I have been without a home desk for far too long. I've taken to carrying most, if not all, of my paperwork with me back and forth to work. Why, I have no clue. It's not like I have hours on end during the work day to tackle home bills or organizing personal files. We have a computer table in the craft room with a file cabinet (which holds the printer), but that space isn't designated mommy space. And so this past week I rearranged a bit, moving the seafoam green chest of drawers from the ken into the living room, replacing the typing table behind the sofa with the maple tea cart, and relegating the typing table to the ken to become my own personal space (I also moved my file cabinet out to the ken, putting the printer onto a small chest of drawers in the craft room). I can't tell you how liberating it was. All my stuff in one place.
Instead of taking up valuable desk space with a lamp, I brought a floor lamp out from the bedroom. And hung this beautiful "Love Letter" from papaya art on the light switch. Here are some of the beautiful letters in the collection:
Yesterday evening I had a meeting at church. After it was over I made a stop into Goodwill, always on the lookout for items to use in Ali's upcoming wedding and reception. Imagine the rapid-heartbeating moment I had when I spied someone's collection of Old English Sheepdog figurines. The collection was about 20 in all, from a sleeping foot-long dog to a mini 2" sitting pooch.
The resin ones (which accounted for most of them) didn't appeal to me. But the ceramic ones came home with me. The sitting one is Goebel. The running dog is Heredities Creamware. The one in the upper left is made by Sylvac. The other is unidentifiable, with only the word "Sheepdog" written in script on the belly. So, I got these four for $20 (a little on the steep side for one of my Goodwill jaunts, but based on what I found online regarding their value, a real steal).
Fun story: I took them up to the register and got to gabbing with the woman behind me and the check-out guy (who just happened to be the manager). We were talking about not getting something that strikes your fancy at a thrift store, getting home with that feeling of regret, and then going back to find whatever it was gone. This was the last thing I wanted to have happen with these figurines. The woman behind me said she felt the same way about the milkshake machine and space heater she was buying (and, of course, went into detail about how much she loves milkshakes, and how cold her bathroom gets). I also laughed about the fact that I chose this particular evening to come in, and lo and behold there are Old English Sheepdog items there, and a lot of them. What are the chances of that??? The manager then said, "you know what makes this whole buying experience for you even better? A woman was in here about an hour ago and had all the figurines in her basket, got up to the register, only to say 'I don't need these," and then put them back on the shelf." This was meant to be.
I couldn't help but wonder, though, who would give away a collection like this.
Finally, here are the pictures from the wedding reception I did. A little background into the theme . . .
The City Club of Buckhead venue definitely served as a point of inspiration. The wood-paneled site has a very traditional, warm, old library, men's club feeling. This "library" sparked the idea of using books in the centerpieces. Books are so symbolic. They have chapters, much like our lives. They tell stories. And the best of books have happy endings. All of these indicative of how Jenn and Jason got to where they are (not to mention that Jenn's journaling is a huge part of her own life's journey).
Loved the idea of creating mostly white centerpieces — a juxtaposition to the dark wood surroundings. The thrift-store-bought brass candlesticks, spray-painted white, were topped with frosted-glass tealight holders (I actually frosted them all myself using a spray frost). These were then attached to the candlesticks using Cling, a floral adhesive, easily removable. This allowed for there to be candlelight on the tables without the mess of dripping pillars, not to mention that tealights are so easy to change out. The books were all covered in white paper (donated by Mohawk Paper — thank you Rebecca!) and decorated with cut white doilies, so reminiscent of bridal lace. Brown satin bookmarks picked up the brown satin of the bridesmaids dresses. One book on each table had a family picture, printed out in sepia in keeping with the brown tone. Since Jenn's flower budget went to the ceremony itself, the florals in the centerpieces consisted of twigs with white silk flowers glued on them. I hand glued the center jewels on each flower. Some flowers were sprinkled on the tables to give the look of them having fallen off the branch.
Jenn and Jason wanted to incorporate a charitable element into the festivities, so they chose three charities very dear and near to them (Greyhound Rescue, Gahanga Orphanage and USO). When guests entered the reception they were each given a library card (to fit in with the book theme). On each card I typed (using a typewriter) the book name — Happily Ever After — with the bride and groom as the "author." The date due stamp is their wedding date, and the borrower is the guest.
Tied to each card was an envelope with three flowers in it along with a card telling the guest what to do with the flowers. The cards were filed in an actual card catalog file. . . perfect. I found glass apothecary jars, labeled each (accompanied by a detailed description of the charity) and guests were to drop their flowers, as they saw fit, into the jars. Jenn and Jason, post-wedding, would then assign a dollar amount to the flower and make donations accordingly. Everyone at the wedding loved this idea, and it truly showed the heart of the newly married couple. (The library card then served as a wedding keepsake for each guest, the perfect bookmark.) And for the gift table I always make a fake gift so that guests know exactly where to put their presents (and I make sure that it doesn't get put with the gifts at the end of the evening, which would prove to be a very cruel joke for the bride and groom when opening presents!) I felt that the memory table needed to continue the theme. So pictures given to me by Jenn wound up in frames I found at thrift stores, each spray painted white and accented with the paper doilies. Even the guest book was decorated with a doily on front. Jenn's mom passed away the year I first met Jenn, and the wedding and everything leading up to it honored her. Her mom's middle name was Rose, so I made sure that every wedding-related event, from the bachelorette weekend to the bridal suite at the church had a red rose to remind Jenn that her mom was truly there with her. Jenn and Jason did cupcakes in lieu of the traditional wedding cake. It was easy to decorate the table with twigs and flowers in keeping with the theme. And use the books as well.
I'm not a big fan of cats at all. Much more a dog person, a big-dog person. I won't get into all the reasons that I don't care for cats. But let me tell you that I love cat figurines. And if I had a big farm I'd most certainly have cats who look so at home in a barn strewn with hay. And a cat is a great accessory in a cottage home, all curled up in a big slipcovered chair basking in the sunlight pouring through a dutch window.
And I am here to tell you that I adore rabbit-hair kittens. Call me a bunny-killer. Tell me that I'm a cat-person poser. I am here to admit that I have two of these, one shown below. And I adore them. Period.
In the book A House to a Home by Jemima Mills (can a name be any cuter?!?!?), the rooms are so how I live. Yes, there's a side of me that might want something different in terms of the landscape of Chateau Gahan, but the bottom line is that I'm a busy working mom, with a big dog, lots of projects going on, loving to bake, a constant influx of thrift finds invading the sweet innards of this place we call home, not enough time to clean and pick up the way that I would want, the list goes on and on. The rooms in this book validate that it's OK that I live like I do. This is one of the books that I love most because the rooms are cozy and lived-in, filled with family and love. There are injections of color that probably don't follow textbook decorating rules. And furniture placement probably goes against everything preached in interior design classrooms. And these people live with the occasional dust bunny that they, like me, look at every day and don't have the energy or desire to rid of.
It's what inspired me to make the kitchen curtains in the ken out of lavender gingham. It fits the decor I like to call "hap(py)hazard home." It's random and it makes me happy (and it was easy, except for the part about getting the sewing machine set up). I used muslin for the white cafe curtains and strung them up using eye hooks and a white-plastic-covered wire. The gingham curtains are up in a similar fashion except I used metal wire.
Gideon went to the groomer yesterday. We debated whether we should have him shaved (the heat here is pretty bad), but he looks so darn cute with his longer "haircut." So we just had him bathed and brushed out. The white of his coat is as white as chalk, and overall he's so fuzzy and soft. Here he is on my bed, zonked out from a day away from home, that cute little noggin just begging to be kissed. Harleigh says he's as handsome as a boy in a suit with good shoes.
Someday when I have a big kitchen with a white-painted exposed-beam ceiling, an eat-at island, and enough counter space to cater a meal for 100, I will definitely have a hanging pot rack. A big one. With lots of aged copper pots hanging from it. In the meantime, here's all I got. I found this little pink colander at the pharmacy and have used it a ton. Just the right size for washing a couple servings of fruit or draining a serving of pasta. And since I use it a lot, I hung it from the plant at the kitchen window. Someday . . .
Two finds from this weekend. One is this plastic deer head. I've always thought a set of antlers would be a cool addition to Chateau Gahan, but when I saw this (it is about a foot high), it just seemed out of the norm. Quirky. Fun. I put it in my bathroom. And then this lamp, sort of a night light, it gives off more of a glow. I put it on the shelf with all my vintage floral tins.
On my way to the mountains yesterday I passed a slew of thrift stores, all ones I've never been in. Over the next few posts I'll share some of my finds. I didn't have much time yesterday to stop and shop, so next time I'll leave way early.
Here is a Napco planter. Such a lovely blue color. And this cute little moose pitcher. This is the kind of item that I'll use one day with my grandchildren. It will hold milk for them to pour over their cereal in the morning. And they'll look forward to using it every time they come visit (because, of course, at home, Mom has them pour the milk straight out of the carton).
Sometimes the big projects yet to be tackled around the house seem much too daunting and so I conjure up some quick little ditty that takes no time at all and results in something pretty. The metal filing cabinet in my craft room was in dire need of a makeover. If it were an older cabinet with metal handles and the little frames that you slide some descriptor in, then it wouldn't be so bad. But mine is really '70s looking. With a little bit of scrap paper and some Mod Podge, I now have a cabinet that looks like it belongs in my craft room. Here is the BEFORE and AFTER.
Weeks ago Ali and I got together for an all-day brainstorm session about her upcoming wedding. It will be held in the mountains of Dahlonega at a winery called Frogtown. Yesterday I had the honor of being with Ali, her fiance and a small part of his huge family to scope out the venue for the rehearsal dinner followed by a trip to see Frogtown. I almost burst with excitement (not to mention that I'm only a month into this and I've already cried at least four times, tears of joys mind you, but crying nonetheless — can tear ducts be surgically removed??)
I made Ali a chip chart. She chose the color palette for the wedding, and PMS chips for the colors are now in a neat little "book" she can take with her. For the cover I pulled a page from a vintage diary I had on hand (May 8 is Ali's wedding day). Love that whoever's diary it was wrote that on May 8, 1956 she "washed and ironed." Ali is the type of gal who soooo appreciates these little kind of gestures. (And it gives us good reason to cry!)
Remember the lamp I found at Goodwill not too long ago? Here are the before pictures. I took it into the lamp shop and had the wiring checked out. Then I got the shade, a little on the pricier side but perfect (and when you spend under $10 on a lamp, you can afford to put a little money into it). I painted all the gold parts including the chain on/off pulls and painted the center pole. The lady at the lamp store talked me into the finial which is the perfect touch. Am diggin' it all.
"Our house was not unsentient matter — it had a heart and a soul, and eyes to see with; and approvals and solicitudes and deep sympathies; it was of us, and we were in its confidence and lived in its grace and in the peace of its benedictions. We never came home from an absence that its face did not light up and speak out in eloquent welcome — and we could not enter it unmoved."- Samuel Clemens
I am probably the most content person you'd ever want to meet. I have a decent job working with people I like, a loving family including a swell Old English Sheepdog, a home where nesting and curling up on slipcovered sofas is required, and a life rich in creative crafting and daydreaming. I someday want a cottage at the beach where my grandchildren can bring sandy feet into the house, wet bathing suits can dry on the front porch and everything we need to get to is a bicycle ride away.