Sunday, February 24, 2013

Saturday was a big day.
My fortieth birthday.

Three wonderful friends came to my house for a girls' weekend to celebrate.
What a perfect way to ring in a milestone!

One of the best things about being with these ladies is the comfort level we have with one another...
hours spent talking about our roles as women, wives, mothers, friends, peacekeepers.
Honest conversations without fear of judgement or rejection.  
One of us summed it up perfectly:
"I am a better, stronger more confident woman after this weekend..."

What I also love about spending time with these ladies
is the importance they place on living a healthy, balanced lifestyle.  
It's their way of life and how they are raising their families.  
They inspire me in so many ways.

 A friend is someone who brings out the best in you.

Saturday morning we hiked up the trail on Rib Mountain.

We checked out some cute shops in downtown Wausau.
A favorite was a health food store where they had some interesting selections,
like these beautiful fresh quail eggs!

In case you've ever wondered what scrambled quail eggs look like...
Pretty darn good!

Fresh orange juice for smoothies...

Some nourishment for the soul...

We did allow one boy to join the party.
He pretty much just laid around and listened to all the girl talk.

I'm so blessed that one of these girls is also my sister and best friend.

She brought along birthday cards that my nephews made for me.

Best birthday cards ever!

My friends left this afternoon, and Pompeii and I were a little bit out of sorts.

My husband hadn't yet returned from his weekend trip, and the house was pretty quiet.

So we went out for a walk with the camera, looking for inspiration.

I'm happy to have kept a few of those gorgeous quail eggs.
After emptying the yolks and whites, I placed them safe and sound in their new nest,
as a lovely reminder of our nurturing weekend.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

We are just back from a short trip to Arizona where we visited with my in-laws who are wintering there, and we also visited my cousins who live in the same town.  I made some little gifts to bring along with us, for my cousin and mother-in-law.

My cousin was born in Illinois where I am from, but moved to Arizona when she was a little girl.  She has two daughters close in age to my sister and I, and they all visited us on the farm almost every summer when we were growing up.  We've remained close despite the distance, so it was really good to spend time together on this trip.

I made this little book for my cousin.  On the front cover I adhered a vintage advertising postcard that was from an old business near our hometown.  The fabric bow is made of scraps from a vintage quilt, and the "JOY" tag is made of cardboard and a phrase from a vintage book.

This gift bag is made from a vintage quilt top, vintage lace and buttons.  I gave her the book inside the gift bag.

This box I made for my mother-in-law.  The box and lid are made of paper mache, covered with vintage papers, and adorned with vintage fabric and other personal mementos.  I put a pair of dangly handmade earrings inside the box for her.

Now it's time to unpack, do laundry, and get ready for my 40th Birthday weekend coming up!  

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Friday, February 8, 2013

When it comes to making art to promote a worthy cause, I'm all in.  Especially when the cause supports the preservation of small town values.  When I read about a small town Post Office in danger of being shut down - and there was a way to help - I knew I had to do my part.  You can read the full story about the tiny Vermont Post Office on Jane Davies' blog:

Jane Davies is a postmistress, artist, writer and teacher, and her small Post Office is in danger of being closed unless a certain volume of mail and revenue is reached each year.  She is asking folks to send a postcard to her location to increase the volume of mail received there, and in return, the first 200 respondents will receive a handmade postcard back from her.  Kind of like an art exchange!  Love this kind of grass-roots, worthy undertaking.  Today I made my postcard.  

The substrate of the postcard is made of thin cardboard from a repurposed dog treat package.  The dimensions are 5 3/4" by 4 1/4", which is within the 'legal' boundaries of what the USPS considers a postcard.  Once I added the stick and feathers, however, it was out of bounds.  But I didn't mind using a little artistic license after I realized I'd have to ship my postcard in a bubble envelope anyway!

The first layer on the substrate is made from an envelope a friend sent that was just received a few days ago.
I had saved it because of its unusual color, so it was still sitting on my work table.
Love when things like that happen; it was the perfect accent color!

The next layer uses my favorite red and white polka dot tissue paper adhered to a torn up piece of cardboard box.
Next comes a vintage book page, then the hand-stamped message on watercolor paper.  

Speaking of how things having a way of coming together...
this morning I flipped open my inspirational calendar and this was the message of the day!
Talk about 'meant to be'.  

I used machine stitching to accent the borders of the postcard and to sew on the vintage lace.
My sweet girl is always close by, no matter what I'm doing.

Lucky got in on the action too.
Sort of.

The stamps are from my Grandma's collection.
I love that the stamps meant enough to her to cut and save them,
and it warms my heart to use them in my art. 

The stick came from a tree at our cabin up north.
Just like Grandma, I save interesting little objects.
Never know when you'll need a cute little stick.
Or a cool greenish-yellow envelope.

From my tiny little Post Office to hers...

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Grateful to be inside,
legs warmed by the oven,
in a house smelling of apple bread and sweet potato soup.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Here's Lucky the Studio Cat listening to me explain why his mama has to squirt bad tasting medicine down his throat for his middle ear infection.  Man, does he HATE that medicine.  He lets out an awful "scream" sometimes, and I feel so bad.  

Lately Lucky's been on the cranky side in general, so I'm hoping the antibiotics will help him feel better.  

Then we'll work on getting him back to trusting his mama again...