Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Little Southern Gentleman

I am so pleased with this beautiful daughter. She is a phenomenal mother!
They say you know how you did as a mom when you have grandchildren.
What a blessing to be on the grandparent side of the fence!
A little southern gentleman is indeed on his way! After three little girls, Luxton Orson Tolman is his daddy's dream come true:) Brittany is 38 weeks and ready to welcome their little man!

Jodie and Brittany frequently do family outings together,
...even venturing on a dual family vacation last summer!
 With the birth of Luxton they will have 8 children between. oh the chaotic fun! 
Pink anything would not do for this little guy! With 3 sisters ahead of him, hand me downs are not an option:) Brittany's good friend Jodie hosted a small baby shower for Luxton.
What fun change to see blue and greens in baby clothing!
Target has a new line of children's clothing called Cat and Jack which is adorable! I simply could not decide which dressy outfit I loved best so....I bought them all but in various sizes to be sensible:)
Luxton has his first line up of church clothes suitable for a southern gentleman courtesy of
Target, Cat and Jack and Grammie:)
I will obviously need to pace my new bow tie, plaid shirt and suspender obsession:)
I love the joy of baby showers, the ohhhs and ahhhs over the baby clothes,
the chatter about babies and children...such a happy event!
Brittany worked feverishly to finish birth albums for Annabelle, Scarlett, and Madeline,  wanting to display them at the shower. It was a sweet walk down memory lane for us, and a fun bit of family history for friends to enjoy!
Jeline an ardent fan of Brittany's girls:)
Her favorite thing to do is pinch chubby baby legs...isn't that everyone's favorite?!

Jodie had these cute shirts made for their first family photo op in the hospital! Poor little man...three sisters to mother him, he's in for a bumpy ride!
Brittany & Travis call their family Team Tolman! Tolman is on the front of these cute shirts.
I'd say they really do have a full team:)
Raelynn & Mari are an important part of our lives.
Mari is my right hand girl at Nellie's Cottage, and Raylynn loves to babysit  Brittany's girls!
Mallory was Brittany's good friend in high school, and now is the mom of four children:) 
Heather is a sweetie who knew Brittany in high school and married a cousin:)
Her children Emmett and Aubry are simple adorable! 
Gus and Cici, as these cuties are nicknamed..belong to Mallory and Daniel.
There is something so stinkin' cute about twins!
Carolyn and Amy are a kind mother & daughter duo who have taught Brittany's children in church.
Carolyn currently teaches Scarlett which I am sure is quite the adventure:)
Debi and Brittany each have 6 year olds, Annabelle & Rebecca, and 3 years olds, Scarlett and Taylor who are best friends!
Debi's daughter Megan is one of the frequent babysitters to the Tolman munchkins.
Annabelle came at the end of the shower to check out the gifts and cart them home. She is already a big help and has all the qualities one would expect from an oldest child... beginning with bossy:)

I rarely ever get an album complete immediately after an event! The small number of pictures and Brittany's preferred simple style made this an easy project. The invitation provided a design map and with my considerable stash and album was born!

I found this cute alligator on Cricut design space and rickety split was able to cut them out. Outlining simple shapes adds dimension and interest, as the picture above demonstrates. 

Even though we know who the guests's always a good idea to document for our future children and grandchildren. It gives them another clue about our lives!

I chose to create a simple One Event/One Design album for the shower even though I do LOVE to create "over the top fancy shmancy embellished pages"! This simple "every page the same" style allows me to whip out albums in a timely manner. After all, future generations will be more interested in the people than the embellishments! So for events, holidays and vacations this is my scrapbook method of operation:) 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Valentine promise

We frequently make promises in life. Some are forgotten, some ignored, and some fail...but once in awhile we really do keep one. 
On Valentine's Day in 1975 a young girl pledged a promise to her grandparents...that girl was me. I was a prolific writer of childhood poetry. The lyrical rhythm of rhyming words spoke to's how I shared my love. 

This card created for Nellie's & Albert, Mama (maw maw) and PaPa (paw paw) was carefully tucked away in a keepsake box at my moms. In recent years she has gifted me all of my childhood memorabilia. Seeing this valentine brought tears...sadness in missing Mama and Papa, happiness for the sweet memories, and gratitude for the childhood promise kept... "I will never forget you" love, Kimberly

I grew up visiting Mama & Papa at least once a week. Mama had lush flower gardens all around the yard. Papa was a master vegetable gardener. He would often take us out to feed his chickens. He was a bit gruff in manner but we knew he loved us. Mama was sweet & always concerned about one's well being...which meant as a southern grandmother she loved to feed us:) 
It was the 1970's, a great time for childhood before political correctness and personal injury lawsuits dominated American lives. As you can see below my brother Todd had a toy gun in his hand! 

I do not have one single picture of me with Mama or Papa, only the treasured memories seared into my mind and heart. Papa began building this house after they lost their home in the depression. They started all over. I so admire the courage & resolve I see in their faces below.

Aunt Helen was the oldest of their 5 children. She remembered how embarrassed she was to lose their home. She is standing in front of the cottage as originally built.

My mom Martha came along 16 years after her next oldest sister. My aunts tell me she was quite spoiled:) Here she is in front of the home with an added screened in porch. 

Nellie & Albert were married 66 years.They were loved and well respected. I still miss them!

After Papa died in 1989 and Mama in 1990, my Uncle Albert took over the house. He lived there until his passing in 2009. At that point the house was in terrible disrepair. No one in the entire extended family wanted it...except me:) 
I dreamed a dream and could visualize the renovation possibilities!

My dad always said..."You have to make a mess to make progress" and boy did we make a mess. Day one, March 11 2009, I recruited son in law Travis, and Brian, best friend of my son Keith, for demolition. Hammers swung furiously as boots and fists went through walls, and cabinets were ripped from the studs. This was the day Michael stopped by after work, walked in and saw the destruction. He went totally white with shock as he thought we were going to slap some paint on the wall and find renters! I started talking super fast in my most charming southern accent and revealed to him my plan for a cottage retreat.

My marriage survived the information omission and once I showed Michael all of the research on retreats in Texas he jumped on board...well...more like cautiously walked on board:)
"Take it to the studs!" was the battle cry. Strong feelings of being "in over my head" were a constant companion as contractors and helpers came and went over the next 9 months.

Slowly but surely over the weeks and months things began to take shape. I cannot remember how many trips were made to the city dump and building supply warehouses. I became a back up pro with a lowboy trailer:) 
We completed the cottage in December 2009. Hallelujah, what a happy result! Taken to the studs and back again, Nellie's exuded all the cottage charm of my vision! 

There were many moments of complete despair during those initial 9 months of renovation. Even 7 years later anxiety can surface when thinking about this project! There were a few miracles along the way, and I often felt the spirit of my grandparents spurring me on.

Nellie's Cottage has continued to evolve and expand. A new large project room was added on the back of Nellie's, and Flossy's (Nellie's sister) cottage was renovated for additional sleeping space.
I sometimes sit in the driveway carried away in the wonder of this journey. As the girl who wrote "I will never forget you", I could not have imagined it would be so literal...that I would be the proprietor and caretaker of their home. 

Creative, kind and lovely women come from near and far to retreat at Nellie's Cottage. I always tell them the story of Nellie & Albert, about their courage and love. I end this story with a new poem...

Dear Mama and Papa,
I remember the garden, the chickens we fed,
The beautiful flowers lovingly planted in beds.

I still smell coffee in morning's early light, 
And crisp skillet pancakes, a breakfast delight.

The porch swing in motion, the two of you there
A memory my heart loves that lingers in air.

Sweet words that you loved me tucked deep in my heart
Hospitality given to all, you made quite an art.

A lifetime of service to family and friends
What lessons you gave me, true to the end.

A promise I made and a promise I'm keeping
Your home still well loved and happy, no weeping.

Love is forever and always my dears
I'll never, no never forget you in years.

Love, Kimberly

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Be Happy...wooden heart art

Be happy! This wooden heart art piece will take a prominant place in my colorful craft room. I love the colorful whimsical happiness in wood, crochet, paint & pompoms:)

Crafty DIY-ers have a tendency to creatively hoard:) The wood trim on this heart is left over from building our home 20 years ago! It has been languishing in the attic. Scrolling through Pinterest sparked an idea, so I recruited my favorite handy hubby:) 
Michael hand drew a large heart on a thin backer board. The trim was then attached with glue and staple gun, then left to dry. The extra trim was cut off creating a slightly and perfectly crooked heart!
I originally planned this for a Valentine display but it was too fun to only bring out once a year. I decided to go neutral with pewter spray paint, and dry brushed charcoal distressing. It found a home in my laundry room/home office.

Another scroll or two through Pinterest left me needing more bright colors in my life. The interest of the heart trim seemed underwhelmed by the pewter paint. One night I was desperate for a creating session, so I gathered my happy paint colors and transformed the heart for it's next and final destination, my colorful craft room. 

Waiting for the paint to dry between colors and trim pieces was a lesson in patience:) 

Once the paint was completely dry, I gathered all the flowers and fabric trims from my over abundant stash and began laying out embellishment options.

In the end, I chose the pompom trim, (as I knew I would!) and these adorable crochet flowers. My alphabet stash had the perfect chipboard letters to complete the project. Be happy, be happy, be happy....a reminder to soak it up when it comes:)

"Don't waste a minute not being happy. If one window closes, run to the next window- or break down a door."                                           Brooke Shields

"The most important thing is the enjoy your life-to be happy-it's all that matters."                         Aubrey Hepburn

"Being happy never goes out of style."  Lilly Pulitzer

"Be happy for this moment. 
This moment is your life"     Omar Khayyam

"Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking."         Marcus Aurelius

"BE HAPPY...always, mostly, or as often as you can:)" 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

3 small humans & the beds that Grandad built!

This is the story of 3 little Crossley's and the triple bunkbed extravaganza their Grandad built. Yes, that is a broken arm, injured on the very first day these monkeys climbed on the bed! A baby sister is joining this min-mob which meant bedrooms needed to be re-arranged, and triple bunkbeds built. The parents of this motley crew think this will work, but considering every nap-time and bedtime is a PARTY of unparalleled portions in 2 separate bedrooms...Grammie in her wisdom isn't convinced:)
Before the broken arm there began a project by Grandad, who is quite popular with the ladies of the family for his ability to build whatever they can dream up with the help of Pinterest:)  One set of bunkbeds, and a farmhouse table were previously completed with the help of plans but this project required him to design, measure, and calculate every single step of the bunkbed way!
Michael has a generous size space for his woodworking, made slightly more challenging being located right next door to the home of 3 little blue-eyed blond Tolman girls who live right behind Grammie and Grandad on their property. Madeline can often be found underfoot...but how can you resist that muffin covered smile:)
Michael did endure a few comments from the women on the property... "How in the world is that monstrosity going to fit upstairs and turn the corner to the bedroom where it is going" (not that I ever said such a thing!) To his credit he deflected doubt while forging ahead as a confident man on a mission, with command of a tape measure and no need of help from a wife or daughter...hahha! 
This side of our yard often has paint outlines from furniture projects, I bet that grass hates us..hahha
Once the bunkbeds were complete, they were carefully loaded on our lowboy trailer and we set out for Dallas with a fully packed suburban including the Tolmans, and their new dog Truman. Normally a 5 hour journey, this trip was longer due to the super careful driving of Grandad the builder, notwithstanding Grammie sighing loudly while staring at the speed odometer more than a few times... 
I am happy to report we arrived with our marriage intact:-}

We finally arrived at Aaron & Janene's and immediately the bunkbed pieces were unloaded and assembly began amid the shenanigans of 6 small and curious grand-munchkins. My Papa Geldard who was a carpenter and built Nellie's Cottage would have marveled at the ease of a drill!

The very second the beds were deemed complete, a herd of enthusiastic children claimed straight to the top as we knew they would! The broken arm happened when Savannah, showing off for Annabelle, was hanging on the outside of the top bunk. She then fell to the floor, catching her arm on the middle bunk on the way down. Quite the monkey, she loves to climb, so this wasn't all that much of a surprise! Luckily the break was at the shoulder, so no cast was needed, just a sling for 6 weeks.

In all the ruckus we didn't get pictures of all of the children in the initial bunkbed stampede. 
Here is a visual...chaos at the movie imagine this on the bunkbeds! Ruckus!

The ruckus continued through the weekend and as you can see, it's quite impossible to have all 6 children smiling and perfectly happy at once! This was the scene just before leaving for church..hahah

A few days later as we were leaving for home Annabelle agreed to "model" the bunkbeds since the younger children could not be persuaded...thank heavens for 6 year olds! 

A few days later Janene sent me the picture below via text... "Don't tell dad, but I'm not sure why we thought we needed a triple bunkbed!" These babies pile up like puppies:)

And so the story of the 3 little Crossley mini-mob and the triple bunkbed extravaganza ends with this spectacular picture taken and edited by their daddy Aaron with his fancy camera. All smiles and adorable happiness in 3 small humans that call us Grammie and Grandad!