The content below is from the August 2, 2019 Friday Favorites Newsletter #39: Celebrating Life Through Symbols. Click HERE to learn more about the newsletter and how you can sign up.

“Start every morning by saying, ‘I believe something wonderful is going to happen to me today.’ Repeat it over and over.”

Brian Tracy

If you have followed me for any length of time, you’ll know that I’m a person who embraces the idea of symbols in my life. It may have started just before my mom died, 20 years ago. I said to her, “When you go on to the next place, if it’s possible to come to the edge of your world, I will come to the edge of my world, and let’s find each other there.” And that was our commitment to each other. I have a few symbols for my mother: ukulele, rooster, and butterfly; and my dad’s symbol is fish, because he’s always loved to fish—when I think of him, I think of fish. My daughter Lucy’s symbol has always been an octopus. 

My mother was never one for the kitchen, even though she did have a few signature dishes, like our family’s Strada recipe. To celebrate her in her own way throughout the book, in more than 50 photos, I used those symbols and other special items to create a certain family magic for myself and my children. There is an opened drawer with my parents’ initials on it, my grandmother’s china, my mother’s silver butterfly cake plate, roosters…family rocks engraved with family words…my mother’s “I believe in angels” pillow, and other family quotes. Wherever I could use a symbol, I have lovingly placed one. I have filled the book with family symbols and love, and there is simply nothing better.

I love using symbols to celebrate life, and this issue is all about the ways in which I’ve done that. It may inspire you to do the same if that resonates with you.

Favorite symbol of my Mother


My followers know that one of the symbols for my mother is a rooster. Every time I see one, I smile and think of her. When I see images like this rooster street art, I get so excited I stop everything and take a picture of it! We’ve long used roosters in everyday life to honor my mother and bring her memory forward, and I love these sweet rooster plates. Each rooster sighting or item is something to treasure and share with my family.

Favorite symbol of my Father


My dad was an avid fisherman, and he and his group of best friends enjoyed their fishing club for decades. They even created their own logo! Years ago, I helped him have these glasses made by a local artist, and he shared a set with each of his friends in the fishing club. This is one of the treasures that I have from his set, and I was careful to place it in the book a couple of times. Although these items aren’t something you can find in a store, here is a link to similar things that might inspire you.

Favorite symbol for Lucy


Lucy’s octopus plates

Lucy has loved octopuses from early childhood when she brought her stuffed octopus named Inky everywhere she went. To bring that love of childhood forward, I have a collection of octopus plates that remind me of her. My idea was that she would take them to her own home when she moved away, but I’ve become so attached to them that I don’t know if I’ll be able to let them go!

Favorite butterfly glasses and dishes

I make a point of buying only the butterfly items I sense are special. I found these butterfly glasses (they don’t carry this exact design anymore, but they have really pretty new ones that are part of a collection) at World Market, and I love to bring them out for family parties. The platter and little dish were designed by a fantastic artist named Jill Zeidler. She does special orders of hand made ceramics and can make something wonderful with your favorite symbol.  (The cake knife and server are vintage Towle that I have had for years.)

Favorite Stationery 

My favorite rooster and nocrumbsleft stationary

I absolutely love personalized stationery. Customized notecards can run from really reasonable to a minor investment, but they are all special. My sister had these beautiful cards made for me from Icepond Press.  They are handmade on an old school letterpress machine and each one feels like a little treasure. Recently, a special Crumble sent me these rooster notecards from Sandbox Cards. They are fantastic and really reasonable! Notecards, customized or not, make the best hostess gift, and there’s something so special about a handwritten note.

Favorite glasses

Le Rochere Bee Tumblers

Le Rochere Bee Tumblers

I love these glasses. Not only are they sturdy, but they remind me of something my dad always said to my mom: “Be yourself!”

Favorite Pottery

Okay, if you know me, you know that I love my pottery! I call it “Jewelry for the kitchen.” As a gal who loves symbols, it’s been a joy to find ways to represent my family and my favorite things in this pottery line. From Fred Bowls, to Patty Bowls, to Patrick Bowls, and the Rainbow Bowls for Lucy, it makes the pottery feel that much more special to use every day.

Table Talks Podcast

We have had such a huge response to our 56 Table Talks podcast episodes that I wanted to make sure you know about them! Each week I sit down with someone new and have the kind of conversation we might have over dinner—and each week magic happens. We dive into topics people resonate with and share our quests to figure out our own best lives, including all the joys and challenges. We may not have all the answers, but we sure do know which questions to ask. Listen on:


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