December 26, 2017

Keeping Christmas Simple

I hope you enjoyed Christmas this year with your family and friends.  This year the theme of simplicity kept coming to mind after I experienced simplifying my diet this past summer to help in the healing process for my balance issues.  While I am not 100% cured yet, I have found some very unexpected healing of inflammation in my body and quite an improvement in my balance.  So, I ran with the idea of keeping things simplified for Christmas.

For many, Christmas means added stress.  Since my husband and daughter both work in retail, it's nice for them to come home to some peace and calm.

I think our Christmas theme really started when we bought a tree light timer.  Wow! That sure beats trying to get to the back of the tree each day by parting a jungle of tree branches and tip toeing around wrapped presents.

I kept tree decorating simple, using a few store bought ornaments I had on hand, but mostly my handmade ones.

I also took a decorate-as-you-go approach this year and made small vignettes each week leading up to Christmas.  Here, I corralled some winter items and put them in a wood box on a bench in the foyer.

I also decorated our antique typewriter with some greens and one of my prints, "Warm Winter Wishes" that I cut and mounted to masonite board.

In the kitchen, I set up a snowman themed vignette in one of the windowsills featuring a snowman cupcake that I painted on a piece of wood...

and a snowman pin cushion that I made a few years ago with a hat made from a spool of thread and a wooden disc.  I found the little yellow bowl at a second hand shop to sit him in.  My grandmother's polka dotted spice tins add a fun touch.

In the other kitchen window, I created a gingerbread theme.  The kitchen smelled just like Christmas after I baked some gingerbread hearts for my little tree.  My grandmother's glasses added a nice touch on top of the cookbooks.  Coincidentally, her glasses work perfectly for me when I'm trying to remove a splinter from my finger as they seem to be a perfect match for my eyes.

In the dining room, I filled a box with a few of my painted bowls, some red transferware, a candle, Christmas balls and some Poly-fil for snow.

To keep it simple, I decorated a corner cupboard in my dining room with a sweet vignette that I kept set up from last year.  I simply open the door of the cupboard at Christmas to display it.

I kept that same approach in the master bedroom by using a pre-decorated small tree from last year and found a new place for it on the bedside table.  Our bed was adorned with a paper wreath that I bought at a friend's open house.

In the living room, I decorated the hearth with my Central Market Putz House that I made a few years ago from cracker boxes and added a cute Christmas piece on our lamp table that I also purchased from a friend's open house.  Simple, but so sweet.

My daughter seemed to catch onto the simplicity theme this year by telling me, "If I just get chocolate for Christmas, I will be happy.  She is such a contented person!  Here, I have a little corner set up for the Jacques Torres hot chocolate we bought for her.  After we made some together last night, she remarked that her stomach was very happy!

On Christmas morning, we took a very relaxed approach--sleep in as long as you like.  When everyone was ready,  I made a stromboli for my hubby and daughter with store bought pizza dough and sliced meats and cheeses--no huge meal or cleanup on Christmas--just simple.  For my meal I chopped up some veggies and cooked them together to make a sweet potato hash.

After lunch, we exchanged gifts.  We kept things simple with one surprise gift for each of us and other gifts were things that we needed.   We bought frozen steaks and clothing for my hubby, new bedding and dresses for my daughter, and a few kitchen items like a stainless steel pan and wooden cutting board for me.  This year we also kept it simple by shopping early and online and avoided the long lines and crowds.  At the end of the day, I realized that Christmas doesn't need to be as stressful, as we make it.   If we are stressed over Christmas, I think we need to take a fresh look at the very simplicity surrounding the birth of Christ.  Why do we think we need to compete with or outdo others?  If we plan ahead and make it simple on purpose, it can be a joyous time as we celebrate the real meaning of Christmas with our loved ones.

What do you do to keep the stress out of Christmas?  Do you cook up a large pot of soup or have an easier approach to gift giving?  If you have a fun tradition that brings simplicity to Christmas, please share your thoughts below in the comment section.   I would love to hear from you!

"Better a small serving of vegetables with love
than a fattened calf with hatred."
Proverbs 15:17

December 9, 2017

Living Room Redo

Over the last few months we have been planning to redo our living room.  We got a lot of use out of the furniture over the last 17 years, but as you know, things wear out.   Here are a few before and after photos of the changes we made.



When you have a small room, you try to fit in as much seating as you can, like the love seat we squeezed into a small space.  Right???  I guess I like to break design rules.  However, when it came time for a redo, we decided to take a different approach this time around and get it right.

New Paint - BM Chelsea Gray

I'm not sure what the proper order is in doing a room, but as an artist, it's all about the paint!!!  Maybe some people start with a rug for inspiration, but I've been dreaming about using this color for quite a long time.  So I painted first and did the rug last.  I have a habit of breaking the design rules.

Next, we headed to several --no, make that a gazillion furniture stores until I saw this sofa....

...and this electric recliner that would actually fit in the spot and in our budget as well.  I wasn't in love with the fabric, but that was a quick fix.  

I choose this dark charcoal fabric, Pheebee Ebony for the sofa...

...and this black and white fabric, Dempsey Tuxedo, for the recliners. (It looks a little yellow in the photo, but it's black and white in person.)


We also spent a lot of time running all over Lancaster County, looking for new lamps... 

...and a new rug.

So, here are the after photos.

The large framed print above the sofa is from my Happy Valley painting printed in a 24 x 30" size.

The rug is a salt and pepper color mix to compliment all the black and white in the room.  It is actually a piece of carpet.  We had it finished in a charcoal binding to look like an area rug, and put quality carpet padding under the rug. This saved us several hundred bucks and it feels very lush underfoot.

Sarah Table Lamp from the Crestview Collection.

Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you enjoyed the redo.  Next time I'll share some holiday decorating and vignettes.

November 14, 2017

Two Christmas Events and Some Winter Paintings

Happy Fall Everyone,

I would love to extend an opportunity for a meet and greet with my friends and collectors.  On Small Business Saturday, November 25, I will be demonstrating my art at Dutchland Galleries.  The gallery is located at Kitchen Kettle Village in Intercourse, PA.  There will be other makers demonstrating their work in the village that day as well, so it will be a nice day for a visit to the village.  I will be in the gallery from 12 - 4 PM working on my latest winter piece.  If you have a chance to come out to the village, I would love to meet you!!!  If you purchase a print that day, I will sign the back of the piece and will pose for a photo with you to add to your collection--so be sure to bring your camera or phone and your smile.

I will also be showing two of my small originals in downtown Lancaster at CityFolk Gallery on Prince Street during the month of December.  They will be available for sale.  The event is the first annual Small Salon Invitational and will feature several local artists and their small works of art.  The exhibit opens on December 1 and runs through December 31.

Other news:  One of my favorite things to see on blogs is the transformation of homes through remodels and redecorating.  Do you enjoy them as well?  For the last few weeks I have been updating our living room and I am excited to share the new look with you.  Maybe, I will even have it decorated for Christmas.   I will share some before and after photos in my next post, so be sure to check it out when it arrives in your email.

So, to usher in the holiday season that's right around the corner, I wanted to share a collection of my winter paintings with you that I have done over the last few years.  If you are interested in any of these as giclee prints, please contact me at my email:

Winter Haven

Sleigh Ride

Amish Christmas Tree

Snowman Sugar Cookies

Follow the Star

Bringing the Tree Home

Snowman's Cottage

Warm Winter Wishes

Rabbit Hill

Cottage on the Hill

Tea Kettle Cafe

Snowmen Skaters

Cabin in the Woods

Seasons of Rural Life - Winter

Little Christmas Tree Farm

Little Red Village

Christmas Tree Farm

Peaceful Valley

Country Sleigh Ride

Winter Fun

Winter Mill

Chapel in the Snow

Snowman's Tree Stand

Thanks for stopping by!  I hope you enjoyed the photos.  Have a Happy Thanksgiving.