Summer, Joy, Picking Flowers and the Giveaway Winner

Life continues to speed along. Here it is, the middle of August. Signs of fall are everywhere. The robins stopped singing weeks ago. Acorns are beginning to fall. The weather hasn't been summer-warm. The sun is setting earlier and earlier each day. Recently I found myself in a bit of a panic... wait, I haven't been truly enjoying summer, it can't be over...

summer flowers, flower arrangements, garden flowers, artist work space, studio, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

One thing I haven't been doing much of this summer is cutting flowers to enjoy in the house (I guess I didn't learn). I've been "saving" them. The zinnias seem to be blooming one flower at a time and I've hardly had any flowers on my beloved nasturtiums (until the last couple days, that is). I hate to cut the only flower on a plant. But soon there will be no more flowers in the garden.

nasturtiums, garden, summer flowers, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

I noticed a book at the library the other day: If I Had My Life to Live Over I Would Pick More Daisies. That title has been resonating with me ever since. I didn't check out the book, a collection of essays, stories and poems, but later I looked up the phrase and found a couple versions of the poem here. Truly, just what I needed to hear. Sometimes I can be too serious. Too focused. Too careful.

And these lines:
More errors are made solemnly than in fun. The rubs of family life come in moments of intense seriousness rather that in moments of light-heartedness. If nations - to magnify my point - declared international carnivals instead of international war, how much better that would be!*

With the weight of continuous heartbreaking news, with the state of the world as it is and has been and seems to continue to become, I wish all of us a bit more fun, more joy, more beauty.

Over the weekend Matthias and I visited a farm planted with a maze of sunflowers. 

sunflowers, sunflower maze, flower maze, Wisconsin, Summer, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

It was magical. The flowers went on and on and on.

sunflowers, sunflower maze, flower maze, Wisconsin, Summer, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

You couldn't stand among the sunflowers and feel anything but joy. The weather was perfect. The bees were buzzing. It was good for my soul. (I posted a video of it on Instagram that you can see here).

I started thinking about how if we all could take time to feed our spirits with such beauty, such joy, such peace, then perhaps the world wouldn't be in the state it is.

I know that nothing is quite so simple. And yet, each act of kindness makes a difference. What a gift this field of sunflowers. The family whose farm it is charges no money for people to walk the maze, to cut a flower to bring home...

We all have our gifts to give. Maybe we aren't marching in protests. Perhaps our acts are different. Acts of kindness. Acts of love. Acts of beauty.

garden, roses, pink roses, roses and raindrops, Aunt Honey Rose, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Kindness matters. Love matters. Beauty matters.

This post has gone in a different direction than I'd originally intended, but all of these things have been on my mind. In addition to putting the finishing touches on my studio. 

art studio, work space, storage, studio, office, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

And filming and editing my next Skillshare class. 

viola flowers, floral inspiration, art inspiration, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

And trying to savor and enjoy each fleeting day.

Trionfo Violetto Pole Beans, purple beans, pole beans, garden harvest, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Thank you to each of you who entered my giveaway. I had 29 people comment on my blog and 54 people comment on Instagram, with some of you commenting in both places. I truly appreciate all of your kind words about my art.

I wrote all of your names on little scraps of paper and put them in this bowl.

giveaway, names in a hat, drawing, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

The butterflies were by far the most popular design, but the winner, pulled out at random, loved the nasturtiums the best.

giveaway, prize drawing, winner, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Congratulations, Carla From the River! Please send me your address and I'll mail out your package!

I'll share more about my studio, my garden, my art, next week. (And of course, there will be a Sketchbook Conversation later this week, too).

Wishing you a week with many chances to feed your spirit.

*from the poem "If I Had My Life Over, I'd Pick More Daisies" version by Don Herold found here


  1. Hi Anne,
    Yippee! Thank you! I am so excited.

    I appreciated your post today. I have been in a similar spot this past week.
    The sunflower maze looks like a true getaway to just breathe and soak in some time to remember goodness.
    Love, Carla

    1. Hooray, Carla!! So glad to be sending you some flowers. :) Thanks for all your encouragement and support and for being such a wonderful cheerleader!

  2. Your photos always bring me joy, Anne. Looks like you are making the most of your summer! Happy Wednesday.

    1. Thank you, Sharon! Yours bring me joy, too.

      I'm certainly trying to savor summer before it's gone. I hope you are, too!

  3. Thank you for the sunflower photos - like something from a story book! Your studio is looking lovely and fresh and I hope you get to spend many creative and fulfilling hours in there Anne. Congratulations to the regular commenter Carla on the giveaway. It was hard to choose a favourite design as they were all equally lovely. :)

    1. Thank you, Simone, I'm glad you enjoyed the photos.

      And thank you for being here always cheering me on and encouraging me in my endeavors.

      Wishing you joy!

  4. Beautiful and inspiring life, work and creativity.

    1. Thanks so much, sweet Aga. You know you inspire me, too, with your creative and thoughtful soul. Wishing you much joy.

  5. Such a great message here, Anne - seek out joy, beauty, kindness - it's our best defense against the bitterness and hatred in the world. Sorry I missed your giveaway - I've been distracted lately, but hope to visit more often. Love your work and your good heart. xo

    1. Thank you, Judy. I'm sorry you've been distracted. Sending love your way.


  6. YES.
    Sunflowers are very special plants.

  7. I so enjoy your lovely posts and beautiful photos and artwork, they always bring a smile to my face. I to cannot believe summer will be leaving us soon, seems like she just arrived. I can feel autumn nipping at her heels, noticing the subtle changes in the air, the light, the scents of the coming season. While summer is my favorite season I shall embrace fall and all the beauty it brings, preparing myself for the winter season of rest and introspection.


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