Welcome to New Mexico!

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For me, New Mexico truly is the “Land of Enchantment.” And I had an amazing week exploring my old stomping grounds! I lived in New Mexico for 30 years, from Albuquerque to college in Las Cruces, to summers in Santa Fe, to substitute Ag. Teacher in Eastern NM, and many other places. This desert will always hold a very special place in my heart.  

I started off my week with my antiques mentor, Charlotte Merrill. I met Charlotte when I was four years old and she introduced me to American Country Antiques. All that I am in my career today, I owe to her! If you have ever enjoyed a single issue of A Simple Life Magazine, you have this beautiful woman to thank. She has the lions share of my heart, she inspires me, and is my compass through this journey of life. She is my heart and soul – my Charlotte….

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We ate at my all-time favorite restaurant, “The Shed” in Santa Fe.

IMG_1582Next, I had the immense pleasure of visiting Rancho De Las Golondrinas (Ranch of the Swallows) in Santa Fe. It depicts a stop along the Camino Real (the Royal Road from Mexico City to Santa Fe) in 1710. Many of the original structures are there, along with several more that were moved from nearby. This 200 acre ranch is SPECTACULAR and very pure. Watch for an article in an upcoming issue of A Simple Life!

My dad lives in Grants, NM and his brother, my Uncle Pete, lives in California. My cousin Greg, who is like a brother to me, brought my Uncle and met me in Grants for three awesome days of family fun!

Our first stop, the “Ice Cave” located along the Continental Divide, is inside part of a collapsed lava tube, and the temperature never rises above 31º F. The natural layers of the perpetual ice create such an atmosphere that even subspecies of algae can grow fruitful in near freezing conditions. The ice is approximately 20′ thick.  The day we were there it was well over 100 degrees out but freezing down below. 


Our next stop was “El Morro,” a shaded oasis in the desert, this site has seen many centuries of travelers. The remains of a mesa top pueblo are atop the promontory where between about 1275 to 1350 AD, up to 1500 people lived there. Travelers left signatures, names, dates, and stories of their treks. People always new they could get water there for their long journey west, across the desert.  




One evening, Greg and I went to Gallup where I got to visit my old friend Becky Sheridan at the “Best of the Best Timed Event Finals.” Being back at work at my old gig – selling horse tack & ropes sure felt great, if even for a couple of hours.  Becky and I set up at tons of rodeos and ropings all over the country back in the day, and I’ve missed the smell of leather and horse flesh! 


Sadly, it’s time to say goodbye to this enchanting land and start the long journey back to reality with tears in my eyes and a promise to return home again soon…

Magnolia Pearl Clothing Co.

While I was in Texas I took a little detour purely for fun! I went to Magnolia Pearl Clothing Co. in Fredericksburg. Many of you who see me at shows know I wear a lot of Magnolia Pearl and I LOVE, LOVE, did I say, LOVE it! They opened a shop, which is like an art gallery, about two years ago and it is all the brain child of the brilliant Robin Brown. Here are a few pics from the shop but you can see more pics on their website. This shop is definitely a vacation destination all on its own, but the town of Fredericksburg is wonderful too! They have two kitchens and two bathrooms that are even amazing! Ha!

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Hello Texas!


Waking up in TEXAS! Wow! Have I got two amazing Houston, Texas homes to share in future issues ! First, the Home of JC & Pat Evans:


And second, the home of Annette & Melton Tom ! The road trip and fun continues!!

Waking Up In Alabama!

 Welcome to, “Sweet Home Alabama!” I’ve set out on a 2.5 week journey and my first stop is the Deep South!


What a wonderful day in Alabama! You’re going to love the home and cabin of Jean & Allen Gilliland in a future issue of A Simple Life! Don’t bother calling Jean about this red corner cupboard though! My name is already on it!! Ha! The icing on the cake to a perfect day was having Jean’s sister, and my friend – Bettye Wagner join us!


 

 It was a hot day in the south though, I gotta say! Even the cows went for a dip to cool off!!!


Laying my head down in Baton Rouge tonight – Texas bound in the morning!

Final Look Back at the “Settlement”

Good Morning!

This is our final look back at the Settlement book, published a few moons back – early in my publishing career. It’s been such a joy to go back and relive each of these photo shoots and to fondly remember the day I spent with each homeowner. It reminds me again and again how truly blessed I am to have the job that I do – well not a job – a JOY of traveling and meeting such amazing collectors and then calling them friends.

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I want to start with the home of Fred and Sharon Matson tonight, from Ann Arbor, Michigan. The one question I get asked most is, “What is your favorite house that you’ve photographed?”  My response is usually, “Whatever one I’m standing in at the time,” and that is the honest truth! Because for that magical day, I get to share in an amazing home with a wonderful homeowner, and seeing it with fresh eyes for the first time is always the best! But secondly, after that, I often add that Sharon and Fred’s home is certainly in my top five.

The Lord called our dear Sharon home a few years back and she is greatly missed.

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The day I visited the Kansas City home of Tom Pryor was a first … and I hope a last! ha! I had scheduled a three-and-a-half week trip photographing homes – something I have never done again! And near the end, it caught up to me! I was terribly sick and woke up about 2:00 am in Kansas City in the hotel prior to meeting Tom the following morning and just had to tote myself to the ER with strep throat.  With a tight schedule and not wanting to disappoint Tom after all his hard work preparing for me to come – I went the following morning at 9:30 and found myself sitting in his dining room in a comfortable wing back, sipping hot lemon tea and getting pampered, while I heard his journey of collecting.  Tom and I have shared a bond and long friendship ever since.

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I wanted to share this photo of Tom’s two dogs who I fell in love with during my visit – Maggie and Lois. Tom is the biggest dog lover I know and has such a compassionate heart. He just recently lost Lois, (on the left) and she was 20 years old! My heart bled for him.

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I made a trip to Hazard, Kentucky to meet Sally Spaulding and to photograph her home, and early log cabin shop.  Sally is a tiny little spit fire and gracious southern belle. She is a school nurse, so it’s too bad I wasn’t doing her house during my strep throat incident! Ha! I remember driving to Hazard and going up, and up, and up a mountain thinking I may never get there. But it was worth every mile!

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I mentioned in an earlier post that in the “Settlement” book I wanted to feature a couple of my favorite folk artists – so of course that means Norma Schneeman! I knew about Norma long before I had the pleasure of meeting her. She is a dear friend of my mentor, Charlotte Merrill so I was buying some of Norma and Jennifer’s folk art as an early collector in New Mexico. Norma is truly hands-down the very best doll maker in the business. And her heart and passion for all things early match her amazing skill with a needle too! I love Norma!

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Next is the amazing home of Don and Sue Vanderford. What made this photo shoot twice as nice is that it was in my own backyard! Remember I was in Texas back then and traveled many a mile to get to most of my destinations. But Don and Sue lived in Corsicana, and it was a day trip for me! Add to that an incredible home that you would swear was in New England, and the wonderful company of the nicest gal you could ever hope to meet and it all made for a day I won’t ever forget!

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It’s funny sometimes what you remember about a photo shoot. I actually think of Sue nearly every time I go on a trip because she taught me the little trick of putting a large paper clip on my seat belt (up near where it comes out) to hold it off your neck. When you’re short like me – this is invaluable because most of the time it is strangling me! ha!

So I hope you’ve enjoyed looking back at the “Settlement” book as much as I have. One of these days we’ll tackle the “Homecoming” book!

This morning I’m setting out on another adventure. I’m going to Fishersville, VA for the 60th Annual Shenandoah Antiques Expo where I’ll be hanging out with Lynne Oppenheimer from Ivy Hill Antiques, Friday – Sunday. She sets up in the Sheep Barn so I hope you’ll come see us! Then from there I’m headed north to Maryland to spend a couple of days with James Cramer while we do some work on the upcoming SPECIAL CHRISTMAS ISSUE! Fun days ahead! I’ll catch ya’ll when I get back!

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