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Fun Things!~

  Well, The Little Craft Show is almost here! We'll be heading out early early before the sun and heading to Arkansas to take part in this adorable little show! If you're in the Fayetteville area, it's not to be missed! And it's only a couple of hours from Tulsa, if my Okie friends are feeling adventurous :)

   I'll have lots of prints, postcards, and my ornaments will make their craft show debut! I'm really curious to see how they do! I think they're awfully sweet. I'm also looking forward to meeting a whole new group of vendors and shoppers, although some friends from home will also be doing the show as well! It should be fun--- the venue sounds great and it's going to be a beautiful day weather-wise! I'm looking forward to it!

   Some other nice news is that my Swedish style art is being featured on the wonderful blog Good Books for Young Souls today! You can enter Wendy's giveaway there on her blog for a chance to win a set of Swedish style postcards, and also read a little interview with me! Thanks so much to Wendy for inviting me over today!~

   Well...off to do some finishing touches and then later--- pack the car. I havent' seen a 5 a.m. wakeup call since....well, can't remember when! 

    Have a great weekend!~ Off to Fayetteville I go!~
H

Angels & Nativities




     They say the season of Advent is about patiently waiting, yet clearly I am no good at that. I have been gathering materials for an Advent wreath/nativity scene for the last little while-- but the first Sunday of Advent falls the day after I return from my last craft show-- and I am notoriously exhausted after those, so I made up the wreath last night. Audrey helped me (honestly, she was the one the most concerned that Baby Jesus wasn't in his stable yet--- we had to go procure him right after dance lessons!) and last night we set it all up by the tree. (and yes I plan to put the candles in glass candle holders so the whole wreath doesn't go up in holy flames, lol!)

    I've been trying to keep a steady and smooth pace getting ready for The Little Craft Show this weekend, and I've been making some new cloth, paint and wool ornaments in the shape of angels and santas. I'm really loving how they're coming out, and how they each have their own personality! I showed them off on the Audrey Eclectic facebook page and they got a great response, so I plan on offering some in my etsy shop once the show is done. Every bit of them is handmade, from the sewing to the painting to the wool hair. I love them!

   And so....I hope you have a peaceful transition into December-- and buy some handmade gifts when you can (or make them!) I'm hoping to finish up a scarf I've been plugging away on since the beginning of autumn (note to self--- use larger needles next time!) and I'm really really looking forward to a free December where all I worry about is filling orders and creating gifts and projects for my own family. It's been really hard to say  "no" to December shows and events, but it was something I felt I needed to do for my own peace of mind. It will also give me more opportunity to connect with you here, which I love to do.

   Well, off to start the day and get *someone* off to school!
Have a good day--
~H

Tasha Tuesday: A Visit to Tasha's Museum


    Today I am very pleased to introduce a guest post by Theresa of Faerie Moon Creations! Theresa recently went for a visit to the Tasha Tudor Museum in Vermont, and has been so kind as to bring us along for the ride! Below you will find her articles and photos. Thanks so much, Theresa!
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     Hello everyone, it's great to be posting here for Tasha Tuesdays!  I am a big fan of Tasha's work, and it thrilled me to finally be able to visit the Tasha Tudor Museum this fall.

     The museum, located on a sleepy road in Brattleboro, Vermont, is still in its infancy.  It's spread across two large adjoining exhibition rooms located on the second floor of the historic Jeremiah Beal House.  The primary purpose of the museum is to immerse the general public in the beautiful and special world created by Tasha.




     Upon entering the museum, I was greeted with a cheery display of Tasha's books, flower seeds and other keepsakes inspired by her work.  The second room housed the current exhibit - “For the Love of Frocks”  - featuring seven exquisite dresses from Tasha's own historic costume collection.   
    We learned that although much of her collection was dispersed to various collections and museums, Tasha kept a selection of her most prized dresses.  The seven dresses were those that Tasha either wore, made or were reproduced from her charming illustrations.  All of the dresses are representative of the Romantic Era, which I learned was Tasha's all-time favorite period in history.




      In addition to the beautiful collection of dresses, I discovered that Tasha has a huge fan base in Japan.  Many of her books have been translated into Japanese and also Korean!  I could hear Tasha's soothing voice during the time I spent viewing her dresses via the documentary “Take Joy,” which played on a television in the background.  During my self-guided tour, I spied a whimsical marionette and seated high above the display tables was a beautiful wooden spinning wheel with a basket of soft wool in earthy colors.




      The founders of the museum are currently scouting out a new permanent location in Southern Vermont to call home with an ambitious goal of bringing Tasha's magical world to life. Recreating places and spaces such as “The Pond,” “Stillwater Church,” “Snap's Bakery,” “Megan's Market,” and “Corey's Garden” from Tasha's books are some of what the museum trust has in mind . You can learn more about the museum at  http://www.tashatudormuseum.org/ where you can become a charter member or sign up for museum updates.  You can also visit http://www.tashatudorandfamily.com  for more information on Tasha, shop for her lovely art, print out family recipes, and more.


      It was enchanting to be able to step into Tasha's world – even just a tiny bit of it.  She has provided such inspiration to many – myself included.  And it was fun to be able to step back in time and envision life as Tasha loved and knew it.



Many Thanks to Theresa for sharing her thoughts and photos with us here for Tasha Tuesday!~!

St. Lucia Blog Procession


    This Christmas I'm really looking forward to embracing little holiday celebrations into my family and my blog, and I want to invite you to take part! On December 13, St. Lucia Day, I will be hosting a "St. Lucia Blog Procession" in which I and other bloggers (like you!) can host a St.Lucia/ Swedish Christmas/ Scandinavian themed post! 

    I've created the image above for anyone who would like to participate to use on their blog. Just right click it and "save" to your computer. You can use the image for your blog side bar, facebook page, posts, etc. If you'd like to participate, just leave me a comment here on this post or email me, and I will add your blog to the 'procession' on my sidebar! Then on the day of the celebration, we can all do our posts and then visit the blog of all the participants to wish them a lovely 'God Jul.'

   What you'd like to post for the procession is completely up to you as long as it ties into the theme in some way! You can post about St. Lucia if you wish, but other things such as Scandivavian Christmas traditions, recipes, crafts, tomtes, Scandinavian authors and artists, folktales, etc. It's completely up to you and whatever catches your fancy! Also-- if you have a stronger connection to, say, Norway or Finland--- that is welcome too! We're including all 'Scandinavian' to encompass the whole region! When you publish your post, please link back to my blog, so that your visitors may see the whole procession of blogs.

  I do hope you'll attend, or at least come by to visit on Dec. 13 and visit all the blogs taking part! It will be lighthearted and very fun I think, and a great way to meet like-minded friends and also discover new blogs!

  To get us all into the spirit of things, I've linked to a video below of an actual St. Lucia Procession, with the traditional song sung in Swedish. Hope to see you in the procession!

~H

UPDATE: It's been decided that on the day of the procession I will add a linky tool to my post, and then participating blogs can add their link and a thumbnail image to the post to make the linking easier! So look for that on Dec. 13 when you've done your post! I will still be linking participants on the sidebar though, to keep track of our procession, so still let me know if you're wanting to join in! Thanks!


Bits of Sweden in my kitchen




   Perhaps it's because this time last year, we really thought we were going to be moving (ha!) and I practically ripped the Christmas decorations down as soon as the stockings were empty that I've embraced Christmas this year with such fervor. If I'm settling in here, well, I will do it with relish! And all the garland and festivities that this house can hold ;)

   Well, I will try to practice a little restraint--- but I do love creating a cozy atmosphere that only Christmas can bring. Today I fancied up the kitchen a bit with some Swedish pieces I've been saving for a while--- I bought a little live tree for the corner and decorated it with some festive little ornaments I've made through the years as well as some Swedish straw ornaments that I bought in Lindsborg last spring.

   I've also been utilizing etsy in my search for pretty Swedish things, and came upon the etsy shop of Ann-Christin Ljungberg and bought several vintage linens from her! Her shop is where the embroidered God Jul tapestry on the wall came from, and also the little red cloth with the church and the candle that I now have on my kitchen table. I just love how it all looks with the folksy stuff I already had in there. I hope Carl Larsson would be proud ;)

   And in the spirit of a Swedish Christmas I had an idea--- tell me what you think. What if I hosted a little blog party on the theme of Swedish Christmas (or something loosely to do with Sweden and Christmas, be it tomtes, St. Lucia, etc.) I was thinking of hosting it on St. Lucia Day and calling it our "St. Lucia Blog Processions."

   Each participating blog would get a little banner or button to display saying they were participating, and I would put a list of participating blogs in my sidebar, so that people could easily visit each of the participating blogs. It's a great way to not only get to know other people who love the same things you love, but also generate traffic to your blog and invite others to see your space. What do you think? Would you be up for it? It wouldn't have to be a big production--- it can be as big or small as you'd like. Let me know if you all are game and I'll make the graphics and start scheming!

   God Jul and much merriness to you!~
H


PS: Want some ideas about a blog post for the procession? Visit my Scandinavian pinterest board!

Sale at Audrey Eclectic!


    Several members of Make Tulsa have gotten together to offer some sweet "Black Friday" deals for those who'd like to buy local--- and buy from home! Starting right now and through the weekend, you can get 15% off of your entire Audrey Eclectic order--- just visit HERE for more details! And check out the other shops while you're at it!

  Thanks so much and hope you had a lovely holiday--
~H

    With The Little Craft Show only a little more than a week away, I've been working on some holiday pieces to bring along with me. Yesterday I finished up this little lady-- called Christmas Bouquet-- which turned out sweet and would make a nice Christmas postcard next year! She's holding a bouquet of Poinsettias, evergreen and red berries.
   Not sure how much painting I'll get done in the next few days with a little Miss home from school, but I'll try! Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I've got pies to bake. Pumpkin and Pecan. Here in Oklahoma we say "p'CON" pie. And boy do I love the stuff!
  It's hard to believe that we're nearly through November--- wasn't it just the other day that it was Halloween? But there's lots of fun to be had in December, and not just the holiday festivities. There's the craft show on the first and we've got another trip to Lindsborg planned! Can't wait to see it in all it's Christmastime glory!

In other happy Christmasy news, I was able to pick up some prints of my Saint Nicholas painting yesterday! I'm so happy to have him in time to get him out to celebrate Saint Nicholas Day!
   You can find the prints ready to purchase in my ETSY SHOP now.

  Well, if you are in the states, I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving. And for my international friends, I hope you have a lovely rest of the week and a nice weekend.
   The weather here is practically balmy-- supposed to be 75 degrees. Where oh where did the sweater weather go? Ah well, it will make for good weather for playing outside! Still haven't planted my bulbs yet...it's just been too warm!

  Well, off to start the day! Talk with you later,
~H

Tasha Tuesday: Guest post from Winnie



Hello there friends, and Happy Tasha Tuesday! This week's post was written by my lovely friend and Tasha Tudor lover, Winnie. She lives in sunny Florida, but she still enjoys the homespun ambiance of New England that Tasha so deftly created. Please enjoy this post from Winnie, and leave her a comment! 
Thanks, Winnie!
~H

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     In 1991, we had to renovate a 1960 ranch house kitchen that had literally fallen apart.  At the time, I had been exploring the country look with antiques and I used that to renovate and create a  farm kitchen look. 
    As a young child, we visited my grandparents who lived on an old farm in Indiana.  It had no indoor plumbing and still used a big black wood burning stove and a well to bring water to the house.  That kitchen is what I remember most, and when I first read  Tasha's book, Heirloom Crafts(1995), I realized from her photos, that my Grandmother's kitchen looked very similar. I had been enjoying Tasha's children's stories with my girls over the years, but by 1995 they were teens and now I was searching for more inspiration from Tasha that I could embrace.  Enter the "winter kitchen" as she often called it.
 
       By 1995, the renovations had long been completed and while there was some resemblance to a farm kitchen, it was the 1990s after all, and in suburbia Florida, there are not many homes with wood burning stoves!! With Tasha's new book, I longed for my kitchen to look the same.  How impractical was that thought process???  
     What I decided to do was to look for little things that I could do that helped re-create the same feel in the one place of the house I seemed to spend the most time.  So, I added a copper tea kettle, a crock, using aprons, but mostly finding joy in making foods from scratch the old fashioned way. Eventually, I found a small antique stove to place in the kitchen as a sort of reminder of the winter kitchen and as a place to decorate for the seasons.
     Seventeen years later, what have I learned?  I was not able to have a reproduction of Tasha's kitchen in my ranch 1960s home, but that is not the legacy of Tasha Tudor either.  What I think Tasha was sharing with all of us in her books and life  was how to appreciate the quality and intrinsic value of doing things as they were originally done in the 19th century.
     It seems to me that she wanted authenticity in her life instead of  an ever increasing cheap throw away lifestyle.  When we look to simplicity in both lifestyle and in what we consume, we find timeless and rewarding experiences in tea with friends, beautiful cut flowers from our gardens on the kitchen table,and healthy and delicious foods prepared from time honored recipes and ingredients. Satisfaction comes from feeling good about our choices and staying connected to those things in our own lives worth preserving.  Tasha was right on about this connection of the present to the past.  
    So, whether our "winter kitchen" has a gas, electric, or wood burning stove, a simple loaf of homemade bread baking in the oven fills the home with that unmistakable smell of HOME and security. It draws us to the kitchen to see when we will enjoy a slice. 
 
I believe Tasha would say to us, tea is at 4pm so be sure to  be on time!
 
Winnie

Savoring Christmas



   Getting out all the Christmas decorations have always been one of my favorite parts of the holidays. Even when I was a kid. I remember my mom would get down the box of ornaments from the attic and I would spend hours carefully unpacking them, sorting them, and finally declaring which one was 'the prettiest ornament' in a pageant of santas, bears, angels and other 1980s crafty kitch. The whole idea of rediscovering familiar and happy things is always a thrill, no matter what your age.

   Yesterday my little decorating girl was sad because one of her friends had a case of the sniffles and couldn't play. So, feeling festive even if a bit early, I offered to get down the Christmas decorations and let her have at it.

   This was the first year I felt like it was safe to let her do the unpacking, and she had a great time, spreading out all the ornaments, sorting them, fawning over them, and finally deciding on where they would go on the tree. I felt like one of my favorite old memories had come to life. And the nice thing is--- there was no stress. No money spent or scheduling made. It was just simple holiday fun on a Sunday afternoon.

  That is my goal for this coming holiday season. Simplicity. I have some ideas for some projects we can do, but there will be no stress. There wont be a feeling of rushing madly into exhaustion for the sake of 'fun and memories.' The fun and memories will come, but at their own pace. That is my promise to myself!

  So, yes, the tree is up. Before Thanksgiving. But I suppose that means we'll just have that much more time to enjoy it and to take things slow! I'm not buying into the 'Holiday Rush' and I hope you don't feel like you have to as well! Let's just have fun, shall we? And a truly happy holiday!


~H


Saint Nicholas

 
    Today I am happy to share with you a special painting I just finished-- it's St. Nicholas, in his more traditional form, with a group of little children outside a snowy village. I painted this piece as a gift to my church for the approaching St. Nicholas festival. Saint Nicholas Day is officially celebrated on Dec. 6, and you Tasha Tudor fans may remember that this is the day that the Tudor family (and the family in Becky's Christmas!) start celebrating the holiday season!

   Saint Nicholas is one of my favorite saints-- he had lots of adventures, was kind, good to children and young women, made daring escapes, traveled extensively, and managed to not meet with a gruesome end as so many other saints do! 

   Probably the most well-known and well-loved stories of Saint Nicholas is the one where he learns of a very poor family with three daughters who cannot afford to pay their dowries. Because of this, the family believes the only thing to be done is to sell the daughters off as slaves. To stop this from happening, Saint Nicholas tosses a bag of gold for each girl into the house through their chimney. The girls had placed their stockings to dry at the hearth, and in the morning they found the gold for their dowries in their stockings, and were saved from slavery. Sounds vaguely familiar, right?

  For families around the world who celebrate St. Nicholas day, the traditional way to celebrate is to leave  shoes or stockings out at night, and in the morning they will find little treats such as fruits, nuts, little trinkets or pieces of chocolate (a popular candy this is given is little chocolate 'coins' wrapped in gold paper to represent the story of Saint Nicholas tossing the gold down the chimney.)



  If you'd like to learn more about St. Nicholas and get ideas for fun celebrations to celebrate him or activities for kids, THIS is an awesome website. 

   I like Saint Nicholas Day because its a really fun and family-oriented way to kick off the holiday season, and starts it off on the right foot-- with honoring someone for their kindness and generosity to others. It's not an over-the-top celebration, but one filled with little treats and good stories, and is also the beginning of Advent. I'm really looking forward to the season, and hope you are too!

   Hope you enjoy the painting! And have a great weekend!~
~H

PS: I've just figured out how to reply to comments in the comment section! So now I will be able to reply back to you! Hurray!

Handmade Dolls~


      I have always loved dolls. I can't remember a time when I didn't, or when dolls weren't just around. I can see now that I come from a long line of doll loving ladies--- my Granny has an impressive trove of QVC style ceramic dolls, my other grandma gave me a beloved old china doll that had been her mother's in the 1910s, and my mom always had country dolls displayed around our house. I knew, early on, that some dolls are for touching and some are for looking.

    It's probably no surprise then, that I still love dolls and have several around my house. Thank goodness I have an understanding husband who just smiles and says "whatever you want to do," when I ask him if he minds it. His decorating scheme has changed quite a bit since I got ahold of him ;) It takes a special guy to live happily in a rather "Miss Havisham meets an Ozark cabin with shades of Marie Antoinette" type home. 


 


 A few years ago I started trying my hand at making dolls-- but the more display-type dolls (the no-touchers, for the little ones!) that you might call 'art dolls.' I love making them, but they are time intensive. They are like little art projects in of themselves--- hand painted, sewn, stained, coiffed. But I love how they look! Unfortunately, I dont get a lot of time to make dolls, so the ones I do get done are very special! And I'm always pleased to offer them to you, my lovely friends!

   I made these two dolls recently, and used a new technique for their hair that I'm really excited about! Their hair is actual sheep's wool-- raw and natural fibers with awesome color and awesome texture. I used a felting needle (what a beast of a contraption! But so fun to use!) to felt the wool right onto their heads, so it looks so natural and so real. That might be my favorite part of the project now!


   These two lovely dolls are now available in my Etsy shop-- and I hope you stop by and take a look! In their hands they carry a dried fennel flower, which I harvested from my garden this summer. They also each have an antique button on their dress, and their skirts are made of beautiful cotton and lace fabric that have been coffee stained to give it an amazing aged look-- and it smells pretty good too!

   The blonde is Eleanor and the brunette is Jessamyn. Perhaps one would be perfect for your home?
~H

Tasha Tuesday with guest Melissa from Julia's Bookbag


Good morning to you, and welcome to a special "Tasha Tuesday!" I am so happy to be introducing you to some other Tasha loving friends over the next few weeks. 
I really enjoy hearing other people's thoughts and what they love and relate to about one of my favorite artists, Tasha Tudor. Whether it be her art, writing, or approach to life, there are many things that people love about Tasha and this is a great time to celebrate that!

Our first visit is with Melissa from the charming blog "Julia's Bookbag" where she shares some of her favorite children's books that she discovers along with her sweet daughter, Julia.

Recently Melissa and Julia snuggled up with Tasha Tudor's book "Around the Year." Here is what Melissa had to say about it (please follow link to read the entire post on her blog!)
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  I've mentioned just a few times that I kind of worship at the shrine of Tasha Tudor.  Really, Melissa, you did? Where? Oh, HERE (you get to see a 3yr old Julia!) and also HERE in my "A Time to Keep' post (the most beautiful book ever!) I just checked out Tasha's Cookbook from the library and I'm loving it.

I just can't get enough of her work. There are few authors and artists out there who are so special and unique that I'm slowing working on a collecting each and every one of their works. Tasha belongs in that group. Her books are THAT special. These are the books you pass down to your kids and they pass down to their children.

Here's how strong a position I take about her- either read the version she illustrated of "A Little Princess' (by Frances Hodgeson Burnett) - or don't read it at all.

Few people draw like her, and even fewer are depicting the time and the old fashioned style of life that she illustrates.

She doesn't just draw, I've decided.

She illuminates.......

To read more of Melissa's post, please follow THIS link!

Remembrance and Thankfulness

 Hello and happy Veteran's Day! It's a rainy cold day here in Oklahoma-- but the rain is so desperately needed and the cold just makes it possible to pull out the fancy hats, so I'm thankful.
   I'm also very thankful to our soldiers, past and present, and all those who have served their countries in honor and bravery. In recent months I've been reading and watching many films that have to do with WWI and WWII, and I find the sacrifices that so many have made in order for the good of mankind to prevail so humbling. I hope we can honor them in the highest degree by promoting peace and making their efforts well worth it.

   Not too long ago my grandpa let me borrow his army scrapbook from his time serving with the US Army in Germany. He had so many photos of his friends, both in the army and German civilians,  and also from the traveling he was able to do-- to Switzerland, France, and England. I hope someday I can follow in Grandpa's footsteps and see all these amazing sites in the comfort of peacetime. 

This morning when I went to by my groceries they were selling crepe paper poppies in remembrance of soldiers, so I bought one.  It brought a little cheer to a dreary day, and I was proud to wear it.  Today is also Remembrance Day  in the UK-- most specifically in honor of the end of World War I "on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month." Poppies were selected as the emblem of Remembrance Day, inspired by the poem "In Flanders Field" These bright red flowers bloomed across many of the fields where some of the bloodiest battles took place, and was considered an appropriate symbol of the blood spilled there. Poppies have always been one of my very favorite flowers, and so I am happy that they have such an honorable meaning.

   And with all this feeling thankful going on, I am also really thankful and excited about some news I have!~ My painting "Madonna of the Blossoms" is currently on the cover of the national publication "The Anglican Digest." Many Anglicans and Episcopalians across the country receive this little magazine with all its wonderful stories and insights on a quarterly basis and I'm flattered to have been chosen as their 'cover girl', hehe.
  If you happen to get this magazine then, you'll see something a bit familiar when you open it up! I'm so pleased to have been asked, this is the first time I've ever been on the cover of anything with a national circulation. So I am very honored!~


   Well, back to the painting table for me! Hope you are enjoying your Sunday afternoon, I will see you back here next week!~
    ~H

The lovely depths of Autumn~





    We are in that moment-- at the height and depth of Autumn. Especially in the areas of old trees in Tulsa, the colors are magnificent, nearly gilt in Gold as if they were the arches of a church. This morning my girl and I went out on some errands and it was perfect jumping-in-leaves weather. Funny, we have to go to the city to jump in the leaves ;) trees are just fewer near our home.

   I've promised myself--- I'm sure just as DaVinci and Monet and the other greats probably did-- that I will get to paint, just as soon as I get the bathrooms cleaned. Ha! Well, so it is, the life of a painting Mama! But it will be all the more satisfying when I get to finally sit and paint, right?

   The holiday festiveness is starting to come out. There are buckets of tinsel and ornaments, gleaming bits and bobs, Thanksgiving decorations and all those pretty things that make the coming of the holidays that much more real. I'm getting excited about it! And although it would make Tasha Tudor gasp in horror, I'm going to drag out the Christmas stuff just as soon as I wake from my turkey coma and put of the Christmas decorations. I'm just really looking forward to it!

   Well, better get back to these chores! Thanks for coming by to visit me and go for a walk in the leaves!~
~H

Postcards have arrived! And other splendid news~





   Christmas postcards have arrived!! I am so pleased with how they turned out! All the pre-ordered cards have been mailed out already, and the remaining cards in my etsy shop! There's a limited amount, so make sure you get the ones you want while they're there! 
   It was such a thrill when the big box arrived from the printer, and my heart just pounded to make sure they were perfect! I also got some beautiful little bookmarks to add as freebies to each order I get this winter (those of you who've already ordered cards, yours are in your package!)

   This is shaping up to be a great day! I got something special in the mail that I will share with you soon, have had such good responses to the postcard, and Krista Tippett 'favorited' my happy birthday tweet on Twitter! lol, LOVE her! And I am also the featured folk artist at the Folk Wisdom Magazine blog! Visit HERE to check out my little interview.

   Well, have to scurry off for now, but hope you have a great weekend. Again thank you all so much for being here and being so sweet!~
~H




    Hello there! How is it already Thursday? Time seems to just be flying. I'm afraid it will be December before I know it. 
   I've been busy working in my little art room, listening to Christmas music (when am I not, really) with a couple of lazy dogs passed out at my feet. 
   Today I'm working on a couple of silhouette ornaments that I"m donating to the Make Tulsa tree that we are submitting to the Philbrook Museum  Festival of Trees. People will have a chance to bid on and purchase unique handmade trees with the funds going to support the museum. Our tree is 'woodland themed' and the tree doubles as a bookcase. It's going to be so cute!

   Something else that has kept me occupied is the idea of really following through on my old ambition of writing and illustrating a real book. It's something I've always wanted to do, but up til now have psyched myself out about. It's so easy to put ourselves into a box and say "this is what I do. I can't move too far out of my comfort zone."
   But do you know who publishes books? Or does anything, for that matter? The people who start and (most importantly) finish a project! So, I might as well try it, right?
   Yesterday I spent a lot of time working on my story and actually finished it. It involves the prairie, and tomtens and Christmas. Would that be a book you'd slip off the shelf and want to read? I hope so :)

  Well, much to do today, so I'm off to get started! I hope you also get to try something new this week. Perhaps you'll surprise yourself? You'll never know unless you try...

~H

Tasha Tuesday Nov 6


 I've got a slight addiction, and you all know what I'm talking about ;) it's Tasha Tudor and her books! Lately the mail man has been dropping packages at my door....they're old, well loved, usually library copies of Tasha's books. 
   The latest one was eagerly awaited-- a copy of Becky's Christmas, which evidently spent many a well-read year in a library in Nova Scotia! I look on amazon from time to time to see if I can find a copy in my price range and lo and behold, one came up for under $20!
   As I add another book to my collection, I am always in awe of how prolific Tasha was. She illustrated and wrote books for seventy years. That is just amazing!
   And I love seeing how with each publication her work got stronger and stronger. Starting with the simple illustration of pumpkin moonshine to the complex and picture-within-picture illustrations of her last "The Night Before Christmas" it's obvious that Tasha kept pushing herself and improving herself. That is something I greatly admire. She wasn't happy to just stay where she was. She tried new things and honed her skills. I love that.

    This whole train of thought has me thinking about how I can push and improve myself, and new projects to try. When I first started learning to read and write, it became a natural extension of my love of drawing. I filled countless notebooks full of stories and illustrations.
   I loved to write in school, took several literature and creative writing classes in college, and even worked as a newspaper writer and editor for a while. That, sadly, burnt me out on writing. The daily newspaper world is not a kind place to the soft-hearted ;) people only contact you about what you've written if they hated it or want to nit-pick. There were many a lunch hour when I'd just go sit in my car and cry. It probably didn't help that I was pregnant then nursing and caring for a small infant during this time as well ;) 
  I think I'm slowly getting my confidence back though. And it will probably help to not be writing about county commissioner meetings or school board decisions ;) Maybe its time to put pen and paint to paper. Tasha has me thinking this over :)

  Happy Tasha Tuesday, my friends!~
And to my US friends--- let us go to the polls in hope and dignity. This has been such a long and hateful election. The only way forward in a positive manner is to go forward together, putting aside our differences, and seeing clearly that the things we want are really not so fundamentally different. Let's take joy and peace, not matter the outcome!~

~H

All Saints Day

My November mantle, complete with a wooden bowl of pumpkins under a large antique framed photo of two little girls whose names are lost to time....

Candles of celebration and remembrance on the mantle in front of a vintage confirmation photo from the 1900s

    For most of us here in the US, the noteworthy day in November is Thanksgiving. Which is a lovely holiday, to be sure. But there is another little special day in November--- actually, the reason for Halloween! All Saints Day--- or in Old English-- "All Hallow's Eve." All Saints Day, for churches that recognize it, is a time to remember and celebrate beloved saints as well as those friends and family members who have been lost in the past year. We had our All Saint's service today at my parish, and it reminded me why I love these special days; they force you to take time and take things in, to celebrate and remember and find joy or peace.    

   I did not grow up with saints. Aside from 'Santa Claus', the whole idea always seemed very 'other' and not what I was used to--- although I always did have a thing for lighting heaps of candles ;) Then almost two years ago we attended the Saint Nicholas festival at my daughter's preschool church and I fell completely in love- with the people, the liturgy, the art, everything. By Easter we were baptized and by Saint Dunstan's Day we were confirmed into the Episcopal Church. We've always been suckers for whirl-wind romances ;) (Will and I were engaged in 3 months! That was 9 years ago!)

    During these past couple of years I've been undecided about how much I'd like to share here about faith-- I certainly respect everyone's right to pursue it in their own way and don't want anyone to feel like I'm pushing anything on them. But especially during this time of year, when we enter into Advent, celebrate St. Nicholas Day, St. Lucia Day, and all the other important events in the liturgical calendar, I'd like to share with you the joy and fun I feel for these special times, and also explore new traditions for my own family, and also create new artwork inspired by these themes.
    And since the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church are so very similar, I'd love to hear from my English friends about your celebrations and special days! Last Christmas I received the book Cattern Cakes and Lace about special dishes that are served or used to celebrate certain feast days in the UK and I'd love to try my hand at some!
   First and foremost, what I'd like to celebrate here is joy and peace and pursuing a meaningful life. Whether it be through Tasha Tuesdays or Advent. There are so many ways to approach these things, but I believe it takes a decided effort to 'take joy' as Tasha would say, and I'd like to share with you my attempts to do so.

   And so, as we enter this magical time of the year, I'm so glad you're here to come along for the ride! I am so eager to paint...I'm working on several projects at once. The Christmas music is on constant play here in the studio--- the Cambridge Singers Radio on Pandora to be exact-- and something about Loreena McKennitt is just perfect for this time of year! 

   Well, it's off to bed for me! And then tomorrow, time to paint. 
Hope you are safe and well this evening, and my thoughts are with those still struggling after the terrible storm on the east coast! Hugs and prayers from the prairie!~

~H





    Hello~ and so here we are...November! Now, the holiday season seems suddenly upon us, doesn't it? I've placed the order for the Christmas postcard and should have them in about a week and a half. I'm painting various holiday pieces and working on commissions, and try to keep everything straight in my brain!

   I have had such fun creating commissioned pieces for different people from all over the country--- and the world!-- this summer and autumn. I don't know if you've ever considered having a piece commissioned, but you can find lots of info and pricing on my original pieces in the Commissions section. And of course you're very welcome to email me if you have any questions!

   If you have been thinking of having one made in time for Christmas, though, this is the time to get started! That way we'll have plenty of time to collaborate, and I can get the painting down and mailed in plenty of time for holiday festivities!

   And speaking of holiday festivities--- I am so so happy to share with you that today I got accepted into The Little Craft Show in Fayetteville, Arkansas on Dec. 1!



   This indie craft show promises to be a really neat event--- the photos I've seen are great, I've heard glowing reports from last year's vendors, and their website-- too cute! You can find more info on their facebook page and blog as well.

   So, come Dec. 1, I'll be loading up the ol' Pilot and headed to the Ozarks for some fun craftiness, and if you're in that area I'd love to see you there!

 ~H

PS: I also just added some new prints to the etsy shop! Madonna and Child in Blue as well as Deep in the Winter Woods are now available for new homes!~