A Little Bit of Christmas – Coastal Style

Coastal Christmas Wreath

Yesterday I removed the fall wreath from my front door and decided with the heat wave (temps in the high 70′s), I was NOT going to pretend I live up north and hang an evergreen wreath. I pulled out my summer wreath I made and enjoyed so much and added some shiny ball ornaments in red, aqua and lime – my current favorite holiday colors – and that was that! I love it. It feels right at home for a home ten minutes from the beach.


grapevine wreath, chalk paint I custom mixed, shells from my beach, burlap, starfish, mini chalkboard and shiny ornaments

I’ve linked up with The Nester’s Wreath Party. Should you like to see more of my Coastal Christmas decor, see below. Otherwise, thanks for stopping by to see my coastal wreath.


As you know I have an Etsy Shop with my watercolor prints as well as my Hope Brews items made from coffee bean bags. I thought I’d sew up a stocking made from one of my coffee bags. I lined it with a neutral fabric and attached one of my many sand dollars. I have a box full of imperfect sand dollars that a friend  gave me – YAY!

I really like this! I’m already busy cutting the pattern for a second one.

burlap stocking

I’ll be adding more photos to this post of my coastal style Christmas. Generally I’m a bit more traditional with the Christmas decor in my living room and dining room and add a bit of whimsy and a casual coastal feel to my kitchen and keeping room.

my watercolor

my watercolor – original in an 8 x 10 frame

plant Jesus is the gift

This plant is in my kitchen window. We’ve had this window open for three days. Its been rather warm. The red bird is a vintage piece that belonged to my mother. It has “Japan” stamped on the bottom.

noel canvas

This is on the side of my kitchen cabinets. I painted the Noel canvas last year.

blue ornament wc

I’ve been doing a lot of watercolors lately and the blue ornament is one I just painted and framed. Aqua is my favorite color and I’m happy to include it in my decor year round.

deer chalkboard

I have this chalkboard that I made from an old Home Interiors picture that a friend was going to put in her garage sale had I not snagged it! I chalk painted the frame and then used chalkboard paint on it. I keep this set up in my keeping room on a set of nesting tables. (I may paint the tables at some point.) Check out my Pinterest board for chalk art ideas. That’s where the idea for this deer came. I like it!

I’ve linked this post to The Shabby Creek Cottage DIY Christmas Link Party.

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Under His Feet

A few days ago I began to read through the book of Hebrews. Its writer is unknown though some scholars believe it was written by Paul or perhaps Barnabas or even Apollos – both associates of Paul. Its theme is the superiority of Jesus Christ and the New Covenant over the Old Covenant.

As I read along, I read aloud. I marveled at the words of chapter one about the angels who are God’s ministers and flames of fire!

V.7 And of the angels He says:

“Who makes His angels spirits

And His ministers a flame of fire.”


Still, Christ Jesus, God’s Son is the superior One who sits at the Father’s right hand. This is the place of His authority. I read along in chapter two verses seven and eight.

“You have made him a little lower than the angels; You have crowned him with glory and honor, And set him over the works of Your hands. You have put all things in subjection under his feet.”


Excitement began to mount as I read that all things are in subjection to Jesus! All things. All. Every Last Thing. Every thing that concerns me is in subjection to Christ!  The passage continues, “For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left Nothing that is not put under him.” (emphasis mine)

I paused there and thought of all the things I’m facing, what others are enduring and even the groaning of our world as it’s waiting for the Sons of God to be revealed. 

But we must continue on and read the remainder of verse 8, “For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him.” Yes, we are witnesses to this reality in our world as we daily deal with trials and hardship. I know so many who are carrying such heavy loads. The news daily bombards us in a near deafening clamor of evil personified around the globe.   However we cannot stop at verse eight or we might begin to grow weary in the wait.

Verse nine has reverberated in my spirit since I read it a few days ago and it will not let me go. It reads, “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.” 

Did you catch that powerful phrase? It’s what has sounded within me until it feels every cell has taken hold of it! Here it is:


I can lay my weary head in that place. I gain renewed strength when I park my mind on that statement. My anxious heart beat slows as I refresh myself in that cool stream.

No matter what you and I are in the midst of. No matter what may come your way in the days ahead. No matter how evil rips and roars.

No matter what is on the outside, on the INSIDE where the Spirit of God lives within us, we have perfect vision and though we do not yet see all things put under the feet of Jesus…WE SEE JESUS! How do we see Him? With our spiritual eyes,  for the Spirit that lives in us is greater than the spirit that lives in the world. 

Many times this week, when anxiety or stress has threatened a choke hold on my peace, I’ve said aloud, “But I see Jesus!” 

And in that moment, peace prevails and the trust I place in God, despite all contrary conditions, is renewed and strengthened. Now I’ll be honest, I’ve had to say it over and again. But every time I do, there manifests a calm in my breathing, peace in my spirit and power in the pure name of Jesus Christ for as we read further along in Hebrews, Christ Jesus is the “captain of our salvation.” And no matter what else is happening around us, we keep our eyes on our captain and He will bring us to safety and rest where ALL THINGS are in subjection under His feet.

Let’s pray.

Heavenly Father, Thank you for Your Son, Jesus, who sits at Your right hand. Help us to see with spiritual eyes the resources You have given us to overcome every trial and hard situation. Thank You that one day – in Your timing – we will stand in awe at the beauty of Jesus crowned with glory and honor. Until that day, may we SEE JESUS at work in our lives where ALL things are in subjection under His feet. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


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A Little Fall in My Florida Home

It’s the first day of October and it’s hot. But I’ve decided to ignore our tropical temps and bring a little change of the seasons into our home. Click on the pics to enlarge.

I primed a board and for good measure also added a coat of gesso. Then I used my acrylic paints to add a few Florida fall leaves to a goldish container. The gold highlights are from a Gold Leafing paint pen. I propped it on this thrift store sconce I got a couple of years ago and gave a makeover with chalk paint. This is on the narrow wall by my front door.

acrylic painted leaves on board Last week I stopped by my neighborhood thrift shop and spied this 60″ x 84″ tablecloth. I thought the colors and pattern were just lovely! I often stop by thrift stores to find a yard or two of fabric. So cheap! Today I cut the cloth lengthwise, sewed the edges and a channel for the rod then decided to add a burlap border.

panels with burlap border

With the border the panels puddle a bit which is okay but I may raise the rods. We’ll see. Sewing a simple border is a great way to add length to purchased panels that aren’t quite long enough. kw panel

Here’s a closer look at the border. I think the colors are perfect for fall and the bit of aqua (my favorite color) allows it to work perfectly with my existing decor. I have a lot of aqua touches in my home.

kw panel border


My simple fall wreath is a grapevine wreath with a vine of fall leaves, a scarecrow and some scrappy burlap for a bow. I may make something else later but this suits me for now.

fall wreath with scarecrow

This is my chalkboard I made from a framed picture. The chalkboard paint went right over the glass. :) I also painted the frame changing it from brown to this beachy distressed style. Where did I get the owl picture? Well, thank you for asking. :) That’s a print of my original watercolor. I printed it on a vintage hymn book page and framed it. Hoooo wouldn’t like that?!

chalkboard vignette

In my dining room -

I painted the 11 x 14 pumpkin canvas and it’s for sale in my Etsy Shop. The “M” initial is also a watercolor I framed.

dining room fall sideboard

On my kitchen table – Under the cloche is a little burlap pumpkin I fashioned with scrap burlap, twine, hot glue and a wine cork for the stem.

kitchen table cloche with burlap pumpkin

This little lady sits atop my piano. I added a pine cone to my shells. I figure our beach shells are just as fallish as acorns and pine cones. Since we live so near the beach, the shells are always in season and not limited to summer decor.

fall on the piano


One corner of my entertainment center -


The other corner of the entertainment center – pears and pine cones and my watercolor of pear tree leaves -

watercolor leaves

 With the advent of the fall season, I’ve sold some of my fall note cards in my Etsy Shop. I’ve sold the Pumpkin Patch cards as well as the Hello, Pumpkin cards. Yay! I’m glad to see there is a need for cards to continue the art of snail mail card sending.

Friends, to celebrate the first day of fall, here’s a recipe I used last fall and again just last week. It’s very similar to many other pumpkin muffin recipes but I always tweak recipes a bit based on what I have in the pantry. If you don’t bake with self-rising flour, you will need to adjust the recipe to add 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and 2 teaspoons of baking soda. And you can use cinnamon if you don’t have pumpkin pie spice and you can use canola or vegetable oil if you don’t have coconut oil although the coconut oil added a mild coconut flavor which my family enjoyed. Another thing, next time I’l cut the sugar to 2 cups. I added a few chopped pecans to mine. We love pecans but you can also add walnuts. They were moist and delicious and made us feel like fall was right around the corner even though for us living in the “tropics of Florida” that’s a streeeeeetch.

pumpkin muffins

How are you adding fall to your home?

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The “M” Word

A few days ago I wrote about the flip side of focus. After second guessing myself, I removed the post – all but a link I had within it, that is. I’ve decided to re-post it but only part of it.

The Flip Side of Focus - 

Do you know what I wish? I wish my ability to what I call hyperfocus on a task – which can be a very good thing at times – I wish this ability did not have the flip side that is sooooo wearisome. When trouble comes, I have an overwhelming need to relieve myself of all extraneous responsibility and commitments.  My mind goes into overdrive focusing on how to manage the trouble as best I can. That management feels like removing every other thing that feels like a weight on me until the trouble has passed. Even when the weights are not weighty on a good day but good things I’ve chosen, on a bad day they can feel like bricks on my shoulders. It’s really an awful feeling. It makes me hold my breath and then let it out again in a huffy sigh.

I think I used to handle stress fairly well (before my son got sick). But maybe all those years I wasn’t dealing with it at all. I just kept doing the thing that needed to be done – staying on track, keeping the routine – and pushed down my emotions. I was so very good at covering my emotions. I was master of the no expression expression. But is that really handling the stress of a hard situation? Some would say that’s being strong. But I disagree. Stuffing your emotions and telling yourself that what is happening is not really happening is just a different kind of coping strategy – but not a healthy one.

(At this point I’m deleting a paragraph from my original post. I’ll talk more about that further down the page.)

I feel the responsibility to fix broken things that although I did not break, I feel I must fix. I admitted to my husband a few days ago that I have lived my entire life feeling that nothing I do is enough. Just under the surface of this 51 year old flesh is a girl with sweaty palms who lives in fear of being called to the PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE. Not because she did something so wrong but because she didn’t do enough right. She didn’t meet all those expectations that for some really dumb reason she thinks people have of her.

(Here’s where I should insert, “People don’t think about you half as much as you think they think about you.)

Maybe it’s because she’s actually heard some of those words through the years. Maybe it’s not dumb after all. Maybe it’s just remembering the real words. It’s a terrible burden to hold yourself to words like these.

She should…

She ought to…

She should have been there.

She should do more.

Maybe it’s revealing that the good little girl is not that good after all. I prayed for wisdom today because I just don’t know what to do in a present trouble. But I’m so tired of the wearisome mental and emotional focus.

After I originally wrote and published this today, I decided to google “hyperfocus.” Then I edited my post to link the article. This statement from the article sums up my feelings to a T.

“In short, positive hyperfocus feels good and makes you happy. Negative hyperfocus feels bad and makes you stressed.” 

End - 


Now for a little explanation on what I left out from the original post -

I wrote about something that, truth be told, represents a place of wounding in my life. The wounds left scars and those scars are very sensitive still. I’m talking about manipulation. 

Disclaimer: I have no problem with persuasion that is open and honest but that’s not what manipulation is. Persuasion is up front and comes from a sincere place. Manipulation is another ballgame altogether.

Manipulate - to control or play upon by artful, unfair, or insidious means especially to  one’s own advantage (Merriam Webster online)

Insidious – causing harm in a way that is not easily noticed

By the way, “harm” does not have to be great harm to be harmful.

I have such an aversion to the feeling of being manipulated that my knee-jerk reaction is to escape the source. And I have considered that I may be so overly sensitive to it that I misinterpret it at times. But I also believe that often the people who do it do not even realize what they are doing. Manipulation can be so subtle. A person may not even recognize it for what it is. They may simply feel bad or have a sense of guilt (false guilt!) and not realize what’s just happened. Maybe the best thing I can do is, recognize it but refuse to get inwardly worked up about it – unless it has to do with my kids. Then that’s another scenario.

If I could sit with you face to face, I could speak more candidly about this and if manipulation is not a source of wounding for you, you may dismiss most of what I have to say. But…if your heart beat a bit faster when you read my words and a few past or present scenarios came to your mind, you might find some freedom in an open discussion in safe company.

I have more to share but it’ll keep. I had a conversation yesterday with an older woman – my aunt – that soothed my hurt and made me realize how much I miss being mothered by my own mother. We need one another. We need spiritual daughters, sisters and mothers in the faith. With just one term of endearment in that quick call yesterday, a weight rolled off my shoulders. But like I said, that’ll keep.


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Find Me On Etsy


Last week I opened my Etsy Shop.  After a year of selling my BellaMella Canvases and two months after selling my watercolor prints and Flower Power Pins, I decided to open shop. Currently I am not listing my BellaMella Canvases but you can still find those here.

How can you connect with me and see my listings, get coupon codes, gifts with purchase and other special deals?

  • “Like” my facebook page Melanie Dorsey Designs. You can do this from my sidebar.
  • “Follow” my Etsy Shop board on Pinterest. You’ll see that in my sidebar as well.
  • “Re-Pin” from my Etsy Shop board. This helps others see my pins and directs them to my Etsy Shop.
  • Order something! :)  When you order from my Etsy Shop today 9/10 – Friday 9/12, let me know in the “Note To Seller” that you were referred from my blog and I’ll include a GIFT WITH PURCHASE.

Here are a few things you’ll find in my Etsy Shop.

Burlap Tote Owl Watercolor Print Canary Note Card

peacock notecard

Note Card, Dolphin Note Card, Goldfish, Fedora, Twine Note Card, Sea TurtleChristmas Card Cardinal fb collage Magnolia Bloom Leather Pin

Linen Flower Pin $20 includes s/h

Magnolia Bloom Pin – Linen

Thank you so much for your continued support and all of the encouragement I’ve felt these past few years. This particular time of the year brings its own set of painful memories as it’s the 4 month season in which we got the devastating news of our son Andrew’s brain cancer diagnosis and subsequent passing ten days before Christmas. Besides running and spending time at the beach, being creative is one of my coping methods and it is a joy to this mother’s heart that I am able to use some of Andrew’s own art supplies in my process.

Thank you, in advance, for checking out my Etsy Shop and any other way you choose to show your support of my new venture.

sunburst etsy badge

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Vintage Owl Lamp Make Over

I picked up this lamp at a yard sale a few days ago. After checking online, I found out that it was produced by the Atlantic Mold Company in the 70′s. Similar vintage owl lamps are priced at $70 and up. This owl measures about 21″. With the shade, this is one statement piece! I painted it and covered the lampshade with a fabric from HGTV called, “Like Lace.” I gave this one a makeover in order to sell it. Until then, I’ll enjoy it myself!

Here’s the before and after pictures. What do you think?

owl lamp before pic

Vintage Owl Lamp

Vintage Owl Lamp

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Burlap and Button Down Shirt Pillow

I’ve been making things lately. A lot of things.

burlap biz shirt collage

I stopped at a yard sale this afternoon and bought this chair. I had intended to use it in my backyard but once I got it home, I realized it would be perfect for my Creative Studio. Studio sounds like such a fancy word for the enclosed Florida room where I write, paint, sew, crochet and do my Bible study.

  1. 1.
    a room where an artist, photographer, sculptor, etc., works.

However since Google defined it thusly and “etc” leaves the studio door wide open to interpretation...and there’s quite a lot of creating that happens in this space, Creative Studio it is!

It really is a comfortable chair but it needed something to add color, texture, comfort and style. A pillow! A burlap pillow! A burlap pillow with fabric on the backside – yep, that’s what I envisioned. I went through my box of discarded clothing and pulled out one of my husband’s old button down business shirts. I cut the backside of his shirt, leaving the tail. I cut the burlap to size, pinned and sewed. I kept the pillow case open to change out the pillow. I prefer down pillows but I didn’t have one that fit, so I used some fiberfill I found in some of my mom’s things. Thanks, Mother!

Notice the band around the pillow Can you guess what part of the shirt it’s from? :) The finishing touch was one of my burlap flowers. I may have hollered for joy when this was complete. It’s so cute and it’s my design from start to finish. And that just thrills my heart.

I’m a big believer in using what I have on hand. I enjoy the challenge of creating something new from something old. And for some reason I gain more inspiration from a limitation. What about you? What inspires you?


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