Sunday, October 19, 2014

The homeliest smile

I was in the return line at Sam's Club one day when I began to notice the lady at the counter being helped. I looked at her and realized that in the eyes of the world she wouldn't be given a second glance. She was a middle aged lady with clothes that were ill fitting, unfashionable and frumpy at best. Her hair looked as if a manic toddler went to work with scissors. I could hear her voice which was gravely. Her speech was halting, garbled and hard to understand. She might have been a wall flower in school or even the brunt of jokes. By her appearance she may have never been to the prom and certainly wouldn't have been in the popular crowd. 
The clerk was trying to be patient as the woman struggled to understand the return procedure and credit card technology. My heart ached as she tried to explain her return of a children's book. As I watched and listened it became obvious the woman was apologetic for her inadequices. She thanked the clerk multiple times, nodding her head each time in vigorous fashion similar to that of a child. 
As my compassion deepened a miracle occurred. It was as if the heavens opened. Love flowed freely into my mind and I felt the great depth and unconditional love that God feels for her. It was gone as suddenly as it came but it was real, profound, and life changing. 
She finally finished the return and as she turned around I was surprised. She looked at the line of people behind her and smiled a bright, genuine and happy smile. Her features were terribly homely but in that smile the beauty of heaven was evident. As she walked out the door I said silent prayer that someone on this earth would love her as she deserved. 
I will be forever changed. I will see people differently now that I have felt that pure gift of God's love for this woman. As a popular song declares "What the world needs now is love, sweet love." 
I have learned that real love often comes from the homeliest smile.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Hello Fall

Don't you just love these piggy-tails on Savannah! I just have to smile at her 10 month old chubby cheeks and happy grin. Creating pages with photos from text messages is a favorite... Instant satisfaction!
I bought the Canon Selphy for just such a purpose. My scrapbooks are in seasons, events, vacations, holidays, birthdays, school, etc... and my newest addition is a Grammie book for all the random pictures I enjoy on my phone.

Fall is my favorite season. I love the colors, the smells,the decorating, the anticipation of the handful of colorful trees (we live in pine tree country)..I love everything about fall!

This layout was fun and whimsical to create with many different layers and embellishments which include:
Cardstock stickers, stickles, glitter, brads, pop foam, felt leaves, ink, punched leaves, printed leaves, twine, bubble letters, pieces of tags, yarn, tabs, rickrack, crochet lace & washi tape.

Happy fall, pumpkins, scarecrows and piggy tails:)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Skipping Autumn

Every year in September I decorate my house in fall colors. I update my fall scrapbook. I put away my summer clothes and hang up my fall-winter wardrobe. We make pumpkin waffles, pancakes and bars. I do all of this hoping to entice autumn to Texas. Instead I am still mowing the grass, still battling fire ants, and still weeding my flower beds as if someone issued an official "Texas is skipping autumn edict!" Honestly I don't why I am always surprised at the absence of color in the trees or the fabled cool breeze that announces a change of season. 

C'est la Vie! 
I will simply create mini fall vignettes to soothe my summer weary soul. 
This is a 12x12 layout for a seasonal display with loads of texture and dimension created by "fluffing" the trees and crumpling the edges of the leaves. I backed the layout with chipboard for a more sturdy display. The chipboard letters are painted with red, copper, and brown acrylic. An EK leaf punch was used on metallic cardstock to create the leaves. Lining the trees (cricut cut) with a copper sharpie added definition. Creating with the colors of autumn makes me feel a bit better about still mowing the grass and pulling weeds, however nothing EVER makes up for the fire ants! 
Happy Autumn to those of you who actually have one...may it be glorious!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The British are coming!

In this case it is a good thing unlike during the American revolution! My husband's whole family is coming next month which put me into high gear to finish a decorating dream…a British family room!
I am not sure why we didn't do this years ago, I think it is because I was trying to follow the "proper" decorating rules…now I have decided to do whatever I want with my house just because I can:)
I love decorating with family pictures and fun DIY embellishments like my crown lamp shade and stamped desk. I do have a couple more projects like printed burlap pillows and a fancy bulletin board with a collage of our trips to England.
It's funny, people keep asking me if Michael loves the room…he's a guy…
He does like the rug, and seems pleased with my efforts to bring a bit of his home country to southeast Texas!

Behold the British stuff…
One cannot have a British room unless you have a British flag of some sort!

I found these fun red leather ottomans on

Originally a brown $35 garage sale find in the 80's
I had previously painted this desk red a few years ago

These cool stamps by Tim Holtz made this a one of a kind designer piece!

The "keep calm" thing is beyond ridiculous with all the variations
however, it began with Winston Churchill in WW 2 and therefore
appropriately British!
These are pictures I took on trips to England, except the city view from
the London Eye, Travis gets credit for that one! 
Found this antique "dry sink" at a local place

A Marshall's find:)

Love these metal crowns I hot glued to the lamp shade,
found them at Michaels

A very talented furniture man Ryan built this child's table for the grandkids.
I have put the checkers set away while Scarlett is in her "destruc-to" stage:)

The not turns over to a bland side indicating the queen (me)
will be accepting an audience…if only they would obey the sign!

So...the British people may still be coming but the British-Texan decorator (ME) has already been here!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The last summer

As life marches on we mark beginnings and ends as benchmarks, things change the status quo.
Monday we said goodbye to our youngest daughter Danielle & hubby Johnny who have lived with us for 2 summers in a row.

We have had our summers filled with college kids at home for over a decade. An era ends this year because Johnny was accepted to the accounting program and Danielle is applying to P.A. school, which means they won't have summers off. This leaves me both extremely proud of their accomplishments and terribly sad for the lonely summers ahead.
A bit dramatic as usual, but true:)

I will miss Johnny teasing me and calling me Kimmie, declaring that we are besties! I will miss Danielle's hugs and "How are you Mommy" greetings along with the little back scratch:) I might even miss Johnny & Travis's redneck adventures and challenges to my rules of etiquette. I will miss the movie night marathons, ideas for fun activities, and talks about practically anything with people who no longer roll their eyes at me.

I won't miss my decimated grocery budget or Johnny whining that the milk is gone. I won't miss the "trail" of Danielle though the house or Johnny's stinky work tennis shoes on my back door steps. I won't miss my clean laundry taken out the dryer before it is dry, or the constant pile of stuff on the staircase. These things are truly petty though... I am just trying not to miss them too much:)

There is something about having these youngsters just beginning their adult adventures that brings such joy. Their life possibilities excite me and induce sweet reminiscing about Michael and I at their age. I seem to slow down my work schedule a bit to "hang out" with these "past the teen years" and much sweeter children! Some I have loved since birth and the others since they married mine:)

Michael and I talk often of how much we love this stage of parenthood. Yes, there were some really good times when we were in the trenches which created treasured memories of raising children. However the real perks come when you can be friends, share common interests AND reap the reward for not dispensing with your teenagers. They grow up and produce adorable little people that make the world new again!

Danielle & Johnny with Brittany & Travis.
 Game night is always fun and sometimes quite lively!
Danielle with Scarlett at a favorite cabin on the lake

Johnny volunteering in the church nursery...
I think he did it just to play with Scarlett:)
Danielle worked in our clinic this summer.
She needed clinical hours to apply to P.A. school
Johnny was my personal outside worker this summer...hahaha
He told Danielle to slap him if he ever complained about school again:)

I made this art work for my Texas loving girl,
who gets homesick mid-winter.

The last wave always tugs at my heart...

I am now re-adjusting to an empty house trying to make friends with strange idea that my children are really and truly all grown up now.
Time really does fly.
I really mustn't be sad too long when they leave. The end of something is always the beginning of another. 
Next summer I can go visit them, attend a college education week that I have longed to be a part of, and escape a bit of these hot Texas summers!
See...I have already figured out how not to be lonely after all:)

Monday, August 11, 2014

Cinnamon Baked French Toast

Waking up to the smell of this baked french toast is an extraordinary treat to the senses. The cinnamon streusel topping is the "cherry on top!"  This is a recipe found on PInterest, tested on the family, and voted into the family recipe hall of fame which became another favorite at Nellie's Cottage for our retreats! We serve this topped with homemade whipped cream and fresh berries with a side of bacon. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Orange Sour Cream Muffins

Our retreaters at Nellie's Cottage love these muffins! I am personally addicted:) They are deliciously moist with a fresh orange flavor, and best of all, topped with a heavenly citrus glaze. We usually serve these muffins with loaded hashbrowns, sausage, & fresh fruit. Brittany found this recipe on Pinterest & tested it on the family...we said it was a keeper! 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Junkin' in Boerne

I recently had my first visit to Boerne, Texas and fell immediately in love with this quaint town in the hill country. It is full of charming buildings filled with treasures of days gone by. It had been ages since I had time to shop, having been in renovation mode for ages. This was the perfect place for me to have a good wander especially since I just discovered Junk Gypsy's. Apparently I am late to the party as usual, how did I miss them? Never mind...I am at the party now and am infatuated with the projects created from their junkin' travels.

My trip to Boerne began by checking in to Ye Kendall Inn, a historic hotel with natural landscaped paths that meander around the property.

Boerne is full of buildings with great character!

My favorite "non-antiques shopping was Brantley's 259 Market. It was full of tin containers, hand stamped tea towels, vintage clothing, and milk bottle candles.

Every where I turned in Boerne was eye candy junk and fabulous inspiration for future Nellie's Cottage projects, like this headboard bench. I must admit these patchwork boots take my breath away...can't decide if I admire the designer for such a bold statement or wish I could censure such creations!

I was drawn to this brass and copper violin since both my girls play. It has since found a home on my mantle. These distressed candle sticks added to the blue ambiance I keep adding in my home.


The real reason I came to Boerne was to visit my friend Brenda. She was visiting her family from the great potato state, Idaho. Brenda & I have been friends for more than 28 years! It doesn't matter how long between chats or visits...we just pick up where we left off. Brenda took me on my first visit to famous Fredericksburg, Texas. We sauntered in and out of the shops on main drag and had a scrumptious lunch at the Peach Tree restaurant. 
I would drive the 5 hours here again just to have the lemon pie!

This rug is made from blue jean tags! I noticed that shopping here is totally Texan braggy with a star, sequin boots or a gun around every corner. 

And of course there is always the classic Texas challenge in some creative art form:)

I have decided shopping for junk is much more rewarding than filling my Walmart cart with cheap items from China. My 50th birthday bucket list just got a little closer to complete with this pleasant trip to Fredericksburg and junkin' in Boerne!