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Tales of the Traveling Tote: Surviving the Lockdown

Monday, June 1, 2020

Happy Monday, My Lovelies!  For this edition of the Tales of the Traveling Tote, I'll be sharing what I've been doing while under medical martial law.  


But before forced quarantine became a thing, I did manage a trip to Baton Rouge to visit Shanley Belle and Christopher.  I helped them fluff their little home, but the trip was cut short because we needed to get home.  Because we left so quickly I did not take many photos.

Shanley Belle and Christopher's cottage

We enjoyed walking in their adorable Garden District neighborhood and getting coffee at Garden District Coffee.

I confess that I have not handled quarantine very well.  Almost everything I enjoy has not been considered essential:

Art Galleries 

And I don't need to list what's considered essential.  None of it makes logical sense.  We had to cancel two trips, Shanley Belle and Christopher had to cancel their honeymoon, Shelley's best friend had to cancel her wedding, and we've had to grieve friends who've passed alone.  Friends have lost jobs and businesses.  I haven't really felt like blogging or posting on Instagram lately.  I just haven't been feeling it, unfortunately. 

Our home is still decorated for Easter.  I won't put it away until I can go back to St. Stephen's and worship with my church family.

Everyone in my household is essential, so their life didn't change very much.  Actually they worked more, so I had more time to myself at home.  Let me share with you a few things I accomplished that's photo worthy, mostly involving gardening and plants.

I repotted some of our houseplants, and I added a few new ones.

Our hydrangeas are bluer this year than usual.

Below are some of my favorite petunias that we planted.

White vincas are my favorite.  I always plant them in our patio planters.

Our back gate with Confederate jasmine, sasanqua camellia, and ferns.

One bright spot during this quarantine has been online art classes.  My art teacher has hosted ZOOM meeting art classes, and I have taken at least two or three of them per week.  Because my asthma has been horrible lately, I've put away the oil paints and switched to colored pencils.  Below is a drawing of BOTUS the bulldog.  I've been doing a LOT of drawing!

Fortunately for us, lakes are considered essential in Alabama; having the lakes open here in our state was the only other bright spot for me.  We have been spending lots of time at the lake, and I don't think I've ever seen Lake Martin has busy in my life.  It has been fun!

These kids spent their quarantine constructing a floating, motorized Tiki Hut.  

Our Westies Finlay and Mustang Sally love the lake.

With the exception of Twitter, I have mostly been unplugged.  I've been drawing, reading, and walking.  I need to write a post with mini book reviews and share the really good ones (there have been several).

I'm so happy that our library is opening for curbside pick-up today, and I already have a book on reserve.  I am so happy about it!

TONS of American flags flying at the lake...even floating ones!

Please visit the other ladies' posts as I'm sure theirs are lovely.  They are all lovely women, and I'm honored to be a part of this group.

Here are the links:

 with Miss Aurora @ Mountain Breaths 
Emily with Miss Courtney ChildsThe French Hutch
Jenna with Miss Coquille @The Painted Apron
Linda P with Miss Lola @ Life and Linda
Rita with Miss Luna C Panoply
Sarah with Miss Merri Mac @ Hyacinths for the Soul
Jackie and Miss Madi K @ Purple Chocolat Home
Ricki Jill and Countess De Monet @ The Sketchy Reader
Cherry Kay and Carrie Ann Hall @ Entertaining Women  

Make sure you enter our giveaway hosted by Linda!

Until next time...

Ricki Jill


  1. This has certainly been a tough time in our country and I know we have all found many creative ways to keep busy. Your art work is amazing! I love all of your MC flower pots, and your flowers are so pretty. I recently planted our outdoor pots and they are thriving! Sorry to hear that Shanley had to cancel her honeymoon, but her cute cottage looks like the perfect place to begin their life together! Praying our country gets back to normalcy and safety soon!

  2. Ricki Jill, I have been a lot like you insofar as not having the urge or desire to do blog posts during this stay at home past few months. I never felt like writing simply because I think I felt a little scared of the unknowns as to whether I or anyone close to me would get it, whether my kids would work or not (yes and no). The saddest thing of all is those who've died alone. Your actions of art, reading and planting are all very therapeutic. Let's hope and pray our nation can settle down and things will center on c bit of calm, and at the very least, we can each find our individual centers. Here's to a happier June, my friend.

  3. I am sorry you have been so down RJ, I have often thought of how lucky it was that Shanley and Christopher were able to have their wedding, but so sad about cancelling the fabulous honeymoon they had planned... I do feel so awful about all the cancelled weddings, graduations, and it is heartbreaking seeing children missing their school life, friends and now summer activities been cancelled...You have spent your time well, flowers always help make things better, as well as art classes, yay. Your bulldog is amazing! So glad you've been able to enjoy Lake Martin, I know the beach house and watching boats is keeping me sane!

  4. It has been hard with everything closed, I feel it too RJ. I'm happy you were able to get to NO for a visit with your daughter and son-in-law. Their cottage is just so adorable and I know you enjoyed helping them fluff their nest. Your houseplants are so pretty, love the ivy and the table:) Gorgeous flowers in your garden. Mine is looking really bare this year since I haven't been out to buy plants. Your drawing of Botus is beautiful, great job. I'm sure you enjoyed those Zoom art classes. Nice you and Trip are going to the lake a lot, the perfect time of year for enjoying it. Missed you and lunching, see you for our Zoom call.

  5. Wow, that floating tiki hut is hysterical. So glad the lakes have stayed open. It looks wonderful.
    Yes, so many things don't make sense as to what is open and not. Sorry all of those wonderful past times have been closed down. I especially don't get not having the beaches open in California - you naturally distance from others when you are on the beach.
    I have felt the same about posting during this time - it just seemed a little superfluous when so many were suffering in so many ways. Yet I have loved so many things about this slowing down too.

  6. I'm glad you had a few things to bring you pleasure during the quarantine.

    I have been following Alice Loves Drawing on Instagram. I am trying to make time each day to do a little sketching.

  7. Ricki Jill love your artwork. Fabulous. Love that floating tiki bar too. Lots of fun and pretty things in your post today. Your daughter and her hubby's new cottage looks adorable. Happy New Week.

  8. Hello Friend,
    I agree with your list of what I miss. I am right there with you about baseball.
    Our library opened curbside pick up today too. YAY!

  9. RJ, your home and garden are a delightful sight! Like you, gardening ha kept me focused and entertained. We've actually had a wonderful spring with cooler temps and lots of rain. Things are looking lush! The heat of summer is knocking on our door, but I'm savoring all the terrace time I can work in. Reading is relaxing, but I've accomplished very little stitching. Not sure why! Love your charming MKC table! You have such a beautiful collection! I look forward to seeing you this week on Zoom!

  10. How fun that tiki floating bar is. To be young again. Your flowers are beautiful. I adore your garden gate. How resourceful you are replanting and taking classes. How sweet your daughter’s house is. Sorry your visit was so short. Let’s hope we can all get back to normal. See your smiling face soon on Zoom. Xo

  11. What a beautiful lake! I love your daughter's cottage door! Almost every one I talk to says their asthma is worse this year, maybe because we stayed home too much and limited our circles. My niece's wedding and honeymoon was canceled, because it was going to be out of state and a lot of what you are saying going around. At least the library opened! And you had zoom art classes. I had not thought about that. I have a writing group that I belong to that now meets by zoom. xoxo Su

  12. Ricki, my hubby does his yoga classes via zoom. I am not allowed in the living room during that time. LOL Botus the Bulldog stole my heart! I am so glad that your library opened for curbside pickup, and thankfully ours did the same. Your daughter and her hubby’s new cottage is so charming. Let’s hope we can all get back to normal, and that summer and fall will lift your spirits. xo

  13. Ricki, Your plants look so beautiful and your garden gate is lovely. I am not surprised you have done a lot of reading and drawing. Your drawing of Botus the bulldog is great. I am so sorry you have had trouble with asmatha. I'm glad you were able to spend time at Lake Martin. It is so beautiful.
    I am glad you were able to help the kids fluff their nest. It is so good to see them settled and be able to visulize their surroundings.I am sorry they had to postpone their honeymoon. It will be so good for things to get back to normal. So many things have been cancelled. Our grandson was a senior this year and missed so many activities. They did set a June graduation date so we have that to look forward to.
    How long did your zoom meeting last? I have been amused at how popular zoom has become.It is a little hectic for the person in charge.

  14. Your artwork is stunning. Sending hugs your way.

  15. I am sorry that you are down, it has been a struggle for me these last few weeks as well. I hope that you are feeling better. Your art is beautiful!!!!! I love the bulldog, so sweet. Take care


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I'm Ricki Jill. Welcome! I'm honored that you're reading my blog. I enjoy sharing my creative lifestyle @ The Bookish Dilettante. For more information about my blog, please read the Start Here page. Thank-you for stopping by, and I hope you'll consider following me via email.

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