Saturday, December 22, 2012

O Come O Come

It is the Saturday before Christmas, and I am cozy at home, with my family tucked in to their beds (I got a nap today, thank you, hubby.) I'm slowly making my way through a stack of Christmas cards. My son's class guinea pig is hanging out - a little friend staying with us over Christmas break. I'm watching CMA Country Christmas - and I am struck by how very blessed and lucky I am.

"So lay aside each earthly thing, and with thy heart as offering
Come worship now the infant King, tis love that's born tonight."

That's what The Band Perry just sang.

I feel like a little piece of my heart that normally is lifted up with love during Christmas is still broken, and grieving the losses in Connecticut last week. My two children, 7 and 4, make the losses so very real.

This post made me weep - it captured my particular feelings so well.

Every time my children reveled in where their Elf on the Shelf was when they woke up in the morning, every time we opened a Christmas card in the mail from a friend and saw their smiling faces in a family picture, every time I think about the little feet that will race to my bedside Christmas morning and shout that Santa came, I feel the tears come back.

Someone asked me this week my thoughts on why this particular shooting feels so different than other tragedies, I thought about it, and I said it felt like somehow this managed to hit "us" at a place we felt so protected, so off-limits, that there's just nowhere to file it.  A quiet, happy, peaceful town with hardworking, normal families whose children attended a great school, in the heart of the Christmas season.  It's unbearable to look at their sweet, beautiful faces.  Because, of course, I can only imagine a small part of the pain their families must bear.  And because, of course, I see my own babes' faces, and then the part of their pain that I can imagine is so deeply, dark and all-consuming, I cannot bear it.  And yet, they must.  And then I cry for them again.

They have buried their loved ones.  But the holes in their lives will continue to catch them off-guard.  It's always the unexpected things that tap you on the shoulder, and whisper, "they're still gone." What about the day they have to take that child's booster seat out of their car?  What about next Christmas when they're hanging the stockings?  What about the next time they have to sign a greeting card from their family.  Will they include the name of the person they lost?

I want to stomp my feet and shout that it's not fair.  I want to do something to make sure that those families who I do not know, know that our hearts are breaking for them, with them.  I want to bow my head, and say thank you for all I have been given.  I want this Christmas to bring with it a new gift of shared concern - that this year something will shift a little bit more in all of us, and that we'll be able to find a way to reach out to those around us and care about them just a little bit more.

O Come O Come, Emmanuel.  And ransom captive Isreal.
That mourns in lonely exile here.  Until the son of God appear.

May all the new angels in heaven comfort those left here on Earth.  Heaven knows they need it.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

It's the little things

I have had so much stuff coming into and going out of this house - pretty much since we moved in 6 months ago.  It's hard to keep track of what in the world I have.  But I did want to post the cool stuff I got last month at the World's Longest Yard Sale. This was my first trip to the WLYS and it did not disappoint!  

This little blue wood step stool was $1 (it was plain blue when I bought it) and I found some stickers at Joann that matched the decor of a friend's new baby's nursery.  It made the perfect baby gift!  I painted stripes around the sides, put the stickers on, added his name, and gave it all a couple coats of Minwax Polycrylic.  Done!

 These are in the odds and ends department.  They are all little wood things that I paid no more than 2.00 for. In the back is a little sled, which would be a great mantle decoration. In the front - awesome duck motif wood basket. :-)  To the right a trinket box and to the left a really nice old wood drawer organizer that has tongue and groove corners.  So nice.
 In this pic, a great old picnic basket is in the back - I'll probably turn this into a wedding gift and put the couple's last name on top. On top of that is a small wall-hanging basket.  In front, L-R is a wall rack for spools of thread, a small sign that reads "you are forever blessed" (until I paint it), and a wood carving that looks like blocks and has all the seasons, each on a different side.
 These little tables are adorable!  They are only like 2 feet tall, and have drop leaves on both sides, so they fold down to almost nothing.  I don't know what I'm going to do with them yet, but they are great and it was $10 for the pair!!
 More wood signs and wall baskets, and a plain bulletin board.  (again, nothing more than 2.00)

 These are miniature garden gates - I think they'd make great Halloween props outside! They were 1.00.
 These are crazy old wall hangings that I'm saving for someone special :-)

 This is going to be gift for someone, too.

 I also found a bunch of nice old linens.  Holiday guest towels that were hand embroidered.  Those are French knots above and they are just lovely.
 I also scored a sweet flowered sheet for my daughter's room, and a batch of everyday cloth napkins. I think they were all 1.50 each.
 I also spotted this baseball fabric, which will be perfect in my son's new room.
 These printed graphics are nice - the America one, probably for a 4th of July mantel and the university is my alma mater.
 Then there was the glassware. My new house has all glass-front cabinets on top.  So I have been buying glass lidded containers at every yard sale and thrift store I go to.  I also got a couple of decorative pieces to add to my collection.  Again, I didn't pay more than 2.00 for any of these. Do you sense a theme? I am cheap, and proud of it!
 I bought this old Corningware teapot that my mom used to have.  It reminds me of the past whenever I put water on.
 I'm not sure what to do with this pitcher.  Maybe a Thanksgiving centerpiece?  It could also easily be painted.
 The little teeny teapot is actually a kitchen timer.  So cute!  It was .50 cents.
 This is an awesome vintage ice bucket.  Hammered aluminum, I believe.  It feels very Mad Men, and we didn't have one, so I picked it up.
 Stuff for the kids was everywhere.  I kept buying for them to a minimum.  A piggy bank for my daughter, and a thermos and bowl for her, too.  Some vintage Fisher Price toys in excellent condition for practically nothing.  A water jug to fill and keep in the car when it's hot.  And a cool set of Halloween cookie cutters.
Then there was this beauty. I think I'll keep this one, and fold up some quilts or blankets in it.
So that's my story.  I can't wait until next year!


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Vintage inspired French shabby chic valet & a treasure chest toy box!

What a fun week this has been! I have just had creative juices a-flowin'!

I wrote a while ago about this wood trunk I bought on Craigslist several months ago. I had intended to paint it for my daughter's room. But it just wasn't playing out that way... I never could figure out what I wanted to do with it.

Then, a good friend had a baby, and mentioned that she was looking for a toy box. Serendipity! So, my Dad set to work doing some minor repairs, adding a missing piece of trim (that turned out to match the other pieces perfectly), and installing new safety hinges to prevent smashed baby fingers.

Then, I got to work. My friend did her baby's room in sea creatures and thought a treasure chest would be cute. The minute she said that, I knew this would be a fantastic project!

I used my craft paints and added some black trim to the edges, and around the hardware.
Then, I added "sand" along the bottom, starfish, seahorses, seaweed, a "Nemo," and coral around the sides. I painted some "jewels" hanging out of the top. :-)

I even found some black thumbtack-type things that I pounded into the black trim on the sides to give it that old Pirate-y look.   Fun!

Then, for the top of the chest, I painted an old-fashioned looking compass, a padlock and skeleton key, and a scroll warning all treasure hunters that, "treasure is property of Capt. Alex"

I loved this project. So budget-friendly, and a quick job, yet so personal and really a gift from my heart for a longtime friend. I hope the chest brings her little man much happiness in the years to come!!

Then, I turned my sights to a valet that we've had for years, that I bought my husband once upon a time, but now, two houses later, no longer fits in our master bathroom or bedroom. Sigh.

I had painted it a glossy white a while ago, but couldn't figure out what to do with it. Then, the inspiration struck, and I decided to turn to the Graphics Fairy site for some vintage French graphics and lettering. I distressed the piece and drew on the French flair, and it was like a whole new piece!

 I practiced my drawing on paper first.

 The Graphics Fairy also had this awesome graphic of a vintage dress form and added it.

I used calligraphy markers to do this, but I'm sure you could print out the image and mod podge it on. At any rate, if you haven't been to the Graphics Fairy, you should!

I've been loving the feeling of cranking out project after project. I wake up in the morning and can't wait to go paint!

Anyone else?