Better for it

Monday, January 31, 2011

When I was little my mom took me to see the King Tutankhamun exhibit in Seattle. I didn't really know much about it except that we were taking a 3 hour drive to see an ancient Egyptian and if there were time, I'd get to go up the Space Needle. I was just excited for a road trip.

I remember meandering around the glass cases and seeing the famous golden slippers,
mummies, a tomb and a hundred other various artifacts. I also remember being in awe of how everything seemed to be made of shiny gold. I asked my mom how much it was all worth. She replied, "Well, it's priceless. But that's not the most important thing."

I was saddened over the weekend when I heard that looters repelled into a museum in Cairo and damaged artifacts of King Tut. Luckily the items can all be repaired in some way. There were many Egyptian citizens who were frustrated by the looting and the sheer disregard for a precious history.

Some may wonder what that has to do with us as Americans or why we should care. I know some don't and that's OK I guess. But for me, it's a teaching moment for my kids.

That most "important thing" my mom was talking about to me that day was to learn to have an appreciation for art because it will help me learn about people of the world, all God's people. Not so one can be boastful about all they know; no one likes that. But to learn about others so this big world doesn't seem so big. Those artifacts humanize a history and culture.

When we go on vacation, Jon and I believe in doing or showing the kids something that is historically pertinent to where we are driving through or visiting. My dad used to do that. We'd moan when he'd pull over to show us a historical sight. Not another stop in the Badlands, please! No more reading the roadside signs! We've already seen Old Faithful, when can you find us a waterpark??

That was until he took us to a real ghost town and we wandered through old buildings. He kept telling us to watch out for nails because we were in the middle of nowhere and there wouldn't be anyone to give us tetanus shots. It was the coolest thing I had ever seen.

Last summer we were able to take my niece and nephew to Washington DC and tour the many exhibits at the Smithsonian. It was interesting to me to see what items they photographed: The Hope Diamond, First lady ball gowns, Lincoln's top hat, dinosaur bones, Dorothy's ruby slippers, World War II memorabilia, The Berlin Wall and much more.

So you can probably understand too, the Egyptians' frustration with their museum cases in ruins. I would be sad too if the Smithsonian fell to such fate.

So, enjoy your surroundings, find something new to learn about the area with a fresh perspective and even though the kids may groan at what they don't yet understand, they will see its importance someday and be better for it.

Oh, and the views from the Space Needle - spectacular!

All this talk of King Tut reminds me of Steve Martin...does it you too?

White done right

Saturday, January 29, 2011

We're working on a few projects today - nothing major, just detail work. I turned to a few magazines for inspiration and I admit, I like some white rooms. And somewhere in my house I am going to make it happen. I would never say any of these rooms are boring.

kitchens courtesy of House Beautiful

Living rooms courtesy of Country Living

Even my scaredy-cat dog likes white.


A good deal day

Friday, January 28, 2011

Yesterday I received an update from my friend at Together We Save where she said Redbox was having a free movie rental promo so I called Jon and had him pick up a movie on the way home.
Then I noticed Elle Decor magazine was giving away a free subscription, so I made sure to nab that.

A quick stop to Goodwill paid off when I found a small bolt (about 5 yards) of fabric for $2.50 and vintage 1960's plastic presidents for $1.00. I like to buy unusual items for the kids that help them learn so I thought Reese would get a kick out of them. Not the fabric, just the presidents... He did and set them up like an Army men battle. That Grover Cleveland kicked the pants off of Rutherford B. Hayes.

But it was Jon and I who tested our presidential knowledge by putting the presidents in order. We didn't do too badly, only a few out of place. It's not a complete set and when I looked them up, I found that they were made to be hand painted. I had wondered why they were so detailed. But we like them plain so that's how they'll stay. I also found out that Abraham Lincoln and a few others are going for $9.99 each.

So all in all, I'd say it was a good deal day.

The price

Jon putting the presidents in order - going backwards is easier.

Oh, and we watched the movie "Red." It had a really good cast, funny.
It's was a good rental choice.

So how about you? Are you having good deal days?

Ties that bind

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Today I should be on a train bound for Philadelphia but last night's snowstorm has virtually shut down the city. I wanted to be with my cousins to say good-bye to our Uncle Gary today. He passed away last week after a long and successful life.

It seems my emotions are on the surface a little. The cold weather brings back memories of January's past where I stood and said good-bye to my parents as eternity opened its doors.
I know how my cousins and their families are feeling right now so I wanted to be there in support. One of the most comforting feelings I ever felt during both of my parent's funerals was sitting near the podium of the chapel and looking out over all those who came to pay respects.
There were people that I had not seen in years. But upon sight, their faces brought back good memories and our eyes teared with gratitude knowing they took time out of their day to support us. You do gain much strength from others that way. Connections like that are so important - to me anyway.

Yesterday on Facebook I posted the above photo of my Uncle Gary for my family to see. It's one of my favorites of my grandparents and my dad (standing in front of Gary) his sister Janet and another brother Dennis. Many of my cousins on Facebook commented on it and laughed about who looked like whom. Some had never seen that photo of their parents and our grandparents before.
My cousin Michael, Janet's son, posted the comment, "More please."
I realized that his connection to the past through a simple photograph was just as important to him as it was me. So today while we are snowed in, I'll gather pictures for Michael, think about my family, have fun on a snow day and sip hot chocolate with mine and be so thankful for the ties that bind.

Wednesday Quotes

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

How much of human life is lost in waiting?
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Try not to wait for the right time to do those things you have been thinking about doing. Like sending a note to a family member, calling an old friend, or taking cookies to the one you don't know very well down your street. Don't wait for the right time because there will always be something that will cause that "right time" to get pushed back.

I hear myself say to my children, "Wait just a sec", "Wait." "One moment." "Give your mom a minute."

and then I'll think of Emerson's words and be glad that I know what I would have lost out on if I had made them wait and the moment had passed.

But I still need to work at it.

If this sounds familiar to you,
remember the quote. It'll help like it does for me.

Have a great day!

Pictures by Charley

I posted on the other blog here because of course, fixing up this house is always on my mind too.

Boys' room - some details

Monday, January 24, 2011

mid century dresser

I keep trying to get a picture of the boys' shared bedroom but it's rarely put together long enough for a shot. And when it is, well, things sometimes happen.

So let me just show you a few details of the room and hopefully I can get to a full view later down the road when this poster, although cute, comes down in place of the "salon style" display.

It's there for a purpose...Reese put up this poster last night in an attempt to make me feel better about his mishap. (Notice the use of blue painters tape. It's all we have around here.)

Anyway (big sigh) add another item to my fix-it list...

So let me just address small and inexpensive touches that were easy to do...on the other side of the room.
We'll just forget about the damage for now.
Damage, what damage? I don't see anything.
This canvas work apron is from our local True Value store. I bought a bunch of them for .50 cents each. They are tied to the end of the boys' bunk bed where they can place little items for the night if they want to keep their beds a bit more clear.
The closet is painted with chalkboard paint. As you can tell, the bottom half gets used a lot. I may have to give it a third coat sometime but for now it's fine.

The globe was a $5.00 antique shop purchase, minnow bucket $2.00.

I purchased the wooden crate at the flea market for $2.00. I bought it knowing I would make it their shelf. I liked the old weathered wood and most of all, the typography. Jon put up the shelf for me using drywall anchors and screws since there was no stud to attach it to.

On its top is another opportunity for display. Reese likes to play chess and when I saw the Avon chess bottles for .25 cents each at the flea market (again), I knew he'd like them. What I didn't like is that he tried on the cologne that was in them. Oy!
The books are from thrift shops or antique malls.
The blue one on the left is a cute 1950's book called
the true book of
Tools for Building.
Isn't the little bionicle cute? There are a bunch of them stored in the minnow bucket on the dresser. And there are more under the bed I'm sure...

So there you go, some snippets of the room.
More later after the you-know-what is repaired.

Garage Thrifting

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Today I was able to go through a few bins of items that have been handed down to me. Some of the items I will eventually sell and the rest I'll pass along to my kids.
I pulled out a few items to share with you...

I love the postage stamp on this envelope

and the mailing label.
Notice there is no zip code and the
address is Corner of Franklin and Jonathan streets?
I actually lived in Hagerstown at one time.
Clues like dates and places of origin always peak my interest. I love the return address as well.
Schenley bought the rights to many name brands of alcohol that went out of business during and after prohibition. My guess is that this was a promotional give-a-way because inside
the envelope are six (69 years-old) 9x12 floral prints all in perfect condition.
They came with a paper from the company that tells what each flower means.
I am thinking of having them copied rather than selling the originals.
They would add some pops of color to a space. I might use the Chrysanthemum somewhere myself!

I love the use of books in decorating. I am always drawn to ones that have decorative and colorful covers.
No matter what your personal style, they always look good stacked up anywhere.

This art deco piece is one of my faves although I'm not sure what I'll do with it. Maybe I need to go buy some chunky necklaces to dangle from it?
It is a vintage handkerchief display with its original handkerchiefs. It came out of the store, Farrell & Eddy, in my little hometown, that opened in the early 1900's and closed in the early 1990's. My mom bought it at their auction when the building was sold about 6 or 7 years ago.
This was in the back store room on the shelf but it had been on the front counter all those years.

A few silver items.
The pedestal dish in the background will go on my dresser to hold spare change or jewelry.
I may use the others for the little flowers that the kids pull for me when Spring and Summer show its faces. I don't have a lot of this out since I lean more contemporary but it's good to mix it up a bit. And who doesn't love reflective surfaces?
So that rounds out today's picks.
I'll be digging around some more later but until then,
Have you found anything you are incorporating/re-purposing into your home?
Have a great rest of the weekend!

Home days and getting to the thrifting segment

Friday, January 21, 2011

I had every intention of posting my recent thrifting finds along with another segment of "Thrifting the garage" where I found my mom's silver items but I was distracted by activities, snow days, half school days and some rooms, um... okay every room, that needs cleaning. I have boxes and bags of clothes and toys that need to go to Goodwill today. I thought about hanging on to them for a garage sale in the Spring but I'm sure by then I'll have more to go through anyway.

I'm on a roll so I can't stop right now. I'll post tomorrow as soon as I figure out what to do with the silver. My vote is to put it in a new house with a huge kitchen with built-ins! But that means it'll sit in a box for a couple more years and that won't do.
You know I believe in using what you have now and making the space you're in now, the one you want to be in, not waiting for the time and place to be perfect.

So with that, off to tackle a boy's room where I'm sure to find all kinds of things I've been looking for and wonder how in the heck they ended up there.

Have a great day!


I saw this video from a friend and this lady cracked me up, love her!

Wednesday quotes

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.
~ Judy Garland

Creations of Christmases past - our edible homemade villages tradition.

Coming tomorrow:
Another thrifting round-up

Winter birth

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Dear Charley,

You were ready for the world and we had a 40 minute drive. There was no stopping you so I just had to hold on for the ride. That was to be the way of life with you these 14 years, us holding on while you were ready for anything, willing to try and confident that life would be fun.

Looking down at your big brown eyes that chilly morning in Texas, I knew I was staring at the sweetest girl there could ever be. You were so trusting and quiet, so happy and content. You were such an easy baby who grew into a happy toddler, a respectful child and now a blithely teen. I can only imagine what an outstanding adult you will someday be.

Even at age 5, you were not afraid to be heard and ask questions; where an item was in a store, how much it was, or suggesting to your elementary school principal if you could "try things a different way"...and I'd watch and let you, knowing that you would learn to speak up for yourself. I knew that once they heard you, they'd see what I already knew, a girl whose heart is in the right place, who stands with those that need extra care and isn't afraid. One who is friends with every crowd and is able to see parts of their heart that may be hidden from others.

Everywhere we go it is your hair color and uncommon name by which you are recognized. But after a while those things aren't as important because it is your charitable soul which leaves the indelible mark.

Happy Birthday my sweet.


A little HomeGoods every now and then

Monday, January 17, 2011

Last Saturday called for a HomeGoods trip. Do you have a store near you? When I lived down South, there was a HomeGoods about 5 miles from my house, now it's 56 miles but when it comes to that store, coupled with good company, funny conversations and good food, it's never too far.

I was looking for some mirrors and pillows but didn't find exactly what I needed. That just means another trip in about a month or two. Their inventory changes quickly so I'm sure there will be something next time.

I did buy some baskets, fancy shmancy dish soap and a shower curtain. And since Marshall's is right next door to the store, I also came home with some clothes and accessories for the kids.

I had already paid for my purchases when I spotted this urn/vase. I put it in my cart just to think about it. Do you do that too? I'll put items in my cart, continue shopping and then end up editing my purchases. But I knew if I didn't get it, I would wish that I had. I've never seen one like it so I think it'll add interest to a room. I still have to figure out where it will go though. For now it's just sitting all by its lonesome.

It was a fun and funky purchase. Even better was the clearance price - just $18.00 marked down from $49.99. I wish I had another.

So for you lucky people who live in closer proximity to HG, have fun on your next shopping trip!

Maybe it's good that I don't live closer after all.

Wednesday quotes for Friday

Friday, January 14, 2011

For the next few weeks I will be busy with a few extra promises I made. I said yes because I really wanted to do them all. I wondered for a moment if I could not just do them all but do them successfully.

If you find yourself in the same situation of taking on a task whether it is for family, yourself at home, work, school or church, and desire a successful outcome, remember this:

Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.

~Maya Angelou

You probably would have never been asked to fulfill an assignment if you didn't like what it was they are requesting. They must like the way you like to do things so be confident and enjoy it!

Now I'm off to finish painting a room. Pictures soon!

Have a great weekend!

Nip and tuck - blog style

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I thought it was time to spruce up around here so I called in the pros.

Along with the new look will come new categories. And, new categories means more fun.
And who doesn't want a little more fun in their day?

Have a great one!

*To see a recent photo session, go here

Linking to Simply Stacie

A day of driving and spring decorating on my mind

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I spent all day running errands and driving an hour away to get another kid outfitted with braces. Afterward we went to Chik-fil-A.

While we were there, some people sat at the table behind me and spilled over onto my seat, squishing me out of it. I had to take the kids to the restroom and when I came back, their coats were on my seat and there was no room for me to pull out my chair. I had to remove their coats and scarves from my seat to get my coat.

I heard one say to the other that she had to buy food for her daughter yesterday because she didn't have any money. She then said with a sigh that the daughter had enough to get her nails done but not to buy food.
I figured she was stressed out. No need to stress her out any more.

Blair wanted to spend her dollar to get the neighbor girl a New Year's gift so I took her to the dollar store. It's the biggest dollar store I have been to. She picked out princess shoes. Trae got himself a ball and a motorcycle. Within 10 minutes of being home, the dog popped the ball and is now carrying around a floppy piece of plastic.

And as I write this, I forgot to grab the palm fronds I saw there. I usually don't buy fake flowers but you can't get palm fronds here. I miss that about South Carolina. I used to be able to just go pick some if they weren't too large to stab me as I sawed them off the trees. Anyway, they look great all by themselves in a vase.

I like to use ferns instead, or in addition to, since I have a thing for them. I can't tell you how many times Jon has had to pull over somewhere when I spot some nice ferns. Everybody waits for me as I go into the trees and come out with a fistful of them. Man, I remind myself of my mother.
I should just plant my own this year.

Then we stopped at Target and checked out some of their new arrivals for the home event. I liked the following items and realized I have decorating for Spring on my mind. So with that, I rearranged the living room (again) and went to throw the drapes in the wash but realized they are 'Dry clean only.' So I left them and cleared out the decorative items and now I am ready to get some shopping done. Nothing major - since it really only takes some decorative pieces to give your room a new look.

Because we are excited to be snowed in tonight and tomorrow, I won't rush Spring just yet!

It's pretty out my window and the earth looks still and calm.
How does it look out yours?

Do you hear it too?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Winter has arrived on our deck.

Forgive me while I interrupt the normal content of this blog to chat about recent U.S. events...It's ok if you don't want to read this right now. It's just what's on my mind today but come back tomorrow when I'll be back to my regular postings of home and family.

At a young age I had an interest in politics. At 10, I could name the U.S. Secretary of State and many cabinet members as easily as I could the cast of any popular TV show. When I was in high school I was selected for youth in government day and was able to shadow a DA and see the inter workings of our community courthouse. I thought I would eventually study political science and I did for a couple of years.

While I loved learning about government and citizenship, I disliked the way people didn't listen to the "other side" as if their side was the only one that mattered. After some years, my interest waned. I still keep up with what's going on as I think everyone should. But the source from where information is gathered, should not be just one, but many.

Being able to see how others' experiences have shaped them and how important their views are to them, can help our view. Or I should say, my view.

So when I heard about the weekend shooting of a Congresswoman and the little 9 year-old girl that was interested in politics, who was among those who had been shot or killed, I was deeply saddened. My thoughts were with her family.
I also thought about my friend whose father is a member of Congress and how they must be feeling.
Who knows the whys of this tragedy?
But all I heard and saw were people heading to their political corners and hoping the shooter wasn't one of them, if this was indeed politically motivated. I read ugly comments on news articles where people were already arguing on the political motives of this young man.

Does it surprise anyone that our nation is so quick to argue?

I know there is opposition and it's OK to have views and convictions but without solutions, arguing is just noise. Do you hear it too?

There is a lot of noise out there. I mean you only have to look to your TV at any given day and see the programming full of reality shows with a bunch of people arguing and fighting.
About what, I am not sure but I am sure it's nothing that important.

The only thing I know about the tragedy is that the shooter has problems. And our citizens who wanted to be a part of helping their community, including a federal judge, an engaged man who was to be married next year, a favorite elderly church member, two retired homemakers, and the little girl, are gone. Some of the others are fighting for their lives.

And I hope there is no arguing about how important all of their lives are.

The dinnerware - before I forget again

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Taking a quick break from yelling for the Seahawks...

As I was just putting away the last of the Christmas china today, I remembered that I never posted a picture of it. I had a few questions and emails about it so I thought I would share that here.

Over the years, Jon's mom got all of the girls in the family a set of holiday dinnerware or its accessories for Christmas. She started me out 17 years ago and I added to it ever since and up to 2006.

This particular pattern, Royal Limited's Holly Holiday, was a store brand but similar to the much more expensive Lenox pattern.

It was discontinued when the Meier & Frank Co. was sold to the ZCMI dept. stores and then to Macy's. You can still find the pattern on Ebay and at Replacements but for much higher prices than they were originally. They have nice detail and so far, it hasn't worn. I only wash them by hand and since it's only used from the day after Thanksgiving up through New Year's, they should last me a very long time. Unless the tornado, aka Trae-man, gets a crazy idea.
Bowls, platters, salt/pepper shakers, gravy boat, goblets, a cookie jar and other things complete the set.

If you're on the lookout for Christmas dinnerware, now is a good time to buy.

Even stores like K-Mart and Wal-Mart have inexpensive sets on sale right now that were specifically brought in for the holidays.

In my town, K-Mart has a 16-piece boxed set on sale for about $20.00. It's basic white with a gold or platinum band and is surprisingly elegant. And did I mention cheeeep? Just mix it with chargers, solid colored bowls or vintage pieces and you'll have an even more beautiful setting.

Lenox -$143.00, 5-piece place setting

Lenox - $95.00, 5-piece place setting

K-Mart - $19.99, 4 piece place setting

Now back to our Seattle Seahawks.
Have a great rest of the evening!

When in doubt, prime it out

Friday, January 7, 2011

All signs were pointing at me to not start a painting project today. But it was such a small one that I knew I could get it done in an hour, tops.

First, the painter's tape was missing. I remembered Reese used it for something the other day but didn't know what he did with it. After searching for a while, I gave up. Who knows where kids stash things. I could improvise I thought.
So I continued and took everything off the shelves and freed them of any dust.

I then took off each ledge.

The paint can lid was on so tight that I had to use a knife to peel off the old paint under the rim. I nearly reached muscle failure trying to twist that thing apart. With so much time wasted, I didn't want to waste anymore and just get to it. So, I tossed out priming.

That was my mistake. I broke my own rule of 'When in doubt, prime it out,' a little saying I mumble to myself when I paint. I don't know if anyone says that to themselves, but I do.

The paint separated and it looked similar to a bar code at first. I let it dry a little and tried again, but it still wouldn't work. I knew I should have primed...

So now the kids are due home and I'll be busy with snacks but eventually I'll make it back to the garage to look for some primer. What a wild Friday night I have planned, huh?

Remember, "When in doubt..." and save yourself some trouble.

Have a great weekend!