Happy 2014!

Happy 2014!



I have a real good feeling that 2014 is going to be a great year for everyone, including you! Although I am always optimistic, this year I am over-the-top optimistic and I’m welcoming the feeling with open arms because it feels good . Every year, I take time to reflect on the past year and think about what I want to focus on in the coming new year.

This year, I decided to focus on separating what really matters from the things that no longer serve me and hampers my creativity. My creative abilities and insight is a huge part of who I am and serves me in my everyday life. Recently, I discovered a collection of podcasts at Untitled Minimalism containing very meaningful discussions about living life to the fullest.  The timing couldn’t have been any more perfect for me. By the way, please don’t let the name  or subject matter deter you; the discussions go way beyond eliminating the excess in our lives. After listening to several of the podcasts, my take away has been a heightened clarity about how meaningless stuff interferes with your life’s true path.

Spending way too much time looking for something I know I have but can’t find because it got lost in an abyss of clutter in our two problem areas, the unfinished part of our basement and the garage doesn’t serve me. Both areas have turned into a chaotic nightmare that is both overwhelming and anxiety inducing. Realizing that when you have a home, even a small one like ours, it enables one to save stuff, too much stuff, for a “maybe one day” that might never happen. What’s the point? It’s my hope and mission to have in my home only what matters.  I intend to spend the year scrutinizing everything, deciding if it has purpose and whether it serves our family. If the answer is no, it got’s to go! Hey that rhymes:) Nothing will be off limits, including my creative supplies; trust me, that’s going to be very hard but I’m ready for the challenge!  I even plan to whittle down my wardrobe even though it is fairly small to begin with. I rather have a few pieces that I wear consistently than hold on to things that rarely see the light of day and may be of use to someone in need.

As always, I plan to take a creative approach to my first steps to a clutter controlled life. You see, I always fantasize about living in a one room cottage surrounded by nature.

dream cottage
courtesy of tinyhouselistings.com

with and outdoor area that looks like this

outdoor bliss

I will keep these retreats in mind as I scrutinize my belongings. Furniture aside, I will keep only the meaningful items that I would actually take to my fantasy dream cottage. I sure hope you will check back regularly to see how I am progressing. Yes, 2014 is going to be a good year!

What are your plans for the new year? Wishing you a very Happy and Blessed New Year!

Belated Holiday Greetings!

Belated Holiday Greetings!

Post holiday greetings! I hope that you had a blessed holiday and are looking forward to the New Year. Although I adore this time of year, the holidays always seems to get the better of me. Even though my children are older, 22 and 12, and Christmas this year was very simple, I still found myself turning into the energizer bunny running on E. However, the many hours of preparation and endless tasks are a small price to pay for the joy and love floating in the air.  And the beautiful lights and decorations everywhere make my heart sing!

Speaking of decorations, I did manage to almost finish my vintage ornament wreath at the 11th hour on Christmas Eve. It was my Christmas gift to myself.  And here it is:

vintage ornament wreath IMG_9912 600x362

I love it!  Although, I had 100+ ornaments, I still had to do another thrift store run halfway through. I had too many gold ones and not enough silver. However, as you might already know, you can’t go to a thrift store and expect to find just what you’re looking for. I did find another box of pretty teal blue ornaments though, and incorporated them into the wreath as well. As for the silver ones I needed more of, I decided to strip some of the gold ones I already had.

strip ornament IMG_9827

Most vintage ornaments are usually silver on the inside no matter what color they happen to be on the outside.
After a few seconds in water, the color film crinkles and peels right off. But in order to retain the silver on the inside you have to avoid getting water inside the ornament. However, if a little gets in by mistake that okay too; If you pour it out quickly it might result in a mercury glass look like this one.

mercury glass IMG_9884

Just know that it’s not an exact science and requires some experimentation. As for my wreath, I still have a few more spaces to fill. From afar the gaps are not too noticeable but close up they stand out like a sore thumb. When I take it down, I will fill them in at my leisure.

wreath close up IMG_9912 500 x 492

While working on it,  I had a lot of casualties; some of the ornaments rolled  right over the edge of my work surface and shattered into a gazillion pieces. I will definitely have to wrap it in bubble wrap and find a sturdy box to store it in because it is very fragile. I think if I make another one, perhaps, I can find some vintage looking shatter proof ornaments instead. I’m not sure if there is such a thing but the new glittery ornaments in stores today just don’t do it for me.

As for our Christmas tree, my selection turned into a teachable and reaffirming experience. My intent was to have a cute table top tree instead of using our pre lit one. I wanted to try something different.  The tree I bought home, however,  turned out to be too big for a table top and too small for the floor. So I stacked it up on a crate to give it a little more height and called it our Charlie Brown tree. LOL. The poor thing sat bear until two days before Christmas. Finally, I asked my sons to have at it. I added a few pine cones and ribbon trim and,voila,

pinecone IMG_9878

our too-big to-be-on-the-table and  too-small-to-be-on-the-floor Christmas tree that can’t be taken too seriously.

tree IMG_9912 481x500

The last couple of years, I’ve been learning the importance of going with the flow and allowing what will be to be. The strive for perfection is so overrated and I have decided to move on and choose a different path. And although that path may be filled with many unfamiliar twists and turns, I am embracing and appreciating the imperfect goodness and uncertainty along the way. Each step brings me closer to the authentic life I want to lead.

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I Found Gold!

I Found Gold!

I found gold, vintage gold that is. I was in Home Depot and something told me to stop in the Salvation Army store a few blocks away. I am so glad I listened  to that inner voice because I found all of these beauties sitting on the shelves waiting for me.


Wait, let me zoom into these colorful beauties.


ornament closeup_9633

When I spotted them I was in ornament heaven! In their original boxes and MADE IN AMERICA! Wow! I love how some are really showing their vintage age..




And look at these beautiful shades of blue. I love, I love.


Only one green and three red,. but don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining.


Now I have what I need to make a vintage ornament wreath. I decided to use a straw wreath like Virginia used over at   Live Love DIY. She filled in every nook and cranny so there’s no evidence of the wreath form underneath.

Live Love DIY ornament wreath colorful

I just have to purchase a wreath form. All out at the closest Michaels. I will have to try another location and, hopefully, I will be able to start working on a vintage ornament wreath of my very own.. Wish me luck!

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Let’s Hear It For the Leftovers!

Let’s Hear It For the Leftovers!

Happy Post Thanksgiving! I hope  your Thanksgiving was just what you wanted it to be. I definitely ate a little too much. But what I love more than the big day are the leftovers to be enjoyed the next day. Speaking of leftovers, I enjoy crafting leftovers too.

See those rubber remnants pieces in the background?  I just couldn’t throw them away after I finished cutting cut out the art stamps.

squared away IMG_8295

I had an inkling I could do something with the leftovers  and when I saw the holiday  Crate and Barrel catalog,  I was immediately inspired.  I love their aesthetic and I frequent their store on occasion, however, this time I was inspired to DIY instead of  BUY. I used scissors to cut and shape the pieces to mimic the images shown on this page.

stamps and CB layout 9617

Then, I used my good friend, the Dremel  Moto-Saw, to cut the plexiglass to the sizes I needed. Originally,  I purchased it to trim my art stamps; however,  I find myself using it for other things.  It is so handy when tackling a variety of crafting projects that require precision cutting.


So from some crafting leftovers, I  now have some fun holiday inspired stamps.

acorn and pinecone handmade stamps 9578

Some stamping is definitely in order. Can’t wait to get started. Let’s hear it for the crafting leftovers! Used any crafting leftovers lately?



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Wreath Obsessed Again!

Wreath Obsessed Again!

Every year as the holidays approach, I get obsessed with DIY creative wreath ideas. This year, I have been dreaming of making an ornament wreath. But before, I set out on this creative journey, I needed some inspiration. First, there is true vintage.

vintage ornament wreath 2 mommyiscoocoo
source: mommyiscoocoo.com

I remember some of  these ornaments from my childhood; so different from the ornaments today.


source: GeorgiaPeachezWreathBlog.blogspot.com

Georgia Peachez Wreaths is a blog devoted to vintage wreaths 24/7, 365 days a year.

ornament-wreath-2 bluevelvatevintage

The next two are more contemporary versions if vintage is not your thing.

ornament ball wreath 2 mattandbecky
source: Matt-and-Becky.blogspot

wreath live love diy small
source: Live Love DIY

Not into ornaments?  How about frames showcasing your favorite holiday memories?



or buttons maybe?

wreath-white-buttons good housekkeeping-1200-fb
source: Good Housekeeping

I started out wanting to make a vintage ornament wreath, but now, I’m not too sure. I love them all! What wreath are you hanging for the holidays?


My Personal Project Runway Experience

My Personal Project Runway Experience

Last weekend, I had the greatest experience. I  attended a weekend class, Styling for Photography at Fashion Institute of Technology (aka FIT). About 15 minutes into the class, I realized  then content wasn’t quite what I was expecting. As a disappointing feeling started to take over, I quickly reframed my thoughts. As long as there is a take away , a bit of useful information or I walk away inspired, then it will be worth my while. And guess what? The class turned out to be fantastic and I had so much fun!

My reason for taking the class was to learn the art of styling photographs. Although effortless for some,  I find the process daunting. This class was geared toward someone who aspires to be a professional fashion stylist, however,  I walked away with helpful information and direction. There were two teachers, a professional stylist and a professional photographer. The photographer, Maria, was extremely helpful and  steered me in the right direction, suggesting the photography and still life styling classes that are more in line with what I was looking for.  She must of been a comedian in another life because she was soooooo funny.

Our assignment was to come up with a concept and message using the color brown. There were two teams of 6. Each team had to come up with a still life design and two fashion outfits. Everyone collaborated on the still life.Our concept and message was urban nesting with nature. We discussed the look we wanted to portray, decided on the items we needed and the outdoor  location for the shoot.  The next day, we collaborated some more and came up with the final still life shot and the photographer took the photos. And boy are they beautiful!  It will be a while before I will get her shots, so I snapped a few quick ones.  Here’s the still life using some of  the items we brought in.

Still life IMG_9399 copy

The bird  that looks like it’s sitting atop a nest is actually a hat that we will also used in our fashion shoot.

Still life IMG_9403

After we finished with the still life, our team broke off into  two teams of three to create the fashion looks. We had a professional make up artist and model assigned to us for the shoot. Here are some of the fashion accessories we decided to use. I apologize for the horrible photo, Iphone and florescent lighting do not work well together.

fashion accessories IMG_9416 copy

Here’s the first look styled by the other half of my team.

fashion outfit 1 IMG_9428

It was so fun to see a professional model doing her thing up close and personal.

fashion outfit 1 IMG_9431

Natural and effortless.

fashion outfit 1 IMG_9433


And here’s the second outfit I helped style.

fashion outfit 2 IMG_9438


Never in a million years would I think of putting all these elements together.

fashion outfit 2 IMG_9439


Love, love, love the skirt!

fashion outfit 2 IMG_9441

And that’s a crochet bikini top peaking underneath the faux leather jacket.

fashion outfit 2 IMG_9446

By the way, the paper trailing behind her was intentional.


fashion outfit 2 IMG_9447

As one of my teammates schooled me, “fashion doesn’t have to make sense”.

This is my favorite pose.

fashion outfit 2 IMG_9448

She was as sweet as she was beautiful.

fashion outfit 2IMG_9437

I plan to take the classes the photographer suggested, one of which concentrates on still life styling, and maybe, just maybe, I will be able pull this off all by myself.

Still life IMG_9403

This was one phenomenal experience! I felt like I was on me-cation/stay-cation. Laughing and learning are a great combo. I walked away elated and inspired.

Do you have natural styling ability or are you like me and struggle with it? Taken a me-cation lately?

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A Little of This, A Little of That

A Little of This, A Little of That


I realize it’s Halloween, however,  I want to share three unrelated remnants of my everyday life that have nothing to do with this costume and candy filled day.

First, I had the opportunity to meet Martha Stewart at American Made a couple of weeks ago.

Martha stewart book signing_2432

She was really nice, taking pictures with everyone during  her book signing. This competition and culminating event held at Grand Central Station in New York shines a spotlight on American made products in the categories of food, crafts, design, garden, style and technology. I had a great time sampling foods and viewing the products of many of the finalist and being in a space overflowing with creative ingenuity. I’m so glad I made a special trip into the city to attend.


Next, since I started my summer garden so late, I had too pick the last of my  tomatoes while they were still green.

Tomatoes IMG_9492

I put them on a sunny window sill and, slowly, they  ripened. Aren’t they pretty!

Tomatoes IMG_9488

I might be bias but these home grown tomatoes are so much better than store bought. I look forward to planting them again next year.


And, lastly,  do you live near a Trader Joe’s? If so, you have to try Inner Peas. Trader Joes inner-peas450 copy I hate to admit it but I’m addicted.When I open the bag,  I have to fight hard not to eat the whole thing. Although not very fattening or caloric per serving and rather nutritious, I can never rationalize eating a whole bag at once. They have the light, puffy, airy texture and taste similar to Dipsy Doodles, which, by the way, I loathe; but for some reason, I just  love Inner Peas! Whether you like Dipsy Doodles or not, you’re going to love Trader Joe’s, Inner Peas. Even if you don’t think it’s for you, please give it a  try it anyway. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

And there you have it, three great remnants of everyday life.

Happy Halloween!

Holiday Stamping

Holiday Stamping

I know it’s still October, but I thought I get a head start on some holiday embellishment ideas.  I received  holiday goodies in this tin last year,and although great for corralling my rubber stamps, it gave me some inspiration for holiday stamping using the traditional color pallet.


Holiday stamping IMG_9455

I started with a few gift tags,

Holiday stamping IMG_9474

and then a little play with patterns using stamps from Squared Away and Full Circle.

Holiday stamping_9473


I thought it would be fun to design some gift wrap  and tissue paper  for a personalized touch. Here are couple of samples.

Holiday stamping IMG_9464


I used Pine, Cherry Pink, Pistachio and Wedding Dress (white)  to create these patterns.

A little early?  Probably; however,  I know me.  If I don’t get a head start, it will never happen. Still no signs of any Fall Decorating:)  How about you, Have you started thinking about the holidays?


Find A Way!

Find A Way!

Diana Nyad is an inspiration! At 64 years of age, she accomplished was unable to do at 28. Thankfully, she didn’t give up. On her fifth try, she swam 110 miles from Cuba to Florida; 55 hours straight, braving salt water, sharks and jellyfish. Amazing! Inspiring! Incredible! I am in awe of her approach to perseverance in the face of adversity. Her strength and mental fortitude will only inspire others to face adversity head on, triumph over tragedy and never give up. Her mantra for battling tough times is “find a way”.

If that isn’t enough, as I write this, Diana Nyad is swimming 48 hours, non-stop to raise money for AmeriCares for the victims of Hurricane Sandy. WOW! As I continue to learn the art of swimming and take on my next challenge, I will think of her. Her indomitable spirit is beyond words, so I will end with a question – Who inspires you? Who or what will you think about when put to the challenge to find a way?

Remember to Play!

Remember to Play!

5 book steps to discovering your personal muse

It is so easy to get entangled in our everyday lives, overwhelmed  by our day to day responsibilities and consumed by the never ending “to do” list.  And if you’re a mom, your job is 24/7, period. So why not make yourself a priority, schedule a few minutes and give yourself permission to play. And by that I mean spending time doing whatever allows you to experience joy. It might mean coffee with a friend that makes you laugh, participating in an activity that keeps us in the present moment or just doing something that deviates from our normal routine. Or, it can be as simple as curling up with a favorite book or magazine and closing the door to everything else. And guess what? The world is not going to stop revolving and the “to do” list will still be waiting for you upon your return;however, it will  be easier to tackle because you took time to care of yourself. It’s not selfish, it’s selfless because now you offer the world a better you.

So my question to you is, how do you play? What is your idea of fun time? For me, in addition to the things I mentioned above, it’s getting into a zone, where I find myself creating and meditating simultaneously. Creativity isn’t limited to producing magnificent works of art – painting an impressive masterpiece, sculpting exquisite pottery or writing a best selling novel; creativity is discovering yourself from the inside out, honing your talents and gifts and using that specialness to make your personal mark on world! How you do that is a manifestation of your uniqueness. So, If you think you’re not creative, please, please, please kick that notion to the curb. I’ve written about this when I first started this blog, here and touched on it again, more recently, here. It’s part of my calling and it’s important that I write about it and put it out there. We’re all creative, just not in the same way; that’s what makes each and every one of us unique. and special beings.

But just in case you have yet to find your creative genre, no problem! You are only 5 book steps away from discovering you personal muse!

Step 1. 344 Questions: The Creative Person’s Do-It-Yourself Guide to Insight, Survival, and Artistic Fulfillment (Voices That Matter) by Stefan G. Bucher, a book full of questions designed to document who you are, where you are and where you want to go.

344 Questions_

Step 2. How to Be an Explorer of the World: Portable Life Museum by Keri Smith prompts you to be observant about your often overlooked surroundings.It provides a fun way to appreciating the tiny details in everyday life.

How To Be An Explorer Of The World_

Step 3. Finish This Book, also by Keri Smith, offers inspiring activities using found objects and writing prompts is perfect for all ages and a great summer activity for children.

Finsish This Book

Step 4. 365: A Daily Creativity Journal: Make Something Every Day and Change Your Life! by Noah Scalin provides 365 simple project ideas; however, they are just that, suggestions. He encourages the reader to incorporate their own interests and passions and/or take a theme approach to ones daily projects.

365 A Daily Creative Journal

Step 5. Living Out Loud by Keri Washington is filed with activities, games, projects and more to begin your journey to creativity and personal discovery.

Living Out Loud

Perhaps, you will find one, or all, of these books helpful in connecting with the creativity that resides within you. Please let me know your thoughts and, remember, don’t forget to play!