Love will thaw…

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Having watched Disney’s Frozen almost 10 times in the past week, I’m becoming quite an expert on the subject. My girls and I enjoy watching the movie and we can now recite most of the dialogue. I have the Frozen soundtrack in my car too so we have sing alongs whenever we’re on the go.

I think we all feel a special connection to it because my girls have a deep connection as sisters and I’m blessed enough to experience and witness it as their mother.

hip girls

 

There are lessons to be learned in Disney’s Frozen that the girls and I recognize from the very beginning. When the movie starts the two sisters are sweet little girls. Anna is excited by her older sister, Elsa’s magic and begs her to use it. Neither Anna or Elsa are afraid of Elsa’s magical winter powers. Then Elsa accidentally hurts Anna with her powers while they’re playing and how her parents handle it turns the happy story in a much different direction.

Accidents happen, all parents know that and the best parents do their best to help their children understand that it’s okay and everything will be fine. That’s not what the girls’ parents did. The moment their father finds Elsa holding the unconscious Anna in a frozen, snow-filled ballroom he growls “Elsa, what have you done?! This is getting out of hand!” Hearing those words immediately places all blame on Elsa and she’s suddenly afraid of the magic she and Anna had only moments ago found so wonderful and beautiful.

The parents rush the unconscious Anna and the frightened Elsa to the magical trolls for help. Being magical creatures themselves, one would think trolls would be able to convey the idea that being different isn’t a terrible curse. Instead, the head troll heals Anna and in doing so erases all her memories of magic. That same troll takes the scared Elsa aside and shows her silhouetted images of her magic. He explains that her magic will grow and that “There is beauty in it(shows pretty images of her using her magic)…but also great danger(the scene turns red, dangerous-looking and scary). You must learn to control it. Fear will be your enemy.” Way to scare the girl even more! So much for being helpful!

The apparently unfeeling and clueless father then says: “We’ll protect her. She can learn to control it, I’m sure. Until then, we’ll lock the gates, limit her contact with everyone, including Anna.” So their best solution is to show Elsa with their actions and words that they think she’s some sort of dangerous creature? And make the one person who loves Elsa and her magic unconditionally, Anna, forget the truth?

From then on, the once close sisters have barely any contact with each other. Elsa is afraid to touch anyone as her powers grow and her father’s best advice is to “Conceal it, don’t feel it, don’t let it show.” That’s obviously the total opposite of what they should have done, which is to reassure Elsa that she’s not evil, that her magic is good and that’s she deserving of love. Not only that, Anna blames herself for why Elsa doesn’t have contact with her anymore, even though she doesn’t remember what happened. There’s a huge rift between the sisters created by their parents’ (and the trolls) inability to reassure two little girls that there’s nothing wrong with being different.

Several years later, things finally work out happily as Anna proves to her sister how true her love is, no matter the chaos Elsa inadvertently caused with her magic. It’s Anna’s act of true, selfless love that thaws the frozen heart and breaks the spell of fear and ignorance cast over the girls when they were so very young. In the end, Elsa’s magic wasn’t a curse, her parents’ inability to see how amazing she is was the real curse.

Changing Winds

View across a field on today's walk

Despite the mostly overcast skies and gusty winds, it was a remarkably nice day today! The temperature reached almost 50 and there wasn’t a sign of snow in the air. It smelled like spring and while detergents that are “spring scented” are excessively sweet, to me spring smells like mud. As it warms up, spring will smell like mud, worms and flowers as they eventually bloom. You’re not going to find “worm and mud” scented detergent in the aisles anytime soon because that’s perhaps a bit too natural.

I took Jazz for a walk this afternoon and decided to venture off the road and up one of the hilly fields. I thought because it was a hill it wouldn’t be as muddy but it was still quite soggy. Jazz and I made it up the hill, our feet squishing all the way, and we were treated to a fleeting glimpse of blue sky amid the clouds. The wind was quite strong at the top of the hill but I wasn’t cold.

I walked Jazz over to the tree line by the nearby stream’s ravine and she immediately started sniffing around familiarizing herself with all the deer scents in the area. The water in this section of the stream was still under ice but the roar of the water up stream was almost as loud as the wind blowing through the trees.

dog backpack

 

I leaned against a nearby tree and took a moment to breathe in the wind and feel the change in it. March is nearly over and April promises a much-desired warm up but there’s still the lingering feel of winter in the air. The melting snow, the partially frozen ground, the bare trees and the woods devoid of animal sounds are all remnants of winter. It’s been a difficult winter and if we humans don’t make some serious changes, future winters will only get worse.

forest stream

 

We humans forget the cold and snow of winter amid the warmth of spring and summer and that forgetfulness leads many to believe that Mother Earth is just fine. But she’s not. We’re gradually destroying the only world we have because of the endless pursuit of material things. If more people would stop, listen, look and feel as I did today, they’d hear and feel the anger, fear and sadness in the wind. They’d hear it pleading for healing and reminding us that we don’t own the Earth, we’re part of it and when it dies, so shall we. The changing winds are a powerful force and it’s up to us to insure that those changes are positive ones.

Creating beyond words

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I’ve been swamped with freelance writing work this week and that’s a very good thing! By the end of the day, I’m mentally exhausted and my ability with words nearly depleted. That’s when I busy my fingers with enjoyable endeavors beyond the keyboard and start playing with clay. Eventually my creative experimentation will evolve into more polished pieces but for now, it’s just a meditative process and a constructive way to recharge my imaginative energy.

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The skewed concept of “beauty”

Image courtesy of bodyheart.com

I admit, when I was sick I watched a lot of TV. I happily caught up on several episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation as they show it every day on BBC America. I used to watch that show all the time with my father and we even saw the movies together in the theater. So I don’t consider watching TNG a waste of my time. What I do consider a waste of my time is enduring endless commercials hawking cosmetic products and potions for women.

If I were to buy into all the nonsense cosmetic products say to women, I’d believe that in order to be considered beautiful I’d have to have no pores, no wrinkles, no stretch marks, no skin discoloration and no uneven skin texture. I’d also have to have long, dark lashes that stretch out like spider legs, eye makeup caked on so heavy I look like a peacock, lips smeared with so much lipstick it looks and feels like lacquer and hair that flows to my shoulder in perfect, gray-hair-free waves. Well I’ve got news for you, none of that applies to me but I still know with 100% certainty that I AM BEAUTIFUL!

What I found really interesting about the commercials is that many of them say “9 out of 10 women noticed a difference” “90% of women saw less wrinkles” and so on. So basically it’s just women who are worried about how women look. Ask a man if he notices a reduction in a female significant other’s wrinkles, pores whatever and he’ll avoid that question like the plague! Thing is, I don’t really believe men give a flying monkey about women’s pores or fine lines. I highly doubt they want the woman in their life so shellacked in makeup that they can’t even touch her without getting it on their face, hands and clothing.

I believe that the best kind of person thinks that the women in their life are beautiful just as they are without loads of cosmetics and creams piled on. People who see the genuine, inner beauty of a woman don’t notice or care if she looks like a drowned rat from being caught in the rain or that her body isn’t as impossibly thin and flawless as the photoshoppped women on magazine covers.

Seeing the quote by Kate Winslet that I posted at the top of this blog was a slap upside the head for me. I have two daughters and the last thing in this world I want is of them to feel bad about themselves. From the moment I read Kate Winslet’s words, I’ve stopped saying negative things about my body. I told my girls that I love my body and the amazing things it’s done and will continue to do. I don’t care what advertisers try to shove down my throat, I refuse to buy into their skewed concept of beauty.

Why I cook and bake from scratch

My homemade cheesecake topped with sliced strawberries

My homemade cheesecake topped with sliced strawberries and chocolate sauce

Earlier this week I had to purchase big groceries and my shopping experience reminded me why I choose to cook and bake food from scratch. The two main reasons I do it are because I love cooking and baking and because when I make food from scratch, I know exactly what’s in it. I’ve added another reason and that’s the cost of food these days. Prices keep going up on my grocery staples of milk, bread, eggs and meat. Judging by the way the world is going, I don’t see the prices going back down anytime soon. Making meals from scratch is more involved than buying pre-packaged foods but the effort is always worth it in the peace of mind I gain and the money I save.

My latest food craving has been cheesecake and as I said in a previous post, my first ever attempt at making cheesecake came out delicious. I’ve since made a second cheesecake (because the first one was mysteriously devoured by fridge-raiding fairies) and that one came out even better! The recipe I used was a combination of two I found online, with my own unique modifications of course. I modified it further in my second attempt and wrote down everything I did for future reference. My third attempt will be cheesecake swirled with fresh strawberries so I need to do a bit of research on that.

While I was grocery shopping, I decided to see how much the store charged for a full-size cheesecake. I found their plain cheesecake with a sliced up strawberry on top as garnish and my eyes widened in shock as I read the price of $22.00! I couldn’t believe people would actually pay that much money for a cheesecake but considering that was the only plain one in the cooler, they apparently do. There was also a cheesecake made of various slices of flavored cheesecakes and that one cost a whopping $26.00. I snapped a picture of the two cakes to prove I wasn’t hallucinating.

The two store cheescakes

The two store cheesecakes

Not only were the cheesecakes expensive, but I couldn’t pronounce half of the ingredients listed which is never a good thing in my book. Now that I’ve made cheesecakes, I know exactly what goes into them and none of my ingredients were 15 letters long and impossible to say without tripping over my tongue. Upset by the cost of the cakes and the ingredients, I then continued shopping and jotted down the prices of all the ingredients I use in my cheesecakes. The grand total came to less than half of what the store was charging for a cheesecake that was in fact, smaller than the ones I make. Proof that you definitely pay a price for convenience.

Sleeping alone…or not.

Jaycie's stuffed animals and footed sleeper in my bed awaiting her return.

Jaycie’s stuffed animals and pajamas in my bed awaiting her return.

I’m never truly alone when I sleep in my bedroom because Jazzmin’s bed is on the floor and she’s usually curled in a ball, snoring away by 8 p.m., whether I’m in bed or not. Before I adopted Jazzmin, one or both of my cats would sleep with me on the bed but now only Owl does occasionally because Aviendha is content in Jordan’s room.

Aside from furry, four-legged companions, I’ve been sleeping alone in my bed since before I moved out of my ex husband’s house. For a while I slept on one side of the bed but now I happily sleep smack dab in the middle. About a month ago, I stopped sleeping without companionship in my bed…at least on the nights when I have my daughters. Jaycie used to sleep in my bed one or two of the nights I had her but now she sleeps in my bed every night she and her sister are at my house. I didn’t let her sleep with me when I was sick recently but otherwise, she’s my snuggle bug.

Jaycie is seven year’s old and has her own bedroom with a comfortable bed, tons of toys and shelves of stuffed animals. She will sleep in there if I tell her to but why should I tell her to? I’m certain that eventually she’ll want to go back into her room and have her own space. Children grow up far too fast and I dearly miss the days when both my girls were babies and we’d nap together.

I’ve asked Jaycie many times why she likes sleeping with me and her final, definite answer is that she doesn’t like to sleep alone. My house isn’t very big and all three bedrooms are close to each other at the end of the hall so it isn’t as though she’s a wing away from her sister and I, but if she says she’s lonely, I believe her.

While it’s nice having another warm body in bed with me, it has its share of hazards. I’m often getting elbowed in the back of the head and shoulders, kicked, robbed of covers and have plucked a stuffed animal out from under me on more than one occasion. But I happily put up with it all because she’s my daughter, my sunshine and my sweetness.

My bed is so big that I still get to sleep smack dab in the middle with plenty of room for Jaycie to sleep next to me. Would I consider booting her from my bed so a man can sleep with me? Not a chance. There will come a day when she won’t be sleeping with me anymore and that will change things but for the present, this is how things are. When I have my girls they are my focus and the most important part of my life. I will never allow them to feel that they’ve been replaced in my heart by anyone else. I do realize that such a choice isn’t desirable for all single mothers but it’s the choice I’ve made for myself and my daughters.

Signs of spring

Roadside stream near my house

Roadside stream near my house

March in the Northeast U.S. is a month full of Mama Nature’s mood swings. She’s not quite ready to let us have warm, sunny days regularly so she tosses one in here and there to tease us amid cold temperatures and scattered snow flurries. That’s okay though because I make sure to enjoy every moment of the nicer days by going outside on walks, while snuggling inside on the less nice  days.

Thursday is the official “First Day of Spring” but truly, that’s an optimistic notion. I’d be extremely pleased if it was suddenly 55 degrees and sunny out and the muddy, snowy bog that is my yard instantly dried up and sprung to life with green grass. No wait, nix the grass, I’m not ready to mow yet. Flowers will do nicely instead! I’m really just tired of being cold and waking up to dark mornings. The dark mornings will slowly get lighter again as the month progresses but wow, the time change makes it hard to get up early all over again!

I took Jazzmin on a pleasant, two-mile walk this afternoon and was happy to discover that I’m not terribly out of shape from being sick and mostly in bed for the past couple weeks. My legs do still have muscles and my lungs still work up to capacity! A grand discovery indeed! We saw a young fox frolicking in the field during our walk and I grinned from ear to ear because foxes are always a sign of good luck! When he saw us he immediately dashed across the road and into the woods out of sight but I thanked the powers that be for sending me such a positive sign.

The fox was a sign of continuing luck and I welcome it with an open heart, mind and spirit. I’ve had several promising changes in my freelance writing career today and it’s a grand boost to my confidence! This blog is where I ramble about whatever I like and it’s very freeing but it’s also nice to know what my professional writing is appreciated and sought after. Spring has sprung with positive omens and soon it will pop and flourish with warmer days, blooming flowers and leaves on trees!

Doing what I do

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Every day I wake up knowing how fortunate I am that I write freelance for a living. Being paid to do what I love is an amazing privilege and gift. My freelance work allows me to pursue my other writing loves which include blogging and writing fantasy stories. Being a self-employed writer also means that my schedule is flexible. Writing has enabled me to take trips to New England whenever I desire, a luxury I didn’t have while working in an office for someone else every day. I do still have to work on my trips but that’s fine and all part of the gig.

What I love to do most with my writing is try to help others. Either by sharing my life experiences in the hopes that it inspires and motivates people or by spreading the word about something I believe people should have knowledge of. I am not a pro at using all the social media outlets such as Twitter and LinkedIn but I do my best. Facebook has become difficult to effectively utilize for marketing without paying money so I keep exploring other options such as StumbleUpon and Pinterest. I never know where interest in what I’m saying will come from so I feel it’s important to investigate as many outlets as possible.

All of my paid freelance work is ghost writing which means that someone else takes credit for my words. That’s one of the main reasons I started this blog, so I could write what I love and take credit for it. I have gradually gained more followers which makes me very happy and my readers include people from all over the world. I have much more to say and to that end I will continue doing what I do, enjoying and sharing the fruits of my labors.

Clothing springs to life at Parke Place Boutique!

Parke Place Boutique, Amesbury, MA

Parke Place Boutique, Amesbury, MA

As winter finally makes its way out of New England, it’s time to freshen up the wardrobe and bring in new spring colors, patterns and materials. Parke Place Boutique on 42 Main Street, Amesbury, MA is just the place to do that! With new items arriving almost daily, this lovely shop has everything you’re looking for to prepare for warmer weather. Shorter sleeves, skirts and lighter weight pants are exactly what’s needed to prepare you for the spring renewal we’ve all been waiting for!

Beautiful bright spring colors on the racks!

Beautiful bright spring colors on the racks!

Parke Place Boutique offers a shopping experience in a relaxed atmosphere. Their selection of fine women’s clothing is expertly arranged so you can find exactly what you’re looking for and more. From pants to skirts, sleeveless tanks to long sleeve tunics, you can update your wardrobe to layer for early spring’s unpredictable temperatures. When the weather truly turns warm, it’s time to revel in bare arms with tanks, camisoles and short-sleeve shirts and blouses. Everything in the store is soft, touchable and presented in a way to help you coordinate each piece into numerous fashionable outfits.

One of the best features of Parke Place Boutique is the large selection of clothing Made in the U.S.A. Seeing that tag on high-quality clothing is a welcome sight and a luxury in today’s society. People have grown far too accustomed to mass-produced, low quality big box department store clothing and there’s no reason to settle for inferior merchandise. Investing in quality clothing and modern fashions from Parke Place Boutique increases the versatility and longevity of everything in your closet.

An entire rack of clothing Made in the U.S.A.

An entire rack of clothing Made in the U.S.A.

Whether you’re in Amesbury, MA for a local event, to sample cuisine at one of the fine restaurants, or just out for a stroll, stop into Parke Place Boutique and enjoy a shopping experience that’s sophisticated, comfortable and on the pulse of both the latest clothing trends and the most timeless of fashions.

Attention to details at Attentif’ Design!

Attentif' Design front window

Image courtesy of Attentif’ Design Facebook page.

If you can walk by the window of Attentif’ Design and not notice it, you’re missing a unique shopping experience. The thoughtfully designed front window displays of this shop at 44 Main Street in Amesbury, Massachusetts are designed to grab attention and invite shoppers inside. The latest photo on Facebook of their front window display is proof of how eye-catching their designs are and why you need to step inside, have a look around and acquire whatever strikes your fancy.

There are always so many beautiful things to see in Attentif’ Design that it’s hard to decide where to look first. The store displays are creatively arranged to guide you through the store as your eyes drift across the lovely wares. Owner and interior designer, Kathi Gannett displays items in such a way that it helps you envision them set out neatly in your home. Displays are done by theme, object, color and even purpose and grouped so well that it feels as though you’re touring someone’s well-designed home instead of a shop.

I adored this romance-themed display during my last visit.

Romance-themed display.

Everyone’s interior decorating tastes are different and Attentif’ Design acknowledges that by having a bit of everything for everyone. Throw pillows are an easy, affordable and quick way to change the look of a couch, chair or window seat and there’s a nice variety inside the store. A pillow featuring a key design adds an antique touch and a brightly colored flower patterned pillow freshens up the living room couch with spring blooms.

Coveted key pillow.

Attentif’ Design features items made by local residents, including cutting boards quite capable of standing up to the abuse kitchen tools endure. The cutting boards are durable, sturdy, well-made and crafted with attention to detail and quality of work.

Blockhead Cutting Boards

Blockhead Cutting Boards

There are items in Attentif’ Design for homes of any square footage, from small detailed touches like jars, candles and figurines to larger pieces such as lamps, end tables and ottomans. When space is at a premium in a home, black and gold folding tray tables are a creative solution. The high rim of the tabletop prevents items from falling off. The table can remain set up as decoration or unfolded for extra surface area when needed. Truly a stunning addition to any interior design!

The folding black and gold tray tables.

Folding black and gold tray tables.

Attentif’ Design does custom orders of items and owner Kathi Gannett is happy to work with customer’s ideas and requests. She offers interior design services and judging by her store, there’s no denying the quality of her work. Attentif’ Design is open later hours on the third Thursday of every month, which allows people more time to shop and view the seemingly endless decorative, beautiful and functional items for sale inside this unique store.

Perks of Positivity

My farmer neighbor and his tractor saving the day!

My farmer neighbor and his tractor saving the day!

I’ve lost track of the number of times the universe has shown me that when you put positive energy out, it returns magnified in ways you couldn’t imagine. Positive energy, actions and thoughts beget positive results. Negativity begets more negativity and gets you nowhere but down.

The kindness of my farmer neighbor clearing out my driveway with his tractor this morning was a positive payback for something I’m doing right. I’ve never met the farmer, only waved to him when he drives by Jazz and I when we’re out walking, and I’ve never asked him to plow my driveway. He just helps this single mom and her two daughters out of the kindness of his heart. I tried to go out and give him some money for gas this morning but by the time I got outside, he was gone. I will definitely be sending him a thank you note though to make sure he knows how much I appreciate his help!

I won’t lie, it’s been hard to stay positive this winter with all the snow and cold. Being positive takes effort some days but it’s always worth the effort! Was I happily out singing while I shoveled my deck and steps repeatedly yesterday? Heck no, I’m an optimist, not a lunatic. But I do know that winter doesn’t last forever and that eventually warmer weather will win out and this mountain of snow will just be a distant memory/nightmare for the next several months.

Now that I’m feeling better, I can refocus my positivity and resume writing about my adventures in Amesbury, MA and why I think everyone needs to visit, enjoy and shop in that town!

Picture from my February  2014 trip to Amesbury, MA

Picture from my February 2014 trip to Amesbury, MA

There have been some great articles recently about Amesbury in The Daily News of Newburyport and I’m so happy to see my favorite trip destination finally receive the attention it deserves! I’ve linked to some of the articles here and I encourage you to read them!

New campaign keeps downtown shops open late

The final chapter

Show Me a Sign

Planting the seed for sustainable growth

The top of Amesbury

Amesbury downtown looks optimistically toward spring

Just one more reason why I love this town

Were I a less positive person, I’d think that writing about the town is better left to publications like The Daily News and local residents and that there’s nothing I can really offer as just a girl from Upstate NY. I happen to be a positively perky and persistent woman though and I know that the more that is written about Amesbury, the better! I’ve only ever received positive feedback when I write about Amesbury and I am honored by such encouragement. Every perspective has its own advantages, insights and power and every voice matters. Even a rambling voice like mine.

The power of cornbread

skillet cornbread

Yesterday morning I woke up craving cornbread. So I made some. This might not seem very monumental but considering I’ve been sick, tired, not quite myself and that my biggest daily feat has been showering, mixing up and baking cornbread from scratch was a very big thing. I baked the bread in one part of the two-part cast iron skillet I received as a gift and it came out perfect and tasty!

An interesting thing happened when I took the first bite of cornbread, I had a sudden idea for a dish to go with it. It was a dish I’ve never seen made before and never made myself but the ingredients for it popped into my head as the perfect complement for the cornbread. I decided to go out that afternoon and get everything I needed, along with ingredients for cheesecake because I’ve been craving that lately. I’ve never made cheesecake before either so it’s quite amazing what just making that one batch of cornbread motivated me to do.

I made my new main dish this evening and it turned out exactly as I thought it would. The taste was how I imagined it would be and I was impressed that I’d bought all the right ingredients to create it. I didn’t do a lot of measurements, I don’t usually when I’m cooking, but it included tomato paste, cooked winter squash, ground pork, ground turkey, lentils, pinto beans, corn and all the perfect spices to accomplish a savory, delicious, hearty and satisfying dish. Dipping my cornbread in it was divine and I was so proud of myself! I made cheesecake too and while I haven’t tasted it yet, it looks and smells yummy!

I’m happiest when I’m doing something, especially when it’s creative. I consider baking and cooking just as creative as my writing, painting and clay work. Being too tired to express any part of my creativity has been extremely frustrating for me. Now that I’m feeling better and am awake more than asleep, I’m certain I’ll continue my creative work and find new avenues for expressing my imagination. Behold, the power of cornbread!

The lions of March

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There’s that saying “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.” It’s usually in reference to the weather, but for me it’s effected me inside more than outside.

The last day of February I came down with a cold, my first cold of the entire winter season. I’ve had colds before, I’m familiar with and can handle the constant sneezing, coughing, nose blowing and proverbial trail of kleenex I leave in my wake. What I was unprepared for was waking up this past Friday morning with a horrible earache and partial deafness in my left ear.

I took some ibuprofen to dull the pain and as I’ve dealt with plugged ears before, I knew it would unplug eventually. Unfortunately, by the end of the day I felt worse and by Saturday, I knew continuing to hope for the best might not be the wisest course. So I drove myself to urgent care, was told my ear wasn’t infected (thankfully!) and left with a prescription for antibiotics. Once home I took more pain meds, my prescription and went back to bed, the place I’d been spending much of my time since Friday morning.

Despite my discomfort, I know how fortunate I am that I work from home and am able to rest as needed. I’ve managed to get work done because I can sit down somewhere comfortable to do it and don’t have to worry about making anyone else sick. Even so, I’m not getting done as much as I’d planned for March.

I’d planned to make March my lion month, my month to roar and get things done! Write about more Amesbury businesses, work on my clay projects, expand my freelance writing, start spring cleaning and so on. Alas, I’ve been too tired to focus on much of that and I fear I’m falling behind. I can catch up, I’m tenacious and determined enough to, but first I need to get well.

Today I woke feeling more human and functional than I have in several days and for that I’m truly grateful! I’m still moving a bit slower than usual, Jazz seems worried I’m dying and ibuprofen is my best friend but I know I’m on the road to recovery. Every improvement, even minor ones, are major victories. Even so, I’ve dealt with enough lions of March and I’m ready for some nice, fuzzy lambs!

Working with my hands

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While typing my words out is one way of working with my hands, that’s just one exploration of my creativity. As my father was into woodworking, working with my hands runs in the family but my medium isn’t wood. My chosen medium is one I recently rediscovered a love for: clay.

My renewed interest in clay as an artistic medium was inspired by my visit to the Weedon Island Preserve in St. Petersburg, Florida. The museum there had various types of pottery on display, all created by the natives of the region. There was an interactive exhibit where the fabricated broken pieces of pottery had to be reassembled and I found the greatest joy in doing that.
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It reignited a creative spark within me that hadn’t seen light since high school.

As soon as I returned home from Florida, I began researching clay. I can’t afford, nor do I have room for a kiln, so I decided to use oven-bake polymer clay. After some research online as to what I’d need, I purchased some clay and tools. I thought I might make jewelry or some small decorative pottery to paint but I wasn’t quite sure where to start.

The moment the girls saw the clay I got, Jordan wanted to make all sorts of things and Jaycie wanted me to make her the turtle pictured on the package of colored clay. That turtle was the first thing I’ve made since a built a little clay village in school. The turtle was a bit rough but Jaycie loved it and it now resides happily in the play castle.
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Jordan and I collaborated on a Valentine’s Day angel for my mother and she went on to make a cheetah and a Rapunzel figure.
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After those projects, I decided to create a small samurai figure as a gift for a friend and that’s when my clay muse really came to life!

From that gift of a small samurai, came the suggestion that I make more of them and other types of warrior figures. These seemed like a fun idea to me so I set to work building my little army out of terra cotta clay. I love working with the terra cotta because it feels natural and earthy to me and can be left as is and look beautiful without any paint.

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It’s taken me some trial and error but I’m getting more efficient at creating my little warriors and I’m having fun every step of the way!
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By the time the sun sets I’ve gone back and forth to my toaster oven numerous times baking the pieces at various steps of the process, my fingers and palms are reddish-brown from kneading, rolling, sculpting and molding the terra cotta clay and I can’t stop smiling. This latest expression of my creativity is truly fulfilling and as with all my art, I seek to share it with the world in any way I can.

Pawsome Pup Finds at Paws Pet Boutique!

Exterior of Paws Pet Boutique on Main Street, Amesbury

Exterior of Paws Pet Boutique on Main Street, Amesbury

If you’re a dog owner, chances are you spoil your loyal, four-legged friend. A great store to accommodate such spoiling is Paws Pet Boutique at 106 Main Street in Amesbury, MA. The moment you step inside you’ll be impressed by the surprising size of the store and the expansive selection of food, toys and supplies for dogs. The employees within the store are very friendly, helpful and happy to answer questions. Customers are greeted pleasantly and welcome to browse the variety of dog items.

For those dogs that require distractions and entertainment, there are treat balls and puzzles and the store is happy to provide you with the perfect size treats to go inside. Dogs love a challenge and work busily for several minutes trying to get all the treats out of the ball.

Just some of the toys available inside.

Just some of the toys available inside.

In the cold temperatures, ice, snow, mud, salt and sand, it’s important to protect your dog’s delicate paw pads. Paws Pet Boutique carries rubber booties by Pawz Dog Boots that are specially designed to protect paw pads and remain on the dog’s feet throughout the walk. Pawz Dog Boots are also great if your dog has an injury that the vet doesn’t want them licking because they stay on securely while keeping the paw clean and dry.

Another necessity in the chilly weather is a canine coat. Dogs with shorter fur are happier in a jacket when the temps dip below 40 degrees. Paws Pet Boutique has a large selection of dog jackets and can help you find the right size for your pup.

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Along with an entire wall of dog toys, collars, leashes and supplies, there’s several varieties of dog food and treats. If you have a dog who is finicky about her food, the experts at Paws Pet Boutique can offer suggestions and help.

Paws Pet Boutique Amesbury MA

Stop into Paws Pet Boutique for everything your loyal companion requires and your pup will thank you!