December 30, 2011

New Year Dreams




I'm loving this journal my niece gave me for my birthday! I've been working out my goals in it for this year. I prefer to say dreams because goals always make me feel I'm gonna fall short. Think that's a mental hangup of mine...but anyways, I'm not usually an uber planner but lately I'm feeling more the need to be.

Do you set goals for the coming year?

December 29, 2011

Truth Thursdays: About Marriage


Us at age four, sixteen years before we meet.
  • It's never exactly like you think it'll be.
  • The lovey-dovey feeling isn't forever constant--it's more like a merry-go-round circling back again and again.
  • The beginning years are full of adventurously discovering one another; the latter years are full of discovering the world with one another.
  • There's an uncontested comfort in having someone know your yuck and stick around.
  • No marriage is perfect. There is always regret, anger, frustration, and loss. ALWAYS. But there is also success, encouragement, forgiveness and tender love.
Happy Anniversary, to the one that's loved me through all my junk. Thanks for sticking around, I love you!

December 28, 2011

Christmas Moments and Mischief




Amazing Christmas Moments:
  • My mother-in-law laughing hysterically.
  • A dear friend weeping at the painting I gave them.
  • My husband high on vacation.
  • Our game of Hide-the-Elf (he's creepy, no?). Whoever finds it must hide it in plain view for the next victim; December is a scream--literally.
  • Beginning new traditions: choosing a baby from one of our many nativity scenes to keep with us all day on Christmas.
  • Having lots of nativity scenes because we were gifted them at our December wedding. (I'll give some truths on marriage tomorrow on our anniversary!)
  • The box of paints my husband gifted me.
  • And the Snickers bar from my son. *melt*
There will be more Christmas to come for me; the rest of our family is celebrating this weekend). What did you love about your holiday this year?

December 27, 2011

Inspire to Inspire: "Take Flight" a Public Art Project by Jema

Jema is guest posting for me today.
Creativity, it needs to find a place in my life next to air, food, water and my morning cup of coffee.  Living full time in an RV with my hubby and four kids since January 5, 2011 has challenged my creative time.  I not only live in 300 square feet of space which hampers my studio supplies, but I am living with five other people elbow to elbow.  My creativity was being hampered, until it finally exploded onto the sides of my RV!

I can still squeeze in moments of acrylic painting on my textured canvas when the stars align, the weather is not too humid or too cold, and the wind doesn’t intend to fly my canvas like a kite.  Most of my creating is now focused on our public art project “Take Flight”.

We took our Class A RV, stripped off the manufacturer’s decals and proceeded to paint a Monarch butterfly wing outline on both sides of our RV.  The idea is to include people we meet with our family journey, and connect people all over the world with our project.  We encourage this connection by having people add their colorful vinyl decal to the sides of our RV, overlapping them, filling in the painted black outline.  We add their name, where they are from, and three things that inspire them in life.  The list of inspirations then in turn inspires others, and the circular movement of inspiring begins.
The project requires 3 ½” circular decals of oranges, blues, blacks and whites (thanks to our friends at www.decalmenow.com) which I can roll up and store behind the passenger seat of our RV.  I use our computer to enter the participants’ names on the website.  This is a creative project which needs little space, just the time to talk to people we meet, encouraging them to sticker up our RV.  It has been fulfilling to see people catch on the excitement of their contribution traveling around the United States! (very inspiring)

Public art is art which can be seen by anyone, free of charge, and enhances our daily living.   With this philosophy we want to include everyone in our project, if you can not physically put on your dot, we will add one for you.  Just add your inspirations to our list and become a part of inspiring people on the roadways of America, as well as those reading the inspirations at home in their jammies or at work on their computer screens, iPods, iPads, Android phones, you get the idea.  Go and be inspiring today!

To add your own inspirations, mosey on over to www.inspiretoinspire.com.  I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

~Jema

December 26, 2011

Much Love Monday: Seven Winter Family Read-Alouds

There is nothing better than a snow-filled day full of reading, with family tucked in blankets all around you. Here's a few of my favorite winter family read-alouds:

1.  Little Town on the Prairie.
Source
2.  Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
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3.  The Hobbit
Source
4.  The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
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5.  The Complete Tales and Poems of Winnie-the-Pooh
Source
6.  A Little Princess
Source
7.  Little Women
Source
What are your favorite family reads?

December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas to All





Merry Christmas to you--all my sweet blogging friends!

December 22, 2011

Truth Thursdays: Christmas Romances

In lieu of my upcoming anniversary (four days after Christmas), I thought I'd share my favorite Christmas romances.
Source
  • Love Actually - so many stories...so little time. (although, there's one story that could have been omitted in my opinion)
  • The Gift of the Magi - he gives up his watch; she gives up her hair...*swoon*
  • The Holiday - so tender.
  • It's a Wonderful Life - no explanation needed.
  • The Family Stone - *sob* It makes me cry and laugh in equal parts.
What about you?  What's your favorite Christmas romance?

December 21, 2011

Before and After: Bookcase

The bookcase before:
Then I grouped the books by color, got rid of some, and added a piece of artwork.
I think the pops of color add a fun dimension to my studio. And apparently I remember books better by their color so it's easier to find what I'm looking for.

If any of you give this a try, I'd love to see pictures.

December 20, 2011

Searching for Serendipity

Kamika is guest posting for me today, hope you enjoy reading her journey as much as I did.


Creativity....that is a really important word to me. It has played a roll in my life since I was a child. I can remember building dollhouses out of pizza boxes, creating a fort in the woods out of old milk crates, and countless hours spent drawing. From the time I could be trusted with a needle and thread my grandma had me sewing. We started with crudely designed teddy bears stuffed with dried beans, and moved on to more complicated things. In fact when my grandmother passed away when I was 26 it was her sewing machine, the very one I learned on, that I coveted for myself.
As a young adult I expressed myself through photography and mixed media art collage. I liked to push the boundaries of what made people comfortable by using art to discuss controversial topics. I was a fairly angry twenty something, I had a lot of demons in my closet that I hadn't dealt with yet and the drawing and sewing took a back seat. Eventually the party twenty something lifestyle took over and art and creativity disappeared from my life for a number of years. They were some of the bleakest years of my life.

One day I found myself 29 years old, facing my 30's and miserably unhappy. I cried all the time, I woke up feeling like the day ahead was a chore, there was no joy in anything I did and I was drinking way too much. On a whim I pulled out my grandmothers sewing machine and started sewing. I think it was a potholder. Or something basic and simple. I honestly don't remember but whatever it was it saved my sanity! From that moment on I was crafting all the time! I started sewing aprons, cloth napkins, children's plush animals and more. Then I got into jewelry and screen printing...honestly I tried any craft that inspired me. Which was a lot! When I crafted I was happy. My mind was calm.

From there spun my blog, to document this new path I had embarked on. But to my surprise....I found put I was pregnant one year later. I continued to craft but my blog slowly morphed into one that documented the ups and downs of my pregnancy and my thoughts on impending parenthood.
Now that I am a stay at home mom I do not have the time I once did to craft, or blog...but I can still be creative. I loved decorating my baby girls nursery, a made her a mobile that she just adores, I even sewed her a dress one time. But more often than not my creativity now comes out in the kitchen and my home. My home has never been more functional as I adjust, move, and reorganize things to fit the ever changing life of a young child. I may not have much time to play on my grammas sewing machine, but I wear her old Christmas apron as I bake holiday treats and teach myself how to cook nutritious family meals. I also sing. Constantly. Claire loves music and i make up all sorts of melodies and rhymes to make her smile. When I run out of ideas we fall back on the classics, there is lots of Raffi played in our house.

One day Claire will be old enough to craft with me, and I can teach her how to sew on her great-grandmothers sewing machine. But until then my creative joys are expressed through the joys of day to day motherhood, they are expresses through love. When you have a young child your whole life becomes a creative journey, one that ebbs and flows constantly. I'm just coasting the waves and enjoying the ride.


December 19, 2011

Much Love Monday: Christmas Munchies

What I'm loving today are these scrumptious munchies for the holidays.
SPOILER ALERT: This is a high-calorie post!

Chocolate Popcorn Cake - Mommy Hates Cooking
Isn't it divine?? I'm afraid I might not share if I make it.

Peppermint Cake Balls - Piece O' Cake
I'm kind of crazy about peppermint. In the winter it's so refreshing and reminds me of snow. And speaking of peppermint...

Candy Cane Blossoms - Baked Perfection
Aren't they adorable? Love the red and white striped kisses! So festive. And if those weren't sweet enough for you, you can swig all these down with:

Nutella Hot Chocolate - Shockingly Delicious
I knew I had to snag this recipe since my kids are nuts about Nutella. (Sorry, bad pun)

Hope you all have a wonderful Monday!

December 16, 2011

Delicious DejaVu

I'm joining DL Hammon's DejaVu Blogfest today. This is a story I wrote back in 2009 for Sunday Scribblings:
From the wheelchair, Lucille watched a young mother wrestle her four small children.  The mother's octopus hands snatched little fingers from probing outlets, tall vases and pudding cups left on end tables.  Her constant motion made Lucille sympathetic.  The mother noticed her staring and gave a weary smile.

"I had four," said Lucille.  She gazed at the sleeping newborn wrapped around the woman's chest.

"Did you?" asked the mother.  She retrieved her three-year-old from entering Silvia's room.  Silvia would've screamed for hours; it was good the mother was quick.  "How did you manage?"  She gave a pleading look.

"Hard to remember."  Lucille gazed at the sleeping bundle.  "But you seem to be doing fine."

The mother chuckled.  "That's kind of you."  Her smile faded.  "I'm not sure sometimes."  She glanced down the hallway softly bouncing the sleeping child.  "Karl is visiting his grandmother.  She gets tired of us all packed in her room so I try to give them some time alone."

Lucille nodded.  "My grandkids live in California.  Too far away to visit," she defended.  By the look on the young mother's face, she knew she hadn't been convincing.

The woman hurried off several more times collecting her three active children from racing down the nursing home hallway.  This time she made them sit in chairs and handed them plastic toys hidden inside her purse.  This pacified them for a bit.  She wiped a strand of auburn hair out of her eyes perspiring from the exertion.  When she sat down the sleeping baby awoke.  It began to squirm and kick.  She let out an audible sigh.

"May I?" asked Lucille.

The mother smiled with relief.  "Yes."  She unwound the baby sling and handed the fragile child into Lucille's arms.

Lucille rocked the pink footed baby.  The small face gazed at her and raised an arm aimlessly.  Lucille savored the newborn scent.  She lifted the girl's face next to hers and started to kiss the delicate cheek.  Then paused.  "Do you mind if I--"  Lucille faltered.  It seemed odd asking.

"Of course not," said the mother as she pulled a toddler into her lap.

Lucille put withered lips against the baby's cheek and kissed the delicious softness.



December 15, 2011

Truth Thursdays: The Sinking One



I know I should be full of joy during this season and most of the time, I am; but I've been missing my friend terribly.


The other night I went to hear her daughter sing. It was beautiful. SHE was beautiful.When we talked afterwards, she was a replica of her mother and I watched in a longing, wishing way. Later when I was alone, I wept.  It came from deep within, from anger, from grief at my sweet friend missing her daughter's program and how she would've loved it. It came from knowing how young she was and how it doesn't seem fair; and for not having her there to share the moment with.

I know my grieving will continue; I'm not sure why tears surprise me. I'm learning to discover the beauty hidden in grief. It reminds me that she was real. It reminds me to soak up each moment, each song my children sing, each touch of my husband's hand and each small thing I deem as normal. I want this season to be full of soaking.

The Closing of the Year:
If I cannot bring you comfort
Then at least I bring you hope
For nothing is more precious
Than the time we have and so
We all must learn from small misfortune
Count the blessings that are real
Let the bells ring out for Christmas
At the closing of the year
Let the bells ring out for Christmas
At the closing of the year.

If I cannot bring you comfort
Then at least I bring you hope.

Now all the winter bells are ringing
Hear them echo through the snow
And the children's voices singing
on the streets so far below

This is a time to be together
And the truth is somewhere here
Within our love of people
At the closing of the year.

December 14, 2011

Knockoff Starbucks Pumpkin Bread

I'm crazy about Starbucks' pumpkin bread. It's so dense and delicious! I searched for a recipe and tinkered with this one to come up with something so close I call it, Knockoff Starbucks Pumpkin-Bread.

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour bundt pan.

2. In large mixing bowl, combine sugar, eggs and oil; beat until smooth. Add water and beat until blended. Stir in pumpkin, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves.

3. In medium bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder. Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture and blend just until it's all mixed. Pour batter in prepared pan.

4. Bake in preheated oven until knife comes out clean, about 1 - 1 1/2 hours.

Ingredients:

½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree
2 teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon ground cloves
½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder

December 13, 2011

Blog Love: A Beautiful Mess

I'm so inspired by the blog of Elsie Larson called A Beautiful Mess. It's full of fashion tips, recipes and stunning photography. One of my birthday presents was her e-course, Blog Love. I devoured it!  So much information. She shares in such an easy way and her tips were just what I needed to hear.

She helped me remember my blog's purpose.  I don't know that I'd ever completely defined it, but when I answered her questions, it was obvious and gave me a renewed sense of vision. She showed me new ways to connect with others.  I find myself going back to what's familiar and miss out on meeting new people; after reading, I stepped out of that box. She helped me understand how planning can change the way I blog. I feel relieved to have a better system now so I can share more completely from my life and heart.

I highly recommend this course; whether you want to identify your purpose, learn how to network/market, or just brainstorm fun topics for posts--this is a course you'll take tons away from.

And check out her blog, you won't be disappointed!

storytellers button green

December 12, 2011

Much Love Monday: DIY Christmas Gifts

What I'm loving today? These DIY gift ideas just in time for the holidays. Click on the photo or the link below it for instructions on how to create your own.
1. Tissue Paper Art: Homemade by Jill

2. Fabric Wrapped Bangle: VioletBella

3. Button Art: Katydiddy

4. Kid's Art: Mrs. Ricefield

5. Jingle Bell Frame: The Homeless Finch
What are you loving today?

December 9, 2011

Three Beginnings




Wish I could share more about these projects, but that'll have to wait until after Christmas. Instead, I'll wish you a fabulous weekend.

Also, I'm guest posting today at Searching for Serendipity about Six Ways to be Creative with Your Little One. Hope you'll check it out!