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29 September 2009

Michaelmas Day



Every year when I was a child, towards the end of September, my entire Waldorf school would go to a local park and celebrate the festival of Michaelmas (MIH-kall-muss). We would watch the Michaelmas play, sing songs, and have a big potluck dinner. The story told on this day - perhaps legend and certainly a good part metaphor - speaks of how Saint Michael ("MY-kai-ell") encounters a ferocious, evil dragon and tames (or kills) it.

I associate Michaelmas with strength, with courage, with power and fieriness; I take heart from the spirit of today and try to bring it into the dark season ahead. Michaelmas is also an Autumn festival and celebrates the harvest and the preparation for the winter months, and reflects the colours of the changing leaves.

Today I send you courage, strength, and the mightiness and the will to do all that is good and kind! Happy Michaelmas!

28 September 2009

Simply Being

"Within you there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself."
- Herman Hesse

I have been feeling quiet lately. Calmness and complacency have, for the moment, filled my being. I sit still in this world, observing what surrounds me, enjoying where I am right now; waiting for the Autumn to arrive.

At the moment I am okay with this, accepting the stillness and the quiet and the calm. I do know that sometime soon the the urge for productivity and new places and faces will once again arise, begging me to start a new project, embrace change, and forge ahead onto a new path.



Waves of inspiration come and go, and I will wait patiently until the next one draws me to it, pouring ideas and colour and joy and creation into my soul. For now I will snuggle with my kitties, watch the rain come and go, and welcome the stillness of simply being.

26 September 2009

Saturday Challenge, #19

[photo via photosam1000]

Today, I challenge you to snuggle in, make a cup of tea, and watch a classic movie. What could possibly make life any better?

Happy weekend, my friends!

23 September 2009

Autumn Dreaming

Mailbox, taken with Nikon d50; view my Flickr photostream

This morning I went for a walk. Two days ago was the first day of autumn, yet here the sun is still shining, the trees still are wearing their green dresses, and the air is still warm and sticky. As much as I love summer - and as much as I dread the long, lonely, dark days of winter - I am longing for the cool, crisp days filled with crunchy leaves and morning frost on the ground.

Today I begin my Mission 101. Today I am quiet and contemplative, thinking about the future and what needs to be done today to get there. Today I dream of cosy fall days, the coming Michaelmas time (to be celebrated in a post another day), and hand-knit scarves, warm boots, and thick mittens.

What is on your mind today?


21 September 2009

The Beginning - Mission: One Oh One

Happy Monday! Today I will share with you all my secrets, as promised!


Dear ones,

In two days I embark on a new journey into a more extensive project than I have ever before attempted! (Did I keep the secret well enough?) It is called the Day Zero Project, also known as "Mission 101". It is, simply, a mission of completing one hundred and one preset goals in 1001 days.

The items on your list may be anything at all - from keeping your desk clean for one week to visiting a new country to practising random act of kindness on a daily, monthly, or yearly basis. Cool, huh?

Lovelies, I personally invite you to visit my brand new space: Mission: One Oh One!* View my list* as it stands now (I still have a few adjustments to make before Wednesday), tell me what you think of my goals for the next two and a quarter years, and help cheer me on as I begin crossing things off the list. Please bookmark the page or use the new button on the left sidebar to find your way there again - I welcome all the support I can find!

I will dedicate this blog to the documentation of my progress, my successes and failures, my comments and observations on the project itself, photos, links to others participating, and information on how you can join in, too! Of course, I will keep you updated on My Peacetree, too.

I naturally want to thank a new blog friend, Miss Erica, for inspiring me to do this! She (and her list) can be found here: Be Cheerful. Strive to be Happy. (Please be sure to leave a comment letting her know what you think.) Thank you, Beautiful, for supporting me and helping me and for being such a lovely, sweet lady!

So - please think of me on 23 September and wish me lots of luck for the next 1001 days. If you are inspired to create your own list, let me know and I will add you to my links and cheer you on in your own journey.

Have a wonderful, sparkly, creative day,
Ingrid

PS. Here are some links you may like:
About the Day Zero Project - what it is and how you can start
The Masterlist - links to hundreds of participants and their lists
Day Zero List Makers - support and information for all '101ers'

* [Update 2014: These links have expired and thus been removed.]

19 September 2009

Saturday Challenge, the Eighteenth



Hello, my lovelies, and happy Saturday!

I have a thought - just for today, let's be children! Let's put aside our worries for the day and instead adopt endless wonder and curiosity. In fact, this week I will challenge you to nurture your inner child: blow bubbles, get messy while painting, draw on the sidewalk, be fearless, laugh til your belly hurts, stretch your imagination, and see the good in everyone you meet. (Having some yummy snacks couldn't hurt, either.)

I mentioned in my previous post about a big project that is coming up. I will tell all on Monday - if I can manage to keep quiet until then! When I get excited about things, I tend to have trouble keeping it all to myself.

Nonetheless, I do have a few things to share today! Yesterday I found some beautiful art journal spreads on Flickr. Please check out petalthrow's delicate pages, Natty's soft colour palette, Mariana's bold collages, and Barb's colourful pages and chunky words.

Also, I have finally gotten around to setting up a pro Flickr account; you can find me here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mypeacetree! Please visit and let me know what you think of my photos.

Have a creative weekend!
Love,


PS. Early this morning, the spectacular Emily Falconbridge became a mama for the third time! Congratulations to her and her family - and Happy Birthday, dear little Banjo William!

17 September 2009

Secrets!

I have been plotting and planning a new project - a big one. A very big one. My biggest project, in fact, to date. It is still in the works, has many parts, and I will not begin on it until 23 September. It's so extensive that it even deserves its own blog.

Intrigued? I surely hope so! Within the next week I will spill all the details - what inspired me to start, what I plan to accomplish, and all the information on how you can plot and plan your own.

Please check back soon!


(Oh, and would you like to see some of the blogs I've been reading?)

15 September 2009

Try, Try Again

"The only thing that stands between a man and what he wants from life is often merely the will to try it and the faith to believe that it is possible." David Viscott

What is your grandest dream? What do you think of secretly, with quiet hope in your heart? Dreams are beautiful, powerful things; they speak of our potential and of our highest goals. To fulfill our deepest desires - of changing the world, following our heart, or accomplishing great feats - is our greatest hope.

The human mind is capable of so many wonderful thoughts and beautiful visions, and yet often we are too frightened to believe in the possibility of their reality. Why? The answer, my friends, is fear.

To fail at accomplishing something we so very much long for is a devastating thought. Fear of failure often prevents us from trying something new, something desired, and something that will yield great happiness - but tell me, truly, does the fear of failure outweigh the joy of the possibility of succeeding?

Not at all.

Darlings, you deserve your dreams! Let me say that again: you deserve your dreams. And more importantly, you deserve to give yourself the chance to achieve them. I believe that you have the bravery and the ability to reach higher than you ever thought possible.

Take one small step. And then another.. and already you are closer to your goal.

Have courage; be bold; push forward through the fear, no matter what.
I'll be behind you, every step of the way. Promise.

13 September 2009

Saturday Challenge, the Seventeenth



Friends,

Today I challenge you to act on the answer of a very simple question: How will you share love with this world today?

11 September 2009

It's Raining, It's Pouring

Today, the rain is falling steadily in heavy drops, drip-drip-dripping on my roof. Puddles are forming in the dips and valleys of road; flowers and trees are soaking up a long-awaited drink. The rhythm on the roof changes slightly; the rain becomes heavier and taps loudly against the windows - Nature's own music - how beautiful it sounds!


Today is a day for good books, for hot tea, and for big comforters and quiet, cozy moments. A day for pajamas and gentle music, for contemplation, gratitude, and love.

Happy Friday, my sweets!

08 September 2009

Handmade Journals



Here are my very first mini-books, ones that look and feel professional. I'm so proud! I made these journals with this book-binding tutorial and combined a few different tutorials to figure out the fabric cover.

The process is fairly simple, but it takes a lot of time that mostly consists of letting glue dry. I have high hopes, though, that this will assuage my pretty-journal-buying compulsion!



07 September 2009

Come Follow Me!


Art Dolls Tutorial


Making an art doll is incredibly simple. You will need cloth, a sewing machine or needle and thread, scissors, stuffing, and materials to decorate the doll. (To begin, I used acrylic paint, gesso, pen, stamps, embroidery floss, beads, and yarn!)

A few tips to note: remember that the doll will appear smaller when turned and stuffed - sew it a bit bigger (about 1/2 inch) than the size you want it to be when finished. Also, I made my dolls to have no arms or legs which simplified the sewing a great deal, but those looking for a bigger challenge could try more advanced doll shapes.

You can also click on any of the photos below to view a larger version.
Have fun!


1. Cut your fabric into a rectangle. It can be any size - the bigger the cloth, the bigger the doll will be! Fold the fabric in half by putting the shorter edges of the cloth together. You can pin it if you wish; I simply ironed it to stay flat.




2. Next, sew the two halves together into a doll-like shape, i.e. head and body. I did not use any pattern for this, and I really like that all my dolls turned out a little bit differently! Make sure, however, to leave the neck at least 1 1/2 inches wide, or turning and stuffing the head will be very difficult. Remember to leave the bottom open so that you can turn the fabric.


3. Trim the edges with scissors to about 1/4 inch. Turn the fabric inside out and stuff it.













After the third step of the tutorial, I got so involved that I didn't manage to take more pictures until the dolls were mostly finished! Here are the next (pictureless) steps:

4. When the doll is evenly stuffed, use a hidden stitch to sew up the bottom.
5. Go crazy with decorating!

Will you make a queen of the stars or a daisy-clad dancer? What is your muse; what being would give you hope, strength, inspiration, or happiness? How can you enliven these powers into a tangible doll in your hand? If you are simply stuck and need further ideas or inspiration, visit Flickr and look at all the beautiful creations there. Please let me know how it went, and share a picture or two of your lovely new friends!

Oh, and did you notice my new banner? I'm still deciding if I like it or not, and would love to hear your thoughts and impressions. Thanks!

05 September 2009

Saturday Challenge, the Sixteenth

As the world becomes more and more tech-savvy, human contact seems to be suffering. We talk to each other less and email each other more; we text instead of calling. The world is going speedily along and sometimes, I feel, we use the internet as an excuse not to become closer with fellow humans.

Today I challenge you to write a letter to an old friend or to find a letter swap and meet some new people. Or, of course, you could always send a postcard here!

A letter is personable and tangible, and who doesn't love getting mail? Taking the time and the care to write a handwritten note means so much, and is something that can be treasured for a lifetime.

Who is your pen pal going to be?

04 September 2009

Discoveries

Dear friends,

I have discovered a new (and addicting) creative hobby: art dolls.

Trying this new form of art was a goal of mine for this summer - and I did it! Inspired by both iHanna and Violette, I finished my first lovely girly yesterday. Introducing Ara the gypsy! She is now on sale in my Etsy shop.


This was a very fun - though time-consuming - project, and I have already started on my next doll. I have more to share with you, including a tutorial on how to make your own, but it will have to wait for later in the week. I have some fabric ladies waiting for me.

02 September 2009

A Promise Kept

A little while ago I challenged you to make three lists: one of things that inspire you, one of reasons you love yourself, and one of things that make you happy. I promised to share some of my answers - and I haven't forgotten!

Without further delay, I give you four answers of each list:
  • Things that inspire: colour, travelling, nature, fellow artists
  • Things I love about myself: creative mind, love of human race, fearless adventuress, wonder at simple things
  • Things that make me happy: new places, blank journals, first warm day of spring, friends


As I was writing these lists a rather upsetting thought occurred to me. Things that inspire and things that make one happy are easy lists to make; reasons for self-love are much harder to write down.

Why is this? Is it that we are taught to be modest and to deny our own good qualities? Is it that we really think so little of ourselves? Is our own self-denial part of what causes so many of us to have low self-esteem?

That we downplay every good quality about ourselves is silly! My dear, you are beautiful, you are talented, and you have so many good qualities of which you should be proud! If you haven't made these lists yet, I challenge you once again. Remind yourself how special you really are and why you deserve to be celebrated!

Love to every single one of you,

01 September 2009

Welcome, Dear September!

A new month begins today, and though summer's warmth is still lingering in the afternoon, autumn's chill can already be felt in the crisp, clear mornings. How quickly one season ends and another begins!

September has always seemed to me the start of a new year. Schools have begun, apples are ripening, and soon (oh! to think!) the lovely green leaves on the big oak outside my window will begin to show its bold autumn colours. But autumn is not just a mark of summer's end; it is also a mark of something new beginning.


Photo taken by me, September 09

Help me celebrate September with a new 'Word of the Month': preparedness. Now is the time to get ready for the coming months - months of long nights and chilly weather, months of learning, months of busyness until the sunshine returns again next spring. Any thoughts on how you will prepare in the coming weeks? Today I start with a seriously-needed cleaning, perhaps some baking, and a yummy soup or stew for tonight's supper. (And perhaps an art-related something along the way!)

Of course, all these notes of autumn are, for the moment, merely to keep in the back of one's mind; for now, the sun is still shining merrily and the birds are still singing!

Don't lose hope yet, friends; the summer is still with us for a few weeks longer. I suggest that you go for a walk today and take in all the beautiful things that surround you - paint them, write about them, photograph them, or simply hold them in your heart!

Have fun, my dears, and happy September!

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