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Autumn Gathering on September 1!

Dear friends!~
    The time is nearly here for my annual Autumn Gathering! Come join me on Saturday, September 1 as I celebrate all things autumn and list some new pieces (including several originals!) to celebrate this wonderful season!

  If you'd like to celebrate along with me, or have a post in your blog archive about anything autumn, I'm going to host a blog stroll with a linking tool! So come by, get that good cup of coffee or tea, see the new art and stroll through blogland to meet new friends!

See you soon!~
Take Joy,

Happy Birthday, Tasha Tudor

  Good morning, my friends!~
            Today we are celebrating the birthday of one of my most favorite people--- my inspiration in art and life, Tasha Tudor.

   My love for Tasha Tudor goes waaaay back. I discovered her by accident when I came across a damaged copy of "The Private World of Tasha Tudor" in a discount bin at my local bookstore. Since that moment, it's been true love....

  Over the years I've written a lot about Tasha, mostly in my Tasha Tuesdays series. I was even able to visit her home a few summers back, which you can read about HERE.
   Tasha life, as well as her art has always spoken to my heart. I love all the little details she puts in her work--- many times she used her own home and garden and even her children as inspiration. Looking at her illustrations is like visiting the home of an old friend.

  And even though it has been many years since I found that first book about the life of Tasha Tudor, her influence on me and my own life and work has not dimmed. To me, she is a kindred spirit and Im sad I never got the chance to meet her in person. But her life and words still speak to me, and inspire me, and make me want to 'live the life I've imagined', just as she did....

Are you a fan of Tasha Tudor? What is it that you most love about her? Do you have a favorite book or painting? I'd love to hear about it!

Happy Birthday, Tasha Tudor!~!

Take Joy!

Summer in New England: Historic Deerfield

   There are certain pockets of New England, where you turn a corner, and suddenly you realize you've gone back in time. Before you stretches a beautiful scene, perhaps rolling farmland, or in some instances, an entire neighborhood. That's what happens when you enter Historic Deerfield in Deerfield, MA. It is a gorgeous street lined with antique homes, and you are welcome to meander down the sidewalk, or in some, to even step inside....it is one of my favorite places on this earth!

    Historic Deerfield was founded as a living history museum in the early 1950s, and the homes that line the street are mostly original and stand where they were built. They are in amazing condition, and many of them are open to tour (sadly, no photography though! So we'll have to console ourselves with just photos from the outside!)

  In the early 18th century, Deerfield was the western-most settlement of the Massachusetts colony, and was considered the dangerous frontier. In fact, the town was the scene of a few brutal attacks and settler kidnappings (if you go to the cemetery in town, you can see a very moving monument for the mass grave of those who did not survive the attack.)

  But, on a happier note, the town did eventually become a safe and thriving place to live, and many of the townsfolk did very well for themselves, as shown by the beautiful homes they were able to build for their families.


    This historic area has just captured by heart and imagination and I am so impressed with the preservation that has happened here. Some of the things seen there are quite unexpected--- like that blue house above? The original color! Who knew they  had mint green houses around New England back in the day?

  There's also an extensive artifact museum within the historic area that is wonderful to visit, and where you can view many of the every day items that they have collected and now store.

  My favorite home in Deerfield is always the Dwight House, which I first saw on a glorious autumn day (you can find my first visit to Deerfield with friends HERE. It was a wonderful experience, and the fall color AMAAAZING. Plus, pumpkins everywhere!!)

  Below are a few photos of the Dwight house in all its glory....And ohh those colors! The red! The cream! The blue! All the colors I love, on the home style I love, and all old old old. Couldnt be more perfect for me! (When can I move in, Deerfield??)

    Although I wasn't able to take photos in the homes, you can do virtual tours of all the museum homes on the Historic Deerfield website, and I highly recommend going there and looking around!

  I also found a great short video about Historic Deefield online, and thought I'd share it with you here.
  Its such a lovely place, and a highlight of New England! I think if I were able to move to the northeast, Deerfield would be high on my list of towns to be in!

  Enjoy and hope you are well!~

Oh PS! Next week on Aug. 28 we will celebrate Tasha Tudor's birthday here! I hope you can stop by and join in on the merry-making!~

COMING UP: An Autumn Gathering

 "An Autumn Gathering" is a favorite tradition on my blog, where I share a collection of new autumn inspired art and host a 'blog stroll' that you can also take part in on your own social media!
  This year's Autumn Gathering will take place on SATURDAY September 1.That day, I will have lots of new original goodies for you to peruse in my etsy shop. Summer here is long and hot--- so once September comes, it's all about autumn! Its time for autumn leaves and pumpkins! (no matter that its still usually 90 degrees) The season holds a special place in my heart because my birthday is often the official first day of autumn-- I'm a solstice baby :) and so, its always a time of merry-making and celebration!

  If you are a blogger or have a social media posting platform (instagram works too) I'd love if you'd join me for an 'autumn stroll.' Publish your own autumn themed post on or around September 1 and I will have a link tool on my Autumn Gathering blogpost where you can leave your info, and we can all visit each other!

So on September 1, grab a festive cup of tea, break out the knitting, and come visit! See new art and visit new friends as we come together for our autumn gathering! Hope to see you then!

  And also, don't forget that Im still doing pre-orders for my 2009 calendar! See more images of it and make your your order HERE 

PRE-ORDER 2019 Calendar!

   You guys!!!
    I'm so excited to share--- the first look at my FIRST calendar, for 2019!

I've been working on this for months now, and am so thrilled to have the actual hard copy in my hands. My printers did such a beautiful job with it, and I am so pleased. The calendar measures 10x12" and the pages are printed on a really nice, sturdy matte white stock. That means it'll be nice to write on AND it will make great prints to frame once the year is done.

   My idea for this calendar was to make it more ecumenical than most calendars out there--- there are feast days and holy days marked for Roman Rite, Anglican and Orthodox liturgical years. There are also major Jewish feast days noted.

   So that means--- The Twelve Great Feasts of Orthodoxy? In there! Lent? In there! Advent? Yep, in there too! I've even marked old calendar Christmas and New Year-- although I decided (for simplicity's sake and on the advice of a friend who in an Orthodox deacon) to keep the Orthodox holidays on the western 'new' calendar.

  I also added Marian feast days (Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of Fatima), beloved celtic saints (yay for Dunstan! Aiden! Cuthbert! Brigid! Audrey!) and also American saints (Katherine Drexel! Herman of Alaska!) Its a big, beautiful, full family endeavor. There will be saints and feast you know, and some you dont-- depending on your faith tradition. The idea for me is, if you see something you dont know--- look it up! Deepen your faith! Lets realize all the things we have in common.

  Right now I am opening this calendar up for PRE-ORDER. It will be open for pre-order until Tuesday, August 21 and then I'll make my large calendar order. My plan is to get an idea of how many copies I'll need and just make the one order. Its more economical for me to order in bulk, but I will only order a finite number and then, they're gone. So if you want to make sure you get one--- please please pre-order!

I will place my order on August 22 and then the calendars will go out to you, my pre-order friends, ASAP. After that, I'll list the remainder in my shop for first come, first serve.

It feels so good to have this calendar done and to have it in my hands...I've wanted to make one for years. And I'm so happy I could have it so beautifully made, and here in the US. This is no Chinese printed calendar. I'm using a small family run business to have these printed, so when you buy your art--- you're actually helping two small family businesses. Thank you!

  And if you're one of my newsletter friends who have already pre-ordered--- THANK YOU!!! <3 My newsletter subscribers always get big news first, so if you'd like to be mailed the next one, please subscribe! I try to make it worth your while! :)

  Til next time!~
Take Joy,

Summer In New England: Old Sturbridge Village

    Good morning! Are you ready to travel through New England again with me? Think you can stand another salt box house, gorgeous homespun interior, and historic atmosphere? Hehehe, of course you can! That's what we love isnt it?!

   Ah, and today....today we go to an amazing place....where we step back into time to the 1830s....where that old fashioned New England life comes to colorful life...to Old Sturbridge Village!

   Old Sturbridge Village is like no other place I've ever been. Its an amazing living history museum that is not just a house...but an entire community. There are homes and shops nestled around a town square--- and even a church as well.  A little farther down a wooded road there's a school, farmhouse, mill and forge....an old fashioned covered bridge, and quintessential New Enland rural beauty. It is said that Tasha Tudor used to come and walk around in her old fashioned clothes, no doubt feeling supremely at home.

   We were lucky enough to visit for the second time last summer with our good friends the Heatons, and spent a lovely day rambling through the acres and acres of living history together. For me, as a history lover and now a living history volunteer here in Oklahoma (you can find me at Hunters Home in Tahlequah for most events), I loved how all the bits and pieces of history come together there to give you a real feel for the era.

   I loved the old hat boxes in the general store (can you see them in the pic below?) really seeing the women cook in their kitchen (despite the alarming amount of flies!) and people working in the garden. It just brings to life those bygone eras so wonderfully, it makes my heart ache a little...

   I also love seeing the people in period dress out and about, doing their chores and visiting. Is it just me, or were things just more beautiful in 'the olden days?'  The lovely fabrics, the pretty underthings, the hats, the accessories (Oh, the accessories!) I know when I am dressed as interpreter for the 1840s, people always say 'Oh, you must be so hot!' and yes, its hot-- because the house has no AC and its 100 degrees in Oklahoma in the summer--- but the clothes aren't really that hot. Skirts and petticoats were designs to keep off your legs (corded petticoats and hoops made that bell shape of the dress that was pretty, but also encouraged air circulation).  Even the fabrics, which were natural materials like cotton or linen, breath much better than synthetic fabrics, so it isn't smothering.

   Another favorite aspect of the village to me, of course, were the homes...I loved getting to peek at the interiors of the old homes, and see the things as people would have really lived with them...the pretty dishes in the cabinet, the children's toys laying about....I couldnt help but snap many photos of these beautiful interiors...

  Through the day, there are often little 'events' going on around the community--- like this family coming together at the farmhouse to have their midday meal! The food had been prepared and cooked in the kitchen all that morning, and then we were able to see the interpreters all sit down to enjoy the meal. I loved that--- as it truly made the rhythm of their day come alive...they weren't just doing 'old timey things' in a stand-alone fashion. They were truly living the day, and enjoying the fruits of their labor...

   Old Sturbridge Village is located in Sturbridge, Mass., a lovely little town. I feel so lucky to have been able to visit it, in the company of such good friends. They do all sorts of programs throughout the year, so if you find yourself in the area, take a look at their website and see what's going on. (This isnt a sponsored post of any sort--- I just really enjoy my time there!)

   And I hope you've enjoyed looking at these little bits and pieces from the museum...I love looking at them, even now. They are so sweet, so simple, so beautiful. Everything was handmade and natural. Sometimes we forget in our modern world that that is even possible. But it is! Our past gives us so many ideas on how to live in a way that is not full of plastic, waste, and mass produced items. While I am not under the impression that the past was a perfect time without its darkness--- we've come a long way in the right direction in a lot of ways--- I do find inspiration in the simple ways we used to be able to live. And I think places like Old Sturbridge Village can inspire us to bring some of that simplicity back into our lives, and keep alive those old skills and traditions we all used to know.....so that we might use them again.

Take Joy, my friends!~
And thanks for coming along on another New England visit with me...

Read more Summer in New England posts HERE

Studio Tour: The Weaving Room

"Log Cabin Spinner" one of my newer paintings!
   I had no idea where it would lead me when years ago, I decided to learn to knit. For a birthday treat, I went to a free class offered by a local yarn shop. I worked diligently on many a wonky, crooked scarf. I watched a lot of YouTube tutorials, and fell down one fibery rabbit hole after another.

   After I'd knitted a few years, I stumbled upon a spinning wheel at an estate sale. A friend helped me get it into working order, and then I started my adventures in spinning.....and then, last fall, the chance to have my own loom (free!) presented itself (actually thanks to Jane, the same friend who helped me with my wheel! She's a fiber enabler!) It wasn't long before I found myself loading up a big old van full of giant equipment, and excitedly driving it home.

  And now here I am....with a room full of fibery goodness, and more than a little surprised to have gathered such a space, but so thankful for the opportunity...

    Now, my husband has asked me more than once "so where are you going to put that?" And lucky for me, I do indeed have a place! When we bought this old house, one of the surprise extras was not only a full brick detached garage, but a little apartment above it. It doesnt have central heat and air, and it was in need of some renovating, but after a lot of ripped up floors and painting of walls, its a beautiful space. And....it's all mine.

  When you enter the studio you come up an old wooden staircase (that I've painted a pretty colonial blue) and cross a landing into this first room. Most likely the 'parlor' of this little apartment, we ripped up a lot of terrible flooring to get down to this original wood floor. We found some quirky things out when we did that--- like some of the floor had once been damaged by fire and replaced with raw wood flooring. We also found that a large rectangle of floor in the middle of the room was left unpainted, while the rest of the floor was a pretty old wine red color. Why on earth would someone do that? Did someone just paint around the rug?

   No matter, I took a chip of the old paint to the hardware store to color match it, and painted the boards to match that had been put in to replace the fire damage, and also painted the blue 'stenciled rug' in the center over the poor 'bald spot.' And voila....a craft room was born!

   This room has been several years in the making as I figured out what do just do with the space. After my brother moved out (he lived in this apartment for about a year when we moved in) I shared the studio space with my good friend Natasha from House Sparrow Fine Nesting for a while until she moved into her own home studio, and later used this room as a 'shop space' to display and sell items at open houses.

   However, it seemed like a bit of a waste of space to use it as a shop when the open houses tended to just be once a year....and then, oh dear, all these old pieces of large fiber equipment kept coming my way until....I looked around and noticed "oh, this is the weaving room!"

  I think its my trusty little wheel, an Ashford Traveler that I got at that amazing estate sale that started this things going. Then, every time someone saw 'something fibery' they'd tell me about it-- or give it to me! (that's my favorite!)

  Last winter I was able to attend a fiber art retreat in the Ozarks and after taking a weaving class sighed to my trust friend Jane (you know, my enabler!) "I wish I had a loom." And within hours....she's done some messaging around...and I had a free loom I could go pick up once I got home! (Now that is friendship!)

  Then this past weekend, my friend Denise Bell from Lost City Knits was in town for Fiber Christmas in July and her husband delivered me these two amazing gems--- an antique walking wheel and a weasel (where we get 'pop, goes the weasel!) I'd love to get that big wheel working....and am just in awe of how gorgeous and old it is...wondering where it came from, what its story is, where it began its life.

  Everything in this room seems to have come from happenstance and serendipity. And who would have though? Who would have thought those little wonky scarves and a free class would have led to all this?
My painting "Eliza's Knitting"
 And so, I guess, the moral of this story is--- tumble down, my dears! Tumble down those rabbit holes! You'll never know where they will lead you, or what passion or interest you'll discover that you never knew you had! And if you let those around you know what you love and long for, its very possible they'll help you make it happen. Sometimes it takes a village....a village of fibery friends.

ALSO--- I have a winner to declare for Monday's Giveaway!
The winner is.....


Thank you so much! I hope you enjoy your little House of Seven Gables!
And thanks a bunch for everyone who entered! Keep coming back, as I'm planning on offering more treats :)

And of course, thanks for stopping by! I appreciate it! I always love reading your comments.

Talk again soon,

This post is part of the Yarn Along blog hop! Click here to see more!