Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Bark! Bark!---- The Convalescent Basket ----

Oh, my goodness me... My son and I have the epizootie! We both have been going to work anyway, but I'm thinking tomorrow I may stay home and recuperate. It's just that nasty cough and a yucky cold.... but I'm sure everyone is sick of hearing me hack. It isn't the same to be "sick" at someone else's home. This is the first time for that experience. If I were home, I'd probably just pile up in a recliner or bed with a big vat of Vick's. (This image is so cute... what I'd like to be doing. It's for sale here.)

About a year ago I created a "sick" basket. I used a wonderful old tin my mother had given me and in it I put some great teas, a package or two of instant hot cider, and some real herbal medications that have brought ne some comfort. I also put in there a special new candle to burn during the time I was home... I added a metal tin of POTENT cough drops called Fisherman's Friend... Oh, my! They do work, but they are soooo strong. It was a fairly big tin, so I also treated my "future sick self" to a favorite movie... Guess what DVD I put in there? You got it! I put in Chocolat (and I had been searching for it for at least three months because I forgot I put it in there (they say middle aged women can hide their own Easter eggs, and I believe 'em.) I also found Sleepless in Seattle, and a copy of an Irish Celtic Music CD. I have several books, one a newer one by John O'Donohue, some scripture cards from a little pouch by Beth Moore, and a new tube of lipstick and a new box of eye shadow.... I wrote myself a little note telling myself that I was sorry I had been ill and reminding myself to take it easy.... It was a flawless and fun plan.....

Oh, if you do this Convalescent Basket, you might consider NOT telling your son the location of the Tylenol Cold and Sinus and the new Vicks Vaporub bottle.... He might tease you for a very, very long time... But it was definitely like a little dose of "mothering" without having to bug anyone. I truly recommend it... that, and being good enough to yourself to stay home from work and rest.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

A month at a time.... what a great idea!

What a wonderful website I just found while googling Valentine Vintage Quilt. This is just what I've been thinking about .... only better. At Cheryl's Quilt Corner one can find these amazing quilts and more. The picture above is of her Vintage Valentine Quilt, but the kits for it are sold out. This woman evidently won best of show at a huge quilt contest using this pattern. I can see why... What a beauty...

Cheryl makes it seem as if even I, Moi, could do a quilt if I so chose. She sells patterns, and then she has gone that extra mile that makes me think, "Yeah, I could maybe do this." She has broken the bigger quilts into months, and she'll send just that month at a time.... I have thought about quilting all my life. It would be a natural choice since both my grandmothers were wonderful quilters. Sometime I'll photograph some of our treasures they made us. My mother has embroidered many quilts, and she really enjoys using them. I used to drape mine all over the house according to month.... and I love quilts and quilted runners, tabletop pieces, etc. I don't know that I'll actually DO this project, but it is sure fun to dream about it... and I love, love, love the idea she had of making it happen in smaller proportions. Who hasn't tackled a huge thing and just given it up, stuck it in a tote and wished they hadn't even started... This would be much more tempting... and even if (and I probably might) a person took double the time.... the garden quilt for six months would end up taking one year of spare time...????? Food for thought on this fine, sunny Sunday morning. Temperatures here in Missouri are predicted to be in the 50's today. We have a large pot of vegetable stew, some wonderful and delectable pumpkin pies baking... The house smells divine, cozy, and worry free... ???? Well, maybe that's waxing a bit too poetic, but it "DO" smell good.

One of her one or two month kits.... to get started. Can't you see the whimsical table come next November? I might make it by then....
A traditional kind of Pennsylvania Dutch one.

I love the bright look and the cat and bird theme on this one. It says only six months... Hmmmm.... Might be the place to start!
Oh.... Summer.... Flowers.... and dark. I love brights accented on dark. This is a show stopper...
Looks like a heritage quilt from a master, but it's a 14 month project. I love the idea of breaking it all down into stages.

Friday, January 25, 2008


Well, no dog. My sweet daddy had a wonderful saying he used for times when something seemed within your grasp and then just as suddenly--- were gone. He used to laugh and say, "ZIP, I caught a bumblebee. ZIP, I let him go again." Yeah. That's the saying all right. Lucky was a beautiful yellow lab, one year old. She was in my car for just a few moments and in the house a few less. She was normal, lovely-dispositioned (I mean the dog here)... but pretty big and very very strong. Young... She pulled me (and I'm a big old gal) up and down the steps by her leash. She was snoopy and golden eyed, and she scared my mother into a fit of bawling like I never saw out of her. She (Mom) used to be fearless. Boy, she isn't now. I had to leave with the dog while Mom was still sad... and I mean sad... Anyway, I gave the girl a little cash for all her trouble and took Lucky back home. Can anybody say "goldfish" ? or Beanie Baby perhaps? haha.. So, CasablancaLily, I get no doggie shower.... but thanks anyway... Stay tuned for more weekend attempts to put the FUN back into dysFUNctional.... haha..

New Leash...???? Maybe

Well.... stay tuned for some potentially exciting news. I "think" Mom and I are getting a dog today. I think a dog will keep her company, and I know it will give us both something pretty fun to think about. One of my students is giving away a one year old house-broken yellow female lab. ???? Her name is Lucky. Now, I called my mother, expecting a run around, no, not today... She said, "Yeah, let's get her." Uh-huh.... MY mother said this. Mrs. "will it get hair everywhere and smell like dog?".... So, of course, I will get her. I would bring home every stray on the corner if I could. Stay tuned if it works out and you'll get to see a picture as soon as I get her settled... (the dog, that is! haha..)

Monday, January 21, 2008

My first actual "tag" I think. . .

Thanks, Stephanie, from your beautiful Hearts of Hartmann blog... for this tag...

Five Random things about myself.

1. I will not watch a movie if a child dies in it. If trapped with friends, I go to the bathroom. If at home, I go to another room. It's forever ruined. Thus, I never could watch some really good ones, including the Johnny Cash with one of my favorites, Reese Witherspoon.... How weird, huh?

2. I cannot (yet) actually decide my decorating "look" or style EVER. For a while, I'm French Country; then French attic, then primitive crow, then shabby chic, then Romantic Country... then just tired. I sometimes dabble in Art Nouveau, and then a big Tuscan look.... colonial minimally... Shabby Victorian. Even a nice white Scandinavian... Oh, me... I just know it if I see it....

3. I tend to be wordy on my written answers to anything... haha..

4. I have watched Chocolat probably way more than 100 times. It soothes my soul; the music cheers me; the effervescence of Vianne inspires; the singleness cheers; the happy twist of the explosion at the River Docks delights; the quirkiness tickles me... When I've had to recover from melancholy over men ( and who hasn't?), I often turn in on at night and go to sleep with it.... Ah, the DVD experience to awaken to the repeat pattern of the opening choice screen.

and 5. Even though I'm old and tired and kind of crochity at times, I wish I could start all over as a brand new teacher. I'm not ready to retire at all... I love the excitement of a new lesson, a new chance to do something that will stick or inspire or soothe or ..... silence a riot! haha..????? is that funny? no? My funny bone is kinda suspect, I think... 33 years of teaching will do that.

I am tagging anyone who would like to reveal five random things. Be sure to let me know if you participate. I definitely want everyone to see your responses. Have a good week.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Nevermore. . . Well, actually probably many times, but.... Edgar would want me to say "nevermore."

Mr. Spiff, the crow, would like to introduce you to my afternoon's work.--- well, starting with a bit of history.... Last week my friends and I went on a huge shopping trip. I was lucky enough to have some cash from my mom and Santa (Christmas stocking) and a gift certificate from my son, so I bought these cute hearts and a desk for my new "digs." I have patiently waited all week, but one thing came up and then another. It wouldn't fit in the back seat of the car; my son's back was in pain due to a pinched nerve; and people who had trucks were just plain busy. I was talking to one of the girls who went with me last weekend, and she wanted to know how the desk was coming along. My mom says I hinted, but I think I just whined because I sure didn't expect her to surprise me with it... but she did... In about an hour and a half, there she was with her brother. Voila! My desk was home.... So this corner of my room went from blah..... (see below)

(How embarrassing... piles of junk, computer paper, wires....a bad corner of the room!
to Wow....
Don't you just love it...
My computer had to put on Tracey's mittens due to the temperature. It's -2 degrees right now... Missouri is brrrr cool, huh? Bitter... Once upon a midnight dreary, while I sat here weak and weary..... I sighed a little sigh of ah.... Mr. Spiff is a tad embarrassed with all the pink and the roses... but after all, when in Paris, we must bedeck ourselves.
I love it. So cozy.... I have a chair at home I'm trying to telekinetic-ly move over here... a huge comfy wingback.... ???? Then it will be amazing.....
Tomorrow is crockpot chili.... and some kind of salad, cookies, little Smokies.... NO offense to anyone, but Go! Greenbay!!! I have loved the Packers since I was ten years old and a war buddy brought his little daughter to my home from Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. We made a pact to be forever friends, and I think she required me to vow to be a Packer Fan... With Favre, it has been so much fun. I think this will be his last year. I would love to see him get another ring.... I'm the only football watcher in my family. I will have to make all the Superbowl snacks just for me... (What a pity, eh?)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

My top projects of 2007

I have been so inspired by Cindy at My Romantic Home and by Tracy on Notes from a Cottage Industry, and when I saw theirs and Manuela's lovely entries about their top ten projects, I just decided that although mine are less magnificent, they are indeed, my top ten! So in no particular order, here I go with 2007 in Review. First and foremost, I think my best project for myself has been blogging. Inspirational, honest, and simply good for my soul. So my best effort has been Oatmeal and Whimsy.

1. Making Thanksgiving happen this year with some semblance of tradition and joy.... and these cute little favors on our tablescape look easy (and they were!) sO MY project here has been to make holidays a bit like "home" even though I've transplanted myself to my mom's for a while.

2. Earlier in the summer I created these tags for our local festival. I am the original Tag Lady. I love, love, love, to make tags.
3. My banner to honor a wonderful, giving, and special woman in our community, our hairdresser Brenda.
4. I created a tablescape and a blog entry to honor my grandmother's birthday in August. Sadly, this is the last day I was able to live like that because the day after I created this, my own dad passed away.... But although I can't probably do something like this to honor my loved ones (too sad for Mom), I still want to do something... that will be a challenge for 2008.

5. My first attempt at Mom's to bring my own artistic touches to HER home... I surprised her with a fall mantel. It turned out well.

6. My big dinner with new plates bought at an auction. This is the last meal I ever cooked for my dad. He adored the food and the cool table setting... He and Mom were such a pair to go "antiquing" so it was fun for them to see their chip off the old block.... and this was the last meal except for Doll Club I fixed at home... My top ten is kind of bittersweet, but I am still so happy to have captured it like this in photo and journaling.
7. The big kitchen clean-out. I was sooo ready for school to start with my organized kitchen.. Since I moved everything around and then moved myself in a space of about two weeks... I can't find anything when I go over there... haha... It seems so surreal to open a cupboard and find things I put there and never used from that cupboard... Very clean though.

8. I tried to make my bedroom romantic at home... and that worked, so now it is my new 2008 challenge to do the same here at Mom's in my room. I have some wonderful ideas...
9. Summery projects included gift ideas for clubs, Dad's birthday cake, the 4th of July summer cake with Mt. Dew, and just hanging free with my family.

10. The biggest project was painting my living room a lovely shade of red. The camera never did it justice. I love it.

Enjoy the rest of the week.... This has been a lovely way to remember a very memorable and special year.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Valentine Horizons

Welcome to the Valentine Search Report! I wanted to see what Ebay was offering for the vintage cottage/primitive/shabby dweller. It did not disappoint. Look at these treasures I found. Not sure if I'll bid or just keep looking. All are so inspirational. And money is kind of tight right here after Christmas...I'm ready to celebrate the sweet winter holiday of Valentine's Day. Who says it has to be for couples only?
This clever wreath window, for sale HERE on ebay, makes me think of my gramma's house. Isn't it something to think about doing to a window we have around?
Look, look at this ebay treasure by Bethany Lowe. Oh, be still my heart. It's here. This little wreath really speaks to me. It is a tiny treasure.
And the retro vintage ball wreath done in elegant abundance! HERE

This beauty is on Ebay Here. Isn't it cute?
I was lucky enough at Wal-Mart last night to score a copy of Fifi's latest issue of Romantic Country......oh, my..... How beautiful is that? Have you seen her blog lately? Fabulous Fifi.

Friday, January 11, 2008


(Amy Brown's fairies.... swiped off her website.... See the little watermark. Thanks, Amy. Go look at them. They're lovely!)
Yep. She's back. I missed school yesterday due to some kind of 24 hour thing. Should have gone ahead and made it a 48 hour thing, I think. Discovered my son overslept and missed a very important meeting this morning. Discovered some students were not using time wisely in class (imagine that!). Discovered administrationn was aware of that fact. (oops.) Discovered anew that kids in 2008 just have a "smarter" mouth than they did "in my day."

The news evidently spread that she was back, and she was grumpy. Self-fulfilling prophecy. I didn't think I was, but you know what? Now I KNOW it. I would like to just go home. And by that, I mean REALLY home---- to my dark walls, messy rooms, furry cat, and sulking corners.

Booo.... hiss...... grumble. (P.S. does it count if you apologize to a student nicely, then grump up again when he/she fails to acknowledge the apology???? Probably not. Do I care? hmmm... probably not)

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

What's different?

Thanks to the photographer of this photo, Kevin C. Rose from
Okay, this is something I get sooo very excited about. In the time it takes to sit down with a blank page or computer screen in front of us, meditate a bit and then labor a few moments, something -------often someone---- is born... Suddenly we have a new friend, hero, mentor, or villain....Created, nurtured, birthed upon the world. Friday I assigned original creative short stories to my students... 1200-2000 word ones (Lord, help me when I collect and grade them all). They must include all kinds of wonderful things and label such as personification, simile, 20 dialogs, and on and on... That isn't as exciting as it sounds. but most of my kids are having sooo much fun. I created "cheater helps" on little notecards if they got stumped, and these cards are filled with questions to provoke a character or setting to be "born." And by today I read the 300-word starts and the plot/theme summaries for all of them... Amazing! In only three class days I am friends with a haughty teen named Angel who spurns a black, gifted Lambourghini from her father because it isn't pink..... and suddenly is finding herself with a flat tire in front of a homeless shelter... Angel didn't exist three days ago, and she now has black, straight hair, hazel eyes, and an attitude.... I know Shushoon the meanest little raccoon in the forest; an abused teen milkmaid from the turn of the century in Europe, and a couple who met on the Internet and found true love.... It is soooo much fun to witness the birth of these guys... So I got to thinking... had I not assigned these January stories, Shushoon and Angel wouldn't be here... Writing is magic, actually..... I decided to look up someone who is realer than real in literary/Southern history.... in this case Scarlett O'Hara.... Above is "her " birthplace, the Mitchell home... And here is the timeline entry for why she (Scarlett) was "born."
---------------------------Margaret Mitchell---------------------------
1917 Falls in love and becomes engaged to Lt. Clifford Henry, a Harvard man in training at Camp Gordon in Atlanta. He is stationed in France and Margaret starts her first year at Smith College in the fall of 1918.
1911 - 1919 While at Smith, she receives word that Clifford has died. Soon after, her mother becomes ill, and Margaret rushes home to see her but does not make it in time.

1920 Makes her debut and causes a scandal with her "Apache Dance." She is refused admission into the Junior League because of the nature of the dance and because she chose to do charity work in the wards for the black and the poor at Grady Hospital.

Her Working Years
1922 She is surrounded by suitors, but Red Upshaw and John Marsh remain the top competitors for her attention. Margaret marries Upshaw in September of that year and the couple moves in with Margaret's family. Shortly thereafter, Red becomes abusive, and Margaret realizes he is both a bootlegger and an alcoholic. The two separate and eventually divorce. Margaret lands a job as a reporter at the Atlanta Journal Magazine. She soon becomes the first woman to cover hard news for the Atlanta Journal.
1925 Margaret marries John Marsh on July 4 (she liked to tell her friends she was married on "Independence Day"). They host their wedding reception in apartment #1 on Crescent Avenue. A former newspaper reporter, John works as the editor of the Georgia Power Company magazine, eventually rising to vice president of advertising and marketing.

Writing Gone With the Wind

1926 Margaret is forced to quit her job at the newspaper because of arthritis in her ankles and feet. She spends time at home in bed, reading voraciously. John, tired of lugging books home for Margaret to read, brings her a second-hand portable Remington typewriter with the words, "Madam, I greet you on the beginning of a great new career." John's thought was that because Margaret had read basically every book in the public library, she should write her own book. Margaret begins composing what her friends jokingly call, "the great American novel," writing about what she had learned from the many stories her elders had told her as she was growing up.
So, -------------one never really knows who can join us by dinnertime tomorrow.... Frankly, my dears, this mystery is one of the most exciting things about teaching.... Have a great night....

Saturday, January 5, 2008

This is the day that just flew by on wings!

Oh, Please click on these pictures to see these fabulous water fowl! I zoomed in as much as I could, and they were just beautiful in "person."A perfect Saturday morning appeared here in Missouri. After literally weeks of ice, snow, sleet, more ice, we awoke to sunshine, very very warm temperatures, (Yeah, a little mud, but who cares?). I literally had to BEG my mother to come with me this morning, but I knew she had cabin fever pretty bad, so she finally agreed. I baked some chocolate chip cookies for a friend who's shut-in, and we took off with a little gift bag of warm cookies, ham salad from my favorite ham salad maker in the world, Special D's in Macon, and a little jar of Harry and David's red pepper and onion relish (isn't that fabulous with cream cheese?). And we were off... also nipped by our wonderful little market where the owner takes a phone order, sacks it all up and brings it to your CAR!!! takes the check through the window of the car and calls you (53) and your mother (83) "girls" and you just feel fabulous.... Matt's Market in Bevier is "da-bomb" as my students say.
We drove to a nearby lake and had a little car picnic with Hardee's curley fries and absolultely divinely cooked chicken strips with sweet and sour sauce... The lake, half frozen and half living water, was brimmed with hundreds of geese and ducks. We loved the honks and squawks... Made us feel as if we were hosting some kind of Animal Planet show called "The over the hill girls go native" or something maybe a bit more chi chi....

We later came home and then enjoyed so much an impromptu visit from a good, good friend we never get to see enough... And an evening watching the Food Channel go "light" in cuisine... yeah, that's good timing~! Sigh. What a memorable and good Saturday in January. I hear storms are brewing for the Midwest. And I've been reading about the powerful ones in the West. Weather is an amazing, uncontrolled guest at all our life's events, is it not? Take care and enjoy the seasons as much as you can.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!

This year has started out pretty fine... Wind and incredible wind chill blew my son down our snowy driveway about twenty minutes before the new year. He surprised us. Mom had already gone to bed about 11... (just too tired for the last little bit) and I was watching the clock on my computer and puttering down here in my room. Bam! Young people are an instant party! We woke her up and decided today would be an excellent day to visit our favorite Chinese Restaurant, China Garden.

A couple of special phonecalls and a good night's sleep. The weather today is 12 degrees with gusty winds. Brrrr! I have some projects up my sleeve for this year. Hope this day finds you all in good spirits and looking forward to something special and holy for the upcoming year. "Hope is a thing with feathers that perches in the soul!"