Sunday, March 31, 2013

Wall Art

A few months ago I came across this blog post showcasing transforming a wall with stencils.  The photos of the project just made me want to stencil every room in our house.  Stencils have been around forever, but honestly, I had visions of lame grapes & leaves so I never paid them any attention.  Until that blog post.  Royal Designs makes some fun, modern stencils!  It was hard to narrow it down to one, but I ended up getting this one.  It's called Endless Circles.  Love it!  But I had to convince Don that it would look good in our bedroom.  It took convincing because he had to repaint the bedroom wall a light ivory color (it's the color we use on all the trim in our house)...and then we needed to stencil over it with the color that already on the walls (I didn't want to change the color, surprise, surprise!).  The result is a wall that I love.  The process?  Took way longer than I had hoped.  I had hoped it would take 3 took 7 1/2.  Yes, you read that right.  7 1/2 hours

Here's a little bit of the process (bad light & cell phone photos...I didn't want to get paint on my camera, sorry):

You have to start somewhere, right?  Painters tape, spray adhesive, a small paint roller, a level, Behr Spa paint & an entire Saturday are all you need.

The paint has to be rolled on really lightly.  So lightly that it's supposed to dry instantly.  I never quite achieved that.  If the paint is too heavy, it seeps under the template.  Too light & you have to keep going over it.  I suspect going over it twice is why it took so long, but it was necessary.

Lining up the stencil wasn't hard at all.  Leveling it was a little more challenging.  

When I started the first row I really wasn't sure if I was supposed to flip the stencil or keep it the same orientation.  I flipped it once...and in the second row, I regretted it.  It all worked out, just a little extra challenge.


Another oops....

Am I ever going to be done?  I'm afraid not!

The ceiling & corners were the hardest part.  I ended up free handing the ceiling line...I just couldn't handle that floppy stencil.

Not perfect, but I don't think anyone will notice.  Please ignore the popcorn ceiling.  It's not a project I care to tackle right now.  (Kendall's on me all the time to remove it...notice I didn't say "Kendall offered to help us remove all that nasty popcorn."  Just saying.)

This is the worst of the paint mess.  I kinda loved that the paint got so thick I just peeled it off.  

I could not have done the corners without Don.  Well, I could have, but there would have been a great big meltdown.  Thank you, honey!

Will I do this again?  Yes!  I'm thinking of doing this one in my living room. On the wall with all the photos.

And dad, if you're still reading, the next project is a green house made out of whatever we can, siding, etc.  I'll need your help for that one!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


At the insistance of Kim, I have started scheduling creating on my Google Calendar. I added reminders for blogging & meditation, too. But like most over zealous things, I over scheduled it & couldn't live up to my own very high expectations. At first I found my inability to keep my own appointments incredibly frustrating. Now I'm ok with it (must be the meditation!) but it's something I need to refine. I have had to realize that i don't have to do something every single day. A few times a week is just fine.

This week I've been playing with watercolor & sketching in my little book. It has created such a mind shift for me. My doodles may not be stellar but they've opened up some forgotten part of my brain that seems to be essential for my survival. This is not melodrama. It is real. When I create I am happier & dare I say, content. When I don't create, life kinda sucks.

Here are a couple things I've created recently (they're in process). My big painting that i showed a few posts ago is awaiting a weekend that isn't packed full of activity...maybe this one...

Monday, March 25, 2013

Little Horse Trail

Saturday Don & I headed down to Sedona with our friend Nate for a day of exploring.  Who knew Nate had never been to Sedona? Crazy!  We hopped in Kendall's cute little convertible (not that we could put the top down...freaking cold I tell you!) & headed down the switchbacks.  Along with about a dozen people on bikes that were loaded down with gear...on a teeny, tiny road, filled with tourists.  That was eventful!

Our destination, Little Horse Trail, was just before the Bell Rock Trail, between Sedona & the Village of Oak Creek.  Both are pretty fabulous & easy to follow.  I'd say there are less people on Little Horse, but then I didn't see jeep tours on Bell Rock...

I love how well marked the Sedona trails are.

I'm that girl who's always making shapes out of clouds in her mind.  I do the same with rocks.  Do you see the pansy in the left third of this photo?  Seriously?  You have to see it there!

First signs of spring...yes!

Stunning, no?

The sky was totally that blue.  (I don't have time to edit photos & make you believe it was that blue when it really wasn't.)  And look!  The Easter Bunny!  Don't tell me you don't see him....

Those wee little people are Nate & Don, heading to the top of Chicken Point to check out the view.  Stunning, I'd imagine.  I was perfectly fine sitting on my behind watching them climb that rock.  I have a huge fear of heights...and sliding down sandstone on my ass.

An incredibly blurry image of Nate & Don...egads.  Sometimes I should not have a camera in my hands.

More signs of spring at the Chapel of the Holy Cross (now that is one spectacular church!).  Pretty as a postcard, don't you think?

People make wishes & toss money on the rocks surrounding the chapel.  Some of it just rolls down the parking lot, down the hill...maybe that's why there are mansions down there.  Ha!

I'm a sucker for mosaics.  This one is at the entrance of the chapel. 

I don't really have any good photos of the inside, but can tell you it is small.  Teeny, tiny.  Down below is a sweet gift shop filled with all sorts of religious things...crosses, nativities, etc.  I bought two St. Anthony charms because my friend Doris says that when you have lost something, St. Anthony will find it for you.  Can't hurt, right?

Spending the day with Nate was so fun!  He is adventurous, funny & sweet.  When was the last time a 15 year old wanted to hang out with you?  I can't remember when!  So for Nate to want to come along was a treat, as well as a bit of an ego boost!  Everything we showed him he showed genuine interest.  It was truly a great day!  Thank you, Nate!

Now, if he'd only told us he was turning into a popsicle on the way back....Flagstaff may just be a little too cold yet for a convertible....

Oh & Beth, this would be a good trail for us when you come to visit...though I think I liked Soliders Pass Trail better (but it is much, much longer).

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


What a lovely surprise to hear that my nephew David, who lives in Tulsa, OK was going to be at my mom's house for a few hours today!  It was so good to see him!  And now I have all my little nephews & nieces with their hearts for my wall.  It felt funny not having him it is complete!

David is 11.  He was born on Don & my 10th wedding anniversary.  I decided this year (our 22nd anniversary) we'll be going to Tulsa to spend his birthday with him.  I've missed too many.

AJ, Ray & David.  I love that they get along so well!

Ray made a heart at my Valentine's party...he must have had fun because he really wanted to make another one.  I just noticed the goatee on his smiley face...haha!


Before you oooh & ahhh over this photo of adorable AJ, he was hiding the booger flowing freely out of his nose.  I swear that kid is the biggest snot producer in the country!


This is Nick, David's brother.  He is a handful & pretty hilarious!  The drawing?  Yeah, that's Arizona. 

So glad I got to spend part of my day with these adorable boys! 

Found Love

I almost missed out on these great finds today...not the way I normally go when I'm done at the rec center at lunch, but I was drawn to go a different way.  Here's what I found:

You'll be seeing these (or variations of these) again...they ignited a spark of creativity!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Lazy Sunday

After Saturday's mini road trip I thought we could take it easy Sunday.  Don wanted to go to Sedona & hike, but when you only have two days off & you go go go all weekend Monday morning is hell.  So instead we went to my favorite breakfast spot, MartAnne's.

MartAnne's is this fabulous little mexican food breakfast/brunch place downtown.  It used to be much smaller, but they just moved into a bigger spot.  I love the food...i adore the decor (all Emma Gardner skeleton paintings).  The service...hit or miss.  Yesterday it took an hour to get our food.  Good thing it was a lazy day!  I had Don snap this photo of me only because I wanted a photo of the roller derby pin up girls.  Artists tend to not like their work photographed so we snuck this in.  I had hoped to get the girl with the unicorn in it for Kelly & Danielle to see, but I didn't want to risk getting busted (the artist is also a waitress there).

After MartAnne's we lingered around downtown, stopping by Aspen Sports (who happened to be having a killer sale on some things we needed) & then Seasoned Kitchen for a new french press.

In the past 6-8 months, we've managed to break four Bodum glass french presses.  If they didn't make such good coffee I would have thrown in the towel & replaced our coffee maker.  When I busted the last one on Friday I decided it was time for a tough we couldn't break.  Ended up with this Frieling Stainless Steel one.  It's indestructible.  Should have bought the good one to being with.  It's amazing!

After coffee, we headed to Fatman's Loop at the base of Mt. Elden.  It's about 2 miles of lots of switchbacks.  It takes about 50 minutes to do the whole thing.  I like to go up the super steep part...I'm a much better climber than descender.

The distance from the parking lot to each of these trails.  There is a huge pipeline trail that connects all sorts of Mt. Elden trails.  You can end up here starting out from the west side of town, if you're so inclined.

We're still a little barren from winter, but this is view of East Flagstaff from close to the top of the trail.  Don & I both remarked that the trail looked completely different with nothing in bloom yet.  

This just made me laugh...

When we were done, we headed to Home Depot for some paint for the bedroom.  A project for Don!  Then home, where I wrote a letter to my pen pal, a friend in Ohio & one in Texas & soaked in the sun.  It was windy, but the sun felt so good!  The chickens were hanging out with me too, in the shade on the deck.

It was truly a great weekend!  Still, I could use another day off...two days are just not enough...

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Road Trip

Don & I took Kendall to the Phoenix airport this morning, where she flew off (sans broom, though I packed mine for her, just in case) to see Don's brother & his family. Instead of just turning around & coming right home we thought we'd take the scenic route. It's been super fun...I've been to places I've never seen before...& a trip to Trader Joe's is always fun! Here are some highlights of the day:

•The hot air balloons just north of Phoenix. I find them fascinating, but you will never see me on one...I am deathly, unreasonably afraid of heights...and snakes...see Wickenberg.

•Dutch Brothers Coffee. Don's favorite coffee. He gets a caramel annihilator...yum! I had The Kicker, which had a little kick of non alcoholic Irish to it. Pretty tasty!
•Scrapbooks Etc in Mesa. I haven't been there in years. I'd heard about all the fabric they have & was pleasantly surprised by the quality of what they carry. I bought some adorable scrapbook paper & some Heidi Swapp mists in aqua & mustard, as well as a couple yards of fabric for kitchen curtains. Just so happens I have the same fabric in a skirt I just bought from etsy. I must really love it...I couldn't even see past it to consider others.
•Cave Creek Highway. All of the saguaro cactus made my heart happy. They feel like home to me. Maybe because I spent part of my childhood surrounded by them in Tucson? Hmmmm...I don't know. They took my breath away & they're not even in bloom yet! I need to go back when they are.

•Pandora. Best road trip music ever. Started with my Gin Blossoms station & then onto my Colbie Calliat station. Love them both! I think Don tolerated them, but he was a good sport.
•Driving with the windows down. Oh my goodness have I missed being warm! Hot even!
•Wickenberg. What a cute little town! I could do without all the damn snake sculptures every freaking time I looked down though. Don may or may not be suffering temporary deafness in his right ear & loss of feeling in his right arm. Damn snakes. We had lunch at Nana's Sandwich Saloon, a BLT for me, a hot pastrami for him. Other than some questionable wilted lettuce, it was really good.
•The drive between Wickenberg & Prescott. Lovely! But the last part of that road was so twisty turny I had hard time keeping my lunch down.
•Oddly enough, road kill. We see skunks all the time in Flagstaff. Never have I seen a javalina. Two. One on either side of Prescott. I know...gross. Poor animals.
•Trader Joe's. 'Nuff said.
•The magnificent rocks between Prescott & Chino Valley. They reminde me of rock giants from a movie whose name is eluding me at the moment. They felt like at any moment they would move.
•Chino Valley. Where else would you see an emergency vet clinic right next door to a taxidermy shop? Wish I'd gotten a picture of that!
•The view of the San Francisco Peaks from Paulden. There's a storm coming into Flagstaff & it was beautiful to see from 100 miles away.
•Don hollering to get a photo of the sunset in my passenger mirror.

•Stopping on the side of the road to take photos of the peaks at sunset.

My only regret is that we didn't stop to take photos of all the weird things we saw (next time!) or bring a real camera (these are all from my iPhone): a humongous rock painted green & made to look like a frog right before Yarnell, the ape/monkey statues that were everywhere, the rusted iron elephants in Peeples Valley, etc.

Love that guy!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


It's been a long time since I've painted anything...or even had the desire to.  I bought this 3x4 board a few years ago with the intention of painting something for my bedroom wall & never got around to it.  Finally this weekend I broke the board & paints out.  Don was working on the new ceramic tile in the bathroom & I thought that I should put something on the wall, you know, finally finish off that room.  So I set out to paint a bunch of flowers.  First I watched a video by Danielle Donaldson that totally motivated me.  Then I got an email from Beth, talking about our Unearth retreat painting & poof!  All of a sudden I had a the makings of a girl.  Here's the start of her.

She's still not done.  I need to do the detail work.  I really like her...a lot!  I think I liked the background better when it was bright, but we will see when I get the details done.  

And Kim?  Thank you for pushing on the painting.  It has made all the difference.  How freeing!  

Friday, March 8, 2013

A few things I love this Friday

I love Fridays.  I love that tomorrow is a day off with no plans (a miracle).  We're about to get a nice big snow storm, so hopefully, we'll be tucked away at home all day....crafting & watching movies.

I love this heart so much...I either need to figure out how to make it or find where to buy it.  Makes me smile every time I run across it on my phone.

I love this self portrait attempt.  I had set my Gorillacam on 10 continuous shots & the dogs & I walked towards it.  It cracks me up how Maggie's paw is right there.

My redesigned wall-o-photos.  Mostly new photos...and a new arrangement.  The canvas in the middle was a deal off Amazon Local.  It's it!

Changed this wall up, too.  The two big photos are Kendall's senior photos.  The word picture is surrounded by photos of my nieces & nephews holding their I Love You hearts.  It makes me happy.

Indian Gardens Storefront in Summer

 (image:  oak creek market)

My new favorite destination on the road to Sedona: the Oak Creek Market at Indian Gardens.  They have the best little cafe in there.  Their shelves are stocked with reasonably priced snacks & drinks, much of which are local & organic.  I had their Ferrari sandwich yesterday & it was heavenly.  They use Sedona Fireside Coffee favorite (though I might be a little off on the name).  You can buy the beans at Bookman's, but honestly, a little trip through Oak Creek Canyon will be worth your while.

Happy Friday!