Tuesday, May 8, 2012


 Welcome to my studio!  There is not much room in here and things are a bit disorganized but improvements are happening and it is inspiring!  I can find my paints, brushes, and palettes.  I know where my sewing machines are and can see most of my fabric stash. I have a work table that is usable and mostly free of clutter.  The best part is that I can actually get in the door!  I couldn't say that with much honesty a few weeks ago, but things are definitely looking up!

This morning as I made a trip to the mailbox, I found some Lily of the Valley blooming.  Since they are one of my favorite spring flowers and fragrances, I selfishly picked them all, brought them in, found an empty water bottle for a vase and set them on my "desk".   Heady, intoxicating, inspiring and beautiful! The most humble of flowers puts to shame my best creations!   Along with my visiting flowers is another lively guest.  My youngest son had his bunny, "Hoppy", in for a visit this morning so I brought her in to inspect my space.  Here she is looking over my tools and treasures.  We don't have house pets, but the rabbits all come in on occasion for plucking, or training, or just for fun.  Mostly just for fun!  And they are better guests than chickens or goats.

Once the garden is all planted and the growing season is in full swing, the view from this window will be even better.  The only things growing out there right now are my onions and plenty of weeds.  This window gives me a pretty good view of the neighborhood.  We really aren't living in terribly close proximity to our neighbors but we are more hemmed in than we were at each of our last three homes. Country living suits me well.  It warms my heart to watch my children playing with the animals or helping me milk the goat.  I hope each one of them can see what a blessing this life is.   We see robins, bluebirds, sparrows, cardinals, bluejays, grackles, starlings, and goldfinches scouring the ground for seeds and worms and bickering over their territory. The other day we even saw a woodchuck up a small tree.  Do woodchucks really climb trees??  I guess this one did, but it sure surprised us all!  He may be nimble, but if he knows what is good for him, he will keep eating tree leaves and stay away from my gardens. The kids scoop up tadpoles from the swamp and deposit them in the water trough where they eventually grow legs and hop away as toads to feast on slugs and other nasty bugs. Our children get science experiments on a daily basis just because they live in the country!  Ahh, the life!

The "becoming" ~ new projects
Tools of the Trade

Sleepless nights lately have brought out the creativity in me.  Or maybe I was sleepless because of the ideas running around my head.  Either way, the studio has beckoned.  It has been so nice to go there, close the door and create. Or just escape.   Or to pray and bring life back into focus.  My "studio" as I am calling it now is far more than just a place to make stuff. It is a sanctuary from the things that get me down, a place that nurtures, incubates and, finally, gives birth to all sorts of  germinating ideas and designs.  It is a chapel where I can bring my hurts and joys, triumphs and terrors to the Comforter and Lover of my soul.
Yes, it is still the "storage room".  Sometimes even "the junk room".  But to me, it is so much more than just a room.  It is, in all of its glorious (and not so glorious) messiness and disarray, a reflection of who I am and who I am becoming.  It teaches me that even messes like me can produce beautiful fruit.  Just like my weedy garden.  And just like my messy studio.

So, what lessons has life taught you lately? I encourage you to find your own "studio".  A place where you can savor the moments, find rest from your weariness, and find peace.  I hope your heart is open to the beautiful and the Divine around you, and that you will find your soul nurtured and refreshed in a special way today and every day.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Saying "Goodbye"

Madaline Pettifor  9/10/1928 - 3/25/2012

Spring is breaking out around my home here in beautiful Mid-Michigan, in stark contrast to the personal difficulties our family has been facing in the last couple of weeks.  After a rather swift decline and around two weeks in the hospital, my husband's dear mother went home to be with her Lord on March 25th.  Between his visits to see her, constant phone calls and messages updating us on her condition, and, finally, the funeral, our lives have been in a bit of chaos.  Our sadness with her passing cannot come close to comparing with Dad's loss of his wife and companion of almost 54 years.  As we transition to life without Mom and Grandma, we recognize that our lives will never be the same, and the void she has left can never be filled.  Our children are struggling to understand and cope with the death of someone very special to them, the first great loss they have ever experienced.  We seek to remember her as she was in life, loving her family and friends and serving her Lord, not those last days that were marked by discomfort, pain and illness.  While we mourn for that which we have lost, we rejoice that she has gained freedom, peace, and joy unspeakable in the presence of Jesus! You will be missed, Mom! 

Friday, March 23, 2012


A new day, a new adventure. In this case, authoring a blog.  I hope to use this avenue as a "behind the scenes"  look at what I do, my methods, and motivations.  In this, my first post, I will introduce myself.

I am a forty-something (I reserve the right to ambiguity here) wife and mother who also dabbles rather heavily in the farming/gardening category, excessively in the creative market (read, "messy house"), and reluctantly in the field of accounting and bookkeeping.  I juggle (too) many plates, wear far too many hats, find I meet myself coming and going, and love pretty much every minute of it.  Hmm, except when I can't find my car keys, or that receipt my husband needs, or when the goats escape, again.  Times like these make me wonder what I did with that nice white jacket that has the extra long sleeves with buckles on the ends.  And my padded cell.  Calgon, take me away!  Seriously, my life is busy, but fun, wearying yet rewarding, and chock full of blessings that I am thankful for each and every day.

For as long as I can remember I have been making things, adding color and beauty to the world around me, and attaching myself to animals.  Growing vegetables, flowers, critters, and children has been an amazing learning process that has made me grow also. I can still remember my first garden.  A two square foot row of my mother's garden with a little trellis for sweet garden peas and carrots.  I think I dug those carrots out more than once to see if they were growing.  You really can't tell from the top! Those few little peas, picked, shelled and consumed on the spot were the best peas I have ever eaten and fueled my gardening passion that continues to this day.  Later, I saved my allowance to buy six strawberry plants, talked my dad into letting me tear up part of the back yard, and soon had fresh berries that I completely savored.  Most summer days found me up a tree in the backyard with a book or chasing and catching butterflies and skippers that populated the flower beds filled with zinnia, calendula, vinca, marigold and cosmos plants.

When I wasn't puttering in the yard, burying my nose in a book, or being tormented by my older brother , I was developing my coloring and drawing skills, learning to cross-stitch and beginning to make my own clothing.  In college, I learned to crochet and dabbled in knitting,  which didn't really take flight until my oldest daughter spread her own knitting wings. Now we three girls enjoy this craft together.  We have also begun to spin our own yarn and, for Christmas this last year, I  knitted a pair of socks for my long-suffering husband from home-spun, plied, and dyed yarn.

Our children have been involved in 4-H since they were old enough, and the oldest currently has Angora rabbits that she is showing, raising, and selling.  Their wool is heavenly to spin with the drop spindle and knitted items made from the yarn is so incredibly soft!  We love fluffy bunnies!

Here we have Drizzle, Cinnamon, and their mama, Tranquility.

In an effort to make room for more creative craftiness and, of course, more materials, I opened an Etsy shop http://www.etsy.com/shop/PrettiesNPracticals  Through this venue, I also hope to generate a little income to help out when my husband's somewhat seasonal work slows down.  Some additional items I hope to list in the future are: homemade soaps (including goat milk varieties), hand-painted note cards, photo note cards, framed and unframed original artwork and photographs, yarn, and needle-felting supplies.

I welcome your comments and suggestions. Thank you for visiting and come back again!