Sweet Memories


Hi Friends!

It happens every year! After the magic of Christmas comes a quiet week… just right for reflecting. I cherish these peaceful moments as I make time to look back over the past 366 days. Just scrolling through my iPhoto library and Camera Roll takes me right back to those small moments and special times ~ a true celebration of 2016.


During the last week of the year, I love to set aside many hours to document our family stories in our Christmas Memories keepsake book, by Susan Branch. Each book holds five years of family traditions ~ and we are nearing the end of our second volume. (I’m so grateful to have two new copies of Christmas Memories tucked safely away to hold ten more years of memories.)  A cup of tea, soft candlelight, and the sounds of Christmas music, help me to savor and preserve our stories.


It’s also the perfect time to reflect on the ‘One Little Word’ that has inspired me throughout the entire year.  I chose the word Blossom for 2016. (Truthfully, the word Blossom chose me!) It was my intention all year long to bravely share my handmade cards with others in the papercrafting community. There were some lovely ‘firsts’ this year… new ways to blossom!


The wonderfully supportive papercrafting community on Instagram welcomed me with encouraging words as I blossomed throughout the year. It’s always heartwarming when other card makers and the stamp designers comment on our handmade cards.


Monthly paper crafting ‘Crops’ have been a very special part of my blossoming throughout the year. I always pack a basket of stamps, inks, watercolor paper, and markers with great anticipation. It’s just wonderful to gather with friends on a Saturday, as we each work on our own projects together. Creative hands and kind hearts make the hours fly by. Sharing, learning from one another, and laughing together is a delight. I feel so blessed to have found my crafty ‘tribe’ this year!

Starry Night collage

In July, I spent a creative day with papercrafters from around the globe, as we participated in the Papertrey Ink Stamp-a-Faire 2016. Inspired by the works of the The Masters throughout art history and the talented PTI Design Team, I stretched my skills immensely as I learned many new techniques. Although I worked alone in my little Paper Garden studio downstairs, it felt so great to be a part of something much bigger! Afterwards, I shared my creations as part of a Papertrey Ink Blog Hop. I cherish the sweet memories of that special day. It was a perfect way to blossom, blossom, blossom!

You can read all about it here.


Creating cards to let loved ones know that I am thinking of them is a special passion. The time spent on each one-of-a-kind card always feels like a little visit with family and friends 🙂  Sharing handmade kindness is one small way of making a difference… and blossoming!


Of all the books I have enjoyed this year, there are two that have truly inspired my creative journey…

both touched my heart deeply and brought tears to my eyes.


Martha’s Vineyard ~ Isle of Dreams, the newest book in Susan Branch’s memoir trilogy, was published in Spring 2016. This handwritten, watercolored treasure takes us along as a young Susan flies away from California for a fresh start on Martha’s Vineyard, in Massachusetts. I felt so many connections as she bought a little house of her own and turned it into ‘home sweet home.’ It was truly fascinating as Susan shared her determination, hard work, and the creative path she followed as she grew into an artist and author.


What a joy to read! So inspiring! During a tea party and book signing in May, I was so grateful for the opportunity to spend a bit of time with Susan again, and to tell her how much this book meant to me. Of all of the wonderful quotations in this book, I shared the one that inspired me the most… and Susan told me that it was her very favorite quotation, too. Kindred spirits!


Take a peek back at some of the sweetest memories of that very special day with Susan Branch here.

If you click on the Menu bar of our blog, the Tag Cloud will lead you to many of the ways

Susan has been an inspiration in my life!


Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert, spoke directly to my heart and inspired me to keep practicing even though creativity can feel so scary at times. I revisit so many quotations from this wonderful book often as I meander along this creative journey. 


Take a peek at the powerful connections I felt as I read Big Magic here.

Although I am always drawn to nonfiction, every so often my heart needs a little ‘escape’ from the news of the world. That’s when I reach for a bit of fiction. Earlier this month, I really enjoyed Debbie Macomber’s new Christmas novel, Twelve Days of Christmas. It’s a delightful holiday story, with a fun blogging twist! 🙂 It is just perfect for making sweet memories…


It’s been a very busy year of growing and blossoming!

I can’t wait to share my ‘One Little Word’ for 2017 next week.

I began listening for my new OLW in early November. Within just a few weeks, my new word found me.

If you would like to learn more about  ‘One Little Word’ and see how I have used each word, look here and here.

This will be my sixth year of setting my intentions for the New Year, using ‘One Little Word.’


May the New Year bring you an abundance of joy…

and a grateful heart!

That’s exactly how I feel each time I read your thoughtful comments.

Heartfelt thanks for taking the time to write and share your thoughts with all of us.

With gratitude,

♡ Dawn

                       P.S.  What were your favorite books this year? We’d love to hear about the books that you loved!






30 thoughts on “Sweet Memories

    • Your kind words warm me just like a cozy quilt, Judy! I feel so grateful to have more playtime downstairs in my little Paper Garden while my garden sleeps through the winter. Happy New Year, Judy! ♡

  1. What a wonderful look back at 2016! And blossom you did! Dawn, your cards are just beatiful. I always try to imagine you in your little paper garden, blossoming away!! While you were creating, I was just trying to “breathe”, but it has helped me immensely as we have all settled in to our new lives together. Never quite sure how or if it would all work out, my mom has slipped seamlessly into our house and I can say that Jim really enjoys the company while I am at work. They work together on the daily crossword puzzle in the paper. Mom loves puzzles but can’t see, so it is perfect for the two of them. When I commented one day that one of their words didn’t fit, Jim said, “we like to do it our way!” LOL! My word came to me earlier this month! Just popped into my head!
    So with that I wish you a delightful, peaceful, New Year!

    • Oh, Chris! I’m thrilled to hear that your first ‘One Little Word’ made such a difference last year!! 🙂 🙂 You made it possible by being mindful and remembering to breathe. That was my very first OLW, the year that I was preparing my heart to retire from the teaching career that I loved with all my heart. The word breathe comes back to me often during challenging times. It has been a gift! All five of my past OLWs are still a very important part of who I am and who I am becoming. I’m so glad that your new OLW 2017 found you! 🙂 Isn’t it amazing how we can tune in, listen, and follow our hearts? Remember to make your new word visible in many places. This weekend, I’m going to make some bookmarks, a small bunting, and some other little visual reminders of my new word. Can’t wait to share our new words next week! 🙂 Even my husband is curious about my new OLW, but it’s still a secret that I’m holding in my heart until I release it into the world in the New Year! ♥

      Chris, I am so happy to know how well everything has worked out with your family this year. Jim and your mom are enjoying their time together and you have peace of mind, knowing that they are together and nearby. Even your garden is happy, with all of your mom’s tender care! Breathe a peaceful sigh, my friend. Happy New Year, Chris! See you next week for the big reveal! ♡

    • Happy New Year, Ginnie! I am so glad that our paths crossed again at Susan’s Tea Party in May. My heart smiles whenever I think of that special day and all of the Girlfriends we met. Warm hugs, Ginnie! ♡

  2. Your cards are awesome, Dawn. They, and your words, reflect your blossoming spirit and sunny personality and are inspirational. I’m so glad you shared them here as you reflect on the year’s end. Thank you for all your lovely posts and on-line friendship through Petals, Papers, and Simple Thymes. Here’s to more in 2017, as well as health and happiness.

    • Your words feel just like a warm hug, dear Penny! I just love looking back, while preparing to move forward into the New Year. 🙂 My year was so full of challenges and some very sad times, but when I looked back through my iPhoto Library and Camera Roll this week, it was easy to see the abundance of beauty and love that came into my life the past year. So I am very grateful! I could really feel the blossoming happening slowly throughout the year. This is the chapter in our lives when we must live in full bloom! 🙂 I know you will agree…

      This was the year that we finally met in person! I love that all of our meetings happened in one of our favorite places. 🙂 Hope we can plan to meet for a warm cup of tea on a cold winter’s day! Sending warm hugs and best wishes for a healthy Happy New Year! ♡

  3. Dawn, I’m still searching for a word for this year. I can’t seem to find it just yet, but hope it presents itself soon. I’m looking forward to reading about yours in a future post.

    Your cards are gorgeous. I always admire your artistry and your crafting skills, along with the fact that so many of your subjects are flowers or nature. They have such appeal.

    I’m backed up on my reading since I now spend so much time reading blogs, but I have Susan’s book in my stack and hope to get to it soon.

    Sending you love and light and wishing you all good things in the coming year. xo Alys

    • Be still, Alys, and listen closely to your heart. Your ‘One Little Word’ is probably looking for you! You might find inspiration here here on Ali Edwards’ blog. When the right word comes along, you will know it! ♥

      Thanks for your sweet words, Alys. Florals are among my favorite stamps and I tend to buy ink colors that remind me of the flowers in my garden. I often need to make masculine cards, and it always stretches my creativity. I’m hoping that we can both be part of the Papertrey Ink Stamp-a-Faire 2017. I will watch for the announcement of the date and keep you posted. BTW, did you see my email with the craft room organization videos? They are fun to watch!

      I hope, hope, hope that you can move Susan’s book near the top of your reading stack. You will find so much beauty, inspiration, and sweetness within the pages! Start with a just a few pages and you will be transported to Susan’s little house on Martha’s Vineyard! I am really excited about the book that will lead me into the new year, Alys!! Maybe it will appeal to you, as well. I will write about it next week! 🙂 Happiest New Year, dear Alys! May love and light fill your days in 2017. ♡

  4. Dearest Dawn, I love how you preserve your memories in Susan’s Christmas Memories album. What a wonderful treasure you are creating. You have certainly Blossomed in your creative endeavors, dear friend. Your cards are so lovely. I really enjoy seeing your beautiful water colored pieces. One of my favorite books of the year is Susan’s Martha’s Vineyard, Isle of Dreams. It is a close to my other favorite of hers – A Fine Romance! I’m looking forward to hearing about your new word and how it came to you. I’m looking forward to the quiet days ahead to focus on new projects as we settle into winter. Happy New Year to you and John, dear Dawn! ♥

    • Our Christmas Memories books really do feel like treasures, Martha Ellen! I began keeping our holiday memories when we became a family. ♥♥ I squeeze in all of our Thanksgiving, birthday, Christmas, and New Year’s traditions. Susan’s lovely artwork and prompts inspire me every year! 🙂 I could slowly feel the blossoming happening all year long. It is a long, exciting, creative journey for me. It feels like a path that I must follow!

      Kindred spirits, dear Martha Ellen! I know how much we love the same books. 🙂 I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the movie! Quiet winter days are just perfect for new creative projects. Can’t wait to hear what you are working on, dear friend! We send the same happy wishes to you and Grayden! Happy New Year! ♡

    • So true, Karen! I am always fascinated to read about the creative paths of those who inspire me. I try to soak it all in. I’m very excited about my ‘One Little Word’ for 2017. 🙂 Wishing you a very Happy New Year, Karen! ♡

  5. I treasure everything you do and am grateful that you share. My particular favorites include the garden gate collection. Thank you for being such a lovely person. Grateful and hopeful, anne

    • Happy New Year, Anne! So grateful for our long friendship! You have inspired me to add to the garden gate collection. It would be fun to create a snowy garden gate scene! I’m reading the most wonderful book as we begin the New Year. I wonder if you have ever read it, too? Can’t wait to share later this week! Warmest hugs, dear friend! ♡

    • Happy New Year, Dulce! You are one of the leaders of my creative ‘tribe.’ So grateful for all that you share with us. Thanks for always being here. See you soon, sweet friend! ♡

  6. I love, love, love all your paper crafts. So inspiring. Finally, after almost 7 years, digging my crafting materials out of storage. And in the next week may have a space set up to start to play again. Big Magic was one of my favorite books this year. I recommend it all the time. Have read so many of Debbie Macomber’s books. They are the kind of easy read I like at night before sleeping. I follow Susan Branch’s blog and very much enjoy her writing. I have opened your friend, Ali Edwards’ blog page in a separate tab and began following. My word for this year is Heal. Here’s hoping. Such an uplifting post for the new year. I’m ready. Thank you and have a great one. Marlene

    • Happy New Year, Marlene! Kindred spirits! I’m so happy that you will have a new crafty space! You will feel like a kid in a candy store as you set up your new space. 🙂 If you will be making cards, you can find some of my favorite online card makers on my Inspiration page. I still revisit powerful quotes from Big Magic. I think you will enjoy Debbie Macomber’s newest Christmas novel with its blogging storyline. 🙂 I haven’t taken Ali Edwards workshop, but I am so grateful for her ‘One Little Word’ inspiration for the past five years. Your new word is so powerful, Marlene! This week, you will be able to head to your crafty space to make your new word visible. 🙂 My new word is posted in four different places as a daily reminder of my intention for 2017. (More details in my next post.) Thank you for being here, Marlene, and sharing all of your great news! We can make 2017 a great year! ♡

  7. Happy New Year, Dawn! I can’t wait to hear your word for 2017 🙂 I love looking at all of your crafting creations; they’re so beautiful. I thought of you the other day when I was in TJ Maxx and saw a Susan Branch sticky note set! I bought it to use at work to bring a little positivity into my day. Hope all is well ❤

    • Happiest New Year, Chris! Hope your holiday celebrations were merry and bright. I’ve been inspired by my new ‘One Little Word’ for three days already! 🙂 I love learning and growing in new, creative ways, so I’m really enjoying this word. I will share my new word very soon! Your desk at work will feel much brighter every time you use your Susan Branch sticky notes. ♥ Many thanks for your nice email, Chris. Wishing you a wonderful year ahead! Warm hugs!♡

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