Thank you for following little me as I go about each day on my adventures!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Tummy troubles have struck the household. I would have thought that there was a rule, written somewhere, that when the parents are deathly ill, the children have no business falling ill as well. Am I right? Can I get an "amen"?

Rules were broken in my home and all four of us were feeling the effects of the stomach flu these past couple of days. So not pretty.

So I would have to say that today I am grateful for....minor illness, and how it gives you a little reality check to how wonderful good health really is. I'm grateful for it's swift arrival and departure.

I'm also grateful for my wonderful staff without whom I would not have the peace of mind that I am able to enjoy when forced to stay home, ill, at the busiest time of the year as a retailer. Thank you ladies!

Also grateful to old friends who pick up where you last left off - making me even more acutely aware of how much I love, admire and miss them. 2011's first resolution is to keep in better contact with old and dear friends and my wonderful family.

I'm also super grateful for second chances. Aren't you?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

choosing to be happy

I have had, what could very well be, the WORST. DAY. EVER.

Now having said that, and upon retrospect, it's not the worst day ever - it's just been a bit of an emotional roller coaster day with lots of' 'busy' thrown in and lots of driving hither and yon.
I think it's more that I gave into the sad feelings and the overwhelming-ness of everything that made it such a terribly bad day.
Being sick doesn't help and's been crappity crap all around (with a nod to Dottie Angel on that one)

I've read, more than once, that to be happy one must choose to be happy.
Apparently, it really is your choice.
Amazing isn't it? That if you stop for just a second and make that choice - to choose to be happy, to choose to change the direction of your day, it will change your week, your month, your life.
I believe it.
I truly do.

Doesn't mean I practice it as much as I should.  Or could, but I am about to change that.

Consider this.
The top 5 regrets of the dying are:
1. Wish I'd had the courage to live my life true to myself and not the life others expected of me
2. Wish I hadn't worked so hard
3. Wish I had the courage to express my feelings
4.  Wish I had stayed in touch with my friends
5. Wish I had let myself  be happier

Read that again.
Seriously. Read it...again.

Powerful stuff. Found that tonight and I have to say, it's shaken me up a wee bit.

Numbers 1 and 3?  I live them already.
Sometimes it's a struggle but I'm there for the most part.

It's those numbers 2, 4 and 5 that have got me shook up. Yikes.

I'm doing some serious thinking about those...and making changes.

My sweet child deserves a happier mom - heck, I deserve a happier self.
I consider myself to be a happy person but with all the busy in my life, and demands on my time and energy - I can't say that I'm always at my happy best.
I've lost touch with friends and I know I work too much and too hard.

Most days, I think about what I am grateful for, and that seems to get me on the right track.
I've not tried keeping a Gratitude Journal...yet  (we just got some in the shops for Christmas so it's been on my mind lately).
 The people I know who do keep such journals, have felt a real change within themselves and their outlook.

I like that.
I like that such a simple, quiet, sweet task can have such a profound effect.

We all have blue days, we all have troubles and regardless, we all have so much to be grateful for.

A gentle reminder of that is good.

I'm going to start right now.

Tonight, I am so very grateful for...
- the strangely comforting sound of the falling rain against my windowpane
- my healthy little girl
- delivery pizza that my daughter will eat cuz I'm too sick and tired to cook dinner
- the comforting light of candles
- and cold white wine

What are you grateful for?

Monday, December 6, 2010

"the road to hell is paved with good intentions"

Don't I know it!
I won't get into my resolutions for the coming year - I'll save that for future discussion, but I will say that I have not meant to be away, again, for so bloody long.
Life happens.
And that's all I'm gonna say about that.

I'm happy to report that all are well, including my dear mother who is still with us, tho much diminished, but still here nonetheless. So far, so good, and I am hoping this will be a Happy Christmas after all.

And with Christmas on our doorstep I am madly trying to finish my windows and displays for the shops. Mia got sick and now I'm sick....let's just say I'm a wee bit behind.
Normally I'd have the stores done up by mid November, instead I'm up till the wee hours (hmmm...wonder why I'm sick) crafting with old book pages and burning myself with a glue gun.

This years display is all about old paper and it's looking great!
I just need more hands, more time and more stamina...sigh.
I will upload photos shortly!

Friday, October 1, 2010

dottie angel dearies

What a weekend!
I was in Seattle for an ACE camp. It was with the amazing Dottie Angel and I can't even begin to describe how wonderful it all was.
Truly amazing.
I am so happy I managed to get away.
My mom, as some of you may know, is dying and I just couldn't see my way clear to being away for that long (three days!).
Finally, my mom was stable enough and encouraged me to attend.
That did it.
Off I went.
With a newly purchased GPS installed in the Mini (seriously, you don't want to know how bad my lack of direction is) and away I went.
This GPS has given me a renewed sense of freedom - I can now go anywhere without fear of getting lost, never to be heard from again.

With much anticipation, and a healthy dose of trepidation, I arrived...late for the evening meet and greet but absolutely thrilled to be there.
Everyone was wonderful.
All the "dearies" were, and are, amazing women.
Some heavy hitters in the group....Jade....Becki...Christina....Jessie....Debbee...Michelle...Stacy....Rita, Lynn, Lou, Diana and Rita.
Can you say...intimidated?

We ate like kings (queens?) and crafted for two days straight.
Into the wee hours.
The meals were gourmet, wonderful and generous.
The artist Dottie Angel - gracious, incredibly generous and so, so lovely.

I am so very grateful for the wonderful weekend of sewing, learning and sharing.

I promise, I will finally confidently cut into all my beautiful stashed fabrics and make wonderful things happen.

I will.
I will...
I will!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

stressful summer

I've been away far too long, and I apologize.

The past few months have been so painful and filled with anxiety and stress.
Some dark, dark days people.
My poor mother has been in and out of Hospital six times in the past two months.
Her condition has been increasingly fragile and I have had to prepare myself for what is essentially, the end.
She has heart failure, kidney failure, has suffered a heart attack, pnuemonia, fluid in her lungs and most recently, a blood clot.
It's been a helluva ride.
Each time I'm told it's gonna be the end and each time she manages to bounce back.

She is a strong woman, that one.
I can only hope that I follow suit and don't go so easily into that good night...

Needless to say (but I'm gonna anyway) I've been devestated at the thought of losing her.
I keep begging God for more time (and He has thus far been gracious enough to extend me some) and I have been trying to make the most of each and every day with her.

Some days are better than others.

The biggest challenge for me has been my own head.
The thoughts and fears that grip me and the back and forth of being in mourning and then...not.

I am emotionally exhausted.
Having my little girl to think about has kept me from completely falling apart.
For that too, I am very grateful.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

thrifting finds and garden treasures

I remember...
my Grandmother filling the bathtub with water and placing the cut flowers from her garden in their 'bath'.
It was her way of soaking out the ants and other bugs that invariably would be lurking in the blossoms.

It's funny how you carry on doing something a certain way because that's the way you learned how to do it.
It's a tradition that you don't even realize you are participating in.

That's me with cut flowers.
I lay them in the tub and give them a quick shower and let the freeloaders float their way out of the blooms.

Two of my greatest loves, and this is no exaggeration, are thrifting and gardening.

Thrift store shopping is something I have been doing since I was a little girl, much to my mothers mortification.
Back then it wasn't really something you did for fun - It was more out of necessity and thus something to be rather ashamed about.
I remember the stigma that came with wearing 'second hand' but I never really let it bother me. I really enjoyed hunting for the unique and special and putting it all together to make an outfit that I felt good in and proud of.
I also adored all the pretty plates and doilies and frippery I came across for pennies.

I think my love for the hunt and eye for quality and detail was honed and sharpened by those many thrift store forays.
I still have treasures in use today that I found when I was ten.

I've been trying to embrace simplicity lately.
Out of necessity more so than a change of lifestyle - "more is more" I always say!

But as my wee house gets overrun by the heaps of collected treasures I've accumulated over lo these many years, I have come to realize that I have allot of stuff.
Too much stuff in fact.

So I find myself digging thru boxes and making tough decisions about what gets to stay and what....doesn't.

It's awful.
I hate it.
So I decided to go and do something that really calms my nerves and makes me super happy.

I went thrifting.

But I can tell you that I went with the purest of intentions - I am in desperate need of more slips to dye and make lovely for the shops.

I have been remiss in my supplying the stores so I am making up for lost time with some heavy attention to the task.

And it was with complete innocence that I wandered thru the housewares section with no thoughts of really looking...till I spied this.

A hobnail milk glass vase.
I also found, with hardly searching at all, it's sister - a hobnail milk glass planter! (which I forgot to photograph for you in all the excitement of washing and filling my new vase with my just-opened-today peony blooms)

Even more shot's of my garden peonies...
In their natural state...

As I said, my two greatest loves are thrifting and gardening, well, last summer I started a garden in the boulevard - I used a discarded wicker rocking chair as part of the vignette.
The seat had long ago fallen out, so in went a rose standard.
I was pretty pleased with my idea and was even more excited when I noticed people stopping to admire it and snap photos.
I know it's horrid for me to say but...well, it was gorgeous.

Imagine my disappointment when a few months later, someone dug up my rose and walked off with it!
A few weeks after that, they stole the chair.

I gave myself some time to mourn.

A new wicker candidate has been found.

It's a vintage child's rocker that was originally intended for Mia...till one of the staff used it as a step ladder.

Sadly it is no longer a suitable rocking chair, but what a great planter!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Dragged Dutch Husband and baby Amalia Rose, on my buying trip to sunny California. As fun as it was to have my loves with me - I don't think I'll be doing THAT again any time soon.
It's hard enough trying to dig up the pretty for the shops on my own - dragging an almost two year old behind me made it a bit harder. Dragging Dutch Husband made it almost impossible.

I drank allot of wine this trip.

This is Amalia Rose posing by the amazing Echevaria planters in the hallways of our hotel. I love Semprevivums - try to have planters of them each summer on the patio but can't compare to the size these monsters get to in the California sun. Fantastic.

Have decided on nickname for Amalia Rose....insert drum roll here....Mia.
Love it.
Pretty yet strong.
Sweet yet...mischievous.

Had I realized what a work out saying "Amalia Rose" would be, I would have come up with something else.

I think I can be forgiven tho, I was, after all, under duress.
I had just had an emergency C-section (not pretty) and had finally woken up from anesthesia (SO not pretty) and then was wheeled into my room to meet my baby.
I was not myself.

It's taken quite some time to come up with a nickname - I refuse to have her go through life with a shortened name that I have no control over.
'Leah' is not an option - worked with a Leah and she was a complete and utter snot.
'Molly' also out of the question - too reminiscent of Pretty in Pink/the 80's/my dreaded high school years/ugh, ugh, ugh.
Tried, in vain, to get everyone to call her "Lola" - yeah, I know it's a reach, but I LOVE that name.
Anyway, I'm apparently crap at nicknames as I couldn't come up with anything good.
Thank you to my lovely and brilliant friend Susie who blithely tossed the name Mia my way and I have been in love with it ever since.

My sweet child just may survive the school years unscathed.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

glamorous life

This, dear readers, is a photo of my feet resting in the bottom drawer of the dresser next to the bed in the smallest hotel room I have ever been in.
This, is my glamorous life.
This is what it takes to bring the fashion to Barefoot Contessa.

It's funny cuz I know people don't realize what really goes into a buying trip.
It's not all cocktails and pretty dresses.

I don't like to spend allot (clearly) on the hotels I stay in as it means less money in my budget for stock (and I'm cheap) but even I know that this room is ridiculous.
I posted on Facebook how "my room is so small...I can sit on the end of the bed, reach over and flush the toilet with my feet in the shower" I exaggerated.
A little.
Cue next photo...

These are my feet in the shower, and you can clearly see the edge of said bed.

This is what you get for $69 a night (breakfast included!) and as I'm very close to my destination, I can simply walk there each day saving a ton on taxi's.
All part and parcel of my buying trips.

I was in Seattle earlier in the week and stayed at the lovely Mayflower Hotel (I do splash out occasionally) So I did have a much more glamorous buying trip whilst there for the Gift Show.
In San Francisco I stay in this ridiculously small hotel (or so I thought) on Powell street, right downtown. Close to all the great restaurants and fabulous stores and within easy walking distance to the Convention Center for the gift show that I usually attend.
My absolute favorite thing about it?
The little Mexican lady who sells fresh gardenia blossoms to pin to my dress!
Makes me so crazy happy and I would never have discovered her had I stayed at a posh place.

I have one more day of shopping ahead of me so I'd best head off to bed...I'll just pull my feet up outta this drawer and lay down.

Can't wait to show you all what I've found for Spring!
I'll take some shots tomorrow and give you all a sneak peak!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!
The Holidays have just been a blur of activity and this year I feel they have passed all too quickly. I am currently in Nashville, TN visiting my cousin Maria - she is our family historian, having dedicated years to researching our genealogy. It's always such a pleasure to be here, to enjoy the hospitality and learn more about our history and share stories.

I hope this Holiday has found you all in the company of loved ones and enjoying the comfort that brings. I love this time of year - so magical, when the entire world seems to slow down, just a little.

Wishing you all good health, happiness and a year filled with possibilities.