Monday, June 29, 2009

A funky day with LOTS of clutter ...

Today was a funk of a day. Can't you tell? The sun was brilliantly shining ... my hydrangea was finally blooming ...
And, yet ... I felt in a fog.

By this, I mean that I just could not concentrate on any one task for more than 3 minutes. This put quite a damper on my To Do List!
My home is in a current state of chaos with crafts supplies piling on top of every surface (including the floor!) in my dining room; the floors need a good mopping; the closets need cleared out and organized; my studio is in need an overhaul; the kids rooms - gosh, where to start! ... truly ... the list goes on and on. This is what I get for wanting a busy, memory-filled summer ... (sigh) I must say - the clutter is starting to get to me!

So, listing the chores above, one would think that I accomplished at least one item, right? Nah. Instead ... I needed to paint! (*shake head*) See ... it's that creative spirit that gets in the way of all rational thinking!
My preference would have been to hole myself up in the studio ... but remember - the overhaul? What I should say is a bulldozer! I would not only have to clear a spot on my worktable, but would also have to unearth a chair!! Trust me ... I am ashamed to even share this! But certainly, I cannot be the only mom out there that struggles with the juggling act of all the hats we, mamas, wear ... am I?

So - I could not do much creatively. But still, I just needed to fulfill that desire to have a paintbrush in my grasp! So ...

I chose my front steps.

They were in a terrible state! Humph! There seems to be a pattern here ... :)

These were my steps while they were lookin' good a bit of time ago - -
I loved them. But, as you know, winters are harsh and shoes are not forgiving; so, they wear.

Here they are today after a good scrapping and the beginning stages of primer ... This part saddened my spirit just a bit ...
Yes, the painting has worn away ... but really ... what artist likes to paint over something that she created? :( I do not look forward to the day that my daughter asks for a repaint in her room - that mural took six days to create!!

Well - I now have an open canvas on which to paint ...
Hmmmm.... I'm thinking a soft mustard, twined vine of tiny flowers, aged checkerboard - maybe even polka-dots! I can't wait to get some color samples and dive in! Oh, and don't forget a welcoming quote of some sort ... any suggestions?

Yes, this day did not check off much on my To Do List ... but it did give me a lift in spirit! :)
One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries.
- A. A. Milne
I could not agree more! :)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Rainbows at Grandma-Wee-Hi's ...

During our Sunday visit to Gram's and immediately following our routine stroll of the neighborhood, a downpour of "rain, rain, go away ..." streamed from the skies. However, a gift was left behind as the sun shined its way through the breaking clouds ...
And, it's a good thing, too - - because my son was not leaving the porch until one graced the sky!
How lovely the sky became as the clouds broke apart and revealed the tranquil blue of the early, evening sky. A perfect way to end the day ... I see a crocodile and Rumpelstiltskin sleeping beneath a tree ... what do you see?

The soul would have no rainbow had the eyes no tears.

- John Vance Cheney

Who knew?...

... that the already heavenly-combo of sweet & salty, succulent & flaky meat of a crab leg could taste even better?
Try grillin' it!
Just add an earthy smokiness to that already divine flavor and you'll be in a sea-splashed, Queen-of-the-Ocean-kind-of-euphoria that will leave you sprouting your very own tail and wishing that you had Daryl Hannah's hair! :)
How very lucky for me to have married such a fabulous Master of the Grill ... you should see what he does with a whole beef filet!
Here's a little tip ...
It is very important that when you put something on the grill, you leave it in place to cook. If you move it around too quickly, chances are it is going to stick.
- Bobby Flay

Thursday, June 25, 2009

For the LOVE of the Seashore ...

Donna at Mourning Dove Cottage has inspired me this day. Apparently, the love of shell collecting is a shared passion! By taking grapevine, sea shells and moss, she created the sweetest wreath! Stop by to see!
After viewing her work, it reminded me of my own collection ...
... However, this is just a snippet!

Even though we live hundreds of miles from any coast, I've always felt my heartstrings pull to the sea ... as if it were a part of me - like salt water running through my veins. Every vacation led to its own collection of shells. However, when planning our wedding - I went a wee bit crazy and stocked up (and I mean large Rubbermaid containers!) on shells, sand dollars, starfish, and sea glass and created our very own oasis of the shore - cottage style - minus the ocean!

Creating decorations were my most favorite part of planning our day...(not of THE day, just planning the day! :)
Wreaths and garland ...
... distressed buckets of hydrangeas and pretties ...... even our bouquets ... I have used and reused all of it, over the years, by decorating our home, hosting parties - even creating gifts! One piece that I've made, but have kept to myself :) is a pendant ...
I twisted and framed a piece of sea glass with wire. Then, adorned it with pearls and the tiniest seashells. When I wear this, I swear that I can smell the salt air and feel its breeze in my hair. Then, to cure this ache ... I pick up a book of Dorthea Benton Frank and its as if I've hopped on a plane and headed to the coast - - in the low country, that is ... :).
Mint Juleps, anyone??

Sit in reverie, and watch the changing color of the waves that break upon the idle seashore of the mind”
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Wonders to Paint, Smiles to Share & Eyes to ROLL ... :)

So, this afternoon was our second Book Club meeting ...

The book to discuss: The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs

How the girls rated this book: ... "3" out of 5 stars

A couple really enjoyed it - Some just enjoyed it - some said it was "okay" - while others gave it a zero!

My vote? ... I joined the "okay" group of opinion. Not too bad, but truthfully, not too good, either. This story had me disappointed from the get go, to be honest.
I expected more adventure of exploration to unknown grounds, more discovery to the beauty and gifts within one's own community and certainly more (or at least one!) inspiring declaration of wonders. I did not expect to find the wonders to be the likes of a dried, apple-headed doll; an old bookcase; etc. Now, the stories were interesting behind each object ... but odd. The bottom line was that it just was not what I expected ... especially considering the challenge that I had laid out for the girls of finding a wonder of their own within our community.

Luckily - - they did a great job! (big smiles!)

So, after our discussion and lunch ... an Art Fest began -
- capturing their wonder onto canvas ...
Truly, I tell you - - I had no idea what talent made up our little ole' book club ... these girls are true-blue ARTISTS!
It was inspiring just to watch them sketch designs, mix colors and bring such beauty to a plain canvas ... love it! All the while, they shared stories and jokes, compliments and smiles ... and a lot of giggles. The only disturbance to the delightful, engaging afternoon were the desperate sighs and rolling of eyes when I turned on some classical music ...
Culture, I demanded!! Their response? Why not hip-hop? ... Good grief! I could only imagine how much paint would have actually made it to the canvas had they been laying brush strokes to "Baby Got Back" - okay, so that's a throwback to my hay-days, but completely doable!
Thankfully, they moved on - - perhaps even enjoyed the sound! - - and worked their creative magic ... some even completed their project! Stay tuned for an early-bird showing of Friends in the Park Book Club presents ... Our Community - Our World .... Our Wonders! :)
If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life.
- Rachel Carson

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ice Cream Sundaes & Planes on a Runway ...

Why not make a trip for dog food something special?
Adding to the errand of driving 30 minutes to purchase our pup's prescription doggy food at our vet's, I picked up my mom-in-law with my kiddos and stopped by the airport for lunch with a sweet view!
The view from our table...

After lunch ...

Wishing you time to enjoy the spontaneity of sprawling, summer days ... :)

Only in spontaneity can we be who we truly are.

-John McLaughlin

Friday, June 12, 2009

Happy Friday!

Blessings to all for a lovely weekend ....

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Summer is HERE!

Well, yes, you might say:
School's out ... check.
Pools are open ... check.
Temps reaching 84 degrees ... check. (Well, some days.)
Movie theatre is PACKED on bargain night ... check.
Ice cream stands are open ... check.
However ... one thing was missing for me ...
(illustration by Artist, Tim Ladwig)

Fireflies ...
...until last night. While enjoying the cool, evening air, my sister, step-dad and I sat on their back porch and saw the most magical display of twinkling lights dancing among the evergreens. It truly took my breath away. It was as though their home was nestled in an enchanted forest with glittering fairies flitting from branch to branch ... star to star.

It was then, that my soul let out a sigh and my heart embraced the nostalgia of the nearing season and endearment of family time. Long live summer!

Oh, the summer night
Has a smile of light
And she sits on a sapphire throne.
-- Barry Cornwall

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

"Hi-Ho, the Merry-O, Antiquing We Will Go ..."

Do you know that song? It's one of my favorites this time of year ... :)

The other day I found some true treasures, at least in my opinion, at the sweetest shop, The Red Squirrel Cottage. Absolutely, love this little nook in our world!

I wanted to beautify my ancient front porch (in definite need of repair ... we'll just add that to the lo-o-o-ng list! LOL!), so I was "a-hunting" some little pretties to spruce it up.

I found ...A lovely, amber glass candy bowl. I loved the delicate design etched throughout this piece.
I'm not sure what one would call this, but I loved it for its soft, green hue and design.
This little, step ladder that looked well-loved was the perfect fit to raise up some flowers to the sun. It reminded me of my Pap ... he loved to work around the house and was quite messy when he did. I picture his step ladder to have been just as loved :)
Antique saucer dishes tucked beneath the blossoms. They are pretty, but the real winner here is the flower box that my husband and father-in-law made for me ... all six of them! My hubby - He's a keeper, isn't he, girls!
Now, brace yourselves ... this is, by far, my most treasured piece (other than my beloved bookcase) ...
Is that not just the sweetest, itty-bitty table? Have you ever experienced a moment when you are browsing through a yard sale, flea-tique, or shoppe and it is as though the clouds have parted, and the sun shines its brilliant rays upon an item that you have dreamt about ... and if you did not grab and purchase that little treasure, you would leave there, remissed, and carry an aching heart - - okay, perhaps a bit dramatic, but you get the point. This was that moment ... albeit, the sun was my mother, and the rays of light were actually her pulling me towards the piece declaring, "Jenny, you need to buy this!" All in all, quite the same experience! :)
My itty-bitty table is carrying, most lovingly, my magazine of choice, "Home Companion." So, if you are ever on my porch, sipping some sun tea and would like to be inspired, grab any edition and nestled in to my favorite spot ...
Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summer's day, listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.

~John Lubbock~

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Books, Kool-Aid & Sunshine ... What more could a girl ask for?

Well, today was officially the first meeting of our Book Club - - Truly, What Fun! :)
The sun graced us with his presence - Thank the Lord above! - and the girls enjoyed creating their custom designed tie-dye T's ... I think that it was the messiness that really won them over (smile)! I must give a huge shout of "Thanks" to my assistant-for-the-day, Megan ... she was incredibly helpful and just a lovely girl all round.

Kool-Aid + Vinegar + T's = Total Messy Fun!

The girls did such a super job!

Lunch & book discussion followed ... apparently, Allie Finkle has some awesome Rules for Girls - - most popular, by shout-outs from the girls, were:

Don't stick a spatula down your best friend's throat. (You have to read the book to appreciate - it really is not as vulgar as it sounds!)

Never eat anything red. (No strawberries?? No watermelon?? Oh, gosh - what these girls are missing!)

Licorice is gross. (Sorry, but Strawberry Twizzlers?? YUM!! But, I guess that falls into the "Red" category, huh? :)

Now, for my picks:

Treat your friends the way you'd want them to treat you. (Total classic ... and so very true!)

Don't scare your little brothers. (A house rule!)

You're not supposed to hate people, especially grown-up people. (We shouldn't "hate", period." Who's with me?)

It's not polite to correct a grown-up. (AMEN to that!)

Listen politely when a grown-up is telling you something, even if you already know it. (I'm telling you, this girl is on to something here!)

All in all ... a great book, some good lessons, a lot of laughs and the girls are hooked on the series. Yeah! Another literary seed has been planted!

So, onto our second read - The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs. I am so anxious to see what the girls come up with for their community wonders ... I just love this sort of project! I'm hoping that my enthusiasm wears off onto them. One of my girls asked, "since the boy in the book gets a trip after he makes his discoveries, will you take us on a trip?" So ... I am now brainstorming a field trip. LOL! :) Of course, car pooling will be necessary, so we will have to see!

When you read a book as a child, it becomes a part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your whole life does.

-Meg Ryan, as Kathleen Kelly in You've Got Mail