Birdie on a Wire Tree (class)


On Saturday, November 1st, I will be teaching a class at Five Crows in Natick, MA.  During this 3-hour class, we will be making felted wool birdies on wire trees.  And you’ll have the option to make two items (examples shown below).

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One of the items is a canvas (this piece was shown in a previous blog post).

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The other option is a tree in a spool.

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This will be my first class teaching adults.  When Brook was little (elementary and middle school years), I used to teach an after school art class to kids her age, but it’s been many years since.

It’s taken me a while to branch out again (these last several years I’ve mostly been creating alone in my home art studio).  Although I very much enjoy this alone time, there’s a part of me that would like to try the group atmosphere of creating together.  If you like this idea as well and have the afternoon of November 1st open, just hop on over and sign up for my class.

I have a feeling that branching out could be fun.

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Lights of Hope


My trip to Thailand was months ago, yet I have not been able to stop thinking about it. I know it’s not good to keep focusing on the past (life happens in the now and I don’t want to miss out on any of it), but so many special moments happened while I was in Thailand that I’m not ready to completely move forward yet. Maybe I’m still in the “wow, did this really happen?” stage. I’m not sure…but what I am sure about is that I feel an immense sense of gratitude…for the light and for the love.

Below you’ll see a bit of what our family came across while in Bangkok. Very unexpectedly, the first sign of light came at night (we saw this on our first night down the block from our hotel).  Seeing this literal sign of hope made me wonder about what was to come during our days in Bangkok.

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Above this sign, the full moon shone brightly…as if to say “everything will be okay”.  I felt that heaven was smiling down on me, comforting me.

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The next day I woke up to a soft morning light. There was a whisper of hope in the air.  This hug from the sky gave me a feeling that being in Bangkok was going to be wonderful…

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…and it was, it was even better than wonderful.  The reason being that during our time in Bangkok, I saw my biological father every day.  Every night we had dinner together and during these dinners he told me stories from the past (details of what I was like as a baby/toddler as well as details about our close relationship when I was young).  My father also told me his account of what had happened regarding my adoption, which turns out was a tough situation for everyone.  As my father talked, I looked into his eyes and I listened to everything.  He was speaking from the heart and my heart was ready.  After forty-something years our timing finally met.  And yes, I could be bitter about this (the time that we lost living separate lives), but somehow I’m not.  Instead, I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude…to be given this incredible opportunity to get to know my father as well as my other Thai relatives.  I can feel the love coming from their direction and it all feels like a dream…a dream that I did not expect nor ever thought was possible.  After all these years, the love has survived…isn’t that amazing?!

On our last day in Bangkok (prior to going to Chiang Mai to see my biological mother) the light came into Brook’s room…and in the form of a rainbow.

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What a magical sight this was…we were delighted beyond belief!   This rainbow seemed like another sign…that all was going to be well during our next stop in Chiang Mai…which turned out to be true.  I’ve shared some details in a previous post.

Whether you look for the light or not, it is always there.  Sometimes it comes with meaning (such as when I needed some encouragement) and sometimes it’s just there…every day, warming us, comforting us…and always lighting our way.

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At the close of every day I always feel a sense of hope…that another day is coming.  Another day, another chance…to live and enjoy, to be grateful, to give and to love.  And all we have to do is to open up our eyes…to the beauty of it all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Go Slow as You Grow


It’s been a busy month…so I’m a bit slow with sharing my article inside the current issue of Somerset Studio (Sept/Oct).  I imagine that September has been a busy month for most of you also (closing out the Summer can feel rushed)…so maybe you don’t mind that I’ve fallen behind on my blogging?

The vibrant colors on the cover of Somerset Studio are so full of Fall.  Although I’m not quite ready to jump into this season yet (again, I’m slow), seeing these rich, rusty-toned colors reminds me that there’s much leafy beauty ahead.

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However, before I move full steam ahead, let’s revisit some Summery things…such as these clay pieces that I created using beach finds and such.

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The article features two pieces of artwork (both made with air-dry clay), and both sides are embellished.  The colors on all sides are soft and sandy, minty and watery, with touches of sparkling sky.

Here’s a close-up of one side of one piece.

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And here’s a close-up of the other side of the same piece.  I created all of the pieces with Brook in mind (I wanted to shine the light on some words that have special meaning to me).

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As a mother it’s my responsibility to pass on words of encouragement and advice to my daughter…and very often, these words are expressed through the things that I create.

Here’s a look at the front side of the heart-shaped piece.  I intentionally allowed the feather on the other side to stick up in view.

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And on the other side, the feather (a symbol of hope) seems to blend into the heart itself.  With hope in your heart, anything is possible.

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In addition to the two pieces here, originally I created one other piece that went with the set.   The pink in this third piece (shown below) didn’t coordinate well with the other two pieces  so it was left out of the Somerset Studio article.  However, I thought you might like a look anyway.

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On the back of this piece I hand wrote my message to Brook.

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I hope that she’ll take this advice to heart…because growth doesn’t always have to happen quickly.  Sometimes it is within the slow moments that we feel the most, so that we can grow the most, towards becoming our best selves…our most loving selves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



A Note to Self: Drink in the Joy


A note to self:  Come up for air and drink in the joy.  Life happens in the now…be in it, and enjoy.

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The photo above was taken while I was in Chiang Mai (in my Mother’s yard).   Now, a month later, I woke up this morning unexpectedly thinking of this photo.  And thinking of how this little fishy seemed to be taking a breather…and thinking what a good idea this is for me to remember to do the same.

How about you, have you seen anything lately that’s got you thinking?  And have you written any notes to self?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Clay on Canvas – “Still and Strong as Stone”


Firstly, I’m here to announce the winner of last week’s giveaway.

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Meg, please contact me with your mailing address so that I can send you a copy of Bella Grace along with some trim from my trip to Thailand.  And to everyone who participated in this giveaway…thank you very much for taking the time to comment.  I very much appreciate all the beautiful energy that you left behind!

Now on to the next item, which has to do with a clay on canvas piece of artwork that I created for the current issue of Somerset Apprentice.

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Here’s the artwork in print.

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And here’s another look at the artwork (photos taken at home).

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I created this artwork to express my thoughts on stillness and strength (which you can guess from the article title, “Still and Strong as Stone”.)  The stone is represented by the clay used for the bird figure, and the stillness is shown in the peaceful colors that I chose to use along with a sense of rest that comes from the purposeful positioning of the bird (letting it sit on some string) rather than posing it in flight. Sometimes sitting still can accomplish more than getting caught up in action.  And personally, I’ve found that being still very often connects me to my truest self…my strongest self.

This week there happens to be a free online workshop that’s scheduled for Wednesday, September 10th.  This workshop (“Success Without Struggle”) is being hosted by Deepak Chopra, whom I greatly admire for his wisdom about stillness and mindful living in general.  Bill and I will be tuning in to participate in this workshop and if you’re interested in it as well, here’s a link to sign up: https://www.chopra-online.com/successwithoutstruggle/

Okay, back to the artwork shown above.  I’ve included the specific step-by-step instructions in the article (a full list of materials used is also included).  Please know that if you ever have any  additional questions, just leave a comment to the post and I will be happy to answer your questions there (this way the information will be available to anyone with a similar question).

Have a beautiful week ahead and wishing you all some quiet time to think, dream, create…whatever you need to feel grounded and peaceful.

 

 



Green Adventure and a Giveaway


As most of you already know, I recently spent two amazing weeks in Thailand. While there, I had a chance to explore the Northern region of Chiang Mai, which is where my biological mother has lived all of her life (as did generations before her.)  This scene is from behind my mother’s house, located in the gorgeously green Mae Rim district. The mist and mountains are nothing short of magical.

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Down the road from my mother’s house there’s a small village of rustic huts…

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…with elephants in the yard.

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Also down the road from my mother’s house is the Mae Sa Waterfall.  Here’s a photo of my mother and I walking together through the rainforest towards the falls. It was a rainy day but we were feeling sunny on the inside…just to be together like this.

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The Northern countryside is amazing with the mountains and the fertile ground…

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…so rich is the soil that the rice grows like weeds.

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And the water is just as abundant and life-giving.  It is like a mirror for the sky…the trees…and all the makings of life.

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Everything about this peaceful place takes my breath away.

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Before leaving for this trip, I had a feeling that there was a great adventure ahead, but I had no idea that it was going to be quite so significant.

And speaking of adventures, Stampington Publications has just come out with a brand new magazine.  The photography within the pages of Bella Grace (which is more like a book) are elegant yet deeply honest and the stories inside are just as rich and full.

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This magazine is “devoted to discovering magic in the ordinary” or as the subtitle reads, it’s about capturing the idea that “Life’s a Beautiful Adventure”. To celebrate this wonderful publication, Stampington is doing a blog hop.

As a participant of this blog hop, I’m offering a free copy of Bella Grace as a giveaway.  For a chance to win, simply leave a comment to this post by Saturday, September 6th, and I’ll put your name in the hat.  Then I’ll be back the next day to announce the random winner.

In addition to the magazine, I thought I’d add a little something from my own stash of goodies to the giveaway.  I picked up this pile of locally made antique hand-stitched trim while in Chiang Mai.  I love the well-worn look and have a feeling that many of you would too. So, for this giveaway, I’ll be cutting off the ends of some of the pieces to share. The winner will receive both a copy of Bella Grace as well as some of this trim.

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Now that summer has come to a close, I wish you all a fun-filled fall full of adventures.



Thailand – Food and Flowers


I’m just back from Thailand.  The trip was incredible…we saw so much, we did so much, we ate so much, but best of all, we experienced much love from my Thai family.  It was an intense visit and I’m still working on processing it all.   A lot of unexpected things took place…mostly good things, but still, sometimes good things can be hard to digest.  And speaking of digesting, for now, let’s move on to a subject that’s much lighter…such as the food.

Bill, Brook and I arrived in Bangkok in the evening so we were tired, and we didn’t want to put a lot of effort into finding a fancy restaurant. Luckily, there was a charming little sidewalk cafe near our hotel that served traditional Thai food.  Eating like the locals (sitting on stools at simple tables in an alley, wearing tee-shirts and flip-flops) is a favorite for our family.

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A day or two later, we had a chance to enjoy some more traditional food at my cousin Jiew’s house.  Her mother very graciously prepared a home cooked meal for us.  She cooked all morning long so that we could enjoy a late lunch together.  Her food was extra delicious because she cooked with love.  I was so touched by her giving spirit.

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In Thailand, rice goes with everything.  The fragrance of this jasmine variety is burned into my memory (certain smells have a way of immediately connecting us to our childhood).

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Food shopping in Thailand can be great fun since the markets there are stocked with fruits galore.  Everything is extremely fresh and fragrant, and colorful and fabulously exotic.

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These funny looking things below are a couple of my favorites.

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In contrast to the prickly outside, the inside of this fruit is pleasantly smooth and sweet (perhaps a bit like some people, I suppose).

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In my opinion, the durian fruit is also very sweet and delicious, although many consider it to be super-stinky in a bad way.

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To clear the palate and to quench the thirst, a fresh coconut always delivers.

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Coconut alone is wonderful, but combining a dollop of it with a bevy of mango makes it even more sublime.

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While we were in Chiang Mai, we had the opportunity to dine on Northern Thai cuisine while enjoying a traditional Khantoke performance.  This style of eating (many little dishes) is both beautiful and bountiful.

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Sticky rice is a staple in the Northern Thailand region.  You eat it with your hands by shaping it into a small flattened ball, which you then use to scoop up a teaspoon or so of one of the main dishes.

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Dining while watching the figures dancing…

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…the flavors and the flowers were a definite delight.

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Speaking of flowers, here’s a pretty pop of purple (spotted in a public fountain in Bangkok).

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At closer view you can see the golden light radiating from its heart.

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Gold was everywhere, and especially at the temples.

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Although all of the flowers above are beautiful, my favorite flowers were given to me by my mother.  These mini flower-like cakes speak of Mother…

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…they are soft and sweet, delicate and gentle.  With hints of happy and floral notes.  My time with Mother nourished the deepest part of my soul.  Before this meeting I had a hunger that I did not know existed.  And now, I feel fed…I feel blessed.

My time with my father and his family was also fulfilling.  And as I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I will need more time to process my thoughts before I can find the words…which I know will eventually flow.  Everything that moves us can move us forward.

To flowing forward with love…this, I believe, is what we’re all meant to do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Homecoming and Coming full circle


Seventeen years ago, on our honeymoon Bill and I went to Thailand.  Here’s a picture of us in Phuket.

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While we were in Thailand I had a chance to see my biological father and mother (my father in Bangkok and my mother in Chiang Mai).  After that, we lost contact (this was before emailing became popular and there was a lot of moving house on mine and Bill’s end, so our addresses kept changing and any letters from abroad didn’t make it to us.  Also, I must admit that I was very young back then, and struggled to keep on top of our family life (Brook was born within the year after our trip so I went directly into motherhood mode).  Becoming a wife and a mother, and a first time home owner (which came with home renovations), and leaving my job to stay at home to be with Brook took all I had.  Money was also really tight back then, and so was time…so I let things slip, and I lost in touch with my Thai connections.  My Thai family was a whole world away and my heart wasn’t ready to go the distance either.

Prior to mine and Bill’s trip to Thailand together, I had only been to Thailand once on my own when I was 16 years old.   This was the very first time that I saw my biological mother since she gave me up for adoption and I moved to the States at the age of 3.  I remember how intense this reunion was…my mother cried a lot (I’m sure she was filled with mixed emotions about having to give me up) and I could feel her deep love for me.  This kind of love scared me and my young mind could not process it all.  My heart simply couldn’t understand it.  And to make matters even more complicated, we were challenged with language problems (my mother speaks mostly Thai with a little bit of Chinese, and I speak mostly English with no Thai, but also a little Chinese).  So we had to rely on the little bit of Chinese that we each knew, and luckily, I was traveling with my cousin who could translate our Chinese and Thai (but no English so this wasn’t exactly ideal).  But we got by…and I could read the love in my mother’s eyes and smile so this was more than I could ever ask for.

Flash forward 17 years later…and I’m so very excited to share with you that I’ve located both of my biological parents!  After several attempts to find them over recent years, I finally found them through my adoptive family’s church circles (this circle reached all the way from NY to Thailand). It feels like this was meant to be.

I’m so happy to have learned that both of my biological parents are well (still living their separate lives with my father and his family in the city and my mother and her family in the countryside).  I’ve been in touch with them both for many months now, and best of all…I’m going there in just a few short days to see them!

Brook will be coming back from camp tomorrow (she’s been away at her camp in Maine for nearly 3 weeks now and I miss her terribly).  Her homecoming will be so sweet…I can’t wait!  And then we’ll have a couple of days to get our things packed before taking off for Asia for two weeks.  Our first stop will be in Hong Kong, where I will see my adoptive mother, Lydia.  The last time we were in Hong Kong was in February of 2013, when my father, Philip, passed away.  That was a HARD trip and I’m fearful of going back to the place where there was so much deep sadness…but I must, for my mother.  This homecoming will be bittersweet.  However, I know that all will be okay because I’ll have Bill and Brook with me.

After some days in Hong Kong, our little family will be off to see my biological father in Bangkok.  I have mixed feelings about seeing him.  On one hand I’m excited (he’s been very welcoming and warm in his emails to me), but I’m also nervous.  I think this nervousness comes from a place of insecurity.  I don’t really know what happened back when I was a little kid…why did he let me go and where was he all these years?  The last time that I saw him, seventeen years ago, Bill and I spent time with his entire family, which included his wife, 2 sons (my half brothers), his siblings and their children as well as his mother.  I was surprised to know that I had such a large family, and I was confused as to why I never knew about them.  I guess that being all the way across the world, and being so young myself, I didn’t have a clue about any of this stuff.  I didn’t know what was important, and I didn’t know how to go about things.  However, all of that is in the past.  I now know better…I have grown and my heart has grown.

And speaking of growing, Brook turned 16 several months ago.  This is the exact age that I was when I first reunited with my mother in Chiang Mai.  I love the fact that I’m able to bring Brook to see my mother, and at the same age that I was…what an interesting coincidence.  But what isn’t a coincidence is that Bill and I named Brook after my mother (Brook’s middle name is Sunoon).  Also not a coincidence is that Brook was born at 11:30 am.  If you break up my mother’s name, the letters of Sunoon could be Sun and noon, which happens to be when Brook was born (11:30 am is between the sun and noon).  Although I have not spent much time with my biological mother throughout my life time, her love has traveled with me…and it has reached my darling daughter.  This love lives in me and this love lives in my daughter…in name and in spirit.

Guided by the spirit of love, I created this necklace to give to my mother.  I can’t believe that I’ll be able to deliver this to her in person.  I hope that when she sees me she’ll be able to tell how happy I am…how good my life is with my Bill and Brook.  And that she doesn’t need to worry about me.  She can be at peace knowing that when she gave me up to have a chance for a better life in America, things turned out fine.  I can’t wait to put her mind at ease.

For mother.

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Her heart was full of hope (a feather is my favorite symbol of hope)…

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…and with a love that shines pure and bright.

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The photo below was taken at Brook’s 16th birthday celebration after Brook and her group of friends saw The Blue Man Group.  It was by accident that she was standing under a glowing circle-like sphere, which very much looks like a halo to me.

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I can’t wait to take my angel Brook to meet my angel mother.  This all feels like it’s coming full circle.  Homecoming…I’m excited and nervous…but mostly excited.  To revisit where I came from.  To smell the smells, to hear the language, to taste the food…to just be.  To bring love and to show love.

On a totally separate note, to those of you who are used to visiting me here, I’ve changed my blog banner as well as made a couple of other design changes.  Since starting my blog five years ago, every year for my birthday (Aug. 1st) Bill does a bit of redesigning for me.  This year I asked him to lighten things up some…for a bit of fresh air.  Fresh air and fresh starts, both personally and through my artistic work…I welcome this next stage with open arms.  Hugs to everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Heaven on Earth


Last weekend Bill and I celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary by spending a few days at the Cape – Yarmouth to be exact.  We stayed at a tiny cottage…

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…with huge views.

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It was lovely being surrounded by so much lushness.

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The birds seemed happy with the view too, since their chirping filled the air with joyful music.

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That first evening on our way to dinner we stopped at nearby Gray’s beach for a little walk…and again, we were treated to a huge view.

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On the walkway I happened to notice a board with a romantic thought written across it (“Our first kiss”).  Seeing it made me smile.

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It was so quiet that night.  The waters were calm, the air was just as calm, the light was low and easy on the eyes, and the entire earth felt like a gentle whisper.  I felt like I was at a point where the heavens and earth come together and meet.

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And again, it was lush…a quiet kind of lush, and yet very much alive.

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As Bill and I watched the light lower and fade, my heart felt full.  The beauty on the outside, filled my inside, with peaceful content.

Prior to our getaway I made Bill this card…

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…with these words…

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…that came from my heart.  Living this life together…feels like heaven on earth.

The day after our anniversary, Bill and I hiked the dunes at the Cape Cod National Seashore.  While there, I came across multiple moments of inspiration…some which are art related, as well as more personal, similar to what I’ve shared above.  I’ve been debating whether or not I should keep sharing these very personal parts of my life.  To get right into it, I am concerned that by sharing so much, I may come across as bragging…and at a time when I know that some of you have been struggling with your personal relationships (I would never want to make anyone feel bad by bringing up my own joy).  Plus, maybe you’re only interested in reading more art making related posts?  At this point I’m really not sure what direction to continue.  My heart says to show more, yet my heart also says to edit more.  What do you think?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Articles with Little Things


Inside the summer issue of Somerset Life you’ll see two articles of mine.

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One shows a clothespin necklace…

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…with a message of love.

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I used mini-clothespins to make my necklace since the regular sized ones are too large.

My other article also shows necklaces, which are fish-inspired (from our recent Christmas family trip to Spain and Portugal).

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Along with the necklaces I made a hanging fish, intended for our Christmas tree, but I can also display it year round since the theme is not limited to the holidays.

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All three fishes were made using Das air-dry clay.

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Adding a dangling pearl or crystal gives the fish a spot of gleaming light.

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For texture, I used some scraps of lace.

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I love using little things to make little things…I’m guessing you do too!