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Quiet start to the last day

Here we are at December 31st. Last day of 2011. I must say that I'm glad to get this last year under our belts and look forward to hopefully bigger and better things for 2012.

If this year were to have a theme, I think it was transition. It seemed like a lot of preparation. False starts and pleasant surprises. Getting prepared for wherever all this is going. These lessons are hard for me because my personality is more of a "make it happen" type and when I try to 'make it happen' and it doesn't, well, it's hard not to get antsy.

I'm feeling optimistic though. I feel like 2011 has at once made me focused as well as relaxed. I don't have to make it happen right now. I will try to sit back and enjoy the progress :)

Which hasn't made me not try to make other things happen ;) Yesterday I started a big painting project, although not my favorite kind. After several days of trying to find the paint color that I'd painted my art room a few years ago and coming up short and having no success with color matching, I'm painting the whole room back to a nice vanilla cream. Its so vanilla-ish that I literally stopped at one point and had some ice cream. Who thought painting a room would start a craving?

I'm hoping to get back into the joy of picture painting soon though. All my mad cleaning is done and the photos of the house are done, and we're officially on the market in a few days. I've heard that all shoppers want these days is some bargain basement foreclosure, but I'm trying to keep faith and know that it only takes one person to fall in love and want this little house. Besides, wouldn't you rather have a home full of happiness and good memories? I know I would.

And so. Hot chocolate for breakfast this morning. Marshmallow manditory. A stack of good books from Christmas just ready to be devoured. Drowsy dogs and puppies to cuddle and love. These are good things, and good memories. The last ones of 2011.

On to the new year!~ See you on the other side of 2012!~
~H

Christmas Angels

Hello there!~ Hope these post-Christmas days are finding you contented and well-fed! In less than a week we'll be celebrating a brand-new year. I'm really looking forward to it. There's nothing like a fresh start, and I'm hoping for new beginnings in more ways than one.

Before we close the door on the holidays though, I wanted to share with you a pair of angels that I made as special gifts this year. I sort of made them up as I went along but I think they turned out really sweet! They are crackled and coffee stained and be-glittered!

Our Christmas was good, despite Audrey and I both being (and remaining) sick. I got lots of fun books, and clothes but Audrey is the one who made the haul! She must have been exceptionally good this year, according to Santa :)

I'm looking forward to what the next few months hold in this coming new year. 2011 seemed to be an odd transition time. I hope that 2012 is a time of fruition. Hope its the same for you!~

~H

Calm before the Christmas

I feel relieved that we've finally reached that calm before the holiday. For so many weeks now I felt like I was struggling to get everything done, and now it is--- more or less-- and it's time to relax and let the day come.

I've been relatively good as far as the cookies go (relatively) but I couldnt resist having a homemade sugar cookie on my new blue-and-white plate featuring a skating dutch couple. For a girl who's maiden name was Van Winkle who was super obsessed with figure skating at a certain time in her life, it seemed just perfect, and I snatched it up off of etsy a few days ago.

During this holiday time Franklin has been getting to know his new home and family and is settling in nicely. He's Mr. Personality for sure. We're hoping he'll keep the stodgy old man Henry young. Henry doesn't trust him much yet, especially since Franklin keeps checking the poor old dog to see if he can nurse (answer? No. No, sir!) He spends some time in the baby sling when I need to move around but also keep track of him, or when I need him to settle down some. He's such a baby, he loves it. Actually, he's in it now ;)

I'm also looking forward to finishing the roughly 8,000 knitting projects I have started or am longing to start. There are about 3 unfinished projects in that pile of yarn alone! I'm pleased to say that at least one is more or less finished now ;)

And so. Christmas Eve is tomorrow and then Christmas will truly be here. It seems to have come so fast. Was it that long ago that it was 114 degrees outside and the worst summer ever? Now all we need is to see some snow, although that wont be for a while yet, I'm sure. Things always come full circle, though, don't they?

Well, wishing you a merry holiday!~
Happy Christmas,
~H


Tasha Tuesday

Corgiville Christmas by Tasha Tudor

I couldn't let this tuesday go by without a little nod to our Tasha Tuesday tradition. Hoping your holiday is Merry & Bright, and full of furry little creatures!~

New things, busy things

Truth be told, I'm relieved to see Monday. This past week was a bit crazy. Or a lot crazy, depending how you look at it. A small recap is as follows:

* A little Miss got her first loose tooth
* My husband took his last final after about 5 years of going to school a few nights a week after work to obtain a degree he needed for his job
* The cat died
* I had back-to-back weekend craft shows
*Said loose tooth was lost while eating an apple and the tooth fairy made her first appearance
* Continued cleaning of house to prepare to put it on the market at the beginning of the new year
* The sudden onset of puppy fever that resulted in...

This, my dears, is Franklin. My new baby. I love him. Getting him was the result in a fit of madness that my husband still isn't sure about, although I think he kinda likes the baby already :)

Having had Henry, our other Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, we all love the breed. They're just so docile and loving and while they like to have a good time romping, they also love a good nap (or 10). I was sort of self-medicating my sadness after losing Annie to an unexpected sickness by reading the pet ads in the paper. While reading, I stumbled upon an add a woman had placed saying that her pair of dogs had had a litter and she had the color of cavaliers that I had always loved but rarely seen- the ruby (all red). Needless to say, the fever ensued. And friday afternoon, just hours before I was supposed to be setting up for Alliday, I found myself driving out to a little Mennonite town to pick up my baby from the woman who had him. It was love at first sight.

If you saw me at Alliday this weekend, chances are you saw Franklin (although he was as of yet unnamed!) I know Beth and I were quite a sight in our booth--- she had her little 4 month old in a bassinet between us, and I had Franklin in a baby sling across my shoulder. And he was so good. I think he slept through 95% of the show and just looked generally adorable for all the visitors.

I am also happy to report that I met several new friends, either readers of the blog or friends on the Audrey Eclectic Facebook page or both. Thank you so much to all of you who came and saw me, the crazy girl with the dog in the sling.

And now, with a week until Christmas, its time to turn my attention to family things and fun things and calm things. I'm happy to have my little gap-toothed gal and my two furry boys to keep me company through the days. Im sure some cookie making will ensue at some point. And then it will time to turn my attentions to 2012, which I hope will be a wonderful year for this little folk art business on the prairie....
Happy Holidays,
~H

Alliday this weekend!~

I'm getting packed up today and setting up my booth for Saturday's Alliday show! This is going to be my last show for a good long time, so if you're near I hope you come and say hello :) The show is at the Tulsa Fairgrounds in the Ford Truck Exhibit building and runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and admission is FREE!

I'll be sharing a booth with Art by Bethany and lots of my good crafty friends will also be there, so hope you can come!~
~H

Shop Udate: Originals Added

Just wanted to peek in for a moment and let you know that I've listed a few never before available original paintings to my etsy shop (Including Georgiana, above).

Still knee deep in a few finishing touches for the last show, Christmas prep and all that other fun stuff. I am really looking forward to a nice wintry slow down...knit some baby hats for all those crafty babies I know, bake a little more, and just relax. But til then, I hope you find a little time to browse the shop and maybe I'll see you Alliday this weekend!~
~H

*St. Lucia Day*

Good afternoon and happy St. Lucia Day!~

Well, its a bit late but I did get the St.Lucia buns baked, the best I could do anyhow. Making these buns turned out to be a comedy of errors which included me leaving my purse across town and not having the main ingredient (saffron!) and when I went to get it, it was way too expensive for my budget ($12. Really.)

But it's still Dec.13 and some semblance of St. Lucia buns have been baked :) In place of the saffron I added cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger because really, those are fool-proof ingredients, right? I've enjoyed one in the quiet before my girl gets home and they are nice. Thank goodness!

The recipe I used came out of the book "Kirsten's Cook Book" which was a companion book to my favorite doll growing up-- Kirsten the Swedish girl made by American Girls Dolls. This book still has crumbs in it from when I used it as a kid--- I distinctly remember making Swedish Pancakes out of it for a 'food from around the world' day in the 6th grade. Hopefully my cooking has improved?

Wherever you are, and whether you celebrate this day as St.Lucia Day or just any other day, I hope it is a peaceful one and a purposeful one. That's what I'm working today, anyhow.

Til next time,
H

PS: For a good recipe for these St. Lucia buns, go visit Karen over at Lavender and Lovage, she made some with cheese! Yum!

A Deluxe Weekend

I've been mulling over this post all day in my head, well probably for the last couple of days actually, but this is the first time I've had to sit down and put up the photos from this year's Deluxe Indie Craft Bazaar in OKC.

It was a beautiful show and I was very pleased to be nestled nicely between my two best gals-- Sweetheartville and Art By Bethany. This year was extra special because they both had their new baby girls on hand, and another friend was with her husband who put up a chiropractic booth (best idea ever! Set up your booth, then get your shoulders rubbed!) who also had her baby there. So, really, I spent my saturday selling art and nuzzling sweet babies. Day well spent, I think!

I also picked up some pretty nice little bits and bobs from new vendors and trades with old friends. There was even a break-dancing contest, which I declined to enter ;) I'm happy to report that I did NOT come home with a lost voice or any sort of cold, which sometimes happens to me. Its like I get so worked up for shows that I sometimes just fall apart when they're over with ;)

But I have to keep calm and carry on because there's another show this coming weekend--- Alliday! This show is in Tulsa, so if that city is closer to you than OKC, I think it's going to be a fun show. I'll be sharing a space with my friend Beth and, chances are, cuddling more crafty babies :)

I had a lot of fun meeting old friends and new friends at this show, which is my favorite part. I was so happy to finally meet Sonia Gensler, the author who commissioned a character portrait not long ago, and also meet some new vendors. My St. Lucia painting inspired lots of Swedish bonding, and in general it was a show full of good people watching. There was even some dog watching with the greyhound rescue just one aisle over!

Now its time to rest up, maybe paint up a few ornaments, get ready for the holidays and.....also overhaul this house as we've decided we're going to really truly try to move in the next few months. So....a few things to do in the next few days and weeks!

So, guess I better get some beauty sleep!~
Til next time,
~H

I'll be seeing you...

Sorry its been so quiet around here lately, it's been a really busy week! I've got the car all packed and now just have to set my alarm for an early AM trek down to Oklahoma City to take part in the Indie Deluxe Craft Bazaar!

If you're in the area, you gotta come out. Its free admission and the show is packed with awesome handmade sellers and artists just waiting to furnish your handmade Christmas :) The show takes place at the OKC State Fairgrounds in the Centennial Building with doors opening at 11.

I'll be there too, of course, selling paintings, prints, postcards, posters and some new hand painted ornaments! Hope to see you tomorrow!~

~H

Tasha Tuesday-- St. Nicholas Day!

Hi there friends,
I was pretty pleased when I realized the other day that St. Nicholas Day would fall on a Tuesday, which is also Tasha Tuesday around these parts :) In case you didn't know, I do Tasha Tuesdays throughout the year as a sort of fun celebration of one of my favorite artists, Tasha Tudor. She led such a full and unique life that is just full of inspiration.

This coincidence was nice because in many writings about Tasha it is said that all her epic Christmas traditions kicked off on St. Nicholas Day-- Dec. 6, with the celebration of Advent on through Christmas Day.

We are celebrating St. Nicholas day in our house with some special gingerbread cookies--- St. Nicholas style! I got this idea from some cookies I saw at our annual St. Nicholas Day Festival at our parish. I thought it was a darling idea. And who doesn't love a frosting beard?

Here is a photo of them all cooked and frosted and looking so pretty on a winter plate that my friend Holly got me for my birthday :) St. Nicholas the icon is looking on, looking more serious than jolly ;)

Tasha was also known for her beautiful gingerbread animals that she would make and after making these slightly sloppy (but yummy) St. Nick's, I can appreciate her skill even more!

Tasha was always saying "Take Joy" and I like that mantra. I try my best each day, doing better at it on some days than others. I can't help but love her optimism and ability to find that joy for the taking in so many quiet little moments. This season of Advent is about just that, and I look forward to sharing more quiet little moments with you!~

Happy Tasha Tuesday~
H

*Top illustration by Tasha Tudor

I'm dreaming of a Swedish Christmas

I've written here before about my condition of smitteness (not a word? bah!) with Swedish style. Especially rustic Christmas Swedish style. Pinterest has only fueled my love for the white and red aesthetic, the beautiful simple touches and the combination of nature and tradition with a modern sensibility. sigh....





I love the calmness these scenes reflect. And I do love a good dose of red (really, its a neutral around here) but in a way that isn't overwhelming. As such a fan of color, I'm surprised at myself for my turn into pale. But really, doesnt white and cream go so well with any season?

Hope you enjoyed seeing some of my favorite rustic Swedish Christmas images. Wanna see more? Come to my pinterest and enjoy.....

~H

2011 Christmas Poster

Recently I had an idea to do something special for Christmas, something that you and I could look forward to each season, something that would be collectible and have a specialness about it. I decided that creating collectible Christmas posters would nicely fit the bill and so for my first poster I chose St.Lucia to be the pin-up girl :)

I picked up the new posters yesterday and I was so thrilled with them, they are beautiful! They measure 12x18" and would look simply gorgeous framed. I'm going to frame a copy for myself to keep, and look forward to making more of these special designs each Christmas. Every poster will come signed by me on the back and I plan on bringing them to the shows I'm doing this month (Deluxe and Alliday) as well.

If you'd like to learn more about the posters or order one, you can find them listed HERE.

Hope you like them!~h

Dec 01

It seems strange that it's now December first, that hot and miserable summer we had doesn't seem like it is so distant a memory. I feel like I don't quite trust the frost or the gray skies. But I'm happy to be wrong :)

Around this little house it has definitely taken on the air of Christmas. It was in the 70s the day before Thanksgiving, and it seemed like too good an opportunity to get lights up and decorations out. I've decided I like a good Christmas tree, no matter how small or simple. There's a spindly one in our bedroom and I bought a little live one for the kitchen. Audrey has a pink one for her bedroom. I'm a bit addicted to greenery.

A couple of years ago a friend and I got ambitious and made these Advent Calendars out of fleece and felt. This was one of my first big sewing projects, and I thank Holly for helping get a hold on my sewing machine. This year, however, I have the urge to really get into Advent--- which has technically already began as of last Sunday and enjoy the season all the way through Epiphany in January.

My inclination this year is for a deliberately slow and thoughtful Advent and Christmas season. Last night I filled the calendar pockets with pieces of candy in shiny rappers and little notes with things like "make someone smile today, name something you're thankful for, be a good friend" inside. Now that my little one is going to school, I think she'll enjoy these little prompts and perhaps in a couple of years can write them herself. I just enjoy that there are so many little things we can do in anticipation of the 'big day', and it doesn't have to be all about the stress of making one day epic and audacious.

This coming Sunday is our St. Nicholas Day festival and I'm looking forward to it. That was the first service we ever attended that lead us on our journey to be where we are and to the new friends we've made. And who doesn't love St. Nicholas, the patron saint of children and sailors who leaves goodies in your stockings?

Well, it's time to get ready to start today. My little one is still snoozing and she'll be up and ready to explore the calendar soon. Thanks for coming to visit me today~

~H

Tasha Tuesday

Winter is here now. It's cold out, sometimes wet and gray for just days upon end, days meant for cuddling up with a nice fire, some yarn, and a furry pup. Last week an old friend bartered with me for some fire wood and I've become a little addicted to the toasty flames, the lovely light and the ambiance of doing, well, anything by firelight.

My little one wasn't feeling good over the holiday break, and so as a treat I let her pick a yarn at the store and have set out to make her a matching hat and scarf set, and one for my husband as well. So for the last few days I've sat for hours by the fire watching random things (like this series that I finished in about 2 days!) and knitting up a storm.

Thanks to those quiet evenings I only need to put some finishing touches on the hats and knit one more scarf. Pretty good, I'd say!

And although these little moments aren't directly related to Tasha, I think she'd approve of the time spent and the effort made for home made gifts. I know there's no way I'll be able to accomplish 100% homemade for Christmas (I've got two craft shows in the middle of all this too!) but I'm trying. And there's something very satisfying of coming away from a couple of hours on the couch nestled in with a little girl and her dog and a nice roaring fire with something accomplished.

Happy Tasha Tuesday~
H

How To: Vintage Photo Christmas Wreath

Hello there friends and a happy 1st Sunday of Advent to you! Around here we are tentatively beginning this long season of celebration and traditions, something I've been looking forward to since the last Christmas season.

This year I decided I needed to make a nice Christmas wreath for the mantle, although most of ones I see in the store are not really my style. I like old things, and rustic things, and so I knew I needed to put my own spin on a traditional Christmas wreath if it was going to be what I wanted. So earlier in the week we set out for some supplies and this is what was created:

I'm pretty pleased with what the end result was--- rustic grape vine and red checked ribbon offset with Christmasy greenery and some of my favorite vintage photos. It wasn't that hard to make so I thought I'd share the process with you. Are you ready?.....Here goes:

Everything I used for the wreath is shown here on the kitchen table. A plain grape vine wreath that you can get at any craft store (this came from Michaels) as well as a premade floral piece that will be my Christmas greenery. I bought some ribbon to fancy it up and brought out some of my old photos, a glue gun (and glue) floral wire, wire cutters and scissors.

First I attached the floral piece to the wreath (you could use separate floral picks if you prefer, but I liked that this bunch of fruit and leaves and berries was all in one piece) I bent the arrangement to match the curve of the wreath and then attached it with some floral wire.

Then came the arrangement and placement of the photos. I hate the idea of damaging vintage photos, so used my glue sparingly and made sure no glue would touch the front of the photos. All of these photos came from the antique mall, so I'm not using family heirlooms here. I like the idea of these once forgotten and homeless photos now getting a chance at the lime-light for our holiday festivities. I hope that they'd all be pleased!

Then I made my bow from the ribbon. I made my bow by creating a center loop, then making more and more loops around it. I held them in place with my hand and put a dab of glue and the florist wire to hold the bow in place. Then I fastened it into the middle of the floral arrangement.

After situating my bow, I cut the ribbon free and then wound the ribbon loosely around the rest of the wreath, attaching it with a little glue.

And then, voila! A new wreath was born! And up on the mantle it went. I think it's easily one of my most favorite wreaths I've ever made and I think that since its holiday look is subtle, I could probably leave it up until Valentine's Day.

Hope you enjoyed the little craft lesson!~
H

A turkey tale & lovely sale!~

Hello and good morning! A happy merry Thanksgiving to you!~ It's a quiet morning here with no big rush to prepare. My grandpa is our Thanksgiving Day chef, and all I'm accountable for is the apple sauce cake (wanna see it? I blogged it at the What Would Ma Ingalls Do? Blog!)

I'm looking forward to a day spent with lots of great food and laughter and lounging and lots of turkey. I don't feel a bit bad about the turkey part because they're rather mean birds. I had a run-in with one last year--- a big plumed and pompous one just like the one on the card! Evidently he didn't like me out walking on a cold afternoon in a red sweatshirt (red is their fighting color, evidently) and he stalked me down the road and then started flapping and lunging at me. It was probably the most ridiculous run-in with a critter that I've ever had! Imagine, walking down a street lined with normal homes in a normal neighborhood with a turkey following and heckling you and flapping up at you with its talons out. Do these sorts of things only happen in Oklahoma?

Eventually one of the neighbor men drove by in his truck and saw my assault and yelled for me to 'jump in!' and he toted me around to the nearest bend in the road so that the angry turkey couldn't see me any more. I actually had bruises from that mean old thing. I swore next time I walked out that way I'd bring a bag of stuffing to threaten it with.

And so, yes, I will delight in my turkey dinner today :D

Wishing you a happy Thanksgiving Day, or just a very merry Thursday to my international readers :) To get in a festive mood I decided to make a sale section in my shop! Come by and take a look! There are several originals that need new homes!~
Thanks so much!~
Til next time...
~H

PS: Last night I gave the blog a new wintertime make-over! What do you think?


~Art Shows~

For the last couple of months or so I've been working hard and making some new pieces-- several quite large-- for this gallery event at Deep Fork Grill in Oklahoma City. It's such a beautiful restaurant with great atmosphere and I feel really lucky that they wanted me to be a part of their space :)

Friday I drove down and hung the paintings-- so they're there on display and looking for new homes (including the girl on the flyer above!) Tomorrow evening they're even hosting a reception for me and the art and I will be there on hand trying not to be bashful!

This is my first gallery event in Oklahoma City! So if you're in the area, come say hi! Then I'll be back in OKC in a couple of weeks to sell all my artsy stuff at Deluxe--- which if you've never gone, is SUCH a fun show! And the week after that I'm taking part in a new Tulsa show (it debuted in spring 2010) called Alliday at the Tulsa Fairgrounds. And then, the weekend after that, its Christmas! Wow! This is a crazy busy season! But I feel so fortunate to get to be part of all these great shows and events. Oklahoma really knows how to go crafty and I'm really proud of that.

So, if you're in the area, hope you'll come see the paintings *live and in person* and come say hello!~

Off to finish some packaging and then resting up for the big day tomorrow :)
~H

Haunting Girls


I thought I'd show you all a bit of my November mantle before the ol' Christmas rehaul happens later this week. This time is a bit of a transition between Halloween and Christmas which are so vibrantly festive. I like to have a bit of a calmness between them.

I love to rescue old photos, especially old photos of children, and most particularly little girls. The photo in the big gold and black frame we call the spooky girls, because they really are. But I love them! They were definitely the apple of someone's eye to be photographed and frames so ornately.

The little photo of the pretty little one with the ribbons in her hair I rescued just last week. How could you leave a baby like that alone in a sea of knick knacks? She had to come home with me. I just love that little face.

And speaking of haunting girls....I painted up a Catherine from Wuthering Heights this afternoon! You can see more of her in my etsy shop. What do you think? Does she need a Heathcliff?

Such a busy week coming up. Hope to get a lot done, whether its art, decorating, or eating ;)
Til next time,
~H

Down Town Angels

Last week I heard about an exciting thing going on in downtown Tulsa--- in the business district they were setting up 'pop up shops' for Christmas shopping in the ground floors some of the gorgeous old buildings that otherwise sit empty all year round. I was doubly excited to hear that the local show Indie Emporium was sponsoring one of these shops and I was asked to add some art to the displays!

The old down town of Tulsa, Oklahoma is a beautiful place. We've got architecture that people come from all over to gawk at-- art deco buildings made with the best that money could buy when oil tycoons called this place home in the boom days of the twenties and beyond. There are huge stone churches that are so gorgeous and works of art in themselves, and the city is clean and cared for but as shopping centers located themselves farther and farther from the heart of old Tulsa, the crowds down town dwindled until they were almost nonexistant. These days, most of the people you see downtown are there because they work there, but that's starting to slowly change.

Some really neat shops and restaurants are slowly but surely seeping back into these beautiful spaces, and so the idea that crowds of merry Christmas shoppers might once again mill through the street like they did decades ago is thrilling. My grandparents would tell stories about getting dressed in their finest-- with hats and gloves and pearls--- to go strolling down the sidewalks of down town Tulsa, where the windows would be piled high with beautiful items that would be taken home as treasures.

The two paintings above-- "Evergreen Angel" and "Angel of Winter Peace" will be perched in the Indie Emporium pop up shop in the Thompson building. The Philcade building will also be hosting some little local shops, and both buildings can be found along Boston Ave between 5th and 6th streets. It's a beautiful area, and there are some yummy eateries right in the middle of it all-- including Elote which serves amazing organic Mexican food and Mod's Coffee and Crepes.

The stores tentatively open on Monday with a grand opening on the 30th. I plan to get some pics when its all put together and post them here, to get you in the shopping spirit!

Now I need to put the finishing touches on the paintings that will go to hang at Deep Fork tomorrow in OKC. This is the busiest week I've had in a long time, but oh so satisfying!~
Hope all is well with you & yours,
H