The Heart of Life


I was testing a new bubble recipe this week for a future project when this lovely bubble perched itself between a few blades of grass.  I ran inside the house to grab my camera and returned to find it waiting for me; shining more brightly with the setting sun.  I couldn’t believe its longevity – which enabled me to shoot about a dozen photos after retrieving my camera.  A splendid creation but of course it burst.  Perhaps a poignant reminder about fragility of life.  I hope you stick with me and find something in this message that resonates for you.


I moved to the porch where I was typing on my laptop in zen silence.  A chirping bird caught my attention causing me to lift my gaze.  Hovering at eye level, was the most adorable hummingbird I have ever made eye contact with.  Not that I have had the pleasure of this type of encounter before. I told you about my owl eye contact: click here for that story!

My initial reaction was the bird was alerting me to the fact that the hummingbird feeder was down to a quarter of a tank.  I ruled out begging hummingbird and considered instead that it was sacred sign to write today’s message, a jumble of thoughts that have been hovering since April.  The bird triggered a flashback to my sister-in-law, Heather snapping hummingbird photos while in Boulder Junction, Wisconsin, circa 2002!  I was in awe at how she captured their elusive wings.  After the hummingbirds, she proceeded to capture one my favorite photos of all time (below).  The photo rests on a candle with haphazard furniture tacks.


The back story:  my youngest daughter, keen on vanilla ice cream boldly tried what everyone else ordered that day: chocolate.  When her tongue touched the ice cream, a meltdown of remorse ensued.  She tossed the ice cream and I swooped in to try to mitigate the tantrum while my sister-in-law documented the scene.  In the midst of the moment I didn’t know that she captured the chaos.  An authentic moment of sticky fingers and life delivering disappointment!

Heather taught me to photograph hearts in nature (her last name was Hart).  This practice kept me breathing after suddenly losing her at the tender age of 36.  You might recall other posts about her, recently this one, where I describe found hearts as the universe providing a symbolic reminder that love is all there is.

Today would have been a milestone birthday.  In her honor, I gave my collection of heart rocks a home after staining this wooden crate.  I used tacky glue to attach the rocks.  Try this simple method to display one of your collections!


With every new school year (she taught first grade), I think about the children that are missing out on her wisdom, kindness and heart.  But the silver lining finally started to emerge for me in April.  What is this little epiphany I speak of?  Her legacy continues with all those touched by this heart-hunting practice.  Nearly every week a photo lands in my phone from a friend or family member sharing their found hearts.  And, when kids send me photos, I melt.  Every single time.  Take a peak.


(photo credit: A.S., age 6)

kristie heart Collage

Photo credits: A.S. age 14, M.S., age 12 and E.S. age 8.  Sister heart-hunters!

Photo credit: N.H., age 13.  He found a yellow M&M!!!

Photo credit: N.H., age 13.                         He found a heart M&M!!!

I will leave you with these lyrics, courtesy of John Mayer.  I especially love the blue lyrics.

The Heart Of Life*

I hate to see you cry
Lying there in that position
There’s things you need to hear
So turn off your tears
And listen

Pain throws your heart to the ground
Love turns the whole thing around
No it won’t all go the way it should
But I know the heart of life is good

You know, it’s nothing new
Bad news never had good timing
Then, circle of your friends
Will defend the silver lining.

Pain throws your heart to the ground
Love turns the whole thing around
Fear is a friend who’s misunderstood
But I know the heart of life is good
I know it’s good

Writer(s): John Mayer
Copyright: Sony/ATV Tunes LLC, Specific Harm Music, Goodium Music

If you aren’t familiar with the song listen here.

Seize the Day: Red Rocks

seize the day

On a complete whim last week, I made a carpe diem decision.  I hit the pause button on obligations and deadlines and traveled to the mountains.

IMG_3345Do you spy the tiny heart recessed in the red rock above? Holy serendipity! This rock is appropriately name Creation Rock.



Red Rocks!


I followed my heart to Colorado and relished my favorite songs like Let’s Be Still (The Head and the Heart) and Flightless Bird (Iron & Wine) under the most amazing starry night of the summer of 2014.  The sound was pure perfection in Mother Nature’s amphitheater.

I think a mere song can be classified as an artful masterpiece.  Some songs speak my language and pierce my soul.  Perhaps I put too much value on this art form.  But maybe not if you agree with these observations…

“If music be the food of love, play on.” – William Shakespeare

“Where words fail, music speaks.” – Hans Christian Andersen

“Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel.

Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel.”

Hunter S. Thompson

plato quote on red rocks photo


Hiking heart: Idaho Springs, St. Mary’s Glacier.



In the rhythm of the week I also found the motivation to re-love my old J.Crew t-shirt (it had a large hole on a front seam making it too shabby to donate but too endearing to toss).  Without further ado…

IMG_2944 IMG_2959 IMG_2966

I hope this pillow inspires you to up-cycle!

But my wish for you?  Seize the day, my friends, seize the day.

Tune in to the ordinary and make your days extraordinary.


Brave Hearts

these are the days

Dear Brave Hearts,

These are the days.

I want to send you an ounce of courage and a slice of bravery.  Not the version of BRAVE with capital letters (that is just arrogant); just a regular ol’ ordinary cup of soulful brave.  The authentic lower-case brave.  When I walk bravely to the ledge, I am never sure if I will leap or teeter back to the safety of my comfort zone.

What helps you leap versus retreat?


I just started reading The War of Art by Steve Pressfield.  Have you read it?  He says, “Resistance is experienced as fear; the degree of fear equates to the strength of the resistance.  Therefore the more fear we feel about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that the enterprise is important to us and to the growth of our soul.  That’s why we feel so much resistance.  If it meant nothing to us, there would be no resistance.”

I have to share this thought from the book: resistance encourages you to take it easy and be ordinary!  According to Pressfield, resistance is the reason so many people place a basket over the brilliant candle that shines within.

So my wish for you… shine a light on the passions in your life.  Or simply, begin with tiny brave steps:  initiate conversations with strangers, open the door to new and perhaps unlikely friendships, say yes to giving and receiving, begin to forgive or let grudges dissolve, pick up a paintbrush or say yes to an idea that keeps surfacing.   

brave heart frog

So I wrote it on an old t-shirt.  Don’t laugh.


I wanted to try my textile medium which transforms acrylic paint into washable fabric paint!  You simply mix one part textile medium with two parts acrylic paint (the details are on the bottle).   I used my Silhouette Cameo to cut a template, but you could free-hand paint if you don’t have a Silhouette or similar device.



Same technique on a dish towel.


*These Are the Days, recorded by Natalie Merchant & 10,000 Maniacs.

Have you heard Courage Is by the Strange & Familiar? The lyrics alone read like a poem, but layered with music and vocals, this song soars. For a preview, please click here.

Courage Is lyrics

I would love to hear from you in the comments.

Blessings, brave hearts…

Look How They Shine for You

summer stars quote

Warm welcome!  I have mentioned multiple times my obsession with heart symbols.  I promise if you tune in, you will find the shape in the form of rocks, leaves and flower petals.  It is as though nature is always in alignment with love.

This week another symbol surfaced.  It seemed as though everywhere I turned I was finding stars.  Yes, stars.  I found them tucked in unsuspecting places and marveled at those tiny silver bursts lined up across the night sky, like actors hitting their marks on the stage.



(Hint: look closely inside this cosmos.)




look at the stars quote

 – – -

This is actually the simplest project in the history of all ordinary projects featured here.  Perhaps you recall watching your children identify the alphabet with a set of these?  If your children have outgrown their magnetic alphabet, prepare to give those letters a makeover.



After two to three coats of metallic spray paint, I am equipped to create messages or write intentions on my magnetic board.



baby bird e e cummings quote

These Seussical birds hatched this week near our pier!

Several song suggestions today!

1.) Yellow, Coldplay

2.) All of the Stars, Ed Sheeran

3.) Stars, Switchfoot

4.) Counting Stars, One Republic

5.) Sky Full of Stars, Coldplay

I would love to hear what symbol is prevalent in your life.  Thanks for stopping by!





Wishy Washi: DIY Washi Tape Projects

Keats quoteI hope you are embracing the long stretch of July light.  From daybreak to dusk, summer feels like the season of bliss: layered with color and brimming with heart.


Abundant heart discoveries!

Fact:  I hunt and gather washi tape.  I even organize it!  And brace yourself friends, this just might be my first ever tip on organization.


Use a standing paper towel holder to create a washi tape tower!

Last week I found the crown jewel of washi tape.  This one little roll caused a tipping point: I transitioned from washi curator to washi creative.


I purchased this roll in Milwaukee but I found an Etsy source in case you love this royal roll. Click here.

No tutorial required:  just grab your tape and apply!




Greeting card! Even the message of love is washi tape!


Tape on a white wooden frame.


Light switch plate!



IMG_0754 Ready, set, create!

I would love to hear how you use washi tape!

Sacred Charms

sacred space quote
Recently I was searching for a specific photo of a Boston Terrier puppy from the early 1930s. I received the photo as a gift and then I promptly stored it in a special place.  But here is the thing… that special storage place is apparently so extraordinary that I uncovered a mystery I will never solve.  It is funny as I remember every detail about the photo except where I stored it!  Disclaimer: I am creative (well, I aspire to be); but not organized in the traditional Better Homes & Garden ways.  I have told you about my Humpty-Dumpty studio… It has its great falls of chaos and then my teen daughter swoops in to put it all back together again.  She has never seen the puppy photo; so it is officially MIA.

As is oftentimes the case, when we are in search of one thing,

we end up stumbling upon something more valuable.

Today’s find? Religious charms. I bought them last summer at the same antique store where I found my beloved typewriter.  You know the one.  Did you know that the ribbon still works?  It can actually spit out a few words!


The charm discovery helped me forget all about the puppy photo.

One charm was so vintage that my initial reaction was to toss it.  Then I tried a technique to save it from the rusty brink of death.


And I fell in love with the result.

IMG_9973 IMG_9986


Stay tuned as these sacred treasures just might be for sale someday.  I love the idea of moving them from an antique store or my drawer to honor their symbolic and sacred beauty.

I hope you find the sacred in the everyday ordinary this holiday weekend!

sacred flame quote

I was blessed to see Switchfoot live this week in Milwaukee.

switchfoot 2014

My sacred song tip today is the marvelous track… Only Hope*.

Sing to me the song of the stars
Of your galaxy dancing and laughing
and laughing again
When it feels like my dreams are so far
Sing to me of the plans that You have for me over again

So I lay my head back down
And I lift my hands and pray
To be only yours
I pray to be only yours
I know now you’re my only hope

*Lyrics by Switchfoot, song recorded by Mandy Moore and Switchfoot

Got Spray Paint?

love the life you live quote

Hello there!  Hope you are enjoying sunshine and stepping into summer with ease.  Unless of course you live in Australia… then I hope you are stepping into the warmth of winter with a nice cup of tea.

A delightful explosion of color is unfolding in my backyard.  Its our second spring season in this house so I am still getting acquainted with the landscaping.  More precisely, I am constantly evaluating the plants trying to determine: weed or intentional plant or flower?  Here is one thing I know for sure… last spring there was not one single blooming iris.  Today they are popping up everywhere.  Perhaps the polar vortex was just what the iris bulbs require to sing their version of Joy to the World.  I really want to show you every single iris that I have photographed but I will limit my iris gallery to two images.  Or three! IMG_1157 IMG_1164


All this color is inspiring a spray paint flurry.  I have a sweet affinity for the magic of spray paint.  Do you?  I gave my “oh-so-2013″ purple flower pots a new look this week.   This is a super simple project and I hope you take a peak and then go paint!  I started by applying a solid color to each flower-pot, covering up all that purple with lime green.  Once dry, I used painter’s tape to create the stripes and applied the final spray of robin egg blue.



I transformed the once mauve bird cage to a periwinkle planter.  You can see a tiny spec of leftover mauve on the ring at the top.  After adding a layer of sand to the cage’s bottom, I carefully moved a few plants through the cage door and tossed in a lot of moss.


The yellow iris population outnumbers other colors by a landslide. It feels like a sign.  A symbolic indicator to yield (slow down) and be present during these newborn summer days.  Did you know that yellow officially represents optimism, enlightenment and creativity?  Where is the best spot to honor the sweetness of summer?


A yellow porch swing, of course.

I picked up a raw wood porch swing kit at Menards for about $60.  Two cans of yellow spray paint were required to cover the 4 foot swing.

I will be treating the swing to a sealing coat of paint this weekend.  Have you seen the Rust-oleum product, Never Wet?  It provides a liquid repelling treatment which I hope will extend the swings’ life.  At least until I re-paint it.


Are you patiently waiting forThe Fault in Our Stars to hit the big screen?  I already bought the soundtrack.  And right in the middle of an ordinary day I discovered Kodaline’s music.  All I Want (track 5) starts with simple and tender layers of music and heartfelt lyrics.  Then midway through the song the guitar crescendos and the song transforms from great track to masterpiece.  I just can’t explain it.  This fact might help make my point: this one little song lead me to purchase every song that Kodaline has on iTunes.  True story.  Ed Sheeran’s, All the Stars is pretty amazing too.

I will leave you with a summer manifesto!  I discovered it when I received it imprinted on a t-shirt as a gift.  Wait to you get to the line about “shapeshifting from a dreamer into a doer.”   It is a precise reflection that represents every little creative project here on the blog.

love this life manifesto Click here to hop to the Love this Life website.

* Did you know that Bob Marley died at age 36 as a result of malignant melanoma?  Please practice sun safety this summer: use sunscreen, wear a hat and sunglasses.  Learn more at Ann’s Hope Foundation.

Thanks for stopping by!  Now, go paint something.


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