Craft Room Challenge

What is the Craft Room Challenge?

A bunch of 14 talented craft bloggers have gotten together at the Craft Room Challenge for the month of January, 2018. They’re taking their craft rooms from cluttered to crazy-beautiful! As a busy wife, mom, and writer, it’s hard to get motivated to add something else on my to-do list, but I’m always up for a challenge! It’s like a triple-dog-dare-ya to me!

One of the biggest motivators for meeting goals is to have accountability. I don’t know about you, but I need to have someone to answer to when conquering a project that is less than fun. Be sure to see my video on my @Sweetgumlife Instagram account.

I’m not an organizer by nature, unlike my good friend C, an art major from Auburn University. Back in our single girl days, I’d go over to her house, and she was always finding creative, artistic ways to organize her art and crafts space. She is my organization role model! The Craft Room Challenge is right up her alley!

Stack of tubs–who knows what’s in those!

How to Participate in the Craft Room Challenge

So what you do, is organize and makeover your craft room to post on Facebook. My friend Shirley at Intelligent Domestications lists 4 goals in her post: function, organization, a pretty place to work, and a wall dedicated to organization and aesthetics.

I would suggest that you start out with your goals…keep them simple, because you only have until January 31st for the challenge.

When to Post in the Craft Room Challenge

Post every Wednesday, beginning in the first week of January. Okay, so I’m a little late joining the party. (Sigh!) But that’s okay. I’m starting t-o-d-a-y!

Sweetgum Life Craft Room Challenge goals:

1. Functional2. Aesthetically pleasing3. Organized (move everything but art, diy, home décor, and crafting supplies to the guinea pig room*)

That’s all I can muster for now with my time constraints. When we moved to Sweetgum House in summer 2016, I planned to have a craft room for me, a playroom for Princess Buttercup, and Lefty could have the garage.

Then we got the guinea pigs for Princess Buttercup. Those things stink! So, the “playroom” has henceforth been known as the guinea pig room. (Anybody know how long those things live???)

A mountain of craft detritus.

I challenge you to the Craft Room Challenge!

How ’bout you? You wanna join me as an accountability partner? Just send me a little message in the space below. I’d love to hear from you, and best of luck!

Craft Room Challenge Bloggers

I will list more as I meet the 14 crafters.

You guys! I seriously need organization, yes?



Photo Hike on Rainbow Mountain

My Photo Hike on Rainbow Mountain

Photo Hike on Rainbow Mountain; Big balanced rock

Big Balanced Rock. Probably got this way from the upheaval of the Flood.


Photo Hike on Rainbow Mountain; Big balanced rock marker

Yesterday, I hiked Balanced Rock Trail. There’s a little balanced rock and a big one.

Hi Everyone!

Yesterday I took my little Nikon d7000 out when I was hiking on the Rainbow Mountain trails.

My purpose was 3-fold:

  1. Get exercise doing something fun–hiking
  2. Gather photos for a blogging about the trail
  3. Learn how to use my camera better

The exercise is pretty obvious.  I get a nice workout walking and climbing over the boulders on the upward steep.  It’s a wonderful time of year to hike because the temperatures are lower, so I don’t have to worry about the stifling humidity.

I just love taking photos for my blog.  I probably like that part of blogging more than writing.  Writing takes work.  Photographic people, landscapes, and old houses is just play.  I’d love to be a photographer for Nat’l Geographic or Southern Living.

Speaking of photography, it’s a wonderful time of year for taking photos on the trail.  The leaves are just now beginning to change, but the foliage is still pretty and lush for the most part.

My favorite part of photography is composition.  I’ve had enough art classes to be confident in my use of composition and color, but my DSLR camera still has been baffled.  I understand that the three major points of photography are aperture, ISO, and shutter speed.  However, I have a hard time wrapping my mind around aperture.  It seems so confusing that the lower the f-stop, the larger the aperture.  Yesterday, I took 3 pictures of the same object using 3 different f-stops (Sigma 70-300mm 1:4-5.6 lens):  22, 10, and 4.  Now, I think I get it.  An f-stop of 4 let in wayyyyyyyyy too much light.  22 left my shots underexposed, and 10 was just about right for clicking in the woods.

Photo Hike on Rainbow Mountain; Madison park bench

Park bench with “M” that stands for the town and county of Madison.


Photo Hike on Rainbow Mountain; forest leaves

Pretty leaves reflect God’s intricate design.


Photo Hike on Rainbow Mountain; Balanced Rock, boulder

Pretty forest berries. I don’t know if they are edible and don’t plan to find out.


Photo Hike on Rainbow Mountain; Tree with Rainbow Mountain Balanced Rock marker

These are poke berries. Now, I know these guys aren’t edible. You can boil the leaves, however, to make a poke berry salad.


Photo Hike on Rainbow Mountain; Second tree with Rainbow Mountain Balanced Rock marker

The leaves are just barely changing colors.


Photo Hike on Rainbow Mountain; View of Huntsville, Alabama

Pretty view toward Huntsville.


Photo Hike on Rainbow Mountain; View of Madison County



Photo Hike on Rainbow Mountain; Forest leaves

My Visual Journal

I’m loving this Visual Journal! I bought it at Hobby Lobby with a gift card that Mom and Dad gave me at Christmas.

Love it!


I’ve got a Journaling board on Pinterest where I collect ideas for the journal and the artwork therein.

I got this 100 Things that I Love idea from Liz Bernard, right here.


100 Things that I Love.

And I made this one from magazines and junk mail letters that I cut out and pasted together. I got the idea from Amy at Mod Podge Rocks!


Love Collage.

Be sure to follow me on Pinterest! If you like the ideas, please use them as you wish and link back to me.

Finding Willis… a Missing Person and an Amazing Reunion


The other day I made a quick stop at Wal-Mart in the small town of Athens, Alabama. Again, “small town” is relative. Huge compared to my home (unincorporated) town of Jachin, actually.

I stuck my eggs, sausage, sharp cheddar, and Pillsbury in the back seat. I had a craving for Mom’s Breakfast Casserole earlier. I’ll have to give you that recipe some time.

So, anyway, I opened the driver’s side car door and pivoted to sit down, but a small piece of paper on the pavement caught my eye.

It was folded in sixes and had writing on it. I nearly passed it up, but my curiosity got the better of me. What could be written on it?

I picked it up and opened the folds.

To my amusement, there was a pen and ink drawing of a man. The cartoon balloon introduced the man to me:

“I’m Willis M.”

It was a sketch of a muscular young man, wearing a hard hat, jeans, a pocketed t-shirt, and work boots. He had heavy brows and a dark beard.

Probably some guy who worked in a construction job of sorts. The word I’m didn’t have an appostrophe (I tend to really notice things like that), so the art was either done by someone who didn’t score good grades in English or he was too rushed to bother with grammar.

The back of the sheet had a hurried caricature of another guy. The balloon said, “Ho Ho I’m Santa Matt W.” It must have been done next because it was on the back of the paper and wasn’t done with the careful detail of the first drawing. (I’m using a lot of deductive skills here, dear Watson.)

Really, I was quite impressed with the artist’s work. So I had to share it with all of you. I also like Willis’ first and last name. It sounds like a great name for the guy in the drawing, but I don’t want to hurt the Willis’ and Matt’s privacy by publishing it online. I went to 411 and searched on the men’s names but had no luck.

The paper was so clean that I’m sure that it was dropped only that morning. I can imagine a couple of guys stopping at Walmart for sodas or to buy their lunch for the day. They are sitting in a utility truck, goofing off with the artist’s skills with a pen.

“Here ya go,” says the artist. “You can keep it.”

“Yeah, man, it looks just like me,” answers Willis. He opens the door to go inside the store and carelessly stuffs it in his rear pocket, accidentally pulling it back out along with his hand. The square of paper flutters, un-noticed, to the ground.

I can think of lots of story plots about Willis. And it may aven be crucial that I post this.

For example.

Willis’ family has been searching for him. His father is very ill, but Willis and his dad have been estranged for years. Willis’ sister in Canada sees this blog. It’s her beloved brother, long lost. Sister responds to my blog, “Please tell me where you found the drawing. We’ve got to be in touch with Willis!”

I tell her. They hire a private detective and send him to Athens. He finds Willis.

Yay, I saved the day. Kismet and all that. The story ends up on the Today Show… They even bring Katie Couric back to do an exclusive interview of me, my new artist buddy, Matt, and Willis. I meet Matt Lauer and Ann Curry (is she still on the show?). Al Roker gives me a big hug. Woo-hoo, I’m the hero. I get a book contract…

Oops. I forgot.

It’s not all about me, right?

It’s really about Willis finding his way back to his family in Canada. Also, Willis’ father gets well because seeing his son is a balm to his health. And Willis is reunited with his fiancée, and our book deal helps them to build their starter dream house. Willis gets me to help him with his English grammar. It’s all so wonderful. All because I found the line drawing of Matt and Willis in the Wal-Mart parking lot in Athens, Alabama.