I'm on a bit of a painting roll lately. Finished this watercolor today.
Take a look at my latest newsletter to see more recent paintings and sign up for future monthly editions.
I'm on a bit of a painting roll lately. Finished this watercolor today.
Take a look at my latest newsletter to see more recent paintings and sign up for future monthly editions.
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Every day I see a new house renovation or great DIY project or furniture refab online that makes me itch to tear out a wall in this place or paint a room or replace a floor, but day in and day out we sit on the couch with steaming mugs and stare at screens big and small instead. We are SO lazy.
Yesterday I forced myself to put down the bag of chocolate chips and hoist myelf out of my nest to sweep up some dust bunnies and scrape some corrosion off the stovetop. That small step led to a boost of motivation to be-dazzle the abode in a few little ways that didn't involve any crobars or power sanders, but did make home a little sweeter.
It was all about hearts, of course! Who said Valentine's day needs to be about romance? I say it's about neighborly love, family love, Jesus's love! Let's pile it on and festoon it about! Here are a few ways I decked out the digs with the iconic shape:
1) Greeting Card Heart Garlands A couple of Christmases ago when I went on this handmade ornament marathon, I ended up with a zillion little paper hearts that I saved. So! I stitched a bunch of them together into lovely garlands by just running them through the sewing machine. It was so easy, I didn't even need to guide the paper through!
If you don't like the back to remain plain white, try splashing a little watercolor on, so when they twist and turn, you have a bit of color showing up.
2) Washi Tape Hearts Cut a few little hearts from washi tape using a craft knife and a self-healing mat. Adhere them to display plates, plate glass on your artwork, the fridge, kitchen cabinets, drinking glasses....
3) Paper Hearts Cut some hearts from scrapbook paper and stick them around the house in unexpected places--here I attached some with a magnet on an old pie tin (those are my hand-drawn magnets available in my Etsy shop), tucked into the edges of your bathroom mirror, scattered across the top of your dresser...
4) Felt Hearts I brought out my beloved little felt heart and vintage key decorations that I made a few years ago. This year I draped them over lamp shades.
I also found this precious little handmade Swedish-looking number at a holiday market last year. It hangs from a knob on our TV console now.
5) Random Vintage Heart Trinkets I like to gather up a bunch of related items I've collected over the years and arrange them under a glass cloche here and there. How about hanging another paper heart from ribbon inside and topping with a paper medallion?! Sweet!
6) Doodle If you like to draw, how about doodling some fancy hearts on your chalkboard or on some vintage book pages?
I made this one on an ancient dictionary page that had an arrow illustration on it, and SURPRISE! You have a chance to win a matted print for yourself! Just hop over to my Instagram feed right now and enter to win! (ends @ midnight Feb. 4 EDT) Earn an extra entry when you comment below! I'll be giving two away.
Have a happy heart day!!
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For several years my heart has been asking me to "shine brighter", "be the change", "take action," but it seems that whatever I do, I'm jinxed. I can't tell you how many times my efforts to lend a helping hand have flopped at my feet: the time there were not enough busses at the church's "First Serve Saturday" community outreach event, and I ended up folding Sunday School papers inside, the time I scheduled a Bible Study visit at the nursing home, and we showed up to a locked door at the activity center, the Girl Scout leader fiasco, the 2nd time I showed up at the church for "First Serve Saturday," only to find out "they don't do that anymore," and the list goes on.
The dumb thing is, I haven't stopped trying. I have a feeling I'm going to hit on something. I have a feeling it could be Dressember.
Confession: I've been a closet fashionista (no pun intended) even before middle school when I was wearing those hideous floral stretch pants with matching giant green sweater and plastic statement earrings. Even though I don't have the cash to be a real fashion addict, I love playing dress up when it's time to go to work or on a rare date night. Mixing and matching the junk in my tiny closet to create new looks brings out the artist in me.
That said, when I read a post about a month ago on the Noonday Collection blog about the Dressember cause, I got really excited. Women wearing a dress every single day of December to raise money to combat sex trafficking and restore other women across the globe?! What an amazing idea! So, I shared the link on my Facebook page and asked my friends to give me a pep talk to join in. A few weeks later I had a "new" vintage dress to pep me up even more and an advocate page set up to raise funds. Today I'm 14 days into the challenge and am half way to my goal of raising $500 for the International Justice Mission.
The mantra is "It's Bigger Than the Dress," and the movement has proved this to be true. With over $200,000 raised so far, IJM can cover 101 lawers' salaries for a year, or fund 44 rescue missions, or cover 888 slavery victims' cases, or provide 10,000 hours of individual trauma therapy for sex trafficking survivors. Wow!
Even though I've enjoyed participating in the challenge, I don't love the idea of posting selfies every day to document my journey, so what you'll see as part of my social media campaign are lots and lots of headless shots on Facebook and Instagram featuring my daily looks. I'm working with eight to ten dresses and a bunch of cardis, sweaters, fleece-lined leggings and too many high-heeled shoes. Ouch!
I have really loved being part of this challenge that is bigger than the dress and bigger than myself. Several times it has crossed my mind that the cause should have been at a different time of year--because the cold is nipping our tootsies in our open-toed shoes --because folks are too busy shelling out all their cash on cheese plates and Barbie Dream Houses, but then I stop and realize all over again that this is the work of Jesus--our work through Him; to "defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed" (Ps. 82:3). So every day of this challenge, as I shimmy into my tights in the dark of morning, I am reminded of how little I truly need, how tiny my inconvenience truly is, and how much good a collective voice can do when "men thier songs employ".....ahem or "women!"
If you'd like to donate to Dressember, or just learn more about the cause, visit my advocate page.
I'm weepy this morning. I'm not sure what opened the flood gates. It started with my friend, Erin's, IG post of a round white barn with beautiful morning shadows and her honest confession about a roadblock she's facing. I sat in the warm, running car in the dark of the garage and read the discouraging news, marveling at her perspective, filled, as always, with the hope of Christ. . . . and I cried and I bowed my head in prayer for her and for me in a silent unutterable way.
Arriving back home after school dropoff to this quiet house for the first time in weeks--I am alone with nothing urgent on my plate but a load of laundry, the stresses of my day job, the silly, invented pressure of holiday preparations and the disappointment of my last show bubbling up to the surface. Today is mine. I decide what to make of it. Man, I could really mess this up....
And then I sit down with a cup of coffee and "A Million Little Ways," and God speaks, telling me how to "listen to my tears" to create the art I was meant to make. So, I'm contemplating that round, white barn this morning, full of metaphoric possibility, such an unexpected wonder, no closer to a plan for today, but closer to the One who made ME.
I spent today stitching up a few last-minute pretties for the Hunt & Gather show in Crown Point, IN, coming up in just 10 days!
We made some little sets of handwarmers filled with rice. These are great for waiting on the bus, walking the dog, or a long walk to the mailbox.
I don't know about you, but my favorite kind of gift to give is a "basket" full of purposeful, pretty things. So, I'm offering my follwers a "heart & hand warming" special. Choose one of my sets of handwarmers, a tumbler cozy and a set of 4 coasters for $22.50. If you are interested in purchasing, just mention the deal at my next show, or send me a message asking about options. You save 10% off the retail cost of these items, and end up with a charming and unique gift!
I've got a few more tricks like this up my sleeve, so keep an eye on my facebook page for offers through the holiday season. My last day to order for Christmas delivery will be December 12.
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It's autumn: time for harvest and plenty and front porches spilling over with gourds and mums and corn shocks. If I had a pumpkin, I would photograph it for you, but shopping for vegetables I do not intend to eat has not yet made it to a daily priority list. I did take a nice little trip to Michigan for my birthday, though, and snapped this fine fall-time pic at the Blackbird Crossing Vintage Market.
While we were there, we walked in to a Hunt & Gather pop-up market going on in the back of the building and met the lovely and gracious, Carey; shop-owner, event-planner, market-coordinator extraordinairre, who invited me to participate in the next big show in November in Crown Point, IN. I was planning on attending as a guest, but never imagined I'd have the chance to set up so soon! A few days later, this happened:
Woot!! Click here for details on this event, which features two evenings of remarkable vintage finds and talented artisans. Shop Thursday and enjoy live music, drinks and gourmet food!
Despite the fact that I haven't brought in the decorative harvest and have yet to bake a pumpkin roll, my heart is so abundantly full these days with new friendships and opportunities and truth being spoken into my life. Besides the honor of being able to participate in Hunt & Gather, I've also been accepted into the INDIEana Handicraft Exchange Holiday Mini Market on December 5 in Indianapolis!!
For a few years I've been struggling with feelings that my work is just a time-sucking hobby, a road block in the path of the earth-shattering and elusive thing God had for me to "do." The guilt tugged at me when I lacked the support I felt I needed from loved ones, when the pastor's sermon harped about the "good things" that get in the way of the "best" things, when I would lie in bed at night listening to the voices of what I used to call the "craft demons" filling my head with new ideas. All of these feelings and messages burrowed into my mind and spirit like prickly burrs convincing me I had some kind of addiction, that my passions were nothing more than distractions.
A breakthrough came, though, this spring, when a dear sister, who has since gone home to Jesus, ecouraged me to let go of some of my insecurities and share my "gifts" more with the world. Here's just a little snippet of what she shared with me that day:
....serving as Market Coordinator for
For the past month many meals have consisted of a handful of pretzels here and there, and a frenzy of on-my-feet organizing, fidgeting, sorting, planning, sewing, doodling, and other forms of hysteria. In fact, I'm writing this post as I scarf a salad, walk the dog and chat with the committee via text. To be honest, I do it because I love our little town and I have a wonderful group of ladies on my team who feel the same.
If you're in the area, please come out and support our crafters, farmers, growers and upcyclers. We have about 40 booths booked, including some hot food offerings from local organizations like the Boys & Girls Club and VFW Ladies' Auxiliary. Plus, there is a free pancake and sausage breakfast around the corner at the Fire Station from 7 - 10. Hope to see you there!
I'll be back in a few days to tell you about all of the amazing things happening in my business lately. Check my Facebook page for hints!
I've been wanting to show you all summer long how I cozied up my patio on the cheap. With school back in session and most of my to-do list done today, I thought I'd sit down and give you an overview.
I was encouraged this spring by a very wise friend to let go of my many insecurities about my home and open it up more to guests and to my blog viewers. I usually cling to closeup shots of the house, trying to edit out the ugly birch trim from the 50's, the weeds taking over the driveway, the stains in the 60-year-old countertop, the brambles midst the roses. . . but as I learn to become more and more the woman I am supposed to be, I am finding how liberating it is to be really honest about my life: to own my freckles, plant moss rose in the sidewalk cracks, decorate with the plastic pink tiles in the bathroom --all of it--and celebrate a life lived within our means and all of the simple, beautiful, free things that catch my eye and make my heart pitter patter each day.
So, here goes:
There's our little garage that had to be straightened before we moved in, as to prevent it from crashing down on the cars and the pooch's home. The patio is sunken down on the other side of the sidewalks with perrenial plantings set in retaining walls on the edges.
The arbor up above came from a porch railing my Dad had removed from his deck this summer. I decided it would make a great support for my autumn clematis, which, unfortunately was very spindly this year, due to our harsh winter. The chairs are from IKEA, indoor-outdoor rug from Target on clearance a couple of years ago, little green table $15 from the thrift shop spruced up with a can of spray paint. I made the bench with a few cinder blocks, a 4x4 post and the help of a Pinterest tut--still not in love with that project, though......
What I AM in love with is this mailbox we found on the side of the road. I filled it with geraniums and the adorable little ceramic garden gnome Dan bought me for Mother's Day.
This year's color scheme for the annuals was red, and I just love planting striped petunias. It's like having little circus tents in your garden! Lanterns at the corners of the step welcome guests to the party in the evenings.
This corner near the garage has become a dog path and a major problem until this summer. The dog would continuously run through it, packing the dirt down and scattering wood chips everywhere with her fluffy tail. This year we filled it with landscape rock instead, and it has worked beautifully. I planted creeping Jenny between the rocks to soften the edges and bring a little life into the area.
more rocks across the path with an old brick nestled in as a little surprise.
I planted this beauty in an old crate under the bench, and it has really taken off. It's kinda like a succulent, and I'm not sure how I'm getting it out. I actually set the pot under the crate and pulled a few baby stems up through the cracks. It has ballooned out over the top now.
This little teapot-shaped wire planter is one of my favorites. I planted it with moss rose and set it in the middle of the coffee table on a saucer as a nod to tea time.
The service door to the garage had me up in arms, because it was starting to lose paint and get pretty ugly looking. So, I distressed it even more with a little bit of mocha-colored paint, wiping it off before it was completely dry. Now it almost looks like whitewashed wood. The grapevine wreath adds to the primitive look.
I found the plaid picnic cooler at an auction this summer and discovered that my sunflowers from the garden look fantastic in it (although these are a bit wilty). The arrangement has become a go-to for parties this season. I love the hanging potential of the arbor too. I grabbed some hook eyes and a length of chain from the hardware store to hang this old window frame, which was a gift from a friend. The potting bench, which I inherited from my grandma, has been so handy to pot with in the spring and serve on in the summer. Impatients grow wonderfully on the bottom shelf!
I'm looking forward to switching it up this fall with gourds and mums and adding some twinkly lights next year, but I'm hoping to use it in its summer "wardrobe" for a few weeks yet!
I'm on Instagram, and I'm in love, obsessed, making new friends, inspired. Here's one of my favorite shots so far from our trip to Nashville this summer.
Follow me! I'd love to make some new IG friends!
A couple of weeks ago I held a mini handmade market in my back yard. The peonies were in their prime, and I'd had another show cancelled, so decided to invite my best customers to a garden party at the end of the day.
I invited a couple of friends who share my passion for upcycling. Below is Danielle of Art DuJunque.
My mom even set up her newest wares--the most adorable planted succulents in a collection of charming vintage make-do planters.
Of course, there was food--the bruschetta jack cheese was a favorite. Go get it at Rentown if you live nearby! Mom's gluten-free, vegan ginger snaps were a miracle!
And we washed it all down with Nora's pink lemonade.
It was not easy playing vendor AND hostess, but nevertheless, the company and the weather were warm and easy, and I can't wait to do it again!