Hi, I’m Viana
I grew up in southern New Jersey. The part of NJ that gives it the name “The Garden State.” My mom always had a small vegetable garden in the yard and, each summer, I impatiently awaited the first ripe tomatoes on the vine. When it would finally happen, when the fruit (or veggie) would finally turn red and juicy, I would happily pluck it and eat it whole right then and there, with just a sprinkle of salt between each bite. Thus began my love of gardening.
In addition to gardening, both my mom and dad are amazing artists. I always aspired to draw and be creative like them. I remember my father painting giant 3-D artistic renderings on the walls or sketching some really cool drawings and cartoons on a piece of scrap paper, and still today he creates beautiful digital art. While my mom is also an excellent drawing artist, she’s usually more artsy-craftsy, whether it’s creating beautiful cross-stitch or crochet or sewing or picture framing. I like to think that I inherited the best of both of their artistic abilities. Although I’m usually more artsy-craftsy like mom, on quiet days I like to sit down with a pencil and sketchbook and work on my drawing skills, like dad. My sister, Steph, is the same way, always crafting something...our parents have always encouraged creativity.
I grew up in an Italian-Polish family. While talking loudly over each other, hands gesturing all the way, we would eat...and eat...and eat. Sunday dinners at my grandparents’ house was just what you would imagine. Lots of spaghetti with sauce (or is it gravy?), that you would pull onto your plate with a couple forks, alongside my grandmother’s kielbasa and pierogies. All the cousins running around, eating the olives we stuck on the ends of our fingers, sneaking away with a pizzelle cookie when the adults weren’t looking. Grandmom asking “Are you hungry?”, but she never heard you say no, she just said “I’ll go fix you something.” And you ate some more, and it was delicious.
Over the years, I grew up, had two children (who are now adults themselves), and became a certified school nurse (CSN) at an elementary school.
While I loved working with children in the school setting (which allowed me to be both a professional healthcare provider and my natural goofball self), I felt that I didn’t have the time to pursue my passions of gardening and cooking and crafting...so Erich and I talked about it and we decided to create maplewoodroad.com. He still flies a jet from one exotic location to another, but I’m full-time on the website, and I have the best boss ever...ME! 🙂
Another bonus of working from home: I get to spend more time with our kitties, Monkey & Pearly (I’m a serious cat lady). Fair warning: All of my crochet projects have cat hair on them.
I still enjoy all of those things I grew up with. In the spring and summer, I’m outside every day, digging my fingers into the soil, planting flowers and veggies in every available spot in the yard (Erich says there’s no room for more plants. Ha! Watch me!) And weeding, and powerwashing (that’s my power tool!), and hand sanding wood projects, and building, and creating.
In the colder winter months, I’m happy to stay cozy indoors with Erich and the kitties. When I’m not working on the website, you can often find me drawing or cross-stitching or crocheting a hat, stuffed animal, or blanket.
When my fingers and wrists finally tell me to take a break, I’ll meander into the kitchen to bake up a tasty treat (I have a major sweet tooth). And hopefully there’s some beautiful snow falling outside...I’ll enjoy watching it through the window for a while, but before you know it, I can’t wait to get outside to build a snowman or go sledding.
And sometimes you just have to get out of the house and do some traveling...and jump on a jet ski in Aruba…
Or visit the Eiffel Tower…
Oh, and did I mention that we’re a little bit crazy for Halloween here on Maplewood Road? We get to have fun and act like kids for a few hours, and our 300+ trick-or-treaters each year seem to enjoy it too. I just love doing theatrical makeup & Erich enjoys making papier mache masks...
In the video below, you can find me in the front row, with white wig and grey dress; and Erich is in the middle, wearing a white suit...
I suppose it’s all about “creating” for me...whether it’s helping a flower or vegetable grow big and strong...or making something artistic that can be appreciated for its beauty and comfort when it’s finished...or baking something delicious.
There’s so much beautiful about family and the seasons, and continuing skills and traditions that we’ve learned and practiced all of our lives. And I hope that my grown children continue the skills they’ve learned from me, and eventually pass it on to their children.
And now we’re passing our knowledge on to you, and hope you’ll share with us too…