Winter Weather

For the past six years, I have wintered in a perpetual state of snow.


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How to Train an Indoor/Outdoor Cat

Nine months ago a tiny kitten wandered into my yard and climbed into my lap.

Screen shot 2012-05-16 at 2.20.32 PMShe was small, malnourished, scared, tired, and in search of a home. So we took her in, fed her, gave her a litter box, and loved her. I immediately knew that I wanted her to be an indoor/outdoor cat but I wanted to wait until she was older and spayed (I definitely didn’t need more kittens!). So we decided to take it slow.

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Here is how we have trained her over the last nine months…

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The Many Reasons Why My Grandpa Is Amazing

When I was growing up, I was lucky enough to live only 0.5 miles down the road from my grandparents. They live on 70 acres of land that is best described as a kid’s wonderland. My mechanics-obsessed grandpa has a massive workshop filled with enough tools to make anything you could imagine. This is where I learned how to build things, how to shoot guns safely, how to make a cat dance, how to use power tools, how to nail a nail, how to saw a board, how to put a worm on a fishing hook, how to change oil, how to drive a tractor, and much more. My kid imagination was vastly endless and my grandpa was always up to any challenge. And he still is. So last week when I asked him to help me build a bench, I could barely give him the dimensions before he finished the project for me.


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The True Meaning of Valentine’s Day

No, it’s not a holiday created simply for consumerism. Although it does rake in lots of money for the Post Office as the second most popular card-sending holiday after Christmas because approximately 150 million cards are exchanged around Valentine’s Day. Actually Valentine’s Day is a holiday with quite a bit of history. However, its history is mostly told in the form of legends.

So, as legend tells it, St. Valentine was a Roman priest around 270 AD. At the time, Christians were being denied the sacrament of marriage because the Roman Empire outlawed marriage for soldiers. Roman pagans thought that unmarried men made better soldiers. So, St. Valentine, believing in the importance of the sacrament of marriage, performed weddings for soldiers and his special touch was a heart cut from parchment that he gave the newlyweds to remind them of God’s love and to encourage them to remain faithful Christians. Eventually, he was martyred for these crimes but before his execution he performed a miracle by healing a young girl of her blindness. On the day he was executed, February 14, he left the young girl a note that said, “Your Valentine.” St. Valentine’s heart-shaped parchments and the “Your Valentine” note are thought to be the origin of our modern celebration of the day. Legend also has it that the young girl who had been healed of blindness immediately converted to Christianity and planted a pink-blossomed almond tree near St. Valentine’s grave and the almond tree remains at the site as a symbol of abiding love and friendship.

Now, more than one thousand years later, the holiday of Valentine’s Day is celebrated through Valentines exchanged at school, red roses sent to loved ones, heart-shaped chocolates, and basically anything that can be colored red or pink. My favorite Valentine’s memories are from childhood, my grandpa always helped me design beautifully unique Valentine’s boxes for my school’s holiday parties including robots, airplanes, kitties, and more.

David and I don’t celebrate the holiday anymore but he made our very first Valentine’s Day very memorable. Our freshman year, we were living down the hall from each other in the dorms. On V-Day he picked me up with the “plan” to head to one of the few nice restaurants in our small college town. Then he told me that we had to go to his room because he had forgotten to put on his coat. Little did I know that he had made a romantic dinner for us in his room. The catch? He’d locked himself out of his room! So he had to find our student advisor to let him in while worrying that his yummy dinner was getting very cold. Luckily, it didn’t take long to unlock the door to present his surprise. It was my first Valentine’s with a boyfriend and he made me feel very special and loved with a romantic gesture. No candy, flowers, or hearts necessary.

Whether you celebrate the day of love with a significant other, friends, family, (a pint of ice cream on the couch), or simply ignoring the holiday, just be sure to spend it with someone (or something) that you love. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Our First Valentine's Day

Our First Valentine’s Day

Anyone Can Be a Superhero: DIY Superhero Capes

Last week, I made and mended children’s superhero capes for a family friend. Her sons wore them everywhere as kids, one of them even suffered through a bike accident, and she requested that I make her several new capes to give as gifts. These make fantastic gifts for a two or three year old. Their imagination’s are just beginning to develop making for some excellent playtime. When I was a kid, I used anything, sheets, pillowcases, or blankets, tied around my neck to become a superhero. My inspiration came from these two well-loved capes.


Want to learn how to make a superhero cape?

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Working with the Obstacles

IMG_8330Sometimes I feel like I live in a jungle gym. My pets constantly race and chase each other all over the house, the yard, and the basement. No matter what the obstacle, Butters is sure to find her way under, over, and around furniture, behind doors, around corners, under shelves, and inside closets. And Japhy is not far behind. She hates losing to him but unfortunately her size typically fails her. Plus he shoots over the couch and around the corners like a greyhound. Over the weekend I decided that this HAD to stop so I rearranged my living room to completely avoid animal acrobatics.

Want to see how the room turned out?

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Down Shannon Lane Style: Terrific Lady Day Style

Check out this post for info about “Terrific Lady Day.”

The weather was very grey. You know grey sky, grey clouds, grey light, grey roads, everything grey. But the temperature was warm despite the snow that had recently fallen. The perfect day to relax, read a book, and take a nap…


…followed by an afternoon of pottery painting…


and an evening spent over dinner at my favorite restaurant. Now, my only conundrum was finding an outfit suited for all three activities.

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Terrific Lady Day

When I was a kid, my biggest fear was turning 10 years old. Double the digits and double the responsibility? No thank you! I’m fairly sure that pop culture was already pushing its way into my psyche to not so subtly remind me that growing up sucks. It was never about adding another digit to my age, it was about realizing that I would soon be departing my childhood. Unfortunately, I had to “grow up” a little earlier than I would have liked so peaking at age 10 actually seemed likely to me. Obviously, the days inevitably passed and my 10th birthday finally arrived. To take my mind off of my silly fears my mom planned the perfect party at a pottery shop and it was awesome. So awesome that I completely forgot why I had been so nervous of growing up in the first place.

Dorky and apprehensive 10 year old Shannon.

Dorky and apprehensive 10 year old Shannon.

Now, fifteen years later, I am still feeling the apprehension of aging but this time it’s not because I’m scared of growing up. I’m worried about not living my life to the fullest, so I decided to start with changing each and every day. All this to say that last weekend David and I decided to enjoy special days devoted to each other. Case in point: Terrific Lady Day!

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