Our Wabi-Sabi Gratitude Tree

Hiya Creative Monks!

Our first get-together-and-make-something project is a gratitude tree. It comes completely from nature (plus a bit of ink marker), and–when we’ve finished admiring it–it will be returned to nature. So very wabi-sabi of us!

What is Wabi-Sabi you ask?

Wabi-Sabi is Japanese expression that doesn’t really have an English equivalent. Wabi-Sabi describes the subtle beauty of imperfect, impermanent and incomplete things, things that are simple and humble. It’s not really a design style, but rather a way of thinking or being with things.

As so many families have battoned the financial hatches and returned to reusing things or doing without, I thought this was a perfect first project for us to share. It brings the outside indoors, and needs no supplies.

Everyone at our house has so much to be thankful for. We strive to live with thankful hearts and talk about the things we feel gratitude for. As a mom I’m aware my daughters constantly mind record everything I say. I focus my words on being thankful for what we have, instead of spending any energy on the things we are without. As time goes by we create more of what we focus upon, in this case abundance, not lack.

We decided to find a place to showcase the things in life for which we are thankful on our wabi-sabi looking Gratitude Tree.

Get with your family or special friend and go to the nearest woodsy area and look for a felled tree branch. (Best not to break a limb of a living tree, as you may end up harming the tree.) Look for a pretty big one, with lots of little offshoots to hang your leaves on. Emma founds ours…

While walking back, pick up lots of different fallen leaves. We found some that still had some moisture, so they wouldn’t disintegrate to quickly on our tree.

Take your treasures home and find a good spot to showcase your thankfulness. (With our youngest monkey, Colin, being 17 months, we needed a place that was up and out of reach, so we put it by the front door in a large vase.) We put the leaves in a small basket and set out a couple water-based markers to write our thanks on the leaves, when the spirit takes us. Leaves can be threaded through the branches, or tied onto the twigs by making knots in the leaf stems.

Voila! So very wabi-sabi, perfectly imperfect! So far Abbey and Emma have fun adding their leaves of thanks before my hubby or I have added any, that way we don’t skew them into our ideas. It’s been so beautiful and insightful to see the first things they’ve come up with! So far the girls are thankful for
Life, My Daddy, My crazy Dog Jackson, My Silly Brother, My Yummy Dinner, Toilets, the World, Air, Sleep, Food, Our Neighbors and Trees.

Are you going to create a Wabi-Sabi gratitude tree with someone you love? Oooooh! Please come back here and post pictures so others can see what YOU and yours are thankful for.

Sending big LOVE and lots of creative energy your way!
Becky and the Monks


EeEeEe! The Monkeys are blogging!

Hiya Creative Monkeys!

Welcome and thank you so much for visiting our page! Your visit here is important because it means you heard about our little monkey business, Monkey Chi Monkey Do, and you’re probably interested in learning more and maybe getting you and yours involved?! (At least we hope so!)

Our little monkey business was born when my darling children-Abbey age 9, and Emma age 8- and I started making Monkey Magic Bubble Wands together. We had such fun creating and painting them. When we “work” on them, it’s really not work at all. We listen to music that makes us feel extra sparkly while we create, and we often talk about the folks who will one day have them in their possession. We say our wishes out loud for our unknown friends, and hope that folks have as much fun playing with the bubbles as we do.

Making and offering playthings is just one part of our Monkey Chi Monkey Do dream. We LOVE offering special things for folks who want to get busy playing with something beautiful and handmade (oh and fun too).

Another part of our dream is to inspire YOU to make something with someone you love. (And then play with it and report back here to share your fun, of course.)

We want to inspire folks to occasionally (and completely) disconnect from modern technology (including but not limited to gaming/communication devices and tvs), and entertain/communicate the old-fashioned- no-batteries-required way: Being present together where you are, creating, playing, and laughing–BEING together. These are the times special memories are made and loving bonds are strengthened.

Later this week we will be sharing our first tutorial for a Gratitude Tree. It’s the first of many natural and simple creations you can make with someone you love.

We’d love to hear from you. Please tell us what your thinking! Are we NUTS? (We think so!)  Have you made something simple and special together with your family? What was it? Share here in comments, or e-mail us directly at info AT MonkeyChiMonkeyDo DOT com.

We are so excited you are still reading … we can’t wait to connect with you! Want to learn more about us, please visit our Web site.

Becky and the Troop

P.S. Did you know a group of monkeys is called a troop? EeeEeeEEE!


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