Thursday, December 8, 2011


I've been absent from this little space of mine.  I have to be honest, I really haven't been inspired to write about anything and I REALLY haven't been inspired to paint anything lately.  Instead of painting though, I've been busy finding time to:

 Make fun star garland which Maya from Maya Made posted about last week.  These are easy and addictive little stars to make, Fischer was able to make some too. 


I did some garland that was only stars, but I also did some garland that has stars, pine cones and  pom poms made out of coffee filters that were dipped in coffee and cinnamon.  (inspired by these flowers on The White Bench)


I just couldn't stop myself from making a peppermint wreath.  I've seen different versions all over and found them to be so eye catching that I had to make one for myself!  I'm very happy with the results!  Fischer just wants to lick it though!



I've also been finding time to embroider a few simple little stocking stuffers for Amelia such as this headband and barrette.


And sew some little gift bags, with the goal that some day we will not have to use wrapping paper!


and of course finding the time to do a little Christmas baking.  Yum!



And in between all of this, I haven't forgotten to find the time to look at the beautiful sunsets that are in my own backyard!

What have you been finding time for?  

Saturday, November 19, 2011

My Plan is Backfiring

The past month or so, my goal had been to get up earlier in the morning.  The days seem to pass by so fast and I feel like I can never get enough done in a day, so I thought I needed to get up earlier so I can accomplish more.   I've never been a morning person.  As a nurse I mainly worked second shift, staying up late and sleeping in.  Since I've been a stay at home mom, I've slowly felt a shift and mornings aren't as painful as they used to be.   My usual waking time is right around 7am, sometimes a little earlier, sometimes a little later and I go to bed right around 10pm. 

My quite time has always been after the kids go to bed.  I love this time!  It's when no one is  talking to me constantly, or demanding things from me, no one to follow me every single moment of the day.  It's when I can have a full thought without being interrupted!  This is when  I usually work on my artwork.  Many times though I find that I'm so darn tired at the end of the day that I either have to force myself  to paint or I just can't do it at all.

For this reason I decided I need to start getting up earlier.  I wanted some nice quiet time in the morning.  Relax a bit before the morning rush starts.  The first week of doing this was kind of hard, it didn't feel quite right.  I really dislike an alarm, so before going to bed I would have to tell myself I was going to wake up early and guess what?  It started to happen.  Now I've been waking up between 5 and 6 am, usually around 5:30.  There have been a few days where I "slept in" until 6:30!  To be honest, it has been wonderful.  I can accomplish so much in that quiet little space of time.  I usually start with my morning coffee, check e-mails and blogs and then start working on things that I normally don't have time for during the day.   If I have a painting in progress, I'll work on that.  Sometimes I just feel like reading, while other days I've cleaned out cabinets and bins, baked muffins or bread, sewn patches on pants or like yesterday I sewed this mama mouse and baby! (Amelia played with these little guys for hours!)   For me it feels like my time, extra time to do what I want. 


Unfortunately as my waking time has slowly shifted to an earlier time, so has our little light sleeping 4 year old, Amelia!  Argh!  I tiptoe down the stairs in the morning, but somehow her little ears and body sense that I'm up and usually within minutes she is also up.   She has always been our early riser, but usually 6:30-7am.  This past week I don't think she's slept past 6am.


My plan has backfired.  I'm not getting my morning peace now, my alone time and she is also getting an hour and a half to 2 hours less sleep!  I'm not sure what to do about it.  Today I stayed in bed a little longer so she could sleep.  I got up at 5:45 and within minutes she was up.  I guess I'll just have to go with it and enjoy it.  Amelia is a morning person and she almost always wakes up with a smile on her face and she also plays by herself very well, but I'm definitely missing my morning peace and quiet though.    She is busy talking to me right now as I'm trying to finish up this blog post!

I was hoping to quickly write this blog post this morning and work on this painting pictured below, but things have went slower this morning with her little voice chattering in my ear for the past hour!  Oh well, what can I do?  I'm definitely not going to try to get up even earlier!


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Almost scrapped!

This piece was not easy.  I knew I wanted to paint a nuthatch, but I was really unsure of the direction I wanted to take it.  It initially started on wood with a collage background.  Soon after I started applying paint, I knew I didn't like the direction it was going and started a new nuthatch on watercolor paper.   Again, I didn't know what I wanted to do with it.

I love how nuthatches walk/hop up and down trees, many times upside down!  I wanted my nuthatch to have that upside down position that I usually see them in.  This little guy started out as a white breasted nuthatch but became the red breasted because I wanted more color! 


I'm not sure why I was drawn to pink, green and orange as the main colors.  I think this started to feel problematic with the bird.  It just didn't seem to match.  I decided to make his little belly much more orange than what it appears in real life.  I thought, why does he have to look exact?  I have a tendency want to make things look exactly as they are.  I've noticed Fischer has this too.  If I'm painting something that doesn't look the same in real life, he'll quickly point out "mom, that's not what it looks like".

I was so close to cutting up the picture and just using the parts I liked, or starting over.  I decided to keep working at it and see if I couldn't make it work somehow.  And guess what?  I think I like it now.  I know I'm not going to throw it away or cut it up,  I have to say,  I'm happy with it.

I think what made this painting kind of hard for me is that I'm going to be donating it for a silent auction  for the Holiday Faire at the Waldorf school here in town.   For one, I wanted it to be a gender neutral subject, I thought a bird would be great.  Unfortunately there might be too much pink in it though to make it very neutral now.   I'm just worried that no one will like it.  I definitely have to matte it for the auction, and I'm thinking I might frame it as well.  We will see, maybe I'll end up painting something else:)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

And it just appeared!

This might seem like a silly blog post but I just had to share this little story.  When we lived in McCall Idaho, there was a little shop (it's closed now)  where they would sew just about anything you could imagine out of fleece.  Fleece hats, blankets, jackets, pajamas, and even dog bed covers if you wanted.  (we asked them for that one!)  One of the first winters there, I bought a gray neck gaiter.  Nothing fancy, but very warm.  I wore it for all my winter activities.  It became a necessity for snowboarding and skiing.  I loved it.  One fall probably 5 or 6 years ago, my husband took it with him when he went elk hunting.  After that trip, I never saw it again.  We searched through everything and everywhere we could but figured it was lost in the Idaho wilderness.    I remember searching for it several winters in a row while in Idaho, just hoping I might find it  and I've even searched for it here in Wisconsin.    No luck. 

Yesterday we had our first snow of the season.  Our kitchen has a small little closet I use for my coats and bags.  I've been going into that closet several times a day  for the last 3 years.  Yesterday I reached for my bag and saw lying on the bottom of the closet something gray.  When I picked  it up,  it was  my neck gaitor from McCall Idaho!


I have no idea where it came from!     I'm in that closet all the time, everyday!   I wear all the same jackets that I've worn for years, even the same jackets I had in Idaho.  All the jackets and bags I have in there have been used many, many times over the years.  My husband doesn't keep any of his things in there.  How crazy is that!  All of these years I've searched and searched and of course gave up searching, we even moved and purged  and out of nowhere it just appears!  My husband asked me if I believed if things could "just" appear.  I said no I don't think things just materialize out of thin air!   But really how bizarre  that  it did just appear in a place that I use all the time  AND on our first snow day of the season?  The timing couldn't have been any more perfect!   I love it! 


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Chickadee Greeting

The bold little chickadee made it onto another Christmas painting of mine.  Chickadees and cardinals are 2 birds that I really associate with winter here in Wisconsin.  This recent one of mine was done on watercolor paper with a coffee wash over the top.  For some reason I decided to do the stripes on the side by hand without drawing them straight with a ruler first.  I'm not sure if I like the look of it, it's not as clean looking.  The little bird and tree branch were done with recycled tea bags and a little bit of coffee filters ripped and glued onto the paper.  Watercolor, acrylic and some homemade walnut ink were used in the stripes. 

chickadee flickr

Here's my chickadee I did last year,

little chickadee

and here's the one from the year before.  (at least I think it's a chickadee, his beak is rather large!)  It's interesting to see the difference in the birds from year to year and the style I chose to use.  I didn't look at these other chickadees until I started writing this post.  They are all collages, but they definitely look different from each other.  I'm not sure which one is my favorite, there are parts I like about all of them.     Hmmm, the last 2 have a lot more orange on them,  maybe they are male? 

winter friend

Yesterday I saw a little nuthatch on our tree.    I think it is time to paint a nuthatch!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Peace, Love and Joy

Don't you think we need a little more peace, love and joy throughout the year?  Not just around the holidays.

peace love and joy

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


We were able to squeeze in some apple cider making the weekend before we left on vacation.  This is our second year of doing this.  I'm hoping to make this a yearly tradition.  What a treat it was to be able to pull out local, organic cider from our freezer all year long! I'm sure it saved us money.  We are very fortunate to have friends that have a cider press and let us reap the benefits!

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Our day started with  26 bushels of apples.  I guess the more variety you have, the better tasting the cider will be.

Picnik collage

For some crazy reason the apple orchard our friend went to, Turkey Ridge Organic Orchard, sold him the apples for only $1.50 a bushel!  and they picked them for him too!  As if that wasn't enough, they gave him all the bottles and caps for free!  You get about 2 1/2 gallons of cider per bushel.  It doesn't get any cheaper than that!  Wow!


The whole process is quite easy.  Thanks to our friends  who had everything all set up when we got there made it all go even faster.  From start to finish, which included clean up, took us about 4 hours.



Into the apple hopper they went. You just throw them in stems and all.  The apples were so beautiful.  Out of 26 bushels I think we probably threw out 6 rotten apples!   


It used to be a hand cranked hopper, but luckily a small little motor makes the job a lot easier and quicker.


  After crushing the apples, the mash goes into the cider press where the hard work of pressing begins.  (you may notice I'm not in any of the pressing pictures!)

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It came out to being close to 2 bushels that would fit in the press at a time.

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After being pressed, the apple juice was mixed up in a 35 gallon garbage can (of course clean), where it was then strained and put into bottles.


From 26 bushels of apples, we ended up with 62 1/2 gallons of cider!  We took home 25 gallons to put in our freezer.  With a 1/2 of pig, 1/4 cow, lots of strawberries and veggies from our garden and 25 gallons of cider,  there is barely any room left in our freezer.  What a great feeling to have it filled with all local goodness!


Here's a few extra pics I just had to share from our cider day.



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What a lovely fall day for cider(ing).

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Little Christmas Tree

I know Halloween is tomorrow, but as far as artwork goes, I'm going straight to Christmas.   I almost added little elf ears to her, but I just couldn't do it.  I love her plaid little outfit!

little christmas tree

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I was a bit surprised!

Today I was in a hurry to get somewhere, but wanted to check my blog reading list really quick to see what I was missing!  As I was scrolling down  quickly  and skimming the post titles,  I saw one of my pieces (Bird in Hand, pictured above) under Cat Ivins blog, olive bites home of uncorked + polarity!    I have to admit I was a bit confused at first, I was browsing over everything quite quickly!  It didn't connect in my wee little brain as to why my artwork was there?  I had to reread everything a few times before I realized that she actually had my artwork on one of her blog posts!  Wow!  I was a bit shocked but very excited.  I've been reading her blog for a couple of years now and love her quirky sense of humor and her unique and creative jewelry.  You can check out her Etsy shops here and here.   This definitely brightened my day!

I've finally started painting again!  Yeah, it has felt like forever.  The night before last I just had to force myself to do it.  Once I started, I was so glad I did.  (kind of like exercise!)  It felt kind of weird at first, especially when I couldn't remember where everything was.  (paintbrushes and water jar!)  Usually it all comes so natural and easy.


I had worked on a sketch earlier in the week of a little girl and decided to make a collage with her.  Initially I wasn't very inspired, but all of a sudden something just clicked and away I went!  Weee!  I've been working on her today when I really should be out in my garden putting it to bed for the winter!   Sometimes it's hard to prioritize!

Friday, October 21, 2011


I've been struggling this week trying to get back into the rhythm  of things after our 2 week vacation.  I'm really trying hard not to feel overwhelmed by everything.  The week started with Fischer missing his first day back at school.  He woke with a tummy ache and then threw up all morning.  I think he was over tired.   Tired is pretty much how we all have felt this week.  Vacations are supposed to be relaxing and revitalizing, not exhausting.  Is this how most families feel after a vacation?

I've barely picked up a pencil this week, let alone a paintbrush.  Since I haven't any artwork to share, I thought I'd share some pictures from the beautiful Badlands.  What an amazing place.    I can't even imagine how the  settlers felt as they came upon this land after having crossed the flat prairies in horse drawn wagons! 






Tuesday, October 18, 2011

It's been awhile!

Oh boy, it has been awhile since I've written in this little place of mine.  We left on a family vacation on September 29th and returned late this past Saturday night.  I really wanted to post that I would be gone, but I didn't feel comfortable announcing on the internet that we were leaving on vacation.   You just never know these days what could happen!   Anyway, I probably should of just said I would be gone from this space for awhile.


Before we left on our vacation, fall was close to being in full swing around here.   The trees, bushes and grasses were starting to turn  to crimson, yellows and oranges.   We were gone for just over 2 weeks, but it almost feels like we missed a whole season.  Our maple trees are close to being bare and the black walnut trees have not a leaf left on them.  The sun shines differently in our house, not that bright strong sun of summer, but of a weaker, long shadowy kind of light.  Amazingly we haven't had a hard frost yet and my garden is still producing tomatoes and raspberries.  We had a wonderful vacation, but of course it feels great to be back at home. 


Sunday, September 25, 2011

For the faeries

Yesterday morning we were watching The Wisconsin Gardener on PBS and Shelley Ryan, the host had on a guest named Tatiana Katara who is a Wisconsin artist who makes beautiful faerie houses and furniture.  During this episode, Tatiana showed the viewers how to make a faerie bed.  Amelia was so enchanted with the thought of a faerie bed and hardly blinked while watching them make it.  I've never been into faeries much, but there was definitely something magical about it.   She made it all look so easy with just a hot glue gun, sticks, little pieces of fabric and little found things from nature such as acorns, flowers, leaves, etc. Since the idea was fresh in Amelia's head, I thought we should make our faerie bed right away that same day.

We went to one of our favorite parks and walked along some trails looking for things in nature which would be just right for a little faerie.  It was a wonderful way for the kids to look around and observe things in nature.  It turned out that fall is a really great time to look for things.  Most of the flowers have seed heads or have dried up, acorns and pine cones have fallen, leaves and moss are on the ground.


Amelia had a blast building this little faerie bed.  Since we were using hot glue, I did the gluing, but she told me where to put everything, and she picked out the fabrics for the blankets and pillows.    We had brought home a cattail reed and I used it to weave a little headboard.   Building this little bed was very fun and easy to make, and the end result was so cute and enchanting.   We even made a little table with an acorn vase with flowers.  Amelia had such a good time and wanted to keep adding more things.



When we were all finished we decided to bring it inside and put it on a little table in our kitchen in hopes of a faerie visiting during the night and sleeping in it.  Fischer was skeptical about faeries being real or not.  After the kids went to bed, I opened up the covers to make it look like a faerie had slept in it.  When the kids saw that in the morning they were so excited and surprised.  It was like the excitement that they get on Christmas morning!  Once they saw that, they started drawing little pictures and hiding little presents under the bed for the faeries, and they even filled up an acorn shell with cereal for them.   It was so sweet and magical.

 If your interested in the interview, you can watch it here, plus they show some of her other faerie furniture.  It originally aired in 2006, but is still very inspirational.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Hello Fall!

fall colors

Today is the official first day of fall, though it has felt like fall around here for weeks.  The trees are turning  color and the leaves are starting to fall.  Originally I wanted to do a painting  with colorful fall leaves, but instead I kept thinking about all the colorful flowers which are still in bloom and was drawn to  flowers instead. 

I've been sick most of the week with the seasons first cold and have not been inspired to do much of anything, let alone create and paint.  Yesterday I went to bed at 6:30 and slept through the night until 6:30 this morning!   Wow!  I'm happy to say that I'm feeling better today, not great, but definitely better.    One would sure hope to feel better  with all of that sleep!

Today I actually had the urge to do a little bit of painting and this is what I came up with.    I'm not very happy with it, but it felt like a good little exercise to shake off all of that sickness and get my creative energy flowing again.  

Have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Quilt status


It's looking good!  Last week our little quilt group was finally able to get together and sew the quilt top.  It was supposed to have 12 squares, but we were short one lady (which meant 2 squares since we each had to do 2) and another one made only one square.  I love the square with the  squirrel and fox roasting marshmallows and acorns! We added the nice border in between each square and on the sides and top which really defined the squares nicely and  it also added height and width that we needed due to the shortage of squares.   Tomorrow evening we are sewing the back and batting to it and if we have time we will start to tie it.    The Harvest Parade is on October 8th which is just around the corner!

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