Friday, March 21, 2014


 I am a widow, it has been  276 days now, of life without Ted.'s a lonely word and I find it a hard word to say. I dont know if I have spoken that word yet to describe myself. These past 9 months have been tough. Grief is unpredictable, it is as unpredictable as the cancer was and it as unpredictable as life itself. I try to steady the course and forge forward, but I often find myself thrown by  unpredictable waves of emotion. Everyone grieves differently. I dont know that there is any guide to grieving the death of a loved one. I am what grief looks like. It's silent and right now,  always present. I think the only true healer is time, and really how much time no one knows. For some only a few months, for others years. I have heard many with the best of intentions suggest that I cry more, cry less, talk to a counselor, exercise more, do yoga, go out, sell your home, get rid of photos, the thoughtful list of suggestions goes on. And although I appreciate all the kind  advice, I listen to my heart. We all process loss, sorrow and heartache uniquely. No one can tell us how to grieve or how long it takes to mend a broken heart. What I do know is that I am happy when friends share their grief. It is comforting to know Ted is missed by friends and family as much as I miss him and as much as our children miss him. Ted had a large personality, he was a huge presence.  I miss his presence daily and dearly. Large and huge....hard to shake.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Missing my mate!

This is why Ted loved Bob Marley so...and why we named our son after wish on this snowy day...may you all find your soul it your spouse, brother, sister, friend...someone to share all with...its amazing.

“Only once in your life, I truly believe, you find someone who can completely turn your world around. You tell them things that you’ve never shared with another soul and they absorb everything you say and actually want to hear more. You share hopes for the future, dreams that will never come true, goals that were never achieved and the many disappointments life has thrown at you. When something wonderful happens, you can’t wait to tell them about it, knowing they will share in your excitement. They are not embarrassed to cry with you when you are hurting or laugh with you when you make a fool of yourself. Never do they hurt your feelings or make you feel like you are not good enough, but rather they build you up and show you the things about yourself that make you special and even beautiful. There is never any pressure, jealousy or competition but only a quiet calmness when they are around. You can be yourself and not worry about what they will think of you because they love you for who you are. The things that seem insignificant to most people such as a note, song or walk become invaluable treasures kept safe in your heart to cherish forever. Memories of your childhood come back and are so clear and vivid it’s like being young again. Colours seem brighter and more brilliant. Laughter seems part of daily life where before it was infrequent or didn’t exist at all. A phone call or two during the day helps to get you through a long day’s work and always brings a smile to your face. In their presence, there’s no need for continuous conversation, but you find you’re quite content in just having them nearby. Things that never interested you before become fascinating because you know they are important to this person who is so special to you. You think of this person on every occasion and in everything you do. Simple things bring them to mind like a pale blue sky, gentle wind or even a storm cloud on the horizon. You open your heart knowing that there’s a chance it may be broken one day and in opening your heart, you experience a love and joy that you never dreamed possible. You find that being vulnerable is the only way to allow your heart to feel true pleasure that’s so real it scares you. You find strength in knowing you have a true friend and possibly a soul mate who will remain loyal to the end. Life seems completely different, exciting and worthwhile. Your only hope and security is in knowing that they are a part of your life.”
― Bob Marley

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Hand Lettering, custom work, illustration

I have not been in the studio much this past year, I do miss the making. I have however,  been sketching madly and designing new cards, prints,  fabric & wrapping papers. I have also been doing some design work for brides and grooms, expectant moms, and new moms. Such fun. I really like the process of working with clients. Some have a very clear vision, some none at all and some think they do. As we follow that vision, they often decide that they are not loving that direction. I like to meet with clients first to get a sense of who they are. I try to grab a sense of their style by he way they dress, talk, color choices and just their general essence. I just delivered wedding invitations Friday to happy clients. The process was fun, here is where we started.
I thought a little story about them would be a sweet invite...

K & J Liked the idea, so I did a quick mock up on the computer

They liked the idea, but not totally smitten.   I had visions of hand lettered loveliness for the above, 
but then had another idea...sketched and sent it off...

K & J liked where I was going , so I went!

I drew a few  few more sketches and hand lettered.

K & J liked this, but wondered if trees might be heart shaped- ish...
another sketch to see if I was heading in the tight direction

YES! Below is final drawing before I scanned into computer and colored. 
K & J originally wanted cream card stock, but I liked trees bright white, I suggested a lovely green which would go lovely with the brides muted color choices.
 RSVP Postcard choices:

Below are the final invites. It warms my heart to  able to  make the bride & groom happy. Wedding invites send a beautiful message...I am thrilled they asked me to be a small part of it.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Olympia, Betty, Minnie, Min, Nana

When I was growing up my grandmother was often at our house often. She lived only a few towns away, but would come and stay for weeks at a time. I loved it when Nana (aka Olympia, Betty, Minnie, Min, and possibly one or two names I can't recall) was in the house. She was something else. Funny, loving and had the amazing ability to make each of her 16 grandchildren feel they were her favorite.  She was a good cook, enjoyed cleaning, and when at home or in our home could always be found wearing a housecoat, often times with her heels on. I always thought that funny, the housecoat and heels! I loved her dearly and miss her greatly. When I first moved to Maine, and in my first apartment, I often called Nana to get recipes for some of my favorite Nana dishes. There are 3 things my grandmother used to make that I crave to this day, and the taste brings me right back to when Nana was in the kitchen. Chicken Cacciatore, Chicken fricassee and her simple iceberg salad w/ white wine  dressing. Dinner tonight...chicken fricassee, Nana style!

Thursday, January 2, 2014


Pretty amazing, every December 31, we get an opportunity for a fresh new start. It's that fresh time again! The beginning of a new year. New, new new. I roll that around in my head  and try to figure out what that means. New, different, strange, unfamiliar, unusual, unique, unlike, unknown, and the list goes on. So here I am, in new 2014. I will be open to new and different and unknown. And hope for awesome and happy and amazing and joyful. I will pray for peace and health and love and kindness for all I know. I will be present, and helpful  and kind to those I know and those I just meet. I will try to  be a healthier me. A good friend, sister, aunt, boss, neighbor and community member. I will take with me the beautiful and hard lessons learned the past 2 years and move into the future a stronger wiser, gentler, more compassionate, extremely grateful, humble and openly emotional person.  I will try to be a bit more mellow like my husband was. I will try to remember to  control what I can, and not stress over what I cannot. I will remember be grateful for EVERYTHING. I will try to ask for help (this is hard for me) I will make time. I will be there, in so many different ways. I will be present, because we can use our words, but like my wise mother told me actions speak louder! Truth! I've seen it in action,  I have been on the receiving end of deliberate and random acts of kindness and love and it is beautiful. So my wish for all I know and love, Peace, Love, Health & Much Happiness and Kindness in 2014 and every year after! 

Monday, December 23, 2013


It is Christmas Eve, eve. In our home, ever since Eliza was born 19 years ago, we have  hosted a Christmas Eve open house... and tomorrow night we will once again. It is a Hellier family tradition. This year however Ted will not be here to greet the masses with his usual easiness and welcoming smile. I am sure all present will be missing that smile, but we  will all be so glad to be celebrating together,  an evening Ted started as our family tradition so long ago. I hope to see all of the usual subjects tomorrow.

Friday, December 6, 2013

I think it will be a bumpy ride

It was lovely to be in NJ with my family over the Thanksgiving Holiday. It was bitter sweet. Our first holiday without Ted. It was so great for me to be with my brothers and their wonderful wives. My children were so excited to be able to hang out with their cousins. For me thoughts of Ted are never far from my mind. He is always with me. It seems unbelievable to me that it has been almost 6 months. I sometimes just find it all unreal. Not in a delusional way, but in an "I cannot believe I will never see him again" kind of way.  My heart is often heavy. Again, I write this not to have any of you worry. I am really good most of the time, except when I am not. And when I am not, I am just sad and missing Ted.