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April Showers

What shall we call this season we are in? Spr-inter? W-ring? The 2012 "ice out" date on Lake Harriet was March 18th. And I had planted pansies in the pots at the store by the end of March 2012. That was a rare year. This year is more normal, I guess--dang it! I love spring whenever it decides to come. My rites of this season include buying product for the store at the Gem Show (more rocks will be ready for you by this weekend!), attending the Shepherd's Harvest Sheep and Wool Festival (Mother's Day weekend--more info to come) and making all kinds of fairy crafts. Now that the snow has melted, I plan to install a fairy house and garden under the Linden tree in front of the store. Watch for progress as May approaches.

 

I opened Heartfelt on the last day of April in 2011--these two years have flown by! I feel really happy with the way the shop is evolving. We are getting busier too so others seem to share that feeling. Looking ahead to summer (it will come), I am considering expanding store hours once school is out; this would include being open Mondays and all day Tuesdays and possibly extending our close time to 6 pm. Let me know what you think about that!

Spring Break

Greetings from Moab, UT. My husband and I are vacationing here, attending the Easter Jeep Safari. Jeep drivers from across the USA gather to participate in group drives over offroad trails here. It's more my husband's thing than mine, truthfully, but I always welcome the opportunity to be out in nature, gathering fairy house fixin's! So far, I have a sack full of pretty little pinecones (they look like flowers) from the pinyon pine trees that grow in the La Sal mountains. plus lots of interesting twisted pieces of wood. And the red rock formations are truly dazzling so I plan to gather some interesting pebbles for fairy garden pathways.

Moab Feeling a bit like a fish out of water with all the Jeeps and free flowing testosterone, I found my way to the knitting shop in town, Desert Thread. A very cute place, with pretty yarns and interesting local fibers for spinning and felting. I had a good chat with one of the owners, sharing project ideas and came away with a bag of nice fibers (Icelandic and Polworth sheep) and a very soft baby Alpaca yarn. It's good to be open to totally new (and sometimes strange!) experiences but it also good to know what makes one happy and pursue those things too. To that end, we plan to take a break from the group trails now and strike out on our own to the amazing Arches and Canyonlands National Parks.

Bunny Tales

I have always loved bunnies. As a child growing up in Canada, many storybooks featured rabbits in English meadow settings, sometimes clothed, sometimes not. When I was a bit older, a favorite read was Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson, a charming chapter book that won the Newbery Award way back in 1945--it is still a wonderful timeless story.

Sometimes bunnies can be problematic of course--I remember the day I decided to leave my lettuce crop in the garden for one more day of growing. The next morning, my beautiful mesclun had been chewed off as precisely as if a lawn mower had run through it!

Spring Plans

Easter fast approaches, with Spring break, the end of snow (here's hoping) and new growth. My husband is so excited--we depart soon for the Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah. Those who know me well also know that the Jeep is my husband's thing (the more gear the better) but I tag along happily for the nature immersion that off roading provides. Our usual destination is Colorado in the summer so this will be new and so interesting--the landscape will be totally foreign to someone raised near the Great Lakes and northern forests. Expect photos and a bit of a travelogue.

Slowly Warming

Even with snowshoeing, getting out walking again and the occasional trip to the woods to scrounge wood for fairy houses, I confess that I (maybe like you?) have pretty much had it with winter. My husband LOVES winter and has a big grin on his face whenever we get storms like today's. And Zorro, well he loves everything and everyday. Snow, no snow, he is always so happy. So what to do? Hang in there, start working on April craft samples, continue to dress cozy--and wait. Even the snow today is melting fast on the sidewalk in front of the store. Winter is no match for the warming as the Earth turns us towards the sun.

Winter Walks

After several weeks of winter mood doldrums, I have finally  gotten back to taking lake walks in the mornings. Once I got out there, I couldn't figure out why I had stopped--it was so incredibly beautiful! Laziness probably. Seasonal depression certainly. Movement and being in nature are antidotes but getting out there can be a real challenge. It helps that my husband loves winter--I just need to follow in his wake as he heads out the door. Zorro too is a positive influence--if we humans got half as excited as dogs do at the prospect of a walk, we would all be healthier for it!

And the days are getting longer, the quality of light changing as we inch towards spring. Come see our window with new woodland cutouts, our baskets of wooden eggs and little birds' nests. Even the cold days don't feel quite so cold when we hold the hope of spring in our hearts.

Fabulous February Crafts

I have always loved Valentine's Day--it seems to come at just that point in the winter where the snow is drab grey, the temps (and my mood) are bottoming out and it seems like spring will never come. Rosy hearts and love poems are the perfect antidote and a great excuse for crafting.

When I was growing up in the 60s, I loved those big books of punch out Valentines, with their corny sayings and vintage illustrations. When my daughter was young, her Waldorf school requested homemade Valentines only, and one for every classmate. Yay! Off to Butler's Drug for paper and stickers and doilies and glitter, then our card making "sweatshop" got underway. Over the years, we added paper punches, stamps and ink pads, edging scissors and more to our Valentine supply box.

For several years, I was employed by a large retailer, working in marketing at their head office. Valentine's Day coincided with an annual business trip to New York for the Toy Fair and this rather put a crimp in my seasonal crafting with my girl. I remember making heart shaped cookies the day before leaving, prepping frosting and sprinkles and leaving detailed written instructions for my good sport husband so he could help our daughter decorate heart cookies for her friends at daycare.

Now as an almost empty nester, my Valentine crafting energy is satisfied creating with the children that visit my shop. Their pride in their handmade projects is inspiring to me and a reminder to view the world with some of their childhood wonder.

Dog Day Afternoon--and Morning!

Okay, I admit it, I am a wimp in this cold weather. Out of practice, I guess! I have been driving to work every day rather than walking (I had been sharing my car with my daughter but now her vehicle is repaired, thankfully), bundled up in my heaviest coat, hair flattened by my hat--you know the drill. Just trying to survive until the temp upticks at least a little. While I am grateful for my car and gear, I am missing the feeling of connection with the natural world that walking brings me.

It was so gratifying that many families came to our MLK stories and crafts this past Monday despite the frigid cold. The kids especially LOVED the God's Eye project and made stacks and stacks of them. We are planning a similar program for Presidents' Day in February--details to follow soon. I plan to add a "preschool friendly" craft to our menu that day.

 We have two events this week/weekend that I am really looking forward to: I hope you will brave the cold again this Friday night for our "adults only" storytelling night. Details are below--I can't wait to gather tips from storyteller Sara! And our Felt Dog Day is Saturday--sure to be a blast. Have you heard that I am a dog lover? :)

Cozy Crafting

I've never been one to fill and hang bird feeders--too busy maybe, not sure I would keep it up so didn't ever start, that kind of thing. Last week, I made several pinecone birdfeeders in our preschool class and decided to hang them on the planters in the front of the store; I also put out a dish of leftover seed. Such activity has ensued! The birds have been coming to the feeders excitedly, even in the midst of our urban location. I found myself standing by the window several times today, enjoying their antics--another nice opportunity to enjoy nature in the present. I think I will make more feeders tomorrow--I certainly have enough pinecones! 

Last Thursday, a mom brought in her 10 year old son. I have known him since the early days of Wonderment--anyway, he had had a bad bout of the flu and needed to pull together a model of an Ethiopian village for school the next day. Mom thought coming to the store would be the most efficient way to help him, with our bins and cabinets full of supplies. What fun we had together, helping the boy pull together his model--and I learned a lot about life in Ethiopia to boot! Keep us in mind as a school project resource center. 

Another inspiring crafting session was the family who came in and made a BWCA felt play mat together--nice team work! 

 

Surfing a New Year

Happy New Year! It's always quite an adjustment for the retailer when the holiday rush ends. There is still lots to do (year end accounting, markdowns, inventory and trade shows) but the quiet and slower pace of the business takes some getting used to. It's just not as exciting to do book work as it is to greet crowds of excited holiday crafters!

As I page through my 2013 calendar--yup, I am an old fashioned girl, a paper calendar for me still--I wonder what the months ahead will bring. As an optimist, it was always my tendency to look ahead with positive hopes. Then in 2009, I had pretty much the worst year of my life. Family troubles with my mother came first, then not one but two cancer diagnoses (breast and ovarian), with surgeries and chemotherapy. I finished that year bald and weak but alive. It was very hard but I learned that you can get used to anything if you have to! 

Now more than three years later, I am strong and healthy but I don't take that for granted. Indeed, when my old business Wonderment had to close, my cancer experiences and the knowledge that none of us know how long we've got spurred me on to start Heartfelt all in a rush. And I am so glad I did--the store has afforded me such a lovely sense of community with you and so many perfect special moments of connection.

So bring it on, 2013. We can plan all we like but in truth, riding the waves of what life brings our way is what living is all about. 

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