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A Garden’s Pulse

Nothing like taking time to sketch to get the creative juices flowing.
Black-capped Chickadee – A Garden Sketch

Each year I look forward to spring and venturing to our backyard to enjoy the many birds that populate our neighborhood. Growing up in the country, the pulse of life included harmonious songs of a multitude of birds. Life’s energy filled the world around me. When I moved from the country to a new development in town the absence of these beautiful songs and the lack of life was disheartening. Fifteen years ago, there were no trees and no birds in our neighborhood.

Today, after much hard work and time, we have many mature trees and numerous types of birds. This year we have a new addition, a chickadee family.

Captivated by the tireless efforts of this chickadee pair, I watched them carve a home out of a log stump in our yard.

This photo shows the result of many weeks of nonstop labor. Amazing! I would love to know what the inside of the stump looks like. Google, however, will have to suffice since I respect the hard work and home of these adorable little birds.

Black-capped Chickadee facts

  • lay 1 egg per day and may lay anywhere from 6 – 8 eggs
  • most friendly of wild birds, social birds
  • create numerous food caches and can remember where they are
  • can lower its body temp in winter
  • has 15 different calls
  • nonmigratory
  • the nest excavation averages approximately 21 cm deep
  • the female picks the location for the nest

For more information on Chickadees check out The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, The Canadian Wildlife Federation.

Life in Our Backyard

I am married to an amazing man who happens to be a very talented photographer. He captured these photos in our backyard a couple days ago.

Drawing Inspiration

The colors, shadows, shapes, subjects, and life in my own backyard often become part of my drawing inspiration. It is essential for me to spend time working outdoors. Quick sketches, like the one at the beginning of this post, help me to develop a creative pulse – some of those sketches work their way into other projects during the year. Being outdoors allows me to take a break from the normal grind of life, and not feel bad about keeping up with social media posts – a great way for me to reconnect and reclaim balance. The pulse of the garden is a tiny gift that money can’t buy.

One More Photo

Baby Robins

There are many other types of birds that add to the pulse in our yard like this robin family. Every year there is a momma robin who builds her nest under our deck. I managed to get a quick photo while momma went for a worm run.

…guess we are sharing the strawberries again.



To walk in nature is to witness a thousand miracles.

-Mary Davis
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Intentional Living for a Sustainable Life

If you look up the definition of intentional living you will come across words and phrases like conscious attempts, life choices, attitudes, deliberate decisions, purpose, self-awareness, and the list goes one. Recently I watched a Market Place episode on plastic waste and it’s impact on our environment. As I sat there watching I was appalled by the lack of knowledge and concern of how our lifestyles are impacting the environment. Yes, this includes my own ignorance! I was struck with guilt the very next day when I made a quick stop at the grocery store. A plastic bag for the tomatoes, another for the lettuce, …the avocado, does it really need to go into a plastic bag, and that one lime I bought…

The story continues as I proceeded to the checkout and realized my reusable bags were at home. Really?!

I thought I was doing my part, growing my own vegetables, composting, recycling, and making products that are better for the environment and better for my family. After all, I chose to use water-based ink over plastisol for screen printing. What does that matter when other areas of my life are contributing to the problem? Better yet, how am I going to fix this problem?

First, a quick definition to clarify goals and intentions.

  • Goals and intentions are not the same but work well together.
  • Goals are set in the future and have a destination.
  • Intentions are in the present and focus on how you live in that moment.

Back to the question I asked earlier. How am I going to fix my problem? I have decided to set intentions and goals that revolve around helping our environment. Simply put, I want to recognize and live my values daily, with intention, to help meet my goals that include reducing my footprint.

The Project

I love fun bags and totes and I love creating items that are not harmful to our environment. For me, having pretty totes that are multi-functional sets me up for success – I am more likely to have totes with me when I have to make that quick stop at the grocery store for one or two items. Let me be honest here, one or two items usually turns into more items than I can carry with my two hands.

Natural Cotton

It is important to me to use natural fibers in my creations. This bag is made from 10 oz. natural cotton. The design is screen printed with water-based ink. Functionality is also very important to me. The printed design portion of this bag creates four deep pockets for books… The main large section (16″x 14″) is perfect for the “one or two” items from the grocery store or for carrying books and lunch on the way to work. I included an inside zipper pocket for my phone and a key clip. I also decided to incorporate leather handles to add a little class.

Moving Forward

As I move forward I am excited to make a variety of totes incorporating an assortment of custom surface pattern designs. I plan to make some of the bags with canvas handles and others with leather handles. To keep it fun, I will introduce color into some of the designs. I am excited to start creating!

In order to help fulfill my daily intentions and environmental goals, I will be designing other environmentally friendly and sustainable items. For those who have joined me on this journey, thank you, I will keep you posted.

For more images follow me on Instagram.


If you don’t think using plastic is a problem, check out the Market Place Episode on Plastic Waste. Every little step helps!