Saturday, May 29, 2010

Red Cotton

It was Rebecca Sower's Red Thread Sessions that got me itching to stitch again . . . most particularly in RED!

I have had a severe mental block/attitude problem since my crocheted bag fiasco, but seeing that beautiful red color and thinking of thread and yarn and textiles. Oooooh, I had to grab some red cotton yarn and get stitching.

I stayed as far away from the crochet hook as possible and instead brought out the knitting needles.

Nothing big or impressive, just a little something to take the knitting "itch" away and get some red cotton running through my fingers.

It's a quick dishcloth in my favorite pattern, Waffle Knit Dishcloth. Love the way the ridges get to the business of cleaning up.

I have several cotton knit dishcloths, but I'm always reaching for my one red cloth. The red makes me smile!

And I'm thinking if I pair this cheerful cotton dishcloth with some of Target's new Caldera hand soap in the Olive Oil scent (mmmm!), it'll be just the thing to show a special friend she's loved!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Lime Granita and Split Pea Soup

When I applied my super-dependable-give-a-luminous-glow tanning lotion to my legs on Sunday and promptly turned out with light orange feet and snow white legs, it should have been an indication to me that this was not the week to do much with color. (The children asked if I had been walking in red mud . . . by any chance.)

Not to be deterred, however, Oldest Daughter and I had plans to attack the powder room downstairs and make it a little work of art for any guest who might use it.

I love the colors in my home. They are earthy and organic, with bold pops of rich red here and there. I really love it. But I wanted something "different" for my guest bath. Something a little bold and whimsical.

(This is NOT my bathroom but rather a picture from Sherwin-Williams which gives you an idea of the color. Minus the "apricot" towels!!)
The powder room was, this morning, the aforesaid "rich red" which although inviting in large open spaces had a slightly different effect in a 7 foot by 2 1/2 foot powder room. Every time I entered, I felt like the Biblical Shadrach and friends who entered the fiery furnace . . . closed in . . . and very, very warm.
Oldest Daughter suggested "pear" with black accents. Cool!! Bold, whimsical, yes!

I taped-off, she painted.

She finished.

I sat stunned. The paint chip looked so good in my hand, but in this little enclosed space, my elegant "Lime Granita" became a budget brand of shocking lime sherbet.

(Once again, a Sherwin-Williams "color visualization" picture.)

I Googled "lime green walls with black accents" to try and find a picture to show me how to elegantly rescue this room and found out that the lime and black color scheme is usually used for teenager's bedrooms. Aha.

Back to the drawing board.

Here's my table piled high with "greens I love" to hopefully give me something more of the soothing green variety.
The word spa came to mind.

I chose a calm, organic green.
I taped off.
She sighed . . . and painted.

When I peeked in just a minute ago, my calm, organic green had become more of a split pea soup green . . . minus the ham.

There's just something about painting a tiny space where color is reflected like crazy and no outside light enters that just throws the color wheel for a loop.

Ah, well. I must say that I have always found split pea soup rather . . . uh . . . uh . . . relaxing and, well, soothing.

And maybe it will coordinate nicely with my light orange feet.
(More details to come!)

Monday, May 24, 2010

The House Across the Street

I love, love, love big, wide, vast open spaces!

When my husband took me to his home state of Minnesota and his little farming hometown, I was enchanted. Beautiful, wide open spaces everywhere you looked. The little town of 900, plunked down right in the middle of corn and soybean fields as far as you could see.

I could stand in one place and see the horizon 360 degrees around. Oooh, I just love me those wide open spaces!

And that love of wide open spaces is what causes that little nag of discontentment to come inching in on the fringes of my mind when it comes to my own home and my own little plot of land.

On those itchy fringes of my mind is the longing and desire for my very own big . . . wide . . . open . . . vast . . . space!

So, when the house across from our subdivision went up for sale, I knew my prayers had been answered. I knew my dream was to be fulfilled. I knew that at last I could twirl in expansive delight in my open space.

There it was, edged with flowering trees and white fence:

There it was, set back from the road by a large horse pasture:

There it was with a large, welcoming gate:

For goodness sake, there it was with a FOR SALE SIGN!!

I was ready when the Man of the House turned the key in the lock . . . words spilling out . . . animated arm/hand motions . . . face alight.

"Mmmhmmm," said the sensible Man-of-the-House. "I saw that and looked it up online."

Aha, he was on the same page as me! Things were looking bright!

"Yes. You might be interested to know that the house is 7,200 square feet and the price is 2.5 million."

Aha. Uh-huh. Hmmmmm.

Don't want to clean 7,200 square feet of space. Don't have 2.5 million dollars. Doesn't look like I'll be getting that house across the street.

I meandered out to the back deck.

I looked to the left . . .


I looked to the right . . .


However, if I stand due southwest on my back deck and close my left eye, I can see a beautiful line of trees. And I know that on the other side of those trees is a tiny, barely-running creek. And if we have a lot of rain (and I do mean a gully-washer) there will actually be water flowing back there.

And so I stand on the back deck of my lovely, lovely home, and I choose to be very, very . . .


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Summer Plans

I've got plans for my summer.

Oooh, yes, big, big plans!

Exactly one year ago I took on an administrative assistant position for our kids' sports program. That's 4 sports, 11 teams, 10 months of the year.

My house has . . . ahem . . . suffered. It has been neglected, overlooked, disregarded.

At Easter, I asked my husband, mom, dad, and brother to help me hide eggs all over the house for the kids. I was mortified . . . MORTIFIED . . . at the dust and other dirt . . . lurking.

So this summer, I've divided the house into as many areas as there are weeks of the summer and we're doing spring cleaning all summer long.

This week was Oldest Son's room.

There were memories and laughs around every corner. Oldest Son purged bins, buckets, and boxes; Oldest Daughter patched holes and touched up paint; I shampooed and scrubbed. The other kids peeked in to view progress and then scuttled away quickly . . . unwilling to be sucked into the vortex of cleaning action.

Ah, these bins. Empty now. In the garage waiting for a yard sale.

I remember when there was a bin for rock collections, one for GI Joes, one for springs from our old trampoline, one for plastic lizards and dinosaurs and snakes, one for Matchbox cars.

Oldest Son found his harmonica . . . buried for years. And he sat on the end of the bed and played it. Yes, all three notes.

"Let me take your picture playing your harmonica, Oldest Son."

"Awwww, Mom, you have got to be kidding."

"Okay, just hold the harmonica and smile. You know, the smile that melts my heart and has gotten you repeatedly out of all kinds of trouble?"

Yeah, that one.

Do you think there are any kinds of awards for moms who give up their dreams of a surf-themed room, an adventure-out-of-doors-themed room, a madras-plaid-themed room and instead are talked into painting a room purple and orange with a large Clemson University paw on one wall?

Do you think they give out awards for those moms?

I think they should.

Ah, summer plans. One section of the house down . . . 12 to go!

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Delight of the Party

I said I'd bring an appetizer.

The hostess didn't even have to ask me. I volunteered!

It was an amazing vision. Spending the afternoon whipping up mouth-watering deliciousness. Walking through the door with a masterpiece.

What about Goat Cheese with Fresh Dill and Paprika?

Or Pioneer Woman's Mushrooms Stuffed with Brie?

Maybe Apricots Stacked with Blue Cheese, Pistachios and Honey?

What was I thinking?

On Friday I tagged and dropped off books for a book sale, attended a high school graduation meeting, took a child to a basketball tournament, and treated 4 children to a movie.

On Saturday I did the bi-weekly grocery shopping, attended a seminar on children's cognitive differences, dropped in on a friend's art show, and cleaned bathrooms.

And when did I think I was going to come up with this heavenly confection???

Instead, 10 minutes before the party found me washing mounds of strawberries, plunking them on a platter, and sliding a glass of powdered sugar in the middle.

And guess what was the delight of the party??

Pretty hard to improve on God's amazingly delicious creation!

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Exuberant Play of Children

Since becoming a mother a full 17 years ago, I would have to say that there is nothing that quite matches the joy of watching my children play. Something about their uninhibited exuberance, their creativity, their freedom from cares makes me smile ear to ear and gets my heart doing all kinds of crazy mom-palpitations.

This particular day, they invented the Water Park Trampoline in which a hose is brought to the trampoline, it's turned on, and the games ensue: games such as Jump the Water, Who Can Slip and Slide the Farthest on the Wet Mat, and How Long Can You Stand Having the Water Sprayed in Your Face Before You Go Tell Mom.

May I insert here two caveats?

Number one - Please do not turn me in to the Department of Social Services because of the unsafe nature of this trampoline. I am well aware that the net is disintegrating and there is a hole the size of a dinner plate in the center of the mat. You'll feel better when I post about a new purchase later this week.

Number two - Please do not turn me in to my neighborhood Homeowner's Association because of the ragged, eyesore condition of this trampoline. I am well aware that our trampoline is an embarrassment to the neighborhood and probably brings down everyone's property value a full $25,000. This concern will also be addressed later this week.

In the meantime, let me just blissfully enjoy that heady combination of brilliant sunshine; icy cold water; bouncing, flipping bodies; and the delicious, happy shrieks of delighted children.

Unless you're only 6 . . .

and everyone tells you you're not big enough . . .

and when you get on anyway, you get sprayed in the face . . .

and so you get off . . .

and feel you are the most mistreated child . . .

in the whole, wide world.

Then, it's not so delicious, happy, or delightful.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

My Favorite Title

On this

special day in May,

I am so very glad

to be called


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Gravelly Taste of Eating One's Own Words

Periodically (more often than is comfortable) I find myself "eating my words." And even after repeated opportunities, it has never begun to taste any better. ::sigh::

I am quite confident that God allows this to happen to make sure that my sanctimonious, smug little self stays in check . . . under control.

So, it was no surprise that the end of April found me, once again, enjoying the gravelly mouthful.

I have always looked askance at kindergarten graduations, thinking them gratuitous, ridiculous, and a thinly veiled excuse for a heart-tugging Kodak moment.

That was until this year.

Until Youngest Daughter's kindergarten class participated in this exact event.

Until the Thursday night which found me pinning a pale blue mortar board on her little head, glowing ecstatically as she reached out for her "diploma," and jostling other parents for the best spot in which to photograph our little scholars.

At that moment kindergarten graduation became a precious transitional moment; a not-to-be-forgotten sweet marking of growing up; a time to feel my parental heart swell with the love and joy this little one brings.

(Guess who has a 6'5" dad???)

Eating your own words . . . a little hard on the digestion . . . wonderful for the continual pursuit of a humble heart!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Summer Knitting

I am currently feeling a strong urge to do some knitting.

This might be more than a little influenced by the fact that I recently won a marvelous Giveaway by the sweet and generous Gerry.

Interestingly, when our family did our little time capsule this year, I had to write down something I wanted to accomplish in the coming year. I took a deep breath, threw my head back and boldly wrote, "I want to knit a pair of socks!"

I thought this audacious declaration would be the end of it. But here comes Gerry offering a knitting book and the sock yarn to go with it in her Giveaway. ::swoon::

I entered, and the rest is history. The package arrived---glorious book; soft, fun yarn; and even some stitch markers thrown in for sweetness sake.

And now it's all up to me.

Summer is almost here. And I'm feeling a strong urge to do some knitting!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

I'm No Bird!

Nests have been everywhere this spring . . . and I don't just mean in the trees. I mean in home decor shops and little boutiques and accessorizing the plate glass window displays of clothing stores. And I just couldn't get enough of them!! Maybe it's because my mom is such a bird lover, and the sight of a nest touches a soft place in my heart.

I wanted to use them on my spring table, but, no, I did not want to pay $30 for one. So, I set off for the woods. How hard could it be to put together a nest? A few twigs, a bit of moss, and a sturdy hot glue gun . . . piece of cake!

I quickly found out . . . I'm no bird!! And glue guns don't lend themselves to nest-making. I could've watched the birds to find out that!

What did finally work was to cut a rather pliable vine from out of a tree and wind it around, weaving it in and out of itself and hoping that by some miracle it would catch on itself and stay in a circular shape.

I did see a small cluster of female robins giggling hysterically at me. It was embarrassing.

The resulting "nest" wouldn't have held an egg or protected a small cluster of bird babies for anything in the world. But it worked for my purposes.

I nestled a little Spanish moss in my nest frame and called it a day.

The real treasure is these beautiful ceramic eggs that I found at TJ Maxx months before Easter. I love them! They match my house perfectly! They are the size of a good-sized chicken egg. I made three of my un-bird-like nests and "nestled" two of the eggs in each.

Bees and stylistic sunflowers:

A little American calico print teamed up with something Moroccan!

Beautiful chocolate flowers on a green and blue polka-dot background, and butterflies on mottled orange:

Another trick I swiped from my local cute gift-y store was to display the nests up on pillar candle holders. These candle holders were then set on burlap with swoop-y pieces of the vine laying here and there.

I loved how these turned out for Easter dinner, and so, they are also now my table for spring.
I may not be a bird, but this spring I've got my nests!