Not Your Grandma’s Quilt

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Thanks to our two adoptions, I’ve ventured out of the U.S. on two occasions… Kazakhstan and Poland.  Both countries enlightened us (including our children) as to how the rest of the world lives.  Both trips got me itching for more.  I think I was born a natural gypsy.  I wouldn’t mind visiting (or even living in) a new location every year or two.  Really!

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India however, has always been at the top of my list.  I figure if we’re going to spend the money traveling abroad, it might as well be to a country that is completely and utterly different than our own. 

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There’s just something about India that intrigues me.  Maybe it’s their food which I could never muster up the effort or know-how to prepare.  I find it absolutely mouth watering.  Or maybe it’s the way the woman dress in their brightly hued saris and kurtis…always so feminine and beautiful. 

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Or perhaps the fascination originates from my admiration of their view on families.  They stay so tightly knitted together throughout multiple generations.  Whatever the case, India is on “my top places to visit before I die” lists. 

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When I received the new Sundance catalog in the mail today, I was blown away with the splendor of their new line of quilts made by rural Indian woman.  The description says it can take up to a week to craft each one.  They make it sound like that’s  a really long time.  Um, it would take me a year to even attempt the construction of one of these beauties. 

After oohing and ahhing over each and every one of them, I paused to consider what price they would fetch over in the remote villages they came from. 

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Yet another reason to make the trip!  I’d love to personally deliver the American price to the woman responsible for creating one of them. 

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I have a hunch it would support her family for a whole year or more.  For more info on these quilts, visit Sundance here.

 

All images courtesy Sundance.

Baby Tears
































Several people have asked me the name of this plant sitting on our side table.  I hadn't a clue, and the only help I could offer up was that it is very hardy.  The only thing I ever do is give it a little drink when it looks thirsty.  It's lasted over three years, and in this house, that's saying a lot.  I'll never have a gardening blog. 

Brooke from Velvet and Linen has come to the rescue!  She recently included some plants in a dining room makeover, and lo and behold, they were the same plants as mine!  Take a look:
































image courtesy: Velvet and Linen

Baby Tears is the name.  What an absolutely sweet and suitable name for a delicate plant such as this.  Knowing the name makes me love it even more.  :)  Thanks Brooke!

Harmony Within


A home is only as beautiful as the harmony within it.  I don’t know about you, but I’d prefer to live in a shack where peace abounds than in a mansion with discord. And so would our children, I’m sure of it.

Some things we try to practice here (never perfectly but always striving):

Everyone gives a cheerful "good morning" with a smile. It starts the day off right.

"A merry heart does good like a medicine."  Laugh together.  Take pleasure!

Show consideration by saying please and thank you and I’m sorry. Simple courtesies are often neglected with those closest to us.

When we are tempted to raise our voice, lower it instead. “The sweetness of lips increases learning” and “A gentle answer turns away wrath.”.  Good ones to commit to memory.  Recite as needed.  (even if it's 100 times a day!)

When someone is speaking to us, look them in the eye and give full attention. So much communication can be lost because we don’t truly listen.

Encourage praise amongst siblings… “Do you see how sweetly Caleb is playing with his sister? He is always so patient with her, don’t you think?”

But more importantly, model praise with our spouse. Little ones are watching and always learning.  From us!

And this rounds it all out: "Pleasant words are like the honeycomb, sweet to the soul and health to the bones."  And ultimately... health to our homes.


References:

Proverbs 17:22
Proverbs 16:21
Proverbs 15:1
Proverbs 16:24

The First Thing You See

One thing I always try to keep in mind while decorating is the initial impression upon entering a room. 

I was enthused at the thought of our vintage inspired hook being one of the focal points of the bathroom.  The lines provide a visual interest all on their own.

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But when those lines are covered up with a heap of hanging damp towels?  Not so much. 

The hook looks much happier in its new home here:

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I decided that bath towels will hang on the back of the door instead.  With something like this:

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Which would still allow some of the hooks to show, since there are so many of them.

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And on the wall, I played switcheroo with our enameled container.  It used to be a towel holder.

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but now serves as a sweet little flower box instead.

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A much improved first impression.

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I’m thinking a new subdued look for fall and winter is in order, but for now we’re enjoying the summery burst of colors.

Splash of French

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Our beloved wooden bench used to sit in this spot.  Charming it was, but the most uncomfortable seat in the house. 

benchIt is wooden, after all.

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I saw this French settee at an antique store and fell in love with the worn velvet and peeling paint,

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the tufted back,

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the curved arms that hug,

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and the fluffy down cushion that provides comfortable seating. 

At last!

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I love when beauty and practicality collide.

Table Talk

We just recently brought this out again for another go-around. It’s a simple concept… just a set of cards with different questions on them.

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But it gets the family talking around the table and engaging in something fun together. 

Last night’s question was “what nickname would you choose for yourself?” 

Mom: “Rie” (which *is* my nickname…for Marie)

Dad: “Barnabas” (but we didn’t believe him)

Caleb: “K K” (what his little sister calls him)

Gavin: “G-force” (what Daddy calls him)

Paris: “Pea-Pie the Po-Pum”  (what we all call her)

Haley: “Haley Blossom” (what Mommy calls her)

Evelyn: “Rosaline” (because she’s all about pretty)

Charlotte: “Charlotte” (because she didn’t quite get the question)

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And tonight’s question: “Who has the power to shape your ideas and beliefs?”

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As you can see, the questions are sometimes silly and sometimes thought provoking.   But always engaging. 

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I like how unobtrusive it looks sitting out on the counter.   We got ours from Amazon.

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On another note, I wanted to let you in on a great new blog by my favorite childhood friend, Christan.  She’s the same one who gave me the Psalms of David book I posted about here.   That’s her on the left.  This picture was taken after a morning of us turning her son’s loft bed into an army tent.  We share a love of decorating!

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We also share the same love for God, our husbands and children.  She encourages me so much in all three areas!   Everyone that knows Christan is encouraged by her in some way or another.  She just has the gift.  She now finds herself in a unique ministry, reaching out to wives and mothers all around the globe. 

She’s putting her gifts to wonderful use in her new blog:  Repurposed Heart.  I know you’ll be encouraged by her refreshing words of wisdom about the things that truly matter in this life. 

Photo Wall

For the first time, I’m doing a link-up with Lauren’s Pure Style blog.  Project #13 is all about wall hangings, and these family photos have waited way too long.  It’s been something I’ve been meaning to do and never got around to doing.  Thanks for the push Lauren!

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I’ve been wanting to take some of my favorite family photos, turn them into black and white and blow them up to 8 by 10’s. 

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I finally did it!  I got some cheap white frames and mats from the big “W”, and sent my photos to the local drugstore to be printed. 

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It took maybe an hour of my time.  And now we’ll have a lifetime to enjoy the effort.

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And yes, our piano moved once again.  See prior post about my “disease” and all will be made clear.

I have a disease

I’ve diagnosed myself.  Although this disease doesn’t have an official name.  I think it’s safe to say it’s psychological in origin. 

Symptoms are:

Frequent urge to move furniture. 
Can cause pain. 
Itch comes on suddenly, and can be intense. 
Periodic bouts of insomnia in extreme cases.
 

I’m not suffering in silence any longer.  Since starting this blog (6 months ago), I’ve changed whole rooms around multiple times.  It’s a disease, I tell you. 

This room went from this:

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To this:

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To this:

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Which came from this room and is now back exactly as it was before.

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The rotating room now holds something else entirely, and one day I’ll show you.  But for right now I’m a little too embarrassed.

:)

Handy Husband

Immediately after I saw this shelf posted on a design blog, I knew it would be the perfect thing for our hallway. 

shoe rack idea- brackets and shelves!

I emailed my husband with only the photo and a subject line of “can you make this?”

His email back: “yep”.

I love my handy husband, and also love how few words it takes to communicate affectively in our marriage.  ;)

 

(I don’t remember the blog I got this from or the source of the photo… anyone?)

Etsy Friends

My friend Allison and I go way back.  She befriended me, the new girl in town, when my biggest child was itty-bitty, and my second was inside still brewing.  She has a keen eye for all things vintagy and cool.  If I lived near Atlanta, I'd be tempted to snatch this sign up.  I like the story behind it almost as much as the sign itself.  Her little blurry boy running in front, I love even more. 



How is it that I end up with friends much hipper than myself?  Or rather, how do they end up with me?  If you are looking for unique vintage items, Allison's shop is the place to go.  Click here to visit A Flea Circus.


Next up:  Goulash





















The 5 sisters who make up Goulash are from a family of 12 children! They are excellent seamstresses, and make things like the above.  They also find fun vintage things for their shop.  And people ask me how I have the time.  I think these girls are a bit more busy.  But they make it work, Check them out!

Dual Purpose

Our youngest child (who is visually impaired) loves playing in water more than any other activity.

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She could live quite happily in a bathtub.

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Or a sink. 

Simple Meals

I’ll never have a cooking blog.  It’s just not my thing.  I’d much rather be decorating.  But one thing I’ve learned in the last 15 years of marriage is that cooking is not only a handy skill to own, but a very necessary part of life.  

I’ve worked around my defect by choosing recipes from this site.  I  look for ones that have hundreds of 5 star reviews because I figure if that many people in the world wide web like it, then it’s bound to please everyone here. 

My children like to experiment in the kitchen, and I fully intend on working myself out of a job in the cooking department.  Until that glorious day arrives, Mom’s in charge which means simple meals most of the time. 

And one of our favorites that we have almost every week is Roast Sticky Chicken.  Recipe and photo found here.

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This chicken is mouth watering.  Everyone loves it.  We cook two whole chickens.  The first day we serve it with mashed potatoes.

And the second day, we serve the shredded chicken over this:

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Yes, that's a package.  I told you I’ll never have a cooking blog.  But if you could only taste this Trader Joe’s frozen concoction of yumminess, you would see that convenience food sometimes has its place.  And in our case,  every week.  The whole family loves this meal. 

Along with our weekly chicken dishes and almost all our other dinners for that matter, we serve up our side of veggies via a fresh salad.  Usually Romaine with our favorite homemade dressing we got from here.

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 olive oil
1/4 cup pure maple syrup, agave or honey
1 tsp. dijon mustard

Simply good.  (and easy)

Weddings, Country Style

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I enjoyed planning our wedding.  I only wish we had more pictures.  The ceremony took place in the yard of a historic mansion, and provided the perfect backdrop for an outside wedding. 

wedding pic

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The luncheon tables were set in the library of the house.  The walls were filled with books.  Each table had a little tree planted in the middle.  I thought of using moss for placemats, but my mom was worried about ants.  Details. 

This is the only sad little  picture we own of our crooked topiary centerpieces (which I loved)…

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If I could have a do-over, I probably wouldn’t change all that much, except maybe go even more casual.  You know… more country, and less Renaissance.

With four girls, it’s likely one day we’ll have four weddings to plan for.  And I’m already thinking up ideas for them.  I recently came up with a really cute country-styled centerpiece idea to number the guest tables with.

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Can’t you imagine picnic tables and hay bales used for seating, draped with old quilts?  Something like this…

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Image found here.

Or this:

haybales
Image found
here.

And canning jars or galvanized pails for centerpiece wildflowers.  Numbered with a burlapped tag…

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These number tags can be used for so many other things, of course…

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But wedding tables, to me, would be the most delightful use for them. 

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You can make them yourself, or find them in my shop.  They’re my new favorite thing.

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