Saturday, March 10, 2012

Sneak Peak

I know I've been missing. Life gets in the way sometimes. But, I'm still here. Amidst all of the mothering, nursing, healing, there has also been a bit of creating. With all that's been going on, my progress has been slow but there has been progress.

My latest project has involved a young lady in red, a gentleman wolf and Jane Austen. There are several 'parts' to my latest project and I feel as if they should all be revealed together. At the same time. And, as I am not finished with each part, I do not want to dole out what is finished. Yet. But, I'd like to share something.

I had decided that I wanted to do the portraits of some fairy-tale notables. There are several fairy tales I'd like to tackle. The first pair to 'sit' for me are Red Riding Hood and the Wolf. But I didn't want to just do a straight forward Red and Wolf. Instead, I kept picturing a bit of a mash-up between this familiar fairy tale and my favorite Jane Austen, "Pride and Prejudice". So, they quickly became Elizabeth Red Riding Hood and Mr. Fitzwilliam d'Wolf.

I wanted to stitch up a portrait of each of them in their Regency finery. I also wanted to created a 'papier portrait' of the two of them together along with an adaptation of a famous letter from Miss Austen's book. The portraits are complete. I have also completed their 'story' thanks to the familiar children's tale and the incredible proposal put forth in "P&P". This whole project has been, in a word, FUN! I cannot wait to share it all with you but I do feel strongly about waiting to share it ALL.

So, in thanks for your patience, here is a bit of a peak...


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Nathanael's Birthday

Yesterday was Nathanael's ninth birthday. Ninth! Look at him!!! He has changed so much!!! I mean, I know it's supposed to happen but.... Yesterday I found myself staring at him a lot. He is really maturing. In his actions, the way he talks, the way he looks. It is thrilling to watch. But, at the same time, it kinda makes my brain hurt. Not that long ago, he looked like this...
This is one of my absolute, favorite pictures of Nathanael. From the top of his fuzzy head, to those well-rounded shoulders. Even that smear of carrots, like he was trying to put on lipstick during an earthquake. It never fails to make me smile (the kind of smile that ends with me in tears- oh, motherhood!).
And now he looks like this. So grown up! No food on his sweet, freckled face! My heart swells!

So, Happy Birthday to my sweet boy! I've truly enjoyed every day, from the moment I knew I was pregnant, to right now. I find it hard to believe it's been nine years. Until I do a little comparison...


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

On Being A New Mom...Again Part 1

As time passed, it became obvious that we were not going to have anymore children. That made me a little sad because, even though Nathanael has two older half-brothers, they are so much older than him that he still seemed like an only child. I always thought it would be nice for him to have a brother or sister to go through life with. But, as time passed and he got older, and we got older, we all moved on. We got rid of the baby clothes and gave away the bouncy seat and high chair. Dave and I even went on a diet. We were looking good and feeling good and promptly got pregnant. I don't think either of us have ever been so shocked about anything. Ever. But, God knew we needed a red head in our lives. Doesn't everyone?

And now there were two. No big deal, right? Dave was up to four after all, I only had two.


First of all, five years had passed since I last had a baby. It's unbelievable how much changes in only five years! Because we had gotten rid of everything, it was like we were first time parents again. That was hard to get over. It was so frustrating knowing that two years before, we had all we needed. Oh, well! Get thee to Target!

Next, we had this five year old who kinda knew what was going on, but not really. Nathanael expected his new brother to be born at the age of five years old. I think he would have accepted a four year old but this brand new blob was not what he had in mind. I don't think Nathanael has ever gotten over this age difference issue. I base my opinion on the fact that he still asks why he and Asher couldn't have been twins. (When I was little, I was expecting a baby chick or a baby sister. I got a baby brother. I understand.)

We had some adjustments to make with this new baby but other than that, I really liked being a new mom. For the second time. That's the key. Second time.

The labor and delivery thing was, dare I say, fabulous! I recall saying to Dave, as I held my new baby in my arms, "If this is what it's like to have a baby, I could do this again!" I think the only reason Dave didn't slap me was because I was holding our new baby.

Asher took to breastfeeding like a pro! I was like a pro! We could have gone on tour! That's how great it was.

I was still tired and hormonally all over the place but it was what I expected. I was prepared and knew that it would pass. Those first few weeks were really quite nice. I took it easy and let Asher lead the way. It was certainly freeing knowing that I didn't have to prepare myself and baby to go back to work. But what helped me the most was being able to draw on my own, personal past experiences. I knew those first six weeks were meant to be a time of recovery, adjustment and acquaintance. I enjoyed every minute!

Easter 2008


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

On Being A Stay-At-Home Mom

When I found out I was pregnant with Asher, the store that I was managing was in the process of closing down. My due date coincided with when the store would be closed so I new I would be a stay-at-home mom with my second baby. Won't that be wonderful, I thought. After all, Nathanael was a breeze to raise!

Oh, naive woman! I had conveniently forgotten that another woman had been aiding me in raising Nathanael thirty two hours a week. My goodness, days would go by when I wouldn't even have to change a poopy diaper! And, Nathanael was only one boy! Do you know how much difference there is between one boy and two boys? A LOT!!!

Staying home, mothering live and in person, 24/7. Oy! I still don't always get to go to the bathroom by myself. My "meals" are hit and miss. And, conversation? During the day, it's pretty surreal and rarely makes sense. (Just now, Asher started singing, "We're going to build a dam, dam, dam. We're building a dam! Dam, dam, dam, dam..." My ears are still ring from all of the sort-of profanity!) Being a stay-at-home mom is a bit like being in an absurdist's play. It doesn't make much sense, there's no way out,  and your brain hurts.

BUT...It has truly been an incredible experience. I am grateful that I get to do this. My husband is working a lot so that I can stay home with our children and raise them, full-time. I get to experience every first of Asher's. We are very close and we will hopefully remain that way. I enjoy taking care of our home and my family. Hopefully they all feel like it's a good thing, too.

There are lots of positives to this staying home thing but it is very different. I don't have anytime for anything anymore. When I worked full-time and had a baby, I had time to do... stuff. Now that I am home and have added one more boy...where did the time go? Seriously, I felt like I was making it through each day by the skin of my teeth. I still don't quite understand how it works out like that. More time = less time? It probably involves math. I don't do math.

I also felt guiltier. Go figure! I felt bad about letting someone else raise the first baby and I felt bad about staying home to raise the second baby. I felt bad for my husband who works so hard. I felt bad for Nathanael who had to be with a babysitter. I felt bad for other mothers who worked. I felt bad. Anybody else feel that way?

A couple of years ago, I got over it! I figured things out. Like, for one thing, my husband works hard at taking care of us and I work hard at taking care of him in return. Nathanael had a wonderful babysitter whom he adored and missed a great deal when he had to leave her. And, on top of all of that, I work really hard here! I have no excuses now for letting the dusting go by the wayside. My work day begins a about 6:30 and ends at, well, it doesn't end, does it. I'm "on-call" when I'm not actually "on".

It goes back to choices, again. I made this choice to stay home with Asher. Now I'm making it work! There are lots of sacrifices I've had to make. My social life is almost non-existent. However, I no longer feel bad about leaving my kids with a babysitter once in a blue moon. My free time is pretty short, too, but I've learned how to make the most of it. I also keep my eye on the prize. I know the kind of men I'd like my boys to become. I know that my time, now, is important in helping Nathanael and Asher become great men, husbands and fathers. The example I set as mother, wife and woman will help determine who they will choose to marry, someday.

Someday. For now, I am making the most of this time I have with my boys. It goes by quickly and I'll never have an experience like this again.


Monday, February 6, 2012

On Being A Working Mom

So, six weeks passed by. The first three weeks were long and blurry. The second three weeks went by too quickly and were filled with quite a bit of growth on the part of both mommy and baby. Now, back to work!

I remember taking my little Nathanael to the woman who would be spending thirty two hours a week with him. I remember being okay with it, at first. I took him to her house, informed her of the little things she needed to know and turned to leave. That's when I felt my face crumble. I held in the tears until I got to my car but I do remember having to rush away from the door. How was I going to make it through the long, eight hour day without crying myself into a state of dehydration?

You may be surprised to know that that was the last of the tears. The thing about going back to work after six weeks is that you're pretty busy. You have work to catch up on and oodles of socializing to do. You have to tell your stories to each new person who comes along and they will, in turn, feel required to share their stories with you. There was so much going on, I didn't have time to get maudlin.

And, as much as I missed my little baby, with whom I had recently formed a pretty strong bond, it was nice being on my own. I got to go to the bathroom, by myself! And, all of the other people around me who had to go to the bathroom, went on their own without me having to clean up after them. I got to eat ALL of my lunch. From start to finish, too. I got talk to other human beings that also knew how to talk. I got to have complete, uninterrupted thoughts! Bliss!

But better than all of that, at 5:30, I got to pick up my little boy who was so happy to see me. I don't think anyone had ever been that happy to lay eyes on me before. My heart soared!

How did I make it work? Well, there is certainly something to be send for not knowing any different. It is also about how you set your priorities. I didn't like being away from Nathanael so much but that was the way it was. So, when I wasn't working, I was with Nathanael. When he was real little, we'd come home, eat dinner and I'd hold him and play with him and rock him to sleep in my arms. On my days off, while he was awake, we were together: playing, cleaning, shopping. When he slept, I did whatever I needed to do to stay sane. I wouldn't say that I felt guilty about not being with Nathanael more. But I did feel that I did not need to spend MORE time away from him. My husband and I almost never went out without Nathanael. He was our constant plus-one. That was our choice and we made it work.

That's the secret. It's your choice. Make it work. When you become a parent your life/lives change. Forever altered, folks. You gotta get over it pretty quick or you will be very unhappy. I'm not saying you have to make your entire world revolve around baby. I don't think that's healthy for a variety of reasons. But, you do have to accept the fact that things are different. And, that they will be different forever!

My advice for you working moms who are trying to figure out how to do it all? Quit while you're ahead! You can't do it all. And, that's okay. You do what is important. Do your job well then come home and enjoy being a mom. Make sure you figure out your priorities. What is important for your family. For me, things like eating and clean clothes were necessary, but baking fresh bread and dusting? A dusty living room never hurt anybody, right?

Nathanael and I were (are) very close, regardless of the amount of time we spent together. And, his babysitter was a truly wonderful woman. We were very blessed in that regard. I am now a stay-at-home mom and am able to see how the other half lives. I do find myself wishing I could have experienced raising Nathanael full-time. I also realize that we would have probably had a different relationship. Plus, I'm not going to waste my time feeling bad about something I can't change. I don't have that kind of time, now that I'm a stay-at-home mom!


Saturday, February 4, 2012

What's on my work table?

A lot of red, that's what.

Red as in Red Riding Hood. Looks like that nasty wolf has been here, too.


Friday, February 3, 2012

Baking Day

I have decided to make Thursday my baking day. Each week, I'll make up a list of baking needs; bread, cookies, muffins, whatever. Then, I'll spend each Thursday baking. I find that, with something like baking, if I'm going to go to the bother of heating up the oven and tearing up the kitchen, I may as well go all out. So far, so good!

Wanna see what I made yesterday?

These are Chocolate Chip Clouds from Skinnytaste. They were super easy to make and are DELICIOUS! Seriously, make them. NOW! They are basically meringues filled with chocolate chips. YUMMY!

These are Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins, also from Skinnytaste. I made these last week and they were a big hit so I made them again. Make sure you either use whole wheat pastry flour or half wheat, half white flour. I also used about two cups of blueberries. Again, DELICIOUS!

Finally, I made chocolate muffins using a cake mix, one cup of pumpkin and one cup of water. Yummy and easy and crazy moist!


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

On Being a New Mom, Part 2

*All of what I am writing about is based on my experiences. Take or leave anything you see below. It is all merely my opinion and a smattering of insight gained nine years later.

So, now that you feel like your old self, it's time to be a mom to this wee little baby. Right?

I really wish you could have your first child second. Once you get through being a new mom for the first time, combined with all of that great hindsight, you realize it wasn't as hard as you thought it would be.

Like breastfeeding. In my mom's day, when she had me, it wasn't done. In my day, it is done. So, I had this baby knowing that I would be breastfeeding him. Well, it wasn't happening. I don't know why. But I started to feel really bad about it, like something was wrong with me. At four weeks, I filled a bottle with formula and fed it to my baby. And we lived happily ever after.

I felt guilty about it, at first, like I needed to hide the bottle from the breastfeeding police. I got over pretty quick with the aid of some good, old-fashioned, deductive reasoning. I was going back to work when he was six weeks old. Because I couldn't even pump, I knew he'd be getting bottles for most of his feedings once I was back at work. Also, the poor baby was hungry! That's when I really felt bad. Because I was worried that there might possibly be a person who thought I failed as a mother because my baby was on formula, I neglected my baby's real needs. He slept better, he grew like crazy, I slept better. A good time was had by all.

Then there is the whole "where-should-the-baby-sleep" issue. Educational toys vs., well, toys. Organic vs. homemade vs. store bought baby food. Let them cry themselves to sleep vs. rocking them to sleep in your arms. Etc. Etc.

My advice? Do what you think is right. If it doesn't seem to work for baby, try something else. This is not rocket science. That little baby may be small, but he is also pretty strong and resilient. He is at your mercy, mom, so do what you think is right and he'll, usually, think it's right, too.

Also, remember that any habit or routine you start can be stopped. But you have to be willing to do the work involved in changing a routine or habit. What I mean is, if you like rocking your baby to sleep every night, go for it. Just know that someday, your little peanut is going to weigh fifty pounds and rocking him to sleep will cause your arm to fall asleep. You are going to have to help your child change their routine. But, don't be discouraged. It can be done. And, when you look back on that time when you had to wrestle your fifty pound peanut into their bed every night, you'll see that it actually only took two nights.

And, find some other moms to talk to. We may sugar-coat the whole miracle of child birth thing, but once we have that baby, we're ready to talk! You'll find that there are plenty of other mothers out there that are experiencing some of the things that you are experiencing. You are not alone!


Tuesday, January 31, 2012

On Being a New Mom, Part 1

I remember, very precisely, when my water broke while pregnant with my first baby. I remember all of the events that followed . I remember laughing and crying as my new, baby boy was laid on my chest. I just barely remember Dave standing there. For a moment, this screaming, red-faced little boy eclipsed even the love of my life. It is something I will never forget.

What else to I remember? I remember crying, again, as the nurse helped get me and my baby ready to leave the hospital. I didn't want to leave. I was surprised that I didn't want to leave but it did not change the fact that I was not ready to be mom. When you are pregnant, there is no shortage of women sharing their stories with you; mostly happy, some funny. You find yourself assuming that the minute you go into labor, the magic begins. There is a little magic, like what I mentioned above. But that's about it. Reality sets in immediately and it's a bit surprising.

When I got home with my sweet boy, I did not feel that magical, mystical, instant connection with him. I loved him because I was his mother and that's what mothers do. It just didn't feel at all like I thought it was going to feel like. What I felt was tired, overwhelmed and out of whack.

You don't really understand how exhausted you will be (and stay) until you experience it. Your new bundle of joy is only going to sleep for two hours at a time to begin with. And when he wakes, it won't be to coo contentedly at your side while you doze. He will awaken with demands of food, clean diapers, clean clothes. What that means is, to begin with, you are not going to be getting good, consistent sleep. So, I was tired. And, I cried, because that's what I do when I am really, really tired. Back then, I wondered what was wrong with me. Now I look back and think, "No, duh!"

And, the hormones, Oh, the hormones! They never really explain the HORMONES to you. Not that I think you'd truly understand. Again, it's one of those things that you have to experience in order to understand it. I was all over the place. I never talked to any one about how I was feeling. I wish I had because I am certain I would have be met with much understanding and sympathy. I remember crying every day for no reason I could put my finger on. Looking back, again, "No, duh!"

That was the first three weeks. Then, just like that, I started crying. (Again?) This time, I was crying because in three weeks, I was going to have to leave my little baby boy with a babysitter while I went back to work. I couldn't imagine being separated from him. Little did I know, during the past three weeks of living the life of a zombie, I was forming a connection with my Nathanael. Just like that, I was no longer just a mom. I was Mom.


Monday, January 30, 2012

Being Mom

A lot of what I read, on the various blogs I follow, has to do with being a parent, a mother, a mother of boys. There is such great advice out there, truly. There are also a lot of great anecdotes, stories, teaching and learning moments. I've learned a lot from the other mothers out there in the vast blogosphere. The most important thing I've learned? That I'm not alone!

What I'd like to do over the next several posts, after almost nine years of being a mother, is to give back. Share what I have gained since that summer, ten years ago, when I found out I was going to be a mother. I've learned about being a step-mother, a new mother, a boys mother, a working mother, a mother of two, a stay at home mom, and a mother of two boys. Because, as you other mothers know, it's all different.

It has been a wonderful nine years and I am certain the next nine will be just as wonderful. These two boys have taught me a lot, about being a mom and about who I am. Their love for me amazes me and fills me with such joy! I really do love being their mother! So, stay tuned. I hope you'll enjoy what I have to share because I do feel that it is time for me to give back.


Friday, January 27, 2012

Papier Marie

Remember how I said that I wanted to try doing portraits using papers, book pages, instead of fabric? This is what I meant....

What do you think? I used a page from an old music book for the background, white drawing paper for her flesh and the rest are pages from different books. The illustrations are from a book also. I used red colored pencil, black charcoal pencil and glitter in her hair. I'm probably going to mount her to a sturdier piece of paper because the music sheet is rather delicate.

I'm going to keep exploring this form, but only in addition to the fabric portraits I make. I had fun creating this. Let me know what you think.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Portrait Plans 2012

I've decided to elaborate on my plans and goals for my art in 2012 here, on this blog, instead of the other blog. Just because.

Before I began on the lovely Mademoiselle Marie #3 (FYI, Marie will always be the first portrait of the new year), I thought about the ideas and thoughts and images that have been tickling my brain for the past couple of months. And, I wrote them down. So, in an effort to hold myself more accountable, here they are:

  1. I have been in envisioning a portrait made with paper. Papers, plural. At first, I was thinking of adding color to paper myself, cutting out the shapes and gluing or sewing them together. Then I thought about books. Old books. Different shades of white paper, fading and yellowing. Different fonts, words, typed close together or far apart. So, I want to explore that. I have, actually. Marie was my subject, of course. I'll get her picture up soon.
  2. I want to draw/watercolor paint more. Either the small, ACEO cards or larger portraits or added to my fabric portraits. Or all of those!
  3. I want to work on my back stories more. More involved, more elaborate. Plan out groups of corresponding portraits as a book. (?)
  4. Explore the ACEO's/drawings to greeting card avenue.
  5. Treat each subject as a more complete package by including multiple forms of portraits and a story and whatever.
  6. Plan. Precisely. Who, how and story. Before. Instead of frantically wracking my exhausted brain for a last bit of creative effort when the portrait is finished and I am ready to move on.
  7. I would also like to investigate local and local-ish galleries. I don't know if I am going to do any shows this year.  
  8. And social media. Argh. Ugh. 'nuff said.
As far as subjects are concerned, here's the short list:
  • characters inspired by Charles Dickens as it is his 200th birthday this year.
  • Dark Shadows characters.
  • characters inspired by E. A. Poe. (Yes, I know. These first three take none of you by surprise. Hang in there.)
  • Fairy tales characters- ie. Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White.
  • characters from Alice in Wonderland.
Of course, all of this is subject to change.Or at least be pushed back. After all, you know as soon Halloween fever sets in, all bets are off!

What's next, now that Marie is complete? Well, I think, don't hold me to it, but...I've had Little Red Riding Hood and that fox of hers on my mind lately. Begin the fairy tales!


Monday, January 23, 2012

First Portrait of 2012

Here's what I did this weekend.

Meet Marie #3...

Go here for more Marie!


Friday, January 20, 2012

Baby, It's Cold Outside...So Bake Some Bread!

Cold doesn't quite capture what it feels like here in Michigan. It's freezing out there! So I am baking bread. The first loaves of the year, actually. This way I get to hang out in my warm kitchen surrounded by yummy smells.

Last year was the first time I had ever made bread. I had been kind of scared of baking bread. It just seemed like something that was way beyond me. My mother assured me I had no reason to fear baking bread so finally, last winter, I did it. And, it worked! I made bread! It wasn't scary, it was actually kinda fun. And, relaxing.

What did I learn? One of my concerns was how long it takes to make bread. It is a long process but it isn't that you are constantly working on it for 3 hours. Your actual work time is probably about a half hour. The "long" part is the three periods of waiting: the first rise, the second rise and the baking. During those times I just get on with my day; laundry, lunch, make art, whatever. All while being surround by the smell of bread baking. I also discovered a speedy wheat bread recipe and a beer bread recipe that takes all of an hour to make. Yum!

Another concern was where to put my dough for it to rise. This time of year, in this lovely, old house of mine, there isn't a warm, moist spot to be found. Well, when in doubt, look at your cookbook. I learned that all I needed to do was put a pan of boiling water on the bottom rack in my oven and the dough on the top rack. Moist and warm.

I was also concerned about kneading the dough. How? How long? Again, look in your cookbook. My cookbook has great "tips" on how and why to do different things. Plus, I found that it is true what I've heard about the process of kneading dough. It's very relaxing. And, who doesn't need to be relaxed a little?

If you've never tried making bread, I highly recommend it. There are lots of great recipes out there. It's much less expensive, too. Have you noticed the price of bread? To help tempt you further, here are some pictures:

White Bread recipe in my handy-dandy cooking/baking notebook.

Ingredients gathered.

Dry ingredients.

Wet ingredients, getting very warm.

All together now.

After two rises and ready for the oven.

Fresh from the oven. I brushed the top with butter.

One last look....Isn't it pretty? You should smell it!


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Cool Things

I thought I'd do a post of some things I had "discovered" last year that are pretty cool. Some of these "discoveries" might be old news to you but, if not check them out.

***These are in no particular order.

Do you like to mess with your own hair? Do it up? Down? Curled? Straightened? Check out this blog- The Small Things. I kept seeing pictures of her hair on Pinterest and finally decided to check her out. I was hooked instantly! The other day, I trimmed (as in gave myself) my bangs. According to her wonderful and easy instructions. They turned out great! I now plan on growing my hair out a little so that I can start wearing it up, curled, half-up, etc. Who knows? Maybe you'll be treated to the sight of me cleaning out the chicken coop with a lovely up-do goin' on.

Do you like to look at pictures? Of anything? Pinterest. PINTEREST! I resisted signing on for I-don't-know-what reason until this fall. Now I know the reason why I didn't. Everyone says it's addictive. It is! Your life just seems to pass so quickly while on Pinterest. But it's worth it.

Do you like to eat? Sensibly? Go on over to Skinnytaste. First of all, her pictures of food are fantastic! I'm a crazy-picky eater and her pictures make me salivate over foods that I wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole! Her recipes are yummy and easy to follow. And, she slims it all down! Woo-hoo!

Do you like music? I found iHeart Radio this past Christmas because I was looking for more Christmas music. 24/7, take it with me wherever I go, Christmas music. And, now that Christmas is over? Well the other day I decided to take a closer look. I knew you could make your own station, based on your preferences or you could look for other stations around the country that participate. While stumbling about I came across Weezer Radio. (Tee-hee! All Weezer, all the time, I wondered? Well, not really, but close. Lots of Weezer plus other music that Weezer approves of.) There are all sorts of stations to choose from. It's pretty cool!

Do you like books? Do you read a lot and like to keep track of what you are reading, what you want to read, and what you have read? Check out Goodreads. This is an excellent source for all of that plus; reviews, quizzes, author info, and so on. They even send me a newsletter each month about books by authors I've read that are being released. Joy!

Do you like Jane Austen? Austenprose is the blog for you. All Jane, all the time. And anything Regency England. Or Downton Abbey. See why I like it?

Do you like PBS? Last year brought "Downton Abbey", "Sherlock Holmes" and "Zen". Good stuff! If you haven't seen the first season of any of these, do so. You won't be sorry.

Alright. I think this is enough for now. What did you stumble upon last year?


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

What I Got For Christmas

...also known as "What's On My Nightstand". Or, "I Should Just Open A Book Store".

My Christmas list usually looks like an inventory wish-list for a small chain book store. I spend November researching authors I read to find out what new books of theirs are out there, waiting for me. Then I make The List.

This is what a received this year...

Not pictured is "A Christmas Homecoming" by Anne Perry, which I read immediately and then loaned to my parents. Also not pictured are two gift cards to Barnes & Noble from my step-sons.

I have also already read "V is for Vengeance" by Sue Grafton, which was fabulous!!! If you have never read this series, like detective fiction and miss the 80's just a wee bit, get these books and read them! The only thing that had me down about reading this is that she only has four books left! W, X, Y, and Z. (When bored, find myself wondering how she will name these books, especially X and Z. I also find myself wondering how I will ever fill the void. Sigh.)

I am currently reading "The Darcy's and the Bingley's" by Marsha Altman. I am enjoying it thoroughly! As a fan of all things Jane Austen, all things Jane Austen-sequel, all things Pride and Prejudice-sequel, all things Regency England, and... you get the idea, I had seen this series in the book store but had yet to make the plunge. I'm glad I did (with Santa Dave's help)! Fun, fun, fun!

The two P.D. James book are a series I have yet to read, also. My mom got them for me (perhaps sensing the void that will soon need to be filled) so that I could try out a new series. And, because she knows that I am a fan of all things murder-that-takes-place-in-England, she thought I might fancy them. (I say "fancy" because I am a fan of all things England.) I believe the first of those two will be next.

As for what to spend my gift cards on, I've got some (too many) ideas.

And, just so you know that I am not alone in my book love, look what Nathanael got for Christmas...

Do you love it? Four books! And, he's already read "Wimpy Kid" and has started on "39 Clues"! I'm so excited to have another reader in the same house with me again. Granted, he's not at the point where he gets panicky if he doesn't have at least 5 books lined up- on his nightstand- to read. But, I'm working on him!

What did you get for Christmas? And, more to the point, what's on your nightstand?


Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Know what's in this box? 5 lbs. of fiberfil, you say? Don't be silly!

It's patterns. Lots and lots of patterns. Aren't they great?!


I bet if my parents hadn't eloped, my mom's wedding dress would have looked like one of these.

Why don't I start dressing like this when I walk the dog?

Is that Dianna?!?

From 1955!!!

And, there is more where those came from! My mother-in-law is quite handy with needle and thread and, apparently, she used to sew a lot of clothes for people, especially wedding dresses and more formal gowns. I haven't had a chance to really dig through the box yet. When I do, I'm going to put them on the Fabric Marketplace to sell. I'll keep you updated on my progress and discoveries. (Like more Dianna Ross!)


Monday, January 16, 2012

To-Do 2012

It's that time of year again. Time to look at the year ahead of me and make plans for what I'd like to see happen (or not) in 2012.

  1. Lose the holiday weight. I mean really lose it. Like, take it out for a long drive in the country and leave it somewhere in the middle of a field. Lose it and not gain it back again!!!
  2.  Read more. My goal is fifty books this year. 2 1/2 done so far!
  3. Be consistent and finish what I start. In other words, don't start something, work at it sporadically, and never finish it. If I am going to start something (a book, a project, anything), do not start it unless I am sure that I will see it through to the end. Then, after being sure that I will see it to the end, actually see it to the end. I'm all about the journey, folks. Time for a change!
*The specifics concerning the art I make will be laid out (eventually) on my other blog. Stay tuned.
  1. Get my work out there more (blog, social media, galleries, website, etc.) And, however it is I choose to get out there, stick with it, update it, be more consistent with it. And, become a bit more computer savvy (if you will) while I'm at. Join the 21st century, and all.
  2. Update my business plan.
  3. Write an artist statement.
  1. Save money! On groceries and TV/cable, etc. We just got a Roku box and will soon be saying good-bye to our cable. Eek! I'll let you know how it goes.
  2. Make money! (I'll address this in a separate post. It involves Emma's Fabric Marketplace!) 
  1. Garden. Utilize a plot in our neighborhood garden. Plant in the back yard. Plant a fall garden.
  2. Basement. Deal with it once and for all!
  3. Get Asher reading and writing the basics. Perhaps home school preschool?
Alright, I think this is good for now. Wouldn't want to overwhelm myself.;) Basically, if I can master the whole be-consistent-finish-what-I-start part of my to-do list, everything else will fall into place. Right?


Friday, January 13, 2012

January means...

...getting my house back from the Halloween-then-Christmas decorating-pallooza!

As soon as the extended family left for various parts south, I made my way up to the attic to bring down the empty red and green tubs I had taken up there two months earlier. I find cleaning and decorating to be very therapeutic. After the stress of this holiday season, I was really looking forward to tearing apart my house and putting it back together again.

It's been slow going this year. My husband has been sick with a whopper of a cold since the first.Dave almost never gets sick but when he does....It's really thrown him for a loop, poor guy. Now Asher is sick , too. Not as bad as his daddy, thankfully. I also had to check on and clean out my parents apartment. No big deal except Asher doesn't quite understand that Grandma and Grandpa are far away and won't be back for a long time. I was already a bit melancholy, so his questions and confusion really brought us down and made the task a bit trying.

I have almost all of the Christmas decorations packed up and away. Just my room and Nathanael's room are left.As for putting the house back together, well, I'm getting there. The living and dining rooms and kitchen are done. And I put Asher's room back together on Monday. Slowly but surely I'm putting my home back together. And when that's done? Spring cleaning, of course!

Here are some pictures of my progress. The theme? Snow and Hearts!


Counter in the kitchen/dining room.

Counter in kitchen/dining room.
Tray on my dining room table.

Dining room
Living room- where the Christmas tree had been.

Living room
Living room- fireplace mantel

Living room- fireplace mantel
Living room- fireplace mantel

Living room- love, love, love
Living room- love for Jane Austen

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