Wednesday, May 14, 2014

face each day

when i got off work yesterday afternoon i picked my grandkids, ben and jenna, up at the babystitter's and we took a scenic drive to a big amish greenhouse a few miles out in the country. it was a stunningly beautiful day and wandering around in the lush green flower and veggie plants was heaven. we bought a few veggie plants -- brandywine tomato, california giant orange pepper and pickle cucumber -- as well as two dozen candy white onion bulbs. at the last minute i added a fresh bunch of just-picked asparagus to the pile.

once home, it was scurry-around time as i tried to get it all done so we could do some planting. in the midst of fixing a quick supper for the kids and replenishing zoe's water and food, the kids drug out a mess of art supplies. i keep all my art supplies handy for jenna to locate and use but there's always one or two things she can't find or reach. as i walked into the breakfast nook / art area to help her, my little fiesta orange vase of tulips caught my eye. there it sat in the sun, casting lovely shadows onto my antique oak table. i immediately put everything on hold to grab my nikon and shoot away.

later, after the kids were home and settled in their pajamas and zoe and i had taken our 45 minute walk, i looked over the pictures i'd taken. and, it struck me that i truly do love serendipity. we can plan our days out step by step. we can promise ourselves to be more creative, to spend more time in quiet contemplation of the beauty that surrounds us. but, really no amount of planning could have created a more satisfying photo session.

so, today, i'm just reminding myself to slow down a little bit and let serendipity capture my spirit as it may. and, i'm wishing the same for each of you.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

you said

you said it couldn’t be done but i did

you clipped my wings and smothered me in your own insecurities
i devalued myself and let you
you didn’t wish me well but i am
soaring on the uplift of my own self-confidence

you said i'd be sorry
i am but not about leaving
you said i'd fail

look at me now

photo and poem (c) julie king 2014

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

gentle surprises

i snapped these photos during lunch on monday after an easy spring rain. the light streaming from the sky was simply wonderful!

when i awoke the next morning, snow dusted everything and mother nature was smiling at her surprise. i like quiet, laid back surprises so this one was just fine with me. and, of course, it didn't last and we have sunny 50 degree weather today.

click here to read an article that ran about me, my art and my life back in my hometown that ran in our local paper on sunday. i'm very humbled by the attention.

wishing you sunny skies and only very gentle surprises.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

seeking balance

my life these days seems to be all about seeking balance -- balancing making money to support myself and quiet down time to regenerate. i tend to wear myself out and then crash, my own worst enemy. creating a peaceful dwelling place brings contentment in the chaos. (art above by magaly, one of my faves!)

a constant respite from the madness is crocheting. this afghan is over 8 feet long and almost 5 feet wide -- all created over the winter. i love the colors and the skinny stripes and was sad when it was finished. i still need to work those pesky strings in at the ends but really i kind of like them in all their imperfection (like me).

now i'm working on this afghan which i've nicknamed mint chocolate chip! it will be considerably smaller and will rest on the white wicker chair in my bathroom.

part of balancing my life is controlling possessions, desiring a level of minimalism that gives me just enough without feeling weighted down by too much stuff. i found the above bowls at goodwill and paired them up to hold jewelry in my bathroom. they make me smile.

greek salad is my current food craze! have you tried ken's steak house greek salad dressing? love!

and then there is zoe, the sweetest dog ever, who loves unconditionally and makes my heart sing. here, she is patiently letting my grandkids dress her in doll clothes.

i find balance more difficult and more necessary than in the past, still learning the lessons of not giving too much of myself away.

women need real moments of solitude and self-reflection to balance how much of ourselves we give away. -- barbara de angelis

Friday, March 21, 2014

keep your face toward the sunshine

i don't think i could ever have too much sunshine in my life. my mood, my outlook, my work ethic, even my hair, are all better on sunny days. the breakfast nook in my new place is all windows and i love watching the sun slant thru, creating artful shadows and spots of yummy brightness.

my plants are all sighing in contentment these days as winter has finally given up and allowed spring to ease into place. i can't recall a tougher winter or a more welcome spring. as with many things in life, it is easy to say winter wasn't really that bad now that spring is on the cusp.

 soon my doors and windows will be thrown open to warm breezes and bird song. my heart will be singing along with joy.

i started some spinach and lettuce seeds indoors and move this $5 mortar mixing tub from lowe's from one sunny spot to another. it's time to move it outside and let these yearning plants grow tall and strong. just like me, they seek a warm spot in the sun.

"keep your face always toward the sunshine, and shadows will fall behind you." walt whitman

turn it up loud and drink it in, my friends!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

humbled and happy

what a surprise when i opened up my gmail on monday to see a sweet comment from kerri saying "where have you gone, julie king? I have been a fan and visitor of your blog for a long while and it has been so long that I am worried that something has happened to you. if you get this message, please leave a sign that you are okay." i am a-ok, kerri, and you are so nice to ask! that's me today (trying to let my hair grown out) alive and well. i'm living in my hometown close to my kids and grandkids and working at a small USA toy manufacturer doing design work, creating products, writing copy, buying materials, having FUN. one of my goals in moving back "home" was to get out of the corporate rat race and simplify my life. this job totally fits the bill and is only four blocks from my sweet apartment. yes, i can walk to work!

the chalkboard sign in my kitchen reads "i am in charge of how i feel and today i am choosing happiness". i learned the hard way to  make good choices in my life and i feel the path i'm on now is the healthiest i've been in a long time. isn't that just the sweetest space above? i create art on that table in the breakfast nook. i love it!

yes, i am still making art although i don't consider it therapy anymore. now, it's just plain fun! i closed my etsy shop down a while ago but may consider re-opening it one day. for now, i like the low stress of creating when i want, selling a piece now and then and feeling no pressure to create.

while getting my fingers messy with paint, i developed a little technique for hand cutting paper stencils and using them to "paint" onto canvasses. it is super messy, easy and fun. it motivated me to start teaching art classes in my hometown -- all very low key. i usually teach one adult class and one kids class a month, weather permitting. the classes are called "happy messy fun art class" and i like spreading that around in my small way.

i've had a little luck selling art at a local coffee shop and it still surprises me when i sell art straight off of my facebook page.

although i don't get out and around with my nikon quite as often as i used to, i still enjoy taking photos and tromping around out in nature.

i've wanted to write a memoir for a long time and have joined a writer's group which has been very motivational, cathartic and supportive. after a long dry spell, i'm finally blooming again. looking back over the last decade or more of my life, i'm grateful the strong people who believed in me and pushed me to seek more in my life -- the life i truly deserved all along. i feel truly blessed to have come out the other side of a major depression. i'm humbled and happy. what more can we ask for, my friends?

Monday, April 8, 2013

spooner spawns forker in indiana town

i don't remember having a spooner as a child. but, at some point my mom bought a pretty cut glass container, set it in the middle of the kitchen table, filled it with teaspoons and called it a spooner. a bit of research just taught me that a spooner or spoon holder dates back to the victorian era when having a pretty "vase" of spoons on the table was a welcoming gesture and also a sign of at least modest wealth.

when i moved back to hagerstown a couple of years ago i wanted a spooner. looking back, i may have thought that my days of being spooned were over (hee hee) so i needed to creatively add the word spoon to my vocabulary in another way. who knows. i'm just weird about these kinds of things, i guess. i'm not fond of cut glass so i wanted a more unique vessel. my friend bonnie and i were shopping an antique store and bonnie spotted a clear glass container that reads "keystone egg and cream beater". it was love at first sight and i adopted it as my spooner.

a few weeks ago bonnie and i were shopping another antique mall in indy and i eyed a man inspecting a clear glass container that had "feet" and some markings that i couldn't quite see. i got as close as i could without invading his personal space. then he called his wife over and she inspected it as well. i heard him say something about it having been part of a mixer set. i was intrigued and i wanted it . . . bad!

bonnie and i went on our way and i saw a lot of cool things in that mall but my mind was still on that footed container. i figured the couple had already bought it but, always hopeful, i wandered back by its location before we left. and there it was. when i actually had it in my own hands i could see that it had measurements on one side -- 1/4 PT. up to 1 1/2 PT. i had no idea what i would do with it but i gladly paid the $9 price to make it my own.

on our way home bonnie asked what i planned to do with the measuring jar and i replied that i really had no idea. i was simply attracted to it. days and days later i was grabbing a spoon out of my spooner when it hit me. why would i be a narrow-minded, discriminatory person? why give spoons so much extra attention and leave the forks in a dark, boring drawer? so, yes, i grabbed my forks from their dungeon, put them in that magical container and created my own forker. yes i did! and i smile every time i need a fork, yes, i do!

Friday, April 5, 2013


delicate and fragile
silently hiding in the shade
your glory shines
in your trefoil leaves
and long slender stems

constant and abiding
you greet me each morning
illiciting a smile
and a prayer of thanksgiving
for the blessings you give

kindred spirits like us
understand that beauty fades
but the joyous hearts
at our core
are reborn in the morning sun

photos (c) julie king

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

the secret life of quiche

for some reason i've been craving quiche lately. i often wonder what causes these weird, out-of-the-blue longings. is it a metabolic imbalance in my body? could i be low on potassium or iron? is the cosmic void sending me a way-too-subtle message? anyway, i decided to whip up a batch of quiche on sunday and this recipe more than satisfied my craving.

i found a recipe online (somewhere?) and then added my spin to it. here goes:

brown 8 slices of bacon and crumble

toss 8 oz of shredded swiss cheese and the crumbled bacon together and put in the bottom of a large pie pan

mix together in a bowl:
6 eggs
2 T melted butter
1/2 c flour
1 1/2 c milk
salt & pepper
shredded fresh spinach

pour contents of bowl into the pie pan and cook for 35-45 minutes at 350

it smelled so good that i could barely wait for it to cool to cut into it. yummo! i ate two rather large pieces. then i went back to crocheting a wonderfully slouchy hobo bag in a tweedy brown. as the afternoon wore on (me in my pajamas with doggy zoe asleep on my feet, watching a marathon of friends reruns) i could hear whisperings coming from the kitchen. i snuck in there a couple of times to see what was going on but all was still and quiet. as my fevered fingers double crocheted and back-looped-only, the whispers became more urgent. it seemed to be calling 'julie, julie . . . you know you want me". finally i could wait no more; i answered the call of that quiche and popped it right back into the oven on warm. and yes, you guessed it. i ate two more substantially awesome pieces.