Sunday, January 31, 2010

What the Snow Brought

The snow that swept across the Southeast this weekend had none of the charm of previous snows. It was not fluffy or magical. It did not turn our landscape into a wonderland.

It was slushy, messy, icy, sleet-y.

But it brought us a gift.

To this family that is busier-than-it-ought-to-be, the snow and ice brought a gift.

The icy, sleet-y, messy roads shut . us . down . completely.

Basketball game 2 hours away on Friday night: Canceled

Basketball game on Saturday morning: Canceled

AAU basketball tryouts: Postponed

High school ice skating activity: Not happening

Plans for sleepovers, birthday parties, and gatherings of all kinds: Terminated

Pleas to take teenagers out for driving practice: Silenced

Requests to shop for birthday gifts, accessories, food items, or electronics: Non-existent

Aaah! The gift that the snow brought was permission (or demand!) that we stop and that for 2 blessed days we just "be."

So instead, for the past two days we've done a little of this:

and a little of this:

and a bit of this:

and some of this:

and a good bit of this:

It was delightful.

I checked to see if there was a span of time to which I could go back that would have no automobiles and yet still have electricity. But, alas, they both arrived on the scene of American history pretty much simultaneously.

So, if I want to keep my central heat, clothes washer, and flat iron, I had better not complain about the demands of my car. I can't go back in time and have one without the other.

But I sure wish I could.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Button Love

I do LOVE buttons!

The first hand work I ever remember doing was sewing buttons on an old dishcloth with my "Oma." She loved needlework.

What a sweet memory! And what I wouldn't do to have all her buttons now!

So when I discovered Rebecca Sower's art in the past several weeks (yes, I know, I must be the last person on the planet to discover her . . . or at least here in Blogland!), the thing that I found most enchanting is her random, pensive, and whimsical use of buttons.

Just look!





I'm inspired. I have lots of buttons. I have ideas. I have lots of inspirational ideas about buttons.

Youngest Daughter and I started a sorting game . . . shiny black buttons, warm brown buttons,
buttons that looked like daisies and little friends and juicy raspberries and deep blue bowls.

And when all were sorted, we pinned them up on my cork board and felt very productive and very tingly happy and very, very inspired.

I feel a project coming on!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Those Middle Kids

Meet Middle Son.

As every middle child has the right, expectation, and privilege to, Middle Son walks to the beat of a different drummer.

To date we have kept him from tattoos, piercings, and fast motorized vehicles. I'm feeling quite happy and mildly surprised.

So if there was a child who would spot these shoes . . . he would be the one.

He not only spotted them . . . he wanted them . . . he begged for them . . . he talked the Man of the House into purchasing them.

After all, if you're choosing between a pair of shoes and a Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R, it's a very easy choice to make.

He says they help him run faster, jump further, and climb higher.

Like that's something we need around here.

Oh, goodness, don't tell the Man of the House the things that happen around here while he's diligently and naively slaving away at work!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Early Morning

I have made a secret discovery.

After 40+ years of not being a morning person,

I have found that the early morning hours are the most priceless of the day.

The darling distracters are sound asleep.

The sun greets me with a blaze of glory.

I can curl up by the fire and sip my double-strength green tea and read without interruption.

The computer stands empty.

Who knew? All these years! I've missed the best hours of the day.

Well, maybe My Mom might have mentioned this.

And maybe the Man of the House might have casually dropped a hint.

But I'm not going to ruin my discovery but mentioning it to these genetic early birds!

You won't tell; right?

Just between you and me?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Two Sides of Winter

With Christmas long gone, there was now a need to layout something on the dining room table to cover the bare expanse of the wood.

Christmas took all my decorating energy . . . and let's just say there's precious little of that in the first place. So, I "shopped the house," as The Nester says and found something to put together.
Something that still gives me the softness and glow and reflection that winter needs. And it's simple . . . has to be simple!

First I laid 3 octagon mirrors in the middle of the table . . .

. . . and onto the mirrors went 3 silver candlesticks with their beaded shades.

To soften up the coldness of the silver, I found a nice length of tassel trim that was left over from my curtains.

Yummmmm, I love tassels!!

And then, to tie together the warm colors of the tassels with the cool silvers, I tossed around some red mosaic votives that have a bit of a silvery sheen.

Cool and shimmery . . . warm and textured . . . love the contrasts.

Just like the two sides of winter . . . outside my windows . . . and inside, next to the fire.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Significant Purchase

Yesterday was a good day. Yes, a very fine day around these parts.

Oldest Daughter and I made a little trip to Best Buy. This was a large moment in her 17-year history. It was time to make a purchase.

This purchase was a bit of a celebration . . . a celebration of a child that, since she got her first dollar, has saved and been wise with her money.

While her siblings spent their allowances and spare change on washable tattoos and plates of basketball-game-nachos and music downloads, this girl quietly saved her money . . . year after year after year.

Always saving for an abstract "something" that she might want in the future . . . something big. And so now here we were and she was buying, with all her own money, her own top notch laptop computer.

Me: "Oldest Daughter, look over here!"

OD: "Mommmmmmmmm . . . you have got to be kidding. You are kidding, right. Are you actually taking a picture???" {wild eye-rolling}

Cashier: {furtive glancing from face to face, nervous giggling}

Me: "Honey, this is a big moment. I'm proud of you!"

OD (under breath between clenched teeth): "I am not looking. You are embarrassing me!"

Me: "Of course I am. It's my joy!"

As Oldest Daughter handed over the stack of her-own-saved-over-the-years money, I saw stacks of $1's from summer painting jobs, stacks of $5's from years of pet sittings, stacks of $10's from allowances, and $20's from babysitting . . . all saved, unspent, kept for that special purchase . . . someday.

(I'll insert here that this kind of thinking is quite foreign to me. That I gave birth to this child is nothing short of a genetic anomaly, which is probably why I am so impressed. I personally break out into a severe case of hives if I ever have in one spot $50 that is unspent.

Which is also why the Man of the House handles all our finances.

He, on the other hand, gets a rash when he does spend $50. We go through a lot of cortisone cream.)

When Oldest Daughter turned over her entire life savings to the cashier, the cashier slowly (painfully?) counted out every bill . . . and then gave Oldest Daughter back one penny in change.

One penny.

Me: "Oldest Daughter, Oldest Daughter, turn around. I want to get a picture of your smiling face on this significant day.

OD: "I don't h-e-e-e-a-a-a-r you!"

Shoot . . . that girl knows I love her!!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Winter Sunshine

It's been grey here. Grey day after grey day after grey day. And cold . . . whew, cold. And dark too. Dark early.

And when grey, dark, cold day follows grey, dark, cold day, I begin to crave light and color and cheer. You too??

So, that's why I'm giddily grateful today for the cheerful orange deliciousness of Clementines . . .

. . . right in the middle of the winter.

Can you imagine . . . right in the middle of the most frigid part of the year, some precious Clementine trees are bursting forth with happy, round, juicy fruit that will find its way to my store . . .

. . . and provide me with all the light and color and cheer that I'm craving.

I'm just saying, if winter sunshine isn't there for the taking, you may just have to go get your own.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Ever Present

God is our refuge and strength

A very present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear though the earth give way

And the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.

Be still and know that I am God

The Lord Almighty is with us.
The God of Jacob is our Refuge.

Psalm 46

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Girl-y Boots

Marvelous excitement . . . Youngest Son was invited to go snow tubing. The invitation was extended on a Saturday afternoon. He had to be ready to go bright and early after church in the morning.

That's very limited time for a child of the South to somehow come up with the necessary gloves, boots, hat, etc. And if you read my last post, you will remember that after Christmas none of those Northern delights can be found in the "sunny" South.

True to prediction, Saturday night at 9:00 p.m. found us stumped over boots for the child. His mesh-y sports shoes would not do. Boots it must be.

And there were none in town. None.

Until we got to the last sports store. And there we found one pair. Just one. They were snow boots. They were his size. They were in the clearance section. They were white. They were women's.

They said so right on the tag, "Womens - Size 8." My throat constricted. The death knell.

"These are the ones I want!" he enthused. He tried them on. They fit. The last pair in town.

His size. My price. Women's.

Had he noticed? I grabbed them up, scooping the telltale label under my arm. And in the car, in the secrecy of the darkness, I pulled every one of those tags off. Quickly.

No one was going to rob my boy of his time in the snow. Not even his aversion to all things "girl-y."

He tumbled in the front door, bubbly with excitement . . . snow, boots, tubing, friends . . .

And then.

And then a male in my household, a male in my household very much old enough to know better, said the unthinkable . . . the unimaginable.

"Aren't . . . those . . . girls' . . . boots?"

It was over for the youngest boy in a household filled with men. Girls boots? No way. And no reasoning, logic, explanation, or persuasion was going to convince him otherwise.

Did I mention that no one was going to rob my boy of his time in the snow? I believe I did. I meant it.

An 8 a.m. trip to Wal-Mart in the morning brought home a can of black satin spray paint. And by 9 a.m., we had a new pair of boots.

Cool boots. Boys' boots.

Have a fabulous time, Youngest Son!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Wanted: A Warm Neck

I knew I had a problem when I walked into Target this weekend and saw the large display of bathing suits in the women's section of the store.

Never mind that it was 21 degrees outside. Never mind that it is early January. Never mind that my neck has been freezing and I needed a scarf.

No, this is the South, and in the South, scarves are looked at as a fashion accessory at best and a lame Christmas gift at worst. For that matter, waterproof gloves, toboggan hats, and snow boots are ordered cavalierly by the stores' purchasing departments with wild rolling of the eyes. One shipment comes in, and when those are gone (usually around Christmas), you had better just tie grocery bags over your hands and feet because none are coming back in.

Yes, we sure suffer down here in the South.

So, when a thorough search of my South Carolina town turned up one black scarf with lurex skulls, a fuschia acrylic rib knit, and a Hello Kitty Snow Time Adventure scarf, I turned to Etsy . . . which is where I should have headed in the first place.

Wonderful, wonderful, where a quick search brings up a zillion possibilities.

Just look at these beauties!

I'm really into gray after my sweater find. And don't you just love the crocheted fringe?

Isn't this adorable?? The description said to wear it when I'm feeling boho chic, which I think is pretty much all the time.

I'd wear this one when I'm feeling elegant.


And this one when I'm feeling downright dramatically romantic.


When it's time to be classic, there's woodsy cables,


creamy cables,


And hoping-for summer sunny cables. (Boy I could really smile in this one!)


Love this rich color and all the glorious knitted lace.

I'd wear this one on days when I didn't care about being warm . . . just felt funky and wanted to impress my artsy friends.

I'd snap up this felted scarf in a heartbeat. Too bad it has to be shipped all the way from Norway!


Oh, Etsy, Etsy Dear. So many beautiful scarves to love . . . so little disposable income to spend.