Wednesday, December 26, 2012

winding down

hi friends - i hope that you had a wonderful christmas. mine was so nice, spent most of 2 days with the fam in brookings. lots of sitting and chatting. lots of eating. lots of dreaming. i can tell i got my love for home improvements from my mom, she likes to imagine new spaces, too. we have plans to rework a couple of HER rooms in the new year. something to look forward to.

as for me, i'll be in the basement for the next few days, painting and singing and dreaming. i love love love this week off. so much peace and rest.

thanks to all of you for faithfully visiting the back forty for over 6 years! at times, i've been at a loss for things to blog about, but really, this place is like an old friend. whenever i revisit the past here, i'm reminded that i want to keep it going.

happy day after! hope you are having peace and rest, wherever you may be today.

Friday, December 21, 2012

looks like we made it!

schwew. made it to friday. this week was so nice, i almost am sad it is friday already! people do really become softer on the week before christmas, i think. me included. i think it's because we have Jesus on our minds. very excited for the things He is speaking into me lately.

i also have my craft room on my mind. here are some thoughts:

I ordered two of these from amazon last night. now, I'm looking for some bins/baskets to put on some of the shelves....I kind of wanted cabinets with doors, but these are more budget-friendly, and will work.

I also want to get some kind of curved track light (ahem, Anne). It's a dimly lit space, and I have lots of lamps, but I think this would help.

I've been thinking about wallpaper. but it might be an orange accent wall instead.

You may remember this table from mabel's kitchen. i still have her, and she will become my sewing table.

this is completely 100% fantasy. sigh. but in my dreams i would have this.

Also fantasy. probably a little more realistic to find something like this, however.

so there you have it. all i want for christmas, and more! it feels so good to be making fern better. i think she will like this next step :)

happy friday!

Thursday, December 20, 2012


sigh. thursday....always one of my favorite days. this time around, the end is in sight. i have a couple of client things to take care of today/tomorrow, but nothing pressing. just like the past couple of years, i plan to take the next week off, coming back to work on january 2nd.

i see myself leisurely enjoying the week, but don't want to ipad/nap/pinterest it away. so yesterday, i started looking around the internet, and decided it was time to create a craft room in my basement.

my basement looks bad.

i guess that is part of the thrill of it. I won't be able to do much with the linoleum flooring, but otherwise I should be able to clean up/clear out and make room for some bookcases of some kind of hold all of my craft items, and a place to put my sewing maching. also need some better lighting.

i'm not sure how fun it will be to craft in the basement. i'm not really a basement fan, i love light too much. but in all of my years, i have NEVER had an organized space dedicated to crafting. thus, i have stuff that is completely MIA whenever i need it. it would be so nice to be organized.

i've learned that organization is a great peace-maker. the more that you know where things are, the more you can release them and not think about them anymore, until you need to. i know there are people who take this too far, and are obsessed with organization, but there is little danger that i will ever be one of those people.

i'm just happy to have a fun task in front of me for my days 'off' :)

happy thursday y'all!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


it's like the world has changed so dramatically since the last post. on friday morning, i was playfully thinking about cookies and baking, and by friday afternoon, a rock moved into my heart and i was in mourning, along with what seems like the whole country.

i wish you all could have been at church on sunday to hear my pastor talk about living in the face of evil. i have heard this position from him before, but it is so much more powerful in light of REAL hurt and REAL evil.

i have not commented much amongst the myriad of viewpoints that have been around about the shootings. but a couple of things DID strike my heart almost immediately.

maybe we cannot control guns totally. maybe we cannot change the downward spiral of our country because of sin. maybe we cannot keep mental illness from being a leper that is mostly ignored or mocked.

but maybe.

maybe there is ONE person in each of our lives that we can encourage, or even just notice. maybe there is life to be breathed into SOME ONE person by our actions, instead of our inaction. maybe. maybe.

who is that one person for you? ask God. ask your God. ask the Lord your God. if he is not your God, ask Him to be. ask Him. ask Him. do not ask God why he did this, because he did not do this. He cannot do this kind of thing. not for our good. not for some good in the long far off away.

what he can do and does is allow each of us the free will to choose good. what we cannot do is choose good and consistently BE good without his power. please ask. please ask.

:) love you guys. hope you are having a good week.

Friday, December 14, 2012

taking its toll

Looks like it's shaping up to be a toll house kind of weekend over here again. Lord, help us all ;)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

in moderation...

we're only 11 days into december, and already i have eaten my month's limit (possibly 2 or 3 months) of sweets.

yikes. even chocolate does not sound good right now.

but that picture above?

yeah. that has me drooling :)

ps. i finally got to bizness and turned OFF comment moderation (which was set to 'sometimes' - but not by me!!)

so go ahead and comment - pretty please ;)

Monday, December 10, 2012

whatcha doing?

hi all! I hope you are having a pleasant monday morning. brrr. just stepped the toes out the door, possibly glad i am not going anywhere for awhile.

but just look! beauty. full.

sun and snow mixed together. a pretty perfect combo....

life is good over here, lots going on. i am happy to say that i've been fairly busy up until now, and have a couple of new projects heading into the new year. once again, my business lives. isn't that seriously crazy? every time i think it's about to be over, somehow things come up. sigh. so glad for that.

i spent some time yesterday making those fleecey tie blanket things. it is actually kind of a fun activity. i'm making them to bless a family i know that is having a hard time financially this season. but i have to tell you, EVERY SINGLE PERSON in the world must also be making them, because the cutting line for fleece at the fabric store was INSANE. who knew? the inventor of fleecey tie blankets should be a millionaire!

:) but i bet she is not. i also bet she is a she...although i saw a couple of men buying fleece, too.

i have spent a ton of time staring at this vignette this season. it's funny how i am so drawn to sparkly things. i have seriously gotten the christmas decorating bug BADLY!

what is great is that i already had most of the stuff i decorated with. i'm just cramming it ALL up there this year, which i haven't done really before. i think i am set until february, when i usually take my christmas decorations down. ha.

i hope you all are having a great season - wishing you a happy, happy week!

Tuesday, December 04, 2012


so, late last summer, lou and I were driving back into town after a thrifting excursion.

we stopped at a thrift store on the edge of town that was having a parking lot sale.

i was kind of on a thrifting high, as i remember. whenever that happens, you pretty much love everything you see.

one of the things we saw was an old, old, broken children's christmas book. it was hardcover, and the front cover was actually separated from the rest of the book.

basically, it was junk.

but the cover was SO SO compelling.

especially to two girls who love christmas, who love vintage, and who love beautiful design.

i think we bought it for 50 cents. or less. not even a dollar, i know that.

here is the cover:

there are so many things that make it special. the coloring is soft and so well done. go ahead, zoom in to look! lou really likes how the reindeer go from full color to silhouette - genius idea! i like that santa is jolly and friendly and sweet. we both love the graphic design elements, especially the 'complete with whirly twirly toy - ready to assemble' notation!

lou was able to scan the cover, touch it up a bit, and output a copy for each of us to hang on our walls. i love mine soooooooooooo much.

today, when i realized i wanted to post about it, i googled it just to see if i could find anthing, and here is what i found:

A search for "the night before Christmas" on, brings up 3,500 matches. Artists' interpretations come in board books and coloring books, pop ups and heirlooms. The most expensive is a 1952 hardcover version "complete with a whirly twirly toy ready to assemble" for $850. Most affordable are a handful of paperbacks that can be had for a penny.

even though i did not see a photo of the description above, pretty sure THAT is our beautiful old book, now preserved for two silly art girls to enjoy every single christmas season.

sigh. and THAT makes me very very happy :)

happy Tuesday!

Monday, December 03, 2012


my party was fun :)

now on to the business of the 'rest' of the season. which also involves parties, albeit OTHER peoples!

happy holiday week!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

it's soiree time!

so tomorrow is my little gathering at my house.

i'm proud of myself for FINALLY coming out of hermitville a little bit.

and at the same time, terrified :)


mostly, i am trying to focus on how much i love all the people i invited. that is all that really counts, right?

:) happy day!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

happy sunday - lots going on over here in the 'let's decorate' department. it's officially time to start the best season (except for planting season, growing season, and harvesting season)! ha.

i am grateful for this time around, my 50th christmas to celebrate. i have everything i could ever want, it seems, and much more than i deserve...

i hope you all had a great holiday! take time to slow down and soak in the peace and love and joy during these next few weeks....much love to you all!

Friday, November 16, 2012

where in the world did she go?

i feel like i owe you guys this post.

and no, not because i am feeling guilty, but because i remember the days when i used to WANT to post almost every day.

unfortunately, life has taken a dramatic turn over here.

no, i have not fallen and cannot get up.

i have become one of THOSE people. a digital designer. like, somebody who designs stuff for facebook, and email, and dratted 'social' media. in OTHER words, spam. i've become a spammer.

i did not go into this willingly.

i fought it for as long as i could. but truth be told, if i don't switch over, in a couple of years i will not have employment. which may or may not be a detriment.

so, i am online most days, reading tutorials and making practice emails that i test 477 times before i send out. and then have the client call to say i made a typo.

it leaves precious little time for blogging, folks, and that is sad.

i also am making invitations to my party via email and facebook.

just for fun, i will put it here. you know, in case you don't do that other newfangled stuff :)

next week, i will try to come back at least ONCE!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

and then it was over.

whew. yesterday was quite the day, eh?

i wish i could say i was happy about all the love and kumbayah, but BOY am i ever glad the election is over.

for the record, i did not have a favorite candidate in the presidential race. politics make me cry...

however, as one friend posted on facebook 'i feel safer this morning' - the VERY first thought that came into my head was 'yeah, it's that whole chariots and horses thing' - my mercy church family will totally understand that thought. the rest of you will probably think i am nuts :)


it was a good day.

the sun was out.

i had 3 meetings with my bff and we got some new projects.

i baked banana bread with applesauce replacing some of the oil, and it is yummy.

i had communion at church.

i went to bed early and got up early - FINALLY back on track because of daylight savings time...

and today is wednesday! wednesdays make me smile ;)

Monday, November 05, 2012

that extra hour

happy Monday!

i'm here at a 'normal' time now, it seems the extra hour we gained has helped me to not sleep in soooooooooo late in the morning. yay.

i am in awe of how much i do NOT plan things. or, shall we say, how much i dislike planning things. sometimes, it seems like my whole life just slips through my fingers, because i do not have a plan.

gold and green pine trees, and pink pagodas. the stuff dreams are made of.

my lack of plans often become meandering house projects. this weekend, it started when i found a wonderful pair of vintage barkcloth curtains at an estate sale on friday. they seriously delighted me, and even though they were a bit spendy for my normal garage sale budget, i thought they would make great pillows....and i'm sure they would have.

unfortunately, after peering at them endlessly, i also got the notion that they would make great CURTAINS, which my poor living room does not posess.

so, after several shopping trips to get the correct rods, i ended up with this:

finally, curtains. i'm sure the neighbors are thrilled.

which i loved. they were very hard to photograph, esp. since the weekend was mostly grey and dreary. but you get the idea, right? the thing that i did not really think thru was that black curtains with pink pagodas on them MIGHT change the landscape around them. a. lot.

so, off i went to paint my accent wall....again.

white and black walls - who knew?!

i know. a black wall. telling people you painted your wall black is akin to telling them you decided to amputate your foot, just for fun. i can only say this: you have to be here. it really does bring a visual balance to the room.

last christmas. grey and sort-of-grey walls. not my favorite.

i'm going to write a book and call it 'the stuff-filled room.'

i sometimes forget all the progressions a room goes thru in my home. so i looked back and found the above shot from last christmas. i actually really love that shot, mostly because of the mantle, i think.

since then, i have changed a few things in my meandering style: chair, rug, another chair, wall color and dresser color (foreground left).

hmmmmm. wait for it.

those eyes!! they captivate me.
not quite finished... i have also decided that the NEW old chair is not quite right. so, this week i will be recovering chair cushions and making a pillow. my chair cushion tester thinks this is a fine idea.

long story short, i did not exactly have a budget-friendly weekend. however, i PLAN to get back on the horse this week, with NO plans to change anything, at least until decorating for christmas begins. which is at LEAST 3 weeks off.

doh. i suck ;)

Friday, November 02, 2012

good golly.

it's been called to my attention that i use the following euphemisms a lot. i'm not exactly sure where Jesus stands on this matter, but at any rate, i'm trying to cut down.

i hereby give you permission to dock me a quarter if you hear me say:

good golly!

good grief!

holy cow!

holy hotdogs!


fer cryin' out loud!

good gravy!

wow. i'm kind of into euphemisms, aren't i?

holy cats - am i ever ready for a weekend.

good grief. i have not posted for 10 days, and this is all i can come up with?


happy friday.

* please add to list.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

something old, something new

okay, let's talk about candles. every october, i get obsessed with them. although lots of people have allergies or sensitivity to the smells in candles, so i only burn them when i am here alone. which is almost all of the time. doh.

anyway, i decided to recycle some of my old burned up candles a couple weekends ago. it's SO easy, so i thought i would share. for the record, the candles i used were several years old from pier one...they now retail from $9 to $11 each. the prob with them (and a lot of candles) is that the middles burn down, leaving a weird shell of unused wax.

 which became the basis for my new creations. these guys were pretty much 'shelled.' ha.

 the next thing you need is a new wick - you can get em at hobby lobby, but i ordered these from the internet a few years ago - they are short, coated wicks, which last a little longer than the uncoated kind. candle wicks have a small metal base on them, which you can attach to the bottom of your candle mold (or container).

 this is a thrifted pottery bowl, maybe 5" in diameter and 4" tall. i decided to add three wicks to the bowl, so that it might burn down a little more evenly. there are lots of ways to attach the wicks, i actually used a teeny tiny bit of window putty! but you can also use a chopstick and tape, which you run along the top of the container and lean the wicks up against. it's not too hard to do, trust me. just be careful to get the wicks to stand up as straight as possible.

 the next thing you need is a 'double boiler' - or a way to melt the old candles. i have a small metal pan with a handle that was actually from a craft kit in the 70s, but any small saucepan would do. i do like that it has a 'pour' spout, which makes things not so messy.

put the pan in a larger fry pan half full of water on the stove. the larger pan of water will keep your wax from scorching. heat on low to medium to get it going. wha-la. before long, the old candles are melted and good - you can fish the old wick out with a chopstick at this point.

 be careful when you pour. hot wax is VERY hot. i would not suggest having small children or pets around at this point.

 depending on the size of your container, the wax will start to set up pretty quickly, this photo was taken after about an hour. one thing - most candle makers do a '2 pour' deal - the first layer sometimes settles and makes an uneven surface around the wick. in this case, since i plan to burn the candles right away, i did not care.

i could have done the first pour kind of lower in the container, then added a 2nd pour over the top once the first layer was set. you might want to do this if you are picky, or if you want to give them away as gifts.

and there you go! less than a half hour of work, start to finish, and a whole new candle instead of throwing something away.

recycling is actually kind of rewarding, isn't it?

Monday, October 22, 2012

the dreaded 'b' word

hey everybody,

happy Monday - my devo for today said to 'look for joy in hidden things' - perfect for a monday, don't you think?

i thought i'd give you an update on my 'budget analysis' that i decided to do at the beginning of the month.

i have not been crazy weird about it, but here's what i did. i gave myself a budget to work with for a whole month, not including all of my bills - but just the flex purchases, things like food, gasoline and other items.

i thought i was doing GREAT! i have unsubscribed from a whole bunch of daily emails from places that i temptation. i have not really 'shopped' for anything. i have only gone to the thrift store ONCE. whew.

ummmm...except for one thing. i have all but blown the 'budget' dollars by today, the 22nd of october. with 10 days remaining in the month.

whaaaaaaaa? seriously?

budgeting is not as easy as i thought it would be! i have to admit, i've not really felt restricted, mostly because i have lots of stuff to do/make around here that i did not have to purchase.

admittedly, a lot of my entertainment has been food-related.

I canned the last of the tomatoes....4 more quarts of homegrown goodness.

I started back up with making my homemade yogurt.

I tried a new granola recipe.

i also froze seveal kinds of soup, and roasted a chicken. no, i did not starve :)

i dug down deep and found more stuff to paint. because i will never, ever be caught up with painting around this place!

the dresser went pink, and went to the basement.

the basement became my new 'bunker' home, and my upstairs bedroom became a guestroom.

the living and dining room became a different 'color.' again.

 and then there were the crafts. i have crafts in every nook and cranny, many of them unfinished.

i made candles from candles - blog post to come this week.

and you all have seen the quilt...which i have not gotten very far on...but farther than this!

all in all, it's been a very fun month. i am going to try and finish well, and go the last 10 days without blowing the budget i will probably require a little bit of sacrifice, but i think i can do it.

i think the funniest part of the whole month was the mail i received on saturday. i prefer to think of it as the yin-yang of my finances :) sigh. i have a feeling this battle is going to continue.

have a good day!