Thursday, December 26, 2013

Slipping Past Soltice

The winter solstice passed by in a quiet, frozen hush and the first day of winter arrived. There was barely a solstice sunrise or sunset. The gray sky just dimmed like a curtain call to the day, to the season. On the morning of the solstice, the cloud blanketed sky brightened to a dull gray and spat ice in a drizzling shower. The trees glittered beneath the gray. The following days have rushed by in holiday fashion. Friends and family arrived, meals were eaten amidst laughter and good cheer. The days only get longer from here, friends, and as each day passes the green sprouting splendor of spring draws nearer. Though it is still a ways away, may we remember, as we hunker down beneath the snow near a fire with a book, that the green will return. And when it does, may we thankful as ever.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Warm Wishes

Wishing you all a wonderful Holiday and a Merry Christmas, days full of family and of cheer, moments of warmth near a hearth fire or a bonfire, dark nights lit by candles and twinkling lights. Happy Yule and a Bright New Year to all.  

Friday, December 20, 2013

Happy Holiday Mugs

Nothing helps warm your day in the cold winter like a hot cuppa tea, coffee, cocoa, or cider (or a dash of something stronger). These  hand-painted mugs were commissioned for a group of co-workers. What a lucky bunch.


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Feast of Fools

I have, for a long time, admired the work of artist and expert storyteller of myth and legend, Rima Staines. She hails from Devon, England and creates the most fantastic work (her blog is equally intriguing). I have recently bought a calendar, full to the brim with glimpses into otherworldly characters, and a small print below. I am thoroughly pleased (in love) with both. Her work is saturated with old world tales, mystery, alchemy, herb lore, and some undefinable magic that is hers alone. I urge you to take a look sometime into the wondrous rabbit hole that is The Hermitage.

Rima's Feast of Fools in my Home. Bringing warmth to these cold winter days.
2014  Calendar from The Hermitage. So glad I snatched one up - they are sold out now.
Rima's Feast of Fools for sale in The Hermitage Etsy Shop in various sizes.

The Many Men of Christmas

Monday, December 16, 2013

Dressed in Holiday Style

Some of my more festive Nutcrackers: A folk Santa, Snow Skier, Reindeer, Piano Player (Music Box), Santa Soldier, Santa Bearing Gifts, and Chubby Snowman.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Nordic Dreams

Nutcracker Soldiers Stand Sentinel

My Soldier Nutcrackers from tiny, to plump, to giant. Anyone else think that the tall guy in red and green is ringer for Daniel Day Lewis?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Some Hard Working Nuts

Some of my "professional" Nutcrackers. Left to Right:
Hunter, Policeman, Rock Star, Football Player, Carpenter, Soldier

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Nuts from Around the World

Here are some of my Nutcrackers that hail from around the world. Top to bottom, left to right:
Top: Unknown solder, King Louis XIV from France, Richard the Lionhearted - England.
Middle: Casanova - Italy, Irish, Scottish Bagpiper, Steinbach Scottish Bagpiper, King Wenceslas, Shakespeare - England, another Irish not quite leprechaun. 
Bottom: Swedish Santa, German Clockmaker, Erik the Viking, Beefeater - Guard at the Tower of London, England. 
Do you have a favorite yet?

Friday, December 6, 2013

In a Nutshell

Swedish Santa, German Clockmaker, Erik the Viking, and a Beefeater from the Tower of London. These guys are some of my favorites - they are diminutive (about 4 inches tall) and worldly.

Nutcrackers, in a rudimentary sense, are as old as the hills. Over time they have become more elaborate and decorative. By the 18th and 19th centuries, nutcrackers began resembling animals and humans. Decorative or toy nutcrackers, however, did not become popular until the 1800s, beginning in Germany.  It was once believed that Nutcrackers brought good luck to a family, protected the household, and even ward off evil spirits. Once practical tools, then decorative tools, they’ve now become mostly decorative, collectable icons of the holidays. A ballet from long ago has helped kindle a love Nutcrackers worldwide.
In 1892, a two act ballet premiered in Russia based on a story by ETA Hoffman, the score written by Tchaikovsky. Though not very successful at the time, the ballet and the score have gained popularity over the centuries and are now a holiday staple, performed widely the world round.

From the North Country

My Wintery Nutcrackers

Winter Wonderland

So the blizzard has landed. We probably got about a foot of snow after a good dose of sleet. There is a quiet hush in the woods despite the chatter of birds. It is cold and getting colder and the blanket of snow will make it hard to get anywhere in the coming days. It is beautiful though, no doubt about it. Our woods have been transformed into a Narnia-esque world of dreams and wonder. In honor of a world dripping in silver white wonder, I'll introduce you to some of my icy Nutcrackers.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Dusting off the Nutcrackers.

It's that time, to drag out all the holiday trimmings. Or in my case, carry great boxes down stairs from a barn loft, load into a truck bed, then carry them indoors. Unpack from smaller boxes, dust hats and boots, and re-glue a eyebrow, a mustache or two. Oh, but it's worth it.
It all began with this figurine, that was around long before I was. At Christmastime, it got gently unpacked and placed in a wooded shadow box near the tree. I was intrigued by the fairy story behind this figurine of Clara holding her nutcracker. I received my first nutcracker (below) and a book full of dreamy illustrations in 1991.
During this time, there existed a magical shop (in the mall of all places): The Haus of Bavaria. I would peruse this small shop in wonder, like a kid in a candy store (they did, in fact have German candies which I often bought). I still have a wooden ornament that my brother gave me from the Haus as well as a small replica of those giant bells worn by cattle in Bavaria. Of course, I saw many a Nutcracker in the Haus of Bavaria. I was so intrigued by other cultures and Christmas traditions were the first window into other countries that I had.  
A few years later when I was 8 or 9, my best friend was cast in the production of the Nutcracker by the Springfield Ballet. This was a big deal, and I have a memory of either going with her to auditions or to a practice. Of course, I made it to opening night at an old time theatre and watched in wonder as the story unfolded - the sort of scary Mr. Drosselmeier, dancing clowns and toys, sugarplum fairies, and a kingdom of ice. I have been getting a Nutcracker every Christmas since, to be opened on Christmas Eve. My husband began giving me one a year as well after we met. So I now have 44 and counting! Plus some ornaments and the figurine. Check in often to meet more of my Nutcracker fleet. Up next, a little history.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

20% Off and New Tools

Just one more day left for 20% anything in my shop. My shelves are lined with wonderful, whimsical gifts, including some brand new journals. Use the code THANKS2013 good until Tuesday.

I would also like to bring attention to some new tools on my sidebar. On the right, above my Etsy Shop button you can now search my entire blog with just a single word. I hope this makes it easier to find things you saw once upon a time. Post topics (further down the sidebar) may help you find something as well and I don't think the search function searches through labels. So use both if you need. Beneath that you can now subscribe via email to my blogposts or choose to follow the blog. Also you can easily share on Facebook & Twitter by the click of a button. Hope these things help you navigate my wanderings. Cheers!

Check out some brand new journals in my shop:

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I wish you all a wonderful and safe weekend. Thanks for visiting my blog and my Etsy Shop, for supporting my craft and other craftsmen on Etsy. To thank you all, everything in my shop is 20% off until Tuesday. Use the code THANKS2013 during checkout and remember Small Business Saturday. Cheers !

Monday, November 25, 2013

Frost Flowers

It has been cold here in the Ozarks. Cold. The cold has yielded a rare treat, though: a frost flower. A frost flower forms when the air is freezing but the ground is not. The stem of the plant is still pulling water up from the ground but the freezing air causes the stems to crack and ice to form in extremely thin layers which is pushed out from the stems of plants in the most wonderful patterns, like Christmas ribbon candy. These were found on my Ozark hill near an area that is often wet. I'm not sure what these plants were before they went to seed but they seem to all have woody stems.


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Stocking the Shelves for Your Holiday Stockings

There are many new things in the Traveling Chariot Shop - new tiny journals, pocket sized journals, large sketchbooks, feather quill sets, and always old world photographs. Grab them now and get a head start on your holiday gift giving. Below is only a sampling of my new wares. Click on images below to learn more about these treasures.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Snoopy's Sleigh

Another Holiday Window @ Aurora Pet Salon

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Christmas Window Cheer

Some Festive Windows I painted at Missouri Loan Center
Chapell Dr. Monett, MO
Missouri Loan Center

Santa and his sleigh at Security Finance
Chapell Dr. Monett, MO

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Traveling Tiny - a mini, wearable, wee journal

New in my Etsy Shop are Traveling Tiny miniature journals (many new full sized and pocket sized journals as well. The shelves are getting stocked):
Make a statement with this Traveling Tiny hand bound journal necklace. Small enough to be worn yet big enough to hold actual words, wishes, quotes, love letters, or secrets.
This Traveling Tiny journal can easily be turned into a locket, full of tiny photos.
These also make great Christmas ornaments, some old world charm to adorn your tree. Within them, record your Christmas traditions from year to year or things that happened throughout the year. Keep milestones from Baby's First Year or Baby's First Christmas within the tiny pages. Or let your child write their letter to Santa in the wee journal and have Santa send it back for a unique keepsake.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Wild Tales: Gray Fox Epistles

Let me introduce you to a wonderful tale-teller. Her name is Sylvia Victor Linsteadt. She is the fertile mind behind Gray Fox Epistles and the Leveret Letters (stories especially for children). Gray Fox Epistles are stories sent to you by mail by subscription, monthly. The stories are wild and wonderful, well-written, and packaged up nicely. They are quite a treat to receive by post. You may purchase just one month or sign up for a subscription. They are mailed out each month on the new moon and cost 10$ per month.
I have received two: "The Seal Lion Woman of Olina" and "Desert Isis." Both tales were lovely, mystical, meaningful stories. Sylvia's stories are steeped in myth, folklore, and a deep respect and love for the world of nature. You should be encouraged to read your Gray Fox Tale in the woods, or on a beach, or a desert valley. They are just as suited to a dark room lit by warm, crackling fire. Probably best if read aloud, the way stories were once read, the way stories like to be told. One of these stories would make a great gift (what a surprise it would be).
Each tale is accompanied by a tidbit of information about the myth that inspired the tale as well a short, handwritten blessing from Sylvia. She also writes a blog post that delves deeper into the myths and inspirations connected to each tale. Best of all, little things glitter out of the envelope when opened like rose petals, bits of wool yarn, sagebrush leaves - things that have kept the tale company across the many miles it has traveled. It's been a long journey - open and enjoy.....
Sylvia's Lovely Blog @
More information @

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Scenes from November

A brilliant, ephemeral sunset from our home hill.

Sometimes trains frustrate me. Usually I'm needing to be somewhere and on the other side. But they are a great reminder to slow down and look around, enjoy a moment to sit. Look around. Don't mind the rumble and the screeching whistle. I'm a kid again, fascinated with my favorite locomotive.

I've been seeing huge groups of blackbirds over golden fields lately, these guys stopped for a break.

Dangling persimmons ripe for the all the forest creatures. We have several persimmon trees about our land. I don't recommend eating them unless they are super ripe. Ripe ones taste like orange flavored candy. Around here people cut the seeds in half to reveal a spoon, fork, or knife. I think a spoon = snow. A fork = mild winter.  And  knife = cold.