{ earLy spRIng }

I'm just going to say it, "I love that we're having an early spring and a warm, snowless March!" And I'm not going to follow up with, "I know we need the water, but..." I'm so tired of that conversation. I talked that talk at the dentist today, and I then came right out and admitted that I don't really care about the upcoming drought...I have JUST LOVED not being cold for the past eight weeks. The dental assistant looked at me like she needed to send for the sheriff. Oh well...

I'm not going to dilute my joy with the obligatory, "But we'll pay for it in August." Or the sad truth, "The ski resorts have suffered." Rather, I'm shouting to the world that this has been the best winter ever, and (almost) everyone has been in such a good mood! Most of all, me!


Lucky Us!

Happy St. Patrick's Day and what a lovely day it was. The temperatures continue to be unseasonably mild and today was another of those "I just can't believe it" days.

Did you find a four-leaf clover as a kid? I remember searching and searching for one - like for summers on end. Our grass was filled with clover and finding a four-leaf clover happened to almost everyone... and then it happened to me. I still remember the excitement I felt when I found my special clover. And from then on, I was lucky. (Except in junior high when I was under-confident, awkward and not one of the popular girls.) 

I feel very lucky today. Mostly, I'm lucky because of my great family...specifically, seven awesome grandkids. I love each of them so much. Each one is adorable, smart, and outstanding. None of them lives here in Logan - but we get to see them quite often, and it's always a treat. 

In searching for photos of each of them, I realize I need to kick it up a notch! Their moms won't believe that these are the best individual photos I have out of 20 million photos on my camera roll. 

Brookelyn - 8th grade

Bailee - 5th grade

Carter - 1st grade

Claire - 3 1/2

Lizzie - 3 1/2

Emmett - 5 1/2

Hollis - 2 1/2 


{ designs I love }

Speaking of Orla Kiely...here are some favorite images from this designer that I've loved for many years. I first bought an Orla Kiely notebook in (of all places) Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Scott was taking a painting class, and I had some time to wander through the shops downtown. I had planned to stitch while he painted, but finished my project quickly and went looking for something to do. (This was before laptops.) When I saw the little notebook I was tempted jump up and down right there in the shop. It was just what I needed to fill my time. And the graphic design was so happy! I wrote a lot in that notebook over the next few days.
Orla Kiely is an Irish designer based in London. She received a degree in art and design in Dublin then worked in New York and London - where she designed for Esprit. In 1997, she started to design handbags and soon was selling many many out of her home. With the help of her husband, her company became successful very quickly.

My next Orla Kiely find was a journal in a little shop in the Cincinnati airport. We had a long layover on the way to...where?..so I decided to go walking. My walk took me to a little shop with an unexpected corner filled with Orla bags, home decor items, and notebooks. I loved it. (I also remember buying a book in that shop called "I Will Not Die an Unlived Life" by Donna Markova.) 
One day, when I was in a Target store, I stumbled onto an Orla Kiely section! Of all the places...Target. The best items sold out quickly. I bought a cutting board and kitchen towel. 

I found this on the Anthropologie website. I LOVE this purse - especially the perforated leather. And that color!  I've never "invested" in an Orla Kiely bag. (Probably never will.)
Orla Kiely also designs beautiful simple clothing and shoes. Oh, and buses. 


doodle a little

I love to collect notebooks, journals, pads of paper, even 3x5 cards. I keep a little stash of 3x5s in my wallet so I always have something to write on. Notebooks are everywhere.

I want to fill my notebooks, but sometimes I just can't think of anything to write. I'm so weary of my journals and how they drone on with the same old stuff that I always write about...the old angst about myself that's so tiresome. So, I went online and found lots of information about "what to write when there's nothing to write." One website suggested you open your journal every day and start by making a sketch. The simple act of putting pen to paper will get you started, and the words will come once the drawing is finished.

That's laughable. I can't draw...not even stick figures. But I am VERY inspired by the art journals of many artists/writers. Especially Mary Ann Moss who blogs at Dispatch from LA. So I decided to try the suggested sketching/writing exercise by copying a sketch from Mary Ann's blog that I like so much. 

I went to the blog and found a little flower to draw. Turns out, my little flower looks nothing like the one on Dispatch from LA. OK, it's a disaster. The flower was too difficult for me. I need something easier to sketch. Something with simple graphics. I need to doodle...not draw. I remembered my favorite Orla Kiely notebooks and the simple leaf design that I love. I turned to a new page in my notebook and copied the simple leaf design onto my page. Yes, that's more my style...doodling rather than drawing, and the colors make me happy. I then wrote about an interesting experience that happened yesterday.

Here's my doodle:
And here's what I wrote:

Sometimes when you least expect it, a good thing happens that just changes your outlook and puts a spring in your step. That kind of thing happened to me yesterday. I had been helping my mom with errands she needed and the day was fading fast. I took her home after an hour in a dress shop in the mall trying on tops and sweaters. Then another slow walk through Bath and Body Works to buy soap. After I took her home, I decided to grab a Diet Coke at the gas station. I needed energy because in a short hour and a half, I had to go back to mom's and take her to a birthday party for her longtime friend, Iva Lou, I filled my soda cup and approached the cash register where a big, scruffy college guy was working as clerk. He jumped from his perch on the counter, smiled, and said, "So what are you doing today...anything fun?" I said (kind of woefully), "Oh, I'm taking my 85-year-old mother to her friend's 90th birthday party at an old folks' home." He said cheerfully, "That sounds fun." I replied, "Not really." And then the unexpected sentence that sent me out the door with a smile on my face. The young man shared this attitude-altering suggestion: "Just look at it this way...you'll be the youngest one there!" And then he grinned at me.


tidy up and earn billions

On Friday (Feb. 27), the Wall Street Journal ran a full page article and picture on the front of the Arena section. The Arena section is about books, movies, tv, art, music, theater, etc. For a book to land on the front page is pretty fantastic and the publicity would be like having a recommendation from Oprah.

I was completely surprised to see this little book:

I bought my own copy of this book about three months ago when I saw it on Amazon. When it arrived, I read through the first two chapters, then the next two, bonked my hand on my head and said to myself, "This is going to take some serious discipline AND a serious think-outside-the-box attitude. I laughed as I thought, "I can just picture Scott and me in the storage room, going through boxes, holding each item in our arms and asking each other, "Does this spark joy?" And then thanking the items for their service to us as we throw them away. 

For the author, Marie Kondo, a professional organizer, the criteria for getting rid of clutter is not to decide what things you don't like and throw them away, but rather to decide what things bring happiness and joy and keep only them. (Then, throw the rest away.) It's an inside out method that she says works.

The author of the WSJ article mentioned, and I agree, that the approach is very Japanese. But it has caught on in America to the point that fans have started clubs and social media pages to share their tidying up successes. The article says, "They use the author's name as a verb that can refer either to purging or to meticulous folding...as in: "I Kondoed my recipe books from three shelves to two." There are also YouTube videos including this one showing the author working with a magazine editor in New York City. I loved watching this video and especially the Japanese bows at the end.

Here are some of Kondo's suggestions:

Tip #1: Keep only those things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard all the rest. 

Tip #2: Gather every piece of clothing you own...every last piece from all over the house...and place it all on your bed. Divide the clothes into categories. Go through the clothes and decide which items give you joy. Donate or discard the rest.

Tip #3: Make tidying a special event, not a daily chore.

The book goes on to explain how to store the clothing you keep. Marie Kondo believes in folding most clothes rather than hanging. The Wall Street Journal shows her step-by-step method for folding a sweater and then calls her a global publishing phenomenon. 

So...I have to wonder, why is this book and author becoming such a sensation? I'll have to finish reading the book before I come up with an answer. But it's fascinating.