25 March 2012

Scenes from Germany

Hope the weekend is treating you well, dearests! I'd love to share some recent photos taken from walks around this sweet town, a trip to Blaubeuren, and Ulm. Be prepared for a picture heavy post!

20 March 2012

Lucky to Be

Yesterday evening, while walking back from the store, I watched as five or six fire engines, sirens wailing, raced to a home just a block away. I watched as brave men and women unselfishly worked to help perfect strangers, and it reminded me of my own terror in the face of an emergency – the car accident that happened, coincidentally, exactly six months ago today.

I so wish I had remembered to thank those who rushed to help us: the woman with the sparkling ring and the comforting words, the kind medics who accompanied us to the hospital, the firefighters who made me feel so safe because they knew exactly what they were doing. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Six months later, I have so, so much to be grateful for. I am grateful to be alive. I am grateful to be in this beautiful country, this beautiful city, practicing a language I've always hoped to master, close to my love, soaking up the history of castles and cobblestone streets. I have eaten true italian ice cream that cost me just one Euro; I have climbed the hills of Baden-Württenberg; I have had long conversations in German with individuals from all over the world; and I have celebrated Karneval in one of my favorite cities on the planet.

I am so, so blessed.

And today, too, is the first day of Spring! This time of year is my very favorite: the world bursts into life, the warm sunshine makes my very soul glow, and everything that surrounds us bursts into bloom. It's such a beautiful season.

Oh, yes. I am a very lucky girl. And I am so incredibly grateful.

18 March 2012

New Design

Within minutes of posting last night, I realized that I had stumbled upon truth – part of it, anyway. I've been aching for months for a new, clean look. While I'd been playing around with design ideas, layouts, and color schemes for some time, I hadn't seriously spent time on coming up with a cohesive, complete product until last night.

I'm thrilled with the outcome of more than fifteen hours of hard work.
So let's take a little tour, shall we? First up, the header:

The vintage font is called Desdemona, and the lacy circles were created with free Photoshop shapes. I love that they are like mandalas, fitting well with my themes of gentleness and self awareness; they also remind me of doilies, which I adore using in my art journal. The simplicity, texture, and subdued color scheme leave me feeling calm and balanced, and the representation of qualities that inspire me are like sweet whispers of familiar things.

While most of the new blog space is pretty self explanatory, I wanted to share two new additions that simplify both the look and the efficiency of navigation.

The new, colorful collection of pages is located in the right side bar. Here you can find all my posts about art, frequently asked questions (updating this page is next on my to do list. Do you have something to ask?), posts about photography, my bucket list, ways you can contact me and find me on the internet, information about me and my blog, and links to the websites and blogs of artists, photographers, writers, and individuals who inspire me.

Lastly, I have moved many of my widgets – including links to Facebook, Twitter, etc., ways to subscribe, and the archives – to the footer of the page. This allows the blog to remain open as well as organized. One addition I'm incredibly proud of is the "jump to top" button: once you reach the bottom of the page, simply click on the grey button, and you will appear magically at the top of the page you were visiting! (If you're HTML savvy and would like to install this in your own blog, please click here.) I find that with a concentration of information at the bottom of the page, this little tool is tremendously helpful.

At the bottom left corner of the footer you can also find recently popular posts.

I will continue to tweak the design a bit throughout the next few weeks, so don't be surprised if something changes. If you have any problems, however, or have questions, you can contact me here.

And a final update: I am moving My Peacetree to a permanent Facebook page! Please be sure to give it a thumbs up so that we can stay in touch and you can continue to get all the latest updates from the blog. I will be shutting down the current personal page on April 28th.

17 March 2012

I am the Hero

I have been thinking quite a bit about where I am right now: what my dreams and goals are; what sort of person I am, what sort of person I am becoming, and what sort of person I want to be; and in what direction I want to take my next steps. I have also been considering the future of this sweet blog, for I have come to realize that my passion for being here, sharing, writing, and dreaming has been ebbing. 

More than anything else, I want to know why this shift has been occurring, and what might spark my interest once more. Am I feeling too pressured to simply share something? Would a design change bring new life to this space? What about introducing a new focus? Would releasing myself from the self-imposed pressure to profit from my art bring relief?

I feel that part of this struggle is feeling unable to share with you a story that has been a central theme in my life, especially in the past six months. Due to it being a very tender subject and the fact that my family occasionally makes their way to my blog, I am uncomfortable publicly sharing a story that leaves me feeling vulnerable and fragile. Nevertheless, I have begun to feel that I need to take this leap and share my story in order to reach out to others who have shared my path. I do apologize for the ambiguity in the meantime, loves.

How are you today, darling? I want to remind you today that you are deeply, deeply loved, precious, important, appreciated. Sending you hugs to wherever you are, geographically or emotionally. If you like, I would love to hear how you – yes you! – are doing: if life is treating you well, if you are busy or contemplative, sorrowful, or giddy with joy. How are you, really?

As a last note, I want to share a bit about the art here. These pages come from a spread I worked on in late February, featuring pastels and quite a bit of text (including this poem by e. e. cummings, the last few lines of this poem by Mary Oliver, and this quote by Ayn Rand) - art journaling elements which I don't usually explore. There are, however, plenty of layers of collage and paint!

"Ingredients" used: acrylic paint, Karneval streamers, vintage sewing pattern, gift tag, pencil, ballpoint pen, highlighter, graph paper, owl from an advertisement.

02 March 2012

Goodbye, Hello

Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore. /Andre Gide

A new adventure has begun. 

Early yesterday morning I said goodbye to A and traveled about six hours on the train into the south of Germany, just outside of Stuttgart. I will soon begin a second German language course, and in April the semester officially begins.

This is an exciting step: here I will spend my days speaking and hearing only German, on my own in an unfamiliar place far outside my comfort zone. How well this fits into my word of the year! I am expanding in so many ways: strengthening my foreign language skills, stretching my independence, soaking up newness and the unknown. And yes: I am, in part, quite apprehensive. I feel alone and uncomfortable and oh! how I miss that love of mine, with his wide smile, kind eyes, ridiculous jokes, and wonderful companionship! Goodbyes are so difficult. I hope someday to be free of them forever.

Above are Instagram photos taken over the past few weeks. (You can see part of my collection here or all of it by following me on the app - @mypeacetree. Because I don't have an internet plan on my phone, uploading can be sporadic, as I must wait until I can find a free wifi connection.) I promise you, loves, I will share photos taken with my Nikon soon, including art journaling pages I've been working on!

Wishing you a beautiful weekend filled with the loveliest of things!
All my love,


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