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A Merry Christmas To All!~


   Ah, and so here we are! Another Christmas tucked safely away into our holiday memories. I hope Christmas 2018 was a wonderful one for you--- and if you're like me, you're probably ready to settle in to winter quiet, enjoy some time to relax after all the holiday rush, and looking forward to a fresh new year.

   I didnt get as much done this holiday season as I had planned--- we all seem to be swapping terrible colds back and forth, and I came out of my fog to realize that Christmas was just a few days away! There were gifts to finish and food to make. And it was lovely. But I also love this quiet time we have now.....and the possibility that comes with a fresh year....

 But I am happy for the memories we were able to make, and so grateful for your support this holiday season! With your help, Sleightholm Folk Art had its best year yet! And YOU helped me give my family a very merry Christmas! I appreciate that so much!~

    I will be coming back very soon and we can chat about the new year....til then, I hope the light of Christmas warms your heart and gives you much peace and joy!~
H

Happy St Nicholas Day!


   Good morning, and happy St. Nicholas Day! This day is one that holds a fond place in my heart, and always feels like the real start of Christmas for our family. At church St. Nicholas will come, and the children will get treats and do little crafts....there will be a hint of magic in the air.
   I tried to get a head start on this magic this morning with a celebration breakfast as the sun was coming up....I spread out the gold coins (Found at World Market, and came in all sizes and values, which I liked!) and lit our little angel chime, which is a new holiday addition for us.
   For breakfast we had 'gold coin' pancakes and the kids got a St. Nick ornament to put on the tree.



   Since it's a school day, this is about as festive as we could get in the little time before the rush of getting dressed and out the door. And I'm not gonna lie, there was some bickering, some wailing of 'she touched me!' and maybe even a tantrum on the floor by the time the sun came up. It was early, y'all. But St. Nick knows I tried ;)
   But my hope is that when they're grown, they'll not remember the grumblings about being tired or the nitpicking and fighting, but just remember of coming down to a candlelit breakfast, a table spread with chocolate coins, a little treat waiting and yummy food not usually had on a school morning.

   Tonight we'll read some nice books at bed time, including "The Miracle of St. Nicholas" by Gloria Whelan, and one of my favorites--- "Varenka" by Bernadette. We'll also have plenty of chocolate coins to last us a while.....

  Wishing you a very blessed St Nicholas Day! I hope you get a special treat today as well. Take a moment for yourself today, treat yourself to something special. Or, in the spirit of the Good Bishop, take a moment to do something kind for someone else today--- without them even knowing it was you!

And of course,
Take Joy!~
h

St Lucia Day is Dec 13!

 One of my favorite holidays of the year is St. Lucia Day! I love the Scandinavian tradition of the daughter of the house rising early to bring her family food and coffee in bed, all while wearing a wreath of candles on her head.

   The celebration of St. Lucia is a favorite family and church tradition in Scandinavian countries-- even if now most little girls wear battery operated candles ;) It is also one of my favorite holidays to paint, and continues to be a popular subject for buyers coming to my etsy shop!


   Through the years I've built up quite the St Lucia collection of art in my etsy shop--- from my still most popular first painting with the red background, to homey scenes and outdoor scenes. it is always a day of happiness and excitement--- when the light begins to return the the dark landscape of the northern countries such as Sweden and Norway.



  One of my very favorite shows to watch around this time of the year is "Rick Steves' European Christmas", and in it they visit Norway and see a St Lucia procession! I am going to leave it here for you to see, it might inspire your own European-style celebrating this holiday season!~


Sleightholm Folk Art PUZZLES!


   I am SO so thrilled to be sharing with you some really exciting news! I have teamed up with an American family-run business in Maine to create heirloom quality wooden puzzles that feature my art!
   The Waterford Puzzle Company started in 1987 under the name ELMS Puzzles and a second generation of puzzle enthusiasts are now at the helm of this three decades old company and bringing new art along with its new name to the puzzle world--- and some of that art is mine!

   Several of my original designs are now available to purchase as your own puzzle in a variety of sizes--- we completed the 8x10" puzzle as a family in an evening's time and I was so impressed with the quality of not just the image, but the puzzle itself. These puzzles are cut from mahogany and fix with an amazing precision....the pieces also are cut in the coolest shapes--- we found a violin, a spangle of stars, and the Waterford Puzzles Tree from their logo!

   Im so excited to finally be able to share this amazing news with you, and so happy to see my art on such a quality item. I also love that Waterford Puzzles is a small, family run business and that everyone involved in the making of these puzzles is an artist in their own right. And you know I also LOVE that they're made in New England!!! My art will come to you from Maine! That makes my heart just sing!

   If you're interested in seeing my designs that are available as puzzles, please go HERE. If you have any questions about the puzzles, don't hesitate to contact the nice folks at Waterford Puzzles because they're wonderful.

   And, of course....Take Joy!~
H

A Happy Holiday Special for you! 30% OFF!



   The season of merriment is now on it's way! If you are looking for a special piece of art for your home or a gift for someone you love--- please check out my etsy shop! And NOW through Cyber Monday you can save 30% off all prints with the code MERRY30.

Thanks so much, and Take Joy!~ H

    Good morning, my friends!~
          As this is the week of Thanksgiving here in the States, I thought it was the perfect time to talk a little bit about this painting I created this year, Christmas Eve Kitchen (which, by the way, I still have the original of! And prints and cards! Check my shop) .

    The idea of this painting is a family preparing a table full of goodies for a Christmas Eve celebration in an old New England style kitchen. I wanted to create something that was endlessly cozy....a scene that I myself wanted to step into. Its also a scene mixing past and present, a theme that is always present with us at Christmas. The people in this old fashioned room are 'modern', although in a way that compliments the old fashioned look of the room. They are of the present, but in harmony with the past. That's something I love!

  Funnily enough, the room in this painting is inspired by a real room....from a photo in a deliciously vintage Country Living Magazine from the 80s. Over the years I've collected old copies of the magazine, especially from the 80s and 90s when it was still more primitive and not so sleek (or full of rich people from NYC buying country homes in Vermont and gutting them....) There was a photo of an old fashioned New England kitchen that just spoke to my heart and was the jumping off point for this piece....I used the bones of that kitchen to set the scene, then added my own people and dressed it up for Christmas. It was really lots of fun, and a method I hope to use again and again! (Now I can buy old Country Livings for business purposes, right!?!)

  Some of my favorite parts of the scene are the dried flowers hanging from the rafters and the old fire place....the Christmas tree with the real candles lit in the next room were something I added from my own fancy and hey, when you're painting, you're not worried about fire on a tree in the other room, right?!?!

   I hope you enjoy this painting as well, as I had a great time creating it. Maybe it speaks to your heart, especially if you love a little old fashioned tradition in this modern world....

~H

Glastonbury Market this Saturday!

Hi friends,
   Just popping in to let you know that I'll be selling my art--- including originals, prints, cards and my calendar at the Glastonbury Market at St. Dunstan's Episcopal Church in Tulsa, OK this Saturday! There will also be a cafe serving amazing homecooked food for lunch and snacks! St. Dunstan's isnt far from Woodland Hills and all that major shopping so if you're out buying for the holidays--- stop in! See some unique things, have lunch or just say hi! There's NO admission fee! And this is my last event of 2018 :)

  Hope to see you there!~
H

Three Ships on Christmas Day

    I wanted to take a minute to share with you a little about one of my new Christmas paintings, "Three Ships on Christmas Day." The title is inspired by an old Christmas carol , with the main refrain being "I saw Three Ships on Christmas Day, On Christmas Day, I saw Three Ships on Christmas Day, on Christmas Day in the Morning."
   With these words stirring around in my mind, I imagined a nautical themed Christmas painting, and mused that someone who would be very happy to see 3 ships arrive on Christmas Day would be a young mother awaiting the arrival of her sea fairing husband.
   So in this piece, the young mother is at the window in excitement as three little ships enter a snowy harbor (somewhere in New England, of course!) in the background there is a lighthouse, beckoning them to shore. In the cozy cottage there is a humble Christmas tree with a small gathering of gifts and a tea set, and on the wall is a silhouette of her beloved and a small cross and an anchor. Tucked down in a little cradle is her new baby in a homemade quilt.
   I think this was one of my favorite subjects to paint, marrying together many of my favorite things. And many of them can be left open to interpretation as you'd like---- three ships, three crosses? The anchor, for a sailor, or a symbol of Christ? Coming home to port? Family love and joyful expectation? Perhaps there is something in it you see that I havent even thought of.....
This piece is now available as a print AND I still have the original in my etsy shop! sleightholmfolk.etsy.com

  If you'd like to see a video of a choir singing this carol, I highly suggest this one:

  I'd also like to say a big THANK YOU to those of you who've purchased my calendar! I have been so pleased with its reception and hope you LOVE it! And if you're just now thinking about 2019-- I do still have a few calendars left in my shop!

   And before I go-- I'd like to mention that I'm getting ready to send out my newsletter if you'd like to sign up! You can go to THIS PAGE (or click the button on my sidebar) and fill out the info to get folk arty news in your inbox :)

Thanks so much, and happy November!~
h

Oklahoma Autumn


   Good afternoon, and Happy Halloween!
      I hope you're having a beautiful day where ever you are. Here, we are at full autumn color, and it looks like we're going to have a wonderful day for the Open House at Blue Heron this weekend!

   The other day I went for a little drive to see the landscape. The light was bright and beautiful and I wanted to make sure I enjoyed the color while I could. I took along my camera and wanted to snap some photos of the pretty things I saw around here....I wanted to look with fresh eyes, for myself, at this place I call home.



   Where I live in northeastern Oklahoma, the landscape is a little different than what you might think of as Oklahoma. We have open fields that are beautiful, but we also have densely treed hills and shaded valleys, since the last fingertips of the Ozark Mountains are in this area.

   I drove down country roads familiar to me, the car ride to school, the old road near my grandparents house....trying to take it all in and enjoy.

   I've noticed that Oklahoma is not one of those 'must see destination' states. Many articles I read about it seem to be pleasantly surprised that there's anything to see here other than cows and a tumbleweed ever so often (and we dont really even have those!) Our history, aside from that dark time when many Native Americans were forced to walk here on the Trail of Tears, is not taught much in school-- even our own schools.  And I started wondering if maybe I could help change that perception, and reveal some jewels about this place where 'the wind comes sweeping down the plain...'


   So that is my mission this autumn. To see the beauty here and enjoy it. To share it here, with you.



    Because there are some very lovely, and interesting, and breath catching moments out here....in the landscape, and in my own garden, on my own little porch (with a kitty or two for company...)


    So I hope that I can share more with you. And in the process, I can fall a little more in love in this place I call home.

Autumn blessings, friends!~
H

Holiday Shop Update on November 1st

Hi friends!~
    Just wanted to let you know--- I am hard at work on a BIG holiday shop update that will go live in my etsy shop on Thursday, NOVEMBER 1st. I'll have a lot of new things to share with you--- including original art, prints and Christmas cards! November is always my busiest shop month, and Im so glad to be ready! And I hope you like the new things I've got coming your way....

check back soon!~
Heather

Cooking with Tasha Tudor: Apple Crisp


   Hi there friends!~
         And here we are, ready for another Cooking with Tasha Tudor post! This one is special because we're not just cooking with Tasha Tudor, we are cooking with Mary Mason Campbell.

    In the late 60s/early 70s, Tasha and one of her friends came together and put out four books, all about New England cooking and culture and traditions. The first in this series was "The New England Butt'ry Shelf Cookbook", and it is a jewel of a little book. It follows the seasons and gives little stories and recipes for special things to cook through the year from a New Englander point of view. Mason Campbell did the writing and recipe collecting (although she also says 'receipts' like Tasha, and I have no doubt they inspired each other) and Tasha illustrated.

   The first recipe--- receipt-- I tried, was the apple crisp dessert. It was a different recipe than I'm used to making--- and included the addition of lemon rind and juice, which gave the whole dessert a tart and fresh taste which was really good!





   The whole dish was simple and easy to make, especially if you've got several apples on hand, which is very likely this time of year! I baked it in a pie pan, with the apples sliced on bottom and the 'crisp' just dumped on top. Its not a picturesque dish when it comes out of the oven, lol, but it's nothing a dollop of whipped cream cant make fancy, and is good to eat both warm or cold!

   The book this recipe came from, and all of the Mason Campbell/Tudor books, are now out of print. BUT, you can find used copies pretty easily on Amazon (thats how I got mine.) There is also The Butt'ry Shelf Almanac and Kitchen Gardens, and A Basket of Herbs. It appears that both women had a lot in common and enjoyed working with each other, and I love the idea of their finding each other in 1960s New England (or earlier, I'm not sure when they met) and finding a kindred spirit.

   Mary Mason Campbell was a fascinating woman in her own right, and I relate to her because she was also originally from the prairie, having been born in Nebraska.

   I found her obituary online and thought I'd share it with you here. I think its remarkable that Tasha Tudor is actually named in the obit, along with only Mary's parents and husband. Here is the dynamic biography of Mary, as written in her obituary:

  CAMPBELL, MARY MASON of Scituate died December 28, 2007. She was the widow of Douglas Campbell to whom she had been married for 52 years at the time of his death.

   Mrs. Campbell was born in Bloomfield, Nebraska, a daughter of Edgar H. and Margaret D. Mason. After graduation from Yankton College, she lived in Minneapolis, Chicago (where she was Executive Secretary to the Chairman of Pure Oil Company), Washington, DC, Salisbury, NH and Wickford and Scituate, RI where she made her home since 1971.

   She was the author of three books, The New England Buttry Shelf Cookbook, The New England Buttry Shelf Almanac, Betty Crockers Kitchen Gardens and co-author of A Basket of Herbs. All were illustrated by her dear friend Tasha Tudor. Mary was an accomplished weaver, quilter, rug hooker, an ardent gardener, gourmet, world traveler, Francophile, and a lecturer on herbs and Thomas Jefferson.

   Mrs. Campbell was a member of First Baptist Church in America, Salisbury Congregational Church, Providence Art Club, Squantum Association, Chilton Club, and National Herb Society and its New England unit.

  She is survived by many nieces, nephews and cousins in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Oregon, Nevada and England.




    After reading the obituary, I realized that she and Tasha passed away within 6 months of each other, as Tasha died in June 2008. It also reveals that at about the same period of time Tasha moved from the New Hampshire home she raised her family in to Vermont, Mary also made a big move and moved to Rhode Island. Evidently Rhode Island was special to Mary's heart, as she and her husband had loving restored "an acorn-sized fisherman's cottage" there. The home was built in 1802, and I am so curious to know if it is still there! I'm sure it was so sweet and snug, and right near the water. What a special place to retire to!

   The little glimpses of Mary from the 'about the author' section of the books and this obituary reveals a woman who was interested and passionate about so many things, and many of them where skills or knowledge from the past. I can only imagine the wonderful conversations she would have had with Tasha.....and perhaps one day with a cup of tea in hand they decided 'we should write a book!"

   I would love to learn more about her, but there doesnt' seem to be a lot out there on her. But she sounds wonderful, and I would have loved to have been friends with her. What I can do, though, is be inspired by Mary and Tasha--- both women who whole-heartedly and passionately followed their interests and made unique lives for themselves. They certainly were not following the trends of the times with their persuits--- weaving and rug hooking and expertise on Thomas Jefferson were not the hobbies du jour in the 1960s! But I totally understand....and have fallen down many of those same rabbit holes myself!
And so, I look forward to trying more recipes from Mary and Tasha, and enjoying their books! If you ever come across any of their books, I highly suggest snapping them up! They are absolute treasures!

I hope you've enjoyed this latest installment! And look for news coming about my big shop update for CHRISTMAS art! I have new original paintings, prints and cards coming!~! Can't wait to share!

Thanks so much, and come back again soon!
And remember--
Take Joy!~
h

October Love & Folk Art


   And here it is, fall has finally arrived! It always makes me think of that perfect autumn I spent in New England now five years ago! But it is my favorite season in any place, and I am enjoying seeing signs of it out here on the prairie too.

   The leaves are just starting to change....the hot temperatures have been swept away, and cold northern winds from Canada have swept down, jangling the wind chimes, rustling the leaves, sending little sweet birds to my bird feeder for treats to sustain them on their way south...

    Im sitting down to my art table this week to make some sweet little witchy dolls.....ladies who would be very much at home at this amazing Witch House in Salem, MA. Salem is an amazing place to while away an October afternoon, for sure! So much history, so much rich and beautiful landscape, lives and eras folded and mixed into each other--- just what I love best....

  Above all though, I like my halloween a little more sweet than too terribly spooky--- and you'll find lots of examples of that in my artwork! My etsy shop is now stocked with originals, prints, and note cards to get you in the spooky sweet spirit and they're all ready to ship!

   What is your favorite thing about Autumn and the beautiful month of October? And how do you like to celebrate this bewitching time of year?
  Hope you're having a wonderful week!~
Take Joy,
H

Autumn At Home


  Good morning!~
        I thought I'd do a little post this morning showing you some of my season decor in my home. Granted, I live with children, so its looking nice and neat is fleeting! But they're at school and well, I'm feeling festive!

    Autumn is one of my favorite seasons to decorate for. During a trip to Eureka Springs for our first anniversary years ago, I discovered Nicol Sayre dolls and have collected them through the years. I've also been a collector of antiques for many years, usually gathering my treasures through family, antique malls and estate sales. I often hear older antiques collectors bemoan the fact that 'the young folks' aren't into antiques. Well, I am here to say that I am! Collecting antiques is tricky though, because they can be so expensive. That's why I have to really hunt for pieces I can afford.

   One of my favorite estate sales pieces is this winged back chair that I snagged at an estate sale and was so excited to tote home. I saw it tucked into the entryway of a beautiful old home in Tulsa and it was one of those 'I know I'll never see something like this again that I can afford' situations. The old rocking chair behind it is a family heirloom that is so beautifully made....the arms are at the perfect height to comfortably rest while you knit. The spinning wheel beside you, I'm sure you've seen it in many photos, is my prized spinning wheel that also was an estate sale find. I mean.....God bless estate sales! Especially on 50% off day!



    I've also collected lots of little holiday pieces that I love to bring out during the autumn season. Many of them were gifts, or special items I've collected piece by piece over the years. The two little dolls above in the white dresses were handmade by my friend Christine Crocker, who makes beautiful Queen Anne style dolls.

   For me though, I love Halloween when its spooky sweet and old fashioned. I've always been drawn to ghost stories and perhaps even a dash of the macabre (I do love to go exploring a beautiful old cemetery, especially in New England!). Im not into the gory or the frightening, but the cozy and homespun.

        On the living room trunk I've usually got a stack of my favorite books, and these are my current favs. The giant Grandma Moses tome was another great Antique Mall find ($5! Cheap antique mall books may be my weakness....just ask my many bookcases....) I also found this sweet book of American Folk Art from the Museum of American Folk Art in NYC, which I would love to visit one day. I've also been savoring Nora Murphy's Country House Style, which just came out and is amazing.


    And so, that's a little peek at things around here. Doing a little laundry and picking up while everyone is at school or work for the day, and then hoping to paint later. Im hard at work for art for the coming Open House at Blue Heron Antiques (November 3!) and creating art for Christmas.

   Thanks so much for coming by today!~
H