My name is Julie. I live on a little under 2 acres in Wisconsin, right along Lake Michigan. This part of the country is really beautiful, and every few months Mother Nature stops by to redecorate. Just when I'm positive a season is my absolute favorite the next one comes along and changes my mind.
I'm a pattern designer. I design quilts, baby items, and I have a clothing line in the works for girls, from NB through toddler. I'm an artist and a writer. One of my favorite times of the day is in the morning, sitting in my favorite chair with my sketchbook and a cup of coffee. I spin little stories in my head and draw the characters. My stories are for children mostly. One day I'll put the words on paper so they can join the illustrations. Then, maybe if I am brave enough, I'll publish them.
Aunt Bea is my hero. Goober, Barney, and Andy make me laugh. "I Love Lucy" is one of my favorite shows. The character she plays in "The Long, Long Trailer" reminds me of myself. That movie still makes me giggle even though I've seen it many times.
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Meet Me In St. Louis, It's a Wonderful Life, White Christmas and Oklahoma are among my favorites, but honestly, I can't recall one old movie or musical that I didn't love. One of my absolute favorites is A Christmas Story (with Ralphie). A while back the kids gave us a leg lamp for Christmas and I keep it out all year round. It cracks me up.
I enjoy listening to old radio shows and music from the 1940's. Actually I'm kinda obsessed with the 1940's. My husband got word of someone selling an old pick up truck. Well, we went to see it and it was actually boxes of old pickup truck parts and pieces, a frame, and a partially built engine. It was in pretty rough shape - we think the rust was holding things together. He decided he could try to figure out how to build a truck, and ended up building three, all 1940 Ford pickup trucks. Mine is a bright teal blue. It's all shiny and new looking, but I'd be just as happy if it was a beat-up, dirty ol' farm truck. The other two are red and silver. They look like little toy trucks driving down the road. I'll post pics someday.
I love, love, love vintage Christmas music, year round. Yep, I'm that girl who is ecstatic when the Christmas music starts on the radio in November while everyone else groans! For fun I play Christmas music on the piano.
I love anything handmade, vintage, and country. And mason jars.
"I believe in handmade" is my motto. Because I really do.
I enjoy creating things with my hands. I love to sew, quilt, make dolls and toys, crochet, knit, and embroider. If that wasn't enough, I also love to garden, cook, bake, draw, and paint. When I hear someone say they're bored I don't even have words . . . seriously, how can you possibly be bored when there are so many fun and amazing things to do? It's a shame I don't have more time to vacuum and dust. Not really. Just kidding.
Even though I don't live on a farm, I think of myself as a country girl. When I was young my grandparents often took us "downhome" to visit family. I have so many wonderful memories of these visits. Of all the places on earth, downhome is my favorite. I love the people, the farms, the accents, and the wide open spaces. It's where I feel I belong, and I will always feel a connection to the people and places there. I'm sure my experiences are why I'm country at heart. On my home page there is a picture of my granddaughter Ellie ironing. The quilt she's standing on was created for us by my grandma and her sisters from downhome, and I've treasured it all my life.
All my stories are somehow connected to downhome, and the last three generations of my family are my characters. When we visit downhome I sleep in the same farmhouse that's been in the family for generations. The picture above is one I took on my last visit. One of hundreds.
Our little piece of land is not in the city, but not in the country. We're kind of in-between the two, and technically we live in a village. Our home is set way back from the road, and we're surrounded by tall, graceful weeping willow, maple, oak, and evergreen trees. Actually, when you drive by you might not even notice a house is there . . . which suits us just fine. My husband designed and built our house just the way we wanted it, complete with a wrap-around porch and gingerbread trim. He's amazing.
My fruit and vegetable gardens are in the back. Morning glories are one of my favorite flowers. I love to plant them everywhere. We nailed leftover picket fence sections to each end of the garden beds and planted morning glories right next to them. When the vines grow I train them up the rough wood pickets and they climb to reach the morning sun. As I walk around the pole barn and make my way to garden I see them standing up, tall and proud, and I gotta say . . being greeted by these beauties never gets old!
We decorated the porch with oak barrels, rocking chairs, and a porch swing. Each spring I hang baskets of impatiens from the gingerbread trim and set as many pots of pansies on the barrels I can fit. The porch overlooks a huge cottage garden, which I should call a wildflower garden now because it is completely wild and out of control. It's surrounded by a white picket fence strung with tiny white lights. Winding through the center of the garden is a curved, red brick pathway. Moss grows between the bricks, which drives my husband crazy, but I love it. Adds a little charm if you ask me!
Walking down the path I find all kinds of inspiration for my stories. If you weren't looking for them, you might miss the little mice wearing polka-dotted dresses and aprons. They live in tiny mushroom houses, hidden beneath the hydrangeas - and only I know they exist. Well, now you know, but don't tell anyone!
My dream is to one day move way out in the country and live in a house like this. I love my house and gardens, but we're much too close to the city limits if you ask me. I detest traffic, crowds, even sidewalks, and I'll go out of my way to take a country road any day. I need 5 or 10 or 20 acres with farmland all around me. Honestly, is that asking for too much? I don't think so. A girl can dream, can't she?
I wish I could turn down a long, dirt driveway leading to an old farmhouse and be home.
Last year for Mother's day I asked my kids to skip the flowers and put the money towards a ukulele. Not even one raised eyebrow. I guess my kids are used to having a mom that is, well, unique. No, let's say special. This year I'm going to ask for more chickens and a new, custom built chicken coop which I've designed myself to make caring for them easier. I always name my chickens after special women in my life and from characters in my stories. My girls bless me with the most beautiful brown eggs I could ask for.
If I was born in the 30's I would have been just the right age in the 40's. I'd wear those wonderful dresses, aprons and shoes that were the style back then. When I was out I'd protect my victory roll updo with a polka dotted chiffon scarf. I think about how different the world was, truly a kinder and gentler place. Even though it was hard work without all our modern inventions and conveniences, people appreciated what they had. Priorities were in the right place.
I have about 40 blue ribbons from the county fair proudly displayed in my sewing room. Never, ever, in a million years did I think I would get even one. Over the years I've pretty much learned how to do things well by making every mistake possible, multiple times. Emphasis on multiple. But eventually I get it. I'm still amazed when things turn out well.
When I bake, cook, hang laundry, or wash dishes I like to wear an apron. I've collected a few vintage aprons and I've made a few of my own. I knit cotton dishcloths to use when I hand wash my dishes. I love the warmth of the water, the bubbles, and the smell of my handmade dishsoap. I use extra soft cotton yarn to make washcloths that I can use. They feel so nice on my skin. I won't wash my face with anything else.
I enjoy hanging laundry out to dry, wooden clothespins and all. My sheets dance with the gentle breezes on the old cotton clothesline, and when I lie in bed at night the "fresh air" smell surrounds me. You can't get that from a dryer sheet.
The summer sun warms my skin as I work in my garden. My soul is renewed as I inhale that wonderful smell of earth and grass. As I dig into the garden beds, pulling the never ending weeds, I remind myself that mother nature is providing me with a dirt manicure. When I am very still, I hear the breeze going through the trees, the squirrels chattering, and the sweet songs of the birds. I stop and say a small prayer, thanking God for my blessings.
In my dreams, I would find a vintage 50's trailer, paint it pink and aqua and cover it with polka dots. It would set behind my farmhouse, next to the flower garden, between two tall oak trees. I would fill it with handmade quilts and curtains and pillows and vintage crocheted potholders, and decorate it with all the vintage kitschy things I've collected over the years. Life would be perfect.
If you also believe in handmade and long for simpler times, please join me in my handmade world. Together we'll celebrate all things handmade. Don't forget to subscribe to hear the latest. I can't wait to meet you!