But there are always exceptions to my rules. Take FLOW magazine for example. I was introduced to this magazine that celebrates "creativity, imperfection and life's little pleasures" a year or so ago by a friend. It hails from the Netherlands and is filled with the most engaging illustrations and thoughtful articles plus all sorts of treats for the reader. By treats I mean tear-out decorative papers, tags, prints, stickers, and inspiring words. You never know what its pages will hold. There are articles featuring artists from around the world and essays on all sorts of topics — philosophy, slowing down, unplugging, organizing, crafts — all written from the point of view of taking one's time to engage, experience, enjoy.
I love this magazine. It is relaxing to leaf through its pages. But, it is difficult to find and a subscription costs a fortune as it ships from the Netherlands. However, I discovered that my local Barnes & Noble carries it. The couple of times I have looked for it though, the magazine has been sold out. Apparently I'm not the only one to be taken with its wisdom.
So I was thrilled when I stopped in B&N on Sunday and found a stack of the latest issue #20. They must have just arrived. I snatched one up and was delighted to read in the table of contents that there were pages devoted to tours of the homes of three different artists, the importance of friendships, what we can learn from Mother Nature, setting up a morning routine, and the advantages of loafing. (Ooh. I love that one.) Plus three 4x6 notebooks each with a different illustrated cover are included. There are four full-page prints by German naturalist and scientific illustrator Maria Sibylls Merian from her book Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium which was published in 1705. There is even a sticker for my cell phone that advises: Offline is the new luxury.
As I stood in line to make my purchase, excited to discover the surprises it held, imagine my delight to spy a display of a special edition of FLOW: 19 Days of Mindfulness. Wow! I really hit the jackpot.
This edition contains 163 pages of day-by-day ways to bring mindfulness and creativity to your life. There is a notebook for your Morning Pages, a feature on artists and their tools and talismans, a color-by-number paper tablecloth (big project), and colorful cutouts to make your very own hot air balloon paper garland.
An amusement on every page.
On its website www.flowmagazine.com you can preview its gorgeousness. There are photos and features and DIY crafts. There is a store locator so you can check to see if it's available anywhere near you. Its website tells me that there are four international editions in English each year. It is also available in German and French and of course Dutch.
I will warn you that the issues are a bit pricey — $25. But if you break that down to the number of hours of entertainment you will enjoy, it's a mere pittance. In the long run, FLOW is an inexpensive way to fill your life with beauty.
Let me know if you are already familiar with FLOW or if you have any luck finding copies in your neighborhood.
Here are a couple of photos from the magazine that is way more than a magazine:
Three notebooks are included in issue #20
This article contains pages of small illustrations
that can be used in my art journal
From Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium
An article on stepping away from technology
A funny look at people merging with book cover images
Suitable for framing - words to live by