The Swing of Things . . .


Once upon a time, (Spring 2001, actually), in a Walmart faraway, two women wrestled over a swing in the Garden Department – the LAST swing as it were . . .

OK, so the “wrestling” part might be a bit exaggerated, but the struggle was not. I was one of those women, and I was ready to fight to the finish to have that swing!

The cost was $125, and a bidding war ensued – at Walmart!

Eventually, the Garden Department manager, a peacemaker at heart, was able to find another swing at another store for the other woman, and I got my prize.

It’s been 15 years, folks, and this swing is still on my “Five Things I Cannot Live Without” list – fighting with my iPad for first place, in fact.

Those of you who have been around here for a few seasons, know that my swing, in the corner of my garden, is not only my personal piece of paradise, but also my “studio” from May through October.


Yes, there is also usually a Husky or two, or three, around the “studio”.

But, here is what my swing looks like before all that gardening gets going . . .


I mentioned that it cost me $125 in 2001. I am now over $500 in and counting.

I have replaced the hardware that holds the canopy in place a few times, because our winds here are amazing and the hardware is a hard plastic. Thank heavens, they still make replacements.

One evening a few seasons back, my dear husband came out to sit with me on the swing and chat. I was just telling him how I would make this swing last forever, when he sat down and we both heard a loud snapping sound from the seat under us.

OH NO!! But, it was just a screw that had snapped and we were able to replace it easily. WHEW! DH knew he had dodged a bullet!

I paid about $250 to have a new canopy made – much heavier canvas and waterproof – which the original was not.

All was as it should be in paradise.

But last year, I began to have cushion problems. I keep them inside in Winter, but the fabric has gotten thin and the outdoor critters have made a few incisions to get at the stuffing. They don’t make replacement cushions anymore, so I was thinking about making patches (Ultrasuede with floral artwork transferred on them via Sheer Heaven), when I ran into some very nice outdoor chair cushions at Lowes.

Could they possibly fit? (excited) Are they way too splashy? (worried) Should I buy and try? (brave)

I did – and they fit perfectly. They get the whole garden going on before we have grown a thing . . . or even put the canopy on.



I had debated between the only two patterns that had the dark green I needed to match my swing. Then, because Mark was with me and turned one of the cushions over, I discovered they are reversible and have both patterns. If the floral print gets to be too much, I can just turn them over . . .


I do like the floral better – right? Not like those stripes are subtle.

Thinking of sketching the floral pattern in my art journal . . .


This is my favorite day of the year – Daylight Savings Day. Time to Spring ahead. It’s later than you think today (grin).

While spending all this time appreciating my swing, I was also thinking about our connection to things. I know lots of people are purging and de-collecting, and I am too, but there are things in my life that you better not try to take away from me!


Take some time to think about it and tell us what they are. You can just talk about what’s at the top of your list if that’s easier.

Remember, we are not talking about living things here – just thing things.

Stopping to appreciate what we have is never a bad idea.

We may have too many things, but they aren’t all bad. Some things bring us more pleasure than others, and some we would not want to be without, come hell or high water.

I will share a few more of my favorite things in posts to come.

And I will leave you with this poem that I wrote a long time ago, and many of you might remember if I posted it before . . .


There are things that make us happy.
There are things that make us sad.
There are things that we can throw away on Tuesdays, and we’re glad . . .
We have a garbage man to take them
To some far and distant place,
Because we’ll buy more things on Wednesday
And we need to make some space.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Not politically correct nor environmentally conscious, but this predated the whole idea of recycling, so I’m off the hook.

Have a great Sunday!



  1. Love this post! I’m drooling over a hand-made cedar swing I hope I can pick up this summer.
    As far as favorite things: Sugar, my dog; some type of computer (my Mac or iPad), my iPhone, NPR, and everything in Spare Oom (the craft room). Technically, that’s more than five but I’ve always been one to push the limits.

  2. Jessica-
    Your post made me think of something I read not to long ago:
    What if you woke up and the only things you had were the things you’d been thankful for the previous day?
    (I am always thankful for my bed when I crawl into it each evening, thinking of all the people in the world that don’t have this luxury!)
    Thank you for this thoughtful post!

  3. I can so identify Jessica with your swing. Last month for my birthday my husband surprised me and hung our porch swing IN my studio! I had been wanting it there for a long time and it is done! It belonged to his grandmother so has some history and I am covering pillow forms with soft restful looking fabric and it is my go to place..all year now!

  4. At one time when I was heavily into cooking, I would have said I could not live without my Cuisenart! ….and later, all my camping and backpacking stuff. (Funny how our interests and passions can sometimes change,…..or not) And now, my iPad is toward the top of the list; and I would be sad, but not devastated, to lose certain meaningful pieces of jewelry, a couple of family heirlooms, and any of my music equipment ( drums, keyboard, radio/CDs …..any kind of source to listen to music). Great question, Jessica! And I love your new cushions. I would probably mix and match the patterns. Love your blog! ~ ST

  5. Oh my… only 5? I’d say my paint brushes & everything they bring into my life, our backyard mecca, morning coffee time with my Honey (that always means there’s no tag on my toe so we’re “good-to-go” for another day), my all-time favorite 15 year old leather sandals that are totally nasty looking because the dog literally ate a strap off one…the same ones I once caught myself wearing in the grocery store in the dead of winter ~ the garbage man wouldn’t even consider taking them. I’m thankful for the beautiful furniture my grandfather made me ~ it means his love is always with me and my crazy, silly fun ShihTzu Luigi DaVinci and Chloe Crayon.

  6. I meant to leave a comment on your last post: I’m one of your readers/followers who opens your art-full-life posts when they come to my inbox. I always enjoy your writing, your introspection, your drawings. Maybe it’s because we have met in person and you are a real person. Anyway, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

    Right off the top, here are my favorite things:
    Apple products: iPad, iPhone, MacBook Pro (yes, that’s 3 but I see 1)
    My sense of humor
    My good health
    Memories of Mom
    Beautiful yarn & knitting needles

    Gads, this is definitely harder than one would think. I’m one of those people who is de-cluttering her home of what isn’t bringing me joy. And I have a houseful of “stuff” but it’s slowly dwindling. In fact, my BFF and I are vending at Art Unraveled in August 2016 and I plan for it to be our LAST time. I’m tired of storing so much stuff and collecting so much stuff. I’m at the stage where my photography has more meaning for me. And it is my first love and my passion. Playing with the different editing apps on my iPad makes all of the photos come to life. I’m continually surprised by what happens with happy accidents. Yea, Apple and IOS apps.

  7. I have much too much to list as favorite things. About 10 would be in the #1 spot. My studio (any time), my fig tree when it bursts forth in spring, my lay-z-boy recliner watching HGTV (especially FixerUpper), and so on. Following your blog and your life is also at the top of my list – always eager to see what’s next. We once had a screen house but an ice storm took it down 2 years ago. Just too expensive to replace but it was also a #1.

  8. My quickly put together list – so I don’t think to much: #1 – iphone, #2 – midori travelers notebooks, #3 – fountain pens, #4 – acrylic paint & watercolor paint, #5 – my studio. I like the mixmatch look on your swing with the striped one in the middle.

  9. If I knew how to add a photo I would! I have a swing too and it’s quite similar to yours but it is only a two-seater. In the Arizona sun and wind, the canopy didn’t last long nor the cushions. My husband removed the canopy and cushions and remade a seat from plywood on which we now place cushions like you have. I don’t bother with the canopy waiting for shade from the trees. We painted it eggplant purple too! I don’t sit out for too long once it gets hot but I do love to sit for a few minutes most days.

    I have to say my IPad is definitely one of my favorite things – or my IPhone. Along with a good cup or glass of coffee or tea, hot or iced versions on both. Some kind of art project or craft going and I am good. Swing, sip, draw!

  10. Jessica, I had a swing excatly like yours! I spent many hours sitting in it on our porch looking at our mountains and reading or painting/drawing. When my mother’s colon cancer advanced and she was nearing the end. she loved to set in the swing and look at the mountains and the flowers we planted for her. She loved being outdoors.Sadly I no longer have either the swing or my mother I miss them both. Glad you still have yours.

  11. 5 favorite things: the sculpture relief panels of ibex made from African burwood from my college days, ditto bookends of the Lion of Lucerne from same time period of my life, the elephant humidor? from my grandmother’s mantel, an 1896 mantel clock whose chime still delights me, hard to choose number 5 but it would not be technology. maybe my patch of gold irises that I have never seen anywhere else or the stone wall on my property that made me fall in love with it and still makes my heart sing.

  12. If I had to give up most of my “stuff” I could be happy with a good dark pencil and paper (lined is fine) and my i-pad.
    I have so many art supplies that at this point it only keeps me befuddled. {I love those tv shows on ‘tiny’ houses} Recently, I spent some time thinking of severely downsizing and just what it would take to keep me happy, since there isn’t a lot of storage in those little critters. 🙂 That’s what I came up with.

  13. Oooooooooo, I get to add 2 more things. Watercolor set and camera. Now I am going to seriously start working on the hub-ster. I am tired of hunting for stuff and house cleaning!!!

  14. Thinking about favorite THINGS is a good exercise. And very revealing…. I have come up with just three, but they are extremely important to me.

    Because I recently was without my iMac for 5 days (gasp!) and learned how much I actually depend on it (double gasp!), that has to be my favorite thing. One big reason is that it has become my favorite way to read: blogs, news, inspiration, communication. A second favorite thing is my iPhone. I am never without it and am always connected to my friends and family. And camera. My third favorite is my car. For medical reasons, I cannot drive for three months. Triple gasp! For more than 50 years I have had a car and have been able to just jump in it and go anywhere I needed or wanted. Now I must depend on friends and the pitiful bus system. I so appreciate my independence.

  15. I am so enjoying these answers, although I guess most of us have to sneak in more than five!
    Betty, your story about your Mom and your swing brought a sweet tear to my eye. I wish they were both with you.

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