Sweet Memories

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Hi Friends!

It happens every year! After the magic of Christmas comes a quiet week… just right for reflecting. I cherish these peaceful moments as I make time to look back over the past 366 days. Just scrolling through my iPhoto library and Camera Roll takes me right back to those small moments and special times ~ a true celebration of 2016.

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During the last week of the year, I love to set aside many hours to document our family stories in our Christmas Memories keepsake book, by Susan Branch. Each book holds five years of family traditions ~ and we are nearing the end of our second volume. (I’m so grateful to have two new copies of Christmas Memories tucked safely away to hold ten more years of memories.)  A cup of tea, soft candlelight, and the sounds of Christmas music, help me to savor and preserve our stories.

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It’s also the perfect time to reflect on the ‘One Little Word’ that has inspired me throughout the entire year.  I chose the word Blossom for 2016. (Truthfully, the word Blossom chose me!) It was my intention all year long to bravely share my handmade cards with others in the papercrafting community. There were some lovely ‘firsts’ this year… new ways to blossom!

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The wonderfully supportive papercrafting community on Instagram welcomed me with encouraging words as I blossomed throughout the year. It’s always heartwarming when other card makers and the stamp designers comment on our handmade cards.

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Monthly paper crafting ‘Crops’ have been a very special part of my blossoming throughout the year. I always pack a basket of stamps, inks, watercolor paper, and markers with great anticipation. It’s just wonderful to gather with friends on a Saturday, as we each work on our own projects together. Creative hands and kind hearts make the hours fly by. Sharing, learning from one another, and laughing together is a delight. I feel so blessed to have found my crafty ‘tribe’ this year!

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In July, I spent a creative day with papercrafters from around the globe, as we participated in the Papertrey Ink Stamp-a-Faire 2016. Inspired by the works of the The Masters throughout art history and the talented PTI Design Team, I stretched my skills immensely as I learned many new techniques. Although I worked alone in my little Paper Garden studio downstairs, it felt so great to be a part of something much bigger! Afterwards, I shared my creations as part of a Papertrey Ink Blog Hop. I cherish the sweet memories of that special day. It was a perfect way to blossom, blossom, blossom!

You can read all about it here.

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Creating cards to let loved ones know that I am thinking of them is a special passion. The time spent on each one-of-a-kind card always feels like a little visit with family and friends 🙂  Sharing handmade kindness is one small way of making a difference… and blossoming!

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Of all the books I have enjoyed this year, there are two that have truly inspired my creative journey…

both touched my heart deeply and brought tears to my eyes.

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Martha’s Vineyard ~ Isle of Dreams, the newest book in Susan Branch’s memoir trilogy, was published in Spring 2016. This handwritten, watercolored treasure takes us along as a young Susan flies away from California for a fresh start on Martha’s Vineyard, in Massachusetts. I felt so many connections as she bought a little house of her own and turned it into ‘home sweet home.’ It was truly fascinating as Susan shared her determination, hard work, and the creative path she followed as she grew into an artist and author.

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What a joy to read! So inspiring! During a tea party and book signing in May, I was so grateful for the opportunity to spend a bit of time with Susan again, and to tell her how much this book meant to me. Of all of the wonderful quotations in this book, I shared the one that inspired me the most… and Susan told me that it was her very favorite quotation, too. Kindred spirits!

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Take a peek back at some of the sweetest memories of that very special day with Susan Branch here.

If you click on the Menu bar of our blog, the Tag Cloud will lead you to many of the ways

Susan has been an inspiration in my life!

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Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert, spoke directly to my heart and inspired me to keep practicing even though creativity can feel so scary at times. I revisit so many quotations from this wonderful book often as I meander along this creative journey. 

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Take a peek at the powerful connections I felt as I read Big Magic here.

Although I am always drawn to nonfiction, every so often my heart needs a little ‘escape’ from the news of the world. That’s when I reach for a bit of fiction. Earlier this month, I really enjoyed Debbie Macomber’s new Christmas novel, Twelve Days of Christmas. It’s a delightful holiday story, with a fun blogging twist! 🙂 It is just perfect for making sweet memories…

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It’s been a very busy year of growing and blossoming!

I can’t wait to share my ‘One Little Word’ for 2017 next week.

I began listening for my new OLW in early November. Within just a few weeks, my new word found me.

If you would like to learn more about  ‘One Little Word’ and see how I have used each word, look here and here.

This will be my sixth year of setting my intentions for the New Year, using ‘One Little Word.’

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May the New Year bring you an abundance of joy…

and a grateful heart!

That’s exactly how I feel each time I read your thoughtful comments.

Heartfelt thanks for taking the time to write and share your thoughts with all of us.

With gratitude,

♡ Dawn

                       P.S.  What were your favorite books this year? We’d love to hear about the books that you loved!

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Touched by Magic!

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Hi Friends!

“The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them. The hunt to uncover those jewels – that’s creative living. The courage to go on that hunt in the first place – that’s what separates a mundane existence from a more enchanted one. The often surprising results of that hunt – that’s what I call Big Magic.”

~ Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic

A true ‘jewel’ of a book has touched my heart and soul. It’s the kind of book that had me in tears  as I read, for it spoke so much about the creative path that I am following during this exciting chapter of life! Perhaps this wonderful book is also on your stack of books to read…

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After a very long waiting list at the library, my turn to explore the magic of creativity finally arrived. It was a double-blessing to check out both the book and the audio book of Big Magic at the same time. What a joy to hear Elizabeth Gilbert’s passion as she read to me, while I followed along, adding sticky notes to the passages that inspired my creative heart.

Liz Gilbert shared the reasons why it can feel so scary to take risks as we create. Whether you are a papercrafter,  a watercolorist, a quilter, a glass-blower, a writer, a composer, a poet,… any kind of artist at all,  Liz helps us understand how “Your fear will always be triggered by your creativity.” As I read, I filled a journal with quotes and connections to her powerful inspiration.

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Now I truly understand why it can be so hard to go downstairs to my ‘Paper Garden’ studio to begin a new project. Liz encourages us…

“Work with all your heart, because – I promise – if you show up for your work day after day after day after day, you just might get lucky enough some random morning to burst right into bloom.”   

~ Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic

 

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Now I can understand why, on some days, all creatives feel like we have lost our mojo. We have the time to create, a dedicated space to be messy, and wonderful supplies at hand. In spite of these many blessings, we just don’t feel creative. On those days, I can only look through my paper, paints, ink, and stamps as I wait for my inspiration to return.

Liz reminds us…

“The most important thing to understand about eudaimonia, though – about that exhilarating encounter between a human being and divine creative inspiration – is that you cannot expect it to be there for you all the time. It will come and go, and you must let it come and go.” 

~ Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic

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Liz encourages us all to look back through our family history to find the makers that we come from. So true! I come from a long line of makers. As I grew up, I watched the joy and hard work of my parents as they worked with with their hands and hearts. My mom made a beautiful quilt, colorful stained glass pieces, handmade pottery, sewed our clothes, baked the most wonderful cookies and cakes, and tended her lovely rose gardens. My dad built our bedrooms upstairs and our family room downstairs, restored several antique cars, and designed Lionel train layouts. Even today, their creative passions add joy to their days. My Aunt Gilda, with an advanced degree from The Art Institute of Chicago, found joy as she worked with pen and ink, as a sculptor, painter, quilter, and calligrapher. (One day, I promise to share more about these amazing, creative makers who have been a source of lifelong inspiration to me! ♥) From time to time, I’m sure they all felt the same creative fears that I feel. It’s all a part of the magic!

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Especially this year, as I strive to ‘blossom’ (my ‘One Little Word’ 2016) by bravely sharing my artwork and taking part in creative Challenges that stretch my skills,…  I can feel the magic happening! It gives me the courage to keep sharing. I feel so blessed to gather with other makers at our monthly papercrafting Crop Days. It feels so inspiring to spend time with my creative ‘tribe.’

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Liz celebrates makers of all ages…

“If you are older, trust that the world has been educating you all along. You already know so much more than you think you know. You are not finished; you are merely ready.” 

~ Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic

Even though it’s hard work and can feel scary at times, I feel so ready ~ ready to learn, ready to grow, ready to blossom! I am so grateful to all of the creatives online who teach and inspire me each day. (You might like to check out my Inspiration links in the blog header.)  They shared Big Magic with me… and I couldn’t wait to share Big Magic with you!

♥  Beginning this week, Big Magic is available in paperback, too.

♥  I absolutely loved the audio book of Big Magic! There is nothing like hearing the passion in an author’s voice as she reads her inspiring words aloud to you!

♥  After publishing Big Magic, Liz wanted to continue the conversation about creativity. Her delightful podcasts, ‘Magic Lessons,’ are “roadmaps to creativity and the little nudge we all need when we feel stuck creatively.”  I enjoyed all 12 wonderful episodes from Season 1. Now Season 2 of ‘Magic Lessons’ is already underway.  Check out the ‘Magic Lessons’ podcasts!

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Yes, I have truly been touched by magic…

and I look forward to sharing more connections to the inspiration and lessons

I’ve learned from Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic

 I’ve only just begun to blossom! ♥

“All I know for certain is that this is how I want to spend my life – collaborating to the best of my ability with forces of inspiration that I can neither see, nor prove, nor command, nor understand. It’s a strange line of work, admittedly. I cannot think of a better way to spend my days.”      

~ Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic

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Hope you will join in the conversation here!

Have you read Big Magic?

Do any of these quotes from the book touch your creative heart?

 

Be awesome today!

♡ Dawn

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