Creative Spaces…

The work table in my Studio is a busy, creative space!

The work table in my Studio is a busy, creative space!

Hi Friends!

Oh, the joy! Have you felt it, too? The creative process fills your soul and the hours seem to fly by in just moments. A blissful feeling of pure relaxation just carries you away. Those times when your heart sings with joy as you follow your passions! The more time you spend creating, the more energized you feel.

“Being creative is not a hobby,

it is a way of life.”

Along the way, it seemed that each decade in my life, there was a new creative passion for me!  With great fondness, I remember writing poetry in a precious little notebook when I was very young. In my teens, I loved to sew my some of my own clothes, and would spend hours working on embroidery stitches. There will always be a special place in my heart for those denim shirts and jeans that I passionately embellished, with a needle and colorful embroidery floss.

“Creating means living.”

~ Dejan Stojanovic

In my twenties, calligraphy became my creative passion. Spending hours and hours practicing, learning new lettering styles, and mixing my own ink to match the postage stamps on hand-lettered envelopes. Collecting favorite quotations inspired me to hand letter words of wisdom, lovingly matted and framed, and displayed on my walls. Friends would say, “You can get a college education just reading the all of the quotes, as you climb the stairs to Dawn’s apartment.”

“You can’t use up

creativity,

The more you use,

the more you have.”

~Maya Angelou

As life grew busier, in my thirties, my creative passions took on a more practical flavor. There was endless creativity in my classroom each day, as I strived to meet the learning needs of each young student. Scrapbooks, lovingly created, held our classroom memories of each precious year together. As a new homeowner, with a passion for restoring an old home, I quickly traded my calligraphy pens and inks for a heat gun and scrapers, to restore the woodwork to its original beauty. Flowers and herbs became my ‘ink’ and the garden beds became my ‘paper,’ as I created my cottage gardens. Creative pleasures have brought joy to my days throughout each year.

“Creativity takes courage.”

~ Henri Matisse

Have you felt those creative stirrings that seem to tug on your heartstrings? As the years quickly passed, my need to be creative has grown stronger and stronger. In my ‘Renaissance’ (my special word for Retirement), I have been blessed with more time to explore new creative pastimes. Creating handmade cards, playing with watercolors, and returning to scrapbooking have become new creative joys! I am so excited to explore Art journaling, too!

“Inspiration exists,

but it has to find you working.”

~ Pablo Picasso

Have you ever drooled over amazing Craft Rooms on Pinterest, filled with beautiful, white IKEA furniture? Have you watched the Craft Room Tours on You Tube, with such wonderful storage ideas? There is so much inspiration everywhere! With a great deal of thought and soul-searching, I recently designed a special creative space of my very own. My new papercrafting Studio is just my style ~ simple, old-fashioned, and filled with heart!
It is such a blessing to finally have a real space, dedicated to exploring creativity and being messy! (It’s so much nicer than all of the years I spent working at our dining room table!)  My Studio is not fancy at all… but it feels just perfect! Each day, when creative inspiration strikes, I brew a cup of hot tea and happily head downstairs. It’s chilly in our unfinished basement, but my heart is warmed whenever I walk into my Studio.  I am inspired by the dried flowers and herbs from my garden hanging from the ceiling rafters. Vintage wooden boxes, crocks, and Mason jars hold craft supplies. The furniture, collected over time, holds very special memories for me. A favorite rag rug adds color and warmth. My Studio just feels ‘right’ with the perfect blend of old treasures and lots of new supplies!

The steamer trunk, that held my grandfather’s most important treasures as he moved from Ireland to America so long ago, now stands in the corner of my Studio.

Daylight bulbs in all of the lamps and happy hours spent crafting fill the space with ‘sunshine’ each time I plan a ‘crafternoon’ in the Studio. My favorite, lively music adds to the creative energy. I keep a special journal on my work table to hold a long list of the handmade cards I’ve sent to family and friends, near and far. The ink is barely dry, as I slip the cards into envelopes and mail them off, sending messages of love and happy thoughts.

..

A special red, white and blue box holds handmade cards that will be sent to our deployed military heroes across the globe, through the wonderful organization, ‘Operation Write Home.’  Only the most special cards are added to this box, for they will let our military members and their families know how much we truly appreciate their service and sacrifice… for all of us!

Another favorite, my ‘Inspiration Box,’ holds brand new supplies. Placing my newest stamps, dies, embossing folders, ink, and embellishments in the ‘Inspiration Box’ reminds me to play with them!  After I use these new supplies once or twice, they will be placed in their storage containers. Hopefully, I will remember to use them often as I create.

Whenever I begin a new project, I look in my ‘Inspiration Box’ first, as a reminder to try some new supplies!

Take time to do

what makes your soul happy!

I would love to hear about your favorite creative space!

Is it a rocking chair near a sunny window where you knit? Is it a sewing room stocked with colorful fabric? Is it your busy kitchen filled with your favorite cookbooks? Is it a craft room overflowing with supplies? Is it a loft with a quilt frame and baskets of fat quarters? Is it a sunporch with an easel and a paint palette? Do you find your creative inspiration in peace and quiet, listening to birdsong through an open window, with your favorite music playing, while watching TV, or listening to audio books?  Do you typically craft alone or with a group of friends? Is your creative space neat and tidy or super messy at the moment?

Celebrate your creative life

and all of the joy it brings!

{via Pinterest}

Create something wonderful today!

♡ Dawn

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For the Love of a Letter…

Letters are like visits… when friends are apart!           {via Tumblr}

Hi Friends!

I’ve been thinking about one of my very favorite pastimes today!  As far back as I can remember {and that’s a long time}, I have always loved writing letters. It just fills my heart with happiness to pick out pretty stationery, find a lovely postage stamp, a nice pen, and let the words just flow… straight from my heart! Often I will tuck in a photo or two that hold special memories. Letter writing is one of the joys that has made such a difference in my life!

It has always been my style…

On our family vacations throughout my childhood, I would bravely strike up a conversation with someone my age at the campground or by the swimming pool. Before parting ways, I would often ask them to be pen pals so that we could continue our friendship all summer long. Throughout grade school and high school, I loved writing letters to my French pen pal. Oh, the excitement to find her letters in our mailbox!

It has expanded my world in wonderful ways…

Some of the friendships that I treasure most in life began by writing letters. After a brief meeting in person, my German friends and I watched our friendship blossom through letter writing. We learned patience, as we waited weeks for our letters to cross the ocean and back, with a long-awaited reply.  The anticipation made it ever so exciting!

It keeps hearts close across the miles…

Writing to friends and family in other states always makes the distance between us seem shorter. It is always so heartwarming to discover a Kindred Spirit who also loves to write letters! Oftentimes, our friendships have grown even deeper, through letter writing, after a friend has moved away, Sharing our hearts in handwritten letters, even when friends live nearby, has helped our friendships grow in the most wonderful ways.  Making time to write a real letter, in this age of electronic communication, is a true expression of affection, friendship, and love! The gift of rereading a letter several times multiplies the joy of receiving it.

It is filled with sentimental creativity…

Pretty paper always makes my heart soar! Just choosing the perfect piece of  stationery is part of the charm of the handwritten letter. Once the paper is filled with carefully worded thoughts, it becomes a heartwarming, little gift for a special someone. I also adore sending notes in handmade cards.  Spending time thinking about the recipient while I create their card always feels like a little visit. Letters are like visits… when friends are apart!

There is love in the tiniest details…

At the post office, I always ask to see all of the stamps, just to find the perfect one for the recipient… one they might enjoy. In my Calligraphy days, I would dip my nib into handmade ink colors as I addressed each envelope, to complement the postage stamps. It’s the little things that make my heart happy!

Writing a letter feels so good…

There is even a scientific reason why making time to write a letter or note, even on the busiest of days, makes me feel so happy. This simple act of connecting and bonding with a friend, without any expectation in return, stimulates Oxytocin (the ‘feel good’ hormone) levels in the bloodstream. When our Oxytocin levels rise, it becomes easier to deal with stress. Writing letters is such a healthy, happy pastime!

Letters become real treasures…

Letters document the small moments of our everyday lives in a real, lasting way.  My mom still treasures the weekly letters that my dad sent her while serving in Korea. They are tied with a ribbon, joining two young hearts so long ago. The stories these letters hold are so important to our family. They are a cherished part of our history.

Letter Writing journals held the daily letters that my young students and I exchanged long ago. They each enjoyed writing me a letter in class, while I enjoyed answering their letters at home, while sitting on the porch swing. They shared the important things ~ their families, their pets, their dreams, and their questions. We grew so close, through our daily letters. Over the years, so many students have let me know that they saved their teddy bear Letter Writing journals because they hold the stories of an entire year of their lives! Their letters document an important part of their childhood.

During a recent summer, a young neighbor and I also shared a Letter Writing journal. I would deliver my letter to his mailbox early each morning and he would carefully tuck the journal holding his reply behind the checkerboard on our front porch. (He wasn’t quite tall enough to reach our mailbox!) We both looked forward to our daily letters! Over the summer, this struggling writer discovered that writing is communicating and can be really exciting! We will always be important friends because of the letters we wrote that summer.

Over the years, as my young students have grown up, many still keep in touch. I will always cherish their letters, filled with their everyday stories, important questions, hopes, and dreams. They often write from college, sharing their lives as they grow up. Oh, how these letters touch my heart!

It’s so nice to brighten someone’s day…

During these uncertain times, it is so lovely to send words that someone special can hold onto for years to come. Although weeks or months (or even years) have passed, perhaps there is someone special who would love hearing from you! When they find your letter in the mail, everything just picks up right where you left off. You could write a long, newsy letter to catch up on one another’s lives, send a handmade card with a little note, or write a special thank you letter for a kindness. It’s never too late. Whenever one person writes a letter ~ it makes two hearts happy!

It’s easy to spread sunshine to friends you’ve never met…

"Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart."  ~ Winnie the Pooh

“Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.”
~ Winnie the Pooh

There are many wonderful organizations who welcome your handwritten notes. It’s such a small act of kindness that makes a big difference in the world. Postcrossing is a fascinating way to connect with people from all parts of the world by sending postcards. Writing ‘Any Hero’ letters is an important part of the amazing organization, Operation Write Home.  Letters from American citizens are delivered to American military personnel deployed across the globe. It’s our opportunity to thank them for their service and sacrifice. What a small act of kindness for those who give so much for all of us! Just writing letters, notes, or postcards can make a real difference in the life of someone you might never meet!

It’s the perfect time to write…

‘National Send a Handwritten Letter Day’ will be celebrated on the 17th day of every month in 2015. If everyone writes just one letter, it will support the goals of preserving and honoring the art of the handwritten letter, pumping millions of letters into our struggling postal system, and bringing millions of smiles into the hearts of people from coast-to-coast.

The ‘Happy Mail’ movement encourages everyone to send a card, note, or letter, too. Their goals are to make someone’s day, connect people (and hearts) together, and to save a mail carrier’s job! Just the simple act of writing a letter makes a big difference to everyone who touches the letter ~ you, the person sorting the mail, the person delivering the mail, and the recipient. So much happiness flows from one little letter!

It has been such fun to write Valentine notes and letters this week. ♡

It has been such fun to write Valentine notes and letters this week. ♡

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, once said “Letters are among the most significant memorial a person can leave behind them.” Handwritten letters hold our stories and document our lives in the loveliest of ways. They are best savored with a cup of tea!

“Or don’t you like to write letters?  I do because it’s such a swell way to keep from working and yet feel you’ve done something,” wrote Ernest Hemingway.  That’s so true for me! Writing a letter always feels like playing, rather than working!

Just LOVE to write letters! I'm off to brew a cup of tea...

I will always be a letter writer at heart!

I’m looking forward to writing a long letter to a faraway friend this weekend. Emails are great… but a letter to hold, reread, and save is an extra-special gift of love and friendship! Writing letters is just what I do, and have always done. Sometimes the good, old-fashioned traditions are the best ways!

Hope you will make someone’s mailbox happy… and put a smile in their heart today! ♡

Happy writing!

♡Dawn

P.S.  Are you a letter writer?  Please share your stories, too!  Who would just LOVE to receive a letter from you this week?

{All stamp images ~ USPS}