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Friday, March 28, 2014

I finally gave my daughter her antique hutch

When Derek brought home a gorgeous 1940’s walnut set of furniture, I very quickly decided I would sell the buffet but keep the matching hutch for Eden.

The buffet (which I painted a creamy heirloom white and re-stained the top provincial) sold within a day down at Antique Plaza.  I mean, look at this thing.  I could have painted it the color of Kermit the Frog and it still would have sold in a day.  I just fall in love with these pieces! 

However, the beautiful twin hutch (you can see the leg of it sticking out!) sat for a while.  When you’re a furniture painter, the things you want to paint for your own home sit and sit and sit.  I'm like the mechanic who's own broken down car sits in the garage until he finally has time to work on it!  That’s exactly what happened to Eden’s hutch until one day, it was her turn.

I painted it a creamy heirloom white,

added some glass knobs

gave it a bit of distressing 

and stain. 
While working on it, I actually found the original key lost inside the back cabinet.

The counselor and I moved it into her room and I added a few things I’ve been collecting.  
Here are the seashells she loves to hold up to her ear.  She loves to hear the ocean, although yesterday she told me she heard Hello Kitty being eaten by a shark!

She's expressive,


and all-girl.

It's no wonder everything angel or princess or beautiful lady reminds me of her. 

Vintage beads too.

I've been collecting vintage portraits of women and feel they symbolize the strength and beauty I see in my daughter.

So many things in her room are a reflection of how I feel about her.

This girl, who started out so tiny – 

who sets my heart a flutter even when she sleeps

she is my sunshine!

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Book Thief - Book and Movie Review

I rarely have time to go to the movies, so when I do I make sure it’s something I really want to watch.

Dim the lights and 5-stars for – The Book Thief.

I hated the book and what I mean by that is I loved it.
So I had to see the movie.
And then I had to see it again!

Reading The Book Thief, you quickly learn the narrator is death.  Yes, the spirit of death.  It’s awful.  I hated it, but I was already hooked. 

Author Markus Zusak said this about his choice of narrator:

Then I stumbled upon the idea of Death narrating the story, and it all made sense. Who is constantly hanging around in times of war? Who would have the opportunity to pick up a story penned by a girl in a bombed German city? Death was the right answer, although there were still a few decisions to be made.

When I first brought Death into the story, he was sinister. He enjoyed his work a little too much. For months I wrote in this way and again I was falling short in some aspect I couldn’t understand. When I took a break from the book, I was sitting down on the back step and it hit me that Death should actually be afraid...of us.
The irony of this was exciting, and it made perfect sense. Death is on hand to see the greatest crimes and miseries of human life, and I thought, What if he tells this story as a way of proving to himself that humans are actually worthwhile?

Mr. Zusak’s writing was so impeccably beautiful, at times I forgot where I was.  Who was this writer and how many years had he secluded himself in an isolated cave to be able to produce such fine literature.  Really, it was mind-blowing and then to find out his a young man, not a retired internationally-studied German professor who wrote the novel made me fall down.

Second, the book is about one of the darkest points in human history when Hitler reined and 6 million plus Jews were massacred.  I have to be careful when I open my heart to anything heartbreaking including history and literature.  I have to prepare myself to feel the pain.  When I feel pain, I cry and have a difficult time functioning in life.  Reading The Book Thief put me in a world where I was going to lose it if I didn’t have an ice cream cone covered in rainbow sprinkles stat!

But as difficult as it was, I did get through The Book Thief  half horrified and half elated?  How did Mr. Zusak juggle so many acts of literature without them all crashing down?  If I knew, I too would be a New York Times best-selling author, but that’s the beauty of a well-written book.  Writing is the most spontaneous and meticulously planned act and when well done, it turns out like The Book Thief.

So, how did I feel about the movie?

(It’s difficult to type in a moment of silence, but that’s what the above space was).

I was mesmerized, completely.  I sat on the edge of my seat and didn’t move.  The counselor joined me on the movie date and I’d forgotten he was sitting right next to me.  The music, narration and especially the beauty of Liesel was so well done, I didn’t want to leave.  I know it strange to want to jump back into a world of war, terror and loneliness, but there was so much more to The Book Thief.  There was growth, strength and words – beautiful words.  The love of books and ideas, the simple act of licking snow, writing the first word on a blank page or humming a melody of a song your mother used to sing you – these experiences were all magnified.  They were the experiences that allowed Liesel to feel. 

And lastly, the love of Liesel’s foster father Hans was just what I needed.  In too many forms of entertainment we have horrible male figures who hurt and destroy.  I kept waiting for Hans to blow it, to fall apart and abuse or threaten, but all he did was love . . . perfectly.  To hear Liesel say “Papa,” that alone brought me to tears.

I took my older boys Chandler and Payson to see it next.  There reaction was not quite as intense as mine, but they did appreciate the story of a simple girl and how she survived war.  Chandler has been studying WWII this year in school, so different parts of history in the film awakened his conscious. 

Hats off to you, Mr. Zusak for you are truly a gifted writer.  Even though I wrote this blog post, I really am speechless. 
To read more about The  Book Thief click here.
An interview with Markus Zusak.
The Book Thief movie trailer.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Keeping Up and Spring Break

Spring is here and everybody seems to be shopping.  Keeping my space full at Antique Plaza is like maintaining a punch bowl at a summer wedding!

Before we went out of town for spring break, I took several truck loads of furniture over to my booth, #52.

Here are a few of my favorite pieces!


This piece only weighs about 1,000 pounds, but boy was it fun to paint.


And mirrors galore!

With all that work, I was ready for vacation.  For spring break, the counselor and I took the kids down to southern Arizona, visiting many sentimental sites for this family.  The counselor's dad grew up in St. David, a small town just outside of Tucson. It's a strange sort of beautiful.  Although the home is old and on it's last leg, to know it was built in the early 1900's and cared for the Lofgreen family makes it beautiful to us.

The counselor told stories, reminiscing about how he and his dad would through a tennis ball over the roof; back and forth for fun.  In the day, his grandma had a beautiful garden and flowers.

Now, the school across the street was the only place we saw green grass in the entire town.  The kids raced back and forth when the counselor and I noticed what appeared to be tiny white blossoms dropping to the ground like snow. 

 They literally were falling out of the sky.  We followed the sky path of "blossoms" to a giant cottonwood tree near a wash.  Let me tell you, this town is in a drought, so to find water next to this tree was awesome.

This giant tree was sending out these "spring snow flakes" from it's splitting pods and they were drifting onto the grass.

We gathered the kids and watched as the blossoms blew into the open air, eventually falling into our hands or onto the ground.  Knowing our families ancestors were near, the whole experience was very spiritual. It was like angel dust falling off their wings as they fluttered around us.

Eden found a branch and made some "snow" of her own.

We visited the town's cemetery and found some of the early settler's who were related to us.  Even Reef could read the headstones and look for the Lofgreens.  We talked about families, how they are eternal and we can live together even after we die.  I believe some of these family members can be our guardian angels.

Near the cemetery was a beautiful little creek. I love finding water in the desert and watching it create its path. 

The next day, we traveled to the Chiricahua National Monument.  This is the counselor's most favorite place in the world.  He loves these back hill ruins; voodoo stones or wonderland of the rocks and has been here many times to explore.  He really is happiest out in nature.

Four years ago, the counselor and I along with the kids did the 3.5 mile hike; however, two years ago, a fire swept through and hit many spots of the canyon. It was like seeing a friend after surviving a horrific illness.  We know how beautiful the canyon can be, she just has some diseased spots that need to heal.

We started at the top and hiked down.

The boys/men found all sorts of places to explore.

We had lunch by a small stream. 
I just love the sound of water, even if it's the tiniest water fall ever.

It was great at first, but then someone wanted to be carried out.

A true test of endurance and some sore calves afterword, but we did it.  At one point, I tied that little girl on my back with her sweater and she piggy-backed it out.

There are so many beautiful places to visit in Arizona.  What I love the most is finding the best of my children in each place we visit.

One last surprise was Cochise Mountain.  Do you see the Indian Chief in the rocks.  If you can imagine him laying down looking up at the sky with his fancy headdress, you just might spot his defined chin and protruding nose.

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