Skill It Home

creative handmade family cooking


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The year of allowing

IMG_0481I love the ritual of choosing a guiding word for the year. After learning about it several years ago, I started this practice myself, choosing the word POWER to guide me through the year 2013.

In that year, I got married, bought a house, was laid off from a job that no longer suited me, and was hired by a company with awesome benefits where I get to work with amazing people.

So many things I’d been wanting and dreaming of for ages came to fruition that year.

The following year, on a plane headed for our Caribbean honeymoon, I let a stream of words flow through my hand to the ink on the page. A long list of possible choices for 2014 appeared on the paper, most of them looking pretty serious in black and white…

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Trust…Release…Gratitude…Surrender

I love these deep, weighty, self-reflective words, but I intuitively felt a need to expand beyond this comfort zone. A greater challenge for me would be embracing something more light-hearted, which is how I came to settle on the word PLAY for last year.

And I relaxed. I let go of my expectations, unrealistic goals, and philosophical intensity. I chose to slow down, be present, and have more fun. We traveled and ate amazing food and I took photos everywhere we went.

There were trips to Cape Cod to see celebrate anniversaries, visit with old friends and walk along the water. I set up my sewing machine on the dining table and sewed stacks of blankets, burp cloths, pieced together two quilts and made cute little stuffed animals for the baby I was growing in my belly. I got to know my yoga mat again and cooked delicious meals in my tiny kitchen.

I felt like a kid again, playing with my fabric, toys and art supplies. It was a much needed retreat and hibernation that deeply refreshed my heart and soul. I felt more Leah than I have in ages.

As last year came to a close, I welcomed little August Bison and melted happily into my new role as his mama. I knew I wanted to find a word for 2015 that would help guide me through the journey of motherhood. There are significant changes I’d like to manifest this year in body, mind and spirit. But I have don’t have any idea yet what those small baby steps are to get from here to here.

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This is how I came to choose this year’s soul mantra…ALLOW

I don’t know how exactly how to bring my desires to fruition so I will be calling on powers bigger than me to help. I’ll be talking to my spirit guides. I’ll reach out to my community of friends and loved ones. I’ll be meditating on growth, expansion, and connection.

I can’t force things to happen, I have to allow them to unfold. I’ll have to create this year in a spirit of trust and faith and have the wisdom to allow the path to appear before I take each step.

Have you already found your word for 2015? If so, please share yours here in the comments so we can all help one another along our paths. And I’ll be sending lots of love and light your way, my friends.


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Project Home and Healing

Cozy by the FireAs a new mama, I’ve been spending a lot more time at home, most of it feeding my little boy in a favorite armchair by the fire. In one way, I have all this time on my hands, but most of it is spent holding this 11 pound cutie for feedings and naps.

Normally I am one to cram 26 hours of activities and projects into a single day. Since the baby’s arrival, I’ve had to reframe the pace of life in my mind. I decided to embrace this reality and I call it deliciously slow. I capture these moments with photos and share them on Instagram. It’s a daily meditation and reminder to slow down that helps me stay connected and grounded.

When I came across a new offering from my friend Renee Tougas of the lovely blog FIMBY, I knew it would be perfect for this new mama. It’s called Project Home & Healing: The Kitchen Table. It’s a “creative homemaker’s journey to health and happiness.”

Why have I joined Renee’s Kitchen Table? For tea and conversation. It’s a virtual living room, a place to meet other women and mamas. It’s a community table where we can circle and connect. Or as Renee describes it…

Smell the PeoniesThe Kitchen Table is a group of women interested in connecting and learning from each other around the themes of homemaking, personal growth, and wellbeing.

Each month Renee will be sending an essay to those of us with seats at the table into our email inboxes. She’s working on a way for us to all connect so we can share ideas with one another inspired by the monthly essay.

I love that each month will have a theme related to heart and home. Knowing Renee, I am confident they will be gentle and thoughtful prompts for self-reflection. She chose her themes to help breathe more joy and confidence into her daily life and I am excited to join her along that journey.

Project Home and Healing is a group open to women of all ages and stages, though you’ll probably identify most if home is part of your heartbeat.”

This lovely community project is a gift from Renee with no cost to its members. If you’d like to join the Kitchen Table with us, you can visit Renee’s website to sign up.

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If you do, please leave a comment here so we can connect around the table!


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Making creative space for our heart and soul

Leah August CircleHello loves! It feels so good to be in this space, writing and connecting in this living room-kitchen-dining table of a blog. I’m delighted to ease my way back here after the big break I took last year to work on a little project of my own…a baby named August!

We welcomed our little man in December and the three of us have been getting to know each other ever since. Newbornville is a wild place but we wouldn’t trade it for anything. And being a mama, this all-consuming, tiring, and blissfully rewarding adventure, is my new favorite job.

Preparing for our baby’s arrival got my creative juices flowing. I deeply craved the unique satisfaction that comes from making things. Quilts, toys, knitted sweaters…I was a woman on a mission to make, make, make! I felt the primal urge to nest, prepare, and carve out space in our home and our lives for a new little person.

All that creativity reconnected me to the things I love doing outside of the kitchen. Things I am excited to begin sharing more as this bright, shiny new year unfolds and reveals itself.

The everyday pleasure of eating is such a rich and juicy part of the life I am creating with my new family. So food and the family dinner table will always be at the center of this blog. But at heart, I know that what I am really sharing is the importance of nourishing ourselves and our loved ones. And any activity, done with intention, can nourish us deeply. This is why I’m so excited to expand beyond food and the kitchen table in my writing and courses.

Baby QuiltIn doing so, I’m allowing room for a full spectrum of creative pursuits to breathe and grow. I’m gathering the yarn and fabric together with the scissors, buttons, thread, and needles. The shelves are filled with baskets of markers, feathers, ribbons, paper, and tape.

A big cutting table is covered in linen and cashmere scraps, is ready for the next quilting or stuffed animal project that captures my imagination. The bookshelves are filled with books on cooking, knitting, sewing, design, yoga, and holistic living.

My intention is to open up new possibilities for connection, heart-centered creativity, and soulful self-expression.

This year, I hope for all of us to have more chats about a handmade, home-cooked life together over mugs of steaming tea. Together, we can put the puzzle pieces of our varied interests together into a nourishing tapestry that celebrates the simple pleasures of the everyday.

I’ve dreamed this space into being and yet it’s still a work in progress. I love sharing my vision for this space because I am guessing that many of us yearn for more freedom to do what our heart desires. We choose guiding words for the year. We jot down our ideas in notebooks. We dream of a nook, room, or big barn where we can play and create.

As mamas who nourish others all the time, feeding, caring, and offering ourselves to the ones we love, making time and physical space for ourselves is so important. We know we need to fill our cups and put our own oxygen masks on before we can offer our extra energy and love to others.

Oxygen is just as essential for life as sacred space.

Sacred spaceWithin the reality of our unique homes, budgets, and creative desires, each of us has a different vision of what this would look like. Often, it’s a multi-layered process to identify what our heart really wants or needs. One first step is to name it, say it loud, write it down, or just tell a friend what you’re thinking about…

  • What creative passion is important to you?
  • What kind of space do you need to express that?
  • Is there one small step you could take to start claiming that space for yourself?

I’m inviting you to name your intentions here, in writing, for what you want to create for yourself this year. I’ll be reading every response and I can’t wait to hear what you have to say…


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{TWO giveaways!} Mothering with HeART & season’s eatings

It really is a time of amazing abundance around here this Spring! I am so delighted to have met so many amazing women in the past years who all offer such wonderful guidance and inspiration to nurture and support others along their paths. Shannon Kinney, the creator of A Free Spirit Life is one of those very people. A mama, coach, teacher, and artist, Shannon is someone I always turn to for a boost of creative confidence and lovely ideas.
MWH_LogoI am so very excited to be able to offer a giveaway with her this week for a spot in her course, Mothering with HeART, along with a spot in season’s eatings. Yep, two giveaways in one!
Here is a little more about Mothering with HeART:

To be a mother is to learn how to nurture and guide your children while you nurture and guide your own life.

This means, take time for YOU.  Get rest.  Do what feeds your soul.  Make space every day for creative activities that bring great flow and recharge into your life.  Find stillness so that you can let go of the outward distractions and more easily connect to your own intuition.  Listen to your heart.  And TRUST that you are right where you need to be.

You are doing enough.  You ARE enough. And your kids love you – oh yes they do.

It takes practice to learn how to integrate your personal interests and needs into daily life with children.

Mothering with heART gives you a daily dose of inspiration, support and encouragement so that you can connect to the wisdom within your heart – that place inside YOU that simply knows the creative dreams and desires waiting and ready to be born.

Shannon Kinney

The NEW Mothering with heART e-course runs April 28th – May 16th.

This live, three week course includes:

  • reflections and inspiration on creativity & intuitive mothering
  • daily journal prompts that support & encourage mindful living & dream building
  • tips to invite more rest and relaxation into your life
  • 3 videos which address weekly themes:  Love, Courage & Joy
  • 1 guided audio meditation created to nurture moms
  • weekly art journaling projects to do with and alongside your children (of any age) –
  • connection to a private, ongoing community with other mothers from all over the world
  • LIVE online chat with our community
  • personal essays, interviews, stories, tips and other inspiration from artists, writers, life coaches, stay-at-home moms and more… (See below for the list of special guest contributors.)

Now, how can you enter to win?

To win your space just leave a comment below telling us…where in your life could you use the nurturing of this community?
Enter by leaving your comment and I will randomly pick a winner this Monday, on April 14th.
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I can’t wait to read each of your comments and I wish you luck in both of these great giveaways!
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