Light Lives On


ang0_010This past week a light went out when beautiful Maya Angelou passed away.  Her time here on earth was well spent.  She has inspired many…with her words, with her voice and with her actions.  Everything about her spoke of love.

Maya Angelou had many sayings that radiated with her amazing spirit.  Below are two of my favorites, beginning with one on humility and kindness.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

This next one is something that I also believe in, which she says so simply and beautifully.

“I would like to be known as an intelligent woman,
a  courageous woman, a loving woman,
a woman who teaches by being.”

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Maya Angelou lived well and she indeed, has taught us well.  As in her last name, Angelou was an angel, one who spread messages of joy, love, freedom and hope…consistently and with deep determination.  Although she is no longer here, her ideals remain.  A light this bright will always live on…in memory and in our hearts.  May this loving inspiration be everlasting.

 

 

 

 



Overwhelmed and Underwater


Boy, the days and weeks have been rolling by so quickly!  I’ve been meaning to get back here much sooner, but there’s been a lot of things going on in my personal life.  Mostly, it’s been about supporting family members (outside of my household) going through tough transitioning challenges.  These bumps in life can be scary and nobody should have to do it alone.  Although I’m happy to help, giving constant support requires a lot of energy and I’ve been feeling overwhelmed.  However, I know it’s much worse for my loved ones who are going through the suffering directly…so I must keep up with the encouragement.

Okay, the above covers the being “overwhelmed” part.  And now I’ll move on to the “underwater” part, which has a much lighter feel to it.

In the new issue of Sew Somerset (Summer – 2014) you’ll see my article on sewing starfish.

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Here’s a closer look at the details.

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Maybe if I continue to “look within”, I can find the strength and wisdom to better help others.  I think looking within, among other things, really helps cultivate compassion…so that kindness can follow.

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This other starfish is about trying to find the way.

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Originally when I created this piece, the words “Flow towards light and love” seemed right.   But now, taking into consideration some of the personal things I’ve been experiencing, I think the words, “Flow forward with light and love” are a better reflection of what I’ve been contemplating lately.  It’s interesting to me how this small adjustment to the phrase can make a big difference to the meaning.

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Originally, I created these pieces as a celebration of a starfish’s amazing self-healing abilities.  If an arm is injured, the broken part can fully grow back.  And if a starfish becomes severed or split in two, it’s possible that an entirely new starfish can form from the two separate pieces.  Also, they don’t have traditional eyes (they mainly see through feel and by using their other senses, such as going by their gut).  If you have to go by your gut, it might make sense to  “flow forward with light and love”.  Going by light and love will always guide you in the right direction.

Before I end this post I’d like to mention that if you’re interested in making these starfish, the instructions are included within the article.  And of course, you can always contact me if you have further questions.

I know I’ve stepped away longer than usual, and I imagine that you’ve been busy doing your own things as well…I hope these things have been good (and possibly creative) ones.  And I’d love to hear the details, so please do feel free to share them with me here.  I want this space to be for everyone, not just for me and my thoughts.  This is a case where “more” is better, so please keep sharing and contributing.  Hearing from you enhances the entire experience of blogging…thank you!

 

 

 

 



Flashcard to Birthday card


Last week I created a special birthday card and gift combo for my sister Lisa.

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For the base I used a flashcard with the word “Wish”.  The sturdiness of this card was perfect for the collage elements and, of course, the “wish” message was just as suitable.

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For the collage, I used corrugated cardboard along with a portion of a flowery napkin.  And then I attached a pair of sparkly earrings to the center of each flower by piercing two holes (with a hand awl) through the cardboard to anchor the earring posts.

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I added an edge to one side of the collage using a strip of numbers cut from an old calendar.

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And then I added a length of sunny yellow ribbon to the other side of the collage for some added texture and dimension.

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Lastly, I tucked my handmade card with earrings attached inside a polka-dotted bag which you can buy here.

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Making things makes me happy.  And it makes me even happier to know that I can pass these good feelings along…through the things I make…for the people I love.



Green Hearts…and Seeing Love


Being that today is Earth Day, I thought I’d share a little something with you that’s green beautiful.

Last Fall, as the cold was creeping in, I went for a meditation session held at nearby Wellesley College.  The meditation took place in the greenhouse, where it was bright and warm, calm yet alive.  The moment I entered this lushness I felt comforted and peaceful…which happened to be the perfect prelude to meditation.

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After the meditation session I had a chance to stroll around the greenhouse.  As I walked around I noticed that my head was clear (thanks to the meditation) and that my senses were very much alive.  I could smell the dirt, I could hear the soothing trickling of a nearby fountain, and best of all I saw hearts…lots and lots of green hearts…

…such as this plump one…

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…and this pointed one…

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…as well as this wrinkly-looking one.

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Here’s one that’s practically flawless, and the hearts trailing below it were just as perfect.

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Then I noticed in a nearby pot that there were some sweet baby leaves, also in heart shapes.  The soft, pinky-blush color made me think of love.  And of course the heart shapes in general made me think of love…love in abundance to be exact.

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As we move further and further into the growing season, may you see that there are signs of love  everywhere.  Let’s stop to smell the roses…or in this case, see the leaves…see the love.

 

 



Flowers and Flow


With the warmer weather, I’ve traded in my heavy boots for some easy slip-on shoes.  They’re flowery and so light and comfy, springy…and affordable too (about $15).

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You can buy these pretty cotton shoes online at Forever 21.  Brook loves this store since the selection is geared towards teens and young adults, but I like some of their stuff too.  I still feel young at heart.

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These girlish shoes make my heart happy…and my feet are pretty happy too.  I love how comfort and style can coexist!  And I like not having to try too hard.

Speaking of not trying too hard, I just started reading the book, “Trying not to Try“.  This book is about “the art and science of spontaneity”.  Early Chinese philosophers understood what is the opposite of what most modern people think – that the best path to happiness and an authentic life is through indirect methods (not through careful reasoning and conscious effort.) They wrote extensively about an effortless way of being in the world, which they called wu-wei (ooo-way). And all of this is being backed up with modern science, and uses clever examples to bring it all together. It’s fascinating!

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While I’m on the subject of wellness, on this coming Monday, April 14th, Oprah and Deepak Chopra will be offering a free 21 day guided meditation.  The focus will be on “Finding your Flow”.  Meditating has made me more mindful.  And it’s calming…and sometimes inspiring.

Meditation takes me to a happy place and wearing fun flowery shoes takes me to a happy place.  And then reading books about living with ease and authenticity, brings even more light into my life.  There is lightness everywhere.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Blue Skies, Bright Thoughts and Sending Joy


Under a bright blue sky, anything is possible…

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…fruits flourish…

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…car rides become exhilarating…

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…and rainbows reveal themselves.  This was the first time I’ve ever seen a double rainbow, but the camera didn’t seem to catch the second beam very well.  I guess some things are meant to be enjoyed only in the moment.

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Wherever you are and wherever you go, may there be blue skies ahead.

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Before I end this post, I’d like to thank all of you who participated in my necklace giveaway from the previous post.  I very much enjoyed reading about the things that make you happy.  And it seems that many of us have the same things on our list of joys…even knowing this gives me joy.  And I love that we have so much in common, so thank you for sharing your bright thoughts with me!

The winner for the necklace is Deborah Klepac.  Deborah, please contact me with your mailing address so that I can send my little piece of “joy” your way.

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Simple Joy Giveaway


With Spring in the air I’ve been feeling the joy…so I thought it would be fun to share a bit of this good energy with you by offering a little simple “joy”, in the form of a necklace giveaway.

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If you’d like a chance to win this necklace, please leave a comment to this post (I’d love to hear what brings you joy in the Springtime, or a simple hi would be nice too).  Kindly leave your comment by next Saturday, April 5th and I’ll add your name to the hat.  Then I’ll be back here the next morning to announce the random winner.  In the meantime, have a fantastic week ahead…and wishing you plenty of simple joy!

 

 

 



Message on a Bottle


Yesterday I made this bottle…while thinking of my Brook.  She turns sixteen tomorrow…sweet sixteen…all too soon.

I adhered a portion of a pretty napkin around a recycled spice bottle using a glue stick.

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To make the flower all you need is some lacy fabric and some wire.  And I used more wire to hang a crystal.

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The message wrapped around the top of the jar is from an old song, “You’re as sweet…

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…as the flowers of springtime”.  So perfect for this delightful time of year…and so perfect for my wonderful Brook.

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With Brook in my life there will always be beautiful blooms…

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…and there will always be sparkle and light.

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Our children are flowers in the garden of life.  And because of this, life is rich…as the soil…that nourishes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Light as a Feather


The heaviness of Winter is slowly lifting…do you feel it too?  I’m just starting to feel more like myself again, thanks to the extra hour of sunlight that we’ve been getting this past week.  Prior to this the cold and dreary darkness was getting to me and my energy was low…real low.  But luckily, daylight savings came to the rescue and it really did “save” me.  So now I’m good again, and I’m back…and with a little inspiration to share with you.

Back in December while Bill, Brook and I were in Spain I kept coming across feathers like this pristine white one.

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And here’s another white one, cozy against a curb.

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This other white feather got stuck in the sand, which makes me think of beaches and warm places.  Soon I will get to go to the shores near home…I’m soooo ready!

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Okay, back to the feathers…here’s another one that I spotted on the sidewalk.

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While Brook and I browsed the flea markets I came across a beautiful ring which is a golden feather to wrap around a finger.  What an interesting coincidence to come across this ring, so of course I had to buy it.  By the way, I should mention that all of these feathers were seen on the same day, December 26th…which happens to be the day after Christmas.  And with feathers representing hope, I find this all VERY interesting.  Why so many signs of hope everywhere, and on this particular day?

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Another coincidence that happened a few months prior to our trip, I had made this feather inspired bracelet cuff.

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I used soft, natural and light weight material – cotton twill for the band (saved from the handle of a shopping bag), and for the feather, organic cotton batting topped with watercolor painted cotton fabric.  The details of the feather were done using a sewing machine as well as some hand stitched french knots along the center.  Also, I should mention that I attached a couple inches of antiqued gold chain to each side of the cotton twill to make it into a bracelet (also added a lobster claw and jump ring to the chain).

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The two sparkly beads below serve as an anchor, a grounding element (one bead represents Bill and the other, Brook).

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Wearing this bracelet makes me feel happy…and lucky…and as “light as a feather”.

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On the verge of Spring, a time of renewal, more light is in the air…both inside and out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Sharing and Listening


Last Summer while we were on vacation in Quebec I came across a sculpture that made a lasting impression on me.

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This sculpture pops into my head every now and then…I think maybe because it makes me think of our relationships and the importance of sharing and listening.

And then recently, while doing some nighttime reading I came across a quote that really grabbed me.  I always read before going to bed and I was glad to have this good thought enter while I was getting ready to drift off.

The thought goes: “When you share your sadness with another person it is halved, and when you share your joy it is doubled”. 

It is wonderful how something as simple as talking can lighten the load.  And it is equally wonderful that joy can be multiplied when we share it with the people who really love us.  I am grateful for these people…each and every one.  And although they are not huge in numbers, they are huge in heart.

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As great as it feels to be listened to, it feels equally great, if not better, to be the listener…the giver. With huge hearts and open ears life is better…lighter.