Saturday, February 26, 2011

Cooking Up Happiness

My kitchen is less than ideal. Oh how I would love a vaulted ceiling. An island with chair-backed stools. Loads of counter space. And marble counter space, if you please. An above-the-sink window that looks out on something more spectacular than my neighbor's driveway and patio deck would be nice. White subway tile. Loads of it on the walls. A few glass-front kitchen cabinets would make me smile. And a new floor. Ee-gads, my ancient linoleum screams kitchen makeover.

Yet as I stand at my stove (electric . . . ahhh, to have a gas stove again would be the bomb diggity), I look at the small shelf above it, and there is happiness to be found in its inhabitants. There is the baby food jar snow globe, one of many that Harleigh and I made one year for Christmas gifts. This one has a gold-horned unicorn and a bottle brush Christmas tree. I never tire of shaking it as I stir something stovetop.

The Bless This House tile is one that Harleigh gave me for Christmas one year. It was purchased at one of those makeshift Christmas bazaars that elementary schools have so that students can purchase gifts on the cheap. I love how each word begins with a capital letter. Makes me want to read it with emphasis on each and every word.

The ceramic turtle is. Well. He just is.

I've had the Lux timer since I first started keeping house as a college graduate. The ticking off of minutes conjures up a lifetime of kitchen memories.

The three vintage pieces are all thrift store finds. The two salt and pepper shakers are simply there to look pretty. The miniature cup holds toothpicks, a must for testing the doneness of cakes.

And the picture "Welcome to Baltimore HON!" is clipped from a very old edition of The Baltimore Sun newspaper. Seems that this Welcome to Baltimore sign on a Maryland expressway is constantly being edited to include the moniker "hon," which is what every waitress uses when addressing a patron in the diners of my hometown Bal-mer.

And the hodgepodge of trinkets hanging from a cabinet knob are things that Harleigh created as a little girl. You'd think that they'd get in my way, but instead, they seem like just a part of the kitchen hardware.

All in all, my kitchen will never grace the pages of Elle Decor or Country Living, but it sure warms my heart just by being . . . me.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Green Wedding Shoes

Bustin' at the seams with happiness over Ali and Matt's wedding being featured on the wedding blog Green Wedding Shoes. And they've even done a live link to my little ol' blog. Mercy me. (Photography by Jill Thomas.)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Nesting has never been finer

With Chateau Gahan to myself (and dear Gideon, of course), the urge to nest has increased twofold. Sometimes it feels like I'm a little girl playing house; almost a surreal feeling of enjoying my home and being very deliberate about the tasks at hand, approaching each daily motion — whether it be cooking a meal or hanging curtains — with a joy and appreciation for the simplicity that I call home.

Last weekend while at the hair salon, I devoured all the magazines that women gettin' their do's done enjoy, everything from glossy fashion tomes to celebrity rags. One idea popped out of the pages, a simple home decor tip for taking the fireplace from Winter to Spring. Simply wrap logs in Christmas lights. I started with a fireplace cleaning, removing all the ashes and giving it a good vacuuming. Then with the logs in place, the lights out in the living room, the glow was lovely. Here is my favorite fireplace chair, a piece that co-worker Jenn found in the dumpster. It's the perfect height for snuggling up to the hearth.

The front door is dressed up with a Spring arrangement.
Gideon, with a heavy Winter coat (that will soon be shorn into warm-weather length) has taken to sleeping on the cooler hardwood floors. And finding a spot under the table has the added perk of a headrest.
You can see, the haircut is much needed. The poor boy can't see, what with the Justin Bieber bang he's got goin' on.
Here's a sneak peek at a project I'm close to completing.
And the foyer is enjoying afternoons of being bathed in sunlight, with outdoor weather to match the warmth inside.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Big One Nine

Harleigh turned 19 today!

She drove home from school on Friday and we went out to dinner, Japanese (where we had far less new things to talk about than most mother and daughter-home-from-college, simply because we talk to each other a zillion times a day), and then with giggles and an excitement probably more at-home on a 13-year-old, headed to the movies to see Justin Bieber's Never Say Never. Loved it loved it loved it. I AM a belieber. Came back to Chateau Gahan and caught up on two old episodes of Modern Family, then hit the hay.

The next morning Harleigh had a hair salon appointment, we ran a bunch of errands and did some shopping, then off to my mom and dad's for a birthday dinner extraordinaire (dang, that woman has a way in the kitchen). This morning my girlie left early to go back to the 'boro, a looming test on Tuesday causing some angst and the need to get back and to the library for some head-in-the-books studying.

Our time together was super short, but so very sweet. I thought I loved her most when as a pregnant woman she grew inside me. And then when she was born, and I held her 6 pound 11 ounce cocooned body, nose flattened to her face, eyes swollen shut . . . love you most now, baby girl. As toddler, growing into her teens, there were moments when I easily loved her more than ever (and times I wanted to sell her to the gypsies). And now, holding this beautiful woman in my arms, kissing her cheek, her forehead, stroking her hair, I think my heart's going to burst with love, respect, and pride. Two or nineteen, every birthday is another year to realize I've fallen in love again, even more, because with every year, there is more and more to love.

When he heard "Harleigh's coming home," this is where he stayed until her car drove up in the driveway.
I made a welcome "banner" to greet her when she walked in the door.
One of her birthday gifts . . .
An ENO camping hammock. Boy, does this girl loves to camp. Didn't get that gene from me, the woman who can't go anywhere there isn't an outlet for my hair dryer and a warm bed to fall into at slumbertime.

Monday, February 14, 2011

One Lucky Mommy

After leading the office's Monday morning staff meeting, I headed back to my desk to find a long floral box. And inside were flowers from my daughter. The girl whose voice draws an instant smile to my face. Whose spirituality serves as a daily reminder to me of the kind of person I need to be every day. Who calls and texts me throughout the day with words of encouragement and endearment. She makes me laugh, a lot. I count her among the biggest blessings of my life. I adore being with her; such great company, whether we're doing something or nothing at all.

Harleigh Mabel, will you be my valentine? I do love you so.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Feelin' the love at Chateau Gahan

Yesterday I picked up Mr. Gideon from the groomer, where he has a standing appointment once every two weeks. (You don't think these good looks come without some effort and expense, do ya?) I'm rather fond of this boutique of bow wow coiffures. First of all, I adore everyone who works there. Dropping Mr. G off and picking him up — if there isn't another customer waiting — usually means a good chat with owner Mr. Ron, manager Kennetha, and the staff who work tirelessly to make our babies look and smell good. Giddy is one of the big boys in the client lineup; most tend to be of the smaller, more frou-frou breeds. When I say "Mr. Ron," Gideon instantly cocks his head and makes a beeline for the car. There's no mistaken . . . he loves a trip to the beauty parlor as much as most girls do.

After paying on Saturday, Kathleen handed me a red long-stem rose, a Valentine's gift for all the customers. Who knew that the most romantic thing to happen to me this Valentine's would be a rose from Pet Boutique? Love comes in all kinds of ways and sometimes from whom we least expect!
Here is handsome Gideon, pooped from the primping, and sporting a Valentine red-and-white bandana.
Here is a little ceramic shoe with cherub I found at Goodwill, perfect for this love-ly holiday.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A different kind of inspiration . . .

One of the things I strive for with the events that I create is to never be predictable. A past co-worker, Jesse, is getting married in September and I've been shooting her ideas, offering up whatever help I can to make her wedding totally unique and affordable. With each exchange of emails, my vision becomes clearer as I get to know what the bride and groom are wanting out of the day. It's a look and feel I've never dabbled in before . . . and it's a different, wonderfully engaging, kind of inspiration.

One item that has special meaning to them is a red KitchenAid mixer. I won't go into details here simply because I don't know if she wants her personal story out there for the world to see. And so I thought that this weekend I would stage how she could incorporate that into maybe a guestbook table. Dear friend Julie just happens to have a red KitchenAid mixer, and so I borrowed it from her and created a centerpiece with cheap fake flowers. Jesse wants her flowers to be picked-from-a-field pretty and so I tried to create that feel. Her colors are bold and happy, just what I love about the contrast of the red with the pinks and purples of the flowers.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Valentine Garland and a Clothespin Bag

Been inspired by all the crafty bloggers out there festooning their homes with Valentine garland and bunting. Armed with my tried-and-true scrapbook paper stash, vintage buttons, embroidery floss,an old piece of lace to be cut, and white cotton rope, my mantle got into the spirit of love.

For Christmas my mom got me this vintage clothespin bag. I've tied it to the back of the chair at my craft table, a perfect place to stash whatever needs a cute place to live.
And while I craft, Gideon insists on stuffing his napping self into a chair two times too small for his bug furry frame, a tangle of limbs a testament to the fact.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Knee Deep in The Things I Love

Things have been a bit all over the place for me since Harleigh went back to school on January 18. I've been fighting a bit of depression which hits mostly over the weekends, but luckily has not been crippling. The after-holiday gray-weather season is heavy upon us and except for a day or two reprieve as of late, is probably going to be living with us for awhile. Church duties have been more stressful (although always rewarding). I'm working from home this morning (but did get this blog post in!) and then heading into a dentist appointment for a routine cleaning; being home on a weekday when I know I then have to head into the office is always twilight zoney for whatever reason. Harleigh and I talk probably 10 times a day, but I find myself missing her more than usual (I suppose having her home for such a long winter break got me back into the routine of her pre-college days). Don't mean to sound all boo hooey. All is truly well. Sometimes I just get to feelin' a little blue.

But what I'm truly reveling in these days is all of the fun events I have coming up. A baby shower, two bridal showers, a daughter's 19th birthday, and helping with a wedding. Folders of inspiration everywhere. Staging, crafting, knee deep in the things I love.

Some random pix from around Chateau Gahan. The fabric picture is swatches I'm using in one of the event projects.

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