Monday, February 27, 2012


 Rarely do my redecorative adventures have an ultimate goal.  They mostly evolve.  I can start out with specific plans only to scrap them to do what the project leads me to do. It is a most spontaneous form of decorating not exactly fit for most people.  I remember years ago, buying flooring for a kitchen and telling Hubby that most definitely I wanted something completely plain, white and utilitarian.  I wanted a plain backdrop for my kitchen needs.  I told the salesman that as he greeted us at the door.  I was specific and determined and he set out to show me all the plain, white linoleum that he had.  While perusing his stock, I noticed, across the room, a most interesting floor displayed.  Full of my favorite colors and properly early 80's stencil look that I loved, I drifted over to it and pictured it in my small kitchen.  By the time Hubby and Perplexed Salesman came over to where I stood, I had decided.  I told them both very decidedly, 'This is It.'  Hubby, knowing  my propensity for my mercurial decorating tendencies, merely smiled and said, 'Sure?' And with an enthusiastic nod of the head, it was a done deal.  Poor Flooring Salesman.  That floor served many a trod foot for over 17 years....
 That said, my family, particularly Hubby, has come to accept my Crazy Decorating Ways.  He understands my need to draw on my walls.  My need to flail color wildly and to hang things that most people would throw away.  I have the oak trim from the inside of my long ago upright piano utilized to separate places in my kitchen from the dining room.  See?  Just oddly interesting.....
 When I set out to update my upstairs bathroom this past week, I had no goal, only color determination.  The whole time I was painting over my antiquated sponge painting from 2000, I kept waiting for the room to speak to me.  Nuttin.  Paint, paint.  Think, think, think......
 As often happens when I paint and redo, my thoughts drifted to the purpose of my actions.  I picture the guests that will enjoy the view.  I think of their entertainment and pleasure in the sharing of my space. The upstairs bathroom seldom sees the traffic that the downstairs rooms sees.  I wrapped my mind around that thought and saw that usually the closest and personal spend time in our upstairs area.  Usually, this up close and personal are our own children and their children.  This led me to reflect on each one of them and the joy that I receive from knowing them.

Years ago, and the following will be debated until the grave, our children would come into our bedroom to wish us good night.  This would stem from me nursing the youngest in bed while the olders got themselves ready for nighty nite.  Rumor has it that one or the other of my two eldest, and I have no distinct memory of the initial onset, but as we departed for the nightly separation, the children would kiss and hug us and tell us, 'Love You So Much I Can't Even Tell You'.  What a great night time greeting.  It warmed my heart every single time.  The thought that his/her love for me/us was inexpressible was so dear to this mama.
 The tag line, LYSMICETY, soon became our sign off in cards and correspondence.  Email was developed and that too was the choice for signature.  To this day, this continues; our own family slogan.  It was this thought that came to me while painting in the upstairs room that is usually reserved for our children and our near and dear.  I knew I wanted to make a reminder to those that were in the room, and while I had their, ahem, full attention, I wanted them to once again remember, that I 'Love Them So Much That I Can't Even Tell You....
 As is my usual beginning to projects like this, my first thought was, 'What do I have on hand?'  What is the right texture, right color, right representation of this room and it's new style?  After just finishing the library a few weeks before, I knew that one thing that I had lots of was photo frames.  I had removed all the outdated photos and stored away the frames waiting for more current pictures.  I thought about the fact that most of my work involves around fabric and needlework so I knew that the letters had to be cloth and pearl cotton for the best visual effect.
 I gathered the frames and sorted them by size, knowing I wanted a rather eclectic grouping.  Felt was the preferred backing; sturdy and solid to back the letters that I would design from color appealing fabric.
 No templates, just free hand letter cut outs, something I have done with construction paper since I was little.  I purposely wanted it simple and primitive, almost child like in it's presentation.  No hemming of the fabric- just a stitching on the machine close to the edge.  An outline stitch with pearl cotton since it is thicker than embroidery floss....
 And before the end of the evening, I had wall art that represented my family, my craft and my colors...Things that my family will recognize as a gift to them each time they use the bathroom!  And isn't that where all great thinking occurs??!

Love You So Much I Can't Even Tell You....

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Sharing My Space.....

 There are few things I enjoy more than having friends in my home.
I am very thankful to have been handed out the home that I currently dwell in.
I am fully aware that it is a Gift From God and as with all good gifts from Him, I am compelled to share it with all that comes into my life.  I am grateful, awed and very, very appreciative.
I know that it is a modest home in the grand scheme of things but in my heart, it is the answer to a prayer of a very needy little girl long ago.

I have not 'worked' since 1978.  Hubby and I have been a single income family since then.  I should not have a house as nice as I have.  I should not have the space and the comfort that I so enjoy, but I do and I know it is not of myself that I find myself in this position.
'To much is given, much is required'.  I take this biblical admonition to heart in everything.  If I have received any teaching, instruction, wisdom, again, I am compelled to utilize it.  Not for my glory or glitz, but for the One that it came from..

 So when I get an opportunity to share my home, I do.  This home was prayed over upon our first day here. We asked the Lord to show us who, what, when, He wanted us to share this gift.  And He has been faithful. This house has hosted many a gathering, including a budding church that we were part of years ago.  It has hosted a wedding, a reception, a graduation party, countless casual gatherings and dinners, luncheons, breakfasts, bible studies and a rather raucous New Year's Party which included moving furniture out so dancing could commence.
 It is with great excitement that this winter has started another Sharing of My Space with the most lovely group of women ever.  These women have been collected, seemingly at random, but we know Who really orchestrated it all, don't we?  Some are well known, some are very new friends, some are neighbors and some are friends of my son, but all are an essential ingredient to a mix of insights, questions and input.  This lovely mix is a joy for me and the study that happens once a month and the dinner and crafting that happens on another evening in the month, brings me such happiness and contentment that I can hardly stand it.
 I love this gathering.  I find myself thinking about our next meeting and how I can best serve them.
This is a Divine Appointment and I know it.  I think that perhaps I have this home for maybe this very purpose; to gather these fellow seekers; to collect the insights of differing view points and frames of reference to broaden my thinking and question and challenge my self.

For such a time as this, I thank you, God for your benevolence.
May this gathering honor You and may we respect and serve you through the growing of our faith......

'....To much is given, much is required....'    ~  Luke 12:48

Monday, February 13, 2012

Birthday Girl! Baby Girl!

Twenty four years ago, Valentine's Eve, I gave birth to my last child.  Since I was on my fourth Cesarean, I was pretty sure that this was the end of a run. I can still remember asking my obstetrician that fateful question: Can I have more children?  And I also remember the look on my mom's face when I told her that I had asked about it.  Incredulous, overwhelmed and a teensy angry, she sighed a sigh of relief upon hearing that due to the nature of an overworked incision, I should call it quits, productively speaking.
I knew as I spent my required five days in the hospital, that this sweet time, this time of introducing yourself to this new little person and spending time being cared for while you healed and while your other children are being seen to, was to be my last time in the Sweet Introduction place of mamahood.  I was filled with conflicting emotions but the dominant one was:  I Shall Savor This Last Go Round Like None Other.

And I have.

I have been a more patient, tolerating mama to this Baby Girl than I was with the other three.  I have been able to see things through her eyes much better than I had before.  Of course, I was older and 'wiser' but I do believe that the thought that I should not pass this way again, made it more intense, more sweet, more enjoyable than times before.

Make no mistake.  All of my children have been amazing journeys.  I have learned so much from each of their unique personalities and ways.  I have been overwhelmed with mistakes made with each of them.  I have been saddened at the errors made in the name of pride and arrogance.  I have cherished each stage of all of them in their own individuals lives.


When the end of a time comes, you view things differently.  I believe that Baby Girl understood that she was unique in her position from her siblings by being the last one.  I remember wishing that she would be the little baby for a long, long time, she was just that enjoyable.  But, since she had so many elders in her life, she naturally, grew up the fastest.....Sigh......

So it was with great joy that Hubby and I were able to spend her 24th Birthday with her this past weekend. After an overnight visit to check in with Sweet Adeline, we pushed north the next day to whoop it up with Baby Girl, Her Hubby and of course, Lil Lady.  We spent the next 48 hours, cooking, laughing, talking, dancing, playing, shopping, laughing, eating and in general having a wonderful, memorable time.  BG and her little fam live in family housing on campus and their square footage totals something like 500 square feet.  You do know how memorable a weekend can be with five people in that space?  While we climbed over each other, cooked in their kitdinliving room, we laughed over the craziness of it all.  But then, it is something that we have come to expect from BG and her tradition of being nontraditional.

So, as I reflect on this day 24 years ago, the day of big beginnings of my life, the letting go of what had been before and the focusing on the next stage,  I rejoice in how it all turns out.  Just when you think that your time is passed, mothering wise, you find that you get the precious joy of continuing on through the observation of your children parenting children.  It is indeed the most awesome spectacle of nature I have ever experienced.    

As Baby Girl celebrates her day with her little family, as Her Hubby treats and celebrates and cossets her on her day and as Lil Lady reminds her daily that she is loved, needed and adored, this mama sits back and watches and rejoices.

Ah.  The Fifth Act of Life....
How very pleasant it is.....

Happy Birthday, Dearest of Baby Girls!!
(thank you, Britography,, for the always lovely photos!)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

When Life Gives You Leftovers, Make Quiche!

 My friend, Crazy Dee, has a propensity for making large amounts of food.
She is the person, when you leave church, will pull you aside and say, Come over for dinner!  There's enough!  And yes there is.  CD usually will make much more than is needed because that is how her life rolls.  She is aware that dinner time can have just her and her hubby in attendance or two thirds of their children and their families dropping in.  As the extended family gets older and more able to do for themselves, this does not happen too regularly now, but yet, something within CD's brain has not adapted the proper switching from cooking for a gang to just two.
 While this is an annoyance to her husband who turns his nose up at leftovers, it is a royal hit for me.  Crazy Dee will pack up her cast offs and ship them off to me, knowing that they will be reincarnated into something else entirely.  Yesterday, after painting trim in her kitchen, I arrived home from my nightly dog walk to a counter full of leftover containers that I recognized from previous visits to my refrigerator.  I tsked tsked as I placed them in my fridge and immediately started contemplating today's meal.  Crazy Dee had provided sliced ham and vegetables and I had salad, some other veggies, refrigerated pie dough, eggs and milk.  Rolling the ingredients around in my mind, I quickly saw a quiche forming.....
 It's always a good thing when you can go to bed knowing what you will be making for the next day's meal.  It's a good thing when the meal is nearly free too!  As meal time came nigh, I chopped ham, cut up broccoli, searched for leftover mushrooms and beat eggs.  I even had some leftover potatoes from another meal to add to the mix.  A second shift man needs a little sustenance so I took an airy fairy sounding meal and added enough umph to it to keep him till it was lunch box time much later in the evening.
 I only season the milk/egg mixture with salt and pepper and red pepper flakes and the tiniest baking soda.  Parsley and all purpose season salt works quite well too.  After the eggs are beaten well and a modicum of milk is added, the mixture is poured over the chopped meat and veggies and cheese are sprinkled over the top.  When I make an official quiche, I use half and half and Swiss cheese.  But the purpose of this exercise is to use what I had at hand and skim milk and mozzarella was what was in the fridge.  I also shredded some fresh Parmesan over the finished product just cause I had it.
 A half hour in the oven.  A quick salad tossed and lunch is ready.
What's sitting in your (or a giving friends) refrigerator waiting for a re do?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Winter Occupations

 When the warm winds of Spring start blowing, (and I don't mean this Pretend Spring that we are currently enjoying), I want to be outside.  I want to dig and rake and plant.  So while the calendar says January and February, that is my cue to keep myself occupied with Inside Things.  In January, I caught up on orders and bookkeeping.  Last Spring, I ripped up my living room and entry way and staircase.  Even thought the library was staring me down with painting needs, I promptly ignored her and told her that she would just have to wait till colder days.  So as I wrapped up my duties, it is with great excitement that I prepared my trusty trim brush, my special mini roller with the long handle, grabbed a most interesting audio book and set to the work of equating my library with the rest of the downstairs.  Whew.

 With the exception of my upstairs bathroom, all my house is now painted some shade of yellow.  My favorite color since kindergarten, I have slowly replaced all other colorage from my home and without planning it, finally succumbed to the idea that Yellow is The Color of my Life.  I am very much happy with this turn of events.
 I have had my red stage.  My goldish/bronzish stage.  My green affair.  But yellow is my true love.  With a dash of turquoise.  This combination love goes back to my childhood.   I remember very clearly, a lovely turquoise wool jumper that my mama had bought for me.  It had the smallest yellow embroidery on the bodice with yellow rick rack trim.  A sweet little yellow blouse with puff sleeves came with.  I can remember wearing this memorable outfit to the hospital to visit my very asthmatic, very sick mama when I was seven years old.  I remember being told that I was too young to go to the emphysema ward that she was in and I had to sit, alone in the waiting room of our very old, very intimidating hospital.  I have no idea how long I waited for my dad to come and fetch me.  In the hours that it seemed, that sad little girl found much comfort in staring at the lovely colors on my outfit.  I remember the texture of the wool.  The complementary colors entertained me greatly.  And still does to this day.

Now that was a nice little Bunny Trail Story, wasn't it?
Back to painting....

The first weekend we moved into our home, Kindred Spirits Friend and her hubby came to visit.  She came with work clothes, paint and anaglypta wall covering.  The library had dark paneling and KSF came many miles to relieve me of it.  She primed and filled paneling ruts and hung anaglypta till the wee hours.  The next day she painted over it.  That productive weekend, we also ripped out carpeting.

Years passed and the years of darker walls came into vogue.  One rainy cold January weekend, I painted a very cozy caramel color over the anaglypta.
More years pass and more shelves were needed.  They are now working their way all around the room. I love my books and my very special library.  It's the one room I spend the most time in.
You can see that painting around all those books will be a bit of a challenge.
Hubby has offered to be on board while I climb the dreaded ladder and hand down pile of books after pile of books to be able to reach the trim and cover the caramel with the butter yellow that I knew this room was destined to be.

As I get older, tedious jobs are less burdensome.  In my younger days, I would rush and splash and dash just to get the job done.  I am more deliberate these days.  What's the rush?

I always work better hanging a carrot in front of me.
This weekend's carrot is this:
Kindred Spirit is sending me her green swirly curtains from her dance with lime green swirlies, to cover the cushions on all my library sitting surfaces.  When KS saw my colorful fabric for my living room curtains last spring, she raved on with me at the joys of Susan Sargent's creations.  She also reminded me of her curtains from years before and how well they would go with my new Living Room window treatments.
When she visited last fall and spent time in my library, which is by the way named after her for her aforementioned work done at the very beginning of my time here and for the number of books she has donated to the cause.  I have her poetry on the walls and her photo properly displayed. Her Hubby created a couch/settee that I cherish that sits in her room.  I call the library her, Not Quite Memorial Library.

While I was writing this, she text me that the curtains were in the mail and should be here on Monday.
Impetus for painting book shelves if I ever had one.
Cushion making next week.
Reveal later.

 In the meantime, reflect on how color affects us on so many levels.  Complementary colors soothe our spirits just as complementary friends soothe our souls....

Grab a daunting task this weekend and pleasure it with the thoughts of who you will please in the doing of it....

A good carrot if I ever heard of one.....

Thank you KSF for being the turquoise to my yellow....

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