Monday, December 29, 2008

My Big Dream

*DEEP BREATH* After my post a few days ago about my birthday wish, I felt scattered. I felt like I hadn't spoken the exact truth. I wondered, "What is it that I really want for the second half of my life. The answer was clear. I want world peace and happiness. I know, I know, I had the same thought: "Yeah, of course! Everyone wants world peace, dummy. Way to set the bar so high that you feel defeated." But wait. Is world peace really an impossibility? We won't know until we try. Wanting world peace doesn't mean that I sit around and hope it happens right?

I was listening to an interview on the radio the other day about the horrible horrible atrocities being commited against people in Africa, and my heart just hurt. I felt so helpless and unable to do anything. I mean, I'm so broke that I can't donate $25.00 to the deserving charities that call me every month. And I have very little time to give to worthy causes. So I felt defeated and depressed. I felt small. And feeling small, my mind brought me to my place in the Universe where I'm such a tiny speck as to be completely insignificant. But then I threw myself a lifeline; I thought about the fact that I am one of many other beings, about how I am part of a huge web of life. So while my individuality does not really matter to the universe directly, it does matter to the person directly connected to me. And what they do matters to the person connected to them. And so on. And if what I do influences my neighbor in a positive way, and that helps them help their neighbor, isn't that the first step to world peace? So what I'm thinking is: it's the LITTLE things that we do every day that make the difference. Of course donating a million dollars is great if you can do it, but that's just not most of our realities.

*another deep breath*

I am happy to report that I now feel empowered to make a difference in this, my fourtieth year. It will be barely noticeable in the grand scheme of things; it will be my little secret of small, kind gestures and tolerance and compassion. And that goes for the way I treat myself, too. It is difficult to radiate kindess outward if you can't start inward. I can't wait to get started!

So there. That is my comitment to myself and to you. Happy New Year to everyone. May you feel kindness towards yourself and compassion for others.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

I Guess I'm A Grown-Up Now

Well, today is my Birthday, and it's one that I'm sitting up straight for. I've turned 40 today. Wow. 4o. Really?? I've known that it has been on its way for quite sometime now, so to be suprised by it is a little funny. But I am. Suprised, I mean. I have to say that I've been thinking a lot about what it means to me to be about half-way through my years; what I want to do with the rest of my life. This brings new year's resolutions to a whole new level entirely!

Here are my random thoughts on what I'd like to give myself for my birthday:

I would like to treat myself as though I really matter. That means, I need to go to bed at a reasonable hour. Sleep is precious and helpful. Also, I need to eat to maximize my health and well-being. It feels hard to say "No" to those yummy empty calories and foods that are actually toxic, but isn't it harder to deal with the negative consequences? Excercise and reflective thought are also on my list. I think I would like to start practicing some sort of yoga again.

As I'm writing this, I'm starting to feel a little overwhelmed. Maybe I need to just breathe in deeply and take one day at a time. I'll think about this ever-growing list of what I'd like to do for myself and get back to you! In the meantime, I would like to welcome myself to maturity and also to reassure the child within that she is also important and not forgotten.

Peace and love,


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Counting the Industrious

Today is a slow day; Bronwyn is having a few more seizures than normal, and so we are spending a lot of time on the couch. Luckily we have a large picture window nearby, and we can look out and see the birds flitting, flying, and feeding! So far, I've seen these birds:
Black-capped Chickadee
Red Breasted Nuthatch
Red Shafted Flicker
American Goldfinch
Ruby Crowned Kinglet
Glaucous Winged Gull (seagull)
Scrub Jay
Stellar's Blue Jay
Red Breasted Robin
House Sparrow
Purple finch
Rufous Sided Towhee
Our soundtrack this morning is: Rory Block's "I'm Every Woman," Eric Bibb's "Get on Board," and now Cathy Fink's "Banjo Talkin'" All of these courtesy of my fabulous Step-Father-In-Law, Rik, who understands my need for tunes.
Have a blessed day; we will do the same. And Merry Christmas Eve.

Monday, December 22, 2008


Every morning lately, Bronwyn and I have started a lovely little routine. After we open our eyes in the morning (but before we're really awake), I set up a little nest for her on the couch. I put on some music, and tuck her in. From this vantage point, she can see our Christmas tree, look out the window, or see me in the kitchen (we have a very small house). Then I get started on breakfast (coffee first!). With all of the snow and ice outside right now, I have to say I feel super snug and happy. This morning we're listening to Bobbie Nelson's "Autobiography" album. That's Willie Nelson's sister, just in case you didn't know.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Today is the solstice, the longest day of the year and the first day of winter. When I walk outside, it's difficult not to agree that, in fact, it is winter. But to me, this is actually the last day of of that coldest season. Tomorrow, there will be just a little more light and the day after tomorrow, a little more still. Is that not the quietest and most powerful indication that Spring is on its way? Today, I enjoy winter to the fullest, because I know that it will soon be gone.

Friday, December 19, 2008


We are knee-deep in snow this week. It's so beautiful and sparkly and quiet! Yesterday, my husband and I drove our daughter up north to a Children's Hospital for some tests. Everything came back normal, so that was great, but it took us over 4 hours to get home because the roads were so bad. Today I feel great being able to stay home and walk if I want to go somewhere.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


I had a dream last night that was very scary. I dreamed that doctors told me that my daughter was a vegetable and didn't have long to live. I woke up terrified and feeling like I had been punched in the stomach. When I went into her bedroom, she looked at me and smiled; physical confirmation that I was now in my real world and no longer in the nightmare. But here's the thing: I still felt afraid. My daughter has multiple neurological issues, and we are forever going to doctors' offices and hospitals. This, of course, has it's own stressful aspects and so I have an underlying sense of worry at all times (but doesn't every parent?). But I REALLY felt the doom from this dream. It made me realize the power that my mind has to change my own reality. I mean, it was just a dream and yet I was practically in tears and wanting to cling to my child to make sure she was all right. So I ask, if my mind has the ability to manifest a powerful fear out of thin air, can I also manifest a powerful sense of hope? The answer is, "Yes." I know because I have done it. So this makes me wonder, "what is real?" I guess reality is what you create.

Now I don't want to go around with my fingers in my ears singing, "la-la-la-la-la, I can't hear you!" to anything that I find unpleasant (I'm no bliss-ninny), but I do want to remind myself to stay centered in my own truths. I know what I'm talking about, do you?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


And the winner of the little birdie ornament is.....Mel, (reach for the stars). Congratulations!
I will contact you and get your address so that I can send your prize. Thanks to all of you for posting your comments and going to look at Mari's beautiful work. I plan to feature an artist every month, and hopefully do more giveaways in the future too!

Monday, December 8, 2008

A Tiny Giveaway

What is an artist? What makes a person an artist as opposed to simply a casual crafter? Is there a difference between art and craft? I'm not the holder of the answers to these questions, but I've got some loose opinions on the matter. It seems to me that passion and drive and intention are some of the characteristics that define an artist. But really, aren't we all artists in our own special way? I spent some of my years as a biologist, which I find a very creative endevour. But I digress. The reason I posed the questions above is because there is a person, who I am honored to call a friend, that is most decidedly an artist. Here are some of her creations. At first blush, they appear to be merely beautiful handiwork, but there's more. Mari, owner of Fiberwhimz, puts so much of herself into each piece. For Mari, felting wool is a process that adds her energy to her creation. She sells pendants that are full of intention. Literally. She decides the intent, and then focuses on that intent during the creation of it. The pendants are wet felted, hand beaded, and meditated upon during the whole process. Then the reverse side of the pendant holds the word that Mari focused on, so that you can remind yourself of the intent whenever you need to. That's art. That's something that gives back to you. Recently, Mari approached me about making some little bird ornaments, and she wondered if she could have some of my fabric scraps in trade for some birds. I jumped at the chance! So in honor of Mari, I will be offering a GIVEAWAY of a little birdie from Mari's shop. Just leave a comment between now and December 15th. I will randomly draw a name from the proverbial hat and announce the winner (and request an address) on the 16th. Good luck everyone, and go visit Mari's shop!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Tomboy Wallet - Bicicleta

I have finally managed to add a new design to my collection. Here, my Tomboy wallet; a bifold that has a place for cards, paper money, and coins. I think it's positively adorable, and I feel so proud of myself for finally perfecting the pattern and getting these intoproduction. They're fun to make and even more fun to use!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Feeling Official

I have been thinking about the goals for my business, and I finally decided that it is okay to not do EVERY little thing myself. I need balance in my life, and my daughter and husband also need balance in MY life. So, I decided to stop making my own stickers for packaging and order some custom stickers for my store. They arrived yesterday. I LOVE them! They're simple, but they will save me time and money. I feel so official now! I purchased 1,000 of them, so I don't think I will have to even think about more stickers for a really really long time!

Monday, November 24, 2008


This past couple of weeks my daughter has been sick with a nasty cold. And then I got sick. And it was really rainy outside. We laid on the couch together and sipped tea. It sounds so idyllic and wonderful when I put it that way, but we were snorkling snot, coughing, and moaning. We got little sleep. We were cranky and frankly, we got tired of each other. FINALLY we're feeling better, and yesterday the sun was out. We went for a long long walk, and I noticed that my daffodils are not only up, they're trying to bloom! It's almost December up here in the Pacific Northwest. What the heck?? But it was a nice little spiritual reckoning for me, seeing those tender bittys standing up tall and ripening their buds. Maybe I'll have daffodils on my Thanksgiving table this year; that would be a first!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Snow Petals

Autumn is waning into winter now, and I'm starting to feel the need for cozy. I found some really nice flannel and thought that it would be great to make some scarves. Now in my shop (and more to come) are some more cozy scarves with high quality fabrics. This one is flannel on one side and the reverse is a high quality cotton twill by Joel Dewberry. The color pallette and pattern remind me of the quiet softness of winter. Grab your hot cocoa and go outside for some bird watching.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Little Birdy Bag

Well, I've finally finished the diaper bag that I've been working on for what seems like forever! It came out well, I think, and my girlfriend is finding it useful! I made it using a lovely firm wool fabric, and also fabric from the AMAZING Michelle Engel Bencsko of Cicada Daydream. The fabric is linen and is her original design. Isn't it sweet? It took me a while to get this bag designed the way I wanted, but after using the prototype for a while, I made some changes and I think it's now ready to declare as "perfect!" It features two pleated end pockets, a bank of three pockets under the flap plus a zippered pocket, and three interior pockets. Also, it has a key fob inside the bag (not too long; I hate having to fish for my keys) and a D-ring just under the flap to attach a toy or a pacifier. The cool thing about this bag is that it can be used as a bookbag instead of a diaper bag; it's versatile! I guess I'm feeling a little bit proud of myself. Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


I DO think it's important who you vote for, BUT regardless, I believe in the power of the process. JUST DO IT!

If you're still undecided about who you are planning to cast your ballot for, you can look at Mr. Obama's view of the issues HERE

Monday, November 3, 2008

Trick or Treat

I haven't posted for a while because my sweet daughter has been sick, and then my other sweetie got sick after. We weren't sure if we were going to be able to participate in Halloween fun this year, but the good news is that we DID! Our lovely neighbor, Talcott, made Bronwyn and me these matching hats, and we carved a couple of pumpkins. We went out and walked our neighborhood early in the evening for some showing off (Bronwyn was the cutest little witch ever!) and then came home to pass out toothbrushes and candy to the little goblins that came to our door. Seeing our pumpkins glowing on the porch made me feel calm and happy. It all worked out in the end.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Sweetest Pressure

Cider Pressing
Originally uploaded by BCharmer

Yesterday was one of those glorious fall days; what better way to spend time than to press apples in our cider press. Some of our friends and neighbors came over to help, which made the whole experience just so much better.

I feel very satisfied by the whole process of harvest. The day prior to pressing, my daughter and I went out and picked all of the apples from our trees. We sat outside in the sunshine and washed them all in preparation for press day. Several neighbors came by to chat. After pressing, there was a big mess, but even the clean-up felt good and honest. We got about three gallons of the sweetest cider; doesn't it look beautiful in the sunlight?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Flavia's Gift

Flavia's Gift
Originally uploaded by BCharmer

I have a story for you today: Flavia, a woman that I "met" on a photo site called "Flickr" suggested that we do a fabric swap, since we both love fabric and live on different continents. I selected some of her brazilian fabrics, and she said, "I love suprises; send me some suprise fabrics." Well I sent my package off to her, and today the package from her arrived. Inside was not just some fabulous fabric, but she also custom made some adorable zippered wristlets for my daughter and me. Each bears our name, hand embroidered. I cannot tell you how loved and special I felt, opening that gift. Flavia selected fabrics that she knew were amongst my favorites, and took the time to make these just for us, out of the goodness of her own heart. The generosity of people just astounds me. The lesson? Never underestimate your power to do good in the world, even with a seemingly small gesture. We can reach out to each other all over the world, even without having to meet face to face. I feel so happy. Thank-You, Flavia. What a friend you have become. You can see the fabrics that she sent me on my flickr page: and you can see more of Flavia's work on her site:

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Blessing and the Curse

Originally uploaded by BCharmer

Well, we had a chilly summer, and so most of my tomatoes did not turn red. And they are somewhat mealy in texture. It is getting down into the upper 30's at night now, so I went out and picked everything off of the vine that looked useable. I will be processing for a few days; I'm thinking tomato sauce and green tomato chutneys. Guess what everyone is getting for Christmas this year?

It is rainy out, and I've got Billy Holiday on the stereo. I'm cleaning up after all of the construction that we've had on the house (which is mostly over now) and trying to rid our surfaces of dust and chunks of drywall. A hot cup of tea helps my attitude.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Waning Light

Originally uploaded by BCharmer

Going outside this morning, it is windy and sunny and cold. The sounds are of leaves, discarded by their branches, scraping the pavement. The school flagpole clangs and flaps and the attention of birds and other wild creatures turns toward survival; the audible concentration of busy-ness fills the air. I myself am thinking of apples, squash, and picking my green tomatoes with hopes of their ripening on windowsills. It is good to be alive to witness this change of season. I am filled with hope and love.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Building a Home

Pillow Cover Front
Originally uploaded by BCharmer

I awoke this morning to the hammerings and thumpings of the guys putting a new roof on our house. It is fall, and they're trying to get us all weathered in before the rains come. So far we've been blessed with excellent weather, but we know that it is about to change. A simple siding project turned into a huge re-building project because so many of our structural beams were rotten. This was discovered after the THREE layers of siding were pulled from the house. The whole process of putting our house back together has given me pause for reflection: Somehow, during the turn of this season, everything feels fresh and new. I am excited to get up in the morning and get started on pushing my own boundaries and being a strong woman.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Coffee and Me

Coffee and Me
Originally uploaded by BCharmer

Well my house is in the process of getting a new life (new siding, new roof, and some structural support). This means that right now my studio is closed and my fabric is packed away to keep things clean. I was looking at this picture and feeling the yearn for my space back. It will happen soon enough, I know, but in the meantime, I can look at this picture and dream about the days ahead. I covered this ironing board with fabric from Amy Butler's Nigella collection. It is a heavy weight satiny-twill and I think it adds just the right amount of chic to my chore of ironing.

Happy days, everyone! Love,


Saturday, September 13, 2008

New Arrival

She Didn't Want to Open
Originally uploaded by BCharmer

Yesterday, one of my dearest friends had her baby. I got to go and see him last night, and I was filled with love and awe and respect for the whole process of becoming a parent. Looking at him, so new and tiny, reminded me of how much my own child has grown, and how much time has passed from the day she was born until now. I feel like savoring my moments right now. Everything feels so precious and fleeting. Here is my challenge for today: to be present and awake in what I am doing, even though I have so much to do!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Good Morning

Turkish Apricot
Originally uploaded by BCharmer

It is fall here in the Pacific Northwest, and we're having lovely weather. It is supposed to be in the high 70's today (come on, tomatoes!). But the leaves are turning gold and russet, and it's chilly in the morning, and there's dew on the ever present spider webs. This little wallet reflects this particular time of year to me. It's just the right color combination and the round shapes remind me of the ripening squash and tomatoes in my garden. Have a lovely day, everyone!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Messenger Bag/Diaper Bag-Prototype

Messanger Bag/Diaper Bag-Prototype
Originally uploaded by BCharmer

Well, my daughter is starting kindergarten this month, and at the same time I got asked to design a diaper bag for a local natural baby boutique. I thought, why not combine one design and make it flexible enough to have two functions. So after much pattern cutting and measuring and thinking, this new messanger style bookbag/diaper bag was born. So my daughter is having her first day at kindergarten BY HERSELF today. I have been there for a week and a half every day to make sure that everyone feels safe and comfortable (Mom, included). But this nifty bookbag is in Bronwyn's cubby, and it makes me glad for her to have such a friendly and stylish accessory that was designed by me and made with my two hands with love for her. After using it for a while, I have decided to make a few small changes to it, but for the most part, I think it's great.