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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Lorena’s Chair

It is the abandoned family photographs found at flea markets that pinch at my heartstrings.

I always ask myself the same question, “How has this happened that no one cares enough to keep such personal things?”

But I know the answer.

I’ve lived the answer.

Sometimes it’s circumstances.

Living as a young airman’s wife I moved 4 times in one year. It was a struggle to pack and load my great grandmother Lorena’s old sewing machine and cabinet. It had no purpose for me really. The sewing machine was beyond repair and the veneer on top of the cabinet was badly in need of costly restoration. I used it haphazardly as a table surface most of time. There came a time in which the government needed me to make hard choices about what to take and what to keep in order to remain within weight restrictions allowed in military moves. I made inquiries to the few remaining family members left and no one was interested. So, the cabinet was sadly sold to a very nice man who wanted to restore it for his wife.

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Sometimes it timing. 

After my grandma Mary’s death and my Papa Jack was living in an Alzheimer's care facility I set to the task of cleaning out their home. Fifty plus years of a well lived life together. So many of their things left a fingerprint of time in my mind. There was amazing mid century furniture that they had carefully saved for, purchased and treasured for many years. As a wife I already had a house full of furniture so most of it was sold, some was donated and the rest given away. A few years later my daughter had her own place and was in desperate need of furniture. Her tastes run to mid century. Isn’t that always the way?

I did however bring home the huge and heavy family bible. The first inscription inside was for the birth of John Bradley in 1819. As I initially looked at the bible an index card fluttered to the ground. I picked it up and read it. It stated how the bible had come into the hands of my grandmother, Mary Bradley Varner, the great granddaughter of John Bradley. The last line on the card was that the bible was to be kept “in the family with someone who cares.” I was the only one cleaning out the house.

It came home with me.

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Last winter I drove our truck through a dangerous snowstorm across two states to attend a funeral. The truck was needed to collect heirlooms for family members of mine living further away. One of the items was my great grandmother’s rocking chair. Since that trip it has been sitting in my garage with the intent to live in someone else’s home. I recently learned that due to a lack of space there is no room for the chair in their home. I understand this all too well.

I brought the chair inside my house. It’s currently blocking the one main walkway in the kitchen as I write this post.

I have no room in my house for this chair either. But I cannot bring myself to sell, donate or give it away.

This is rather an ironic struggle.

After the deaths of my parents there was no room for me in any of my family members homes.

Yet somehow I have become the keeper of their things.

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How is this possible?

As an adult I now understand about timing and circumstances. But more importantly I have learned about unwavering love.

Love always protects, trusts, hopes and perseveres.


“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8

Friday, August 28, 2015

Hanging a Mirror OVER Another Mirror

There is nothing like the impending arrival of a gaggle of guests to get you motivated to finish projects in your home. Some of you may remember our wine rack bathroom. I wrote a post about it last January. Since that post absolutely NOTHING has been done to the room. The problem is that the sink needs to be replaced. The thirty year old cultured marble sink and surround has yellowed beyond the point of repair. Like anything else I have hit the pause button because just that one task creates a possible domino affect.

When the sink is removed will it damage the mirror above that has been epoxied to the wall?

Will the sink removal damage the cabinet underneath?

So I have done nothing. But now feel I must do something.

Enter in the layered mirror.

Sounds so simple right?

It would be if perhaps I wanted to use a mirror with a long leather strap I could hang right above the existing mirror.

Or if I simply wanted to use a thin wire cable.

Layering is another great option but not when a sink and water are involved.

Trying to find a way to hang a mirror over a mirror or layer a mirror over a mirror has not resulted in an EASY button. Believe me I’ve googled every type of description you can think of.

The results have offered :

Suction cups with hooks.

Velcro strips.

3M command strips.

But of course I want to use an antique French mirror.

So, I don’t want to use a somewhat reliable method that might send my lovely mirror crashing to the tiled floor at 2 o’clock in the morning.

I found only ONE possible solution. This involves drilling a hole into the existing mirror to hang hardware.

Still not an easy fix.

I know you want to keep the large mirror in your powder lets hang a decorative one over the top.

But I CAN see it in my head. Once done I would go ahead and paint the base of the cabinet navy blue. When I do get around to pulling out the sink if it needs touchups so be it.

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In the meantime here is the mirror in question carefully propped up on the faucet. The faucet will be replaced when the sink is. The black spray paint job, done by a former occupant, is peeling rather badly.

Now it’s your turn to convince Mr. Décor that this is a good idea and to do it this weekend. :)

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Until next time I bid you happy weekend wishes. :)

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Would you do a layered look?


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Back To School Tablescape

Sunday evening we had our annual “Back to School” feast. For some reason I am usually the only one excited about this yearly event. :)

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I get such joy from creating tablescapes that the kids will love. Scrabble tiles are always fun.

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I started by creating a table runner of college ruled paper. I used double stick tape to hold it in place. Protractors, rulers and pencils also help to carry out the theme.

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The chalkboard placemats were an after Christmas find at Target, but I have also seen them at craft supply and dollar stores.

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The yearbooks belonged to my mother, Karen. The old globe usually hangs out in Sweet Guy’s room.

His favorite cherry limeade soda is made by a Texas bottling company. I find it at local grocery stores but Cost Plus also carries it.

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A red striped straw and bakers twine just seem to make everything cuter.

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Next to the table, in the bay window, I placed our antique wagon.

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I tucked in an old encyclopedia I recently found at the thrift store.

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Can you guess why I had to bring it home?

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The next morning as Sweet Guy sat down to breakfast he said, “Mom, you are completely crazy, but in a good way.” What can I say? I grew up in an era of “Weird Science.”

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The new 8th grader was already in the car when I remembered at the last moment that we hadn’t taken a back to school photo. Thank goodness for smart phones and accommodating sons.

8th grade

Wishing all students a great school year!


Monday, August 24, 2015

A Bit of Fall for the Front Door

Do you hear that? The silence? That’s right, all is quiet on the cottage front because today is BACK TO SCHOOL! The day all mothers half dread and half adore. We had a very busy weekend preparing for this auspicious day.

But I did sneak in one wee craft for the front door.

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My friend Marty from A Stroll Thru Life is hosting a Fall Home Tour and has graciously invited me to join in the fun. It is scheduled for September 7th through the 11th. With the way time flies I thought I’d better get started.

I wanted to create a welcoming arrangement for the front door. As I am not a big fan of the colors orange and rust fall décor can be a bit tricky. But I found some inspiration in the floral aisle of At Home (formerly Garden Ridge).

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My favorite finds were the faux oak leaf stems that featured tiny little acorns.

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I thought it might be fun to add a bit of sparkle so out came the glue and glitter.

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The pumpkin stems now have a bit of panache as well.

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One challenge I have is that our front door features a long oval window. Traditional round wreaths look rather out of place. So when I spied a metal basket with touches of a darker shade of our front door color I felt as though I had found a winner.

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I positioned a block of florist foam inside the metal basket and began adding in the faux flora and fauna until it was a truly bountiful harvest.

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As I stepped back I decided it needed a bit of ribbon so that it could hang a bit lower on the door. I didn’t have any on hand but I’ll make sure it’s done by the home tour.

The paint color can be found HERE.

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Because it’s Monday I thought I would give you a “Keepin’ it real” shot. While I was hanging up the fall basket Franz caught a frog and brought it to me in his mouth as a gift. Blah!

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Have you gotten any special gifts lately?


Sunday, August 23, 2015

Let’s All Plant Weeds…

Day after day we hear in the news about how one person can’t make a difference in our world.

Are you ready to make a huge difference by doing something very small?

The Monarch butterfly and other pollinators need our help. Desperately.

You can help by planting milkweed.

Milkweed has been virtually eliminated on America’s farms due to the over use of pesticides such as Roundup.

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The butterfly, and other important pollinators, feed on milkweed, lay their eggs on milkweed and go through their caterpillar metamorphous phase on milkweed.

You may recall that I am a huge proponent of buying local and organic. There are many reasons that I do this. First and foremost I do it for the health of my family. But other factors include that the aggressive use of pesticides in non organic farming are slowing killing our pollinators such as bees and butterflies. Pesticide is rampant in our soil and the run off pollutes our water.

People say they cannot afford organic. Not to be Dolly Doomsday, but medical treatment for various diseases is far more expensive versus buying a $5 bag of organic produce over a $2 bag. Not to mention the organic tastes so much better because its growing cycle is not forced. Flavor develops naturally.

Organic strawberries, which are currently in season,  need no sugar. They are red right through. 

If we lose the pollinators we also lose the ground nesting birds and small mammals that also share the butterflies habitat. In turn if we lose those creatures we then lose the predators that feed on them and the downward cycle continues. Simply put, if we lose plant integrity the ecosystem suffers.

There is an excellent video that covers the migration area of the Monarch butterflies, why they are in danger and how you can easily help. It is worth the watch.

My garden is taking forever to get under control because we are killing off aggressive monkey grass and vines the old fashioned way… by pulling/digging it all out by hand. I hope by next spring to plant a variety of milkweed that matches the color palette of my garden.

Antelope Horns milkweed is native to Texas. It is a soft green and white.

Milkweed reminds me a bit of hydrangea. I love swamp milkweed that does well in moist environments like in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Here is an excellent site than can aide you in your search for milkweed that is native to the area in which you live.

If you can’t get on board with growing milkweed our pollinators and butterflies also need lilies and other nectar flowers which is their food source. You can simply google “How to plant a butterfly garden” and many sites are available. The National Wildlife Federation is the site I read.

So will you plant weeds to help make a huge difference?


“And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” ~ Genesis 1:30