A gift, service and a run in Philly

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A year ago I was at my Uncle's funeral where my cousin Wendi and I were talking. Unfortunately over the years of living here ( I grew up on the West coast) the only time I tend to see some of my PA cousins are at funerals.

So as we were talking, Wendi asked if she could get Blair a birthday present and of course I said, "Sure!" so she asked Blair if she liked to read. Blair gave a resounding yes. Wendi said that her niece was editing a book which would soon be released and she could probably get her a signed copy. Blair was so excited about this. Wendi texted me a month later and said she hadn't forgotten about it but life came up and she would get on it. I told her not to worry. I had actually forgotten about it when Wendi messaged me again and said she had it and would mail it out.

It wasn't too long after that when I received word from my cousin, BethAnn, Wendi's sister, that Wendi had been diagnosed with a brain tumor during this time. I was shocked. I had just hammed it up with her in pictures a few months back. BethAnn said that Wendi kept telling her to get the book mailed for her. I responded by saying enough with the book, just get better. But there would be no getting better. The cancer took her quickly and mercilessly. Here she was, in the fight of her life, and she was trying to get Blair that book.

At her funeral, Blair received her gift from Wendi. It is now a prized possession. And it's a constant reminder that my worst of moments so far are not that tough and I can do a better job of making time for service.

So the least I could do was to join BethAnn's team in the Race for Hope in Philadelphia, through the National Brain Tumor society, to say thank you to Wendi and honor her memory.

Best seller

BethAnn and me

Me and my little cheering section. Love them.

A little thought

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

It seems like someone always cuts in front of me in line. Today it was at a craft store, the other day it was at a convenience store and last week it was at a grocery store. And I'm always behind someone going 10 miles under the speed limit. My first thought to myself is usually sarcastic but then I quickly stop and think. There is no place so important for me to be that I can't wait an extra few minutes to get there. I also think that being held up 5 to 10 minutes may be keeping me from something dangerous or putting me in a perfect position for something good. Do you think this way too?

A little side table rehab

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

I spotted this side table at a thrift shop in Arkansas and despite its flaws, I had to see what I could do with it. The details were just too good.

The top had a 3 sided rim but one side was gone. I knew that removing the other two would be easy and patching the divot it would leave with wood filler wouldn't be hard either. The top's veneer was bubbling and peeling so that had to come off. It's not an easy task to repair veneer so I didn't want to attempt that. I peeled off as much as I could and the rest got the orbital sander treatment, using 80 grit sand paper. Because of the vintage nature of the piece, I wasn't worried about scratches and dings on the rest of it. Paint would take care of that.

I made sure not to sand down too far by using 220 grit sandpaper on the 
mouse sander this time and filled in where the rim had been.

I used Americana Decor chalk paint in Primitive and Grunge it! aging dust by Vintage Market & Design to bring out the details. After waxing, I used fine grit sandpaper to lightly distress the high points. I always wax furniture at the shop just in case something is scratched in transit, which happens more times than not.

I am tempted to keep this for myself. It's so adorable.
That's always the struggle.

The beginning of the season

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

I love October. 

That's when the leaves really change around here. One year it was so warm they didn't change until November. That wasn't a great year for foliage. But this year should be brilliant. For me, October is like my Spring, a renewal, where I spruce up the house, go through the kids' closets and try to get organized, I said try. 

I think I've always looked at this month that way because my church's semi-annual world General Conference is held in October and listening to the talks tend to give me a push in a direction I need.

Another thing I love is that there are so many festivals! Over the weekend we went to our back to school festival at a ranch not far from my house. The kids and I enjoyed a s'mores fire pit, horseback riding and a hay ride. It was really simple, just the way I think kids' events should be. I realized I didn't take many photos until it was too late but you get the idea.

Perfect size horse

This horse was big. I didn't ask but I'm guessing 17 hands?

I love Longhorns! I always enjoyed seeing them when we lived in The Texas Hill country
 and now I can see them right here in PA. 

A little bouquet

Monday, September 28, 2015

My mind was filled with frustrations on Saturday and I knew I needed a good run to clear it. I'm not a fan of running. at all. But I push myself to do it anyway. If not for the obvious reasons of health and conditioning, I do it because of the effect the endorphins have on the brain, taking me out of my frustrated mental state. It's also a time where I usually have a good idea about work, which includes life at home.

I prefer the quiet country trail not far from my house where I can take in the beautiful scenery. In a few weeks the leaves, some that are as big as my face!, will turn color and put on a show that I look so forward to every year. I can't wait to hear the crunch under my feet as they carpet the trail. After my run, I circled back up a bit and picked wildflowers to make a little bouquet. They were just too good to pass up.

The best trail

Simple wildflowers in a blue vintage Ball jar

Hollywood regency inspiration

Friday, September 25, 2015

At the end of a long day, sitting down to read a good book or when chatting with friends, a comfortable chair beckons you. When looking over the choices from Chairish, an on-line shoppe dedicated to bringing you great designer pieces of pre-owned furniture and decor at reasonable prices, I chose the Hollywood Regency swivel chair as my favorite to create a style board around. Not only is the shape and style a classic but the color is also one of my favorites.

I didn't  have to look too far for color inspiration as some of the best color combinations are just right out our windows. Mother Nature makes this so easy on us. Even Vincent Van Gogh was inspired by her work.

image via

A simple breakdown:

While Hollywood Regency is associated with the glamorous era of the 1930s, I added a few pieces from other eras so the room wouldn't be so literal and I assumed that most of us aren't going to switch out a sofa very often so we have to work with what we have, which seems to be a sofa with clean, modern lines. 

The particular style of floor lamp tends to be seen often. I have a similar one as well! You could even spray paint the underside of the shade gold and the outside black to bring it in to the style era. And while many rooms of this type have white walls or saturated grays, moody black or wallpaper, I took a cue from Van Gogh and went with blue, Van Deusen blue to be exact. I think even a deeper shade would be just as spectacular.

The absence of artwork - Artwork is so personal. I range from displaying my kids' drawings, old photographs enlarged and vintage or thrift store finds. It's a mash up of just what I like with no real semblance of order or that fits into a specific genre so I left it out of this style board. I think whatever one has will work. Ultimately you have to enjoy looking at it everyday so it must be something that speaks to you. 

Some of these items are on the high end but can easily be duplicated to fit all budgets. I recently found a Hollywood Regency dresser at a thrift shop for mere dollars. But if you don't happen to find one from the era, painting an existing dresser black and switching out the hardware can give you what you may be looking for. 

Draperies can be expensive so I like to stick with something basic. I think it's great when curtains run in the same color as the wall so there's no stopping point for the eyes but again for me it's usually what is affordable. White curtains in black trim would be great here even though the walls are blue. This era was all about luxe, think velvet and silk. Accents in gold, black and white lacquer will finish off the room.

Hollywood regency was all about entertaining, so any space which is made to be inviting, while focusing on friends and family will give you great moments. Enjoy!

Go here to find Chairish's vintage accent chair collection!


Glass chandelier

Orb lighting

Floor lamp

Modern rug

Blue accent pillow

Beaded accent pillow

Striped throw pillow

Black buffet

Round table

Octagon table

White side table

**Not a sponsored post

Sometimes you can go home again

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Last week I flew home to Washington and Oregon. Even though I grew up on the WA side of the river, those of us from that area consider both states home. We go back and forth to Portland almost everyday for work and play. It's literally 15 minutes from my home to Oregon. The whole weekend I was wondering why I hadn't made time to come back. But the reality is that it's not always feasible when you live clear across the US. Time, money, work commitments...

Jon and I married and left for California immediately when he was in the military and we never looked back, really. We've been on our own ever since, dotting the US with moves. I think for a few years we thought we would end up back home but with every passing year, that seemed further out of reach. This trip was 7 years after the last.

But going home was fantastic. It was my high school reunion and the time I was able to see my two brothers and their families. My school was small. I think there were only 134 that graduated in my class and most of them I have known since Kindergarten. We have a lot of pride about that. We're all intertwined in some way. A lot of our fathers worked together at the mill, our older or younger siblings went to school with our friends' siblings, we had cousins in different grades, you get the idea.

So when you get together, it's not just with friends who are more like acquaintances, it's with people who know the real you. It's with the people you had birthday parties with in 1st grade, it's with people that came to your house to watch the world premiere of MJ's Beat It video, it's your tennis partner for 4 years who was also your driver's ed partner, it's your best friend Richard who passed notes to you in 6th grade and who, 12 years later, was there putting your heart back together after a break-up.

I always felt pretty lucky to grow up where I did and with whom I did. And after a weekend of laughing until I cried and dancing until 2 am with old friends, and then looking out onto the beautiful vistas of the northwest, it just reconfirmed what I had always known.

My excitement always builds when I see this volcano!

My brothers and families at Cannon beach (3 of the kids are not pictured)

And random phone photos. I kept forgetting to take pictures...

The reason why I still, to this day, have never had a McDonald's hamburger.

And sometimes you close your eyes and see the place where you used to live

Thursday, July 30, 2015

I'm off to my hometown this weekend to enjoy seeing old friends at my high school reunion. I can't wait to reconnect with them, visit my brothers and their families, visit my parents' gravesite, eat real seafood, hit the coast and remember what it was like to not have frizzy hair (from humidity!) It's a jam packed weekend but will be so nice to be back in the PNW. I haven't been back for 7 years. I'll return next week with pictures, a little DIY and thrifty finds from this week.
 Have a great weekend!


View from Clark County, WA where I grew up. That volcano in the distance is Mt. Hood.

View from the building where I worked in downtown Portland. The red brick area is Pioneer Courthouse Square, aka Portland's living room. I spent many a lunch break sitting out there with a hundred other people.

Cannon Beach - one of our favorites! I'll be heading there with my brothers. I got stuck out on one of those rocks once when the tide came in. My friend, who is picking me up Friday night for one of our reunion parties, took a picture of me all helpless. Thanks.

The power of handwritten words

Monday, July 27, 2015

Upon opening the little box which contains one of my most prized possessions given to me from my mom 8 years ago, I saw her little handwritten 'happy birthday' note that she tucked into it. I felt so connected to her at that moment. I've written about that before, how something so simple as seeing her handwriting has buoyed me up in the times I have really missed her.

I was reading an essay, This Living Hand, by Edmund Morris, a writer best known for his presidential biographies.  His eloquent words resonated with me and perfectly described my feelings:

"Why, in the age of voice mail, is script still the preferred style for messages of great intimacy? Because it is both direct and enduring. Spoken words, whether recorded at long distance or whispered across an inch of pillow, may have greater impact, but they evaporate at once, like splashes of acetone. Handwritten words mean more the more they are read, and time only increases their first force."

Four years ago I issued a challenge to do a little more correspondence by way of the written note. Sadly, I haven't been as good about it as I once was so I am issuing another challenge, to myself, mainly. It's time to take pen to paper and write little affirmations ( a lá stuart smalley anyone?) of jobs well done or just to let one know they're on my mind. Time to spread a little cheer and help out the post office, no? But really though, who doesn't like a note?
If you'd like to join me, remember your note cards don't need to be fancy or expensive. I quite like the dollar aisle at various stores myself. Even a 3x5 note card will do. Besides, it's the genuine sentiment that will be of most value.

Have a good day,
True to my thrifting side, I found a stack of note cards for mere pennies at the thrift shop and the dollar aisle at Micheal's, (which are the black chalkboard cards.) The rose postcard is actually a folded set of nine. I like to pick up plenty of cards to have on hand so I can act upon the prompting to get a card out to someone. When I figure I can "get to it tomorrow," I don't always. This will help to keep me ready.

Linking to

Fine Craft Guild | The Casual Craftlete | I Should be Mopping the Floor | Sugarbee Crafts
Three Kids and a Fish | My Pinterventures | Coastal Charm | Flamingo Toes | VMG206 |
My Girlish Whims | The Happy Housie | View from the Fridge

Magical summer

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

It's been a magical summer for us and thankfully it's not over yet.

New snaps.

Her own pose

Sitting on the dock

The crown of leaves

"Have fun!" I said.

We bought a $3 dress at Goodwill and picked some boxwood and a flower to make a crown. I simply tucked it all into her headband. Nothing too fancy to distract.

Have a great day

Linking to 

Leather belt book wrap DIY

Friday, July 17, 2015

In the digital age, I continue to be a collector of vintage books. I think the tactile sensation of having an old, beautifully decorated cover in my hands is one reason alone. Some I read and some I use for projects but those very special ones I like to have out on display, whether lining a bookcase or just around the room. I look for good spines, interesting color or script and topics of interest to name a few. When I find that all in one book, I feel I hit the book lottery. Yesterday I picked up A Natural History of Trees  from 1950 and it had beautiful drawings that would look great enlarged for big scale art.

So while I was collecting the books at the thrift store I also picked up a couple of leather belts to create another type of book display, a throwback to when school kids used book straps; DIY leather belt book wraps.  It's so simple and just looks great. I took a minute to switch the books around to figure out thickness and which colors complemented each other and just simply wrapped the belt around them. You could even wrap books in a collection by subject. A larger belt, of course, would work better if you wanted more than a double wrap. I also positioned the buckle on the spines when the books are upright and on top when they are displayed horizontally. I liked the look so much I'm going back for more today. The belts were .50 cents and the books $1.00. My advice is to find a pliable belt and with a nice buckle.

Three things I loved about this:
Every item is re-purposed
It took about 2 minutes
So inexpensive

Just stack and wrap.

Enjoy it!

Linking to
The Shabby Nest

The New Mrs. Adventures

Dear Creatives

Nan Cherrow

The Girl Creative

Little Miss Celebration

Chic on a Shoestring Decorating

The Charm of Home

Home Stories A to Z

Elizabeth and Co.

Natasha in Oz

Fine Craft Guild

DIY Showoff

Three kids and a Fish

Karen's Up on the Hill

Kammy's Korner

The Dedicated House

Flamingo Toes

The Robin's Nest

View from the Fridge

Posed Perfection

Sugarbee Crafts

My Girlish Whims