Saturday, July 30, 2011

totally complicated

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying
to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

I gather sweet & charming -- it is what I do. At flea markets, in people's garages, in overgrown farmyards, in dark crannies -- I am searching for sweetness & charm -- collecting, bringing home to display or sell at the antique mall or at my biannual Barn Sales. I covet these things - I do. And, I live on this farm -- where sunflowers grow out of weed beds, kittens sleep with goats, and a day may just begin with the song of a wren at your window. If I look beyond the daily work, the worn edges -- it is often quite magical, certainly very sweet.

But, by day - I work for a Community Action Agency - an agency that works to alleviate poverty -- not so sweet, not so charming -- and totally complicated. Home is sanctuary for me -- where I run to to get away from injustice, small thinking, and sometimes overwhelming work. When I can't fix the world, I certainly know I can weed the garden. When I can't understand the turning of a back, I can hold a kitten. When I wake at 2 a.m. wondering why & how, I can look at my little guys all around me -- little friends on shelves & table tops that reach out and say, "be still my heart".

One night I was driving along a single lane & busy stretch of highway --- cars streaming fast in both directions....dark, dark night. Two eyes were caught in my headlights -- those of a raccoon -- running down the center line -- caught between two lanes of cars traveling fast. Running, running -- right on the line, right down the middle of the road. There wasn't anything I could do, but try not to hit the poor fellow. I wanted to stop, but didn't know quite how. I wanted to help, but didn't know quite how. That image haunts me. In my sweet Kari world, that raccoon eventually found a way off the center line -- moved left or right and ran for his life off the road, safe in the woods - curled up in a tree for the rest of the night. In the real world, I am guessing the story didn't really end that way. Totally complicated -- it all is, it all is.

So -- to stay true to oneself -- we mix up all this stuff -- the good, the bad, the sweet, the ugly....stir and stir and stir and stir. Sometimes we run down the middle of the road, sometimes we grow in the middle of the weeds, sometimes we curl up in a tree and pray that sanctuary will remain until morning.....and sometimes we collect little friends, little things so sweet & charming to remind us that all can be simple & pure & nice. Totally complicated. It is.

That's what I think today.

Friday, July 29, 2011

July sale days ending soon...

The 20% off sale at my booth at
the Hixton Antique Mall in
Hixton, Wisconsin ends soon.

New stock will be arriving in August.

For all the details about the mall --
check under "Vintage Finds" under Chapters to the right.


I've been thinking a bit about this word lately...wondering if in the end, the only way we ever ever have "win win" is with compromise.  We each do the "give & take dance of life" -- standing firm sometimes, bending with the wind sometimes, saying "sure" sometimes.  It is really what we do - right? 

My two male unfixed tom cats - brothers mind you, have had a little debacle over who is the king of this farm.  Don't let their sweet names (Marmalade & Cinnamon) or their sweet disposition when in my arms fool you -- this was a battle.  In the end, they both decided that they could both rule -- taking turns by day -- with Marmalade as King of Meadowview Farm and Cinnamon as Prince -- not Co-King, but maybe CEO -- which was fine with Cinnamon.  They both just wanted rights to the food & milk & the love of two would-be farmers and worked it out.  They compromised.

Dave & I will celebrate 30 years of marriage this October -- funny how this happened when he is still 13 at heart and I am in my 30s (wink wink) -- but it happened.  Our dance has been the dance of compromise.  We still own our own opinions -- but have become a better union when we work together.  Tree falls on our lives, we move it limb by limb out of the way together.  Road becomes rough, we fill the potholes with gravel side by side together, wheelbarrow by wheelbarrow.  When his knee gives out, I carry the load.   When my heart is too full, he carries me.

As an early childhood educator my mantra is "play well in the sandbox"....
If you want that truck right now, I could:
      a. smack you in the head with a shovel & grab it 
      b. scream or cry to get my way (called a tantrum)
      c. work it out -- maybe with the teacher's help -- but after all these kiddos are little
Hmmm -- if 3 year olds can compromise & cooperate -- wonder why it is so difficult at times for adults to do the same?

So anyway -- been thinking about compromise just a bit lately. 
Seems that if two tom cats can figure it out -- we adults can do so too. 
Just thinking....

Thursday, July 28, 2011

little flowers

I am in process of garden cut back & clean up.  Cutting back those plants that have become just far too leggy - sometimes giving them their second chance at growth, sometimes removing them all together.  It is necessary -- but never ever easy for me.  So often it is my beloved pansies that by July are overhanging their pots that take the massive cut.  And, putting those sweet little faces in my garden discard bag just hurts.  However, trying to tease out each little flower to save takes such patience & time, then they only last a moment.  Sometimes I take the time, sometimes I just close my eyes and throw.  Little flowers, little plant haircuts, my oh my -- does anyone else suffer through these things like me?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Bye Borders...

Eau Claire has but one large-ish book store
and that is/was Borders.
So, it is very sad to see it go.

Now granted,
books have always been beyond my budget
unless found at thrift sales,
Half Price Books in Madison,
or the library...
but I do so love to look.

So it is sad to bid it farewell.

Today, I went to say "goodbye"
and look at the going away treat I received...

& Somerset Studio
Book-azines at
40% Off.

There were still lots to pick from today...
Go and say "Bye" too!
Thank, Borders -- will miss you!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Just as free, free as we'll ever be...

It poured -- skies just opened, and it poured.
Still, we grabbed our folding chairs, rain gear...
Ian drove up from Madison,
and we arrived at CountryJam just as they took the stage.
Early -- things were moved around, acts were cancelled or changed.

And then the blue skies returned and for three hours they sang to us...
three hours!
People danced, sang back and were happy.
And, to hear thousands sing the chorus..."free as we'll ever be" with the
Zac Brown Band
magic, pure magic...
Every now & again you capture that moment,
tuck it way way back knowing it is special & will
be cherished.
Standing there, last night with Dave & Ian and thousands
of other folks that had arrived in Eau Claire-
Didn't matter our ethnicity, socioeconomic status, political views...
under that one sky, with mud on our feet
we were all happy -- just happy.
And we sang...

This is how it rolls in the country -- in Eau Claire, Wisconsin
 on a wet, stormy Saturday night.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Autumn Barn Sale 2011

October 8 & 9
Saturday:  9-5
Sunday:  12-5

Meadowview Farm
Antiques & Vintage Finds
Augusta, Wisconsin

Click on "Barn Sales"
under Chapters to the right for all the details!

It has been hot...but not too hot to gather & get ready
for the next Barn Sale.
Oh my my my -- some great finds await!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


that's the word...
that was the weather...

My first glimpse was from the window...
what was this?
At 8:30 p.m. a sky so ominous.
Expected a space ship or a large hand to reach
right down.
Perhaps the reckoning had arrived.

Impending -- storms coming.

They roll across the countryside -
announcing their arrival
for miles.

Lightning, then wind, then buckets of rain.

And a lost kitten, Winter...out in the storm.
2 months old, lost in the storm.


Yes, that is the word.

I don't much care for storms. 
They take, always take -- never give...
Impending doom -- announcing it had arrived, to take again.

Addendum July 21...
My little kitten Winter has returned, scared - but back.
doom & gloom be gone...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Our Study - home tour continues...

This is the one room where Dave has really made his mark...
with his vintage fishing collection on full display-
and, gasp, even a fish mount or two or three.

This is our study on our second floor
...outfitted with a cozy chair,
a desk, and a wall of shelves.

The desk is a fabulous chippy door topping a table
with a piece of glass over it. 
The drawer unit on top was purchased at auction
and houses everything from tape to note cards.
Above the desk are baskets on a trellis --
This is where bills await (and wait)...

Also above the desk are two bulletin boards made
by covering foam-core with fabric & attaching to a frame.

Storage is found in containers



little drawers

toy wagons

metal tins

and even a dresser or two.

The wool rug was found at auction and stored for many years
until it found the perfect use in this room.
It totally set the dark & cozy color scheme.

Shutters are installed as shelves along the ceiling.

Other details:

The monkey lamp...well, from Tracy Porter's auction...
featured in her books.  Love it.
Not old -- but fabulous!
Find out about Tracy by clicking HERE

Cozy, studious, organized...
that is our study!
It is what we aspire to!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Jar full of memories...

I stumbled upon this idea somewhere for
A Memory Jar
a place to keep those sweet reminders of childhood.

Here 's the jar for my Ian (now 23).

His jar includes:
  • a Ninja turtle
  • a tiger that used to knock down Lincoln Log houses
  • Legos
  • a hockey puck
Not a memory box -- but a collection,
all those memories mixed up
like a favorite recipe.

That's my Ian --
definitely the very favorite cookie
in my Sweet Shop!

Kari (aka mom)

Friday, July 15, 2011

hollyhocks, day lilies, snowballs and farm gardens

I am not a gardener...
however, I do like the play of foliage & perrenials & annuals -
and know just enough.

In our last home in Sun Prairie - we were fortunate to
earn "Garden of the Month" distinction
and be featured in the city's annual
Garden Walk.

But still -- I make no aspirations at Master Gardener.
When someone asks about a plant -- my answer will likely be,
"I like how it looks".

So - with a vintage farm
- my quest was to keep the gardens
pure & simple & true to the farm's age.

That meant hollyhocks, day lilies, hydrangeas (snowballs) 
& any other planting that
could stand hardy farm living.
And, with a barn red & Old Chicago brick backdrop-
colors must be subdued, thoughtful, quiet.
The pinks above were picked by the hollyhocks, not me...
but I do like their play against the brick.

Plants were rescued from the old gardens, found as
we "civilized" the farm yard edges. 
Rusty "art" was added,
just enough wild was left unaltered,
with a restful, peaceful farmyard as the goal.

What is your favorite garden secret?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

What better to do on a hot day? Antique of course!

Years ago, I stumbled upon this wonderful
multi-dealer mall (90 dealers)
 in Western Wisconsin...
the Hixton Schoolhouse Antique Mall.
*Learn more about this mall by clicking HERE

(FYI -- SALE alert below!)

Hixton was always one of my favorite places to travel to
on an antiquing adventure when we lived in Sun Prairie.
What could be better - a LARGE mall
& 3 other antique shops in town too!

Now that we live in Western Wisconsin --
we not only sell at the Hixton Schoolhouse Antique Mall
-- but work behind the counter 1-2 Saturdays each month too.

And, in honor of the wonderful customers
that have found their way to my booth...
I am hosting a
in my booth
during July.

Find your way over to the Hixton Schoolhouse Antique Mall.
It is located right off I94 --
just about 40 minutes SE of Eau Claire
-- the exit between Pigeon Falls & Black River Falls.

Our dealer codes are "SPY" & "MD"
(I have a booth & case and Dave has a case)

Happy Antiquing!

Friday, July 8, 2011

sweet breeze blowing...

Some days are simple:

gardens watered

clothes on the line

animals fed

and a sweet breeze blowing...

Want to send a blog "hi" to Barb at
Plum Thickety Place.
If you haven't had a chance to visit yet,
check out her sweet blog by clicking HERE

Enjoy this summer day...

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

coming home...

Saturday I traveled - to my sister's place -- my nephew from California home - a party, a celebration!
Tuesday I traveled - an antiquing adventure -- three hours each way.  Morning to Night.

As I traveled back last evening --
I felt this overwhelming emotion. 
Thoughts of Homecoming. 
Trying to define what that was, what that means.

I know it by the pull & tug of my heart:
Seeing Kevin, my nephew, with his son in his arms -- a homecoming
Watching as my own Ian, arrived at the celebration -- his blue car coming up the hill -- a homecoming.
Seeing my farm as I traveled back, tired from a day away -- a homecoming.

It is a warm embrace at the end of a journey.
It is a welcome that quietly calls to you.

At my own farm, my little Chestnut kitten waits under the birdbath near the porch.  All day she waits, listening for the squeak of the porch door or the flap of a wing.  "Homecoming" is defined in this little kitten's world as "there you are".  I like that definition about the best.  It can end with an exclamation point or a "..." It is faith & hope & celebration & joy -- all wrapped up in this sweet, enduring coming home.

What does homecoming mean to you?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

It's a party for our gal!

She's the emblem of
the land I love...
the home of the free & the brave!

Happy Birthday America!

wishing you all a great weekend...

I will be doing a little antiquing,
visiting with my nephew from California,
& at some point...getting all misty eyed about this country,
her birthday & how great she indeed is.

So whether you will parade, camp, sit in a lawn chair, watch fireworks,
or simply & perfectly reflect...
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