Behind every beautiful thing...

My Journal

It has truly been a year of transition over here.

We sold a house full of history and stories that spanned 15 years. We sold or gave away most of what we owned.  We packed up everything that had meaning and rented a four story apartment with plaster walls and porches on porches that overlooked the canal and we settled in. We are on a new adventure.

This past January I took another leap and licensed my card line to a much bigger company that is empowered by women, Calypso. That move is a whole blog post by itself that I will write soon.

In short, this has taken me out of wholesale and production and keeps me where my heart is, which is in the creating. And as I continue to sell my own cards at shows and online, Calypso has a huge team putting my cards in stores around the country and in Canada.

My card line grew up around me. I had something to say that was unique and real.  I started with 37 cards at the National Stationery Show in May of 2014, and in five years the line grew to 150 cards and images.

I am walking towards ease in my card line; something I created, nurtured and then let it go out into the world to work in a bigger way than I could do on my own.

I also script words and affirmations out of salvage.

I touch every single piece that ships out.  I think about each person that orders a word.  Often times I have scripted other words for them, so I understand their journey.

I want to share how that part of my business started and caught fire in the most beautiful way.


“Behind every beautiful thing, there's some kind of pain.”
Bob Dylan


In the fall of 2013, I was at an outdoor market with my salvaged words and I had never heard of "One Little Word".

A woman named Kate came by and ordered words for herself and her friends.

She emailed me a few days later to mention that she was part of a "One Little Word" group, started by Ali Edwards and she thought I should reach out to her with my salvaged words. She explained Ali was all about making your chosen word "visible" in your life.

After Kate received her words and loved them, she gently pushed me again to reach out to Ali in an email:

"PS - I saw Ali's back from China. I'm not being pushy, just thought I'd mention in case you wanted to reach out to her. Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, wishing you lots of sparkle, magic and joy during the holiday season and beyond.... 

So I did. I reached out to Ali Edwards and she responded back. A conversation and a friendship began. I sent Ali a package full of words while still not really understanding just how powerful this movement was yet.

At this exact time, my 15 year old daughter was struggling with an eating disorder. Paige is also an artist and had always been a big source of inspiration for me.

She had missed three months of school.

The days were very long and dark.

We hired an educational consultant and found a treatment center at the base of Zion National Park in Utah where Paige would live, learn and heal for 14 months.

We also learned and healed.

As my husband and I were shopping for outdoor gear to get Paige ready, Ali posted a picture of herself holding up one of my words on her website and social media.  My phone just started buzzing...and buzzing...and buzzing.

I spent the rest of that winter and spring scripting positive words and affirmations.  I wrote empowering words over and over again.  I sanded them, signed them, touched them, and packed them up with love.

I wrote messages with each word on the outside of the package.

At the time, my husband watched this process and pointed out there wasn't enough time to hand write messages on the packages.

I am not sure if the messages were for the receiver or for me. But I believe people order and reorder words from me because of those messages.

Thank you Ali and the One Little Word tribe. You were a life line in so many ways.

Paige has been home now for four years. It has been a wild, crazy and beautiful journey with her.  At the edge of 21, she is comfortable in her own skin and is going to school to work in the skincare and makeup industry. She is deeply intuitive and caring.  She paints as often as she can and is on her own making her way in the world with her beloved Chihuahua Willy. We are very proud of her.

This is a note I wrote to Ali in February of 2014 after we returned from dropping Paige off in Utah.

"So I came home feeling very sad but hopeful. And I dove into these positive word orders. Each order felt like little angel wings on my shoulder. I think I filled about 170 of them. And just the act of scripting, sanding, packing all these positive action words had a profound effect on me. It felt like I was being told over and over again, that it was all going to be okay. And then all the sweetness from these special people from around the actually wrote me a thank you card and there were so many emails."

Creating people's word of the year from salvage is more than a way to make money. It is deeply heartfelt and hands-on.

Thank you all for ordering from me and for receiving and reciprocating the love put into each order. Thank you for the notes, thank you's, sharing your word on social media, and for telling friends. I am beyond grateful.

My words over the years have been: ready, trust, clear, steady, ease, truth and this year is allow, so far my favorite word yet.

I love this process. I am so grateful to be part of it.

With love and light,

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  • Mary

    thank you for sharing your journey & story—I order the word “open” from you as I began my OLW journey. My next word is courage—I will order from you soon. You are inspiring. Also, I was very moved by your handwritten note—there’s always time…
    That’s all we have…

  • Keelin Hutzley

    Loved reading this. Best to you and Paige. Hope to see you soon.

  • Paula

    Thank you Colleen for sharing your story! ❤️ Your talent, your kindness, your compassion … And your inspirational words! So Beautiful!

  • Leslie

    What a beautiful story of hope, resilience and harnessing the power of mindset and positivity. You make such a difference. I love the word you crafted for me and the packing was lovely and full of love.

  • Teresa Cahill

    Oh my gosh – I love this story about how you got started with words. I have several words from you all over my house and I love them. I never knew how this part of you came to be. It’s so interesting to read the story. And that you included your daughter and her journey into your work. I’m glad that she is doing well. Peace to all of you.

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