Tuesday, December 01, 2015

The Maison Boheme 2015 Holiday Gift Guide

Happy December! The gift giving season is upon us, dear readers, and while I'm opting for a mostly handmade Christmas here in our house, I still enjoy scouring shops and online nooks and crannies for wonderful gifts made by others. This year, I've found some lovely new goodies and services to covet in addition to my stand-by favorite things. Here are ten thoughtful gifts for the bohemian soul.

For the  Organized Homeschooler
Taproot 2016 Calendar

Taproot Magazine is now selling their 2016 Calendar with original art by the ever-loving-talented Pheobe Wahl. It's a celebration of simple domesticity and eco-social justice. Find it HERE.


You all know that I'm an incense lover. And I am always on the hunt for warm, woodsy, earthy scents. I recently discovered a new favorite. It's a beautiful blend and it's the right price for gift giving. And personally, I think its perfect regardless of gender. It's called Woodstock from the West Third Brand Modern Apothecary. It has classic incense notes of sandalwood, patchouli, cedar, coumarin, musk, benzoin, olibanum with hints of vanilla. Its a dreamy, heady, perfect winter scent. Find it HERE.

For the Bohemian Hostess
Soap from Portland Apothecary

Also in the yummy-smelly-botanical-gift category are handcrafted soaps from the Portland Apothecary. These gorgeous soaps are made from essential oils and healing botanicals. My favorite is the Mountain blend, which is made with juniper, rosemary, fennel, charcoal and crushed walnut husks. The Forest blend is also heavenly.

For the Powerhouse Warrior Queen
Shield Earrings from Lynzee Lynx

These handmade shield earrings by Lynzee Lynx are to die for. I just bought a pair while I was in Portland, OR last week and I've worn them almost everyday since.They are seriously groovy and more light weight than they look. Find them HERE.

For the Commuting Wanderer
Trekker Bag from Tom's

This Trekker Backpack by Tom's is my husband's go-to bag for everything. When I was at the Texas Style Council Blogger Conference this past spring, I attended a keynote address by Bethany Joy Clark of Tom's. At the end of her talk she handed out these industrious bags to participants. (Bonus: for every bag purchased, Tom's donates money towards training for skilled birth attendants and birth kits to an expectant mothers in impoverished parts of the world.)

For the Artsy Creative Seeker
Studio Diaries Subscription from Flora Bowley

If you're looking for the perfect gift for the artist in your life, then consider a subscription to Flora Bowley's Studio Diaries. This subscription is an online offering from artist and inspirationalist, Flora Bowley. Every month, she takes you inside her studio to give you an intimate look at her creative process, introduce you to some of her favorite, creative friends, share her latest fascinations and offer an array of valuable, inspirational content. Find it HERE and learn more from her informational video. (And if any of my family members are reading this, and you're wondering what to get me this year... this would be amazing.)

For the High Heel Boycotter

These beautiful leather shoes are my hands-down favorite shoes ever. They're a little pricey, but its because they're handmade to fit your foot. When you order them, you trace an outline of your foot and they make it exactly to your specifications. And this year, when my old pair were all worn down and the soles were getting thin, I sent my shoes back to the company and they re-soled them, buffed out the scuffed up leather and shipped them back! Find them HERE.

For the Adventurous Tea Drinker

Last year, my sister-in-law gave me a tin of this Christmas-y tea from Teavana. I won't lie. At first I was skeptical. White chocolate in tea? It didn't sound right to me. But, oh, let me tell you - that first sip changed my mind. This tea is liquid Christmas, without being overly sweet. You can get it in 2oz bags HERE or you can go whole hog and get the 8oz tin HERE.

For the Transcendental Meditator with a Stocking to Stuff

Mayan Temple is my favorite incense for everyday burning. We go through these packs of 16 pretty fast in my house. The best price I've found is from PaganStore.us

For Anyone with a Soul

This stunning collection of art from Nikki McClure is for everyone. Young, old, religious, secular, drunk, sober, optimist, pessimist - it's for everyone. There is a lovely review of this book on Brain Pickings (one of my favorite blogs) which addresses Nikki McClure's body of work and her intention with this collection. You can get your copy of Collect Raindrops HERE or on Amazon.

Monday, November 30, 2015

The Kora | Will Dudley

I had never heard of the Kora before last Saturday. I was in Flora Bowley's Bloom True workshop, when Will Dudley, a Portland based musician, set up a little spot in the middle of the studio and began playing his Kora. The Kora is a 21-stringed harp played by the Mande people of West Africa. The instrument is made from a large Calabash gourd, which has been cut in half and covered in cow hide.

Will sat amongst us and played pieces from his new album while we painted. It was pretty transcendent. His work is so beautiful and detailed. I bought his CD and have been listening to it all week. Its so soothing, like hitting a mental reset button. Please go get his album HERE. It's completely dreamy.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Intention: Slow Down, Notice

This week, I visited my father in Ashland, Oregon. He bought a sweet little house in July and I've been looking forward to seeing it for the first time. During our visit, my pops asked me to do a little rearranging of furniture, hanging of art and general zhooshing. We also had time to walk Lithia Park, eat lots of lovely meals and enjoy some uninterrupted chatting.

At the end of the week, he and I drove to Portland to attend Flora Bowley's Bloom True Art Workshop. This is something I've been hoping to do for a few years. I asked my Dad to come along, and he happily agreed. I think we were Flora's first ever father-daughter team. I'll write more about the workshop tomorrow - so much to share and unpack - but until then, here are some photos from my time in Ashland. My intention this week was to slow down and notice the world around me. Its amazing how fast life seems to whoosh by if you're not paying attention. I'm still working on moving at a slower pace... but this week was good practice.

Here are two quick shots of my Dad's place after I did a little design magic. He already had all of the furniture and rugs and art. I just put the puzzle together. All of the art hanging in his dining room is his own original work. You can find some of it HERE.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Digging In and Awakening Shakti

I've never been in a book club. I've fantasized about doing a woman-centered, lady-mojo, gypsy-soul kind of book club, but never had the right group present itself. But then, BAM! Another like-minded friend got the ball rolling. Elizabeth from Mystic Vixen, got the party started.

She is in the process of reading Awakening Shakti by Sally Kempton and thought that there might be others out there in cyber space who might like to join her. My copy arrived in the mail this week and I'm joining her impromptu book club. You're welcome to join us HERE.

Photo via Mystic Vixen

Want to more know about the book? 
Check out THIS interview with Sally Kempton via Origin Magazine! 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Mysterious Wood Carvings

While visiting Shelburne Farm this past October, I happened upon a stand of wood carvings installed along the path to the barn. They were so striking and unlike anything else at the farm. The raw wood has been left to chip and fade, which adds to their charm and mystery. Take a look.

I have tried to find out about the artist or the origin of the carvings, but no luck. Do any of you out there in the cyber world know where these amazing little totems are from or how they ended up at Shelburne Farms? The only photo I could find of them, besides my own above, is from Josh Bassett Photography (below).

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Two Years of Radical Homemaking

It is time for our weekly installment of Radical Homemaking. Interested in learning more about what that means, check out THIS post and THIS post. 

Remember back in June of 2013 when I was all fired up about the concept of Radical Homemaking and I wrote THIS? And then a week later, I made a whole bunch of plans for a backyard homestead? Well, I'm really excited to say that I did it. I turned this consumer household around! (There's more I could be doing, sure. But on the whole, it's been a success.)

Every morning, I walk out into my transformed backyard to collect eggs, cut some chard or kale for the daily meals and snip a few a herbs. I'm one of those people (perhaps you can relate) who is plagued by legions of ideas, but only follow through on some. But this big idea has really come to fruition and it's so rewarding.

Today I'm celebrating. The Radical Homemaking project I began over 2 years ago is alive and well and flourishing in my little backyard plot in the middle of Dallas, Texas. I've built and maintained two large raised beds for vegetables. I've started most of my plants from seed. I have a rain water collection system. I have a compost system. I designed a 100% recycled chicken coop and raised a small back yard flock of four from chicks to laying hens. Does it sound like I'm bragging? Well, I am. I'm really proud of myself - especially since I had no real experience with any of these things before embarking on this project. So if you're thinking about doing something like this - I say go for it! Take the plunge and see what happens. To celebrate, let's take a look back at my two year experiment via Instagram.

READ more of my posts on Radical Homemaking HERE.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Cape Cod

Today, I wanted to share a few more photos from my recent trip to New England. During the last few days of our journey, my husband and I visited family in Orleans on the Cape. We visited Nauset Beach, Providence Town and a few other special New England nooks. Here's a little taste.

And here's a little slice of the sea...