blossoms and leaves. I got terrific imprints, which I hope to use for Halloween cards. Stay tuned. I’m off to see your final cards for the weekend. I’ll be you’re tired from all that concentrating. Did you squeeze in a small nap? πŸ˜‰ Back to insta!

      • Kindred spirits, Alys! I find that I really need time with my crafty tribe at our monthly Crops, but I really am a solo card maker. I work slowly and work best on my own. I feel so blessed to have the best of both worlds! You are so fortunate to have a sister nearby to share your passions with, Alys! She’s very lucky, too! 😊

        Hope you can join in the fun at Stamp-a-Faire 2018. Although I worked alone in my little Paper Garden for three whole days, I really did feel connected with a global card making community! It was fun to know that we were all working on the same Challenges. Encouraging comments and ‘likes’ made us all feel part of something big! Hope to share the whole experience in a new blog post soon. Your pumpkin Chlorophyll Prints sound amazing, Alys! What kind of paper worked best for you? You will have a great time making cards for your favorite holiday! Wishing you a nice, creative week! πŸ’—

  10. I found your garden journal and blog from a comment you left on Susan Branch’s blog. Your journal is beautiful! The artwork and lettering looks so precise, are you using some kind of stamp? My own garden journal is such a hodge podge, I would love to make daily (ok , weekly) entries to keep track of growing things. Thanks!

    • So happy that you stopped to visit today, Judith! I’m delighted to meet another Susan Branch Girlfriend! It’s my first time to try this style of garden memory-keeping. I’ve just been doodling, using a Micron pen and Zig Clean Color Real Brush markers. Although it takes time, it has been really fun to use a few art supplies to keep me motivated to continue. This weekend, it’s time to plan the design for my September garden journal pages. Do try it! I think it will be so nice to look back and remember warm, summer days in the garden on a cold winter’s day! Wishing you a happy holiday weekend, Judith! πŸ’—
      P.S. If you search ‘Susan Branch’ in my blog archives, you will find several posts inspired by Susan! 😊

  11. Dawn, you are a true artist in
    the garden as well as on paper!
    I so admire your beautiful printing
    and handwriting. I was very into
    creative handwriting last fall and
    can’t wait to get back to it. Thank
    you for the continued inspiration!

    xo Suzanne

    • Huge hugs for your very kind words, dear Suzanne! It has been such fun using a few art supplies in my Garden Joys journal this year. (It’s truly what kept me motivated to journal all season long.) I think it will be so nice to look back and remember summer days in the garden with a cup of tea on cold, winter days! Lately, I’ve been making notes on some of the changes I would like to make in the garden next year, too. It’s so nice to be in touch again, Suzanne! Wishing you lovely Autumn days to fill your heart with warm smiles! See you on IG! β™‘

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