30 November 2011

Month in Review

I am a notetaker, list maker, and detailed planner.  I write down happenings, birthdays,and current events in multiple places.  Here is what happened in my indigo life this month.

+ We closed on the old house.  No more worrying about two mortgages.  We moved here.

+ cc purchased a 1971 Chevy C-10 pickup.  I tell her it smells like high school because I drove  something similar then.  I'm now a classic car owner.  #old

+ We hit daylight savings time and watched the Beaver moon rise.

+ I traveled to Nebraska via Denver to celebrate Grams' 80th birthday, and saw snow.

+ I actually decorated the house for fall.

+ The first Creative Connection DFW event took place and I attended.

+ There is a new addition to our family - our rescue dog Ollie!

+ Participated in an art swap through Swap Bot and received a fun package from Brazil.

28 November 2011

Christmas Wish List #1

I've come across really great artists and products this year.  I've collected a few of my favorites for the artist in your life this Christmas.

1|   Paper + Twine - Casey's etsy shop full of bound books and stationary that are perfect gifts.

2|   Black & Bluebird Studios - I spotlighted this Austin duo for their creative repurposing jewelry. 

3|   Tom's Shoes - I try to avoid the trend bandwagon, but these shoes are not only for a great cause, they are the most comfortable shoes I've owned.

4|   Custom Bound Journal - This new business allows you to create the notebook for your needs. 

5|   Terrain - Anything in this store would be worth receiving.  Very beautiful and natural.

6|   Sqaum Art Workshops - Now gifting certificates! Help send your favorite artist to camp.

25 November 2011

When Your Sister Takes Over Your Camera

Meet Sarah.  This adorable little creature is my lovely sister.  She is my BFF.  Isn't she beautiful? 

The trouble is, this sweetness you see is sometimes a cover up.  Typically when I walk through door, I get lots of love, and then she steals my camera and I don't see her the rest of the weekend.  Ok, so I do see her, but usually behind my camera.  This is what happens when your sister takes over your camera.


You end up with a hundred unflattering shots of yourself...
...and you get caught busting a move with Tonya
...or your brother explaining some scientific farming thingy
...or she catches your brother with duck lips (sorry brother)
and sometimes you can bust her with Tonya..

But on occasion, that sweetness comes through and she gets some really great shots.

Like this one of you and your dad...
...or your mama's hand because you them so
...or your nephew playing with your iPad and sticking his tongue out the way his daddy used to.


Without my sister, I wouldn't have as many recorded memories and today, I'm especially thankful for her.  It's hard to be so far from family whether you choose to be or not.  She believes in recording our life and when I'm here and all of them are there I can look through these photos and the laughter we shared fills the room.  It makes it easier to believe that distance makes the moments we have together sweeter.  So I'll take all the candid shots because honestly, that's how we all act anyway, and it's why we have so much fun.  

Thanks Sissy for always taking over my camera. 

24 November 2011

Give Thanks

I am thankful for...
+the love and acceptance of my family
+the roof over my head and the food on my table
+my health
+the health of my family
+Our new dog, Ollie and the cats for their unconditional love
+inspiration and creativity that keeps life interesting

Wherever you are today, I wish you the happiest of Thanksgivings with those you love.  Give thanks for all the blessings in your life  


22 November 2011

Turning 80

I got a call about a month ago from my uncle with a crazy idea to surprise my grandmother, Grams, for her birthday.  She turned 80 last week and in all honestly, none of us thought we would ever see the day. After having 2 major heart attacks, a few other small ones, heart surgeries, and emphysema from smoking she is one tough cookie.  Her doctor even told me once she is the miracle lady.  I was just as happy as she was that she was having a birthday.
So what a better surprise when turning 80 than to see your children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren whom you don't see often. 
[left - sorry for the blur.  sister couldn't figure out fancy camera]        [right - one of my favorite nephews]
This required planning.  Just because this little lady turns 80 doesn't mean she has plenty of free time.  Turning 80 is like any other day.  She bowls in a league with women half her age, she volunteers weekly at the Senior Center, attends plays and musicals, and travels to see family.  I've been given the excuse on numerous occasions that her schedule is too full to come to Texas.  We could only be so lucky. 

The day started off splendidly. She knew my uncle was coming to town but had no idea about the rest of us. That was the only way she wouldn't schedule something. We held the gathering at the Senior Center since she spends so much time there giving to others. We wanted her to feel special. The senior center is an activity center for seniors that serves lunch everyday, holds bazaars, bake sales, and card games for the men. We surprised her when she walked through the door. What I loved about the day was not only was I there to celebrate with Grams, I got to see the very people that impacted my life from the start. My preschool, kindergarten, and 1st grade teachers were there. Members from the church I was confirmed in, my mother's grade school teacher. All manner of people that know and love my grandmother so well. We had cake, balloons (thanks mom) and she got to introduce us to the group, which she loved.  She was even serenaded by my lovely sister. A show that my mother usually performs, but my sister has taken over. Thank goodness she got the singing genes. 

So what do you do on your 80th birthday after your surprise party?
Go home and beat your grandkids in a round of cards!

Happy 80th Grams

21 November 2011

My Dream Folly

We all have dream lists. The kind that no matter what changes take place in life, things on the list remain constant. For years I've wanted to be the owner of a yurt. After spending a summer living in a tent and reading Radical Simplicity by Dan Price I imagined my life on a stretch of land far from civilization in a yurt. Off the grid and self sufficient this dwelling would provide the shelter I would need.

Over time I've come across elaborate models, but this one takes the cake.   A few weeks ago the Dallas paper landed on my desk showcasing the 2011 Neiman Marcus Christmas catalog. The big ticket item this year is a yurt. No I'm sorry, a dream folly. With a price tag of $75K it promises an oasis from your McMansion, decorated to the nines by a designer. Not exactly what I had in mind. Even if I could afford this price tag, my dream folly doesn't exist out the back door with silk pillows and a chaise lounge.

I have visions of untouched land with rivers, mountains and nothing but the sound of nature. A yurt offers a comfortable home with very little footprint.  My dream folly looks a little more like this:
or this...
Less designer, more natural and cheaper than $75K.  I think I'll keep on dreaming Neiman Marcus.

17 November 2011


I am back from my trip to Nebraska.  It was good to go home, but I'm glad to be home.  A part of me will always be there with that expansive sky and roots that ground a person.

Grams had no idea we had a party planned for her and she was pleasantly surprised.  I can't wait to share some of the photos with you.  Until then, happy Thursday.

11 November 2011

Crafty Cornhusker

No, this post is not about the football team although I am from Nebraska and we live and breathe Husker football whether our mailing address is in the state or not.  I happened to find the best project for a female Cornhusker.

I was thumbing through the November issue of Martha Stewart Living and marveled at the crafty idea of making a wreath out of corn husks.  In a corn state it is easy to find husks after harvest.  On a windy day several could blow up in your yard.  In this particular issue they dyed the husks a magenta color and worked them into a wreath while they were still pliable.  The M.S. crafters used craft dye, however, I think they could be dyed using beets or blueberries. 

It just so happens that I'm heading to Nebraska this weekend.  Maybe my brother, the farmer, can bring me a bag of husks!  Do you think the TSA will question me?


I'll be back later next week. My Grams is turning 80 and I'm off to celebrate with her, but she doesn't know it yet.  I think she will be pleasantly surprised.

08 November 2011


It's finally November, and for us in Texas the weather has finally shifted from sweltering to warm.  It's a good change of pace.  While I've been out collecting, I haven't exactly been creating lately.  The plate is full, as they say, but it doesn't take being in the studio for frame of mind to be on my radar.  Typically this time of year brings gratitude full circle and I start to think about where I have been and where I have yet to go.  

I have learned that when I am totally tuned into gratitude, naturally my outlook is positive.  I am incredibly thankful for the blessings in my life and I sometimes wonder how I landed where I have.  Faith and luck, I suppose.  I was sitting on my bed last night and it hit me how much less I worry these days.  There is a security that for so long was missing.  I am no longer going at this life alone, thanks to cc.  She makes things so much sweeter and most of all fun. 

I think that no matter what happens in this life if you carry the right attitude you're in a for a sweet ride.  It's all a matter of perspective.

01 November 2011

Low Fat Meatloaf

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Every year I get a physical and every year my doctor tells me I need more iron.  "Eat more meat," she says.  It is true, I don't eat a lot of meat.  I'm not a vegetarian, I'm just picky.  Growing up, I knew where my meat came from.  We raised our meat.  Today, it's hard to determine the origin of meat and that doesn't settle well with me.  You are what you eat, including all the junk in processed meats like antibiotics and genetically modified grains. 

As a kid, I hated meatloaf.  I thought it was mystery meat.  It now happens to be one of my favorite things to make.  My beef comes from natural grocers or local farmers.  You can ask them to grind it for you.  This insures you don't get any extras.  For full details on what is in ground beef watch this video.  My favorite recipe comes from the 2008 Cook's Country cookbook.  There is apple cider vinegar in the glaze and that's what steals my heart.  Ok, maybe the thyme does as well.  Here is my version.

Low Fat Meatloaf
1   tsp olive oil
1   onion, chopped fine
     salt and pepper
3   garlic cloves, minced
1   tsp minced fresh thyme
1/4 cup tomato juice
1  slice hearty wheat bread torn into pieces or bread crumbs*
1  1/2 lbs. 90 percent lean ground beef
1  large egg
1  Tbs. soy sauce
1  Tbs. Dijon mustard

1/2 cup ketchup
3 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
2 Tbs light brown sugar
*I make my own bread.  The slices that don't get eaten are processed into bread crumbs and then frozen.  It keeps them from being thrown away and it's an ingredient that is homemade versus store bought.  Frozen crumbs do not need to be thawed. 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Take a wire rack that fits inside of a rimmed baking sheet and wrap it with tin foil.  Poke holes in the foil at 1/2'' intervals.  Heat the oil on medium heat and cook the onion with a 1/4 tsp. salt until softened, 8 mins.  Add garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, 30 secs.  Stir in tomato juice and cook until thickened, 1 min.  Cool the mixture 5 mins and then transfer to a blender or food processor.  Add bread slice or frozen bread crumbs and process until smooth.  Put the beef in a bowl, add mixture from blender and mix together.  In another bowl, whisk egg, soy sauce, mustard, parsley, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper.  Add to beef and mix until evenly combined.  Mold the beef mixture into a loaf on the tin foil rake inside the baking sheet.  Bake until meatloaf registers 160 degrees, about an hour.  Remove from the oven and turn on broiler.

Combine ketchup, vinegar, and brown sugar in a saucepan.  Simmer over medium heat until thick and syrupy, about 5 mins.  Spread the glaze over the meatloaf and broil until glaze begins to bubble, about 3 mins.  Let it rest for 10 minutes and serve.

I shared this recipe with my parents and they loved it.  Like me, they love the vinegar glaze.  My mom came up with the brilliant idea to make individual loaves instead of one.  This guarantees a bite of glaze with every bite of meat.  What can I say, ACV makes everything taste better.