Skip to main content


Looking Back at 2021

Monday, January 3, 2022



Happy first Monday in 2022, My Lovelies!  One thing I accomplished in 2021 is figuring out which art supplies work for me, and which ones don't.  I tend to be all over the place with everything in my life (including art), but a little focus doesn't hurt.  For example, I found the best silverpoint paper that is way better than anything else I've tried, and I also found a great resource for oil-primed canvas boards.  YAY!

I drew several things with my new silverpoint stylus this year.  I was drawing quite a bit in 2020, and continued to draw a little in 2021.  This orchid was drawn on my favorite paper, and I need to place another order!

I also started painting again using M. Graham oil paints.  I couldn't afford to buy a large palette, but I like the palette I chose.  They use walnut oil as the paints' binder so (unless you're allergic to walnuts) it's much better for folks with allergies and asthma.  I have enjoyed painting with them!

I kept a few shiny silver and white Christmas decor up through the winter to make the house more sparkly and cozy.


We had a tornado devastate our neighborhood on March 25th: It was categorized as an EF-3.

This is our driveway under the trees.  We lost fourteen trees on our property, and many in the woods behind our home.

We were so fortunate that we sustained little structural damage to our home.  We were able to repair most of the damage to the home quickly, but not our landscaping (plants and hardscaping).  It took months to get it back to semi-normal.

Because I couldn't garden much and being outside stressed me out, I focused on fluffing the inside of our home, and spent a lot of time arranging flowers.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Our youngest daughter graduated from college in May, but I still don't have any photos of her in her cap and gown.  She didn't want to walk because the university didn't allow family members due to COVID.

Also in May, one of my best friend's daughters held her wedding in San Antonio, and I was a hostess for her bridesmaids' luncheon.

Lauren, the beautiful bride, is second from the left.


We had a very wet summer.  It was so unusual, and it didn't get that hot, either.  We did visit Lake Martin, and as our backyard got cleaned-up, we enjoyed it.

Back gate on deck overlooking chaste tree and limelight hydrangeas

We visited Shanley Belle and Christopher in Ann Arbor, and Georgie the Naughty Golden introduced himself to La Countess de Monet:

In late summer, I hosted a bridal tea for one of Shelley's best friends at our country club.  After a summer full of rain and clouds, it was a beautiful day for a party!  The sun was so bright the photos were terrible, though.  Everyone was squinting!

Centerpieces for bridal tea
Notice the little teacup and saucer!

Finally in late autumn, our landscape people were able to fix our front garden.  The reason it took so long is because of labor shortages and the wet weather.  Once we had our design and were scheduled for the job, it took four months for the team to get started.


Shelley and I visited Shanley Belle and Christopher in Ann Arbor.  I love Michigan, and the people there are so friendly and kind!  We had a wonderful time, especially when we visited the Dexter Cider Mill.

In October, Shelley stood up for her friend Amelia in one of the prettiest autumn weddings I've ever seen!

The weather was beautiful for Amelia and Austin's wedding

I loved the arrangements, especially the grasses and heirloom roses.

I joined Rita @ Panoply for her tablescape blog hops, and I started changing my tablescapes more often.

Right before Thanksgiving, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  It required quite a lot of diagnostic testing, and I had my first chemo treatment on December 27th.  My prognosis is very good because it was caught early.  I will not be blogging about it at all because cancer does not define who I am.  It will, however, limit my activities because my immune system is being destroyed.  BUT I have fun things planned to do at home, and since all other activities (in person art classes, all travel, DAR, sorority functions, and church) are completely off limits, I will be spending more time blogging.  The only other time I will blog about cancer is when I get to ring the bell after my last treatment.  

I have truly been humbled by my team of doctors, my chemo nurses, my breast cancer concierge Kristi, and strangers who've reached out to me with the most thoughtful gifts and helpful tips.  One lady made me a tiny pillow that attaches to my seatbelt so the belt won't hurt my port.  Another lady made me this beautiful quilt:

I would very much appreciate your prayers, and please feel free to call, text, or email me if you want to check-up on me.

Before chemo, I decided to do all the things!  

I went to in-person art classes and finished another painting:

I went to church several times, and I also went to the first ECW event we've had in a long time:

We had a fun painting party at ECW.

I went to fun places for Christmas cheer with friends:

The General in Avondale

Mr. Bookish took me on a fabulous date to an Alabama football game, and I enjoyed seeing the pretty Christmas decorations around campus, too.

My sorority's parlor decorated for Christmas.

Ironically, my sororities philanthropy is breast cancer education.
Thank God for it because had it not been for early detection, my prognosis would be very different.


I hosted Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, but it wasn't that hard because I catered almost everything or we went to the country club.  It was comforting having my family around me, and it's extra nice that my Son-In-Love is a physician.  He has been so helpful and kind!

This year for Advent I painted my own Chrismons and made a large Advent Calendar in my art studio.  It was fun!

I'll post my year in books on Wednesday, and tomorrow I'll post about goals for 2022!

Until next time...

Happy New Year!
Ricki Jill


  1. What a full year you've had, Ricki Jill. I am seriously crushing on that pink and burgundy floral arrangement, and that wedding picture with Shelley is breathtaking. I want to be like you in the face of a grave diagnosis. Your positivity and quick actions have made a huge impression on me. I'm looking forward to your artwork, especially. It is gorgeous, and I hope you'll offer it for sale as you once did.

  2. What a great and busy year it was for you. Lots of wonderful events. I am so happy you have your artwork to keep your talented heart busy. Shelley looks beautiful in the wedding picture. My youngest daughter is having a fall wedding this October and I cannot wait. Have a wonderful start to the new week. Hope all is going well today and you feel good. xoxo Kris

  3. I like how you documented 2021. Your art work is always amazing. I think the teacup paintings are my favorites, exquisite! I know the Ann Arbor trip was special, seeing and spending time with the family. Lovely photos of your flowers and centerpiece. The tornado that came through was so terrible, I'm happy you have your landscaping completed. Love the garden gate! Lovely pic of the wedding Shelly was in, gorgeous colors. And, I love how your faith is keeping you positive and I look froward to our sweet treats party. Hugs........

  4. I was reading along enjoying all of your months of beautiful photos and activities and you stopped me in my tracks. Oh my dear friend, I am so sorry and will keep you in my prayers. You are strong and have faith and such a good attitude that I know you will do great. Take care of yourself and know that we love you. Let me know if there is anything I can do. Sweet hugs, Diane

  5. Hi,
    I am a quiet reader of your blog and enjoy visiting. I have breast cancer (stage 4), diagnosed early Sept. 2021. You will be in my prayers- remember that God is with you every moment of every day. He will provide. Take good care of yourself- rest, pray, trust in God. You are loved.

  6. What a great recap of the year! The photo of Shelley is so pretty - beautiful fall colors! I wish you strength and good health throughout the year, you will definitely be in my prayers and thoughts! You have such a positive attitude - hugs!

  7. A lovely recap of the year... and what a year!!!
    I enjoyed your photos. :-) You have a beautiful daughter.
    Praying for you my dear friend. Love, Carla

  8. Your art work is always amazing, and I am intrigued by the M. Graham oil paints using walnut oil. I can't take my eyes off the teacup paintings, and had to look several times. Lovely photos of your flowers and centerpiece, and I love your Mrs. Powers garden gate! Shelly looks gorgeous in that fall wedding. The colors are so beautiful for fall. Glad your spirits are good, and you will definitely be in my prayers. xx

  9. I so enjoyed your year in review, Ricki Jill. You ate so positive in your heart and spirit. I will always be praying for you and will be here to cheer with you when you ring that bell! Many blessings are wished for you in this New Year. πŸ™πŸ»πŸŒΈπŸ™πŸ»

  10. You absolutely rock. What a year you have had, with many joys as well as challenges. There is such beauty in this post, so very much of it almost took my breath away. I am still in awe of your teacups! And what a hand you have with the blooms. I can see why those were cheery in the aftermath of the tornado. The visits to Michigan and time spent with your girls had to be so special.

    You're right. A diagnosis doesn't define you but I am grateful you shared this with us so we can send all the prayer and good energy your way for a full, complete healing and ease in your treatment. I'm grateful it was caught at an early stage. Attitude matters and you've got that in spade. I look forward to the day when you visit Ann Arbor and you and I can meet up for a glass of wine or cup of tea and toast your healing. Till then, I'll anticipate every post! Big hugs!

  11. What a year Ricki Jill! I am sad to read about the tornado. I looked at your blog around that time frame and should have reached out to you. I know how much you love gardening. I am glad you caught your cancer early and most definitely will be praying.

  12. I don't know how I missed this post Ricki Jill, but I am so glad I came back to find it. You did have a busy year, full of fun and full of challenges...I can't tell you how much I admire the positive attitude and strength you are showing in your challenge of beating breast cancer. Your artistic talent knows no bounds and will really help you get through the next months. I am so glad you had a family filled Christmas and that you are blessed with family and friends to support you. I know first hand that prayers do work, and I will be praying for you daily...
    πŸ’• Jenna


Comments are friendly!


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.

Follow me on Instagram