Tag Archives: ChatterboxBeach


Earlier this week, I visited family, and we helped my sister get organized and begin preparations for a holiday open house. The event is planned for Dec. 2 at The Orange Blossom in Hampstead, NC, where she sells handmade crafts, painted furniture and a variety of soaps, candles, jewelry and other gift items.

ChatterboxBeach ornaments, paintings and greeting cards also are available at The Orange Blossom.

Browsing through her shop at 15201 U.S. Highway 17 N, I marveled at the workmanship of the various vendors. Among a variety of beach-themed and vintage décor, she sells handcrafted pens made with historic wood, delightful and festive ribbon wreaths, soy wax candles with fragrances including Frazier fir, hand-knit T-shirt rugs, decorative pumpkins made out of wine corks, original paintings, vintage cross stitch, artistic photos of the nearby beaches, and local honey.

Her shop makes me feel cozy and welcome. New items are added almost every day. Her Christmas tree is filled with burlap balls and soft velvet hearts. Her painted furniture is a must-see. She uses Country Chic paint, which also is available for purchase in the store, to transform functional tables, benches and bureaus into pleasing pieces for the home.

I left the shop with the purchase of a decorative metal basket painted in bright-yellow and shrimp-orange; three jars of Country Chic paint in the colors of Bee’s Knees, Full Bloom, and Cheesecake; and a good feeling about my purchases.

The open house on Dec. 2 is squarely marked on my calendar. Food and door prizes are planned. But shoppers don’t have to wait until the open house to visit the store. They can shop now.






Writing and crafting play tug of war with my time.

When I sit down to write, my sewing projects shift to the short end of the rope. But when my attention pulls in the crafting direction, blank pages go unwritten.

Balancing the push and pull between fabric and paper is a constant challenge.

After many months of concentrating on creative writing, I am renewing my commitment to crafting just in time for spring. My mom and sisters, too, are getting out their paints and fabrics. Maybe as the days get longer, I’ll have more time to write about what we’re crafting.

So stay tuned to the ChatterboxBeach website. The craft side is starting pull ahead once again.





ChatterboxBeach has found a home not only on Etsy, but also in an adorable shop called The Orange Blossom Resale in Hampstead, NC. Our handmade crafts fit right at home among the many vendor booths that feature an eclectic array of home décor, jewelry and fashion items. Located in a strip mall on Highway 17, the store is a convenient drive from Jacksonville, Wilmington and the Crystal Coast and Southern beaches. We love to browse each time we add more items to our booth.
The chef hats, scarves, pillows and dishcloths that we sell on Etsy also are featured in the store. Additional items are also available at The Orange Blossom, include paintings, aprons, pocket books, cup cozies, knitted necklaces, wine bags and mini quilts. ChatterboxBeach hopes to add new products each week.
Let the store owner know your favorite ChatterboxBeach items so we can keep them in stock. Let us know what you are looking for, too. We enjoy tackling new projects together.
Contact us anytime at chatterbox_gifts@yahoo.com and stop by The Orange Blossom Resale at 14884 Highway 17, Hampstead NC 28443, (910) 821-1544.
Store hours are:
Tuesday through Saturday: 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Sunday: 1 to 4 p.m.
Monday: Closed


kite brush

No robin has dared to step on my snow-covered lawn to announce spring’s arrival yet, but someone else has had the courage.

ChatterboxBeach sold its first hand-painted beach brush of the season this week, which I’m taking as a sign that people’s thoughts are moving past the bitter chills of winter and into the warm air of springtime.

I see it in my own work. Recently, I completed a quilted art piece called “Eggplanet,” which explores a whimsical view of the beauty and darkness of outer space. But my new project addresses a “Garden Cottage” theme that includes watering cans and flowers.

Soon we will all be brushing the sand off our shoes and outdoor lawn and pool

chairs. We’ll be wearing short sleeves beach umbrella brush
again, grilling outdoors and taking evening walks in the expanded daylight. And as depicted on the sand brushes, we’ll be flying kites, wearing flip flops, bouncing beach balls and relaxing underneath umbrellas.

Most importantly by the end of March, we’ll finally be able to brush off winter and experience spring for a while.

I’m confident that the seasons are about to change, but it would be nice to see a robin to confirm.



quilts and miranda sings 002

Last year, my quilting friend and I talked about getting together each month to sew, which rarely happened. But 2015 is a new year, and yesterday we met at her home resolved to sew.

She worked diligently with her rotary cutter to make pieces for a placemat. Her daughter, who was home from college on break, joined us needle in hand to sew a cross stitch picture. And I stared blankly at three unfinished quilt projects that I had sprawled out on their dining room table.

Each of my pieces had promise, but my creativity was stumped. I was ready to stick each project in a drawer never to be seen again, much less to be completed, when my friend rearranged some of the squares of the first project, offered her suggestions on the second and admired the third.

Seeing my work through her eyes breathed new life into the dormant quilts. I wrote down her suggestions and some of the ideas that they sparked within me. Now the projects are moving forward again.

Needle arts are more than the mechanics of stitching. They also involve the sharing and communicating of ideas.



card 2 003

Some things happen every Christmas.

The kids volunteer to help pack food boxes for needy families.

Our neighbors across the street bring us a decorative plate of home-baked chocolate chip cookies.

And my mom, sisters and I spend part of the holiday knitting together in front of the family Christmas tree.

The room feels cozy with our needles tapping as we work, our laughter punctuating our chatter and the colorful yarns matching the glow of lights from the tree. It’s a family moment that belongs on a Christmas card.

We would like to send a Christmas card to all who have browsed or purchased from ChatterboxBeach this year. Best wishes to you and your families. May 2015 be a very Happy New Year!



painting camellias 2014 locals only honorable mention

The buds on my camellia bush are wrapped tight and tidy as if the petals are huddling to protect themselves from the cold. But soon they should self-combust and explode in beauty, making me marvel at the strength of their soft, fragile-looking pink petals.

If I can summon up the courage to brave the cold like they do, I’ll clip some of the elegant flowers, bring them indoors and float them in a bowl of water like my mother did so many times when I was growing up.

Her camellias served as a centerpiece for many festive occasions.

In addition, the flowers have become the focus of many of her paintings.

Recently, she entered a watercolor of camellias in my hometown’s Locals Only Show. The flowers in this art were open full, and she captured the shadows brilliantly, earning her an honorable mention award.

In addition, one of her acrylics featuring camellias is hanging upstairs in my home. Similar to the award-winning painting, the artwork captures the warmth of a bouquet of blooms in shades of pink with yellow centers surrounded by green glossy leaves that are displayed in a vase.

Whereas fresh camellias reach a peak and then fade, my mother’s paintings keep the wonder of the flowers alive indefinitely. The blooms warm my house every day, and I don’t have to brave the cold to admire them.



soccer ball for sisterchatter

My favorite part of crafting is the creative mystery.

My quilting projects begin with pieces of material that come together like the view in a kaleidoscope, and I never know what beauty the shapes are going to create.

Recently, I participated in a fun quilt challenge. Quilters were asked to turn strips of fabric into a wall-hanging. When my material arrived in the mail, I was frazzled and on my way out the door to take my son to soccer practice. But I couldn’t resist stopping to take a peek at the fabric.

I was disappointed. Inside the manila envelope were strips of black and white fabric. I had expected something much more bright and colorful to work with over the next few weeks.

“What on Earth is black and white?” I asked my son, who was standing at the door with the answer in his hands.

A soccer ball is black and white.

So while he was kicking around different moves at practice, I began kicking around ideas in my head.

The result was a wall hanging that featured his red jersey and a black-and-white soccer ball bordered with strips of the black-and-white fabric.

My favorite part of the quilt is the soccer ball, mostly because my son and I collaborated on the pattern. I drew the circle, and he filled in the details. When fabric was added, we gave each other high fives over the results. The red jersey in the back ground gave the ball an extra visual pop.

I didn’t win the contest, but my son now has a great soccer keepsake to hang in his room, and another creative mystery is solved.