Collections: Thoughts and Things Celebrate, Create, Contemplate. Repeat.

Category Archives: Quotes

Temporary Vignette (aka the Brussel Sprouts Post)

I’ll admit watching the Instagram Husband made me chuckle, and was a tad inspiring. Rarely taking food pictures, I snapped a quick photo of dinner-in-progress to amaze/entertain family & friends.  (My kids love brussel sprouts. One munchkin even requested them for her birthday dinner. I know, crazy.)

However, the image kept floating across my mind. Odd. Yet I had a twinge that the blog-world just might need a brussel sprouts photo.

Not much really here except a side dish, or is there?

Brussel Sprouts

Hmmm, a vignette in your home displays what you hold dear.  A temporary vignette just might too.

This snapshot is a snapshot of my life.  So, what’s cookin’?

  • Pink Hawaiian sea salt, purchased not for culinary goals but because we have four daughters. It’s pink!
  • A tiny Ball jar, originally a gift of honey from a friend’s apiary.
  • Butter. My husband is Norwegian, for him butter is a food group. The butter tray is not-quite milk glass thrifted Pyrex.
  • The vintage pepper pot is a flea market find. I have knocked it out of the cabinet more than once, demolishing the lid and adding a few chips/patina. (Clouds of pepper, achoo! )

  • The antique cast iron pan belonged to my Grandmother.  The colander was also hers, I remember wearing it on my head playing in her kitchen.  These items have been preparing dinner for at least 80 years.
  • The wooden spoon is a souvenir from Paris. Beautiful and useful. Sigh, I love Paris.   The spoon was purchased at the E. Dehillerin cookware store. This trip was a “carpe diem/can’t believe this airfare/I have a coupon” moment. As a bonus, the spoon gives me less than six degrees of separation from customers Chuck Williams, Julia Child, and Martha Stewart. (#letsgonow)
  • Not everything is roses and moonbeams, I may cook with similar spoons but I do not achieve Julia and Martha results. C’est la vie.
  • And at last, the sprouts. I like to change up the menu when our schedule allows for weekday family meals. Along with introductions to yellow beets, parsnips, jicama and kale, we gave the little cabbages a try.  One sprout per family member at first, then two, then three. And now the ultimate family approval–it’s on the Costco list.  (Will my family eat anything with salt and butter? Nope. Beets and parsnips have not been invited back.)

This temporary vignette was certainly unexpected. One that makes me take a moment of gratitude. And I might appreciate brussel sprouts just a little bit more.

Now, who’s hungry?   :)

I’ve been having a ‘finish what you’re writing’ slump. (253 blog posts published, and 165 drafts.) I’m now pressing publish.  Thanks brussel sprouts.

Mazel Tov

This weekend we attended our first, and second, Bat Mitzvah celebrations (twins!).

My daughter has known the girls since 1st grade and we were excited to attend.  While confirming the driving directions, I read this,

. . . we are a Reform synagogue committed to helping Jews and their loved ones build a joyful, spiritual, caring, and egalitarian community.

And that’s exactly the experience we had.  What a joyful morning. Proud parents, prepared daughters. Cantors with resonate voices. I held hands with the tiniest elderly woman in a rainbow hued outfit. We sang, snapped and clapped. We listened, prayed, and danced (!). It was an honor to share this with the family and congregation  (I would like to note that the stand-up sit-down ratio does rival a Catholic service.)  

I snapped two photos from the siddur – prayer book (post service, of course) that I wanted to revisit.  So here goes.

Jewish prayer 1


And, reading the following prayer reminded me of many friends who have lost parents–this same Saturday, last week, this summer, this year, last year, three years ago .  .  .

Jewish prayer 2

May their memories be for blessing.


Shabbat shalom, שַׁבָּת שָׁלוֹם

Memories new & old. Thanks so much for sharing.

Hope 1

Perhaps they are not stars in the sky, but rather openings where our loved ones shine down to let us know they are happy.


Today Collections:  Thoughts and Things celebrates its two year blogiversary.

With a click of publish, this will be my 234th post. Woo hoo! Now why doesn’t seem like there’s a least a bit more space in my brain?

In lieu of a cake, here is a photo buffet. Each links to a blog post for a clickable mini-history.

Vintage Dance Cards Jr Prom 2

First Post. Vintage Dance Cards

Antique Kings Safety Goggles 1

One of my favorite collections, vintage glasses

 Hand-stitched antique gown. And speaking of heirlooms, or just plain looms, I have a few . . .

Antique Baby Gown

Can’t imagine trying to button the row of tiny pearls on the back of a wiggling baby.

A surprise find right under my nose. OK, just above it.

The BOAT, UW gold medal crew

The Husky Clipper

New on the blog was joining Instagram this summer–too much fun! All of my favorite things literally at my fingertips: architectural details, thrifty finds, Paris and ponies. Oh, yes of course, my family, one of whom now has me hooked on corgis.  Speaking of corgis . . . an Australian postcard stamp. I love the colors.

Queen Elizabeth II Australian Postage

The Queen looks quite lovely, even with the shark postmark heading towards her hat.

While following steps in the How to Start a Blog  video, I wrote this for the ‘about me page’.

I quite love finding old things, everyday things, and celebrating them. I try to mix beautiful/useful with reduce/reuse/recycle with an occasional dash of feng shui.  For the most part I am craftily challenged, have a brown thumb (plants lean away from me) and I may be APP (A Procrastinating Perfectionist).   Employing a ‘use what you have decorating’ theme, while juggling the ever-changing schedule/needs/charms of my favorite collection–four kids.

Breathe, Be Grateful, Smile, Take your vitamin.   And welcome to my collections of thoughts and things.

Reading it today it still holds true, except for the plant part, I am fairly close now to a certified black thumb.

Thanks to my family & friends, & old garages. Inspiration abounds, and I’m looking forward to year three.

A birthday cake. Kind ofCelebrate, Create, Contemplate. Repeat.

Celebrating @ Creativity Unleashed link party!link party palooza banner

Here’s The Key To . . .

Sorry.  The post title is a wee bit misleading, I’ve got      well,     actually    nothing. Not the key to happiness or wisdom or success. Or even to where those missing socks are. But I do keep trying. With four kids, I am confident in saying choose wood floors wherever possible. However, I do have a collection of vintage keys.

These are the oldest keys in the collection. Collection of KeysIn the duo below, the top key was used to open the front door to my grandparents house. Bent from 100 years of use, or from one really frustrating incident?  The little key on the bottom is just plain cute.

 Antique Skeleton Key, and buddy

A trio of the same style key, yet different weights, lengths and cut/teeth types.Trio of Vintage KeysThese small utilitarian objects spent a majority of time waiting, or in a dark pocket or purse.  Gorgeous detail and patina, and in the just the size of a thumb. Wonder if anyone noticed when it was in use?

Vintage Key Detail It’s always fun to find a unique old key in a junk drawer. I wonder what each key opens? A mystery that fits in your hand.

Skeleton Key Details

Key wards or bits

Here is another set of ‘keys’ I’ve collected. Halfway thought January is an ideal time for me to remember, reflect, and/or readjust.

Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.” Andy Rooney

So true. “Life’s a journey not a race” is a phrase I remember hearing first at kindergarten orientation.

It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about.” Dale Carnegie

I am a Worrier–yes with a capital W.  Re-channel that energy! It doesn’t help the future, past or present. Unless a tree falls on your house, then worry.

Perhaps they are not stars, but rather openings in heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy.” Eskimo Proverb

This I oh-so-believe, for both stars and rainbows. (Yup, I have rose-tinted glasses to balance out the fretting.) Plus it’s such a nice way to remember others, for the kids and for me.

Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the ‘Titanic‘ who waved off the dessert cart.” Erma Bombeck

Carpe diem, and please bring me a chocolate mousse.

The universe is always speaking to us. Sending us little messages, causing coincidences and serendipities, reminding us to stop, to look around, to believe in something else, something more.” Nancy Thayer

Life’s like a movie, write your own ending . . . Kermit the Frog

And that just might be the key.

The Key?

Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” Buddha

You Light Up My Life

If you want a golden rule that will fit everybody, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”
– William Morris, “The Beauty of Life,” Birmingham Society of Arts and School of Design (1880)

Classic statement. Perpetual goal. If Mr. Morris were to pop by right now and peek into our office, he might not think me familiar with this concept. . .

But we found a fabulous item which fulfills the Morris golden rule.

This PS 2014 Pendant Light is from IKEA. No surprise, it came flat. My daughter assembled the many (many) pieces into a mod orb for her room.

IKEA Moving Light 1With a pull of the string, look at the transformation. Voilà! 

IKEA Moving Light 1Beautiful. Useful. Kinetic. Fun. Yup, nailed the golden rule. Literally. (OK fine, used screws.)

I love IKEA. Frozen meatballs and Swedish pancakes often make their way into our cart along with items expressing Swedish ingenuity each visit.Ikea BugHowever, I almost (almost) fell for an item not on my list when I was alone picking up the light. There were delightful furry greeters from the Seattle Humane Society in front of the store.

The big yellow adoption bus brings adoptable pets to IKEA Seattle twice a month. Cats, kittens and dogs are available for on-the-spot adoptions. All pets are spayed or neutered, vaccinated, microchipped, and come with a certificate for a free health exam.

Oh my, I did not come home with a new pet, but ever-so close.

IKEA PS 2014 pendant lightt

The fabulous light was later installed at home, and tested by each family member.  Then retested. What can I say, it’s fun. One more surprise?You Light Up My Life Light

At night the light creates a star on the ceiling. Perfect for my little star. Love it.

PS. While checking the IKEA website to confirm the name of this snazzy fixture, I now admire them even more after reading this,

At IKEA Seattle, we are proud to be a member of the greater Puget Sound community and we are dedicated to giving back to the local communities where our co-workers live and work. Most recently, we have donated to the following organizations:

● Community in Schools of Renton  ● Renton River Days Festival ●Bridge of Promise
● Renton Area Youth and Family Services  ● Boyer Children’s Clinic ● Seattle Children’s Theatre
● NW Furniture Bank  ● Washington Spanish School●Academy Schools ● Nordic Heritage Museum
● Northwest Harvest  ● Vision House  ● Save Habitat and Diversity of Wetlands
● Save Habitat and Diversity of Wetlands  ● Camp Korey at Carnation Farm
● New Phoebe House Association  ● Woodin Elementary School
● Darcy Read Memorial Preschool  ● Compass Housing Alliance ●Kenmore Elementary
● Stillwaters Environmental Education Center  ● Seattle Architectural Foundation
● Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center – Oblitride  ● A Step Above
● Network Tacoma  ● Academy Schools ●HopeLink  ● Mary’s Place ●  Earth Corps

Beautiful, useful, and from a company with a caring presence in the community. Mr. Morris would be smiling now.

PPS: link to the light

Linking to:

link party palooza banner30 Handmade Days


Shiver Me Timbers

It’s International Talk Like A Pirate Day!

Here’s a great way to celebrate, Mango Languages gives you the opportunity to learn Pirate.

Instruction includes five lessons, including how to give sailing commands, greet a superior & express surprise.  And also provides history and grammar notes. Grammar notes! Use the second person pronoun Ye. And learn the definition of a bilge or a gentlemen o’ fortune.  (For the other 364 days a year, Mango Languages offers over 60 different courses.  It’s a terrific resource we found via our library.)

Since 1995, September 19th offers a boatload of fun.  This year Krispy Kreme is offering a free doughnut for those ordering in pirate, and a free dozen for those wearing pirate costume.

Even NPR is celebrating, posting this image. NPR Pirate Day Image

Some  additional pirate items if you’re celebrating,

Alas, no rum.

I have a pirate in the family, her first name starts with ‘Aye’.   For her,


Will Turner: You cheated.

 Jack Sparrow: Pirate.

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

Avast me hearties, set sails for Krispy Kreme.

Yo ho ho, jolly fun for anyone without a job interview today.

 Ahoy mateys!

H2 Oh My

A woman is like a tea bag – you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Whew. Busy, busy, busy weekend. For myself, my family and my friends.

#summerday 1

The weekend events have been life changing, milestone making, and goal challenging (personal, professional & soccer). Some first world problems (first full week of school, first crushing soccer loss, first sorority rush), and some heart crushing.

Delivering a child to college–full of hopes, dreams, and more than a touch of adrenaline/anxiety is monumental (roots and wings) . But it is in a completely different realm than one friend supporting a co-worker whose six-year old child has a brain tumor, a dear friend shopping for daughters wedding dress, and an inspirational conductor on the ‘most patient mommy train’, shared that her father has a terminal diagnosis.

#summerday 2, Thanks SherryFor a moment respite, I see I have an unplanned mini collection on Instragram.

Water. Life giving, life taking, soothing, powerful, and cleansing. (And yes, I am poaching the analogy from baptism prep classes when our kids were infants.)

Avalanche Creek, Glacier Park

How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” – A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

Montlake Cut

As I am perpetually distracted, please know that I am sending warm thoughts amongst the chaos. (Do we have bread? Did the date pass for the car to be serviced? Where is the rebate form? Report for work completed? Has anyone scooped the kitty litter?  . . .  Squirrel!)  I hope to support you as much as you have me.old pier, Puget Sound

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” – Albert Einstein

Sunset, Thanks B

Thoughts and prayers for my family and peeps.

Puget Sound 2

Virtual Hugs.

Where Were You in 1504?

On September 8, 2014, I was in the car listening to NPR, and the program transitioned to Garrison Keillor.  His voice is lulling to me, so I do not often listen. especially not when driving (safety first).  But I did hear the list of notable events and birthdays that happened on this day.

On this date in 1504, if you were lucky you were in Florence, Italy. Today is the anniversary of the unveiling of Michelangelo’s David.

Michelangelo was twenty-six when he began the commission. 26! He was the third sculptor to work with this piece of Carrara marble.  I’ve visited the historic and beautiful jewel that is Florence.  And today Prairie Home Companion reminded me about ‘meeting’ David. At the museum, I politely meandered into listening range during a tour that had stopped at the masterpiece.  (Which may be a Rick Steves tip . . . ) Different than the books I had read, and the audio-guide I was juggling, the guide shared details about the statue.

Florence Museum Logo

Almost seventeen feet tall, and weighing in at six tons, most can picture the iconic image of David. Truly incredible detail. But not quite everything can be seen when gazing at the statue.

Firenze postcard detail

While I do enjoy the many, many options (aprons, boxers, puzzles, etc.) in the museum store to commemorate a trip to the Galleria dell’ Accademia, I choose a postcard with the unique detail mentioned in the tour. (No, not what you’re thinking.)

Michelangelo's David, Eye DetailHearts.

This enormous, perfectly, intricately carved statue, and the pupils are hearts.

Happy 510th Birthday David.  And thanks Mr. Keillor.

If you knew how much work went into it, you wouldn’t call it genius. ”

The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.” Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni

Quite The Spectrum

The opportunity for foraging was slim given our holiday weekend commitments, but I did have a moment to pop into one sale. Then I did a little happy dance with the following scavenger hunt score.

I’ve wanted one for quite a while. What could it be?Wad of gum? Nope.A wad of gum? Really?

No, no, not a souvenir from a trip to Seattle’s famous/infamous Gum Wall. (One of the attractions at Pike Place Market, a 50+ feet by 15 feet wall of yes, chewed gum. I’d include a photo but it  kind of makes me a bit nauseous.)

Hmmm, this still seems kind of gooey, what is it?

 Still kinda gooey . . .  Detail

A painting?

Nope. However many, many paintings were for sale. The art prices were very much on the healthy/high side, and produced over a period of decades.  Many a vintage treat is found in the garage so I headed that way. I spied two used palettes tucked a way in a stack of boxes.Palette 1

Not the classic rounded shape, shown here by artists Monet and Bob Ross.


One of Monet’s palettes hangs in the Marmottan Museum.

“Let’s add some happy little clouds . . .” Bob Ross, always so positive, anything is possible if you try.

 Two fabulous rectangles, thick with paint and potential. “You want to buy those??”  Yes. 1$ each. Repeat of happy dance.

Palette 2

Not sure exactly where these will land. But one has a new home on our ‘can’t-believe-everyone-doesn’t-have-one’ toboggan of fun.

Nordic Easel

My impromptu Nordic easel is currently displaying a collection of other formerly lost and lonely 1$ adopted items.

Art Toboggan

(I have a tendency want to rescue items that were created by hand, especially unframed art, but that’s fodder for another post.)

Why do two colors, put one next to the other, sing? Can one really explain this? No.
Pablo Picasso

I concur Pablo, and I cannot explain it. But I do hear the siren song. For me, palettes have an intriguing, exceptional energy. Three-peat of happy dance. The nuances as colors mix, the unused globs, the texture. Smile. A piece of history from the universal fraternity of painters. (OK, may have painted that one one on almost as thick as the gum wad.) You know what I mean. Crazy cool. Could it be because my artistic skill set includes primarily hot glue and washi tape?

In our life there is a single color, as on an artist’s palette, which provides the meaning of life and art. It is the color of love.
Marc Chagall

A painting?  Palette detail

One more for a collection is a perfect quest for the next flea market. . .

I found I could say things with colors that I could not say in any other way, things for which I had no words.
Georgia O’Keeffe

Hope you find an inspirational treasure this month too.  Or perhaps an opportunity for a visit to the Gum Wall.

Time for me to crank Pharrell’s “Happy” and dance.


Commencing to Commencement

It’s a big big weekend for many families and students. College and High School graduation season is upon us. A month of milestones.

Grad Postcard 1910

Postcard circa 1910

Seems like we were just turning to wave goodbye as our precious babies boarded the bus for the first day of kindergarten? Kindergarten busYesterday, right?

Today is college graduation for the daughter of my college buddy! Just this once I will write Go Cougs! and mean it. Woo hoo. We have another month before breaking out the tissues as our senior is in the midst of IB testing, prom, dorm forms, and on the cusp of a flurry of senior activities. (You did pick up the graduation tickets, right . . . ?) Word on the street is she might clean her room before graduation too. A mom can dream.

Now, about bigger dreams.

Roots and wings.

Good stuff from past speeches.

“I just want to pause for a moment on the word ‘invent’ because the phrase isn’t ‘succeed in the future,’ it’s not ‘plan for the future’ or ‘do the best you can in the future.’ It’s ‘invent the future.’ And with those three words comes a simple message: a call to chart your own course and live life on your own terms… In the end, it’s up to each of us to define ourselves. It’s up to each of us to invent our own future with the choices we make and the actions we take.” Michelle Obama (Virginia Tech)
Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never–in nothing, great or small, large or petty–never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy. Winston Churchill (Harrow School) 
The commencement speech Winston Churchill gave to his old preparatory school in 1941 isn’t just famous because he’s Winston Churchill – it is also the shortest such speech on record.  
The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive. You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift, for all that it is painfully won, and it has been worth more than any qualification I ever earned.  J.K. Rowling (Harvard University)  
Before she published Harry Potter, she was an unemployed single parent one step away from homelessness. Rowling shared the value of failure and the importance of imagination.
“This is not to suggest you should say ‘YES AND’ to every opportunity presented to you. Now, I know what you’re thinking, ‘Jane, what about doing porno?’ To which I say I am as surprised as you are that I was never offered that opportunity. But would I have said yes to that? What if life gives us the opportunity to rob a bank or a way to cheat on our taxes or say it offers us several hours in a row of life with the Kardashians…hours that we can never get back? To this I say: you can always trust that when you’re coming from your highest self and from your heart, you’ll know when you should say ‘YES AND,’ and when to engage the awesome power of ‘NO WAY.’ Jane Lynch (Smith College)

“As you start your journey, the first thing you should do is throw away that store-bought map and begin to draw your own … “Don’t spend so much time trying to choose the perfect opportunity, that you miss the right opportunity. Recognize that there will be failures, and acknowledge that there will be obstacles. But you will learn from your mistakes and the mistakes of others, for there is very little learning in success.” Michael Dell (University of Texas at Austin)  Founded Dell Computers with $1,000 and the idea to sell computers directly to customers.

 Congratulations to the Class of 2014