Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

A very Happy New Year to everyone in Blogland!
It's time to take stock of another year and place hope in a new one.
I'm not crazy about setting New Year resolutions.  However, when the calendar turns to a new year, I have the urge to set new goals.  There is something energizing about the possibilities a new year brings.
Unravelling the Year Ahead 2014 workbook | SusannahConway.com
Something that helped me last year is a little project from Susannah Conway called Unravelling the Year Ahead.  It's a free download worksheet Susannah so generously offers each year to help set goals and make plans.  You choose a word as a theme for the year.  I already chose mine, it is has really helped me to wrap my mind around what I hope to accomplish and how I want to approach challenges.
My word:
Text Box: Manage
Text Box: Manage
Text Box: Manage
It isn't a glamorous word, and I did try to find one with my trusty thesaurus!
For me my word means I'm going to take care of what needs to be done.  I'm not going to shy away from a challenge or crumble under pressure.  That sounds pretty serious, but I'm a procrastinator!  I need a word that will move me to action.
achieve your goals and create a life you love online class
My next project starts Thursday, January 2nd.  It comes from Aby Garvey of Simplify 101.
She offers online courses to help you get organized.  I did her Get Organized for the Holidays course, and it really helped me keep a handle on the holiday busyness--at least most of the time!
Aby also offers lots of free downloads for getting organized and has a blog with great advice.
I would love to say I have resolved to post more to my blog, but I'm a little afraid of letting myself down!  I've had this blog for quite a long time but still feel like a newbie!
For anyone who keeps following along, I hope you will keep checking back!  I did a lot in 2013 and would love to share it with you!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Christmas is coming!!!

You know, I really wasn't ready for fall.  I didn't want to see the leaves falling or the temperature drop.  However, this year we have had a glorious fall with lovely weather and amazing colors. 
It's just getting me in the mood for Christmas!
This year I'm doing a couple things to help me prepare.
One is this fun doodling journal class from Dawn DeVries Sokol

I took a class from her at Handmade U.
I loved how she made art journaling so accessible.

The other thing I'm doing to prepare for the holidays is an online organizing course through Simplify 101called Get Organized for the Holidays.  Aby Gardner has great classes you can download and lots of free printable tips available as well for organizing.

Get Organized for the Holidays Online Class

This little organizing course is helping me plan out all those activities and tasks that go along with the holidays.  Maybe, just maybe, Mom will be a bit calmer this Christmas!

What will you be doing to prepare for the holidays?

Friday, October 25, 2013


Fall has arrived!

These are some photos I've taken on nature walks over the last several weeks. 

I created this post using the Blogger app on my phone. It doesn't make it easy to edit, but I might be inspired to post more photos this way. 

Happy Fall to you!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Europe Part I: Ah, Rome!

Buon Giorno!
The hotel I stayed at on Borgo Pio.  Lovely boutique hotel with beautiful rooms.
 Back in June I took a dream trip to Europe.
I'm still feeling the high of having done something so adventurous!

This is one of my first photos when I realized, Hey!  I'm in Rome!

I met up with friends who had already been in Italy for a week.  Despite phone connection issues, we managed to run into each other outside the hotel.  Our first stop was Castel San Angelo just a few blocks from the Vatican.  The photo above is from an upper window.  The views were stunning!

Later that day, we took a taxi to the Coliseum.  Sadly we got there right at closing time.  We walked around the building anyway and visited some of the ruins in the area including the Roman Forum.

Ruins of the Roman Forum
The next day we went back to the Coliseum so we could get inside.  It was worth the wait and a second trip!  You have to climb the stairs to an upper level to really appreciate the size of the coliseum.

One thing I was really looking forward to in Rome was eating lots of pizza and pasta!
I was not disappointed in the food.
Mama Mia!  This Porcini Pizza was unbelievable!  The waitress told us porcini mushrooms were in season and they has some come in fresh that day.  I'm a big one for eating local and fresh so I had to get the pizza.  My friends may have eaten a piece or two, but I made sure to finish the whole darn thing!
Porcini Pizza
 We also had wine---and lots of it!
Enjoying wine in the piazza

The Pope's Spaghetti Carbonara
 An interesting story goes with my favorite meal of the entire trip, Spaghetti Carbonara.  We met up with a priest friend of ours who has been in Rome for about three years now.  He is fluent in Italian which came in handy that day.  When I ordered the spaghetti carbonara, she told us that happened just two weeks before we were there.  A cardinal from Argentina is a frequent customer, and one day he brought another Argentinian cardinal with him.  Everyone thought he looked exactly like Pope Francis.  He of course they both denied that he was the Holy Father and proceeded to order the Spaghetti Carbonara, which he raved over.  Apparently it is well known that Pope Francis loves Spaghetti Carbonara.  He also loves his independence.  So was it him?  Maybe, maybe not, but I will always believe I had the Pope's Spaghetti Carbonara!

A glass of Prosecco for lunch

Raising our glasses for a toast

One night we went to dinner and acted like typical crazy, loud Americans drinking too much Limoncello and Grappa.  Salut!

St. Peter's Square in the early morning before very many tourists were out.
While waiting for the next delicious meal, we filled our time seeing the amazing sights.  We went to the Vatican Museum with our friend Fr. Timothy who happened to be very well informed and gave us a fabulous tour.  Here are just a few photos from that tour.

View from an upper floor of the Vatican Museum

A room of alabaster sculptures--they were beautiful!

A gorgeous frescoed ceiling at the Vatican Museum in the Room of the Muses

There was so much to see in the Vatican Museum and just not enough time!  I was the only one in our group interested in the paintings.  Fr. Timothy would have been happy to discuss them with me.  As I sprinted past, I recognized names of famous artists who I was surprised to see had done sacred art.  One of them was Salvador Dali.  Towards the end of his life, he had a "reversion" and began painting sacred art in his typical style.
The Trinity by Salvador Dali, 1960

My friend Kathy and I spent a day sightseeing on our own.  It took us awhile, but we managed to find the famous Trevi Fountain--packed with people!

With great anticipation, I did get to see the Sistine Chapel.  It is truly awe inspiring, but you're not allowed to take pictures!!  We sort of stumbled upon St. Ignatius of Loyola Church with a frescoed ceiling that almost rivals the Sistine Chapel.  The frescoes were painted by Andrea Pazzo in 1685.

Ceiling of St. Ignatius of Loyola

One evening we got to participate in a candlelight procession down the Via to St. Peter's Square for the Evangelium Vitae conference.

A major highlight for me was attending a Papal Mass in St. Peter's Square.  It was also our last activity in Rome.  We went straight to the airport for the flight to...Paris!!

I'll have to do another post with more of the artwork and architecture I saw.  There was just so much so see and do and lots of artist eye candy!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Where Bloggers Creat 2013

My Laundry/Craft room
 This is my third year participating in Where Bloggers Create.  I am so grateful to Karen for hosting this event each year.  I've "met" lots of lovely people and found lots of fun blogs to follow.

The Sewing Desk with a view
 If you have been here before, the room is much the same, except that it is never this clean!
 My studio is also the laundry room we remodeled four years ago.  We were able to add on space so I could also have a creative space.  It's worked out well, and I like having my studio so close to the kitchen.

The laundry side of the room
We have five children so part of the remodel was to include an extra dryer.  The machines are front-loading so that I can have a folding counter above.  It's also useful when I need to spread things out for a project.

 This large cabinet holds my fabric stash.

Every quilter needs to have her fabric stash!

The desk drawer in the knee space for keeping supplies handy.
I love books, and my cabinets let me stash away patterns and idea books.
More drawers of supplies

Some of my favorite things are my Gingher shears and this magnetic fused glass pin holder made by a local artist.  There is a small magnet on the underside of the dish that helps pins and needles stay put.  I also use an old miniature Jello mold for holding pins.

These vintage glass drawer pulls came from my Dad.  He used to sell antiques and helped me collect them.

I will admit I have recycled from photos from last year.  I had too!  There was no way to get my room in shape for this!

I decided to open all the neat and tidy cabinet doors to show how I store things.  One of my favorite cabinets is in the lower left.  It has a lazy susan where I store glues, paint and markers.

On the counter I still have my projects from Birdsong III in June at Karla's Cottage.  That was a fun weekend!

 I've added this photo to show proof of how the room normally looks. This was right after working on some swap projects.  I usually have things stacked on the counters and draped over the chair.  But a messy studio is the sign of a crafter having a great time!

I also share the room with two furry companions.  This is Ranger the Australian Shepherd.

This is my daughter's cat Perry.  She spends a lot of time in the studio with me--probably because we keep her dish up on the counter where the dog can't get to it!

Thank you for coming to visit! 
I hope you will come back again soon!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Blog Party

It's time again for Karen Valentine's annual blog Party!
Only a two more weeks to get the studio shaped up!