Saturday, December 15

Without Words

My heart is shattered.  Praying that the God of all will wrap his loving arms around the people of Newtown, CT and the entire nation.  Please God, keep us from coming undone...

Tuesday, December 11

Christmas Tree Conundrum

Most years I don't think twice about how to decorate our Christmas tree.  But with Pinterest and a ginormous blogland to travel, sometimes I catch myself wondering if I should rethink the way I decorate it.  

Should I make it a color coordinated gradient like John and Sherry's?

Or maybe it should have a theme like this poinsettia tree.

This book tree is quite clever,

as is this wine bottle tree via Pinterest.

Maybe just going large like the White House would be fun?  But at the end of all the "should I's" it always ends up like this.

If I made it match or gave it a theme, I would miss dragging out all the ornaments we've collected over our 20+ year marriage.  

Like the following three all handmade by my sister.

This one is a memorial to my husband's grandma who was a dairy farmer.

And this one is a memorial to my grandpa, who among other things, was a Republican and of course collected elephants of all shapes and sizes.

This one my "rock star" nephew made for us.

And this one my oldest son made when he was in grade school.  He is now 21.

And of course, Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

I've linked up with Honey We're Home to show off my tree this year.

Wednesday, November 28

Evolution of a Space

This is what the dining room looked like when we bought our house almost 3 years ago. (This is the previous owner's stuff)  The trim is faux painted to look like wood and not only are the walls faux painted to look like maroon leather, they are also textured. The walls in the  living room and kitchen were also textured and the kitchen walls had a nice grape and leaf motif stamped in them.  Needless to say, before even moving in we had the popcorn ceilings scraped and replaced with knock-down texture and all the walls skimmed to get rid of the texture. 

This is the third phase of the dining room as I am missing a picture of it painted yellow.  This room is directly on the left as you walk in our front door and quite a little way from the eat-in kitchen, so we actually didn't use it as a dining room all that often.

I decided to move our large dining room table into the kitchen and use this room as a lounge area.  I painted the ceiling in the bay window area the same color as the walls to try to make it disappear a bit and I also painted the ceiling a light grey and replaced the light fixture.  I found the grey club chairs on and they are actually very comfortable!  

In the process of making some repairs to other areas of the house, we had to tear up a bit of our wood floors at the back door.  I begged a little and we decided to take up the carpet in the "dining room" and the half bath right off the kitchen and then have all the floors refinished.  Yeah!  

This is how it looks today.  I have fabric purchased for curtains but that will probably have to wait until after the holidays.  Plans are in the works for built-ins in the alcove on the back wall and the carpet on the stairs will be replaced soon.  It has been a lengthy process but I think we will use the room much more this way.

Tuesday, November 20

A Season for Thankfulness

I was going to post this last week as part of Mama Kat's Pretty Much World Famous Writing Workshop because one of the writing prompts was "A Blessing in Disguise."  It didn't happen.  Frankly, I was still wrapping my brain around the previous weekend's events.  
How about we start at the very beginning; it's a very good place to start (according to Fraulein Maria).  I have healthy kids.  We don't visit the doctor often, none of them are on regular medications, in fact, rarely has even an antibiotic been prescribed to them.  I say this knowing how truly blessed I am for this.  All of them are active and regularly participate in school sponsored and recreational sports.  So a few weeks ago when I saw in the announcements that our school district was offering free athletic heart screenings, I thought about what a great idea that was and promptly put it out of my mind.  The day before the screenings, my youngest son TJ reminded me that they were going on and said I needed to call the school nurse and schedule with her if I wanted him to be screened.  Since we weren't overly busy that Saturday, I decided to go ahead and have it done.  The screening consisted of an EKG and an echocardiogram.  I was prepared for a quick in-and-out and a "you're all good."  What I got instead was a cardiologist telling me, "TJ has a condition called Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome and it can be hereditary so we need EKG's on your other children and yourself and your spouse.  Without much time to let that sink in, I took TJ home and roused Ali from bed to get her over for her EKG.  Within 15 minutes we had more shocking news that Ali also  had an arrhythmia, but hers was different and they suspected Long QT Syndrome.  Both conditions can cause fast, chaotic heart beats, fainting spells, and even sudden cardiac arrest.  Needless to say, both of them were told not to have any aerobic activity that could raise their heart rates until further testing and treatment.  As it stands now, TJ is scheduled for a catheter ablation to correct his condition and Ali has had a treadmill test and the cardiologist is still studying her records.  We aren't on the other side of this yet, but I know the blessing is there in the fact that we didn't find these conditions in an emergency room after a cardiac event or an even worse scenario.  You can bet I'll be saying more about this, but in the meantime, do some homework.  And please, if you have athletic heart screenings in your area, take advantage of it.

Sunday, September 30

While Sane People Sleep

Were you dancing on your deck and watching the moon this morning at 2:37?  Well I was and this is what I saw:

This website informed me that the halo is actually glints of light off of ice crystals.  It also gave this interesting tidbit of information, "The halos you see are glints of light from these ice crystals, which have to be oriented and positioned just so with respect to your eye, in order for the halo to appear.  That’s why, like rainbows, halos around the sun – or moon – are personal. Everyone sees their own particular halo, made by their own particular ice crystals, which are different from the ice crystals making the halo of the person standing next to you."

Did you know that we all see rainbows a bit differently?  I didn't.
I also didn't know the halo was formed by light glinting off ice crystals.  I believed what my Grandma Kring told me, "ring around the moon means rain soon."   Well, the above referenced website confirms that too because the high cirrus clouds that make the conditions right for viewing moon halos often come before a storm.  I should dance on my deck at 2:37 am more often.  I learn lots of really cool stuff. 

Thursday, September 13

Never Go Through Life Saying "I Should Have"

I had no idea this happened.  It will leave you speechless...and so proud to be an American.

Wednesday, August 1

Radio Silence

You can make your own catalog cards here

Friday, June 8

Better Than Nothin'

The creative juices haven't really kicked in yet, but the challenge continues:

Monday, June 4

Give it the Old College Try

I suck at art challenges, just sayin'.  I've tried about a million and get behind and eventually quit each and every time.  I'm going to try this one anyway, you know give it the old college try.

I'm already 3 days behind now, but I'm going to just start today!  Here are the prompts for the first week if you want to play along.
And here is my first index card:


Friday, May 18

Marking Milestones

Have you heard about Maya?  She set off on a grand adventure on May 5, 2012, the day she turned 40.  

She is riding her bike from Amherst, MA to Milwaukee, WI toting this fabulous aqua typewriter behind her and stopping all along the way in towns and communities and inviting others to contribute to her ever-evolving poem.  I have exactly 122 days left in my 40th year, and although I had all sorts of grand and romantic ideas about how I would mark the milestone, I've pretty much done none of them.  That's not to say that I haven't had a great year, just that I haven't done that one great milestone-marking thing.  Do you think my family would mind if I just took off to join Maya for a few weeks?  Because seriously, is this not the coolest idea ever?  You can follow her adventure here.

Friday, May 11

Makes You Want to Take the Back Road

You must have food in case you get lost.  First, stop for cider doughnuts and apple butter and strawberry-rhubarb jam.

Taking the back roads is ALWAYS a good idea.  You know the saying "getting there is half the fun..."

Well, in this case, what's waiting for you when you get there is the best part.

Friday, May 4

Fun With Annie Sloan Paint

I've been wanting to try Annie Sloan's chalk paint for quite some time but just didn't have the right project to work on.  Last week our little town had its annual city wide garage sale and I picked up this little dresser for a song.

Unfortunately I got so excited that I forgot to take an official before shot of the dresser, but you can see from the top that it had a faux limed finish and that scrolled piece of trim laying in front is what I sawed off the front between the two legs.  Here are the drawers so you can see the fancy painted motif on the front.

The paints say that no sanding or priming is necessary, but in hindsight I think I would have given this thing a rough sanding only because it isn't real wood and it had that slick "plastic" finish.
I started with a coat of "Versailles" which is a really soft sage green.

Next came the second coat which I ending up combining "Duck Egg" with "Antibes Green" to get the color I wanted.

I finished up with a coat of "Graphite" and when it was completely dry came back and sanded through the finish in places to allow the other colors to come through.

Once I got it looking the way I wanted, I gave the whole thing a coat of Annie Sloan Clear Wax and buffed it to a shine.  Here is the finished product.

I may eventually change the original hardware, but for now I think it looks great in my entry!

Thursday, May 3

Retro Redo Complete

My first reupholstery project is officially complete and at home in my sitting room. Except for the new front leg that I still need to stain.    I had a blast doing it and I'm ready for more.  Do you have a project for me to practice on?

Friday, April 13

Oh Dear!

Here's what happened. Carol had to go and post about deviled eggs.  And then Sharon W (sorry, Sharon doesn't have a link to share) had to comment about the Pioneer Woman's breakfast muffin melts.  And of course I had to go there and get the recipe.  But I didn't have the English muffins, I only had refrigerated biscuits.  So I flattened out the biscuits and laid them in a muffin tin.  Then I stuffed them with a scoop of above mentioned deliciousness and baked them according to the directions on the biscuit can.  This is what I pulled from my oven:

Can I just tell you, I burned the roof of my mouth and my tongue.  I think I've said enough.

Tuesday, April 10

Lamp Love

I recently purchased a couple of great lamps at Goodwill.  Although I didn't take step-by-step photos of the process.  I rewired this one because it was wired for the European electrical system.  It didn't have a shade, so I purchased a new one at Lowe's, and just like that my $2.99 Goodwill purchase looks like a gem on my counter!

The other one is a vintage beauty and I was disappointed the shade had water damage spots.

Although the lamp was in working condition, I was nervous that the old wiring may be a fire hazard.  The base of the lamp lit up too, but the plastic "hurricane" definitely made me nervous!  I took the whole thing apart and gave it a good scrub.

After everything had dried, I put it all back together using a new lamp kit.

I wanted to wire it so that the base would light up, but I had a difficult time finding a glass hurricane the right size to replace the plastic one, and I got tired of the torn-apart lamp sitting on my counter, so I just put it back together and if I find the right pieces later, I'll take it apart and fix it.  Here it is with a new shade and sitting pretty in its new spot in my house.

It really isn't difficult at all to rewire a lamp, so don't be scared of a great lamp at a garage sale or thrift shop.  

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