Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Operation: Thanks for Freedom!

Recently Kat Orr posted on the 2P's stamping board a way for anyone to participate in saying "Thank You!" to our troops currently serving in the military. Below is a copy and paste of the information.

"I'm currently collecting cards to send to troops who are deployed overseas for the 4th of July. My goal is to get about 1000 cards/emails, etc.

Here's the info. Let's show our troops we love and support them!!!! Let's celebrate freedom and those who protect that freedom for us! For the next several weeks, I will be collecting cards to send to troops stationed in high-combat areas in Iraq. Mail from home helps to keep our troops' morale strong, making a very real difference in their lives!

If you wish to participate in the Operation: Thanks for Freedom! Fourth of July card drive, please send cards to the address below:

Mrs. Kat Orr
Operation: Thanks for Freedom!
740 Thompson Lane
Loganville, GA 30052

The cards can be handmade or store-bought... for that matter, they don't even have to be cards; a hand-written or typed letter is just as wonderful!

Let's all band together and overwhelm our heroes with support!!!!! You may also send emails of support and encouragement to the following email address:


Any e-mail received to this e-mail account will be printed and mailed, together with the all the other cards. If you have any questions about this campaign, please e-mail me at me at the above address.


IMPORTANT NOTE: This is not a "dating service" of any type. Please do not send suggestive or otherwise inappropriate cards or pictures. I will be reading and screening every Card received to ensure that the above guidelines are adhered to (please don't seal the envelopes, by the way)! Any card deemed inappropriate will not be sent! Remember: This is strictly to let the troops know that we love them, we are proud of them and that we HAVE NOT FORGOTTEN them!

I couldn't resist the urge to capture this image as we were leaving The Memorial Park. For us it speaks volumes. Thank you to all Veterans who have so bravely and courageously gave their service and duty. It was with a very heavy heart that I realized "some gave all." Yet, the sun and rays of light peaking out among the branches of the tree offered a ray of hope of one day seeing world peace. The tree reminded me to remain strong to my roots and to lift my arms and praise God for he truly provides all we'll ever truly need.

Woman's Memorial

Dedicated to all the woman who have and are currently serving our country.

The Iraq War dedicated to the Global War on Terrorism

Thank You!

The WWII Memorial

For the Prisoners of War and those Missing in Action

May you one day return to the United States soil for which you so bravely fought for with bravery and courage.

The Doughboy Memoria of WWI

The American-Mexican War Memorial

The Civil War Memorial

Fought on our United States soil demonstating our patriotism in preserving freedom for all!

The Freedom Tree

The Freedom Tree stands and is a memorial with a vision of freedom to all mankind. Dedicated to Capt. Bruce Nystrom and all Prisoners of War and Missing in Action 1973.

Vietnam Memorial

The Vietnam War Memorial and the one that truly touches the heart of both Don and I. As his brother, Bob served in this one. My own older brother, Rick came within orders away from going before a change of orders came through placing him in Berlin, Germany instead. I will always thank God for keeping him out of harm's way and will remember those who served with dignity and integrity in defending freedom and justice for all.

The Marion County Veterans of War who died in serving our country

I was truly touch by the wreaths and flags that decorated the Veteran's Memorial Park and all the little details such as the star that hold several of the flag poles in place. There were a variety of flags being flown from the flag of the United States of America to POW/MIA flags. Lest we forget.

The flag pole above is actually centered between these two memorial walls which are inscribed with the names of the men from Marion County who died while preserving our freedom and in the wars their lives were lost defending our country.

The Korean War Memorial

This Memorial is dedicated to the Veteran's of the Korean War to whom many Marion County Veterans are member or our local Legion's.

Desert Storm Memorial

The Veteran's Memorial Park

This Memorial is dedicated to The Revolutionary War and the original 13 colonies within the United States.

Memorial Day

We celebrated and paid our respects by visiting the Marion County WWII Veterans Memorial located within The Marion Cemetary. The names of Don's father, several uncles on both sides of our family are inscripted on the marble memorial.

Alexis - 1 month old

Memorial Day Weekend 2006

was an extremely busy weekend for us. Don worked on Friday evening and afterwards we visited with friends at the Moose staying out a little later than what we're used to as we listened to an awesome band. Both of us slept later than usual on Saturday morning and I puttered around cleaning and organizing around the house until late Saturday afternoon when Don returned from work. We decided a drive and dinner out of town sounded like just the right ticket to get away and relax a bit. Returning home we spent time with Chaos who was more than ready for some fun and adventure, and the remainder of our evening was spent relaxing on our rear deck, exhausted!

Sunday, began early, getting showered and dressed to go out of town for some shopping and to visit an Antique Flea Market. I discovered the most adorable cotton outfit consisting of capri's and a top for Alexxis in one store; at another store another outfit with a matching sun hat! Then, we ventured to the antique flea market where everything I seemed to look at had the highest price tags! I'm not certain what type of glass two little birds I picked up to price were made out of but at $25 each, I passed on the pair. I found myself a little sad that all the ephermera I enjoyed was priced way too much.... everything from photographs, postcards, and books really were above what I'd normally see and pay. Needless to say, we left empty-handed but had a great time! We did run into some friends there who we enjoyed visiting with.

We returned to town over an hour late than the invited time for a cookout with Amber, Alexxis, & Chris and his family. Everyone laughed when I said, "We're late!" as others we're running late as well. Amber really enjoyed the outfits I'd purchased for Alexxis; hopefully they will help keep her cooler in this Ohio heat wave we're experiencing. Lower temps are on the way, they say. I spent about a half an hour trying to capture pictures of Alexxis's hands and feet while she was awake. Amber and I laughed so hard as she seemed to know when the camera was aimed at them as she'd wave, move, squiggle, and sqirm every since time. I did catch two really good pics of her but had to catch her off guard to get them. Now we know to make certain she's distracted, LOL!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

This just blew me away.........


I could be oh, so inspired!!! Artists like this just make me want to pick their brains, to be near them, to share with, to learn from one another. Unfortunately, Daniel did a "hit and run" having to go after posting. I wanted to shout, "HEY! Come back here! Let me pick your brain. Let's talk technique, source of those stamps, what variations of this technique would also work? Don't leave me just yet, I'm just getting started! LOL!"

Definately an incentive to get all these previous obligation finished so I can get back to creating with my stamps. I so miss it and am so feeling the effects of rubber withdraw!

I've gotten some great ideas and inspirations for a project that has been on my mind for quite some time and I know that my muse is returning. I feel her or it or him! Whatever I might call it. It's becoming, beckoning me quietly in that still, small voice that I cannot ignore and in a project idea I've had in the works of forming for quite some time. Getting the ideas and inspiration out of my head and into my artwork is still an entirely different story as my mind somehow detours from what my artist muse originally envisions so I'm learning to be still, to wait, to know that it will come all its own good time and this isn't a project I want to rush into or through. There is something there, something inside me that needs this....... an awakening of some strange sort. I don't know how exactly to explain it but it is something that you just feel, you know, you sense! It doesn't comsume you like a fire of passion, yet it is something that you're passion it about! It provides some spark of excitement, that ignites and smolders for a while before going out, and returns to spark again one yet another day or time. Yet it lingers, on my mind, in my heart, and in my soul and somehow I just KNOW it will one day BE. More than an idea or an inspiration, it will be born into reality in its own unique way. So I wait, patiently and anxiously awaiting for the day of its birth.

While waiting, I did complete several pages of journaling for Alexxis's scrapbook album last night. I was one of those wonderful writing moods which made me realize and re-discover the pleasure I derive from writing. I'm hopeful to flourish as I devote myself to the people and creative pursuits that I LOVE! I'd love to think that in some ways doing other creative endeavors as I wait is somehow preparing me for the project that lays ahead.


I'm such a ditz sometimes! I swear.... I thought I'd mailed a swap package, in fact, I pretty darn proud of myself for getting on the swap ASAP, working on in in various stages, staying focused only on it in my creative endeavors. Heck, I even went so far as to post a reminder the deadline of the swap was near at hand and I wasn't even the hostess. Well, to add insult to the injury, while with Don in the truck yesterday morning, I reached up to pull the sunvisor down to get the sun out of my eyes and what do think fell into my lap?

Yep, you guessed it! The swap package along with some other important mail that should have been sent. Quick stop by a postal box and I mailed the one but not the swap package since it would take some time to reach its destination. I felt so bad. How the heck could think I mailed something when I hadn't???? Certainly taking it to the truck, placing it above the sunvisor isn't going to get it to its destination unless I'm driving there physically.

Anyways, I quickly posted my oops! moment to the group the swap was hosted in, then, proceeded to email the hostess of the swap to be certain she seen it. I inquiried about mailing the package on to her or whether I should open it and mail them separately to each participant.

While waiting for a reply, I decided to open the swap package. Another good thing. How did I get the idea that there was 10 participants vs. the actual 12???? Luckily, I had one extra background created so I quickly went to work finishing it up and noticed I had 2 of the instructions printed up. Somehow I definately messed up or maybe two of my ATC's fell behind the hutch base???? Hmmm, may have to check that out... Ok, nope no chance of that happening, I just checked. Anyways, I have 11 out of 12 so I decided I'll send a "dummy ATC" to be returned to me for one of my own ATC's return of the swap and to assist the hostess.

Hey, all isn't lost, I've got the instructions and a visual to use to recreate one for my own ATC collection, ROFLOL!

Friday, May 26, 2006

What's been on my mind....

Lately, a lot of things that I desire to do. Those who know me also know I'm "always" DOING. Something or other.... Lately, I've been trying to FOCUS. Narrowing down what it is it exactly that I desire.

Like everyone else, there are factors that play a major role in my life. Factors like: finding time, money, and resources to achieve my goals. These factors play such a important part in what I desire that I often find myself focusing on what I DON'T have, {like not enough time, money, and resources} to complete what I desire instead of dealing with those issues. I so easily sidetrack myself by doing other things, sort of like an ostrich burying its head in the sand!

Well, lately I decided that there is no real reasons that I cannot make my dreams happen. There are so many resources that I'm not utilizing. Time management, making money, and searching for resources to get me where I want to be. I've decided it is time to begin to set some real goals and to take the necessary steps WITH WHAT I HAVE ALREADY AVAILABLE TO ME vs. focusing on what I don't have.

My plan is to first focus on the time management thing. I find myself putting off things for one reason or another and have decided to start keeping track of what I'm doing. Hopefully, discovering where my time is going will assist me with knowing where it is that I really want my time to go. I've decided to start by finishing up all the things I currently have in works of progress. Some artful, some home decorating related, some studio related. I've decided to begin with the ART since that is the easiet one for me to put off and the one that makes me the most miserable when I do. The home decorating is mostly finishing up the painting in the kitchen, organizing it better, and getting pieces of furniture moved back into the space. The furniture that needs moved is currently used in another room of my home for art supplies that belong in my studio!

I procrastinate about the studio re-organization. Why? It's too easy to sit inside, work on the kitchen, the deck, spend time on the computer researching, chatting, learning, and doing so it becomes a vicious cycle.

Well, today, I've decided enough of this cycle! I'm going to focus on the ART. I'm going to finish up the two Art Idea Journals that are in my possession and get them postal. If I do this, finish up the two in my possession, I'll have 3 more Art Idea Journals to receive and work in and my obligation to this project will be complete!

I'm awaiting the arrival of one swap project I am hosting. A Fat, Chunky Book swap with 2 other artists. I offered to create the book covers and hand bind them using a Coptic Stitch. I thought I'd purchase some new paper to cover the book covers originally but now thinking that I just need to FOCUS on the project, have decided that I can use what I have. Doing this will save me the time spent shopping, save me money, and allow me to utilize what I have. I plan to get my butt in gear and get the book covers cut and covered while I'm waiting to receive the one so that when it arrives it will only be a matter of using my awl guide to create the holes in the signatures and covers and sew the books together.

I am also considering joining in a few new swaps. Since these swaps are usually a small group, I feel that I able to tackle a couple of them. The nature of them also enables me to use what I already have available to me... again saving me time shopping and money. Being a small group will save me some time by not biting off more than I am able to chew.

My plan is to also finish up the painting of the rear section kitchen and the touch ups of the already painted sectionh soon. I figure while the paint is drying, I can be working on the studio re-organization so that the suplies that are in the house can be moved and organized. This will free up the furniture that needs moved into the kitchen, get my supplies back into the studio where they belong. From there the kitchen will be finished and I can turn my complete attention to the studio itself and begin FOCUSING on what it is that I desire more than anything else! Getting this out of my mind and into my reality!!!! {*smiles*}

All Dressed Up and Where I Go...

off to Dreamland to chase magical sunlight and moonbeams. A place where I can chase all my hopes and dreams.

The view I see when holding you in both my arms and my heart

I've been busy....

so busy in fact that I've had very little time for myself, much less for some of my other family members or friends - both in real life or online ones. The last several days, I've spent cooking cleaning, catching up on laundry, and spending time with Alexxis. She's been such a blessing to my life!

The good news is she certainly is teaching me the importance of slowing down and enjoying the moment more. As I held her {while she slept the last several days} I noticed I couldn't seem to keep my eyes on the TV, I absorbed the Oprah show and the news that followed more by listening and quick glances. LOL! I was so afraid that I missed even one of Alexxis facial expressions. She is quite the character and I so enjoy seeing her personality emerge. The littlest things like the way she wrinkles up her forehead, frowns, grins, and smiles, and is learning to laugh and coo.

Realizing this, I am reminded of the song, "Amazed" by Lonestar.

"Every time our eyes meetThis feeling inside meIs almost more than I can takeBaby when you touch meI can feel how much you love meAnd it just blows me awayIve never been this close to anyone or anythingI can hear your thoughtsI can see your dreamsI dont know how you do what you doIm so in love with youIt just keeps getting betterI wanna spend the rest of my lifeWith you by my sideForever and everEvery little thing that you doBaby Im amazed by youThe smell of your skinThe taste of your kissThe way you whisper in the darkYour hair all around meBaby you surround meYou touch every place in my heartOh it feels like the first time every timeI wanna spend the whole night in your eyesI dont know how you do what you doIm so in love with youIt just keeps getting betterI wanna spend the rest of my lifeWith you by my sideForever and everEvery little thing that you doBaby Im amazed by youEvery little thing that you doIm so in love with youIt just keeps getting betterI wanna spend the rest of my lifeWith you by my sideForever and everEvery little thing that you doOh, every little thing that you doBaby Im amazed by you."

I'm going to have to get some pictures of me holding her and a few that I took during the last couple of days that she's spent time here with me alone --- just her and I. I really needed to blog this so I won't forget to scrapbook this, it's definately a moment I'll always want to remember.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

More outdoor beauty...

This pot of azealeas sits on top of a bevelled glass table between two patio chairs. I'll try to capture a few shots taken back from a distance later.

It's all in the details...

The front of the sparrow and the pair of $3 urns I recently found which I placed pillar candles that I modge podged and added diamond dust to --- although its hard to see how they actually sparkle!

Close up of the sparrow I purchased on Sunday.

Patio Tomato plants...

I cut off the top of the plants so that you can see where I stamped on the railing and how well the woodland ferns surrounding our watergarden are growing!

The entire back wall surrounding the hot tub. I'm excited to see some of my potted plants and flowers begin to grow and may yet add in some tropical palms for height and greenery.

Some pictures of the beauty I created around our hot tub..

The view from the opposite end of the patio table where you can see a few of our windchimes, the tea cart, garden decor, potted flowers, and candles surrounding the hot tub...

Sugar and Spice...

More page pieces for Alexxis's album, inspired again by one of the Autumn Leaves idea books. The hydrangea stamp is an Anna Griffith stamp from All Night Media and is colored in with Prismacolor pencils and mineral spirits.

A bit of artwork I created recently...

The inspiration for these page pieces were from on of the Autumn Leaves books, although the handwriting, colored pencil and design were created by me. I plan to use them in a scrapbook I'm starting to create of Alexxis.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

When the motivation strikes...

I grab it! I apologize for being missing in action; just been busy since it has finally stopped raining. We had a couple of cooler days with a bit of rain overnight or in the morning and a few partly cloudy and overcast days, however, the last two have been absolutely gorgeous! So, we've been busy both inside and out.

Saturday and Sunday Don and I took a drive mainly just to get out of the house. On Sunday, we made a trip to Polaris, where we stopped into JoAnn's Ect. and I looked at fabrics, grabbed a sample or two, before deciding to pick up a huge sparrow made of bisque for the rear deck. We had a nice dinner out at Carrabba's and later Sunday evening visited with my little sweetheart's, Amber, Chris, and Alexxis . Upon arriving I couldn't hold Alexxis at first as she was sleeping and mommy said she had an upset tummy. Shortly thereafterthough, Grandma's angel awoke, hungry, of course. So, I feed her and couldn't get over how she is growing like a weed! After eating, burbing, and leaving me a present in her diaper again, I changed her diaper and the little sh*t initiated me and the couch! Once she was settled in once again, Amber and I chatted away and of course, she had to tease me about only coming by to see the baby! She is such a fun mom! It is so awesome just to sit and watch her with her interact with her little one. At her first Dr's appointment yesterday she weighed in at 7 lbs. 10 oz. already... and drinks 4 oz. at a feeding, and desiring them every 3 1/2-4 hours. It is amazing to me that she will already be one month old shortly. I don't have a clue where the time goes anymore!

Most of the day on Monday, Don & I have been busy; mowing, cleaning off the rear deck of the remanents which have fallen from the trees. Seedlings were everywhere! I even discovered a few in the few pots of flowers that I had planted early this month and quickly removed them.
I think I seen thing in the same spot for so long that seem like part of the fixtures, so over near the hot tub, I changed things around a bit and re-arranged them and that really helped inspire me. I like the mix of wood, concrete, the light and dark contrast, and have added candles everywhere! We added water to the hot tub and I treated it with a dose of shock treatment and have spent the last couple of days adjusting the ph levels and bromine. Hopefully, it will be ready to get into tonight, I've got a feeling I'm going to need to need it.

All the recent rain and the weather sort of put a major damper on any gardening ideas I had; that is, at least, until today. We went out to a garden/flower place on St. Rt. 4 --- Cinderella's Garden but I wasn't too impressed with the plants or flowers there so we headed back into town to go to The Marion Flower Shop. There I picked up two huge patio tomatoe plants, a begonia bag, a half flat of Coleus. Next, we stopped at WalMart, and browsed their garden section... which was also in poor shape. Lots of shade loving plants but not too much in sunny spots florals. I did go ahead and grab some gardening dirt, a couple bags of potting soil, and a potted Diahlia that wasn't in too bad of shape. From there we ventured on out to Lowe's were I bought a flat of begonias.

Upon returning home, grabbing us both a cold glass of iced tea, I began to work on getting the flowers potted. I ended up with a huge pot for the patio tomatoes, deciding to put both plants in one large container that my burning from a few years ago came in. I filled the begonia bag with begonias and potting soil watered it thoroughly and went ahead and hung it although the instruction said to allow it to lie flat for a few days --- guess I got a little impatient to see it actually hanging, LOL! I filled another couple of pots with a mix of coleus and begonias, and still have enough for another pot, at least. I'd have finished those up too except, I ran out of potting soil. I knew I should have grabbed another couple of bags!

Next, I set out to cooking us a couple of hotdogs on the grill to eat so that Don would at least have something before he went to work. Since, he is now there, I thought I'd bring Chaos inside and rest a bit while I caught up on my blog. Hopefully, I can get some pictures taken soon as I am awaiting for the batteries to recharge.

Friday, May 19, 2006

My creative muse has definately left on a vacation to a destination un-be-knownest to me! {Geesh, is that a word?} I think about creating something everyday, look at my supplies, and feel totally uninspired. To add insult to injury, every time I walk into my kitchen, I feel as if I should be painting but the dampness in the air has certainly dampened everything, including my spirits! I'm beginning to feel like maybe I should begin working on a rowboat so we can at least row our way out of here.

Yesterday, I cleared off my small craft table and re-boxed things up to be taken back out to the studio. I really need to get everything back out there and really focus on the organization once again. I know I'd feel better if only I'd just do it! Why is it that just getting started is often the hardest part? I really cannot carry any of my supplies out without getting them wet, but I could be making room by clearing off what I have already started and making a list for any further organizational / storage ideas that I'd need to get and stay organized. I'm thinking having an alarm clock within the studio would assist me as well; that way I could set it to go off about a 1/2 hour before I must stop working and begin on cleaning up... thoroughly... not just wiping the scraps and adhesive tabs into the trash can, and creating a pile of similiar items to be put away later --- which never seems to happen. I've discovered I simply tend to push them out of the way to work on whatever idea or plan I have in mind, thus creating an even larger mess.

Anyways, since it is threatening to rain some more today, I think I'm heading to the studio to begin once again. A girl has to be ready when the muse returns........ {grin}

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Today I worked on yet another page for Alexxis's album; the one with the two birds. I actually freehandly sketched them onto cardstock and trimmed them out. I took this digital pic as I don't have my stitching software re-installed on the computer yet. I never re-installed since Gary last worked on it because I wasn't creating as many scrapbook pages I was cards. Maybe it will give me some incentive to hook up the printer, scanner, and install the software on the studio computer. Ha. Ha.
I cleaned the kitchen and bathroom thouroughly today and even managed to completely mop both floors once again on my hands and knees. My mop needs a new mop head and completely come apart as I picked it up to use it. Anyways, my floors are clean and shine!!!

Shortly after the floors dried, I set out to make spaghetti for dinner. Sauting onions, various peppers, and hamburger then draining prior to adding the sauce and some black olives. While the spaghetti boiled, I decided upon some green beans with bacon bits and then set about grating a bowl of monteray jack cheese. Needless to say, dinner was fantastic!

Don worked outside mowing our acre today. Although the skies are a bit overcast and threatening to rain, today is the first day I haven't seen any. I laid on the couch to watch Oprah and awoke a bit after 6; Don had already left for work... wonder if he kissed me goodbye? Anyways, the sun is shining!!! Hopefully, we get a bit of it, I know my spirits could definately use some.
Today's agenda is to clean house and catch up the little bit of laundry that needs to be done. The house isn't too bad and I am thinking maybe a trip to the local library later in the day. I'm itching to browse the Arts section and being among the aisles and bookcases filled with books. I haven't read a book in so long... well, one you can hold within your hands as I usually read e-books. And who knows maybe I'll take some time to continue to work on the studio re-organization by finishing up what is left on the tables or try to attempt to stamp something. Although, I really should clean the studio so Amber and I can spend some time working in there soon.
Getting a bit of cabin fever from having to be indoors due the recent rainy days, Don & I both needed to get out of the house. We decided to ride over to Ontario and do our household shopping at Target. After gasing up the truck, we headed for the open road. Traveling east on St. Rt. 309 to St. Rt. 97 is one of our favorite stretches along the way to our destination. Although a light mist had began as we approached that stretch of road, I couldn't resist the temptation to roll down the window to take in the smell of the rain and the rich soil. The fields were soaked with rain and the smell of the wet dirt permeated the air reminding me of my longing to plant flowers in our own backyard. As we travelled, getting closer to our destination, I began wishing I'd brought my camera so we could have stopped at the Bird Sanctuary, one of our favorite places to visit during the summer months. Unfortunately upon approaching the mist had turned into a drizzle so visiting there got put off for another day.

Arriving at Target, we shopped for our household goods, checked the baby section for a hat for Alexxis. I've been in search of a lightweight baby bonnet to protect her delicate head and ears from the wind, rain and sun only to be disappointed once again to find nothing designed with a newborn in mind. As we continued to shop and do a bit of browsing, our tummies began making some awful grumbling noises, so I asked Don if instead of waiting until Wednesday to go to Carrabba's for dinner, could we just get on St. Rt. 30 East to I=71 South and go to the Der Dutchman. Well, the name is changed now, its Heritage Farms but the food and gift shop gallery is still the same --- full of beautiful gifts, candles, home decor items, cards, fabrics and laces while the smell of Amish home cooking waifs through the air. We decided to eat first and browse later. Both of us decided on the buffet featuring a salad bar and hot food bar which we quickly began filling our plates. I had a salad with the most amazing homemade buttermilk ranch dressing and Amish potatoe salad.... yum! while Don attacked the meat on the hot bar buffet before getting himself a salad. After finishing my salad, I got some fried chicken, Amish made chicken and noodles that are so heavenly, mashed potatoes and gravy all of which was simply too much for me to eat. A cup of fresh squeezed lemonade, water, and an after-dinner cup of coffee assisted satisfying my appetite as I pondered upon a piece of Blackberry Cream Pie. Their blackberry cream pie is my fav! but full beyond measure, I decide maybe a slice to go was the way to go. Upon paying for our meal, we browsed the upstairs gift shop.

In the gift shop I spied the most whimsical raincoats and boots. A yellow set that resembled a bumblebee and a red set that featured a ladybug. It was quite the tempation not to pick up a set for Alexxis... but the uncertainty of what sizes and how fast/slow she'll grow delayed my decision. Don spied a gorgeous Amish Oak kitchen cabinet base with a hutch featuring both lights inside interior top cabinet and a beautiful plate rack. I'm telling you it was top quality craftsman ship but not in our budget at the moment. With both our eyes and our bellies full, we headed towards home as Don had to work last night.

After arriving home, putting all our household supplies away, I called Amber having decided I really didn't want to spent the remainder of my day inside and alone. So, I went over and visited with her and Alexxis. It seems I was correct about the growth spurt the baby is in as Amber now is fixing 4 oz. of formula in Alexxis's bottles and she is drinking between 3 and 4 oz. at each feeding. She's even feeling heavier, lol! I offered to babysit while Amber and Chris went out grocery shopping so they wouldn't have to take her in and out in the rain. Upon their return, we spent some time looking at some SB supplies Amber had recent purchased and talked about what she'd like to do in Alexxis's album. Now, we simply need to get together to actually do it!

All in all, yesterday was a great day!

Monday, May 15, 2006

For now it appears that the rain has stopped for a bit; although it's still gloomy and overcast here in the Ohio vally. More rain is predicted for the upcoming week and weekend. I'm certain it is on it's way for there certainly is that smell of rain in the air. One of Amber's dear friends, Yolanda, is such a hoot! as she exclaimed, "It is said that we will have had 13 days of rain before it clears; Thank God as we all know what happened when it rained for 40!" Somehow, her words rang oh so true as I certainly feel so sorry for those in the New England states now dealing with the floods and threats of flooding. And I shouldn't really complain. Fortunately, we've not had a huge lot of thunderstorms and no tornado warnings and watches with this system; most of the rain which has fallen is the garden variety of rain which our farmers I'm certain are happy to see.

Unfortunately, it has me putting off finishing the kitchen painting for now. It is simply to muddy to put Chaos outside to stay out of my way. I really need to concentrate on the task at hand while painting. Trust me, I can messy as all hell without any assistance from the dog!

Yesterday was a quietly spent day. Don had asked me regarding whether I desired to go out for dinner for Mother's Day but I decided against the idea. I don't prefer busy restaurants, the crowds, the waiting, the lack of service ect. so I decided I'd cook at home and he could take me to Carrabba's Italian Grill on Wednesday. So, we hit the grocery store stocking up on some necessities. We returned home and I began baking some Mushroom soup covered cube steaks, making mashed potatoes, and steaming some veggies. While I worked, Don whipped up a carrot cake which we'll both enjoy.

This is the first year in a long time that we spent Mother's Day alone together. We opted for telephone calls vs. visits to our Mom's this year. It is always a challenge regarding what gifts to give them so we thought we'd simply ask. My mom would love to have me measure her front living room windows for mini-blinds and for Don's mom we thought some spending $$$ would be nice as she travels to North Dakota and then to visit Don's brother and her son in California. I also was happy to call my own dd, and wish her well during her first Happy Mother's Day.

Don & I spent our evening watching the finale of Survivor. I was so sad to see Cirie beat during the fire challenge but was so happy that D chose Aras to go to the final two. I was also happy to see him win the million dollars and that Cirie won a new SUV!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

A day with Alexxis

Amber and Chris had a really hard night with Alexxis Friday. Seems she cried most of the night from 10:30 p.m. to after 7 a.m. Poor Amber, worried, concerned, and totally exhausted called me a little after 8 a.m. saying she'd even contacted her pediatrician thinking something maybe wrong with herand had suggested she be checked out. Wouldn't you know it little Miss Alexxis would asleep on the way to the ER and be snoozing peacefully when they arrived. Upon waking up by having to remove her clothes so she could be examined, Alexxis soon began crying once again. With no real physical reasons for the crying, Amber called me mystified.

I offered to keep Alexxis while she got some rest, which at first she refused stating Alexxis was in her carseat fast asleep and she wasn't touching her, LOL! About 10-15 minutes later she telephoned me back with Alexxis screaming and crying into the telephone asking, "Mom, do you still want to take her?" Of course, I said, Yes!"

Amber and Alexxis arrived a few minutes later, of course, Alexxis is asleep once again. Upon removing from her carseat, she awoke with nothing but smiles for grammie. Amber so tired and exhausted, begins crying and saying, "I feel like such a bad mommy!" "I did everything for her I knew how to do." and then resorted to asking me, "Did grandma help you when I was I baby?" I had to reassure her she did and stressed the importance to Amber of by simply there and trying to comfort Alexxis she was establishing trust and security in Alexxis's life. After getting Alexxis settle in and back to sleep we talked some more before I finally sent my little girl home to get some much needed rest.

Alexxis and I spent the entire day together. I don't believe there was anything physical wrong with her, maybe some gas, or overstimulation. I do believe she's going through a growth spurt though. She's drinking 3 oz. of formula with being burbed between and afterwards and yet, cannot seem to get her little hands into her mouth fast enough right after and sucking herself into frustration. So grammie cheated and mixed her up another oz. and feed her. That did the trick! Soon she was sleeping peacefully. Oh, and she left grandma, not one but two little gifts in her diaper. After her second feeding, Alexxis was in that quiet, alert state that baby's get into. I so love that stage, she laid there quietly at first but I couldn't resist picking her up to hold her close. She gave me smiles and biggie grins almost every time I said, "Mommy's pumpkin; Grammies bumpkin." She was such a joy to spend my rainy day Saturday with... I sat on the couch watching movies and snuggling with her on and off all day long. Around 6, she acted hungry after her feeding, so I had Don hold her as I fixed her up a bottle and from the kitchen I could hear Don singing to her. "She'll love that," I replied. How right I was, by the time I returned, Don stated, "I don't think you'll need that." and I looked to find Alexxis fast asleep within his arms. {insert warm fuzzy here}...

Mommy and Daddy telephoned many times during the day to check up on their little one and arrived after their supper to pick her up. Both of them raced to see her, LOL! Neither having been away from her for so long at one time and missing her greatly. It was a wonderful feeling seeing my own little girl rested and relaxed and able to enjoy the joys of motherhood with a fresh perspective and ready to do it all over again... and without even realizing it she'd blessed all our lives.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Happy Mother's Day!

It has been so rainy, gray, and gloomy here in Ohio that I figured my mom could use some sort of a sunny card for Mother's Day. Being that muse has taken a hiatus, I didn't desire to push the envelope too far by trying to design something a bit more elaborate. The image is the new Little Ledger Girl from The Queen's Dresser Drawers.
After creating the card, I threw in the towel! Knowing I'd simply create a mess and nothing I touched would come out as I was envisioning it.

I could feel the lack of inspiration, the loss of my creative muse, so I decided to browse on 2P's in the galleries for inspiration. Doing so further inhibited me for all I seemed to be seeing was everyone else's beautiful creations and nothing that really inspired me to that, "Oh, I've got to try that!" stage. So, I moved from the gallery and to message boards and there I noticed that I wasn't really even in the mood to talk about being creative, what supplies and/or techniques, or anything even artistic related so I backed away from the site.

Later in the day, I thought I knew what I needed... just to relax and allow my muse to come to me. So, I picked up the recent Somerset Studio Take Ten remembering how I really enjoyed this issue and had made some notations on design ideas, color schemes, images used, ect. As I thumbed through it once agian, it didn't take me long to realize I needed to really step away! As I browsed and saw what once thrilled me, I felt no emotions at all. Even the marks I made within the pages of the magazine with all the little notations left me wondering what it was about that artwork that inspired and excited me to begin with. Now that was the final straw!!!

I realized it wasn't the artwork or even seeing the artwork of some of my favorite artists regularly published within the pages, it was ME! I quickly remembered my words of advice given to another stamper recently who mentioned her muse was on vacation in Mexico, who she would gladly have her back hungover and sunburnt! so I looked up the post....

I had replied to her, "I've learned over the years it is simply best not to force it. My creativity waxes and wanes in a rhythm all of its own. I've done some of the things you've mentioned looking for inspiration, researching, trying a new technique, shopping, purchasing a new tool or supply, tried challenges and swaps --- there's nothing like a deadline to get your butt in gear! --- but as Stacy has already mentioned, doing something else works the best!

Inspiration strikes when I'm not seeking it and sometimes at the most awkward of times. I try to write those ideas down as soon as they strike or as soon as it is conveinent to do so. The most important advice I can give is to "Have Faith" this too shall pass! and your muse with return from Mexico, hungover and sunburnt but with a lot of brillant ideas!!! "

Little did I know that my muse would decide to go on vacation with hers, LOL! So, in the meantime, I'm taking my own advice, giving myself some space and permission to work on other things --- something different, like maybe getting back to painting the rest of my kitchen, but more importantly, I'm displaying my faith, knowing that when I least expect it and probably at the most inappropriate time, it will return!

"I'm not as good as once was"...

seems to be the theme song of my creative life lately. Somehow what little bit of artwork I've been creating seems to be lacking a lot of the "umph!" it once contained. I cannot quite put my finger on what it is that's changed but I can certainly feel it. I've been creating long enough to know that now isn't the time to force my creative side for I will only waste a lot of supplies by designing some things that I won't like in the long run.

Normally, when this "creative block" hits me, I feel this way... as if I've ran head first into a brick wall!

Sometimes, shopping for a few new supplies will ellieviate this feeling but not this time. One of my orders for a few new stamps arrived, in it the little "Ledger girl" used in this and my previous post. I tried stamping her using several different colors of ink but nothing inspired me about that. Then, I thought just maybe it was the lack of color or the lack of that photography quality to the image that was inhibiting me so I stamped her in some basic black India ink and tried to color her in using chalk. That further inhibited me, so after I re-stamped my image, I decided to try using the magic colored pencil technique which left me also feeling it lacked something. So, then, I sponged on some Colorbox ink thinking more color was needed. Finally, I just knew it was time to give it up! but did I, oh, NO! I went an added some wings from a hydrangea stamp and a crown, then designed the rest of the card. After looking at it with some rather mixed emotions, I decided to scan it and upload it anyways. Now that I've stepped away from it since yesterday, I don't like it anymore today than I did then, LOL! Oh, I love the card design but that little ledger girl that is on it simply has to go!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Can you see me?

Yesterday, Don & I took a ride up to the lake. It was one of our "going nowhere in particular" trips that allow us time to catch up with one another, stay connnected, have long, deep conversations regarding where we are and we desire our lives to go from this time and place and onward. I so enjoy those moments, just the two of us, away from the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives with all its distractions and interruptions. Those little road trips allow us some time to explore and discover more of the little things that help to keep us together. We had a wonderful lunch and drove home as it began to rain. Both of us were us such a light-hearted mood when we returned home that we took a moment just to dance in the rain. I think it is so important to our relationship that we create space for another within our own individual lives. It helps us to stay in connection not only with one another but with nature; allowing us to take some time off; and enjoy some quiet moments of reflection. It is those few and far inbetween moments that allow us to breathe in the wonder of our lives and to be thankful for all that we've been given, especially what we've each given to one another's lives. Reliving the moments that we shared yesterday as I awoke this morning, I created this ATC so that I may never forget just how important the time we share together truly is. I chose the vintage paper background to represent those long, lost forgotten moments of time and space, the little girl because within those moments spent together brings out my child-like nature, and the "Can you see me?" stamp because it is in those quiet moments reflecting the time we've spent together that reassures me of our love for one each other.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Isn't she just precious?

Making time for the things in life that truly matter...

After puttering around in the kitchen for most of the day Monday, I decided I'd go over and visit with Amber and Alexxis. I arrived a little after after 6 p.m. and couldn't get over just how alike the two of us really are. When I arrived, Amber was in the throws of juggling Alexxis, preparing beef stew for dinner, and catching up on some laundry. I couldn't help but notice how tired she seemed. She hadn't showered, the bounce in her step was gone, and the only time I noticed her smiling was when she looked at Alexxis. As I offered to feed and burp Alexxis and soon after got her settled in to sleep, Amber and I chatted carelessly, talking about housework, the baby, and all the recent things we've both been doing I realized just how busy we've both been.

Me with the kitchen painting and redecorating and her with the new baby, housework, and learning to juggle it all. As I watched her, I admired her. I saw her strength although she was tired, I saw her show love although she wasn't loving herself, I saw her light up when she set about caring for her new little one although she hadn't taken the time to care for herself. It made me wonder why I never realized she was so much like me; always doing and being and taking care of everyone else around her? Anyways, we had a great visit and I arrived home a bit after 11.

Yesterday, I telephoned her and asked when she was coming to visit. She rattled off a list of things she had to do, so I offered to keep Alexxis for her so she could do them. Although a bit hesitant, later in the afternoon she telephoned me asking me if I'd like to keep Alexxis for a bit in the evening and of course, I jumped at the chance! So, Alexxis and I spent the evening together. She slept for the most part, being awake only for feedings. I couldn't get over how much she looks like her momma! how good she smells, how soft her skin is, and how much she's truly captured my heart.

Amber and Chris arrived a bit after 9 and stayed and visited for a few minutes. She looked rejuvinated, refreshed, and ready to do this all over again. And once again, the second time in two days, I admired her. My own little girl has grown up and is giving back what was once given to her --- a mother's love! {smiles}

Monday, May 08, 2006

Additional lighting...

These under-the-cabinets lights are one of my favorite accents in the room. Our electrician recommended them to use when we first remodeled our kitchen a few years ago adding in the new cabinets and the oak hardwood flooring. I love the soft ambient lighting they provide in the evening and did I mention how romantic they are when dining by candlelight?

Various other accessories within the space...

The plush soft fabric rooster is on of the first roosters I began decorating with when I first chose the rooster/country french theme for our kitchen several years ago.

The small rooster was a gift from my sister who discovered it while visiting with us last year.

The beautiful aged patina tin holding the silk flowers was discovered on one of Don and I's recent visit to Garden Ridge. It was a $3 clearance item that I picked up mainly for the silk florals that was contained within it. I removed them and added them to 3 glazed verdigre pots that are now out on our deck and replaced them with silk florals above. More of the same florals will be added to a huge garden urn to become a centerpiece for our table once the opposite side of the room is finished.

Close up of some of my decorative accents...

The theme within my kitchen... roosters! I've several of them and love them each equally. It so hard for me to choose a favorite!

I'm certain the French Country fabrics I've choosen will be beautiful when added into the room in the form of window treatments, tablecloths, and placemats; and will co-ordinate wonderfully once completed.

Taken while standing in the opening between the two rooms that form our large kitchen. I realize it appear small in these photographs, but you'll have to trust me, the space is really quite large.

Here you can see the "L" shaped work space of the countertops, the area of the sink where the recessed lighting is and the area I've yet to paint.

Want to see some pictures?

This picture was taken from the rear section of the kitchen as I rested on the breakfast bar. Here you can see how the difference the white votives on the ceiling fan cast a soft white glow into the room. I didn't use the flash on my camera, the reflection on the oak cabinetry is created by the polyurathane on the cabinets. We coated them ourselves to provide further protection of the cabinets from normal everyday wear and tear. Something I'd do again in a heartbeat!

Also, this is one trouble spot that I {we} have within the space. The backside of the kitchen stove is in plain view when in the back section of the kitchen or while you are at the breakfast bar. I haven't quite figured out a safe way to cover it and have considered many. It is on the list of my many "one-of-these-day" projects.
Don & I spent yesterday working on the house. While he assisted cleaning up some of the clutter from the kitchen that spilled over into our living room, I diligently worked on the kitchen. I managed to get another coat of paint on all the trim before having to wait for it to dry and began working on various other odds and ends in and around the kitchen.

First, I cleaned the oak hardwood floor to removing any and all paint specks from the roller and/or paintbrush; that I somehow missed with a wet rag while painting. Thankfully, they removed easily with just a simple scrap of my thumbnail! Then, moved on to damp mopping on my hands and knees! After the floor was swept completely, mopped, and dried, I moved on to cleaning all our appliances that would be going back into place. Don assisted me by washing off the exterior of the freezer and some of the smaller appliances.

Next, we set out to remove all the painter's tape. We used a utility knife along the corners of the tape and the wall to prevent pulling off any paint that wasn't fully cured yet and overall did an excellent job. Then, we set out to remove all the plastic dropcloths used to protect the oak cabinetry. I cannot even begin to describe how much of a joy it was to see the warmth of the oak against the red paint!

In my elation, I set out thoroughly cleaning the cabinets with a damp rag, although they really didn't need it since we recently spring cleaned the entire room, but what the heck, I had the time to kill while waiting for the paint to dry. Once completed, I cleaned the countertops and began setting back in the small appliances. Although I still have some painting to do in this side of the room, I went ahead and put back in the decorative accents and accessories as we kept all the previously cut dropcloths to be used again as I do the touch up work.

I've one area over my sink that hasn't been painted. I spoke with my brother on the telephone last night asking his advice since there is no way to tape off this section since I'd remove the polyurathane protecting the cabinets if I'd have used painter's tape directly to it. He told me I was on the right track thinking a thin layer of vasoline would protect the wood and told me how to apply it. I'll be working on that today as I begin trimming in the back section of the kitchen to finish painting the entire room.

One thing that I didn't even think about until yesterday is what in the world I am going to do with the interior kitchen door leading to the rear deck and backyard? It has been previously painted inside using the old paint color previously in the room, so now I'm thinking I may just paint it red too. I considered painting it hunter green to match the front door, however, I'm a bit hesitant as I believe it would make the entire north wall feel a little boxed in. So, red it will be. I figure I can always repaint it if I don't like it.

I also consider that maybe I could paint the inside of the door red so when it is closed it doesn't interfere with the north wall and interior's appearance; and paint the exterior of the door hunter green as it would only be seen when the door is actually opened. The screen door features a huge sheet of glass running the entire length of the door except for the actual framing so this may actually work better and provide a co-ordinating yet contrasting appearance to the space breaking up a bit of the monotony.

Later in the day we made a trip out to Lowe's. Hey, sometimes you gotta share the wealth. I absolutely love Home Depot but the trip for purchasing 3 new fixtures for the ceiling fan and two chain pulls and a couple lightbulbs just didn't justify the $$$ or time we'd spend making the 45 minute drive. I chose some white marbled votives and a gold/brass with a white ceramic bead in the chain pulls. We also picked up a ceiling cover for the recessed light above the sink and a new daylight floodlight bulb.

Upon returning home, we replaced the amber votives in the ceiling fan, replaced the previous chain pulls, and added in the new recessed light ring and bulb. What a difference those made!

Last night, I must have walked out in the kitchen a hundred times. Okay, that is exaggerating just a bit but I couldn't help admire the beauty of my kitchen. I don't know why now that it is almost completed that I was so hesitant to tackle this project, I absolutely love it!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Close up of the Super Olympia Red begonias

Aren't these simply magnificant?

And speaking of decks,

I browsed online a bit today and found these wonder floral arrangements that totally caught my eye as the truly represent the look that I envisioned both inside and out onto the rear deck and the landscaping I'd love to one day have added to our yard.

I love the softness the large evergreens provide as a backdrop, the staggered appearance of the shrubs, and those red begonias as a inviting soft feature that makes you desire to venture out further into the space to explore and discover what awaits beyond is so inviting. Something of this nature would assist to hide our stockade fence and truly make our backyard more of a spiritually inviting place. I absolutely love those eye-catching 'Super Olympia Red' begonias that shout out a welcome, and I'm quickly discovering that nothing seems to sing to more soul quite like the red, especially when mixed with yellows against a green backdrop. Perfect for the inviting space just beyond the kitchen of my dreams!

Window treatments

After determining the fabrics, I desired to focus my attention on the window treatments. These are the two that I have in mind. The first swag style for the two smaller windows on the west side of th room. In the previous "before" pictures, you'll find one above my sink surrounded by the kitchen cabinets. The other is in the back section or "other room" of the kitchen and along the same west wall.

On the north wall of my kitchen is one large picture window flanked on each side by a smaller window that slide into the center to allow fresh air into the room and it features a beautiful view out onto our rear deck and back yard. It one of my favorite places to sit and enjoy my first cup of freshly brewed coffee everyday so I want it to be "a special place" within the space. The second window treatment is very similar to what I have in mind with only a single drapery on only the left side and no swag on the right. Instead, I'm thinking I'd like the classic swagged style valance directly above the drapery repeated on the right with the longer tiered swag centered between the two to provide more of a asymetrical sense of balance. I'm thinking I'd like this style more as in the warmer months when our back door to the kitchen that leads out onto the rear deck is open, it will allow more fung-shi energy to flow through the space and work best with the traffic pattern inside the room.

Do you remember these?

These are the fabric samples that I've finally decided upon to use in my window treatements, seat cushions, tablecloths and placemats. I'm beginning to see them within the space and am trusting that they will assist making my redocorated kitchen the warm homey place of my dreams!

I did a bit of testing.......

since the paint is done on this wall, I couldn't simply wait to find out how my kitchen will look once it is completed. So, I took the large rooster framed print and my kitchen apron and leaned it very gently against the wall. Then added in some additional accessories that will be going back into the space once it is finished. Here is the results. This image was taken with the natural light coming in from the window on the north side of the room only, I closed the back door and the blind above the sink to see what it will look like in our most often used time of day.

I am so happy!

I spoke with a good friend of ours who works at Home Depot's Paint Department today. He reassured me that my kitchen will be just as beautiful as I envisioned it to be. I was amazed when Terry informed that he receives an average of 100 telephone calls within a week regarding red paint. It seems people have lots of questions such as: Do I really need a primer? Which primer is best - white or gray/grey? Why does my red paint look magenta in the can and while it is being applied to the walls? Why do I need so many coats and how do I apply it? Well, I certainly learned a lot in that short 15-20 minute conversation!

Yes, you should prime first. Selecting the color of primer, either white or gray/grey, depends upon the tone and/or shade of red you are desiring. White primer creates the tone; grey primer creates the shade. A red tone is more of a purer red while a red shade is more of deeper, darker red. Yes, your red paint will look magenta. It is the color of the pigment used to create the tones and shades of red by each manufacturers individual process. And yes, your red paint will appear magenta when applying to the walls. What is the best way to paint using red? Thin individual layers and layers of coats of the paint to ensure both an even coverage and the true color of the red paint tone or shade you originally selected. So, there you have ...... the words from the expert!

I also asked Terry about my trimming in using the paintbrush in those hard to reach places such as next to the white ceiling, the corners where two walls join together. He informed me I am doing the right thing, applying thin coats and layering. He also said I was right about thinking I would need more coats brushed onto these areas because you simply do not get the same amount of paint on the brush as you would a roller. He told me if I applied 4 coats to the walls, try 6 to the trimming in areas, if it isn't matching yet, add another and another. By the time there is double the amount of painted layers on the trimmed in areas I should be at the exact same shade of the paint on the walls! Yippee! I'm on the right track!!!!

Stars in his eyes.....

While taking pictures of the kitchen wall color last night, Chaos had to be right in the center of all the action. I swear he's part cat! His curiosity is one of his better known quality and also assists to help him find all sorts of mischief to entertain himself with.

Anyways, it has been so long since I've posted any pics of him so I decided to share this one. I love how the flash reflected off the retina in his sweet brown eyes, even if it does assist in demonstrating his good boy/bad boy nature.

I cannot get over how much he has grown! Chaos will be 9 months old tommorow and I simply could not imagine a day without him. He is my faithful and loyal companion and protector who lovingly awakes me with puppy kisses each and every morning. I've been so busy with painting the kitchen the last several days that he's been a bit neglected although well-behaved. I wanted to make note of this so that once I'm done, I can shower him with a fun day of running, throwing frisbee, snuggles and kisses. Afterall, he is my bestfriend!

Friday, May 05, 2006

The kitchen redecorating {saga} continues...

After touching up the trim and allowing it to dry, Don and I will begin removing all the painting tape, plastic, and actually get to working on putting the larger things --- appliances and coutertop accessories back into the room. I need to wait a total of 4 days before anything can be hung back on the walls as the paint cures. I cannot wait to see the space after all the painter's tape & plastic is removed. Once the electrical plates are put back into place, appliances and the wall decor is re-hung, I believe it will be absolutely beautiful!

Tommorow afternoon, we will be heading out to purchase the last and final gallon of paint and I will begin working on painting the other side of the room. I don't believe we'll need the full gallon, however it will be nice to have some left for touching up. I'm hoping to finish up this painting project by the middle of next week, then thoroughly cleaning the neglected remaining areas of home.

I'm excited regarding shopping for the materials for new curtains and placemats, adding in a few touches of gold and green pottery and silk floral arrangements to accent the space. It's definately been an exciting adventure! I just don't quiet understand why is it you have to create a total disaster out of the rest of your home to do decorating in another but I know once finished we will certainly enjoy it. I'm excited now to finish this project so I can share more of the photographs and our home with family and friends and get back to doing a bit of entertaining.

This photograph was taken in front of the kitchen cabinets looking in throught the pass through large opening that divides the two rooms. As you can see I have some touching up to do on some areas of the trim and what a huge contrast there is between the previously paint and the current red. I believe this assist in my being so "shell-shocked", LOL!