• Crazy Kids,  Critters,  Family,  Gardening,  Holidays,  Home,  Martha,  Photography


    Dear Paulette,

    Remember when it was January? Like, just yesterday? And everyone was telling you Happy New Year, and you were in your usual blissful state of all-things-are-new-again?

    And let's not forget all those New Year's Resolutions, which included this beauty:

    Blog more.

    And this one:

    Take pictures of things besides pets.

    It's probably best if you stopped resolving things. That's all.

    Yours Truly,



    I was going through my photos from 2017, and I thought I'd share a few of the in-between moments that either never made it to my blog, or maybe found their way to Instagram instead. Mostly though, they're just pictures that made me smile… and yes, the majority of them are probably of pets.

































    I hope you all had a really lovely start to your new year, and that the remaining eleven months are filled with lots and lots of moments that make you smile. Even if it's mostly your pets. Or fosters. (I don't actually own 1,284 pets, despite what it may look like.)

    I'll see you soon!




  • Gardening


    I love having all four seasons here in the heartland – icy weather included. It just means I'll be lighting candles (okay, I admit, I do that even on 100-degree-and-sunny days), deep-cleaning the house, and baking and souping and loving the day.

    A couple of days ago, however, I paused all that and headed outside to slip-and-slide my way across the back porch and out into the yard. I am by no means a great gardener, but I have a few areas of my yard that I'm in love with when they're awake and fully dressed in their greens as well as when they're bare and sleeping away the winter…

    The branches of my lilac tree, which is about 10 feet tall now…


    One of the birdhouses affixed to the fence…


    (By the way, here is the bird house next to it… I ran across this photo yesterday; I had forgotten I had taken it last spring, and it made me look forward to March and April, just before everything wakes up. The little tuft you see in the opening is not, in fact, a bird nest, but rather a mouse nest, as I discovered when cutting back the foliage.)

    Spring tp

    And lastly, the Black-Eyed Susans (which I repeatedly and mistakenly call Brown-Eyed Susans – there is a difference!) that are so full and vibrant in the summer… who knew they could also be so quiet and beautiful?


    We're no longer iced in, but I may need to bake and soup a bit longer, as my girl is home today with a fever. I'm sure she is wishing for a different season to get here already, as she is not as much of a fan of the winter as her mother is!

    Thank you so much for stopping by… it's been so much fun "visiting" with you all this week, and I've thoroughly enjoyed reading every comment you've left for me!

  • Family,  Gardening,  Holidays


    I can't believe I'm sitting here! I've missed chatting with you all!


    Is it just me and the crickets?

    I was asking on Facebook a few days ago who out there checks designers' blogs or designers' Facebook pages for new release updates, and it appears that most people prefer Facebook for the convenience of it, but they like blogs for the details – and only if a link is posted, in many cases. I really appreciated hearing everyone's feedback, although I had not really been thinking of giving up my blog; I simply have allowed my time to be consumed by other things, which has crowded out blogging (and I've always truly enjoyed blogging).

    Isn't it funny how modern technology has made daily tasks so simple that you are able to squeeze in many more tasks, which only ends up squeezing out daily living? 

    I have been so busy in such a good way around here though (technology aside). I've had such a nice summer with my last chickadee at home, Miss Sophie, and I am trying not to think about school starting up again. I always missed my girls when they had to go off to school again. 🙁 I've also been very busy with new designs, kitting, filling orders, traveling to stitching retreats, and even stitching on some fun things just for myself.

    The fourth of July was so much fun, as it always is! It's always been one of my favorite holidays because it is spent at my parents' home, in their beautiful back yard..




    Have you ever played ladder ball? It's also known as monkey ball, and I believe I mentioned it last year on my blog as well. It's truly the only time I've ever seen my mother get so highly competitive, that we all have to let her win.

    (I'm only kidding – you can't "let" someone win at ladder ball!)

    Here are Bre and Mike, taking their turns – and Bre scored a whopping 3 points when she landed on the top wrung!



    My dad is patiently waiting for his turn, while silently suffering through the smack-talk my mother is giving him on the side.


    Sophie prefers to be in the audience while the game is going on..




    I love it when my mom repurposes a fountain..






    This is a huge whiskey barrel full of marigolds.. my mother saved all the seeds last year, and there were enough for about 20 whiskey barrels! But she gave me a bunch, so now I have a barrel-full too!



    Here is the beautiful window box that is behind Sophie and my dad in the above photo..


    When Breanna was little, her favorite series was Power Rangers, and she would not allow a photo to be taken of her unless she was in her best Power Rangers pose. So for old times' sake, we all tried to strike her favorite pose. Except for Mom, who has never seen an episode of Power Rangers in her life, and except for Sophie, who would only watch Power Rangers if there was a makeup review included in a segment.






    And that was our July 4th annual cookout!

    Now that the summer is in full swing, I'm trying to figure out what my fall design schedule will be.. a little late as far as most designers are concerned, but I've always been an eleventh-hour person. I have more energy that way it seems! (I usually don't even have any Christmas design ideas in mind until the calendar page says "December" on it.)

    Hopefully I'll be seeing some of you at the Tomorrow's Heirlooms retreat on the 17th-19th of this month in Chicago! I can't wait.. and I'm really looking forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones, as always.

    I'll see you all SOON!



  • Gardening

    Sweet Nebraska Land

    When I step outside into the overwhelming heat to move the sprinkler to another parched portion of the back yard, I often wonder how the men and women of the pioneer days ever managed to remain rooted where they were, rather than desperately heading back eastward. I imagine it was the faith that it would surely rain the next day.

    As my feet crunch their way back into the air-conditioned house, I think back to the spring, when the skies did the sprinkling for me.

    Flower tp 1

    Flower tp 2

    Flower tp 6

    Flower tp 4

    Flower tp 3

    Flower tp 5

    Ah, Nebraska Land! Sweet Nebraska Land,
    Upon they burning soil I stand.
    And I look away, across the plains,
    And I wonder why it never rains.

                                            – Roger Welsch


  • Family,  Gardening


    One of the many reasons my girls love to visit my parents' house is bc they have the most beautiful yard, full of happy gardens, well-fed birds, and one joyous Golden Retriever.

    I had the pleasure of house-sitting for my parents recently, and one of my duties included keeping my mother's flowers watered. (Usually she also writes "deadhead all 4 million petunias DAILY!" on my list of chores, but she forgot to write it this time, which made me feel like I'd won the lottery.)

    On one early evening last week, I decided to take a stroll through the yard, and I brought my camera along. The sun was getting ready to go down, and there was a slight breeze that caused the windchime that hangs just outside the door to sway…

    Tp 1

    I walked down the steps of the deck into the most beautiful, sunny yard…


    I have no idea what variety of yellow flowers these are, but they were everywhere! No wonder the kids love to frolic when they're here!


    Oh, wait a second. I was pulling pictures from my back yard. Oopsies! hehehe?

    Here are some from her yard, starting with a windowbox just behind the windchime…

    Tp 2

    Tp 3

    It's fun to look around and spot something unusual…

    Tp 6

    Some of you have probably met Major, Friday's brother; he's such a sweet boy, full of sunshine and oh-so-high on life…

    Tp 4

    I love these, even though they're spent. Something about their delicate look is just so charming to me…

    Tp 7

    Tp 8

    An urn, way out back…

    Tp 9

    Tp 11

    This little caterpillar has hung here so long, the bark of the tree grew around its hanger…

    Tp 19

    Tp 10

    Like I said, one never knows what unusual things one will spot…

    Tp 12

    Was that your doing?

    Tp 5

    Tp 14

    This is another spent flower that looks beautiful to me… They were once daisies, but now they look like little pincushions on a stem…

    Tp 13

    Tp 15

    My favorite flowers…

    Tp 16

    Tp 20

    Tp 21

    Tp 17

    The only bad thing about getting down on the ground to take these pictures is it gets the attention of Major. If I'm not on my guard, I'll get this boy coming at me like a freight train and I'll end up in a full body cast…

    Tp 18

    So far, I've made it up off the ground before he reaches me.

    Here's a garden pick that is stuck in some rocks that surround a little fountain…

    Tp 23

    Oh great. There is literally no hiding from this boy.

    Tp 24

    Getupgetupgetupgetupget UP!!

    Tp 25

    I breathe a sigh of relief that he was just overjoyed about getting a drink…

    Tp 22

    The sun was getting lower, and I decided it was time to go back to my yellow gardens at home. It truly was enjoyable walking through my parents' yard – especially since there was no deadheading to do. 😉

    But the next time I have to house-sit, I should probably wear a suit of armor… just in case.

    Tp 26 

    *Edited to add: After Joann's comment, I must tell you that I truly don't have dandelions in my yard – I was just kidding bc I knew Mom would insist they were mine! But they're not either of ours. (Hi, Joann!) 🙂 The first dandelion photo came from here, and the second one came from here.

  • Gardening,  Ramblings

    This Post Is Not for the Squeamish.

    The last time I posted pictures of what some would call "creepy-crawlies" and others would just call "gross," I got a few commenters letting me know that it would have been nice if I had warned them about the post content.

    This post is mantis-photo-heavy. Consider yourself warned. 😉

    I've had some strange luck with praying mantises lately. (Did you know that other plural forms for mantis are mantes and mantids?)(By golly, this here's a learnin' blog too!) For instance, as I was descending the stairs of our local Lifetime Fitness Center last week, I glanced at something unusual in the window: a 6" bright green praying mantis. I couldn't decide if I was more shocked at the sheer size of it or the fact that it had crawled 2 stories up. When I told Breanna about it, she said that she was there on the same day and when she went out to her car, there, on her sideview mirror, was another one – no doubt wanting to pounce on her protein smoothie.

    A day or so later, Breanna and I headed to our new favorite joint, Red Mango, for some frozen yogurt. As we were walking along the landscape-lined sidewalk, I brushed my hand on a floral shrub and quickly yanked my hand away: there, within millimeters of where my hand had just been, were two black eyes staring at me. Attached to the black eyes was the body of another mantis. (That was creepy.)

    And then there was yesterday: I noticed that the potted plant on my porch table needed dead-heading, so I set about doing it. I have no idea how this crazy thing missed my pruning fingers, but THANK GOODNESS, it did.

    Mantis tp 2 

    I stared at it for a while, and it stared at me. I decided "it" was a "he," so I named him Wilhelm. No matter how many times I circled the table and switched directions, Wilhelm's head turned and his eyes followed me.

    Mantis tp 5 

    See the water beads on the top of Wilhelm's head and chin? I had also watered the plant, not realizing he was there.

    Mantis tp 1 

    Has anyone out there seen the movie District 9 (great movie!)? Surely their inspiration came from some sort of mantis.

    Mantis tp 4

    Check out those forearms…

    Mantis tp 3 

    I shall never hand-prune again without first donning a pair of garden gloves, just in case. And if I forget to put on the gloves, then I'll at least make sure there's a protein smoothie nearby, so I can offer up some sort of peace offering.

    If you've managed to make it this far into the post, but you're starting to feel a little anxious, I'd like to offer a photo that will surely calm your nerves and put a smile back on your face:

    Coffee tp 

    Mmmmmmmm. In stores now, and it smells much better than insect repellent.

  • Gardening,  Good Things,  Home


    Oh, the heat! I can't remember when it was so hot for so long here in the heartland. It's usually about this time that I wonder what possessed me to plant any vegetables during the springtime, bc I certainly don't want to have to go out in the heat and water them. Poor veggies. I'm a very bad veggie mom.

    The flowers have been languishing as well, but yesterday I was very pleased to see a new neighbor in the gardenhood… the brown-eyed susans my parents brought from their garden last year have made their debut!

    Dry tp 7

    And just in time, bc all of the spring annuals are beginning to lose their luster. Here are the few that are hanging on for dear life…

    Dry tp 5

    Dry tp 6

    Dry tp 8 

    Dry tp 3 

    Friday loves being outside, despite his tired expression (he'd stay out all day if I'd let him)…

    Dry tp 2 

    This little guy is a transplant from Mike's parents' garden. They loved garden gnomes, and since Jimmy was a huge Dallas Cowboys fan, I gifted him with this Dallas gnome one year. But now I'm a little startled when I see him hiding in my landscape, bc he reminds me of that creepy Travelocity dude that shows up in people's suitcases or bathtubs…

    Dry tp 4 

    Now today… today was a welcome change! We woke up to rain, and it was glorious! Not because the rain makes everything look fresh and anew.. no, no, that's not it. Today was glorious bc I finally got to pull on my new pair of rain boots!

    Rain tp 1

    I've never owned a pair of rainboots before. But a week ago I realized that I've always wanted to own a pair. This revelation came to me when Breanna and I were shopping at a department store and they were having a huge clearance sale, and these glorious red rain boots were on sale from $40 down to $8. How could I refuse?

    (I have also always wanted to own a Scottish Terrier. However, since the Yorkie has come to dwell in my once-quiet home, I no longer have a hankering for a pooch in the terrier family. So I wear my would-be dream dog on my glorious new red rainboots.)

    And since I thought Sabrina would look so stinking cute in a pair, I bought these as well!

    Rain tp 2 

    They're so me her!

    Rain tp 3 

    Sabrina was very excited when I told her I bought her a love present, but strangely enough, her countenance dimmed somewhat when I pulled these babies out of the bag. Maybe she got a cramp in her foot or something that kept her from being as giddy as I was.

    As I write this blog post, I sit here wearing my glorious new red rainboots, drinking coffee, and listening to the patter of rain outside. In a little while, I may have to go pull on Sabrina's new boots, just to make sure they're broken in for her when she decides to wear them.

    Besides, in the spirit of keeping up with the Jones', I'd like to match my new neighbor…

    Dry tp 1

  • Family,  Gardening


    I've had fun peeking around and taking pictures of different flowers just opening up…

    If you've visited my mom's blog lately, you've seen parts of her lovely garden, and I'm excited for everything to open up bc it's all so beautiful. It's always fun to see what new things she and my dad decide to plant and grow. 

    The photo of the bloom below is from my own back yard, but it was in mother's back yard at one time. Last year she decided to thin out some things, and I was happy to take her hand-me-downs. (Wouldn't that be a sweet name for a type of flower?)

    Geranium tp 

    These daisies were given to me by a neighbor about 15 years ago, who didn't want them in her garden any more…

    Daisy tp 1 

    This little fellow was visiting an opening bud… just after I took this photo, he ran underneath a petal.

    Aphid tp 1 

    I love these sturdy little plants…

    Salvia tp 1 

    Salvia tp 2 

    Oh – and one more thing my mother passed on from her garden to mine…

    Dandelion tp 1 


    That's it for the flower photos, but before I go I'd like to show you Brea's new hair cut… it was a really tough decision to get a whopping 10 inches cut off, but I'm glad she went for it. 🙂 Don't worry, sweet girl. It will grow back. 

    Just like the dandelions in Meems' yard.

    Breanna tp 1  

  • Gardening


    Spring comes a little later around here than in some other places, so although I don't have much blooming around my house yet, I'm quite happy with the fresh spots of green here and there.

    The baby sedum…

    Spring tp 6 

    The bee balm and the geranium from Mom's garden that she gave to me last year (although my dad was actually the one to haul it all over)…

    Spring tp 3 

    Spring tp 4 

    The lemon balm that Sophie and I love to touch, just so our hands can smell lemon-y…

    Spring tp 5 

    Our maple tree with its new spring leaves, which Sophie has learned to climb…

    Spring tp 2 

    And a beautiful new dress for Sabrina, who will be attending her prom this Saturday…

    Spring tp 7