Author Archive: Marie

Why I Shop Small…

It isn’t because I have anything against shopping BIG…for sure. In fact, if you were to ask Joe, he would tell you “that’s a lie! She most definitely shops BIG!” 🙂 But the truth is, the real reason I shop small…I had no idea meant so much, until I started looking around.

Everywhere I look I see friends and a story. I see laughter and good times. Moments shared that are forever in my mind. It could be a story about Fred telling Joe (in his most mischievous tone and with laughter) “Hey Joe, Marie’s down in Joan’s booth…again!!!” (REALLY FRED!!!) Or it could be Eddie reminding Joe that he definitely got the better deal when we brought home a truckload of chairs and he (Eddie) only took home a few measly candles.

It could be a memory of being with my mom, Erin and Amanda as we strolled small town shops on one of our holiday outings and I purchased the mantle (or another Santa) from Becky. It could be setting my drink on a coaster that Toni made and wondering how Dale is doing since his last visit to the doctor. It may be looking up at the sign that John and Jane made and thinking about John Denver and country roads -we both LOVE him! (Kindred spirits for sure!)

And what about the very  first Santa that my dear friend Gay made (especially for me). It always reminds me of the good times we’ve had. THAT SANTA, btw, started my frenzy of collecting them! Gay is also the reason we do what we do. She was my mentor and the whole reason we ever started venturing into art & craft shows in the first place; she was our catalyst. (Thank you Gay!)

Or when I’m cooking dinner and grab a potato that sits in the bin of this beautiful old scale, I think of Cara and her mom, Jan. And the old mirror frame that now is a chalkboard that Kenny & Joe carried for blocks from an antique store (how they were able to maneuver that huge thing into to the van!?) while Christie and I followed behind snickering and snapping pictures. And speaking of Kenny & Christie (my soul sister) the little house they made sits on top of my cabinet and it reminds me of the day we met. I turn the light on first thing every morning and off last thing every night.

And my Santa picture that comes out every year that was bought from Gary and Sandy (have I mentioned how much I love Santa!) And the sign that hangs in our living room from Teri & Don that tells us WE ARE BLESSED (and the one on the deck reminding the boys…NO PEEING OFF THE DECK!) Or my beautiful white Christmas trees purchased in Rockville at the little antique store (Neva’s) where we once had a booth. The sign that sits in Joe’s room that tells him the forecast…warm with occasional beers, from Judy and Dave. And the old porch rail that has a new home over the sink, from Mary’s booth.

And ohhhh….my gypsy case that Jodie spent hours on, redoing it to make it what it is now…beautiful! The dip mixes that are housed in the jar on the shelf. Every time I make a dip I think of my friends Amanda and Megan (I call them my dippy friends…with MUCH love, of course!)

And what about the jewelry that Wendy made, and I ADORE (she’s so talented!) Or the sweater I bought from Jessica and Tjody. And the tunic(s) that Cindy sewed (especially for me, I’m sure of it!) The clothes…the clothes alone…my closet is full of handmade treasures. The scarves…the scarves! Wrapped in love, literally!

I could go on and on, of course, but you get the idea (I guess Joe’s right…I do shop BIG…sigh…). But our home is FULL of these treasures and we are surrounded by our friends and the memories we’ve made with them. I shop small because there’s always a story, a memory, a belly laugh (usually) and I always feel surrounded in love and warmth (especially standing beside the fireball that Bonnie and her hubby made and GIFTED to Joe!)

And yes, I do shop at Walmart and Target and Amazon, but only when I HAVE to. I would much rather buy small and feel the energy of the people I know and love surrounding me. To know that someone made something with their own hands, or to pick up something old and think of the stories it could tell. Or just to know that I have contributed in some small way to someone’s dream of working for themselves, that’s enough.

That’s it…that’s why I shop small.

But whether you shop big or small, old or new, may your home feels as warm and cozy as ours. Wrapped in love, telling a story, and always with a smile (or hopefully a belly-laugh!…those are always the BEST!) IMG_1852 IMG_1854 IMG_1855 IMG_1856 IMG_1857 IMG_1858 IMG_1859 IMG_1860 IMG_1861 IMG_1862 IMG_1863 IMG_1864 IMG_1865 IMG_1867 IMG_0157IMG_1868

Purposefully Exposed Cords

I may be the only person I know (besides my gypsee sister, Christie) that LOATHES cords. (LOATHES!) I will do just about anything to hide them. In fact I don’t think there’s a cord visible in our house. I hide them well and go to great lengths to do so.

But… I saw this post on Pinterest one day and heard the angels singing! (YES. I. Did.) How cool was that! And why hadn’t I thought of it??? BRILLIANT!IMG_9708

I pinned it and then forgot about it. I then found a huge roll of jute for cheap at a second hand store and immediately grabbed it. I didn’t go to work covering cords right away, but as soon as I saw a post on how to Feng Shui your office to remove energy blocks, I knew what needed to be done…right away. My chair needed to be moved to face the doors (the power position), and in order for this to happen I needed to float my desk.  No problem! I had the solution.

It took a minute to get a method and flow going, but once I got started it was easy. I can now say I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the look of my purposefully exposed cords. I think it has a nautical feel to it. I have since done this on every cord that I haven’t been able to conceal well. They just look so much tidier and feel less cluttered, and I’m no longer in agony over how to hide them.

What do you think?



How Will You Keep Stress To A Minimum This Christmas?

I know what I’ll be doing…enjoying the season! The music, the lights, the energy in the air, the dinners IMG_1750AND desserts, the ugly sweaters, the movies…classics, favorites and the cheesy ones too! Contemplating the birth of Jesus and of course all of the Santa’s (I do have a large collection of them, after all).
Joe and I decided several years ago, maybe 2008, to STOP shopping for Christmas. I don’t mean STOP completely, but mostly. We decided that:

1. We didn’t have the “desire” to shop at Christmas, not like everyone else is, anyway.

2. This family was growing quickly, and let’s
be honest…we would not enjoy Christmas, as we now do, if we were stressed about what to buy for everyone.

3. Making gifts and buying handmade felt better and made a LOT more sense, for us.

4. Sharing memories meant more.

5. Corporate greed is way over done.

6. I LOVE the final outcome of the family video I make every year (as I hope they all do). It’s actually a bit therapeutic and a very enjoyable process. Creating it is not without it’s hiccups, but I always seem to figure it out (Marie Forleo says everything is figureoutale, I think she’s right!), and just in the Saint Nick of time!  Now if Apple would just stop messing with iMovie…
IMG_1754IMG_1756 So what will you do to keep the stress down this year? Are you willing to change some traditions and put “sanity”, “peace” and “calm” on your list? And what is your FAVORITE Christmas movie? (I could never narrow it down to one!)

I’d love to hear your ideas.




Comfort & Joy

I love waking up in the morning and fluffing the pillows from where we sat together the night before, relaxing. Him on the couch and me in the chair. A reminder of our nightly ritual. Like clockwork, he sits in the same place, and so do I. No need to think about changing “now”, although I do think his spot on the couch is more comfy than mine (and when he’s not home that’s where I’m planted!) Slipcovered and soft, like a favorite pillow you’d take along on your travels…that’s how that couch feels to me.

But my chair is good too, wide enough for two. In fact most would even call it a love seat, but with only one cushion, in my book, it’s a chair. A chair that’s meant to be lounged in, almost like a bed. I do that sometimes too, but mostly I just sit with my legs curled under me sipping my tea or wine, while looking for and indulging in, a new series on Netflix, our guilty pleasure, (we can power through a series in no time) and the occasional movie.

That’s our night, every night when we’re at home. Talking over the day, discussing the next, and winding down for the evening. So I love to get up in the morning & fluff the pillows from the night before and turn the cushions on occasion. Hang the throw back over the arm of the chair and know… same place, same time, tonight, we’ll be be there.

Home. Comfort & Joy.


I Felt the Joy and Relief Rising Inside

IMG_8182Knowing how you want to feel, as Danielle Laporte has said, is the most potent form of clarity you can have.

What a great lesson, and one that Joe & I have recently learned. After brainstorming ideas [for two full days] on how to grow our online business, Joe, thank God, woke up on the third day with the clarity we were looking for:

“I don’t want to do this. If we move forward with this plan we’ll be completely tied down. We will not be able to travel and live our life with FREEDOM. We’ll be stuck here, married to the shop and shipping orders 24/7. I don’t want that and I don’t want to hire anyone else to do it for us. I want our life to be as simple and as FUN as possible. I want to enjoy life.”  BINGO! He knew exactly how he wanted to feel!

This is one of the things that I LOVE about him! It doesn’t matter that the “experts” say you should be building online and doing this or doing that. If it isn’t what he wants to do, then he doesn’t do it. Period. He will listen and entertain the idea, briefly, and then he’ll decide if it’s right for him. He KNOWS that “he” is his own expert. Another great lesson that he’s taught me. If it’s not his thing he has no problem letting it go.

But I know he had to be a little hesitant to share his “let’s just scrap it” thought with me, since for the past two days we had done nothing but work out exactly how we would execute “said plan”. But I’m so glad he did!!

AWESOME, I said… now we start over. But this time let’s work backwards. Let’s decide where we wanna be in the next three years, how we want our life to look & feel and go from there. And so we did. We took turns asking each other questions and getting really clear on what it was we wanted the most, and then…we sat down and wrote out our new plan: 

  • more fun
  • more travel
  • more adventure
  • more camping
  • more fishing
  • more nights with friends
  • more home-cooked meals and on and on…

Sitting down with pen and paper and deciding on a course of action together, expanded me. I literally felt the joy and relief rising inside. I realize now how simple it can all be if we don’t complicate it. Joe’s willingness to admit- after two days of master minding- that this wasn’t what he wanted, was the game changer. It freed up so much energy,  giving us the power to LET IT GO – for now. It’s a great idea but the timing isn’t right. We still have all of the notes and can revisit/change our minds anytime we want, but for now, it’s a no. We’ll always have an online store, but we won’t be working on expanding it…yet.

Our focus NOW is on having as much FUN as possible. Living simply. Not being tied down. Soulful, self-discovery. FREE-SPIRIT JUNKIES!!

And now we have more time to focus on doing the things we want to do, like canoe. We realized on our last trip to MI that we could have a lot more fun when we camp if we had our own canoe to maneuver the lakes and streams that Joe likes to fish. We even bought and installed a canoe rack so when we do find the “perfect one” we’re ready to haul it away. I have visions of canoeing everywhere! I might even start fishing!!

Since I’ve cleaned up my act and gotten clear on what I want- I know like I’ve never known before- I am finding it easier to say YES & NO! For example: I started taking a high intensity exercise class that I LOATHE, so it’s an easy… HELL-NO! Yoga? YES. I LOVE yoga. Kettle bells? YES. I LOVE KB’s. Fitness hoops? YES. I LOVE them! Battle ropes? YES. I LOVE them too! I have a whole area at home dedicated to movement that I enjoy; I am not going to spend my precious time doing something I hate to do. Not anymore.

Having clarity in my (our) life is exactly where I (we) want to stay.  The point is to know how you want to feel…FOR REAL! Then set your goals based on THAT. Which is EXACTLY what I teach in my workshops (proof positive that we teach what we need to learn, ourselves.) I know if it doesn’t support how I want to feel, it’s a NO. I am only saying yes to things that I want to do. Life just got a whole lot easier!

As with everything it takes time, commitment to the process, and doing it over and over again…until you get it right. All failure is feedback. (What was the lesson?) We’ll for sure keep tweaking our plan; adding or taking away whatever we need to in order to achieve our goals. We will also continue to stay in alignment with how we want to feel, because ultimately that’s what we’re looking for with any goal we set…the feeling it’s going to give us in the end.

Blessings! And feel GOOD!

Are you in alignment with how you want to feel? How has this worked for you? I would love to hear about it in the comments below.

Keep Practicing

IMG_5993When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. 

-Dr. Wayne Dyer 

Question: What are you looking at in a negative way that could be blocking the positive flow of energy into your life? And how can you change it? 

I was riding my bike the other day and became immediately irritated when I (unexpectedly) came up on gravel the road crews had put down as “patch work” where there used to be pavement. I don’t know if you’ve ever biked though gravel, but it isn’t a lot of fun! Right away I was pissed! I started swearing and growling as I pedaled through the thick of it. I was sure I was going to wreck and started down the abyss of what if’s… what if I wreck? I’ll cut my legs up OF COURSE! What if a car comes up behind me and I have to get over into the thicker part? I’ll cut my legs up OF COURSE!

And then I started laughing. Because you know…what you think about, you bring about. So I said to myself…“Really! You’re having this great day and you’re gonna let something like THIS ruin it!? I don’t think so- good try though- EGO (edge GOD out!) 

And then I laughed some more! And then I asked myself, how could I change being highly irritated to being extremely happy? And I knew immediately I needed to start counting my blessings; a gratitude list.

I thought of how thankful I was that I even had a bike to ride, and a road to ride it on, that the sun was shining and that I have this really wonderful life. I kept going until I got rode into the driveway…my list was long!

The fact is, you can’t be counting your blessings and be mad at the world at the same time- it’s just not possible, since you can only have one thought at a time.

So at first I reacted, and then I responded. When I realized I had a choice to either stay mad or to get glad, I immediately changed it. Retraining our brains is a daily practice (sometimes minute by minute). And one worth doing!

We all have a choice. Our thoughts & our beliefs are what make us who we are. Make them GOOD! And keep practicing!!

Best Friends Desire Map Workshop- September, 2015

31. Have FUN!


Me and my friend Jenny…having a BLAST!

Tip #31- have FUN!  Just have FUN! It’s something we forget to do much of the time. Our motto is- Lighten Up! (and we mean it…literally AND figuratively!) 🙂

That’s it. A month of tips on the getting started in arts & crafts business, but I’m not going anywhere, I will be here to answer your questions and help you do whatever it is that you need to do to get your booty moving!

Stay in touch and leave your comments below. Was this helpful? Yes? No? I would LOVE your feedback!

Peace and BLESSINGS!



30. Just Do It!

IMG_9793Tip #30- Just do it! I cannot express this enough! If this is something you’re thinking of doing, or you’ve been toying with the idea and can’t make a decision, JUST DO IT! Go for it! There is nothing NO-THING to lose. You  will feel better in the end.

Not making a decision, is still making a decision; a decision to stay still, stay stagnate, stay in fear. Do NOT let fear stop you. It’s time to rise! Time to shine! Time to get busy living! Just do it!

How do you WANT to feel? Dream. Believe. Have faith. What will you do to get that feeling? Baby steps. Slow & steady. Consistent. Committment. Be committed. Rewire. Jump. You win because you are prepared for failure. Prepared FOR failure. Failure= one way it didn’t work. You are prepared.

You keep going. You know there is a way. Find it. Find a way. Figure—it—out. Keep going. Jump. Your beliefs always override your values. You believe. Are you interested or are you committed. Commit. Just do it.

I only have one more tip to go (and it’s a super easy one-a no brainer!) I hope you have found this month of tips helpful. I have enjoyed sharing them.

I would love to hear your thoughts. Have you tried selling your art & crafts? If so, what was your experience? What is the one thing you want to know? Leave a comment below so I can help you figure this out and we’ll get your booty into action! ( CAN do it!)



read tip #29 here

29. Festival Network Online

BBBsept2014Tip #29- FNO– This is a website that is VERY valuable. Even when a fellow vendor has told me about a show, I go here to see what I can find out first: 

There is a paid and free version. I always start with free. See how it serves you and if you need more, upgrade.

I would love to hear your thoughts. Have you tried selling your art & crafts? If so, what was your experience? What is the one thing you want to know? Leave a comment below so I can help you figure this out and we’ll get your booty into action! ( CAN do it!)



read tip #28 here

28. Helpful Apps

imageTip #28 Helpful Apps- There’s an app for that…right? YES! I LOVE my apps. Joe can’t stand to pick up my phone because I am an app junkie! But here a few of my favorites for living life on the road and doing what we do:

1. Camp & RV- this app is NOT free. I think it was $10, but I LOVE it! It list all campground info, rest areas, truck stops, toll roads- you name it.

2. Priceline- when we have to have a hotel Priceline is my goto. I always start there.

3. Gas Buddy- always know where the best price is on fuel. And for us, you can use a filter to find diesel (not always easy!)

4. Halfway- this is just a really useful app that let’s you see the halfway point when traveling. Great metope spots (if you need them etc.) Sometimes we meet our wholesale customers on our way to shows so this is a great app!

5. Trip Advisor- this is just what it says-find restaurants. things to do, hotels-everything. It’s a great tool.

This is just a few- there are many, many more- but these are great for starters. Do you have a favorite app?

I would love to hear your thoughts. Have you tried selling your art & crafts? If so, what was your experience? What is the one thing you want to know? Leave a comment below so I can help you figure this out and we’ll get your booty into action! ( CAN do it!)



read tip #27 here