Amy Artisan

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Seasons Change…

…since last this blog saw much action, many things have been happening…and as the seasons changed from winter to spring, there is a definite season of change around here…The last week of March, I moved home to the Ville!

Last August, I decided that the time had come to get back home to Georgia and when I renewed my lease I was able to go with a shorter term lease and began planning to leave PA by the end of March. As 2018 progressed, I started working through my move plan – while also pursuing a new role in the company that would have allowed me to be based anywhere. By the middle of March, this role got caught in some company hiring constraints and since my previous role had been ended, it was time for me to exit the company after 6 1/2 years. March was a whirlwind of a month. Mother Nature provided plenty of entertainment with four nor’easters. On the home front, furniture and home goods donations were being gathered and picked up. Packing was happening. Movers were being finalized.

I did most of the packing. The best money I spent in move prep was bringing in Wendy from Gingerly Packed to spend a couple of hours packing up my kitchen and dining/entertaining wares. In seemingly no time at all, she had emptied all the cabinets and drawers and china cabinets and had everything securely packed into dish packs and other boxes.

Before I knew it, I was packing up my desk where this “Embrace Change” art had been a smart reminder of the work that I led. Farewells were said. A final happy hour with office friends.

After a final fast paced weekend of packing, my moving team arrived around 9AM on Monday and quickly had everything loaded into the truck. By noon they were pulling out of the apartment complex to head down here to Georgia (and they had unloaded everything into my storage unit here by 5:30 on Tuesday afternoon). While I was mentally ready to hit the road, I had to “stay back” to finish closing out the apartment with the thorough cleaning & carpet cleaning on Tuesday & final walk through on Wednesday morning.

“Finally” just before 11AM on Wednesday, I pulled out of my Pennsylvania carport one final time and started my southward trek home. While the skies threatened rain for several hours, thankfully it was a mostly dry drive on Wednesday. While I wanted to just drive straight through, I knew that I needed to stop along the way. So as the sun was setting, I reluctantly pulled into a hotel outside of Charlotte for the night.  By lunchtime on Thursday, I had passed these signs and was pulling into the driveway, home in the Ville.

By lunchtime on Thursday, I was pulling into the driveway here in the Ville and ready to begin this next chapter of life. I’m home. I’m decompressing from an intense couple of years as I look ahead to what’s next with work. Catching up on sleep. Reading. Enjoying being home with Mom & Rebecca. Planning. Returning to the artisan side of life.

Recently Read…catching up on 2018

A long overdue reading update…according to Goodreads I’ve been running behind schedule on my 2018 reading goals  – but there are still plenty of days in the year & I’m confident that I’ll reach my goal before the end of the year. Evidently I haven’t shared any reads in this “new” year. Looking over the first quarter of this year, these are the highlights of my bookshelf:

  • The Great Halifax Explosion by John U. Bacon –  I first heard about this last fall on NPR while driving to work one morning. This falls into my excellent narrative nonfiction bucket – I learned so much while reading this – both about the history/evolution of Halifax and then the improbable events that brought about the epic explosion in the harbor in 1917 & the disaster relief & rebuilding. So many things that I had never heard about before.
  • Doc by Mary Doria Russell – A “what if…” story about Doc Holiday that shows how the friendship with Wyatt Earp came to be. This was a fun read – the Holiday House in the Ville is tied to Doc’s family and there were some local Georgia references in his childhood story.
  • Flight of Dreams by Ariel Lawhon – A “what if…” story about the final voyage of the Hindenburg dirigible – imagining storylines of the passengers and crew on that trip that came together to the moment that the blimp exploded as it was preparing to land in New Jersey.
  • The Woman Who Smashed Codes: A True Story of Love, Spies, and the Unlikely Heroine Who Outwitted America’s Enemies by Jason Fagone –  The fascinating story of Elizebeth Friedman – who was instrumental in developing the cryptology field in the US with her husband – and a woman whose code-breaking work largely went unrecognized for decades. Another well written narrative nonfiction – filled with so many details about the works she did and the lasting impacts that work has on the country.
  • The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine – A fast paced read that tells the story of a woman coveting a wealthy wife/mother and the scheme that she undertakes to move into that woman’s life…and of course there are some secrets that could ruin the plan. A popcorn read that has been getting a lot of social media play – but worth a read.
  • The Café by the Sea by Jenny Colgan –  I find that Jenny Colgan books are a “go to” for me when I want fun reads that are just a bit light but not too fluffy. A far northern Scottish isle is the setting for this story about a woman who is forced to return home to this isolated island to help her law firm’s big American client. Along the way, she takes stock of her life and why she left and how she can help the locals find a solution for the American client seeming to take over the island. A cute story and I’ll look to read the next story in the series once it is available.
  • The Tuscan Child by Rhys Bowen – A “back and forth” story set in WWII Italy and England/Italy in the 1970s. A woman chooses to go to Italy to track down the story of her father’s time there when his plane was shot down during the war. A good story by the author of last year’s WWII tale, In Farleigh Field.

My reading game is strong in April and there will be plenty of reads to share next month. What are you reading these days? 


Linking up with Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy for Quick Lit and Show Us Your Books hosted by Stephanie & Jana.

Three Things…Airport Scenes

I had a business trip to Norman, OK this week so I was flying in and out of the Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City. For this Thursday, I’m sharing three art views from my travels through the airport.

Of course, the Will Rogers World Airport would have a statue of Oklahoma’s Native Son on his horse, Teddy. This is out front as I walked to the rental car shuttle.

Today’s early morning departure included a bit of Chihuly as I walked from the post-security “recompose area” to my gate.

And finally, a bit of nature’s art – a gorgeous view of the sun coming up over the horizon as we taxied to takeoff.

Linking up with Carole and Kat for Three on Thursday.

Saving Winter…2018

It’s time once again to check in on the things – big and small – that are saving winter for me as the season progresses.  Today is the halfway mark on this winter season. Some years, these items seem more necessary than others because of what the winter holds. This year, so far, the winter weather hasn’t been too bad – timehop helps keep the season in perspective when it shows me my posts about extreme temps and/or snow.

In no particular order, here are the highlights that are helping this winter for me:

  • A morning cuppa: COFFEE – Instead of making my coffee “to go” each morning, I’m enjoying my coffee at home while getting ready each morning – favorite pottery mugs + a scoop of collagen (& maybe a splash of hazelnut nutpods creamer) is bringing some tranquility to each morning.
  • An evening cuppa: TEA – Most evenings include another pottery mug, this time filled with a soothing decaf tea to help the day unwind. Tazo Sweet Orange is one of my long time favorites (ever since it was a nightly pickup from Starbucks while heading back to the hotel on a project in 2006). Some nights are a bit minty with a Candy Cane Lane green decaf. And a new  tea in the rotation is the Tazo Glazed Lemon Loaf – it needs no sweetening to provide a  dessert-like experience that indeed does taste like a slice of lemon loaf cake with vanilla frosting.
  • Lights on the mantel – The lighted garland that was pulled out for simple Christmas decor is remaining on the mantel for the time being to provide a warm glow (and hygge) in the evening.
  • Amaryllis bulbs – As I’ve already shared, Amaryllis Watch 2018 has been fun…there is something special about seeing blooms emerge in the stark winter days.
  • Cutie Clementines – A sweet spot of sunshine for snacking at work during the week. And wrapping up this most recent Whole30 reset, these cuties taste even sweeter.
  • Weekly food prep – Spending a bit of time on the weekends making up some key components (roasted veggies and meats) and sometimes complete entrees means that tasty meals quickly come together during the week. My Instagram feed shows that skillet suppers are a frequent occurrence around here.
  • A luxurious cleansing balm & the ritual of cleansing my face – Since picking up the deMamiel Altitude Oil last fall I’ve since started using their Restorative Cleansing Balm. I’ve turned it into a bit of a spa ritual – when I turn on my shower, I then massage the balm into my face before stepping into the shower. As I wash my hair, the balm “does its thing” on my face – then I hold a steamy washcloth over my face for a minute before wiping off the balm.
  • An “old fashion” foot warmer – My “preparing for bed” routine feels like it has a bit of Little House on the Prairie in it now – I ordered a fleece covered, rice-filled heating wrap to start the year and nightly I warm it up & then slip it between the sheets at the foot of my bed.
  • A cozy house sweater – I picked up this “clay red” color sweater on sale from Life is Good and wow, it is the perfect top layer for around the house. It’s not a color normally in my wardrobe – but the mismatch is outmatched by the comfort factor. It is so soft (even after a trip through the washer/dryer) – the sleeves are extra long – the waterfall front make it easy to wrap up in it.
  • Moisturizing every time I wash my hands at home – Nights, weekends, snow days…I’ve established a habit of putting on a bit of facial moisturizer every time I’m washing my hands at my bathroom sink. (And of course, slathering hands in lotion, too.)
  • Citrus and evergreen oils in the diffuser – More often than not, my living room diffuser has some combination of citrus (tangerine, orange, lemon) and/or evergreen (cypress, siberian fir) essential oils. Sometimes, also a drop of cinnamon or cardamom.

What things, big or small, are saving your winter days?

(Here are insights into previous winter helps: 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017)

On this midpoint of winter, once again prompted to share these winter saviors by Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy.


Ah, JANUARY…a month filled with…snow and bitter cold days…and rain and warmer days…a new word for the year…a nutrition reset…and lots of “offline” activity that can’t yet be shared…In the midst of it all, these are the things that filled my days…


Reading…a few fictions to start the year, Young Jane Young and The Alice Network. I’m currently in the midst of our cryptographic history with The Woman Who Smashed Codes: A True Story of Love, Spies, and the Unlikely Heroine Who Outwitted America’s Enemies. As the year is underway, I also have a couple of daily devotional readings in flight.

Blooming…enjoying Amaryllis Watch 2018 as my two bulbs have been doing their thing…and it looks like I might get a few more blooms out of them, still…

Blogging…One way I’m channeling my one word is by focusing on my blog more than I have in a long time. Beyond not only writing but publishing more posts, I also spent some time refreshing things around here – a new layout, a category cloud, my Instagram feed and more.

Hibernating…thankful for the opportunity to work from home on winter weather days…

WatchingThe Coronation “sit down” with Queen Elizabeth was a delightful program filled with all sorts of fun trivia tidbits…continuing with the royal theme, the return of “Victoria” on Masterpiece makes for good viewing, too…thoroughly enjoying the new Ann Curry storytelling that is We’ll Meet Again on PBS…

Streaming…finally watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and laughing throughout…Hunted was a good thriller series…thoroughly enjoyed Ms. Sloane and Florence Foster Jenkins…

Tidying…2 Green Drop pickups scheduled in the month were a prompt to continue tidying/konmar-ing/purging the excess within my house. With each new pick-up, it feels better and better to be clearing out the clutter…more pickups are planned for the coming weeks…

Some of the tasty Whole30 food prep and meals from the month

Resetting…Successfully completing a January Whole30 reset and now in the “reintroduction” phase. Skillet suppers were a key to success for the month and are something I see continuing for meals going forward. There are still more posts to share, but along the way this month I shared a great way to slow roast tomatoes, some of my simple skillets, and some of the food prep that helps me stay on track.

Looking ahead to February…a work trip to Oklahoma to start the month…taking a few moments to send “Happy Hearts Day” notes to dear ones…taking the time to do a “real” introduction to see what post-Whole30 foods may need to be reconsidered…continued progress on the “offline activity” that has yet to be shared…

What filled your JANUARY days?

Linking up with Leigh Kramer for What I’m Into. And also linking up with Kristen for What’s New with You? 

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