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.


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



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


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


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


…and there will always be sparkle and light.


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.


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


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!


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


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?


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


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).


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


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


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.


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.


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.


Hearts and Pearls

With it being Winter, and a particularly snowy one this year, I’ve fallen behind on my blog posts.  It seems that all the slushiness on the outside has made me somewhat sluggish on the inside as well.  However, the sun showed its blazing face on Thursday (and so far today looks pretty good too), so things have brightened up significantly.  And now my insides feel more energized as well…thank goodness for sunshine!

Okay, now moving on to sharing two small somethings with you.


Here’s a closer look at one.



And here’s a closer look at the other one.


Both heart canvases can be seen in the Jan/Feb/Mar issue of Somerset Life and the instructions are included in the article.

Awhile ago I shared similar canvases here on my blog (these were also created for presenting pearl earrings as a gift).

When you put your heart into something, that something shows love.  And showing love makes everyone beam…like the lustrous light that seems to emanate from the insides of a pearl.







Tree of Love

With Winter heavy in the air, the limbs on the trees in my area are bare.  This starkness feels cold, dark and empty…so I thought I’d lighten the mood up a bit with a fun little project.

Our family eats a lot of cheese, and Brook especially likes this kind.  One day she discovered that she could make sweet hearts out of the waxy red packaging.


Brook used the two halves of the wax from a cheese round to make one heart.  Simply warm up the wax in your hands by rolling it into a ball, and then mold the ball into a heart shape.


I loved her recycled wax heart idea so much that I used it to make this tree.



Whenever I see hearts I think of love.  And whenever I see a tree I think of “grow”.


Looking at this tree makes me think:  Going out on a limb, with love in your heart…this love will grow…and glow.








Paper Hearts Love…

This past Christmas my beautiful niece Stephanie gave me presents wrapped in brown polka-dotted paper.  She and I have very similar tastes…we often reach for the simple.  Anyway, I loved the wrapping so much that I saved some.  And it’s a good thing too since it’s come in handy for Valentines Day.

Here’s a look at a heart-shaped bag that I made, which should be perfect for filling with sweets.


In my usual fashion I used my favorite number as the focal point.


And here’s a look at some of the details which include some inches of creamy, latte colored ribbon (also saved from Stephanie’s present wrapping) as well as a pearl dangle and wire handle (24 gauge).


Below is another hanging heart bag.  This one is embellished with just 2 buttons and a string handle instead of wire.  I have a whole box full of string, also saved from previous presents (save and reuse is a constant for me).


This next heart that I made is also pocket style, but I made it a little different by sewing one of the heart’s curves closed while leaving the other curve open.  And I omitted adding a handle so this heart can be used more like an envelope.


Then I added a rub-on letter “B” along with two buttons and a strip of scrap fabric placed near the letter to create a strong but simple focal point.


The top opening is perfect for stuffing rolled-up love notes inside.


And speaking of love notes, here’s one that I created using the same paper.  I purposefully crumpled up the paper to create texture before adding the embellishments.



Here’s a close-up of one side.


I used a regular pencil to write a message of love.  Putting pencil to paper is so old school and there’s something very warming about it.


May the warmth and glow of love, flow on and on…and on and out…always and beyond.










Snowy Starry Necklaces

It’s been so snowy around here..and cold too! Although this season is not my favorite, the beauty of it all cannot be denied (photo from our backyard).


All of this whiteness…made into necklaces.


I used organic cotton batting as the base for both necklaces, which is sort of fitting since sometimes when the snow falls from the sky, the snow clings in clumps onto the tree branches…which to me looks like fluffy cotton balls.


Experiencing this little taste of what is more of a Summer scene…in Winter…feels strange and yet exciting at the same time.

Here’s a closer look at the snowflake necklace.


And here’s a close up of the star necklace.  Although I don’t see the stars at night as much during the Winter months (it’s way too cold to stand outside and gaze at the sky!), I still know they’re there…and this comforts me.


Since I made two necklaces, I would like to share one of them with one of you.  If interested, just let me know which one you’d like, and the first one to respond can have it.





Plump Pillows of Love

Last week I used up some fabric scraps along with some buttons and such to make this handful of hearts…


…which I then made into necklaces.


Here are some close-ups.


I like how this one looks like a strawberry.


And doesn’t the one below make you think of a cozy-cuddly blanky?


This other one has hints of the number two with the pairs of buttons and beaded dangles.


Each of the four necklaces makes good use of a single safety pin.


It was fun making these plump pillows of love. Plus, it was quick…and cheap since I didn’t have to buy any materials (I used what was in my scrap piles).


I made similar heart necklaces awhile back (published in Somerset Life, Jul/Aug/Sep 2012) which were more simplified.  The ones shown above are still simple in nature, but I changed things up a little by adding some more details…not too much though since I tend to be a minimalist when it comes to design.

With Valentine’s Day coming up I imagine that you all must be making some hearts too.  And I have a feeling that you’ve been putting a lot of love into it…I know how big and plump your hearts are!







The Walls of Lisbon

The first part of our holiday trip began in the Alfama neighborhood of Lisbon, which is the oldest part of town (over 800 years old). This area is well known for its hilly streets as well as the close quarters (residences are side by-side, with buildings only several feet apart in some areas).


Exploring the nooks and crannies by foot is always our favorite travel activity and, in fact, we averaged walking about 8 miles a day…loving every minute of it.  Wherever we walked, it was Bill at the front with me at the rear, and Brook sandwiched in between.  It works out well for us that Bill is the navigator (he’s great with maps), and with Brook sandwiched at the center we can keep a close eye on her (so that she doesn’t wander off too far). And I’m usually at the end, happy with my camera at the ready.


It seemed that wherever we went, there were photo ops, such as this everyday scene of a pretty cloth hung out to dry.  It’s coming across these everyday things that stops me in my tracks – to me their casual, humble beauty is stunning.




What else was stunning were the gorgeous views at the tops of the hills.  We were so lucky to arrive at this sight when there was sunshine…oh how good it felt!  It was the perfect reward after a tough red-eye flight.


Here’s a shot of Bill and I fresh off the plane.


And here’s one of me and Brook.  After all the walking up the steep hills, we needed a little break so we leaned up against a huge castle wall.


Bill noticed that the walls were made with actual shells and coral, which fascinated him to no end.  And actually, everywhere we went Bill often stopped to inspect the walls.  I like how he enjoys looking deeply at things too – whenever Bill discovers interesting finds and shares it with us, we also get to benefit from the experience.  Having more eyes makes it more fun!  By the way, Brook has a good eye too and during our trip she turned us on to many sights that we might otherwise have overlooked.


Going slow gives us a chance to spot wonderful surprises like these lingering peacocks. They also chose to take a rest on the walls…


…so that they could enjoy this incredible view of the sun going down (Bill captured this glowing scene from atop a precarious wall with his phone camera while I was busy trying not to fall off the edge!)


And speaking of things going down, way beneath the castle (encountered during the next day’s walk) there was an abundance of graffiti everywhere.



I’m not so sure that I like all of this personal expression on public space.  It feels like an invasion of some sort and to me, it ruins the beauty of what’s underneath or next to it. I guess I don’t really get it.


However, I do get the one below.


And I got it even more after getting home.  I translated the message into English (thanks to Google Translate), and it reads “In doubt, tell the truth”.  This message speaks to me, in its simplicity and also in its complexity.

Another graffiti sight that stopped me in my tracks was the one below.  It’s minimal and not so in your face, but I liked it.  I liked the handwriting and I liked the color and composition…so simple yet direct.  And I had no idea what it said or meant…


…until I got home and did the Google Translate thing again.  It reads “There is light within you”…can you believe that?!  You can image how excited I felt when I first read those words!  The message is exactly what I believe.  And to see it with my own eyes that someone else sees it the same way…way across the ocean, in another land, and in another language.  I just love it.  I love that others know this light, that they feel this light, and that they believe that everyone has this light.  With all this light, the world can be an amazing place…and it is an amazing place.  How lucky we are to be in it together.

Shine on my friends and be bright!  And don’t forget to go slow so that you can take it all in.  Sometimes it’s literally written on the walls…it is everywhere.









Glowing and Dancing into the New Year

Bill, Brook and I just returned from a magical 10 day trip to Portugal and Spain. We experienced a wide range of tradition and culture during this trip. One of the highlights being that we were able to attend midnight mass on Christmas Eve in Seville.  The cathedral where the service was held was massive and well attended.  The air was filled with fragrant incense which mingled well with the European sounds (the entire service was conducted in Latin and Spanish, punctuated with organ music).


The next day for Christmas our family enjoyed a quiet dinner together at an ancient Moorish bathhouse that was converted into a rustic yet elegant restaurant. I remember feeling especially peaceful and content that evening…being in the company of my Bill and Brook in such a beautiful and amazing place.  My heart was warm with love, as my fingertips were warmed by the comforting glow of the candle on our table.  After our meal I felt full and satisfied in all ways.


In contrast to our quiet Christmas dinner together, on our last day in Seville we took in a lively flamenco show with soulful singing and guitar playing.  The flamenco dancing itself was incredible…so intense and full of emotion.  Brook was so moved by it all that afterwards she was literally speechless…I don’t remember this ever happening to her before.  I suppose that the passionate music and dancing awakened some part of her that she might not have known existed.


This trip was the perfect way to close 2013.  I’ll most likely share some more of my experiences in the next post (there was a lot of inspiration that I’m sure will influence future art projects).

Wishing you all good glow and lots of happy dancing into 2014!