Monday, July 14, 2014

Odd how being away can teach you about home.

-Cathy Pickens

We've just returned from a long weekend in Nebraska and I'm just so happy to be home.  Eighteen hours in the car, round-trip, my husband and me.  When we got back this evening, I needed to feel the unmoving ground beneath me and couldn't wait to wander through the grass in my bare feet.  That's when I took the picture of Pompeii and the sunset.  What a nice welcome home.  My husband's family originates from a small town in Nebraska, so when we were there we did lots of visiting with both sides of his family and attended his cousin's wedding in Omaha.  We didn't have a whole lot of time to explore Omaha, but we spent a morning at the farmer's market in the artsy part of town, and I loved it.

While we were visiting an aunt's home on Friday, I spied the cool building below and imagined it transformed into an art and knitting studio.  Can't you just picture it?  I was lucky to get a tour from the owner, and he was really proud to show me some of the antiques and junk he collected in there.  What fun.  If I lived closer, I'd ask him if he'd share just a little corner of it with me.  And my Dog.  And my art stuff.   And my Cat.

The Cat whom, by the way, lost his cool and was pretty pleased to have his Mama home.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I've got the Spring Fever. 
Been dreaming of green growing things and bright blooms.

This, however, is my reality....

We're under a Winter Weather Advisory and could get up to five inches of snow and ice through tomorrow.
Man, it sure has been a long and cold and snowy winter; not my favorite kind.

I started Spring cleaning and de-cluttering so that when nice weather finally makes its way here,
I will spend every free second outside soaking it up.

I've been doing some research on food restrictions and special diets because of a sensitive tummy that has been giving me fits.  Slowly I'm eliminating gluten and have been on the hunt for gluten-free baking recipes that don't flop.  Experimenting has been way more fun using the vintage mixer I scored at Goodwill.  It came with two original mixing bowls and the beater attachment.  Makes me smile every time I get to use it.

This gluten-free banana chocolate chip walnut bread did not flop.  Woo hoo!

There's been a lot going on around here.

The busy season for my husband is over and in late March we went on our annual Spring break with my family.  A day and a half before we left for the trip, our sweet dog had unplanned surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from her hip.  Her prognosis is good.

I've been working on some creative projects and have a wonderful heartwarming story to share on another blog post about a custom collage box made for a very special birthday surprise.  

Finally the shelves in my studio room were installed this week.  Now it's time to go around the house and gather up the piles of art supplies stashed away in various temporary work areas of the house...beads and wire in the basement bedroom closet...wads of yarn in a basket in the living room...card making supplies in the garage...knitting needles I have yet to locate...

Tomorrow morning I have a photography gig in town, then back to cleaning and organizing...and probably complaining about the weather.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

I recently had the honor of making a special custom-made "Fabulous 50" birthday gift.
My client received a Happy Heart Studio gift certificate for her birthday,
and she chose a hand-knit scarf/cowl, scarf embellishment, and birthstone crystal earrings for her gift.

Her gifts were mailed this week, hopefully in time to keep the birthday girl warm on chilly Virginia evenings.

Speaking of chilly evenings, they've been giving me a hankering for yummy roasted acorn squash.
Or maybe it's the melted butter and brown sugar topping I've been craving.  So good!

Don't worry, I've been sharing.

Oh, if you ever need a good excuse why you can't do laundry...

Friday, February 28, 2014

"Keep your face always toward the sunshine and the shadows will fall behind you"

-Walt Whitman

Last Sunday it was my birthday, and I spent my birthday weekend in New York City with a wonderful group of friends.  The hotel room overlooked Central Park; it was a view I couldn't stop looking at and photographing.  It was pure luck that I woke up early enough to catch the rising sun between the buildings.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

What a gorgeous misty morning we had the other day.
Couldn't believe my eyes.

Yesterday I packed up and headed to Illinois for a visit with my family.
As soon as I put the big duffel bag on the bed, Lucky strolled over and plopped right down.
He gave himself a bath, had a little snooze.

We were in for some nasty weather so I left a day earlier than originally planned.
I'm staying with my sister and her family, and this morning we woke up to this winter wonderland.


Monday, February 17, 2014

We're just getting settled back in after spending a nice weekend up north.  My husband had a rare winter weekend at home, and even though we weren't technically at our house, we were "at home" in a cabin near where he grew up.  The reason for the trip up north was to attend an award banquet where my father-in-law had the esteemed honor of being inducted into the Snowmobile Hall of Fame in St. Germain, WI.  He had a long and influential career in the snowmobile racing community.  

Here he is during his acceptance speech.  

On Saturday it was a balmy (she says sarcastically) 20 degrees outside, so Pompeii and I stopped and took a nice long walk around the town of Minocqua.

A kids' pond hockey tournament was being held out on the lake.

Vehicles park on the frozen lake.  Temporary "rinks" are set up on the ice.

These kids learn to skate as toddlers.  Hockey is a big darn deal around here.

Check out the snowmobile parking at the local pub.  That's another big darn deal around here.

It's been so long since Pompeii and I have spent much time in the fresh air.  It was wonderful to be out and about.  We walked past this cute little building.  Wouldn't it make a fun art studio?

Wonder what goes on in here...

This mural is painted on the side of a building a couple blocks off the main street in town.

How I love this wreath that hangs outside a gourmet food and coffee shop!  Burlap coffee bags are going on the list in my head of stuff to look for while thrifting.

I just want to put coffee burlap bows on everything...

No one's safe.

I took a self-portrait in a store window.  Ideally I would've like to be smiling, but at the last minute I noticed a guy sitting and watching in a car right there.  Sometimes I'm really just in my own little world and forget that other people may be around (my animals are used to this kind of behavior).  Plus Pompeii was intermittently pulling on the leash and whining while I was trying to keep the camera still.  So I snapped the picture real quick and we moved on.  We were getting cold anyway, as it started to snow on the way back to the car.

We rented a little cabin at a resort near where the award banquet was held.  It was the cutest little thing, felt just like you stepped right into another era, either the sixties or seventies, or maybe a combination of the two.  The furniture and dishes and decorations were all obviously from another decade, but everything was in such good condition and really clean, so it didn't feel "old".  

View from the frosty car window.

It's a snowy Monday here, as we're expecting up to six inches of snow today.  I'm staying inside and finishing up some projects that are in the works.

The other evening we had a lovely sunset.  I was driving to a friend's house and had my camera along, so I stopped along the road and took this out the car window.  There was a light mist in the air at the time, and the sky was the color of orange sherbet!

Stay warm and cozy!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Did you see the moonrise this evening?

Well it's Valentine's Day but around here we don't make a big deal out of it, as most years my valentine is on the road and we aren't even in the same state.  But today he was home long enough to give me a present - three pairs of my very favorite SmartWool socks!  In the winter, I wear a pair of SmartWool socks every single day.  There is only one reason I am ever sad to see an end to winter, and it's that I won't be wearing my SmartWool socks.  Because a pair costs around seventeen dollars or more, I hardly ever buy new ones for myself, and I wear a pair until they are so thin my toes poke through!  Here I'm wearing one sock from each pair of our favorites from this morning.  My favorite is the striped one and his is the flowery one.  Huh, would've thought it'd be the other way around.  Can't believe we actually had a conversation about that.  

Yesterday my Mom sent me this Bible passage that was part of her reading.

A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.
-Proverbs 15:13

Happy Heart's Day to YOU!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The only thing sweeter than watching a morning snowfall
is watching a kitty watching a morning snowfall.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A few days ago my friend Patti gave me an early birthday present.
She made this paper/paint/clay/canvas collage!
Isn't it the sweetest?  I just love everything about it.
For now it hangs in our guest bath, until my attic studio space is ready.  
Then I'll move it up to my studio so I'm surrounded by all things inspiring.
Like colorful little birds and butterflies and hearts and flowers. 
"Live happy"...
Love it so much.

Every winter I struggle with seasonal affective disorder.
A doctor once advised me to eat foods that remind me of warmer weather,
so I've loaded up on fresh fruit and vegetables and am thinking warm thoughts.
It's not really working.  But I'm getting plenty of vitamin C.

My friend texted this picture today of the message she got on her tea bag.  

So much truth to that; it's all connected.

Live happy, my friends.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

*Winter in Wisconsin*
It's been so frigid cold(!).
The mornings have been bright and sparkly the last couple days.

My girl Pompeii is trying to tell me something.
If only dogs could talk...

Cutest shoes I ever saw, and got 'em brand new at Goodwill!
Pompeii likes them too.  
Maybe that's what she was trying to tell me!
(The brand is Miz Mooz)

A snowmobile trail groomer working the trail that runs through the field
across the road from our house.

I watch the groomer from these windows.
Because I'd so rather stay inside where it's warm and cozy.
Just when I get to grumbling about living in such a cold place,
a winter sunset makes me smile.

Lucky makes me smile too.