29 February 2012

February Chronicle

I can't believe February is already over.  This was an incredibly busy month and I don't know how I packed everything in, even with the extra day.  No wonder I'm tired.  These are a few of the highlights. 
  • The groundhog saw his shadow which means six more weeks of winter.  Our winter has been bringing 60 degree days so I'm not too worried.
  • I had a follow up with the specialist and all went well.  Why do we wait so long to take care of ourselves?
  • I've been working on finding my style and used a Christmas gift certificate to update my makeup.  Makeup artists are crafty people. 
  • We put the garden boxes up and got one of them planted with cold season vegetables. 
  • We also purchased a few fruit trees to throw around our yard.
  • I started a training program to run the 10K.  I hoping to run a race in late May.
  • My grandmother came to visit.  Her and her five siblings were all in town and I had the best time learning about my wild family. 
  • While grams was here she was my valentine, we went bowling, shopping, and drove to Possum Kingdom to inspect the fire damage from last summer. 
  • I made valentines this year and a special box to put them in.
  • We took a weekend trip to Kansas City.
  • While there I added a new Amy Meya tile to my collection.
  • February's challenge has been a tough one.  I've been raising funds for scholarships to send kids to the Collin County Adventure Camp outdoor school.  There is still time to give.
  • We had dinner at The Rise with friends and experienced a new cuisine.
  • Spent the night in the historic Stoneleigh hotel. 
  • Heard two Arts & Letters Live authors speak this month:  Maxine Hong Kingston, Jeffrey Eugenides.
  • The only movie I saw this month was Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
The best part of the month...my sister and her husband taking their new baby boy home from the hospital.  He is finally over five pounds! 

Happy leap day!


For the month of February I am working on raising scholarship money to send kids from low income families to an outdoor school. Will you help me?  Click here to read my story and to donate to this worthy cause.

28 February 2012

Collections: Journals

This month's collection is one of my favorites.  As a child, I always wanted a diary.  I had a lot of thoughts and emotions running through my head and no one to tell them to. The thought of a diary was enchanting, secretive, and deeply private.  And then I got one, and then another.  The collection grew.  I wanted to be a chronicler of life.  When I moved out of an old apartment I had a box devoted strictly to diaries and journals, and as I carried the box to the car I realized I had become one.  The box keeps growing and I pulled out a few of my favorites to share with you. Reader beware, this is long, more so out of pure nostalgia.  I had a hard time narrowing the list. 

I received Minnie as a Christmas gift.  My first diary.  It had a lock and key, which I kept religiously around my neck for fear of someone finding out I was a closet New Kids On The Block fan.  I did not have much to say, as you can see.  Half of the page was filled with boys' names.  

The princess diary did not have a lock and key so not a lot of top secret information went into this journal.  Most of the pages are filled with the boy's name that happened to play kickball with me on the playground.  It also has ton of notes between me and my best friend.  
This one is a favorite because I collected bears.  It was a step up from Minnie because it was leather bound and came in it's own box.  My paternal grandmother gave me this diary.  She was a classy lady.  
When I received this daily reminder I felt like I was coming of age.  I was now past writing boy's names on pages and actually put pen to paper with real thoughts.  This journal is special because it's from the year we moved to another town.  I love to read about what I was going through emotionally at that time.    

Then high school hit and I thought "diaries" were for kids.  I stopped writing because I would have been too mortified if anyone would have read my deepest thoughts.  So there is a lack of journals during these years.  The only thing I was writing were terrible love letters.  

Once college hit, I was all of a sudden a sophisticated academic and went through journals like candy.  Page after page of therapy.  I went through a huge transformation, and I have a record of all of it.  I had an intense relationship that would have ended in marriage had other factors not gotten in the way, but when it ended by breaking up instead my world was shattered.  I lost 20 pounds I didn't have, got a tattoo, wrote class papers on my unrequited love (completely embarrassing now) and every last tear is recorded in this, the j. journal.  It holds those awful papers, photos, and a lesson on how not to lose one's way because of another person.  I learned a lot from that girl.  Such a pretty journal for such sad words.   

This journal has been used and abused.  It's tabbed, dog eared, and bookmarked.  It was a reference manual of sorts for a few years.  It records my journey of discovering my love for another woman.  It also holds grand dreams of what I want out of my life.   

I had this nature journal for a while.  It was while I was living in a tent.  I recorded the weather patterns, animal sightings and new plants I had not yet learned.  It holds seasonal patterns I noticed and it really forced me to be present every day.

I moved on to moleskines and started adding a lot of lists.  There is a shift in my journaling where they become part planner, part journal.  I started carrying them around with me to document more life.
Then I attended Sqaum and I began to myself in a new light.  When I didn't have the words, I borrowed words and added color, pattern, and art.  

Journals started to fill with goals, dreams and notes from things I had read.  Things to remember, and things I wanted to forget.  A recipe for an indigo life. 
This is one of my most recent. It's a good balance of art and words.  I'm starting to see how much I've needed this space to write and create.  A journal is like a friend that listens very well.  It's portable, doesn't have to have a battery charge, and can be used on a moments notice.  It holds happy moments and some sad ones, photos, love letters, and momentos.  To say the least, I'm hooked for life.   

Today I mostly use these journals (all filled by the way).  They are from Ex Libris Anonymous and they use recycled books for the covers.  There is little fluff in the purchasing.  They cost about $12 to buy and ship and they offer a wide variety of topics.  My only complaint would be the paper quality.  I'm looking for a journal that has recycled office papers, plain drawing and watercolor paper, and trace paper.  A mix of everything. I've started experimenting with making my own journals.  I'm starting to get a bit picky.
Are you a journaler? What is your favorite way to use your journal.  I'd love to hear your thoughts.


For the month of February I am working on raising scholarship money to send kids from low income families to an outdoor school. Will you help me?  Click here to read my story and to donate to this worthy cause.

24 February 2012

Flora Friday

Late afternoon sunshine and heather in bloom.  Have a lovely weekend. 

22 February 2012

Story Teller

My grandmother recently came for a visit.  I've been asking her to come for months.  She always tells me she is too busy.  What does an active 80 year old spend her time doing?  Volunteering at the senior center and the bloodmobile, bowling in a weekly league, participating in the red hat society, and acting landlord to over 200 acres of farmland which, in itself, is like running a small business. Yes, she is busy.

She is in the middle of six siblings and her brother has moved to the Dallas area.  All the siblings were coming down to see his new house, and spend a weekend in Dallas.  I was lucky enough to get her to stay four extra days with me.  

The first night her brothers and sisters were in town they sat around the kitchen table swapping childhood stories. What was it like to live in a three bedroom house with nine people?  Their grandfather lived with them as well.  I heard stories of horse carriages being dismantled and reassembled on top of a roof, coon hunting excursions that ended by being sprayed with a skunk.  When one of them got sick, all of them got sick.  Once they went to visit relatives in another town and got snowed in for several days and each one of them came down with the flu.  I heard stories about my mother, uncle and their cousins, and all the trouble they got into when they got together.  They laughed and talked for hours.  I sat there in awe and shock.  How many people get to hear their living history?  I'm still trying to formulate my words about such a magical experience.   
Over the next few days I grilled my grandmother with questions.  She is used to this as I do it often.  I want to know my history.  I want to know what it was like to grow up during the great depression.  To know where I came from and why we landed in Nebraska.  I want to know my grandmother as a twenty something, a thirty something.  Why she decided to marry that hot guy on the motorcycle.

Oh the stories were glorious and I just kept saying I need to write this down, but I was so enthralled.  Bits keep finding their way into my stream of thought and I'm writing them as they come.  I learned that my great grandfather took over the family blacksmith shop at the height of the depression.  He was a school superintendent, but because people couldn't pay their taxes the school district went bankrupt and closed.  He moved his wife and six kids in with his father to work in the blacksmith shop.  My great grandmother fed the vagrants that passed through town.  Grandma said there were always people knocking on the back door asking for food.  They ate corn meal mush for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  When her brother's appendix burst they took him to the doctor where he had to have surgery.  Penicillin had just been discovered and my great grandfather watched as the doctor cut him open, cleaned him out and swished penicillin around in his body.  All things that we wouldn't see today. 

All of these stories were recorded in the family Bible by my great grandmother.  The Bible is now with my grandmother's brother here in Dallas and I can't wait to dig around in it for hours.  I am thankful for her stories. I am thankful for her.  She loves to share them and is happy that someone wants to pass them on, and as long as she tells them I will sit and listen.  I feel rooted in time, and more at peace with the decisions I make in my own life.  I have come to another change in perspective and I feel as if a shift is brewing.  How will I be a teller of stories?

21 February 2012

Amy Meya Cermaics

One of my favorite shops in Kansas City is the STUFF store.  Full of quirky, one of a kind pieces from artists, I always walk out with something wonderful.  Without a doubt, a new ceramic piece from Amy Meya will find it's way into my suitcase.  She is a KC local artist that has a large wall display in the store.  She is by far my favorite, and I am the happy owner of a number of her pieces.
I have birds, an acorn (top shelf), and coin medallions that I've hung on the treasure wall in my studio.

My friend that lives in KC gifted me these trees for Christmas last year. They hang above my studio window.

These tiles hang by the light switch in my studio, and I picked up another tile to add to this duo on my recent visit.   

My studio is a haven for Meya's work.  Here is what STUFF has to say about her process.
"Much like painting, each piece is as if the clay is her canvas and the glaze is the paint.  Most surfaces of Amy's work are carved or stamped, and many pieces are designed so that they will tessellate, a fancy word for tiling with no gaps.  She works in grogged white clay that is fired to a maximum temperature of 2068 degrees Fahrenheit.  Her process is hands-on and very organic, and this can be felt in the final compositions."

Shop for Amy's ceramics on the on-line STUFF shop.


For the month of February I am working on raising scholarship money to send kids from low income families to an outdoor school. Will you help me?  Click here to read my story and to donate to this worthy cause.

20 February 2012

Road Trip: Kansas City, MO

Kansas City is a regular stomping ground for us, and I find something new every time I go.  It's a great city to visit. Here are a few highlights from my trip.  


For the month of February I am working on raising scholarship money to send kids from low income families to an outdoor school.  Will you help me?  Click here to read my story and to donate to this worthy cause.

17 February 2012

What Books Would You Choose?

Reading has been on my mind lately.  There seems to be an abundance of reading material and a shortage of time.  What if all the books were about to disappear and you were only allowed to keep a few of your favorites.  What would you choose to read time and again? 

I chose the list above based on what value they hold.  They weren't chosen because of their story, but what they teach me about human nature, relationships, and the expansiveness of cultures.  I think you can learn a lot about someone based on what their library shelves hold.  This list is very revealing. 

What would you choose?

14 February 2012

Recycled Valentine Box

After writing the post yesterday I couldn't stop thinking about those valentine boxes from my school days. I decided to make a box to house all my valentines.  
I reused a box from something that came in the mail and wrapped it in craft paper.  I edged it with pretty washi tape, used two old sweater buttons, bakers twine from a Christmas gift, and a mailing label I picked up at an estate sale.  I embellished it with a few stamps and scrap paper and now I have a valentine box that I can later use to wrap a gift.  

Happy Valentine's Day

13 February 2012

Vintage Valentines

One of my favorite holidays in grade school was Valentine's Day.  We always had a class party and exchanged valentines.  Each student made their own mail box to receive their goodies.  I wish I could get my hands on a few of my old boxes.  A lot of thought and love went into them.
I still find it fun to give valentines, and recycled valentines are some of the best.  They are colorful, charming, and very unique.  These are a few of my favorites. 
With such sweet sentiments you are bound to make your intended valentine sweet on you. 

Once again it is the season
So a valentine I'll send, 
And I'll whisper you the reason, 
I love you, my little friend.