Think Spring

Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s Party!’      ~ Robin Williams

Even though it’s only February and still very much winter in many parts of our country, I can’t help but think spring.

This is my first winter in Virginia, and I am delighted to say there are daffodils blooming in February. Hallelujah! I’ve reached the promised land.

That’s why I decided to share some of my spring with you. If you live in a place with dreary gray skies and icicles hanging longer than your curtains, you may need a little hope that better days are coming.

They are coming!

Paper Flower Arragements at Bloxom Blooms - Think Spring!

I’ve added a new set of listings to my Etsy shop. Now you can bring a bit of the outdoors in with these long-lasting paper flower arrangements.

I really do hand-cut each petal and put the flowers together individually.  It’s a ton of fun, and I’m so inspired to display these flowers in different ways, but I can’t keep them all for myself. If you like something you see in the photos above, please check out Bloxom Blooms on Etsy.

 

Are you enjoying small touches of spring in your part of the world, or are you trapped in the “polar vortex”?

 

Blue Royals and Pink Anemone @ Bloxom Blooms - Paper Flowers

Living A Creative Lifestyle

Some time ago, we took a family trip to a big arts and crafts store. We drove over an hour (one way) to get to this store, and we all had the best time shopping. Well, maybe my husband didn’t have such a good time, but he did fill his own basket with supplies.

Time stands still when I enter one of these stores. The bigger it is, the more my mind flutters from one project to another. I need lots and lots of time to wander.

We got to the check-out counter with our orders. My daughter had a bunch of items for her clay making projects; my son had pencils, a sketchbook, and a new eraser; my husband had paint supplies (he had a duck decoy project to work on); I had paper, lots and lots of paper.

Living A Creative Lifestyle - a fuller, bigger, more interesting existence

The cashier rang up our items, bagging them separately, and she made a comment that struck me as odd.

“You’re certainly a creative family.” she said.

“I guess we are.” I laughed.

It was like I had never thought of us that way before. Creativity is just what we do. It’s part of living. I don’t think any of us ever set out to be creative, but that sure is where we ended up.

Bouquet of Royal Blue Paper Flowers @ BloxomBlooms.com

And while the paths and outcomes of creative living will vary wildly from person to person, I can guarantee you this: A creative life is an amplified life. It’s a bigger life, a happier life, an expanded life, and…a lot more interesting life. Living in this manner-continually and stubbornly bringing forth the jewels that are hidden within you-is a fine art, in and of itself.

Because creative living is where Big Magic will always abide.

Blue Royals and PInk Anemone Paper Flowers @ Bloxom Blooms

When I started thinking about it, I realized I come from a long line of creatives. At one time, my mom made and painted ceramics, my aunt did needlework, my grandma crocheted and sewed and knitted. My grandpa worked with wood when he was young, and did some sewing projects with plastic canvas as he got older. I don’t know, but I suspect my great-grandparents were creative in their own ways. Necessity is often a great encourager of creativity.

In times past, I suspect people needed to live creative lives in order to live well; now, creative living seems almost a luxury.

Blue Royals and Pink Anemone @ Bloxom Blooms - Paper Flowers

Defending yourself as a creative person begins by defining yourself. It begins when you declare your intent. Stand up tall and say it aloud, whatever it is:

I’m a writer:

I’m a singer:

I’m an actor:

I’m a gardener:

I’m a dancer:

I’m an inventor:

I’m a photographer:

I’m a chef:

I’m a designer:

I am this, and I am that, and I am also this other thing too!

I don’t yet know exactly what I am, but I’m curious enough to go find out!

Creative Living - Paper Flowers @ Bloxom Blooms

When our children are young, we encourage them to be creative-to color and draw and dance and sing and make something out of nothing. We delight in their imaginations, and applaud their accomplishments with pride, but somewhere along the way of life, we lose that sense of wonder. We no longer wonder if we can make it, draw it, create it, write it…whatever. We just give up trying. We trade creative living for busy living.

One of my long-time favorite bloggers, Edie from Life in Grace, talks about purposefully building margin into our lives, because margin is where the magic happens. It’s where we set ourselves free to not just imagine, but to create.

I honestly don’t think of myself as being a very creative person. I just like to make stuff.  It would be terrible to live a life where I do not give myself permission, time, and space to make things I love.

Living Creatively @ Bloxom Blooms - A Paper Flower Shop

Recently, I explained it to someone like this:

“Making things is my escape. It keeps me balanced and clears my head. I feel like I need to do it for me.”

Here’s the thing though, I feel like I need to live creatively for me, but I also need to do it for the sake of those around me. Creative living helps me be more genuinely me. In order to be good and useful and a help to those around me, I need to take that time to be me.

Maybe that makes perfect sense to you, maybe not.

You are not required to save the world with your creativity…it doesn’t have to be important.

I just know that I can’t imagine living in a world where I didn’t wonder if I could make something, and then give it a try.

Possessing a creative mind, after all, is something like having a border collie for a pet: It needs to work, or else it will cause you an outrageous amount of trouble…It has taken me years to learn this, but it does seem to be the case that if I am not actively creating something, then I am probably actively destroying something (myself, a relationship, or my own peace of mind).

You don’t have to be good at what you do. Your creativity doesn’t have to earn you money. It doesn’t have to be important or life-changing. Your creativity doesn’t owe you fame or fortune or your name displayed in lights.

But, if there’s creativity buried somewhere deep inside, and if it’s nagging at the corners of your mind, invite it in to your life. Give it margin to grow. Explore; create; live fully.

Head on over to my personal blog, The Domestic Fringe, to read

my book review of Big Magic.

* All excerpts where taken from Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.

 

Community – Shopping Local

This Christmas my brother sent me a beautiful hand-knit chunky scarf in just the perfect shade of gray. The color is cozy. It has four square brown wooden buttons on it, and the power to completely change the look of an outfit.

 

I opened it as soon as the packaged arrived. It was a beautiful and thoughtful gift, but after I talked to my brother, I loved the scarf even more.

It was made by a woman who lives in his town.  She is creative and talented, and she is bravely fighting cancer.

I adore that this scarf was handmade by someone who works and lives and creates in the same town as my brother. I love that when I wear this scarf, I think of the woman who made it. I feel a connection to her; after all, I’ve been gifted a product of her creativity.

community - a world where the makers and the shoppers unite to support and promote each other.

Over the last few years, I’ve thought so much about community, our neighbors – the creative people who share our space, and carve out their existence right alongside us.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could become their cheerleaders, the people pushing them on to success?

As a consumer, what if I shopped at my local neighborhood stores? What if I sought out that creative person and commissioned them to use their talents to make me one-of-a-kind gifts? What if I ate at the restaurants owned by my neighbors?

Would it make a difference in my community?

What if we all did that, right where we live?

A few years ago, I decided to buy all my Christmas gifts in my own town. We didn’t have any big shops, no major retailers. We did have an artisan community though, some small, locally owned shops, and holiday craft fair. I did about 95% of my shopping this way. I’m not naive enough to think my few dollars changed anyone’s life, but it changed me a little.

I began to see all the talent around me. Instead of complaining about all my little region of the world didn’t have, I realized how blessed we actually were.

I am absolutely blown away by all the stuff people make. It’s amazing, and wonderful, and bit magical to think that we have such talent living among us.

We complain so much about big-box stores, waiting in endless lines, manufacturing being outsourced to third-world countries, child-labor, unsafe working conditions, and unfair wages, but none of that will change until we begin to change.

I’ll be the first to admit to big-box store shopping. I go to Walmart all the time, so it’s hypocritical for me to even write this post. I do what’s easy, what’s convenient for my wallet and my schedule. I’m not even necessarily against big stores, or chains, or multi-billion dollar companies, but I am also for the guy down the road trying to make a go of his small business.

I don’t have all the answers. I don’t know if the artist and the big-box store can co-exist, but I sure want to hope they can.

Whenever it is in my power, I want to encourage the person making stuff. I want to support the shops and restaurants, and small businesses in my community. I want to buy “hand-made with love.”

I kinda hope that one day, I’ll be able to associate each of my scarves with the person who made it. There’s just something ridiculously cool about that idea.

Makers gonna make, and shoppers gonna shop. Can’t we make it work for both of us?

 

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If you’d like to read more of my thoughts on a completely different part of “community”, head on over to thedomesticfringe.com, my personal blog. I’m talking about my son’s sixteenth birthday and asking a question.

Does it really take a village to raise a child?

 

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I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments! Please feel free to share your heart and ideas.