Thankfulness Thursday: Tiny Treasures

Phew! Craft Fairs are over; deep breath, refocus, and…

Well, life is still really crazy and more than a little stressful. Not only is the holiday shopping season upon us, which means that we must devote more time and energy than usual to our Etsy shops, but also several things around us are breaking down or otherwise unreliable. It’s crazy, and emotionally draining, and sometimes too much.

And in the middle of it all, Thanksgiving is a week away – reminding us to take a little time to be thankful. So… Another deep breath, and I notice all those things that are truly wonderful around me!

Like, the refrigerator working and full of amazing treats awaiting the feast before us.

And furry animals in general (Annie our dog especially, although I am quite fond of cats too!).

And Etsy.

Etsy is a huge part of our lives right now; and naturally we’re grateful for the opportunities it provides. In fact, please head over and check out our shops! We have some really cool Autumn and Winter, Thanksgiving and Christmas and Hanukkah things coming out (plus sales and coupon codes, in case you need something!).

But I’m also thankful for a few treasures that I found on Etsy. Yes, for the first time I went there and actually did some shopping! Hannah gave me a gift card for my birthday, and with it I purchased three little perfumes and some makeup.

 

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It’s also NaNoWriMo, so my novel gets to be my backdrop!

 

Since it’s Friday, when we Feature Favorites, and we’ve always meant to do reviews, here you go!:

Addictive Cosmetics

img_3026I’m not quite sure if AddictiveCosmetics is actually addictive yet – though I admit it is highly tempting to go back and try out more! I ordered a foundation sample (Ivory 2) for my picky skin: It has nice texture (satiny might be the best word), pretty good coverage, and a pleasant smell.

My second purchase was the one I really wanted: Warm ‘N Toasty liquid eyeliner. I’m experimenting with eyeliners right now, and found this one to be a beautiful coppery color which complements my coloring.img_3029

Then, as an extra blessing, they threw in a powder eyeshadow! I don’t have a good photo of it (since it tends to cloud every time I open the tight little container), but it is a gorgeous dark copper – the perfect shade to match the eyeliner.

Deep Midnight Perfumes

This shop might be my new obsession! It kind of appeals to the (ahem!) goth side of my personality. And to my love of interesting, unusual scents. Because…

 

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My wonderful assortment of perfumes: Pumpkin Gloom, Pumpkin Fiend, Pumpkin Pixie, Seven Veils, and Blood and Donuts

They have pumpkin perfume!!!

 

This makes me very happy.

I chose the Gothic Pumpkin sampler set, which includes Pumpkin Pixie (sweet and playful), Pumpkin Fiend (darker and, for me, nostalgic), and Pumpkin Gloom (dark and woodsy). And the seller threw in a sample, Seven Veils (floral and feminine). And another sample! – Blood and Donuts (chocolatey and perfect for my horror novels!), which reminds me of New Mexico’s very own shop, Rebel Donut, which anyone who comes here must try!

 

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She also threw in a skull charm, which I find amusing and have attached to my journal ribbon

 

I wish I had space to fully review each of these scents! It is so much fun to experiment with each of them, and (even though they are itty-bitty bottles) they will provide me much pleasure for a long time!

 

It is, you see, not merely Etsy for which I am thankful: It is the little treasures – moments of brightness, pleasure, happiness, community, that it has brought me. These small blessings lighten the dark times, and make life ever so much more fun!

-Abigail-

P.S. Thank you, Hannah! Awesome gift!!!

Thankfulness Thursday: Fluffy White Cattails!

I would have published this on Thursday, like it should be… but WordPress was being weird. So – better late then never, right?

A few days ago, in the morning I went walking in the woods. I went with most of my family and my good friend and her mother. We went to see the last of the autumn leaves, but besides seeing some lovely fall colors, we got another little delight – cattail fluff!

And that is what I want to feature for my Thankfulness Thursday! (Or Monday… doesn’t quite sound as good though!)

The picture below shows how we found these simple little delights, on the stock and ready to play with. Little did we realize how fun they were going to be!

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I’m sure, if you’ve ever played with these funny little things, you know how much fun you can have. Pinch one end a little and what looks like half an inch of compact tan colored semi-solidness then suddenly and softly explodes in your hand and becomes a practically weightless white cloud of fuzz!

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Personally, it was rather nice to get away from the political weirdness of the world and the other stresses of life, and I was very thankful to be able to enjoy one of the simple pleasures of life, that of my senses – and my imagination – being tickled by the joys of fluffy cattail clouds.

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Sometimes you don’t need that much to be entertained.

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My good friend, Addie, who had a lot of fun playing with the silly whiteness!

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We all got covered in the fluffiness – it got everywhere!

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They got on Abigail’s new red cape! (Abigail, you need to show the whole outfit later to all of our readers! I can’t wait to see it all together!)

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Also – I can’t help putting more than one thing for my Thankfulness Thursday post – I’m so thankful for my friend! Addie is very dear to my heart, and almost as close to me as my wonderful sisters! All of my sisters – both blood and sister in the Lord – I am very thankful for!

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The wonderful, fun, sweet, lovable, patient and dependable Sarah!

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Abby, the delightful and kind, the generous and wise, the thoughtful and caring! Both such an amazing abundant blessing to me! I love you too!

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So there you go! Take a walk in the woods with family and friends and enjoy the simple things of life! There’s so much to be thankful for in just these things alone!

Hannah

 

Thankfulness Thursday: Change

Yes, it’s November again. I agree, it came way too quickly! But I’m not complaining. November is awesome.

This is the third Thursday from Thanksgiving Day, and it’s time for Thankfulness Thursday! Of course, it’s also the day before a Craft Fair we’re participating in, so this post might be a bit rushed.

img_1992(The pictures featured here are from our latest outing to the Bosque. It was amazing looking!)

Last year I think I did a Thankfulness blog post about the things I was thankful for that had changed or developed in the past year. I think I’ll do that again.

So here goes:

Variety of food. I don’t know why, but it seems like I’ve especially discovered how much variety there is in food. It probably has something to do with our amazing Jerusalem cookbook. I am also learning how to develop my own recipes, and I think I’ve been fairly successful so far.

I’ve made a few sales in my shop!!! I am very happy about this, understandably.

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Processing. Trying to take in stressful situations is always challenging and I doubt there’s any approach that works every time, unfortunately. But I’m slowly learning how to react and work under stress. My Etsy shop is less of a burden and more of a challenge.

On that note: Direction. I think I’m starting to figure out where I’m supposed to be going! For some reason I’ve never been able to find something to settle with, but I think I’m going in the right direction.

Challenge. It’s really easy to get comfortable and stop challenging yourself… at least it is for me. Admittedly, I haven’t actually challenged myself to do something new, but I am preparing to, and that’s a good first step!

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Gelato. We were introduced to an amazing gelato place in the depths of downtown. It was simply wonderful!

So, technically, I really haven’t gotten some things done that I wanted to by now. But Thanksgiving comes at just the right time when you’re regretting what hasn’t changed or gone on in the past year, and just before you can reassess what you want to do in the future.

img_2008I find it very nice to look back on what’s changed in 2016 – I know I’ve forgotten a few things – and be satisfied with what I have.

Also, I have to add, I’m really thankful for what our readers here!

So, I always love to hear what everyone has to say. Please feel free to mention a few things you’re thankful for, that have either occurred in the past year, or that you’re just thankful for in general!

Hope you have a great Thanksgiving Month and the rest of the week is great too

Sarah

Happy Abby Day!

It’s that time of year again! If you’ve been following Ribbons for a while, you might know what today is…. It’s Abby Day! (in this case, I have to say Abby instead of Abigail, because it works better)

That’s right, it’s Abigail’s birthday today, and I just have to do another blog post all about her.

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So, imagining Abigail’s birthday was a national holiday (because it feels strange that the rest of the world isn’t celebrating this day with us)

What to eat: Well, Abigail is the raisin fairy, so just throw spices, pumpkins and raisins into your favorite dish and there you go! Don’t forget to make a pot of chai or London Fog, or if tea isn’t your thing, a cup of coffee once per hour should do.

What to wear: We sew a lot, so generally, if there’s a holiday, there’s an outfit for it. (I am wearing a sort of special dress today) Anything brown will do, but it is essential that your outfit has pockets. If you have something brown, but it’s lacking pockets, feel free to get a patch of fabric and sew it on top for a pocket.

What to do: Go for a walk. Pick your favorite place and take a nice, 9 hour hike. Be sure that you bring along a nice pillow or tablecloth so you can stop and sit for a while somewhere nice. It is essential that you bring something to read or write, preferably something that matches the surroundings.

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If hiking isn’t your thing, feel free to stay home and write and make soufflés. Be sure to have a cat in your house. Better yet, see if your local pet store has an owl or fox.

Most importantly: eat lots of dark chocolate and stay up late.

Doesn’t sound too bad. Maybe we could make September 29th National Author’s Day.

OK, I have to admit, I’d only thought the blog post out this far. I thought it would be funny caricature-ize some of the things that make Abigail unique and loveable. But now I’m not quite sure how to complete it. So, if in doubt…

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Finish with Abigail’s new favorite song!

I love you, Abigail! You are the best Abigail ever in the whole wide world!

I hope you continue to have one of the best days and weekends ever! (I don’t want to restrict this to being the best day ever, in case something better comes along)

May God bless you all the days of your life, as much as you are a blessing to me. Love you!

Sarah

 

Thanksgiving Week: Friday

And so the week of Thanksgiving comes to an end. It seemed like a very short week, and I really enjoyed it.

When I was reading about Thanksgiving I saw that, before it was ‘official’ people would give thanks to God for the past year’s harvest- a kind of contemplation on the closing year and its blessings. So, I’ve decided to list 5 things that have changed in my life in the past year, which I am thankful for.

So, I will begin (this list is in no particular order, just how they come to me)

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1.  I am thankful for Etsy. I know- that’s kind of obvious. It’s one of the main points of this blog, is to show our Etsy shops. But in this case I am especially making a point that Etsy has changed my life.

For instance, NaNoWriMo is this month and I was really close to not doing it this year, especially since I hadn’t come up with a story. I came up with something, but I’ve been busy thinking and working on my shop.

2. I am thankful for FWDGF. That doesn’t make much sense! It stands for French Women Don’t Get Fat, which I have not read. We use a couple of recipes from that book, and I intend to read it soon.

Of course fitness is a challenge for us, like everyone else in one way or another. This has helped me because a big part the author, Mireille Guiliano, makes is that- to put it shortly- It doesn’t take a plateful of something to enjoy it. This has helped me remember that, if I’m not enjoying the store-bought apple pie slice as much as a homemade one, I don’t need to finish it.

3. I am thankful for Bing searches. For a while I scorned Bing, because I thought any search engine does the job you need (which is still true). However, with Bing searches you can earn points and get little coupon/gift cards. This has helped me because I’ve ended up looking up styles, techniques, types and dog breeds (the last one is technically irrelevant but very cute) that has helped me become more comfortable experimenting with a lot of things in my life, including my Etsy shop.

4. I am thankful for Bible Studies. Hannah and my Mum are doing a Bible study (BSF) and I tend to tag along with anybody that’s going somewhere. (I’m a little too much like our black lab, in that I like to go places even if it makes so sense). During that time I read up on things, write or meet with our friend, mentioned many times before, Lexi. I’m not a good talker, so sometimes we end up staring off into space for a few minutes at a time, but I really enjoy it.

5. I am thankful for new adventures. Duh! Sorry, I couldn’t figure out how else to say this one.

Earlier this year, after our boutique, we, along with some friends, were in need of a proper Summer break. Well, as I’m sure many people have discovered, you kind of need a week for preparation, a week to do things and then a week to take a break before getting back into life. Our vacation turned out a little crazier than some of us expected, but I absolutely loved it. We went boat paddling, which was a new experience for me, and I realized during that time that I just need (and can) get out and try some things I’ve never even heard of.

These are the 5 things I’m thankful for that have changed in the past year, and you probably haven’t heard the last of them.

And so the week of Thanksgiving is coming to a close. I hope everyone had a great week with safe travels and not-too-insane shopping.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

(possibly to be continued, with a possible guest post from our Mum)

Sarah

 

Thanksgiving Tree

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

On this point of stillness and gratitude, a holiday still strangely dedicated to family and togetherness even when you don’t have family or you are alone, I’d like to share some of our family’s favorite traditions!

First, and most important, here is a look at our Thanksgiving Tree (glimpsed in an earlier post).  WIN_20151126_14_58_17_Pro.jpg

WIN_20151126_14_58_37_Pro This is one of those traditions from childhood that has lingered, and deserves to be kept around! The idea is, you write something you’re thankful for on a paper leaf, and stick it to an empty tree on the wall. The tree fills up with thankfulness over the course of the month of November, until you cannot pass it without being reminded of all your blessings.

 I usually get carried away and write way too many leaves. But this year, I’m trying to focus; and not just remember my blessings and all the little things I have, but also the big things. And those don’t always fit on a paper leaf!

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And, of course, we also cook! We try to make everything we eat, because then we know what goes into it, and Thanksgiving dinner is no exception. It tastes better that way!

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Pumpkin pie, with homemade crust (it’s actually not that hard! Yes, it is…)
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I have been known to puree my own pumpkin, but this pumpkin (incredibly orange) is from a can
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Cranberry sauce, cranberry relish, and bacon-apple Brussels sprouts. Yum!
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Cranberry sauce. I do it Manuel style. Manuel recommended using orange juice (and zest this time) and adding a dash of Grand Marnier. It transforms and uplifts cranberry sauce into something sublime!

 

One of our best cooking traditions is to let the menfolk cook the bird. They smoke it, which is a very manly form of cooking. The results are wonderful, if a little startling at first:

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A Goth Turkey. We don’t know why, but the skin always comes out blackened. Soot, or something. But we don’t eat the skin, so it’s all right. And don’t be alarmed:
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Inside, the meat is tender, more tasty than ordinary baking, succulent, and delightful!

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Thanksgiving is also a time to – of all things – be thankful. I know; radical notion, right? But isn’t it strange that amid all the demand for More! More! More! that swamps our lives (and especially the next major holiday) we stop for a moment just to be grateful for what we have? It doesn’t matter if you have family or friends to celebrate with, or not. It doesn’t matter if you can cook a turkey and all the fixings, or buy it from the store, or prefer some sushi. It doesn’t matter if you live in your own house, or in a corner; or if you can afford a new wardrobe and the latest tech every year, or barely manage to scrape buy. Because you still have many blessings.

Never mind all that I’ve been talking about, with our traditions and blessings: God has, somehow, abundantly blessed you.

So, pause for a moment, and give thanks!

-Abigail-

 

Thanksgiving Week: Art

Sarah suggested that one of us do a post on Thanksgiving art, visual arts in particular.

I’m glad she let me do this one, because I love classic art, and it’s even better to have a theme for this subject, since there really a lot of art out there – sort of focuses my love for art!

 

I don’t know who did the painting above, but I love it… pretty much an accurate depiction of how I imagine the First Thanksgiving to be. I love how the central part is the giving up of heartfelt thanks. It’s not the food. It’s a celebration and time for thanksgiving and contemplation and fellowship.

Norman Rockwell has got to be one of my favorite artists, and one of the best of all time. Ok, maybe I’ll do another post all about my love for this hero artist of mine, but for now, I just have to applaud his great Thanksgiving Paintings. This picture pretty much says it all! I love how the turkey is in the center of the painting, but the people’s faces are really the main interest, with their laughter, the warmth of their expressions as they look at each other, and the father and mother (or is it grandfather and grandmother?) taking care of them all by their love. I just love it!

Although a little less well known, I love this painting. The look on her face, the way he hooks his feet on the chair, the homey and closeness of this painting – even the warm colors – make this another one of my favorite Thanksgiving paintings.

And that’s only just a few of the paintings that are Thanksgiving themed. But each one of these represent a different thing that I’m thankful for (or several things that I’m thankful for!).

The first one with it’s heartfelt, straightforward, simple and stripped of the extra complications Thanksgiving, its good to be reminded of those fundamental blessings that our country has that not many others can boast of.

The second, for it’s bright hope, it’s comradery and its love – even if you have a “dysfunctional” family, and pretty much everyone has that in some way – we still have a lot to be thankful for. They are family after all and they really do love you!

And the last one – well this one I just love the intimacy. And actually, on a different level, I’m really thankful for all of those brave, amazing service men and women. They give their all, and don’t always get noticed for doing this job. I’m thankful for them – what a great blessing to have people go and give their lives for their loved ones and their country!

So there’re a few things to be thankful for – pretty big things. But also, of course, the art of painting and those inspiring artists who’ve gone on before me!

Happy Thanksgiving week everyone!

Hannah

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thankfulness Thursday: The Gift of Creativity

Thankfulness is a practice.

I said that last time, but I keep thinking of how very much it is true: There is a discipline to gratitude. One often forgets that, forgets to be grateful; and that’s what this time of the year is about. We are celebrating Thanksgiving, a time to remember all of our blessings and take the time to actually notice all the wonderful things in our lives. How awesome is that?

Of course there’s also the temptation to list 50 easy things that are nice to have and we’re thankful for, but aren’t really important (like; Mugs, Pens, Chocolate, TV, Paper, Dish Soap…). That’s why I want to dig deep with these posts.

Here are 3 wonderful (but easy-ish) things I’m thankful for:

  1. A new battery for my computer! (It’s so cool! I don’t have to be bound to a wall anymore!)
  2. Craft Fairs (more on that tomorrow)
  3. Really great music (listening to the score for “Interstellar” right now – so cool)

But what I really want to highlight today is: Creativity.

Creativity is an amazing thing! All humans are creative somehow, but it seems that some people are blessed with a particular facility for making something unexpected and new and delightful out of next to nothing. This is such a gift not just for those who have it, but for the rest of the world – all of us who enjoy and benefit from what the creative have fashioned.

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And I’m also grateful for the creativity that I have been given. I come from a very creative family: People always say that they are impressed by how creative we are, but it just seems so normal to me that I hardly notice. But we are creative – almost too much sometimes! – and it’s a fun way to live.

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Bits from my creative process

Another thing I’m thankful for is all the resources I have to use my creativity: Tools to cook, paper craft, sew, write, crochet… I have been so blessed by an abundance of creative stuff.

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I actually didn’t feel very creative when working on this. But it turned out well! (Thanks to Leslie for her collection of awesome card making stuff!

One more thing: The time and leisure to hone creative skills, thanks to amazing modern technology that makes so much of life easier. Not to mention the peace to make stuff in without being disturbed by wars or disasters or ill health. It’s something I take for granted far too often; but it is special.

Hot Chocolate Card - A "Just Because" card including a small spoon and a hot chocolate packet. In rose pink with brown paisley design.
Finished product? These cute hot cocoa-filled cards, now available at my Etsy shop! Thanks to our friend Rita for ordering the wrong size spoon and then telling us to do something fun with it: Sometimes creativity needs a shove.

 

Not everyone has the gifts, resources and time that has been given to us. It’s not easy for everyone to be creative! So, though it might seem an odd thing at first glance, I am truly thankful for all the talent and ingenuity that I and my family have to play with!

-Abigail-

Thankfulness Thursday: Memories, Pumpkins and Leaves

I love Thanksgiving. It’s one of my favorite holidays. I say ‘one of my favorites’ rather than second favorite or first favorite or whatever, because I can never decide. So am I saying I like Thanksgiving more than Christmas? No. I love Christmas, but there’s something wonderful about Thanksgiving. So I am really looking forward to and enjoying these coming Thursdays, and the whole week of Thanksgiving.

DSCN8296If you’ve read the last few Thursday posts, you’ll know we’re featuring something we’re thankful for, and taking turns. Today’s my turn and I wasn’t really sure what to do, but I thought I’d feature some ‘classic’ Autumn things for our family (or New Mexico)

To the right is the Bosque. The Bosque is beautiful any time of year. It’s not a wonderland, but there’s nothing like it’s rustic beauty, and it is especially beautiful in Autumn. If you happen to be in NM during the Autumn, you have to go. (in NM, by the way, Autumn is properly in the air from anywhere beginning in mid-October to November)

DSCN8324 A more recent Autumnal trademark is- to the left- the Pumpkin Fairy. I was walking past a box full of pumpkins when it occurred to me that they looked like some fabric gathered up in the center- an idea that’s taken off since I saw it. I then came up with the wonderful idea of a lady (clearly a fairy) working on stuffing pumpkins in a field. Technically it should have been a forest in fall time, but a field was easier to do in watercolors.

I love the Pumpkin Fairy! Somehow, miraculously, she turned out right. She was one of those certain type of creativity that doesn’t happen very often for me, much to my annoyance, and then that’s it. For instance, I wish I could come up with a Leaf Fairy, but nothing comes to mind as amusing as the picture above, which is why she’s the only one I’ve done – for now

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It’s funny. I’ve noticed it’s very easy for people to decorate when Autumn comes around, and then of course Christmas is even easier. Everyone loves Autumn, all the leaves and colors. And of course we have always decorated our house with leaves, Thanksgiving trees, pumpkins and corn, gradually adding other things, including small decorative squirrels. To the right is a picture of our oldest leaves, which we don’t actually use very often because they just don’t look right (too well used by now). Now they are decorating our front entrance.

DSCN8307And finally we have…. the Autumnal Pictures. Abigail, Hannah and I used to set up our milk can, pumpkins and various other farm/autumn things and “take pictures”. Unfortunately we had a plastic camera that didn’t actually take pictures.

So, I set it up once again, pulling out the milk can and arranging the pumpkins in the same charming, slightly inexplicable way. I had to add in our more recent purchase of the adorable scarecrows, and use our dog, Annie, instead. You see, if you have someone in these pictures, they have to be wearing overalls! It was always an essential part of the picture for me! (I was either under the impression I was a farmer or a scarecrow. Possibly both)

One of the most important part of Thanksgiving is our Thanksgiving Tree, which I was under the impression for a long time everyone had one. We used to have an ancient paper one, which we finally got rid of a few years ago. Now we have a fabric one, which you can see behind our Black Lab in the last picture. It’s usually set up in our hallway, but we put it on our front door to take this picture, and decided we like it there. Soon we’ll be writing on paper leaves anything (but never everything) we’re thankful for, and taping them up next to our tree.

So, what am I featuring in this post that I’m thankful for? It pretty much seems full of tradition and trademarks, which I am thankful for. But tradition is to a season what flour is to bread- only one, small ingredient (and not always necessary at that)

What I am thankful for is – hard to explain. I think it’s basically this: every year I get caught up trying to get things done. I want to get things done by the time Springtime comes, I want to get things done during the Summer while trying new things and planning for the rest of the year. I want to get things done during the Fall, such as getting a few things out of the way for the end of the year. I want to get things done in time for NaNoWriMo and of course before Christmas. It’s way too easy to think you don’t have time for silly small things.

I think that’s why Thanksgiving is so important. It comes at just about the right time in the year, when I’m spiraling out of control trying to get done the things I wanted done in July and obsessing about the things I have to do in December. Silly things like Pumpkin Fairies, scarecrows and Thanksgiving Trees, those things you’re just used to pulling out when the time comes, helps remind you to enjoy what you’ve always had.

I’m thankful for…. having to stop.

Sarah

Thankfulness Thursday: Incentives

I just realized that I was supposed to make a quick post about what I am thankful for. But I’m all rushing, so it won’t be too long.

So there we go – I have the thing that I’m thankful for; incentives.

Definition from the Oxford Dictionary, incentive: a thing that motivates or encourages one to do something.

List of my current incentives,

  1. Our series of Thankfulness Thursdays is an incentive to blog.
  2. Shortness of time is an incentive to write quickly (and briefly!)
  3. Two impending craft fairs is an incentive to create more of my Etsy items (and to go more quickly!)
  4. Fun Christmas music is an incentive to be festive, even if it’s only the first week of November.
  5. Wonderful, inspiring supplies – like warm wool for scarves, and awesome papers and stamps for cards – are an incentive to just be creative, let alone make things for my Etsy shop!

Incentives are nice. Incentives are helpful. Incentives are good, hearty creatures, who come up from behind and give you a shove forward. I like them. I am very thankful for Incentives!

What, my dear Ribbons Reader, is your current Incentive? What is inspiring you these last few days?

– Hannah