Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Yesterday I learned that my penpal of 6 years was found dead in her apartment.

I am deeply saddened by this and cannot remember a time that I've been so upset over one's death.

Chelle was the person I thought about when times were tough- she'd been through a lot over the past few years and I've always admired her strength and ability to get through the roughest of times. I suppose that strength only goes so far, though...I'm sad that hers ran out.

I met Chelle through a website called PostcardX before it disintegrated. Her list of interests went on and on. Living in a small town at the time, I remember thinking I've finally found somebody who will get me.

After a couple postcards and letters back and forth, I quickly realized that Chelle was "safe" and that I could tell her anything. We had no real-life connections and therefore I didn't have to worry about her telling other people what I wrote to her. The only other person I've ever felt this way about is Joe.

Our relationship was through pen and paper only...we had never talked on the telephone and we rarely sent emails. 5 page long letters were a common occurrence. I always made cactus drawings on the envelopes...she loved the desert and recently moved back to be near it. Whenever I see a cactus at the garden store, I think of Chelle. It's weird how little things can make you think of a certain person over and over again.

I'll miss writing long letters to her when Joe is away- that was my thing when he traveled- I'd have a night or two to write and write, and I'd spend hours doing it. It was something I looked forward to.

Glancing at my front porch to see if there's a package waiting will take awhile to get over. She sent me lots of those. And her letters were the best- they always made me laugh. She was just as kind-hearted as she was witty- it was a great combination.

Halloween will never feel the same. She sent Joe and I lots of good stuff around Halloween. Tons of bat themed things...it was pretty awesome.

And the hunt for little things to send her probably wont go away for quite some time.

Cats. Cacti. Pink paper. Turkish coffee. Carrot cake. Music. The Oakland Raiders. Postcards. The Mojave. The smell of stale cigarettes enveloped within. Telling somebody that I couldn't wait to have a huge yard so I could dance in my garden without the neighbors seeing. Reading about travels. These are all things that will always remind me of Chelle.

I hadn't realized what a tremendous impact she has had on my life until yesterday. I've lost a great friend. The long handwritten letters & the reason to write with a pen will be missed dearly. Sure- anyone can write with a pen...but there is no longer a reason to. The internet has taken it from us. But Chelle gave me that.  

I'm not really sure how to end this. There's not a great way to go about doing so. For now I'll be on my way & be thankful for my pine tree hanky. 

Sunday, March 27, 2011


My mom recently found this vintage army cot for $17 at an auction. I'm looking forward to using it on the back deck on warm summer days...I've been on the hunt for one ever since I saw this photo.
A few weeks ago I used up the balance of my Target gift card on a new bag. I haven't started using it yet, but it's a little bigger than the bag I'm currently using (although i love my current one and am having a hard time parting with it) & it will come in handy when I start toting a million things to and from work every day...hoodie, water bottle, coffee thermos, salad container, granola, magazine, hat, phone, rain jacket, etc etc etc. Since I never know if I'll be working inside or outside for the majority of my work day, I have to pack stuff that will accommodate the various conditions of either setting.

The green hoodie is by Mountain Hardware & is one of my favorite pieces lately. I like how it equally suits my outdoor love and my design love.

The brown bag is IKEA from like 5 years ago.
I made the rack about 3 years ago. It took me forever, but it was a really calming project & I enjoyed spending time on it.

5 things because I have run out of things to write:
+ I am having a really hard time finding bathroom lighting that I like. Damn it.
+ We bought a big window from the ReStore yesterday for $50. 30"x 86". Sweet!
+ My dad gave me a chainsaw today. To say I'm excited about this would be an understatement.
+ I started another book recently & have already tired of it. I guess reading really isn't my thing. Frustrating.
+ Our friend jokingly mentioned that Joe was a lady killer the other day. I'm still giggling! Haha, I'm not going to lie- I was (and still am) one of those "ladies". Although at 18...when it all began...I didn't really consider myself to be a lady. I remember getting a little bent when I heard people tell their kids to "go ask the nice lady". Okay, that's enough. Off I go, have a great Sunday.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


The days seem to melt into each other like popsicles in the sunshine. I think I'm almost through the thaw, but we'll see what next week has to offer.

Somehow I forgot busy this time of year is. I haven't touched my Jan-Feb-Mar-Apr to do list and have probably only done 3 loads of dishes. I think I swept twice. I finally cleaned the toilet bowl yesterday. Thankfully I have a husband who helps out, but his main thing is that he can't stand stuff when it's left out and my thing is that filth is something I cannot live with. This usually works except during times like this, when I leave my shit everywhere and also don't have time to clean. So crankiness has taken over as of late. I've been eating terribly, which isn't typically the way I handle my food consumption. 

Fortunately, everything seems to be a cycle and I should be back to my preferred methods shortly. Today I woke up and was thankful that I was in the mood to clean. Whew. I have been staring at those windows for a month now and they are finally spotless (on the inside...I have to wait for warmer weather to do the outside.) I had extra time to love my plants and I'm going to do more plant stuff later on. I wish that it was in the 50s again today, but instead it's sleeting and cold. The photo above was taken a few days ago.

Anyway, I am going to compile a list of all my Houzz articles soon, but for now here is the latest: Life in a Glass House. It's inspired by conservatory and green house style. If you haven't noticed, I'm on a major plant kick lately. I love house plants. It must be our almost-half-year-long winters. Check it out if you are feeling the pull for spring. :)

Saturday, March 19, 2011


I got the day off today because we were supposed to hang out with some friends who were coming in from out of town, but they had to cancel. I was still happy to have a Saturday off, though! Something that I don't usually get to enjoy.

We started the day by going to a local garden store, where Joe spied this gigantic Staghorn Fern. 

He really liked it so I made him pick out a small one, even though it's a different variety. It's about time he had his own plant already. I asked him what he was going to name it..."Jethro." I thought it was pretty much perfect. I also picked up a new baby tears plant but swooned over these awesome mini baby tears hanging plants they had, which were actually not at all mini...they were huge and looked like Cousin It. I'm getting one soon.
Today was about 55 degrees out, which is the warmest it's been so far this year in Wisconsin. Since I was feeling in a spring-like mood, I wore my new mushroom t-shirt, which I love. PS: this is one of my favorite areas of our home:

We did some stuff outside for a bit & I was excited to be able to look into the windows rather than out of them for the first time since last fall. I wasn't excited to see Jada's branch that Moonshadow broke off the other day. I'm going to plant it & hope for the best, though.
I bought some seeds at the garden store and realized that I could plant my lettuce today, so I took advantage of our nice weather & got out my planting stuff.
I'm hoping that my lettuce is ready in time for Memorial Day- it would be nice to use in a salad when my family comes. We're expecting about 40 people to stay over that weekend!
While I was planting the tiny lettuce seeds, I started to think about how much I like doing things but also about how easy it is to waste a day online looking at beautiful photos and thinking about doing things. So here's to less thinking and more doing this spring & summer. I've got lots of ideas and I'm really excited to start working 4 days a week rather than 5 soon. 

This summer's to-do list:
+ solo canoe trips
+ start beekeeping
+ grow a garden
+ can our veggies
+ work on yard sculptures
+ learn to weld
+ write more
+ make lots of art
+ convince friends that they should drive all the way to my house
+ listen to records
+ play bass guitar
+ take a couple road trips
+ go to summer concerts
+ take more hikes in the rain
+ rummage sales
+ be happy to have a wonderful life with joe & kitties, a job i love and a house (that i still can't believe is ours).

Friday, March 18, 2011


I finally finished this piece this morning & was able to clear the kitchen table as a result. Joe will be so happy about that.

Yes- I have 2 separate studio-like spaces in the basement, but I really enjoy being on the main floor because it's where my music is & where the sunlight seems to shine. It's also the most finished area of the house & since unfinished areas make me uneasy, I tend to avoid them.
This piece is 11x14 & is on a 1" deep panel. One of my favorites thus far, I think I may make digital prints of it (and some other pieces I have) if I can find a copy shop that I would like to work with. Sorry it's difficult to read some of the smaller things- I crossed the camera off my "to get" list and I'm just going to deal with what I have for a bit longer. But you can see it a little better in my flickr stream.


This is the first morning I've felt okay about going into the day in quite a few days. I think I finally caught up on "me" time, which is awesome. I hate when I get in a funk...ack! Tomorrow is my day off and I couldn't be happier about it. I'm hoping to get one or two blog worthy things accomplished...we'll see. :)

Thursday, March 17, 2011


I hope to be back in this space soon. I miss it. 

The weekend was a busy one, as was the week that lead up to it and the week that is following. My days have pretty much only consisted of sleeping, driving, working or typing. I have been trying to fit some other things in, but it's not working out very well- I really need a day to decompress before I can do anything productive. I did manage to get the bathroom sink snaked...but that's really all I've done in the past week and a half. I think I cleaned the litter box a couple times and did about half a load of dishes, too. 'Tis lame.

Last weekend was Canoecopia, the world's largest paddling expo, and it's put on by Rutabaga. Physically, I feel pretty good today...although mentally, I'm still dragging.

Anyway, I hope to be back next week with new projects and photos, so be sure to stop back then!

Friday, March 11, 2011


Hey everybody! I'll be absent for a little longer, but I'm leaving you with a link to my latest houzz article

Have a great weekend!

Monday, March 07, 2011

Monday Morning

My apologies for the lack of content lately. I've been working a bunch (okay- only full time but to me that's a bunch when my "to make" list is piling higher than my amount of time allows for creating) so there hasn't been much worth writing about. But I think I might have something now.

Joe and I have a pretty strong need for a shed in our backyard, but our budget will probably top out at about $400 or less. Translation? Well, the Magic 8 Ball says "better luck next time". 

But last night I came to my senses and realized that I was over-thinking it all. While I'm generally a "high-quality or nothing" kind of girl, fortunately there are loopholes in the system. 

I asked myself why there was a need to build a solid structure that would last a lifetime. I mean, really- as quickly as I seem to tire of things, I think it's okay to have something that won't necessarily be standing when I'm 60. As long as it has a solid roof, I'm fine with it being more of a quirky shack than a typical shed. 

My inspiration? This photo that I stumbled across last night:
From the flickr stream of lisa temple-cox.

Isn't it sweet? If I made a shed like this, I would be able to add things to it whenever I found something new (old). It got me thinking about Wabi-sabi, which has been a huge help in getting me through my perfectionistic processes. Read up on it if you are an artist or a creator of any kind- I think you'll enjoy the subject immensely. I've found it to be a huge help.

So yes. After I saw that shed, I wanted to see more.

Ideally, I would like my shed to have a corrugated metal roof, kind of like the one pictured above (found at Debra Prinzing's Blog). I'm seeking approval from my neighbors during the next hail storm, ya know? Heehee. Whatever. I let them aimlessly shoot their guns at trees, so they should have no problems with the sky pelting my roof once in awhile. 

So um, this is probably just about the coolest thing I've ever seen. I found it at Aurora Suzette's website. Neat, right? So very charming...it reminds me of something you'd see out East.

Another really great photo, this shed was built from salvaged materials as well. Read the interview here if you have a few minutes. 

I could go on and on. This is a great solution for us and I can't wait to start collecting materials! Once I come up with a rough plan, I will create a budget (I'm hoping to top out at $200) and go shopping. The garage is about 200+ feet away from most of our gardens, so it will be nice to have a shovel when I need it rather than walking back and forth so much. I'll keep you posted on project progress, of course.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Late Night. Again.

Ugh. I tried. I really did. I tried without even realizing I was trying. For the fourth evening in a row, in addition to this morning, I sat down with my art stuff.

Many minutes have been spent clipping and shuffling and gluing and drawing. But mostly shuffling. Although I haven't found a groove with this piece yet, I'm definitely onto it. It was slow going in the middle. But to my defense- those rain drops took a damn long time to draw. They always do. I think that's why I like drawing them. And I was having quite a bit of trouble with my Rapidograph last night, which, of course, always results in inky black fingertips.

So tonight I cut and shuffled and reshuffled. I began to wonder what my hang up with this piece was. I casually looked at my table as I thought...I remember laughing because the realization that I'll never be an organized person hit me once again.
I promise that it's comfortable for me- to work next to all my art stuff when it's piled high like that. I think it's a normal thing for people who make. Please tell me that it is. Anyway, that's when I realized that I was trying to keep my new thing too simple. I laughed again as I thought about a comment that one of my friends made at an art show I did last fall. He asked which stuff was mine, and I told him they were the ones with the black pine trees. He eagerly replied "Oh! Is that the really busy piece that's over there?" I laughed and said "Haha. Yeah. It's the one that's titled "Don't Stop Till You Get Enough." He chuckled.

So yes. I started filling the piece up and it's feeling much better. I'm hoping to finish tomorrow, but we'll see.
So far I like it. But my scrap & ephemera box has dwindled to almost nothing, and I really need more. I haven't found what I'm looking for yet. I might have to hit up Etsy.

And here are 5 random things...because staying up till midnight is a great idea:
1. it's raining. that means it's almost rain jacket season and i love my rain jacket.
2. i've been thinking about canoe trips a lot lately. this is the year that i'm going to cave. more on that later.
3. i bought a new bag today with a gift card that i had. i'll show you next week.
4. i'm trying to learn one new word a day but i keep forgetting to use them. damn.
5. if i stop typing right this very second, i can still make it to bed today rather than tomorrow.

Edit: I didn't make it to bed until tomorrow. Which is now today.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Late Night

At about 9:15 tonight I had the urge to drag my art shit upstairs and give it another go. Yesterday morning I gave up on having an eventfully creative day after 2 failed attempts...I did the dishes and took a 3 hour nap instead. I thought for sure that the piece I started would be one that sat on a shelf for a few months until I was ready to give it a second glance, so I quickly jumped at the glimmer of energy I found this evening. It's funny because I usually go to bed by 9:30 or 10:00 and here I am, up at 12:17am, blogging.

So I scattered my papers, scissors and glue (photo above taken before that happened) and while I was blissfully clipping away, I started to think about what my next go-get-it move in life was going to be. It occurred to me that doing an art exhibition was probably a good direction to follow. It would be fun, challenging and somewhat nerve racking, which is exactly what I've been going for with this little life-enhancement-focus I've had over the past few months.
(yes, that's really how i hold my pen. tightly. yikes!) 

I haven't really mentioned it much on here because it's kind of weird to talk about, but I've been doing this exposure therapy/etc. stuff, with the help of a psychologist, and I have to say- it has been a huge help in multiple aspects of my life. In a nutshell, it's nice to be able to do things without worrying as much, although I never did consider myself to be overly-worried (even if I slept with a baseball bat, pepper spray, a kubaton, my cell phone, the chair against the door and two guard cats whenever Joe left town, until just recently...) but yeah- I've learned that you just have to do stuff and when you do stuff, you feel better about life, which is something I've always believed. Like that kayak rolling class I took last month or the solo canoe trip I hope to take this summer...both scary things, but both things that will lead to a great sense of accomplishment once completed.

So yes. I really want to do an art show but I don't know how to get started. I have a few ideas but I'm open to suggestions too. Oddly enough, I'm not nervous about what people think about my work in general, but more about being there when they are looking at it. I mean, if I was standing in front of a photo or a painting at somebody else's show and was openly admiring it and then found out that the cute guy with the nice jeans and thick rimmed glasses who was standing 2 feet away was the person who made it, I'd just about die and want to eat all the words that just fell out of my mouth. I'd probably blush for the rest of the hour. And if it was the cute guy with the nice jeans and dark rimmed glasses who was admiring my work, I'd probably drop a pen and then accidentally kick it so I could get the heck away from there. Haha, it looks like I still have some work to do before I'm all the way through this over-thinking thing. I guess what it comes down to is that I don't really care if they say bad things about it, but it's more about if they say good things. Is that weird?

Hmm. Anyway, the piece I'm working on right now is block print, paper and India ink. The only medium I care to work in these days seems to be mixed media. I really like it because I don't get bored. If I was just painting or just drawing or just printing, I would get bored. So I mix it up and cut. paste. print.

Oh. And while I was getting my craft on, I was listening to Pandora on my phone (ummm, I FINALLY HAVE A SMART PHONE. Did I tell you that yet?! OH man, my day to day is so much better now! For real. Way better. More on that later...) Annnyyway- what I was going to say is that I started thinking about how I might mention that I had been talking to somebody about improving my thinking/mood balance/etc. and then this song came on. Check out the title. I thought it was rather fitting, hahaha.

Oh and one last thing, because I feel like I have to give a disclaimer- I have learned that therapists/shrinks/psychs/whatever you want to call them (i still haven't found a word I like) aren't just for whack jobs, emotionally unstable people or those who have been through trauma, but also for those who just want feedback on their thought processes and how to improve their day to day thinking and interaction with others (which is where I categorize myself) and I'd highly recommend it if you are looking to become a better person. Okay, I'm done talking about awkward subjects now...please don't wonder about me too much, it's really weird to be posting this to the entire world. Off to bed.