Other’s Art

November 19, 2009



It has been like Santa’s Workshop in our house lately. Our kids have not yet been introduced to the idea of giving gifts from a store, so they get very excited (and busy) as they plan all of the ornaments, treats and special art that they will create for family and friends.

We spent the entire day yesterday knee deep in glitter, glue, beads, paper, paint and pencils. Between my takes of cleaning glitter out of the dog, and paint off the rugs, I had a chance to think about all of the art that we create every day, and in so many different ways.

One thing that I have often said about this creative community of ours is that there is a lot of inspiration that we all share. My husband will sometimes laugh as I am on my 64th blog read for the day, with no sign of stopping. But what he doesn’t really understand is that this is where I get so much of my creative inspiration from, that reading what you all have done with your children, or what you have for your family, or what you cooked the night before, that is where it comes from.


On the table yesterday was a branch pencil holder that I had recently picked up at Suzy’s holiday open house. It was made by Tonya, and it has become a very precious part of our art room. Not just because it was handmade, or handmade by someone we care about (although that is important as well), but because it gives us the connection to another family, sitting in their art room, creating something for someone else.

That is one of the neat things about being able to share your life, whatever piece we all choose, with others. We build up that connection to each other; we share recipes, tables, decorations, art, and stories. Those then get woven into each of our lives. Do you know how many times I have been sitting with my family, eating an amazing dish, and the story of whose blog I found it on, why they had made it, what their traditions were, etc were discussed? Now that meal is a part of our lives, and our traditions.

Even the handwork of others that graces our household, and that tells so many stories; The handmade clothes that will be passed down for generations, the painted pictures from friends and relatives, the letters that are stored in a special box. The buttons, ribbons, and fabric that so many of us have exchanged. It all gets woven in to our lives.



As I sat there yesterday, eating a bowl of soup with many stories of it’s own, enjoying a loaf of bread from a family who touches so many lives (including my own), staring at the work of a friend who cared so much in a difficult time, I realized how we are all much more closely connected than just through a digital world.

There are those that think that the quilting bees, or woman’s circles of the past are long gone, or that that the computer has killed our sense of community or creativity. Looking around this one room, just in this moment, and seeing the work of so many, I know that is anything but true.


My contribution for the day? Taking the soup that my whole family enjoyed, and using it in a new way. Creating our own tradition, our own meal with it, and weaving it even further into our lives.

Cream of Broccoli and Chicken Casserole


Broccoli Soup
Cut of roasted chicken
Cheddar and Parmesan cheese

Depending on the size of the casserole that you wish to make, cut up your chicken in small bites, add just enough soup to make a thick sauce, and top with shredded cheddar and Parmesan cheeses.

Bake at 35o degrees until golden bubbly

{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

Earth Mama November 19, 2009 at 5:04 pm

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts about “the blog world”. It brings such a deeper meaning, aside from being on the computer too much or something. It HAS become a community of sorts, of like minded people who place a strong emphasis on similar things that we hold dear to us and our families. I fantasize someday of having a blog get toether, or road trip, and getting to meet some of the wonderful people I have met in blog world, in real life. Wouldn't that be fun!?

:)Lisa

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quirkygranolagirl November 19, 2009 at 5:19 pm

Thank you so much for putting these feelings into words. I had lunch yesterday with a close friend that lives not so close. She has always been good about encouraging my creativity and reminding me to make space for it in my life when I forget. She doesn't have regular access to a computer and she and I can only talk every few weeks. I was trying to describe to her why I felt so close to my internet friends and why it isn't lame or shallow. You've been able to describe it better than I ever could. This post really touched me.

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Shivayamama November 19, 2009 at 11:43 pm

Thank you so much for sharing that. I have had similar discussions with friends of mine, and I know that it is a hard concept for them to get as well. I so enjoy reading your blog, and seeing what you do every day. Blessings

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wesleyjeanne November 19, 2009 at 5:50 pm

I don't really have anything to add that the previous comments did not touch on. I just want to say “Yes!” Thank you for saying so beautifully how I feel about blogging.

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Sílvia November 19, 2009 at 6:08 pm

just a quick question, do your kids believe in Santa?, in the way that “he” is the one responsible for the Christmas gifts they receive?

I'm asking this because I've understood that they are aware of what their doing – planning and creating gifts to family and friends, and recently (don't exactly know why) I've been questioning myself about Christmas and the traditions I want to pass on to a future child of mine.
Christmas always had a special meaning to me my father and my mother and even though I believed in Santa and in “his gifts” when I was just a little girl, today, when I close my eyes and question myself what is Christmas for me and what do I want to pass on, none of what comes to me includes Santa. I still LOVE Christmas and all the values around it, that I've learned since I was little, and that's what I really want to cultivate… the family, the love, the friendship, the gratitude, the excitement of creating gifts for those we love, the excitement of receiving them knowing who gave them and being able to say “thank you” in so many ways, sharing, loving… well…

Warm wishes to you and your families this holiday season.

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Shivayamama November 19, 2009 at 11:13 pm

Silvia, that is such a great question. Our kids really don't know much about the commercialized Santa Claus, but more of the idea of St. Nicholas and Father Christmas. We are really lucky here in our town to have a man who wears a wool sweater, and who has a natural beard who the children go and talk to on Christmas Eve. We also celebrate St. Nicholas Day, which the children love, and which we really learned about during their time in the Waldorf school.

It is hard, because children hear about Santa, no matter what we do, and for us it has just been a matter of trying to keep the idea as magical as we can, without lying to them

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Sílvia November 20, 2009 at 9:51 am

Can you tell me more about the idea of St. Nicholas and Father Christmas that you mentioned?…I feel exactly what you said in your last sentence… “trying to keep the idea as magical as we can, without lying to them”… and for me, right now, letting a child of mine believe that some imaginary character brings him/her gifts for Christmas if he/she behave the rest of the year just doesn't sound right to me…..

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nessienoodle November 19, 2009 at 6:11 pm

you so hit the nail on the head with this post. I did try to stop blogging for a time but when it comes down to it this is such an amazing community to have. I draw so much inspiration, joy and creativity from what I find out here. Be it in the kitchen or the craft room. I love that.

be well Heather! be well.

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Shivayamama November 19, 2009 at 11:38 pm

Thank you sweetie, you too :)

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PrairiePoppins November 19, 2009 at 6:29 pm

I agree so much that creative circles haven't disappeared but reappeared in a new and unexpected way. Right now here I am – a homeschooling mom at home with her children – and yet I'm reading a thought-provoking 'letter' from another mother. Physically I'm alone, I'm in Canada, and yet here we are, filaments of connection weaving between us.

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Lisa Q November 19, 2009 at 6:54 pm

wonderful job of capturing the circle that sharing creates. You said it so well…thanks heather.

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geek+nerd November 19, 2009 at 7:08 pm

Amen sistah! I love what you have said about quilting bees…I think we've got the biggest quilting bee ever with the blogging community. Thank you for the note that you left earlier today. It means so much to me. I went to the doctor today to check out that throat swelling business, and they think that I have mono which would explain all of the exhaustion and high emotions. Thanks for all of your thoughts xoxo

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Wendi November 19, 2009 at 7:26 pm

I agree completely. Well said.

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Lisa November 19, 2009 at 7:55 pm

Very well said Heather – you always manage to put into words so nicely what so many of us are thinking and feeling. Blogs are such a source of inspiration for me. And I'm defintely going to try your casserole – we love Mama Soule's Broccoli Soup!

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Shivayamama November 19, 2009 at 8:03 pm

You know what is funny? My kids LOVE that soup! They despise broccoli, but that soup they will devour. My oldest ate three bowls the first night we gave it to him, and he is about to eat another one for lunch :)
It is really yummy topped with parmesean as well.
Thank you for your kind words
________________________________________

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nicola November 19, 2009 at 8:16 pm

i LOVE that pencil holder! thank you for sharing. my husband does woodwork and that is something he could easily make to give as a gift to kids! thank you!
we love hand made, home made here, too. we returned to it last year after a several year hiatus and and i love the feelings of calm and simplicity and pure pleasure i feel heading into this season!
nicola
http://whichname.blogspot.com

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Its_Lily November 19, 2009 at 8:29 pm

I'm sitting here at my computer saying, “yes! yes! yes!” to everything I'm reading and when I got to the part of making the broccoli soup your own I burst out laughing. I had broccoli soup stored in the freezer and I just ate the last of it for lunch today. What did I thicken it with? Yep, freshly shaved parmesan. I thought it was delicious and that's how it will be served for ever more. Thank you for compiling so many of our thoughts here today. This is a great read.

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Nina - Tabiboo November 19, 2009 at 8:32 pm

So beautifully said – a wonderful reminder that if we open our eyes then we will be inspired by many different things around us. Whether it's from a blog, a friend, neighbour or stranger there is so much on offer and sharing is a wonderful thing, no matter what the subject, it touches a persons life in many, many different ways.

Warm wishes,

Nina xx

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Kyndale November 19, 2009 at 9:21 pm

It's very nice to be a part of this community! I am inspired daily by all the talent!

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jessica November 19, 2009 at 9:46 pm

Bravo- your words are so perfect right now! I completely agree with every word about the blogging community!

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Andrea November 19, 2009 at 9:57 pm

I love the pencil holder! I just commissioned my husband to make some for the kids from past year Christmas tree stumps. We cut our tree down every year and he has some of the stumps from the past few years. Thanks for the post!

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pardis November 20, 2009 at 2:15 am

Hi Andrea, Although very simple, Tonya has the instructions of how to make this pencil holder in the Winter 2009 issue of Living Crafts magazine. Also, she sells them on her website ” target=”_blank”>http://www.naturalearthfarms.com!

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annri November 19, 2009 at 10:31 pm

it looks like fun! i love a fun crafty mess. the pencil holder is great; maybe even makable at home if i found the right stump. the needlefelted ornament is darling; i definitely believe in displaying items that keep me mindful of being loved. and that casserole looks yummy too! my mother makes a dish called chicken divan that is so comforting to me; even now she sometimes makes my family a special portion “to go.” yum.

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Maeghan November 19, 2009 at 10:36 pm

Perfectly said. I am finishing my first crochet project ever for Christmas. We have decided to make it a homemade one. I can't wait to see my niece open her scarf that I made!

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Shivayamama November 19, 2009 at 10:46 pm

Oh I can't wait to see it!

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Julia November 19, 2009 at 11:10 pm

Well that was just perfection Heather. I really couldn't agree with you more.

There is so much that I learn from this space, and good friends to boot. Whenever I am having a rough spot, I hop online and am instantly calmed with the words of others. “Glimpses” into their lives never cease to make me feel more settled.

Living closer would be a bonus, but making time for friends is the same, whether it's in person or in writing.

I sympathize with you on the glitter….that wreath that I made was a brutal shedder of glitz.

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Adrie November 20, 2009 at 12:55 am

This is so wonderful, and I couldn't agree more! It still surprises me how the internet, which holds much potential to make us more separate, can also bring us closer. So glad to have brought our families together!

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Imene November 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm

It is true that the community I am creating through my blog is as important to me as my close friends are. We are related because we share the same interests and values in life. Life would be perfect if they lived down the street from me ;o)
So funny you talking about the gift giving, I was having this conversation with other mothers from my kids school. I try to encourage the boys to make gifts instead of buying each year. This year it seems a bit more complicated as they are in school and the other parents don't share my views. I like my children to spend time thinking and executing the gifts instead of me chipping in with some money for a gift card.

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erin November 20, 2009 at 1:32 am

thank you so much for this.

i know just what you mean about the support and inspiration from the blogging community. it is incredibly powerful and you captured it so beautifully.

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Julia November 20, 2009 at 2:05 am

agreed…and you are answering a thought I have been turning over, about how to change and add new dishes to our mealtimes. this will be a favorite for my girls, no doubt.

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Joy November 20, 2009 at 2:21 am

I wholeheartedly agree with everything you wrote, and I feel a connection to nearly every blogger you mentioned through purchasing their handmade products or just becoming connected through our blogs. I've learned so much and broadened my horizons in ways I've never thought possible through this community, and I'm so grateful!

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Carol November 20, 2009 at 3:47 am

Yes, I just these last few months have realized there is an amazing community of families that are creative and I find it so inspirational. I have started small projects for myself and my daughter and I am a happier person because of it. Thanks you to all the bloggers, I don't always comment but the community has become a positive part of my life!!!!

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kendra November 20, 2009 at 5:24 am

heather, i don't know how you do 64 blogs in a day – i am weeks behind in many, but i so appreciate your visits and i am indebted to you for introducing me to this community. thank you so much for looking out for us, and sharing your love of life, home and handmade. how do you do it all? <3

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mindy bell November 20, 2009 at 5:52 am

yes!! so true, well said Heather! xo m

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Francesca November 20, 2009 at 1:08 pm

I find that I'm often moved when I read your posts. There's always a lot of feeling and thoughts in your words. You speak to and from the heart. And, yes, I blog for exactly the reasons you talked about.
PS what were your children making while you were cleaning glitter and paint:)?

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Valarie November 20, 2009 at 2:29 pm

Thank you for your very poignant blog post. I agree whole heartedly with the thought that blogging has become the crafting circles of the past. It's as if we have all become neighbors reaching out to touch base and share our doings. i cannot imagine my life without these connections. They have become so important to me and my family. I can't wait to try this soup recipe. Have a good weekend.

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Stephanie November 20, 2009 at 5:30 pm

I have found myself many evenings during our family meals, discussing with my husband about many wonderful people I have the priveledge to know through blogging. What they've made, ideas they have, happy moments, sad moments, and wonderful comments they have left for me. I feel so fullfilled and blessed at the end of the day to know of this support, willingness to share thoughts and ideas, and friendship that I can find without even leaving my home each day.

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Tricia November 20, 2009 at 6:45 pm

Hi Heather, what a lovely blog you have! I feel we are kindred spirits in our approaches to food, art, and life. Thank you for sharing, have a great day! Best,
Tricia

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heather November 21, 2009 at 3:12 am

Well said and so true. I am ever grateful to you and all the other bloggers out there who inspire me and introduce me to different ways of living. This community has influenced my life in so many positive ways.

I printed out the broccoli soup recipe a while ago but haven't tried it yet. Now that I know your family enjoyed it so much I think its time I made it for mine too.

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Jennifer November 22, 2009 at 3:32 am

Oh my. For so many reasons, oh my! I have no idea how you keep up with so many blogs, but I am so very glad that you do. I couldn't agree more about the connections in ours lives; it is wonderful how much we all share with one another. Truthfully, blogging and reading blogs helps keep me connected to like minded mamas. There are not many who have my values and ideals that I get to see on a daily basis, and then there are you guys! I love the fact that I can drop in on you (and so many others) whenever I have a little time for support, ideas, inspiration, affirmation, and all the other amazing reasons to read your blog. And that recipe sounds amazing! My kids would EAT THAT UP' with a whole chicken in the fridge waiting to be cooked and leftovers I'll need to convert afterward, it will be on the menu soon!

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Grace November 23, 2009 at 3:49 pm

I can't believe I forgot to comment on this post. It's so sweet, I love it. Our lives have also been so touched by the wonderful generosity, hospitality, and kindness of people all around the world that I've met through this medium.

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Mary YDP November 23, 2009 at 5:52 pm

I am so making this dinner tonight!

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lily boot November 24, 2009 at 10:00 am

Beautifully written Heather. I so look forward to checking in with my friends and am inspired every day by the happiness, joy and enthusiasm being expressed around the world. Who I am and how I create my days right now has been so shaped by my last two years in this bloggy world and for that I am so very grateful. I completely agree – community hasn't disappeared – it's just different – and better 'cause we don't have to live around the corner to enjoy each other's company :-) Thanks Heather!

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Shivayamama November 24, 2009 at 4:22 pm

________________________________________

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