Thursday, January 31, 2013


In all things it is better to hope than to despair.
-von Goethe-

Monday, January 28, 2013

on my table...

fragments of a dream caused me to gather this pile
a collage or two maybe

there's been a bad chill in the air this year, one that has wrapped its' icy self around my heart and i have drank cup after cup of tea, trying to rid myself of it

a slender journal with wrinkly brown packing paper, perfect for working out matters of the heart

a stitched piece perhaps

 looking for that "one" to finish something

pretty to look at gathered together like this

did you know the ginkgo is a symbol of peace and in Japan is thought to be "the bearer of hope"
and don't we always need some of that

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light
-helen keller-

Monday, January 14, 2013

words to ponder...

When life throws you lemons, make orange juice.  It will leave them wondering how you did that.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

behind the iron gates...

of course, no trip to NY is complete without a stop at my favorite antique store, Behind the Iron Gates.  i really can't relax until i've been there and despite the snow, i managed to drive myself and a few of my kids there.  always such interesting treasures to be found...

i always find a few crusty books to add my stash and this one truly surpassed all other finds.  ever.  dusty and crumbling, the covers falling off, but filled with such wonderfulness, i nearly burst with excitement when i peeked inside.  it's a scrapbook of sorts, with an inscription on the the inside cover which says, Given to Joyce A. Hughes by Aunt Tillie Hughes, Summer 1945.

the first 10 pages or so have interesting and colorful Victorian ephemera glued in, like this merit award.  the back of one page with Christmas cards is signed, Matie P. Hughes, Christmas 1885.  the old handwriting is so gorgeous.  i so wish i could write like that.

i love this little card with braille on it.  what do you think it says?

i nearly fainted when i turned to the back and found this large page of braille.  as i run my fingers over it, i am in awe at how someone can read this.

the most beautiful page in the book is this one, the picture really does it no justice.  according to the inscription at the top, it is a collection of California Moss brought from California by Mr and Mrs. George Hughes in 1888.  i may frame this one for my studio.  the colors are still so pretty, despite the fact it is over 100 years old.

one of the rooms has an old dresser with three drawers.  each drawer is stuffed to overflowing with all kinds of jewelry.  it's always the first room i visit.  this may sound strange, but i sometimes dream about these drawers.  and they are such good dreams!  i like to reach my hand in all the way to the bottom and grab handful after handful, until i've accumulated a nice selection.  i found a couple of strands of pearls, nice heavy glass pearls in two different shades.  my daughter found this stunning mother of pearl cameo necklace.  she's got a good eye.

there's always an abundance of rhinestones.  we all need some glitz from time to time.  i love the aurora borealis earrings.

these earrings aren't my usual style.  kind of 80's i think.  but all those rhinestones and little gold stars.  i've got some plans for these....

i always make sure i leave with a nice pile of lace.  i like to use it in some of my work.  i usually stick to the $1 to $2 dollar range but...

...i had to splurge on this piece.  it's actually a really long scarf.  very old and so gorgeous.

so, i hope you enjoyed my finds.  i am greatly inspired by these treasures and most of them will find their way into my creations eventually.  and maybe by giving them new life, they will inspire someone else...perhaps you?  

Monday, January 7, 2013

fire and ice...

the holidays really were so magical for me this year.  our annual trip to NY was very snowy.
  i mean it.
  very, very snowy.
it was an exceptionally long trip this time, as we followed a big storm all the way up.

and as i don't love snow very much, i only stepped out onto the deck briefly to snap these pictures.  i have really embraced the southern way of living and this was just too much snow for me.   and so cold!  but it is so very beautiful when the sun hits it just so.  and when you are warm and toasty inside.  and when you don't have to shovel.

 we had several birthdays over the holidays.  that always makes our holidays extra special.  hubby's is on Christmas Eve and the twins on the 27th and my youngest is a New Years baby (no, not the first one of the New Year, but i really tried).  if you think cake boss was invited, no.  my sister makes us such a beautiful cake every year.  not just pretty, tasty too.  i ate two slices. 

it's tradition to go ice skating every year at our favorite outdoor rink in downtown Syracuse.  can't do that down South.  we picked the sunniest, warmest day to go.  30 degrees and sun - woo hoo!

here's a better view.  i love the big Christmas tree.  when we used to live here, we took the kids to the tree lighting ceremony every year.  miss that.

a tradition that we started last year was a New Year's eve bonfire.  of course, it was considerably warmer last year.  but we weren't cold.  my brother really outdid himself.  i think he started this wood pile right after our last visit.  it was an impressive fire.  and warm.  we came back outside at midnight and had a fireworks show as well.  i think it runs in the family.  i love to build a good fire, as do my boys.  and my husband and boys have been known to cause a few explosions.  my brother is a pretty quiet guy, but you can just see him come alive when he's lighting big fires and blowing stuff up.

all in all, it was a very magical holiday.  it passed by way too quickly.  i found myself getting teary eyed the night before we came home.  and then again in the car when we left so early in the morning.  and then again later when i called my sister-in-law to tell her we had made it home safely.  and yet again at dinner, when the kids were talking about going back to school.

we've been in Virginia for seven years now.  we get back to NY once or twice a year, but in between times, i really miss my family.  and there's also a sadness about my own kids.  growing up so fast.  my baby is in his last year before becoming a teen.  the twins are 15.  15!?!    my oldest will be graduating this year and heading off to college.  and then life changes all over again.  and even though i know change is inevitable, i'm really slow at adjusting.  it seems like i finally get used to something and then it's over.

but of course, somehow i always make it through.  there are a lot of positives in my life.  i just need to remember that.  and a new year is always so fresh and exciting to me.  after the mad Christmas rush, January is like a quiet respite.  a time to get the studio cleaned out and organized.  a time to work on goals for the year.  to think about what i would like to learn and try this year.  so many possibilities....