Sunday, January 29, 2012

Staircase on a Shoestring

The women in my family do weird things,decor -wise. (Well, I guess if I was honest, I'd say that we're kinda weird in other ways as well.  There I said it.)  However, when I asked Eldest/Admin what project she needed for Operation Nesting,  when I visited this month, she answered quickly: 'The Staircase".  Now, we know that the baby will not be anywhere near the staircase for quite awhile, but E/A and her mother's ways, I knew exactly what she needed done.  She wanted her nasty old carpeted stairs updated so the New Baby would not think poorly of her when she came to her new home come May.  I brought four babies to my home and for each one of them, I prepared and cleaned and redid things like the Queen (or King) was coming for a visit.  With one child, we opened up our roof and added a room to accommodate a 7 pound 2 ounce baby.  So I know the peculiarities of nesting mothers.
E/A had her main bathroom redone this past summer after a particularly bizarre storm accident.  Strong winds toppled a large limb of her aged tree in her back yard to the very small vent pipe on her roof taking out the plumbing on her whole house.  The construction crew that did the redo, professional that they were, did not take care to protect the not so tidy carpet on the staircase.  E/A did not mind so much since she was clearly looking for an excuse to rip the demon carpet off the old stairs.  Problem was: Project Bathroom Redo eliminated any budgetary requirements for any other home project.  Especially if the steps were going to need more attention that was assumed.  A year ago, in my last winter week long visit, we indeed peeked under the demon carpet and saw that perhaps the job would not be too daunting.  E/A and I are always up for a project for most of my visits.  Wouldn't be a true visit unless we spent some time at Lowe's or Joann's. The grittier that better. We love trying to make a plan work by using our brawn and brains rather than depending on our pocketbooks.  Absolutely thrilling, really.
So it was with a great deal of enthusiasm for the Grandmotherly Nesting Instinct, that I packed my 'work clothes' and headed for Cincinnati.
It should be mentioned that these projects always bring a great deal of fun for E/A and myself.  We usually laugh and giggle at our own determination to make something work.  We love the challenge that an elderly women known for falling off ladders and a pregnant lady with a replaced hip and a nearly three year old bring to the table.  I will tell her, 'Get off the ladder right now!'  She says, 'Oh just look the other way!'  She will say, 'MOTHER! What are you doing!?' And I say, 'Oh just look the other way!'  Miss Viv is getting into the rhythm of our projects by being able to identify sandpaper, Phillips screwdrivers and Mimi's special paint brush.  
In Training.
Eldest/Admin's home was built in the mid 80's.  The steps were never finished, just carpeted over probably a few times.  However, the treads were in good shape.  The risers were made of particle board, sufficient but not pretty.  We reflected on many different ways to cover this shortcut and I think what we came up with was a dandy idea.
The whole rehab cost us less than 25.00.  Seriously.  I don't count brushes and things I shall reuse.  Those are investments.  Here is the breakdown of the process and the costs:
  1. Ripped up carpet and pad, tack boards and staples.  No cost.  Came up easy-peasy.  And Miss Viv helped.
  2. Hand sanded treads.  No cost.  And Miss Viv helped.
  3. Painted woodwork.  Primed Risers.  4.00 spray Kilz.  No cost for the paint;  had paint leftover from our last project last fall.
  4. Purchased a textured wallpaper to cover the risers.  It was a corduroy type wall cover, perfect to hide the roughness of the particle board.  A huge roll was 18.00.  And much left over for the next project somewhere else.
  5. Polyurethaned the sanded stairs.  Purchased a random can of stain last summer at Lowe's from their reduced table.  1.50.  Originally 13.00.  Seriously.  And the perfect stain color; a perfect balance between her staircase and oak flooring.  There was absolutely no fumes and this was a big concern for this Mimi.  Chance?  I think not.....
  6. Painted the spindles on her staircase to update the look.  We decided to leave the banister and face plate the original finish.  Good call.
Do you have any idea how much I love helping my Big Grown Up Kids with their projects?  Whether it's planting flowers or sewing costumes or renovating their lovely homes, I absolutely thrive helping them in their day to day lives if only for a few times a year.  It is when you are co laboring with them that you see them at their best.  You see them working toward the goal of making their lives cozy and comfortable for their beloved families. The care that goes into their projects, warms my grammy heart to my very core....

So when New Baby is old enough to scoot down the stairs on her little patooty in a year or two, this Mimi will smile, remembering the sanding, the painting, the being serenaded by Miss Viv and her musical daddy and me listening to the hum of my Eldest's very own household while I busily, happily bustled about my task for the visit....

God Bless This House....

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

In It Together

It has been quite awhile.
It's time had come.
And the blessing in the doing of it has been beyond what I could have expected.

After a bit of a ban on socializing, fellowshipping and otherwise interacting with most people outside of my family and close personals, I have resurfaced.   Sometimes things like that happen. Sometimes you have to be knocked on your keister to straighten up your inner life, your personal viewpoint, your direction and redefine and retool  your life.

Fortunately for me, I have several Close Personals that have kept me sane and cool.  Faithful Friend has been an excellent mentor, though she is nearly two decades younger.  She has been the one that I could grumble and moan and ...complain.  She would let me do all that then she would do that smile that told me, 'Are you done?'  And then with a gentle admonition, she would help me ferret truths from distortions and help to cope to see another day.

And then there is Sweet Sharon, my confidant and prayer warrior.  This lady can hear about anything I have to give her and make sense out of it.  I know that she is praying, praying for my different needs in my life and different times.  She is there for me even though we are geographically distant and not terribly communicative with each other on a regular basis.  We just 'get' each other and know that we have each other's back.

This is a rare and amazing blessing.  In my dark years, it has been my light.  In my confused and overwhelming distractions, they have been a lifeline.  

So when a time came several months ago when I was able to spend a generous amount of time with SS, I announced to her that indeed, the time had come.  I was ready again to be a part of a group designed for the personal spiritual development of my life.  She was glad to hear it and promised to pray for just the right group for me.   

It took quite a few dog walking prayer times to realize that if I had the resources, that if I had the need, that if I had the desire to grow spiritually, perhaps there were others out there that would benefit as well.   Most of you know from this blabbery space,that I love to have guests in my home.  I love sharing all what I have been blessed with and I love knowing that the gift of hospitality has been given me.  So it was with that revelation (duh!) that I decided that my new group shall be one of my own creation.  Faithful Friend was notified quickly so that she could give me her input and suggestions and advice.  Wouldn't do too much without it.

It was with  great satisfaction after some fine tuning and ideas that came from response to this blog that helped formulate my latest adventure.  

I have fought Facebook off for many years.  Friends would encourage me to join but I would vehemently protest saying, 'I do not want to communicate with anyone let alone people in my past'!  My Closed Door Policy did not fly with the openness of Facebook.  But then my little business started developing and Eldest/Admin convinced me that I could have just my business page without having a personal page.  She reassured me time and time again that I could closely monitor and limit any or all interaction.  So I gave in.

I still struggle with the day to day of Facebook, but it certainly has enabled me to reach many  people that I would not have had the privilege to meet.  Facebook's event invite seemed the perfect venue to announce my decision to share my quest.


Was I surprised by the response!  Grateful, humbled, exuberant, excited and well pleased, I eagerly studied, prayed, read, prayed and sought wise counsel.  I eagerly checked the event status for those signing on and needing info.  The invitation has brought together the most unlikely group of women with one goal in mind: To know in an intimate way, the God of the Bible.  Participants have come from vast and varied backgrounds.  Participants are in various stages of their spiritual journeys.  Some are just beginning; some have been ham strung by difficult questions or complicated church past issues.  Whatever.  All that is very irrelevant.  The focus, the point of the whole gathering is starting at Square One, from this day forward, perspective of God and Who He is and what He wants us to do with that.

This eclectic group of searching women gathered last night.
Sixteen women gathered for a common purpose.
Sixteen women willing to share fractions of their lives and interests.
Sixteen women willing to leave their comfort zone, go out on a limb and see where God takes us.....

Thank you Lord for this adventure.....

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Travels with Mimi

 Two words that strike a chord in a long distance grammy's heart:  Child Care.
When Lovely Wife text that she had a hole in her child care and needed someone to fill in for one day, this Mimi responded: Packing Now.
 So it was on a warm January day, that Papa took two days off to take care of the delightful 'task' of watching our Sweet Adeline for eight precious hours.  (Warning: Precious Child Beyond Words Rant.  You were warned.)  Seriously, this child is such a doll.  Gentle spirited, calm and sunny, I had the thought that perhaps her Sitter Susie, should pay mama and daddy for watching her!  In all my years of child tender, have I had the pure delight in babysitting.  Sleeping peacefully when needed, gobbly eating when it was time, didy changing with a happy disposition and enjoying the outside in the warm January sun, taking in all that wintry nature had to offer.  Hubby and I found ourselves just watching her discover her little world afresh.  Her diminutive little size (10 pounds at 5 months) makes her so much more precious.  But make no mistake, she is no Light Weight when it comes to development.  This feisty little miss keeps up with the best of them, just in a teeny way.  I am smiling as I write this merely in the pleasant memory of our visit with her.......
When Sweet Adeline's mommy returned, we headed southward to start our Child Care Part Two.

This day was Eldest/Admin's thirty third birthday and it appeared that her and Wonderful Man had made special arrangements to celebrate her last birthday away before their family burst into a family four in the middle of this year.
Once again, Hubby and I had no qualms of taking on the first overnight with Miss Viv.  As a very talkative three year old, she is very good at conveying her needs (and wants) and had an understanding of the fact that mama and daddy were going to be gone for One Sleep.  Her little face took all the information in and processed it with her three year old knowledge.  She looked back and forth at her beloved Mimi and Papa and tried to weigh the advantages of saying good bye to mommy and daddy to staying with the rare opportunities with Mimi and Papa.  Something told her that it was going to be okay. This was to be our trial run for the Day in May when little sister shall arrive and perhaps she may be away from her parents for awhile.  A lot was riding on her ability to tough it out.  Pivotal in her life, we wanted it to be a grand experience for all involved.

 So we went to the zoo.
In January.
Half Price Day.
 And a Penquin Parade.
 And another generation for Papa to show all the intricacies of the Reptile House.
 Miss Viv spent a great deal of time this past summer at this wonderful zoo, so she led the way for a lot of it....We were unsure if Manatee Springs were open, and when we hesitated and started to walk on, she exhibited her ONLY strong emotion of the weekend.  If the manatees were closed for the season, we were just going to have to break in, it was that important to her...Fortunately, no crimes were committed and we spent a great deal of an hour watching all the sea creatures and our most animated granddaughter.
 All that zoo walking created quite a hunger so off we went to Miss Viv's favorite: Chick-fil-a.  She ate all of her meal and a lot of mine....
 Our night time adventure went very peacefully thanks to Half Price Day at the zoo.  Our little girl passed out between us after only four books...
 And look what we got to see when we awakened!  The sweetest little face with good sleeps under her belt.  Mimi fixed her yogurt and french toast.  She was snarfing all the toast when she noticed a 'little' cinnamon and sugar on her cute mug.  She says, 'Mimi, I need a napkin!' Then a pause when she realized that all the good stuff on the french toast was yummy.  She then updates by saying, 'Nebermind - I'll lick it!'  And she did.
 We said good bye to Papa for the week and hello to mama and daddy and thus began another seven days of a most lovely visit with My Little Family.
 The week was productive, fun, adventurous and busy.  I got to attend EA's prenatal visit, go to all my favorite Cincinnati's haunts, got my haircut, watched movies about silly penguins with Miss Viv, cooked and baked and restored a staircase.  I got to be serenaded while I painted away and decided that most work is better when Wonderful Man and Miss Viv are singing .....
The time came to return to the Sewing Room and that is how it should be...
However, the memory spent with my dandy little girls provides the fuel for my time on this sod....

'Grandchildren are the crown of the aged......'    Proverbs 17: 6

Amen and amen......

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Queenies for a Day

 I'm a big birthday fan.  I believe that it is important to celebrate, in a big way, the creation that is you.  I believe that it is not a vain occupation, oh no.  I believe that it is a God Honoring thing to celebrate that your creation was very important to God in the huge, grand scheme of things.
I believe that if we are drawing breath, there is a purpose, an intentional purpose by our awesome Creator for your place on this sod.  And that, my friend, is something to celebrate.


So if I think that each one has merit and value in God's eyes, just imagine how silly I can get over my own dear grandgirls.

The days that they were introduced into this world was a big, big deal. 
 My life was changed beyond all reason and how their lives will affect this world is something so exciting to me that I get goosebumps just thinking of the possibilities.

Birthday Days are wonderful to a crafting Grammy.  There are birthday banners to make, birthday outfits to think about and now, the ever popular birthday crown to prepare for the noggin of the little girlies new year.

The tradition started with Miss Viv sharing her birthday week with her Unca Joco.  Unca Joco was very clear that on each year, he would prepare a Birthday chapeau, singling out the two of them from the lessers, birthday wise.  When the first birthday approached, I could see that Unca Joco might need some assistance to accomplish the goal of proper hattage for The Day

I cannot tell you how much fun I have making these crowns.
I love the feel of pearl cotton.
I love the vibrant colors.
I love the gaiety of them.
I love that they make me smile.

So, I thinks, if I get so much entertainment from such a simply made item, wouldn't everyone?  (Or at least a few more outside my inner circle)

As I traveled recently from hither and yon, my felt and my pearl cotton were nearby.  Nothing makes grandchildren miles go faster than making sweet little flowers and vines circling a tiny ring of felt destined to a small tike's head.

Soon, very soon, the Yet To Be Personalized Crowns shall adorn my Etsy site for your enjoyment as well.  I can embroider your most special Birthday Child's name on the front for you to make it a truly one of a kind gift that could last far into their twenties and beyond.  (Notice I said grandchild, because even though I have no male grandchildren, I hear that they are out there.  I intentionally made some crowns with not flowery like embellishment but kingly jewels and suns...)

If you are of the opinion that each life is to be celebrated big and would like to eschew the papery kind of birthday hats, then this crown's for you...

Celebrate each day as a gift.
But celebrate your little ones special day with crown made just for them......

Bags on Parade

 It's been awhile since I've updated my listing on bags completed.
 Some of these bags headed off to New Leaf Salon and Organics, just in time for Christmas....
 Some were special orders....

 And some were presents....
 This one was a Button Challenge, brought to me by most favored Pretend Granddaughter.  Before she left my home on Thanksgiving, she had trolled through my button box and after finding a most appealing vintage button,  laid it on my sewing table and challenged me to do something purse like with it.
And I did.  And it was a hoot.

Sewing Room Magic.....Gotta love it...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Spontaneous Party

 I could count on one finger the number of times Hubby and I have celebrated New Year's Eve in the traditional 'dress up and go out' definition.  Sure, we've had small gatherings at out home.  Sure, we've gone to little mini parties at someones home.  But to be honest, it just slips under the radar around here.  A more reflecting, peaceful kind of celebration is more to our liking after the hubbub of the long holiday season.  You know what it's like eating cake and hot chocolate with a cookie chaser?  Too much of a good thing and that is how I view New Year's Eve.  I think of it as some vegetables and vitamins in the midst of a candy store- needful and necessary if I'm going to be productive in the length of the long season of winter.  And this plan suits us fine.

Every now and then a serendipitous event happens that supersedes all your non plans and you are doubly blessed for the doing of it.  And that is how this year's New Year Eve/Day celebration played out in our home.

Eldest Son and Lovely Wife and Sweet Adeline were scheduled to stop by our home to say goodbye to us on their way to their northward home.  Hubby and I were slowly putting Christmas to bed around the house and figured that a solitary celebration would be fine and dandy with us.  ES and LW arrived in time for some lunch before their departure.  A short game of bastardized Banangrams (thanks ever so, Sweet Sharon for the addiction that has spread throughout our family!) developed and then it was time for a short nap for SA. By then, it was time for the fire to be set in the fireplace in preparation for our NYE quiet celebration.  As you know, a roaring fire is a draw to come and sit awhile.  We slowly picked out spots in the living room and ES and LW started talking about their plans for the evening, which was not cast in stone anywhere.  While talking continued, I slipped out to thaw some special steaks that Hubby had purchased for a special occasion.  Little Miss Addie continued to mesmerize us with her big five month old skills as four adults sat on the floor, watching her like we had never seen a baby before.  The glory of this mama watching her Eldest Son adoringly smile and coo with his little daughter, warmed my heart and caused me more than once, to hold back tears of joy.  Watching this little family interact is absolutely enchanting.  Such soft sounds with love oozing out of their collective pores.  You can't help but stare.

While LW commented on their imminent leaving, she, at the same time, was taking off her shoes and curling her legs under her self as she settled into her favorite fireside chair.  I quietly smirked to myself, seeing the writing on the wall; these chickies weren't goin anywhere!

My trained restrained motherhood ways kept me from 'forcing' them to stay.  I was giddy and pleased but was sure that I kept it to myself so that they didn't feel pressured to commit to spending their most special New Year's Eve with the Old Folks.  By the time the steaks were grilled and the salad tossed, we were in active planning for an overnight.  Suitcases, earlier destined for home, were brought back in while Hubby and I cranked up the heat in the Lower Level Guest Suite (basement with a bed) to cozy it up for our most youngest member of our family. Sweet Adeline surely would need to prepare for the new year by cleaning off her old birth year with all it's grittiness and grime, so Mimi dunked her in the bathroom sink while her mama photographed and her daddy prepared her nightly electronic collection in The Suite.
Adorable, obedient baby that she is, after getting clean and enjoying her last meal of the day, she said nitey nite to us and left us adults to the fireside.

The pivotal hour drew near and we quieted ourselves down to quiet conversation and slower movement.  A last minute wine purchase went quite well with the Dubliner cheese and borrowed crackers from Younger Son's nearby abode.

The new year arrived and hugs and kisses were shared and ten minutes later the elder two of this delightful group were ready to climb the stairs.

Yes, this new year eve was extraordinarily wonderful.  Spending relaxing hours with our Eldest Son and Lovely Wife and brand new Addie, filled me with a warmth that shall carry me through the cold months to come.  Watching your son father in a way that you are in awe of, is a wondrous thing.  Knowing the love of his life is a woman that supersedes my fondest prayers and dreams for him.....well, it is a wonderful thing.....

Young mama's of little boys:  Pray, pray, pray for your son's spouse.  Pray specifically.  Pray determinedly.  Embrace the love of their life and love her like your own.  Some day in the future, you too will get to smile contently as your married son and his family are snug in your home after a spontaneous party planned only by God......

Blessing on your new year.....

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