Monday, July 27, 2015

A Purple and Teal Baby Shower


So, I hosted my sister Jen's baby shower for little Eva Marie this past Sunday.   Purple is Jennifer's current favorite color, and when we were children, she was obsessed with teal.  We both had teal and purple leggings back then (It was the 90's: don't judge lol.)

So, I chose those colors for the theme and I think it turned out well.  Here are some pictures that my other sister Shannon took during the party.   The cake and cupcakes were courtesy of my cousin Michelle, and her business "Happy Cake."

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Living Room Vision Board

Even though we are probably six to eight months out, Mom and I have started to prepare for our inevitable downsizing move.  Back to apartment living for us!  That means saying goodbye to our 3,000 foot Craftsman rental, which I will miss for sure.

But new adventures and places await.  As I said, Southern Vermont is our target area.  But in the meantime, we have to weed out the furniture, kitchen stuff and home décor we can live without.  And in the process of discussing this, and debating how we will put together our living room stuff, this is the Vision Board I made.  As much as I swear against beige, with all of this color going on, I am planning on the Ikea Ektorp sofa in beige as our new living room seating of choice when we move.  Most everything else on here we already own or something really similar to it!

Red and teal forever!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Bennington Potters

My mother and I have been researching new places to live.  We both need a fresh start, in an environment aligned with our personal values and a place to encourage us both to shed our introverted ways and get out there and join something.

Bennington, VT may just be the town for us.  I had been there before, but Mom had not.  At any rate, I loved it more this time than the first time I visited, and frankly, Bennington Potters may have been the best part.

Here is a link to their website.  Bennington Potters

And here is an excerpt on their history.  American made pottery has a special place in my heart.

 (direct link to this quote here )

The History makes it special

What makes this store so unique is not just the stoneware pottery, country home decor items, and Vermont specialty foods sold inside, but the history behind Bennington pottery itself. One of the oldest crafts known to mankind is also what has helped put Bennington, Vermont and Potters Yard on the map.
Pottery-making has been part of the area's economy since the Revolutionary War when in 1785 a former Revolutionary War soldier, Capt. John Norton, began producing "redware" glazed pottery. Bennington was a convenient location for producing redware pottery because of the close proximity to local clay deposits, as well as deposits along the Hudson River. Bennington also had an abundant supply of waterpower from local streams, which was necessary to power the machinery used at the time. Around 1804 stoneware pottery was introduced, which was more sturdy than redware pottery, and therefore more suitable for everyday use.
Through the 19th Century Norton Pottery and another firm, the U.S. Pottery Company, achieved considerable success employing hundreds of people and even representing the nation's pottery industry at the 1853 Crystal Palace Exposition in New York. Unfortunately both Norton Pottery and U.S. Pottery failed to keep costs down and eventually went out of business by 1858.
Molly Stark PitcherEven though the emerging 19th Century middle class was seeking both decorative and practical pottery items for their homes, the pottery business in Bennington began to decline significantly, and between 1911 and 1948 had nearly died out.
It was at this time that a potter by the name of David Gil began making ceramics as part of an artists' cooperative. Gil eventually opened Bennington Potters in a small unheated barn in downtown Bennington. In 1964 Bennington Potters expanded into a former home and business supply building located on County Street, where it is still operating today.
This rustic 1900s building was once the Home Depot of Bennington, located just 4 blocks from the old Bennington Freight Yard. This location enabled prior owner Henry W. Meyers to off-load coal, firewood, ice, lumber and farm equipment for home and business delivery.
Over the years, under the leadership of Gil, this former supply building transformed itself into an active craft pottery that today is one of southern Vermont's most popular destinations. Bennington Potters is also referred to as Potters' Yard.
*Excerpts borrowed from "Town's earliest industry still a survivor", July 8, 2004,
Bennington Banner,

Here are some photos I took from today to share with you!  I wish I had the money to fill my home with handmade, locally made, artisan items.  Someday!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Living an Artful Life: Creativity as a Means to Heal

Normally I save the serious posts for my personal blog, but I have been meditating on the subject of creativity and how it can assist in healing.

I have said before that I feel that the home and our location are intimately connected to our sense of serenity, purpose, and even identity.  That is not to say, that from time to time we don't find ourselves blocked, stuck, and at a cross purposes with our soul path.

In fact, it is in precisely those times that I think we should turn to art: and when I say "art" I mean the term in the most inclusive, all encompassing sense.  I think living an artful life happens every day.  It happens while you are sipping your coffee, and really savoring that moment.  It happens in the tub when you reach for that artisanal goat soap from your local farmer's market.  It happens while you are cooking dinner, or even while staring out the window with sudsy hands over a sink full of dishes.  Life is art.

But life is also pain.  And loss.  And disappointment.  And acts of creativity can help center you: it can literally return you to you.  I feel that the artist within is a direct connection to the inner child.  Who were you when you were eight?  What did you believe?  Who did you love? Who did you want to be?

I think that too many people worry about having "talent."  I think that is an unnecessary worry.  Creating isn't about being the best at anything.  Being a maker (living as a maker) is so much more accessible than we think it is, and that can heal.  When you purchase something off of etsy, you are a maker and a supporter of makers.  When you pick up those sharpies and do some zen tangle, you are "making" and healing your soul.  When you sit down with your child and jointly put some Crayola to coloring book page, you are doing something amazing.  This is not about being Picasso.  This is not about obtaining an Art History degree, maintaining a blog with the most followers, or branding yourself in such a way that you make a lot of money.  None of those things are negative in any way, if that is your particular journey, but those goals aren't the "point." 

Creativity is a spiritual fulfillment, and unlike other means of spirituality, it's not exclusionary or controversial or dogmatic.  It can be those things, but art is not inherently any of those things.  Art is life.  And the process of making art can heal the broken and direct the lost.