Here's a photo, taken around this time last year, just inside the front door of the Maple Tree gift shop in Seaville, NJ. It is literally just around the corner from my house, and I often refer to it as my home away from home.
The first time I called Rosie, the owner, to introduce myself, I told her, "You know, I can see your back door from my kitchen window." It just seemed like fate that I should get involved in this shop.
Since it opened less than two years ago, Rosie and the Maple Tree have gradually become a bigger and bigger part of my life. When it opened, I was making crafts for three or four other stores. Most of my output now goes to the Maple Tree. (Those are my Queen of Hearts dolls in the photo.) I work there occasionally, I teach classes there, I stop by to say hi to Rosie if I'm driving by (I was going to say 'in the neighborhood,' but I'm always in the neighborhood).
So much can happen in two years. In that time, I lost my 'significant other,' Pete. Rosie found out she had cervical cancer; she just recently finished her treatment. On the business side, the economy took a nose dive. But through it all, the Maple Tree has continued to thrive.
Today I stopped by to talk to Rosie about new classes and new crafts and new plans for the new year. She said she recently cleaned her craft room at home. She gave away some stuff and threw out tons more. It might be, she admitted, the most wasteful thing she's ever done, but also the most liberating. "I needed a new beginning," she said.
That's the great thing about this time of year. You can throw out the old and plan for the new. We all need a new beginning.
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