Friday, December 28, 2012

Friday's Quote

"The snow itself is lonely, or if you prefer, self sufficient. There is no other time when the whole world seems composed of one thing and one thing only." Joseph Wood Krutch 

The snow here has made our little world quiet and peaceful helping us forget troubles and worries and instead, stretch out these end of year days allowing what seems like extra time to think, reflect and just be. 

I'd have it no other way. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Pretty as a Picture

The snow has been falling since last night. A steady snow with big fat flakes that's covered everything in sight. We've decided not to plow or dig ourselves out for a while and instead be snowed in by the fire reading, napping and doing a little bit of this and that. It's truly as pretty as a picture outside.

I'm not sure about you, but I am wiped out from the holidays. It's all I can do to move from the bed to the couch and back again. Exhausting work I tell you. After a couple of days of napping though my old friend, Guilt [that's right, with a capital G], showed up and convinced me to do something a little more productive. 

All those pretty cards we received throughout the season are hanging in the kitchen. Little do they know, in years past, cards just like them were tossed. Oh the Guilt. Family, friends and loved ones take the time to send these cards and then there they go in the trash.  

Not this year! They have been saved from the recycle bin and in the nick of time. Each card was loving cut out into tags using a gift tag shaped hole punch so they can adorn a gift for next year and live to see another holiday. 

And that's about all the productivity this girl can handle for today. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Cup of Cheer

There's nothing like an old family recipe to stir memories up from a Christmas past. My grandfather's eggnog is one of those recipes. Each year he made it, I would sneak a few sips here and there to savor. My mom was less concerned about the alcohol in it and more concerned with my reaction to the abundance of dairy that it contained. Lactose intolerant or not, there are so many dairy substitutes around now, that it has become an easy recipe to whip up this time of year. 

Straight from our family cookbook, here is the recipe: 

- One Quart Premium Vanilla Ice Cream [Lactaid makes a vanilla bean ice cream that is better than most vanilla ice creams out there]
- 2 Cups Milk [Again, substitute with Lactaid version] 
- Half Cup Sugar 
- 2 Tablespoons Vanilla Extract 
- 2 Shots 'Coronet, VSQ' Brandy 
- 2 Shots White Rum
- 6 Eggs 

In large bowl, combine partially melted ice cream and milk; whip with beaters until frothy. Mix in sugar and vanilla extract. Combine brandy to mixture. Add eggs and whip until frothy. Lastly, gently stir in rum. 

Whatever your traditions, I hope your days are filled with lots of cheer. 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Finishing Touches

Between us, I'm a sucker for great packaging. Forget the actual product; give me the box and all the frills and detail that go with it. 

In the final few days before the big day, there are quite a few finishing touches and packaging details to be done, not to mention some baking and wrapping. 

A little fussing, in my mind, goes a long way and can make the difference between giving a nice gift and creating something special and meaningful.  

And for the first time, I decorated our porches with old skates, a wooden sleds, pine, little white lights and big ornaments.

May the next few days bring you peace, love and joy. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Goodness and Light

Last week was filled with celebration. Each night we came home to light the candles, enjoy being home in each other's company and to exchange small gifts. 

And then the shootings took place. An act of violence that stopped me in my tracks. Like most Americans right now, I am heartbroken at what has happened to all those beautiful little kids, their teachers, their families, their town and even to this country. Our Friday and Saturday night prayer along with the candle lighting was done with a heavy heart and an extra prayer. 

As we head into the week leading up to Christmas, may we all take a moment to find the goodness and light in our hearts, our families, children, pets, communities and in those helping the victims through this unthinkable time. May goodness and light see us through. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Year End Purge

As much as I'm looking forward to the holidays, I'm truly excited and a bit eager to say hello to the New Year and all it has in store. It's going to be a good one, I can just feel it. And yet, sometimes I wish it would share some of it's secrets about what it has in store for me, but it really doesn't work that way now, does it?! Talk about wishful thinking. 

In the interim, I'm in a bit of a cleaning and purging mode to ready for the big change of the calendar. All that making and wrapping last week, left my studio looking like a creative explosion went off. And I guess that's exactly what you would call it.

With work spaces freshly cleaned out, I'm once again surrounded by the little things I love, that comfort me, inspire me and help me dream. It's time for a quick holiday time-out to sit down and let 2013 know what's in store.  

So much for a list to Santa [wink].

Friday, December 7, 2012

Friday's Quote

How are you doing dear friends? I hope the week has treated you well. The Christmas music is blaring nightly here. The lights in the house twinkle away as gifts are made and wrapped with a shout out from across the hall from my studio to his, ‘no peeking!’ It’s returned with something like, ‘but I need a different roll of wrapping paper?’

During the midst of all this, I heard one of my favorite Christmas lines from the song ‘Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ sung by Judy Garland. I adore her voice and when I hear, ‘From now on your troubles will be out of sight…’ it serves as a reminder that that no matter what it is we’re facing this time of year [let’s face it, the holidays are not joyful all the time], it will pass and this time next year it will be behind us. 

Whenever you can, enjoy all there is in the present and try separating it from all that other stuff swarming around. Missing out on the joys the season has to offer because of some nagging little problem, isn’t worth it. That problem, like the knot in your neck after a bad night’s sleep, will work itself out. Mark my words. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


It's official, I've launched on Etsy and what a sense of accomplishment. This time last year, I was making hand scrub as holiday gifts for family, friends and co-workers. The response was overwhelmingly positive. So much so, that I could no longer toss up the compliments to people being polite or nice. 

In the past year, I've been asked to make the scrub for a local event, friends of friends recovery from illness and I've even placed them in a few boutiques with wild success. 

One woman I know has had trouble for years on end with her hands severely peeling. The severity of it caused her to seek medical attention and receive regular cortisone shots, with okay results. After using the scrub, the moisture in her hands has been restored, they're left feeling moisturized and the peeling has greatly decreased. She carries a jar of it everywhere she goes.  

Hearing this and other stories like it, blow me away. There is definitely something about the combination of these all natural ingredients that heal not only the body, but the soul. 

This time last year, I would have never imagined it would turn into something more than a home made gift, and yet here I am, starting something new and loving every minute of it. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

A Well Rounded Trip

This weekend we found ourselves in Rhode Island. Newport and then Providence to be exact. It's a trip that we've been meaning to take, but for one reason or another we kept postponing. Although a free weekend before the holidays is almost unheard of, we seemed to have one, and took full advantage of it. 

Friday was filled with seafood by the water, a mansion tour and some time at the beach. The Breakers reminded me a bit of Downton Abbey from the outside with it's stark looking angles. Arte said at one point, 'I can't imagine living here.' I on the other hand, have no problem imagining that.

Albeit a bit cold, the beach was just stunning with the sky, sand and water being about the same color.  

The next morning we woke, to big fat flakes falling gently from above and covering the quiet city of Providence making it feel a bit like a snow globe. There were so many things I enjoyed about Providence, from it's astute looking architecture, to museums, to quirky artistic pieces scattered here and there.

It truly is a well-rounded city, at least in my eyes. And the falling flakes made it that much more charming.

We took a break mid-day from taking in all the sights so I could meet up with one of my favorite bloggers. A couple of years back, I had the chance to meet her at her book signing, and I discovered she is as lovely in person as she is on her blog. We connected via email not too long ago and we decided to meet up when I was in town. 

Brunch at The Duck and Bunny, a snuggery [the ambiance is as adorable as the name suggests], was a perfect break to get out of the cold, sit by the fire and chat about creative life, staying authentic to oneself, chicken keeping and everything in between. 

She had the best suggestions for afternoon shopping, restaurants for dinner and of course where to go for dessert -- one of the most important parts of the day. 

One of my favorite shops was, Simple Pleasures, a simple English looking cottage tucked out of the way, but well worth the extra few minutes it takes to get to.

For being so small, inside and out there was quite a bit of charm to take in, just like the state itself. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday's Quote

By nature I'm a planner. Always have been and most likely always will be. This time of year in the midst of holiday craziness, I believe in taking some time to reflect on the year that is coming to a close and thinking about what it is I want for myself in the coming year. Making this time is such an important part of taking care of yourself. Truly a gift only you can give.  

Over the past week, I've been listening to some podcasts about intentions and manifestations. Belief in faith is a powerful thing. If you have never tried manifesting, I highly recommend it. It can be as simple as writing something down that you would like to bring into your life [I'm not talking new shoes, but it could be as simple as that], place it in a drawer and see what happens. The process of writing it down, creates a place in your conscious and the universe in making magical things happen. 

When it comes to going after all that my heart dreams of, this quote from Lao Tzu says it all, "Watch your thoughts, because they become words. Watch your words, because they become actions. Watch your actions, because they become habits. Watch your habits, because they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny." 

Quite simply, watch those little things, positive and negative, that you tell yourself. They mean more than you realize. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Past, Present and Future

An odd time of year to be showing pictures of a boat, at least here in the northeast, but with the flurry of activity lately, I completely forgot to share my latest mixed media collage piece. It was made months ago in preparation for my husband's birthday and then squirreled away for safe keeping. I was so excited to pull it out of hiding a couple of weeks ago for his special day. 

 He loved it. And I adore the fact that he values home made gifts as much as I do. At times it's quite the competition to see who can out do the other one [I win at least half the time].

From what I'm told, he was a water baby from the very start. Much of his childhood and favorite memories were spent by the water, making this piece not only a reminder of his early years, but the love we share for being waterside whether it be a beautiful river, lake or the sea and the dream of living by a beautiful body of water some day.

I incorporated ephemera from trips we've taken by the seaside and the Thousand Islands, which are always a favorite time for us. Maps, paper place mats from restaurants, tour guide books and ticket stubs tend to be my go-to supplies for projects like these. It gives the piece additional meaning and provides a better home for ephemera versus the box they would otherwise be spending a lifetime in where they are not appreciated or even remembered.

How do you honor your past, present and future in your artwork or even your life? 

Sunday, November 25, 2012


The holidays in our neck of the woods got off to quite the peaceful start. Thanksgiving was filled with good company, laughs, and lots of wonderful food. There was a lot to be thankful for and still is. 

We took full advantage of the long weekend spending time cleaning, decorating, wrapping, and we even managed to fit in a little holiday shopping. And yet it was all done on in a relaxed manner, moving quietly from one thing to the next without any stress. It has been peaceful from start to finish. Oh Monday, I don't even want to think about you. 

The tree is mainly decorated in white this year with cream felt ribbon, star fishes and glittering silver ornaments. I am in love with it. Just about each time I pass it, I oooh, aahhh and tell it how much I adore it. I think the husband may be a bit jealous.

My Christmas wish is for a peaceful holiday season filled with holiday cheer and memories that we'll look back on for years to come.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Way back when, I started collecting acorns and acorn caps specifically for this project. These little gifts from nature are just so sweet in my eyes and when I saw felted acorns a few years back, well, I was smitten. After learning how to wet felt earlier this year and then needle felt, I couldn't wait to tackle this project. Finding just the right colors of roving, took all year, but this week I was finally ready to make them with detailed directions from this tutorial

If you have never needle felted, quite simply, you need to try it. Besides the immediate gratification of making something right before your eyes, it is a stress reliever like no other. Stabbing the roving again and again into little balls with a sharp needle, wipes out the stress from the day. Guaranteed. Once these little balls are formed, its time to shock them in hot water and then using a little dish soap, roll them around in your hand. It's a bit similar to rolling meatballs. Once they have hardened and taken on a more firm shape, they are shocked again in cold water and left out to dry.

I will warn you this process is just that, a process. To make three dozen of these little guys took a solid two hours as well. As I worked with the roving, Arte jumped in and helped out for a solid two hours working with the acorn tops drilling holes, cutting thread and then threading them (I plan on using them as ornaments). We both agree though, it was totally worth the process.

The little balls set out for a day, drying and then were hot glued to the tops. A process that took another hour. Again, totally worth it and something I plan on doing again. I'd like to make another few dozen to sit in glass bowls.  

The vibrant colors and the purity of the white ones, make them ideal for accompanying gift tags, place card settings for holiday meals and to hang on the tree. My aunt has a tradition with her girlfriends - each year for their holiday exchange, each woman gives everyone their favorite thing from that year. And this my friends, is mine. Everyone on my list is getting at least one [sshhhh...don't tell]. 

Monday, November 19, 2012


My love of tea and just about all things British runs deep, as you maybe noticing. [wink], and because it's a part of my daily routine, it also becomes a source of project ideas. When sipping tea, what better accompaniment than cork coasters in the shape of tea bags with little sayings on them?! 

These coasters are going to make great stocking stuffers and hostess gifts this holiday season. To make a set of your own, you'll need: a roll of thin cork with an adhesive backing, a fine tip permanent marker, a pair of good scissors and a few sheets of felt -- all of which can be found at the craft store. Using cardboard I made a template of the shape I wanted to use. Holding the template up to the sheet of cork, I trimmed out each coaster to ensure they are all the same.

Once you've cut out all the coasters, one by one, peel off the sticky sheet on the back, place the cork on a sheet of felt and trim it out. It was much, much easier to adhere it to the felt and trim it out versus trying to cut the felt to be the exact same size. 

Freehand, I drew each outline and design onto the cork. The ability to draw escapes me, so have no fear, if I can do this, so can you.

My fingers are crossed that the rest of my holiday making goes as smoothly. There is almost always one project that doesn't go quite the way I think it will. 

What kind of projects are you working on this season?