Thursday, January 29, 2015


What has kept me busy of late has been painting these huge signs on the windows of Bootleggers Restaurant and Brewery in Aurora, Missouri. Last year, Bootleggers was closed due to a fire and now, under new ownership, it is set to re-open February 3rd.
For those of you who don't know, Bootleggers is a lovely restaurant in downtown Aurora. It is situated in an old building that dates back to the 1800s and once housed the Aurora Bank when Aurora was a bustling mining town. Many charming original features remain like the tellers' booth, the bank vault, old brick walls, and tin ceiling tiles. The old vault now houses the micro-brewery which will hopefully be up and running in the near future.
I'm very excited to see two young women entrepreneurs, Andrea and Tara, raising Bootleggers from the ashes. I think they have fantastic ideas about how to update the restaurant without losing the features and ambiance that make it one-of-a-kind. While standing outside Bootleggers painting, I got a small taste of how much the community misses the establishment. Many people stopped to ask about it or honked encouragingly as they drove by. It has been closed for nearly a year & its return is greatly anticipated. Hop over to their Facebook Page to stay updated and get a sneak peak. I wish them the best of luck!
The Sign from inside

Traveling Chariot Sale

Use coupon code GROUNDHOG now until February 3rd to get 30% off anything ofver $15. Let's usher in Spring with a treat. Visit Traveling Chariot Etsy Shop to browse my wares.

Oxford Oasis - 8x10 Photograph
Royal Wanderer- Traveler's Pocket Journal - Handbound Embossed Leather Journal
The Little Black Quill - with Small Quill Pen, Paper & Cedar Stand

The Shadow of Winter

Happy Groundhog's Day here in America. Happy St. Brigid's Day in Ireland. Happy Imbolc in Ancient Ireland. The beginning of February is steeped in old folklore, traditions, and religion, though many only know of the infamous Punxsutawney Phil.

Traditionally, if the groundhog emerges from his burrow and it is cloudy, thus seeing no shadow, spring will come early. If it is sunny and the groundhog sees his shadow, he will retreat back into his burrow and winter will persist for six more weeks. 

This tradition has trickled down from ancient times. February 1st is the Ancient Celtic Festival of Imbolc, which divides the winter from the spring and honors the Celtic Goddess of fire and fertility, Brigit or Brigid. She dispelled the dark of winter and was "mistress of fertility"* to the land, animals and women, too. Later this day would be Christianized into St. Brigit's Day, the patron saint of mothers, cattle, and poets. Imbolc marked time to begin sowing seeds for Spring and reading the signs of nature to forecast spring weather. "An exceptionally fine day was regarded as an omen of poor weather to come."** Seeing a hedgehog was a good sign, because he would always return to the burrow if he sensed the coming of bad weather.** Traditionally, ancient civilizations also trusted the Badger to impart this important prediction because they lived beneath the earth where Spring might already be afoot. If the badger saw his shadow, winter would linger on. This tradition came over to America with German settlers and became the Groundhog Day we know today, once with a little more veneration.*

So many nearly forgotten or over-commercialized traditions are deeply rooted in the past. There is so much history in the transformation of traditions, from a Celtic Festival to Punxsutawney Phil, and much can be learned about our ancestors who settled this country and the places they left behind.

*Dance of Time by Michael Judge
**A Year in Ireland by Kevin Danaher

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Winter Woodland

Here in the Midwest, Winter has not blanketed us in snow, even though all the persimmons seeds I opened were spoons foretelling a  wet snowy winter . Winter has frozen us and thawed us out, time and time again - a cyclical loop from a frigid 20 to a balmy 60. I really quite like it, this waltz between winter and spring. The simultaneous cold and wet did something marvelous where we normally have a wet weather stream. I was pleasantly surprised to come upon this frozen stream falling down our land. I could see water moving beneath the ice and sometimes could hear it moving in the cold silence. Woodland walks have been frequent, especially in the mild weather when the birds come out to frolic and gossip on the heavy cedar boughs, even cedar wax wings have stopped at the watering hole. It is an absurd spring day today at 65 but of course, we will freeze again soon.




Saturday, January 24, 2015

Creations of Late and Long Ago

A Bookshelf of Beloved Favorites - Watercolor and Ink on Paper. After inquiring about the recipient's favorite books, I created this painting. I can't take credit for the idea as I saw it done online, namely by Jane Mount on Etsy . But I thought it would be a fun gift for a bibliophile cousin.

Beard Oils for a Gift in hand designed box with labels.

Botanical Beard Oil - The Hunt - a woodsy concoction

Wood burned Sign for gift on pine. Pardon the paneling from my shop.

Hand painted sign for gift.
Detail of Wood burning