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Friday, November 21, 2014

Broken Dresser Rescue

I thought for sure this piece was a goner!
Let me explain. 

I found this solid wood cabinet at Goodwill, stripped it and painted it a creamy white (sorry, no before photo).

When the counselor moved it to the shop, he somehow maneuvered it in just the wrong way and snap!  Off came the cabinet door in a broken mess.

Quit honestly, if it was going to break, I'm so glad it happened before some had spent the money on this piece.

So . . . what to do?  What to do!

It sat for a while on my back patio while I worked on other pieces.  

Every once in a while I looked at it, wondering why I hadn't donated it back to the thrift store.  There obviously was no hope for it.  Broken is broken.  I can't sell a cabinet with one door missing!

Then, one night I had an idea and I could hardly wait until the next day to make it happen.

I took all the cabinet doors off, painted the backing in a chevron pattern, used wood putty to fill in the hinge holes and made it an open cabinet.


An additional perk, the unbroken cabinet doors make great chalkboards. We shared one with our wonderful teacher from the gym who is moving this week.  

Linking up to:

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Mindy Gledhill, yes please!

I fell in love with the music of Mindy Gledhill about three years ago.  After meeting with musician/song writer Kenneth Cope, he shared with me he produced her album.  That certainly got my attention because Kenneth has always been one of my favorite artists. 
(You can read about my friendship with Kenneth here.)

Mindy’s lullaby-like voice softly convinces you everything is right in this world. 

Last weekend she preformed here in Mesa and I had the pleasure of going to hear her. 
Is there anything not to love about that outfit, especially that skirt!

My first observation was the audience.  It was mainly teenage girls with their mothers.  I had dragged the counselor there and thought of sending him home to get Eden, but since he smelt so good and is so cute I decided he should stay.  I like to lean my head on his shoulder and hold his hand.

It’s amazing how much you learn about an artist when you watch her perform live. 

Mindy is a beautiful person who is a child at heart.  Her songs run with the same theme – seeing life and love through the eyes of a child, or with the innocence of a child.  You might think this makes her music for children, but it is very much for adults (although my kids love it too).

Remember the first time a puppy licked your face or holding a red balloon at a birthday party?  

What about the thrill of falling in love or your first Christmas with your spouse? The smells, handmade cards, how money didn’t matter – only love.  How good it feels when someone has there arms around you on a cold night or running through the last rays of a sunny summer day?

These are the messages of Mindy’s songs.  They make you feel happy.  She’s happy.  

They make you think about old memories and making new more meaningful memories, even going as far as drawing good things out of experiences perhaps you never saw as particularly good - because you can find the good if you look from a new perspective.  It made me want to find beautiful poetry in the everyday task we call ordinary.  Her lyrics draw out the best of life like playing in a tree house or realizing someone loves you just the way you are. 

There's a spiritual undercurrent mixed with the winding vines of true girl power.  Certainly not through sex appeal or materialism like so many other female artists portray, but through acceptance of self, inner beauty and gratitude for the gifts of a life.  She’s a true role model for me and all those teenage girls lined up out the door just for the chance to meet her. 

I officially love her.

As someone who loves to write, I was in awe of her ability to capture so many emotions in such few words.  When she sang “Little Soldier” from her Christmas album Winter Moon, I cried for my dad. My dad lives down the street and I see him every day and here I was bawling because I needed to wrap my arms around him!  Powerful lyrics, beautiful voice, piano keys played in just the right melody and wow!  Captivating.

I think it’s really important to understand why someone does what he or she does. Mindy’s passion for making beautiful music inspires, creates joy that provokes images of rocking your newborn babe and makes strangers reach out and grab the hand of the person sitting next to them. Not in a “Kumbaya” sort of way, more like a spiritual campfire with plenty of s’mores being passed around.  Delicious music that melts in your mouth.

The next day, I took Eden on my lap and showed her a few of Mindy’s videos I found on YouTube.  I ran my fingers through her hair and cuddled her cheek up to mine.  

Eden was mesmerized with Mindy’s music and together we created a beautiful memory. . . and yes, I cried again.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Is Life Meant to be Easy?

I was already grouchy when I woke up yesterday, shuffling through my bedroom in the dark to find my robe.  Enter kitchen:  bright lights, breakfast in full swing and the on-going discussion if we had anything good to pack for school lunches when I noticed a spill on the floor.

Cranberry sauce.
 (Read this blog post to truly understand the tragedy of this occurrence.)

Like a crime scene, the broken dish sat on the kitchen counter and I pieced together the evidence.  It appeared someone had opened the refrigerator and out crashed my bowl of cranberry sauce.  To add insult to injury, who ever had spilled it did a mediocre clean-up job.

“What happened to my cranberry sauce!” roared a tired momma bear.

The cranberry culprit was identified, lectured and reprimanded.  He apologized and completed a more acceptable clean-up.

The kids left for school, Eden and I cuddled in the rocking chair and I didn’t even know where to start.  I could go back to bed, clean my house, go to the gym?  Or I could sit and pout!  Option #4 was looking best for me.

I’m not proud of it, but I’ve had these thoughts more then once since becoming pregnant. 

I can’t do this.
It’s too hard.

Most times I can push such feelings aside, but yesterday, I decided to play with them for a while just to see how they felt rolling around in my mind.
Feel all the aches and pains.
Feel sorry for yourself.
Do not bake pumpkin cookies.

Self absorbed, overwhelmed and tired.  It was just enough to keep me in my crabby mood.  Oh, did it feel good to have the arms of gloom wrapped around me!  It meant I didn’t have to do anything but wallow. 

Until 3:00 o’clock, here comes my oldest son Chandler.  He rides his bike home from high school and enters the back gate; happy, smiling and rushed to greet me with a hug.

When did he get so tall?  He’s strong, independent and cheerful.  My son puts his arms around me and strength enters my heart.  

I let his love gently heal my heart, like the first pump of air in a flat tire when later Mayer showed me his completed homework, Reef overcome with delight when Grandma offered to take him to play with a cousin, Payson making a mature decision about a choice he’d been struggling with and than Eden – who spent an hour on artwork delighted to show me her completed painting of princess Ariel. The counselor calls to check in on me and my mom stops by with the gift of a stretchy skirt (Lord knows I need more of those).  Each positive task provided another pulse of much needed encouragement.

Slowly, slowly, my heart began to feel with little breathes of hope, like optimistic CPR feeling my lungs with oxygen.  The "pouting me" wanted to fight it off, but the energy of all the good things in my life was too strong.

My children and family provided an actual physical healing to my weary heart.  Later that night, we gathered to have family prayer when I had the idea:

Life was hard today because I believed the false premise “life should be easy?”

Certainly there are choices and consequences, hard work and discipline, miracles and fate; but there’s no promise anywhere in the universe that life is going to be easy.

The belief “life should be easy” had left me incredibly discouraged.

Discouragement - opposite of gratitude had got to me again!  Now that I know what I was battling, I think it will be easier to combat next time.

“Discouragement is not the absence of adequacy but the absence of courage.”
― Neal A. Maxwell

Courage, faith, hope, love, persistence, determination – these life-changing gifts from God can be found all around us and they are the enemies of discouragement.  (Insert imaginary sword fight between discouragement and hope).

What a blessing to find love and encouragement in the hearts of my children; although I still need to get out and buy some more cranberry sauce.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

More cranberry sauce please.

On Monday I craved cranberry sauce from the depths of my maternal soul. 
I would have crawled to Egypt (ok, maybe just down the street, maybe next door –  who am kidding, into my kitchen was far enough) for cranberry sauce.
Cranberry sauce, not the cheep stuff with corn syrup, it had to be pure and perfect.

Real Cranberry Sauce.
(image found here)

I think this baby’s first world will be cranberry sauce.
“Goo goo, cranberry sauce.”

Everybody knows you can’t eat cranberry sauce plain, that would be gross, but with a Thanksgiving meal – cranberry sauce reaches its potential.

A Thanksgiving meal it had to be.

I started with yams and marshmallows, than green bean casserole, cheesy mashed potatoes when on a whim (since it takes like all day to make a turkey and my craving had started late in the afternoon) I made cornbread stuffing meatloaf out of ground turkey. 

The table was set, we’d invited my neighbor the caterer and her sweet family over because really, I’d made enough food to feed a family of 14.

Personally, I started with a couple of scoops of cranberry sauce, and then the rest of the food piled on my plate.  Every bite was better than the next.  It was everything I’d dreamed and hoped for.  I was in cranberry heaven

But later, I became nauseous and comatose; a lovely condition saved only for the old and pregnant.
The kids were watching a Disney show on Netflix and the fake laughter after every punch line was more then I could handle.  

So, I went to bed for 12 hours.

The first 6 hours I dreamt I was on a military helicopter, swerving here and there as we traveled an across country flight.  The next 6 hours, I dreamt I was sitting in a shopping cart while someone whirled me from isle to isle.  All sorts of food blurred past my vision.
It was no fun.

But, I survived.  Today I’m craving whip cream.  

Real whip cream, not the cheap stuff!  

Friday, November 7, 2014

Vintage Furniture and My Man!

If it wasn’t for my darling husband’s passion for furniture shopping, 
for searching, scouring and finagling, 
for all the hours on craigslist and the down-and-out thrift stores in the slums of Phoenix he frequents, 
the garage sales and estate sales he ventures out to, 
my days of restocking my shops with vintage dressers, mid-century desks and French chairs might be coming to an end, but . . . it appears the counselor likes the hunt.  Typical man!

Does anyone out there see running a booth at an antique mall as masculine.  It really is.  With all the moving, lifting and heavy work this type of job requires, my manly man does almost everything and I do next to nothing but say “Ewe, this dresser needs to be painted gray.”  With a misaligned floor dolly that moves like a squeaky grocery cart, this man moves 100 pound pieces of furniture about as easy as I carry in a bag of groceries.

Like this piece.  It's a hefty 12-drawer solid-wood dresser.  He will move this with the ease of toddler pulling a wagon I tell you.

The only time we ever fight, with the passion and determination of two polar opposites is when we try to move a piece of furniture together.  16 years of marriage and I finally know how to push his buttons.

What I’ve learned about my man:
1)    do not offer suggestions, directions or warnings when driving.  The stereo-typical joke about men and driving is alive and well.
2)    do not try to convince him something is dark navy when he thinks it’s black.  It will not work.
3)    he is perfectly capable of moving various types of large furniture without your help.  I think it makes him feel like He-Man.

With his manly attitude, it seems he’s really turned this little hobby of mine into something more.  I like to restore furniture while I paint and hum the latest uplifting song on KLove. 
Here's one of my latest favorite songs from FOR KING AND COUNTRY:

The counselor does nothing in this business passively.  He stay abreast with restocking and what paint colors we need.  I really like him.  He’s done good.

Here are our latest creations:




It seems I like the creative part of this business and the counselor likes everything else.  Way to go, babe!

And a few little things?
I'm in love with this chalkboard I made with an antique silver platter.

And this jar with a chalkboard lid.

And a few Fall decorations.
Vintage shutters

More candlesticks! This one stands about 2 feet tall.

I remember my grandma had little frames like these.  I found a bunch of them and painted them heirloom white, which is an antique white.

I don't sell everything I make.  I painted the lids of these little Mason jars to make a candlestick display.  I shared these with Mayer's and Reef's teachers at parent/teacher conference.

If you want to check out any of my shabby pieces, I'm at Merchant Square in Chandler, booth #73 or Antique Plaza in Mesa, booth #52.

Linking up to:

Monday, November 3, 2014

A Book Review of The Shoemaker's Wife

Last night I finished The Shoemaker’s Wife and fell apart.

I’ve been crying all day over fictional characters.
Ciro Lazzari and Enza Ravanelli.  My, did I grow to love them.

The Shoemaker’s Wife starts in 1905 in the Italian Alps on a mountain top when the two Lazzari brothers are left by their widowed mother as orphans in a convent.   The story moves along as a sermon with highs and lows of personal trial and unspeakable strength for these young men.  Reverently stirring, you eventually meet the Ravanelli family and their oldest daughter Enza.  At the burial of her baby sister Stella, Enza meets a young gravedigger named Ciro Lazzari and here starts their love story. 

Author Trigiani perfectly captures the hard work and innovation of the immigrant character in the early 1900’s. She does this like a dancer moving around a staged scene; emphasizing certain parts of the characters strengths and weaknesses at just the right points.  She portrays an immigrant who cherishes the tradition of her old country, but loves the freedoms of her new America.  Self-reliance, religion and family are the motivation behind sacrifices and an uncertain future with WWI threatening all they’ve worked for.  I can’t believe The Shoemaker’s Wife is a true story.  There is so much depth and drama, usually not captured when one is writing about her grandparents lives.  I think we see our ancestors of the past as different from us and we can’t relate to them, but Trigiani is right inside her grandmother’s heart and mind.  She really knows her and that allows us the same privilege. 

 (a photo I found of little Italy here)

Author Trigiani shows there is a strength that comes from really knowing the trials, sacrifices and strengths of those you come from; plus it helps she’s a great writer.  Here's just a small sample of her delicious words.  

“Every son thinks his mother is beautiful, even when she isn’t.”

“The eldest daughter in a family with many children never has a real childhood.”

“There are two kinds of people in this world.  Those who want to know the facts, and those who want to make up a nice story to feel better.”

“”If you look around to find meaning in everything that happens, you will end up disappointed.”

“A shoemaker’s children never go barefoot.”

“It seemed to Ciro that so much of life was about not holding on, but letting go . . .”

My mind stirred with imagery of early America.  One of my favorite scenes was Columbus Day in New York City Little Italy 1914.  Can you imagine being an Italian immigrant in America on Columbus Day?  The traditions and heritage rang strong through little Italy and they celebrated this Italian and American hero with much fanfare.  I'd never envisioned such a thing.

I loved getting to know these beautiful Italian families and all they endured together.  I laughed out loud and at other times cried my eyes out.  It makes me curious about my own great-grandparents who migrated from Prussia (now Germany).  I have just one request - please turn this book into a movie.  I'll be the first one in line to see it!