1. necklace with scrabble tile, KeysAndMemories 2. crocheted rose for doggy collar, BeanTownHandmade 3. vintage clip-on earrings, emmylucy 4. personalized doggy tag, makeyourdogsmile
These are just a few of the wonderful handmade and vintage items you can find on etsy for $10 and under.
It's a mild, gray day here in the small village of Gablitz; I have loads of chores to do at home, but am somehow looking forward to it. Will tie on an apron (lovely vintage aprons from etsy coming up soon!), and get cracking. It's funny how Monday housework appeals to me. I put on music and work towards getting this home sweet home all shiny and fresh. The yellow roses I bought at the farmer's market on friday have now fully opened their sunny faces, and there are rosy pomegranates sitting plump and ruby red in a bowl. Small things that make me smile and feel cozy.
Yes, the weekend went by terribly fast...but as my husband said last night, that just means Christmas is getting closer!
It's amazing when you think about how, by shopping at etsy.com, you are not only supporting artistic individuals, but are avoiding all the stress and annoyances of shopping in crowded stores. It's an absolute win-win. I've been surfing on etsy these past few days and will be sharing my favorite finds with you. I love their motto: "Mass-production is over...if you want it!"
When I first heard about etsy, I expected the products to be expensive, but the prices are surprisingly reasonable! I am itching to order so many of the things I've seen, but wonder how it will be ordering from Austria...customs can be a bitch here, and packages sometimes take ages to arrive. But it's worth a shot!
Have any of you ordered from etsy? Would love to hear about your experience...
Hope you're enjoying a lazy Sunday. We're going to eat salt and pepper potato chips (my new addiction) and watch Twilight...we've been fighting it, but it's time to find out what all the hype is about.
Tomorrow marks the first day of Advent, where, on the four Sundays leading up to Christmas, families light one, two, three, and then finally on the last day all four candles on a beautiful, fragrant wreath. Many of you will know Advent as the entire month leading up to Christmas, as days marked on a pretty calendar, sometimes with pieces of chocolate hiding behind little windows. This is also done here, a tradition loved by children (and me!). But there is something sacred about lighting those candles. You are reminded of Christ, his ultimate sacrifice, and his messages of love and peace. I am not a member of any church, but I still recognize the sanctity and worth of Christ's teachings and their relevance in these modern times.
Other ideas for Advent include hanging a tiny string of wrapped gifts or treats, one for each day before Christmas, and Country Living also had the lovely idea for Advent of hanging up numbered cards and tiny ornaments. One year I sent my mother an 'Advent Package,' where there were 25 little gifts wrapped up and numbered. I gave her things like lip balm, pastilles, and hand-painted seasonal quotes. She loved it. It was a way of celebrating the holidays on a day-to-day basis while being continents apart.
above picture from country living magazine
I picked up my Advent Kranz, or wreath, at the farmer's market yesterday. Have a look! I love picking mine out each year. Last year it had a red candy cane and dried pink roses. This year it has , among other things, dried red roses, cinnamon sticks, baby pine cones, and golden stars.
It's been interesting getting to know the Austrian Christmas tradition. Did you know that here, they celebrate and open gifts on the evening of December 24th? That's something I don't think I'll ever warm up to. I loved the feeling of lying in bed on Christmas Eve, hoping to hear some sound of Santa Claus and his reindeer on the roof...and then waking up in the early morning and seeing the gifts under the tree, having magically appeared while I slept.
Luckily Ramon's sister celebrates with her husband's family on the 24th, so we have a classic American Christmas on the 25th, with a big roast beef or turkey, and lots of cookies and cake.
But more about all of those details later....
Now, it's time for Advent!
Enjoy this holiday season...I hope I've inspired you to celebrate Advent this year, or the next!
So many colorful berries, still clinging to vines and branches; they will look so pretty when it snows. And look at Kiki in her new harness. She's too cute.
Old Christmas tree farm. Overgrown now. Deer like to hide in here. The ground is mossy and has all kinds of mushrooms growing on it.
Gets dark around 5 now...I had to pick up my weekly organic chicken from the butcher. Luckily I took my camera along...the village is bright with Christmas lights and decor. I am always so grateful when people decorate for the season!
Now I'm off to the farmer's market, where the farmers stand in the cold....always admire how tough they are. Once I handed out coupons in front of a store on the coldest day of the year. I stood there, chattering, for what I believe was 6 bucks an hour, totally invisible to the people hurrying by...suddenly Ramon showed up in silver armor, took the coupons from me, tossed them in the trash, and whisked me away to Starbucks for a huge chai latte! My hero.
Well, ever since then, I appreciate the farmers even more.
If I don't make handmade, I try to buy handmade. Or something which supports an artist! It feels great to think of people who are doing what they are passionate about, and being able to live off of that passion. It takes alot of bravery to be an artist, and to put a price tag on your work. Explore not only etsy, but local Christmas fairs, tiny stores, and farmers markets. It makes the holidays so much more personal and enjoyable.
Hope you all like the new look. I've been distracting myself lately by delving into photoshop; it's a fun way to get my mind off of life's more difficult challenges, and it's somewhat artistic.
Plus Kiki gets to cuddle up next to me the throughout the whole process...what more can you ask for?
It's interesting how hardship can drive me to creativity. Something to think about.
You're all in my heart this cold November Thursday! Let's deck the halls and get cozy and creative...
I find late autumn very interesting; it really mirrors early spring. No leaves, a strong wind, wet marshy fields, and lots of wide open sky.
This morning the wind was coming down the hill with such a force that it felt as if it was going through me. It was amazingly invigorating and refreshing, and seemed to clean out every bit of funk and emotional dirt that I had in me. I kept gulping in deep breaths of that cold wind as it slapped my hair against my face and sent leaves tumbling accross the field for Kiki to chase. I almost felt reborn by the time I reached the hilltop!
And there they were, the mighty oak and the delicate birch, naked and bare, ready for ice and frost and chill. There are berries and a few single papery leaves still clinging to branches and shrubs here and there. And where did all the fallen leaves go? They seem to have disappeared completely; either sunken into the hungry earth or flown on the wind to a distant country. Who knows?
Thanksgiving day after tomorrow...and many things to be thankful for. Family, warm home, nourishing bounty, time for simple pleasures and walks in nature, paints and brushes and good quality paper just waiting for me to use them...I intend to as soon as possible.
As you can imagine, this past week has been very difficult.
For some reason, I never thought I would have a miscarriage. I never thought my husband and I would lose our baby. Maybe it's that typical thing where you think, "That would never happen to me." What strengthened my conviction that in nine months, we would be welcoming our first happy, healthy child into our arms, was that we really, really wanted this tiny being in our lives; we charted my cycles, ate all the right things, took vitamins, ordered and read books on pregnancy and childbirth, and talked about our baby all the time. So, as naive as it sounds, I was under the impression that, since we wanted it so badly, and were so dedicated to being the best parents we could be from conception on, God would bless us without question. It's a silly concept really; because aren't there thousands of good people going through immense hardships every day, all around the globe? Why I believed us to be immune to this injustice, I can't explain. But in any case, I was in total, complete shock when this happened. And then the shock slipped into grief.
What I want to share with you all now is my humble advice on how to bring comfort to someone who has just had a miscarriage...and to reveal some comments which may seem laden with the best intentions, but which actually tend to add to the pain.
What I heard most often, directly after we lost our Blueberry, was:
"You are going to be an amazing mother one day."
"You're young. You're going to have children one day, don't worry."
"There must have been something wrong with the baby."
"Just be glad it happened early on. I know someone who miscarried at 20 weeks..."
"This happens to sooo many women."
Let me explain something very clearly: The minute that tiny fertilized egg nests into the lining of your uterus, you are a mother, and your husband is a father. For the rest of your lives. Even if you lose this baby, and never have another, you are parents. You created a living being together out of love, and that fact remains, no matter what. And just because there isn't a grave stone under a tree somewhere with your lost baby's name on it, doesn't take away the fact that this was a very sad loss, one which will be with you the rest of your lives.
That little being was absolutely unique. There will never be another living being with the exact same dna code or the exact same soul as this one. And that little being is NOT replaceable.
I was amazed how many well-meaning people jumped to telling me that we'll be pregnant with another baby before we know it. If I had lost my husband, I hope they wouldn't tell me, "Oh, but there are so many fish in the sea, take your pick!" People, pets, and yes, tiny little beings growing inside of you, are irreplaceable. Even if it's true that one day you may be blessed with a healthy child, that child will not replace your first baby. It will be your first born, but not your first baby. And one day, you can tell your children that. That they have a sibling who had to return to Heaven sooner than you had hoped, and who you and their father loved dearly.
Young or old, having a miscarriage will change your attitude towards pregnancy for the rest of your life. You will never again go into a pregnancy with a care-free and absolutely positive feeling. There will always be some fear involved. So even though it's great to think of the prospect that you can still get pregnant in the future, it's something secondary to your worry and grief in the first few days after a miscarriage.
The thought that there may have been something 'wrong' with the baby is not a comforting thought, and really need not be mentioned.
I have a very good friend whose baby died suddenly 12 days after it had been born. She told me, in all honesty, that the pain is the same, and she would never dare to measure the grief on a scale of how long you knew your baby. Losing a baby is absolutely heartbreaking. Please, don't ever tell someone who just had a miscarriage that they should be glad it happened in the first trimester. It's NOT A COMFORT.
Yes, miscarriage happens to alot of women. Some of you have had miscarriages, and will know what I mean when I say it doesn't matter how many women this happened to, your grief is your own and isn't made more mild because it happens so often. People die every minute of the day, but that fact doesn't make it any less painful when someone you love dies.
All the people who said these things to me are people I love, people I know mean well, people who were desperately looking for a way to comfort me and make me feel better. But I'll tell you, it just made me feel alone and misunderstood.
Here are words which really helped sooth and comfort me, and my husband as well:
"I am so sorry you had to go through this."
"You will always be parents now, no one can take that away from you."
"Your baby experienced love every day of it's life, and was lucky to be with you."
"Your baby's spirit will always be with you."
"Put your baby's picture in a frame, light a candle, put flowers next to it...you have a right to mourn. You have a right to say goodbye."
"This must be so painful. I can't even imagine. Please tell me if I can help you in any way."
"Take your time to grieve. There's no rush. I'm here for you."
"You were amazing parents, even if it was just for that short time."
Those words shone like a light at the end of the tunnel. When I heard things like that, I could breath, I felt understood, I felt loved. Our baby's life, however short, was honored, and the full spectrum of our sadness was taken into account.
I really wanted to share this all with you, even if it is more for my personal therapeutic benefit than anything else.
I also wanted to tell you all, again, that you have surprised and warmed me with your presence. When I began this blog I had no expectations or hopes of making real friends, or being part of a small supportive community. This development is such a wonderful gift, and a true blessing.
It was very nice to come on here and read all of your supportive, loving messages. Thanks so much. This is a long healing process which has just begun. I go through different emotions throughout the day. Anger, worry, sadness, loneliness, desperation. Then there are the little moments of deep love between my husband and myself that shine through the darkness, and I am so endlessly grateful for so many things, and remember that I am blessed, despite this extremely difficult time.
Before we lost our Little One, we started calling it our little Blueberry, and it has remained Blueberry, whose ultrasound picture is in a frame by my bedside, and who I think about hundreds of times a day, full of grief and love, all at the same time.
Thank you again for all of your kind thoughts, I hope you know just how much I appreciate them.
I have been keeping a secret from you these past weeks; my husband and I were expecting our first baby, and were absolutely overjoyed. As some of you may know, I have been hoping for a baby for a long time now.
Sadly, we lost our Little One yesterday morning, in the sixth week, right after seeing it's tiny heart beating on the ultrasound screen.
This has been the hardest thing I have ever gone through; we are still in shock.
I don't know when I will be back here writing; I am sure you will understand my absence.
What an amazing Sunday we had! There was the thickest, most mystical mist soaking the forest, and the leaves were all sorts of beautiful autumn colors. My husband, my mother, Kiki, and I, took an adventurous walk through the muddy woods, and were enthralled by nature's magic.
:: here's Kiki, starting out, ears already wet ::
:: a gorgeous melange of colors...the moss, the bark, the leaves ::
:: something magical about this road ::
:: everytime i look at them, my heart overflows with love ::
:: my mother, teeny tiny beside this monstrous pile of wood ::