Friday, July 29, 2016

succulents and findings

I stopped by a vintage and art shop that was having a 20% off sale today. One thing I have always loved about this shop is the way the owner uses succulents in an array of vintage containers to decorate her outdoor space. 

Here's some close-ups of what was on the cart shown above...

On the other side of the building...

and some close-ups.

Even a ladle isn't spared.

These plants and containers were for sale. How cool would it be to get these with your house numbers? Though in this area, the plants would only last outdoors through the summer.

My finds at this shop today were a small ironstone pitcher to add to my collection and a McCoy ribbed planter.

I also found a vintage linen piece that fit my nightstand perfectly...

and a Dawn doll! Who remembers these from the early 70's? I loved my Dawn doll with the pink and gold dress. I know I still have her somewhere in my basement, but I haven't been able to find her. In the meantime, I was happy to find this one for only a few dollars. I need to do something with her wild hair though. 

I guess this wasn't exactly a find, but my new Shark vacuum cleaner arrived today. 

I guess it means you're an adult when you get excited over a new vacuum cleaner. ;-)

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

slice of life ~ end of july

Like most of the country, the weather here has been hot and humid. I'm not complaining though, as I'll take this kind of weather any day over one of the harsh winter days that we have. You'd think with the high humidity that we'd have a lot of rain. But no, we're actually at a deficit. The grass is brown and crunchy. We did have a couple of good ol' Midwestern thunderstorms this past week though. I ran outside to get this photo of the sky a few nights ago, right before one of those storms. 

One perennial that thrives in the heat is purple coneflower. These are in my butterfly garden but seems the bees love them the best.

As far as annuals and the heat, these zinnias are in all their glory. I'm not sure what variety they are - they're not tall, but they've really spread in width. I've barely even watered them and they continue to produce these hearty blooms. These will definitely be one of my go-to flowers for next year. 

As I've said before, I don't go into Goodwill often anymore, but I dropped off four more bags of donation items the other day and ran in to look around. I found this crossbody fabric purse by LexiWynn. I Googled the name and found that this is a custom purse where you can pick your style and fabric ~ and this style is $85. I paid $5! This will be a cute purse for fall.

Even the inside is pretty.

I also found two of these vintage Paden City plates. I was immediately drawn to the pattern ~ I think it's so unique. 

Do you know Kimberly at Imagery by Kimberly? {If you don't, you should. :-) } I was one of the winners of one of her beautiful photos when she had a quick contest on Instagram.

Isn't it beautiful? That's one of her little ducklings, Ruthie. She posted this photo on her blog right after the shooting in Orlando, Florida.

I'm keeping the photo on bottom shelf in the main bath.

Yesterday was Brian's birthday. We went out to dinner at one of our favorite Thai places to celebrate. Brian tried pho for the first time and loved it. I tasted the broth and it was incredible: such a depth of flavor with subtle hints of ginger and star anise. The secret to delicious pho is indeed the broth.

When we got home, the birthday boy got his wished-for banana cake for dessert. As we don't eat processed sugar (for the most part), I found a healthy banana bread recipe online that used pure maple syrup, coconut oil, and whole wheat flour. I figured if I made it in a Bundt pan and frosted it, it'd be more like a cake. I also found a recipe for cream cheese frosting that's simply the cream cheese, pure maple syrup and vanilla extract. Turned out that the cake was a little dry. I was really disappointed but hubby said it was pretty good and he's been eating it anyway.

 He's such a good sport.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

on the day that you were born

 ~ July 21, 1988 ~

 the angels got together
and decided to create a dream come true

So, they sprinkled moondust in your hair of gold
and star-light in your eyes of blue

My firstborn son, Phil would've been 28 years old today.
 But, he is "forever 21". And forever loved and missed.

To read more about Phil, please take a look at the Dedication to Phil tab underneath my header.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

celebration time

We had Tim's graduation party on Saturday ~ what a wonderful and exhausting time! We had not thrown a big party in years. You tend to forget how much prep work there is. And how trashed your house is afterwards. I definitely couldn't have done it by myself - hubby helped a lot. All worth it though to gather with family and friends to celebrate a special achievement. I didn't make any fancy displays - that's not my forte - but made one simple one on the buffet in the living room. Clementine wasn't part of the original design plan, but I think she adds just the right je ne sais quoi, non? 

We couldn't have asked for a more perfect day. The sun was shining and the temps were only in the 70's with low humidity. We set up a tent in the back yard with two tables and chairs under it. There was more seating on the patio, so plenty of room for people to sit outside.

Tim (the bearded one!) and some of his friends on the patio.

My sister brought over her corn hole game (others call it "bags") and we set it up on the north side of the house. My cousin's son loved running around in this area and using the slippery boards as a slide. ;-) I love the look of pure joy on his face.

One of Tim's graduation presents from my mom to Tim was his Papa's Longines Swiss watch. Tim was only seven years old when his Papa passed away and he took it very hard. After Papa's death, Tim even had an imaginary friend for awhile named Tommy. (My dad's name was Tom.)

Grandmom and grandson hugs.

So, what next? Tim moves back home at the end of the month and is still looking for a full-time job. It'll be a big adjustment for all of us, but I'm feeling positive.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

hanging up my superwoman cape

I am naturally a high-energy person. A doer. I get a lot accomplished during a day. I'm not stating this to "brag" - it's simply the way I am. However, it does come with its downside. It's hard for me to relax. If I sit down, my mind constantly whirls with what I could be accomplishing. 

I haven't had bad back pain in a long time. But for whatever reason, these past couple of weeks, the back pain has reappeared. It's been especially bad the past few days, to the point where I've only accomplished half of what I usually do. 

{my climbing roses}

We are having our son's graduation party here this weekend and there is a lot to get done beforehand. But, guess what? I'm taking off that darn Superwoman cape because pain trumps all. And I've called a truce. I'm accomplishing what I really need to, and the rest can go by the wayside. I'm moving slower...but at least I'm moving.

{chamomile flowers}

I've tried all my usual tricks for back pain (I have three herniated disks, by the way) ~ lots of stretches and gentle yoga; soaking in epsom salts; taking curcumin supplements for inflammation. I don't take ibuprofen or any NSAIDs unless absolutely necessary. (Do a Google search how dangerous these are if you're not aware.)

{hummingbird hawk-moth on phlox)

The good news is that my next door neighbor is a massage therapist. He's excellent - I've had him work on my back once before when I had a pulled muscle and another time when I had a stiff neck and a headache. He told me he can fit me in later today. Relief is on its way!

{Monkey - he knows how to relax}

And more good news: both hubby and son will be home Friday, so they can help out with all the last-minute stuff. I just might stuff that Superwoman cape in the trash bin.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

the little paris bookshop ~ review

Monsieur Perdu runs a bookstore on a floating barge, using his intuitive feelings to sell "just the right book" to the brokenhearted. But the only person Perdu can't mend is himself, after the love of his life left him with just a letter - which he never opened.

I had high hopes for this book ~ after all, the plot sounds promising and a little romantic. However, the story and writing ended up being so dull and overly-sweet, that I had to slog through the book to make it to the end.

If you're looking for a good story about bookstores, instead I'd recommend 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff; Parnassus on Wheels and The Haunted Bookshop by Christopher Morley; and Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan.

I received The Little Paris Bookshop from Blogging for Books for my honest, personal opinion review.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

summer, unfolding

With the cooler, less humid weather we've been having lately, a lot of our time has been spent outdoors. The patio is the perfect summer spot for morning coffee, sitting and chatting with family and friends, and dinners el fresco. Flowers are lush this time of year, with phlox, lamb's ear and hydrangea now blooming, and purple coneflower, black-eyed susan and joe pye weed all about to burst into bloom. We had a two-day visit with Tim and that was filled with local dining on the river, movies, card games and errands. Hard to believe he'll be moving back home in under four weeks!

Brian painted our front door a cheery yellow and the side panel a crisp white. I did my part by picking out the paint colors, scraping the stray paint off the glass, and doing the touch-up paint work. We're a pretty good team. It's amazing how a little paint can transform a space. The brighter colors go well with the light gray siding and brighten up the entire front of the house. The door and side panel were originally a dark stain. I remember when we first had this door installed and the contractor asked what color I had in mind. I told him I really liked painted doors instead of stained, and that front doors looked best with colors that added a punch of color. He looked at me like I was crazy and said that a dark stain would look best against the light gray siding. I thought that because he was a contractor he knew best, so I let him go ahead and stain the door and side panel. I did like it at first, but eventually I realized it was too dark and formal-looking for our house. Goes to show it's best to trust your gut. Go with what you think is best.

This weekend was also a good time for a relaxing day trip, slow-walking up and down the flower-laden streets, popping into interesting shops, and more outdoor dining. 

Not all was fun and games this weekend though ~ on Sunday, we worked for five hours straight in the basement, cleaning out a huge space and reorganizing the things we kept. We bagged up all the unneeded and unwanted stuff, packed the back seat and trunk of our car to the hilt, drove to the Goodwill donation center, and dropped it all off. Now this cleared-out space is ready for Tim to drag all his stuff home in a few weeks. 

Life is busy ~ and good.