Apr, 14

Happy 101st Birthday, Great-Grandpa Riley!!!


Today may be April Fool’s, but this is no joke.  My amazing Great-grandpa, Riley, is 101 years old today!!! He’s definitely one of the most incredible people that I’ve ever known, and I’m proud to call him grandpa.  He’s smart, strong, kind, warm, and loving.  I truly admire him and hope to be as great as he is one day.  His smile, laugh and love are genuine and you feel it as soon as you see him.  Happy 101st Birthday, Grandpa!!!

Robert Riley moved from Thornton, CO to Paducah, KY in 2009 to be closer to his son and daughter-in-law.  He’s been living in an independent living facility which provides a private apartment, meals, housekeeping, and activities.  Fortunately, [my aunt Jan + uncle Bob] were able to hire people to help with his personal needs and washing clothes to avoid the nursing home thus far.  My aunt and uncle also have a good home health provider to provide physical & occupational therapy, and professional nursing, as needed.  My aunt Janice keeps him supplied with snacks, juice, Gatorade, and does his other personal shopping for him, so he’s surrounded by love and care.  I also hear that he’s quite popular!

Jackson Oaks

When I think of my grandpa Riley, I think of all that he’s seen and accomplished so far in his 101 years!  He makes me want to be a better person and to strive to be the best that I can be with no excuses.  In fact, I often think of him, particularly in times of self-doubt, and quickly snap out it.  I think of how happy he’s always been and what a go-getter he’s been throughout his whole life.  He truthfully has to be the most physically active person that I’ve ever known.  He inspires me to keep my mind, spirit and body active and healthy.  I know that I can speak for my whole family when I say that we have such good memories of him and all that he’s done.  Honestly, my youngest brother, Michael, summed it up best in a school report that he did about 6 years ago, when he was about 14 or 15:

 “Air Corps

In March of 1942, my great-grandfather, Robert Wesley Riley, joined the Air Corps. Robert was supposed to go to Aircraft Engine School, but at the time, there were no openings. He had to wait five months to get into the school. During those five months, he had to take five exams, one every month. After the five months were up, the aircraft engine school let him in without a history of any college. This aircraft school was called Hendricks Field. It was in Sebring, Florida. Everyone in the school was either a mechanic or an engineer. My grandfather stayed at this school for three years. He became a flight engineer. What he did was test the planes to see if they were in flying conditions. For five to ten hours a day, he would test take-offs and landings. After his training at Hendricks Field, he went to Chanute Field in Illinois for one month. He worked on gyro instruments. Gyro instruments are engines that spin. Some examples of gyro instruments are automatic pilots and field indicators. After that, Robert went over seas for twelve months as a replacement. Later my grandfather was stationed in India to work on humidity and temperature control in a factory. He inspected the work of twenty-eight Indian workers who worked on assembly lines. He had to have two interpreters because the twenty-eight men didn’t speak English. He stayed there for one year after the Indian war was ended.


Robert W. Riley had many odd jobs before and after the war. He worked for Arkansas and Louisiana Gas Company right out of high school. He was making nine cents an hour and got a ten-cent per hour promotion for digging ditches. Then he got into trucking companies. He drove trucks for a box factory in Pittsburg, Texas. They would cut down gum trees on the river bottoms and make would make boxes out of these trees. Then he moved on to hauling produce around. He would haul yams out of Texas to Denver, potatoes from Denver to Texas, then he would go down to South Texas to get watermelons and grapefruits to haul them to Denver. The watermelons made good sales. Before my grandfather went into the service, he laid pipeline. It was construction work, but my grandpa hauled and strung oil pipe all over. His boss knew that he was strong, so he took him off of driving trucks and moved him to working the sledgehammer. The unfortunate side of him being strong was that he had to break concrete in order to put in the pipes for ten hours a day with only a sledgehammer.

Fishing and Hunting

When my grandfather got older, he would go fishing every weekend, rain or shine, with his wife, Helen Riley. He would fish all over Colorado and many other places like Canada. When he went to Canada, he flew in at six in the morning and caught one hundred and forty pounds of fish. It didn’t get dark until midnight. The lake was called Otto Lake and the Indians helped them cook the fish that they caught. They would fillet the fish and quick dry them so he was able to take the fish home. He makes his own flies for fishing and uses different types of feathers. My grandfather also loves to hunt. He’s been hunting since 1952 and has been ever since. In the fifty-six years that he has been hunting, he has only missed one season. He has shot thirty-two elk, many birds, and a few moose.

Great Depression

The year he left home on his own was 1929. He left with what clothes he had on his back and the change in his pocket. ($1.25) Luckily for him, he worked in Texas and could get about any job, which was a plus except for the fact that he worked ten hours a day and only made one dollar. My grandfather was one of the lucky ones to get a job and live through the depression.


My grandfather, Robert Wesley Riley, was born on April 1st, 1913. He was raised on a farm and took up farming until he graduated high school. On the farm they raised their own mules and used them to plow. He had eight brothers and sisters to help him with the farm work. He started school when he was seven years old. He walked to school everyday, which was 6 miles to and from school. He went to a consolidated school and only wore shoes when at school. He didn’t have much homework, but if you didn’t pay attention in class, the teacher would not re-teach the lesson. When he was ten years old, he was driving his model T around on the dirt roads.

Brittany Spaniels

My grandfather raised and showed Brittany Spaniels. He had two dogs of his own; their names were Mutt and Jeff. Their registered names for shows were Denver Skyline Rocket and Prince Jeffery of Rocket. They were registered with an AKC book. On November 7th, 1966, Jeff won a certificate for best in show. The dogs would also go out-of-state with my grandpa and help him in hunting birds. He trained Jeff and Mutt by taking pheasant wings and putting them on fishing rods and reeling them in and casting them, making the dogs chase the wings. He also had many training tactics. These dogs were also trained by whistle and were hunting at five months of age. They would stalk and also retrieve the birds.

Today (written 6 years ago)

Today my grandpa is ninety-five years old and lives on his own. He continues to hunt, fish, and walk three miles a day. When the weather is not it’s best outside, he jumps on the treadmill and does his walking there. He has so much spirit, which keeps him going everyday. My grandpa Riley means a lot me. I love him and his great laugh so much.”

Below is an article in the Jackson Oaks Newsletter that was written for him last year to celebrate my grandpa’s 100th Birthday:

Jackson Oaks 100 Birthday-Riley

And this isn’t even half of what my grandpa has seen and accomplished!  He’s living proof that living a good and healthy lifestyle goes a long way.  I’m proud and blessed to have him as my grandpa!  I love you so much grandpa Riley – we all do.  Thank you for being true to yourself and for being such an amazing role model to us all.  I wish we were there with you today.  We all miss you very much and want you to know that we think about you.  You’re an amazing man and we hope you have a wonderful 101st Birthday!  We love you tremendously!!!

I want to thank my Uncle Bob for providing me with the latest photo and details on my Grandpa.  I also want to thank my brother, Michael, for letting me share his piece on my grandpa’s life.  And Thank you to Jackson Oaks for writing such a beautiful piece on him.  So much love!


Apr, 13

{Life Lately} Loss of Wisdom

It’s been a week since I had 4 impacted wisdom teeth and my baby fang removed.  Recovery has been a lot slower and more painful than I had anticipated.  No medicine seems to be strong enough to reduce the pain and it’s hard to fall asleep.  So, I’m trying to tough it out in hopes that things will heal fast.  Since I have braces now, it was strongly recommended that I have my wisdom teeth removed as soon as possible.  I’m so thankful that I never have to do this again because,  if I had known it would be this intense, I don’t think that I would have agreed to do it.  Seriously.

The surgery itself went smashingly-well and I only had minimal swelling (no bruising).  The oral surgeon and his team did a fantastic job and they did everything to make me as comfortable as possible.  Although I’ve never had an IV before this, I was very picky about where I wanted it and they happily obliged.  They also gave me a fuzzy blanket and a heated rice pack to keep me extra warm and cozy.  Once they hooked me up to my iPod and the gas, it was lights out.  The surgery and recovery only took about two hours and then I was able to go home.  I woke up with no memory of the surgery itself.  Perfect.

On the way home from the surgery, we had to stop by the orthodontist to get my wire put back into my braces (I had it removed the night before the surgery).  I don’t remember the details, but it was pretty quick.  Once we got home I was wide awake and felt great for the first two days.  Keeping up on my meds, salt-water rinses and frozen packs of peas pressed against my cheeks helped keep the swelling at bay.  The third day brought the pain and it has progressively gotten worse finally plateauing yesterday.  I went to my follow-up appointment two days ago and they packed little orange strips soaked in clove oil to sooth.  The pain is incredible, but I know it will be over soon.

In the beginning, the ice cream, shakes, malts, etc. were wonderful!  Now, I’m craving real solid food.  A big salad and pizza would be nice.  I’m so hungry all of the time because a liquid diet just doesn’t seem to satisfy me.  In fact, I was so desperate for real food, that I made a pizza and licked!  Sad, right?!  I can’t chew at all, so just getting the taste of it helped.  Yesterday I went to the orthodontist to put my last bracket on the adult fang to start bringing it forward, then they gave me my bite plate.  Take about terrible!  It’s a clear plastic impression that clips on my bottom teeth to prop my mouth open.  This allows room for my adult fang to move forward and “jump” over my bottom teeth.  I have to have this on for 3-4 weeks, so that means I’m still on a liquid diet until then.  Urgh.  After the orthodontist, I immediately went to the oral surgeon to remove those clove oil strips.  It’s been a long process, but it will all be over soon.  I hope your day was great and I’ll be back soon with some more updates on our house-selling progress.

Mar, 13

Our Cozy Little Nook


Wow, it’s been cold here in Colorado, and because of that I’ve been keeping busy with home projects.  I recently transformed our bedroom nook into a cozy and peaceful reading and work area.  This space was meant for something like this, because it’s tucked away in the corner – the perfect escape.  I used to use this space as my sewing area, but decided to switch things up a bit so that my husband can enjoy the space, too.  I’ve been planning this for some time now and the cold snap just gave me the boost I needed to follow through.


For Christmas, Ron gave me a giant bean bag and it fits perfectly in our new space.  Then I purchased 4 sets of sheer curtains, white sheets, two tension rods and some sparkly lights to finish it off.  With the bean bag and everything here, it cost about $200 to complete.  I plan on making tiny pillowcases, for the tiny pillows, out of scrap fabric that I have lying around.  I’ll post a little {diy} soon.  Oooo… and maybe a scrap quilt, too!


Oh!  A couple of weekends ago the hubby and I found that little green suitcase at an antique shop near Denver for $14!  It’s in excellent condition and just needed a quick wipe down.  Well, it actually didn’t even need to be wiped down, but I’m a bit of a germ and dirt freak, so I did it anyway.  It holds all of my current idea books, sketchbooks and pens perfectly.  The blue case below is full to the brim with magazines that I need to catchup on, sheesh!


I’m really happy how this space turned out and it was so easy!  If you’ve been in the mood to create a fun fort or magical corner in your home, I highly recommend it!

Jan, 13

{life lately} a crazy month

Wow, it’s been really busy.  To be totally honest, I think I bit off more than I could chew.  I’ve started too many projects at once and it’s made for a very crazy month.  I’m revamping BOTH of my websites, mocking up new products, re-organizing my studio, and tending to a sick kitty.  I had set my goal to have everything done by February 1st, but I’m now thinking it may be a bit longer.  I should have taken it one thing at a time, but I was feeling ambitious.  I can’t believe that I thought I was going to finish all of this in one month… hahahaha.  I’m still working hard to get as close to my goal as possible, and I can’t wait to share the updates!

So, the reason why I’m revamping both of my sites is because I’m feeling a bit stale and there’s a lack of inspiration on my part.  I need something new and fresh to make me fall in love with blogging again.  It’s been really busy with my day job and I found myself letting my blog slip.  I mean, I haven’t even been taking my camera out and about, so i have no new photos to share.  Why on Earth would I do that?!  This is what I love and I can’t lose my passion.  With the revamp I’ve promised myself that I’ll be more consistent in blogging for both you and I.  This is important to me and I need to show that.

Right now you might be asking yourself, what other site is she revamping other than Chickiedee?!  Well, I started another website (before Chickiedee) right out of college when I was looking for work where I started freelancing my graphic design services.  Even though I found a job, I’ve still been accepting clients throughout the years.  It wasn’t until recently that I decided to narrow my focus to my own niche – The Creative Small Business.  The site is appropriately named A Beautiful Brand and there I will share everything that I’ve learned about building my Creative Small Business from the ground up.  I’ll share my experiences of what’s worked and what hasn’t.  I really want the handmade community to grow and stay beautiful.  I’ve owned and run Chickiedee Handmade for nearly 7 years now, so in that time I’ve learned a lot.  A Beautiful Brand is a great resource for anyone either thinking of starting a Creative Small Business or someone who’s already in the thick of it.  I can’t wait to share it with you!

So, I’m working hard to get everything wrapped up and I want to thank you all for reading and for helping me hold myself accountable.  Oh!  I’m super excited to share a home project that I just wrapped up and I’m going to feature my own studio soon!

Nov, 12

{life lately} getting excited

Last weekend my mom and I had our last craft show of the year and now it’s time to kick it into high gear as I manage the Holiday rush!  We are going to squeeze in a few visits to some of our favorite handmade markets, though.  No doubt about that.  I love shopping handmade for my friends and family.  It’s so nice to buy something from another creative and share it.

Thanksgiving is right around the corner.  Any big plans?  Ron and I hop around from house to house eating up all of the wonderful food and sharing thanks.  We also have our 7th Annual Cookie Swap coming up in early December, and I’m so excited!  I can’t wait to see what the girls make.  I still need to find time to decorate… eek!  It’ll all fall into place, because this is the most wonderful time of year, isn’t it?!

Other than that, I’ve just been busy filling orders and going through our house finding more things to donate.  This is the perfect time of year to take your old coats, gloves, shoes, etc. down to your local shelter.  It feels so good to help with what you can.

Oh!  I have another special guest for another fun {studio sunday}, so be sure to check that out tomorrow!  I know that you know her and you’ve probably shopped her site once or twice, wink wink.

Nov, 12

{life lately} at the craft show

This week I’ve been busy printing Roblins on fabric and sewing them into infinity scarves!  I’ll be adding them to the shop as I make each color.  So get ready for the shop update (coming soon)!  I’ll be at the craft show both today and tomorrow, wish me luck!  Be sure to stop by the blog tomorrow for a super cute {studio sunday} with a very sweet lady.  Have a wonderful day!

Nov, 12

{life lately} looking back on October

I have to say that October really flew by for me and it was busy, too.  The past four weeks have been dedicated to getting my poor Brutus James back to normal.  I think we’ve spent more time at the vet and urgent care than we ever could have imagined.  We have one more follow-up appt today and hopefully he can be cone-free.  I’m so lucky to have such a sweet and patient cat, because although he dislikes the cone, eye drops and meds, he deals with it in a fairly calm manner.  The ladies at the vet love him and always say how calm and sweet he is.  He sits on the scale without trying to run away and we don’t even use a cat carrier, because he enjoys the car ride.  Lucky me.  The late nights, remembering what meds need to be taken at what times (all 6 of them) and the driving back and forth are all worth it, because he’s showing great improvement!

In addition to all of that, we planned and executed a smash of a Boo Bash!  Everyone came dressed in well thought-out costumes and participated wonderfully.  We had a packed house, literally – I think we may consider moving or renting a facility next time.  Hahaha  It was the best turn out that we’ve had, so far!  Lots of fun costumes, silly food and great conversations set the party into motion.  We had so much fun.  How was your Halloween week?!

Oh!  I can’t forget that I also hosted a Giveaway for Stoic Design recently and one lucky winner received a Where The Wild Things Are Canvas!  Lucky girl.  If you missed your chance in entering the giveaway, not to worry, you can find a discount here!

This weekend one of my dearest friends came to town and stayed with us for part of the time.  It was so good to see him!  Then we had a fundraiser Saturday night, which kept us up past our bedtime.  I spent last night printing Roblins on yards and yards of fabric, and I plan on spending tonight sewing and prepping the shop for the Holidays.  I also need to make sure that I have everything ready for this weekends craft show.  Thanks for stopping by!

Oct, 12

{life lately} what’s new

(This image was taken with my iPhone prior to his first little surgery)

Sheesh!  It’s been a rough week for my poor little Brutus James.  On Wednesday I had to take him into the vet for a minor surgery on his chin and mouth!  This was very unexpected and I’m not exactly sure what happened, but Tuesday evening he had a bleeding chin and went into hiding.  He currently has a drain in his chin that will be removed today and closed up with a few stitches.  Then on Thursday I noticed that his eye was protruding out to the point where he couldn’t blink!  I rushed him to emergency where they preformed another 2.5 hr. surgery and stitched his eye closed!  By doing that, they hope that this will save his eye and sight.  They think the infection from his chin was realated.  Poor little guy.  He’s been through so much in just a few days.  He’s currently on 5 different medications that have to be given at particular times in a particular order… so confusing.  And I really do have the best hubby.  He’s been so helpful and comforting to Brutus and I both.  I’m convinced that Brutus will pull through, because he’s a strong boy.  He has his follow-up appointment this afternoon, so I’ll keep you posted on his status.

In other unrelated news, I’m pretty excited for the mailman to come within the next couple of days because I ordered a new lighting kit and a few other small items!  With the Colorado winter rolling in, I needed a way to take high-quality photos inside.  I currently have a home-made lighting kit, but the lights that I have get so hot that they actually melt my clay-mations if I don’t stop for breaks.  Eek!  It’s a pretty large kit, so I’m still thinking on where I’ll be setting it all up and if it will stay in that location permanently or not.  Decisions.  I also ordered a few goodies for our Halloween party and a little something for myself.  I met some huge goals recently and treated myself to a special gift.

Poor Meghan was sick last week, so we cancelled our Sunday Craft Day and rescheduled it for tomorrow.  It actually worked out since my back was killing me.  We’ll be making our Halloween costumes and posting about them shortly after.  I’m sure we’ll be Instagraming along the way, too!  We’re addicted.  And by that I mean seriously a-d-d-i-c-t-e-d.  Back in July Meghan and I were at a Rockies game with the hubbies and as we were trying to Instagram, it froze up and we couldn’t share anything!  We went through withdraws for a few hours until the glitch was fixed.  Major relief.

Anyhoo, my back is slowly feeling better.  Thank you for all of your kind wishes.  Since I’ve been more mobile, I ventured (briefly) to the store to buy some cute fabric for a few new projects.  I hope your Saturday is treating you well.  Be sure to do something fun today!

Oh!  I have a really wonderful {studio sunday} scheduled for tomorrow, so definitely grab a cup of coffee or tea and enjoy!


Oct, 12

{life lately} at a slower pace

This past week hasn’t exactly gone as planned, but I’ve tried to make the best of it.  I hurt my back… again, and its left me able to do very little.  I don’t like the idea of wasted time, but I have to remind myself that it was time needed to rest.  Although I’m a bit off on my goals for the week, I set new ones to help me complete the things that I wanted to, so that I stay on track for the Holidays.  I wanted to have the shop updated by Friday, but with my little set back, I plan to have the shop updated by the middle of next week.  Everything will get done and who knows, maybe it’ll all turn out better than it would have!

Today I’ll be working on a few small projects and working towards the shop update.  I may take a few small breaks to watch the mister play football and I heard there’s a little outdoor market close by… so if my back is up to it, I may check it out.  Then, tomorrow Meghan and I are having another craft day and we’ll be working on our Halloween Costumes!!!  I can’t wait!

How has your week been?  Did you do anything exciting?

Oct, 12

It’s A Pain In My…

As you already know, I took a few hard falls in roller derby earlier this year, as well as one snowboarding accident that really played a toll on my back.  Well, with consistent care and doctor appointments, things were starting to look up and I was actually going to start up roller derby again, in full force… until “the stretch.”  Monday morning I woke up and stretched, as I usually do, and felt a pop in my lower back – ouch!  It was a bit sore, but I carried on with my day noticing that it was getting more sore as time went on.  I actually had a chiropractic appointment already scheduled for that afternoon, so I thought that was perfect timing.  Boy was I wrong.  I hurt worse after the adjustment and when I woke up Tuesday morning, I couldn’t get out of bed!  I called the doc and got in right away.  He took more x-rays and poked around a bit saying that I may need to get an MRI in a couple of weeks.  We’ll see how it all goes.

Since my lower back hurts so much, I’m on meds and bed rest.  I have a cute {diy} that I need to finish up, so as soon as I’m mobile, I’ll share it with you.  I’m so excited, because I think you’ll love it!  Have a great Wednesday! ♥R