Hello again..and a Quick and Easy Christmas Idea

Yeah, I’ve been away from the blog. Blame it on summer, getting back into a routine after the start of school (yeah, my kids are adults but when they go back to school all the swimming and other fun stops and I start my little part-time job back), blame it on a stress fracture on my foot and being in a boot for 2 weeks – which of course irritated the arthritis in my foot and caused even more pain and such irritability and immobility you wouldn’t believe. Can we repeat my motto – If You Give a Mouse a Cookie – in a really bad way!  Here are some pics of my foot – no humility at this point – old age is NOT for the faint of heart!

 

But, I have been thinking while lying here and moving from one chair to the next.  Christmas is coming!  Christmas is coming!  No, I’m not really jumping over fall – probably my very favorite season of the year.  I just did a quick little project the other day that I’ve been thinking about for a long time.  It doesn’t look like much, but it’s just what I’ve been meaning to do for a long time.  It’s a photo book for Christmas decorating.

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Every year when I’ve pulled my Christmas decorations out, I’ve thought, “I wonder where I had that last year”.  Well, last year I did something I’ve wanted to do – I took pictures of each room and where and how I decorated  each table and each specific area.  When I put away all the decorations, I packed them in smaller boxes that held each vignette and then into larger crates.

Off the pictures went to Walgreens,  and for around $6.00 (4×6 are currently 33 cents each) I had snapshots of each of those decorated tables, mantle, etc.

 

Now for those of you who like to decorate spontaneously, this idea isn’t for you.  While I definitely still like to tweak things – I always know that white reindeer will be on my dining room buffet but she may need new candlesticks around her this year – but  this helps me keep myself organized instead of starting fresh each year or re-inventing the wheel.  I got tired of bringing all those crates in and being overwhelmed by all that stuff!  Now, I do tend to move things around – A LOT – so after I pack up this year I’ll just make a few new pictures for my notebook.

Those heretofore mentioned pictures lay in my desk drawer all year long until one day this week.  Because I’ve been so immobile I was trying to be productive the other day and started going through my desk drawers.

Here comes the really easy part:  I found a tiny little notebook in there that had never been used and voila! an idea came to mind.  Just go ahead and put those little pictures in the notebook and they won’t lie there looking accusingly at me any more!

I can make notes on the empty pages next to the pictures to remind myself of changes I wanted to make or things I need to add.  You could also do this in a scrapbook, but that would be too big for my needs.  I think one of those little notebooks for $5.00 that you see in the check-out line at TJ Maxx or Home Goods would work perfectly.  Here are a few I use for other things:

 

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So, I hope this little idea will help shoot some other new idea off  in your head!  It doesn’t have to be Christmas decorations. It could help you inventory for insurance or help you with shopping for your family. I just like it because it’s quick and easy!  Hope you’re enjoying HOME!

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July 4th …..flags, parades, fireworks, and watermelon…..in America

I’m sure I got my patriotism from my daddy. He didn’t serve in the military but he was a proud American to the core. He had that choke-up reflex at the sight of a flag or anything remotely patriotic. And lo and behold – so do I!!

 

 

I was raised by him and mama in the ’50s and ’60s and even though he and I might have butted heads a bit over the culture and ideas of the time (yes, I thought I knew everything), but his beliefs really influenced my own today. (Of course, being formerly married to a sailor and living in military towns for a few years also influenced my thinking!).  I can hardly pass a flag without that pride in our country that is so deeply imbedded in my heart and bubbling to the surface.

 

Growing up, we always celebrated the 4th watching parades, shooting fireworks and cooking out with family and friends.  I raised the girls the same way, and we repeated many of these traditions over the years.   I plan to do a few of those things again this year and will probably enjoy a little watermelon too.

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This 4th of July feels quite different from those in years past.  Maybe it’s because I’m older and I realize how little I really do know and  understand.  But I do believe the flag still represents the same thing.  It represents the fact that we are free, because of the bravery and sacrifice of great men and women who have stood and continue to stand to defend our country.

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Long may she wave.   Happy 4th of July!

 

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Poster Art…All’s Well That Ends Well

I’d been wanting to add a little color to my neutral bedroom and master bathroom lately, and had been seeing some ocean prints that I really liked. Here’s one that caught my eye on Houzz:

I really like the muted colors of this one on canvas, but since we had just returned from the beach/es I scrolled through my own pictures. As I was discussing this with my daughter Sarah, she produced one of our pictures in a muted, faded way using an app she discovered a while back.  This is a picture of the old Cockspur Lighthouse at Tybee:

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While I love this picture, it wasn’t the ocean scene I wanted. To get this printed on 12×12 canvas it would cost $49.00 at Shutterfly.  Too expensive for so small.  So, Sarah kept researching until she found a company, Canvasdiscount.com,  and sent me a sample of a larger canvas.

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This 20×30 canvas was $43.00 and was the muted look I wanted of my very own print of our favorite coastline. I love that when I look at this print it brings back real memories of MY summer, not some random beach scene.  The canvas was delivered within the week and this is where the Success or Epic Fail begins!

The canvas arrived and was a HUGE SUCCESS!  It was beautiful and a perfect size!  The fail was all me – not the canvas!  As I’ve told my children many times, I don’t love canvases. To me they look a little too unfinished and even modern – so why on earth did I do that?!?!  I just got sucked into those pictures on Houzz and didn’t think about my own personal style. As usual, I should have thought it through a little better, but here’s the success……I went to Hobby Lobby, found a 20×30″ frame at half-price and this is the rest of the story!

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Even though I could have probably saved a lot of money and just bought a 20×30 print not canvas, it all turned out fine in the end. I really like the brushed metal frame and the picture will be a reminder of my beautiful beach at Tybee. I’ll just think I paid full price for the frame and imagine that made up for ordering the canvas instead of a print.  All’s well that ends well in Linda-land!

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You rule the raging of the seas….

As many of you do on vacation, when I was at the beach last week I walked down to the beach one morning and just walked in the edge of the water for a while. While my preferred situation is sitting by the pool that overlooks the ocean – I love the look, smell, and sound of those roaring waves! I’m always amazed at the immensity, the awesomeness, the beauty of the sea.  As I walked along,  I marveled at how loud the waves are, how totally engulfed you feel by their crashing around you, but at the same time, how quiet and reverent it seems.

I’m grateful for another visit to the ocean, another fill-up of the wonder of that particular part of creation, but mostly,  I’m reminded of the wonderful Creator – The Lord Almighty!

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    O Lord God of hosts, who is mighty as you are, O LORD, with your faithfulness all around you? You rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, you still them. Psalm 89:8-9

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Who knew?!?

 

Who knew you could do so much with an old vinyl floor without replacing it for $$ and do it so quickly?  (All those years ago, I lived with ugly vinyl bathroom floors but didn’t have the money to replace them because the bathrooms were at the bottom of my list of needs)….but, along comes my “younger” and she tried something I never even thought about.  She painted both of her vinyl-clad bathroom floors!

Here’s a before picture of bathroom #1 with vinyl tile squares.  It wasn’t a bad floor, but she wanted a new updated look:

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She researched on our favorite resource site, Pinterest of course, and got some ideas of the type of paint to use. First, she painted the whole floor with white primer – after taping off the baseboards, vanity, and commode. She let it dry a few hours, and then painted the floor the white base color.  This picture is after the primer only and you can still the lines of the tiles through the primer:

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After letting the base coat dry for around 24 hours, she started the hardest step with her Frog tape. Sarah really wanted stripes, and with her steady hand and eyes, she marked off the size of the stripes she wanted with a tape measure and pencil. Next, she taped off for the lines. She amazes me with how straight she got everything at first try. This step took a lot of planning because she had to take into consideration the size of the tape itself into the equation of gray stripe vs. white stripe.

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Now she was ready to start painting the gray stripe. Here’s the Porch, Floor and Patio paint she bought that was recommended throughout Pinterest.  It comes in a variety of colors and she used latex satin light gray for the stripe and latex satin white for the base coat which is the white stripe.  She bought the Valspar paint from Lowe’s for $15.00ish for each quart.  She had more than enough for this floor and another I’ll show in a minute.

 

 

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Now, in my opinion, this next one was the hardest step – waiting for the floor to dry before pulling up the tape. I think in retrospect Sarah would say to wait a full day before doing this, but somebody may have jumped the gun and done it much sooner!    Here’s the finished floor.  Look at the great finished update.   It’s so beachy clean and fresh looking:

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I love it!  After it dried well, she went in with a tiny craft brush and touched up some of the places where the paint bled under the tape, but that was just in  a few places. So, this ingenious girl moved to her next bathroom with a very similar floor,  and decided to add a narrow navy stripe to the gray and white she used here.

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This is a much bigger bathroom and adding in another stripe took a little more “figuring”, but it turned out so striking!

Here’s the finished floor #2:

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I love this one even more than the first one!  The navy stripe added more depth and gave it a totally different look. I loved it, and so did someone else…..

 

When Sarah went in to clean her brushes after the primer coat, sweet little Murphy just had to figure out what his mommy was up to. Then he had to be comforted by her because she may have shrieked when she saw his little foot prints!

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Sarah says so far so good with the floors. It’s only been finished for a couple of weeks, but seems to be holding up really well.  She may decide to put a coat of poly on it because she’s used to a slicker feel for the floor, but hasn’t yet. According to Pinterest, people are still generally pleased after a year of walking on these painted vinyl floors.  We’ll let you know with a follow-up in a few months.

I’m glad my girl is brave in the decorating arena (not so much with her courage in riding motor bikes, kayaking, etc.!). Instead of living with a floor you don’t like but aren’t ready to take on a big budget renovation, try something different.  That’s always been my mantra – necessity IS the mother of invention!

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A Quiet Spring on the Porch

I seem to notice that I don’t blog as much in the Spring. Even though beauty is breaking out all over and there’s plenty of new things to explore and capture,  I’m unusually quiet.

I’m kinda in a holding pattern – waiting for summer when the action really begins, vacation to enjoy, more time with my girls, etc., etc.  That holding pattern is probably from the almost 30 years as a teacher/principal, where during Spring we just try to crawl to summer!  But who knows – maybe I’m just being lazy!! Blame it on the hammock!

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Books, Books….

Well, even though it’s springtime, I woke up to snow yesterday morning, and between the rain and cold weather this spring, I’ve spent WAY too much time wrapped up, with my precious Mason in my lap, reading!  Ok, that’s not a terrible way to spend time, but today the sun is out and I’m more energetic and actually up moving around. Before I get too busy around here I wanted to share a couple of books that I read in my “cold, wet period”.

First off was the BEST novel I’ve read in a while. Even though this author wrote another book I loved, The Nightingales, I’ve only read a few by her. A good friend recommended this title and I bought it immediately. This book is The Great Alone by Kristen Hannah. Here’s the Amazon review about the book:

IMG_5479“In Kristin Hannah’s The Great Alone, a damaged vet named Ernt Allbright returns from Vietnam and moves his family to the wilds of Alaska to start their lives anew. Initially it’s a welcome change, but as winter approaches, and Ernt’s mental state deteriorates, his wife and daughter find themselves in an increasingly precarious position. Leni and Cora are the heart of what is as much a mother-daughter love story as it is a pressure cooker of a page-turner. Together they reckon not only with the elements, but with some bad decisions, born from the stubborn faith that Ernt will somehow be restored to the person he was before the war. It’s a testament to Hannah’s compassionate storytelling that you’ll be hard-pressed to call him a villain.  The muse of The Great Alone is clearly Alaska–in all its untamed, stunningly beautiful, dangerous glory. It provides the perfect backdrop for an equally dramatic tale, one that feels remarkably current for the 1970s setting. But Hannah’s latest also harkens to her mega bestselling The Nightingale: it highlights the heroics of everyday people, especially women.”

Another little book I just finished takes place in Charleston, and I really enjoy books set in the south, especially the lowcountry. It also tells a story about a family of women and even though I don’t set out to dwell on that topic, I must be drawn to it.  Here’s the summary from Amazon:

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“Family has to take you in, no matter how many mistakes you’ve made. At least that’s what Joanna Rutledge Reed thought. At eighteen, she left her family’s ancestral home in Charleston, South Carolina, despite promising to stay. For years, she did whatever she wanted, barely giving her family back home a second thought. But a string of bad decisions results in heartbreak, forcing her to return, her life in tatters.

While her wayward sister traveled the world, Marcy remained in Charleston, caring for her aging grandmother and managing the family business. She’s got problems of her own that no one seems to notice or care about. When Joanna arrives unexpectedly, Marcy bristles at the intrusion, suspicious of her sister’s motives.

Set against the rich tapestry of Charleston, South Carolina, three generations of strong Southern women share a history and not-quite-forgotten secrets. Will the bonds they forged years ago be strong enough to give them a second chance at being a family?”

For the Book Club I’m a member of, I’m reading a much heavier book, Heaven by Randy Alcorn.  I’ll let you know more about it as I get deeper into it.  This is  a non-fiction book and while it’s long for us (500+ pages), we’re dividing it into two parts. My highlighter is out and I’m using it liberally!

IMG_5481From Amazon about this title: “What will heaven be like? Randy Alcorn presents a thoroughly biblical answer, based on years of careful study, presented in an engaging, reader-friendly style. His conclusions will surprise readers and stretch their thinking about this important subject. Heaven will inspire readers to long for heaven while they’re living on earth.”

Hope you are seeing sunshine today!

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Updating a Spring Wreath…

I don’t know about y’all, but I use the same wreaths over and over, year after year, with additions to make them look new. I don’t like spending a lot of money to make a brand new look for the front door, but I also get tired of the same old thing. Plus, birds and insects help my decision about refreshing every season!

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I’ve used this grapevine wreath for my spring and summer front door for the last couple of years. I added the cotton stems last year and the willow branches this year. I really like the “non-uniform” look of the greenery as it hangs on the door, and I like a larger wreath so it shows up well.  When I saw this wreath from On Sutton Place on Pinterest, I decided to give it a try since I had these little terra-cotta clay pots in my storage.

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I wanted the pots to add to the look I already had and got busy with the pots, wreath and twine.  It was so easy!  You literally just run the twine through the hole in the bottom of the pot and tie it onto the wreath (I tied with a double knot).  You can tie them on in a random up and down order or add as many or as few as you want.  Here are some pictures of the steps I took:

 

These pots are 1 1/2″ and 2″-3″ tall and can be purchased at Hobby Lobby,  JoAnn’s or my favorite online, Amazon (Set of 10 Small Terra Cotta Pots – Clay Flower Pots, Mini Flower Pot Planters for Indoor, Outdoor Plant, Succulent Display, Brown – 1 x 1.5 Inches).

Easy Peasy project that adds a different Spring touch. I may change out the burlap bow with cute gardening implements like the wreath above or just wait until next year🙂  Hope you try it out!

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Random Thoughts from Home….

Random thought #1:  I’ve been stuck with updating my blog lately. I blame it on the weather – 30’s one day, 70’s the next, cloudy, sunny, tornadoes, hail, snow – all within one week – literally all within one day!  While I love my Middle Tennessee home, Spring is NOT fun!  We get a taste of it with buttercups, forsythia, lilies and trees budding.  We get the first mow of the season, lay 30 bags of mulch to make the yard pretty (well, not me but a hard-working daughter), and then all the other stuff!   I’m not usually a complainer, but oh my!! I can’t even sit out on the porch! (Yes, that was just a huge self-absorbed problem I stated – I’m thankful for EVERY day!)

Random thought #2:  I just finished a great book, The Masterpiece,  by Francine Rivers for our book club.  I think I’ve read every book written by Francine Rivers and she never disappoints!

I also read Dispatches From Pluto, Lost and Found in the Mississippi Delta by Richard Grant that was recommended by a friend.  It is an enlightening, funny and very relevant non-fiction book that snuck up and made me think!

Random thought #3:  I love my little part-time job with WGU (Western Governor’s University).  Those of you who know me know how much I love retirement, but this little job (yep, it’s part-time but that is only a half day every two weeks) is coaching / supervising a student teacher after observing her six times during the semester.  I’ve been looking for something to make me feel productive in this season of life and fully believe that God would give me just what I need, and this little job fits my time and parameters so well!  Still wondering what else I’ll be when I grow up!

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Random thought #4:  Doggy love!  Mason is getting ever so finicky with his eating and the doctor has tried prescription dog food that is so vile smelling and so expensive and that worked for about five minutes!  We tried a couple of brands and now we’re trying a home-cooked recipe.  Bless him!  I don’t even like to cook for my own human children, but Mason is another story!

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Hope y’all enjoy this beautiful (even though it’s cold and partly cloudy) Friday and that you’re enjoying all the randomness in your life!

 

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Favorite Online Shopping from Home….

I’m not much of an in-person shopper anymore. There are a few places like Hobby Lobby (lamps and holiday stuff!), TJ Maxx (the BEST clearance!),  some local antique stores and cute little shops where I still actually park and shop, but after years of working and being too tired to hit the sidewalks, I became very proficient at online shopping.  I thought I’d share some wonderful online shops that I frequent – well, too frequently!

Decor Steals – Great prices and super daily deals.  Everyday at 10:00 they launch three new daily deals that are available for 24 hours unless they sell out. You pay a flat rate of $5.00 on each item and it ships within two weeks.  Here are a couple of things the girls and I have bought there, including the General Store sign and the scales.

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AntiqueFarmHouse – AntiqueFarmHouse features unique farmhouse style décor, vintage reproductions and home decor design sales up to 80% off retail. The two sisters who started this company offer multiple sales events that include furniture, design lines, décor and art products at incredible savings focused around industrial decor, farmhouse decor, shabby chic, industrial vintage and vintage reproductions.  I don’t really follow farmhouse design specifically, but I like their style.  I bought this window there:

 

Bits of Vintage – They focus on those treasures passed down from one hand to another and appreciate the details that speak of days gone by. It’s the patina, chippy-ness, and metal storage pieces that you can use throughout your house.  Here’s an example:

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Jane – Everybody knows and loves Jane – they have a little bit of everything from baby clothes, adult clothes, purses, totes, shoes to home decor!  You receive offerings daily and you can shop to your heart’s desire!  Here’s a few examples on that spectrum:

 

Sassy Steals – Sassy Steals was my original online daily deal marketplace where dealers and artisans can offer unique clothing, housewares, crafts and accessories in flash sales. You’ll find an outstanding assortment of products there.

And then there’s…….. Ballard Designs and Pottery Barn – These are my favorite go-to places for throw pillows, rugs, accessories and bedding.  I only buy things at these two that are on sale because they have such great sales and beautiful products.

Hope you can add these shops to your own list.  I like to get ideas and then share them with friends/family who are looking for accessories for their own homes, so I scroll through their mailings frequently.

Happy Online shopping!

 

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