Sunday, August 24, 2014


As I approach my birthday I must admit I am becoming retrospective.  I am observing myself as well as others and noticing what I admire and what I do not. Yes, I have read the magazine articles about the knowledge we gain and the empowerment we feel as we age. I do agree but I need to make these tangible in my life.  One thing that has been a common thread for me lately is ATTITUDE.

It goes without saying that attitude is important, it even trumps our approach as far as I am concerned. I do know that as we age life becomes heavier.  Having the right attitude at the right moment is hard to do.  I am not naive to think we have to be positive all the time and think "everything happens for a reason".  I don't truly believe that.  If something bad happens: that sucks.  If someone does something to piss you off, you might need to swear or bitch a bit about it... but then move on.  Don't drag others down with you.  You do not do this to friends or ones you love.  You need to adjust your attitude to move forward for what is best for you and those around you.

This boys looks like he is thankful for his Mothers breakfast and her very stylish kitchen decor. Is he touching her hand in admiration?  Awwww...

 My dear friend Lauri sent this poem to me after my last blog entry and it sparked the idea of this post a couple of weeks ago.

Charles Swindoll

"The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.  Attitude, to me, is more important than facts.  It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think, say or do.  It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill.  It will make or break a company... a church... a home.  The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we embrace for that day.  We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way.  We cannot change the inevitable.  The only thing we can do is play the one string we have, and that is our attitude... I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.
And so it is with you... we are in charge of our Attitudes”

I also like to think about the people in my life who have passed away recently and what  I take away from the type of life they led.  It really comes down to their attitude:

My Mom:  She never complained about getting sick or not feeling well.  She only ever said that she was getting old.  She never put that burden on us.  Amazing.

My Dad: He faced so much.  He was in the Navy, his plane was shot, he lost loved ones, battles at work but he always persevered.  He took such good care of my Mom and with such compassion. What an attitude

Mary Kay: She took on life with the attitude she could do anything.  She was fearless yet she had such empathy for others.  She battled cancer with humor and grace.

Aren't they adorable?  Miss them.

I also miss my Aunt Eleanor for her ability to adjust to change at all different and difficult times in her life. She had the right attitude.  She always knew she had to make it work and she did.  Miss that laugh.

Her son, Dave, took a spiritual approach to life. Life threw him a few serious curve balls and he always handled things and moved on.  A constant learner,volunteer and listener to many.He always had a optimistic and peaceful attitude.

Christmas eve is not the same at our house without these two.


Yes I have been doing some soul searching lately...

My take away from that poem is that life is 90% attitude.  A good theme for my 50th year.

Wish you all a good week.  


Thursday, August 14, 2014

unexpected "wow"

This past weekend I was able to spend time at one of my favorite places. My parents rent a home in Egg Harbor, WI part of the Door County Peninsula. It is a treasured time for me to be with my parents, my siblings and nieces and nephews. Usually my husband and some of my own adult children are able to join me, BUT this year I was on my own.

On my way up, I always stop at the Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygen, WI. It is a wonderful museum which the Kohler corporation (Yep, the bathroom people) has supported for years. Usually I spend a couple of hours going through the exhibits and then spend sometime and money in the gift shop. This year I went through the exhibits, but instead of going to the gift shop I decided to spend my money on a membership.

Kohler has an artist-in-residency program which allows artists of all different backgrounds and mediums to spend 2-6 months with their artisans in the Kohler factory. The exhibit this year was 40 years of what the artist-in-residency program has produced. It was quite amazing!

The pictures I am going to show today are of the bathrooms at the Arts Center. I SO love this place...

                                                   The main floor's women's bathroom.
I know it is just a toilet, BUT really?!
This quote has been popping up in many places I have visited recently; "Whatever you can do or dream, you can achieve." HUM...
 Men's bathroom sink.
Sort of funny?

The Blue and white of this bathroom is lovely.
Amazing details...

Urinals are GROSS, but this one is pretty spectacular!

The smallest bathroom is the family bathroom.
I looked for any names from my family.
I found only my son James and granddaughter Audrey's names.
I miss them both!

Here is to amazing, surprising ART!


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Losing luster...

I have been noticing a trend in my conversations with people recently.  Life is losing its luster as we get older. The excitement of a day at the beach, a 3 day concert or the warm snuggles in bed with children are over. We are increasingly faced with work expectations, failing health of people we love, relationship or financial concerns and  of course those big kids=big problems.  I have been watching how this affects my friends as well as myself.

I needed to jot down my thoughts. More like a journal entry. Trying to make my center strong during stressful week.

Pet Image GalleryCommunication:  We all are communicating so much more.  This is good and bad.  I love to skype relatives far away.  It is such a wonderful way to keep in touch. But I find that we are sharing and sometimes over sharing.  How do you find that balance?  I am trying to lessen  the calls and texts to my adult children.  If we are in constant communication, their problems become ours.  We have all been there.  Sometimes we need to be there and sometimes we don't.  We should take the same approach with our friends and extended family.  I am only trying to share when I need to.  They don't need to hear everything going on in my life.  Why burden them with the fact that I have a crazy dog who jumped out the car window yesterday?  Whoops, I just shared...

Let go of Expectations: I have been working on this for a while.  Yes we need to have expectations for our children when they are growing up but when does it stop? The same should go for our extended family and our close friends.  We can't change people. We can only change how we react to them.  I know we would feel better if we did not have expectations of people or projects or situations.  It just seem to cause stress.

Be thankful
 Dang,  do I hear very lucky people complaining about good things often.  People are stressed about graduations, promotions, anniversaries, parties, trips etc... Aren't these the "good stuff"?  Shouldn't we be grateful?  I think we just get in the habit of stressing out.  I think people can get addicted to stress.I understand the planning of things can become stressful.  We should try to enjoy this and be grateful.  Even when bad situations occur, it can  always be worse. I am thankful my nutty dog did not kill herself when she jumped out of the window.  Next time, I won't put it down so far or perhaps buy her a doggie buckle. Oprah was right about the gratitude journal.  I must find mine.

Be compassionate:  I think about my parents when I think of compassionate people.  They were always there to help... just enough.  Enough to get you on your feet but not to smother.This can translate to most situations, family members, coworkers, neighbors etc... It is a fine line however.  Your compassion can penetrate you and lead to worry or you can be one of those people who can wear a shield but can still feel.  I want to be that person.

Let go of Control:  I have watched this manifest itself a lot recently. Oh, this is so easier said than done. I blame it all on Martha Stewart, texting and helicopter parents. Enough Said.

                 In essence, I must try to remember "Kind thoughts, kind words = kind heart".

                                                         Hope you find luster to your day!

                                        In case you can't, here is cool textile by Yumi Ikita.

                                                               See finds the luster.


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Art with kids

The other day I was asked to create a birthday party art event for a group of 10 year olds. Not exactly my target audience I want for HeART*Felt, BUT I am not going to say no to paying customers. At least not right now! I talked my nieces and nephews ages 6-10 into experimenting with me. Take a peak...
                                               Ella and Mahla helping to mix paint.
                               They insisted on posing....

                                                                       Blank Canvases.
                                                                           Getting to work.

                                                  Final mixed-media projects.
                                    We placed all of the art work on a bench in a sunny window!

It was a wonderful "get lost in the process." project....Go make something!


Friday, July 25, 2014

Lucy's is 50!!!!

In honor of Lucy's Big Day, I wanted to share some thoughts and long ago photo's. I have not seen a few of these in a while..

                                             HAPPY BIRTHDAY LUCY!!!!!  

   Lucy is a special friend to me and many others.  She creates a bond with people that is heart felt and long lasting.  She stays in contact with people and makes a difference in her friends lives.  It is easy to say I wonder how so and so is doing and the other is to call them up and say I would like to drive 4 hours to meet you for lunch today because I want to catch up. She embraces on every level.  I am a better person because of the the way she lives her life and my involvement in it.

The 1980 original selfie:

When all we had to think about was summer fun

Jeff, a dear old friend in 1980

And now...

All that Tab and twizzlers...

Prom Picture Party 1982 (no parents were there and we still figured everything out...)

NewYork on our 40th

The last time I was in shape...

Lucy loves her man...

Hope we grow old together my BFF.

Time to head to you party!



Thursday, July 17, 2014

Perfect Summer Day

Yesterday was just an amazing day. One of the perks of being a teacher is that we are free for a good 6 weeks in the summer. I try to take advantage of the time to meet up with friends I don't get to see during the school year. I really do try to keep connected with people from all the different aspects of my life. I know most people do that through Face Book- BUT I want to do it Face to Face. ( I have a theory: Instagram - which I am on because baby Audrey is highlighted there often-will become the new Pinterest/Face Book and I won't actually have to learn Face Book!)
So I try to cram catch-up lunches in every week of summer. Yesterday was a jam packed day. I got to go to yoga with my favorite teacher in the morning. Met my friend Peter for lunch in the hip and groovy West Loop. Did a DIVY bike ride with my daughter Virginia. Had coffee with Virginia and her adorable girlfriend Zoe at the Lill Street café and finally ended my day at my fabric painting/dyeing class at Lill street.

Here is my friend Peter whom Billy and I met in college. We were all in the musical "Godspell" together at University of Illinois in 1985. A better pic of Peter in a bit. What I really wanted was a picture of the table he was working at.
                                             I think the design would work quite well at HeART Felt!
                We walked over to "The Goat Girl" cafe and had a yummy late lunch. We were able to catch-up on all of the happenings in our lives.
I zoomed up to Ravenswood and met Virginia and Zoe at the Lill Street cafe. Virginia then helped me learn the DIVY bike system. Basically there are docks with these blue bikes all over the city. As long as you dock a bike within 30 minutes of getting the bike you can travel all over for just $7.
                                                       A GORGEOUS bike riding day!
                               On our bike ride I made Virginia stop for ART...
                                                                       Here is the up close of the church's mosaic.

I finished up the day in the Lill Street textile studio-dyeing fabric for 4 hours....
                                                          A classmate's work.
                                           Some of my fabrics which I created during class.

Call a friend whom you have not seen for Face to Face. I guarantee it will be worth it!