Thursday, December 29, 2011

School Book

I made a book last spring with the express purpose of giving me a place to do some art journaling about my undergrad experience.


Monday, December 26, 2011

Dragonflies for Christmas

We had a lovely quiet Christmas. We both worked on Christmas Eve, then he worked on Christmas day. I had a quiet time, catching up on some projects and such. All in all a very nice time. The weather isn't very Christmasy, but I am not going to complain about it!! 
 Jason designed and built this cabinet for me for Christmas! I was so surprised and happy!
We got it hung up and I filled it with things which are precious to me.

I also went for a jog on Christmas. First real attempt at that, and it went well. I figure it was a year a go when my cousin and Aunt ran their first 5k, I should really get started!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Yes, I earned straight A's for the first time in my MSU college career in my first semester of grad school. It was a crazy four months, what with the new job and learning how best to handle the fact that I wasn't in class very much, but had to study twice as much, yet it worked out.
I know for a lot of people straight A's are just about as common as dandelions, but I was never able to commit myself to all those stinking gen ed classes! I didn't care what my grades were in the gen eds as long as I passed them. I strangely, perhaps stupidly, believed that what would count when trying to get into a grad program were my degree specific grades. I think I was wrong. But there are advantages to staying in Springfield and at MSU for a couple more years, so I am trying to make it count as much as I can.
Oddly enough I thought I would have time to blog at least once a week.
Obviously that didn't happen.
I'm not going to foolishly commit to any such thing either.
However, I do think that I could use this blog to help me reach my next important goal.
Last summer I did pretty good about going for a walk everyday. I was exercising a little almost everyday. Since school started I have done nothing. Nadda. Zip. I know in order to get healthy I need to exercise and eat right. Surprisingly enough, I have got the eating part down. I made myself about a months worth of meals, all healthy and full of veggies, and froze them. I have no excuses not to have an actual meal everyday, two even. :) I have noticed a difference. Now I need to up the ante and get moving.
I think once a week would be doable, but I'm not promising to blog that often once school starts. I will keep track of my daily activity, or at times lack of it, on a chart and then when I remember post it in my blog.
Fingers crossed, I hope this helps!
And YAY!!! for a good semester!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Bedded Down for the Winter

 Early last week I took advantage of a couple of warm days coinciding with a couple of days off and got the yard/gardens tucked in for the season.
 As you can see it was kind of a mess in the back 40, and the clean-up was much needed!
 This is the flower bed. The Castor Bean took over! I Loved this plant and will probably grow one every year for as long as I can.
 After I got the herb garden spruced up I had to take some photos of the little gnome.
 This is the flower bed ready for winter..... I hope. :)
 See, isn't that better? All the grass is trimmed and the dirt is turned, and the birds have some food.
And when there is a spot or two of warmth outside we can have a sit down and enjoy it. :)
This is the month of Thanksgiving. Many of my friends on Facebook are posting daily the things they are grateful for. I did something like that last year, but I am entirely too busy to commit to posting anything on a daily basis right now. I will say though that I am very grateful for the good old out doors, and for my parents encouragement of my love of gardening. Papa was always happy to let me help with gardening and encouraged me along in my first flower and herb bed adventures, and mom had such a good eye for beauty and what flowers and plants looked nice together. There are a lot of reasons I am thankful for my parents, but given the theme of this post I think it's good to point out this one.
And while I'm at it, I am exceedingly grateful to my husband for building garden beds for us/me. He is always so happy to help me with anything, even building me my very own garden tool box! I count myself as one of the luckiest, most blessed girls ever!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Let me tell you a Story

 It begins (well, this is not REALLY where it begins. It REALLY begins MONTHS ago ) on a beautiful sunny autumn day...
 Two happy love birds set forth into the unknown with a tuck and trailer loaded with their hard work and some camping gear...
 When they finally arrive at their destination and set up camp a fire is started and dinner happens, followed by delicious smores made from HUGE marshmallows, then a quick clean-up and to bed.... I would like to be able to show you a picture of the sky at night, it was AMAZING! Then they woke super early and crept to the showers of warmth to begin the longest day ever...
 Now, just because it was the longest day ever doesn't mean it was a bad day. It started out wonderful. We met Linda for breakfast and then headed to down-town Poplar Bluff to set up our shops. The balloons were provided and the day was beautiful. We met a lot of interesting people, and had a few sales, and learned a LOT about vending at an event.
 At one point I thought I could eat a baseball sized marshmallow in one bite....not so much! Which is a good analogy for the end of the day. See, we had to pack up everything, which wasn't so bad, then drive for four hours in the dark.....after being awake since 5am.... that WAS hard. THEN we got to unload everything! All told that day was really only about 22 hours long, but geesh! I don't think we'll do it quite that way again. Next time we will camp again. (I could camp every night)
This is what my life looks like now. And will do so for a few months....or more. I happen to like this view though, so it is good.
Life is good, and that is a perfect end to the story.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Melody Joy

Today is a day to celebrate! Today I am grateful for yet another year in the life of one of the best friends I have known. She is well loved by many, and deservedly so, but I would like to take a moment to mention a few of my favorite things about Melody Cutbirth.
She is courageous. I know of few people so willing to be vocal about their beliefs, and particularly about their beliefs about how we should treat each other. But boy howdy, you will learn to watch yourself around her! And I say Good!
She has a beauty that is so innate that she can't see it. It shines through in the way she cares for others, but mostly this gift flows through her dance and her writing.
She is also willing to try new and scary things in an effort to achieve bigger and better things for her life. I know how hard that is, and what a struggle it can be in the day to day living to just try and keep your nose above the waves, but she does it. Not only that, but she does it with grace, beauty and humanity.
I say watch out world: you ain't seen nothin' yet!!
Happy Birthday Melody!!

Saturday, September 17, 2011


My mom had many sayings. When I was a child I remember hearing, "If you have to ask, the answer is probably no." "It's no fun to pick on someone who doesn't react." "Just because so-and-so does it doesn't mean you can." and various other advisory type things. Most good moms use these phrases daily, and thank Heaven they do!
But I also remember hearing a lot of "I love you bunches and gobs and mountains full." "Nothing you ever do or say will change the fact that I love you now and I always will." "God's love is perfect, but I'll try to match it." "I love you, period." My mom is full of love for her daughters, and we will never doubt it or forget it! Happy Birthday Mom!! I'm so glad YOU are my mom (and I didn't get saddled with someone else!).

Sunday, September 11, 2011

This Day

I will never forget where I was on this morning Eight years ago. 
I had decided to go to my favorite place to watch the sunrise. 
I knew that day was special.
I knew that I was going to be an aunt again, and this time it would be a girl!!
I also knew I had to work.
So early in the morning I was up before the sun.
I went to my place and sat and as the sun rose I quietly sang my favorite lullabies and put the finishing touches on Serenity Anne Crousore's baby afghan.
9/11 is such a sad day for so many,
for me it is a beautiful day which I choose to spend in celebration.
Even when I can't be there physically, 
I always celebrate this day.
I always celebrate this girls life.
I love being her aunt.
Someday we will live closer and I hope we will be good friends.

Happy Birthday Serenity!!!

Sunday, August 28, 2011


I think this tray was intended to be a ravioli mold, but it works well as a color pallet too. This is the color scheme for two of the purses I've made thus far. I don't feel like I'm accomplishing enough. But I know even the poky puppy gets there eventually, and if I just keep at it, I'll get there.
Why do I need to keep poking along?
Jason and I are hoping to be among the crafters selling theirs goods at the Iron Horse Festival on Oct. 1. I say hoping because they haven't got back with us to confirm our place. It will be one day, and our first attempt at something like this. So I think we are both coming at it with the idea that this is an experiment. Hopefully a productive and good one!
One of the things I'll be selling are hand made purses made from recycled, or upcycled jeans. I'll also be putting them on Etsy when they are finished. Soon I'll post pictures of some of what I've done thus far.
I'll also have hats and button jewelry for sale. Beyond that I don't think I can go. Not with grad school in full swing. :)
Jason has been working away on all things wooden. I am so proud of him. We are both mostly work, work, work right now. It's a tad exhausting, but it feels good to see what we've produced and to know we are working toward our goals.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Quickie

 This is an unique spice rack from my parents. The spices in it were pretty old and so I discarded them and cleaned the whole thing.
 And now use it for seed beads. These are beads I had in bags or which were not well contained, some of them were even among the assortment of gifts I received this year for my birthday.
Including this lovely tea service and a tray hand made by my husband. I am one lucky girl!!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

My Man and His Tree

 Jason decided he needed to cut down a tree, by himself, with an ax. My Uncle Chris had offered for him to come and take wood from his property, so, that is what he did.  He had plans for making a spring-pole lathe which began with a freshly chopped tree...
So he chopped.
 And he chopped.
 Then he chopped the other side.
 I think he took it just a little bit farther than this before it started to fall.
 But then it got hung up on a smaller tree. So we went inside to take a break and visit with family. It was 102 degrees outside, so I decided hanging out in the house for a while was wise. Meanwhile Jason got right back out there and began working on getting the smaller tree down. 
 When I came back his tree was down! The chopping up into smaller pieces was done with a chainsaw. But because of the heat, the gas kept boiling, so we would rest while the little machine cooled down. 
Here you can see the loaded wood and other stuff. I was busy helping while we loaded and sawed the logs, so not surprisingly there are no pictures of those events. It was a hot day, and the work was hard, but now he can say he not only knows how to chop down a tree by hand, but has done so. 
Since then, he has been working away and making his lathe, so perhaps soon, I will show you what his tree became.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


I'm four weeks in and still walking at least 4 days a week, the last two weeks I walked 5 days. I'm consistently walking 2 miles each day and have decided to keep it at that for a while. I had wanted to bump it up to 4 miles before school starts, and I think I will get up to 4 miles before the end of this year, but I know if I push too much right now it will be that much easier to quit.

I like the walk. There are a couple of spots where the air turns a bit putrid, but it is bearable and doesn't last. And it is completely worth it to walk among trees and to see all the different birds. It is incredible to me that so close to our house are birds that I never see in our yard. But there they are every morning, chirping and darting and being birds, not an apparent care in the world, not even when the bikes go zooming by with no warning.

I'm also eating about 4 small meals a day, sometimes three, but I try to aim for four. I am finding that for the most part I do have more energy and an overall better feeling about life. So I am going to stick with it and see what happens.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Spice Cabinets Part 1

 This is the watermelon stage.
 Watermelon with doors.

 Then I layered the paint.

 Did a bit of sanding...
 Put screens on the doors...
 Sanding detail, also, we won't use that kind of wood for anything that needs detailed jigsaw work again...

It's basically done! Just need to put the hangers on it and hang it. 

One of the first questions I wanted to answer about Spice Cabinets was about their origins. When was the first Cabinet used, by whom, and what did it look like? Strangely enough the answer to all of those is a bit illusive. I can find lots of information about the history of the Spice trade, but to find information about the history of Spice storage, that is going to require a bit more digging. But digging is good for me. I'm excited to spend a part of each day digging around and learning more about how to find this type of information. I remember learning to write a research paper in ENG 210, and thinking, this is fun, and kind of easy, just a lot to read. Well, now that I'm applying those skills to a subject which has received less press, and by press I mean the usual suspects, papers, journals and the like, I find that this is going to be tricky. I will need to read up on more than just Spice and Cabinets, but kitchens and valuables and how they were kept.

So, I will give you my assumptions thus far, based on what little I have found at this point. For instance, Spices have been used in so many ways in human history, as flavoring, medicine, perfume, and currency, to name a few. Have you noticed the similarities between the Spice Cabinets pictured and the medicine Cabinet found behind many a bathroom mirror? I don't have all the evidence that I want yet, but I think that there were several obvious reasons why Spices had to be kept separate. For one thing they are pungent, and need to be kept individually to retain their potency, so the storage had to have compartments. Before the industrial age, when bottles and canisters could be mass produced, it seems that drawers where a good way to keep them separate from each other and yet in the same box or Cabinet, so as to also keep them under lock and key. I'm finding some evidence that some still use drawers for their Spices, particularly in India.

Given that Spices were valuable, at one point in time a pound of peppercorns was worth nine fat cows. I know, a pound of peppercorns is a LOT of pepper, but nine fat cow's worth? The first part of the video linked below show us a reproduction of a Spice Cabinet from early America which has two secret compartments for other valuables. I have read in many historical novels about the butler, or head manservant having the key, or needing to obtain the key from his master, to the Spice Cabinet for the household. This makes me think that the information is attainable; surely they wouldn't just make that stuff up, right? (I am grinning a bit of a Cheshire grin about this idea).

 The search continues, and as it does, I keep thinking about something much more abstract, and yet possibly just as interesting. What would we keep in our Spice Cabinets? I don't mean what Spices, but if we had a Spice Cabinet that contained at least representations of what we value as highly about our lives as those of old valued their Spices, what would be filling our Cabinets? There are so many ways to go with that. Spices are and were a physical commodity, so we could look at the physical "things" in our lives that we value. And those things might also be what add a bit of "Spice" to our lives. But what I keep going back to is, what about ourselves do we value? Our courage? Strength? Compassion? What attributes or character traits do we value about ourselves, and/or want to see more of in ourselves? And how would we represent them, if we could, in our own personal Spice Cabinet?

Spice Cabinet of Early America