Belated Happy New Year! I hope your 2012 is off to an excellent start. The new year has been good to me so far. I have a few watercolor projects in progress that I'm excited about and they will hopefully be ready to share soon. I also have sketchbooks full of ideas for 2012, and my list of goals for the new year keeps growing and growing (cook more, paint more, write more, etc. etc.) I also hope to be a better blogger this year, all while trying to figure out exactly what I want this blog to be. It is certainly one giant work in progress, but we shall see where it leads in 2012...
Looking back at 2011, there were some exciting developments, including opening up my East Ashley Studio Etsy shop, and I also redecorated practically my entire house, which I'm extremely happy about. It's amazing what a change of scenery can do for a person. I've lived in my house for several years now and had initially decorated it with a warm palette that I pulled straight from the Pottery Barn catalog circa 2005. The walls in my house were as follows: warm, mustard-ish yellow in the bedroom, deep red in the bathroom (strange, I know), light tan in the living/dining room, and olive green in the kitchen. With accent colors of deep burgandy, brown, mustard yellow, etc. These are all fine colors to be sure, but earlier this year I found myself drawn to a brighter, softer, cooler palette, and something I never thought I would want: bright, white walls. I wanted a house with blues and grays and greens and reds. And, of course, white.
It started out as a daunting thought because my house was the exact opposite of what I wanted it to be. But fortunately I have a very, very small house! And I also lucked into some great finds at flea markets, antique shops, and a few vintage shops on Etsy. A few coats of paint later, and I'm well on my way. My sister described it as very Scandinavian, and I will happily accept that as a compliment, particularly since it was somewhat intentional!
My house feels brighter. It feels bigger.
And it feels happier. All good things! I have one room left to conquer: my office/art/craft/sewing room. Now that will be a challenge! Oh, and my basement. Forget what I said. My office will be nothing compared to that!
Anyway, happy new year once again, and I wish you a wonderful 2012. I must now go watch the long-awaited season 2 premiere of Downton Abbey! Yes, it's going to be a good year!
Great days, magical days, are much too rare, but last Sunday I was lucky enough to have an unexpected one. My mom, sister, oldest niece, and I took off on a spur of the moment journey. My sister lives in Lanesboro, which is beautiful on its own, but we had never taken the time to explore the Mississippi River by going south into Iowa. It wasn't planned, but somewhere this seed of an idea occurred to me -- I think originally I was going to just take my mom antiquing in northeast Iowa for her birthday -- and somehow that evolved into this adventure. We headed east towards the Mississippi River from Lanesboro until we reached the Great River Road. We headed south and stumbled upon a few cute small towns, stopped at an amazing old Catholic church and cemetery in the middle of nowhere. We all fell in love with Lansing, a small town on the Mississippi River that sits under Blackhawk Bridge. There was an old, white house for sale that sat under the bridge and I so wanted to buy it (if I lived in a world where I could buy a home in every place I fell in love with, which of course I don't). We continued down the river and hiked at Effigy Mounds National Monument. We had dinner at a cute restaurant in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. It was a gorgeous, sunny, fun, summer day.
But the highlight, I think, was the beautiful sunset that occurred in perfect unison with the moonrise.
We were about to head back home from Prairie du Chien after the very full day, and planned to drive northwest for a direct, quick route back Lanesboro instead of meandering north along the river. But I made a comment (or was it my sister?) about wanting to go back through Lansing even though it was out of the way. It was getting late so I was surprised to hear a unanimous yes. Everyone was up for it so we headed north and drove around Lansing again. Earlier someone told us about a lookout with great views of the town and river but we didn't know how to get there. As we wandered up and down the streets looking at the old houses I spotted a stone gate that led to a park with a very steep road and thought that might be it. So we headed up... and up and up.
We timed it just right for the beautiful sunset and also watched the large, pink moon rise up over the river. We couldn't believe our luck. We would look to left and admire the pink sunset. Then we would look back to the right and watch the giant, glowing moon rise and reflect off the river.