Thursday, September 27, 2018

decorating my home with fall artwork

As much as I love summer and was hanging on to every last bit, I finally had to admit that fall was truly here. The days are now cool, leaves are changing color and falling to the ground, and we've had to put another blanket on our bed to keep warm at night. I'm actually wearing socks most of the time now, too. You see, I love being barefoot. I am not a sock or shoe person. If I'm wearing socks, that means my feet are cold. 

As I do near the end of every September, I dragged my big plastic storage bin of fall decor upstairs from the basement and started putting some fall touches in my home.

As a member of the Wayfair Homemaker program, I have been compensated for this post. All ideas and opinions are completely my own.

One thing I've never had in my fall decor stash is artwork. I decided to change that up this year. I wanted something with muted colors that would look good in my living room or bedroom. After looking through the terrific variety of artwork from Wayfair, I chose this metallic forest print. I love the colors in this print and the dreamy look of the trees. I propped the artwork up on the buffet against the vintage window and then created a simple vignette.

 In the morning when the sun comes in through the beveled glass in my front door, the beams dance all over the artwork.

Another thing I really liked about the quality of this canvas artwork is that the print wraps around the sides.

As much as I liked this artwork in the living room, I decided to play around and try the print in my bedroom. I already had the two gray circles (from Hobby Lobby) above the bed - with nothing in the middle! I had tried a couple of things in the middle of the circles and they just didn't work out. I knew something would eventually come along.

It's easy to change out artwork when you use Command Strips instead of putting nail holes in your walls. With this size print (24" x 24"), I can use it in the living room, bedroom, or hallway.

So now I'm liking this artwork both in my living room and bedroom! It was hard to make a decision, but I'm going to keep it in the bedroom since I really needed something on the wall between the two gray circles. I can easily change up the buffet in the living room with other decor.

Do you use fall artwork in your home?

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

nine years today

(Philip, Brian, Tim ~ around 2003)

Nine years ago today, our "normal" family life as four came to a tragic, abrupt end with the passing of our firstborn son, Philip. As I say every year, there is more about Phil and his story on the Dedication to Phil tab underneath my blog header, if you're so inclined to read it. I've also done some posts about him, if you type in "Phil" in the search box on the right-hand side of my blog.
"I am not without hope, and I know I will see him again someday. But who knows when that day will come, so I've had to learn a lot about grief in these years - or at least learn a lot about how I grieve. I've learned that you don't get to practice how you'll handle something like this....
I've learned that life can be fun again, and I can laugh and enjoy it. At the same time, grief is like a giant block of granite: The sharp edges may have softened with the passing years, but it remains as hard and as heavy as it was the day it first crashed into my life. But I've discovered that sorrow has its own beauty. It brings depth and context to all the blessings in my life."
(Matthew Wahlberg, "What 9 Years Since my Son's Death Have Taught" - Chicago Tribune, Sept 27, 2015)

Friday, September 21, 2018

on this last day of summer

The end of summer always makes me a little sad. I love the long sun-filled days and the warm temps. (Admittedly, not when it's in the 90's or when the humidity leaves you unable to breathe.) I love the lushness of the trees and abundance of colorful flowers. I love being able to run outside by just slipping on a pair of shoes (or sometimes not). I love being barefoot most of the time. I love the smell of freshly mown grass and the wafting scent in the air of neighbors grilling dinner. I love hanging out on the patio in the evenings, sipping a glass of wine. Can you tell summer is my favorite season?

I've already been dumping pots of withered annuals and washing out the pots and storing them back in the garage until next spring. The only annuals still thriving are the ones on my front porch.

The summer perennials are drying up, too...

Here, the purple coneflower is done showing off and the sedum is taking over.

The morning light coming in through the front door is now muted and casts beautiful shadows. (Oh, and I guess that's a sneak peek at my new Wayfair painting. A post will be coming next week about that.)


No surprise, but I haven't dug out my box of fall decor yet. I have put up a few pieces of fall artwork and today when I was at Trader Joe's, I picked up some small white pumpkins, but that's all I've done as far as fall decorating. I'm in no hurry.

It was 90 degrees here yesterday and this afternoon, it was only in the 60's! Tonight, it's actually going down to 44 degrees. I said to Brian that we could be going from air-conditioning to turning on the furnace in 24 hours. He said, "Welcome to Chicago."

In all seriousness, I am not turning on the furnace. I will put on a hoodie and a pair of socks tomorrow morning if I have to. 

So long, beautiful summer. Until next year....


Monday, September 17, 2018

a weekend full of love

This past Friday night, I had the honor of being part of the women's circle at My First Best Friend's beautiful home. We met when we were three years old and lived across the street from each other. We drifted apart during our late teens - mid 30's because our lives took such different turns - but now that we're reconnected, it seems like we were never apart. Funny how life does that.

The women in this group are some of the most kind, loving, compassionate, beautiful, supportive, intelligent, and amazing human beings that I have ever known. As they say, these women are "my tribe". Our dinners are healthy and mostly vegan, centering around bowls of homemade soup, salads, veggies, fresh fruit, dark chocolate for dessert, and wine. We sit around the table for almost two hours, eating, talking, and laughing - though most times, there's some tears, too.

And then Saturday was mine and Brian's 34th wedding anniversary! We chose to spend the day in a quiet, simple way ~ in our favorite town, walking around to visit our usual choice places...the bakery where they make from-scratch breads and pastries (we love their scones!); a vintage shop; the farmer's market; and an independent bookstore. This sign was outside a florist and plant shop. 

For true relaxation, we then headed to our Happy Place on the lakefront (Lake Michigan) where we spread a blanket underneath a huge oak tree and laid in the dappled sunshine for almost two hours, kind of napping on and off. It's hard to believe while our area is having such beautiful weather (mid-80's, low humidity, brilliant sunshine), that the east coast is being hit with a hurricane.

 It felt so good with the filtered sun, the cool lake breeze, and the sound of the waves hitting the rocks in the background, that we didn't want to leave. But we finally got hungry and had over an hour's drive home. We stopped at the little pizza place that we used to frequent when we were dating. Brian told me he used to go to this place when he was a kid - it's been in business 50 years! 

Me and my honey...I hope we are blessed with another 34 years together. đŸ’“

~ There is only one happiness in this life; to love and be loved. ~
(George Sand)

Thursday, September 6, 2018

time flies ~ a lot of little things

It's been awhile since I've posted. Nothing is wrong; just things in life that are taking up a lot of my time lately, where it's hard to find time to sit down and write a blog post. Then I was having phone and computer problems. Long story short, I use OneDrive for my photos and my photos from my phone weren't syncing to my laptop. I obviously need my photos for a blog post. I spent many hours Googling the problem and trying to fix it. Which I think I finally did late last night. However, when I went into my photos in OneDrive today, I found that I couldn't edit them. But all the photos also went into Dropbox and I could edit them there. Sometimes technology can drive one nuts!

Here in the US, last weekend was Labor Day weekend, which signifies the end of summer - though technically, we still have two-and-a-half more weeks to go. I went to a friend's BBQ on Saturday, though we were all crammed into her small house because of the rain. And on Sunday, I went to another friend's house and we were only able to sit outside for a little while (though it was so hot and humid, we were drenched in sweat) until more rain came. Monday, of course - more rain. In fact, the storms were so severe here that we had a tornado warning. I didn't even know there was a warning - I never heard the sirens go off, nor did the weather alert alarm go off on my phone. It wasn't until my mother called me and asked if I was in the basement, that I found out about the warning! It was a short-lived tornado warning this time - the storm passed us quickly with no damage. Driving past houses and cornfields this week, there's standing water all over the place. The Canada geese are having a ball, splashing around in the "ponds" in some of the now-empty cornfields. We only had a couple of light sprinkles today and it looks like dry weather is finally in the forecast for the next week, though much cooler. Fall is on its way, though I'm still in summer mode.

I had a very unpleasant experience with TJ Maxx yesterday....I will start out by saying that I normally like shopping there because of their decent prices and the ability to find women's clothes that aren't the cookie cutter ones from department stores. Last week, I had picked up a few tops and a lightweight zip-up cardigan. I don't try clothes on in the store, so I brought the clothing home, tried them on, and found the cardigan and one top fit. The other two tops needed to go back. I washed the cardigan and the top that fit on the gentle cycle and in cold water. Then I hung both to dry instead of putting them in the dryer so that they wouldn't shrink. I noticed after the top dried, it looked smaller. So I tried it on again, and sure enough, it was very tight. I was angry and disappointed, as I followed the label instructions for washing and drying. Of course, I didn't have the store tags anymore, since I thought I was keeping this shirt. 

I returned to the same TJ Maxx store to return the tops that didn't fit, plus the one that shrunk. I explained to the clerk what happened to the shrunk shirt and why I wanted my money back. She automatically said that because I washed it, I wasn't allowed to return it - period. That the store return policy was even posted on the front door. I could feel myself getting angry, but I remained calm and firmly stated again that I didn't even wear this shirt. That it was not my fault that the shirt shrunk when I followed the exact washing and drying instructions that were on the care label. And this was not a cheap shirt: it was a Michael Kors. At this point a store manager walked over and reiterated what the clerk had said, but that she'd "make an exception this one time." I said to the manager, "I'll even take a store credit instead of you crediting this back to my debit card." While this store manager was talking to me, she never made eye contact with me and the expression on her face was one of annoyance. I was polite enough to thank her. The clerk then said, "I guess it's your lucky day." I bit my tongue but I wanted to say, "Excuse me? Your store is selling defective merchandise; you don't want to accommodate a customer; and you're saying it's my lucky day because a manger 'made an exception' to your awful store rules?!" 

I have returned clothes to Kohls and Burlington where I found problems with them after they were washed and tagless with no problems at either store. No fuss, no hassle. Instead, an apology and my money back. Guess who has lost a clothing customer?!

On to more positive things...

I won a giveaway from Linda at Itsy Bits and Pieces

I love this huge ball of blue and white vintage twine...I think it'd look great under a cloche. And then Linda also included a bag full of all kinds of vintage pieces, bottle caps, Bingo cards, children's flash cards, a hankie with the original Woolworth's tag still on it, a spool of thread, etc. If you're not familiar with Linda's blog, head over and take a look. Her decorating is beautiful; she does some really creative projects and makeovers; and she always comes up with amazing thrift shop finds.

Hope you all have a great weekend!