Cinco de Mayo is Sunday! Read more about it here-its fascinating! In celebration how about stitching up Frida?
Do you love Frida as much as I do? I’ve always been entranced by her paintings, but even more so by her story. One of pain and suffering, but ultimately survival. And beauty. Did you see the movie? I highly recommend it!
HI there y’all! Miss me? I missed you. Did you have a good weekend? How about your allergies? Are you in a pollen fog like me sniffle sniffle?
SOoooOO were you wondering where my gratitude post was? I’m a little late this week. Originally I started out doing these on Fridays, and then it moved to Saturday morning. But this weekend shot past me like a bolt and I didn’t get to it. But I am really enjoying the weekly drawing challenge so I will not let if fall by the way side, I promise.
This week (last week…) I am grateful for yummy food. I like to eat. There I said it. Its one of the reasons I work out. So I can eat what I want. For the most part, though, I like to eat healthy-it makes me feel better. It seems like a small thing, but its really not.
Good food can nourish your soul as much as your body. Plus I think food can connect us to different times in our lives. Certain smells can bring back memories, certain tastes can even unlock experiences from the recesses of your mind. A kind of “remember when we had that special —-” fill in the blank with a meaningful meal or recipe. Childhood dishes, regional delights, delicacies from your culture, first meals, celebrations, recipes shared–all can hold so much meaning.
There was a time in my not-so-distant past when we couldn’t really afford to buy raspberries or blackberries. Now I happen to love them. It was a real treat to buy them and I savored each and every berry. But now I get to have them on my yogurt (my yummy greek yogurt) every single morning. It still feels like a treat to me. SImple pleasures.
We don’t have to worry so much about the grocery bills, not like when we were first married or when my husband was in grad school. We still try to be frugal, but we can afford to buy the healthier options, when we couldn’t before. And that is something that I am not sure people realize. Its expensive to eat healthy. We were out with some friends this weekend, one of whom works in the pharma industry (like my hubby) and he was saying how diabetes is on the rise in China and India. Those countries where poverty is epidemic are seeing an increase in diseases like that. People eat what they can afford-and that often means a lot of bread & rice & potatoes. All cheap foods. I mean I know I’ve said to my girls “Eat that spinach, there are children dying of hunger in India that would love to have it. DO NOT WASTE FOOD.”
The other thing about eating really healthy is that it takes time. It takes effort. I plan out our meals on Sunday, researching new recipes, & then head off to the produce market where I load up on fresh goodness. I’ve been making these green smoothies, but I prep all the ingredients ahead & store in the freezer in ziplock bags.
But you know what, if you’re a single mom living on a very tight budget you probably do NOT have time to be fussing around with that sort of thing. Often it means eating what’s easy, and what’s cheap. When I make beans & rice (which is at least once a month) I jokingly refer to it as good “poor people” food, because I was raised on it, as were my parents. Neither of them grew up with any money, nor did their parents. Some of those recipes that have been passed down were essentially all they could afford. And most of them are really yummy, but they are not usually that good for you.
So enough of my Monday morning ramblings….what I really want to say is that I am so grateful that I can have healthy foods, and that I have the time to cook that way for my family. And I want to be aware of opportunities to help those who get by on cheap and often unhealthy options, whether that’s through our local food banks or other local orginizations and churches. Last week there was food drive at my daughter’s school and I volunteered to help organize and collect. I am telling you there was a MOUNTAIN of food donated. This truly is a very generous community. (side note: when she was little & we were just learning our way around here in good ‘ol Bucks county we did Meals on Wheels. It was a wonderful experience-one that she enjoyed as much as I did!) Here’s my sketch (and a great opportunity to practice drawing hands!) And here’s the recipe I made. Like the bowl?
PS the photos link to my pinterest recipes if you want em! Go get em-they are GOOD!
They are yummy, I’m telling you. Soft and sweet…but not too sweet.
Its a traditional Czech pastry that usually has a little dollop of some kind of fruit or cheese in the center. I had my first kolache in West, Texas, which has a large Czech population. Texas is actually a many faceted and diverse state, just in case you weren’t aware. : ) West, as y’all know, has had a terrible tragedy. Its location on I-35 smack dab between Austin and Dallas meant that for the 10 years I lived in Austin, I drove through West once every 4-6 weeks on my treks home to see my folks. We didn’t stop every single time for a kolache, but we hit it pretty regularly. When we went back to Texas this past summer we introduced the girls to that yummy treat too-in our ploy to indoctrinate them into the ways of the Texans.
I’ve been so incredibly saddened to see that little town suffer. To loose so many brave firefighters. Its just devastating. And again I am asking the question “what can I do?” I realize its not much but every single little bit helps so I’m listing my Texas print (5×7) in my shop today for $10, with 100% of the proceeds going to the West, Texas fund through the Salvation Army. Don’t want the print? That’s cool-click on the link to donate directly to the fund. Every little bit helps.
I read that the President will be visiting the area and attending a memorial service today in Waco. Let’s keep them all in prayer.
I really like the 5×7 format. I think this size works great for a bulletin board…look at all my Texas stuff together. Makes me happy. If you’d rather have the 8×10 just send me a note-I’ll be happy to make one for ya ($25).
Also-in a follow up to this post, I am listing the Hope and Run print as a 5×7 for $10. Its a better size, I think, for this piece. You can hang it on your bulletin board as a little reminder. Thanks to a very sweet friend who ordered a bunch of my notecards (only 1 left!) I now have $21 to donate for the victims of the Boston bombings. (If I can figure out how to do it, I am going to list the card as a PDF download so you can print it at home on card stock-cool, huh?!) That money will go to the Salvation Army as well. (click on the link to donate directly) They supported the first responders during the manhunt and will continue to support the victims and their families. This is another great charity if you’d like to make a direct donation-its called the ONE FUND and was set up by the Massachusetts Governor and the Boston Mayor.
Wanna try a kolache? You can make ‘em yourself! Here’s a great recipe I really want to try! If you’re in PA-this looks pretty interesting too. But of course, if you’re in Texas you know where to go.
About a month ago, when it was cold (not that different here today...), and snowing (thankfully not doing this today),
I took my baby thrifting at the local Salvation Army. We stopped off for Starbucks first. Wanna get a 14 year old’s attention? Mention a stop off at Starbucks and they’re in.
Now I’ve loved thrifting since high school. I shopped at the Goodwill. I bought a men’s jacket and wore it proudly. I loved the pawn shop in town too. Garage sales-check. Estate sales-even better. Antique stores-couldn’t get enough. So naturally I had to pass on the thrill of the hunt to my girls! With our Starbucks handy and humming “I’m gonna pop some tags,” (that’s the clean version folks) we took our minds off the snow and went on a treasure hunt.
We started in the jeans section and pulled all the ones that fit her teeny tiny little frame. Methodically we proceeded to each section and loaded up our cart-I mean LOADED it.
she found a “leather” jacket she LOVED. And she got a million compliments on it…
and I found a jacket that was weird…but I felt like it was “weird cool” instead of “weird weird” Was I right? hmmm…I’m more willing to take a risk when its only $5.
We looked at shoes, but no luck –not our size.
(Find shoes you like? Turn em over and look at the soles and the heels. I’ve bought shoes here that have never been worn.) These were too worn on the heels-
We came home with a big bag o’ goodies (we did spend more than $20-we spent $40-because hello, the green tags were half off baby!) See the seriously long lines on Saturdays!
A few things…
when you go thrifting, smell your potential purchases. Sounds weird, I know but I bought the most adorable pink hand bag from the 60′s at an antique store, but got it home, opened it up and it reeked of cigarettes. Bummer.
Always try the stuff on. I mean it seems like why bother because you’re only spending a couple of bucks, but its better to see them on. We gravitate to things that are a little quirky, but these were a bit too quirky for my girl. They really looked different on the hanger.
Next if you are buying sweaters look at the wear around the collar and under the arms. If it has a lot of piling it might not be your best bet.
Always check the tags (before you pop em) to see what the garment is made of. We found cashmere in excellent condition.
Look for the unexpected-the fun & funky. I found this really cool “old man” sweater. I love it!
And my girl got a men’s jacket. She rolled the sleeves up and wore it with her doc martens and a cute skirt. I’m telling you she looked like a million bucks. (For only a couple of bucks!)
Most importantly -HAVE FUN! Buying used, vintage, or old takes a little more time & patience but its well worth it-helps the planet AND the pocket book.
Oh I can tell you without a doubt what I am grateful for this week-and that is having a little vacation! I mean a mini-teeny-tiny-beany-little vacation. But we needed it in a bad way. I can’t help feeling oppressed when its cold outside. But when the weather warms and sun is shining I feel like a huge weight is taken off my shoulders and I can take a BIG breath of relief! Silly, huh?
We had a great time in DC!
sewing on the road
off to the zoo! I really loved this painting!
then the Kennedy Center!
the kite festival was magical, and the cherry blossoms were just beginning to bud
a long walk down to the Lincoln Memorial
and a visit to the Portrait Gallery
authentic Peruvian food + my first Pisco Sour-yum
Easter Services at the National Cathedral!
it was a massive church!
Then for our Easter supper we actually found a place that makes TEXAS BBQ!
it was good-really good!
Lots of laughs, lots of walking, lots of sun, and lots of just being together. AHHH. All better now.
a quick sketch of cherry blossoms first–
and I think this is the perfect time to share this- a new piece in my style icon series-Jackie Kennedy! She wore this ensemble on a visit to India. I just loved the color!
I may tweak a few things about her, but I really wanted to share her with you.
New beginnings. That’s what I’m grateful for today.
Its that time of year, isn’t it? Of new beginnings and fresh starts. Easter on its way. Rebirth, renewed, alive. My favorite holiday.
Is it any wonder I keep dreaming I’m pregnant? Sometimes I’m in labor, other times I’m just walking around. I’ve dreamt about tornados lately too. These are both recurring dreams. Not just this week, but throughout my life. The symbolism is not lost on me.
What could I draw that represents these new beginnings, though? I chose to draw the daffodils my daughter brought home from school. As my younger daughter ate breakfast I sat beside her in the morning sunlight and just sketched–with a very thankful heart.
Its been about a year since I made the grand proclamation of stopping what I was doing (murals) and starting something brand new. A year filled with hopes, doubts, starts, and stops, experimenting, cheering, and crying too. I’m so thankful to have had a fresh start. And for each day.
What are you grateful for? If you’d like to share it-do a quick sketch or take a photo. Post it and link up here-in the comments!
PS-dear friends I’m taking next Friday off for Easter. We are heading down to DC for a nice long holiday weekend. We’ll going to services at the National Cathedral! I cannot wait!(I’ll take lots of pictures!) I hope you have a wonderful week full of blessings!
I’m guest blogging on TrashN2Tees today as part of the DIY University!
Its so fun–everday a different blogger is sharing some very basic tutorials. Today I’m talking about BASIC embroidery stitches. Head on over there and check it out! Need to know how to sew on a button, thread your sewing machine, arrange flowers, or make some jewelry from reclaimed wire? Well darlin, you are in luck because all of that and more is included in the DIY University!
And be sure to check back here too–I’ve got brand new patterns in the works that will be unveiled soon! I can’t wait to show you what I’ve been working on! (If you really must know now, do follow on Instagram-I’m always taking pics of the process.
Y’all that season finale was a shocker!! I think we could all use a laugh after that-right? Thought y’all might like to spend just 4 minutes watching these hilarious videos and then we will chat some more.
and part 2….
Feel better? See I won’t steer ya wrong.
Ok so….you’ve gotten all caught up and now…. you have post-Downton + winter blues?
Then I have JUST the thing for you, my dear friends.
I have 3-YES 3-brand new embroidery patterns for you!
The first pattern is the Heads of Staff-Mr Carson, Mrs Hughes, and Mrs Patmore.
I mostly use the backstitch for outlining which is seriously super duper simple.
Then we have the rest of the staff. That dastardly Thomas! And O’Brien…you don’t want to cross her!
Also included are Anna, Mr. Bates (aren’t they so cute together!), and Daisy (not shown)
PLUS-some of my favorite quotes which I think would be so great on dishtowels! The Dowager Countess cracks me up!
How fun is that?
Now–I want to invite you to sign up for my newsletter.
I send it out 4-5 times a year with all the latest info on my biz, new products, events I will be participating in, and all kinds of goodies too. And as an added bonus if you sign up for it-I will send you a FREE embroidery pattern. Just for wonderful YOU. Now that’s a pretty good deal. (If you already get my newsletter then you got that free pattern today! I would love to hear what you think about it!)
Still missing Downton? Before you book your airfare to jolly ‘ol England, click on this--its a BEAUTIFUL tour of another gorgeous English summer estate visited by one of my very favorite artists! Seriously you will not be sorry. SO fun!
Its that mid-winter time when I feel completely out of sorts. I’m really not at my best.
That’s why keeping a gratitude journal is so incredibly important–because these are the days when I have to look a little longer, a little closer, to notice the magic.
So to begin with lets play some music-this totally reminds me of where I grew up–this is exactly it, parties in the fields and everything–and it will set the tone for what is to come~
My logical, reasonable self understands that there are an infinite number of things to be thankful for each and every day, no matter the season-no matter what. But my irrational, spoiled-rotten-drama-queen side says “why the heck do we have to live in this-god-forsaken-frozen-tundra-of-a-state Pennsylvania?” I get homesick for the big skies, the smells, the sounds, the familiarity of “home.” It did NOT help that I finished reading Lonesome Dove and then watched the movie. I cried watching the movie & I already KNEW what was coming. I think it was the scenery-even the trees & plants! And the “southern sayings”, expressions, accents, and wittisisms that I don’t hear very often anymore. I miss those things. I was a teary-eyed mess for 2 whole days! (Thanks Dad for that book recommendation….just kidding-I really did love it!)
things I miss-(photos taken this summer in Edom, TX-but I grew up in a different small Texas town)
Do you see the cowboys and old guys sitting around at the filling station? Shooting the shit-the whole time my mom and I were there, rocking in their seats, chewing on straw, visiting. I wanted to go over and pull up a chair….
my mom’s leftovers from lunch-they wrote “Miss Susan” on the bag~
In all fairness I don’t really miss this….
Have you ever seen a whole highway being built? And would you look at the color of that dirt!
But the reality is, I truly believe, that home is not even a place-its a feeling. Being away like this has forced me to realize this truth. I never would have learned it had I stayed. Peace, comfort, security-a sense of belonging–all of these feelings mean home to me. The moment I realized my hubby was “the one” was when I realized that with him I feel at home. I had never truly felt that way before. I still feel that way. And the older & wiser I get I am learning to just be at home with myself. Believing I am right where I’m supposed to be, doing just exactly what I am supposed to be doing.
And for that I am truly grateful. For the process of learning what home is, and having the unbridled joy of experiencing it.
SOooOOoo…that leads me to my sketch for this week… how to draw a feeling..quickly? I thought about doing Dorothy and Toto because…well its so fitting…and then I did do a couple of sketches of my recently updated living room,
but I ultimately I decided that I should depict myself (my feet!) walking in the front door–and I’m picturing me saying “I’m HOME!!”
This week I am incredibly grateful for my very own little nurse. I’ve been off my feet this week due to a very minor surgery. But my pup has been taking good care of me. She’s my companion; my cuddly friend, Ava. She’s by my side non-stop. She’s an 8 year old neurotic, high-strung poodle. Here’s just a few sketches of the little princess in action. (These are QUICK sketches–just little thumbnails really.)
seriously she really did throw up on the new Pottery Barn curtains.