June 17th, 2014 § § permalink
Does 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.
Who 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.
For 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.
Guerilla 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
June 3rd, 2014 § § permalink
I’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.
May 13th, 2014 § § permalink
It’s been a wild few weeks filled with school plays and concerts, family hikes, runny noses, and book-y events—making seedbombs with lots of smallish people HERE, and deconstructing sweaters and transforming them into funky felted flowers HERE and HERE. The highlight of these past few weeks, though, was a weekend getaway to Austin, TX, where, along with my trusty
old familiar friend Arrington and new supercool friend Lee, I was part of the AUSTIN MAKER FAIRE—a one-day family-friendly event to MAKE, build, hack, learn, sew, write, see, swap, connect, play, invent, think and be inspired. My Austin friend Bernadette was the mastermind behind the crafty part of it all—and we made hundreds of seedbombs out of recycled egg crates and native Texas wildflower seeds generously donated by THIS NICE PLACE.
Hey Austin! Prepare for a summer filled with black-eyed Susans, Indian blanket, lemon mint, Mexican hat, plains coreopsis, Texas bluebonnet, and clasping and prairie coneflower. They are coming.
To my surprise, my book has been mentioned HERE, HERE and on my all-time favorite blog Dinner A Love Story, and I’m sorry I haven’t gotten around to telling you about this because so many neat things have happened lately and its all been so surreal to me that it hasn’t seemed at all appropriate for smallish blog post snippets.
Bat-watching from the Congress Avenue Bridge, Austin
Mark your calendars Brooklynites! I’ll be in Greenpoint this weekend at WORD—on Sunday, May18th. Meet me between the stacks at 11 a.m. We’ll get our hands dirty making seedbombs, talk about book-y things, and then stroll down to Java Street Community Garden for a guided tour.
Join me! Together, we’ll plan clandestine small-scale planting attacks on neglected neighborhood space. We’ll scatter seedbomb seeds and talk about improving the world through positive creative action. Bring you ideas! There’s room for you–whether you’re a sneaky gardener, drive-by knitter, nameless needleworker, or clandestine quilter. Symbolic gestures can be powerful and effective methods for change. Let’s talk about it all at WORD on Sunday while we get our hands good and dirty.
Meet me there.
April 29th, 2014 § § permalink
This past January, deep in the mountains of central Maine, a dear friend of mine suddenly passed away. I am not telling you this to make you sad, I am telling you this because I need you to understand her amazingness. She was like a slice of blue ribbon sour cherry pie—magical and tangy and bold and not fussy at all—and there was never enough of her to go around. She left behind friends, parents, siblings, a sweet husband, a small baby girl, and a school full of eager preschool children.
I met Sam in the fall of 1996. There were roughly a dozen of us working and living together as teachers. I was lucky enough to be chosen as her roommate. Our small wood cabin had twin beds inside separated by a night table, and a guitar in one corner. It was surrounded by woods and ponds and spirited packs of school kids during the day, and stars and owls at night. Sam was possibly the youngest of our bunch, but she quickly established herself as a capable leader and all around rabble-rouser. She oversaw all sorts of social events—extensive scavenger hunts, costumed skits, fireside sing-a-longs—among all of us there were massive week-long games of deception in which personal items were publicly kidnapped and then peculiarly discovered high upon inaccessible rooftops or deep within damp commercial dishwashers. We had fun. We stayed up late. We sang. We laughed. Sam was a natural teacher. She memorized all the lines of The Lorax, collected microscopic critters from pond muck, led wild night hikes in search of Barred owls, and soulfully sang Teach Your Children Well at the week’s end to tearful kids.
Sam loved all that the Earth offered, in every season—spring birdsong, summer rain, fall colors, crisp winter air—its stillness and silence. She approached the world as scientist, teacher, and friend. She celebrated wildness, and she was eager to share her wild love. Sam traveled through the world thoughtfully and intentionally. She moved with all of herself. She put her heart into everything she did. She served as a compass for many.
This past January, a few days after Sam was gone, we started a public page as a tribute to her—Spread Some SamShine—a deep-rooted circle of support to put some Light back into the world. The page swiftly grew from a few close friends to several thousand people doing random acts of kindness for others worldwide—an enthusiastic smile, a compliment, a shared snack, a potted plant—as a celebration of Sam’s life. In the midst of it all, some friends bought handfuls of my books and placed them in good hands—libraries, schools and families—in Sam’s name. With each simple random act of kindness like this, Sam’s extraordinary story was shared. And now it is spring. And here we are. Still helping each other move through these days with love.
Death is a mystery. It is horribly heartbreaking, filled with sleepless nights and unanswerable questions. But death it is also refreshingly truthful. It makes you think about your place in the world.
And that is where I am right now.
And so, what if each one of us celebrates Sam’s life, or someone else’s life, in a powerful way like this? What if we create a precious Shine in which we can see a reflection of ourselves, and also a person we’ve lost? What if each of us travels through the world thoughtfully and intentionally—in appreciation, connection and joy—and spreads some SamShine along the way?
I hope you will take a moment on this fine spring day to love deeply and to quietly spread some SamShine. Leave a note below to let me know. It can be as simple as a hug or a kind word or a lunchbox note. Really anything will do.
April 23rd, 2014 § § permalink
Photos courtesy of my kind friend Jasena.
April 22nd, 2014 § § permalink
It’s a stunning Earth Day here in New York! Today my book is visiting Here, There and Everywhere where Claudia Heitler is giving away not one but TWO signed copies of “This Book Was a Tree!” Politics, economics, health, science—HTE is the place to go for global news for kids—spanning diverse fields and subjects, HTE addresses current issues in bite-sized pieces for smallish people. Check out Claudia’s site HERE where you’ll find her take on making seed bombs (and enter the GIVEAWAY!).
Tonight I’ll celebrate Earth Day HERE. I would love to see you, but if you are far far away, please celebrate in your own special way. And remember this: Each day, what you do matters. A big ruckus can be generated from a simple purposeful act—a little thing, like scattering small seeds—made by someone just like you. An idea or behavior can move through the world like tow tapping at a scat-singing convention, starting with just a few pit-a-pats of an idea, and spreading rapidly out of control. Each of us is capable of thoughtful direct actions, and we usually greatly underestimate our abilities. We all have something to say. We all have feet to move. We all can give something of ourselves. We all have seeds to scatter. That’s how great rolling prairies of ideas are grown.
April 15th, 2014 § § permalink
Today, because it’s a dreary April day in New York and we don’t have enough warm cozy thoughts already circling our heads, we’re going to talk about the fact that my book is visiting Lisa Jordan right this very minute. Today is the opposite of dreary in every way because: felted stones. Because: hand-dyed thread. Because: intricate stitching covering wool cocoons. Because Lisa Jordan gathers materials like acorns and stones and sticks along open shorelines and deep walks in her Minnesota woods, wraps them in a earthy palate of local hand-dyed wool, felts them, and then embroiders them into rich, tranquil nature-inspired scenes. Her blog Lil Fish Studios chronicles her work that is deeply influenced by the tiny overlooked details of nature—odd lumpy bits of moss, the colors of mushrooms, the texture of bark and leaves and stone. All the while stitching on stones, she raises four kids and hatches guinea hens and ducks and chickens in central Minnesota. Check out her blog where you’ll find detailed tutorials for felting stones, building small birch bark canoes, making acorn mushrooms, and sewing pocketed placemats. You can find Lisa’s wool acorns, embellished felted stones, mini landscaped brooches, tiny necklaces, and wearable hand carved vases in her online SHOP and also at Art-o-Mats scattered throughout the United States. And read her take on my book right HERE.
Oh, and just ONE day left to win a FREE copy of my book HERE or HERE. Don’t miss your chance!
Warm, cozy felted stone photo courtesy of Lisa Jordan at Lil Fish Studio.
April 14th, 2014 § § permalink
Starting this week off with a KAPOW! as my book heads down to Candler, North Carolina to visit my friend Ashley English. I honestly don’t know how she’s had had time for me this week, since her book “Handmade Gatherings” (Roost) launched just last week. In addition to her blog Small Measure, Ashley is also the author of the “Homemade Living” (Lark) book series, as well as “A Year of Pies” (Lark)—all highlighting a variety of topics related to small-scale homesteading and environmentally sensible lifestyle choices. Check out Small Measure 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. Find everything right HERE.
And, just a few days left to win a FREE copy of my book HERE, HERE, HERE or HERE. Don’t miss your chance!
Remote, poetic awe-inspiring photo courtesy of Ashley English.
April 11th, 2014 § § permalink
Today my book has trekked northward to Ontario for a quick visit with my friend Margie, rural family physician and textile artist extraordinaire. For quite some time I’ve been completely mesmerized by her breathtaking crocheted creations—so beautifully documented on her blog Resurrection Fern. Her nature-inspired work is a melding of fractal patterns and repurposed soft vintage threads all carefully worked with crochet hooks to cover earth worn stones and wood and other natural found objects. Lichen, leaves, webs, frost patterns—all are magically woven into intricate lacy designs—patterns guided by the color, texture and shape of nature. And she has so many other talents. You would not believe it. She is lucky that I live 510 miles away. It is next to impossible to keep me from stalking her. My book is with her today. You can visit right HERE.
And, Tinkerlab has taken things a step further and transforms a wool sweater into a funky felted flower—a project inspired by Chapter 10 of “This Book Was a Tree”—check it out right HERE.
Want to win a FREE copy of my book for a friend? Just visit HERE, HERE, HERE and/or HERE!
Enlivening crafty crochet photo courtesy of Margie at Resurrection Fern.
April 10th, 2014 § § permalink
I am designating TODAY the Official Return of Spring here in New York since I no longer have to fire up the wood stove to thaw my frosty toes. Phew! That winter was memorable with monumental snow dumps piling on top of other crusty colossal snow dumps. And it lingered and was filled with a handful of snow days and igloos and hot cocoa and warm, creamy carb-y foods. The days were incontrovertibly long, and if there were ever a sight that could lift you from your winter drudgery, it would be that gorgeous play-focused spread of projects on Rachelle Doorley’s Tinkerlab blog. Filled with hands-on projects that facilitate questions, conversations, and all-around messiness and tinkering, her stuff is just dreamy. Tinkerlab falls into the all too thin category of Inspiring Blogs for Creative Crafty Kids. It’s the perfect thing to knock the ice off your boots and get you exploring your roots. On a tricky day, Rachelle’s blog has your back. And today you can read her take on my book right HERE plus she has a BOOK GIVEAWAY of a SIGNED COPY! Whoa! And tomorrow…. Rachelle will surprise us with a project from my BOOK. And, you’ll be extra excited to hear that Rachelle’s book “Tinkerlab: A Hands-on Guide for Little Innovators” (Roost) will be released in just a few months.
But why end there when you could take it a step further and check out actual book-y projects at Sara Bakes Cakes?!? Sara makes Cackleberry Sprouts, and…. you can double your chances of winning a book copy with Sara’s GIVEAWAY!
And, lookee HERE! This Book Was a Tree is popping up all over the place!
There are so many other things I wanted to tell you. We could sit and talk for hours and hours about these very important things, but in the end it is the final words that linger on. And they are this: don’t forget about ME.
Crafty felting photo courtesy of Rachelle Doorley.