Images tagged "kd"

Mary Elizabeth O'Toole

Mary Elizabeth O'Toole

Educator, Artist, Storyteller


  1. Martha

    That would be terrible to lose the Monarchs! There was a special on TV today where the told what to plant and seems like some are planting the brightly colored milkweed which isn’t good. Lia and I love seeing the butterflies fluttering around her wildflower and butterfly gardens.

  2. Alice Gerard

    Some of my favorite native plants that attract pollinators are coneflowers, wild bergamont, phlox, black eyed susan, joe pye weed, and New England aster. They are colorful and beautiful and pollinators love them because they are native to my region (Western New York).

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Sounds lovely. I’ve got all of those growing in my garden too except mainly Tiny aster rather than New England. All colourful, beautiful — and mostly perennial, which is nice too. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Tamara

    Did you write this post specifically for me? It sure feels that way. I needed to hear every single bullet point.
    Our house is sooo cluttered.
    One of my main challenges is my husband who’s a hoarder, and we’ve gotten into ugly arguments when I wanted to get rid of his cr**.

    Another difficulty is that in Switzerland donating items isn’t as simple. Organizations such as the Salvation Army or Goodwill will triage your stuff and refuse to take half of it.

    However, I’ll make a committment here and now: within the next two weeks I’ll go through my kitchen cabinet. I’m pretty sure groceries that are way past their expiration date will show up 🙁

    • Mary Elizabeth

      LOL. Thanks, Tamara – glad that the post resonated with you. It is frustrating to have someone in the house not wanting to be part of the decluttering / minimizing.

      Maybe these posts will give you some new ideas about how to deal with that challenge.

      Like you, I have struggled with places to donate stuff, even really good stuff. You are right – it is not always simple. Recently, I have been having good luck with the Buy Nothing Sites – although there is the challenge of people now showing when they say they will.

      Good luck with your commitment.

  4. Kebba Buckley Button

    Mary Elizabeth, what a beautiful post! You are so right in all you say. I love that, at the beginning, you call out mindset and our ability to give ourselves permission to release. I’m working on a program about letting go of life matters. So important!

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Thanks for your kind words, Kebba. Getting in the right frame of mind to clear does help, I think. I struggled with it more until I realized that letting go of those things that occupy space and don’t suit the life we want to build makes way for things that are more important. I know that you have been going through this process for a while too — continued luck with your journey.

  5. Paul B. Taubman, II

    One of my favorite strategies to let go of stuff is to donate it to charity. This way, I know that my unwanted items are going to a good cause and someone else will be able to use them. Another strategy I like to use is to sell my unwanted items online or at a garage sale. This way, I can make some money back from items that I no longer need or want. Lastly, I sometimes simply throw away items that I don’t want anymore. This is usually reserved for items that are damaged beyond repair or are simply too old to be of any use to anyone.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      I am with you on all counts, Paul. It is definitely easier to let things go when they are going to a new home – and it is really helpful to make a little money if possible. Like you, I sometimes, regretfully, throw things out, usually after making sure any reuseable / recycleable parts have been removed.

  6. Elisa

    Sadly, my first memory in space is the Challenger Explosion. I recently watched a documentary about the astronauts, the media frenzy, and the aftermath of this tragic event. Clearly, the astronauts were living out their dreams, which is all we can hope for – even in the worst of circumstances. I hope we have learned from our mistakes.

  7. Paul Taubman

    I had one of those a-ha’s this week when I realized I shouldn’t be penny-wise and pound foolish.

    This past weekend we needed to remove some small trees. I thought about renting a chainsaw to do the job, but I decided that using a hand saw is possible, it will be good to do some ‘manual labor’ (and I would feel satisfied for a job well-done once completed), and I could save around $50 on the rental fee.

    Long story short, I was sweating up a storm, exhausted, and ‘wasted’ a few hours in the hot sun. I would have been done in 15 minutes had I just rented the chainsaw..

    • Mary Elizabeth

      LOL – that is a good lesson and one that I find I have to keep learning. Too often, I find myself too influenced by the short-term costs of renting a tool – or hiring an expert for a few hours – with the result of putting in much more time, often with a great deal of frustration. Thanks for sharing your insight.

  8. Martha

    I love a challenge and I love your list of prompts! I’m taking your challenge!

  9. Mia Bella

    I’ve been scrapbooking since I was a teenager and love this idea. It’s a great idea for a memory journal. Thanks so much for the inspiration

  10. Martha

    Glad to see you back Mary! I used today to clean out some toys that Lia has out grown and shared them with some neighbors. Have a lot more to go! LOL

  11. Paul B. Taubman, II

    I missed National Give Something Away Day.

    My wife is a big advocate for minimalism, so she always asks me to get rid of things and give them away. It can be difficult to let go of things, even if you don’t need them. But I’ve found that it’s always worth it in the end.

    You free up physical and mental space when you declutter your home and eliminate unnecessary items. You no longer have to worry about where to put things or keeping track of all your stuff.

  12. Jaime

    Hi Mary, I appreciate the inspiration of giving you share in this post and all the different ways we can give. We are finishing up with a garage sale this weekend and will most likely be giving away or donating the left over items. Great idea on getting the kids involved. Every month, my family collects personal hygiene items to donate to our church for families in need. Thank you for sharing. Sending love.

  13. vidya

    so in love with this list (and need to check the 100 things list too now).. Some of the things I do from this list are – take pictures, doodle, dance, and write poems..

  14. Martha

    The night sky is beautiful! I remember when I was a youngster learning about the big and little dipper from my dad. Lia loves checking out the sky and her biggest excitement so far is watching the moonrise over the ocean.

  15. Kebba Buckley Button

    Mary Elizabeth, I love the opening quote and all you share about skywatching. My most formative memory of night sky watching was from the deck of the Sloop Clearwater around 1972. We sailed south on the Hudson River, arrived in the Bay around midnight and got a water-angle view of the Twin Towers, at that time the architectural symbol of New York City. Awesome!

  16. Alice Gerard

    What a fascinating story! The idea of piecing together a history from thousands of undeveloped photographs is totally amazing. It is sort of like opening a time capsule, in my opinion.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      I agree, Alice. Definitely a time capsule – and what a large number of possible surprises and stories. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  17. Paul Taubman

    3,200 rolls of undeveloped film sitting in his house… I cannot imagine what that is like. I know that film has a shelf-life. I wonder how many of those rolls are “undevelopable” because the film has segregated over time. My fingers are crossed that we get to see some amazing pictures!

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Mary Elizabeth

      I had the same thoughts — along with amazement at being able to leave them and without labels. When I used to shoot film I couldn’t wait to get everything developed; I was too curious to see what was there. And like you, wonder about how well they will fare after so much time. I can understand the developers wanting to be part of such a fascinating and challenging project.
      Thanks for commenting.

  18. Lily Leung

    Love this post, Mary Elizabeth. I have to go back to finish the story of the photographer. And I love Stuart McClean and the Vinyl Cafe. My favourite story is about the Christmas turkey. I miss the Dead Dog Cafe, too. And I don’t want to win a million dollars.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Thanks for the comment, Lily. I love the Christmas turkey story too – as well as all his other Christmas stories. It is hard to pick a favourite. And I used to also enjoy the Dead Dog Cafe. I was intrigued by the idea of keeping an unscratched lottery ticket to hold on to the dreams of what might be. And I liked the ending of that story too because of passing on the tradition.

  19. Jennifer Burke

    Wonderful tips for helping families to connect with their histories and stories. My family has lots of those old albums with notes on the backs of photos, but sometimes those still aren’t enough to fill in the gaps or tell a full story. And with most photos now being digital and never even printed, we’re missing those chances to have a conversation and add notes. We discussed that recently in my group – about using the properties and metadata fields of key personal photos to add comments and data about people, places, context and story.
    Another great resource to remember for helping seniors with memories, as well as resources to record stories – your local public library!

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Thanks for the comment, Jennifer. I agree that digital images don’t provide the same connection. The library is a resource that is too often overlooked. Good reminder!

  20. Melissa Brown

    This is such important information and so very useful. My mother is in the process of slipping away–with dementia taking her memories, mostly short-term memories but it’s only a matter of time before the long-term memories will go, too.

    My sister, who lives closer to our parents than I do, recently spent several weeks staying with them and going over old photos and memorabilia together. Not only is that helpful for all of us siblings to get that information down, it seems to have turned back the hands of the dementia clock and Mom is doing better after tripping down memory lane! Any amount of improvement, temporary as it is, is welcome.

    Thank you for this article, and I’m going to bookmark it and come back again and again.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      It is so hard to go through the challenges of dementia with family members. I’m so glad that your sister was able to capture some of those memories and give your mom some comfort too.

  21. DrRenee Cohn Jones

    Wow – this is full of information and helpful steps for people to follow!

    The tip about sitting down with that box of pictures really resonated with me. When my aunt passed on such a box to my dad (her baby brother), he didn’t recognize a lot of the people in the photos. We spent hours trying to figure out who they were.

    One of my favorite treasures is my grandfather telling me all the funny stories he used to tell me as he tucked me into bed. After reading your post, I’m realizing I need to get that off of the cassette tape and into something digital before it’s too late!

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Mary Elizabeth

      I love looking through old boxes of photos but there is something so sad about not having some of the stories. I hope you and your dad were able to solve some of the mysteries. And what a great memory to have your grandfather telling you stories – and some of them recorded. You are lucky to have those memories. Thank you so much for sharing them here.

  22. Cheryl A Major

    I love this post Mary Elizabeth. I wish I had done this with my parents and even my grandparents, but I was too young to be aware. They use to talk about picnics when they were young before WWI! This reminds me I need to call my second cousin and ask her why one of my great grandmothers was always called “Cookie Grandma”. Thanks for this post!

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Thank you Cheryl. I know what you mean about wishing to have more of those conversations when there was a chance but there is not always a chance. I hope you are able to find out how “Cookie Grandma” came to be! And maybe others to share with cousins. Have fun with that.

  23. Michelle Garrett

    Thank you for this. I want to record and possibly create a book from the stories my father shares on the regular. Your article gave me some great tips and inspiration to start saving those memories for future generations.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      That sounds like a fun and valuable project, Michelle. Enjoy the process. Thanks for sharing.

  24. Connie Ragen Green

    I don’t know if I have enough words to tell you how much I love this post, Mary Elizabeth. Family stories and memoirs make for the very best storytelling. I hope you will check out, a group I recently connected with. Also, have you published a book of your family stories?

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Thanks for the kind words, Connie – and thanks for the great additional resource. It looks fascinating and I already headed down a few rabbit holes of exploration.

  25. Dr.Amrita Basu

    Less clutter helps me too .I agree about gifting experiences. They are the best.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      I’m with you – I love giving – and getting – experience gifts. Thanks for your comment.

  26. Paul Taubman

    So true, Mary Elizabeth! My birthday is coming up and wife asked me what I wanted. She said, “Rather than get you something, let’s do something – I want to get you an experience this year.”

    We have been clearing out the space, clearing the clutter, and giving away great “stuff” just to clear it out.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Thanks for your comment, Paul. That sounds like a good birthday idea. Did you pick something or are you getting a surprise? My birthday is in December and I have been sending my husbands links to classes that I would love to take. Hopefully, he will take the hint.
      We’re also busy trying to reduce and get stuff to a good home. It is a process for sure and our holiday gift-giving plans this year are keeping with that strategy.

  27. Florence

    Hey, Mary Elizabeth, my daughter and I have decided to adopt the minimalist lifestyle. It does help when you’re not making this change alone. I’m meeting with someone over the weekend to give away some furniture to some refugees in my area.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Florence, how lovely to be able to share the new lifestyle with your daughter. It definitely makes it a more enjoyable process, I think. And it is always rewarding to find a good home for things that no longer serve your needs. I find that can make it much easier to let things go. Lots of luck with your lifestyle adventure.

  28. Tamara

    Excellent tips, and frankly nothing I haven’t heard before. Still the purging process is hard. I have business clothes I won’t fit in unless I lose 20 pounds. I actually managed to do exactly that a few years ago, so there’s a chance of it happening again. So I’ll hold on to my favorite jeans. The pant suits can go. I paid good money and would like to get at least a small amount for them. However… the second hand shops won’t take them because they’re not the latest fashion (geez, they’re classic!!), and I don’t have the patience to post them on Craigslist. Strange people will call, ask a million questions, make a date to pick stuff up, not show up… Ugggh. End of rant.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      LOL Feel free to rant away. I completely agree with you and it is frustrating to not be able to get some return on quality stuff. People saying they will show up and not makes me nuts but I think my pet peeve with Craigslist and similar is people who do show up after you have an agreed price and saying they didn’t bring that much with them and ask you to take less since they are there with money. Argh. Hmmm – seems I had a bit of a rant there too. Good luck with the purging.

  29. Kebba Buckley Button

    Mary Elizabeth, you rock! You are so right in everything you say here. For my story, I do wish I had taken pictures of, for example, the 40″ pile of clothes on the futon couch, which came out of the master closet due to a pipe flood. Almost half were donated. Still sorting and donating and shredding– and loving it!

  30. Minette Riordan

    I am so glad I found your blog and am going to go back to day one to read more. We are getting ready to downsize and move so this topic is top of mind for my hubby and I. We’ve been decluttering on and off all year and have a long way to go. I’m excited to begin a minimalist journey. As an artist, my biggest challenge will be what to let go of in my studio. Knowing why I am keeping something will be super helpful.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Thanks for your comments, Minette. I am glad that you have found some useful information and hope some of the earlier posts will prove valuable in planning your journey. Moving is such a great motivation for reducing stuff. And I can definitely relate to the challenges of cutting back as an artist! Good luck on your minimalist journey.

  31. Lily Leung

    Both my partner and I are on the same page. All the same we do have alot of stuff even though we don’t do a lot of shopping. My friends know about my minimalist lifestyle. I have one friend who loves knicknacks and giving gifts. I accept and try not to preach and try to give gifts that are useful.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Thanks for sharing Lily, it definitely helps when you are on the same page with your partner. And I know what you mean about accumulating stuff without doing much shopping. It is amazing how that happens. we have talked with our friends about sharing time instead of exchanging gifts and MOST of them are onboard. Mostly we now exchange gifts for common experiences like a restaurant or some new activity in the area. That has been fun.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Thanks Roy – good point and one that I often forget!

  32. Kebba Buckley Button

    Mary Elizabeth, I am so with you on the freedom found by releasing Stuff! I have only ever regretted one donation– a cantaloupe-colored knit top, and that was about 1979. Fortunately, most of my relatives are also on a decluttering regime, so we release as soon as we identify something we don’t need any more. It will bless somebody else! Thanks for all this discussion of minimalism!

    • Mary Elizabeth

      I find there is always one thing that is missed but console myself with the reminder of how much better it feels letting go of everything else. Sometimes those certain items do stick with you though don’t they? Thanks for joining me on the minimalism journey.

  33. Cheryl

    I just bringing up the Christmas decorations. I will go through and donate what I didn’t use for the last two years (2 because last year was a total waste). I need to do the same thing for all the clothes I have. Thanks for the post.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      it is a good time of year to do a purge of some holiday items, which I traditionally have found hard to reduce. I feel better about it when I can pass it on to someone who wants them. And you are definitely right that the last year threw off so many of the guidelines we usually rely on – and we are still dealing with lots of uncertainty. Thanks for commenting.

  34. Jeanine Byers

    I use the one-year rule when I am moving, and occasionally, when my purpose is decluttering quickly. But I should use it more often. Those are great questions for us to ask ourselves!

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Thanks for your comment. I find that I am not using the one-year rule as much now because I don’t have as much that I haven’t used for that long. Where I find it really helpful is clearing boxes that have been stored away – it makes it a lot easier when I can say I haven’t used it this long, I’m not going to miss it.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      I know the feeling – there is always something on the list :). Thanks for your comment. Good luck on the action.

  35. Vidya

    Thank you.. I especially liked this – decide what you can’t live without.. Giving this point a serious thought will definitely help in downsizing..

  36. Tamara

    Oh man… We are guilty of all of the above.
    We have too much stuff, and quite frankly not enough cabinets, so as a result we should be giving and throwing away things.
    It’s hard, and the husband is not on board. “I will need that one day”, he claims about the most ridiculous things. I have given up. His desk is a battlefield. Mine is organized. All the common areas? Cluttered. Our busy lifestyle and the pandemic are not helping. Once we will have friends around again, we may at least clean up the “public” areas.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      It is a challenge when not everyone is on board. My husband hold on to a lot of stuff too but always says he doesn’t have trouble letting go – the evidence is to the contrary 🙂 We have reached a compromise on SOME of our common areas but not quite in agreement with what constitutes clutter. But having guests coming definitely prompts some deep clearing!

  37. Kebba Buckley Button

    Mary Elizabeth, I am totally with you on these principles. I generally don’t buy unless I need that thing. I shop with a list and don’t go down irrelevant aisles, unless I’m trying to get storage boxes or have another “solving” issue. We have taken to sending restaurant gift cards for birthdays and holidays, as most in my circle are trying to get rid of Stuff, not acquire more. Thanks for a great piece!

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Thank you for commenting. We’re also moving to selected gift cards that we know people will use. We try to support local businesses when we buy those so people can explore in their own community and try some new places.

  38. Martha

    I don’t mind shopping but I am a saavy shopper. My method is if I see something I like but not necessarily need, I will pass it up and if it’s there the next time I shop I figure it must be for me. LOL That only works if it’s something for me, as for my great granddaughter and her mommy, I don’t think twice about getting them something.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      I strongly dislike shopping so this one has not been one of my challenges. Well, except for books. And I am like you on not minding buying gifts but we have been really cutting down on the buying stuff in favour of making most of our gifts. Thanks for commenting.

  39. Martha

    I started decluttering January 2020 and I found so many “magnets” that I thought I would never get rid of. I’m still working on some but vow when they magnets are gone, the clutter will stay away.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      These areas are definitely a challenge around our house. We get them cleared and everyone sticks with it for a bit but they gradually sneak back on us again. At least now, I am aware and clear them out again within days, not weeks as it used to be. One of our works in progress for sure.

  40. Kebba Buckley Button

    Mary Elizabeth, thanks for another superb piece. My husband passed weeks ago, and a lot of stuff is leaving the house. I have a clutter magnet in a certain spot, for donations and boxes the donations (of many weird dimensions) will go in. There is so much in motion that I am unworried, but I do look forward to things becoming clean and clear. As I recently had cancer surgery, I am needing to limit lifting. So one friend comes to get books, another to get boxes of files to be shredded, another to get the general donations. People are very kind. I even got someone to come and take 2 huge heavy bags of lawn topsoil, from just outside the living room doors. It’s coming along!

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Kebba, you have had a lot of difficult changes in the past few months. It is good to read that you have friends and lots of support. I am not surprised. People are kind and your attitude of kindness and gratitude is sure to lead to more abundance. Still, a lot to deal with. It sounds like you are making lots of progress on clearing clutter, which I always helps me to feel some measure of control. Take gentle care.

  41. Lily Leung

    My worse magnet is the dining room table because we don’t eat on it. However, at the moment it is fairly clear. Then there is the basement and garage.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Our dining room table is definitely a magnet too. We’re all working on it but it is a challenge. The basement and the sheds are a bigger project for us too. Longer term goals.

  42. Lily Leung

    Thank you for all your information. I have alot of physical, mental and digital clutter. Emails build up so fast. It’s hard to unsubscribe sometimes. They keep coming back. I am less distracted this month because I am focusing on writing. I will review your tips and chip aways my piles.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      I know what you mean about how quickly the email builds. Unsubscribing is definitely a challenge. Sometimes it seems to take multiple times to unsub from lists. I’m being more conscious about stopping it a the source by being more selective about signing on to new lists. Also a challenge sometimes. Good luck dealing with the piles.

  43. Kebba Buckley Button

    Mary Elizabeth, wahoo! What an inspiring framework for digital decluttering! I’m somewhat good at this. I download my camera images to “Pictures” on my computer, and they land in date order. Then I transfer them to a different area, with the ones I want in topic folders and each image labeled. For discarding emails, I do as you suggest; I also find starting with the oldest miscellaneous emails first, helps me see how outdated they are and hit that delete button fast.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Sounds like you are on top of the digital declutter, Kebba. I have found that when I am clearing email, I like to find a balance between the oldest ones, which I also find easiest to discard, an some of the newer messages so I don’t miss a request or opportunity that is time sensitive. It is an ongoing process for sure.

  44. Cindy

    OMG this so good and just what I needed to read. I think I will need to put time in my calendar to work on some of these things. Thank you

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Thanks for your comment, Cindy. Good luck with the digital decluttering efforts.

  45. Florence Callender

    Hi Mary Elizabeth, thanks for this very useful article. I am guilty of being sidetracked while online. Because of that, I decided to intentionally declutter my email, downloads, and documents, this year. These strategies will definitely help me achieve that goal faster and more effectively.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Thanks for sharing, Florence. I am glad that you found the strategies useful. Good luck ith your digital decluttering.

  46. Dr.Amrita Basu

    I already have embraced a downsized home because of the reason you mentioned.Plus it gives me more freedom with many decisions.You need what you need and the frills are great even in a small-scale.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Good point. We don’t always need a large space to have what we need – plus a few frills. Thanks for your comment.

  47. Debi

    Such good questions to consider. But they aren’t easy to answer. Thank you for such an exhaustive list to help one evaluate their needs.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      You are right about that – not easy questions to answer. It definitely takes some thought and planning to make an informed decision. Fortunately, I have found the decision get easier and it is making such a big difference to simplify. Thanks for commenting.

  48. Francine

    A fantastic way to lay out the steps to such a big project, and provide needed support. I’m a big fan of checklists and trackers myself.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Thank you. I’m also a proponent of a good checklist or tracker. I’m currently evaluating a couple of new digital apps but still love having checklists in my notebook too.

  49. Larada Horner-Miller

    I love the format of your post and the challenges you suggest. After reading this, I feel like I can do just one thing to unclutter my life!

    • Mary Elizabeth

      I appreciate the feedback on the format – and glad that the tips could prove useful to you. Thanks.

  50. Larada Horner-Miller

    I love your consideration of how I need to declutter my life and mind. Great ideas. You’ve challenged me to get rid of stacks! Thank out!

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Thanks for your comment, Larada – and good luck on the journey.

  51. Florence Callender

    Hi, Mary Elizabeth, I’ve always known that clutter crowds my mind and slows me down. About 16 years ago, I moved and decided to simplify my home and life. I have never regretted it.

    Regarding your challenge question, I believe that not making a decision IS making a decision.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      I know what you mean about the clutter crowding your mind. Moving is a great incentive and opportunity to simplify isn’t it. I agree with you that not making a decision is, in fact, making one – though I think not really taking control. Thanks for commenting.

  52. Kebba Buckley Button

    Mary Elizabeth, you’ve done it again! You’ve powerfully argued that we get back TIME from simplifying. My simplifying is ripping along. I donated over 1/3 of my clothes that used to live in my master closet. I realized I was keeping many b/c I like to *look at them*, not b/c I needed to wear them. Once I got there, I could release the ones I didn’t need to wear. Oh, and 50 hangars have left as well.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Thanks Kebba. It sounds like you are making lots of progress on your simplifying plan. It is an ongoing process for sure. Are you finding extra time through your efforts yet?

  53. Kate McDonald

    These are great points. I’ve been decluttering for over a year ! I have a lot of clutter.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      It sure does accumulate doesn’t it Kate? Good luck with the ongoing efforts. Thanks for your comment

  54. Dominique Walton Brooks

    I would love to embrace minimalism but I have to get down to regularism first. LOL Since my dad died last year, I still haven’t finished going through all of his stuff and there is plenty I have to go through of my own. Supposedly, my husband and I are going to aggressive declutter the house over the next 2 months… wish us luck!!

    • Mary Elizabeth

      LOL – ‘regularism’ is a great word – and sounds like a good milestone. It is hard going through your stuff after you lose the parents. It took me a while when I ended up with everything after Mom and Dad had died. None of my siblings had any interest in what had been saved for them. Good luck with the decluttering. I often find it is easier when it is concentrated and more aggressive clutter.

  55. Kebba

    The whole idea of minimalism appeals to me. After my husband’s passing, there are fewer things in my home, and I have more storage space. Cluster by cluster, I am releasing cubic yards of formerly favorite belongings. With the master closet rebuilt after a flood, putting things back means enjoying releasing much– about 1/3 today. Woot!

  56. Kelly

    I am a minimalist in every way I can make work! I don’t hold on to a lot of things. If I keep something, it truly gives me joy.

    I like margin. Free time and free space!

    • Mary Elizabeth

      I admire that approach, Kelly. Did it come easy for you or did you have to transition to minimalism? I am with you on finding free time and free space. It is a very calming way to live. Thanks for your comment.

  57. vidya

    tough choices!! that is what decluttering really boils down to 🙂 I am doing some this weekend so will keep this post in mind as I clean up

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Thanks for your comment, Vidya. Sometimes it does seem like that sums it up for sure. Good luck with the decluttering – and the tough choices.

  58. Lily Leung

    They all spoke to me. Peace of mind is the loudest! I’m working on clearing the clutter in my head. Less digital overload helps alot.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Thanks for sharing, Lily. I’m also on a quest to further reduce online time and digital assets. Good luck with clearing and with your quest for more peace.

  59. Larada Horner-Miller

    Increased space spoke to me today. I have a box of resources from a book I published in 2020 next to my desk. I don’t need it anymore, so why have I kept it?

    Letting go is one of the thoughts I’m working on in my personal life! Thank you for your thoughtful consideration of this topic!

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Thanks for sharing, Larada. You have asked a good question. Did you take action to do anything to consolidate your box of research resources? Letting go is one of the things that I continue to fight. I have a tendency to hold on to things and events but am definitely improving. Good luck with your ongoing efforts.

  60. vidya

    We finally and recently got a garden shed (not a minimizing thing, I know) but needed it so we can organize things better and my hope is to declutter and dispose of things we have not used/will not use in the process.. thanks for your tips

    • Mary Elizabeth

      I think a garden shed is a great minimizing thing if it is a fit with your goals. Gardening and growing more of our own food is one of the ways that I have actually been simplifying my life. Good luck with the decluttering and disposing of unwanted stuff. Thanks for your comment.

  61. April

    Oh how I LOVE me some minimalism. However, I get caught in the middle of the mess and my chronic illness sets in. Then I’m surrounded by piles and piles and no energy to complete it. Thank you for these little bite sized daily steps. It’s a great reminder!

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Thanks for your comment, April. I am sorry to hear about your challenges. It definitely can take energy. I hope that 15 minute declutters will help you overcome those piles and create the space you hope to achieve.

  62. Kebba

    Mary Elizabeth, I’m glad you’re on this theme of minimalism. I would love for my home to look like the “After” of an HGTV project– clean and clear. My late husband liked to collect, and he stored things across the floor as though it was a shelf. In the aftermath, I am peeling away the layers of more- and less-obvious extras, donations and shredding. Very exciting! My goal will be achieved!

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Kebba – it would be great to live in the HGTV environment. I have not quite achieved that look, in part because of similar ‘collections’. It is an ongoing journey and an aspirational goal for sure. Good luck with achieving your long term goal – and all the steps along the way.

  63. Paul

    My ‘minimalism journey’ is like a roller coaster! I get excited to get rid of things that I don’t use/need. But then, I find it difficult to let go fo things. and I do not purge as much as I wanted to…. so I wait. and wait. and wait. Until something spurs me on to get back and minimalize. And the cycle continues.

    Thanks for the suggestions!

    • Mary Elizabeth

      I’m familiar with that particular type of ride — feeling really good about making the move and then hitting an emotional drop. I have been learning tricks and affirmations to help the process but still do sometimes slip back a little to those patterns. I have to remind myself that, like trying to blog every day, a slip is not a reason to stop the journey, just a chance to pick up in a new spot. Best of luck with your purging efforts.

  64. Paul B. Taubman, II

    I am glad you enjoyed the Ultimate Blog Challenge! All your observations are spot on! Miss a post? Not the end of the world! MOre than just content for your blog? Yup – I love that you expanded your site.

    I hope you come back in a couple of months and do it again!

  65. Martha

    I love you breaks from the news posts! My great granddaughter has a child sized ukulele!

  66. Phillip T.

    Everyone in my family plays a musical instrument. We find lots of joy performing together (unprofessionally).

  67. Kebba Buckley Button

    Mary Elizabeth, what a great post! I am rarely stuck, as I take inspiration from my 400+ articles online, my collection of column ideas (one big file), and at worst, my collection of quotations (also one big file). But maybe it’s my body in the doldrums, so I run in place for 2 minutes or hit the treadmill. Wonderful!

  68. Martha

    There have been many times when a subject doesn’t come to me. I have found that I can come up with a topic just by reading other blogs!

  69. Paul Taubman

    I have always found that if I get ‘stuck’ then just doing something is the way to go for me. Just taking that first small step usually is enough to get me going to take the next step. And then the next step. And the next. And so on.

    And if that doesn’t happen – it is a quick walk around the block. WHen I get outside (regardless of the weather) I come back with a clear mind.

  70. Amrita Basu

    Reducing clutter then reorganization is crucial to making things better.It makes creativity and productivity better too

  71. belanie

    I have always loved taking photos and having those images to look back on and remember the story behind the photo. This is especially true looking back on family gatherings.

  72. Roy A Ackerman, PhD EA

    Stories are the staff of life- and they can help corporations connect with their customers, to boot.

  73. Martha

    What beautiful nquotes! I’m always looking to read new ones.

  74. Kebba Buckley Button

    Mary Eliizabeth, another powerful post. Both your credo and your quotations are right in line with my values. I slowed down and read everything carefully. I am simplifying my home and life more and more. You realize, the William Morris quote is exactly what Marie Kondo is about? Delightful.

  75. Alice Gerard

    Nice collection of quotations. The quotations create an entire story about the joy of simplicity.

  76. Lily Leung

    Love the quotes, Mary Elizabeth. And I love simplicity, too.

  77. Martha

    Very helpful information! I too look for sustainable fabrics in our drapery business. As for my own clothing, I’m always looking for ways to re-cycle and upcycle. This is one way I can be creative and some are even a challenge which I love!

  78. Amrita

    A very useful post.I like to recycle and upcycle my clothes and fabrics as much as possible.

  79. Amrita

    This is so enchanting. I like the idea of visible mending with character. Very interesting.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      It is inspiring to see all the ways that people are playing with creative mending.

  80. Angel Lewis

    I was surprised that you really did mean mending clothing. I haven’t heard of anyone doing that in so long that I thought it had faded into history. It’s exciting to know that people are keeping these different skills alive.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      thankfully, I think mending and other traditional skills are definitely making a rebound. It is great to see and I love that people of all ages are embracing the learning.

  81. Rachel Prosperan

    What a fun, soothing craft! Have fun with it.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      I do – are you a mender? I love that it is both practical and creative, as well as easy to pick up for a few minutes at a time.

  82. Paula Richie

    Oh my, you sound advanced with your mending already Mary! It seems that it will be similar to my mom’s knitting–she is always telling me how much it calms her and even gives her clarity.

    Happy mending!

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Thanks – I do enjoy it and don’t need to worry about following any pattern or anything. Practical, creative and very definitely more relaxing than some of my other making activities. I’m with your mom – focus and clarity for sure.

  83. Martha

    What an awesome blog and so much happiness and joy to share! I love the embroidered maps but the Unbridled Joy was the most heart warming! I’m sure there were no dry eyes if anyone watched the entire video. We need more videos like this instead of all the negativity! Kuddos to the teacher and students!!

    • Mary Elizabeth

      I am with you completely. The embroidered maps are inspiring but those kids definitely captured my heart. And what an amazing teacher to let them direct their learning and express their skills and enthusiasm.

  84. Rachel Lavern

    We should take regular breaks from the news in my opinion. I would love to be greeted with good news for a change. First thing I saw today was the report about lives lost in a Tennessee flash flood. God help us. I wonder if artists have their normal level of creativity in these dark days.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      I am definitely with you on the need for a break from the news. Sometimes all the negativity makes you feel helpless. I think you are right that it can be hard to have much creativity these days but I continue to find hope in seeing people do so many positive and collaborative things with their art too.

  85. Laura Orsini

    Mary-Elizabeth – you are a woman after my own heart. I LOVE this post. Am sharing in my Fairy Positive FB group. Thank you for your continued thoughtful words. xxoo Laura O

  86. Alice Gerard

    Thank you for the uplifting post. I think that being grateful for the simple things in life is a good place to start.The world truly is a beautiful place and I know that, sometimes, I take that for granted.

  87. Laura O

    Fabulous list. I am bookmarking and will share!

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Appreciate it. Fun to try and come with a range of possibilities!

  88. Martha

    What an awesome list! I plan to turn Lia’s Friday Story Time blogs into a book of some sort so she can read them all when she’s 18. Looking at your lit on thinking it would be classified as a documentary story.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Thank you for the comment. Your project sounds very rewarding Could be a documentary for sure. Also might be fun to do as illustrated story book with a Lia drawing for each adventure. Enjoy the process!

  89. Kebba Buckley Button

    Mary Elizabeth, wow! I’m going to share this one around to my writer friends. What a list! Now, ideas on how to file our story ideas? I have been meaning to create a STORIES file, but it hasn’t happened yet. Thanks for a great post!

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Thanks for sharing. I admit that I am still playing with my systems for organizing – great idea for a future post. Good luck with the story file.

  90. Rachel Lavern

    So many great ideas here. Although I come from a long line of story tellers, writing them down is challenging.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Thanks for commenting. The oral tradition of storytelling is a powerful influence, isn’t it? Capturing in writing a whole different set of skills for sure.

  91. Marc Cohen

    I am drawn to these topics. I have taken steps towards a minimalist lifestyle. I’m making a conscious effort to eliminate clutter, both physical items and mental chatter. I’m also learning the importance of spending more time doing what is important to me. Thanks for sharing these resources.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      I am on that same journey to continue to reduce clutter – physical, mental and digital. I have good tips in these resources and hope you find some information of value as well. best on your journey.

  92. Laura Orsini

    Wow – what a thing, for wearing one’s traditional garments to be life-threatening. Such a reminder of how many, many blessings we take for granted, and how many of our problems truly are first-world problems. Gorgeous post, thank you, ME!

    • Mary Elizabeth

      It is a powerful story isn’t it? And such an important reminder to appreciate what we have. I am so impressed with these efforts to keep or rebuild traditional skills. The entire series is moving and inspirational. Thanks for your comment.

  93. Lily Leung

    I have followed 3 of the mentioned – The Minimalists, Zen Habits and Becoming Minimalist. I’m sure they’ve all helped.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      There are so many great tips and resources.

  94. Dominique

    I am not familiar with any of these blogs — I will take a look. My husband is a big fan of John Maxwell and completed his big course.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      I hope that you find something of value in the links. I’m not familiar ith John Maxell courses but based on his quotes expect that they must be uplifting. Thanks for commenting.

  95. Keith Watson

    Loved the song and it has been added to my playlist. I will write about first time tomorrow on challenge. I have had a lot of first times. I have had to adapt to make some things work. Anyway, a great thing to write about – so I will give that all some thought this evening.

    What I was looking for in your blog website is a page just about you. I couldn’t work out for a while what country you live in etc. I am sure I wasn’t looking in the right place.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      I hope the song brings you much joy and inspiration. I look forward to reading your post about firsts.

      Thanks for the interest in my info. I’m building my site as part of this challenge and have updated a page with a bit about me and made it easier to find with a cleaner menu. I live on the Eastern Shore in Nova Scotia on Canada’s Atlantic coast. Where are you based?

  96. Lily Leung

    Love your post. I have a jukebox in my head. However, it hasn’t played for quite awhile. I did a year on Instagram on doing something new every day. I posted every day though I’m not sure if it was a new thing every day. It’s so easy to fall back into old things.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Wow, Lily posting about something new everyday is quite an accomplishment. Even if you did have some duplicates. Congrats!

  97. Martha

    I love your thinking about doing something for the first time whether a big or small thing. I was going to write about a song that’s stuck in my head but lately it’s been “Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes” because Lia goes around singing that all day! LOL

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Some days I have to remind myself that small things new things are just as rewarding. “Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes” is definitely and earworm – but not one that offers much in the way of inspiration – most days anyway. Enjoy.

  98. Angel Lewis

    I love Darius. He’ll forever be Hootie for me. It feels like you were talking to me about falling into a routine. Most of my adult life has been an adventure. But the past few years, it has been a bit predictable. I don’t regret that as I’m helping raise my granddaughter and little ones need a schedule (well sort of).

    • Mary Elizabeth

      LOL I don’t really think of Darius in his Hootie period as it wasn’t music I listened to regularly, though I do enjoy it. I find that he has a soothing voice. I’m like you in that the adventures feel smaller now but hoping to add more new experiences on a regular basis.
      Have fun with your granddaughter.

  99. Rachel Lavern

    I find that animals can be fun to watch…they can be so entertaining with their cute personalities.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      I am with you on that. The goats were so curious about everything and they climbing all over everything. Very entertaining for sure!

  100. Kebba Buckley Button

    Mary Elizabeth, what beautiful weavings by these Guatemalan women! So good to learn more about them. As to Jonny Harris’s shows, yes! I’ve seen a few of those, through Prime Video, no extra charge. He is such a good-hearted person. He really lifts the spirits of those in the small towns he visits.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      The weavings amazed me and I have been enjoying other videos in the series as well. They are short and fascinating. I really enjoy Jonny Harris – and you are right, his kind nature and humour make all the difference. Thanks for the tip about finding them on Prime. I never even thought to check there.

  101. Angel Lewis

    There is nothing like playing with baby animals. Also thanks for sharing the Business Insider video. Keeping their art and culture alive is so important.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      I have had a chance to see baby goats in a few places this month and am starting to think that there is nothing more entertaining. And I am with you on the importance of keeping art alive in special ways. I have been enjoying the other videos in that series as well. So amazing what people can make and the unique ways that they make them.

  102. Laura Orsini

    I love this topic and question. I am shifting away from what I always thought I would do to what (working in publishing) to what I love to do (blending my desire to create art, write, teach). I remember, though, going to the library and borrowing books about fonts and coming home and writing my name endless times in all variety of typefaces. My family thought I was nuts – and yet, here I am today playing with fonts. It’s broader now, but I’m tickled to think I had an inkling even back then of what I really wanted to do.

    Thanks for a thoughtful, encouraging post, ME!

    • Mary Elizabeth

      With your book projects and illustrations, it looks like you must still have a connection to publishing. Fonts can be a very focused area of interest but you have really found a beautiful way to combine that in your illustrations. I’m currently on the same journey to create more art, expand my writing and continue to teach. I am glad that you have been able to follow your passion, even if in a slightly different way that you expected.

  103. Glenda Cates

    I love using Creativity in our Homeschool Classroom because its easier to keep my son focused thinking outside the box instead of doing the usual Schoolwork children do.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      It sounds like your son is very lucky to have a creative teacher to help him learn new ways to think, and a space to be creative. I bet that is very rewarding for you!

  104. Glenda Cates

    I know its sad to say but I honestly don’t remember what I wanted to be as a child. But I know my dad owned his own business and I knew one day I was going to as well because I didn’t want to work for someone else. In Homeschool this week I have my son answering this question and I can’t wait to see what he says because when he was smaller it was a Wrestler but now I bet he will say a Basketball Star like Kobe.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Maybe you don’t remember because you were too focused on the many possibilites to stick to one answer. Being a business owner is a diverse and inspiring dream for sure. You’re lucky to have a model for that in your dad. How did you son answer the question this time? Was it as you predicted?

  105. Marc Cohen

    I try to practice my guitar a little bit every day. I’d like to be more consistent with my other creative pursuits, like drawing and photography. And yes, I do need to take many pictures before getting the perfect one. But the entire process is fun. Thanks for sharing details on how to make creativity of daily outlet.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      I *try* to get in 15 minutes at the keyboard every day but I find it to easy to let that slip because I have something I need to do. I am determined to get better at that practice for sure. I am the same with photography and taking a lot of pictures but agree with you that the process is fun. Also, it feels like it doesn’t happen unless it was properly documented in great detail. 😉

  106. Kebba Buckley Button

    Mary Elizabeth, creativity is a super important dimension of who I am. I am always tweaking a decor item, changing its color or effects, making a garment, moving art items around for different effects, taking many photos and creating greeting cards and inspirational cards with them… I’ll never be bored! Thanks for a super article.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      I can appreciate the impulse to tweek and change. I have not mastered the art of garment making but it is my newest passion and I’m busy learning some new techniques. I have to agree with you that creativity keeps things from getting boring, for sure. Thanks for commenting.

  107. Glenda Cates

    Congrats and you’ve taught me that even if I fail at Gardening its okay to try because it makes me happy. I can’t wait to tell my son we will be adding a Small Herb Garden to our Homeschooling.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      I agree with you that gardening is rewarding even when it doesn`t go as planned. There is something therapeutic about the process too. I am sure that you will have fun with an herb garden with your son. He might also enjoy growing microgreens. Are you familiar with Have fun. Happy growing.

  108. Laura Orsini

    So many congratulations! I love your photos, your writing, and your sublime appreciation of nature and gardening. Thank you for sharing, ME!

    • Mary Elizabeth

      You are very kind, Laura. Thanks for the compliments – and for taking the time to comment.

  109. Kebba Buckley Button

    Mary Elizabeth, thank you for the gorgeous, transporting images! May I use one or more sometime, for quote posters? Thanks for considering.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Thanks, Kebba. It serves as a reminder that sometimes you can slow down and keep it simple, even in a blog post. You are welcome to use the images if you like. I’m honoured that you would like to. Thanks for asking. You never know what will happen to images once they are shared.

  110. Martha

    How exciting that you picked your broccoli! I love bother vegetable and flower gardens and we have both. Whether we pick one or a basket full of vegetables, it’s so exciting to be harvesting something we grew! Lia loves helping in the garden also and then cooks the veggies!

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Yes – the broccoli was a bit of a hurdle for sure. I have been focused mainly on food gardens for the past few years but this year have been paying more attention to the flower garden, with an emphasis on native plants and pollinator-friendly. You are absolutely right that it doesn’t matter how much you are harvesting. I am just delighted to get one snap pea or strawberry and eat it before it makes in the house. So fun to have Lia to work with you in the garden.

  111. Marc Cohen

    Thank you for sharing these amazing photos. Nova Scotia has been on my list of places to visit for a long time. I can’t wait to get there now.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Thanks for your kind words. We are so lucky to live in such a scenic area, with major ocean beaches within 15 minutes drive. I hope that you come and visit us soon. We are you located?

  112. Roy A Ackerman, PhD EA

    My gardening has usually been hydroponic- where I CAN control most of the elements.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Thanks for your comments. That would take away some of the challenge for sure. I haven’t tried hydroponic gardening and should look into that. Although I quite like digging in the dirt. 🙂

  113. Dominique

    Congratulations! We had some broccoli planted in our last garden to no avail. LOL None of my gardens have been very successful — I don’t think I have the time to work hard enough for it right now. I remember my dad’s gardens — he worked really hard and we got a lot of food. I use that as my garden goal — one day I will achieve it!

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Well, thank you – I was pretty pleased with my accomplishment (as if I had anything to do with it). Gardening does take a lot of time for sure but it is rewarding and centering. It sounds like you have a great inspiration in your dad’s gardens. I hope you reach your garden goal. Maybe you could start with some herbs or microgreens in the kitchen or a small tomato plant on a porch or balcony. Happy planting.

  114. Glenda Cates

    With Homeschool starting this week I am going to make this a part of our Morning Work then throughout the year Charlie can look back and see how what he was grateful and how things have changed. As his teacher I will also do this and see if I can get my husband to join us. Turning it into aFmaily Affair we do before Breakfast.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Thanks for you comment. I love your suggestion to make gratitude a part of your morning routine! It sounds like a wonderful family activity. All the best with the Homeschooling – and the gratitude practice.

  115. vidya

    oh that is such a wonderful idea.. I am going to use it for myself (so thank you for the inspiration!) I do have many recipes from my mom though I will ask her for more recent ones.. and I will have to write down the ones from my mil and aunts too .. capturing more than the recipes does make this so much more special
    and your husband’s message is so heartfelt too

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Thanks for the kind words. Putting this project was very rewarding – and we picked up some new recipes. I agree with you that more than the recipes makes it even more personal. It meant a lot to my husband to connect with everyone about their contributions and we got lots of great feedback. I highly recommend making one of your own for sure.

  116. vidya

    those bookmarks look so wonderful.. i am going to show these to my teenager – she is the one who knows to sew 🙂

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Thank you – they are really fun and quick to make – and very handy to have around for sure.

  117. vidya

    such a simple concept, and so beautifully explained.. Keep the stories, Yes!!

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Thank you for your comment. I appreciate your feedback.

  118. doug

    I will have to check out the CBC podcast on Sound Aquatic. Thanks for the tip.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Thanks for your comment, Doug. I hope that you enjoy the podcast.

  119. Kebba Buckley Button

    OK Mary Elizabeth, I need to go on and on about this post of yours. You raise so many great points of good news, and we can all use that, these crazy days. I am delighted to learn a new word from Hakai Magazine, Anthropause– the pause of so-busy human activity in a location, allowing the rest of the living beings to really live. More needs to be said about this. Finally, the United States Air Force Band Singing Sargents singing Hallelujah- OMG! I needed a good cry, and I cried all the way through. The officers are now allowed to be expressive, and one of the women is pregnant! Thanks huge for the delightful and uplifting post.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Appreciate your comments, Kebba. And isn’t Anthropause a wonderful word? It is so evocative and I am with you – everyone should have this word and its implications – in their vocabulary. I am with you on Hallelujah. Admittedly, I end up quite emotional whenever I hear this song but this version – Wow!

  120. Brenda Fluharty

    Hallelujah will forever remind me of my beloved grandfather. I song that speaks to my soul.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Thanks for sharing that, Brenda. I am glad that the song has a positive connection for you. It always reminds me of my mom. The words and music of the song have such power and these performers do it justice.

  121. Martha

    Hallelujah is one of my favorite songs and I love to sing it at church! The US Air Force Band Sergeants have powerful voices!

    • Mary Elizabeth

      I love it too. The melody is so haunting. I can’t do it justice to sing it but doesn’t stop me from joining in when I’m driving. I agree that the Air Force band does an amazing version. Thanks for your comment.

  122. Laura Orsini

    A topic near and dear to my heart. Maybe you and I can talk about a future collaboration, Mary Elizabeth!

    • Mary Elizabeth

      I Would love to do that, Laura! We seem to have many similar views and I shared your blog with several friends. I have been admiring your collages and have been starting to play with similar approaches in textile art – not nearly at your level. Let’s talk!!

  123. Laura Orsini

    Gorgeous – your pics make the instructions so easy to follow!

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Thank you. These are fun little projects.

  124. Kebba Buckley Button

    Mary Elizabeth, what fun projects, these microwave cozies! My mother used to drink hot tea by the potfull and was always pleased when she found the occasional attractive cozy. Of course, the microwave cozies are for the opposite purpose– not to keep the dish hot, but to protect our fingers. 🙂 And I may make some of the bookmarks myself. Thanks for the fun ideas!

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Thanks, Kebba. I remember my mom also being quite happy with new tea cozies. And I can still see Dad reading with his nightly toast and the always-present covered teapot. Thanks for bringing up those memories. The bookmarks are quick and practical, a perfect project for something fast on a rainy day.

  125. Doug

    This looks like an interesting project.
    Rather than try to make some myself, I think I will look for them the next time I visit Nova Scotia.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Thanks for commenting. We always love having visitors to Nova Scotia — and we are all looking forward to being more open so we can again welcome people with our famous hospitality

  126. Kebba Buckley Button

    Mary Elizabeth, what a lovely and well-written piece. Gratitude is woven throughout my day. I think it’s clustered in my morning habit of stepping outside, greeting God, taking in the day, and giving thanks in great detail. I am extremely delightedly aware of my blessings and the grace that permeates my life.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Thanks for your comments. I agree with you about weaving gratitude through the day and combining it with a more focused practice. I like your phrase about blessing a grace permeating your life.
      During all the isolation and lockdowns last year, we have felt especially blessed and grateful to be able to walk outside and on local trails. It has made all the difference for health and sanity. So many friends and family members have been stressed about staying home and it really made me even more aware of how much I have to be thankful for in my life. Best.

  127. Amrita Basu

    It’s very true that the more we are thankful for,the more we are blessed.I do try to do this,but maybe a more consistent practice is needed.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Thanks for sharing. You are right that the more we are thankful, the more we open ourselves for reasons for gratitude. I have found it really has helped me to have a more focused attention on daily practice. Peace,

  128. chef William

    I love finding old, real old cookbooks but being a Chef for so many years it was only natural I would collect cookbooks. So many handwritten recipes can be found tucked away inside those books. I have found some eye-openers and learned a good bit of history reading those books

    • Mary Elizabeth

      I guess cookbooks are a natural interest for you as a chef for sure. I love reading the handwritten notes tucked inside. I am the same way about old dyeing books and journals that I have happened to find. Have you added any of the surprising finds into your own favourite recipes?


    Mary Elizabeth, sometimes I think it is fun to write about yourself, humbling for one, and interesting to read about others. Thank you for sharing. The quilt is beautiful.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Thanks, Deb. It is funny as I also enjoy reading about others but wonder if anyone would care about my random thoughts. But you’re right, it is fun and humbling. Thanks for the feedback and the kind words about my quilt – and for taking the time to comment.

  130. Anita

    Wow, I didn’t realize how many layers and how much weight a wedding kimono was. That is a beautiful quilt. Thanks for sharing about yourself!

    • Mary Elizabeth

      The weight really surprised me too. Wedding days seem stressful enough without having to stand with grace while wearing that gear all day. 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

  131. Kebba Buckley Button

    Mary Elizabeth, you make so many wondrous points. I am quite the cook, since I was maybe 10. You mentioned a note in a cookbook: “don’t serve if Don is coming”. On that theme, I actually had index cards in the back of my recipe box, with individual’s names on them, reminding me of surprising food allergies and aversions. Green peas kept coming up! (Personally, I love green peas.) Thanks for a great post that should become an ebook, at least. <3

    • Mary Elizabeth

      I love the tip for index cards with food reminders. I don’t understand why green peas get such a bad rap – maybe people haven’t tried them fresh out of the garden. Thank you for the idea about an ebook – hadn’t thought of that but I love it! Happy cooking.

  132. Kimberly W

    My most loved recipes are simple baked tofu or vegan baked ziti. I love sharing food with others and I happily share the recipes.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Thanks for the recommendations, Kimberly. I want to learn to do more with tofu and baked tofu sounds good. I love baked ziti with vegetables, especially when they are fresh. I think it is a joy to share recipes – and an honour for people to ask. Not that I get asked much as I am not much of a cook and tend to pretty basic offerings.

  133. Daryl

    This resonates very strongly with me. I recently ended my marriage. My wedding ring sat in a jewelry box for more than 2 years. I didn’t want to throw it off a bridge or bury it or do anything super dramatic, but it also wasn’t appropriate to wear it. I contacted a couple of jewelers, and come to find out that it would cost more to melt it down and have it repurposed into something else then it would have to buy myself something new. My marriage taught me a lot, and I didn’t want to just throw it away like it had never happened. So, I took it to a local jeweler who suggested that I solder the wedding and engagement rings together, and put it on a chain. I loved the idea. It both acknowledged my past and the stories that it contained, some hopeful and some painful, and it isn’t super creepy. 🙂 I can’t wait to see what the rest of your blog Journey brings you 🙂

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Thanks for sharing your story. That sounds like a difficult transition but I love the solution for something that serves as a reminder of your stories and learning. And absolutely not creepy, which is always a bonus. 🙂 Best of luck in your next chapter.

  134. zitzak


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