Pause and Revitalize #24 – Thanksgiving Thoughts

Thanksgiving Thoughts: This is the day of preparations — traveling to see family and friends, last-minute grocery shopping, baking delicious creations — because tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day. I want to extend my gratitude to our customers, readers of my blog, and those who pin these words of encouragement on Pinterest.

A big thank you goes to Mary Beth Shaw of StencilGirl Productions for her artwork. Mary Beth shared a few pieces of her art and I’m thrilled to use them with this week’s motivational thoughts.

Today I’m quoting a musician, writer, and surfer, all currently living. Here we go:

Yo-Yo Ma, acclaimed cellist and songwriter, U.N Messenger of Peace. 1955 –

Yo-Yo Ma quote
Passion is one great force that unleashes creativity, because if you’re passionate about something, then you’re more willing to take risks. Yo-Yo Ma

Joan Didion, American author. 1934 –
Joan Didion quote

To free us from the expectations of others, to give us back to ourselves–there lies the great, singular power of self-respect. Joan Didion

Bethany Hamilton, American professional surfer who survived a 2003 shark attack. 1990 –
Bethany Hamilton quote


Courage, sacrifice, determination, commitment, toughness, heart, talent, guts. That’s what little girls are made of. Bethany Hamilton
Happy Thanksgiving.
Ann Marie


Pause & Revitalize #19: For the Frazzled

I’ve returned from a day of errands and feel frazzled. Let’s all take a minute to pause & revitalize.

How about words to inspire? These are especially for something new that you’re pursuing.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe quote

“Everything is hard before it is easy.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Carl Sandburg, American poet, writer, and editor, 1978 – 1967
Pause and Revitalize

“I don’t know where I’m going but I’m on my way.” Carl Sandburg

Marge Piercy, American poet, novelist, and social activist, (1936)
Marge Piercy quote

“A strong woman is a woman determined to do something others are determined not to be done.” Marge Piercy

I’m beginning to feel more relaxed. How about you?

Ann Marie

A sampling of previous Pause and Revitalize Posts:

I'm restless. Things are calling me away.
Pause & Revitalize #1
Deep Breaths
Pause and Revitalize #5
pause and revitalize
Pause & Revitalize #6
Maya Angelou
Pause & Revitalize #12

DIY Vintage Chic

Over the Moon Link Party


Pause and Revitalize #18

We’re facing rainstorms all week — tomorrow is expected to be the worst. With that in mind,  I’m tossing inspiration to you for whatever storms you’re facing.

Alan Rickman, English actor and director. 1946 – 2016

“If only life could be a little more tender and art a little more robust.”
Alan Rickman quote

Ralph Waldo Emerson, American essayist, lecturer, and poet. 1803 – 1882

“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson quote

David Lloyd George, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. 1863 – 1945

“There is no greater mistake than to try to leap an abyss in two jumps.”

David Lloyd George quote

You can view more of quotes at my Pinterest page. Have a fabulous day.

Ann Marie

Pause and Revitalize #10

It’s the perfect day to move forward — with your plan, your project, your life. So relax, read  these motivational quotes, and think about what you can do.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, American essayist, lecturer, and poet (1803 – 1882)
Ralph Waldo Emerson motivational quote


C.S. Lewis, British novelist, poet, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian, broadcaster, lecturer, and Christian apologist (1898 – 1963)
C.S. Lewis quote
Anne Lamott, American novelist and non-fiction writer (1954 – )
Anne Lamott quoteYou were born as energy, as life, made of the same stuff as stars, blossoms, breezes.

I’d love to hear about what you focus on moving forward.

Ann Marie

Here are words of encouragement from previous posts. You can find more on my Quotes Board on Pinterest.

motivational quoteJimmy Carter quote
Everybody needs beauty as well as bread . . .Motivational quote













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Pause and Revitalize #7

Today, let’s consider the objects we place around us — the items, large or small, that uplift and help us.

Albert Hadley, American interior designer and decorator (1920 – 2012):
Decoration is really about creating a quality of life and a reality in that life that nourishes the soul that makes life beautiful. That's what all this is about. Not just what's' in and what's out.
Louis Kahn, American architect based in Philadelphia (1901 – 1974):
Design is not making beauty, beauty emerges from selection, affinities, integration and love.
William Morris, English textile designer, poet, novelist, translator, and socialist activist (1834 – 1896):
Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.
Ann Marie

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Pause and Revitalize #6

My words of encouragement for today —

Put aside the thousands of excuses holding you back and move forward.

Anais Nin, author (1903 – 1977)
Pause and Revitalize


Wayne Gretzky, Canadian former professional ice hockey player and former head coach (1961 – )
Pause and Revitalize
Amelia Earhart, American aviation pioneer and author (1897 – disappeared 1937)
pause and revitalize

Move forward.

Ann Marie

Pause and Revitalize #1, Pause and Revitalize #2, Pause and Revitalize #3, Pause and Revitalize #4, Pause and Revitalize #5

Talk-of-the-Town-button-Knick-of-Time Rooted In Thyme Embracing Change d534c079-09d2-4d76-8209-c1a9aaae1e69_zps64479110-1

Pause and Revitalize #5

OK, let’s pause and revitalize with inspirational thoughts. Take a few deep breaths and let them out. Feel yourself getting calmer?
Albert Einstein, German-born theoretical physicist (1879 – 1955)
Deep breaths


Walt Whitman, American poet, essayist and journalist (1819 – 1892)
Deep Breaths
Maya Angelou, American author, poet, and civil rights activist (1928 – 2014)
Maya Angelou

You can find more of my inspirational quotes on my Pinterest page:

Ann Marie

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Finding Inspiration to Paint a Drexel Buffet

When we began our fledgling business about two years ago, one of the first pieces David and I acquired was this delightful Drexel buffet from its Esperanto Collection. David still worked at the university and I wanted to test this idea of a small business once he retired.

The buffet in this photo isn’t ours; in my enthusiasm I never took a Before picture. But it’s a twin of the unpainted one we brought home.

Drexel Esperanto Buffet
Photo by

I knew I wanted to use Annie Sloan Chalk Paint on it, and I scoured the internet for inspiration.

The shimmering greens and gold in this photo of the Rialto Bridge spanning Venice’s Grand Canal spoke so me. David, Michael and I once vacationed in Italy. Venice, with its green-blue lagoon, St. Mark’s Square, tiny shops, carnival masks, canals and gondolas, wove a magical spell despite the autumn mist. This photo became my inspiration.

Rialto Bridge
Rialto Bridge in Venice. Photo by Suzanne Thompson

Of course I had to go back and look through my own photos of Venice and show you a couple:

Soft evening lights of Venice
Soft evening lights of Venice

Our tour guide informed us we were looking at the “Best Butt in Venice,” so I’m sharing it with you. You’re welcome.

Venice Best Butt

Back to the Buffet: I began entering in search terms like “green and gold painted furniture” and eventually something miraculous happened. I found the perfect inspiration photo at 1stDibs. Here’s the amazing part: it matched my own unpainted buffet.

Drexel Esperanto Buffet
Drexel Esperanto Buffet. Photo by 1stDibs

This inspiration piece looked like it belonged in the opulent Doge’s palace in Venice. I set out to replicate it. Despite the buffet’s substantial weight, I wanted to achieve a light and airy sensibility.

Doge's Palace Venice
Doge’s Palace Interior. Photo by nuneza15

We studied our buffet for weeks, plotting our next move. Really we didn’t have a choice in the matter; the only place to store it was smack dab in the middle of our living room.

I didn’t feel guilty about painting this Drexel because of its condition. Scratches marked up the top — they’re a bit difficult to see in the photo below — and David needed to replace more than a few pieces of veneer.

Drexel Esperanto Buffet

According to the markings on the back, Drexel manufactured this buffet in January 1965. Definitely not an antique, which further strengthened my decision to paint.

Drexel Buffet Back

Meanwhile, our kitties had a field day.

Drexel Esperanto Buffet
Starbuck stretching downward while Pepper watches.

You know how you hesitate before trying something new? We hoped to sell this piece — our first painted piece. It needed to be perfect. We desperately wanted to avoid looking like amateurs.

Eventually, like when you’re standing on the edge of a high dive, you screw up your courage,  take a deep breath, and jump.

I mixed Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, Olive and Versailles, to achieve the custom sage color. David and I struggled with the new technique. From years of hardwiring, his brain only understood long, smooth strokes. Now we had a fat, round brush and tried to achieve shorter strokes. There was a learning curve, and I’m embarrassed to admit how many coats of paint we applied while perfecting our technique. But we learned and we improved.

Next came the French gold gilding wax, painstakingly applied by hand. I bought a jar from my Annie Sloan Dealer at Mid-Life Crisis By the Beach. I couldn’t wait to head home and get started. In hindsight, I had no idea what we were getting ourselves into.

Gilding Wax

Michael and I undertook this Herculean task. We spent hours — days — applying the wax. Thinking it would go on like a paint, we started out by applying with a small brush. This failed spectacularly. The gilding was the wrong consistency to adhere evenly to the brush. Worse still, its coarseness caused difficulties in application. When wet it had a tendency to flake, both off the brush and off the piece. We would not be defeated. We tried different sized  brushes, Q-tips, and our fingers. The wax isn’t meant to look perfect but we formed Team Obsessive in our impossible quest for perfection.

We’d focus on small areas, shutting out the world, finally walking away and muttering to ourselves. Then back for more. It seemed never-ending. But just look how she turned out.

Drexel Esperanto Buffet
Drexel Esperanto Buffet. Photo by Avonlelal Antiques and Design Gallery
Drexel Esperanto Buffet
Drexel Esperanto Buffet. Photo by Avonlea Antiques and Design Gallery

I waxed her with Annie Sloan’s Clear Wax, but for the final step, the pièce de resistance, I  applied Royal Design’s Marrakech Medallion stencil to the bottom of the drawers drawers. A small surprise for its future owner.

Drexel Esperanto Buffet
Royal Design Stencil inside Drawer. Photographed by Avonlea Antiques and Design Gallery.

At Avonlea Antiques and Design Gallery our son, Michael, and Georgie took a series of photos in their makeshift photography studio. Avonlea had requested vendors submit 5 blurbs on self-selected pieces. Since only a handful of vendors responded to that original call, our pieces were among the first photographed, edited, and put in the new online store. The online store is still a beautiful work-in-progress that will soon be bursting with items.

Drexel Experanto Buffet
Drexel Esperanto Buffet’s Side Door. Photographed by Avonlea Antiques and Design Gallery.
Drexel Esperanto Buffet
Drexel Esperanto Buffet Detail. Photo by Avonlea Antique and Design Gallery

While we’re still stewards of this great beauty, I have no doubt that the perfect match for her is  out there in the world. My point, however, is take inspiration where you can find it, whether it’s a photo on the computer, out in nature, a picture in a magazine, or a flash of inspiration. Good luck.

Ann Marie and David
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