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New Digs

We’ve finally moved over to the new place, and I like it a lot. We’re still settling in — despite the fact that it’s been over a month now — and I suspect that I’ll be unpacking boxes for months to come. Even so, it feels like a tremendous improvement.

The new place is far more rural; our neighbors have horses, and we frequently see deer in our yard. Everyone tells me that the deer will lose their charm quickly, but for now, I’m still quite enamored with them. I have a bigger studio than I’ve ever had in my life, and it has a perfect view onto my HUGE garden. Well, future garden … there’s a lot of work to be done, but we are thrilled to tackle it. The only thing missing from this near perfect picture is a dog, and we hope to remedy that soon. I am amazingly content, and I wake up feeling grateful every day.

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Secret Garden

image via

One of my favorite daydreams is about the gardens that I will plant when we finally move to a place with a bit of land. I’ll plant a huge herb garden and of course a veggie garden, sunflowers galore, a dahlia bed, and probably a nice cutting garden … but I also long for secret gardens. Little pathways through the woods, with random art (and a treehouse!) and secret, quiet spaces where one could read a book, take a nap, or share a bottle of wine with someone special.

This image is a perfect example of the random, earthy type of space that I hope to create. Ideally, someday soon-ish.

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Dont trust people with neat yards…

the side yard at the House of Joy Bordello Boutique

This morning as I was musing about what inspires me, my thoughts turned (once again) to Jerome, AZ. Obviously, I love that town — it has such spectacular vistas, interesting buildings, colorful history and quirky galleries. When I visited last February, I was very drawn to one place in particular, the House of Joy. The owners have created a whimsical assemblage of curiosities and “junque” along the balconies, patio and yard (not to mention the amazing collection of vintage goodies that they have in their gallery! Words fail, just go). It is beautiful and bizarre, and a perfect example of the kind of found art that I envision in and around that dream house that I keep yammering about.

front patio at the House of Joy in Jerome AZ

When we passed back through in November, I had to show this place to Robb. As we giggled and wondered about the various piles of “trash” and treasure, an older gentleman emerged from the house. R took that opportunity to ask the man about his yard. His reply was so awesome that I had to write it down. I wasn’t able to do so straight away, so I’ll give you the disclaimer that this is paraphrased (and Mr. Dempsey, if you ever read this, I hope you will forgive me if I’ve bungled your words) hopefully I managed to capture the essence:

meeting this man was one of the highlights of our trip

“I don’t trust people who keep neat yards. You’ve gotta have some individuality. People live in these places where they want to tell you how tall your house can be and what colors you’re supposed to paint it, and it makes them small. When you live in a place where everything looks the same, everyone starts to think the same too. Soon, you just stop living cause you’re so busy worrying about who has a bigger car or a better house.”

He talked at length about the value of individuality, and also about the importance of knowing your heritage. He is proud to be of Mexican descent, which is one of the reasons that he has an ornate shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe on his front balcony. He gave us a wry smile and told us that he wanted “to be sure to remind everyone who was here first”.

Lady Guadalupe presides over the balcony

We chatted with Mr. Dempsey for some time while he gave us an impromptu tour of the town. I was honored when he went back to his yard and brought me out a handful of crystals and iron slag from the old mine. I used them to build a tiny shrine on my desk, to remind me that one day, I’ll have crazy art gardens too 🙂

He’s an excellent storyteller and a pretty deep guy; we felt very fortunate to have bumped into him.  So when I thought about an inspirational subject to write about today, I remembered this fabulous yard and its owner. What a character — I can only hope to be that cool when I grow up!

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A house in the trees…

photo via

Yeah, yeah, I know it’s supposed to be Wednesday Inspiration, but it’s been a busy week so here’s a little Friday inspiration instead. At right is an amazing tree house from the folks at TreeHouse Workshop. I was delighted to find this site, because I have always wanted a treehouse. And when I say “always”, I mean STILL. R laughs at me when I tell him this, because apparently he thinks I’m too old for such things, but my dream house — the one that I visualize happily and often — definitely has a treehouse. I’m stoked to see that there are plenty of other “grown ups” who feel the same! 🙂

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Wednesday Inspiration…


In an effort to make blogging more of a habit, I’m going to try something new in the coming year. On Wednesdays, I’ll share images and ideas that inspire me. Ideally, I will do this every Wednesday — but we’ll see how that goes 😉 Hopefully, this will remind me to update more often, and also allow me to promote other artists and dreamers.

So without further ado, my first “inspiration” post features an earth friendly home in Wales. It was built by Simon Dale and his father in law. Not only is this home beautiful, unique and magical looking (very Hobbit-like, no?), it was built in a very low impact fashion, with the utmost respect for the environment.


The interior is just amazing, with its skylights and twisted wood rails. It looks like something out of a fantasy tale, but the construction methods reflect very real and contemporary values such as permaculture and sustainability.

This home was build on a particularly modest budget, using materials and techniques that are readily accessible to most people. The house harnesses solar power and rainwater, and does not rely on fossil fuels. It is a creative and wondrous example of what can be done to provide low cost, eco friendly housing.