Friday, November 7, 2014

A Bit Out of Sorts

Lots going on as of late. The office moved. Harleigh is wrapping up her senior year, graduating next month. Been busy with church volunteering, and am ready to embark on redoing all six Sunday School classrooms (I've come up with a grand design, if I must say so myself). And already working on decor for our 2015 VBS, Everest (because it's a snow theme, shopping now, with all the Christmas stuff out, is critical). The booth is keeping me busy (and is ready for a holiday overhaul). Wrapped up a backyard wedding; will share pix soon. Am starting serious planning for my niece's wedding next October.  Also gearing up for a minor surgical procedure, and the bottom line is that I ain't got no time for dat. I'm at an odd place right now. Feeling a bit unconnected, to myself and the world around me. In limbo. Chapter II of my life is still a big question mark. I had hoped that I'd be seeing a clearer picture. I'm not. And I'm struggling with being OK with that.

All that to say, my blogging has truly suffered — both posting and looking at other blogs. I'm much better at Instagramming these days; it's more mindless. For those who follow me on Instagram, these images will be yawn worthy. But if you don't follow me on IG, then enjoy!

Until I can get up to the attic and pull down my generic fall decorations, 
a little chalkboard with my heartfelt sentiment
will have to do.

The craft room is in shambles.
Which makes no sense at all, since I have no time to craft. Pity.

My little Ferdinand the Bull. But instead of smelling the flowers under a cork tree,
my sweet boy is watching the world from the overgrown monkey grass.

Some of the dining table flower arrangements from the backyard wedding. 
I used bold-colored florals, white hydrangea, and a hint of pink.

Little man.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Wedding This Weekend

I was honored to be asked by a past co-worker, Steve, and his fiancee Beth, to do my thing for their big day! The wedding is tomorrow. Atlanta promises to be in the 70's with no rain. Keeping our fingers crossed. It's outdoors. A bonfire (with s'mores!). BBQ. Tubs of cold drinks. Corn hole. I came up with a plan for decor, presented it weeks ago, and am now putting the final touches on all that I'm crafting.

A little peek—I hand-painted all the dinner napkins. The color palette I'm using is matched down to the paint used on the napkins. As with all events I do, I use Pantone chips to create my palette, and make a little card that I carry with me everywhere as I'm planning and shopping.

When I made my design presentation, I staged some of my ideas. 
Beth loved the idea of using pumpkins (our Pinterest board was so very helpful 
in honing in on Beth's tastes), and in order to pull in the teal blue from the palette,
I bought a fake pumpkin and spray painted it using Montana paint.
(If you're not familiar with Montana, it's the spray paint that graffiti artists, the pros, use.
It comes in 204 colors. I buy mine at Sam Flax. I'm like a kid in a candy store.
It's not that much more expensive than the spray paints you buy at the hardware store,
it goes on flawlessly, AND you can find any color, a-n-y c-o-l-o-r!)

This staged arrangement used silk flowers, but will be real flowers for the big day!
The flowers I'm using:
Orange lilies
Peach stock
White hydrangea
Viking poms
Light pink garden roses
 Purple lisianthus

I had hoped to use lilac, but the order I would have had to place (flown in from Holland)
would have busted my flower budget. Bummer.

Teal-blue wooden dowels with jars of flowers will be stuck in the grass 
and line the aisle at the ceremony.

Blue Mason jars on the dining tables will be used for candles.

My vast array of aluminum ware will be put to use. 
Accented with teal rick rack, each piece will be different and hold an explosion of flowers.

Will share more images from the event itself. Lots of little touches!

 Two miscellaneous Instagram images from the past week: 
My fruit bowl "dressed" for Halloween.
And Gideon asleep on my bed. Maybe one of my favorite pictures of him.

Monday, September 29, 2014

What's Up With Me and Halloween?

Like I said in an earlier post, I'm not a big fan of Halloween. But this year, gotta say, I've really gotten into decorating. It's been spurred on by visits to Dollar Tree who, hands down, has THE best Halloween decorations on the cheap. At the rate I'm going, maybe I will be handing out candy this year. Heck, I've got enough spooky holiday momentum, I might even dress up for the little ones.

Saw this in Better Homes & Gardens. Now granted, their welcome mat wasn't all janky and greeting guests with "lcome" like mine is. With five Dollar Tree snakes, this doormat is saying anything but Welcome.

Rubber spiders that can weather the elements are attacking my pumpkins. 
Simply punched a straight pin into their bodies and through to the pumpkin. 
I think I might pin down their legs to make them look more real.

Dollar Tree had a bunch of different designs of these mirror decals. How cool is this?

I also picked up a packet of spider cut-outs 
and adhered them to both front windows with double-sided tape. 
Chateau Gahan's a real house of horrors.

[Here's the BH&G version of the snake doormat.]

Monday, September 22, 2014


With a tinge of Fall in the air, I was knee-deep in working outdoors (painting, flower arranging, building, watering, reading, talking on the phone). I got up early all weekend just so as not to waste any of the warm, breezy days. You name it, I took it outside with me. My driveway looked like I'd set up camp for a week. When sundown came it's a wonder I didn't pitch a tent and sleep under the stars.

I'm not a huge fan of Halloween. When Harleigh was a little girl, it was fun. But now that I'm an old character, Halloween usually means coming home from work, turning off all the outdoor and indoor lights, and reading by flashlight in bed just to keep the trick-or-treaters away. I know. I know. A bit of a Halloween scrooge. But I do like our church's Trunk or Treat. Now for that, I'll be ALL in the spirit! For the sign-up poster at the church to collect names for who will be decorating a trunk, I wanted to do something three-dimensional. I saw these figurines at Dollar Tree, and the idea hit me. Here is the poster, the two dressed-up dolls sitting on the open tailgate of a pick-up truck. (The image of the truck in the picture below was a janky printed version from my ink-deprived printer. I later replaced it, as you'll see in subsequent pictures, with a much better quality image.)

I used an old black metal book end for the "open tailgate." Taped it onto the black board using black duck tape. Glued the two figures onto the base of the book end. Behind the figures, there's room for pens.

Chateau Gahan gets her Halloween on with a few special touches. I don't like the look of that stretchable fake spiderweb stuff when it's put it on real thick. I've seen people use it to where it looks like a layer of pillow batting. The secret is to stretch it super good.

If Dollar Tree were a man, I'd marry it. 
It's where all my Halloween decorations come from.

Nothing like spiders . . . everywhere.

Oh, and for the record, I do get giddy about Halloween for one VERY special reason . . . the next day begins listening to Christmas music and the wearing of Christmas pins (a different one every day until Christmas — and I still have a ton left unworn!!!!).

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Collection of Chairs and Instagram Weekend Recap

I started my collection of miniature/small chairs probably back in 1993. It's not huge by any means. I never bought a chair just because it was small. I only bought what I loved. I hung them on walls. Grouped them on tables. Used them as bookends and in event vignettes. The bottom line  . . . I enjoyed them. But my collection of floral tins soon became my passion. And so, the little chairs were packed away and relegated to the attic where they lived for the next seven years, in the dark and keeping company with tubs of Harleigh's baby clothes and boxes of holiday decorations.

My booth at Simple Finds has been such a joy to style and keep stocked. Furniture is my best seller (as it is with most vendors), but I do like to keep the space filled with quaint, random items. To keep at the steady pace of simplifying my life AND to add to my booth, I decided to sell my chair collection. I do hope they all find good homes.

Here's my booth. Definitely one of the smallest spaces at the antique mall, but in a great location.

[Please forgive the bad-lighting iPhone photos.]

And here are some Instagram images from the last couple of weeks. Harleigh came home this past Friday night for the Georgia Tech / Georgia Southern game at Tech. A co-worker, who is a Tech alum, got us A-MAZ-ING seats on the 40-yard line, 3rd row. We were right behind the Southern bench, so we could cheer on our team within ear shot. The club seats got us free wine and beer and the chance to escape the heat into air-conditioned comfort complete with TV screens so as not to miss any of this fantastic game. We were winning 38-35, and then in the last 20 seconds Tech scored a touchdown. We didn't go down without a fight. My girlie left right after the game to head back to Statesboro; a big test today had her a bit anxious about getting good study time in, so she wanted to be back that evening and have all day Sunday to hit the books. Atta girl!

My Instagram feed has an over-the-top amount of Gideon pix. He's just so darn photogenic.

Pumpkins are at the grocery store!!!! Ingles had them on sale for $4 a piece, and so I bought these two big beauties.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

When Friends See "Trash" and Think of You

Ali spied this huge window at the curbside and, if I'm not mistaken, ran home to talk her husband into coming back to help load it into the car . .  and all for little ol' me. I've held onto it for probably a good two years, knowing that I'd put it to good use one day. And that day came on May 10. Friend and co-worker, Julie, had asked me to style her wedding. This lucky find was turned into the perfect table assignment chart. I cleaned her up real good and gave the wood a coat of fresh white paint. I keyed the guest list into Word and then chose the script font she had used on her wedding invitations. I printed out the panels — black type on white paper — and then taped them to the back of the window panes. With a white liquid chalk marker, I simply traced the names onto the front of the window panes, removed the white sheets from the back, and then taped black paper onto the back of the panes that had writing on them (for some reason, in the picture the black looks like rippling fabric, but it was a nice solid matte black). Topped it off with a ribbon, flower, twig and bird (she had a bird theme for the wedding). From dumpster to diva!

Monday, August 25, 2014

When Stories Happen

I'm an ardent fan of the story that springs from some mundane circumstance or casual connection. And that's just what happened on Sunday when I went into Simple Finds to stock and fluff my booth. As always, when I come in the front door, I greeted all the peeps manning the front counter. No one is ever at a loss to say something nice or welcoming. The place has good chi.

Anywho, Cathleen stopped me. "Remember the piece of wood that you sold, you know, the one with the mermaid and 'Home Sweet Home' you painted on it? Well, Rick made it into a memorial. You've got to see what he did. He's here today. You must find him." No sooner than she'd said that, Rick rounded the corner. He's a fellow vendor, one I've never met before. I introduced myself, and once he knew who I was, zipped out his phone and proceeding to show me a picture of my art-on-wood. Here's his story:

He bought the piece (really a sign to be hung) for his brother's birthday. His brother had recently lost his wife to cancer. When she was alive, and before the diagnosis, she had a dream to have a beach home. The couple wound up buying a cottage on St. George Island, FL, and the house became her haven and passion. A gate leading onto their property had a mermaid on it, and the mermaid theme was sprinkled throughout the home. Not long after they bought their little piece of heaven, they found out that she had cancer. It took her life not long after. The husband decided to keep the beach house; memories of her were in every nook and corner, every view from a window, even the mermaids throughout the home seemed to dance and swim in honor of the life she gave the home and everyone in it.

And so when Rick saw my sign, he knew it would be the perfect addition to the beach house. He took it to a local artist in his hometown of Conyers, GA, and had her add "Remembering Meg Johnson. 63 years of love and laughter." And under Home Sweet Home, the date she passed and truly went home.

I couldn't ask for a better story for this piece of wood I found on the beach during one of my vacation walks on St. Helena Island, SC. That it will grace the wall of a beach home and be a constant reminder of someone loved and always missed. . . Meg, this is your story.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Pool Noodle "Candle" Centerpieces

Christina Pugh, one of Harleigh's dearest friends and a photographer
also works at Camp All-American.
She plays a big part in the planning and set-up of the end-of-summer CAA banquet,
attended by all the counselors, staff, supporters, and host families.
She asked if I would help her out, and I offered to create the table centerpieces.

What I knew to be true:
1) The tables would be round banquet tables
2) Black tablecloths
3) Figuring on roughly 300 people, 30 dining tables
4) Dinner — buffet style
5) The huge room would be on the dark side most of the dinner and subsequent program
6) After dinner, everyone would help break down the tables and move everything off the floor to make room for dancing.

I knew I wanted candlelight. It's elegant and would make the evening feel special
for a ton of people who had worked their tails off all summer.

I also knew that the centerpieces had to have some substance.
Didn't want something small swimming in the middle of a large sea of tablecloth.

The biggest challenge was that the centerpieces would have to be easily moved 
when the room was converted into a giant dance floor.

I came up with the idea to use pool noodles to create "candles."
How kitschy. What a nod to summer. And how easy a craft to tackle!

I debated using real tea lights, but with the centerpieces having to be moved right after the dinner program, I didn't want there to be liquid wax spilling. So I opted for the battery-operated flickering tea lights. I purchased these from Amazon, and they were amazingly real and bright.

• I purchased 60 pool noodles. It took 2 noodles to make one centerpiece.
• Cut the noodles into varying lengths with a super sharp chef's knife, careful to make a straight cut on one end. Some of the ends I wanted slightly angled to give them the look of a real, melting candle.
• Then, with an exacto knife, I cut a circle in one end of each noodle. The circle was the width and depth of the tea light (I wanted only the flame of the tea light to show, so the depth had to hide the plastic base of the light). I made sure not to cut them any larger width wise. At the same size, or better yet, even a tad smaller, the hole hugged the tea light nicely, keeping them intact, but still easy to be removed for turning on and off.
• After I cut the circle, I made another cut at the base of the first cut so that the circular piece of noodle could be lifted out to leave a hole for the tea light.
• I cut out 30 pieces of  13" x 13" sturdy black card stock to glue the candles onto. This would make them easy to move (and the black blended in with the black tablecloths, so you really didn't even see the board).
• I then glued the noodle pieces together with a small string of glue between each, and glued each on the bottom. I could have just glued them on the bottom and onto the card, but I wanted them super sturdy, and I didn't want gaps between them. I tied a piece of string around the grouping while they dried to keep them together, then cut the string off when the glue dried.

Here is the finished product.
I had some leftover pieces of noodle that I used as single candles 
and in small groupings on the buffet tables.

Here are just some of the 30 centerpieces in my garage ready to go to the banquet.

Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures of the banquet room with the lights down and
all the centerpieces lit. But let me tell you . . . it was spectacular, if I must say so myself.
And everyone loved them.

I did shoot this video at home so you can see just how great the tea lights are!


The tea lights are going into the church event stash.
And I plan on taking all the noodles apart; camp can use them next year for a game or something.

This would be a great idea for tables at a pool party.
Or for a kid's summer birthday party.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Ten things that are making me happy right now.

1. I just renewed my subscription to the Sunday paper, and spent an hour on Sunday afternoon devouring every stinkin' page. I may carry the world record for solving the Jumble puzzle the fastest. And when I near the last page, and look down at my black fingertips, there's a calm and accomplishment that washes over me. Sometimes I think I should have been born in the 1940s.

2. I'm back in the habit of going to the library, which means that I've always got a good book in the works. Just finished In Between Days by Andrew Porter. Now loving The Kept by James Scott. And with the dismal rainy weekend we just had, curling up in a chair with a good book carried no weight of guilt. Rainy days and reading are, after all, made for each other.

3. I'm already getting excited about Christmas (especially the music!!!!!), and have purchased some stellar gifts so far!

4. After 10 months of having my antique mall booth, I'm finally mastering inventory, pricing and staging — what works and what doesn't.

5. I'm getting my hair cut in 2 weeks. You wouldn't believe how long my hair is. It's almost hideous. Granted, I have a great head of thick hair, from the roots all the way down to the tips, but it does NOTHING for me. Mama needs a style. Bad.

6. I am so glad I have a vacation booked. Thinking ahead to what it will feel like — white sand, shelling, sitting under an umbrella watching the ocean — gets me all giddy!

7. I pulled out the card table this weekend and set it up in the living room. I've missed painting, and plan on working with some found pieces of wood from my St. Helena vacation beach walks.

8. We're doing DDP yoga at work, and I'm really loving it. We've done Jillian Michaels and Shaun T, which I enjoyed. But now I really see why people rave about yoga. I think it's a super good thing for this 53-year-old. Balance and flexibility are two things I took for granted when I was younger. It's nice to feel them coming back.

9. My Smiley daytimer. It never ceases to make me happy when everyday I realize just how much it's changed my life.

10. The company I work for is moving offices in November. And I'm stoked about the change. Although our current space holds some great memories, the new space (at Atlantic Station) will afford us so many walking-distance options for shopping and lunch.

And, here's an 11, just 'cause. Gideon got his summer cut this weekend. Probably the latest I've ever waited to do it. His short 'do feels like velvet. He's naked and much more comfortable. See below for the before and after. I love this dog.

Monday, July 7, 2014

A 4-day holiday weekend

We had off of work both Thursday and Friday.
It was glorious. A mini vacation of sorts.

A week ago, a friend from church (and a follower of my blog), Lynne, sent me a link to her favorite auction house (and one that happens to be on the way to her family's vacation home on Lake Keowee) where, lo and behold, a Karen Hollingsworth print was being auctioned off on June 29.

I wasn't able to attend the auction, but put in a left bid (absentee bid) and won!

This past Saturday, Harleigh and I popped a Backstreet Boys into the CD player, and 
headed to Walhalla, SC for a mother/daughter road trip to pick up my win, 
making a lunch stop at Cracker Barrel (because it really isn't a road trip without it).
Warther's posts images of what will be auctioned off.

Here is what I bid on. 
I was 99% sure that it was not an original, but rather a print.

Much to my delight, it's a huge framed print on canvas.
Hung it in my bedroom where I can see it while lying in bed.

My room is finally coming together (after living in this house since 1999!).
I found four salesman button sample sheets at Simple Finds.
Wound up putting them in simple white IKEA frames, 
using a matted silver paper for the background.

On the sheet below, there was a blank spot where a button card had been.
I went into my vintage sewing stash and found one to put in its place.

The four white-button sheets went above my bed. 
This one, all colored buttons, got a floral background and now lives in the ken.

Two weekend projects.
This one completed and now for sale in my booth.
A chippy blue metal patio table used to have a Garden Ridge umbrella. See here.
But after years in the elements, the fabric had started to rot.
So I ripped it off of the wooden skeleton of a frame 
and fashioned a new canopy out of a vintage tablecloth.
I put a grommet in the center of the cloth 
and a small nail in the top of the pole.
That way, it's secured but can be removed easily.
Same goes for the tiny grommets I put in the cloth where each spoke is.
Tied the canopy down at each spoke with teal blue ribbon. 

This project I made only a dent in this long holiday weekend.
This cabinet (a childs' cubby from a preschool classroom)
was on our church loading dock with a sign that said "trash."
This has possibility written all over it.
Gave it a good washing and a coat of white paint.
Deciding what to do next!

And last but not least, was thrilled that the website Red Tricycle
featured my snow globe baby shower invitations!
See my snow globes here.
(And the original blog post where the editor of Red Tricyle first spied them.
And the complete baby shower here and here.)

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