Currently: September

Sept Collage

Writing a post for Kolbo Judaica Gallery about hearing the sound of the Shofar as a call to return to our best selves. Let me know what you think!

Fascinated by art quilt maps. And look at these!

Listening to this podcast episode about a formerly Chassidic woman who loves Torah, Chassidic culture, and big happy families but had to look further for her own fulfillment, and what she did when she saw that this fulfillment might not be giving her son the life she had always wanted for him.

Trying to simplify our home by streamlining what we own and getting rid of “just in case” items that drain our energy. Now my clothes hang with space to breathe. Start with these 10 basic principles if you’re not sure how to begin with your wardrobe! Looking for a personal style that makes you feel strong and gorgeous and invincible? Let Stacia teach you!

Empowered by my friend Shana over at Salad Therapy to try new ingredients in new ways . She’s helping me be more joyful in the kitchen, something I didn’t think was possible for me.

Thinking about snapping up this customizable growth chart to semi-DIY for the nursery! SO many possibilities!

Reminded by this quote. I wish we didn’t need reminders like this, but I sure do.

 

Advertisements

One Little Word: 2017

abundance

Ali Edwards trademarked the amazing “One Little Word” idea/movement about ten years back, and it has only gained traction with scrapbookers and other creative types since then. Ali says:

In 2006 I began a tradition of choosing one word for myself each January – a word to focus on, meditate on, and reflect upon as I go about my daily life. My words have included play, peace, vitality, nurture, story, light, up, open, thrive, give, and whole. These words have each become a part of my life in one way or another. They’ve been embedded into who I am and into who I’m becoming. They’ve been what I’ve needed most (and didn’t know I needed). They’ve helped me to breathe deeper, to see clearer, to navigate challenges, and to grow.

Have you every chosen one word as a way of setting your intentions for the year ahead? In the past I have chosen a phrase to focus on, a personal sacred reminder for myself. Last year, I discovered the image below. I was wrestling with decisions about change, consumed by fear and anxiety, and I found it so freeing to be given permission to not let fear stop me. So fear came along for the ride that year.

do-it-afraid

For the past few months, my focus has been on a new word, one that is guiding me through my everyday life, my personal goals, and my preparation for the birth of my baby in February. “Abundance” embodies everything I am aspiring to this year. Here are a few of the ideas and affirmations that this word summons for me.

  • Abundance: I have more than enough. I am blessed with a life brimming with love, support and grace. I have a beautiful home and space to welcome others into my life. I am surrounded by things I value and lack for nothing.
  • Abundance: There is more than enough in this world for all of us. There are very few real urgencies. There are resources and time enough for everyone.
  • Abundance: My body holds so much more strength and power than I know. I have more than enough within me already for everything I want to do.
  • Abundance: We each have endless reserves of kindness within us. We can choose to express that kindness in the way we speak and how we give to our community. It is well within our power to put down bitterness and resentment and move forward lighter for it.

Have you chosen a one little word this year? Would you consider trying it?

Freebie time! Here are four downloadable digital wallpapers for you to use and share!

Abundance Digital Wallpaper 1.jpg  abundance-digital-wallpaper-2

abundance-digital-wallpaper-4 Abundance Digital Wallpaper 5.jpg

Save

Chanukah Gift Guide 7: For Crafty Friends

Hi, friends! We’re almost at the end of Chanukah Gift Guide 2016, but I couldn’t wrap it up without a few specialty gift guides for specific people on your list. Today we’re shopping for artsy, crafty, maker friends who love to make beautiful things with their hands. Hope you enjoy!

Crafty Collage.jpg

  • Watercolor print supply pouch. Lately I’m loving the combination of natural linen and a fantastic cotton print. This handmade pouch will help any creative person organize the supplies they keep with them on the go, whether that’s a tiny embroidery hoop or micron pens and a Moleskine.
  • Iron Utility Scissors. A nice, weighty pair of scissors to sit on the desk, ready for whatever cutting needs present themselves.
  • Wood mini chest with ceramic drawers. Crafters and artsy people love little compartments. Perfect for needles, thread, fabric scraps, paper ephemera, buttons, or beads.
  • Le Creueset batter bowl. Maybe your artsy friend doesn’t paint or stitch- maybe they bake delicious treats for family and friends. This batter bowl with a handle and pouring spout will be useful for so many recipes, but is probably not something they would purchase for themselves. The signature Le Creueset design and glazing will give them a thrill every time they use it.
  • Daily planner notepad. Creative minds need to get their goals down on paper just like the rest of us. This planner pad offers 50 days of scaffolded goal setting, scheduling, and prioritizing for even the busiest day.
  • iLive Bluetooth speaker. This portable speaker can go wherever you go, offering great wireless sound quality at craft nights or just late nights in your own studio.
  • Cross stitch pincushion. This beautiful linen pincushion is almost too fancy to use, but who can resist its plump figure and gorgeous embroidery? Such a great gift with a little box of new pins or by itself.
  • Printable wall art. This instant download is designed to be printed at home or at your local copy shop for inexpensive and inspiring art that captures their passion.
  • Ceramic charms. Crafty types love supporting other makers, and these ceramic charms are made by hand with 18k gold accents in Birmingham, Alabama.

Chanukah Gift Guide 5: Judaica

Sometimes you want to give a meaningful piece of great Judaica, but the right gift can be so hard to find, especially if you love a more modern aesthetic. Here are a few ideas to get you started!

judaica-collage

  • Kirby kiddush cups. A little something different for passing kiddush wine around the table, these glasses feel heavy and smooth in the hand. The unique design makes every Shabbat a celebration, and their distinctive silhouette will look beautiful on a shelf or tray all week long.
  • Square Eshet Chayil tray. Designed by David Fisher, a Jerusalem graphic artist, this tray features a gorgeous laser cut design on the back of thick, durable glass. Eshet Chayil, the praises sung each Friday night as tribute to the women of the home, is reinterpreted in this modern floral motif that comes in deep turquoise, wine, and green.
  • Set of 6 letterpress Chanukah cards. Not the usual Chanukah card! This textured letterpress set is cut to look like a tear-off ticket to the Festival of Lights. Click through to see the gorgeous typographical detail. Package this with an organza bag of chocolate gelt and a dreidel or two, and you are good to go.
  • The Jewish Holiday Journal. Finally, a great way to keep track of favorite holiday memories, recipes, and reflections! Write a few lines each year and watch your family story grow. The book is divided into sections with simple prompts for recording travel, special moments, noteworthy events, and even holiday menus.
  • Hammered stainless steel Tzedakah box. Why are stylish Tzedakah boxes so hard to find? This stainless steel charity box has a contemporary feel and thoughtful details.
  • Israel’s Sky and Sea home blessing. This stained glass home blessing is a beautiful gift for families or even young professionals just settling in to their first home. Shades of blue and turquoise are pieced together to make a present that will be such a pleasure to open.
  • Kate Spade seder plate. I have never seen a Kate Spade design that I didn’t like, so  this seder plate just had to be included. Porcelain cups with shiny gold lettering pop on the simple white tray. A great gift for weddings, too.
  • Floral glass mezuzah. It’s so easy to buy all plastic mezuzah covers and never update them to something a little more special. This handmade aquamarine mezuzah case glows with color. I am also partial to this one from the same artist.
  • Five-light modern crystal candelabra. In general, candelabras are made of heavy silver in traditional designs, leaving those of us who love clean lines to find our own individual candlesticks for ushering in Shabbat. This piece brings the classic candelabra back to life in sparkling crystal with a modern feel.

Chanukah Gift Guide 4: For the Homebodies

Everybody has a homebody they love, and that person does not want zip-lining passes for the holidays. They also don’t want to learn improv with you. Homebodies love to be seen for who they are, people who love to be cozy and don’t want to have to apologize for it. So here are nine gifts that say, “I know it’s 5:15pm, but put on your pajamas and settle in for the evening.”

Homebody Collage.jpg

  • The Year of Cozy: 125 Recipes, Crafts, and Other Homemade Adventures. This book is full of things to do every month that will make your life more cozy, crafty, yummy, and welcoming. Because sometimes it’s those little handmade moments that make your home a happy retreat.
  • Fatwood Fire-starter Crate. Few things are lovelier than a crackling fire on a cold night, and customers rave about these fire starters that get you from chilled to toasty in just minutes.
  • Harney and Sons Black Tea, Paris. Spoil someone you love with this black tea accented with flavors of  vanilla and caramel. Over 1,000 reviewers loved this kosher blend inspired by Paris, and more than a few mentioned the classic storage tin.
  • Velvet Bow Slippers. These velvet slippers with faux fur lining would be just as happy in an English cottage as your third floor walk up. Voluminous grosgrain bows adorn the front and coordinate with the polka-dot sole.
  • Let’s Stay Home pillow. Handlettered in your color of choice, this farmhouse pillow case has your evening plans all figured out.
  • Cornflower mug. There’s just something delicious about wrapping your hands around a great big mug. Fill it with coffee, tea, or soup and settle in for a classic movie or a long catch-up with a friend.
  • Dove Gray Chambray Napkins. Everyone needs a set of napkins that can be thrown in the wash without a thought and just get softer with time. Why save cloth napkins for best when they can elevate your everyday meals for just a couple of dollars? This version in cotton and linen will look even better crinkled straight from the dryer.
  • Pure Beeswax Tapers. Hand-poured beeswax tapers don’t smoke or drip, and smell so clean and delicious, never interfering with other scents on your table. Wrapped up with string, they make the perfect gift for hosts, too.
  • Arrow Jacquard Warmest Throw. Get comfortable under a bright woven throw blanket and spend the afternoon watching the snow fall outside the window.

Nursery Inspiration

As I round the corner into my final trimester, the to-do list grows and it’s nice to take a break from the organizing, the appointment making, and the budgeting to think about a lovely new space for this new little person.

Inspired by the Tapestry fabric collection by Art Gallery, which I used to make the baby quit, I’ve pulled together an inspiration board for a budget-friendly, gender-neutral nursery. I wanted something sunny and light, with only the good notes. Plus I wanted to incorporate a few things we already have (like the teal rocking chair, below) to keep spending at a minimum. We are choosing to make over dressers we already own and going with the most inexpensive IKEA crib to leave room in the budget for a few high-impact things that should still look good and work well a few years down the line.

Nursery Inspiration Board.jpg

I knew that light turquoise was a good starting point, for how well it pairs with wood tones, yellows, and crisp white. It’s a calming color that doesn’t scream “baby girl” or “baby boy”, and it can be glammed up with gold without a lot of effort.

This Target rug ($48) is a great foundation and looks great against the IKEA crib ($79). That same light wood tone is reflected in the book organizer ($38), which has heavy duty canvas slings to hold lots of books and serve as a blank background if I decide to get creative with stencils or applique. For art, I love this poster of Jerusalem’s Old City ($20+), as well as this print ($30+) which features a happy sun reminding you to say “Modeh Ani”, the Hebrew morning prayer thanking God for giving you another day. I have also made an Aleph Bet wall hanging and a mobile from the same fabric line as the baby quilt to add a personal touch.

I figure that an inexpensive but sturdy side table ($30) would be useful next to the rocking chair, to hold a lamp ($20)and a bottle of water for late night feedings. The dressers are going to get their own facelift with removable wallpaper ($35) in a woodsy pattern, and gold drawer pulls ($3.35). A can of gold spray paint ($6.46) will be handy for sprucing up the old dresser knobs and other accessories, like wall hooks and shelf brackets. I’d love to finish off the room with some wood pieces, like these gorgeous etched blocks ($49).

What do you all think of this plan? Sunny and bright?
And would you like a dresser facelift tutorial when I get to it?

Currently: October

Things are spinning at a breakneck speed these days. Between the busy Jewish holiday season and this interminable election, adding lovely details to daily life can seem so unimportant and frivolous. It seems to contradict the concept of hunkering down and doing what needs to be done. When your sleeves are rolled up, does anyone care what you’re wearing? And honestly, with all the sexist language and “big questions” buzzing around right now, caring about these details can feel gendered, shallow and nonintellectual.

But the Torah commands us to serve God with joy. There is so much that must be done. So much time spent cooking, entertaining, building and praying. And all of these things can be done with blinders on, or they can be done with openness and joy. They can all be done with beauty just as well as any other way. And maybe the thing built with beauty enters the heart a little more easily. Maybe a small bouquet of flowers on the Sukkah’s table sparks our memory of the grace of this mitzvah. Maybe a lovingly chosen outfit honors the holiday and sets an example for our children that this life is something we show up for. That this is something that is important to us, that we honor and anticipate with excitement. Maybe an extra polish of the silver Shabbat candles sends the message that these rituals are precious to us, that we give them the very best of what we have.

So this holiday, I propose we don’t lose the joy in the work, or the excitement in the disillusionment that current events seem to often bring. Of all times, this is when it is most important to re-declare our priorities and our deeply-held values. To staunchly maintain the beauty of our traditions, to communicate to our children and families that this is what matters most, and that we show up here with our very best.

If you are blessed with the ability to beautify your life and the lives of those around you, do not discount that contribution. It is the difference between a life of obligation and one of joy and learning and growth.

For now, I leave you with one inspiring video, and a few links just for the beauty of them.

simple-line-light-9

Listening to Michelle Obama tell it, so vulnerably and openly, exactly like it is.

michelle

Preparing for the next round of Jewish holidays. We are hosting most of my family for the holiday of Sukkot this week, so that is a lot of meals to plan and prep! It is chilly in Boston, so I’m preparing lots of hearty soups and pumpkin desserts.

Planning my next quilt! Which fabric collection do you like?

fabric-collage

1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Wearing all my long sweaters  and, at home, my cozy winter slippers.

Longing for a professional pedicure. This yummy plum color would be perfect.

71w0mjserml-_sy679_

 

Happy weekend, sisters, and happy holidays.