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Monday, January 30, 2012

Thinking Valentine's Day #3- Guest Artist at Stampington's Blog!

Hello dear friends and readers!
I'm thrilled to annouce I'm the guest artist at Stampington's blog today! Thanks so much for inviting me over, Elysa!
I came up with this cute little project for Valentine's Day... quick and easy to make but sure to impress.
Pop over to Somerset Place to learn how to make these clay heart tags.

Happy crafting everyone!
Monica x

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Embracing Joyful Simplicities.

"As we become curators of our own contentment on the Simple Abundance path, one of the great payoffs is that we start to seek peace and comfort in the joyful simplicities. Little things begin to mean a lot to us. Joyful simplicities nourish body and soul by engaging our senses. They teach us how to live in the present moment. Life comes together when we seek out the Sublime in the ordinary".
Sarah Ban Breathnach

So many of you are already familiar with Simple Abundance, but some are not. This book by Sarah Ban Breathnach is such a powerful spiritual tool that I encourage you to read it, if you haven't yet.
Inspired by it, I want to start another series of inspirational posts here on my blog... let's bring contentment to our lives by embracing joyful simplicities all year round!
Today, I share with you something that makes me happy- stop for a while (even in the middle of hundreds of "must-dos"), curl up on the sofa with one of my journals (this gorgeous one made especially for me by my dear friend Louise, which adds to the happiness and comfort), a hot cuppa and woolen wrist warmers, enjoying the ray of sunshine that's kissing my face through the window panes...
What about you? What makes you happy in this very moment?
Monica x

Friday, January 27, 2012

In Somerset Life.

I finally received my copy of Somerset Life, where my work is published once again. Thanks from the heart to all the kind ladies that made this possible and worked hard to give us all such a wonderful issue of the magazine!

I have been asked to share with their readers my vintage portable studio. ... I was delighted!

I've been a fan of newspaper as free supply for gift- wrapping for a long time... here is my article about that with some ideas for you.

And much to my surprise, I found these map- wrapped gifts I had sent to the Editor-in-Chief to say thank you are featured too! :)) I told you vintage maps are my latest obsession... ;) Maybe will show close ups of these in another post someday, should you fancy to borrow the idea.

Finally, I also contributed to the Miscellany section with two of my shots. Sorry the vintage camera belonged to my Grandfather is on another page- I'm happy to have my family heirloom among things that inspire.

Treat yourself to this issue if you haven't yet. My talented friends Abby and Michelle are in too, with fabulous creations!
Have a terrific weekend- the weather is forecasted to get worse over here... we have had beautiful sunshine for many weeks now and haven't had proper cold as of yet. Hope this disturbance doesn't bring snow! :(
Monica x

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Thinking Valentine's Day #2

Elevate the presentation of a simple gift!

Just a 'map' heart on a plain luggage tag and a painted red (and gently sanded) mini clothespin to top a gift wrapped in vintage maps and bakers twine.
Vintage and antique maps are my latest obsession... ;)
Happy Wednesday!
Monica x

Monday, January 23, 2012

Thinking Valentine's Day #1

Happy Monday everyone! As February 14 is just around the corner, I prepared some Valentine- inspired posts. Mini projects and creative ideas I hope you'll like!
When it's mid January, I start itching for Spring, and love having forced bulbs and primroses potted all around my home... The other day my Mom presented me a couple of hyacinths, I removed them from their ugly plastic containers, and arranged in upcycled jam jars. I added a few creative touches like a love label and wooden hearts... aren't they cute?

Found this old gardening book last week, and had to bring it home with me. Every keen gardener needs a very vintage gardening book, right?:)

I thought you may like to make these too, to treat yourself to a bit of Spring or to give. You can make them with your kids too, they'll love them.

Materials needed:
- forced bulbs
- jam jars (I used Bonne Maman because they have a wide- mouth opening that allows the bulb to be inserted without any damage)
- jute ribbon
- bakers twine (or ribbon, any kind)
- hearts (any type)
- lollipop sticks
- hot glue gun
- chalkboard paint (or black paint)
- scissors
- brush


1. Wrap the jam jar in jute ribbon and baker's twine (or ribbon). You can add a heart if you want.
2. Remove the bulb from the plastic pot, and put delicately in the jar, without damaging the root ball. Leave about 1 in (2 cm) at the bottom of the jar.
3. Paint the lollipop stick with chalkboard paint, attach the heart with a dab of hot glue, and write 'love' on it. Insert in the root ball.
4. Add a bit of water.
5. Enjoy!

Can't wait to see my hyacinths grow and bloom!
Monica x

Saturday, January 21, 2012

One Book a Month-#2 "New Farmhouse Style".

I promised to share one book a month from my personal collection.
For January, I chose one of my favorites ever, "New Farmhouse Style" by Terri John Woods, photographed by talented Kindra Clineff.

... I simply adore this book!! It's soooo me, I love Terri John Woods' style!

I always find so much inspiration among these pages... This is a book for both white lovers and color lovers. The author mixed up perfectly total white with splashes of vibrant colors, in his own fascinating farmouse nestled in Vermont.

So many of the things I love...

This chair looks like the one I re- made :)

The Christmas vignettes throughout the book are utterly inspiring! (My bears would be happy there, don't you think??;)).

Thanks to Terry John Woods and Kindra Clineff for this fabulous book, and to my lovely reader Franca for her suggestion! :) A good book for the weekend...
Happy Sunday everyone!
Monica x

Friday, January 20, 2012

My Rag Dolls.

... Really miss making these!
At the moment I have no time to even think of making one, as I'm busy painting... so thought to post a couple of pictures of my old creations for you all to enjoy!

Happy Friday!
Monica x

Monday, January 16, 2012

On Seasonal Living.

Couldn't help but post my new header before January ends. For the beginning of the year, I chose shades of brown and white (you know I love) as my color scheme. I love to change it often, like I do like to often change things around my home... to fit the season, to fit my mood.
One of the most delightful things to me is living seasonally, sensing the rhythm of the year.
Enjoying the coziness of staying indoors in Winter, crackling fires to keep me company while I curl up on the sofa with a good book and a warm blanket. Comfort food, woolen scarves and sweaters, mittens, earth tones all around my home.
In Spring, I love to awake to warmer temperatures after the long, cold winter, sow and plant and just spend time in the garden with my doggie happily sniffing the air, observing bulbs sprouting up from the cold earth, the teeny tiny buds on the bare branches becoming lovely flowers. Pastel colors become my favorites then, and I usually begin to cook lighter, more colored meals and to refresh my home and my wardrobe as well.
Summer brings along nights of star gazing and lots of time to spend outdoors, just working, walking or relaxing, bright and cheery colors, light clothes and an everending array of yummy salads and fruit to eat. It's time to jam making, to preserve vegetables from the orchard or the farmer's market.
Autumn in the end, gives us a palette of wondrous oranges, reds, yellows and browns to deeply savor, together with a bountiful harvest. It's time to nest and plan ahead for the Holiday Season, that will spread cheer all around.
So, here's my new banner, if you haven't noticed yet I changed it...

Hope your week is off to a good start!
Monica x

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Creative Living.

A cute way to keep my mail still to be checked, cards I have to thank for, bills to pay, etc. in a prominent place. Who says a ballet shoe is for ballet only?

Happy weekend everyone!
Monica x

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Update Jan 11: Many thanks for your concern about my health! I'm a bit better even if I'm very tired and don't feel in the mood of staying at my computer for too long. Hence, it will take me some more days to reply to the emails you kindly sent me. I will as soon as I feel better!
Also, it looks like this little journal of mine aroused some interest... so I am posting it again today, for those who haven't seen it.
I have already showed my Biz Gratitude Book here. Here's my progress so far...

I am using prints of my artworks, photographs from magazines I have been published in, scraps of vintage papers, wallpaper, etc. and including copies of checks, excerpts of my articles or blog posts, certificates, biz-related happenings, emails I received from people that appreciated my work or felt inspired, etc... anything that reminds me how grateful I am to be able to do all day and everyday what I love!

I caught a bad cold/flu/whatever with temperature that is blocking me in bed, besides making me feel miserable... :(( I have a pile of sketches ready to become paintings and several crafty projects calling my name! ... And I must stay here instead! Boohooo. Hope this goes away soon!
Monica x

Monday, January 9, 2012

My Word for 2012 is...

... BLOOM!
vb (mainly intr)
1. (of flowers) to open; come into flower
2. to bear flowers; blossom
3. to flourish or grow
4. to be in a healthy, glowing, or flourishing condition

It was only a few years ago that I started to choose a word to be the tune for the upcoming year. A single word to symbolize how I'd want my year to feel and look like, a word to work on, instead of resolutions that tend to be easily forgotten along the way. Chosing a single word help me focus and direct my energies. As usual, it happens I have a single one recurrently coming to mind when I start to think of a new year ahead, without considering too much... The one I'm supposed to choose just holds on, when I try to explore new entries... It seems it's the word that's "choosing me"! Probably we unconsciously know what we'd love the new year to bring in to our lives. So I sincerely send that word out there in the Universe for it to align its energy around that idea...
In 2009 'Simplify' chose me. In 2010 I really needed to 'Relax'. 2011 was cadenced by the word 'Expand'. Now on to 2012. Opening up to new things and new possibilities, flourishing, staying in a healthy condition, expressing in my life the qualities I see in flowers: grace, simplicity, beauty, inspiration... this is how I'd love to live the year ahead. May I, dear Universe?
And you? Do you make New Year's resolutions or choose a word?
Monica x

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Found Beauty #9- Hearts in the Mail!

You should know by now I do love hearts! ;)
So, when this package from my dear friend Deb arrived in the mail this morning, I just screamed with delight!

In case you're wondering, no, it isn't an early Valentine (even if it could be!) but a belated Christmas wish! The postal service here is usually very naughty at Christmas, and I end up opening many of my presents and cards in January/ February. Also in March at times! :(
Not only these hearts are perfect for my taste, but they also are exquisitely made. I can't stop staring at them, and while I'll save that with the Christmas ribbon for our tree, I have the red and white one hanging from the lamp on my working table, so I can see it (and smile) while I'm painting.

Thank you, dear friend ♥
By the way, these inspired me to start thinking Valentines... ;)
Monica x

Thank you!!

... For your friendship, for your encouragement, for the time you took to leave me messages that brightened my day, for celebrating with me!
I'm grateful to have you in my life!

Monica x
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