"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

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Book of Joy

"Respond with joy! Joy is the happiness that doesn't depend on what happens. It is the grateful response to the opportunity that life offers you at this moment."

Becky sent me this quote from The Book of Joy....which I actually started today. The Dalai Lama and the Archbishop Desmond Tutu celebrate their friendship and share their wisdom on "finding enduring happiness and joy in the face of life's challenges."

It feels a bit awkward to feel and express joy when there is so much chaos and frightening news happening every day. So this book is timely....just what I needed right now!  Thank you Becky!

Today I continued to celebrate and be grateful for Lynn's art...it brings me so much joy! I took some time to hang a few more of her original paintings in my guest room...which has mostly a floral theme.  I've had one of the little painting for a while....and you can see it here in this "Guest Nest" post...but it got moved to hang with the other three to the other other side of the room.

I think they make a happy trio!

 I adore this sweet little basket of posies.  I had the gray weathered frame in my stash and I think it compliments the picture nicely.

Monday, January 30, 2017


Speaking of Lynn....when I visited her last summer I got to see her series of wonderful zentangle landscapes. I thought it was fun that she was creating "horizons" at the same time I was when I had my little "Unexpected Horizons" show. The colors and patterns in her pantings are wonderful....and some might be for sale!   

See her artwork in my home here.

Isn't this a great line up!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Mixed Media Challenge

When I visited Lynn this last summer in Madison I came home with a project. These two pieces were "works in progress" and seemed prime for mixed media embellishment...so Lynn sent them home with me. I'm going to do something with the grid for her...and something with the circles for me. They've been floating around my house for a while so I thought I would get started. I actually like having several projects going on at the same time...it gives me thinking time.  (Or at least that's what I tell myself.)

Because I had more options for framing I decided to make hers more of a square...so I cut off one row.  I may be able to use the piece I cut off in some creative way on the piece.  I wanted to accentuate the grid so my first mixed media element was machine stitching with black thread.  

My simple but effective way of dealing with the threads is to wrap them to the back and secure them with scotch tape.  Eventually I will glue the piece to a backing which will secure them even more. 

I do have a few ideas....but let's see where this goes. 

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Pretty In Pink

"We need beauty because it makes us ache to be worthy of it."  Mary Oliver

While visiting Connie I got to enjoy her X-large pretty pink amaryllis. I'm not sure I've seen one quite this big at six inches across. It has a double bloom and more coming.

She also has a couple of cyclamen plants blooming so it makes for a delightful backdrop for a visit.

The translucent blooms in the window are quite etherial.

Friday, January 27, 2017

"Real Hero"

"Anyone can slay a dragon, he told me, but try waking up every morning & loving the world all over again. That takes a real hero."  Story People

This "Story of the Day" struck a chord with me! There are so many distracting dragons these days that I have to remind myself to love the world that's right in front of me.

I went for a long walk with Anita this morning on the bike path ending at Season's Four...a lovely home and garden store. It was a perfect day for a walk. The clouds were both dark and light, the sky was a variety of blues, and the sun coming through the clouds was spectacular. We took time to notice things that we don't see in the summer when the trees are leafed out and I loved the world all over again.

 Fun sea glass colored bottles at Seasons Four....the whole store is a treat for the eyes.

And....a tiny little splash of color....can you see it?

Look closely you'll see the orange balloon in the woods.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Sliver of Soap

I worked on my little landscape project today. 

I think I've mentioned the tip from Melody Johnson that a sliver of soap works well for marking fabric....it just fades away during the ironing process.

After I finalized the fabrics for the hills in the foreground I marked a soap line on the darker distant hill so I would know where to cut away valuable fused fabric.

I repeated the marking and cutting away process so there was no waste hidden behind.
Then I started top stitching.  I wasn't too happy with the narrow lines on the dark green....it's too much like the sky...but ripping it out was not an option.  I changed it up for the lighter green hill and for now I'm leaving the aqua foreground just plain. I may add some vertical grasses or french knots...but I'll make that decision later.

I'm keeping this mantra in my head...KEEP IT SIMPLE! I'm going to create a bit of a starry sky with some tiny beads and sequence...so I'm marking where I want to start with some little clusters. The handwork will be a good project while I watch TV.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017


I loved Mary Tyler Moore!

Who can turn the world on with her smile? 
Who can take a nothing day, and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile? 
Well it's you girl, and you should know it 
With each glance and every little movement you show it
Love is all around, no need to wast it
You can have a town, why don't you take it
You're gonna make it after all
You're gonna make it after all
Sonny Curtis

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Rainy Day

I actually love a rainy day...and I spent a little bit of it playing with fabric again. I cleaned up my work table just enough to start making another mess...that's generally how I operate.

It's been a while so I'm going to start with a simple landscape that I plan to embellish a bit.

I love all the colors and striations in the blue sky fabric....so that's where I started. And I quite like the Kaffe Fassett striped fabric at the horizon line but I'm still auditioning fabrics and shapes for the foreground.

With my walking foot I added some stitching lines to the sky for texture....and I may even add a few more....or a few tiny beads.  hmmmmmm

Monday, January 23, 2017

A Pew Story

If that title doesn't draw you in....I don't know what will.

A few days ago I shared this photo of a Santa ornament  made from church pew cushions from the Foreside Community Church.  That got me thinking about one of my favorite stories....a church pew story.

Years ago as part of a major renovation project at the Foreside Church the original 1811 pews were replaced with new ones made to look just like the old ones. The old pews were sold as a fundraiser and of course we bought one. Paul wanted to make a table to use as a desk so he carefully took the pew apart getting three beautiful wide boards from the back, the seat, and the kick board.
He worked diligently removing layers and layers of paint revealing the 100 year old pine. As he was working in a corner he uncovered a few letters....M A....then a few more...R  Y.....then a few more...A  N  N! Can you believe it!  There carved in the corner of the random pew he selected was my name...MARYANN! How cool is that!

Here's the table in Paul's study in our house in Madison....nice and tidy because we were getting the house ready to sell.

And not quite as tidy here it is in his office at Hancock Church still being put to good use. 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Happy Couple

I was out and about most of the day today making a one day trip to Portland. They've had more snow up there than we've had...and I stumbled across this happy couple. What a bright spot in the day!

Saturday, January 21, 2017


"One most of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say." Bryant McGill

It was a powerful experience to stand (and there was a lot of standing) and march with 125,000 people in Boston today sending clear messages to our new leaders. I hope they were listening.

This was my favorite sign and I didn't see it until the train ride home when I connected with Marcie and her mom. This block print is Marcie's artwork and her message was simple....listen. If you look closely at the horizon line you can see Mother Earth laying on her side.  Nice work Marcie! Let's hope they listen.

Friday, January 20, 2017

"Stand Up"...

...and step out.

I will be stepping outside of my comfort zone and marching in
the Boston Women's March tomorrow because I believe in
"human dignity, equal rights, and freedom from discrimination."

This wonderful poster was done by Jennifer Judd-McGee from. It can be found on her Swallowfield Etsy site.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

It Never Hurts to Ask

Anita and I spied a large beautiful birch branch in my neighbor's front yard on our walk this morning. I wondered if I would be doing them a favor by taking it off their hands....or maybe they dragged it home from another neighbor's yard. It never hurts to ask. 

Heather was happy to have me to take it off her hands.  It had fallen from a tree in their back yard and her kids dragged it to the front. She thought about keeping it...but was kind of glad someone else wanted it.

So now I have a very large...very cool branch to play with in the spring. And I made a connection with a neighbor. Win win!

And as I dragged the branch up my driveway I had a treat waiting for me.  A light layer of snow fell over night coating the driveway and the trees. The temperature was rising and the snow was melting from the trees plopping in big drops turning the driveway into a polka dotted masterpiece!  It kind of looks like granite.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Church Fair Crafts

I met Marian at the Foreside Community church, my husband's first church in Falmouth, Maine. She was one of the first to welcomed us and her whole family took us under their wing. She will always have a special place in my heart.

Just this morning Marian sent me this picture below...and it took me on a trip down memory lane. Foreside Church has a Christmas fair every year selling trees, baked goods, and hand made items.  I used to be part of a group that made crafts for the fair...surprise surprise.

This is Marian's collection of items I made over the years for various fairs.

I had forgotten all about these little nautical angels with shell wings and starfish halos.  I love the wild wooly hair.

This little Santa ornament was made from the old pew cushions covers.

I made lots of snow people.....in family groups and in miniature.  I still have some of the supplies....the scraps of wool for the scarves and pom poms and stretch knit for the hats. Marian has three children...so this was the perfect set for her.

And cornhusk dolls...oh my...that was a phase. The grouping below is actually at Margie's house that I set out this past Christmas. As you can see it's the same as Marian's up above. Margie's angels were having trouble standing so while I was there I soaked the skirts in warm water and dried them over a glass and now they stand good as new.

This was fun Marian....thanks!  Nothing like good old fashioned church fair crafts!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Map Doodle

I acquired a whole stack of topographical maps from the University of Southern Maine library a while back...they were free for the taking. Some are mounted on heavy card stock...some are regular map weight. I knew there would be creative ways to use them.

I used a part of one for this doodle I did while watching TV last night. This particular map was mostly green...but some have more blue water...some more white...some a nice mix. I think the map adds some interesting texture and they'll also make great backgrounds for collaging. I'll use this in some way in one of my art journals...but it was good thing just to doodle.

Monday, January 16, 2017



"We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope." Martin Luther King, Jr.

One of the views from the convention center this morning.

This morning Paul and I were lucky enough to attend the 47th Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Breakfast at the Boston Exhibition and Convention Center. As I listened to the powerful speeches and moving music I was brought to tears...and I couldn't help but have a little hope.