Friday, November 21, 2014

Life at large

How quickly the months pass... so much has gone on this year and I know the months and years ahead will be just as full and race by.  After my last post I decided to take some much needed down time.  I realized that since our move here the posting had become sporadic at best and simply non-existant at times with no explanation.  Basically it comes down to my children are young adults now and the time we have with them is fleeting. Some are more reserved so in an effort to respect they requests and focus on my family I simply felt it was best to take some time away.  I can honestly say I discovered I miss my time on here but am still not sure what our future holds or for that matter my role in our future.  Thankfully I have a loving and supportive husband who encourages me in all and any undertakings... for that matter my whole family is a great source of encouragement.

I won't go into a great detail at the moment but did want to share just a bit of what has been going on.... it does this momma good to see her children follow their passions and to see their relationships with each other flourishing.

culinary competitions... his team placed first for appetizer

 graduation... 4 friends starting new chapters of their lives.  

baking... lots of baking trying to perfect new recipes for different projects

another graduation... this time from Army Basic training

two of my loves together proudly serving our country

Home for a visit... brothers being brothers

gorgeous older buildings in unexpectedly places


quiet times... just enjoying being together

unexpected treasures

who knew there were actually beaches in Indiana?  
not this California born, Army brat turned AF wife and now Army mother.
loved it!

another seagull to add to my collection...

tired out after a day of surf, sun, and fun
this reminds me of when they were tiny!

weekends filled with the Farmer's market

long walks in the woods after dinner while the young one did homework.
slowly trying to ease into what will all too soon be an empty nest.
I am so NOT ready!  
Thankfully I still have a little over two years... maybe more if he decides to stay at home for college.

one last project... hauling "new" old cabinets for the laundry room.
She served us well for the past 9 years and is now off in the Pacific Northwest with her new owner.
our eldest bought her from us and is now starting his own new adventures...
skiing, mountain climbing, and any other daring adventure he and his friends can think up!

Breaks from studying to enjoy walks through the fields as he continues his education in preparation for a retirement from a long military career.
we have many new paths before us.... and the timing is still a mystery.
continue military service?
possibly retirement in a couple of years?
deployments in the near future?

There have been months of changes behind us and even more ahead.  The starting of a new business (more on that at a later date), the approach of milestones this coming year with a 50th birthday, a 21st birthday, 16th birthday and a new licensed driver next fall, plus our 25th anniversary.  A first time deployment for one boy, a brand new duty station for the other and possible culinary school, and a bit of travel.

yes its a year of change for us and I can honestly say I am excited to see how it all unfolds.  excited about the prospect of getting back to writing!  how i've missed these pages and interacting with you all! Thank you for those who have continued to follow along.  You have no idea how my life has been graced by some of the friend ships mad through the pages of this blog.  I know some have come and some have gone but a few have become friends of the heart.  blessings beyond words!  Thank you, thank you so very much for being a part of my life!  

may you enjoy this season of thanksgiving and the holidays season we are quickly entering.  may you remember to give thanks throughout the year.. day in and day out.. in all seasons... for all reasons.

In every thing GIVE THANKS
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus 
concerning you.
I Thessalonians 5:18

Friday, March 14, 2014

Experimenting with Annie Sloan chalk paint

Oh I was going to wish you a Happy St. Patrick's day but that is tomorrow isn't it?  The 17th?  Wait!  Tomorrow is the 15th, isn't it?  
I have to admit I have completely lost track of time as Chris was out of town this week.  So that meant I was home... alone.  Okay, not alone as I had two lovely teenage boys to keep me company as well as a list of projects that needed completed.

And do you know what I did?  I grabbed out a few cans of Annie Sloan chalk paint, latex paint, and Miss Mustard Seed milk paint.  I was feeling like a rebel... I mixed, I poured, remixed until I came up with the perfect colors.  

I know, I showed it to you my lovely Aegean Dreams desk here many, many moons ago.  But she had gone through a number of "makeovers" but none of them ever felt quite right. You see, her lines are those of a more refined age, not the perky young teenager she was trying to come across as.  Her dress was a bit too brash, too bold, so she had a bit of wardrobe change if you will.

When I started she looked like this....

I know... a HOT mess!  The handles never did age, her lovely legs and underpinnings clashed, and her lovely top was just too white.  And then someone had decided along the way that adding a layer of black would be just the ticket to add a bit of age.  Yes, hanging head in shame, I did it.  As you probably can tell I didn't like it one bit so I stopped with the one drawer and just left it.  Thankfully the drawer was hidden behind a chair and no one saw my error but I knew and it bugged me to no end!

I started by taking off all of the hardware and removing the silver paint exposing the original brass.  Over time with use and exposure they will age quite nicely.  Then I pulled out my Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (ASCP) in Provence, a similar shade but just a tad darker and gave her a once over (or may a twice over.)  The top is a lovely shade of Paris Gray with a layer of the CeCe Caldwell's dark aging wax.  Yes, I know, I know. I am breaking all the cardinal rules... but I can't use the Annie Sloan finishing waxes in the house as they trigger my asthma.  I can honestly say that CeCe Caldwell's waxes are currently the ONLY waxes I can use with NO ill effects.  

I could NOT resist adding a pop of color to these drawers.  Yes this is where my experimenting came into play.  I started with a mix of ASCP Emperor's Silk and Harley Davidson orange latex paint at a ratio of 1:1 with a pinch or two of Miss Mustard Seed Milk paint in Linen.  The result the perfect shade of red to liven things up a bit.  
Do you see the inside of the drawers?  
Sparkly wrapping paper!  Okay to be honest this desk has 7 drawers... and currently has 3 different types of paper.  A map of Alaska graces the large central drawer, the left stack the lovely sparkly wrapping paper, and the right stack has this lovely paper, Bijou Birds Green from the Bloom & Grow collection of My Mind's Eye sold at Hobby Lobby.  I discovered that this paper is not readily available any longer so I think I be going in to pick up a few more pieces.  Yes it speaks to that quirky, inner hippie in me... but that is quite alright! 

And here she sits with the morning light bathing her.  
I know I need to replace the chair but that is a project for another day.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Craving the taste of spring

As I look out the window right now I am amazed by the most gorgeous blue sky and glorious sunshine that graces my world…. spring is quickly approaching!!  And for that I am greatly relieved!  If you live in much of the lower 48 I am sure you are feeling pretty much the same way, as this has truly been a doozy of a winter. As the days get longer and the skies brighter I find myself craving lighter foods as well… gone is the deep-seated desire for thick hearty soups.  Instead I currently desire the fresh tastes of spring… salads, citrus, light soups, and yes maybe a bit of crusty bread to soak up each and every delectable morsel.  So today I am going to share a favorite of mine with you.  It is quick, easy, and all the ingredients are readily available this time of year.

I have to be honest here… this is more of a formula rather than a recipe because once the desire for clean eating hits I do not want to spend long hours in preparation. So a simple spring salad is our answer… one that varies with what we have on hand.

Our go to is quite simple…

Sliced cucumber
Thinly sliced carrots (I use the vegetable peeler to make them paper thin.)
Honeyed nuts (we switch back and forth between almonds & pecans currently)
Optionals: pears, oranges, fresh berries such as blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, or avocado. (but we always have one of these on the salad)

3:1 ratio
3 parts olive oil to 1 part vinegar/acid (white wine vinegar or fresh squeezed orange juice)
a dash of salt
a pinch of pepper
a pinch of garlic powder (a very small pinch so as not to overwhelm)
fresh herbs such as lemon thyme, parsley, tarragon, finely diced

Honeyed nuts:
½ cup roughly chopped nuts of choice
1 Tbsp local honey

Place nuts and honey in a small pan over high heat.  Stir until honey is melted and coats nuts.  Take off heat, spread on parchment paper to cool.  Break apart and sprinkle on salad.  Can be added while still warm but it does make the salad wilt.

Roasted chicken can be added to make this more filling.   My personal favorite is to make a vinaigrette and add 1 Tbsp of grapefruit marmalade and serve over a salad of spinach, romaine, cucumbers, supremed blood oranges/grapefruit, and avocado with a sprinkling of honeyed almonds.  I am also a bit of a pepper and cheese freak so it is not all that uncommon to discover freshly grated pepper and a sprinkling of of parmesan slivers or crumbles of feta on my salad.

I hope you enjoy!

Monday, January 06, 2014

Glorious frozen winter bubbles... tutorial included

Since we were basically housebound today I decided to recreate something we tried during our time in Alaska.
Okay, I admit it, it was something I tried while the boys were at school... but by the time they got home from school it was too cold and the bubbles froze before they even had a chance to form 
(35F BELOW zero has a tendency to do that!)
Since it was only a mere 15F BELOW zero today... in Indiana (yes we broke plenty of records)
I decided it was time to recreate our experiment!

The wind was blowing to hard so all bubble blowing occurred within the garage... 
with the 4 wheeler acting as our landing platform.

The "recipe" I used to make the bubble solution is a scaled down version of the one I used when I was a pre-school teacher long before the internet.  In my experience this solution makes for a strong bubble which can be blown to large proportions during the warmer seasons and allows for bubble blowing when it is quite chilly out.

1 1/2 cups water
1/4 + 1 Tbsp dish soap
(i used 1/4 Dawn Ultra plus a heaping Tbsp of Mrs Meyers.. its what I had on hand)
plus enough corn syrup to bring the level to just over the 2 cup line.

mix the above mixture.
use a large straw 
or a bubble wand 
(what i used in Alaska)
to blow the bubbles.

This worked for me and I hope it works for you!  

Linking up to:  City Farmhouse

Love Grows Wild

Glorious surprises and record breaking snows!

Where do I start?
This Christmas season has truly been one of surprises... more than I could have imagined. 

(yes this is the best picture we could manage... as they were all cutting up!  just seconds before heading back to the airport!)

First of all our eldest, Ian, surprised me and came home for the holidays!!!! Ian had called Chris at the beginning of November to say he had bought his plane ticket home but he couldn't tell anyone... including me.  So It came as quite the shock when I went to pick Chris up from the airport (he was out of town for a few days) to discover he wasn't the only one I was picking up from the airport!!   
The "school house" closed down so his training was suspended for two weeks... and what a glorious two weeks it was.  
Time spent here at home... a trip to visit with family for a belated Christmas... and then time back at home spending time together and with friends.
At the end of our 2 weeks we started keeping close tabs on the weather as a blizzard was being forecast.  Ian made the decision to fly back early and it was good thing he did as we ended up being snowed it.  A delay in his returning to class would have meant repeating the grueling 8 week course he was only 9 days shy of completing!  As disappointed as I was for him to leave I was even more pleased that he made the mature decision to return early. 
He has grown into be a fine young man!  A man of integrity with a sense of responsibility.  
It was truly a pleasure having him home!

Early Sunday morning the blizzard started in gently....

cloudy, snow filled skies, with little wind

the temperatures were still in the upper 20's with big fluffy flakes

and then it started to come down thicker.

By mid afternoon we already had about 8 inches and the temperatures were beginning to drop.

Monday morning brought temperatures of -14 and lower with winds blowing steady at 25 to 35 miles an hour... with windchill ratings of -40 and bright sunshine.  

Since the blizzard has left us housebound I've been playing around with old childhood favorites.... 

ice bubbles!!
(the simple tutorial to follow in another post!)

And here we have our sweet Miss Lily loving the snow... (okay she had been frolicking in the snow until she saw me out with the camera and came running...a quick closing of the door allowed me to get one and only one picture before we let her back in the house completely covered in snow... but her undercoat was completely and totally dry even though she had been rolling in the snow.)
crazy dog! 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Chalkboard rehabs... Christmas edition

I don't know if you realize this but I LOVE chalkboards... and chalkboard paint! I've been known to paint a wall or two turning them into gigantic chalkboards. Remember the dining room grocery/notes wall or the studio wall. OH, my word, I just discovered I have NEVER shown you all of the changes around here, for that I humbly apologize!! So I'll just have to show you sneak peaks of the studio makeover today because a big part of that room is the chalkboard wall... and I mean one GINORMOUS chalkboard wall!! However first I have to show you something...something I am so incredibly tickled about. 
Do you see this bullfighter?  Pretty spectacular, right?  ha ha!  Okay, I am sure it was lovely in someone's living room back in the day but well, let's just say it doesn't exactly match our decor.  However it was HUGE and the perfect price.. $1.25.  Yes, a whole whopping $1.25!  I know my husband was just sure when I had finally lost it when I showed it too him, especially since I was gushing about how great it was.  Okay, to be fair he only raised his eyebrows at me and then shrugged his shoulders.  He KNEW it was going to be fabulous when I got done with it.  

Well this charmer came  home with me and a few coats of chalkboard paint later...
and now her she is in all her glory!

This beauty is currently gracing the wall, just above the desk right inside the front door in the living room. But she has been known to move about quite a bit... so far she has been found in dining room, propped against the wall and the bookcase in the living room, and has even spent a bit of time in the family room. I just love the ability to change things up and having a chalkboard this size to play with makes me smile!  One of these days I will have to show you my collection of chalkboards.  They range from small to room size...

here's a sneak peak of the studio chalkboard

and the beginnings of the studio.  

Its come a long way since this picture but is currently unavailable for photography. ;-)

Have a wonderful day!
(yes i accidentally deleted my earlier post... we won't discuss how that happened.)

The lamp shade rehab... twine to the rescue.

As our nights lengthen and the days become more chilly, we begin to cocoon ourselves in cozy, comfortable surroundings.  The blankets and throws make their appearances, sweaters and warm woolen socks begin to make their appearance.  However the one thing that we noticed in our home was that come nightfall it was dark.  I know you are thinking, well, duh... its dark outside, the sun has gone down.  ha ha!  I know, I know... but it wasn't the darkness outside but the darkness within the walls of our home.  Within our living room to be more specific.  A room with ZERO ceiling fixtures.  Seriously, it just leaves me scratching my head wondering why in the world this house was built with no ceiling fixtures in the living room.  So we use two table lamps and a floor lamp... met my lamp shade.

Nice shape but kinda dated looking... and stained, BADLY! and the trim at the top and bottom were peeling off.  And it had begun to smell funny.... and we couldn't figure out why!  Added the fact that when the light was turned on, well the shade cast a rather sickly golden glow.... not at all the warm cozy feeling it emitted in a photograph.

So I striped it to bare bones and recovered it... butcher's & baker's twine.  Because we know I am all about using what I have on hand. 

I simply love the texture now.  

We added an Edison bulb. 

It now blends seamlessly with our decor. 
Its just the right amount of understatement and whimsy, are wrapped up together!

(on a side note... it is best to NOT chose to sand with a palm sander in the middle of one's living room. it might, just might result in a fine layer of dust covering EVERY thing... to include the bookcases.  just saying, haha!)