Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Inspiration: It's All Around

“We are the music makers, and we are 
the dreamers of dreams…” 
Willy Wonka - Willy and the Chocolate Factory

One of my favorite movies of ALL time is Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I have fond memories of sitting down once a year near Thanksgiving to watch it as a family. Mind you this was when you had to get up to turn the television on and turn the channel manually by twisting knobs. We also only had about 4 channels when using an antenna. We entertained ourselves outside, exploring our world. So when we could all come together and watch something as a family it was an event.

I am in awe of the colors, the shapes, the perceived textures presented in the movie. I know that as a set designer I would have had a hay day working on the candy garden. I probably would have gained a few pounds as I bought/made candy looking for inspiration too.

I am trying really hard to lose weight right now and can’t afford to gain. That is why I like to take inspiration for my craft from my surroundings, quotes and insights.

It can be a photo:
GrapeVine Ceramics & Gifts
Small Weed Pot
Simple Sunflower Vase
Sunflower Pencil Holder
Sunflower Ornament

It can be a quote or simple words:
Live, Laugh, Love Poster by Louise Max
Inspirational Keepsake Boxes by GrapeVine Ceramics & Gifts

But it's not limited to those either. I receive some of my strongest inspiration from my family and the lives that they lead/led. There are many attitudes, graces, work ethics and stubbornness, that I emulate throughout my week: my grandmother's patience, my grandfather's work ethic, my father's love of fun, and my mother's persistence. 

Where do you find inspiration? 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

My First Valentine

Valentine's Day always makes me sentimental. I dig into my stacks boxes of photos and look back on the love I've shared. Today I want to share my favorite photo of my first Valentine - my dad.

This photo was taken on Easter 2007 on a sunny, seasonally warm day. The scents of lilacs and daffodils was drifting through the air. The grandkids had just completed their scavenger hunt; one of their prizes was egg shaped sidewalk chalk. Daddy being the hands-on grandpa that he was got down on the ground and started drawing with them. They drew Easter eggs, kitty cats, puppies and rainbows. The entire patio was decorated before they decided they were done. My children who were at least five years older than my sister's children even got in on it. Their job was to blow bubbles for the kids to chase when they weren't drawing. If you look closely you can see them floating by.  The afternoon was filled with giggles, bubbles, sidewalk art and love.

This is the way I choose to remember him, He had an infectious laugh, gave the best hugs and at 6' 2" he was one of the biggest teddy bears you could ever meet. He loved a good joke, riding his motorcycle, and good times with family and friends.He was taken from this world on his 61st birthday in 2009, even though his presence was removed from us in the years proceeding by the early onset of Alzheimers. 

I'm closing with one of his favorite songs - it will always have a special place in my heart (and not just for the guitar solo.)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Love is Nothing

Thoughtful Tuesday - February 12, 2013

Something to ponder on this Thoughtful Tuesday before Valentine's Day

Monday, February 11, 2013

Natural Blues

Etsy Minute - February 11, 2013

Found these in my Handpicked Items today.

"I Can See You" by MT Photo Journal
Rain Storm Blank Note Card by Branch and Olive
Large Glass Initial Pendant by The City Elephant
Aqua Blue Butterfly Pillow Cover by Soeur a la Soeur
I normally don't choose items that show up in my Etsy feed but the color and cohesiveness in these four spoke to me today.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Set Backs Happen...

Ever get going on a project and everything goes to heck in a hand-basket. Well that's what happened to me in October. I had lost 30 pounds and I was walking daily and then IT happened. I developed cellulitis in my right leg.

Friday night I was tailgating at a high school football game and woke up Saturday with what seemed to be a hangover. I slept it off and felt well enough to go on a 50 mile motorcycle ride with my husband. By 10:30 pm I was getting the chills and had a horrible headache. I went to bed, hoping sleep would help but instead I tossed and turned and couldn't get warm. At 9:00 am the next morning I knew I had no choice but to go to the hospital. My leg was three times larger than it should be and I could barely walk. I was admitted from the  emergency room and placed on a course of IV antibiotics. I remained in the hospital for nine days and on IV antibiotics for an additional four weeks. During that time, I was unable to take the product but amazingly I didn't gain any of the weight back.

Why did this happen? I was doing everything right, I was losing weight, exercising and taking better care of myself. This chronic illness was one of the reasons that I began this journey.


Ever experience an event that you never want to forget, those moments in life that you want to remember forever? 

Me too. From time to time, I find myself sorting through mementos from events. Sometimes I laugh and sometimes I cry, it just depends on what memory is attached to the item. My mementos come in all sizes, a button from my favorite dress, a handwritten note, photographs, a pressed flower, my grandmother's sewing machine with contents of the drawers in tact just to name a few. I am now beginning to question why I keep these items tucked away. Wouldn't I and these items be better served by using and displaying them? Afterall, these mementos symbolize events in mine and my family's lives that helped to shape who I am, who we are.  

I'm at the point in my life where less is more. In the past I decorated the house with items that were of a specific theme or just looked good. Starting this year, I'm only bringing items into the house that speak to me. I want items that represent my family, our ideals, our goals and who we are. I plan to use some of our mementos that are tucked away as inspiration and a base. I'm on a mission this year to redecorate on a budget. I've already begun searching the area antique and thrift stores. I found my first project last weekend and I can't wait to share it.

Who knows that note from my grandma, may just be framed and hung above her sewing machine (which still works by the way), in the office. Or the recipe books from my mother-in-law and other grandma may find a home on a shelf near my kitchen instead of at the back of a closet.

I think that this ideal is why I'm drawn to making keepsake boxes. There are so many memories that inspire each one and I hope that they become mementos for those who have received them.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Cherished Mementos

ETSY Minute - February 4, 2013

This week the focus is on cherished family mementos and memories. My Etsy Minute reflects items my husband and I have from our grandparents and parents.

Vintage Photographs found at Dr. Strange Goods
Vintage Moss Rose Tea Set found at French Klim Bim
Household Searchlight Recipe Book found at Attic Emporium
Vintage Sewing Machine Iron On by Vintage Restyled
We've recently come to hold many photographs from my husband's family. Many we are still trying to identify the subjects in. The tea set is similar to one that survived my mother's childhood, she has found a second set and mixed the pieces up so that my sister and I both have a full set with some of hers included. I have copies of the go to recipes for my family from The Household Searchlight Recipe Book and many other cookbooks from my mother-in-law. But probably the most special item shown is the treadle machine, I have the one that my grandmother and mother sat at for hours patching jeans and sewing new outfits for me. I remember sitting beside them on my chair just watching them work.

Do you have any family mementos that you cherish?

Friday, February 1, 2013

Far Better Things Ahead

Friday Files - February 1, 2013

This week the theme for most of my blogs posts was "What are you looking forward to in the near future?" In the immediate future, I would have to say a warm bed and a good nights sleep. For next week, I want to work in the studio with stains - I have some pieces that Kansas Originals has been requesting that I really need to get done. For next month there's a new line that is in development that I'm anxiously awaiting my turn to work with.

Starry Night Dragonfly Keepsake Box
by GrapeVine Ceramics & Gifts on Etsy
From time to time, I find myself concentrating on what has happened in the past instead of what is ahead of me. While it helps to keep me grounded, it's not always productive. I have the habit of wondering "what if" when thinking about the past. I'm working on turning that around however. I want to ask "what if" while addressing the future. What if we get rid of the wallpaper in the living room? What if we take a ride to the next town over and take the camera to take photos along the way? What if we paint the kitchen cabinets? What if we try this glaze on the next piece? The list goes on... Each "what if" may create a "project," some of which will get done and others -well they'll have to wait. The other thing that I hope happens is I learn to solve problems creatively.

From Blessing Manifesting's Photos on Facebook

Speaking of the future... This weekend making muffins for the next week(s) breakfast is on my agenda. These are my boys' new favorites.

Photo and following recipe is from

To Die for Blueberry Muffins


Original recipe makes 8 large muffins

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.
  2. Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and baking powder. Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup. Mix this with flour mixture. Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups right to the top, and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.
  3. To Make Crumb Topping: Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup butter, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Mix with fork, and sprinkle over muffins before baking.
  4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done.

  • PREP15 mins
  • COOK25 mins
  • READY IN40 mins