Wednesday, December 9, 2015

seeking good stories...

so, hello...  many sticky floor mornings have passed since we last visited...and starry sky mornings too : )  i must say, the moon was exceptionally lovely this morning - the thinnest little sliver floating in the starry sky.  i love that my mornings begin like that.  that is truly something to be thankful for.  

this time of year is always filled to the brim with various activities and i'm getting that tight feeling in my neck.  i am deeply craving some calm...a little break from it all.  i stopped this morning to take a few pictures.  even though the morning started off with clear skies, a bit of a fog has rolled in, making the lighting kind of dim.  but i got a few for you.  

i've really been making an effort this year to lessen my holiday stress.  i like to decorate, but i really pared down this year and it turned out to be a good decision.  to me, our tree is lovelier than it's ever been.  it is simply strung with lots and lots of little white lights and draped with paper chains, made from the pages of an old dictionary.  my kids and i made the paper chains together on the day after thanksgiving.  it was a nice little time of conversation and laughter...a warm memory to carry with me in this upcoming year of changes.   

on my mantel i placed a few tiny green christmas trees with no adornment at all and this little nativity scene that my mother-in-law gifted me with while she was here for thanksgiving.  i love the simplicity of it.  it is made from twisted wire and has a few little glass beads and a little mother of pearl dove.  it's so pretty and rustic.  and to me it captures the true meaning of the season.

the world seems a scary place right now or perhaps i have just been watching too much news, but it makes me feel a bit blue.  i'm sure some of you feel the same way.  when it all becomes too much, i try to stop and take a few breaths and remember how very blessed i am and that i am surrounded by people who love me.

  i have learned that if you look past all of the bad news and really search, there are some wonderful stories out there.  stories of joy and love and hope.  my favorite thing is this...  every night before we go to sleep, my husband reads the news on his kindle.  but the first thing he does is search for a good story.  something he can read to me before i doze off, so that maybe i can have sweet dreams.  he doesn't find one every night, but many nights he does.  and that really does help.  i really love that guy...

i hope your holidays are filling up with peace and love and hope.  and good stories.  don't forget to search for the good stories...

Friday, October 23, 2015

sticky floors and starry sky mornings...

this morning when i woke up it was still dark out.  really dark.  i took our senile old dog outside and while i waited for him to remember why were out there (that's been happening a lot lately) i looked up and noticed the stars.  the sky was a moody blue-black and there were so many stars up there.  it really was beautiful.  i've really been noticing things like that lately.  i'm sure it was always there, but i'm just really seeing it now. and that's the nice part of my story.

next i headed to the kitchen to brew up some coffee.  it's Starbucks Italian roast this week.  in case you were wondering.  as i shuffled to the coffee maker, my feet got stuck to the floor.  at first i thought i might be dreaming, but as i continued on my way, i realized that i really was fully awake and i really was sticking to the floor.  my teens are home from school this week on some kind of fall break and let me just say that it's been a new and interesting experience.  just about the time i'm heading off to bed at night, they are coming into their "fully wide awake" time.  this involves clanging pans and cupboards and smells coming from the kitchen.  then some laughter, tv noises and maybe some music.  and sometimes, random noises that jolt me out of my sleep and make me listen for robbers.  and then, sometime around 2 or 3 am, some door slamming (can't they ever just close it lightly) and probably some water running.  then usually it is blessedly quiet until 11am or later.  so when they finally got out of bed close to lunchtime ( lunchtime), i went about investigating the sticky floor.  i knew some kool-aid had made it's way into the house at some point this week, so that was my first thought.  "ok guys", i asked them, "who spilled the kool-aid?"  they all gave me blank stares and then denied it.  "i'm not mad", i said, "i just want whoever did it to clean it up." "nope, not us", they all said.  "ok, well, who's going to clean it up?", i asked them.  my younger son grabbed the mop and got to work.  how nice, i thought to myself, he's so responsible.  then he said, "boy, that jar of jelly i dropped last night sure did make the floor sticky."  um...hello!?!?!?..

i think i am going to miss this someday.  at least that's what i've been told.  while trying to unstick myself from the floor this morning, i was feeling kind of skeptical, but now, reading this over, i know that i will.  i know for sure i will miss the music.  always music at our house.  good background music, just like in a movie.  and the laughter...for sure i'll miss that.  even now, the house creaks with sadness when they are all out doing their thing.  and the sticky floors?  yeah, i'll probably think fondly back on that someday too.

it's a big year.  my oldest will graduate from college.  the twins are graduating from high school.  and my little baby, who is now taller than me and can sing Johnny Cash tunes with ease, well, he's busy with all of his high school activities.  weeks like this make me contemplate all of the upcoming changes.  and i guess it's natural to look forward some and wonder how it's all going to turn out.  i just thought i would put it out there into the wide world.  maybe you can relate?  and for now, i'm just going to take those starry sky mornings and those sticky floor days and try to enjoy them to the fullest...

Saturday, October 17, 2015


my feelings are too loud for words and too shy for the world
-dejan stojanovic

we all have days like this...

Thursday, October 8, 2015


talisman - n. 1. an object that is thought to have magic powers and to bring good luck.  2. something producing apparently magical or miraculous effects.

i don't know if it's really magical.  maybe it just works for me because i believe it to be so.  this is just one of a few lucky charms that i wear.  how about you believe in magic?  

and yes, we have sun again.  yea!

Friday, October 2, 2015


it's raining again.  oh, no, it's raining again...  isn't that a song?  it has been coming down in drops and drizzles.  a plip-plop, a pitter-patter and then a pour.  a splash and a sprinkle.  but i wouldn't say a deluge or a torrent or a flood.  the kids had a "rain day" today, which just means that school was cancelled.  for rain?  i'm not going to say much about that in case i jinx myself and wind up needing an ark.  but really.  it's just rain.  they are thrilled of unexpected day off.  a chance to catch up on much needed rest.  i don't blame them for being happy and i got to sleep a little longer too.   

the bulb in my overhead light went out and my shopping day is tomorrow.  i'm not the type of person to run out to buy one thing.  especially in the rain.  so i'm sitting close to the window, trying to catch some light for some very tiny stitching.  with golden thread.  on leather.  again.  ouch.

  i have such ideas floating about my head right now.  i'm feeling deeply inspired.  i'm not exactly sure why.  maybe cause it's fall.  and i do love the fall...cooler days and pretty leaves and smoky smells in the air.  or maybe it's all this rain.  regardless, i'm really happy about it.  

i have a nice stack of books to keep me going for the weekend in case my fingers need a rest from stitching.  this one about pie is a good read.  and rainy days do lend themselves to pie making.  and pie eating.  don't you think?

Monday, September 28, 2015

the weight of woe...

it has been raining here for days and the forecast calls for rain all week long.  you know i like the rain don't you?  grey sky days like this call for slow and thoughtful projects.  deep soul projects.  my fingers ache, but in a satisfying way.  i don't usually use blue in my work, almost never, but this piece needed blue.  a really moody sort of blue.  

the words came first actually...sometimes it happens like that.  i cut them from an old book and set them on my table.  my eyes landed on them over and over again and the phrase got stuck in my head for a few days...the weight of woe.  i actually dreamt about it and when i awoke i gathered some humble supplies and began to stitch.  it is a work in progress.  i'm still not sure how it will end up.  but that is the best way usually.

the light in my little studio is dim and grey.  my little dog is sleeping, just inches away, on a soft blanket that i drag around the house wherever i go.  he wants to be near me all the time now, but his old bones need a cushion.  the rain is slow today... a drizzle really.  and the needle dips in and out.  in and out.  in and out...

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


i took a walk alone.  in a forest of tall, tall trees.  so tall, all of the leaves were at the top, so all i could see were the trunks, one after another.  there was a light breeze and when it came through, the trees lightly swayed making a soft whispering sound.  and the world was so beautiful just then.  as i was walking i spied an opening in the trees.  i climbed down a steep slope all slippy-slidey like, using the tree roots like stairs and branches as my railing.  the flip-flops on my feet were not helping much, but i made it to the bottom still standing and this was my reward.    


the water was the palest blue...the prettiest blue i've ever seen.  the sun made the ripples was magical.  as i snapped the picture, i thought to myself, "this is what calm looks like."    

when i got home, i sent it off into cyberspace to have it enlarged and printed and mailed back to me...that's still kind of amazing to me how that all works.  and yesterday, when i slipped it out of the tube, i got that feeling all over again.  a calm...deep in my bones.  i'm going to hang it today.  someplace where i'll see it every day.  cause life is not always easy.  and sometimes you have to make your own calm.  

"Always be like a water.  Float in the times of pain or dance like waves along the wind which touches its surface."
-Santosh Kalwar

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

this is the day...

this is the day that decides by itself to be beautiful.
-henry shukman-

i found this leaf this morning on my daily "meander" with dexter.  he stopped to sniff a fresh patch of grass and there it was at my feet.  i knew then it would be a beautiful day.  or did it turn out to be beautiful because i decided right then that it would be?  such a deep question right?  i believe each day is what we make it.  and some days...well...they do seem to decide all by themselves...

Thursday, September 10, 2015

gifts of the heart...

i'm probably a hard person to buy a gift for.  especially lately, with all of the de-cluttering i have been doing.  but i think i'm pretty simple.  ridiculously simple maybe.  you don't have to buy me anything.  i love homemade gifts, like the little paintings my artist daughter is always surprising me with.

 or those scrappy little notes the kids used to write when they were younger.  i have a little wooden box full of them that i look through when i need cheering up.  

i love little dusty treasures from dark and mysterious shops.  especially books.     

i love gifts of nature.  my mother-in-law surprised me recently with these little white rocks.  she said she knew i liked the white ones.  that really touched my heart.  that she knows that about me and that she would think to pick up some rocks and carry them around in her purse until she saw me next.  

my best gift of all this year was on my birthday.  i was a little sad that my college girl would not be there.  she usually makes me a wonderful cake.  i was in the kitchen the day before, cooking, when i heard my husband come in from work.  i was absorbed in what i was doing and i didn't look up.  imagine my surprise, when i heard her voice.  a complete brought tears to my eyes.  he had told me he would be in an all day meeting, so i probably wouldn't hear from him, when actually he was driving the few hours to get her.  that was a good one.

my mom was going to celebrate a big birthday this year.  i thought about what to get her.  i always make her a journal of some sort, but i didn't have any new ideas.  besides, i was thinking, i'm sure she hasn't filled them all up yet, so maybe she didn't need another one.  i asked my husband for ideas.  he suggested going to NY to surprise her.  but it's only a few days away i thought.  i'm not actually a very spontaneous person.  i like to plan things.  but he kept at it.  what else do we have to do?  i couldn't think of anything, except laundry and well...there's always that.  i tried to think of some reasons why we shouldn't go.  two days of driving for one day of visiting.  seemed a little crazy.  but i realized i wanted to go.  i kept thinking, if i don't go, i'm going to wish that i had.  and if there's one thing i know for sure it's this...always listen to what your heart is telling you and you won't have regrets.  always.  listen.  so...         

we did it.  we took the 9 hour drive on friday.  i could hardly wait until party time on saturday.  we hid our car in my brothers' garage.  we locked the door.  and when she rang the bell, i opened the door with a big grin.  the look on her face was priceless and i imagine it was similar to the look that i had when my daughter surprised me.  the best gift ever, she said.  and that made me so happy that i had decided to go.  i thought about it on the long drive home sunday.  these gifts from the heart...they are all about love...that's what makes such simple things so special.  small gestures of love to be treasured forever in our hearts...

Friday, August 21, 2015


my daily walks have evolved over the years.  but they have remained constant.  i've always walked.   sometimes because i had to, but mostly because i wanted to.  it keeps me healthy.  it gets me outside. it has been a way to connect with my kids, my husband.  it gives me time to think.  it takes me to a calm place that can only be achieved through putting one foot in front of the other over and over and over again.

our little corgi, Dexter, loves his walks too.  he used to pull me along..."hurry, hurry, hurry", he seemed to be saying all the time. but he is getting old and lately it seems to be me saying  "hurry, hurry".  he can only make it about a mile most days and some days, after just half a mile he gives me a look.  a look that says, "will you carry me?"  and that melts my heart.  he's just so darned cute.  so, i decided to stop trying to hurry him.  i take a nice brisk walk first and then i come back for him.  this morning i really surrendered to it.  i took his pace.  i think it's called meandering.  i let him stop and smell the flowers.  literally.  and every blade of grass.  and every inch of pavement.  and i didn't pull him along.  instead, i noticed things.

an intricate spiderweb, dewy and silvery in the sunlight, the beautiful morning sunlight which was streaming just so through the trees.

a light cool breeze, a breeze that sent the first of the fall leaves fluttering to the ground soundlessly and in slow motion...almost like snowflakes.

a brilliant red cardinal chasing a large locust, his breakfast trying desperately to escape.

the quiet.  oh my, it was so quiet.  a few birds, an occasional distant bark from some dog who probably wished he could come with us to smell the flowers.

it was just a really beautiful and peaceful morning.  i didn't have my camera with me to capture any of this, so you're going to have to take my word for it.  anyway, i think i would have missed all of it if i was focused on trying to capture the perfect image.

it's so easy to fall into that manic, always thinking of the next thing, rushing around in a hurry way of being.  i feel like my little dog taught me something.  it's ok to sniff the flowers.  and pee on them.  ok, maybe not that.  but it's ok to slow down once in a while.  or more than once in a while.  when we got home, i was still in "meandering" mode, so dexter and i went out to the backyard for a little while.

we explored the beginnings of a "rock garden" that my husband is making because he thought i would like it.  and since beginnings don't look like much, try to envision a peaceful, zen, green ivy and rocks, maybe a bench, kind of garden.

we checked out the progress of the filling "the hole to china" project, which has been going on for several years now.  when they kids were younger i let them try to dig a hole to china.  well, there were four of them and at times, friends, so they made it pretty far.  it's taken years to get it this filled in.  we should have it done just in time for the grandkids.  ha ha!

we explored a fallen tree.  it just fell right over unexpectedly with a giant crash one day.  we were all inside, each of us thinking at the time, "what was that noise?" and then we just went back to what we each were doing.  later when we saw it we each said, "yeah, i thought i heard something".  I peeked in the end,  the inside has been hollowed out by termites.  glad that one was away from the house.

we found a pretty patch of moss and sunlight.  i looked around for fairies, but i didn't see any.

and on the way in, i got goofy and snapped a picture of myself, snapping a picture of myself.  

yeah, it's a good thing...

Thursday, August 6, 2015

kantha book...

as soon as i saw this piece of kantha quilt, i thought...for a book.  it's hand stitched, which is really my thing right now, so i bought it and it was waiting for me when i returned from my road trips.

as soon as i had some free time, i pulled it out and started to work on it.  since kantha quilts are traditionally made by the women of India, i paired it with some handmade paper from India that i had in my stash.  

i like the rough nature of it.  the raw quilt edges and the rough paper.  imperfect, yet beautiful.  this one is for sale in my shop, but i might make another one for myself.  i'm almost at the end of my present journal and since i like to stitch in my journals, this one would be perfect.  

i thought i would have a break from driving for a few days, but i am being driven all around town.  practice some of the teens can get their license.  although they have all waited to get their license, i find this to be a rather stressful process.  also, this is my last day of having 4 teenagers.  as of tomorrow, i will have 3 teenagers and one 20 year old.  this is all affecting me more than i thought it would.  change is often hard and i've never been very good at it.  yet, change is inevitable.  and necessary.  and it's going to happen regardless, so...nothing more to say except this...

"The beautiful journey of today can only begin when we learn to let go of yesterday."
-Steve Maraboli-

Monday, August 3, 2015


as you can see, i've been continuing to stitch.  i love all of that boro stitching i'm seeing around and i've been experimenting with it on leather.  stitching on leather like this is hard and painful on the fingers.  this leather was kind of thin, so i didn't make any holes first.  i just went at with a really sharp needle.  i wanted it to look rough and not too perfect.  i think i achieved that.  i'm working on a pair of jeans now...much easier.

it's been a crazy month of road trips.  i figured out the one month we drove roughly 2800 miles. up to NY to leave our daughter at the Pratt Institute, then home.  then back to NY to pick her up.  then to Richmond to drop her off with our other daughter for a few days.  then back home.  then back to Richmond to pick them both up.  then home again.  no wonder my neck hurts.  but, i am getting really good at passing the big trucks...something i used to be scared of.

my daughter mostly enjoyed her time at Pratt.  she earned several college credits and has begun to get her portfolio together.  she learned a lot about painting and also a lot about some other interesting bit of education to be sure.  in case you're thinking that she's spoiled or something...i have to tell you that she paid for the entire thing herself, right down to the pricey painting supplies that were required.  many, many hours of working...i'm so very proud of her.  she came home inspired and with masterpieces and the beginnnings of masterpieces.  i believe in the power of art so much, that i was willing to drive all of those miles for her to experience that.

i hope to be able to relax a bit for a few days, enjoy the sunny weather and get back to creating.  one thing about all that gave me a lot of time to think.  i have some amazing ideas that i can't wait to try out.  i do have a few more road trips planned for later this month.  a college twins are seniors now (which is really hard to believe) and then i'll be taking my oldest back to college.  she is going to turn 20 this week (even harder to believe).  time just flies on by, doesn't it?

hope you are enjoying your summer...

Thursday, July 16, 2015


i've been stitching words like crazy between making books...and little envelopes...and laundry...and all of the other stuff i do.  it is a nice portable project for those long waits at the orthodontist and during long car trips.  for some reason i seem stuck on red just pops so nicely on white.  

it has been a strange summer.  a transition of sorts.  my daughters are both at older daughter younger daughter at a pre-college art program...creating masterpieces i'm sure.  my older son is working many hours as a lifeguard and my younger son is working a bit as well.  even my dog, who is now 12 (or around 70 in human years) has altered his goes like this...get up, eat, take a walk and go lay on the couch for the rest of the day.  the house is often empty and eerily quiet.  there are leftovers in the fridge...i've had to buy more containers.  there is less laundry and less cleaning up (which is kind of wonderful).  but, on the other hand, no one to fetch the mail.  no sounds of laughter.  no one to bake me cookies.  and while i still have a few years to go, it is a small taste of what an empty nest is going to be like.  of course, it is do grow up and i want them to all go out into the world and become whatever it is they will become.  but is a strange feeling.  one that will take some getting used to.  

meanwhile, i continue to create.  every day.  because that is what i do.  it gives me purpose and brings me joy and maybe it brings joy to others too...  

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

word collector...

her heart had separated from the rest of her body and landed at her feet
 among the scattered rose petals, bleeding.
-elaine hussey

i have this little poetry book by brian andreas...i have a few of his actually...they are fun to leaf through and can find them on amazon, of course.  but anyway, in the introduction of one of his books he said that when he traveled he did not bring home "stuff" from the places he had visited.  instead he collected memories of people and things.  i love that idea...collecting something intangible.  if you read my last post you will know that i am trying to take up less space and this idea works out perfectly with my goal.

  one of my favorite things to "collect" is words.  words i hear or words that i find while i am reading.  when i made myself this journal last year, i decided to fill it with all of the lovely (and not so lovely sometimes) words that i find in my day to day meanderings.  of course, i have added other little treasures as well.  pieces of tattered paper, scraps of old lace and fabric and bits of string and thread.  it is almost full now and it is a little work of art just for me (and sometimes for you)...a treasury of inspiration.

  and it hardly takes up any space at all : )

Monday, June 22, 2015

life changing magic...

"You will find that it is necessary to let things go; simply for the reason that they are heavy.  So let them go, let go of them.  I tie no weights to my ankles."
-C. JoyBell C.

i've been on a cleaning streak lately.  i read that book...The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up... by Marie Kondo.  it was an ok book and kind of funny at times.  it did made me think a little differently about my possessions.  i'm not a cluttery person.  i'm actually super organized...a place for everything.  i wasn't always that way, i became that way while living in our very tiny first house with four little kids.  our days were messy and chaotic, but every night it all got cleaned up and tucked away where it belonged.  that nightly ritual brought me great calm after an exhausting day and it's something i've continued to do, even though we now have a much bigger house with actual closets, so there is much more space to tuck everything away.  some of it is really tucked deeply away.  and has been since we moved here 10 years ago.  so i figure, if it's been in a box for 10 years and i haven't taken it out, do i really need it?  probably not.

so, i have donated a good portion of it.  treasures for others to discover.  i have some really nice vintage things i have collected over the years.  i have always tried to purchase only things that i will actually use, but somehow there were things that wound up in a box in a closet.  things i no longer wanted but wasn't ready to let go of, things i had a plan for that never quite worked out or things that were "too special" to use.  you know what i mean right?  i am going to "release" those things, like the pretty mirror above.  you can find it here if you like it.  i have a whole box of similar treasures waiting to be photographed.  waiting to be loved by someone else.  

and you feels good.  i feel lighter somehow.  i like to see empty spaces on my shelves and only dust under the bed.  there is something about letting go of it that just feels so...i don't even know...freeing maybe.  and while i still have a lot of shelves to go, it feels like a good start.  i hope to be sending some good treasures out into the world in the months to come.  oh, and the life changing the true spirit of tidying up, i passed it on to my mother.

Friday, June 12, 2015


warrior...a brave or experienced soldier or fighter.  a person who fights in battles and is known for having courage and skill.  

i am a warrior.  i don't rush out with my sword to slay dragons, but i do fight.  i fight quietly.  i fight for everyday things.  i fight for my kids.  i fight school administrators.  i fight mattress stores.  i fight health insurance companies.  i fight migraines.  i fight negativity.  i fight for happiness.  i fight darkness.  i fight for hope.  i fight to live my life as simply as i can.

  the love given to me by those i love, gives me courage.  
all of the light and hope i carry within me makes me brave.
  i am a warrior.

Monday, June 8, 2015

poet's pouch...

i had this idea.  i think it started with the leather.  so rough and interesting, this piece.  i worked on it.  put it aside.  thought about it overnight.  worked on it some more.  a little more thinking.  what did i want it to be?  

i always seem to have loose bits of paper floating around me...filled with inspiring words i've heard or little sketches of ideas i would like to explore.  i wanted it to be a way to contain these scraps.  i wanted it to be a beautiful vessel for random inspirations.  i wanted it to be like a deconstructed book that can be carried out into the world and filled with one tattered page at a time. 

i gave it a head start, by filling it with a stack of the prettiest papers i could find.  rough, torn pieces of handmade paper.  and i made that even more beautiful with some silk and a feather.  because feathers are hopeful and we always need that.

i call it a poet's pouch.

i just know there is a poet or artist out there that is meant for this one.  if you are the one, you can find it here.  

of course, you might have a different idea for it...and that's ok too.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

needle, paper, thread...

rain.  and rain.  and rain.  it's been raining here for a few days.  a hard driving, roof-thumping, soaking, drenching rain.  the kind that continues to drip from the trees long after the sky stops weeping.  although i do like the's been so dark.  maybe i don't like the darkness as much as the rain.  it's making the air a bit chilly, but steaming hot cups of coffee take care of that.  i started this meditative stitching a while ago and then set it aside, but i picked it up again when the rain started.  what is it about rain that makes me want to stitch?  the stitches are tiny and they go round and round.  and round.  it's just a little scrap of handmade paper and some red thread.  but it's turning into a little work of art.  i guess i like the simplicity of it.  drip, drop, drizzle.  needle, paper thread...

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


the world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are stong at the broken places.

-ernest hemingway

Thursday, May 14, 2015

use it up...

been busy using up some of my wonderful lace stash...