Wednesday, February 27, 2013

waiting and hoping and thinking

Waiting for Spring.
Waiting for the book.
Waiting for Easter.
Waiting for the Kendra vs Kate Celebrity Wife Swap.
Waiting for flip flop weather.
Waiting to be well.

Hoping for gardening weather.
Hoping you like the book.
Hoping for a pretty Easter.
Hoping that they still have lockers for sale at the state liquidation sales in April.
Hoping to rest a lot this weekend.
Hoping to be well soon.

Thinking about Summer.
Thinking about my mantle. I tried to do something other than the map. But the map fits SO perfectly there.
Thinking about Lent.
Thinking about my limitations.
Thinking about a getaway.
Thinking about a ring of flowers around Hanks neck.

You? What are you waiting, hoping and thinking about it.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Make-Do {and make lovely} Mondays-Wall Art Happy

 Hope your Monday was lovely friends.
I am snuggled down on this very couch under quilts while a heavy rain storm passes over.
Sweet Man is on dinner duty and the boys and I are catching up on some DVR recordings.
I am off to the doc tomorrow to see if this cold is ever going to go away, and I have a long list of to-do's before the book release. Life is good and busy and full of questions as usual. But I think I may have answered one this weekend - what to hang above our sectional!

Remember my whole not spending money on things for the home during Lent? Well so far so good. Also, I feel as if a bit of home decorator fire has been lit beneath me by this decision. Somehow, not surprising when I really think about it, I find the challenge of making-do with what I have to be incrediablly inspiring. (So far. Like I have said before, this could all change in the blink of one great garage sale.)

Ever since I brought my $60 Goodwill sofa home I have been trying to figure out what to do on the HUGE wall behind it. Especially because now everything is slightly off center.
(Well, I do know what I want to do with it long term, but that is way down the list of things to do around here...) Also, eventually I want to have a couple of slipcovers made for the sofa- one in a pink red and one in white- but until then I have to work  with this dirty yellow color, which isn't horrible, but isn't my first choice either.

At some point last week it finally occurred to me what might just work. My Thrift Store Art Collection (as I refer to it) would probably look pretty great above the sofa.  Or at least some of it. Of course only two of the paintings that I settled on are thrift store found -the two yellow paintings. The boot and the nest were painted by Jeanetta and the chair was painted by my sister Judea in college. But they remind me of my thrifted art, so I lump them in with the group.

I left room for a few more paintings to make their way to the wall, perhaps a cow or a barn? Maybe both? As I am re-nesting in this house I am trying to find the balance between light and airy/colorful and collected.  I want things to be less cluttered than before, but I also like a lot of my stuff, and I love color. I just can't help it.   I think this arrangement does a pretty good job of meeting that goal. What do you think?

Friday, February 22, 2013

a glimpse of what I see

A month or so from now- give or take a few days- my book, A Homemade Year: The Blessings of Cooking, Crafting and Coming Together will be arriving in bookstores and on door steps.

This is still amazing to me.  Beyond amazing.

Mostly I cannot wait for you to all see Judea's photographs. 
They are the most fun and this book would not be the gift that it is without them.

The entire book was shot by her and styled by both of us. Everything you will see in the book was made by myself, Sweet Man, Jeanetta, Jemimah or my mother (the latter three helping me with the sewing) and the kids. Every meal we shot we ate, every person you will see I love. There are no models, no fake loaves of bread, no show homes.  When we weren't shooting at my house, we went "on location" in the backyards, around kitchen tables, and on the screened porches of friends and family. 

To say that this book- from the stories to the crafts to the recipes and the parties- is the result of love, tears dedicated hard work, and countless hours of smiling and waiting and helping from everyone around me would be just scratching the surface of the truth.

I cannot wait to share A Homemade Year with the world, because I cannot wait to show the world what love looks like from where I sit. Humbling, giving, generous, amazing, love. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

don't get your pants in a wad

Patch them!

I am blogging about this and other crafty plans for spending less and making more over the At Home in Arkansas blog today...

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

the Shoppe is Open!

Thanks to Shannan's house tour, interest in my posters has sparked again! 

So I thought I would open the shoppe back up for some mid-winter fun.

If you place an order, please note that I will only be shipping bi-weekly so it may take a few weeks to get your poster. This has to do with printing availability and the amount of work it takes to things packed, labeled and shipped. I am curious if I can find a way to keep the shoppe open without feeling overwhelmed, so this will be a bit of a trial run.

You can go here to place an order - if you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment on this post and I will get back with you soon. 

Thanks friends!

Monday, February 18, 2013

make do {and make lovely} mondays - chicken feeder

Happy Monday friends! How is your day so far? Is this a holiday for you or just another Monday's Monday?
 I am just about over this cold nonsense. Not quite all the way well, but getting there. We are down to the coughing and stuffy head, which I will take over body aches, fever and sore throat any day. 
But enough about my ailments. Can we just talk about Downton for two seconds? Can you believe? Ugh. So stupid. So what if what's his name wanted out of his contract? Can't they just do like good old fashioned soap operas and replace the actors? I could go along and pretend that Matthew was suddenly a brunette and two inches taller, really I could. 
Okay, my two seconds are up. Moving on.

Yesterday, in a fit of complete inspired genius, Sweet Man built our girls a little feeding station to sit outside their coop. This little structure, completely built out of odds and ends he had on hand, will protect their food and water from the elements and be more accessible to them during the day. Up until now our feeders hung inside the coop, but our girls are rather healthy in size and it seemed like they were always bumping them and spilling food and water out on the floor of their coop. This will help keep food off the floor of the coop (and therefore not invite varmints in) and provide easier access during the day.

The next steps are to put on a metal roof, give a cute paint job, and add the heavy duty hooks for the feeders to hang from. I cannot wait to see it finished! 

PS- Don't you love his sketch?

PSS (or is it PPS?) - The book should be in stores a month from now. I. Cannot. Wait. 

Friday, February 15, 2013


I am home sick again today. Under quilts, taking vitamins, drinking juice like crazy, trying to push this nastiness out of my body. Also I am working on the school Yearbook. These kids make me laugh.

Before the nastiness began I unpacked a box from the Leaning Closet of Stuff. I found my Mary's in there, and decided to hang them up in the Art Room over my desk. I figured they would be good for creative mojo. This is one of them, the more colorful of the two.

I also found my crochet "thong" bunting, which I promptly added to the kitchen window.
I think I want a bunting that is more substanstial - something made from burlap maybe?- but for now this is making me happy.

We are in the weird part of winter here. It's almost spring but winter's not over yet.  Everything is bare outside, but the skies are sunny. It''s a strange combination, light and bareness.
My pom pom flowers are providing much needed color.

Miles basketball season will end this weekend. It has been so much fun to see him take to this sport. Last weekend was their last regular season game and he was rewarded the "most improved" title. You should have seen the grin of pride on my babies face.

Last weekend also meant celebrating my friend Liz's birthday. These tin trays were just a teeny tiny bit of all the items at her house that I wanted to stuff into my pocket book and steal away. I love her style and am SO happy for their new house- it is so perfect for them. 

So that is a bit of the week in review from the sick ward.
I hope your weekend is filled with lots of relaxing and sweet moments.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

a little oh la la

Happy Valentines Day friends!
I am home in bed, sick with a nasty cold or I would give each of you a great big smooch.
My only Valentines Day wish is for a gallon or two of pink grapefruit juice.
Not the most romantic of thoughts is it?
Oh well.
I hope your day is much lovelier and filled with all sorts of Oh La La moments and the sweet treat of your choice!


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

someday I will learn to paint and draw

All of these images are from the wonderful artist Caitlin McGauley . I love her style, the way she is both casual and elegant, detailed and subtle.  The edges of each object in her paintings are slightly blurred and soft, like my vision when I wake up slowly, from a wonderful dream. I know this in-part due to her choice of media, to the interplay of the paper and the pigment and the water, but it is also do to her vision. Her style. Her way of seeing and then re-seeing, through her paints, the world.

One day I want to sketch, and perhaps even watercolor paint, in a style similar to this. And not for any other reason than because I want to. For me.
I would like to be able to draw and paint renderings of the room designs and  party ideas I dream up. To me, being able to paint or draw what I see in my head would be a magical way to test-run and explore creative ideas without having to actually implement them in real life. A way to see if I like the red rug with the yellow sofa before I go and spend my time and money and effort - all of which are often in short supply.
I would love to be able to create, on paper, images of my day-dreams. All those "someday" ideas that roll around my imagination: The Craft and Notions Shop, my Ideal Farmhouse, my County Fair Party idea, the Screen Porch on the back of the house. 

 To me, one of the things I love most about being a creative person, is the satisfaction that comes from being able to take something out of my imagination and form it into something that can be seen by my actual eyes, not just my minds eye. Sometimes that means I actually need to create the thing I dream up into a real three deminsional object. I need to  paint my cabinets or sew new curtains or rearrange the living room or host a Candlemas party. Other times though,  there are all these ideas swirlling around my brain that are  too big for real life. They are too grand, or too expensive or too time consuming for me to tackle now. And that is okay with me. I don't feel cheated by my reality. I am okay with never actually having a little craft store, or building a second floor onto our house.  But I would like to find a way to get these visions, these ideas and images out of my brain and onto paper in a colorful and expressive way. I would like to find a way to bring them  into the physcial world, where I can visit them from time to time, show them to the light of day, and enjoy them fully. Where I can experiance them beyond just thinking about them, but without having to committ to the whole enchilada. I guess what I am saying is, for me, learning how to sketch or paint my dream house, would be a way to in fact have my cake and eat it too. 

And that is why, one day, I am going to learn to paint and draw.
Maybe even one day soon.
You just never know.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Lenten Travel Kit

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday and Lent will have begun.
I think I am prepared (if one can be.) 
I have my travel kit packed and ready.
I have assembled my reading list.
On my list is some suffering, along with a bright strand of optomisim running throughout.
I am also going to read and practice Sybill MacBeth's Praying in Color.

Meals have been thought of: tonight we will eat Pancakes for Shrove Tuesday. 

I have my stitching project ready to begin (stitching through Lent something I started last year and want to continue this year.) 

Tomorrow we will be marked by the ashes of last years palm fronds and then we will begin our journey and walk into the desert for 40 days. 

This year, for me, walking into the desert means leaving two habits behind. One I will share with you and one I am keeping to myself. Not because I don't want to share it, but because my sharing is part of it. 

The one I will share with you is this: I am not going to purchase anything for our home until Easter. No decorations, no accessories, no pillowcases or mixing bowls and vintage plate. No chalkboards or side tables or throw rugs. Nothing thrifted, or vintage or new. No dollar tree do-dads. No garage sale finds. 

Instead I am going to use what I have: The sewing machine and fabric to make pillows, the old wood and existing stack of vintage plates to make wall-art, the boxes of do-dads I still have not unpacked since the cancled move. These things are more than plenty.  

Ofcourse  I know that as soon as I post this the most perfect pair of chairs for the dining room will magiclly show up Craigslist. Cause that is how this goes.

So I am all packed and ready to go.
Let it be.
Lent is here. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

make do {and make lovely} monday-introducing the art room

Deciding to stay here in this house (instead of renting it or trying to sell it again) has come with some perks. One of the biggest being the proximity to our life- friends, church, work, etc. It is nice to wake up at 9:45 and be able to roll into church by 10:30 ( ok, sometimes 10:35,) or for the boys to be able ride their bikes to a friends house, or for Sweet Man to be able to go home for lunch.
 Another benefit is the extra square footage that this house has compared to the tiny farmhouse. When we decided to stay put, it was a little bit like gaining 600 extra sq ft out of the blue. We always had this extra space of course, but because we had begun to think how we could downsize to 1200 sq ft, deciding to stay meant extra room we had not planned on. It's amazing how suddenly something you have always taken for granted can look wonderful once you think you have lost it and then found it again.

The third bedroom is part of this "bonus space" we now find ourselves with.  Over the past almost 10 years (how did that happen? A whole decade??) it has been: Sweet Man and I's bedroom, Sweet Man's music room, my office/guest room, my sisters Judeas room, and most recently the junk room; The room where we put all the boxes we had packed to move, and where we threw things when we cleaned for parties and so on.

Over the past month I have worked to reclaim the space, and while I am not done, I am awfully close. We have decided the call this space "the art room," as it will hold all our most artsy bits and will be for all of us to use. My wonderful craft desk and supplies live here, and eventually we will move some of our musical instruments in here as well. My borther painted the walls a very pale aqua and we put our old sofa in here, (which is a great place for napping, crocheting and strumming,) so the room can double as a guest room or a den when needed. The whole room feels so much lighter.

I am working to get all the craft supplies centralized and out in the open so that if the mood strikes, anyone can go in and get to creating. This would not have been an option a few years ago when Miles consider the entire house to be his canvas. Luckily that phase has passed.

This is also my writing space. Something I desperately need these days. Sometimes I can write sitting at the kitchen table, or in bed, but often I need a place to close the door and start fresh. My desk is centered on a large window that looks out into our backyard. I can sit and watch the boys play, or the chickens peck or the huge tree limbs sway. Right now I do not get to sit here during too many daylight hours. As much as I love a little winter reprieve I will be glad when there are more daylight hours after work and school.

Right now I only have one large shelf and two smaller ones. Eventually we are going to clean out the one small closet in this room, gut it, remove the door and put in shelving so that ALL of my fabric (this is only about half,) crafting and writing books and can live in the same room. This will free up other closets and cupboards throughout the house which will again expand our space that much more.

(A favorite family picture. I'm the baby, my Paw is holding me and my parents are on the right)

As is usual I have had to stop at the 3/4's finished mark. Which means the room is usable and not hideous, and actually pretty lovely, but not quite all the way finished. This is actually okay with me. The rest of the room will come together over time, as time, inspiration and money allow. After all, as the great Pin says: "A home should feel collected, not decorated." 

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