Thistle Dew…

Thistle Dew

This’ll Do.

That little phrase… a play on words, really…
first gave a name to our little farmette,
and then to our business.

That phrase had connotations of contentment,
of making do, of being satisfied, of just enough…
of a Goldilocks sort of not too big, not too small,
not too hard, not to soft, not to hot, not too cold…

…Just right.

Thistle Dew was a balance our family was seeking, of living life at a speed in which we could enjoy the moments. A merry-go-round that was moving along at a good pace, but going slowly enough that you could step off from time to time without fear of injury. Where you could grab a friend and jump back on for a bit of fun, walk around on the ride and choose a different horse, and even wave and talk to those on the ground.

Somewhere along the way, the merry-go-round
morphed into a dizzying tilt-a-whirl.

Activities became obligations and our calendars filled to the brim. Every day held something important… sometimes several somethings. The To-Do List was growing by leaps and bounds and seemed to be taking on a life of its own. At the same time, our closets and cubbies and attic and under-the-beds became over-stuffed and overflowing. We multi-tasked and scheduled and organized and pedaled as hard and as fast as we could, but eventually realized we were getting tired of the too much and needed the just enough again.

Just enough for what really matters…

Family

Friends

Angels Unaware

A while back, we realized we needed time to laugh and drink tons of coffee and hold little hands and take naps and bake cookies and just plain be. We began the process of clearing clutter and our schedules to make some space for real living, as well as the possibility of new and exciting adventures. We wanted to be able to say “Yes” to the right things instead of “Sorry… there’s no room… I don’t have time…” Not that our lives would not be sometimes hectic or that we would reach some sort of slow living utopia, but so we would have time to breath and enjoy life.

Last year, I chose “Home” as my one word for 2013. Looking back, I think focusing on Home, and everything it meant to us, was an important step in us getting back to just enough….

…to “this’ll do.”

Thistle Dew…

…My new/old One Word/Phrase for 2014

Snipping

Makeover…

Okay.

So, the May issue of Country Living Magazine was my favorite issue EVER.

I’m not kidding.

Chalkboards and maps and globes and typewriters and
filing cabinets and drawers with labels and birdhouses
and paperclips and postcards and suitcases and desks…

…all the weird things I pick up in antique shops
and how to put them together in a room!

I had barely put that issue down when my Mom called and said
Lavender and Lace,
the antique shop just down the road from us,
had something that I seriously needed to see.

So I went, I saw, and I bought it.

FileCabinet

A mid-century, well-worn, awesomely aqua filing cabinet…
…very much like the one on the cover of the May issue of CL mag!

I’m guessing it was from a small museum in West Virginia…

Stems

It had been used for storing nature objects and fossils…

Fossils

… but now needed a bit of TLC.

CloseUp

So, Hubby made some new drawer bottoms…

Drawers

… And I removed the hardware…
…Very Carefully… it was old, fragile plastic.

Hardware

I managed to pry off the hard rubber logo from the top… also very fragile!

Brand

We had a little black spray paint left from a previous project…

Paint

… and it took a little thoughtin’ to figure out how to paint the brass nails…

Nails

… and it worked perfectly!

PaintNails

I gave the drawer fronts a few coats of fresh aqua paint…
…left over from the upstairs bedroom remodels!

UpClose

And now it’s ready to fill with all sorts of Art Room Stuff!

Finished

Nothing like a little inspiration and some leftover paint!

MagazineCover

Nooks and Crannies…

Where did February go?!?

Most of it went to straightening up, sorting through, giving away, tossing out, and putting back. And I’m still at it. Somewhere around the time that our girls became teenagers, and through the years of girlfriends and sleepovers, Civil War Balls and high school activities, and gentleman callers and courtships and weddings, and empty nest shufflings and me returning to college… the house got filled up with stuff. We could still squish most of it into closets and cupboards, and give it a “lick and a promise” cleaning when company came over, but in the back of my mind, I knew what was lurking behind cupboard doors and in spare rooms. Stuff, stuff, and more stuff.

MessyCupboard

This one was stuffed to the brim with homeschool resources.
Earlier today, the top shelf looked worse then the bottom.

Books

There were lots of books I used as resources for art courses…

Papers

… And lots of papers and such.

:-P

After a bazillion trips to the Thrift Shop to donate stuff, phone calls to daughters to see what is really important, e-mails to friends to see if they want any of this stuff, re-readings of all the books on my “get organized” shelf, umpteen bags of non-donatable things headed to the dumpster, and several storage box purchases at the new Dollar General down the street, I’m seeing some light at the end of the stuff tunnel. I’m down to just the stuff in various unorganized cupboards. However, when I tackle a cupboard here near the end of the battle, it seems like I pull it all out, sort it into piles, and put most of it back. Hmph.

We have a couple of rainy days heading our way…
…I’m hoping a few stay-inside-and-hibernate days will
give me the chance to conquer the clutter monster once and for all.

I am quite determined.

A Resolution, of sorts…

I actually like to make New Year’s Resolutions.

They sort of make you feel like there’s a possibility
of getting your act together, once and for all.

And then January 2nd rolls around.

A couple of weeks ago, I read a blog post about
choosing just one word for the  new year.

And that sounded a lot easier than making normal resolutions…

… And a lot harder.

And maybe a little over simplified…

…But…

…Was there just one thing that I needed to focus on this year?

…Something the Lord had placed on my heart
that I might have neglected in my busy-ness?

It took quite a bit of thought, and a whole scribbly mess of words
being jotted down, circled, grouped together, and crossed off.

And one word began to stand out…

Home

And that one word led to a bunch of words
that encompass the idea of Home.

I’m sure there are more.

Beyond the Empty Nest
and the “What Now?”
Home has been waiting patiently.

image

Shiny Sink…

Do you know FlyLady?

Love her for her organizational wisdom!

Her #1 Baby Step for getting your act together…

Shine Your Sink.

I made a good sized dent in the Art Room Clutter yesterday morning, and today, decided to start at the “Sink” end of the room, and move toward the “Step” end, in one controlled swoop. My Art Room used to be our attached one-car garage that has never, ever had a car in it… It was Hubby’s workshop until he moved it to the horse barn. (Poor guy… Pretty tight quarters there too! But there is room for expansion!) We opened up a wide doorway from the garage into our dining room.

Best thing/Worst thing we ever did.

Best, because I like to work in my living space.
…Not up in a lonely spare room away from everything that is
going on. I can check on dinner, scan things on the computer,
be there for my family when needed,
or fold a load of laundry in between coats of paint.

Worst, because I like to work in my living space.
…And the stove and dryer beep at me when I’m working on
something really intricate, and I sometimes get distracted,
and the Art Room mess tends to migrate up the steps and
into the places that we should keep ready for company.

All that to make the point that the sink is on one end of the Art Room.

And here it is in all its clean, lovely, shiny splendor…

ShinySink

I LOVE this sink.

It’s an antique…
…Pulled out of a remodel job my Dad did, destined for the dump.

But Dad knew it belonged in my house.

It has a few well-worn places, and a couple of chips in the enamel,
but it looks perfect sitting on top of the retro-style cabinets that Hubby built.

A white sink in an Art Room needs a LOT of tending…
Black paint really does a number on it,
but Ajax and elbow grease can work wonders.

Good storage is needed there too…

This vintage cheese box is a great way to corral all the bottles of
stuff needed to clean dirty brushes and messy kids’ hands…

SinkStorage

And a little reminder for myself adds a bit of humor to my day…

Inspiration

Typo intended.

:-D

What do you do first, when trying to get a “clean slate” in a room?

A Place for Everything…

A place for everything,
And everything in its place.

That is one of my life goals.

Obviously, I still have some work to do.

After a busy Fall season, my desk is a mess…

MessyDesk

And our Work Table is even worse…

MessyTable

I usually do NOT show “Before” pictures, but thought you might
like to know that being an artist is not all Glitz and Glam.

Though… if you look really close, you’ll see there actually is quite a
bit of “glitz” on the table, stuck to things it’s not supposed to be stuck to.

It’s even stuck to me…. My nose, forehead, hands, shoes, etc.

:-D

Creativity is not necessarily tidy.

BUT… I do like order, when I can manage to achieve it! I’m still working to find the perfect place for everything, and having a spot to put things away helps when the clean-up process begins. You can make a huge dent in a big mess when there’s an easy-to-use organizational system. I keep looking for really cute, vintage-y ways to organize in the art room. Drawers are my favorite, since all you have to do is open them up and drop things into them…

FramingSupplies

WaxPaper

LittleDrawers

Jars are a favorite too…
These get shuffled around quite a bit, as I grab a jar of color!

Watercolor pencils on the top shelf,
Prismacolors on the bottom.

MyRainbow

The green bread box below is filled with small tools.
Patterns in the red “Martha” binders.

There’s even a small jar in the hutch filled with kitty whiskers.

I thought they might come in handy some day.

You never know.

PencilsTools

And every studio needs some “Flat Storage.”
This old fridge comes in handy to keep larger items safe.

FlatStorage

And smaller papers have a place to be as well…

PaperStorage

Now, if I could just learn to “clean as I go” when working on art!

“After” pictures coming another day…

Do Great Things…

We all want to do great things.

To have some great accomplishment, some “I did it”
worthy of being engraved on our tombstone.

But maybe somewhere along the line, the price tags got switched,
and what is now considered “great” is really not so great,
and what is considered mundane is really pretty awesome.

I ran into this blog post this morning.

I often complain blog about my “To Do List.”

About how long it is, and how in the world
I got myself into all the things I get myself into,
and how to get it all done  on time and
before somebody calls to see if it’s done yet.

But then… maybe I didn’t get myself into those things,
but instead was placed there for a reason
by Someone who had something to teach me.

It may have been to teach me that the last “To Do List,”
the one before that was filled with really mundane things
like snotty noses and dust bunnies and piles of dirty dishes
were actually the real Great Things.

Soooo…

I guess whatever our hand is finding to do,
is exactly what we should be doing at this very moment.

And it is a Gift.

The Gift of “Now.”

Shuffling Stuff…

Seems like we’ve been shuffling quite a bit of stuff around here lately! Art supplies and picture frames. Summer clothes and Winter clothes. Suitcases and purses. College texts and library books. Weeds and sweet potato slips. And as soon as possible, I’m hoping to shuffle some furniture. Including two pianos. That will definitely make the blog.

Being quite an expert Stuff Shuffler, last night
I started The Great Blog and Website Makeover.

It was time.

It was overdue.

I had been tired of the dark, primitive look of our website and blog, and wanted to freshen things up a bit. I’d been chatting with my girls for a few months about this idea, trying to brainstorm ideas for a new look. My papercuttings and silhouettes definitely lean to the “historic” side, but I really like bright happy colors. Kate and I have been watching Etsy Success videos. Jordan and I got to skim through some magazines and play with paint chips during our trip out West. Both girls suggested I make a mood board or collage of favorite colors and images. I started that, but I think it was more in my head than on paper. I wanted to incorporate…

White space

Antique images

Lime Green

Old Time Fonts

Simplicity

Etsy

And… many hours later… I think it’s just about there.

Please excuse the dust as I shuffle lots of pictures around. One main decision we made was to move the shop over to Etsy. I’ve had a really hard time keeping up with oodles of special orders, as well as all the pages on my shop, and adding things to Etsy too. So, I figured having everything in one spot would help simplify life. We’re trying to fill up our Gallery on Tumblr with old designs, and will take orders if life is not too crazy at the time, but our goal is to have a shop with things ready to ship. So there’s still lots of picture taking and uploading  to do, but at least the main reorganization is done!

Have fun exploring…
And let me know if you find any broken links!

Just a few things…

I’ve been slowly cleaning up and reorganizing the Art Room, and am discovering all sorts of interesting things! Found a whole drawer full of rubber stamps and embossing stuff that I might use some day, a jar of kitty whiskers (Really. I had a plan for those.), and Cuisenaire Rods… just in case I need to teach basic math concepts to a random first grader. Also discovered lots of partially finished papercuttings and artwork that never made it into frames.

…And I found a whole bunch of prints that we had made a
while back, and forgot about because they were on a high shelf!

So, for the sake of making room in my creative space, I listed the prints for sale on Our Etsy Shop, as well as on our Sweet Remembrances Shop Page! Each is available as a print only, as well as “finished and framed.” Check ‘em out!

And…

Something Else…

of Great Importance…

A little friend of ours named Lilly was in a terrible car accident last summer, and suffered brain injury from the trauma. The doctors didn’t think she would survive her injuries, but she’s a fighter, and showed them they were wrong! She is doing great, but still needs daily therapy, and she and her Mom travel hours every day back and forth to the only children’s hospital in our state. We’re trying to help in a small way by selling notecards for Lilly… all proceeds, minus printing costs, go directly to her family. If you would like to purchase any of the notecards, please Contact Us, and we’ll get them out to you right away!

Set of Five Notecards & Envelopes
$8, plus $2 shipping
(Shipping adjusted for multiple packages.) 

Thanks!!!

Even Miracles Take a Little Time
~Lilly’s favorite quote from Cinderella~

Fluff in me lungs…

That was pretty much the state of things yesterday. Inspired by a wonderful post about Spring Cleaning on my friend Cheryl’s blog, and the fact that it wasn’t snowing and the sun was actually shining, Kate and I set about tackling the “Work Room.” It’s a sweet little room upstairs that is landlocked by the bedrooms and bathroom.

The Work Room started out as the place we painted frames and worked on crafts, thus the title. Then we started homeschooling, and I thought it was the perfect place to hide all the schooling stuff, so it became our One House School Room. (Pun intended.) Then we realized we couldn’t stay tucked away upstairs all day, so school spilled down the stairs and into the family areas. Then we got into sewing and it became a sewing room. And then the girls got into Civil War reenacting, so the piles of authentic fabric and trims grew higher, and the cubbies were filled with tents and blankets and tin plates and cast iron pans. And I forgot to mention the Work Room doubles as a library. And a place to stick things that there is no place for downstairs.

It’s pretty much impossible to work in there.

Or walk in there.

Our cat thinks it’s a grand adventure to go exploring in there.

I won’t be showing ANY “before” pictures.

Nonetheless, Kate and I fearlessly ventured into the Work Room yesterday morning, with the intention of cleaning out some of the clutter. Or at least of finding the floor. And we did! At least almost. We sorted, donated, threw away lots of stuff, and de-fluffed most of the room. There’s still more to do, but it feels good to look in the door. Hubby was definitely impressed, and took our giant throw-away pile straight to the dumpster. I think he was concerned we would change our minds about some things. This is not the first time we’ve attempted to tame this room… but I don’t think we’ve ever made so much progress in one morning. Today we claimed more territory, and there wasn’t quite as much fluff to deal with. Spring cleaning feels good.

Speaking of Spring… I’m beginning to have hope about its arrival. It has to come, eventually. Even though March has come in like a lamb, we’re thinking Spring as hard as we can. We’re currently under a “Wintry Mix” sort of forecast, but I’ve got a bit o’green on my palette…

May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
And rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.