52 Fridays: #8 – Delaware

Introducing 10 artists from the tiny state of Delaware…  Tell me which are your favorites!

delaware artists photography

Abbott's Mill in Snow by Bob Connelly - Milford

delaware artists clay

Porcelain lentil bead in Blue Honey Glaze by Marsha Neal - Hockessin

delaware artists

Roscoe Luminaire by Danielle Quigley - Wilmington

delaware artists

Hummingbird's Tale by Hunter Clarke - Ardencroft

delaware state fiber artists

Block Printed Hemp and Organic Cotton Fabric by Jennifer Nelson - Greenwood

delaware artists

MW Posies Bicycle by Alan Brown - Bear

delaware artists

"Brittany and Ryan's Wedding" by David Burslem - Arden

delaware artists

Elephant by Nicole Kristiana FitzGibbon - Wilmington

delaware bead artists

Fiber and Bead Pendant by Meg Fillmore - Laurel

delaware artists

Jubilation by Karen Wolf

My favorite facts about Delaware

– It was the first state to ratify the United States Constitution, in December of 1787

– It is the American home of the log cabin – a Finnish traditional structure. In America they were built by Finnish settlers who had brought plans with them on their journey.

Remember, today is Make Up Day on 52 Fridays!  This afternoon, look forward to Florida, where I found a plethora of warm, bright, colorful works.  If it’s gray where you are, check in for a jolt of sunshine later today!

52 Fridays: #9 – Florida

I’m really impressed with this collection from Florida, the Sunshine State.  From traditional pottery to bright abstracts, the state seems to have a lot of everything!  I especially love the natural references in the first piece…

Florida artists

Fragmented Perimeter by Rick Cain - Micanopy

Florida Photography

Sailing Along by Jessica Palotas - Sarasota

Florida potters

Matcha Chawan Tea Bowl by Ray Morales - Miami

Florida ceramics

Elephant Tile by Carrie Martin - Tallahassee

florida woodworking

Reclaimed Wood Wall Shelf by Amy and Dave Kellum -Bonita Springs

Florida painters

Small Abstract by Gina Perillo - New Smyrna Beach

Florida jewelers

Ocean Ring by Natasha Kahn - Miami

Florida Jewelers

Orange Shell Necklace by Sarah - St. Petersburg

Florida potters

Dangerously Spiky Lidded Travel Mug by Symmetrical Pottery - Jupiter

Florida painters

Some More Time by Sergio Lazo - Miami

Fun Facts about Florida…

– Venice is the shark tooth capital of the world, a great place to hunt for prehistoric teeth!  (My 11 year old son found one near there…  such an adventure!)

– St. Augustine is the oldest European settlement in the United States.

Happy New Years Friends!  See you in 2012!

Playing With Our Food

food sculpture

Cousins food prep team...

These little cuties played with their food and made black olive penguins (messy and yummy)!  If you know a kid who likes black olives, this is the best treat ever!

food art

Black Olive Penguins

Earlier today we happened upon this delightful little tree house made by Brock Davis.

broccoli tree house

Broccoli Tree House by Brock Davis

Since we were already having fun making mini-veggie sculptures, the kids tried their hands at a broccoli forest of their own…  We made our houses out of scraps of paper.  Everyone was too hungry to spend time building wooden ones!

Food art

Broccoli tree house 1

play with food

Broccoli tree house 2

broccoli tree houses

Enchanted Broccoli Forest

Some of the kids ate the broccoli.  Others just played.  It was all good.


I’ve Been Blogged Down

An essay on the perils of living in a “lovely” blogosphere

blogger's block

"Writer's Block" available for sale from I Wear Party Hats on Etsy

I’ve had a tough time blogging lately, and have begun to refer to it as being “blogged down”.   There are several factors that have seemed to contribute to this lapse…..but I’ve recently realized the primary dilemma:  I’ve forgotten who I am and have thought I should be someone else.  

blogger's block

The Boden Girl and Me... She looks great, doesn't she? Sometimes, I wish I could be her.

My Google Reader and Facebook feed run long with “love, love, love it” blogs about beautiful people living lovely lives in tenderly restored vintage homes.  There are perfectly symmetrical (and dust free) mantels decorated for Christmas with just so eco-friendly handmade snowmen.  There are the cutest candids of model-gorgeous women in short skirts and great boots who look over their shoulders through gauzy filtered light as they bake vegan pies from scratch, while surrounded by beautiful children in clean, matching Hanna Andersson jammies.

My not necessarily clean nor cherubic (but very much loved) oldest son in his "ugly Christmas sweater" which he wore for three days in a row.

There seems to be lots of cleanliness, a good amount of order, and quite a few cherubic children.  All of this is captured by women who are not only cleaning and creating that order, but raising the shiny angels, doing amazing DIYs, and also blogging about and photographing it all.  In their great boots. With their amazing long legs and upcycled hand made skirts.

I”m not a hater, although I’ll admit there’s a part of me that is jealous…  I’m sure that if I met these stylish, talented, kind, organized, creative women I would like them – maybe even a lot.  I’d want to have coffee and vegan pie in their tidy and romantic kitchens.  I don’t hate them because they’re beautiful.

Perhaps, though, there’s trouble (at least for me) in blog world, because there is so much perfect, perfect, perfect.  We’re always to be showing off our finest accomplishments, remodels, DIY’s, and the best of the photoshopped photos.

Part of it is that this is what we readers want to see.  Who wants to read a blog about a floor covered in dirty laundry?  You’ve probably got some laundry of your own at home to look at if you want to!  Who wants a blow by blow tutorial of me making Kraft Mac and Cheese?  For that matter, who wants to read a blog about my struggles with blogging?

I’m banking on the fact that someone out there does.  In part, this is an explanation of my absence and my journey to the group of genuine, interesting and kind friends whom I’ve met as a blogger, and to all those who have shared the joy finding creative inspiration along with me.

I’m also wondering if there are others out there who feel swept along (and away) by all the perfection and “lovlies” and simple solutions of the blogosphere.  Can we be more real, and still be winsome, interesting and valuable?  What does this look like for me as a writer?  I don’t aim to write any sort of confessional blog, but I also don’t want to burden myself with the high bar of always being “on”, good, or right.  Neither do I want to portray myself to you in any way that doesn’t at least move towards fuller disclosure of what it means to be a real person living a real life.

I don’t have an answer yet, only a few ideas and a general direction.  I started the day by cleaning most of the design and decor blogs out of my feeds. (See, I did some cleaning)!  I kept the art blogs that I love, and a few others that I think will help motivate me to write more genuinely.

I am also reminding myself of what my own writing is about:  art, creativity, imagination, inspiration and all the variety of people who express those in their lives.  This is what I love, what I sometimes do, and what I want to share.

Thanks for joining me in these incomplete thoughts – I’d love to hear your takes, your experiences as either readers or writers in this culture of “lovely”, and certainly any input that you have to offer!

To conclude, I wanted to point to a few of the bloggers I’ve met along the way whom I like in particular.  These are all newer writers, and I think one of the reasons I’m drawn to each of them is that they (in different ways) reflect authenticity and beauty at the same time. When you have time, check them out!  I think you’ll enjoy…  (Any to add?  Tell us in the comments!)

Beauty of Everyday Life

Shambolic Living

Still + Life 

Take Care…  ( Look for a double dose of 52 Fridays this week!  🙂  Delaware and Florida coming up!)

52 Fridays: #7 – Connecticut

The fifth state in our union, Connecticut is home to many “firsts” (and probably “fifths” as well).  A few noteworthy facts:  Connecticut is home to the United States’ oldest public library, is the birthplace of Noah Webster (of dictionary fame), and home to the first polaroid, hamburger, helicopter and color television.

As you’ll see, it’s also home to intriguing artists of all stripes…  enjoy the beauty!

Connecticut painters

"Dusk" by Lisa Hess Hesselgrave - New Haven

Connecticut artists

"Bursts and Stripes", hand dyed and printed quilt by The Cotton Press - Bridgeport

connecticut jewelers

"Forest Floor" by Jana Nigles-Berg - Norwalk

"Slipstream" by Susan Spaniol - West Hartford

Connecticut Nature Installment Art

"Nature Nourishes" by Karen Talbot (R.I.) and Lori Robeau - Vernon

Connecticut artists

"I am She" by Jocelyn Braxton Armstrong - Bridgeport

fiber art cards connecticut

"B Movie Heroine" by Lisa Corson - Hartford

connecticut furniture maker

Mid Century Rocker with Ottoman by Michael C. Trebbe - Hampden

Connecticut Bakery

Van Gogh Cake by Hope Wright-Martell, A Little Imagination Cakes - Middletown

Beaded Embroidered Bracelet by Jill Paris Robbin - Simsbury

A disclaimer:  this is 52 Fridays… but it’s Sunday.  I know.  I actually totally forgot about 52 Fridays until my daughter asked if she could see the new post.  Whoops!  I guess it’s a week before Christmas, and my head is elsewhere.  I tried to make it up by including some extra amazing art. 🙂  Hope you will forgive me!

Great Lakes Bakery


Dear Hungry Readers,

It is my joy to introduce you to a wonderful local shop, the Great Lakes Baking Company. They consistently have the most wonderful breads and sweets around.  (My favorites are the cherry-orange scones.  Oh my!)  Stopping by the store is like visiting a gallery – the sugar cookies and varieties of shortbreads are so lovely to look at…

Today, a quick peek at their Christmas goodies…

sugar cookie ideasideas for Christmas cookiesideas for sugar cookie decoration

christmas cookie ideas

Great Lakes Bakery ShortbreadChristmas shortbreadChristmas cookies

Look for an interview with sugar cookie artist extraordinaire, Cam Salsberry, in the new year.  Of course, if you’re local, stop by in person to watch Cam decorate, and taste some goodies!

Salty Chocolate Nutella Drops

Christmas cookie recipe Hungry Readers,

As promised, here is an unbelievably-deliciously-yumtastically-amazing (and easy) cookie recipe.  The recipe comes from Jenna Huntsberger and Stephanie Willis of Whisked!, and was found in the Washington Post and tweaked (just a little) by me.

chocolate christmas cookiesI’ll present you with my slightly altered version – the original is found in the Washington Post link above.


  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 cup and 1 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt (or 1 tsp. table salt if you don’t have kosher and you must make the cookies now.)
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature (I soften for 10 seconds in microwave to get a soft but not melty consistency)
  • 1 and 1/3 c. sugar, plus 1 cup for later
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 TBSP cream
  • 2 TBSP chocolate liqueur
  • 1 cup Nutella (sound of angels singing)
Chocolate nutella cookieDIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper
  3. Whisk flour, cocoa and salt in a small bowl
  4. Beat butter and sugar with a stand mixer until fluffy.
  5. Add egg yolks, chocolate liqueur and cream
  6. Add flour mixture bit by bit until incorporated.  (Don’t mix too much, or your cookies won’t be tender).
  7. Put the remainder of your sugar into a deep pie plate.
  8. Roll large tablespoon size balls in your hands, and fill the pie pan.
  9. Roll the balls in sugar and place on the cookie sheet. (I was able to put 15 on at a time – they don’t spread very much at all).
  10. Make a thumbprint indentation on top of each cookie.
  11. Pop in the oven for 10 minutes.
  12. When the cookies are cooled, pipe or scoop Nutella into the thumbprint.
– Makes 3 dozen cookies
Nutella cookie

This Merry Week

Oh friends, I am so excited about the goodies I have for you this week!  They’re almost like little Christmas gifts…  Let’s think of them that way, shall we?

Christmas gift wrap labels

Christmas Labels by Paperjack, Etsy

Today, look for an amazing recipe for Salted Chocolate Nutella Drops with photos. Tomorrow, I’m off to shoot photos of the most beautiful Christmas cookies (ever!) at Great Lakes Bakery – I’ll share them with you on Wednesday.  But wait, there’s more!  I’ll share inspiration galore from Columbus Architectural Salvage where I wandered and daydreamed this weekend, and  finally (maybe finally?) photos of the lovely paper quilled creche I just received from Etsy.  Whew!  That’s a lot!

To satisfy you until then, I leave you with this strange but true scene I came upon while visiting Columbus this weekend…

Christmas Santa suits

Ho Ho Ho!!

52 Fridays: #6 – Colorado

Snow.  It’s on my mind.  This week in 52 Fridays I found ten snowy Colorado paintings, photos, snuggly hats and icy jewelry.  If you get cold while reading this, I recommend a peppermint mocha.  Enjoy!

winter photography

Ornament in the Snow III by Amelia Kay Photography - Denver

colorado artists

Pike's Peak Newborn Hat by Raspberry and Lime - Colorado Springs

colorado artists

"Quiet" by Betony Coons - Greely

colorado potters

Woodland Trees Serving Bowl by Deb Babcock - Steamboat Springs

colorado artists painters

"Winter House" by Brandy Cattoor - Denver

colorado artists handmade jewelry

Moss Capsule Necklace by Kelly Baldwin - Delores

colorado crafters

White Polymer Birds by Amy Giacomelli - Monument

colorado handmade jewelry

Vintage Cotton Pearl Earrings by Karen Gilbert - Littleton

colorado painters

"Winter Travellers" by Martin Welch - Canon City

colorado handmade jewelry

Snow Dove Enamel and Sterling Necklace by Lynsey Morgan - Denver

Next Friday, we’re off to Connecticut.  I’ve loved visiting Connecticut, and have appreciated the natural and historical beauty, but I don’t know much about the art scene there.  We’ll find her treasures together.