- Why, hello there creative ones and dear makers of the world. This one’s for you. Though I strongly feel that the title of “maker” applies to all of us unique beings of the world, I also happen to believe such a calling weighs more heavily for some. For a whole host of reasons I have been recently exploring the area of creating and making and how that relates to the subject of fear. Yes, fear. That horrible, no good, rotten, and altogether dangerous thing that prevents us from living life the way we truly desire to live it. Fear drowns us. It silences us. It lies to us. It makes us doubt and makes us grow weary without concern for our wellbeing. And since honesty is important to me here, I’ll share with you that fear has gotten the better of me far too many times to count in the past few months. It has welled up in places I never expected it would have the fuel to grow, and sometimes it makes its home in very place I retreat to within myself when I want to make something or get creative. But you know? I really am tired of giving fear a voice in my life, like really, really tired of it, so I’ve been doing things to help me get back on track with what matters. There are meditations, spiritual practices, and even simple, wholesome exercises I’ve been doing each day in place of spending time fighting off fear. I am sharing this here because it’s been one of the most rejuvenating endeavors and worthwhile pursuits I can say I’ve taken part in recently. I have thrown it into the bucket of “self-care” and am happy to take time to engage this way each day. One of the practices I’ve been doing is listening to others who can empathize with this utterly human struggle and have chosen to put the work in to rise above and not give it credit. It’s my one thing right now. Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic podcast called Magic Lessons is one of the tools in my toolbox I pull out when I could use some encouraging on this subject. I don’t know where you are personally in narrative of your creative life, but if fear has hold of any part of it, you may consider giving her podcast a listen. It’s speaks beautiful truths and is the fresh breath of air I need most days. And let me leave one of my very favorite quotes from Liz’s book Big Magic right here for you to mull over and work through in addition to the podcast. She is a bright light to our creative community and if you’ve not read her book, order it right now.
“Let me list for you some of the many ways in which you might be afraid to live a more creative life: You’re afraid you have no talent. You’re afraid you’ll be rejected or criticized or ridiculed or misunderstood or—worst of all—ignored. You’re afraid there’s no market for your creativity, and therefore no point in pursuing it. You’re afraid somebody else already did it better. You’re afraid everybody else already did it better. You’re afraid somebody will steal your ideas, so it’s safer to keep them hidden forever in the dark. You’re afraid you won’t be taken seriously. You’re afraid your work isn’t politically, emotionally, or artistically important enough to change anyone’s life. You’re afraid your dreams are embarrassing. You’re afraid that someday you’ll look back on your creative endeavors as having been a giant waste of time, effort, and money. You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of discipline. You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of work space, or financial freedom, or empty hours in which to focus on invention or exploration. You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of training or degree. You’re afraid you’re too fat. (I don’t know what this has to do with creativity, exactly, but experience has taught me that most of us are afraid we’re too fat, so let’s just put that on the anxiety list, for good measure.) You’re afraid of being exposed as a hack, or a fool, or a dilettante, or a narcissist. You’re afraid of upsetting your family with what you may reveal. You’re afraid of what your peers and coworkers will say if you express your personal truth aloud. You’re afraid of unleashing your innermost demons, and you really don’t want to encounter your innermost demons. You’re afraid your best work is behind you. You’re afraid you never had any best work to begin with. You’re afraid you neglected your creativity for so long that now you can never get it back. You’re afraid you’re too old to start. You’re afraid you’re too young to start. You’re afraid because something went well in your life once, so obviously nothing can ever go well again. You’re afraid because nothing has ever gone well in your life, so why bother trying? You’re afraid of being a one-hit wonder. You’re afraid of being a no-hit wonder” – Liz Gilbert from Big Magic
- I started with something a little heavy, so here’s something lighter. Have you heard of The Innocence Mission? Their music is hauntingly beautiful. I have been listening to them almost every day whether I am doing dishes at the sink or on the way to pick up Stell from school. This song in particular makes the hairs on my arm stand straight up and it makes me think about all the beauty God has created. Surrounding myself with art like this makes me feel so hopeful and completely alive. What music makes you feel this way? What art makes you feel this kind of warmth?
- The boys and I have been needle and wet felting in school for the past two weeks and it has been such a joy to learn alongside them. For obvious reasons, Alfie is more of an observer/saboteur than his big brother, but still, it’s been really lovely to engage in handwork with them. I am going to be sharing some examples (of our very amateur work!) here this season but in the meantime here is a good resource to help give you a better understanding of this kind of art. A Child’s Dream is a beautiful site selling Waldorf art and curriculum-based items and I’ve just ordered a few sewing kits to do with the kids this winter. Theodore is really in to dinosaurs so I got that one for his stocking and then a Piglet for Stella to go along with some of her other farm creatures.
- Now that the boys are officially sharing a room we are going to paint it! Originally Stella and Alfie shared for a long time because they are both heavy sleepers, but now we’ve gotten into a comfortable groove where the boys both fall asleep together (praise the Lord) as Theo is no longer as prone to waking to the slightest squeak or creak. Andrew and I both really love muted green/grays and are learning towards these color pallets and will probably paint over winter break. What do you think? Here’s the first one and the second one we really like.
- Needing a good soup recipe? Here is some meal inspiration for you! Tuscan Kale Soup is a favorite this season. I made a big batch last night and you can bet your bum we’re gonna have it for lunch all week because I love leftovers. My mother in law Carol introduced this simple recipe to me a long time ago and it could not be easier to make.
- To prepare, brown seasoned one pound of ground pork in large pot or dutch oven. We like the kind with lots of herbs and fennel that our local market makes. Next, add one chopped yellow onion and 5 chopped carrots. Soften those with the pork and then add two small cloves of minced garlic. Let the garlic sweat and then add two bay leaves. Pour in two 64 oz. of any kind of broth, chicken is our go-to. Peel and chop five medium-sized potatoes and throw them on it. Next up, chop and toss in one big bundle of kale. It will seem like a lot but trust me, it will shrink down. I usually end up putting white beans, chickpeas, or lentils in at this point depending on what we have on hand, but you don’t have to. You’ll want to let the potatoes cook through so cover your pot and let it simmer for an hour so so. Serve with lots of pecorino cheese and warm, crusty, buttered bread.
- Have you heard of Tasha Tudor? I was browsing Pinterest one evening and came across the sweetest Christmas cards. By the way, we haven’t ordered ours yet this year and I sort of don’t want to. I know it takes more time and intentionality, but honestly ‘d much rather buy a nice bundle of cards and write some notes to our close friends and family rather than send out a hundred pre-made computerized ones to people we never see or speak with. Is the bad? Christmas cards are sort of weird to me. Back to Tasha. Look at these cards. Isn’t her artwork so sweet and nostalgic? As I began to delve more and more into her watercolors and artwork, I started learning more about the wonderful person she was. A few nights ago reserved a few books about her at our library and am eager to get my hands on them this week, specifically her family cookbook. She reminds me so much of my great-grandma Mable who lived in Minnesota who was as hardworking and resourceful as they come. Because Tasha was such a d0-it-yourself kind of gal, I find myself very drawn to the way she chose to live her life.
So much to think on! So much to ponder. I hope you enjoyed this round of Show & Tell and have the a beautiful start to you week. x Amanda
*For more inspiration and things to chew on from my Show and Tell Series, here is Round One and Round Two.
Taylor - I feel much the same about pre-made Christmas cards! It’s a sweet gesture and I do like receiving them. But I don’t want to make them one more compulsory cost/errand this time of year. I would also rather send a real letter if I could. Or, I’m thinking of sending valentines 🙂
admin - Taylor, I know. I’m torn. It’s always nice to receive them but man, when I get a hand-written note it’s always so much sweeter. I always end up tossing the photos and saving the special cards. Still deciding! x Amanda
admin - Taylor, I have a friend who sends cards in the summertime instead of during the holidays. It’s a neat way to change things up I think! x Amanda
Andrea - My mother in law gave us a little Tasha Tudor counting book recently (called One is One) and I absolutely love it! The illustrations are precious. Now I’m intrigued to look into her life more. Also, I’m totally with you on the Christmas cards!
admin - Andrea, oh I bet it’s lovely. Cheers to Tasha! x Amanda
Amy - Amanda, thank you for sharing this. I’ve always loved the Innocence Mission’s song “Bright as Yellow” (check it out if you have not heard it) but will enjoy listening to something new from them. Love your suggestions! About creativity … I’m curious if you have any good meditations to share on the subject. My creativity has been quiet for a while now and I love anything that will give it a jumpstart. The Artist’s Way for Parents is a book I’m currently loving. It’s about raising creative kids, but it actually speaks directly to us adults! ps. Ah, the card dilemma! My grandmother still handwrites all of her cards and I think it’s the loveliest ever.
admin - Amy, I listened to that song yesterday and it’s so beautiful. Thank you for sharing! Regarding mediations, I do yoga and practice stillness. I have a good resource list of books I am putting tother for my winter library post and I’ll be sure to include ones that have helped me out in that particular subject. I love that your grandmother does this. Mine does too and it’s so special! Also, I looked up the book you recommended and it seems really good. I have it on order at the library, so thank you! x Amanda
Jessie - Hi Amanda! Thanks for posting this, yet another topic I can relate to all too much. I was wondering if you got the felting idea from the whole rhythms books? I was thinking about ordering, wondering if it would be good for my 2 1/2 year old. Thanks!
admin - Jessie, I got the idea from a school project I did with the boys The Whole Family Rhythms has great projects with felt and other Waldorf inspired materials, too. I think 2.5 year olds are the perfect age to start things like this. Theodore helps me all the time and loves to pitch in. If you have any other specific questions, feel free to ask! x Amanda
Johanna Roman - Amanda,
Good ideas, I enjoy coming to your blog space. I like choice two of colors for the boys room. and the idea of felting projects are right on point girl, thank you for the website. I love Tasha’s images/work how amazing and vintage they are.
Again thank you for always sharing xoxo.
admin - Johanna, thank you mama! Going to pick out paint this weekend! Settling on a color is still in the works though. Blessings to you and thank you for leaving such an encouraging note for me here. x Amanda
Arisa Spangler - Always a pleasure reading your blog post! So much warmth in your words and rythm of motherhood. Can you please do another home blog post? (I’m sure that’s everyones fav!) One about transitioning to cold weather/Christmas cozy vibe? Like what types of blankets you pull out the closet (where from?) I’ve always loved the way you get your house all cozy during this season!
admin - Arisa, thank you so much! I have a Winter at Home post scheduled for next week with lots of photos like a little holiday home tour 🙂 If you have any specific questions about where something is from, feel free to ask! x Amanda
Stefanie - My parents used to send Tasha Tudor cards! Seeing that pinterest page brought back soo many memories. Our old tradition: My mom would write the (lengthy!!) messages, and I would stuff a picture of each of us kids (3) in each card. I don’t know if they even had the option of those photo greeting cards back 30/odd years ago? I loved they way she did it, and how each of the siblings and cousins on my dad’s side did the same. The pictures would absolutely cover our fridge the entirety of the year, until the following Christmas of course!
admin - Stefani, so neat! I have ordered a few and cannot wait to get them in the mail. Your mama sounds like a wonderful lady and I adore that tradition of covering the fridge with photos. So special. Blessings! x Amanda
Lauren - I’m also not a huge fan of pre-made Christmas cards – they’re something I feel like I should be ordering, but they don’t jive with my personality type, if that makes any sense.
I always love when you are vulnerable and honest on this space. Your life looks so beautiful on social media so it’s reassuring to know that you struggle with the same stuff that a lot of your readers do. This season of life is tough and challenging and brings up so many emotions. I have a 2 year old and it’s been the best 2 years and the hardest 2 years of my life.
Thanks always for sharing!
admin - Lauren, I know what you mean! It’s not my style to do so but I always end up ordering them. I don’t think so this year though. Just gonna go a different route. And as far as vulnerability and honesty go, it’s what keeps me returning to this space. We are all way more similar than we are different and sharing our experiences with one another as we grow is something I really value. Thank you so much for coming by and reading here. Blessings mama! x Amanda
Lara - That soup sounds so good. Going to make it for sure. I love Tasha Tudor. I have a book about her garden (I’m blanking on the title, but I think it’s just Tasha Tudor’s Garden or something similar), and it’s so inspiring. I love to garden, and I love the blowsy, carefree look of English gardens, which is definitely her style, although as the book shows, she put in a lot of hard work to get that carefree look! 🙂
admin - Lara, I know what you mean about the carefree style as it looks so effortless but boy does it take knowledge and time! We have a little one that didn’t go as planned but I sure get a lot of inspiration from those who can grow them. Blessings! x Amanda
Tierra Hayes - I’m a huge fan of Revere Pewter! My whole house (minus the bedrooms and bathrooms) is Revere Pewter. I love how in certain lights it gives off a lovely tan/beige tone and in others it’s a nice gray. You can do so much with it! I’m sure whatever you choose will be beautiful. ❤️
admin - Tierra, this color is fantastic! Thank you so much for sharing it with me. x Amanda
Felted Christmas Ornaments » Homesong - […] this week I mentioned that I recently learned how to wet felt in my most recent Show & Tell post. I want to take you through the simple process of making felted Christmas ornaments so you too can […]
Annette Heywood - Loved this mix of links, read with a cup of coffee! Beautiful colour ideas for the shared space between your boys! We have loved Gray Owl from Benjamin Moore in various rooms in our house; it comes out differently depending on the light in the room but hits all of those lovely gray/green/bits of shimmering blue tones. Good luck finding the colour! Xo
Meghan - Loved this post! Do share how the cute dinosaur sewing craft goes. Im interested in getting one for my son! Xo
Erin - I was just reading your post on Tasha Tudor. I live in Vermont, a few towns away from her homestead… there is a Tasha Tudor museum about 5 mins from my house! You should come sometime and visit Vermont. Beautiful in all seasons.
She was a very interesting, beautiful person from what I’ve heard….