Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Words on Wednesday...grief and memories

I am a firm believer that often what we need comes to us. The holidays can be particularly challenging especially if you have lost loved ones.  Last year, I had come across a piece of art by Jennifer Orkin Lewis. Through the magic of google, I saw that she did the cover art on Passed and Present...Keeping the Memories of Loved Ones Alive by Allison Gilbert. Allison writes about the grieving process. She also wrote Always Too Soon: Voices of Support Who Have Lost Both Parents. I had not even considered a book of this sort, but finding them was a gift to ease the sadness of the holidays. I cannot recommend these books highly enough.

Onz also suggested that we make a Pinterest page where we could pin memories. Often if one of us is feeling lonely or nostalgic, we will pin something or look at the page. Just thinking about it evokes the memories of fun times we shared together. 

Emptying the family home has also been a challenge, despite the lack of clutter.  No overwhelming distraction of the enormity of the situation, it is right to the heart of the matter.  My dad lost his parents before he was 30; my mom's father died when she was 11, and her mother, Annie, died when mom was 39.  I have only seen one picture of Annie, taken when she was 66. This was her passport picture, her one and only visit to America. There are no other pictures of my grandparents, or any pictures of my parents until their wedding.The void that I have in my own personal history has made it even more important to try to carefully curate my parents' belongs, so that my kids have a memory and link to the wonderful grandparents that they had. 

As we do this difficult task, I have thought back to some of what Allison wrote about in her book, as well as the kind words of family and friends. My sister, family, and close friends have shared so much love and support. Being able to talk about my parents and the memories of growing up, especially with Nish, has been the source of so much comfort. As we go through my parent's belongings, we think of the significance of all the items, and the good times we associate with them. Together we can keep their memory alive, beyond the mementos. As we move forward, and emulate all of their wonderful qualities, I believe they are still with us and bringing goodness to the world. 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

T stands for Tchotchkes

My friend CJ encouraged me to start blogging, and I have really enjoyed it. It is another creative outlet and provides a connection to so many creative people to learn from. As I have added blogs that I am following, I have also been inspired. I was oohing and aahing over Susan Branch's Easter decorations, and decided to add a bit to mine.
Easter decorations.
Although Easter is over, looking at the display makes me happy, so I will leave it up a little longer.
Taste the Magic of Every Moment of Every day.
Always on display are a picture of my kids when they were little. I bought the frame when I was in Belfast.  I thought it was perfect caption for the photo of little ones devouring a huge slice of watermelon. Nish bought the demitasse cup  for Fi when we went to An American in Paris.  What a night! Out to dinner and followed up by sipping champagne at the show. The little ceramic art studio was a gift from Onz. It was made by Beth S Macre, who I found on instagram. Onz said it way passed the hint stage because I kept mentioning it, but it was still an awesome surprise when it came!
Some bunny loves you!
I just picked up the bunny and ceramic egg. The egg lights up and gives a nice reflection on the wall. The silver hand holds 5 hearts, symbolizing the 5 people in my family.  I always say that I hold these hearts in my hands, so be kind, be gentle.  I like to think most days, it works.
W.B. Yeats
my favorite Irish poet
And for my kids, I say dream got this, and I am always in your corner.  And for you on Bluebeard and Elizabeth, dream big, taste the magic. Happy T day!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Mailbox Monday

Some outgoing mail for envelope exchanges

Happy Birthdays and Spring

Love is...receiving mail!
Card received from Jean and some more outgoing mail
And some postcards for the MMSA Quilt postcard exchange..
Watercolor quilts

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Happy Earth Day

Fi and I enjoyed some outdoor yoga at our local golf club!
A five Mile Walk, and a view of Boston on one side, Revere Beach on the other was how we celebrated Earth Day.
View of Boston

Hope you enjoyed the great outdoors too!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Words on Wednesday..

I love books that make you think, especially about complicated issues. We are All Completely Beside Ourselves A Novel by Karen Joy Fowler was based on a scientific experiment from the 1930's. It was not a book I would normally read, but Onz gave it high marks for being unexpected and thought provoking.
                                Thoughtful Primate                        

There is so much to think about in this book, from human/animal interaction, family relationships and scientific testing. I read this book years ago, several years after seeing an art installation  at the DeCordova Museum. The museum had lifesize 3d fabric monkeys hanging on vines. The exhibition was about animal testing and included a photographs of the monkeys. Their faces looked so human like and expressive. From this room, you entered another room, where there were photographs of the ravaged faces and bodies of AIDS vicitms.  it left me wondering about the costs and benefits of animal testing. I still don't know the answer. 


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

T stands for Treats and Time

Patriots Day is a holiday here...a funny sort of holiday, because some people have off and others don't. Fortunately for me, Fi had off, so that meant some quality time together. I am a firm believer if there is an opportunity for fun together, you need to go for it and make it special in some small way.

We started our day with a trip to Swiss Bakers, whose motto is "our food makes you feel good". No false advertising there, they are right.
swiss bakers, store front

ham and cheese croissant
We were fortunate enough to find Swiss Bakers through a groupon deal a few years ago, and it was a find. It's not a big place, but it has a variety of savory and sweet croissants, freshly baked breads, and rolls.  So that we would make the most of our visit, we grabbed a raspberry almond croissant for that evening. From there it was time to head to the beach.
My happy place.
A little windy, so we had the whole beach to ourselves...after our visit, we admired the flowers at some local garden centers.

Mahoney's Garden Center
It was still early, so I felt inspired to go home and do some gardening of my own. Fi made western scrambled eggs for us. It's always nice to have someone else do the cooking and it was scrumptious. Now for my own garden..

Spring flowers
I love nature and springtime especially when everything is coming back to life. In celebration of earth day coming up, some of my favorite mugs....
Mug from Kew Gardens
Gifts from Onz after our visit there

John Muir Quote
another present from Onz
When the city feels like it's closing in
Wishing you all a happy week, and a chance to get out to enjoy this beautiful world of ours.

Monday, April 17, 2017

What's in your mailbox?

Tell me why I don't like Mondays....I love them, especially if there is a mail delivery! At 74 degrees, it was a beach day and a mail day! What's not to love!
Life's just a beach and
I've got mail!
I received the following hand constructed envelope from Janet.
From Janet
That is my blue bird of happiness sitting on top of it, and it's arrival certainly made me happy. I am going to try to figure out how she did it, and return a similar version to her. It's really bright and fun. It's a collage of all different images which she has affixed with some sort of super glue. Inside is a sticker, A good rule of thumb...Start slow and taper off... so funny, I've already started slow, so the tapering off may be just around the corner. It looks like a Susan Branch design; I love her whimsical style,, so I am pretty certain I recognize it.  The next envelope was from Cathy.
Pretty in Pink
I love the lettering. The white on the pink really pops, and the Oscar delaRenta stamp is a perfect match to the envelope. She took an on line class Flowers, Foliates and Flourished Envelopes. Just looking at the envelope makes me think that she learned a lot. The next one was from Jannie
Zentangle Flowers
Jannie used the fun purple orange combination with a variety of type sizes and styles.  The colors really pulled out the purple and orange in the stamp.
And also the postcards from Mail Me Some Art.

The theme was was fun to receive such a variety. Spring was definitely in the mail. Now I am off to get my envelopes done? Are you on my list?

Friday, April 14, 2017

Eggs-cellent Easter

Easter Baskets filled with chocolate or at the Grand Floridian at Disney World, it is Easter egg hunts and decorated Easter Eggs. While Fi and I were waiting for our afternoon tea, we enjoyed the Easter eggs completely made out of chocolate.


Cinderella's sugar spun shoe
The lobby smelled divine. The scent of chocolate permeated the air. All of the eggs were handmade and completely edible. While Fi and I were enjoying this, Onz and David were hard at work in Ireland, making sugar cookies.
Easter Sugar Cookies

So festive
I love the bunnies and the soft colors on the eggs, so pretty! She has promised me a lesson! I can't wait. Maybe she will serve me up some of her scrumptious cinnamon breakfast rolls.
Yum! Lovely with a latte!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Topiaries on Thursday

Interspersed between the 30 million blooms at Epcot were absolutely incredible topiaries. These are among my favorites. What's not to sing about when you are at Disney?

The Three Caballeros
I loved the colors in this one. The characters look so happy. Yay for Springtime!

Happy Easter!
With the Beauty and the Beast  movie coming out, there was a definite homage to the characters. I love that Cogsworth is dancing!
Lumiere and Cogsworth
Let's dance, shall we...
Beauty and the Beast

It wasn't all romance though...
Dragon in the Water...

Even the tongue was made of flowers.

Those were just a small sampling of the Topiaries scattered throughout Epcot. Incredible doesn't begin to describe it. If you are ever thinking of going to Disney, the Annual Flower Show elevates the experience to a higher level. Disneyworld is celebrating their 50 year Anniversary in 5 years. There is construction going on throughout the entire's on my bucket list! In the meantime, I am setting my sights on constructing a mini topiary. Youtube here I come...I'll keep you posted on progress.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Words on Wednesday...according to Belle

On our last day at Disney, Fi and I took a stroll around Disney Springs. My favorite store to browse in was the D Living Store, an homage to Beauty and the Beast.  The result of the collaboration between the marketing, creative, and merchandising staff is enchanting. It is as if a stage has been set for us to step into Belle's shoes. One of the staff members crafted this paper rose with the french lyrics of Beauty and the Beast song.
paper rose
Here's a glimpse into Belle's bedroom. Doesn't it exude a feeling of french elegance? Every detail is just perfect.
A cup of tea, and a book before bedtime

Before leaving the store , we had to check out the library. The trompe l'oeil was fabulous, with lots of little Disney references hidden among the stacks.
Plenty of reading materials here.
I loved the library ladder and the Cogsworth clock. Even shopping at Disney is a feast for the eyes. There is absolutely no doubt that details matter.

On our way back to the bus, we wandered in to this clothing store.
Just the right dress for Belle.
I love this dress with the crinoline slip. So cute! I saw quite a few guests in the park wearing looked great on everyone. All along the bottom of the dress are line drawings of books and the characters. I didn't spot anyone carrying the Chip pocketbook, but wouldn't that complete the outfit?

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

T Stands for...travelling tea party for two

Spring is here, and it's in full bloom at the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival. I love spring, when the flowers are starting to emerge from the ground. My dad was a landscaper, so I grew up around gardens and flowers. We would joke that we could smell the pansies coming in on the trucks and we would be the first gardeners there.  I was excited with the advent of spring, but even more so when my daughters surprised me with a mother's day/birthday gift to Disney World. What an amazing gift!
Panorama at Epcot
Epcot was brimming with color, topiaries, flowers, and charming in every direction.
Just a touch of color
A butterfly garden...

And of course there was Tea...

Time for a Cuppa

You would think this was as good as it gets. But no, the piece de resistance had to be afternoon tea at  Garden View Tea Room at the Grand Floridian.
No wonder they say Grand!
I have been lucky enough to enjoy tea parties with the girls and their dolls growing up, an afternoon tea with CJ at the BPL, tea at Paul's with Nish, and mini teas and lovely lattes with Onz and Fi in London. I delight in the elegance and presentation, not to mention the wonderful food and company!
A Cozy Tea and Sandwiches
Absolutely good enough to eat!
The piano music was playing in the lobby as we enjoyed our tea. People were milling about admiring the Easter eggs wholly constructed of chocolate, and glimpsing the wedding party heading up the grand staircase. The ambience was nothing short of spectacular.
Cinderella's carriage
Although we didn't ride in Cinderella's carriage, we did take the boat back to The Magic Kingdom.
View of Cinderella's Castle and the Magic Kingdom
The plane has landed and we are back home, but I don't think my feet have touched the ground yet.  It was a wonderful present and I am grateful to Onz and Fi for giving this to me, but especially Onz, since she didn't get to share in the fun of it with us. To me that is especially generous...but the next time, she is in on the Garden Show, too wonderful to miss!  If you're interested, check back on Thursday for the pictures of the amazing topiaries.  And don't forget to check out Bluebeard and Elizabeth's blog to see the rest of T stands for Tuesday.