Berkshire Seasons tote

Berkshire Seasons Tote

Happy New Year! December sure goes by in a whirlwind and this year was a bit different since for the first time I participated in my first festival: the Alchemy Initiative Handmade Holiday Festival in Pittsfield, MA.  The festival was the first weekend in December and it was two days.  I had fun meeting other vendors, chatting with people I have not bumped into for sometime, getting feedback from customers, and displaying my art and a few new products. Participating in this festival made me think about ways I could use my art for other products.  When I was thinking about this, I realized I had painted barns in all four seasons and came up with the “Berkshire Seasons” design.  I used my green barn that is on Holmes Road, Pittsfield MA for spring; Cricket Creek Farm in Williamstown, MA for summer; the Sugar Maple Farm on Dalton Division Road, Pittsfield, for fall; and the yellow barn on Bailey Road, Lanesborough, MA for winter.  Visitors to the festival seemed to love these tote bags since I sold out of all of the ones I brought!  Since everyone is trying to reduce the number of plastic bags used, reusable bags are a fit for everyone.

I love these tote bags, not only because my images are on them, but the tote bag is one I found out in Seattle, Washington.  A few summers ago, we were visiting Pike Place Market in Seattle and I bought a similar tote bag with a Pike Place Market design on it.  I found that I use this bag constantly because is really sturdy and light; holds lots of items, but not overwhelming.  The inside fabric is slick so it is easy to clean, it has really strong handles (in the picture they are tucked in) and there is a pocket on the inside for keys or such and a pocket on the outside for your phone, etc.  The bottom is wide so it can stand up by itself and doesn’t tip over like many other bags. I searched and searched to find the same tote bag for my design and finally found a supplier.  My images are printed on a stone colored tote and the image is permanent and is washable.  In honor of the New Year, I am offering free shipping for these Berkshire Seasons totes found on my website http://www.mjnicole.com under Whimsical Creations. Cheers!

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Fall has been just spectacular in the Berkshires. In the leaf-peeping industry, bus tours to the New England area always try to come during the two traditional peak weeks (second and third week in October), when most of the trees have turned their vibrant colors and the trees are still full with leaves.   This year, the entire month of October was peak viewing!  The moderate temperatures kept the leaves in the yellow-orange color spectrum with an occasional fire red tree tossed in for a surprise.  Week after week, the leaves refused to fall off and I kept on taking picture after picture of beautiful trees.  I selected a variety of leaves for my art class to use when we did leaf rubbings with crayons and then the children filled each leaf in with watercolors.  My son collected (ok I collected most of them!) over ten black and rust brown woolie bears for a school project, created a habitat, and faithfully fed them apples and dandelion leaves and soaked white cotton balls with water so that they could drink. In this spirit of fall, I created my second treasure box from a recycled cigar box.  I kept it simple at first with a golden orange maple leaf on the top with a dark brown border.  If you look closely, you will see a woolie bear on the front right of the box.  Inside, I continued the fall colors with four more leaves in a pile. I imagine someone using this treasure box to keep those mementos that help us remember the passing of the seasons.

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