Cold Hands, Warm Hearts!

Hi Friends!

“Snow makes whiteness where it falls,

The bushes look like popcorn balls.

Snow-covered evergreens

The places where I always play,

Snowy scallops on the white picket fence

Look like somewhere else today!”

(Credit:”First Snow” by Mary Louise Allen)

My ‘History Garden’ casts shadows in winter.

We woke up on Monday to blue skies and sunshine… finally! Early in the morning, I bundled up and went for a long-awaited walk through my Winter garden. Very slowly, I trudged through the deep, glittery snow, several inches higher than my warm boots.

We had measurable snowfall every day for nine consecutive days, from February 3rd through the 11th. It truly looked like we were living in a snow globe! 🙂  Each day as I peeked through our lace curtains, while sipping tea from a favorite antique teacup, the snowflakes danced over my garden like Winter’s butterflies. Many times, I reached into my special ‘Basket of Sunshine’ for an extra dose of coziness during our long stretch of snowy days.

Glittery snowflakes falling in a shaker card

Shoveling snow became my daily ‘workouts,’ often shoveling two or three times a day. Traditionally, my husband prefers the ease of a snowblower, while I prefer the peaceful sounds of a shoveling meditation. As I slowly scoop the snow from the sidewalks, I always take time to quietly enjoy our Wintertime shadow garden. Every year, I intentionally leave the tall stems and dried flower heads of my perennials standing, providing seeds and nesting materials for our feathered friends throughout the Winter months. Seeing these dried souvenirs in my flower beds always fills my heart with warm, sunny memories of happy days in the garden last Summer.

Winter snowfalls also provide nice visits with our neighbors, a quick wave or a brief chat, as we shiver together. Neighbors helping neighbors has always been an important part of the quiet street where we live. As a young homeowner when I moved here thirty-one years ago, I loved being the secret “snow angel” often helping my older neighbors. Years passed, and now we have become the grateful recipients of help with our snow.  We are so thankful for our neighbor, Ralf, who loves to help out with his enormous snowblower! Ours is tiny by comparison. During this snowy stretch, we also had a “secret snowman” who cleared our sidewalks and long driveway on two different days to surprise us! Such kindness is truly heartwarming and always so appreciated! 🙂

While the snowflakes tumbled down outside, it was the perfect time for some creative hours inside. I enjoyed playing with tiny Art Impressions Watercolor stamps and watercolor markers to practice some watercolor vignettes. At first, it was fun to create snowy scenes. However, as the snowflakes fell outside day after day, my my heart yearned to create tiny, sunny gardens.

Although it is very chilly in my little Paper Garden studio during the Winter months, I still bundle up and carry hot tea downstairs to make one or two cards at a time. This week, I have been creating floral cards to warm hearts of family and friends. Doing a bit of ‘gardening’ with paper and ink definitely warms my heart, too!

A lifelong letter writer, I have also been warming my heart by putting pen to paper. In quiet celebration of International Correspondence Writing Month (#InCoWriMo2018), I am enjoying writing long letters to dear friends. What a pleasure to decide who to write to, choose some pretty stationery from my desk drawer, and to fill a page or two with the breathings of my heart! I have also chosen a few names and addresses from the long list of international letter writers on the InCoWriMo 2018 website. I’m planning to write a few surprise letters! I chose someone who lives in my favorite little town in Wisconsin, someone in Ireland (a place I dream of visiting), someone in Paris (J’adore Paris!), and someone who has been such an inspiration for my journal writing.

All of my letters sent within the United States will carry a very special postage stamp. The Alzheimer’s semipostal stamp helps to raise awareness of this heartbreaking disease. Each Alzheimer’s stamp costs 65 cents and will help raise funds for the work that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is doing to help those suffering with this disease. This cause is very near and dear to my heart and it would mean so much to me if the friends of our blog would purchase the Alzheimer’s stamps at their local post offices. This new semipostal stamp will be available for two years. All of those small donations will make a difference in so many lives!

All of the special people who gather here

to read each post

and share their thoughts

definitely warm my heart!

This little Valentine

is especially for you!

Thanks so much for stopping to visit today!

Warmest hugs,

♡ Dawn

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Making Memories…

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Hi Friends!

It was the perfect, little getaway…  and I had been looking forward to going for many weeks! Packing required a great deal of thought. I wanted to bring everything I might need: a paper trimmer, watercolor paper, watercolor markers, stamps, paintbrushes, a big bottle of water… and of course, my camera!

It was my very first papercrafting Crop Day, and I was truly excited! Although I didn’t really know what to expect, I knew that I would meet kindred spirits there. I knew it would be the perfect place to connect with other papercrafters, share creative ideas, and celebrate this special passion we have for sharing handmade kindness.

Entering the large meeting room at our public library, I found long tables, great music playing, the library’s collection of die cutting tools and stamps… and some of my favorite papercrafting friends. Smiles and hugs started the day off right! Of course, we started moving the long work tables close together, so that we could share, and welcomed the familiar faces as they arrived.

Crop Fun

Twelve ‘happy crafters’ gathered for six wonderful hours, making time to work on our hobbies together. Everyone brought their own supplies and ideas for their projects. Within moments, we were all busily working on handmade treasures. Our creative crafters worked on beautiful birthday banners, colorful cards, special bunting, and the most amazing scrapbooks and mini albums.

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It was also a perfect time to spread out and organize photos,

while making plans for new scrapbooking projects.

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I worked on small, stamped watercolor paintings,

blissfully happy to be ‘blossoming’ in new ways!

While we worked, we talked and listened, shared ideas and supplies,

helped and encouraged one another,

and laughed a lot.

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As we worked with our hands and hearts,

using simple tools,

my thoughts wandered back to simpler ‘thymes’

when women gathered for quilting bees and sewing circles.

It’s so important to connect with a community of kindreds,

who can share, encourage, support, and

inspire one another.

Although we began working quietly,

before long happy chatter filled the room.

Wonderful new friendships grew that day.

Our six hours together flew by much too quickly!

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As we shared our projects and began to pack up our supplies,

we all had the very same thoughts…

“Wouldn’t it be amazing to have another Crop Day at the library?”

So, we each wrote our ideas and dropped our notes off at the ‘Compliments’ desk.

(That’s what I call the friendly, Welcome desk

where I often stop to write happy compliments about the incredible people who work at our library!)

I’m delighted to report that another Crop Day is planned for March 5th!

We can hardly wait!

We hope that even more papercrafters will join us

for another day of memory keeping and memory making!

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February is the perfect month to celebrate friendship! 

So, I’ve been spending many happy hours in my little Paper Garden creating tiny Valentines.

My papercrafting friends might be curious about the I supplies used:

Paper:  Canson Watercolor paper, Recollections cardstock

Ink: Marvy Le Plume II watercolor markers, water, #4 round paintbrush,  Versafine Onyx Black ink, Colorbox Gold pigment ink

Stamps: Art Impressions watercolor sets ~ Flower set, Foliage set, WC Containers set; sentiment ~ Honey Bee Stamps

Dies:  Papertrey Ink Tag Sale: Quilted Die

Adhesives:  ATG, Tombow Mono Multi

Twine ~ K & Company

Listening to:  Great Oldies on the radio

Feeling: Blessed by so many dear friendships!

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There is nothing like ‘gardening’ indoors on a cold winter’s day!

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The sweetest moments for me, as always,

are mailing off my cards,

 sharing handmade kindness

with family and friends,

near and far.

♡♡

Do you gather with others to share your hobbies?

Hope you will share…

Sending paper hugs!

♡ Dawn