Matters of the Heart…


Hi Friends!

As the winter days and weeks pass, I have been on the most wonderful, heartwarming journey! This path has led me to lovely places of inspiration, time in nature, quiet hours of thinking and journaling, and most importantly, creative time in my little Paper Garden studio downstairs. Matters of the heart… most certainly!


All year long, I am focusing on nourishing my creative heart and soul. It feels great… and has yielded happy discoveries that warm my heart and assure me that this journey is a truly important one!  One of my ‘guides’ on this journey is the inspiring book, It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again (An Artist’s Way Program for Retirees and Other Creative Souls), by Julia Cameron. Enjoy this post from January to see how this journey began.


Several times a week, I now begin my days by writing Morning Pages. It has become a quiet time of discovery, connections, and enthusiastic planning for my creative hours in the studio. One of my favorite discoveries has been the creative ‘ribbon’ that has curled throughout my entire life! From the ages of 8, 18, 28 and into my Renaissance (the ‘R’ word that I use for my retirement), my love for lettering, playing with inks and watercolors, photography, making cards, writing letters, and collecting quotes has always had a special place in my heart. So many sweet memories… I thought about my childhood journals. I remembered my early years as a teacher, with no money for art supplies, when I would heat emboss sentiments for cards over my toaster (not recommended!). I recalled having the entire kitchen floor of my apartment covered with handpainted green flourishes drying as I created Christmas cards. I smiled as I thought about all of the famous quotations, lettered with pen and nib and black ink on parchment, that decorated the long staircase up to my apartment. (They were my homework assignments from years of Calligraphy classes in my 20s ~ perfect for decorating on a budget!) I can still hear my friends saying, “You can get a college education just climbing the stairs to Dawn’s apartment.”  Yes, truly… matters of the heart!

So, it was a joy during the past few weeks to be able to nourish my creative heart by attending two lettering workshops, a cardmaking workshop, and two Saturday Papercrafting Crop days with my crafty ‘tribe.’  I have spent so many mornings enjoying glorious time in the studio… feeling fresh and inspired!


Weekly Artist’s Dates have become one of my favorite parts of The Artist’s Way program. Taking the time to nourish my creative spirit makes even familiar, favorite places seem new again!  While walking through beautiful Orchid Greenhouses I thought about the color combinations on the blossoms.

Rather than shopping, I wandered through my favorite store, Crate&Barrel, with a whole new purpose. I looked at patterns, textures, and colors for inspiration.


Crate&Barrel pottery

The textures, patterns, and colors on upholstery fabric and duvet covers caught my attention. Paisley patterns danced in my head for days. 


Crate&Barrel fabrics

Matters of the heart… 

It was time to create some Paisley patterns of my own, using paper and ink!


Supplies: Papertrey Ink stamp, SU Dye inks, Distress Inks, Ranger blending tool, Strathmore Bristol Smooth paper


Supplies: Papertrey Ink stamp, Papertrey Ink Dye ink, SU Dye inks, Distress Inks, Ranger blending tool, Strathmore Bristol Smooth paper, Uni-ball Signo gel pen (White details inspired by Kathy Racoosin’s beautiful designs!)

A rare warm, sunny January afternoon inspired an Artist’s Date at the Morton Arboretum.  As I strolled along the beautiful ‘Conifer Path’ I was immersed in the heady evergreen scents. Nature’s scents are what I miss the most in the middle of winter. I noticed all of the shades of green and the forms of the needle-filled branches.


Now I look forward to creating some evergreen branches of my own using watercolors

and perhaps adding a hand lettered quotation.

These are matters of the heart…  that nourish my creative soul!

Last week, my Artist’s Date was a quiet morning spent in a wonderful, independent bookstore, Prairie Path Books. I could instantly feel that I was among friendly, interesting, kindred spirits there! They were curious to hear about my journey through The Artist’s Way program. In fact, they have even hosted Artist’s Way gatherings there in the past. So, they completely understood that I wasn’t shopping, but there to learn and discover instead. I spent time reading the opening passages of several beautiful memoirs. The words of each author filled my heart with new inspiration.


Matters of the heart…   I have given so much thought to each exciting ‘tool’ in It’s Never to Late to Begin Again over the past few weeks: Morning Pages, Artist’s Dates, Solo Walks, and Writing Memoir.  Each one is so valuable and each takes time. Since my goal this year is to nourish my creative heart with creative time in my little studio,  I will be tweaking The Artist’s Way plan going forward. There must also be family time, time for workouts, time for home and garden projects, tea with friends, reading, scrapbooking, blogging, and travels.

So, I have decided to s-t-r-e-t-c-h this 12-week journey of discovery into a 12-month journey.  Ahhhhhh!  I’m really looking forward to working at a much slower place, and having more time to write memoir. It’s something that I have long wanted to begin. Telling our stories and documenting our lives in different ways is yet another ‘ribbon’ that curls throughout my life.

Matters of the heart…

and when my heart speaks, I always listen!


Be sure to let me know if you are interested in reading more about

this journey of discovery or possibly joining in!

You can leave your thoughts below,

or contact me quietly through ‘Say Hello’ on the blog.


Thank you all so much for taking time

to read Petals.Paper.SimpleThymes.

The kindness, encouraging words, and creativity

of the friends who gather here always inspire me.


Supplies: Papertrey Ink stamps, Papertrey Ink tag die, Simon Says Stamp ‘friends’ die, acetate for ink smooshing technique, water mister, paintbrush, Distress inks, Versafine Onyx Black ink, Canson watercolor paper,… and lots of love!

Heartfelt thanks for being a part of my life…

and for allowing me to be a part of yours!

Happy Day!

Warm hugs,

♡ Dawn





46 thoughts on “Matters of the Heart…

    • Heartfelt thanks, Marcia, for your thoughtful insight! 🙂 It is such a blessing to have time to pursue things that feel so important to me. I have been working on mindfulness for a few years now. (Being present was one of my most challenging words of the year!) Thank you for noticing… and reminding me! 🙂

      It makes me so happy to send off my cards to family and friends that I often forget to take photos! I do make notes in a Happy Mail journal, as a reminder of the stamps used for each person’s card. It is amazing to look back and see all of the cards I’ve made each month. I have to remember to take more photos. Have you been making cards lately, Marcia? Wishing you a very Happy ♡ Day!

    • Oh, thank you, Jodi! 🙂 I completely understand… I often feel guilty about having this wonderful blessing of time, since my husband is still working. Just imagine how much art you will create when you retire! You will have to open an Art Gallery to hold all of your paintings!! Wishing you a Happy ♡ Day, Jodi!

  1. Dawn, I so much admire your purposeful nourishing of your artist soul. Stretching out your weeks to months will certainly help you to pursue your busy renaissance. It’s not surprising you find inspiration in nature and in the colorful patterns at your Crate and Barrel. I adore the lovely paisley patterns you are producing. Wouldn’t your patterns be lovely wallpaper? Maybe a beautiful scarf ( I’m thinking Spoonflower making your pattern into fabric)? Seeing your beautiful card lets me know you love what you do my friend to nourish your heart. Following our hearts will never let us down. Another beautiful post, my friend. Happy creative days to you, dear Dawn. ♥

    • Heartfelt thanks, Martha Ellen! It feels like I must nourish my creative side. The older I get, the stronger it tugs on my heartstrings! I can see that you must be feeling the same stirrings in your creative soul through your wonderful,new photography skills, my friend. 🙂 Now that you mention it, the Paisley designs do look like wallpaper! I think I spent hours on each 4-inch x 5-inch pattern just layering and blending ink colors. It was really fun and relaxing, though, and something I would have never thought to try without the fabric inspiration at Crate&Barrel. I truly agree that following our hearts will never let us down! Sending warmest Valentine hugs! ♡

  2. What a delightful way to end my day here (Valentine’s Day) and experience vicariously your new adventures.
    I loved this, Dawn, and admire what you are doing.
    I love wandering through Crate and Barrel. I did this one morning before Christmas and it energized me. Have you tried wandering through the Pottery Barn?
    Today, I surprised Tom by taking him to Ivy in Wheaton for lunch. We usually do not go out for dinner on Valentine’s Day, but, I wanted to this. He is so good to me and I knew he would like the restaurant. He loved it, we both loved our meals and it was such a pleasant time, then, we walked the few blocks to Prairie Path Books – a favorite spot of mine. I can only imagine the joy of your workshop there.
    Lovely post, Dawn. Thank you.

    • Heartfelt thanks, dear Penny! It has been such fun to look at familiar places and things in new ways. Although Crate&Barrel is my favorite, I always find fun inspiration at Pottery Barn, too. They have such lovely Easter place settings at the moment! It’s such a sweet reminder that Spring will be here soon.

      I think you were the very first person to tell me about Prairie Path Books, Penny! I finally made time to visit last week for my Artist’s Date. What an absolute joy! (I actually visited PPB twice last week and can’t wait to visit again!) I haven’t attended a workshop there (yet). All of my recent workshops were at our favorite library! 🙂 They always find special ways to help nourish my creativity! Warmest Valentine hugs for you and Tom! ♡

    • Oh, Karen! Thank you for your very kind words. I’m learning a lot and really enjoying this creative journey! Hope all is well. I think of you whenever we hear news reports of the California rains. Sending warm hugs! ♡

    • What a sweet thing to say! Heartfelt thanks, Judy! My Artist’s Dates have truly made me more mindful of color combinations, patterns, and textures. I am intentionally not buying anything on these little adventures, I must use the inspiration I find to create with paper, inks, and watercolors. 🙂 I’m sure that you have been collecting similar inspiration for your beautiful quilts, Judy! It has been very helpful to use my camera to document the inspiration I find. Looking at things with ‘new’ eyes is very exciting for me! I know that you have been finding a whole new world of inspiration during your winter adventure in South Carolina. I wonder what you will be inspired to create with needle and thread? Keep having fun in the sun, Judy! ♡

  3. Dawn, your photos are stunning and so are your crafts. That pink flower should be framed in a place of honor.I’m enjoying reading about your Artist’s Way Renaissance pursuits. I also like that you’ve made adjustments to accommodate life. That flexibility and prioritizing speaks to the wonderful person you are. I enjoyed the image of your apartment floor covered with samples of your creativity, made with love and ready to be shared with friends and loved ones. I like your paisley prints and chuckled that the ink pot itself has a paisley shape. There are many beautiful things coming out of your paper garden. It all looks like fun. Sending you a hug across the miles. Happy creating. xo

    • Warmest hugs, Alys! Your kindness always melts my heart. I’m definitely having fun and growing in new ways. It feels so good to make more time for creativity in my days by prioritizing these activities! I’ve always been a morning person (perhaps it’s because of my name! 🙂 ), so spending mornings in my little Paper Garden studio feels so refreshing. While writing Morning Pages, I’m making nice discoveries, too. It has been fun to think back and remember all of the ways that ink, paper, pens and nibs, and watercolors have been a part of my life through the years. It feels like a sweet ribbon that has curled in and out of my life over the years.

      When I became a homeowner and began restoring my home, I tucked away all of those supplies for three decades. Instead my creative ‘tools’ became scrapers, paint stripper, a heat gun to strip paint, paint rollers, stencils, screwdrivers, shovels, garden tools, rakes, a lawnmower, and a snowblower! You can’t imagine the joy I felt just last month when I opened my toolbox filled with calligraphy supplies and gouache paints for the first time in thirty years! I took a two-day lettering class and felt the relaxation of mindful, intentional forming of each letter. It rekindled that joy that I felt way back in my calligraphy days. I know that you have so many creative passions, Alys! Perhaps you feel this same joy each time you pick up a needle and thread begin designing again? These simple passions stay in our hearts, for they are truly a part of who we are… and who we are becoming!

      Hope you and your loved ones are safe during the terrible California storms, flooding, and mudslides, Alys. Each time I watch the news, I think of you! ♡

      • Dawn, I didn’t realize you had packed away your beloved tools for so long. You’ve had such an interesting life, buying and remodeling a home, teaching, creating and then I think, marrying later in life. (Am I remembering that correctly?) I can hear the joy in your voice. I recently picked up a crochet hook and decided to learn more than a chain (lol) but like knitting, it is wondefully grounding and relaxing, even if the “product” so far is a bunch of goofy-looking stitches. I’m doing okay. I’m feeling a bit under the weather, and overwhelmed with our local and global news, so trying to stay positive. Creativity really helps.

      • Creativity really does help, Alys! I’m finding that just spending a few hours playing with paper and ink really soothes the soul. 🙂 There are so many chapters in life, but our creative passions seem to curl throughout our lives like a beautiful ribbon! My life has been blessed in so many ways ~ family, friends, my teaching career, much traveling, restoring a little home of my own, gardening, meeting the love of my life, marrying, and now my Renaissance. It’s lovely to revisit some of my passions from long ago! I’ll bet you are rediscovering some of the same creative passions ~ sewing, knitting, and now crochet. When you have less responsibilities and more time, I know that you will also savor this new time of discovery, Alys! These creative pleasures are matters of the heart, to be nurtured again and again.

        Hope you will feel better soon, dear Alys. I have been concerned about you and your family since I saw news reports of the terrible flooding in your city. So much water everywhere! I hope your neighborhood and your loved ones are safe and sound during these frightful weather extremes in California! Sending hugs and prayers across the miles! ♡

      • Dawn, I’m terribly behind on my comments. What a treat to find yours waiting for me. Your warmth and inspiration are a gift to all who read your words. Thank you for that. I’ve been volunteering this week for a couple of flood relief efforts. I’ll try to write a post this week. Thanks for your love and hugs. xo

      • Huge hugs, Alys, for your kind words! It’s so wonderful that you have been able to lend a hand in the California flood relief efforts. We saw the news reports of the terrible flooding in your area. Just heartbreaking! Looking forward to all that you share with us, dear Alys! Sending sunny thoughts your way! ♡

      • Oh, thank you, dear Alys! I truly appreciate the time you spend visiting here. Our lives get so busy… but when the time is right, we can connect through our shared interests and our blogs. Wishing you (and you and your garden!) sunny Springtime days ahead, Alys! ♡

  4. It’s wonderful that you are happily creating and cultivating your creative energies. You have an artist’s eye. I’ve already expressed how much I have enjoyed everything Julia Cameron has written and have all her books. I also enjoyed the one written by Elizabeth Gilbert, “Big Magic”. Both women have great ideas on how to engage our creative spirits fully. Love all that you have done here. The memoir writing is what I am most interested in but love all the things you focus on here. I have so many interests that it’s hard to decide what will take priority each day but these days the decision is much easier. After this long winter, I’m trying to spend more time moving my body for health so my brain will work more clearly. We have a few hours dry so out I go for a walk up the hills. The MP3 player makes it so much nicer. 🙂

    • Thank you so much for your encouraging words, Marlene! It always feels exciting to grow in new, creative ways. (It can sometimes feel a bit scary, too!) I am learning so much from Julia Cameron and Elizabeth Gilbert about the creative process. I think we both feel the same, Marlene. Memoir writing will be the most powerful part of our creative adventures. Documenting our stories is so very important! ♥♥

      Congratulations on making workout time for yourself, Marlene! You are fortunate to have hills to to walk up and down. It’s always flat where I walk, and I often wish for a bit of an incline. Keep walking and logging those steps. They turn into miles so quickly! Thanks so much for taking time to visit today, Marlene! ♡

  5. What a wonderful way of starting out your day each morning Dawn. A time when all is still and your pen and paper gets put to good use. I think we can all take a page from your book. So often we are inundated with such trivia that there’s no time for solitude and inner thoughts. Love all the beautiful work you’ve portrayed.

    • I feel so grateful to have the time to sit and write in the mornings, Loretta. I’ve noticed that decisions become very clear during the writing process! So, it’s a nice way to problem-solve. The act of writing down plans and goals has been a positive one for me, setting the tone for my day. I have been spending less time online and have found more time in my days! Julia Cameron’s newest book has become a wonderful gift of new discovery for me. This slower time of year, while the garden is sleeping, is a wonderful time to take on this new creative journey. I’m so happy that you stopped to visit today, Loretta! Sending warm thoughts your way! ♡

  6. Hi Dawn, I agree that we should always listen to our hearts! I love Crate and Barrel, but have not been to one in quite a few years. I have always loved paisley and what great stamp to have!!

    • Kindred spirits, Jann! I always find inspiration at Crate and Barrel. Their goods always mix nicely with our cherished antiques. There are such bright pops of color and inspiring patterns and textures throughout the store right now. It’s exciting to try to bring this inspiration into my papercrafting! Paisley prints always seem fresh. I’m noticing them everywhere now! Thank you so much for visiting today, Jann. I am definitely inspired to use garden gatherings to create a Springtime nest for our front porch thanks to you! Can’t wait to see what you are up to next. Warm hugs! ♡

  7. Inspiration is all around, as you have pointed out! I have a sense that you could be teaching creativity classes. As your journaling guides you and you bring forth a fountain of wonderful thoughts, you are passing that right along to your readers! Thank you!

    • Oh, Jayne! You are so very sweet! Creativity is tugging at my heartstrings 24/7. It feels like I want to explore so many different creative paths. It’s exciting to be a beginner with so much to learn. (Also a bit scary, since I have always been a perfectionist.) I must often remind myself that new beginnings are a chance to learn, discover, and grow, as we build our skills! Wouldn’t it be lovely if others were inspired to create after reading these posts? I would truly love that!! 🙂 It would be so wonderful to connect with kindred spirits who are also interested in following The Artist’s Way program! I’m keeping my fingers crossed! Enjoy your beautiful blossoms and warmer days, Jayne! Thank you so much for visiting today! ♡

  8. How lucky you are to have those wonderful workshops to attend with like minded and talented people. It sounds like your renaissance period is a good and happy one. 🙂

    • I do feel so very fortunate, Karen! I just love learning new things and it is a delight to be able to share my love of paper and ink with other papercrafters.:) Our public library has been a truly wonderful part of my Renaissance! They offer so many workshops that bring people with the same interests together. It has also been a lovely way to meet kindred spirits who live in town. I count my blessings out loud every day! Thank you so much for stopping to visit today. Wishing you a wonderful weekend, Karen! Enjoy the warm Florida sunshine! ♡

  9. I love how you’re connecting with what is truly important Dawn! I find myself chasing the proverbial wheel sometimes and need to reconnect. I used to write and have always loved writing too. The paisley paper that you created is just gorgeous. I loved the colors that you chose. They look so soft and inviting.

    • Thanks so much, Julie! The need to make more creative time in my days has been tugging on my heartstrings. It feels so good to nourish my creative soul, even in small ways! 🙂 Two wonderful books have really inspired me. You might also enjoy Julia Cameron’s newest book, It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again (An Artist’s Way Program for Retirees and Other Creative Souls). Writing is such a big part of the creative process! I also recommend Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert. It was so inspiring to hear a writer talk about creativity… and why it can often feel scary to begin creating. You are always so wonderfully creative in your kitchen, Julie! I’m so happy that you stopped to visit today! ♡

  10. Thank you for your comment on my blog, Dawn. I was unable to reply to you directly, so I came over to see your blog. I was immediately enchanted by your Wordsworth quote at the top of the page – Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart – one of my favourites. I do love to write, too, and try to do a little every day. Best wishes on your journey of creativity.

    • Welcome, Lorrie! I’m so happy that you stopped to visit today! Many thanks for your kind wishes! It’s always a treat when SB Girlfriends connect with one another. If you are interested, there are several posts about Susan Branch in my blog Archives. (Everything is tucked away in the slide-out sidebar. 🙂 ) I just adore that special Wordsworth quote! I’m looking forward to doing a project with this quote very soon. Sending sunny thoughts your way, Lorrie! ♡

    • Heartfelt thanks for your very kind words, Pam! It’s always such fun to play with colors, textures, and patterns in brand new ways. The possibilities are endless! Wishing you a colorful, creative day! Thank you for stopping to visit today, Pam! ♡

  11. HELLO ♡
    First of all I really missed reading your blogs. I was busy with my Ph.D. work. I didnt even find time to write on my blog too. At one moment I even felt like my blogging life is over. Research life is quite draining but I thought I should somehow find time to read your wonderful blog. When I read your blog after around 2 and a half months I felt back the utmost contentment flushing into my body. I understand how addicted we crafters and calligraphers are to stationary items. I love how you have never let anything come in the way of your love for calligraphy. Its was inspiring.I love calligraphy too but I am not so good at it. Recently I bought a watercolor brush pen and it makes calligraphy with watercolor so easy. I love your Paisley stamps. Its look similar to the stamps that we use for mehendi (designs drawn in hands with herbal dye) design in India. Blogging has made such a difference in my life ~ not just the writing part but also reading and knowing about other’s life through blogging too. I hope you keep inspiring us with your beautiful writings. It was a pleasure reading your blog as always. Wish you a lovely spring ♡

    • Happy Spring, Ricky! It’s wonderful to know that you are pursuing your Ph.D. in High Energy Physics. All of the time spent doing research can be so exciting when you are completely immersed in a topic that you love. It can feel all-consuming, too. I’m so happy that you have found a bit of time to visit my blog again and leave such a thoughtful, beautiful comment, dear Ricky!

      For me, it has been truly heartwarming to discover that the same creative interests that I loved in my early years are still an important part of me! When life became so busy with my teaching career, graduate school, and taking care of my own home and garden, I carefully packed away all of my calligraphy supplies and art/craft supplies. I knew that one day, I would have time to play with ink and paper again! My passion for papercrafting seems to have wound through my life like a lovely ribbon! Now, in my Renaissance (the “R” word I use for my retirement), I have more time to practice. I think the same thing might happen for you, Ricky. Just a bit of creativity, even 5-10 minutes with your watercolor markers, would be so relaxing at the end of each busy day! Add a bit of soft music, and it might feel like a bit of meditation before you drift off to sleep…

      You are so right, Ricky! The Paisley stamps do look like Mehendi. 🙂 I have always admired the beautiful Mehendi designs each time we visit the Summer Fest at a nearby Hindu temple. The delicate artwork and herbal dye always fascinate me.

      I know just how much time it takes to write and take photos for a blog. When life gets too busy, there is not enough time to blog. But I always look forward to writing again… when the time is right. I do hope you will also write whenever you have time, too. What a delight it is to connect with kindred spirits through blogging! I’m so happy that we connected here, Ricky! Wishing you happy Springtime days! ♡

  12. I almost cried with joy when you said ‘it might happen with you too’. Yes I do listen while crafting . I usually listen to original scores from studio ghibli movies. I love all of its movie and their music is very relaxing. Finally thank you again for giving me such a great boost. Everyday may not be a happy one but we must find a reason to be happy each day…and for me its crafting and meeting lovely friends like you ♡♡♡♡

    • Your kind words always touch my heart, Ricky! Our creative passions for inks, watercolors, pens, and paper will always be a part of who we are. They wait for us during the busy years. Then it feels so wonderful to practice again! It is said that, “Women can do it all ~ just not all at the same time!” I have cherished each of the chapters of my life. 🙂 I always look forward to the next chapter in life… and all that it will teach me.

      I love listening to music in my little Paper Garden studio downstairs, too. Lately, I’ve been listening to Jazz music. It’s lovely to have a special friend in India, Ricky! Sending sunshine from my heart to yours! ♡

      • Whenever I talk with you, its like I’m talking with my reflection. So the words just overflows. But I am so overwhelmed with your sweet compliment 😊 I am happy too to meet a friend in US. I got many friends from US who are paper crafters like me. One of them is the youtuber, Megan Marshall. I will share the link to her blog with you later 😊

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