Thursday, November 23, 2017

Month of Gratitude - Day 23

Prompt: What tradition are you thankful for?

Finding out if the meringue for the pumpkin chiffon pie is ready by holding the beaten egg whites upside down over someone's head.

This year Julie made the pumpkin chiffon pies. My guess is that Melody was the one who was in potential peril.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Month of Gratitude - Day 22

Prompt: What story are you grateful for?

Easy. The story of my life. I like the woman I've become, the wife, the mother, the grandmother, the artist of the everyday. It took my entire story to get here.

photo credit: Trish Laver Photography

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Month of Gratitude - Day 21

Prompt: What song are you grateful for?

The first that came to mind?

I got to celebrate my sister Eleanore's 70th birthday last week. We called my sister Janet to celebrate her 62nd birthday this week. We'll celebrate my daughter Jeanne's birthday on Friday (even though her actual birthday is next Tuesday). Then we'll celebrate my 60th birthday all next week!

So, yeah. Happy Birthday is a pretty darn good song this month. We're traveling though life together and celebrating our milestones with each other every year.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Month of Gratitude - Day 20

Prompt: Who in your life are you grateful for?

Many, many people. Mostly my husband Dale. Smart. Funny. Kind. Generous. Conscientious. Grounded.  I miss him dearly when he’s away on business trips like he was this week. 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Month of Gratitude - Day 19

Prompt: What touch are you grateful for today?

My sister Eleanore’s hugs. They are always accompanied by sweet pats on the back.

I've had such a wonderful visit with her! What a fantastic way to celebrate our birthdays.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Month of Gratitude - Day 18

Prompt: What piece of art are you grateful for?

This answer surprises even me, but the first thing that comes to mind is the abstract painting I bought for Dale. He has quite an appreciation for abstract art. 

The acrylic work was painted by a talented local high school student. I saw it at a student art show in town and liked it so much that I bought it as a successful surprise gift for my husband. 

Painting Detail

Besides liking the color and texture, I am inspired by the way the young artist put his work out into the world and received compensation for artistic expression. 

Friday, November 17, 2017

Month of Gratitude - Day 17

Prompt: What knowledge are you grateful for?

I'm grateful I know how to do a lot of crafting techniques 

and for the knowledge of how one technique relates to another. 

This allows me to be fairly confident that I can figure out crafts that are new to me. 

I'm also successful with most of the crafts that I try.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Month of Gratitude - Day 15

Prompt: What season are you grateful for?

Honestly, the one I'm in. Part of the reason I'm glad I moved to north Idaho is that I get to experience all four seasons.

I love Spring because after the dreary days of winter blues and cold, it's lovely to see the crocus poking through the ground. I love Autumn for the colors and aromas and crisp days. Summer is good for getting outside and long daylight hours. Then the first snowfall of Winter is magical.

Around here, sometimes the seasons get all mixed up. We usually have our first snow by Halloween. The snow falls and melts as soon as it hits the ground. Our first snowfall was a few days late this year, but when it arrived it stayed for days.

Even long enough to build a snowman.

After Winter Comes Autumn

Then autumn returned. I found this guy when I went out for a walk.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Month of Gratitude - Day 14

Prompt: What sight are you grateful for today?

I'm grateful for the daily sight of my living room mantle. I call it my pumpkin patch because during Autumn the mantle filled with all manner of unique decorative pumpkins. I'm also grateful for the creative streak that resides in me and keeps pushing its way out when I play in my Studio.

Here are the two most recent pumpkin patch additions:

This is my current favorite piece. It's a plain pumpkin that I embellished with a couple strings of party beads, some leaves left over from a floral project, and a stem made of a wooden skewer. I got my inspiration from Pinterest, but created it my own way. It's more subdued than the inspiration piece.

I also remade my floral pumpkin because I wasn't quite satisfied with the one I made a few weeks ago. This is better, but still doesn't quite satisfy the vision I had.

Still, I like the way these two new additions add panache to my pumpkin patch. I have more ideas in mind - including some crocheted pumpkins - but they may have to wait until next year.


Beaded pumpkin inspired by The Swell Designer's Gold Bling Pumpkin

Floral pumpkin inspired by Lowe's Pumpkins Decorated with Chrysanthemums

Monday, November 13, 2017

Month of Gratitude - Day 13

Prompt:  What abilities are you grateful for

Today? My way with words.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Month of Gratitude - Day 12

Prompt: What texture are you grateful for?

Sweatshirt fleece.

I'm covered in it today and feel cozy on a cool day where the hardest thing I have to do is figure out what I want to eat for dinner.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Month of Gratitude - Day 11

Prompt: What holiday are you grateful for?

This is easy. Thanksgiving.

Every Thanksgiving weekend we celebrate my daughter Jeanne's birthday and my birthday. So it's the one holiday I ask that our daughters and their families to spend here at home. As their lives change and grow, I realize the years may be numbered for this family gathering. They may want to begin their own traditions. That's fine. That's good.

Thanksgiving will always be special to me because I was born on Thanksgiving. That year, my siblings had to eat hot dogs instead of turkey. 

Friday, November 10, 2017

Month of Gratitude - Day 10

Prompt: What taste are you grateful for today?

Spice cake.

It's one of Dale's favorite flavors. It smells and tastes like Autumn. So every now and again, I make a mini cake and 12 cupcakes as a celebration of the season. We each had a piece last night.


Thursday, November 9, 2017

Month of Gratitude - Day 09

Prompt: What place are you most grateful for?

One place I'm grateful for is my comfy chair in our living room.

Dale and I spend a lot of time together in this room talking, laughing, watching TV and movies, entertaining our guests. Every morning I meditate in this chair. Most evenings I find myself snuggled in this chair stitching or crocheting or playing solitaire on my phone.

I don't know that this is the place I'm most grateful for. It is the place that I think of as the heart of our home. That's an excellent place for a homebody like me.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Month of Gratitude - Day 08

Prompt: What book are you most grateful for?

Some people might call this a planner. Flybabies might call it a Control Journal. I call it my Guidebook.

This notebook continues to evolve in a way that is totally personalized, so it's very useful. My mind can be so full of chatter that it's easy for me to forget things unless I write them down.

It in are lists of annual goals and intentions, home and yard tasks Dale and I hope to tackle together, self-directed classes I want to take, photograph ideas, crafts I want to create, reminders of lonely people I want to reach out to, and charts of tasks I want to remember to do on daily, weekly, monthly, and semi-annual schedules. I don't keep all my charts up religiously, but I find them very useful so that things like cleaning under a refrigerator or writing to my elderly aunt don't get pushed aside for too long.

I'm like a living, breathing barometer. On days with falling barometric pressure (like today!), I have real trouble concentrating and moving forward. So my charts and lists help me know where to start and take baby steps to keep our home running smoothly.

So today, this is the book I'm most grateful for. My little buddy is always handy next to my chair. It gives me a small sense of security that nothing major - and a lot of things minor - won't fall through the cracks that can trip me up in daily life.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Month of Gratitude - Day 07

Prompt: What memory are you grateful for?

On difficult days, I have a memory I return to which always puts a little glow in my heart.

In April or May of 1994 north Idaho was having one of those glorious days with ideal weather. Temperatures in the 70s. Vivid blue skies interspersed with drifting white clouds. We had recently bought a queen-size air mattress. We blew it up and hauled it to the backyard lawn beneath the huge pine tree by the deck.

I plopped down on it with a book. Jeanne, 9 years old, dropped next to me on one side, Julie, 7 years old, on my other side. We read while soaking in the dappled sunlight on our backs. Jodie was 9 or 10 month old and played nearby. Every now and again she'd practice standing next to the deck stairs. Then she'd crawl over to the mattress and climb all over our legs and wedge in between me and one or the other of her sisters.

Dale was inside in the kitchen. I think he was making us lunch or prepping for our first BBQ of the season. He'd pop his head out the door every now and again to check on us.

I love that day for its simplicity. It was a gentle day with our little family enjoying our first Spring in our home in Post Falls. The girls were getting along. We were wrapped in the warmth of the sun and of each other's company. There are no photos, only memory snapshots.

Those days are long gone. The pine tree is gone. The deck a bit rickety. My daughters are grown, one raising a family of her own. The other two making their way in the world in careers of their choosing. Yet I can still feel them beside me as I watch them create their own memory snapshots.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Month of Gratitude - Day 06

Prompt: What in nature are you grateful for?

There's no use fighting it, so I might as well embrace it.

SNOW on a bright cold cloudless sunny day.

It's very pretty outside right now. The trees are covered. The grass is covered. The streets are wet and bare, so driving is still easy.

I'm grateful that I get to experience all four seasons where I live. I'm grateful for early snow that could well lead to an excellent snowpack this year. That means no drought next summer.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Month of Gratitude - Day 05

Prompt: What sound are you grateful for today?

The burbling of the coffee pot in the morning.

I don't drink coffee. But my husband does. When I hear the sound of the coffee pot bubbling and dripping, it means Dale is home for the day. He'll be enjoying that coffee all day long. I'll be enjoying his company.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Month of Gratitude - Day 04

Prompt: What food are you most grateful for?

Honestly, any I don't have to prepare myself! I'm a fine cook, but it's not a favorite activity for me.

I do, however, enjoy baking. These pizzelle cookies are a family favorite. They remind me so much of my Codispoti background, of growing up in a pizza restaurant, of my grandmother, of my dad's cousin Mary Ellen, of Christmas.

I was given the heavy old pizzelle iron when my mom no longer used it. I now have an electric pizzelle iron that is much easier to use, but I still use the old family recipe. One of my daughters now has the family heirloom.

Our recipe?

1 cup butter
1-1/3 cups sugar
6 eggs
4 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. anise seed
2 tsp. vanilla
pinch of salt 

  1. Melt butter. Let cool.

  2. Beat the eggs until foamy. Add sugar to the eggs. Beat until creamy.

  3. Add the cooled, melted butter.

  4. Sift together the flour and baking powder.

  5. Add dry ingredients to the egg/sugar/butter mixture along with anise seed, vanilla and salt.

  6. Measure dough into rounded teaspoons. Bake in a pizzelle iron approx. 35 - 45 seconds or until very lightly browned. 

Friday, November 3, 2017

Month of Gratitude - Day 03

Prompt: What color are you grateful for?

This. This one. This deep, rich, luscious red.

I have a lot of it in my home. This happens to be my bedspread. But we have curtains. A rug. It's in our artwork. Our dining room chairs. The doormats.

I find it warm and welcoming and cozy. Plus, it complements the earthy forest greens and chocolate browns and cherry wood furniture and floors.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Month of Gratitude - Day 02

Today's prompt: What technology are you grateful for?

Me? Which technology am I not grateful for? I enjoy the tools I have that make my life easier. Washers & dryers. Stoves, ovens, refrigerators, & microwaves. TV, Tivo, stereo, DVDs, MP3 players, Smartphones. Computers, big monitors, Fitbits. Lights and heat.

I think of all the things I use on a daily basis that the people in Puerto Rico have to do without since the hurricane and floods wiped out their electrical grid and cell towers.

I appreciate the internet a lot. Since most of my hours are spent alone, the internet keeps me connected to those I most love, to friends, to news and information and inspiration.

If push comes to shove, I'd say one piece of technology I'm very thankful for is my Canon camera with the macro lens attached.

When life feels difficult - especially when my mental health feels like it's under attack - one of my go-to regenerative tools is taking photographs of tiny details in my life. That activity concentrates my mind. It makes normal time disappear by stretching and contracting moments. It makes me aware of light and energy. It forces the technical side of my brain to connect with the creative side.

And it helps me produce beautiful results. For all of that, I am grateful.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Month of Gratitude - Day 01

If it's November, it's time for my annual practice of A Month of Gratitude.

This year, I'll be using the chart at the bottom of this post as a jumping off point. I may not follow it strictly, but it's a good way to consider things from many aspects of my life to be grateful for.

Today, I'm grateful for the aroma of fallen leaves as they decay on the ground and floating in puddles. I'm grateful for my two-mile walk that gives me an excuse to get outside for some distance vision.  I'm grateful for blue skies with puffy white clouds once the storm is over. I'm grateful to live in a pine forest.

Here's the chart with the prompts I hope to use this year.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Halloween Photo Contest - Parts 2 & 3

I realized that tomorrow is the beginning of my annual Month of Gratitude, and I want my blog to reflect that. So I'll show the other two photos from the Halloween Photo Contest here today. The entries needed to be in today, but the winner won't be picked for a week or two.

With this photo, I did a little manipulation in my paint program to give it this artistic effect using the "charcoal" brush.

Climb Every Pumpkin

This was the photo that took me so long to put together. I tried it with special lighting. I tried with with dry leaves and pumpkins. I tried making it look like a scientific laboratory with animals in jars. When I rummaged around for other props, I came across the doctor's bag. I went with it.

The Doctor is In

My entries don't look anything like the photos I'm up against. There are lots of graveyards scenes and haunted houses and people in costumes. So we'll see if the voters like my take on All Hallow's Eve.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Halloween Photo Contest - Part 1

I wanted to enter a Halloween photo contest on Facebook sponsored by the local photo group I joined last month. I took hours to create my photo. When I went to submit, I re-read the rules and learned that it takes three photos for one submission. I was about to throw in the towel and just not enter the contest.

For the first photo I tried lots of ideas and lighting and was really frustrated by the time I'd finished editing. So to realize I needed two more photos for this contest about did me in. Instead, I pulled on my big girl panties and tried a couple more ideas. Thankfully one of the failed ideas from the first photo came out well for the third.

So in reverse order, here's the third photo I took and edited. Works well for #macromonday as well!

Two Heads Hiss Louder Than One

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Gobble Some More

I spent most of my creative hours in October crocheting the baby afghan for a client. It's done now and will soon be on its way to the precious little boy. (I hope to show photos once it's been received).

Now I'm back to my Gobble Gobble cross-stitch design from the 2006 Cross-Stitch Calendar. The turkey is nearly finished and I've begun the border.

I'm not crazy about the words "gobble gobble" as shown on the pattern, so I'm thinking about leaving them out. In the blank spaces, maybe I'll add in some pumpkins or some Thanksgiving-related charms.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Scooty Booty

Melody is getting happier with tummy time. She's not quite coordinated enough to push up and crawl, but she is starting to get the scooty booty.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017


This little cutie is 5 months old today. She's begun to eat solid food. She can stand all by herself if she balances beside the coffee table.

Plus, she hats are beginning to be her fashion statement.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Each Leaf

Click for larger image


They're endlessly fascinating to me.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Saturday, October 21, 2017

First Dip

Julie wanted to come to Post Falls for a visit to take a walk in the woods with me at our favorite park. We went through the woods and down to the shore where Melody got to have her first dip in the Spokane River.

She came up with sand between her toes. Well done, little Idahoan.

Friday, October 20, 2017

And I'd Gladly Stand Up

At four and a half months old, Melody would much rather stand than sit - with very little help from her mom. She can hold herself up in a sitting position if she really wants to. But, no thank you. I'll stand.

Look at that face! Is she mimicking Eeyrore on her dress? Or simply wondering why Grandma keeps disappearing behind a black box with a shiny circle?