Sunday, December 19, 2010


Yesterday we went to the Nutcracker with the Milwaukee Ballet.  I absolutely loved it.  I felt like I was in a dream.  The costumes, the set, the ballerinas and the amazing music.  I kept wanting to close my eyes and get lost in the music, but then I realized I'd miss the show.  We were third row, right behind the orchestra, the best seats I've ever had.  It was my second time there, but our daughter's first.  I was so excited to take her because she's been dancing since she was four.  Well....she liked it but didn't love it she said.  I was a bit disappointed to hear that for sure, but I still think it was a special holiday experience to share with her.  We'll see if next year she has any interest, but I won't push it.  But I sure did love it myself.  I guess the little girl in me who wanted to be a ballerina or an ice skater is still drawn to this.

Photo:  Milwaukee Ballet website

Monday, December 13, 2010

Good Book - The Neighbors are Watching

I just finished The Neighbors are Watching by Debra Ginsberg and, whew, was it interesting.  It is the story of a suburban neighborhood that gets turned upside down after a pregnant seventeen year old moves in with the dad she never knew and his wife who can't handle this surprise.  The chapters jump from household to household and each of them has quite a few skeletons in their closets which really make for some shocking revelations.  Eventually the book turns into a murder mystery and so much is revealed.  It was definitely worth the read, especially if you enjoy drama, mystery and reading about people's little hidden secrets.
Book cover image released by Crown Publishers of

Giving Thanks

After Thanksgiving ended, we started a gratitude jar in preparation for the Christmas holiday.  My daughter who is nine sometimes forgets how lucky we are when she compares our lives to friends' at school.  So, I put out one of my canning jars that I use as a vase for flowers in the summer and tied a green ribbon around it and placed it on our breakfast bar.  I cut some of her green and red construction paper into strips that are sitting on the counter right by the jar.  We then started individually writing down things we're thankful for and the three of us will read them on Christmas morning after we open our presents from Santa and each other.  I hope that this becomes a tradtion for us and that we all realize how blessed we are even though things aren't perfect in our family. 

I've put big things on my slips of paper but little things as well--those little things are what make up the sweet moments of our lives.  One of the things I put that I am thankful for is "watching Isabella playing outside in the snow for the first time this year."  Even though she was all alone out there, she looked thrilled to be enjoying our first snowfall of the season.  My heart felt so full just watching her explore and play.  I'm looking forward to all three of us reading the slips of paper on Christmas morning. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

New Painting and One Sold

I just posted a new painting on etsy.  It's an inspirational canvas that says "You are Loved."  At my recent art shows people really seemed to be drawn to paintings with sayings on them, so I've been doing more since I love quotes too.   I also sold a painting called "Kaleidoscope" this weekend.  That one was a vase of  deep, textured roses. 

 It really is exciting to get that e-mail from etsy confirming a sale! 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

New Painting - Let it Snow

Here's another small holiday/winter painting called "Let it Snow" of some whimsical, glittery snowflakes.  I'm really looking forward to our first snowfall of the year.  Hopefully it will be a white Christmas.  I know, we've still got time till that day comes, but the holidays seem much cozier with a good amount of snow on the ground.  Houses with their outside lights look so much sweeter with snow too.  Let it snow!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

New Painting

Follow your Heart - Original Painting 8x10 Canvas

I just posted my new painting,
"Follow Your Heart" on etsy.  I've been doing a lot smaller paintings than usual and I've been trying to incorporate more words and/or inspiratinal sayings in my work.

Brave Girls

I found this new website called the Brave Girls Club that's quite inspiring and I like this artsy quote one of the bloggers Melody created.  These ladies are positive and have lots of great ideas, so check out their site for some inspiration. 

My mantra with birds

Christmas is Coming

Well Thanksgiving has come and gone and brought with it the stomach flu in our house.  Usually we start our decorating but we're not feeling quite up to it yet physically.  However, as soon as we come alive again, the house will start to be transformed with lots of candles and sparkle.  I love this cozy room and its wooden beams.  Though I love lots of sparkle for Christmas I also love rustic and cozy rooms as well like this one from HGTV.Leanne-Micheal-Interiors-Christmas-tree-colorful-2

Monday, November 22, 2010

New Painting - All is Calm

I just finished this new painting titled "All is Calm" of a deer standing peacfully among falling snowflakes.  The title was inspired by the song Silent Night which gives me a sense of calm and I envision a cloudless snowy night.  Though I'm not a fan of snow overall, I'm looking forward to those first snowfalls and going outside and enjoying those nights that actually do seem silent.

What Gives you Joy?

Patti Digh of Life is a Verb says that, " is about doing small things that give you life, bring you joy, help you inhabit the stories of your days--and by extension, help change the world and the others around you...To fully live, you must be present in the biggest way possible."  That's a lot to ponder for sure.  I really do agree that small things really can bring joy if you stop to notice them and breathe them in.  These little things are the ones that make up our real lives, the ones that can make your heart swell.  The giggle from your baby, a vase of fat white lilacs in May, hearing your daughter read aloud to you at bedtime.  What are the small things that truly bring you joy?  That stop you in your tracks and make you feel so damn lucky sometimes?   

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Thanksgiving is less than a week away and we're getting pretty excited for the holiday season.  This year we are cooking for my immediate family which will total about eight people plus one little newborn nephew.  Ever since I was little I couldn't wait to wake up and watch the Macy's parade and I still look forward to it though it's not as relaxing to watch when you're prepping for a big meal.  There's just something about the parade that thrills me (still).  I love the high school bands, the colorful floats, the Rockettes and even Santa at the end.  Maybe it still makes me feel like an excited little girl.   When that parade ends all I can think about is Christmas.  It's such a cozy time of year and I'm already in the spirit and can't wait to decorate the house!  I love all the beautiful rooms people share on their blogs that give such decorating inspiration.  Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving!  I wonder what things other people are thankful for right now. 

A few of mine:  my sweet and funny daughter Isabella, our adorable puppy Mazie, the sun shining in the front window right now, having a great friend and her daughters coming over while the guys are out of town hunting.  I'm sure I'll be adding more as the holidays approach.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Gratitude Bag

We started something last night called Our Bag of Thank Yous.  We decorated a plain brown lunch bag and hung it on our pantry to put strips of paper inside it with random things we are thankful for.  Our plan is to read each of them on Thanksgiving.  Originally I wanted to keep a jar of thank yous during the whole year to remind ourselves to write things down throughout the whole year, not just holiday time, but my good intention fell by the wayside.  Instead the holidays are approaching and I've been reminded of my idea.  Better late than never.  It's fun to read them a month from now and see what we all put.  Usually my husband is quite the comedian and doesn't take it too seriously, but I still thinks it's a good family tradition to start.

White Decorating

Calm cooking

My last post was about white Christmas trees and now I found this picture of a mostly white kitchen during Christmastime in Midwest Living Magazine.  Again, I love it.  Don't know why, but I have a soft spot for white cabinets and white Christmas trees that look like they are covered in snow (not the cabinets).  I think I might actually enjoy cooking in this kitchen.

Monday, November 8, 2010

I Got the Holiday Bug

I'm getting excited for Christmas and seeing decorations all over already!  I'll admit it is a bit early though.   I look forward to pulling out my containers of decorations and making the house sparkly and cozy.  This white tree sparked my eye today from the House of Turquoise blog.  I'd love one tree with sentimental and personal ornaments and one just beautifully decorated and "matchy."  I love love love it. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

New Painting - Purple Dawn

Here is a whimsical new painting I just finished.   This was fun to create because I really just played with colors and stamps and didn't try too hard to get it to look a certain way.  Hopefully the coloring is accurate.  I've been trying to work on taking better pictures of my artwork.  I'm going to try to scan it tomorrow at work and see if that helps at all.

Good Book - Every Last One

I've been reading the book Every Last One by Anna Quindlen for a few days now.  I thought it was pretty good, kept my attention, but no major suspense.  Family with three kids, one son a bit depressed, one son a big jock, the daughter a funky writer about to go to college.  Daughter breaks up with long-time boyfriend and he gets really upset.  Well, just in today's reading so MUCH has changed.  I truly feel like I got the wind knocked out of me with something that happened.  Obviously I don't want to give it away, but wow, the grief in this story now.  I almost feel numb like one of the characters does.  My husband says, "why don't you stop reading it then?"  I told him I guess I like books that make me feel.  Is that normal?  I have a friend who just won't read books that upsetting.  Is there something wrong with me?  I guess when they make me really feel, almost physically, they are memorable and they are more meaningful.  They are worth my time.  Maybe they help me become more compassionate to get a slight peek into someone elses world, someone that could be me.  Have feelings for the grief others do go through, even though this book is only fiction.  I just had to write an entry because it really took my breath away today.  I'm not done yet, but I'll say I know it will leave me with quite an impression.


Yeah!  I just won $200 on a local radio station just by signing up and calling in when I heard my name!  Perfect for Christmas coming up.  I really don't think I've really even won much in my life that I can recall, so this is really exciting.  I guess I can say I'm having a lucky spell right now.  If I keep thinking that way, perhaps more luck will come my way!  I're read so much about positive thinking and putting thoughts out into the universe about what I really want to happen.  There are times when I have done some "visualization" and thought, "this is going to happen" and something good actually did in regards to my art.  I just need to keep this luck and positive thoughts in my mindset.  I wonder how many others think this way and do good things happen?? 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Wonderful Life

French novelist Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette said, "What a wonderful life I've had!  I only wish I'd realized it sooner."  Pretty powerful.  Things don't always seem wonderful or spectacular but maybe they really are or maybe they don't have to be.  Maybe just the ordinary moments are wonderful.  Maybe if we look at them differently we'll enjoy our one and only life more.  Perhaps I can look at my messy kitchen and just love it because it's mine and dinners and memories are made there.  Things don't have to be shiny and perfect to be wonderful, right? 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

New Painting - Our First Snowfall

I love snowmen, have for years.  I even have quite a collection that I can't wait to put out in December.  Don't know why, but maybe it's the simplicity and the whiteness--I know not very specific, but there's just something about them.  I just finished this new painting titled "Our First Snowfall" and it's just a cute little 8x8 canvas to bring some whimsy into someone's home during the winter/holiday season.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Good Book

I just finished the book Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin.  Near the end I couldn't put it down.  It had some mystery, suspense, murder and some big surprises throughout.  It took place in Mississippi and it was a story of an unlikely friendship in the south in the early 1970s between a white boy with a cruel father and a very poor black boy with no father.  The white boy was accused of kidnappinig and murdering a girl after a date with her but her body was never found so he was never convicted; however, he was an outcast in his small town his whole life afterwards.  Years later another girl went missing and he was blamed again.  Some shocking truths slowly come out and it turns into a page turner for sure. 

New Painting - Joy to the World

I've already got the holiday bug.  Once it gets colder, I look forward to Christmas and its cozy season.  I just added this new painting on etsy called Joy to the World.  I love the first snowfall of the year especially at night when the sky is clear and all is quiet. 


Even though I'm not a fan of cold weather, I do enjoy this time of year when you can snuggle up on the couch under a blanket, reading a book or watching a movie.  Life seems to slow down more when the temperature drops.  I want to stay home more and just hang out.  I don't feel like I have to run run run.  I found this picture and it just says ahhhh to me.  I'd love to be in that room reading a really good book on that cushy white couch, at night the fireplace lit up.  Ahhhh.

(image:  Cote de Texas via Pure Style Home) 

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Are you Having Fun Yet?

I like this quote: "If you're not having fun, you're doing it wrong" by George DiCarlo. Are people really enjoying their lives? Truly? Or are they just getting by, day after day doing what they HAVE to do to make their lives work? If you stop and think about that quote, do you think maybe you would live your life differently? Would you make more memories? Would you try to make the tasks you have to do more fun in some creative way? Maybe make a contest out of house cleaning with your kids; have a dance party in your living room one night a week; have more fun because life really is short.  What would you do to have more fun?  Or are you already there? 


My last post was mainly about being discouraged and I found this quote on one of the blogs I check every day and maybe it will help me put things into perspective a bit more when I feel like giving up.  I need to motivate myself.  For myself.  No one else.  I don't mean that to sound snotty in any way, I'm just saying I have to take charge of my feelings and my motivation and not worry about others approval so much.   Right? 

From Bits of Truth blog.


I'm feeling a bit discouraged with my art/painting lately.  I don't want to go into much detail because it's probably just one of those poor me moods that I know will change if I help it.  I think I want something so badly I sometimes lose sight of the reason I do it.  Patti Digh gives a good reminder to "Stop trying so hard...Just do to do."  I love painting and sometimes I forget that I need to paint just to paint, not worry if someone will buy them.  The reward is just creating.  She also says to "Detach from outcome."  Hmmm...this completely relates to my last thought.  The outcome can't always be others approval, hence others purchasing my work.  My focus sometimes goes a bit off track and then I feel like giving up when I know I shouldn't and I won't.  I guess I'm just having a pity party inside my head right now. 

I'm going to get some fresh canvases today and paint just to paint.  I'm also going to look back at her book, Creative is a Verb and look at the highlighted words that really spoke to me.  Hopefully it will help me remember why I love to create

Happy Halloween

We had trick or treat last night--ours is always on a Saturday night which is kind of neat because it makes things seem creepier with pumpkins lit, haunted decorations and "Jason" music playing, etc.  Ours was always during the day when I was a kid and I just remember cold and gloomy weather.  Nighttime is cool especially if neighbors go all out decorating.  Here's a picture of Shane and Bella in their costumes.  It was the first year he was home from hunting in a long time, so he took her out.  He did make a few little kids cry though!  Our dog Mazie watched them walk away and wanted to go with them so badly. 

Friday, October 29, 2010

Voting and Education

First I have to say, I am not a political person.  AT ALL.  I don't even watch the news (well hardly).  I'll admit I don't often know what the candidates are "pushing" for (I'm a bit embarrassed, but the news is so depressing, so that's my excuse).  Anyway, education should be one of the first and foremost issues of concern to EVERYONE, even those who have grown children or no children!  These children are your neighbors, your future caregivers.  If they don't get the education they need with good teachers and classrooms that aren't overcrowded, they will affect YOU.  Period.  If they don't know how to read (that's another issue as well--PARENTS--read to your kids A LOT), do you think they're going to be wise citizens?  I'll try to stick to the issue at hand, even though I so want to go off on a reading tangent.  If kids don't have a good education with the right attention they need in the classroom, how is their behavior going to be outside of school?  If their parents don't care about the state of education, what kind of influence do they have on their kids outside of school?  Possibly a negative one.  Well probably, not just possibly.  If teachers are just seen as babysitters who have SO much time off during the summer, our nation is very mistaken.  They need resources to help this nation that seems to be disintegrating.  The American family is in a crisis--really how many parents (and I'm speaking from being a former teacher) truly are involved in their kids lives relating to their learning.  I don't talk about voting often, hardly ever really, but education is so important.  I really don't want a bunch of illilterate, misbehaved, non-consequence kids taking care of me when I'm older.  When you decide to vote, think of how important education is, really.  Things have changed in the past few years in education, for the worst because of budget cuts in schools, and I'm not talking about teacher salaries, I'm talking class size, etc.  What happens in our schools, affects us ALL.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cleaning House

I wish I was one of those people who was a crazy obsessive cleaner.  But I'm not.  I do want to, really.  But probably not enough, because if I did, I probably would just do it.  But since I only clean my house when I really need to, I must not want it bad enough.  I really often wonder how organized and clean other people's houses really are.  Do they have paper piles they just can't organize?  Are there crumbs on the kitchen floor?  Spider webs in the corners?  I want to know what "normal" people do--how often they clean.  I try to justify it to myself with different arguments.  This quote makes me feel a bit better when I think about my lack of scrubbing motivation.  "At worst, a house unkept cannot be so distressing as a life unlived," by Rose Macaulay.  I tried telling this to my husband once, but I don't think he bought it.  But really, think about it.  Doesn't a house with "stuff" around show a life lived, activities going on, you know, orange construction paper for pumpkins made with a nine-year-old, books that you loved reading.  They are all the stuff of everyday living that doesn't always get put away in perfect little boxes away from sight.  Cleanliness is next to godliness is what they say, but is it fun?  Is it a life full of memories?   Well, from now on, I'll do what I can, but try not to sweat it so much. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

New Painting - Be True

My newest painting states "Be True to Yourself" which is inspired by my search for happiness and following my dream of painting and being an artist.  It is for sale on  I might just hang it in my daughter's room if it doesn't sell--it's an important message in my mind--I don't want her to be 30 years old and realize she hid her true passions, dreams and goals.  I wish it didn't take me so long to follow my heart!  Well, better late than never!

The Little Things

I found this quote in Patti Digh's book Creative is a Verb and it really is a great reminder to enjoy what we have and not expect all moments to be momentous ones.  "Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize that they were the big things," by Robert Brault.  An eye opener for sure especially something we should pass on to our children, you know when they're bored or only are happy when huge things are happening.  Some of the little things that I am so thankful for and KNOW that they are the big things in my life:  reading a picture book with my nine-year-old daughter, singing screaming really loudly to Lady Gaga in the car with my husband and daughter, baking moon dust cookies together even though I pretty much hate baking, touching her soft cheeks as she sleeps at night. 

I wonder if more people saw the "little" things this way, would they be happier, more content with their everyday lives, more in the moment?  I'm not an expert but I think so.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Try Try Again!

Well, I'm going to try this again.  I started my first blog a few weeks ago and felt pretty good about it since I'm not much of a tech queen AT ALL.  Well, I tried tweaking it which didn't turn out so well, so I am creating a brand new blog.  I'm sure it's something simple but I just can't figure it out, so here's the new try! 
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