Keep Calm and Paint Happy Trees

Whenever I do chores–cooking, mopping, vacuuming (in case you don’t know what a chore is)– I like to entertain myself.  It keeps me motivated.  Like when I’m cooking, I also almost always watch a TV show on my iPad (alliteration!).   And when I’m doing something that requires me moving around the house, I’ll listen to an NPR show on my iPhone.  This actually kind of makes me look forward to the chore.

Well, I just finished mopping, and while doing so I  listened to a really interesting/ awesome Radiolab podcast about rabies–Rodney Versus Death.  I would highly recommend that particular Short (they call their podcasts “Shorts”).  And something else awesome about it, was that it lasted the exact amount of time I needed  it to; it ended while I was pouring out my dirty mop water.

And speaking of Radiolab, I had my 5 seconds of fame by reading the credits at the end of another Short–Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl.  Listen to the whole thing, and then you’ll hear, “This is Laura Maxwell from Dallas, TX. Radiolab is supported by……” So, if you have a chore to do or somewhere you need to drive in your car–or perhaps you need to exercise– you should download or stream one or both of those podcasts to listen to while doing so.

In other news, I had something encouraging happen yesterday.  I got an email from Society 6 saying my Pirate Peril art print had been selected to be in their print shop.

So this is what that means. With Society 6, anybody can create a profile and sell their artwork from their profile page (like this is mine).  But there is also just the regular website, where you can sift through tons of artists’ work to buy prints, bags, pillows etc.  They select the works that will be in this shop–just the ones they think have a good chance of selling, I suppose.  And now one of my drawings is apart of it.   So you can buy any of my drawings by just going to my personal shop, and now the above drawing is also available in the official Society 6 shop.  So that’s nice and encouraging to me 🙂  Thanks Caroline, for commissioning this!

(Sorry, being a teacher I am used to saying the same thing multiple times in different ways.  That’s what just happened in the above paragraph.)

Now, I want to do more awesome drawings that will be selected.  But I also need to remember.

I don’t not need to be obsessed with what people think about what I draw, I just need to do it because I like to.

And one more for the road.


Magical and Majestic

Some days, I feel restless sitting at home all day and doing nothing.  It feels wrong.  But today, it just feels right   Because..

  1. It has been raining and is still overcast.  A cozy day.
  2. Its a day off from school, so I’m supposed to be resting.
  3. I have a pretty bad cold.  Not terrible, but pretty bad.

So today I am going to rest and do nothing.  And by “nothing” I mean read, watch TV, draw, look at Pinterest, maybe even start knitting something.  Anything that requires sitting and not putting forth too much effort.

Sounds marvelous doesn’t it?

Something else that is marvelous is my current Desktop picture.


It was taken on the Isle of Skye in Scotland, when Ryan and I were there in August. The majestic Cuillin Hills. I try to “x” out of all my windows when I finish using my computer, so that the next time I sit down in front of it, its like “BAM.” Beauty. That’s what it was like a few minutes ago, when I sat down to write this blog post. BAM.

That little path on the bottom of the picture led us to the fairy pools, which is a beautiful series of waterfalls.
Man, I feel so blessed that we got to go there. On the Isle of Skye, you half expect to bump into a hobbit or centaur or some other magical creature.  It a majestic, magical landscape.

This book just came in the mail.

I ordered it when we got back from our trip, but it just got to me a couple of days ago. Maybe that will be part of the “nothing” I do today–start that book.

Man, I have a lot of nothing to do, better get on it.

Scotland Rundown

Back at Heathrow airport, waiting for a plane that will take us back to Dallas. It was such a good trip, we had a great time, but it will also be nice to be home. It’s good to have balances in life like that–it’s nice to leave and nice to get back.

Another good balance we had in our trip was the city to countryside ratio. Our first couple nights were spent in Glasgow. We had a fun time being shown around by Will and Bailey.



Then Ryan and I took a train to the beautiful and enchanting Isle of Skye and explored around there a couple of days.



Then back to Glasgow for one more night with Will and Bailey, plus some amazing Indian food.

That above picture is on the Subway. Ryan is hidden behind his massive backpack.

It was a really fun trip and a great visit with Will and Bailey. Soon I’ll put up tons more pictures in a Facebook album, so get excited.

Pretty soon it’s back to the real world… But that world is good as well.

A Painting

For Christmas a couple of years ago Ryan bought me some blank canvases in various sizes. Since then they have been collecting dust–first in Denton and now Dallas dust. Well I had some free time Friday afternoon, so I decided to try painting one of them. No agenda, just start painting and see what happens. I used acrylic paint in the primary colors, which I had gotten as a free sample(you get lots of fun free samples as an art teacher).

This is how she ended up.


And this is where she lives now, on our gallery wall.


It was fun. I should do it again.

And you should too.

Lovely and Interesting Things

Oh my goodness it has been awhile. But here I now sit next to my husbee at The Pearl Cup. Sitting at coffee shops usually inspires me to post.

My first week back at school has been a little bit of a rollercoster. But we don’t need to get into that now. Instead, lets rewind to Christmas.

For Christmas this year Ryan and I decided to get each other art prints. We both enjoy discovering and collecting art. Originals are pretty pricey, but prints are affordable. Matted and framed they are very lovely. I picked this one out for Ryan.

It’s called Winter by artist/illustrator Sandra Dieckmann. It reminds me of a song by Sufjan Stevens (a musical artist beloved by Ryan and I) called “Sister Winter.”

Ryan got me a print of this painting.
This is called Lucy Waits for the Sun by Amanda Blake

The previous Christmas he bought me a print of Nigel and Lily Embracing at Sea, by the same artist.

An artwork’s title is often intriguing. Sometimes it makes an artwork even more enigmatic, but other times it helps you understand and like it better. Take this art print we have hanging in our entryway by one of Ryan’s favorite artists,Joe Sorren.

It’s called My Aim is True.

I feel like that title helps me understand and appreciate the artwork more.

I love covering our walls with lovely and interesting things. I also love using the word “enigmatic” successfully in a sentence.


Well, I have been feeling pretty yucky for the past 24 hours. Ryan and I had to leave early from a perfectly-fine-Christmas-time with his family last night because of it.

Today I have just been laying around in my PJs. Here is what has kept me company.

The ever-entertaining Pinterest. And it’s not just time wasted–I get most of my lesson ideas from Pinterest.

Cheesy Christmas movies on Netflix.

Awesome Christmas movies. Makes me cry everytime (I don’t think Ryan noticed).

These cuties.

And the love of my life who also happens to be a nurse (bonus!). I can hear him emptying the dishwasher right now . . .

I did attempt to read, so I wouldn’t feel like a total bum. But I got tired.

And I’m getting tired right now writing this post.

So I think I’ll stop.


It’s beginning to look at lot like . . .

Yep, Christmas. You guessed it. The Maxwell house is getting ready for Christmas.

We got home from our fabuloso Thanksgiving feast at my parents’ house . . .

(picture stolen from my Mom’s blog)

. . . and I almost immediately went to the garage to get our Christmas box. I didn’t want to sit down and loose my momentum. And yes, it is just a box. So all in all, it probably took only about on hour or less for me to put all our decorations up. But I still very much enjoyed that hour. So here is a little tour . . .

We don’t have a fireplace and so our stockings are adorning our kitchen bar this year. I still haven’t gotten around to purchasing stools for this bar, so it works out.

A special, simple nativity scene

These noble reindeer were a house warming gift from Ryan’s grandparents.

Some more special gifts. The “Maxwell” wreath was made for us by my cousin, Elizabeth. And those beautiful white boxes were a birthday gift from my grandmother. They reminded me of snowy, precious Christmas gifts.

All together now

Olive, posing with some Christmas trees.

Two nutcrackers flank our TV. This one is my favorite. Probably one of my best thrift store finds.

The crazy-king-one. This one is Ryan’s favorite.

A happy snowman to greet you in the guest bathroom.

Farmer Santa hanging out on our dresser.

Some Christmas cheer in our study (you can always get creative with Santa hats).

Santa just chillaxing. After a hard day of farming maybe . . .

And that about does it. Of course we still need a tree. We haven’t gotten one of those yet (we prefer the live variety, though I have nothing against fake ones).

Once we get our tree, I’m sure you’ll hear about it.


The art I have been working on most recently is our new house. (These pictures aren’t the best quality – taken on my iPhone)

Painting this piece of furniture yellow made me want to paint our living room gray. And someday we will figure out how to attach that cabinet door . . .

Our bedroom is green and woodsy. You can see some laundry I still need to put away peeking in on the bottom right . . .

The beginning of our gallery wall. We want to fill it up with interesting things.

Since our living room is a somber gray, I wanted the kitchen to be more bright. (I am currently sitting in that chair in front of that black MacBook)

Our office/study is the latest room to come together. It’s also Scobi’s room (see if you can find his litter box and his food bowl). I’m now obsessed with this eggplant color.

And this is our lovely guestroom. It comes with an escape route.

Queenie likes the new house (as do her five sisters). We were hanging out this morning on our deck with our coffee. Still no eggs, but they should be coming soon. It’s about time these ladies start earning their keep.

So there’s that. What do you think?


It’s about time I say something on this little blog o’ mine. It’s been a little while, and a whole lotta things have been going on. Like being offered an art teaching position (which I accepted). Like buying a house. Like moving into said house. Plus not having internet until last week. All of that equals a whole lotta not-blogging.

Things we have been up too…

Turning our living room from this …

… into this.

Our chickens have settled in nicely in our backyard.

And before all of that happened, my new/old neighbor* and I transformed this wonderful piece of furniture.

Never would I have embarked on such a project without her encouragement/know-how. It looks nice now though, dontcha think? (Still have to attach that cabinet door and some handles)

Unpacking/nesting is a never-ending task so I should probably get back on that.

[*She is both new and old because she moved next door to us in Denton right before we moved away. Lame.]