A New Year, New Plans

2012 is going to be a big year for me. I have a number of huge projects that I'll be working on this year. For this blog, my shop, my self, my home, and my art. Because I'm rather obsessive about plans, goals, and projects, I thought I would share what I'm planning to work on in this coming year.

With all of the big projects I'm going to be working on, I decided this year is a good year to choose a word. This is a pretty popular idea, to choose one word to guide your year. It can be anything you want, even two words or a phrase. (You can read more about this idea here.)
I've been debating for days and days, but I just couldn't get this word off my mind when thinking of next year. So, my word for 2012 is ¨Alive¨. So often, I think I let beautiful moments and amazing things pass me by, and I want this year to be all about living, feeling alive, and making the most from each and every moment. I want to spark life into my writing, my art, my creations, my imagination, and my self.

(18 projects, My word for 2012
Making Plans for 2012, My Photo 365 Project)

Yearlong Art/Personal Projects:
-Photo 365 (In instagrams!)
-18 projects
-My Birthday List (from 2011)
-Starting a 2012 Art Journal
-Sending out presents and gifts to all the people who have been so supportive to me
-A Secret Project! (I won't be sharing any more about this until the end of 2012!)

For The Shop:
-Hello 2012: Mini-Shop Update
-Spring/Summer Collection 2012
-Setting up a real budget
-Scouring for the best supplies locally and online
-Investing in some educational books for artists/creative folks in business.

For The Blog:
-A New Design (I already did this!)
-A couple new features (Studio Saturday is one of them!)
-More photography
-Original DIY's 

Other Projects:
-Cleaning & Organizing all the closests in our home
-Cleaning & Organizing in the bedroom
-Another "Studio Improvement" Project 
-Improving my sleep schedule & daily routines

I acutally have more than this planned, but I don't want to spoil all of the surprises! I'm extremely excited for 2012, I feel like it's going to be awesome.
I think numerous times throughout 2011, I wondered why I bother to put so much effort into this blog, and wanted to give up. So, I want to thank you, you lovely person, for taking the time from your busy day to visit me. Each comment and small gesture gives me the drive to make 2012 even better! So, thank you for taking the time to visit, read, and comment, it means a lot to me!

Today I'm getting everything ready for the new year, prepping my new art journals, getting the shop update ready, and packaging some late presents for people.

Tonight we're going way up in the mountains to watch the fireworks. It's one of my favorite traditions to do with Daniel. From so far up, you can see across the entire valley and everyone shoots off fireworks at midnight. It's really a beautiful sight.

Do you have any big plans for 2012? Are you doing anything to celebrate New Year's Eve? 

peace & love,


2011, In Review

 Most of 2011, I felt like I was floating around, somewhat directionless. Even when I started this blog, I was really unsure of what I was doing or what I was hoping to accomplish. But after developing the concept of "Birch & Bees", I think I began to find some sort of purpose. After further exploring the wonderful world of handmade, art, blogs, artists, designers, and all the other talented folks who share their creations on the internet, I became enchanted. I think I've come a long way since the beginning of the year, and I want to share some of the best parts with you. Enjoy!

Other highlights from 2011:
-Starting this blog (and learning how to make blog posts pretty!)

Challenges from 2011:
-Finding things to talk about on dull days.
-Spending September alone
-Realizing that I have to put my personal happiness before anything else
-Pushing myself to be naturally creative, not forcing "Studio Time"

Overall, 2011 has brought plenty of challenges, and even more happy moments. It was a great year for learning, growing, and understanding. But I'm so ready for 2012! (Very soon, I'm going to un-veil all the goodness that's in store for next year!)

How was your 2011? What were the best parts of your year?

peace & love,


Christmas of 2011

(from top to bottom, left to right)
Reading through my old sketchbooks for inspiration, Samson under the covers!
My gifts for Daniel's family this year, Bear playing in the yard
Jellyfish drawings I made as gifts this year, A rare sunny day
An amazing dress I was given, Some beautiful vintage perfume bottles from my grandmother!

(other christmas goodness, not pictured)
The vintage key and ring that Daniel got for me in Italy, A delicious brunch with waffles and fruit, All the messes I created trying to get my presents ready in time, Plenty of laughs, Sparklers and fireworks, A slew of new fabrics, Floating paper laterns, Seeing old friends again, The beginning of "summer", Making new plans, Too much coffee and cuddling.

This Christmas has been such a wonderful one! I couldn't have asked for better. Right now, I'm still trying to get everything ready for the new year. Which entails things like searching for the perfect silver and gold streamers, mindlessly searching for productivity plans for 2012, and getting the "Hello 2012" shop update & sale ready! I have a ton of fun projects I'm planning, and I can't wait to share more about them in the next week!

How was your Christmas? Do you have any fun plans to celebrate the arrival of 2012?

peace & love,


All I Want For Christmas

I´m definitely the type of person who prefers a handmade gift over a store-bought one. Always. So, it was an easy decision to create more emphasis on hand-making things this year. Such as gifts, ornaments, and decor for this holiday season. In the spirit of keeping the hand-made theme going, I've picked some amazing things from Etsy that I would love to have for Christmas.

What's on your wishlist this year? Are you buying/making handmade gifts this year?

peace & love,


DIY Collection: #005

My favorite part about this month is definitely the flood of DIY projects! This year was amazing, so many awesome projects that I can't wait to try. Most of these projects can be thrown together on a whim, or a rainy day. The perfect kinds of projects for this time of year.
I think my favorites are the Lace Socks, the Hand-Painted Tea Set, and the Bird's Nest Necklace. They're all so pretty.
Have you had time to do any fun projects?

peace & love,

Inspired: Stones & Symbology

I'm completely obsessed with stones. In general, I find all types to be amazing and beautiful. As an artist, I'm fascinated by their symbology and what they mean to different cultures of people. In a lot of my notebooks, I have pages of notes written on the symbols of stones, plants, colors, numbers, and many other things. Here are some of my notes on three of my favorite stones, Rainbow Obsidian, Rose Quartz, and Turquoise.

Obsidian is created when lava cools quickly and produces volcanic glass. Rainbow Obsidian stones are recognized by a multi-color, swirling sheen. (Which is difficult to photograph, as you can see.) The Obsidian is a stone of protection and grounding. It's smooth glassy surface is said to symbolize a mirror, reflect your flaws back at you and show you what can be improved upon. It is a stone of Honesty, Sincerity, and Truth.

Rose Quartz is the stone of unconditional love. Wonderful for promoting self-love & acceptance, raising self-esteem. Rose quartz is associated with opening to all forms of love: self-love, family love, platonic love, and romantic love. It also brings gentleness, forgiveness, and tolerance. (This is a ring that Daniel made for me for my birthday this year. If you would like to see more photos of this ring and see how it's changed, click here.)

Turquoise is a stone of wholeness and the unity of all creation. It is known as a stone of vision, integration and clarity. Turquoise is sacred in both the Native American and Eastern/Oriental cultures. It is called the “Sky Stone” uniting the Heavens and the Earth. It aids in clear, thoughtful communication, and is thought to be a stone of great luck and abundance. Green Turquoise is created with iron is present, while Blue Turquoise is created when copper is present. (This is a ring that my mother gave me. It's a handmade ring, loaded with sentimental value.)

Some of my other favorite stones are Fire Agate, Opal, Watermelon Tourmaline, Blue Topaz, Carnelian, Moss Agate, Bismuth, Amber, all kinds of Quartz... Oh, I could go on forever about stones!
Do you have any favorite stones? What are they?


Around Here

(from left to right, top to bottom)
My face, A bracelet my mom sent me
Christmas Trees everywhere, Putting some bamboo string wraps in my hair
Cobblestone roads, Decorating our tree
A lone slot machine, Cloudy days
A tassle keychain (a DIY I'm working on), Pretty cruiser
Sam napping under the tree, More tassle keychains
Ashipping/packaging area I put together, 2012 planning

I've been trying to recover from yet another sickness. While I've been resting, I started planning and making goals for the new year. I'm getting incredibly excited to share what I've been working on. (More on that soon!)

Mostly, I'm trying to simply enjoy the holidays. (I never realized that you're supposed to give yourself a vacation date when you're self-employed. Oops.) So, in a couple days I'm going to take a break from working on my projects and get ready for Christmas. I imagine I'll be making and packaging some last-minute gifts, drinking tea, and hanging paper snow flakes. Ah, I love this month.

How is your month going? Are you enjoying your holiday?

Birch & Bees: A New Look

You may notice that I gave Birch & Bees a face-lift. It's pretty swanky, no?

I got incredible inspiration for an updated design for this blog a couple nights ago. So, I sketched everything out, made notes, did tests, and then completed the final designs. I may or may not have drank a dozen cups of coffee and gave myself carpal tunnel syndrome because I was "in the zone". But, it was so worth it.

Along with this fresh design, I have several new features and a calendar for 2012, so you can expect regular weekly features in 2012! This is something I've been trying to accomplish for months, and I've failed every time. Recently, I've been realizing that this blog is very important to me and I want writing here to become a daily habit in my life. (Wish me luck!)

Well, I hope you like the new Birch & Bees!
Let me know what you think! I'd love to hear your feedback.

peace & love,


Inspired: Feathers

(no source) (no source) (no source) (no source) (no source)

(I'm sorry there aren't any real sources for these pictures.
If you know the original source, let me know, and I'll add the credits in.) 

 I got into a feather obsession that has gone on for years now. I'm absolutely in love with the way they look, feel, and move. My favorite thing to do are dye and paint feathers to make them even more interesting. I enjoy wearing them in my hair, putting them on keychains, and on dreamcatchers. 

In Costa Rica, where I live, there are hundreds of species of birds. I'm lucky to find many interesting feathers while walking around. I have quite a nice collection of feathers myself, and it keeps growing bigger! I need to find more fun projects to create with feathers. Do you have any ideas? 


Painting On The Side

(Untitled, Nov. 2011 - , Kaylee Hinrichs, Work In Progress)

Since I open Birch & Bees, I've found myself with less and less time to paint and draw. Honestly, I think this is a really good thing. Because I no longer sell my paintings/drawings, I can just create whatever I want! This is pleasure I haven't had for 4 years! It feels so nice to just aimlessly create and see where I end up.

Although I do miss waking up and heading straight for the easel, I've learned that painting full-time for money, makes an enjoyable task into something incredibly mundane. Now that I'm not selling my paintings, my creative burnout has passed, I am more inspired than I've ever been, and I actually enjoy making art again. (Cue the chorus of angels.)

Here are a few snapshots of the paintings and drawings I've been working on these past couple months.

(from left to right, top to bottom)
The first "gypsy" girl I drew, The Meditation
A work in progress, The second "gypsy" girl
My Ganesha Portrait, Shavings from Oil Paint Sticks

It's nice to be able to just have fun with my paintings again. Now that I'm not worried about selling my paintings, I can relax and experiment. I've come up with numerous techniques and ideas from simply playing with my materials.
While I don't get to create as many paintings as I used to, now I think each of my paintings contain more effort, focus, and devotion. I have to be more selective about how I use my free time to create the art that I want.

I'm much happier now that I'm not selling visual art. I've thought about how I might change my mind about this if I find myself living in Europe or the United States.
But for now, I'm content with painting on the side.

Have you ever tried making money doing something you love, like painting? How does money effect your creativity and artworks?

Hello December

December is one of my favorite months. Enjoying peaceful moments by twinkling lights. Thick mugs filled with steaming drinks. I'm becoming more determined to have more crafty/handmade aspects to my holidays. This year I'm starting the tradition of making my own decorations, ornaments, and gifts. This month I'm very excited to be enjoying my holidays in Central America for the third year in a row! I've been planning lots of great things, so this month should be a great one. I hope you have a beautiful December.

November was such a busy month, but also filled with plenty of excitement as well. Because it flew by so fast, and I wasn't around much to share all the excitement, here's a little re-cap:

I opened the Birch & Bees Shop, which has been incredibly exciting! I can't wait to share more of the things I've been creating. I'll be doing a mini-update for the shop soon.
I sponsored Busy Bee Lauren this month, which was so awesome. Lauren is such an amazing lady! Seriously, if you haven't had the pleasure of meeting her, you definitely should. I'm doing a giveaway on her blog, where I'm giving away a lovely "Grey Fields" sundress!
Since my computers died, I made a post to catch-up on what I did in November. (Mostly photos.) I'm so glad to be back, I've missed blogging.
The ring that Daniel gave me for my birthday this year got a little makeover. Keep an eye on his blog to see how it turned out! I have to say, I'm absolutely in love with it. Swoon.

I hope your December is filled with joy and happy moments!


Hello 2012 Sneak Peak

(Studio Saturday is a new feature that I've been thinking of adding to the blog for quite some time now. With 2012 approaching rapidly, I figured now it a good time to start. I plan to keep this feature focused on what I'm working on that week. But sometimes I may feature other artists, what they're working on, and lovely studio spaces. I hope you enjoy!)

For the past couple weeks I've been working on a mini-update for the shop, along with a sale to celebrate the new year of 2012. I've been very excited about this idea, and so far it's been coming along wonderfully! In the beginning, I had to do the somewhat boring business work. Which entails budgeting the projects, setting deadlines, making lists of materials to procure. Now I'm more in the creating/crafting mode, making all the ideas come to life.

0 In a couple weeks, I should have everything ready to go. I'll be sure to share more sneak peaks of this collection coming to life. It's something that I'm extremely proud of.
I hope you enjoyed taking a peak at what I'm working on. You may also enjoy looking at photos of my studio space, or seeing more of my recent projects.

What are you working on?


November in a Nutshell

Well, I must say that I´m sorry the blog has been rather quiet this month. My computers decided to randomly quit working, which has made blogging rather difficult. And while it was nice to spend a little time away, I´ve missed this blog and I can´t wait to get back to it.

While I've been away, I've been doing a lot of interesting and fun things. I've starting planning, budgeting, and preparing for 2012. I have a few new features planned for the blog, brand new packaging for the goodies in my shop, original DIY projects, and so much more!

For now, I thought I would share some Instagrams so you can see what the heck I've been up to all month long. (I promise some real photographs soon!)

(from left to right, top to bottom)
rainy days in the jungle, setting up art for Daniel's interview
a sneak peak of a dress in the shop, an amazing pouch & bag I made
some amazing mushrooms, dreamers going in the shop
my new cactus buds, baby bear on the couch
an incredible drawing I did, my first sale in the shop!
quartz & agate stones that we bought, my new morning routine: coffee & to do lists

Right now, I'm working on doing a shop update & sale to celebrate the new year! This update is going to be rather small because it's really just a teaser for the more awesome things coming later in 2012! 

I'll be back very soon with a lot more to share. I hope you're having a great week!


Birch & Bees Online Shop

I've been looking forward to this moment for over a year when I first had the idea of opening my own shop. And finally, it's here! The Birch & Bees Shop is open for business! The selection and styles are fairly wide and sparse, as I'm just testing the waters out. Most of the items in my shop are one-of-a-kind pieces that I won't be reproducing. So, if you see something you like, get it before it's gone!

If you have any thoughts, I'd love to hear them! I hope your having a wonderful day!


Studio Tour: Where I Create

I´ve been doing a lot of renovating in my studio, making it more organized and inspiring. There are still 5 or 6 paintings I´m creating now in my spare time to fill more wall space. But for now, I think it´s coming together wonderfully. Of course it can always be better, but for not spending a single penny to organize and decorate this room, I think I did quite well.

Anyways, one of the best parts of this room is the small outdoor garden attached to the back of the room, which is overflowing with beautiful green plants. It´s open and exposed to the house, has high ceilings, and windows facing every direction. Definitely loving this.



My First Pretty Packages

Ta-Da! Isn't it amazing? I'm absolutely in love with them. I hand-made the bags, the card, the tags, the business cards, and everything inside the bags. Can I be really proud? Because I totally am.

The little black and white bags are drawstring and have curved bottoms. It's just the cutest, and my own original pattern, might I add.

These packages, (and a couple others) are being sent off to some very lovely supporters of mine. I'm not showing what's inside, because I don't want to spoil the surprises!

I'm going to be getting really crafty for the next few days. I still have a lot of work to do for the shop open in
3 days! I'll be back soon with a ton of wonderful things to share.

Have an amazing & beautiful day!


Sneak Peaks

(from left to right, oldest to newest)
My boys sitting on the couch together. So. Cute. & Driving with Daniel.
My first pretty packages! & Making messes
Setting Goals for 2012 & Making more messes...
A sneak peak of my amazing spare room & Dream-catcher love
A peak at my workspace & Making pretty things for the shop. 

I've been working really, really hard. And it's awesome. It feels really great to be busy, productive, checking things off my lists. Recently, I had to clean out our spare room and convert it into a guest room/storage space. The room was stuffed so full, but I managed to tame the chaos, now it's a beautiful spare bedroom. I'm quite proud of it. (I will share real photos of the room soon.)

My other big project has been getting ready for my shop opening. (6 days until the opening!) I made my first pretty packages. And they are awesome! I'm so pleased with how everything is turning out.
But for now, I must get back to work.

Have a lovely day!