Wednesday, February 27, 2013

What's Goin' On...

Outside my window: Still dark at 5:30 a.m. It's going to be another cold day---only a high of 45.

I am thinking: How much I have to do before heading out on Thursday for our Eads girls weekend. The Eads #1 girls come from St. Louis and us from Nashville. We meet in the middle at Kentucky lake. We'll scrapbook, stitch, do a lot of talking and laughing, plenty of drinking and eating. It's something we all look forward to every year. 

I am thankful for: That I got my closet cleaned out. It's so nice to walk in there now. Plus, I discovered all kinds of new clothes that I forgot I had!

From the kitchen: Getting ready to make chocolate chip cookies for the weekend. Plus, pasta salad, cranberry orange muffins (Sandy's recipe), bacon wrapped crackers and pimento cheese. 

I am wearing: Still in my robe.

I am hoping: to get all the things done on my "to do" list so I can kick back and stitch tonight. Karolyn and I are on the second day of a 2-day workshop. The project is a lot of fun. I'll post photos later. Right off, I got "in trouble" for cutting one of my fibers wrong. 

I am reading: The Paris Wife. Still lovin' it. Ernest Hemingway and his wife lived such a bohemian life within an artist community that included Gertrude Stein, James Joyce and Scott Fitzgerald (they don't mention the "F"yet).

I am busy creating: Here's a little something that I did in preparation for this weekend and next. Stephanie is having some friends over for an Easter craft. 
I love old wooden spools. I basically copied what I did for Valentines day, except substituted eggs for the hearts. The charms are little bunnies, eggs and chicks. I think the girls are going to love it. I got the eggs at Michaels for $1.00---5 on the stem. Hot glue them in to the top of the spool. Tie up with cute ribbon. Add ribbon around the spool, pin on charm. Voila! The Eads' girls are going to do it this weekend too.

I'm bummed: I hate the fact that the news media here in Nashville always choose to interview the people with the least amount of teeth and that can't put three words together in proper English. I promise---EVERYONE I know have teeth and can speak properly. All southerners are NOT illiterate hicks! 

I am hearing: The local news on tv. Good Morning America won't start for another hour. The big story is about the first Pope since the middle ages to step down. Tomorrow is Pope Benedict's last day.

Around the house and garden: I'm finally happy to unveil our newest project. I make that sound like we did the work. We didn't. I saw a picture online and emailed Christy. I simply said: "This moulding, I want it. Call me." She made it happen!! 
I had the moulding put on every plain surface. It looks really nice. Of course, that called for re-painting. I love white wood! Notice the old window hanging on the wall? When I first put that up about 8 or 9 years ago, my brother said, "what's up with the old window?" Sometimes, guys just don't "get it."

In other news: Connie and I have started a new "freezer club" with a couple of gals from our book club. We're starting small to see how it works. Then we might add a few more people. Basically, you double a recipe, divide it by 4, put it in freezer containers and then trade. We each have 4 frozen meals to use some time during the month. Right now, it sounds pretty easy and fun. I'll let you know how it goes. It may become another obligation with a deadline. At least it sounds good for now.

One of my favorite things right now: 
I got these for Christmas. I always said that my feet start freezing about the end of September and don't thaw out until May. I used these for the first time the other day. You put them in the microwave. I did it right before my reading/nap time. I put them on, then leaned back in the recliner. My "ahhhh" quickly went to "oooohhhhh!" I got them a little too hot. I had a hard time getting them off fast. I was all tangled up in the chair and afghan. Luckily, no permanent damage. Now I know to "cook" them for s shorter time. Apparently, 90 seconds is too long.

I appreciate I got notification that someone posted a photo on Butch's tree. It's a lousy picture---it was really tiny and I couldn't blow it up. It's of his great-great grandfather. We didn't have any pictures of him. I've emailed the person who posted it and asked them to email it to me, but so far, I haven't heard anything.

I remember - how much I loved my friend's regular hair! She's much too young for grey. I'm glad she went back!
I forget -how much I love babies until I'm around one. They all like me. Who wouldn't? I always do such goofy stuff.

I regret -that I misunderstood how much this needlepoint workshop really cost!! It was a shock.

How the weekend is shaping up: Packing tonight and loading the car. Steph is going to pick up my car tomorrow morning before work. Butch will take me to bridge and Steph will pick me up. After a brief stop at Bread & Company, we'll be on the road! Mindy won't get home until Friday night from Chattanooga. Butch is going to drive her to meet us so we'll only have one car. Isn't that sweet? He's going to make a 4 hour--round trip drive---just so we can all ride home together. He falls under the "I appreciate" category!

One last thing. A shout out to my sister, Jennifer. She won't let me post what it's about, but I have to say I am so proud of her. She doesn't understand the internet and social media and is leery of it. She probably won't like that I'm posting this picture. But, oh well....
She's the one standing in the rear next to my brother. Congrats, girlie!!

A final note---I got the layouts from A Year of Memories posted today. Click on the AYM link on the right to see them.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Operation Organization

Well, how did you do this week? Connie told me that although she didn't do her closet, she did do all the cabinets in her breakfast room. She needs to send me pictures so I can share them!

I got my closet done, pretty much hated all 4 hours!! I tried on EVERYTHING! I have gotten rid of soooo much stuff! Here are the results:
 Remember all the pashminas and scarves?
 Here are all the scarves lined up along the tub. There were 26 of them. I got rid of 7. At least it's something.
And the pashminas---25 of them. I got rid of 10 of them. I had to keep the cashmere one I bought Scotland and the cashmere one I bought in England. I had to keep the one Butch bought me in Jerusalem when I forgot mine in the hotel room. They are just the thing to warm me up. Plus, they fold up so nice and small for my purse.
Here's the before. The pashminas are on the second shelf from the bottom on the left.
Now here is that same shelf. The pashminas are in the same spot, but just two neat rows. I also got rid of a ton of sweaters and tee shirts.

Here's the before of my jackets and shoes.
Here's the "after." See all those empty hangers?
The "before."
The "after" all neated up!
 I came across this needlepoint belt I made for myself in the 1980's. I can't get rid of it. Besides, who would ever be able to use it with my initials?
I put the glasses in the middle so you can see how small my waist was at one time. Chances are, I will never be able to wear it again. So why am I hanging on to it? I don't know. I just can't let it go. A girl
can always hope.

Your next assignment:
The dining room. Clean out your china cabinet, drawers and buffet. Now might be the time to pass on something to a relative or friend. There are probably many things you don't use. Unless there is some great sentimental value, let it go. You'll be happy you did!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Downton Abbey

Everyone knows I'm hooked on Downton Abbey. Well, this came across my Facebook page and I just had to share it here. Enjoy!!

So after that, I spent wasted an hour just looking up things about Downton Abbey. I am truly obsessed! Here's just one more and then I'll quit. Sorry about those pesky commercials. At least they're short.

I'm ready to start Season 3, so don't tell me anything. The other night, Connie, Nancy and I went to the theater. Nancy said, "How did you feel when Robert died?" I about freaked out. She insisted she's kidding and had fun at my expense, but now I'm not so sure. I'm trying to be careful so as not to discover anything until I see the episodes, but I think I saw something---rather quickly---but you can't "unsee" or I should say "unread" something you saw. I hope it's not true. That's all I'm going to say. I don't want to ruin anything for anybody else.

Have a good Sunday. I'll still be working on my closet---but I'll get it done! For sure.

On the "Cropping" Block

Here are a few of the layouts I did on my scrapbook retreat two weeks ago. Not as many as I usually get done, but between all the talking, visiting around the room, drinking and my class, I didn't have as much time!
 Finishing up my ABC album---the last layout is almost finished (remember, I did two ABC albums in 2012)

 On this page about Mitchell, I had a little survey that he answered when he was about 10 or 11. It was about all his favorite things.
The journaling here was simple. "I love to call you "E." I'm not sure your parents like it, but it's just a little something between the two of us!"
 This layout about Jordan opens up on the right side to reveal her mess of a room and a little story about a bird she saw when she was little.

I just now realized that I posted Victoria's age as twelve on the far right photo. She's actually 11. I just think of 6th graders as being 12. 
I have another AYM groups going that has just started the ABC album this year. So, of course, I'm doing another one! The think I like about these types of albums is that it is a random assortment of things. It's a mystery with each turn of the page! Try it!
"My Private Secretary" is one of my favorites. When we were visiting Kalamazoo in 2011, in November, Elizabeth wanted to put in her "food" requests for Christmas. I told her that she better write it down, or I would never remember. I had to spell each thing for her---it was ALL sweets!
This is my current layout for AYM/2013 "By the Numbers." The challenge this month (for February) was to use the number 2. If you saw my "yoyo" tutorial on the AYM blog, then you can see how I used them here. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

What's Happenin'

Outside my window: Cheery sunny morning to start. Supposed to rain later. Cold.

I am thinking: How much I have to do in the next couple of weeks leading up to the Cajun dinner we're hosting with the Broussards. For years, we offered this as a fund raiser. This year, the bid went to $800 for our Church. We planned the menu last week on our ski trip: BBQ Shrimp, Corn and Crab Chowder, sorbet to cleanse the palate, Crawfish Etouffe, Shrimp and Eggplant casserole, Banana Crepes Flambe. We'll get together to do the food. I had Mindy pick up some mini Tobasco bottles in NOLA last week to use for the men's table favors. For the women, we're making pralines. Plus, we give them a cookbook of all the recipes we serve. That's my job. I better get on it this weekend. I'm no kind of book publisher, so it takes me awhile to get everything aligned. I'm thinking there's probably an easy way to do it on my Mac---like choose the "brochure" setting. We'll see.

I am thankful for: My health as I continue to remain prednisone free.

From the kitchen: Having Butch cook once a week has "taken." He's actually doing a lot more than that. He's making me breakfast as I type. Maybe I just needed to ask years ago.

I am wearing: Still in my robe.

I am hoping: to get that closet cleaned out---it's hanging over my head. I'm procrastinating. Dreading it. This is what I'm dealing with. 

I am reading: The Paris Wife. It's told in the voice of Ernest Hemingway's wife. She was from St. Louis and was 9 years older than him. I didn't know that. Really good. Really.

I am busy creating: I've actually accomplished a lot this week. I unpacked from my retreat 2 weeks ago. Planned two classes, put kits together, finished a layout for AYM, finished the Easter craft for Stephanie, Mindy and friends, and started my new project: The History Project by Keri Bradford. I'm all about telling our stories---so passionate to the point of being fanatical. Each week you are assigned a topic. You simply tell the story. No huge scrapbook responsibility. A buck a week. Worth it.

I'm bummed: I decided to add this new category because I'm always "bummed" about something. This week, it's because while I was at the theater last night, Butch had some people here for a meeting. One of them wanted to see my scrapbook room. Of course, after listing all of the above that I did this week, you can imagine how it looks. I'm bummed. It's not like this person will ever see it again in it's proper light. On second thought, I guess the chaos is the proper light. Still, I'm bummed. I guess I'll forgive him. After all, he just served me breakfast here in the living room---scrambled eggs, sausage and toast. Plus, he refreshed my tea. I guess I'm not quite so "bummed" after all.

I am hearing: Sarah Brightman singing "Time to Say Goodbye."  Love her.

Around the house and garden: Getting new cocoa liners for my planters around the pool. My garden girl emailed me yesterday after I called her about a bill. I guess she's afraid to spend a cent without my approval now. She's always had carte blanche. I tell her what I want, she makes it happen. Love that. 

Also something fun happening around the house too. More on that later.

In other news: We're going back to England in 2014!!! I'm so excited. Highclere Castle and Hampton Court on the itinerary for sure! The Potters invited us. Can't wait.

One of my favorite things right now: Skipping my workout for the comfort of the living room, hanging with my computer, tea and fire. I'm ashamed to admit that. I've got to come up with a plan to figure out how I can do this and still get the exercise in. I'm just the type that HAS to work out first thing if it's going to happen. But I don't want to. I was doing great---back in to a good routine. But then, I was gone for two weeks. Hard to get back to it. Hard. Really hard.

I appreciate - a husband that continues to work so diligently in retirement---just for the family's enjoyment. At least now he does what he loves. No stress. Keeps him busy.
I remember - how agile I used to be after seeing Traces last night. Need to get back there. It falls in with "one of my favorite things right now." I'm the only one that can make it happen. Help me Louis Zamparini! He's the one that got me through my hive episodes. If you haven't read Unbroken---you MUST!! A solid 10!
I forget - more than I remember. Right now, I have a feeling I'm forgetting something important. Something elusive---hanging just on the edge of my brain. I hope it comes to me soon---before it's too late.
I regret - that I can be so darn lazy---even when I'm not really lazy at all.
How the weekend is shaping up: Butch leaves for Dayton today. I'm planning to get a lot of work done. But there are a few fun things to look forward to. I'm having lunch with a friend I haven't seen in a year. Then it's happy hour with the "kids" and a dinner celebration for Steph's new promotion (actually, she got the promo last year, but finally got the title last week.) Way to go Steph!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Few More Things...

This is just one shot of my scrapbook room. If you've ever seen the magazine "Where Women Create" then my "junky" room would fit right in.
We won't get to this room for another month or so during our Operation Organization. The little dresses are Mindy's from when she was a baby. The layouts are waiting to be put in to albums. I have a pretty strict rule that when it reaches a twelve inch stack, then I stop and put them in to albums.
When I organize a scrapbook room for other people, this is the one thing everyone loves. I always make a journaling basket. It's an easy "go to" place without having to hunt all over for just the right journaling card.
This is a 7 Gypsies library tray holding photos I plan to scrapbook some time. These are the photos that will go in to my layout planning binder when I'm ready for them.
 Jordan, Morgan and I spent the day together on Monday. We started with manicures, then lunch at Cheeseburger Charley's. After, we went to the movie---Identity Theft with Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy. It was really good and funny. It was so nice being with them. I love those girls!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Few Random Things

A couple weeks ago, Butch came home and told me that he was involved in a flash mob. Right away, I was jealous because that's #1 on my bucket list---either see one in person or be in one. I'll take it either way. Sooo, I posted this photo on Facebook. The pose that they are doing is called "phooning." Butch is in the middle. Sometimes I can be such an idiot. This time, Butch caused me to be an idiot by saying he was involved with a flash mob. Mindy responded and said, "Mom, this isn't a flash mob, it's just a picture!" Duhhh, of course it's just a picture. I know a flash mob is a video. I just wasn't thinking. Like I said, idiot. Still, I think it's pretty cute. It's taken on the quad of Peabody---part of Vanderbilt University.
 Here it is, the view from Mindy's condo---our big snow in Nashville for the year. About an inch. Pretty much nothing. Still pretty.
I got this cute thank you note from my brother for his 60th birthday gift. I was pretty impressed as I didn't expect a note. I don't think he's ever written me a note in his life. Anyway, when I opened it up, I saw this.
Just like a little kid would do---he turned it the wrong way when he wrote it. I snorted out loud when I saw it! He's so cute. I love him.
Mindy was in NOLA (short for New Orleans, LA) for Mardi Gras. Technically, it lasts all month, but the last weekend before Ash Wednesday is the "biggie." Many of her friends met her there. This is Rachel who lives and works in Texas.
 She said this was her big score this year---a hand decorated toilet bowl brush and the miniature toilet. Her headpiece was actually made by a woman in Nashville.

The crowds. I said that I NEVER wanted to go to NOLA for Mardi Gras. But now, I think I need to experience it at least once. Especially since Mindy knows the best places to be for the best parades.
Mindy has a pretty extensive Mardi Gras wardrobe that includes an assortment of wigs and headpieces.
 She met up with one of our family friends, Malinda. Her husband, Drew is on the crewe of Endymion. It was 365 feet long this year and featured Kelly Clarkson. I love Mindy's little crown headpiece.
Malinda's daughter, Grace was hounding her mom for this pretty parasol. I think it looks just great with her outfit and headpiece!
One of the many floats. We toured the warehouse where some of the floats are stored about 2 years ago. They are pretty amazing.
Mindy took this photo to show Sandy how much she loves the boots she gave her for Christmas. Boots are a necessity to navigate the "curb juice" throughout the Quarter. I'm diggin' the leggings.
A trip to New Orleans would not be complete without some fine dining. She used to work here, so it was fun visiting old friends. She loves NOLA and misses it every time she has to leave.

A few more things coming on Friday...

Monday, February 18, 2013

Operation Organization

Well, here it is---Monday and time for out next assignment. I've been putting this off for way too long. I dread it. It's going to take me hours. But I'm doing it. I'm talking about my closet and drawers. I have a pretty large walk in closet. You know what I always say about that, "it doesn't matter how much space you have---you'll fill it up." If you have a lot of room, you keep way too much stuff---just because you can.

Again, let's break this big job down and make it more manageable. Do a little something each day if the job intimidates you. Start with your nightstand. Do two drawers a day. When you are ready to start that dreaded closet, if it's a walk-in, start on the right. If it's just a regular closet, then start with the top shelf and work down. When you get to the clothes pole, start on the right. I don't have to tell you how to organize it---pants together, blouses, skirts and dresses. It always looks better if you sort them by color too.

Either use boxes or bags and mark them---"goodwill"and "give away." Those are pretty obvious. Anything you think someone you know could use put in the "give away" bag. Everything else goes in the "goodwill" bag. If you happen to find some hidden gems---like platform shoes and bell bottoms from the 70's---put them in to a costume box. Seriously, if you haven't cleaned out your closet in a long time, then you need to be ruthless.

We keep thing for a few different reasons:
1. We have an emotional attachment.
2. We paid too much for it to just give away.
3. We think we'll be able to fit in to it again.
4. Or, we keep things because we have the room---except now we don't!

If you haven't worn something in two years---out it goes. Personally, I prefer to use one year as my guide. Do not keep clothes that you think you will fit in to again. I hate to break it to you. If you haven't  been able to lose that weight in a year, chances are you won't. I'm not trying to be discouraging here, but think of it this way. You are making room for the new clothes you will be able to reward yourself with when you lose that weight. Don't you think you'll deserve it?

They may be cute, but if they hurt your feet and you haven't worn them in a year, out they go. How many pairs of tennis shoes do you need? For me, it's slippers. I never wear shoes around the house---it's either socks or slippers---flip flops in summer. The slippers are piling up. It's time to let some of them go.

I'm fortunate enough to have several designer bags. I hardly ever use them as I've found that I prefer a cross body, smaller purse that just holds the necessities. My other purses weigh a ton. Still, they are too valuable to just give away. I've decided to start a "loaner" program with my daughters and granddaughters. At least I'll be putting them to good use again.

Here are my "before" pictures. Don't judge me!
 My hanging clothes are still color coordinated, but I need to weed some out. To the left are assorted totes.
 Here we have sweaters, purses, pajamas, scarves, sweatshirts, work-out clothes. I have a lot to get rid of here.
 These are jackets and sweaters. I have some to get rid of, but I won't have to do too much work here. Another thing that goes a long way to making your closet look nice is matching hangers. I just get those cheap plastic ones from Target. They're about $1.50 for 10.
 Tee shirts, capris pants, swim suits and other miscellaneous stuff.
 Shoes. There aren't many to get rid of---but they do need to be straightened up. I have tennis shoes and boots under the shelves too.
 Here are the purses I was talking about. They are all neatly in flannel bags just waiting to be used again.
 This rack holds scarves---probably 20 or more. I knitted many of them. I do need to sort through them.
Here are more scarves and every possible color of pashmina (love them). I'll count all the scarves and pashminas and report back.

Okay, you can see I have a lot to do. So do you. So get started. You have a week. Let me know how it goes.