A recent visit to on my many wonderful local thrifts shops inspired my spring table decor.
A new donation of linens had arrived. The vintage handwork, crotched doilies, embroidered hankies and napkins make my heart swoon. There were a majority of white with yellow pieces. I purchased quite a few. I added them to previous finds and my own Mother's handwork.
I also found this colorful napkin that reminded me of this great Art Deco bowl that a friend gave me over 20 years ago.
I took a walk to Smith College. It is beautiful in every season. On the way I saw what looked like to me a fairy town. And a dog enjoying some fresh air.
Here are some pictures on campus.
Then I walked downtown to the Roost and had a delicious French Apple Tart.
Then got some gimp for $1.00 at the Hospice Thrift Shop next door.
I love spring! I am bursting with energy and creative ideas.
That's how it is with spring & me. I have made a lot of moves in the spring both physically. emotionally and spiritually. A friend pointed out that this was because I was born in the spring. It's like being born, a fresh start. I like that idea.
My mother was born in the spring. As was her first daughter, Kathleen, who was only here for a blink of an eye. My sister & I, too, born in April. Tomorrow, April 5th is my great niece's 1st birthday. I made this poster for her.
I've been going through my mother's things again. This time much more slowly.
Not the frantic, "What am I going to do with this? Where am I going to put this?"
But, holding each piece, imaging the story behind it.
My mom was an avid embroiderer. If that is a word. Well, I discovered a borough scarf I had never seen. I have no idea how long ago she had made it.
When I saw it my heart just stopped.
It has a brightly colored lotus flower with a dragonfly hovering over it. I have been enamored with dragonflies for years. I also believe that everything is a symbol or metaphor for whatever answers you are looking for on your path. I had been trying to capture a photograph of a dragonfly on a lotus flower for years. To me this would symbolize reaching enlightenment. The dragonfly symbolizes transformation, among several other wonderful things. The lotus represents enlightenment. In the summer of 2012 I finally got my wish.
In going through my mom's things and I've come to realize we are more alike than I ever feared being. And it's really o.k.
Here is my summer tablescape. It is dedicated to my mother. She was the main inspiration behind it. Most of these treasures are hers. Things that she held onto for decades; things that she cherished.
The other source of inspiration was Richard Richardson creator/ owner of Three Sisters Sanctuary in Goshen, MA. http://www.threesisterssanctuary.com/ This assemblage is in no way in comparison to the magical world he has created using colorful bits and pieces. But thinking of him encouraged me to add more and then add some more.
I have been going through the boxes I moved from my Mom's place. Every object would open a flood gate of memories. These are my Mom's cut glass serving dishes. We usually only saw these on holidays. Certain ones were for certain foods only, olives, carrot & celery sticks, nuts, candy.
A bowl of crocheted pansies, possibly saves for a future doily.
Troll Cake. Here is her cake dish with colorful spools of thread surrounded by a blue embroidery hoop and topped with a two headed troll.
I remember the Christmas that we four kids all got trolls. Mine had chartreuse hair. This one was my brother Marty's.
When we visited our cousins later in the afternoon they had gotten trolls too. And a troll village that folded out of a suitcase and had trees and rocks and things to set up. I loved trolls.
Mom was a devout Catholic. I don't know the history of this beautiful little picture of the Virgin Mary. It is the only thing like it. She has various large framed religious saints and figures, statues, medals and quite an interesting collection of rosary beads.
She used to say how she would pray for us kids to Saint Jude, the patron saint of lost causes. Yeah, I guess sometimes that was us.
I coveted these dominoes. I loved the colors; fushia, orange, purple, peacock blue, olive green. I loved the way they felt smooth and cool in my hands. And I loved the sound they made when they clicked together.
This deck of cards was wrapped in cellophane with the sticker "Walgreen's 3/1.00". Our family played cards winter and summer. Our friends and extended family loved card playing too. We played all kinds of games and loved learning new ones. Growing up favorites were canasta and bid whist.
I found this fabric at Jo-Ann Fabrics. It spoke to me. I love how this deck of cards and all these groovy things go so well with it.
Embroidery thread. Mom did a tremendous amount of needlework. She knitted baby items and numerous afghans,
crocheted multitudes of doilies. But she reined supreme when it came to embroidery. She embroidered on everything; hankies, pillowcases, tablecloths, bureau scarves and at least eight full size quilts.
Pop napkins and Lucite napkin rings. A few years ago, when I first bought this fabric a friend brought a gift of these wonderful '70's mod/pop napkins that were one of her family treasures. I relayed this story to another friend who gave me these glorious Lucite napkin holders in purple, orange, green and clear.
That's the story of Summer Funtime Tablescape.
I've been iearning some new skills in Photoshop. It is getting a bit easier to learn. When I first started two years ago it was like learning a whole new language. And I am terrible at that. I have found Youtube videos to be most helpful. Now my words are italicsized for no reason and I can't change it. Anyway when I find a tutorial that I like, I have that on one screen and my project in Photoshop in another screen and hit the pause button after each step in the video then proceed with my project. It is still partially torture for me to learn some of these skills but I am making better progress learning how to use the tools.
This picture puts three photos together in one, irises from my garden, my cat and a butterfly that was in the woods. I had to learn to cut them out and paste them in the same picture adding the turquoise background. Then using filters to leave only the outline edges and coloring the colors back in using my mouse.
And there are endless choices of brush sizes, styles, colors. Once I got the hang of it, it was much more fun that frustrating. It seems there is this point of frustration at which point I just want to quit. But, I realized a short time ago if I just stay with it then very soon after everything falls into place. and that happens all the time. It's like the universe just wants to see what you're made of. When you show it your endurance it seems to open it's gate to all possibilities.
I have been absent from my website and the fun parts of my life for the past year. In June of 2013 I was so looking forward to having the summer off from work. One week into my vacation my mother fell and fractured her hip. Physically she healed extremely well and quickly.
During her stay in rehab it became painfully obvious that her dementia had gotten much worse. Even though I knew it would be best for her it was incredibly difficult to admit her there permanently.
Then began my laundry list of health difficulties that increased in number and intensity with the coming months. This left me lethargic and void of any creativity.
In December, with the help of a friend and some alternative health care I was on the mend.
Then in January we got a visit from my sister and her daughter with her newborn. The love and care that my niece showed her daughter inspired me. In the time it took me to smoke a cigarette I wrote the words that would be part of an art piece for my great niece.
Years ago an artist I knew created a wonderful piece for her friend's newborn. It had colorful rays shooting out from the center. It had the most beautiful text. I only remember
how it began, " Welcome to the world ( the child's name) and then just heartfelt loving sentiments. It took me until the end of May before it was finished. What an ecstatic feeling it was to finish it.
My health stuff is under control and I am energetic and bursting with ideas. And I also quit smoking.
Here is the art piece I made for my great niece Amy.
Of course it was much more beautiful in my head. After I gathered all the materials and figured out logistically how to piece it together
I needed to learn new skills in Photoshop and about framing.
I kept finding excuses to finish it until I realized that I was procrastinating because the finished image in my head was perfect.
And I wanted it to be perfect. What if it didn't come out looking like what I had envisioned?
Well, enough of that! It wasn't doing anyone any good in my head. It was time to finish it before the child was old enough to read it herself. I had more stuff to make and I couldn't start it until I finished this.
Here is the text: Welcome to the WORLD AMY ELIZABETH SPEAR! You come from LOVE & LIGHT & the DREAMS of Michelle & BOB. And may your life continue to be filled with LOVE & LIGHT & DREAMS.
May your journey be filled with ADVENTURE and the COURAGE to EXPLORE and EXPERIENCE all that greets you. KNOW that the Universe supports you in all you do.
On DECEMBER 11, 2013the STARS & the PLANETS SMILED upon you and GRACED you with the KNOWLEDGE that you hold the POWER to be TRUE to yourself ~ a Radiant BEAM of LIGHT.
I love to take photos of animals in their natural habitat. I work part time at the Williston Northampton School which happens to have a beautiful campus. There are plenty of flowering trees and a small pond that now has a family of geese with 4 small goslings . A great blue heron is a frequent visitor.
I came to work early on a recent Saturday morning hoping to photograph the goose family. When I parked my car the heron was standing just across the pond. My heart flutters every time I see one of these majestic birds.
I have taken over 1000 pictures of these birds over the years. But, none is ever just right. Well, this one isn't perfect either. Yet the best so far.
After the heron flew away I was able to catch the goose family, too.
At this time of year I am starved for signs of spring.
Fortunately, I live within close proximity to Smith and Mt. Holyoke Colleges,
both of which host spring bulb shows at their greenhouses. This week I spent
Monday afternoon at the Mt. Holyoke Spring Bulb Show and Tuesday afternoon was
spent at the Smith College Bulb Show. Today I concentrated on daffodil
There was a beautiful single daffodil
with creamy white petals, a yellow center that had a hint of
The rim of its trumpet had a vibrant orange ruffle. I cut away
the background and for one photo, left it on its own. Then I added a pastel blue
background to one and a pastel green to
On another photograph I played around with several filters to
give the effect of a colored pencil drawing on a group of daffodils. The ridges
of cream, yellow and peach really pop
On the third photograph I cropped the three deep yellow daffodils
tight to display their best features.
All new daffodil images are available on numerous products including mugs and t shirts here: http://www.cafepress.com/hope_lovejoy/5665254
Nature, art, spiritual journey, music, family, friends, dragonflies, herons, reading, gardening, change, hippy, questioning, meditation, metaphysics are all integral parts of who I am.