Here are just a few random snapshots of a few little things in my studio that help keep things cheery for me. For most people, a lavender stapler would not float their boat, but it just makes me smile! It was marked down because few people like the colors I do, which makes me think of the adage,"one man's trash is another man's treasure"! (One of those instances when NOT being mainstream can be to your benefit!) I could be hired for focus groups to predict what the general public would NOT buy, because I usually like the opposite of what big-box retailers sell in volume.

I LOVE plants and flowers. I have a special affinity for miniature ficus trees and found this unique trellis-style ficus at IKEA at an amazing price!

My small-ish inspiration board with a few favorite photos, postcards, etc.

This quote poster is one I created to remember to be thankful, even on the days when things aren't going right. Along with it is a piece of coral brought back from the Florida Keys. I know people say coral is "so passe' ", but I have always loved it and always will. To me, it's underwater sculpture by God. There's also a carved wooden box I gold-leafed and a tole container I painted in stripes.

Me, at work in my studio!

I know some people love to collect things or to own expensive art or antiques. Now, that's not exactly an option for me, but I do enjoy being surrounded by a few objects that make me smile. I couldn't care less about something's provenance or name - I look for color, shape, design or sentimental value. Sometimes it's the colorful stapler I found on clearance for $5 or a photo of a vacation long ago that still brings back great memories. It's just the small things that somehow contribute to making your domain an expression of who you are. But things are only things, and oftentimes it's the least expensive object that may hold the most "cheer-power".

I was thinking about it, the same goes for my actions. I never know when a kind word, opening the door for a mom with a stroller or letting someone in my traffic lane may be just the little pick-me-up that someone needs in their life. We all have these opportunities that come to us every day - I know I am often just too preoccupied with what I am doing or caught up in my own interests to recognize them. Now, I am no Pollyanna. I won't even claim to be. I know the world is not full of goodness - I've lived long enough not to subscribe to that fairytale. I have encountered my share of caustic, small people who relish taking any opportunity to be mean. Who live to get ahead at any cost, to vent their frustration, anger and hurt on innocent people. Purely because those people have the misfortune to be in their path. My first inclination is to want to see these people harshly reprimanded or punished and NOW!! But before I get on my soapbox and try to instruct others on how to become better people, I need to think - what about me? What about my attitude toward these "mean" people? Wouldn't I be just like them if I wish them harm or heartbreak?
Sadly, these people are the losers. Somewhere along the line, they experienced life's inevitable pain and disappointments, got hardened and bitter, and allowed themselves to become "carriers" of evil. In "acting out" they are only compounding their own misery. When they lay their head on the pillow at night, they cannot escape who they really are. You can lie to other people, but you can't really lie to yourself, or it will end up destroying you. When I see this cruelty, this venom, the sheer hideousness of it just motivates me to be the exact opposite and not give place to any of the same in my life. To re-examine my own behavior and seek ways I can show kindness and bring a bit of cheer or hope to those people I encounter each day. Even the bad apples and sour grapes. To go the "extra-mile" with people who just really annoy me. The micro-managers, the nags, the's like getting a shot in the arm. I don't know about you, but I want to be one of those people whom others are actually glad to see or hear from. Not a drain, not a source of dread, not someone who just transfers the angst from the wrong done to me to someone else. Even if it's just in the little things I do.......
We do have power - for good or evil, to add another link in the chain of hatred and abuse or to let it stop with us.....

I want to thank those in my life (including many of you who leave me comments and send me emails) who always have something encouraging to say. A smile, a kind word, a hug or kiss, an "atta girl" that lifts me up when I am feeling less than terrific. You know who you are!! Love you!