Life on the creative side

Posts tagged “holidays

The 4th of July from a Brooklyn roof top

The 4th of July from a Brooklyn roof top:

the 4th from a rooftop in brooklyn


This 4th of July I spent a week  in Brooklyn with my daughter (a soon to be mother) and her husband.  We  spent the first few days of my stay  making their lovely  apartment ready for the arrival of their baby boy.


The 4th from a Brooklyn roof top


Phase one of our efforts was to move the bed into the living room – loft style.  The apartment would be a true loft, with open living, dining and kitchen space, twelve-foot ceilings, wall of windows, and reclaimed wood floors except for the odd partition added to boost it into the one bedroom rental bracket.  We then divided the partitioned space with part of it being designated closet/dressing area and the rest set up for the baby.


The 4th from a Brooklyn roof top

4th from a brookly rooftop


Then we moved on to  completing the  little odds and end jobs that tend to get put off until such an occasion as a nesting  mother-to-be: hanging mirrors and pictures, re-potting plants, cleaning baseboard  and organizing storage.


The 4th from a Brooklyn roof top

4th from a brooklyn rooftop

the 4th from a brooklyn rooftop


Little Rocco pup knows something’s up.


4th from a brooklyn rooftop



But not to worry, we  made room on our to-do list for  dining at amazing restaurants, shopping in Manhattan and visiting the Brooklyn flea, where I purchased this fabulous bag by Ryan Greer of flux productions,


the 4th from a brooklyn rooftop


and of course, fireworks over Manhattan – the 4th from a Brooklyn roof-top.


the 4th from a brooklyn rooftop

the 4th from a brooklyn rooftop



4th from a brookly rooftop

I’ve joined the party over at


Back to Basics by Baking Basic Bread

Back to basics by baking basic bread:

I hope you had a wonderful Easter, we certainly did.  Hubby and I celebrated the day of hope and promise  with our son, who is visiting for a short time before  heading off on yet  another adventure somewhere in the world.  We watched the sunrise over the ocean then later dined outside to the sound of the waves and  cooled by  a light ocean breeze.  We spent the day together as we prepared our meal as a team, hubby on the grill, me at the oven and my sweet boy  preparing the alfresco dinning area.

For some time I have been thinking about doing some bread baking, I use to enjoy baking  bread but years of  anti-carb rhetoric had taken away some of the joy; even though  bread baking is perhaps one of the oldest  life-sustaining traditions the world over.  Then a few days ago I was  visiting a favorite blog and came across a bread recipe that resonated with me. Diana Bauman over at Humble Kitchen (you can find the link on my home page under kindred spirits) shared a recipe she described as “Simple European Style Everyday Bread” –  with a title like that, who  could  resist! So for Easter dinner I prepared this beautiful, and beautifully simple, bread for my family. Inspired by the tradition and simplicity of the bread I also decided to make some home-made butter; another super simple process.

Later we gave thanks and shared our Easter  meal together on the porch and dined on steak grilled on Himalayan salt blocks, asparagus casserole, baked potatoes, warm-from-the-oven home-baked bread and freshly churned (blended) creamy white butter – yum!

Home made butter and home baked bread

Get back to basics by baking basic bread.

Making butter in my Ninja blender: Pour a pint of heavy whipping cream and a pinch of salt into a blender or food processor (I used a ninja blender) Blend until a solid clump forms and separates from the liquid (butter milk). I stopped the blending several time to push the whipped cream down into the blades; this process took several minutes.  Strain the clump through cheese cloth, shape (I used a small bowl to shape my butter into a mound but it can also be shaped into a log and gently wrapped in wax paper.  Keep  refrigerated.

 “Simple European Style Everyday Bread”    –




Collecting Moments

Cabin Christmas 2012

Collecting moments

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, we certainly did. Our cabin on the ridge was overflowing with Christmas spirit, family, friends and joy. After months of renovating the studio loft into a guest room; the  modest kitchen into my dream kitchen; and assembling enough beds and linens to accommodate an extra ten plus guests, we were finally ready to celebrate; and celebrate we did!
Cabin Christmas 2012
 I had intended to share the holiday activities and festivities with you, but I got so caught up in the moment, the season and our guests that I didn’t even pick up my computer. Before I knew it, the days of my impromptu sabbatical had passed and it was time to say good-bye to our guests, the season and 2012.
Gingerbread build-off
Today, with the moments of the season and of the past year nestled in my memories and the promise of new ones stretching into the new year, I’m inspired to make this new years challenge: seek-out,  live-in and capture the big and small, planned and unexpected moments of 2013;   So begins “A Year of collecting moments!
pappy van winkle arrives at the cabin
# 1- Gathered around a bonfire with dear friends of twenty-five+ years to
 say good-bye to one year and welcome in another. HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Friends around bonfire


Christmas Ornament Exchange

christmas ornament hand painted manger scene

Hand painted, glass, Christmas ornaments.

I love Christmas time.  Spiritually the season renews hope. Socially it revives much of humanity’s focus on peace and love.  For us creative spirits the season inspires the very act of creativity.   And finally I love the traditions: lights and decorations; Christmas trees, cookies, cards and caroling; making, giving and receiving gifts; and of course gathering together in celebration with family and friends .

christmas lights display

Last night many of favorite things about the season came together with an amazing menagerie of woman gathering for our annual Christmas ornament exchange. This get-together with my girlfriends is one of many gatherings and I look forward to it each year.  It has become my tradition to personally create the ornament I take for the exchange, and this year I was particularly pleased with my creation – a hand-painted glass globe depicting a manger scene.

christmas ornament hand painted manger scene

Other examples of my painted ornaments

hand painted glass christmas ornament folk art cabin scene

christmas ornament  hand painted glass, wedding dance

christmas ornament hand painted glass, kate in positano

christmas ornament, hand painted, tree hunt

christmas ornament, hand painted wedding dance

christmas ornament hand painted wedding dance

Christmas In The Country Back-roads Auto Tour

christmas in country back-roads tour, just what i want display

Let the season begin with a Christmas in the country back-roads auto tour!

santa by kathryn t lundberg

This year I kicked off the Christmas season by helping my sister-in-law in her lovely little shop “Just What I Want”, in Grant’s Lick, Ky. She put together a fun event for the community and local businesses, “Christmas in the Country Auto Tour”.  The event was a wonderful success with a steady stream of holiday shoppers and revelers enjoying themselves despite the cold cloudy day. The stops included a seasonal open house run by a collection of crafty women, a specialty store, a small consignment mall and Just What I want, antiques, gifts and collectibles.  Visitors had a wonderful selection of handcrafted, home-baked and vintage gifts to pick from; they also enjoyed live music, wine tasting and even pictures with reindeer (mini horses wearing antlers).

christmas in country back-roads tour, just what i want display

christmas in country back-roads tour

christmas in country back-roads tour, seven wells wine tasting

From big cities,  small towns and country back-roads, it’s the time of year to get out and celebrate our local communities. For our little community the Christmas in the Country Auto Tour, was a wonderful success and, for me, a great way to kick off the Christmas season;  I’m already looking forward to next year’s tour.

christmas in country back-roads tour just what i want

Happy Easter

easter sunrise over the ocean

Today is a good day to give thanks for the power of hope and forgiveness!

easter sunrise over the ocean


What Goes Up Before The Holidays, Must Come Down After The Holidays

ornament crafted from remnant of vintage quiltIf you’re like me you dread the after-holiday let-down and clean up.  For me, over the years the unpleasant task of taking down and packing up the season’s decorations has continued to grow, slowly diminishing the enthusiasm in which I adorn my home for the holidays. Even knowing the significance this particular Christmas would hold for my family, there was a nagging in the back of my mind, reminding me that what goes up before thepainted gourd angel ornament holidays must come down after the holidays. And sure enough after the celebrations, while I was standing on the porch still waving goodbye to the children as they left the ridge and headed back to their separate lives, I could feel the dread waiting to rush in and fill the temporary void their departure always leaves in my spirit. But this year I was surprised by my reaction to the negative feelings; instead of sadness, I felt angry.

How dare negativity slip in and try to taint such a wonderful family gathering? How could I have allowed, even fostered, a state of mind that could diminish such a special time? Standing there in the wonderland of cedar trees, poinsettia and lights we had created on my porch, I made my second New Year’s resolution – stay mindful of the toll negativity takes on my life and spirit. And believe it or not, just like that I felt lifted; the dread was gone, crowed out by joy for the season, for my family and for our time gathered together.

family portrait

Now if only I can do that again as I begin the packing process to leave Blue Antler Studio and my cabin on the ridge.

the cabin and blue antler studio


Christmas On The Bourbon Trail

christmas on the bourbon trail

I sincerely hope you and your loved ones have had as wonderful a Christmas season as I have.  For the first time we welcomed, not one but two new members of our family to a cabin Christmas on the Ridge. We had gatherings where we feasted, played games and exchanged gifts. My two new son-in-laws spent their very first Christmas with us, and I feel confident they felt welcomed, maybe a little overwhelmed, but most definitely welcomed.

the kentucky bourbon trail

As many of you already know my two daughters, Cindy and Kate, were recently married – Cindy in May of this year and Kate, May of last year – but this was the first Christmas any of them had spent with each other. Although Kate was married this time last year, she is a military wife and her new husband was deployed to Afghanistan during their first holiday as a married couple; and last year Cindy’s husband-to-be spent the holiday alone in NYC with  work obligations.

christmas trees on the front porchSo for this very special Christmas on the ridge I wanted to go all out; beginning with decorations.  Thankfully my creative brother and his equally creative wife were available to help, and together we made the cabin look amazing. When the kids finally arrived, on the day of our annual tree trimming party, they found the cabin transformed into a wonderland. Four full-sized cedar trees, cut log cabin doll house decorated for christmasfrom our land and covered in lights and a miniature wagon overflowing with poinsettia, greenery and gourds filled the porch while icicle lights dripped from both the porch and roof eves. A giant snowman singing and dancing with Christmas cheer greeted/startled our arriving guests (Ok the snowman may have been a bit too much) but the overall welcome was magical.

christmas eve dinner at the cabin 2012

 Making this holiday even more special were the gifts: One of their father’s handcrafted wine racks and one of my handmade ornaments for each of the couples and a rugged video camera perfect for our adventurous son.

handpainted first dance ornamentwind rack crafted from salvaged wooden gutters








But the most unusual gift we chose for the kids was a trip along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail! I pre-contacted each of the distillery’s we planned to visit (Woodford Reserve,  Four Roses, Wild Turkey and Buffalo Trace) to make sure they would be open on December 26th; ordered official Bourbon Trail passports for everyone; mapped out a route; rented a fifteen passenger van; packed everyone a breakfast burrito –  filled with eggs, peppers, onions, mushrooms, cheese, ham and bacon; packed a lunch of ciabata bread, cheese, prosciutto, olives and humus; coffee, hot chocolate and sugar cookies for the road.

kentucky bourbon trail passportAmazingly at 8:15 AM me and my hubby,  our daughters and their hubbies, our son, my brother and his wife and  two of my children’s life-long friends piled into the van right on schedule just to discover that the rental company had failed to secure one of the van seats.  After a twenty-minute delay and frustrated phone call to the rental company (“Sorry will not get us to our tour on time”), and an hour and half drive we were finally sipping bourbon and getting our first passport stamp at Four Roses Distilleries – yes if you do the math, we were tasting bourbon at just past ten in the morning.

bourbon tasting four roses distillery

Beautiful Spanish style architecture distinguishes this distillery from others along the trail, not to mention the special Master distiller’s select bourbon, bottled, numbered and for sale only to those that visit the historical landmark facilities. The tasting was informative and fun. While the van delay permitted us only enough time to do the tasting, which consisted of four great bourbons, we’ll definitively be returning for the full tour.

bourbon tasting wild turkey distillery

Twenty minutes down the road was our next stop, Wild Turkey Distillery. Most of the distilleries along the trail offer tours on the hour between 10am and 3pm. The tours can take up to an hour and with the driving time between them ranging from twenty minutes to more than an hour, timing is an issue. So we opted out of the tour but were still welcome to take part in a tasting, after a required viewing of an entertaining short film/Wild Turkey infomercial. This time the tasting consisted of our choice of two out of seven bourbons; and once again the host conducting the tasting was friendly and informative.

wild turkey distillery

bourbon aging warehouse at woodford reserveAfter Wild Turkey we were off to Woodford Reserve another twenty or thirty minutes away and the only distillery on the trail that my hubby and I have previously toured.  Nestled along a scenic creek flowing through the middle of idyllic, Kentucky horse farms and bluegrass pastures, sits the collection of limestone and brick structures that is Woodford reserve.  After viewing Woodford’s own brief film/infomercial, our guide, with his slow Kentucky drawl and sometimes rambling descriptions, lead us through the interesting bourbon process and the faculties that are simply beautiful. We learned that bourbon has to contain at least fifty-one percent corn and be aged in new oak-charred barrels for a minimum of two years.

woodford reserve tour

bourbon barrels at woodford reserve distillery

buffalo trace distilleryOur last stop on the trail was actually not on the trail at all; Buffalo Trace Distillery has opted out of the official Bourbon Trail marketing campaign but is still a worthy destination for Bourbon and history enthusiasts; the historic distillery was one of only three in the country that manged to stay open during prohibition by manufacturing bourbon for “medicinal purposes”. We pulled into the Trace just as the last tour of the day was departing.  Walking through the collection of brick warehouse style structures, complete with their own water tower and street signs and elevated barrel rails, was like stepping back in time, into the buffalo trace distillery tourstreets of a turn of the century town.

After sitting through yet another film, this time lasting almost ten minutes we were given a tour of the bourbon aging warehouse where racks and racks of barrels stacked several layers high created a cave like atmosphere permeated with the sweet, smoky aroma of aging bourbon. Apparently the smell is so enticing that a percentage of the bourbon is lost during this process to the “angles’ share”, although some claim it’s merely evaporation. We finished the tour with a tasting of two bourbons, some “White Dog” (freshly distilled alcohol before being transformed into bourbon) and their new cream liqueur, Bourbon Cream.  Being that is was Christmas time, the entire complex was festooned with Christmas lights and decorations creating an enchanting scene.

water tower at buffalo trace distillery

We finished the day in Lexington at Joe Bologna’s Pizzeria where we feasted on pizza pie, toasted a great day and made our first New Year’s Eve resolutions – visit the remaining distilleries along the Bourbon trail by year’s end of 2012, filling our bourbon passports!

Happy New Year!


Welcome To Our Christmas Cabin











Lights, Decorations – Party!

Isn’t Christmas time wonderful? I love everything about the season; the sappy TV specials and Christmas movie classics, as I type this post Rosemary Clooney and Bing Crosby are singing their way through White Christmas. I also love the traditions of the season; baking cookies, hanging Christmas lights and decorations, and gathering with friends and family.  Last night was one such gathering for a very special group of awsome christmas light displaymy girl friends, no men.  Well a couple of the guys were there for a while but it didn’t take long for the tide of estrogen to run them off. It was our annual bunco Christmas party and ornament exchange.

 For those of you who aren’t familiar with bunco, it’s a simple game of dice perfect for those of us who would rather laugh and visit than concentrate on strategy, while still providing a reason to get together once a month at each other’s homes.  It is our tradition that this party is hosted by the same member every year and for good reason, her husband is a Christmas decorating maniac! Driving up to their house is a sight to behold, with lights and animated decorations from curb to door. And inside the house the spirit continues.

beautiful christmas lights display

It has become my tradition to make the ornament that I take to the exchange. For the past several years I have crafted a one of a kind scherenschnitte but this year I decided to change things up a little and paint my ornament.

My hand painted ornament for this year’s ornament exchange.


 Painted ornaments from the past.

Recycling Paper Into Christmas Ornament

paper cut christmas treel, tree ornamentI love home-made Christmas ornaments and I really enjoy making them myself. In this post I’m sharing one of my favorite and easiest ornaments to make. It’s a paper Christmas tree cut from recycled paper.  I mentioned this project  in a post last year but it is such a great project I think it’s worth mentioning again, and this time I have a template for any one that would like to print it and use it for a pattern.

All you’ll need to create this beautiful Christmas decoration is a pencil, a pair of scissors, a sewing machine, some small beads and paper (old magazines pages and junk mail work great), glitter, glue stick and my pattern are optional but a creative spirit is not :)



  1. Size the pattern to desirable size and print.
  2. Collect pages from an old magazine (I look for colors that I like within the pages).
  3. Layer three pages together and cut them into a rectangle an inch larger than the tree pattern.
  4. optional – Apply glue using a glue stick to both sides of each page and sprinkle with glitter and let dry before continuing.
  5. With the three pages still layered together, and leaving a six-inch tail of thread on both ends, sew a running sitch lengthwise along the center of the layered papers, stitching them all together. 
  6. Knot the thread on the top, leaving a loop for hanging.
  7. Thread beads onto the bottom thread tail and knot off.
  8. Trace the pattern onto the top page and cut out the design through all three of the sewn pages at once or ( you can fold the pages along the stitching and trace only half the pattern onto the folded top page then cut through all six pieces of paper at one time). 
  9. Fold apart the pages.
  10. Hang on your Christmas tree.

A Christmas Parade

This time of year, all around the country people gather in parks and along streets of big cities and small towns to watch and cheer Christmas parades.  Whether big and fancy or small and homemade, local parades reflect the personality, history and heritage of their communities; tractors roll along the parade route in the midwest, wrangler’s prance on horseback in the west and in our little beach-side town we line the shore and gather on the bridges of the intracoastal waterway for our annual Christmas boat parade.

This is year twenty-four for the boat parade and, after many years of watching from the shore, my first year as a twinkling, floating, celebration of the season.nsb christmas boat parade







There must have been some Christmas magic that moved through a small circle of my friends, the day before the parade, that made us decide this was the year we would finally stop talking about participating and start decorating a Christmas boat. So with a two o’clock entry deadline looming, we split up; some off to register the boat and others scurrying away in search of decorations and inspiration.

NSB Christmas Boat Parade

 And at five thirty the next evening we were lined up at marker 53 along with thirty plus boats, all dripping with Christmas lights and good cheer.


 Drifting at five knots we spent the next hour and half yelling back Merry Christmas to the shadowy crowds lining the dark shore.

There was of course judging, with cash prizes! But of course we didn’t win; not  a prize or even a place in the ranking, but the fun and comradery of the day was reward enough. 

NSB Christmas Boat Parade

nsb boat parade

NSB Christmas Boat Parade

 NSB Christmas Boat Parade

 So I suggest that this year you go out and watch a local parade; or even better yet – enter one!

Let The Season Begin – With Old Fashioned Candy!

During Lisa’s last visit to the Ridge and Blue Antler Studio, we joined my mom and sisters on their annual Christmas Church Bazaar shopping trip that for them signals the start of  the giving season.

Creative kindred spirits filled three stories of two different churches! I’m a little ashamed to admit that it was the first church, Christmas craft show I have been to in many years; not much has changed. There were the standard needle crafts, canned and baked goodies and beaded jewelry; but what I remember most fondly about a church bazaar, that wonderful sense of community, creativity and positive energy, was even stronger than I recalled.

As we made our way through the rooms of crafts, we were greeted as friends by women of all ages, and an occasional brave man. The woman freely shared their recipes, stories and sources with us.  My mom, a life-long quilter, talked shop with fellow quilters; my sister purchased a necklace then briefly struggled with buyer’s remorse when one floor down she found another that she admired equally.  I took home a beautiful crocheted afghan in vivid colors and collectively we took home  delicious baked goods, home canned pickles and some great ideas.  Lisa took a way from her first church bazaar, her first taste of potato candy and the recipe.

When I was a little girl my grandma Jane would  make this delicious treat for her twenty plus grandchildren. Tie on a apron and try making this simple treat, and while rolling out the dough think of grandma, yours and mine.

Recipeold fashioned potato candy

Potato Candylike Grandma Jane use to make

1 large potato

1 lb bag of confectioner sugar + or – (Grandma Jane would tell you that some potatoes are bigger than others)

Peanut butter (a small jar will do)

Dash of vanilla – optional


Peel, slice and boil potato until it is tender

Drain and mash the boiled potato thoroughly

(If you are adding vanilla add it now)

Add confectioner sugar a handful at a time until it forms a stiff ball (some folks sift the sugar but I’m pretty sure Grandma Jane never did)

Roll out the dough to about ¼ thick – using enough confectioner sugar (top and bottom) to prevent it from sticking (add more sugar to dough if necessary)

Spread a layer of peanut butter over the rolled out dough – just go with what feels right here

Roll up dough into a log and cut in half

Wrap each log in wax paper and chill before slicing into ½ inch pieces

Serve chilled

Not into peanut butter? Simply roll the dough into little balls and dust with – what else? Confectioner sugar!

grandpa john and grandma jane turner

Grandpa John and Grandma Jane as they welcomed the grandkids, outside their home, back up in the country

Happy Thanksgiving






Special Event For Our Wounded Warriors

Once again Blue Antler Studio will be participating in an event we very much believe in, Wounded Warrior Outdoors,,  provides outdoor adventures for soldiers that have given so much for the protection of our freedom. There is a fundraiser, Cocktails For A Cause, tonight, February 24th, and we’re donating a special Santa for the silent auction. The sitting, mantel Santa is dressed in long johns and checkered britches, cut from an old pair of my hubby’s pants from his Colorado wrangler days. This Santa has an American flag and the remnant of an old crazy quilt draped over his shoulders, an embroidered burlap sack on his back and both arms full of toys. We will be thrilled to have this very special Santa in a home that supports our brave heroes.

Christmas at Blue Antler Studio


Snowy Christmas 2010

It has been a great Christmas season here at Blue Antler Studio. A beautiful blanket of snow painted a Currier and Ives image over the ridge. The early snow fall brought with it an enhanced spirit of the season as well as enough building material for my son to construct an enormous igloo in the back field, much to the delight of our ridge neighbors that stopped by, young and old, to crawl inside and snap some photos.

The snow also made for great wildlife viewing. Birds fluttered around the bird feeders adding splashes of red, blue and grays to the white scene. We’ve watched deer as they wonder through the hushed forest just beyond the yard. A large tom turkey, along with a dozen or so hens and adolescents, entertained us one morning as they scratched about in the field out front.

 Fortunately the snow didn’t prevent our family, friends and neighbors from joining us at our annual tree trimming party. In fact this year the cabin was filled to capacity with kindred spirits and gleeful children all in the holiday mood. As is tradition we served chili with spaghetti and grilled cheese sandwiches, oyster stew and an assortment of homemade goodies; sugar cookies, fudge, peanut brittle, mulled cider and more. Children decorated the lower part of the large prickly cedar, which we cut here on the ridge, while the adults filled in the top branches with the handcrafted ornaments donated over the years by our party guests.  Finally with the lighting of the tree, blue lights of course, Christmas officially arrived at Blue Antler Studio.

 We hope you will take the time to nourish your spirit during this season and throughout the year.


Pink Holiday Fun!

Blue Antler Studio participated in a wonderful holiday event in support of breast cancer research.  The event took place Friday December 17, at the Hinnant Family Vineyard  in Pine Level, NC.  Kate White, of KW Event Productions, , Clayton, NC volunteered her time and creativity to sponsor and host the event.  Blue Antler Studio donated several items to the silent auction as did numerous artists and local businesses. There was wine, music, ambience, art and lots and lots of fun.  It was a great way to celebrate the season while supporting  a very important cause. Check out some pictures of the event taken by local photographer Hilary Mercer


Handmade Recycled Paper Ornaments

 A few years ago, during her after Christmas bargain search, Lisa found a beautiful white feather tree. Although she saw potential in its snowy white branches, it languished in her closet until this year.  Then something told her it was time to make the tall, slender tree a part of her Christmas display. So she dug it out and sat it on her kitchen island and waited for it to reveal to her how it wanted to be adorned. If inanimate objects can be kindred spirits surely this tree must be one because, true to Lisa’s spirit, she saw it draped in vintage pom- pom garland and paper tree ornaments crafted from the recycled pages of her favorite magazines.