Thursday, May 31, 2007

Sweet and Adorable.

Look at this cutie pie! Hard to believe she'll be two years old next week.

Yes, I am still scrapping, wonder of wonders. Feels nice.

I'm going to add her weight/length stats as soon as I get them.

I dislike doing "new baby" layouts, because the hospital isn't really conducive to good light and nice photos, and for the last four kiddoes, I haven't been able to be there to get newborn pics, so I have to rely on photos that aren't mine. I hate that!

Anyway, I still need to do the baby layout for my niece Anna, who will be three this month, and re-do the layout for my niece Gianna, which I did four or five years ago and seriously dislike...and then I'll be all done with newborn photos. Sigh! I don't like newborn layouts, but I sure do like newborn babies. I wish I had one to hold and sniff (and then give back) right now!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Beach memories.

I've actually been scrapbooking for the past couple of days...I did a 8x8 album with pictures of the various beach trips we took last summer, with each of our nieces and nephews when they came to visit.

This book is so simple, it makes CM-style look complex, but I'm okay with that. I just pulled out the white inserts that came with the album and used those for my pages I'm still not happy with how my handwriting looks on a page--I like my handwriting, but I've gotten so used to "perfect" computer journaling that my handwriting just doesn't look right. Also, I always run out of room and end up with weird spacing.'s the link to a few more random pages at my Two Peas gallery page. It runs like a slideshow; just wait for a moment and the next will come up. I left out all the pages with blocks of handwriting, 'cause they look so messy!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Weekend activities.

We had a very productive day yesterday. We took off for some yard sales in the morning, and I found a white wicker stand, probably a bathroom piece, to put next to the front door. It's a little smaller than what I wanted, but the price was right, and I think it looks rather cute.

I also got the baskets with silk greenery and the two baskets on the third shelf, from various yard sales yesterday. Also a tiny ceramic bird that's sitting by the birdhouse basket.

So some of our yard tools and all the little bits that go on the various garden hoses can sit in baskets on the shelves and look nice--we really needed something nice-looking to hold all that stuff.

The other great find yesterday was an old retractable clothesline that Todd put up for me in the back yard. It fit perfectly between one of the deck railings and the closest pear tree, so when I have towels or jeans that take forever to dry in our little HE compact dryer, now I can take them outside and hang them up. It'll be great!

When we got home from yard saling, Todd tackled the front porch and the siding on the front of the house, which was dirty and mildewed, and I sat here giving him instructions:

Pretty sweet deal, eh? No, I did actually putter around while he was scrubbing...I cleaned the birdbath, moved pots around out of the way of the spray, clipped and deadheaded flowers, put out the sun tea pot, etc. But I did sit a little bit, too! The shady spot under the front maple is just perfect, don't you think?

This morning Todd put a coat of new navy blue paint on the shutters and garage door before I ever stirred out of bed, which made me feel guilty but relieved. I'm assuming the shutters at least, will need a second coat, so I may get drafted into painting duty yet. They look much better...nice and dark and unfaded.

Tonight I think Todd will be climbing up to wash the second story front, while I stand on the ground below praying he doesn't fall! He's very careful, but I'm the type that sees disaster around every corner.

Tomorrow we'll be taking a lovely morning trip to the beach...can't wait!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

The winners!

Sorry to be a little late with the giveaway drawing--we were out grabbing a bite of dinner.

Now, if my lovely assistant is ready (see the smile of impatience? He was getting ready to go fly his RC plane before dark sets in)...

...the winner of the vintage scraps package is...

...Penny H., AKA Little Pen-Pen!

And the winner of the cottage goodies package is...

...Gwen S., AKA La Tea Dah of Gracious Hospitality!

E-mails are winging their way to you lovely winners, so I can obtain your addresses and get those packages in the mail!

Thanks to everyone who entered and visited, and special thanks to Kim for conceiving the whole fun idea. I hope everyone comes on back to visit again--it's been great "meeting" you all!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Inspiration Friday.

Some of my favorite blogs do an "Inspiration Friday" with pictures of home decor ideas that have gotten their blood racing recently.

Last week, I picked up a few stacks of mags at the thrift store and spent a blissful Saturday afternoon ripping out the things I wanted to keep. Since our focus right now at our house is on the porch area, here are a few porch and deck ideas I liked:

I need something cute to put next to the front door, and this ladder is SO cute!

I don't have enough room on my narrow front porch for all this stuff, but I love the mishmash of items, and all the red. I'm afraid if I had a lot of stuff on the front porch, however, it would look less "country cute" and more "white trash chic." You have to have the right house and neighborhood to pull off that look, don't you think?

Our back deck is not detached, but we do have a large expanse of bare deck with benches around the edges. I love the way this deck looks!

And then part of our back deck is covered, with nothing much on it. I'd love to make a little room like this back there!

A couple weeks ago, I spotted a metal baker's rack at the thrift store that I thought would be perfect to put next to the front door as a combo potting shelf/display area, a lot like this. But the rack was so outrageously priced, I couldn't bring myself to buy it. Anyway, this stand is really similar to what I had in mind, though mine would be heavier on the "decor" and less utilitarian looking. I just have to find the right rack!

One day left!

Yes, one day left to sign up for the Cottage Charm Giveaway. I have two prizes to give away, in honor of my blog's two-year anniversary, so follow the link and check out the pictures, then leave a comment to be added to the drawing. Thanks to all fifty-odd of you who have signed up so far--it's been great "meeting" all of you and checking out your blogs!

If you're in the mood to sign up for some more treats, and in the mood to find some wonderful new blogs to peruse, please check the official Cottage Charm Giveaway participant list at One Woman's Cottage Life. Kim's blog is a treat in and of itself, so be sure to devote some time to reading about her home projects and great ideas.

I'll be drawing one name for each prize at 6 p.m. EST Saturday, so you still have...oh, 27 hours or so to sign up if you haven't yet. Good luck!

Thursday, May 24, 2007


So many of the other blogs I read have pictures of WIPs (Works in Progress). It makes me feel bad that I've been such a creative slug for the past few months.

But at long last I do have a WIP...this is a big printer's type tray that I picked up in Williamsburg last fall. I have just the spot for it: at the end of our upstairs hallway, which is very narrow. The end wall is only a few feet wide, and the door to my study opens right off it, so there's no clearance to put a shelf or anything with any depth on the wall, or else you'd smack into it as you turned the corner into my study.

So this is perfect. I've had it sitting here until I was ready to tackle it, and now I am. I was going to re-paint it because it's a little skeevy, but then I realized I could just line the backs of the drawers to cover up most of the skeevy, and then the rest would just look "shabby," which is merely a slightly more acceptable version of "skeevy."

I have boxes and boxes of tiny treasures from my childhood and later years, which have been on various tiny shelves over time, but have been boxed up for quite a long time as my homes got bigger and tiny treasures seemed harder to display.

So this is a great way to display some of them. I'm using pages from old books and shabby-looking scrapbook papers to line the drawers. It's a project where I sit and stare at it for a while, then add a couple things, then sit and stare at it a few hours later, and move things around. When I get it the way I want it, I'll take a picture, remove everything, hang it up, and then replace everything, using the picture as a guide.

It definitely looks like I'll be needing a few extra-tiny treasures for the many extra-tiny spaces. Those will be fun to keep an eye out for!


Todd took the afternoon off yesterday, for our anniversary, and we drove down to Portsmouth to explore a little and have dinner.

The "Old Town" area of Portsmouth is very cool...there's a small neighborhood of very old homes, and a charming downtown area that has undergone--and is still undergoing--a lot of renovation.

I have really gotten out of the habit of taking pictures when we go out and do things, so I made an extra effort to get a couple snaps yesterday.

In the background of this one, you can see ladders and drop cloths--many of the storefronts are being remodeled, and there are still quite a few sitting vacant, but the effort is definitely being put forth to bring back this downtown area, and I think it's working.

This old movie theatre is on the National Register of Historic Places, and it's so great to see it still running and doing business. The marquee is especially nice lit up at night.

Above, a close-up of the box office.

A few steps further down the street, there's an iron gate in a brick wall, and if you peep through, you can see the lovely tiny cemetery behind Trinity Episcopal Church. This is my favorite little spot in the neighborhood.

And here's the tower of Trinity Church. There are lots and lots of old gorgeous churches in Portsmouth.

Here's another shot of the Commodore from across the street.

This is our "go to" restaurant whenever we want to do something out of the ordinary: the Bier Garden. The real allure of the place: umpteen-zillion imported beers on tap, which is sadly completely lost on us, as Todd doesn't drink and I don't care for beer.

No, we go to the Bier Garden for bratwurst and soft pretzels with spicy mustard and Black Forest cake. And German potato salad and sauerkraut and red cabbage and vinegary green bean salad. Mmmmmm.....!

Our first visit there was with a batch of friends, and we sat in the covered courtyard and listened to the rain falling hard all around us, while we remained (mostly) dry and the fairy lights
twinkled along the railings. But sitting inside is nice too--the building is quite old, and the restaurant is a nest of small candlelit rooms with old brick walls.

Here's the beautiful tower of the Catholic church down the street:

The shopping was less enjoyable than expected--the one shop I particularly wanted to visit had closed since the last time I was there in January. So sad!

But we did find a garden shop that has expanded through its building, into the courtyard behind, into the building behind that, and into several buildings next door. Here's part of the courtyard:

This shop ran mostly to heavy cement urns and fountains and statuary--the kind of stuff I love, but which would look absurd in our yard. But I did find a gorgeous small cement pot with a weathered glaze, and three ceramic bird pokes.

After dinner, we went to see Spiderman 3, and enjoyed it. So it was a low-key celebration, but fun. We hope to take a Big Trip this fall for the real celebration...we just have to decide where to go. Right now the choices are northern California or rural England--which do you suggest?

We chatted at dinner about what we remember from our wedding day...the answer is--very little! I honestly don't think much about our wedding at all, and although I wanted a nice wedding, of course, even then the day itself was much less important to me than just getting married. I was more concerned about having a great marriage than having a great wedding. I still feel that way.

My main feeling about our wedding is happiness that we were surrounded by all the people who cared about us, and that so many of them pitched in to help make it a great day. My mother and father and aunts and grandmothers created the meal and helped get it all set mother made my dress and the bridesmaids' mother-in-law baked a fabulous wedding pastor kept us calm and sister-in-law played her flute beautifully during the ceremony...all our friends were there, and my friend Bev braved a broken ankle and hopped down the aisle with ribbons on her crutch as my really was a time when we were supported and helped by everyone who loved us, and I can't think of a better way to start a marriage!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


I had to flip through my box of wedding snapshots to find this one...maybe I should have them reprinted before film becomes completely obsolete! It might be nice to do a wedding album someday, too...ah well. Maybe for the twentieth!

And how young do
we look? Yikes! 22 (him) and 21 (me) in case anyone wonders.

In fifteen years' time, we have lived in four states, six apartments/rentals, and two houses. We've acquired four siblings-in-law, two nephews, and six nieces. We have traveled and we've sat on the couch and watched movies. We have gained weight and lost hair--and what's left is turning grey. We are different from the couple who walked down the aisle on that beautiful May morning. Thankfully, the basics have stayed the same: we still love to talk and laugh together; we still get excited when the other person comes home.

I was listening to my John Denver album last week (hey, I never said I was cool) and heard these lyrics: "The kisses that I live for, the love that lights my way, the happiness that living with you brings's the sweetest thing I know of, just spending time with you." That sums up the past fifteen years better than anything I can think of...I love you, sweetie!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Another tiny bouquet from the garden, arranged in a mini teacup I've had since I was a child. I'm addicted to tiny bouquets! And now that I have a few more things blooming besides the Johnny jump-ups, I can make slightly more complex, but still tiny, bouquets. This has summer snapdragon, pansies, tiny petunias, pinks, and some lemon verbena and vinca way in the back.

I know where the addiction comes from, too--my aunt Molly and my mother. My aunt Molly has always had a gorgeous cutting garden, and would often bring lovely bouquets to summer birthdays and celebrations. And my mother, who is also a terrific gardener, loves all things tiny. Every time I ooh and aah over a tiny flower or bouquet, I can hear her in my head oohing and aahing right along with me.

While I was out snipping, I took a picture of my stone turtle, who is slowly but surely being obscured by a blanket of gorgeous thyme:

And I'm giddy with excitement about this development (hint, look at the bottom left):

Yes, it's my lavender, getting ready to bloom! It didn't bloom at all last summer, so I've been waiting eagerly to see if it would bloom this summer. I planted another variety, with silvery leaves, that doesn't seem ready to put out blooms yet, but at least this one will! Can't wait!

Hopping off the treadmill.

I got my last published piece back today, along with a couple complimentary copies of Paper Crafts' You Go, Girl!--their latest idea book.

I have a small "BFF" frame on page 143, with my favorite picture ever of my nieces Gianna and Evelyn. Check it out if you happen to see it!

This is the first time in...I guess maybe five years?...that I haven't had any projects whatsoever pending publication. I haven't submitted anything since last summer, and now I have nothing to look forward to seeing in print.

It's sort of sad, I guess...I do miss getting the checks and seeing my work in a magazine. But doing the work on spec, with no idea what would get picked up, if anything, and needing to use "latest/greatest" products on every project--well, it does get old. You tend to forget how wonderful it is to pick up absolutely anything you want to use and make something "just for you" with it.

I've let my scrapbook resume lapse, and although I still get most of the e-mail submission calls, I'm just not feeling the urge. I'm trying to be okay with that. I had a lot of ego bound up in publishing and teaching, and without that, my ego is sort of running around like a lost puppy! But it just doesn't feel like the time is right to pursue "scrapbooking as career" anymore. (How many more "quotes" can I use?) I've been burned out for a long time and just kept trying to push past it, which just made me more burned out. It's silly to do that.

But I never say never, so maybe someday I'll hop back on the treadmill and start submitting again. For now, it's nice to do other stuff.

Monday, May 21, 2007

My Meez.

All the rage at Two Peas...create your own Meez:

Minus glasses and about a hundred pounds, she actually does look sort of like me! I almost went with the "reading a book" animation, but this one was just so happy and also true to life.
I updated Nose in a Book last night.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Saturday, May 19, 2007

An auction adventure.

So I had a very interesting auction experience last night...we went to an estate sale in a community center up the road. Lots of gorgeous old oak furniture in excellent shape. We were semi-interested in one of the beds, and I had spotted a few other things that looked interesting, so we stuck around. There were not many buyers there, and the people running the auction seemed fairly clueless. Turns out it was their first one ever!

Stuff started selling, and it was absolutely going nowhere. I had seen this darling set of dishes from maybe the mid-sixties--it was pale blue-green with a silver edging and three sketched daisies set off on the side. Six place settings, cups, saucers, a darling teapot, serving dishes, and it looked like none of it had ever been used. It wasn't exactly my style--or era--but it was so CUTE!

So when the auctioneer got an opening bid of five dollars on it, and nobody else was bidding, I bid ten dollars and got the whole set.

Then this fever kind of took over me, because so much of the stuff was going so cheap, and I just kept bidding on odds and ends. Got some pictures, a huge weird print that Todd dislikes, a collection of ceramic tchochkes (why?)--oh, just a bunch of stuff that I probably would never have bid on but for the fact that for once in my auctioning life, there was almost no competition! The dealers there mostly wanted the furniture.

About halfway through, one of the dealers came up and asked me if I'd be willing to sell him the set of dishes. I told him to check with me at the end of the auction, because he was buying tons of furniture, and we thought that we might be able to cut a deal with him if he bought the bed we were interested in.

I kept thinking about the dishes--I had nowhere to put them, they didn't really go with anything I owned, but I wanted them because they were so pretty and shiny. I thought if nothing else, I could put them in a box and hold onto them for another ten years and sell them when mid-sixties china hits its peak as it's sure to do.

The dealer didn't end up getting the bed we wanted, and the bedroom set with the bed sold for $750, so we certainly didn't get it. And I just kept buying ridiculous stuff.

At the end of it all, the dealer's wife came up to me and asked me what I'd take for the set of dishes. She said she wanted them for herself, not to re-sell. We agreed to $75. She was thrilled, and I didn't have to figure out what to do with those lovely dishes.

The total for all the crap I bought came to $70. So I made $5 on the deal!

Then I went home and weeded my boxes of crap down to a small handful of stuff that I actually wanted to hang onto. I honestly don't know what possessed me, but I have to say...if you're going to lose your mind at an auction, it sure helps if you buy something you can re-sell to cover your madness!

I ended up keeping a wicker chair, several very old photos in frames, an old print, a huge weird old 1950's print that I may just get rid of, an ironstone tureen, a floral china platter, three blue willow china cups, and a couple embroidered pillowcases. A ridiculously small haul for $70.

Now I have three boxes to take to the charity store. And a lesson learned about auction madness.

Thursday, May 17, 2007


What do you think I should make with the fabric I found at the thrift store yesterday? There's not much of it, just two pieces maybe 16 or 18" wide and 45" long, but it's enough to do something. I think I need a cute swing for the front porch, and then I could make cushions for it with this.

Y'all, my wonderful new upholstered Chairy still stinks. I mean, it STINKS. Like chemicals and damp. I've had the windows open and the ceiling fan running for days to try and air it out, I've taken the cushions and set them in the sun for the afternoon, and I've tried Febreeze, which, if anything, made it stink worse (chemicals reacting with chemicals?)! I'm ready to call Bassett and complain, but I wondered if there were any other remedies I should try. I don't know, maybe my nose is just too sensitive. To think I could have just gone with a thrift store chair if I wanted something stinky--!

Thanks to everybody who has signed up for the Cottage Giveaway, which I can't link to apparently, but which is below if you scroll down a little. I'm finding so many new great blogs to read--what a pleasant bonus!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

It's not easy being green...

What color are you? Why is there never a "rainbow" option? 'Cause I like them all!


You are a very calm and contemplative person. Others are drawn to your peaceful, nurturing nature.

Find out your color at!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Mixed feelings.

So I saw that Jerry Falwell passed away today. Talk about mixed feelings.

Mr. Falwell was a highly-regarded figure at the Christian school I attended in the mid-1980s. He may have been the first person who made me realize, as a teenager, that there were going to be people in the world identifying themselves as "Christian" who see that title far, far differently than I do.

Or it may have been Pat Robertson who made me realize that. At any rate, people like Falwell, or Robertson, cause me lots of brain strain as I try to wrap my mind around the gospel they preach, the politics they practice, and the good they do (they do do some good, right? right?) and how all of that fits in the same box called "Christianity" that I store my beliefs in.

So here's what I wish for Mr. Falwell: that when he woke up in heaven this afternoon, his mind was blown by the hugeness of God--the amazing loving Presence that is far, far, FAR beyond any label or creed or rule that we tiny humans try to box God up in. I hope his soul was opened so wide that the wind of God's love scoured it right down to bare earth, and will blow through it forever and ever.

Because that's what I hope for myself when I wake up in heaven.

More links.

I've updated my "favorite blogs" list over on the side, alphabetizing and adding a few more I enjoy. Check them out if you're in need of inspirations or smiles!

I'm also heading over to update my book blog right now!

Monday, May 14, 2007


I've added a few recipes to my long-neglected recipe blog the past couple days--check it out!

Fresh Sweet Corn

Monday stuff.

I came downstairs and pulled up the living room blinds this morning, and who should be looking right at me from one of my hanging baskets?

Can you see Mama (or Papa?) Mourning Dove?

There were two birds in the pot, but by the time I got the camera, only one had its head up.

I had to water my pots, though, and although they sat and watched me water the other two,
when I started to tip the pitcher toward their pot, they took off, twittering in a very irritated fashion. I don't know if they had started to lay eggs or not, but they may not come back now that I've interfered.

I feel bad, but bird nests in my hanging pots really skeeve me out. I don't want baby birds anywhere that close to me or my front porch. Baby birds are the creepiest things I can think of. That's why I'll be making Todd check the pot for a nest tonight--if there are baby birds in there, I don't want to see!

Speaking of creepy--yesterday we took a drive out into the country west of Suffolk to search out some antique stores one of Todd's co-workers told him were out there. It was not a fruitful trip! Toward the end of the day, Todd dubbed these places "shacks of crap," which is both succinct and accurate. I never thought of myself as an especially fastidious person, but the shops along the way were some of the filthiest, scariest shacks I've ever seen.

Picture a cheap outbuilding erected in, oh, 1929, with several extra rooms tacked on over the years but otherwise left completely untouched. Now fill that shack wall-to-wall with every sort of old crap you can think of, and let it just moulder in the dirt and damp.
Now, attach price tags more fitting with the upscaliest of upscale boutiques. Hire yourself a couple old guys in seed caps to run it, and you, too, can do business in rural Virginia. You can sell boiled peanuts if you need to actually keep a money-making item on hand.

I wish I was exaggerating, but sadly, I'm not. The last place we stopped actually replaced the Jefferson Ave. flea market at the top of my list as the nastiest place I've ever set foot in.

And speaking of the Jeff Ave. flea market, guess where our first stop was on our way out of town? Todd stops by here every Sunday morning in search of old tools and cheap DVDs, but I'd never returned after my first trip last fall.

I actually found something interesting this time, though.

This tole tray is enormous--I'm actually not sure what I'm going to do with it--but it was five bucks! I saw five or six tole trays later in our "shack of crap" tour that were selling for $50-80.

I also got a 1941 Webster's children's dictionary that has some great illustration plates...I'll try to scan and share some later this week.

I'm feeling frustrated because after days of babying my right shoulder, I yanked my left shoulder blade out of whack this morning trying to unzip the side pocket in my yoga pants, of all the dumb things. So my afternoon task of sanding, priming and painting my table is going undone after a couple abortive tries. It's extremely frustrating. So I need to tackle a few things on my to-do list that don't require arm movement. Hmmm...

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day!

I sang the praises of my terrific mother-in-law last week, so let me give equal time to my own mom today and tell why I'm grateful she's my mom.

My mom is one of the kindest, most empathetic people you'll ever meet. She has the ability to put herself into another person's shoes and really feel what they're feeling. I wish I could be half as kind as she is.

She is also wonderful at making people, especially little people, feel special. We always had awesome homemade birthday cakes and fun little treats at the holidays. She's great at coming up with just the right special little touch to make a day or an event feel important, even if it's just a plain old day.

Plus, she lugged me and all my books back and forth to the library for years, and didn't get too
mad about the overdue fines. She made all my clothes when I was small, and sometimes made my dolls matching outfits. And she makes the best potato soup and crescent rolls in the world.

Those are just a tiny handful of reasons why I'm grateful she's my mom! I love you, Mom--hope you're having a happy day!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Give it away, give it away, give it away, give it away, now...

My first giveaway ever, and very overdue! Kim at One Woman's Cottage Life has set May 26th as "Cottage Charm Giveaway Day" and each participating blog will be giving away a wonderful prize on that day.

This dovetails quite nicely with the second anniversary of my blog, and since I was thinking about doing a giveaway to celebrate, I decided to hop in on this and have fun with all the bloggers who are playing along!

In honor of anniversary #2, I'll be giving away two prizes. The first prize is a general fun cottagey selection, photographed on my lovely taupe carpeted floor for extra appeal:

Included in this prize are: six cards handstamped by me in shades of pink, green, and purple (envelopes included); a small notebook altered into a garden journal, again by yours truly; a packet of forget-me-not seeds (my very favorite flower to grow); Yardley Aloe and Cucumber soap (smells fresh and springtimey); about two feet of pink gingham wired ribbon; and two cute matching floral saucers from a friendly neighborhood garage sale.

Prize number two is for scrappers, paper crafters, or just lovers of ephemera.

Tucked into a small portfolio hand stamped by me are: six handmade cards in vintage colors (envelopes included); assorted pages from a vintage cookbook, an old spelling book, and an old French grammar book (these babies are OLD!); five vintage bingo cards; two pages of vintagey-looking labels; two faux antique advertising stickers; and a collage page of typewriter keys. Oh, and a paper clip with a tiny butterfly on top.

So what do you have to do to win a wonderful prize?

Simply comment on this post! Please provide your e-mail address if you don't have a blog, or if you don't have e-mail access through your blog--and specify whether you want your name entered in the drawing for one set or the other, or both. That way if you're not a scrapper, you don't have to worry about winning the paper prize, for instance. I'll be happy to enter you in the drawings for both prizes, though, if you like them both.

But wait! There's more!

For each comment you leave on this blog on any post I write between today (Saturday, May 12th) and Friday, May 25th, I will put another entry for you into the pile. So if you leave three comments on three future posts, you will have your name put into the drawing three times. On May 26th, I'll draw the names and notify the winners via e-mail.

I think that covers it, but if you have any questions, post them in the comments. I'm excited--I hope you are, too!

Be sure to check Kim's blog at the above links for the full list of bloggers participating--there are some wonderful blogs to discover, and some great prizes to win.

How does your garden grow?

Finally, some garden pictures!

So we planted five bushes last spring, that were castoffs from some friends of ours who were trying to "de-bush" while we were trying to "re-bush." Three boxwoods went across the front, what I believe is a pyracantha (?) went by the mailbox, and then we had this bush left over that I had Todd and my brother stick in the small square bed between the front steps and the driveway.

The bush is a menace--not knowing what it actually is, I just named it the "sticker bush," because each of its innocent looking oval leaves has a vicious barb on the tip. Since I couldn't really get in around it, the whole bed just became overgrown with weeds.

So I had Todd yank it out last week. Then I had to decide what to do with the little bed. Todd had brought home a bunch of oddly-shaped brick pavers from a garage sale a few weeks ago to make a pad for the garbage and recycling bins to sit on, and he had a bunch left over. Not enough to brick over the whole bed, but--and this is why I love having my mother-in-law around with her brilliant ideas--enough to make a little pad in the middle of the bed to hold some potted plants, with room around the edges to plant some little odds and ends that would grow up over the bricks and maybe make them look like they'd always been there.

Since I love it before-and-after shots, here's the "before" of the corner bed, right after we planted the bush there last March. Just picture the bush bigger and the bed weedier to get an idea of what it was like last week!:

And here's the "after":

You can incidentally see what we've wrought in front of the house too, where there was once a pile of dirt and grass. Makes me feel proud!

A better view of the brick pad itself:

Here's the birdbath Todd bought me for an anniversary present a few years ago. There was a huge bunch of ugly blue bachelor's buttons obscuring the view, and Viv very nicely yanked them out and divided them up and put them elsewhere, so I could plant smaller things in front. (I was surprised last year at how...BIG...some of the perennials got. And I don't think I've learned my lesson this year, either!):

Any hopes I may have had that my stone bunnies would scare away the real bunnies were dashed when I saw what they've been doing to my purple basil the past few nights. I like bunnies, but I LOVE my purple basil--time to do battle!

Most everything is growing along very happily, apart from bunny damage. A few items are out of the path of the sprinkler hose, so I have to keep an eye on those and make sure they don't keel over, but the babies from last year are growing up nicely, and this year's babies will be taking over before I know it. It's fun to imagine what the bed will look like by the end of the summer.

The happy little garden gnome thanks you for visiting his garden!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Janelle needs...

This is too stupid and fun a pastime not to share, although everyone's probably seen it on other blogs by now. I just spotted it tonight. You go to Google and type "[yourname] needs" and copy the first ten sentences that sound right or are funny. My list is greatly aided by the fact that there is/was (?) a person named Janelle on the show Big Brother who apparently spawned a lot of Internet discussions. And I even found some blogs from other Janelles who've done the same little game thingy. Weird to think of other Janelles out there, using my name all willynilly.

Janelle needs to win. Janelle needs to take one for the team. (sounds ominous)

janelle needs a liiiifffeee!

Janelle needs an investment banker so that way she won't have to steal what she wants. (that's what I tried to tell the judge, but he wouldn't listen!)

Janelle needs a perm. (not ever again in this lifetime)

Janelle Needs To Keep Her Buxom Level Down (I would if the insurance would pay for it!)

Janelle needs new panties. (true dat, but I'm in denial over the necessary size increase)

Janelle needs to start participating. Soon. By tomorrow... or else.! (no thanks, I'll just sit over here and smile pretty.)

Janelle needs some better allies. (totally)

Janelle needs to face up to either choosing Kevin or a child if she wishes to have her marriage restored to what it was when they said I do. (ummm...? Yikes!)

Janelle needs to go - the sooner the better. (yep, it's late and I am off to look at magazines in bed!)

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


Well, we have been busy, busy, busy around here for the last week or so. I asked my mother-in-law to come down and help me whip my flowerbeds into shape, and she very, very kindly obliged me--driving nine hours from Ohio all by herself and letting me work her like a slave for five days. What a blessing!

We gardened for the first three days she was here, and did a world of good, but I don't have any photos just yet, as it's sprinkling just enough to be annoying and get the camera lens wet. And every time I thought about snapping some pics while we were working, my hands and feet were caked with mud, which made going for the camera problematic.

The past two days, we turned our attention to the curtain situation in my study, and came up with a couple of tab-top curtains, plus a cover for my thrifted ottoman, and I'm so happy with how they came out:

The camera flash blew my lovely teal walls into a horrible bright blue, but please ignore that and admire my new pretties!

I attached the tabs with a motley collection of old buttons I had around:

These curtains were directly inspired by the door curtains posted at Daisy Cottage, one of my very favorite home decor blogs. I was trying to find a red check, but ended up with a yellow check, and thus recreated her curtains even more closely than I'd intended. So I figured I'd go all the way and include the red rickrack at the bottoms, too. On the window curtain, the length is eked out with some red material and the rickrack runs along where the red and yellow fabric meet. We did the same thing on the ottoman, and used a floral I picked out for my living room curtain on the top, since it went quite well with the study curtain fabrics, even though I bought them about two years apart. I guess I just can't get away from muted red and green and yellow no matter how hard I try!

Anyway, Viv sewed and I pressed hems and seams, as I can't sew worth a lick. And it all came out wonderfully.

Tomorrow, a few garden pics, if the sun shines.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Happy May Day!

If there's anything more fun than picking flowers and making tiny bouquets, I don't know what it could be. I have a bunch of tiny bottles, blue, green and clear, gleaned from various yard sales, and I line them up on my kitchen window sill and put a blossom or two in each.

This bouquet gets the special spot by my computer, though (at which I spend far more time than at the kitchen sink) because it has my very first rose of the year, plus a sprig of summer snapdragon, which is a perennial I planted today, plus a purple flower that I planted last year and have no memory of what it's called. The purple really clashes against the peachy-pink of the rose, though--I love it.

And the rose smells wonderful, which adds to my enjoyment as I sit at my computer desk.

I never hear people talk about the mysteries of buying a home and trying to figure out the plants that come with it. Our home's first owner was a guy who planted a few shrubs and odds and ends of flowers, the second brief owners did their utmost to decimate every shrub out front, and then I came along...trying to replenish the previous owners' destruction, and also to figure out the odds and ends the first owner left behind.

The rose, for instance--I'm sure it's some sort of hybrid tea, but I have no idea what. Next to it in the bed is a miniature rose that has had every pretty red sprig of new growth chomped off by the bunnies. Again, I have no clue what it is. Mysterious bulbs were unearthed when we put in the front boxwoods--calla lilies that refused to sprout again in the spots we moved them to. A tree is rising in the side beds that looks like nothing I've ever seen before, and there are several other mysterious stumps that are putting out sprouts after being chopped down two summers ago. And I found a bulb down by the creek happily sprouting white flowers of a type I've never seen before. How did it get there in the woods?

These little mysteries are what keeps life on the ridge interesting.