Thursday, December 27, 2012


Looking ahead....

Like many, I find I do a lot of reflecting at the end of the year. Some years are better than others; some leave us with sobering lessons while others bring us a sense of satisfaction and promise.

2012 will be one of those years that while I will remember the lessons learned, I will not be sad to see it end.

I am looking forward to the new beginning. As I hang my new calendar, I am reminded that 2013 is a brand new year ~ with no mistakes (yet)!

For years now, I have refrained from making new year's resolutions. Not that I can't use improvement in various areas, but to avoid the inevitable opportunity of falling short of my expectations.

This year, I am stepping into 2013 one step at a day at a time. It is my hope to spend more time in the garden...


     my studio...


           .... and with friends.


I will stop and take in more sunsets...
I will slow down and enjoy my morning walks...
My New Year wish for you, dear blog followers, is to do what makes you happy. Make time for yourself ~ indulge in your passion...whatever it may be. Time is elusive...and there is no way to get it back.

May 2013 be the year you rekindle your interests...whether it be reading, hiking, cooking, art, crafting, sewing, gardening, scrapbooking....give yourself the gift of time for you.

Then, at the end of 2013....let's compare notes and see how we did!
Happy New Year!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Autumn Leaves

About this time every year, the leaves begin their farewell soiree. The deep greens begin to fade and the yellows, golds, reds and rusts slowly emerge in magical patterns. And, just before they take to the wind, just when you think you've seen the best color ever, Mother Nature takes the display up one more notch.

And it is a bittersweet time. We wait for the fall and the cooler weather ... we wait with delicious anticipation for those crisp, blue skies and for the trees to don their autumn wardrobe. Then, in a blink of an eye (or, so it seems), the winds come, the leaves dance and flutter to the ground in a grand finale.

When Roxie and I take our morning walk, I watch for fallen leaves that I can bring home and display on the mantle and bookcase. I think this is my way of holding on to autumn ... not wanting to let her go just yet.

During our walk, we pass a magnificent Sycamore tree that has leaves that are as big as a dinner plate! The leaves from this tree turn from green to yellow/rust and then, a soft sienna. Some have holes in them while others have variegated tones....each one has it's own character.  
2000 ~ before our official mantle, we had just a warm, chunky shelf...perfect
for autumn displays!
So, I  bring them in and add them to the mantel. If they survive, I add a little sparkle to them and often times, they find a spot on our Christmas tree! I thought maybe you might want to give this a's really quite easy!

Supplies: sponge brush, Elmer's glue, iridescent clear glitter, a small pie tin, a bit of water and some newspaper to place on the work space. 
Put a blob of glue in the pie tin and add a bit of water. Mix with brush. If too thick, add a little more water. The glue should have some body; you don't want it too watery. 
Brush the glue on to the leaf. I usually start with the edges. Then, I brush the parts of the leaves that are raised and contoured. I try to think how the leaf might look if it was in the snow, and apply the glue accordingly. Remember, leaves change color, shape and dry there is no wrong way to do this! 
 Sprinkle with glitter! Shake off excess and return to container.  Let dry. 
 They look like they have been found in the snow!  
 If it is snowing in your neck of the woods right now, add just a few snow-kissed leaves to your mantle suggest a hint of the changing weather!

...I just can't get enough of Autumn!

C'mon, Roxie! Do you want to go for a walk?!!!
(You know what she said, don't you?!)


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

the Kitchen ~ the Real Heart of the Home

My friend, Susan Branch, posted yesterday that she was refreshing her kitchen. Hardwood floors refinished, a fresh coat of paint....and, all I could think of was our kitchen remodel. So here is our story....

Autumn ~ 1987
After a year of looking, we found our first house.  A little two-bedroom number with a covered patio and fireplace, two bathrooms and a farm-style kitchen.

We were excited, nervous, anxious .... we had bought a house! Two weeks before we moved in, Charlie spent nights and weekends removing wallpaper, patching walls and painting. My friend, Mary, came one weekend and we spent three days scraping the hardwood floors. The previous owner had slathered varnish on the hardwood floors with a rag mop...and, without cleaning or vacuuming! What a mess!

We took possession Halloween night. Charlie went up to the house to do some work and to see what the All Hallows Eve traffic looked like. He returned after midnight and gave me the full report: The bedroom walls were done. And, the neighborhood was eerily too quiet for our Halloween appetites! None the less, we moved in mid-November and set about making this house our home.

Whitney - 1 1/2 years old

For years, this little kitchen hummed with celebratory meals big and small. Nothing was too big for this humble kitchen.  Birthdays, dinners with friends, holidays and celebrations...we somehow managed to prepare the feast for the event without a hitch!

In 1991, it survived an earthquake and the addition of the second story with only minor (or, so we thought) cracks in the walls.

As the years passed, it became quite apparent that this farm kitchen could use a bit of, er, refreshing. I had been dreaming of rearranging the kitchen....move the stove where the sink was, move the sink to the north wall and add BIG windows so I could see the mountains while I washed the dishes. Oo0ooO0o! I had binders full of ideas, magazine examples, notes and sketches. Finally, in October 2007, we met with Dave (husband of one of our Girl Scouts, JR). I handed him the plethora of sketches, pictures and notes and asked him if he would draw up the plans.

It only took a few weeks and Dave was back with some initial plans....after discussing the plans and tweaking a thing or two....we gave him the OK!

Demo day was set for March 1, 2008.....and, in true tradition, we decorated the soon-to-be demoed walls with doodles and quotes with permanent markers. Whenever embarking on a large project where one needs to reside, it is highly recommended to subscribe to some serious silliness....

Our demo team arrived at 8 a.m. Most everything had been packed so all the guys had to do was move the appliances and then, the walls!

L-R: Dave (architect), my Charlie, Scott (contractor and right arm man) & Charlie ("CB") (my cousin).

After coffee and donuts...the work really began...
Sledge hammers in hand, Dave and Scott made mincemeat out of our one little counter!

Inspector Tom checks out the naked walls.

With the kitchen out of commission, we set up a camp-style kitchen on the patio. Complete with refrigerator, microwave and TV, meals continued without a hitch!

When it rained, we sat by the fireplace while dinner cooked.

By mid-June, the guys had completed the window framing...

Scott, CB and Charlie celebrate another milestone!

A little humor goes a long way in a construction zone!

At the end of each day, we would review the task board...removing those that were completed and adding new ones.

The floor was installed in July. Whitney stopped by to see the progress.

Charlie buffs out a few rough spots while Whitney texts.

He's rather impressed with the project!

As workers came and went, Pete was on duty making sure all was well!

6 1/2 months later, we moved back into the kitchen.

The new walk-in pantry!

 Our new old Wedgewood stove! TWO ovens and a griddle in the middle!

Look at all of that counter space! And, the BIG windows to the north!
A real dream come true!
Let the celebrations continue!

Holiday dinners are now a breeze! Well, ok, still a lot of work, but now we can cook without tripping over each other! And, family & friends can hang out in the kitchen (where they often do...) while  Chef Chuck orchestrates the final details of the meal!

The kitchen is the Heart of the Home...where family and friends gather!

Chef Chuck and me.

...and, we're still finding marshmallows!