As mentioned, I am fond of dressers. I wanted to do E.'s first room in pale colors and antiques and this dresser became a beautiful focal point in the room. The photographer who took E.'s two-year pictures thought it would make a great prop. I think she was right.
I can't help it. I love old dressers. Something about how functional and fabulous they can be. In the dining room: a buffet. In the bedroom: a clever night stand. In the nursery: a changing table.
They are scattered all over my house. It started with this one: a small and pretty starter dresser for E.'s room. I bought it in Arizona shortly before she was born and was actually painting it when I went into labor with her (painting technique to come under separate post). I plan to paint it again, this time to match the new color scheme in the room.
I loved it so much I couldn't wait to collect and find a use for another one. Shortly before leaving Washington, I found this one, now our hall table. It still needs refinishing, and some decisions about what other collections should nest on its top, but until then, its a rustic and charming addition:
And then, this weekend on my trip to the Raleigh flea market (yay, a flea market!) I got a great deal on these next two and HAD to have them. This one is about the height of a coffee table (another clever use), and will perch at the end of E.'s bed - a storage bench small enough to get into herself.
Fifteen minutes later, I found this piece in a custom-pillow booth. The business owner had used it as a desk and no longer needed it. It will make itself home in our bonus room as the T.V. stand:
(Oh, and something else I can't help - lists. Which is why I found myself visually tallying up the many uses for a dresser with another font color).
I'm not a homeschooling parent myself but I saw this promotion mentioned at Praiseworthy Things blog and wanted to pass along the message. Homeschooler or not, every parent is a teacher and I think homeschooling magazines, books, and blogs are wonderful resources to figure out how to extend the lessons at home. This particular homeschooling resource is from a Christian perspective.
PS. Check out Praiseworthy's exhaustive links list, organized by category - what a great way to find some new favorite reads!
I call it "cutting counter anxiety." It's that slightly panicky feeling I get as the Joann's Fabric employees at the cutting counter call out numbers that are inching closer to mine. It never fails. I could be at Joann's for hours poring over the math around my newest project, always without a pattern. But every time my number is called I wind up at the counter, staring at the Joann's lady slightly paralyzed, wondering which of the forty-two bolts of fabric in my cart I should start with since I don't really know how much fabric I want or need from any of them.
The problem starts with the premise of the trip itself. I've got some project in mind, but not completely thought out, and I'm usually trying to do it as inexpensively as possible. I always go during some sale weekend, with my crumpled coupon in hand, ready to find a deal on some fabulous fabric. And then there aren't enough choices...or there are too many choices...or the fabrics I'm considering are expensive, as was the case last weekend. But I can make it work if I make sure I just don't buy too much of it. Enter the second problem. Since I almost never use a pattern (I like the project to be completely inspired and come together on its own), I never quite know how much to get. Now starts the frenzied sketching and calculating at the pattern table. This time some poor lady with a broken leg had no choice but to sit there and watch me mumble and sketch and fret about my fabric choices. "Those are beautiful fabrics you've picked." Poor lady didn't know she was in for a forty minute conversation with me with that one comment alone.
But I finally did it. I grabbed a number, took my seat, and waited, a little nervous about the math I'd finally settled on and wondering if I should change the quantities. And sure enough, when the fabric lady called my number, I pulled up to the counter and sighed, completely afraid to commit to a yardage - or a fabric, for that matter. "I'll be completely honest. I've been waiting all this time and I still can't decide what or how much I need." She didn't flinch. Neither my confession nor the the thirteen bolts of fabric jutting out of my tiny cart had done anything to scare her. The people in line behind me? Probably a little more irritated. But I was a little relieved just the same. "Do you run into this a lot?" I ventured. Only her mouth moved. "You have no idea."
So, now I've got my fabrics home. Waiting to become curtains and pillows and bedskirts for E.'s and Next Baby's room (we decided they should share after all). I'm pretty sure I bought too much. If I ever start an Etsy shop, you may see some pretty green and orange and raspberry ditties floating around.
Unfortunately for me, most women here work outside the home, but I am fortunate enough to have met a couple of women who do stay home and are also "transplants" (the term people here use to describe us outsiders). Transplants like us tend to stick out in the crowd for a lot of reasons - the main one being a wider range of opinions and experiences to draw from, and a general willingness to try new things.
I've spent a lot of time with one transplant friend in particular, who loves coffee as much as I do, has a progressive attitude toward food and our environment, shares my faith, and is a great listener. We're learning a lot from each other and I'm really glad I met her.
Today we made biscotti from this recipe I found at allrecipes.com. It was a fun way to spend the afternoon, and a yummy complement to our coffee. It was actually a test run because I was considering introducing ourselves to our neighbors with a batch - and then remembered folks here might not appreciate them as much as an old standby like chocolate chip cookies. Anyone have a good recipe for those?
Speaking of recipes, you have to try this refreshing and addictive gazpacho recipe before summer is completely gone, and this pork chop recipe I made with great success last night (try pairing with brown rice).
We are still swimming and sorting through 8800 pounds of stuff that we managed to collect and carry across the country to our new home. Eighty-eight hundred pounds. Of Army gear, baby gear, toddler toys, clothes, fabric, antiques, books, and impulse purchases...piled onto a mounting To Do list including arrange furniture, paint, trim trees, stain the deck, start a lawn...and yet my first trip to the store was for our flag. I'd been looking forward to putting one up on our house all summer long.
There was a time when I thought some people were too sensitive about our flag. Don't get me wrong; I never thought it was okay to burn or otherwise totally disrespect the flag, but short of that I considered any further fuss about the American flag just that - fuss.
And then I grew up a little, and married a soldier, there was 9/11, and I sent my husband to war. And I understood. That the fuss about the flag - how to display it, how to fold it, how to take care of it - wasn't so much about the flag as it was about honoring everything and everyone it stood for.
The weekend before we left Washington was Memorial Day weekend. I was feeling sad about our move out of the military. And when I walked into our (rather large) church auditorium, we were greeted by two huge American flags flanking either side of the stage. It actually took my breath away and I teared up at the sight of them. I was completely awed by them the entire service.
Never again will I be so apathetic about such a symbol. I feel extremely proud and lucky to have been born in this country. And I think it's okay to be proud. Not arrogant, or cavalier. But grateful, humbled, and appreciative of everything we enjoy as Americans. I'm grateful for my freedom. And I'm especially grateful to those who volunteer to protect it. To protect us.
For those of you who lost a friend or family member six years ago or in the ensuing battle in Afghanistan since, I'm truly sorry for your loss. My family is thinking of you today.
We're in our home and I'm back online! We are still swimming in boxes but we are finally in the homestretch of making this transition. I swear this move is like pregnancy; I really could divide it into "trimesters." I'll update you with house pics & all the etcetera soon. (The above pic has nothing to do with this post, except that I haven't posted the obligatory family pics in a while.)
Today is mine and J.'s anniversary. Six years. We woke up this morning, wished each other "happy anniversary," and got started unpacking. When I asked if he'd bought me a card (just checking, since I hadn't), J. shook his head. "Good," I said. "Save the $3.50. I'd rather have Taco Bell."
It's funny how practical romance gets after a while. But there's a certain comfort and familiarity and safety that we get from our marriage. I knew J. would want to watch the UT game tonight, and so I planned our day around that - my own version of an anniversary gift. And look what J. brought home from work for me this weekend, aware that all the chaos would drive me to label, and knowing my labelmaker was packed away somewhere:
It's these little gestures that make a person feel loved. But the most important thing about this anniversary? That I got to wake up with my husband.