The Last Six Weeks…

The Last Six Weeks have involved…

(… in no particular order…)

(…actually in a random-what-in-the-world
sort of order even though I planned things to
be done very quickly and fastly and orderly…)

(Spellcheck doen NOT  like the non-word “fastly.”)

Okay… here’s the list…

Moving the fridge into a new kitchen.

Moving the freezer into the family room.

Moving the freezer into the new kitchen.

Moving the stove into the new kitchen.

Moving a huge section of our old kitchen
cabinets into the new kitchen.

Creating a giant hole in the old kitchen
where the old cabinets used to be.

Needing to re-tile a floor.

Needing to build a wall.

Needing to build upper cabinets
in the new kitchen.

Putting together two sets of bunk beds.

Filling them with a variety of children.

Nine children , to be exact, in various configurations.

Lego’s, Barbies, Disney movies, kiddie pools,
the park, the beach, the state fair,
play-dough, trains, dolls, and balls.

Nosebleeds, bruised shins, fevers,
arthritis, coughs, and a bad sore throat.

Not quite enough time with my new grandboy.
Or to chat with my big grand boys.
Or  with my girls or my mom.
Or my BFF’s.

Finding out some things that I just can’t handle.
And some things I thought I couldn’t handle but did.
And lived to laugh about it.
And also to cry about it.

Feeling like I wasn’t able to help those around me
because I was helping those around me.

And most of all, learning to make do at the moment,
to adapt where needed, ignore the imperfect,
and take a nap whenever possible.

And then, just when the house was quiet again…
…although the dust hasn’t settled yet…
…and probably won’t for a while…

… a wonderful GIFT came in the mail…


Mary Ostyn from Owl Haven
emailed me a week or so ago to let me know
that I had won a give-away on her blog!

A brand new copy of Myquillyn Smith’s
(a.k.a The Nester)
new book…

The Nesting Place!!!

Let me tell, that book came at just the right time.
Coupled with some strong coffee, it was just what I needed
to gather my gumption and begin to put my imperfectly
messy (and slightly sticky) home back together.

(Heavy on the “begin” part, mind you, because the
aforementioned  sore throat belongs to me.
So some of the gumption is only in my head.)

I’m reading… and re-reading… every page of this decorating book
that was written for those of us who have lived-in homes.
(Which is funny, because I’m a “picture-looker-atter”
when it comes to decorating books… not usually a reader!)

So thank-you-thank-you-thank-you-thank-you
to Mary and Myquillyn for the much needed picker-upper!!!

Fresh Starts…

Don’t you love fresh starts?

January always feels like an empty notebook to me,
and it’s a good time to start a new art journal!


I’ve discovered that slightly bumpy plane rides are perfect for drawing wiggly branches. I’m trying to think of turbulence in a positive light.

…It’s all a matter of perspective, I guess!


And, though it’s hard to sketch in tight quarters,
having compact art supplies helps a bunch…


I found these a few years ago at Barnes & Noble and they’re still available!

Having a whole day of travel gave me the opportunity to get a new journal going for this year. I’m going with my “Home” theme…
…Nesting, Dwelling, and Being.

If you need some ideas for art journaling, scroll down on the sidebar here, and click on the “Art Journaling” category! Lots of things to get you started!

Or visit this wonderful blog

There’s a translator button on the sidebar…

What a beautiful, creative blog… Can’t wait to see their art journal develop throughout this upcoming year! Thanks for stopping by, Annemieke!

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…


And our Work Table is even worse…


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.


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…




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.


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.


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


And smaller papers have a place to be as well…


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

“After” pictures coming another day…

Moving into December!

Well, I didn’t quite finish the Pie from Scratch series in October… or in November… but have decided that I will save those last few posts for later. November orders, a couple of shows, and preparing Christmas designs have taken their toll on me! I am still working on the book, and it got off to a great start during the 31 Days Project, so I feel that, Lord willing, it will be ready for publication in just a few months! I also learned that one should be working on a “Fall” book the Winter before… There is quite a bit of lead time needed in just the printing prep and publishing period. As things progress, I’ll stick up those last posts! I think they’ll be much better quality and have more information about making a book than if I just try to finish the posts quickly.

So… moving on…


I started working on some new Christmas designs
just before Thanksgiving, with this little watercolor…

Comfort and Joy Watercolor

It’s still not finished, but it has inspired plans for a
“Comfort & Joy” Collection!

First… a paper cutting, of course…


There might be some more tiny Comfort & Joy cuttings,
but my thoughts are leaning toward some printed things!

Gift Tags… Notecards… Christmas Cards…

Why don’t I think of these things in August?

And, in a moment of sheer insanity,
I revisited the little cuttings for pendants…


These are hand cut, hand painted, and REALLY tiny…


… But they have possibilities!


And they should be showing up in
our shop in the next few days!

And in other news, I bought a new toy…


…Which I think might also have possibilities!

It was not supposed to arrive to arrive until next week,
and amazingly showed up LATE last night!

The UPS Guy scared the soup out of me when he knocked
on the door at that hour! He practically ran across the porch…

Thump! Thump! Thump!

Poor guy… I guess late nights are standard issue this time of year.

But alas… We have a show tomorrow and are frantically prepping.

Can’t play with it for a few days.


Come visit us tomorrow at…

Christmas in Odessa!

We’ll be in the Craft Show at the
Appoquinimink Training Center!

(Spell Check went crazy over that one!

Our girl Katie D. of
Corner Chair
will be there too!

A Word Fitly Spoken…

A few weeks ago, a blogger that I had never met before asked if she could use one of my papercuttings as an image in an upcoming post on “How we use our words.” And I said, “Sure!” because that’s a topic that is near and dear to my heart. Donna Farley of The Rafter’s Scriptorium just let me know that the post is up. It is part of a synchroblog (That’s a new word for me!) where a group of bloggers are posting on the same topic. There are some very thoughtful posts linked there, and reading them this morning got the wheels turning in my head. Which can be dangerous.


In today’s time, words are plentiful, but most of them are not “fitly spoken.” There is a plethora of sarcasm out there. Snarliness and snarkiness are commonplace. Cursing abounds, as do euphemisms for curse words. I often wonder, “Do they KNOW what that word is short for?!” Dirty jokes are e-mailed back and forth and posted on Facebook. Humor is “in your face” and often crude. And even in our close relationships, we kid and tease each other with cutting remarks. Where are we going with all this?

The only place I know to go is to THE Word.

There’s plenty of Wisdom to be found in the Bible on the subject of our words. What I find there is that controlling our tongues doesn’t just mean waiting until the kids are playing in the other room before you tell that joke. Or saying something good about someone to their face and then tearing them apart when they walk away. Or using a euphemism when you mean the real thing. No, our words go deeper. All the way to the heart.

Let the words of my mouth,
and the meditations of my heart,

be acceptable in Thy sight,
O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.
~Psalm 19:14~

Rest assured… if this verse is highlighted in my Bible, it’s for a good reason. Because I need to flip by that page every once in a while and see it there all colored in bright red. I’ve had my share of snappy moments, believe me. I’ve gotten on the soapbox of sarcasm more times than I’d like to admit. But He’s still working on me… and thankfully, that Still Small Voice tugs at my heartstring when I go over the line.

Many years ago, I read Proverbs 25: 11 for the first time…

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.

…And it made absolutely no sense at all to me. Not even grammatically. It was like the road sign “Bridges ice before highways.” As a kid, I could NOT figure out what that meant, but now as a grown-up, I can’t figure out what was so confusing about it. Of course bridges ice before highways. Same with the “apples of gold” verse. Now it makes perfect sense. It’s highlighted in red too.

God’s Word gives us some excellent advice concerning how we speak, and if I could encourage anyone to do anything, it would be to encourage others with your words. In this day of bullying and sarcasm and just plain meanness, an encouraging word from us can build others up instead of tearing them down like the rest of the world is doing. As a wife, mother, daughter, sister, grandmother, friend, and neighbor… and as a Christian… it really helps me to remember to keep this as a goal…

She opens her mouth with wisdom
and in her tongue is the law of kindness.

Proverbs 31: 26

That’s also highlighted in red. As you can tell, I need LOTS of reminders!

Day 14 – ReFeathering by Catching up!

One of the main things we’ve been doing the past few weeks is playing “Catch Up.” The Great Bedroom Swap is going slowly because of that. I’m guessing that catching up on things is probably a big part of every empty nest, especially after the flurry of sending a child off to college or to their own nest. So due to a ginormous List of Things That Must Be Accomplished Today, I thought perhaps a quick post about catching up might be appropriate.

A Partial List, 
in Numerical Order of Importance.

1. Study for Spanish II test that is tomorrow
(Could also use prayer for that!)

1.Work on Big Framing Order
(Sherry, if you’re out there checking on the blog,
we laughed so hard yesterday when another
picture to frame arrived in the mail!)

1. Prep for show next weekend
at Belmont Hall 

1. Finish donation for Lilly’s Benefit
(If you can help Lilly’s family in any way,
I know it will be be a blessing to them!)

1. Vacuum…  it’s getting a bit crunchy around here
(Hey, I did wash the dishes!)

Sometimes life seems to speed ahead like an 18-Wheeler going down a mountain without brakes, and we find ourselves wondering how we got so busy, or how we got so behind, or how we got strapped onto the grill of the truck. And there’s no sense in fussing or fuming about it it, because it only makes things worse and everyone around you miserable. The only thing to do is the next thing. Life IS crazy sometimes, but it’s okay, because it’s still life… and it’s precious. And perhaps part of learning to be the Empty Nest “us” is going to be continuing to find balance and playing “Catch Up” when necessary.

And by catching our breath when we can.

Below is a favorite poem that I heard Elisabeth Elliot mention more than once. I’m not sure of the original author, but when I Googled it so I could find all the words, I also found another 31 Day-er who mentioned the idea in her post a few days ago! (Going to have to check out more of those posts on Getting It Together!)

“Doe The Next Thynge”

From an old English parsonage down by the sea
There came in the twilight a message to me;
Its quaint Saxon legend, deeply engraven,
Hath, it seems to me, teaching from Heaven.
And on through the doors the quiet words ring
Like a low inspiration: “Do the next thing.”

Many a questioning, many a fear,
Many a doubt, hath its quieting here.
Moment by moment, let down from Heaven,
Time, opportunity, and guidance are given.
Fear not tomorrows, child of the King,
Trust them with Jesus, do the next thing.

Do it immediately, do it with prayer;
Do it reliantly, casting all care;
Do it with reverence, tracing His hand
Who placed it before thee with earnest command.
Stayed on Omnipotence, safe ‘neath His wing,
Leave all results, do the next thing.

Looking for Jesus, ever serener,
Working or suffering, be thy demeanor;
In His dear presence, the rest of His calm,
The light of His countenance be thy psalm,
Strong in His faithfulness, praise and sing.
Then, as He beckons thee, do the next thing.

Christmas things in the works…

Hello Folks! We’ve been trying to get in the Christmas mood lately, since we have a couple of shows coming up, and will need to have Christmas-y sorts of things on the table!

We’re going to be at…

and also at…

Christmas in Odessa

So, that means lots of Christmas carols playing around here for inspiration. Haven’t broken out the hot chocolate or mulled cider yet, but that’s next.


This morning, I took a few minutes and added our current Christmas designs to our Tidings of Comfort and Joy shop page. And a few on our Miniature Papercuts page. There’s still a bit more to come, so keep a watch on it… my scissors are still snipping…

Oh, my gosh, my golly
It’s time for mistletoe and holly…

(…and maybe a bit of pine too!)

Something a little different…

One of our General Store ladies, Miss Charlene, requested some papercut shells a while back, and I was a bit pokey about designing them. Actually, they seemed a little scary, so I procrastinated. However, I’ve been tackling projects one-at-a-time the past few days, and once I got the first one cut, the designs really took shape! There are a few more to come, but here are the “just cut, not painted” versions! The staining and painting will be very light, and the frames will be aqua blue, with some antiquing.

© Kim Frey 2010

(Hey, I just figured out how to make a copyright symbol on my Mac keyboard!)

American Folk Art Theme Update!

We have been diligently searching for signs of Spring. It’s starting to feel slightly Spring-like, and the rain smells like a Spring rain. I have a feeling if Spring every really and truly busts loose there’s going to be a great amount of rejoicing on the East Coast! It will be The Most Anticipated Spring Ever. I went out this morning to check on the state of the daffodils… my youngest daughter’s very favorite flower. Perhaps that’s because daffodils are such hopeful flowers. I found some that were pushing up through the mushy soil, but no blooms yet.

And while taking the shot, I had a helper. Actually, I think she was wet and wanted to dry herself off on my pantleg.

Having found no actual daffodils, I thought I’d just make some myself. They’ll have to do for now!

Hop on over to American Folk Art for the March Hare theme update! Today at noon!

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.