Inspirational Card Tree Holder

I love receiving greeting cards whether its for a birthday or for Christmas or for some other holiday (or for no reason at all).  They usually are pretty to look at and it is nice to receive some well written words of love.  We have always displayed greeting cards that we receive.  As a child, the birthday girl or boy (or mom or dad) would set out their cards on a small end table so that the cards could be enjoyed for a couple of days or weeks after the event.  And my parents would come up with different ways to display the Christmas cards they received.  Some years it was making a Christmas tree shape on the wall and filling it in with the cards, other times it was putting them in a basket out for display.

Because I like to enjoy my cards, I wanted to find a way to display them without standing them up on a table.  One of my chores as a child was to dust (which I did not like to begin with) and when there were cards out you had to take them down, dust, and then stand them back up.  And invariably some of them would fall over and knock others over.

A few years ago I found this card holder tree from Pottery Barn:

Card Holder

It must be pretty popular.  I bought mine probably 12 years ago or so and it has hung in a couple of my apartments, my condo and now my house.  I like it because it can be hung vertically or horizontally depending on your space.

Our card holder tree hangs in our dining room.  It fits perfectly in the space between the pass through to the kitchen and the doorway to the kitchen.  I have hung mine vertically because of the space (and let’s face it I’m too short to hang it horizontally because it would have to be above the pass through and I could never hang anything from it without getting a stepladder).

IMG_0849

My husband and I hang our birthday cards on it.  I also hang all of my Christmas cards from it.  It is so nice to look at all of your children’s beautiful, smiling faces on your Christmas cards while we eat dinner.  We go through times of the year when we do not receive many greeting cards so then I hang pictures from it, little notes, wedding invitations, postcards from the Iowa Summer Writer’s Workshop or other small tokens.

IMG_0851

(Silly golden retriever cards, a picture of my husband and me with our late dog Penelope, a poppy from the veterans, and a shamrock)

IMG_0852

(An anniversary card, a summer writer’s workshop postcard, an angel pin, and yet another silly golden retriever card)

I also discovered that Trader Joe’s sells greeting cards for $.99 .  I saw a couple of cards that inspired me, so I bought them for myself and hung them on my card tree holder.

IMG_0850

Basically, I hang anything on my card tree holder that inspires me or makes me happy.  And since I walk by the spot every day several times a day I get to enjoy all of it often.  Thank you to all of you who send me cards and other inspirational tokens.  They are very much enjoyed.  –June

Weekend Away

It seems like everyone is on vacation right now.  My Facebook feed is full of pictures of people at lakes, in the mountains and man made attractions.  Because of work obligations and several out-of-town family weddings this fall, we are unable to take a week long vacation this year.  However, a few weeks ago we were able to get away for a weekend and it was amazing how refreshing just a short trip could be.

We went to Wisconsin Dells which is about a three hour trip from our home.  Wisconsin Dells is known as the “Water Capital of the World” as every other television commercial tells you.  Wisconsin Dells is also known for tons of tourist traps, go-karts, and the infamous “Ducks.”  Because we were traveling without children we managed to avoid all of these attractions, and had a nice adult weekend.

This area holds a special place in my heart because for several years my family had a vacation home on Lake Redstone which is about 20 minutes northwest of the Dells.  It was my dad’s favorite place in the world (and it’s always nice to be somewhere that brings back such happy memories, although it makes me miss him terribly) and we still have family that lives on the lake.

We traveled with my mom, her husband and my brother and stayed outside of the main Wisconsin Dells drag at Christmas Mountain.  We  had a lovely three bedroom townhouse which let us visit, but gave us all our own space.  So fortunately there was no couch sleeping for us which is important for a relaxing weekend.

We started our Friday night with pizza at Sarento’s.  We have been there several times and find one of the best places to sit is in the bar area to enjoy the live music.  The man that typically performs I think is “famous” for the area as he seemed to have quite a few groupies.  It is a fun change of pace to enjoy some live music with your dinner.

The next day the boys went golfing and my mom and I went to Baraboo for lunch and some vintage shopping.  I love Baraboo.  It is a small artistic town about 45 minutes from Madison.  It was home to the Ringling Brothers Circus in the late 1800s and early 1900s.  Currently it is home to the Circus World Museum.  I love the vibe in the town.  It is built on a courtyard square.  I can’t imagine practicing law in that courthouse rather than the skyscraper one I frequently visit.

IMG_0643[1]

 

My mom and I had a delicious lunch at Vintage Port Catering.  This place used to be called the Java Cafe but it is the same owner and the same yummy sandwiches and it has a fun San Francisco vibe.

IMG_0637

My yummy sandwich

IMG_0636[1]

And my mom graciously posing with her sandwich.  Thanks Mom!

We then did a little shopping in some stores on the square.  Cornerstone Gallery carries art and jewelry from different artists some of which are local.  Also, if you are looking for a great art fair, Baraboo hosts Art on the Square in August.  Also, they are the sponsors of the Fall Art Tour in October which is a self-guided tour of various local artists’ studios.  I have not done this yet but it is on my list to do one fall.  We picked up some funky earrings here (although I forgot to take a picture).

We also did a little antique and vintage shopping.

IMG_0640[1]

These did not come home with me.  I thought they were rather creepy.

IMG_0641[1]
This did come home with me.  It is new but looks vintage.  I found this at Raven House. Raven House has artisan, antiques and vintage home goods.  This is a huge palm reading sign that I thought was very unique.

IMG_0651[1]

And my fairies got a new family member and a gnome.

And after all that walking we needed some iced coffee at the Coffee Bean Connection.  We then met up with the boys at my aunt and uncle’s home on Lake Redstone.

IMG_0647[1]

The view of the lake.

IMG_0645[1]

Relaxing while waiting for a boat ride.

IMG_0648[1]

Dega enjoying the boat.

We followed up our boat ride with a delicious steak dinner and grilled vegetables prepared by my wonderful aunt and uncle.

We went home on Sunday feeling refreshed and renewed.  Of course I would’ve loved to run off for a whole week (preferably the Four Seasons) but a little trip close was the temporary solution.  A good thing to remember that it only takes a little break from the every day to renew the soul.  I hope you all find a little time to take a trip this summer and enjoy the summer.  -June

Easy Artwork

This is such an easy project to create simple artwork that I am almost embarrassed to post it.  However, I am sure that I saw this idea somewhere else so I thought I would share.

I needed some artwork for my guest room and frankly did not want to spend any money on it.  The room does not get used that often.  Also, I tend to buy art and other decorative items for the home organically.  I cannot go out with the mission of finding artwork for a specific space.  If I see something I may buy it and then figure out where to put it.  So knowing those factors, I decided to make my own artwork for the guest room.  I was at Paper Source  (this is a Chicago-based company with retail locations many places now and online as well) and I found this lovely single sheet wrapping paper.

IMG_0702

I love hydrangeas.  They were on my wedding invitations, in my bouquet and centerpieces and we have several of them in our backyard so this was an easy choice.  I bought two sheets of the paper for $3.50 a piece.  I then picked up some inexpensive frames (these are the Ribba from IKEA and the opening is 11×14).

IMG_0701

Then I got out my scissors and cut the paper to fit in the frame.  The paper should be cut a little wider than the mat opening so that you don’t have any gaps.  And voila some inexpensive artwork created in around 15 minutes or less.

IMG_0693[1] 

I often get compliments on my artwork and when I tell people it is simply wrapping paper they do not believe me.  I think the trick is to use a heavier paper with a beautiful design.  Have fun picking out some new artwork for your home.  -June

 

20 Fun Facts About June

1. I read probably at least one novel a week.

2.  I am able to juggle.  I learned in junior high P.E. class (probably the only thing I was good at in P.E. class).

3.  I commute to work on a train.

4. I have two brothers.  I am the oldest.

IMG_0628

5.  I am terrible at math.  A clue should have been that I had a tutor in second grade for subtraction flashcards.  I did not like taking something away from another number.  And algebra was a nightmare mixing letters and numbers together.  The last math class I took was my junior year of high school when I squeaked through precalculus.   My college counselor told me I would “go nowhere unless I took calculus.”  I refused and my dad stood up for me.  In college my major did not require a math class so I did not take a class.

6.  I met my husband in a small faith group when we both lived in Chicago.  I did it for the social aspects.  I thought it would be a nice place to meet people.  I guess I was right.

7.  Me, my dad and my brothers all have degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

8.  I went to law school at University of Notre Dame.  This makes me a “Domer” and a fan of the Fighting Irish.

9.  I played the clarinet in the band starting in fifth grade and through high school.

10.  In third grade I won a Young Author’s Award for a story I wrote about my dog Widget.  It was then that I decided I wanted to be an author.  Obviously by my illustration I am a better writer then an artist.  I got a little off track but I am working on it again.

IMG_0626

 

11.  I like many kinds of music but I really like country music.  I usually listen to the country music radio station in the car.

12.  I have a golden retriever named Gatsby.  He is named after the book “The Great Gatsby“.  We named him Atticus after Atticus Finch the character in “To Kill A Mockingbird” for about two days.  His little sweet face did not exude the tough guy image of an Atticus so we changed his name.  See….

Gatsby Puppy

Who me?

13.  I’ve always lived in the Midwest.

14.  I could eat cheese and crackers for dinner many nights.  I do not but I do save it for special occasions.

15.  I have worked in a library and also two bookstores.

16.  I am an introvert.

17.  The first time I tried yoga I hated it.  I have grown to love it and usually take two classes a week.  I am terribly inflexible (still) but I find it improves my mental health as much as my physical health.

18.  I prefer to wear cardigan sweaters over pullovers.  Pullovers make me feel like I’m choking.  I always misbutton my cardigans and have always had that problem from the time I learned to button.

19.  I love shoes, jackets and bags.  I have too many of all of them but that does not stop me from wanting others.

20.  I only write with blue ink pens. I hate black ink.