Thursday, April 18, 2013

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real: Yes, We're Still On About The House Edition

round button chicken
Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life.  Every Thursday at Like Mother, Like Daughter
More photos of the house.  I'm sorry, I seem to have two settings: my house and my sisters' kids.  Well, what can you do?

Lots of overlapping this week!  You'll see what I mean...


We begin, friends, with the entry.  I love this entry.  It was the first thing I was excited about when I first toured this house and I love it more each day.  Things are beginning to fall in place, decor-wise, as I should have known they would.  And the mantra of the house has become, "Well, it doesn't NOT go"!

There's also a healthy touch of REAL in this photo as well, if you look hard enough.  That gold frame on the left is empty.  It held my illustrious family tree but the glass got broken so I had to take the tree out and pack it away very carefully for the move and now I can't remember where I so carefully packed it.  But we decided to hang the frame anyway.  The green lamp in the library, seen on the right has no globe.  It ALSO got broken.  And so there it sits, waiting for someone to get her act together and remember to go buy some glass things.

Also, I wish that field hockey stick was a walking stick but I suppose it's more honest.

This is what greets you when you enter into the entry.  The Vicar's dresser.  We plan on keeping scarves, mittens and other woolly things in the drawers off-season (as soon as I find and unpack them) and I'm looking forward to having some sort of lovely seasonal display here year-round.  But we'll see.

For now, we've got things that sing SPRING!  Mom painted that painting when she was very young and always protests that it's not good enough to display when I bring it out each Spring.  But I think it's beautiful and I love it!  The rest of the things here were either gifts or yard sale finds.  And those lilies are just starting to unfurl and perfume the house with their heady scent!  It's delicious!  They make me happy (overlap)!

Passing through the entry, you come into the kitchen.  I was very unsure about this room but it's really coming together and I'm starting to enjoy it!  I still miss my old kitchen (especially Mrs. C *sigh*) but this kitchen is a lot more efficient and, somehow, easier to keep clean.

The above is the hutch that used to be in our dining room at the old place.  The moment I walked into this room for the first time I knew that wall was perfect for it!  I love everything about this.  Everything here is both beautiful AND useful.  I use everything you see.  Well, except the wine.  I haven't used that yet.  The bottom cupboards are perfect for storing potatoes, onions and seldom used things like pitchers and water bottles.  A whirling dervish friend of mine came over two days ago and helped me unpack my pretty things and arrange them.  It would have taken me months--MONTHS--to decide where to put those things on the walls.  She did it in mere moments!

Her greatest achievement was in the living room.  This was my least favorite room in the house, up until Tuesday.  I was completely at a loss as to what to do in there and so I had left boxes unpacked and walls and tables bare.  Then Miss Dervish came in and whipped that room into shape so fast it made my head spin.  We've decided that she is what we call an orchestrator and I am what we call not one of those.

She loves to arrange and decorate and says that as she can't exactly sell her own house and buy a new one to play with she is more than happy to come over and play with mine!  And I need all the help I can get!  So we make a good team.


We were both thrilled to discover that the old window The Vicar trash-picked for me a few years ago fit this spot next to the fridge like it was made for it!  That area is across the room from pretty much everything else in the kitchen and, thus, is destined to become a sort of message center.  It's where I keep my cookbooks and, below, those appliances I don't use every day.  And behold!  The Vicar and I each get a junk drawer!  And that makes us both happy!

Sometimes when I look through the photos on my phone, I find shots obviously not taken by me.  I would never take a photo of the dog.  I'm just not that kind of person.  These were, clearly, taken by Calvin and, I must admit, they're pretty cute.  This old dog makes him very, very happy.


Also taken by Calvin, the phone/camera hijacker.  He found an odd, narrow piece of metal pipe somewhere in the house this week and discovered to his joy that it is precisely the right size from which to shoot Nerf darts in the manner of a blow dart.  So he gathered a bunch of said darts and affixed thumb tacks to the ends.  Naturally.  As one does.  When one is a twelve-year-old boy.  And then he went around shooting at all manner of things (NOT LIVING THINGS) and taking photos of his triumphs to show his friends.  He thought this shot of the dart stuck into the cereal box was glorious.

He is a weird, funny kid.


And now for the Real.  For this portion we are going to have to revisit a few areas:

Back in the kitchen.  There are definitely elements of Pretty and Happy in this shot of the back door, due mostly to the plant that was a housewarming gift from our senior pastor and his wife and the pretty things hung on the wall by Miss Dervish.  Oh dear, that may be her blog name now.  I'm not sure I've thought this through properly...

Anyway, I took this as an example of Real because, really, it's just a glorified catch-all space.  We've got dog biscuits, Christmas candles, the pitcher I use for a watering can, medicine for Nutmeg's ears, a red box containing my immersion blender and the Tupperware container I use to store bread dough (usually--not now).  I need baskets or tins or something to conceal the fact that this is a catch-all.  But for now, it's just really random.

And finally, a return to the living room.  This is what it REALLY looked like before I started staging it for the Pretty photo.  Ok, maybe it's not that bad, but I felt guilty.  I don't think we're supposed to clear away the pizza boxes and arrange pillows or zoom in so the thermostat doesn't show for these shots.  So, there you have it.  I feel better.

Well, I suppose it's possible that next week I'll manage to find some contentment outside of my house.  But I highly doubt it.

Until then...

Monday, April 15, 2013

Thrifty Kitchen Kitsch

Intrigued?  You SHOULD be!

So, let's just start out by saying that I am not crafty.  I am not that type of lady.  My arts and crafts talents are limited to knitting and makeup application.  And in the knitting department, all I've made is a bunch of scarves, a head wrap and an experimental wristlet.  So I'm not sure I can count that as a talent.

I am also terrible on follow-through.  I have to strike while the iron is hot, i.e. while I'm still interested in a project, because I will abandon it for sure the minute I get bored or frustrated with it.

Anyway.  A-HEM.

We have, you may recall, just moved into a new home.  And this home needs some furnishings.  And it was decided by the Vicarage Think Tank (me and The Vicar) that a new kitchen table was a top priority.  Actually, this was decided by way of a lot of whining and complaining on my part and sighing and conceding on The Vicar's, poor man.

So, yeah, I wore him down until he agreed to look for a table and chairs.  I PROMISED him I would be my thriftiest best.

And would you look at what I found!

Actually, Mom spotted it first, thrift shopper extraordinaire that she is.  She took us to a place that can only be described as a junk shop--more like a junk warehouse.  She warned us before we went in.  She said, "Ok, this place is a crap shoot.  Sometimes it's all junk and sometimes you can dig up something worthwhile."  And, about 25 seconds after we entered she called me over to where she was standing with a, "Hey, this looks like you!"

It was in good condition, the chairs were comfy (we all checked), and the owner was willing to give it to us for $100.  SOLD!  When we got back in the car, I said, "I'm going to spray paint it-

--RED!"  Before anyone howls at me, The poor Vicar did not spray paint it by himself.  We did it together.  We both got mightily high and discovered the answers to all of life's most puzzling questions.  Together.

 Three cans of Glossy Ruby paint: a little less than $10...

And then it was time to do something about the faded and dingy seat covers.  I can't say that I have a fabric stash, but I did happen to have quite a bit of red and white ticking leftover from our kitchen renovation five years or so ago.  FREE FABRIC!

Now, I have never covered seat cushions before.  And I am so NOT crafty when it comes to fabric.  My only experience with a sewing machine was the sewing class I was required to take in 8th grade and I got a C.  I couldn't even make a pillow.  It's bad, folks.  But I took a good look at the way these cushions were already covered and decided I could copy it.

I'm sure there are plenty of more professional and efficient ways to cover a cushion.  And I'm sure more experienced seamstresses would be horrified if they turned any one of these over.  But, to me, they look good and the lines are straight!

And I did it BY MYSELF!  Usually I hand all fabric jobs over to Mom, who probably could have gotten this task completed with a lot less time and sweat than I did.

But it's sweat that I'm proud of and sweat I can claim as all my own!  I am so PROUD of myself and so THRILLED with the results!  I keep strolling through the kitchen to get a glimpse of it!

So there you have my kitschy kitchen table and chairs hack.  Not bad for $110, eh?

Next up: drapes for Redheaded Snippet's room made from a $20 Target shower curtain!  There's no stopping me now!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real: Down South, Y'all! Edition

round button chicken
Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life
Every Thursday at
Like Mother, Like Daughter
Warning: This is another niece-heavy post!

What can I say?  My sisters have some of the most exquisite children ever born.  It's a burden we all must bear.

Ye be warned...
So, we went on vacation to The South.  Dharma and Vance live in South Carolina now and just had that sweet baby so we took advantage of Redheaded Snippet's Spring Break from school AND her official visit to the University of Richmond to visit the land of "Ma'am," and "Y'all," and sweet tea!


I ask you: Is this not pretty?  I was taking a photo of Lulubee (trying it out--what do you think?) and Fidget upped the cuteness factor exponentially by crawling up into the shot.


Redheaded Snippet took this self-portrait during a walk to the pond.

Dharma and Vance live about two blocks from this lovely pond.  The weather was accomodatingly pleasant throughout our visit so kids and dogs were able to make frequent walks to see the ducks, skip rocks, and bask in the sunshine we've been so sorely lacking up in Jersey!


Sometimes I think it's a mercy these two (who I have started thinking of collectively as Snippety Fidget) are so far apart in age.  They are so much alike; can you imagine the trouble they would get into if they were closer in age?

And here we have the elusive Rosebud, caught in a quick cuddle with Gram!  This was moments before we had to leave to come home, so this cuddle was bittersweet.


Calvin's self-portrait submision.

I don't think we even have to ask her to make silly faces anymore.  As soon as the camera comes out, she starts making faces!

I forget what this is but it's somewhere in South Carolina and Calvin thought it was hilarious and warranted a photo.  It's a giant peach (apparently South Carolina is known for its peaches--I thought that was Georgia but then I'm a Yankee, what do I know?) and locals call it The Butt.  Not sure if you can tell from this shot, but it does rather look rather bum-like.  I suppose that explains why Calvin remembers it as one of the highlights of the entire trip.

This shot is also courtesy of Calvin.  It's his breakfast waffle from the University of Richmond cafeteria complete with the image of a spider, pressed into the center.  The spider is UR's mascot and Calvin thought that was just the coolest.  First, it's a spider (I mean, C'mon!) and second, it has a perfect little well to contain the perfect amount of syrup whilst the outer ring is the perfect place to pipe some whipped cream!


I know I usually post "Real" pics that fall under the I-Can't-Believe-How-Crazy-My-Life-Is-Right-Now category but this time is a bit different.  This time, my reality is I-Can't-Believe-How-Wonderful-My-Life-Is-Right-Now.  The above is the scene that greeted us when we finally arrived home from a grueling ten-hour drive after a week away.  The Vicar wasn't able to make the trip with us and had to spend the entire week rattling around this house by himself (which he hates).  And when we were joyously reunited (we all missed him so MUCH), we were so touched to find he had prepared a snack and a cheery fire for us!  What a guy!

And this was the next morning.  Spring finally arrived!  The windows were opened, the birds were singing, warm breezes were blowing, and we just sat and enjoyed the patterns playing on the floor in the sunlight from the billowing curtains.  And I thought, "Wow.  This is my life.  This is amazing!"

And finally, a bittersweet dose of reality.

This is the 2013 University of Richmond Field Hockey Team.  There's Redheaded Snippet in the front row, third from the left.

One of the determining factors in the timing of this trip was Redheaded Snippet's official visit to the University of Richmond.  We got to tour the city, meet the rest of the team, spend more time with the coaches and generally remind ourselves why we're all so excited that our Snippet is going to be a Spider!  We really couldn't be happier about the way God worked this one out.  A year ago, we thought things were going to be very, very different, but this way--God's way--is worlds better than anything we could have orchestrated.

And isn't it always?

But it is bittersweet because it's another reminder that the days are just slipping away softly, like pearls slipping off a string.