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Snow day, o snow day

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Where art thou? You’ve promised your cascading glory upon us for six hours while we slumber this eve, unbeknownst to the juxtaposed marvel and havoc you leave in your path. I have five Louis chairs to reupholster and there’s no better time than when I’m tucked warmly within the house with the glint of ice crystals shining through the windows on a snow day/school’s out day.

I’m working on a ‘how to’ because these chairs are such an easy start even for a novice to upholstery work. Here are some before pictures as I’m starting.

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Resolutions

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Oh to be so carefree.

In anticipation of the new year, I’m never so easy going to lounge belly up in a tussle of blankets well into mid morning like some – but have already assembled my list of resolutions that will continue to grow as I seek self improvement and healthier family life all the time.

My list so far:
-Only make positive comments
-Limit sugar (more for the kids but I have to model good practices)
-Floss during brushing every night (I try to unless I’m wiped out but this is another good one for the kids)
-Play more family games together- brain games like checkers, spot it, strategy games with number patterns etc.
-Practice gratitude
-Go paperless
-Organize basement- major purging

It’ll change during the coming weeks as I reflect on who I’d like to be and the dreams I have for the adult versions of who my children are becoming but it’s a start.
Happy January 1. It’s a great beginning.

Humble Pie

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Wow. I’m shocked. I woke up this morning to the sound of rain scattering evenly on the roof just knowing by the sound that the gray day would linger – chilly and not so noteworthy. I rolled over, checked the time on my phone, and skimmed email messages with one eye open – still before daylight broke. The top pins of 2013 from Pinterest was mixed in a list of inconsequential messages. I didn’t read it. Didn’t even open it. I was on the phone with my sister when I scrolled through the list of 609 top pins for the year and there – amidst the revels of creativity from people all over the world – my one pin – among 609 total – my one pin of 19 top home decor pins – pinners thought was worthy. I recognized the image of my faux built ins that flank either side of my living room walls as one of the early pins from my blog. ‘Wow’ I thought – of all of the things I see on Pinterest and celebrate the genius of fellow crafters – my idea was somebody’s motivation. I’m not famous – as my sister laughed and sarcastically said when I told her and forwarded her my personal email from Pinterest themselves – but to know that my idea is out there being shared and may entice someone- especially a mom – or sister – or daughter – to roll up the sleeves of their paint splattered work shirt, grab some tools, and hit the hardware store to construct with their own two hands makes me feel quite honored. Here’s to new beginnings, fresh starts, trying something new, looking ahead, new leaves, and all the best for new year 2014.

Here’s the original blog link for my project from threadsandpaint.wordpress.com

https://threadsandpaint.wordpress.com/2013/01/05/faux-built-ins/

And the update with more information:

https://threadsandpaint.wordpress.com/2013/02/23/and-i-thought-theyd-always-be-wallflowers/

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas

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A couple of weeks ago we woke up to a morning blanketed in white and gleefully rejoiced that it meant a day at home – no work, no school, just inside snuggled up warmly. It set the perfect stage for Christmas so I had to take a couple of pictures.

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There’s nothing like fresh snow to make Christmas seem to have already arrived. I took several more pictures to showcase my Christmas home – it’s always changing from year to year despite how I tell ornaments ‘No!’ when they plead to hop into my cart on a 90% off after Christmas sale. I guess there are worse infractions in life – especially when I’m the one rifling through the attic to unpack and repack.

Every room has a touch of Christmas. My daughter got her white tree for her vintage French country bedroom decor and she decorated it with gold ornaments. I had to make her a cream moire satin tree skirt with an olive velvet ruffled trim and her monogram.

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My dining and living rooms are my favorite. They are decorated in golds and blues and get lots of attention because that’s where we spend Christmas Eve for our formal dinner. I like to use glass and silver. The vessels on the buffet will be filled with seasonal fruits and holiday sweets.

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The magnolia wreath is homemade and greens cut from the bottom of the Christmas tree are used in wreaths and arrangements.

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The kitchen is the hustle and bustle center of the holiday where everything is homemade for Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas Day brunch so decorations are kept simple and either easily movable or out of the way. Our nature tree features raffia wrapped around it with sparrows perched on branch tips, little pots, vintage seed packets, small pieces from my copper collection- assembled as if the birds built their nests there and decorated the tree themselves; the nature tree is backdropped by a sleeping garden.

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This year’s addition is the greenery on the railing. I used greenery that I’ve had for years and stocked up on flocked juniper sprays, glittered orchids, glittered money plant, peacock feathers wrapped in white lights.

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Our vintage vibe tree features strictly antique ornaments on the tree and the mantle. This room is also a busy one where we celebrate Christmas morning and every seat is taken so I didn’t overfill it this year.

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It’s been warmer during the past couple of days but we’ve begun the cool off to my favorite days of the year. I look forward to celebrating Christmas each year and it seems to roll around faster each time. Here’s to celebrations with family and laughter – Merry Christmas!

Perspective

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After two days off and a late opening due to snow I rejoiced in meeting the burn your eyes til they blur with tears bright white light shining back into my face rushing out of work yesterday afternoon. With the whole afternoon ahead of me and not much to do I thought – I love Wednesdays. I checked my to do list and it has dwindled to nearly nothing- which never happens. This is working out great – I thought- because I’ve meticulously planned very detail to accomplish a wide range of ‘to dos’ a couple days prior to having surgery that I’m completely weirded out by. Anything where I’m not in control of every decision – what goes on in the house and with my kids just gives me the heebie jeebies. At least I’d been able to control everything up until the point that I’m asleep. The house was cleaned, the kids taken care of, everyone familiar with their own to do list- issued by moi. It’s a funny thing when you think you’ve got everything under control when you are abruptly reminded that there is absolutely nothing under your control.

Shortly after I washed the last of a couple of dishes marveling in my ability to stay on top of everything I heard a short yell from my husband in the basement. He never yells and when I called back I got no answer. I headed downstairs and as I neared the back of the basement, the base of my socks were wet and the slushing of water in the carpet was merely the precursor to the wading pool that was in the exercise room. Talk about a lot of water. Fifty gallons has never gone so far. Our old baby – the water heater that we now know was original to the house – just gave out under her 21 years- double the ten year life expectancy of any other unloved ordinary water heater that isn’t blessed with a home where the mother loves sauna hot showers. She spewed water far and near and leaked into three rooms before she was tapped out. There weren’t enough towels in the world that could’ve soaked up that mess. December, standing in cold water up to my shins, I realized nothing like chapped soles and ankles to make you appreciate a dry floor. And I thought I had it all under control.

Surprisingly, my insurance adjuster worked late last night, the restoration company came within the hour, and the plumber changed out the water heater for a new monster baby that my husband calls ‘the Cadillac of the water heaters’ within about 12 hours flat and before my second cup of morning tea. Crisis averted. The above picture is post clean up.

I am one of those people who believes that everything happens for a reason. In my over the top fear of losing control, I needed the reminder that even when I think I’m in control it’s never mine. It’s what God or whatever higher power you subscribe to wants you to think is yours. Instead of worrying that something will go wrong in the house or in surgery making me overwhelmingly worried about my children, I’m reminded that it’s beyond my control anyway and I have to trust. Also, with every cloud a silver lining, as a person who likes to fix things, I was given one biggie to try to fix at the 11th hour and I’m grateful it was managed seamlessly. Nothing like a problem to get your mind off of something you perceived as a problem.

This holiday season, I’ve been given some much needed perspective and grateful for everything I have.

The day I became my mother

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When she asks me – her own challenging girl on her mind in years to come – I want to be able to tell her the exact day that it happened. Even down to the moment in time, I will remember, it was shortly after the blaring began deep within the building around 3:48 on December 3, 2013. Undeniably so, that was the moment I became my mother.

She shouldn’t have kept me waiting that long – taking in the sights of all that I’ve come to now understand is the unarguably scariest place on earth. A high school parking lot during dismissal has every parents’ worst fears rolled into one locale – it’s creeping up from the depths of the stomach terrifying. What seems to basically be adults emerge from the school with that bell – some I recognize with awkward features much different than when those features occupied ten year old bodies I knew before. Cars slam on their brakes within inches of hitting each other; cars filled with kids drive off and leave their friends who run through the parking lot almost playing a game of cat and mouse- only one party with a deadly weapon; they jump on the backs of cars and pounce making the trunk go up and down; an angry boyfriend storms through with a girlfriend in pursuit – dropping the f- bomb while I gasp at what could be the problem; their sullen faces look straight ahead rather than allowing drivers to merge and I think maybe I should wait. I yearn for a channel of light to hover over me and transport me out while everything ceases motion.

I watch all of this in astonishment and can’t help but tell my daughter to be careful in the parking lot and watch where she’s going because nobody seems to look where they are going. Before I know it I’m my mother. The same cautions and panic echoed in my ears but now I’m the speaker.

The conversation proceeded with the words and phrases of ‘credit card, driving, I need a car in two years, face it mom I’m in college in less than four years, and boyfriend’ before I couldn’t hear it anymore.

“Mom, are you gonna cry?” she asked.
“No, actually I think I’m just going to throw up.”
“How old are you mom – how can you not get this?”
“37, 38, I don’t even know,” I mutter- trying to figure out how old I am in my head while focusing on the glorious destination of point B when this entire conversation will be over but regardless feel ten years more than any number I settle on.
“Ew, that means you’re almost 40!”

Yes- December 3, 2013 at 3:48. I became my mother the same moment my daughter became me.

My vintage vibe tree

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Over the past couple of years I’ve added slowly to a vintage ornament collection. I came across a huge stash for sale this fall that sat in a box in the family room well before the much anticipated Christmas season commenced – certain that I’d use many of the newest additions from my collection. After considering how many I had amassed, I decided my family room decor theme would strictly be vintage. Anything that hadn’t patina-ed, tarnished, chipped, or muddled in color wouldn’t have a place; not that my familiar ornaments aren’t special but this is me living wild and crazy Christmas.

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I spent the afternoon yesterday decorating the tree with my daughter and we hung more ornaments than I’ve ever put on any tree before. Literally each bough is adorned with multiple baubles in different styles, colors, and ‘circas’. I guess I will never decorate with this latest set of ornaments again without thinking of the seller. He said his grown kids and their families didn’t want the ornaments – even though many had been his since childhood- and they were downsizing so he was glad to part with them. Not even my family, but I can’t help but think of him as a child- small hands that grew into elderly hands that held onto new shaky, chubby fingers each year at this time as they prepared for holiday festivities. How to part with such cheerful history…

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I love how the cracks and imperfections of each globe pick up the lights and the crooked hangers have carefully been rebent until they’ve weakened tightly grabbing onto piney branches. The horizontal stripes wrapping in even bands, the dry thick glitter, and the non existent ringer underneath the bell just aren’t manufactured with this kinda holiday charm anymore. There are no two ornaments alike and it’s the perfectly vintage not perfect tree for all time for us.

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