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
supects 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. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Holiday 2013 card designs.

Oh how I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE receiving a great card. Here are my favorite Holiday cards for this season. Hope you enjoy. Have a few more unfinished... will share soon.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Thinking Holiday

Tis the season to get all my holiday cards done and printed. I sketch holiday all year and choose my faves... Here are the ones that make the cut this year. Fall and Thanksgiving...Hope you like. Christmas Winter and New year next week!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Almost "24 years of Bliss"

We were married on an unbelievably beautiful fall day, peak foliage here, October 6 or 7, 1989...Ted always knew the exact date, I was in the neighborhood. I loved that he remembered our anniversary. In my defense, it was a weekend long event, and I know it is the 6th or 7th, and for clarification I always stroll into our bedroom and look at the lovely needlepoint piece my Aunt Connie made for us (and gave us on our 20th anniversary!). Or refer to the lovely necklace my friend Maggie made for me with the date etched upon it. (October 7. 1989!)

 We would have been married 24 years,  24 pretty great years. We were quite fortunate. We not only loved each other, but we LIKED each other. Liked working together, playing together and spending time together.  Ted would always say when asked how long we were married..."23 years of Bliss"
And I would say "pretty much".

Marriage is hard work, not always easy. When we were newly married we made a deal to fight fair and never go to bed angry, never. And we never did. One of us always gave in, apologized, copped to being wrong or stupid or whatever and we kissed and made up before we went to bed. We also always left the house with a kiss and arrived home with a kiss. What a great way to part and be greeted. It worked for us. I highly recommend it to all my friends who are newly married.
 These days I would welcome a healthy argument with Ted, knowing by bed time all would be well.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

How are you? ....Not what I expected

"How are you?" these days, that is a loaded question. It depends on the day. I have stopped asking that question of others, for no other reason than, when it is asked of me I often well up with tears. Ask me about my children, but not me, because depending on the day...well some days great and others , not so good and the mere asking of the question, makes me think about how I am REALLY doing. So I now say How is your day going? or whats up?  Whats going on? And questions of that sort.

I am in a sort of limbo place. And grief, might I just say it is not what I expected. I have lost  before, dear friends Michelle and Michael in my teens ( she so much fun and a beauty inside and out and he my neighbor, friend, and go to date when all else failed), my amazing dad when I was 25 (Bob set the bar for me with all men, and lucky me, Ted had so many Bob qualities), my Nana (she was one of a kind, funny, fun and made each of her 16 grandchildren feel like they were her favorite! ),  the best mother in law ( I hope to be as awesome as Peg, when I am one), my talented friend Lina ( the coolest woman ever!)  and Joanie, my strong, funny mom a couple years ago. I am familiar with the sadness, that accompanies loss. I thought I knew what to expect. Ted had been sick for  year, in hospice for a month, I knew what was to be... but really, I  had no idea.

After the loss of my husband, my best buddy, the father of our 2 amazing children, the owner of my heart,  I knew I would be sad, of course after 26years together, a lifetime of memories and love, I expected deep sadness. But grief, I am finding is deeper than deep sadness, it is a physical heartache, it takes over the body, I have no control when it occurs. Some days I am good...great even. Other days I cannot even say the words husband or Ted or father, really I just never know. The other day I was ordering bio bricks, I said to the poor man on the phone "my husband Ted"...and then just lost it , I had to apologize, explain the unexpected tears, and carry on with the business of ordering the damn bricks! The simple sentence "my husband Ted ordered from you and in the past he used to pick up the bricks... do you deliver to So Po? I just coud not.
So weird, unpredictable, out of my control. That is what I find so strange, I have no control over the grief. Some days just a smile and a few tears, while driving or walking.  Other days primal , body shaking, all consuming heavy, heavy sobbing anguish. Always when I am alone in the car. Sometimes when I am in a room full of friends or with my children. Mostly at night, when I am alone in my room, when my body is getting ready to rest...because I am letting my guard down and the enormity of it all hits me.  I have no clue when, I just let it be, the grief. I think that maybe if I just let it be, it will be done sooner than later. I have no idea the duration...a year? Two?  I do know I will always have Ted in my heart, I do know there will come a time when I think of Ted and just smile. I welcome that day.

Monday, September 16, 2013


Have been feeling the need to get into the studio. My cousin Judy is working on making art for a living, so we are making each other work creatively. She has been spending lots of time harvesting, so her choice was are some of mine. Can't wait to see hers. Next,  Kitchen stuff...although I would like to say because I have been spending lots of time in the kitchen, not true...but I want to!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Peg's Pond House

It was so nice to spend these 2 days in Boothbay. Every time I leave there I am reminded why Ted loved it so. It is a beautiful spot. For those of you who don't know, Peg's Pond House is our little shack on Barters Island, In Boothbay Harbor. Ted was working on it when he got sick. It was a pretty big project...the perimeter drain failed about 4 years ago, causing our basement to flood. We were unaware, as that was the first year we shut down the house and did not discover the mess until the spring. It was so sad.  Many a summer weekend was spent here the past 19 years, not to mentions weddings and reunions. We love this place. Ted began work digging up around the house and putting in a new drain on the weekends. He got 3/4's of the way done, when he could no longer do the work. So the past 2 years it has been quiet at the Pond house...overgrown, as Ted moved the earth to do the drain. All utilities disconnected, as he was readying it for the next step...taking off part of the house, demo on the interior and putting it back together. He never got the chance to finish.
This is the Pond house as it was when we purchased it many years ago. Ted added an awesome screen porch. Below are the pics of whats going on today. Nothing a little landscaping, painting and mean carpentry skills cannot fix. It will soon be ready for us and the many renters, who will enjoy as much as we do. My many thanks to Lisa & Peter for all the Love.
  Screen porch side
      Front of the shack
  View from the deck...
 Back of the house. We took the deck off and have quite the wildflower jungle going  on
Apple tree down! Thinking a Peach Tree might be sweet.
 Screen porch...raspberries have taken over... I kinda like, except for the blocking of the stairs. Next weekends project, if time allows.

This will be the new entrance. It will be nice to sleep here again!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Today would be birthday 58 for Ted. Have been missing him madly all week, so I  spent the day in Boothbay Harbor at Peggy's Pond house. I  felt a little closer to him there at his "heaven" on earth.   I did some renovation clean up on the debris in the cottage. Friends have been finishing where Ted left off. It's looking good. He would like this kind of birthday. And... I left some work for tomorrow so I have to head back up... such a  Ted move!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Lightening up!

After a long emotional year away from art, I am slowly setting up my new studio space, thanks to the lovely Eliza, and purging lots of  art supplies and fabric that I no longer use. There was a yard sale at the end of August. It was  time to purge... Art supplies, homegoods, clothing, tools. There have been so many life changes for my family and me this past year. I was feeling the need to lighten  and simplify everything... my home, my studio, my work. I will  be posting weekly. I will warn you some posts may be emotional... It has been that kind of year. But I have discovered this past year that putting it down helps. So Iwill be putting it down, in writing, in art work and any other way I can work it out.
I will be doing only one show this year...Designing Women in Portland in December. But I do have some things in my Etsy and at Society 6 Zaz & Moe/Susan Delsandro Hellier.
This print is available, one of my favorite places, Barters Island. I will be heading there tomorrow to quietly celebrate Ted's birthday in his "Kingdom". Cheers!

Sunday, July 28, 2013


Life is funny, so unpredictable. A couple of years ago my life was damn near perfect. My daughter recently graduated from HS and heading off to college. My son  was enjoying the life of a 15 year old... hanging with friends and playing lacrosse. My husband was perusing a his career in the alternative energy biz with his Company, Hammersaw Solar. And  I was just beginning a new job, so Ted could focus his energy on something he was so passionate about. For the past 20 years Ted worked full time  as a carpenter so I could pursue a career in the arts... and for those years I had a successful run with Zaz and Moe, and still enjoy the business of making art. It was to be his turn to explore his passion. As I held down the straight job.
 It was not to be so simple. 
I began my new job in March 2012, managing a cheese shop for Cabot Creamery Cooperative, working for dairy farmers! I was working long days to get the store was great. Ted was doing his solar thing a big install, 10 panels, long days for him too and he was tired, and his leg painful. He was diagnosed with an IT band injury in November and PT was not helping much. By June he was experiencing stomach pains...several trips to Dr and no resolve, so he went in for a colonoscopy...his last one was 15 months prior and since he had several polops, his Dr thought maybe another look was in order. The news was not good. They found a tumor. We immediately saw a surgeon and she explained the process...bad but not awful...but wanted a CT scan just to make sure the cancer had not metastasized...but because of Teds excellent preventive care, not to worry,  he should be good. Not so much. When I came home from work a few days after the scan, Ted was in the yard working. He said the results from the scan were back, and that it was everywhere. I said that's not funny and he said... I'm not joking. And just like that, life as we knew it was forever changed.

By everywhere I mean everywhere, in his leg, his lung, his pancreas, his colon, his lymph nodes. When Ted told me the news I literaly fell to my knees. I could not stand, breathing was difficult. I felt as if someone kicked me in the stomach. And Ted just stood, with tears in his eyes and repeated, its everywhere. We sobbed together...wondering  what we would say to our children. Then I asked Ted if he felt that it was his time to die. He said no...I felt the same way. From that moment we decided that he was going to LIVE with cancer. And that is what we would tell our children. That daddy has cancer, but people live a long time with cancer. So that is how we began living life with cancer.

As most of you know, Teds battle against the beast ended in June of 2013, and although we were hoping for years, we were allowed only months. Exactly 11 months of life with cancer. It was an extremely difficult 11 months. I have never seen someone will himself to stay put on this planet like Ted did. The chemo beat him up. He was pretty much only comfortable laying in bed. He lost more than half of his body weight, he often referred to himself as looking like a human fetus, or a cricket... He never lost his sense of humor. He died a happy man, ready for the journey ahead. He died knowing the impact he had on his friends and family and community. A gift many never know. As Ted would say... he was a lucky man. He left here a lucky, loved man.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Gift...

Nothing has brought a smile to my husband Ted's face  this past year like lacrosse has. His greatest joy has been watching his daughter play on a championship lacrosse team in college and watching his son and "his boys" have a such successful HS lacrosse season. Tonight the South Portland Red Riots boys lacrosse team lost their semi final game. To say it was a heartbreaking loss would be an understatement. These boys PLAYED  lacrosse today, just like they have played all season long, with passion, love of the game and for the love of Ted. I hope they realize how proud of them we all are, parents, sisters, brothers, coaches, friends, neighbors & teachers. The have taught us all what playing as a team really means, with grace, kindness and tender hearts. As I watched these young men exit the field, supporting each other, my heart swelled. All year these boys have showed us what it is a team does for each other. They lift each other up. They have shown us time and time again in their actions after each game, filing past coach Ted  letting him know that he is part of the heart and soul of the team. Some of the boys said to Ted today "I'm sorry we let you down" That could not be further from the truth, it is just not possible. Ted could not have more love, respect and admiration in his heart for this team, and they could never, ever let him down. 
So although I am crushed that they did not win, because these boys worked hard all season for it, and they wanted to win it all for Ted, I hope they get the really big message here. The Gift is  not in the win   but in the way this team has played together as a band of brothers.
 A lot has been written about this team, and I hope all other teams (and some parents) take note  and learn from the Young Red Riots what it is like to be talented, hungry, focused, underestimated, hardworking, kindhearted, fierce, loyal, respectful, thoughtful, selfless and compassionate young men. You have made us all proud.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Some Wee Gifties

 So I have been pondering on what kind of gift you give to friends who have given so much of themselves and so much to us.
I decided there is no such gift. So instead I have decided to make them little tokens of love, hope , power and faith...I LOVE them, I hope my friends will too.
                                                              a little foxy hope
                                                                   Some bunny love
                                                                       tiger love
                                                              more bunny love
                                                             sweet hanging birds

                                                               Hopeful  Bird

                                                               Hopeful Badger

                                                                 Love Bear