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31 December 2009

The Stroke of Midnight


Today we all stand in between the past and the future. We have now become the sum of the year behind us as well as all the years before it. We are a year older, perhaps a year wiser; we have accomplished some things and still have much left to do; we have laughed til our sides ached; and we have cried in fear, anger, or sadness.

Dearests - happy, happy new year! May you have three hundred and sixty five magical days filled with grand, beautiful things!

I wish you love and hope and courage and laughter and adventure and many sweet, wonderful moments! I hope that your year is filled with possibility and opportunity, and that you act on both without the fear of failure. I hope that you spend lots of time with those that you love and with those that love you.

I wish you sunny days and snowy days, green leaves and fireflies, picnics and puddles to jump in and the ocean to calm you; stars to twinkle and make you wonder. I wish for you to know that you are deeply, deeply loved, and to know beyond a doubt that you are an irreplaceable and incredibly significant being, no matter how itsy-bity you may feel.

I hope that you learn and that you always strive to grow and become and be a better person; that you give back to the world everything you can; and that you are able to find Beauty and Love and truly marvelous things in your every day!

Tonight marks a new beginning, and "the first day of the rest of your life". What will you fill January 1st with?

30 December 2009

Beautiful Sparkling Newness

Art journal spread made by me, 29 Dec

I simply love beginnings! Looking ahead, the world sparkles with newness and opportunity - anything is possible.

Another year of our lives will soon have passed! It is by these moments - minute by minute, month by month, year by year, that we grow older and the end of our lifetime draws closer. I know that my year could have been much fuller - what about yours? I intend to make up for that this year and have 2010 bursting at the seams next December.

Though I have never made resolutions (strict, quantifying goals are just too hard for me to keep), I have made three promises to myself for the start of this new decade. I will remind myself of them often and if I stumble or falter, I will simply try harder.

This year, I will take better care of my body.
This year, I will create more.

This year, I will take risks and this year, it will be okay if I fail.

If you want to welcome more
creativity in the new year, too, I've gathered some ideas below. Two things I want to make: a hand-knit sweater and a travel companion!

* Keep a daily, weekly, or monthly art project:
* Choose a word for your year, to inspire you, motivate, and challenge
* Start a 101 in 1001 project
* Start an art journal
* Meet some strangers
* Make an art muse to guide you and to give you inspiration
* Keep a daily written journal
* Surround yourself with things that inspire
* Try NaNoWriMo or NaNoBloMo
* Start a blog!
* Make a travelling notebook
* Climb a tree
* Laugh more and worry less
* Give whatever you can to those who are in need
* Learn about fun
* Get involved in an art swap
* Pass kindness and love on to every person you meet
* Answer some questions
* Make your own Mission Statement
* Read, read, read!


PS. You are invited to introduce yourself!

28 December 2009

I Ask You

"Are you search a dreamer...?"
Photo of a poster taken during my trip to Germany;
its cryptic message intrigues me.


My dearest friends,

I would like to get to know you - each and every one of you. You are my sisters (and brothers), my friends, my companions in the journey of Life; you inspire me, you give me hope, you give me so much love; you amaze and humble me. I share much of myself every day in this blog of mine - now, I'd like to hear from you!

I would love to hear your answers to as many of the following questions as you wish to answer! If you do not feel comfortable answering them here, please email me at mypeacetree2 (at) gmail (dot) com and I will keep them safe and sound.
  • When/where do you feel most at peace?
  • What do you most struggle with in everyday life?
  • What - or who - inspires you?
  • To which animal(s) do you feel most connected?
  • Which are you most drawn to: texture, colour, or sound?
  • What is holding you back from creating in the way you want to create?
  • Do you believe in fairies?
  • What makes you so happy you feel you will burst?
  • What do you truly love about yourself? (Please boast!)
If you come up with any other questions, I'd love to read them. Do remember that any of these would be a great starting place for exploration in a journal, whether it be an art journal or traditional diary - or even a blog post!

26 December 2009

Saturday Challenge #30


Nearly every Saturday, I post a new Challenge. Ranging from artistic prompts to self discovery exercises to ideas for living a wholesome, beautiful life, every Challenge seeks to inspire growth, love, creativity, and a more full life!

The past week has flown by in a complete rush. There were so many things to buy and people to see and recipes to follow. Now that all that has passed, do you feel the same way as I do - exhausted and spent and longing for a quiet moment or two?

Here we are with all of 2009 stretched behind us; it is only a little less than a week, incredibly, before 2010 begins. Three hundred and fifty nine days to consider and weigh and reflect upon; what joys and sorrows and proud moments have you lived in those days? What would you change; what would you like to try in the new year; what would you like to stop doing?

I challenge you to find some quiet space in the coming week both to recover from the holidays and to spend some time thinking of the new year. Mentally fill 2010 with good things, moments of learning and growth, adventures, love, and opportunity.

And repeat to yourself, over and over: 2010 will be a good year, yes it will!

You can view and participate in past challenges here, and remember that you can share photos in the (rather neglected) Flickr group. If you have a suggestion for a challenge, please leave a comment or write me an email at mypeacetree2 (at) gmail (dot) com.

24 December 2009

Jingle Bells





Merry Christmas to you, my dear sweet readers. May this holiday be filled with love, light, and happiness!

23 December 2009

And I Am

Detail of a watercolor by my dad, 2003

What does it mean to be an artist? Is it someone who has a degree from an art school, or someone whose works sell for thousands of dollars? No, I believe that being an artist is simply seeing the world around you in a unique and creative way - and that the ability to paint like Rembrandt is not a requirement.

Artists live in a world of their own where imagination is prized above any jewel and where vibrant, sweeping color is a deep necessity; where poetry flows like bubbling streams and creativity is in endless supply. Being an artist also means possessing a need to express oneself through any creative means - like painting, drawing, photography, music, craft, writing, dancing, blogging, or acting.

We are all artists and we all have something to say! Yes, I too struggle - but what I must never do is stop trying. Art by nature is messy and filled with emotion and thought. It is a continual exploration of the world and of the self, and reflects the artist's journey of discovery; one thing art is certainly not is perfect! Throw out your negative perceptions of what an artist is, ignore your inner critic, and create your own imperfect masterpiece!

20 December 2009

Let's Go on a Journey

Peeking up at the wintry, snowy skies of December.

Continuing the reflection begun in my last post, I have been doing some (more) thinking, this time about my blog.

My Peacetree is nearly eight months old, born in early May just as the leaves were turning green and the birds were teaching their little ones to fly. I was - and continue to be - inspired by so many lovely creative, insightful, imaginative, kind, philosophical ladies who grace the web with their presence: iHanna, Gypsy Girl, Kira, and Tara Whitney to name just a few.

The lists of blogs I read and admire has grown and grown, and I now find inspiration in all corners of the web, and have discovered real friendships along the way. How happy I am to be writing and creating beside so many talented, beautiful women!

I have realised, however, that in the past month or two I have not been writing about the things I truly want to write about.

When I began blogging, I intended to write about creativity and philosophy and inspiration, and how all three are woven together in a beautiful, complex, astounding way. Instead, somehow these things have morphed into hastily written snippets about what I am doing or what will be happening soon.

In the next year - and in the few weeks left in this one - I hope to refocus my penmanship, writing about wonder, curiosity, creativity, beauty, love, and humanity. There are so many things in this world greater than I, and those are the things I want to explore and discover and celebrate! Through that journey, I will fall more in love with life and will realise that the Universe has a place for every single one of us.

And so I ask you again, as I did in my very first post so many months ago: will you join me?

19 December 2009

Where the Heart Is

Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas Market), Germany

On Wednesday afternoon, I set foot on American soil once again. Though I have dearly missed my blog and all my friends in this space, I always need a few days to settle back into the life I have here; I need time to process and to catch up on sleep and to slowly awaken once again to reality.

I did have a lovely, lovely trip and was very sorry to say goodbye both to my boyfriend and to Europe!

As January approaches, I think about about the year - what has been good and what has been not so good, and what I hope to accomplish in 2010. I know that I want to create more and live bigger, take risks and brave failure. I want to finish the things I start. I want to create and become and learn; I want to live fully.

There are still many things I want to finish before the end of 2009:
  • Finish making Daily Art Cards
  • Art Journal about Christmas and the end of this year
  • Refocus on Mission 101
  • Write about and thoroughly explore plans and hopes and dreams for the future
  • Blog the dozens of posts I've meant to write
  • Create, create, create
  • Figure out which projects I want to take on this coming year
This time of year always feels as if it is filled with lists: presents to buy and things to do and resolutions to make and places to go and people to see. There are so many things to cross off! Make sure to find a moment every once in a while to breathe - I know that I sometimes forget.

Saturday Challenge #29

Nearly every Saturday, I post a new Challenge. Ranging from artistic prompts to self discovery exercises to ideas for living a wholesome, beautiful life, every Challenge seeks to inspire growth, love, creativity, and a more full life!


As winter makes its presence known, the colors in the natural world have slowly but steadily faded. Various shades of brown have taken over the world; the grass has lost its lush green of summer and the blue sky is often overcast with thick gray clouds. Even the light seems paler and thinner, somehow, and it falls sharply on the world.

Today, I challenge you to find color in the world around you. Go on a treasure hunt: where can you find boldness, vibrancy, and vividness? Capture it, celebrate it, and take it home with you, to help you through these dreary days.

You can view and participate in past challenges here, and remember that you can share photos in the (rather neglected) Flickr group. If you have a suggestion for a challenge, please leave a comment or write me an email at mypeacetree2 (at) gmail (dot) com.

12 December 2009

Saturday Challenge #28

Nearly every Saturday, I post a new Challenge. Ranging from artistic prompts to self discovery exercises to ideas for living a wholesome, beautiful life, every Challenge seeks to inspire growth, love, creativity, and a more full life!

Dear friends,
This is my 100th post! Thank you so very much for joining me on this journey. Today I want to tell a story about this blog.

A few years ago, I had a vivid dream of a city near the sea. Near to it was a field full of golden, swaying wheat; purple mountains stood on the horizon. A tree stood to my right, huge and ancient and strong. Its leaves fluttered in the breeze, and its branches were full of blossoms that filled the air with a sweet scent. I felt safe and happy and loved in this field, and knew that I had a deep connection to this tree - one of complete understanding and of unconditional love.

This tree is my Peace Tree. I think of it sometimes and it brings me stillness and comfort. I named this blog after it, blessing this space with all those things I find under my own tree. I invite you to come and sit here with me, sharing stories of life and of love and of the Universe, fostering creativity and inspiration and ideas.

This week, to celebrate my 100th blog post, I challenge you to create your own peace tree! Perhaps it grows in a secret garden, or perhaps it holds a treehouse in its branches. Bring it to life and fill it with all the good things that you can think of!

Happy creating,
Ingrid

You can view and participate in past challenges here, and remember that you can share photos in the (rather neglected) Flickr group. If you have a suggestion for a challenge, please leave a comment or write me an email at mypeacetree2 (at) gmail (dot) com.

05 December 2009

Saturday Challenge, #27

Nearly every Saturday, I post a new Challenge. Ranging from artistic prompts to self discovery exercises to ideas for living a wholesome, beautiful life, every Challenge seeks to inspire growth, love, creativity, and a more full life!

What do you like about a piece of art?
What draws you to it? Is it the colors or the texture or the shapes or the message? How is it different from your own? This weekend I challenge you to find an artist whose work you admire and try to imitate their style of art!

Of course, it is never okay to take someone else's work and call it your own. That's no fun, anyway! This exercise is meant to encourage you to experiment with different techniques and styles than you are used to. By learning from other artists, you will broaden your skills and develop your own style.

If the artist has a blog or a website, be sure to send them a message letting them know how much you like their work!

You can view and participate in past challenges here, and remember that you can share photos in the (rather neglected) Flickr group. If you have a suggestion for a challenge, please leave a comment or write me an email at mypeacetree2 (at) gmail (dot) com.

02 December 2009

Toodle-oo!

Quote from this song by John Denver.

Hello, friends!

In just a few hours I'll be on my way to Germany. I won't be posting while I am there, but have already written the Saturday Challenges for the weekends that I will be gone; please check back for those, as I've set them up to post automatically! And, as one of these challenges will be my 100th post, it'll be a bit of a special one - be sure to check it out!

I wish you a lovely next few weeks filled with excitement and love and preparation for the holidays and the new year! Are you thinking of your hopes and plans for the new year, and are you reflecting on all that has happened in 2009? I know I am.

I'll miss you all, and I promise to bring back lots of photos to share!
With love,

Ingrid

01 December 2009

Peace on Earth



I found this video just a few moments ago and felt that I had to share it immediately. It is so touching, so inspiring, and so full of love and hope. It gives me enormous faith in the future of this world!

Let us spread love, not hate; acceptance, not prejudice; trust, not fear. We are all children of this earth and, no matter what our differences, we are all in this together.

Kisses!


PS. If you'd like to read the lyrics to this beautiful song, please go here.

In the Last Month of the Year


December. Snow. Cold weather. Pine trees, twinkling lights, and presents. The end of another year.

This year has been a blur, passing so quickly that I'm pretty amazed that we're even past April! This month's word of the month is reflection. I always feel quiet and meditative in December, thinking about all the things I have done and all the things that I'd like to do; things I'd like to change and things I'd like to continue; things I'd like to learn and in which ways I want to grow.

What have you accomplished this year? What were the high points, and what were the low points? What made you feel good, what important things happened in your life, and how do you feel differently than you did last year?

This year I got bought a camera and began to take photos. I learned how to bind books. I started a blog! I travelled to several countries. I realised many things about myself, and I realised that there is so much left to learn. I took a year off of doing and had a year of mental growth, of sorting and discovering and finding out exactly what it is that I want, need, and dream of. Though I'm not nearly finished yet, I feel that I am now ready to take a first leap into something entirely new and challenging.

Happy last month of 2009!

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