in the doghouse designs

I have been invited to work with quilt pattern designer, Debbie Johnson creating a blog for her website, in the doghouse designs.


For Cindy

Tipsy and Jim were sharing the same spot on the couch in the sunshine this weekend. Tipsy got tired and rested her chin on Jim's head. We got tickled watching her move and readjust each time Jim moved to look at the T.V. or in conversation. I love her paw resting on Jim's shoulder. If you check in, Cindy.. Tipsy says Hi, Mom!

Vanishing act

If anyone was out there.. I probably owe an explanation for my disappearing act. The truth is that life gets rough. I took a break from blogging to focus on family, on healing and on creating. I have lots to share and post over the next few months and am looking forward to getting back into the groove of writing and photographing regularly again. I missed this part of my day. I missed reading my favorite blogs and keeping up on what's going on outside my own little life.
I am excited about fall, I love this time of year. This photo is of my beautiful daughter, Lauren. She took some time to pose for me wearing my scarves. She and her friend are my Etsy models this fall. They did a really good job.



Yesterday as I was taking my son to school, I passed another mother who was riding her bike with a cart with a little flag on it behind her carrying her little ones. Ahead of her were two older children on bikes with helmets and backpacks. It was a parade of little people and bikes. They ride like this every morning when it's nice out. They live on the cul-de-sac across the street from us, but we've never met. I was suddenly flooded with memories of my little people and my sister's kids as they grew up together. Then remembered being little myself. All the little treasured memories that we have of growing up, your first puppy, first bike, first bus ride to school.
The creepy little guy with the hat and mustache on my bulletin board is Smedly. My grandma used to put pieces of candy in a little tin toy refrigerator with Smedly sitting beside it when we would come to visit. She would say "I wonder what Smedly's got?" the minute we would walk in the door. Jen and I would scamper down the hall to the playroom to see what was in the little fridge.

In all of those memories, my sister is right there with me. My parents or grandparents always watching, participating, encouraging, teaching.
As I was returning from dropping of my son, I pulled along side the young mom on her bike and drove beside her slowly, explaining I lived just down the street. I could see the two little faces in the cart smiling up at me, they looked so much like my sister and I.. I was shocked. As I pulled in my drive, they stopped riding so we could introduce ourselves without blocking the street. Tucked just between the two little girls was an infant. Three in a row back there! I was so impressed this woman had the energy to get all these little people up, ready, on bikes, strapped in and still had the patience to pedal down the street to watch over the older kids on their way to school. She was, momentarily, my hero. Never did I have that much motivation or was I organized enough to pull of something so difficult at 8:30 in the morning. I got to talk to the little girls and they were so sweet! Just like my sister and I, little peas in a pod. I remembered what a huge part of our growing up was spent outdoors on bikes, trikes, anything with wheels out in our driveway. Being little is so important, I am grateful I had so many wonderful experiences I can still savor. I didn't know then how hard it was to do for us the many things that my parents and grandparents made sure to give us. I doubt this mom thinks much past the immediate right now, but when her kids are grown, what a nice gift to have been given.


The thrill of the hunt

This is my back porch. This photo was taken about two years ago.. Since then many things have come and gone, the most unusual thing being the near life-size mechanical pony "Smokey" that came to live with us when Mom and Dad moved last year.
Whatever lands out there, whatever cast-off from other parts of the house.. somehow they just work and it gets "assembled into the BORG" as my husband would say.
Well I don't do as much hunting and gathering or random thrift shopping as I did in past years. And I have learned to start "editing" what I keep and live with. Part of that is just maturing, I think. If you dropped by right now, the porch would not be this organized.. It is recovering from my last decorating endeavor - being a catch-all for the things I moved out of the kitchen during the cabinet repaint. But this picture makes me happy. It reminds me never to question life's little surprises. Part of being a woman is finding a way to live creatively.
On Monday, I spent the day with my Mom. We finally had time to have a real conversation now that the kids have returned to school. We bolted out to the nearest anitique mall to shop for things for the "hoffice". We were on a tight schedule, had a huge wish list and wanted to hit as many of our old haunts as we could fit into one day. It was like going on vacation, I tell you. We enjoyed ourselves, each other's company and all the treasures along the way. She found lampshades for a chandelier, a copper pot for her kitchen, two chairs for Dad's office, a buffet and I found a metal rack to display our scarves on at our next craft fair and a few magazines. But mostly we just enjoyed the hunt.


It's in the genes..

I have been working like a complete mad woman. Why? It's genetic. I come from a line of compulsive ancestors. I can't go into too many details, but words like frenzy, obsessed, crazy, are part of my daily dialog. I'm OK with it, because I know how many of us are out there and that I come by it honestly via family heritage. Most of my family members are intelligent, humorous, industrious workers and harmless to ourselves and the public, sometimes hot-tempered, Mostly just QUIRKY.

And that is why my mind never rests, I am always thinking of three or more projects, making two or more crafts and stringing it all together in some random way in my craft room. Perfect example: I had no more than hung the last kitchen cabinet than I was off to sew up this tote bag that had been calling out to me. I had started laying it out before I began painting, and it was nagging me that I had a wonderful sewing project I wanted to get to, but all this WORK.
And so as not to ever be idle, I am always knitting something. I have made about 3 scarves a week all summer (105 degrees!) long! Like there aren't enough tote bags and scarves in the world and I must produce more, more I tell you!
All I can say is that the first step is acknowledging that you're a little off-kilter, then you can pull in the reins a little and modify your behavior. But I do really like QUIRKY.

What's cookin'?

I'm almost done!
How long has it been since I started this project? It seems like forever when your kitchen is torn up, but I think it took me a week and a half by the time I had doors on the cabinets and hardware on the drawers.
All white.. Yeah!
The reupholstered bench that started the whole thing, once you make over one thing in a room, the whole room cries out for attention. This bench was great, but made my cabinets look tired.
The upper parts of the cabinets were already white, I just finished all the lower cabinets. You can see there is still work to be done on the side and underneath the cabinets, the pantry is not done. But one more weekend and I will have it!
This is a close up of the paint application: Clean with Liquid Sander, apply 1 coat Primer, paint 2 coats base color, apply 1 coat antiquing glaze, sand edges, finish with 1 coat poly sealer, spray paint hinges with hammered metal finish.


What's cookin'?

Day One:Katybug showed up today to start painting my kitchen cabinets. This project was started quite some time ago and only now have I felt well enough to finish what I started. It helps that Mom volunteered to help me paint.
My porch is now covered in drawers and cabinet fronts all primed and ready for paint. We took off hardware and emptied drawers and stacked things precariously.

This is where it all began and before I started painting.. two years ago. We remodeled the kitchen cabinets and installed granite countertops when we purchased our home and before moving in. Our ceilings are ten feet high on the main level, and after taking down some decorative beams, I was able to reconfigure the existing cabinets into a new formation and stack them to the ceiling and add crown molding.
Currently: I painted all the upper cabinets antique white and installed lighting inside. This picture below is after moving the cabinets, but before painting and tile work. We also installed plate racks to fill in the gaps that moving the cabinets created.
After painting them, they looked very nice. I loved the transformation, but at about this time I started to have trouble with my foot and thought I might leave the lower cabinets unpainted.
The time has finally come, though, to paint the lower cabinets. Today was the day!
Right now it looks like chaos run amuck. And again it is a sandwich night. Looking at these pictures does allow me to see that we have progressed, even if at a painfully slow pace. Funny, husband did not know when he left for work that I was going to tear the living heck out of the joint and slap some primer around. His response? "Oh, good, another project". End of discussion.
Day Two: I have painted the first coat of off white base paint and it already looks so much better. The fact is that I have been living in denial so long, I didn't know how awful this kitchen looked until I started to paint it! I am guessing I will work through the weekend before I have the project completed. More updates with the finished results.


Make Over!

We have lived in our present home for four years, I would estimate. And I have purchased, traded or otherwise maneuvered into this small kitchen dining area about six different dining sets. We have a pantry that I also keep moving, depending on which dining set is in use at the time. There are about four other tables strung through the house that I have banned from the kitchen as useless.Finally, I think I might be on to something here. My mom bought this outdoor patio sectional last year and it was originally a plain tan colored indoor/outdoor fabric. There is one more chair piece and two ottomans as well. But I had been contemplating building a bench seat in this area and remembered that Mom wanted to sell this set. Using a leftover foam piece from another reupholstery job, I replaced the multiple cushions (3) with one single one and recovered all the back pillows all in the same wonderful black and white Waverly fabric from JoAnn's. The two dining chairs came with the table I am using as a desk in the living room, and I covered two of them with a beautiful black and white toile and two with a cream and black pillow ticking. So, I have lots more seating and have used the otherwise dead corner of our kitchen.
In all the chaos of pillows being moved, cushions being swapped and traded, Tipsy tried to find a spot to watch. I love when she tucks her nose in like this. She just looks like she can't stand to watch for one more second!
She says hi to Mom and Dad, or Cindy and Bruce. Have a safe trip home.


Pretty Fabulous!

A few weeks ago I ordered something awesome from Lotta's Etsy shop. I love reading her blog, check her out if you haven't already.. Mom-o-Matic.blogspot.com. I check in anytime I am on the web and have never left her site without laughing out loud, and sometimes spending some dough.
I ordered two of these darling charms. I told her I was giving a charm as a gift and that I didn't need the necklace, just the charm.. so she sent me the fantastic ring to make the price fair and then gift wrapped all my items! I love the packaging, all the details. What a fun way to shop! I know it's hard work, but I so appreciate it!

And, unrelated, but still exciting to me.. I found this fun retro malt mixer at (guess) the Goodwill when I was shopping with my mom quite a while ago. She fell in love with it and bought it and has since decided she has no room for it in her kitchen. So, it has come to live in my kitchen for a while. I love looking at it. I have yet to make a milk shake, but have promised my kids to have all the ingredients for some awesome recipes!