Is it January yet???

Where did 2021 go? I mean I really feel like we just got here and were having all sorts of non-fun with the world’s goings on and what not and so forth and here we are … holiday season already! And I’m just “not up for it.” I honestly don’t have that Martha Stewart thing that causes a person to go bat-sh*t crazy decorating, cooking, and frolicking about like an elf on steroids. I just don’t.

As a single mom for basically the entire 18 years of raising my sons, I did some decorating for them. I wanted them to experience the wonder of it all as I did up until the day I was “red-pilled” about the realities of things surrounding the Christmas season. (I will leave it at that for the benefit of those who may still not be there with me. 😉 ). I would put up lights and a tree and bake (a little – I worked full time and was a baseball Mom …) and stay up till the wee hours wrapping presents like a crazy person. Sometimes I felt crazy due to the pressure of getting it all done. Maybe that’s why, now that my sons are out of the house, I don’t feel like doing any of it.

Don’t get me totally wrong here. I usually send out loads of Christmas cards and absolutely love the reason we celebrate. I’m all about Jesus’ birth! This year, however, as of today (6 Dec) I have decided I’m not going to send multitudes out. I may not even send one single card. Call me a grinch (that’s my favourite Christmas movie by the way) or whatever. It’s just that I have other things keeping me busy like working on my Junk Journals and creating the videos! Have you checked out my Rumble channel? It’s really been cathartic for me to do this and I hope people are learning a little about book binding and journal making and crafting and such in the process! I just would so rather do that than decorate my house for no one to see. With me?

Here’s a picture of one of my recent creations:

All this to say, I struggle with the holidays a lot. I would love it if my sons came to visit; they don’t. So, if it’s all the same to you, I’ll just keep on working away in the studio and remember Jesus is the reason for the season in my heart. That’s all that really matters.

“Starving” – by Christen Bensten

We need to love one another. And that is always my goal. Regardless of what our beliefs are, you can count on me loving you one way or another. I’m called to it and I will do it and you can’t stop me! So there! Ha!

I did something recently I haven’t done since before my sons were born (my oldest son, Dillon, was born in 1993….). I read a book from cover to cover in less than 48 hours. I didn’t plan to do this; I couldn’t help it! I could not put the book down! I had to when my eyelids would no longer support themselves and my body forced sleep upon me. But the very next morningI got my tea and English muffin and started in again. I didn’t stop until I had dated the back of the book. What? Oh… It’s a little thing I started doing eons ago. I write my name and the date I start the book in the front cover and the date I finish it in the back cover. Some books don’t get finished and it’s easy to pick up a book and tell if I read it all or not this way. Now you know.

So anyway, Christen is a sister-in-spirit and in art. Ironically, we both started Chalk Painting furniture around the same time in the same year. I think it’s not irony that I happened across her just posted very first You Tube video on how to chalk paint when I was ready to give Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® a try. Nope. There are NO coincidences! I loved that she was out in her driveway, kids running around in the background, just yammering on about how to turn this piece of furniture into a new, stunning piece worthy of adorning any house. I thought to myself, “She reminds me of me!” and “I could do what she’s doing!” Strangely enough, I never did the blog part to the full extent I probably should have. I just didn’t take the time. But Christen? She went at the thing full on. She wrote EVERY DAY! And she started posting videos all the time, too. What no one (including myself) knew was the pain she was essentially painting over to save her very life.

Christen vanished one day. But not before she blessed me with a tribute to my beloved dog, Spirit. I was “across the pond” visiting my dear friend, Sarah, in England (and I also met Annie Sloan in Oxford this same trip) when suddenly my best girl got so sick and I couldn’t get home to her. I watched her pass away on my iPad. It was one of the worst moments in my life. I can’t recall how Christen found out. If I told her or if I had posted something myself about it and she saw it. Regardless, she posted a tribute to my best girl. You can read it here: I was so stunned that she would do this! I immediately knew, she and I would be friends from afar. And yep, we are. I have never once written to Christen that she hasn’t written a thoughtful, heartfelt reply. I truly have grown to love her as though we live down the street from one another. I know that if I ever showed up on her doorstep, we’d have coffee together like we were never apart. She’s that genuine.

But back to her vanishing. I knew something was going on more than she was saying. I could feel it in my soul. I just knew she was taking a “break” not because she wanted to, but because she was saving her life… again. How did I know? Because Christen and I have connection after connection after connection. It may have been Chalk Paint that brought us together, but truly, it was her love connection to my pain that did it. The day I realised I wasn’t getting her blog notices regularly was the day I emailed her to check on her. She told me she just needed to re-group. I’m sure, knowing what I know now that I’ve read her book, even telling me that was not easy. She did though. She took the time she needed to gather herself and focus on what matters. And now, Christen is around again. She may vanish again one day. Who knows? All I know is, thanks to her bravery in writing her book and telling the world about her fear-filled childhood that still seeps in to her world today, I can be a better friend to her. And count on it, Christen. You know I’ve got you.

Here’s a link to her book on Amazon. I hope you’ll purchase/read it to support her. If you’re lucky you won’t bawl through the entire thing like I did. To me that says you (unlike Christen and me) may have had a somewhat “normal” childhood! God love ya!

I’m working on my own book. It’s been slow-going for sure. I hope I have the fortitude to get it all on the page. It’s not easy pouring your soul out to the world. Some things you want to keep locked away inside forever. But the truth is, you’ll never fly if you’re not pushed from the nest. It’s scary. But necessary to learn and grow from glory to glory.

Christen, I love you. That’s all.

“Starving” by Chrsten Bensten…. my friend.

#blueeggbrownnest #starving #daffodilsgalleria #love #friendship

Down is Up and Other Insanity

Oh heavy sigh. What has happened to our insane world? I’ll tell you what I think and I’m not holding back for “political correctness” so if you don’t want to hear my opinion …. move on.

Ok that being said… I have a small podcast I’ve started called “Down is Up with Jill Joe” it’s more like a venue for me to vent about the day’s / world’s events because I literally have like 3 followers. And you know what? That’s just fine with me. I don’t need “followers” to be a happy, complete person. Nope! I’m not a social media addict. I rarely post selfies and in fact can’t stand taking pictures of myself. I don’t need the world’s approval or likes. Nope. That’s not what matters. What does matter is God’s approval and HIS alone. Every day I try to live a life that pleases HIM. Not the world… the world belongs to Satan (look that up in the world’s best reference book, The Bible) and I have zero interest in pleasing that rat bastard.

That being said, if you want to listen to past episodes of my podcast here’s the link:

Don’t feel obligated. I won’t be offended if you don’t care about what’s going on in the world. In fact, I work very hard at not being offended period. (Read “The Bait of Satan” by John Bevere to understand this.)

My biggest angst today is the grief I feel over the people who are so lost and so blind to the reality of what’s really going on in our world. And not just that but particularly those who claim to be Christians and are so blind and refuse to hear the truth. I hurt physically for people who have made irreversible choices because they have been lied to and fallen prey to the propaganda. I pray for them – a lot. I pray the scales fall from their eyes and they will see. The reality is the world is going through something like never before and it’s not going to be a fun E-ticket ride. The only thing I know – and I do mean ONLY – is that God is still on His throne and even if I lose my life somehow in this crazy time, I know where I’m going to spend eternity. Do you?

Junk Journal Love

Well, have you been paying attention to I have a page there where you can follow my artistic life and lately it’s been all about junk journals. Don’t know what a junk journal is? That’s okay. Most people don’t. Basically it derives its name from its composition… junk. It actually started with using “junk mail” to create something beautiful. Then it went to “let’s throw in anything we have on hand that might otherwise be tossed in the bin” and make it even lovelier. Thus, junk journals were born.

You can find my rumble channel here:

Have a look. Most everything I make is for sale (unless I’ve already sold it – or more likely given it away.). If you’re interested in anything you see, just send me an email. I’d love to hear from you.

Terrible Blogger gives an update!

I feel very badly for not posting.  There’s really no reason to feel that way because I don’t have many followers so no one really even knows I haven’t posted much.  LOL  So anyway, there’s a good reason for lack of writing.  Pretty much I’ve been busy remodeling our new house and getting the current house ready to move into said new-slash-old house!.

That being said… here are some before and during photos… After will come when we are ready to move in. 🙂
This is the first time we saw the house.  That’s my sweet Chop knocking on the door to make sure we could see it that day. 

These are the loafing sheds on the property.  There are 5 acres here for us to play with! 

  I look at this picture – no leaves on the trees, no weeds in the corral… and it wasn’t ours yet.

This is the back of the house .


This is our back “yard” – The Little Thompson River

This is our lil pond beyond our deck.  Those are the gorgeous Rocky Mountains being blocked by haze and clouds…  
This is the converted pole barn – it’s now  a guest house.


This is the amazing jet tub… nuff said. 

This is the master bath.  

This is the sun room  

This is the other side of the sun room   

This old plate rack charmed me – and to my joy, it stayed with the house.  

This is the master bedroom bay window  

This is the living area bay window  

This is the slider to the patio in the living area.  We took out the little dog door almost the day we got the house.  

This is the guest room bathroom – and my finger.  oops  

This is the balcony in the guest suite overlooking the pond.  Until we get the barn built, this lovely are will be used for storage!  But!  We do hope you’ll come visit once it’s “up and running.”

This is the little shed – our only storage right now – I think it will make a great chicken house one day!   

 This is a sneak peak at how far we’ve come… This is that same bay window in the living area.  There are SO many other changes we’ve made! But I want to draw this out so… till next time 🙂

Keep smiling – and love one another!


Easter Minimalist Decor

As much as I love decorating, I don’t tend to be one for a lot of seasonal decorations.  Growing up my Mom made our house very festive and I always felt “cozy” with the traditional decor she’d bring out each season and holiday. I’m not against going all out per se, for some reason it’s just not me.  I love looking at Christmas lights and I’ve really enjoyed seeing so many beautiful Easter tables (and Christmas tables, and Thanksgiving tables…. hmmm… is the table a theme??? Ha ha.) on my favourite blogs and Pinterest.  Truth be told, I prefer to “decorate for daily living” and add some special touches here and there.


I think when my sons were small, I tried to do more to give them the “spirit” of the holiday but now as an “empty nester” I prefer a more subtle touch.  



One more daffodil that I adore from my sweet Chop made by a dear friend in Mexico.


Love her stuff!  Have a look HERE!  

Happy Easter everyone.  Remember why we celebrate – and decorate as you will 🙂


Where Have I Been??!!

Oh my beloved (3) followers… have you given up all hope in me?  Felt for sure I dropped off the planet?? Not really noticed I’ve not written in a couple weeks?? Ha!  Well, I must apologise regardless of readership.  It’s just the right thing to do.  

But I have a very good excuse slash reason!  A couple of them even!  I had a long-planned girls weekend dropped right on top of my son’s High School Graduation weekend… Seriously?!  Who does that??!  

So here’s the story, the girlfriends from pre-school, elementary school, jr. high school and forever all met up and we had yummy Mexican dinner then went to see a college production of “Children of Eden.”  I’d never seen it and thought, while some of the messages were good, it was “okay.”  Don’t be a hater – I’m a Les Mis girl.  It wasn’t Les Mis… period.  After the play, we went to our vacation rental and talked until we could no longer hold our 40+ year old eyelids open then went to bed.  Hung out the next day and that was fab.  Can’t have too much girl time. 

That night I drove to the hotel by the airport because I had a way early flight AND it was “Spring Forward” night – seriously? Again?! Why must we keep doing this clock nonsence?  Through no small miracle, I made my o’dark-thirty flight to Portland….

And oh my!!!! Daffodils were in FULL BLOOM and all over creation! JOY JOY JOY JOY JOY! My sister’s beau took this little picture of me admiring my favourite thing in the world… ahh bliss!

I had worked for months to pull off a surprise appearance at my son’s Diploma Presentation (heck I even prepared the solo pomp and circumstance event!) and he was shocked to see me.  I bawled.  Fabulous moment.  So proud of my baby boy.

Then, we got to spend some time on a lovely farm with my birth-Mama.  Chickens, goats, turkeys, goats, ducks, geese, pups, kitties, daffodils… tea, puzzles, my sister, niece, mama, son, and great-nephew…. what more could a girl wish for!?  

Thank you for your patience and understanding in my absence… I came home and promptly got a nasty cold and sore throat.  I figure I’m better when I can no longer refrain from picking up my paintbrush…  


Testing Techniques…

I am absolutely loving the trend of image transfers onto furniture.  I thought it would be fun to try it but wasn’t sure which technique (and there are many) I wanted to try first.  So, me being me, simple came to mind!  (Remember – it’s not “lazy” it’s “extremely efficient”!)

I had seen on Pinterest using wax paper and an ink jet printer to transfer images and it really seemed like the easiest way.  So, I really wanted to give that a try.  I had in my mind a lovely pattern of ships on top of one of my latest pieces – a beachy cottage coffee table.


Only problem here?  Trust in the technique!  So I had to try it on another piece that wasn’t so critical.  Not that this one couldn’t be fixed if I messed it up with the transfer…. Just want to not have to if not necessary.

I’d been working on painting a plant stand in Old Ochre and finished painting it yesterday.  It has these lovely little tiers that beckoned me to put something (other than a plant) on it… So….


Ta da!  It worked!  Here’s the process I followed.

I have this lovely sheet of paper with fabulous ships all over it.  I simply placed it on the copier (which is an ink jet printer).  Then, I must confess failure first… I tried placing the wax paper under the paper roller first.  When I hit “copy” —– CRUNCH! Nope!  I had to take apart the printer and dig out the crumpled mass of wax paper.  This time, I used scotch tape and taped my sheet of wax paper to a plain old sheet of 8 1/2 x 11 paper.  Then I hit copy.  It seemed to work beautifully!  I could BARELY see the image on the wax paper so that sort of concerned me but I was not deterred.  I placed the wax paper (after carefully removing it from the regular sheet of paper) image side down onto my plant stand and held on tight.  The DIY’s I’ve read said to use a credit card to press the image onto the board or surface.  I have a wonderful teflon bone folder I use for lots of things (particularly book binding) and used it to rub the image firmly all over.  I literally watched as it darkened before my eyes in the transfer process.

I will say, the how-to’s I’ve read suggested lightly wetting the surface you are printing with water – those were unpainted surfaces.  I didn’t do it here, but think I will try using my spray bottle on the next attempt just to see if the image darkens a bit better on a painted surface.  Another thing to try is using  one side versus the other of the wax paper.  I had a tough time telling which (if either) side was “better” for the job so I’ll run this test later.  Maybe it doesn’t make one bit of difference.




I’m going to practice a bit more before I attempt to do a large scale piece like the coffee table.  Another option is to download your image – flip it – then print it.  I didn’t flip my image because it’s a ship.  Not words that could be read as lots of image transfers are.

I also think it would work with colour.  Oh! and I let the image “set” for about 10 minutes and then simply waxed the piece with my clear wax as normal.

What do you think?


The Painted Chair…

Don’t think I ever commented on the finished product?! After 3 days and 3 coats of paint (24 hour dry time in between each coat) I finally felt I could move on to painting the frame of the chair.


I had painted the entire chair, upholstery and frame, using Country Grey.  Once I was satisfied with the saturation level of the upholstery, I moved to focusing on the frame. For that I chose French Linen. I really wanted a very relaxed neutral tone for the piece as it would be going in my bedroom. I had already finished the pillow and thought the chair could draw its colour and balance from that, but also could be a subtle, quiet piece on its own as well. image image image image image


For the the pillow I used some outdoor upholstery fabric I had on hand and made an envelope style pillow. No zipper. No closing seam. Very easy and looks finished. I did then sew three heart buttons on that I bought last summer whilst at Annie Sloan’s shoppe in Oxford. I think it all adds just the right amount of contrast and balance to the very neutral chair.

Heres The final product. Distressed a bit with 100 grit sandpaper and coated over the frame with clear wax. The upholstery was solid enough on its own so I saw no need to wax it to give it what I felt would have been a “rougher” look and feel.

What do you think? Not bad for $10.00!



Seashell Necklace Update…

image Sand Dollar

I finally got my materials for working on the seashell necklaces!! Woo hoo!!

Remember this?

IMG_0072 The Cache

Well, I went to the hardware store and invested in a dremmel bit that drills through glass. Then started drilling! It worked! Then I had to determine what I wanted to use to make the actual necklace. So, I thought versatility and made four different kinds. (Velvet ribbon, thin tulle ribbon, wider tulle ribbon, and silver chain.) I will probably come up with more as I go along.  Leather, ribbon of various types, cording, lace, etc.


image Anchor of hope.

image Flip Flop

I’m going to offer them on my etsy site as a custom order item.  Choose your charm, shell size, cording, and length.  If you’d like, you can even special request a particular charm and I’ll see if I can find it!


I hand picked every single shell from the beach in Mexico myself.  Cleaned them up and…. well, what do YOU think?