My piece of paradise

Everywhere that I have lived since I have been an adult I have tried to have some sort of flowers growing somewhere on the property, even if that meant just having potted plants. As I have aged and not had to work as many hours, or had as many kid activities to attend to, my gardening has grown.

There are times that people will say that I am crazy for going to so much work when I am not even growing vegetables. It’s not that I don’t want to, I just have too much shade. But for most who see my garden, I seem to hear a frequent phrase “It’s just like Paradise”. People have also been known to stop and take pictures of it. Of course we also have a welcoming place to sit and visit if someone happens by while out walking.

My Mother and I spend most of our days outside under our beautiful Live Oaks which shade the entire front yard, and six flower beds. When we are not there you can always find us in our backyard little piece of heaven. Here are a few pictures of this year’s garden. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

 

Front yard patio

Front yard patio

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When is fat, Fat?

After several years now of being on my own, and realizing that I will most likely be that way for(ever) a good long time and I’m am okay with it; I stopped caring about those pesky extra 20 pounds that keep coming back no matter what diet I do to get rid of them. Just like those rebounding kids that seem to always find their way home no matter how far away you send them to college, they just keep coming back. But I digress… Those extra pounds don’t bother me really, I’m used to them, heck they’ve hung around with me long enough. I’ve seen them come and go five or six times in my life so now they are here and I thought what the hey, they are not effecting my health so why should I care.

But here is the rub, suddenly, as in recently, I have had complete strangers refer to me as a “Big Girl” as in quote “You know what it’s like you’re a Big Girl, you need the extra room”. What the what?!? Now yes, I am tall for a woman, I am 5′ 7″ but I feel that helps me carry the extra weight that granted I should not be carrying but for some reason keeps coming back. And for those of you who are curious I am not some willowy model type at 5′ 7″, I come from very sturdy farm stock type people, so I don’t think that my 180 lbs. looks too disproportionate to my frame. Heavy, yes definitely, disproportionate, I didn’t use to think so. So when something similar happened within two days of the first occurrence, it really made me start to look at myself differently. THAT bothered me, why was I letting what other people think bother me? I never have in the past. As a matter of fact, I have always adopted the philosophy that what others thought of me was none of my business. Now here I am at 54 years old and I suddenly care what complete strangers think? What is this high school? I think I need to get a grip!

So what do you think…do you care what others think? Also, when is fat, Fat?

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My Review of 52" Casa Vieja Ancestry™ White Hugger Ceiling Fan

Originally submitted at Lamps Plus

This chic Casa Vieja Ancestry hugger chic rubbed white ceiling fan has a handsome look and a stylish design. It features a rubbed white finish motor with white finish blades. Integrated frosted glass light kit. Rubbed white motor finish. White finish blades. 188 X 20 mm motor. Lifetime motor warran…

Gorgeous but difficult!

By JewelryChik from Austin, TX on 10/22/2013

 

5out of 5

Pros: Works in Both Directions, Attractive, Circulates Air Well, Quiet, Range of Speeds

Cons: Difficult to Install

Best Uses: Larger Rooms, Decorative, Alternative to AC, Air Circulation

Describe Yourself: Avid Do-It-Yourselfer

This is a very beautiful fan, but was a complete pain to install. I am no novice when it comes to installing ceiling fans (this was my 7th one in this house). I am a 53yr old woman who is quite capable of following even complicated instructions, however, let me tell you if you have never installed a ceiling fan do not make this one your first diy project. That is not to say not to get this fan because it is beautiful; just if you do, hire it out because the instructions are useless! In fact they are less than useless. It was only because I have installed so many fans before that I was able to figure out how to get this one up at all. During the wiring process I found that the wire caps included with the fan were much too small and had to use some of my own from ones that I had on hand. If you don’t normally have some available I recommend that you pick up some red and yellow wire caps for this project. I normally test the unit to make sure everything is working properly before I get everything tightened up and the blades attached, but with this you can not do that because you must install the wall receptor before you can try anything out as it has a transmitter in it. No where in the “instructions” does it say anything about any of that, so don’t be worried if yours is not working yet, and you install like I do, just keep going. The other thing is the Motor cover is made of a plaster like material which is beautiful, however, when you are attaching it to the mounting ring, DO NOT OVER TIGHTEN THE SCREWS or you will make the “plaster” crumble and destroy the mounting holes. I hope some of this helps others who are trying to do it themselves.

(legalese)

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Stop looking and start finding!

Have you ever heard someone say that as soon as you stop looking for something, that is right when you will find it, or it will find you? Well that is exactly what happened to me when it came to work. I have been without formal employment for more than 3 years now and as I said in a prior post with the grace of God and the help of my Mother’s pension to pay bills I was able to stop driving myself crazy sending out hundreds of resumes’ going on countless interviews just to be told that I’m over qualified or I don’t have the right degree or yada, yada, yada.

So I started doing what I do best… I talked… to everyone! I talked to anyone who I met at the store, who came to the house, while I was standing in line at the post office, you name it and I talked to someone. I talk to people anyway as it is my nature to be friendly, and somewhere in the conversation in variably work always seems to come up. I just started letting people know that I am working from my house now doing any kind of work that I can for anyone who needs me, including document preparation for attorneys, bookkeeping, tax preparation, even marketing, and website designing. I also do dog sitting and errand running.

Well all that talking to people led to several periodic jobs, and many good friends and references, as well as a permanent part-time (home based YEA!) bookkeeping  job and one to build a website.  I also have been talking with another to be taking on their books too.

Being able to work from my home is so wonderful because I can work the hours that I want whether it is 8am or 8pm and I can still spend time with my Mom as well as work on the projects that I just love!

It seems that God keeps gracing me every day as long as get out of the way and allow Him to work in my life. Funny how it I have to keep reminding myself of that, I wonder if I will ever learn that lesson without having to be reminded?

How about you? Are there lessons in life in which you need to be reminded? Should you have a one on one with the Lord?

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Re-doing stuff on the inside, projects that is!

Ok, so I have been quite crafty my entire life. In fact, there are not too many things that I can honestly say that have not at least tried or have successfully done for some time.

My latest venture is in learning the painted furniture craze using homemade chalk paint. I must say that I am really loving it and maybe I’m going a little crazy with it because I want to paint everything in sight. So far I have painted two dressers and a coffee table. The thing is I have painted the same coffee table four, count it, FOUR times! That is because even though I loved the first color I painted it, a glowing sunflower gold, my Mother thought it was just too bright for her tastes. So I put some dark wax on to subdue the brightness then neither one of us cared for it. She still wasn’t crazy about the color and the dark wax really ruined the warmth and wonderfulness of the gold for me. So we agreed on a purple, but when it was applied it was too light and looked almost lavender. So off to Home Depot for an actual mixed color not a concoction of my making. This time the purple was the right intensity, but made our favorite hot pink lamps that are nearby look horrible!

So without another word, off to the kitchen I went to make another batch of the very best chalk paint I have ever used (recipe below) this time in white, and started painting over the gold/lavender/purple. After two coats of the white paint the deep purple was covered and looking just perfect.

Coffee table all pretty and white.

Coffee table all pretty and white.

However… I couldn’t leave well enough alone, because that’s just how I roll; so I pulled out my lovely scroll stencil from Royal Design Studios called Oriental Vine Allover Pattern as well as my Pearl Oyster stencil crème also from Royal Design Studios and I proceeded to put the prettiest pearl white on white design on the table top.

Up close and personal of the scroll work

Up close and personal of the scroll work

Showing the pretty scroll work

Showing the pretty scroll work

I added a gorgeous purple cut glass cup pull to each side for the drawer that I
purchased through MyKnobs.com. It came out looking so lovely and I’m very proud of it. I finished all of my projects with Johnson’s paste wax in the natural color.

The dresser’s I have been redoing for my mother are the ones that she has been using for 40+ years and are certainly showing their age.

This picture makes them look WAY better than they really are. The veneer is taped down with masking tape (that was my Grandma's idea!)

This picture makes them look WAY better than they really are. The veneer is taped down with masking tape (that was my Grandma’s idea!)

I have been painting them white to match her new bed.

See all pretty now!

See all pretty now!

I have been painting the inside of the drawers a different color theme to match the drawer liners in each one. She has seven (that’s right 7!) of these little dresser’s she is using in her bedroom. My (not so) secret liners are napkins from the party store! I wanted her to have something really pretty and flowery. It is hard to find liner paper or shelf paper that is both pretty and not that expensive as we are on a very tight budget. So I had the brilliant idea to use Mod Podge and pretty napkins as the liner. It worked, but I had to switch from regular Mod Podge to the one specifically for paper.  These dressers are also turning out so beautifully, my Mom loves them so much and what a difference!

Each dresser has a different color theme for the drawers.

Each dresser has a different color theme for the drawers.

I used oil rubbed bronze spray paint by Rustoleum to refinish the drawer pulls because we both agreed that they still looked terrific if they were just updated to go with the white. So tell me what do you think?

What I don’t get is why after spending all that time working on something and making it look so great, would I want to take sandpaper to it and make it look like has been through a storm? I follow several blogs and these wonderful people do some great work and I see their beautiful pieces that they are working on and then they sand half the finish off? Am I missing something? Am I the only one who is not a fan of the distressed look? It is so popular, and I realize that it has a huge following so there must be something to it that I am just not appreciating fully. I guess it is another one of those cases of beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

I found this recipe somewhere on the blogosphere a while ago and I will be darned if I can find it again to be able to give credit where credit is due. I wish I could find it because it is wonderful. It makes a smooth velvety paint that goes on so nice and requires almost no sanding (unless you want to) and sticks like crazy. No primer required even over a dark stain (I know from experience). It is really terrific.

Home-made Chalk Paint Recipe:

1 Cup Flat or Statin latex paint

¼ Cup Baking Soda

1 Tablespoon water (optional)

I have doubled this recipe for a bigger project with no problem. I just needed to add a little water to thin it a little as it started to get a little thick as time went on. This baking soda recipe makes the most velvety paint and it sticks like crazy! No priming or sanding ahead of time required!!

Links:

http://www.royaldesignstudio.com/collections/allover-japanese-stencils/products/oriental-vine-allover-stencil

http://www.myknobs.com/lew49308.html

Since I am new to this blogging thing, I hope you will check back often to see what is going on here, or better yet start following me by clicking on the link above.🙂

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Starting Over (all over, again) Oy Vey!

Five years ago when my husband decided that he needed “a little space”, little did I know that it would become a permanent “space” that he needed and I would be a divorced, middle-aged grandma with more closet space, but no husband to go with it. To top that off I was laid off from my job and unable to find full-time or even part-time employment.

However, I have a deep abiding faith that our Lord always has a plan for me, even though I may not be on his need to know list.

So, true to His word, and His timing, Last fall He made it possible for me to be available to be of help to my Mother who is now in her 80’s and living in her own home in Colorado. She’s becoming more disabled as she ages and unable to navigate the stairs in her home. I am now living alone in my ranch style house in Texas (no stairs, yea!)

So, with me being unencumbered with the everyday drudgery of having to be gainfully employed (and actually having money coming in) I loaded up my puppies (ok they are older dogs to everyone else but will always be puppies to me) and headed to Denver to help Mom with packing the stuff she was going to bring with her to her new home with the boys (better known as the puppies) and I. Next was the hard part, talking her into letting the rest go, I will do a follow up post on that.

Back to this being a God thing, so I got Mom moved in with me and continued to try to find a job with no luck, (I have wonderful and really nice rejection letters though) when Mom made a comment one day while I was surfing job sites that really struck a cord with me; she said “isn’t it fortunate that God made it possible for you to be unemployed at this time so that you could help me not only move here, but help me get settled in and make our home so nice with all of the changes you’ve done to make it safe for me”. She also mentioned that she wished that I wouldn’t stress so much over money when her pension was plenty to pay the bills. Up until that point, I had not even thought about any of that, all I could think about was that I had to hurry up and get things done, so I could get that job that was paying what I had been making previously, so I could live up to societies standards of what I “should” be doing instead of what I “want” to be doing. It was like a giant Gibbs slap upside the head.

So I stopped applying for jobs that day! OMG, it was so freeing! WOW, what a relief! Instead, I started doing what I really love to do, but now I am getting paid for it. Now granted it is not enough to support a family on, but it is enough to keep me doing what I want to do, and shoe shopping and eating out or whatever; but most of all I get to spend time with those that I love including my Mom who I just adore, which was the whole point of getting her here, wasn’t it? 

So what has God done to you to get your attention?

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I’m Just Sayin’

So here I am 50 years old, separated for the last two years from my husband of 15 years, who just “needs a little space”. What exactly is that? A little space, please! I’d like the winning lottery ticket, but that wasn’t something that was going to happen. Heck, I didn’t hear that as an option in the wedding vows. I can just see it now if that could be an option; the new vows would go something like “till death do you part or you need a little space”. Well that’s ok, life is moving on, and we’re still friends and Bless his heart, he gives me endless sources of amusement. As a matter of fact, men in general, bring me an endless source of amusement. Bless their hearts, they are all boys in grown up bodies. We would definitely not be the same without them. Sometimes I wonder though….I’m just sayin’

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