Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Whenever I cannot write

The call of the geese gets me all the time.

Whenever I cannot write... I rearrange things. I clean, I sort and somehow things get sorted in my mind. This is wonderful, because I can trust it works. While I clean this and sort out that, I listen to music or the birds, chat with friends via texts or simply marvel at the things I love: Books mainly and some old knick knack I always pick up here and there and sometimes I find artists who's work I'd love to support big time but my budget lets me only get tiny things. But tiny things can be big too, right?

Black Hibiscus candle and scarf from here and gold filled bowl from Christina Salusti, Woodstock,VT.

Thankfully my budget is small, otherwise our small house with small rooms would be even more overrun with.... things. Nice things, but nevertheless a lot. Every year at least once I promise myself to reduce. I do re-use though. A lot. Instead of buying new things I often buy used ones. Old silver, vintage cutlery, found pieces of furniture. Its clearly a passion and I also have promised often enough to open an ETSY shop to bring the things, which are hopelessly stored back into circulation. It hasn't happen yet. I somehow cannot part with things. But even I can see, I should. So shall I go head and do this?

Another of Salusti's beautiful bowls.

Whenever I cannot write.... I think about things, problems, issues, my family, my writing. Sentences pop into my head and then I run to my notebook or phone and write things down. Cleaning calms me. Others might choose meditation, but I clear my mind while I contemplate which bowl goes well with what candle holder and where I should put this wonderful sideboard, which has spent too many years of exile at the veranda. I stand and watch the sun move over from the dining room into the music room, where a golden afternoon light plays with the wooden blinds and beckons me to sit and tickle the keys of the piano. I often succumb to its calling.

Summer and fall arrangements

Whenever I cannot write... I let it go. I have learned over the last years that writing cannot be forced. Regret is a sorrowful master and I have dismissed it early in my (still short) writing career. I know I will pick up after a dry spell and that gives me great comfort. I know there are times I will not be able to sit down to write. Mostly during holidays, just like recently over the Christmas break in Vermont, when I had been happily occupied with my family, but too distracted through outings and other entertainments.
Dutifully I had brought my computer, but never opened it to write. I remember a few years back, being fretful, nervous about interrupting the flow, but somehow I've learned that these sometimes unwelcome pauses have hidden benefits. They lend themselves to contemplation and some distance gives me a new prospective. Now, when I am stuck with a particular problem I give myself a time out. I cook, bake, clean, rearrange. I tinker around.

Today's  work:  January collection in the morning.

And at night.

Today, a few days into the new year, I took down most of the Christmas decorations, although the tree is still up. Some candle holders and decorations needed mending, careful packing and as with every season or holiday I feel it passes faster and faster, Wasn't it only yesterday that I dug up the boxes from the basement? Back it goes.

Window sill in the music room with some fine editions of Penguin Classics.
Tree in a bed of acorns and fragrant star anise.

Winter light is bright and clear and every January I love to have the light come in and play. I love glass in winter. Sunlight, china, crystal, brass and silver, a white table cloth. I love candle light and it warms the brilliant light and bends the cold into something I like. It is as if the light cleanses everything, cleanses my mind too.

I love the clean, fresh look.
The day has passed and finally I sit down, a fire warming my toes, while the chilly air presses against the windows. A hot tea near my chair, my laptop at the ready. And now I just let it flow, let the day pass by and share my thoughts with you for what's it worth. Being creative is a bit like shape shifting. It applies itself to all ways of life and that is such a wonderful thing. Whether I make salad dressing or shop for dinner or sort the laundry, whether I think about any problem or rearrange my collection on my windowsill, I know my creative energy is with me like an invisible cloak. I am deeply grateful for life has given me such a gift. 

Most of these things have been everywhere in our house.

There are times when I feel the cloak has gotten caught somewhere and then I need to be still and rest. Particularly anger and creativity are on the opposite end of the spectrum for me. There are people who can funnel their irritations into creativity but that's not how it works for me. When I am in a temper, when I am too distracted to write,  I clean. My house is not overly tidy and I take it as a good sign. After all, I have other things to do....

A preliminary home for Chip's artwork.

An art print from a painting by Chip Evans, whom we met in Woodstock, VT a few days ago. 

I try to work on reducing stress. It's one of the very few New Year's resolutions. I hate them for I feel they are forcefully tied to a rather random date. (Sure, I do get the symbolic power of a new year.) But I prefer resolutions when I have a need for them. I get overwhelmed quickly and then all systems shut down. Not so good and too disturbing.

Tea at night.

But thankfully cleaning and sorting are great problem diluters and after a good day's work I usually can sit down and write. I take a deep breath or two, look with some satisfaction at the new arrangements and feel content.

Wishing you all good ways to resolve issues and if you like, try organizing your cupboards when you feel you are stuck. It's very invigorating and renewing. Here is to a fresh New Year, where problems shall melt away with the power of contemplating while cleaning...


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Happy holidays

A warm hello to all my old blog friends and new readers,

It has been a while and surely much has happened in you lives and mine. Another Christmas awaits at the doorstep, towing New Year's Eve behind and this year working on my novel has become a much loved and regular task for me. Regardless, it is not smooth sailing, there are stretches of silence, literally and moments of despair, but luckily there are these incredible rare moments,when I feel nothing can stop me, when everything seems to fall into place.

View from my writing room
Writing is a quiet business, nothing is ever really visible to the outside world unless something gets published, which hasn't happened yet. Sometimes I wish I could open the small room, where I most of the time sit down to think and research, to read and look at other writer's work and write a little more and I could share it with you all. Personally I love to read about other artist's doings, the mechanics of creating, if you will. And then I thought why not at least try? Perhaps it has been done before, maybe there is nothing new to say, but it feels to me at least that inviting you in makes it more real. Does this make sense? So in 2016 I will write more here about my writer's life and the things which move me and the things I move.

The manuscript...
It's a lonely job and I feel oftentimes I bury myself in this invisible world and forget to see what's out there. Do not get me wrong, there is the family, friends, my interior design work sprinkled in, but I do miss something. Still there are hours and hours where I just sit and write. And so I have added something new. Something which will take me outside, towards women, connects me again to a base where I feel I can belong. Thanks to my dear friend Patricia of PVE, who has asked me to join, I have decided to become Style Ambassador to India Hicks. Yes, perhaps like Tupperware or Avon, but different too since its still small, but rapidly growing and very elegant and beautiful. I met the incredible energetic and passionate India Hicks a few weeks ago and after talking with her I became convinced that it's a worthwhile enterprise. Will I do well? I am not sure yet, but I hope I can work out the kinks and give it a good try. Usually I have a certain fear of committing to such business, where others have a direct interest of me succeeding. I fear I will let them down. There is a pressure, which makes me uncomfortable. But this is another plan for the coming year: Stepping out of my comfort zone.

First hosting party in December

I want to hold myself accountable and the discipline which I have learned to apply to my writing might come in handy. Just do it, is my motto. I have nothing to loose. Ok, I could not sell and grow as I hope, but it's no reason not to try. To be truthful, this daring yes to it has given me a kick, a delightful rise in adrenaline and I have had nothing but a good time with it. You might think writing and thinking and all the intellectual exercises might exclude such down to earth selling business? Think again. I actually feel it boosts my confidence, I'll get used to approaching people, trying to market something I believe in. It might actually sharpen my wits once I will need to sell my manuscript to editors or agents, who are totally indifferent or might perhaps be absolutely disinterested. A practice in marketing....

India Hicks and I
I have already started and yesterday I took heart and dialed the hotel where we will stay between Christmas and New Year and asked if they would agree to a trunk show. I have not heard from them yet, but the worse would be they'd say no. But I have a good feeling.

Christmas Fairy

This year has been quite eventful. My husband started in spring to work with an incredible energized start up company on Wall Street, long hours, but so rewarding, my oldest son made a short film about a fifteen-year old ballerina, which will be distributed at the Cannes Film Festival, yours truly worked as art director on it and we are beyond happy about his success. Find it here. Second son finished his Masters degree, daughter will finish High School in spring, and yes she went all alone to England and manages life there by herself. The baby boy towers over me and tells us in earnest he wants to be a lawyer. He is 15 and everything is possible.
Another year has gone by way too fast and as always I reminiscent about time and how important it is to use it wisely. Never has 'Carpe Diem' meant so much to me.
Maybe this is only possible with age. I do not see the evidence yet in my children, life still stretches endlessly in front of them.

Our holiday window

And so I try to use every day and fill it with passion and joy and happiness and the sharing of hope and love, I try to sooth some pain in the world, which is also filled with hatred and revanche and murder and it is the only thing I can hold against it. I am not without hope.

I wish all of you a peaceful year's end and new beginnings! This and health and love and may life be good to you!

I promise to open my little writing room in January '16 and tell you what I work on and how this all is going. I promise not to bore you. It has held me captive for almost 3 years now.

Perhaps you want to join me here and there on my journey.


Thursday, April 23, 2015

The process of writing

It has been a year and a half. Roughly. And almost a year to the day that I said good bye here. It has been a wonderful year of writing, learning. An eye opening time, a time I am so grateful for. I am not done, but I think I am getting there. Not that it will mean much, the next step to find an agent or a publisher will perhaps be the greater challenge. I feel still like a novice, a innocent child in the adult world of literature, but alas, just as innocent, I am hopeful. Wish me more luck. Writing is a lonely thing, not be shared really, not to be talked about and I have felt often during this time that I secluded myself. It is necessary, but not always comfortable. But I love it. 
I have hardly read any blogs, hardly done anything but write, only immersed myself in the times, read countless books of historical relevance and now I feel this is also my university, my time to study and truly history has become my new passion. A time of growth. As an old midwife and mother I can only say I am expecting, looking forward to the time of my confinement. To deliver.

I wish you all a wonderful spring time, after a long hard winter here we finally see some progress and just like this time of year I am hopeful and wish you all time for growth.


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

New beginnings and endings

Dear readers, friends,

I do owe you an apology. A blog is to be written in somewhat regular intervals. Otherwise it loses it's momentum. I am fully aware of it. 
I had reached a turning point, a little while ago. I tried to balance new interests with the existing ones, but it has gotten too hard to do so.
For a long time I've had played with the idea to write something other then my blog. 
And about a year ago I have started on a historic novel based on my grandmother's life. 
I call it a romanography....
Now I am rather deep into it and it takes my energy and it feeds me at the same time. 
I love it. 
It is exciting and invigorating and I hope it will become a real book one day. My family indulges me and they are extremely patient with me. 

Writing is an adventure, a tour de force, I am not sure where this force is coming from or where it will take me. 
It has simply taken over. And I let this passion rule!

But something else has occurred to me. My ability to write has also been shaped by reading your inspiring stories, all your persistence and watching so many of you making their dreams come true. Fighting for it and sticking it out! I owe you my thanks and gratitude. Without you, I might have never begun! And I hope one day to give it back to you! I will come to read here and there, maybe even tell a little how it's going, but I wont promise regularity! I just can't. Between the family, life and my writing there is not enough time to manage it.

I feel stricken and as I write I feel a knot in my throat, it is a farewell of sorts. This blog has been such a part of my life!

I wish all you you the very best, keep following your dreams and passions! 
As my children say: YOLO - You only live once...

Thank you for everything and please wish me luck!


I still bake bread and live this, now not so new anymore, satisfyingly healthy lifestyle, sometimes I share on the other blog part recipes and some of my creations. You might find me there. 
You can always contact me for advise or decorating dilemmas. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The 'statement' chair we love

When we moved into our first house, we were looking for a chair to read in, next to a couch, yet not part of a set. We love indestructible leather for the obvious reasons when raising a young family, a dog running and scratching every surface. 
We like an eclectic mix of old and new, modern and antique. After a little while we settled on a leather chair with sleek lines, low and extremely comfortable. A small ottoman completes the set.
It is the Montis LOGE  chair, by the Dutch designer Gerard Van den Berg. Masculine and elegant, it fits sleek into any eclectic design scheme. The chair invites a relaxed leaning, a cozy fit, the chair envelopes you and one can actually take a comfortable nap in it too.


After moving into our current home, it has become my husband's chair, his outline by now visible even when he is not sitting in it! This cozy corner is always calling his name. 

A few weeks ago I was ask by One King's Lane to write about a special chair in my home, using their resource guide as a help to describe it. Well, it would fit into the style section of modern European design chairs, and, although the chair was not listed as an example of the style period, it gives the searching person an idea where he or she might want to begin looking for something to purchase, or, if one comes across a particular model to look for guidance of style and possible period.

The chair has seen some changes, sometimes a blanket will be draped over an arm or, lately with the beginning of the colder season a huge sheepskin rug fills the length of the chair for more cozy reading time. 
The chair is a part of our home,  the music room truly unthinkable without it. After 15 years of daily use, the chair shows no signs of aging.... It might outlive us....

Images private except as indicated. Please do not duplicate or use unless permission is given from the blog owner.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Autumn post

As usual, fall had come way too fast, but now, that I am surrounded by pumpkins, scarecrows and Halloween decorations I have made peace and feel again quite at home with autumn. It helps, that the golden light filters through freshly cleaned windows, all in preparation of the next, highly awaited day: Thanksgiving.
It's the holiday I love the most, for it lets me us experience one of the loveliest traditions the American culture has to offer: To be grateful, share the good fortunes and come together with friends and family, no matter what the distance! 

Such abundance

The visits to the farmer's markets are the highlights of my weekly shopping tours and the vegetables are at their best at this time. What abundance everywhere.
It helps too that the days are bright and the leaves have turned into the brilliant colors, so telling of the season.

In this time of year I feel being a homebody, I do not have to go far to enjoy these days, unlike summer, when the travel bug always bites me and I want to explore the world, or winter, when I try to escape the cold...

Sourdough spelt bread, I baked last week in a Dutch oven.
And this week....

Now I enjoy staying close to home. I cannot wait to get to our wood stash behind the house to pull out logs for a good fire and I have begun to bake bread, and ferment a few vegetables for the winter. 

I cleaned out the closets and managed to reduce all my summer clothes to what I really will wear next year and gave the rest away. The same with all the winter things, neatly sorted and a joy to go to very morning and night. Instead of fighting the tiny closet space I had decided, a while back, to reduce my belongings, realizing that I do not need that much to feel up to date and happy.
I will give you a rare look into my two closets, one of which I actually share with my husband....I do have a dresser for the more personal stuff, but that is all. 
Do not feel sorry for me, I am so delighted to have shed all this weight. Literally and figuratively speaking!

The mess during the clean up....

After; the painting is reflected in the door mirror, just in case you think I have twice the space....
my younger self helps me keep an critical eye on everything!

After, this is still shared with hubby's sweaters and the table clothes....

That's all, folks!

On the other hand the reading stack grows taller every week and my writing hours stretch into the evenings, I am in no hurry to stop. It's the time to nest.

Fun with witches!

Do I need to say more?

Not sure anymore, but it sounded promising...LOL!

Supporting inner peace

Food for thought

This must be good to be sure, it's the imagined story of the Bennet household's kitchen maid....

These are the books on my fall reading list and perhaps you will find some inspirations. As you can see, it will last me through winter....

Dining room window

The window ledge has gotten changed too and this year owls reside there, watching with solemn eyes the daily show at the dining table. 

Fresh Eucalyptus, fragrant from the market at the music room window

These days I feel inwards, I remember things from the past, times long gone, I remember my grandmother, who passed 12 years ago  and I feel a connection to the times gone by more then at any other time of the year. It's a sweet melancholy, but one which carries no pain. 
I am in a pensive mood...

I wish you all peaceful days, filled with abundance, from heart to table.

All images my own.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Giveaway Winners

The book giveaway is closed now and my three (only) readers are the winners of it!
Congratulations to Helen Tilston of the Helen Tilston Painter blog.

A big hug goes as well as to my dear friend Patricia of PVE Design and a new reader, 
Pat of Napkin Writing Mom.

I am happy for you all, the book is very interesting and informative.
I will forward your contacts to the distributer (Helen, Pat: please email me) and they will mail the book directly to you!

Happy weekend!

Image via EMG productions.

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