holidays

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!

Scenes from my studio on New Year's Day

We are happy with our quiet start of 2019. I got a pretty awful upper respiratory virus last week, and spent all of Saturday in bed with a a miserable fever. I mean, I shouldn’t judge, I guess. But it made me feel miserable, so I assume its feelings won’t be hurt if I reference it that way.

Today is for doing just a bit of each of the things I’d like to enjoy and focus on this year. (You can read about that a bit in this prior post.) I’ve done my meditation this morning, and am going to sit down with Morris, my sweet husband, and engage in some “year in review” stuff once he gets home from his tai chi class. There will be time for cooking and laundry and a walk in the sun.

And I’ve already spent some time in my wonderful studio, which is something that didn’t even exist at this time last year. Here are some photos from this morning.

And yes, I noticed that these pictures strategically cropped out a bunch of mess. I was hoping you didn’t notice.

Celebrating fallow periods

As I mentioned briefly in my most recent newsletter, the gap between the holidays can feel like a weird no-man’s land of time. I even shared a funny cartoon on Facebook about how from the 1st through 26th of December, people are really into the holidays, and then from the 27th to 31st, then are full of cheese and unsure what day of the week it is. Funny, but it can also be disorienting.

I find it helpful to look at these sorts of times and spaces as fallow periods. Just as many farmers rest their land from time to time by plowing their fields under and leaving them unplanted (fallow), many people run into fallow periods in life. It’s super common among writers, who are between projects, or stymied and doing no writing. It applies to other creatives as well (actors, singers, artists, etc.).

Fallow periods are terrific times to engage in nurturing acts and self-care. These include things like rest, meditation, going to the movies, reading books, visiting a museum, getting out in nature, and so forth. It’s a great time to do things that fill your inner well or feed your spirit. All those things give you something to draw from and help to sustain you when it’s time to be creative again.

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So if you are off work or school this week, or somewhat at loose ends due to travel or houseguests, and you cannot stick with your “regular routine”, my suggestion is to treat this time period as a fallow period. Take a few deep breaths and a few minutes to figure out what acts of self-care will make you feel better. If you need some suggestions past what I listed above, you can check my post from earlier this month on six ways to celebrate the little things, since many of the small celebrations double as self-care or well-filling activities.

Celebrating the New Year

In just about a week, it will be New Year’s Eve. How will you celebrate?

This is not representative of what our neighbors will shoot off, but still . . .

This is not representative of what our neighbors will shoot off, but still . . .

There are several ways of celebrating that get lots of press and publicity: pay to attend a fancy party (or a not-so-fancy one), with food and a DJ and too many drinks and free hats; go out somewhere to stand in the streets with strangers and wait for balls to drop or fireworks to explode (some of our neighbors set them off nearby, so we don’t really have to go outside—though there have been a couple times we had to wake up for them); go to or host a party in your home and watch a TV countdown with friends. Maybe it involves banging pots and pans outside at midnight, or sparklers, or waking the neighbors with your fireworks.

Then there are the quieter celebrations: out to dinner with your spouse and maybe some friends, then home before it gets too late, or a nice, quiet evening at home. Possibly with some champagne or prosecco (the leftovers are great for mimosas on New Years Day).

But what about New Year’s Day?

Well, I have a bit of a superstition. This is not a long-held superstition, nor is it one passed down by generations of family members (unlike the "shoes on a table is bad luck" thing, which is TOTALLY the result of generations of my mother's family). It's one that I developed myself over the past ten years or so, and it is a simple concept:

I believe that what you do on January 1st sets the tone for the year. Therefore, if I want to be a person who writes and paints a lot, I need to make time to do some writing and painting on January 1st. If I want to cook more, I need to cook something. ("Something" on New Year's day used to mean a pork roast and sauerkraut, based on long-held and family-bred superstitions, again from my mother's family, but may switch to ribs, since my sweetheart doesn’t eat pork — unless it’s bacon or ribs.) If I want to read more, I need to read. If I want to be a decent housekeeper, my house has to be clean by then, and I need to do a wee bit of tidying on that day as well. If I want to maintain the morning routine/ritual I’m working to establish for myself, I for sure have to practice it on New Year’s Day. That means yoga, meditation, journaling, and the aforementioned reading. If I want to spend time with my husband, I need to do that, too.

It's all very simple in theory, and not necessarily difficult in practice, but it does take being really conscious of choices on January 1st. Basically, it can make for a busy day. And, I suppose, it means being really conscious of choices on the 2nd, and 3rd, and 4th as well, though these aren’t resolutions as much as intentions. Nevertheless, come next Tuesday, my house will be clean and relatively tidy, and I will be starting my day with my morning routine and moving on from there.

Of course, come February, there will be Chinese New Year to celebrate (Year of the Pig!), and then there’s the start of the US school year in September, and the start of the new year in Judaism (Rosh Hashanah means “head of the year”, if you didn’t know that), which comes at the end of September next year. And I’m pretty sure there are some other new years in there as well, depending on your belief system.

So tell me: What will you do to celebrate the new year?

As always, if you are interested in subscribing to my weekly newsletter, which is designed to share tips on things you can do to live a more positive life, you can do that here.

You guys! I just have to share the love!

I don’t want to bury the lede here, so I will come out and tell you straight away that I am giving you all a holiday present this week, and it’s kind of a big deal. (Some people might even call this “a sale”.) So if that’s what you are looking for, feel free to scroll on down to that straight away to get the details.

But first, I’ma tell you why I’m giving you all a present, and it’s because I am so so grateful for all the love and support everyone has been giving my business. Yesterday was the open studio event I created, and you guys, it was totally appropriate that it was called “A Most Wonderful Time”. It was such a treat for me to have Erin from Clove & Cedar, Lisa from Natures Energy, and Rita from Jularee here yesterday, because they are super wonderful people. And also because supporting other small businesses, other makers, other women, other local businesses . . . that is super important to me. And while these wonderful women don’t fit in ANY box, they manage to tick off all those important boxes at the same time.

Rita from Jularee, Erin from Clove & Cedar, me, and Lisa from Natures Energy

Rita from Jularee, Erin from Clove & Cedar, me, and Lisa from Natures Energy

These women are seriously great. And we had so much fun, too!

My dining and living rooms were transformed to small shops, my studio was full of light and art, we have a kitchen full of snacks, the mulled cider was a huge hit (with or without spiced rum added in), and on top of that, we were joined by quite a number of lovely souls who came out on a grey drizzly day to support small, local woman-owned businesses. A massive thanks to EVERYONE who helped to make yesterday such a success, with a special thanks to my sweetheart, Morris, who kept an eye on the coffee pots and was super helpful all day. (He took that photo of the four of us, above.)

I know there were a lot of local folks who wanted to come, but had other things on their schedules for yesterday, just as I heard from lots of folks who don’t live anywhere near here, who wished they could make it.

So I have a gift for you all. I’m giving you 50% off all my collages and almost all of my paintings.

Starting today, and running until Thursday, December 5th, at midnight, all of my collages on my website are 50% off. In addition, nearly all my paintings are 50% off, so if you’ve been wanting one of them, now’s your chance to scoop them up at a serious discount! The only pieces on the Paintings page that are NOT on sale of the two remaining Jersey Shore pieces, which have always been value-priced at $48. Twenty-five percent of the price of each of the Jersey Shore pieces is donated to Clean Ocean Action, an organization dedicated to cleaning up the beaches in New Jersey—it’s my way of giving back to the shore, which inspired this series of seven original pieces.

I am just so thankful for all your love and support with my business, and this was the biggest present I could think of this year. No discount codes, coupons, or secret passwords needed . . . you get half off all my original collages and (most) paintings.

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Oh, one more thing!

A bonus gift for the first 10 customers.

The first 10 people to purchase online (whether it’s one greeting card or something more) will get one of my Christmas-themed greeting cards for free! “I saw three ships come sailing in” was inspired by a line from a Christmas carol. The original collage (available on the Collage page) features three ships, each bearing its own seasonal decoration: a wee Christmas tree, colorful shields, and a holly leaf flag.

Again, I just had to say a heartfelt THANK YOU to all of you: those who read this blog, those who came to shop yesterday, those who wanted to be here but couldn’t, those who have been cheering my small business on as it starts to get off the ground and tries to take flight. I appreciate you all so very much, and I’m so grateful!

The Most Wonderful Time: a holiday shopping party

What: A holiday shopping event that combines an open studio for my artwork with stations set up by three other vendors: Clove & Cedar, Jularee Handcrafted Jewelry, and Natures Energy. Items for sale include original artwork and greeting cards, jewelry, macramé, and pottery. And I know for a fact all four of us work to imbue our items with positive energy. (And we all accept credit cards as well as cash, by the way.)

When: Sunday, December 2nd, from 12 noon to 4 p.m.

Where: In my studio in Williamstown, NJ. Street address will be provided when you RSVP

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WHY

Because that’s the important part

Why: It’s super important to me as a female business owner to support other female-owned businesses. It’s important to me as a female maker to support other female makers. It’s important to me to shop local, to shop small, and to shop handmade. And it’s important to me to draw other female makers who are entrepreneurs together.

So when I had the idea to throw my studio open for local folks to stop by and see my artwork (and hopefully buy some stuff - let’s keep it all the way real here!), I started to calculate how many other vendors I could possibly fit inside our house without people tripping over one another, and I figured I could fit a maximum of three additional vendors inside. And with it being a December event, I didn’t want to set up my tent out back. (Though heads up: when it’s nice out, I’m totally planning on doing just that so I can have more woman-owned businesses here!)

I’m being joined by

  • my friend Rita, owner of Jularee, who makes hand-crafted chakra and gemstone jewelry (including birthstone pieces), using sterling silver, copper, and even gold-filled wire.

  • my new friend Lisa, owner of Natures Energy, who makes hand-thrown pottery pieces as well as jewelry pieces enhanced with handmade copper chain and other sustainably sourced items.

  • my new friend Erin, owned of Clove & Cedar, who makes macramé pieces that include feathers and sweet rainbows, plant hangers, and wall hangings (often incorporating natural wood elements).

We are planning on filling this space with positive energy and happy shoppers. And toward that end, we are also going to have SNACKS, because snacks are good for energy, am I right? There will be coffee, tea, and mulled cider along with the tasty nibbles. I really hope you will come. Because it’s going to be The Most Wonderful Time!

On Living an Abundant Life

Does living an abundant life mean that you have great wealth? Does it mean you have nothing but good things in your life? What do you do when real life sends you something that isn’t exactly good? Just what does an abundant life look like?

I consider my current life to be an abundant one. No great wealth, not that I’m not open to that (hear that, Universe?). And I do have good things in my life: a place to live that has running water, working heat and air conditioning, a (small but) nice kitchen with working appliances, a sweet cat, an even sweeter husband (seriously, he’s such a good guy), two wonderful daughters out living their lives.

But it’s not all good stuff here. If you’re new around here, you probably don’t know that I’m disabled (two autoimmune issues that require lots of rest and have a tendency to flare up, not just when I’m stressed, but when the weather changes, or just for kicks). My family has been dealing with cancer issues this year, since my dad was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in July. My husband’s sweet and salty cousin Sel died on the 14th, not long after I posted my last blog post about choosing abundance.

Yet while we have been grieving for Sel, and I’ve been using more pain management stuff than usual (heat, salt baths, pain meds, and CBD oil on some spots), we’ve spent more time than usual with family. The funeral, shiva, and Thanksgiving found us with Sel’s wonderful family, and seriously, they are some terrific people. Also leading abundant lives, despite their own issues.

So I guess the answer to the question of what an abundant life looks like is that it looks like anyone’s life. Because the answer depends on you and your viewpoint. If you acknowledge and celebrate the good things in your life, chances are pretty good that you’re leading an abundant life. If you prefer to focus on the things you lack (whether they are objects, cash, or people), or on the things you dislike, chances are a bit higher that you’re not living in abundance.

It’s up to you to turn it around!

Karen Salmansohn knows what’s what.

Karen Salmansohn knows what’s what.

If you are interested in more about abundance or other energy work, I hope that you will sign up for my newsletter. It goes out roughly weekly with information related to living with more positivity in your life.


Before I go, I wanted to invite you to shift your energy just a bit this holiday season by coming out to THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME: a Holiday Shopping Party, which I am hosting here in Williamstown, NJ. I am opening my studio up on Sunday, December 2nd, from 12 noon to 4 p.m., and I’ve invited three other women I know who are makers and who own their own small businesses to join me and sell their things as well. And everyone accepts cash or credit cards. So if you come out, you will not only get snacks and mix with happy people, but you’ll be shopping local, supporting woman-owned small businesses, and shopping handmade. Win-win-win!

Below is a gallery—if you click on the image below, you can cycle through and see some of the items that will be available here:

Just a hint of what you might expect to find this Sunday! If you need the street address for my studio or directions, let me know!

The most important thing is that you stay safe

I’ve been away on a lovely vacation with my husband, and we got back late on Sunday evening. It was a wonderful trip, starting with a stay in Rome and then a cruise of the western Mediterranean that stopped in Cannes and Corsica, France, Barcelona and Mallorca, Spain, and Sardinia, Italy. And we loved every minute we were away. The photo below is from our visit to Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, still under construction for the next 8 years or so.

Oh, the light and air inside this space was just magical!

Oh, the light and air inside this space was just magical!

And now we are home, and preparing for the Pitman Craft Show this Saturday (assuming it takes place). But mostly, we are worrying about everyone in the path of Hurricane Florence as the storm heads toward the East Coast. Please take this storm seriously and take care of yourself, if it’s coming anywhere near you. And it seems only right to defer any further discussion of things like my vacation or the craft show, given the coming storm. Because as it says at the top of this post, the most important thing is that you stay safe.

At the Turning of the Year

Here in southern New Jersey, the light has started to grow a bit each day since the Winter Solstice, though the Arctic air has swept down upon us and looks to stay for another week or so, with the winter months still to come. 

The view into the back yard during last week's snow. Note that the patio closest to the house has been torn up in advance of construction of my new art studio.

The view into the back yard during last week's snow. Note that the patio closest to the house has been torn up in advance of construction of my new art studio.

It's no longer snowy here, but it's so cold that I've taken to wearing fingerless gloves much of the day and drinking lots of hot tea to keep warm. We have heat, of course, but I don't see the need for us to crank it super high, and cold manages to seep in through the slab, I suppose. 

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Tea time

I am loving this beautiful mug, which was a gift from my older daughter.

I have responded to the cold in my art as you might expect: by using warm and/or bright colors. I recently completed my Buddha painting, as you can see below, and have started working on some tambourines (art that makes noise!) and a large canvas full of brightness.


Construction on our addition is likely to occur in January, once this cold snap breaks. Our permits have been issued, and we are excited to get underway, though I confess to dreading the noise and commotion that is sure to accompany it. But it will be a delight to have a designated studio space, and to allow us an uncluttered living room.

This week, I've been working on business planning for 2018. It includes creating some new pieces for Valentine's Day, and hopes for several different in-person sorts of sales events in addition to my website.

And now, there is nothing left for me to do but to wish you and yours a happy, healthy, and peaceful New Year.