Thursday, August 30, 2012

Images that Conjour Song Lyrics

"it's going to be a bright..bright...sun shiny day!"
                                                                                                              copyright 2012 Stepka

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Looking at your past...pedaling fast toward your future

Saw a blip on Hoda and Kathy Lee (Today Show) this morning that struck home.

It was a segment with 3 women talking about making major changes in their lives (use to be called midlife crisis I believe) and the one element that ran true for each was their taking up an occupation or interest that had sparked interest and creativity in their childhoods.
For me, it is photography and enjoying nature and the outdoors...and I have got the bug to get out the oil paints once again...later.

They always say to go into an occupation one loves ...but how many of us actually can make a living at it? 
Now that jobs are so scarce, and any job you do get could blow away in the wind at any time, people are looking at what made them happy and revisiting what they could do with that interest.  Even if it just adds to a regular job's income, you are doing what you enjoy, being creative, being your own boss.  The joy doing that "thing" says and means a lot. And who knows where it could lead in the future. 

All the women on the segment, said yes, there is a lot of fear of failure involved if you want to try to pursue and actual career in your chosen interest...then again, time is flying past.  Take the bull by it's horns, so to speak.  No time like the present.  Forget the should of, could of, would of speech.  Now is what matters.

                                                                                                        copyright 2012 Stepka

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

"Ohio Widower paints the town..."

Watching the news can be quite depressing.  But sometimes you hit upon a really good feeling one like the one I saw on CBS Sunday Morning News the other day. 
Here is one person making a difference and inspire others to do the same.

...Routines are boring?...Paint a house -  make that 17 plus!

It's these kind of stories that inspire and shame you at the same time...into getting you butt in gear and get busy with life.  Something exciting can be right around the corner.

This story was originally published on May 4, 2012 and was updated on August 10, 2012

(CBS News) GLOUSTER, Ohio - Earlier this summer, "On the Road" introduced you to a man who decided to spruce up his community -- by painting everything in sight. Well, the idea has really caught on, so we went back to lay on a second coat of paint.

After Jim Cotter last his wife last year, he set out to paint the town. But, don't judge him too harshly for that -- not until you hear the rest of the story.

"I miss her," he told CBS News. "And this just gives me something that keeps me from missing her more."

The town Jim set out to paint is Glouster, Ohio, population 2,000. Once a thriving coal community, it's been peeling - and unappealing - for years.

"It's become dilapidated," Cotter said.
Cotter says he's always wished someone would fix it up, and so after his wife died, he decided to be that someone.

"I can do something about the town. We'll paint it," he said. "The whole town."

Learn more and find out how to help at

He started with a fire hydrant, moved down the road to the guardrail and then hit a home stretch.

Cotter painted house after house, business after business - all for free.

Bonny Shifflet owns the newly painted Bonnie's Restaurant. She says she cried when she saw her business. "I tell you, it did something to me," she said.

"It's just amazing what a little bit of paint will do," Cotter said. "It changes people's hearts."

It also inspires them to join in. Over the last few months, volunteers have been coming out of the woodwork to paint the woodwork and help Cotter reach his goal. "It's just gone like topsy," Cotter said.

Today, you can't walk more than a couple blocks in Glouster without finding someone painting something. Even the high school kids have been Tom Sawyer-ed into helping.

Not a painter? Not a problem. Jim has found a way for pretty much everyone one to contribute. And again, these are all volunteers donating their own time and often their own materials to work on buildings that aren't even their own. "We're getting something out of it because it makes us feel better about our town," one volunteer said.

"It's just what a community ought to do," Cotter said.

After our first story aired in May, some people watching were so impressed with Jim and the transformation he's inspiring, that they began making pilgrimages to Glouster -- some from other states - all wanting to be part of it.

Last month, 260 people showed up in one day alone.
Together they painted 17 houses, helping Jim get that much to his ultimate goal of painting the whole town -- and inspiring other towns to take on their own, seemingly impossible tasks.
"You just have to get off your rear end and get it done," Cotter said. "Don't wait on the government. Don't wait on a grant. And don't wait on money. You've got to do it. And that's the key."
Jim and his volunteers had already painted more than 20 houses even before the influx, making their community a brighter place to live. The latest boost, as much as anything, has given Jim Cotter a fresh coat of purpose.

If you'd like to donate to the folks in Glouster, checks can be made out to 'Glouster Volunteers' and sent to this address:
Glouster Volunteers
c/o Jody Moore
134 Allen Road
Glouster, OH 45732

To contact On the Road, or to send us a story idea

Heres the video...enjoy.
Ohil Widower Paints the Town

Monday, August 27, 2012

Dancing over Cow Pies

I admit it….I do have one ‘reality’ show on tv I do enjoy.
Dancing with the Stars.
Thus stated… personally, I am a klutz when it comes to any type of smooth repetitive motion.

Tall by 1970’s standards, my high school gym teacher thought I would be perfect on the basketball court.
I tried to warn her. After about the 3rd fumble / stumble / debacle, she let go of that dream.
Remember line dancing? Many years ago I feebly attempted that sport at a pseudo cowboy bar. Disaster.

Recently I tried beginning Zumba at the gym. To those few who have not heard of this routine, well, it takes coordination and getting the feet to move back and forth smoothly in repetitive dance motions.
Na da.

So why was it then, that in my youth, I was able to dance over frozen cow pies in the barn yard and fields so well?

Not only could I easily maneuver over and around them, I practically danced over them. Running out to bring in the cows on a frosty, pitch black evening, with only the glint of the snow providing light, I transversed over cow pie hill and vale with the ease of a ballerina on a caffeine high.

Cow pie dancing. Nope. Don’t think that will ever catch on.
Good exercise though.

                                                                                                              copyright 2012 Stepka

Friday, August 24, 2012

Routines are Boring

My cat Fitz has been doing a weird dance lately.
He is being very vocal in the morning and Instead of him leading me down the stairs as usual the past few mornings (best since I could very well trip him up in my morning stupor down the stairs) he lets me start down, then jumps ahead on the last few steps.  The weird thing… he now with great intent, steps lightly to the far left side of the last two steps and then leaps to the floor, runs around the corner, jumps on top of the coffee table, careens off and then heads towards his dishes nonchalantly.
It’s just that this is a new routine I have never seen him do before in the 8 years since we have cohabitated together.
Do cats get bored and just have to change the routine once in a while….like every 8 years?
Is there something on or under those last 2 steps that causes him to sidestep ever so deliberately to the side now…and run away.  What can’t the human eyes see or human nose smell?
Or is it just he has had enough of the same, oh, boring routine of going down the stairs in the morning and has decided to break the monotony and give his mom a head trip?
I really think the latter.
Maybe there is something to learn here from good old’ Fitz.

Even though I have been studiously working on my card lines, I feel like I am in a rut.

At work…same old, same old…then home, flop on the couch and that is pretty much it for the evening, unless I work on the cards.
Days off, routine is feed Fitz, coffee, watch unsettling and boring news programs, gym, thrift shops, errands, work on cards, go to printer if needed….and boy does the day fly by.  If I get in my hammock for a half hour, that would be a definite break in routine. 
Even having fun writing for this blog and taking photos for the heck of it have gone off kilter. 

So maybe I just need to get up tomorrow morning, follow Fitz down the stairs, sidestep to the left on the last two steps and run around the corner.
I will jump up next to the coffee table (definitely not on)…and watch Fitz’s eyes pop out of the sockets wondering what the heck has caused mom to freak out.
His fault.
Routines are boring.
Have to shake it up.
                                                                                      copyright 2012 Stepka

Monday, August 20, 2012

I'll Take Both

I've seen this jeep around town and loved the simplicity and the bright yellow wheels. 
Always loved this house too with all the beautiful ivy and brick.
Here they were both together.  Lovely, with just the right amount of funkiness.
I'll take both.
                                                                                        copyright 2012 Stepka

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Dog Terrified of Low Fat Lamb Jerkey Video

Oh, My.
You kinda wonder what really is in this jerkey to make this doggie respond to it's smell the way he does.
Then again...since I have been watching my weight, why eat low fat when you can actually enjoy eating regular food, but in smaller amounts?
Poor pup wants the real thing...even if it might be a morsel instead of a hunk.
I can relate.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

In Store Now....Midnight Sun, Healdsburg, CA

Amazing how everything takes soooo much more time than expected. 
My cards are now in a shop in Healdsburg, CA, the heart of Sonoma Wine Country.
The shop is called Midnight Sun and has been a staple in the plaza shopping district for years and years.  Shelley, the owner is a great gal with a shop full of fun home accessories and gifts, jewelry, beautiful bedding, sleepwear and even great baby and toddler clothes and specialties...and now Farm Girl Studios cards.

No the photo above is not from the shop...but my studio.  You don't want to see the absolute mess just out of range of this photo that resulted in finally getting this spinner together full of cards.

Online shop?  Still in the mix...but as I said....everything is taking much longer to pull together.  It will  happen. It will consist of my card lines, fun vintage, and some new goodies I love.

Organization is my next priority so I can set everything in its place and get the creating end of the business running smoothly.

                                                                                                 copyright 2012 Stepka

Monday, August 13, 2012

Early Morning Light

                                                                          copyright 2012 Stepka

Thursday, August 9, 2012

They're Hereeeeee....

Cards from the printer.  Ready for me to dive into, sparkle on a little magic on some - others ready to fold, add envelope and sleeve.
So long in coming.
Much left to do.
One of the reasons I have not been posting much lately.

This is only the beginning.

                                                                                        copyright 2012 Stepka

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Monday, August 6, 2012

Axel...The Junk Yard Dog - Artefact Design and Salvage

                                                                                      copyright 2012 Stepka

A few months back I had posted a little piece on Axel who loves to play tug of war with his bucket and with visitors at the Sonoma shop, Artefact.  The backyard is full of architectural salvaged pieces and usually Axel, ready to put on a show.
I opened the local paper Sunday and there he was. 
Here is the link to Axel's story.  Didn't know he almost was lost in a fast running creek one time.  Bad Axel.  His great dad,  got in and got him out in the nick of time while Axel hung onto a log.
Also didn't know that Axel is really gentle with kids, especially ones in wheelchairs and leads them around the inside store. 
One warning....this guy drools big time, so if you go to the store and play, be sure to watch out for the spray of drool that whips off Axel's jaw line as he plays with you!

Axel's Story

And here are some new photos of his mug in action also from the story from The Press Democrat.  Photos by Christopher Chung.

Tomorrow I will post some videos of Axel.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

What the Universe is Trying to Say

I have been trying really hard the past few days/weeks to eat right, but sometimes, darn it, you just gotta have a treat.
My own personal favorite treat for myself consists of mashed potatoes or a special chiffon piece of cake from a local grocery nearby.

Easy enough to actually make mashed potatoes or bake a cake...but not easy (for me)  to sustain from eating a whole pot of mashed potatoes or half a cake. So I spend the extra money and buy just a small container or slice.

Not so easy when "the universe" decides it just isn't in the cards...or so it seems.

The last 3 times I went to get a taste of mashed potatoes...they were out.
Got a salad instead.

Last night I went out to get a slice of my favorite chiffon cake.  Not a slice to be seen.
Had cereal with strawberries instead.

Thank you Universe.  I guess.

                                                                                                   copyright 2012 Stepka