Rainbow Friday > giving away and giving back

Last year we inaugurated Rainbow Friday, a way to bring color and connection to the spirited days of shopping after Thanksgiving. This year is even better with every small, sustainable business not only offering a giveaway and great deal but also giving to a non-profit organization of their choosing.

I am blown away by the talent and big-heartedness of every business participating. This is your opportunity to shop; to vote for your neighbors with the purchase of unique, handmade gifts; to use your purchase power to lean in and give back.

I hope you will support their efforts and do some shopping this weekend!

* Each business is giving away an item. Leave a comment for a chance to win. Comments close on Monday, December 1 at 11:59pm. There will be 12 winners, announced here on Tuesday, December 2.

WINNERS!!! Congrats all; check your email for details.

  1. café apron from GEO: #4 Tricia A.
  2. garden calendar from Natalie Creates: #16 Jenn
  3. art from Little Green Things: #100 Colleen
  4. Hattie Rex necklace from tart: #36 Kat
  5. arrow notecards from Noteworthy: #59 Amy
  6. earrings from Lava Lake: #113 Rachael
  7. bonnet from Urban Baby Bonnets: #141 Jessica
  8. two headbands from b. handmade designs: #98 Linda J
  9. set of four bowls and salad bowl from Dharma Door: #42 Ashley Smith
  10. moccasins from Starry Knight Design: #8 Karin
  11. six cupcakes from Fairy Food Market: #33 Sarah Holden
  12. library tote from Small Town Goods: #122 Yana

* Rainbow Friday deals run from Friday, November 28 – Monday, December 1.

* I will post the amount each business is donating to their chosen organizations on instagram and facebook next week. Let’s make it impressive!

:: :: ::

I’m not ready to write about it beyond just saying it: Alice died last Thursday night, in our bedroom, in the arms of my husband and me. We are so sad. And so thankful to have had her in our lives for the 11 years.

The idea of giving back occurred with her generous life in mind. She gave so much and we are deeply grateful for the Humane Society of Western Montana, the organization that cared for her until she found her home with us.


In Alice’s name, GEO by dig this chick will give 25% of all sales to the Humane Society of Western Montana.

We are giving away one of our brand new Custom Café Aprons. Seems an appropriate giveaway because my girl Alice was always right by my side in the kitchen.

Flash Sale (Mon, Dec 1 only): 8am-8pm MST: 10% of orders over $30 with code DIG10 and 20% off orders over $100 with code DIG20. And, free gift with every order: set of 5 garden postcards featuring my photographs.

shop // blog // @nataliecreates

20% of proceeds will go to Apple Seeds, a nonprofit that inspires healthy living through garden-based education.

Natalie & Luke of Freckled Hen Farm are gifting “A Year In The Garden: A 2015 Planting Calendar for the Mid-South.” This calendar is designed for gardeners, farmers & more in zones 6b-8a. The planting calendar is designed to inspire & enable you to grow & harvest from your own garden. 6 in. x 9 in, made of sturdy card stock & includes a clip for easy hanging.

Reclaimed wood embroidery for feel-good living.
shop // website // facebook // @littlegreenthings

Little Green Things will donate half of the sales of all prints during the sale to the Baltimore Animal Shelter.

The self love manifesto is an 8″ square reclaimed wood yarn embroidery reminder of all we essentially are.

25% off with coupon code RAINBOWFRIDAY

>> TART.
A shop and gallery in Bozeman, MT carrying unique, handmade art, jewelry and gifts by local and regional artists.

tart will donate $1 for every purchase made using the RAINBOWFRIDAY discount code to the Bozeman Warming Center, helping to make sure everyone in Bozeman has a warm and safe place to stay.

Copper Montana coin pendant by Hattie Rex.

20% off Hattie Rex products with coupon code RAINBOWFRIDAY

A contemporary stationery boutique founded to share our love of all things paper and letterpress printing.

Noteworthy Paper & Press will donate 20% of all online sales, from Nov. 28 to Dec. 1, to Teach for America. Teach For America is growing the movement of leaders who work to ensure that kids growing up in poverty get an excellent education. Be sure to include the code RAINBOWFRIDAY in the comments section at checkout.

A pack of 8 letterpress arrows notecards printed by hand in our letterpress workshop in Missoula, Montana on 100% cotton stock with coordinating kraft envelopes.

20% off all online sales; use code RAINBOWFRIDAY in the comment section at checkout

Handcrafted artisan jewelry ~ earrings, necklaces, bracelets simply created using a variety of metals, gemstones and beads.

10% profits during the sale donated to American Farmland Trust

Tiny Silver Hoop Earrings ~ Simple sterling silver hoop earrings, hammered for texture and lightweight for every day wear.

20% off any purchase over $30 with coupon code RAINBOWFRIDAY

// facebook

UB2 will donate $1000 to the Glen Helen Association, a nature preserve that protects over 1000 acres of land and provide rich outdoor education opportunities for kids.

REGALIA modBonnet in the winner’s choice of size

25% off a regalia modBonnet with coupon code RAINBOWFRIDAY

shop // facebook // @bhandmadedesigns

With every headband purchased, Becky will donate a SUPERWIDE headband to the non-profit organization, Cancer Support Community of Montana. Cancer has touched many lives; this year she lost her best friend of 25 years to breast cancer and she will donate these in her name.

Two headbands of your choice.

DEAL: 20% off with coupon code RAINBOWFRIDAY2014

It is the mission of The Dharma Door to bring Fair Trade goods to a new marketplace, bridging the gap between ethical production and contemporary style.

The Dharma Door will donate 10% of sales to their local animal shelter in honor of Alice.

Handcrafted using sustainable bamboo and traditional techniques, our colorful collection of bamboo bowls make a perfect gift.

Use code RAINBOWFRIDAY for 25% off all purchases.

Handmade soft soled leather shoes, moccasins and boots for babies, toddlers and kids. shop // @starryknightdesign

Use code RAINBOW FRIDAY for 15% off. Or, mention RAINBOWFRIDAY in notes at checkout and 15% of your sale will be donated to The Lotus Project. The Lotus Project is a pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum education and resource center whose mission is to improve women’s health and happiness during pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period, and through that process, creating healthy and happy families.

Rocky Mountain brown leather baby or toddler moccasins.

Fairy Food Market builds miniature meats, veggies, fruits, and desserts out of polymer clay, because tiny things are fantastic, and even fairies need to eat!

Natalie of Fairy Food Market will donate 20% of profits to the Missoula Food Bank. Mention RAINBOWFRIDAY at checkout.

Fairy Food Market is giving away six teeny tiny clay cupcakes for imaginary play, dollhouse kitchens, or display.

shop // blog

20% of all sales will be donated to the library fund Pastures Preschool, a one-room schoolhouse located on a sheep ranch in the small hamlet of Bodega, California.

Organic cotton library junkie canvas tote bag. Artwork designed by Tammi Salas and screen printed in Petaluma, California.

Every order will receive a beautiful, handmade bookmark painted by Tammi.


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nitrogen to carbon to nitrogen

I took a master gardening class years ago. I took it after I was fired from a housesitting gig for killing all the plants and before I started my gardening business. I still consult my Master Gardening Manual regularly, its pages soft with dirt and turned corners.

Gardening is meant for writers. From the poetic words like meristem and apical and brassica to the generous metaphors in tending, troubleshooting, growth, harvest and nourishment.

I saw David Sedaris read this week. I went with my friend after we were offered tickets one hour before he was to take stage. We sat high in the balcony and listened to his familiar cadence deliver hilarious and shocking words. I noticed two things. First, when a person is funny, it gives their audience permission to laugh at anything, even the serious and sad stuff. And it isn’t inappropriate to laugh at serious and sad stuff. It’s a legitimate reaction to the discomfort of big feelings. Two, I need to read more books and look at more art. When another shares their genius, an energy field is cast. It’s contagious in the most inspiring way.

I ordered a new computer yesterday. Mine is slowly croaking, keyboard and track pad kaput and the function straining at the smallest requests. Ruby says it sounds like it is sighing all the time. Yesterday afternoon I was on the mac help chat thing with Claire, trying to decide between a new or refurbished computer. I think those chat windows were made for moms. If I’d had to make a phone call, my kids would have immediately been starving, in great need of a glue stick from the top shelf and writhing from some ailment that required lavender oil and a bandaid. The chat allows me to get some questions answered while Ruby summits my body and Margot choreographs a jumprope routine to Frosty The Snowman in the kitchen.

October and September were bright and warm. Our kids ran barefoot on Halloween afternoon, a day that is famously cold around here. Deciduous trees held color for over a month, sharing a continual shower of tumeric and cayenne leaves. And then, in just one day, the temperature dropped to the single digits, all the leaves curled into themselves and jumped to the ground. It snowed.

Acquiring the skill to detect a nutrient imbalance in the garden is like a magic portal into the Earth’s growth rings. We get to watch carbon and nitrogen be neighborly and productive when in harmony and wither when fighting for space. We can sprinkle blood meal or toss coffee grounds to mend tension. We can sweep fallen leaves atop tucked-in garlic cloves as a party invitation for worms and leaf mold. And even with the best love and attention, we can witness disease throw down its trump card. Even science is an unpredictable mystery.

My youngest daughter turns five this weekend. She is the happiest person I know, skipping and whistling and wanting to read just one more book. She always grabs two cheese sticks at the grocery store, asks for an extra sticker from the bank teller, collects two rocks so her sister can have one of everything she gets. She has a fierce temper when her cut snowflakes don’t turn out as she’d hoped and an equally fierce recovery — one mama hug and it’s all fixed. I wish my embrace would have that impact forevermore.

She only likes tights and leggings, nothing “shakey” on her legs. She draws voraciously — pictures of worms thinking about snow storms and pictures of our family as mice on a mountain. She eats three breakfasts and doesn’t care for dinner. She likes dolphins, horses, skiing, purple, braids, gymnastics, cuddling chickens, riding bikes, eating ice and impressing her sister.

On the nights she doesn’t climb into our bed and take up space like one of those plastic capsules that expands into a sponge seahorse when in contact with water, she sneaks over to my side of the bed and whisper yells MAMA one inch from my sleeping face. I startle awake. What honey? I ask. I was just wondering. What did we have for dinner? I can’t remember. 

There was more I had wanted to do in the garden before the ground froze. Now that to-do list is complete, no matter the items finished. In a world where we can control and manage so much, I appreciate things like seasons and birthdays that exist no matter our plans. I now turn my attention to a kitty butterfly cake and a tea party for five little girls and their favorite dolls. (I’ve always wanted to make miniature food for stuffed deer, ducks and Elsas)

The 2014 growing season was was difficult in pole beans and tomatoes; in a daughter who grew toward five years alive with feats like newborn-style sleep patterns, needing to toss her clothes all about the house to find what she was looking for and “decorating her sheets with tattoos.” The 2014 growing season was fantastic in beets, cabbage, carrots, kale and tomatillos; in a daughter who grew toward five years alive with accomplishments like riding a bike, growing her hair long enough for a side braid and managing to breathe joy into every living creature near her.

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To what end?

I wrote this piece two weeks ago. I have written and rewritten it several times, each time unhappy with the lack of direction and the rambling nature. I have felt doubtful and afraid of being misunderstood. Then I heard this read on the radio this morning:

The moment we begin to fear the opinions of others and hesitate to tell the truth that is in us, and from motives of policy are silent when we should speak, the divine floods of light and life no longer flow into our souls. – Elizabeth Cady Stanton

And I realized that often the truest way from point A to point B is a big ol’ meandering zig zag.

:: :: ::

Sometimes I feel like I am letting feminism down. I am aware of the juxtaposition of my pre-kid ambitions and my current ambitions. I hear the roar of the Lean In Movement. I choose to lean differently and that can feel so isolating. I feel the criticism – whether legitimate or of my own imagination (I suspect it is a bit of both) – from colleagues; I wonder if I am a person they think of throwing away potential when they ask me what’s new or if I am making art these days.

While I feel inspired by and sure of my choices and my lifestyle in the giant, oceanic sense, I indeed have waves of doubt and insecurity. It’s remarkable that I can feel lost, when moving in right direction with a functioning compass.

I remain driven, although it feels so different from my ambitions, before child. For me, everything regarding my goals and perspective changed when my first daughter was born. Everything. I didn’t want to admit it for over a year. I was still invested in my work but it was no longer what defined my success.

At a dinner party last summer, I talked with a group of friends about how remarkable it is that in this town – where nobody moves for a career opportunity – we have all found meaningful work. A filmmaker, communications director in local government, reporter, nonprofit executive director, artist, nurse and me. My friend asked if I’d go back into my old work (development director at an art museum), someday. Really, you peaked before your time, she said. She said it lightly, as a nod toward how young I was in that job. But I cringed. You can peak more than once. I am peaking now, I defended. I do believe that. And I do feel defensive about it.

I inhale and remember I make my choices with great care and I exhale knowing that, right now, more than any goal or ambition, I want to mother my children. I do. I want to craft a meaningful, altruistic, creative, progressive, loving, living life around this high charge. I want to pay attention to this. This. 

I haven’t lost myself in my children. My position doesn’t request your approval or disapproval. My position requests an understanding that the fire in your belly is the same as the fire in my belly. And the moment we stop thinking we should do things, we free ourselves to listen to our true life’s missions (we are complicated; we have more than one; we can change our minds). I don’t believe any authentic calling is common or unimportant.

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. ― Howard Thurman

Of course, I want to achieve a great many things. I think of my creative muse like a rabid texter. I can silence my phone. I can leave the room. I can turn it off. But, at some point, I will see the contents of those green thought bubbles and I will happily engage. I must engage. I owe it to myself, and especially to my children, to muscle my way through my inspired fits.

I want to write this book that stares at me every time I open my computer. And I want to grow GEO to the place where my husband can paint full time. I want to bring back Virgin Harvest and print those canning labels I designed. I want to finish that essay about how adults inappropriately comment on little girls body types (lucky girl! legs for days!) and I want to publish it in some giant magazine. I want to create a garden planting app. I want to realize my children’s book about weighing risk and big living. I want to get my blog posts finished – the ones about beet recipes, my sure-but-insecure desire to homeschool, house projects, building furniture, my favorite kid movies and all the feelings and stories in each corner of each of those ideas. I want to volunteer more, change the lunchroom culture in public schools and make art.

I want to say things out loud. I want to do things. And then I stop and ask myself…

To what end?

For what am I doing things? For whom? Why? On the day I sip my last breath, what do I want to feel I have contributed to the world?

I ask myself, with everything I do: to what end? Yes, I need to earn income and clean and tend and comfort in the same ways we all do. But, the other stuff, the stuff we choose, the way we get there: to what end?

Am I rendering myself irrelevant? Am I shrinking away from the momentum that is in me? Do my fantasies about unplugging completely and moving with my family into the deep wilderness come from a fear of failure? Am I meant to do more? I reflect on those questions often.

I think those things in that paragraph up there will wait. And if they are no longer available to me when I turn my attention to them, I will find the next thing and that will be the right thing.

I tell myself I have plenty of time to ____. Truth is, I either do have plenty of time or I don’t. I might live to accomplish another something and I might die tomorrow. In both circumstances, today: I choose the mess, excitement, love, exhaustion and ceremony of the ordinary. I am

(and then Ruby interrupted me, hijacked my computer and finished it up perfectly)





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hump day nuggets: harvest

hump day nuggets: bits of the season in photos and words

At the dinner table last week, Ruby leaned back and the entire top half of the chair crashed to the floor. She – with her bendy, snappy reflexes – was unscathed. The chair remained that way for a few days, the top and rungs in a sad heap on the floor. On Friday, I armed myself with wood glue and a drill and fixed that chair and the other three thrifted chairs that were also all wobbly and crooked. We now have four stable seats around our table.

After months of playing outside and several weekends away, it felt so good to button up, mend, fix and make our home this last week. I love ignoring homestead tasks in favor of adventuring and I equally love turning my attention to the details of our homestead. The seasonal change always lures my organizational muse in for a visit.


:: This old grapevine is nearly two stories tall and produces a ton of grapes every year. We’ve had two botched batches of jelly. This year, I’m hoping for success with the grapes we have left – Ruby has been training the chickens to catch grapes.

:: Our mild fall finally delivered a decent frost two days ago, officially turning all those bright blooms into carbon bits for next year’s crops.

:: We have been enjoying making Alice’s food. Except for the puréeing of bison liver during which time I think about raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens while holding my breath. Broccoli has always been her favorite vegetable and our plants have continued to put out little shoots that we steam and chop up in her meals. Ruby calls first dibs though.

:: Margot’s favorite chore is collecting eggs.

:: I spent most of Sunday in the garden, with the rotating company of variety of domestic and wild creatures.

:: We harvested the last of the beets and holy smokes this year’s crop may have finally produced enough beets for our family for the winter.

:: Raking up leaves which we will lay over the garden after we weed and plant garlic. Sculpture by Nathan Tonning.

:: Inside, we tidied and cozied up the space in which we will spend more time during the coming months. The stove is on. The wool blankets are draped over chairs.

My friend started a new business – The Dharma Door – that designs & sources Fair Trade, sustainable homewares and lifestyle products. Their mission is to bridge the gap between ethical production and contemporary style.

She and her family are offering you all a coupon code, good for 15% off your purchases: DIGTHISCHICK.

The Dharma Door sent us a few items and, honestly, I am just in love with them all. We don’t have much storage space in our home so I am always interested in attractive, functional solutions. Functional meaning it works, stands up to kid use and lasts a long time. Attractive being the most important thing to me. I believe there is no need to have anything in my home I don’t love to look at.

Solution #1. Shoes! I try to keep it simple here but still, my daughters each have four pairs of shoes. And then slippers and winter boots. We seriously don’t have anywhere for them to go! Their small shared closet is full and we don’t have a mud room. I am so pleased with the Hessian Sack. It’s beautiful enough to sit in our living room (and smartly covers the giant vent in the wall) and conveniently stores the shoes.

Solution #2. Stuffies! My daughters’ room holds all their stuff, which includes dress up, art supplies, books, dolls, instruments and toys. I’ve discovered that frequent rearranging of their things encourages fresh play with forgotten toys so, I change up their room often. The stuffed toys are a big favorite and the Loomed Basket is the perfect place for them to live. It is generously sized, super sturdy and easy to drag around the house.

Solution #3. Untouchables! I keep certain art supplies out of reach. Like, pastels, puffy paint, the effing rainbow loom, clay and beads. The top shelf is for moms and dads to help. The Hessian Bucket Duos are perfect for storage — they are a great size and are adorable.

Want to win something? Yep. The Dharma Door is generously giving away a Loomed Basket and a Summer Stripes Tote (I also have this tote and LOVE it; it goes everywhere with me. See a snap of it in action here). Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win! Winners will be randomly selected on Monday, November 3 at 8am MST. And, support this lovely company; use code DIGTHISCHICK for 15% off.

*WINNER* of the Loomed Basket: lucky #8. Congrats Jayne!

*WINNER* of the Summer Stripes Tote: lucky #78. Congrats Barbara!

Thanks, Dharma Door!

I’m hanging up my gardening gloves this coming weekend. We will soon be in ski mittens. First, Halloween and Day of the Dead. Then a five year old’s birthday, Thanksgiving. A seven year old’s birthday, Christmas. We are entering a season of big celebration around here. We will be enjoying those mended chairs often, I’m certain.

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We are all in this together.

Last night I lay in bed with my kids and a sea of stuffed animals, talking about a new piece of art that hung in our kitchen.

Me: Are there things I always say?

Ruby: Maaaaamaaaa. You ALWAYS say ‘I love you.’ And we totally already know you love us!

Margot: When we are crazy you say, ‘Sisters. Take it down a notch.’

Ruby: And you always say Oh! Look at the beautiful mountains! Or look at the beautiful dirt! And we already know what it all looks like!

Margot: You are always yelling for us to shut the door so the chickens don’t come and poop in the living room.

It went on for a bit and made me laugh. The things we say over and over again.

Last month I saw an image of a piece of art on instagram and knew I needed to own it. It was meant for me. You’d think I commissioned it. I bought it. I hung it yesterday, in the heart of our home.

This piece resonates so deeply with me because I say these words to my children daily, usually more than once. When the girl’s room is covered in every article of clothing they own and it is time to pick it up. Inevitably one will say But I didn’t DO this. She did! And I say, I’m here too and we will all help. We are all in this together. When secrets and exclusion unfold during a many-child play date. Let’s find a game that feels good to everyone. We are all in this together. When hiking and we pick up somebody else’s trash. It’s not about who left it here or why. It’s about what needs to be done with it, for the animals who live here. We are all in this together. When on a road trip that feels too long for everyone. Take a deep breath my chickens. We are moving forward but it will take time. We are all in this together. When a person makes a choice different than the one we make. People are different and have different opinions. We get to learn from each other. We are all in this together. 


It is by Leah Boelman. She stitches yarn through wood and paints. It is easy to love everything she makes. Find Leah here: little green things / on instagram @littlegreenthings

We are all in this together. I believe it. We are a team. Our actions, our choices, the things we say – they are our vote for the kind of world we want.

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