I always LOVE to hear from my niece Kelsey.  She is a bright light who came into my life as the result of my parents divorce and my mom re-marrying; she is my step sisters daughter.  It seems like just yesterday I was holding her sweet self in my arms and now she is a senior in high school!   Kelsey is a big fan of Simply Michelle and is always nudging and prodding me to do fun new things with my business – from new product development ideas to how I should definitely do an ad in her schools yearbook – yes she was on the yearbook staff and yes I did do a fabulous ad!

Kelsey attends Christian High School and for a school donation of $50 she could paint her very own personal parking spot! Guess who she called??? Yep, her good ol’ Aunt Michelle!  I couldn’t wait to do the project with her and was trying my hardest not to take over!  She gave me fun reign and let me do my thing.  I sketched the idea out for her first to make sure she liked it and then went to town using waterproof house paint on cement!  She painstakingly filled in all the lines to perfection!

I will take any opportunity to get my art out into the world and to spend time with my adorable, fun, beautiful, fabulous, talented niece! Love you Kelsey! and enjoy every second of your senior year! XOXO

9/11/2001 was my second day at my new job at Hallmark Cards, Inc.  As I was in the middle of a cross country corporate move most of my belongings were stacked in boxes to the ceiling.  My television or stereo had not been set up.  On my way into work I went to return my rental car as my car had just arrived early that morning.  The radio in the car was announcing that an airplane had struck the first tower – I thought to myself, how could that happen? When I went into the car rental place I found out that a second plane had hit tower two.  I knew something was not right but I did not for see the impact those two planes would eventually cause.

When I arrived at the office I stood next to people I did not know with my eyes transfixed to the Hallmark televisions in the hallway. I did not know how to even comprehend what I was seeing before my eyes!  I do know that all I wanted to do was get home to California and be as close to all my family as possible.  I was completely heartbroken.  Still to this day I am grateful that I did not have the t.v. or radio to see or hear the continuously aired  images and screams of the people of NYC in my new home. Once was enough.

Anyone who knows me personally knows that I am watching the Today show when I wake up in the morning.  I could not get myself to turn it on this morning.  Instead I chose to send blessings to all that were affected 11 years ago today and held a personal moment of silence in their honor.

In May I went to NYC for the annual Stationery show and passed this beautiful display of painted ceramic tiles.  I could have stayed all day just to see these precious images and the pride it showed for our beautiful U.S.A.

This is what I want to remember of 9/11 – the love and sacrifice so many brave men and women took to help their neighbor in need and the way this tragedy brought our beautiful nation together as one.

God bless all those who were taken that day and to all their loving family members.  This day will always take a place in my heart.


A fabulous week in the ceramics lab at Hallmark Cards, Inc. in Kansas City, MO

While working for Hallmark Cards, Inc. in Kansas City I was selected to participate in a special project designing and coming up with fun new concepts and ideas for cup innovation.

Although I knew at the time this was an honor to be chosen to spend six weeks in an area within Hallmark called the Rice Center I had no idea what a wonderful experience it would turn out to be.

I was lucky to work with three of the nicest girls in my department that I rarely got to spend time with. We were instantly working away on our project and I thrived on learning from them and sharing what ever creative thoughts I had.

By week two we were having lunch outings on a regular basis and sharing good conversations, getting to know about each others’ lives and creating fabulous ideas. We were our own little think tank.

To reward us of all of our hard work at the end of the project we spent one week in the ceramics lab where we worked with the lady in charge…unfortunately I cannot remember her name now but she was so wonderful! We drew the shapes of the cups we wanted and she expertly crafted the cups for us! (so nice)

We painted, relaxed, chatted and laughed all week and these are the cups I came up with!

As soon as they were fired they held a prominent place in my apartment on the plaza in Kansas City right smack in the center of the living room on the fireplace mantel. They traveled with me to Minneapolis while I worked at Target and now they are in my studio right as you walk in the door!

From that wonderful experience to the present and beyond I fondly refer to my friends on the cup innovation team “The Cuppette’s”! This experience happened almost 7 years ago and when I knew I was starting a blog I wanted this to be included….here’s to my first blog entry and to Gretchen, Melissa and Patty! Miss you girls!!!

p.s. I also have the beautiful swirled pink cup you bought me for my going away party sitting right here with me on my desk. A BIG hug to all of you from California!