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Ozark Outing: Visiting the Civil War Battlefield at Pea Ridge

   We were pretty adventurous this weekend, which is so not our style. We are, usually-- as Gladys Taber would say-- "stay at home birds." 
   Saturday morning we ventured over to Arkansas to visit the Civil War Battlefield and national park at Pea Ridge.  Pea Ridge doesnt get as much attention as the sites like Gettysburg, but it was a pivotal battle during the frigid winter fighting in early 1862 and decided the fate of Missouri and other western state's in whether they'd remain in the union or go with the confederacy. After fierce fighting, the aftermath of Pea Ridge saw Missouri and the west side with the Yankees. 

   The poor fighters have long gone now, leaving behind their dearly departed, faded echos of cannon fire, and pieces of history, such as The Elk Horn Tavern. The Tavern today is rebuild-- the original structure was lost to fire--twice--- but the chimneys and beautiful stone fireplaces remained.
   According to the website of the Pea Ridge National Military Park

"Close to 23,000 soldiers fought at Pea Ridge on March 7 and 8, 1862. Many of the soldiers were from small towns and had never traveled more than twenty miles away from home before they joined the Army. They were farmers, merchants, teachers, mechanics, lawyers and countless other occupations before they enlisted.
At this early stage of the war, every man was a volunteer. Many joined for patriotic reasons, to preserve the embattled Union or to fight the "Second American Revolution", while others sought to escape the boredom of life in a small town. Some went with their heads filled with dreams of glory, while others simply did not want to be thought of as cowards. No one thought that this was to be a long or bloody war. They were wrong."

   Today, the Ozarks are still remote, densely forested, and rural. Just imagine how it was over 150 years ago? Can you imagine how the people living in these rural communities must have felt when this great wave of soldiers and war came colliding with their little mountainside farms, mills and taverns? It must have been a heady mixture of fear, excitement, and confusion.
    I know I had ancestors living in the White River area, which was not far from Pea Ridge. Perhaps they heard the booming of the cannons and wondered what on earth they could be?
   I also had two separate ancestors who enlisted as Union soldiers with the Missouri Calvary (We were Yankees?!) whose horsemanship and knowledge of the rugged Ozark landscapes made them perfect for being scouts. 

     For me, it's so amazing to think about all this--- and walk on the grounds on which it happened. Today, Pea Ridge is quiet, serene, and beautiful. All that remains of war are the old cannons you'll see rolled out in the battlefields--- now more populated with wildlife than soldiers. They are also long quiet. But hopefully, their lessons not lost.

Prims Magazine: Art Dolls Featured!

   Hey there, friends! I am so happy to be able to finally share with you some exciting news-- my witchy art dolls are featured in the current issue of Prims Magazine!
  You can find the magazine at bookstores now, or order online at Stampington.com.
   I love how they turned out, Prims always knows how to make things look so lovely and special. Can't wait for these dollies to make their way home from California too, they've been away for a few months now! What adventures they've had!
   You can see a bit of the feature in the pics below....there are also some other amazing autumn and winter dolls featured in this beautiful magazine. Perfect for curling up and looking at. Its also got me inspired to get out my sewing machine and make some dolls again--- someday! When there's time again!

Thanks for stopping by today!~ Happy Autumn~!

Little Adventures

    We've been busy around here for the last week! We've taken on all sorts of adventures on the road and at home-- from researching our house, to cutting front teeth (yes, STILL) and taking a road trip up to Kansas to visit the Little House on the Prairie Museum in Independence, Kansas.

  Earlier in the week, Robbie and I were taking a walk down town and stopped by the abstract and title office where we closed on our house last year. I went in and asked the nice lady there if I could see the abstract on our house--- which lists all the owners of our house and other pertinent information on the land and house through the years.
   I went back into the little office and she brought me a hefty tome--- the front of it filled with fragile yellowed paper that started with the Dawes Act, and then the first sale of the city lot-- to a woman from the Muskogee Creek Nation-- for $20! How amazing it was to see these old documents from when this area was still Indian Territory, and see the names of all the families who have called this place home.
   It's looking to be quite an interesting project, and I have been falling through rabbit holes of information, aided by my awesome friend Patricia who is a real live genealogist. When I lose threads, she can pick them back up, and a pretty amazing story is starting to be woven.

   In other adventures, on Friday Audrey had the day off from school so we decided to pack a picnic and load up and drive across the state line up to Kansas to visit "THE" little house on the prairie! It was such an odd day--- foggy and gray, not at all the bright hot day I'd thought we'd have. We got up to Kansas and I'd dressed for 90 degree weather; it was barely 70. But it was still a nice day--- very quiet and subdued. 

   As we got there, of course, three other cars pulled up on our heels, but we headed for the little white farm house museum and got some treats for Audrey and her pen pal, rambled over to pet the donkeys in the farm yard and then we went through the replica cabin on the site, as well as an old school and post office that have been moved there.
   The story of the Kansas location is very interesting--- for many years no one knew exactly where the Ingalls family had lived in Indian Territory. It was thought--- even by Laura herself--- that they'd been in what is now Oklahoma. 
   But some savvy researchers were able to find the Ingalls family (with a newborn Carrie making an appearance!) just outside of Independence, Kansas on land that was was farmed by a family who had built a cute little white farm house...with a very old hand dug well out back!
    The family's farm house is now the museum shop, and the whole place has such a calm and mellow atmosphere, it is my favorite Little House Site that I've visited so far. Mostly because it is so laid back--- you can touch, look, sit down and enjoy yourself.
   The kids and I spread out a blanket behind the replica cabin and ate our lunch, then Audrey ran off across the yard to go back to the donkeys (how could she resist?) And Robbie and I just sat back on the blanket, listening to the soft sound of insects singing in the grass, the wind blowing through the trees, and enjoying the stillness of it all.
   I'm so glad that the site-- although just off of highway 75--- is still so rural. It is still Laura's land. Though the elements of danger they dealt with have gone--- aside from a coyote or two I'm sure still howl down in the creek bed after dark.

   Then, we loaded back up, and headed back south. Ironically, the town where my great grandparents met and married is maybe just five miles south of the Ingalls' old homestead. But those old time settlers often didn't stay somewhere long, there were always greener pastures over the horizon, weren't there?

   However, for us, I think we're here to stay. Looking at this huge book of papers on our house, its amazing to follow the pages through time--- through depressions, through wars, through booms, through generations--- and find ourselves at the end of it, the newest page. Here's to many years and decades for us here, within its walls. I hope we can make all those former owners proud with our care taking of the place. I know that it's definitely inspired me to preserve and restore. And it's going to take many, many years to do it.

   Well, I will sign off for tonight. Hope you are well and happy!!~ And happy first day of Fall tomorrow! It is also my birthday!~ Auspicious, isn't it?
Til next time,


A Happy Gathering and Giveaway Winner

    Firstly-- thanks to all my friends who stopped by the etsy shop this weekend and partook in "An Autumn Gathering!" Your support and encouragement and sweet words were just wonderful. And if you weren't able to shop--- don't fret! There are still plenty of items in the shop to choose from for some autumn festiveness. And now, I will turn my paint brush back to creating for Christmas--- and whatever else might capture my interest!

  As for us, this weekend we stuck close to home and soaked up the gentler, autumn weather. Gray skies, misty rain and a slightly cool breeze....just what we needed after some very hot and parched weeks. 
   Sweaters and hats were pulled out of the little corners they'd been tucked away in since early spring-- and little one got to wear his adorable little gnome hat I made for him months ago--- when it seemed entirely too big. Fits perfectly now!
   On Saturday we had friends over and circled around the fire pit talking and having a good ol' time. I know many people hate to see the summer go, but I relish this transition. I start living for it the moment July hits. So I'm pretty happy to see the mums coming out-- even some pumpkins at the stores! I mean...honestly...how could anyone not like fall? ;)

   To get in the mood for some fall painting, I've had some fun going through my photos from last year's New England trip, and this one (above) caught my attention. I took it in one of the open houses at the Minute Man National Park in Concord, Mass. I believe it was in the Hartwell Tavern. The house was open to tourists that day, and a man in period dress lead us around the house--- with its low ceilings that made me feel rather tall-- showing us the beautiful sparse rooms. This quiet little corner caught my eye and i quickly snapped a photo. I imagine several generations of women and mothers once sat at that spot, snapping peas or working on their knitting-- gazing out the window and being glad to be in their snug house. 

   Ooooh, and before I forget! We have a winner for the postcard giveaway! And the winner is....
Kate! From Wonderful Life Farm!

Thanks so much , Kate! I hope you enjoy them--- and thank you to all who entered the giveaway. I will be doing some more as the holidays get closer as well!

  Anyhow....the baby is now up and I'm going to see if he'll let me sneak in a little knitting or switch out the laundry even while he is up on Mama Guard. He doesnt like for me to get too far these days. That's why I feel like I dont get much done. Well, maybe in about 5 years I'll be caught up on laundry, dishes, and getting this house all clean at one time. That's the goal, anyway ;)

Talk with you later!~

An Autumn Gathering

    Good morning, friends! It's time once again for An Autumn Gathering! I've been busy making some new autumn pieces and stocking the etsy store with some of my best autumn prints. I cant wait to share all of this with you all, as we delve into my favorite season--- autumn!

   So come on in, step inside--- take a mug of coffee and a slice of pumpkin pie and browse the new autumn offerings....

  All of these pieces are freshly listed in the etsy store--- so if you see something you love--- please come on in and take a look! Ive had a lot of fun making these pieces to share with you. I'd love to send them off to new homes where they can spread the love of autumn!

   Thanks so much for stopping by!~ Happy Autumn!~

Autumn Preparations

       The weather is changing. Fall is flirting with us. We've mellowed, that's for sure, and after today's heat a cold front will be coming through---- oh sweet words to my ears! And is it possible?! A day of sweater wearing is in my near future? Be still my heart!
   And while the outdoors does more of a slow transition, fall is more definite indoors. September came and it was time to start thinking of autumn art, especially with "An Autumn Gathering" happening this weekend!
   Lovely friends have also helped move the season merrily along--- like Winnie sending me some of her wonderful Apple Pie Coffee mix that she makes herself, and my sweet new friend Amy Seavey sending me the most amazing care package--- a year's reading of Yankee Magazine!
  She had told me she would send me the latest fall issue (Amy is an editor at this fabulous publication) because Tasha Tudor is featured in it-- with a fantastic article. Imagine my surprise when not just a magazine came to my door--- but a box full of New England treasure! I was positively giddy to open it up and so touched by her thoughtfulness. I've got many a chilly autumn evening's reading lined up now, for sure!

     It's been a busy week here for sure--- I've been working hard on some new original pieces to put in the shop, and in the middle of it all Robbie has started getting his top front teeth. Which, if you don't recall getting your own, is totally no fun. Poor kid has needed extra cuddles, baby Tylenol, and for some reason really wants to go crazy and be wide awake at about 10 at night. It makes for interesting days, for sure. Well, maybe not so much 'interesting' as 'exhausting.' But still....he's the sweetest boy I know!

      Luckily, though, I've had some nap time relief (he gets to nap! I try to paint and ignore the dishes in the sink) I've loved going through my photos of last autumn's New England trip, and getting out my Halloween decorations. One of my favorite little pieces is this square painting (shown above) that I made for myself-- and also matching ones for Emily and Alyson. It was in commemoration of our trip, especially our stay in Salem. Now every time I see it I can be reminded of that special trip!

   But oh yes, first things first! The Autumn Gathering is coming up! And its super easy for everyone to enjoy, no matter where you are. In fact, I insist that you attend in your pajamas. Fix yourself some coffee, better yet--- some coffee cake! I'll be updating my etsy shop with my new autumn items first thing Saturday morning (the 13th) so please stop by and see if there's anything you need!

well, better get back to painting!~
Til next time,

An Autumn Giveaway

    Each day I see a little more signs of the approaching autumn. More leaves are falling, some color changes here and there. And although the heat isn't quite finished with us, there are some tastes of that wonderful autumn cool down....at the end of this week temperatures will mellow down into the 80s (yes, that's "mellowed" here in Oklahoma!) and the first of the festivals--- a bluegrass music festival--- will take place. It's only a matter of time before its safe to start thinking about mums and then the pumpkins will appear--- and it will be time again to sit on the porch on a cool morning with a cup of hot coffee and watch the neighborhood wake up.

   Feeling a little festive then, I've decided to hold a little giveaway! I've gathered up a set of postcards of some of my favorite autumn images and will give the pack away to one lucky friend! All you need to do is comment on this blog post to enter. If you're feeling extra sweet and want to share the post on your facebook, instagram, twitter or blog-- feel free to comment again for an extra entry to let me know!

   The set will include two copies of each postcard (so 6 in total) and you can keep one and send the extra to a friend! Each card measures 4x6" and so they fit nicely in a standard frame.

   The winner will be selected on Monday, September 15. Thanks so much for your entry!

 And dont forget--- "An Autumn Gathering" will go live on Saturday September 13! I'm busy working on some new autumn pieces to add to the shop! Cant wait to show you!~

Til next time,

Happy September!

   It's here! Happy September! As if on cue, the weather was a little cloudier, and little gentler today, as if to say "Hang in there; fall is coming. Don't fret!"
  This morning we went for a little walk and it wasn't unbearable. The heat had subsided and a few leaves have already yellowed and fallen down into the yard from the old black walnut tree. It's coming! Fall is coming!

   I took the photo above last autumn while we were driving from New Hampshire to Vermont one morning. We drove by this beautiful lake and the brilliant trees...it was just so gorgeous we had to pull over and soak it in a bit. Yes, we were actual, real live New England leaf peepers that day! :D

   I think I'll start gathering my fall decorating things. And planning out fun activities here at the blog :) I'm thinking a giveaway....what do you think about that? Stay tuned..... :)