Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Quick Tip Tuesday: Easy/Cheap Chalk Paint Fix

For a while now I've been a little tired of my decor. I went through a period where I painted everything black. And for several years I've loved the look of the black against all the other rich colors that I've added to our home. But suddenly it all seemed a bit heavy to me.  After getting rid of a few pieces that I just didn't love anymore, I decided to do some rearranging and updating.

I bought this great dresser a few years back at my local Thrift for $35. I loved all the drawers and how it had kind of a Pottery Barn feel to it. It was a little rough when I got it, but after some sanding and a few nice coats of beautiful black, it became a focal piece in our living room. 

Thanks to Pinterest, I've suddenly become taken with that warm, mustardy tone of yellow. I started out just painting my doors in the happy shade. But when I looked at my black dresser one morning, I decided that my left over door paint was the perfect color for a makeover.

I'm not ashamed to say that I'm a lazy painter. I love the look of the finished product, but any shortcut I can take to get there and I'm all over it. Enter chalk paint. It's been the hot thing in the blog world for a while now. And it's expensive. And, though all the reviews I've read tell me that the name brand redi-mix chalk paint is amazing, there was just no way I could justify spending that amount on a small quart of paint. But, again thanks to Pinterest, I found the formula to make my own magic mix. The best part is that you can use any latex paint you have (or check out the mis-match paint at your local paint store for another cheap alternative) a small amount of Plaster of Paris and some water. That's it. Three ingredients.

The Magic Formula:

1/2 cup Plaster of Paris
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cups latex paint

In a small container, mix the water and the Plaster of Paris powder until well blended. Add the paint and mix well again. I keep my paint in an old coffee can with a tight fitting lid so that I can cover it between coats. What's so amazing about this paint? Virtually no prep work. Oh yeah. Right up my alley. The only thing I do on most pieces is to give it a quick wipe down to get rid of any dust. Early Sunday morning I hefted the dresser out in the yard, mixed my bucket of paint and started slopping it on. That's another great thing about this mix. You don't have to be too careful about how you apply it.

The first coat generally looks awful and I always wonder if I've made a mistake and shouldn't have started. By the second coat, I'm generally in love with how things are looking. This dresser took three coats to cover but that was only because I was using a much lighter color to cover black. But by the time the third coat dried I was doing a happy dance and totally in love with the velvety yellow color.

When the paint was good and dry, I went over it all lightly with a fine grade sandpaper, wiped it down with a dry cloth and then applied three coats of good old Johnson's Floor Wax. I like the velvety feel of the wax finish. 

The picture just doesn't do it justice. Tried as I might I couldn't get the light right in the photo. But the color is warm and so perfect for fall. And it was so easy to do. So go find a beat up piece of furniture and give this easy fix a try. Before you know it you'll be walking around looking at your things and thinking "wow, that would look awesome with a coat of chalk paint!"

Sunday, September 28, 2014

A Bittersweet Trip

My Uncle George passed away last week. George was my fathers brother and the little boy that you see in the photo at the top of my blog sitting on my grandmothers lap.  He was quite a character, my Uncle. All of the Smith men are. He loved to tease, tell a good story and drink a good cold beer. 

Several years ago, my Uncle and his family moved to Idaho. From the very beginning, Uncle George would tell us how Challis was God's Country. I knew it was beautiful, but this trip I saw it through George's eyes...

The Salmon River
The Sawtooth Mountains
...breath taking beauty.

My Mom and I left Oregon for the 7 hour drive early Friday morning. One of the perks of traveling with my Mom is that we get to catch up on all our visiting. Though we talk daily, our trips are a time to talk about old memories and family history. And I love to take her to beautiful areas that she's never seen before. The road to my Uncle's home went through country that I hadn't seen for years and the memory of family adventures in that area warmed my heart as we traveled through.

We arrived in Challis late afternoon and then gathered with family that evening. It was a time to catch up with cousins that I hadn't seen for years and to get to meet all the new family that had come along since we had last been together. I forgot how much time had passed until I saw Jeff and Laura's children all grown with children of their own. 13 grandchildren in all with one on the way. I looked around and saw Jeff's son Josh, just a little boy last time I saw him, with his beautiful wife and daughter and another daughter on the way. My cousin Sheila came with her family and I was happy to finally get to meet her husband Wayne and see her sons Billy and Nathan again. It had really just been way too long.

We gathered at my Aunt's house on Saturday before the service and I was happy to get to connect with my brother Steve and his sweet daughter Lily and sister Michelle and spend some time with my Dad and Charol.

My Uncle was a very proud Marine and the American Legion conducted the military part of the service...

Photo by Melody Smith
There is just something about the 21 gun salute, the flag ceremony and the playing of taps that touches me on a soul level. My stepmother Charol mentioned that when you knew the words, it was even more heart wrenching. I hate to admit that, at 51 years of age, I had no idea that there were words to taps and not just the tune. Charol was right. When I think of all of the men and women who have served our country and been laid to rest with this haunting melody played, the sorrow is almost unbearable...

Day is done,
gone the sun,
From the hills,
from the lake,
From the skies.
All is well,
safely rest,
God is nigh.

Go to sleep,
peaceful sleep,
May the soldier
or sailor,
God keep.
On the land
or the deep,
Safe in sleep.

Love, good night,
Must thou go,
When the day,
And the night
Need thee so?
All is well.
Speedeth all
To their rest.

Fades the light;
And afar
Goeth day,
And the stars
Shineth bright,
Fare thee well;
Day has gone,
Night is on.

Thanks and praise,
For our days,
'Neath the sun,
Neath the stars,
'Neath the sky,
As we go,
This we know,
God is nigh.

That evening we gathered at the home that my Aunt and Uncle had shared for so many years. As we sat on the porch in the warm September evening, you couldn't help but feel that Uncle George was there in spirit enjoying all the teasing and story telling and a few good beers. It reminded me of similar gatherings on my grandmother's porch in John Day. If there is one thing that we Smiths do and do well, it's porch-sitting and visiting. I think we get so busy that we forget how comforting something so simple can be. I was sorry that I was there to say goodbye to an Uncle I loved, but on the other hand I felt so blessed that I was able to spend time with a side of my family that I'm seldom able to see.

They scattered George's ashes on the hill over looking the area that he loved so much...

Photo by Melody Smith
In my mind's eye I could see him restored and in the prime of his life looking over his shoulder with that smile of his, his heart filled with love for the family that mourned his loss. And then I saw him turn and head over the hill with eager anticipation of being reunited with all our loved ones that have gone before.

I can't begin to imagine how hard it will be for my Aunt Sharon, facing life without her love of over 50 years. She's blessed to have two children that love her deeply and several wonderful grandchildren to comfort her as she goes into this next chapter of her life. One thing I know without a doubt; somewhere out there is a group of Smiths, sitting on a beautiful porch welcoming home the grandson/son/father/grandfather that they had missed for so long. And there is comfort in that.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Quick Tip Tuesday ~ Clean it FAST

I admit it. I love a nice clean house, but I hate cleaning. I guess hate is a strong word, but when it comes time to cleaning house I bet I could find a million other things that I would rather do. I'll start out strong and determined, run a sink of soapy water to scrub down the kitchen and then look out the window and see something that I need to do "really quick". Two hours later when I come back in the house, the kitchen is still a mess and the sink of water is cold. Or I'll go in to scrub the bathroom first thing in the morning, grab the windex to spray the mirror, see my refection and think "oh, I should try that hairstyle I pinned the other day". Then before you know it, Ken is home from work and I've been lost all day in a marathon Pinterest frenzy. I'm telling you, it's bad...

I can't even remember where I read this (I would love to give that Blogger credit) but someone suggested that you use the kitchen timer to stay on track. Thinking that it was worth a try, I started in the kitchen and set my timer for 15 minutes. Every time I started to leave the kitchen I would remind myself that I needed to stay on track until the timer went off. I would clean as fast as I could for my 15 minutes (you'll be amazed how much you can do in that short time) and then, when the timer went off, decide if I wanted to clean for another 15 minutes or take a 15 minute break to check mail or see what was going on with Facebook. There are days when I'm so not into cleaning that every other 15 minute increment is spent taking a break and doing something fun. By timing both my breaks and my work time, I don't get sucked into the internet for hours and any overwhelming cleaning job is easier to deal with since I'm only stuck doing it for 15 minutes before I can take a break. As bad as my monkey brain is, even I can do 15 minutes.

Another helpful tip I wanted to share is....oh, sorry! There's my timer. Have to close now. I have a 15 minute date with my kitchen!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Quick Tip Tuesday ~ Kitchen Spices

Happy Tuesday! The idea behind this weekly series was to do a short blog post on some little quick and easy tip. No fuss, no muss. A few words, a few pictures and we're done till next Tuesday.

Well today is a bonus Quick Tip day. Today you're getting an entire bonanza of tips. I know, I'm awesome. 

So the first tip is.... Don't wait till Tuesday morning to remember that it's Tuesday and you promised a Tip! Sheesh. Here I was, all geared up to get some things done, when it hit me. It's Tuesday and I haven't posted my tip. Not only have I not posted, but I generally write it a day or two before so I can publish bright and early Tuesday morning and I hadn't even written it yet. See? That's what happens when you get so into working in your yard and your studio that everything else ceases to exist.

Second tip? When you drive a diesel car, never, and I mean never, let your guard down and not watch to make sure that they use the green diesel hose and not the black gas hose. I made it 16 miles to the foot of my hill before Louie the Love Bug coughed and died. A few days of dealing with that was enough to teach me a good lesson in being present and not checking my phone while I got fuel.

So now on to the real tip. At the risk of showing my total ignorance, did you know that kitchen spices don't last forever and that they actually have an expiration date? It's true. I had no idea. I really didn't. I come from a family that seldom tosses anything out that might be of use and the thought of dumping a bunch of spices that only have a bit out of them because I only use them once a year for Holiday baking seems insane to me. But now I have a great way to get rid of those older spices that doesn't involve the trash can.

When fall comes around and I'm longing for the comforting scent of home baking but don't have the time to do it, I pull out a small sauce pan, fill it with water and a sliced apple or orange and then open my spice cupboard and start dumping a little of this and a little of that. A few cloves, some cinnamon, allspice and some nutmeg. I've even thrown in a bit of ginger and pumpkin pie spice. I keep a bottle of cheap vanilla from the Dollar Tree so that I can splash a bit of that in too. Put on a low simmer on your stove and prepare to be awed. It really does smell incredible. I let mine simmer all day on the stove top and just add a bit of water now and then but if you have one of those smaller crockpots, you can put your water and spices in that and leave it on low with the lid off. Easiest home scent ever and a great way to use up stale spices. (A word of caution here: there is a chance that your family will walk in the door, break into a huge smile because they think you have something yummy baking and then be crestfallen when they find out there's not...)

apples and spices

Make sure to check back next Tuesday for our "How to stay on track and get your house clean when you have the attention span of a gnat" post. Personal experience here...

Monday, August 25, 2014

Scrapbook Paper Magic

I have to admit that I'm a sucker for scrapbook paper - and I don't even scrapbook. I love the fact that I can own a beautiful work of art for less than $1. More than once, I've been in the craft department not even looking for paper and I'll see one of those awesome fat packs of stunning sheets for $5 and I just have to own it. Needless to say, my drawer of papers has gotten pretty full.

In the spirit of using what I have, I sorted though my papers and then set out to find ways to use them in my home. After all, I wouldn't have bought them if I didn't love to look at them, so why not find some projects where I can see them all the time? The scrapbook paper wall in my studio put a big part of my collection on display while covering an ugly wall. And a few of my favorite sheets ended up framed and displayed. But I needed some new, fresh, unique ideas.

As luck would have it, I had just discovered Homtalk.com I should say discovered and then became addicted to. Great home ideas from a huge group of creative people. I did a search for "scrapbook paper" and was amazed at the projects that came up. The sunburst mirror by Setting for Four was breathtaking and the chandelier candle covers by The Pallete Muse solved my ugly yellowed candle cover problem. Before I knew it I had a full clip board of ideas for my papers. My beautiful magic papers.

So now I have a ton of ideas that I can't wait to try. I find it hard to believe that I'm the only one with a paper obsession so if you're right there with me, head on over to Hometalk.com and check out my clipboard. And while you're there, post your ideas. I love to see what everyone is creating!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Quick Tip Tuesday - No More Musty Drawers

Here in Western Oregon, things can get a bit musty. It's one of the trade-offs for living in such a green lush area. I used to buy those little paper sachets to tuck in drawers and closets, but often I couldn't find a scent that I really loved and they could get spendy. Not only that, but the scent didn't really last long.

I love to change the scent in my home seasonally and always have a wax pot going. I can pick up a package of little wax cubes for $2 each and they come in a huge variety. I really like the ones that combine three different scents. I'm all about scent layering. The other great thing about these cubes is that they smell great even if you don't melt them.

I'm also a big fan of scented soaps. My favorite is Yardley's Lavender and I just found out that I could buy a bath sized bar at my local $1 store. For $1. Talk about affordable luxury!

Now for a little arts and crafts. And I don't want to hear that you're "not crafty". If you can tie your shoes, you can do this. Trust me.

What you'll need:
  • Pretty Hankie, small piece of fabric, old doily (pretty  much anything with a weave that will let your scent come through)
  • Length of ribbon, string  (even a rubber band would work!) just something to hold your bundle together.
  • Wax melts or scented soap in your favorite scent

Ok, are you ready for the technical part? First, the soap sachet. Grab your favorite scented soap and unwrap it. Lay your hankie flat with the wrong side down (if it has a print) and place your bar of soap in one corner. Roll your soap in the hankie to the opposite corner (see photo). Now take the two free ends of your hankie and tie it in a knot on top of the bar. This is probably my favorite...

For this next one, I used a doily that I picked up at Michael's for $1. Since the weave was a bit open, I used a small square of tulle to contain my melts. So, pop three or four melts out of their container. Place the square of tulle on top of your doily and pile your melts in the center. Take a length of ribbon and weave it around the edge of the doily. Pull tight to gather the edge tucking your tulle inside. Finish by tying a pretty bow.

This last one, I did just like the doily only I used my lace hankie, piled my melts in the center, gathered the edges in my hand and tied with a bit of burlap ribbon. Simple.

So there you go. Pretty much an instant sachet. Now go tuck them in a drawer that needs a little refreshing. Or in a suitcase before you store it away. They would even make an awesome hostess gift if you know her favorite scent. Easy, inexpensive and a little treat for the nose every time you open the drawer!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Thrifty Thursday - Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner

Since I made the decision to leave my regular paycheck and go out on my own, I've made it a point to be as thrifty as possible. Ken and I have never been ones to spend much on luxuries and we have pretty simple needs, but I knew there was still a way or two that we could make our money go further. I've always loved to get a great bargain and now I have the time to really look for those great deals.

I get so excited when I'm able to make a killer deal and I thought it would be fun to share my money saving finds with a Thrifty Thursday post. Every Thursday I'll share my great deals, thrifted finds and other money saving ideas.

One thing that we have been bad about is grocery shopping. I really hated to go to the store after work so either Ken or I would go in and just grab something for that nights dinner. No menu, no planning, no bargain shopping. And for the most part we didn't get out of the grocery store for less than $25. Needless to say, that really added up.

Now that I'm home, I'm working on going back to doing a larger grocery shopping every two weeks and creating a menu so I have a list to shop from. I forgot how much work that can be. But I'm getting back into the swing of it. This week, I found that Safeway had chicken leg quarters on sale for $1.39 a pound. Each leg quarter came in at around $1.50 each. Pretty thrifty in my book.

I was able to get three, maybe four meals from that one package; Fried Chicken with Corn on the Cob and Potato Salad, Creamy Chicken Pockets with Green Salad, and a nice big pot of Chicken and Dumplings (that will probably be enough for two meals) for Sunday Dinner. The first meal I just cut up and fried two of the leg quarters. I put other three in a big pot of salted water and boiled them till the meat fell off the bone. I strained the meat out of the broth divided it in half putting one half in the freezer with the broth for Sunday's dumpling dinner. The other half was made into some yummy Creamy Chicken Pockets. Just look at these....

Creamy Chicken Pockets

Perfect for a warm August night. You can get the full recipe at Seeded at the Table . A little garlic, onion and some cream cheese added to your chicken and all wrapped up in a crescent roll. Super easy. Each meal came out to $5 or less.  Yay ME!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Old Town Florence Fix

I got my Old Town fix this week. My friend Patty owns a cute little shop on Bay Street called Nana's White Hair Cottage. Once in a while, I get the pleasure of working her shop for her and getting to spend a little time in Old Town.

We're in the middle of tourist season right now and town was hopping. Good thing Patty has an assigned parking place or I would have been hoofing it a few blocks to the shop. Not that I couldn't use the exercise.

Patty's shop is a wonderful eclectic mix of old and new...

a big treat for the eyes. It's like a treasure hunt with pretty things tucked in every corner. The perfect place to find some great stocking stuffers and unique gifts for everyone.

I really enjoyed the two days I was there. So many people in from so many places. I had two women from British Columbia spend almost an hour trying on everything in the jewelry case and laughing the entire time. So much fun. I miss that part of being a business owner in Old Town. 

I'm a firm believer that the Universe puts people in our path that we're suppose to meet and on Monday one of Patty's friends came in to see her. Turns out that Sandy and I had tons in common. Both creative business owners who went to work in the banking industry when the economy turned and then, within days of each other, left our banking jobs to go back to creating. I can't wait to get to know her better.

So, today I'm back home gearing up to get a ton of work done upstairs in the studio. I've been trying to organize my work area and create a sewing area in the corner of the guest room. Lots of ideas sketched in my notebook that I'm itching to put together and share with you!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Quick Tip Tuesday- Covered Brush Bucket

There are a few chores in my life that, if I won the lottery, I would willingly pay someone else to do for me. Some of my most hated jobs? Anything that has to do with cleaning the bathroom and washing out a paintbrush between paint jobs.

I paint quite a bit around here. Anyone who's a big DIYer does. My husband is a carpenter and painting is often part of his job as well. He's the creative mind behind today's Quick Tip Tuesday; the no-splash covered paint bucket...

Super easy. Take a plastic coffee can. Cut a hole in the top just big enough for the handles to stick through. Put enough water in your can to just cover your brush bristles, put your brushes in and snap the lid back on. Or, use it for your paint when you're out painting in the sun. Just pour an inch or two of paint in the bottom of your can. Then keep the lid handy so you can snap it on to keep your brushes moist and your paint from skimming over if you have to step away from your paint job for a moment. See? Easy.

Ken likes this because he can bring his brushes from a job in town to home in the truck without getting paint all over. Then he can properly wash out his brushes in warm running water. I like this because I can shove my brushes in the bucket, put the lid on, shove it in a corner and not rinse them out until I'm ready to paint again. 

Here's another Quick Tip: It's better (much better) to be more like my husband and take good care of your brushes than to be lazy like me. Over the 14 years that we've been together, my husband has tried in vain to teach me the proper way to wash a brush and not abuse them the way I do. It's so bad that I'm not allowed to use "his" brushes anymore. So, in an effort to make up for all the paint brush frustration I've caused my husband over the years, here is the proper way to wash out a paint brush; under warm running water press and fan the bristles of your brush against the sink bottom. Keep twisting and fanning the brush (turn it over and do both sides) until your water runs clear and all the paint in the heel of the brush is rinsed out. According to my in-house expert, paint left in the heel of the brush is what ruins them (I believe this might have been said with a look of total irritation as he tossed yet another brush that I failed to clean properly in the trash). If you follow his advice (not mine) your brushes will stay supple and flexible and ready for your next paint job.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

One project at a Time

Any improvement project, whether it's home, physical or spiritual, is a  process. I admit that I'm one of those people who would prefer instant results. I eat right for a week solid and I'm shocked that I'm not down 10 lbs. (So, I have a donut to feel better...)

I left my 8-5 job on July 10th and this first month of my new life I've been a little overwhelmed trying to get things done that have been neglected for too long now. Turns out that as much as I would like to make it happen, it's not going to all get done in a day. It took months/years for things to get the way they are, and it's going to take a concentrated effort to get things back under control.

According to my son, part of the problem is that I'm easily distracted. I would never admit that his diagnosis might be right, but I have noticed that I do tend to wander from the kitchen to the studio or from the laundry room to the yard "just for a sec" and then an hour later look up and wonder how doing the laundry suddenly turned into weeding the flower bed. Eventually, things do get done, but in the process of the whole thing, I find that I'm beating myself up for all the things that I didn't get done and not giving myself credit for what I did do.

This morning I was reading over some of my saved quotes and came across this one by Brene Brown:
Engage in your life from a place of worthiness. Cultivate the courage, compassion and connection to wake up in the morning and think 'No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough'. Go to bed at night thinking 'Yes I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn't change the fact that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.'
Funny how the Universe knows just what I need to hear and puts it right in front of me.

It's a beautiful day here at Rosehaven and as much as I would love to be out pulling weeds and reclaiming my gardens, there is work to be done in my studio so that I can support this new life of randomness that I love.

Wishing you a beautiful day and a gentle reminder that no matter what gets done, you are enough.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

New Series - Quick Tip Tuesday

Now that I'm able to dedicate more time to the things I've neglected (this blog, my house, my gardens...) I've decided to go through and change things up a bit. Part of that re-vamp will be a weekly series called "Quick Tip Tuesday". Every Tuesday, I'll post a little something that I've found that makes life a bit easier for me and that I think might help you too.

The little thing that prompted this series? A cobweb hanging off the lace curtain in the kitchen window.  I was doing the dishes at the sink when that cobweb caught my eye. When I went to brush it down, I noticed that there was an entire spider condo on the shelf above the window. Not only that, but every piece of my hobnail glass and grandma's chicken collection were covered in a thick coat of dust and kitchen grime.

I can't tell you how much I really wanted to pretend that I hadn't seen the mess and just quietly backed away. But, in the spirit of turning over a new leaf and getting my act together, I grabbed the step stool and pulled everything down. I ran a big sink of hot soapy water and started to scrub. And scrub. And all I managed to do was smear things around and tell myself "See?! This is why we don't even start these things."

The thought of spending hours trying to get all of that grime out of every nook and cranny of my collection had me looking for an easier solution. And I found it right under my kitchen sink...

Yes, I know it says Automotive. But it also says that it's non-toxic, biodegradable and non-abrasive. Since it claimed to be able to degrease an engine, I thought a little kitchen grease wouldn't stand a chance. Let me tell you, one spray on my glassware and the sticky crud just slid right off...

Talk about a life changer. In no time I had every bit of my grease covered treasures sprayed down and ready for a nice rinse in hot water. Just look at how happy and shiny they are...

This stuff is amazing. I use it on everything now. You should see the way it cuts the ring that my hard working husband leaves on the tub. It's like magic. And it's easy. My favorite four letter word! I've used it on my deck, garden chairs, and even those thrifted treasures that before I may have thought were too far gone to clean up and make useable. 

I think I bought my bottle at Fred Meyer in the auto section, but Amazon sells a selection at a good price too. And a little goes a long way so that's another bonus.

So there you go, my life changing Quick Tip for Tuesday. You're welcome....

Monday, August 4, 2014

Alaska - The Trip Home

I finally had a moment to look over my blog and get back into the swing of regular posts. Was surprised to see that I haven't posted since March. So much has happened since then. So, a quick catch-up so I can get on with other posts...

We've been home from Alaska for over four months now. Funny how time files when you have to come home to a full time job and everyday responsibilities. I would much rather spend my days making pipe cleaner crafts with a 3 year old.

Our trip home from Alaska was a long but beautiful one. We caught the ferry at the Skagway Terminal around 2:00 in the afternoon, so we were able to see a large part of Lyn Canal before it got too dark. I hated to leave my little Alaska family. This last time between visits was way too long and grandchildren have a habit of growing very fast while I'm away from them.

I always enjoy the ferry ride and I think that Mom did too. It was about a 7 hour trip and our seats were right up front on the upper deck. There are huge windows that frame the view and you feel like you're watching the big screen and some incredible movie of a fantasy place...

We got into Juneau after 9:00 p.m. and headed right to our hotel. We had an early flight the next day and arrived at the Juneau airport in plenty of time to get through security and wait. Somehow I had managed to pick the milk run as our flight home adding about 2 hours to our flight time. We weren't thrilled to be on the plane that long, but being able to fly over areas of Alaska that we've never seen was totally worth it...

In April most of us managed to make it home to John Day for Easter and a sweet little family wedding for my Niece Faith and her new husband Colin. We don't get home much so it was a full weekend trying to fit in all the visiting we could before it was time to head back home.

May and June are pretty much a complete blur. There was the happy arrival of our new great-niece Kennedy, a sweet little thing like her momma. I can't wait to spend more time snuggling her and with the life change that I made in July, time with her and my children and grandchildren might actually take place. My Mom came and spent time with me as well. I'm sure there were other things that happened, but life seemed to be moving a warp speed about then.

I had know for quite some time that I wanted to leave my 8-5 job and design a life that I loved and a good part of May and June were spent being preoccupied with that thought. I finally decided to take a leap of faith. I blogged about that over at The Wren's Cottage Nest. My last day at my old job was July 10th and I haven't looked back. My days over the last three weeks have been filled with a ton of projects and little by little, Rosehaven is starting to look like herself again. Still so much to do and I find that I need to actually make a schedule so that I don't spend all my time in the gardens and forget that now that I'm self-employed, I actually need to make sure that I do things that fill my bank account as well as my soul.

Life is good and I'm filled with gratitude and excitement when I think about the possibilities that each dawn brings. There is something so freeing (yet terrifying) knowing that my income potential is no longer limited by an employers wage policies, but by the amount of effort I put into my creations.

I look forward to spending much more time here at For the Love of Lillian. I've got a pile of notes on blog topics and site improvements as well as some new weekly series ideas that I think you'll enjoy.

Make sure to check back tomorrow for the first installment of our new series "Quick Tip Tuesday". Not that I'm lazy, but anything that makes chores go faster and easier is right up my alley. You'll find that in our new series.

Wishing you a beautiful Monday,

Monday, March 24, 2014

Alaska Part 3

Day 5 of our Alaska adventure. It's been around 30 degrees here which is cold but not awful until the North wind blows and cuts right through the thin Oregonian coats Mom and I brought. One of my most favorite places here is the Dyea area. My daughter-in-law Dannie is so good about being our tour guide. After everyone got up from their naps we loaded up in the van and took off to show Mom Long Bay and see about getting some family pictures.

Skagway has a rich history and Dyea played a huge part in the gold rush. There isn't much there but mudflats now but at one time it was a very active area...

I think I like it best in the summer when the fireweed is blooming, but it was still beautiful this Spring with its dressing of lingering snow banks...

We jumped out of the car with the babies thinking that we would get a few good family shots, but we about froze to death so they turned out goofy...
We're all a bit goofy in this family so I guess it works. We couldn't get back into the warm van fast enough. On the way back home we stopped to get a good shot of Long Bay...
My most favorite photo of my husband and I and Tim and I have been taken here. And the photos just doesn't do it justice. I just can't get enough of this incredible view.
This was our last full day here before we board the Ferry and head to Juneau. We spent the afternoon being silly, doing pipe cleaner crafts, painting and admiring Maycee's fashion designs...
I'll miss this little Alaska family of mine when we have to head back to Oregon. I'm so glad that we were able to take this trip and that Mom got to experience this with me. Tomorrow is another big adventure. A 7 hour ferry trip along the Lynn Canal to Juneau and our connecting flight home. This will be my first daytime ferry ride (I generally take the latest ferry out to have more time with Tim and his family) and I can't wait to take pictures along the way.
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