30 January 2010

I kept my pledge and bought handmade!

This holiday season, as with all others, I pledged to buy all the handmade presents that I could. Those presents that weren't handmade were supplies to promote creativity so I believe I was wholly successful this year. To add to the success, I received some lovely handmade gifts from my family, considering the length of this post, I will bore you with what I received another time. 

Before the holidays were started my youngest nephew turned three. He is quite adorable with full rosy cheeks and I thought he would look even cuter in this adorable silk-screened t-shirt by heather jeany...
orange is his color and he is smitten with it! Here is a little hint, when a little one has a birthday near the holidays, they love to get their presents mailed to them. It makes it even more special, just as his birthday should be.

Since I have mentioned heather jeany, I must share with you the holiday cards that I sent out this year, as she is the creator and made spreading holiday cheer possible.
These were a big hit, especially with Callie's personalized postage on the envelope. 

Most other presents were bought from Craftland. It was hard to work my volunteer hours without finding handmade goodness that I just simply needed to buy. 

First, I bought the sweetest little lady who lives downstairs this giraffe shirt.

This isn't her, it is the photo of the shirt from Sheriff Peanut's website. Their bold images make for adorable t-shirts. The best part was that this cute two year old exclaimed "a zebra!" upon opening the wrapped present. I love the enthusiasm. 

My adorable niece with dark curly hair and grey eyes was given the sweetest little owl shirt. A pink long sleeve tee, perfect for her preference to pinks and purples, with an owl applique made of a patchwork of colorful materials, two shell button "eyes" and some feathery embellishments. I have yet to witness it but I hear from her smitten mother that she looks quite cute in it. Since I am unable to retrieve a photo of this piece of art from the internet I will leave you with their website. Hoosier Magnolia's wares for children are quite lovely.

Keeping on with the ladies in our lives, I bought my niece from Sweden the cutest dress by Sweet Pepita. I tried to get a picture of Freja in it, as she immediately tried it on, however, she also took it off just as quickly. That isn't to say she wasn't smitten!
Since all of these darling creations are one of a kind I wasn't able to get a photo of one in the green that I bought her. I promise, no matter the color, they are all just as cute.

For Freja's mother (aka, my beloved sister-in-law and best friend), I bought her a travel bag to hold soaps and lotions, with the hope that she will use it soon on a return visit. I have just scoured the internet for photos and websites and came up with nothing for Label D, the artisan behind the bag. Trust me, is was simple and pretty, made from lawn chair mesh and detailed with some simple stitches of thread through it. I filled it with some lovely soaps from Whole Foods along with some great finds from TJ Maxx. All luscious smelling, vegan goodness.

My brother-in-law is residing in Sweden but misses Providence dearly so I got him this shirt so he can feel close to home...
It is the Seekonk River Bridge by bit and little bit. It's a Rhode Island thing!

Nephews aged 3 and 4 received the wigwam village.
They are laser-cut wood punch-out kits. The Providence ones went so quickly that I was unable to snag one. Either way, they will have fun putting their own together.

Next time around I will bore you with all the handmade goodness I received for the holidays! 






27 January 2010

Beauty

I have been on hiatus lately and it has been wonderful. We have family visiting from Sweden. This means that I have had two weeks of fun and laughter with my sister-in-law and niece. My brother-in-law and sister-in-law have gone to New York City (I am a bit jealous) and have entrusted me with the care of their curly haired, blue eyed beauty. Considering the language barrier we are getting along quite well. Even Callie has taken to her!

Day one, a large hug!!

Day two, one beauty studying another.

There are so many more photos still on my camera. We have been to the aquarium, science museum, a park, walks, a dairy farm, children's museum and had a huge bake off with gingerbread cookies! 

It was all so much fun and I am loathing Friday, that is the day we travel to the airport and the Swedes return to Sweden. Until then, we pack in all of the fun we can. 

22 January 2010

I'll take it all, please

Since the snow and ice have started to melt into puddles of mud and the ground went from frosty white to brown while still being winter I have decided, I want it all.

In the spring I want to see daffodils, tulips and muscari bursting forth, while other life starts to bud from the ground and trees. Leaves growing while flowers collect energy to burst in the summer, hints of life all about.
(These are tête-à-têtes from my old garden. May I mention that they found their way home with me from Amsterdam...)

Summertime needs to be full of lilies, allium, and growing annuals prepared for the warm sun and long days. Rain should be sparing, just enough for the grass to be green and the flowers to bloom. And, oh, the blue ocean and the smell of the breeze flowing over it. Hhhmmm, that is summer to perfection.
(Some hibiscus I photographed while walking the waterfront in Tiverton, RI.)

In autumn, the still green grass is to be littered with golden, crimson, brown and rust leaves. Well... some leaves need to stay on the trees too. We need some color to spice things up while the days become shorter. Not only are the colors of autumn beautiful, natures preparation for winter is also beautiful. Leaves change color and push from the trees to protect the trees from the winter while they gain strength to grow in the seasons ahead.
(Leaves I stumbled upon on a Providence stroll.)

And for our cold, long winters which brings the nighttime to us sooner, we need some snow to reflect the little sun we have. We need to see some white to wash away the the lack of life in nature. A constant dusting would be perfect. Just enough to accentuate the trees contrasting the bright blue sky and to cover the sandy streets and naked grass or a stone path...
(Stone walkway from another providence stroll.)

I am not asking for much, just to be able to live entirely within the seasons... and to have them change in a snap!

08 January 2010

how is an artisan to choose her sale venues and choose them well?

I thought I had done everything right to ensure a prosperous holiday season. I applied to juried sales and fairs where people contacted me from seeing my work in Boston and had twenty plus years of fairs behind them. In the end, I paid more for my booth at both of the venues than I made. Sadly, I had one venue without a sale at all. I trusted that those in charge of the sales knew who would benefit from their theme and location. Looking back the preparation for the sales was what really let me down. I searched for new displays and designed new earring cards and new price signs. Yes, I am slowly gathering bits and pieces to my new theme and presentation for my fair weather markets in Boston, Mashpee and Providence. But there was just so much build up to be let down, hard.

I will share the best part of one of these markets... the views from the car on the long ride there....


This road in no way proves how long the journey was, just that is was beautiful.


Tree tops are glowing in the sun and still full of snow.

I couldn't believe how clear the roads were compared to the trees that line the highway. But I was grateful for it. 

The sky was such a pretty shade of blue to contrast the white snow. 

After these escapades I decided on my plans for the holiday season of 2010. I will continue where my luck has been, in galleries. And in the spirit of making the holiday season stress free I will be attending all of the sales that I can. Buying all the handmade goodness I can for holiday presents. And diligently taking notes on the venues, noting traffic, buying trends, prices and the quality of work sold. I will then be armed to enter into the 2011 season, knowing it will be successful.  

Has anyone else had the same experience? Or a better one? I would love to know how other artisans fared this season.

One Lazy Friday....

led me to browsing the internet and joining the Slow Readers Book Club, the brainchild of a lovely blog named our.city.lights. This book club isn't specifically for slow readers, as all readers are welcome. The name brings our attention to the speed with which we live our life and spend our downtime. It reminds us to slow down, appreciate life, love and take in all that is around us. Not only is this the perfect theme to a book club but to every tiny bit and piece of our lives. It is based on the slow movement, and now that I have read just a teaser about the slow movement I will now be adding "slowness" to my list of ways to improve the new year.

Aside from this perfectly themed book club there are beautiful buttons to spread the cheer and remind us that books are to be appreciated inside and out. 



Here's to a healthy start to a new year, a new life.

thanks for reading!