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.

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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
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Those Hollywood types -a vintage dresser

Monday, July 13, 2015

I recently found this vintage Hollywood Regency Dresser at a thrift shop. It was a great size but still sporting its yellow and white faux strié finish. It wasn't bad but came off outdated, you know?

This picture was taken from my phone after I cleaned her up, removed the hardware and had already primed its formica top.

I gave it a coat of chalk paint in Americana Decor's Yesteryear and waxed to a satin finish. I let the wax dry for a day before I buffed it. I usually don't have to wait a day but the relative humidity made it so. 

You can find Americana Décor at Home Depot but I bought it at Hobby Lobby where I could use a coupon. Every little bit saved helps.

The original hardware was covered in paint so I stripped them and uncovered a nice patina on the brass. The long handles have great bamboo details, matching the surround on the dresser front.

It was a quick and easy project. Love that.
The hardest part was moving this beautiful, heavy beast-ess

Enjoy your day!

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Friday thrifting Finds - Ironstone china

Saturday, July 11, 2015

It's hard for me to pass up white ironstone china, especially when I find it so inexpensively. This seems to be the one item that thrift store personnel don't seem to know much about so it is usually priced really well.

It was first patented in the United Kingdom in the early 19th century but made its debut in the United States in the 1840s. It was a cheaper and more durable alternative to porcelain. I tend to be drawn to more plain, simplistic ironstone but do love transferware as well, which has a lot of pattern.

In my thrifting travels this week, I ended up finding an array of creamy whites: china, ironstone, pottery and porcelain dishes.

Why I love it:

The pottery piece: It's useful, has a great design, good size and sturdy, appears to be mid-century and was only .25 cents.

The plate: Not vintage but cute and useful.

The Platters: The top two are Johnson Brothers English ironstone. Fine dotted detail, slight crazing (which I don't mind) octagonal shape. The bottom one is a newer, everyday piece, sturdy, oval shaped, perfect condition. I used it tonight to bring the burgers off the grill. I have quite a collection of platters which I use all the time because of their versatility and I have never paid much for them, 2 to 3 dollars max.

Lotus bowls: Size and delicate shape, surprisingly useful and not just for Japanese food. But if they were, it would be ok with me - I could live solely off Japanese food. I have.

The little pitcher: Vintage Tepco China, USA. Tepco made restaurant ware from the 30's until 1968 for the hospitality industry. It's also called Hotel china. Sometimes you can find restaurant ware with the logo of a hotel, airline, restaurant or branches of the military. It's heavier than normal dinnerware because it had to stand up to a lot of use, which is why I love it. I use the pitchers to hold other items like vintage silverware or everyday utensils. I also use them as vases but put a glass inside if there is too much crazing where the water will leak.

Lenox Butler's Pantry vegetable bowl. Why I love it - it's a Butler's Pantry bowl. This is the pattern that I have been wanting forever. The whole line is beautiful and complements any simply patterned dishes, like my standard white. Keeping it monochromatic allows me to use all the different thrift store finds I have and is just easy to throw together for a fun, easy to use collection.

Happy hunting!

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Junior Rangers - US National Park program for kids

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

There are over 84 million acres of treasured places in The United States of America, They are our national parks and are waiting to be enjoyed. If you're doing any traveling this summer, you may be surprised at just how close you might be to a National Park or historic site. There are over 400 of them! So if you want to see any (which I highly recommend!) and you have children or grandchildren with you, there is a great program for them called The Junior Rangers. 

It's an activity based program where kids complete some easy tasks during a park visit, tell what they learned to a park ranger, be sworn in as a junior ranger, and receive a badge and certificate. They make it super easy. I love these types of things! I remember many road trips when I was young where we explored a historic site or took in a national park while we were traveling in the area. Sometimes they didn't seem as interesting as another but it always made for lasting memories. I think a program like this would've made it even better.

There is also an online program called Web Rangers that my kids do so they can receive badges when we're not traveling to a park. The park service will actually mail you a badge.

Because we live so close to the DC area, we're able to visit fairly often. So last year during the Cherry Blossom festival my kids were sworn in as Junior Rangers after completing three fun craft activities. I don't have the photos with me but will do a photo update when I do. This is what that badge looks like.
And now since we are in Arkansas for work, we are able to visit Hot Springs National Park all the time. So once again, we have some more badges. I wish I had started collecting them earlier since we have been to quite a few historical places and parks in our 22 years as a family. We'll just have to retrace our steps.

If you're like me when you hear the words "National Park," you automatically think of the iconic, maybe more beloved ones of our country, like the top 10 visited in 2014:

Great Smokey Mountains
The Grand Canyon
Rocky Mountain
Grand Teton
They had a staggering 70 million visitors! But there are so many other places that you can take in where you or your children can have the park experience, like the Edgar Allen Poe Natl. Historical site in Philadelphia, Charles Pickney in SC, Ellis Island, Gettysburg, Golden Spike in Utah, The Badlands of SD, Golden Gate Recreation area in CA, Fort Clatsop in Astoria, Fort Vancouver in WA (went both places on field trips and that's where we grew up watching fireworks on the 4th!) There are just too many to list.
So don't worry if you're not in an area with one of the more 'famous' parks. There are just as many interesting and beautiful places to discover and maybe a little more accessible and away from crowds. And to make it easy for you to find one, Here is a list of the participating parks for JRs and also free entrance dates by state! Free is always a plus.

If you find a park near you and have the kids sworn in, let me know!

Have a great day


Yosemite 1994

sharing at The Happy Housie

Story telling on NPR - The Man in the Attic

Monday, July 6, 2015

For years I remember my mom always donating to public radio. She always made a pledge and would get some little gift in the mail. She'd have us listen to all kinds of interesting programs while driving around in the car, even if we did not quite understand the content.

As I got older, I really grew to love it and still look forward to many programs. And just like my mom, I have my kids listen to some of it and use the stories as teaching opportunities. I love it when I can tell that they are actually interested. Many stories you hear are not covered by mainstream media, which is one of the reasons I love NPR and one of the reasons everyone should be listening. Unlike the major networks, National Public Radio is not owned by large companies. There are about 6 major corporations that control 90% of what we read and hear. I think that makes it really difficult to do a completely honest piece about one of their subsidiaries. That's why we need a neutral place to listen to the news.

But it's not just all news and politics! They have great programs like The Best of Car Talk (reruns) which is hilarious! And I love Wait Wait Don't tell me! I have to go to one of their live shows someday. The Diane Rehm show always has great guests. All things Considered is wonderfully informative and Radiolab has great podcasts. World Cafe explores music of all kinds...I mean who else is going to bring you Elvis' epic concert, Blue Hawaii??  (Well, besides someone on YouTube.)
Anyway, I could go on and on.

So instead, if you haven't already heard this story, let me introduce you to
The Man In The Attic. I was driving home from work when I heard this and stayed in my car in the driveway so I could finish listening. It had me on the edge of my seat! Only 16 minutes, enjoy!


Friday Finds - reprising my weekly post

Friday, July 3, 2015

Despite the fact that flea markets and thrift stores are overpriced here, I was able to find a few things that left me feeling pretty good about my purchases. Even though we probably won't be living here very long, we don't want the house to look like squatters live here. So the first thing we purchased was a great, down-filled sofa off Craigslist and then found this massive clock at a church yard sale.

This cute little mid-century stool was a great buy. It just needs new fabric to give it a burst of life and a little Minwax stain pen for touch ups on the wood.

I found a large glass coffee table at a 2nd hand shop. The top is so large and heavy that it's still in the back of my car waiting for Jon to help me lift it. I'm painting the base to freshen it up with a new line of chalk paint. It's always nice to see what new products are out. We've used 3 different brands in the shop, and honestly, the only difference in them are price and array of colors.

Just the base
The leather side chair was a great find as well from another thrift store which may receive a coat of light gray paint. I haven't decided. Not everything needs to be painted but this may be a little too dull, especially with the yellow leather and the fact that we're drowning in brown.

And last but not least, I picked up this window from a flea market. I paid more than I wanted but liked the detail on it. I'm planning on a light white wash to marry the different types of wood but will still allow the natural wood to show.

So that is the round up this week. There are more but mainly just decorative items which don't need any rehab, thank goodness. So for all pieces, including the couch, we only spent $240.00. Not a bad start to furnish the living room.

Have a great 4th of July weekend to the USA and a great weekend the world over! :)


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