I knew that this was going to be the most tedious part of my trip, from Lawrence Kansas to Boulder, Colorado. I left Lawrence with a blue sky threat of rain and some lightening. It never materialized much though. I was buzzing along and came by a sign about the Flint Hills. They were just stunningly mesmerizing. They were just rolling and green with cattle grazing on them. I thought “Oh, this is going to be a piece of cake if it is all like this. Kansas isn’t flat at all!” It really didn’t stay like this. The towns were farther apart and away from the interstate for the most part. I had to find gas with my GPS and went 5 miles down the road to find it. My pictures are not that great because I was just pointing and shooting. This is what I was seeing for 3/4 of the trip.


A historical marker at one of the rest stops. I was thankful of the maps telling me where I was at. At one rest stop I left the car on and closed my eyes for 10 minutes to get me through the rest of the trip. Let me mention the wind also, I really had to hand on to the steering wheel! Then there was the heat…I kept watching the thermometer rise until it hit 92 deprees.


In Hays Kansas I went to a nice quilt shop that had been advertised on a billboard along the highway. I then also stopped at a Dairy Queen of which I am showing you their door handles that looked like their red spoons.


In Goodland Kansas there is a large replica painting of Van Goghs Sunflowers. Kansas is the Sunflower state. Goodland is close to the Colorado boarder of which I was thankful for.


The informational plaque as to why there is this huge painting.


Drying sunflowers with their faces pointed down.


Now here is Dorothy’s Kansas. I even think I saw a house that reminded me of Aunte Em’s house. Grey (since I saw it in black and white, Kind of run down and white big metal water containers on it.


Passed Fort Riley Kansas with all the Army trucks and helicopters all lined up.


I thought this was corn at first but it is funny corn and I have since realized it was sorghum. I saw the sign for the Dwight D. Eisenhower presidential library which probably would have been very interesting, but I had to keep going. Finally, I made it to Colorado and Mountain time zone, which was two hours different than my Indiana home. It eventually started getting hilly but I was amazed at the land that just didn’t even have any houses, a few steer and thats it, very desolate for a while. Getting closer to Boulder, the traffic is more abundant, the sun is going down right in my face. I have the visor down and can only see out in a 4 inch space below it. That sun is a killer!! It finally goes behind the mountain and it is instantly dark. I can’t see the road very well because my headlights are on the incorrect setting and I cannot find the correct one, I would have to drive down the road with my bright lights on, having people shaking their fists at me. So I finally get to my hotel and breath a sign of relief. I am finally here in Boulder Colorado. Thanks for stopping!

Journey to Rocky Ridge and Lawrence KS

After having a nice breakfast and conversation with Innkeeper Connie Roberts and having inquired as to where the Mansfield town cemetery was located, I checked out and started my journey. As you can tell by this picture many travelers make their way to the grave sites. I think cemeterys are very interesting and historical. This one was set up in 3 sections. The oldest had so many headstones that were not legible at all because they were so old and the elements of time wore them down. The second section was probably only 100 years old and that is where the Wilder’s graves were located. The 3rd section is where the graves were adorned with flowers because there were family members alive to take care of them.

It was well kept and the Ozarks were visible there. It looks like there is plenty of area for expansion too.


Almanzo and Lauras headstone. It was nicely done to distinguish them from the others with well manicured bushes and chain to the rear. As you can tell visitors feel the need to put pebbles and coins on the headstone maybe to just leave a marker noting they had been there. I didn’t know them while they were alive but I feel like I did since I have read so much about them. This is where the human bodies were laid to rest and was a very serene area.


Rose’s grave is right next to her parents with the same kind of pebbles. After speaking with the tour guide at Rocky Ridge I have a whole new view of Rose Wilder Lane. My view was that she was bossy and didn’t treat her mother very well. The tour guide said that to understand Rose more I should read her writings. She probably would be considered “gifted” in our educational system now. She had an insatiable thirst for reading, she traveled all over the world and for her time was the second highest paid journalist.


Rocky Ridge farm was just a mile out of town which may have seemed like a little trek with a horse and wagon but I can see why they built on this land. When I am at places where historical figures lived I like to feel that this is where they walked and made their life, hallowed ground. I guess I try to feel their presence.


I walked around the grass to be able to get a good picture of Rocky Ridge. Here is the wonderful home that was build over a 20 year period as they worked the farm and in town and as money became more abundant. My next pictures are from the front porch on the right side.


This section of the house was built last and I am sure Laura came out of this door often to sit on this porch in the shade and catch a breeze.


The wonderful view from the porch. Not too hard on the eyes. They did not allow pictures inside the house or museum. The house was left just the way it was when Laura passed away in 1957. The countertops were made low because Laura was not even 5 feet tall and Alamanzo was not a tall man either. They were very hard working, frugal, socially conscious people. I thought this was very interesting, that they did not like Franklin Delano Roosevelt because he implemented the New Deal and all the plans that helped the country get through he depression. They felt that everyone should make their own way and work through the lean times as is what they did exactly in their lives.


After the tour of the farmhouse we made our way over to The Rock House that Rose had built for Laura and Almanzo to make their lives easier. It was a Sears and Robuck house and she hired high school boys to dig rocks for the house one summer. Many of the original fixtures, doors and such are still in the house. They lived in the house for 8 years with Rose living in the farmhouse. It had electricity, running hot water, and all the amenities that were not available in the area during the late 1920’s. As the tour guide said, it did make Laura’s life easier and in this house is where she started writing the Little House books.( The woman in the picture is named Misty Miller from Alabama and she was waiting on her ride to pick her up). The Rock House was build on the Wilders land of course. It was 3/4 of a mile away from the farmhouse and Rose and Laura walked a path back and forth over the hill to visit each other. Laura felt isolated from others while living here and missed her farmhouse which she and Almanzo had built together. Her heart was still there and also Rose had equipped it with the needed amenities of the Rock House.


Rose also had a garage built for their Buick and Rose had taught both Laura and Almanzo to drive.


The view of the Ozarks from the Rock House. Stunning in the fall I am sure.


Their land went to the tree line.


A new museum is being built right now and should be opened next year. I loved the museum because it diplayed so much of the items that we read about in her books. Pa’s fiddle, the china figurine, Mary’s quilt that she made and I could go on and on. In her 80’s Laura appliqued a morning glory quilt that was spectacular. Oh and the Our Daily Bread plate that was saved from the house fire of Laura and Almanzo’s home in South Dakota. I was also impressed the the wall display of all The Little House books in different languages. Children in China and Germany wanted to read about the pioneer spirit.


Plaque outside of the wonderful bookstore that beckoned me in. I had read Pioneer Girl before I left on this trip. It was the original story that Laura wrote and that the Little House Books were written from. It had more adult content like drunken people and such. Not like adult content of today. It came out in December 2014.


The ticket for my tour. A bookmark I received with my bookstore purchase. I love the receipt from the bookstore with the graphic of the farmhouse. The cashier wanted to know if I wanted a receipt and I said “yes”. After I got it I said I love the graphic and she said, “that’s someone who has too much time on their hands”. I thought it was quite special.


I picked up this very small, easy reading book since I had stayed in Mansfield the previous night. It talks about the train, the bank of Mansfield and I just wanted to picture what this little sleepy town was like during that period of time.


I picked this book because it has wonderful pictures of the inside of the houses and of things I wasn’t able to photograph. I also liked it that it was from the recipes that Laura used. It also had a picture of her recipe book, how she reused many different papers to compile them all. I made Farmhouse Stew last night and it received a good review from the family.


This one I chose because it had great pictures of all the places where the Little House books take place. It took me on a tour without having to go, just like I am doing for you. that Cabin on the front is a replica in Independence, Kansas.


So it was about 1:00 in the afternoon and I had a 4 hour drive ahead of me to Lawrence, Kansas. Got my GPS up and running and I was mostly on Hwy. 13 in Missouri to take me to Kansas. Observations I had along the way: Lake Truman is huge! I knew it had to be man made because there were dead trees in the middle of the part that I saw. Here is information I found about it. At one point on the lake were pelicans, I wasn’t expecting that. Here is talks about pelicans. Along the road I saw a dead armadillo, which is something I don’t come across in Indiana, mostly raccoon’s and deer. Here is tells about armadillos in Missouri. I got to my room in Lawrence about 6:45 and needed to get to this bookstore that I read about, from another blogger from Kansas. Here is the link to her amazing blog. The bookstore is The Raven and it was just 3 blocks from my hotel. As you know I love books and I love cats and this store contained both. As I walked up this one cat had slipped out with a customer and was hiding behind the potted plant outside the door. The clerk was having a bit o f a time getting him back into the store. Of course once she did the cat kept looking out the door planning his escape again. I saw cat toys on the floor so he and I got into a little cat play. I am sure he was glad that I came along.


Then this other handsome fellow came out to see what it was all about. He was very pettable and joined in on the cat play also.


This quilt was also displayed and I asked who had made it, some group in town she said. It had book covers on it.


I had about a half and hour after playing with the cats to browse and make my choices. I fell in love with this book and it’s beautiful pictures.


While I don’t like to make my watercolors to be used in a botanical book this had many good watercolor tips and pictures.


The clerk included two bookmarks, each has a different quote from well known authors. She also gave me some good advice on where to get something to eat.


Lawrence is a college town and Massachusetts avenue was a bustling place. Very interesting and I went to a brew house bar to place an order and took it back to the hotel. This is a building I passed and don’t know if it was a movie theater or a play house, but it was pretty.


So Spring Hill Suites was at the end of my journey for the day. Very nice, sizable room. I watched the Republican Debate because I didn’t have to think too hard about anything. When you are driving by yourself you have to stay alert at all times so by the end of the day I was a bit depleted. It has been a great experience! To keep me awake and interested I am listening to audio books.  The first one I chose is Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult, 15 hours long.  Check back in for day three. Thanks for stopping!


Day One Destination: Mansfield, MO

Earlier in the year I found out one of my favorite artists, Geninne, was having a mini art retreat in Boulder, Co. It took me all of 5 minutes to decide to go. I do not love to fly plus I have not been this far west so I am driving the route. I wanted to see the land and visit a few places. I rented a Ford Escape..my husband told me they wouldn’t have that car….they didn’t….I received a Subaru Forester. Everything is not where I think it should be. I am thankful that I have had good weather because I couldn’t get the front windshield wipers to work, the back wasn’t a problem. That would come in handy for driving backwards. I love the bluetooth synching to my phone….it’s great when I get a call. It doesn’t like my voice though when I give it a number to dial…Pardon…try again it says. At least it is polite! I made it to Mansfield 11 hours later. I prepared myself for a long trip the first day. It was still light because they are in a different time zone and I snapped some pictures. This bank is the one that helped the Wilders buy Rocky Ridge Farm along with the 100.00 that Laura brought with her from South Dakota. It was located across the street from my Bed and Breakfast.

Mansfield is still as quaint as when the Wilders lived there, at least the parts that I saw. There is a park in the town square and it had a memorial up for a major league baseball player that lived in the vicinity of Mansfield in the early 1900’s.


Carl “Sub” Mays and here is the Wikipedia report.


The Weaver Inn, B&B I stayed at is on the left and the mexican restaurant that i dined at that night is on the right. The Weaver Inn proprietors were fantastic people. They were from the area and I had a nice talk with her while having my breakfast. They have 6 rooms total in the Inn and I took the only one downstairs. It was a very nice room, the building was the oldest in town but it has been kept up well. I did have a resident cricket that serenaded me all night.


I don’t feel that the buildings have changed too much since the early days of the town.


Outside of the tourism building.


I did miss the annual Wilder festival taking place this weekend.


Many houses have this kind of rock on the outside.


A nice bust of Laura in the towns square.


The Weaver Inn had a nice coffee, pastry shop inside also. This is where I had my breakfast. It was very inviting and cozy.


Since I coudn’t take pictures I jotted from memory in a journal my observations. When in Illinois I saw gas for $1.91 per gal. I found this pretty moth, dead on the parking lot. Thought it was too pretty to let get run over. Crossed the Mississippi river into St. Louis and saw the arch and Busch Stadium. Then somewhere there was this huge cross looming up and I couldn’t see a church around. Someone did a youtube video of it. It had a sidewalk and seating around the bottom. Always signage for Meramac Caverns….you can now zipline and rent horses there. Vinyards and winerys. Every town outside of St. Louis on I44 is deemed a historic town on the signs along the interstate. With our IPads my family and I facetime which is really nice. Technology is great. Thus ended my day one journey.


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A couple of weeks ago I went outside to enjoy the pretty sunrise, I just never get tired of them. I wasn’t going to take a picture of this one because it wasn’t unusual but just the usual loveliness. The moon and bright planet Venus in the upper right corner couldn’t be ignored though. The whole package had to be shared for those of you who don’t have time to look at the sky in the morning. Thanks for stopping by.

Sweet Stamps Blog Challenge


Since I love rubberstamps so much I thought that I would submit a card to the Sweet Stamps Monthly Challenge theme of Anything Goes. This is a set by Sweet Stamps called Trees and Leaves 2 step. With the changing of the seasons this will be good in fall colors.  I used Tim Holtz Distress Inks in Vintage Photo, Barn Door, Shabby Shutters and Wild Honey. The patterned paper is from a group called First Fruits. Click here to go check out other submissions.


Of course the inside needed to be finished so I can have it in the stash to use. This is also a Sweet Stamps Sentiment. Thanks for checking in!

Starting A Creative Business Part II (Things I have learned so far)


I have decided on my web hoster, my business name and bought my domain, I am building my website and started building my Etsy shop. How am I going to get my art uploaded onto the Etsy shop. What will make it look the best, how can I get the right pixel sizes? There are many options but I chose to get an Epson Perfection V600 Scanner. I LOVE this scanner and it does so many things that I have only touched slightly on. With it came Adobe Photoshop Elements program, which is perfect for editing what I want to do. It is a scaled down version of Photoshop. A scanner makes the pictures sharper. If you don’t know how to do something read the handbook, go to Epson, input the question online and something will come up. Don’t be afraid, just forge ahead and find your answers. Use the resources that are available. The Best thing I have found with Photoshop Elements is how to get my whole picture scanned when it is larger than the scanner. You scan all pieces of the art, make sure they are straight and all going the same way and photomerge it. The program and computer put all those pieces together and make it into one picture that can be printed off to any size you want. To learn to do this, I went to Adobe tutorials and I also went to YouTube. Everyone explains it differently and you can find someone who talks your talk. I took a 24 X 36 painting and stuffed it into Etsy. It is magical.


You then have to decide when someone buys your art how will you get it printed off and sent to them. Will you send it out to various places or will you print it off at home and send it yourself? I chose to do it at home and purchased a Epson Stylus Photo R3000 printer. It makes fabulous prints and I would follow blogs and read what other artists were using. I bought it through Amazon because I could not find anyone local who sold them. It was about 700.00. The scanner and printer were my largest cash output in the beginning and I don’t regret it one bit.

selling your art online

This ia another book that I downloaded recently that gave great information about what places there are out there to have your art printed and he gave his opinion on what works better than others. It also gave more in depth on where you can sell your art, where you can get your art printed on other items like coffee cups and t-shirts. It was very helpful and I also downloaded it for $3.99 because I have a Kindle app on my Ipad. Save anywhere you can.

Epson Paper

I took Kelly Rae Roberts advice and used this Epson Ultra Premium Photo Paper Luster. I tried other papers and decided this was the look that I wanted. With this paper and my Photo R3000 printer I have beautiful prints. I have a couple different sizes depending on how I want the art print to look.

Logo new for background on computer resized JPEG

I couldn’t miss showing the logo I designed on Adobe Illustrator. I love that program and it was one of the best classes I took in college. It is amazing also because anything you make on it can be put on a matchbook or a billboard without losing any sharpness. Like anything you just have to practice it. I pay a monthly fee through Adobe Cloud for it because I didn’t want to pay $300.00 for it right away. I never know when I am going to need it but it is handy. I put this logo on my business cards and my website. I plan to put it on a banner also. Since I took a class on this program I have books to find answers but the biggest help for me was the Adobe tutorials.


I wanted to be ready when I got an order. I am going to jump in here and buy the items I will need to ship my art. Clearbags company is where I bought cellophane bags to put the print in and also a piece of cardboard for stability when it is taken out of the mailing envelope.. It’s a great site, all kinds of good items to look at. I also bought from Uline a large size of stay-flat sturdy envelopes to mail the art print and also tube mailers for quilts. The only thing about these sites are the shipping costs are phenomenal. I needed to purchase another size of stay-flats and I just decided to try Amazon and found what I needed at a more cost effective shipping.


So I end this post to tell you that no, my business is not going great guns yet. It took me 5 months to get my first online order. It’s not “If you build it they will come” like the wonderful movie quote. It is “build it, let people know and eventually they will make their way to it”. Find places to show your art, submit it. Brave Girls Club asks for art to highlight with their “a little birdie told me” email. I had quite a few paintings that had birds in them. I submitted and they showed one yesterday.  I had 36 visitors and 100 views on this blog. It was very exciting to me because maybe some of those people will come back and some went to my Etsy shop. You just have to keep working it, follow others blogs and make comments. Make them to be thoughtful and heartfelt comments and others will read them and quite possibly make it to your site. Participate….is a great word. You won’t be found if you don’t do that. I feel comfortable that I am at the right place with Etsy for myself at this time. They get the highest traffic and a great support system. Kelly Rae Roberts book was my life source in this endeavor. I love to create….it is good for my soul. I am very happy being able to do this everyday. You will meet so many different people online and otherwise. If you are interested in Kelly Rae’s book I have a link on the front page of this website. Click on the picture that looks like the one above. I hope that these two posts have been helpful and informative.

And as always  thank you for stopping by!


Starting a Creative Business Part I (Things I have learned so far)

flying lessons

Earlier this year I had come to a crossroads in my working career. I had left my job of 14 years and I was trying to decide what I wanted to do. I had no desire to go and work in an office environment again. I really loved being home and I absolutely love to create. I had taken art and business classes and also worked in various business areas so I had that background. Following my heart I decided to open a creative business. Ok, what are my first steps? I needed to educate myself on this. I am a huge book fan and I wanted to find a book that focused on creative businesses online. I decided to go and look at Kelly Rae Roberts because I knew that she would list favorite books on her website that she used. I knew she started from scratch, and she decided one day to follow her heart/calling and open a creative business. Lo and Behold! She had recently written a book about this. It is an E-Book and she decided to do it because when she started her creative business she had to dig and read for everything and she wanted to share what she learned. I cannot say enough good about this book, I refer to it constantly. She is very open with her information and it has been right on. If you would like to find out more about her book I have a link on the front page of my website.

green geeks

So, I am going to be online, and I wanted to do it right with a website that I can grow with. I needed a domain name and a web hosting site. This was a huge learning curve for me. There are so many different options that it is head spinning. My biggest advice to you is read, Read, READ! If you are going to do this. Read especially the support FAQ! You will not generally get an answer to an email back in a timely manner. Many sites have support where you post a question and a moderator may try to answer it. Other users may answer the questions and they are very helpful because they have been through the problem. I chose Green Geeks for my web hosting. I liked their prices, which other companies were comparable. I liked that they were environmentally friendly. So far it has been a good experience with them. It has been a quiet existence between the two of us, I haven’t had many problems and they just keep everything running smoothly.This service you pay for and it is renewable every three years.  I could have chosen to use their email, but I have kept the one that everyone knows. I don’t want to have to monitor several emails. It gets confusing and time consuming. I then had to decide on a name to register with the Indiana Department of Revenue and also to get a domain. I was going to go with my name…Robin Hawkins and have the domain (website address) the same but it was already taken. If you have an idea, search for it on a search engine. This is why I use Here’s My hART….I like hearts and art. Green Geeks helped me register my domain name and I have to renew it every year. It’s a little over $100.00. You want to make it pretty easy so customers can remember. I then had to decide on where I was going to build a website. I chose WordPress because anything I read said that it integrates easily if you should want to have your shop on your website. The thing I learned here was even though I had a blog for 5 years through Blogger it was not just a snap of the finger to get my website built, it took me three weeks of reading and trial and error before I was comfortable making it live. I still change and add all the time.  The sky is the limit. WordPress has a large amount of free templates with all different styles and themes. My theme is called Sela. Two other important ideas.  When getting your website set up be sure to download Jet Pack for WordPress.  It offers many more widget options.  In the options is a program called Akismet.  It stops spam.  Something happened to mine at one point and I was receiving 50 or more comments per day, all nonsense.  Imagine my surprise because people don’t leave a lot of comments unless you are super well known.  They were all spam.  I got that fixed quickly! It is amazing all the spam that goes out.


I went ahead and changed my Pinterest account to the business name instead of personal, I opened an Instagram account, which I like very much and am still learning hashtags. I also opened a twitter account. All these are free marketing accounts where you connect with the outside world. I also ordered business cards through VistaPrint and was very happy with my product. I made a mistake though and the address is wrong to my Etsy Shop. I left a word out. So here are my little sticky labels to correct the problem. I bought 500 cards. Remember to check your addresses! Now with my Etsy shop, I have a link from my website. I also have added an Etsy mini it is called that it shows 9 pictures of my art that is for sale and it links out to Etsy. Etsy has charges, 20 cents per item listed and a 2 percent charge on what you sell. I also had to set up a PayPal account. All this requires many passwords that are important, make sure you can find them again. You can find these links to my different accounts on the front page under “follow me” at the top.


Facebook for business owners

I have a personal facebook page and then also a business facebook page. It is taking a while to build a following. There are all kinds of experts out there who have a lot of good advice. Take advantage of their free webcasts. They don’t give you all the information because they want you to sign up. No faulting them for this at all. With a new business, funds are limited try to find the most bang for your buck as they say. I watched a free webinar with Amy Porterfield about marketing with Facebook. She gave some very good points especially shedding some light on problems I was having. I wanted to further my research  and found this book that I am showing. I liked it that he was a graduate of Indiana University. I downloaded this e-book for $2.99 because I have Amazon Prime. It gave me good information. Facebook for business has many rules. My problem was that I had not built my site up yet and had under 50 followers it was not sending through my posts. Thus I had no opportunity to get likes or shares. Facebook does not like that you send through posts about promoting what you sell. Because it is a social network it doesn’t believe that people want to read about that. It will take that post off also, plus you can start to sell on facebook and you can buy ads then they get the money also.  It is good to know the ins and outs of Facebook.


I have this quote hanging right beside my computer. It’s inspirational and says it all.


When I started this business I knew it would take a while to build it. I not only have to make the inventory, I have to market it and sell it. I am learning all the time. My advice, use the free stuff! YouTube is a huge source of information. Join Facebook groups, webinairs, never stop learning. Keep your mind open. Submit your work to get it noticed. Always keep searching out opportunities.


Here is another book I bought from Austin Kleon. It talked about how to sell your art, how to get noticed. They are short, sweet and to the point. Good information. Here is his website.


This book talks about opportunities for artists like licensing and how to get noticed. There are people perusing the internet and Etsy all the time to find new talent. The writer of this book is Lilla Rogers.

Painted Blossoms

I loved the cover of this book and I really fell in love with this style of painting of Carrie Schmitt. I have bought a package with DVD’s along with paints that I had not used before. I just love to learn new things. I have an e-course that I have downloaded on faces that I have to do yet. I discover something new all the time to learn from. I have taken a big step and applied to show my work at the Roanoke Renaissance Art Fair in October. It is juried and I don’t know if I will be accepted, we will see. There is all kinds of art mediums and all kinds of people in the world, not everyone likes the same thing. Get out there, show your art, it’s really great fun!


I don’t crochet


This last Sunday we had some very informative genealogy doin’s going on here. The lady’s from left to right are Tom’s sister Ellen, Cousin Patty, Cousin Margaret on their mothers side. Margaret was our genealogy presenter. It was very interesting and we learned things that didn’t seem to be brought out before or were misconceptions. We saw family photos that no one had seen before either. Margaret had gathered a lot of information.  I do think it is interesting that they seemed to dress that morning in the same shades of clothing. They were sticking their feet in the pool waiting to swim. Tom was doing a sweep of it first. Some days there is just not enough time for everything.


I don’t crochet and I admire people who do. I just can’t wrap my brain around the instructions. I was thrilled that Margaret chose to share these wonderful wash cloths that she made. They are very soft and pretty. I was very lucky.


Close up of the pattern and color. I love to get handmade items. Thank you!