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Illuminating

It’s the last night of 2020. How do I even begin writing about a year that lasted a decade? I’m counting my blessings. I’m here. I made it, my house is standing, I’m healthy, my parents are healthy, my small business is alive, there’s food in the fridge and gas in my car. I’ll be able to make my coffee in the morning. These are not small things.

This has been the year of putting things in perspective. Health, safety, shelter, a paycheck, the very things we might take for granted were put into question this year. At the same time!!! I don’t know about you but I’m guessing you feel the same, I’m tired. Soul tired. This peaceful week between Christmas and New Years is lovely but it’s made me realize that it’s like sitting down after a marathon…maybe better to keep running because once your’e down, you’re down.

I painted this woman about a week ago as a nod to the new Pantone colors, Illuminating Yellow and Ultimate Grey, a symbol of the year we’ve had and (hopefully) the year we are starting. It’s not my favorite color combo so wanted to bring it alive in a way that felt true to my me. Cozy in a cardigan, strong, resilient, patience with grace. Last year I painted a tiger going into the New Year. Premonition? I’m hoping that this last painting of 2020 is an anthem for being gentle on ourselves, wearing normal clothes again, keeping an eye on the horizon and staying calm under pressure.

Happy New Year, my friends. I am deeply grateful if you read this or have purchased cards or a painting or envelopes or have said hi on social or just follow along because art makes you feel good. This year, more than I’ve ever experienced, a kindred community has kept this boat afloat. Thank you and I wish us all brighter days ahead!

Mindy xo

“Illuminating” 16×20″

Butter makes it better

Butter really does make everything better. Especially this time of year! My obsession with the humble envelope continues and I made this funny one into a fancy lope. Whether it’s the year of enjoying the simple things or maybe Covid (stir) craziness…the art of the handwritten note has become one of my most relaxing joyful hobbies this year. I mean really, who doesn’t want a butterlope arriving in their mailbox? And all this staying at home….well, I don’t do puzzles and I’ve baked all the things and communication feels more important than ever and…Zoom and Facetime is great but….the note with the stamp in the box is such a smile inducer for sender and receiver.

New Fancy Envelope packs in stock. (Assorted designs including Rosebud Motel from Schitt’s Creek, Irish Butter, Penguin Classic, LV Trunk and lots more new.) Holiday Lopes in stock too that have lots of champagne designs if you want to send cards for the New Year.

Put a stamp on it. xo

Home for the Holidays

Home for the holidays means something a little different this year. Usually that would mean me flying to Victoria, BC to be with my family. This year, it’s staying in Ashland, OR, also home. Am I disappointed? Of course. But here we are, everyone in the same boat more or less and I’m going to bring all the cheer and joy and little magical moments to my home as I can. For someone who collects vintage things, I don’t have as much Christmas swag as you’d imagine but what I do have is very sentimental and makes me ridiculously happy putting up and placing just so. It’s not fancy. It’s definitely not making it to a photo shoot but it makes me feel good. And white string lights!!! They make everything better! They actually should and could become a year round installation.

Tea is on, there are sweet treats around that I probably shouldn’t get into but who am I kidding and I have a model sailboat across from me lit up like my own personal boat parade. And tree? Not yet. But I do have a life size white ceramic poodle that is adorned with lights and makes a perfect tree place holder until the real one arrives.

Next up are Christmas cards, maybe a little baking. I’m finding I don’t need a Christmas palooza this year to feel “in the spirit”. I’m curious in this year of all years, what are other people doing or feeling? Status quo? A little blue? Silly happy that we made it this far?

I’ll be pondering that as I dip into the Almond Roca. Because Christmas. xo

“Almond Roca” 8×8″

From my table to yours

Wishing you and yours a peaceful day of good food, zoom calls and cozy couch time or outdoor walks. xo

Happy Thanksgiving Week

Hello from my second lockdown to yours! It’s Thanksgiving week and it looks and feels a lot different than previous years. But you know what? There’s still pie. And there will be turkey and stuffing and it will be a very small quiet day but it’s a year of lowered (lowest?) expectations. I’m not traveling. I don’t feel good about getting on a plane yet. But amidst all of these unbelievable events of 2020, I find myself more grateful than ever.

For me, the southern Oregon fires this summer were the biggest wake up call of all. The very close proximity, the unimaginable loss and the aftermath in this community has put everything into perspective and I can honestly say, this is the year I am incredibly thankful for a good cup of coffee in my own home on my own schedule. So there’s no big Thanksgiving dinner? Ok. Everyone I know is healthy and safe and doing their own version of a revised 2020 holidays. Not every year is a confetti throw.

Because it’s been less hectic, no meal planning, shopping, place setting, house cleaning (phew!) and all the things that go with entertaining, I’ve had extra time to do solo things that bring me equal but different joy. I’m sending out more mail. Painting things I might not have experimented with. Walking longer trails with Bella. Reading more books and learning more skills from YouTube, Skillshare and online classes. You can do all those things with pie!!

Happy Thanksgiving, friends! If this year finds you feeling meh…it will pass, promise. Grateful for you and this community of readers, writers and artists. xo

PS. No particular Black Friday or Cyber Monday sale but as many of you know, I do include extra extra goodies in every order placed on my website. That is a true joy for me! Holiday Cards and Holiday Fancy Envelopes are available. Stickers too. Free shipping, usually goes out within 1-2 days. Fast! xo

The sound heard around the world….

It’s a new day. I think the outpouring of love and celebration and relief in the United States is incredibly heartwarming and hopeful but what I find even more telling and truly optimistic, is the outpouring of pure joy from the WORLD. Global citizens and leaders alike are celebrating a change for good. A change for uniting people, bringing back decency, dignity and the truth. It’s not my intent to use this space as a political platform because truly, I’m an artist at heart, not an activist but this situation was different. Democracy was at stake.

And…a WOMAN as VP!!! No matter what side you’re on, that is a massive cause for pride and celebration. It’s a new day. Champagne is popping because we’re exhausted and now we’re relieved.

Consider this a hug and high five and my deepest wish that, as Joe Biden said last night in his speech, it’s time to SPREAD THE FAITH.

(And if you want to send a “Cheers” in the mail, available here and here.)

When the going gets tough…

The tough make stickers.

Like you, I’m in month 4078 of Covid lockdown, pre-election anxiety and a myriad of other lifey events. And yet life goes on. And business goes on. And I’m forgetting how to laugh some days and then the next I’m having a laugh attack over something David Rose said. (God Bless Schitt’s Creek, Pandemic Salvation.)

No trade shows this year, workshops, in person events, nada. Even the ones that were “so far away”…cancelled. But, makers gonna make. So that’s what I’ve been doing. Painting more than ever, experimenting with a variety of fun products (some duds, some winners), and going wherever my creative compass makes me smile.

Introducing, Stickers. My 10 year old self is clapping her hands and picking out her faves. My 50 year old self is clapping her hands and picking out her faves.

Enjoy, hope you like them. They are 2″, vinyl, die-cut, 5 designs (so far) and pretty darn fun. In stock, shipping now. Thanks for looking and as always, a huge thank you for your support here. xoxo

PS. Free shipping!

Brave

It’s been almost two weeks since the Almeda Fire happened. It’s been about two days since the severe risk has passed and about two hours since we’ve seen blue skies and can breathe fresh air.

The numbers are staggering. Over 2800 structures and homes lost. Hundreds of small businesses that thrived in this valley are gone. 3200 acres burned in the Almeda Fire. 32000 acres are burning in the Obenchain Fire, just 20 miles from here. (It’s 35% contained.) All of it is shocking on so many levels. The loss, the speed of it, the complete devastation, the overwhelming goodness and generosity of this community. I’ve struggled with what to say. My house is standing and I’m unspeakably grateful for that. I also had a very close call on the day it started. It is luck or providence or just mother nature that the winds didn’t blow this fire straight up the hill to our house. It was in sight. From my mailbox I can see acres of black scorched land that burned.

I’ve spent about 10 days in complete fear and anxious paralysis. Every time there is a county warning on my phone, I jump. The town is on very high alert with no rain. We’re nervous. No, we’re terrified. This happened in a blink of an eye. I’ve also spent the last two weeks in awe of this community. Collectively, you can feel it, all we want to do is help. In any way possible. Cash, food, volunteering, go fund me pages, supplies, toiletries, labor, you name it, there is a place to drop it off, kind volunteers sorting and distributing and people to help you. Red Cross and Fema are here. Money is flowing to the right people. It is a grieving community in action.

And I’m also trying to work and paint. It’s been a challenge. The level of stress and anxiety is not normal for an extended period of time. Yet here I am in my house contemplating that. All I can think about is the bravery of the fire evacuees, the fire fighters, the service workers, the pilots dropping water and retardant on the flames, the countless helpers who have showed up during this tragedy. The families who are navigating temporary shelter while trying to home school their kids during covid. Or go to work. File insurance paperwork. Go back to their neighborhoods. It’s pure bravery. xo

This lion came through me the other night. It was as if he needed to be painted and didn’t let me stop until he was on the canvas. If you look up the symbolism of a lion the most common words are majesty, strength, courage, justice and even military might. Lions also protect and guard. Yes, bravery and protection. That is what you feel here now. xo

“Brave” 24×30″

Fire update

Yesterday I wrote a very long heartfelt upsetting blog post. It was about the Almeda Fire that happened here on Tuesday. The day it started, how it started, where it was and what I saw.

I have published hundreds, maybe thousands of posts and not once has one not saved or accidentally been deleted. Yesterday it happened. I was so upset (not really, but nerves are high and everyone is on edge) that all my work was wasted but now I know it wasn’t. I wasn’t supposed to post it. It was too much.

I will post again and write about it but for now, this is the update. I am safe. The house is safe. The fire devastated 1500 homes, countless businesses we don’t have a tally on and thousands of people are displaced. It is awful.

And Ashland and surrounding communities are coming together like I’ve never seen up close. This is war time here. There are shelters, food, clothing, gift cards, cash, toiletries and hot meals available from countless organizations. FEMA, Red Cross, neighbors, schools, churches, restaurants and regular folks setting up shop doing every thing they can. People are giving and showing up. It it the only solace during this time.

On top of this, our community is still at risk. The danger is ever present and we are not off evacuation notice. Honestly? It’s terrifying.

One of the businesses we lost is Puck’s Donuts. This is probably one of our most beloved family run businesses. Always a smile, easily best donuts you’ve ever had and a wonderful family running it, always with a smile and thank you and your iconic pink box to go. It’s gone now. I’m posting this painting from several years ago cherishing the good memories of the day I painted it with my fellow art ladies who used to meet once a week.

Waiting, watching, praying for rain. xo

Send mail! xo

I love the USPS. I think you probably do too if you’re reading this and are a snail mail, art loving, illustrated envelope appreciating, fun packages in the mail kind of person. I wouldn’t have a small business without the US Postal Service, that is for sure. I rely on it daily. I know my mail carrier, all the staff at my local post office and do the drive/smile/wave when I see their white trucks chugging along.

I created this little painting a few weeks ago and it touched my heart (and apparently many of yours). I’ve created a collection of postcards and stickers as giveaways to show support to your local USPS. Send mail! Buy a few extra stamps. Send a package or a postcard. All of it, every little bit helps.

With any purchase on my website through Labor Day Weekend, I am giving away 4 postcards and 6 stickers in every order. Send, share, mention in your order if you need more…I want to spread a positive message of gratitude to these hard working people. I’m sending as many as possible, giving away as many as I can with the hopes that some mail carrier glimpses this happy note and knows that WE CARE. xo

If you’ve been thinking about buying a book, fancy envelopes or a collection of new cards…now is a great time. Free goodies AND free shipping!!!

Hope everyone is doing ok out there. Labor Day, here we go September. xoxo

P.S. No code necessary.