Monday, April 30, 2012

In Honor of Joey

"If every tear we shed for you became a star above; you’d stroll in Angel’s garden, lit by everlasting love."
~Author Unknown

Today I attended a funeral of a 12-year old boy--Joey Sudo. As the presiding priest said, "there are no words." The service was beautiful. Friends sang heartfelt songs, the priest was compassionate and wonderful, and the church was packed. Joey's mom and little sister said the eulogy. I can't even imagine how they did it.
The family has a very large support group, but they still need prayers. Prayers to get them through after friends and family go home; prayers for late at night when they pass by his room; prayers for when they see little boys his age playing in the neighborhood; prayers for every day they have to live without their son.
This post is in honor of a very, very brave boy who fought cancer for five years. It's in honor of his grieving family who stood by him every step of the way.
No need for comments. Just prayers.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Some Sweet Finds

Remember when I told you that I was looking for lavender colored bottles? Well, I did tell you, but anyway, they are hard to find and kind of expensive on ebay when you include shipping. So, today on my way home from a flea market and sale where I scored nothing much (except for a few large wood letters -see pics), I saw one just sitting at a yard has the sofest shade of lavender when you put it next to other old bottles. The best part (other than it was only $2) is the bottle has Portland, ME on it, which just happens to be one of my favorite places.

The letters, well, they were $1 each so I bought all of them -- four Z's, one X and one O ... I'll save the X and O for Valentine's Day (get it?) and the Zs will be all over my house and probably be gifts to various inlaws ... if you haven't guessed by now, my last name begins with Z.
All in all, a couple of sweet finds that made me happy. What made you happy today?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Craft Show Chaos

Spent part of my day yesterday at a local health club doing a craft show. It was fun, but not profitable. On the bright side, I met a new friend and got a lot of exposure for my etsy shop. I didn't have much space (and didn't realize that until I got there as the coordinator told me I would have a six foot table with eight feet of space)...NOT! But, I made do and reworked a lot of things on the spot. The lady next to me was so kind to let me use part of her table since she only had a small display. I told her that I would help her get on etsy, so we helped each other. Here's a lame shot of my "booth."

It's been a crazy week with end of the school year chaos, work, getting ready for this show and grieving for my friend and another parent who just lost her son in a car accident.  I'll be spending the rest of the week in and out of funeral homes and churches. I am thanking God for my healthy children. If you have kids, hug them today -- even if they are driving you nuts.

Monday, April 23, 2012

An Angel Enters Heaven

My friends...the little boy I wrote about in a post last month lost his battle with cancer this morning. His young life touched so many people and my heart grieves for his family. Please keep them in your prayers.

In Bloom: Inside and Out

It's lilac season here in Annapolis. So I thought I'd share some of my beautiful blooms with you...inside and out. I'm currently visiting my sister. We took an art class and celebrated her big 50th birthday last night. Will share the fun when I return!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Loud Music and Chemical Reactions

Last night I was invited at the last minute to a concert. My friend's husband was too tired to go and she had an extra ticket to see Portugal. The Man. 
Great band. Great time. I even liked the warm up band, The Lonely Forest (I attached a link to their music at the end of this post just in case you never heard them.
 So, any chemists out there? I was priming some things so I could paint them with acrylic or chalk paint and an interesting thing happened to a little metal candle holder I painted. I fully intended to paint it off white, but as soon as the primer hit it, it turned pink, and I mean pink. I know it's some sort of chemical reaction, but have no clue what type of metal it is...except it was brown before I painted it. Never had this occur before, have you guys?
So, I'm gearing up for a one day craft fair next week. All you locals...visit me at Big Vanilla next Wednesday from 7 to 9AM or 4 to 7PM...I'll be selling lots from my shop at special prices. And, maybe I'll include this pretty pink candle holder!

Enjoy the music:

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

End of the Year Teacher's Gifts

I used to give all my kids’ teachers the same end of the year gift – and I’m not ashamed to say, a big part of it was from the dollar store. However, before you think I’m the cheapest person in the world, let me tell you I spent hours painting the sundae glasses I bought there. The ones pictured are my family’s – well worn after many years of use. I especially love this train sundae glass (right) that I gave my son (who was at the time two and crazy about trains). Even though the train tracks have now worn off, I think he loved it. 
Anyway, I would gather four or five glasses, paint them with themes and place them in a pretty basket filled with chocolate, strawberry, and caramel sauce, plus a jar of sprinkles. It was a coveted gift. 
After several years of doing this, I got tired and decided to have the kids paint terra cotta pots and filled them with herbs…much less stress for me and the kids loved it. As a matter of fact, one of my oldest son’s teachers told me that she still has the little pot that my son painted when he was five …he’s now 20! I still think hand made gifts are best, but I do pitch in for the occasional gift card. I haven't decided what to do this year...the last year of elementary school. Sigh.
Linking to:

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Little Bit of French Chic

I've been taking advantage of the lovely weather we've been having here in Annapolis. In addition to attending numerous sporting events and taking long walks, I've also been painting. I discovered (after all this time) that a quick spray paint of primer is saving me multiple steps painting all my keepsake boxes.  I also finished these vintage candle holders that have been sitting in my "to do" box for quite some time. I love how they turned out and they will be decorating my mantle (at least until they decide to sell themselves in my etsy shop).

Anyway, I painted these with several coats of chalk paint and distressed them a bit with sand paper and a dry brush. I stamped them in tiny sections with French script just for fun! I have another pair I'm working on right now that I absolutely love, but I need to find some chandelier crystals to dress them up a bit.
Linking to:
Common Ground's Vintage Inspiration Friday

Rooted In Thyme

Saturday, April 14, 2012

At the Hop!

Guess where I was last night? At the hop! Sock hop, that is. It was our elementary school’s fundraiser for the graduating fifth grade class. The money we earn helps to pay for the fifth grade field trip. It’s only fitting that I helped to chair the event with my last child leaving elementary school since I chaired the very first sock hop with my oldest son, 12 years ago – wow.
The fundraiser was very successful and we raised over $2, 000 pretty decent since only the fourth and fifth grade classes were invited to attend. 
I tried to take photos of the decor, but iPhones and gymnasiums = bad photos, so we are just presenting one photo by my friend,  Laurie McDonald. I was in the middle dancing with the Chik-Fil-A cow (not pictured). The little girl to my right was helping me to do the dance right since I goofed up the first time around. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Sea Glass: Nature and Man's Most Beautiful Product

I love, adore, am crazy about sea glass. Every time I travel to New England I look for it. I tried to find some around my area because according to experts, you are supposed to be able to find it here (in the Chesapeake area), but pickings are slim to none.

Just so I could understand sea glass a bit more, I purchased the book, Pure Sea Glass, a few years ago. The book is not only informational, but it also has stunning photography. I highly recommend it if you’re into sea glass. While there are usually lots of glass shards on some beaches (sad), true sea glass is the glass that has been weathered by the sea and rocks. After years of tumbling, it has an opaque, yet translucent quality -- frosted. You can, of course, buy sea or beach glass, but some of it is man-made. The best sea glass is the glass you find. Again, it's the thrill of the hunt.

Here are a few pieces my family collected while in New England...less than we normally get and I'm not sure why. Maybe it was the time of year, but there weren't as many pieces as we usually find. 

It's fun when we find "rare" pieces like this orange one. It's most common to find green, amber and white (or clear). And, I love when we find some glass with patterns such as the ones below. My husband found these and he was so proud.

Right now, my collection fits in a large, antique glass basket that I set out for the summer to remind me of happy times collecting with my family.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Umm, What Happened to 40 Bags in 40 Days?

Okay. I admit it. I failed my 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge. Well, not failed; I guess I got a C. Trying to get 40 bags of stuff out of your house is a lot harder than it sounds. After 40 days (16 days AWAY from home mind you), I managed 24. Not too shabby, but still. I did clean the mudroom, four closets and grabbed a couple other bags here and there.

And, to make matters worse, I keep adding to my collections...let's try exercise a bit of control here, Renee. But, they're little things such as these beautiful linens I grabbed at the flea market on Saturday (didn't show them in my other post because they were soaking in Oxyclean at the time). They were 5 for $ could anyone pass that up?
As you might remember, I often use vintage doilies and linens to wrap some of my pieces from my vintage etsy shop, Country Tag Sale.

So, at least I have plans for using and getting rid of these doilies, now for the other stuff I bought...I guess I'll have to wait until next year's 40 bag challenge!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Treasures from Travels

I hope you had a wonderful Easter. We did. The weather was perfect and so was the company. We gathered with friends that we haven't seen in almost two years (and they actually only live 40 minutes away, so there's no excuse except for our busy lives).We vowed to get together more often.
Anyway, I promised I would show you some treasures that I picked up on my travels to New England and some I got from right here this weekend. The sculpture or whatever it is above I purchased from an adorable shop called 8 Bells in Rockport, MA. Robin, the shop owner has an eye for beautiful things and her shop is crammed full of eye candy (no, I didn't take photos-sorry), but this photo of the outside (on the right) was taken by Marilyn at Communicating Across Boundaries. There is so much to look at that I spent a good 1/2 hour in this tiny shop before I spotted the rather large art piece above. Now, I know it's not original art (as a matter of fact, I'll probably see it at home goods for half the price I paid, but I had to have it). If you ever go to Rockport, MA, promise me you'll stop by the won't be sorry.

Robin even invited me in to see her home behind the store. Oh. My. Gosh. Talk about eye candy! It's a tiny, waterfront cottage home chock full and dripping with beautiful things. I really wanted to snap photos but I just have to commit it to memory.
 This weekend, I made it to a local flea market where I secured some lovely items like the pink old bottle above and the silver rimmed crystal serving piece below for a song! Oh, and to go back to Robin...she had the most gorgeous collection of antique lavender bottles. I am now on the hunt for lavender bottles to go with my collection of cobalt and aqua bottles. I've never seen them anywhere around here. 
While traveling, I also added to my sea glass collection and once I get it cleaned up, I'll snap some photos and do a little educational post about sea glass, but that's all for now!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Finally Home with Loads of Laundry and Some Good News!

Wow! What a great week we had visiting my son. We spent A LOT of time outdoors, which was great. It was a little chilly in New England, but once hiking and climbing for a few minutes, jackets were shed. So, I have a few more pictures to share with you from our incredible trip. I love my youngest son's orange jacket against the blue of the sky. And, this picture below is the two older boys helping my youngest conquer his fears.
My four men...we think this one (above) looks like an album cover...doesn't it? The photo below is just a glimpse of what we saw during our five days of exploring (other two days were mostly spent driving).

Oh, yes...the good blog was featured in the May issue of Romantic Homes Magazine! I was so excited, but didn't even get to see the magazine until today! Thanks to writer Beth Livesay who wrote such nice things about me and my blog!

Stay tuned...found some pretty items while in New England even though I didn't have a ton of time to shop! Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

On Our Way Home

Well, I've been holding out on you guys. I've been in Massachusetts and Maine since Saturday. We actually planned on being back home yesterday, but decided to stay an extra day to watch another one of my son's lacrosse games. He's the goalie for Gordon College. We got to see them win against MIT on Saturday and then again against Curry on Tuesday. The weather has been beautiful (even if a bit chilly). While we weren't watching lacrosse, we've been exploring the area's hiking and climbing trails. And let me tell you we've seen some spectacular sights! These three are of the beach at Two Lights State Park in Maine. I'll have a few more to share (plus some news) when I return. I'll probably post on Saturday as I have mountains of dirty clothes to wash tomorrow!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Springtime in Paris

The beautiful spring weather we've had for the past couple of weeks (minus a day or two) kind of inspired me to create a new sign. I was thinking “springtime in Paris” when I created this sign. Just in case you’re wondering, I did spend a couple of days in Paris in the spring, however, it was a little too chilly and rainy for me, but alas lovely.

I created this sign just like my French laundry signs – painting the scrap wood, stamping it and then painting, hand stamping and distressing each little letter – time consuming, but I love the results! I just work while I watch TV…American Idol (I love that show – who’s your favorite? I love Phil Phillips.) Okay, sorry, got a little sidetracked there.
Anyway, I can't decide between the polka dot lime green ribbon or the pretty light purple ribbon. Which one do you like better?