Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Winter morning

 Peace on earth.  

That is what recent snows brought to the landscape outside my windows-- a deep peace, one that lingers within me even now as I look at these photos while sitting at my desk at work, miles from my cottage in the woods.

Early morning sunlight has painted a tender blush upon the sky. 

Two ancient box elder trees stand like guardians at the western edge of the property, remnants of the old farmstead that once occupied the land where my house sits now.

With this view accompanying my morning cup of coffee each day, I awaken feeling very blessed.  With each sip, my thoughts invariable drift upward toward the vast sky.

These images were taken the other morning through a window in my "great" room, looking off to the south and west.  With the loss of summer leaf cover, so much more is visible, like the neighbors' house across the field and stream, the barns dotting the hills and valley, and the contours of the landscape itself.  The spareness of winter brings its own type of beauty, albeit an austere one.  It appeals to the latent minimalist in me.

Wishing moments of deep peace to you as well.  In the hustle and bustle of a busy holiday season, it seems we need this even more.

Until next time...


Monday, December 9, 2013

An unexpected gift

A winter storm, fierce and forboding, descends upon the land
We brace ourselves for the squeeze of its icy fingers
A fire blazes inside to ward off the chill, seeping through the windows, 
rushing in through the opening door, 
as the puppy bounds outside in wonder at the newness of it all.
Stillness settles in.
 Snow flakes gently fold themselves into one another, 
a pillow of softness for weary souls
The earth heaves a sigh and snuggles beneath the billowing blanket of infinite white.
Mother Nature hums a lullaby:
Time for rest, darlings, time to dream.

Sometimes a gift can come in the form of adversity.  Things that seemingly make our lives more difficult can be small blessings in and of themselves.  Our recent snowfall has been this way for me.  Luckily, there was plenty of warning about the winter storm, and we were able to stock up on supplies-- food, drinking water, fire wood, pet food, household water.  We were expecting to lose power, which would have shut down our well pump and out heat pump, but fortunately, that never happened.  

The long days have been filed with simple pleasures, such as napping with my cats.  Newcomer Griffin with his own infinite whiteness, is like living art.  And he blends into my decorating scheme just beautifully.  Though I was hit with a momentary desire to warm up my decorating scheme for fall, now that winter weather has hit, white once again seems right.  

One of the most profound gifts of being snowed in has been the gift of time.  The days have been deliciously long and as productive as I have wanted them to be.  I have had time to read, to write, to create, to dream, along with the necessary chores of meal preparation, laundry, and cleaning.  

Tomorrow the weather is supposed to warm up and the roads will begin to thaw.  I will return to work, and this sweet winter respite will be over until my holiday break begins at the end of the month. Despite the heavy work of shoveling the driveway, cleaning off the cars, and splitting kindling, these few days have been a time of calm and simplicity, and for this, I am grateful.  Watching snowflakes fall is meditative, and my tiny house, with its wall of windows, provides a front-row seat to Nature's spectacular performance.

Wishing you a break from the busy-ness of life and time for reflection and presence, snowstorm or not.

Until next time...


 Poetry and photos in this post are property of Anne Silver.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Holiday crafting on a snowy weekend

This is what we awoke to Friday morning, and it continued to snow most of the day, leaving us buried beneath about 14" of snow and a layer of ice beneath that.  A state of emergency had been declared, with law enforcement officials telling people to stay off the roads due to hazardous conditions.  Living 4 miles from the nearest town, down twisting, hilly roads, we thought it wise to heed the warnings.  Our Prii (the plural of Prius, don't you know?) haven't left the driveway in days.  

What's a crafty girl to do besides spending the day in front of the blazing fire drinking coffee splashed with Irish Cream liqueur?

Get out the Mod Podge of course!

Using card stock, printed scrapbook papers, Mod Podge, and some rudimentary tools, it is very easy and fun to create one-of-a-kind cards for any occasion.  There is an infinite array of printed papers available at crafts stores.  I have been collecting them for years. 

Last winter I spent hours cutting scrap book papers into 1" to 2" squares and have been using them for art projects and hand-made cards ever since.  I strongly recommend getting a paper cutter if you decide to take on this project.  Getting square corners is nearly impossible without it.  Working with these papers is very much like quilting or doing abstract painting.  It takes no artistic experience, only a little time, and a willingness to play around with color, pattern, texture, and contrast.  To keep the mountain of little squares organized, I purchased some cheap stackable bins and have grouped the squares by color.  This makes it much easier that sifting through literally thousands of paper squares to find just the right one.

To create the cards:
Simply arrange paper squares on the face of the card, overlapping them as desired.  Brush the backside of each square with Mod Podge and adhere to the card, smoothing it as you go.  Mod Podge dries clear and flattens out easily, sans lumpy spots.  I prefer the matte finish, but it also comes in a glossy one.  After all bits of paper have been glued down, brush Mod Podge over the surface of the card as a sealer, making sure all corners are smoothly affixed to the card.  The glue dries in about an hour.

These are just a few of my finished pieces.

And so I am sending this out as a greeting card to you-- Happy Holidays, Dear Friends.

I hope you are enjoying the season.  If you decide to try this idea out, please share the results with me. I would love to see what you have done.  May all your snow days be happy ones!

Until next time...



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