Saturday, January 27, 2024

Cyclamen 1

 I bought this little cyclamen plant at Kroger to paint and find myself going back to it again and again. This is the first painting of four so far. It's very inspiring to me to think of new ways to approach the same beautiful object over and over. 

Saturday, January 20, 2024

Snowy Night at the Schoolhouse

Snow is an EVENT down here and when it comes every few years it brings shock and awe. The Composer went out to the bottom of the pasture to capture the Schoolhouse glowing in the wintery dark.


Friday, December 22, 2023

Shepherd's Pie

 In the run-up to Christmas I'm finding myself uninspired when it comes time to cook dinner. A: there's just so much else to do and B:  I just cleaned up from baking! Fortunately Clara took the helm yesterday and made us an absolutely luscious Shepherd's Pie, the thing we didn't know we needed.

 Inspired by a pound of ground lamb on sale at the store, she browned it in a big skillet with a package of frozen mirepoix (my best friend: chopped onion, celery, and carrot), a clove of garlic, and a box of sliced mushrooms. When the meat was browned she added 1 T. gluten-free flour (use anything) to brown in with the goodies, then added a scant cup of stock. A little thyme and fresh nutmeg, salt and pepper, and it was ready to be covered with a luscious blanket of mashed potatoes she had going on the other burner. That went into the oven at 400 with some butter dotted on the top, and baked until it was bubbling around the edges and was deliciously slightly brown.

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

A Rising Tide of Pies


That's what this day is for.

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Two Constants


I've always found limits to be creatively helpful--I just think it's easier, when setting out on a creative project, to have fewer options than INFINITY to choose from :). So in my writing I prefer poetic forms--and right now, in my painting, I almost always plunk my flowers down (in real life) in the same milk glass vase. Turns out, there are still infinite ways to paint that vase.

Same with background color. I bought a very large tube of Pthalo Green (because it was on clearance!) at a Dick Blick store a year and a half ago, and ever since it's been my go-to background. It's a great complement for red, orange, or pink flowers, and by adding varying quantities of green, blue, yellow, red, or white, I can move it in a bunch of directions. Not saying I don't occasionally bust out an occasional white or pink background, but generally I rely for the moment on this favorite. 

Tuesday, November 07, 2023

Peachy Roses


This is yesterday's studio session--my second painting from the same flowers. I did my best to keep things simple and only show the large shapes. This is much simpler than my first try. It's hard to keep it easy!

Sunday, November 05, 2023

A Sunday Evening Re-Entry

Five years ago without planning to, I drifted away from this blog, as our family moved into a season of almost constant change, almost all of it very good--grandchildren arriving, grown children buying and selling homes, moving hither and yon, starting businesses, starting various schools, graduating, the Schoolhouse turning into an empty nest, and (if you have a fine eye for detail and saw my header), my entry, along with two of my children, into the Catholic Church. For the record, no Catholic/Protestant conflict here :)

The Composer and I continue to live very happily at the Schoolhouse, doing our things! He works, volunteers, watches the world, and keeps the ship upright, and I work a little, walk a lot, plant flowers, go to Mass, drool over grandchildren, and paint most days of the week.

I'm returning to this space to get back to sharing my creative endeavors! The nature of Life Online has changed so that I no longer feeling comfortable feeding the beast with much family info: so while I wish I could share ALL about kids and grandkids, discretion demands otherwise.

But if you're interested in artwork*, the occasional sewing project, recipe, or garden snippet, hang around!

*see Etsy shop shortly!

Saturday, May 19, 2018

So Many Quilts for Sale

It's probably a very First World + Rural Area problem to have, but my quilt shelves have been overflowing for quite some time. I have therefore stocked my etsy shop with TEN QUILTS. Folks, these are part of quilting history here at the Schoolhouse. Get them while you can, and I promise I will give the proceeds away where I think they will do the most good. 

Bless you all!

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

What I've Been Enjoying

The library's sale shelves. I've gotten some great stuff for very little, and I enjoy supporting the library. I try to stop and check at least once a week.

My orchids are all blooming at once.

We spent a few hours in Indianapolis, and I truly enjoyed fabric shopping at the French Seam fine fabric store. I got several stunning pieces to make summer things for Daisy. If you're in the midwest, go there.

I'm finishing up my poetry collection and turning it in tomorrow. 

I've been working at the Sisyphyean task of using up my scraps of jersey by piecing a string quilt. You cut your scraps into strips and sew them to a fabric base. I'm using 10-inch muslin squares and I need to make 81 of them. I do about two a day. I'm not racing through this project, but it is so satisfying to see the scrap heap diminish.

Kale from the garden!!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Oil Painting: Yellow Irises

Tonight was one of the times when I sat down and whipped out a painting. It helps to start with a black ground--that's currently my favorite canvas. This piece took about an hour.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Oil Painting: Purple Irises

Irises with lots of movement and lots of paint.

Monday, March 26, 2018

What I've Been Enjoying

The girls and I went camping at a Dark Sky state park and *finally* learned the constellations once and for all (I hope).

Many daffodils.

I'm in a poetry writing class with Clara.  I obsess over it way more than she does.

A new compulsion to walk--I try to walk every day, even days when I've already run. I have a favorite two-mile trail just three minutes from the house, and it's on the water. Yes.

The rosemary is blooming.

I am blessed with lots and lots of work.

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Ripple Blanket for Tia

Since I took this picture this afghan has grown much much bigger and actually far darker, since I've leaned much more towards navies, dark greens, and mulberries. I still have a long way to go though--I made it so wide! It was misguided and will cost me a fortune in yarn, but it'll be worth it. Tia loves to snuggle on the couch and will get some good use out of this. Probably next year though!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Oil Painting: Valentine Roses

The Composer brought home roses for Valentine's Day and they went to the painting studio with me. I finished them today. Love how intense that cadmium red is to make the lights!

All's well here--we have had plenty of rain. At least the thermometer's moving in the right direction. It's almost time to plant the spinach!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Oil Painting: Sunflowers

I missed my Tuesday night painting session but hopped over after lunch today, to find that someone had left a bouquet of sunflowers set up. I started this piece, using black canvas which I find strangely compelling.

Monday, February 05, 2018

Good Morning!

All is well here--I've been without photo capability for the last month as my photo processor (the Composer) has been working every single evening outside the house. Life continues on rich and full! Back soon with lots of gorgeous projects. Beads. Yarn. Paint. That stuff.

Monday, January 08, 2018

Some of the Prep*

Fresh paint on the windowsills.

Constant brewing of PG Tips in the biggest pot.

Endless dishes to wash.

Christmas beauty.

One of our beloved crew (and the most introverted).

Flowers to arrange. Thank goodness the mud room was freezing--it made a nice walk-in fridge for the bouquets.

Best man, freshly trimmed.

Giles and Tia, home!!

What's a wedding compared to the Stone House baby?

A garland for getting married under--first tiny brass bells, then flowers and greenery and a glass bird or two, then we hoisted it up above the windows.

Typical bridezilla (not).

*These beautiful photos are courtesy of Emma at the Stone House who knows what she's doing!!

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Christmas Wedding (Part Two)

These are just a few phone photos--we haven't seen the real ones yet.
We cleared out the living room and set up white chairs.

After the ceremony we struck all the chairs and set up tables for forty-five. We were blessed with lots of help to get this done, and had table settings and flowers waiting in another room.

We sent the bride and groom outside for a few pictures before we sat down to eat the *most* luscious shrimp and grits, fruit, biscuits, ham, greens, and cake.

Bella and Arthur!!

Friday, December 29, 2017

Christmas Wedding (Part One)

Just checking in with a preview peek of the bride and groom dashing out through a shower of rice. The wedding was gorgeous, Christmas was lovely, then the flu hit hard. Beautiful photos to come!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Inexpensive Wedding Napkins

I bought a few yards of bleached muslin, washed and dried it, and used pinking shears to cut it into 18" squares. We starched and pressed each napkin (it was awesome, mixing up a big basin of starch, dipping each napkin in and wringing it out--so vintage), then folded it into the squares you see. On wedding morning, each side will be pulled out so that each napkin will be a dimensional flower. In 100% cotton, which you cannot get at the rental store around here.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Light in Winter

Why was winter never my favorite season? The light is so beautiful--the long shadows, the low sun, the golden woods.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Fruitcake Saturday

I had a great day of cooking and baking Saturday, with a cake count of six, and cake production pausing only for a quick trip to the bridal salon for Bella to be fitted for her dress. The girls and I had the Christmas crooners playing on a Pandora station and competed to see who could be first to identify Bing, Perry, or whoever else it was. Come what may this season, the fruitcakes are in the freezer.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Oil Painting: Roses (A Long Time Coming)

This painting has taken me a most uncharacteristically long time. The problem is that I slapped some big flowers down on a canvas with no real plan and set up some major compositional problems for myself.

It's been oriented this way. Also, upside down. Also, sideways. It's had any number of blossoms, from four to nine.

It's not done yet, but it's getting close. 

Monday, December 04, 2017

The Power of Habit

I am loving this book, The Power of Habit. It's making me rethink all of my routines and rituals, wondering how I can harness them up to hone in on things I want to change and accomplish.

It's a very easy read, and I've been reflecting as I go through the book on positive habits I've succeeded in installing (flossing, housecleaning, planning), and negative habits I want to ditch. It's the whole idea of changing your course by a single degree, to find yourself miles away from where you would have been. Exciting, and perfectly time for a new year!

Friday, December 01, 2017

Head Above Water, Barely, Again

Whew. This is just a busy, busy season. Travel, wedding, giant party, whole-house renovation, work. My idea is that all of it will be finished by January, and then I will sit down with Sister in my arms.


I posted this last fall. I am reposting it again as my current truth, although I have finished my travel, am working more, and am only renovating a garage apartment. Besides those changes, I'm right back where I was last year!!

Thursday, November 30, 2017


A few weeks ago a tiny, teenincey (as we say in the South) kitten showed up on the back porch. He was almost too small to eat crunchy cat food. But he kept at it manfully.

We are not keeping him. We are not keeping him. But we feed him twice a day (breakfast at 7:00 a.m., tea at 4:00 p.m.) just like we do Mr. Collins, the dignified ginger tabby that's been hanging around the porch for a couple of years.

We're still not keeping him, but since Daisy has initiated him into the pleasures of petting and lap-sitting,  it looks like we're going to be able to get him to the vet for a fixing and some shots. I think that battle has been won.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

A Bear for a Baby

I found a cashmere coat at the thrift store in the perfect color, if you were wanting to make a bear for a baby, which I was.

In fact, I've made two. I machine-stitched the pattern pieces together, but then the head, body, arms, legs, etc. all have to be joined by hand, which is always awkward until I get the hang of it.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Holiday Manners

Miss Manners hard at work getting out the holiday edition of her column, addressing all her readers' questions about how much they can eat at Thanksgiving, the conundrum of taking seconds,  and other burning issues.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Things We Did Before Thanksgiving

Clara polished the silver. Bella picked up the forgotten groceries.

I made the cranberry sauce and cornbread for the dressing. 

We all cleaned the house.

Monday, November 20, 2017

The Golden Woods

Sunday afternoon was perfect for a hike. Daisy didn't want to drive anywhere though, so we did what we should do more often--we walked through the backyard and down the back side of the mountain.

It had literally been years since I had done this. It's very, very steep--you almost have to slide down. At the bottom, you come out in a perfect golden valley, and then you can walk over to the road and have a reasonable stroll home.

However, we abandoned reason, and came huffing and puffing back up the steep way,  just to keep in practice.

Related Posts with Thumbnails