Where You Can Find Me

November 6th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

When I’m not working right HERE, or eating THIS, I can be found branching out doing other fun stuff that can be found right at your fingertips HERE. My original pen-and-ink illustrations—notecard sets, smallish prints, and even the gargantuan poster-sized ones—are now available on my Etsy site.

My old-school pen-and-ink drawings evolve from intense observation of found objects, experimentation of scale, and nuanced use of crosshatching and mixed ink techniques. I address every project with uncompromising attention to detail. Each illustration is my original work, then printed by me in-house, and then packaged and shipped by me—straight from New York to your doorstep. Below is a smattering of what you might find on Etsy. Head HERE for even more fun stuff.

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Steps to Take When the World Seems Like a Terrible Place

February 8th, 2017 § 1 comment § permalink

Following an emotionally exhausting political season, the month of love has finally arrived. Let’s welcome, with open arms, the sweet exchange of molten chocolate lava cakes and mysterious handwritten notes. But, amidst it all, let’s not forget to regroup. Perhaps you, during these past few months, have been through a cumulative trauma that has left you feeling a bit rattled. Below are steps to take any time it seems difficult to ignore the injustices all around. Keep the list close by to use anytime you’re feeling glum. It will make you and those around you have a little more hope and faith in humanity.

 

  1. Be Nice to Yourself

Take care. Embrace drinking chamomile tea or chocolate muffin milkshakes, but also eat real food—food that is good for you. Watch inspirational episodes of Wonder Woman or Batman. Leave affirming messages on your own phone. Write sappy slogans to yourself and hide them inside cabinet doors. Better yet, post them proudly on your fridge—“I really am amazing!”

  1. Unplug

Take a break. Go outside. Reconnect with the natural world. Walk to a nearby playground, or head deep into the woods. Search for animal tracks, skip stones on an icy pond, go cloud watching, or start a winter journal. Learn to meditate. Sit still. Breathe.

  1. Connect with Others

Seek support. Reach out and strengthen connections with your family and community. Join forces. Surround yourself with inspiring people. Hug and be hugged.

  1. Do Something Helpful and Good

Be nice to someone else. Engage in small acts of kindness. No kind act is too small or too big—give a free ukulele lesson, hand over the best slice of pie, leave a big tip, write an apology letter. Simple, everyday gifts can provide silent strength to all parties. Be thoughtful and purposeful with your giving.

  1. Create a Vision

Darkness can provide a great backdrop for keen insight. Think constructively, and your brain will soon fill with electrifying ideas. Keep a positive tone and listen to your inner voice. Set short, obtainable goals to pick yourself up and make a personal plan for a day, a month, or a year. Visualize where you’re heading. Get excited about the future.

  1. Take Action

Roll up your sleeves, step out of your comfort zone, and do something good. Improve your world with your own actions. Just a tiny input from you is enough to get things rolling. Find your voice and use it. Pick a cause and get involved. Call or write a letter to someone important. (HERE is a helpful link.). Make your voice heard. Create something new and useful. Now is the time. Do what you can and do it with gusto.

  1. Be Patient

Allow yourself to heal. Remember to start simple. Remember that life is a journey.

  1. Love

Train your mind to be grateful. Appreciate your talents, your uniqueness, and your brilliance. Acknowledge the strengths and weaknesses of your surroundings and the people around you. And love it all, with all its imperfections.

 

 

 

Shop’s Open!

February 6th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

Hot off the press! Come check out the new notecard sets and 8″ x 10″ prints in my online shop. Just click HERE.

Where I Am

September 5th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

Tool - Garden 2 – Version 2Come on in! Shop’s open! My pen-and-ink work is now available online! My old-school illustrations reflect my love of the outdoors and the genius of everyday things. Everything I make is printed and packaged by me in my New York studio and then shipped to you from our little town post office via USPS First Class and Priority Mail. I am more than happy to ship outside the U.S. And, all local folks can also find my work HERE at the Stone Barns Shop, which is at the tippy top of my list of all-time favorite hangout spots when I am not busy working with green things and smallish people HERE.

 

Come take a peek. Everything I make is crafted with extreme care by my own hands.

 

Click HERE to see the brand new shop.

 

 

 

Birdseed Valentines

February 10th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

DSC_0638Backyard bird feeding is most helpful at times when birds need peace of mind, such as during temperature extremes, and in late winter when natural seed sources are depleted. So, February is the perfect month to supply these backyard buddies with a healthy high-calorie winter treat—a Birdseed Valentine.

The recipe below can be used to make 3 or 4 birdseed valentine treats, although it could easily be doubled or tripled to make a dozen. Wrapped up with a ribbon and card, these make great Valentine’s Day gifts for friends, neighbors, and teachers—or any folks who will thoughtfully hang them in backyards for feathered friends.

Materials:

2 cups cup birdseed mix

4 Tbs unflavored fruit pectin (find near Jell-O)

½ cup water

Natural twine, raffia or ribbon

Large cookie cutter or mold (heart-shaped is nice)

Waxed paper

 

DSC_0633Choose a birdseed mix with a large amount of black oil sunflower seed, safflower seed, white proso millet, thistle, and peanut hearts. Pour water into a saucepan and add pectin. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add birdseed to the pectin solution and stir it until it’s combined. The seeds should be completely coated.

Place waxed paper on a cookie sheet. Place the cookie cutter on the waxed paper. With a spoon, press the birdseed mixture into the cookie cutter. Fill half way. Cut a 6-inch length of twine and lay it onto the birdseed, forming a loop at the top, Then, completely fill the cookie cutter with birdseed, pressing again with a spoon to ensure that the birdseed mixture fills the cookie cutter and is the desired shape. Place the birdseed-filled cookie cutter in a safe indoor spot to dry for several days. Turn over several times during the drying process. Carefully pop the birdseed treat out of the cookie cutter.

DSC_6087Now you’re ready to give your birdseed valentine treat to feathered friends. Hang your valentine in a sunny spot that is safe from predators, including neighborhood cats—a high branch set away from a window and near an evergreen tree is best. That way your friends can run for cover if chased.

It may take quite a while to entice your backyard buddies to eat. Be patient. Show your love for them in other ways, too. Go organic and avoid chemicals in your yard—use compost instead. Reduce the size of your lawn—alternatively, plant bushes and trees with edible fruit. Don’t snip dead garden flowers—the seeds within them provide essential food for so many backyard critters. Provide nooks with nesting material—dry grass, pet fur, bark strips, pine needles—they are useful throughout the year.

DSC_1448For more valentine-y crafts, click HERE.

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

 

 

Seedbombing NYC

June 19th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

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click on image to play video.

Scatter Some Seeds

June 17th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

DSC_9301Does a river spend a lifetime daydreaming of someday becoming a deep ocean? It does not. Its everyday actions move it swiftly forward toward something bigger than itself, and it holds its nose and jumps right in. It starts small. But it’s persistent. And it’s purposeful.

It’s time to be the river. In an age of unprecedented global challenges, NOW is the time to take new things you know and put them to work. Right now. An avalanche of environmental change looms before us and very few people are paying attention. How can one single individual like you make a difference when the Earth’s problems loom so large? Here’s how. You take any information you’ve gathered along the way so far and then share whatever you have with the world.

DSC_9304Who are you? And what can you do? If you are a small-scale French farmer whose Roquefort cheese sales are being threatened by the rise of large agricultural conglomerates, you might be tempted to retaliate by attempting to dismantle a fast food chain with your 3-cylinder International tractor. If you have a remarkable knack for applied physics, finances and computer programming, you may plan to shake up the moribund US auto industry and dramatically curb CO2 emissions. If you are a clumsy lab tech who has just unearthed a small pebble providing you with Captain Marvel-ish godlike skills, you may be inclined to use your enhanced metabolic powers to generate a force field around the Earth’s natural resources. But if you are you, and you are reading this blog, you may be wondering just how to spread your own ideas.

Scatter some seeds. Improve the world with your actions. Just a tiny input from you is enough to get started, and things will gather momentum. Ideas and behaviors spread rapidly through a crowd like contagious laughter. Doing one or two small things can spark a radical movement. Start a positive epidemic of your own.

DSC_9393For a few years now, I’ve been scattering seeds—real native perennial wildflower seeds—all the way from New England to Texas. These seeds are nestled within compacted soil, clay, and recycled paper. Tiny steady hands and wobbly weatherworn hands—the hands of dear friends and strangers—roll them up, dry them, and throw them “grenade-style” into abandoned lots and barren backyards.

Some people are born magicians, hatching artful diversions while we watch—the bullet catch, the cabinet escape, the elastic lady, seamless 5-ball cascade juggling—dazed with mouths agape. Amazed. Oooo!

Seedbombs (and also my friend Jenny) are magical like this.

Over time, these little magical meatballs break down and (Abracadabra!) transform neglected land into green space. Eventually, plants sprout up in place of dirt, weeds and invasive species.

DSC_2713.JPGGuerilla gardening with seedbombs—clandestine small-scale planting attacks—is more than just planting. It’s putting green where it’s not expected—it’s putting something common in an unusual place or something uncommon in a usual place—it’s surprising people and making them re-evaluate their position in the natural world. Guerilla gardening is my way of spreading seeds—starting a positive epidemic of my own.

Now get out there and scatter some seeds of your own.

I’ve been receiving sweet thoughtful notes and photos lately—sent by folks inspired by my BOOK. Thank you. Thank you for keeping me going. It’s been a busy few months and I LOVE hearing from you. Keep sending me photos of your finished book projects. The first 20 folks I hear from will receive a little something special in the mail in return. You can reach me right here: marcie at mossymossy dot com

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Fun Times and Winners!

June 3rd, 2014 § 2 comments § permalink

dogI’ve been doing little bit of book touring lately—sort of like me and zillions of folks hanging out tinkering with stuff outside and getting our hands good and dirty. So many amazing things have happened over the course of these two months, I never got around to telling you about them, maybe because it’s all been so surreal. Most recently, I ventured HERE and HERE, and next week I’ll be HERE and HERE. I am not scary at all and would really love to get to know you. If you’re nearby, please swing by and say hello. Proof of my amiability RIGHT HERE from the perspective of some new friends.

So, you remember the GIVEAWAY for Ashley English’s newly-released “Handmade Gatherings” book? (To recap: everyone who registered for my NEWSLETTER by June 1st was automatically entered.) Well, now there is a WINNER! Ashley’s outstanding book will go home with (drumroll please!) Mossy reader POLLY! Congratulations Polly! Here’s to a summer chock-full-o’ reading, cooking, baking, and making!

Thanks to the hundreds of others who’ve signed up for my Mossy Monthly newsletter! There will be more free fun stuff just about every month, so if you missed the June 1st deadline, don’t worry! It’s never too late. There are more amazing opportunities on the trail ahead. Just sign up RIGHT HERE. And, for those Mossy Platinum Members who have been eagerly thumbing through my book earmarking eye-popping earth-inspired projects, HURRY UP! Get started tinkering with stuff tout de suite, because NEXT WEEK I’ll announce a special deal just for YOU. Yes, YOU.

 

 

The Birdhouse Gourd

May 16th, 2014 § 4 comments § permalink

DSC_1783Since a home is normally filled with prized possessions—cute smallish snuggly things—it makes sense to keep it nice and tidy and safe. Homes of birds are no exception. Bird nests are marvels of architecture—built with specific materials and meticulously maintained. Even a relatively simple nest is often elegantly constructed. A yellow warbler’s may have coarse twigs at the base, finer plant fibers and grasses intertwined with weeds and plant stems inside the open cup, and plant down and wool within the inner lining. A more intricate nest, such as that of the Baltimore oriole, may require actual plant fiber weaving or knot-tying to secure materials. Yes. Knot-tying.

Nosy NeighborsNest-building materials are species-specific—mud, silk, feathers, milkweed and cattail fluff, deer hair, lichen, spider silk, moss, twigs, leaves, petioles, roots, stones, flowers, seeds, ferns—each is carefully selected for unique nest-building tasks. For example, the great crested flycatcher often adds a piece of shed snakeskin to the nest to help deter predators or other intruders. Many species like hummingbirds use spider webs in their nests to make them pliable enough to expand as the nestlings grow within. Most birds are opportunistic builders, though, and will gladly integrate other items of similar size and texture into their nests.

Being a bird requires lots of work. Audubon’s unprecedented analysis of 40 years of bird population data reveals alarming declines for many of our most beloved birds. Since 1970, the population of some bird species has nose-dived as much as 80 percent. And so it’s vital to help out a backyard buddy or two as much as possible.

May is the perfect time to supply a safe spot for a nest—and a birdhouse gourd provides an ideal spot. If you are lucky enough to have grown birdhouse gourds in your garden last year, you have a garage full of dried gourds. If not, you can easily purchase an inexpensive one online right HERE. Below are instructions for how to make a simple birdhouse gourd. More projects just like this one can be found in my newly-released book. Get your hands on a copy right HERE.


 

THE BIRDHOUSE GOURD

Gourd MaterialsStep 1. Gather all materials outside and lay down several layers of newspaper as a work surface. Put on a dust mask. Use warm water and a wire brush or steel wool to remove any surface mold. Be gentle but firm. Clean off any residue with a moist paper towel. Air-dry overnight.

Step 2. Fold each sandpaper sheet into quarters. Use progressively finer grit sandpaper to get a smooth finish—coarse, then medium, then fine grit. Don’t attempt to remove every spot, just sand until the gourd surface is smooth.

DSC_1741Step 3. The size of the entrance will determine the inhabitant, so first determine the common birds in your backyard, and then consider potential tenants. Do some research on what size entrance hole your potential new neighbor would require. Wearing protective goggles, carefully carve a hole into the main cavity (slightly above the center of the gourd) with a drill and expansion bit. Position the entrance hole high enough to allow space for a roomy nest. And remember this: birds do not care if holes are perfectly round. They don’t.

DSC_1768Step 4. Remove the dried interior fiber and most of the seeds from the gourd, but be sure to leave a few seeds inside to attract potential boarders. Save extras in a labeled envelope for spring planting.

Step 5. Smooth out the rough edges of the entrance hole with coarse, medium, and then fine grit sandpaper.

Step 6. To reduce the risk of late-season mold, drill three ¼ inch drainage holes in the bottom of the gourd. Also, drill two ¼ inch holes on opposite sides near the gourd’s top for hanging.

Step 7. Buff the gourd with an old wool sweater scrap.

DSC_1716_2Step 8. If desired, apply red or brown shoe polish with a cotton ball. For a burnished appearance, rub wood preserver or beeswax onto the gourd with an old rag. Work in a circular motion.

Step 9. Let the gourd dry for several hours and buff it lightly with a dry rag.

Step 10. If desired, apply polyurethane to preserve the gourd. Use a paintbrush to apply an even coat. Let dry overnight.

Step 11. Feed cord or twine through the top holes—an old coat hanger helps push flexible cord through. Tie the ends of the cord together.
DSC_1854Step 12. In early April, hang your gourd home for backyard friends.

If you are lucky to see some birdhouse activity this spring or summer, watch from afar until several days after nest building concludes. To avoid nest abandonment, make a very brief nest inspection. Wait for the adults to leave, quietly approach the birdhouse, and take a peek inside. Make a quick observation of how many eggs or young are visible. Inspect the nest weekly to observe any changes, but do not go near the nest if the young are older. They may prematurely leap out of the nest and not return. In late fall, remove the existing nesting material and place the birdhouse in a safe place to dry for the winter. The gourd may require sprucing up after a few seasons—sanding, dying and polishing—but it should last for several years.


 

Gourd EntranceCavity-nesting birds come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from piliated woodpeckers and hooded mergansers to pygmy nuthatches, so it makes sense that different entrance hole diameters accommodate different bird species. Just a fraction of an inch smaller or larger invites unwanted guests inside like house sparrows or European starlings—both are aggressive exotic species that often outcompete native species.
As well, different habitats attract different bird species. For instance, since bluebirds prefer open field-like habitats, a “bluebird” house placed in a heavily wooded area is more likely to be used by a chickadee, titmouse. or flying squirrel. And any birdhouse mounted on a building will most likely be occupied by a house sparrow.
Do some research, observe the bird you’d like to attract and try to recreate the environment. Place your birdhouse in the correct habitat for the species you’d like to benefit. Like a prime piece of real estate, the success of your birdhouse depends upon the planning and thought you put into it.


A simple gift like a birdhouse gourd provides a silent strength to both the recipient and the gift-giver. You will soon find yourself looking for other ways to give. Do this: liberate your manicured living space—reduce the size of your lawn, leave some wild, untamed areas for shelter, plant native species, offer fresh water and nesting materials. “Give” to a small critter or two. Close the ecological gap between supply and demand. Your everyday careful, deliberate actions, no matter how small, will make a difference.

NestlingsGive creatively. Do more with less. Whatever your circumstances, time, or skills, you can have a positive influence on the world around you. The trick is to know what you can do and be willing to do it. Everyone has something to offer.

And, speaking of offers…. I have something to offer YOU. Don’t miss out on your chance to win a FREE copy of Ashley English’s newly-released “Handmade Gatherings”–check out my superamazing offer right HERE.

A Handmade Gatherings Giveaway

May 15th, 2014 § 11 comments § permalink

DSC_9251And so, to become even BETTER friends with you (Yes! It’s possible!), I’ve started writing a Mossy Monthly newsletter. Why should you subscribe? Here’s why: Because you’ll get detailed step-by-step instructions for hands-on earthy projects that you won’t see here on my blog. You’ll get announcements that you won’t ever want to miss, special offers and other generally neat stuff.

DSC_9263And… if you sign up for my NEWSLETTER before June 1st, you’ll be automatically entered to win a FREE COPY of Ashley English’s newly released beautiful book, HANDMADE GATHERINGS. This book is chock full of practical, creative and fun ideas for seasonal collaborative get-togethers. It is a wonderfully written book filled with fantastic photos and recipes for rhubarb buttermilk bread and quick pickled ramps and chocolate cherry hand pies and homemade root beer, and also tips for entertaining goodness like throwing cakewalks and making mulling spice sachets and homemade candles. And it can be YOURS.
DSC_9261I honestly don’t know how Ashley has time for everything she does, since, in addition to being a mom and writing her heart-stirring blog Small Measure, Ashley has also written THIS delicious book as well as an entire book series including THIS ONE (which I hope to someday have a need for)—all highlighting a mind-blowing mishmash of topics related to small-scale homesteading and environmentally sensible endeavors. Check out her blog where she chronicles her homesteading adventures including bee- and chicken-keeping, canning and preserving, and parenting small people in remote western North Carolina. From basic pie dough to cardamom apple butter, late-summer pickles, goat cheese basil frittata, homemade sunburn soothers and wildflower risotto—Ashley provides all the practical, hold-your-hand basics of the important smallish things in life.

DSC_2559And so, what are you waiting for? Click HERE to subscribe to my Mossy Monthly newsletter.

And tell me IN THE COMMENTS BELOW that you’ve done so. Why? Well, because I love hearing from you.

You will not be disappointed. I promise.

One winner will be chosen at random and must live in the U.S.

And, don’t worry! If you’ve a real planner and happened to sign up for MY NEWSLETTER yesterday, or the day before, or last week or anytime before that, you’re automatically entered in the GIVEAWAY. Yay YOU! I’ve done it for you!

Here’s the link again just in case you missed it: AMAZING NEWSLETTER

And, in the meantime, meet me HERE in Brooklyn this weekend for seedbomb-making and a tour of the Java Street Community Garden. Fun fun!