Tag Archives: mosaics

Making Beautiful Things Out of Broken Pieces by Sherrie Hansen

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall; Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the King’s horses and all the King’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again.

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The concept of broken things made whole again has always fascinated me. I think that’s why I’ve always loved mosaics. I’ve picked them up at garage sales for a little bit of nothing. I’ve splurged on them when buying a special memento from a vacation. I’ve inherited a few when relatives have died.

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When I don’t find actual mosaics, I gravitate towards mosaic-like images.

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Quilts made with scraps of fabrics, ribbons and lace…

Scotland Duart Castle - Mull

Stone houses and log cabins, which upon inspection, are mosaics made with rocks or wood…

Scotland - St. Conan's Stained Glass

Stained glass windows made with shards of colorful glass…

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Digital pictures, which I love to play with, that are nothing more than mosaics of microscopic pixels.

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And even bite-sized morsels of foods, creatively blended into a hodgepodge of delicious flavors and colors.

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Just like jigsaw puzzles, I like mosaics because they’re bits and pieces – nothing pretty by themselves – that when put together, become beautiful.

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Even things that aren’t particularly pretty to start with look beautiful when made into a mosaic.

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That’s why I’ve saved every scrap from everything I’ve ever sewn, and every single cup, saucer, plate and bowl we’ve ever broken at my B&B, the Blue Belle Inn. Someday, I’m going to sew hundreds of quilts.

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I’m also going to make my own china mosaics. I’ve got the materials. I’ve been buying up flat-faced photo frames on clearance so I can cover them with mosaic wonderfulness. I have the tools. I even bought a nipper. Now I just need the time.

My sister, Becky, whom I can always count on to be honest with me, says that my collection of would be candidates for mosaic creations is just one more way that I feed my pack-rat tendencies.

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I suppose it’s true to some extent. I’ve seen mosaics embedded with Scrabble letters, shells, sea glass, pebbles, stained glass, beads, jigsaw puzzle pieces, driftwood, and charms. I’ve seen dimensional mosaics that include half of a teacup, part of a special wine bottle, or some other precious object. Seeing the creative things other people think of not only inspires me, it gives me license to pick up pretty rocks, sea shells, and bits of this and that wherever we wander.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who saves broken things thinking someday, someone handy can fix whatever it is that’s broken, or that I’ll find a way to adapt what’s left of the original and re-use it in some creative way.

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In the meantime, when someone breaks a piece of china at the Blue Belle Inn, I try not to hyperventilate. Then, as I look at the broken shards and the shattered pieces, I console myself with dreams of mosaic stepping stones for my garden, mosaic-fronted fireplaces and coffee tables covered in mosaic splendor.

Maybe it’s the thrifty Scandinavian in me, but I am always hopeful that somebody, somewhere can put Humpty Dumpty back together again, that somebody somewhere can mend the broken things in my life.

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Making broken things beautiful is also the reason I write books – mosaics of words woven together in such a way that they’re pleasing to the ear and uplifting to the soul. Random snippets of life, experiences, and emotions that come together in a design that inspires beauty.

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Just like mosaics are made from broken shards and sharp-edged pieces of cracked pots, the building blocks of a book are things that have happened to us, memories of people we’ve known, sights we’ve seen, and yes, heart-breaking happenings in our lives. As a writer, sometimes I think that every thought and experience I’ve ever had is filed away in the back of my brain, ready to resurface when the moment is right, waiting to be included in a book someday.

A very personal event in my past provided the inspiration for Wild Rose. It was a time in my life when a relationship that was very dear to me seemed irreparably broken because of a poor choice I’d made. What happened taught me a lot about forgiveness – what it’s like to be unworthy, to receive forgiveness from someone who loves you enough to overlook your flaws, and about forgiving yourself, which is sometimes the most difficult thing of all.

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Thankfully, our God is not only a master designer, but a master healer. God doesn’t throw us away because we’re chipped or cracked or broken. He accepts us as we are, gathers us up in His arms, and turns us into something beautiful… a poem, a song, a verse, a rhyme, a lovely mosaic.

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God can do what all the Kings horses and all the King’s men cannot. He can take your broken heart and make it whole again. He can turn sorrow into joy. He can take a crushed spirit and create in us a pure heart. He can take the shattered pieces of our lives and renew us. He can take a broken and contrite heart and restore the joy of our salvation. He can take a rag and make it riches. God can make a rainbow after the storm. God can and does put us back together again. 

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In the words of Isaiah, from chapter 61:

 1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me…
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,

 2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,

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3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.

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I’ve always thought that making mosaics out of my broken china is a bit like making lemonade out of lemons. In many ways, so is the healing, restorative power of writing and reading. Broken bits and pieces become a cherished memory; a broken heart reshaped into a beautiful poem. Mosaics of words and thought, knitting together the shattered pieces of our hearts, making us whole again, and in the process, making us even more lovely than we were in the beginning. 

What better way to preserve the fragments of the past? What better way to celebrate the stories of our lives? 

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Blurb – Wild Rose:

When Ian MacCraig tries to capture the thief who is stealing artifacts from his kirk in Loch Awe, Scotland, the last thing he expects to find on his video is a woman engaging in a passionate romp under the flying buttresses.

Rose Wilson is mortified to learn that Digby, the online friend she met for what she thought was a harmless rendezvous, is a common criminal.

Now that Ian, the board of Wilson Enterprises, the constable, and half the town have had a glimpse of Rose in all her naked glory, it seems even her family looks at her differently. What remains to be seen is how far Ian will go to defend Rose’s honor and if the church ladies will forgive Rose now that they know who she really is… and if Rose can believe she’s worthy of someone as good and kind as Ian MacCraig.

Wild Rose and Pastor Ian MacCraig… a match made in heaven or one hell of a predicament?

My novella, Thistle Down, the intro to my Wildflowers of Scotland novels, and the first scene of Wild Rose are now FREE http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/310079. Thistle Down is now available on Amazon.com for 99 cents. If you don’t do e-Books, you can order a paperback copy of Thistle Down for $4.50. (It’s thin – remember, it’s just a novella!) Download away!

Can tenderhearted Pastor Ian MacCraig keep a pair of prickly sisters from marrying the wrong men?

Emily Downey has found the perfect groom. If only she loved the man…

Chelsea Downey is wild about her boyfriend. Trouble is, he’s two-timing her and everyone sees it but her.

Their thorny situation gets even stickier when the church ladies come up with a plan.

Can Pastor Ian MacCraig weed out the thistles and get to the heart of the matter in time to save the day?

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What Day Is It? by Sherrie Hansen

Hi. My name is Sherrie Hansen and Friday was (is, I think) my day to blog. Trouble is, it’s been such a busy week that I’m not at all sure what day it is.

It all started on Monday, when we had a hugely busy lunch (I own and operate a Victoria tea house and bed and breakfast called the Blue Belle Inn in my “spare time”). Same story on Tuesday – a few reservations, a lot of drop bys, a crazy busy day of quickly making more food in our steamy hot kitchen. Tuesday night, I drove the 45 miles between our two homes (my husband of 6 1/2 years is a pastor in a town 45 miles west of the town where my bed and breakfast is) and spent the night at the parsonage after practicing a new song with one of our worship team members (I play the piano at church).

Bright and early Wednesday morning, I gave the devotions at our ladies aid group, complete with slides to illustrate my study – “Mosaics – How God picks up the broken pieces of our hearts and makes something beautiful.” Being as pastor’s wife is the third tier in my tipsy topsy life as innkeeper/restaurateur/author of romance novels/pastor’s wife.

The talk went well, according to my husband. I was unable to stick around after the meeting because our lunch crowd mushroomed at the last minute and I had to leave early and “fly” back to the Blue Belle Inn to help with another busy lunch hour at the tea house.

That afternoon, I picked up my nieces (ages 6 and 8) and met up with my sister-in-law and nephew (age 3) and went to a benefit / carnival in Austin, MN. After a few hours of balloons, bouncing and big, sticky prizes, I left with a rainbow painted on my face and a purse full of gooey candy wrappers, to go get groceries.

It was a late night by the time I escaped the grocery store, stopped at my parent’s house to pick up some green beans from Aunt Shirley’s garden and chat with Villiam, a friend of our cousin Helle’s from Denmark who’s been staying with my folks for the last three weeks. My husband helped me unload the car, and we tumbled into bed (back in St. Ansgar, where the Blue Belle is, tonight) sometime between one and two a.m.

Thursday brought a trip to Rochester, MN, 1 1/4 hours to the northeast of us, to shop for groceries at Sam’s Club in preparation for a wedding to be held at the Blue Belle Inn on Saturday.

Late Thursday night, when I had finally fit all the groceries into the freezer and refrigerator, I got a few more hours of sleep.

I’ve been cooking since 9:30 a.m. this morning. The rehearsal dinner for the same wedding starts in about 30 minutes, so I need to sign off and get back to work. The groom and a crew of men were here early this morning to put up a tent in the yard between our St. Ansgar house and the Blue Belle. The yard and flower beds needed a lot of grooming, and it looks very festive.

Tomorrow will find me dipping 200 strawberries in chocolate, stuffing freshly made cream puffs, spreading seafood cheddar spread on baguettes and making millions of other cute little crudites.

Oh, and Villiam came by earlier to say good-bye (he is off to Wisconsin and then back to Denmark) and introduced me to another man from Denmark who met his wife (a doctor from San Fransisco) on an airplane when there was a medical emergency. Sounds like a great opening to a romance novel, doesn’t it? I’ll probably be dreaming about the characters in my sleep tonight. If I get any.

All I can say is, thank goodness God doesn’t throw us away when we’re chipped, cracked or broken. I’d have been relegated to the trash bin years ago. Instead, I’m a beautiful mosaic, and very multi-faceted – wouldn’t you say?

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A Mosaic of Words and Thoughts by Sherrie Hansen

I’ve always loved mosaics. I find them at summertime garage sales. I gravitate towards them when I’m buying remembrances from our summer vacations. I’ve inherited a few when relatives have died.

When I don’t find actual mosaics, I gravitate towards mosaic-like images. What is a quilt, if not a mosaic made with fabrics?

A stone wall if not a mosaic made with rocks?

Stained glass windows if not a mosaic made with bits of colorful glass?

Just like jigsaw puzzles, I like mosaics because they’re bits and pieces – nothing pretty by themselves – that when put together, become beautiful.

As a writer, my hope is that my books – mosaics of words and thoughts woven together in such a way that they’re pleasing to the soul -reflect that same sort of beauty.

Some would say that my collection of would be candidates for mosaic creations is just one more way that I feed my pack-rat tendencies. That’s me… I can’t throw anything away, even when it’s broken. As I writer, I also cling to things. I remember things that happen to me, people I’ve known, sights I’ve seen, and file them away to be included in a book someday. Nothing gets deleted from my memory banks permanently. Even when I purposely hit delete, it seems my thoughts and remembrances hide away in a cache somewhere, ready to resurface when the moment is right.

I’ve written 8 books. There are several more floating around in my head, random snippets of life, experiences, and emotions waiting to be organized into a mosaic of words.

Someday, I’m going to make my own china mosaics, too. I’ve got the materials. I’ve been buying up flat-faced photo frames on clearance so I can cover them with mosaic wonderfulness. I have the tools. I even bought a nipper. Now I just need the time. Summertime is too busy. Maybe a winter project. (I’ve been saying that for at least 10 years…)

In the meantime, when someone breaks a piece of china at the Blue Belle Inn, I try not to hyper-ventilate.  Then, as I look at the broken shards and the shattered pieces, I console myself with dreams of mosaic-fronted fireplaces and coffee tables covered in mosaic splendor. 

I’ve seen mosaics embedded with Scrabble letters, sea shells, sea glass, pebbles, stained glass, beads, jigsaw puzzle pieces, driftwood, andcharms.

Some pieces are dimensional, and may even include half of a teacup, part of a special wine bottle, or some other precious object. Seeing the creative things other people think of always inspires me and gives me license to pick up pretty rocks, sea shells, and bits of this and that wherever we wander.

I guess making mosaics out of my broken china is like making lemonade out of lemons. In many cases, so is writing a book. If those broken bits and pieces can become a cherished memory, if a broken heart can be reshaped into a beautiful book, what better way to preserve the fragments of the past? What better way to tell the stories of our lives?

(Water Lily by Sherrie Hansen is scheduled to be released in June of 2010)

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