So I have to admit…. I’m not like Professor Trelawny. I have no abilities in reading tea leaves or crystal balls. I can’t predict the future. Although my hair does look like hers most days as I go for my walk in drizzly Portland or get so absorbed in making my art that I forget to look in the mirror. Whoops.
So why this title? I like fortune cookies. The cookie part is just okay but I like the surprise of opening it and reading what the little piece of paper says. We’ve had some funny and interesting ones over the years. My husband got one that said “ Be careful not to overspend” …… while we were at Disneyland! Ha! Right!
So this is what happened. I started writing my own “fortunes.” Not quite like the fortunes you receive in the Chinese restaurant cookies but just bits of positive inspiration and uplifting encouragement inspired by the simple joys in life. With so much negativity in the news, I guess it's my way to counterbalance that a bit.
You will now receive a Presents of Love fortune in a cute mini-envelope that I cut and fold myself by hand, complimentary with each order from my etsy shop (excl. digital download printables as those are sent via email). My hope is that you will feel my heartfelt gratitude for each and every one of you who support my art and that my "fortunes" will leave you inspired and reminded of the good in this world. Kind of like a supportive, warm hug tucked into a tiny, colorful envelope.
I’ve been adding lots of new items decorated through pyrography or wood burning over the past few months: driftwood art, modern rustic home decor and cool keychains. Keeping me busy! It was so fun communicating with an absolutely wonderful customer last week and knowing that my art found its way across the world safely, all the way to Switzerland!
See just a few examples of my new creations below:
I would love to hear from you! Please leave a comment if your hair is frizzy too, you have a funny fortune cookie story to share or just to say hi. I love that too! Make sure to add your email to my Simple Joys Club as I have all sorts of fun planned for this year.
You don’t want to miss out! Have a great weekend!
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You hop in the car. Go go go. Until you hit that red traffic light. You battle crowds for a parking spot. Ah, there, you got one! You push your big-box store cart (you know, the one with the squeaky wheel that constantly threatens to push you into stacks of merchandise and other shoppers) through endless aisles lit by fluorescent lighting. Kids are screaming because this is not really fun…for anyone.
Finally, you arrive at the right aisle hoping to find a thoughtful gift for Valentine’s Day, your wedding anniversary, your best friend’s birthday or your mom… What you find is lots and lots of stuff. None of it made with love. None of it thoughtful. All of it factory made and mass produced. You end up empty handed and frustrated having wasted precious time on top of it.
Yet, there is another way! It will save you time, make a real person jump for joy receiving your order and make the person you’re buying a gift for really happy! Also, you can check this gift finding "to do" off your list while sipping your favorite hot drink, wearing your cozy slippers and listening to "Relaxing Sounds of Nature."
Purchasing a gift from a small (creative) business truly is a win-win for everyone. So, if you’re shopping for a gift that will make you look like you care, here are just a few of my handmade gifts. These love-themed gifts are ready to ship right now for Valentine’s Day. To check availability on these one-of-a-kind gifts, please click the images or this link to visit my etsy shop (PresentsofLoveShop).
Because I’m all about spreading the love, here are a few other etsy shops you’ve got to check out:
For handmade doll clothes: HoleInMyBucket
For brightly colored, cheerful mixed media art: TurquoiseRhinoceros
For beautiful, handmade jewelry: JenKJohnsonDesigns
For knitted & crocheted gifts: YarnTreasuresbyHeather
What has been your best experience buying a handmade gift? What made it extra special for you? Would love to hear from you in the comments!
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Who wants a perfect Christmas tree? Beautiful, green branches with pretty ornaments spaced at just the right distance. A tree that is shaped evenly with a nice, straight top. On that top, a special tree topper that reaches to the ceiling. Just like the magazine pictures. I think we all enjoy a beautiful Christmas tree but...
How do we balance our perfectionism for the picture perfect tree with allowing the tree decorating to be a family affair?
Because kids don’t always have that pinterest touch….
In our family, the focus has been on building memories together. We have always had a real tree but the past two years, we have taken our tree “shopping” to a whole new level. While listening to Christmas music (okay, I had to kind of force this as my middle school aged kids would much prefer their favorite pop music station), we headed into the mountains to choose our “perfect” tree from the forest. This year, we hit some snow in the process and it was quite the adventure! We eventually found our tree in a little open spot after clambering up a hill and it was perfect! At least to us!
Once we got the tree in the stand, my husband and I strung the lights around it while the kids excitedly unpacked the ornaments. Decorating with ornaments has always involved the whole family. When the kids were little, I would give them the ornaments that were less fragile and have them decorate the lower branches which were perfect for their height. Now that the kids are older, they especially enjoy decorating with ornaments that are special to them!
This year, one of my kids decided to make a branch with ALL the ornaments that he had received as gifts or that were personalized with his name. This resulted in one branch being loaded down with many ornaments so I had to remind him this is our family tree and to spread things out a bit before the tree was going to fall over from being lopsided!
I would love to hear from you about your Christmas tree traditions! Do you let your kids decorate the Christmas tree? How do you create and foster special Christmas memories in your home? I look forward to your comments below. And sharing is caring! Thanks!
P.S. Don’t miss out on the handmade, wooden ornaments in my etsy shop! Click here to check availability for these one-of-a-kind Christmas keepsakes! Have a wonderful holiday season!
Are you feeling overwhelmed by all the negative news? Worn down by the craziness of the world? Receive a dash of positivity and a friendly reminder of the simple joys in your inbox when you sign up below. You even receive an exclusive, free gift tag printable! Join the club!
I’m not talking about doing push ups or squats. Or a bright red sunburn. Ouch! I’m not talking about the forest fires that are burning all over the West either, because they just make me really sad. No, I’m talking about something much happier! I somewhat accidentally discovered pyrography! What is pyrography you say? The dictionary explains it as “the art or technique of decorating wood or leather by burning a design on the surface with a heated metallic point.”
It started out with some wooden coasters I made for my husband’s birthday. At first, I was thinking of stamping some designs onto the wood but really wanted the images to come out looking sharp and permanent. I did some research which led to the idea of burning the designs onto the wood. I ordered a basic pyrography or wood burning tool and found it to work well with my simple designs. It was so much fun! When I gave the coasters to my husband, he really loved them and encouraged me to make some more items with this type of art. The feedback I received on my instagram post of the coasters was so positive and encouraging as well!
So, here I am, slightly obsessed with wood burning! It’s ironic, really. I’m not fearful of that many things but I would admit I’m a bit fearful around fire. So it’s probably good that even though the wood burning tool gets really hot, there are no actual flames or fire involved!
I have been drawing all my life so the transition from pencil to pyrography pen has been pretty straightforward. While my art used to be very photorealistic, I have been simplifying my illustrations and artwork for many years now, to communicate my ideas with minimalist, simple lines. This type of design lends itself really well to pyrography with a visual impact that Simon Easton in his book “Woodburning with Style” compares to wood tattoos.
I have added five necklaces to my etsy shop with wood burned designs on the pendants. You can find out more when you click on the photographs in this blog post. The designs are inspired by nature and are very lightweight to wear. The necklaces don't have that factory made feel because each individual piece is handmade with love. No trees were cut down to make these necklaces - they were created out of a branch that had fallen down.
I’m planning on adding some ornaments soon because wouldn’t wooden ornaments look so pretty in the Christmas tree? Be sure to add your name to my email list in the sign-up box below if you don't want to miss out!
Anyways, I would absolutely love it if you check out my new, handmade art in my etsy shop! If you like these "inspired by nature" gifts, please let me know in the comments. Positive comments make my day! Please share this blog post with your nature lover friends.
Illustrations and nature inspired, handmade art that celebrates simple joys.