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November 19, 2015

studio tour - part three

Okay, we are rounding the corner of our week long studio tour today.  You can go here and here to see the first two parts.

This area is designated for paper projects.  There are blank tags, paper scissors, small bits of ribbon and loose buttons in the pretty containers on my blue painted table.

November 17, 2015

studio tour - part two

Welcome back for part two of my studio tour.  If you missed part one, you can find it here.

We are continuing on from the desk along the same wall today starting with my art cart.  I bought this a couple of years ago at IKEA and love it.  I could actually use a couple more around the studio.

November 16, 2015

Studio tour...part one

I thought it was about time I shared a tour of my studio with you since it is probably the place in our home that is most reflective of who I am and the area that provides me a safe shelter in life's storms.

My studio/craft/sewing room has been in just about every room in our home but I love it's current location most of all.  I am upstairs facing the street with a view of the nearby foothills and shaded by our large California Ash trees.

November 11, 2015

fashion Wednesday...

I've joined a group of ladies on facebook who are over 40 and fashion conscious.  It is just the most amazingly encouraging group and proof positive that you can reach those middle-ish years in style.  I also love that these are real women in all shapes and sizes and they are all beautiful and kind and inspiring.

The group has upped my accountability to get dressed in more than pj's or sweats (on most days) and to continue my walking on a consistent basis. I thought it would be fun to share with you on Wednesdays what I've shared with them the previous week.

Most of the photos are just selfies taken with my smart phone so they may not always be the best quality but hopefully they will still encourage you to have fun with fashion and remind you that you are worth fixing up for.  As silly as it seems in the midst of all the worries of the world, I do feel better when I take the time to get dressed.

Okay, I'll step off my soap box now and wish you all a great Wednesday and to all of you who have served or loved someone who is serving or has served, Happy Veteran's Day and thank you for your sacrifice to our country.

xo, Patty

November 6, 2015

nesting mode

I am happily spending my days in full on nesting mode now that our temps have finally taken a dip. There is just something about the cooler and shorter days that makes me want to hunker down and spend time in the kitchen.

I have decided this will be the year of soup and bread making.

I got started on Monday making this knock off of the Olive Garden's pasta e fagioli.  I loved it but my husband said it was just okay.

I also made this pizza bianca recipe that I found on Edie's blog, life in grace. Another good one that I will definitely be using as my home made pizza dough recipe from now on.  It was quick to put together and makes a good bread for any soup you make.

This week I am going to be making Chicken Tortilla soup.  My husband likes to have a bread or sandwich with soup or it really isn't a meal to him, so I'm open for suggestions.  What sounds good with chicken tortilla soup?  And while your thinking about soups and breads, what are some of your favorite recipes

Happy Friday and have a wonderful weekend.

xo, Patty

November 2, 2015

October in review

Sometimes it seems I have so many irons in the fire that I just need to stop a minute and take stock. Maybe make a few lists and breathe a sigh of relief and gratitude for what I've come through and note the progress I've made.  I'm sure you feel the same way.

Today's post is just a little catch up, a recap of things that I shared in October and what progress I've made.

- I am still walking nearly every day.  I have been taking Tuesday and Sunday off mostly because they are the days that I have commitments fairly early in the morning.  I've even come to look forward to putting on my walking shoes and hitting the pavement.

- I went through a bit of a dry spell creatively last month but finally sat down and whipped up these little Christmas ornaments for a swap I'm involved in.  I think they turned out cute and may even offer a few in my Etsy shop later in the month.

- In continuing my intentional living I decided to purge one bag of stuff every day for the month of November.  I'm thinking a plastic grocery bag is a good size to fill.  It will either be trash or give away.  Wish me luck with this one.  I love the idea of less but am not always so good with the follow through.

- I have put myself on a personal spending freeze for the entire month of November.  Ouch, it's only the second and I'm feeling the withdrawals.  I think I finally have to face the fact that no matter how much purging I do, if I keep bringing stuff home I will never clear the clutter.

- I shared how I want to be more intentional in the time I spend with my husband.  We have decided to read the bible together.  We have chosen the book of Galatians and will each read a chapter a day and then discuss it the next morning over coffee.  This is huge for us and something I've prayed about for a lot of years.  (I'll share more on this another time.)

That's about it here.  How was your October in review?

xo, Patty

November 1, 2015

hello November...

Can I just say how excited I am that it is November?  Well, I am so very excited.  It was a brutally hot September and October around here but there is relief in sight.

Because November is finally here.  You know how a lot of you feel about October?

"I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers." Anne of Green Gables

Yada, yada, yada...(as we swelter away in triple digit temps).

That's how we Southern Californians feel about November.  The temps will finally take a more consistent dip and the evenings and mornings will get down right chilly.


I think November is in a close tie with February for my most favorite month.  You see, February is for us like May is for you...but then that's a story for another day.

Happy November my faithful friends.

xo, Patty

October 28, 2015

pop up halloween party

While we were in Texas a few weeks ago my grandson missed one of his good friends birthday parties.  I know there will be plenty of birthday parties but a friend that moved a town away was going to be there and he was especially bummed not to see him.

When we got back I decided to contact the boys mom (thank goodness for facebook in this case) and see if he could come over for a play date.  She thought it was a great idea so I decided why not invite a few friends to add to the fun.

We (by that I mean I) decided to make it a Halloween themed event.  Not wanting to invest a lot of money, I headed down to my local Dollar Tree and picked up a few fun and scary things.

I threw a festive quilt over the buffet table, put out a few snacks and just like that we had ourselves a quick pop up Halloween party.

Needless to say, it was a big hit.  All six boys had a fun time and enjoyed being able to help themselves to as many snacks as they wanted.

Can I just say it is so much easier entertaining for small people.  They didn't care about dust bunnies or dishes in the sink...or maybe I didn't care, which is probably more important.  They just had fun.

Happy Hallo's Eve Eve Eve.

xo, Patty

October 26, 2015

a new stack of books

I thought I'd show you what I came home from the library with last week.  Thank you for your suggestions.  I did a thorough search in the library computer and found a few matches.  (I had hard time finding some of them and don't know if I just misspelled something or if they are hard to find, so I will be sending a couple of you an email for clarification.)

I love the stack I came home with.

When I posted this photo on instagram I had a few of my friends recommend One Thousand White Women by Jim Fergus, so that's where I started...and I am loving it.  I am just about at the half way point and look forward to opening it up every chance I get.  I will probably have it finished in another day or two and am wondering what I should read next?  Any suggestions?

xo, Patty

October 22, 2015

halloween on the front porch

With a little dip in the temps my grandson informed me that it was time to get busy spookifying the front porch for Halloween  I don't go overboard with the scary stuff but with a seven year old boy living here it's hard not to add a little ghoul to the house.  (Especially since his best friend across the street already has theirs all done.)

I guess I have to admit that I love it almost as much as he does.

Most of what we put up I found at The Dollar Tree.  With outdoor decor it can sometimes get so dusty and dirty that I don't want to put it away until next year so twenty dollars worth of fresh spooky is often better than cleaning and storing things until next year.

The Edison lights stay up year round, I just added a strand of orange twinkle lights to the mix.  They were only a few dollars at Walmart and they make such a great showing at night.  The cute glow in the dark plastic banner and  paper lanterns are from The Dollar Tree.  The pumpkins are battery operated and cast a nice glow at night.  I bought a pack of AAA batteries also at The Dollar Tree, so for four dollars I think I got a lot of bang for my buck.

I put up this chalkboard at the beginning of summer and I love it out here.  My husband gave me grief to know end because of it, but I think he gets a kick out of it now as well.

With the addition of a giant spider web and glittery fly, my fall wreath fits right in.

The plastic pumpkin pails are hung with twine.  My friend hung hers from the tree in her front yard with a few strands of lights and I loved the affect.  Unfortunately our trees limbs are too high so I had to settle for the porch.  My grandson does all the cobwebs in the bushes.  He is really getting good and patient with pulling them apart and not glopping them in one spot.

I wish I could show it to you at night.  When you flip the switch and the lights go on, it is pure magic.

At least the little (and not so little) people who live here think so and that's what really matters.

xo, Patty

October 20, 2015

library day...

In my quest for more intentional living I have a list of things that I am trying to give myself time to do everyday or at least a few times a week.  Things that I enjoy, things that bring me personal gratification and feed my soul.

Simple things really like creating something in my studio, having a slow cup of coffee, baking from scratch, studying God's word deeply or reading.

It's funny how the anticipation of this time is such a vital part of the joy.  Like going to the library.  I keep a list of authors and books that I want to read in my purse but I will also just walk around my favorite sections hoping for a title or a book cover to grab my attention.

I gather my overly ambitious stack of books, check out with the librarian, head home, stack them in a prominent place near my favorite reading chair and wait for that quiet moment when I can open up the pages and get lost for a little while.

This stack is on it's way back today.  I loved Trisha Yearwood's cook book and have added Anne of Green Gables to my favorite of all time books list (sorry again, Jen).

Any suggestions as to what I should bring home today?  I'd love to hear your favorite books and authors to add to my list.  I'd love to go in search of a few of your favorites, too.

xo, Patty

October 15, 2015

can I get a woot, woot from the crowd...

I didn't say anything yesterday but now that it's happened two days in a row I guess it's kind of a thing, on it's way to habit, so I can let you in on it...

I am an exerciser.  There I said it.  I have now gotten up earlier than usual, done fifteen minutes of stretching and good old fashioned leg lifts and arm toners and then headed out the door for a 30 minute brisk walk.

Can I get a woot, woot from the crowd?  What, you're not impressed?  You say you've been doing this for years?  I say good going and keep it up (woot, woot to you).  But for this anti-exercising, please don't make me walk girl, it is a big deal.

Now that I'm older it takes more than just a few salads and less sweet treats to see any progress on the scale so I thought it was time to get moving.  I have made a pact with my mom that I will call her when I head out and she is going to do the same when she walks her dog.  There is accountability in numbers, right?

It may sound silly but I feel better already.  It has inspired me to get dressed (with make up and everything) and really be productive.  Okay, I know it's only been two days but it's a start.

What about you?  Do have a workout plan or is your exercise just hit or miss or none at all?

xo, Patty

October 14, 2015

in the kitchen...chocolate chip cookies

Last week we had a very small window of nice fallish weather so I took full advantage and did a little baking.  We are a family of classic chocolate chip cookie lovers so whenever I see a recipe for "the best chocolate chip cookie ever" I like to give it a try.

I found the latest version in my current bible study work book of all places, Kelly Minter's study entitled, What love is.

The recipe itself is pretty standard with a slight difference in the amount of flour, her's call for 3 cups verses the standard 2 and 1/4, which results in a taller more substantial cookie which is how we like them and pecans instead of walnuts.

They are delicious.  A definite hit around here and even good enough to become my go to chocolate chip cookie recipe.

I will usually make half the cookie dough right away and store the rest in plastic wrap in the freezer for later.  That way I don't end up eating them all at once and I still have a dozen or so to look forward to when the craving strikes.

Speaking of eating too many cookies...I stupidly bravely got on the scale this morning after eating myself through the Houston area the last four days and seemed to have gained a pound for every day there.

Between Nymfa's fajitas and Blue Bell ice cream everynight (my grandson still does not understand why we don't have Blue Bell in California) and lasagna and beef dips and pumpkin breads galore, I knew it was bound to happen.  But you know what, I wouldn't change a thing.  I say a good appetite is a sign of a good life and these last few days I've had a pretty great one.

But now it's back to reality and if I want to fit into the new fall clothes I have coming my way I better substitute a few salads and less sweet treats real quick.  I guess that means finish these cookies as quickly as possible.

Happy Wednesday my friends.

xo, Patty

October 13, 2015

back home...

I just got back from a quick trip to visit my sister in Cypress, Texas.  I've barely had a chance for a quick nap and to throw in a load of laundry but it already feels so good to be home.

I traveled this time with my mom and seven year old grandson and had a wonderful time.  It's still hot in southeast Texas but we managed alright.  It seems I left quite a heat wave behind so I guess it was an equal trade.

I love visiting but I do love coming home.  I'll be back soon with a proper post.  It seems I've come back with renewed excitement for life and a full, creative heart.

xo, Patty

October 7, 2015


I love October for all the reasons I'm sure most of you do.  There is just a hint of something special in the everyday that lures us into the beauty of Autumn and I think October speaks to this more than any other month.

We have enjoyed a few days of actual fall weather and I have taken full advantage.  My days have been spent doing a whole lot of nothing tucked into the things that need to be done.  The rush to begin anew that accompanies September has started to wane and the desire to sit back and savor has begun.

I have already watched my favorite fall movie, You've Got Mail, twice with a steaming mug of tea in hand.  I have actually had to pull the blanket up over me at night to fight off the chill in the air and have nearly reached for my favorite over sized sweatshirt as I crawled out of bed the last few mornings.

My time in the kitchen has taken on a different flavor as well.  Instead of quickly preparing something to eat and getting out of a hot kitchen, I have been taking my time planning menus and trying new things.  The oven is calling for banana bread, pumpkin scones and chocolate chip cookies to be baked in the very near future.

I love how everything turns homeward this time of year.  The days are grower shorter, darkness is coming sooner, making the comforts of home even sweeter.  Do you feel it, too?

xo, Patty

October 1, 2015

living intentionally

I mentioned in my last post that I have been trying to be more intentional in how I live my life in general and in my marriage specifically.  It is so easy to get up each day and do what we do with little thought or intention and before we know it we have strung together day after day of unintentional living.

This can be especially true in our relationships.  I have been married for over 30 years and can attest to this first hand.  I am not saying that our lives should be one exciting adventure after another, because let's face it the cleaning and the laundry won't do themselves, but I am trying to create small intentional moments everyday.

This might look different for everyone.  For us it could be as simple as seeking each other out for a cup of coffee together and a little bit of face to face talk time.  Or me opening up a folding chair in the garage while he does whatever men do in the garage.  Or making up a batch of his favorite chocolate chip cookies.  I find even tagging along while he runs his errands gives us talking time to and from the Home Depot.

For me, he might bring me a cup of coffee in bed or put a few pretty flowers in my garden to surprise me or even fix a door that's sticking.  Just little things...

A perfect example was last Sunday after church.  The grand kids were away with their mom and I had a couple of hours to myself so I decided to head to Target to stroll the aisles at my leisure without having to go through the Lego section.  I didn't have money to buy anything except maybe a bag of popcorn but just the time alone was enough.  As I was heading out the door my husband handed me a twenty and told me to buy something for myself.  Swoon...the little things.

Now before you start thinking that we have a marriage without strife or friction let me set you straight.  My man and I are as different as night and day and our thirty plus years together have been hard earned at times.  We are both fiercely independent and could easily live together without these moments for weeks on end.  But the bottom line is that I love him and he loves me and I don't want that to happen, so these little intentional moments are vital to us.

You may not be married or you may be married and spending those moments together may be natural for you, but I am sure there are other relationships you have that could benefit from intentional living.  How about a parent, or a child, or a sibling, or a real life in person friend?

Life is short and the ones we love are not guaranteed to be here for ever.  Let's make the most of time we have and live it on purpose.

xo, Patty

September 28, 2015

around here lately...

Good morning, I've missed being here.  I wish I had some exciting reason for being away but actually it's been rather quiet around here lately.

With all the mad sewing to open my Etsy shop finished, even my sewing machine has been rather still.   I started some new fall place mats over the weekend that I'm hoping to finish up today and then I have quite a bit of Christmas (yes, I said Christmas) sewing on my list so that constant whirrr of my machine will be filling the air soon enough.

We have been spending our Saturday mornings out at the soccer field watching my seven year old grandson play.  This is the age where the game starts making sense and they start developing the skills and mind set to set up plays and pass the ball so the games are actually quite exciting.  His team is doing well with no losses yet this season.

My garden is so sad looking right now.  The heat has been non stop for weeks now and with our drought restrictions here in California only the grass is getting regular watering.  We are expecting a break in the heat next week (cross your fingers) so I hope to get out there and dead head, weed and do a good general clean up in anticipation of a winter planting of cool season veggies.

My husband and I have been trying to be more intentional in building our marriage so we have been making a point of talking and spending moments together.  That's all I'm going to say on this subject for now as it deserves it's own post later.

As you can see, I finally put out my fall decorations.  This always spurs on a deep cleaning and it feels so good to have it all done.  I tried to go a bit more minimal in here but as I pulled out each little pumpkin it lead to the next one and so on.  I know the thing right now is to just add a few branches and a white pumpkin or two but I love the colors of fall and it makes me happy to see it displayed in all it's silky glory all over the house.

That's it for me...how's it going with you?

xo, Patty