Category Archives: create

Happy New Year…..and farewell to the holidays of 2013!

photo-21Well….I’m a bit relieved that it’s over and I’m ready to begin the new year.

I thought I would appreciate being home this Christmas after traveling to Colorado for a ski vacation last year during the holidays.  I was wrong.  I missed the mountains.  Don’t get me wrong — I loved decorating our tree and waking up in our house to open gifts on Christmas morning but I have to say, getting away from all the madness and holiday stresses (relatives) is a good thing! I really missed waking up each morning to the sound of ski boots crunching on the ground as people headed to the lifts.  Sigh….

I do love the fresh feeling of a new year beginning…an imaginary clean slate on which we write our good intentions.  I kinda like that. I know it’s hard to believe but I really do try to improve myself!   This year I’m doing two projects that are year-long and will require me to “attend” – to pay attention and be present, even if being present means I’m on my computer in the comfort of my own home, participating.  I have ALWAYS loved to read.  As a child, nothing excited me more than my dad announcing that we were making the 40-mile trip to the nearest bookstore, Readmore Books.  I realize now how small it was but when I walked in the door I was transported to a whole new world.  It’s odd that I’ve never taken part in a book club but I have not & this morning, the girls on one of my favorite blogs, A Beautiful Mess, announced an online book club.  The first selection is The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer.  I already had the book so that’s one reason I jumped right in.  I mentioned that I was taking part in this on Facebook and before I knew it several friends were searching for copies and committing to the book club as well.  I suggested we get together at a restaurant and discuss the monthly selections & that was well-received.  This takes the stress of having to host the club & clean and cook & find a place for your kids to go on the evening we meet, completely away.  I AM toying with the idea of hosting a final holiday get-together and using that as an impetus to actually complete the home improvement projects that I have on our agenda this year.  Sometimes I have to have things to hold me accountable, don’t you?

Jumping into something like the book club is very, very out of character for me, which brings me to the second project I am taking part in. I LOVE  Ali Edwards.  For a few years, I worked in the scrapbook industry and although I never met her, she quickly became one of my favorite designers and I love & admire the brilliance with which she built her brand.  She blogs about, well, LIFE.  And she makes you realize that documenting your life while you are here is not only a responsibility but a fun thing to do and with Ali at the helm, it can become a way of life if you follow her principles.  Obviously I find her very inspiring!  Every year since 2007, she has done a “One Little Word” online workshop.  You can read more about it by clicking the link but you just choose one word and in, Ali’s words, “You live with it. You invite it into your life. You let it speak to you. You might even follow where it leads. There are so many possibilities.”  Ali gives you monthly video and PDF prompts and at the end of the year you should have a journal that has helped you gain insight into how this word can work for you and change you for the better.  My word for 2014 is “TRY”.  In so many areas of my life, I could try harder – that’s one way I need to have this word in my life!  I’m also hesitant to try new things.  New foods, new hobbies, new ways to promote my business, new styles of photography, new ways of dealing with kid issues, etc.  I’m reluctant to TRY.  So that’s sorta what my journey is going to be about this year.  Not being lazy or reluctant and giving things my all.  I think it’s going to be so much fun & perhaps a little enlightening.

As far as resolutions, I prefer to do a bucket list for the year.  I’m still working on it.  I’ll share it as soon as I finish.

Many of my friends have started this new year by saying final goodbyes to the people they love the most, so as 2014 begins, I wish you good luck, much faith and happiness & someone to lean on when things get tough.

xoxoxo

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Ten Instagram Feeds That Make Me Happy!

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Are you on Instagram?  It serves as a mini-scrapbook of my life.  And my phone is always with me so it’s easy to capture the little things in life.  The picture above is the first photo I ever took using my Instagram app.  It’s a still life of my dresser at the time.  I love it because it says a lot about me.  My style is revealed in the sunglasses and jewelry box.  It shows that I love the color green and the scent of a good candle.  I also made the framed linen piece in the background to hang my jewelry on, so it reminds me that I am creative when I want to be.  I just love this picture.  You will find an entire community of creative people on Instagram from all parts of the world.  Here are ten of my favorites to follow!

1)  Christie Brinkley (username:  christiebrinkley) - I know. I know.  She’s a former supermodel.  Someone recommended her feed and I was skeptical too.  But she’s a darn good Instagram photographer.  Her shots of NYC are STUNNING.  She travels (most recently to Africa to take up the cause of saving elephants from harm and exploitation) and takes photos that are truly captivating.  She includes her personal life in her feed too.  And she draws some wonderful designs in her morning coffee.   I haven’t regretted following her at all.  She’ll fill your feed with beautiful things.

2)  Aerin Lauder (username: aerin):  If I could vote Aerin most beautiful Instagram feed, I would.  She’s near the top of my list of style icons.  The granddaughter of the late cosmetics tycoon, Esteé Lauder and daughter of Ronald Lauder, Aerin recently launched her own line of cosmetics and furniture & accessories for the home.  She is also the subject of a gorgeous coffee table book that should be arriving on my doorstep any moment!  Her posts tend to be beautiful still life images shot around her home & office.  Always exquisitely styled and timeless.

3)  The Recapturist (username:  recapturist) -  “Photography, preservation and micro-history of vintage America”.  That what his feed consists of.  Gorgeous photos of hotel and restaurant signage from an earlier era.  If you like old stuff, you’ll love this feed.

4)  BeachBungalow8 (username:  beachbungalow8) – She’s a creative girl who loves design, both retro and current.  She blogs at http://www.beachbungalow8.blogspot.com.  I find stuff on here ALL the time that inspires me.  Excellent feed.

5)  Plum Collective (username: plumcollective) –  If you love mid-20th century design, you will love this feed.  All kinds of mid- century furniture, lighting and design on this one.  Check it out.

6)  Kelly GoLightly  (username: kellygolightly) - In her words, it’s a “style guide for the modern-day Audrey Hepburns of the world.”  She’s gorgeous, has great style and reeks of vintage style.  She travels often and posts great pics from places like Palm Springs, Beverly Hills and Marfa, TX.  I swoon over her fashion sense & she knows how to throw a party!

7)  Adored Vintage (username:  adoredvintage)  Like vintage dresses & style?  Look no further.  You must follow Adored Vintage.  Sometimes she posts other things but the focus is vintage dresses.

8)  Liljeberg (username: liljeberg) – A Swedish feed that captivates you with letters and numbers, all photographed beautifully.

9)  Mrs. Lilien (username: mrslilien) –  One of my very favorite feeds!  I could honestly ask myself every day, “What would Mrs. Lilien do?”  I love her.  Her style, her love of old things, her appreciation of a good font; the list goes on.  And on.  She blogs at www.blog.mrslilen.com.

10)  Donald Robertson (username:  donalddrawbertson) –  Doodling, drawing, painting – he does it all.  The creative director for Bobbi Brown Cosmetics has one of my favorite Instagram feeds.  I’m wildly inspired by this guy.  He frequently shares photos of his wife, kids and home but most of his posts are his stunning artwork, often done with gaffer tape or just a few strokes of a magic marker.  He’s unbelievable.  Hard for me to go a day without looking at something he posts!

I hope you found at least two or three new people to follow after reading these.  I hope to make this a regular feature on my blog and I hope you’ll keep checking back to find more new good stuff!

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44 Things………update!

Earlier this year,  I drafted a list of 44 things to do before I turn 44 years of age.  That happens on December 14, 2013.  Just a few short months, really.  I promised an update at some point along the way, primarily as an incentive to make myself accountable.  I think blogging it helped motivate me tremendously.

1. Try 10 new recipes.I’ve been doing a really good job on this one.  Banana pudding, easy lasagna, ebelskivers, hummus, etc.  I’ll be at 10 before I know it.  Then I’ll pick a day and share the recipes.

2. Complete 6 needlework projects.  (Finished one today!) – I’m not sure I’ll make it to six but I finished the one mentioned, have all but the background done on one and have gotten pretty far into another.  I also did a rather small one for Ryder and it just occurred to me that I never gave it to her :)  So yeah, maybe I will get to 6!

3. Be a more engaged parent.  Sometimes I feel like I’m in the room but not tuned in.  I need to improve this.This one is hard for me now that the kids are older.  They don’t want read to, they have no interest in my hobbies and I don’t play video games.  But I’ve been playing a few games and making a concerted effort to listen in a more intent manner when they want to engage in conversation.  I’m easily distractible, which doesn’t help.  But I’m making improvements.

4. Have a professional massage.  Or 2!

5. Volunteer at least 60 hours. – Getting there!

6. Paint 2 things at the Painted Pig.

7. Buy a pair of cowboy boots.

8. Visit my daughter at college! - We just dropped her off last weekend and have plans to attend family weekend in September, so barring something unexpected, I’ll easily manage to meet this goal.

9. YOLO board in Watercolor, FL on Hwy. 30-A. – We did this on our vacation in July and it was a great experience.  I want a YOLO board now and I want to find a place to enjoy the sport locally.  Success! CHECK!

10. Learn to make a great chocolate cake.

11. Successfully make “Cupcake Cafe” buttercream.

12. Design a crewel stocking pattern.

13. Save $1000 using coupons and rebates.This is not going so hot.  Need to step it up!

14. Blog photo tips on a regular basis.

15. Paint entire kitchen white and then go from there with kitchen decor….

16. Buy rainchains for the corners of our house.

17. Re-do/paint our front porch.

18. Make peace, or attempt to, with someone I don’t get along with. –  (I did this.  It’s overrated.)  - CHECK!

19. Learn to use Netflix via the PS3 without the assistance of someone 13 or under.  Or Chuck. - Wyatt pointed out that it’s just as easy if not more so, to use Netflix on my laptop so I guess I’ll consider this one a CHECK!

20. Climb Pinnacle Mountain again.  The hard side.

21. Take a vacation with just Chuck. – It’s scheduled for Labor Day weekend to celebrate 20 years!  Yay!  Fairmont Dallas, here we come!

22. Visit Eric & Stephanie in St. Louis! - We had a fantastic time even though it was a whirlwind trip to St. Louis and we only had time for lunch at Pappy’s Smokehouse.  But the food and company was great.  I had not seen Stephanie since she moved to Kentucky in 2nd grade!  And Eric since he left in junior high.  GREAT time!  CHECK!

23. Weigh 135.I’m steadily heading toward this goal but need to step it up if I do it before I’m 44.

24. Rewatch all Seinfeld episodes. - I bought season one to start.  May not get through ALL of them but you never know.

25. Read 10 books. - I’ll easily reach this goal!

26. Paint the living room.

27. Buy a desk for myself.Did it at IKEA when we took Ryder to orientation at TCU.  I had to compromise on color but it’s grown on me. CHECK

28. Compile dad’s Vietnam pictures into a book for him.  (I guess after posting this it won’t be a surprise.)

29. Open an ETSY shop.

30. Camp with Tcheanina and all our boys. – The summer has kinda of gotten away from us.  Didn’t realize how much other travel would consume my time.  But I haven’t completely ruled it out!

31. Start my “other” blog.

32. Photograph 10 dogs.

33. Draw & paint for fun.  On a regular basis.

34. Launch a black & white division of Buttry Photography. - In progress

35. Organize my home completely.  Room by room. Closet by closet.

36. Keep a “good things” jar.CHECK, or in progress, anyway!

37. Visit Albert Pike Recreation Area for the first time since the flood.

38. Frame my needlework projects.I’ve had lots and lots of these done!  Yay!

39. Walk the dog more.Ummmm……

40. Have another trip with just my mom.She went to orientation with Ryder and me so if we don’t fit in another, I’ll count that.  Had a great time.

41. See 5 movies at the theater with Chuck.  - Working on this one too.  Have seen a couple of them.  The Vow.  The one about magic. Working on this one too.  

42. Learn to make really good & pretty sugar cookies.

43. Keep an art journal.CHECK, in progress, but not as much as I’d like to.

44. Practice random acts of kindness.  26 at least.  For Newtown, CT. - I’ve done a lot of these.  Very proud of myself.  Anonymous, when possible and gives you a great feeling.

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Facebook Break….

photo-4So, I took 4 days off Facebook.  I have to say, I missed the interaction with friends I wouldn’t normally be able to interact with.  BUT, I wasn’t back too long (like 45 seconds) before it was getting on my nerves again.  If I created a “Holy Facebook” would some of you who do nothing but preach the Bible go over there? And perhaps a “Political Facebook” for those of you who like to argue to the point of futility?  I digress.

This is what I did while I was gone.  And these are some things I would have said, had I been on Facebook (in italics):

*I enjoyed some uninterrupted, silent stitching time.  I made progress on my vintage winter crewel kit that reminds me of Keystone, CO, where we spent Christmas this year.

*I got a great new bench for my entryway and assembled what little there was to assemble MYSELF, thank you.

*I had the carpet cleaned.  Guy didn’t do as great of a job as my regular guy so, screw you, Groupon.  Wait, it looks like Groupon IS screwed.

*“Barnes & Noble sales fell this quarter.  No one can blame me for that one.”

*Overheard at our house.  Brooks:  “Moooooom!  Ryder ordered a fake squirrel head on the internet!”

*I ordered a swimsuit but the one I REALLY wanted was out of stock.  Damn you, Garnet Hill shoppers.

*“Know what is more annoying than a reformed smoker?  Someone who doesn’t do Facebook.  That’s right.  Chuck.”

*I watched “The Help” again with Chuck because he had not seen it.  He liked it too.  I love that movie.

*I locked myself out of the house so I went to Chuck’s office to get the key.  By the time I got back, Ryder was home from school and had locked me out again by locking the deadbolt, which I don’t have a key to.  Needless to say, I WOKE her.

*“Let there be peace on Earth.  And let it begin with my kids getting their asses in bed and going to sleep.”

*I had a date night with Chuck at YaYa’s Eurobistro.  I freaking love date nights with my husband.  And he bought me shoes while we waited!

*“Would all the transvaginal mesh victims please come forward so the commercials will freaking end?”

*Commercial: “Do you or a loved one use an IUD for birth control?”  What else would I use it for – a slingshot?

*Overheard at our house:  “Chuck:  You know….the parting of the Red Sea.  Wyatt:  Party at the Red Sea?”    Yes, we go to the Christian school.

*Spent two and a half hours in a dental chair starting the process of getting two veneers replaced with crowns.  Fun.

*“Donning my bullet proof vest to go to the mall and purchase a bra.”

*Cooked two great meals.  Pioneer Woman’s pan-fried pork chops and Rigatoni Bake.  Someday I’ll share the rigatoni recipe.  It’s painfully easy and far from gourmet!  Chuck gave the pork chops very high marks :-)

*I ordered a new slipcovered loveseat for our tiny den.  It hasn’t shipped but when it arrives I’ll be in heaven because I can watch Investigation Discovery while the rest of my family flips between the Razorbacks and something like Worst Cooks in America or Dual Survival.  And before you start in on it being snow white, TALK TO THE HAND.  My friend highly recommends it because it can be washed and bleached.  So, no, I don’t think white is a bad choice.  Hush.

See, YOU DIDN”T MISS MUCH.

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44 in my 44th Year…

I have so many things I want to do in life.  So many.  I have a HUGE bucket list.  I may start sharing some of it on my blog but this year I wanted to have a plan for accomplishing some minor goals in my life.  You know….. those little projects you *say* you’re going to do but probably won’t get around to doing unless you write them down and approach the act of accomplishing them with some sense of purpose and sincere intent.  The following list was born from my desire to have a plan & I chose my 44th birthday as my target date to complete it!  photo-1

1. Try 10 new recipes.

2. Complete 6 needlework projects.  (Finished one today!)

3. Be a more engaged parent.  Sometimes I feel like I’m in the room but not tuned in.  I need to improve this.

4. Have a professional massage.  Or 2!

5. Volunteer at least 60 hours.

6. Paint 2 things at the Painted Pig.

7. Buy a pair of cowboy boots.

8. Visit my daughter at college!

9. YOLO board in Watercolor, FL on Hwy. 30-A.

10. Learn to make a great chocolate cake.

11. Successfully make “Cupcake Cafe” buttercream.

12. Design a crewel stocking pattern.

13. Save $1000 using coupons and rebates.

14. Blog photo tips on a regular basis.

15. Paint entire kitchen white and then go from there with kitchen decor….

16. Buy rainchains for the corners of our house.

17. Re-do/paint our front porch.

18. Make peace, or attempt to, with someone I don’t get along with.  (I did this.  It’s overrated.)  - CHECK

19. Learn to use Netflix via the PS3 without the assistance of someone 13 or under.  Or Chuck.

20. Climb Pinnacle Mountain again.  The hard side.

21. Take a vacation with just Chuck.

22. Visit Eric & Stephanie in St. Louis!

23. Weigh 135.

24. Rewatch all Seinfeld episodes.

25. Read 10 books.

26. Paint the living room.

27. Buy a desk for myself. – CHECK

28. Compile dad’s Vietnam pictures into a book for him.  (I guess after posting this it won’t be a surprise.)

29. Open an ETSY shop.

30. Camp with Tcheanina and all our boys.

31. Start my “other” blog.

32. Photograph 10 dogs.

33. Draw & paint for fun.  On a regular basis.

34. Launch a black & white division of Buttry Photography.

35. Organize my home completely.  Room by room. Closet by closet.

36. Keep a “good things” jar. – CHECK, or in progress, anyway!

37. Visit Albert Pike Recreation Area for the first time since the flood.

38. Frame my needlework projects.

39. Walk the dog more.

40. Have another trip with just my mom.

41. See 5 movies at the theater with Chuck.

42. Learn to make really good & pretty sugar cookies.

43. Keep an art journal. – CHECK, in progress

44. Practice random acts of kindness.  26 at least.  For Newtown, CT.

Think I can do it?  To help me stay organized & motivated, I devised a checklist of sorts for this adventure. It’s mainly to help me keep track of the ones that have multiple items, like “10 books”, “5 theater movies”, etc.photo-2

I plan to keep myself accountable on my blog too & on or near my 44th birthday (December 14), I’ll let you know how I did!

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