“Life Is A Journey and The People We Meet Along The Way”

unique gifts

I love love love making these etched copper sun catchers.     Each one has a story of some kind.

Here’s the story behind the “Life Is A Journey And The People We Meet Along The Way” sun catcher prisms I created.

You know those times when you meet someone for the first time and you later wonder if it was a one time chance meeting or maybe the meeting of your soulmate or a lasting true friendship.

I created this copper sun catcher after just one of those chance meetings during a weekend road trip Greg and I took to Galena, Illinois.

You haven’t been there?   You should change that to haven’t been there “yet” and but it on your bucket list of places to visit.      It is a quaint little river town in Northern Illinois with much to see and do.   Historical.    Cool, old buildings.    Beautiful landscape and an awesome drive, especially in the fall.   We’ve been to Galena a couple of times and always find something new to discover.

IMG_2358 IMG_2354 IMG_2338 IMG_2335 IMG_2488

My photos don’t do the town justice!   Just go there and see it for yourself.

So, here’s the story behind the creation of this sun catcher.     On our last visit to Galena we stayed at the historic Desoto House Hotel.    Lovely stay and I highly recommend.    Our package deal offered a few cool amenities including tickets to the Galena Historical Society and a Galena Trolley Tour.    (And, yes, I highly recommend both.)

We decided on the early morning trolley tour.      We rose early, had breakfast at a local restaurant and took a stroll down the streets of Galena basking in the serenity of still quiet streets as the stores were not yet opened and the town not yet bustling with tourist activity.

As we strolled we absorbed the beauty of the morning, browsing in windows of quaint little shops and antique stores, and taking in the sights around us.    We came upon one of the long stairways of Galena and I jokingly challenged Greg to a race up the steps.

Galena Illinois Stairway
Galena Illinois Stairway

There was a woman sitting on a bench who heard me make the challenge.    She commented on the steps and started giving us a little history behind them.    As we chatted with her  the topic of the trolley popped up.   She, too, had a ticket to ride.     So, she joined us as we continued our stroll to the trolley station.

Galena Illinois Trolley
Galena Illinois Trolley

There she introduced herself to us as Katherine Walker, Executive Director of Tourism for Jo Daviess County.   She also introduced us to a couple she had made previous arrangements to meet for the trolley tour; Phoebe Smith, from the United Kingdom, Editor for Wanderlust Magazine and, John, her photographer.

These two travel all over the WORLD experiencing and reporting on beautiful places to visit.    Talk about an awesome career.     They were in the United States traveling down the Mississippi River stopping to explore the river towns along the way.    Very cool to have met them and have had the opportunity to chat with them.   The article was set to be published sometime in the fall of 2017, if I recall correctly.   I’m going to look into that.   I’d love to see their article.

Anyway, we all boarded the trolley and enjoyed a great tour.   Being early in the morning there weren’t many other passengers.   A fabulous time to ride and be able to get great views from both sides of the trolley car.

After the tour, Katherine asked if we had dinner plans and invited us to join her.  We were happy to accept.    We made plans to meet later that evening at Fritz and Frites, a lovely European style restaurant.

During dinner we chatted about Galena and Jo Daviess County and how there was so much more to see in the surrounding areas.   We also learned that Katherine was originally from Belleville, Illinois, my home town as well.     Small world, right?

To me the evening was almost surreal as Katherine’s pleasant personality and easy conversation made us feel as if we had known her forever as she told us her stories about Galena and bits of her life.    The night went by too quickly but it was certainly a night to remember.

Together, the three of us walked back to the hotel, said our goodbyes at the hotel lobby, and from there Katherine whet her way and we on ours.

Feeling a bit melancholy with our evening now at an end, I, as I am sometimes known to do, started spinning a story to Greg.    Was Katherine real or perhaps a Galena ghost there to tout her beautiful city and to guide tourists?    Was she a hotel ghost or did she walk the streets and climb the stairways?    How was it she was sitting on that bench this morning and just happened to hear my comment about the stairs?    And, she just happened to be going to the trolley, too?    She was so easy to talk with, no uncomfortable pauses in the conversation at dinner with someone who was a complete strange.  And, she was from Belleville?   You know there is a ghost story linked with this hotel, do you think Katherine may be the ghost…..

Yes, that stay in Galena was pure magic.   Of course traveling with my most awesome husband is always magical but this last trip to Galena was made even more mystical and intriguing by the kindness and interesting personality of a mere stranger who happened to cross our path that day.

Katherine had such an impact on me that I wanted to send her a thank you for hosting such a marvelous evening for us during our Galena stay.    It was quite memorable.

And, that’s how I came to create these “Life Is A Journey and The People We Meet Along the Way” sun catchers.      Because you never know who you might meet and how they may inspire you along your journey.

In conclusion, yes Katherine Walker is real.    I searched on the internet to find an address so I could send her a thank you c/o the Convention and Visitors Bureau of Jo Daviess County.     Truthfully, though, I was kind of hoping that I wouldn’t be able to find any information on her.    That way my ghost theory could become my next best seller, or should I say my first best seller.    And, then again I never know when my creative catalyst might just become a reality because of that one person I met along my way.

But, in all seriousness, I’m glad she is real because she is quite a lovely woman, a stranger who made an effort to become an acquaintance and share a moment in time with two very grateful people.

Life is a journey and the people we meet along the way.     Always wander and wonder!

free spirit

Harvest 2017

Harvest has started a bit late this year.    Little rain and cooler temps over the summer months delayed grain readiness (I know, probably incorrect terminology but you get it).     And now that soybeans and corn are ready to be cut and picked the rain has started……sigh!    But, we will persevere and with God’s help we’ll get this harvest picked, cut, stored or to market before it’s time to plant next year’s crops 🙂   Safety first!

Here are some pics from my “tractor cam” so far this season!    Enjoy!

Cutting Beans
Soybeans at ADM
Soybeans at ADM
Harvest Sunset
Harvest Sunset
Harvest Moon
Harvest Moon
My yearly hitchhiker! Spidey. Our agreement…Stay where i can see you and you won’t get squished.
My yearly harvest selfie before I decided to chop off my hair.
My yearly harvest selfie after I chopped off my unruly hair. I like it!
My Hard Working Husband!   LOVE!
My Hard Working Husband! LOVE!
Getting a load of corn from the hill behind our house
Glamour Shot!
Glamour Shot!
Picking end rows
Picking more corn on the hill
Waiting for a load of corn.   Beautiful view behind our homestead
Waiting for a load of corn. Beautiful view behind our homestead
The pleasures of Harvest. Sights, sounds, smells……lovely ZEN moments

Harvest Love!    Thank God I’m a Country Girl!     Blessed!

From The Tractor Seat “The Apple Worms”

Another little bit from the storybook I created for my grandsons, Alej and Christian.

Written by Judy Rebman
The Apple Worms by Judy Rebman

The Apple Worms


  • I picked an apple from the tree
  •  a worm popped out and said to me
  • You are invading my privacy.
  • This is my house, can’t you see”
  • “You silly old worm,” I said to him,
  •  “It’s not a house that I’m pickin
  • An apple it is I’ve picked from this tree
  • and I’m pickin more, just wait and see”
  • “Now hold on there for just a minute
  •  and I’ll explain why I’m a tenant.
  • I’ve selected this tree for its prime location; next to a creek you see.
  • With sunny mornings and afternoon shade, it’s a perfect locality.”
  • “Why Mr. Worm, I’m so sorry
  • to have invaded your so called privacy
  • But you’ll have to move on and relocate, there isn’t time to waste
  • I’ve apples to pick and pies to bake so its best if you make haste.”
  • “You silly girl I demand you move on to a different kind of tree
  • Each apple here you soon will find is a home to my very large family
  • We’ve lived here for many, many years and have staked our rightly claim
  • So move along, get out of here, we were fine before you came.”
  • “Very well, I’ll move along I do apologize
  • I didn’t mean to cause you harm, I just didn’t realize
  • That an apple could become a house for a wormy family
  • Have a nice day, I’ll be on my way, I’ll go find another tree.”

From The Tractor Seat

November, 2013

By Judy Rebman

“Hot Rolls”

For years I have been trying to bake the perfect loaf of bread or the best pan of rolls.     G’ma Ida’s recipe is good.      Sometimes they come out perfect, sometimes they go flat…..whooomp, whooomp, whooomp…..(I think it’s all in the mindset and the touch…..think happy thoughts and use a light hand!)

Treasures!   Grandma Ida's Hand Written Roll Recipe
Treasures! Grandma Ida’s Hand Written Roll Recipe

Then, there’s a roll recipe I found in “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice” by Peter Reinhart, page 266-267 which is awesome and I’ve been successful in creating soft, fluffy rolls using this recipe.

The bread Baker's Apprentice Recipe Book
The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Recipe Book

And, finally……be still my heart!    A recent recipe I found for Artisan Rolls.   Crusty on the outside, great texture on the inside, and oh so delicious!   But, could it be so simple to make these most awesome doughy delights????    Absolutely!

Artisan Bread Dough Rising
Bread Dough on the Rise
Second Rise.....Ready for the Oven
Second Rise…..Ready for the Oven
Artisan Bread Rolls
Hot Rolls
Artisan Rolls.....watch out for grubby hand snatches!
Artisan Rolls…..watch out for grubby hand snatches!

I found the super easy and delicious artisan roll recipe here:


And here’s Grandma Ida’s “No-Kneading Bread Rolls” recipe

  • 1 cake Fleishman’s yeast
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 3 1/2 cups flour

Dissolve yeast in a cup of lukewarm water.   Place sugar, shortening and salt in a large bowl and add boiling water.   Stir until ingredients are dissolved.   When lukewarm add yeast (yeast water mixture in step one).   Stir in flour.

“I (G’ma Ida) start with 3 cup flour.   It will take more flour.   Stir enough flour to make a soft dough.   You will have to add enough flour so you can handle the dough.  You will have to knead them a little.   Put in a large bowl.   Let rise until double then make in rolls.   Mine are better in rolls than in a loaf.   I don’t use the egg.  I think they are better without the egg.  They should be in a warm place and be covered.   If you want them to raise fast set in the oven and put a pan of boiling water under them.   The steam make them raise fast.   Hope you have good luck.   Grandma”

Don’t be afraid!    Give these a try.    Nothing beats the smell of fresh baked bread or the taste of a fresh hot roll with melting butter (and maybe some apiary honey from “Earls Apiary, Rushville, IL” or some homemade jam/jelly shared by a sweet neighbor or friend).

Small Town USA Honey and Jelly
Local Harvested and Homemade Honey and Jelly

Enjoy!     Fall Comforts!




“Moon and Stars”

Harvest will have a late start this year………

so, I have been taking advantage of the delay creating some cool fall necklaces with some moon and some stars.      @ JudysTreehouse.etsy.com

Stars and Moon Jewelry
Stars and Moon Jewelry
cool moon pendant necklace
cool moon pendant necklace
moon pendant necklace
moon pendant necklace
gypsy jewelry
gypsy jewelry
Celestial Jewelry and Gifts
Celestial Jewelry and Gifts
gypsy moon pendant necklace
gypsy moon pendant necklace
funky purple necklace, eclectic jewelry
funky purple necklace, eclectic jewelry
Purple Layered Necklace Set by JudysTreehouse
Purple Layered Necklace Set by JudysTreehouse
Sagittairus Necklace
Sagittairus Necklace
Scorpio Necklace
Scorpio Necklace
Scorpio Zodiac Gift
Scorpio Zodiac Gift