Have you ever Zentangled? (This new concept may be old hat to you, but just in case …)

Don’t let the term trap you into logical interpretations.

No claustrophobia intended.

On the contrary,

this type of tangling is all about freeing … your mind.

Zentangle® is a mesmerizing method of structured doodling created by calligrapher Maria Thomas and her husband, Rick Roberts.


Image courtesy of Zentangle.com

Let’s put it into context:

You’ve been known to scribble and swirl on scraps of paper when talking on the phone, yes?

Well, Zentangle takes this kind of drawing to a whole new level of artistry-meets-meditation.

And anyone can do it, even people who insist they can’t draw.


Image courtesy of Craft Chick http://craftchick.wordpress.com/2011/03/15/whats-a-zentangle/

“We love presenting to a class or seminar full of people who are convinced they can’t draw the Zentangle art we show them. Then, within 15 minutes, they have easily accomplished what they thought was impossible,” Maria says. “This is one of our favorite Zentangle moments, because then we ask, ‘What else do you know that you can’t do?’ You can transfer that insight and experience of success and accomplishment to any life experience. Something may look complicated, but you now know that you can do it, one simple stroke at a time.”


Image courtesy of the Greeley County Library http://greeley.mykansaslibrary.org/zentangle-classes/

Continue reading

Teacup Bangles

Dear reader, beware!

If you have a weak spot for vintage china teacups,

you may want to sit down for this.

First of all, this post involves cutting fine bone china into pieces …

I know. It’s hard on the ears.

But, there’s also an imminent risk to your pocketbook should you continue reading.

Do you dare?

I thought you would.

So, now you’re dying to know how tearing apart teacups could spur a spending spree.

Well, take a look at this:


Photo courtesy of StayGoldMaryRose

No, your eyes don’t lie.

Those beautiful bangles are …



English artist Abigail MaryRose Clark has perfected the most perilous process of transforming porcelain cups into must-have jewelry.


Photo courtesy of StayGoldMaryRose

Lest you still feel faint imagining your grandmother’s mint-condition china set being rendered into wrist rings, let me assure you that all of the china used in Abigail’s work is sourced from the UK’s biggest china manufacturers as seconds and damaged items.

“I believe strongly in preserving, upcycling, and reusing beautiful objects that have outlived their previous lives or intended use,” she says.


Photo courtesy of StayGoldMaryRose via Colour Me Vintage

Abigail has been designing and making her Repurposed Vintage Teacup Bracelets since 2004 and is currently supplying them to Anthropologie and other stores throughout the US and UK. You can also find an irresistible variety on her Etsy shop, StayGoldMaryRose, for about $45 to $65 each.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you!


she’s home bound

headed for one last stop and long-lasting Sweet Dreams




no more city street lights


fresh air! … green acres is the place for me


she’ll be coming ’round the corner when she comes

Continue reading

movin’ on up in the world

As promised, here’s Lucille, our tractor, in action.


Continue reading

Sweet Dreams, Little Store!

My Sweet Dreams store on Jackson Street in my hometown of Moscow, Idaho, needed to move to make room for a parking lot. I kid you not. We owned the building but leased the land, and when our landlord passed away, the new owner wouldn’t budge in his decision to clear the entire block. But remember my post about doubling the size of my Coeur d’Alene store recently and the huge parking lot outside our door that’s being converted to a park? Win some, lose some. All the work we’d put into the grounds weren’t lost entirely. Every single bush, tree, bulb, and plant was lovingly dug up and replanted somewhere else. Our landscaping endeavors had won awards! Sigh.

And do you remember the colors from my Winnie the Pooh poster? Well, guess what? I had painted my little store the exact same colors. After trying to sell the building (backyard mother-in-law quarters anyone?), we decided to move it to the farm to occupy the spot where my Winnie the Pooh tree stood … without bees. A new kind of swarm was about to happen.


We readied a spot by cutting down our one tree and then pulling out a thicket of small plum trees with the tractor. We brought in truckloads of gravel and poured a concrete pad.

Here’s my SIL, Lucas, knee deep in the muck of it.


As each tree we pulled out with the tractor was then pulled down the road to our debris pile, my little farm was bathed in a dust storm.


Walker had a free pass to lounge the day away.


Continue reading



Honey Bee Tree

Remember my post on Saturday about hubby driving Lucille, our tractor, to town? I was elusive then and will be again today. Do stay tuned though. I’ll pull it all together in the end. But first, take note of the colors in this sign. I put this sign up a few years ago when my bees swarmed and took up residence in an ancient, almost rotten apple tree near where we park our cars at the farm. Okay, I thought. I won’t be able to harvest their honey, but a beehive in an apple tree sounds so right somehow.

But sadly, bears can’t read and a bear (or another critter with claws) did, in fact, raid and destroy most of the combs. The bees disappeared and never returned.


Fast forward a few years later when the sign, the tree, and the abandoned hive needed to come down. Why?




Continue reading

Old Mill Days

In an earlier post, I shared some pics from our trip to Lindsborg, Kansas. While there, we also toured a flour mill built in 1898 that, for a couple of days each year, is cleaned up and turned on! Amazing.

Below is an advertisement from The Lindsborg News-Record of the Old Mill announcing their annual event, Millfest.


They even dressed the part and gave us a fabulous tour of their mill.

P1060254 (Custom)

It was especially exciting touring this mill because for the most part, it’s a carbon copy (well, inside at least) of my J.C. Barron Flour Mill, located in Oakesdale, Washington.

Continue reading

Pampered Poultry

Don’t be afraid to confess.

We’re all friends here.

Your secret is safe.


Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

So, admit it …

You dream of bringing your chickens indoors.


A Girl with a Rooster by Jacob Gerritsz via Wikimedia Commons

It’s okay—it’s considered normal around here. I raised my girl Ginger indoors because sometimes …

a couple of daily visits to the henhouse just isn’t enough.

Continue reading

one of a kind!

On our recent trip to Lindsborg, Kansas, I stopped by to give a big ol’ farmgirl hug to my friend and National Geographic photographer, Jim Richardson. (Treat yourself to some of his photos in his list of published stories.) He and his wife, Kathy Richardson, have a studio on Main Street called Small World Gallery.


If you’re a regular reader of Nat Geo, you know that Jim is still capturing the world in photos. In 1994, Jim spent a few days photographing us for a feature that appeared in 1995.

gift_gab-jewlery-1 Continue reading