Painted Letters

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It’s too cold still to be gardening here and most of my projects are completed for the winter.  This is the time of year that I recoup, reinspire, rediscover.  I hope you have followed along and completed your lists of things you love, things you are okay with, things you dislike, and things you want to try.  If not, click here!  We have written poetry, and broken writing rules, and today we paint.

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I finished the book “Paris Letters” by Janice Macleod, a lovely tale about a young woman that sold everything she had, and took the leap to Paris.  Where, incidentally, she meets a romantic and not bad looking fellow.  She began to carry watercolors around with her and painted scenes that became stationary for her Paris Letters.

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After completing my list of what I love to do, what I am okay doing, what I dislike doing, what I want to try, I was surprised to see painting on my okay with, not what I can’t wait to do list.  I think by the time I find all the paints, the canvas, the easel, and drag everything where I want it, I am too tired to paint.  Presently, my paintings are being displayed at the local coffee shop.  I did expect to have all new paintings there, but alas I have not painted in a year!

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I decided to go get a two dollar pack of watercolors and watercolor paper.  It fits in my ginormous bag that I carry with me everywhere (filled with books, tinctures, salves, day timer, phone, and Maryjane’s toys).  I put water into a small canning jar and put that in my bag too.  I can easily sit and paint at the spur of the moment.  In two weeks, I have completed five paintings.  None that should win awards, but perhaps delight the recipient.

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I painted an elementary picture of Elsa, the baby goat, beneath an elm tree for my pen pal, Holly.  (Want to be my pen pal?  Click on the pen pal post!)  I painted a rosemary plant and wrote a heartfelt letter to Nancy before she died.  I painted a simple tea cup while at the coffee shop and sent it to my other pen pal, Debbie.  I painted a duck yesterday at the coffee shop and wrote a letter to my great aunt Lila.  Then last night I painted a cast iron skillet for my great aunt Donna.

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Aunt Donna called me a week and a half ago after reading the Homesteading Oven post and said, “Now I know you don’t like electronics, but you need an oven!  How can Shyanne bake without an oven?”  And so, my dear aunt graciously and generously bought us a stove.  So, the skillet will go out in the mail today to serve as a thank you note.

All of a sudden I am painting again and connecting with people.  I encourage you to pick up a two dollar watercolor kit and fool around painting in the coffee shop.  We have time.  It’s not time to garden yet.

Farmgirl Decor

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“What do you want to be when you grow up?”  “I want to be a mommy, and a housewife, a teacher, a nurse, a veterinarian, a singer, a dancer, a model, a nun, a fashion designer, an interior designer, a writer, and live in the country.”  That was always my response growing up.  I would rattle off at least five starting with a mommy, a housewife, a teacher, a writer, and then one of the others.  I have never answered with just one job.  And I never will!  I guess being an herbalist kind of combined the nurse and vet.  Teaching herbalist classes and dance classes covers the teaching.  Karaoke every Saturday gives me my diva fix.  The nun thing didn’t work out though I still think it would be have been wonderful.  I paint pictures of them instead.  I am a writer.  I shared with you my fashion designing and now I’d like to share my interior designing.

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Home is where the heart is, someone said, and it is also the place where family gathers, we rest, we dream, we work, we refuel.  It is a direct reflection of our soul.  No matter how big or small the house may be, it speaks of you.  You can use your home to help you achieve your dreams by setting up a space where it can be a mirror of what you love and aspire to.  It can inspire and comfort.  Your emotions will be notably different in a messy place as opposed to a clean place.  Too clean of a place can make one uncomfortable.  Colors can bring out aspirations and create calm or passion.  Items can invoke good memories or clutter.

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This is my house.  It is not really my house.  I rent it from a lovely older couple who could no longer live here.  It is almost a hundred years old and speaks of remodels and old bones.  Of flood survivals and pioneers selling their water rights.  Of old gardens and housewives.  Of ancient chickens and attempted fruit trees.  Of laughter and hope.  It feels good here.  The color was a dirty lime in the living room.  It did nothing for my happy levels.  I painted it peach.  I sat there crying, for it was so bright in the lit up room that I couldn’t function.  It is now cinnamon.  Lush and comforting.  Not too bright when the sun bathes the room, and very romantic and secure when the candle light dances around the corners in the evenings.

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We realized we were re painting over wall paper, which seems such a shame.  In Emily’s room we discovered a chimney that had been painted over and in a top built-in cupboard sparkled the original wallpaper.  Pink, gold swirls, elegant.  Who’s room was that?  It’s about to be home to Emily and a little one next month and so another occupant puts their imprint on the space.  Touching it with memories and dreams.

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This is not my homestead but I have filled it as if it is.  For, even on my own homestead, my stay may be brief, or natural disaster could seize, or any number of things could happen.  So, I feel that while we are here, it is ours.  My love is New Mexico.  Deep in my soul, I belong there but may never live there.  The colors, the food, the history, the architecture all sings to me.  Lulls me.  I am saddened if I think too long on it so I have turned the living room into Santa Fe North.  Pieces I picked up in Santa Fe or from my friend, Marco, at his shop Camino Real for not many pesos.  Craig’s List finds and antique stores along with Doug’s grandma’s fabulous table that seats around sixteen fit perfectly in the space.  Nothing cost me over $200 except the piano.

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The living room still holds its farmhouse flair and the other rooms maintain their farmhouse dress as well.  Simplicity is now pulsing through my veins and a great many truck loads of items went to charity as more pile up in the garage in my attempts to only have what brings me supreme joy.  The paintings are all my own work and I love them for their stories they tell so that I can remain silent.  I do not love overhead lights, in fact I scream as if I were a vampire and turn the lights off throughout the house should they be on.  Twinkly lights frequent the space long after Santa is gone.  Candles and oil lamps and bright sunny windows do the rest.  Pictures of vintage farm posters.  I adore these.  I will have a farm.

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What do I want to be when I grow up now?  A mom, a housewife, a grandma, a college professor, a writer, and a farmer.  May we always have a home to come home to filled with love, inspiration, and laughter.