28 December 2011

I didn't think I would be away this long, but that's how life goes.  This week is pretty intense and I most likely won't be posting until after the new year. Between putting Christmas away, moving everything out of our offices for new flooring, and running our second business over the holiday, I don't have a lot of time left over to post.

I will be back with the January challenge in the first week of the new year.  Also, some thoughts on 2011 and what's in store for 2012. 

Have a safe and happy new year celebration!

23 December 2011

22 December 2011

Cut Poinsettias

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For as long as I can remember my grandmother has always had poinsettias in her home at Christmas.  Always the red variety because red is her favorite color.  When I finally had my own home, but couldn't afford a tree, I would always have a poinsettia.  That was almost more special than a tree because it reminded me of her, of home. 

The one little problem is that I really don't like the look of poinsettias.  They come wrapped in foil and most look a little leggy.  I think it was last year when I was thumbing through Better Homes and Gardens and came across a spread on using poinsettias in bud vases.  Why hadn't I thought of this before?  The picture above looks so much prettier than this:

Since then I've been buying 2-3 poinsettias with smaller leaves and cutting them for vases.  I change out the water every now and then and they last the entire month.  It's an updated version of an old family tradition, and they turn out so beautiful. 

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By the way, it's the first day of the winter solstice.  Check out what's in store this season.


21 December 2011

The Twelve Days of Christmas Tradition

I love holiday traditions.  They give me a sense of connection to others.  My favorite has been our Christmas Eve tradition of making hearty soups and attending a late church service.  The meal brings the family together without all the hub-bub of a fancy meal and gifts.  Church, of course, is the true reason for the season and where I feel totally blessed regardless of my baggage.  It has ended up becoming a very magical evening.

Then there are the fun traditions.  In high school, my mom started the twelve days of Christmas with us.  Each morning for 12 days (the 14th - 25th) in our stocking, we found a little gift.  They were little things she knew we would enjoy like chap sticks and favorite candies.  It was always so much fun to find a prize each day.

This year, I decided to share this tradition with cc.
For each day, she has a package waiting for her when she wakes up.  Attached to it is a slip of paper that describes the Christian meaning behind the saying.  For example:
"A Partridge in a Pear Tree
The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, whose birthday we celebrate on December 25, the first day of Christmas.  In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge that feigns injury to decoy predators from her helpless nestlings, recalling the expression of Christ's address over the fate of Jerusalem: "Jerusalem! Jerusalem!  How often would I have sheltered you under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but you would not have it so..." (Luke 13:34)

I had no idea that the real 12 days starts on Christmas day and not 12 days before. 
In addition to the spiritual meaning behind the day I decided to get creative and give a gift that related to the saying of the day.  Since we are only on day eight I can't list them all, but I'll share a few of my favorites.

+On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, a partridge in a pear tree.  The gift is a bottle tree for the garden.

+On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, two turtle doves.  The gift is a photo I had made into a puzzle of my two favorite girls (two doves).

+On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, four calling birds.  The gift is a messenger bag since calling birds are messengers. 

Some of the gifts are a stretch, but it was a lot of fun coming up with them.  I honestly didn't think it would be a hit, but cc is getting such a kick out of it.  I might just have to keep this tradition. 

What are some of your holiday traditions?

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As part of my December 4(for) green acres challenge, all the wrapping you see above is repurposed.  The cool, graphic paper came from West Elm.  They wrapped up something I purchased a while ago and I saved it and turned it into gift wrap.  You'll also see bubble wrap, bakers twine, safety pins from clothing tags, and vintage labels that I talk about here.

20 December 2011

15 December 2011

Introducing...


I am very excited to be adding a new component to indigo 26.  I am an avid journaler and note taker.  I can typically tell you the date of the next full moon or what produce is best to eat that time of year.  So I'm taking it to the next level by documenting the information here rather than just in my journals especially considering this is, in a sense, my on-line journal.  Some of the information is just for fun, and some of it will be useful.  On the sidebar will be the icon you see above.  Clicking on it will navigate you to the following page.

At the beginning of each season I will introduce the page and tell you what you can expect in that season.  The by the season page will include information on gardening, which can apply to all types of gardens, even patio container gardens.  Also, I will post about foods that are in season and provide links to great recipes.  There will be tips and tidbits on how to live a 4(for) green acres life.  The psychologist in me has also added the fire*side reflection question that will help you dig deeper to bring awareness full circle.   

The intention to is to be more aware of what is happening in the present.  Our physical bodies are better at being presently aware than our minds are.  By intentionally connecting the body and mind we create a healthy balance.  I started taking these notes years ago after I lived in a tent for a summer.  I was living a dream, but I was so focused on where I needed to go and what did or didn't happen last week, last month, last year that I forgot to enjoy the moment.  Now looking back I realize how much I missed out on because my focus was set somewhere other than the present.  

Feel free to leave your comments below, especially if you would like to answer the reflection question here.  I would love to hear from you. 

14 December 2011

Handmade Christmas Swag

It's been quiet around here, I know.  Between wrapping presents under the rules of the challenge, and shopping for gifts, I took a mini break to spend some time with my mom. She flew in with her friend for a week.  We had so much fun.  I love the month of December.  Everything around town is festive.  Before her arrival I was cruising pinterest and caught the inspiration to make to my own swag to hang on the mantle to share in the cheer. 

Without buying anything I rounded up two cracker boxes from the pantry and set to the studio to cut them up.  I cut out 15 identical cards from the boxes, rounded the edges, and punched two holes in each one.  Using my letter and tree stamps, I inked out in green the words "Merry Christmas" with a tree in the middle. 

After stringing them with red bakers twine, I hung it from the mantle.  You'd never know it was made out of crackers boxes, unless of course you turn them over.  It is an easy way to decorate using something I had on hand. 

Merry Christmas, Ya'll. 

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Are you taking the challenge and need some ideas?  Check out the tutorials part 1 and part 2. 

09 December 2011

Oh Christmas Tree

I don't normally decorate for Christmas.  We typically travel and with no kids it just seems like it's more trouble than it's worth sometimes.  The theme of my life this year seems to be change although my word of the year is balance.  I decided to get a tree after all.  Somehow that has to relate to balance, right? Taking more time to enjoy family, or even the moment we are in?

We loaded up in the "new" Chevy and headed to Wintergreen Farm, a local farm. 
I really wanted a local tree that we could cut down ourselves.  They grow Virginia Pine, Elderica, Leyland Cypress and Carolina Sapphire.  The Sapphire trees were beautiful.  Unfortunately, the weather didn't cooperate.  It had been raining and there was too much standing water to lug a saw out to the field and drag a tree back in.  That is also the reason my photos didn't turn out too well. 

We settled for a pre-cut fir.  A variety you can get anywhere, but I'd rather give my business to the little guy.  After a cup of hot, apple cider we loaded up and went home.
It was soaking wet by the time we got it home, but we went for it and put it up with a bunch of towels below it to catch the water.  Ollie didn't quite know what to think of this tree coming in the house.  She had this look on her face most of the day. 
After we finished decorating I felt like I had nested.  I am sinking into this home unlike any other.  Like a cottonwood tree, my roots are growing fast, and I'm loving every minute of it.

How did you decorate this year? Did you get a tree?

07 December 2011

December Challenge Tutorials Part 2

Are you taking the 4(for) green acres challenge?  

As promised, I am sharing with you really creative ideas to help with this month's challenge.  I believe that by supporting other bloggers, crafters, artists, and photographers you support the community, which is important to everyone's success.  Therefore when I was putting together December's challenge of creative gift wrap I knew I would need to seek the help of others. 

This is the second group of tutorials.  Here is the first group.  Thank you to Casey, Charissa, and Melony for sharing your talent.

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1|     Casey from etsy shop Paper & Twine       
             Hand Painted Fabric Wrap
Get the tutorial on her blog here

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2|     Charissa from The Gifted Blog
             Hand Stamped Paper
Get the tutorial and many other fantastic ideas here

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3|     Melony from Mel Designs    
             Repurposed Magazine Gift Bags

Get the tutorial from favcrafts.com here 
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Need to grab a project badge?  Jump over here.

06 December 2011

Christmas Wish List #2



Here are a few more favorites I've collected for the artist in your life this Christmas. 

1|     Sarah Ahearn Bellemare - I met Sarah at SAW and I have loved her work ever since. 

2|     The Wheatfield - I have these prints in my home and have gifted them.  I love them and she is so easy to work with.

3|     Victory Garden of Tomorrow - I spotlighted this shop and love the posters I bought.  Great gift.

4|     Max & Melody - I love how versatile this sweater is.  I would really like this in my stocking. 

5|     iMo - Every photographer needs a fancy camera strap. This one is my favorite.

6|     ombee soap - Nebraska girl!  I met her at her lovely shop and her soaps are perfect for your skin.

If all else fails and none of these work...you can always give an Anthropologie gift card. 


See Christmas Wish List #1

05 December 2011

December Challenge Tutorials Part 1

Are you taking the 4(for) green acres challenge?  

As promised, I am sharing with you really creative ideas to help with this month's challenge.  I believe that by supporting other bloggers, crafters, artists, and photographers you support the community, which is important to everyone's success.  Therefore when I was putting together December's challenge of creative gift wrap I knew I would need to seek the help of others. 

This is the first group of tutorials.  There are more to come so check back.  Thank you to Lillian, Danielle, and Tricia for sharing your talent.

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1|     Danielle from My Hidden Muse     
             Repurposed Magazine Bows
{photo by Danielle}
Get the tutorial here.

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2|     Lillian from Unstitched    
            *Vintage charms *Kraft & Wrapping Paper
{photo by Lillian}
Get the tutorial for Vintage Touches here and Kraft & Wrapping Paper here

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3|     Tricia from {every}nothing wonderful     
             Repurposed Envelopes
{photo by Tricia}
Get the tutorial here

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Need to grab a project badge?  Jump over here for the code.

02 December 2011

Swap Bot


I alluded to participating in a swap in the November review post, and I want to share a little more information with you. I am new to the swap thing.  I've heard from several others how much fun they can be, and I've heard they can expose your work, but I've always been hesitant.  While I consider myself an artist, I don't throw that title around publicly.  I doodle, cut and paste, dabble in paint, attempt sewing projects, and otherwise just play in my studio; I've never created anything to sell.  Therefore I've avoided swapping my art with others, because I basically feel like my work is inadequate.  Poor attitude, I know. 

I found out about Swap Bot through another blogger (I'm not sure who at this point).  It's a website that hosts, and does the work, for all kinds of swaps. They host swaps you can participate in, or if you want to create a swap yourself, you can do so on this site.  There are thousands of swaps. 

I decided to try my first swap recently.  Swap Bot was hosting their own swap to celebrate their 100,000th swap how many times can I write swap in one sentence).  The rules were simple and well defined.  It seemed simple enough.  I created a small bound notebook in swap bot colors made with recycled office papers (memos, graph, ledgers, etc.)  Then I added 2 playing cards with the recipients initials on the front, and a pocket for keepsakes.  You won't find a picture of it here because of that whole inadequate thing...I'm working on it. 

I sent it in the mail and then waited for my package (not from the same person I sent mine to).  A couple of days ago I received my package in the mail from Brazil!  Not only will be it be great for sending off future swaps, but it's from Brazil!  It reminded me of all my Brazilian friends (thanks to the YMCA) and it warmed my heart. 

After receiving this beautiful package, I quickly got over the inadequacy thing and decided I would do another swap...after the first of the year. 

Are you a swapper? 

01 December 2011

December 4(for) Green Acres Challenge


Today I'm introducing a monthly challenge series on indigo 26.  If you're familiar with my blog you've already heard about my 4(for) green acres project (make the jump here for information).  These monthly challenges are your opportunity to cultivate your own acres.  They are designed to challenge your creativity, test your will power, and pull your awareness to the footstep you are leaving behind.

By participating in these challenges and sharing them with others you are spreading the message.  Over time, those around us will be making better choices as well.  The goal is not to change how you live your life, but rather think about the implications of those choices and tweek them for the best outcome.  


DECEMBER CHALLENGE

This month creates a lot of unnecessary trash with all the gift wrap that gets thrown away.  For this challenge, I encourage you to only use gift wrap that you have on hand or utilize wrapping that is reusable or repurposed. 

The rules:
  1. No purchasing of new supplies of any kind
  2. While using what wrapping paper you have left from previous years fits within the rules, it is still trash.  Encourage the recipient to recycle or reuse the paper by adding a special note with the package. 
  3. Think outside of the box.  There are other ways to wrap gifts.
If you are like me, the thought of wrapping all those gifts with only what you have on hand is a little overwhelming.  Don't worry!  In the next few weeks I will be sharing with you tutorials from crafty ladies around the blogoshere.  These ladies know how to repurpose! So if you're stumped for ideas be sure to check back here.

Excited about the challenge and want to spread the message?  Grab a 4(for) green acres project badge for your blog by using this code to let others know you're growing your own greener acres.  I've added the badge to the sidebar as well.  


indigo 26

Don't forget to share your triumphs, challenges and other ideas in the comments below.  Let us know how you are doing.  Community starts by sharing with others.  Can't wait to hear from you!