A Notable First

There was a notable first in my house on Christmas morning. I unknowingly rekindled the fireplace from the ashes of the Christmas Eve fire.

I’d placed a few newspaper pages in the grate for a new fire and one began a slow smoulder–just a whisp of smoke curling up and out the chimney indicated there was still heat there.

The wisp

The chimney blocks and bricks were, of course, warm from the previous evening but that was not unusual. The ashes were completely gray.

Having seen the wisp of smoke, I laid out a few sticks and logs and pulled out my bellows.

The first pump on the bellows needed to be slow and drawn out to prevent ash from flying every which way. The slow stream of air from the bellows blew away the gray ash and just under the surface there was an orange glow.

A few more slow pumps on the bellows and the orange glow flamed toward a nearby corner of newspaper and spread rapidly. The fire was warming the room in minutes.

It was a first for me. It filled me with peace. There is peace in thinking just under the surface there is warmth that just needs to be slowly nurtured.

Personal Project—2022 Planners

Inktober and other fun projects took a back seat this week because a personal project arrived!

Opening this box was like Christmas morning in October. I was so excited for these to arrive!

2022 calendars have been on my mind recently because I receive several wall calendars in the fall, and they are usually accompanied by donation requests.

Still, It occurred to me that a calendar would be a great piece of swag to send my clients as an end-of-the-year thanks. Instead of another wall calendar, though, I thought a planner might be more fun. My business is publishing, after all, and 2020-2021 have been far more digital than print. I’ve been itching for a box of fresh printing to arrive on my doorstep.

I wanted the planner to showcase my design tastes, and the artwork needed to be mine too. I crawled through datebooks and sketchbooks going back to 2006, and pulled some of my favorite pieces. There are a few below. Every month has one or two pieces of art, and there is room for making notes/doodles/to-do lists.

The planner contains my personal and professional brands because it is where my art and my design world meet. Twenty have already shipped with hand-written notes and, yes, a couple of business cards, to my clients from 2021. And some of these will be thank-you gifts to the people who have been so supportive to me as I’ve built Nan Mellem Publishing.

Memorial Day Weekend

It was a weekend of reflection. Mostly I thought about my grandparents, two generations of them, who were in the service or lived through two World Wars. What they had experienced in their lifetimes, and the goals they accomplished, families they had, and how it all seems to be falling apart.

It really isn’t directly dire at the moment, but as in all relationships, people must put forth an effort to be united in common goals. There must be a feeling of communion to establish and maintain a community. It is a precarious thing, and once ruined will be very hard to recapture.

So I weeded parts of my garden. I used to be able to wiz around the whole yard and have it done in a day. Now it gets done in stages so my back does complain too much…it still complains.

I sat down to draw flowers, and there are some pretty ones out there right now. The seeds were more my speed though…their dogged effort to establish something new.

A far more knowledgeable garden told me in a lecture (or on TV) that everything the plant needs to germinate is contained within the seed. It just needs to land in a spot conducive to germination in order to grow.

People are just as plainly tied to this lifecycle. They will flourish where they are born, but the conditions have to be conducive to supporting life…not just birth.

There were plenty of maple seeds that landed on my driveway and were swept up into a container to go to the composting facility. There was an entire forest in my driveway.