If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

Monday, June 30, 2014

The other morning I wondered...

I made the bed and was straightening up a bit to get things back in their normal order after having Lydia spend a few days with us.  We don't really do a lot of house-keeping when the grands visit because that is usually a time just to focus on them!

I had to stop and wonder, though...
...if Daddy Mike was using these items after sitting her to pull on his socks or if this was something that was left behind by our recent visitor...
...I'll bet SOMEBODY really looked pretty!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

End of her rope...

A couple of weeks ago five-year-old Lydia informed her mother that she needs a break.  Lillie is at the end of her rope and she needs to spend some days at Grand B's to get away from her.

I love how she used the idiom and we all knew what she meant when she made that proclamation!  Lillie might not have been literally at the end of Lydia's rope but she sure wished she was at the time.

The good news is, Lydia did get to come and spend some days with Mike and me.  We always love having the grands come for their one-by-one days.  It is a fabulous time to get to know them better and indulge them just a wee bit.

We spent a couple of afternoons relaxing at Nan's pool...

Focused on some serious swimming and floating.  Well, mostly, floats...

She showed me how to do some sunbathing...

We went grocery shopping and bought some treats like cotton candy popsicles...

...that turned out not to be so much like cotton candy after all.

We did some serious movie watching on one rainy day...
...stretched out in Daddy Mike's chair, no less.

She helped Daddy Mike feed the calves and shared a tub of popcorn with him while they stayed up way past her bedtime watching the College World Series Baseball games each night.

During these visits, Mike and I truly feel...

Generally, our days were mostly just about time away from the torments of an older sister, the bossiness of parents, doing some general relaxing and just...
...being cute!

Saturday, June 28, 2014


Did I ever have a garment that was baggy on my body?

It seems I remember being skinny at one time in my life.  Wasn't I?

Did I ever have trouble finding something to wear that wasn't too tight and cutting off my circulation?

Isn't it hard to believe that when I was her age I was just as thin and fit and muscular as Lillie?


Yes it is.

Hope she is baggy like this all her life!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

More than a family tree...

Creativity is something that everybody has just a wee touch of in their bones.

Some people have stronger veins of creativity than others.  

They think beyond the commonplace and come up with things that are new...


and beautiful.

I am fortunate to have been surrounded by creativity as I was a girl growing up.

(Section of a cross-stitched sampler made by my Granny)

I learned to do some stitching at the hands of masters.
(A combination of crewel embroidery, cross-stitch, and applique using linen and felt)

I don't know that I could create masterpieces like those masters.
(It found the way to me and now hangs beautifully in my bedroom.)

I don't even know if I have the patience to spend my hours creating beautiful works like they have.
(The colors of Granny's stitchery coordinate beautifully with the painting on the adjacent wall.)

I am grateful that I was taught the craftsmanship so that I can appreciate the labor, the intensity, the tenacity, and the artistry of stitchery.
(I purposely hung it there so it could be seen from the doorway and it would warm up the space.)

I also appreciate how time and inspiration has been marked and passed down from generation to generation.
(Granny's handwritten documentation on the back side.)

It encourages me to leave some sort of legacy to my descendants just as my ancestors and mentors have done for me.

This post was brought to you by a cross-stitched sampler hand-crafted by my Granny that has become part of my inheritance.  I love how she personalized it to pass along the history as she knew it.  The inscription on the back makes me realize that as I was a young colt romping and galloping along, learning to be a woman, and living care-free, Granny was settled into domesticity, living in a household that would now be considered an empty nest, and creating beauty that has a lasting impact.  Ah...the gifts we receive long after the whispers of breath have passed us by.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Commemorative and Educational

When Mama gave me a load of treasures this past weekend, we shared memories, laughs, questions, and tears looking over all the things we were stashing that had been passed on by my Granny.  (You can read more about her HERE, HERE, HERE, or HERE.)  One of the things Granny passed along was a sense of history.

She reveled in knowing and learning more about United States history, area history, and close local history.  She could tell lots of stories about our country and our locale and usually had some sort of connection to most any of it.  And she could tell a tale...

I recently learned that a few days before she died her air conditioner went on the fritz and she called a repairman to come give it a look.  He reported that she needed some major work or perhaps even a replacement unit.  Then, a few days later during the visitation prior to her funeral, that repairman popped in at the funeral home.  He explained that his name is Andy and he had recently met Granny and was so impressed with all the history she could tell about this area.  Yes, Granny could talk history...

Well, it seems she is still talking history and teaching me a bit more about U.S. history...

In one of the boxes of stuff that was passed along to me was this pewter commemorative tray

As we were unpacking, Mama and I discussed that we didn't really know the significance of that tray or even the Gaspee.  I mentioned that I vaguely remembered something about a ship being burned during the American Revolution and we moved on to another item.

Later, I looked a little closer and read on the back of the pewter tray that it is:
  • Gorham Pewter
  • Limited in Edition
  • First of a series
  • Commemorating one of the First Clashes of the American Revolution
So, today, just as my Granny would have done, I did a little research.  According to Wikipedia, Encyclopaedia Britannica, and USHistory.org, the Gaspee certainly was a statement in American history.  With the previous links you can read for yourself how Gaspee Point, RI came to get its name.  

I'm sure my Granny appreciated the connection of the little state of Rhode Island and would point out that it is where my Aunt Mary went to live as a newlywed and even gave birth to her first child in a naval hospital there.  I'm sure my Granny's eyes would twinkle at the thought that one of her grandchildren's curiosity was piqued today to learn a bit more as a result of her.

The tray is scratched and bent and warped.  I cannot help but wonder if it isn't another of the bargains Granny acquired as a result of a garage sale - one of her favorite pursuits.  I also wonder if down the road when somebody is cleaning out the accumulated stuff I have stashed hither and yon and stacked one atop the other will they dig a little deeper to learn about The 1772 Burning of the Caspee.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Treasures for the Roadshow

One of my favorite television programs to have on the TV in the kitchen while I am preparing dinner or unloading the dishwasher is Antiques Roadshow.  I love it when somebody on there has some sort of treasure that their grandparent bought at a yard sale for little-or-nothing and it sets on the hearth for years and then they bring it to Antiques Roadshow and have it appraised to find out it is worth hundreds or even thousands.

Often when something like that happens, I will give my mother a call and ask her why we don't have anything like that in our family heirlooms.  I feel certain that if we went to the appraiser at Antiques Roadshow, we would be like the folks who learn that an item they drug across town and stood in line in the hot sun or the freezing cold to see the appraiser for is only worth about fifteen dollars.

Well, I feel certain the time has come for me to learn that some of our family treasures are going to be revealed as fabulously valuable.  Mama and Aunt Mary have been cleaning out Granny's house and dividing all her worldly goods to give to family members.  Some of these treasures probably have very little more than sentimental value to anybody - like the little square aluminum cake pan with the lid that slides on and off that was used to make gingerbread squares for our fancy tea parties...
That lid slips over the lip of the pan and slides closed with a click to keep the contents fresh!

...or the dented aluminum tea infuser that I remember her putting loose tea leaves in to steep in the hot water for our tea for those same parties...
Notice the handy little hook to slip over the side of the teapot.

Probably not much value in these matching Currier and Ives tin trays that I will hang on the wall next to a farm scene calendar print that Granny's sister gave us...

...and definitely very little value in this Mr. Peanut shaped jar!

For some of this stuff I just have to wonder why Granny would have such and why on earth did she keep it instead of setting it out to be picked up with the recyclables?

But then, why did I wash up Mr. Peanut and set him on the counter?

I just have to laugh at some of these things.

However, do they even make jars shaped like Mr. Peanut anymore?

There is also this treasure...
What in the...?

Yes, I know.

But look a little closer...
Isn't that something?

I don't know if it is some sort of commemorative piece to the Aztecs or if it is some sort of horoscope depiction or if it is something to hang near the door to ward off the haints!  At any rate, isn't it just something?

My Antiques Roadshow piece?

There is this plate...

and its companion platter...
They have this mark on the back.

I found similar plates listed on ebay with prices ranging at $14.99 and up.  Yet, I could never find a platter like this.


Does that mean the platter is a rare and valuable treasure?  Does that mean it is valuable beyond my wildest dreams?  Does that mean this is my Antiques Roadshow piece?

I mean look at the gleaming edge.

And it is hand painted...

and is warranted 22K gold...


Which of these things will be my Antiques Roadshow treasure?

None of it probably.  It is fun to speculate and brings a smile to my face when I walk by and think of how Granny must be giggling...

...as she watches us sift through her fine...

...and nice things and...

...search for places for them to call home...

...and wonder...

Monday, June 23, 2014

It is all in your perspective...

I've mentioned before that my Mama and Aunt Mary are cleaning out my Granny's house and getting it ready to put on the market.  I cannot imagine the emotional fatigue such a task is for them.  (I hope Mama recognizes this and does something miraculous so that years from now I am not living what she is right now!)
At any rate, Mama has been bringing home boxes of treasures for each member of the family.

She says that sometimes she and Aunt Mary know exactly what to do with an item as they are pulling it out of a cabinet or drawer at Granny's and sometimes she gets it home and lays it out on the kitchen table and wonders exactly what to do with it.

She also says that she and Aunt Mary will find something and sit and laugh about a memory attached - like their old Author Cards or an extravagant Valentine's gift.  Other times they just dissolve into tears.

We have begun to look forward to Mama's boxes of assembled treasures.  It is almost like Christmas when we dig into our box to see just what goodies are there.  For us, some of them evoke fond memories and bring misty tears to our eyes and for others, we just have to giggle and for yet others, we furrow our brows and just wonder.

The other day I went to Mama's and she was sorting through some of Granny's personal things that she had brought home.  There were some pins that I remember Granny wearing poked into a pin cushion Mama had cross-stitched for her.  There were some ear rings and necklaces.  All sorts of jewelry and very little of which was truly valuable enough to insure or even worry about keeping secure.  I'm sure each piece had a little story that my Granny could have told us about if she were there.

There was a little ruby pendant on a delicate little chain and a big gaudy teardrop CZ.  One piece was a sweet little gold and blue enameled bird pendant on a gold chain that would have brought out the blue in Granny's eyes.  Some were probably Christmas gifts we grandchildren had given her or something she had picked up at a yard sale to wear with a particular dress or jacket.  Treasures.

Mama sorts through them all to try to make sure that each of us girls in the family got some piece that belonged to Granny to keep and remember her and places them in a box along with some odd candle-holders, Christmas Tree plates, blue-and-white trivets, hand-embroidered napkins, and such.  Then, she hands the box off to her designee and we take it home to find a place to stow it away or display it prominently because it is a piece of our ancestry.

When Bridgette's box was delivered, she happened not to be at home.  So, the box was set on her back porch to await her return.  She sat down with Lillie and Lydia to go through the treasures and the seven-year-old and five-year-old were so excited to be the recipient of some of the Christmas plates.  Bridgette mentioned that she had no idea where to put them and didn't think she would have an occasion to use them.  I suggested that she just eat breakfast on them Christmas morning and it would become a simple family tradition that her children would treasure all the more when they became adults.

Next, Bridgette sent me this picture:

...along with the message that "Lillie especially liked this jewel."

Yes, that is Lillie who liked this purple and sparkly and quite large necklace and pendant.  You know, Lillie.  The one who is going to grow up and "live on a horse ranch and only take a bath on Thursdays."  That Lillie.

Bridgette said that she very seriously explained to her that she might get to wear it when she was a bit older and directed her toward something a little less...well just a little less.

After they had sifted through their box of treasures, Bridgette said that Lillie looked up at her and quite seriously remarked, "Granny had some nice things didn't she Mama?"

So, you see...

Everything really is a treasure to somebody.  Bridgette was wondering what on earth she was going to do with some of the items in her box but her children were quite impressed with almost every item for one reason or another.  They recognized the association with Granny, if nothing else.  They appreciated the fact that it was a piece of their heritage.

And indeed, all of it was special somehow but the value to anybody else was certainly lost without the background that goes with it.  Of course, we look at all of her stuff as special because it is a little piece of my Granny which has been left behind since she is gone.  Where nobody else would know that or even really care.  So, as you look around today, try on a different perspective and see if things don't just look a little bit differently to you as well!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

How Lucky We Are!

I recognize that everybody isn't as lucky as we are in my family and I am thankful to God for the blessings bestowed.

My Daddy

Mike's Daddy





Today I am grateful for all the fathers in my family.  Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day!

How lucky I was to be born to a fabulous man!  He has served as a role model, guide, mentor, and advisor when I needed it most and even when I didn't realize just how much I needed it!  Thanks, Daddy!
Happy Father's Day!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Making Baby Gifts

As you know, we have all been thinking about babies around here.  With two new babies joining our family this summer, I have been making receiving blankets lately.  There have been a total of six works in progress here lately.  A couple of weeks ago I got the house ready because the nieces, daughter, and daughter-in-law hosted a shower here for our daughter-in-law, Bonnie.

The first one expected this summer is little Levi.  His father, Stephen, is a big fan of The University of Tennessee football.  So, I knew I had to honor that and encourage this new little member of the family to have blood that runs orange.  This was the beginning effort...
Footballs and Big Orange

I bought a cotton print that had footballs all over it and backed it with some soft orange and white gingham.  Orange rick-rack formed the edge and I had Bridgette use her embroidery machine to personalize it with orange thread.  I gave her the left-over fabrics and she created burp cloths as a companion gifts.  I added a bit to it to finish out the gift - more on that later.

The next little blanket plays up to his country roots.  We are farm folk.  His mother has horses, his father has goats, his grandfather and I were raised with cattle, and we all have a soft spot for a pup.  So, the first fabric I picked was one that looked sort of like an all-over bandana with red background and black and white paisley print all over.
Country is always cool!

I found a companion cotton flannel that had a cute little bear riding a stick horse wearing denim jeans and a hat and a pup with a bandana around its neck.  I edged it with black rick-rack.  Bridgette added a denim patch with his monogram - first and middle initial stacked next to his last one.

The third blanket is all baby.  His nursery is painted a soft baby blue.  Mom and Dad have added white furniture and decorative stars.  So, for this blanket, I found a soft cloudy blue fabric scattered with white stars.
Baby Boy Blue and White

I backed it with a blue-and-white Oxford striped cotton flannel and edged it with simple white rick-rack.  Bridgette added his name in a large blue font.  It looks so sweet and seems like it will send the little fellow right off to dreamland.

I'm still working on some blankets for little Luci and I will share photos from the shower in a later post!

Friday, June 13, 2014

New Baby

We have a new baby!  He arrived a couple of weeks ago and I have just been too busy to post photos.
 This little fellow is a Holstein/Jersey cross.  He looks more like a spotted Jersey with his light brown coloring and soft doe-eyes.  He is much gentler and less aggressive than our other calf.  He does use his voice a bit more and a couple of weeks ago Harris and he had to Bah! at one another.
sweet little face

He has joined the pen beside Blacky and they seem to be doing well.  Mike is devoted to them and still teases everybody saying that he is farming!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Vacation Day

Mike has taken this week of to relax, work on a few projects, relax, spend some time with me, and relax.  I am so glad.  It also gives me an excuse to join him!

Tuesday was a fun day-trip kind of day.  We slept late.  Then, he was out to the barn to do his 'farming' (feeding the calves) before we set off on a day-trip.

We headed north to see our youngest grandson.  He was napping when we arrived but was glad and surprised to see us when he awoke.  There is really nothing sweeter than an freshly awakened baby.

While Bryan was working, Jessica took us out and about.  We explored and purchased a few of the delicious local tomatoes from one of the Mennonite growers there near Guthrie, KY.

Next, we trekked down the road to the Country Pantry.  This place was full of goodies.  There was cheese, sausage, ground beef, jams, jellies, preserves, dried fruits and veggies, dried beans, pastas, spices, and so much more.  We were amazed at all the different foods available and the prices seemed ultra reasonable.  Harris enjoyed riding in the grocery cart and was just as amazed at all the items as we grownups were!

From there we dashed down the road a bit further to Schlabach's Bakery.  The aroma there is exactly what Heaven will probably smell like!  There were cookies, cakes, breads, sweet treats, pies, granolas, preserves, jams, and jellies and so much more!  I think I gained a few pounds just wandering round trying to make up my mind.

I learned about these stops in THIS POST where there are excellent photos (I was just too enamored to make any pictures!) and I highly recommend you visit them!

All-in-all the day was a fabulous vacation day-trip day and I got to spend time with a couple (or three, Bryan) of my favorite guys!
Two cuties in their summertime green!


I haven't shared many pictures of our Master Bedroom here before...

...and for good reason.

Namely because I have always felt it was a work-in-progress.

I still feel this way but I have recently spent a little bit of time summerizing it.  You know, lightening and brightening things up after having things warm and cozy for the cold winter months?

The first thing I did (besides washing linens and swishing dust off surfaces) is do some repairs on a coverlet that Mike's grandmother had given him years ago.  It is king-sized.  So, it covers everything and has a pretty drape off the edge of the bed.  It is matelasse and gives the look of an old white quilt that I like.  There were a few threadbare spots and a couple of holes worn through.  I struggled with how to patch this but retain the original beauty of it.  I wound up adding a flower-shaped patch to three or four spots.  I used the same linen fabric that was used to make the bay window seat cushion.  In retrospect, I wish I had bought a creamy white linen instead.  I guess I can always go back and do that someday.  
Antique Treasures

We have two antique oak beds that are much alike.  We are using the one that came to us via Mike's ancestors in our bedroom.  It has a high, ornately carved headboard.  The footboard has some carving and is topped off with a round piece of wood.  The bed rails are wooden and were much shorter as antique beds from days gone by were made.  Somewhere along the way, somebody cut the wooden bedrail and pegged in an extension to make it longer for more modern box springs and mattresses.

At the foot of the bed is a camel-back trunk that was given to me long, many years ago by my Great Aunt Mae.  There is a hilarious story by my Granny which describes her trip to get Aunt Mae and some furniture that was given to me but that is another story for another day...

On either side of the bed are antique oak tables.  One is a bit larger than the other but both have a shelf.  I have to keep the one on Mike's side simply decorated because he tends to fight something in his sleep I guess and will knock things off the bedside table.  The one on my side of the bed is always laden with a stack of books in readiness for my reading habit.  I have photos of my grandchildren and a humorous one of Mike wearing a Cinderella crown to be the first thing I see when I wake each morning.
My bedside table

As you can see, there is no styling for photos here!  I bought the cobalt blue antique lamp base years ago.  I made a parchment shade for it that was all the rage at the time.  Over the years, the shade became sad and dated looking.  So, I replaced it with the white glass one.  (I think it was on a green wooden lamp base and had fringe glued around the edge when I got it at a thrift store!)  

Above each of the tables is an old watercolor print of some flowers.  They are dated 1948.  The frames were originally a dingy creamy color.  The matting was also cream with a lime green under mat.  I got a wild hair and painted the frames one day.  Then, I painted the cream mats as well a with navy craft paint.  They seam to fit much better like that.  The prints were originally Mike's paternal grandmother's.  
Bed Linens

I love the mix on the bed right now.  First, there is the coverlet and the hand-made quilt my mother made us for Christmas a couple of years ago.  It is thick and warm and usually covers the bed during the winter months.  Because it is so colorful and we treasure Mama's handiwork, I just drape it across the foot of the bed to be handy if we get a chill.  The blue matelasse shams are treasure that I picked up at Goodwill for a couple of dollars each.  When I saw them, I knew that blue color would work well with the quilt and the bay window seat cushion color.  One of the white pillow shams had some stains on it.  So, I cut it down to make a cover for a throw pillow in the bay window.  The other sham centers up the bed nicely.  I think I must need a king-sized pillow to fill it out properly, though.  
Luxurious Pillows

Recently I gave Bridgette a couple of scrap rectangles of fabric and asked her to embroider mine and Mike's monogram on them.  Then, I took them and made them into a couple of throw pillows.  It turned out to be a project of headaches when I was constructing them but I still like the look of the tan initials on the cream and blue paisley linen fabric.  I think the textures and colors on our bed are wonderful and restful.  
Reading Corner

Standing just in front of my bedside table and looking across the room at the opposite corner, you can see my reading corner.  I bought the chair years ago at the Nashville Flea Market for $35.  I love the size and shape of it.  I want to make a slipcover for it or have it reupholstered but I cannot decide with what fabric I want to cover it.  I first thought I wanted to use the damask print I used on the Bargain Ottoman.  However, I don't really like how that fabric is wearing - it must have enough polyester in it that makes it look worn in a way I don't like.  I am leaning toward using a canvas drop-cloth or a linen fabric I've been saving back for some special project.  I've just got to decide if I want lots of pattern or simple and basic.  Dilemmas!  

The dresser is one that was handed down to Mike from some dead relative.  The little table to hold my iced tea, coffee, or ice water (and lotions and creams) is a Longaberger stand.  Above the chair is a cross-stitched sampler that my Mama made for me in my favorite shades of blues.  The painting above the dresser is one I got several years ago at a starving artist sale (and paid about the same for the frame as for the original painting).  The old oil lamp was converted to electric and it was given to Mike by one of his ancestors.  I bought the silver frames, jewelry box, and blue and white jar at a thrift store and gave a whopping $14 for all of it!  Yes, we have a ceiling fan in the room instead of an elegant chandelier.  Don't judge.  You will be old and have hot flashes one day, too!
Across the Room

Sitting in the chair and looking across the room you will see a cheap little pine chest.  I don't think it is old.  I just think I liked it and it was inexpensive when I picked it up at an antique consignment store.  I used it as an entry table at my last house but this little space between the east, front-facing windows seemed to be the perfect spot for it.  It holds a thrift store vase and lamp an a cute little pitcher and bowl that was gifted to me by my son's mother-in-law.  Above it are a couple of scherenschnitte pieces that I made years ago.  I liked the pattern because it reminded me of my children.  The sheers filter out the morning sun and make the bedroom a bright space in the daytime.
Adjacent Corner

On the opposite side of the bay window seat is another oak piece.  I bought it from a friend years ago to hold clothes for one of the kids.  I liked it because it had a mirror mounted on top and provided a mirror and lots of storage.  Mike set up this room and I haven't moved any of the furniture since he placed it.  I love it just as it is!
Opposite Direction

Standing in front of the chest and looking at the opposite corner, you can see the entry to the bedroom and my plate display.  What started this was that there were a couple of nails hanging there when I moved in to join Mike here.  So, I hung a plate that had come from my paternal grandmother and one from my great-grandmother.  I wound up leaving them hanging there and just added a few to it.

The heirloom plate from my great-grandmother Noland is the gold-rimmed one on the bottom.  The china dinner plate on the right with the floral border is the one that was my grandmother's.  The rectangular dish is one of a set that I bought when I was in college because I liked the colors.  All the others are thrift store or Goodwill finds.

We have tried to create a restful haven for our bedroom and I feel like we are getting to a more finished state...for now.