Inspired by Nature… Created by Hand

Hi Friends!

Happy Autumn! (Happy Spring!) I hope you are feeling well and are safe from all of the wild weather as the seasons change. Our weather suddenly changed from hot and humid to delightfully cool just in time for the equinox!

My Midwest cottage garden is flourishing again after several rainy days. The perennials are showing off their white, yellow, pink, and purple blossoms. The herbs seem to have doubled in size overnight!

For the past week, however, I have only been able to hobble through the garden a few, short times. I fractured a bone in my left foot and will be spending the coming weeks wearing an orthopedic shoe while the broken bone heals. My foot definitely lets me know whenever I have taken a few too many steps! Ouch!😢

Time in the garden has always filled me with creative inspiration while healing my heart and soul. No wonder that the garden is my favorite place to be! Nature’s colors, patterns, and shapes inspire my use of inks, papers, stamps, dies, watercolors, and more…

Bunnies are always welcome to nibble the clover, Creeping Charlie, and wild violets from our ‘meadow’ lawn. Recently, a few bunnies have been visiting my little Paper Garden studio downstairs, too.


Gratitude + Tag dies (Papertrey Ink)
Bunny stamp + die (Colorado Craft Company)
Rudbeckia ‘Herbstsonne’ attracts so many pollinators! I refill the nearby bee bath daily to encourage the busy pollinators to linger in the garden.

The pollinators have been so busy in the garden all Summer long. They have been making an appearance on my handmade cards recently, too.

Honey Bees dies + Honeycomb Corners die (The Greetery)
Sentiment stamp (Papertrey Ink)

What could be sweeter than using a dried ‘Annabelle’ Hydrangea blossom, in place of a bow, on a gift for a dear gardening friend?💕

Oh, how the bees love the blossoms of Obedient Plant and Sedum ‘Autumn Joy.’

Our ‘Hidcote’ Lavender in bloom inspired me to add Lavender stems to handmade cards. I even tucked a few paper stems inside each card!

BotanCuts Lavender + Garden Gear: Gloves dies (The Greetery)
Seed Catalog background stamp (The Greetery)

Do you wear garden gloves? I always wear them while I play in the garden and somehow, I still get muddy hands.😉

These lovely Hollyhocks are blooming along my neighbor’s fence. We look forward to sharing our Hollyhock seeds with one another soon!
BotaniCuts Hollyhocks dies (The Greetery)

I’m really looking forward to harvesting herbs in the coming weeks. I’m going to experiment with an easy, very clever way to dry a few of the herbs. (I’ll report back soon.😊) Herbal inspiration is already on its way to my Paper Garden studio!

Just the other day, as I hobbled past our ‘Autumn Blaze’ Red Maple tree, I spotted the first red leaf nestled in the grass. Very soon, there will be watercolored leaves in my sketchbook and miniature twig wreaths created with ink and paper in the studio. I’m also dreaming of tiny, paper, patchwork quilts! So cozy!

Nurturing my ‘inner second grader‘ helps my creative spirit to blossom!🌸

Last week, I began my fourth consecutive Creative Cluster book study for The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron. Over the next twelve weeks, our large group of artists from all disciplines will continue to grow as we travel along our creative paths. It feels like such a blessing to nurture our creativity in community with so many talented artists seeking joy!

You might enjoy the Artists for Joy podcast, with Merideth Hite Estevez, our very talented facilitator/coach/musician/writer/friend! (You can find it wherever you listen to podcasts. Always inspiring!)

🌻Thank you so much for visiting today!

What excites you most with the change of season?

🌻Hope you will share with all of us in the Comments!

Perennially yours,

💗 Dawn

Creative Growth

Hi Friends!

The month of May has always been my happiest month in the garden. I just love watching the daily growth in my perennial and herb gardens. Last week, I took great delight in planting containers of annuals for our front porch and added a few tender herbs to my Herb & Tea garden. Our abundance of rainy days blessed the garden… and the gardener!

On the days when Mother Nature was watering my garden, I retreated to my little Paper Garden studio downstairs. It has been necessary to intentionally plan small, daily steps to nurture my creative growth for quite a while now. In The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron stresses the importance of ”filling the well” to help artists who feel creatively blocked. It was most definitely time to fill my creative well. Little-by-little, step-by-step Springtime arrived in the Paper Garden, too!

On the first day of my special project, I spent hours happily die cutting, layered stamping, and adding highlights with Prismacolor pencils. After several hours, colorful tulips filled my art table. Over the following days, baby’s breath, pussy willows, and cherry blossoms emerged. Ahhh, Springtime! With no pressure to design, the pure joy of creating began filling my creative well… and my heart!

All of these stamps and dies are from The Greetery.

With tiny pots full of Springtime blossoms, it felt almost like being in a flower shop choosing stems to create a bouquet for someone very special. Oh, what fun to clip together tiny paper bouquets! No stress, just pure joy!

Then it was time to fill my tender heart in a very special way…

Mother’s Day was coming… and this would be my very first Mother’s Day without my dear, sweet mom, Darlene. I just knew that Mom would love my plan! I could feel her smile.💕 This May, I decided to celebrate three very special young moms who have become such an important part of my life.

Especially for Ada’s mom 💗

I have known Ada’s mom for a very long time!! She was a student in my first grade class and my second grade class so long ago! For several years, she would come back to help me during her recess time. For many Summers, I looked forward to a very special picnic with her family. During her college years, Ada’s mom would drive over to visit us. She enjoyed picking her favorite ‘tea’ leaves from our Herb & Tea garden and sipping tea together on our front porch swing. My husband and I felt so honored to be guests at her wedding! Ada’s mom now works as a speech pathologist and spends her days helping seniors with Alzheimer’s and other speech therapy needs. She is also working on her PhD in clinical speech pathology. This month, Ada’s mom celebrated her first Mother’s Day! I look forward to meeting little Ada very soon.💗


Especially for Elijah’s mom 💗

Elijah’s mom has been a very special part of our family for three years already. In fact, she is in many of our treasured family photos! She works so hard with everyone at the senior living community where my dad lives. She loved my mom and my mom loved her! Elijah’s mom helps everyone living there feel right ‘at home’ each day. She is always so cheery, whether she is busy at her desk, helping serve meals in the dining room, or running to someone’s apartment to help out. I love to hear stories about Elijah’s day in kindergarten, his current favorite activities, and their family celebrations. Elijah’s mom and I have become ‘sisters.’ (I always dreamed of having a sister.) My ‘sister’ always brightens my day… and gives the biggest hugs! 💗

Especially for Emerson’s mom 💗

I have only known Emerson’s mom for a few short months, yet she has become a true blessing in my life! We are most definitely creative, kindred spirits. Emerson’s mom is the Bereavement Coordinator for the hospice that helped my mom so much last September. When I reached out for grief counseling for my tender heart following the sudden loss both of my brothers to Covid and my sweet mom to an unexpected medical issue, Emerson’s mom entered my life. Her extensive education, experience as a chaplain, and work in the fields of bereavement and spirituality enable her to help children through seniors who are grieving the loss of loved ones. We both enjoy sharing our thoughts and creativity with one another. When I asked her for homework assignments, she began suggesting truly meaningful activities that tap into my creativity in so many ways. I love hearing about her family life and seeing photos of Emerson! She just celebrated her second Mother’s Day! Emerson’s mom and I have been meeting together via Zoom, but we are both looking forward to meeting in person in June. I truly look forward to our growing friendship in the years to come! 💗

How do you fill your creative well when you have difficulty getting started on a project or hobby that you love?

Hope you will share with us!

Wishing you healthy, happy Springtime (or Autumn) days!

Take time to nurture your tender heart, too.💗

Perennially yours,

💗Dawn

Sending Love…

Hi Friends!

Change is in the air. Can you feel it, too?

On the first weekend of October,

I always look forward to slipping off my gardening gloves

and heading downstairs to my little Paper Garden studio.

It’s time to celebrate… and get inky!

Although I worked alone in my craft studio on Saturday, it felt heartwarming to know that paper crafters across the globe were also experimenting, growing, and having fun in their creative spaces! It was a treat to chat with a dear friend as she worked in her craft loft. Cardmakers just love to discuss very important things… like ink, paper, stamps, dies, stencils, and all the tools we use. 😉

My little papercrafting studio is not fancy at all, but everything in my creative space inspires me! Rustic, antique boxes hold my supplies and meaningful artwork decorates the walls. Dried flowers and herbs from my cottage perennial gardens hang from all the ceiling rafters. It truly is my Paper Garden!

Oldies were playing on the radio on Saturday morning as I happily selected stamps, dies, paper, and ink. I was excited to have a whole day devoted to this heartwarming hobby! To celebrate World Cardmaking Day, I decided to create with favorite supplies from The Greetery.

The Greetery released their first collection in April 2019. This new company already has a large following of devoted papercrafters! We have been enjoying Betsy’s designs for many years. So very proud of her! ♥

I love everything about this new, family business owned by designer, Betsy Veldman. All of the products are made in the U.S.A. Betsy’s philosophy at The Greetery ~ Where Making and Giving Meet truly mirrors my own heart! Betsy says, “What better way to provide meaning and purpose for our creative endeavors than to be able to bless others through handmade cards and gifts!”

Our orders from The Greetery always arrive quickly, wrapped as gifts. Several of Betsy’s gorgeous, layered stamp designs are created from her own watercolor paintings. Multi-layered stamping allows us to create a watercolored look on our cards, tags, and gifts.

At The Greetery, Betsy thoughtfully designs a new collection every other month. It’s fun to choose unique stamps, dies, and stencils that are ‘just my style.’ I love carving out a bit of time to experiment with these supplies and savor the time spent creating special cards for loved ones. This feels very comforting and nurturing… a bit of an oasis the fast-paced papercrafting industry where new supplies are typically released every month!

I’ve been having great fun experimenting with Distress Oxide inks and favorite stamps from The Greetery’s “Get Cozy, Get Crafty” collection. Aren’t these the perfect stamps for my little Paper Garden? It’s beginning to feel like Autumn in the studio already!

Just playing with sprigs of bittersweet, eucalyptus, and wheat to fill vintage bottles in the Paper Garden!

It’s so lovely that the design elements from all of The Greetery collections work just beautifully together. Betsy’s videos always offer helpful, creative tips for using her stamps, stencils, and dies. She has a very talented Inspiration Team who share unique ways to use all of The Greetery’s stamps, stencils, and dies. If you are curious to see more from The Greetery, take a peek at their inspiring ‘Lookbooks.’

During this extra-busy season in my life,

I felt so blessed to have a whole day devoted to creativity! ♥

‘Bottled Up’ and ‘Budding Beauties: Autumn’  stamps/dies from The Greetery

 

‘Just Mason Around’ and ‘Budding Beauties: Autumn’ stamps/dies from The Greetery ♥ ‘Words to Live By: Gratitude’ stamps/dies (designed by Betsy Veldman) for Papertrey Ink

 

‘Just Mason Around,’ ‘Lemon Blossom,’ and ‘Simple Things’ stamps/dies from The Greetery

 

‘Budding Beauties: Autumn’ stamps/dies, ‘Halfsies Oval’ die, and ‘Knit Wits’ stencil from The Greetery

 

‘Simple Things’ stamp/die from The Greetery ♥ ‘Penned Elegance’ and ‘Scallop Stackers: Small’ die from Papertrey Ink

As World Cardmaking Day came to an end, I couldn’t resist a bit of stamped watercoloring using Art Impressions Watercolor stamps. They are among my very favorite cardmaking supplies! Artist Bonnie Krebs designs tiny, natural elements, garden containers, arbors, birdbaths, fences, gates, buildings, cobblestones, and so much more. I met Bonnie a few years ago at a stamping event in Arizona and spent hours watching her create the most wonderful, little, watercolored vignettes. There were tears in my eyes as I watched Bonnie transform a tiny piece of watercolor paper into a work of art! Now I adore stamping blossoms and foliage to fill containers and create little gardens of my very own! 🙂 So relaxing… and the possibilities are endless! ♥  (Take a peek at the You Tube ‘Watercolor Wednesdays’ tutorials!)

Whenever I have a chance to create on-the-go, I always fill my backpack with Art Impressions Watercolor stamps, tiny acrylic blocks, watercolor markers, paintbrushes, and lots of watercolor paper. I have created tiny works of ‘heart’ in so many different places. 🙂 Each time I travel, these tiny supplies always have a special place in my carry-on!

I used watercolor stamps from Art Impressions Watercolor to create the vintage watering can, bookmark, and the watercolor wreath. (below)

World Cardmaking Day helps us to celebrate this wonderful hobby!

I love the chance to experiment and grow in exciting new ways.

I’m so very grateful for all of the wonderful friends

this pastime has brought into my life.

However… my very favorite part of being a cardmaker happens today

as I write heartfelt notes in each card,

add a pretty postage stamp,

and send them off to brighten someone’s day!

It’s all about sending love

Paper hugs,

♡ Dawn

P.S.  Do you still enjoy sending cards? What types of cards do you send most often?

Save

Save

Save

World Kindness Day 2015

DSCN6269

Hi Friends,

Today, as we mark ‘World Kindness Day 2015,’

we have yet another poignant reminder

of the need to help this world

turn much more gently.

♥♥♥

As the news reports

show the latest, tragic acts of terrorism,

our thoughts and prayers are with the people of France.

♥♥♥

When times are difficult,

it always helps me to intentionally focus my thoughts

on

blessings and kindness.

♥♥♥

For most of us, kindness is a lifestyle!

The smallest things we do

can bring us great joy ~

and spread joy at the same time.

Today I spent many blissful hours in my paper crafting studio,

adding the finishing touches to our Thanksgiving cards

and making a few special Kindness cards.

I can’t wait to mail them!

 

DSCN6379

Sentiment ~ ‘Throw kindness around like it’s confetti’

My paper crafting friends might be curious about the supplies I used:

Canson XL watercolor paper

Sentiment: Honey Bee Stamps

Versamark ink, Ranger Sea Foam White embossing powder

Ranger Distress inks: picked raspberry, mustard seed, peacock feathers

Sequins: Neat and Tangled

Recollections 110lb white cardstock

Listening to: Great ‘Oldies’ on the radio

Feeling: So blessed!

♥♥♥

Have you been the recipient of any small acts of kindness this week?

Have you shared handmade kindness?

♥♥♥

I’ll begin… and hope you will jump in to share.

We can focus on small

acts of Kindness

to help ‘make this world turn more gently.’

♥♥♥

While we were out of town this week,

our kind neighbor raked all of our leaves as a sweet surprise!

This afternoon, I surprised him with

a handmade ‘So very Grateful’ bookmark,

 freshly baked cookies

(shaped like maple leaves and oak leaves, of course!)

and hot cocoa.

DSCN6374

♥♥♥

Now it’s your turn to share…

♥♥♥

Have a wonderful November weekend, everyone!

Thank you for stopping to visit today!

Scatter kindness!

♡ Dawn

P.S.   If you are playing along with Jennifer McGuire’s ‘Share Handmade Kindness’ Challenge,

check out this week’s updates here.

Sharing Handmade Kindness

Hi Friends!

Rabbit! Rabbit! What fun to begin a brand new month just filled with possibilities! Here in the United States, November is the time that our thoughts turn to Thanksgiving. Although we won’t celebrate Thanksgiving Day until November 26th, we have an entire month to celebrate our families, friends, those who help us, and even the kindness of strangers.

Today I can’t wait to introduce you to someone that I have admired for so long! Jennifer McGuire is an amazing mother, talented card maker, respected teacher, and thoughtful friend. Her wonderful blog posts and excellent You Tube videos continually help me to grow as a card maker, by inspiring me to try so many new techniques. Jennifer has become a true leader in the world of paper crafting! (Just feel her warmth in this quick video.) One of the reasons that Jennifer shines so brightly is her kindness. Although we have never met, I always think of Jennifer as one of my best ‘crafty friends.’ She makes everyone feel that way!

Throughout the entire month of of November,

Jennifer McGuire is challenging everyone to

Share Handmade Kindness!

This challenge is most definitely ‘my cup of tea.’

Nothing makes me happier than making cards for family, dear friends,

our honored veterans, and our brave, military servicemen and women.

♥♥♥

My happiness is always two-fold…

I just love spending time making a card with one special person in mind.

I think of them the entire time I am designing, die cutting, stamping, and choosing the perfect sentiments.

DSCN4616

For me, the happiest part of all has always been slipping each handmade card

into its envelope, writing the address, and choosing the perfect postage stamp!

It just makes my heart happy!!

I imagine how they will feel when they open their mailbox

to find an envelope

filled with love and kindness!

They will know that someone is thinking of them today.

You never know when such a small gesture just might make someone’s day!

You Are So Loved(Listen to Jennifer… in her own words, in this short video.)

♥♥♥

There are so many other ways we can all  Share Handmade Kindness...

Anything made with the hands and the heart counts!

Handmade Gifts from the Kitchen

A gift from your kitchen always makes someone feel special.

The last of the garden flowers.A bouquet from your garden would certainly brighten someone’s day!

Pinwheel Quilt, One Stitch at a TimeWhat could be sweeter than a little something ‘stitched’ with love?

DSCN4457The simple act of writing a note or a letter is a true gift of the heart!

♥♥♥

I’m sure you’ll agree that the world could use a little more kindness…

♥♥♥

Join the fun this November!

Let’s take on Jennifer’s Share Handmade Kindness Challenge!

I will keep you posted with new details each week…

and you can visit JenniferMcquireInk.com at any time to learn more.

Week 1 (November 2 – 8) will focus on sharing any kind of handmade kindness with friends and family.

Week 2 (November 9 – 15) will focus on sharing any kind of handmade kindness with anyone who works/serves in our community

Week 3 (November 16-22) will focus on sharing any kind of handmade kindness with children.

Week 4 (November 23-29) will focus on sharing any kind of handmade kindness with strangers.

Leave a note on someone’s windshield. Send a card to a favorite blogger. (Yes, that isn’t exactly a stranger, but you likely haven’t met!) Drop off a kind note to the mail lady who was nice to you last time you were there. Anyone! Notes or simple cards are best for this challenge.

Who will you share handmade kindness with this week?

♥♥♥

Scientific research supports the relaxed, happy feelings that makers always feel as we create.

After reading about the health benefits of crafting

in this recent CNN post, “This is Your Brain on Crafting,”

why not head to your favorite crafty space to

Share Handmade Kindness!

Paper hugs!

♡ Dawn

P.S. I’m so happy that you stopped to visit today!

What handmade gifts do you love to share?

What handmade kindness will you share this week?

We can’t wait to hear from you!