Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Walk Don't Run

I have a friend who walks this bridge regularly.

When I was a little girl  I would visit my grandmother for two weeks every summer and we would walk everywhere. My grandmother didn't drive due to a few unfortunate driving incidents in her younger years so she walked. We walked two miles to the grocery store, five miles to swimming lessons at the YMCA and up to six miles to get to a worthy fabric store. And then we would walk home again.
I love to walk. I like to take things slowly but in life, things have a way of speeding up. Life rolls downhill and whether I want to or not I inadvertently speed up. One child becomes two, two become three, then four. The hours in the day become shorter and shorter and the tasks assigned to those hours multiply like the children. I am rolling downhill gathering more and more tasks, jobs and commitments, a giant snowball bent on getting bigger and more unmanageable as I pick up speed. I am out of control. And then suddenly things screech to a halt. 
I experience a back injury that hobbles me the way no childbirth, no sickness, no surgery ever has. I must stay home and stay still. I cannot drive, but I can walk. In the beginning though I can't even physically walk so I walk through my mind, and books, I walk through other people's mind's via their blogs. I come across a woman named Alissa Walker who lives in L.A. And walks everywhere. Her blog A walker in LA reminds me once again of what it means to be a walker. To slow down. To plan a route and tasks based solely on where my own two feet can take me. As I grow stronger I begin to walk along the river near my home, I think about walking to the grocery store instead of driving. I have been training for a half marathon and because of my injury I decide (well, OK I was told by my doctor) that I will not run it, I will walk it. I want to slow down. I want to change my life to reflect my new outlook and slow my pace permanently. Then, I am cleared to drive. I can work again and run to the store to grab milk in the blink of an eye and pick up and drop off children, take dogs to the vet and run across town to visit a friend, squeezing in three or four errands along the way. All of the things normal people do. 
The snowball is once again at the top of the hill. One small nudge and I will begin my descent. But the warm weather in which snowballs cannot exist is coming. A move to Saudi Arabia is on the horizon where for me there is no driving and there are no snowballs. Will I like the eternal slowness of an ever present Saudi summer? Or will I long for a heavy blanket of snow and a steep hill. Only time and the weather will tell.


Friday, February 7, 2014

Love Is In the Air





While I have been slowly making my way through online sources of announcements and cards I have been finding myself more and more drawn to making a few of these items myself. Don't get me wrong, I have no desire to revisit mass producing handmade Christmas and Valentine's day cards but I do think it is nice to produce a select few for loved ones who are far away that you really wish you could reach out and touch.
Yesterday I stitched up some Valentines to send on their way to Maggie, Sarah and Terry and Uncle Chris. I enclosed a few packets of my new favorite indulgence; green tea ginger matcha and viola! A Valentine treat was born.


I love a hybrid of paper craft and sewing.


Manly colors for Uncle Chris of course.


And something a little softer for the girls.




Tuesday, February 4, 2014

I'm not quite sure how it happened. I have gone from being a woman who made each and every Christmas card (and we are talking hundreds) by hand to some down and out non card sending loser. Not to toot my own horn but I even had one of my Christmas cards on the cover of a magazine back in the good old days. Last year I swore it was a one time thing. We were overwhelmed by the holiday, I was working a lot, volunteering was overwhelming me....yada, yada, yada. Well guess what? It happened again this year. No cards went out, not a one. Meanwhile, the cards I have been getting in the mail have been spectacular! Photo cards have been stepped up to letterpress quality. The typography, the paper weight and the quality of what showed up in my mailbox this year was incredible. I doubt if I will ever be inclined to mass produce handmade cards again given what is out there to personalize and purchase. In the first year of my fourth daughter's life (the only other time I was negligent with Christmas cards) I crafted hundreds of Valentine's Day cards to make up for that year's lack of holiday cheer along with homemade birth announcements.It seems unreal to me that now I could just head to minted.com and choosen from over 500 birth announcements. The appeal is across the board, from cute and cuddly to faux chalkboard and letterpress. I have moved in my life from a time of birth announcements to graduation and wedding announcements. While I am so proud of my oldest daughters handmade wedding announcements and am glad she is following in the family crafting footsteps, when it comes time to think about the graduation announcements we will be sending out in a few months I know I will be turning to my new favorite source for nearly handmade cards Minted.com I think my life just got a little easier!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Intentions

Untitled I have good intentions...don't we all. I will exercise every day. I will go to bed early, eat healthy, drink less, write more, be kinder to my husband, walk my dogs every day, work, work, work, read more, knit more, sew more, craft more, write more personal notes, call old friends, blog more, read blogs more, etc. etc. etc. And that is what I expect of myself before lunch time. It is overwhelming. Where do we draw the line? Is my cell phone for everyone else to reach me? Or is it a tool for me to use to make my life easier. Am I required to acknowledge and respond to every email I receive or can I ignore the more obnoxious ones? I never used to have this feeling of so much left undone. Our's is a world of possibility. You can call or text anyone at any time. You can shop anywhere in the world day or night on the internet. You can post pictures to the world. You can make the perfect playlist and share it with the world. You can cook, photograph and share the perfect weeknight meal with the world. And so many people do all of those things that sometimes it feels as if we should all be doing them. I think I am going to give myself permission to step back in time 15 years when I feel like it and unplug from the world. I can send some old school photos and a handwritten note to a friend. I can let my cell phone die for a day and pick up the land line to call if I need something. I can make a non organic, un-photographed meal that I eat in front of the T.V. with my kids and no one is the wiser. I can ignore email, texts, tweets, blogs, podcasts and voicemails...just for a day. And all before lunch.

Monday, February 4, 2013

What a great use of space in this small kitchen. I love the vibrant yet earthy colors and the way the outside seems to move inside.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

This is Where I Want to Be


Why Go Anywhere Else?

I lie in bed at night and think about what I want to write. Then I get up the next morning, surrounded by dogs, kids, business and emails and life takes over. There seems to be so much in my head that wants to come out at night, I don't know where it all goes while I am asleep. Ideas nag at my dreams, they tap on my brain and then run and hide when my conscious mind goes looking for them calling for them to come back.
It is a strange thing, I want to slow things down. Fewer commitments, more time with my family and more time to dedicate to the things I really want to be doing. For some reason every time I think of slowing things down, I think of writing and blogging...things that take up my free time and space in my head. Yet, the need is there. 
I know I have a tendency to hear other people's voices in my head...Unwanted and unsolicited they take up residence in my brain. Usually these voices belong to people that I don't care about or want in my head, yet somehow they bring their camping gear and move in making me question my every action. Like and occupy Wall Street of my brain. Well, I have decided to clean house. I am the only person I want in my head, the only questions in there need to be my own not some imagined mind police that speaks up unwanted and uninvited.
I think the best way to do this is turn the faucet on...let my own thoughts come out here so that they can keep streaming through flushing out the sediment. A roto router of the brain...no unwanted thoughts left behind. I want to focus on what is important to me right now. My family, my business, my creativity, my life. Selfish? No, I need to be the best me I can for myself, my daughters and Jim. I need to slow down my brain and lower my expectations of myself and those around me so that I can enjoy what is really going on and stop thinking of ways to make it bigger, better, faster, stronger.
Live in the now, focus on the future I want and make it possible by being true to my own vision.
Happy New Year!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Coming Soon to a Business Card Near You!




So, not one to let grass grow under my feet, I have decided to take my 22 year military spouse global adventure of home buying, selling and renting experience paired with my love of houses and people and turn it into a business!

Jane is approaching double digits and really doesn't seem to want me around as much (this is bring tears to my eyes as I type. Of joy or sorrow I'm not sure which) and the other three girls are working hard at school, sports and their own post college jobs so I have decided to build something of my own.

We have finally put down post Air Force roots here in Alexandria, VA and I am facing the fact that I am not going to personally get the high of searching for a new home and a brand new experience for my family every three years or so. If I can't continue the moving adventure myself...why not live vicariously through others? Moving has always been an exciting positive experience for me and I would like to help others enjoy the process of moving and finding a home as much as I have over the years, so what better career than real estate?

I will be able to apply my creative side to a brand new world! The possibilities are endless and my moving adventure can continue without ever having to unpack a box of my own!


Where Has the Time Gone?

Thanks to those of you who have not given up on me! I can't believe it has been the better part of a year since my last post. A lot has gone on in that year! Most of you know that for the past two years or so I have been involved in the all consuming sport of Roller Derby. While I loved the sport and the women it brought into my life, it became a little too consuming for a mother of four who needs time with her family and likes to do things like eat dinner with her family and attend her kid's sporting events so sadly earlier this summer I made the difficult decision to hang up my skates.

As sad as that was for me, I will now be able to spend time with my family and friends. Oh yeah, and my blog! While my blog has always been mostly visual, I am going to challenge myself to do more writing. One of the things I gave up when I started skating was my spot in a women's creative writing group. So I am going to challenge myself to write more here. So please bear with me! I will still include loads of photos but with the advent of Pinterest (if you haven't gone go now!) I am thinking this may be more of a 'print place'. Let me know what you think!


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Greyhounds and Grandmas


Home Made Pumpkin Pie, originally uploaded by Deiru.

Today I am in the kitchen cooking and making pies in preparation for our pilgrimage up to Buffalo, NY to spend Thanksgiving with Jim's family.
But it is my family I am thinking of today. As I bake my pumpkin pies, using the same simple Libbys, Libbys, Libbys on the label, label, label recipe that my grandmother used. My grandmother baked those pies and then lovingly prepped them for transport. She then travelled five hours on a Greyhound bus up the coast of California to spend the holiday with us.
My grandmother baked from love and she would never show up for a holiday empty handed, even if it meant riding the road communally with pies in tow.
Grandma today I am making your pies and tomorrow I will travel with them. I miss you Grandma. I love you.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving on the Road

How fun would it be to hit the road and make a small Thanksgiving dinner to be enjoyed outside in a national park somewhere with other wanderers.
I have this fantasy of the ultimate potluck where people just wander over from their own campsite with a dish full of roasted sweet potatoes or a pecan pie and join the already overflowing table of gypsy pilgrims.
Maybe next year!

Illustrated Flyer - EtsyUK - Pimp My Table Christmas Party

How cute is this idea? Heidi Burton of Making Strangers shared her idea for pimping out your Thanksgiving table on flickr. Now if only I could get Jim's parents to go for this!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Blog Envy

I know it has been too long since I have blogged when I don't even recognize the Blogger website! This just proves the point of my post today...whenever I start to feet like maybe I am getting it together and I am going to have stuff flying out of my empty etsy shop and actually post pictures to flickr and basically get my s&%t together I come across and awesome blog like this http://frecklednest.typepad.com/la/idea.htmlE
Leigh- Ann of freckled nest has got it going on. Not only does she have an awesome blog but every link I clicked on in her blog took me to another blog from another woman who is hitting it out of the park with a beautiful blog, overflowing Etsy shop, diverse flickr gallery or bypasses all of those sites together and has it all under one roof at her blog! How do these women do it? I am so impressed. They offer classes, cook, hawk their wares, parent, photograph, knit, garden, sew and the list goes on.
My goal today? To get warm from a pre-dawn walk by cleaning my house. Well, maybe it would be easier just to take a warm bath and swiffer a little. Later I may take a picture with my phone of Jane in a no sewing involved Halloween costume and post it on Facebook. What's that put it on my blog? Who would have thought of that?
I need some new goals.

Wall-e Finger


Wall-e Finger, originally uploaded by JoJoNeiL.

Could this count as a Halloween costume?

Bob Ross

I love this crochet version of Bob Ross by Allison Hoffman of Crafty is Cool. I wish I were this cool!

Friday, October 28, 2011

yarn bowl


yarn bowl, originally uploaded by redhotpottery.

How cool is this yarn bowl by Red Hot Pottery? This is definitely going on my Christmas wish list. Yes, she has an Etsy shop!

Friday, July 1, 2011

One Woman's Journey From Minivan to Mini Cooper


After almost 15 years of hauling kids, animals, furniture and other unmentionable items around in a giant minivan, I have finally graduated to a....



Mini Cooper!!! Yes, that's right a car that can only hold four people. Yes, I am crazy and yes, I am happy. There is no room for people to leave food wrappers and milk cartons to go undiscovered until their stench reveals them. There is no video screen to hit my head on, no sliding door to slam and no, I repeat no juice box holders.

But there is a DC Rollergirl sticker on the back window.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

2011 DC Capital Pride


2011 DC Capital Pride 2731, originally uploaded by tedeytan.

DC Roller Girls skated in the Capital Pride parade last weekend. I have never felt so adored on all of my life! I can't believe the support the community showed us. I however may want to look in the mirror before I skate in my next parade!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

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Pencil Beads

Jane has a school project to make something and sell it. Which means I get to halfway make it so she can assemble these pencil beads into necklaces to sell. Let's just say my dremmel and I had a fabulous day together.
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Friday, April 15, 2011

I used to live here....


Front of house, originally uploaded by Libby's World.

and spend the afternoons here...


Left side of porch, originally uploaded by Libby's World.

Now I live here...


Snow House, originally uploaded by Libby's World.

But I would happily live here...


Sacramento Midtown Bungalow, originally uploaded by Greg Balzer.

or here, even though it seems quite busy.

or here...


South Pasadena, craftsman house, originally uploaded by 97213.

Or here...


Capitol View Atlanta, originally uploaded by vizual2.

Oh, I miss my bungalow.


201 9th Street, originally uploaded by jpotter3.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Best Form of Flattery?


Apparently, I have had it wrong all of these years. I'm always trying to come up with original ideas for various art projects and crafting ideas. According to my drawing teacher this is not how it is done. Even Picasso famously copied other master's work over and over. He then, gasp, put them out into the world for all to see. This is very acceptable in the art world. People who study art like to see connections, they want to know what the artist's influences are. Even if it is a blatant copy of another work.
So, here is my copy of Alice Neel's "Religious Girl" definitely NOT an exact replica. Maybe it is a post stroke version of the girl, her face is sagging a bit. And she seems to have had some bad Botox or maybe a single cheek implant. I can only hope that Ms. Neel would be flattered by my attention. By my love of the challenge in the eyes of this girl she conjured up on her canvas. Or did this girl first spring to life somewhere else? She had a sitter for the painting, but how much of herself did Neel inject into this work? She lost two of her four children to illness early in their lives, surely that would cause one to question religion. Is it Neel's own eyes or the eyes of the girl sitting for the portrait that seem to be at the same time, filling up with tears and challenging the world? This is what I love about Neel's work, the way her subjects draw you in, introduce themselves to you and ask you to stay, spend a little time and get to know them. For me, attempting to reproduce Alice Neel's work is most certainly the highest form of flattery.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Inspiration

If you haven't seen the movie Blindsight, Netflix it NOW. Eric Weinenmayer, a blind mountaineer, who I was lucky enough to hear speak about eight years ago in Germany, leads a group of six blind Tibetan children up to the base camp at Mt. Everest. This is only one of the inspirational stories told in this movie. From Tashi, a young boy sold by his parents to beg on the streets to Kyila, a Tibetan girl who not only has a blind father, but twin blind brothers, Blindsight celebrates the accomplishments of all of the children who climb into the sky. Their fearless leader, Sabriye Tenberken is particularly inspirational. Blind from the age of twelve, she heard the stories of blind children in Tibet, who are treated as pariah. Blind people in Tibet are believed to be paying for the sins of their former lives and therefore shunned in society. Sabriye, left her homeland of Germany to travel alone to Tibet. There she opened a school for Blind children and travelled the countryside alone on horseback looking for blind children to attend her school. The rest as they say is history. Don't miss this life changing film!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Eastern Market Adventure


On Saturday we finally made the pilgrimage to Eastern Market. It's not a journey that should have taken over a year, but somehow it did.


My first glimpse of the place included these flags painted on boards. For those of you who know about my flag obsession you will be happy to know I did not salivate on a single one. Only because the artist wouldn't let me get that close.



The food hall was incredible...Jim and Jane are making a beeline for the bakery at the end.


I of course was drawn to the veggies...


The olives...


And with the promise of Spring in the air, the flowers.


What excited me the most though was the prospect of a hot breakfast with 143 of my closest friends.


Decisions, decisions...I went for the spinach omelet and the green chile cheese grits. Hello!


We finally scored a place at the long, long table and...


YUM!!!

From food, we moved onto crafts. How clever are these key holders? I think procuring one may warrant another trip to the hill!


And check out this chiquita, selling purses made out of books!


Even the cars had been crafted.


There is no lack of color in the Capital Hill neighborhood...


Maybe I felt so at home because of all of the pink houses. The one below while slightly is the exact shade of pink that our beloved farmhouse in Snailwell wore. Long live the Manor Farm House!


To answer your question. Yes, I am homesick. Finally making to Easter Market has reminded me that we live in a diverse fun area to explore. I can't wait to take you with me as I finally spread my wings a little and settle into my new (ish) home!










Friday, March 11, 2011

The Bright Yellow Chair


The other day my friend Kate told me she had found a bright yellow chair. She happened upon it at the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store (if you haven't been to the one near you check it out!) She fell in love with the chair and brought it home for a mere $10. The chair found a new home in her playroom, where her children rocked in, played boat and read books. The chair was happy, the kids were happy and most of all, Kate was happy. Soon, though one of Kate's children started to itch. The itch turned to hives and the hives turned out to be an allergy to, you guessed it the chair. The bright yellow chair had to go. It was loaded back into Kate's van and prepped with much sadness from the children, the chair and as you guessed, Kate herself.
Now, Kate knows I have a fondness for quirky brightly colored objects. She also knew how happy I had been for her at the discovery and adoption of the chair. Kate decided to make a last ditch effort to give the chair a home. Knocking at my door in the rain, she pled the chair's case when I answered. She had vacuumed and cleaned and done everything she could do, it wasn't the chair's fault. The hive afflicted child was sensitive, no one else had been affected. Would I give the chair a chance? 


Would I give the chair a chance? In a home filled with wayward pets, children and people what was one wayward chair? The chair moved in.

And made itself at home. It caused a major furniture reshuffle in our diminutive family room. It ousted the last resident of it's spot and sent it to the netherlands of the dining room where it took up residence in a neglected corner brightening things considerably.

The chair was happy, I was happy and even Kate was happy, being saved the return trip to the Re-Store and finding a good home for her bright yellow chair.

Did I mention Halloween was happy too?
Thanks Kate!