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Two years ago we made the decision to purchase a home in a coastal part of the country. As we spend more time there, meet new friends, and make that house a home I decided to create a blog to record our adventures, design successes, and missteps, and all the emotional ups and downs that come with our new back and forth life. If you are interested in following along, you can find my updates here:
Not long ago my mom decided it was time to update her kitchen. The countertops, sink, faucet and cooktop are now in and my mom could not be happier. She moved into her condo shortly after Dad passed away. It was a great space from the beginning but over the past few years, she has put her own mark on it. She replaced the appliances right away and painted the walls but that was where the kitchen progress stalled, until recently. She has wanted to upgrade to quartz countertops for quite some time and finally, with a little nudging, she decided this past fall that she was ready to take the plunge. She chose the Summerhill pattern from Cambria Quartz. It was a great choice. This pattern has the warm look and movement of granite but the durability of quartz.
It looks perfect with the new G.E. Profile cooktop.
She quickly said goodbye to her old Formica countertops, the top mount sink, and our quick fix tin backsplash.
And she said hello to a new Blanco Silgranit sink and the Briarsfield model Price Pfister faucet from Ferguson Plumbing Supply.
These two elements looked great with the new countertops but it wasn't until the platinum gray glass tile backsplash went up that the whole room pulled together. She loved this tile from the start and I'm so glad she pushed for this one. I liked it but I didn't have her vision. It was one of the more expensive tiles that she considered but she didn't need a lot so it was definitely well worth the splurge.
These pics were taken with my iPhone and I needed the flash so believe me when I say it even prettier in real life. She purchased the tile from Adam's Tile and Stone. This kitchen had a lot of outlets to work around and some tight corners but their installer did a terrific job.
She is thinking of changing the wall color from green to gray and/or maybe painting the cabinets white. Thoughts? I think that would be gorgeous too but I am also embracing these darker cabinets with the tile and countertops. Either way, this is a great room to walk into. Nicely done Mom.
When my mom moved into her condo eight years ago she stripped wallpaper and repainted every wall. She has replaced all of the carpets and made some great furniture purchases for her home, but lately, these Formica countertops and the drop in sink and a noisy faucet have been crying out to her for attention.
Shorty after she moved in we added the tin backsplash. You can read about it here. After the wallpaper was removed the wall was uneven and naked looking and this was an easy and economical fix, but now she was thinking of new countertops and you know how one thing leads to another...
She hasn't had a lot of her friends over yet so I won't steal her thunder and show you the full reveal yet, but I will tease you with the elements she is working with.
I love the countertops that she chose. They are a Cambria quartz in the Summerhill pattern. I'm glad they had a display of this countertop at Ferguson's because it is so much prettier in a longer run and we could see what the full pattern would look like.
I was over at her place this week, after the backsplash was installed, and we are both so excited to see how great it looks now that it is all put back together. She is considering painting the cabinets, or maybe just the walls? But for now, she just wants to live with it for a bit and enjoy what she has accomplished so far. I'm so glad that my mom wants to keep her place looking current and hasn't become complacent when it comes to decor. I love her new kitchen and I love her.
Last year I set a reading goal of twenty books for myself through Goodreads.
I didn't meet my goal but I did chalk up fourteen titles.
As I was setting my goal for this year I looked over some of last years books.
I struggled with some of the titles to even remember a story line.
If a book isn't memorable even six months later then it probably wasn't that good.
They can't all be great but there were a few that really stood out so I thought
I would share those with you here.
One of my favorites from last year was
As Close To Us As Breathing
This story takes place out east during the summer of 1948 with all the events in the
story centered around the tragic death of a child.
The book encompasses the
correlation between family expectations, guilt, religion, and self-denial.
It slowly unwinds to reveal how this catalytic event occurred and how it
ultimately alters every character. It is a thought-provoking
read with people that are a real life mix of their faults and redeeming qualities.
This one is a definite recommendation.
If you loved and are missing Downton Abbey, then this is a book for you.
Even though this story takes place in a small berg in England just prior to World War I,
it echoes so many of the issues that we still face today.
It contains multiple themes of sexism, bigotry, and classism and makes the
reader realize that maybe we haven't evolved very much in the past 100 years.
Simonson's characters are multi-faceted, human, and relatable. She also sprinkles the
book with fascinating historical facts and details that enhance the story with
a subtle educational element.
This is a book that I might have
missed if it hadn't been a book selection for book club.
Such a wonderfully pleasant surprise, I'm definitely a new fan of this author.
The Widow was an entirely different type of read. It hauntingly recounts how
a woman slowly allows herself to accept the fact that her husband is not the man she
believed him to be. It is the story of the lies a person dismisses or denies in an
attempt to avoid a horrible truth.
Jean, the widow, was an unassuming hairdresser who thought she married up
when she married her banker husband.
In the early years, she told herself he is guiding her, teaching her, and it takes a long time
before she is able to see it for the control and domination that it really is.
Now, years later and still childless,
she is shadowed and questioned by the media after her husband is accused
of abducting and murdering a small child. How she processes and deals with this
turn of events is troubling.
If you are looking for suspense with depth then this is a must read.
This title is a definite attention grabber, but I hope it doesn't put you off because
this is one of the best books I picked up last year.
The chapter on cell phone etiquette alone makes this a worthy read. It is obviously
not your run-of-the-mill manners book. This one is laced with laugh out loud humor but
it still drives home some issues that made me squirm as I recognized myself as the
offending party in a number of social situations. This one should be assigned reading.
Then there were the Elizabeth Strout books.
One of my top ten all time reads might be Olive Kitteridge, another book by this same author.
Elizabeth Strout is one of my favorite writers so I was eager to read My Name is Lucy Barton, when
it was released this year to rave reviews.
Unfortunately, this book left me a little disappointed.
I'm not panning it. I think that maybe I need to reread it because it definitely
is being well received everywhere else.
Yes, it had engaging female
characters but in my mind, Lucy, the protagonist, seemed simplistic. I found
her relationship with her own husband and children confusing and
the mother, instead of inducing sympathy, just annoyed me.
I'm sure it was just me, but to restore my faith in Strout, I decided to read one of her other
books, The Burgess Boys.
I can't say I liked it as well as Olive, but the contrast between, and the
evolution of these two brothers created seemingly tangible characters that were magnetic
and memorable. One of the best ancillary story lines of the book is
the marriage of Jim, a glossy and highly successful attorney, and his
now still attractive middle-aged and unfulfilled wife who is mourning her empty nest.
It is a story that is probably repeated in countless homes and in countless
cities across the country but when told by Strout it seems fresh and real.
The family dynamics in this story of the one successful sibling when contrasted with his
initially weaker and acquiescing brother and simpering sister is totally
captivating. Strout's books are less about the plot and more about rich
character development which, for me, is one of the reasons her books
are so outstanding.
It seems that most of the books that I read in 2016 had a common thread, and it was how a
single event can change the course of so many lives. Commonwealth is another one
of these stories. It began with a kiss at a baptism party in the 1960's between the
baby's mother and a co-worker of the woman's husband. This kiss ultimately led to both of
their divorces, their subsequent marriage, and a blended family.
I'm sure a lot of readers would be able to identify with the children's feelings of loyalty
toward the parents that suffered from the infidelity, a disrespect for the unfaithful parent
and a disdain for their new siblings. It was compelling to follow along
as these half brothers and sisters began to form new alliances and loyalties. From two
disjointed pasts, they became a family unit separate from the parents.
This was a read with some real psychological depth and plenty of material for a
With less depth, but more humor, The Nest is a fun and sparkling read. The story, again
about four vastly different siblings that have been counting on an inheritance that their
father has set aside as a midlife economic infusion when the youngest child turns forty.
Each of the siblings has watched the inheritance grow with the stock market and has visions
of the positive impact this cash will have on each of their lives. Then they realize that
the money has dissipated as hush money for a scandal that their older brother, Leo, has
created. This is a story of a poster worthy dysfunctional family, which always
makes it more interesting, and how money changes them and their relationships. It is a
story full of irony and rich people problems.
This is a debut novel by this author and I look forward to anything she writes in the future.
But not all of the books I read were winners. Here are a few that got rave reviews elsewhere
but left me feeling a bit less enthused.
A psychological thriller, Behind Closed Doors, is based on the premise that the beautiful
couple that seems to have it all may be living a much different life behind closed doors.
This time, the couple consists of a beautiful woman who has a burgeoning career as a
buyer at Harrods but gives it up when she marries what she thought was the man of her
dreams. He, of course, turns out to be a psychopath. This book frustrated me after the
first chapter. It seemed so improbable and ridiculous. In all fairness, the last third of
the book did seem to get better but the ending was so contrived and the characters so one
dimensional that, for me, the book never recovered.
I usually really like Liane Moriarty's books but this one left me flat. The suspenseful build-up
seemed overrated for the climax and I felt like it could have been edited down to a short
story instead of a novel. There just wasn't enough of a tale here. That said, there is
an interesting study of the long-term relationship and vacillating feelings of
annoyance, loyalty, competitiveness, and jealousy between the two main female friends.
Despite this relationship, it felt like the main characters were rather forgettable, but
the outgoing neighbor, that hosts the barbecue in the story, is a very charismatic
and indelible persona. He seemed so real, like someone I would love to meet.
But for me, this book just didn't measure up. This falls short of Big Little Lies.
So what's on my list for 2017?
Currently, I am reading Rich and Pretty, an intriguing study of the ebb and flow of the
life-long friendship between two women and the debate of whether it can survive
differing paths of career, marriage, and economic standards.
Do these women even have anything in common other than their past?
I think we all have those friends that have
fallen away and we aren't exactly sure why. This book seems to address this issue.
What makes this read especially fascinating is that it notes the subtle nuances of women
with such amazingly acute perception, but it is written by a man.
So now I'm looking ahead to 2017 and wondering what to add to my to-read list.
These are a few that are already in the queue but I am always eager for suggestions
We only had a day to pull this together. Crew, our grandson, was coming to visit.
This was going to be our first time watching him without his mom and dad as a backup.
I wasn't worried about us, but I was hoping he wouldn't be frightened in a less familiar
environment without them. So, I was hoping to distract him by pulling
out the Brio set that had belonged to our boys.
Although we had kept the trains, the track,
and a number of accessories, we had sold our old homemade Brio table years ago.
So learning that Crew would be coming for a visit, we made a quick run to Home Depot
and purchased a piece of 2' x 4' particle board that was much smoother than the plywood
that we went with twenty plus years ago. I wish the board had been
about six inches wider but this is what they had so we went with it.
We added these 21" pre-cut Parsons table legs with a hanger bolt already installed,
and four Waddell top plates. The plates allow the legs to be easily
removed and reattached. With the legs removed, the table can
be effortlessly stored away.
While Papa was putting the plates and legs on, I was gathering my craft paints.
I kept the design simple to allow for limitless track configurations.
After the paint dried, I added a water base varnish top coat and voila! A new Brio table for less than $50.00.
But, best of all were the hours of smiles and expressions from this little man.
I can hardly wait for next week when our little engineer returns for Thanksgiving.
Those of you that are fans of Be Colorful know that I am obsessed with front door decor.
So, when my neighbor embellished her door last weekend with Halloween flair, I knew I had to share it here with all of you.
I've always loved this unexpected shade of green and the massive hardware on this door, but the addition of framed spiders, skulls and all things Halloween had me house crushing all over again.
It's time to dig out our haunted decor and embrace the season.
Then you will want to visit Be Colorful's coastal side:
It was only eight years ago that Cedar Rapids was slammed by the epic flooding of 2008. They said that was a 500-year flood but here we are again. The Cedar River is expected to crest tomorrow at eleven feet above flood stage.
At least this time the city has had time to prepare and the waters are not expected to be as high as they were eight years ago but the river is already out of its banks in some areas and it is still rising.
The last couple of days we have been watching Facebook feeds and network streams to stay informed on what is happening in our hometown. It is scary to see but we are also immensely proud of the determination and resolve of this city to beat back the flood waters and survive yet another natural disaster.
Sadly, even though it has been eight years, Cedar Rapids is still recovering from the first flood which brought this city to its knees.
June 13, 2008
Unfortunately, eight years later and this city is still lacking flood protection and according to The Des Moines Register, since the last flood, "Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent to rebuild the downtown. There's a new federal courthouse, library, fire station, and convention hotel. A $37 million office tower opened last week on the east bank of the Cedar River".
What we don't have is adequate flood protection. Cedar Rapids has built some small strategically placed flood walls but the city is still waiting for the federal funding that it was promised eight years ago. The city passed its own 625 million dollar flood protection plan last year but this plan will take probably twenty years to be fully implemented.
Who would have believed we would be here again so soon?
Since the 12 inches of rainfall that fell in northern Iowa late last week, volunteers and Cedar Rapids city employees have rallied together sandbagging, laying out Hesco barriers, and building temporary levees.
What they have done in a few short days is beyond impressive.
These are just a few of the images I collected today that showcase their monumental efforts.
They have built over ten miles of walls
and stacked over 250,000 sand bags!
Every seat in the recently flood recovered Paramount Theater was disassembled and removed.
The sun has set and now we pray and wait for morning and the crest.
We were able to rise above the flood waters before and we are stronger today and now we know that
when a community pulls together nothing is impossible.
I loved this photo the minute I saw it on my monitor.
This is our first grandbaby. Our only grandbaby.
This is Crew.
It still amazes me how I instantly fell in love with him.
I don't think I ever had so many pictures of my own three kiddos and I have never been a fan of family pictures everywhere but sometimes there are moments or expressions captured that I never want to lose. This was one of those moments.
My daughter who has her own photography company, Clicksmith Photography, took this picture while they were visiting us this summer.
I love the subject matter, love the photographer, and I was really happy with mpix that processed the print for me.
The composition of this photo reminded me of Andrew Wyeth's painting of Christina's World.
I remember liking that painting when I was in school. The idea of the subject matter looking into the distance and the perspective this allowed is intriguing to me.
So when I saw this photo of Crew, I knew it was one that I would need to frame.
I went with a simple and inexpensive frame from Home Goods that allows me to easily change out the photo as our little man grows and changes but it might be awhile before I change this one out. It has that timeless appeal and looks right at home on that sea glass painted wall.
I don't want too many pictures, but this might be a sweet complimentary piece framed on the nightstand?
Grant Wood, an American artist whose most recognizable work is American Gothic, is from Eastern Iowa. He spent the greater part of his life in my hometown of Cedar Rapids and as a result, Iowans have the benefit of easily enjoying some of his many contributions to the art world.
The art museum here has the world's largest collection of Grant Wood pieces and if that isn't enough, you can even tour his restored studio.
This year, to commemorate what would have been Grant Wood's 125th birthday, sponsors and artists have joined together to create a collection of "Overalls All Over" statues that are designed to resemble the farmer and his daughter in Wood's famous painting. The statues are scattered throughout the city and neighboring communities that have ties to the artist.
Earlier this summer, my mom and I made an afternoon of driving around our hometown to see these fun, whimsical statues.
Each statue has a theme and these are just a few of our favorites.
This first one, standing in front of the New Bo Market, is called Advance to Go-Go.
Artists: Martha Brown & Lauren Manninen
Sponsored by Go Cedar Rapids
I love the daughter's mod outfit and the nod to the Monopoly character as in Go Directly to Go to represent the Cedar Rapids Convention and Visitors Bureau, Go Cedar Rapids.
Check out those go-go boots.
Below is the Cedar Rapids Gazette-sponsored "Experiencing Iowa". This statue is covered in images of news stories that Eastern Iowans would remember.
Sponsor: The Gazette
Artist: Michael Huang
I'm so glad we took the time to see these up close or we would have missed some of the fun details like the camera on his lapel,
and two more cameras in her eyes.
Another favorite was this piece in front of the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art.
It is titled Iowadn't Take You For Granted
Artist: Terri Willits Cedar Rapids Museum of Art
The image on the man's shirt is a photo of Grant Wood and the letter on her skirt is a copy of a letter Grant Wood wrote to a friend telling them that two of his paintings, Stone City and American Gothic, had been chosen for an exhibit.
"Liberty" stands in front of Cedar Rapids Bank and Trust and there is so much detailing in this. You wouldn't see it by just driving by. This one begs to be seen up close and personal.
Sponsor: Cedar Rapids Bank and Trust
Artist: Todd Sabin
From the imagery on his glasses to the built up layers replicating coins (If you look close you can see George Washington's head),
to the woman's cameo pin, there is such attention to detail.
Even the money bag that is complete with a chocolate chip cookie, which is CRBT's hospitality trademark. Yes, this artist went all out incorporating meaningful details and symbolism.
"The Lion Goes to the Theatre Tonight" was created for and sponsored by Brucemore.
Artist Ivy Henerichs
Brucemore is an architecturally unique and historical estate in the middle of Cedar Rapids. It is the home to many cultural events in the area and it seems only right that an Overalls All Over statue should be on the grounds here.
With the mansion in the background, these two are embellished with colorful flowers that acknowledge the beautiful gardens here at Brucemore. Meanwhile, the back side pays tribute to the lions that used to roam the grounds of this estate.
It is hard to say which statue is the best, but my personal favorite might be the one in front of the Czech Museum.
This year the museum has been featuring the works of Andy Warhol, so this statue, Andy and Edie, sponsored by the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library brought a huge smile to my face.
The artist, Julius Cavira, had me with the striped shirt.
It is hard to beat a classic though.
Standing in front of McKinley Middle School, where Grant Wood taught classes, is the statue appropriately named Classic.
Artist: Elizabeth Rhoads Read
Right down to the pattern in the woman's blouse, the details are fantastic and I love the look in her eyes.
This was such a great way to commemorate a birthday.
There are twenty-five statues in all. This was just a sampling.
To see more on this art installation and a map of all the statues click the link below.
Happy birthday, Grant. Thank you for reminding us that art is and always should be a part of our everyday lives.
I love looking at houses, especially homes with great decor and design. This house, that belongs to a friend of mine, has wowed me for years. Now, she and her husband are preparing to downsize and have put their creativity infused home on the market. When I saw the beautiful listing photos, from Nolan at FSBO, I just knew I had to share them here.
From the refreshing sounds of the rock waterfall to the outdoor conversation area by the porch, this impressive two-story on the hill says "Welcome" before you even come through the front door.
But when you do step inside you will be greeted by this expansive and bright foyer.
I love how light floors give this space a fresh, uplifting feel.
As you look through to the generously sized dining room, you will be charmed by the copper toned ceiling, black and white stripes, and a floor to ceiling chalkboard wall.
The oversized windows throughout this house let the light shine in and allow beautiful views to the quiet cul-de-sac below.
I think the shimmering wall color in this living room is the perfect backdrop to the black and white color palette she is using. It feels very retro meets modern and coastal meets city.
Who wouldn't want to spend time here?
The white beams and wood ceiling give this cozy family room a casual coastal vibe that continues on in the cavernous screened in porch and bar area.
This has to be the perfect party spot for family and friends.
The warm finishes of the kitchen cabinets are the perfect compliment to the soft sea glass colored ceiling and the updated countertops and backsplash.
This beautiful kitchen boasts stainless steel appliances and a full wine bar.
The artwork, a Grant Wood print, is perfect in this space.
The beauty doesn't stop there. Look at this great breakfast nook that overlooks the lushly wooded and private back yard.
But what the photographer didn't show us, is what is above this table.
It is one of my favorite things in this house and only my artistic and creative friend could come up with this idea...
suspended from the ceiling is this wonderfully whimsical vignette.
Color me speechless. LOVE.IT.
This house just has fun written all over it.
Upstairs, there are four bedrooms and two full baths.
Look at this master suite. It goes on for days! What a spectacular retreat.
It is like going to the spa every time you shower.
I so enjoy being around creative people, and the woman that lives here is beyond inspiring and so is her home. I'm so glad she agreed to let me share it with you. I can't wait to see what she does in her new space.
For all the stats, more photos and a complete listing for this house, please click here.
Hurry, this one won't be around long.
He was a Christmas gift that has been classing up our place for maybe fifteen years now.
He has been moved from room to room a few times but he usually ends up in the family room or the breezeway. I've always enjoyed changing things up a bit with the seasons and with September right around the corner I started thinking about his next look. Before I knew it I was looking at old photos of Puck, and it became obvious that I have really embraced, and maybe gone a bit overboard, dressing Puck in seasonal decor. I pulled some of the photos together and thought it would be fun to share a few of his ever-changing looks with you.
This would be Autumn Puck dressing in a lighted garland of fall leaves.
When it was time for book club, Puck donned his cheater readers.
His Halloween hat is one of my favorite looks.
In the past, I've done a pre-lit evergreen halo, but this year I'd like to acknowledge my Scandinavian roots and add candles to create a St. Lucia crown.
Puck has an Easter bonnet,
and a Fourth of July chapeau.
I like to dress him for parties and events too.
This was the look for a bridal shower,
and a snow day.
He dressed the part for the New Year,
and he went all out for the Academy Awards party.
Some of us change out the mantel or the front door or a window sill with the seasons, and some of us dress up Puck.
Have a great week.
Technology moves forward.
Kids grow up.
I've been blogging for almost eight years and during that entire time I have never done any posts about this room.
Our home is 100 years old and it has been added onto several times over the decades. This room was part of an addition in 2000.
My husband has had his office here in our home since we bought the home in 1997. Back then he was working out of the basement but as the business grew it became obvious that was not working. The addition was created to give him a large office space, bathroom area, and a media room.
This room, "The Forgotten Room", was the media room. With a movie screen that drops down from the ceiling, it was used for presentations to clients.
Occasionally, the kids would have friends over to watch movies in this space.
But technology has changed. Along came faster internet connections, laptops and iPads. Now, most of the visual presentations are either done online or in the client's office. Our lifestyle has changed too. We are empty nesters now and it has been several years since we have used this room to watch a movie. This room became obsolete as a media room as the equipment aged and we added a large high definition and flatscreen television in our family room.
This has become a space that receives some of the castoffs of furniture and accessories from other rooms in the house.
Those sofas are circa 2000. They are still in great shape but if I were buying them today I would not choose that cordovan color.
But while a lot of the pieces in this room are fifteen years old or older, I am still attached to them.
They are a part of our history as a couple and as a family.
This bar area has a wine box that I painted about eight years ago and the painting behind the sink is from my aunt.
.It also houses one of my favorite paintings
I found this original oil at a consignment store. I do not know the artist but it is obvious from the back side of the canvas that it is rather old. I am guessing it is from the 1930's.
In an effort to keep the room from appearing too stodgy, I wanted to bring in edgier works like the abstract piece above the sofa and this,
modern piece, a hand embellished silk- screen by Steve Kaufman. We have always loved the movie, The Godfather, and bought his Michael Corleone piece when we were traveling. We fell in love with it and it just seemed so appropriate for a media room.
This a room full of memories, like this vase I painted a few years ago for a Traveling Door show. I had also made the necklace. In a wacky moment I decided to add the necklace to the vase. Voila! Another BeColorful creation.
I like that this room marries the past and older pieces with modern touches.
One of the older pieces is from a time when I had very little discretionary money. I traded a night table with a neighbor for this curved front chest. It had broken drawer rails and the top was rough but I liked the shape and I needed something to set a lamp on. :D So, I faux marbled the top to hide the old water damage. Remember when faux marble was a thing?
FYI, the drawer is still broken and I probably could have replaced it with a new, more functional chest but looking at this piece reminds me of those lean years. We didn't have any money but we still powered through and made do with what we had.
I don't ever want to lose that.
This is a room that holds those fun, maybe quirky, elements that I love but that don't fit anywhere else in the house.
We bought this huge round tray about ten years ago on a trip to southern Illinois. The wine box is from Sticks. I like these unexpected patterns and random styles mixed together.
Then there is Sam. Love him. He doesn't shed, doesn't need to be walked or kenneled, but never fails to make me smile.
These old wine bottles, nested in a wide mouthed urn filled with mini lights, look magical at night and they remind me of special evenings with friends and family.
Yes, this is a room of castaways but these castaways are a part of who I am. They are my memories even if they are in our forgotten room.
We can hold on to things for too long, but sometimes we just aren't ready to let them go.
Do you have some of these favored pieces too?
I'd love to hear about yours.
Thanks for stopping by.
Be Colorful Coastal : A new take on the Be Colorful style.
I'm all for patriotism and celebrating our independence.
What I don't like is tacky big box store decor.
Where is the creativity in that?
It's the equivalent of cheap store bought Halloween costumes.
Independence flair doesn't have to be a fallback to the 1990's Americana country look either.
An understated look is what I am going for, where the impact comes from one single statement piece.
I am all about Fourth of July flair that is classic and chic.
It can be as simple as adding one flag.
It can be as fun as stenciled stars,
or as easy as adding a patriotic napkin,
or a free printable to a frame.
A couple of small flags add a simple flourish to planters.
or a centerpiece.
Keeping it simple helps to focus on the sentiment behind the holiday. Plus I don't have a lot of money invested in items that I will either discard or need to store.
Happy 4th and God Bless America!
1.Carl Christensen, Still Life Photography
6. One Good Thing by Jillee
8. Birch Lane
10. Goodwill free printable 2014
11. At the Picket Fence
12. Unknown google image
This is true. I get into cycles. Periods where I do a lot of reading and times when I only think about it. Over the winter I spent too much time in front of the TV catching up on all of my guilty pleasures instead of tucked in a favorite chair with my iPad and a good read. Perhaps it was because my life hit a speed bump this winter and things were a bit more challenging these past two months. While things were at their craziest it was just easier to lose myself in a mind numbing reality show than to pick up a book. Fortunately, things are looking up now on the caregiver front and life is returning to normal. So, I decided it was the right time to get together again with a group of my besties for our loosely organized book club.
Last summer we started the No Need to Read group. It's not the traditional book club where everyone reads the same book. I remember doing that in an earlier chapter of my life. Back then just finding the time to read was a luxury and I often resented using whatever precious down time I did have to read a book someone else had chosen or a book that wasn't really in my wheel house. I also felt like a book club and time with my girlfriends should be something I was looking forward to. Too often, though, it seemed like the pressure to just finish the book in time took away from the thrill of getting together with friends.
This group is different. Instead of all of us reading some previously agreed up book, we each come together and share whatever it is we have been reading on our own. Some months, for some of us, the only reading we accomplish is getting though a daunting queue of emails. No judgements here. We all get it. So we share whatever it was that we did read. The list is usually diverse and it is an easy way to hear about books I never knew existed or to learn that some best seller was really nothing more than over hyped drivel.
These are the titles the group shared this month:
My Name Is Lucy Barton
Two of us had read this book. I was one of them. My friend loved it. I was a bit more on the fence but we have both admired Elizabeth Strout as an author. Her book, Olive Kitteridge, is one of my favorites and like that book, the characters here are equally well developed and multi-faceted. If you like good writing more than just a good story I think you would like it.
Sacred Choices was another recommendation this week. A self-help book that looks at our indoctrination to do the "right" thing, vs what our heart wants to do. The theme seems to be that our culture, or our tribal backgrounds, are responsible for these conflicting feelings and values but with some self- realization we can find some resolution.
Another one of the women in our group has been coping with a loss and she recommended
The Grief Recovery Handbook.
This book sounded different from most of the grief books out there. I was definitely intrigued by her review of it and I think this one would make a wonderful gift for anyone that is coping with grief.
My book this month was
As Close to Us As Breathing
I would definitely recommend this one. It is a haunting story of a Jewish family on the East Coast during the summer of 1948, not long after World War II. It highlights how a single tragedy can alter the lives of an entire extended family. It is a book about self denial, guilt, religion, and family.
Not everyone had time to read so they shared their want- to- read options.Those are always interesting too.
This time around they were these two:
Has anybody read them yet? Thoughts?
Summer is coming. What is on your list?
Happy Mom's Day.
The American Red Cross Red Boa Ball is later this month. This is a local fundraiser that I have been a part of for several years now.
Last year I painted a bistro patio table for the event.
This year I embellished an oversized rectangular mirror and candlestick.
I have been preoccupied these past weeks helping my mom recover from a fall and I found it very therapeutic to get out my paints and escape into an act of creativity. Once I finished the mirror I remembered that I had a plain black candlestick that I had purchased at a Hobby Lobby a couple of years ago.I thought it was a great blank canvas and I planned on painting it. Well, it took me two years to get around to that project. I'm glad I still had it. I think they work well together and I am offering them as a package.
I hope you can join us April 30th at the Cedar Rapids Marriott as we celebrate the
American Red Cross
Red Boa Ball!
When I was a little girl I thought these dishes, that belonged to my grandmother, were the most beautiful dishes in the whole wide world. As I grew up I loved them still. They reminded me of her.
I was especially close to my grandmother. She taught me the names of all the flowers in her garden and she instilled in me a love of decor. She had a timeless style that I learned to appreciate and tried to emulate.
She has been gone now for nearly ten years and these dishes that I have loved for decades have been a part of our home for quite some time. I still think they are so sweet and pretty but it is time to share them with some one that will actually use them or display them.
There are vintage hand painted china by Lefton. Probably from the 1930's.
There are ten plates and cups in the collection and they are all in excellent condition.
I have a number of things in my home to remind me of Grandma. These I am ready to let go. I know she would understand.
I'm asking $150 for the twenty pieces.
Leave a comment or email me if you are interested.
I'm a faker, a cheater. I'm embracing the faux.
I have succumbed.
Every March I wonder what to put on the front door and in the urns on the porch. The left over Christmas is just wrong and it is too early for flowers. I thought about maybe putting some glass gazing balls in these pots but I couldn't find the right color. Red or green looked like left over holiday, silver doesn't show up against the white house, and everything else had a garish edge. Then I saw these faux boxwoods. I know. I know. Fake is bad. Fake is tacky. So color me tacky. I am tired of spending all the money for real flowers in the early Spring to only have them look leggy and sickly by the 4th of July. Most years I am anxiously looking forward to Fall so I can buy some inexpensive Mums and look like I've got my Martha on. I'm over it. Yes, I'm a big pretender. I am embracing these faux boxwoods that I purchased on Amazon.
Say what you will, they are heavy and will not blow away. I don't have to water them and I don't have to be concerned about freeze warnings.
My solution to the March Decor Madness.
Who says we can't enjoy color all winter long?
Things can get pretty dreary during February in the upper Midwest. Neutral spaces are trending but sometimes the world needs a big dose of color.
I dread the snow and gray February skies but earlier this month when I walked into our family room with its walls of windows and cheery coral paint I couldn't help but smile. This is the perfect place to escape the colorless Midwest climate.
The Love pillows were a find at our local Home Goods. I thought they were a fun February nod to Valentines Day.
It is nearly impossible to be in a bad mood in this room.
Be brave and bring on the color. There are too many neutral rooms these days.
A flamboyant colorista