Feb 26, 2015

Tickled Pink

Welcome to a world of fun...

...with Tula Pink!!

Hello my lovely friends!

I hope this cold winter day (or maybe not so cold for some of you around the world) is treating you well. Right now, a few flurries are slowly falling through the cloudy skies - makes me want to curl up in a beautiful quilt. How about you?

Well, I cannot think of, hunt down, or even begin to create any quilt that equals Tula Pink's talent and unique style. If you don't know this lady because you are thinking, "well I don't quilt," let me tell you that you are cheating yourself out of a tons of inspiration for whatever passion, craft, or hobby you may currently be engaged in. She is a fabric designer that creates fabrics like no other. I had the great privilege to photograph her for the current issue of Artists and Makers (Spring 2015 issue).

This is a great magazine that highlights artists and not just their craft, but as a whole person. Tula Pink has a fabulous feature with lots of info and of course, lots of pics that I shot for the feature. I thought you might enjoy a few pics and seeing her FABULOUS studio/home. 

If I didn't love Tula so much, I would be green with envy, but instead...I am just tickled pink! (I know, that was bad, wasn't it?)


Is this a great space or what? I flipped when I first saw it. She lives in a very old renovated dairy barn!! How cool is that?

I love this chandelier and it came with the barn! Now, that is once fancy-schmancy barn, if you ask me...

Tula hand-painted this table as a reminder that while creating a new creation, we can be like tender fruit when others render their opinions - especially when they weren't sought. We artists don't really want to hear what you think when we are in the middle of creating, and especially when we haven't even formed our own opinion of our own unfinished work yet - yup - totally get that - thank you!

Okay, I really love Tula, but in her spare time she loves to sew by hand and sit in her favorite area to do it. I love working with photography, and yes, in some of my spare time, I will just shoot for fun...but Tula is fanatical about her sewing - which  makes her such an expert at what she does. Me, after a shooting gig, I will garden, cook, or whatever, but won't shoot for a bit to refresh. Sewing IS Tula's downtime/refresh time. I was just amazed at that. Would love to poke around in that head of hers to see how her wires are stitched together...could learn a lot from her, I am sure.

Love her fireplace with the deer head and her Tula Pink boat - which of course, she made herself. If I didn't love her, I would be sick by now - hahaha. But seriously, her talents still amaze me after knowing her since her first book.

I know, I know, I am dying too!! Can you believe her patio???? I swear, it looks like something right out of a little town in Europe. Those are the original barn doors-  L  O  V  E!  Okay, that's it, I'm finding me a darn barn next week, can't stand it...ready to pack up and live with the livestock! :-)

I hope you enjoyed this little tour of my photo shoot with Tula Pink. If you want to see more and read her story, pick up an issue of Artists and Makers - lots of great info and stories in this issue. 

Also, on another note, I am soooo waiting for warmer weather - I got my bike and all its fixins'!! I can't wait to ride it and of course, take pics of it and share with you my first riding experience n almost three years. Also, thank you so much for visiting my new Instagram site - I have had several friends over the years ask when I was EVER going to get on any social media? Well, a little over two weeks ago I decided to jump in and I received such a warm, warm welcome from other Instagrammers (I think that is a word?) and I so appreciate the reception!

Have a great, creative evening, even if it is just in your mind, while snuggled under a fab quilt, and staying warm!

from my house to your house,


Feb 9, 2015

The Business of Creating


Greeting to you on this cold February day with warm thoughts (and pictures!) What? Fresh grapes in February? Well, sort of. I want to share with you a few pics from a photo shoot I did for Where Women Create Business. A fabulous, and I mean f  a  b  u  l  o  u  s magazine by none other than Jo Packham. It is such an honor to work with Jo and her staff. They truly put out great publications with great care and passion.

I had the honor and privilege to shoot Marsha Giambalvo and Melissa Mohr, owners of a very cool business called Backdoor Harvest, based here in St. Louis.  A very cool company that installs, maintains, harvests, runs a CSA (community supported agriculture), and even teaches about urban gardening. I so enjoyed my time with them, and thought I would share a few pics with you.

Here is Melissa and Marsha harvesting from one of their customers' gardens right downtown St. Louis. That cool building behind them is the alley - I love how they bring organic freshness right to the urban curbs.

How cool is it that they leave a basket of freshly harvested vegetables (either from your own garden or from others via CSA), right on your doorstep...I was tempted to nibble from this basket!

While shooting, guess who came to have a looksie? This adorable and really food-challenged caterpillar!(She's a chubby one, isn't she?) I would say she is only days away from flying away off to new adventures and new gardens.

Is this a beautiful eggplant, or what? Okay, the eggplant holder (Melissa)is pretty cute too... :-)

I was shown examples of how she plans out her clients' gardens and how they promote companion gardening. That is where certain plants benefit from being planted near others, be it attracting certain insects, scents, or nutrients that benefit the neighboring plants. 

And look at the very small sample of the many vegetables that their clients can choose to plant. There are 100's of choices but think how pretty the gardens must be right before harvest! To read more about Backdoor Harvest, their business process and their story, pick up the current issue of Where Women Create Business today. It is such a great issue with many talented women sharing their successes and what they would do differently if they could start again. Such a great resource for those who are contemplating going into business and turning their passions into profits!

I hope you enjoy this pre-spring time inspiration to start your own garden, or if not the gardening type, then join a local CSA and enjoy locally grown produce that is grown organically and by those who take pride in what they do. Who also work hard to provide a healthy food alternative to those vegetables that are either imported from other countries, or contaminated with fertilizers and pesticides. For more information regarding what you are truly putting into your body, take a moment to watch a couple of documentaries that you may or may not agree with, but should at least inspire most to seek out locally grown, organic small farmers:

Click here to watch: WATCH

Click here to watch: WATCH

I'm not suggesting these two documentaries as a means to spark debate, or talk politics. No, there are tons of great documentaries (on both sides of the fence) and I leave you to your own conclusions. I have watched probably 20-30 (or more) documentaries speaking out on food, agriculture, ranching, chickens, meat, fast food, chemicals and so on. Food and how it is processed, regulated, and distributed has been a long-time interest of mine that I don't talk about much on my blog. But I feel as time goes on, I need to speak out a little more about not so much the issues and problems (trust me, there are many!) but rather offer some solutions that is accessible to most. And CSA's, growing your own, and farmers' markets are simple solutions to these complex issues.

And before I forget...I am finally on Instagram! I have had such lovely friends tells me for YEARS to get on, and just now finally did it. I am totally addicted now to looking at all the great pics out there! Please stop by for a visit when you can - I have a badge on my right sidebar for you to access it.

I hope you find this week to be filled with joy and peace as you create the life you are meant to live.

from my house to your house


Jan 30, 2015

My New Normal

Hello my friends,

I am hoping this week is closing out well for you and a fun weekend ahead awaits for you. I wanted to spend a moment to share with you a few thoughts on feeling good and feeling pretty. Not my usual images, but I am hoping by opening up what I am going through, maybe someone out there won't feel alone with their struggles. For some of us, needing to feel good or pretty might  just be only a new lipstick, or getting our nails done to get that fix. For others it can be a fresh haircut, a good night's sleep, or fitting in an old pair of jeans to feel good or pretty. Others may claim that being around friends and family make them feel good and pretty...but I am talking more on a personal, one-on-one experience with oneself, not with others, and not a "quick fix," but rather more of an authentic and healthy sense of self-acceptance.

I had my own "aha" moment a few weeks ago when I left the gym. I had gone a few times for two weeks, my first time to the gym in over 27 months after multiple surgeries, hospital stays, 100's of hours of rehab and doctors' appointments due to my knee. I decided that 2015 would be the year of total health and total contentment with "it is what it is" regarding my new self.

I noticed I left every gym visit very depressed, instead of the elated feeling I used to have three years ago. I left unhappy and discouraged and it took me a couple of times to figure out that many of the machines were too demanding on my limited range of motion and I couldn't use several machines that I once loved using, due to my limited knee range. 

Feeling depressed after my "workout" was just not acceptable. 

Then one day, as I went to my car after yet another crappy gym visit, feeling defeated...feeling ugly...and feeling like I would never get my "real" old life back, a bike whizzed past me and pulled me out of my private pity party. As I glared at the rider who nearly missing me (never mind I wasn't paying attention where I was going...you know, it's always their fault...haha), my glare turned to curiosity, then wonderment, then finally excitement. That's it! That is what I what I really miss - being outdoors! 

I have been an avid bike rider my entire life up till my first surgery in Nov 2012. I even raced bikes in three mini triathlons. I decided right then, what I needed, and actually craved, was to be on the open road again - no matter what. I can't run/jog anymore, but biking - I could try that again.

After work, my beloved barber husband scooted down to the most wonderful bike shop in town, Maplewood Bicycle, and scoped out a couple of bikes for me to check out whenever I could "find the time." 

I found the time.

I was filled with mixed emotions as I entered the store - happy to be doing something I loved, but sad that I am now a different person, with different needs and limitations, which meant (to me) I would now need an "old lady's" bike, not a racing bike like I once rode. I discovered the Trek Verve bike, which looked really cool actually, and sat more upright, which is good for my wrists (another ailment that I just don't feel like talking about right now) and the step-through frame allowed me to mount with my limited knee range. Not too bad, I thought.

It looks really cute, so I gave it a try. Boy, this was not for me...I had a very hard time getting my foot on the pedal (due to my knee) and I was riding like a shaky old lady, or a little kid who just got training wheels! What the ...? This really shook me up as I made my way down the sidewalk and I felt myself getting emotional as I began to think, "Can't I do anything I like I used to???" I rode back, and Mike, the great store guy who gives great personal service, raised the seat for me, and I tried again. Better, but still shaky. I was not liking this experience at all. By the time I got back, Mike had a different bike waiting for me, a Trek Allant, a green retro looking bike that had a different personality. He had seat adjusted just for me and so I tried it.

I get on, not sure what to expect from this retro looking bike, and just like that - it was love at first ride. I was very sure, stable, and I felt "normal" again! I didn't want to ride back to the store. The only Allant they had was green, which was cute, but I needed the full gear system to climb hills and such, and the green didn't come with the rack. But, I decided I liked the sleek black better  - reminded me of my European days, where black bikes were rode by stylish Europeans on their way to work, market, or out to eat.

I quickly realized that this little adventure of mine went deeper than just "needing to exercise" again, but rather, it was more of a right of passage from the last 27 months of pretty much, well... hell.

Have you ever been forced to go through something, something you would have never chose, be it a job loss, health issue, a move, or whatever, and when it was finally "over" you didn't really feel like celebrating, but rather just wanted things to get back as they once were? And with time, you came to accept that "as it once was" would never be again? That is how I felt while shopping in the bike store...I saw a bike rider come in, all in his bike gear, and looking like he was ready to race, and I knew that would not be me. I glanced over at the wall of the beautiful race bikes and knew that would never be me. I looked at racing gear, and knew that wasn't me - anymore.

But when I glanced over at the little green bike I had a choice to make: either accept my new normal, or just keep grieving for what once was, but isn't. So what does a girl do when having a bad hair day? Wear a fab hat! What does a girl do when invited to a party - get a new dress! So, just like that, I set about to outfit my Allant with all the "pretties" and to make it really my - my new normal.

It will take my bike a week to come in, which gives me time to get all my fixin's ordered and put on before I go in for my personal fitting of the bike. Maplewood Bicycle has a computer program that measure your stride, size and so on to get the perfect fit. So, first order up - need some saddlebags! I decided to get a vintage French pannier - found these online and they were just shipped from France today! The price was too good to pass up and if they don't work out, then I will pass them along and find ones that will. But I will admit, I love that they are French with a retro look:

I love the retro black accent on them (will highlight the black bike) and I am pretty sure the color will match really close to the English leather saddle I ordered:

If it doesn't match exactly, that's okay...most won't be able to really see the saddle once I'm on it anyway! Ha-Ha. And I got matching leather ring grips from Brooks England as well:

And of course, a front basket is needed as well. This one has a wooden bottom and leather straps by Nantucket - I think the extra light color will look good with the black bike and will age well:

I knew I didn't want a racing helmet like the one I used to wear, this riding experience was more than just exercise by now. It is a little bit of very much needed "just me time." So, when I got home, all excited over my new normal, I decided to embrace it fully and got online to shop around on how to make my riding more about feeling good both outside and INSIDE and I came across the fabulous site: Bike Pretty. This is such a great site!! This woman, Kelly, lives in London and write about all things pretty (vintage and super stylish) related to biking. She has that retro, fashion/hipster look that I took for granted when I lived in Europe. 

Here are some images from Bike Pretty Blog:

Kelly (above) who runs the site.

Okay, must find some very stylish riding gloves. Yes, I have some, but they are racing gloves - time for a stylish leather glove that is made for cycling...love these above! And, will look for a chrome, vintage looking bell - this one is great too. Okay, just need to push this chick off her bike and just mug her.... :-)

When I lived in Europe, it was SO COMMON to see ladies of all ages riding in dresses - I remember thinking how neat that was - and all these years later? I still do.

I loved Kelly's site so much, I am ordering a helmet from her. This is a vented, but a small helmet that I just love, by Bern. There are some really cool "hat" helmets - but it will be warming up in a couple of months, and those hat helmets would be great in cold weather.

I don't know Kelly, owner of Bike Pretty, as I just discovered her. But even if you aren't into biking, her site is really eye candy. One event, I would LOVE , LOVE , LOVE to attend is the Tweed Run in London:

Look at some of the images from this vintage Tweed Run event, click here. And here are some pics I captured online so you could see how cool this event really is:

I don't know if I would be able to ride in this event, as I would want to take pictures - talk about a conundrum! I think there is a Tweed Run in NYC...how cool would that be? But my point is, my new normal with bike riding is no longer about speed and sweating, but rather it's just about me - my new normal. And the Bike Pretty blog has so many great, stylish, articles that inspired me to rethink my new way riding...feeling good and feeling pretty.

I don't get fitted for my new bike until next week. I still have time to find a few more vintage accessories to hunt down to make the bike really mine. But the real me, the new normal me, is discovering that I am more able to accept "it is what it is" when "is" is decked out in chrome, leather, and who knows, maybe even tweed and oxfords someday!

I will definitely be blogging about my new normal biking adventure and show you the real deal when it's a done deal. Thank you for listening, and for being there. And even though I may still grieve now and again for things to be "as they once were," feeling good, and feeling pretty, certainly helps to be content with things as they are

And things are feeling pretty darn (new) normal good right now. I would love it if you shared your "new normal" experience. I learn so much from my dear readers.

from my house to your house,

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