Sunday, September 28, 2008

It's Fall, Y'all!

So many of you have been sharing the touches of Autumn around your homes, I figured it was high time I joined in with a few pictures of my own. (as always, you can click on each picture to enlarge)

Usually I put out my Fall decorations the beginning of September, then change over to Halloween the first of October. But since I was so tardy in decorating this month, I decided to combine the two this time around.

Autumn and Halloween decorations don't go with my decorating style at all. But many of the decorations I have were given to me by dear friends or loved ones, so they mean a lot to me.

The three lighter ceramic pumpkins I picked up at an antique mall a few years back. I thought they would go well with the medium sized one my granddad had painted. Until I got them home and realized they don't match at all.

My granddad's hobby was to paint ceramics. I have several of them in my home. Most of them do not go with my style, but I cherish them all because they came from his heart. They are the only things I inherited from my beloved granddad; I will never let them go.

The darker, medium pumpkin here is one of those things. It's been broken a few times over the years. Each time I shed a little tear and then set to tediously gluing it back together.

The ghost standing centerstage on my mantel came from one of my great aunts after she passed away. I believe my granddad painted it and gave it to her, as he gave his creations as gifts to family members often. It has a hole in the back to slip a little lightbulb inside, but I've never added one.

On the mirror shelf above the mantel are a Frankenstein birdhouse on the left and jack-o-lantern birdhouse on the right. They were made for me by a dear friend who was also our next door neighbor in our old house.

This scarecrow leaning against a tree is another ceramic hand-me-down. I don't think my granddad painted this one, as the painting style is not his. But still I keep it because it was handed down to me by loved ones who are no longer with us. It has holes in the scarecrow's eyes, owl's eyes, the tree stump's eyes, and the jack-o-lantern's eyes. There is a red light inside which make all the eyes glow.

The shadow box in the living room wall is decked out for spookiness as well. (Forgive the flash. It's really hard to get a picture without the flash reflecting off the mirrors inside)
I love LOVE my shadowbox and change its motif often.

Another view, as seen from the hallway.

The terrifying trio and creepy tree were given to me by my mother.
I believe she said she got them at Hobby Lobby.

I think this little guy is just adorable. My mother painted him many years ago and he always gets top billing on our coffee table (which isn't a coffee table at all. It's an antique hope chest passed down from my grandparents).

I like the softer, more muted colors. And the way she did a rubbed effect in the creases and crevices, giving this cute little spook a more "shabby" look.

Who wouldn't fall in love with those droopy eyes?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

What's in a K- anyway?

Many years ago I worked at a high school in Southern California. My boss was an Assistant Principal at the time. His name is Mike and he is now the Principal of the District's newest high school. We worked very well together. Mike treated me like no other boss I've ever had. I had never known a supervisor to treat people with such respect and downright appreciation the way Mike did.

I only had the pleasure of working under Mike for about 2 years, as our family ended up moving to Oklahoma. During the time I worked for him, I can count on one hand the number of days Mike did not give me a gift of some sort. Yes, that's right. He gave me presents. Every. Single. Day.

Most times they were quite simple. A piece of candy waiting for me in my desk drawer when I arrived to work. Some days they were quite thoughtful. At the time I collected birdhouses. I ultimately had over 200 in my collection. Mike was the largest single contributor to this collection (besides myself, of course). For Secretary's Day I arrived to work to find the most exquisite bouquet of red roses I have ever seen in my life waiting for me on my desk.

Now, before people start talking, it needs to be known. Mike's wife was the driving force behind the gifts. She has a natural gift for learning a little about someone and then finding the perfect gift for them. Like the matching mommy/son "Puppy Love" sweatshirt and onesie they gave to me when Sportster was born.

It also should be known that my husband worked at the school as well as a Campus Security Officer. And that when I was out on maternity leave, Mike was just as generous with my temporary replacement. It's just the kind of man he is. Very generous, a believer in maintaining good office morale, and very appreciative of a job well done.

I gained two everlasting things from my time with Mike. First was my understanding of how vital it is to treat one's employees or subordinates with respect. To make them feel valued. The impact a simple "Thank you" can have.

The other thing I took away from that experience is my signature "K-". You see, when Mike would write notes to me, he would sign them "M-".

Please schedule a 10:00 meeting for me with Mr. Smith.

That sort of thing.

After a while, I began mine to him as "M-" and later signing "K-".

Your meeting has been scheduled.


And it stuck. I began signing all my notes, emails and informal correspondences as "K-". I no longer sign anything with my full name unless it's a legal document.

Mike's wife's name also starts with an "M". When I would send thank you cards to them for their generous gifts, I addressed them to "M & M". Still to this day, when we exchange Christmas cards or other letters of greeting, they are "M & M".

Now when you see me sign my comments, you know the story behind my signature "K-". You'll know that it is not me being flippant or short or trying to be "cute". It is me being me. Nothing more, nothing less.

Last December JD and I were shopping the quaint town square stores of Mayberry. In one store we came across some monogrammed note cards which took my breath away. They had soft pink roses and lace on them. Unfortunately, they were out of "K" note cards. They had "B's", which I suppose should have sufficed for our last name. But I really wanted the K because everyone I write notes or letters to knows I sign them K-.

I told JD that was the only thing I wanted for Christmas. Those note cards. He searched and finally found them in another store here in our town. He snatched them up for me.

The cards are in a little portfolio box. It's hard to show in the photos, but the lace is beautifully embossed. The monogram is also embossed in a shiny metallic shade of pink.

The note cards are die cut around the lace.

Even the back of the note card is covered in softly muted roses.

They are from Carol's Rose Garden.

I love these cards. They are very ME.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Happy Furr-riday!

The weekend is upon us once again. And I, for one, am embracing this one. Even more than usual.

JD will come home from his work week early tomorrow morning. His living in Mayberry while he's working is hard enough on me as it is. I always miss him terribly. But with a week like this one's been...well, I'm just really ready to have my man home again.

Sportster is doing better, but still having headaches off and on. I've decided to wait and see how he does this weekend. If the headaches continue, I am going to take him back to the doctor for a follow-up visit on Monday, just to make sure he's on the right path to healing.

We haven't heard from Blondie since Wednesday when she popped in to pick up her BoomBox. I went to the bank to remove myself from her bank accounts yesterday. Found out her accounts have been depleted. The guy she's living with quit college and got fired from his job this week. She weighs heavy on my mind these days.

I suppose at some point I will pick up where she left off on the couches. They are half old n' worn and half new n' beautiful now. I need to finish them up so they can be presentable once again.

Thank you for your kind comments yesterday. I really do enjoy reading all your blogs. You all have such beautiful, inspiring creations to share. It does my heart good to see that life is still rosey.

Hope you all have a beautiful weekend. And remember to hug the ones you love.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Where Have I Been?

Since my last post on Sept. 17, we've had some not-so-good, life-altering events occur in our family that have kept me from being here like I should.

First, last Thursday night (Sept. 18) Blondie moved out. We've been going through some rough patches with her the last couple of months as she's made some poor choices. Try as we might to get her back on track, she decided she'd rather follow a different path than the one she's envisioned all her life. She's out there now without a car or job or phone or computer or money or insurance or anything. But she's a young adult and invincible so we have no choice but to let her make her own mistakes life choices. As a parent, it's an incredibly hard pill to swallow, watching your child go into self-destruct mode. Lest I fall apart again right here right now, I'd best leave it at that...

Then on Saturday (Sept. 20), I was taking Sportster to his football game with Wild Man in tow. We got into a pretty bad fender bender. Well, the third vehicle involved has a fender bender. The car I pulled in front of is totaled, as is my car.

Sportster was riding in the front passenger seat and received a direct hit.

I blacked out at the point of impact. When I came to, I found Sportster lifeless, leaning in toward me, with his head tilted back between our two seats. He was unconscious for a few minutes.

He has a concussion. But not just your ordinary concussion. His is also accompanied by memory loss. This makes it more severe, much more prone to more concussions, and much more likely that subsequent concussions will result in greater memory loss, brain damage, retardation or even becoming a vegetable. Yeah, serious stuff.

We have pulled him from football. He is still technically on the team and will be there on the sidelines with his team during home games. But he will not play. No game is worth his brain. Five years of football, and this is how it ends.

His physical activities at school are limited as well. He continues to have recurring headaches; he can not participate in physical activities until those headaches subside. This is a hardship for him. After all, there is a reason I've dubbed him "Sportster". He's having a hard time with the new reality that he cannot participate in PE or recess activities right now. Bless his little heart.

They tell us he must go 6 months - 1 year with no more concussions in order for his health risks to go back down to that of a normal post-concussion patient. He will be under our watchful eye and reduced activities for a long time to come.

Ironically, the only outward sign that he stopped a speeding car with his head is a laceration over his right eye. Next Tuesday is Picture Day at school. With that shiner on his eye, we'll have a forever reminder of this not-so-wonderful time in our lives.

We are extremely thankful, though. It could have been much much worse.

Wild Man was seated behind me in the back seat. He did not black out,so he remembers everything. He saw the airbags deploy. He saw the smoke from the airbags. He saw the rearview mirror fly through the air, hit Sportster's door, ricochet back through the air to bounce off his own door in the backseat and come to a rest at his feet. He remembers it all. He was initially shaken up at the scene, particularly when he saw the emergency personnel trying to extract Sportster from the car and then watched as they worked over Sportster. But he's one tough cookie and is doing very well, with no signs of emotional trauma.

As for me, well, I'm black and blue and red from the seatbelt. I've got a laceration on my arm which I think is from the steering wheel's airbag cover. Headaches, dizziness. But nothing which I can't handle. This is the worst of my boo-boo's on my belly:

Mostly, I'm dealing with a lot of guilt. The accident was my fault. I am the type of person who's very hard on themselves anyway. But when you throw injuring my own child into the mix...well, it'll take me a very long time to forgive myself for this one. Not sure the day will ever come.

In any case, there you have it. That's where I've been the last week.

They say bad things happen in 3's. The roof should be caving in at any moment.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

September 17, 1787

221 years ago today, 39 brave men signed and ratified the Constitution of the United States of America, forever changing the course of this great nation.

In 2004, the law was passed marking September 17 as an official American federal observance day.

Happy Constitution and Citizenship Day

Friday, September 12, 2008

Sneak Peek

Over Labor Day weekend, Blondie stayed home while the rest of us went camping. The plan was for her to work on reupholstering our living room couches.

Bless her heart, she came down with a bug that weekend. And since it's a little difficult to be creative while hovering over the toilet...well, you can imagine where the couches ranked on her list of priorities.

But now she's started on them! oooowooohoooo! (that was a squeal) I'm so excited!

Here's a sneak peek:

Hard to make out exactly what that is, isn't it? I know. Such a tease, I am.

There are 4 different fabrics in that picture. Yes, four. On one seat cushion. (Just trust me on this. It's gonna be awesome)

You see, I've decided I want something a bit different. A bit eclectic.

I'm bored with having the same pattern throughout the entire couch. I've tried the all-over slipcovers too. But I found "slip" to be the operative word there. I quickly tired of having to straighten them, tighten them, pluck, push and pull on them every time someone stood up.

Blondie is making new covers for each seat cushion. Each cover is reversible. We can get a whole new look by simply flipping the seat cushion over. Pretty swell, eh?

Ok, I must confess. The whole get-2-looks-out-of-1 thing wasn't some brilliant brainchild of mine. Rather, it was born out of necessity.

I wanted to use one of the patterns for the seat cushions but Blondie insisted on the other. After a estrogen-infused highly-spirited debate, we took it to JD for a tie-breaker. We each plead our case for our favorite fabric. He voted for hers (hmph. What do men know anyway?)

My couches, my living room. I should win, right? WRONGO! After all, Blondie is investing the time into this and just happens to be the interior design major, so....we compromised. My pick on one side and hers on the other. (Somehow I have a sneaky suspicion every time I leave the house, I'm going to come home to find them flipped to her side up)

The back cushions are getting a total make-over...not just new covers, but cut up and reshaped and completely re-worked.

To give you an idea of where we're going with this, here's some of the inspiration pieces we're working from (from Victorian Trading Co)

Perhaps the best part of this whole project? (Ok, besides the fact that I've pawned off the hard work enlisted the help of my wonderful daughter) This isn't costing us a dime. Most of the fabrics were given to me by my mother. We're incorporating the slippity slipcovers we already have. And the other goodies (that I'm still holding out on showing you just yet) are things I've collected over the years.

Oh, I can hardly contain myself. I can't wait to show you the before (aka "why we're doing this"), during and after pictures.

Soon. I'm hopeful. Very soon.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I Wanna! Wednesday

My "I Wanna's" aren't always things I want to buy or build. Sometimes they're things I wanna do.

Today I wanna climb up into the attic. I wanna search for the huge boxes labeled "Fall Decorations". I wanna lug them to the middle of the attic floor, sit down and go through them. As I sort through them, I want to reminisce about seasons gone by. I wanna select a few things to bring back down to decorate our home for the upcoming season. I wanna stage a new Fall arrangement in the shadowbox. I wanna store away my summer porch decorations. I wanna deck the porch with pumpkins and gourds and cornstalks. Faux fall foliage, burnt orange ribbons, and hay bales.

But, alas, it's a busy busy week. Studying, football, PTA, PGR, parades. And I've finally got students enrolled again in my cake decorating classes so those take up my evenings too.

I hope to get my Autumn decorating done this weekend. I sure wanna!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Snakes and Snails and ...


Yep, that's what my little boys are made of.

Look what decided to join Sportster and WildMan for an end-of-summer dip in the pool the other day.

JD and I made jokes about what was on the menu for dinner that night.

For some reason the boys didn't like our culinary ideas too much.

I can't imagine why.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Happy Labor Day!

(Click to enlarge)

Image courtesy of Old Sgt's Backgrounds