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

Sunday, March 10, 2013

On Loss, Acceptance, And Moving On

We have had a pair of big losses here the last few months, first my father, in the fall, and then the mister's mother, just last month.  Loss is nothing new to me; my own mother passed away unexpectedly when I was still in college.  Having had that experience, I had naively thought that when a passing was expected, when there was time to say good bye, that the loved one now gone had lived a long, beautiful life, that it would somehow be easier.  I can now unequivocally state that I was wrong.  Utterly, totally and completely wrong.  I was only just starting to make peace with the loss of my father when we were blindsided by the death of my (future) mother in law.  Although her passing was not unexpected, we were hoping for more time.  Gratefully however, we did not behave as if there was more time.

Pictured above, Christmas 2012, is the mister, holding our fur baby Phoebe, his mom, dad, and me, holding Dawson.  We also returned to Florida in January to celebrate her 88th birthday.  Eighty-eight!  It certainly was a beautiful life well lived.  And that helps to ease the pain.

As you may know if you have visited here before, we have been planning a major move for over a year now. I had sincerely thought as 2013 began that by now it would be much further along; that my studio space in our new home up north would be complete, and that I would be back to work, albeit part time.  However, that was just a bit too optimistic of me!  But the news is good.  We are making progress, and I fully expect to be sharing details of the process (just the creative parts: I won't bore you with the tedious!) very, very soon.

I would also like to thank those of you who have sent an email, a tweet or left a Facebook comment during this unexpected absence from blogging.  Your support and friendship means so much.  I am finding inspiration on this first day of daylight savings time; it feels like a new season and a fresh start.  And that's a good thing!

Thank you so much for reading.

xoxo, Anita

p.s. I cannot let pass an opportunity to give a shout out to two of my favorite things, hand made and small business, by telling you that the green silk lounge wear I am wearing in the photo above was made just for me by one of my favorite shops on Etsy, Sandmaiden.  Give it a visit!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

An Obsession With All Things Bridal

I have a confession.  I am obsessed, capital letters OBSESSED, with all things bridal ~ jewelry, shoes, lingerie, style, decor, flowers ~ if the word "bridal" appears before it, I am immediately drawn in.  And if the word directly following "bridal" is "gown", I'm lost in a world of silk and lace and white and ivory and tulle and beading and trains for hours

None of this has a single thing to do with the very serious and completely separate subject of marriage.  Another day, perhaps.  Today I am all about the gowns!

Just feast your eyes on these glorious confections from an early 1960's fashion magazine, and you'll see what I mean~



And these lovely photos of real life brides from the same period ~

The dresses in the last two photographs are currently listed for sale in the Etsy shop Union Made Bride, and links to the listings are directly below each photo.  I just discovered this shop a little while ago, and I am in LOVE!  I predict hours of browsing in my immediate future.
Do bridal related items hold a similar spell over you?  Or are you more of a take it or leave it person when it comes to the subject?  Please share; I would love to hear!
xoxo, Anita

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

365 Photos, A Work In Progress

Since my last post I 've traveled to Florida and back for family time and an 88th birthday party; great fun, but no time for blogging.  I did manage to keep up with my 365 photos project though, which makes me rather happy!  However, I can see from my images that I need to work on being a bit less repetitive with the subjects!  I must remember to take the shots while I am out in the world; even I will get tired eventually of cute puppy pictures and reminders of my Jodi Arias murder trial obsession!


I received "Blueprints of Fashion, Home Sewing Patterns of the 1940's" as a gift during my trip, and am really enjoying it!  I highly recommend both this book and the 1950's version to sewists, vintage clothing aficionados, and anyone interested in fashion design.  They are excellent compilations of the fashions of the day, would provide wonderful inspiration for your own sewing projects, and work perfectly as pictorial references for dating vintage clothing.  Have you perused either of these books?  Please share, I would love to hear!


Thursday, January 10, 2013

365 Days Of Photos In 2013

This is my third, and final!, attempt at a 365 day photo project.  Final, because I fully intend for this one to be successful.  It is one of the items on my 101 in 1001 list, and something that I really want to see through to the end.  I am making it very simple on myself; the photo can be of absolutely anything in the immediate vicinity of where I am when I remember to take it that day.  iPhone photos are completely acceptable, and many of these are.  As I have spent the first 10 days of 2013 at home, they feature, predictably, my beloved Maltese puppies.  But since the idea of the project is that when I look back at it years from now it is an accurate snapshot of my life at the time, that they feature prominently is completely appropriate. And if you noticed that it is only the 10th day of the month but there are 11 photos, good catch!  The photos of the dogs eating treats were both taken on the same day; there was no way that I could pick just one!

Have you ever attempted, or completed!, a 365 photos project?  Please share; I would love to hear!


Monday, January 7, 2013

Intentional Blogging

When I made a conscious decision to return to blogging, I put some serious thought into how I wanted to approach the process this time around, and waited until I was sure that I could sustain momentum before starting again.

I realized that the best way to continue to find joy in the process is to blog with intention.  In looking for some guidance on how best to do this, I did some reading in my collection of books on both writing in general and blogging specifically, and read what some of my favorite bloggers had to say about it on their own blogs as well.  The one peice of advice that I read over and over was to focus on defining the purpose of your blog, how it serves the world, and to write it down.  It's not necessary to share it, what is important is that you fully understand it. 

I have decided to share mine here, because I believe that sharing a good idea allows for the possibility that someone else will expand on it and make it even better.  Using the model shared in the A Beautiful Mess e-course Blog (Design) Love, I decided to create my purpose statement in the form of a manifesto.

(In no particular order) I believe:

~  that joy exists in the moments and that there is beauty all around us.

~ in living ecletically.

~ that our best and fanciest things should not be saved for special occasions, but embraced and enjoyed every day.

~ that using or re-purposing vintage and found treasures is a wonderful way to honor the past while living in the present.

~ in celebrating creativity in all of its forms.  We are all artists in our own ways!

~ in showing up fully for every thing, every day.

~ in living green, eating organic, supporting independent business and reducing my carbon footprint whenever possible.

~ that learning and growing is a lifelong process, and is more beneficial when it is also a shared process.

It is my intention that all of the content I share on this blog will be centered around these beliefs.  I am hopeful that focusing on them will help me to both blog and live more intentionally in this new year.

Have you ever composed a mission statement or a manifesto for your blog?  Please share; I would love to hear!

xoxo, Anita