2.26.2009

Nudge

Sometimes we are faced with circumstances in our lives that nudge us in a new direction.

To get on with it. Move forward.

Even if we are scared, even if we might fall.

If we try, with a little help, soon we are on our way.

2.23.2009

Sensing a Trend Here?

Contrary to recent posts, this is not really a decorating blog. If you have been waiting patiently for a post about running, well...sorry about that. Since I haven't been doing a whole lot of running lately, it turns out I have very little to say about it right now. Go figure. And so my figure is.

However, blogs are reflections of us, what we are *into* and what's happening in our lives. Clearly I've been into nesting and decorating lately, so I have a bit more of that to share with you.

A few weeks ago we went shopping in our garage. Love that. Scott cleaned up several pieces of furniture and we hauled them inside. Love that too.

This is my old dresser from my childhood bedroom, now in our family room. It really makes me happy to have it in there, plus the mirror helps reflect more light. There are also three drawers perfect for holding whatever (maybe A.'s art/craft supplies and coloring books, maybe candles, we'll see). I am on the lookout for plates to do an arrangement above the mirror.

This is my grandparents' antique wardrobe. I know, kick me please, it's been out in our garage for years, now it's in our parlor. I'm not sure what I'll arrange on top, I'm thinking a small lamp for sure. Right now I just have some plates, which make it look like they are for sale or something.

Let's just all reflect on how wonderful Hobby Lobby is for a moment. Their florals were 50% off this week, so it was a perfect opportunity to get some filler for the pitcher on our mantel. Cheap.

Here's how the mantel looks now, along with my first mistreatment (which one of our cats now uses to sleep behind, so glad I could oblige her).

I saved my favorite addition for last, which is in our foyer.

This was my grandparents' dresser. At one time I thought about painting it black. I might still someday, but remember, I'm lazy, so I just put a table runner over the top to hide some scratches. I did splurge a little on lamps from Target, but I fell truly, madly, deeply for them and had to have them. Had to.

Hobby Lobby also had their mirrors 50% off, so this cute little round one came home with me. I might hang it, but remember, I'm lazy, so it's just propped up on the dresser for now.

I went through a milk glass phase a few years back, so these two plates are from that. The two doves are pottery pieces that my mom made way back when. They have her initials on the bottom, love that.

I tossed the lemons in the apothecary jar on a whim. That's one thing I'm looking forward to changing around seasonally or when the mood strikes.

Having the antique pieces in our home now not only fill the spaces better, they bring in memories too. Love that the most.

2.22.2009

Your Mother Wears Army Boots

Or maybe it's combat boots.

I don't really know what that expression means, but I think it was a fairly offensive put down back in the day.

Well, I have a new version.

My daughter wears ugly boots. Seriously ugly.

Of course she loves them to pieces and plans to wear them every.single. day.

Thursday evening she and Scott went on the hunt for cowboy boots for her little Rodeo Day at school. This is what they came home with. Brace yourselves.

I didn't know what to say as I stared at the combination of faux suede, brown leather, pink stitching, oddly squared toe and, oh yes, a buckle. Obviously the designers couldn't decide between a cowboy boot or a steel toed work boot all with a throwback nod to the 1970s.

So for Rodeo Day Annelise wore her cute cowgirl legging outfit with The Boots.

Leggings tucked in of course.

In my head I hear the chorus of, "Your daughter wears ugly boots! Your daughter wears UGLY boots!"

I guess I will grin and bear it.

2.20.2009

Triple C

A couple of friends and I enjoyed a few hours of creativity, coffee (or tea) and a bit of chocolate this morning. And giggles of course. Here is a peek at the results...

Materials: True Friend stamp set, Creamy Caramel card stock & ink, Rose Red & Old Olive markers & card stock, Old Olive grosgrain ribbon, brads and staples.

This next one used the Pocket Silhouettes set.

Materials: Chocolate Chip, Pumpkin Pie, Not Quite Navy, and Old Olive card stock and ink. Winter White embossing powder, VersaMark pad, heat gun (I used a baroque style stamp that I had, it's not SU, don't tell). Using the 1 3/4", 1 3/8", 1 1/4", 1/2" circle punches along with the word window punch made a fast but strong impact on this simple card. Very quick, love that.

The last one is my favorite. Maybe I have a Tippi Hedron complex, but I'm very in to birds lately, but nice, cute birds only please.

Materials: Always stamp set, Sage Shadow, Chocolate Chip card stock & ink, Very Vanilla card stock, Chocolate Chip 5/8" grosgrain ribbon, corner rounder punch.

The morning zoomed by, too soon it was time to click pause on all the creativity and put our mom hats back on. Until next time...

2.18.2009

I May Never Cook Again

Because I am too busy staring at my latest mistreatment adventure. Want to join me?

This time I skipped the curtain rods and used upholstery tacks, which are easy and cheap. I folded my material in half lengthwise, tucked in the raw edges, pinned them with safety pins then kicked off my flip flops.

So I could climb on top of my kitchen counters.

What? You don't walk on your counters with sweaty feet? Supper's at 6:00.

Then with some tacking, shwooping, fluffing and hot gluing of fringe and I was done. Lickety split.

Ta DA!

While I was up there, I yanked down some unfortunate greenery that I had put on top of the cabinets years ago in a misguided attempt to make the kitchen seem more homey. Does ivy really grow on kitchen cabinets? No. Should it? No.

I also followed the Nester's advice about the height of mistreatments. By tacking mine as close to the ceiling as possible, I hopefully created the illusion that the windows are taller, therefore making our kitchen seem larger. Did it work? Also, don't look too close, but I ran a tad short on the black fringe, on the middle window. It was close so I just tucked the edge back and called it done. Who would ever climb on top of my kitchen counters to check anyway?
Say it with me... it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful. There is freedom and beauty in that short, but powerful sentence isn't there?

2.16.2009

Shhh...Don't Tell Anyone but I'm Coming Clean

Sort of.

After posting about my recent window decorating efforts using hot glue, I felt a bit guilty. Suddenly I had a strong urge to come clean, in a sense (certainly not literally), about another area of our home.

See, once I get inspired to do something creative and I can gather my supplies, I'll usually get to work quickly. Creative is fun, it's pretty and you use cool stuff.

Cleaning and organizing? Not so much. At least for me.

Let me show you what I am talking about as we take a peek upstairs in Annelise's room. A little over a year ago I got all Organizationally Inspired and tried to tame her toys in containers and bins. I was so proud of myself because things had a place and her room looked tidy.

Then I kinda forgot about it and moved on to other things. Maintain the system? Nah. Routinely purge old toys and junk? Nope.

Things went downhill rather quickly, especially because A. is a packer. She is constantly packing for her imaginary trips and excursions in various purses, bags, boxes and backpacks. This drives me bug-eyed crazy because she never unpacks. She might occasionally dump, but not really put things back in their proper home.

As we enter her room, be careful to step over her discarded dance bag, stripped off leotard from dance that afternoon and her PJs from that morning. She did make her bed though. Love that.

Beside her bed we find Barbies playing with some Little People and other dolls.

Her table and chair are piled with miscellaneous packed bags, books, crayons, papers and toys. In front of the closet is a gorilla in an old booster seat (What, you don't have one too?) another packed backpack and a shopping bag of hand-me-down shoes that I need to go through.

Then there is her closet. See, there is a figment of an organization system, but it is sadly neglected.

Once you have safely made your way through her room, you enter my craft room. Also affectionately known as the room that gets everything else that doesn't have a proper home. See?

I have no words. My head is hung in shame.

I cleared off the dining table from my little stamp thing a couple of weeks ago and it all got piled on top of my work table.

Work? Craft? Create? I can't do anything until I tackle that despicable mess.

Over in the other corner you see tubs and piles of clothes for A. that need to be sorted, rotated, passed along, etc. We are so fortunate to receive hand me downs from two well dressed girls that are older than A., but I don't have a decent system/plan to store everything. It quickly becomes overwhelming and I ignore it.

I've obviously got the whole ostrich thing down. Even though I know the de-cluttering and organizing will be satisfying and rewarding, I can't seem to start because the enormity of the mess paralyzes me.

See, it's MUCH easier to ignore it and decorate my family room windows.

Are we still friends? How do you tackle jobs that seem paralyzing to you? Are you an ostrich too about some things?

2.14.2009

Happy Valentine's Day!
Wishing you all loads of LOVE.
(and chocolate)

2.11.2009

All Gussied Up With Fabric. And Glue.

After living in our home for, oh...let's see, eight years, I finally got myself together to Do Something with our family room doors. I don't like to wait around, you know. No time like the present is obviously my motto.

Ahem.

See, I have fallen in love with The Nester. No, not like that. I have fallen in love though with her philosophy that it does not have to be perfect to be beautiful. Let's just all breathe a collective sigh of relief! Don't we feel better now? Her posts about mistreating her windows and the benefits of fabric are changing my life. Okay, not my life, per se, but definitely our home.

Monday afternoon I was finally ready to decorate my windows. Alert the media.

I pulled up my big girl decorating panties and dashed to mecca Hobby Lobby. Of course I hemmed and hawed over choices, still a tad nervous, finally deciding on this:

I also grabbed these:

Then tapped my foot impatiently for Scott to arrive home to hang the curtain rods.

Then the REAL fun began. I plugged in my trusty glue gun, yes, you read that right, my glue gun and got busy. It's AMAZING what clever folding, clipping, gluing, puffing, a dash of poofing and in my case, over tweaking can do. Oh, and fringe. Don't forget the fringe.

Here is the finished product:

Let's take a closer look, shall we?

I'm not kidding about the fringe, it was the perfect finishing touch. Plus it covered up my hot glued seam. Just keeping it real, y'all. This project did not take long either. It was all finished within a couple of hours working around supper, bits and pieces of The Bachelor, and A.'s bedtime routine. Then I sat and stared at it for a long time. And grinned. And kept asking Scott to "Look-at-it-and-tell-me-what-do-you-think-no-really-do-you-like-it-are-you-sure?" over and over. He has great patience with me, thank goodness.

Instantly our room felt cozier, warmer and just a touch fancy-pantsed up. Seriously, what WAS I waiting for?

I certainly have other things I could do, maybe even should do today, but I'm experiencing a strong pull toward the direction of Hobby Lobby to now Do Something for our kitchen windows. I'm thinking another mistreatment, this time even cheaper because I don't plan to use a curtain rod.

There I go on that wild side again.

2.10.2009

Segregation vs. Integration: A Dishwasher Dilemma

Last week we celebrated my dad's 68th birthday. Peggy invited us over for a yummy supper of roast and veggies, followed by scrumptious pineapple dream cake.

As I was helping to clear the table and do some of the dishes, I came across something quite odd. I was about to toss some of the silverware into the dishwasher silverware caddy thing (pardon my technical lingo) and I was taken aback.

Peggy categorizes her silverware in the caddy thing. (Do I hear a collective gasp or a slightly smug MMM-hmmm?)

Knives in one section, forks in another, followed by spoons then larger serving pieces.

It was some sort of caste system.

Is this just another area in which I am deficient? Should I be doing this? Is it too late?

This is our dishwasher, partially filled with to-be-washed dishes (the politically correct term for dirty).

It's every knife, fork, spoon or tong for himself. A hodge podge actually. Sometimes there is even a heavier contingent of silverware closest to the door because we are too lazy to open the door completely and pull out the rack. Categorize the silverware caddy thing? Nope, it's never crossed my mind.

Until now. Now my curiosity is peaked and I am turning to you, my dear bloggy friends. How do you load your dishwasher silverware caddy thing? If you do follow the caste system, why? Do you have any other dishwasher quirks?

2.08.2009

Date with Slumdog

Not to imply that Scott is, or has ever been a slumdog. Or a millionaire. Unfortunately. The millionaire part, not the slumdog.

Okay then.

One of my (okay, our) goals this year is to plan more date nights. This has been something we've wanted to do regularly, yet they usually got pushed aside out of laziness I suppose. Instead of making an effort to arrange babysitting and planning an evening out, it's easier to just stay in our at-home-rut. We do realize though that couple time is important and we need to make the effort. So in a slightly over sized nutshell, one of our goals for '09 is to have a date night at least once, possibly twice a month.

Last month Scott and I had two race related dates which were fun. February started off with a somewhat spontaneous date night Friday afternoon when Annelise packed herself up for a sleepover at Pappo and Miss Peggy's.

She actually arranged this date night for us by begging inviting herself over. Is it so wrong to allow a small child to manipulate others? I'm thinking in certain circumstances, nope.

Scott and I jumped at the chance to go to dinner and see a movie (we aren't big out-of-the-box thinkers, are we?). We decided to eat Mediterranean food since it's not something we eat as a family very often (A. has tried it, but is not a fan).

A few things:

Scott took our self-portrait. On one hand, I'm glad he is usually a good sport about posing for pics in public and that he puts up with my need to document everything, on the other hand I wish he had held the camera up a bit higher as low, dead-on is not my best angle.

Our first choice for Mediterranean food is another local restaurant which has a quaint but quirky atmosphere. This one was new to us, offered a buffet so we could try several different things, and was close to the theater. (Scott can not miss the previews. NOT, I tell you.) The food was good, but there was no atmosphere at all, which even Scott reflected upon. That says a lot.

This place also used to be a Macaroni Grill, which was my favorite place to eat Italian food. I'm still forlorn and a smidge bitter about its closing, though it happened several years ago. Sometimes my elephantish memory works against me.

As we began to eat I had an epiphany. Since we were going to see Slumdog Millionaire, we should have been eating Indian food.

Duh.

Not that we've EVER eaten Indian food or anything, but that would have been the perfect opportunity. Oh well, the Mediterranean isn't too far from India, is it?

We posed for another SP in front before we went in theater. Scott was rushing me because people kept walking by and probably wondered what we were doing. He has not quite mastered the art of staring people down, I think.

We thoroughly enjoyed Slumdog Millionaire. It's very eye-opening about life in India. It manages to be suspenseful, uplifting, brutally honest, even disturbing, but overall I highly recommend it.

There was a brief moment, once the movie let out, that we considered seeing another one right after. Do we walk on the wild side or what? We used to do that from time to time back in the day. The day of course being pre-A., pre-fuddy-duddy stage. Though we really wanted to see The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, we didn't think we could last through a 3 hour movie that would not release us until after 1:00 am. I know, we're wimps.

So we settled for these instead.

We quickly decided we had made the better, and tastier choice.

2.06.2009

Man, This Was So Gonna Be My Week

My mind was made up, no more willy-nilly running. I was prepared to ramp up my mileage a bit and get at least 4 weekday runs in. I was, promise.

Monday was GREAT. I ran 5 miles that morning, then did Jillian's 30 Day Shred later that day. I was feeling like slightly lukewarm stuff.

I should have run early Tuesday morning--note key words should have. Instead, I planned on running later in the day. While A. was at school I had a wild hair to mop the kitchen floor.

I know.

Soon I found myself in one of those "I've fallen and I can't get up," commercials. Seems I slipped and went SPLAT on the kitchen floor. Ouch. Seriously though, it wasn't that bad, but I did bang my side, my arm, my knee and my foot viciously as I went down.

Needless to say there was no running Tuesday or Wednesday. My week-o-running was not turning out as I had planned.

Thursday I was determined to at least move in some form or fashion, so I soon found myself here...

on one of these. (Have y'all seen these? It's an elliptical, but it moves a little bit differently, more bounce I think.)

Then I moved on to this.

Which gave me some much enjoyed reading time as the sweat dripped, though I did try not to drip on my library book.

I plan to repeat that routine today, maybe even testing my foot on the treadmill. Maybe. It's still pretty sore across the top, so we'll see.

Since this week did not quite become mine, next week better watch out.

How about you, did you own your week?

2.01.2009

In Which I Remember I Do Like To Be Creative

Saturday afternoon I hosted a little Stampin' Up! shindig and thought I would share the make and takes with you too.

One of my favorite creative outlets is making cards, usually in an assembly line way in order to make 12-16 of one style. That way I have a nice supply of ready to use cards and even some to share if needed. Most of these cards are very simple, requiring only a few steps. (Don't get me wrong, I adore layered, detailed and embellished cards too, I just don't always have the time to make them.)

The first few cards were made using the Pocket Silhouettes set.

The repetitive image across the paper is very simple yet striking. Tie a coordinating ribbon and you are done. If you want to step it up a bit you can add brads, a scallop border or a touch of glitter to the flowers. Embossing is another option to add a bit more Oooh Factor.

These cards were made using the Love You Much set:

This set offers lots of options not only for Valentines, but weddings and anniversaries too. I am a big fan of paper punches since they are quick and versatile. I used the word window punch for the cherish tag and the trio of hearts punch as well. Coordinating pattered paper also adds a little pizzazz.

Hosting this little card party gave me the perfect reason to play with The Big Shot. Yippee! It not only die cuts, it dry embosses too (it might even bake you a cake).This opens up a whole new crafting world to me that honestly seems a bit overwhelming since I'm still rather new to die cuts, etc.

I used the Top Note die cut for the next card...

Ta Da! I think this one was my favorite because it was deceivingly simple and used the very versatile Upsy Daisy stamp set. You could step it up with brads, emboss the image or layer the word phrase if desired.

The last card was made with one of the Sale-A-Bration sets, Polka Dot Punches:

This card was very simple too with a few added touches of paper piercing, Stamping Dimensionals and a spiral punched edge. Several of the hand held punches coordinate with this stamp set also.

There you have it, a handful of handmade cards in a short amount of time. Add a few girlfriends, some snacks and you have the makings of a highly enjoyable afternoon!

So, what did the kids do during all this craftiness? Video games, swinging, toys, Popsicles, and don't forget the trampoline...

Did you happen to notice the rather big kid included in the mix? Um...yeah, Scott had a lot of fun too.
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