Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Nothin' but a 'thing'

I have a new 'thing.' I feel at peace when the kitchen sink is clean. Weird I know. The strange thing: it feels oddly therapeutic to do the dishes. Lately the last thing I do before I go to bed is clean the kitchen. I feel ready to sleep after the counter tops are clear, the dishes are done and the kitchen smells nice. It's so nice to get up in the morning and see a clean shiny sink with at least one empty side for filling up the kettle and for rinsing out my coffee press after I am done making coffee.

What happened? I used to hate the dishes. This is new for me, probably starting in the last couple of months. Maybe it's one of the ways I've learned to cope with the stresses of life?

What about you? Do you have "things" like this?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry White Christmas!

My absolute favorite Christmas movie is "White Christmas," in fact, it's probably in my top 5 favorite movies. One of the channels is having an all day and night marathon, and we had it playing for about 4 or 5 hrs today. I have so many fun memories growing up of watching it on the VHS tape my mom recorded it on from channel 5. Then my freshman year of college, my parents sent me the DVD for an early Christmas surprise the week before break. I watch it a couple of times a year besides Christmastime, but I think I've seen it 3 times in the last month. I can't get enough of it.

so for your viewing pleasure...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Projects for the new year

After the Holidays, when I am back in TN, I'm sure I'll be looking for some diversion. I've been collecting craft projects in my bookmarks for awhile, and here are some I want to try before I move.

Fabric Covered Thumbtacks

photo and instructions can be found at How about Orange...

Doily Canvas Bag

Soo cute, right? Featured on Design Sponge, but more photos and instructions can be found at Ashley Ann: Under the Sycamore

Button Trees

I want to make one of these for every season. More photos and instructions can be found at Inspiring Creations

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Quick update

Good Morning lovely friends, I just wanted to post an update for those who might be curious. My Mom is doing very well. She has been up walking, and she got some rest last night. She still has lots of pain meds and tubs helping her feel well. Last night, I think we both slept off and on, but it's a bit of a blurr so I don't know how much we slept. The tech comes in every couple of hrs and the nurse came in twice. Luckily we had a good nurse last night and if we needed anything it wasn't too hard to find her. Mom woke up with some pain about 5:30, but after some Motrin in her iv she felt somewhat better. She will probably be in the hospital until Monday or Tuesday. Since the surgery was pushed back so late in the day, I think she will be here a little longer.

The sun is just starting to come up. It gets light much later here-I'm used to seeing the sun by 7 am where I live.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Hold tight...

Today my sweet mom is having surgery for endometriosis. It's a disease I know a lot about because I have it as well. My mom and I have always wondered if she had it too. Her symptoms weren't the same as mine, but from things I read it made sense that she might. It tends to show up in families. Even though the causes of endo (endometriosis) are unknown, scientists believe environmental things like chemicals in our homes and pesticides in our foods may be at fault. Who knows what my mom and I were exposed to during our life times.

So today mom is having a hysterectomy, oophorotomy, colon resection, appendectomy and whatever repair work that might be necessary once the doctor sees the damage caused by the endo scar tissue. It has all really shaken my family. I feel confident that this is the right time and that the Lord has His hand in this surgery, but I can see how it has impacted my precious Dad and brothers. But it's funny, boys are different than girls. They don't share their feelings all over the place and lean on others by giving pieces of their emotions to them. How do you help those around you when you don't know how they are feeling? My mom was so strong in the last week, but it was an anxious time for her. My brothers and my dad deal with stress and emotions in their own ways, and the waiting is an anxious time for them. I am such a do-er and a fixer and I search for ways to help- but I think this is the lesson I've been learning lately: God is the ultimate fixer and resolver. In relationships and in my personal life lately I have had to hand over the fix-it belt, and tool box to God. I've had to say, "Okay God, I'm not going to try everything and anything to fix this situation. I am going to let you do your work in your own time." The timing thing is frustrating, but I'm learning that His methods are better than mine. And in the end, He knows the outcome and I don't.

As I'm sitting here in the surgery waiting room, with an hour and a half left in Mom's surgery, I am handing my do it yourself, independent, fixer of all problems attitude over to God.

Lord, Grant us your peace. Please show me the ways I can help my family tonight,
and help me to love them with your strength and grace. Jehovah Rophe, heal Mom's
body, and guide the doctor's hands and eyes tonight.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I'm going home today

I'm traveling up north this afternoon. I'm already cold just thinking about it! Brr! I love Christmas, and I couldn't imagine doing Christmas anywhere but home with my family. With all the familiar decorations and traditions. I would miss our real live Christmas tree and Charlie playing in the snow. Oh yes, and the snow. :) I normally hold a grudge against the stuff, but at Christmastime I love it. I hope it snows 5 feet while I'm there.

I'll get to see my wonderful friends, Nadia, Andrea, Melissa and (hopefully) Alyssa this year. I get to meet Andrea's sweet new baby. I'll go to church with my family, and I hope we make it to the candlelight service (that's my favorite). I'm looking forward to all of this plus about a zillion other things that make up my time at Home.

Home is a weird word for me. Home is the place I grew up, the house I grew up in, and the state where I lived most of my life. Most days now, it means the apartment where I live and the return address I write on mail I send. But I've been learning that I need another kind of "Home" that it is separate from any physical location. Home is a feeling of belonging, of comfort and security. It is knowing that you are where you are supposed to be and doing what you are supposed to be doing. This sense of Home is something I didn't know how much I needed until this year.

"Birds find nooks and crannies in your house,
sparrows and swallows make nests there.
They lay their eggs and raise their young,
singing their songs in the place where we worship.
God-of-the-Angel-Armies! King! God!
How blessed they are to live and sing there!
And how blessed all those in whom you live,
whose lives become roads you travel..."
Psalm 84:3-6 The Message

Where do you find your home?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Pretty Air Purifiers...

picture from
I can't help but love house plants. I even considered becoming a botanist. (for about 2 days during my senior year of high school... ) Who knows where my interest in plants comes from. Maybe it's my mom, who loves to garden and knows each name of the plants she grows. I'm sure she used to get sick of me always asking, "what is this one called again?" Haha, with the way my memory works I'm SURE she got sick of me asking. Or maybe I picked up my interest from my Grandma, Patricia, who dreamed of a kitchen herb garden for years and finally got it at their home in the country.

I do know one thing for sure, my love of flowers is my own. Bursting with color and fragrance, what is not to love about flowers? God created the world's colors to bloom into flowers and color is one of my true loves in life. Secondly, my mind remembers in scents and smells. So to me, the scents of fragrant herbs and flowers bring memories to my mind. For instance, my Grandparents had a stone patio surrounded by pine trees and boxwoods. And now anytime I am near a boxwood, I remember the leisurely dinners we would have on their patio. Or when I smell a rose, I think of my Grandma Joyce who would surround herself with roses if she could. 

I can't surround myself with fresh flowers, and house plants give me a way to bring something green and growing in the house.  Read a post at Fine Green Design to read more about using houseplants to "green" your home.  I really enjoy keeping houseplants if only for some live color here and there around the house.  They also purify the air, a huge benefit in my book.  Currently I have three in the living room and one in the kitchen.  My favorite houseplant is ivy, especially variegated varieties. 

Ivy is so easily trained to trail in any direction you'd like by turning it towards the light or winding it around a wire frame.  My mom used to keep an ivy plant that she wound around a wire heart standing up in a pot. 

I also love citrus trees.  They take a long time to grow, but you can start them from lemon, lime or grapefruit seeds.  The only thing is that grown from a seed, a citrus tree will not bear fruit unless it is pollinated.  But you can buy trees from a company like that will bear fruit.  Like this lime tree:

or this Meyer Lemon Tree:

Just about the easiest kinds of houseplants to have are succulents.  They can be watered once every week or two weeks, and they love the warm air inside of our houses in the winter. 

Something I have not had a lot of success at growing inside, but would love to try some again is a potted herb garden.  Rosemary, basil, and parsley are my favorites.  Each time I've tried to grow them, they seem to die on me.  I think I watered one too much, one not enough, and forgot to water the other one... 

picture from

I've also tried to grow a rosemary topiary.  Aren't these cool?
picture from

picture from

Have I inspired you to buy some houseplants?  

Saturday, December 5, 2009

I think you should try it sometime...

Painting Pottery is so relaxing. Really, you should try it sometime. If you don't know what I'm talking about, there are these places where you can go and pick out a plain piece of unglazed pottery, paint it to your fancy and they will glaze it and fire it for you. It comes out looking like a normal ceramic plate or dish or mug or whatever you chose to paint. Usually it costs $5-$8 just for the paint, studio time and glazing and firing, but the cost of the pottery varies.

My first attempt was with some college friends one weekend and I had no idea what I was doing. It turned out just a little bit better than my worst kindergarten project. It was a tall mug with green and brown polka dots. Next try: a sugar and creamer set to match said kindergarten project. The results were somewhat worse than the mug. I tried to give them away to goodwill a month ago and my mom caught me in the act, saying she would take them home with her because she liked them. Ha. Now they really feel like kindergarten artwork.

Things changed for me when we painted at a studio in Lebanon, TN. Someone had created a polka dot design using small dots of paint that was cute, and not anything like a kindergarten art project. There was no worrying about staying in the lines, coating the paint evenly or even choosing colors that would layer correctly. So I tried it, and it turned out so well!
Here's a picture of what it looked like before it was glazed and fired:
And here is a picture of what it looked like after glazing and firing.

Since then I've branched out some, and I'm learning there are even more tricks to this trade.
1. You have to expect brushstrokes to show through if you do less than 2 1/2 coats of paint
2. Never plan on the colors you choose turning out as planned, pottery painting studios have rogue paint
3. Be creative with how you apply the paint. My personal favorite: dipping the end of the paintbrush into the paint and making small dots
4. Don't trust yourself to paint in strait lines, round circles or within a certain area- those tiny mistakes will show up in flashing neon lights once the piece is fired
5. The solution to this? pick a design that is forgiving: no need for strait lines, allow imperfect circles and blend the colors a little bit. It's more artsy that way... right? :)
6. If in doubt, go for a simple design. You won't regret it later. Leave the pottery blank except for a swirling design, choose a monochromatic color scheme, or even paint one color inside the piece and one color on the outside of the piece

Friday, December 4, 2009

Waiting for Spring to Come!

I'm getting my own place in March or April and I've been collecting decorating ideas for awhile now. I've always loved mixing and matching styles and I am so excited to have a place all my own to play in. I'm making a scrapblog with all of my ideas, but I though I'd share some of them here too. I read so many blogs and see so many things that inspire me, so I don't have all of the sources. (sorry, friends!) I will try and keep better track of where I am finding these things.

#1 This white dresser makes me smile because of the way it's paired with the lamp, bird figurine and *of course* the vase of daffodils. I have a vase that looks just like this lamp base, which I adore. I wonder if I could turn it into a lamp?

#2 This picture is from Better Homes and Gardens. And believe it or not, there is a small tv behind the curtains on this shelving unit. It used to be one of those ugly particle board entertainment units, and now it's an adoreable piece of furniture! I just need to find an ugly entertainment center at a thrift store or a garage sale...

#3 This picture is from Better Homes and Gardens, in a slideshow on called "hand me down living room." What I love about it is how bright and homey it feels. I'm planning on buying a long couch and I think I'm going to look for one this color. I'm really drawn to Creams, Browns and Tans in the living room. It makes it really easy to throw in bright spots of color and to change them often. My bedroom furniture is black and white, so it would be nice to have browns in another room.

#4 I have a few empty picture frames, so I'm on my way to getting this layered look. The middle one in this picture is really pretty. Mine are painted black and brown right now, but I'm thinking I might like to paint them white. White, bright and cheerful is the look I want. This picture is from the blog, fairehoure.