i'm so glad you're here

Each day I'm trying to find the "yes" in the real moments that make up this beautiful, sometimes hard, crazy, awesome life. And I'd love for you to come along. Read more about me.

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Wednesday
Apr162014

pinned it. did it. {with doña}

Note from Liz: I'm so happy to share that Meg, who is a frequent "Pinned it. Did it." contributor here on my site, had her baby on Monday! Mama and baby girl are doing well! Meg will be taking a break from guest posting for a bit but will be back later this summer.

And I'm happy to share that my friend Doña is going to share a few columns with us over the next few weeks! First up is her gorgeous natural-dyed eggs DIY. Oh my goodness these are gorgeous! Read on for her column...

*****

Last Easter we had cousins visiting from England. Did you know in England they don’t dye eggs like we do in the US? Instead they decorate them with markers and stickers. Last year I made sure we had an Easter egg dyeing day, so my young cousin could experience the American way of colored eggs. Unfortunately the experience was a little disappointing, at least for me. The dyes from the little tablets I dissolved in water and vinegar just weren’t very vibrant. Yet the mess they left on my counter was epic.

This year I wanted to try something different. I’ve always been intrigued by natural, vegetable based dyes and I’ve seen some really gorgeous colors on yarn and fabrics dyed this way. So when I came across a few images of vegetable-dyed Easter eggs, I knew that’s what I wanted to try. 

There’s something just so appealing to me in these natural hues. I picked one post that had good, clear instructions and collected all of my ingredients together. I wanted a range of colors, so I used red cabbage (for blue), skins from brown onions (for dark orange), turmeric (for yellow), beets (for red), and a combination of carrot tops and parsley (for green).


Full disclosure here - I didn’t involve my 3-year-old in this process at all. I wanted to do a “dry” run to make sure it worked and also to figure out how messy it was going to be (it was messy - my butcher block has a big red beet circle!). I started the whole process, including hard-boiling the eggs - after she went to bed one night this week. I also wanted to test out what I’ve discovered is the most important tip for dyeing eggs with vegetable dyes - let them sit in the color over night. 

The whole process went surprisingly fast, even though the color pots all needed to be simmered for 30 minutes. I just used all the saucepans and burners I had!

By morning I had this - success!


I used both brown and white eggs. I thought there would be more difference in the final colors, but the difference is actually pretty subtle. The only color that didn’t really work was the yellow/green from the carrot tops and parsley. The color is barely yellow green and very light. Though I really love the pattern the leaves left on the shell.


I am so impressed with the depth of the dye saturation with this method. It is really obvious here, where part of the egg was not completely covered by the dye water.


I’ll definitely be doing this method of egg dyeing again. I also saved the bowls of colored water and I’m going to try dying some natural-colored sock yarn in the remaining dye to see how the colors turn out. 

You can find all the pins I’ve collected for vegetable dyed eggs as well as other fun egg decorating methods on my Spring pinboard on Pinterest. Follow me on Instagram see the yarn dyeing results and to see what other fun Easter crafts we come up with! 

Doña Bumgarner is a writer, artist, mama and a craft project-collector from way back. She loves Pinterest and uses it to help solve a household dilemma at least once a week (see her “pinned and done” board). She lives in Santa Cruz with her partner, their little one and his almost grown one, and a collection of cats and chickens. She writes about the practice of moms holding space for their own well being in the midst of raising a family on her blog, Nurtured Mama.  

Note from Liz: Over here in my corner, I'm trying to "use Pinterest for good." I really see it as a community of people trying to see the beauty and possibility in their lives. I'm adding a few new features here on my blog inspired by or directly about Pinterest as a way to invite others to look for this beauty within a social media community. Connect with me on Pinterest here. Read other "Pinned it. Did it." columns here.

Tuesday
Apr152014

love this :: shop adorn

A few "love this" posts ago, I shared that Shop Adorn stocks quite a few Prairie Underground styles and sizes. They noticed my post and asked me if I'd like to try a pair of their "tummy tuck" leggings.

Yes, please.

My plan was to try them, and if I loved them, I would add them to one of my "everday outfit favorites" posts that I'm sharing every six weeks or so. And I do love them (more on that in a second). But when I was in Portland for about 24 hours this past weekend, I stopped into Shop Adorn to check them out in person. And they've just become my new favorite must stop by whenever I'm in town shop.

Today, I'm sharing a few favorite things from Shop Adorn; some are pictured above. And the awesome thing is that you don't have to go in person (but you should if you can), you can get all of these gorgeous things online.

1) This maxi dress was very soft and so beautiful in person. My size wasn't on the floor that day, but I want to share it in case it might be the perfect dress you need for summer. It comes in a shorter style too.

2) I'm glad I didn't actually see this tote while I was visiting the store because I would have tried to convince myself it needed to come home with me. Love it!

3) The Cami Slip did come home with me. I've already worn it every single day. For real. It is such a great layer underneath the dresses I wear with jeans. I smile every time I see it peeking out from my dress.  

4) These Nakamol earrings are gorgeous! And the colors make me happy. (Loved this necklace too.)

5. This Prairie Underground jacket is now on my wish list. I tried it on and the fit was awesome and felt very true to size. And it looks so much better on than this photo can convey. Would be a great addition and could be dressed up or down. This dress that is kind of like a coat was a fun look too and fit really well.

And the Tummy Tuck Capri Leggings by M. Rena! I have the cropped in gray. And I love them more than I expected to. And that "one size" thing? Well, I kind of didn't believe it. But I'm a believer. They are soft and they stretch big time. I wear them in my studio with my longer hoodie and love pairing them with my Texture skirts. They give me a smoother look, which I want some days. Other days I don't. So I wouldn't wear these in the cuddle up on the couch moments. I'm a fan! 

Please note: Shop Adorn did send me the leggings to try, but all opinions about them are my own. Shop Adorn is not sponsoring this post; however, links throughout are affiliate links. This means I receive a small commission if you decide to purchase anything through these links. Their customer service is awesome, which is the main reason I am sending you their way. Thinking we might need to do a meet-up there during WDS this summer. (Not kidding.)

Friday
Apr112014

everyday beauty

 

This month in Hand to Heart we're exploring the beauty of the everyday moments and we're using our cameras to collect the evidence we find.

This focus is shifting the way I'm using my phone each day. I'm using my timer and remembering the spots where there is more natural light in my home. I'm seeking evidence of beauty even in the messiest moments (like a little one sick with hives for most of Spring Break). I'm pausing to take a few deep breaths and then snapping a photo. And I'm soaking up color even more than usual.

I love how simple prompts can re-energize us and give our creativity just the starting place it needs to blossom. And getting back into the photos (like the one above with Ellie and me chatting in bed) is so important. No it isn't the best photo of me, but it is a photo full of love as I listen to her tell me stories while she plays with her stickers. 

The love is what I always want to remember.

Yes.

Come over and connect with me on Instagram. It is my favorite favorite favorite place to be these days.

And if you want to join us in seeking beauty this month, you can join Hand to Heart at any time.

Tuesday
Apr082014

on living dreams into reality

The words above are on one of the little Soul Mantra notes that I tuck into secret spaces at my retreats. I hide them all over the house...under pillows...in the bathrooms...tucked onto windowsills. And whenever I hide this one, I always say a little blessing that as many people as possible will see it.

Because I really want you to believe that you can live even your craziest, wildest dreams into being.

Yes.

At my first Be Present Retreat back in 2009, I had a moment alone sitting on the couch looking out at the sea in Manzanita, Oregon. As I sat there, I realized I felt so at home. It truly felt like I was doing the work I was meant to do. All the clichés about being where you were meant to be came together. And this phrase "I am living my dreams into reality" flashed into my mind. I remember tearing up and trying to push away the feelings because it felt like almost too much to believe.

But it was true.

And here's the part where I tell you two important pieces about the "living my Be Present Retreats dream into reality" story.

1) One of the best pieces of advice I received was: Live as though the dream is already true. 

2) I had to cancel three of the first four retreats I'd planned because I didn't have enough people. 

The advice came when I was in the "one day I want to own a retreat center or have a loft space where I can hold events but I have no money to do this yet" stage of dreaming. I was sitting at a friend's kitchen table and she'd asked me what my biggest dream was right now. I was working full-time as an editor, in talks about writing a book about poetry and creativity, and I'd just added the Soul Mantra necklaces to my slowly growing Etsy shop full of purses and prayer flags.

I shared that one day I wanted to host retreats that brought together what I'd learned from the sacred community I'd found in my two-year yoga teacher training experience with the creative community I'd found in the art retreats I was attending. I said that I thought I was about five to ten years away from that dream because we didn't have money to buy a place where I could host the retreats.

My dream was deeply connected to a belief that I had to own (or rent) a space to host these retreats I was envisioning.

My friend said, "Why don't you act like you are already living this dream?"

As I thought about her words over the next few days, my way of looking at this dream began to change. I shifted toward the, "Hmmm...that is interesting. I wonder..." phase of dreaming.

But I didn't make any moves for a few months. I started to try on the idea that I could create and host retreats now. I would imagine what it would be like, but I was too afraid to put any ideas onto paper.

Then I had a few really beautiful experiences and conversations with a few friends. Their support pushed me over the edge to move into the action phase.

I started researching locations along the Oregon Coast. I wanted a big house so it could feel a bit like I was inviting people into my home. I found some possibilities. I started brainstorming on paper. I started thinking about names for this new adventure. My blog was called "be present, be here." The name Be Present Retreats was born.

I brainstormed ideas for the first retreat. I came up with the idea of calling it Self-Portrait Excavation: a retreat about self-portraits in photography, poetry, and mixed media. I asked two friends if they wanted to teach with me. And a few weeks later, I put my dream out into the world.

There was a lot of excitement from my blog readers and friends. I felt certain the retreat would fill with excited women ready to sink into the world of self-portraits and community.

During this time the editor I'd been brainstorming book ideas with called me and said, "I think the idea you have for that retreat could be an incredible book."

I loved it. We put together the proposal and it was accepted! Inner Excavation was born.

But only a few people signed up for the retreat. 

I was really discouraged and knew I would probably have to cancel. I was determined to try again. I brainstormed in my idea notebook. I talked to a few trusted friends and they listened and gave me advice when I asked for it. I thought about the two teachers I most wanted to learn from and asked them if they would teach. They said yes.

I pushed forward with my second retreat (that really became my first). It sold out in three days.

And a few months later, I found myself sitting on that couch looking out at the water knowing I'd come home. And I consciously tucked that feeling into my heart so I wouldn't forget.

The next two retreats didn't fill.

At times it was confusing and discouraging, but I didn't let myself forget that feeling of home. 

So I planned another one and we had just enough people to make it work. I kept building from there. Last week I hosted my fifteenth retreat.

Of course there is a lot more to this story, including figuring out how to actually make money and other bumps and bruises as a business grows. There are dear friends who have supported me and a few who have literally helped make these retreats possible. There are lessons and laughter and moments of wondering. And there have been moments when I wasn't sure if I should keep doing this paired with really beautiful retreats that have brought me back to center where I feel at home again.

Today, this is what I know: If I hadn't spent those months taking time to just pretend the dream was already happening, it would still be in the idea notebook I carry around in my head. Literally trying that dream on for minutes at a time helped me step into a the story of what creating the Be Present Retreats might feel like. 

I'm so deeply grateful for that moment when someone shined a light on that dream inside me and let me know I had permission to say, "YES!"

***** 

wingsbutton

This post is part of The Give Your Dream Wings Blog Hop. It's a peek inside the process of how inspiring people make the magic happen. We've got some of the internet's most inspiring bloggers sharing how they give their dreams wings - what they do that supports, nurtures and encourages their tender dreams to come to life. This is happening in celebration of the new e-course of the same name by Andrea Schroeder of the Creative Dream Incubator.

The Give Your Dream Wings e-course shows you how to nurture and grow YOUR dream, for free, in only 10 minutes a day. You do not have to wait until you have more time or money! Click here to find out about the free e-course and to read the other (crazy inspiring!) posts in this Blog Hop.

Monday
Apr072014

poem it out

This month is National Poetry Month here in the US, which seems like the perfect excuse to share a few poems with you.

I'm a big fan of poetry. I think it can save your life (for real). Poets are truth tellers who get right to the guts of life. They have such a short amount of space to tell the story, so they just do it. They demand we pay attention. They edit out all the extra stuff so that as the reader we are left with a mirror or snippet of a memory or a last breath or the first crocus of Spring. 

Yes. 

People often ask me for a place to begin when it comes to reading poetry. My advice is start with the poets whose poems caused you to ask this question. If you read a Mary Oliver poem and said, "YES!" then search for more of her poems. If Rumi caught your eye over on Pinterest, look him up.

You might even want to just stand in the poetry section of your closest bookstore and pretend you are choosing a bottle of wine. Look at the names of the collections, the colors of the covers. Choose one. Flip through. Read what catches your eye. If nothing does. PICK UP ANOTHER BOOK. Start over again. You will find the ones you were meant to find. (I share some more thoughts about this over here.)

Here are five poems to get you started:

"why i feed the birds" by Richard Vargas

"Any Morning" by William Stafford

"The Art of Disappearing" Naomi Shihab Nye

"Now I Become Myself" by May Sarton

"Morning" by Billy Collins

*****

Poem It Out: It's a way of living. My way of living. The way I move through the world, through my grief, through my fears, through my joy. I poem. I read poetry. I write it. I put pen to the page and find my way. It is also a series of ecourses and in-person workshops that I teach.