Category Archives: Events

Offline Again

Offline Again

I’ve been offline for three plus weeks. That’s the thing about blogging; it’s very telling. You just can’t ignore that date that screams “where have you been?” Once I even dismantled the date feature just because I felt bad about my unexpected absences. But I realized that wasn’t keeping it real and was a departure from authenticity. When life sometimes throws you curve balls and time is not on your side, something just has to give. Feel guilty about it is a waste of time but I do admire all the bloggers who can consistently deliver no matter what is going on in their personal lives. I have yet to find that magic formula.

My absence was due to working diligently to move my mother from one apartment to another. Initially, I thought no problem, same building, same floor, a weekend should suffice. Boy, was I so WRONG! By day 4, I realized the magnitude of the move and my time estimation skills were completely off. After eighty long hours over a two and a half week period, I am so glad operation apartment swap is over! With the exception of her bed, dresser and piano, I moved everything else. Let’s just say Motrin, became my friend and that is coming from a person who avoids taking medication whenever possible. Although I have a high tolerance for pain, my back was screaming for relief.

During the process, I had to strongly demand encourage my mother to toss, donate or sell. Her apartment was bursting at the seams and she was ready for a new start. My philosophy is “everything in it’s place” and if you can’t find a place that is an indication that you you have exceeded the limits and something has to go.”

Paper and books are my mother’s downfall. Don’t get me wrong, I too love books. But I restrict myself by using the library as much as possible and being very selective if I happen to pay Barnes and Noble a visit. When the shelves at home get too full, I edit, edit, edit because the limits have been exceeded. And since her file drawers are still bursting at the seams, I will be introducing her to digital filing courtesy of Neat.

neat scanner

I use it all the time to tame the paper shrew that seems to rear it’s ugly head and take up way too much valuable real estate. It scans a stack of papers really quickly and what I really love is the double sided feature where it scans both sides of the page simultaneously. Let’s just say it lives up to it’s name because it is, in fact, really neat!

How about you? What accumulates or getss out of control in your home?

After Holiday Blues

After Holiday Blues

The Holidays are over and as I looked around my home on New Years, only remnants of the holiday remained.

One lone kiss left on the advent calendar remained.

advent close up IMG_7821 ver 2

Toys thrown under the tree

toys under tree IMG_7843
Pinecones infiltrated with Legos. They are taking over the house these days.

messy displayIMG_7855

The welcome wreath on the door turning brown

wreath brownedIMG_7864

and holiday CD’s back in their cases waiting to be put away.

CD'sIMG_7901

I wasn’t quite ready to take down a wreath I made from a 99 cents store garland

wreath over mirror  IMG_7914

wreath closeup IMG_7939

surrounded by an unfinished wallscape. Believe, Faith, Peace, Love and Hope never made it into their frames. But we carry it in our hearts and will continue to do so all year long.

wreath and sideboardIMG_7919

Well Santa, it’s time to come down.

Santa IMG_7868

Hard to believe just a few days ago the stage was set for the big day.

living room IMG_7966

Christmas was a lot different this time around. Our usual trip to Manhattan to see the holiday store windows and Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center didn’t happen. Early dawn wake ups and “cant sleep” excitement are no more. No. 2 son is eleven and the magic has faded. This year it was a 7:30 AM wake up. You think that would be a piece a cake but it was hard getting up just the same. I was up to 3:30 finishing last minute gift wrapping and getting a jump on dinner preparations.

Christmas time excitement through a child’s eyes is so special and I am going to miss it in our home.
So I found it a little difficult dismantling all the holiday decorations this time around. It will be a new kind of Christmas in our household from now on. But next year, I will look forward to celebrating the holidays in more mature ways. The moral of this story – cherish the holiday magic because they grow up so fast! And as I wrote in our holiday cards “May the good times and treasures of the present become the golden memories of tomorrow.”

Do you have any after holiday stories you’d like to share?

Have You Taken a Me-cation Lately?

Have You Taken a Me-cation Lately?

Me-cation, I thought I was being original and made up this word. But then I googled it and learned that someone had beat me to it.
So here’s my personal take on the definition; Me-cation - an outing  or experience for oneself, by oneself for the sole purpose of restoring ones inner spirit. Little or no planning is required and the execution is up to you.  Easier than a vacation or staycation, it can be purely spontaneous and the duration can last minutes, hours or even a day. The when, where and how is solely up to you but the why is an opportunity for one to (re)connect and (re)acquaint oneself with the essence of who we are. Life can be extremely busy and often overwhelming; some me-time is in necessary to nourish our soul.

So, off I went to the Arboretum Planting Fields, in Oyster Bay, New York.

Meandering through acres of lush freshly mowed greenery and trees,

I could hear Julie Andrews singing “The hills are alive with the sound of music ….”

Here, strict rules prevail encouraging solitude, quiet thoughts and appreciation for all nature and it’s beauty.

I was so happy to spend a couple of hours observing and snapping pictures of whatever caught my eye. Like this magnificent tree, for example.

It has such presence, don’t you think?

And the beautiful flowers still holding their own.

Oh look, a frog taking his/her own me-cation as well. :-)

Hmmmmm, what’s down this path?

Wow, the gates are open!

How did anyone even know I was coming? :-)

Look at all the magnificent beauty!

It made my heart sing!

On my way back to the car, I noticed pinecones trailing along the path.

They were so pretty, I picked one up, still sticky with sap, and it smelled sooooooo good! Thinking ahead to the holidays, I got a bag from the car and filled it up, just as I was filled up from this experience.

So on this day, I took the “Road Less Traveled”

“……and that has made all the difference” A great me-cation and I am a better me. My cup now runneth over.

I’m hoping you had some fun me-cation experiences? I would love to hear about them.

Barcelona

Barcelona

This summer my family and I had the opportunity to travel to Barcelona. Spain is absolutely beautiful and I had a great time!

The first couple of days we used the Barcelona Turistica Tour busses to get acclimated and give us an overview of the various sights and landmark buildings.

Further into the trip, we visited the Temple Sagrada de la Familia.

As I listened to a headset tour all of sudden the voice stopped and a choir began to sing The Lord’s Prayer. I turned around looking for the choir. It sounded so clear and beautiful. I thought it was a live performance. As I continued to listen, gazing at this magnificent view, it gave me chills. That was a powerful moment I will never forget.

We learned all about the life of Anotonio Gaudi, an architect who designed this magnificent structure.

As we strolled around we would stumble upon other great edifices like the Barcelona Cathedral


The level of detail and intricacy gets me ever single time.

Later we visited Park Guell

where Gaudi’s home sits.

I would have loved to have gone inside and explore more of his work but it was our last day and we were short on time.

Park Guell is very hilly and when you get to the top the view, even on a very cloudy day, is absolutely breathtaking.

We always try to visit at least one familiar place like a zoo or aquarium so we spent a few hours at L’acquarium Barcelona. We refused to let the usual long lines deter us.

No.2 son who just turned 11 really enjoyed it. It’s so neat to see the excitement in his eyes, un-jaded by previous aquarium experiences. Even No. 1 son, who is rarely moved by anything pulled out his IPhone to snap a couple of pics.

And then there was much family discussion about viewing Barcelona from above as well

I’ve been on trams before; however, this one scared me for some unexplainable reason. Learning that Gaudi died in a tram accident didn’t help matters either. So we decided to stay on solid ground.

On occasion, we would take a taxi to get to a destination; however, we mostly used the metro and bus system to get around. But whenever possible, we walked; we love to walk. As I did when we went to London, I used a pedometer to keep track of our daily steps; 61,811 steps to be exact.

I do have more to share but this post is much too long already. Just thinking about our time there makes me smile and I feel so blessed and thankful to have had the experience.

Have you ever been to Barcelona or have a favorite destination that you look back on fondly?

Sharing this post with:

Between Naps on the Porch: Metamorphosis Monday

Birthday Wishes Filled With Laughter

Birthday Wishes Filled With Laughter

Yesterday was a special day. No. 2 Son turned 11. He planned the day just the way he wanted.

He requested blueberry pancakes for breakfast.

Trust me, there are blueberries in there:)

A few weeks ago, he decided that he wanted a movie party at the local theater since Wimpy Kid Dog Days was being released on his birthday. He designed his own invitations; hand delivered some, snail mailed others.

We bought “back in the day” candy for goodie bags. Wondering why the candy is lined up in rows? He wanted to make sure everyone got their fair share:)

He made wimpy kid labels to continue the theme.

After way too many trips to the grocery for ingredients I thought I had on hand, the right size muffin liners and an extra pan to speed up the process of making 36 plus cupcakes (I wanted to have enough for the parents as well), he helped make the cupcakes.

We had fun decorating them together.

The popcorn and drinks during the movie and pizza afterward was more than enough so by the time the cupcakes were being served, there were a lot of “no thank yous”.

But they were pretty, everyone a little different and uniquely decorated. I like that!

Luckily, the parents enjoyed them!

I am so proud of No. 2 Son because he thought about what he wanted, planned accordingly and added his own personal touches to make it a very special day!

It was an early evening party and I’m probably the only parent that didn’t have a clue about the storyline despite the fact that No. 2 Son has read all the books. Boy did I laugh! Too loud at times, but I couldn’t help it. It was so funny! I even caught No. 1 Son, who is 21, keeled over laughing. I am still laughing as I write this. What a great way to end a busy and eventful day, with belly grabbing, non stop, over the top laughter.

A Little Piece of Heaven at Haven 2012

A Little Piece of Heaven at Haven 2012

I attended Haven in Atlanta last Thursday and Friday and boy am I glad I did! I was in need of some blogging inspiration and direction and Haven was the place to be for just that. Both days were jammed packed with informational sessions like Basic Photography/Photostyling, I Love Thrifting, Blogging PR and I Like Big Blogs:Tips on Growing Your Blog; networking opportunities and vendor exhibits. Breakfast and lunch were provided too so there was no reason to leave the hotel. I was amazed at how the eating areas transformed into classrooms within minutes.

The vendor booths included HGTV Home, Minwax, Purdy, Rustoleum, Frog Tape, Pure Bond, Annie Sloan Chalk Paint any so many others. And if receiving a Haven product bag filled with all kinds of goodies wasn’t enough, there were so many vendor giveaways, I had to ship my goodies home via UPS. I won a quart of Annie Sloan too! Woo Hoo!

Forget Christmas in July, it was Christmas in June at Haven.

Between the classroom sessions and talking to other bloggers, I got bits and pieces of helpful blogging information. The highlight of the conference, though, was attending Advanced Painting given by Miss Mustard Seed.

She talked about paint types, techniques and finishes. And yes, most of what she talked about she has already generously shared on her blog but being able to ask specific questions was terrific!

She is just as authentic and forthcoming in person as she is in her blog posts. I admire that tremendously.

I also got to meet Mr.Goodwill Hunting. He was a hoot.

His has a comedic delivery that is very entertaining.

All in all Haven was an informative gathering and I am glad I made the commitment to attend. It was tough getting there as I had to leave hours after No. 2 son graduated from fifth grade. I purchased a ticket last October, long before graduation dates are determined. Fortunately, I was able to celebrate with some of his classmates and their parents before flying out. I organized a pizza luncheon at a local restaurant and we had a great time. I felt bad about missing his first dance that Friday, but No. 2 son was okay with it and I was able to forget the mom guilt thing because I got lost in a little piece of heaven at Haven.

How about you, have you attended any blogging gatherings or conferences lately?

What I Learned From My First Craft Fair

What I Learned From My First Craft Fair

Thank goodness, the craft fair experience is behind me. Early December, I decided to give craft vending a try. It was a lot of work and very overwhelming. Not just the actual day, but preparing for the day. I learned a lot and it’s good to know that I haven’t lost my ability to persevere. I felt like giving up many times but I didn’t, no matter how sleep deprived I was. My hats off to all who do this regularly.

Here is some of what I learned:

1. Hauling furniture from my home to the fair and then back again which included a flight of stairs is just not for me. If I were to ever do it again, I would stick to small home furnishings and accessories.

So instead of these

I’ll stick to this cutie

She wasn’t so cute when I found her though. ASCP took care of that.

2. Perfectionism has no place when producing hand crafted tems for resale. I found myself doing and redoing trying to meet my self-imposed high standards which greatly hampered my productiviy. Somehow, in the frenzy of the preparation, I forgot that handmade is all about the beauty of imperfection. Each item is suppose to be uniquely it’s own, distinguishing it from mass produced items.

Although I was going for the distressed finish, the nightstands didn’t turn out like I had envisioned. I thought I would give it that Miss Mustard Seed touch as you see here by decoupaging the damaged sides with sheet music. Works with french country, not so much with mid century modern. Another lesson learned.

However, they did come a long way from when we first met. The laminate was buckling and falling off in some places yet in tact in others.

And two of the drawers were in serious distress.

3. Knowing the craft fair before making the commitment is a must. I knew this but I was wooed by the reuse, recycle theme and thought it would be the perfect place to be. With that said, this was a first time event with no track record.

Sadly, after all that work, I didn’t sell a thing. None of the vendors sold much of anything. This event was not advertised. Vendors were required to use their Facebook contacts to publicize the event. The Build It Green customers had little or no interest in our wares.

I wanted to have the experience and I did. Don’t get me wrong, I would have much preferred to have made some sales, however, what I learned during the process made it worth my while.

A couple of accessories, I will probably keep for myself. This one for sure.

I think it would be a cute way to store rubber bands, paper clips etc. As for the rest, there’s always Etsy or Craigslist. Right?

Have any craft sale stories, advice or tidbits to share?

I’m sharing this post with:

Beyond the Picket Fence: Under $100 Linky Party
DIY by Design: Fall into Fall

Domestically Speaking: Power of Paint Party

Handy Man Crafty Woman: Wicked Awesome Wednesday

Primitive and Proper:Piece of Work Wednesday

Primp:Primp Your Stuff Wednesday Link Party

Savvy Southern Style: Wow Us Wednesday

No Mininalist Here: Open House Party

Miss Mustard Seed: Furniture Feature Friday

Between Naps on the Porch:Metamorphosis Monday

In Over My Head!

In Over My Head!

I have been MIA yet again. Totally overwhelmed preparing for the upcoming craft fair this Saturday. Since this is a first for me, I had no idea about the amount of hours required to produce sufficient inventory. I have been up to the wee hours of the mornings over the last three weeks and still don’t have as much as I had anticipated. Oh my goodness, everything I do seems to take twice as long as anticipated. Here is a sneak peak at a few of the things I will be selling.

I love how the footstool turned out. In the spirit of the reuse and upcycle craft fair them, I used a flannel shirt to cover it and make the pillow.

I have a thing for flannel shirts. It’s one of my favorite things to wear during the winter. I got these from the thrift store and pleased with the results.

That’s all I have for now. I sure hope I get a chance to take pics of the rest. For now, it’s back to work for me. I will be sure and let you know how it went. In the meantime, if you have any tips for me, please let me know because I am in over my head!

I’m sharing this post with:

Miss Mustard Seed: Furniture Feature Friday
Funky Junk Interiors: Saturday Night Special

Nightstand Insomnia

Nightstand Insomnia

These nightstands have been keeping me up nights.

I acquired them for zero dollars from a friend of a friend. They were part of a bedroom set, that my friend’s friend wasn’t able to sell on Craig’s List. The other pieces were massive so I decided to just take the nightstands. The finish on them was extremely durable. My mouse sander just skimmed the surface. I decided to give Citrus Striper a try; however, with all the curves and crevices, it got a little to messy. It was necessary to bring out the big guns, Mr. DIY’s belt sander. One pass and the beautiful hard wood was exposed. It was so pretty, I decided to remove the entire finish.

I have been stuck at this stage for two weeks. Usually, the finishing plan comes to me when I am prepping and stripping but for some reason I can’t make up my mind.

It needs some additional sanding around the curves and crevices which makes the stripping process much more tedious.

And even with all the inspiration I found of similar nightstands, I just can’t make up my mind.

Facelift Furniture: Turquoise French Provincial Nightstand


Facelift Furniture: Turquoise French Provincial Nightstand (clipped to polyvore.com)

The Blue Eyed Owl: before & after {hot pink nightstand}


The Blue Eyed Owl: before & after {hot pink nightstand} (clipped to polyvore.com)

confessions of a craigslist junkie: A Pretty Little Thing


confessions of a craigslist junkie: A Pretty Little Thing (clipped to polyvore.com)

I will be selling them at the Crafted at the Canal – Holiday Reuse Fair so I want to choose a color or finish that will have mass appeal. Stain, paint, two toned and/or distressed finish? I need your help so I can get some sleep:) What do you think?

I am sharing this post with:

Between Naps on the Porch:Metamophosis Monday

You are Talking Too Much:Monday Link Party

Apron Thrift Girl:Craft Catwalk

Domestically Speaking:Power of Paint Party

Beyond the Picket Fence:Under $100 Linky Party

DIY by Design: Fall into Fall

Miss Mustard Seed: Furniture Feature Friday

I’m a Rebel!

I’m a Rebel!

Yes, I am now the proud owner of the Rebel T2I! After reading Consumer Reports, consumer reviews online, and much deliberation and procrastination, I decided to stay with Cannon. My previous point and shoot cameras were Cannon, so I decided to take advantage of their product loyalty program and buy a refurbished camera at a discount.

It came just two days after Hurricane Irene passed through. After losing power for two days, it was a welcomed and pleasant surprise. This has been one crazy summer weather wise; hail the size of golf balls, an earthquake and a hurricane, you have to wonder, why?

Anyway, I’ve been familiarizing myself with all the features and settings. I am actually reading the manual! That’s a first. By the way, if there’s any other Rebels out there, I would love to hear from you. I have been unsuccessful trying to achieve blurred backgrounds despite following the manual instructions for adjusting the background and aperature settings. Also, having issues with the flash. I turn the flash off, yet it seems to reset itself to on. Help! Can’t wait to become proficient with my new friend. Until then, I welcome any suggestions and tips you might have to offer.