Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Good Things in August

My friend who introduced me to blogging several years ago does this very cool thing every month. She takes one thing (or sometimes a couple) from each day of the month, and makes a "good things" list. This friend is no stranger to struggle. She has lots of reasons to choose to not to see the good things in life, like many of us could. But instead, she chooses joy. She chooses grace. She chooses to see the goodness in her life, and share it with those around her. Come and join along!

Aug. 1 - got to sleep in, go to church, and then had a great time at Music in the Park.
Aug. 2 - asked to co-chair Restoration Runway's 2011 fashion show! a really fun surprise!
Aug. 3 - had dinner with my stepmom and little brother and sister. and laughed a lot!
Aug. 4 - met friends at jump and fun, and was such a fun mom for taking them there!
Aug. 5 - had my first meeting for Restoration Runway, and got to meet some awesome women.
Aug. 6 - took a short roadtrip with my dad and my big sister. only a couple hours, but it was much needed hang out time for us.
Aug. 7 - bittersweet day, this year, but still our anniversary, and good time with family.
Aug. 8 - had a great day being with my hubby and celebrating our 11 years!
Aug. 9 - we really love being reunited with our kids after being gone for a weekend. that's always when i get the best hugs and kisses!
Aug. 10 - spent the whole day with this family, and loved every minute of it. it was such needed time for all of us.
Aug. 11 - spent a lot of time playing with my kiddos, because i knew i wouldn't see them much for a few days.
Aug. 12 - began setting up a reception site.
Aug. 13 - had a great time with a bride and groom and their sweet families.
Aug. 14 - saw a priceless look on a beautiful bride's face as she walked into the room i had designed, and remembered why i love being a wedding planner.
Aug. 15 - went to a baptism at a lake with lots of people we love.
Aug. 16 - spent the day enjoying a laid back summer day (one of the last ones!), and cleaned the house, too!
Aug. 17 - my Stella & Dot trunk show...fun jewelry and yummy dessert, and friends at my house...what could be better?
Aug. 18 - had a playdate with Meredith and her three boys.
Aug. 19 - met a friend that i hardly ever see anymore for lunch in Burlington.
Aug. 20 - got Maddie and Taylor (the little girls that i nanny) back from summer break. watched as my kids lavished love on these little ones and were so happy to have their "best friends in the whole wide world" back.
Aug. 21 - went back to school shopping with DiDi and got the some fun new school clothes for the kids!
Aug. 22 - went to Taylor's one year old birthday party!
Aug. 23 - had a good time meeting River's first grade teacher at open house.
Aug. 24 - went to the Natural Science Center for the tiger's 6th birthday party...pretty cool to see them open presents with their claws and teeth. also, it was Randy's first day of grad school! the beginning of new journey.
Aug. 25 - first day of first grade and had a fun pancake dinner with my sis and her boys.
Aug. 26 - had fun creating this tablescape and then listened to a fabulous message from Kari.
Aug. 27 - got my haircut, which is always such a treat. and introduced my kids to the old Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory for our family movie night.
Aug. 28 - had a pool party with friends to celebrate the end of summer.
Aug. 29 - met my new sunday school class, and enjoyed an afternoon at home!
Aug. 30 - had a fun playdate with Blair and Millie.
Aug. 31 - went to the park with friends, ate delicious chicken salad, and watched Glee reruns.

As sad as I am to see summer fade away, I'm looking forward to whole new month filled with many more good things to come.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Summer Vintage Tablescape

I don't iron. I haven't owned an iron for about 8 years. A few years ago, my daughter and I went over to a friend's house to hang out a bit. She had her iron and ironing board out, and my little girl pointed to it and said, "Mommy, what's that?" Exactly.

Last weekend, as I was prepping for a reception, I used this awesome steamer to steam out all the wrinkles in the linens. I thought to myself, "I really should at least have an iron." Then, last week, as God would have it, I was shopping at the best grocery store in the world, when I saw a steaming iron. I think it was maybe $10. I decided it was time to break down and get one. (I even grabbed the ironing board for $8 while I was at it.)

So, then, this morning, while the kids were playing happily, I decided to work on a new tablescape. I've been wanting to play around with some vintage finds that I had recently collected from estate sales and clearance racks. And, plus, with my hubby having night class two nights in a row, I figured we could use a nice sit down dinner all together. So I dove into designing.

With my handy dandy new steaming iron, I freshened up the linens...almost ALL the linens. I got a little carried away. I couldn't stop! It was absolutely addicting! I knew there was a reason why I didn't have one. I now understand why my grandmother would say "those creases in the linens were her pride and joy".

I've always loved vintage pieces. They have such a story to tell, and they are all crafted so beautifully. As, I took everything out, I was really pleased how well all the pieces went together. Usually, when I'm on the hunt, I don't try to match with what I have. I just grab what I like that's a good price, and then try to find a good spot for it.

I couldn't wait to sit down with my family for a nice dinner together. But, then I remembered what I had made for dinner prior to designing the table. Any guesses?

Baked spaghetti. Oh, well. They wash up well, and hey, I can bring out that iron thing again!

Linking up to a very fun linky that I just found today! I just can't keep up with all these fabulous blogs.

Have you been in the studio creating this week? Go check out Sneak Peek Fridays with Jennifer!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Because of Her

Because of her, I wake her up with, "Good morning, my beautiful first grader!"

Because of her, I bought flowers and wrote a sweet card.

Because of her, I walk slowly by the classroom, just one more time.

Because of her, I make chocolate chip cookies to welcome home my sweet first grader.

Because of her, I lick the spatula clean.

Because of her, I wrap some up for her grandsons, whose mom can't stay home and make cookies, but who wishes she could still have some for them.

Because of her, I celebrate the little accomplishments in life just a little bit more.

I wish she were here to see her only granddaughter in first grade, or to call and say, "Happy first day of school!!", but in so many ways, she's still here.

Linking up with Tuesdays Unwrapped, because these moments are too dear to not celebrate with others.

tuesdays unwrapped at cats

Also linking up with Simple Pleasures.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Truth Be Told

A while back, I remember being at Bible study, and being asked to think about what our greatest fears were. We were to try to think of the worst thing that could ever happen to us...the things that are in the dark places of our minds, that we feared more than anything else, what would it be. At first, I was a little taken off guard, as I try not to think about those things. But, we were reassured that this wasn't to share with anyone, just between us and the Lord. I wrote down several horrific thoughts that I never really admit to anyone, but that sometimes creep into my mind. Most of the women there, agreed that their worst fears had to do with tragedy, loss, and suffering.

Then, as the study went on, we talked about the character of the Lord. We talked about how if we knew really believed that God is who He says He is, that He loves us, and that He's good, we knew in confidence that He would be with us wherever we go. That no matter what circumstance we might find ourselves in, however grave or scary, that we could be assured, that the God of the universe, who made us, and who holds our very breath in His hands, would be right there with us. Not that we would ask for struggles or strife, but just to remember that He is able to be with us, throughout all of it. I remember thinking that if I was really able to take hold of that truth, how much more freely I would live. To know without doubt, that whatever happens, wherever life may lead me, that I don't have to be afraid, because He is with me, and He is in control.

One verse that we say with our children all the time is "Be strong and courageous. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." Especially in times when they feel afraid or anxious, we will talk with them about that truth. That God will never leave them, and that no matter where they go, or what they are faced with, that He will be right there beside them, holding them, comforting them, carrying them through anything.

This past week, I opened up my scripture book. As I flipped through the pages, I saw this precious gift waiting for me.

It's so great to see that somewhere, somehow, it is getting through. And, not just that...but that they are wanting to remind me of God's truth. It's a blessing indeed.

tuesdays unwrapped at cats

Friday, August 20, 2010

Sneak a Peek!

This last week, I designed a beautiful Southern wedding. The two main fabrics were burlap (big surprise if you know me at all) and lace. The signature drink was Sweet Tea served in mason jars. There is so much to tell you about that, I don't know where to begin, and I don't have pics yet to tell you all about it. But I do have a sneak peek.


any guesses on what these are?

This couple had a pretty tight budget. So, we used what we could to make things memorable without making them expensive.

yes, there are my hands, and there is my my studio (a.k.a. my dining room table)

When I was meeting with the bride and groom about 2 weeks before the wedding, the groom said how he wanted the guests to have "the BEST hotel bags EVER!". With "AWESOME stuff" in them. But remember, we only had a few dollars to spend on each bag. It's ok, I was up for the challenge.

I tried to think about the age of most of the guests coming from out of town, the time that they would be at the hotel, and the things that would be enjoyed the most. Here's what I came up with...

2 granola bars
1 pack of Skittles or Starburst
a handful of Hershey's assorted mini chocolates (reeses, kisses, krackles, etc.)
2 small bags of either fritos, cheetos, sunchips, or doritos
2 bottles of water

Using white paper bags, they were super cheap to package up, then I just threw in some colorful tissue paper to make them look like they stepped out of a boutique. Slapped a label on them, and Voila!

Ok, so I didn't just "slap" them on...I was a bit anal about the labels being centered. My husband thought it was funny apparently.

A really funny sidenote is that our hotel had a small kitchen fire on Friday night (that's not the funny part). So, while we were all standing out in the middle of the parking lot at 3am (still not the funny part), one of the groomsmen was munching on some candy, talking about how the welcome bags were "Awesome" and how he had already eaten most of his!

As I eavesdropped, I thought to myself..."Mission accomplished!"

Each of us creates in such a unique way, similar to how each of us is uniquely created. What a great idea, to show where we create, and how we create. I'm looking forward to linking up to Sneak Peek Fridays and celebrating our creative more sides! Thanks, Jennifer!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Longest Breath

I've been taking a long, deep breath over the last couple days. After finishing up a wedding this past weekend, and reconnecting with my two little ones and my hubby, I finally feel like I can sit down again. Taking a break sometimes is exactly what we need. But sometimes, it gives me the chance (a.k.a. forces me to confront) to think about what I am about to be entering into.

This summer has been so fabulous. And, I am so sad that it is coming to an end. I really, really, love our summer mornings. Pjs and coffee til 10, cartoons and playing together. Real playing together...for more than 5 minutes in between being here and there and getting homework done. My little ones have become best of friends, and have bonded more in these past months than ever before. We have spent many hours with our nephews, who will not be in the same town for much longer. I have enjoyed seeing my husband more, and have watched as he has taken hold of a new journey he will be entering into in about a week. There has been much celebrating, with lots of weddings and events, and the joy that I have had to play a part in that, has been wonderful. To stop all of this celebration is quite hard, especially when I think of all that is about to begin.

My husband is about to begin graduate school, my little girl is starting first grade, my sister is getting married and moving, my son will start soccer for the first time, and we will begin to keep the precious girls I nanny for again in just a few days. The busy early mornings will be here again, and the hustle and bustle of life will be among us. There is still excitement in all that is about to begin...it's just not as still as it has been.

So, now, as I stare into the face of the Fall, I look for celebration. I search to find the good in what we have had, and look with joy to what we will have. As much apprehension as there is, there is more hope. And along with change, there is always beauty. So, I take a deep breath, and anticipate all that is waiting for us in the next season. I can't wait to see the colors of the Fall.

tuesdays unwrapped at cats

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday Finds: Summer Give Away!

One super fun thing about blogging is all the great giveaways! When I first started blogging a few years back, I remember feeling like, "So many give aways, so little time!!!"

This one is definitely one you shouldn't miss out on. Jones Design Company is offering a "just for fun summer giveaway". It's super super cute, spunky, and summery (that's a word, right?). Just the thing you would love to finish off your summer!

Keeping my fingers crossed!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

From the Field

I adore flowers. In fact, if I had to say one thing that makes an event, or home for that matter, more lovely, it would be flowers. They give such personality and splendor to any setting.

My favorite kinds of arrangements are the ones that come straight from the field. They don't always look neatly trimmed and polished, and yet they have such a pure beauty about them.

As my favorite flower season is coming to a close, I have to remember that they will return. And in the meantime, I get to look forward to all those autumn beauties! What's your favorite flower? Or a more interesting question, If you were a flower, what would your name be?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Songs to Fill the Air

This past weekend was my hubby and my 11th anniversary. I feel really old saying that. Somewhere in my mind, I'm still 20 something (and closer to the 20 than the 30). But alas, that's not the case...I didn't get married when I was 10...which I know you are all grateful for. Anyway, on a more normal thought, we did get to celebrate this weekend.

Part of our celebration was an extremely painful one. But still a celebration, none the less. My uncle, who has always hugged me so tightly that I almost couldn't breathe, and smiled so widely that it almost came off his face, passed away last week. He had struggled with cancer about a year ago, that was completely removed...supposedly.

Two weeks ago, he went into the hospital having respiratory problems, and when they looked closer, they found that it wasn't all removed. It was everywhere. And you know how the rest of the story goes. He was 60, still in love with and married to his college sweetheart, father to two beautiful girls, and absolutely adoring being a grandfather to a precious little boy.

Seeing the program read, "A Celebration of Life" is never something that sounds like a fun party to go to. It's hard to even think of it as celebrating. But that's what we did. We all gathered together, hugged 'til it hurt, looked at pictures, and laughed at stories that perfectly described this big bear of a man that we all loved. We sand his favorite songs during the funeral. And we cried. A lot. And then some more.

The next day, my husband and I woke up, and did pretty normal things. We went to church together (the kids were still at his parents, so we slept in!), we came home and my hubby made me a delicious tomato and basil omelet while I did some work for an upcoming wedding, then we went and checked into a beautiful Bed and Breakfast in the area. This B & B is a historic pre-civil war house, that has been restored and updated to be the perfect get away. And, it just so happens that my parents own it. But not for long. The Inn has been on the market for a bit, and so we thoroughly enjoyed what will most likely be our last stay there for quite a while.

A couple weeks ago, when I was having coffee with a good friend of mine, she told me how usually, she and her husband, just end up doing normal things together for their anniversary, and that is what is so special. Instead of trying to plan a bunch of plans, and then force a special feeling into the plans. It was not what I really wanted to hear at the time. What I wanted was for my husband to have made big, exciting plans for our anniversary. But, what turned out to be our weekend, was wonderful. It was unexpected and everyday all at the same time. It was being with family that was in mourning. It was waking up in our beds and going to our church that we love. It was making brunch in our home. It was listening to music at the park with friends, just like many summer Sunday evenings. And staying in a beautiful Inn that our family has loved for years. And celebrating life with each other. Just like it should be.

*(This post is in honor of my Uncle Bill. We'll hear your voice come through the music, and we'll hold it near, as it were our own.)

by Robert Hunter
If my words did glow with the gold of sunshine
And my tunes were played on the harp unstrung
Would you hear my voice come through the music?
Would you hold it near, as it were your own?

It's a hand-me-down, the thoughts are broken
Perhaps they're better left unsung
I don't know, don't really care
Let there be songs to fill the air

Ripple in still water
When there is no pebble tossed
Nor wind to blow

Reach out your hand if your cup be empty
If your cup is full may it be again
Let it be known there is a fountain
That was not made by the hands of man

There is a road, no simple highway
Between the dawn and the dark of night
And if you go, no one may follow
That path is for your steps alone

Ripple in still water
When there is no pebble tossed
Nor wind to blow

You who choose to lead must follow
But if you fall, you fall alone
If you should stand, then who's to guide you?
If I knew the way, I would take you home

tuesdays unwrapped at cats

Monday, August 2, 2010

Tis a Gift to be Simple

Sometimes I have the best intentions... for instance... blogging about something absolutely beautiful and exceptionally profound at least every other day, while at the same time I win the "Best Mother of the Year" award. However, then I realize that I'm in real life, where I barely get to take a shower every other day, and have things like cars breaking down that get in the way of my best laid plans.

I did have to post these pics from a wedding I did a few weeks ago. I adored this sweet bride, and my family grew to love her just as much. That definitely says something about how special she truly is.

It was so fun to design a wedding around a tobacco barn. We hung one of her families beloved stain glass windows from the center to give the front of the barn a more "chapel-like" appearance. The rest was easy (a girl and boy who fell in love in high school and have been waiting for this day for years!)

This wedding was simple, and yet so beautiful. Both the bride and groom had a fantastic day being with their family and friends, without worrying how the wedding would go. The gift to me, was simply being able to see her look at him like this.

Is there a gift of love that you're celebrating today? Go see all the fabulous stories over at Chatting at the Sky and celebrate them together!

*photos by Laura Sappenfield and Leah Hester