For those of you who have followed me for a while, you might remember these beauties that bloom outside my studio windows every late winter. The color and feel and shape of them is just unbelievable.

Usually I try to photo them alongside my daughter as a way of seeing her change and the blooms stay the same every year. I still hope to do that this year but so far life has gotten a bit in the way.




Look at those petals?!




I don't know if you remember but last week I promised everyone another great reveal. I still plan on getting that reveal to you soon! Unfortunately I had to go out of town quite suddenly due to some urgent family health issues. Wish it wasn't happening. Wish I could make it all go away. Wish that instead I was working on another great reveal. But it is not to be so today. Maybe tomorrow. One day at a time they say.

I might write more later. Once we all wrap our heads around what "it" is. 


For today, however, I am hoping that Magnolias might make you happy. They are certainly bringing a ray of sunshine to our world. Even if I am not at home to see them right this very moment.

Goodbye December... maybe

Since I did such a non existent job of sharing our holiday decorations with you as they went up, I thought I might share them with you as they go down [actually... saying that they are going down is my way of hoping that I manage to actually get them down this week! What are the odds of that actually happening?]

Question for you? What is the longest you have ever kept up your decorations?















Happy "Holiday Decoration Take Down" Day. Now THAT should be a holiday!





December has seriously flown by around here at both Fig Tree and at home. Our kids vacations have been staggered this year and we have thoroughly enjoyed some great one on one time, cousin time skating in the city, chocolate covered pretzel making time, cookie eating and even some neighborhood caroling! You gotta love the looks on the neighbor's faces that have never been "caroled" before!

Since we have spent most of our family time off line, I just realized yesterday that I did't even share any pictures of our house decorated for Christmas!  

I don't think I can finish December without sharing some of it even if it is a bit on the tardy side....


As a part of slowing down and enjoying each day this month, I have sat with a cup of tea in front of my Christmas tree. Now I know its just a tree and not even close to the real meaning of this season, but there is something so magical about sitting in my living room with the only lights those on the tree, the smell of pine in the house and maybe even a bit of Christmas Carols playing in the background. Preferably Bing or Ella. Cheeseball... I know. 

And so I have spent a part of each evening, in front of my tree, having some quality quiet time. I love this time of the year. And I am officially cheeseball.


Here are just a few of my favorites....




















 Merry end of December.

Love Fall.

Working on some author review for my upcoming book today and couldn't resist sharing the view from my dining room table where I am currently working. It might also be that I am procrastinating just a tiny bit.

If this is my editor reading.... I am definitely not procrastinating. Just gathering inspiration :-).




Geez, I  love fall.

Bowl Inspirations

Looney cakes, you are thinking to yourself. Or crazy cakes as is the term "du jour" around our house. Who could possibly be inspired by bowls? But I have to admit that I am hopelessly addicted to bowls. Any color. Any size. Any style. Old, new and in between. Small and tiny. In fact, lately, the tinier the better. Functional and decorative alike. You would be scared to see how many different bowls I have squirreled away over the years. And usually I don't squirrel. But bowls, I squirrel.

And so in general I try not to be so attached to my little things, but when my dear husband breaks one [as he often does]... I get a little, well, a little crazy. Not crazy cakes crazy but definitely on this side of a little overly upset about my lost bowl.

So this past weekend, he did indeed break one. Again. Just saying. I did indeed go a little crazy and told him that we would be dragging the whole fam to the store where the bowl came from so that HE could replace it. He said that was just fine. He felt a little bad about the bowl. Although he does break them regularly. Just saying. I will admit that a large part of this is that in our house, he does the dishes. I know, what am I complaining about?!

Well, after just a few minutes in said store- yes with the whole fam in tow-, this is what we came home with. 




... I'm telling you. Those little bowls call me like a siren song.


I guess I was ready for more than just one bowl. But in the past few months he has broken more little bowls than I care to remember. So these were just a replacement. Mostly.


Like I said, crazycakes!


BTW, The particular colors of these bowls.... well... they may or may not have been the inspiration palette for a recent something that I may or may not have had to turn in to a certain company I work for.




One of Those Days

Actually, its been one of THOSE weekends. Too much going on. Too many needs to meet. Feeling pulled in too many directions and not really being "in the moment" enough to do any of them well. I guess April is one of those overwhelmed months anyway in my schedule but I just can't seem to conquer it today.

So in the midst of it all, I tried to get some perspective. I went outside with my clippers and smelled and picked the jasmine [which is completely in bloom and completely covering many of our fences] along with some herbs. Its my favorite kind of bouquet.

... the simplicity and color of it made me smile even if I was feeling cranky!


Then I spent some time looking at the teeny, weeny little pieces I have of my upcoming collection. More on that later.


Then I made my favorite iced tea in my favorite brand new mug [I am in love with the shape of that thing] and had a few chocolate covered espresso beans.


I think I might be feeling a bit better.

It helps that the house has been quite for a few hours for the first time in days. And that its beautiful outside. And that I spent a bit of time taking in all of this loveliness, here and here. Oh my goodness! Just beautiful and stunning and inspiring all at the same time! Part of me wants to do nothing but make red and white quilts now!!

Okay, I'm feeling better.

It sure would be great if I could just finish a couple of these project today. Crossing things off my giant TO DO LIST always makes me feel better. Wish me luck.


BTW, A giant THANK YOU to all of you who commented or emailed me advice about my new status as a mom of a teenager! You are all so sweet and helpful and I know that all I can do is take it one day at a time. Thank you!!

Its Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas...

As you may have noticed, we have been a bit on the quiet side around these here parts. We have been doing a series of specials and sales through our newsletter these past few weeks and that has kept us just a bit busier than expected [btw, you really ought to sign up if you haven't already]. 

But also, we have been purposefully trying to slow down this holiday season and to not do as much so that we might enjoy the meaning and the wonder of this time of year. 

I have found that its much easier to say that than to do it, by the way! But we're working on it!


So I am happy to share that our home is now finally more or less decorated with some of my favorite little decorations. Plans are made and gifts are being wrapped. The kitchen is seeing more use than normal and the over seems to be on every day.


The tree has been up for a while and we finally put the angel on the top- this year it was Zack's turn and somehow we could never get him in the same room as the tree and at the same time remember that the angel was still sitting on the coffee table!


The kids have made some cookies and some gingerbread houses. There are grand plans to make a lot more tonite!


Each evening after everyone goes to sleep, I sit with a cup of my favorite vanilla and caramel tea [a wonderful Lipton tea blend available at Safeway] on the left side of my couch and I stare at our Christmas Tree. The kids decorated it mostly on their own this year... that's definitely a first around here and I can look at many of the ornaments and remember which one of them put it where it is.





There is something about the Christmas tree for me, glittery and soft and romantic and nostalgic and traditional and a symbol for everything else swirling around during this time of the year. It makes me smile or tear up depending on what it is that I am thinking of.  I know its just a tree with a bunch of stuff on it but it has come to represent so many different things, hasn't it?

I try to sit still and think through the day. Funny things my daughter said. A new quilt pattern completed or swatches decided on. A discussion that my hub and I have had. A project completed for January. A generous thing that one or other of my boys has done. A moment of quiet in the middle of the day.

And my wonder grows. 




My greatest wish for you this season is that you would be able to slow down and to reflect even just a little about what it is that you celebrate this time of the year. The meaning and significance behind it all. And that your wonder would grow. Even just a little.


Talk to you soon. Joanna

Junk Bonanza... could have moved in!


Besides teaching and meeting up with all the wonderful women from the previous post, the thing I was most excited to do while teaching at the Creative Connection was to attend the Junk Bonanza. It was a fair that I had heard about in the pages of the Country Living magazine for years and it surely did not disappoint. The vendors brought a wonderful mix of flea market finds and accessories/art made with "junk" and old stuff. I really could have moved right in. Really. And was seriously mourning the fact that I didn't have a truck to transport all the treasures I would have acquired had I driven one!



... Bingo cards seem to be really in. I even got some ideas from them and purchased a few fun ones.


... the largest onions I have ever encountered were available for sale in the outside farm stand.


... I am a sucker for old books, typography or anything related to old books. Loved this display!


... loved the texture of these.


... and this was my piece de resistance! I wanted this cubby table so badly. I came back to look at it like 17 1/2 times! I could visualize where it would go, what I would put in it, what I would put on top it & how I would decorate it. Sadly, it would not fit into my luggage. Isn't it just so beautiful?

More goodies later. Talk to you soon.