Thursday, February 28, 2008

If anyone wants to get me an early birthday present

I am definitely okay with this one:
Meet Colin Firth + 2 VIP Mamma Mia! Tickets London 7/1 - eBay (item 2502181153

Really, I have no shame. I could most definitely handle suffering through Colin Firth wearing spandex and singing Abba tunes just as easily as I can pretend to be Elizabeth Bennett to his Mr. Darcy. If he can bring me a fruity little drink with an umbrella in it, that's just a little bonus.

On another note, I'm so happy for this little song that could to win the Oscar this year.
YouTube - Once - Falling Slowly (Oscar Winner 2008 )

The first time I saw the movie, I wasn't wild about it, but it stayed with me and I found myself searching for the music. Some of it it haunting, some poignant, at other times hopeful. When they won, I nearly stood on my sofa in a standing ovation, I couldn't have been more happy for them.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Craftiness Revisited

Now that my older daughter has come back from her Chrysalis weekend, I can reveal some of the surprises I made for her and her friends. (Cause my daddy likes to see this stuff even though he never leaves me a comment! It's like not signing my yearbook, Da!) Chrysalis is a youth retreat and for the teens, it's a bit like being invited to a huge surprise party thrown just for them. Wouldn't we all love that? Chrysalis is called so because in theory, the teens arrive as 'caterpillars', change ('Chrysalis') over the weekend and when the weekend is over they are encouraged to Fly with Christ.

Two of her good friends also went, so I made them a little somethin', somethin' too. I know I probably picked up The Crud while on a surprise errand there, but it was worth it to see her face so lit up with joy. Even though she's been sick too, she can't stop talking about her time on the weekend and how she can't wait to get more friends to go.

One of the little traditions is personalized place mats for meals. Usually some of the retreat team members make some, a friend or teacher might make one and the family makes a couple. Just one of the details over the weekend that lets them continuously know they are loved. I had these laminated so they'll last for a while.

Another small surprise I made for her was an altered canvas. She's already put it on her bedroom wall which means it passed muster.

I also made some more simple canvases for her friends as little presents. She also got a little handmade ring from me, but I didn't get the chance to photograph that and some other little surprises that shall remain a secret lest some of her friends stumble upon these photos. Don't want to let any big stuff be spoiled!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Dreaded Crud

After making efforts to eat right, exercise and get the flu shot, our household got the flu anyway. And not just any flu, but a decieving variety that fools you into thinking you're getting better, only to have you suffer a relapse. Yes, it's the Crud. We are so over it, but apparently it is not over us yet.

Sunday night was the worst night. I could not warm up no matter how many blankets, afghans, quilts and hot packs I had piled upon me. Finally I fell asleep and woke two hours later unable to throw off every stitch of clothing fast enough becaues I was burning from the inside out. Add to that, a hacking chest cough, all over body aches and caring for other family peeps becoming sick = no fun.

From no sleep, I've learned some things about nighttime television which you may find funny or disturbing or both. On two different nights, I found sex toy informercials. One was actually a sex toy shopping hour type of thing where you could call in to offer a testimonial. Two younger, attractive women just chatting up the product as though they were discussing the benefits of cake mix vs. cake from scratch. Another night, the show was hosted by a middle aged woman and a beer gut sporting, bald older man. I wanted to call in and in my flu med induced voice inform him that his enthusiastic pitch for a love swing had permanently turned me off any form of intimacy beyond sharing a plate of nachos with my husband. Children, it was just not right!

Not only can you buy a swing from a guy who probably prompts the chickies to check the sex offender binder each time he ambles into a Victoria's Secret, you can buy air brush foundation! Let me repeat: air brush foundation! In 10 seconds, you too can airbrush a perfect complexion on just like the stars. To be fair, they did seem to have some very experienced make-up artists who were well known in Tinseltown, but honestly, do I want to air brush my face and then very possibly start a side business making His & Hers t-shirts at the local carnival with my handy dandy foundation device? Um, no.

And, do the celebrities on these skin care informercials really believe that we believe that their wonder, miracle, scientific, fountain of youth products will stop aging in its tracks? Have you seen the celebrities on these informercials? Their faces never move because they've Botoxed themselves into a frozen mask and what isn't Botoxed has been stretched so tight, you could bounce a quarter off of it. It's painful to look at which is why rather than buying their product, you'll be reaching for the eyedrops to soothe your retinas which have been permanently seared with the images of scary, immobile stares.

Daytime tv is not much better. I refuse to watch Days of Our Young & Restless Children's Passions at the Hospital of Guiding Light. I haven't watched an Oprah show in at least 5 years and after watching it the other day for a few minutes, I can honestly say I don't feel I've missed much. Lifetime tv is really the same movie looping over and over again on a continuous loop just with a different actress and or maybe the same actress wearing a bad wig and carrying a new handbag to change things up. About the only thing worth watching is How Clean Is Your House on BBC which makes me feel oh, so much better while sitting amidst a pile of used tissues and assorted mugs filled with tepid soup, tea and half-consumed Theraflu. At least I clean my house, when I'm well, you know. Which should be any day now soon. Please, sooner rather than later!

The only one in the house not sick is my youngest daughter who has now posted signs all around the house with stern instructions to the colony of flu lepers who abide in her home. Whatever happened to share and share alike?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentines Day!

A few years ago, I realized that even though I was married, Valentine's Day didn't automatically mean flowers, candy, candlelight dinner and whatever diamond pendant Zale's Jewelers was hawking that year. Some years the hubby really knocks it out of the park with a fabulous gift like last year when he got the entire family tickets to see Wicked. Another year, it was an afterthought when he said we were going to dinner, only he hadn't planned where and every decent place was booked up because, of course, reservations had been made well in advance, so we ended up coming back home after some 'intense fellowship' (codeword for argument). Whatever this year brings, I hope that everyone gives themselves a little love even if that means buying that amazing vintage sweater set that's at the little vintage clothing boutique downtown who thinks that vintage is really another word for haute couture and charges as though it were. Hmm, wonder what I might be getting this year....

I did get fabulously spoiled by my swap partner for the Vintage Heart Swap,Valita. That box was filled with all sorts of lovelies like a vintage apron, a swath of old lace, trims, jewelry findings, buttons, old Valentines, candy which was immediately decimated, a floofy bubble pen, fun heart soap and more. The most fabulous goodies though were this frothy confection of a pin and her handcrafted tussie mussie. She tells me it was her first foray into them, but I think Valita is trying to be modest. Don't girlfriend! My daughters were super jealous of me and that is high praise! See the loveliness?
Over the weekend, I was able to take in an auction that was held at the teensiest little row house I've ever seen in downtown Frederick. It had snowed in the morning, so I hoped that turnout would be low, but apparently at least 100 people had the same hopes because that's how many of us were squished into what was maybe a 20 foot wide yard that held the entire contents of the house. It was damp and cold and too crowded to even get a good look at most of the items. I did come away with a hobnail pedestal cake stand, a Depression glass cake plate and a box full of old linens. Here's a little photo of the fun stuff I got before my frozen toes which kept getting stepped on had quite enough and marched me to my car.
I think these are my favorite out of the box in linens.
On Tuesday, we had our Primaries. Rock the vote! Only I didn't rock it the way my 12 year old wanted me to, so she fussed at me while I let that child accompany me to the voting booth. I guess everyone in that school cafeteria knows who I didn't vote for now, eh?

But on Wednesday, we had some ice storm fun to wake up to. School was canceled and we stayed in our jammies for as long as possible. It was lovely to look at and a minefield to walk over. My behind must have a huge bruise because I really planted it on my way to the car. If someone had a camera on me, we could be $10,000 richer if we sent it to America's Funniest Home Videos. Not only did I fall, but my enormous backside then acted as a sled and sent me flying several feet before I landed in a slushie pothole. You know, if ever in the morning, even your espresso can't wake you, there's nothing like a refreshing dip in a sub-zero pool of ice to shock you into full awareness. It was pretty to look at all the ice though while I hobbled back into the house to change clothes. My dormant lavender looked like a frosty ice princess.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Sweet Spot

Or as my husband calls it, My Other Love. I'm talking about that teenie, tiny space that I call a studio. Since Christmas, it's been getting a facelift which is really wild because the space is not quite 2 years old. We had our basement finished two Christmas seasons ago which taught me 1)Never have major housework done over the holiday season and 2)Never host a humongous family gathering in the midst of that housework over the holiday season. Nevertheless, we survived and gained a lot of living space.

Finishing a basement in a home that's almost 100 years old was a challenge (another story for the basement at another time?). We have a furnace smack dab in the middle to work around as well as several concrete posts that couldn't be moved. Our contractor was great about coming up with solutions and his brother was a master at putting them into action. It was those days that neither one of them was on the job that caused the major stress. Like the day when they were supposed to be framing out the bathroom and my work space. I always tried never to bother them and go see the progress at the end of the day. That day I went downstairs and discovered that someone had moved the bathroom wall several feet over into what would've been my space, but now was approximately as wide as a broom closet. As in wide enough for one broom. I sort of collapsed on the floor and cried. Then I called hubbie and cried. The next day, they had to tear everything out and put it right while I nursed a stress hangover.

Still it's a very small space and I'm still learning how to best maximize the use of it. Through it all, I've learned that it can be organized very well, but not to my decorating taste which meant I wasn't inclined to spend a lot of time there. Slowly, I've been working on making my tastes and my need for organization meld into a cozy, little studio that I could spend the entire day in if I had Harry Connick Jr. to bring me fruity little drinks with umbrellas in them. As it is, I'm very happy when he's blasting over the stereo and hubby is bringing me a cold diet Dr. Pepper.

It's still a work in progress, but here is a little look at my sweet spot~

~I put different knobs or drawer pulls on all the cabinetry. Hubby still thinks I lost my mind on that one.

~Two of the walls are now blue. I simplified the possibilities by only choosing colors that were available from leftover projects. This paint is from the back porch and it makes such a huge difference. Plus, it makes all my favorite colors pop without clashing.

~Tiny little rag rug to warm up that chilly floor.

~That white wall with the cubes? I want to cover it in sheet music I picked up with Kim from Too Much Stuff a few weeks ago. We fought over all these old books. She won a few. I won a few. We both came out alright, I think. (pay no attention to the bags on the floor, i thought i had those put away)

~Still working on stuff, but it's coming together. That ESCAPE banner was made at Creative Escape. Going back again this year, woot!

~Some McCoy pots that hold tools. I have a weakness for pottery in pretty Easter Egg colors.

~Little milk glass dishes hold a some of my buttons. Other button live in a cabinet because I have a button addiction (and a ribbon addiction, ephemera addiction, rub-on addiction, etc, etc).

~Old stamp carousel that appeals to my love of office supplies.

~I pulled out some old shelf lining to dress up the shelves. More is on the way from Ebay to finish the rest.

~Yep, more McCoy. Wanna make sumthin' of it? ;) And a little glass dish that holds things I should get put away that didn't get used in more current projects.
~A tiny jar filled with vintage Christmas ornaments. No particular reason. It's just cute!

~They're a little bright for the space, so I don't know if they'll be staying, but the little suitcases are still cute & very useful. They may get a little distress ink to tone them down? The wire baskets hold newer product before it finds a home. If that basket gets too full, I'm supposed to put myself on a spending freeze. Bwahahaha, like that ever works for me! I can put of lot of goodies into those baskets! (yep, that's another McCoy planter holding rolls of die-cut felt)

Still working on it. Big on my shopping list is effective stamp storage and rub-on storage that will fit into the personality of the room. Or otherwise known as anything, but plastic! Well, unless you know of a place to find a dirt cheap, Bakelite drawer unit? I'll keep scouring auctions, thrift stores and tag sales in hopes of finding those pieces that exclaim "Pick me, choose me, love me!"

Monday, February 4, 2008

Counting the tags in so many ways

Danielle tagged me not so long ago to share 8 Musical Musings. Our musical tastes are so personal. Sometimes you find out the musical preferences of a person and say to yourself "Ah, just as I expected" and other times your eye widen in a bit of shock as you think "Who'd have thunk they were a closet Big Hair Band devotee?" Tapping my feet to a beat, here goes....

1. I grew up in the South where people typically believe Country music is the rule. I hated Country as a young person, can tolerate it now and only barely like a few country artists.

2. That said, I tend to like lot of music that has country influences which makes my husband point at me and exclaim "Ha, that's country!" Um, nope, it's not honey.

3. Love, love, love old swing, Rat Pack and big band sounds. Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, Nat King Cole are my old favorites. Michael Buble, Brian Setzer and Harry Connick Jr. keep it alive. As a side note, I all around think Harry Connick Jr. should be my part time boyfriend. Just to sing to me, talk in that Nawlins accent of his and bring me fruity little drinks with umbrellas in them.

4. My first concert with my hubby, then boyfriend, was Whitesnake and Motley Crue. Hit choice, not mine. Yeah, still his choice. Not mine. We were in Oklahoma and David Coverdale from Whitesnake asked all the 'men' in the crowd (I use the term men loosely) if they rode thier women like horses in Oklahoma. Motley Crue has barely dresses girls on stage gyrating around. Ewwwwww! I guess I was just never cut out to be a hard rocking groupie. The hard rock concerts I did like? Def Leppard. They weren't derogatory in their repartee with the crowd, put on an excellent live show and seemed grateful to be there during the few concerts I went to.

5. Every summer, I camp out for 4 days with no AC, running water or indoor plumbing with at least 25 teenagers for a festival called Creation that is like a massive Woodstock-like event loads of bands. We get pretty much no sleep, each day we take pictures of our feet which get incredibly dirty walking around the grounds and have embarrassing videos of ourselves jumping up and down while waving hands, throwing balls or passing a giant box (as in 8 feet tall) of Captain Crunch cereal through a crowd of 100,000. (To understand the Captain Crunch reference, google Newsboys Breakfast Song)

6. I love musical theater and will pass by 20 movies to see one live production on stage. After years of discouraging the hubby from going to see Rent for the 3rd time, I'm trying to get tickets for all 5 of our family to go before they close on Broadway June 1st. Way back, hubby stubbornly dug his heels in with a firm assertation that he was never going to be coerced into seeing a musical which in his opinion had to be vile, boring events for the octogenerian set. Finally as a favor to his aunt and I , he was persuaded to see Rent over 10 years ago with us as a Mother's Day gift. He went in with his arms crossed and attitude closed. He came out having laughed, cried and jumped up with a standing ovation. Since then the man collected Playbills like some boys collect Pokemon cards and I'm all for it.

7. The last 5 artists to play on my MP3 player are Sarah Bareilles, One Republic, Feist, the Killers and something from Cirque du Soleil.

8. I have a lyrical album. Every once in a while, I'll do layouts for songs that mean something to me either in the long term or just for the moment. Don't think I've shown this one on here, but this is one small example of what the album is filled with. The song is Dig by Incubus.To pass this tag on, I'm throwing it to Kelly who always has music going!

And another tag of sorts from Miss Jennifer at dust bunny hostage who has lots of goodies that one day I'm gonna drive down and poach off her porch while she's out shopping for more fabulous finds passed on a Blessings Award to me. She is a sweet spirit with fabulous taste and I'm so glad our blogs have crossed paths.

I'm going to pass this on in a real snail mail note to a few people who have blessed me recently or who I know will shortly be blessing me & mine. People like neighbors who've called with locations for water this past week as we in turn called them when we found out something. People like Kevin and Corey who are 2 in a fabulous team of leaders for our youth group. They're going to team on a weekend called Chrysalis in a couple of weeks that my daughter, Kirsten, will be attending. Kirsten doesn't know it yet, but she's about to get her socks blown off with an outpouring of love like she's never imagined and surprises that will surely spoil her to the tips of her toes. I've teamed on a Chrysalis weekend and I know it's a sacrifice of time away from their lives, but one they look forward to as they see what kind of positive impact this weekend will have on the almost 50 teenagers who will be there.

In the midst of the water mess, I also got a sweet message from Michelle at Back Through Time; the You Make My Day award. Michelle just about lives my dream of owning an antique mall. She also has a gift for putting objects together. Honestly, gifted folks! The last week of boiling water, buying water, taping signs over taps and reading newspaper articles that weren't very nice between the people of our tiny town, there have been some people who definitely made my day. 2 who live close by and offered to open their doors were Kelly who I already tagged for music and Kim from Too Much Stuff. I didn't need it, but their generosity is always there. I may call yet! Another is Valita at My Wonderful Life. She was my swap partner for the Vintage Heart swap and I had so much fun packing little goodies into a box to spoil her with. She had foot surgery last week and still inquired about my little water problem while she's been going through that. Such a sweetheart! And can't forget my Sister From Another Mister, Danielle. When things go wrong, she's always there to listen to me vent and somehow we always end up laughing about something. Not sure how we get to the laughter, but we do and that's good medicine. Pass it on my friends!
I've slapped some paint on the studio, finally got some knobs on my cabinetry and have been busy nesting in there. It's really my happy spot. Photos next time. For now, I'm off to play!