Wednesday, October 18, 2017

It's Fall!

It's finally Fall here in middle Tennessee. I feel like I've been waiting 11 months for it too! I just am not one for hot, humid weather so these cool, crisp days and nights make me one happy girl!

While I've been busy filling holiday orders from my Etsy shop, I daydream of New England in Fall. For some reason, when I think of Fall, I see Vermont and New Hampshire, places that are known for their spectacular Fall foliage. Did you know that New Hampshire has an amazing Pumpkin Festival every year as well? True! These charming little towns go all out for Fall and Halloween.

Take a peek!

Fall - Vermont
Pumpkins for sale in Vermont
Pumpkin Festival in Vermont

New Hampshire - Pumpkin Festival
Can't you just hear "Moonlight in Vermont" playing in the background? I can!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

PuMPkiN SPiCe - Fall is Almost Here?

Oh don't get me wrong. I'm thrilled it's almost Fall but where have these past months gone? I looked at the date of my last post and seriously I was shocked to see that I hadn't posted anything for months and months.  I am so behind and I apologize and thank you all for sticking with me. I hope you'd knew I'd eventually resurface, and here I am.

Ok Jeannine, then why haven't you posted? Where have I been?!

Well....sigh.. ok, here goes: I was hired at a job after I got laid off last October, for a place I thought would work out really well for me. It wasn't and didn't. I never got anxiety at a job before and this place gave me an anxiety attack it seemed about every other day.  Where I sat for one, was facing a wall. There was no one to talk to all day. You were basically within cubicle walls and left pretty much for dead all day, unless I had a question about what I was doing, then I'd ask one of the other two gals in my department. They never spoke to me otherwise, no one did. Never a hi, how are you, how was your weekend, got any plans, what are you up to, blah blah blah, casual kind of conversation or rather just being friendly kind of talk. Nope. I was by myself all day, most everyday. It was miserable and depressing and after 6 long months, I finally quit. When I got home, I was emotionally done. I'd just want to cry and go to bed. I had no joy. No happiness. No nothing to do anything. I was ok on the weekend sort of but then Sunday night, I'd sink down into misery again knowing I had to go back. So there it is. Me just miserable and feeling emotionally and certainly creatively paralyzed, unable to function while I was working there. I felt like I owed it to myself and my health to leave, end it. I hated giving up the very large paycheck but money isn't everything so I did it with no regrets. It's in the past now thankfully and I can feel myself rising out of the ashes and soon I'll be back to running at 100%. Thank God in heaven it's over!

On the flip side of that though is I'm not working. Yet anyway. I've had some interviews and if I want to drive 2 hours each way and work 50 hours a week, yes I will have another high paying, soul sucking, life draining job. No. NO NO NO! I've discovered that I don't have it in me any longer to do that kind of work. I have a life. I have animals, a farm, a great husband to hang out with, my horses and dogs need my attention, I've got my art, all the things I want to create, places to go. You get the picture. Life is NOT about work! I'll figure out what I'm going to do. Maybe.

What do I WANT to do? I want to move back to snow country and be a ski instructor again or work in the ski industry again. It's my happy place. It's fun, energetic, positive, healthy. It's just a wonderful lifestyle and it's who I am. Moving to TN, I put it on hold thinking, oh you're too old, you'll grow out of it. No, never did and I'm sure I never will. So I'm sort of in the process of figuring out how to make it happen again. That'll be another blog post. Yes, I promise I'll be back soon and update you with any progress on that front!

Back to Fall: This morning I went with a good friend to Cracker Barrel for breakfast and what was on the menu? Pumpkin spice pancakes! Yes, it's that time again for everything cinnamon-y, clove, and whatever else makes up our favorite holiday scent. I didn't have them but I was happy they were back. I'm sure Starbucks has their pumpkin spice lattes back on the menu as well. Yay for Fall!! Hurry and get here!! I love everything about it; the scents (pumpkin spice!), the weather, Halloween, pumpkins on the porch, corn stalks, all of it!
One of my new painted garden stones - in time for Fall
Pumpkin Man - a new sculpt
And this summer I grew a lot of flowers and made a new garden. I even planted sunflowers! They were gorgeous but didn't stick around as long as I'd hoped. I may try another type next spring. My zinnias were and are gorgeous. Those have to be my all time favorite flower now and I'm going to plant oodles of them next year.
They were so tall!

Not full grown but charming with the metal sap bucket
A bit of decor in the front garden
Herbs: Basil, lavender (2), rosemary (2) and citronella (bugs!)
Something else? We adopted another wonderful dog. That makes #6. No I'm NOT a hoarder as some have accused me of. I do not "collect" animals to just have them or to try and "save them all", but while I'm able, I'm going to do my part. I'm helping/rescuing an otherwise soon-to-be-run over dog that will surely get hit on the highway if he's not taken in, so that's what I did. Again.  I have 2 older dogs that I believe are about 15 and then 4 younger ones. My vet says they will "cycle" and I unfortunately know what she's referring to, which is very sad...but I get it's one of those awful parts of life we all have to face sometime or another.  

The new doggie is named Dolly. She's a full pitbull with the biggest head I've ever seen! She's white and brown and just the sweetest dog ever. I've not heard a growl or seen any type of aggressive posture whatsoever. Just all big tongue and lots of kisses. 
Look at that face!
I still have my Mountain Cur Sophie who I found with 2 broken legs as well as ribs, emaciated, and neglected and because she couldn't walk, she'd drag herself. It was pitiful. She's now thriving! She runs the fastest of all my dogs, loves to play, is a whopping 68 lbs, previously 24, and is a joy. 
Bug and Lucy, my 2 other rescues are doing great as well and growing to be big, wonderful dogs. And of course there's my 6 kitties too. Yes, it's a very full house but you know what? It's full of LOVE!!!

Friday, February 17, 2017

So Stinkin' Cute!

As much as I loathe flying, stinging, buzzing insects that emerge in the Spring, I ADORE being outside. Puttering around my acreage, gardening, creating vignettes with pots and plants and old metal buckets, you get it. Well, I have another passion to share with you; POTTING BENCHES! Not just regular, boring, plain wood, but mismatched, crazy quilt, rustic, quirky, fabulous potting benches! Take a look at some of these:


Hmmm looks simple enough

Love all the décor!


Old window frame, shutters, chicken wire = LOVE


I love the aqua fence boards. Simple and cottage-y

I love the imagination that went into building these. I also love that instead of items being taken to the dump and ending up in landfills, that they were repurposed and recycled. That's fantastic. Old fence boards, junky windows and frames, tattered shutters, pallets, scroll-y pieces of leftover ironwork, corbels, trims, whatever...just fabulous!

Spring is just around the corner and I can't wait to start planning a few of my own.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Kickin' It in 2017!

Hey everyone! How's 2017 starting out for you so far? I know, we're only 3 days in, but I'm heading into this new year at warp speed! How about you?

I've got lots of irons in the fire right now and changes on the horizon, and I'm really excited.

Me: I've got my favorite haircut back and I'm feeling like my old self again. Funny how that works. I needed a re-do to get "back to me", if that makes sense. Something edgy and fresh. Got it! I even ordered some of my favorite make-up that I can't get here in TN and it should be arriving tomorrow via Amazon Prime. Yes!
Loving this cut!
I've also been eating very clean and watching every single bite. No junk or processed foods. Extra vegetables and fruit too. Antioxidants and anti-inflammatories as well, all naturally found in foods and spices. So far so good and I've shed some pounds. Goal: 30 lbs.
Yum! Fresh food goodness!
House: Finally getting the bathrooms remodeled that are long overdue. That'll be the final thing needed for our whole house revamp. Looking cute and cottage-y.
Fresh, clean and stylin'!
Plans? Hoping to list and sell either this coming Spring or the next. Where to? Utah or Colorado. Skiing. Mountains. Aspen trees. NO HUMIDITY or weird bugs! OR tornados!
Beautiful Salt Lake City
Art: I'm working on lots of new designs this year for By Way of Salem; one-of-a-kind tree toppers, adding some new handpainted fabric old lady dolls, and of course lots of new snowmen! I'm also adding new items for spring/summer like whimsically painted trailers, garden art, and painted bunnies and birds. In the jewelry department for Salems Charms, I'm hoping to be working with my favorite crazy ladies group, Sisters on the Fly, and either being a vendor on their site or getting licensed to do some logo items. I'd love to do that since they are just the coolest group of gals.
Spirited, fun group of ladies
How cute is that trailer?!
I think I mentioned awhile back that I got laid off from my job back in October and while I've been job searching, I'm also really enjoying the time off from work and being able to be with all my critters as well as do my art.

I know 2017 will be a fantastical year of changes and new adventures!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Happy Holidays Everyone!

I'm tired! I just completed all my Etsy orders yesterday and got them packaged and sent out today. I'm just pooped! I've been busy for most of November and half of December and I'm ready for a break. I'm very grateful to everyone for their orders, thrilled that I got so many this year, and for all my awesome customers. Thank you!

So what will I do with myself for the rest of the month? Well, for one I'm job searching. I got laid off at the end of October and so I'm hunting for something I really have an interest in this time around. And  I'm going to be watching all the Hallmark movies I possibly can! Love those!

Being home means spending lots of time with my pets too. We got a new rescue dog a couple months ago who came to us with two broken back legs that had healed themselves (sort of) because she was left on the side of the road. This little sweetie needs lots of love and care and with me home, she's getting it. She's doing great now. She walks a little stiffly, but she runs around like crazy and isn't in any pain. She's also doubled her weight and just looks so beautiful, plus she's very happy. A lovely dog. I'm so happy to have her and to spend lots of time with her.

I also get to spend time with my Mustang, Baby. She's a very sweet horse, just young and doesn't know a whole lot, but a love nonetheless. I'm just so blessed to have all these wonderful creatures in my life!

And Christmas cookies! Eating lots of Christmas cookies!

Happy holidays everyone and have the merriest of Christmases!


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Christmas Tree Topper FOUND!

If you're like me, you're probably fed up with the selection of Christmas tree toppers that seem to be available these days. Personally, plastic faced angels dressed in chiffon that look like negligees are not my idea of a tree topper, or terrible painted wood faces, or anything that is mounted on one of those spring thingies that fit over the (hopefully) one branch at the top that has to be perfectly straight, but never is, and then when you put it up there, it inevitably tilts no matter what you do. Ugh so frustrating.

No, I want cute. I want adorable. I want homemade. I don't want "Made in China" on a gold sticker stuck to the back. I want something that is warm and welcoming. Something that says "yes, we are having a Hallmark Christmas!"

Well, I know I'm tooting my own horn here..but..I've been making tree toppers for several years now and people love them! Probably cause they DON'T have the same issues or wear chiffon nighties! Nope, mine are darn cute! They drape easily over the top of your tree no matter how many branches you do or don't have. And truly, they are adorable!

So...if you've been looking around and can't find a topper you just love, or want something new, come on over to my shop and take a peek. I can also custom make you something as well. Want more rustic? Check! Lodge look? Check! Shorter, taller, wider, etc? Check! Just ask, and I'm more than happy to work with you.

Here's a few pics:
Snowman Angel Topper
Look at that face!
Custom order (yes I can!)
Cuff at the bottom (gift card?)
Snowman with top hat and twig arms

Over a gourmet food jar for a quick gift!
Happy Holidays everyone!!!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Secret Santa for a Special Friend

Besides trying to get my By Way of Salem orders out from my Etsy store this holiday season, I've also been working on a secret Santa project for a special friend of mine.

Funny, cause I don't know her all that well really, though we've known each other probably for 12 years. I mean we've not had lunch out together or really gone on any outings together, haven't talked on the phone, and I actually haven't seen her in many years. I think the last time I saw her was out on a trail, riding our horses, up in Enumclaw, WA, up on Mud Mountain. She was with a group of friends and I was with my friend, Jennifer. We all knew each other from a stable we used to board at a couple years prior. We keep in touch through Facebook and Messenger, going back and forth, and supporting one another through life's daily ups and downs. We all need friends like that!

My friend, Deb is a special woman. We're "sisters" in many ways I think. She has a gypsy spirit, loves horses and art, has gone through some tough, tough times and doesn't seem to falter, just plows right through. We both share things in common too; a love of mountains, skiing, being outdoors, animals, a good haircut, and of course horses. This woman just has SPIRIT! So you see, it doesn't matter that I haven't actually been around here in a long time, we're together in spirit.

So my project for her, is a soft sculpture wall hanging of her horse Leo. I've been working on it in between my other stuff, picking it up, working a little, going back, stitching some more, getting new ideas, and just building on them bit by bit. I'm finished now.

Leo is a gorgeous Gypsy Vanner horse. They are amazing! Feathers on their feet, long flowing manes and forelocks. Hers is white and black, and large like a draft. Here's a pic of one to give you an idea of their beauty!

Deb admires and encourages me in my art and has been a long time supporter of my creativity since my first By Way of Salem Facebook post I think, and I truly appreciate that. She's wanted me to make her something, and so I did, but it's a surprise. Shhhh! I'll be mailing Leo off on Monday. I can't wait till she gets it!

Deb moved from Washington state to Colorado, then to California, and now lives in Oregon. Gotta love a gypsy girl! Last year, she broke her back while riding Leo. It wasn't his fault, just one of those freak accidents. She's recuperating and no doubt will ride again. See, the girl's got spirit!!

Ok, the project:

I drew out a pattern for my quirky character on paper and traced it out on pre-washed, unbleached muslin.

Once he was cut out and ready for stitching, I had to think about what I wanted to do; make him a scary, Halloween-ish type horse like my Monster dolls, or just make him fun. I went for fun this time. 
I always keep a good stash of buttons

Lots of messy fun!
I painted him as accurate as I could with spots of black and left the white portion unpainted and natural.
Deb and Leo
Then I added buttons for eyes, stitched a nostril and painted it pink-ish, and added lots of "feathers" of different fabrics and materials for the forelock, mane, and tail. I used frayed muslin, various ribbons, strings of pearls, lace, ribbons and different favorite fabrics that I thought would fit Debbie. Things like jean fabric with sunflowers for her love of the outdoors and fancy trims for the bling she loves to adorn her horses with.

One thing Deb always had was beautiful, bling-y tack and I wanted to incorporate that on this Leo as well.  For his "bridle", I added turquoise glass beads of different sizes, and "silver conchos" were silver spacer beads. I stitched a brass cross (cause we all need blessings!), and bling to the headstall as well.

On his body, I added stamped ink words onto layers of fabric and hand stitched them on, then frayed muslin around his feet for his "feathers". Finally, I stitched a couple of loops on the backside for hanging. Or not. She could put him on her bed as a decorative pillow too.
I really hope this captures the spirit of Leo, and it makes her smile!