Thursday, December 25, 2014

it's Christmas morning...

We've hit a new 'normal' as far as Christmas goes.  No little ones at home to ready the place for Santa to visit, no one at home now, to celebrate Christmas morning with.  They all have their own homes and little ones.  So, what does this new normal look like? BLAH! How does it feel?  Lonely, at best.

Everything is just 'off'.  We celebrated very early for our family this year. Recognizing that a lot of families do this, but, it was new for us.  Kind of threw me off from the get go.  It was a great time together.  Not dismissing that, but overall, it just threw off the balance.  The BIG hoorah!

Now that our kids are grown and have families of their own, their schedules have multiplied to get everyone in.  They are now doing the crazed, "gotta get to everyone's house" dance.  I'm glad those days are over.  But, it does leave a loneliness that we've never really felt before.  A new normal.

So, our Christmas Eve was spent in the quiet of our home relaxing and watching Christmas movies, while snacking.  No meal, just snacks, and adult ones at that.  Good quality cheeses, pickled asparagus and gourmet olives to name a few.  It was nice relaxing and enjoying the quiet.  But, it was a bit blah!  

So, we did what we wanted and opened our gifts from each other.  It started with new p.j.'s.  Then, we said, oh, let's open a couple more...then, what the heck, let's open all of them.  And we did.  

When my head finally hit the pillow, I laid there thinking of the first Christmas so long ago.  I think I was searching for the 'real' meaning.  Something of substance now that I could really focus on what it's really all about.  So, I laid there and envisioned what it must have been like.  The trudge, the fear, the angst of having a baby born in a barn.  Knowing that you were going to give birth to a king, knowing the way in which you were 'with child', the scorn of the world upon you.  Strange but all-knowing at the same time.

What must it have been like for the Shepherd's?  The Angels?  How did the inn-keepers feel after they found out what they had done? 

So, I fell asleep with visions of Jesus birth.  I awoke with the same.  Then this came across my Facebook page and I thought, this is what I want to share. I was inspired to share it with you.  

I think this will be my new normal... and, it's been here all along. Merry Christmas from me to you.  Beth

Monday, December 22, 2014

I've really missed...

I've been pretty darn lucky to get to do so much of what I enjoy these past few years.  I'm working towards a more simple and less stressful way of living.  The first step was leaving my career in real estate four years ago.  I enjoyed it a lot, but noticed the last two or three years that I was in it, that my interests and ambitions were towards a creative lifestyle.  It was the best decision I made.

It's not been easy and financially, has put a strain on our budget.  But, it's been good.  Really, really good.  I'm okay with living with less.  I'm overjoyed with living a more authentic life. A life that allows me to have more time for family, when needed.  I find I'm writing more.  Sending more notes the old fashion way.  I'm working on enjoying my friends over coffee.  I'm loving my home and decorating again. I'm remember what I've loved all my life and now, I'm getting reacquainted with those things. It's just been good.

One of the things that has happened is I've realized how much I miss what I used to love to do.  Sewing is one of those things.  I used to sew quite a bit. My mom let me take sewing classes and I was always in Home Ec. in school.  My mother-in-law gave me her sewing machine early in my marriage.

I would wake up with the hubs, get him off to work and then sit down at the sewing machine and sew for hours, my baby-to-be's newborn gowns, made from flame retardant flannel.  Sweet little gowns, with ties up the middle. Nothing fancy, but I loved doing it.  I've allowed time for myself to remember.

A couple weeks ago, my granddaughter was over and asked me to make her dolly a skirt.  I actually sat down, while she was there watching and whipped out a hand stitched skirt for her dolly.  Then, she wanted one for her stuffed kitty.  I happily obliged.  It was so nice. She was thrilled and so was I! 

I'm inspired to remember and reacquaint myself with more of what I've really missed and I encourage you to do that too!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Coffee mugs and other musings...

This is the mug I'm drinking from these days.  It's a tall, sturdy mug that feels good in my hand.  Much a like a handbag has to work for me, so goes the mug.

I have mugs from a variety of places.  It seems to be the one souvenir we get on vacation.  It's easy to pack, easy on the budget and truly, the memories one conjures up when sipping from a souvenir mug is priceless. 

This particular mug was painted by moi.  Several years ago...and I do mean several, I purchased mugs for everyone that was going to be at our Christmas gathering at my sis-in-laws.  I also purchased a paint your own mug kit so we could all create our own personalized mug. 

It was fun.  The gals got into it more than the guys and my father-in-law, with a little urging and cajoling, complied, too.
I love my cup and all the memories I have of that day and time.  The kids were all smaller, of course, I loved being at my hub's sister's home, a happy time with family.  It's just a really nice reminder, that otherwise, you might not have, if left to your own "forgetful" devices. 

What inspires memories in you?  A photo, a pillow, a coffee mug...

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

We had an early Christmas this year.  If all of my family isn't together, it's just not the same.  And, this year, we had a special gift for the grandkids.  I've been "mindful" of a gift request from our then, almost five year old granddaughter, Makenna, last February.  She thought it'd be a great idea if we got her a pony for her upcoming birthday.  Well, I was keen on the idea right away...Grampie, not so much.  I told Makenna that that was a great idea, that it'd take some planning and it'd have to be a gift for the grandkids, not just for her.  She was happy with that and new it wouldn't be any time soon before there would be a pony to come and live at Grammie and Grampies.

This past October, we were heading out of town for the weekend, when I checked my Facebook, and low and behold, someone was selling a pony!  In our price range, close by.  Long story short, we were able to get her.  Spirit is her name.  We've had her at our place since October, anticipating the big reveal.  Keeping her hidden until Christmas.  Talking over and around, spelling and hand signals when the kiddos were around.  (Note to self:  won't be able to use the spelling card much longer as Makenna is learning to read.)

Since the pony was their "big" gift, I made up a small package for each of them.  It had their ornament that I made; a cowboy and cowgirl, a cowboy hat embellished for each, pony books for each, a pony comb and a bag of carrots.  Lincoln, who's 3-1/2 didn't recognize a pattern, but, Makenna was showing some signs of a pattern to the gifts.  The carrots were a crazy gift to get for sure.  So, with a puzzled look on her face, we talked about what each thing was for and if she thought there was some clues.  Then, we got the signal that the pony was in place.  The look on her face was so precious. Like, "am I seeing what I'm seeing". 

Here's the video of the big reveal.  Enjoy! 

Monday, December 8, 2014

There's just something about weekends.

Another weekend full of life...home stuff, family stuff, Christmas shopping and more. It's been a terrific one at that.

This past Saturday was opening day of shotgun deer season.  It's also my son's birthday.  He was born on opening day, just before daybreak.  His daddy was an avid deer hunter.  It was Tanner and I right from the get-go, so to speak, as he was no sooner born and his daddy took off.  How apropos that he grew to be an avid hunter himself.

So, our weekend started off with family.  Our 3 year old grandson spent the
Lincoln mimicking Grandpa cute!
night, anticipating our granddaughter's visit early Saturday.  Makenna is 5-1/2 and we're starting to notice that the age difference is playing into their time together. But, there is no denying it...their love for each other is amazing. I was almost giddy with excitement myself.  Funny how the grandkids can evoke such a feeling in you.  

We've noticed that Lincoln mimics our actions allot here lately.  He found a book and some play glasses and saddled right up to Grandpa to do some evening reading.  Love it!
It was one of those lazy days.  I had plenty to do, but my time was going to be devoted to the kids.  It was a p.j. relaxing kind of day.  I started chili and vegetable soup in the crockpot.  Coffee was on and at the ready.  

Makenna liked her baby doll's skirt
We had lunch and then it was time for a nap for most everyone in the house.  Everyone except my granddaughter and me.  Lincoln had fallen asleep in my lap, so I laid him down.  Tanner, in for a warm up, had fallen asleep in the easy chair and Abbie, our daughter in law asleep on the couch.  It was the perfect time to make those doll clothes Makenna had asked me to make for her.  A skirt for her kitty and baby doll.

Then, she asked if she could learn to sew so we tried that.  She's a lefty and I'm a righty.  More time and patience is needed with less commotion.  We'll try the lesson again another time.  I love her age right now.  She's so interested in everything and learning is exciting. 

In my studio, I'm designing mixed media canvases...I believe this to be true!

Sunday morning took us to church and then a day of Christmas shopping.  It was lovely!  Funny, when the kids were little, I did all the shopping.  Now that they are out of the house, the hubs comes along.  It's so nice...wish we would have done more shopping together back then...but, then, maybe not.  Now it's kind of relaxing and a bit romantic.  Lunch here, a coffee break there...and, maybe a stop for dinner on the way home.  

There's just something about weekends.


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Our's a magical place!

We had a lovely Thanksgiving with my husband's sister and family and his parents, a brother, and of course, our children and grand-kids.  The weather was perfect, with a light dusting of snow the day before.

We invited my sister-in-law and her husband to stay overnight at our place.  We always have our guests stay in our sunroom.  It's just a magical room, and we have the bed situated so that it faces the east.  The sunrise is most always fabulous and offers a pleasant "wake-up call" as sunrise gives way to full blown daylight.

Returning guests always request the sunroom and we happily oblige.  Sometimes, though, it's hard for us to give up, as we spend most of our winter in the room in the evenings.  A comfy couch and chair take up their spot on the east end, where sunsets can be viewed from the west window.  We have an electric stove that keeps us warm and cozy.  It's just a place of rest and relaxation. 

It's where I'm writing my post from today.  I have the pleasure of working from home most mornings, and this is the best place in the house to do it.  I find the bright sunshine invigorating and the wide sweeping views inspire my thoughts.  It's a safe haven, a place of joy for me.

The birds keep us entertained, as we feed them from this location, which is on the second story of the house.  It feels like we're in a tree house, sharing our space with our feathered friends.  The grand-kids love it!  Hours could be spent watching the birds.

Our's a magical place.  We feel it and so do our guests.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

First-timers to our farm

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It's a super day here in the rolling countryside of Warren County, Iowa.  It's brisk, yet the sunshine is deceiving.  It warms the sunroom, from which I post today.

I had some gal pals over this past Sunday.  They were first timers to our farm, and wanted a tour.  We've been here for eight years.  We've worked on many reno projects, and still have some to do.  I love to show off what we've worked so hard on.  Here's just a few snipets.  Enjoy!

the girly room in the house...for our granddaughter

Fabric~my inspiration piece for the room

a wall in our master bath

lace valances in the master bedroom

vintage wire basket turned light fixture

close up of the fall bounty display. i love the colors in the vintage enamel ware. the gourds were grown in our garden

looking on into the sitting room from the dining room

     small mirrored sconce refreshed with Websters Chalk Paint Powder and black paint i had on hand

more from the girly room

i really love these paintings and colors blend in perfectly with the inspiration chair fabric

close up

close up

the wall art changed out and a new lamp

ceramic birds...i love birds

a plaque in the guest bath...have you discovered your passion?