A fireside-even if only in the heart

I love the picture of a warm fireside.

warm and cozy fireplace

I am a cold climate person… was born and lived with cold winters all my life. One of the things that freezing temperatures highlight is the comfort of a fireplace. Whether it includes the view of the fire or not, radiant heat of a real fire is supremely cozy and enjoyable.
We borrow that feeling when thinking of building relationships with others: the fireside chat.  Or we picture the security we feel when sitting by a warm fire while the cruel weather wails and blows outside our window.

The Fireside Chat

It is a page of features and descriptions highlighting my work online for the past decade and more. Sometimes it is hard to believe that I have been writing and contributing to the worldwide web for that long.

I have shared myself, warts and all, online and during the process managed to make friendships with people who I have a genuine affection for. I suppose we doubt that this is possible, or as real as “in person” relationships, but I am reminded of those of Victorian times correspondence. Or more recently, of those we were “penpals” with in the not so distant era of my childhood.

It is different when relating long distance, but no less warm.

I don’t think it is better, nor can it replace our physical relationships of family and friends, but I recognize its reality and importance. 

Mantles, The Vestiges of a Hearth

I have always enjoyed the look of a fireplace, and in my youth ( during the fifties and sixties) we usually had the fireplace without the fire. Usually a defunct gas fireplace that was no longer in use with a very decorative architectural element of a mantled opening in the wall. We might have had a picture or mirror overhead; and always had decorative objects on the mantle itself.

It was a strange thing to have the shell of what was once the center of a room, but no longer the use or the warmth of it.

Then, the Fire, but not the Mantle

After the energy crisis of the seventies, I had woodburning stoves. These are energy efficient fireplaces that are closed, so you don’t see the fire and they have no mantles.

The decoration is gone, but the substance of the fire is magnified for a delightful radiant heat experience that is more and more desirable as the cold of winter rages outdoors. 

Fitting a Woodburner into an Old Gas Fireplace

The details on how we did this was as follows:

  • First we hired an expert in Rumford fireplaces. He rebuilt the inner part of the chimney to accomodate a wood fire.
  • We lined the chimney with a chimney pipe for the next step.
  • We then purchased an airtight woodburning stove. This was connected to the inner chimney pipe.

This stove had glass inserts to view the fire, but was rather small. It provided wonderful supplemental heat and made a precedent for the large stove that is the primary heat for our present home.

Nothing feels better on chilly days than to stand close to the comfort that emanates from its iron body to your fleshly one.

I do miss the mantle. It graces a room in a way that is hard to replicate otherwise. But given the choice of necessity, I am content to do without, so as to have the real heating properties of a stove. A fireplace, even with a crackling fire is often too drafty to provide needed warmth. It is more a psychological enjoyment of the sight of the fire, which is a delight to the eye without any benefit to the bones.

Rambling On To An Eventual Point

Loosely, I am celebrating creature comforts and taking pleasure in simple things. Just as loosely, I am following a metaphor to our relationships in life. 

We build our relationships around what we believe we need. They can be culturally constructed in ways that might derive from necessity or perhaps are gutted by social traditions. Experience sometimes teaches us their value or the way in which they must change.

At times we may even believe we no longer need them as a central focus for our life. I wonder, though, whether the fireside pictures for us the wisdom or folly of our perceptions?

Fresh Figs


I love the look of fresh figs, they are sumptuous in look and subtle in color, but it is the luscious taste that is the big attraction.

If you have access to these delights, try them in delicious new ways.

Who doesn’t love pizza? Try Pizza Bianca

From Italian Food Forever.

An appetizer I know I would love to eat.

Caramelized Figs with Crispy Prosciutto, Mascarpone Cheese & Arugula Pesto
Caramelized Figs with Crispy Prosciutto, Mascarpone Cheese & Arugula Pesto
From Fargo Monthly

Try Fargo Monthly’s Caramelized Figs with Crispy Prosciutto, Mascarpone Cheese & Arugula Pesto ? From Chef Eric.

The Moroccan Tea Glass, Symbol Of Arabic Hospitality

tea service

Tea Time, Arabic Style

Tea and Cakes
Berber Hospitality in the Form of Tea, Coffee and Cakes on a Tray
The delicate glasses are beautiful without the tea, but try this staple of Moroccan hospitality for a refreshing taste of mint.

Serve At Your Next Event

Whether you host a Hafla or want to serve a refreshing drink to your friends in an informal get together – the ubiquitous tea served throughout Morocco for all occasions is the perfect way to delight your guests.

In Morocco

It is served to guests, and it is impolite to refuse the offering of this refreshing tea.


“Mint tea isn’t just a drink in Morocco. It is a sign of hospitality and friendship and tradition. Because this drink is so popular, it is served all day long, after every meal and with every conversation. Moroccans take great pride in their tea and will often ask a visitor who among their group of friends makes the best cup of mint tea.”
-from recipe contributor ‘Sackville’

This Moroccan tea is served in a small, often decorated, tea glass. People unfamiliar with the Moroccan for of the tea glass are surprised by its small size.

By browsing through some examples of the Moroccan tea glass, let’s find out more of Moroccan tea culture, and the importance of hospitality in the Near East.

Moroccan Hospitality – Sweet Tea, Flavor, and Flair

photo by Nick Saltmarsh
photo by Nick Saltmarsh

The Moroccan Tea Glass – A small glass serving generous hospitality

The Moroccan tea glass is small compared to the American version.American tea glasses are tall and used for iced tea with lots of ice.

The ritual of this North African country is quite different from the casual sweet iced tea of our culture, and has a tea service all its own. Moroccan tea is served hot in quite small, beautifully decorated, tea glasses. Very collectible.


Or perhaps you just want to explore the Arabic culture, in any case you will need:

  • A teapot to brew the tea
  • Glasses to serve the beverage
  • A tray for the drinks and their accompanying sweets

For the tea, itself:

  • Light flavored tea such as green or white
  • Fresh mint leaves
  • Boiling water
  • Sugar

“Tea is almost always made in front of the guests so that the tea set and service can be admired. Moroccan teapots have long, curved pouring spouts that allow the tea to be poured into even the tiniest of glasses from a height of 2 or more feet. Moroccans like their tea lightly flavored with herbs. The most popular herbs added to tea are mint, lemon grass, and sometimes orange blossom.

Moroccan Mint Tea is generally made by brewing a gunpowder tea mixed with mint (1 teaspoon tea per cup). Gunpowder tea is Chinese green tea rolled into small pellets, which look like old-fashioned gunpowder. The Chinese call it zucha or pearl tea for the same reason. Rolling the tea leaves into balls helps to preserve the flavor. The offering of a glass of green tea with mint is a symbol of friendship, welcome and hospitality.” -from Emeril Lagasse

Make The Right Tea

Silver Yin Zhen White Tea
Silver Yin Zhen Pearls White Tea by Teavana

Alternatively, try white tea pearls

One of the finest teas, enjoyed on its own or prepared as an ingredient in Moroccan Mint. This is the type that Chef Emeril describes. This is a fine quality tea that will be worthy of your guests, and a comforting cup to enjoy any time of day.

Moroccan Tea is Served

Moroccan mint tea photo by againstthebrilliance
Tea glasses and small metal tea pot

Moroccan Tea is Served Proper tea service consists of the special teapot, the tea glasses, and a footed tray for the tea set. A small clean white towel is used for the handle of the teapot. Perfect pearl tea brewed inside a gracefully shaped Moroccan teapot, and served in colorful tea glasses makes enjoying a refreshing glass of tea into an event.

How to Prepare Moroccan Tea

“Fresh mint leaves and some tea leaves and a LOT of sugar are put in the bottom of the pot, hot water poured on top. After a few minutes of steeping, your hostess will pour some of the tea into a glass, and immediately she will pour it from the glass back into the pot. This is repeated until she feels the tea is perfect. Only then will she serve each of her guests a glass of hot sweet mint tea.”-Reflections from the Fence

Moroccan Mint Tea

mint refreshment
Moroccan Mint Tea


Moroccan Culture

It is idyllic to share a pot of mint tea at a small table on the side of the road. It is a ceremonial bonding experience in a private home.

Use Fresh Mint Leaves

fresh spearmint leaves

Start with some fresh mentha leaves

Fresh Mint

Be sure you have fresh mint to make the tea. Although some recipes call for dried mint. Fresh mint will add a lovely green tint, and the flavor is better. Mint plants are surprisingly easy to grow. A pot on the windowsill, or a patch by the back door will provide you with leaves fresh during the growing season and easy to freeze for winter use.

Can Mint Tea Heal You? From pure herbal concoctions to mint infused green teas, there are many ways to enjoy the healthful benefits of the mint plant.


Antique, pretty, tea glass
Antique, pretty, tea glass photo by dukpix on Flickr

  • Prep time: 5 min
  • Cook time: 5 min
  • Ready in: 10 min
  • Yields: 2-4


  • 1 tablespoon Green Tea leaves, or white tea
  • 1 large handful fresh washed
  • spearmint leaves
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1/4 cup sugar


  1. Boil at least 2 cups of water. Rinse a small teapot with about 1/4 cup of the water.
  2. Add the tea leaves and another 1/4 cup boiling water. Swirl the pot to wash and rinse the leaves, and pour out the water.
  3. Add the mint leaves and the sugar, and fill the pot with about 2 cups boiling water. Leave the tea to steep for five minutes or longer, or set the tea pot over medium-low heat and bring the tea to a simmer. Remove from the heat, and allow to steep several minutes more.
  4. Gently stir the tea, pour into small tea glasses and serve.

Serve Your Guests

photo by rieorie
Moroccan tea service photo by rieorie on Flickr


Pastries play an important role in Moroccan society because they are an essential complement to mint tea when welcoming guests into your home. -The art of Moroccan cuisine.

Serve and Display – This serving tray is ideal for your tea glasses

Moroccan Tea Tray Serving Cocktail Silver Handmade Fez Large Oval High Quality

Complete your tea service with this silver tray. Lovely way to serve tea and display the decorative glasses or offer the requisite pastries.

Ideas for using your Moroccan Tea Glasses


“Moroccan tea glasses are tiny cups with bright POPS of color. They would look lovely as a flower display at your reception or bridal shower, as a chic dessert presentation or a unique way to light up the room with candles inside.” ` Emmeline Bride

Start Your Collection


When you can’t make up your mind! Harmonious mix of sparkling colors give an eclectic look to your decor.
A very traditional color, Moroccan Red, makes this set of tea glasses a warm addition to any room- for tea or candles, or just to look pretty!
A cobalt blue color with metallic accents is striking. Filigree border with a stylish modern color design.

See How the Tea Is Brewed

– And poured into the tea glass – it is an art.
What panache! This would certainly impress your friends, so learn how to make real Moroccan tea and have fun serving everyone (after a little practice, of course)

The Little Mermaid of Merfolk Tales

Mermaids, baneful or beneficent?

John William Waterhouse: A Mermaid 1900


Ancient mariners feared them, and they were legendary creatures of the sea which some called “sirens“, but Hans Christian Anderson put down pen to paper to record a story that became a beloved fairytale.

What is the story of these creatures, and especially of that one particular little mermaid? The little mermaid who inspired a sculpture that became the national icon of Denmark, and a favorite Disney movie?

Follow the current… It will take you from the shore of Denmark to many other parts of the world… even to Hawaii.

If you would enjoy reading a few interesting facts about these mythological half fish- half human characters who people ancient and modern stories alike, here are a few things that you may not have heard before. They inspired some imaginative and beautiful art, from the renowned Copenhagen icon to romantic paintings of John Waterhouse to the inspired Cartoon artists of Disney, Mermaids will delight you.

Denmark’s Famous Statue

The statue on display has always been a copy. The heirs of the sculpture have the original in hiding.

The Famous Statue of Copenhagen

Den lille havfrue or ‘The little mermaid’

This famous sculpture was a gift from brewer Carl Jacobsen (The Carlsberg Breweries) to the city of Copenhagen. It is made of bronze and was unveiled on August 23, 1913. Situated on a rock at the shore, the statue may be observed quite closely.

I saw it when visiting Copenhagen, and though warned that it would be quite small, the actual size of the statue still is surprising it is so small- the size of maybe a small child.

The statue displayed in Copenhagen harbor has always been a copy; the sculptor’s heirs keep the original at an undisclosed location.

Are they real?

Tell me more about these sea creatures

Edmund Dulac’s Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid was a story that came from the imagination of Hans Christian Anderson, although there were other fairytales and legends of these mythic creatures.

A mermaid is a mythical creature that is half woman and half fish. The name comes from ‘mer’ meaning sea. All sea-faring cultures have mermaid tales.-Myths and Legends The Greeks had stories of “sirens” who were able to enchant their hearers through song. Most of these creatures are malevolent in effect, causing the death or destruction of mariners and their ships.

Mermaid stories appeared in Assyria, around 1000 BC, and they are found in numerous cultures including Arabic, British, Irish, Chinese, and many others.

Often considered unlucky omens, they also are regularly depicted as having beautiful voices which mesmerize their victims.

“Merfolk were used to symbolize eloquence in speech” in art and heraldry. Columbus reported that he saw three mermaids on his first voyage to the Americas.

I am not surprised that many sea faring cultures would have stories of mermaid creatures. There is something about swimming in the sea, with its inherent danger of drowning and its feeling of freedom compared with the heavy gravity of moving on land, that draws both fear and fascination.

To travel on the depths of it brings it even closer to the imagination. How often might men have desired to be able to live both above and under the sea? Many fairy myths hold the idea of another world which holds unwary men captive.

These are the makings of many mermaid tales and legends.

With Hans Christian Anderson’s tale, the tables are turned and it is the poor mermaid who suffers tragically, as she shows self sacrificing love for her human friends. Not all fairytales end with “happily ever after”.

Mako Mermaids

Other Famous Mermaids

Edmund Dulac Illustration

Legendary creatures get around


  • Menanna of the Ottawa Indians.
  • The Selkies of Shetland.
  • The Mermaids of Waiahuakua, Hawaiian mermaids.

Cast Iron Sitting Mermaid Figure Nautical Decor StatueCast Iron Sitting Mermaid Figure Nautical Decor Statue
Selkies are Celtic mythical creatures of a shapeshifter sort. Women who shed their seal skins to become human, but put them back on to disappear into the seas as seals. Their stories have some similarities to those of mermaids. Both are females who live in the sea and sometimes fraternize with humans.

Mesmerizing Color, Decorative and entrancing mermaid accents

Jim Shore Mermaid

What do mermaids represent? – fears or fantasies?

Are mermaids fearful and creatures that belong in horror flicks? Or are they beautiful fantasy creatures that represent the beauty of something different?

 Mermaid Marine Creatures


Mermaid art available at Zazzle- posters, cards, and more for those who love this nautical motif.

Combining the fascination of myth and the beauty of the undersea world, most of us picture mermaids as benign, or at least harmless creatures.

How do you feel about Mermaid Folk?

Which Are Your Favorite Mermaid Movies?

Ariel, the Little Mermaid from Disney

Ariel Fanart


How most children know the story

Disney has made a completely new and expanded rendition of this fairytale and renamed the Little Mermaid, Ariel.

She is very popular with little girls, who have dolls, bedding, and a plethora of items designed with their favorite movie.

Plot Summary: Ariel, a sixteen-year-old mermaid princess, is unhappy with life under the sea and curious about the human world.

She is discouraged in this by her father and various sea creature courtiers.She sees the birthday celebration of Prince Eric aboard his ship, falls in love with him, saves him from drowning in the subsequent sea storm.

Ariel returns to her sea home, sick with unhappiness; after a row with her father she goes to the Sea witch Ursula who makes a deal to give her three days, in which Ariel must receive the ‘kiss of true love’ from Prince Eric. If she fails, she then will belong to the witch. In exchange for her legs she must give up her voice.

In the meantime, Ursula transforms herself into a bewitching young woman to thwart all possibility of Ariel succeeding in her plans. Through misadventures Ariel and her friends manage to break the spell on her voice just in time to win Eric.

The story is not yet over, as the villainess must rise up in threatening power once again, do battle with our heroes until she is finally vanquished.

Afterward Ariel becomes human with legs and all and marries Eric.

This movie was actually planned very early in Disney’s career, soon after Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in the late 1930s, but was put on hold. It debuted in 1989, at last.

Do You Love Northern Winters?

Not Everyone Hates Wintertime

winter scene

Winter, how do I love thee? Hmmm, Let me think about that a minute….

For all those who, like me, find lots to love about Northern winters in the U.S.A, this is a look at the holidays, the activities, and just the plain minimalist and sparkling beauty of an American Northern winter. Poems are written about the pure white snows, and harrowing tales as well. Photos and paintings depict the breathtaking landscape of snow-covered fields, waters, and architecture, and people travel long distances to participate in the winter sports that this season affords.

There is a lot to appreciate about winter.

Here are photos of my winter season, some of the fun activities people enjoy, snippets of poetry, and old fashioned art of bygone days. A potpourri of things to appreciate in a cold climate.

Photos I’ve taken of winter.

Pictures of a beautiful winter

Winter wonderland of white is what they call a winter like the one Ohio had when I took these photos.

Brrr, Snow!

Snowy garden
Snowy garden


Trees Outline Winter



by William Carlos Williams

All the complicated details

of the attiring and

the disattiring are completed!

A liquid moon

moves gently among

the long branches.

Thus having prepared their buds

against a sure winter

the wise trees

stand sleeping in the cold.

The Bone Structure Of The Landscape

I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape – the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show.”

~ Andrew Wyeth

Frozen Highlights


winter snow scene postage stamp

Winter Black and White Snowy Trees Postage by ilonagarden
There are lots of custom US Postage stamps at Zazzle

Related Links:

Take Photos!


Take Great Photos Any Time Of Year

Canon Rebel is one of the best mid-range cameras. Get it with all the gear you need for beautiful photos. This is the camera that is on my wish list.

Canon EOS Rebel SL1 Digital SLR Camera & EF-S 18-55mm IS STM Lens with EF 75-300mm III Zoom Lens + 64GB Card + Battery + Case + Tele/Wide Lenses + Tripod Kit

Quoting The Coldest Season

winter vignettes
winter vignettes


Every branch big with it,

Bent every twig with it;

Every fork like a white web-foot;

Every street and pavement mute:

Some flakes have lost their way, and grope back upward, when

Meeting those meandering down they turn and descend again.

The palings are glued together like a wall,

And there is no waft of wind with the fleecy fall.

A sparrow enters the tree,

Whereon immediately

A snow-lump thrice his own slight size

Descends on him and showers his head and eyes,

And overturns him,

And near inurns him,

And lights on a nether twig, when its brush

Starts off a volley of other lodging lumps with a rush.

The steps are a blanched slope,

Up which, with feeble hope,

A black cat comes, wide-eyed and thin;

And we take him in.

~ Thomas Hardy (1840-1928), English novelist and poet


It is a winter’s tale

That the snow blind twilight ferries over the lakes

And floating fields from the farm in the cup of the vales,

Gliding windless through the hand folded flakes,

The pale breath of cattle at the stealthy sail,

And the stars falling cold,

And the smell of hay in the snow, and the far owl

Warning among the folds, and the frozen hold

Flocked with the sheep white smoke of the farm house cowl

In the river wended vales where the tale was told.

~ Dylan Thomas (1914-1953)

Snowy Scenes

winter collage
winter collage


Oldtime Swedish Farm

carl larsson card

Available at Zazzle

Artists Were Fascinated With Scenes Of Snow

Slippers Of Snow

Winter came down to our home one night

Quietly pirouetting in on silvery-toed slippers of snow,

And we, we were children once again.

~Bill Morgan, Jr.

Old Fashioned Tasks Of Bygone Days

Two Children

Winter Entertainment

Winter can be fun. Loads of activities make use of the snow: skiing, sledding, and snowboarding.

The quiet, the beauty, can be enjoyed.

Children love to make snowmen.

Sometimes just the cozy activities within a house- putting together a puzzle on a chilly night- are what we love about this time of year. What do you do to enjoy winter?

Winter Sport: Cross Country Skiing

Go Cross Country Skiing

What I like about cross country skiing is the way you can enjoy the landscape, much like hiking, only faster and with a little more challenge to your physical abilities. There is a quietness in winter that cross country skiing takes full advantage of, and perhaps you, like one time for me, will glimpse a flock of bluebirds in early March coming home to their Northern nesting territories.

It is quite a different sort of thrill compared to downhill skiing.

New Whitewoods 75mm 3Pin Cross Country Package Skis Boots Bindings Poles 197cm (39, 151-180 lbs.)

Oh Cool! Snowboarding!

‘I Love Winter’ Zazzle Category

Yes, winter inspires me

I have some a Zazzle category for winter subjects and scenes. Go there now to find all your sticker, poster, and custom needs. Dedicate a room to the minimalist color and design that this season brings- at least for a quarter of the year!

Winter Sports

Perfect Puzzle for Long Winter Nights

Every winter my family puts together puzzles. Especially on Christmas Eve, as we wait to finish up the final preparations and dissipate the excitement before bed.

A fun puzzle with a winter picture is just the thing for a cold winter night. Warm up some hot chocolate, a few snacks and it will be a great memory of good times.

Love or Hate Winter Cold?

How do you feel about the winter season?

Melissa and Doug’s Family Conversation Starters

What you have here are some great ideas for coming together as a family, having real conversations, especially if that seems awkward (when you have teenagers, talking together as a group can often feel awkward).

Who would have guessed that this little box of simple questions could become such a fire conversation starter. The only reason I mention fire, is not due to incendiary topics, but because it was when our family started to intentionally increase our communication levels we gathered around our firepit.

The deceptively unassuming appearance of a little round box with the picture of a homey lattice topped pie belies the power of asking the the right questions.

When it comes to helping people share their thoughts, particularly when we aren’t used to it, many of us are at a loss. With these little round boxes of questions, that o longer needs to be the case.

Filled to the brim with small round cards that are printed with questions, these starters help immensely when you are sitting down and trying to talk.

You know, it’s a little like trying to relax: you overthink it.

But with some coaxing from ready made topics, you are bound to strike upon a few that really get the communication going.

 What About Your Family?

Family Game Night Is Fun And Brings Your Family Closer Together

How our family makes time for a family game night and how we choose various games and activities to do.

 Do You Have A Family Game Night Set Up?


  •  We get together regularly to play games
  •  We occasionally pull out the games and have a go
  •  I am sad to say, that we don’t play games together
  •  We do, but our family plays more physical games like touch football
  •  Not since the kids were little, but I think we might try it again


The Season Of The Ugly Christmas Sweater

Now That Everyone Is On The Bandwagon

-Which Ugly Christmas Sweaters Are Tops?

Our moms thought they were cute, we thought they were ugly, but now everyone is in competition to see who has the most outrageously ugly Christmas sweater of all! All in good fun, of course.

Vintage 80s Sparkle Christmas Cats Tacky Acrylic Ugly Sweater

Now that ugly Christmas sweaters are so ugly they’re cute, there’s less chance of regifting…so you just might have to go ahead and buy one!

Ugly Christmas Sweater Party Ugly Sweater Day at TechSmith Rackers

Do You Own Or Wear An Ugly Christmas Sweater???

Top Ugly Sweater Event Points for silly marketing blurbs, too- no holds barred in this competition- it’s really ugly.
1st Prize Ugly Sweaters Holiday Contest Button
1st Prize Ugly Sweaters Holiday Contest Button by kat_parrella

A Collection Of The Ugliest Sweaters You Can Buy

Ugly Sweater Party

Invite everyone over for a party- awards, prizes, free drinks for the ugliest sweaters.
Serve ugly food
Get really tacky, use ugly sweaters as placemats underneath trays of food.
What is the right dessert?Fruitcake, mince pie, OK… so people can actually eat: sweater shaped sugar cookies



green 3000000

You win! King of the Ugly Christmas Sweater Club”

“My Vote For Top Ugly Sweater” > King of the Ugly Sweaters Holiday Button
King of the Ugly Sweaters Holiday Button by kat_parrella
Browse more Ugly sweater Buttons

OK, an overgrown elf with the belt hiked up practically to the breastbone, the Peter-Pan-collar look and the worst color of fifties mint green. This gets my vote for Top Ugly Christmas sweater. Actually the whole family could wear matching ugly sweaters with this one. Look Boys and Girls!

Women’s Holiday Sweaters

Let’s face it, we usually go for cute designs and call them "ugly" This one is really ugly. I’m sorry if you would wear this… um, I mean …. no offense, but there is no right way (or place) to wear this. It’s not naughty, it is just…. ugly. You might find the ugliest sweater yet… on…wait for it…”Oh no, not eBay!” Yes. The truly tacky is out there. Maybe made by aliens.

So you have a bargaining chip when he becomes a teen.

“Baby Needs An Ugly Sweater” Take lots of photos. But you didn’t need to be reminded, did you?

“Nooooo, Mom, not the ugly sweater pictures, please…not that" "I’ll take out the trash without asking, I’ll clean my room, I’ll stop playing my head banger music for a day…just not the ugly sweater pictures…noooooo” The sad part is that they will probably love the sweater when they are little…. it is only later that they will forbid facebook tagging of those endearing pictures.

Make your own Ugly Sweater Card

Ugly Christmas Sweater Parties, Trendy Ugly Sweaters… It’s Wild!

Why couldn’t they leave Thanksgiving alone?
Why Why Why?

Ugly Sweaters on Youtube”

when it hits Youtube, you know it’s an ugly situation. There are also photography tips (seriously) on how to have better family group pictures…not that they helped our tribe, but they may save yours from looking like an ugly Christmas sweater convention. [tags] christmas party christmas sweaters christmas sweater ugly sweaters holiday sweaters ugly christmas sweaters holiday sweater ugly holiday sweaters ugly christmas sweater party ugly holiday sweater ugly reindeer sweaters santa sweater cheap ugly christmas sweaters ugly christmas sweater ideas tacky christmas sweater

One Way To Have Happy Thoughts

Today was gray, rainy, and somewhat dreary. I don’t usually mind such days, but there are times when sort of pile up, or come when you are just hungry for rays of sunshine. Anyway, I went around the downstairs and starting lighting some candles. I was surprised at how much a little candlelight and fragrance had lifted my spirit!

It called for making a note in this “Happy Thoughts” blog, today.

Of course, these little things are “quick fixes”, and in the long run one of the things that gives me a sense of well being is doing something positive for my health. I say one thing, because overall happiness is truly a compilation of a number of lifestyle choices we make, including how we relate to other people, but starting out with better health choices is certainly an important part of life.

On that note my son and I made some smoothies this past weekend, and I fixed a raw broccoli salad for dinner last night. It is the baby steps that matter in the beginning, isn’t it?

How’s your health? Good I hope. And if it could be better I encourage you to do some of the “little things” suggested today to brighten your outlooks and feeling of wellbeing.

I’ve Been Busy

They say keeping busy is a good antidote for depression, whether that’s true or not I have been keeping busy. Here is one thing I’ve been doing: designing on Zazzle:
create & buy custom products at Zazzle I have also written loads of lenses at Squidoo on a varied number of projects. Lagging behind, but needing attention has been writing posts for my websites and maintaining them- they needed a lot of background attention this year.

Love Quotes I Like

Out of all the people I’ve ever met you are the one who makes me draw those silly little hearts on my papers ~Unknown.

I believe in the deep soul-stirring-takeyour breath away-makes me a better me- kinda love ~Unknown.

“Love is not about finding the right person, but creating a right relationship. It’s not about how much love you have in the beginning but how much love you build till the end.” ~Unknown.

If I tell you I love you, can I keep you forever?

Love is a many splendid thing.

The greatest thing you’ll ever learn
Is to love and be loved in return. ~ Natalie Cole

she said, “You’re crazy” & he said, “Only for you.” ~Unknown.

“You can’t make someone love you, all you can do is be someone who can be loved, the rest is up to the person to realize your worth.”~Unknown.

;“Dedicate your life to God, and also choose carefully who you dedicate your love to.”

The love we have is God’s gift to us, what we do with it is our gift to God.

Love doesn’t need to be perfect, it just needs to be true.

Magnolia Dreams

I decided I needed to work on creating more cards and stuff at Zazzle. After all the years of just hoping to get started…. so lately I used some of my garden and vacation pictures and really like how they came out. Maybe you will. Here is “Magnolia Dreams”…which is tailored for a number of Zazzle products.

Do you think of Northern or Southern Magnolias? Why Southern, of course! But I have some pretty Northern Magnolias that I have taken photos of… including this:

While in Florida I had this fascination with the seagrass on the beach, and now these are my best selling Zazzle cards!

I will probably post more of my Zazzle work here in the future, since it lifts my mood to do so. See you later, Friends