February 27, 2013

really big rocks

I've posted before about how much I like rocks, well, our whole family seems to like rocks. From grainy gray rocks picked up along the beach to glittering gemstones, we like them all! And as it happens, we moved to a place with plenty of rocks, including some that are great to hike around and on. At least until the weather warms up enough that we will worry about rattlesnakes (ugh! not looking forward to that part).

The Granite Dells in Prescott are my favorite feature here so far. There are trails going through and over the large masses of weathered granite rocks around the nearby lakes. Today, I just wanted to share some more photos from walking around Willow Lake (you can see a few more in my previous post).

my boys (I think this is my favorite photo I've taken here so far!)

around every turn, another hill of rocks

the adventurer

February 25, 2013

adventures on pinterest

I finally decided to join Pinterest last fall after reading most of an article about it in a business magazine while waiting at the bank. Not sure what that says about me, but I'm okay with that, I'm just glad something convinced me to take the leap! I think Pinterest is my favorite social media now. I know lots of people love Pinterest, but it is absolute paradise for a scanner! (if you don't know what a scanner is, read this article, and if you think you are one, I can tell you from experience you may want this book) The sheer variety of information and eye candy gathered in one place just waiting to be discovered makes me giddy! It's like getting all different sorts of magazines every day, only without the big price tag (and recycle pile!). Ohmygosh, totally love that!!

So far I have mostly repinned stuff I've found on Pinterest, as well as sharing my favorite finds from Etsy for others to discover. I enjoy the beautiful nature photos, craft ideas, home decorating and organizing ideas in my feed these days. Tons of good ideas and inspiration, and humor too. Pinterest really is an amazing compilation of great things from around the internet, around the world. Feel free to visit my boards. If you want, leave a link to your Pinterest profile in the comments. I'd love to stop by and see what you've found!

My friend Heidi is doing a great challenge this year, she is trying several things from Pinterest each week (crafts, recipes, etc.) and blogging about them. I'm having fun following her adventure. Now I need to get with it and try some of the recipes I've pinned!

Today I'm sharing a few of my favorite recent finds on Pinterest:

(Sorry, there was a cool nature photo here, but the link is no longer working. Check out my Pinterest board of Nature Images for more.)

Love this studio! Especially the table. 
Unfortunately, I don't have quite enough room in my studio for a table like this. My husband was going to build me a narrower one, but then we snagged a cute table at a thrift store for $25. We'll see how it works. Would love to have the storage on each end, though, so maybe someday!

Kitchen Command Center. Great idea for home organization. I am definitely going to do this! (not sure why the image is no longer working, but the link is, so check it out!)

February 22, 2013

a decade of good memories is a good thing!

feeling "at home" takes time: part 2

In my previous post, I talked about the quality of "feeling at home" as it relates to a house. There certainly is another aspect to that quality, reaching beyond our own walls, out into our circle of friends and acquaintances, the community, and the physical environment.

I have to admit that there are so many people I miss from our previous town in Oregon. During 11+ years in one town (10 in the same house and neighborhood) we had accumulated a lot of people we liked, from church, school, my husband's workplaces, and activities. I also must admit I carry a burden of sadness on behalf of my boys, for the wonderful friends they left behind. (Perhaps more than I should, I think some of it is parental guilt over uprooting one's children, but I am so empathetic I can't seem to help it.) And I miss seeing their parents, and teachers also, many of whom felt like family. We were blessed to be part of a terrific community at the Christian school just around the corner from our house. We were also part of a good church, met some terrific people (instructors and students both) where we took taekwondo classes for four years, and couldn't have asked for better neighbors.

Having spent my whole life to this point in the Pacific Northwest, I was totally used to all the green grass and trees. Living in Salem, it was great to drive only an hour to the Pacific Ocean at Lincoln City (or Silver Falls in the other direction). Water was never a huge issue in the Northwest, so we enjoyed trying to keep a nice yard and planted trees I was planning to enjoy for many years as they grew. (that lawn I didn't give a rip about? yeah, I kinda miss it!)

I tell my husband it was hard to leave because of all the friends and memories we made there, and he reminds me that is a good thing. Having a decade of good memories is a good thing! We've been gone just long enough it is already a little difficult to remember the things I didn't like. We haven't been here quite long enough to feel at home yet. I sometimes feel caught between the old and the new. I love "feeling at home" in my life, so I just can't wait to have that here (guess I am not so patient).

We'll keep exploring our environment, discovering different things we like here, meeting new people, figuring out our routines again, making our house feel like ours. As we do that, I will keep sharing those happy discoveries, beautiful vistas, and fun new memories! Perhaps we're the lucky ones, we get to experience yet another amazing (though vastly different) part of the world, and expand our circle of friends.

Willow Lake at the boat launch
My favorite land feature here is the weathered granite rock that is scattered around town, and concentrated in what is called the Granite Dells, which are not far from our neighborhood. Among the rocks are a few lakes. When you drive around the area, you think you're seeing all the rocks, but when you're really among them on a trail, you realize there is a far larger, seemingly endless, expanse of them. These photos don't do them justice, I will keep working on that!

granite rocks near Willow Lake

February 21, 2013

feeling "at home" takes time

a snowy day at our new place
I read a blog post recently that got me to thinking about one of the aspects of moving. She really got it right, talking about how it's the people that make a happy home, not remodeling and decorating.

Though I will qualify this by saying some decorating certainly helps when setting up in a new place. Otherwise it feels empty, lonely, foreign, not yours. We are experiencing that as we try to get settled in our new place. But mostly that has consisted of setting up stuff we already owned, stuff that was familiar, and especially family photographs. That's not the same as chasing happiness in the next new couch, or being so bogged down in home remodel projects that you don't have a chance to just be at home (anyone watch the episode of HGTV's Love It or List It that featured the show's own contractor?).

There's a quality of "feeling at home" that takes time. When we moved recently, we left a house we had lived in for 10 years. It was the only house my children knew, and the longest I had lived in one place as an adult. In fact, it was the longest my husband has ever lived in one house. I was comfortable there. We spent the last several years just hoping and trying to stay there. (I learned I'm very good at hanging on tightly to things I am basically happy with.) We had done a lot of remodeling in it, and I find myself missing the stuff that was exactly what I picked out. (I also learned that my tastes must be more stable now, I was still very happy with almost all my choices after many years, the tub with hard-to-clean jets being the exception!)

But what I miss most is how comfortable I felt there, that "feeling at home" quality. Being in a house that so many good memories were attached to. Surely that doesn't come from the right cabinets or floor or paint. It comes from time, from making memories together. It is sometimes hard for me to realize that even though that house is no longer ours, the memories we made there will always be ours (and that's why I love photos and scrapbooking, to help us remember). I know we will achieve that here too, with time, and I look forward to it! That is what makes a house feel like home.

February 19, 2013

coming to Arizona

saguaro cactus (leaving Phoenix)
A new year, a new life... That's how many of us view the transition into a new year and that's why we make all those resolutions. But for us, it didn't take a resolution, and we really did get a new life. It did take a heroic effort on my husband's part, packing most of our stuff and driving many miles. And help from friends (thank you!!).

See, we ended up moving between 2012 and 2013. Yes, it's almost like there was a gap between last year and this, between there and here. I know it's February now, and I had wanted to post our journey step by step as it went, but I just couldn't get it together. Part of it was maybe the emotional aspect of it. I don't do change very well, and while I am confident this is what we were meant to do, it is sometimes difficult to come to terms with such a sudden, big change.

For us, it all started with my parents moving down to Prescott, Arizona. Originally, tickets were bought a few months ahead to fly down for Christmas Break, then fly back home. Due to various circumstances, we found ourselves open to new directions in life, and planned to "check it out" while we were there visiting. Originally, we thought if we moved, it should be at the end of the school year. Then things just fell into place for us to seriously consider moving sooner than later. So we decided at the last minute that the kids and I would stay so they could get started in a new school, and my husband would fly back to pack and drive down with our stuff. My biggest concern was uprooting the kids, but they handled it well, even though I know it wasn't easy. I quickly packed some stuff that I knew my husband would not want to mess with, cried several times in the midst of packing, and we left Oregon on a dark and rainy morning.

I was hoping for once, after all these years of living in Oregon, that I could see Crater Lake (at least from a plane) as we flew south, but Oregon was shrouded in clouds. What I hadn't considered seeing was the Grand Canyon. That was very exciting! I was glad I noticed it out the window, the pilot didn't even announce it (they don't do that anymore?). My camera wasn't handy, otherwise you'd be subjected to terrible from-the-plane shots of it! But just wait, the Grand Canyon is on our list of nearby places we want to go hopefully this year, as it's only a couple hours away. What I will share today are a few of my photos from the first days we did some sight-seeing in the area.

antelope near Chino Valley

scenery on the winding mountain road to Jerome

Obviously work in my studio has been interrupted. I had to put my Etsy shop on vacation mode right before Christmas, but it is open again now. I am currently trying to figure out the last part of arranging everything in the studio area in a way that works for me, then I will be back to work. In the meantime, I will be sharing more about our move and our new experiences.

a January sunrise

Top photo: taken from the car on our drive up to Prescott from the airport in Phoenix. (we don't have saguaro cactus here in Prescott, the elevation is too high)