Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Seasons Change

Here in the Mid-Atlantic, As the calendar page flips to November, the leaves are falling from the trees and sound crisp underfoot.  The days are much shorter now that we have discarded daylight savings time, and the temperatures have dropped considerably.  After almost two months of a gentle, jacket free end to summer, fall has finally arrived. 

I never mind the final passing of summer very much though, because although carefree days spent outside are a thing of the past for now, there is much to look forward to in the coming months.  My creative self is making lists and plans like crazy!  Hand made holiday decorations and gifts are dancing around in my head, and narrowing down all the possibilities to a few things that I can do and do well is almost as fun for my right-brained analytical self as making them is for my artistic soul.

My favorite part of the holiday season, though, is the food.  I think that's why I enjoy November so much; it contains the holiday, here in America, that is all about family and food and fellowship.  And football!  My family has never been much for throwing a football around on Thanksgiving day, but that would be a fun tradition to add, I think.  Listening to the parade while I do all of my prep work, and the sounds of the football games on TV as the smell of the turkey fills the house are long standing traditions, but certainly leave room for a new one.  I feel the same way about the food; while there are certain traditional dishes that I make every year that we spend the holiday at home, I also like to add at least one new item to the menu.  It's very important to me to honor traditions, but equally important that we do not get completely bored by too much predictability. 

How about you, dear reader; in your holiday preparations do you stay with the traditional, shake it up with something completely new and different, or strike a balance between the two?  Please share, I would love to read!

xo, Anita

Thursday, October 9, 2014

{Vintage} Fall Fashions

Straight from the pages of Everywoman's Family Circle, fashions for your full fall days.

The women of the 1950's certainly knew how to look their best!  Whether grocery shopping, attending PTA meetings or greeting the children as they arrived home from school, their ensemble was chic, well accessorized, and accompanied by the perfectly matched pair of pumps. 

Lightweight wool and flannel in jewel tones, the perfect pair of gloves; what's not to love?  I just have to believe that even the most mundane of tasks on the most average of days had to be a pleasure in clothes like these. 

And the evening wear!  Silk prints and richly colored wool jersey accompanied by sparkly jewels, the perfectly matched shoes + clutch, and opera length gloves.  All put on after an afternoon spent getting a wash and set at the neighborhood hair salon.  And look closely at that couple sipping coffee.  No digital devices on the table!  How lovely that must have been. 

Do you ever wish that you could time travel to a simpler time?  I could definitely make a case for a mid-century lifestyle!
xo, Anita

Friday, September 26, 2014

Bringing Fall Inside

One of my favorite things to do is to change up my décor as the seasons change.  And Fall is my favorite time to do it because A) it is my favorite season, B) October is my favorite + my birthday month, and C) orange is my favorite color.  Adding even more orange to my house than lives there already makes me ridiculously happy.  It's just such a happy color, don't you think? 

Pictured above are a few things I picked up at the farmers market to add fall to our apartment.  I find that I need reminders of fall around during this time of year in the mid Atlantic region, because it still resembles summer outside.  I am also collecting {via on line shopping, my fave!} some indie business made fall season items to bring to our house on my next trip.  I am really looking forward to this upcoming holiday season, because while it will be our second in the house, it will be the first in terms of decorations and meal preparations and entertaining.  Exciting times!

First up is a wreath for the front door, from the Etsy shop Wild Ridge Design.  It is a white door, so I was thinking that I would go with the orange.  Or, should I paint the door orange and get the white wreath?  I've always wanted an orange door.  I wonder if I can find a shade to match nicely with the brick.  Decisions, decisions!

Two words: Velvet. Pumpkins.  Seriously!  These are maybe the most amazing {indie business} décor items I have ever seen.  Velvet in the shape of a pumpkin attached to a real organic pumpkin stem.  Available in, like, four dozen colors.  Are you even kidding me?!?  I may never put them away.  These Plush Pumpkin gems are available at the on line shop of the blog Love, Feast, Table, by the way. 

And if pumpkins are not your thing {as if!}, the same lovely velvet is available in the shape of mushrooms and acorns, with or without the bird's nest.  A fun addition to your fall display and the very definition of making a good thing better! 

This next item appeared in my very favorite {indie or otherwise!} on line shop, Moorea Seal, just the other day.  It was love at first sight!  While I definitely consider them a year round decor item, they have a decidedly fall feel to me, as well, particularly in the natural and mustard shades.

Log bowls made from reclaimed trees, painted in pretty colors and finished with a high gloss.  Love.

Pommes Frites candles are another favorite find from Moorea's shop.  She carries four fabulous scents, including a custom for her blend that I just love, but the fall scents that I am currently burning, Apple Picking and Spiced Pumpkin, can both be found in the PF Candles Etsy shop


How do you mark the change of seasons in your home, dear friends?  Please share, I would love to read!
xo, Anita

Thursday, July 10, 2014

On How Life Is

Not all that long ago, I found myself in a familiar place surrounded by familiar people, and was reminded again about how lacking our world can be in grace and basic human kindness.  Thankfully, it was not all a disappointment, because I did connect in a nice place with some people that I have not generally been very close to.  But not without first experiencing the gut wrenching demoralization that only those closest to you can cause you to feel.  After about a day and a half of wallowing and another day and a half of rebuilding with the love and support of my husband and a few other kind individuals, I concluded that I had this to say to the people who judged and decided that they found me wanting.  Peace be with you.  I hope that you are able to find a path away from the self loathing and disappointment that causes you to project your misery onto other people.  You, and those like you, are the reason that I have dedicated my life to finding the joy in the moments, and to spreading it to anyone who is receptive.  I was like you once, and I made bad decisions during my search for love and acceptance, before I found that it existed within me all the time, and I only had to be open to discovering it. 

The photographs in this post were taken in the beautiful water side village of Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts.  Yes, the very place that the Pilgrims landed!  One of my very favorite people in the world recently relocated there, and I am looking forward to more visits in the near future.  There are few things I love more than time by the water, other than perhaps time by the water surrounded by history.  Having spent the summers of my childhood at a cottage on a lake, and living now in not one but two homes that are a quick drive (or a long-ish run!) to the water side, I feel comfortable in saying that near the water, or better yet on the water, is my happy place.

If you are A) a regular reader here, or B) part of my "real" life, you know that the last few years were full of big changes in my world.  Because of this, my original 101 in 1001 project ended up being largely ignored.  But since it's time frame recently ran out, and because I am in a much more settled place now, I've decided to give it another go, with a brand new revised and updated set of goals.  I brought some of the incomplete items on the original list to the new one, and added some from my ongoing mental to-do list.  I've decided that modern literature and best sellers are not a good fit for the list, because my to-read list is always evolving, and some books get crossed off without ever being read.  This happens for several reasons, maybe someone whose opinion I trust did not enjoy it, perhaps the subject matter ceased to be of interest to me.  A few classics remain on the list however, those that I have always wanted to read but have not gotten to yet. I am hoping that their inclusion will encourage me to occasionally squeeze one in between my regular rotation of best sellers and of the moment literary stars.

One of the items new to the list is the Random Kindness Blog Tour, started by Meg Evans.  I am super excited about this project!  I learned about it in the best of ways, through a comment that she left on this blog post.  She came across my blog on her tour, and decided that it fit her criteria of being a blog that promotes positivity and kindness.  Yay!  Because that is exactly what I want this to be, before and above anything else.  So I have decided to commit to a year long tour of my own, which I started today by spending about an hour reading Meg's delightful blog, and leaving her a  kind comment when I was done.  If this sounds like a project in your own wheel house, read about it here, and jump on!

In a blog post titled "On How Life Is" I could really write on and on, but I think I'll end this here, satisfied that I've covered some important to me items today, and excited by the fact that while writing I have jotted down some ideas for future posts.  Perhaps my blogging mojo has been renewed along with the 101 in 1001 project! 

Have you ever attempted a 101 in 1001 project of your own, dear reader?  Please share, I would love to hear!

xo, Anita

Monday, June 16, 2014

{A Work In Progress}

In the year since putting a long planned move into action, I have done very little blogging.  I fully understand the reason for the early absence; there is just nothing blog worthy about disassembling not one but two homes (the one we moved out of and the one we acquired), and nothing very blog worthy about setting up house in a small apartment meant to serve as a sort of extended stay home away from home near my misters place of business. 

But what I am having a hard time understanding is why it has been so hard for me to return to a regular blogging practice!  I think about blogging, I journal thoughts and ideas for blogging, I just can't seem to get back into the practice of sitting down to actually work on my blog.

It just recently occurred to me that it may be that I miss having an area in my home dedicated to creativity.  The apartment is very comfortable but quite small, so each space does double and even triple duty.  When I am spending time there, my lap top, camera and journals often get moved out of sight, and I never seem to end up getting them back out again. 

As for the house, it is so much a work in progress that I do not even have internet service turned on.  I am determined to rectify that in the very near future, though.  After many stops and starts, the place is actually starting to become the home we've been dreaming about.

The photos I am sharing here today (except for the first; I took that one in the garden) are from one of the three rooms on the second floor, which is to be my studio/sewing room.

Though far from "finished", this space is becoming what I've envisioned for it; functional and inspiring space for me to create in.

Do you write a blog of your own, dear friends?  And if you do, how do you make the time and space for it?  Please share, I would love to hear! 

xoxo, Anita

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Only love is real...

...nothing else exists. 

If you've read my blog before, you may already know that I am a devotee of A Course In Miracles.  (If you're interested, you can find my previous posts on the subject here.) 

The course is based on the belief that only love is real, and that nothing else exists.  Fear is the opposite of love, but what is all encompassing can have no opposite.  Put another way, fear is loveless perception.

Fear is not something we were born with, it is something that we learned.  We are taught concepts such as competition, limitation, guilt and scarcity.   We are taught that to be lovable we must get good grades, make a lot of money, be better, stronger, faster than everyone else.  But when we attach value to things that cannot love us back, we are searching for meaning in the meaningless.  It's not that these things are bad, it's that they are nothing.

To keep love as the focus in every circumstance we encounter requires surrender.  Surrender means to empty our mind to everything we have been taught, recognize that we don't have to be struggling all of the time and just love instead.  In doing this, we are liberated from our pain, experience inner peace, and discover a power within ourselves that we were previously unaware of.
I wish I could say that is an easy thing to do, to surrender fear based thinking in favor of love based thinking in difficult circumstances. I will say, however, that I am much better at it now than I was when I first discovered the Course back in 1992, through Marianne Williamson's book "A Return To Love".  I have learned that, as with all worthwhile things in life, learning to surrender to the love requires a strong commitment, a devoted practice and an unwavering belief in the importance of maintaining this way of being with the world.   During those times when I am most challenged, I repeat this mantra over and over to myself "only love is real, nothing else exists....only love is real, nothing else exists.....only love is real, nothing else exists.......".  I find that this simple exercise helps to both calm me and give me the strength to face whatever it is that is going on.
Do you have a special way of dealing with the difficult challenges that life regularly presents, dear friends?  Please share, I would love to hear!
xo, Anita

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Learning Curves

When I wrote this post back in January, I really thought that I had my life and schedule under control.  I thought that I would be back to sitting in front of my laptop and working on blog content for hours on end several days a week.  Turns out that I didn't have things nearly as under control as I thought that I did!

So why am I finding it so challenging?  That is a really good question, and one that I have given seemingly endless hours of thought to.  I have managed come up with several answers to this question, some that I am working to address, and some that I have had to give myself permission to accept. 

The first thing that I have to accept is that big life events come with their very own set of baggage, some of which we never anticipated.  Things that absorb our time and divert our focus.  In the midst of dealing with a new reality I can feel myself thinking about my blog and being creative, but in an unfamiliar way, unable to see a clear path to getting to it.  There are things that happen that take your entire focus and all of your thoughts, and we just need to allow our minds to work it through until one day we realize that it is not the ONLY thing we are thinking about.  When that time comes, there is room for considering creativity again.

Another thing that I've had to accept is that considering creativity is not the same as being creative.  The thoughts, ideas and inspiration that fuel our creative processes don't originate on their own.  And mindlessly pacing through my daily routines doesn't cut it, either.  I have to get out of my comfort zone, pick up a camera, and start to really look at things again. 

That's where I am now.  Looking for the inspiration around me, seeing the beauty in the day, the possibilities in the moments, and challenging myself to step outside of my current comfort zone.  I am excited to see where this mindset takes me!  For the first time in what feels like a very long time, I am looking beyond accomplishing my daily to do list toward bringing something into my world that did not exist there before.

What fuels your creativity, dear friend?  I would love to hear!

xo, Anita

Monday, January 13, 2014

Words Into Action

Do you make resolutions for the New Year, dear friend? 

I can remember, as a teenager, listing them with the same excitement that I had put into my "Dear Santa" letters just a few years earlier.  But as each year passed, making resolutions became less important to me.  As a bit of a perfectionist, it doesn't really make sense to me to plan to change or improve something at a set date in the future.  If something needs that type of attention, I prefer to address it as soon as I recognize the need.  At the moment that I decide to make a change I take pen in hand and compose a list.  I will edit, revise and edit again until it is complete and in order of priority.  Few things in life give me greater satisfaction than crossing a completed task off a list!  I have several such lists going right now, all started in the last year or so, and all moving along at various speeds.  I plan to share some of them and my progress on the blog in the coming weeks, so I hope that you will visit again.

That said, I actually did make a resolution of sorts this year.  It is regarding something that is very important to me, but that I am not always as good at as I would like to be.  I resolved to always show up fully when someone needs my help or support.  You may be thinking that this is something that you always do, with success, every time.  If so, I am in awe of you; please share your methods with me in the comments!  I find it a challenge at times, especially with the people who have not done the same for me, or us, in similar circumstances.  But this is also why it is so important to me.  I have gone through some of the most difficult periods in my life alone, and the mister and I have weathered most of the challenges we have faced as an island of two as well.  So I know how isolating difficult times can be!  If I can make it less so for even one person, I will have succeeded in what I set out to do. 

I hope that the New Year has started well for you!  It has for us; we spent a very pleasant, albeit snowy, holiday season at our "new" part time home in Northwestern Pennsylvania.  The photographs in this post were taken there.  It has become my favorite place in the world!  This sweet little brick house has been in the mister's family since it was constructed in the early 1940's.  We are thrilled to be it's current custodians, and are looking forward to breathing new life into it.  It has been unlived in for the last ten or so years, and we have many DIY projects in various stages of planning and completion.  I have been looking forward to both working on the house and blogging about the process for so long now that it's hard to believe that this time in our lives has finally arrived.  Life is good!

{Please excuse the garage clutter; I just couldn't resist sharing this photo because of the fur babies.  We have a nice sized double lot but no fencing yet, so we put the dogs out on leads.  Where they are standing at the top of the driveway is as far as their leads will let them go.  They stood there, rather than go back inside where it's warm, the entire time the mister was outside.  Too cute!}

Thank you so much for visiting!

xoxo, Anita