Friday, December 31, 2010

Veni, Vidi, Vici

I came, I saw, I conquered?

2010 was a hard year.
But I pushed hard and kept talking to myself in the mirror.
I can do it. I conquer each day as it comes, task by task, issue by issue.
I am supremely grateful for the good things in my life. I believe that we are all exactly where we are meant to be, but it takes superhuman strength to push through some of the difficulties. And to believe in yourself and to push on. "...accepting hardships as the pathway to peace..."
I will conquer.

Bust adorned by baubles - creation of Mary Tucciarone. Mary of this week's previous posts. Photo by Tim Geany.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

There was no time before Christmas for much blogging
but I am ready to go now.
Take a look at my friend Mary's terrific Christmas decorations.
These photos were published
in two magazines:
Christmas Ideas and the Wilton Magazine

Mary has three boys
but they indulge her girly, glittery, decorated look.

Don't you just love the place setting
For all her little princes.
Hard to read but the crown has a banner with Thomas printed

Such fun a fun place card.
What a happy home this must be!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

before and after we finished shoveling...
you can barely see my little white lights

it looks like we live in a swiss village - our stairway is carved out of the snow.
a lovely sight

Monday, December 27, 2010

the nor'easter blew in
weathervane is now almost covered by a snowbank
three times we shoveled the driveway

a tree came tumbling down
shed unscathed
I said a prayer of gratitude

winds still howling

that's it for the weather report.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Greetings again

I donned my Christmas hat for Midnight Mass
This is a Tracey Tooker original dating back to 1992.

I love this hat. A lady on Madison Avenue once told me it was a happy hat.
I agree; it makes me happy every time I wear it.
It has wonderful memories too;
I bought it with the profits of mrr design after my first year of business.
Giant poppies, a velvet ribbon, and navy,
just perfect for me.
While I receive compliments from outsiders,
not too many folks within the family fold are keen on the hat.
but that doesn't deter me.
Here, here for being me!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Day 2010 Greetings from my house to yours

I have taken this straight from the Writer's Almanac - because it is spot on:

Novelist Oren Arnold had the following Christmas gift suggestions: "To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect."

With all my good wishes for a wonderful Christmas and if you do not celebrate this holiday, a peaceful day. Thank you for visiting the blog.
Peace and happiness to everyone who is reading.
xo Marnie

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve 2010

Variations on the


Somewhere in Rhode Island. Photographed by Dominique Browning from Slow Love Life
I would have stopped in my tracks too if I drove by this creche.
Makes you think.

Traditional, I have forgotten where I found this image.
Sweet, as seen on Inchmark Journal

Whimsical, as seen on Chance
designed by comic strip artist Massimo Giacon for Italian design house Alessi.

Simple and beautiful from Switzerland.
A friend gave this creche in a log to me last year.
It is a 3-d puzzle piece - the pieces push out for a wonderful effect.

And finally, the creche from my youth.
I love this not only because it is beautiful but because of the family associations.
It fills me with joy when I set it up each year with Miss Is.
And for an extra treat, you can wind up the music box
and hear lovely Christmas music
Oh Come All Ye Faithful
Silent Night

Monday, December 13, 2010

I have been swamped this year with work,
both at the day job
with mrr design.
A good problem to have
but I am derilict in the Christmas decorating category.
This vase of flowers was all I had until today.
The arrangement is stunning in real life;
my camera doesn't do it justice.
This lovely arrangement was at a wine tasting
that my firm sponsored.
It was a lovely evening
I was happy to come home with these beautiful flowers.
Lucky for me because that's all I have had for Christmas decorations.

Today I caught the brief 24 hour mild weather window
was able to quickly fill my urns with evergreens.
The soil was frozen solid 48 hours ago
it is snowing now.
Just in time.
In a few more days time, I will get the wreaths up
the Christmas Card boards,
and finally the tree.

Before I know it - pouf - Christmas will have come and gone.

Friday, December 10, 2010

photo above from B Designs website
Here are my neighbors from the boutique last weekend.
Karen and James
A wonderful photo
with the design duo.
Husband and Wife team
so happy
and such
beautiful letterpress stationary.
Their products were a big hit at the show.
Karen is the artist and James is the letterpress guy.
I enjoyed getting to know them.
Here are a few more shots of their paper
The paper is in boutiques all across the country.
and you can order online
check out the full line of stationary products here
Everyone needs some special paper on which to write their
thank you notes.
Christmas and presents and other holidays are right around the corner.
Everyone loves to receive a hand written note.
A thank you via e-mail, no thanks!

Now is the beginning of the exciting daily mail ritual -
Christmas and holiday cards
and then notes from nieces and nephews...
Each day I scurry to the mailbox
to check out the new cards.
So much more fun than the standard bills and junk.

When you check out the B Designs Letterpress website
be sure to read about their dog, Lucky

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A few years back, at one of my many trunk shows, I was positioned next to a booth called Jardiniere; the owner of the shop was a charming and pretty lady about my age. She seemed familiar but I couldn't place her. As the day went on and we chatted, we discovered that we went to college together and dated roommates; my time with the roommate was short-lived - a disaster of a romance - better that it ended quickly, but I liked Kathy.

So almost 25 years later we find ourselves in another phase of life - with children in college and running our respective businesses. We both love the excitement of entrepreneurship. Kathy had a store back in 2007 when we first reconnected. These last two years we met up again at the Church of the Redeemer boutique in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts where Kathy sold her fabulous english toffee. Kathy has been making and selling this scrumptious toffee at Christmas boutiques for the last 10 years or so. When she has an idea, she runs with it; other businesses have been floral design, window box design, and her beautiful home goods store in East Greenwich, Rhode Island which was called Jardiniere. Kathy has a flair - just look at her table at the recent Church of the Redeemer boutique and the candy is delish! It is packaged in tins with giant red grosgrain bows or red toile bags and boxes topped with the same giant red grosgrain bow. And this pretty drawing for the label hidden in plain site on my messy desk below. If you like good toffee she might have some left. I will give you her contact info if you are interested.
We also discovered that we both loved Dominique Browning's book Slow Love: How I Lost My Job, Put on my Pajamas & Found Happiness. Someone you know might enjoy this book for

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Last show of the season under my belt.
I will do a couple of profiles on my boutique neighbors later this week.
You can see the Letterpress folks next to me busy at work.

Right now, old man winter has blown in -

Oh the weather outside is frightful,
But the fire is so delightful,
And since we 've no place to go,
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! ...

I have lots of orders to finish
and the studio in the garage is just too cold and drafty

so I moved the studio inside the house
a crazy mess
but so cozy

Monday, December 6, 2010

Just back from a whirlwind trip to Boston. I pulled out of Wilton before the crack of dawn on Friday and returned late Sunday afternoon. My Boutiques are now finished for the season - phew - but I am still delivering product to retail stores. Just dropped another 2 dozen frames and a few memento boards at the Wellesley Boutique, 100 Central Street, Wellesley, Massachusetts.

Stop by if you are in the area. You will find a wonderful assortment of presents etc for the holidays.

A few weeks ago a commenter asked if the economy looked any better from my perspective as I sell at boutiques from Washington DC to Chestnut Hill MA; it is tough going. People are being very careful with their spending this year. So while the economists report that we are technically out of the recession, the buying public is still in the trenches. But today I heard a good piece of news; Pam Lofblad, owner of the Wellesley Boutique, told me that business was very good at her shop. She has a "pop-up shop" in Wellesley, MA. The shop opens seasonally for a couple of months at a time. Pam is a savvy entrepreneur - she has terrific inventory and vendors that change weekly so there is always new merchandise. People keep coming back to see what is new. She only pays rent for two months and works non-stop. But it is worth it. The place was buzzing with people and excitement today. Fifteen people were waiting to get in when the shop opened today at noon. I was thrilled to hear that because I just dropped off more frames. One final push for the season and a few more orders to complete.

I plan to the visit some other stores this week to see if they might want a few more frames for the season. At the other end of the spectrum, two stores that I have sold to for the last few seasons have decided to close. I think it is going to be a long, slow climb out of the deep financial hole in this country and abroad. There are bright spots here and there, but mostly it is hard work. There is not much a robust recovery in sight.

So try and make the best of it... find something good about each day and be grateful for that.
Make each day matter. You never know what tomorrow will bring.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Get ready for the holidays

just calling out for your Christmas photo.

Why send all the cards to your family and friends?
Keep a photo on entry hall table
in one of these
festive frames.
or that magical picture of your little one with Santa

You can find the monogrammed frames at

The Christmas Market
Church of the Redeemer
Chestnut Hill, MA
Dec 3rd and 4th
(you can meet me too)

Pam Scott of Catch All
based in Westport, Connecticut

Sea Beans Studio
Wilton, Connecticut

Preppy Pink Pony
McLean, Virginia

The Wellesley Boutique
Central Street
Wellesley, Massachusetts

or contact me directly
I can do any monogram or embroidery
see contact info on blog.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My next show
Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts

Please stop by if you live in the area
lots of wonderful people and treasures

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about Pam Scott of Catch All.
We both participated in a Christmas boutique at the
Convent of the Sacred Heart
on East 91st in NYC.
It was called Christmas from the Heart.

There is also a gigantic
Christmas Tree Sale at the school.

Each vendor contributed a percentage of her sales to
Christmas from the Heart.
Together with all the money raised at the Christmas Tree sale,
the school was able to give back to the community
through various outreach projects.
The students learned the value of giving
to those in need
as they prepared and organized the sale.

I loved everything about this boutique.
The people, the charity, the venue,
the students.
And to top it off, I am a Sacred Heart girl myself.
as are others in my family.

I remember that the organizers asked me to bring some items
for the young girls to buy.
So I made marbled pencils.
I spent many evenings
cutting and wrapping and glueing
beautiful marble paper around pencils,
and on notebooks.
I still have a few left.
Makes me smile still.
I think I charged $1 for 3 pencils.

But back to the first show in December of 1991
at Convent of the Sacred Heart
on East 91st street, NYC
Christmas at the Heart.
I was still working
at a large NYC bank
and expecting Miss Is.
My plan was to build a business that I could operate from home
while being a mother.
It did not work out exactly that way
because I ended up working part-time for 17 years at another
big NYC bank
and running my business at the same time
while being a mother.
I was busy.
Still am.
But back to the story again...
It is boutique season again.
Next one on the docket is
Church of the Redeemer in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts
on December 3 and 4th

Friday, November 26, 2010

Another good poem to read and reflect upon this Thanksgiving weekend.


WE walk on starry fields of white
And do not see the daisies;
For blessings common in our sight
We rarely offer praises.
We sigh for some supreme delight
To crown our lives with splendor,
And quite ignore our daily store
Of pleasures sweet and tender.

Our cares are bold and push their way
Upon our thought and feeling.
They hang about us all the day,
Our time from pleasure stealing.
So unobtrusive many a joy
We pass by and forget it,
But worry strives to own our lives
And conquers if we let it.

There's not a day in all the year
But holds some hidden pleasure,
And looking back, joys oft appear
To brim the past's wide measure.
But blessings are like friends, I hold,
Who love and labor near us.
We out to raise our notes of praise
While living hearts can hear us.

Full many a blessing wears the guise
Of worry or of trouble.
Farseeing is the soul and wise
Who knows the mask is double.
But he who has the faith and strength
To thank his God for sorrow
Has found a joy without alloy
To gladden every morrow.

We ought to make the moments notes
Of happy, glad Thanksgiving;
The hours and days a silent phrase
Of music we are living.
And so the theme should swell and grow
As weeks and months pass o'er us,
And rise sublime at this good time,
A grand Thanksgiving chorus.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Wednesday, November 24, 2010








the old family bird
from the table of my youth. makes me smile every year.

The Pumpkin

OH, greenly and fair in the lands of the sun,
The vines of the gourd and the rich melon run,
And the rock and the tree and the cottage enfold,
With broad leaves all greenness and blossoms all gold,
Like that which o'er Nineveh's prophet once grew,
While he waited to know that his warning was true,
And longed for the storm-cloud, and listened in vain
For the rush of the whirlwind and red fire-rain.

On the banks of the Xenil the dark Spanish maiden
Comes up with the fruit of the tangled vine laden;
And the Creole of Cuba laughs out to behold
Through orange-leaves shining the broad spheres of gold;
Yet with dearer delight from his home in the North,
On the fields of his harvest the Yankee looks forth,
Where crook-necks are coiling and yellow fruit shines,
And the sun of September melts down on his vines.

Ah! on Thanksgiving day, when from East and from West,
From North and from South come the pilgrim and guest,
When the gray-haired New Englander sees round his board
The old broken links of affection restored,
When the care-wearied man seeks his mother once more,
And the worn matron smiles where the girl smiled before,
What moistens the lip and what brightens the eye?
What calls back the past, like the rich Pumpkin pie?

Oh, fruit loved of boyhood! the old days recalling,
When wood-grapes were purpling and brown nuts were falling!
When wild, ugly faces we carved in its skin,
Glaring out through the dark with a candle within!
When we laughed round the corn-heap, with hearts all in tune,
Our chair a broad pumpkin,—our lantern the moon,
Telling tales of the fairy who travelled like steam,
In a pumpkin-shell coach, with two rats for her team!

Then thanks for thy present! none sweeter or better
E'er smoked from an oven or circled a platter!
Fairer hands never wrought at a pastry more fine,
Brighter eyes never watched o'er its baking, than thine!
And the prayer, which my mouth is too full to express,
Swells my heart that thy shadow may never be less,
That the days of thy lot may be lengthened below,
And the fame of thy worth like a pumpkin-vine grow,
And thy life be as sweet, and its last sunset sky
Golden-tinted and fair as thy own Pumpkin pie!

John Greenleaf Whittier

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I have always wanted to do before and after pictures...I arrive at a show with boxes and boxes, then I must transform a new space. Sometimes it looks better than others.

I had to work with a a tight space and a large black grid backdrop next to me...and I was not close to home so I could not run home to pick up extra material to hide the black screen...and I was split between two shows so my regular table covering was in Wellesley, oh well... The show was good and people loved the frames. I was asked to do more shows in the area which is always a goal - gotta keep finding new customers.
The final set-up
not my best
but it worked
catching up on my rest
ready for a peaceful few days ahead
Not great photos...but you get the idea.