Blessed Beyond Measure

Happy New Year!

January's Freeze

2016 was a year of introspection.

It was a year of developing a keener concept of what makes me"ME". 

Standing Right next to Jane Goodall! A dream!

I have explored the concept of "self" for some time…searching, hoping, questioning.

In 2016 I decided I would add a few more flowers to our growing season.

Taking down the picket fence.

After all, I thought, flowers are easy.

And they are. 

Ok, so I have grown them since childhood.
The garden is my safe place. My artist's palette. My living journal.

Sao Miguel, Azores

So what happened?

In between the rows of plump tomatoes, stems of bright blossoms swayed in the breeze.

Each week from mid-July until late October, I gathered arms full of flowers.

And they blessed me…not just with their extraordinary beauty…but with whispers on my heart.

I feel silly actually…to think that for 40 years I have almost ignored the calling.

I have taken for granted what sat right before my nose.

To think that I almost missed the signs.

Mattapoisett Harbor

I almost became so buried in daily routines,

that I neglected to listen...

…to watch...

…to open my heart.

And then one day, I read an article about myself. And I stood back and admired this stranger….

...this person who was one with nature.

I almost envied her. That girl on the page with the blossoms in her hand.

And that's when the skies opened and a lifetime of questioning and wondering dissolved at my feet.

True PURPOSE blazed in front of me. 
A carpet made of blossoms in every hue, with varied petals and textures lay out before me. 
And it was then that I knew I would move forward with confidence and swiftness.
Blessed Beyond Measure.


Simmering Potpourri for Christmas

I LOVE making homemade gifts at Christmas. Little hearts filled with lavender…dried rose petals tucked in vintage hankies…but my absolute favorite homemade gift is simmering potpourri.

It's so easy! I dehydrate a big bag full of organic oranges. Then I combine 
them with cinnamon sticks, star anise and whole cloves.

I mix it all up in a generous piece of crispy cellophane and tie the top with pretty burlap ribbon or twine. I like to attach a pretty card printed on simple card stock with ingredients and directions. (I've included a warning to keep away from pets…they may be attracted to the aroma under the tree, and I'd hate any cute little ones to get sick!)

Find two versions of my tags here and here.

I like to order Star West Botanicals organic herbs/spices from Amazon. I have Prime, so they arrive super fast (Not an affiliate, just what I love to use!) In fact I'm about to order mine now!!

(If you cannot get the tag links to work, leave me a comment and I can email you JPEGS)

And Do Not forget to save a batch for yourself!!


These are a Few of My Favorite Things

 I promised gift ideas by the armful, and here they are!

I am adoring the options available at Shutterfly this holiday season! 
I have been able to set a preppy, rustic themed table that appeals to both men and women, young and old! (ok,and us middle-aged folk too ;)

The cutting boards and cheese boards are exquisite! Thick wood, smoothed around the edges…and personalized with words that have meaning to you or your family and friends!

The tartan wine bags are the perfect way to say thanks to your hostess. I adore the embroidered thread color choices…. I chose to stick with the holiday theme for my personalizations. 

Personalized wine glasses just scream YOU ARE LOVED to your guests. Choose a meaningful word or name…or perhaps a silly phrase. I thought "friend" was an ideal choice to allow my guests to feel welcomed into our home.

These flasks are so preppy chic! They are the PERFECT take away for your guests! Fill them with a little holiday toddy to be enjoyed by the fire once they arrive back home. Can you say man cave?

I think the garden stones are one of my favorite gifts this holiday season. The personalization choices vary from remembrances of a loved one to a welcoming garden message. 

Don't worry about summer being months away! The gardeners on your list are already planning their 2017 gardens, and will certainly find a mossy nook amidst their succulents to tuck the stones away safely for now!

Oh and the throw pillows….cushy, cozy, and personalized with your meaningful word or photo!! The holidays in our house are all about family and friends gathering for good food and laughter. These pillows are a fun hostess gift, or great for a new home.  They also look lovely on dining chairs or in a cozy reading corner.The possibilities are endless!

Whatever you need this holiday season, Shutterfly is there to make it a bit more personal with keepsake gifts to hand down for generations to come.

Right now Shutterfly is offering an amazing discounted promotion! Hurry over while the sale lasts!

I have been compensated for this post as a Shutterfly Influencer. 


Gift Ideas { Part I }

Well the pumpkin pie has been eaten, and I have started Decking the Halls, and making lists, (and checking them twice.) The cooler weather came blowing in just in time, the comforting aroma of
 wood fires filling the chilly afternoons. Thoughts of Christmas shopping and caroling, and cozy homes filled with family, good food, and laughter swirl through my head, 
and I cannot help but start to plan.


 This week I will be sharing a few of my favorite gift ideas. Something for everyone on your list!
 I am shopping for two teenagers this year. I'm not sure when that happened!


I am LOVING these monogrammed bags from Shutterfly. They are HUGE, have  nice long straps, are made from a heavyweight canvas, AND can be personalized. I love the inside zippered pocket for stashing a phone or a bit of cash.


These bags are so versatile... sleepovers...sports practice...a weekend away. They would be perfect for a day at the beach, or to hold your boots and ski pants for a day sledding or skiing. As a teacher, I would carry my school books and papers back and forth to school...it's a perfect size! I'm already thinking it will be our go-to bag for carrying and delivering Christmas gifts on Christmas Eve. (Don't be jealous Santa...ask Mrs. Claus for one!)

I love the versatility of the large canvas totes, but I also adore the chicness and variety of the monograms.
 (Many thread colors are available!)

So start to make your list...and don't forget to check back throughout the week!

I'll help you pick out goodies that will be cherished for years to come. 

Current Shutterfly promotion: use code CYBER25 to receive  an additional 25% off of the SALE prices.WOW! This is huge!

{I have received goods from Shutterfly for blogging purposes}



It has been an amazing fall.  
The colors and textures and variations fill the sky with a glow even on cloudy days.

It sort of snuck up on me. It always does. One day I am in the garden when the birds awaken, bare arms loving the warmth of the sun's first summer rays... 

...tending and coddling and encouraging...

...and the next minute I am looking out the window at a frost encrusted field...barely there light shimmering in between the crimson grasses, prisms of a season past echoing across the hillside.

But that's ok! It is life. It is purpose. It is allowing one's self to accept change and to move on gracefully.

It's about regarding what was with honor, and about believing in what will be.

 It's not always without a tinge of regret.

But instead of shedding a tear or word of complaint, 
I choose to use the moments...layer upon layer of LIFE...

 ...to mold and shape my future. How grateful I am to have this opportunity.

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