Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Fall/Winter Review - Most Visited Posts

I'm a blog newbie. I began visiting blogs late last spring when my daughter sent me some links to view. She was planning for furnishing and decorating her first house. WHAT FUN! I had no idea blogs like this even existed!

Before long, I decided I wanted to do this too - and I began to decide what I wanted to blog about. I knew three points I wanted to focus on, though I've mainly focused on only two of those: furniture and home revisions, living succesfully as a single 50-something woman, and faith. Apparently, the single 50-something  aspect of my blog is not as important as the other two points, but I'm still going to try to work some things in, so keep visiting if you find yourself in a similar situation!

My first post was August 18, 2011.

I have turned my home upside-down and inside-out since then! You know how it looks worse before it gets better? I'm there.

BUT, I can see pinpoints of light in the midst of this mess I've made. And if I keep painting and rearranging, it's GOING to look better sometime, right? (Please tell me it's true!)

Peer pressure has helped me to accomplish some projects I've been putting on the back burner. I have learned a little bit about photography - the more you learn, the more you realize you don't know anything! 

What's the biggest surprise? Without a doubt, it's the sense of community and the relationships I have made!
I only wish I could meet you for a cup of something or we could visit an estate sale or thrift store together! On second thought, we'd probably want the same stuff...:)
In the past 4 months, I've made 38 posts. Here are the top 5 most visited posts:

#5 - The White Hutch - A Home for Orphans

#4 - Secrets That Amaze

#3 - White Washing

#2 - The Quest for My Own Great White Way Continues...

#1 - Lover of All White - Are You a Blancophile?

Hmmm - I think I see a theme here. We seem to be on the same page.

Great! I know I am going to love the direction this next year will take. Fellow blancophiles, are you with me?

Word for the Day:

Genesis 11:6

The LORD said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.

It's SO nice to find nice people who speak the same language! Thank you all who have visited and who have taken the time to leave nice comments. You are precious to me.

Linking with:
Wednesday Wow Us Wednesday Penny Pinching Party What's It Wednesday
Thursday Under $100 Link Party Suzy's House Party Transformation Thursday Share Awesomeness Thursday Thrifty Thursday Hookin' Up With HOH Thursday
Friday Furniture Feature Friday Friday Redoux Link Party Frugal Friday Frugalicious Friday Show and Tell Saturday 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Decking the Hutch

Ordinarily, decking the halls is one of my favorite Christmas activities. This year, I got a very late start! I'm not decorating outside for the first time EVER in this house - 8 Christmases now.

I had done nothing inside either - I WANTED to have the energy to do it, because I like making things nice for my family. I just didn't. 

Last year, my son Mason said, "I'm coming to your house every Christmas - it is always decorated and you always have lots of good things around to eat!" I really liked hearing that, and I want to keep my good reputation!

Thankfully, this year will not completely ruin my reputation! I'm cooking, and I have my sweet daughter Hannah here to help with decorating. 

Hannah is a junior in college, living in a house with two other girls. She's been very focused on home decorating for a couple of years now, and I think she has lovely taste! I feel very comfortable giving her free reign in with my bins of  Christmas decor. 

Last night, as I was cooking the requested chicken and dumplings and pumpkin pie cake, Hannah dressed the white hutch. She removed a few things to make room for Christmas decor. 

I have a thing for trees, and have several miniature ones purchased at either thrift stores or for 80 percent off after Christmas at Hobby Lobby. The ones above are my latest acquisitions - purchased in October at my favorite thrift store for less than two bucks each! I love the wood trunks.

It was a pleasure to watch Hannah work! She'd occasionally ask my opinion about the placement of an object, and I'd offer my two cents worth. Near the end, as she added the strings of wooden beads to the mix, I said, "You know, sometimes leaving things a little simple is better..." and she quickly replied, "For YOU!" I laughed, and she continued, "It's Christmas! You can get away with being a little over the top at Christmas!" I agreed. 

Ah, I LOVE that girl, and her joie de vivre!

This was a new experience for me, and I kinda liked it! I loved watching my daughter have fun with decorating and adding her personal touch to a vignette. (Her roommates jokingly called her a  "trophy wife in training" recently when she made appetizers and decorated for a little party at her home.) 

I often ask her advice on fashion - just to stay current. I know what I like, and what is appropriate for a fifty-something woman to wear, but I still like to look stylish! If I trust her fashion sense and it works, why not home decorating? 

Tonight, we're doing the living room...

Word for the Day:

Proverbs 31:10

A wife of noble character who can find? 
She is worth far more than rubies. 

May we all be this kind of "trophy wife"!

Merry Christmas, sweet friends! 


Linking with:


Wednesday Penny Pinching Party
Thursday Transformation Thursday Share Awesomeness Thursday Thrifty Thursday Under $100 Linky Party
Friday Show and Tell Saturday 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Buon Natale!

A while back, I showed you a nativity I found at a really good garage sale in my neighborhood! I found lots of things I loved that day, but today's post is all about the nativity. 

It's stamped on the back - "MADE IN ITALY." It's pretty big - about 10" tall and 18" wide. The figures are fine, as you might expect of an Italian nativity. And it was only $5!

On the down side, it has some pretty strangely-colored painted accents on it. They almost look like they'd glow in the dark! When I saw it, I decided I'd cover them in browns and whites, so that's what I'm doing today. Here are some before shots:

Here it is again with touch-ups in neutral colors:

Once again, PAINT to the rescue! The distracting bright orange and yellow "highlights" are gone. This allows the emphasis to be on the figures in the nativity, just as it should be. 

Word for the day:

Luke 2:1-7

 1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to his own town to register.
 4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

May you find many opportunities during this very busy time, as you make preparations to celebrate with loved ones, to reflect on the true reason for the season!


Linking with:
Saturday Saturday Nite Special Show and Tell Saturday 
Monday Metamorphosis Monday Making The World Cuter Monday Motivate Me Monday Creative Blogger's Party Show Off Your Cottage Monday
Wednesday Penny Pinching Party

Friday, December 9, 2011

It Truly IS a Wonderful Life!

I LOVE fall, Thanksgiving and CHRISTMAS! My favorite movie of all time is Frank Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life" with James Stewart and Donna Reed. On the off-chance that anyone of you has not seen this movie, it's a heartwarming story that illustrates how our perspective and our priorities can use a little adjustment sometimes. Things don't always happen the way we expect them to happen. Our plans are not realized. Then, by the grace of God, we are allowed to see our true blessings in a different light! 

First, let me apologize - this post is a long and wordy, but there is a point to it. 

I should confess, I'm not a huge movie fan. I enjoy a good movie, but I usually see them on video. I rarely see a movie more than once. 

It's a Wonderful Life is the exception for me. I never get tired of watching this movie during the Christmas Season. It's a little sentimental. It's not full of amazing special effects. It doesn't have an award winning soundtrack. My kids get a little bored when I ask them to watch it with me. They play games on their I-phones or peruse Facebook while watching it with me. Often, I watch it alone, which is fine. 

This year, I have identified with my favorite movie in new ways. The past two weeks have not been the "usual" holiday season around my home. Let me explain a few things, using the movie to help illustrate!

Identifying with Mary Bailey

Like Mary, I like old homes. I bought a fixer-upper on purpose. I enjoy the process, and I like making things nice for my family. I've done plenty of painting and projects during the past 8 years. Some of them were in need of a little freshening up! 2011 was the year to begin. Instead of doing one room at a time, I wanted to do everything! My tastes are evolving, and nothing suited me anymore. Looking back, it wasn't the best way to proceed, but they say hindsight is always 20/20. 

To begin with, my home is in the kind of disarray that comes with change, redecorating, painting, and revising. I've told you before, not ONE room in my house is finished or in a state I'd be proud to post, let alone host a holiday party for anyone but close family.  

I had worked to restore order to my construction mess, organize my "blog project" mess items, and to shop and plan for a lovely Thanksgiving dinner. 

I had cleared the construction materials out of my daughter's old room, along with the future garage sale items I've been stashing in there over the past year. My daughter arrived on Tuesday afternoon, and I made a nice dinner for her, Mason and myself. I was excited! We planned our usual recreational shopping activities and cooking for the next day. 

We went shopping on Wednesday, and I was tired when we got home. We decided to eat late, so I planned to get up early and brine my turkey instead of doing it overnight. I woke up feeling terrible with flu symptoms. 
When the kids got up, I broke the news to them, suggested some things they might cook for themselves, and uninvited the poor guest I had invited to join us for dinner. 

Identifying with ZuZu

I stayed on the sofa all day, listening to my children as they enjoyed spending time together, cooking some of their favorites: Ham, corn pudding, dressing (with turkey "borrowed" from sweet friends) sweet potato casserole. It was an edited version of the meal I had planned. They brought me a plate, and I ate it eagerly.

I didn't WANT to be sick with flu. I wanted to do the things I had planned - baking, decorating, hanging light fixtures, etc. I know, the light fixture thing is not the usual holiday activity, but it seemed like a good thing to get my kids help with!

My daughter ended up returning home early. I stayed on the sofa watching sappy Christmas movies on TV - the kind that focus on relationships and "saving Christmas" with Santa and all that stuff. Where was Jesus? Still, I watched, searching for whatever Christmas spirit I might find.

By Monday, I felt strong enough to return to work, though I still had a nasty cough. I felt pretty well on Wednesday, but Thursday found me on the sofa again after work. Friday morning, I forced myself into the shower and headed to work. I almost fainted while checking in. As the day progressed, I felt worse. I called Mason to bring me some Gatorade and meds. By the time he arrived, I asked him to drive me home. I almost fainted again checking out. My coworkers asked a nurse to check me out. She was there preparing for an Angel Tree party the next morning. She insisted I go to the Urgent Care clinic. Mason drove me there, and they discovered I had pneumonia. I received a heavy-duty antibiotic shot and a steroid shot, and went home to rest.

By Monday, my cough had gotten better, but I still felt weak. I stayed home from work. I was hungry so I went to the kitchen to get a bottle of water and put a potato in the microwave. Before I could get the potato, I fainted. 

Mason was getting ready for work. He came in and picked me up off the floor. I leaned against the counter and fainted again. He called the ambulance, and they came to take me to the hospital. It was snowing, and the high temperature was 10 degrees. 

When we arrived at the ER, they ran tests and found my hemoglobin was 4.4 - alarmingly low. Normal is 12-15. The lowest it has been before is about 7. 

The reason I was fainting was so blood could flow to my brain while I was horizontal! I was transfused, receiving 3 units of blood, and tested to determine the cause of the blood loss. Most often, the cause for long term, slow blood loss that results in low hemoglobin is something in the gastrointestinal tract - an ulcer, a polyp in the colon or something else. Mine was due to a hiatal hernia, which causes my stomach to bleed. I've had trouble before, but this one caught me by surprise. I'm usually a very healthy person and the anemia is the only thing I have to deal with on an ongoing basis. 

Appreciating the Clarence-types in My Life

The Bible tells us God sends his angels to watch over us. I had many - both heavenly and earthly ones!
  • Many prayers had been going up on my behalf. Thank all of you who prayed for me!
  • My family had been praying for me and checking on me. 
  • My co-workers had been lifting me up in prayer. (It's good to work at a church!)
  • God placed a nurse just outside the room where I almost fainted. She insisted I go to Urgent Care. Even though they didn't find out the main problem, the meds helped.
  • Mason was still at home when I fainted. Five more minutes, and he would've been at work. He called the ambulance in spite of my rejections. (Sometimes it's good to disobey your mother!)

Identifying with George Bailey

Clarence gave George Bailey an opportunity to see what life would be like if he had never been born. By the end of the experience, George wanted nothing more than he already had - his wonderful life. His priorities had been re-ordered. His attitude had changed. 

Like George Bailey, I have been given a gift! I have felt surrounded by so much love and support; my parents, my children, my co-workers, my friends. Some of you I know only through blogging, but you are dear to me. Others I have known since infancy. Some of you I relate with through electronic media. Others I see on a daily basis. Some of you are neighbors. Others live far away. But, I have felt your love and known the uplifting peace provided to me through your prayers.

  • My parents came to take me home from the hospital. 
  • Mason spent time cleaning while I was not able to do it.
  • My daughter Hannah is with me now, cooking, cleaning and spoiling me rotten!
  • My co-workers have brought delicious meals and have called to check on me. 
  • Family, friends and neighbors have called, texted made me aware of their love and concern for me.

This Christmas season will not be the most "blog-worthy" in some ways. This Christmas is about the most real thing I know - LOVE. It is about the love of our Father in Heaven for us, and His plans for us. It is about the love of family. It is about the love of friends and neighbors, and the community we all share when we care for each other. 

I have been the blessed recipient of all that love, and it is humbling and heart-warming. Like George Bailey, I feel like the RICHEST WOMAN IN TOWN!

Word for the Day:

Psalm 91:11
For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;

May you be aware of all the angels around you today and during this Christmas Season!


Sunday, November 27, 2011


Hello friends,

I've been down with the flu since Wednesday night. 

This is not how I imagined spending Thanksgiving! 

I have yet to brine my turkey and cook it. On the bright side, I probably don't have to worry about what the scales say tomorrow morning. 

Please forgive my absence, and bear with me as I regain my strength more every day. I have missed you!

I look forward to reading your blogs and catching up!

Word for the Day:

Matthew 8:17

This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases.”

May you enjoy excellent health today and this Christmas season!


Saturday, November 19, 2011

New Project In the Works!

I've had this little chest since the summer. It was a freebie - another treasure from my church. I finally decided to make it my next project, and today I'm showing you the before photos.

I have no idea how this piece began - what it was originally made for or intended to be. It appears to have been stripped partially of gray paint, then "faux" painted a sort of mauve marble.

There was a time I would have probably done the same thing. Now, I wish they would have stopped with the partially-stripped gray.

It has panels on it, but the wood doesn't appear to be fine wood. It has handles on both ends, but they were probably added later. 

You can tell they were "pre-faux" since there's faux on them.

There's also a hasp. I think that's what you call it - hardware used to attach a padlock. The handles and hasp are more utilitarian than decorative. There is no ornamentation on them at all.

There was a little surprise on the bottom of the trunk:

It may have been a crate for a clock or something fragile. I would say it's a crate, except for the panels. You don't see many crates with panels. What do you think? Any ideas?

Whatever it was, I'm glad to have it, and I hope it turns out like I see it in my mind's eye.

Since I'm more a "painter" than a "stripper" I opted to paint it. I've had a certain finish in mind. I'm experimenting, and you're my guinea pigs. Yes, I also use my dinner guests as guinea pigs. I know that's a "faux pas" but this post is sort of celebrating a little faux. My plan for this little chest is a sort of "nouveau faux" treatment. (That's for all my Francophile friends.) 

Hint: It will not be white! 

Another Hint:  It will work beautifully in a white environment.

Word for the Day:

Philippians 1:6

 ...being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Linking with:
Wednesday Inspired by YOU Wednesdays Penny Pinching Party Fridays on Remodelaholic Frugal Friday Frugalicious Friday

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Finding Just the Right Words - Vintage Book Bundles

My church friend Marilou recently gave me several boxes of books from her garage sale. Many were a bit water-damaged, and covers were coming off. I had stopped by her garage sale and had gathered a box of goodies to purchase when she offered them to me. I knew immediately what I would do with them! 

I have admired book bundles on other blogs, and I know they sold for $29 at Restoration Hardware. I LOVE all my old books, and didn't want to harm them to make a book bundle. 

Yes, they appeal to my love for texture and yes, they are another way to use a different "white" element. But my constructive nature was at odds with the deconstruction of a perfectly good old book!

Marilou's offer of already self-deconstructing books was the answer! I set to work ripping off covers and searching Google to see what methods of binding appealed the most.

I purchased a spool of twine, unwrapped some vintage seam-binding tape from my stash of sewing supplies and set to work. Some of the contents pages were highly decorative, offering a little color to the predominately white and tan constructions. That opened up another possibility; embellishing the strings with found objects!

I decided to let the books dictate what might be attached, and took cues from the wording or the colors found on the cover pages.

It was fun digging through my boxes of old buttons, rusty washers, keys, seashells and beads! 

Some were left plain. Plain is always good. Basic is always right, especially when the book is really special.

During this process, I couldn't help but wonder who had purchased these books. How did they end up at Marilou's garage sale? Some had cryptic notations penned inside.

I focused on mixing a variety of textures and values on the spines, since that is what might be seen on a bookcase. I also tried to use a charming top page, in case they were used in a table top vignette.

These bundles only cost a couple of bucks for a spool of twine. I already had the other items.

I plan to post these bundles on etsy and ebay - a new venture for me. If any of you have any words of wisdom, I am all ears! (or eyes, since this is a blog. You get the idea!)

In my Google research, I also found book covers and spines used in collage-paintings. So, I rummaged back through the garbage bag of these, and found several that might work in some work of this sort. I've begun a couple of them, but they're not yet ready to show. 

Word for the Day:

Ecclesiastes 12:9-10

 9 Not only was the Teacher wise, but he also imparted knowledge to the people. He pondered and searched out and set in order many proverbs. 10 The Teacher searched to find just the right words, and what he wrote was upright and true.

May all your words be right and appropriate. May they bring hope, joy and healing to those you spend time with today!


Linking with:
Monday Metamorphosis Monday Making The World Cuter Monday
Wednesday Inspired by YOU Wednesdays
ttp://  White Wednesday Penny Pinching Party
Thursday Under $100 Link Party Suzy's House Party Transformation Thursday Share Awesomeness Thursday Thrifty Thursday
Friday Friday Redoux Link Party Frugal Friday Frugalicious Friday