I'm Nikki, a creative old soul who loves tea time, tip-toeing through gardens, mounds of books, swaying to records, watercolors, sunset walks with our three yorkies, and star-gazing with Paul. This blog carries snippets of my life with just us two (five with Rusty, Lucy, & Ethel) - I hope it brings you happiness as you snuggle in with something warm and delicious and begin reading. Enjoy, friends!

the blog!

If I had to choose:

Winter Solstice

I moved furniture in my office today, finding it fitting that it is the Winter Solstice. I have been noticing that my mind is struggling with the shorter days and lack of snow in what is supposed to be our winter season. My desk used to face two walls with the one window in my office behind me. But now, I can watch the trees change color, enjoy the flying v’s of geese overhead, laugh while watching the squirrels chase each other, and marvel at the sky transitioning from blue to pink to periwinkle, all while I paint.

I’m surprised by my reception of these shorter days. In past years, I’ve looked forward to this time; time to just be, to reflect on the past year, to dream for the future, to read, write, and not feel rushed to do anything. But this year, I’m anxious, stir-crazy, wanting to get out and get some dirt under my fingernails. I’m constantly searching for the sun in our house, grateful we installed a new door this year with windows, adding just a few more minutes of sunlight to our home. When the sun begins to set at 4:15pm, I feel the anxiety creeping in and I already can’t wait for bed and to wake up to the daylight. Being in the present moment is hard for me right now, but I’m doing the best I can, knowing that longer days are just a couple of days away. In just a week, the sun will be setting 7 minutes later!

So, right now I’m curled up in the corner of our sectional with blankets and dogs surrounding me. The faux fireplace is running, expelling heat into this little nook. A wintry candle is lit, lamplight glows in the corners of the room, and the feel-good girlfriends-forever movie The Book Club is on TV. I love movies featuring groups of girlfriends; I find myself reminiscing of my early college days with me and my three girlfriends, the friends that could turn any night into a spontaneous laughter-filled memory lasting into the wee hours of the morning, the friends that picked me up countless times while I dealt with a messy break-up (this was before I began dating Paul), the friends that made anything mundane into some spectacular. To think that was 15, almost 16 years ago absolutely baffles me.

While in my newly organized office, I was feeling a bit of life seep into me and I began to paint another month for the 2025 calendar: June. I make notes on my phone as I see things around Minnesota that I find unique or adorable or just visually appealing. For example, while at the State Fair last year, while I was waiting for Paul to order food I saw a couple of elderly women sitting together on one of the benches wearing the most adorable striped hats and matching t-shirts, leaning on each other and giggling. I immediately wrote the idea down in my phone. Last summer while at the beach, I saw the most adorable kid with striped swim trunks holding a red popsicle and wearing sunglasses, just wading out into the water. He couldn’t have been more than 5 or 6 years old, but he looked like he was absolutely living his best life. So again, I wrote the idea down in my phone, and today I finally painted that tiny snippet from our beach day. And then I thought of one of my favorite summer cocktails and decided to paint it and the recipe. And then I wanted more color and more fun, so I painted a rainbow-colored beachball. Spending a few hours painting just happy and bright and colorful things helped my mental space, and I left my office feeling a bit lighter.

Paul just got home, we’re dining on delivered pizza today, an easy meal before all the preparations for Christmas begin. He just picked up our Christmas turkey today (we’re a bit last-minute this year) and then we’re doing some more last-minute Christmas shopping (I know, I know!) this weekend. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season with loved ones, good food, festive music, and all the comforts of home. Cheers to you and yours!

  1. Pamela Welter says:

    Happy Winter Solstice Nikki!
    I am up late on this longest night of the year, lighting candles, having coffee, and just reading your post.
    The skating rink scene you painted is one of my favorites of yours. I hear you about our brown Christmas and lack of snow. I miss it, but am leaning into more ease and lightness with going out and driving or walking. Hopefully, snow will come in the New Year. . . .
    I am still shopping tomorrow and making late plans for the holidays as well. We are kindred spirits in that area. It takes me forever to get my cards done. I doodle on the envelopes and find quotes and mantras, put a photo or story in with the card, and lots of confetti!
    There is something about your photo with the red mug on it that reminds me of the old Dayton’s department store. Wish I could still go there and view their wonderland and have popovers and wild rice soup and a gingerbread cookie! Mmmm. . .
    I like hearing the stories you treasured from the State Fair and the beach and how they are making their way into your artwork. I’m sure looking forward to seeing all the new calendar pages on my 2024 calendar from you!! And giving another as a gift. It’s good to have something to anticipate each month and turning the calendar page to your art and quotes always brings a smile and inspiration.
    Have a wonderful holiday season with your loved ones! Your home will be a magical world of delight with the atmosphere you create there and the love and friendship you share with others.
    There are fresh possibilities and dreams to come true in 2024. . . I just feel it!!
    Keep shining your light*~*~*~*~*~*~*Cheers!!