Monday, May 24, 2010

50 by Fifty: Busy Days

Yep, it's been a busy week to be sure...I blew right past 50 by Fifty "Friday", although, I am happy to report that I am back on track and have lost 2 more pounds this past week for a total of 9.1 pounds in 8 weeks! All I can attribute the loss to is simply sticking with writing down what I eat and staying within my points...period. I have not done an appreciable amount of exercise and I could still make better food choices, but overall I am happy to say that I can see some good habits slowly taking the place of bad habits, and in the long run, that is precisely what I need to happen...  

The reason it's been a busy week is primarily because I've been pretty single-mindedly focused on a project and I have not made time for much else besides some family time that was much needed. (I WILL share photos of the crawfish boil was so fun!) I'm excited to share that the project I am working on is a brand new calendar for 2011!! It is all starting to click now as the concept finally came together and the sketches are more refined and focused...and typically, once I have that in place, I just put my head down and draw...which is precisely what I've been doing. I promise I will tell you more about it soon, and share sneak previews of it as I go, but for now I will simply provide a one word clue:  'Bunnies'! Lord willing, it is really going to be a fun, sweet, encouraging that celebrates friendship and creativity...  If my blog postings become even a bit more sparse than normal, you'll know that it's likely because I'm drawing a bunny or bunny "accessories"  :o) 

But today is a workday at the shop, and tonight is the Dancing with the Stars finale, so the bunnies will have to wait until tomorrow...

Oh and if you're wondering "why bunnies?", here's a glimpse at just a few of the bunnies in my world...

I definitely have a thing for bunnies....they've been demanding their own calendar for a while now! :o)

I look forward to catching up will all of you soon and seeing what you're up to...until then, happy Monday and a blessed week to you all!!

"Mercy, peace, and love be yours in abundance."
Jude 2

Saturday, May 15, 2010

50 by Fifty: Familiar Territory

Yep, I've been here before - a bit stuck, a tad discouraged. No gain, no loss...exact same weight as last week. It's been 7 weeks, and I'm at 7.1 pounds lost. I know that is right on track for one pound per week for a year, but it still feels like I'm not really progressing...

I'm OK though...I'm not beating myself up or anything. I understand this part of the journey pretty well. It's where the mental game gets a bit harder for's the point where old habits begin to sneak in here and there. The good news is, I am still painstakingly journaling every single thing I eat. And that has been so very helpful. That's how I spot the old habits...a few more sweets or snacks...a few less veggies and lean proteins...more eating out. Thankfully I can see it clearly...hopefully I can make the necessary changes...
I'm keeping this short this week as I am heading out soon for a full day of family activities. I'll share photos soon from our big family crawfish boil this afternoon...should be a blast! I'll be bringing some "sensible goodies" for myself so I won't be waylayed by all the not-so-healthy choices we'll have there (although boiled crawfish are not too bad points-wise...too bad I don't really like brothers think I'm adopted because I don't eat them!) The main focus for me will be family, not food...which is always the best attitude anyway!
Hope you have a wonderful weekend, sprinkled with family fun, creative endeavors, gardening adventures, bargain hunting, quiet reflection, glorious worship! Thanks as always for stopping by and saying hi - I love it when our paths cross in Blogland!

Also...a shout out to my yournger brother Dave - it's his birthday today, though ironically he won't be at our gathering - he's the head track coach at a local University and they have a track meet out of town today. Good luck at the meet Dave and Happy Birthday sweet brother - I love you so much!

"Why am I discouraged?
Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
I will praise him again,
my Savior and my God!"
Psalm 42:11

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Illustration Friday: Fearless

This little mouse is indeed fearless...scroll down to see why...
She has put her trust completely in the Lord, not in her own strength...

"Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
he is my God, and I trust him.
For he will rescue you from every trap
and protect you from deadly disease.
He will cover you with his feathers.
He will shelter you with his wings.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
nor the arrow that flies in the day.
Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness,
nor the disaster that strikes at midday..."
Psalm 91:1-6

"The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.
I will protect those who trust in my name.
When they call on me, I will answer;
I will be with them in trouble.
I will rescue and honor them.
I will reward them with a long life
and give them my salvation."
Psalm 91:14-16

I'm participating in this week's Illustration Friday challenge - the topic this week is "Fearless". I got this mouse/elephant image in my head and I couldn't shake it all week, so I just went with it. Armor and arrows and shields are not part of my normal repertoire of images, but I went with it anyway...

I had some past Illustration Friday submissions that would have worked well for Fearless too...

This is one I did for "Monster", back in '06 (before I was remarried). I love her fearless attitude!

"The Lord is my light and my salvation
so why should I be afraid?
The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger,
so why should I tremble?
When evil people come to devour me,
when my enemies and foes attack me,
they will stumble and fall.
Though a mighty army surrounds me,
my heart will not be afraid.
Even if I am attacked,
I will remain confident."
Psalm 27:1-3

And this is oldie that I did of Daniel in the Lion's Den - the prompt that week was "Depth"...

"Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
I will hold you up with my victorious right hand."
Isaiah 41:10

So, whatever you may be facing, put your trust completely in Him and His strength, and not your own, and you too can be fearless as you face your challenges...because...

"You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world."
1 John 4:4

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Interview with Illustrator Sandra Boynton

The second you see the critters Sandra Boynton creates, you'll say, "Oh yeah, I LOVE her cards (books, etc)!!!" This is a lovely, fascinating interview from CBS Sunday Morning...Sandra Boynton is a hoot!! Thanks to Paula Becker, who tweeted about this on Sunday...I would have never seen it otherwise...  It's seven minutes...well worth it...

The "Hippo, Birdie, Two Ewes" birthday card that they discuss in the interview is one of my all time favorites. My older brother gave it to me years ago and he still sings "Happy Birthday" to me using the altered words from that card...amazing!

Never underestimate the power of art...even in its most simple form...

We serve an infinitely creative God...thank You God for sharing your creativity with us in all its wonderful forms!!

"What a wildly wonderful world God! You made it all, with Wisdom at your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations."
Psalm 104:2-4

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Mom & Me

Genetics....yep, no doubt we're related...

Similar attitudes, habits, mannerisms...

Similar tastes, similar experiences...

Similar insecurities, desires, fears, joys...

Generational bonds...

Yes, Mom and I are related in most every way that two people can be related...but the single greatest gift...the heritage for which I am most the heritage of faith...

A godly Mom...a dearest friend...we are so very blessed...
I love you Mom...thank you...for everything...

Happy Mother's Day!

"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth."
3 John 1:4

"Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 'Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.' Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate." Proverbs 31:28-31

Saturday, May 08, 2010

50 by Fifty: Adjustments

Just a quick (and late) 50 by Fifty update...I had a small gain this week - .5 pounds...  I'm at a total of 7.1 pounds lost since March 27th, 2010.

I know from experience that there will be weeks where there is a gain, and it can have one of two effects on you - you can either get discouraged and start a cycle of defeat, or you can make adjustments and get back on track, moving forward. Although I did have a moment of discouragement when I thought the cute blue butterfly on the weight loss ticker (above) would turn brown and upside down if it had to go backward, I got over it and realized that I am more determined than ever to see this journey through.

One of the best things about keeping a food journal is the ability to review past weeks, good and not so good, and look for clues for improvement. It was fairly easy to see what went a bit awry this week, and make adjustments going forward. One mistake was having two days this week where I went over points and had to use a lot of extra points to cover it - poor planning and impulsive eating were the main culprits there. Another observation is a more tactical error - as you lose weight in Weight Watchers, your daily points allowance goes down, and I had reached a place in my weight where I needed to bring my daily points down and I didn't. SO - I'm making adjustments and moving ahead...

One thing we did do this week that I was happy about was go bike riding - it felt so great to ride again! We plan to do that each week on Friday mornings, which is a good start. Still, more exercise is essential, so it is still a priority to get back to working out with my exercise ball and hand weights. I'm keeping my goal simple - just get started...even if it's just one session on one day for 10 minutes this week, DO IT!

I'll be back tomorrow with a Mother's Day post for all you sweet Moms out there, especially my very own wonderful Mom whom I adore! Meanwhile, have a glorious weekend filled with God's goodness - it's everywhere, in abundance, if we'll only open our hearts to see it!

"Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come."
1 Timothy 4:8

"His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness."
2 Peter 1:3

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Shopkeeping: Smaller Can be Better

(click any image to enlarge)

Hello friends - I hope you'll join me as I take you on a tour of our new smaller (but in my opinion better) space at Whispering Willow Gifts & Antiques...the photo above was taken as you walk in from the front of the shop...

...turn to your left and here's what you see... it is with the flash and turned a little more to the left...

...and here's a close up or two...

It may be hard to tell from the photo, but this tray is an embroidered design behind glass. I wish you could have seen it when it was all brown and dated, with a $.50 sticker on it. I love what a simple coat or two of spray paint can do...

...a simple plate stand gives these vintage strawberry dishes a higher profile and more visibility...

This is one of my favorite finds ever - rusty old baby bed springs...I love using it as part of the wall adds such texture and it's easy to hang items from it...
...I found the old springs leaning up against the outside wall of one of my favorite thrift had vines growing on it (but not in a pretty, planned way), and I loved the rusty-shabbiness of it, so I simply picked it up and brought it in to the ladies working the shop and asked if it was for sale. They looked at me as if I were a tad bit nutty, and said..."sure, why about $3...? I happily paid my three dollars and have been waiting ever since for just the right place for it...

I'm hoping the new space, with its expanded wall space (my previous space though bigger had mostly windows instead of walls) will give me more opportunities to better merchandise some of my handcrafted/handpainted pieces, like these cabinet-doors-turned-coordinated-wall-hangings...

...or the hand crafted sign I shared earlier...

...and another cabinet door creation, this time using small china saucers, vintage knobs, and even a vintage earring...

...and though not part of the wall grouping, this galvanized bucket that I painted with a watermelon motif would make a great beverage holder for a summer patio party, but for now it is content to hold a pile of vintage doilies and linens...

I chose to group all my hand-made cloches, covered cupcake platters, and various other vintage glass serving pieces together on the baker's rack in front of the only window in the space...

My favorite furniture find of all, the old kitchen island/hutch we painted black still anchors the space and holds all my Universal Designs paper goods as well as my notecards from CafePress... I'm hoping that now that this island is not in a walkway like it was in the other space, shoppers will be able to stand on either side of it and take time to read the cards and shop without feeling like they are in the way of other shoppers...

Here is the view of our space from the back of the give you a different perspective...
From this direction, if you turn to your left you will see the last small section of our space...this part backs up to another vendor who has a small space behind it. In this space we put a new gorgeous furniture piece that my parent's bought to's a wonderful antique marble-topped buffet. Beside it is our small hutch filled with vintage ceramic and Pyrex pieces...
Well, there you have it...thanks for staying with me for the tour! I'm looking forward to seeing how we do in this space. I'm already enjoying the fewer workdays (no days this week or next!) It should be interesting to see how it goes...

I hope everything in your piece of the world is going well... I am doing my best to get caught up on visiting and commenting at your blogs...I've had so many lovely new followers and commenters lately - THANK YOU!...please know that I have read and appreciated your thoughts and I am visiting all your blogs and leaving comments as time permits. I am so very grateful that the Lord brought you to the doorstep of my little place - I look forward to getting to know you better as we share more in the future...

"From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another."
John 1:16