Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

8:45 am

Monday, August 30, 2010


earlier and later in the day.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

How can I NOT paint?

I asked myself recently: if I had one month to live, what would I regret not doing? Well, I might regret not traveling more. Certainly, there are many places that I would love to see and many places that I haven't been. But travel is limited by funds and I know that funds are not endless. I'm lucky to have been to as many places as I have been.
Would I regret things that I've said or haven't said? Not really. I've worked hard on my relationships, made amends and realize that some of them may improve, some of them may never get any better and will never live up to my ideals.
The thing that I would regret the most is not painting more. I majored in painting in college (SUNY Binghamton, BFA, 1993) and have never again had such a way to explore, think and intuitively understand things about the world that I could not get to in any other way. Different from prayer, meditation, reading, discussion, thinking, exercise and work. I have become very practical: I have 2 Etsy shops and am working to pay off my library school student loans with them. I'm also a mom, with lots of responsibilities that I take seriously. I'm a deacon at our church and have coffee to prepare and picnics to plan. But, how can I neglect painting? I think it's time to begin again...

Monday, July 26, 2010

Where there's smoke...

I began my new Etsy shop in January. It is vintage and I've been having so much fun running it and finding great things to stock it with, that I haven't really been writing here very much. I've also learned a thing or two about what to buy and what seems to sell as what never sells (for me, anyway). I want to share a tip with you when buying at any kind of sale or auction.

Where there's smoke, there's fire. I walked into a sale once and a man said "all of these papers, fabrics, etc. smell like smoke." I hadn't noticed that the owners of the house were smokers, but he was right! I found an amazing pair of red pumps and bought them anyway, thinking that they didn't smell like smoke. Lo and behold, I got them out of the house and in my car and I regretted that decision: they were SMOKEY!! There was nothing I could do to get the smell out, so eventually I just gave them away. This has also happened with a couple of dresses. Even in a house of non-smokers, formal dresses may have been in a smokey bar or party and I have not been able to get the smell out through dry cleaning or anything. So, my best vintage tip, is don't be ashamed, pick it up and smell it! You'll be happy that you did.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Happy Campers

Every year, we plan to go camping, for better and for worse. We fit in a lot of hikes. Hiking involves a lot less planning (at least the way we do it). We throw a camera, water bottles, bug repellent, and a snack in a backpack and we're good to go. The dog is thrilled, the kids are thrilled, everyone is happy. Camping involves food for several days, carried in, a small stove, dry weather, and not too many swarms of bugs to ruin it. My husband is a serious camper who went to "wilderness school" where they drop you off in the middle of nowhere and you have to survive on your own for a few days. He's eaten raw fish and grass shoots. Luckily, he's not that serious about our camping trips, but we can't just do car camping. So, this year, we'll pick a date, bring lots of gorp, oatmeal and hot dogs and look forward to some great memories. If you have a great memory of camping, please share it!

(c)2010 photos and writing, Jennifer Dennis Potter
Bag, 1970s Wilderness Experience, made in CA

Monday, March 22, 2010

Spring "camping"

The kids and their friends next door had been busily working to complete this "tent" for their spring backyard camping experience. Hand crafted from: old sheets and towels, duct tape and plastic chairs! We did end up actually putting up a real tent (thanks to my husband), cooking hot dogs and s'mores on the grill and having the neighbors over for a few hours on Saturday night. Lots of laughing, dancing in the tent and ghost stories for all! Happy first day of spring!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Out of Hibernation

(c)2010 Jennifer Dennis Potter

Instead of suiting up and showing up at the gym for my spinning class this morning, I decided to get my dog and myself out of doors! Cooper was so excited that he was whimpering and crying on our drive to the park. He's in the big landscape and is the dog walking on a thin layer of ice and snow on the beach.

The other is a new photo for my Etsy shop. It felt so good to get out and get some vitamin D the old-fashioned way. Is it Spring where you are? Time to get out of hibernation and wake up?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Giver of gifts

My little boy is almost always giving me gifts. I may be typing away on the computer or busy with laundry or cooking and there his is, with a little homemade card and possibly a toy. He surprises me with these things. I know that it's a way to get attention, but what a loving way it is. "It's for YOU!" he announces.

I think I'm supposed to take a break from my work at these times, to give the guy a hug and a kiss and a thank you. To display the work prominently. To notice. Yes, that's it, to notice, to take notice to pay attention. Zen and the art of little tiny construction paper hearts with my name on them. Because we are loved.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Being of Service

(c)2009 Jennifer Dennis Potter, all rights reserved.

For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
-Philippians 2:13

I've been asked to be a deacon at our church. We've only been at this church for 6 months, so I was surprised to be asked. Maybe they're desperate! Just kidding, I think that God is giving me the opportunity to be of service. I will be part of a group of people who will visit the elderly in our church, send cards to people who are not well, stock the food pantry, make coffee for coffee hour, etc. It's hand-on work which I enjoy. I went to my first meeting the other night and it was fun. I get a little isolated being at home doing my work, as much as I love the flexibility and the ability to be home for my kids. There was a lot of laughter at this meeting and everyone was organized, too. It was a potluck dinner and there was some great food.

What good works are you being asked to do? What is pulling you forward? Maybe it's shoveling your neighbors walk after you are done shoveling yours. Maybe it's reading your daughter an extra story. Maybe it's donating those extra books to the library that you don't read anymore. Make no mistake, it is something. Just listen for what little or big thing it is.

Friday, January 29, 2010

A moment of gratitude

(c)2009,jennifer dennis potter

I am snuggled next to him, a stuffed monkey and a satin-bellied dragon with wings. His hug around my shoulders loosens and I can tell that he is drifting off to sleep. I get up, pull the covers up to his neck and slip out of his room. Yesterday, I got a call from the school nurse that my young son was throwing up. I was able to get over to the school quickly and get him home. I had a wave of gratitude that I was able to get there quickly (I used to work in the next county), didn't have to ask for time off or beg my mother-in-law to watch him that day or the next. He relaxed, drank some gatorade and we watched Three Caballeros. I made some bread in the bread machine and some homemade soup for the rest of the family.

I guess I hope that in doing these things, I'm providing our children with a sense of calm. The sense that someone bigger is taking care of you and you don't have to worry at all that someone might take a long time to pick you up, or that mom's job might be at stake if you are sick too many days. I guess it's a kind of freedom and security that I am trying to allow them by being home. That there is someone bigger than you and you can rely on them.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

At-home mom, a calling

I just want to write a word of encouragement to my fellow at-home moms. There are many reasons for what we do: we want to be our child's first educators, we don't want to fit seeing our kids and housework and shopping into the two days of the weekend and a few hours in the evenings, we want to take time to make a meal and not have to rush to throw something together after dealing with a demanding work schedule all day.
But I will speak for myself and say that if I can help it, I just don't want my kids to fall through the cracks: emotionally, spiritually and even physically. I keep reading news reports of kids who are struggling with obesity, kids who commit suicide (as young as 9 or 10), the rise of juvinile diabetes and other troublesome things. I was telling a friend about how I wanted to be with my kids when they were younger, and she said I think the middle and high school years are even more important. That was a couple of years ago and it made me think. Why should I stop being around just because my kids are school-aged? Who will get them off the bus, be there when they're sick, have half-days, help with homework, etc.? I don't want my kids to reach a point where they think that I chose work over them. Ever. I'm building my at-home businesses, living without a lot of luxuries, because it's always been about this calling, this pull. They need us and there is no replacement. Noone who is paid to watch them will love them as much as we do. So, I hope that you are encouraged about your value. What you are worth in your family is more precious than you are able to imagine.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

My new vintage shop!

I've been busy as a bee lately putting together this new vintage shop on Etsy called Hold The Wire. I found a great faux bois set this weekend, which I've added to the shop along with clothing, patterns and a few other things. I'm trying to continue to work from home since I love being able to get my kids off the bus every afternoon and help them with homework as well as be there for sick days and every other kind of days without having to ask a boss for the time off (guiltily!). I adore vintage and thought it would be a perfect match for me. So, I now have 2 Etsy shops, jenniferdennispotter, which is my photography, and HoldTheWire, my vintage shop. Thanks for any comments or for checking out the shops. I really do appreciate your support.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

New Work

I've been making a number of personalized photo blocks for people over the holidays and into January as well as creating some new things for Mother's Day. Shown are just a few examples of what I've been working on.

All photos (c)2010 Jennifer Dennis Potter

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Our dog, Cooper, waiting for the kids to get home. I think he hears the brakes from some of the other busses that run in the neighborhood. He sits next to the window, watching carefully and is always so happy to see them come home. Such a loyal guy! Cooper also loves to go on hikes with us and runs like a deer through the woods but never gets lost or wanders away.