Saturday, May 25, 2013

A-Junking We Will Go

I am a self-declared minimalist.  Have been as far back as I can remember.  But something has taken ahold of me lately and I haven't a clue how it happened.  Perhaps I should blame Pinterest.  Just when you think you've seen every craft or re-purposing project that could ever be thought of, along comes a new crop of ideas that you simply MUST recreate.  That website is both a blessing and a curse!  

Or I could blame a latent gene that kicked into effect out of nowhere.  Both of my parents were collectors and savers-of-stuff.  No, they would not have been featured on an episode of "Hoarders" as they were both quite tidy about their treasures.  But Dad enabled Mom by building houses for her that had PLENTY of storage and Mom didn't fuss too much when Dad kept that motorcycle that didn't run... or brought home that gargantuan-sized piece of furniture... or that Pit bull puppy.  Dad was a plumber for many years and would occasionally do work for barter rather than money so he often came home from work with something unexpected, like the puppy!  Mom had collections of bells, fabric, greeting cards, jars, and much more.  Perhaps needless to say, we had a BIG job of clearing out their house after they passed.  I brought home some of their stuff, so maybe that's where it started. 

Perhaps my husband is to blame.  He is a pack rat extraordinaire.  We've had some of our most heated discussions about his disorderly collections!  I've even gone so far as to tell him that he is not allowed to die before me because I don't want our kids to blame me for "this mess"!  No matter how much I try to keep him organized he manages to clutter up the place <sigh>, but he is a decent sort of fellow so I'll keep him.   

Blaming the kids comes in handy, too!  Both of my children are collectors.  Zachary (23) has always been meticulous about keeping tabs on his collections.  He's been collecting action figures since before he could say "action figure" and still has every tiny little phaser that goes along with them.  Amelia (21)... not so much.  But she has progressed past saving used tissues so there is hope!

Since we moved around a bit when I was a teen I would often get the response "It is packed away" when I'd ask where this or that was.  I vowed that I would NEVER have a land called "Packed Away" at my house, and so far I've made good on it. 

Visitors have even remarked on my lack of  "stuff".   

Bare surfaces are comforting.  Empty rooms invite me in.  Even the slightest bit of clutter registers to my brain as chaos.  OCD-level panic sometimes strikes when the few things I have are out of place.  The weird thing is, even in my current "Collect Mode", it still does!  All this stuff is driving me bonkers!  But I am learning to work with it rather than against it and it is somehow making sense.    

So now that I have made this short story long, I will tell you about my husband's and my Junking Day yesterday.  It started last week when my daughter and I stopped in at a flea market about 45 minutes from our home.  I saw something that I wanted but couldn't purchase it since it was too big to fit in my car (see **Note** at bottom of post)  Hubby said we could go back with the pickup to get it and we finally got around to it a week later. 

Even though it was cold and raining, and I was dressed in shorts and a t-shirt, my husband really, really wanted to look around for awhile.  So we did, and I found more stuff.   Of course! I found several small items for re-purposing but the best find was something that just needed a bit of cleaning... 

Isn't it a beauty?!?  Turquoise, aqua, and teal shades are very appealing to me right now for some reason and this 9-inch vase practically leapt off the shelf into my hands.  No, really, it did!   It had rainwater and gunk on the inside, and dirt and scuffs on the outside, but I knew it really, really needed to come home with me.  I didn't know how much it cost, still don't, but I brought it in, cleaned it up and now it is doing its job...

The reason I don't know how much it cost is because the lady who runs the flea market likes to price smaller things as a group.  She priced a couple of larger purchases separately but the vase was grouped in with the other small things that asked to come home with me.  If I had to guess, I'd say it ended up costing me about 75 cents to a dollar.

When I arrived home I discovered that I truly did need this vase.  A couple of stems from my beloved peonies were bent over with the weight of their huge blooms and rain and had to be cut.  A perfect pair, don't you think?

Now that I've discovered how much fun junking can be, what is next?  Yard sales? No way am I getting up at zero-dark:30 to look for stuff!  But you never know.  A year from now I may be writing a post that tells about a new fondness for it.  Of course if that happens, enormous amounts of coffee will likely be a factor. 
What are some of your favorite junky finds?
**Note** Some of my finds will be featured in an upcoming 31 day series in October.  The item that we went back to pick up will (hopefully) be one of them, if it works the way I plan.  So excited!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Spring, A Second Look

Spring was off to a great start this year as you can see HERE and continues to be busy and beautiful.  Here is just a sampling of what is going on around our house...

*Maggie, our 14-year-old Chihuahua, finds a sunny spot on the kitchen floor.  It is especially bright because I am STILL in pursuit of the perfect kitchen curtains!

*Levi and Liam go for a ride in our new walking stroller.  This was taken on one of the chillier/rainier days of spring.  We were disappointed to discover that the stroller will not fit into the trunk of our car so we are relegated to walking up and down the gravel road until we find a solution.  My car is looking a bit shabby... <wink, wink>


*Dahlia... Amelia's favorite.
*Lantana... Reminds me of candy.
*Zinnia... Beauty doesn't have to be flashy.
*Double Petunia... Traditional femininity never goes out of style. 


*Zinnia... Bright and spicy.
*Petunia... Purple. THE color of my childhood.
*A view from the deck.  Rosemary, Daffodil leaves, Hydrangea, Peonies, and a couple of ground covers (ignore the chunk of machinery!).  If you look closely you can see indentations in the mulch between the rosemary and hydrangea.  We are not positive who is digging those as we've not seen any critters about.

*A new addition... I found an antique jar lifter (yep, technical terms are always important!) for $1.  It goes perfectly with this slap-dash vignette of antique jars, wreath of teal eggs, and antique cheese box.
*My husband gave me a balloon on Mother's Day.  I'm pretty sure it is the only balloon he has ever given me. 
*An adorable little singing bird that my daughter made for me for Mother's Day in her ceramics class at college. He quickly found his home in an empty spot among some of my treasures.
*Photo Unavailable of my son's Mother's Day gift to me.  He gave me cash to buy my own.  We had a good laugh over that one!

*Amelia and I did some kitchen experimentation with making kale chips.  Our results were unimpressive.  Too salty, too oily, and had the mouth-feel similar to that of a clump of grass. How do I know about the mouth-feel of grass clumps? All you need to know is that I have an older brother.  'Nuff said!
*A huge pot of chili to eat on a cold, rainy spring day.  Leftovers to be served the next day as taco salad when it is too hot too cook. 

Our son and his family moved out and our daughter came home for summer, so in the space of weekend we went from a household of 6 (including 15-month-old twins) to a household of 2 (just us old folks) to a household of 3 (gotta love those college kids).  As if that transition weren't enough, we decided that this is the perfect time to turn our house practically upside down.  The "kids" room, which was formerly a pit of clutter  garage, is being turned into a home gym.  The babies' room is being turned into a guest room.  Our family room downstairs has been emptied (more about that later) and will be the new home of the furniture currently in our upstairs family room.  The upstairs family room is going to become a formal dining room.  Those are just a few of the re-arrangements being made in the house but I am feeling the veins in my neck popping so I'll leave that til another time!

So, yes, Spring has indeed continued to be busy and beautiful.  Just be warned... if you stop by anytime soon you are likely to find any number of craft projects mid-crafted on the kitchen table, a dis-assembled bed in the living room, a stack of new towels that are too fluffy to fit in the cabinet sitting on the couch, dust bunnies tumbling down the steps, and me playing Candy Crush in a feeble attempt to remain sane.  But do stop in anyway.  I might have some work for you to do.

Oh, I almost forgot!!  This is the flower I've waited for a whole year to see... My peonies!  They bloomed!



Thursday, May 9, 2013

Dabbling in Graphics

My daughter-in-law pinned a graphic and said that she would like it for the boys' playroom.  I went to the site to take a closer look.  I wasn't intending to purchase it but noticed that the poster-sized print was no longer available for sale.  So I thought "Hmmmm.  I wonder what I could come up with using PicMonkey." 

About an hour later, this is what I had come up with... 

Not too shabby for a first try!  I would post a link to what inspired me but there isn't a picture of it there anymore.  I'd like to make some more.  Any ideas?