52 Fridays #15 – Iowa

I once lived next door to Iowa, in Nebraska.  We would travel to Council Bluffs to visit friends.  My memories of this place are the flat, flat, fields, the surprising cliffs rising out of them and the flat, wide, rivers running in them.  I think there’s bound to be a lot of creativity when there’s a lot of sky….

Travelers by Kindra Noel - Des Moines

Iowa Artists

Stone Rabbit Pitcher by Elisabeth Maurland - Decorah

Iowa Artists

Cold by Rachel Arnold- Elkader

Iowa Furniture Makers

Midcentury Cabinet by Dan Neubauer - Ames

Iowa Artists

Sound Booth (pencil drawing!) by Laassa Kabel - Des Moines

Hand bound book by Gena Ollendieck - Cresco

Iowa printmakers

Shiny Things by Lori Biwir - Osage

Street Art by Brent Houzenga - Des Moines

Iowa Jewelry Artists

Empress Necklace by Cindy (CTThings) - Ames


True Blue by Hilde De Bruyne - Des Moines

It’s been a while since I’ve shared fun facts about a state in 52 Fridays.  As I’m from Ohio, and it seems that people often confuse it with Iowa and Idaho, it seems appropriate to differentiate this fine state.

  • Elk Horn is the home of the largest Danish community in the United States (yay!  I’m Danish!)
  • The most crooked street in the world is in Burlington.  (According to Ripley’s Believe it or Not).
  • Quaker Oats – the largest cereal company in the world – is located in Cedar Rapids.
Kansas – coming up soon!  xoxo

The Project Moratorium

At some point in our older home’s history, an extra room was added on to the first floor.  Since we’ve lived here it has alternately been “the studio”, “the office”, “the shove everything in there” room, and again “the office”.

home office ideas

In it’s latest transformation back to the land of the functional, I uncovered something of interest.  A shelf jammed with this and that: wool slippers, cork kilim coasters, DIY nursery decor, an old clock in need of refinishing.  What do all these have in common, you ask?   They all have found a home on the shelf where projects go to die.  Each just shy of completion: almost done but for one supply that I’ve run out of, or one tricky hurdle I don’t want to jump, or one disappointing outcome that I hadn’t expected.

unfinished projects

As I reordered and organized my space, (now the “studio-office hybrid”) I had an epiphany.  I created a small niche on half of one shelf, and piled up a few of these unfinished projects.  These projects would be completed.  They have to be completed before I am allowed to start any new projects. (And oh, how I do want to start some new projects!)

So this means that when I stop by JoAnn’s to pick up silver foil for the clock, I won’t stop by the clearance shelves for some perfect project-y deals.  And when I drop off our clutter at the thrift store, I won’t also buy that amazing, unique mid-century side table at 30% off.

Wait, as I’m writing this, I realize that may have been a mistake.  The table thing…. It was really cool, and only $7!  Should I go back…?

Anyhow, as we’ve discussed before, I am a starter.  Not so much a finisher.  I’m hoping that by bribing myself with more, better, amazing projects to come, that I’ll finish up what I’ve begun.  When the shelf is empty, I’ll add a few more from the pile, and get to work on those too.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

A non-sequitur to end with…  I started and finished this cake yesterday.  And by “finished it” I do not mean that I ate it all in one day!  It was good, but not great, and makes me want to perfect my “from scratch” techniques.

home made yellow cakeI’ll let you know how that goes, too!  I have a 1 year old birthday and a 42 year old birthday to bake for soon…

Hope you all have great days!  See you soon. 🙂

An Early February Mash-Up

Oh, friends, February has been challenging for us here at the Muller household.  It’s not been without fun and spark and joy, but I think someone has been sick on any given day since the month began.  So this is not a mommy blog, but frankly, all that I’ve been doing this month is being a mommy.  I’ve needed to do that, and wanted to as well.

I think we turned a corner this weekend, and I set about to blog again, to catch up on 52 Fridays, Iowa edition (which was a l m o s t complete!!), when I lost the whole thing.  Maybe in my previous sick haze, I forgot to save or something.  Argh!!

Anyhow, I wanted to touch base, although I have no art or making or musing to share.  I thought I’d just share a bit of the fun that’s been interspersed in our days this month.

Also, this Friday, I plan to share not one but two 52 Fridays editions – Iowa and Kansas.  A double dose!!  And can I just say, I’m so glad I memorized “The Fifty Nifty United States” as a child.  I never knew how often it would come in handy!

kids first tooth loss

Miles was SO happy to lose his tooth! (His brother transcribed the note...)



baby of the family

Baby of the family = our mascot!

happy baby

Happy to be well!

52 Fridays #14 – Indiana


I really enjoyed my tour of Indiana this week.  It seems like there is a lot of art going on there, lots of young artists, and lots of support for the arts.  I have a theory that I’m cooking up about arts in the Midwest.  When it’s fully baked, I’ll share it with you.  Until then, enjoy Indiana, friends!  (Don’t forget that you can click on the images and visit the artists’ websites – it’s nice to see their entire body of work).

indiana artists

Abstract by Marianne Glick - Indianapolis

Indiana Artists

Bull in a China Shop by Lesley Baker - Indianapolis

indiana contemporary painters

Circle Center by Ryan Petrow -

Nancy Keating Indiana glass artist

Kitchen Kitch by Nancy Keating - Carmel

Indiana Artists

Decaying Consciousness by Joseph Crone - Indianapolis (pencil on acetate)

indiana artists

Etched Grasslands Necklace by Lisa Hopkins - West Lafayette

indiana pottery

Blue Raku Jar, Steve Vachon and Sue Davis - Fort Wayne

Indiana designers

Deco Panel by Lucia Bennett, Moda Industria - Bloomington

Indiana printmakers

Boy with Headphones by Flatland Kitchen (Erik and Rebekah Nolan) - Indianapolis

indiana artists

Creed by Kyle Ragsdale - Indianapolis

Favorites, anyone?

52 Fridays #13 – Illinois

american artistsI have a great fondness for the Midwestern state of Illinois.  It’s the place of my birth, and many of my growing up years. I especially love Chicago.  I was born just north of the city, and lived some years in a “far north suburb”.  I have wonderful memories of driving into the city with my “just licensed” high school friends – everything was a great adventure.  For whatever reason, just looking at this Illini art has taken me back to that sense of very present wonder.

I am drawn particularly to the first two works in this “52”.  Which do you like best?

"Dirty South Blues" by Dolan Geiman, Chicago

"Commuters #1" by Darren Thompson, Chicago

"Black Jar, Green Flower, Stripes" by Nancy Gardner Burton Isenstein, Oak Park

Melissa Banks jewelry

Botanical Neckpiece by Melissa Banks - Rapt in Maille, Chicago

handmade furniture

Spyder Table by James Pearce, Peoria


"Orange Cuckoo" by Lisa Kessler, Champaign

felt jewelry

Felt Flower Necklace by Michele Friedman, Chicago

todd pletcher pottery

Wood Fired Tea Bowl by Todd Pletcher, Chicago

Chicago art painters

"Survivor Spirit: with white hair" by Joyce Owens, Chicago

Chicago artists

5' Stained Glass Transom by Stanford Glass Shop, Chicago

Next Friday we pop next door and visit Indiana, for more fine Midwestern art! See you then.

Paper Pulp Seed Faces

A month or so ago I came across these crazy seed faces on one of my favorite websites, This is Colossal.  I was intrigued.  Puzzled.  Alarmed.  These are paper pulp seed bombs in the shape of human heads. Plop the little heads onto a pot full of damp soil, wait a few days and tasty little sprouts will grow.  Right out of the tiny eye sockets.  Out of the nostrils.  They’ll pop out of the ears.   I ordered 25 for the bargain price of $7.50.

seed artrecycled paper pulp seed bombssustainable artrecycled artKelsey Pike Sustainable PapercraftKelsey Pike Sustainable Papercraft EtsyNow, I’m not in the position to report on how well these grow.  When I saw these, I knew immediately that I had to give them to a particular friend.  She appreciates a little bit of quirkiness, and is the greenest gal I know.  What better gift than degradable human head seed bombs?

Check out Kelsey Pike’s Etsy shop to see all of her interesting papercraft.


P.S.  Now that Picnik is getting rained out, I am begrudgingly checking out other photo editing programs.  I used BeFunky today.  It’s fun, but not really suited for real editing.  I may have to face Photoshop one day soon.

A Recommended Giveaway

As some of you know, I write on a blog team for Saffron Marigold, a maker of fair trade, hand printed Indian Textiles.  Today, we are partnering with The Nesting Place for a giveaway of some really lovely items.  You can win either a tablecloth or two cushion covers.  These are truly beautiful, artisan made quality pieces.  I hope one of you wins! That would be so fun!

Click on the image below, and it will take you to our blog where you can enter the contest. (It’s a super easy one!)

tablecloth and pillowcase giveaway

Pick a Pepper

I have four sons, and one daughter.  She may be a minority, but she makes up for it with a mighty personality, full of vision, creativity, leadership, and goofiness.  I am so lucky.

This weekend, she found a leftover pepper on the counter.  She noticed it looked like a flower.  I shared an Edward Weston book from my stash with her, and she spent the morning doing this:

Like mother, like daughter:  there are at least 20 more pepper pix from her shoot.  We like to be prolific.  (By the way, she got the tulip image from a big stack of ripped magazine pages she’s saving.  – She’s not yet on Pinterest!).

When I watch her I see someone who gets an idea and just does it, in a somewhat fearless way.  I see someone who isn’t constrained yet by ideas of what things “should” be like.  I see someone who knows what she likes, responds, and engages it.

I am so grateful that my house is filled with pepper installations, tin-foil cities, stuffed animal schools and a million half-finished projects.  (A quarter of those are mine…)

Is anyone else inspired by their kids’ creativity?  Tell me about it!  I want to be inspired too. 🙂

52 Fridays: #12 – Idaho

I had some difficulty with Idaho this week.  It wasn’t easy to find artists to showcase – artists who fit the grid through which I look for 52 Fridays work.  I look for art that I like. (always).  I look for art that is representative of its locale. (sometimes).  I have to look for art that has been photographed nicely, and of course, that is somewhere on the world wide web.

Idaho isn’t the first state that’s presented me with a bit of a challenge, but this is the first time I’ve shared it.  I’m realizing the very limited nature of my endeavor.  It’s wrapped up in this:  if an artist is painting somewhere, and no one sees it, has she made art?   Sara Tabbert took this thought a bit further when she mused about those artists around the world who work twelve hour days to provide for their families, who can’t afford traditional supplies, who live nowhere near a gallery, and who may only have their masterpiece in the mind’s eye.

I believe that of course, art is made despite the presence of an audience.  I guess the same craggy terrain that keeps Idaho population in the lowest 5th percent of our nation must also hide some of the artists who are seeing, dreaming and making there.  I only wish I were able to explore more deeply.

Don’t get me wrong… I’m pleased with the ten artists I’m able to introduce you to today.  What do you respond to?  Which are your favorites this week?

rainbow trout coasters

Rainbow Trout Coasters by Jan Briggs - Harrison

Idaho artists

"Unavailable" by Sarah J. Moore - Coeur d'Alene

Idaho artists

Untitled by Davs - Lewiston

Idaho painters

"Lavender Field" by Gwen Toomalatai - Weiser

Idaho artists

Sand and Water 2, art quilt by Kathleen Probst - Meridian

Idaho photography

Abandonded Farmhouse near Prairie, Idaho by David Ryan - Boise

Idaho potters

Mug by Erin Lunstrom Pietch - Boise

Idaho Artists

Mandolin by Ashley Silvernell Quick - Boise

Idaho art

Ginny Potato Sack Purse by Potato Boutique - Idaho Falls

abstract painting Idaho artists

"There, Mary" by Connie K. Sales - Nampa

Well, there’s my own private Idaho, now shared with all of you!  Next week, we visit the land of Lincoln and my birthplace – Illinois!

Columbus Architectural Salvage – Part 2


Last week I introduced a little bit of salvage heaven on earth, and this week I’ll continue the adventure.  The goodies are good, good, good!  Hope you enjoy…

vintage architecturevintage globalarchitectural salvage1960's lampOf course, once again, there’s more where this came from.  Despite having baby D in my arms, I managed to take a bazillion photos of this wonderful place.  Really, if you’re ever passing through Columbus, Ohio, I highly recommend this as a stopping point!

Have a great Wednesday.  See you soon!