Category Archives: doing what you love


2 STAR art

For the past several days I’ve been working hard, doing lots of ‘shoulds.’

I am now caught up on bookkeeping and tax records through March. The garden is weeded and harvested. The yard looks like someone actually lives here. The aquarium water is still clean. And the list goes on, though the to-do list continues to grow.

As a reward for my efforts, I’m going to give myself permission to play in my art room today. I have some ideas that have been rattling around in my brain lately. I’m even DREAMING about some of them.

I’m going to forget about all that is going on (because I am lucky enough that I can put it aside – at least for a bit) and I will enjoy throwing some paint around.

I MAY do some work today, but the focus will be trying to get at least SOME of the paint on the project!

Happy Wednesday!

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Filed under doing what you love, playing in my art room

Just Dance

The Enchanted Portal

I love this.

Last year at some point I decided to QUIT feeling buried in things I SHOULD be doing and to consciously incorporate some fun into every possible day, whether it be working outside in my flowers or veggies, playing in my art room, sitting in my recliner with coffee and a book, sitting on my porch or the deck just doing nothing….

I have to tell you it’s been a really good thing for me. I feel MUCH less stressed, and HAPPIER.

I’m still a slob and will never get awards for my house being clean all at the same time, but I realized that if I killed myself and things were ready for House Beautiful to come photograph, it really didn’t matter. My husband didn’t notice. The people who came didn’t say anything. I had the satisfaction of a job well done for a minute, but only a minute – for it seemed as if everyone – humans and animals alike – conspired to mess things up again as soon as possible. I figured I could 1) get angry that they were messing things up and yell at them, or 2) go for a reasonably clean most of the time and not stress over it. Since I adopted the latter I’ve been much happier, too.

Now I do something on my SHOULD or NEED TO list, and then I do something fun. It may be only for a short time before I do something else on the list, but then I consciously relax and do something for me.

It’s a happier life ‘dancing to the beat in my soul.’



Filed under Attitude, Changes, doing what you love, Encouragement, taking care of yourself

I Love My Life!

Anwar B – Linked In

I may have indicated before – or you probably have picked it up by yourself – that I’m a very spoiled woman. :0)

My husband and I are retired, meaning that we can now decide what we want to do most days. We are so busy now that we honestly can’t figure out how we got everything done when we both worked full-time, many times with my husband in another part of the country on a work contract.

I honestly can’t imagine being bored. See what I mean? I’m SPOILED.

I have SO many things I want to do each day that I don’t have the time or the energy. I also have the wonderful freedom to decide to do NOTHING.

I honestly love my life, moving between online things – friends to chat with, my ArtFire site, my new Etsy site, this blog, plus watching webinars and YouTube to learn new things until my poor head explodes, playing in my art room, working outside in my greenhouse, my flower planters, my veggie garden… reading all kinds of wonderful books, watching TV and movies with my husband, planning and implementing new projects with him, such as, mailbox decorations, stained glass projects, mosaics, and more.

This coming school year, starting in August, we’ll be the host parents of Alessandro, a 16-year-old boy from Italy who loves soccer. This will open up a whole new world of attending sports matches, events, shows, and such at the school, meeting the friends he makes and hopefully will invite to our home, going places we don’t take time to visit when we’re by ourselves, taking him to his friends’ homes, cooking a LOT more – and differently… A teenager-centered home after some 25 years.

Happily, we’re pretty healthy for our ages, and getting healthier, since we’re trying to lose the lard and exercise. We want to feel good enough to enjoy our lives, not be crawling back and forth from doc to doc, feeling lousy and our world becoming smaller due to that.

Today I’m bouncing between some very much needed housework – to errands – to cutting up strawberries – to my art room – to my veggie garden – to weed whacking – to re-reading a loved book – to catching up with friends via email – to talking to our son, who is across the world from us.

Did I tell you I love my life?

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Filed under Awe-Inspiring Photography, Cause for Celebration, doing what you love, Favorite Things, Feeling Spoiled

Making More Mel’s Mix

Bored Panda

I started topping off the six 4 foot x 4 foot wooden raised planters in our garden the other day and ran out of one of the ingredients, so had to stop.

Mel’s Mix is a creation of Mel Bartholomew, author of Square Foot Gardening. He has created a mixture that plants love, allowing people like me to bypass my poor, almost non-existent soil on top of our ridge line and grow veggies.

We took his suggestions to the next level, since I’m getting long-in-the-tooth, and built planter boxes at my chest level, filling them with the mix so I don’t have to bend over or get down on my hands and knees. Ahhhh!

Mel’s Mix is a combination of peat moss, Vermiculite, and several different types of compost. I’m using cotton burr, barnyard, and mushroom – plus the compost we make ourselves, from time to time.

I was going to try to finish getting my planters ready yesterday after we replenished our supply of Vermiculite. Amber, our 94-pound lab ‘puppy’ changed my plans by running into me full speed, knocking me flat on my back into the gravel and grass between our house and the shop. Since we were going bowling last night with friends, all I did yesterday was put one of the bags of Vermiculite in the lidded trash can and then nurse my wounds and rest.

I’m going out now to make more Mel’s Mix and see if I can finish the additions to each of the six planter boxes that make up our raised bed square foot garden. Our newest tool addition is a very used portable concrete mixer. I dump all the ingredients into the mixer, then turn it on and let it mix everything up, then dump the mix into a trash can to take to the garden and put into one of the planters. I used to put everything in a wheelbarrow and use a hoe to try to mix it up, but it didn’t work nearly as well as the new system.

When I finish adding the Mel’s Mix, I’ll stretch wire in two directions to make the ‘squares’ for planting. I’ll try to get some pics then to share with you before I start buying and planting plants.

I still hold the name “Serial Seed Killer.” My efforts at getting seeds to sprout were unsuccessful. I’m going to start over, only trying to grow spinach, since I have real trouble finding any spinach plants at the local stores. Fingers crossed.



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Filed under doing what you love, Favorite Things, Gardening, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

It Feels Like Christmas!

I found a super-good deal on a set of acrylic paints a few days ago. They arrived today, and I feel like a kid at Christmas! There are 14 tubes of paint in the set and I have paid more for 4 tubes – plus shipping – than I had to pay for this set with FREE shipping. Woo HOOO!

For some reason I haven’t been up to my art room in quite a while. I felt I needed to accomplish more on my purging project to go through 30+ years of STUFF we’ve accumulated and really don’t need.

I’m beginning to figure out now that the more I go through things, donating a bunch of things to others, throwing away a bunch of things, and then reorganizing and cleaning before putting what is good to keep again, I’m in a never-ending job. The more I DO, the more I SEE to do!

I’m going to give myself permission to take a bit of a break from all the work and play in my art room this week.


I don’t know if I’ll come up with anything, but I’ll have a wonderful time dreaming, experimenting, and playing! – via Sherry Dellaria McGrath

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Filed under Attitude, doing what you love, empowerment, Favorite Things, Hobbies, Lewis Art

Chomping at the Bit!

It’s too cold outside yet, and I don’t have a heater in the greenhouse, so I can’t start any seeds yet, but NEXT month I’m hoping I can get a head start on the spring planting season.

I’m going through my seeds, thinking I’ll start with lettuce, spinach, broccoli, and cauliflower this time.


I would really love to have some healthy plants grown in my own greenhouse to transplant into our raised bed, square foot garden this spring, instead of having to buy plants locally. I’m reading everything I can get my hands on about greenhouses. The problem is that most of the information is written by people who live in pretty cold parts of the U.S.

My experience so far is that unless I have a heater (and we would have to keep it running 24/7 with a 350 foot extension cord running from the house out to the greenhouse) it’s too cold to start anything there yet. We tend to go from winter to way too hot in rapid succession, and then I have trouble – even with the extension cord, an exhaust fan, and the opposite people door open, to keep it COOL enough! So I’m scouring the net trying to find information that will help me deal with the extremes we have in Arkansas.


I’m hoping to start some plants the 1st of March. I’ll post pics of my efforts.


This is a picture of my spring garden last year in the raised bed planters my husband and I made. There are SIX 4’x4′ planters held up by angle iron ‘tables’ about my chest height. They allow me to weed, plant, and harvest without having to get up and down a million times or get down on hands and knees.


This picture gives you another view of the planters. We also used some netting at the end of July and through August when the sun tries to boil plants right in the ground. You can see the hoses and the sprinklers we use to water the plants automatically. They are attached to an outdoor faucet on a timer.

The planters are filled with Mel’s Mix (combination of peat moss, vermiculite and as many different composts as you can find.) We mix the ingredients together in a portable cement mixer and then bring the mix into the planters to top off. Then we stretch string across in two directions to make the ‘squares’ for planting.

I’m starting to plan where the plants will go.  It’s best if you rotate crops in this set up, just as you would if you were planting in the ground. We follow the Square Foot Garden book by Mel Bartholomew, where he suggests how many plants to plant in each square. He suggests one plant per square for things like broccoli, 4 per square for lettuce, 9 for other plants, and 16 for radishes.  We space them wider than he suggests, having healthier plants that way. (He tends his garden every day, sometimes even more. Since we’re not that conscientious, wider works better for us.)  He also suggests that you place like plants away from each other – such as one broccoli, then lettuce, then radishes, then cauliflower in a row to avoid transmission of bugs or any other problems from one plant to another.

I made a grid and I fill them in with what I’m planting where. I use the old one to figure out a new plan for the next ‘crop,’ trying not to plant the broccoli in the same squares as I did the last time.

We have converted two brick planters on the other side of the house to be tomato planters.

I’m at the stage of being excited and doing lots of research and planning.

If you have a greenhouse or do square foot gardening and have tips or suggestions, I would LOVE to hear them!

Can you tell I’m ready for spring? :0)


Filed under Arkansas, doing what you love, Dreams, Favorite Things, Gardening, greenhouse, Greenwood, Healthy Eating, learning new things, opportunities, quality of life, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds, Starting - Growing in a Greenhouse, taking care of yourself

I Woke Up Happy Today

I avoid exercise DVDs where the people are SO pert, SO excited, exuding the joys of moving – telling you how GOOD it all feels. They make me hostile. Likewise, I greet cloyingly sweet pictures and people with at least a silent snarl.

SO – you may react that way to ME this morning, because I woke up happy.

Though things are far from perfect, I have a pretty great life. I fell in love with my husband almost 60 years ago. We’ll celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary in June. AND we don’t just love, we’re addicted to each other. That doesn’t mean – by ANY means – that I don’t want to punch him in the face on a regular basis, but we chose to share our lives and it was definitely a good choice. We lost a daughter when she was 2 months old to SIDS – but we made a son who makes us proud of the generous, caring man he’s become, who loves us, reaches out on an almost daily basis from halfway across the world, just to check in and make sure we’re okay. And we might spend Christmas together this year!

We have two dogs, Molly (a sweet, elderly cocker spaniel/schnauzer cross) and Amber (a 95 pound yellow lab PUPPY) who drives us nuts and makes us laugh every day; two cats (Abby (a tortoiseshell fat cat) and Smoke (a sleek grey hunter); plus 4 goldfish who have tripled in size since we added them to our family.

We have a home we built over 30 years ago on top of a ridge line in Arkansas and we still love it. Since the initial building, we added a shop, then later doubled its size, plus built a greenhouse that so far hasn’t succumbed to wind and rain. We’re reasonably close to town, yet enjoy complete privacy up here, a really nice combination. We have a view of several ridge lines – and since we can see them, seeing the seasons change – we can pretend we own it all. :0)

Our health is improving as we get some of our lard off and are trying to exercise. I’m mainly doing my elliptical trainer and yoga stretching for old folks. My husband is doing better and better trying to do sit ups. We are consciously trying to move more.

We are retired, so many days we can do what we want – or don’t want to do. I can try to be productive or enjoy curling up in my chair with a good book.  I can choose to check things off my to-do list or play in my art room. We have good friends who make our lives rich.

I woke up happy today. I hope you did, too.

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Filed under Attitude, doing what you love, Encouragement, Family, Good Thoughts, quality of life

It’s Said That a Sucker is Born Every Minute…

Linn Acres Farm

Since our weather is cooling off – finally – here in Greenwood, Arkansas – I’m getting more serious about starting things in the greenhouse.

I told you recently I started some iceberg head lettuce plants. My plants are doing well so far. I just went out and watered the saucers under the plants this afternoon, and the plants seem happy with this procedure. The exhaust fan was on – signaling that cooling was needed in the greenhouse. I still have the secondary fan on and the door on the opposite end of the greenhouse open to encourage as much air flow as possible.

Today while watering, I noticed that fire ants were swarming again on the floor of the greenhouse, so I went back to the garage and mixed up more EIGHT bug spray. I really love this stuff! It kills the bugs while being safe for plants and animals, so I don’t have to worry that our pets will come sniff or come in contact with the wet spray. I also can spray the plants in our raised bed planters in the square foot garden when needed without worrying about the residue on the edible plants.

I sprayed ants, which had shown new ‘homes’ in several places, and then found and planted one six-pack of tomato suckers. The picture above shows what a sucker is. You can plant these and a whole new tomato plant is possible. I’m going to plant a whole bunch of these because I have no clue what I’m doing and expect to lose a lot of the plants. If I can get SOME to survive, though, I may actually get some ripe tomatoes before we have a hard freeze!

I’ll try to accomplish something outside daily now that the weather is ‘my kind of weather.’ Maybe it’ll last long enough I can get things under good control for the winter! :0)

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Filed under Arkansas, Challenges, doing what you love, Gardening, greenhouse, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Fur & Feathers Project

I pretty much have the drawings I want in order to practice painting fur and feathers that look more realistic than I’m able to do now. I have most of my drawings done with the help of my new toy, a 4 LED Tracing Board, which allows me to trace most anything that fits on the board. I then transfer the tracings to my sketch book using carbon paper. Then I can concentrate on studying the Keys to Painting Fur & Feathers, edited by Rachel Rubin Wolf.

Kingfisher and Parrot are previous drawings of mine that I retraced in order to do what I hope will be a better job this time.


Amber and Molly are our doggies. I traced these from photos I took of them.


Our cat, Abby, is typically on her back or on her side, as in this picture, thinking deep thoughts.


Smoke is a much more active cat, always about to leap from one place to the next.

The bear is a drawing by Claudia Nice in the Fur & Feathers book, borrowed to try to learn to add the fur.


The last two birds I found on the net and traced.

I’m studying the book, trying to absorb enough to get started. I think I’ll try to work in colored pencils first, so I’ll particularly study that section of the book. I’m having SUCH a good time with this. I love learning new techniques!

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Filed under Challenges, doing what you love, learning new things

I’m Having So Much FUN!


I’m having so much FUN this afternoon! About two months ago I saw an ad on Facebook (I know, but there it was) for a “light box” or “LED tracing board.” Since I’m currently trying to learn new techniques for adding fur and feathers to animals, being able to trace a few outlines and distinctive features of drawings or pictures I like and then being able to concentrate on the techniques for making feathers and fur more realistic in various media seems like a wonderful idea.

It doesn’t mean that I won’t continue to try to draw the animals and birds from scratch as time goes on, but – to be honest – I’m intimidated and it will take a while to work through that. With the light box or tracing board, I can bypass my insecurities, learn, and have fun!


This gives you an idea of what I ordered. It came today and I’m like a kid in a candy shop. It’s ultra thin and you plug it into your computer. There are three intensities of LED light settings.

I hooked it up, then ran upstairs to get my sketch book, tracing paper, carbon paper, pencils, plus my “Keys to Painting Fur & Feathers” edited by Rachel Rubin Wolf, and plopped down in front of my computer. I’ve now traced a bird and am now using carbon paper to transfer it to my sketch book. I have the outlines of two drawings I did years ago already in the sketch book. When I get several sketches (tracings) added, I can then concentrate on the suggestions for adding feathers to these beautiful creatures in colored pencils, watercolor, pastels, acrylics, pen & ink, and mixed media.

Here is my drawing of a kingfisher

And my drawing of a parrot

and this is the first step in the tracing of another bird I found that I like. This is being transferred to my sketch book using carbon paper.

I know this isn’t easy to see, but you can get the idea of what I’m doing.

I have to stop and get lunch for us now, but I’ll get back to this ASAP. :0)

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Filed under Cause for Celebration, Childlike Fun, doing what you love, drawings, Favorite Things, Hobbies, quality of life

Playing in My Art Room

My good friend Marsha suggested that, instead of trying to give myself PERMISSION to play in my art room, I SCHEDULE it at least twice a week as a part of a program to be better to myself. I’ve taken that suggestion and have found my spirits lifting and getting excited about trying to learn something new.

I have a book called Keys to Painting Fur & Feathers, edited by Rachel Rubin Wolf. It gives you hints about how to capture the essence of animals and birds, zeroing in on their most distinctive features in order to try to draw better pictures of them. It also addresses trying to paint realistic fur and feathers.


I decided to take a couple of my previous drawings and reproduce them, trying to concentrate on the feathers techniques.  Then I found others I’d like to try, as well. I’m trying to get a bunch of these drawings into a sketch book and then play with them, using all kinds of different media and see what I get.

I have to tell you the time flies as I ‘work’ in my art room. I turn on an mp3 player, listen to some of my favorite music in the comfort of my CLEAN, air-conditioned and ceiling-fanned room, a cup of coffee or a bottle of water beside me at the table.

I’m excited about learning a completely new skill, and I’m very thankful to have this book for examples, suggestions, and inspiration.

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Filed under Challenges, doing what you love, Encouragement, opportunities, quality of life, taking care of yourself


Kurt Vonnegut via via Cathy Ruggiero

My friend Debbye Hughes, who was dying of recurrent metastatic breast cancer, got angry with me because I was afraid to even try to draw, paint, or do anything artistic. She looked at me, sitting in her bed, paintbrush in hand, and said, “Who CARES if your work never gets off your own refrigerator door? Who CARES if others don’t like it? JUST DO IT!!!!!”

That was in 2000, and I started painting, crafting, trying to draw, experimenting with all kinds of things that gave me joy. I started a website with the wonderful help of my son who designed my website to show my own stuff and then expanded it for me so that I could add the work of others. He helped with the the business, end, too, and I enjoyed 17 years of association with some of the most creative, talented people from all over the world I’ve ever known. I made friends long distance. I worked my heart out trying to do all I could with the tiny budget I had to promote all of our work. I wouldn’t give up the opportunity I had for anything.  I shut down my website, Creative Artworks, last year, and put my stuff on ArtFire and Etsy.

I love playing in my art room. The problem is that I have to set an alarm now so I don’t lose all track of time!  I just love experimenting with color, texture, and different techniques. I’m like a little kid with finger paints taking joy in the process.  Most of the time I make a mess. It just doesn’t turn out the way I envisioned it.  That doesn’t matter, though. I’m doing something I love. I’m practicing!

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Filed under doing what you love, Favorite Quotes, Hobbies

My World

hooplaHa_via Carol Auclair Daly

I worked every summer from the time I was 14 through college, and then at full time jobs as a teacher, reading clinic owner/teacher, administrative secretary. medical transcriptionist/bookkeeper, and website owner/artist for some 57 years all told. Now I am retired, and busier than I’ve ever been. I honestly don’t know how I used to have time to work full time!

Some people have real trouble adapting to a retired lifestyle. I’m very sorry for that. I have so MANY things I would like to do that I rarely have enough energy or time in the day to even make a dent in my list. I get overwhelmed with my ‘shoulds’ from time to time, and it’s been a long time since I gave myself permission to play in my art room, but I love the world my husband and I worked so many years to create. We also had the good fortune to inherit from our parents, so we’re comfortable financially if we don’t get stupid and greedy.

I love being able to decide my priorities for the day – being free to be really productive or enjoy NOT being. :0)

I’m happy that I can entertain myself. I guess I could be a hermit with little trouble, spending days and days up here on top of my ridge line with my husband and our animals, my flowers and my garden, my greenhouse and our shop, my books and my art room, my computer and my blog – plus the chat program that is a direct line to our son far away – one day spilling into the next – the weeks, months, and years flying past my head, making my hair blow.

I’m lucky enough to have relatives and friends that add so much fun, joy, and love to this hermit.

“I live in my own little world, but it’s ok, they know me here.”


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Filed under Attitude, doing what you love


In 1969 two wonderful things happened: my husband and I got married and I started teaching.

(My son provided a chat program so that we can “talk” any time we would like to, even though he’s across the world from us. This morning he had left me a question about my teaching many years ago. The chat program is having a hiccup, so I’m not able to answer him yet, but the question brought a flood of wonderful memories.)

My students were all black and I fell in love with them the first day. I taught first grade and we were in a self-contained classroom. This meant that I was responsible for trying to teach them everything. I was so excited about the opportunity it didn’t dawn on me that maybe I should be scared of all the responsibility, being a brand new teacher. We all learned a lot that first year.

I learned that our daily lives were much different from each others’, but we could sure love. I was trying to teach them phonics, and it was difficult to get or keep them excited about ‘sounds’ of letters. I made up a really silly song about the sounds, brought my guitar to school and taught my kids the song. They loved it! I would play and they would dance and we would sing, absorbing the sounds the letters made, and gradually putting them together to make words. Words became phrases and phrases became sentences and reading began. I checked out books from the school library and brought some from home to read to them so that I could share my love of reading.

I was supposed to have three reading groups, but I had six. I found that my kids learned in different ways and that, in order to make things stick and come alive, I needed to use different approaches for each group. I had the fast learners work with the kids who were having trouble, and that helped, too. I encouraged my kids to do well by giving them paper certificates on Friday afternoons for good work – one child would get one for sitting still for his reading lesson. Another got one for a good score in spelling, and son on. I gave out the certificates under the one tree on the playground, weather permitting.

My kids had trouble relating to the stories in the Weekly Reader, but we were required to go through it every week. My kids’ favorite use of it came when I rolled them up, climbed up on top of the waist-high heat register beside the windows and used it to swat a wasp that was threatening us and ruining our concentration.

I loved teaching. When the light of understanding came on – I called it the ‘light bulb moment’ – my day was made. I had made something understandable to a child. Their eyes would light up, a smile lit their face, and they could then take the ball and run with it. There is absolutely nothing more thrilling in teaching than when a child gets excited about learning.

Unfortunately, the public school system and I didn’t see eye to eye. I got into trouble – getting called to the principal’s office like an unruly child – called on the carpet for

  • playing the guitar (“Ms. Lewis, this is NOT a music class!”)
  • having too many reading groups
  • not having all the kids on the same page at the same time
  • letting kids tackling the learning in their own style
  • giving out certificates under a tree on the playground
  • attempting to contact parents when a child was having problems
  • standing up in a PTA meeting and asking for help on getting the supplies we needed (we weren’t supposed to admit we didn’t have supplies)
  • and the biggie – using the Weekly Reader to swat a wasp (the superintendent happened to walk in while I was on the register. The kids all cheered when I swatted the wasp and killed it. I put the nail in my coffin when I said, “This is the best use of the Weekly Reader I’ve seen yet.”

I had a wonderful eight years in the Tulsa Public Schools. During that time I earned a Master’s Degree as a Reading Specialist. I then started and ran my own reading clinic for another three years – my partner an intern teacher who taught with me.) We changed a lot of lives. We helped people – kindergarten through adult) fill in the gaps in their learning that had kept them from making sense of the printed page. We unlocked doors, brought smiles and confidence. The only thing we didn’t do was make enough money to continue. It was with great regret that I closed the clinic and went back to the regular world to get a job that helped pay the bills.

How lucky I was to have an opportunity I’ll never forget!

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, doing what you love, making a difference, memories

Mixed Feelings

I’m split right down the middle emotionally this morning – one half is jubilant, the other feeling very, very humble.

I officially hit 1100 subscribers to this blog the day before yesterday. Half of me is joyously dancing around the room. The other half is feeling very serious.

THANK YOU  to those of you who signed up to receive the blog. People see my posts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+, but 1100 actually signed up to receive my posts every day. I gain and lose subscribers on a regular basis. That’s normal and to be expected. To have this many people actually stick with me – many for several years now – is such a beautiful compliment.  My goal is to provide a place free of politics, outrage, bad news, and other gloomy, depressing things. We all get more than enough of that in our regular, every day lives. I’m trying to provide a break, focusing on beautiful things, funny stuff, posts that might bring you a smile, or that you might identify with. Above all, I hope to never bore you.

THANK YOU to those of you who take the time to hit ‘like’ or write to me. Feedback is a wonderful thing. Otherwise, I feel I’m throwing a bottle in the ocean. I appreciate feedback on what you enjoy, what made you smirk, what touched you in some way. I would love to know what you would like more of, as well as what you hope to never see again. :0)

When I told my husband that my subscriber list had reached 1100, he insisted that he take me for a meal of my favorite food in all the world – lobster tail! We’re doing that tomorrow!!!!  So THANK YOU, also, for giving my husband a reason to spoil me once again. :0)

As I wrote this post, my stats told me some wonderful news: I just hit 1101!

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Filed under Challenges, Delightful Surprises, doing what you love, Encouragement, Favorite Things, quality of life

Mother, May I?

Healing with Art via Cathy Ruggiero


I planned to make glorious mistakes in my art room yesterday, since it was raining and I couldn’t work outside. Somehow, I couldn’t give myself permission to ignore some of the things that were staring at me inside our home that have been needing my attention. I ended up cleaning up the kitchen, getting the filing under control in the office, playing with the dogs, and the afternoon was gone.

I have a lot of fun in my art room. Much of the time I just enjoy looking at the nice supplies I have, thrilled at the potential! Sometimes I simply play, trying some new techniques, stirring the pot, getting my juices flowing.

I love it when I get an order for custom handmade cards, note cards, or stationery. I can combine my love of art supplies – all the colors – and smells – and FEELS – with the joy of playing, coming up with designs I hope my customer will love.  When I have an order, I drop everything else and concentrate on creation, my customer’s wishes foremost in my mind.

At times like THIS, when I don’t have an order, it’s harder to allow myself to take time off. I almost feel I’m playing the old childhood game of “Mother, May I?” I’m trying to convince myself that playing is essential, that no one cares if the living room has been vacuumed yesterday, today, or tomorrow, and that I get no ‘points’ for crossing everything off my ever-growing list. There is a strong inner voice, though, that keeps repeating what a slob I am – that I should have a clean, well-organized home at all times….

I think I will try to SQUASH that mean little voice  – maybe just for a while this afternoon – and let the joyous part of me play in the paint!

Mother, May I?


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Filed under Attitude, Childlike Fun, doing what you love, Hobbies

Inside Plans for the Day

ABSTRACTS by Sabina via Cathy Ruggiero

I’ve been fighting with my to-do list – it seems like for weeks now – not making much headway. Since today isn’t a good day to spend outside in my veggie garden, weeding my flower planters, or weed-whacking, I think I’ll take at least a bit of time this afternoon and play in my art room!

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Filed under doing what you love, Favorite Quotes, Hobbies

Young Veggie Garden

Our spring raised bed square foot garden is off to a good start. We have six 4’x4’x8″ boxes at about my chest level in our vegetable garden. (We also have two brick planters on the other side of the house we use for our tomato plants.)


You can see the sprinklers and hoses that run over the top of the boxes on either side, making up the irrigation system. I added the timer a few days ago to the outdoor faucet, so the garden gets watered for 10 minutes each morning. There are drain holes in each box so that excess water runs out freely.  I’ve planted onion sets, iceberg head lettuce, romaine lettuce, broccoli, and spinach so far. I’ll plant some radishes later, plus bring out starts of celery from the house.

This year, except for the onion sets and radishes, I decided to only plant one plant in each square. There are only two of us eating salad in our household, so 4 lettuce plants to a square is too much for us to eat and the plants grow rapidly, crowding each other. I’m experimenting to see if this spread out version works better for us.


The spindly plants around this lettuce plant are onion sets. The tops of the onions don’t look great, but I’m hoping that the actual onions are doing well. I won’t know for a long time.


Here you can see broccoli in the foreground, a spinach plant in the middle, and lettuce toward the back.  I’m planning to start the tomato plants we bought very soon.



This is

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Filed under Arkansas, DIET!, doing what you love, exercise, Favorite Things, greenhouse, Healthy Eating, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Going Upstairs to Play

Nature of Art For Kids

After I take the doggies out again, I’m heading upstairs to play in my art room.

I received a suggestion that I do some thank you notes in the ‘thumb print” theme, but geared to boys, (“Thumbys”) since they need to write thank you notes, too, from time to time. It was also suggested that some “Thinking of You” cards in the same theme might be appreciated.

I hope that you are having some fun this afternoon, too!

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Living With the Trees –


I don’t mean to point out the obvious, but I’m going say it: you’re not going to live forever. Neither am I.

I don’t know what makes you smile, laugh, or feel good, but you deserve to be doing more of it. A lot more. In fact, you deserve to be so giddy your cheeks hurt.

And if for some reason, you aren’t happy today, then find someone to make happy.

And you will be.”

Author Unknown

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Filed under doing what you love, Encouragement, Faces, Favorite Quotes


Lisa Bearnes Richey

I’m procrastinating right now. The beef stew is in the crock pot for tonight, and I finished cleaning up the kitchen afterwards. The dishwasher is going. I SHOULD be leaping up the tall ladder to tackle the highest shelf in the pantry. What am I doing? Sitting here on the computer typing another post to you!

Most blogs center on one thing – something about which the writer is an expert. I wondered what on Earth I would write about if I had a blog. I don’t know that much about anything for which I could be a wonderful source of information. If “I” get bored reading about only one subject endlessly, I could only imagine how anyone actually reading MY stuff would feel…

Finally I decided to share things I found that I loved: books and movies I liked; recipes I found that were really good; mind-boggling art by talented people; funny signs; sharing the metal critters and mailbox decorations my husband and I so enjoy creating; my struggles with getting the lard off and keeping moving; efforts to crawl out from under 30+ years of gathered ‘stuff,’ etc.  I decided to write, TALKING to the kind people who read my stuff, about a wide variety of subjects. I decided to write to entertain, touch, or make people smirk.

THIS has become a big focus of my day. I LOVE looking for images I hope will make you smile. There are so many talented people in our world. We’re seeing some of them now at the Olympics. I love being able to live on the same planet as people who can excel at sports of all kinds, dance, art, and music. I love finding people who not only are good at what they do, they think outside the box and bring what they’re doing to an art form, enriching all who see it.

So, as always, I ask for your feedback. I love comments reacting to what I’m saying. I appreciate comments on what you like, what you’d like to see more of, other subjects you’d like to see. Your following my blog is such a compliment. I hope you continue to enjoy it.


P.S. I lost my help on the pantry due to this procrastination – my husband is on his way out to the shop to work on his welding late project. My own fault. I’ll just move slowly up and down the ladder, doing a bit at a time and then resting.

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