Monday, July 31, 2017

A Pillow Update

I have really been trying limit my spending since retirement and realizing I have a lot of stuff. My thinking has been downsize and really stop the "seeing something and gotta have it mentality."

Well, I have regretted since this spring not purchasing these pillows from Everyday Occasions. I was totally in love with them, but couldn't make myself pull the trigger. They are pricey when you can go get the full pillow at Home Goods these days for less, but I knew her quality was great because I had bought cloth napkins and candles from her.

Finally, my pillows were beginning to look a little messy, so I went to check on them and she was all out of them. Sadness!!!

Mine had lots of pulls in them. Probably shouldn't have let the dogs get on the couch.

Anyway, Jenny who has a blog and Everyday Occasions had the fabric for sale, so I ordered some. (Her blog is in my blog list. Her home is so pretty.) I would just make my own. When it arrived I was even more sad that I hadn't bought them because I love the fabric. While I was thinking mine would not have cording, I realized that my shabby ones were only shabby on the front and that the back, the zipper, and the cording in them, were a perfect match for the new fabric.

I set out to rip off the old front and attach a new front to the old back. It all seemed so simple until I got started.

I used the old front as a pattern for the new fabric.

I am not a puzzle visual putting pieces together person. I really struggled and remember ripping it out three times at least. Probably more because I had to walk away which would mean I forgot what I had learned. Several days later I finally had one finished. This all happened last week while my computer was in the shop. I still have the other one to do, but I think I have the puzzle memorized. One can hope anyway. I hope to take care of the next one this week.

I love how it turned out. I have plenty of fabric to do something else with too since I used the back of the other one.

Happy with myself,

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Some Will Think I Have Lost My Mind: Meet "Gus"

If you follow me on Instagram, you already know how I spent my weekend. If not, meet Gus.

I had hoped to tell everyone last week that I was going to get a new puppy this weekend, but my computer had a bit of a malfunction that didn't look good from my comfortable chair one evening. It was due for its yearly visit to the Geek Squad this next week, but it had to take a trip early. It turns out that it finally had to have a new hard drive. Fortunately that contract with Best Buy kept it at a minimum cost.

So back to Gus. I am still grieving over Lucy, but something inside me just knew I had to have one more English Springer Spaniel before I get too old to deal with a puppy. Not that I am ancient, but they are a high energy dog and I know that there will come an age when I won't be able to handle it.

A little background on my obsession with Springers. I fell in love with Spot in first grade when I met Dick, Jane, "Spot", Sally, Mother, know the books. My version which was the 1963 edition had Spot as a Springer. I wanted one my whole life. A couple of months after marriage, my husband rolls in with our first one. We named her Sally. Oh, the love began for the breed.

We have had Sally, Murphy, and of course most recently Lucy that many of you have followed along with me her sweetness and love stories.

I began to search for one. They are not the easiest to find around my parts. I discovered a place in central Georgia that I just knew was the perfect kennel. The kennel was Lanewood Kennel in Fort Valley. They only had 2 males last week when I called, so I quickly paid my deposit and told them I would be there this weekend. By the time we got there they already had the other male accounted for, but I got to choose first.

When I got out of the truck and walked around the corner I literally gasped. I was in Springer Spaniel heaven.

On another note, the location of the kennel in Georgia was so close to James T. Farmer's place in Perry which he calls "Perrydise" that I would have loved to have driven on a little farther to see his store. If you don't know who he is he has a website and Instagram. An Auburn grad in horticulture I think, he has a flair for decorating and plants. His coffee table books are amazing. Not only does he live there, but I think Kelly at Talk of the House too.

Let me say Fort Valley, Georgia where we picked up Gus is peach tree and pecan tree territory. In fact the kennel owners raise Springers as a hobby. There real job is peach and pecan tree famers. I have never seen so many pecan trees.

Back to the dog. He picked me for sure. He has been just about perfect. We drove to our cabin after picking him on Saturday. It was a 5 hour drive from our place to central Georgia, so we didn't think we wanted a 5 hour drive back or that he would either. The cabin was about a 2 hour drive, so we stayed there last night and came on home today.

He has had a huge day today meeting the rest of the family and Lemony.

Let's just say Lemony, the Golden has been golden today. She has handled the puppy amazingly well. While they are not snuggling yet, Lemony seems to be very good with him being around. My daughter brought her Boykin, Hallie over as well. Hallie was better than I thought, so I think we are going to be all good with the new addition.

Now my work has just begun as Gus is just 8 weeks old. So, in a few months he ought to hog wild, and for the next 2 years very energetic. I am sure I have lost my mind.

Oh, for the name. I know we are the biggest Auburn fans ever, but Gus really didn't have anything to do with our coach. We were just going through a list of names and decided on Gus. It turns out that his dad's name was Gus, so he is Gus Jr. His mother's name was Rosey. I love that.

I will try not to do too much talking about him.
I do have quite a few other things to share as the week rolls on.


Monday, July 24, 2017

Weekend Roundup

I sort of disappeared last week. I finally had some days at home and just soaked them up. I piddled in my flowers and in my home. Sometimes it is nice to not be in a rush to go around and fluff the nest.

I don't know that I accomplished anything that noteworthy, but I did get the home really tidied up nice and just relaxed a bit.

I had guests over from church on Saturday evening, so I had quite a bit of prep for that on Saturday. It has rained so much this July that I can't keep up with the pine straw on the back decks. This was a discipleship group that we led for the last 9 weeks, so I did all the stuff rather than asking for anyone to bring anything. I thought I was crazy during all the prep.

Jeff and Paul Allen had a golf tournament on Saturday that was for charity, so it was mostly me trying to put it all together. Mom came over and helped which was good for her as well.

Jeff and I took a boat ride to the back end of the bay yesterday. It is all military land ---so all nature. It is his place to go and fish and get away from the stress of work. It is just around the corner from our bayou. Probably one of my favorite spots. I took a book and let him enjoy.

Finding the shade.

It has rained so much that my geraniums are just waterlogged. I have almost lost two of them. My begonias are loving it though. No blooms yet.

Begonias are happy. This little geranium is the best of the ones on the back.

I did very little cross stitching, but hope to remedy that this week.

That is about all that is going on in my life.

Boring can be good.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Just Thinking

Some thoughts stirring in my mind.

Two weeks ago, I came home from church deeply touched by the message that day. I heard a message from Levi Lusko. If you haven't heard his story, well let's say it is hard to listen to, because he lost a child tragically. That is not something you want to hear or think that you might want to run out and grab his book, but that is exactly where it left me.

I quickly dashed to the bookstore to see if they had it locally, but no. I came home and ordered it right away. Through the Eyes of a Lion (Facing Impossible Pain and Finding Incredible Power) by Levi Lusko.

I finished it tonight. Even though you know he has a hard story to tell, the book is so amazing and puts everything into perspective. Trust me on this one. It was good.

On a happier note,

I blog because I still really like it.

I have never had any thoughts of it being a grandiose thing, but just a place to record some of my thoughts. I still love to read them even though I think they are definitely on the way to the "out list." 

Blogs draw me in because they are real life. I love to see what others are up to. I don't know if it just makes me feel more "normal" or what, but I still plug away at reading them.

I am going to keep writing as long as I feel like it and feel no schedule to write. I don't think I would go away without announcing it, because I hate it when that happens.

That was on my mind.

Speaking of "ins and outs lists," which come out for clothing with each season and for decorating each year, I have seen some interesting things on Instagram lately.

I follow mostly decorators and cross stitchers on Instagram. Those are two of my loves.

Decorating and decorating magazines have always been a big interest to me. I have to limit myself to how many I allow myself to buy. For the past couple of years, I've noticed I haven't seen nearly as much stuff I like. This neutral color scheme is not for me.

Anyway, I stopped on this picture from House Beautiful.

Seriously love the colors. It is refreshing when you scroll through Instagram or open a magazine and see some color. 

I am probably the only person on the planet that thinks so, and I don't want to offend my neutral loving friends, but I am just loving the color. The rich blue, the pictures with pops of red, and that bookcase with all those dreamy books. Oh and those lamps, too!

I am not planning to paint anything dark again. I had a hunter green room in the 90's, but I have to say I love this.

Ok, that was on my mind.

I am hoping to be home tomorrow after two days of running around and interruptions. I love my home time.


Stitching Update

Popping in today for an update on life.

Last week was putting things in order week. I still have two more areas to go through, but I was busy all day yesterday, and it is looking to shape up the same way today.

I finally did something with something I cross stitched this past November. I barely finished it before Christmas, so it just went to my box of things needing to be dealt with and stayed there until this weekend.

It is one of three pieces in the Shepherd's Bush Christmas trifles. I honestly stitched it on the weirdest piece of green that it was very difficult to match. It is hard to tell, but the linen was English pea green. That is the only thing I can think of to describe it. Absolutely nothing in my stash matched it, so it stumped me for a few days.

I finally matched the burgundy thread in the words to a solid piece. I really wanted a cloth border between it, but again nothing matched, so I just did some x's. 

My plan is to fill this basket with some more Christmas pillows. 

Here is an up-close picture. I am being honest ---I have a LONG way to go with finishing. 

I finished another cottage by Little House Needleworks that Arlene @Nanaland sent me.

I love the way it is finished in the picture, but I have to admit, cording has me. I can't make the ends look good enough to use it yet. I have been reading and will practice with it, but this weekend it made me want to say dirty words.

I may use some sew in kind with small tassels to finish this one or something completely different. Who knows? My creativity has been lacking a little lately.

You may remember my cottage that I stitched and did not want to frame. I really thought gingham would look good behind it, but after looking at it for a week while it sits out on my work table, I am not feeling it.

I have tried two colors...magenta and navy, but I am thinking a blue calico might be a better backing. Back to the stash and more time to think about it.

I have also picked out several more ornaments to stitch for the rest of July, then I have prepared my one of my stitching bags and started some smalls for Fall. They are done up in a coaster. I am not sure if I will make pillows or frame them. Oh and if it is anything like the Christmas thing, it might be for next fall😉

Also in the sewing room, a few wedding gifts rolled out. A set of towels and a set of cloth napkins.

Jeff and I went to see Wonder Woman on Sunday afternoon. I gotta tell you...I loved it. Now, I love super hero movies, so that might color my opinion, but I don't think so. It was genuinely good.

I have also been reading a good book. More about it when I finish it this week.

That's it for me.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Decluttering Day 2 and Working on My Hotspots

Yesterday I spent day two on my decluttering.

I have been on a mission since retirement to downsize my stuff even though we aren't planning to move.

As I have shared before clearing out things after parents have passed has really made me think of how much we have and will have to be dealt with by our kids. While that is just a reality, it is so magnified in this day and age of "buy, buy, and materialism".

My parents were from the Depression Age and saved things because they thought they might need it.

I have the closets done, so now it is time to do the stuff that is out in front of me. The goal is a little more simplified and easier to clean.

On my second day, I got rid of some vases and knick knacks in my formal rooms. I don't necessarily dislike any of it, but it is not special or a story behind any of it. I feel like it just makes the rooms more breathable. It will give me room to put out some seasonal things in the fall and Christmas and then breathe with the remainder of the year.

I also moved some houseplants around and actually removed one from the house altogether. It had just not faired well in the foyer where it gets almost too hot in the summer.

Next week, I plan to tackle the sentimental items in two of the closets again, and my sewing room. I have a lot of craft stuff that I need to purge. I have gone through it once, but I think it needs to have a second round.

Then I want to tackle the garage by the summer's end. My goal is to go into the fall with a lighter load.

When I have been though it all, then it will be just trying to take note when things are getting to full looking again and address it at that moment.

I also need to stay diligent on my zone cleaning so I don't have to do all out deep cleaning. I ought to be able to handle that better now than when I was working. I need to apply a bit more discipline to that.

One thing I have been mindful of is my hot spots. I have three that still can get out of control quickly.
-the kitchen island
-my desk in the sewing room
-my basket by my chair.

Clear for now.

More space doesn't always equate with being more organized. It just gives you more room to add junk.

I think I have done much better by my chair since I changed to a smaller basket.

I had a bigger basket here, and honestly it filled up with junk so that the basket wasn't even useful. I started thinking about what I really needed there and moved a smaller basket to house those things. I had to be pretty deliberate for awhile to put nothing else there, but I think I have got there area under control.

The new smaller basket contains my Bible, the two books I am reading (I almost always have two going at the same time), my journal, and my iPad. I keep my cross stitching in a bag. That has worked out very well.

I have got to tackle the desk and be just that deliberate with that area.

The kitchen island is just so hard. It is a clutter magnet. I have tried to make sure I clear it twice a day.

I have to do a few things for mom today, some ironing, and a little outdoor flower work. I will say I have bought so much less this year, but I am really thinking I am going to cave on some new candles for dining room. It is hard to find tapers locally, and I have seen the most perfect color on a website, so I may allow myself an indulgence.

One more note... I think the reason I have so much decor is the simple reason of materialism. Not in an all out bad way, but just you go out and see the cutest stuff and purchase it with no thought to where you will put it. Bam, you are staring at so much. I know I am not the only one, so these minimalists have thinking about it at least... Now, I just can't go with all bare, I need some "treasures."

Speaking of treasures, I am going to link a video that I just found simply fascinating. It is kind of slow, but while they are talking about how all these people ended up with stuff, they show pictures of their homes. While it is not straight up hoarding, it is what I have seen people do in some part to the busy lives we lead and the sentimentality of things. It is about 20 minutes if you are interested. Like I said, I found it fascinating.


Monday, July 10, 2017

Weekend and Today's Declutter Session

We made our annual trek to Pensacola on Saturday for the home show of the Blue Angels. It is truly one of my favorite things we do all year. I love watching the Blues, and I think watching them from the bay is the best ever. If you are on the beach side, the main focal point is at the Pensacola Beach ball. Just beyond the ball is where they consider their focal point. However, they fly all up and down the beach and over the bay. They fly right over you in the bay.

Just beyond the beach ball is the Gulf of Mexico.

As you can see we had a great location. We got there later than we normally do, so we were not able to get up to the shallow water, but floating in the water works fine. Mom, Jeff, Paul Allen and Katie went on our boat this year. Lindsay and Tyler took their boat, since Tyler's cousins (brother and sister) were visiting. It was their first time seeing the Blue Angels.

The negative this year was the weather. I realized they flew about 10 minutes ahead of schedule. We knew why soon. A thunderstorm popped up, so we didn't get to hang around leisurely at all after they were done. We were packing and moving out at the same time. That little storm cloud was relentless. It was traveling in the same direction and same speed as home returning home. It was a rough ride and we were all drenched. I never felt we were in danger because we would have stopped and gotten out along the way, but we were like the Minnow in Gilligan's Island. Mom is 82 and I was sure this would be her last year to go, but she was saying today something about next year. Oh my!

I always feel like the weather is crazy about once every 5 years.

In other news, I was lazy after church yesterday, but a busy bee today.

I deep cleaned my bedroom and bathroom along with washing clothes and a few other chores. I have been on a decluttering kick for some time. I am very slow with it, but determined especially after having to move Mom here.

Two things I have worked on in my home decor this year (really starting back in December) is trying not to buy anything new and really liking what I keep.

I am over having a bunch of stuff that is trendy. By this I mean, I want what I have out to really stand the test of time for me. I know we all get the notion to change things out every now and then, but I don't want to find myself wanting to change things every time the latest thing comes along.

I have really stopped and talked myself through anything I see as to whether I really need it and what I am getting rid of to get it. Mostly I have talked myself out of purchases.

Today, I tackled a few things in the bathroom. I don't really like the bathroom, because it is my opinion well over the top, but I can't change the big ticket items. Shoot- if I wait long enough some of will be back in style. Maybe?!

I am also trying to make things simpler and easier to clean which is hard because I don't get rid of things easily, but I am getting much better.

Here are a few things I changed today.

I got rid of the palm tree candle sticks that once sat on the bathroom counter. I truly have no clue why I ever bought them in the first place. I have never really liked them. I have moved them to clean for far too long. I moved them out of the room while I was cleaning and it was like amazing how relieved I felt that they were gone. That led to moving some palm tree towels and thinking ---yep, glad they are gone too. I replaced them with some others I had.  Palm tree overload gone.

This was the only picture I could even find of the palm tree candles and yes, I have a door back on my cabinet now:)

Having less in the middle was so good, because there is a certain amount of real life that just has to be handy in the bathroom. I have a tray for both of us on the sides. I even took the palm tree plate out that housed my makeup and replaced it with a plate that belonged to my grandmother. I love it and will be using it instead of it sitting in a drawer.

Moving on - there is so so so much gold in the bathroom area that I took down the gold vases and greenery. Not only is there too much gold, but too much green also. I shopped the house and did another vignette, and while I like it I still may move it and leave nothing there. Easier to clean. I am going to mull that one over for a few days.

New more toned down look.

That led to moving these bird pictures with the gold and green. I swapped them out with some dog prints that I had in the bedroom.  I love them. There are two more palm trees in there that I think I will move eventually. I think something I have cross stitched would look better there😉

I realized this picture doesn't do the dogs justice..they really did look better.

I had moved the dog prints out of the bedroom which led to me moving something I hadn't found the right spot for up until today. The old dog print location now holds my Books of the Bible stitched piece.

That is a few changes for today, but I am gradually working on decluttering and making it look a little lighter in each room. Easier to clean as well.

Today's declutter session netted a set of bird prints, a trio of palm tree candle sticks, two gold vases and greenery, a coral candle, and a palm tree plate. No new purchases and a set of palm tree towels for just real use, not to look at anymore.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Week of the Fourth

It seems that about all I have in me these days is a weekly post. I am in a bit of a creativity slump, which probably means I need to quit pushing and do something different.

Anyway, we spent a family fourth here at the house. Jeff grilled hamburgers, hotdogs, and most of the veggies. Lindsay made a salad and salsa. I made brownies, homemade hot fudge sauce, and homemade ice cream.

To say that I ate too much would be an understatement. I think we all did. The ice cream was so good and that is the only time of the year I make it, so we all pigged out a bit. Jeff's sister says that is her favorite thing.

I think this may have been the first year in a very long time we didn't go see fireworks out on the island, but we just decided to call it an evening. The neighbors two doors down are from Alabama and only come to their home a few times a year. It is one of the few places left on the bay and bayous with a cottage and a lot that if they ever sell will hold two houses instead of one. They brought Alabama fireworks. The kind that are sold just across the state line are very different than the ones we can buy here. When the kids were young we always got some to bring home from visits to Mama's house. They put on quite a show. I actually enjoyed watching them have so much fun. They were through by 10:00...just family fun.

On Monday, Jeff took off from work and we went up to the farm to just check on things. I have noticed that the pecan trees have nuts on them this year. I had finally researched how to fertilize them, but missed the deadline to do so. The difference maker I think this year has been the June rains. It rained almost everyday in June. I hope they actually produce some good ones. Of course, I will have to enlist all my family and friends to pick them up if they do.

I am off to go get my haircut today. I have been letting it grow out. You know how you see stuff on the computer and so forth and think, "I should try that." Well, I hate it. I looked up last Friday in the mirror and realized it looks awful. Being the week of the fourth I had to wait until this morning before my girl had an opening. I am going back to my little shoulder length bob which is the Goldilocks cut for me.

Then it is off to Destin before the weekend to take my computer to the Geek Squad for its yearly checkup. I am trying to keep my mac running forever.

I have several things I need to do a finish on of my cross stitching, but like I said, my creativity is just nonexistent.
I am going to let it go for awhile and see if it comes back.