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The Day After

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Yesterday was perfect. We had decided early in the fall to stay home as much as possible this holiday season as it will be our last in this house. It's also been a few years since I've cooked Thanksgiving so it was such a treat to do so. The turkey was the best we've ever had, I followed the suggestion in this month's Fine Cooking and made a rub with sea salt, pepper, fresh sage and orange zest... rubbed it all in under the skin and let it sit overnight. It was incredible and I will definitely repeat it. Gravy was perfect... green bean casserole with homemade cream of mushroom soup... stuffing from real bread... mashed potatoes with a stick of butter and 2 cups of cream (oh yeah...), it goes on and on. My dad came over (mom's keeping warm at her sister's house in Tennessee - she'll be back this weekend), and the whole day was just really mellow. I loved it and will be happy to recall it over the years as our last Thanksgiving here.

So, I never made it here yesterday. I hope your day was all that you needed it to be. I took just a few photos throughout the day, with none of the actual meal! It's turned out to be a good year around here, gratitude feels easy to come by right now but I somehow feel strange basking in that because one year ago we entered the holidays with the loss of my husband's job, which took six months to replace. I know how it feels when it's easier to make a list of all that is scary and uncertain than one that lists abundance and blessings.

I feel deeply for anyone going through difficult times through the holidays. It's extra hard, I know. I'm not even sure why I'm addressing this here, it's just what I'm feeling this morning. The only wisdom I can possibly share from our experience, is the truth that as hopeless as it can seem, you will know peace again. Also, as alone as we can feel during hard times... we are never alone. Let people in.

Wishing you all the most peaceful holiday season possible. We feel very much in the spirit of things around here this year.

Keeping Busy... Courtside.


This is where you will find me two nights during the week and once on the weekend, until... oh... March, I think. The lighting is great in the gym! Even if it doesn't appear so in these shots, trust me, it's so bright and clear... really helps me to see what I am doing. It almost makes me forget that I really, really need to get new glasses.

Hey... who's that tall, handsome coach over there? I know him! They won't let him play on the teams... instead he is handed a clipboard and instructions to coach them, not join them. And that girl in the front... I think she's wearing my shirt! Hmm...

It's okay though. She's working hard at perfecting her wrist action, running every single suicide the coach asks of her (I think she actually likes those!), scoring a whole bunch of baskets and having loads of fun. Good times ahead for the winter months.

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I hope to be back tomorrow. I'm feeling very grateful these days and I seem to be on a bit of a blogging kick too. If I get lost in the tasks of basting and pie dough rolling however, I think you'll understand, and please have yourself a lovely and mellow holiday.

My Greatest Teacher


Isn't it true that if we slow down enough and pay careful attention, it is our children who show us what we are made of? My cousin told me once that many times she's heard the expression "I've lost myself to motherhood." She feels just the opposite, she has found herself in motherhood... (now carrying her fourth babe! - Hi Blaik!) I know what she means, I imagine many of you do as well, our little ones can be our greatest teachers. My own girl doesn't feel quite so little anymore (I can't believe we will be celebrating twelve years next month!). She has so many of her own plans now, her own goals... my job these days feels more about supporting her own ideas than showing her new ones. And this girl is reaching for the stars with her college goals... I have my work cut out for me.


Emily took to drawing about two years ago, filling notebooks with these funky fashionista ladies... almost always including some sort of message within. Sometimes those messages are bold and obvious, other times they are discretely hidden.


This girl on the left is one of my favorites. I think it's the crown of daisies on her pretty little head. Maybe it's the freckles.

I remember when she drew this one... and how sweet I thought  it was that she included prayer flags. My mama heart grew that day.


"You are here, now what are you going to do?"

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It was early in the fall that Emily came home and announced she would be displaying (and selling!) her art at a school festival. We had many weeks to prepare, and really wanted to take our time enjoying the process, thinking through what she wanted to offer and how we might go about making that happen.

She decided on prints... maybe 6 or so to choose from, she would stock 5 of each... they should be professionally printed and tucked into those fancy cello sleeves that all the big-time etsy artists use... they should be very reasonably priced... and there should be free candy offered at her table. I am pleased to report that all was accomplished! Emily's display looked beautiful (which I have zero photos of) and she sold many prints of her art that day. I think she made a lot of people smile too.

To get the ball rolling, we had decided to set aside an entire weekend back in early October and do nothing but draw... we stocked up on good paper, excellent pens, plenty of good tunes and yummy eats. For two days we sat together and drew and drew and drew.  I loved watching how Emily just went for it with each and every drawing. She didn't always feel they were perfect, but she did feel that each one captured and expressed what she had intended. I decided to follow her lead, let go of my own inhibitions about whether or not I could technicallyy draw, and just play. I played endlessly that weekend. Sometimes I would float around on etsy, finding something that appealed to me, and tried to see if I could duplicate it. Other times I would draw based on certain pen colors that I wanted to use. Most importantly though, I just kept going, because Emily kept going... and I had decided that my job would be to stay right there by her side for the weekend. Cheerleading, motivating, switching up the Pandora stations, keeping the cocoa flowing... the glamorous role of an artist's assistant.

Through it all though, I discovered that I actually liked a few of the things I made!  I also fell head over heels in love with the process of making those few pretty things, it was so mellow and relaxing... like playing in a zen garden for two days. My little resident artist had quietly converted me for sure. Ever since that early October weekend, we spend a great deal of time doodling together. We talk about different techniques for drawing eyes, lips and leaves. We discuss various points on pens, and which ones we love the most (Emily - the micron brush... me - the micron .005). Mostly we just enjoy the new mutual interest/love that we now share.It's really, really lovely. She is almost twelve after-all ( I know, I mentioned it already...), these shared interests have more value than I can explain. Maybe you can imagine, and there is no need for explanation. It's all very good.

Thank you for visiting this little back story of how my recent drawings came to be. And an extra big thank you to my girl for showing me the way.

I couldn't have done it without her.

sunsets, haircuts and art

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Last night Emily took these photos of the sunset. I didn't edit them at all, they are a little blurry but isn't the color out of this world? Winter sunsets are pretty hard to beat.

This morning I got myself a little haircut... whenever I need a pick-me-up I just add a whole bunch of layers to my hair and it seems to do the trick.

I've been drawing some more (are you guys tired of this yet?)... and wondering... if I were to put together a little collection for the shop, what do you think people would be interested in (assuming there is any interest at all). I'm specifically wondering if people would be drawn to originals, open-edition or limited edition prints, postcards or notecards... things of that sort. I would be able (and very excited) to put together a modest, colorful, whimsical offering for handmade holiday shopping. I'm just trying to get a sense of interest. Which makes me feel extremely vulnerable...this is all very new for me.

Now I am off to work. I hope your Monday is off to a great start. I am such a Monday/clean slate/all things are possible kind of girl.


morning :: basketball clinic (looks like we will now be a basketball family!)

mid-day :: made and brought lunch to friends

afternoon :: home alone, my yoga mat and i made the most of it

oh, and it rained all day. which i love.

Yummy, Kid Friendly Dinner in no Time at All

For the sake of my eleven year old girl, I try to keep a balance at dinner time of things that appeal to each of us. It's not sweet potato curry or kale and brown rice every night around here... as much as I would like that. I cook a few nights a week with just Emily in mind. Maybe it won't be a meal I would prepare for myself alone, but we're all in this together, you know? It's important to me that she doesn't see dinnertime as a dreaded point in her day where mom's going to place a pile a roasted roots topped with a handful of toasted walnuts in front of her, or who knows what other kind of hippy concoction. It's all about balance, right?

There are many things in the world I don't understand. Little pre-made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches you can buy in the freezer section is one, chicken nuggets from a box is another. Our (big) grocery store stocks organic chicken and we pick up the tenders (many packs at a time) and make our own. You can freeze them breaded (but not cooked) which makes them super convenient for for quick meals.

My method is simple: Soak them in milk for a minute, coat them with bread crumbs (seasoned or plain, you choice - there is a gluten free kind that we love and I can't think of the brand right now...), take a minute to really press the crumbs onto the chicken. Do this with one hand so your other hand that goes into the milk bowl is the only 'wet' hand. Place them on a cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 16-17 minutes (a few minutes longer if they came from the freezer). My oven is a convection oven which they say cooks a little bit faster. Just don't overcook them! Cooked just until done you will have the most tender, juiciest chicken tenders around.


Emily likes to dip them in homemade applesauce, I also put out homemade cranberry sauce mixed with wholegrain mustard for dipping. Let's see, also on the table were some reheated roasted potatoes from two nights ago (reheated on the stove-top), roasted asparagus that was tossed with olive oil, sea salt and pepper, and placed in the oven with the chicken for the last 10 minutes. Oh! And cut up raw carrots. I always try to have something raw on the table, sometimes fruit, sometimes veggie, but there is almost always a plate of cut up raw goodness to munch on. Easy weeknight meal, I made up the tenders while the oven pre-heated and the whole meal was on the table in 30 minutes. 

How much do we all love taking food photos since daylight savings? Hmn... you know what we say to daylight savings around here?

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Ha! Take that daylight savings! We will get out the ladder and string flood lights way up in the magnolia tree and play soccer regardless of there being no sunlight. We are resourceful people.

Happy weekending friends.


Pondering so much these days. These drawings I've been spending time on lately have me so intrigued. Quiet evenings spent with a few pens and some paper; a playlist or podcast playing in the background that is actually enjoyed and not competing with a loud sewing machine; sitting with my family and not across the room (or tied to a machine in one room as they hang out in another). I'm loving it so very much, and I wonder what it all means. What it will become. Will I always keep it all tucked into my own drawing pad or will I eventually put some of them out into the world for others to hopefully delight in? I have no idea right now, but I do wonder.

This home of ours that we are leaving soon. We love our home for so many reasons. It was built during a time when I think some of the very best building practices were the norm. This house is made of wood. Lots and lots of wood. I love that very much. Before we lived here we lived in a log home and I remember feeling so grounded as I worked in my kitchen, surrounded by trees. The walls to the side of me, the ceiling above me, trees everywhere. Someday I'll have to dig out a photo or two of that place (pre-digital) and share them here. It was wonderful, as is this home. This home just happens to be in the entirely wrong location for our family, so we'll move on.


I am often asked "why" we are packing up and making such a major life change.  "How" did we get the nerve to do it? "What" are our motivations behind such a big decision? I think that would be a good topic to dive into at some point in the very near future. I think our story could be motivating and inspiring to others who dream of a similar life change. And I say that not because we have some grand secret or large sum of cash that is the answer to all of the challenges or obstacles a decision like this usually encounters. I think if I have anything to share, it has to do more with our willingness to give up a little in order to achieve the big picture... the power of putting "it" out there... staying open to working very creatively in terms of employment and housing (and consequently being eternally grateful to others involved who are willing to do the same)... our story is one of ingenuity more than one of privilege (for lack of a better word). So yes, a story I think worth sharing in detail soon.

But for now, back to this current house of ours. I think I'd like to do a regular series where I capture and share corners of our cottage. It is a current category on my blog already, but not one that I intentionally seek out posts for. Knowing that our home will no longer be ours in the near future, it seems fitting to share some of the beauty of this house on a more regular basis. Of course I also see it as a way to permanently keep a record of sorts for our bungalow, the first home we ever owned. Watch out friends, I feel a period of deep nostalgia coming on...

And there's more. I'm thinking a lot about writing lately. In particular, doing so on a bigger scale. What it would look like, how it would manifest, feeling completely supported and amazed by others (who write for a living!) as they encourage and believe in me. It's quite a motivator to explore this uncharted territory. 

Goodness, I'm all over the place, blissfully ruminating the day away. A day that also celebrates 14 years of marriage to my beloved. Wow. We were a very young bride and groom. I am so happy to be right here, right now, reflecting on the past and dreaming of the future.

back at it!

Well. How can I possibly express how much of a comfort your words were in regards to the duration of this dang flu. Hugely comforting! Sometimes all it takes is to not feel so alone in something to be able to move past it. For some reason I had it in my head that I should have kicked it entirely when my fever broke. How wrong I was. Hearing about your experiences helped me to put it into perspective though... and indeed, by day 9 (Saturday) I started to feel healthy again. Right now I'm sipping a green smoothie and feel so ready to take on the day. The cough is still kicking around just a bit, and I can't really take the deepest of breaths, but I can stand, and standing is an important part of the day it turns out.

I took a few pictures of some shop goodies this morning (so many more things to take pictures of!), and these lovelies will be making their way into my handmade and vintage shops this evening.





In case you were already starting to think about it, those boots are size 8 1/2, and they are absolutely as divine in person as they appear in the photo.

All will be listed tonight. I hope you all have a remarkably healthy day!

ETA :: I was having a bit of trouble loading items on Etsy last night... it looks like things are more cooperative this morning. Those items will be listed within a few hours!

Still Here

Before the utterly miserable swine flu entered my life (yes, that is what it seems to be), the very night before in fact, I made a little something to keep all of my art supplies in. I wanted something that would be sort of a bag, sort of a pouch... I didn't want it to have handles, the purpose would be to slip it inside whatever other large bag or basket I was carrying around... it needed to close entirely so no granola crumbs or who knows what from said bag or basket would mix and mingle with my pens and drawings... the fabric needed to be durable, the inside light in color so I could see everything within easily.
Over the last couple of months, I have gratefully sewn well over three hundred little zipper pouches to  fill your custom orders. When the very last order went out a couple weeks ago, I put my handmade shop into a well-deserved vacation mode, and wondered what little item(s) I might like to sew for myself now that I had some extra time. Funny that I would wind up making yet another pouch!

Well, this one is of course slightly different. I used a 12" (or 13"?) zipper, fusible fleece to beef it up a little, and a heavy, vintage drapery fabric that I love. But still, indeed we are looking at a gigantic zipper pouch.

Oh well, it's perfect for holding my things and it slips perfectly into my basket. Now I am taking a little break from zippers...

Here's a little peek at some of the doodling I've been doing (well, all of this is from before the flu). Some of it is still in progress, hopefully you can get a feel for it.

Thank you for all the well wishes and viewing recommendations by the way, wow! I have been watching far too many programs and movies... and now I want Tina Fey's hair and glasses.

A question about H1N1 for you - Does anyone know first hand how long I should expect this to last? I'm on day seven, my fever has been gone for two days (which spiked at 103.7 Saturday into Sunday), but I still feel really tired, weak, and generally unwell. Can't figure it out exactly but I am really ready to be done with this.