Sweet February

Posted by on Feb 16, 2016 in Giveaway!, Sweet 16 | 44 comments


Well it is that time again, for me to giveaway goodies to celebrate all of you out there.

This month I am fixating on Gypsies. When I lived in Florence, Italy, there was a large group of Gypsies (that is what we were told they were called, forgive me if I am incorrect) who were in throngs around the center of the city. Tiny colorfully dressed girls that wore aprons had kittens on leashes and would play accordions for money. I was intrigued, as I am with nomadic peoples of all kinds. And a gypsy wagon, well, who does not want to head off into the sunset in one of those? Two bookmakers I know and admire, Peter and Donna Thomas, did just that and you can read about their adventures HERE.


My sister Linden threw me a gypsy birthday one year. It was the best party, ever. Everyone got dressed up, even my mom. My daughter read my Tarot cards and my son gave me a massage. His gypsy name was “King Rule”. KR is six feet tall now.


When my kids were small I called bad days “Gypsy wagon days”. If the gypsies come by with a wagon, those kids were getting on it. Or maybe I was.

There is a Gypsy poem by Ralph Hodgson (around 1920)

Time, You Old Gypsy Man
Will you not stay,
Put up your caravan
Just for one day?

All things I’ll give you
Will you be my guest,
Bells for your jennet
Of silver the best,
Goldsmiths shall beat you
A great golden ring,
Peacocks shall bow to you,
Little boys sing.
Oh, and sweet girls will
Festoon you with may,
Time, you old gypsy,
Why hasten away?

Last week in Babylon,
Last night in Rome,
Morning, and in the crush
Under Paul’s dome;
Under Pauls’ dial
You tighten your rein –
Only a moment,
And off once again;
Off to some city
Now blind in the womb,
Off to another
Ere that’s in the tomb.
Time, you old gypsy man,
Will you not stay,
Put up your caravan
Just for one day?

This month I am giving away a Gypsy House. It is made of papers, ribbons and copper and is about 12″ tall.


Along with the house is a kit to make another one.
No directions, just the kit, but it is easy to figure out, especially looking at the finished one.


So leave a comment here for a chance to win. I will draw a name on April 1.
No fooling, I really will.

Tell me where you would like to go in a Gypsy wagon, and why.


  1. Love this. Would love to win it

  2. Oops. Would love to take a trip in a gypsy wagon across Morrocco. I just have this yearning to see Morocco in all its mystery.

  3. What a fun and interesting post. I think it would be fun to travel around Europe in a gypsy wagon.

  4. I’d love to be able to just sit in a gypsy wagon! If they’d give me a ride to oh, “anywhere” I’d be elated!!!!

  5. I’ve always thought I’d like to travel around New Zealand at a leisurely pace just reconnecting places I’ve been and exploring the rest . . . I feel fortunate my ancestors had the courage to bring their families here.

  6. The term Gypsy is pretty derogatory, actually. They are the Rom, or Roma, and it’s believed they are descendants of those who travelled from India, Afghanistan and Mongolia. They have a beautiful culture, but have experienced horrible problems throughout the world, mainly because of misunderstandings about their culture (nomadic culture travelling through large cities makes it difficult for each side to learn about the other).

    The romance of their lives is and will be in our culture (the ‘Gypsy’ term is to refer to theft and criminal action, to be ‘Gypped’ is another example) as one of color and happiness. I wish it were always that way. They are a beautiful people.

  7. New Orleans

  8. The best party I ever gave was a Gypsy Tea Party where we drank Russian Caravan tea and ate (among other things) spice cakes dotted with silver charms. We read our tea leaves and had our fortunes told by my neighbor, a respected local psychic. Such memories! I dream of having a colorfully restored vardo in my back yard as my art studio/guest cottage. My day-dreaming there would take me around the world! Thanks for a chance to win your beautiful art and kit! xoxo

  9. Love the piece and am intrigued by the kit without instructions….never follow them anyway!!

    • Oops!!! Forgot to tell you that I would love to travel in southern Italy in a gypsy wagon….in September!! Love the trees and the old buildings….small cities on hillsides….the air…the sky!!!!

  10. Happy renewal day. I too have / love a gypsy spirit

  11. I would like to go to someplace warmer in a Gypsy wagon because this freezing weather is killing me 🙂

  12. Jill,

    Thank you for this post. The poem is fun. I love your photo of the wagon and the fact that your Gypsy fascination is a family affair.

    My mother always used to tease that we had Gypsy blood because she, my grandmother and I always loved bright and shiny decorations, ribbons, and rich patterns. We all three seemed to have the aesthetic for textures and colors in keeping with our Eastern European ancestors.

    My grandma died when my Mom was in college so I never knew her, but I like to think that some of my mixed media collage work is something of which she would have approved. I owe my 3D sense of design to her through my mother’s teaching.

    Hugs to you,
    Maria D
    Annapolis MD

  13. During times of overwhelming loss or difficulty my immediate internal response is “fight or flight”. Although flight is rarely an option I can choose, I always imagine jumping in my car and driving as far as I can to leave it all behind me. Going through times like that now. I’m going to change my flight response image to a much gentler, healing image of becoming a gypsy and riding a caravan into the sunset instead of 80 mph down the interstate and a string of cheap motels.
    Thanks for the poem and pics Jill. It helped me remember when running away in my mind I can choose to paint the road bleak or filled with beauty and color.

    • Another word for those days for me is “horizon days”. I just want to head in that direction, and of course the horizon is elusive, so you have to keep going, always in pursuit. Forget the cheap motels, if you saw the inside of some of these wagons you would never want to leave!

  14. How about Key West? It would be a great gypsy wagon spot!

  15. no particular destination…just go wherever the road leads!

  16. ahhh the romance of the gypsy life…i love the clothes- the multi layered, textured, colorful skirts with stars & moons & hearts & flowers & vines all embroidered on them. then there are the bangles from wrist to elbow and the the gypsy hoop earrings swaying back & forth in rhythm to the sway of the wagon making its way through the forest roads on its way to new adventures!!!

  17. I would love to see Italy and enjoy the moments in nature.

  18. A tiny house to travel in or to stop and stay for just a little while. How awesome that would be. I’m sure though it has its ups and downs. Our daughter is working towards having a tiny house on wheels. Less expensive and gives the freedom to travel for work. Hmmm…I think I’d love to travel through the desert of the southwest to see the cactus, amazing sunsets and the amazing world of Georgia O’Keeffe.

  19. A slow moving trip through an unkown to me land would be wonderful.

  20. Thanks for a chance to win your LOVELY art and kit!

  21. Ah, wanderlust strikes! I would roam anywhere my mood takes me. On occasion, that might even include my backyard, lounging in a gypsy wagon dreaming of other lands.

  22. I am a gypsy at heart! Of course, aren’t we all? And our family has a great story of some distant cousin being abducted by gypsies. Although they may not have been gypsies; and she was reunited with her family. 😉

  23. I would love to take a gypsy wagon through the back roads and villages of the British Isles! Telling stories, visiting fairies, dressed in flowing skirts with bells on my ankles.

    What a wonderful giveaway!

  24. I actually met the “King of the Gypsies” and his family many years ago in Coney Island. then did a research project on gypsies at UCLA quite a few years ago. Love the topic!

  25. One of the National Parks would be my choice.

  26. I love the bright colors of gypsy wagons. They would be an ideal space for a single person. When I was a child my father was in the Air Force and I attended 16 schools. I was shy which made the moving around difficult. If I had been traveling in a gypsy wagon it might have made the travels more bearable. The writer, Roald Dahl, had a gypsy wagon that he used as a writing studio. Think what fun it would be to have one for an art studio! But if I were traveling in one today, I would visit Colorado. I would take it to Ouray, Silverton, and Durango because I love the mountains.

  27. I am looking at books and collages at the moment so this is VERY appropriate! I know we all dream of running away with the gypsies or the circus!

  28. I’m guessing that a gypsy caravan would be the best way to visit the place at the top of my “must see” list–mermaid land.

  29. You are, as always, amazing! What a great offering!

  30. I’d love to take your gypsy wagon to a calm midwest lake! I love my mountains in Colorado , but miss the midwest lakes and rivers!

  31. The heron is SO perfect.

  32. I agree the wagons looked lovely. Only seen them in pictures as don’t think we had them in NZ where I grew up. Thanks for the chance at a fabulous prize 🙂

  33. I saw my first gypsy wagon on a visit to England. Have loved them ever since. Where do you get your wonderful photo’s?

  34. I saw a gathering of gypsies (Roma) at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer in the Camargue province (in the south of France). They gather there every year. I’d love to go back there and to travel through France again. Especially because I’ve enjoyed traveling since I was a young girl, I love your map designs.

  35. I would drive through Eastern Europe, singing “Mamaliga Branzali.” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UdPBXPr8ORU) It’s a good Romany song.

  36. This is great. I would love to travel the south of France in a Gypsy wagon. It would be lovely.

  37. I want to be on the beach in a gypsy wagon, free an open and ready to travel. Great poem

  38. love the pic of that wagon, and I’d probably go to the mountains.

  39. Such a lovely picture, it would be fun to have a holiday in a Gypsy Caravan

  40. I would love to travel in a Gypsy Wagon pulled by my trusty Gypsy Vanner horse, Koda. It would be glorious to be free to go where the wind blew me or where my heart desired, to not be tied down by jobs, things, and responsibilities. What a magical adventure it would be even for only a week or a few months.

  41. I love all of your work. I remember taking a workshop from you in Denver at DU a number of years ago, and when I went to Rome and the Pope’s house, all of the flags and maps reminded me of you. I got pickpockets a few times in Italy, but then I went to Germany and it was all staid and stable and not nearly as much fun!

  42. Does this resonate for you when you’re in the teach and travel mode? Charming imagery – gets my feet twitching to travel…

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