summer reading.


I have reconnected to a place deep within my soul where there lives a spectacle-donned bookworm. And I have to say that it is quite cozy in there. In my constant quest for simplicity throughout my body, mind, and soul, I made a pact with myself that I was not going to be purchasing any more books unless they are resource books that I want to keep on my shelves for reference. I am an avid buyer of books with the intention to read, read, read, but when they come home and hit the shelf, they seem to get lost in the shuffle. And it doesn’t matter if I haven’t finished the current book either. On any given day, I usually have 3-4 books going…which is quite the opposite of how I used to roll.

I don’t know if I was one of those kids that was read to at nap and bedtime – I was the last kid to come into a family of 3 boys + a cousin my parents raised. So, I’m not sure how much time there was for being read to…I’ll have to ask my ma. I just always remember reading. I read the whole Babysitters Club collection, pretty much every book Judy Blume wrote, moving into the Flowers in the Attic series + all other VC Andrews, and of course the loathed school and summer reading books. I went to a private school, so our list was quite long and full of the classics that, at the time, were super “boring.” But, I suffered through them about a week before school started and got right back into my pre-teen smut novels.

Jump ahead to mid-30s and I am happily getting back in touch with the part of my personality that seems to have been pushed back to make room for college, various jobs, and crazy life in general. I am diving head first into a summer reading program through my local library and bringing my niece and nephew along with me. Reading is one of those areas that my nephew struggled with, but he is totally stoked to be a part of the program and enthusiastic to get through the books so that he can put them on his list for prizes. As his teacher, I couldn’t be more on his team. I’m bringing them up to the library every Friday to the weekly programs, and they get to return their books, pick out new ones for the week, and get prizes! Win-win-win-win for them!

Damn, it feels good to be back here.

// I will be checking back in at the end of every month with progress and, I’m sure what will be, sarcastic reports on the books. I’d love to hear what you’re reading – please leave some recommendations in the comments! //

around my town: wipledale farm greenhouse

One of my first summer jobs was working at Wipledale Farm Greenhouse just up the road. Back then, it was about half the size that it has grown to be, and I had no idea what I was doing in regards to the plants. It was a summer job that I got through word of mouth and being in such a small town, that doesn’t take much. It is one of those jobs that I thoroughly enjoyed, but it was so long ago that I often forget that I worked there.



I remember being excited to go to work on the days that I was scheduled – I used to play store ALL the time when I was a kid, so this part was like a dream come true. The cash register alone was reason to get up in the morning. :) I would go in, tidy up the check-out area (which used to e right inside the first and main greenhouse), get cardboard trays stocked, water all of the plants which was so fun with those commercial sprayers, and check in with the owner by phone to see what else needed to be done. Some days we would do some planting and replanting in the upper greenhouse and other days it was just me in the main greenhouse waiting for customers.


I read a lot that summer because, like any job, there were some days when there might have been one or two customers and all of the todos were checked off. I wish I could remember what all I read – I recall some sort of series I couldn’t seem to put down. What I should have done was go around and read labels so I could’ve learned something…. But then, of course, there were those days that were so slammed and I ended up totally frazzled and almost in tears with the owner on one end the phone, the customer waiting patiently in front of me and then me in the middle not knowing what the heck was going on. It seems that frazzles and tears are a personality trait of mine I just haven’t been able to shake….


I look forward to going up there every spring to get some plants, and then a few times during the summer for flowers or veggies or herbs that I killed off with accidental dehydration (whoops). I enjoy walking around and seeing how the place changed since last season, much less looking at all of the insanely beautiful flowers that are everywhere. My favorites are the Fuschias and these little tiny peach flowers that are so dainty and sweet that I seek out every year. I enjoy chatting with the owner and her silly father if he’s around and catch up with what all of the families are up to. and most importantly, I enjoy supporting such a well-established, family-owned business in our community.

Do you have a go-to spot that you look forward to visiting every Spring for flowers or plants?

currently: may


feeling overwhelmed and underwhelmed all at the same time.

filling in my most amazing planner to try and keep me on point with custom orders, projects, markets, and travel plans to keep those overwhelming feelings at bay. It’s helping a little, but this planner…omg….

remembering the fun and totally relaxing time spent at the Outer Banks with one of my oldest and dearest friends and her family.

wishing I was still back there

tearing through SO MANY BOOKS! I started Emma: A Modern Retelling while on vacation, after starting and completing The Rosie Project and Everything I Never Told You. Thinking about doing a mini book report post since I’m so crazy about books again.

planning our first Spring Market (see sidebar for flyer) on the farm on June 6th. We’ve added a few more vendors since the Holiday Market and excited about taking it outside to enjoy the warm weather. Let’s hope for no rain!

obsessed with the HBO series Getting On. It is so well-done, well-played, and overall brilliant. I don’t know what it is about it that makes it so worthy of pure infatuation…could be because the first episode was about protecting a turd for a study and then old ladies with their potty mouths…but it is definitely one for a nice binge. So good.

cleaning out so.much.stuff. and want to clean out more.

making space for ‘new’ to come into my life to freshen things up a bit. I’ve written about the before, but sometimes I feel like I am suffocating in my own space. I try to follow rules from books or articles that I have read to make it more streamlined, but I think what works for me is a constant box by the front door for drop-ins. For now, that’s what is working on a daily basis when it’s not my main focus.

buying herbs for our herb spiral we are making outside of the classroom. I need to get some before and after pictures to show – my little students and I are so excited about it and anxious to get it completed.

pre-ordering the new album from my buddy Langhorne Slim & The Law due out in August. New music from favorite artists is always welcome around here.

decorating my “new” bedroom upstairs with a new rug, a new window shelf for plants (and a fan), and selectively chosen items for the walls. I’m trying to decide if I want to do a large gallery on one wall or prints/hangings dispersed throughout the room. I’m leaning more towards a gallery…thoughts?

market time: olde liberty fibre faire

A couple of weekends ago, I was invited to a local fibre market here in Bedford County called the Olde Liberty Fibre Faire. I remember going to this market once or twice when it was held at the Sedalia Center across the road, but I hadn’t been to it in a few years. I actually didn’t realize it was the same event until I started talking to folks. Whoops! I couldn’t wait to go and touch and everything.

This market was one of the main reasons for the ‘maker’ stamps – I applied for the event with my ‘writer’ stamps and weaves – but they wrote back requested some stamps having to do with knitting and fiber arts as a whole. I mean, what a great idea! I loved the idea of being sort of a ‘supply stop’ at the event, not to much having to do with materials, but supplies for promoting handmade. Plus, it was a chance for me to go outside of my letter-filled comfort zone and try out other design ideas. It was a challenge I was certainly up for!





Another fun thing I did for this event was recruit my Mom to help me prep a bunch of foldover clutches, but I switched things up and promoted them as ‘Project Bags,’ which were quite popular! Folks loved the fabrics and the idea of just packing up a knitting or crocheting project and hitting the road. And then when you get to your destination, unload your project and go out for a date night. 😉


All in all, this was a fun day out in the community, the weather was beautiful and I enjoyed seeing folks out searching for those “gotta have it” materials for their next projects. Meeting business owners in the fiber world was also pretty exciting. There was one conversation in particular about teaming up with their knit shop for a trunk show, so I’ll be sure and share the details when we can figure it all out. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to be involved in the Fibre Faire this year, and look forward to watching it grow.

If you get a chance to go next year, I would definitely recommend it – I hope it continues for years to come.

the maker series.


I’ve been designing and selling stamps for about 3 or so years now. I love the whole process. I’ve hemmed and hawed about just selling them out or retiring styles or not reordering and just let them be a thing of the past, but I keep finding myself brainstorming about future designs or new series. And then here I am with a new box of repetitive stamps and a smile on my face. There is just something about them that it so timeless and sustainable, and the possibilities for use are endless.



I started out making them with more of a memory keeping feel to them and that sort of birthed the idea to focus on designs for letter writing to encourage folks to get off email and write more letters with the idea of making envelopes a little more exciting and fun. I’m the kind of gal that loves the crispness and ease of current technology, but also respects and hangs on to traditions, i.e. the pony express. The ‘writer’ series was/is so fun to design because I am essentially designing them for myself. And they say if you want to keep what you make, then you’ve done a good job. Insert raise-the-roof emoji.


Well now I’ve added a new series, if you will, called the ‘maker’ series. I loved designing these with myself in mind, as well as all of the creative folks out there that I know and don’t know. These series actually started with a request from the organizer of a vending opportunity last fall to design some stamps to fit in with the fiber arts. They loved my stamps and the idea of using them, but wanted to meld my inventory at the time with their festival that was coming up this spring. Enter the ‘Knitted/Crocheted With Love,’ ‘Virginia is for Quilters/Knitters,’ and the couple of ‘Handmade’ ones. I thought these would be great for those that knitted and crocheted for others – you know how I love those finishing touches….


Coming soon to my Etsy shop near you.

spring has arrived.


I was hanging around outside the other day and noticed that Spring is popping up all around my yard and thought I would try out my new camera lens that my photographer niece Millie made me buy ;). While I am no photographer, I did enjoy focusing in on certain aspects and seeing how they came out. Some of them make me a little dizzy, but the new growth is what we’re all supposed to be looking at, right? I have seen beautiful signs of spring on my jaunts into town, but I just hadn’t taken a close look to what was going on right around me. Doesn’t that always seem to be the case?


I vowed to myself that I was not going to be picky about what camera I use to take the pictures I post – that seemed to be a roadblock for me when thinking about posting in my old space – but I am not going to let that be a hinderance here. If I take a good picture with my iPhone (that, omg, got dropped in the toilet the other night but THANK GOODNESS it is back to normal…thanks to a bowl of basmati rice), there is no reason why I shouldn’t use it and feel like that isn’t good enough to blog with. Oh the hang-ups of blogging…probably just excuses anyway….


Ok, so back to my yard…this patch of Irises came from maybe 5 bulbs that my mom had pulled up and over the couple of years since I planted them, they have multiplied and really taking over an area where they have complete permission to do so. I always look forward to seeing how much they have spread out each year. Nothing like flower hand-me-downs!


I’m sure you’ll be seeing the blooms from this flowering vine blowing up my Instagram pretty soon….


And oh man, the lilac tree. I could even stop there…I feel like you already know what I’m talking about. You can seriously smell them coming up the road. Everybody always wants to cut them for their kitchen tables – and I let them. They are so amazing, and some years are better than others. Let’s keep out fingers crossed that this year will be a good one. Does anyone know much about guaranteeing good growth every year? I don’t know if it has to do with maintaining the tree or cutting it back every year or maybe it’s just up to good ol’ Mother Nature. I’d love some insight if you have it.


And the tulips. Be still my heart. I planted these around my sweet, first pup Roxy Sue’s gravesite right beside my house and this is the first year they are blooming. I saw them and lost my breath I was so happy that they grew in her space.


And I just had to throw in one of my brother’s dog June Carter who I am keeping while they are out of town. It sure looks like she is enjoying the warm weather. I might get down and join her next time.

the new petaline.


So glad you came to check out the new website!

I decided to shake things up a bit and switch out to a self-hosted website! It’s quite exciting! I also decided to keep all of my pre-2015 content on the old site (, so this space can really start fresh. I have big plans for the space of mine out on the interwebs, and felt that this was the best way to go. I’m keeping it simple for now while I get used to it, and I hope to add more features and hopefully its own “in-home” shop down the line a bit! Apparently (or as my tech friend who got all of this hooked up for me said)…the possibilities are endless!

So, take a look around and don’t forget to say hi!

a little feature.

My little student got caught up in a visit with his grandparents this morning, so while I’m smelling my cookies that are baking, I thought I would use this extra time to pop in and share a blog post written by a new, dear friend of mine, Chelsea. She is starting a new series on her blog called Maker Monday, making its debut with Petaline as Maker 001. It’s a bit humbling to be written about & photographed in such a sweet way, but the funny thing is that I would probably say the same thing about Chelsea if the tables were turned….


I am so excited to follow along with this series (you should too!) and see the other makers she spotlights, and hopefully make some new connections if they are local. It is always so nice to meet other like-minded folks!


So, yeah, check out the first installment of Maker Monday here.



Lately I’ve been enjoying the major snowfall we’ve gotten in the past week (with more tonight possibly), and loving how it causes a general “slow down” to local society. Snow always takes me back to being a kid too…waking up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed to peek out of my window and immediately running to the tv to see if my school ran across the screen. Then I’d stay in my pjs all day…even throwing snow pants over them…and get the most out of my free day as I could. To this day, I find myself still checking out the window first thing in the morning, and love that sense of excitement I still feel when I see all of the white. So magical.

Lately I’m working on being more intentional with my purchases. We all know that I’ve mentioned a household overhaul, so I really shouldn’t be bringing anything into my home, but if I do it’s because it’s utilitarian or something I know I will cherish as the years pass. Like this sweet-as-heck honey jar. I went down to Pastiche at Main (where I sell some of my goods) to drop some stuff off, and it was like all of the stars had aligned the 10 minutes I was in there. I work out of a half gallon jar of honey, where there is about 2 inches of honey left at the very bottom…nightmare when I just need a little spoonful for my tea. Could this vintage trinket be anymore perfect?!

Lately I’ve been working on lots and lots of foldover clutches and random-sized pouches to use up my first round of fabric from the Fall. I’m heading to the fabric store next week to choose and stock up on material for the second collection of foldovers for Spring. This stack will be heading down to Pastiche at the end of this week, and a few will be available at the farm store. I want to keep one, but I can’t decide which one! It’s definitely between the black/white or blue with crosses. Although, I am thinking about continuing on the black/white pattern for Spring…I don’t think I did many in that print for the first collection and it’s such a nice pattern & weight. So maybe I’ll grab that last blue one…arghh…I just can’t decide!

Lately I’ve been thoroughly enjoying my new couch! It took me a trip to Charlottesville and a couple of trips to Roanoke to find the one, but I knew it the second I sat on it…my hardheaded self just didn’t want to believe it at first. I sat on this couch at the store in Roanoke while I was looking at fabric options for another couch I thought I wanted, but couldn’t stop petting this one saying how much I loved it. I thought it was too big for my space, so I didn’t even think it was an option. Then we went back to the store a second time to look at fabric again and I was drawn to this one, again, like a magnet. So, I listened to my gut and had her delivered a couple days later! She’s perfect in my living room, so comfortable, and just feels right. Love it when that happens.

Lately I’ve been totally obsessed with Julia Rothman’s new book Nature Anatomy. I look through it over and over, the cover is great, the size of the book is great, and it’s full of so much important and useful information carried out in such a perfectly illustrated way. We use it in homeschool as a reference book – we just did a Weather block and used one of the clouds/environment illustrations to copy. I went ahead and ordered Farm Anatomy (that had been sitting in my Wish List cart for ages), and look forward to using that one during our Farming & Gardening block this Spring. My little student loves them too, which makes our lessons all the more exciting! Thumbs up!!<

So that’s the first installment of what’s being going on lately at mi casa…I’d say 2015 is off to a good start….

a good place to start is…now.


Like most folks I’ve seen in the virtual world, I start the new year off feeling ready to set intentions and take on goals. I don’t really start it off feeling refreshed and ready to take on the world like some, I just realize that it is a new year and a can be taken as a fresh palette to put whatever I want on it. All the years matter, so I try not to think of it as a redo. It’s just another go to make whatever year it is different than the last…if that is desired.


That is my word for this year, following be in 2013, and make for 2014. It sits in my head all day long coaxing me to get on it…whatever that “it” may be. Being that we are a month in already, I feel like I picked a good one.

I picked start for many reasons, some personal, some business, and some in between. I feel that it is a pretty versatile word and that’s part of the reason I think it spoke to me. I have realized that I currently wear quite a handful of hats, so start can fit right on in. I am working on staying true to goals that I have set (more on that later), finishing projects that have piled up (more on that later), and starting new ones that have been on my mind (you guessed it…more on that later). And that little word…start…is the trigger that gets me going.

I am documenting the process of my “One Little Word” using Ali Edwards class she teaches every year. I kind of fell through with documenting my word and process last year, so I am just using those prompts over again and probably do the formal class again next year. It is SUCH a great class and community of people to keep you inspired, so definitely look into it if it something of interest. I plan to check in throughout the year with my current progress and how my word is fitting in to my life. Please let me know if you are currently in this class or have taken it in the past…I’d love to hear about it!

**So, yeah, here I am…after about 8 months. And I thought I would just jump right on it. No excuses and no explanations…it just happened. And I’m hope to keep it up a little better, so continue joining me if you’d like! I’m thinking about a whole new design, direction, and maybe even switching platforms, but I think I am going to see if I can be a little more consistent before I switch things over. It’s all part of that word…start….

(photo of my old-as-methuzel donkey plant courtesy of Chelsea Laine Francis)