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Wild About You!

I’ve been creating Valentine’s gifts for my young daughter to take to school on Friday, to exchange with her class mates. She’s in the Elephants room so I wanted to tie in with that theme.

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I came across these Elmer books (one of our favorite characters) sold as a set. I thought they would make a practical alternative to a card – something that could be enjoyed for a long time to come. In order to personalize them I wanted to create a tag, but something that could be removed later. I found some chalkboard hearts that seemed perfect, allowing us to add a custom message of love that could be peeled off without leaving a residue. (A chalk pen works perfectly on this medium.) While contemplating a fun, theme-consistent message I came across this impressive list which inspired me.

My little girl is going to take the finished products to school in the accompanying tote.

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“Wild About My Elephant Friend!”

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Super Snow Shoveler

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Here in the Midwest we’ve just had a huge snowfall, the 5th largest in history, and there’s now over 20 inches of snow on the ground. It’s been rather enchanting watching it fall from inside, keeping snuggled up on the sofa with my family, hot drinks and comfort food. However, that feeling subsides when work beckons and the shoveling has to begin.

My husband has been a hero, digging us back into contact with the world outside. I’m very grateful that I did not have to perform the duty, being several months pregnant. But it struck me that not everyone is so fortunate. The ultimate gift of kindness at this time would be to take a little extra time and help out a neighbor; someone less able or currently out of town. So our shovel has travelled a little further this week, clearing paths to cars in the street and allowing folks an easier route along the sidewalk. The season of goodwill does not end with the holidays.

Keep safe and warm.

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Word Perfect

I feel lucky not to struggle too much when it comes to writing inspiration. I trained as a designer so I’m used to finding visual prompts in all sorts of places: an usual sky, a tire tread, international magazines. I take the same approach to writing, taking cues from a variety of sources, visual and otherwise.

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However, starting a blogging course recently seems to have paralyzed me. Wanting to craft the perfect post for my fellow bloggers to review I’ve procrastinated. Now it’s been a significant length of time since I last posted and that adds yet more pressure. I’m having to remind myself that it is first and foremost the sharing of ideas that is the important thing. When I’m pleased with my creativity then the words will follow and allow me to express those ideas.

I look forward to sharing more presents, prose and politesse soon.

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Gifts I Would Like to Receive: Shipley Shapes and Colors

I find that when I’m determining what gift to get for someone I try to imagine myself in their shoes; what do they like doing, what makes them happy, what do they choose to surround themselves with, what is the ultimate treat for them? There is nothing more disappointing when unwrapping a parcel than finding it is something that the giver treasures but that has no meaning for you the receiver. (I’ve been on the receiving end of many cat cards when I’m much more of a dog person.)

Such musings led me to the idea of creating a series of Gifts I Would Like to Receive which might offer inspiration to others. One item on my imaginary wish list is an Emma Shipley scarf. Her bold, animalistic designs are so strikingly unique and would really make a simple dress or boring suit a stand out. I have been coveting one of these ever since I discovered this young British designer, and spend ages poring over the patterns, imagining which one I would purchase.

I hope that at some point I will own one of these master pieces (for Emma really is an artist). However, I’m also going to keep them in mind, as maybe one day I will find someone who gets as much pleasure from receiving one of these as I would – and then I will gladly make the purchase.

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Image from emmajshipley.com

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Girl Power

Today was Make a Difference Day, an opportunity to help others through volunteering in the community. I love the sentiment of this day. Although philanthropy is not just for one day a year, this day is a good reminder to reset your outlook and to do something for somebody else. It also brings communities together in a wonderful spirit of camaraderie.

I spent the day working a Halloween event, where the good-hearted doled out candy, and entertained children with crafts, music and story telling. – A little distribution of girl power

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Pumpkin Patch

Our family visited a pumpkin patch at the weekend. – A new experience for our little girl, and for me too. In England Halloween is not the same big event it is in the States and we don’t have pumpkin patches. So when we arrived the sight of a pile of orange, green, yellow and cream fruit, smooth, gnarled, elongated and misshapen, made me reach for the camera.

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An unusual pumpkin tied with some raffia, or a paper bag filled with a few gourds would make perfect fall hostess gifts. There’s always room for an extra orange pumpkin at this time of year, but these sophisticated versions would be infinitely more appreciated.

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Treasured Memory

We’ve been touched by a couple of passings recently… I like to acknowledge such events with a handwritten card.

For most occasions I create cards from online websites, with the text printed neatly, although somewhat sterile. However, the more sensitive nature of a loss warrants a more personal – and more immediate – response. A carefully chosen notecard with a few lines of penned text seems much more appropriate.

Below is one of my favorite such cards. Instead of the obligatory flower and slightly depressing “with sympathy” wording, this bird illustration seems to represent life while the quote embodies a message of eternal being. My hope is that in time the pain subsides and the treasured memories endure, bringing a sense of comfort.

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