Notes from the Fridge

New Years Eve is fast approaching and with that comes the idea of New Years resolutions. I don’t usually bother with admonishments like LOSE WEIGHT which is so negative. It’ll be more like I’ll eat less fattening goodies as soon as the Christmas goodies are all gone. Or GET MORE EXERCISE becomes something like go for more walks, notice things and take photos of them and do more walking meditations.

I don’t go in for hard rules to follow, knowing how soon I’d give up. No, I go for softer rules with some flexibility. My resolutions become more like reminders that can be summed up easily and posted in a good daily spot, like the Fridge for instance. So here it is, my “Notes from the Fridge”. It’s a bit chaotic, what with collaged magnets that we’ve made from magazine pages, and old postcards, but I like the collage aspect of my fridge  door.

First is a reminder to “Think Abundance!”  I need to remember that the world is full of abundance and that there is more than enough of what I need and want. Have faith that I can have what I want and remember that what you focus on tends to grow. So focus on abundance not scarcity.


Below that are the two questions to ask myself every morning. “What is good about my life? What needs to be Done?”  The first to remind myself to be grateful for what I have. The next , to remind me to focus on what I need to do to get what I want. It’s an old note, a little yellowed but still very relevant. Found probably in one of the many books I’ve read.  Couldn’t find the author. I’ve also read somewhere that the most important question is “What Do I Want?”  And each new years I try to make that list. I may even post it on the fridge, to help it come to fruition.

Next on the fridge, now very yellowed, is the quote by Thoreau. You know the one…”Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined”. It’s given me faith in bad moments. My new quote above it this year, all fresh and white, is to ask myself “What will you do for fun today?”   I’ve asked people this and most have never even given it a thought. But I really believe that life is to be enjoyed not suffered through. So this note will be to remind myself to build in fun (fun equals creativity to me) everyday.


Just below the freezer is a quote to which I cannot find the author. But I find it invaluable and tell it to worriers. “Worry is just being negative in advance.”   And below that, a latin quote that Will liked, Vivere ad Creare or Live to Create. Always a good reminder for us artsy types. BTW that little note you can’t make out next to the portrait magnet is from a fortune cookie.  It says..The world will soon be ready to receive your talent.. I sorta liked that one. And then there is the cut out from a Health mag cover ” Fight Aging Now”.  To remind myself to stop thinking “Old”.  worry-live-to-create

The next quote  is from a movie which always brings me a smile. It’s from “My House in Umbria” starring the inimitable Maggie Smith. It goes like this, “Gradually our anxieties began to recede and we surrendered ourselves to happiness”. There’s something so wonderful about the idea of surrendering myself to happiness.


Next, newly white on the fridge is some good advice which may be courtesy of Deepak Chopra. “Refuse Judgement.”  It is not easy to stop judging but when you can it gives you so much relief and is very good for the blood pressure. For example, refuse to judge the bad driver on the road, refuse to let him ruin your day, realize that everyone makes mistakes.

There is the quote by Socrates that the Unexamined life is not worth living, but I really enjoyed the rebuttal which was that the un-lived life was not worth examining and had to add that to the fridge one day.  And Will, on another  day, added this good quote:  “Life is too important to be taken seriously”  but we can’t remember the author. And best for last. I have no idea where I read this one but it’s been important to me for many years. “Accept and Enjoy.”  Accept yourself, accept others as they are and enjoy them as they are, no buts, or if onlies. Just enjoy and accept. Accept their fears and faults and enjoy their good points. Makes like so much better and fuller, really it does.


Do you have a good quote for the fridge that you’d like to share?


The First Craft Fair of the Season

This weekend we’ll be participating the Mother’s Day Paint In at Hatley Castle. I’m looking outside right now and wondering is the weather going to cooperate? Today it’s raining, which is good, free water for the garden and all that. But on Sunday, I hope it’s one of those sunny warm days. Now we’ve done this show before and it did rain but only for a little bit in the morning as we were setting up our booth. Then it became a beautiful day smelling fresh from the rain and made the gardens glisten and sparkle.

Our Tent with the first of many visitors (after the rain)
Our Tent with the first of many visitors (after the rain)

These events are always a lot of fun for the exhibitors too. I’ll have Will and Hart there to help with the booth. We’ll be showing off our new garden sculptures and it’s always good to get feedback from the people browsing, about what they like.

Every summer I give classes in mosaics and creativity. These shows are my way to get the word out. It’s really something that I really enjoy doing.

Signing up for a fun-filled class

We often get couples or friends signing up together and they have a blast buying used dishes at thrift shops during the first class and then learning to break dishes in the second class. I get some real mixed reactions about breaking dishes. Some people have a hard time overcoming that conditioning that says it’s very very bad to break things. Others are just so gung ho to take out their frustrations on a dish that you have to stop them from pounding the dish into dust! But in the end, everyone makes something that’s totally them, and from that point on never looks at a dish without wondering what it will look like broken. Now we use special cutters to break up the dish and don’t smash them with a hammer unless it’s one of those really really tough plates that just won’t succumb any other way.

The other reason I love these shows is that we all take turns sneaking off and looking at everyone else’s booth. We see people that we’ve seen at other shows and get a chance to catch up and often we see some things that really inspire us to whole other directions. At the end of the day when we’ve lugged all the booth contents back to the car and packed it all up for the day, we’re tired but happy. And ready for a pizza!


Room to Create

The other day I looked into my studio and thought what a mess! I’ve been working on a couple of things that are taking some time. And with being busy with so many other things I’ve let it get just a little too messy.

Stacks of plates

Now, I can live with messy but when it gets to “knee deep’, I know I need to do something. Just put a few things away, take out garbage, sweep up. Now I’ve got surfaces to work on again. Ah, bliss.

Bountiful Buddhas

My studio is filled to the brim. I like to say it’s abundant. It’s full of ornaments, lots and lots of dishes usually organized by color or pattern, lots of houseplants. Best of all, I have music. All kinds of music from Music of World to jazz to old rock to opera. We have a huge collection of music what with the hundreds of old LP’s to the all the tapes and CD’s Will and I have found and collected from garage sales and thrifting. I tend to need music to work by. If I can’t understand the words, that’s ok too, it allows my thoughts to roam.

Recycled salad containers make great storage
Recycled salad containers make great storage

When I have mosaic students,I tell them there are no rules, but of course I have just a couple. You absolutely need a place to work. And you need music to work by. I’m lucky with a room in the house dedicated to being a studio. I can make a mess and then close the door. Of course our house is sort of a studio everywhere. Sometimes I might sculpt a small piece or string a new bracelet of found beads while watching TV or a movie on the living room couch. So of course the coffee table is covered with a bag of clay, a board with a sculpture on it and boxes of beads. We don’t designate a particular area. The dining room has our office and computer equipment in it as well as another desk for Will to work on collage pieces.

Bits and pieces
Bits and pieces

Our ultimate dream is to live in a huge studio. A great generous space to work in with a area for eating, sleeping and the necessities of living tucked into one area of the space. I am always shocked by home designs. Homes are designed it seems, to sit and do nothing. You see home plans with living rooms and family rooms. Builders and designers never seem to make room for creative pursuits. These days if you factor in the cost of square footage on your mortgage or rent as the case may be, it seems that you really should be looking at how well your home will work for you or allow you to work preferably on something creative.

It’s important to me to find a space somewhere to work in. I think too often it’s easy to say what you need is not important, but to me happiness is something that comes from being creative. If I’m happy so is everyone else, trust me. The same goes for Will and Eric. We all need to be creative to be happy. So we decided that happiness is more important than having a guest room or a dining room. And we tend to use pretty well every room in the place to create in.

Ornaments waiting to be placed in a mosaic
Ornaments waiting to be placed in a mosaic

Some of my students have gotten really creative making a space to work. One lived in a tiny basement suite, with two small dogs. She made her coffee table into her studio work table. To avoid bits of broken dishes littering the rugs creating a hazard for the pups, she broke all her dishes inside a box, so no shards could fly around the rug. Another, created a space in a garage, in front of a window and brought in a CD player. A good friend, who had wanted to write a book with the words floating around in her head for ages, got the idea to put her computer in a closet and create a writing space. The book was written in weeks!

It takes a bit of creativity to make a work space sometimes or just a rethinking of what you want your home to be. A place to sit or a place to get happy and creative in.