Thursday, August 31, 2006

Going, Going, Almost Gone!

Don't forget the auction for a good cause over at Peggy's that's going on right now. Monday's items end tonight at 8 p.m.!! (Well, that could be her and Miss Diva, ya think?)

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

August 30th, 1914

My dad would have been 92 today. I pulled out the album that I put together for his funeral and scanned some of my favorite pictures of him. They brought back some wonderful memories. I try and think of him as the vibrant, active man that he was. Sometimes it is hard and all I can remember are his last years with us, a very old man.

I can tell you this, he lived his life to the fullest. There was definitely no moss growing under my dad. He was still very active until he reached the ripe old age of about 84. Unfortunately, he had a fall, a mild concussion and was never quite the same. Dementia hit hard the last year of his life. I am thankful, though, that he never suffered.

I miss the feisty ol' guy, sometimes very much. I was lucky in a way. He passed away a week before I moved to Tennessee. With the condition he was in--a coma--I would have felt enormous guilt by not being by him. The day before he passed, I sat with him and talked with him, mostly through prayer; but I felt he was at peace. That meant a great deal to me. My brother Johnny was with him when he left us. For that, I will be eternally grateful.

I did a really horrible job in copying these to Photoshop. They are not this gray, and I have no idea what I did!!!

A Day of Hard Knocks

My "sister" Mary Jane arrives on Friday! Yahoo. You'd think I'd be running around like a white tornado. But, I'm not. The boys' rooms are disasters, again, and my desk and surrounding area looks like a white tornado HIT it! Oh well, she knows I'm not the tidiest person on earth! We won't be spending time in the office and the kids' rooms anyway, right? grin.

The teenager had a very bad day today. Of course, it all started out hunky dory. The kids got out early for a "focus" day--which the teachers use to do one thing or another. Anyhoo, the teenager came home and changed and said he was off to go swimming in the quarry. (Oh what wonderful memories that brings back!) I get a phone call about 3:30. "Mom, my car got towed." Joy. He had parked in a gas station and swears there were no signs. I had to go get him, drive into Nashville and pick the car up. $95! They tried to charge us another $15 for having the car over two hours, and I let them know over my dead body was I going to pay more. (Actually, the teenager is paying--I'm certainly not paying for his expensive learning curve. It's coming right out of his paycheck tomorrow.)

On the way there, he proceeds to tell me that he has had a really bad day. Not only did his car get towed, but his State Champion football ring fell into the bottom of the quarry! Now, that hurts. Ouch. I have told him over and over, every time he walked out the door to go swimming, "Take your ring off!!" I've learned the hard way too. Only it wasn't something as important as a State Champ ring. Sniffle sniffle.

Perhaps it's time for a refresher course. Ya think?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Vintage Luggage

I went on a Hartmann Luggage kick when I first moved to Middle Tennessee since their main factory is in Lebanon, a short drive East of here. My brother Jim, notorious for his knowledge of all high-quality brands, got me started on their bags. He and his wife were avid collectors of the luggage; and the first year they came down, we went to Hartmann's day-after-Thanksgiving sale. Oh my. He bought me several pieces for a late birthday gift in their red and brown large polka dot Luxe pattern. I still love all my pieces to this day and use them every chance I get.

Before we found a house here, we rented a small apartment for a couple of years. In that little apartment, I would hit Ebay with decorating on the brain. I thought a vintage guest room would be cute, complete with vintage luggage. And so folks, that is where this little piece came from. (Don't you love the paisley fabric?) I think it's probably 1960s/70s vintage. It was extremely cheap, and I knew I would have the perfect spot for it once we found a house. Of course, it has been in one closet or another since I bought it! Until now.

I was skimming through one of my mags the other day and saw the cutest idea for a pet bed. Get an old piece of luggage, add legs to the bottom, put a blanket in it and voila, instant bed. It even has a spot to put the toys!

I took the old bag out and put it in the living room where Miss Bev proceeded to get right into it. I knew then that it would be a perfect resting spot for the cats.

The kid and I went to the hardware store and picked up four wooden finials with the screws already in them and four 2 inch square wood molding pieces. I stained them brown and drilled holes into the square pieces and the bottom of the luggage where I could screw the finials into the wooden pieces on the inside of the bag. I then put an old blanket in the bottom, closed the ribbon pulls over it and it was done.

The babies love it. Bev, of course, got first dibs; but now Dave is sleeping in it. I put it behind the sofa facing the kitchen so they can keep an eye on all the action. (I think I need to stain the legs a little darker to make them look older. And one leg is a little crooked!! hehe.) But isn't this the cutest?

I tell you, some people are just too creative. I never, in a million years, would have thought about using this for a pet bed. But now, it is just the perfect accessory for my little ones. And they seem to agree! There's only one left to try it out--Abby. I'll keep you posted!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Matchbox Swap

Since the swap was delivered today, I can go ahead and post some pictures of it. I had the best time making this one.

As I mentioned, I bought the vintage matchboxes from Mantofev. They have a wonderful array of unusual items. I knew that someday I would have a use for them!

The funnest part was looking for pieces to fit into the box. At first, I was going to do a Christmas scene, but I nixed that. The "A-frame" looked more like a barn than anything else to me--and so that was the route I took. I've always wanted to do a thatched roof, so this is where I started. The kid has all kinds of building materials including mortar and bricks for miniature buildings. I tell you, once the barn was finished, I think it weighed about a pound! It took a while for the mortar to dry since I used so much and I certainly hope it stood up in shipping. I found a website that explained how to make a thatched roof from terrycloth. And, so, that is just what I used. The process took several days just to let the layers dry.

I found the sweet barnyard animals at a hobby shop. Of course, last night, I found them a lot cheaper at Hobby Lobby. Live and learn. I wasn't sure how I was going to do the inside of the barn until I saw the animals. I even threw a farmer in the mix. I poured glue into the troff to look like water; and I hope it dried enroute! It was still white when I mailed it off. Oooops.

The kid is wanting me to make another one of these. I have all the materials, I just need to sit down and do it! I'd love to have one for us too.

I hope Marcia likes it; and as I said, I hope it arrives in one piece!! Gee whiz, it really turned out more fragile than I thought it would. This was one of my fav swaps.

But, gggrrrrowl, the collage above was a pain in the rear to put together. And I thought I was doing so well with Photoshop! hehe. That's when it comes back to bite ya! I should know better than to let my head swell. ha.

Oh, and don't forget to visit Hidden Haven Homestead to get in on the auction action. It's off to a great start with some wonderful goodies from abroad (for those in the U.S., that is)! Looks as though Ms*Robyn and I will be duking it out for the lovely piece from Paris!! ha.

Sunday, August 27, 2006


The hub came back with all kinds of gifts that were given to him while in China. He spoke at many gatherings and these were the thank you gifts he received. Amazingly gracious people, the Chinese.

The first items I will be showing you are combs. When he handed me the box and I opened it, I sat, mouth open (and looking stupid, I'm sure) amazed at the detail in these special little pieces. I have never seen anything like them before and I will treasure them forever. (The teenager already has his eye on one for his goatee--I don't think so, Scooter!) A small explanation came with them saying "combing hair with this kind of comb will ease your headache and sleeplessness, refresh your mind and will make you see and hear well." Well, I'm all for that, but I don't think one of these little diddies will go through my mass of hair--maybe my eyebrows! They are just gorgeous, aren't' they? Each one is numbered and came with a small wooden square with (I think) an explanation of the meaning of each piece. I will have to let our friend Jennifer translate them for us. I need to find a display case for them so I can put them out. They are just too special to leave closed up in a box, don't you think? Hmmm, just how to do it, though. Go visit their website. The music is enchanting. Changzhou Combs, Beijing, China.

The other thank-you gift was a little banged up by the time it made it home. For some reason, the hub handed it over to a colleague to carry home and it wasn't wrapped properly. I'm going to try my best to fix these poor guys up, but the attention to detail on these sculptures are amazing. I'll never get them back to looking 100%. Oy. The one on the left was give to the hub, I think this is a scholar which fits the hub to a tee. The one of the right was a gift to Jennifer, not quite sure of the significance there, hehe. Poor guy is missing his hand. I mean, the pieces that fell off--fingers, horns, etc--are so intricate, I don't even know where to start. Grrrrr. You can find out more about these unusual pieces at Zhang Clay Figurines, China. I truly have my work cut out for me in fixing them up.

These last pieces, the hub bought specifically for me. Aren't they sweet? I love the child-like faces. I'm not sure what these are made out of, probably clay also, just a different type than the more intricate ones above. I have them sitting by my waterfall in the kitchen.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

A Friend in Need is a Friend Indeed

Felix Schlesinger's "A Friend In Need" 1867

Our sweet friends Peggy and Robyn are putting together an auction to help a blogger friend of theirs. Peggy will be hosting the auction at her Hidden Haven Homestead. Go here to read more. I believe she will start hosting it next week. If you are able, donate; if not, see if there is something there you like. I can't wait to see all the goodies people will be donating. And you know I will be doing some bidding!

I went to work today on my donation. I made a small trio of nesting boxes. I have "themed" them Faith, Hope, Optimism and Joy.

I'm also going to donate a "custom" cigar box. I just couldn't decide how to decorate it and so I will leave it up to the "winner" to decide. I can do a theme of Christmas, Children, Angels, Spring, Flowers, Religious or Easter. It will be fun to make one (or more) "to order." (This is the first one I made for myself.)

I hope the auction helps. Oh, and you don't have to be a blogger to donate or bid! So, let's have fun for a good cause.

"Great opportunities to help others seldom come,
but small ones surround us every day."
Sally Koch

Friday, August 25, 2006

Friday Night Fun

We had the best time tonight. First, the hub called and asked me to meet him at our favorite little restaurant for happy hour. Who am I to turn down cheap drinks? I first ordered their cosmo, which was delish. They were serving tapas (not the true meaning of tapas, mind you--more like, uh, "appetizer"). Anyhoo, the hub decided on the lobster thingy, which turned out to be oh-so-good. I think anything tastes good after a drink, don't you? hehe.

I then switched to their orange martini--same ingredients, just OJ instead of cranberry. Hey, I got my vitamin C in for the day! No complaining here (except for a headache now forming). It was a tad strong, but of course, I finished it. grin.

After relaxing and listening to the pianist play some wonderful jazz, we left to pick up the kid. We had to wake him up as he was totally exhausted from the second week of school. After about an hour, we were off to have dinner down the street.

I ordered their Greek salad and the kid, of course, got the shrimp alfredo. The hub ordered his usual steak. All was good.

We made a quick phone call to the teenager to see what was happening at the first football game of the season. We were losing at halftime. We didn't care. Off we ran to catch the last half of the game. We arrived to see a touch down and a field goal--boom, done. Wooohooo. Then the opponent did the same. Boo-hiss. Then we returned the favor, then them. Before we knew it, the score was 29-29 and we were into overtime. Unfortunately, the other team won by ONE point--GRRRRR. Final score 36-35. Bummer. But, hey, this is the only team that beat us last year (and that was only because there were several bad calls by refs--really, ask anyone from our side--ha). All in all, it was still a blast to hoot it up. I hate football, but there is just something about rooting for your team. Woooo woooo!

Friday's Favorite Corner

Today's corner is going up our back staircase. I have started a collage of photographs, mostly taken and given to me by my brother Jim. I really need to add some more because all of these are quite old, the latest being at least 8 years old! Oy!

These are two of my many sweet nieces. It was taken many years ago as both are almost 12 years old which just baffles me. Samantha (on the right) is one of three daughters from the hub's brother and Madeleine is one of two daughters from my brother. One time, Samantha's family was visiting and Jim threw a BBQ; and we all went over. The girls were so sweet together. Jim captured this photo of Madeleine applying lipstick to Samantha. Is it not one of the sweetest pictures? Jim captured the moment beautifully.

This is another one of Jim's works. We were visiting him one spring at the Capitol where he takes group photographs. This is the kid. Just too cute. I really came to appreciate this photo once we moved away from DC. Funny the things you take for granted when they are in your back yard.

I have to say that this picture of the (pre) teenager has to be one of my all-time favorites. I remember the day as if it were yesterday. It was Father's Day, again at my brother Jim's house. I was meeting his new girlfriend (later to be wife) for the first time. I was pregnant with the kid at the time. An old school chum of my brother's and mine was there; and I remember him having so much fun with the pre-teenager. Jack (our friend) and Jim were in the back yard with the pre-teenager and came back in just chuckling. They said my son had seen a squirrel and had proceeded to tell them to stay far away from them because they were very dangerous animals. Poor little kid. You know how overly secure you are with your first child. I was always so afraid he would get bitten by one that I told him some terrible story about how dangerous they were! Anyway, look at how cute he was!! My brother Jim had bought him the DKNY (excuse me!) suede jacket and my father always brought him back cowboy boots and hats from his visits to Texas. I don't know where the sunglasses and gun came in. (Of course, he was never allowed to play with guns either--hehe.) Those were the days!

This is the pre-teen, yet again. (The kid is always asking why there are so many more pics of his brother! Isn't it always the way?) Look at the sweet face looking at his Aunt Ann (see previous post on sisters). This is her wedding day. In the background, you can see little Santina (Samantha's older sister) in the high chair. The pre-teen is telling Aunt Ann some tale, I'm sure.

I used this photo for a Christmas card in 1993. I know that only because the kid was only a couple of weeks old here. I had my cousin James come out to our house in Falls Church and shoot a roll so I could make a Christmas card. I remember it was after Julia Roberts had just wed Lyle Lovett (what was she thinking?) and she was married barefoot. I thought I would go barefoot in this picture--which you can't even see--since we were sitting on the floor. I don't know why I was sitting Indian style in a dress--ain't got no couth! The pre-teen is making his usual age-appropriate face, which I thought was so cute, and the kid is looking at his momma. I loved our little cottage-type rambler. The little fireplace was so sweet. I was so proud of our little family that I had to share it with all our friends. That was the only time I ever had a family portrait done and the only time one was sent out. Oh well.

After thinking about how special these pictures are, I really am going to have to get some more photos matted and framed. It's kind of pitiful I don't have more hung.



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