Monday, September 15, 2014

Just a quick update --

[It's been a while...]
August was a cRaZy month for me - two weeks of training 
[in Montgomery, a not-so-favorite city of mine]
- one where I was so sick I hardly had a voice, plus regular county visits / record reviews...teaching a class at the University of Alabama, 
and a couple of 'fun' [demanding / high profile] special assignments... 
but I do love my job. Seriously.
I just need things to slow down a bit -
We've also attended three funerals in the last two months - 
all sweet celebrations of lives lived well.
But the thing is - I developed this sinus infection and was also sick for the last five weeks -- Didn't have time to get to the doctor until I finally crashed this week - 
I'm feeling so much better now!
[Don't you love Marmalady's freckles on her nose?!] 
Here's the deal - we enjoy life.
Even in the midst of CrAzY busy schedules 
we intentionally make the time to relax or do something fun. 
[And we've tried to do this through the years - 
even when there was no extra money in the budget to do it...
it might've just been a picnic at the park, a hike up on the mountain, 
or flying kites together after church. 
Or even having dinner out on the deck - 
one of my favorite memories is the evening we spent 
passing a stick around to each person to share a little after dinner outside...]
Sooo.... one of Craig's favorite things to do in the fall 
is to find local fairs that have a demolition derby [ours doesn't.] And I've been known to root for a favorite or two as well - ha. Of course, there's always fair food...
But this year I didn't eat ONE thing - must have been that sinus infection.
We are also intentionally making the time to get out and camp a bit more - we enjoy being away, even though we stay well-connected [ha] - It's just nice to relax around a campfire with no deadlines or projects to complete. 
[Back in the day we camped almost monthly with our boys -]
Emma and I got up early one morning and worked on my Bible Study homework - 
It was cool enough for both of us to have on a  jacket... and it looks like we both have 
the 'ole ''wild eyes'' gene too - LOL.
We also enjoyed a s'more or two...
And hobo meals of course.
That's it for now - I'll leave you with sweet Pawley sitting in the window. 
We spent some 'quality' time together this afternoon sitting in the hammock together while Craig planted the oak leaf hydrangea I got for my birthday.
[Hope it lives - it's survival of the fittest 'round these parts - ha.]

Friday, August 29, 2014

Well, that was fun --

I had an entire blog post completed 
[with photos! - And THAT always takes the longest for me - ] 
and then,
It was gone 
[even after saving it, scheduled to post, for over a week -]
That's fun. - Ha.
Sooooo, since I really want to share with you all my updated studio space, 
I guess I'll start over ---  
Y'all know I always say my space is ever-evolving, according to how I create - 
and what I'm focusing on at the time -- 
Well a few months ago I went to a several weekend retreats 
and crops and got lazy 
and didn't put things away when I got home...

Do you do this too?
It was a mess...

There was stuff everywhere!
 In the floor - 
stacked on the futon...
All over the desk[s] where I create -
-all over the floor -- It was awful.
 It ended up
So I knew it was time for a change.
I knew I wanted to replace the wire shelves and stacking bins with something a little more sturdy - so I armed my self with my trusty tape measure and got to work --- 
after a couple of thrift store stops I found this book shelf [a store display, I think] for $12!!!
I quickly measured my car and had them tuck it in for me...I needed help from my sweetie and the youngest to get it up the stairs.
Love that the stacking drawers fit in there, as well as a wire basket for books, and the train case and basket I got in the Bahamas for storage. I have a dividing file [for completed pages] on top along with the big shot and my cutting board [making memories]
LOVE that it fits nicely under my hanging shelf, and is the same height as my scrapbook desk [counter height] - since I measured it well and knew what I needed. 
To the right of that is my desk -  basically clean with my carry-on bag with fishing lure boxes inside to the left and ready to use [embellishments are sorted by color in the boxes], the stacking drawers  are on the shelf above / behind, and a basket to the right holds all my page kits [I'm LOVING my kit from Noel Mignon these days!] Above the drawers is a box of tags, a bowling bag for storage [$5, hello? with the ball that I gave away --] and my roladex scripture tags. I have shop light overhead for extra light.
Underneath I have bins with additional paper kits sorted by
 holiday and bags with mini albums supplies, etc. 
 On the right wall I have a shoe bag for favorite punches, a couple of bulletin boards and hanging files for ideas and my aprons from various events I've attended,
 Under the alcove is my ode to Disney - I have my first pair of mouse ears that I got in... hmmm.... 1967 or 68? And various other ears I've gotten throughout the years - including the year of a million dreams and fiftieth anniversary. I may [or may not] talk about it much - but we pretty much LOVE Disney. And we go at least every three years...
 Circling on around the room - I straightened up the book shelf and futon a bit and tucked this stool in a niche with another favorite train case [it carries my paint when I do art out / town] with a favorite painting on top. 
The next wall has the door to the hallway and my painting area tucked behind it -- it looks a little messy - but this is basically as clean as it gets. HA. My desk is a door on two filing cabinets covered with a cheap shower curtain [can be changed as needed.]
Things I LOVE - the ikea cart that I finally ordered on-line. I love that it has wheels and can be moved around as needed, I love that it holds so much more than I had there before - and, of course, I love the happy color!
I love the coke crate that I've had since I was a kid and am now using to hold my basic art supplies so that it's all portable and easy to use upstairs or down... I love the work-shop bins at the back of my desk that hold all the little bits of STUFF that makes mixed media fun... I love the screen behind that holds works in progress... I love the bike basket to the right that holds old book, handy to use...
To the right of that is the closet [I took off the doors and tucked them in the back for easy access, should we ever want to put them back on -] I have a computer desk in there with more shelving, I love the shoe boxes with drawers, the train case that holds my acrylic stamps, the ikea boxes... and of course, my old scrapbooks from high school and college. Fun. 
But THIS is probably my favorite area of all -- 
I know I've told y'all my sweetie is the BEST shopper ever! He found these lockers and brought them home for me [and we got them upstairs with help from the oldest - love my guys!] It replaces the huge computer cabinet with a ton more storage...
And then we picked up this little computer desk and book shelf [that my sweetie re-purposed to go vertical instead of horizontal] for $20!!! I put the last set of paper drawers underneath and the printer sets on top of that - I have a file holder from one of my first co-workers to the left of the screen and it holds a favorite piece of art that is a compilation of work from me and two sweet friends when we met in Chattanooga back in the spring - LOVE IT.
Overall, it's a much less cluttered space. I still have a few stacks of paintings that I need to sell and bags of stuff that needs to be put away [mostly layouts that need to be placed in albums - but I have a plan for those...
I'll share that with you soon -]
Hope you've enjoyed looking around my room a bit - I have some close-up photos I'll share in a day or two - until then, I'd love to see what your space looks like -

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I have LOTS of tomatoes and basil these days!

Moving my garden close to the back door -
In pots to keep the chipmunks OUT was a great decision!
Y'all know how I LOVE tomatoes!
And combined with basil - oh my!
 So I decided to make a tomato pie - another FAVORITE summer recipe of mine --
My quick recipe was given to me from a sweet co-worker 
who lives even further south than I do - 
 And it's super easy...
 Just spread a little mayo in the bottom of a pie crust, top with basil leaves 
[She lays her out in a pretty pattern - 
but I roll mine and clip into small shreds with my kitchen shears...] 
Then slice tomatoes on top of the basil
 [I did push most of the seeds out in hopes 
that it wouldn't be as drippy in the end...]
 And add shaved parmesan cheese -  
all over the top.
Bake about 30 minutes on 375* - 400* - 
I covered it with foil so the crust wouldn't burn...
[Note - I am NOT a food stylist -
 and I gave up 'perfection' about 27 years ago - ha.
But I DID garnish it with some fresh basil leaves 
and tomato 'chips' that I'd dehydrated a week or so ago - ]
While that was baking I whipped up some pesto 
[I have an abundance of basil at the moment -]
I use bottled garlic, walnuts, basil, and olive oil... 
Here's what it REALLY looks like before I turn on my little processor:
 I stuff it as FULL as possible with basil - 
then pulse it several times, until it looks something like this:
I add in a little olive oil between pulses, 
and also a bit of parmesan cheese...
Of course I use a little salt and pepper - 
and olive oil again until it's the consistency I want it to be --
 Again, a summer favorite of mine - I can eat it with pasta, 
or just on toasted Italian bread...
or just straight up by itself...
[I know I'm not typical.]
So that was done... and the tomato pie was still baking -
and I had pie crust left over --
Time for a quick apple tart -
I pulled out my favorite iron baking dish 
[I'm sure I've shared with y'all that it is hand-forged and belonged to my gr-gr-gr-grandmother - 
I love it 
 - and remember taking it to school in 2nd grade as a show and tell...] 
and got to work -
I pressed the dough into a flat circle and crinkling the edges just a bit - then I added sliced apples that had been brushed with a little lemon juice - 
and topped it with brown sugar and a bit of butter.
I put it in the oven with the tomato pie and baked until the apples were cooked through 
and the crust was nice and brown.
Again, delicious.
And none of this was much trouble at all.
The pesto freezes well if you don't want to eat it right away... 
And the pies...
well, I doubt there'll be any left to freeze.
I'd love to see what's cooking in your kitchen!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Happy Anniversary Baby!

Love you sweetie! 
So glad I have you as my partner 
and best friend to go through life with!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Due to some out of town work

I missed going to the Farmer’s Market for a couple of weeks -

[although I did visit the one in Montgomery and got some gorgeous zinnias!]

So it was fun to walk down to our local market this week and pick up a few things –

We ended up with striped zucchini, bell pepper, new potatoes, okra, tomatoes…

And some rosemary bread we picked up at The Chattanooga Market over the weekend.
After our long walk [2.5 miles - ha]… 
in the heat… 
we decided to just have 
bacon and tomato sandwiches for dinner that night.

And, let me tell you – the rosemary bread made a delicious addition to the flavor.

 But the next night we re-purposed some rotisserie chicken

[added a little garlic, butter, and brown sugar and warmed it slowly]

and enjoyed it with roasted new potatoes

[in the crockpot all day with just a bit of water,]

vegetable strata,

[layer thin slices of squash, onion, and tomatoes –

cook in the microwave then add grated cheese on top – so good!]

and fried okra

[just toss in some cornmeal before frying on the stove.]

We were STUFFED.

But I still had veggies to use…

So Saturday morning I whipped up a

nice hearty vegetable frittata

for my Artsy Bible Study Group –

I sautéed the [chopped] bell pepper, 
squash and cubed new potatoes with onion and a tomato

[from the plant right outside my kitchen door!]
 Then I poured over some beaten eggs and cooked until set.

Added a little cheese on top.

Again, a favorite of ours.

– I can remember stirring up this little dish on evenings when we’d come in late from a camping trip [or other travel] and need something quick to eat that was made from the stuff we had on hand

[I often use frozen potato cubes in it.]

I think the gals in our group liked it - 
I know I did ... 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Obviously I'm not keeping up

with the same blog-posting schedule that I did before my mama passed on...
But I'm still trying to share things from time to time ---
Here's a little water color piece that's in one of my art journals
[inspired by Junelle Jacobson] 
After I  painted it the words to the song just kept pouring through my mind...
Get out a pencil and paper and sketch a bit today, won't you?
[I often sketch / create in a different notebook - 
and move the ones that have meaning to my art journals -- ]

Monday, August 4, 2014

We had a fun time celebrating

[straight out of the camera]
one of our favorite little girl's birthday this weekend!
At the last minute we decided to do a very quick family photo session --
no pre-planning at all...
These were taken with my phone
[trying to make use of the things I'm learning in
The Phone Photography Project 2
class that I'm taking on line...
I took THE ONE photo where SHE is in focus
and played a bit with picmonkey --
First just enhancing the exposure and color saturation...
adding a little dark to the outside edges....
... then with 'yesteryear'
In retrospect, I should've put it on 'sport' mode --
I might have captured the movement a bit better...
Lots of fun.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Y'all know I've been taking some art classes

on-line these past couple of years and 
creating big pieces and canvas pieces...
[I'm working on something with wood that I think you'll all enjoy!]
But I love my art journals 
- a place where can I play with techniques and styles 
and colors, 
and markers, water colors, acrylics... 
A place to have fun - 
Here's one I did a few weeks ago -- 
and while I might appear to be 'on the fence' about a lot of things,
I hope those that know me well, know that 
I'm a Bible-Believing-People-Loving person 
who believes we all have the choice to follow God and His directives
or not...
And we all fall short at some point or another, don't we?
"For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard."
Romans 3:23 - NLT

Monday, July 28, 2014

So we had a busy weekend

moving the youngest from Auburn to Chattanooga 
where he will begin his first {{real}} job in a couple of weeks! 
Kind of sad - but oh, so exciting too!
We went to Auburn Friday - packed things up - 
drove up through Atlanta on Saturday 
[sitting on I-75 for a bit - wheee] 
 And then we drove home and back to Chattanooga 
with some more stuff on Sunday - 
So glad it's less than two hours away ---  
 We unloaded at the 300 Building 
[LOVE IT. - He has covered parking {included} across the street, 
a Y {great discount} next to that; and a FUN artist studio space right next door!] 
He's just a few blocks from his new office space!
[So fun that Craig and I ate lunch just a block from here 
when we were visiting for The Running of the Chihuahuas 
- not having any idea that Matt would end up here!]
It's also within walking distance of the river front area - 
lots of restaurants, and fun stores
[and yes, some great tourist places too!] 
I think it will be a good fit for him!