Much Love Monday

I recently filled up all my notebooks, and had to go out to find a new one. Lo and behold, the one pictured below. It even sparkles. I was amazed at how representative it is of the mori girl aesthetic: the character is depicted outdoors, reading a book beneath a tree, or swinging in the woods.
Who is this character? I wondered. It turns out she is based on a real-life person, who first conceived of the character for greeting cards, "a cat-loving rag dress-wearing little girl in a giant bonnet." How funny! A coworker at the card company thought she should become a doll, and hand-sewed the prototype in order to convince the big boss. The character went on to be picked up in a book series, in which Holly is a ghost, whose "abode" is a 19th century painting, and who comes out to help a girl find her father, who'd disappeared in Guatemala on an archaeological dig. (info via)
The "real" Holly, née Denise Holly Ulinskas (she took on the "Hobbie" through marriage), writes children's books, like "Toot and Puddle," in which the characters explore different countries, always returning home at the end, saying, "A boomerang flies, but always returns home where it belongs."
She also wrote "The Art of Holly Hobbie" with gems like: "Each spring, [my son] would pick a bouquet of Dandelions for me. Small children are able to see how beautiful they are, while the rest of us have learned to take such pedestrian plants for granted. Now we have whole neighbourhoods of people waging war against the poor weed with trucks of chemicals. Do they know what they are doing? ...If such plants are to be lost in the pursuit of perfect lawns, I'd rather strive for imperfection."
In line with beautiful discoveries, I also found three nifty blogs this weekend: Shabby Blog with free jazz-uppy digital art; Eclectic Gipsyland, who I learned of via Marie Claire Idées, where she was featured for her Joseph's-technicolour type crochet wonders; eklektick, a fun art blog.
It can seem to be tricky to draw the line between the fun and games, and where one ought to increase the elbow grease. But I feel convinced that the key to life is finding the beauty that is available to us, and working to increase it. If the approach to our work is too intense, the outcome can't be good.
It seems risky, sometimes, to leave work undone and go out to play. But those who age youthfully all share a playful quality. Last week, I read on this oceanically-zen site a quote by Rumi, who is one of my favourite poets: Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray. And also this: To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong. Play is seriously important! So whence the fear, or self-doubt? Whence the hackneyed image of the sad artist, moved to create only when oppressed by emotion?
Somewhere, there is a woman writer who bears the same name as a character she released into the world, into the minds of children and some adults, whose name sounds like "hobby" and who travels and explores. After all, hobby once meant small horse, and it is with horse that one travels. For today's Much Love Monday, I love the serendipity of Holly Hobbie - and wish you a serendipitous week; may we to stop to smell the dandelions!