Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I'm thinking I've run out of things to say. :) So today you'll just have photos, ok? Remember how I left the one green patch above my kitchen stove? Well, I placed wallpaper in the center of it and love the way it turned out.

And soon I'll paint a green border around this patch of wallpaper.

Found this painting at a yard sale for just $3.
These little guys were only 25 cents! (I practically feel like a thief.)
I needed four more curtain panels to match four I already had and there were four very-close-in-color panels inside a box of curtains and valences I bought for only $15 total for the entire box.

This pillow was only $3.

Loved the patina on this plate which I found in a basement at an estate sale for $1.

Another yard sale find for $1.

Why do I share the prices I paid with you? So you'll feel encouraged that good deals are still out there and decorating your home doesn't mean going into debt. Always keep your eyes open and your heart full of anticipation wherever you may go while searching for whatever it is you are seeking (and I don't just mean stuff and things, either).


Although I didn't have really anything to say, Sara truly did here.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Still here!

I've just been living Life without feeling as though I must write about it, giving myself a blogging break of sorts. We all need those.

More great yard sale deals! And I finished wallpapering in the kitchen and I plan to add wallpaper to our baking pantry, a.k.a. Tom's storage room. 

There are yard sale curtains to iron and more wallpaper to hang in our guest room, a.k.a. Debra's Upstairs' Room, and another room up there to finish painting.

Tons of cherry tomatoes in the garden await pureeing and apples on the orchard trees need picking and there are books to read, desserts to be baked, flower beds to be weeded and pantry shopping to be completed before Winter.

And that's just the top half of my To Do List. But Autumn has arrived and just stepping out the back door in the mornings brings a head rush.

To stand at the windows is to stare at art.

So, well, I just wanted to reassure you that nothing is wrong, but things feel quite right, actually, lest you worried about my absence. 

I shall return! ツ


P.S. I ordered Odd Couple dvd's and guess what? Oscar and Felix had orange kitchen counter tops. Wow. Makes me like mine better! And also, I'm enjoying all the colors and accessories of the 70's used inside their apartment (the 2nd season and beyond one). 

Who'd have ever believed I'd be watching The Odd Couple for decorating ideas?


Monday, September 21, 2009

Last week I, for the bazillionth time, regretted so ruthlessly ridding ourselves of stuff during our big move from the house where we'd lived nearly 15 years. 

Always the penny-pincher, I didn't want to pay the movers a single cent more than necessary, and in hindsight, it was practically as though I flung stuff out the windows in a fevered frenzy. I also let go of things so to declare my unattachment to stuff, to illustrate to myself, (and everyone else), that I'm no hoarder, no, not me. 


So last week I felt especially feeling sorry that I'd released my Ramona Quimby and Henry Huggins book collections and especially Emily's Runaway Imagination (what was I thinking?). As well as all except my favorite two of the Little House series. My ruthless reasoning had been that I could always check-out these books from any library, and alas, often that's true (though not always). 

But sometimes? I just must have an emergency re-read of Ramona The Brave, you know?

And one day when I was first married, an old friend of my family dropped by with a fun box of old kitchen items, one of them, a cookbook from the 1960's, one which I used avidly for nearly 30 years. But before The Big Move, it was one of the cookbooks I tore much-used recipes from, placed them in plastic sleeves in a binder, then tossed the rest away.

And well, I regretted that, also.

Fast-forward to this past weekend. There Tom and I were, driving along in the middle of cornfields after having visited another disappointing swap meet created mostly for men. Oh, the acres of car parts, car books, tools and greasy-looking stuff! Fortunately I came prepared with my book bag and, after a quick perusal, I sat at a picnic table with a donut and read.

Anyway, Tom, spur-of-the-moment-like, decided to take a different route home and that's when we found that free desk for our kitchen I showed you. But before that, I told Tom, "After that dreadful swap meet, I have a gigantic urge to look through boxes of books." 

And then?  We spied a yard sale ahead. We stopped, got out, and guess what they had? Two huge boxes of books! And oh, guess which books I discovered?

Three Ramona Quimby books.
Two Henry Huggins books.
The Emily's Runaway Imagination book.
Two Little House on the Prairie books.
And that cookbook from the 1960's.

Oh wow. Does that give you chills, or what?

Now, I left the cookbook there because it is bulky and takes up much room. But I stood there and smiled over it. Became teary-eyed. Oh my, at nearly 50 years old, it looked like shiny new. I dragged Tom over there and told him I'd just thought about this cookbook days before then I showed him all my other books, just 25 cents each, and told him, too, that dear, sweet God did this for me. 

He led us here to that very yard sale.

God is with me all the time, I know that. I couldn't survive one day if He wasn't. But sometimes, oh! He enjoys making Himself so very, very obvious.


May my expectations always be good ones, not bad.

" ...Be it done unto you even as you have believed..." .... Matthew 8:13


Saturday, September 19, 2009

First I'll show you some photos from our countryside drive today and then I'll tell you some exciting news. But only I will find it exciting so don't go speeding through the pictures to get there. Ha! 

Wonder why these photos look like they were taken from a moving car? They were. Well, most of them.

That's Lake Ontario behind that house. Can you imagine??

There are tons of cobblestone buildings and homes around here.

All of these different styles of buildings and houses are everywhere back here, and I do mean everywhere. By the thousands, even.

Okay. Now for the exciting-to-me news....drum roll... We found a desk on the curb today!

There it was with a pink fluorescent sign with the words, "Take Me. I'm Free." So we took it.

We lugged it into our kitchen and soon I will paint it red and we'll place some marble-esque stuff on top and perhaps castors beneath. But the most exciting news? I finally have kitchen drawers! Real drawers in the kitchen! Can you believe it? 

I washed them all out and placed my favorite contact paper in them and proceeded to fill them with all the kitchen paraphernalia I'd stored in boxes in my cupboards or hidden behind items in my hutches.

And speaking of hiding things--you know how we all have our own weird little idiosyncrasies? Here's another of mine: I hate it when other people read my To Do Lists. Just hate it, though I can't explain it. So now I can stop hiding my To Do Lists under hutch tops or behind dishes and place them instead, into my very own desk drawer. Bliss.

Ahhh. I have my own kitchen drawers just like the big kids. I am one happy lady this evening.


I so appreciate your very sweet comments about my kitchen!


Friday, September 18, 2009

So guess what I did this afternoon? I finally wallpapered this back wall of our kitchen. Since Day One, I've felt it should have wallpaper and I've imagined 50 different prints inside my head. I think I decided on just the perfect one--I am loving the change!

I'll also add wallpaper along the top of the pantry doors in the photo, above, but that's for another day. It took me around 3 hours just to paper this small wall and I'm wilting. (Not as young as I used to be, and all that.) I highly recommend plaid wallpaper, though, especially if you are a beginner because oh! All those straight lines to cut along--so easy!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Okay, now no one who reads this blog will believe this, but here goes anyway: Tom and I enjoy watching the Style Network's show, Guiliana and Bill.

Seriously! (I'll pause here so you can wipe off the coffee you spit all over your computer screen.)  シ

We like how Guiliana and Bill compliment each other, as in, they seem perfect for each other (may they never lose sight of that). He is weak where she is strong and vice versa. They're patient with each other's shortcomings and both are funny people in different ways. And we like watching how 'the other half lives', I think, also.

It's not like Guiliana and Bill is our favorite show, but hey, we enjoy watching it together. Maybe the old saying, "There's no accounting for taste," comes into play here. I don't know.

But whatever, there is one thing I do know. I hope that, as you've been reading this, you've not been wrinkling your nose or writing Guiliana and Bill off as not worth your time if you've never even seen the show all the way through.

Why do I hope that? Because I've seen (online, especially) that non-Christians totally go ballistic when Christians tell everyone, "This is an ungodly book/movie/tv show/song when they've never even read or watched or heard it for themselves. Go around preaching against things you know nothing about and you'll instantly lose all respect from thousands of folks.

Over and over I've watched people totally write-off Christianity after seeing that sort of behavior--and I've been horrified.

I'll admit that I used to listen to a pastor preach against some form of entertainment then I'd go around like a silly, ignorant parrot condemning the same show/book/songs, etc. But I no longer do that, not after seeing how it can cause others to close down, to become more angry than open to anything I may say in the future.

So here's what I do instead: 1.) I either read or watch the offending book or program (etc.) and then voice my opinion (or not) or 2.) If I feel it would be personally wrong for me to partake in that form of entertainment, I skip it--and then I also skip preaching against it. I zip my lip. Though of course, if someone asks why I've chosen not to watch/read/listen to something then I'm free to share why, personally, I've chosen to abstain. But I wait until I'm asked, and even then, I'm careful because I might have gotten the wrong impression about the subject matter. It's happened before, like, lotsa times.

And you know? Since I've stopped spouting off about things I've no real knowledge of, people have taken me more seriously. And since I don't take my 'Christian label' lightly, I believe it's important that I not go around messing it up and making Jesus look bad. Or clueless. Or like a loud-mouth.

Heaven forbid.


"If you can't prove it ... don't say it." Louis D. Boccardi


Choose your battles wisely. People seldom respect someone who complains and fights against everything.


"Never assume anything." ...copied

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Just a couple things...

This weekend at a yard sale I found a piece of fabric for just a dollar. I brought it home, ironed it, cut it in half, then monkeyed the pieces into valences for our dining room. Someday I'll give them a curtain rod of their own, but for now, they're fine. And I know... wow... two valences for just $1. Love that.

And see this little pie guy, below?

He's become my memory. When there's something I need to remember in the mornings, I set him on our kitchen table at night. That way, when I come downstairs I can look at him and think, "Okay, why did I leave him there this time? Oh yeah, to remind me to take out the trash." (Or mail a bill, or do the laundry, etc.) When the day comes that I set him out and can't remember why, well, I'll be in trouble. And I'll have to start writing myself more notes than I already do.

Anyway, just thought I'd share that easy helpful hint.

Want one more? For weeks our kitchen sink drain had the annoying habit of becoming slowww to drain water. Then I found what's been a great solution. Each morning when I make my hot chocolate, I boil some extra water and pour it down the kitchen drain. I've not had one problem since.

(Love those natural solutions!)

Monday, September 14, 2009

I can't believe I'm going to tell you this, but God is nudging me to do it, and well, I can see His logic. This might comfort some of you and help you lighten-up and not feel, well, weird if you're doing the same thing.

What in the world?? Well, it's this: Tom and I sleep in separate bedrooms.

There, I said it.

See, Tom snores. I snore, too, and he says I make a weird clicking sound in my throat and sometimes I talk in my sleep or try to squeal for help if I'm having a bad dream. Tom also wheezes and groans and moans in his sleep. We are both quite the noisy nighttime pair.

So back at our former house when Naomi moved-out, I made-over her room just the way I wanted it and I began sleeping up there (though still calling it a 'guest room'). And, oh the sweet, sweet silence. Finally Tom and I could stop grumpily waking each other saying, "Knock-off all the noise!" Finally, we both got a good night's sleep and were chipper and cheerful in the mornings. And boy, is that important for our health--just take a look at any website about sleep deprivation. Not to mention helpful for our marriage, too.

And hey--I heard on the news recently that tons of people are having houses built nowadays with his and her bedrooms. It's like the latest thing, so hey! We're hip.  シ

And I understand.

So there you go. If you and your spouse sleep in separate rooms for the sake of preserving your otherwise terrific marriage, then relax. Stop the guilt. Stop the shame. And stop all the hush-hush, what-will-people-think? stuff.

Many of those people just may be sleeping in separate rooms, themselves. 


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Houses of Surprises

So this weekend Tom and I went to an estate sale at my ultimate dream house.

Happy sigh. (The houses in this post are not that house, but the house, above, looks much like it.)

Well, technically the house needed a bedroom or two downstairs, but otherwise it was perfect. Surprises everywhere! Built probably around 1920, there were closets around every corner, even a real walk-in linen closet and others beneath the eaves upstairs. A darling alcove below the stairs, a small pine-walled library with built-in shelves, two corner hutches in the formal dining room, and a 'secret room' off the kitchen, above the garage. Two of the large bedrooms upstairs had their own private old-fashioned tiled bathrooms (one was yellow, the other, pink), there was lots of wallpaper--all different sorts and textures, but all coordinated, and there were three stone patios, one off the main hall overlooking the sloping backyard surrounded by woods.

Well, stop me before I go on and on. Honestly, it felt like time-traveling at the house of my dreams, nighttime dreams certainly, because I often dream of walking through houses where I discover rooms I didn't know to be there and lots of cute, private places to sit and 'escape'. And this weekend I actually got to walk through one in real life.

Now, Tom wasn't too thrilled with the house, but what does he know? heh... Just kidding. For him, I realize all those stairs didn't make it a dream house for him, especially without the aforementioned downstairs bedroom. He doesn't do stairs so I told him I'd have to squeeze a bed for him in the tiny library. But no, I argued with myself, I want the library to be used as a library.

Tom rolled his eyes and said, "You can squeeze me into the dining room, instead."

But alas, I stepped out the front door with no new purchases, but rather, lots of ideas of how I can make my own house a house of surprises. Maybe I can't add-on rooms or closets (at least not right this moment), but I can add some wallpaper because I realized that for me, wallpaper adds charm and magic to a home (I ordered some online this afternoon). And I can add some shelves to my own 'linen closet' and make my little blue library at the top of the stairs more special, too (if I ever finished painting it, that would help). I can add a long carpet runner to our stairs and paint the walls around them and hang pictures, too, and display what I own cleverly, unusually.

Basically, I can keep doing what I can--and not complaining about what I can't--to create a unique home where others will discover and enjoy the surprises I've created room after room. Even if I cannot build a wall or a room or a closet there will always be things I can do.

Now, if I can just remember that and stay inspired and stop whining about what I do not have long enough to create all those surprises!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Mysteries And Chocolate Cookies

In passing, I've mentioned Joanne Fluke's mystery books here, and well, I just discovered them 2 months ago, I've read nearly all by now, and they are my new favorite thing. Each book even has tons of recipes. Funny thing? I hadn't read any murder mysteries other than Nancy Drew and other kids' (gentler) mysteries until last year for I assumed I wouldn't like them. Good grief. Never assume anything!

Here are Joanne's books with a synopsis for each. Your city library probably has these. (Warning: There are so many paragraphs in each book describing the eating of desserts and drinking of coffee that you will be tempted to jump up every five minutes to grab something to munch upon.)

And my good buddy, Betty, recommended mysteries by Katherine Hall Page and though I've not read them yet, they sound perfect. Simply perfect. Read about those here. And if you can, check online for these, too, to see whether your library has them.

Sometimes lessons come all hot and heavy over a time period for me and these are just two more: You know, the never assume anything one and the staying open-minded to new and different options. (And I wonder why I often awaken in ruts!)

And yesterday I found the most perfect low fat chocolate cookie recipe. I even added less sugar and skipped the chocolate chips altogether (chocolate chips do not last around our house because we are chocolate chip pigs, so I don't buy them), and still, the cookies were perfect. Only makes around one dozen, but hey... I printed out the recipe and placed it in my cooking binder and there it will stay. Find the recipe here.

And that's all for now. I am off for more of Lemon Meringue Pie Murder and some coffee (decaf, alas) and perhaps a new batch of chocolate cookies.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

When I Just Get Moving

Well, because I actually did something pro-active, I'm feeling better than when I wrote my last post. (Sometimes we just need to get moving.) I painted these shelves red this afternoon and they look way better than they did white. Chalk up another one of those things I should have done months ago. Alas.

Red is such a messy paint color but I'd better get used to it because right now I'm in the mood to paint nearly everything red. A few years ago I couldn't stand red, so never say never and all that!

Reading over my last few posts I've realized I've done some extreme whining this summer. 

And well, Whiner Debra returns in this post so if you're already eye-rolling-weary of her, feel free to click away to the next blog.  シ

Mostly I love having a blog, it's like a dream come true. How wonderful to write about what I've held inside for decades and how incredible that people--that you-- read those thoughts.

However, sometimes I'm annoyed by the whole thing. By the occasional snarky comment, you ask? By the annoying Blogger glitches? By having to think of something about which to write?

No, none of those things bug me (much). Rather, it's the being tested by God about nearly everything I write. You know, kinda like the Bible verse which says teachers will receive the greater judgement. And being somewhat of a teacher in this blog, boy do I get tested on what I write to see if I, a.) really believe what I say and b.) am living it for myself.


My latest annoying test? Well, it's Lori's house over at Kim's Daisy Cottage. Gracious. To me, her house is the epitome of perfection. I love the colors and decor and her creativity, energy, and talent amaze and awe me.

And every photo over there is depressing me into one sour ol' bad mood.

Why? Because instead of letting myself feel inspired and invigorated by the challenge of getting my house to look that incredible (as I've told you to do zillions of times here), I'm instead, allowing all that rampant creativity to defeat me. To make me feel one-hundred years behind in the creativity department. To make me wonder where did all my creativity go anyway? ?

So totally the opposite of what I encourage you all to do here, like, every week.

But I know, I know. Hop back up on the horse and start riding in the right direction. Do something, even if it's small. Just start. Make a dent. It's up to us to remain inspired and motivated, not defeated. Follow Grace, not our emotions. Hang in there. Appreciate progress, even tiny progress. And remember: Baby steps, baby steps, baby steps.

Yes, these are things I've told you all to do for years and I certainly need to be putting them into practice for myself again. I know, I know already!  シ

But that's another good thing about having a blog. Here, in print, I can read back over hundreds of posts, encourage myself, and take--and live--my own advice. Just as God expects this teacher to do. To give myself a second chance.



Monday, September 07, 2009

Peeks From My Labor Day

Tom and I went to yard sales in the country again today and look what we found. Aren't these dogs adorable? (Though the one does look a tad wild-eyed. heh) They are old, they are heavy. They were only $3.

See this cute old house? We've always loved it. Anyway, it stands across the street from where they hold the annual Labor Day flea market, but I just didn't feel like squeezing through all those crowds, so I bought some decaf there, instead, went back to the car and read my latest Joanne Fluke while waiting for Tom. I enjoyed this much more.

Then after lunch we went to a nearby park where Naomi's band was playing. That's Lake Ontario right behind the stage, lovely lake which I never tire of seeing.

You can almost see Naomi at the drums. :)

There were nifty horses there.

And good ol' Carl was there, too! You know, Naomi's ex-boyfriend. Oh, how great to visit with him, over at our house, too, after the concert along with Naomi. They are at the ol' we-get-along-much-better-now-that-we-don't-live-together phase, but whatever, it was just like old times around our dining room table and I am so grateful.

It was a great day. I hope you had a great day, too.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

I realized something many years ago, namely, I must protect my own sanity. (I mean, like, if I don't, who will?) 

And, oh my. Things are not becoming spiffier in this world nor will they(says the Bible). But it still feels weird to actually be living during these days of high stress, low morality and 'signs in the skies', as I call natural disasters of all types.

And well, if a person isn't careful, she can go insane pretty easily. Just worry, fear and keep tabs on all the bad news and live stressed-out. Easy. 

But I'm not planning on it. 

No, I'm marching to a different beat and basically trying to do the opposite of what the world says. The world--ha! They're urging me to hurry and worry about everything and to buy this and travel there and hurry some more, take these pills, drink those drinks if I wish to feel better or heck, stay alive.

Eegads. I'd rather go backward, back to simpler and quieter ways of living. For it's in that quiet where I find my strength. After all, it's rather like Paul in the Bible stated:

"That I might know Him..."

That is and has been the key for me. Not, "that I might know about Him," (though that's not bad. Reading the Bible is truly a helpful, amazing thing.). But there is more, you know, and there is a difference. Rather like, I might know about President Obama, but I don't know him. Not personally, for myself.

And for me, knowing Jesus has made all the difference. 

He calms and encourages me, especially when everyone else forgot. And He heals me of the junk from Life On This Tired Old Earth.  

But knowing Him, spending time in His presence snuggled up together on my reading couch or the wicker loveseat on our porch, ah, there is absolutely nothing like that.

In His presence there is fullness of joy and it's that joy which is our strength. And oh my, do we ever need that joy nowadays if our sanity is to remain strong and motoring on peace in the days ahead!


Oh wow. Another amazing home tour. I am in awe.


Thursday, September 03, 2009

Squeezing Todays

Last night I had an odd dream about my grandfather, though it wasn't the dream which was important, but rather, my thoughts when I awoke.

Namely, I recalled times, low-key family reunions I guess you'd call them, when my family, my grandparents, my dad's sister and his brother and family would gather at my grandparents' house. 

We'd sit around and talk,laugh and eat at the red-checked, oil-clothed table and sometimes sing old hymns and folk songs, and well, that's about all. But it was amazing. We weren't into the let's have organized outdoor games and craft tables for the kids and scrapbook making and other activities, no, mostly we just sat and talked about old times and played Yahtzee or Go Fish before we'd go to bed, bedrolls everywhere, on couches or the floor.

Oh those times! Even as a child I did sort of pinch myself to make sure it was all real and I reminded myself to memorize and appreciate all the moments and all that love. I think everyone else probably did also, but you know? No one can really ever treasure those times enough, no one can squeeze from hours like those every single drop of the grandeur and wonder of it all. Not till most of the people and years are gone from this Earth can we really, truly see what we had.

But still. God reminded me this morning that I'd better not be missing these amazing days He's given me right now, all these todays in 2009. 

I should be squeezing from them, He said, every splendid drop of love between the family I have left, those with me here and those spread out everywhere and each drop of friendship wherever I find them. Plus, all the sunshine, songs, breezes, meadows, lakes and the neighbor children playing as my sister, brother and I did so long ago.

He's put it all here for me, for you, and oh, may I notice, treasure and not missing one tiny thing! 

For what is today is not what always will be tomorrow. Tomorrow, in its own way, will be good, but it will be different and Heaven help me if I sleepwalk and miss Today's wonder. That's what He said, that's what He's been saying all this slow, lovely sunny September day.


Love what you have while you still have it. Then love it some more.


Hooray! Kim has posted another house tour and I especially love this one because it has the feeling I'm always trying to achieve in my own home. Be enchanted here.


Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Wow. The difference between how I feel today and last Tuesday is indescribable. But I'll try to explain anyway.

Remember how cranky and moody I was in this post? Well, since Friday (or so) I've again fallen in love with the majority of my house and yard. And even the parts which I don't like, appear more like creative challenges rather than nagging ol' problems. 

I've had energy, peace and contentment galore.

What brought about these changes you ask? Lots of things, I believe, and here are some, in no special order:

1.) I highly recommend blogging about when you're feeling down. Why? Because people will know you need prayer and they'll pray for you. I believe it's satan who wants us to stay all bottled up, alienated and miserable. After all "you have not because you ask not." And too, there's this:

"Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that you may be healed." ... James 5:16

For years I was the "just let me wallow in muck alone, ok?" type. But no more (why would I return to that?) A very special thanks to each you who prayed for me!

2.) When Tom returned to work, we stopped eating out and eating junk and I returned to cooking healthy stews, soups and even snacks. I've used foods from our own garden and orchard and oh my goodness! When will I finally get it ? When will I once and for all remember that if I want to feel great I have to eat great? Sheesh.

3.) Autumn arrived in August. We've experienced the most glorious, cool autumnal days you ever dreamed, slants of light which remind you of your best childhood days. The annoying heat vanished and daily highs in the 60's and 70's arrived instead. Like I said, glorious.

4.) I read The Shack and it helped shake doldrums which attach themselves to us so we forget how extremely loving and joyful God is and how Jesus came to set us free from ourselves and the world's junk. What a book! What a reminder of all we are and have in Him.

And that's about it. Not huge stuff, but big enough to snap me out of whatever it was dragging me around by neck. Hooray and hallelujah.