Thursday, December 28, 2006

I can't believe I'm posting this picture...w/ Update....

During the summer months our business takes almost all of my free time. Things around here sometimes get totally out of control to put it mildly. I manage the public areas of my home pretty well. But far in the back corner, where I wouldn't dare let anyone in is...The Room from H-e-double toothpicks! My art and craft area. This is what I have... And this from Martha is what I want... So for the next couple of weeks my goal is to organize the before and make it look as much like the after as possible. I'm starting today by purchasing some photo storage boxes and a couple of file boxes. So if you don't hear from me for awhile, send out the rescue dogs. I'll probably be buried somewhere under all that junk. UPDATE Progress has been made. Getting a little more Martha like. Instead of buying new, I've covered some shoe boxes in white to match the boxes I already have. I've cleaned out a bag of garbage. I'm sorting and organizing my art supplies. I'm feeling much better about the situation. Another day or two should get most of the work done. I chose white because I find white and soft greens to be the most calming colors. They help me clear my mind of mental clutter and focus on my projects. I'm looking forward to creating in a orderly space for a change.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

$14 challenge

To make things more interesting I challenged myself to decorate my home for Christmas and only spend $14 or less. The figure $14 came from the amount I spent on the tree for the charity festival. I allowed myself to use what was in the one box I had unpacked this year: My tree, lights, my Christmas angel I painted a few years back. I also allowed myself to use what I had in my pantry, which turned out to be only 2 glass bowls and some candles, some fruit and nuts. I started by making paper stars, 3D and flat for the tree. I was lucky enough to go to the thrift store on half price day and made out with a bag of white ornaments, a bag of vintage ornaments, 2 Santa head vases, and a wooden Christmas tree decoration all for the great price of $4! I bought a roll of red ribbon for outside decorations for $1.39, a Poinsettia for $3 for a total of $8.39 + tax. Not bad. I used candy that was left over from Christmas presents etc for decoration so it was free. I also collected greenery from our yard. The results may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I'm happy with the results and enjoyed the challenge. Greenery from our yard Planters in the yard were turned into arrangments. I think I'll remove the bows and leave these all winter. The front door. The ribbon came from an old package. I painted this angel a couple of years ago. The bowl came from a yardsale. Pictures of Grandmas and Grandpas. I used the vintage ornaments as an accent. My wooden tree from the thrift store. Greenery from the yard, candy. There were some green ornaments mixed in with the white ones from the thrift store, I painted them red. I made an arrangement in one of the Santa heads, the other has a lid. I love these. Fruits and nuts mixed with greens and pepper berries. Finally, the tree. The instructions for the 3D stars are at HGTV under the Carol Duvall show. They are very easy to make. I also used some of the vintage ornaments that had lost some silvering. I painted the insides white and added glitter. I like the look. The best part...I can throw almost all of this away after the holidays and not feel any remorse! I hope everyone has a wonderful day with family and friends. Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Holiday Thoughts

I was sitting here last night thinking about the blessing of another Christmas with people I love. This is the 19th Christmas in our home. We have some wonderful memories here. I also thought a lot about how Christmas has changed for me over the years. It has gone from the excitement of my youth, the bustle and hurry of a young mother, to a much easier slower paced time to reflect. I made a decision a few years back to no longer take part in the blur of activity that Christmas has become. I still take part in Holiday parties and celebrations, and I still buy presents, but now I make a point to spend most of my time reflecting on what it is really all about to me and trying to do away with activities that bring stress instead of joy. I make a point to spend time with people I care about and touch base with those I haven't heard from in awhile. I try every year to contact an old friend or a family member I haven't talked to in awhile. What I don't do it unpack the 304,000 boxes of Christmas decorations I have in my shed. In fact this year I've only unpacked one. And you know what? Not one person has said anything negative. I thought I would be letting everyone down if I didn't put out their favorite thingamaChristmasjig. But it seems I'm the only one concerned. Randy and I aren't buying presents for each other and we have limited our present buying for the kids. Of course there will be plenty of food as always just not wall to wall giftwrap. It does make it easier to do that when only 1 or 2 of the kids will be around come Christmas day. Laura will be sailing the Caribbean. Juliana will be working both Christmas eve and day. Jesse I'm not sure about yet. I'll find some time during the season to spend with them all. So Christmas day will be just Randy, Tyler and me. Time to start new traditions and make new memories. I'm looking forward to it.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Trash to Treasure Part 2

The best thing about Trash to Treasure, to me, is that something doesn't have to be a permanent fixture in your home. Items that are cheap or free can be used until you can afford to replace them. You are guilt free when you pass the item on to it's new home. I picked up this dresser at a yard sale. I needed a large table for my side of our bed because I have stuff. Lots of stuff people! Well, mostly books. I usually have 3 or 4 books in the process of being read. I also need drawers. I prefer small items to be contained because I have a tendency to be a clutterbug and I need to have somewhere to keep it all. Neatly. After sanding and gluing down some loose veneer I decided to paint it and stamp the top. I used regular craft paint for the base and the stamping. I finished it off with a coat of clear spray paint from Wal Mart. Perfect side table for the perfect price of $8 total. I'll keep this until we get around to remodeling our bedroom and get new furniture.

Trash to treasure Part 1

I love to decorate my home. I love doing it with spending as little cash as possible even better. I think even if money were no object I would still enjoy the challenge of taking something that seems destined for the trash and turning it into something useful and hopefully, beautiful. Not to mention the value of keeping something out of the landfill. My current project is a lamp picked up at Goodwill that I am taking apart and converting to a candle holder...I hope! One of my favorite projects was this stool I picked up off of Freecycle. Sturdy and comfortable and perfect height for my work area. I decided to go with a Mary Englebreit look. I enjoy her artwork and wanted something cheerful but not overbearing. Seating problem solved. Now all I have to do is get everything organized in my work area and I'm all set. I think that will take a whole lot more than sandpaper and some paint!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Oh Christmas Tree...Oh Christmas Tree

Good friends of mine were in charge of a Christmas Festival of Trees to support a Senior citizens aide program. They had a few companies back out at the last minute and I volunteered to decorate one of the trees for them. I used what I had on hand, so the whole tree only cost about $14 to decorate. My ornaments were made of paper bags and fabric. The garland was paper bag, fabric and raffia. I took some satin balls that, frankly, I scavanged from the garbage bin and covered them with fabric. I used ribbon candy made from polymer clay and wood bead garland. I also made some little signs out of paper bag and fabric with wire hangers and raffia bows. Each sign has a Christmas phrase such as Jingle Bells, or Deck the Halls etc. I was very excited to see that my tree sold during the preview dinner for $200 dollars! The owner of the building where the festival was held bought it. He is going to display it there through this holiday season. It was great to able to help out with the fundraiser and I think I will probably do it again next year. It is a worthy cause.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Miss Indian Alabama

Meagan on the Right My nephew's fiance was crowned Miss Indian Alabama this past weekend. I haven't spent much time with her yet but she seems to be a very sweet girl. She has a beautiful singing voice. Congratulations Megan!

Monday, November 06, 2006

My Heart walking around outside my body.

College graduation 2005 It has been a stressful 24 hours. My oldest daughter has been working on a cruise ship for the past few weeks, altering costumes for one of the production numbers. She called me from Puerto Rico yesterday telling me that there was no promised ticket home waiting for her at the San Juan airport. It was part of her contract that they would provide all transportation. All attempts we made to contact the company she was working for failed. It must have been a very stressful job, because she started crying because she just wanted to get home. Everyone at the Delta check in tried to comfort her and offered any help she needed. As anyone with children knows, letting them learn lessons like, having enough cash and an emergency credit card when you travel, is very difficult. She was expecting to have a ticket and didn't think she would need extra so didn't take it with her. A gentleman that worked for Delta took pity on her and helped her find a safe and inexpensive hotel, and even paid for it. He said he had a daughter about her age and she reminded him of her. He took the time to walk her around downtown San Juan and told her some history of the area. God Bless him. I will say an extra prayer for him tonight. There are still good people in the world. I have realized that no matter how much I talk, my kids don't always listen. They seem to learn everything the hard way. Why does it have to be so painful for me while they do? I thought learning my own life lessons was hard, this is a thousand times worse. Anyway, after finally reaching the company, she is on her way home and should be here tonight. Well, all is well that ends well.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

It is indeed a small world.

Patty over at Morning Ramble gave me premission to share this story. I have been reading her blog for just a few months now. I think she is a beautiful writer and I wish I could express myself as well as she does. So here is my story of how the internet has really shrunk the size of our world. My husband and I run a small business out of our home. I sometimes go with him to deliver and call on customers. Yesterday I went with him to Gatlinburg, Tennessee to call on a new customer of ours and to try to get a few good photos of the remaining fall foliage and some mountain shots. The location of the store is off the main drag, so there usually isn't very much foot traffic this time of year. There were only a few stores in the strip even open. I was passing the time by experimenting with my camera. I still haven't figured out all of the settings and I am anxious to improve the quality of the pictures I take so I decided to snap a few pictures of the buildings around. That wasn't very interesting so I took some pictures of workers moving some display units and snapped a picture of a young couple walking out of a store. "Hmmm",I thought, "they look just like Patty's son and new daughter in law. But is couldn't possibly be." I asked my husband when he came out of the store if he had noticed them. He said yes, and I told him I thought I knew them, when I told him how, he looked at me like I was crazy! LOL. He didn't think it was likely that it was them. I decided to keep the picture and compare it to her pictures of their wedding and low and behold...It WAS them! Isn't that wild? Well, I have to tell you the odds of us being in the same place and me having my camera are pretty slim considering I was only there for about 10 minutes and I usually don't have my camera with me and they were the only actual customers I saw, everyone else was a worker. I consider this to be extraordinary that it all fell in place, so here is the "stalker" picture I took. So just remember...It IS a small, small, world.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Some "Dear" friends of mine

We see deer at my favorite place, Norris State Park, everytime we go. It is my favorite place to go animal watching and is especially lovely this time of year. Randy and I spent the morning there. These guys weren't sure if they like us or not.

The backyard of my life

This is my favorite place to sit with a cup of something hot. Makes my worries seem few and my troubles small...sometimes.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

I love Autumn

Fall is my very favorite time of year. So the results of this quiz were no surprise. I'll be posting some pictures of our beautiful Tennessee fall asap.

You Belong in Fall
Intelligent, introspective, and quite expressive at times... You appreciate the changes in color, climate, and mood that fall brings Whether you're carving wacky pumpkins or taking long drives, autumn is a favorite time of year for you

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

How to help

To send cards and letters to the Amish Families affected by the shootings: Bart Township Fire Company P.O. Box 7211 Furnace Road Bart, PA 17503 For information on how to help financially:

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Pray for these families.

In 2001, my sister, my daughters and I went on a 15 day camping trip through out New England. Toward the end of our trip we stayed in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. We found the Amish there to be gentle spoken, and very kind toward a van load of lost, road weary women trying to buy eggs for their breakfast. There is a sense of peacefulness and order that permeates their farms, picturesque with their petunia edged gardens and bucolic surroundings. We drove by a one room school house, with it's teeter totter on the play ground and commented on how idyllic it looked. At Bird in the Hand farmer's market, the youngest children played at their mother's feet or were held in her arms while she waited on customers. The young boys and girls helped restock the pies, cakes, or other homemade items for sale. They captured my heart, those little girls in their aprons and little boys with their straw hats. When I heard the news about the shooting in Lancaster yesterday, it almost brought me to my knees. I can't stop crying when I think of it. Every school shooting is a heartbreaking, horrible tragedy, but the truth is, sadly, we have come to expect the news of them, and to expect copycat events to follow any major school shooting. This week has been rife with them. Somehow, I had hoped there was a place that was safe, a place where this couldn't happen. I am so sorry I was wrong.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Great Frugal Fall Fix Up Part 1

The temperature dropped below 85 and the Fall Fix Up Bug bit us. We have been patching, painting, sewing, mulching and planting. The most satisfying project by far for me is my "This Old Couch" fix up. As you can tell in the before picture it was seriously in need of a make over. Our dearly departed dog, Toby, did a number on the cushions. It was dirty, torn and just all around objectionable. I knew I couldn't afford a new sofa, and if I messed it up really bad I would just have to invest in slipcovers. So, with nothing much to lose, my daughter Laura and I set out to make it over. We found the matching material for a total of $20. Laura used her imprssive sewing skills and made new covers for the cushions. I set about recovering the arms and washing and restuffing the back pillows. Now you don't sink into the back of the sofa, it actually supports you. The pictures don't do it justice. I am so happy how it turned out, especially considering the fact that neither of us had never tried to recover anything before. I remember now why I picked it in the first place. I love the colors. click to enlarge So I have a "new" sofa for around $35 total plus labor. I'm happy and Randy is VERY happy! LOL. Hopefully it will last at least another 10 or more years. Truly a frugal makeover.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

I love my camera...

click to enlarge

because I can take great pictures of bugs and stuff. I took this while Tyler and I were at Ijams. We love to go there for field trips. I took some great pictures of frogs in the bog there.

I would really like to learn to take portraits. I really like black and white photography. The problem is lighting. I don't want to invest in lights right now. Amanda, Jesse's gf, is a photographer. I am going to have to pick her brain for info.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

I have found the Grail.....

Tyler and I spent the day at our favorite nature park here in town, Ijams. We wanted to talk to the ranger there about a hawk we had seen perched on our porch railing. He told us it was probably a Cooper's hawk instead of a Red Tail and he was very impressed with the video my little camera took. On our way home through this little historic neighborhood I saw a sign for a yard sale. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am physcially unable to pass up a good yard sale. Unfortunately when we stopped it didn't look very promising. There were lots of cans of various cleaners and boxes of rusty tools. They had some overpriced, but nice, antique glass. I was about to tell Tyler it was time to go when something in the corner of my eye caught my attention. When I turned, ( and I swear this part is true! :P ) the clouds parted, a beam of sunlight cut through the gloom, guiding, leading and directing me. I'm not positive, but I think there was an Angel, striking a very Vanna White like pose, right behind the most beautiful white, classic Kitchen Aid mixer I have every seen! Check it out for yourself...

I could hardly breath! I have been wanting a Kitchen Aide for at least 20 years. I could never bring myself to pay the price they wanted for a new one and had never been lucky enough to find one second hand. The price on this one was $25! I could hardly believe my luck. I casually walked over to the lady in charge and asked..."Everything on that mixer work?" Her answer was yes, that it had been sitting in her cabinet for years and she decided it was time to get rid of it. I couldn't have agreed with her more! LOL. Ever the bargain hunter, I can't believe I had the nerve, I asked her if she would take $20 and she said YES! I told Tyler to carry the bowl and beaters, I grabbed the mixer and loaded it in the truck. All the while expecting her to run after me waving my twenty screaming, "Wait! I've made a terrible mistake!" I'm afraid I would have had to clock her and run! LOL . So I have a Kitchen Aide mixer! Yipee! I can't wait to make something really yummy! Like 5 dozen chocolate chip cookies! Hmm....I'm gonna need more kids. Maybe this wasn't such a great deal after all!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Fab Four

Randy surprised Juliana and Tyler with tickets to see the group 1964. They are a wonderful Beatles tribute band considered to be the best anywhere. I would highly recommend them if you are a fan.Our kids have been raised on Beatle music. Golden Slumbers was their lullaby and we sang early Beatles stuff in the car on road trips. They all four are fans . Juliana even did a Andy Warhol inspired piece of them for her art class and on my birthday I got a serenaded with Beatle music by Tyler. It was a fun evening and a great time to share as a family. The only thing that would have made it better is if Jesse and Laura could have been there.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

American Idol

Randy and I attended the American Idol tour concert in Nashville this past weekend. Friends of ours gave us tickets and even paid for our hotel! We owe them big time. The concert was wonderful. Every one of them sound better in person than on TV. I was really impressed with Lisa Tucker, who played the piano beautifully, and Paris, man can that girl dance! But the one that really surprised me was Ace. There is no doubt the boy is a looker, but I was never impressed with his performances on the show. In person his voice amazed me. It is much stronger and his stage presence is much better than on the show. He must be a skateboarder because the boy can flat jump! He sailed off a couple of ramps and managed to clear the heads of those near him! Chris was phenomenal! He opened his set with Whole Lot of Love and really rocked the house. He has a fabulous voice. But my man, Taylor, is just amazing. There is just something about him, he is just so FUN to watch. I think it is because you can tell he is having such a blast. We loved it and I look forward to hearing what these talented people produce. I think this year was probably the best over all as far as talent goes for the show. The next day we took Tyler and toured Nashville. We met an adorable couple from England. They were on their honeymoon. He plays in a Blues band and their honeymoon was touring the birthplaces of the Blues in America. They were just charming! I wish them the very best. We took Ty to the state museum and capitol. We all learned a lot about Tennessee history. Great field trip. We saw the Parthenon, that is certainly impressive! We did the whole Music Row thing, ate at Rainforest Cafe. We even saw a photo shoot for Montgomery Gentry. We spent that night in Nashville as well then headed to Franklin and Murfreesboro to check out the civil war sights. More homeschooling. All in all it was a wonderful weekend. I would like to go back to Nashville soon. The Frist museum, Country Music Hall of Fame and Opry Mills mall are calling my name.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

My Hairy 6'5" Tall Baby.

Jesse dropped by. I like the beard but he had to shave it off for work. He has to keep up that corporate look.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Rock on!

Randy bought a turntable for my birthday. We have enjoyed listening to our old albums from our high school days. The music still sounds just as good as it did then...well...most of it. I can't say much for some of the disco I bought! LOL. At least it was fun. We had considered getting rid of them. I'm glad we didn't. Our children have been raised on rock and roll. They can recognize almost every Beatles song. They are familiar with much of the old stuff. Which is more than I can say for their friends. It is almost sinful when a kids asks "Who are the Beatles?" Randy almost has a coronary! Too many kids think music began with the groups they listen to. We tried to expose our children to all types of music from classic on down the line. Juliana requested a Frank Sinatra collection for Christmas a few years back. I think she was 15. One of our favorite songs to listen to when they were young was Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue. I can't say they appreciated my using Edgar Winter's Free Ride to wake them up though. But it sure was fun! LOL

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Glad for Glads

Summer is in full force. The garden is coming along great, even if I do have to water constantly because of lack of rain. My Glads look good. I took this pic with my new camera. I love it. Now I just need to figure out all the buttons. The yard was full of birds this morning. Randy and I counted 5 Woodpeckers, 3 Blue Jays, 2 Robins, a Blue Bird and various little brown birds that I couldn't identify. I have never seen more than 2 Woodpeckers at once. What is up with that? Maybe I've been invaded with whatever bugs they love. Euuuuwwwah......hope they eat them all!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Fourth of July

Having the 4th fall on Tuesday seems weird. Randy, Tyler and I ate barbque and celebrated. We are planning on going downtown for the fireworks, but it looks like a storm is blowing in. Can't complain because we need the rain. Actually, I'm a little blue. Laura is in NY state working. Jesse had to work today. Juliana spent the day with her boyfriend and his family. This empty nest thing stinks. I'm missing the old days. Wish I had a cook out or something to go to. This picture was taken from my front porch this past April.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Always a Southern Girl

Today is my Grandfather's birthday. He was born in 1896 and died in 1974. He helped raise my sister and me after my father died. He was truly a Southern gentleman, and I miss him everyday. Took this test, hmmm...maybe I need to brush up on my Southern English. ***Your Linguistic Profile:*** 40% Dixie 35% General American English 10% Upper Midwestern 5% Midwestern 5% Yankee What Kind of American English Do You Speak?

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

My Hero...sigh.....

It's a bird, it's a's Umbrella Man! My 14 year old is a funny guy. He always manages to get a laugh out of me. I couldn't resist this pose he struck.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Momma's Boys

We just got back from Alabama where we attended my hubby's family reunion and celebration of his Mother's 90th birthday. Here is a picture of her and the 6 boys in the family. There were also 6 girls. Can you imagine?! It is really hard to believe that tiny woman gave birth to those 12 big kids!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

I've gotten brave in my old age. There was a time I wouldn't venture out on my own exploring. Something about it makes me nervous. I suppose it is because I'm not used to handling everything on my own. I met my husband 1 month after I left home, we were engaged 3 weeks later and married 7 months later. I have never really been on my own. I encourage my children to experience life, but as they will tell you, I temper it with strong warnings about guarding their safety.When we took our last business trip to Cherokee NC, while my husband slept, I took off and explored the Blue Ridge Parkway.I drove up to 5250 ft elevation. Tame by Rocky Mountain standards, but by Smoky Mountain standards, pretty nice. It was a beautiful day, and I could see for miles. I spent my youth in the flatlands of southern Alabama, on land that my family has owned for about 70 years. I love that place, but when I saw these mountains for the first time, I felt as though I had found my place. I've lived here in Tennessee as long as I lived on that land in Alabama, and like they say, home is where your heart is.

Replacing old posts....Norris Post from October 2005

Thursday, October 06, 2005 This morning I woke up before dawn. I lay there unable to go back to sleep. I decided that this morning was a perfect day for a trip to my favorite place in the whole world...Norris Dam State Park. My daughter loves to go there as much as I do so I woke her to see if she wanted to go with me, she did! We left in the early morning darkness, the neighbors houses were still dark. It takes about 20 minutes to get there. I was surprised how heavy the traffic was. So many people have to be at work early. I feel sorry for them. I remember those days and am grateful working at home.We parked at the cabin area to watch a herd of deer for awhile then went down by the river to watch for Herons. We were lucky enough to see one. There wasn't as much wildlife around as usual. I was sorry about that because it was the first time my daughter has been home and able to go up there with me for awhile.There is something that happens when I get there. I can feel the peacefulness settle over me. The tensions just fade and I feel so mellow. I so miss living in the country. I guess it is true what they say about never getting the country out of the girl. I'll never truly be happy living in a city. I try to make my home a refuge. I decorate it in a way that harkens back to the home I grew up in. I use my Grandmother's oil lamps and quilts. I keep scents around that remind me of home, like Cinnamon and Gingerbread. Hopefully my children will have good memories of their home.