Friday, February 26, 2010

Invincible Summer

Walking out to Hillcrest Cottage's mailbox this week (and, btw, walking to the mailbox is one of my favorite things to do because I Still Love Mail) I dreamed of the day soon when I could hear the flip flop of my shoes and feel the warmth of the sun instead of the sting of icy air!

Albert Camus, French author of strange fiction, expressed my feelings well:

In the midst of winter
I finally discovered that
there was in me
an invincible summer.

I was visiting with my high school girl friends this past Wednesday, and we all confessed to one another,

"I'm in a funk."

Diagnosis: SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Seriously, I am not one to slap 'disorders' and 'acrostics' on everything that could be wrong. But, I'm a believer in SAD. It happens to people in Alaska...and it is happening to us people here in Arkansas.

I think our SAD problem stems from entering a colder than usual winter on the heels of an extremely rainy fall (It must have rained every day from September through mid-November). We Arkansans got cheated out of the season which normally gives us the greatest joy! Fall is always a great relief to the hot August temps. Everyone in Arkansas loves autumn.

I looked at my art collection and realized how much this 'invincible summer' affects my creative expressions.

A Handmade Wallet:
A Fun Hook:
A Framed Piece:
A Painting:

There's lots more in the studio with summer themes. It seems that summer's slower pace is good for my creative soul. the midst of winter...

Here's to Summer!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Vintage Travel Fun

The year was 1950, Europe was recovering from WWII and 6 sorority sisters bon voyaged from NY's Pier 86 to begin their 3 month long first-class European adventure. Nat King Cole's "Mona Lisa" was a fitting theme song as the red lipstick and rouge clad women danced their way across the Atlantic. Dressed in tailored suits with tourist maps and guidebooks in hand, they made their way towards 'la tour Eiffel' and Harrod's.

Fifty plus years later, I opened a dusty, WWII footlocker to a time capsule filled to the brim with my mother's European travel brochures and suitcase stickers and all the stuff one would expect to be packed away after the trip of a lifetime.

Since I discovered the fun of my computer + scanner + printer I have had joyful creative time with my mother's travel scraps. Check out my billfold wallet designed for the lover of vintage travel! Included are my original artwork, my mom's map of Paris, a ticket from a Monaco casino, and best travel wishes sent by my grandparents to her boat's state room.

Great fun...just wanted to share.

I think the 'French Sunflower' wallet would be a great gift for a traveler...especially when a fully-loaded Starbucks card is slipped inside!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Etsy Fun

Periodically, I have decided to share some "Etsy Fun" here at Hillcrest Cottage. It will be like we are sitting on Mac the Labradoodle's favorite sunny daybed drinking coffee and sharing life.

I am very passionate about supporting independent artists( because 'I is one' : Hillcrest Cottage Etsy ). Etsy is the place to give that support online!

With the entire world available at our computer's click, it becomes increasingly difficult to find "uniqueness." Used to be, a person would go on a trip and would bring home something that no one else could have!

I remember with fondness traveling to California in 1973, returning home with the coolest hippy-stuff ever. A pair of white 6" platform shoes embellished with tiny red hearts. A funky 70's style brimmed hat made from recycled Levi's (Was there any other jean in that day? No.) , and 'recycled' was yet to be invented. California was sooo cool to this Arkansas girl!

No more.

Now we can have the 'lousy t-shirt' without Grandma leaving home.

Click on the Handmade Pledge button above and see my favorite item from another Arkansas Etsy-an. Be prepared to get lost in the world of 'handmade'.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Hey Bully...This One is for You

I was five years old when I learned something very valuable about the neighborhood bully who reigned as king of the Hall Drive hill. I remember his name, and I remember he was very tall for his age...especially to a small girl five years his junior.

The bully loved bad language and taunting all us kids, many times by "borrowing" our toys. No one would stand up to him... not even my two older brothers or their friends.

The bully came from a very disfunctional family in the days when no one even knew what a disfunctional family was! As an adult, I understand that he was extremely insecure and bullying was his only self-esteem prop. As a kindergartener, all I knew is that he was just plain


One day as he was up to his usual taunting, I simply had 'had enough'. I remember pushing through a large group of boys, stopping boldly in front of Mr. Bully. Without skipping a beat, I raised my Little Deer- Junior Elf Book over my head as far as my skinny arms could go, coming forward to whack him squarely on his forehead.

Silence. No one dared to move.

Then, came the part etched so vividly in my memory...

the bully burst into tears and ran home crying.

Hall Drive didn't hold a bike parade in my honor...although that would have been awesome. The older boys were too shocked (and proud) to honor such a squirt as me. But it was truly like Dorothy throwing water on the witch...he never bothered us again!

[BTW...the pic above is the original Little Deer book, and I still carry the same book-whacking attitude. I have a high sense of justice, and no one messes with me...just sayin']

There are bullies at every level of life. They are present all through school. They are in the workplace, in social situations...everywhere. They can even continue to taunt us through our memories. Mean words. Humor and sarcasm that tears down. Dangling material possessions in front of others. Any time a person is found tearing down rather than building up, they are being a bully.

Few people will dare to be as mean as the Hall Drive bully was, but I think misplaced humor can be just as discouraging a tool that tears others down in order to prop ourselves up. I think we should all examine our words and ask ourselves if we want to be remembered as the one who always discouraged...or encouraged.

Think about it.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Teenage Boy in Snow

Teenage boys enjoy the snow in an...uhhhh...different way. Enter the Ninja Snowman Assassin.

I will spare my readers the visual of what happen to the snowman...complete with red food coloring. Guys view " life" from a different perspect. What is a beautiful sketching opportunity for a snowman murder waiting to happen for Davis.

And...yes...that is a real sword. Probably a law against this...for real...don't tell.

Beautiful Hillcrest Cottage Snow

Friday, February 5, 2010

God Grabbed My Chin

Tuesday morning I awoke to an unexpected vertigo. I couldn't even raise my head until Thursday at dinner. Traveling to the bathroom was like walking up a 30 degree incline on a storm tossed ship while having a huge magnet attached to my skull pulling my head toward the earth's core. All was accompanied by a tsunami of nausea. Deep-breathing techniques learned in childbirth class pulled me through without experiencing a negative incident (That's polite talk for I didn't drive the porcelain bus.)

I lost an entire work week. All my plans...poof. A reminder that I am not superwoman.

I had to remember how my two year old third son would grab my chin with both of his chubby hands to pull my face toward his insuring him of my undivided attention.

Tuesday I felt like God was grabbing my chin.

This vertigo wasn't like flu where I could drag my weakened body to load the washer and dryer. The illness was not like a pain that could be overcome by Advil and determination. I was stuck.

Stuck...flat on my back...unable to turn my to focus only upon a fixed point on the ceiling which, unfortunately included a chandelier in dire need of dusting.

I wrote the other day about Jesus knocking on my door ...well...on Tuesday, God grabbed my chin. Aside from the dusty chandelier, He had my undivided attention. There I Tuesday to-do list (created Monday night) left with no back Sharpie lines drawn through each task...laundry and dishes forming piles...Mac the Labradoodle wondering why breakfast is so tardy. Left flat on my back, all that was left was prayed I did.

Personally, I would have preferred some God-time to include a brisk walk around my Hillcrest neighborhood or some quiet reflection in one of Hillcrest Cottage's awesome alone spots.

"My thoughts are not your thoughts; Neither are your ways My ways." Isaiah 54:8