"I do believe in an everyday sort of magic...the inexplicable connectedness we sometimes experience with places, people, works of art and the like; the eerie appropriateness of moments of synchronicity; the whispered voice, the hidden presence, when we think we're alone." Charles de Lint

Saturday, December 31, 2016


...and a kiss.

"New Years Eve. The evening of little miracles. Take away the dazzling fireworks, the celebrations, the countdowns and half-hearted resolutions and what you are left with is hope.  Small human hope. The hope of better days, of fresh starts and perhaps, if you are very lucky, a kiss."   Beau Taplin

This is a shadow selfie kiss on the beach in Florida last January. 

Friday, December 30, 2016


One of the little packages I opened while I was in Colorado included a stack of old photographs from Margie. She included a picture of her dining room buffet when it was actually being used as a buffet...I have vivid memories of it in their dining room in Loveland. I always loved the simple lines of this piece....and, to make it even more cool it's stackable.

When I helped Margie move to first floor living last February we repurposed the buffet as her dresser, storage, and TV stand. This worked much better than her big tall dresser would have in this room. And...after my recent visit...I can now report that it's working well. Click here to see the whole transformation of the office into a bedroom.

Thursday, December 29, 2016


I just started a little bead and embroidery embellishment on the wool and button project

As I see the larger view on the screen I think it might need a few french knots and tiny beads meandering a bit more off the edges of the swirl.  It may be a little "too tight."

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

A Man Named Pearl

Have you heard of a man named Pearl?  He's pretty special.  I first learned about Pearl Fryer from a "Super Soul Sunday" episode on the Oprah channel a while back.  

Pearl is a self taught gardener who has made it his life's work to create a garden sanctuary in his yard. He embraces hard work and positive thinking not letting any obstacles hold him back. Many of his plants and shrubs are rescued from compost piles.

You can watch a short video of his inspiring story here.

Pearl's name came up again a month or two ago when Linda told me she was having this quote from Pearl made into a sign for her husband David's garden for Christmas. David also strives to create not just a garden...but a feeling....a sanctuary with meandering paths, special little spaces, and surprises tucked here and there. 

Here are a few photos of David's gardens and secret spaces. All this just steps away from the beach in Maine.

Linda sent me a photo of the sign a 
few days ago....it's going to be a great 
addition tucked into David's garden.

Brilliant idea Linda! Pearl would be proud!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

It's time....

....for a winter puzzle.

I have fond memories growing up doing family puzzles over Christmas vacation....and I've been doing them ever since. Treasured family memories and traditions are the best heirlooms.

I have said this before...but I'm going to say it again....puzzles are good for me. They provide an opportunity to pause...to slow down. Sometimes I just sit for a few minutes...sometimes longer.  I can listen to an audio book, watch TV, or just enjoy the quiet.

This one is kind of crazy and colorful....full of tiny trinkets and sweet little vignettes. It would make a good "I Spy" picture when it's done.

I used to be the teacher for a girls' transition program in Falmouth, Maine. The girls who came through my program often faced unique challenges and struggles and some missed out on typical childhood experiences. 

We almost always had a puzzle going in the classroom and everyone loved it. It was a good distraction and sitting at the puzzle table provided opportunity for great conversations. It's amazing how much easier a conversation can be for some when you don't have to make eye contact.

Monday, December 26, 2016


I love a good aha moment!

It's almost the end of the year...so time for a new planner for Connie....planner #9 to be exact. I had big plans for a more creative cover this time....but because of my crazy schedule lately I'm settling for pretty fabric.

My big "aha" moment was to use Wonder Under (fusible webbing) rather than glue to adhere the fabric to the cardboard covers...and it worked like a dream!

I had the signatures printed and stitched together before my trip to Colorado so I just needed to cover the boards and put it all together. I think I'm getting better at this stitching.

Stitching of the signatures in process.

I chose a cheery colorful floral batik that I thought Connie would like.

I'm not all that great at glueing fabric on these boards. I often use too much which causes warping...so using the Wonder Under was awesome. I didn't have to weigh it down under a pile of books for a day or two waiting for the glue to dry. 
I ironed the fusible on one side of the batik...then peeled the paper off and fused it to the cover boards. It was a little tricky because I had to iron on the fabric side so had to make sure the boards were positioned correctly underneath. The fabric fused to the boards perfectly and permanently and no warping!!!

I clipped the fabric corners and wrapped and fused the extra fabric around the edges of the boards. I can't believe how much easier this was than using glue!!!  I'll never go back! Merry Christmas Connie!                                                                         

"Normal Life"

We had a wonderful day yesterday....and I don't even mind facing the mess this morning.  I'm so grateful that my grown child is so interesting and fun to spend time with.

A beautiful box of pears we get to enjoy from
my dear friend Connie and her family.
I get a daily e-mail quote from an author I have been reading lately. This one came this morning and I found it compelling.

"Not that she didn't enjoy the holidays: but she always felt-and it was, perhaps, the measure of her peculiar happiness-a little relieved when they were over. Her normal life pleased her so well that she was half afraid to step out of its frame in case one day she should find herself unable to get back."  Jan Struther, Mrs. Miniver

I love the holidays....but I kind of feel this way sometimes. My "normal life" does please me!  I hope yours does too.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Stockings....

.....were hung by the chimney with care.  MERRY CHRISTMAS!

About 25 years ago Mary Jane, a friend from my teaching days at Deering High School in Portland, Maine knitted these wonderful stockings for our family.  They are all alike so we each attached a button so we could tell them apart.  I love them!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Stocking Santa

"His eyes how they twinkled, his dimples, how merry!  His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry! His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, and the beard of his chin was as white as the snow."

I made this Santa for  Margie and Dave out of a heavy women's stocking and wool many years ago. He may may need a beard trim....but I think his face it kind of cute.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Handmade Tags

I've been helping Connie wrap Christmas presents. Several years ago she made me a set of hand painted gift tags....and I've only used a few because I can't bear to part with them.  I took a picture of one with holly...and reproduced it on my computer.  I printed several sheets that we are punching up for her holiday tags. Connie wrote personal little notes on the back.

I love that we keep finding ways to reinvent Connie's art!

I also helped Connie make little lavender sachets to give to staff at her assisted living facility. We chose one of her little floral watercolors for this tag. We also put together little bags of chocolates with the holly tags as an alternative.

This was a fun team project.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Winter Solstice

"Winter, a lingering season, is a time to gather golden moments, embark upon a sentimental journey, and enjoy every idle hour." John Boswell

Today is the first day of winter...and the shortest day of the year. I know there are people who struggle with the darker days....but I kind of like them. I enjoy cozy evenings, candles at dinner, and unusual lighting.

I found this picture below in my archives taken on December 20th (day before the solstice) in 2008. The sun set today a 4:15 and by Friday we will already gain a minute....the sun setting at 4:16. But during this slow crawl towards longer days....I will embrace the dark.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016


And the angel said unto to them, Fear not, for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people.  Luke 2:10

I came home to a beautiful full bloom on the Christmas cactus....it reminds me of angel wings! I'm quite fond of the delicate pink and white stamen against the salmon colored bloom.  What a treat!

Three little angels I helped one or both of my kids make years ago for grandma and grandpa.  This year they will keep watch over the living room from Margie's piano.

Monday, December 19, 2016


As I spend some of this week opening the mountain of mail and preparing for Christmas I'm going to share a few fun handmade things I rediscovered at Margie's. One of the perks of helping her set up for Christmas was getting to see decorations and treasures I hadn't seen for a long time.

Years ago I commissioned my sister Angie to make this wooden nativity set for Margie and Dave.  Each character is puzzled together with separate pieces of stained or painted wood.  I think the detail is incredible. This year it will sit on Margie's coffee table.

Angie also made a nativity puzzle that I wrote about here...she's a master with a saw. I always wished I would have been able to take wood shop in school....I'm actually afraid of power saws.

No Place Like Home

"Having somewhere to go is home.  Having someone to love is family.  Having both is a blessing."  Author Unknown

 I always enjoy the views at the Denver airport.

I'm so lucky to have a wonderful family to visit and a husband I love coming home to. There's no place like home.