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Celebrate the Equinox with a Handmade Autumn Head Wreath

Before we get into Autumn head wreath making fun, I want to share a few thoughts on sacred adornment with you.

I used to translate dress for success to mean dress how the conventional world typically views a “successful woman”.

To me, that meant boxy clothes in drab colors that didn’t flatter my curvy body shape and essentially had me feeling (and looking) like a wilted leaf in the pouring rain. It was about fitting into the army of pant suits, cardigans and ballet flats which gave me a false sense of belonging.

…until I realized it wasn’t an authentic expression of my magic.

I am a bold color, many-patterned, sometimes subtle, sometimes outrageous, vibrant being. When I close my eyes and envision my higher self standing proudly in her wisest, empowered self…she is a walking work of art. Everything she wears is thoughtfully curated, handcrafted by artisans or herself, and a full reflection of her values in the world. She is stunning.

So these days, when I think about dressing for success, I call it sacred adornment – decorating my temple body with beautiful things that make me feel amazing. Wearing colors, textures, shapes, and accessories that brighten me up and don’t have me shrinking behind them. It’s a form of self-expression that has the ability to change the way I feel about myself in a matter of minutes.

 

I learned about the sacred art of self decoration with the monarch butterflies perched atop my head, lightning bugs as my night jewelry, and emerald-green frogs as bracelets.

— Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women Who Run With the Wolves

 Celebrate the Equinox with a Handmade Autumn Head Wreath

So today, in honor of the Autumn Equinox, I invite you to join me in adorning yourself with an Autumn Head Wreath – made with your own beautiful and artful hands.

You can make your head wreath with anything from fall leaves to fall colored flowers to feathers and herbs (I’m a big fan of rosemary for head wreaths!).

Here are some fun autumn crown ideas to inspire your creative curiosity, but I made mine with some leaves from the Japanese Maple tree in my front yard (whose leaves have just transitioned to a bright orangey red that catches my breath each morning when I walk out to water the garden).

The process is super simple and, once you learn, you can apply it all year long with winter solstice crowns and spring and summer floral pieces. It’s super addicting – you’ve been warned!

Supplies You Will Need:

Floral Wire (or try this one)

Floral Tape (or try this one)

Floral Wire Cutter (or try these)

Wreath supplies – leaves, flowers, feathers, herbs, etc

Celebrate the Equinox with a Handmade Autumn Head Wreath

  1. Grab your floral wire and measure around your head to get the right sized halo. Make a little bend in the wire to mark where the halo ends and wrap the wire 2 more times to make it a little thicker.
  2. Cut the wire once your halo feels like it’s the right size and thickness.
  3. Wrap the end piece of the wire around the bundle a few times to secure the halo size.
  4. Grab your floral tape and start firmly wrapping it around the wire bundle, working your way around the entire halo. The tape will be sticky so don’t be afraid to really pull it tight to secure it in place.
  5. Once you’ve made your way around the halo, tear off the floral tape and secure the loose end around the wire.
  6. Grab your adorning pieces and secure the stem to the wire halo using the floral tape. Be sure to wrap tightly to make sure it’s secure. Then move down the stem a few inches to secure to the halo once more. Keep doing this all the way around the halo and snip off excess stem.
  7. This is where you allow your intuition and inner artist to take over. Position the adorning pieces in a way that feels good to you. Some leaves or blooms will naturally fall one way or the other – go with it and see what comes out of it. I have found that larger flower heads are best positioned right in the front, while longer stems work well on the side of the halo, creating a regal crown shape. Be sure to secure each steam tightly with the floral tape as you go along.
  8. Once your crown has finished, spritz it with a little water for nourishment and crown yourself a success. When you’re finished with your crown, you can hang it from a doorknob to allow it to dry. Dried flower crowns have their own special beauty.

Once you’ve created your crown, I would love to see it! Tag me @thedabblist with #AutumnHeadWreath on instagram.

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Celebrate Autumn by adorning yourself with a handmade Autumn Head Wreath. Click through to the post for step by step instructions.

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stop-shaming-handmaking-as-lesser-work/

I’ve been thinking a lot about feminism lately.

It’s become quite a loaded word in our society, hasn’t it? It feels fierce and fiery the moment you utter it from your lips.

Although it’s definition is pure – stating that women should have the same rights as men – it’s emotional meaning brings up all sorts of discomfort in the greater collective around power and what it means to be a woman today and where we fit in the fabric of our communities.

My mother’s generation was one of revolution.

They grew up watching their mothers feel forced to assimilate into the role of 1950s housewives to accommodate their post-war husbands (even though many of them were the ones that worked on the factory line to keep the economy moving), and resolved to never feel pigeonholed into a disempowered role of less-than wife ever again.

So they took on the patriarchy with such ferocity and demanded equality in every form. And, in the process of all that, a confusing gray area was formed – one of viewing men as evil oppressors while also believing that the only way to be successful and seen as truly equal was to be fully in the masculine.

…meanwhile the soft, embracing, wild feminine was sitting on the sidelines wondering when someone would remember that she was there.

Note: I’m somewhat generalizing here, but this has been the overall trend I’ve witnessed in my own lineage.

Let me also just clarify here that when I speak of the masculine and feminine, I’m not referring to specific genders. I talk more about that in this post.

I believe that, when we remember the creative wisdom of our great grandmothers and work with our hands to make beautiful things, we are reclaiming the feminine back in our lives and balancing the strong masculine that so many of us have been programmed to embrace and lean into to live a “successful life”.

Stop Shaming Handmaking as Lesser Work - an alternative view on feminism.

That was my experience 5 years ago when I started working with herbs and cooking more in the kitchen – it opened up my awareness of this other side of life I had previously rejected and I felt more connected to the women of my lineage who used to bake bread together and forage and dry herbs and make medicines for their communities.

It felt good.

But I also felt some shame.

Shame that I was being drawn to becoming a homemaker or artist or someone who didn’t value intellect as highly. I was looking at hand-making as the lesser work.

And when I left my job as a successful marketing manager to pursue my creative passion of working with my hands, I worked diligently to re-wire that part of my brain that thought those things. Because, deep down, I knew the truth – that this was my path to coming back into balance. What I was doing was so much more than crafting out of boredom or to avoid the hard work that makes you worthy of male praise (and male pay).

This was feminine ancestral artistry.

Today, the belief that creating with your hands and knowing how to nourish yourself and your community doesn’t make you powerful seems crazy to me.

The other day, I was having this conversation with my friend (and podcast co-host) Maia and she told me about her European travels and being around old Italian women – ruling from the kitchen with a wooden spoon. “You wouldn’t call those women weak,” she said. “They are powerful – just as much as those sitting at the table in a boardroom.”

Women have been isolated.

We’ve been put into our own homes and taught to avoid appearing vulnerable or un-polished in front of each other. As a result, we’ve forgotten our communal, hand-making ways.

When we come together to do our handwork in community and remember that we are sisters, we heal and knit the fabric of our community even tighter.

It is then that we realize just how powerful we really are.

I want to be clear that I am, in no way, shaming you for your chosen career path – be it stay at home mom, CEO of a Fortune 500 company, or part time barista/part time artist. I celebrate being alive in an era where we women have so much choice in who we want to be and the many career paths we can take in life.

I just don’t want anyone telling you that working with your hands in community with women makes you weak. Because that’s some Grade A Bullsh*t.

I want to hear from you! Have you felt shame for your passion for working with your hands? How did you overcome it? Or is it still a struggle? I feel you, sister. Share in the comments below!

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I've got a bone to pick with people who think working with your hands is the "lesser work" of women in this world. Click through to read my viewpoint and join the discussion! creativity, sisterhood, passion, purpose, overwhelm, creative, wisdom, busy, stress, crafty, sacred, ritual, ceremony

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Your Autumn Bucket List to Align with Nature

If you’re like me, you can hear it too.

Autumn is whispering that she’s coming soon, sending little clues that you can feel, smell, and sense all around you – that slight chill in the evening air, the gentle shift in afternoon light, the faint lightening of the leaves from green to yellow.

One of the benefits of being a woman connected to the seasons is that you can feel the subtle shifts of the natural world – beckoning you to move with it to the next phase of this ever-cycling planet we are blessed to live on and slow down your presence of mind and be able to appreciate the turning of the season.

I’ll be the first to admit that seasonal transitions can feel really clunky.

As busy, ambitious women, it’s almost too easy to keep our heads down in our day to day tasks that we don’t notice the subtle, yet powerful shift from one season to the next. And then, whether we’re prepared or not, it hits us upside the head…with a bad cold, total exhaustion, feelings of sadness or regret, etc.

The season of Autumn feels especially powerful – like nature’s little pause so our bodies, minds, and souls can transition into the next phase of living and not jump right in so suddenly.
Spring and summer have a lot more movement in them – with the energies of sprouting, growing, and flowering all around us as we feel expansive and playful.
With the coming of fall and winter, we are turning toward shorter and darker days.

It is time to gather, store, organize, and wind down from summer’s quick tempo and the forward momentum that modern life usually demands. As leaves fall to the ground, they decay and merge with the soil once again. And we, too, will soon be in the process of letting things wither and fall away to gather only what is essential for the winter months.

I believe strongly in cultivating rituals to help you move through transitions and connect you to what it is you deeply desire to create for yourself and this world. And I really love rituals that incorporate your own creativity and working with your hands.

This past weekend, one of the women in The Dabblist Collective shared that she had spent part of her day off creatively dabbling, and one of the things she made was this beautiful Autumn Bucket List.

fall bucket list

Everyone in the creative sisterhood (myself including) became obsessed. It was like something deep within all of us clicked on and the desire to creatively set intentions for the upcoming autumn season felt like a full on YES!

Here’s another one from a sister in The Dabblist Collective:

Bucket List

So I invite you to join us in creating your own Autumn Bucket list in these final summer days before the Autumnal Equinox on September 22nd. Here’s mine:

Bucket List

Have fun with it and use it as an opportunity to get out of your head and channel your inner wise woman by working with your hands. Go a little further than simply writing it in your journal. Paint it. Collage it. Calligraphy it. Doodle it.

When you’ve created your Autumn Bucket List, take a photo and tag me @thedabblist on instagram because I really want to see it!

…and if you’re feeling a smidge overwhelmed and unable to get the juices flowing, here are 50 ideas to add to your own Autumn Bucket List:

1. Bake your favorite fall treat
2. Read a book in front of a fire
3. Wear plaid
4. Have a fall picnic outside
5. Jump in a pile of crunchy leaves
6. Go for a crisp morning walk
7. Watch a witchy movie like A Practical Magic, Harry Potter, or Hocus Pocus
8. Make an herbal cordial with fall flavors
9. Go to a weekend football game
10. Bike to a farmer’s market
11. Go to a real-life pumpkin patch
12. Make your halloween costume
13. Pick apples in an apple orchard
14. Surprise a friend with a homemade pumpkin spice drink
15. Fill your house with candles (or make your own!)
16. Dress in black and howl at the full moon with a bunch of girlfriends on October 16th
17. Admire a man in a peacoat
18. Make an Autumn Spice Body Scrub
19. Sip warm apple cider
20. Have a backyard campfire
21. Go on a hayride
22. Make your own herb infused honey
23. Make a fall wreath for your front door
24. Get ahead of cold season by making cold remedies for your loved ones
25. Buy a cozy new sweater
26. Have a pumpkin carving party
27. Make Maple Bacon Jam (you’re welcome, carnivores!)
28. Have a chili cookoff
29. Harvest herbs from the garden or wild and hang them to dry in your home
30. Collect pine cones
31. Host a friendsgiving
32. Make an easy autumn centerpiece for said friendsgiving party
33. Read a good fiction book (I highly recommend Garden Spells)
34. Attend a street fair
35. Go a corn maze
36. Cook with squash
37. Bake a fall fruit pie (and give it to your neighbor)
38. Host a fall canning party
39. Serve soup in a pumpkin bowl
40. Bundle up in your favorite sweater, scarf, and boots
41. Take family photos for your holiday card
42. Make homemade chai spice tea
43. Go on a fall foliage drive
44. Learn to knit
45. Enjoy the last of your garden and put it to bed for the winter at first frost
46. Paint gourds
47. Roast pumpkin seeds
48. Take a walk in the woods with a journal and see what comes of it
49. Make a scarecrow
50. Honor and give thanks to your ancestors

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Make an Autumn Bucket Listto Align with Nature

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How to Love Your Sadness {rituals for honoring heartache}

After years of fighting against and wrong-making my darker emotions, I’ve learned to love and embrace my sadness.

Let me explain.

I come from a lineage of women who carry the weight of wanting to make everything okay.

Big smiles were plastered over heavy hearts, uncomfortable moments and mistruths. My New England born and raised great grandparents would much rather turn a bourbon-infused blind eye to their children’s suffering and teach them to pretend everything is just fine than give them permission to feel and express their feelings.

And, although I’ve seen my mother and grandmother take courageous steps to heal those wounds in their own lives, that lingering veneer of smile-through-the-pain made it’s way to me.

I recall waking up on some mornings in my teen years feeling a deep heaviness in my chest begging to be sobbed out. There was that time during my sophomore year in college where I would wear the same sweatpants for weeks at a time and it felt like the raincloud over my head would never move along.

…and I would think “What is wrong with me?! This is bad. I am bad. I don’t want to feel this.”

In my desperate attempt to shake my sadness off me like a pesky fly that won’t leave you alone, I learned to numb. I would eat, I would purge, I would binge watch television, I would drink, I would smoke.

But the funny thing about being a human….is that sadness always returns. It is as fundamental as breathing.

And, as the years have passed and I’ve been on my journey back to wholeness and reconnection with my inner feminine, I’ve surrendered to the fact that having an emotional range is a beautiful thing.

When you allow yourself to feel what emotion is coming up for you, you’re more easily able to move through it. {click to tweet}

Because happiness always returns, too.

A few weeks back, I woke up with a profound sadness flowing through me. What began as a conversation with Tim about whether we were ready to have children turned into a sadness so deep I knew it couldn’t only be my own.

Grief was pulsing through my system, my ancestors were moaning with melancholy, and I knew it needed to be honored.

So I crafted Becca’s Shadow Day – a day of making my sadness sacred once more.

Here’s what I do…

  • I give myself permission to be sad for the entire day. This is one of the most powerful actions you can take for yourself because we often don’t know if we’re allowed to feel sad or how long it will last, so giving yourself complete and total permission to feel the sadness creates a freedom for it to move completely through you. {If this feels too scary for you, set a timer on your phone for a short amount of time like 5 minutes and give yourself the permission to feel sad for that amount of time. You’ll feel a shift!}
  • I cry. A lot. I let the tears flow in a place that feels safe to do so (the car, the shower, my bed, in the embrace of a friend, etc). It feels soooooo good to release the pent up emotion that is brewing inside you during a time of deep sadness. Let it out, mama. {If you struggle getting yourself to have an emotional release through crying, try moving your body by dancing or swaying from side to side. I also like to use my voice by wailing, sighing, or grunting to move the emotion out of me.}
  • When people ask how I am, I tell them honestly that I’m feeling really sad today. If that makes them uncomfortable, I calmly let them know that I’m OK with it and thank them for their love and concern.
  • I get near or in water. Water is the element associated with emotion, which I love because it’s at its best when it’s flowing. I go to the beach and feel the power of the tides on the planet and also inside my body. I watch the waves crashing and feel them crash inside me. I also like to take showers or baths with my most special spa products as a way of creating ritual and being gentle with myself during a tender time. I turn off the overhead lights and light candles. I drop essential oils and crystals in the water. I harvest lemon balm and lavender from the garden and drop them in the water in a muslin bag to create a bathtub tea. I use the fancy soap and put a mask in my hair. I sip chamomile from my favorite mug and breaaaaaathe.
  • I call my mama and ask her to gently hold space for my sobbing and blubbering. {If calling your mama isn’t an option or a desire, then I highly recommend sending audio voice memos to your dearest girlfriends. I text mine that I’m feeling sad and there’s an incoming voice memo of sadness. When they give the thumb’s up, I press record and let it all out. It feels so good to get their voice memos or emoji texts of support, permission and love right back.}

As we women continue to wake up and reclaim ourselves as beautiful beings with a wide range of emotions and modes of expression, we give permission for the woman sitting next to us on the plane, living in the house next door, or even the one living in an emotionally suppressive community halfway across the world to do the same.

So love your sadness, brave ones, and appreciate your authentic truth in this one wild and precious life.

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How to Love Your Sadness {rituals for honoring heartache}

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This week, I’m changing things up a bit and sharing my heart through a video I recorded for you from my cozy cottage.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been really present to deep gratitude for my life and everything I’ve done to create it.

Tim and I are natural strivers. We’ve got big dreams and the drive to make them a reality.

But, as I say in the video below, being ambitious can sometimes put blinders up to all amazing things you’ve already created in life. When you’re focusing so much on the next thing you want to achieve, gratitude for all the blessings and gifts of the present moment can sometimes slip out of view.

So I’m telling this story, not only bring a moment of gratitude and celebration to what I’ve created in my life, but to also share it with those of you who are curious about the steps I took to manifest the warm, supportive, and creative local community I live and play in every day.

(Click on the video below to hear my story of how I cultivated my magical community, including both the esoteric and the practical steps I took).

As I say in the video, it took a mix of focused intention, courageous action, and opening myself up to signs to manifest the relationships and spaces I was desiring in my sleepy little suburban town.

Manifestion = Intention + Action

Bottom line is you are a creator of your own life and all it really takes to manifest your dream community and relationships is the decision to create it yourself.

If I can do it, you can too.

I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment with your own story of what you’ve manifested in your life or state your dreams and desires to make them a reality.

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