Thursday, December 30, 2010

The View from my Nest...

Much of my home is decorated with my kid's artwork!
Winter has finally arrived here in Colorado! It has snowed all day and I am feeling cozy here at home. I'm fortunate to work from a home-based studio near the Rocky Mountains, and when we have a long snow weekend in front of us, it brings to mind many snowy Colorado memories. I wish the kids or my brothers were here and wanting to make a snow fort!
I want to share an image from my home today, and that's what I call a view from my nest. I know---enough already with the bird references! I'm a bird-nerd. But once again, I truly do have a great bird photo to share and will leave it at that! If you are enjoying a snowy winter day where you are, I toast you with my hot chocolate :)     Happy New Year to each of you!

Thanks for stopping by,

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

We Love Birds?!

I always have a look out for organizations and companies that share my love of birds. One reason for this is that I collect birds and bird images for my home and as gifts. I think birds add charm and beauty to our home. I also like the gift of a bird-themed item, as I think it is light-hearted and it reminds me of nesting and coziness. I hope my friends and family still like (or even love) birds!

I was poking around the Internet and found an organization new to me called Of course, I had to check it out. This site is fun to visit and is perfect for folks who love having pet birds in their home. You can buy bird feeders, cages, supplies, toys, and several movies to watch (when watching your real-life birds gets boring). My daughter is a trainer at a bird aviary in Loveland, Colorado, and I know that birds like to be entertained and challenged when they interact with humans. I was glad I found this website!

It has been a 9 years since I had a bird in my home. My son especially liked working with the parakeets we used to enjoy, and our supply of bird paraphernalia is stored in the rafters. I may need to start thinking about pulling those items down and making room in my home for living birds...they would look great beside my wool ones!

Thanks for stopping by,

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Time flies at year end!

Museum of Contemporary Art Show in Boulder Colo.
I am astounded that I haven't touched my blog since December 8th! I haven't checked in with the folks I follow, either, so I am really out of the loop! Besides my annual gig as Santa's little helper, I've been spending a lot of time planning and scheming about how Nestle and Soar Studio will function in 2011. This is a fun and terrifying job!

My new website is almost ready to go live, and that is something I've wanted for a while. I've been showing my folk art in museum shows and craft fairs in Colorado in November and December, and it is always rewarding to watch people look at my art...wonderful to receive face-to-face feedback. I am also designing a new series of bird-inspired valentines in time for the love-fest that is February! If you love love, you'll enjoy this new series.

Grandpa and Brayden (our littlest Santa)
The most important thing I've been doing for the past 3 weeks is getting ready to host family and friends for Christmas. Our kids and their kids won't all be able to gather at one time this year. I send out my heart to all of you who, like us, have kids in the service this holiday season. No matter how, when, or where we "gather" in body or in spirit, may each of our homes be filled with peace and laughter as we close out 2010 and prepare for 2011.

Thanks for stopping by,

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Bright Orange and Pink Sunsets...

What's on my studio table today...
Today I am thinking about those orange and pink and yellow sunsets that just blow your socks off! This is the kind of sunset that makes you want to pull the car over and just look at it for 5 minutes. This is the kind of sunset that should you be lucky enough to share it with your significant other, fireworks might well happen!

As I think about bright sunsets, I decided to start making a wool version of my own. I am far from finished, but I couldn't resist sharing my progress today. Here is the wool-on-wool-on-wool stage of my needle felting. It will be a week or so before I am ready to add other elements to what I hope is a landscape view of a sunset in the distance. Wish me luck!

Laura Johnston's photo on Etsy
I also have been looking at what other artists do to express the awe-inspiring sunset, and thought I'd share my favorite find. A fellow artist named Laura Johnston took this amazing photo and is selling archival prints of it. I think it is remarkable, and not just because there are birds involved! As I continue to enjoy my reminiscing about sunsets this week in the studio, I think I'll try to capture the vibrant energy in Laura's photo. you can see Laura's etsy shop here.

Thanks for stopping by,

Monday, December 6, 2010

Knitter's Paradise

Click here to see more about Yarn Keep
My knitting-to-relax habit has served me well in the past few weeks. I've really noticed that if I don't knit in the evening right before bedtime, I don't sleep as well! The rhythmic motion of this mindless activity seems to put me in a trance.

"I took up knitting from time to time as a relaxation, but I always put it down again before going out to buy a rocking chair." Beatrice Lilllie, 1898.

Does my enjoyment of knitting make me sound like an old lady? Maybe not if I haven't added the rocking chair yet!

I understand there are lots of celebrities who also knit...not that what celebrities do has any impact on me. It just helps me think of knitting as not just for old ladies. I've heard that Julia Roberts, Tracey Ullman, Dakota Fanning, Kristin Davis, and, get ready for it, Tim Daly, enjoy knitting. Perhaps people who have to spend a significant amount of time waiting around like knitting. I've noticed it is more social than reading because you can talk while you knit.

Blue Sweater -- already knit!!! Click here to learn more.
I found two lovely items for those who love knitting like is for those who actively knit and the other for those who enjoy hand knit items! Hope you enjoy checking them out...and oh, yeah, here's a picture of Tim Daly. Just for fun!

Thanks for stopping by,

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Organization for a Craft Room

I guess I do like lots of color!
I will admit that my studio is a bit chaotic. The wall colors are bright and splashy. Every horizontal surface is filled with collectibles and objects in more bright colors. I work with all kinds of fiber, and that is fluffy and taking over! So when I think about organizing a craft room, my own space cries out for attention. 

Sometimes I fantasize about having the kind of studio that looks like it was just featured in a lifestyles of the rich and famous magazine--you know the kind--more ads for fancy perfume and watches than editorial content. Other times, I fantasize about having the kind of studio that tolerates paint messes on the floor and rowdy wine and book club ladies after hours. Mostly, I'd just like to find the stuff I'm looking for.

Soft wool is a great pincushion--it lubricates your needles!
I have been planning a few craft organization ideas lately. One place that gets my mental vacuum cleaner going is a site called ThreadBanger. I have linked the post I'm referring to and it is filled with inspirational photos of craft spaces. When I see other craft or art studios, it makes me want to renovate my own!

What is the one most important thing you would like to do to organize the room where your creativity takes place? Comment to this post and be added to the drawing for a wonderful wool heart pincushion! Drawing will be held on Dec. 10th, so add your comment today!

If there is one thing I cannot tolerate in my studio, it is straight pins scattered on the floor or counter. I love a good pincushion!

Thanks for stopping by,

Friday, November 26, 2010

Nestle and Soar Studio was blown up!

Clear ping-pong table by dumping method!
You may be warming up a plate of leftover stuffing with gravy, but I interrupt that deliciousness to report that my studio is unrecognizable...the Thanksgiving party descended upon it last night and now...everything is in disarray!

My largest horizontal work surface is my beloved ping-pong table, and wouldn't you know it, some of the young men in my family needed to be reminded that they cannot, and never will be able to beat me at ping pong. (Well, except for my husband, who has wicked back-spin, so I let him win...that is more of a strategic alliance ;)

Grandpa and two grandkids before the smack-down
So, the twelve Bird's Eye View pillow tops I carefully embroidered last week got moved onto the top of the filing cabinets. The Forest Walk needle felt is now sitting on a windowsill (eek!), and all the chairs we own (slight exaggeration) are in the middle of the room. [Seems as though the peanut gallery needed to have a seat to withstand the brutal ping pong smack-down they were made to witness.] That is only the tip of the iceberg. I am talking about a serious mess here!

I think it is important for WOACA (women of a certain age) to display the cat-like reflexes that still can be called upon when need-be. At least, I get a kick out of it!

It is good to be The Winner!
I will head to the studio to put things back to rights, and I think I will write a serious creative to-do list before I allow myself a second turkey sandwich. WOACA also understand the purpose of healthy rewards for good behaviour!

Thanks for stopping by, and happy black Friday! Did you know that is hosting a wonderful shopping extravaganza this weekend, and you won't even have to get out of your pajamas to buy Christmas presents!!

Georgianne (aka The Winner)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Duplicating Myself

CafePress Apron with my Art
It is fun to think about all the items one can have photographs applied to these days. I notice on that lots of folks are selling reproductions of their original art as such things as note cards, coffee cups, and wall art. It makes sense to me, as there are only so many 35-hour hand needle felts I can create! If I can take a great photo of my original fiber art and have it printed onto a quality item, that sounds good to me!

I had the folks at CafePress make this apron for me. I'm planning to wear it at holiday craft shows in December! It has large pockets that will come in handy during a busy selling day. It was fun to see how my photograph would look applied to a canvas apron.

Field of Flowers, 16" x 20"
 I have also started working with the friendly people at FinePrint Imagaing in Fort Collins, Colorado. They have a special studio set-up I can use to have my wool wall felts photographed, and the image will be color-corrected by a pro there. (The image I'm showing to the left was photographed by me. Their version will be so clear, I'll be able to reproduce it with pride.) Those images can then be printed onto gallery wrapped canvas or several other substrates! I'm looking forward to seeing how this will work for me. Stay tuned! If you were to have a lovely, textural folk art image displayed in your home, what size would you want it to be?

I wish I could duplicate myself tomorrow as I begin cooking for 10 people at 5am--maybe my husband will be like a mirror image of me :) I do know he's the one to rise and shine and put the turkey in the oven! Happy Thanksgiving to each of you...

Thanks for stopping by,

Monday, November 22, 2010

Plant a Tree with your Holiday Gift Giving!

Bold and modern red and black colorway...
I am excited to be able to combine a wonderful Holiday Special on my shop with the planting of a tree in the National Forest! My most popular wool applique design, Bird's Eye View, comes in multiple colorways.

Through the end of 2010, I am offering these 16" x 16" handmade pillows at a Holiday Special price of $49! Each time you order from my Nestle And Soar shop on Etsy, I will have planted in your honor, a tree in our National Forests through the Arbor Day Foundation.

I invite you to visit my Etsy shop to see my entire line of Bird's Eye View pillows. If you visit my Holiday Special page on my Etsy site, you can select from all the colors I offer.

Another wonderful advantage to ordering from Nestle And Soar, is that I use lots of TLC when I ship my pillows [I will ship directly to the address of your choice]. I place each pillow in a muslin pillowcase, wrapped in a satin ribbon. And if you would like, I can leave blank the Arbor Day Foundation card, which will help you use that card (explaining the Tree Planting), as the gift card for your friend or loved one. How easy!

Thanks for stopping by,

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Practicing Patience: Forest Walk Wool Wall Felt

What's on my studio table today...
Wool needle felt landscapes are taking a lot of my mental and physical energy these days! I can't seem to finish them fast enough...I just want to begin the next design that has been in my mind and in my sketchbook. The process of making a 16" x 20" wall hanging out of 100% wool is not something that should be rushed, so I am practicing patience ... that reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:

"I am extraordinarily patient, provided I get my own way in the end." Margaret Thatcher, 1989.

Don't you love it!

Detail photo of leaves being placed for felting....
My latest in-progress wall felt is wanting to be named Forest Walk. I hope you can see from the mid-point photo above the perspective of the terrain as you walk through the woods! The detail photo to the left shows some of the fluffy wool roving that has not yet been needle-felted onto the wool foundation. I use a single barbed needle-felting needle to hand place the elements of my design. (There is much more control that way.) After I have the wool where I want it, I switch to a multi-needle tool, like the Clover brand hand tool pictured above, as that lets me make some quick progress in this dry felting technique. I estimate that a wall felt of this size likely has over 5,000 stabs from barbed needles!

I don't use a machine for is all hand done. It sounds kind of crazy, I know, but I truly enjoy the creative handmade process. Which is why, as I enjoyed the soft streaming light in my studio this morning, I reminded myself that rushing the process would be a shame...I want to enjoy every minute of my Forest Walk!

I am revamping my website ( to include a Special Commissions function. I am really excited about it because people will be able to send me a photo of one of their favorite landscapes, and I will create a wall felt or a special pillow using that image as my inspiration. Does that sound like something you'd enjoy? I'd love to hear your input...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Knit One, Crochet One -- from Etsy

Made by HandmaidenBC on
I like to knit and my knitting is super simple and rather brainless. I like to knit scarves from one skein of yarn and I hardly ever try new stitches because my main goal is to stop thinking and let the repetitive motion of knitting relax me.

I found two shopkeepers on Etsy who think a lot harder than I do! The first gal makes jackets for apples, and her creativity makes me smile! After I wash my apple to tuck it into my handbag for a snack later in the day, I'd love to have a pretty little sweater to keep it fresh! Isn't it great? What would you knit a sweater for if you had the skill? Here's a link to find more wonderful knit items on HandmadeBC.

Made by TheBestEtsyShop on

So if I only know limited knitting stitches, I don't know ANY crochet moves. Luckily, I found someone who's got that covered. What do you think of this great crochet Owl Hat? I immediately thought how cute this hat would look on one of our little grandkids, and then I realized that this enthusiastic shopkeeper makes them for adults, too! I know a few darling young adults who could carry it off with great style, but I get a stitch in my side thinking about wearing it myself! With my big round head, I would frighten children in this fun hat! I still love it though, even as I admit I don't often wear hats. I have pulled out my winter walking hat though, which I use to cover my ears on cold walking days like today. There is a dusting of snow on the ground and my hands are chilly as I type today. I guess it is time to turn on the heat!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Do you adore vintage?

I was pleasantly surprised today when the gals behind Adore Vintage included me in their lovely collection (shown in this photo). I am having a lot of fun collecting vintage picture frames, refurbishing them, and then creating a nature-inspired needle felt for their next chapter in life. It is wonderful how my folk art in vintage frames looks so right with these other vintage items!

I remember like it was yesterday when my beloved Aunt Betty bought me a straw purse decorated with brightly colored flowers! I am thinking about my Aunt Betty today :) I do wish I still had that little purse...

If you would like to learn more about the wonderful creative vision behind this collection of nine vintage items, you can find them at Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by,

Friday, November 5, 2010

Handmade Baby Doll -- Perfect for your little girl!

Find Terry at
Our granddaughter Aliyah turns 2 years old this week. I'm excited to share some birthday cake with her and her folks! She is just starting to  understand babies, now that she has a little brother, and I thought it would be ideal to give her a doll baby of her own to cuddle. I asked my friend, Terry Gonzales, to make a special birthday gift for her, and I wanted to show you the exciting results!

This little doll baby is handmade from soft cotton fabric, and her face and heart are embroidered. Terry made a soft white diaper that is easy for little fingers to take on and off, as well as three adorable outfits!

Deep pockets hold Baby and her clothes
Inside of what I call a portable diaper-changing table, also made of colorful yellow calico, Terry has sewn big pockets to hold the Baby Doll when Aliyah is busy doing other great 2-year-old stuff.

I think that it will take a little girl some time to learn to put all of the items into pockets when she picks up her doll to put her away for the day. I remember that after learning this skill, my kids became really interested in stacking items inside small spaces--like pieces to a puzzle, they learned that everything had its special place. While Aliyah learns to do this, Terry was smart to put hook and loop tape on the edges of this carrier; the doll and her clothes should stay inside, even when they are not in the pockets!

After this carrier is closed, there is a comfy handle that is long enough for Aliyah to carry it on her shoulder. I can see her walking around with this toy like it is a purse! Terry embroiders the child's name on the large outside pocket, and she tucks inside that pocket a sweet little baby doll flannel blanket...she has thought of everything!

I am looking forward to playing with this Doll Baby (with Aliyah, of course). I can see us both on our stomachs, changing the doll clothes, cuddling her like a real baby, and putting extra things in the pockets, like little baby bottles and Aliyah's favorite book. I would have loved this Doll Baby when I was a little girl! I guess I still do!

You can find Terry and have her make one of these great Doll Babies for your someone special at

Thanks for stopping by,

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Let me plant a tree in your honor!

Georgianne Holland's Robin Bird Peace Pillow
Nestle and Soar is the name I've given to my folk art studio near the mountains of Colorado. Like the area in which I live, there are plenty of tree and bird images taking center stage here. I see them in my art, in my home, and in my mind. For instance, my new inventory of Tree Coupons from the Arbor Day Foundation arrived, and I am having so much fun sending them out to my Nestle and Soar customers and friends! When I arrange for a tree to be planted in a national forest in honor of a customer, it feels like I do more than admire trees--I actually add to the greening of our planet.

I'll admit that my own forest experiences are limited; Colorado of course, a few days in Georgia and California, but never (yet) to a tropical forest or the giant Redwood forest, or dozens of others. In the meantime, my radar is always searching for a better understanding of the natural forests around the's what I've learned this week.

REDD- what it is, or perhaps, what it hopes to be.
70 developing forest countries could be eligible for REDD, or specified funds provided mostly by wealthy nations, to help those mostly poor countries succeed financially without cutting down their forests. REDD's ambition is to halve global deforestation by 2020. This unprecedented plan was one obvious success of last year's Copenhagen summit on climate change, I have learned. It happened in Oslo in May of 2009, and there met 58 nations, known as the REDD Partnership, and they negotiated to pledge $4.5 billion by 2012 to those eligible developing forest countries measured in "forest-carbon credits". Global climate change summits continue and this ambitious plan continues in development. For those poor countries who need to fell forests to create funds, the REDD plan gives them an alternative to the fund-supply that keeps these important forests growing and doing their environmentally crucial work.

"...if REDD is unprecedented, it is because so is the threatened climate calamity, and forests have a lead part in that. (Forests) are the cheapest large-scale carbon-sequestration option available: they actually consume the stuff. This presents a big opportunity. one estimate, carbon dioxide equivalent to 40 parts per million could be extracted from the atmosphere by 2050. That would roughly match global emissions over the past three decades." What can we do, I ask? "Natural forests must be conserved...Above all, with the human population set to increase by half over the next 40 years, the world needs to work out where its food is going to be produced."
The Economist, Something Stirs, September 25, 2010.

I am a simple folk artist living and working in the great state of Colorado. As I continue to feel the overwhelm of how our planet, our leaders, and our fellow humans around the globe will react to the real threat of climate change and deforestation, I will continue to make art that captures the beauty of nature. I will also continue to gladly make arrangements to have planted many, many trees in our national forests. [Visit my Etsy shop to learn more.] On my bucket list is to visit all of America's National Forests. On my daydream list is to also visit forests around the world. I would love to hear about your forest experiences as well as your thoughts on climate change.

Peace and Health to All,

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Colorful Produce and Time with Laura

Organic Bountiful Harvest!
I am loving the end of season produce from our CSA, Grant Family Farms. It is great fun to take the wide variety of produce I receive every Wednesday and cook for a couple of hours with my daughter, Laura. This Community Supported Agriculture delivers boxes of organic fruits and vegetables, pastured eggs and meats, fresh bread and fresh-cut flower bouquets to convenient pick-up locations in communities throughout the Colorado Front Range, Mountain Communities and Wyoming. I never know exactly what my delivery will include, so the fun of this is in being adventurous when the cooking begins! Laura is finishing her degree in Nutrition and will soon be a Registered Dietician. It is always fun and yummy cooking with her!

Here is a photo of the gorgeous tomatoes I received last week. I cooked them into a sweet pasta sauce, and boy, did that hit the spot! I always know it has been a hit when my husband fills his 3rd plate!

The summer season of CSA deliveries is coming to a close so I need to think about signing up for a Winter Share. I do not want this fun to end!

Thanks for stopping by,

Monday, October 25, 2010

The World's Forests

Autumn Meadow Folk Art, Georgianne Holland, 2010
I have had a fascination with trees for as long as I can remember. I even bought a mediocre house because the trees on the property were magnificent! Not my best financial idea, but certainly one that proves I can go nuts over trees.

I have teamed up with the Arbor Day Foundation (ADF) to include my passion for trees as part of my folk art enterprise. When anyone orders one of my original folk art designs from my Etsy shop, I arrange with the ADF to have planted, in their honor, a tree in a U.S. national forest. I am very excited that such a program exists to make my work as an artist a small part of keeping trees healthy in this country.

I started to think about forests around the world, and know that national forests in America, while close at hand, are not the only forests in a suffering ecology. I want to learn more about the world's forests and the ecological miracle they demonstrate. I will be posting my findings as I come across them, along with beautiful tree images I find along the way!

"Across the world, forests and the soil beneath them absorb about a quarter of all carbon emissions. This is an indispensable contribution to life as we know it, and forests offer many others, too. They house more than half the word's species of animals, birds and insects...Forests are also the source of most staple foods and many modern medicines. They provide livelihoods, wholly or partly, for about 400 million of the world's poorest people." The Economist, September 25, 2010.

My fascination with forests and trees is personal as I feel a connection to the earth whenever I look at a tree. Beyond the personal, forests and trees are a vital part of the earth, and I would love to hear about your feelings about, and experiences in, the forest.

Thanks for stopping by,

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Beginning the Folk Art Design Process

Sheet wool felt and pillow back fabrics in my studio.
Sometimes I begin the process of designing a new folk art item by sketching at the park or while visiting the Botanic Gardens in Denver. Sometimes I am inspired to create a bird needle felt after seeing an episode of Wild America or National Geographic on television. Today I began the folk art process by looking at my supply of felt and fabric in my studio.

I am motivated by the feel of fabric. When I was 16 years old, I worked as the sample sewer at our local fabric store. They would hand me a pattern and fabric and tell me what they wanted sewn. They had a little sewing corner in that store and I would love sitting back there making their pattern sample! But mostly I loved walking around that store and touching all the textures of fabric that they sold. Nubby wool and slick silk, the softest fleece and the stiffest denims; I loved them all!

In my studio today I was mostly inspired by the colors of my wool sheeting supplies. I order often from the nice people at Prairie Point Junction in Cozad, Nebraska. From them I can buy 90 colors of wool felt in sheets or yardage. Once I ordered their Wool Felt Sample Pack which included a 6"x9" swatch of all 90 wool colors! What a treat to play with a huge color variety---now that really did get my creative juices flowing!

I am working today on a series of pillows that I will embroider on my lovely Bernina sewing machine, instead of embroidering by hand. It feels kind of naughty saying I will make something without complete hand work! As I practice making machine blanket stitches, I realize that I am much better doing that stitch by hand, but the machine results are starting to look pretty darn good! Using my machine, I can create 3 pillows in the time I normally spend making 1 using handwork. If I can make the machine-sewn designs look good enough, I will be able to charge less for each pillow, and I hope that will make my folk art attainable to a new group of folk-art lovers.

The bottom line for me is that I am so happy when one of my items is sold and I can mail it to a specific person who is excited to receive it. The energy there is one of the most satisfying parts of my life as an artist.

Well, I'm off to the studio again. I came upstairs for another cup of coffee, and before I knew it, I was chatting with all of you! Thanks for stopping by,

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Encouraging Words

They don't look like they need any more encouragement!
How often should a person hear encouraging words? Is it needy to want to hear them every day? What is so hard about giving encouragement? When is encouragement sincere, and when is it manipulative? Hmmmm.

I would like to hear encouragement more often than I do, and I suspect others feel the same way. As a self-employed person, there is no annual review. As a mom, my kids are raised and living life large on their own (see evidence photo), so I don't get the chance to say "You can do it!" as often as I once did. And don't get me started about my cooking! I am married to a man with a healthy appetite, and if food could be described as edible, he's happy. So when I take a lot of time preparing a meal, he's just as happy as when I plop a bowl of cereal in front of the guy!

Maybe I need to think about this encouragement thing in a different way. Encouragement is not really like praise, which is a complement. Encouragement is more like telling someone that indeed, they do have what it takes, even in this time of uncertainty or struggle. Perhaps I don't hear encouraging things often these days because, frankly, my life is pretty set and simple. The hills I climbed in the past, when I care to look at them, are a vista in the distance. My daily life (with that easy-to-please husband) is comfortable and healthy. Being self-employed is a blessing in so many ways, and if I really want to hear how I'm doing, it is easy to look at things, like my customer's feedback or my checkbook.

I still enjoy being encouraging to others, however. And I'd like to be that for you. Whatever is a struggle for you today, know that if you take a moment to reflect and center yourself, you do truly have all the talents and required personal power to make it through. I send you a pat on the back, a thanks for that great meal, and a job-well-done! Pass it on!

Thanks for stopping by,

Friday, October 22, 2010

Book Review: Handmade Nation, the Rise of DIY, Art, Craft, and Design

Okay, so I look just like my sister Mary here...Hi Mary!
 I had the fun of writing a book review for the nice folks at Handmade Spark this week. The book I chose was Handmade Nation, and if you are into DIY, making things with your hands, or the crafts movement in general, I recommend it! You can check out Handmade Spark at the hot link below...

Book Review: Handmade Nation, the Rise of DIY, Art, Craft, and Design

Today I am travelling to northern Colorado to see my darling daughter, Jessie. We have a few baby gifts to buy (congratulations Emily and John!) as well as food to eat and wine to drink. Tough duty, but I am up for this task!

Thanks for stopping by,

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Bright Birds and a Healthy World

I am a big fan of brightly colored birds! I have found images of a purple bird, a rainbow bird, and a yellow bird (this one I made), and each image makes me smile! Birds undeniably add to our pleasure and brighten our day when we see and enjoy them. In addition to giving us something to smile about, birds reflect the health of our planet. Those who observe and record bird populations create an awareness of environmental changes, and that is important to all life on earth.

Because birds and the environment are important to me, I have compiled a list of organizations that work to preserve, record, and share the beauty of birds. Perhaps some organization on this list will become part of your life today...

American Bird Conservancy;
BirdLife International;
The Nature Conservancy;
National Audubon Society;
Defenders of Wildlife;
Roger Rory Peterson Institute of Natural History;
National Wildlife Federation;
World Wildlife Fund;

Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology;
Ducks Unlimited;

Yellow Bird by Georgianne Holland

  Information as found at the World Wildlife Fund
"Birds in every U.S. region will be impacted by climate change, says new report

Published by Lynn Englum on Sat, 03/13/2010 - 13:12

A new report, released from the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, highlights the troubling decline of bird populations in the U.S. over the last 40 years. The State of the Birds: 2010 Report on Climate Change is a report, released March 11, 2010, about climate change imperiling the nation’s birds."

Please join me in keeping an eye out for backyard birds this winter as well as lending a hand to these popular environmental organizations that merit our support.
Thanks for stopping by,

Monday, October 11, 2010

Let's Celebrate Wool Week

I learned that beginning today through Oct. 17th is Wool Week, as instigated by the Prince of Wales. He is calling this event The Campaign for Wool. I have found a wonderful article about this celebration which also explains what wool growers from England are experiencing today.  Wool Week Article Link

I make my living thanks to wool, so perhaps I am a little obsessive about the stuff? I do thoroughly enjoy working with wool, and often think of the saying I heard once: "If you don't like your work, you are doing someone else's job." Well, I definitely like my work with wool, so I will be celebrating wool week! Will you join me? Do you knit, needle felt, or embroider with wool? I'd love to see a photo of what you make!

This adorable earflap baby hat can be found on Etsy at KuDum. This gorgeous handspun yarn can be found on Etsy as well at LeafGreenHandmade. I may need to add to my celebration of wool by making a purchase with these Etsy is almost gift-giving time.

Thanks for stopping by,
Georgianne Holland

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Abundant Joy Starts with a Belief

Do you believe you are meant to thrive in abundant joy?

This is a question that I ask myself every day. Over the years, when I asked this question, I have answered "No Way!" or "Life is so hard right now!"

Lately though, as I ask myself what I believe I deserve, abundant joy is often the answer. When I believe this is what I am meant to experience, it sets the tone for my day. It seems providential to say that abundant joy is how life was designed. Struggle, pain, and feeling at a loss are learned behaviors, I tell myself. Of course, I understand that pain and disappointment are part of life. But think of a little do you believe kids are meant to thrive? Abundant joy is the natural state for youngsters. This is not always what happens for them. For example, I sometimes see my grandchildren look at their parents after a scraped knee, kind of searching for information in their parent's face. When the look in their parent's eye says "You are fine!", then they smile, brush themselves off, and run along. When the look in their parent's eye says "Oh my gosh, are you hurt!?", then the same child begins to feel worried, and often begins to cry.

I believe that I am meant to thrive in abundant joy. I believe that you are, too! And I also believe that when I believe this, I experience more joy. I also count myself lucky to surround myself with people who will look me in the eye and say, "You are fine!" I believe them.

What do you believe?

Peace and Joy,

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sunflower Power - Brilliant!

It has been unseasonably warm here in Colorado. The leaves are falling under my favorite tree and my front yard needs to be vacuumed with the lawn mover later today (you are wonderful, Ted)! I suppose it is time, despite our warm week, to think about the impending season change. I guess that is why, when I saw this stunning sunflower by Cordavelera on etsy, I had to show it to you. Do you realize that the center of this flower is made of hundreds of beads? I love it! Click on the link and you will see all of of Cordavelera's wonderful creativity.
Sunflower Brooch

I have often wondered if sunflowers really do turn to follow the sun, like you sometimes hear about. I looked it up and found a reference called "Mr. Smarty Pants", which makes me smile! Mr. SP says this following the sun action is called Heliotropism. There is a collection of specialized cells at the base of the flower bud or leaf that allow the flower to track the sun. He claims it is easy to understand why heliotropism is advantageous for leaves. Turning the leaf perpendicular to the sun provides maximum sunlight to power photosynthesis. The sunflower (and other flowers) track the sun so that insects are attracted to the warmth from the sun and their presence is necessary for pollination to occur. He also says that mature sunflowers stop tracking the sun, which makes me wonder if this is a sunflower's menopause? Mr. Smarty Pants did not say as much, but perhaps I'm onto something here!

It is interesting to me how when you are a mature woman, you get these brilliant insights into the cycle of all life. Perhaps the world would be a far better place if it was governed by menopausal women having flashes of brilliance? Just a thought...

As I digress further, I will leave you now...thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Safety and Wellness Check, Please!

I heard someone comment the other day about how their neighbor needed Safety and Wellness Checks from the police. It got me to thinking that we all need to be checked on occasionally. Do you receive calls from that considerate girlfriend who just wants to know how you are doing? That feels great! Do you ever dial your grown child’s phone number just to hear his or her voice? It feels like soothing oil for my heart when one of my adult kids fills me in on their latest adventure! The Safety and Wellness Check I overheard about in the grocery store line is a serious matter, I am sure, and I won't be flip about it. I propose we all take five minutes to check on a loved one today--perhaps someone we don't talk to on an ongoing basis. Perhaps even someone down the block who rarely has visitors.

Perhaps we could even start here....How are you doing? I'd love to hear from you and I thank you for stopping by,
P.S. Kids, I will be calling today...I really do just love the sound of your voices!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Autumn Meadow and Time Savings

Daylight Saving Time is right around the corner, and I know plenty of people who are not excited about it. I have always wondered it we actually saved time with this practice. I think it is more of a time shift.

What are the reasons behind this Fall-back one hour habit? From what I can find, it comes down to booze, candy, oil, accidents, and train schedules...

"In the United States, Daylight Saving Time commences at 2:00 a.m. to minimize disruption. Did you know that many bars fought about the timing of our clock change? Many states restrict bars from serving alcohol between 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. At 2:00 a.m. in the fall, however, the time switches back one hour. So, can bars serve alcohol for that additional hour?

Through 2006, Daylight Saving Time in the U.S. ended a few days before Halloween (October 31). Children’s pedestrian deaths are four times higher on Halloween than on any other night of the year. A new law to extend DST to the first Sunday in November took effect in 2007, with the purpose of providing trick-or-treaters more light and therefore more safety from traffic accidents.
Following the 1973 oil embargo, the U.S. Congress extended Daylight Saving Time to 8 months, rather than the normal six months. During that time, the U.S. Department of Transportation found that observing Daylight Saving Time in March and April saved the equivalent in energy of 10,000 barrels of oil each day - a total of 600,000 barrels in each of those two years.

In addition, some argue that there is a public health benefit to Daylight Saving Time, as it decreases traffic accidents. Several studies in the U.S. and Great Britain have found that the DST daylight shift reduces net traffic accidents and fatalities by close to one percent. An increase in accidents in the dark mornings is more than offset by the evening decrease in accidents.

Time zones were first used by the railroads in 1883 to standardize their schedules. Standard time was codified for the United States and Canada based on train schedules, and it is from this method that we base our time change requirements."

So, time shifting has a long history and plenty of pros and cons. I feel a little bit better now knowing some of the reasons and discussions behind the required task. Do I like it any better? No, I do not. I guess I will have to reconsider moving closer to the equator, where time shifting is not used. Wait, that will get me 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness. I guess I am staying put...

Enjoy your daylight hours this week!

P.S. I also learned that it is not Daylight Savings Time", but "Saving" time. Guess that is my "something new" I needed to learn today ;)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Colorado Blue Sky Treasures

My mom loved the blue of the Colorado sky! I'm thinking a lot about how beautiful and varied our skies can be here at 5280 feet. I've found a few treasures from etsy artists that remind me of this blue sky theme. Enjoy!

Blue Scarf Link

Blue Sky Purse Link

Blue Sky Photo Link

Monday, September 6, 2010

Calling all Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds are on my mind these days! Ted and I purchased a hummingbird feeder, and we haven't had any visitors yet, unless you count the squirrel I caught swinging by his paws yesterday. I've decided to look into this new bird interest of mine.

Most hummingbirds of the U.S. and Canada migrate south in fall to spend the winter in northern Mexico or Central America, thus my low turn-out at dinner time!

The Rufous Hummingbird is one of several species that breed in western North America. This is thanks in part to artificial feeders and winter-blooming gardens, and some even return to the same gardens year after year, which is what I am hoping for! The Rufous Hummingbird nests farther north than any other species and must tolerate temperatures below freezing on its breeding grounds, which, I understand happens for some humans, too. This cold hardiness enables it to survive temperatures well below freezing, provided that adequate shelter and feeders are available. Now that I've learned all this about hummingbirds, I suppose we purchased our feeder at the wrong time of year. I will keep my new feeder hanging anyway, at least through the fall, and see what happens. I really want to see these lovely birds up close.

P.S. Did you know that they can hover in mid-air by rapidly flapping their tiny little wings 90 times per second! They can also fly backwards, and are the only group of birds who can...I really want to see that.

Thanks for stopping by,

Friday, September 3, 2010

A trip down memory lane

I often take a walk down memory lane, and during the past few weeks, there have been a few twists in the road. We've all heard the reference "Sandwich Generation" made about people who have both children and senior citizens as loved ones. I am ham and cheese! During August, 2010, I held our newest grandchild in my arms, and I held a loved one's hand in hospice. Both of these extremes have great meaning, and in both situations, I've loved the gift of good memories.

To celebrate good memories in my life, I created this Memory Lane folk art. Framed in a vintage gold and black oval frame, this wool needle felt of a lane, a lake, and two trees, is special to me.  With seed bead leaves, this wool wall art was a joy to create.

We are hoping for an Indian Summer here in Colorado. Warm Fall days with cool nights will help the apples ripen and the pumpkins grow fat. There is a lake by my home that has a view of the mountains in the distance. I plan to take many walks there this Fall as I keep all of my family in my thoughts and prayers.

Thanks for stopping by,

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Handmade Spark - Georgianne Holland, Folk Art

I am exciting to be part of a new networking site called Handmade Spark.
It is designed to help the world at large know about my folk art and my Nestle and Soar studio.
I hope you will check it out and share it with your is a fun place to look at all things handmade.

Handmade Spark - Georgianne Holland, Folk Art

Monday, August 23, 2010

Wool for a Good Cause

There is a special event happening on October 1st in Boulder, Colorado, for the benefit of The Carriage House Community Table. This fundraiser includes a silent auction, a wonderful meal prepared by Chef Antonio Laudisio (owner of Laudisio's Restaurant), and a keynote address by Buddhist monk and homeless activist, Jana Drakka.

My wool wall panel titled Bonnie's Blue Sky Day (shown here) is one of the items being auctioned to raise money for this loving place where homeless individuals receive support, aid, and nourishment.

If you would like to find out how you can participate in this special event, visit Carriage House Community Table for more details. I hope to see you on October 1st in Boulder!

Thanks for stopping by,

Sunday, August 22, 2010

It's Not Easy Being Green

Kermit the Frog may have had a hard time being green, but it is getting easier for artists every day. I think about eco-friendly ways to be artistic. This first happened when I was using a lot of stinky sprays and varnishes in my studio and I gave myself a huge headache. I had to go outside and put my head between my knees, I became so dizzy from the fumes. My nose felt burned and so did my lungs. My kids said, "You got high on the fumes!" This was not a nice kind of high. I proved it to them by losing my lunch. I wonder if this experience is why I cannot remember as well as I used to? I digress...

Choosing art supplies and materials that were created using sustainable materials or environmentally conscious manufacturing processes is now important to me. Here are a few things I have learned!
  • Strathmore Windpower Series is a line of papers made with 100% windpower, a pollution free, renewable energy resource.
  • ReBinder offers 100% recycled products including binders, folders, and journals which I love.
  • Decorative papers from Lokta has no adverse effect on forest ecology. Toxic chemicals in papermaking are a real issue, so I like the folks at a company named Mr. Ellie Pooh.
  • Eco-House offers solvents in graduated potency strengths. Using their line of solvents, I can get the job done with the mildest version.
  • I learned that the acrylic paints I use release fewer volatile organic compounds (VOCs) than my previous brand. I was happy to know because I originally chose the line based on color choices. The folks at Meininger in Boulder had all of the material safety data sheets and were very helpful.
  • I now have a safe holding space for old supplies like paints and solvents. I wrote the contact info for our Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment on the box. They can help me dispose of these items properly. I keep my stash well away from my fibers. Some stains and solvents will combust and I do not want my lovely wool (or my lovely studio) to go up in flames! Visit here for more information.
  • Studio ventilation is critical. I keep windows open as weather allows for cross ventilation. I run the bathroom fan all year long to keep air moving out of the studio. I keep floor fans going to move the air during the winter. I take breaks often and enjoy sunshine and fresh air.
What kind of eco-friendly ways to you do Green? Let's compare notes!
I hope your creative life is healthy in every way,

Sunday, August 15, 2010

All's Quiet on the Western Front

I am pleased to be back to my studio after a week of time away! My dear friends Mary and Perry invited me to drive three hours into the Colorado Rockies to a lovely hot springs resort. Once there, we all witnessed the marriage of their wonderful daughter, Sarah, to her sweetheart, Patrick. It was a week filled with young love, hot soaks in natural pools that dot the mountains and valleys of a tiny town called Fairplay,  and a week filled with friendship.

I travelled with my precious daughter Laura, and she and I had a chance to relax, laugh, and spend time with these cherished family friends.

As love birds are still on my mind, I found this charming painting from Nancy Jean of The Painted Sky studio in New Jersey. I love it! If you'd like to see more of her art, you can easily visit her at  Love Bird Painting. Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by. I hope your day is filled with love, birds, and long-time family friends!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Grandma Willow Tree is Pure Poetry

In case you aren't all sick and tired of my talking about being a grandmother, here we go some more.

I found this lovely sculpture on etsy today and wanted to share it with all of you. A talented artist named Tanja Sova created this tree in remembrance of sitting under a willow tree at her grandmother's house. Isn't that a great memory! I have often thought, especially after seeing the apple tree scene in The Wizard of Oz, that trees have faces hidden in their bark. This sculpture by Tanja proves that to be true.

[Click the Wizard of Oz above and I will magically transport you to Dorothy and her friends.]

You can enjoy Tanja's etsy shop at this link.

So because I've probably crossed the line in how many times I've mentioned my grandmotherly joy, I wanted to tell you a willow tree fun fact about my childhood! Well, it is kind of a new topic...

Yes, I am a published poet since that fantastic day when Miss Sargent sent my Willow Tree poem to Highlights Magazine, and they, in their poetic wisdom, decided to publish said poem in 1967. Because I figure that if you have read this far, you'd probably read all the way to the end of this post, I will type from memory my amazing poem. Enjoy!

Willow Tree
by Georgianne Leman

As I sit under a weeping willow tree
I think now, let me see
How many times have I sat here before?
How many times have I looked out the door?
How many times have I seen the Sun, a smile on its face
Looking down on the whole human race

Thanks for stopping by. I promise to open my heart to new topics in the near future,
Georgianne, also known as gma

Monday, August 2, 2010

Freckled Birds Folk Art Pillow

I have freckles and so do my birds! This fun folk art pillow was recently featured in an Etsy article title A Colorful Countryside, and it has been fun to see how many people from around the world are enjoying these little birds! Click here to read the article. A Colorful Countryside Article.

There are many ways to applique a design like these birds. Lots of folks are enjoying the raw edge applique technique, which my design could be described as, because I did not turn under the edges of the birds when I sewed them. My birds are made of wool felt, so they will not fray or change shape. I found a helpful video about raw edge applique using a sewing machine, if you'd like to learn more.

The method I used for making my Freckled Bird Pillow involves all hand embroidery. Using embroidery floss and a simple running stitch, I apply the felt birds to the taupe linen pillow front. I know that it would be faster to sew these birds on by machine, but I like how the hand stitching looks in this design. I've sewn seed beads onto each bird to represent the freckles. It almost makes freckles seem charming...which is an attitude about freckles that I wish everyone enjoyed!

I've heard from dozens and dozens of people since the Colorful Countryside article was published this weekend. It is fun how immediate activity happens in this world of Internet retailing. I am pleased that this pillow design strikes a chord with people and I will have fun making the custom orders that are coming my way for this pillow design. I will be teaching an applique class in August and plan to teach several applique techniques. It is a time-honored method for creating quilt blocks, pillow fronts, and embellishing clothes and accessories. It is one if my favorite art forms!

Thanks for stopping by,