Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Seasonal Switcheroo

FALL has arrived in my house, and I'm hoping the weather cooperates shortly.

Here are a few pictures, documenting my seasonal switcheroo. I was shooting for an unrefined look this yearkinda like me. I mainly used things I already had. Nothing too fancy.

I wanted a garland this year, but since I couldn't find anything I liked, I put my crafting hat on and made me one. I considered making my own leaves out of scrapbook paper, but when I saw these at Michael's (a pack of 12 for $1.99) I snatched them up. I "customized" each leaf with a handwritten note of thanks for each member of my family. I attached them to a simple rope, using strips of green ribbon. They are bright and beautiful, yet simple and fun.

My grandmother's painting transitioned seamlessly from summer to fall. I love the gold tones of the sunset and the blues of the sky.

American flags hang around my house, no matter the season. My copper pumpkin seemed like a perfect spot for one. Another one is nestled among the eucalyptus on the other end of the mantel.

I've used these wreaths for about three years now. I have one on the dining room window, the living room window, and one on the front door. They are so vibrant, and represent fall beautifully I think.

My daughter gave me this Willow Tree "Mother and Daughter" figurine several years ago, and it is a real treasure of mine. It usually sits in my bedroom, but I love it on the mantel. By the way, the berry garland running along the back I got for a steal last year at Michael's. It cost me one penny. Really.

My twin sister gave me the "Angel of Hope" during a difficult season of my life. I thought it fit perfectly on the mantel, too.
My dining table is a mish-mash of fall leaves, colored stones and various nuts, scattered around lanterns I got at Ross earlier this year for $7 each. They have flameless candles in them, and that's perfect for a table. No napkins on fire! And since copper and fall go hand-in-hand, I used two of my copper kettles to give it all a bit of shine.
And last, but not least, are my two scarecrows. My sister bought me the little boy a few years back, and he is adorable, guarding the fireplace. I spotted the little girl in Michael's the other day, and I couldn't leave her in the store.
That's all! Happy FALL y'all!
I'm linking to:

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Week in Review

Monday ~ After a crazy day at work, it was nice gathering with family for dinner at Shelaine's and Shawn's home (my niece and her spouse), celebrating Big Sister's upcoming birthday. These lasagna cupcakes excited me greatly. So good!

Tuesday ~ I had a dentist appointment to see what was causing me pain. The news wasn't good. As a consolation prize, I stopped in at the Cheesecake Factory for dinner (and cheesecake, of course). A spoonful boatload of sugar, helped the medicine go down.

Wednesday ~ The bad news at the dentist had to be taken care of pronto, so I scheduled a morning appointment. As expected, my lips were too numb to operate for a few hours, so I opted to work from home the rest of the day. With temps in the low 80's, and no humidity to speak of, it had it's perks.

Thursday ~ After work, I met up with a former co-worker to wind down on the patio at Landry's. It's a favorite spot of mine for winding down.  We caught up over oyster po-boys. The weather was divine.

Friday ~ It was a quiet day at work, so I headed home a little early. My garden needed a drink, and a few weeds needed pulling, so I spent a few minutes puttering in the yard.

♦ ♦ ♦
 I hope your week has been a good one. No matter how you spent it, each day was a gift from God. 
I'm looking forward to making memories with my daughter and granddog today. Monday will be here before I'm ready.
Until we meet again, my friends, may the Lord bless and keep you.


♦ ♦ ♦

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Sunday marked four years since my throat surgery at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, after a rare voice disorder left me struggling to speak. Not a day goes by that I'm not grateful for Dr. Berke and his brilliant team.

My dear twin made the journey with me. Thanks to Hurricane Ike (and some zany madness in between) it is a journey we will never forget.

A collage of momentos.

The twin and I.

Yellow roses, fit for a queen.

Gaining altitude over the Pacific, headed home.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Mosaic Monday - Charlie Girl

~ Charlie Girl ~

Charlie has been in our family since she was a few weeks old. She lives with my adult daughter, and is a loyal companion and friend. She is very spoiled, and after looking at these photos, I'm sure you know why: It's hard to resist her big, brown eyes.

I'm linking to "Little Red House" for Mosaic Monday.

The "Funnest" Saturday

Working a full-time job, I don't get to spend as much time with my grand niece as I would like to. That makes me sadder than sad, but I can't change what is, so when we're together, I try to make every minute count. My camera is always with me, and I cherish the memories we make.

With that being said, I kept Ainsley a few hours Saturday, and what a fun day it was. I think our "funnest" day ever. This is a detailed account of our day, and it's a bit long-winded, but sometimes I just need to write it all down. You can stop reading whenever you please.

The day started with us looking for a missing piece on a toy train, and ended with Miss Ainsley falling in lovewith Big Bird and "Little Boy," in that order.

Big Bird and "Little Boy" (Ainsley's name for him.)

 Here is how it went...

In our hunt for the missing train piece, we stumbled upon Big Bird in a bedroom upstairs. It was love at first sight for Miss Ainsley, and I suddenly remembered how my own daughter had fallen in love with this same Big Bird one afternoon in Wal-Mart, right before her second birthday.

The love was intense, and I knew Big Bird would join our family soon. We didn't take pictures of Leslie unwrapping him that Christmas morning, but here are some still shots from the video we took.

Sigh. Where did the years GO?

Now (sniff, sniff) back to my story.

While Ainsley patted Big Bird's head, I opened a nearby closet (still searching for the train piece) and saw my fall decor, waiting to be used. Among the loot was an adorable scarecrow. Miss Ainsley saw it, too, and insisted we take Big Bird and the scarecrow downstairs for a play date.
The minute we got downstairs, she raised her little arms and said, "Hold you," to Big Bird.
This photo melts my heart.

A doll!

Giving him sugar.

After loving on Big Bird awhile, she wanted to carry him around. Now, Big Bird is very heavy, and I tried dissuading her from carrying him. However, my advice wasn't well received, so I gave up and gave in, and off she went, carrying him from hither to yon, back and forth, from pillar to post.

I figured his heaviness would affect her enthusiasm after awhile, but it didn't. She even insisted on carrying him to the mailbox, which was a sign of true love if I ever saw one.

 Love this picture!

On occasion, she would put Big Bird down and walk over to Little Boy and hug him tightly and plant a kiss on his cheek. (Precious!) After watching her do that several times, trust me, my heart was in puddles.

 Such a loving expression on her face.

Squeezing him tightly.

And, of course, she wanted to carry Little Boy around, too. Thankfully, he is very lightweight, because, as seen in the pictures below, Little Boy is a pretty tall dude.

Love conquers all!

 I love this picture! LOL!!
(Pardon the stereo in the middle of nowhere. It's on its way to Goodwill.)

Dumplin' Pie!

 After a long time playing with Big Bird and Little Boy, the sleepies showed up in a most unusual fashion: She decided to lay her new friends down in front of the fireplace.

At first, she just looked at them. I asked if they were sleeping, and she said they were. She then rubbed her eyes and slowly laid down between them...but not for long.

Within a few seconds, she was up again. Down again. Up. Down. Up. She seemed to enjoy me taking their picture, and I enjoyed taking it. 
I love her eyes, cocked over to Big Bird.

Solemn and still.

She could barely hold her eyes open here.
Going once, going twice...

After several more ups and downs, I told her to close her eyes and pretend like she was asleep, too, so I could take another picture. She hesitated, but then she closed her little eyes—for a millisecond at least. 


Thinking she might take a nap for real, I gathered some pillows from my room and made us all a soft place to lay. But she was way too busy, of course. Up. Down. Up. Down.

On one of the "ups," she decided to rock Big Bird and Little Boy in the small rocking chair I have. With each one, she sang "Rock-a-bye Baby," and I promise you it sounded like an angel choir from on high. Aunt Gayle's heart flipped several times, end over end.

After a diaper change, I could tell a nap wasn't going to happen without tears, so I suggested ice-cream instead. (Call me a wimp, but I just can't handle my angel girl crying.) Angel Girl was in favor of ice-cream, so we got in the car and headed out.

Over ice-cream, burgers and fries, we laughed ourselves silly—for real. I couldn't resist kissing her over, and over, and over again. She looked so much like her mom at times, and old memories came rushing in. I wish Angel Girl knew how much I love her, and how special she is to me. But, alas, kids never know.

The nap? Well, the nap came a few minutes after walking out of Jack-in-the-Box—in Aunt Gayle's arms, in the parking lot, no less. Putting her in the car seat roused her enough to tears, so I settled into the front seat with Sunshine on my shoulder, leaned the seat back and let her sleep. I could have held her forever. ♦

Monday, September 3, 2012

From Rocks to Richness

A  few weeks ago, my twin sister offered to sell me her green thumb (for a reasonable price, of course) and transform a tiny area of my backyard.

To give you a bit of history, I've won the "Backyard from Hell" award ever since my grass died from unknown causes last spring. Replacing the grass was quite costly, and instead of shelling out the big bucks, I raised the white flag of surrender and gave up on backyard living. Boohoo. Poor pitiful me.

Being the gardening guru that Dayle is, she urged me to "get past the grass" and let her work a little magic on my behalf. Nothing major. Just something simple to bring me joy at the end of my day. I wasn't sure I could enjoy my yard without the lush grass, but I finally relented, and off Dayle went making plans.

The area she chose to work with had morphed into a needless bed of weed-infested rocks (after a freeze destroyed the palm plant previously planted there). I hated every rock in that bed, so the first item on Dayle's agenda was getting rid of the rocks.

Long story short, the metamorphosis is now complete, and I am ECSTATIC with how it turned out. Instead of unsightly rocks, I've got a bed full of richness. I'm enjoying it immensely, and I can't wait to share coffee on the patio with YOU!

I took a zillion pictures, but here are a few of my favorites:

 BEFORE - A total eyesore!

 AFTER - An amazing transformation!

Looking out the back door puts a smile on my face.

 Magnificence in Red

Every evening since the transformation, I've gravitated toward the patio. Some days, it's just me. Other days it's me, a magazine and a glass of iced tea.

Maybe next spring, I'll have my grass replaced, but until then, I'm totally good. Thank you, sweet wombmate, for all you do. My world is better because you're in it.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ 

I'm showing my lovely garden today at Susan's, "Metamorphosis Monday."  If you like "Before and Afters" and DIY projects, you'll like her blog. Today, she's showing how to make
Pottery Barn knock off vintage clock plates.