Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Time flies when you're not blogging

I have been flattered lately that a few people have mentioned that they have missed my blog....  I have been taking a break from blogging to "refocus".  During my initial brief blogging effort I learned a tremendous amount about the art and business of blogging but I wasn't finding any satisfaction from writing about the subject matter of crafting and home decorating. 

The last three months I have spent some time (since it was summer - a.k.a. the hardest working time of the year for a mom - I would be lying if I said I spent a LOT of time) thinking of what I might be able to blog about of more significance that could lead me to a future of business, speaking, commentating, writing or some other non-mom specific thing.   I love politics, conservative women's issues, campaigning for family values and pondering the question of how SAHMoms can be productive yet faithful to the goal of being a wife and mom first.  I love business, sales, customer service and industrial psychology.  I also love endeavoring to be a better person, Christian, wife, friend and mom every day.  So - how can I blog about all of that? 

I have not come up with an answer to that question yet but have been overwhelmed with a more pointed question - what are all these other stay at home mom bloggers doing that I'm not doing which allows them the time to do the stuff they are blogging about???!!!!!

Yesterday here was my schedule:
     6:00 to 7:00 up, coffee email, organize for day
     7:00 to 8:30 - get kids ready for school, make breakfast for four, make lunch for three
     8:30 to 11:30 - Trader Joes, Costco, Albertsons runs - at home I cleaned and unpacked groceries
     11:30 to 1:00  Work the hot lunch program at our school
     1:00 to 3:00  - two more errands (bank and to make a return) home, laundry, prep dinner
     3:00 to 6:00 - homework, kids after school classes (a.k.a. mommy taxi time)
     6:00 to 8:30 - dinner, kids to bed, clean, try to fold laundry
     8:30 to  10:00 - review email again, review homework, pay bills, plan for tomorrow.

SO - where was the couple of hours I needed to shop the thrift stores, buy old furniture and refinish it for my furniture blog?  Or how was I to have time to organize the pantry for my big pantry reveal? Much less time to visit the dollar store and craft up some fall wreaths?    Even if I DID want to make a lift blogging about crafting and DIY when in the world would I have the time? 

After an equally busy day today I took twenty minutes to write this post which will undoubtedly have spelling and grammatical errors.  Not to mention how much more efficient a read it would be if I had time to proofread and edit.  But today - that's not gonna happen.  I'm just throwing this out there - spelling errors and all because today - it's the best I can do and today - that is going to have to be enough for me. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Believe and practice uprightness

This is the obituary from the death of my Great Great Grandfather.  Oh, how impressed am I by this summary of his life.  When I die I hope that the same can be said of me - that I believed and practiced honesty and uprightness.  How I wish life today was this simple and that we valued a comfortable living and raising a large family of responsible citizens. 


One of Paulding's most respected citizens passed Away 

On Sunday morning at 8 o'clock Mr. Wyatt Lee passed quietly away at his home about seven miles north of Dallas. Mr. Lee has been sick for some time with dropsy; he was  very low in the summer, but improved in the fall and it was hoped and believed that he would regain his health. A few days ago he again grew worse, and on Sunday morning he breathed his last.

Mr. Lee early enlisted in the Confederate States army and, it is said of him by his associates that he was one of the bravest and truest of Confederate soldiers. He was a lieutenant at the close of the war; and since that time he has lived where the beautiful Raccoon valley joins the Raccoon hills on the Acworth and Rockmart road, and there surrounded by the quietude of his country home, he and his good wife have made a comfortable living and raised a large family of children, among whom are our townsmen, Messrs. R. M. , Jesse, Willie Lee and Mrs. Free Hay.

Mr. Lee was a man who believed and practiced honesty and uprightness with his fellow man, and our county could boast of no better citizen.  He will be not a little missed by his many friends, and especially those who lived nearest to him.  We mingle our sympathy with his loved ones.  May the God of Peace comfort and bless them.  The interment took place at High Shoals cemetery Monday afternoon.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

10 Best Tutorial Blogs for Beginner (and advanced) Bloggers

When I started blogging it took me about two months just to learn how to find a blog that would teach me about blogging.

Something about learning to type the word tutorial, blog, wordpress, blogger and HTML that made it all click for me.  Since that time I have found some sites that have helped me immensely.

Blogging with Amy.  I want Amy to be my new best friend.  Of course she doesn't know it yet.  
Her articles about how to start a blog are perfect for a beginner blogger.    When I wanted to make my own blog button her tutorial helped me immensely. 

The best tutorial I have found online has to, hands down, go to Tentblogger on how to maximize your Feedburner settings.  It would have taken me hours to figure out the information he shared in his post. 

Copyblogger.   There are still some posts on Copy blogger that are over my head but I aspire to learn enough to understand everything listed there.  Most recently I enjoyed their blog on 3 Myths of guest writing on Big Blogs. 

The Girl Creative offers blogging tips from a great perspective.  Her crafting tips are pretty darn great also. 

Crafterminds has a long list of articles and great blog resources.  Photography tips, pinterest tips,  technical and design tips and more!

I'm also a big fan of Brent Riggs - founder of Linky Followers and Linky Tools.  He has a lot of blogs including a great personal blog.  His Blog tutorial site is definitely worth reviewing. 

 Blogger Buster
 Daily Blog Tips
 Blog Tutorials 
 Blogging Basics 101 
 Tips for New Bloggers

If all those fail - Google is your best friend.  Search using the words "tutorial" and you will often find what you are looking for!  Good luck and please post any other sites you have found that are good resources!  

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Inspired Decoupage Table

I have a confession.

I am not a true crafter.

I am a copy crafter. 

I can do crafts that I see other people do but am not so good at coming up with things on my own.  Don't judge.

Yesterday I read Today's Creative Blog and knew instantly that I had to copy her craft idea.  I knew because, I too, had a table with a big ugly spot in the middle that I wanted to hide.

I planned to research a cute pattern and find the perfect paper but I made a fatal mistake.  I told my 8 year old what I wanted to do and she had the table downstairs, cleaned and sanded before I could say decoupage.  She picked out the paper and the butterflies and went to town.

Needless to say, I have no before pictures because I was trying to make dinner and she was trying to make new furniture.  We got this far in the project before my dear sweet husband said, "take pictures"!  We tore small pieces of sky paper.... 

Then we painted Modge Podge on the tabletop  and on the back of the paper and laid them down hap-haphazardly.

No rhyme or reason - just all over.

I left a little overhang over the side of the table because I wanted a rough look...  I went back after it dried and sanded the paper down around the edges.  It's uneven and fun.   

Then I printed out a 800 font size "S" - this happens to be Times New Roman and used it as a stencil for this pretty butterfly paper.  We modge podged on the S and the butterfly's and left it to dry for the night.  

After she went to sleep I added a little more paper to the drawer - just for fun.  She woke up to a nice surprise!!!

Now my 6 year old wants to do her table....  I'm not sure what  have started in my house but it is super fun! 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Why I didn't post more this past week.

Why didn't I post more this past week?  

Believe it or not, I can tell you in one word why my week was not what I expected it to be.

Why the schedule I thought I was going to have wasn't the one I had.

Why my free time was not free.

Why when I had free time, I was too exhausted to blog.

You ready?


Yep, I was puppy sitting.  This is Bane.  Four month old french bulldog.  And those are my kids who are ecstatically happy about dog sitting.

Next, I should post a picture of me happy when I got to give him back.  I like OPP - Other People's Pets.  Especially Bane.  So when I miss a few days of posting again now you'll know why.  

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Baby Shower Gift Printable

My first printable!!!!!

I attended a baby shower for a friend today and made a printable for her of my favorite poem for kids.  I used Picnik and am bummed it is being discontinued...  What a great fun site!

Here is the printable:

Feel free to copy and use in any way you wish.

And here is how I framed it for her.

I wrote on the back in a pretty silver sharpie and gifted it with some home made "It's a Girl" cards.

I hope she loves this prayer as much as I do.  It has become a mantra of sorts for me.  Every night I head upstairs and check on my girls before I go to sleep.  It's my favorite time kneeling by their bed, brushing their hair off their cheeks, breathing deeply of their sweetness and kissing their soft face.  Then I say this little prayer and head off to bed.  More soothing than any cup of warm milk! 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Pinspired - Beaded Napkin Rings Tutorial

I have a collection of beads leftover from some previous projects and wanted to find something fun to do with them.  I'm not a big Pinterest user but found these beautiful beaded napkin rings looking for leftover beading projects on the site.


Pretty, huh?  I thought I might be able to make something like this with my leftover (and definitely less glamorous) beads. 


I took the below supplies - 20 gauge bendable wire, handcrafted beads from mexico and some leftover beads from an old project to make my own version of these napkin rings. 

Using a small glass I bent the wire around the glass twice to get the shape I wanted for the napkin rings.

I'm sure there is a more professional but likely much more time consuming way to do this - but I bent the ends of my wire using square pliers to make a cute little doodle on the end.    


 I beaded the wire using a pattern of five little beads and one big bead - five little beads - one big  bead.  Then I continued beading until the wire was full. 

 So - here you go - my version of the beaded napkin rings.  I was really pleased with the way it turned out.  Pretty in person and would definitely dress up the table! 

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Saturday, March 17, 2012

House Tour - Living Room

 Welcome to my living room.  Another room in my house I can blog about as we don't "live" in the living room so it is relatively clean.  So, I'm practical.  Plus, it's the weekend so there is no chance of getting and keeping a room clean while the kids are home from school.

My front door opens up directly into my living room.  We use the room for entertaining, Christmas, Thanksgiving, and walking through with guests so they have the impression that the house is clean before they get to the "real" part of the house.

A lot of my furniture we purchased in Charleston, SC where I am from.  It was cheaper to purchase there and have shipped to California than purchasing here.  Plus,  I figure I am 3/4 southern - as I lived there for 32 years.  I always say that you can take the girl out of the south,  but it's harder to take the south out of the girl. 

I have a lot of antique furniture..  Mostly because I believe it holds it's value.  European pieces from the late 1880's.  I figure if they have lasted this long there isn't much my kids can do to it to harm it now.

This is my favorite aubison rug in the house.  We have hand-distressed, walnut hardwood floors which were the best investment we made in the house.  Plus, it is fun to decorate the floor with rugs!  The coffee table is walnut - from Alsace.  I'm guessing you want to know these things?

There is a GREAT story about the urn.  When I bought a home in Atlanta it was a condo that had been converted from apartments.  The apartment below me hadn't been converted yet and the tenants were moving out.  The guy living there was a florist and had all these great urns and sold us two.  One is at my parent's house and I have the other one. Should I paint it?   The picture is one of the first things I bought as a young adult....  It has moved with me for many years!  

More about my post-Christmas mantle can be found here.

I love my bay window and sitting area.... These chairs are comfy!  It is a bit of a decorating challenge though - how to frame the items on the table with the items on the bay window behind..  Anyone have any ideas?  The sconces on the wall are antique and we love them too! They were originally in my kids' nursery. 

 I try to decorate with family photos whenever I can - My grandmother's wedding picture, my husband's mother and a picture of my husband and I when I was three months pregnant with my first daughter.

  We bought these photos during an art walk in downtown Charleston, SC - They are meaningful to us as we were married in the Charleston area.  When we look at these photos we think of the time we have spent together there.

What I love most about building a home is filling it with things that have meaning to you.  Whenever we travel we try to purchase something we can add to the home that will be special to us. 

This is on the wall directly opposite the fireplace - it is a swedish black birchwood cupboard.  I know - the camera flash stinks.  I'm too lazy to go take another picture now, download it, edit it and upload it.  I hope you'll understand. 

There you go - my living room.  Oh -  I mean the room that we DON'T  live in.  ;)

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St. Patty's Day Door Decor

Look closely in this picture and you can see the very first thing I bought for my house.  Before we moved in I ordered it!

No,  not the cute St. Patrick's day sign - although I like it.    I bought it on sale at Target or Michaels...

Nope - not the ribbon.  And I have to admit I'm big into using bows to decorate for every holiday...  Yep,  I never throw ribbon away.  That would be such a waste.    But I bet you can see it now...

The door knocker.  and yes, now you can see that I don't have a screw in the bottom hole.  oops.  I love it.  It is a heart door knocker and it represents all the love in my house!    It's the little things that make me happy.

Like pinching someone on St. Patrick's Day.  That makes me happy!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Things I hope my daughters will understand one day

Dearest daughters,

Remember this morning when I went upstairs to do the laundry?  You followed me inside the tiny laundry room,  shut the door behind you,  sat down and stared at me and I sort of - freaked out?  I hope that one day you'll understand that after 8 years of being followed into the bathroom, the closet, the pantry, and now, the laundry room - I just snapped.   I hope you'll understand that I love you every single moment of the day but don't necessarily want to be followed by you every single moment of the day.  There is something to be said about - occasionally - having a tee-tiny bit of space.

Remember last week when I was trying to figure out how to convert the HTML code from my logo and insert it into the right place on my HTML layout for the blog that I don't begin to understand and you came within two inches of my ear and said "mommy" about 10 times and I responded "WHAT?" a little too loudly.  I hope you understand that you are my priority but that sometimes Mommy is actually working on something on the computer that requires work.   Sometimes Mommy's brain is engaged elsewhere and that a little "excuse me Mommy" would go a super long way.

Remember that bad day we had a little while ago?  The one where Mommy had been sick for two weeks and was super tired from not sleeping?   The one where you and your sister stayed home from school because she had that mystery stomach ache that happened only when she was at school for three days in a row?  One day I hope you will understand that, despite the greatest efforts of self-control, sometimes PMS wins.

I actually hope, solely for my sake, that one day you are overwhelmed and have ten kids asking for more things that you can do at one time and you scream, at the top of your lungs, "I AM NOT YOUR SLAVE"!!!

I hope you'll understand that life doesn't revolve around you and that the great injustices you experience when I deny you an extra cookie, the sleepover you so badly desire or when I make you put up your own laundry are actually examples of me doing a good job of being your mother.

I hope you'll understand love and compassion and unselfishness and that a new Justice shirt doesn't truly make you happier in the long run.

I hope you will understand service to others and that making a decision to do what is right for your family even when it isn't what you want to do as an individual is often the best thing.

I hope you understand to choose wisely and treat kindly when you marry.  And that earning a man's respect, admiration and devotion is more important than giving into frivolous intimacy.

Mostly, I hope that you understand - one day when you are married and learning your own way to mother - that I did my very best.  That I made mistakes but that I owned up to them, learned from them and worked to be all I could be as a mother to you.

I have to admit,  there are things about my mother I didn't understand or appreciate until I had kids - like how much effort it takes to do all the things that, as a child, I took for granted.  I now appreciate how much it took from her to just get the kids bathed, dressed, fed and kept alive until adulthood.  So, in case I haven't said it lately, "Thank you, Mom.".   Thank you for loving me. 

And to you dear daughters,  I do love you too - even if you don't understand it yet.  

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Home Tour - Gallery Wall

I moved into my new house on February 11th, 2005 - which happens to be my daughter's first birthday.  For dinner we had pizza and birthday cake.  Perfect!

Nine months after moving in on November 16th, 2005 my second daughter was born.  I was determined to get the house "finished" before the second baby arrived.  The LAST project I had to do was to finish my gallery wall along the stairwell.

You see,  I fell in love with a man who lived waaaaaaayyyyyyy across the country from my family.  It was important to me to have something as a daily reminder in my house of my heritage and ancestry which had played such an important role in my life growing up.  So,  the family photo wall became my project.

It started out with a call out to all the family to get any and all pictures I could of each family member. 

Then I sorted the pictures and memorabilia and took a crash course in how to tell ancestor "A" from ancestor "B".  With my family I had a little practice but I admit, my husband's family was a little more difficult.

Then I picked which pictures I liked for the wall.  My criteria:

1.  One to two pictures of each person
2. Focus on wedding and baby pictures as a "theme"
3. Choose interesting pictures that have a story behind them

The day before I was induced with my second daughter I took all the pictures to my favorite photo shop to drop them of - so as to meet my goal of getting the project done before the baby was born (I was down to the wire on that one).  Unfortunately, I got rejected.  My framer sent me back home and asked me to put some details on the pictures as to how I wanted them cropped  and which ones I wanted names put on.

One picture of each person in the family got their name on the photo.

Here is the name plate on my grandmother's picture.  For those of you that don't know about my grandmother, you can read more about her in this post about neighboring and cooking.

Isn't she beautiful?  Here she is in her college yearbook photo.  She went to college at age 16 and played field hockey!!!  She was the first in her county to have a model A Ford and worked as a county agent in the depression.  She rocked.

Here she is in a photo with her husband Clarence Gordon Lee and my Dad.  She had her first child at 36 because they were of the depression era and wanted to be in good financial straights before children.  Also, she would have lost her job if she got married and they needed her income.

Oh - back to the wall.

I decided on a monochromatic color scheme.  I matted all the pictures in the same color mat and frame - varying the way the photos were cropped and the thickness and size of the matting.

Here is one of my favorites of my husband's family - his grandfather, great-grandfather and great-great grandfather.  All Eugene Francis Smiths.

When we got all the pictures back from the frame shop ( a couple of weeks after the birth) my husband went to town laying them out.  We went for a free form design up the stairs but ORGANIZED them from oldest generations at the bottom of the stairs to the youngest of us at the top of the stairs.

You can see the stairwell from my front door so this is what you see at the start of the wall....

And as you walk closer you can see the pictures that are on the stairwell above....

These pictures are quite old.  The furthest left photo is of my great-grandfather (b. 1840- d. 1917) who was in the civil war and got shot in the chin so he grew a beard.  He met his wife in a prisoner of war camp.  She was a distant cousin who came to visit him.  (Go ahead, make your jokes about the south).  

I've started making notes about the family members on the back of the pictures and hope to make a printed bio before too long!

If you want to see the landing - check out yesterday's post

There are also pictures on the right hand side wall as you go up the stairs....  These are my great grandparents through grandparents.

From below....

 And from the landing.  My grandmother is at the top left in this photo in her wedding gown...

My father's paternal grandparents are photographed below.  This is the only photo we have of them.  This is their wedding photo where she wore her best dress which is black.  It is my understanding that wearing white gowns was a pretty new custom when she got married.

Can't say it is the happiest wedding photo I have ever seen.. But I am so happy to have it.  

Last but not least is the photo wall of our parents, step-parents and special aunts and cousins....  My husband and I on our wedding day are at the top of the stairs - that's also me with the braided pigtails and my husband with the sweet stuffed dog.  You can see how they are all matted in varying sizes and shapes.   I am really happy with the way it turned out.  

Not to overlook an open space,  my sweet husband put a few cute photos below the upstairs stair rail...  I think they are great. 

So that's it - the photo wall!  Any questions let me know and I will get back to you on the details.