Grammy's House is a term affectionately used by our two grandchildren, Xavier and Sophia. Our sweet Sophia, resides here with us. We named our 100 year old Victorian home Rose Water Cottage when we moved here, in June of 2011. It is quite a haven for grownups who are weary of being grownups. So, welcome to our storybook world...where magic happens every day.

Storybook Cottage Crafts

Tuesday, February 23, 2016


Very early this morning, while it was still dark…
even before my eyes would open…
I was overwhelmed by a realization. 
This little toy mouse named Eliza,  has served as my outlet to express how I view the world… how I see things.
I suppose I've known this, in the back of my mind, and I've often joked, "I'm Eliza!" 
But this morning, it became especially clear.
I've heard there's a theory, that people have what's known as their "life age."
I truly believe mine is around 8 or 9. ...Just ask my mother...
That is how I see the world, through the eyes of an 8 year old….

….the 8 year old Christie who loved her baby dolls..the 9 year old that made Barbie cars out of shoeboxes…the 10 year old that created little log cabins out of sticks, with moss for carpet, surrounding a tiny black cookstove….the 14 year old with long braids who wore calico dresses and pinafores made by mother (and then nicknamed "Laura" from Little House on the Prairie, by family)

I've always viewed life and my surroundings with a sense of wonder.

In this photo, my older sister has always teased the caption should read,
"Do we have to keep her!"

Eternally ridiculously happy.

I always had a pocketbook and a hat…even when it wasn't Easter Sunday…

I haven't always been understood by others, so I am especially grateful for my husband who embraces my "vision."
I am a hopeless romantic, and he loves that about me.
And I still love a pretty bonnet…

Last April, on a visit to an old cemetery in Round Top, Texas, I was taken by the beauty of the Bluebonnets and the stone walls and ancient head stones.  
My eyes fell upon the headstone of an infant. 

The date was the very date of our visit, there…April 9th. 
I was amazed.
I wanted to know what it meant…why this "coincidence"
And then I felt a peace wash over me.
I believe God was impressing upon me .."I'm here. I'm in this. This path you're on, sharing your stories, sharing your heart…It's the right path."

I had lost a child, an infant.

She was born on February 26, 1985 and died 12 hours later, on February 27, 1985.
We had named her Rachel Rose.

I felt a mother's grief, looking down at that tiny grave in Round Top, Texas.

My dearest friend Kim and I had taught together 20 years ago.

and our friendship remains steadfast…

She had lost her oldest sibling, her brother Matt, in a small plane accident on April 9, 1987. 
He was only 22. 
I had not been aware of the date, until we were having a conversation several months ago, when I was discussing illustrations I was creating for my book in progress…an illustration of a headstone with that very date.
She was still grieving the loss of her mother, who had died February 26, 2015…
on what would have been my Rachel's 30th birthday.

Friday is the 26th.  She and her family will mourn. I will grieve with her…
and I will remember my infant girl…

But I will also find the joy in this day. 
I will see the wonder in the release of a brand new book..

a book that celebrates what it is to find a place of rest when you're weary..

a book that hopefully helps little girls (and grown up little girls) embrace who they were created to be..
...a book that celebrates the dream and vision of a woman named Rachel.

I'm not always happy that God doesn't show me the whole big picture all at once, 
(for there are times I'm happy that I don't have to know!)
but I am certainly grateful that He loves me enough to bring it all together for good…
reassuring me along the way, impressing upon me... 
"I'm here. I'm in this. You're on the right path."

So, for every February 26th, I will celebrate, and I will find comfort, and I will remember…
God is good. All.The.Time.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

And then there was snow...

School is closed.
They say there will be snow.
Little girlie is so very hopeful. She is going to build that snowman.
A hat and "nittens" …socks and boots…
She's ready.

She sings a happy tune
and inspects the snow she's scraped and collected in her pink "nitten"

She moves on to the birdbath filled with frozen water and scrapes and pokes and sings...

until her cheeks are rose-y and her little hands are cold from the little wet gloves.
And she decides she'll come in for just a little while …until she can warm up.
The fire is cozy,
and she is still….

There is just not enough snow, and she cannot understand why her Little School was cancelled.
She loves The Little School…and her teachers…and her best friends…

Errands need running…
for there's a new book to be scanned and sent to the designer/formatter.

Lunch follows errands, and we're back home again.

The following day is cold, and there is talk of another snow day, tomorrow,
so we build a fire…

and we read a good book…and get inspired..
and there's paper doll cutting and dress making and hair creating and much coloring...

Oh, and a fresh batch of oatmeal, chocolate chip, walnut cookies sounds good..

The day ends, and we whisper prayers for snow.
We sleep.
And when we awake, there IS snow….glorious, perfect snow.

She and Big Daddy can't get outside fast enough.
He snaps photos and sends them to me...
(Extreme temperatures wreak havoc for this old girl)

And I look out the window, seeing her rose-y cheeks and bright blue eyes dancing.
She has built her snow man (errrr…snow woman…) and has learned to make and throw snowballs…

More building…

He messages more photos…and I edit…
It's a winter wonderland, in our very own yard…

She has come back inside, and Big Daddy makes a run to the grocery store.
She looks out the front window and ponders the next adventure…
"Wow! Dare's a hoe wot out diss way:"

Meanwhile, I walk to the window in the dining room…
Oh, this view!

…and then looking through the front window of the living room…

I walk out onto the back porch, in my sock feet, because this little Storybook Studio of mine
is just too sweet, all covered in snow…

Big Daddy is home, and out she goes, again…
and I tell her to stay inside the fence…do not go out the gate..

"Dare's so much snow out dare…I'm juss gonna weach under dare." 
(Because the snow is always whiter on the other side:)

I step onto the front porch just as she's packing a fresh snow ball
(new skills must be practiced)
and she says, "I'm gonna frwoe a snowbaw atchoo!"

It is terribly cold, and reluctantly she concedes to Grammy's imploring and comes inside.
A nice hot bath is awfully enticing.
With fresh, warm jammies and a great, old quilt,
fort-building will commence..

furniture is re-arranged..

another try..

…and another…

at last…there's an entry…and she dives in…
"Dis is amazing! I might add more fun-ness!" 
(love her little made-up words)

More tweaking…more chairs and stools and books…

It's a bit of an obstacle course, as she makes her way up and over…

and as I watch her…and listen to her chattering,
her positive affirmations…

I realize she is exemplifying true determination.
She is a study in perseverance.
Every time the quilt slid off the stool or chair or ottoman…she pulled it up again…
over and over and over.
encouraging herself, singing, giggling…
She had a vision, and in her little mind, it was going to be amazing.
She didn't get frustrated and she didn't give up.
I was taking mental notes…and photos…
so I would remember.
I need to remember.

And before bedtime, she planned a tea party.
She dictated invitations to her Big Daddy, and he transcribed them.
She folded and wrapped them in pretty red washi tape with little white doilies.
Very Tea Party-ish.
She announced it would be a celebration for girls and mommies…
and if a boy came, it would be alright.

Are you big girls taking notes? 

I snapped this last photo, as I was folding up and tucking away my crocheting project.
What a day.
What a very long, action packed, filled to the rim with goodness, gorgeous and glorious day.
A record-breaking snow, made for a record-breaking day.

Stay warm and safe and cozy, all of you enduring this winter blast of snow and ice.
* * * * * * * *
A pre-order feature has been added to my Etsy shop, so if you are interested,
you may pre-order Eliza Visits The Prairie by Rachel Ashwell, my 13th book.
This photo shows where the link is, on my blog, here…

click on that link and then look for the pre-order listing….
which will look like this…

Click on that listing, and it will take you to this…

Click "Add to Cart"

I am so excited to see this project come to life in book form, and get them in the mail to YOU!
Thank you, again,  for your continued patience and support.
The finish line is in sight!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Eliza Visits The Prairie by Rachel Ashwell, is heading to the presses….

On a perfect day in April, of last year, I met a shy, British lady. 

and she met Eliza…

Eliza found a haven…a place of rest…

There had been a celebration…

and the doors opened to a new adventure.

 The tale has been told, and it is time…

The pages and pages of text and illustrations will be scanned and sent to the formatter.. and then on to printing/publishing. 

I cannot believe this project is complete…Finally …complete.

Thank you for your patience and support and love.
I hope you'll enjoy this book, my largest, so far…
67 pages and 8.5" x 11.5"
Hard Cover.

Blessings, friends.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

A Morning Walk in December

The sun is shining, and after a morning filled with cleaning out little girl's dresser drawers and messy baby doll feedings and washing dishes and doing laundry…we decide it is time for a walk…some fresh air…and a big dose of  Vitamin D.
She pulls out the dolly stroller she received for her birthday, dresses Baby Alive (she's calling her Lucy, this week) and tucks her in, covering her with the love-y blankie that was intended for the new grand baby… and we're off…

We are walking at a snail's pace. We stop so she can adjust the canopy…so she can see baby… she pushes buggy with one hand, trying to hold my hand with the other.. it's too wobbly…buggy veers off and bumps the curb… we walk further and further, until I suggest we turn around. Noooo…she insists.

Finally, I must make an executive decision…turn around, we must.

She concedes.

"Awww, wook at dose pretty drawings!"  They are the spray painted markings of future construction, but she thinks someone was awfully clever.

She begins to grow weary of the walk, and she pushes with great effort…leaning forward and giving all she has….until she sees the arbor of ivy….and she's intrigued.  "Iss dis good for us? Iss it good for our nose?" (as she begins to sniff) I reply, "It's good for our eyes…to see something so beautiful."
Her curiosity compels us to stop and investigate. Her questions are thoughtful. Aren't growing things supposed to be good for us?  Yes, each growing thing, in its very own way, is good for us.

We press on.

The sunshine pours over her face as she slips the hood away from her head.
It feels so very good…and she hums.
And then she adds words to her little made-up tune.

Then she stops, in front of that white picket fence,  and declares she cannot push the buggy stroller one more step. "I'm soooo tired!" she exclaims.

I commence pushing, and she determines she can run all the way to the stop sign.
(Yes, just like that. Renewed energy.)

….and I follow...my 5'10" frame bent over, guiding the tiny buggy towards her.
Passers by, smiling and waving… They understand.

We look in all directions,  and I lift and cradle buggy, baby, and all..reach for her little hand, and we walk the last little bit to our home.
Once we reach the front gate, she takes over…making her way to the front porch …navigating through the sea of leaves collecting, there, and on into our "cozy widdle cottage."

We agree, baby is worn out from her walk and ready for nap time, so she wheels her to her "nursery" and puts her to bed.

I drop into the wicker rocker and recall….

When I was a young mommy, I remember reading a poem.  It described a grandmother walking with her grandchild….taking time to watch a bug crawl, or a caterpillar …can't remember which.  The gist of it was that grandmothers weren't in such a hurry. They had time, and they were patient…and they didn't mind stopping to notice all those seemingly insignificant things.

And now, my babies are all grown.  That time went by, too fast. I was in such a hurry ..always in a hurry.

So I walk with this little girl…and we stop and look at the ivy…and all it's veins and shades…and ponder if it's good for us… and I think, slow down just a little bit, Time.  And I pray for more patience to allow her to see all the things she needs to see.
Give me just a little bit longer for her to cling to my leg and reach for my hand, as we cross the street.

The bag is filled to the top, with clothes she can no longer wear. She cried as one favorite outfit after another was folded and placed inside. These were her friends, in her little mind.
But then she saw the outfits and dresses and nightgowns and hats and gloves that remained.
And she loved that there was order, once again.
We chose a drawer to place her most favorite little dresses, that neither of us had the heart to part with. And she felt glad to know the other favored things would be going to her two little girlie cousins.
She said goodbye to her sparkly shoes and the tiny dolly stroller, too….as she loves her brand new big dolly stroller.

Cold weather is on its way…and Christmas…and gatherings and busy-ness….but for today, it was wonderful to slow down a bit, and basque in the warmth of the sun.