Monday, April 28, 2008

CED 2008 ~

Alexxis' birthday party on Saturday was a blast! Many of Amber and Chris' family and friends attended with their children in tow and the kids really enjoyed themselves. I cannot believe that I forgot my camera! So, I've no pics to share... but we did video tape a lot during the day, perhaps I can obtain some pics later. Her grandma Nancy made and created a beautiful Spongebob cake and another white sheet cake. We dined on Subway subs, ate cake and ice cream and the presents!!! OMG! Alexxis received so much stuff! Her Aunt Mickey got her a Spongebob table with two chairs, she got a new white three drawer dresser, the fabric covered canvases, the watercolored Spongebob images, a new sundress, and a pair of sunglasses from Don and I. Other gifts were Spongebob videos, more clothes, toys, and a new stuffed animal, and a Spongebob handmade pillow from Grandma and Papa Saunders. I was wiped out when Don and I returned home in the early evening!

On Sunday, I awoke ravenousness, so Don and I headed out to Delaware to enjoy a good old country breakfast at the Cracker Barrel. From there we jotted down I-71 to Polaris Parkway and Pet Smart for Chaos a new collar, a box of puppy treats, and a 40 lb. bag of dog food! Hey! It was on sale for what a 20 lb. bag costs us here and they gave us a $4 off coupon! Next, we stopped at White Castle's purchased a gallon of their sweet tea, grabbed two cups of ice, and headed off to A Proper Garden. I had previously seen signs for it and since it was such a beautiful day with 65 degree temps, we took advantage of it. We both loved the place! My favorite was all the water garden sounds we heard while browsing through trees, plants, flowers, and roses. I feel in love with a lot of items but we didn't purchase anything. From there we headed towards home, stopped into Goodwill and a discount lumber place to browse some more. I could have literally kicked myself.... I saw the most beautiful pink bedspread and pillow shams, thought they perfect for Alexxis when she older, and while Don was in the bathroom I walked away and another lady grabbed them up. Another one of those if you see it and you want it, you better grab it moments. But I'm certain it will be okay, we'll continue to look and I know we'll find something when the time is right.... I just hate missing out on a good bargain!

I'm home "childless" today. Daddy decided to keep Little Miss today so while Don putters about, I'm going to catch up on our housekeeping. My thoughts keep turning to the studio, knowing it needs to be cleaned and re-organized but the truth is that by the time I'm done doing, I'm done! One day.... I may make it there yet!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

CED 2008 ~ With SpongeBob!

Why Spongebob? That's the question I've been asking myself for a few weeks now as it seems my dd, Amber, has focused her attention on decorating Alexxis' room with him. The grandma in me says, "She's a girl! Her room should be soft, pink, frilly, and filled with bling!" but some things are best when grandma goes with "the flow" {even when and if it's against her better judgment: grin.}

Today, our little bug, turns two! It's so hard to believe that it has been two years since I witnessed the miracle of her birth. She's completely wrapped me up in herself over the course of those two years and I'm certain that this is a feeling that will continue to grow... just like she does! So, what's a grandma to do but help to create beautiful things for her, to add to the magic, and the land of enchantment. So, yesterday, while with Amber picking up a few last minute items for her Birthday party, I grabbed several yards of two different "Spongebob" fabrics and created a few accents for her newly decorated room. The fabric I used here is simply stapled to canvas frames. I choose to do this believing in a few years, my dd will come to her senses, LOL! and then, we can simply recover them inexpensively. Feeling a tad bit guilty for feeling the way I do, I decided that if I'm jumping on the bandwagon, I may as well "enjoy the ride" so I created three watercolored drawing of dear old 'Bob. I pinned them onto the fabric cover canvases to obtain picks. Later, these will be added onto cardstock in coordinating colors and framed for Little Miss' room. I was amazed that while creating these for Bug, that I am actually beginning to think, "Hey, this guy is kind-a cute!" ROFLOL!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

CED 2008 ~ Another page for my "Almost Daily" Journal and update

Yesterday, Don and I took a trip to a warehouse in Columbus. As always, we did a bit of shopping and stopped for lunch. I'm not quite certain what's wrong with me but I passed up the opportunity to go into Dick Blick's, Border's, and Barnes and Nobles. Instead I focused my attention on some much needed clothes shopping. I still haven't dropped off the extra pounds that somehow accumulated over January and February and upon discovering that my clothes from last summer aren't quite fitting me the same, it was time to do something about that. I purchased several new pairs of shorts for wearing everyday, and two pairs of capri's: one a bit more casual and the other a tad bit dresser-i-er. I found a beautiful quarter-length sleeved T to co-ordinate with the them but the butter yellow capri's are proving to be quite a challenge to find something new and fashionable to wear with them. I almost put them back but really desired to add some color to my existing wardrobe. I also opted for khaki's instead of all denim in a pair of shorts. I also purchased a new pair of sandals for summer wear. I've been gradually putting them on and wearing them around the house to get them broken in.

Today, I'm attempting to "hide out." I should be over at my mom's finishing washing down the last remaining portion of her kitchen, but my heart just wasn't in it. I've had so little "Me" time lately. So, today I found some time to create a page for my "Almost Daily" journal. It's been a long time since I've created anything new to add to it. The background image of a formal garden was taken from an old calendar and the text reads, "HOME... where we inevitably return... committed to each other."

Speaking of commitments, I'm off of here to clean up the mess I made while creating this and then, I'm off for a walk. Obviously, the extra pounds aren't responding to my increased activity level or eating smaller meals, so it's time to "kick it up another notch" perhaps, I'll even attempt jogging for a bit!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

CED 2008 ~ Meet the Artist...

I'm so proud to introduce, Alexxis McKenzie, almost two years of age, and her beautiful watercolor artwork. {Of course, grandma drew the pictures, helped with using the watercolor pencils, and assisted with the control of the wet paintbrush} but isn't she proud of her accomplishment?

Here's a close-up shot. I'm thinking she could teach me a thing or two with using these!

Monday, April 21, 2008

CED 2008 ~ Finding Balance

Don and I had an amazing weekend! On Saturday night, Little Miss graced us with her wonderful nature and good humor overnight. She is such a delight to be around. Through her we are able to see our world through the eyes of a child once again, playing, laughing, being silly. And so what if Grandma allows her to stay up an hour past her bedtime. Isn't that what Grandparents are for?

On Sunday morning, we eased into our day. Bathing, getting dressed, cooking a pancake breakfast before return Alexxis back over to her Daddy {who missed her very much while she was away!} Shortly, afterwards, Don and I began on our journey to Springfield, Ohio in search of the Clark County Fairgrounds where an Antique and Flea Market was being held. I had used MapQuest to search out the directions and well, lets just say that I thought it would be easier for us to stick to a St. Rt. that we've traveled many, many times before. Needless to say, we got lost! Having traveled a good 20-30 minutes out of our way. When we decided to finally stop and ask for directions, I had a good laugh upon discovering we were in Huber Hieghts! Back onto I-70 East to Springfield, where we pulled into yet another gas station and meet a wonderful man who was going in the same direction and near our destination that we could follow. We finally arrived a little after 1 p.m. The drive itself was beautiful! Spring has definately sprung in the Central and Western portion of the State. Through the early morning mist, we saw a lot of green grass and covered fields, forsynthia, daffodils, and hyacinths in bloom, a variety of trees displaying their freshly grown leaves, and the redbuds! I so love a red bud tree with their magnificant display of purple color. I'd love to one day plant one with in our landscaping, along with a weeping cherry tree. We saw many of those, too. As the day progressed from morning to afternoon, the clouds in the previously overcast sky parted and the sun appeared to help make our trip as light-hearted as the day ahead of us.

We had a wonderful time walking and browsing all the outside booths and tents that were set up, playing "remember this?", and wondering what the hell a few items were. But none-the-less, it was fun! We stopped and chatted with a variety of vendors, smiled, waved, or said "hello" to others who were attending, and we even did a bit of shopping! I saw many things that I'd love to own, but must admit that I'm no antique person... as I have no idea what is or isn't a good bargain. The term, "they saw you coming" would definitely apply to me. All I'm aware of is that if I desire it and I feel I'm willing to pay a certain price for it, I do.

I did stumble upon a couple who are from Columbus, Ohio, we had an area set up inside that sold of the most amazing vintage cards I've ever seen. What I wouldn't give for a collection like that! She had a lot of Ellen Clapsaddle's cards, and from what I could tell, seemed to be in amazing condition. I purchased the 5 vintage cards above from her. All of them "Valentine's Day" since it is my birthday! Most of them contain some dry embossing, and one even has its own vintage glass glitter already on it!

Another purchase, totally caught me by surprise! I saw and met a wonderful lady, Sue Miller, who had a wonderful display of sterling silver and swarovskian crystal bracelets, necklaces, scissor fobs, and keychains. I fell in love with pink one above and we discussed her making me a matching one for Alexxis. Sue provided me with her contact information and contact her, I will! I love my bracelet!

Don felt the need to purchase the fabric Raggedy Ann and Andy set for Alexxis. We gave them to her while she visited today and did they ever delight her! Did you know that you can play, "Ring Around the Rosy" with them, one at a time? Well, Alexxis certainly did!!!!

She kept herself occupied most of the day today, playing with some of her new and old toys, and allowed Grandma to accomplish a lot of her housekeeping while Papa worked outside, fixing his riding lawn mower and mowing in the yard. All in all, its been a glorious past few days!

Friday, April 18, 2008

CED 2008 ~ Seeing Potential...

My dd, Amber telephoned me this morning to see if I'd like to go to a yard sale some friends of theirs were having today. Since the weather is 76 degrees and sunny, I decided it would be nice to get out an enjoy some it and going to a yard sale was the perfect way to do it! Little did I know that the yard sale was being held by mutuals friends and Amber wasn't aware that Don and I knew Matt and Laura, too, and Laura hadn't realized that Amber and Alexxis are my dd and grandchild. Although, we both have mention them often. Somehow, two and two never came together for either of us.

Laura was selling this set of two wrought iron and wood Longaberger® Woodcraft tables. I thought they'd perfect for us to use as nightstands beside our bed! So, I purchased them for $30 for the pair. A fresh new coat of paint, a little sanding, painting or re-staining {probably the latter} will breathe new life into them.

Here's one of the stands, temporarily placed beside our bed. For years, we've used TV trays turned sideways, as that is about all that we've discovered that will fit one on each side of the bed. I've searched and searched for actually night stands that would able to fit there with no luck what-so-ever. I figured if we truly desired them, we'd need to have them custom made and ordered. Anyways, after a good cleaning and refurbishing these, they will work as a great alternative. Well, until "some day" comes. For now, there's room enough for a lamp and a glass water on top of them!

The bedsides lamps are also on my "some day" to replace list. Of course, this little lamp will then be placed on top of one of our two dressers or swapped out completely with a different set that we own. That has been on our "to do" list for sometime, but never ranked up there in Priority!

At least not, until today.

After running a few other errands, we went to Alexxis ENT appointment. Poor thing has suffered a bout of 5 double ear infections since December, so her pediatrician decided it was time to refer her. Today, we were informed that there's a build up of fluid behind her eardrums and inserting tubes was recommended. The ENT desired to do the procedure on April 28th, but Amber informed him she wouldn't be able to do that to her since that is her birthday! and it was quickly decided that May 2nd would be a better day. In the meantime, we'll finish this round of strong antibiotics and pray that all goes well between now, then, and after.

Well, I'm off of here... going to go start preparing dinner. I believe we'll cook out on the grill since it is so beautiful outside. Just wanted to share my yard sale finds. I see so many other people posting on their blogs about their wonderful discoveries from yard sales, flea markets, and estate sales and sometime think, "I never seem to find things like that" but today, I did!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Ahh, the "Possibility of taking A Road Trip"

Lately, Don and I have both been suffering with a case of cabin fever... It's hard for us during this time of year... with Winter just recently ending, and Spring just newly sprung. The weather continues to be up and then, down again... warm one day, then freezing the next. Of course, we somehow manage to discover and find indoor events and things to do, but its not the quite the same when you experience wanderlust deep in the essence of your very soul and long for those warmer, carefree days to feel the grass on your bare feet. We, also are aware that those days are still a ways away, but in the meantime, they certainly didn't prevent us from dreaming up new ideas and places to visit.

Over the years, we've been practically "all over" the state of Ohio, at time or another, but there's still those quaint, little out-of-way places we've yet to discover, as well as those we'd love to visit once again. While talking carelessly, enjoying the sunshine, and sitting on our rear deck after dinner last night, Don mentioned the desire to return to an Antique Mall we've been to a few times. I didn't say a thing as I enjoy going there but thought it would nice to go and see something a bit different. That's when I remembered picking up a flyer for another Antique Mall that is actually closer to us in Springfield, Ohio.

Remembering that thought again this morning, I made a quick, Google search and discovered a show to be held this weekend! I was so stoked! Don of course will have to work on both Friday and Saturday, but Sunday appears to be a possibility and filled with promise. From what I could see on their website, there is a lot of booth inside buildings as well as outside. Perfect! in the event that we run into the "isolated thunderstorms" the National Weather Service is predicting.
Wish us luck that "nothing" pops up and requires our attention here at home. I'm longing for a road trip!

You can find several pages of photographs @
if you desire to look. I know I certainly did!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

I love receiving mail! Well, mail that doesn't consist of a bill that needs to be paid, LOL! For years I participated in many Art Swaps with online friends and Lisa Renea @ is someone who I swapped various art projects with over the years. We've participated in a few Yahoo groups together, exchanged a variety of items in many swaps together, creating everything from cards, ATC's, and a variety of other projects.

Anyways, yesterday, when I received this beautiful Twinklin' Watercolored wall hanging and an ATC from her as a "Thank You!" for the Beach themed frame I created for her, I was shocked! I never expected anything in return. Lisa didn't need to send this to me, but I am so happy that she did!!!! I so love little random Act of Kindness. They're a wonderful way to express gratitude to other like-minded souls who encourage and support us, especially when you're truly inspired in a genuinely, heartfelt way to do something. The good thing is that "those little somethings" do not have to be expensive --- sending an email, posting a blog comment just to say, "I was here" sending a card or perhaps, a hand-written letter, or even a piece of beautiful artwork! Thank you, Lisa! I'll find a home for it within my studio and cherish it always.

You can view a close-up of this artwork on Lisa's blog. Here's the link:
Neither photograph captures the true essence of the Twinklin' H2O's used to color this, IRL, there's a shimmering quality to the colors, as the H2O's contain tiny fragments of mica suspended within the watercolor that is hard to capture in a photograph or scanned image.

I've also shown in the picture above the hand-blown glass orbs that Don and I purchased on Sunday. I've yet to remove the remnants of the jute that they were suspended upon or the price tags. I'm wanting to purchase some kind of decorative plant hanger so that I can hang them above our picture window, out away from the glass and up away from Alexxis' little hands and just beyond her reach. The smallest one would be perfect to add a touch of springtime to with a small bloom or other item.

Ccompany have just arrived, so this may be my only post for the day as I have a hair appointment in a few hours. I'll post again soon and in the meantime, Thank you, Lisa for the beautiful wall hanging. I love it!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

CED 2008~ Books as Art

Many of us interested in the Paper Arts and Mixed Media arts are familiar with the term Book Arts and these books could definately be considered "book art" but I prefer to think of them as books as art simply because I created them for our home's decor.

Most of these books for display were created using paper back books, with the exception of the one circular formed and shape one. It was originally a hardback book that I cut through the endsheets to remove from its cover. I used Modge Podge along the outer book pages to adhere several pages together prior to gently folding them over towards the spine of the book and tucking the outer edges in between. I'm certain the process could have been simplier by using a glue stick but either way, one of the ones I desired to create is finished.

The paperback book creations were easier. Simply locate a page you desire to display, wrap it back over the back of the book and pinch gently to create a crease to accomodate the width of the book. I especially have a new-found fondness for the older, gently aged book that I stood on end to photograph. The text of the book is what drew me in, it reads:

As I write, I can see the box where it is stored on a high shelf in my studio. I like being able to see when I look up. The box contains those odds and ends of personal treasures that have survived many bouts of clean-it-out-and-throw-it-away that seize me from time to time. The box has been passed through {a portion of the text is unreadable due to the wrapped ribbon but continues below...}
One of the keepsakes in the box is a small paper bag. Lunch size. Though the top is sealed with duct tape, staples, and several paper clips, there is a ragged rip in one side through which the contents may be seen. This particular lunch sack has been in my care for" {and the text on the page ends here}

I do not know now what the title or the author of the book is as I didn't note it prior to creating it but I was simply drawn to those words as they remind me of my own box of treasures that I keep and cherish. It too, is a collection of random bits and pieces, trinkets and treasures that have sentimental value to me like a piece of a childhood keychain, a seashell from a childhood vacation to visit my grandparents in Florida, and a bony skeletal remains of a fish I discovered while walking on the beaches of Lake Erie with Don a few years ago. There's hand-written notes of some quotes I've saved over time, snippets of a tag from one of my favorite pairs of jeans that have long since been discarded, and a few pressed flowers. I have another box that is simply filled with cards... from birthdays, thinking of you's, and just because... that I also cherish. I'm very sentimental so the text above really spoke to me when I read it.

The stack of two books are P.S. I Love You and a Life's Little Instruction Book. I decided to slipcover them when I came across them while in the upstairs storage room grabbing books to use to create these. I stumbled upon two handmade and imported gift bags that I had saved and decided to use them to create the slipcovers for these. The ribbon I used is one that I saved when Mary @ sent me a red transfer ware plate and a silver cup as the winner of her December blog giveaway.

I still love the plain kraft paper idea and perhaps, in a few days, I'll create several of those as book slipcovers and tie them with the black ribbon, just as I had seen them created and on display at Arhaus. I choose to use the green for mine since it was in the house, I didn't have to make a run to the studio to obtain some, and the green fit in with our home's decor.

Anyways, there they are... my little book creations that I was inspired to create. As I previously mentioned I was simply drawn to them for some unknown reason and I loved how they reflected that we, as people, are is sometimes like an open book, sometimes strong and proud just to allow our beauty to shine through, and yet we can feel exposed, vulnerable, and so delicate and fragile at other times.

Monday, April 14, 2008

CED 2008 ~ Inspiration

Good Morning! I'm up and awake, a little earlier than most days. Having slept like a baby after going to bed early, like 9:30 p.m. {gasp!} as I was so tired last night. I fell right off to sleep and slept so sound. Well, until I awoke @. 4:30 a.m. this morning to use the bathroom. Quietly crawling back into bed, getting all warm and cozy once again, only to discover that sleep was going to be eluding me, I laid there listening to the birds beginning to sing their morning song, before I realized I might as well just get up.

On Saturday, I rested. All day!!!! I accomplished my quest to simply rest, it felt good to do "Absolutely nothing!" Well, other than browse online for a bit, watch a couple of movies, snuggle up on the couch for an afternoon nap, read a bit of "A New Earth", and then order dinner out when Don returned home from work. It felt simply wonderful to just be lazy and enjoy each and every moment of the day!

Yesterday, I browsed online until Don began stirring, then, we proceeded to clean and catch up on things around our home. Sometime, prior to noon, I spoke to my Dad on the telephone and during that conversation, we decided not to paint their kitchen cabinets. He'd prefer to get some other things accomplished first. So, early in afternoon, Don and I made to trip to Polaris. We had no real agenda in mind, except to get out of the house, browse, and enjoy each other's company. We stopped into Home Goods, then into Marshall's, where I splurged on a new pair of pj's. I couldn't help but notice how worn out a pair of my pj's were becoming until I was lounging in them the day before. Just when they were feeling so comfy, too! But I knew it time to replace them.

After eating a late lunch/early dinner out, I made a quick jog into Barnes & Nobles and not paying attention, I purchased a copy of Somerset Studios that I already own! {Of course, I didn't realize that until I was browsing through it once we returned home.} I looked at and thought for a second about purchasing a Moleskin journal but decided to wait until I wasn't going to be so busy to get one, forgetting all about my earlier conversation with my Dad. Go figure! I don't know where my mind was, but any rational thought certainly wasn't with me.

Anyways, right next door to B&N's, is an Arhuas furniture and accessories store that Don and I have never been in. Mainly due to the fact that we believed would be way out of our budget, but we decided to venture in and browse anyways. I instantly feel in love with the place as most of the furnishing are hand-crafted by artisans and craftsman from around the world. Although, we were correct in our assumption over the prices, it was amazing to just look at all the details that went into the creation of each and every piece of furniture. Don managed to talked me into to purchasing a 6" and an 8" hand-blown green glass orbs that I was admiring as we entered. There must have been thirty of them, in a variety of colors, hanging from decorative ceiling hooks and tied with cut strands of jute at various heights hanging from the ceiling. I love the way the light shown through them! We didn't think that their accessories line was priced too high, as we were able to take advantage of their 30% off sale. I also saw this beautiful hand painted plate:
which I instantly feel in love with. Sadly, I didn't see anything regarding the artist who created it, and although, we didn't purchase one, I was certainly admiring it! I don't know quite what it is about it, the pair of trees expressing unity with one another, that "you and me" against the world, the fact that the image reflects that we never really are alone, or the bare nakedness of the image that reminded me to stand strong in the face of my own vulnerabilities while feeling exposed for all the world to see, but I found this piece to be simply gorgeous!

Another find, although not available for purchase, but displayed throughout the store, were these books that had their spines removed and the edges of the pages folded by groups of the inside signatures, and tucked into the sewn binding of the book to form a fan shape. There were other books as well. Some with simple, brown kraft paper slipcovers stacked one on top of the other, and another stack of paperback books with several of their front pages open ,and then wrapped over and creased to cover the spine of the book. Several of those were created into a stack, some of which some were then encased in kraft paper, while others were not and exposed the text of the book. Some of the books were then tied with a beautiful black satin ribbon and/or jute. I was amazed at how simple beauty can be! By taking an ordinary everyday object, whoever created those, created a piece of art! I loved how they reflected that we, as people, are is sometimes like an open book, sometimes strong and proud just to allow our beauty to shine through, and yet we can feel exposed, vulnerable, and so delicate and fragile at other times. Those books spoke to me so profoundly, that I'd love to re-create some for our own home!

Another item that was for display only, was a large old map book displayed on a kitchen table. The book's spine was broken and some of the pages no longer attached. It wasn't an old, vintage book by any means, but it was worn and appeared to be well-loved in its lifetime. It reasonated so much emotion within me... I was amazed at how something so simple could bring all sorts of images to my mind. Isn't it strange how inspiration for something comes to you when you aren't looking? Well, that was my thought anyways. Now I'll be looking for an older version of a book of maps now... just to display somewhere! {I decided to share these ideas here on my blog, so that I wouldn't forget... and I hope someone enjoys these ideas as much as I did! I'll take a photograph when I'm through creating mine!} I don't know if it is my love of books or the feelings that those book evoked within me, but either way, I find it reassuring that somehow I know I was meant to discover them.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

CED 2008 ~ Mom's kitchen

I'm still in the process of Spring cleaning my Mom and Dad's kitchen. I am happy to say that I have one small area left to finish up. I'll need to pull out her their stove to clean that area. So far, I've managed to washed down their painted ceiling tile, all four walls, the cabinets, and kitchen appliances and their back entrance door. {Why does that sound so easy when I type it? LOL!} I've spent several hours the past two days, climbing up and down a ladder, so I am a bit sore today. I have decided to take a couple days off to rest and keep up with our home. This also provides my parents some time and room of their own, which they've become accustomed to since all seven of their children have long since flown from the nest.

My parents are both in their early 80's, so they don't have the strength and endurance to do this for themselves. They are able to do light-housekeeping and simple chores on their own, its the more strenuous chores like this that they require outside assistance with. The reality is that that they've been blessed with a long and fairly healthy lives and I'm blessed to still have them with me. I figure if it makes their lives easier and enjoyable, it's time and money well spent. I'm happy to be of assistance to them and its a great way to re-pay them for the sacrifices they've made for Amber and I when we were younger.

I had six light maple veneer shelves and the hanging brackets stored in my studio that I'm was no longer using so I offered to give them to my parents for additional storage space within their kitchen. The shelves are 4 ft. long by 1 foot wide and will be hung two side by side adjacent to their upper cabinets above their sink and directly above their washer and dryer. I believe that they will look great since they are the same width from the wall as the cabinets. Their drop-leaf table is the same light maple stain and since the cabinets in their kitchen are a dark, walnut stain and are older, I've offered to remove the doors from them, sand, primer, and paint them inside and out using a white enamel paint. Their kitchen in long and narrow, like a galley style kitchen, and the walls are a beautiful aqua color. Painting the cabinets white will lighten the room and make the space seem more visibly open.

I'll be making a trip to Lowes to purchase one additonal support and four shelf brackets so we can hang three tiers of the shelving. As this will be the first thing that we do. This will allows us to empty out one section of her cabinets at a time while I'm working and they will still have access to all the cabinets contents. Once all the cabinets are cleaned inside, doors are removed, their sanded down, primed and painted, we'll be ready to paint one coat of paint on the walls, just to spruce it up and the shelving can be utilized for some of her pretty pottery, decorative jars, etc. and provide additional storage for some of her more often used appliances freeing up a countertop for more work surfaces within the kitchen.

I know that I'll have some work cut out for me with this project but it will all be so worth it once it is finished. They will have a kitchen that will function a little better for them, as well as a beautiful space to enjoy in the years to come. I'm actually excited to see and experience the end results. I may be able to take some before and after photos, and if it is okay with my parents, perhaps, I can share them here on my blog. After all, it is their home and I do have to respect their wishes. We see how that goes...

After taking Mom in for her hair cutting appointment, Don and I returned home. After taking a bath and cleaning myself up, Don and I went back over and shot pool with my Dad, some family and friends. It was a rather enjoyable evening and felt good not to be all work and no play!

If you discover that I'm posting a little less than I used to or I'm not online as often as I've been previously in the past, please know that I'm here, doing okay, just perhaps, a little busier in the weeks to come. I'll still be providing childcare for my grand-daughter so I'll be taking some time off from this project along the way.

To maintain some balance in my life, I suggested a "Home Sweet Home" swap with some internet friends. Most of them are as busy as I will be for the next several months, so we're considering a June swap date. I'm certain that I'll be able to work on that when I have some spare moments here and there and in fact, I'm already looking forward to it! Lords know you can't be all work and no play, I learned that lesson last summer!
*{smiles and waves}*

Thursday, April 10, 2008

CED ~ 2008 - Unplugged...

What a day this has been! I made it over to my parent's house today and got started on washing down my mom's kitchen. Her kitchen isn't a big kitchen but what a job it is to wash down ceiling tiles, walls, cabinets, and counter tops. My mom washes things off but her kitchen hasn't had a good thorough cleaning like this since the last time I did it, perhaps, last year or maybe even the year before. Today, we removed some decorative items and took down a couple shelves located above their washer and dryer, pulled out both the washer and dryer and I gave them a serious cleaning on all four sides, underneath and inbetween. We placed those items back into place, and I started on the ceilings and the wall surrounding them and the opposite wall of kitchen cabinets and counter tops. I'm a little over half way in the project after scrubbing for 4 1/2 - 5 hours. My mom doesn't have a range hood to assist with catching grease and their furnace is a gas furnace, so between the two, I scrubbed and scrubbed. Her kitchen is looking beautiful once again! It is almost as fresh as the day they painted it a beautiful aqua color. In fact, I scrubbed so hard in a few little spots that I {oops!} actually removed some of the paint. To make up for the error, I gave my dad $20 to make a trip to Lowe's tomorrow to pick up a gallon of the same color. We decided after we get the walls washed, that we'd apply a fresh coat and they'd have some paint remaining for touch-ups whenever they are needed.

Tomorrow, I'll have Little Miss Alexxis until early afternoon. My plan is to go back over to Mom and Dad's and attempt to finish the job. Well, that's the "game plan" anyways.... we'll see how well that goes. Alexxis is becoming more and more familiar with her great- grandparents since I try to take her over there to see them at least once a week and she isn't a clinging child unless she's not feeling well, so I think we'll be okay for a little while. If not, that's okay, too. It will keep me from burning myself out too bad, LOL! Lord knows I've a long " To Do" list with keeping up with our home, but I really don't mind assisting my parents. They have been so good to me over the years, its about time that I am able to return some of the favors and I fully intent to ---- even if it is a little at time.

In other news, the outdoor fabric that I ordered on Saturday arrived today! It is more beautiful that I imagined, even after seeing a swatch of it online when I placed my order. It will be a while before I can get started on them as I'll have to make a trip to JoAnn's to purchase a few co-ordinating spools of thread. I believe I'm going to be very happy with it once I get started on sewing the patio chair covers. In fact, I'm looking forward to it. I find sewing relaxing; well, things are going right, LOL!

Anyways, I wanted to "pop in" say that everything is alright in our little corner of the world, mention that if I'm not online this is why and let everyone know that I'll be back when time allows. Tomorrow, I'll probably be "unplugged" from the computer as we're expecting thunderstorms and the possibility of high winds. I'll be back when I can. I hope whatever projects you have going on, that you find it pleasurable and relaxing.... until then...{*waves*}

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

CED 2008 ~ Even the best laid plans...

Sometimes, even the best laid plans seemed to get skewed. I had all intentions of going to Mom's today to wash down her kitchen, but as fate would have it the telephone rang this morning and my assistance was needed with this. Now, I don't know about you, but I have a really hard time saying, "No!" to this sweet little face. So, Alexxis arrived at Grammies a little after 11 a.m. and finished helping me with this.

I figured if I had to be here, I may as well as make the most of it so Alexxis and I cleaned. We dusted, swept, and vacuumed, washed glass, windows, and knick-knacks. Of course, Grammie's house isn't all about slave labor, LOL, so we made some time to play. You know its really fun flying the butterfly way up high!!! Especially when you see such a sweet little face light up and the squeals of delight and laughter begins.

Being at home also allowed me to call Rita to set up Mom's and my hair appointments. A quick telephone call to Mom to inform her of our appointments time and with plans to reschedule the Spring cleaning of her kitchne, Alexxis and I whipped up some lunch. After lunch and doing up dishes, it was time for some Noggin and a nap. While Little Miss slept, I decided to tackle this project. I'd been desiring to re-finish this mirror for some time now and since I could accomplish it while Alexxis slept, I gathered up all the supplies: painter's tape, scissors, rubber gloves, Sophisticated Finishes, and a paintbrush. I decided to use the kitchen table since I could open the windows again today and turn on the two ceiling fans there. I'm so glad I did, the kitchen table moves out easily enough that I can pull it out and push it back as I worked around it. That certainly saved my back!

Here's a close-up after the two coats of Sophisticated Finishes was applied and while I'm waiting for it to dry. I still am desiring to go back over it with some Gold Rub-n-Buff. I'll post a pic once this project is finally complete.

Whatever your plans are or were for the day, I hope you were able to find something that gives you some pleasure. I know I did!

Also, a friend of Don's was on her walking and on her way to the library today when she stopped to chat. I invited her in for a glass of iced tea which she gratefully accepted. While she was here, she gave me the most wonderful compliment on our living room and said, I should think about becoming an interior designer. Well, needless to say, I was certainly flattered but I don't see that happening anytime in the near future. I happen to love my life --- just the way it is! Screwed up plans and all!!!! }*smile{

CED 2008~ Baby Steps

Today was a perfect day! I accomplished every thing I set out to do --- although my main focus was on creating a relaxing environment for us to relax in after all the hard work we've completed the past several days. I decided to bring the potted palms outside so they could also enjoy some of the sunshine with me while I slipped into my bathing suit and enjoyed an entire 35-45 minutes of this earlier this afternoon. I tell you, that was pure heaven to my tired body and I exited the jacuzzi feeling like a new woman!

After drying off and getting dressed once more, I set about preparing dinner, whipping up a salad, prepping some pork loin slices with my special spice mix, dicing up a cantaloupe, and steaming some veggies. While I was inside working I kept thinking I'd love to be back outside so while the salad, cantaloupe, and meat were marinating, I decided I wanted to clean and fire up the grill!

Shortly thereafter, Don arrived home and helped me set the patio table. He got the grill lighted and while the chops were slowly cooking we opened and began to enjoy a bottle of California Zinfandel that we'd graciously received from Bob and Carmela earlier in the year.
With the time I spent earlier in the afternoon with my previous kitchen prep work it wasn't maybe twenty minutes longer and we were enjoying this with one another, chatting and laughing up a storm.

Afterwards, Don helped me with cleaning up, drying and putting away what few dishes I had to wash. Soon, we were back outside to enjoy yet another glass of wine while Chaos' demonstrated his artistic ability of wrestling rocks for us.

I swear our dog has some major issues! LOL!

As the sun began to set lower in the sky, we brought the palms back indoors, and decide to take a short drive around town, listening to some Nickelback, and simply being silly, before returning back home a little before 8 p.m. After about an hour and a half of TV watching, I fell asleep on the couch, only to wake up four hours later to realize that Don had long since gone to bed and I'm now wide awake.... again!

Knowing that sleep will elude me for a few more hours, I decided to upload the photos of our day today and post here for tomorrow --- which promises to be yet another busy day as I promised my mom I'd come over to wash down her kitchen for her. I don't know why I volunteer to do all these things, but Lord knows she doesn't need to be up on a chair or ladder attempting to do it herself. Trust me, it's far easier on me this way!!! Thankfully, Amber's off work tomorrow so I won't have Little Miss to contend with while doing this. Well, I believe I'm going to go read for a bit, as it helps to relax me when I get all comfy and cozy, soon I should be slipping in between the sheets and snuggling with my hubby for a few more hours of sleep.
***Night all and sweet dreams......***

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


This is our two and a half year old "puppy", Chaos. I mention him every so often here on my blog, talking abut his misadventures and shenanigans, but haven't been so good at posting photographs of him so I thought that I'd share this one captured earlier today.

I believe the last time I posted about him was when he was still a cute, adorable little puppy, slip sliding around on our hardwood floors. As you can tell, he has grown a lot since then, but I can assure you "the puppy" is still there! It's hard to believe when you see him in a rare, calm moment like this that he is actually a mini-hurricane and there's a reason for that old saying, "let sleeping dogs lie" and "A tired lab is a good lab!"

"Are you taking a photograph of me?" Is his thought for about one second...

then, the tail-wagging begins....
His entire body begins swaying back and forth, and the wriggling begins,
Look! He's so happy for some attention....
{you'd think he never gets any the way he acts}

Next, is the running around in circles, barking, and attempting to jump on me...
it's time to put the camera away...
Say "Good-bye, Chaos!"

Isn't he precious?

CED 2008 ~

Hello everyone! I haven't had much time to relax or even think about getting on the computer as the past two days have been absolutely beautiful here in Ohio! The temperatures finally made it up within the normal range for this time of year, high 50's -low 60's degrees F for a few days, so we took full advantage of them and managed to accomplish quite a lot.

On Saturday afternoon, I did a bit online browsing for a Suncast storage seat to store our jacuzzi chemicals within. I found many and checked the prices at a variety of websites. Although, I continued to hesitate ordering one, as I was searching for the best price and the lowest shipping costs. Can you imagine my surprise, when I picked up a week newspaper and spotted an Aldi's advertisement that contained a larger one far cheaper than the smaller one I had been looking at?

When Don arrived home that evening, we discussed it and decided to go check them out early on Sunday morning. Not only did we find one, but after making our way back home, putting away a few groceries we also purchased, enjoyed a light lunch, and assembling the first one, we loved it so much that we returned to purchase another one! We now have two and they will be perfect for storing our outdoor cushions in one and our chemicals and other items that we desire to remain dry in the other.

We also made a stop into Lowe's. Remember I mentioned desiring some palm trees in my previous post? I'd seen and priced some at our local Lowe's on our previous visit so we decided to go ahead and pick up a few of them now while we were in the area. Since we're still under Frost Adversaries until mid-May, I'm keeping the plants indoors until it is safe to move them outside onto the deck. I love how the additional of real live plants help to soften our living room, so I took these photographs this morning to show you:

This is the largest of the three palms we purchased. I tucked into the corner to soften that area, although it isn't as tall as it appears here. I placed the pot up on a small footstool to give it some additional height for the area.

The other palm isn't as tall or as bushy although it looks beautiful in one of our previously purchased Martha Steward hammered copper planters. I have two of these and believe we'll utilize them outdoors on the deck as well. Here's another view, closer up of the corner.

Right below and next to this palm is an electric socket in which I've placed a light-sensitive night light. The fronds of the palm casts some amazing shadows onto the walls and ceilings at night!

I also removed some of the brown silk lilies from the coffee table centerpiece and inserted another small pot. {Please forgive my blurry photo, but you get the idea!} The medium size container of primroses shown on the coffee table above were yet another purchase, along with the corn-like style of palm placed between the corner curio and the couch.

After putting these where they would be safe, eating a light lunch, Don and I began tackling the back deck. We removed everything that wasn't necessary to be there and then began power-washing it. In less than two hours, I had the 90% of that accomplished and I'll hit the outside fence and the outside of the deck railings later.

Since we had such wonderful weather, we decided to get out the patio furniture tables and chairs and I gave them a good spraying as well. Once the deck dried, things were place where they were going, we began staging the area, adding my table cloth, the table top candelabra, and the sun umbrella. Don worked in his garaged rearranging somethings while I worked on the deck and since we'd freed up so much more space within there. Anyways, I believe most of us know how that goes, once you get started, you don't want to stop but the evening light was starting to diminish. After cleaning the deck and ourselves up, making a few necessary return telephone calls, Don and I sat in the jacuzzi gazing at the stars. It was the perfect ending to an absolutely perfect day!

Monday morning also found us hitting the floor running. After we picked up Alexxis, we visited with my parents for a few hours. They enjoy seeing her and it gives us a wonderful chance to catch up with each other. Returning home and after Daddy picked up Little Miss, I raked the entire front yard, sprucing it up for Spring, while Don continued to work in his garage. He's loving his newly found space!

On the other hand, I hadn't realized just how hard I had been working working the past several days. After cleaning the front yard, I came in to get Don and I a nice, tall glass of cold iced tea. After returning to enjoy mine on the couch and the sound of my cell phone ringing woke me up an hour later! It was Don calling from the garage to remind me we'd be having dinner with his mom. We'd promised to take her out for a late-birthday dinner to the place of her choice. She choose Kentucky Fried Chicken and I was so relieved that I didn't have to cook! After an enjoyable meal, a short visit with Mom after returning her home, we made our way back home and it felt so wonderful just to sit down and relax!

We went to bed fairly early, around 10:30 p.m. and around 12:30 a.m. I realized just how dearly that nap cost me. I woke up, wide awake. I got up and read for a few hours, attempting to rest and be quiet so Don could sleep. He has been working just as hard as I have and I know he needed it. Around 4:30 a.m., I returned to bed and slept until he woke me prior to leaving for work at 11:00! Needless to say, I'm feeling a bit drained today, and lacking any energy to do much of anything. So, here I am, updating my blog. I do believe I'm going to go out and enjoy the jacuzzi in a few and pack up the cushions for the patio chairs; we've a thunderstorm headed our way later this afternoon.

Oh, and earlier today while checking my email, I learned the fabric I ordered on Saturday has shipped! It is expected to arrive on the Thursday. Perhaps, I'll get the sewing machine set up in the back part of our kitchen so when they arrive I can begin relaxing and working on the chair covers. Wish me luck on that, as I really am just winging it on creating them.

We're still in the process of creating our outdoor space. There's some additional work to be done and I need to waterproof it once again. But I promise I'll post some pictures of our progress soon, I'm excited about the possibilities of enjoying it --- well, whenever, Mother Nature decides to co-operate, LOL! Talk to everyone soon....

Saturday, April 05, 2008

CED 2008 ~ Taking a break from cleaning...

While cleaning our home today, my thoughts kept returning to decorating our deck. A few days ago, Don pulled one of our patio chairs out of storage so I could see what the new cushions would look like on them. I'm not so certain that was the wisest idea because now they are plaguing me. Oh, I love the cushions... it's the chairs that are bothering me! LOL! Does it ever end?

As we have have so much invested in the 7 pc. patio table and chairs and the 4 pc. bar set already, and they're not in bad shape, I cannot see us replacing them so I began brainstorming for ideas and solutions. Here is the style of our patio chairs:

My first thought was to paint the frames and slipcover the fabric! Painting them isn't really a necessity, in fact a good spring cleaning is all they really require. So, out comes the fabric measuring tape and I measure the chairs. The actual measurements are 18"W x 44" L. Of course, if I'm slipcovering them, I desire to cover the back as well, at least to the seat, so I'd need an additional 25" L for that --- these are actual measurements, so I'd need to add a few inches for seam allowances and hemming. Hmmmm, I thought...

I found myself browsing online once again and discovering this wonderful fabric! Isn't it pretty?

It's called Aruba Blue and is available at
It's 100% cotton, mildew and soil resistant treated 7 oz. cotton, not waterproof, and is is a 56"width. I figured two yards would cover two chairs, with some fabric remaining {approximately 16"x 72"} Perfect for creating a few pillows, creating a cover for the bar stool seats, etc. Anyways, let's just say that it didn't take me long to convince Don that I needed 7 yards of it, LOL! For less than $60.00, I believe this will be a big improvement! Won't it be beautiful with our striped seat cushions? I think so!

Also, while I'm still on the subject of our deck, we've decided against painting it this year. I believe we're simply going to power wash and waterproof it. I may end up painting a few of the area rugs I previously mentioned but for now, we're leaving it as it. It blends in with the natural landscape of our rear yard and the new fence so why tempt fate? The more and more I thought about the up keep of paint, the more I became convinced this is the way to go. Perhaps, I can spend the money I just saved on plants, LOL! I see some palm trees and flowers in my future...

Friday, April 04, 2008

Yesterday, I browsed online for white-washing techniques to apply to the fence surrounding the jacuzzi and the deck railings. It seems there's a variety of ways to achieve that, from using water-down white exterior paint to purchasing actual outdoor stains. I'm thinking since I'm DIY'ing it, I am preferring the latter. It is definitely going to be a while before we can actually get started but when the time is right I hope I make the right decision.

And, speaking of right decisions, have ever noticed that when you are planning things out, thinking of all your choices, making the decisions, that the doubts began to surface as well? All those "what if's?" --- "what if?" it looks tacky; "what if?" I cannot paint a decent mural; "what if?" I'm way out of my league here? Before I know it, more things to consider begin to arise. Yesterday's thoughts were certainly no exception for me. I suddenly began to wonder about the color of our dining table, the chairs frames, the fabric on the chairs, and the color of our umbrella! Will they work with this color scheme? They are neutral in color but I'm uncertain about them now. I suddenly realize that purchasing a new set isn't an option. Besides, they aren't unusable, so I spent some time considering how to assist with tying them all in. As I considered those thoughts, I decided to "wait and see" before I do anything, but that didn't stop me from searching for possible solutions! Since they table and chair frames are metal, they could be spray painted inexpensively if needed. The fabric is attached in the frames, so creating a slipcover them is probably the only option. Suddenly, I began to feel a renewed sense of reassurance: somehow, someway, this will all work itself out! After all, we have a lot of options.

Feeling a fresh sense of confidence, I began thinking about paint color choices for the deck boards. I really like the thought of using blue... a marine blue; nothing too bright or over the top, although Glidden's Turquoise Mist is one beautiful color! I suddenly begin to wonder if it would too much? I begin to see that "what if?" pattern emerging again, and decide to take some time off! Sometimes, I begin to over-analyze everything, begin to feel overwhelmed, and think about throwing in the towel! Well, I'm too far into this game to allow that to happen so giving my thoughts some time to settle in is what I need. Thankfully, there's a lot of prep work that will need to be made before most of this can happen; that will provide me the perfect opportunity to collect and organize my thoughts.

With that thought in mind, I began making a "to do" list consisting of power washing the deck, clearing it off, and creating a step-by-sweet-step list. I feeling more confident already! In the meantime, while waiting for the weather to break, I have time to do more research and decision making. I know we'll get there!

CED 2008 ~ Shopping for Deck Decor

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Don't you just love unexpected finds? Don and I visited Home Goods again on Wednesday with all intentions of "just looking!" Upon arriving, we were unexpectedly surprised to find so many items that would work perfectly with the items we'd already purchased for our outdoor living space that our visit turned into yet another shopping spree!

Our first find was the acrylic chip and dip bowl and I was extremely excited about discovering it! I was happy that I had decided to purchase the tumblers in both blue and green because the chip/dip bowl contained the fishes colored in both blue and green. That little detail fell right into place perfectly for us and I didn't see any of acrylic tumblers left to purchase. I also fell in love with the fact that this set is so versatile--- it will providing us with so many options for actually using it. Chips and dips, chips and salsa, salads and dressings, veggies and dips, fresh fruit and yogurt for dipping into, yum! !! I can hardly wait!

Next, I stumbled upon the turquoise stoneware fish platter and the tablecloth clips. How adorable are those?! I already had a few of these green acrylic fish platters but I instantly loved the thought of mixing and matching them up a bit more. The tablecloth clips weren't actually a necessity, as I did have some that were a gift from my sister a few years ago, although these will match our decor. I instantly feel in love in love with these light turquoise scallop shell place mats and since I'd only purchased two striped place mats previously, I felt these would coordinate beautifully with them, and they'll be perfect for entertaining our family and friends!

Feeling that "guilty pleasure" feeling that I so often get, I decided perhaps we should venture over to check out the clearance section. Along the way, I found six chair cushions in the colors we'd previously selected and they contained the yellow that I'd previously mentioned incorporating into the color scheme! What were the chances of that? I was so stoked! Usually when I see chair cushions, I can only find enough for a set of four, so after quickly discussing that little fact, we decided into the cart they'd go.

Finally arriving at the clearance section, we noticed some shower curtains. We have often talked about a decorative rod and some curtains to our deck surrounding the jacuzzi, mainly just to soften up the space. Discovering them on clearance for $5 each, I decided to purchase two of them. My original idea, since they were a light green was that I could possibly dye them a bit deeper, lighter, brighter green but as luck would have it a few days later while checking out Rit dyes online, I discovered that they are 100% polyester and won't accept dying very well. Oh well, you can't win them all! I'm certain that I can come up with another solution; perhaps, stamping on some beach themed images, adding some appliqued seashells, or even ribbons and trims. Anyways, they certainly still have possibilities!

I also decided to purchase another bag of seashells and discovered yet another beautiful natural colored fish net filled with some medium sized white-bleached starfish! I could instantly envision them scattered around our deck on top of the table, added to our beach towels, in a vase containing sand and a grouping of candles. As I placed those in the cart, Don gave me that inquisitive look, you know the one that husbands give you, with a raised eyebrow, that says, "Is there anything else? LOL!

Well, yes, there is, or was... do you remember when I mentioned desiring a basket or some container to place beach towels into near the jacuzzi? Well, anyways, I did, so we ventured over there to look. I saw a large assortment of lined baskets and items that I could make work but either the color of the basket or the liner was wrong. I knew those could be revamped easily enough with a bit of spray paint and fabric but I was so excited when I discovered this wonderful blue and white striped beach bag. It was perfect! We can even take it with us on trips to the lake and on our travels!

Deciding I shouldn't push my luck too much further, we began the trip home. Along the way, we chatted up a storm, brainstorming all the ideas and possibilities I have envisioned for our outdoor living space. We discussed the possibility of white-washing the deck rail and fences, adding a mural, painting the deck boards, and Don actually seemed to love all of my ideas!
Upon arriving back in town, he even suggested that we stop at our Lowe's home improvement store to see what options we had available to us for creating a curtain rod to hang near the jacuzzi. Since there's twelve foot expanse of the deck to cover we looked at PVC pipes. Since the longest they come in is ten foot lengths, we purchased two in a 1" diameter and a coupling link. We found some silver shower curtain brackets that will hold the pipe and will need to get something that we can slide inside to keep the pipe from sagging. We discussed some possibilities for that and checked out our purchases. Arriving at home and while unpacking our newly found treasures, Don hugged me, told me he loves me, and filled with as much excitement as I was feeling, said, "We're going to have one "decked out - deck!" Now, I can only hope that our final results can live up to his expectations!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

CED 2008~

For the past several days, I've been nesting! Loving life, time with spent with my family, cleaning and de-cluttering our home, and organizing items that will stay. I returned a lot boxes back to the studio but by keeping a few things, I found sometime today to simply play! This piece will one day find it's way into my "Almost Daily" journal which hopefully will become a great coffee table book. For now, it provides a sense of balance to my life.