Thursday, January 8, 2009

This is exciting! My very first interview. I have been chosen to
be interviewed by Steph, The Incurable Insomniac. I will answer
Steph's questions and then I will invite you, my bloggies, to be
interviewed as well. The instructions are at the end of this post.

1. Besides the obvious increase in visitors to your
blog, how has being chosen as a Blog of Note changed
your experience as a blogger?
My posting style, the subject matter and length of my posts, haven't
changed a bit. I still blog on the subjects that interest me. The
"brown paper packages tied up with string" on my header refers to
my favorite things, which is exactly what I blog about. The one
experience that has changed is the challenge of attempting to visit
all the bloggers who stop in and leave a comment. I must adjust to
the fact that it is nearly impossible, that I still have a life apart from
my computer desk, and to just enjoy the blogging experience as
before. I think most bloggers will understand that.
2. How did you and your husband find your manor
Like it says in my profile, "the Manor" as we fondly call it, is simply
an old limestone and cedar house, built in 1927, that was actually
named "Willow Manor" by the original owners. The property was
lined with huge willow trees, which are no longer here. We lived in
a perfect new house in a subdivision. Everything was in pristine
working order. But WT, the Kansas farm boy that he is, had a
hankering for land. Or maybe it was his Irish DNA speaking? We
often drove down this road, very rural 20 years ago, and happened
to see the house and property up for sale. It was a little too pricey
for our budget and passed on taking a tour of the house. Every
once in a while, WT, would leave to run a few errands and be gone
for hours. Upon his return, I would learn he had been at Willow
Manor walking the grounds. He was uniquely drawn to the place.
About six months later, the realtor called with the news that the
owners were ready to drop the price significantly. We toured the
house and immediately fell in love, but another party had already
put a contract on it. To make a long story short, we put a backup
bid on the house, the first contract fell through and we were the
proud owners of the charming Willow Manor. We love it dearly,
but as well as being haunted, it has been very much a "Money Pit"
(you know, the Tom Hanks movie) kind of experience. But that's a
post for another day.

3. On a fine weather day, where on your property is
your favorite spot to be alone?
I adore the patio on the back of of the house . It's between two
limestone walls of the house and enclosed with two stone ledges.
It's lush, peaceful, private and I fell like I'm somewhere exotic, like
the South of France.
4. Your family seems to be very close and supportive
of each other. If you could give one piece of advice to
a young family just starting out, what would that be?
I would have to say, when the kids are young, just let them be kids.
And always, even when they're grown, dole out massive amounts
of unconditional love. After all, if your own parents don't love you
unconditionally, who else is going to?
5. Before blogging, what, if any, was your main mode
of personal expression?
I studied fine art in college and am a very creative person. Most
things I do have an artistic side. I love decorating Willow Manor,
making it cozy and interesting. But I would have to say that I am
most known for my ability and love for entertaining. For several
years I operated a catering business, which was definitely a form
of personal expression, but very much a back breaking endeavor.
Now that the kids are grown, I need to buy some paint and canvas
and get back to some creativity in that department, as well.

If you would like to be interviewed by me, leave me a
note in the comment section. Give me a day or two to
send your five questions. Here's the scoop:

1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. (I get to pick the
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview
someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask
them five questions.


  1. I would like to ask you an additional set of questions. No tricks ones either.

  2. And you can ask me questions, altho I bet you know some of the answers so I'll work on being creative...

  3. It sounds fun. I'm game.

    I love reading your answers. I know what you mean about "now that the kids are grown, I need to buy some paint ...." So many creative things I tried to do when my kids were growing up accidentally got destroyed. When acrylic paint was spilled on the new carpet I started sewing instead. When the shirt that was almost finished got some holes cut out of it I moved to crocheting. A few years later when I started painting again I choose wood to paint on. I thought it couldn't be broken...I was wrong. I survived. They did too.

  4. CONGRATS, Willow, on your interview! How exciting is that?!

  5. Great answers, Willow. Thanks for allowing me to be nosy!


  6. First of all I loved your interview, great questions and a little more insight. The story of how The Manor came to you, just proves good things come to those who wait.

    I would love for you to interview me, as I just know you'd ask me some corkers having known me a little while! :-)

  7. Interesting how you came to own the property you now live on, Willow. Excellent answers to the questions.

  8. Dear Willow: I love your Manor so much I come in and out several times a day. I promise I will be quiet, I'll sit in a cozy corner and read a book. I enjoyed reading your answers. I'm a little bit intrigued, where are you in the US? I imagine the Northeast, but cannot come to a conclusion. One of these days we should have a blogger's convention and meet each other (I already see my little "Hello I'm The Pink Cowboy" sticker on my shirt). Boy, would that be a treat!

  9. What a great interview! I loved your answers and not at all surprised to read about the Fine Arts degree or the catering business.

    This was a very fun read!

  10. As always, your gracious self shines. I love the “paints and canvas” answer. Do indulge!
    And yes, please interview me, but not until next week please...

  11. I just love the photo of you, pencil between the teeth, glasses on and obviously enjoying what you are tapping away on the screen. Nice to get to know you better too - soon you will be interviewed by Ophrah, or some such exotic celebrity, as the WBB - World's Best Blogger! Or the World's Nicest! I would love to be interviewed by you too.

    PS Was so relieved to hear you say you find it hard to return comments as this is for me such a challenge and I but have 12 followers and you have over 400!!! However, I so often enjoy your meaningful comments not only on my blog but on the blogs of others. I would say you need to get the WBC as well.

  12. This was great..both questions and answers. I love that WT kept wanting and looking at Willow Manor. Catering...of course, why didn't I know!
    I'm in for the interview!!
    Mary Ann

  13. I love that wooing of you by the house...

  14. i love the idea! i want to play! :-)

    it's a great story of how you ended up with your house...i felt my heart leap into my throat when you said there was already a contract on it, even tho' i should have known the outcome! ha! i wonder why we're drawn to the places we are? very interesting to ponder.


  15. Willow -

    Will you interview me? This will be an interesting experience, as I typically keep pretty guarded.

    Also, I'm trying to beat the rush, as you will probably have 45 comments by 8:00 AM.

    Eskimo Bob

  16. Wow, Willow! the first thought that struck me was "How cool!" (to be interviewed).

    2nd thought was : I knew it! (catering)

    3rd thought was: I am wishing for some time to be creative ~ my time is taken up with endless nappies, feeding etc.

    Can't decorate to my tasteful Libran liking because it ends up broken,ketchuped or worse! Perspective. Life is amusing , yes?

    Loved your interview. :D

  17. I enjoyed reading your explains a lot about how you came to be "willow."

  18. Hello Willow,

    I enjoyed reading your answers and learning a little bit more about you and the manor.

    I also notice how few (so far) of your commentors have asked to be interviewed. Perhaps many of us are just a little bit shy?!

  19. How wonderful to end up in your dream home that way-fancy WT taking secret walks around the land and wishing it was his - only to find that it ended up just that -well not his but 'yours'

    It must be hard to keep abreast of so many followers - do you still read all the comments?

  20. After all, if your own parents don't love you unconditionally, who else is going to?

    Wise and loving parenting, Willow. Sad to say that my parents were not the unconditional type. However, because they were not, I vowed that I would be, and so I try to lavish upon my children the unconditional love and acceptance that I was denied.

  21. That's a great story about how you came to your lovely home.

  22. What a lovely interview, Willow! I've often wondered how you manage to visit all your bloggy friends - your comments are so appreciated!

    The way you came to live at Willow Manor is amazing - it was obviously meant for you.

    I'd love to be interviewed by you, if you'd like to interview a giraffe!

  23. Bill, hmmm, should I agree to be interviewed with a guy wearing a hat like a tea cozy? Well, okay, but no tricks. I know that will be hard for you. ;^)

  24. Steviewren, I hear you loud and clear. I spent hours once when my kids were small on a large watercolor painting. You know how time comsuming that is...all the layering of the washes, etc. My little daughter decided she would help while my back was turned and painted huge strokes over the whole thing when my back was turned. The painting was shelved. After all, my children were my greatest tangible assets, at the time. It's hard to get back into the swing of it after being on the shelf so long.

  25. I enjoyed reading your answers. The catering bit was new to me!

    Here's hoping all 708 of your followers don't want to be interviewed...unless the 5 questions are generic!

  26. What a neat concept. I'd say i was game to go, but I'm lousy at coming up with questions, so I'd probably flunk the second part of the exercise! But I do love the Q&A idea - it helps us get to know the people we read regularly on a different level.

  27. Hi Willow,

    I was especially interested in how you managed to cope with such grace to being named Blog of Note.

    I didn't even know there was such a thing until I was suddenly getting 400 visitors an hour to my blog.

    Its an honour but it makes it difficult to maintain a personal relationship with all that number of blog visitors.

    You seem to be coping very well. I admire that.

    And loved your interview.

  28. Lovely to hear more about how you came upon the manor and hear about your life.
    Needless to say, I'm up for being interviewed.
    All best.

  29. So many compliments about your blog that I could say..or have said in the past, many are already said here. Thanks for letting us in on the interview and 'which part of Kansas?'

  30. Sizzie, he grew up on a small farm in rural Piper, KS, just outside of Kansas City, out there with Dorothy Gale and cows. We lived in Kansas City, MO from 1977-1983 and I absolutely loved it there.

  31. I enjoyed your interview and got to know more about the person behind the blogger. Thanks to you and the insomniac.

    Greetings from London.

  32. Love the story of how the manor came to be yours. It was meant to be.
    I'm in the process of dusting off my creativeness, too. They're almost all grown and on their own, or old enough now to know that an extra splash of paint or a snip of the scissors isn't always helpful. :)
    As always, my life is in a state of flux.

  33. Interview me?!? Pretty please?!? (But only if you have time -- I see that you already have numerous requests!). My e-mail is

  34. Willow,
    I adore your blog!! Thank you for putting so much time and effort into it. I look forward to reading it everyday and I aspire to be a blogger like you!

  35. A lovely interview here. Thanks for sharing a little of yours and Willow Manor's stories.

  36. Your place sounds wonderful. It reminds me of a place that I fell in love with In CT. It was a 1920 gramble on a 3 acres of land and a neighboring old cemetery. I loved it! We were house shopping at the time. When I took my husband to go see it, he had an immediately reaction. He wouldn't even get out of the car. The house still haunts me, though. (no pun intended)

    Your sanctuary in the back yard sounds wonderful. Would love to see some pictures in your posts.

    BTW, you can interview if you like, too!

  37. Being interviewed would be great! As long as you can guarantee that the paparazzi won't be swamping me after you make me famous.
    Love this are a star!

  38. Loved reading this! Now that you have been interviewed, you are now officially famous! ;)

  39. I will add my name to the list, you have quite a long one, I think you were famous before the interview...

  40. Howdy, I love that your kettle is on! I'm sooo new to blogging and saw Willow Manor on Blog of Note --couldn't resist following. Love the house and especially the detail of y'all's patio...

    I'm from the South and we entertaining right down to the detail - it's obvious you embrace that!

    Your posts are simple yet pleasing and you remind me a little of my favorite Aunt (who isn't all that much older than I am...)

    Love reading your interview answers while enjoying my tea & biscotti this morning! Thanks!!

  41. Willow! - this was so much fun! - really a good interview.....

  42. Nice idea .. okay .. interview me!

  43. Will you interview me?? :D


  44. Wow , looks like you'll be interviewing forever !!!!!
    I'd love someone to interview me - If you don't make it maybe someone else will ?
    Loved your interview , was very interested in your answers about the Manor and your artistic background

  45. Oh, now I know how excited you felt. My email is Talk to you soon.

  46. This was so interesting, Willow! To think that you ran a catering business!! I am filled with admiration. I have always thought that would be a most high-pressure endeavour! Almost as bad as a wedding planner! And on a purely superficial note... I love your glasses!

  47. Willow, My email is I'm taking my car over for an oil change but I will be available to answer the interview questions this evening...I'm so excited!

  48. Willow, with 300 some odd readers you may be very busy thinking up questions. Interesting though to read your answers.

  49. Thanks Willow for the Kansas answer. I don't know that part of the state, but have been in the flat western part of the state.

  50. LOVED hearing more tidbits of you, your life, willow manor & your family. Great interview.
    Love from les Gang !

  51. Well done Willow. Great interview and very interesting answers. I'm game, interview me!

    50+ comments. I'm happy when I get into double figures!!

  52. I enjoyed getting to know you better. We have one of those Money Pit houses, too, but it doesn't have as graceful a name as yours. It is just "The Barn" - referring to its past life, of course!

  53. Interview ME.. LOVE your blog and Willow Manor- ours is nicknamed Wuthering Heights :)

  54. PS Just got Joyeaux Noel in the mail from Netflix- cant wait to watch it tonight while the tree is still up for one more night.

  55. I've been following your blog for about a month now, and find your words so interesting. I know we haven't spoken before, but I was curious to see what you would ask a complete stranger in an interview. With that said, I would be honored if you would interview me.

    Keep up the great posts!

  56. What a fun idea. I don't know about getting interviewed myself. But it would be nice if we could keep track of who was being interviewed, to follow it along.

    Lovely job on the answers.

  57. Willow - please tell us more about the hauntings at Willow Manor!

  58. Joanna, you can read some of my previous posts on our resident ghosts by clicking on "ghosts" in my label section.

  59. SweetPea, I've been sending out interview questions alllll day. If you are interested in reading them, the best thing would be to come back to this post and click on anyone who requested an interview. I could compile a list with links, but it's just a little too time consuming.

  60. Willow, I had no idea you were a Blog of Note on Dec. 5. You've always been one in my book and I'm glad you've been recognized for the beautiful work you do.

    Please please don't feel as though you have to come visit me! I totally understand. I truly want to go to every single blog that visits me but I can't. I work full time and blog at night. I'd love to be interviewed but I see you already have so much on your plate, PLUS I don't think I could come up with all the questions when it's my turn to interview people!

    Love coming to this place and your story about the house won you over.

  61. Great interview, Willow. I hope you do pick up that paintbrush. I would love that! ;))

    I used to think I wanted a catering business, and then when I came up with the name "A Moveable Feast," and discovered someone else had already had that idea, I was shattered. Not that I'd really have had that time, but it was a neat idea. I love to entertain as well, and we do whenever we can. go sit out (with a blanket?) on your pretty patio...

  62. That photo of you is terrific...and exactly as I picture you...but I always think of you in front of a real typewriter, not a computer keyboard, for some reason. Fun to read your interview!

  63. Now this is bizarre..Yesterday I interviewed someone for the Tea Society blog but had no clue this was going on..LOL!!! I'll be posting her interview very soon...

    I loved your responses, especially when speaking of Willow Manor's connection to WT and how he would walk the grounds..Yes, land is definitely an Irish thing..I never stop dreaming of the one day when we will have our own "Willow Manor" in the woods. Downtown traffic is so noisy...

    What an enjoyable post!

  64. Willow I love your blog. It was the first one I came across when I started mine and I have been hooked since then. I love your parenting advice as well...thanks so much! I would love to be interviewed but my blog is pretty new. Am I still allowed?

  65. Willow,
    When you find the time. ;-)

  66. My email is

    Look forward to it! :)

  67. I found your blog through the blog of note and I would love to be interviewed by you :0 I am new to (serious) blogging and have been enjoying it immensely. Really for me the best part is discovering a whole new world out there.

  68. If it's not too late, and you aren't too sick of writing questions, I would love to play along. I read Julochka's and it is wonderful. I think your questions really gave us a chance to know her better. I love this idea.

  69. Willow -

    Thanks for the interview, that was a lot of fun. Keep up the great blog!

  70. Hi Willow,
    Still have name envy......
    I would love to be interviewed. I too have a money pit - though I think we need a new tag because I LOVE it and the "Pit" is such a negative term. AND I have a ghost too.
    Such fun

  71. Lovely. I would like to do the same. So, Interview me.

  72. I love your 'dream come true' story about your house! It's so inspiring to hear tales of wishes fulfilled. I enjoyed reading your interview; there were some good questions as well as answers. You seem to be buried in requests for interviews now so IF you ever get to it, I would love to participate. My blog is brand-new so there's not much there yet. Happy interviewing!

  73. I love the picture of you with the pencil in your mouth. I remember, as a child, observing the pencil thus carried as a sign that an adult was realy busy and should not be disturbed, but, when I tried it myself, I ate the pencil.

  74. Like Eleanor, I love the photo with the pencil in your teeth - so studious! It's been nice to get to put a few more pieces into the "Willow Manor" puzzle.

    If you have the chance, I'd love to be interviewed by you - and do some interviewing in turn.


  75. This seems like a lot of work for you but I just have to add to it. INTERVIEW ME Please!! What a treat!

  76. First of all, congratulations, girl!

    Looks like you are going to be a busy, busy girl! Sign me up...sounds too dang interesting to pass up!


  77. hi willow,

    if you aren't overwhelmed with interviewees, i'd like for you to interview me :)

  78. Am I too late to be interviewed? Sounds fun!

  79. mine's up! :-)

  80. Hi Willow, are you sick of interview requests? If not and you feel like one more, I would love to be considered. Thanks Kim

  81. I love your blog and enjoyed learning more about you.

    I am very excited to read all of the other interviews and getting to interview others. If you have time, Please interview me.

  82. Excellent, yes please do interview me.

    I have five bloggers I would love to interview already :) But do the questions need to be the same for each of those five?


  83. Kim, Lisa, Hels and anyone else I may have missed, I'll try to get your interviews sent out sometime today. It would help speed up the process if you send me your email.

    Thanks! :)

  84. Oh, you, too Queenie! Send me your email! :)

  85. I too find it daunting to keep up with my blogs (i have three and post almost daily) and the others who stop by mine. I can't imagine how you do it with 45 commenters every morning, though I have been admiring of that kind of readership.

    I like that you say you still want to blog for yourself as you always have. Been thinking about that a lot. I am mulling over posting every other day, as when I post too often, people miss some of the posts that I do put work into, as most of my readers don't stop by every day (though some do).

    I can't stop by anyone's blog every day like I used to anymore, and I go back as far as the last time I was there to catch everything and comment if I can. But not everyone does.

    I loved hearing the story of how you got to Willow Manor, as I have wondered about that for a long time, and even searched back through some of your original posts to see if I could locate more info on it... but there are so many I didn't succeed. :-)

  86. LOVED the questions! how clever he was.

    "But I would have to say that I am
    most known for my ability and love for entertaining. For several
    years I operated a catering business, which was definitely a form
    of personal expression, but very much a back breaking endeavor. "
    --That, Willow, does not surprise me one bit. I can just picture you hosting a big social gathering! Heck, I've even dreamt it.

    I love your description of the South of France patio. Wonderful. i will pciture you there now on occassion.

    Great post. Very much enjoyed. I'm glad you were picked. I don't know about being interviewed though as one never knows what sort of questions coudl be asked. Hmm. And 85 comments! Whoa. It must indeed be very hard to keep up. you can't obviouslyy and yes, we understand completely.

    You just keep plugging away, doing your thing.

  87. Oh, btw, Willow, I must ask you: is that you in the picture for this post? If so, may I say how lovely you are! :) A wonderful snap shot.

  88. Yes, Mr. Sponge, this is me, taken on the day of this post. You are too kind. :^)

  89. Willow,

    If you are still interviewing people, please add me to your list.

  90. interesting blog "game"...can I join? please....

  91. I got to your site through "The Gold Puppy" and saw the interview answers posted there and then I just had to see your site, if anyone besides me visted my site I would say "Yes' to the interview, but who would I interview myself, so alas, only I would see the answers and am not sure that is what this is about...but would be willing to answer the questions and maybe someday someone else would see it...I am new to blog posting thing on my own site and do not put personal info on it, but did find both of your sites very interesting and maybe will change what I do...I do blog on Greta Wire almost daily so I know many see those posts, but not on my own site...maybe I could just send out the questions and answers to my family through e-mail and see what they send back to me...would be interesting if you want to ask the questions still, I would answer them.

    Very interesting and enjoyable posts you have here.

  92. Interview me... please.

    Today is 24 March 2009 and I hope that you have had time to interview all the othes because I would love to be interviewed by you. Simply because I am inquisitive and can't wait to see the questions.

    Love your blog - only found it today and I already feel an addiction developing.


Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)