Too Quick Quebec


We got back from Canada (Quebec City and Montreal) last Saturday, and I’ve been caught up in getting things back in order.  So far this summer has been especially busy with extended family visits, vacation, connecting with friends, work obligations, regular home life as well as some unexpecteds…I’m not used to this fast pace, and it doesn’t really suit me.  How about you, have you been running round and round also?

Okay, back to our recent trip.  The drive up north started off smooth and slow (just the way I like it), and we were lucky that the sky was showing its most beautiful side.

And we were also lucky to have found a resting spot in Magog, Quebec, that serves delicious chocolate croissants (this definitely set the French mood).

As soon as we arrived in Old Quebec we saw more welcome signs which added to the excitement of being at such a beautiful place.

It was wonderful taking time out to see the historic sights…

…smell the roses…

…and to eat farm fresh berries (during a side trip to Ile d’Orleans – a rural island near Quebec City).

While staying in Old Quebec we took another side trip to nearby Montmorency Falls.

Although the rush of water was spectacular to see, I found myself fearful of the chaotic force and immense explosion at the bottom.

There were more explosions in the form of fireworks while in Old Quebec – these were more my speed.  However, there was a part of me that craved the stillness…

…such as what I found at the aquarium.

I love the calm and beauty of the slow.

And I love coming across unexpected sights such as this sweet birdie graffiti. The English translation of the message is “Are you listening? The birds sing for you and me…”   Isn’t this the perfect tweet?!

Roaming around freely, and preferably slowly, allows me the space that I need to be in the moment…and to maybe be inspired by the moment.  As happened when we had the opportunity to see an outdoor and free(!) performance of Cirque du Soleil.

As I watched the performers, especially the brave and graceful acrobats, I heard myself thinking “I should try to move outside of my comfort zone more”.  Maybe I should try things that feel scary…maybe not every time, but once in a while would be good.  I’m sure that this would never lead me to fly around upside down on a swing way up in the air, but I could begin by taking small risks…little leaps of faith towards enriching my life and increasing self assurance.  Sometimes I get stuck in what feels familiar, and this isn’t always good for me…both in my personal and creative life. I feel a change coming. And now I just have to figure out “what” exactly. I wonder, have any of you been contemplating any big changes for yourselves as well?

After Old Quebec we moved on to Montreal for a few days before coming home.  I’ll soon be putting together a post on that (it might include a craft project that I came across while reading the local morning newspaper at our hotel).  I haven’t had a chance to try out the project yet, but if it comes out good I’ll certainly share it.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you’ve all been enjoying the summer so far.



Signs of Love


Just popping in to share with you some signs of love that I came across recently…such as this one.

And here’s another one (a fallen leaf from the rose bushes from my previous post).

Also while at the beach I came across two pieces of rocks that, when put together, form a heart.  These two rock halves are like my Bill and Brook, and together they fill my heart…they are my heart.

Today our family will be heading to Canada for some quality time together so I’ll be away from here for about a week or so.  I’m looking very forward to this little adventure…wishing you some fun new things too.  And I hope you’ll see signs of love everywhere you go.



Rosy Thoughts


Last weekend our family escaped to our Maine place for some sea air.  On Saturday we biked and ate, and napped and ate, and lolled around some more…it was decadent.  And the next day for Father’s Day we went out for brunch on the waterfront, topped off with a leisurely stroll along the beach before heading back home to Massachusetts.

During our beach walk we came across several bushes bursting with pink blossoms (I think they’re beach roses).  And actually, thinking back I remember that it was the strong, sweet fragrance of the blossoms that first drew me in to stop and enjoy.  The air around these bushes was heavily perfumed with the smell of roses mixed with salty sea air.  All of this lushness definitely awakened my senses.

And with my senses heightened, I noticed that there were a few blossoms that had already dropped their pretty pink petals.  Upon taking a closer look at what remained, I noticed that there was a star shape at the base of each blossom.

Here’s another view of the star.  Seeing this made me think…each one of us is a star.  And even when our surface beauty fades with age (as when the petals begin to drop), our core still remains…true and strong and unique like a star.

And who can deny the feeling of optimism that comes when you look at a baby bud?  To me this sight says potential, and hope and adventure…it makes me think that anything is possible.

Whatever stage we’re at…budding, blooming or beyond, we are all stars at the core.  And together, we can light up the world with vibrant and loving energy.



String of Sunshine


On a recent trip to the craft store, I only planned to grab some glue, but as soon as I spotted this spool of yellow string I just had to have it.  To me, this string sings sunshine.

I used these cheerful strands of hemp string to make a tassel.

And then I used the tassel to make a necklace.

I ended up making two necklaces…one to keep and one to share.  So if you’d like a little bit of sunshine to wear around your neck, just let me know by leaving a comment to this post (the first one to claim it can have it).

Wishing you all a happy weekend with bright, beautiful sunshine.



Red, White and Blue…and Freedom, Love and Peace


Once again it took me longer than expected to get back here.  I’ve been in a slump…thinking and worrying about all the terrible things that have been going on…tornadoes in Oklahoma, terrorism domestically and overseas and, basically, the injustices that have been occurring seemingly everywhere.  There is no doubt that we live in tough times.  I am grateful that for the moment my family and I and our loved ones are okay, but I still feel very weighted down by all that’s been happening around us (sometimes I’m too sensitive for my own good).  Sometimes feelings of compassion can be overwhelming…but I’ve been working on trying to see the bright spots in spite of all of this.

And speaking of bright spots, this past Memorial Day our family went into Boston for some leisure and simple togetherness.  We went to Quincy Market to window shop and people watch.  While we were there we saw some very talented street performers who gave us extra reasons to smile.

Our flag with blazing colors of red, white and blue was at center stage.  Seeing this made me feel proud and patriotic.

On that same day we also went to nearby North End for some Italian food treats.  While strolling around I happen to spot some more red, white and blue.  I love that this old neighborhood still hangs on to the traditional.

The flag below says it well -  it reads peace and freedom to me…which is something I’m pretty sure we all want and need.

And here’s a tranquil scene, graced by a single flying flag.

Sometimes a single statement is enough…like this one big, white star, which serves as a beacon of hope (the center piece at a place of worship in the North End neighborhood).

And speaking of stars, here are my own two (Bill and Brook are my very own personal beacons of hope).  I took this photo of them while we were at our favorite seafood shack in Maine a couple of weekends prior.  BTW, it was purely by accident that Bill and Brook matched the red, white and blue surroundings.

Switching gears a bit…I only recently felt up to looking through my photographs from Hong Kong.  This took me a while since I’ve been afraid of facing these photos (my emotions are still fragile as I’ve been processing the passing of my father).  I know this is normal and I know to give it time…yet it’s still very hard.

Okay, back to the photos.  As you’ll notice in the photos below, I’ve chosen ones that have colors of red, white and blue.  I love that signs of freedom (in our culture) are across the world…showing up in unexpected ways and places…

…hanging from above…

…stacked up in neat piles…

…and near the ground and underfoot.

Red cabs grabbed my eye as we sped by in our own taxi.

And I love that there were blue ones two, also speeding by (behind Brook and me).

Life speeds by. Some things we can control and some things we can’t…this is life.  And in this life we need freedom.  We need freedom to work, play, create…and love.  And through love everyone can be healed, happy, united and in peace.

Wishing you all freedom, love and overall peace.  May you feel it everywhere you go (and also within).



Fast and Forever


It’s taken me longer than usual to make it back here at my blog…Spring has been flying by fast!  The season seems to have come and blossomed all too quickly.  However, I did manage to capture quiet, little moments like this one from inside our home looking out…don’t you just love the morning sunshine?!

Brook is almost through with her first year of high school…wow, where did this year go?  It’s so true that as each year passes, time goes by faster and faster.  And the faster it goes by, the more I feel I need to hang on to it…it’s hard letting it all go by, knowing it’ll be gone forever.

However, I’ve come to realize that some things do last forever…love does.  Even after our kids leave the nest, and even after our time on this earth is over, the love still remains…in memory and in our hearts.  Love can last forever.  These are some of the thoughts that led me to create matching necklaces (1 for me and 1 for Brook).  BTW, I just planned a summer trip for our family to visit Montreal and Quebec.  Originally, I wanted to go to France (especially Paris) but flights are so expensive this time of year.  Luckily for us, Canada is just a car ride away, where we’ll get to experience some French culture for less time and money on travel.  Sometimes it makes sense to be practical.

Here’s a look at the necklaces. Toujours means forever in French, by the way.

And here’s a look at the altered box (Altoids tin) that I made for Brook.

I placed the necklace on some tulle that rests on top of some shimmery mica flakes (which I first adhered to the inside of the box with craft glue).

And of course I had to include a special feather find.

One pretty white bead for my one wonderful girl.

Every time I wear my necklace I’ll think of Brook and how much I love her.  And I hope that every time Brook wears the necklace she’ll think of me…and how much I love her.  Wherever she is, and ends up going in the future, the love will travel with her…forever.



Two Pearls for Two Girls


This week both my sister (Lisa) and her daughter (Stephanie, who turned 21) celebrated their birthdays.  Back in February, while I was in Hong Kong, I scoured the Jade Market looking for pearl earrings for each of them.

I found these pretty, pale pink ones for my sister (pink’s her favorite color).

And I found these tiny creamy-colored ones for my niece.  As you can see, I created a special mini canvas for each of them.  I think these canvases make a lovely presentation.  And I like how you can express your thoughts to the recipient on the canvas…like how I see Stephanie as a bright star (“Star light star bright”).

Here are the two canvases together.  Two pearls for two girls, with warmest happy birthday wishes to both.

Creating a gift to present a gift…I like layering the love.



Simple Table and Songs


This past Easter I was behind on my prep for an early dinner gathering with my sister and her family, so I improvised by collecting a few things from around the house to put on the table.  While choosing my elements I stuck with the simple…things that were useful and things within a neutral color palette.

Salt and pepper is a must.  I like both fresh ground pepper and a milder white pepper (in the egg shaped shaker).

Some spotted quail eggs and feathers add a natural feel.  And the bunched up string suggests a nest, which makes me think of home.

I love my home and I love my family…plain and simple.  Like this string, the love goes on and on and on.

Brook recently performed 2 songs with her friend at their high school talent show (the first one is on the subject of home and the other is a cover of an Alicia Key’s song).  This is the first time that I’ve had a chance to hear Brook sing in public and I’m so glad that Bill was able to capture it on video.  If you like, you can click here to watch it.



Back in Boston


This week has been a blur…with all that occurred at the marathon.

My family and I were there as spectators this year, as we have done most years.  We currently live in Hopkinton (which hosts the starting line for the marathon) and Bill is involved with town committees and for the past two years has helped organize official marathon events in town. Previously we lived in Brookline, which is next to Boston.  Bill grew up in Brookline and so did his mother.  Also, Bill ran the Boston marathon years ago when Brook was little (we watched him go by from our front lawn in Brookline, which was right on the marathon route)…our history with this race runs deep.

Last Monday, we headed off to see the race from Ashland (next to our current home town of Hopkinton).  For many years we’ve been going to the same spot to see the runners go by, and we always meet up with Bill’s sister and her family there.  Going to the marathon and bringing our kiddies is something that we all look forward to every year.

We go there to cheer on the mobility impaired racers…

…to watch the elite fly by…

…to see the crowds, and the look of determination on their faces.  It’s all very exciting, and very inspiring.  Every year this incredible scene moves me to tears.

But this year it was all too horribly different.  When the deadly bombings occurred, and all that followed, it scared me to the core.  And I am at a loss for words to describe the grief that I feel for the people who were killed or injured.  Yet at the same time, I can sense hope through watching how others (marathon volunteers, police, spectators, doctors) immediately went to the rescue, putting their own lives in danger while focusing solely on helping the injured.  Humanity is good and kind and loving…for sure.

Yesterday, Bill and I went back into Boston.  Originally, we wanted to go there to attend the interfaith service that was happening in the South End, but I got cold feet.  As we were driving towards the city I started worrying about the fact that there might be others out there crazy enough to want to hurt more people (I was afraid that someone might attempt to bomb or shoot at the service goers).  The terrible things that happened at the marathon bombing were still too fresh in my mind.

However, we still headed into the city in the direction of the memorial on Boylston Street…wanting to pay our respects and sort of hoping to find some kind of peace.  Unfortunately, the parking was tight so we didn’t make it all the way to the memorial sight…but what we saw all along the way was very reassuring.  There were a lot of people out, walking around and going to restaurants, and shopping even…it all felt very normal.  Except for the extra police presence and some blocked off streets, everything seemed okay…and I think I needed to see this everydayness to feel calmer again.

Here’s a look from yesterday.  A beautiful day on a beautiful street…

…with trees bursting with blooms.

The streets felt safe again…

…and the sky said the same.

Brook is back at school today (she was off last week for Spring break), and Bill will be at work.  I have some work myself, and then some errands to run…thankfully, things are moving back to normal for us.  Yet I know that for those who were hit hardest it will continue to be a tough struggle.  And all that I can think of to help is to reach out more to everyone around me, in our community and all around (let what moves us motivate us to make a difference).  Together, we can make the world a better place.  As Ghandi said “You must be the change you wish to see in the world”.  I think this applies whether you’re in West, Texas, or facing the floods in the Midwest or the earthquake in China or any other disaster.  We’re all in it together.



Giveaway Results and Corked Vials Project


As promised I’m back to announce the winner of the two books giveaway.

Mary, kindly get in touch with me with your mailing address and I’ll send you a mini-book necklace (please specify which one you’d like) within the next few days.  And I’ll also forward your address to Melody (she’ll be mailing you a copy of her book directly).

While you’re here I thought you might like a look at a fun and easy project.

The how-to instructions are found here.  And you can purchase the corked vials here.  These vials are special because the glass bottoms are flat (for easy display).  Both the instructions and vials are through Stampington…they have it all!