Archive for October, 2008

Have you ever seen hollyhocks in person?  I love them.  My parents planted some last year and I was fascinated by the way they stand tall and firm with brilliant color all the way up the stalk.

This love of hollyhocks has been with me since the first time I ever saw them as a young girl so it’s no surprise that when I was wandering around etsy.com and came across this painting that I jumped on it.

Amy (SkyArt) was selling an 8×10 print of her original canvas “Hollyhocks.”  The reds and yellows spoke to me and I knew it was exactly what I wanted to put in our family room.  I loved that it was original artwork instead of something that you could find anywhere.  It was bold and beautiful and unique.

So, I contacted the artist, Amy (you can do that on etsy.com) and asked her if she was selling her original canvas of “Hollyhocks.”  She said that it was already sold but she would be willing to custom paint one for me.  What luck!  She let me pick the size of the canvas and everything!

A few weeks later we had her totally original artwork hanging on our wall and it makes me smile every time I see it instead of a big blank space.  I was even more pleased when I realized that the bottom portion had a gorgeous aqua blue color that hadn’t shown up in the photos online.  The texture and color and abstract lines are exactly what I wanted.

Amy also added a bonus to my package – she sent a copy of the 8×10 version of “Hollyhocks” for me to give away here on my blog.  Lucky us!

I have been working on April’s content for “A Life Well Crafted” workshop at Big Picture Scrapbooking. The theme for next April is “A Person of Influence” and I think that hollyhocks represent the kind of people of influence that we can all be.  They remind me of so many women I know – women with graceful strength and brilliant color.

Who is a “Person of Influence” in your life?  What are you doing to stand tall and strong as a person of influence to others?  What do you love about hollyhocks?  Leave a comment about any of these ideas and I will randomly pick one to win Amy’s 8×10 “Hollyhocks” print.

Giveaway closes Halloween, Friday, October 31 at 10 pm.  Talk about a great treat!

Life Well Crafted

Sneak Peek - April: Life Well Crafted

Added on Saturday, November 1 ————————————————————

Congrats to our random winner of Amy’s “Hollyhocks” print:

9 lisa d

What a beautiful painting! My person of influence is definitely my parents. Both of them show me daily what being a servant of God is. They raised four kids to know God and to serve Him. They genuinely care about others, whether it be visting their neighbor paralyzed from ALS or my mom knitting hats for the soldiers in the war — they not only influence my but amaze me as well!

Lisa – email me at kolette@kolettehall.com with your address and I’ll send you the “Hollyhocks” print.  Enjoy!  Thanks to everyone who commented and shared your thoughts.  I was inspired reading them and appreciate you making an impact on us all.

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Pointy Side Up

I am a novice gardener.  I’m not even sure we could call it being a gardener at all because I’m so unskilled – but I’m going to try.

So Jason and I went to the nursery to purchase bulbs and pansies for the spring.  My sister Kara (who is a landscaping genius) said to get a good amount of bulbs and pansies.  Knowing that the artist in me loves things to look full and balanced, we brought home some bags of crocuses (I love how they come up first), 155 tulips, 50 daffodils and 3 flats of pansies.  I wasn’t taking any chances that it wouldn’t make an impact next spring.

But all of this didn’t happen before having to become educated at the store that “Narcissi” meant “daffodil,” however.  Yep – that’s our skill level.

Our soil was prepared.  We placed each bulb where we wanted them and started digging – no bulb planters for my sister.  She has a good system with her trusty trowel.  Dig, pull, push, drop down the bulb with the pointy side up.  Dig pull, push, drop down the bulb with the pointy side up.

I found myself saying, “Pointy side up.  Pointy side up.  Pointy side up.” with each bulb to in order to give it the correct send off to be successful and keep the roots heading in the right direction.

I know what it will look like in the spring.  I chose flowers with varying heights, colors that coordinated together and textures that would keep the look interesting.  I can envision the end result even though all we can see right now are a few spindly pansy stems in the middle of some freshly nurtured dirt.

While planning the planting Kara asked, “Do you want to place them for the neighbors to see or do you want to place them for you?”  My choice…the fruits of our labor will be right out our home office windows.  Of course, it will look nice driving up as well but this bed of flowers is for us.  We will get to witness the first hope that spring brings as we look outside our windows at the growth coming up through the earth.

Isn’t this what working toward a goal is all about?  Hope that our efforts will pay off in some way that is meaningful and fulfilling?

Our success in accomplishing anything worthwhile is based on our ability to envision the outcome and pursue it.  -kh

We have done our part.  We have seen the potential that this gardening space can have and worked to make that vision possible.  Now all I have to do is water the plants by hand if it doesn’t rain or snow, and anticipate the color that will come to life in 6 months.

Hope.  It’s the foundation of our motivation to work.  Hope that something significant is at the end of the journey.

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Garage Gratitude

This is the first winter we will face in our new home.  As we were hit with an early storm this weekend and a few inches of snow landed on us, I told Jason, “I’m so thankful for our garage.”

Because of Jason’s car accident 10 years ago, we lived with his parents for a while in Connecticut to get some help with his care once he left the hospital.  We thought we would be there for 6 months but due to many surgeries and additional hospital stays…and because we ended up loving it there…we sold our home in Utah and lived in CT for about 5 years.  Some of the time with his parents but mostly in our own rental places.   Then when we moved back to Utah we rented an apartment while we were building our new home.  It’s been about 9 years that we have been living in various forms of “temporary” housing.

Each one with heavy snow winters and each one without a garage space.

As I watch the snow melt today and know that we will still have another month or more before real winter sets in for us – I don’t want to forget how it felt to open up our garage this weekend and drive away without having to run out in my PJs and snow boots to warm up the car and scrape the windows beforehand.

I know that once winter comes for real and the snow starts to accumulate, I might be tempted to grumble with annoyance that the city plows haven’t come yet or that they have blocked in our mailbox or that there is ice on the driveway.  In those moments I want to remember how I feel today.  Grateful for a garage.

Remind me of this post if you start to hear me complain.  One thing is for sure, no matter how prepared we think we are, there will always be snow to bog us down or ice to hinder our progression.  The key to happiness is to remember what we have…

…without just wishing that the driveway was shoveled or the street was plowed.

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I always get excited at the beginning of a new Big Picture Scrapbooking workshop and my “Giving Well 2008” class is the one that I really can’t wait for.  It is so fast-paced with projects every other day and ideas flying around the message board and gallery.  The energy is high and I just love being a part of it.

That, coupled with the change of season when the air is crisper and the colors so vibrant, means I love fall – especially here in Utah with the gorgeous change of seasons that we have tucked here along these mountains.  We truly live in a beautiful place.

I’m always fascinated by the variation in the changes that happen on the trees.  We planted three maple trees this year.  They are the same age, were planted at the same time and in the general same area of the yard.  But two of the trees started turning color about a month ago while one tree is just barely making its change.

It makes me wonder.  This seems so typical of us as humans – some of us are ready to make the quick change and we can’t wait to turn a new color.  Others take things more slowly and turn when they are good and ready.

I think I fall into the second category.  I’m a watcher.  I like to assess the situation before diving in.  It can be both positive and negative – I am good at thinking things through and making wise choices but at the same time, I think my hesitation keeps me from embracing life like I could if I were more adventurous.

Jason is a leaper – he loves life and is ready to grab hold with both arms.  I have learned a lot from him about this and I think it has helped me to become more comfortable with spontaneity as life goes on.  I want to be balanced – a good thinker and watcher but also able to enjoy the moment.  To me, that’s perfection.

Now, in the spirit of giving, Kristi has won our two products for our Giving Well class!  Congrats, Kristi and just email me (kolette@kolettehall.com) with your address and I’ll send out those items to you.

44 Kristi

Can’t wait to see what you have in store for us!

Thanks to everyone who posted a comment – we are loving “Giving Well 2008” already and welcome you to join us!  The workshop lasts 4 weeks so hop on board – the time is perfect to have you be a part of our group!  Click here to register.

Enjoy your weekend!

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It’s time to start thinking about the holiday season!  My Big Picture Scrapbooking “Giving Well 2008 (still in 2 hours or less)” workshop starts today and there is still time to sign up.  Here’s a sneak peek of one of the projects:

Every other day you’ll get 14 days worth of handcrafted gift ideas that can be created in two hours or less.  It’s designed to help you get ready for the holidays but the ideas can be used all year long for any gift-giving need you have.  Plus, you get all kinds of artwork that I designed especially for each project.

If you’ve never taken a BPS class before here’s a few tips.  When the class starts, downloadable audio files and handouts become available for you to print out.  You can work on the projects any time you want – you don’t have to “login” at a certain class time.  Along with tons of “stuff” to do, each class also has its own message board and gallery for sharing.  Come join me!

In honor of the workshop I have a giveaway today.  Post a comment here about your approach to “Giving Well” or if you are already signed up then let us know what you love so far or why you took the workshop.  I’ll send one lucky winner a package of two of the products I use in the workshop: Paper Trunk Chipwheel and Piggy Tales Slide Book.  (comments close at 9 pm on Friday, October 10)


Paper Trunk Chipwheel

Paper Trunk Chipwheel

Piggy Tales Slide Book

Piggy Tales Slide Book (Giving Well project will look different than this cute example they have on their website)

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There is nothing wrong with change, if it is in the right direction.  -Winston Churchill

All of the political talk swirling around us at every turn has me thinking a lot about the idea of change.

I keep coming back to the thought that change is often good – but not always.  Change for the sake of change can be just as destructive as complacency.  We have to be selective about change.  How will it affect me and my family now and in the future?  How will it impact the lives of our children and grandchildren?

My sister-in-law sent me a book to prepare for this baby to come called Secrets of the Baby Whisperer.  She and I are both cut from the same cloth and like things a little organized so the philosophy in this book is a good fit for us.  One of the main ideas talks about when you do something for your baby (sleeping habits, eating, etc.) you have to stop and think, “Do I want him/her to do this forever?”  If not, then curb the habit from even starting.

This rings true to me and reminds me of how I taught school.  My goal was to create an environment where each student was as independent and self-capable as possible.  I wanted them to be prepared to face challenges and tasks with confidence that they could achieve what they want.

I do the same thing as I care for Jason’s needs.  We are always thinking, how can we surround him with the tools to be as successful as possible on his own?  I have a feeling that I will approach parenthood the same way because I believe deeply in the empowerment that comes from independence, learning how to work hard to get what you want and not have someone else (government, parents, whoever…) do everything for us.

So, I am wary of the talk of change from both sides that is being tossed around, luring us into agreeing simply because it sounds sexy and fresh and new.  Will the changes being talked about really help me live a better, more independent, more productive life?

As we watch the political decisions unfold, I challenge us to be watchful and thoughtful of the changes that are discussed on both sides of the line.  Is change for the sake of change really going to help us get what we want in the end?

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Last night I felt a little something.

I went to the doctor yesterday and he asked:

“How is your back – any pain?” – No

“How are your ankles – swollen?” – No

“How’s the nausea?” – None

“Your iron is good.  Your weight is great.  You’re perfect!”  (I’m very proud of myself by now).

“Feel any kicking?” – …..ummm…..no….I don’t know how it feels so pretty much I don’t feel anything.

“If you feel something like gas bubbles or butterfly fluttering (I knew that much from a book) under your belly button.  Ahhh….enlightenment!  I needed more direction than just “gas bubbles.”  Now I knew where to look.

So, last night I lay in bed very still like he told me to and felt a few little gas bubbles.  Now, I’m still not thinking 100% that it’s the baby moving (let’s face it – it really could be gas!) but it was a funny little feeling nonetheless that made my heart skip a beat as I wondered…could that really be the baby?  It’s kind of like my own tiny secret that no one else has – just me and this little guy – in it together.

Because I’m a little older, I see the doctor every three weeks.  He says I’ll start to feel more by my next appointment.

I can’t wait for it to be enough for Jason to feel them, too.

A little bump...

A Little "Halfway Mark" Bump


Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten our winners from yesterday!  Thank you to everyone who commented about the Blog Blitz yesterday.  That was fun – I just kept thinking…Stacy Julian is brilliant!

Here are our 10 winners of the Bazzill Mono Mini album.  If you didn’t win and want one of these little guys then you’ll have to search a little because these are the tiny 2.5×2.5 size and I’m not sure if they are available any more – if you find one then let us know!

I had some trouble with the internet last night but all of your comments were there this morning so don’t be worried that yours was lost!   Here’s our list of winners:

  1. Angela W:  This is such a great idea! I would love to win a mini album!
  2. Michelle:  Ali Edward’s doing it, too! This is a movement!!
  3. heatherhockman:  This is the third…no fourth time I’ve read this, and it won’t be the last, but it’s such a cool idea. I’ll be adding it to my blog tonight! )
  4. Rita:  I found your site via Stacy’s blog and love your album. I have had a rough September with Hurricane Ike devastating so many of my friends and neighbors. I plan to put the photos I took during the last 2 1/2 weeks to document the PRESENT. Let me tell you, I never lived for every moment until the storm come on land, and then our electricity was out for 13 days. Every moment of the present is precious and valuable…….Rita in Texas
  5. Phyllis R.:  So fun! This morning it has really made me aware of what is going on around me at “the present”. Even just the sounds outside, the garbage truck, the dog chewing on her bone. Sounds silly, but that’s my life right here, right now! Thanks for doing a give away! Looking forward to your year-long class!
  6. Shaun Paddock:  Ok, I have started taking my photos now I just need a place to put them. My fingers are crossed.   PS: I am happy that I have found your blog. I will now be a regular reader.
  7. Jenny:  Hi Kolette! Was thinking about you yesterday while I was into AC Moore purchasing your gorgeous stamps!! ;) Hope your pregnancy is going well.  I’m going to snap some random photos today, and hopefully will win the little Mono mini to put them in.   Hugs,  Jenny in MAine
  8. Melissa:  Love this idea. Right now, I’m not having a hard time living in the moment since my husband just left for a year long deployment. It seems all I am doing is living from one minute to the next, but I’m counting down the time not enjoying it. I’ll be sure to take pictures of the great things I have in my life right now so I can look at it often during this challenging phase.
  9. Leauriy:  I’m loving you cover and your spin on it. Have seen Heidi Swapps, and Ali’s so far.
  10. Angel S.:  What a feeling of accomplishment to finish a whole album! :>) This would be great – love the idea.  Thanks!

Each of you email me (kolette@kolettehall.com) with your address and I’ll send you your very own “Be Present Now” album.

Thanks for sharing my life with me – yesterday was a great day.

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