What will become of us all? I find myself thinking that a lot these days. As a history buff and current affairs junkie, I watch with horrified fascination as "our" newly elected, mentally-ill president signs order after order, each worse than the next. And that's just what we know about--who knows what else may be happening within the White House cabal?

My current day to day life is still so wonderful, especially compared with those in or fleeing war torn countries.Yet the fear and worry is mounting. Social media is packed with posts and information--some reliable, some perhaps not (alternative facts anyone?). It's so easy to be pulled into this unending stream. Yes, it's important to be informed--I think it's actually one of the duties of citizenship. Yes, it's crucial to protest through all available avenues--marches, phone calls, organizing--but how do I/we carry on from day to day? 

In observing my wonderful staff and myself, I am realizing that we are turning to art, each in our own way. For one, it's listening to jazz, preferably live. For another, it's making time for a quick sketch or watercolor study. For yet another, it's creating mildly subversive peg dolls. Making a felted polar bear soothed me yesterday. 

At Heartfelt, it has been my goal to to make a safe place, a creative space, where all are welcomed with love. Love is the answer, I know for sure. Bring your kids or just yourself--come be with us as we try to make sense of the history unfolding before us. Make something or just snuggle on the couch--we would love to see you.  

Calm After the Storm

We are living in unusual (and often upsetting) times.This makes me more grateful than ever for  Heartfelt. My staff and I so enjoy chatting with customers, old and new. The quality of these interactions is startling sometimes, with intimacy established in just minutes. This, and being with your children are balm for the soul, which many of us very much need right now. And the crafts! With talk of post election PTSD, we can all use the calm that comes from creating with our hands.


I read an article recently (can't remember where, I am a reading fiend) about the pursuit of happiness. If ones aim is happiness, we are bound to miss that mark; but if we try for and can achieve a measure of mindfulness, happiness can flow in. Yes, I know mindfulness is trendy but think about it. Taking a walk in the now very cold weather is a challenge and definitely not an easy prescription for happiness. But seeing a tree branch with its coating of snow brings a moment of pleasure during said walk--dare I call it happiness? 

During the holidays, expectations can run high--the season is supposed to bring happiness. Back when my daughter was little, I did my share of "Martha Stewarting"--baking, making, rushing to finish it all, hoping for more and more happiness. I exhausted myself, trying to have a crafty Christmas each year and in the end, was too tired to fully join in the celebration itself. Instead of happiness, I felt relieved it was over. If I had done much less--staying present in the moment, rather than driving towards the finish line--I suspect my whole family (and I) would have been happier. 

Some of my happiest moments these days are when I spend time with your children. Yes, I love my business and all my customers--yet the times I feel the most connected are when I sit with a child, discuss their vision, and help them create a toy they can play with proudly. Those small interactions make me bloom inside.  
And it's not all about making things--we strive to offer a selection of products that are beautiful, useful, enlivening. The smell of beeswax candles, the cuteness of a felted fox ornament, a wooden top that spins and spins, a new book discovered--these can also bring appreciation and calm in the moment, whether purchased or not. 


August 2016

Whoosh--that's the sound of summer speeding by. It's been great fun at Heartfelt, with our Craft Camps, Birthday Parties, and lots of drop-in crafters too. We have had more projects than ever on our summer menus and there is still time to make August Crafts


My Colorado trip is but a memory--two weeks basking in mountain sun and wind were indeed balm for the soul. We loved our cottage in Buena Vista, and brought home lots of wood, rocks, and pine cones for the shop. And more travels are coming up: a visit to Cape Cod over Labor Day weekend, and then our second annual fall trip to Grand Marais later in the month. I want to soak up all the nature I can while the sun still warms me.  

I hope your summer has been lovely, fun, satisfying. 

I can't wait to start making fall crafts!


May 2016

Since 1997, May Day has had particular significance for me. On May 1st 1997, my father Joseph Lawrence MacMartin died from complications of Alzheimer's Disease. He had been sick for a long time, so his death felt like mercy. Sad, yes, but a relief to have him freed from the prison of his body.

He was a creative guy, my dad. This picture here captures him perfectly: jeans and sneakers, perched on a log, concentrating on getting his sketch just right.  

I learned how to lead a creative life from Dad. Although he worked at a sales job he did not love, he made up for that with the many hobbies he enjoyed, including sketching, watercolor painting, and woodworking. 

In my early 20s, I worked in a bookstore that was very close to my father's office. He would drop by occasionally, in his trench coat and fedora hat, which he would doff to me and my coworkers. He would always ask "how is business?". It was fun to chat as two business people, not just father and daughter. As I type this, I just realized that I do that too--not the hat part but the inquiry, when greeting fellow small business owners Linden Hills and beyond. 

Although my dad was long gone when I opened Heartfelt, I often feel his blood in my veins. I inherited his extroversion, his willingness to speak up, and his artistic sensibility. I have a feeling he would love the shop--I wish he could stop by to sketch and paint! 

Crafting with Kids

March 2016

Recently, two of my staff commented separately that they were feeling more comfortable with all the different craft projects we offer each month. They need to know how to make everything we offer--it can feel daunting at first but like anything, the more you do it, the easier it gets.

Now that my business is well established as a place to bring children to create, one of my goals this year is to invite more adults to take part too. Whether they make something along with their children/grandchildren, book a private skills class, or plan a private party with friends, making things with our hands can be trans-formative for us grown-ups too. If we can get out of our own way.

This week, a grandmother decided to make our Felted Chicks in a Nest project, while her granddaughter made the Bunnies & Hutch.The eight year old dived confidently into her project, choosing paint colors quickly to suit her vision. 

For her grandmother, it was a much more difficult process. She found fault with her first chick (too big), sighing that she would have to make the remaining two the same (too large) size. She made the nest, then took the chicks home to add eyes and beaks. She bought additional wool, so she could make additional sets for her other grandchildren, saying that she likes to practice on her own to get things right. My hope is that she can find some pleasure in making these gifts for her grandchildren, rather than the judgement and perfectionism I witnessed, all too aware that her granddaughter heard it all. 

This is by no means uncommon when adults work with their hands. What happened to us that we judge ourselves so harshly? Why must we worship at the altar of perfection? I have written about this before, so it's not something new. And some children have these tendencies too, crying when something doesn't turn out the way they wanted it to. But mostly, children enter into the making with confidence and joy. We can learn something from this, if we are relaxed and open enough to let it in. Let's try.

February Snow

Beautiful snow! It's freshened up the landscape considerably and greatly improved sledding and skiing prospects, that's for sure.

I am fortunate to live just eight blocks from the shop; my four-minute commute home on Tuesday took seven minutes instead. I took advantage of the quiet day at the shop to catch up on various tasks, while watching the blowing flakes through the big front windows. 

Around 3:30, I noticed a group of youths huddling under the entry overhang. I poked my head out the door and asked them to come in. Four teen boys piled in the store, SWH sophomores. They had waited 40 minutes for the city bus home to Uptown before giving up and walking to Linden Hills.No boots of course, nor hats/gloves that I could see--but at least they weren't wearing flip flops! 

 One boy called his mom and they settled in to wait for their ride. Polite kids, they chatted with me a bit and talked with each other, while staring into their ever-present cell phones. Around 4:15, a van pulled up and they were off, thanking me, and tripping over their feet a bit like adolescent puppies. I enjoyed their company, and especially getting a glimpse of the men they were becoming. Welcoming folks who visit Heartfelt is so rewarding for me and my staff. Amazing conversations and connections often stem from me asking "how is your day going?". 

April Showers

What shall we call this season we are in? Spr-inter? W-ring? The 2012 "ice out" date on Lake Harriet was March 18th. And I had planted pansies in the pots at the store by the end of March 2012. That was a rare year. This year is more normal, I guess--dang it! I love spring whenever it decides to come. My rites of this season include buying product for the store at the Gem Show (more rocks will be ready for you by this weekend!), attending the Shepherd's Harvest Sheep and Wool Festival (Mother's Day weekend--more info to come) and making all kinds of fairy crafts. Now that the snow has melted, I plan to install a fairy house and garden under the Linden tree in front of the store. Watch for progress as May approaches.


I opened Heartfelt on the last day of April in 2011--these two years have flown by! I feel really happy with the way the shop is evolving. We are getting busier too so others seem to share that feeling. Looking ahead to summer (it will come), I am considering expanding store hours once school is out; this would include being open Mondays and all day Tuesdays and possibly extending our close time to 6 pm. Let me know what you think about that!

Spring Break

Greetings from Moab, UT. My husband and I are vacationing here, attending the Easter Jeep Safari. Jeep drivers from across the USA gather to participate in group drives over offroad trails here. It's more my husband's thing than mine, truthfully, but I always welcome the opportunity to be out in nature, gathering fairy house fixin's! So far, I have a sack full of pretty little pinecones (they look like flowers) from the pinyon pine trees that grow in the La Sal mountains. plus lots of interesting twisted pieces of wood. And the red rock formations are truly dazzling so I plan to gather some interesting pebbles for fairy garden pathways.

Moab Feeling a bit like a fish out of water with all the Jeeps and free flowing testosterone, I found my way to the knitting shop in town, Desert Thread. A very cute place, with pretty yarns and interesting local fibers for spinning and felting. I had a good chat with one of the owners, sharing project ideas and came away with a bag of nice fibers (Icelandic and Polworth sheep) and a very soft baby Alpaca yarn. It's good to be open to totally new (and sometimes strange!) experiences but it also good to know what makes one happy and pursue those things too. To that end, we plan to take a break from the group trails now and strike out on our own to the amazing Arches and Canyonlands National Parks.

Bunny Tales

I have always loved bunnies. As a child growing up in Canada, many storybooks featured rabbits in English meadow settings, sometimes clothed, sometimes not. When I was a bit older, a favorite read was Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson, a charming chapter book that won the Newbery Award way back in 1945--it is still a wonderful timeless story.

Sometimes bunnies can be problematic of course--I remember the day I decided to leave my lettuce crop in the garden for one more day of growing. The next morning, my beautiful mesclun had been chewed off as precisely as if a lawn mower had run through it!


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