these boots are made for walking…


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At this moment I am bathed in the warm light of the Autumn sun as it flits and dances through the few brittle leaves still clinging to the oak trees standing proudly in my backyard. My backyard on this mountain we have moved to. My backyard on this mountain that we have moved to that still feels wild and new and strange and foreign.

on our way



We moved here this past spring and quickly went about settling in. We mowed lawn, weeded flower beds and tended fences. We organized our kitchen and made plans for the gardens and the chickens and the life we would create out here on our new homestead. We quickly learned many lessons about living far away from civilization that seem so silly, yet profound and abundantly obvious, in hindsight — raccoons love trash and stray cats linger where there is abundant food, of course they do. Spiders can be scary when you aren’t expecting them (black widows?!) and gnats and stink bugs and crickets are incredibly persistent critters, darn bugs. Campfires are soul medicine, oh yes. Trips to the grocery store need to be made with intention because a week without coffee is just painful. Long car drives can be miserable unless you have a great book to listen to from the library.

The darkness and silence and stillness of the woods is magical.
Making new friends is really hard work.
The stars are brighter here.

The lesson I have only recently come to realize I was learning has been the hardest one of all to acknowledge and accept. I have learned that it is easy, way too easy, to get wrapped up in the commotion of everyday living — in the new job and the new school schedules, in the activities and the errands. It is far to easy to loose your way, to loose sight of your goals and your dreams and your inspiration, even when, even when, you have done so much souls stretching work to center yourself in a simpler, more grounded way of living.

An intentional life takes, well… intention.

I, we, forgot about that for a while. But my body remembered. My body made me, forced me, to slow down. It made me rest. It made me get back inside myself. I know better than to ignore the messages my body sends to my consciousness. I at least remembered this lesson that I have been taught oh, so many times in this life. I know to trust myself. For days, maybe weeks, tears have been close to the surface and my bones have been aching. My sleep has been restless and my hands have been fidgety. My smile has been slow in coming and my stomach has been angry… Why?


tesla and rain and coffee

I have found that this space, less & more, has an incredibly grounding effect on me. My soul finds its way here every year as the weather cools and my thoughts turn inward. This last week I found myself slowly re-entering this space and re-engaging with some of the last pictures and words I shared here. I was taken aback when I was hit, by surprise, with wave after wave of anger and sadness and tears and disappointment and longing. My body finally released so much that it had been holding down. What a mess and what a relief.

I immediately began to ask myself so many questions as I wandered around this space — What happened? Where did that person, that family go? What happened to all of those plans that we made? We had worked so hard to simplify our life. To evaluate everything and to eliminate so much that weighed us down and bound us to mediocrity. We worked so hard to nurture creativity and love and balance and joy. How have we become so busy again? How have we gathered so many new belongings? How have we once again lost those deep, hard earned connections to ourselves and to each other? How have we moved so far away from everything that brought us to this place, to our house in the woods on this beautiful mountain?

How is it possible to be living here and still feel so disconnected?
What am I so frightened of?

When I sit with these feelings and experiences long enough to let go of the anger, disappointment and sadness, I recognize that we are simply humans. That I am simply human. This is such a humbling human experience — getting distracted, loosing focus, reacting to life instead of setting forth with intention. Failing, faltering, these are the moments that will lead us to our greatest potential if we are able to learn from them. We must accept our lessons with humility, then gather ourselves up, reset our intention and move through this period of discomfort and growth with our heads held high. I have nothing to be ashamed of. I absolutely do not. I do, however, have a lot of evaluating to do and some hard decisions to make. Thus begins a new leg of my, our, journey to regain the joy of an amazing and abundant and simple life.

We are forever on this journey to intentionally simplify our lives. What really matters, our family, our happiness, our ability to thrive regardless of circumstance, is now our mission.

Whoa. These are ground shaking, soul rattling words I wrote here in this space. I feel these words in my bones and in my breath. I feel them wash over me and bathe me in new energy. I feel the tingle of change dancing around the edges of my being. In this moment my words resonate more deeply than ever in my core. They are my lifeline. They are my hope. They are my truth. Once again it is time to evaluate everything. It is time to think creatively and to reassess our values. It is time to rediscover what really matters — Work? School? Family? Food? Creativity? Fun? Laughter? Music? Joy? Silence? Stillness? Silliness? It is time to let my soul stretch back out into all of my self, to let it fill in the nooks and crannies and small spaces. It is time to let it shine light into the dark places and to listen to it, even when it whispers. It is time to be mindful. It is time to just… be.

be mindful

This journey is not new to me, to us, anymore. I know that the work ahead of me, ahead of us, is tough stuff. There will be tears and hard conversations. There will be changes and growth and discomfort. There will be triumphs and revelations and epiphanies. There will be incredible joy and laughter. There will be moments of fear and despair and sadness. There will be moments of success and satisfaction. There will be moments of pure gut-wrenching realization. We will laugh again. We will dance again. We will find our way back to ourselves and and to each other. We will create. We will discover our bliss… again and anew.

I’m so excited to share this journey with you once again. To dig into this most important work. To demonstrate through our successes and failures, through our messy not-so-perfect life, through our mistakes and our detours and our adventures, that creating a life of intention is possible. We took our first steps on this journey years ago, we got distracted a bit along the way, but we have found our way back to our unique path and recognize that we still have many years left to travel. That’s really the best part anyway, isn’t it?

Please, walk with us.

This journey, this transformation to a simpler life, cannot happen overnight. This is lifelong work. Your support and encouragement mean more than words can express. Walk with us for as long as you like — an afternoon, a day or two, a week, a month, the entire way — as long as you feel pulled to journey with us you are most welcome. In many ways, we are starting over, but we have knowledge and experience this time around that we didn’t have before. We have this space, less & more. We have you, our fellow seekers and dreamers. We have our home in these woods on this mountain. We have beautiful oak trees dripping brittle Autumn leaves and we have each other.

My hope, my heart’s dream, is that we can once again navigate our way toward a simpler life filled with less stuff and more more family, and that you will be there right along with us, laughing, learning, and changing your world one step at a time.

Welcome back to the journey…

these boots are made for walking

to the mountains we go…


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drummer hill

winter water

pictures taken by the homeowner this past winter



pictures taken by the homeowner this past summer

We have been dreaming for so long of our home in the mountains. Of peace and quiet and untamed land. Of space for gardens and chickens and room to roam free. Of water nearby and of neighbors not so nearby. Of trees and flowers and birds and snakes and wood smoke and stars. Of growing some of our own food and of homeschooling. We have been dreaming of slowing down. Of a simpler life. Our dreams are finally manifesting and we are oh, so excited to really, fully live our life in line with our values. In the mountains. In the beautiful, rocky deep forest of the Appalachian Mountains of western Virginia near the Shenandoah River.

While surfing Craigslist a few weeks ago (as I often do when my mind drifts to our dreams of more peaceful living) I found six or seven properties that were worth seeking out more information. I sent off a few emails and then decided to take one last look at the current listings — I was feeling hopeful. I typed in one of my favorite key words, “acres” and a brand new listing popped up. The image above of a snow-covered home was the first thing I saw. Then I saw the creek that runs beyond the fence line, then the green house, then the raised beds (which I later learned are full of asparagus!). My heart skipped a bit. The rent was right and I was flooded with good vibes. Could this be it? I sent off my standard email, “We long for a house to make a home… We have four kids… We have a dog and two cats and a guinea pig and a mouse and a fish… We want to get our hands dirty growing our own food and exploring some wilderness…”  I am always very honest in my inquires, knowing that in order to make a sincere connection I need to be completely open.

Not half an hour later, I received a simple response with a phone number. I called it. Surprisingly, a real person answered! How often does that happen anymore? We had a great conversation about gardening and chickens (did I mention the home has a chicken coop?) and pets (he has six!) and family. We immediately hit it off and started a fast and furious exchange of emails — us asking about details that escaped my mind during our first excited conversation and him about updates on the work he is doing to make the home ready for its first tenants (he landed a once-in-a-lifetime job in Florida) and features of the home he forget to mention. Oh, yes, there are cat doors and a compost area and a strawberry patch and a nearby swimming lake! Would we be willing to adopt their nine-year-old grouchy Oscar fish because he’s too old to relocate? Of course we would be willing! (I can’t wait to show you this seriously cool fish!)

We met face to face last weekend and he and his wife are definitely our kind of people — family centered, humble and hard working. The two acres that surround the home have been lovingly tended to and cared for since they built the home in 2005. There are blackberry bushes and a vertical windmill and a garden already fenced in and ready for planting. The kitchen is a dream — upgraded to support his part-time catering business. (Can you see me doing a happy dance about that convection oven?) The best part of this whole arrangement is that he is as excited about us stewarding his property as we are to move in and get to work. They wanted to find a family that would get dirty, make noise, laugh, eat well and play. They wanted people who could appreciate their slower, more intentional way of living.

We so feel to blessed to be those people. Oh, life is so good.

We get the keys at the end of April and will take our time transitioning to our new home as the kids finish their school year. We have a spring drama performance to attend and a few Girl Scout activities already on the calendar. But there will be frequent joy-filled trips to our new house to get seeds started in the greenhouse (did I mention the sprinkler system on a timer?) and to ready the chicken area for the sweet baby chicks that will be ordered to arrive just as we finally move in full-time. There are pantry shelves to be built and gardens to prep. We feel like children the night before Christmas, so excited that we drift off to sleep thinking of the pros and cons of different chicken breeds (maybe Australorps and Ameraucanas? Chicken folks chime in here…) or which veggies we want to give a go this first year (pumpkins and kale, definitely… sweet peas and carrots, maybe).

Now we are beginning the messy part of moving — the packing and purging of the extra “stuff” we seem to inevitably accumulate, planning for the end of the children’s school year and their transition to a new school (or dare I say out loud, homeschooling). Negotiating a new work schedule for me and a new commute for my hubby — test drives and different routes are in the works. Oh, and then there is the matter of purchasing and prepping wood for our new wood stove (wood stove!) that will be used as our sole heat source during colder months and budgeting for that 1000 gallon propane tank.

So much to be done, so much to be done.

This work is heart and soul medicine…

Better get to it!

in my kitchen on a snowy afternoon (recipes!)


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heavy with snow

cozy tree

footprints in the snow

We woke to snow. A late March snowfall had silently blanketed the bits of spring that were just beginning to peek up from the cold, damp ground. The daffodils hung heavy under its weight, their new green leaves appearing even more luscious in contrast to the colorless cold all around. After a hot breakfast of scrambled eggs, I sent my kids out into the weather to stomp around one last time before this in-between season shifts toward the sun of spring. It was silly fun for all. Then they were off to school.

I decided to make the most of this last wintry day, and the fact that I was not due to work at the restaurant, to enjoy some time my kitchen — oven on, burners blazing. Nothing warms up a home like the love and heat that are generated in a busy kitchen. After a hot cup of coffee, Freja and I decided that what we wanted most for lunch was a batch of yummy baked pumpkin pancakes. Baked? Yes! These are the easiest all-in-one-bowl-super-easy-paleo-grainfree pancakes ever. That they contain pumpkin officially puts them into the “epic” category. Well, at least according to the sophisticated palate of my four-year-old paleo kid. (Yes, she actually said they were epic.) She sure knows what she likes and what she does not like. She will not be swayed. I like that about her. She’s sassy, like her mama.

pancake prep

hot from the oven

my plate

chow time

I originally found this recipe on one of my all-time favorite blogs, Boho Girl. If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of visiting Denise’s space, you really should. She is wise and gentle and her images are breathtaking. Pure bliss. Really.

To feed just myself and Freja I doubled the following recipe. If you have hearty eaters like I do, you will definitely need to increase the recipe accordingly.

Grain-Free Pumpkin Pancakes:


  • ½ cup almond or cashew butter
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 whole eggs
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon honey


  • Preheat your oven to 350F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a medium bowl, combine all of the ingredients and mix until a smooth batter forms.
  • Use a ¼ cup to scoop the batter on the parchment-lined baking sheet
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the pancakes are fluffy and golden.
  • Serve warm, with pure maple syrup or whatever you desire. (I love slivered almonds with mine.)

After our yummy lunch it was time for some snuggles and a little snooze…

Then before I knew it, there were kids bursting though the front door dumping backpacks here, there and everywhere. Gloves were scattered about and the demands to be fed began in earnest. I don’t know about your kids, but mine come home from school every day ravenous! I often feed them a hot breakfast of eggs and fruit before they leave, pack them a full, protein laden lunch, and a snack but still, still, when they arrive home it’s as if they have not been fed all day! I am often confronted with a lot of uncooperative behavior and grumpiness as a result of this after-school low blood sugar situation, so I decided to head them off at the pass this afternoon with two of their favorite foods — bananas and oh, yeah, bacon. 

No milk and cookies in this house. No way. This is so much better!

frying bananas
paleo snackin'

sweet and salty perfection

I call this treat Sweet and Salty Paleo Perfection. It’s delicious and just about the easiest thing ever to make, it just takes a few minutes to do it right. Good bacon takes time. Don’t rush it!

Sweet and Salty Paleo Perfection:


  • 1 pound of good, high quality bacon. (We acquire ours locally though our favorite butcher.)
  • 6 just-ripe bananas. (This recipe works best with bananas that are still just a touch green.)


  • Slice the bananas in half lengthwise and then in half width-wise so that each banana is quartered.
  • Open the bacon package and slice the whole block of bacon three times so that each slice of bacon is quartered. 
  • Separate the bacon pieces and place them in a COLD pan.
  • Turn the burner on to Medium heat and slowly fry the bacon, turning the pieces often. (I have found that the very best kitchen tool for making perfect bacon is a solid pair of wooden chopsticks. Seriously.)
  • Remove individual pieces as they finish crisping and set aside.
  • Once all of the bacon is finished, immediately place the banana pieces into the hot bacon drippings. (Watch out, the fat will spit at you.)
  • Cook the bananas until they are golden brown and crisp around the edges, turning only once. This usually takes about 4-5 minutes on the first side and only 2-3 minutes on the second side.
  • Place a hearty helping of now caramelized bananas on your plate and top with as many crispy bits of bacon as you desire.

Eat, then eat some more!

We were warm and well-fed all day, snow and all. I am grateful for this last hurrah of winter and these last bites of our cold-weather favorites. Soon there will be sweet peas and baby carrots on our plates. Baby greens and spicy radishes will replace the squash and soups of winter as we move into a season of abundance at the farmer’s markets. As the seasons change so does the food on our plates. What a lovely seasonal rhythm to notice and to celebrate — our simple (and delicious) farewell to this long season of cold and welcoming of the coming spring.

We are so ready…

Bird Medicine


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Sacred Table

Medicine Cards

Smudge Stick

for safe keeping

On my birthday this year I was feeling quiet and contemplative in the quiet of the evening — in the dark stillness of my house after all our little people settled in for the night. I found myself first connecting once again to the finely crafted poetry of e. e. cummings (I wrote about this experience here.)  I then felt called to join my husband in the sacred ritual of reading our Medicine Cards. This practice was introduced to me by my husband almost sixteen years ago. I feel drawn to them only every once in a long while. Sometimes there are months between readings, sometimes years. Several years have passed since I last quieted my spirit and was open to the guidance of these ancient totems. I had forgotten how the fragrant smoke of our smudge stick alone transports me to a more open and reflective space. I had forgotten the sensation of being cleansed and soothed my the smoke, being drawn to focus both inward and outward by the flicker of a single candle’s light. This ritual is grounding, humbling and always meaningful.

It was time.

I have long known  that I am meant to learn the lesson of patience. I must learn to wait. I must learn to settle into a space and allow the Universe to reveal, in its own slow time, what I am meant to know. I must be reminded over and over again of this work, of this practice. I have also come to realize through meditation and deep internal work that I must always, always trust my intuition. The messages that flow through me from that sacred place deep within are always right. Decisions made from this place, with this steady and certain voice acknowledged, always move me to where I need to be. I may not understand why I am where I find myself, but if I remember to be patient — if I remember to settle in and wait — I know that my journey eventually will reveal its purpose. From this space we began our ritual.

I drew cards slowly, letting my hand float over them until an unmistakable heaviness pulled my fingers down to all seven cards one by one. Butterfly, Mountain Lion, Squirrel… slowly… Fox… Grouse… More and more animal spirits revealed their magic to me. My husband read, quietly and without judgement, the lessons of these guides. Transformation, leadership, connection to the Sacred Spiral, patience. Yes. Of course.

I am still processing the information that was revealed to me late that night by candle light. I am still trying to understand the lessons I am supposed to learn. I continue to quiet my mind so that I am able to clearly hear my intuition speak. This is slow work. This is work that cannot be rushed or forced. I must simply watch for signs around me, listen for that subtle voice of understanding and wait.

What I am beginning to notice is the Bird Medicine all around me. There are always birds surrounding all of us. In the trees, at our backyard feeders, high on the wires strung up between places. We all notice the birds from time to time, but it seems that the birds that surround my Spirit are noticing me. They seem to be observing my movements, following my eyes, traveling with me. I have noticed especially the high flying Hawk and the glossy black Crow. They swoop just feet in front of my car on my drive to work. They fly parallel to my window as I move through traffic. They sit motionless on my back deck and stare at me for long minutes through our glass door. They look at me, then look away, then look back again. Crow speaks again and again to me in Her ancient magical language as if I should understand. Not yet, not yet… Meanwhile, I am learning. Reading. Meditating.

My heart and spirit are open.

In the Native American tradition Hawk is recognized as a messenger. He soars high in the sky on the breath of Spirit while looking far below at the larger picture of our world. He is known to receive messages from the Universe and then to transport them down to our plane. He guides us to interpret these messages. He is a visionary. Hawk is powerful medicine. I feel my Spirit connection to these magical birds of prey, yet I am far from understanding it.

I settle in and wait.

I have read that wherever Crow is, there is magic. Crow is a symbols of creation and spiritual strength. As from the darkness of each night a new day is born, She reminds us to look for opportunities to create and manifest the magic of life. She is a  messenger calling to us about the creation and magic that is alive within our world everyday and available to us. Oh, such powerful medicine.

I quiet my inner noise and listen.

Crow does not visit me as often as Hawk. I think I am glad for that. When She does visit me I am often startled by Her presence. She surprises me and leaves me with a feeling of unease. This troubles me. Crow’s visits, though less frequent, are longer than those of Hawk. I don’t yet understand why my gut reacts as it does to the visits of this dark and magical bird. The call of Crow sends shivers down my spine. I feel cold. I don’t yet understand. I have accepted this not knowing.

I practice patience.

I feel honored and graced by this wise Bird Medicine. I am grateful for the sacred ritual my husband and I shared by candle light. I accept both the guidance of all of these ancient animal spirits and the wisdom of the Universe I do not yet fully understand during this, my year of Bird Medicine.


I would love to connect with those of you who also feel guided by animal totems. Do you have any extraordinary experiences or lessons you could share? Do you have any books you return to again and again to learn more about this ancient wisdom? Please leave a comment, if you feel so moved, so that we may connect and learn from one another.

In Peace ~ Cedar


friday meditation


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my silly girl

Usually I leave no words here on Friday — this sacred space is held for quiet meditation — but this week has been of such humbling proportion I am feeling called to offer my gratitude for so much abundance. My heart is oh, so very full.

In this moment I am…

:: so grateful for the love, patience and support my family has offered me without hesitation while I have been completely absorbed in my creative process for Cedar Tree Crochet.

:: tired in the most wonderful and satisfying of ways. Working from my heart space is new and thrilling and exhausting.

:: swept up in a swirling river of possibility. What a gift to be able to look at my life’s path with renewed hope and sincere joy in my heart.

:: open. I sit in awe of how the Universe provides. I am listening, watching, trusting.

:: enjoying hearing the distant sounds of my sweet daughter, Freja, busy at work in our art space. Creativity is becoming the foundation on which all else is built in our family. My dream, my vision, my soul’s work, is finally beginning to manifest. There is art and music and play everyday.

:: aware that there will be challenges ahead, but know deep inside that I am prepared for them. I am walking my path and will not be deterred or distracted.

:: feeling the Earth beginning to wake from her long sleep — stretching, yawning. Flowers are beginning to bloom. Yes.

:: beyond thankful for the friends that walk alongside me on this journey both new and well seasoned. I am thankful for you.

:: excited to begin a new project that feels exactly right… just as soon as I finish some serious snuggles with my sweet silly girl.

Wishing you a weekend of wonder and joy.
With gratitude,



busy hands ~ works in progress


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I am most myself when I am centered in a creative space. I see and feel the world differently. I am more open, more grateful, more passionate. I remain more aware of the wonder that surrounds me. Crochet is my meditation. It soothes the rough edges of my busy days. Please join me as I share the yarn I have been hooking this week.


I am so grateful to again connect with the wonderful community of knitters and crocheters Ginny gathers together with her yarn along each week.


Tasmania Statement Necklace, made of hand dyed linen, this piece will be finished with a chain and jewelry clasp.

This smaller version of the Tasmania Necklace is made of traditional crochet cotton and will be finished with charms, a chain and a jewelry clasp.

This smaller version of the Tasmania Necklace is made of traditional crochet cotton and will be finished with charms, a chain and a jewelry clasp.

Cleopatra Collar ~ Made of hand dyed linen this collar is the softest shade of buttery yellow. An added jewelry clasp will serve as closure for this piece.

Cleopatra Collar ~ Made of hand dyed linen this collar is the softest shade of buttery yellow. An added jewelry clasp will serve as closure for this piece.

This smaller version of the Cleopatra Collar is made of traditional ivory crochet cotton and will be complete with a metal chain and jewelry clasp. Do you see the wings?

This chandelier necklace is a smaller version of this. I keep wanting to make this pattern over and over again I love it so.

A garden of colorful lotus flowers. These are destined to be starched and made into dangle earrings.

A garden of colorful lotus flowers. These are destined to be starched and made into dangle earrings.

These are inspired by a very traditional and vintage pineapple pattern. After a good starching, these, too, will be made into dangle earrings.

(this photo is terrible, sorry! it was 3 am)
These are inspired by a very traditional vintage pineapple pattern. After a good starching, these, too, will be made into dangle earrings.

Wow. What a week I have had. With my deadline for Plum quickly approaching and only a limited number of days I can dedicate completely to Cedar Tree Crochet, it seems inevitable that we would all come down with influenza. My friends have taken to calling me Typhoid Mary. I can’t really say they have it wrong. *sigh*

I pretty quickly decided that something was going to have to give, so it is that the dishes have piled up, the laundry heap has overtaken the hallway and so much progress has been made with my crochet work. Please don’t tell, but I’ve set up shop in my bed. This is the one place we all want to be, so why not? Kids are wandering in and out at all hours of the day and night, sometimes sleeping for a bit, sometimes playing quietly, sometimes reading a book or chattering away. Sneezing and coughing, too. Lots of that has been happening. Cats are lazing about, or, alternately, batting at the work I am trying to finish. Yarn is strewn hither and thither. Patterns are spread out on the floor. My work light is on a stool next to my bed. Creativity is supposed to be a messy process, right?

Despite the chaos surrounding me, I am feeling much more organized compared to this time last week. I have finally been able to clarify my vision for this, my debut collection. (Yay!) Now I am simply making items and checking them off of a list. (I’m more that half way done!) I have been working the most difficult pieces first and am progressing to items that are much quicker to produce, namely bracelets and earrings. I might actually do this!

Of course there is still all of the finishing work left to do — pressing, blocking, starching, adding bits and bobbles of non-crochet jewelry — but I find that process to be the most thrilling of all. What a joyful and accomplished feeling it will be to see all of my hard work come together into finished pieces. A finished collection.

Back to work…

Inspired by the graceful arches of ancient cathedrals, I tried my hand at pattern writing for the first time.

Inspired by the graceful arches of ancient cathedrals and a very basic pattern, I tried my hand at designing for the first time.

I am planning on making a catalog of my finished pieces. Oh, I can hardly wait to show you how these works that are so clear in my mind’s eye look once my vision (and hard work) is complete. Everything will be so pretty!


Also made from my favorite hand dyed linen, this Peter Pan Collar will make a beautiful addition to someone’s spring wardrobe.


My mind quiets and my well fills when my hands are busy creating something beautiful. If you feel moved to share what you have been creating, please leave a link in the comments below so we may revel in each other’s creative pursuits.