Thursday, July 30, 2015

Grateful My Home is My Hobby

It feels a bit shallow and a bit inappropriate right now, but I think I'm finding something that brings me a little joy.  I'm sprucing up my house and re-doing some things that haven't felt right.  No one would question that of an ordinary woman, but since I'm a new widow, NOTHING seems right.  I have lost my goals.  I've lost my plans.  I've lost control of what I thought was my life.  Very little makes sense anymore.  Having anything at all that feels good to do is a gift and I'm grabbing hold of it and running.

I love quotes.  I find tons of inspiration from reading.  First, I came across a bit that I have always believed.

Once is a happenstance.  
A second time is a coincidence.  
A third time is a significance.  

That quote was fresh on my mind when I had a few encounters which seemed particularly meaningful right now.

I didn't give the first encounter much notice. I read a little something about finding a hobby or some little something to do as a way to get past trauma.

Next, I read an article about a woman who had 3 sad events in three years - a divorce, a death in the family and a fiance who  dumped her.  She felt she had lost control of her life (that got my attention).  She had threw herself into decorating a house and found that he healed as she fixed up her house.   She wrote a book about it - Bee Cottage. You can read more about it HERE.

My third encounter was as good as a note from above giving me permission to play.  I bought a used copy of Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach at Goodwill.  I'd read that book (all about gratitude) when it first came out in 1995, but decided it might be worth reading again.  I'm using anything I can to keep me from sinking into dark places.  The book is written calendar style. There's a short chapter each day.  I started on the appropriate date.

The July 29th chapter was The Home as a Hobby.  She quotes a 1929 magazine article. The quote is long and I'm too lazy to write the whole thing, but my favorite part was this -
A home which is not a fair expression of us at our best, a home which lacks what it might have, a home which is in any part more ugly or in any part more uncomfortable than it absolutely need be... a home which cannot be run without waste, a home which by any detail gets on the nerves of its inhabitants and so impairs the harmony of their existence - something ought to be done about such a home.  Why not make the perfecting of the home a hobby?
To me that quote isn't about following the latest style trends or creating spots in your house that would make perfect Pinterest photos.  It's about creating a home that promotes comfort and happiness and life.

I've already been trying to do improve things in my house a little, but now maybe I'll put a little more effort into it.  I don't work fast.  You can't when you prefer to buy used.  The hunt is half the fun.  Well, today's treasure hunting went a little better than expected.  It went so well that I'll need to put off additional treasure hunting for awhile.


First, I bought this extra large stool.  No need to paint or recover - the colors work well as is.  And I got it for a song.  It's in the guest room.

I had moved the bench that was there to my bathroom.  This wood bench was made by my hubby a year or two ago, before he got sick.  When he made it, I wasn't crazy about it.  It's a little too high and the seat area seems too hefty.  Rudy built things as if they were going to be tested in a tornado.  He made the bench for us to sell, but for some reason we kept it.  I'm really glad now.  I like the idea of having it placed where I'll see it more often.  Plus, it's really functional in it's new place.  Also, check out the curtains in this photo.  That's actually a chenille bedspread.  I'm thinking of making it into a curtain and before cutting it up decided to hang it from cafe rings to try it out.  I'm liking it.  One more thing - the walls will be painted white as soon as I get in the mood to paint. Who knows when that'll be.

I've had these three framed greenery pictures in the master bath for a while now. Just yesterday, I thought about how pretty green towels would look in this mostly white room.  I was fairly specific when envisioning the color - celery green.

This photo just shows 2 of the ones I found.  Everything else has been put out.
Guess what I found at an antique mall today?  A towel set of celery green towels.  Two huge bath towels, two hand towels, two washcloths and a fabulous bath mat.  All in pristine condition.  All the tags still intact - they are from Restoration Hardware.  Lush as all getout.  I know antique malls.  I can tell you all about most of the ones in the area.  Towels are not something I recall ever seeing at any of my favorite stores.  To find a set like this was a huge surprise.  I washed the whole set the minute I got home and everything is in place now.  They are fabulous!


I also found these cool vintage metal chairs.  They are finished in a funky bohemian style which really caught my eye.  There are 4, but the vendor came in while I was browsing and it turns out I know her. She's such a sweet lady.  She told me she has two more at home and she's going to bring them in for me sometime next week.  Please don't judge the crowded arrangement and un-put-together look in this photo.  The balmy weather here is horrendous right now.  It's comparable to a Turkish steam bath.  August is usually worse, which is hard to imagine. I may not work on this porch til Fall.

So... my hobby may not be noble, but by golly it's giving me something to be interested in, other than to just get through another day.  And Sarah Ban Breathnach would agree that is something to be grateful for!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A Tablecloth From Shirley's Grandmother

I've been playing around lately with pretty tablescapes.  I'd like to start inviting people over for lunch now and then.  Since cooking is not my strong suit, I decided to focus on making the table look fun.

My friend, Shirley, knew about my quest for tableware. While she was cleaning out for an upcoming move, she came across several old tablecloths that had belonged to her grandmother in Canada and she gave me one!  It's a vintage cutwork piece with pretty embroidery.  I couldn't wait to get it home and see how it looked with sunflowers.


It came with a set of napkins and I have others I can mix and match as well.


As Shirley and I were talking on the phone, two cats decided to investigate.  They like to do that when I bring in something new. Cindy jumped down before I could get a camera ready, but Sissy was happy to pose.  I'll definitely be doing some laundering before using this with company!  I know nobody wants a side of cat hair!


Pretty, isn't it?

Fancia Herling Ivanier - Shirley's Grandmother


Thank you, Shirley!


Friday, July 10, 2015

Troubles with Selfies

My friend, Kathy, saw a photo I posted of her in the previous post and emailed some comments that showed she was being overly critical of herself.

Here's what I wrote back to her -

 You have to be joking.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE that photo and you should, too!  First, you both look really pretty.  More than that, it's a happy photo!  I figure that one day the photos that will mean the most will be the ones that look joyful.  The posed ones where people look stiff and attempt to appear refined will be the ones that won't matter much.
I have a photo of me and Rudy that I refused to even download from my computer.  [Rudy looks great.]  I was laughing and exposing enough gums for a dental exam.  I was wearing a sleeveless top and my arms look like a couple of ham hocks.  Truly... not flattering at all.  After Rudy died, one of my nieces printed copies and gave to me.  My first reaction was that I couldn't believe that danged photo was surfacing again.  Then I took another look and saw the joy in the photo.  It's a keeper.  My photo grading scale has a whole new set of points.  Now you know why I LOVE LOVE LOVE the photo  of you and I promise that everyone else who sees it will react to the joy of it.  That said, even if I was using my old grading system, you look really pretty, so it makes the grade either way.  (I know you really like it, too, despite your tendency to be your own worst critic.)
Love you!

Brilliant reply, right?  So there I was on my high horse thinking I'm truly not going to be so critical of myself in photos anymore.  Reality check.  Kathy will appreciate this.

My sweet friend, Shirley, gave me a necklace.  I wore it the other day and decided to take a selfie of me wearing the necklace.  It looked perfect with the shirt I was wearing, and dangit, there's no one else to take pictures of me at home anymore.  I never had Rudy take that many photos of me, but it was nice to know that if I needed him to, he would, AND he could do it from far enough away that every wrinkle on my face didn't show.

Taking selfies makes me think of the bit about trying to chew gum and walk at the same time.  Apparently, I can't extend my arm, aim the camera, click the button, and smile at the same time.  I took an embarrassing number of photos trying to find one I could actually use.  Kathy, I am eating my words today.  I can preach it, but when it gets down to it, I'm not practising it.

Shirley, here are the best photos I could come up with, but I truly love the necklace!  Look how perfect it looks with the neckline of that shirt!

I was concentrating so much on extending my arm, aiming,
and touching the button that I forgot to smile.

I smiled this time, but I look really goofy.
And the lighting is all wrong.  I look yellow.
I never have liked these glasses.

I moved to a spot with more indirect sunlight.
I forgot to smile again.
And that angle is awful.
Would you just look at the bags under my eyes! Where did those come from?
I give up.  
The only thing nice I can say about selfies is that when you are by yourself, you can take a million of them and delete as many as you want.  I deleted some really hilarious ones.  I thought about posting one or two of those, but I have some hilarious nieces who would likely save them to their computer.  The photos would no doubt resurface later in a family video.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Hidden Discoveries in Peachtree City

I spent most of yesterday with my friend, Kathy, and we had a wonderful time.  We lunched at Ted's at the Avenue and since it's right there next to Starbucks, I couldn't resist a Frappacino.  And yes, I did have the whipped cream on top without the slightest hesitation.

Kathy and I started at Collectors' Corner.  I was taking photos for their Facebook page.  Kathy hadn't been there in ages, so she was amazed at the changes.

We also went to a store I'd never heard of - Sarah's Home.  How have I missed this one?  It's in the Willow Bend Shopping Center.  It was wonderful!  It was also dangerous!  My resistance was challenged and I went away with less in my pocket book!

Sarah, the owner, was lovely and she let me take some photos of her store.  Take a look -

I love the wood on that table.  You'd need a closer look to really appreciate the wood and color.  And don't even get me started on that chandelier.  Swoon!

Sarah and Kathy - I love this photo.  They had been posing and looking too "perfect" so I made them laugh.  We all need to laugh more, don't you think?

Need something reupholstered? OR need a slipcover? See Sarah.  I should have taken a close-up of that sofa.  The fabrics on it are fabulous.

These candles smelled wonderful.
Kathy and I spent quite a bit of time deciding which were our favorites.


Her fabric choices are really great.

I've been hearing from my decorator friends that color is coming back!  I resisted jumping on the neutral bandwagon so now my style is coming back.  Color is "happy" and I need it whether it's in style or not. I see at least 5 things in this photo that I'd put in my house in a skinny minute.
I bought two decent sized fabric scraps.  I can't wait to show you what I'm going to do with them.  I'm really tired of doing just practical things and dealing with so many sad details.  I'm actually going to do a mini project.  I need it.  I'll post about it soon.

Also, if you go to Sarah's Home, be sure to go around the corner and stop by Beautiful Earth Organics.  They have wonderful teas and coffee and more.  They have really amazing baked goods, too, which are torture for me since I have to avoid gluten.


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