Friday, May 30, 2008

Ways To Live...

I'm down today. Probably a combination of different things going on and a little too much cookie dough last night when I'm supposed to be on a diet (those darn children making cookies in my house!) My dd is supposed to be gone most of the summer volunteer staffing at the christian campgrounds. But I knew she would be home next week before she runs off for the summer. Now she is not. She is able to fill in for another person so she will be gone then too. I think I'll miss her more than I know. My 8 yr old will keep me hoppin' I'm sure.

DH called me from work today. He witnessed an accident. The lady was thrown from the car and died instantly. There was nothing he could do to help her. Her 6 yr old dd was in the backseat. Hurt but in good condition. I think after he called I got a bit depressed. I feel so bad for the family I don't even know. I feel for my sensitive loving husband who just wanted to be able to help but couldn't. I think we (meaning me) can get so wrapped up in the daily stuff going on and how we feel/don't feel and get a case of the woe-is me syndrome. But it could all be gone in an instant.

This whole day makes me think I need to be living my life more consciously. More deliberate. It's the only one I have and only God has any knowledge of when it will end.

I found this article on Dumb Little Man by Leo Babauta of Zen Habits. I thought it might be a start to being more conscious of the little time we have on this earth. It's entitled '39 Ways to Live and Not Merely Exist'.
  1. Love. Perhaps the most important. Fall in love, if you aren't already. If you have, fall in love with your partner all over again. Abandon caution and let your heart be broken. Or love family members, friends, anyone -- it doesn't have to be romantic love. Love all of humanity, one person at a time.
  2. Get outside. Don't let yourself be shut indoors. Go out when it's raining. Walk on the beach. Hike through the woods. Swim in a freezing lake. Bask in the sun. Play sports, or walk barefoot through grass. Pay close attention to nature.
  3. Savor food. Don't just eat your food, but really enjoy it. Feel the texture, the bursts of flavors. Savor every bite. If you limit your intake of sweets, it will make the small treats you give yourself (berries or dark chocolate are my favorites) even more enjoyable. And when you do have them, really, really savor them. Slowly.
  4. Create a morning ritual. Wake early and greet the day. Watch the sun rise. Out loud, tell yourself that you will not waste this day, which is a gift. You will be compassionate to your fellow human beings, and live every moment to its fullest. Stretch or meditate or exercise as part of your ritual. Enjoy some coffee.
  5. Take chances. We often live our lives too cautiously, worried about what might go wrong. Be bold, risk it all. Quit your job and go to business for yourself (plan it out first!), or go up to that girl you've liked for a long time and ask her out. What do you have to lose?
  6. Follow excitement. Try to find the things in life that excite you, and then go after them. Make life one exciting adventure after another (with perhaps some quiet times in between).
  7. Find your passion. Similar to the above tip, this one asks you to find your calling. Make your living by doing the thing you love to do. First, think about what you really love to do. There may be many things. Find out how you can make a living doing it. It may be difficult, but you only live once.
  8. Get out of your cubicle. Do you sit all day in front of computer, shuffling papers and taking phone calls and chatting on the Internet? Don't waste your days like this. Break free from the cubicle environment, and do your work on a laptop, in a coffee shop, or on a boat, or in a log cabin. This may require a change of jobs, or becoming a freelancer. It's worth it.
  9. Turn off the TV. How many hours will we waste away in front of the boob tube? How many hours do we have to live? Do the math, then unplug the TV. Only plug it back in when you have a DVD of a movie you love. Otherwise, keep it off and find other stuff to do. Don't know what to do? Read further.
  10. Pull away from Internet. You're reading something on the Internet right now. And, with the exception of this article, it is just more wasting away of your precious time. You cannot get these minutes back. Unplug the Internet, then get out of your office or house. Right now! And go and do something.
  11. Travel. Sure, you want to travel some day. When you have vacation time, or when you're older. Well, what are you waiting for? Find a way to take a trip, if not this month, then sometime soon. You may need to sell your car or stop your cable bill and stop eating out to do it, but make it happen. You are too young to not see the world. If need be, find a way to make a living by freelancing, then work while you travel. Only work an hour or two a day. Don't check email but once a week. Then use the rest of the time to see the world.
  12. Rediscover what's important. Take an hour and make a list of everything that's important to you. Add to it everything that you want to do in life. Now cut that list down to 4-5 things. Just the most important things in your life. This is your core list. This is what matters. Focus your life on these things. Make time for them.
  13. Eliminate everything else. What's going on in your life that's not on that short list? All that stuff is wasting your time, pulling your attention from what's important. As much as possible, simplify your life by eliminating the stuff that's not on your short list, or minimizing it.
  14. Exercise. Get off the couch and go for a walk. Eventually try running. Or do some push ups and crunches. Or swim or bike or row. Or go for a hike. Whatever you do, get active, and you'll love it. And life will be more alive.
  15. Be positive. Learn to recognize the negative thoughts you have. These are the self-doubts, the criticisms of others, the complaints, the reasons you can't do something. Then stop yourself when you have these thoughts, and replace them with positive thoughts. Solutions. You can do this!
  16. Open your heart. Is your heart a closed bundle of scar tissue? Learn to open it, have it ready to receive love, to give love unconditionally. If you have a problem with this, talk to someone about it. And practice makes perfect.
  17. Kiss in the rain. Seize the moment and be romantic. Raining outside? Grab your lover and give her a passionate kiss. Driving home? Stop the car and pick some wildflowers. Send her a love note. Dress sexy for him.
  18. Face your fears. What are you most afraid of? What is holding you back? Whatever it is, recognize it, and face it. Do what you are most afraid of. Afraid of heights? Go to the tallest building, and look down over the edge. Only by facing our fears can we be free of them.
  19. When you suffer, suffer. Life isn't all about fun and games. Suffering is an inevitable part of life. We lose our jobs. We lose our lovers. We lose our pets. We get physically injured or sick. A loved one becomes sick. A parent dies. Learn to feel the pain intensely, and really grieve. This is a part of life -- really feel the pain. And when you're done, move on, and find joy.
  20. Slow down. Life moves along at such a rapid pace these days. It's not healthy, and it's not conducive to living. Practice doing everything slowly -- everything, from eating to walking to driving to working to reading. Enjoy what you do. Learn to move at a snail's pace.
  21. Touch humanity. Get out of your house and manicured neighborhoods, and find those who live in worse conditions. Meet them, talk to them, understand them. Live among them. Be one of them. Give up your materialistic lifestyle.
  22. Volunteer. Help at homeless soup kitchens. Learn compassion, and learn to help ease the suffering of others. Help the sick, those with disabilities, those who are dying.
  23. Play with children. Children, more than anyone else, know how to live. They experience everything in the moment, fully. When they get hurt, they really cry. When they play, they really have fun. Learn from them, instead of thinking you know so much more than them. Play with them, and learn to be joyful like them.
  24. Talk to old people. There is no one wiser, more experienced, more learned, than those who have lived through life. They can tell you amazing stories. Give you advice on making a marriage last or staying out of debt. Tell you about their regrets, so you can learn from them and avoid the same mistakes. They are the wisdom of our society -- take advantage of their existence while they're still around.
  25. Learn new skills. Constantly improve yourself instead of standing still -- not because you're so imperfect now, but because it is gratifying and satisfying. You should accept yourself as you are, and learn to love who you are, but still try to improve -- if only because the process of improvement is life itself.
  26. Find spirituality. For some, this means finding God or Jesus or Allah or Buddha. For others, this means becoming in tune with the spirits of our ancestors, or with nature. For still others, this just means an inner energy. Whatever spirituality means for you, rediscover it, and its power.
  27. Take mini-retirements. Don't leave the joy of retirement until you are too old to enjoy it. Do it now, while you're young. It makes working that much more worth it. Find ways to take a year off every few years. Save up, sell your home, your possessions, and travel. Live simply, but live, without having to work. Enjoy life, then go back to work and save up enough money to do it again in a couple of years.
  28. Do nothing. Despite the tip above that we should find excitement, there is value in doing nothing as well. Not doing nothing as in reading, or taking a nap, or watching TV, or meditating. Doing nothing as in sitting there, doing nothing. Just learning to be still, in silence, to hear our inner voice, to be in tune with life. Do this daily if possible.
  29. Stop playing video games. They might be fun, but they can take up way too much time. If you spend a lot of time playing online games, or computer solitaire, or Wii or Gameboy or whatever, consider going a week without it. Then find something else to do, outside.
  30. Watch sunsets, daily. One of the most beautiful times of day. Make it a daily ritual to find a good spot to watch the sunset, perhaps having a light dinner while you do so.
  31. Stop reading magazines. They're basically crap. And they waste your time and money. Cancel your subscriptions and walk past them at the news stands. If you have to read something, read a trashy novel or even better, read Dumb Little Man once a day and be done.
  32. Break out from ruts. Do you do things the same way every day? Change it up. Try something new. Take a different route to work. Start your day out differently. Approach work from a new angle. Look at things from new perspectives.
  33. Stop watching the news. It's depressing and useless. If you're a news junky, this may be difficult. I haven't watch TV news or read a newspaper regularly in about two years. It hasn't hurt me a bit. Anything important, my mom tells me about.
  34. Laugh till you cry. Laughing is one of the best ways to live. Tell jokes and laugh your head off. Watch an awesome comedy. Learn to laugh at anything. Roll on the ground laughing. You'll love it.
  35. Lose control. Not only control over yourself, but control over others. It's a bad habit to try to control others -- it will only lead to stress and unhappiness for yourself and those you try to control. Let others live, and live for yourself. And lose control of yourself now and then too.
  36. Cry. Men, especially, tend to hold in our tears, but crying is an amazing release. Cry at sad movies. Cry at a funeral. Cry when you are hurt, or when somebody you love is hurt. It releases these emotions and allows us to cleanse ourselves.
  37. Make an awesome dessert. I like to make warm, soft chocolate cake. But even berries dipped in chocolate, or crepes with ice cream and fruit, or fresh apple pie, or homemade chocolate chip cookies or brownies, are great. This isn't an every day thing, but an occasional treat thing. But it's wonderful.
  38. Try something new, every week. Ask yourself: "What new thing shall I try this week?" Then be sure to do it. You don't have to learn a new language in one week, but seek new experiences. Give it a try. You might decide you want to keep it in your life.
  39. Be in the moment. Instead of thinking about things you need to do, or things that have happened to you, or worrying or planning or regretting, think about what you are doing, right now. What is around you? What smells and sounds and sights and feelings are you experiencing? Learn to do this as much as possible through meditation, but also through bringing your focus back to the present as much as you can in everything you do.
What tips do you have for living life to the fullest?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

First Memory...

Poor poor Karen from Creative Therapy. I told her I was blocked and couldn't get anything done for the challenge. She asked me to try. I guess its a busy weekend for all the catalyst creators (do we have a title actually?) Anyway, I decided to try to work on that canvas I mentioned earlier that was giving me trouble. Not the pink background beach/centipede piece. No. The piece I was working on before I gave up and did that. (You can see on the piece where the transfer technique I tried failed. It left ink and whatnot all over the bottom pic plus ruined the look of the top pic, bottom right corner. I painted over it and kind of like it at least.) The topic for the upcoming Creative Therapy challenge is 'First Memory'. Here's my piece, and journaling. Be kind, I suck at painting so we've agreed to call it an abstract of the beach. I'm seriously considering lessons so I can draw and paint someday...

I think the first memories I have are from when I was about 2 or 3. I remember holding my mom's hand and walking up a hill lined with flowers. Mom tells me its the street our apartment was on in San Clemente, California. I remember lots of sun; we were probably heading to the beach. At the time I was an only child, my dad was stationed at the Marine Corps. base and we frequented the beach. I don't have many pics of my dad from that time because he was always behind the camera. He took the gorgeous photos used in this piece. I'm almost positive that those early memories fostered in me my overwhelming love of the beach. Oh, I don't like the heat, and I don't like to swim in the ocean. But I could sit on the beach all day and dunk my toes in the sandy water. And there is nothing like a sunset on a beach. Once you've seen one, I can't imagine how you would want to be anywhere else. I'm not really sure why I live in the middle of the country except to be near family. The beach is always calling to me. Someday I will answer the call and go live by the ocean.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Artist Block from, well, you know where...

Who me? Yeah me. I am seriously blocked artistically. Big time. Like there is a semi sitting on me. With little evil elves standing on top of it. Hopping up and down to make sure the semi stays in place. They're twittering all their little evil elf friends to come join them and hold my arms down so I can't rip the semi off me. Won't let me do anything. I have had the largest artist block of my life. I know, people say 'just relax, read mags, watch tv, do something else and it will come back.' And to that I say, 'Nuh Uh!' I keep trying to work through it but I've amassed a pile of work that is all unfinished. Only a few have made it to completion. I think I may just have too much crowding my mind. Anyway, I thought to share all the uncompleted projects so that others know, no one is perfect. We all have times of struggle. I hope the evil elves are leaving you alone so you can be highly creative.

Pages for a Fairy/gods/dragons type altered book.
1. 1st 2 I gave up on. Felt like I was in Kindergarten, doing art while watching the Smurfs. Wasn't working for me.

2. 2nd set of pages I quit on. I thought adding a drawing I did of a fairy would be great. I found a fairy online and sat and drew it. The whole set of pages are just ugly. Even my children said so. Bleck.

3. I'm moderately happy with this 'gods & goddesses' set of pages. They were a headache and a half. I tried a Claudine Hellmuth technique involving Dish Rinse to make the background streaky red. It caused so much trouble, the top images wouldn't stick to it until it had dried for 2 days. And I could have just swiped paint on and incurred the same results. I may use her technique for other things though. I think they just need a bit of stamping and they'll pass the muster. I refuse to make any more for this book. Can't. Won't.

I was working on a piece for Creative Therapy (I'll post it tomorrow) and was getting no where fast. The transparency image I was trying to transfer smear. All over my canvas and pics. I scraped it off. Then my printer wouldn't print anymore images. I was going to print a transparency again and just tack it on. Nope. So I gave up. Grabbed another canvas and started throwing paint on it. It was either that or start throwing things. I quit on it too. I'm 'sorta' liking its composition so I may come back to it at sometime. Maybe make the pier not look like a centipede at least. lol

I've had these 6x6" canvases with painted backgrounds sitting around forever. I pulled them out this week and painted on them. Since I'm so blocked, I pulled up ads to look at. The 'Who Me' piece is inspired by an Anthropolgie ad. I believe its actually finished, hallelujah. The Park piece, the tree was inspired by a recycle article. The bench I painted from a real bench pic. If you notice all the greyish stuff in the void, I keep trying and erasing a title for the tree piece (oh yeah, and oil pastels don't like you to erase pencil.) Haven't found anything I like yet. Any suggestions?

I think I'm sufficiently done complaining for the evening. Have a wonderful Sunday!

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Let me tell you a little thing about God and people and the universe. HE KNOWS. He knows everything. He knows what you need, when you are down, what you are going through. He knew, before I even hit my breaking point this week that it was coming. He just sat back and watched me self destruct, trying to do everything on my own power and strength. And then, when I was done, he stepped in. He brought me a call from a long lost friend. He whispered in my DH's ear that I needed quiet time. He directed a friend to send me a package. She may not know it was him, but I do. He's helped me everyday this week with the down moments to take a deep breath and remember he's got me in the palm of his hand. He knows all the hairs on my head, and how many stars are in the sky.

This week I'm doing things that don't overwhelm me. If I feel like cleaning the basement (one of the things on my list because we're trying to move), I do that. When I get overwhelmed, I leave the basement and go to my art room or watch TV. I cleaned my art desk until it felt overwhelming and then I went to watch the kids do leaf prints out back. Nice relaxing. It's all a matter of balance. I think I felt I had this huge list of things I want to get done, need to get done and I wasn't doing ANY of them. None. Instead of doing some and putting some by the wayside, I was rejecting them all until the point where I couldn't stand it anymore. I can't be creative when my brain is filled with too much 'to-dos' and worrying about things I can't fix. I know this sounds trivial I'm sure but to me it was a big thing. I never get depressed.

Today has been a good day though. I went through 5 boxes in the basement, cleaned my art desk and finally finished a canvas (YES Rhonda, I did it!) Hallelujah. It's a start. I also ordered 4 birthday gifts and paid some bills online. The girls spent the day painting, doing schoolwork/math, listening to unabridged Charlie & the Chocolate Factory and laying and reading in the yard. Ahhh, I love spring days.

And just to share...
Remember my Paris Swap partner Angela from last month? Well, she took it upon herself to send me a lovely box of 'destash'. Extras to her were wonderful additions to me! Lots of beads, a bag of old ornament balls, shells, gorgeous fabric and so much more. She even threw in 3 containers of 35mm film. I was just at the store last night and dd wanted more film but I told her we couldn't get it this time. Trying to watch the pennies. She did a little happy dance and said she loved my friend! lol

My canvas: Yes, I finished one. 16x20". It took me awhile since I was so blocked this week. But I really like the finished look. Last weekend I went with mom and my sister in laws to breakfast and some boutique window shopping. Kind of a pre-mother's day outing. One store was amazing. Had all sorts of items made by local and other artists. One artist's work I couldn't quit staring at. He/she had collaged on a canvas, added sticks along the bottom, and had made a fabric canvas pocket with a wire wrapped hula girl inside. Then had wrapped black wire around the piece in large grid style. I loved it! It inspired the beginnings of this piece. This 'Revolve' canvas is a reminder to me. God & family are all that matters. It's not such a huge deal if I don't get the basement clean today or the dishes done or if I just read magazines instead of do art. My family needs me. They need me sane and happy and productive. Family is most important to me. There will be time and energy for everything I want/need to accomplish eventually.

Vintage images by:

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Greener Pastures

Update: I know I'm still working through some things still but today I feel 10 times better. I rec'd the most wonderful comments so far on the last post as well as several private emails that really made me smile. I think sometimes you just hit a bottom. It may not be the bottom-ist of bottoms but its where YOUR limit is, and its when you know you need to talk about it. I guess that's what I was doing last night.

As some have suggested, I did several things for myself today that really helped:
1 - painted layers on a canvas, with my hands (favorite paint brushes)
2 - painted a barbie doll red (really seemed like good therapy. lol)
3 -
decided to take one thing at a time
4 -
booked a hotel and 4 tickets to the beach for July.
5 -
forgave myself

I rec'd a phone call out of the blue this morning from a dear friend whom I haven't talked to in months. She doesn't read my blog, she just decided to call. It really set the tone for my day. Life can always be worse I think. I'm finding greener pastures today.

Psalm 23: 1-3
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

Image by:

Monday, May 12, 2008


I made a list today of all the things bugging me. I'm not normally one to skirt near depression, I'm the one who picks up others by their bookstraps, kicks them in the rear and we smile again. No, I'm not the happy-go-lucky fairy but I do lean towards a happier demeanor. This has been a strange year for me. I think last year all I did was homeschool and art. Everything else fell by the wayside. I was busy but happy. Yes, my housework suffered but we lived. However, this year homeschool had to take the forerunner position. First year of high school for dd and we had to be organized (plus don't forget the 3rd grader who needed more structure.) Oh sure, I've fit in some artwork here and there, projects, challenges and gifts. But my bouts of marathon 'arting' trying new things, working from dawn til dusk have been a thing of the past. I think I'm suffering because of it. Or it's at least part of my blahhhness. I feel out of wack. Unsettled. Old. I can't stand the noise around here anymore, I long for nights of quiet time, vacations by myself. When I try to do art, I suck at it. I feel like I've lost that vortex of creativity I was working so hard towards. I know there are seasons in life. Maybe this is my season of non-art. But it sucks. And I can feel it sucking the life out of me.

I don't update my etsy, I don't update my blog or myspace. I haven't uploaded to Flickr in weeks. I haven't visited or commented on any of my RSS feed of blogs in forever. My family is suffering through my crankiness, they call me crabby. I have no urge to do a single thing. I walk into a room intent on cleaning it and walk right out. Same with the artroom. I walk in here to create, take one look at the mess and disorganization, no place for everything and I walk out. I'm trying to fill my blahhness with new magazines, hoping they will inspire some spark of get-up-and-go but so far, nothing. I'm serious. I feel like running away from home but then I'll just end up coming back to it all. I feel like I'm letting my family and myself down and I don't know where to go from here. I guess UP would be a start. lol

Does anyone ever feel this way? How do you work your way out of it?

P.S. This isn't normally what I share on my blog but its mostly the reason WHY I haven't been sharing anything anywhere, so I decided to post. I guess I'm just normal. Everyone has bad days, weeks, months, years.

Maybe painting will help. I'm off to do just that...

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Fairies & Food

What do you do on your weekends? We used to spend them cleaning. The whole weekend, except for church time. I hate that. We now seem to keep some semblance of order during the week and usually only do a bit of Saturday cleaning. My DH is the cleaning guru. By the weekends I usually just want to veg and do art because it seems the weeks are long and not full of art so much lately. Yes, I'm a slug, he's a saint. Someday I'll catch up to his lofty status. In the meantime...

I worked on this page this week. For an altered book about Fairies, dragons and goddesses. I'm almost done with 2 more pages and I'll share them later. It has a new saying I love:

"Faeries, come take me out of this dull world. For I would ride with you upon the wind. Run on the top of the dishevelled tide. And dance upon the mountains like a flame." - William Butler Yeats

I like how the background came out although I'm not sure what 'mood' I was going for. That stamp reminds of old things, churches, dreams, Irish designs, etc... It just 'worked'. All images are by Altered Pages.

This weekend DH and little DD bought a clay firepit, set up a tent and camped out in the backyard. Older DD and I bought Chipotle, lattes and watched No Reservations INSIDE the house. We're the smart ones. But they had fun outside as well. Tonight we lit the clay pit up again, roasted hotdogs and sat around playing a word game. I'm liking this clay pit thing if it gives us quality family time. Plus I get to smell like a campfire all night long. Yum.

Here's a sneak peek of next week's Creative Therapy challenge. Look for the topic to be posted on Monday or late Sunday night. I'll share my idea behind this page once it has been posted on the site. Can you guess though??!

Edited to add journaling:
Food. Not all foods, but certain food places really are my guilty pleasure. Not that I have an unhealthy relationship with it, although my weight scale might beg to differ; its just that I had no willpower when it comes to driving by a Chipotle. I rationalize the purchase to myself by saying ‘oh, its all natural; rice, beans, meat, veggies, dairy. Can’t go wrong there!!’ And lately my teen has hooked me on Starbucks Chai Tea Lattes. At $4.50 a pop those really ARE a guilty pleasure! In this piece I’ve used parts from my latest food run. And, although you can not tell, I spilled my latte on the piece today and decided just to dry it and leave it. So the piece is actually INFUSED with my guilty pleasure. Smells good too!

Tomorrow we gather with extended family to celebrate one returning from a trip, a birthday, and to say goodbye to one going off to Alaska for the summer. It will be a good day of family, food and swimming. What are your Sunday plans?

For those who shared their music ideas with me, I appreciate you doing so. I'm going to draw a random name Sunday night or Monday morn, so if anyone wants to still share their favs, please go to the music post and leave me a comment! Good luck!

Friday, May 02, 2008

Beaded Fabric Cards

Forgot to mention the card I made for my swap partner. I wanted to make something fun so I pulled out my fabrics and trims to see what I could come up with. The end result was so fun to make that I promptly made 3 more. They have made their way into my Etsy shop.

This project has prompted thoughts of several similar projects I'm eager to work on next week! Look for new items soon!

Sweet Goodness Paris Swap items!

Wow! The week has just flown by, wasn't it just the weekend and then POOF! It's the weekend again! (sorry, been watching too much Craig Ferguson.)

My week started eventfully with 2 children and myself sick. We're all starting to feel better now so thank the Lord for that. Last night was eventful with huge storms and tornado sirens sending us to the basement, but we were blessed with not being touched. Others up north of us can't stay the same.

Okay! I have lots to show on the Paris Swap front! My partner Angela rec'd her package! YAY! She said she liked it all. You know how it is, wondering if you even sent anything of worth. Here's pics of what I sent. We had to include 1 handmade, 1 thrifted, 1 sweet and 1 supply.

I always have the worst time making something for a swap. I mean, unless they specifically say, 'decorate a box' or something, I have to come up with creative things all on my lonesome. I had fun making the altered journal, drew the Eiffel myself. It came out okay. The fabric pin was a product of all the fabric scraps I had on my desk, plus an Eiffel tower charm I just knew I had somewhere and finally found. I might think of making similar pins for my Etsy store.

My thrift storing for this swap was surprisingly limited. You would think Paris things would abound, I'm usually seeing lots of French things I want. But not this time. I sent her a nice French cooking book. I almost had to resort to taking something french out of my bathroom! Almost.

The candy was easy, Ghirardelli. There is no other. The extras I sent all came from my own personal ephemera, metal and trims stash. She seemed to like all the trims. I'm a trim-a-holic so I completely understand. Plus, the Paris bag didn't match the colors but I couldn't resist. It's so shiny and purty! She says the candle smells wonderful. Oh, forgot I sent her some other things as well (pics can be see on HER blog. I sent some wings, dried flowers, pens in black anc aqua and the package tied up in tissue paper above sports a vintage hair pin w/faux diamond.

I rec'd the most gorgeous package from her as well! She outdid herself. Wait until you see!

Yes, the dressform is as pretty in person as it looks in the picture. Even more so, since my pictures can't do it justice. Decoupaged with book pages, and little pics of Paris, lace, tulle and streamers trim the bottom. Did you see the close up at the top? It even has a pretty little beaded necklace! Gorgeous! The package included a lovely old book where the story is set in Paris in the spring. She made a beautiful butterfly bookmark, and sent an envelope of ephemera for me to use to alter the book. How sweet! The shell lady is a project she started to make me then instead sent it to me to finish. That will be fun!

She has more of these in her Etsy shop. Go get one for yourself! YUM! I think she has dressforms there too!

She sent ephemera, glittered handmade papers and notecard sets too.

I'm in love with the handcrafted flower. It's all fabric with a button center. The angel is adorable. I had already been drooling over others in her Etsy shop and now I own one! YAY me! Plus the vintage perfume bottle filled with glitter. Can it get any better than this?! I loved my partner.

One thing you won't see that unfortunately didn't last long enough for a picture was a giant bag of black licorice! I was in heaven. DD discovered that if you bite off both ends of a licorice stick you can use it for a straw. Who knew?! I can't wait until the next swap I'm in!