Friday, December 13, 2013


I love the holiday season. And our little cottage, with all its 1928 charm just seems to be perfect for family get-togethers. Problem is, most of our family lives an hour or more away from us, and as they've grown and had families of their own, I've found that I have to share with in-laws too.
After a few years of trying to get the kids to come home for Thanksgiving or Christmas I finally decided to make my own holiday. It would be some time in November, on a weekend and we would combine a bit of Thanksgiving and Christmas. We borrowed the name 'Festivas' from an old Sienfield episode and it turned out to be a perfect solution.

This year we celebrated Festivas on November 30th. Our Alaska kids were too far away to make it and one son had to fly out for work, but we had a few extra kids so the house was full. And loud. We've never been know to be a quiet group.

My son Jake came out a couple of times before the big day to help me decorate. We had Christmas trees with pumpkins under them...

pine boughs with more pumpkins ...

and just a fun mix of fall and winter all around the house.

Dinner was a happy free for all and our generally quiet home was filled with the voices of our much missed family. Lots of food (no pictures since we were too busy eating) fun, and general shennanigans...

Papa Ken spent the week before everyone came making marshmallow blow guns for the grandkids and coming up with a treasure hunt. They had a blast reading the clues and running from place to place and the epic marshmallow fight that followed was the best part of the whole thing. Just look at this wild group...

When the battle was over there were mini marshmallows all over the place. I wasn't worried though. We live in the country and there are always bears, raccoons and other creatures roaming around. I was sure that they would love the sweet feast that was all over the windows, porch and patio. Not so much. Sunday after the kids went home I was out dealing with this sticky aftermath...

Maybe papa Ken and I should have thought that one through a bit better!

We even had a happy announcement to share. Our niece Faith and the love of her life Colin, are expecting their first baby in June. This will be my second great niece/nephew and, since they live less than an hour away, my opportunity to be that quirky, fun favorite Auntie that I've always wanted to be.

For a made up holiday it was a wonderful time. I was happy that Ken's folks got to come out and spend some time. We missed my oldest son Tim and his family and our other son Jack, but we did get to spend time getting to know some new addtions.

Now it's on to Christmas and all the activity that the season brings!

Wishing you a beautiful weekend,

Monday, October 7, 2013

So much for September

I happen to love September. There is something about the month that signals the end to Summer and the start of the Fall season that warms my heart. Yes, I know the days will be shorter. And yes, I know that before long the air will have a chill to it and sweaters and socks will be a necessary part of our wardrobe. Fine with me.

But this year, I completly missed my favorite month. The end of August came with news of a pending surgery for me and a health scare for my Mom. By the time we were into the first weeks of September, days were spent gearing up for a major surgery and waiting to hear if my Mom had cancer. So scary. Turns out that Mom did have lung cancer and, as fate would have it, we both ended up with major surgeries scheduled on the same day.

September 23rd  dawned bright and clear. Mom's surgery was scheduled for 7:30 and mine 10:30. I wanted so bad to be there for her but we were at hospitals 3 hours apart. So it was an early morning call filled with  "it's going to be ok" and "I love you" that we had to settle for. Ken and I kept contact with my sisters while we drove to Eugene and got me checked in and settled. The Universe must have known how much I wanted to know my Mom made it through ok, because my 12:30 operation time was moved to 2:30 making it possible for us to get the good news that Mom was fine before it was my turn to go under.

So, here it is October and my much loved month of September is gone. I had all these amazing plans and grand visions for my recovery. Obviously, I've never had major surgery and didn't take into account that I wouldn't be doing much more than sleeping and healing and being creative wasn't really in the cards for the first few weeks. I admit that I'm not a patient patient. One week out of the hospital and I thought I should be up and around. And I tried. I really did. And then spent two days back in bed recouperating from my little adventure. Lesson learned.

Today marks day 14 of recovery for both my Mom and I. I still haven't been able to see her, but we talk daily and she's making progress. I'll be glad when we get this chapter behind us and can get on with living. I woke up this morning feeling better than I have in a while and that's a wonderful thing. Still not going to go out and turn cartwheels, but starting to see that I might be able to enjoy October a bit before it's gone too. My sweet husband has been the best nurse ever and has me all set up with some crafty things I can do from my corner of the sofa. Hope to have some awesome projects to show you soon.

Looking forward to a wonderful Fall now that I'm getting long overdue things taken care of!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Happy Camper

I admit that I can be like a little kid when I get excited about something. And maybe a little obsessive. Maybe. But something happened a while back that has me in excitement overdrive. My sweet Ken traded labor and got me my very own little camp trailer.

Now, if you follow me on Pinterest you know that this camper thing is something I've wanted for a long time. Since about January, I've searched Craigslist almost daily for a little hide-away on wheels. And I found several that I thought were perfect. That Ken promptly vetoed. He's weird like that. While I'm thinking of how cute I could make it and how good the after photos are going to look on Pinterest, Ken is busy checking out the tires, looking for roof leaks and dry rot and just generally raining on my parade with all his grown up, responsible behavior. Makes me crazy. It got to a point where I was sure we would never find a camper that I loved that would meet all his requirements. And did I mention that he wanted a "good tires, a title, no leaks, all systems working, no dry rot" camper for $500 or less? Yeah... mission impossible.

I came home one day and Ken said he sent me a link to a camper he was looking at. I have to admit that I was fed up and wasn't even going to start to care about a camper again.  Why get excited when it's not ever going to happen? And when I pulled up the photos I was less than thrilled. A 1986 Kit was no where close to a late 50's early 60's Shasta or Ideal. (I swear sometimes he doesn't get me at all.) But, I begrudgingly agreed to go look at it. Yes, I had a bad attitude. I just knew what I wanted and I was sure this camper wasn't it. Only (damn if he wasn't right) it was. It had everything he insisted on at a price he wanted. And I had it "Wren-O-vated" and decorated within minutes of stepping through the door. Really, it was too good to be true. We kept looking for something major to be wrong. Even after we got it home and could really dig in and look things over, there were only a few minor fixes. I'm still amazed.

When I first started on our camper project, I knew I had to be fair and make it our camper and not just mine. What does that mean exactly? Well, in my marriage, it means that I can't "girl it up". And I've tried really hard to stick with that plan. I mean REALLY hard. I started with the bathroom and the road map wall treatment...

Not too girly right? Bold colors, travel theme, a little red and gray to set it all off. I was still on track when I covered the headboards and painted the cupboard accents.

Again, a nice gray with a touch of red and some manly silver uphostry tacks for good measure.

But then, as fate and a lunch hour trip to Goodwill would have it, I found THE fabric. You know, that piece of yardgoods that makes your heart sing and throws your mind into overdrive decorating an entire room with things that co-ordinate beautifully with THE fabric.

(Really, I would hate to think that I'm the only one with a mind that works that way.) And the thing that made this fabric even more amazing? $3.99 for about 6 yards. No lie.

Soooo....the decor plan for the little camper has adjusted slightly. The gray is still perfect (just happens to be the same gray in my new fabric) and the turquoisy (yes I know that's not a real word) blue accent color that I love still works too, but the vibrant orange that I thought I was going to use has been replaced with buttery yellow.

It makes sense really, if you think about it. The whole idea behind our little "Ollie" is to have a retreat on wheels where we can Olvadarse del Mundo. Just grab some clothes and food on a moments notice and take off to forget the world for a few days. Seems to me  that it would be much easier to do that surrounded by soft shades of gray with a nice buttery yellow. And a few nice accent pillows here and there. For comfort, of course.

The other day Ken caught me trying to sneak out of the house undetected.
"What have you got there?"
"Looks like something to me..."
"Nope," I said as I tried to tuck a bit of lace out of view, "it's nothing."
"Better not be lace!" he said.
Lace? Really? What?! Like the perfect lace for the bedroom windows  that would set off the perfect buttery yellow and gray of the perfect fabric I found?! Don't be silly...that would be "girling it up" and we both know that's not allowed!

Friday, July 5, 2013

My Haven...

Websters defines a "Haven" as a place of safety or refuge; an inlet providing shelter for ships or boats, a harbor. That's exactly what Rosehaven is to me.

Monday through Friday I drive 16 miles West to work my 8-5 job. It's a beautiful drive, one that I've made for 12 years now and one that, because it is so beautiful, I don't mind a bit. It takes me about 20 minutes, and in that time I can gear my mind up for the day ahead. The drive home is the same distance, but since I'm returning home, it's one I enjoy much more.

The peaceful Siuslaw River runs along my entire route. It winds on my right side as I head home and there are several scenic views and often a Crane or Kingfisher looking for food. The River is a calming presence and by the time I turn to cross the tracks and head up Rice Road, I can feel the peace of my Haven start to settle in.

Rice Road is very definitely an inlet. The first bend in the road offers a seasonal waterfall tucked in all the green, and in the spring the wild foxglove offers a beautiful accent.

Looking further up the road you can almost feel the pull of a safe harbor ahead....

Our home sits at the bottom of a hill after 2 dead end signs. You pull into the drive and have to walk around the side of the garage and down the path to the side door.

 Warm and cozy and tucked in behind the garage is my home, my haven. My Rosehaven...

I'm so happy for Friday's when I know I have two full days in my safe harbor. Someday soon I hope to be able to be here writing full time and petting my little dogs. But for now, every evening, I return to my Haven to recharge for the next day knowing that it won't be long before Friday comes along again and I've got two glorious days in a place that makes me incredibly happy.

Wishing you all a beautiful weekend ahead,

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day Memories

Dad and JoLee 1983
Fathers Day is bittersweet for me. It was 11 years ago on Father's Day that I got the news that would change our lives forever. My sister called to say that Dad, at the age of 59 had had a heart attack. In our family, when crisis strikes, we generally don't fall apart, we kick into action. "Is he at the hospital?" I asked, "I'll be there in a few hours." "No" my sister said. "Did they fly him to Bend?" "No" she said. "Where is he then?" I demanded. In a voice choked with grief and despair, she told me he was gone.

I have to say, I've never in my life felt anything like that. Like all the air had gone out of the room. My legs suddenly wouldn't hold me. I remember telling my sister thatI loved her and I would get in the car and be there in 6 hours. At that moment, 6 hours seemed like a lifetime. I remember my husband taking me in his arms and telling me to breathe. There are snippets of memory with him telling me to pack while he went to fill my car with gas, me driving out of the drive alone and then bits and pieces of a trip that I know I made, but really have no idea how I did it.

Nothing in the world prepares you for the death of a loved one.  We all gathered at my Mom's house in John Day in shock and disbelief. I expected to bury my parents when they were in their late 90's after a long and full life not at an age that's only a little older than I am now. Our family came together and came through it, but the memory of that day, of that phone call, will never go away. 

But here's the thing; even though that was probably one of the hardest events I've faced in my adult life, as the years have gone by, there were several details about that day that, when  you look at them a little differently, turn out to be blessings.

When I got up on that fateful Father's Day, my husband asked me if I had called my Dads yet. "I'll do it in a bit." I said. I can't even tell you what was so important at that moment that I couldn't stop and just call my Fathers to tell them I loved them. Ken bugged me about it all morning until I finally picked up the phone and called.

I had a great conversation with Dad about the card I had sent and he said I just caught him. He was heading out the door to go hiking Dixie Mountain with my sister. He was happy, full of life, and I was able to wish him a happy Father's Day and tell him I loved him. Our relationship hadn't always been easy, but the month before, he and Mom had come to share in our wedding day and I had enjoyed him throughly. I'm so glad we had that time together with happy photos to boot. Had I waited to call, that conversation never would have happened.

A few short hours later, as he hiked the mountain laughing and joking and teasing my sister as he out-hiked her, he was hit with a massive heart attack and died instantly. My sweet baby sister and her husband were there and flew into action. I know that they did everything they could to try to save his life and it breaks my heart to think that she thinks she could have done more. She couldn't have. It was his time to go and these are the blessings that I've found in that: he left this world doing something he loved in a beautiful place with a daughter he loved by his side, and he did it without suffering. My mom and sisters and I went out to the spot where he passed a few years later. It's a breathtaking area with views that stretch for miles and the perfect place to walk from this life into the next. 

This Father's Day, instead of focusing on the sad events of a Father's Day 11 years ago, I've decided to think of all the good things. All the camping trips, Duck, Duck Goose in the snow, epic games of Aggravation and playing with his electric train to name a few. He was a proud Marine who taught us as children that if we wanted to go with him we better kick it into high gear and keep up. He was the local butcher who didn't know a stranger and was loved by many in the community. He was a grandfather that took great pride in his grandchildren and loved each and everyone as they came along. He was also a good Dad and I for one know that his four children are better people because of the lessons he taught us. We all miss him, not just on Father's Day, but every day. 

This Father's Day, I honor both my Fathers and the love that they have shown their children. I feel blessed to be a child with two fathers in my life who love me. If there was a lesson to be learned on that sad day, it was this: nothing is more important than telling those you love that you love them. Take that opportunity as often as you can and never assume you can just do it "later".

Enjoying happy memories on this beautiful Father's Day,

Sunday, June 2, 2013

May Flowers

It's true what they say; "April showers bring May flowers." We certainly had our share of showers in both April and May and my flowers are really enjoying the extra moisture. Now some nice warm sun to help the seeds germinate and grow would be awesome.

The hops seem to love the wire trellis that Ken put up for me a few months back. On my way out the door to work the other morning, it reached out and snagged a bit of my hair making me stop short, admire his beautiful bright green leaves and tuck the few wayward tendrils softly back behind the wire so they could continue their upward climb.

The two window baskets that I hung last year finally got planted and I'm looking forward to watching them fill in and cascade over the edges. Orange flowers are catching my eye this year and I love the mix of color and texture that I've got going. I can see the planters from my kitchen window and they're right on the path to the house so I have plenty of opportunity to enjoy them.

Last year I planted several packets of Zinnia seeds and waited patiently for them to come up. Nothing. Did the same thing this year and so far no success. I mentioned to my husband that my grandmother grew them like weeds in her garden yet I can't get a single seed to sprout. Leave it to a non-gardner to point out that grandma's yard was filled with sun and John Day has a much warmer climate than my gardens here at Rosehaven. Mystery solved. So, in order to have a few of the Zinnia's that my grandma loved I end up buying them potted and blooming and tuck them in my beds. More than one way to grow a Zinnia!

I'm sure that our wet April and May are going to make way for a beautiful June.

Hope all is well in your world,

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

1944 was a Good Year

69 years ago today, a sweet brown eyed baby girl was born. She was a tiny little thing. So tiny in fact, that she fit snugly in the palm of her father's hand; head resting on his callused fingertips and little rear-end nestled in his palm. By all accounts, she shouldn't have survived. Medicine in 1944 wasn't anything like it is now and babies that small seldom survived. And the fact that she not only survived but thrived, was a testament to the woman she would become.

Seems that her rough start in life has served her well and being a survivor runs deep in her soul. When life has been a trial, she has faced each hardship with dogged determination and held it all together for those around her when I'm sure she would have liked to have fallen apart herself. Never one to take center stage, she's the one working quietly in the background; the glue that keeps it all together with grace, a sliced ham and a big pan of funeral potatoes.

In her 69 years she has comforted those in need, sat with loved ones as they have taken their last breath and offered a laugh and a "buck up" when things seem to be a little too much to take. She's raised four children (who at times might not have been the easiest to love) into four kind, hardworking adults each with a sense of humor and the same "get in and get it done" attitude that was instilled in her. And those four have in turn, raised a pile of kids with much the same attributes.

Not only is she my Mom, but she's my friend and an amazing woman. She makes me laugh at her made up words and phone conversations with her leave me wanting to write a book of "Things my Mother Said" just so others can laugh like I do.

Today, on the day of her birth, I just want her to know how much I love her and how loved she is by all of her children and grandchildren. And I want to thank her for teaching all of us how to face adversity with faith and keep on keeping on.

Happy Birthday Mom. I love you very much and I'm looking forward to our adventures together in the years to come.

Your Daughter

Anniversary Camping

Our 11th anniversary was this weekend. In some ways it seems like we just married and in others, it's like there was never a life without my husband/friend in it.

Over the years, we've relaxed into that comfortable old pair of jeans feeling with each other. We have our routines and, for the most part, we work like a well oiled machine. My husband is a creature of habit and likes life this way. Same things at the same time in the same way. I'm a little different. I do like my routines, but I'm generally up for an adventure. And, as I get older, I feel an urgency to do things now rather than later. Ken is a planner and likes to think things through. I'm ready to throw some gas in the car, grab a bag and go.

When we first got together, Ken's children were young and we spent many of our weekends camping and exploring. But over the years, life got busy, kids grew up and camping trips became few and far between. We talked about it now and then, but had gotten into a bit of a rut and the thought of hauling everything out and loading up seemed like too much of a chore. So we stayed home.

That is until this weekend when my sweet husband took me on an adventure to the prettiest little campground between Waldport and Alsea.

Our tent site.
Blackberry Campground was amazing. Clean, green and with a river running through it, it was the perfect place to jump back into our camping adventures.

Our home for the night was a dome tent that we had bought several years ago. Just the right size for Ken and I and the two Schnauzers. Add an air mattress and a pile of sleeping bags and it was a cozy retreat.

The best part of any camping trip is the campfire and we very much enjoyed sitting around it and just talking. And the camp coffee and bacon and eggs in the morning were amazing. (Thank you husband!)

It was the perfect way to celebrate our 11th year of marriage. No TV or computer to keep us from visiting with each other. Just a beautiful setting, quiet walks with the dogs, card games and conversation. There is something to be said for simple joys. Looking forward to another year of them with my much loved husband.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Color Me Happy...

I've always thought of our home as my haven. A place to unwind, rewind and just be at peace. Over the years I've added a few things  to make it even more of a happy place. A rose here and there, some sweet bush, flowering Spring bulbs. This year, I've found myself adding splashes of one of my favorite colors on many things. I love the way it compliments all my beautiful flowers.

The little bench that Ken built me looks so sweet with its coat of bright turquoise paint all tucked in next to the blossoming Weigilia...

See that big pot tucked in behind the bench? I painted it a great shade of bright green and now it's just waiting to be filled. I'm thinking something with a touch of orange. Has to be a shade plant of some sort since it's tucked behind the bench and under the blueberry shrubs, so I'm still looking. Any suggestions?

The roses that I planted on each side of the front porch are blooming like crazy and this year are even bigger than in years past...

Makes sitting on the front porch on a warm evening an especially fragrant  event.

On Mother's Day, I woke up and glanced out our french door to see what the weather was doing. I'm practically blind, but even without my glasses, I could see the bright blue of my new chairs...

Talk about a squeal of delight when I looked out and found not one, but 4 of the vivid turquoise chairs that I had wanted so badly. My sweet husband had snuck them home, hidden them in the garage for a few days and then got up at day break (in stealth mode I'm sure though I'm not sure how with 2 noisy little dogs on his heels) to set them around the fire pit so they would be the first thing that I saw when I woke up in the morning. Have I mentioned how much I truly love that boy?

All these bright punches of my favorite color make me smile. Funny how something as simple as a color can do that. How about you? What are you adding to your garden this year?

Wishing you bright happy colors this lovely May morning,

Monday, May 20, 2013

Where did April Go???

I have this goal of posting at least 5 blog posts a month. Boy, did I fail miserably in April. And not doing so hot for May either. I got so caught up in working in the yard, a couple of landmark birthdays (my 50th and my daughters 30th) and just day to day life things, that April flew by without a single post.

So, in an effort to make sure I don't do that again, unless I have a VERY good reason, I've spent some time cleaning (ok, finding) my bedroom desk and setting up my laptop so I have no reason to be a blog slacker. It's funny how I can have an amazing little studio upstairs yet at times feel like it's too far to go just to blog. I think this little desk in the corner of my bedroom, overlooking the west side of our house is going to be just perfect. Not so far away that I feel like I'm completely removed from my much loved husband, but far enough away that the screaming engines of the NASCAR race won't disturb my flow.

I found this little writing desk a few years ago when I decided to downsize and move my business into another one. I went from a storefront of my own to a very small space. I wanted to keep the feel of The Wren's Nest and still be able to operate and take care of paperwork. Since there wasn't a backroom to hide my paper piles, this desk was perfect. Small enough for a corner but with a front that folded down to provide room for my laptop and a place to hide all the tablets, pens, envelopes and other things that a good desk should be stocked with.

When I bought it, it was painted white. I, of course, had to paint it black. I'm think I'm finally getting over my "black phase" where everything I brought home got a coat of black. I thought Ken was going to fall over in a dead faint when I said "You know, I think I'll paint that bench turquoise..."

So, back to blogging. I've got so many things to share. Spring is in full force here, the flowers are blooming beautifully, and there are summer adventures in the works. Can't wait to tell you all about it.

And can I just say.....I've missed you! Hoping all is well in your world,

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Ribbon Tutus

I love ribbon. All kinds of ribbon. When it comes to ribbon, I have no control. Which was a bit of a problem when I owned a flower shop and had a couple of trucks that would come by on a regular basis bringing beautiful ribbons right to my front door. How could I resist such temptation? I didn't. Needless to say, when I closed the shop, I ended up with spools and spools of ribbon in all colors.

So what do you do with tons of ribbon? Well, you make ribbon tutus of course!

What you'll need:

Assorted Ribbons (mine were 1.5" wide)
Elastic headband from the Dollar store

I had 4 little girls in mind when I started my project, so I gathered and assortment of pinks, lavenders and beautiful mermaid aqua/blue.

Using 5 rolls of co-ordinating ribbon for my mermaid tutu, I cut between 12 and 15 26" (approx.) strips of each color. This is one of those projects that you don't have to do just perfect. After I cut all my ribbon, I took one of the elastic headbands, stretched it over the back of my kitchen chair and started tying the ribbon strips to the band. Really, it's that easy. Center the strip on the headband and tie it in a knot. I just kept tying the ribbons all around the headband until the tutu was nice and full.

After I got all my ribbons tied on, I cut the ends in a pretty "V". And that's it. Super easy. And super cute. I can't wait to see what the little girls think of them!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Daffodil Drive

I'm pretty sure that I've mentioned in the past that the daffodil is probably my most favorite flower. Just something so happy about their bright yellow faces in the spring garden. So, can you imagine how excited I was when I heard that there was an entire festival dedicated to this little flower and that, for once, I was actually not working the 3rd weekend in March and could take it in? Pretty much beside myself with joy.

I called my son Jake and asked him if he wanted to go to a flea market with me. Ok, I admit that I might have fibbed a bit to get him to go. If I had said "Flower Festival" I'm sure he would have been busy that weekend. But flea market was do-able for him. So we headed to Junction City bright and early Saturday morning. By the time Jake saw the Daffodil Festival sign, we had already driven quite a way and it would have been foolish to turn around and go back. It was a little touch and go there for a moment and I was afraid he was going to turn the car around and go home, but he calmed down and gave in. I suppose I should have felt bad for deceiving him and his friend Cora just to get someone to go with me. But I don't. He says I scammed him. Seems to me that scammed is a little harsh. Creative coercing maybe. Hey, a Mom's gotta do what a Mom's gotta do.

It was a beautiful drive out to Long Tom Grange. The trees and Spring flowers were in full bloom in the city proper...

...and all along the way there were beautiful waves of this lovely flower...


The Grange was situated in a beautiful little valley. Even the parking lot (well field actually) had a view of its own...

There were daffodils everywhere, happy people taking it all in, and all of the things that you would expect from a festival in the country...


There was even big daffodil mural that you could poke your face through for a photo-op. I really thought I could talk Jake into getting a picture with me, but no. And since he was driving, had the keys to the car and could run faster than me, I decided I had better not push it.

We wandered through the booths of fudge, woodworking, baked goods and hand-crafts and then came across this....

...just one of the most creative and beautifully arranged displays that I've seen in a long time. My picture doesn't even come close to doing it justice. It was like eye candy. Jan Bergquist of Kopper Krush not only has a flair for display, but her hand-forged metal art jewelry was amazing. Each one a work of wearable art. I LOVED everything in her booth and I would have loved to have bought several of her pieces, but settled on a pair of pretty little copper flower earrings. I love the rich warm tone of the copper mixed with the silver. And they make a pretty little sound when I move. They're happy reminder of a wonderful day spent with the flowers I love, the most patient son ever and his forgiving friend Cora and her little girl Teagyn.

In my world, it was a perfect way to spend a spring day!

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