advent bags*

While at my sister's farm last week, my marmie brought me a copy of the latest Better Homes & Garden magazine. She had dog-eared an article about Maria Carr (writer of the blog Dreamy Whites) and her family's french farmhouse in Northern California. She knew I would be attracted to the way Maria expressed herself in her home.

One of the images in the article showed advent bags hung from two birch branches. I was so inspired by the idea! I knew it would suit my home and that our wee gnome would be delighted to climb a ladder and pull out a Wei Chocolate each day until Christmas. ; )

My husband found these birch branches in our back yard. I used two different types of muslin bags that I ordered online, as well as picked up at a craft store. I used dutch butcher twine to tie the branches together and number stamps with brick red ink for the dates.

My marmie also surprised me with a bowl au lait from Maria's shop:

{freshly washed duck and hen eggs from my neighbor}

winner of GIVEaway*

some beauties from lauren's shop, photo by lauren

The winner of our most recent GIVEaway is Tania who wrote:

"i am intrigued by the comments and the love that flows here on this site. your generosity is always a blessing to others. love the love and the care that has been stitched into these sacred projects."

Congrats, Tania, you will be contacted by us soon! Your kind words were felt deep.  Grateful.

Also, Lauren wanted to gift the rest of my readers a discount of 15% in her shop this next week. She was so moved by your sharings and felt heard and seen as a conscious artist. Please just add the code BOHO15 when checking out.

sponsor GIVEaway ~ cypress sun jewelry*

Nature Girl lariat necklace

Amy Friend  of Cypress Sun Jewelry and I are so thrilled to offer this fabulous GIVEaway today of her Nature Girl lariat necklace.

The Cypress Lariat necklaces are inspired by the yoga of every day life, the giving and accepting inherent in every moment. They move as you move. Gracefully. Elegantly.  They are the kind of necklaces that women select once and then again and again, for themselves and best friends.  They are special gifts. Tokens of love and appreciation. Reminders of friendship and connection.

And best of all, they take you from morning coffee to an evening out so beautifully.

I have one of my own and it really speaks to me and my journey right now.  It feels delicate and warrioress all at once.

me wearing the Nature Girl lariat

GIVEaway details:

  • To enter to win a Nature Girl lariat necklace, leave a comment on this post
  • One comment per person, please
  • Comments will remain open until end of day Friday, March 9th
  • Winner will be chosen at
  • Winner will be announced Monday, March 12th
  • WINNER: Amber, congrats! We will contact you for your mailing addie! xoxo

medicine bundles & winners announced*

our medicine bundles, taken with iPhone & applied Instagram app filter

My wee family is feeling the healing balm of Pixie's medicine bundles she left for each of us during a visit last weekend.  Pixie had asked me and Boho Boy to look at her shop and read through the medicine bundles to see which one we felt pulled to.  I chose the Bear medicine bundle and he chose the Horse.  I have had a few encounters with bears that felt surprisingly gentle and right now, in the midst of chaos, I am craving gentleness around me.  The first encounter I had with a bear was while leading a night hike in the woods of Sonora with a group of 4th and 5th graders.  We could see (and hear) a silhouette of a cub following us a few trees away and the mother protectively walking near.  The other leaders were trying to hide their fear but I remember feeling a peace about that closeness.  Almost as if the mama bear and I were communicating.  Another time was when I was staying overnight in Yosemite and my friends and I were sitting around a campfire.  A brown bear walked right through our campsite and brushed up against me and only me.  Again, I didn't feel afraid.  I felt wildly comforted by its touch.

Pixie wasn't surprised I felt drawn to the Bear medicine bundle...saying that I remind her of a nurturing mama bear, among other things.  But when Boho Boy chose the Horse bundle, I was so curious what it was that drew him to it.  He later shared with me that it was the spirit of his father that helped him decide to quit his day job and move to Washington.  His father was always so clear and adamant about his boys following their dreams and not settling for a life of material things but rather living from the heart, even if that means humble surroundings.  I think he did a lot of consulting with his father over this decision and whenever he gets afraid, he remembers what his father would say.  Since his father has passed away, we've had the birth of our son, as well as this move to a place his father would SO approve of.  I know at times like this, the grief can feel stronger than others.  But since the Horse bundle has been near Boho Boy, I have seen parts of his creative soul surface that have been put aside for a long while.  He has been inspired about getting back to woodworking and practicing much of what his father taught him.

So we are now giddily sharing ideas about furniture we'd like to make or re-finish.  Dreams of trips to yard and estate sales or flea markets and filling our home with pieces transformed by our own hands.  I have absolutely no doubt that Pixie's bundles and the love, intention and thoughtfulness she put into them have so much to do with this shifting in our hearts.  I make sure to place them in a room where we are while packing and Boho Boy plans to bring his Horse bundle with him on the road trip to Washington the first week of May.  He will be driving the moving truck for about 4 days while Cedar and I fly out to be with the family for a few days.  Then Cedar and I fly from Northern California into Seattle to meet Boho Boy and we will drive to our new home together for the first time.Cedar has a medicine bundle too...custom help him through this transition.  I so encourage you to look through her shop and see if your heart pulls you towards her gift, her medicine of the earth and animal.

Now, onto last week's Sponsor GIVEaway.

To me, everyone is a winner for sharing such beautiful sentiments.  But you know how it goes.  So, here are the winners of the amazing gifts from the Guides of Serendipity Retreats. You will be contacted via email by the artist. Congrats!

Winner of Pixie Campbell’sCall of the Wild” signed 8.5 x 11 fine art print: Martha who wrote;   “Serendipity is reading these beautiful words at just the right time – today – right now- my life is uncertain, a lot of comments that have been made are already in my heart. I am in transition and am so unsure but open and am listening to those whispers of those angels who have presented themselves to me – just as I was told that they path is not clear and I am trying to live like the wolf , in the present, acutely aware, always alert to what may be presented to me – serendipity is my hope – and all these words and these posts bring it home to me and rest in my heart to show me that I am not alone on my path ….the wolf is an image that I need to remember in order to stay alive and be wild and free …”

Winner of  a signed copy of Kate Inglis’s book The Dread Crew: Renee who wrote:;  “Balance…..I can never seem to get it on purpose, or keep it… it is rather serendipitous to me at this point in my life…..I am torn between the rocks and The Wild….but I choose The Wild as I need to leave fear behind and move forward into my future!!! xoxo”

Winner of McCabe Russell's *Love*Listen*Trust* painted rocks: Lianne Bremer who wrote:  “Oh, how I long to be able to go to this retreat! I mean, you are my women! The wild women who are impassioned and real! I long to celebrate my innate power and beauty with all of you! Serendipity to me is when heaven and earth conspire to delight… and it happens often.  To dance with the Mermaid, pick nettles with the Pixie, and loving create wonder with all of you.. that is what I am drawn to.”

Winner of Michelle Madden Smith’s Self Care/Mommy night in Kit: Pamela G who wrote: “i was just sitting on my bed crying. crying because i’m stressed, overwhelmed, and frustrated. crying because everything seems to be going wrong. it’s been a series of unfortunate events. and no matter how many times i’ve reached out, i find nothing to grasp. . and it hurts so much inside to keep falling. i’ve barely picked myself up and made my way over to the window up here on the third floor, overlooking the street with the castle in view (a church down the road) and the tower from the fire station when i felt a light go on over my shoulder. it was my screensaver on my laptop. it turned itself off and the screen was open on my email page. realizing i had several to respond to, i just sat there, numb and overwhelmed. thought to myself, i need to read some calming words, where is the best place i can find that. so i came here, denise… and saw your most recent post. now i think that is serendipity.  i could not only use the self care kit, but a hug. someone to hold ME and tell me everything is going to be ok…”

Sponsor GIVEaway*

One of my newest sponsors that I am so thrilled to share with you is Serendipity Retreats. A comfy space for art and yoga by the sea in a beautifully intimate setting. I remember a few years back, driving down a windy road while at Squam and hearing whispers about this dreamy retreat to be and I felt a sense of calm in my bones.  It was a healing oasis for those that took part of the first retreat and it continues again this October. There are four guides at this retreat, sharing their wisdom, soul and heart. And today, here in my space, they wanted to share something with my readers. Below you will find a piece of their beautiful world that they are offering. There will be four people chosen, one for each gift.

To enter for one of these beauties, you just need to comment on this post. Tell us what serendipity means to you in your life. It can be one word or many or a story but be sure to mention which gift you feel called to.

I will announce the four winners at the beginning of next week.  Comments will be closed on Sunday evening.

Call of the Wild - signed 8.5x11 fine art print from Pixie Campbell. "Wolf answers when called. No questions asked. Leaves fear behind. Lifts strong paws and pads lightly across the earth, nose to the ground, fur up on neck, ears up, and bright eyes leading the way." A signed copy of "The Dread Crew" from Kate Inglis January Magazine calls The Dread Crew: Pirates of the Backwoods by Kate Inglis 'a spirited tale, gorgeously rendered'. It suits hooligans and adventure-seekers 8-80 years old. By October's Serendipity Retreat, the sequel will be undergoing final line edits.

"What a mess. See, wherever they go, the pirates chew up the forest, all mindless crashing with that giant woodship. All they care about is junk and they'll crush anything that gets in the way. I was just as blind to it as you until one day I tripped over a clue. And then another. What else was there to do? I became a pirate hunter. I tracked them like a thunderstorm. I collected evidence and found their trail. Then they disappeared. Then I met the weirdest girl in the world. Turns out she was their scout. Then together we stole their ship. By the time you get to the end you see it’s really just the beginning..." Love*Listen*Trust rocks from Mccabe Russell Hand painted beach stones from the magical shore of Southern California. Each rock infused with magic and love. use them to create whimsy in your everyday life. (but be careful what you wish for.) Self care/Mommy's night in kit from Michelle Madden Smith a yoga mat, a lavender-filled eye pillow, aromatherapy, a bottle of wine, and a few other yummy surprises...

a new beginning*

oh my goodness.  We have all been crashed out sick over here.  All with the same things, same symptoms.  Sinus Infection, Acute Bronchitis, etc.  Going round and round and our home conditions not helping.  But mama finally got it BAD after taking care of my boys.  I even had to postpone a visit from one of my sisters because we are so concerned this viral thing is too catchy and that is the last thing she needs. So now I am laid up for a few days and my honey love is home with me being a sexy boy nurse and my sweet son is being VERY patient with me not being able to play too much with him.  But I did get out the paints we could both get some fresh air and do something gentle.  I am so warmed in the heart to see Cedar getting braver and braver with his tactile sensitivities.  He loves painting but has had some episodes where he melted down when paint touched him.  So we tried other things but he kept going for the brush.  I always follow his lead with his interests.  I have watched him work through it on his own and yesterday, he actually found some humor in it...and it was awesome to see.

We are here for one more month and then we're headed to WASHINGTON...omg.  So so so excited.  In the meantime, we have stocked up with an herbal pharmacy of immunity building goodness.  As of right now, I had to give into the Western approach and take the antibiotics (Cedar too) but once we lick this thing and move to fresh Washington air, we will put our intentions into maintaining wellness within our bodies, minds and souls.  We are so craving a change.  Our gypsy hearts are aching for a new beginning.  I've already connected with three lovely souls that live there and I am not even there yet.  This place is full of kindred spirits and an energy that pulls you in.  I have sweet visions of Boho Boy kayaking as the sun comes up and me jogging on the pier and Cedar running in a forest with his gnome spirit on high.

But for now, we are just focusing on purging our home, simplifying what we're bringing with us and just simply getting better.  As stressful as packing up a home and moving can be, I have been trying to stay present in the moment and live, breathe, think, DO simpler things.  Really focusing on my family and getting through each day.

April is our month to simplify.   Mmmmm.

Just for fun...what kind of home do you see us in?  We are taking our time with finding it.  We will be staying in a month to month place temporarily to give ourselves time to really get to know which neighborhood our family belongs in.

Tomorrow is my father's birthday.  We may be posting a silly video of sorts.  ; )

exploring with paint*

Cedar has dealt with a bit of tactile sensitivity since he was born. First I noticed it with fabrics on his skin needing to be very soft (hence the bamboo and uber soft cottons we buy for him). Then I noticed it with food. He has not been a fan of sticky fingers or anything on his fingers for that matter. While he is eating, I typically have a cloth nearby to wipe his hands to prevent anxiety. The times we've played in the sand, if it gets on his hands he tries to wipe it off immediately, although he is fine using buckets and shovels. When I introduced finger-painting it was all too much and he had a bit of a meltdown, waving his hands about to get the paint off. That first try must have been a bit traumatizing for him as he didn't even want to try the brush during future attempts. I always follow his lead for when he is ready for anything. I do not push things on him. So, we've stayed away from painting for a while. Although in my mama heart, I knew he wanted to do it because of the excitement he had shown before we started each project only to end with a meltdown because of how it felt on his skin. So I held onto that vision for him gently.

The other day, I gave him some honey on a spoon for a treat. After he licked a bit of it up, I watched him put his finger in the spoon and then immediately go over to the cupboard to paint the honey on the wood. He did it a few times more with a big smile on his face. Now, perhaps most mamas (rationally so) would have been a bit bummed out that their cupboards were suddenly sticky but I gasped in excitement. "Cedar!! You're finger-painting!!". He responded "pay-ing"..."pay-ing!!!". It was then that I knew he was ready to explore again.

I consulted a dear circle of friends of mine that are mamas and conscious about what goes in and on their babies as far as chemicals and toxins. I wasn't sure if Cedar was going to just eat the paint or smear the paint on his bod. I had no idea how he would explore this new texture but I wanted to feel safe for him to do so. I was encouraged by my friends to try berries and flour and water. BRILLIANT!

One of my friends thought an easel might be easier for him as far as keeping paint off of his body. We have been so accustom to doing art on our hardwood floor with paper since we don't have a table in our home. Why hadn't I thought of this? I was so grateful for this fresh set of ideas. So, last night we took a trip to IKEA to get an easel. We set him up this morning out on our veranda. I mixed three bowls of color: frozen raspberries with warm water and soy flour, chocolate pudding and frozen acai berries with warm water and soy flour. Such pretty colors. In fact, the colors of our wedding! ; )

It was fun to observe him. He still wanted nothing to do with the paint on his fingers. He was glad to use the brushes...and he was so serious about his art. I was expecting him to throw the paint about and smoosh it on the ground and not be able to stand and paint for too long. But he stood for over an hour and we did three different paintings and he kept asking us to join in "mama do eet!"..."daddy do!", while handing us a brush.  Most of the time he stood there quietly by himself with the birds singing in the distance.  It reminded me of the zone he can get in when he is picking at the guitar.  So mindful of what he is doing and able to shut out the world for a while.

It was such a precious time for us as a family.

Here are a few more images...

and a wee video... ; )

{head wraps are by julie bartel over at Gypsy Wraps. giveaway for a wrap coming very soon!}

felt-a-licious ecourse*

My dear friend Em is teaching a yummy ecourse...and there is still time to sign up!! For those of you that are dipping your toes into the world of crafting, like me, this is a wonderful and un-intimidating place to start. And for those who are already bonafide Craft Goddesses, this is a fun way to explore another obsession. ; )  Read more information about it here and here.

Em also makes the most gorgeous camera straps.  Such an awesome Christmas gift!  My camera feels so much more dazzling with it.


how the magic happens...

Boho Butterfly from e.darcy on Vimeo.

Here is my dear friend Erin, from the land of pixies & faeries (Ireland) painting our Boho Butterfly (seen in my Press & Connect links of my website). I love that she recorded her process. Such a mindful artist she is. Now, not only can we benefit from witnessing the layers of her magic but she will always have this to cherish and to share with her brand new baby girl Claire.

Erin and I connected through our fertility journeys. The paths to our babes were long and twisty and deep and wide and each of ours very different but also the same. She was always such a comfort to me. She is one of my soul-friends that has an ability to give me permission to release hard and messy feelings in a space of not being judged and where my tender heart is seen through it all. Because she just got it. Always.

I know this is why she was deeply connected to the paintings that are infused on each of the pages of my website. She knew my journey intimately and what poured out of her was the way she honors me as a woman that is fertile in a different way than the world may understand.

I love her so.

sweet and soulful wish come true...

cedar necklace
self portrait, canon 50d, august break #8

I adore my dear friend Stacy's work:

"Vintage Inspired Jewelry.
Stamped with sweet and soulful sayings.
Designed to empower, encourage, heal and inspire."
~ stacy de la rosa

This is me wearing my custom made Bella Wish "Cedar" stamped silver pendant.  He is our sweet and soulful *wish* come true.

i adorn my neck with his name.
my son.  our wish come true.
we journeyed deep and wide to find him.
all while finding ourselves.
then he chose to arrive.
at a time most perfect for our hearts.
he knew when to come,
even though we longed for him so much earlier.
such a wise, gentle spirit.

{Do check out Stacy's other beautiful shop Adele's Attic.  Yummy vintage treasures from her past.}

starving artist ink.

boho dread goddesss
"boho dread goddess" ~ by erin darcy

mama boho
"boho mama" ~ by erin darcy

I wanted to share with you these two beautiful pieces of art that Erin Darcy at Starving Artist Ink was inspired to create illustrating two very poignant pieces of my life; my journey to Cedar and my journey towards dreads.

Oh how her liquid-like, stunning art melts me so. Oh how she can somehow create with simplicity and flow, yet include those still small details (I just love how she gave my dreadie girl fuzz on the top).

Erin and I connected a while back through our blogs in the midst of our fertility journeys. Now our journeys have shifted, yet we still walk side by side. It is beautiful to me that she offers such selfless support and comic relief to me as a mother...even as she still longs for her babe. I know so so tenderly and closely what it is to be where she is as a few of my journey sisters became pregnant or adopted while I was still yearning. It is a place my empathy takes me back to quite often and I will never forget, nor take for granted how huge it is that she remains so present in my life.

I remember quite clearly the day that Boho Boy handed me the package from Ireland that Erin so tenderly put together for me. It was an emotional day for me as a new mother, feeling so very vulnerable and uncertain. Then I opened up the image she painted of me holding Cedar and how perfectly he fit into my arms and how naked and centered and beautiful she saw me. I am not sure if she knew how perfectly timed this was and how I often glance at it to remind me of my strength and belonging.

And now she does the dread girl and captures a whole other part of my world where there can be days of insecurity or uncertainty but also days of YES and sexy. She just gets it and sees it and embodies it in her art. This beautiful, kind, funny, creative, present, fabulous girl from Oklahoma living in Ireland.

Don't you want to know her more now? She is here, her art is here and her photography here. Pure deliciousness.

blog friendship box*

friendship box1

my contribution {"tribe" written over stripes}...

friendship box2

I was asked by the inspiring Erin of the blog "My Bohemia" to participate in the coolest creation dreamed up by Teeni. The details, instructions and participants are all here.

I am really honored to be part of this collaboration. Its another confirmation that blogs have truly brought communities together from all around the world and I love the idea of something tangible emulating this.

My contribution is a bit wonky. I am not at all a crafty bird...but what's cool is, there was no pressure to be. I just did what came to mind and what that was is the powerful word "tribe" and how often these are built from this medium and how we are all so very colorful and unique. Its a symbol of how we stand together to celebrate that uniqueness.

I passed the blog friendship box onto Jessamyn...a kindred spirit in so many ways. A woman that inspires me to be more mindful in all things and more gentle in all ways. A new friendship I am exploring and reveling in.

I am off to Squam. I am so in need of being in the woods, surrounded by magical beings and warmth and acceptance and inspiration. Last year was so wonderful but I felt consumed with the upcoming adoption, which happened a few months after. I also got the call at Squam last year that Cedar was a boy and not a girl. Not sure if I ever told that story. ; ) We had thought he was a girl for quite a while. It was a beautiful that transpired circled by my lovelies near a roaring fire. So much support and help through that transition.

This year I feel more open and free. More light and alive. More chill and with no expectations. More in love and more loved. I look forward to marinating in every morsel of it.

Will be back on Monday. xoxox

cedar necklace.

accidental self portrait
accidental self portrait, canon 50d

I've been wanting to write about my Cedar necklace since returning from Portland. My dear friend Stacy made it for me and mailed it so that I could wear it during my dread day. I have hardly taken it off since (I took it off the first time washing my hair for fear it would get tangled but that's about it). So many of you wrote to me asking where I got the necklace I wore during the dread slide show. This is the story.

The last time Stacy came to spend the night she had one on with her daughters name. I let out a deep sigh when I saw it and it nearly brought me to my knees. Stacy too endured a long, very very long and hard journey to her daughter and it was surreal and so confirming to see that name adorning her neck (Isabella...mmmmm). I noticed she would rub it while she talked. Not sure if she did this consciously but I observed the intimacy she felt with this gem and all of the myriad of emotions that came with it.

Then she went home and did her magic thing that she does and makes one for me without me knowing and sends it off like an angel of healing.

hand stamped heart shaped pendant
bella wish pendant hanging on framed photo taken by my dear friend tara

So, now my son's strong and beautiful name adorns my neck. And I too rub it and Cedar strokes it while looking up at me and its our shared talisman.

The first photo above was taken by accident. I had just photographed the necklace hanging on one of my favorite framed photos of our family and I set the camera on my husbands djembe drum and I heard a click. I like how it turned out. How it focused on some of my dreads and that the necklace is beaming bright in the background. I could literally see the source of heavenly energy this necklace brings to my body and soul.

If you'd like to have a Hand Stamped Heart Pendant made for yourself (or as a gift) with a name of someone you love or just a word affirmation, Stacy would be delighted to spread her magic to you. Contact her at bellawish (at) me (dot) com.

marian anderson, contralto
new york, june 30, 1955
photograph by richard avedon

We went to a Richard Avedon exhibition yesterday at our local museum of arts (me, boho boy, cedar and omi). I enjoyed his work so much. Both through my eyes and the eyes of my son. It was this photograph of Marian Anderson (above) that had both Cedar and I lingering the most.

I feel a swelling within. I feel abandon. I feel song. I feel release. I feel a letting go. I feel acceptance. I feel rejoice. I feel empowerment. I feel wind and breath.

How do you feel when you gaze at this photograph?

{he has inspired me to dip more into black & whites}

feeling blessed...again.

tara & em

Heather with Found and Made (one of my delicious sponsors) made Em and Tara friendship necklaces to wear while they are apart (our dear Em moved back to her home in Australia...I wrote about her blessing on the beach here).

One of the photographs I took of them during their BFF photo session last year is on the back of the necklace and I LOVE how it turned out. I am just adoring how they can carry one another around close to their hearts. Em wrote about the necklaces on her blog here.

Oh how I need these little blessings as of late. Our dearest Cedar is cutting his first two bottom teeth, so it has been three full days and nights of a low grade fever and him in pain. Our sweet chill baby has been whimpering and limp and just wanting to be rocked and held. My heart is breaking into a million pieces. I love him so, so much and when he hurts, I hurt.

Boho Boy and I are so new parents, I know. There is such a tenderness that has surrounded all of this. We held him all night, back and forth...holding a cool wash cloth to his forehead. We talked to his Pediatrician and we are doing all the right things. Now its just having to wait.

So Kelly Rae's article and Em and Tara's necklaces have truly been a gift during a tender time. Giving us that little boost of strength we need right now.

Feeling so blessed to be reminded about how important our friendships are in our life. I do not take for granted that we are circled by some of the most amazing souls that walk this earth.