Restocked for Fall

I’ve been working on some new pieces for fall, and there are now some at both Olde Pear Primitives on Lafayette Street in Cape May, NJ and at MADE. Artisan Marketplace on Broad Street in Woodbury, NJ.

What you see above are hand-painted papers cut into hearts that form Halloween garlands on black & white baker’s twine, which are stocked at both locations, four pieces that I left at Olde Pear, and my shelves at MADE, where I left garlands and one of the little 5”x7” pieces.

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Party on

This 5”x7” collage includes paint and sparkles. $25 plus shipping!

What you see above and below are the three 5”x7” collage pieces that I currently have here in my studio, ready to mail out. If any of them call to you, they are a steal at $25 (USD) plus postage.

I have been having a good time painting inks and paints onto heavy watercolor paper in shades of orange, white, and black. Despite being essentially those solid colors, each paper has at least 6 or 7 colors involved—for example, the “black” is blended from black ink, Payne’s Grey ink, and some indigo and Burnt Umber acrylic paint, and includes some speckles of orange, green, purple, and white.

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Halloween garlands

$8 each or 2/$15.

I will try to update my website this week to add some new pieces to the site, but if any of what you see here is YOURS, by all means, let me know! You can email or fill out the contact form here on the website. Or, y’know, holler at me on social media.

Almost Fall

And I somehow managed not to post here in about a month. Let’s just say there’s been some stuff going on, and leave it at that. Not bad stuff, just busy stuff.

Like, I created these new mixed media pieces for summer. The pieces include paint and collage, as well as tissue flowers that are hand-sewn to the canvas. They are each 8”x10” in size, and available for sale. If you’d like one, hit me up and I will sell it to you for $50, US shipping included.. (I’ll be adding them to the online shop later this week at $53, plus shipping.)

In addition to celebrating summer, I’ve been adding stock to my shelves at MADE. Artisan Marketplace in Woodbury, New Jersey. Just take a look at this gorgeousness:

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And! MADE is going to have an official grand re-opening on Saturday, September 14th. The shop will be open that day starting at 10 a.m., but the real festivities will be from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., and will include an art auction, live music, refreshments, and hands-on crafts. You should totally swing by there before that if you are in the area, because the entire place is radiant. And the Painted Bridge Coffee shop, which is attached, has amazing La Colombe coffee.

It's a good day to sell some art

At least, that’s what I’m hoping. Because it sure as heck is too hot to be spending time outside. Currently 94, “feels like 102” without a cloud in the sky. And I know lots of folks have it even worse than that. So I’m staying inside, and was cleaning up the studio and realized that I never even listed six small watercolor pieces, each of which is matted in an 8” square mat and ready for you to frame.

So here are the six pieces I’m talking about, each of which is going into my shop in a couple minutes at $25 each, plus postage.

This price is discounted, in part because I am just looking to share the love with you. And, okay, maybe open up a bit of space in my studio. Happy shopping!

Oh happy day!

One of my happiest things to do is to create new art. Right now, I have three pieces under way, and they are not done (or necessarily near done), but here they are:

All three of these pieces were once other (finished) works of art that weren’t working for me, so they’ve been splotched and splashed and dabbed and this is where they are now. Which goes to show that in making art, as in life, you can always start over or have another chance.

Of course, one of the reasons I called this post “Oh happy day” has nothing to do with starting over and everything to do with following through: I GOT PAID! Because of course I like making art, but I also really like selling it, and I got paid for pieces that sold at Olde Pear Primitives in Cape May and at MADE. Artisan Marketplace in Woodbury. Yay!

If you are looking for pieces, you can check either of those shops or shop online here.

And don’t forget you can sign up for my newsletter to get updates and offers and such!

Welcome, July!

Today is July 1st, which means it’s a new year (for some folks, anyway, if they have a fiscal year that ended yesterday). At any rate, it’s the first day of the second half of the current year. And if you’re Canadian, it’s a holiday! HAPPY CANADA DAY, FRIENDS!

All of which is to say WHERE DID THE FIRST HALF OF THE YEAR GO?

I mean, I know where it went. Really and truly. But wowza, it’s the second half of 2019 now and that means six months until we rename the year, and is it just me or is time somewhat flying?

At the same time, given my meditation practice (almost typed “medication” HA!), time doesn’t always fly. Sometimes it expands. And I’m banking on some more of that for the rest of the year as I try to live life and get things done.

Speaking of which, I’ve been working on a new project, which is not yet entirely ready for primetime, but if you’d like to have a peek at it, you can check out this Facebook page for Actually I Can, which is a new sort of business and business venture for me, but it’s something I’ve been called toward for ages now, and with the help of a business mentor, I figured out how to start doing it.

Original mantra piece I made for myself at the start of 2019.

Original mantra piece I made for myself at the start of 2019.

I am also entirely excited to be getting back into my studio this week. I’m feeling called to do some collage and some painting!

Wedding-ready

I mean, technically, we aren’t ready, but at least we’ve decided (a) when we are leaving to go to my cousin’s daughter’s wedding, (b) where we are staying, (c) what we are wearing, (d) what the gift is, and (e) when we are coming home again.

And we’ve picked a wedding card. For the first time ever, we are using one of MY cards. I know that might sound strange, since I’ve been turning art into greeting cards for almost two years now, but it really is the first time we are using one for ourselves. This is, in part, because I adore greeting cards and often shop for them everywhere I go (especially if I’m in locations with museums or independent stationers and a good card assortment).

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Sonnet 116 by W. Shakespeare

Shall we to the marriage of true minds admit impediments? Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds, or threatens with the remover to remove. Oh no! It is an ever-fixèd mark that looks on tempests and is not shaken. It is the star to every wandering bark . . .

This will be the card that goes with (okay, contains) our guest. This card is available at Olde Pear Primitives in Cape May, NJ, and at MADE. Artisan Marketplace in Woodbury. It, and all of its friends, are also available in my online shop, which you can access using the button below!

And hey! If you are interested in signing up for my mailing list, where you will get information on new products, what is happening, plus more. Just click on over to my “home” page and fill in the form!

June is bustin' out all over!

Well hello! It’s almost the middle of June (what? how?).

There’s a full moon coming on June 15th, by the way, so if you are a person who is into moon energy, keep an eye on that, and maybe figure out what no longer serves you and what you want to release and do that.

June is known for being wedding season (which means, by the way, that it is also anniversary season), and it turns out that I have three greeting cards that are perfect for that:

If any of these are your jam, they are available in my online shop for $5 each, or 3 for $13.50 (and there are another 20 or so options from which to choose). These cards are also available at Olde Pear Primitives on Lafayette Street in Cape May, New Jersey, and at MADE. Artisan Marketplace in Woodbury, NJ (though I think you only get the discount on multiples at my site). They are all blank inside, and if you’d like ideas for easy copy to add inside, I’ve got you covered here:

  • Wishing you a lifetime of happiness!

  • Celebrating your life together,

  • I/we are so happy for the two of you!

  • You go together like tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches!

Okay, so maybe that last option is a bit too out there, but those first three are solid starters. And here’s a pro tip: if you don’t plan on writing too much more, just start with your phrase in the middle of the middle of the inside of the card, not at the top, so you don’t feel like you have to add a whole lot more.

What else I’ve got going on

I popped into the local library earlier this week to pick up a bag full of books, and was immediately reminded that I still have paintings on display at the Monroe Township Library in Williamstown, NJ. From left to right, the three paintings are “Beyond Fences”, “Muriel’s Garden”, and “Shine”. Here they are, from two angles:

I left my heart in San Francisco

Morris and I got away for a six-day vacation (which included Memorial Day weekend in there), and we visited San Francisco. We stayed at the Cornell Hotel de France on Bush Street, right near the corner of Powell Street (which is a cable car route). It was a beautiful hotel, and we enjoyed our stay and our breakfasts there. We flew out there suuuuuuuper early on Thursday morning, then spent some time eating a nice lunch in North Beach and shopping in Chinatown.

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We spent Friday afternoon at Alcatraz—I can’t entirely describe it as a pleasant visit, since the place is horrid, but the audio tour was fascinating. And even though I was having some health issues (thanks, rheumatoid arthritis!) and was using a cane, the whole thing was made doable since the ferry staff allowed me to sit rather than standing in line, and there was a tram and an elevator available on Alcatraz Island, all of which made it navigable. And after we returned to Fisherman’s Wharf, we lucked into a free lunch. Don’t tell me there’s no such thing—we both had an appetizer and an entree, plus a (non-alcoholic) beverage, which would have rung up around $75, in exchange for our opinions on the food, service, and pricing. (Okay — it wasn’t 100% free, since we left a nice tip for the server, but still!)

On Saturday, we hopped into a van with 10 other customers for a day tour with Incredible Adventures, during which we visited Muir Woods and two wineries near Sonoma, the town of Sonoma, and Sausalito. Jill, our driver and guide, was phenomenal (and an excellent driver), and we seriously loved Muir Woods and the Robledo Family Winery, and we were thrilled to meet up with my sweet friend Tanita Davis (author extraordinaire) and her husband, David, while we were in the town of Sonoma, but the whole day was really wonderful!

Sunday, we went to Golden Gate Park to visit the Japanese Tea Garden. We caught a tour run by a volunteer from San Francisco City Guides (free tours run by volunteers out of the SF Public Library, donation optional to keep the program running). Our guide was Jay Streets (accompanied by his goldendoodle, Norton), and he knew SO MUCH about the history of the gardens and about the Hagiwara family, Japanese immigrants who did much to improve the gardens and who ran the Japanese Tea House until they were interned in camps during WWII. The stories and details were phenomenal, and put things in historical context, reminding us of the dangers of not studying history.

The first two photos above were taken in the Japanese Tea Garden, and the third was taken outside the De Young Museum.

That night, we went out for a really nice dinner at Café Claude, where we sat at the bar for dinner (we made a late decision and got reservations, but for the bar). We had fabulous cocktails, a good meal, and a really enjoyable time listening to the live jazz trio that was playing in the bistro. Definitely a nice night out.

The next morning, we joined a scheduled tour of Chinatown with Linda Lee of All About Chinatown tours. She came highly recommended by one of Morris’s tai chi students, and she was decidedly entertaining and knowledgeable, though I have to add a caveat that there were parts of the tour that made me feel a bit uncomfortable, since we strolled through a few groceries as if we were peering into an aquarium or something (“look at the ‘weird herbs’ and the live frogs!”). We finished with lunch at a local restaurant, including dim sum and a few other dishes.

Tuesday was our last day in San Francisco, but since we had a red-eye leaving around 11 p.m., we had a full day to spend in town. We kept it super low-key, first at Joy’s Place on Post Street for coffee (excellent lattes, excellent music, no rush at all), and then at the Palace Hotel for cocktails (scotch for Morris, rosé bubbles for me). We visited some other places as well, but it was an easy day and one of favorites.

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CHEERS!

Cocktails at the Palace Hotel

It has taken me just over a week to get around to writing about it because I’ve been pretty wiped out since getting back, but I’m finally getting my feet back under myself.

Whew! That was a busy weekend!

SATURDAY

Saturday morning, my sweetheart and I drove up to Merchantville to check out the Mystical May Holistic Street Festival, where I was delighted to see vendor friends Dot Pakstis (Dorothy Claire Crystals) and Jody Thorpe (Mystical Blossoms) and to meet Jeannie Francis of Spirit to Sole Connection and do a bit of shopping at Aradia’s Treasure. And then we drove down Route 130 to head to Woodbury, which is where the wonderful creator space MADE Artisan Marketplace is located.

MADE Artisan Marketplace is in the process of moving into a renovated building at 65 N. Broad Street in Woodbury, between the Courthouse and Charlie Brown’s, if you know Woodbury at all. It will contain selling space for local artists, classroom space, gallery space, space for Say It With Clay, and spaces for artists in resident. PLUS there will be coffee—PAINTED BRIDGE Espresso Bar will be located in the space as well!

Below you can see my artwork set up on a couple of shelves. I will also be dropping off greeting cards, which will go elsewhere in the space. You can also see me with MADE’s indefatigable owner, Jamilah Damiani.

BUT WAIT! That isn’t all we did on Saturday. Because once Morris and I left MADE in the early afternoon, we drove down to Cape May, where our first stop was at Olde Pear Primitives. I had a great time catching up with owner Genevieve Lugo, and I dropped off some new stock. Below you can see a photo of Genevieve and I taken by Morris, and some pics of the products I made taken by Genevieve. (I didn’t make the cool metal tree, nor did I do that awesome painted woodturning image of the state of New Jersey, which was created by the talented Ashlesha of Henna by Ash.

I hope you noticed the super cute red, white & blue heart garlands that are on the tree and lined up in a box. I hand-painted those papers and drew every single star myself, then punched out and strung the hearts on baker’s twine. They look so charming on that metal tree!

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After we left Olde Pear, Morris and enjoyed a nice stroll over to Beach Avenue, where we walked along the sidewalk that skirts the dunes and looked out over the ocean. We eventually made our way down to the Rusty Nail, where we had adult beverages (a mojito for me, a bourbon-based drink for Morris) and a tasty dinner. Eventually we wandered back to our car and drove home, where I spent the next several hours packing and working on pricing for my event on Sunday.

SUNDAY

Sunday, Sunday, SUNDAY! (I totally just said that aloud like the announcer for a local speedway, in case you wondered.) If you’ve been keeping up with my blog, then you may remember me mentioning Decompress South Jersey. You can read my last post, which was all about it and included photos of my kids when they were (extremely small and) at Will-Moor Gymnastics old location.

I really loved my setup at Will-Moor, which you can see from two different angles above. And it was great to catch up with other vendor friends, including April of Willow Moon Candles, Rita of Jularee, Aimee of Relics Revisited, Jody of Mystical Blossoms, and Margeaux of Proud Mary Designs. It was inspiring watching Alisha teach Zumba, Stacia doing aerial yoga, Cheryl leading Buti yoga, and oh, it was magical listening to Jody do a sound healing session with her singing bowls.

And that’s, to paraphrase Walter Cronkite (yes, I am old—he was an extraordinarily popular and famous newscaster when I was a kid), the weekend that was.

Decompress South Jersey

I am so excited about an upcoming event. On Sunday, May 19th, I will be one of the vendors selling inside Will-Moor Gymnastics in Mount Laurel, New Jersey. I will, however, be OUTSIDE the main event, which is a wonderful four-hour wellness event featuring four separate workshops. Attendance at the main event will cost you $35, and gets you all four workshops including Buti yoga with Buti and the Beast, silks with Light as a Feather Yoga, Zumba with Alisha Negron and Sound Bowl Meditation with Mystical Blossoms.

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I will be bringing along greeting cards as well as original artwork, including quite a few chakra-related pieces. It will be super fun for me to be back at Will-Moor. And no, I haven’t been there as a vendor before. In fact, the last time I was there, it was just about 21 years ago, as a proud mama. Both of my girls went to their weekly program as part of their daycare program back in the day.

Seriously, how cute were my little girlies? (They are both equally cute now, just older. And a bit taller.) Below you can see some of the pieces that I intend to bring along. They include two chakra rainbow pieces, as well as four abstract landscapes, all of which are matted and ready to frame.

I hope to see you there!

Mandala murals

I am overjoyed that I had the opportunity to spend three days at Peace Love Yoga in Glassboro, painting mandalas on the walls as murals. Well, technically “mandala” is Sanskrit for “circle”, and I painted half a mandala on one wall, and just over one quarter of a mandala on another.

The finished mural on the large wall.

The finished mural on the large wall.

Mandalas come from the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, and have been described as follows by the BBC in an article about sacred sand mandalas:

A mandala is a symbolic picture of the universe. It can be a painting on a wall or scroll, created in coloured sands on a table, or a visualisation in the mind of a very skilled adept.

The mandala represents an imaginary palace that is contemplated during meditation. Each object in the palace has significance, representing an aspect of wisdom or reminding the meditator of a guiding principle. The mandala's purpose is to help transform ordinary minds into enlightened ones and to assist with healing.

Below, you can get a look at the project at various points in the process. If you click on an image, it should embiggen for you so you can see it a bit better.

If you are interested in seeing what close to five hours of mural painting looks like, I’ve got you covered:

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And, of course, I am on fairly strict rest for the remainder of this week, because my joints were overtaxed (ladders, painting) and now require a bit of TLC. My wrists are both sporting braces, in fact, just to help them rest better and to ensure I don’t overdo things. It’s super hard to do too much when you can’t bend your wrists!

I am in a perfectly good mood, despite the extra aches and twinges. How could I not be, when I spent so much time creating a large, happy mandala—twice? If you get a chance to take a yoga class at Peace Love Yoga, check out my work in Studio 1. And if you are interested in receiving more behind-the-scenes information and in information about positive living, please subscribe to my (mostly) weekly newsletter!

Olde Pear Primitives and more news

I am delighted to share the two images below, both of which were taken by Genevieve at Olde Pear Primitives in Cape May, New Jersey this week. The first one is a watercolor seascape that I painted, which is nestled with some jewelry, and the second is a watercolor sailboat, playing nicely with some soap and bath bombs.

I am tickled every day, knowing that my artwork is available in this marvelous shop in Cape May. And, of course, I have art tambourines available at Mystic Gingery Collective in Blackwood, NJ, and also at the Grand Galleria in Williamstown, NJ.

This weekend, I will be painting murals on the walls of the main studio at Peace Love Yoga in Glassboro. Pictures to follow—though I am really glad that I’ve been promised some helpers, because I’ve been having a few joint issues lately (thanks, rheumatoid arthritis!), so I can use the assistance.

Next weekend, I will be dropping off artwork at MADE. Artisan Marketplace in Woodbury, New Jersey, which will (hopefully) be open to the public starting in May. All while making art and planning what to take with me on May 19th, when I will be at the Decompress South Jersey event at Will-Moor School of Gymnastics up in Mount Laurel.

A 5” square heart collage in spring colors.

A 5” square heart collage in spring colors.

And now, to get dressed for tonight’s seder with family. Happy Passover! And to those of you celebrating the Christian holidays, Happy Easter!

A Business Dream Come True

I consider myself a lucky girl, even if I am typing this while wearing a wrist brace on my left arm and nursing a bum right hip. I’ve had a LOT of my business dreams come true since I started my art business in August of 2017. Last year saw me accepted into a major, juried art show, selling at street festivals, with tambourines for sale in a local gallery here in Williamstown, and interviewed on TV about my art practice, among other things. Like the studio addition on our house, which is just a gorgeous, light-filled space. One of my goals was also to get my pieces into stores, and I’ve already told you about Mystic Ginger Collective, which is seriously just the best salon space I’ve set foot in—it’s simply filled with positive energy, and as a person who is susceptible to that these days (I’ve gone full “woo”, I believe), you can just feel things become lighter as you enter Kellee’s space in Blackwood.

But today, today was a specific business dream come true. You see, somewhere around December of 2017 or January of 2018, I sat down and wrote a big list of goals, some of which were perhaps more in the “wish” category. And one of my fondest desires was to have my art in a shop or gallery in Cape May. And today, that dream came true, when the beautiful shop Olde Pear Primitives opened in its new location at 523 Lafayette Street in Cape May, New Jersey.

Some of this is to say that making vision boards and writing out your dreams really does work, at least some of the time. I mean, if that’s all I ever did, I doubt this would have come to pass, but the fact that I brought that idea from the ether into the real world by writing it down first, and then took action by networking and attending events, one of which led to this amazing opportunity . . . well, let’s just say, it’s the Universe at work. I’m super happy and thankful today!

Gee, but it's great to be back home

And yes, I am old enough that I am actually quoting from a Simon & Garfunkel song from 1970. The song is “Keep the Customer Satisfied”, and it’s off Bridge Over Troubled Water. Here’s the first stanza:

Gee but it’s great to be back home
Home is where I want to be.
I’ve been on the road so long my friend,
And if you came along
I know you couldn’t disagree.

I’m just hoping not to have been slandered and libeled everywhere I go. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, click on through to YouTube and have a listen.

Dogwood from a rest area in North Carolina

Dogwood from a rest area in North Carolina

I am super happy to report that Dad is continuing to improve after his esophagectomy (esophageal cancer is no joke, yo, but he is likely to beat it as a result of the excellent treatment he has received at MUSC in Charleston, SC). His feeding tube came out on Tuesday (huzzah!) since he did such a good job tapering off of it. And he’s back on the golf course as I type this.

I am now back in New Jersey, where spring is still in its earlier stages—I feel somewhat lucky to have spent six weeks in the south and experienced mid- to late-spring in South Carolina, only to drive home again to where spring is just entering its middle phase. Of course, I literally drove through miles of “tree sex” in northern North Carolina yesterday on my way here, where the pollen was so thick it looked like a haze. Profligate trees!

Today I’m working on matting some of the smaller pieces I painted while in South Carolina. I think they are looking really great —these are in 8” square mats, with 4” square cutouts. The two on the left are chakra rainbows (which is why red is on the bottom). You may or may not have realized that the colors for the chakras from root to crown are the same as the seven colors of the rainbow, ROY G BIV: red orange yellow green blue indigo violet. But in a naturally occurring rainbow, red is on the top of the arc, and violet on the inside/bottom. I painted these the reflect the chakra alignment (though I guess you could flip the one that is just stripes to suit yourself). The pieces on the right are abstract landscapes.

The next step is packaging them in sleeves. Is it weird that I ran out of steam and just can’t even with that right now? Possibly. But it was a long drive home after a long time away, so I’m giving myself a break.

New card designs!

I am so excited to have several new card designs available for you! They are all made from my original artwork, as I’m sure you’ve come to expect, but I went and used a design program to add text to two of them.

As tomorrow is my birthday, it’s fitting that one of the cards is quite specifically a birthday card. The other card with added text says “Thinking of You”, and is, I think, appropriate for the regular sort of thinking of you purposes, as well as being used as a sympathy card.

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Cool and Calm

“Chart your own path” and “Thinking of you”

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Colorful

additions

“Happy Birthday!” and “Janet’s Light”

As always, greeting cards are available in my web shop, and are priced $5 each, or 3 for $13.50. If you would like more than three, please get in touch. I’m happy to quote you a price and hook you up. Feel free to browse greeting cards here.

And starting next Saturday, April 13th, all 24 of my greeting card designs will be available for you to shop in person at Olde Pear Primitives, located at 523 Lafayette Street in Cape May, New Jersey!

On the way to Cape May

Earlier this week I took a short break from South Carolina and flew home to New Jersey, where I got to see my husband (YAY!) and my cat (YAY!) and have an IV for my rheumatoid arthritis (yay?) and take a quick trip to one of my favorite towns in my state, Cape May, to live out a bona fide business dream.

Here’s a little roundup of the flight, husband, and IV. That’s a shot of the Virginia coast from the plane window on my way home, Morris with Kismet as we played cards, and me in one of the fancy new infusion chairs at my doctor’s office:

And then! On Friday, Morris and I drove to Cape May. Specifically, to Olde Pear Primitives, which is fixing to open on Saturday, April 13th. Olde Pear Primitives is located at 523 Lafayette Street, right on the corner by the light (near the Acme and the bike rental place, if you know Cape May at all). It’s a cheerful, welcoming space, run by a cheerful, welcoming proprietor. See?

Me with Genevieve. You can see some of the jewelry and pillows and candles already in stock in the space! Photo © Morris L. Siegel 2019

Me with Genevieve. You can see some of the jewelry and pillows and candles already in stock in the space! Photo © Morris L. Siegel 2019

Below are some images of my work on display at Olde Pear Primitives © Genevieve of Olde Pear Primitives.

Can I just share with you all how excited I am about having my work in a shop in Cape May? It’s literally a business dream come true for me. I will be selling my greeting cards (all 24 of them!) there, as well as tambourines, hot air balloon pieces, sailboat collage paintings, the small “Shine” piece you see above left, and some heart collages. You can find more about Olde Pear Primitives on their Facebook page, but the grand opening is on Saturday, April 6th! I am sorry that I’ll be missing it, but I will still be in South Carolina for a bit longer. I can’t wait to visit once it’s open, though!

Three Ways to Celebrate Spring

Whether the weather is springlike or not, the equinox will take place tomorrow at 5:58 p.m., and Spring will officially be sprung. It’s the season of new growth, and of pollen and allergies. The season of renewal, and the season that can leave some people feeling a bit flat or stuck. Today, I’m sharing with you four ideas to take action on to celebrate spring:

First, Create Space for Abundance

Not to jump on Marie Kondo’s train (although I bet it’s a really tide, neatly-folded train), but you can start by clearing some clutter. My personal policy is (and has been for the past seven years) to “get rid of everything that does not bring pleasure, beauty, or purpose into my life”. You can read six tips on how to clear clutter here. Clearing out the stuff that you no longer like, use, or want makes space for energy to circulate inside your space! You can read more about this idea in my post from October. Once you have taken out the trash, donated the stuff you no longer care to keep, and followed the other steps in my earlier post, you can start finding good ways and places in which to store your stuff. If your clothes all have homes in closets or drawers, then they won’t be strewn about your bedroom or home. It makes it simpler to find what you want when you want it, and it also reduces the amount of visual clutter in your life. If you get totally overwhelmed or are stumped with how to start in any given room, I always recommend clearing the top of the largest flat surface in the space—doing so gives your eyes a place to rest and makes the whole room look tidier in a hurry. Don’t believe me? Go into your dining room and make sure the table is cleared of stuff that doesn’t belong there (clothing, papers, crafts, shopping bags, etc.) Or go into a bedroom and clear anything that doesn’t belong on the bed off of it and make the bed. In your kitchen, clear off the island or (if you don’t have one) the longest stretch of counter space you have. Having a place in each room where your eyes can rest and not be driven wild by clutter will make you feel more relaxed and ready for spring.

Get Out

No, not the movie.

If it’s not a blizzard, tornado warning, or thunderstorm where you are, get outside. Some things you can do while you are there:

  • Take a walk in your yard or neighborhood, and keep an eye out for signs of spring. Count how many robins you spot, or look for whatever is just starting to bloom. For some of you, that might be azaleas or even roses, for others, it might be snowdrops. But look for signs of renewed life.

  • Plant something. Doesn’t matter if it’s a full garden or a single plant or shrub. Spending time outside and digging in the garden (or cleaning it up) is valuable exercise, both physically and mentally.

  • Do a quick maintenance and upgrade assessment of your yard and building(s). Are there things that need to be repaired or replaced? Do you need to get your gutters cleaned? Does your apartment door need sprucing up? Is your garden shed in need of a new roof or a lock on the door? What about your balcony or garden area? Do you need to buy or replace pots? Remove dead stuff? Plant something new? Spring is a great time for making a list of the projects you want to get to during the warmer weather.

Spruce Up Your Art Situation

An easy way to celebrate spring is to brighten the corner where you are. (And yes, I realize there’s an old hymn by Ina D. Ogden of that name, and the pun or wordplay was intentional.) You don’t have to put ginormous bunny and egg clings on your windows (though of course you can, and if you have little kids, they may really like that); you can simply add some spring touches inside and outside your home.

Outside ideas:

  • a new welcome mat; it doesn’t have to have a spring theme, but if your old one is looking sad beyond repair, this time when all those winter boots (and salt and cinders) are done is a good one to put out something new

  • a cheerful garden flag, if that’s how you roll. Could be spring-themed, or just something new and cheery.

  • a new birdbath or bird feeder, if you like having lots of avian friends

  • a new wreath or other decoration for your door; note: it doesn’t just have to be your front door. You can also perk up your door into your garage or laundry room or a side door, if that’s what you usually use to go in and out.

Inside ideas:

  • Once you’ve tidied up your front hall or foyer or sunporch, consider adding a seasonal touch; could be a small, cheerful birdhouse or a basket of eggs; could be a new piece of artwork to sit on a table or shelf, or hang on the wall to welcome your guests.

  • Take a good look at the art and photographs in each room. Do you still like the item? Do you still like its frame? If the answer to either question is no, consider replacing what you don’t like. If the answer is yes, assess whether it needs a good dusting. Wipe the frame with a soft, dry cloth, starting at the top and working your way down the sides, finishing with the bottom. If the piece has glass over it, decide whether the glass needs cleaning. Do not spray any cleaner on the glass. Instead, lightly spray a microfiber cloth with water or an ammonia-based cleanser (if you prefer, though water usually works fine), and carefully clean the glass surface by rubbing gently in circles, then drying the glass with another section of microfiber cloth. You may want to take the art or photograph down from the wall and lay it flat to do this.

  • Consider whether you would like to swap some of your art around to offer yourself a new perspective, or whether you want or need some new art in your space to brighten things up. (And if you do, consider giving my items a look? I’ve got tambourines and collages, paintings, and greeting cards here, plus prints and other items available at Fine Art America.)