Over the weekend, I was thinking about friends. About the people who I can't stand (there are a few, I'm ashamed to admit) and the people that I'd like to get to know better, and about how everyone is pretty much divided into two categories: consumers and creators. The people I would like to throw something at (nothing hard or sharp or dangerous - maybe a firm pillow... just something to make them look up and look outside themselves) are consumers, but the people I'm attracted to are creators.
Joining God in the renewal of all things. That was the vision of the church I attended in Brooklyn, but it's my vision as well. Adam and Eve took something they weren't meant to have - but even though we are fallen through them, we're still called to cultivate. To cultivate friendships, knowledge, joy, beauty, worship... our culture as Christians must be one of growth and renewal. Spark lights spark, and a roomful of makers burns with an energy that's awesome to behold.
I was delighted to find that Emily P Freeman's book A Million Little Ways is (in)courage's newest Bloom Book Club read. The discussion for this call to create starts today. It's time we banished the notion of "artist" as someone who paints --- made in the image of our Creator, we are all called to create.
That's why I love the idea of a local Christmas - and that's why I try to feature and support brick-and-mortar artists and artisans on my little corner of the internet. I may just be talking to myself here, but I hope that somewhere, someone is being impacted in a positive way. Spark to spark, through the screens.
Shindig Paperie hosted a trunk show this past Thursday evening featuring 1canoe2 - a letterpress company out of Missouri whose items they stock. The trunk show included a lot of things that Shindig can't carry normally, just because of space restrictions, and was an absolute delight (as are the ladies of 1canoe2).
They use original artwork for all of their pieces, and while I saw lots of things that I would like for myself (stationery doesn't count as for me since I'm sending the letter to someone else, right?) I bravely resisted and left with only a packet of zigzaggy gift tags (with striped strings!) for Christmas - though, they're adorably versatile and will also work for other occasions.
[Warm and Cozy cards from The Mustache, Merry Christmas cards from Shindig]
Those with the cards I bought last year should be plenty (we're not big cards senders, nor do we have a terribly long list of people to gift) so that aspect of holiday preparations is complete!
Along with cards and tags and inserts, another aspect of gift-giving that I probably put way too much thought into is wrapping. So I was delighted to encounter Hannah Brinson (an amazing artist, who I am privileged to know personally) at a craft fair over the weekend, with several lovely tea towels --- it was hard to choose, but this one was both festive and versatile, and she'll be selling them at The Four-Legged Bird so I can get more later if I need to. :)
Nearby I found another friend from my homeschooled days with a sweet necklace that is perfect (I hope) for someone I was struggling to think of a gift for. It's so pretty... I asked Adam to hold me accountable to actually go through with giving it instead of putting it into my own jewelry box! I'm working on a little drawstring bag to put it in - once I'm finished, I'll put up the pattern for free in case anyone else needs a from-stash wrapping solution.
In attempt to downsize the materialistic side of Christmas, my family has drawn names and had a strict budget of no more than $10 per gift for the past few years. I was stopped in my tracks by this necklace, hanging at the front of the rack, thinking that it would be perfect for my slightly diva little cousin Brooke (whose name is one of the ones that we drew). Once we got home, I found a small cardboard box that I had saved (in the drawer with all the other little containers whose keeping has now been validated ;) and glittered the lid with leftover supplies from my boots, to put it in. I think a ribbon and a tag will be the only remaining wrapping.
The cowl I'm currently designing uses a high-yardage undyed baby alpaca yarn, and it looks like I'll be able to get two out of it - one for me, and then one to give. That should pretty much wrap up Christmas... there are a few things yet to get or make, but I have them thought out, so it won't be quite the quest that everything has been up to this point.
Fayetteville has so much to offer - it's not difficult to find the Perfect Thing for everyone. I'm ashamed that I haven't tried to have a Local Christmas before now - but it's an exercise that I plan on making into a tradition from this year on.
And finally, I celebrated the arrival of cooler days, the near-completion of a successful Local Christmas, and the gift of a new laptop battery (mine was very much dead, and had rendered my laptop a desktop until Adam got me a new one for our anniversary) with a new sticker --- Onyx Coffee Lab is a relabeling of the local Arsaga's franchise, and since the nearby Gregg Street Arsaga's was converted to an Onyx, it's become my new favorite coffee spot.
"Art and Science in a cup - locally roasted/ethically traded" is the model for these small-batch specialists. They have brewing techniques that I've never even heard of, and strive to use the roast and brewing method that brings out the unique characteristics of each batch. Every drink I've tried has been amazing, and with the relabeling came a change of ambiance that renders at least this location very inviting.
Their signature drink is the "Onyx Delight" - a latte with honey, vanilla and cinnamon, that certainly lives up to its name. On cold nights when I was kid, especially if I had a sore throat, my Mum would make hot vanilla (warm milk with honey, vanilla and cinnamon) and a grown-up caffeinated version of a childhood favorite is definitely up my alley!
So, that was an exhausting lot of talk about Things, but it's a Thingy time of year - and since there's really no escaping it, why not embrace it with intentionality and try to make sure that it's merry and jolly for everyone involved? We are all artists and artisans - let's strive to add to the beauty, whether by throwing the party, baking the cookies, designing the dress, or starting the conversation and gracefully complimenting (in word and action) the gifts and graces of others.