Dec 31, 2010

A New Year to Endear

Hello Everyone!

As I close out the year and about to start a brand new one, I had to stop by and wish you all the all mean so much to me.

Below are some photos that I quickly took and made into a few gifts for a few friends this Christmas. The little tree was given to me by my friend, Renee, who has a little home to die for. It is one of many goals of mine to photograph it this year. When I received her little tree, the night before I flew out to NYC, it was love at first sight.

When I returned, I adorned it with some of my beloved little time pieces and took some snaps and framed a photo of it for her. This was about all I could conjure up for the holiday season as I had some things to deal with when I returned from New York such as surgery and a horrible migraine that lasted days, hence the lack of exciting updates on my part, but my book signing in NYC went so well and I had such a blast (and honor) meeting so many wonderful people that I can't wait to share. I find having my life disrupted as such is extremely hard to accept, but I am learning the signs and learning to accept that I have to take care of myself first and then just move on. I definitely don't like it, but my barber husband is pretty adamant when he sees me trying to take on too much after a serious migraine, but I can't wait to share!

However, in the meantime, I am sharing with you some of my little holiday photos and why I really took them and what they meant to me and share my thoughts as we all close our year together. And, I will start my year 2011 by happily sharing all the wonderful things that I have done and some let you in on some plans for the new year as well.

So for now, please enjoy my little photo fun day I had recently.  I call this photo essay:

It is All How You Look at It

We all have heard that having a different perspective on life or changing a point of view can make one's world seem better or different - that isn't a new concept. But what I have found in my own experience is that when I want to change my perspective, I tend to just move my eyes or head to get a different view on things to figure things out, instead of looking just straight on.

Over time, with lots of practice (of hardships and experiences), I slowly learned that moving ones' eyes around or turning one's head does help, but actually getting up and shifting is even better. Viewing a problem, or even an issue that isn't so much a problem, but rather a decision to make, is all the more clearer by actually getting up and moving around the issue, instead of staring straight into it. Some might see it as avoiding, but I see it from another perspective. 

How many times have we all had a decision to make and like the wise women we are, we do our research, ask others for advice, and studied it to death before we made a move? Do you see the irony of the last question? "Before we made a move?" "Moving" is actually one of the first things that we ought to consider....

By moving ourselves, we are actually "removing" ourselves from the issue at hand. We are allowing ourselves to step back and let it be. We aren't forcing. We aren't changing. We are just "being" by moving. Sort of an oxymoron if you think about. "Moving so we can remain being."

Suddenly, what we thought we saw, we didn't really see at all. And what we thought was clear, really wasn't so clear at all. But we do begin to see things that were there along and never even noticed....

Suddenly, the issue isn't so much an issue anymore to be tackled or afraid of. The worry turns into action. The answers start to come, even if the answers aren't the ones we wanted, there is a relief that we found some answers (any answers) because we know we are smart enough to deal with them and work with it. But mainly, we are seeing a clearer picture...

And here is the miraculous thing of all: Once we find ourselves working with the answers, even though we don't like the answers, we start coming up with ideas. Ideas that will work. New ideas. Fresh ideas. Ideas we would have never even thought of because we were forced to create them only because we had to work with the unwanted answers that were given to us. Answers we would have never chosen...

And soon, we forget how much we hated those answers and start working on creative solutions...

And with our creative, loving, determined spirit, we press on,  designing a one-of-a-kind solutions from rubble of a problem, a real life issue, a life circumstance thrown our way...not welcomed, unwanted, and never planned. And yet....

By moving out of the problem's way, and just "being" we can almost surely begin to see that all problems have an answer, even if we don't like the answer. 

And I have found that for me personally, when I just let it all go to someone much more powerful than me....when I give my worries and problems to Christ, He shows me something.....if you look closely will see it too.... 

He shows me that all along He was always there in me. See the reflection of the timepiece in the silver creamer? It was there all along, I really didn't notice it until I downloaded the photo. See the reflection of the timepiece's back in the mirror? Same thing. And see the reflection of the creamer is in the mirror as well? The timepiece is leaning on the silver creamer for support. We always have the answers in us, we just need to get out of our own way and ask for help. That's my goal this year, to get out of my own way.

I am betting most people found this old, cracked, worn mirror as beautiful, as I did. And yet, that is so much like our lives - cracked, worn, and yet full of beauty. And the funny thing is the cracks, the worn spots, and chips that make this mirror so beautiful in the first place! Had I used a shiny, new mirror for the photo, you would be saying, "Elizabeth! What are you doing? Why a new, shiny mirror?" Exactly. Why new? Why perfect? And why do we put those demands on ourselves personally? I know I find myself doing that, and yet, I go grab "the pretty, perfect mirror with cracks..." makes no sense...I'm senseless...another crack. Guess that is good!

So this new year, I am hoping to rely more on the beauty of experience, the Power of above to help me, and to be open to creativity that comes with it. What a gift! And I hope my life will reflect back all that I have done, accomplished, loved, and shared. And while the price for loving, giving, sharing, and sticking our necks out, can be hurt, pain, disappointment and sadness, it is these unwanted responses that help us to continue to create fresh, new ideas that we all continue to share with one another. This will be a year to endear, no endure.

May your New Year be filled with small discoveries that lead to creative joys that are shared in a world in which cracked and worn mirrors truly reflect the real beauty that surrounds us.

I am truly, truly honored to be included among so many loving and creative women. 

from my house to your house,


Dec 8, 2010

Birthday, Big City, Book Signing...Oh My!

Premier Issue now on stands of Where Women Cook!

Hello Everyone!

I had planned on catching everyone up with photos and news, but I am short on time this evening. My barber husband surprised me very recently with a trip to NYC for my birthday this weekend! Funny thing is, he isn't going with me...he is "sending me away" for my present to be with my theater friend, Bob, who was commissioned to write a play and it is performing in Philadelphia. And as my barber husband said, "I can't keep up with you theater people, staying up all night long, night after night...I need my sleep!" 

But let me back up a bit.

This coming weekend is also more then visiting my college/theater buddy, Bob. (For those with good memories, you will remember that Bob flew to St. Louis last year, as a surprise for my birthday and was waiting for me at the barbershop. You can read about it here.) 

It also just so happens that  Where Women Cook is launching a book signing party at Chelsea Market in NYC on Dec 10th. I fly in on the 9th! In case I haven't mentioned Where Women Cook...let me do so now...

WWCook is a NEW publication that is due out, this week, I believe. It is a take off of Where Women Create. And yes, I am very honored to be in the first issue - in fact, I am the first story. But don't let that discourage you from buying it...there really are for real cooks, chefs, and famous people. :-) On the cover is the Pioneer Woman - I mentioned a couple of posts ago that I flew out to her ranch and photographed her feature for this issue along with Fancy Farm Girl, Tiffany. I also took the photos of the feature of Joy Stinger, a bee keeper here in town...isn't that a hoot? Her last name really is "Stinger" and she is a bee keeper! Below are a few sneak peeks of her photos - and don't let her age fool you. She has more energy than me and very sharp mind. I love her!

Jo invited me to attend and so I will be at the book launch this Friday, in NYC along with many others, including Tiffany, Ree Drummond, Jo Packham and lots of other fab women. There is a great set up in the market (which is also featured in the issue) with vintage and custom made aprons - more on that later.

These are two of the pages of my feature in Where Women Cook. My story is a love story that involves a bald barber, a crepe pan, a kitchen renovation, and a delicious crepe recipe!

I am very excited about it and very honored to be a part of the launch party. I won't be able to stay long, as I will have to leave early to drive down to Philly with Bob to see his play. But I hope I get a chance to meet some of you who may be there. I hear it will be a fantastic party. I will take lots of photos! But, I don't want to disappoint my friend Bob, so I will leave early to attend his first commissioned play. It is about Ben Franklin. Descendants of Ben Franklin will be in attendance as well. 

And as a topper, on Thursday night, the evening I arrive, Bob is having a reading of another play he wrote and has asked me to read a scene with another actress for his playwriting class and an audience. I am very honored and haven't been on stage in quite a while. What is so neat about this is that I can finally say I have "performed on a NYC stage" and that it is Bob who is directing. That is neat because back in college, it was I who directed Bob in a play and I was in Bob's very play he ever wrote way back when.

We have now come full circle.

But what are the chances that both Bob and I should both have such big writing events in our careers happen on the same weekend, and that we both can be together to celebrate them? We both decided that it wasn't an accident. He has been writing for so long, and now he is getting paid to do so, and so am I. And now we are both getting a little recognition for it and it feels good to celebrate with someone who truly understands the hard, hard work, and all that is done for free, just to get where we are.

It will be a very special birthday, and I owe it all to my barber husband. Little did he know that when he decided to "send me away" (sounds a little dubious when I type it out, now that I think about it... :-) that he was sending me away for a really great birthday where I get to sign a few books, meet some neat people, read on a NYC stage (I don't care how small it is, because technically, if there is a floor, it is a stage, and it is in NYC), and I get to see my best friend's first commissioned play.

I do wish my barber husband was coming, but truth be told, we both know he would be happier being home, watching movies very loud (an issue of volume control between us) and sitting in his pj's eating hostess cupcakes. And I would be very happy not worrying how tired he is getting with me and Bob staying up late at a diner in NYC yakking over every detail of every scene and then walking to his apartment on upper east side and staying up later still, yakking over our Magnolia cupcakes (a New York must) wondering how the scene could have been done differently, all the while, barber husband wishing he had his straight razor so he could cut his own throat (or ours).

So, I need to pack, get some things ready, and how I wish I could still catch you up on some things, but right now, I don't have time.

I miss chatting with you all - but when I get back, I guess I will have even more to chat about.

Thank you again for allowing me to share my life with you. It means a lot to me. And I think that is what it comes down to really: sharing your life with someone. Like my barber husband sharing me with my best friend, Bob. And Bob and I sharing our lives with each other. And when I get back I will share my weekend with you. 

It is the sharing of experiences that allow us to remain human, I think. Without the sharing, we would eventually turn into hoarders. And what do hoarders do? They keep for themselves. It's not that they don't want to share, they are just simply afraid that if they give, they will have less. That is like trying to hoard the sunshine by letting it in the window, then quickly shutting the shade to "keep it" in the house so it doesn't get out. And what do you have instead? Darkness. The sunshine still shines - on the outside. You can't hoard it for yourself. That is how life experiences are...keeping them to yourself only makes them less. Sharing them with others makes the experiences all the more brighter for yourself and for others. Like sunshine.

Make sense?

In other words....sharing your life with others only makes your life more fun to live.

And speaking of sharing...below is a photo that I wanted to share last post, it is from our anniversary trip at a beautiful B and B...more on that later. But in the mean can only imagine the story behind the photo and you can imagine how thankful your husbands are at this very moment as they look over your shoulder and feel sorry for my poor husband who is victim to my camera at every turn...but I love him...rubber ducky and all...

I know, I know, he is going to kill me when he wakes up and sees this tomorrow...but look at his can tell I caught him having fun in the jacuzzi... now isn't that something fun to share?

from my house to your house,


Nov 2, 2010

Getting a Hand on Fall

Hello Everyone!  

I hope everyone is finding the fall season refreshing and the colors vibrant. I have been very busy doing all sorts of things, but mainly writing and being holed up in the house. So, while being in the home, I thought I would share some news, but also, how I spend my writing breaks - taking photos!

This pretty paper pumpkin was made and given to me by my dear friend, Debbie McReynolds. It was just the touch I needed for my window. Look at how the paper looks with the velvet leaf:

I decorate very minimally in my house, which surprises most people. I can pull out the stops when the mood strikes me, but for the most part, I keep it simple. While working all week, writing and writing (more on that later) I took breaks and found the light coming in through our windows just right and so I stretched my back and took some photos in our family room. My barber husband had bought his little bungalow home in hopes to have a wife to share it with some day (his words) and his little home was built in 1925ish. I put my little touches here and there and he gave me his office to do my "Elizabeth House" look, but the rest of the house is still being "combined" with our styles. I love how our little home is blending together.

I just loved these little gourds in the window that are on vintage butter pats and the candle holder is from our wedding, as is the platter. Most people find it funny that I design elaborate window treatments but I choose not to have any of my own. I love light and old windows. Or, I choose to have old grain sacks hanging up (as in our kitchen). Go figure. But here are some photos of the little gourds....

A couple of days ago, while writing in our little back room, with all the windows, I saw a man walking around our house and looking at our windows. I called my barber husband, who told me he sent a guy over to give us an estimate on what it would cost to take off the storm windows and to clean the windows both inside and out! Yeah! As you can see, not a moment too soon! Actually, these particular windows are about 9 feet off the ground from the BOTTOM of the window and having tried to clean them before, there is no where to lean the ladder on the outside, other than to the side of the window. I can't reach them. So for now, I have convinced myself that this "look" is the "new, vintage window" look. :-)

But I know my readers and you aren't looking at the window, you are looking at that little piece of furniture peeking out of the photo and wondering what it is....see, do I know you or what? Well, that is my, or rather, my barber husband's latest find! And found on the side of the road! After a day of shearing sheep (that is what I call what Randy does - sometimes I walk into the barber shop and I see all this gray hair all over the floor, he is standing there with his clippers in his hand, buzzing, and an old man sitting in the chair with a beard, and it looks like he has been shearing sheep all day!) But coming home one day, he saw this chair, and hopefully, no one was just sitting it out to air it, but home it came !

Until I can put a new facelift on it, it remains in its original state: Road Kill Street Chic - do you love it or what???

And in keeping with the fall colors - which happen to be extra pretty this year, I chose simple gourds to fill my English cream bowl. I am posting extra large photos so you can see what I saw behind my lens:

Randy is very proud of his art deco cabinet. When he bought his house, it was painted white,  he tells me (don't say it) and he said he spent months stripping it and refinishing it. He is not "handy" in that way and no one ever taught him how to do those things. This was his first project and I think he did a wonderful job. When we first got engaged and after he realized I would paint anything and everything, he said, "Four things you can't paint...this cabinet, the window seat, my dining table, and my desk." Hid desk is the one in my office. One down....

Now just in case these super large images are too large for some of you, here are a few in a smaller version:

As you can see, our home is decorated very rustic and simply for the fall season. We keep the dust for the true "rustic" feel - well, that is what I tell myself, at least. :-)

I've been writing a LOT lately, but before I get to that, I would like to say a little something about home life, fall, and just being with the one you love during this time of year. I gave you eye candy up front this time, and now "point of view" time comes a little later....and there is a reason.

This is the time of year that either is in panic mode - holidays around the corner, school schedules, exams, and shopping....or it is relax mode....soups to make, shopping not due yet, and the weather is just screaming for walks outside. I am the latter. This is the time of year that I start to "nest." Get out the cozy lap blankets, dig out the soup recipes, and take walks with the crunchy leaves. And holding hands. Fall is the holding hand season. Not too soon for gloves yet, but chilly enough that a warm hand is all the better. Just a thought - go grab a hand and if you need an excuse, just say you were chilly.

I took these photos just only a few days ago. My honey was up early to leave for fishing and I wanted to go, but I had deadlines to meet and I needed the house to myself to write and to think anyway. I enjoy being by myself at times. He had gone out to the car to load up, and while he was out, it was then that I noticed the light hitting the gourds and the chair in a certain way.

I was still in my pj's, my hair in my "thingy" as I call it (a stretchy headband) and no make-up. Barefoot, I padded over to my office and got out my camera and just went back to the gourds and started to arrange them a bit and started to shoot photographs. I did not hear Randy come back in right away - I was caught up in my own, little "gourd world." When I finally noticed him standing there, and he was waiting on me, I just put my camera down, gave him a kiss good-bye and he loaded up a few more things and on his way he went. And I back to my picture taking before I started my writing again.

About an hour later, my barber husband tells me he is well on his way, made his stop at Bass Pro, got his coffee and I can hear in his voice that all is well with the world. He asked me what I was doing and I told him I was making green tea and cutting french bread and getting ready to start writing. He paused for a second and said, "You know, I thought it was kinda neat how you just got out your camera so early and just started to shoot that bowl..." I was caught off guard because this isn't something he usually says to me. I asked him what did he mean? He goes on to tell me that he felt it was "neat" how I can just walk into a room, see something special, and then just stop what I am doing, go get my camera and start shooting. "I never see stuff the way you do, it is kinda neat," he tells me over the phone. "I was wondering how you do that and this morning when I saw you, I was wondering what you were seeing."

I am a little stunned as I gnaw on some chewy french bread, while standing in my kitchen with bare feet.

My husband is impressed by me.

Now I know he has been impressed with my "stuff" before, but for some reason, this resonates with me differently. Maybe it is because I never gave it a second thought about pulling out my camera. Maybe because I just assumed that OF COURSE ANYONE would have noticed how the light hit that tiny little gourd stem just "like that." 

Or maybe, I just realized right then that when my barber husband came back into the house that morning as I was taking photos and thought he was waiting on me, he wasn't waiting on me to finish up, he was actually watching me. Watching and wondering.  For a moment, he was wondering what I was seeing through my lens that was so fascinating, that I didn't even bother to eat breakfast yet, or even put on socks, that I would stand on a cold floor because I didn't want to miss the light. 

And it is at those moments, when we can look at our loved ones and either really wonder at them with amazement or wonder what we ever had in common with them and brush them off so easily because our own agenda is more important at the moment. I am guilty of the latter so many times. Always in a rush, it seems. I hate to admit that, it isn't intentional, but it happens. But yet, I do find myself wondering so much about my barber husband, but I don't speak of it often enough.

For example, those "sheep" he shears all day - those haircuts. I will sit there, in the barbershop and read and chat and sometimes, a guy will enter with a head of hair that looked like has never seen a comb and I wonder, what the hell is Randy going to do with that?? And I will watch my barber husband as he sits this mess of guy in his chair, and as he puts the cape around his neck, and ask his usual question, "So, what are we doing today?" I think, What are we doing today? What are we doing today? Buzz that crap off? What else can you do??

So, I sit there and watch in wonder. And I get impressed. I wonder how he sees the haircut that is to be. I only see a billy goat. I wonder how he knows what "take a little off the top" means and how much is a "little"? But by the end of the shearing session, Mr. Billy Goat, looks like he has joined the human race. Oh, I do tell my handsome barber husband how much I love seeing what he can do with those clippers of his, but I should tell him more. He impresses me so often.

How we wonder at one another is a sign of affection. Wondering means we are curious enough about the other person in a good way. We want to know what makes them tick, how they think - all without judgement. We enjoy that person for who he/she is and have no desire to change them, only to get to know them, and without taking any of their glory, only being happy to be invited into their life.

So these above photos, are just a mental break from all my writing, and are simply a visual of how I see my world inside my tiny home on one given morning, while waiting for my husband to pack up for his fishing trip and while standing around in my pj's. And my husband, minding his own business, walks in and sees his crazy wife, bent over, studying a bowl of gourds, and he was just wondering what I was seeing behind my lens and how I manage to find it all so fascinating.  And now you can see what I was seeing as well and whether or not you find it fascinating, doesn't matter, it only matters to me that you found it (me) at all. :-)

I just wanted to share the moment that took place right at the beginning of this little photo session.

And now on with some news - and then off to bed! It is late and I must try to get some sleep - sleep is important to me lately and haven't been getting much.

Well, as pretty as that part of the house is, below is another case...this is how my last week or so has been spent, writing, in our little back area....not glam at all - but content.

You see, I wasn't lying about that "thingy" in my hair, no make-up, and my pj's and french bread. Oh, I have so much news, but I am so pooped. Well, for those of you that I am driving crazy about my website not being up, get in line....right behind me. My hard drive crashed about a month ago - and I don't even want to get into it. But it is from my new Mac - and in 25 years, I NEVER had a hard drive crash - and if I keep typing, I will just keep getting upset - but lucky me, the computer guys said, "this is so rare..." and my hard drive is STILL at the repair center and can't be totally recovered...and is looking like well over $2000 to recover data....okay, I am stopping now....

That is why I am in the back room, with all the windows so I can see the trees and leaves and not face the my huge desk top, that I have yet to RELOAD all the programs and everything and working off my laptop for now....

But you know...I am really pooped. I think I will have to finish this post another time. I know, I know, I never do this, but I am really tired.  I will say I am writing and interviewing chefs and food bloggers for a book coming out, Where Women Cook Celebrations - very exciting, but will talk about that and other news next time. To be honest, blogger cut me off and this is the SECOND time I am doing this post - so it should have been done about 2 hours ago. That is why I am pooped.

Okay, much more news later. Once I am caught up. I hope you enjoyed the photos. On a design note, for those of you who may feel the pressure to always go "all out" and decorate your home for family member or friends who are coming over to visit...just remember that sometimes, less is more. I know how much fun it is to decorate, believe me, I do love doing it. But sometimes, if life doesn't allow the time, or the energy, or even the expense, sometimes, keeping it really simple can be a quiet way to make a nice statement about a season. 

Let your heart and your words decorate the souls of your friends.

home is a place for lovely wondering...
house is a place to wonder where to put your butt to sit and feet to rest...

Don't kill yourself decorating for butts and feet...just my opinion, but what do I know, I just spent an hour taking photos of a bowl of bumpy gourds.... :-)

From my house to your house,


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