Wednesday, September 29, 2010

"Harvestizing" my house for twelve dollars.

 I love making up new words like "harvestizing."  I wound my arms around Adrain's neck, smiled sweetly up into his eyes, (all the while batting my mascara-coated eyelashes like crazy) and asked, "Sweetie... would you mind if I used the checkbook today, for pumpkins, and gourds, and harvesty things?"  He gave me the look... (which means, "I'm not buying this wheedling for one second, little miss.") and then proceeded cautiously.  (And I quote.) "Okay... just don't go crazy." 
 Translation, provided to you, by nearly fifteen years of marriage:  "Spend under twenty dollars, get closer to ten if you can, and please break branches off the trees for free.  Oh, and don't get yourself, or the kids arrested."
  Yes.  Well.  Mission accomplished, thankyouverymuch. This black rooster normally sits beside the console table, but I decided he was kind of harvesty, and moved him on top of it.  The glass dome was actually a birthday present from my parents... from Pottery Barn!!  (Me, squealing with delight!)  I painted an old round cutting board with white paint, and it is the perfect base for the glass dome.

 Because I'm an "asker," I was able to snag these darling burlap coffee bags for fifty cents!  (I placed a tall mason jar with water into each burlap coffee bag, and stood some broken tree branches in them.)  I asked my  Russian produce man, at our local outdoor market, about these burlap coffee bags, which were displaying nuts. (And no, I did not bat any eyelashes, so don't ask.)  He doesn't really smile... he just sort of looks.  "Uh. I give you two for dollar... yes?"  Me, "Yes, please!"  And my point is this-  (I always have one, never doubt that.) It never hurts to ask.  After my big score, I drove around town making my hoodlums keep an eye out for low hanging branches on "public property."  (Which honestly, gets a little shady when you're in the downtown district and you know you're technically on city property.... my answer- taxes.)  I would park, run quickly with the motor running, and snap off a twig or two.  Then we'd squeal our tires as we roared away.  
   Gosh.  This is living... 

 My Russian produce guy also hooked me up with gourds, sugar pie pumpkins, and Indian corn. 

 Oh.  And pecans.  I wanted something brown for my hurricane vase.  (Please note, the glass on my coffee table is now cracked and awaiting repair.  I felt like you needed to know that.  Besides, I have a plan!)

 I'm sure I'll hear, "Just don't go crazy."  Yeah.  I'll get right on that.

 I love all the colors.  And weird textures.  Gourds are really weird. 

 Which is probably why I love them. 

All this, and I get to turn over a twelve dollar receipt to my man.  I'm so proud. 
I wound a few grapevine twigs (from an old wreath) around a candle holder, and stuck leaves into it.  Easy and freeeee!! Excitement flows through my veins...

Happy Harvesting.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Smitten with Weddings...

I admit it.  I adore weddings.  And babies.  And my husband.  And nearly every single holiday man has invented. (With the exception of Columbus Day.)  I think there is nothing sexier than watching my man tie his tie as we get ourselves ready to go.  And he knows it too- just look at that face.  This  has become my all time favorite photo of Adrain. 
I also admit, that I'm the girl who strategically sits on the inner aisle, just so I can see everything clearly. That's a habit I formed back when I was three.  I've never been able to shake the desire to "see the pretty girl in the princess dress."  I've tried...  Anyhow.  We attended a wedding this past weekend that was the (and I'm not just saying this) most gorgeous wedding I've ever attended.  I became smitten with this green floral ball the second I sat down. 
...And quickly decided to take seventeen hundred photos of it.  (But I won't show them all here, just in case you aren't as smitten with green balls as I am.  Somehow that sounded all wrong...)  I love this photo, because the bride and groom (my man said I shouldn't fully show them on here, since I didn't ask their permission, which means I have seventy gorgeous photos I can't show you) are joining hands for the first time.  Everyone is still standing in welcome, and I ducked down to get this shot. 

And then, while they were waiting for mothers to light candles, I snapped this one too.  Well, and ten more just like it.  (Obsessed can be a good thing, right?)
Speaking of "obsessions," does anyone else out there have an obsession with big white tents?  It could have something to do with my obsession with picnics... I'm not really sure.  Whatever it is, I nearly turn inside out with joy when I see one.  Adrain laid a gentle, but restraining hand on my arm and said, "Relax."  (I have no idea what that word means.)
Seriously.  There are no words.  Caramel apples.  In a white tent?  I have died. and. gone. to. heaven. (Can I live here?)
In. Love.
I didn't get the best photo of these centerpieces, but there were actually little rhinestones glued here and there, on them! 
Confession.  Seating at our table was sparse... so we stole four of these apples.  Four.
I swear it's been ten years since I've dressed up.  It was so much fun!
Okay, I can show this, even though I didn't ask permission, because I'm in it... right?  (giggle) Is she not the cutest, most darling, glowing, gorgeous bride you have ever seen? 
And look at this hair!  (I took about ten photos of the hair alone.) 
This is my favorite shot of the entire wedding.  I have to tell you why.  Number one- it was the first dance.  Number two, I couldn't see, and Adrain, (my personal knight in shining armor) leaned down and whispered, "Babe, why don't you sneak up the stairs and grab a shot of them from up there?"  Genius!  No one else had thought of it.  No one!  I ran up there as fast as a girl can, in black stilettos, and captured this darling moment.  Everything turned out perfectly in this shot, in my opinion!  I came back down and tipped off some other photographers, because I'm sweet and it's good to share.  (Even though I really wanted to just hoard this amazing shot to my own self!) My mister rocks.
And for those of you who have been waiting for-evuh to see the rest of the sign... well, here it is.  So now you know.  This is what I create for wedding gifts. You can read about the making of this sign, here.

I love weddings. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Facts and Feelings

(FYI, my photos are from some recent home school field trips, and don't really relate.  I just liked them.)
I want to begin by saying how much it meant to have all the support on my post yesterday.  This has been such a weird season of life for us, and I so appreciate being able to share and be raw.  Anyway.  I tend to go through life pretty much ruled by what I'm feeling at that exact moment.  (Apparently, that's not how everyone does life.  This comes as a shock to me, daily.)  I thought you might enjoy some of the revelations that I've come to terms with, on facts and feelings.  One hundred and twenty days  ago, as I began this leap of faith, (not that I've been counting) I had a lot of feelings.  Only I thought they were more like facts.  Um. Cold, hard, evidential-types of facts.  Over time, I kept bumping my head against the actual facts, which caused me to realize that what I thought I knew, I didn't really know.  Weird. 
Feeling: When I said, "I wanted to give til it hurt," I had something in mind that I was willing to give.
Fact: It's usually the one thing you're secretly pretending doesn't need to be given, that's going to be required.  The one thing I couldn't let go of, seemed to be the only thing God wanted.  Hence, the hurt. (Somehow this took me by surprise.)

Feeling: When you hit breaking point, life ceases to go on.
Fact: The reality is, when you hit breaking point, life just keeps going, because breaking point doesn't really exist.  If it did, there would be nothing after that.  Which is why we have prayer, girlfriends, and dark chocolate. (Pretty much in that exact order, too.)

Feeling: When God is silent, it must mean that He doesn't care about what you're going through.
Fact: His silence is intentional, and can't be interpreted by our finite minds. So don't try. You'll just hit breaking point a lot sooner, and need more prayer, girlfriends, and dark chocolate.

Feeling: If I'm willing to jump in faith- the most rock bottom of faith I can imagine- that will most assuredly motivate God to move on my behalf.
Fact: God does His own thing when He wants to.  He isn't on anyone else's timetable, and He doesn't need motivation from me to do what I want Him to do.  Let me say that again: He does what He wants, when He wants.  Learning that early, might save me a lot of breaking points in my future.   

Do you tend to go by feelings or facts?  Can you relate to any of the feelings I've struggled with? 

...The journey continues.  Come along with me while I get a good pruning from the Master pruner.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Setting the table for dinner... Solution style.

If you gave me a sheet of blank stationary, and asked me to list all my favorite things, besides chocolate, it would go a little something like, "Candle light, white starfish, black and white photographs, hugs from my babies, winks from my man, laughter with friends and family, cloth napkins, good meals shared with loved ones, chalk boards, a good book, a glass of chilled white wine, my new Pottery Barn Magazine, white dishes, soft pillows, etc." 
When I realized that my side of the family was planning to gather in celebration, I decided to use some of my favorite things as inspiration to setting a pretty table.  (Another one of my very favorite things...)
My love affair with cloth napkins began when I was about nine.  Someone took our entire family out to eat at a very nice restaurant, and I tasted lobster for the first time.  I still remember the feel of crisply ironed linen across my knee.  When I began gathering items for this celebration, I realized that I didn't have any new cloth napkins.  I wanted something original and yet fun.  My solution, was to cut up an old white table cloth, since we don't have the table it was meant for any longer.  I hemmed the sides and ended up with eight crisp squares.  I got out my silk screen box, paint, and silk screened the word, "eat" on each of them. (I also happen to sell these on Etsy- though they sell out fast!)
My table top is white, but I wanted to add a little bit of texture, (on a cash budget) so I purchased a half yard of some loosely woven fabric.  (It cost me around a dollar.)  When I got home, I frayed the edges by gently pulling one thread at a time from the sides.  I then cut them neatly in a nice straight line.  No sewing required for this project- just a nice sharp pair of scissors.
Then I had a slight panic, because I realized that I only have five matching glasses.  (Dangit, I keep meaning to replace those...) I grabbed a bunch of canning jars that I didn't end up using this year.  For place cards, I found a scrap of black card stock, cut out a bunch of tag shapes, and used a piece of chalk to scrawl each person's name.  I used twine to tie them around each "tumbler."
I had a bunch of candles that were just loose, but nothing small enough to place them on.  Then I remembered the saucers from the pots I painted earlier in the Spring time. I snagged those and put candles into them.
After scattering a few starfish here and there, I placed small, black and white photos on each plate.  Since we were going to be with family, I found photos that included various memories, and placed a different one on each place setting.  (You can order a sheet of four wallet sized photos from Costco, very inexpensively.)
I do believe my table has finally come together! 
I love looking at photos of pretty table settings. Even if they are mine... (giggle)
My husband doesn't quite understand this... but he goes along with it because he's a really good man.  He smiles and says things like, "Oh wow... these are nice... um... jars?" And is gracious enough not to say, "Honey, why are we drinking water from jars?" 
Celebrate each pretty moment.