The Snug Cheer Within

Hi Friends!

Cold, snowy greetings from the Midwest! May this be the beginning of a year filled with good health, happy times, and new discoveries! I have always loved new beginnings… and look forward to a fresh, energized start each January. For the past six years, I have chosen a word to guide me throughout each new year.  Actually, the word has always chosen me!

This year, for the first time, I was completely blindsided by my word for 2018! As always, early in the Fall I began listening closely for my 2018 word to come into my heart. There it was… and I began seeing objects with my new word everywhere ~ on plates, on hand lettered signs, even linen napkins. This little word was definitely trending! So, I set up a Pinterest board to hold all of the great inspiration. As Winter approached, my heart began to speak very loudly. (Whenever my heart speaks, I always listen!) Each time I imagined this word, I felt stress. The timing was all wrong for this great word. This had never happened to me before!

I remember the exact moment, while sipping tea one December morning and reading this blog post. My 2018 word found me, tickled my soul, and filled my heart with light and joy! Every time I think about this word, I feel excited for all of the new discoveries that await! 🙂 So, it’s finally time to share the word that will guide me all year long…

It’s perfect! It’s inspiring! It’s what I need to do for my health, happiness, and personal growth in the year ahead! That’s exactly how my word should make me feel. So, I instantly switched gears… and danced through the past few weeks just getting started!

First, I knew that it was time to create a special, dedicated space for writing. Many years ago, when we became a family, I happily gave my antique, oak desk to my husband. Now it was time for a quick trip to IKEA! You would have smiled if you saw us, on one of the coldest days of the year, trying to maneuver the large, flat box into our little car, and up the back stairs at home. 🙂 In a true ‘labor of love,’ my sweet husband spent hours and hours assembling my simple, pine desk (with its hundreds of screws). A bouquet of dried Hydrangeas from my garden, a bouquet of watercolor markers, a cup of tea, and an antique quilt on the wall now make this an inspiring place to write each day!

For the new year, I created a Self-Care journal. I wanted a more tangible way to track my workouts, sleep, gratitude, and all of my creative goals. Although my Fitbit Charge 2 stores data, there is just something about hand writing it (in ink) that makes it feel more important to me. (I wonder if I am the only retiree to embrace bullet journaling? *wink*) I chose a Rhodia dot grid journal. The French, ivory vellum paper, by Clairefontaine, is heavenly. My lifelong love for playing with paper and ink is really in high gear now!

After more than a decade away from my mat, I began a new Yoga practice this month. I created a dedicated space to practice in a corner of our living room. A nearby antique, oak bench holds candles to quiet the mind. Just seeing my Yoga mat waiting for me each day makes my heart smile! Yoga was a huge part of my life for several years, before an injury (off the mat) ended my practice. Although I will always be a beginner, being on the mat again makes me feel so alive! This month I am practicing TRUE ‘Yoga with Adriene’ (via You Tube) with a worldwide community of kindred spirits.

This year, I will be rereading Julia Cameron’s inspiring book, It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again (An Artist’s Way Program for Retirees and Other Creative Souls). I am looking forward to using Julia’s four powerful tools again this year: writing Morning Pages, finding creative inspiration in Artist Dates, taking Solo Walks in nature, and Writing Memoir. I am planning to spend one month on each chapter (instead of Julia’s one chapter per week plan), so that I can thoroughly explore each of her 12 themes fully. I have been very fortunate to find a wonderful group of interesting, creative souls who are also reading the same book!

I’m looking forward to many colorful hours in my little Paper Garden studio downstairs this year. Creating handmade cards brings me such joy! My Artist Date this week is a workshop where we will create a mixed media project filled with special memories. Making time to create is so good for the mind, heart, and soul!

Today is the first day of The Daily Marker “30 Day Coloring Challenge.” Kathy has organized several of these fun Challenges encouraging everyone to take a few minutes each day just to color something. Over the years, she has built a warm, friendly, encouraging community of paper crafters who love to create with color. I’ve decided to create thirty tiny, stamped watercolor scenes, using Art Impressions Watercolor stamps. I’m so inspired by the creative work of artist Bonnie Krebs, who designs these tiny stamps!

It was fun to gather all of my supplies in a big basket for today’s kickoff of the “30 Day Coloring Challenge.” This was my Day One watercolor. I will be working with watercolor markers, tiny Art Impressions Watercolor stamps, and a paintbrush in a spiral bound pad of watercolor paper. It will be such fun to create these tiny watercolors ~ just for me!  (Normally, I turn them into cards and mail them off to family and friends right away.) I’m making quick notes alongside each painting so that I can always create another similar scene for a card in the future.

Finally, I’ve filled a big basket with stitching projects ~  pillow cases and tea towels to embroider, supplies to create a penny rug banner, and my first punch needle project. Wintertime always seems just perfect for a warm, snug place to sit, a hot cup of tea, and a colorful project to stitch.  (I think I’m going to need at least six more creative hours in each day!)  🙂

“The snow lies warm as cotton or down upon the window-sill;

the broadened sash and frosted panes admit a dim and private light,

which enhances the snug cheer within.”

~ Henry David Thoreau

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Wishing you peaceful hours

that enhance the snug cheer within you!

Thank you so much for stopping to visit today.

Warm hugs,

♡ Dawn

P.S.  Hope you will share your plans and dreams for 2018 with us!

 

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A Burst of Spring Color!

“The sun was warm but the wind was chill.

You know how it is with an April day.”

~ Robert Frost

Hi Friends!

With the arrival of April rainstorms and warmer temperatures, our Midwest garden is displaying its first burst of color. Gardening season is just beginning here… but garden happiness is in full bloom!  Wherever you live, I hope you can feel the excitement of new beginnings, too!

Springtime is definitely my favorite season in the garden. I can see the changes each day as new foliage emerges from the dark, wet soil. The burst of color from each blossom lights up early Spring garden beds! I love to take slow, daily walks through the garden, just to take note of all of the new growth. On the heels of our cold, snowy Winter, this burst of new growth feels like a miracle. Each Spring, my heart is simply filled with delight!

Come take a peek at the early Springtime colors in our garden this week….

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The garden is all abloom, with tiny bursts of early Springtime blossoms! (Top: Crocus, Daffodil, Crocus; Bottom: Scilla, Miniature Iris, Pulmonaria)

Just last week, hidden beneath a clump of dried leaves, I spotted miniature Iris in full bloom. I couldn’t help doing a ‘happy dance’ right in the garden! Seriously! Day after day, the parade of color has continued ~ Crocus, Daffodil, Scilla, and today I discovered Pulmonaria in bloom.

Beauty is in the details ~ especially in the Springtime!

This week, I wanted to spotlight two of these early Spring bloomers.

They always bring a bright burst of color and it’s really fascinating to watch them grow!

Scilla siberica  {Photo Credit}

A few years ago, I planted several tiny bulbs of the eye-catching blue Scilla siberica (also known as: Siberian squill). Unlike my other Spring flowers, Scilla blooms while it is emerging from the soil. It’s such fun to see a tiny, blue blossom practically touching the soil. Growing to 8 inches in height, Scilla lifts its bloom as it grows. Within a few days, the blue, star-like flowers are dancing in the April breeze!

Pulmunaria officinalis  {Photo Credit}

For many years, I have enjoyed growing Pulmonaria officinalis (Common name: lungwort) in my garden. This shade-loving plant grows happily beneath our towering pine trees. It spreads very slowly from the original clump and thrives in soil rich with organic matter. I am always fascinated by the pink and blue flowers growing on the same stem in early Spring. Cutting off the leaves immediately after the bloom time encourages new white-speckled leaves to grow.

This Spring celebrates my 28th year of gardening happiness! It warms my heart to look back on all of the changes in my garden over the years. The ‘seasons’ of my gardening life have brought big changes to my gardening style. I learned to garden by planting flats of annuals, providing bright, season-long color throughout the garden. Neat and tidy, growing in staggered rows, annuals filled my border beds with instant color. Annuals were a perfect choice for a brand new gardener!

When I began visiting our Wednesday farmer’s market, I would treat myself to a new perennial each week. Before long, my neat, tidy annual beds evolved into old-fashioned perennial cottage gardens. What could be sweeter surrounding a cozy 1922 Bungalow? I adored the crowded, old-fashioned look of big, beautiful blossoms all tumbling together in my garden beds. There were so many flowers filling my collection of vases, that I began using stoneware crocks and pitchers to display the garden blossoms!

After several years of happily growing cottage gardens, my style changed again. I wanted to enjoy the beautiful form and unique foliage of each of my perennial charmers. I think I spent that entire summer digging ~ dividing and moving the perennials to different parts of the garden, allowing space to walk amongst the flowers. I made repeated trips to the garden center to buy bags of mulch, stacking six bags of mulch into my small car each time. Ahhhh, it felt wonderful to have room to breathe in my cottage gardens.

This long journey has been brimming over with garden happiness!  My garden teaches me wondrous, new things every day. I truly love my perennial, cottage-style beds. Now I enjoy them so much more, with freshly mulched paths, encouraging me to walk through the garden admiring each individual plant. On Summer mornings, you will often find me walking amongst the blossoms, with my snips, and a basket filled with flowers. It is so exciting when the gardener grows…  along with the garden!

Garden happiness will be in full bloom soon.

It all begins with a burst of Spring color!

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What is your favorite gardening style? How have your gardens evolved over the years?

Thanks so much for stopping by today. I always enjoy our visits in the garden!

Scatter sunshine!

♡ Dawn

Welcoming a Brand New Year!

 

 

Are you ready to welcome a brand new year?  {via Pinterest}

 

Hi Friends!

The week between Christmas and New Year’s Day has always been one of my favorite weeks of the year! I look forward to the quiet time to remember, reflect,… and dream. This week, I have been documenting our family stories, Christmas traditions, and new holiday ideas in our ‘Christmas Memories‘ Keepsake Book, beautifully handlettered and watercolored by Susan Branch. Each book holds five years of precious family memories… and we are already on our second volume! (Sadly, this book is currently out-of-print. Hopefully, if we all encourage Susan, she will reprint more copies. Hint. Hint. We really need them!) ♡

Looking ahead to a New Year filled with possibilities!

‘Christmas Memories’ holds our stories, traditions, and favorite photos from each holiday season. It’s so much fun to look back and reflect on how we have changed… and all of the special traditions that keep our family strong and full of love year after year!

Many people are busy thinking about New Year’s Resolutions this week. Not me… A few years ago, I discovered something special that works oh-so-much better for me. I used to make several Resolutions each year, but after the ‘honeymoon’ period, my Resolutions were quickly forgotten. For a few years, I decided to set New Year’s Intentions instead. Although I worked hard on my Intentions for a slightly longer time, they also seemed to disappear while the winter snow still covered our garden.

{via Pinterest}

For the past three years, my life has been enriched so much by One Little Word.  Have you heard about this idea?  It’s very simple… and it really holds the power to make meaningful change in our lives!  Each year, around the beginning of December, I can feel a tugging at my heartstrings, reminding me that it is time to find my One Little Word for the new year. Sometimes I choose the word, but most often, the word chooses me!  I spend lots of time thinking about the One Little Word that will become a real catalyst for the year ahead. (Sometimes, I have even looked in a thesaurus to find the exact word that I need.) As soon as I find the perfect word for me, my heart lets me know right away!  About two weeks ago, my One Little Word for 2015 found me. I’m ready now… and it’s a wonderful feeling to begin the new year ready to soak up all of the possibilities that lie ahead.

{via Pinterest}

One Little Word was developed by Ali Edwards in 2006. I have always admired Ali Edwards as a true leader in the Memory Keeping industry. Ali believes that words are at the heart of memory keeping. It all makes perfect sense to me! Ali encourages people to create something to make their One Little Word visible every day. Some people decide to create a scrapbook about their One Little Word, while others simply display their word on a Post-It note where they will see it every day. I fall somewhere in between. Although I have not participated in Ali’s year-long workshop {yet}, the One Little Word concept still works really well. Each year, I find simple, creative ways to make my One Little Word visible.

Ali Edwards is the best one to explain the concept of One Little Wordin her own words:

One Little Word ~ by Ali Edwards (Please click on the video.)

Choosing One Little Word has truly impacted the path I am following through my early years of retirement. So, I thought I would share my One Little Word choices from the past three years. Focusing on one word every day throughout the year has been so powerful in learning more about who I am and who I am becoming

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One Little Word 2012

Every single day during that exciting year, I intentionally reminded myself to Breathe in and Breathe out.

Whether a huge change in my life felt scary, overwhelming, or joyous ~

just focusing on breathing really helped me!

{via Pinterest}

 

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One Little Word 2013

 Every day that busy year, I strived for Grace in my life, rather than perfection.

So often, just saying out loud, “I choose Grace,” helped me make the right decision!

{Artwork: Emily Ley}

 

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One Little Word 2014

Every day this amazing year, I have been counting my Blessings… out loud.

(Perhaps you have heard me!)

{via Pinterest}

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Now a brand new year awaits!

 I’m very excited about my One Little Word for the new year…

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My new One Little Word for 2015.

 Throughout each day, I will strive to be present ~ mindful of each moment,

taking it in with all of my senses.

Imagine the possibilities of stepping away from the busyness of our days

to learn from the moments that are often missed!

This might be my most challenging One Little Word, so far…

{via Pinterest}

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One very special part of focusing on One Little Word every day of the year is that it your word truly becomes a part of who you are.  Very often, I still think about my past Little Words, as they continue to help me grow.  Breathe, Grace, and Blessings all still speak to me each day.  The beauty of One Little Word is that it applies to our health, wellbeing, family, career, dreams,… really every aspect of our lives.  What a powerful way to enrich our path through life!

Ali Edwards shares a long list of One Little Words that people have sent her over the years. If you are considering choosing One Little Word of your own for the first time, listening to this list might generate some very helpful ideas.

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Although I really look forward to taking Ali’s One Little Word workshop one day, in the meantime I still find many creative ways to make my One Little Word visible each day. Pinterest is just filled with beautifully illustrated quotations. In the past, I have handlettered and framed my word and spelled it out with Scrabble tiles. This year, I will create some mixed-media projects to display. I’m also going to create bunting that spells out all of my past words. It would be such fun to have them hanging in my Studio space. What a wonderful reminder of the ways I am growing! You will find your own unique ways to make your word visible every day!

Can’t wait to hear your thoughts about your own New Year’s Resolutions or choosing One Little Word for the New Year!  Hope you will share with us…

Happy New Year to All!

Wishing you a New Year filled with wonderful possibilities!   {Artwork: Whimsy Studio}

Be happy!

♡ Dawn

New Beginnings!

 

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Iris Reticulata were the first to bloom this Spring!

Hi Friends!

Springtime is just filled with new beginnings! Tiny, green shoots are emerging in the garden after a very long winter. Early Spring flowers brighten each day! So many new techniques are helping me grow as a cardmaker. The small moments of each day are the perfect times to enjoy the quiet, simple joys of life ~ a cup of tea, a long letter from a friend, a lovely quilt, or the time worn patina and stories of a treasured antique.

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Daffodils are like rays of sunshine in the Springtime!

 

 

 

 

This Spring also celebrates my first steps as a new blogger! It has been such fun to create a little place where kindred spirits can gather, learn, and share. I look forward to sharing my love of gardening, paper crafting, and the simple pleasures that make life sweet.

 

Come visit often! I hope each post will feel like a letter from a friend… and that you will leave a little comment.   I look forward to hearing from you!

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