I’m so happy I don’t have to sleep on a straw-stuffed mattress.

The best view in the house is on the top bunk.  Glowing cylinders are courtesy of my brother.  I love them.

A Reupholstered Bench

It seems that everyone thinks that the new bench was made just for them.

And that is fine by me.  It is my greatest joy that others enjoy the fruits of my labor.  Actually, this could very well be the “bench that bloggers built.”  I bought it from Dayka, Sherry suggested the Schumacher fabric, and I scuttled it off to the upholsterer.  I love a group effort.  Oh, and my youngest says it’s a dandy place to build a fort, and don’t forget the light saber.

(Check out Dayka’s blog above for the before–I had the upholsterer rework the frame a little to make it less “leggy” and he did a semi-attached cushion on top.)

Starry, Starry Night & Other Wonders | Sardinia

There is not one star photo in this post.  Unless you count the sun, which is a star, really, really close, that shone on us with reckless abandon in Sardinia and nary a cloud to diminish its effect.

Isn’t it a shame the efforts we city dwellers must take to view a night sky heavy laden with stars?  I’ve craved it something fierce for a while, and I had to go all the way to a mountain town in the middle of the Mediterranean for satisfaction.  I’ve needed to feel that wonder, flipping my neck back to gaze at what looks like the throne of God.  And then there above the silhouetted limestone mountain were two shooting stars.  I like it when God goes the extra mile to make a good moment spectacular.

And there were other wonders like magical seaside grottos with the most delicate lacy formations, stalagmites, and stalactites–designed to take my breath away.  Goats with bells skipping up precipice…

….caves on the beach that would even make a thirty-something woman dream of pirates and sirens and gold and treasure…

But wonders of all wonders was the blue under that shining sun.  That blue, shifting and myriad in hue, that blue that made me want to cry because my eyes could not register it all no matter how much I looked and focused and tried to identify that blue is the streak of my hair, the blue of my son’s eyes, a swath that is the green of spring grass, and mysterious blue that laps at ancient sailors and stories, that Mediterranean blue…

Floating out there with my one and only begged me to wonder, how can we arrange to do this all the time?

Somehow the week wasn’t long enough.  It is hard to get one’s fill of leisure; but surprisingly it is easy to get one’s fill of pizza and pasta.  But I would have eaten twenty more straight meals of curlurgiones to have more time to explore the beaches and trails.

There were discoveries around every corner–or pile of volcanic rock, in this case.  Hmm, I wonder what that means?  An Italian cognate?  I wonder.

And there I was hours on a plane heading home, thinking I had left wonders behind, when I looked out the window at just the right moment.  There below me in the Atlantic was an enormous iceberg off the coast of Greenland.  I looked until it passed from view–and that blue.  That blue that veils the ice below the water’s surface, that exotic frigid blue…

Spotted in Europe: Stripes

[Geneva, Switzerland]

[Cala Luna, Sardinia]

Take 5 & Regroup

If you are in the mood to read something weighty, well, do I have a treat for you today.

 I’ve struggled over the last year or so over what this blog is about.  Am I wanting to provide entertainment, advice, information, inspiration?  Lately I’ve been on a personal journey of authenticity, which spills over here in that I post what I want to post, not necessarily what is the trend or to speak to a certain sub-group of people.  The blog answers to whim.  So then I ask myself, why do I even blog?

Artists are probably the most self-centered creatures ever.  Posting my work gives it legs beyond my home–otherwise, my husband is the only one looking at it and I guess that isn’t satisfactory to me.  Casting it out into a bigger pool gives me validation, feeling of belonging, and hopefully offers inspiration to others.  Artists do not create things to be hidden.  We want everyone to see it–and maybe even buy it!  Or at least tell us you like it.  Have you ever asked an artist to talk about their work?  Settle back and get comfy, and I hope you packed a snack, because just try to get an artist to shut up once she gets started.  This is the most likely of all reasons why I blog.

Or, the flip side, sometimes the vulnerability of it all trumps the confidence and then you have me not sharing the three paintings I have in the works or a loft finished a year ago sight unseen.  That is part of my quest of authenticity, which I think is ultimately a quest for confidence–being secure in who I am, what I like, what I do, even if it doesn’t look like what is normal/popular/trendy.  Or, maybe it is too trendy, too popular, too normal.  See?  I am getting to the point of, well, who cares?   In a blog niche where the worth of a person is measured in their taste of fonts, art, design, and catch phrases–it can spin an unsuspecting person crazy.  I get it, it’s about style and identifying in which camps we are.  But there’s this little problem I have with authority.  And camps.

And then there is time.  We beg for more hours in the day, but don’t you know we wouldn’t be responsible with it.  Anyway, I will soon have less time for any extras as we start our fall semester next week.  It has been a grueling decision process, hours of debate spent, options explored, but we are committed to another year of homeschool–and now with three kids as my youngest is starting kindergarten.  I have outsourced some subjects to tutors which will free up time for my job of managing the cottage rental business and painting (I’m holding one day a week as sacred sanity-saving paint day).  But most of my time will be spent with the children teaching and managing their education.  

Also, heavy on me this year has been my husband’s health.  A lot of you who have been reading TPH for a while know that he had stage-4 lymphoma in 2008 that was treated with intense chemo and a lifestyle change.  A PET scan at the end of his chemo treatments showed he was clear, we rejoiced and have since been counting down to year 5 of cancer free.  We almost made it.  We’ve watched an enlarged lymph node for months–trying all tests possible to determine what was happening, but no test yielded definitive answers.  Finally it was big enough for an accurate biopsy, and it confirmed a recurrence of lymphoma.  Because it is in only one place, the lymph node had been treated with radiation instead of chemo–thank God!  So far, so good with the treatment.  The node is shrinking.  But I don’t have to tell you what all goes through our mind with a recurrence in less than 5 years.  It reshapes all our thinking.  Instead of “what if it returns” that we’ve been living with over the last four years, it is now “what next?”  Because of the cancer we certainly survey and assess more closely how we spend our time and what we are doing all the while trying to be faithful and optimistic.  That can be exhausting.

I guess I just wanted to say aloud here what I’ve been thinking and what has been affecting what I do on TPH.  It makes me feel better.  I want to continue blogging–but in a quiet way.  It can’t be anything more.  I don’t want it to be anything more right now–just like all the opportunities I’ve had to decline, the ideas I’ve put on hold, this just isn’t the season as much as I would like it to be. 

So what could be the death knell to the blog, I am closing the comments for a while to foster the feeling of quiet–like maybe you just stumbled upon a lost sketchbook in the park to flip through.  It pains me because it is the way that I’ve met many of my cherished blog friends.  And who doesn’t like comments?  I especially love the funny comments, you clever people.  It is a way to build community, I know.  I love to respond to the comments I receive; but even with the small amount of comments, I’ve felt overwhelmed lately to respond because of my many pots on the stove.  And I feel rude when I leave them unanswered.  So I either feel rude or overwhelmed.  Isn’t this the silliest of problems?  Anyway, it feels like a good move right now, and my email is always available.

Thank you so much for stopping by and the comments you all have left to encourage me.  I am continually inspired by the art & design blog community and feel honored to be a part of it.  Thank you.

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