Sunday, September 20, 2009


Tessa had two projects due last week. I hate that. Now don't get me wrong, creativity flows through our veins like nobody's business, but sometimes there are other things we want to do on the weekend besides snip and glue and draw under the constraints of somebody else's requirements. If we're going to make a mess, then I want to decide what I end up with in the end. But when I gave up homeschooling, I gave up some control.

Her first assignment was to create a diorama depicting the conversion of Saul. I could have cried when I read that one. We are diorama-ed out around here if you know what I mean. And a Bible scene? So I pleaded with the teacher to add another option--as a mother, not a staff member who used to have to evaluate his use of classical methodology in the classroom. And being the wonderful, gracious teacher that he is, he did just that. One of the alternative projects was a mosaic. Don't ask me where that idea came from; I was just glad that she did not have to do something with a shoebox.

Tessa chose a picture of the scene she wanted for inspiration from Google images, and I applied a one-inch grid to it using Publisher. She then drew it on heavy paper and then cut it out on the grid lines. She painted a square canvas black, then glued her drawing squares to the canvas, decoupaging it for better adhesion. She added yellow and white lines to illustrate the bright light and then attached a small book light for added effect. I was impressed.

conversion of saul

Tessa's other project was based on the book Around the World in Eighty Days. She had a choice of illustrating a scene in detail or creating a map of the route that was taken in the book, including at least five memorable events that happened along the way. She applied her map to the side of a suitcase and labeled the cities using what looked like luggage tags. She also represented her five events through pictures from Google or her own drawings. Each student had to give a presentation in front of the class using his/her visual aid. I love how this project turned out as well. And an added bonus was that while shopping for the suitcase at Goodwill, I found several all wool sweater that we will use for our felting projects.

tessa and suitcase


While Tessa worked on her suitcase, I enjoyed my first of what will probably be many fall projects. I don't know what it is about this season, but I just get inspired to make stuff. I came across this apple tutorial and just knew I had to try it. It cost nothing and was quick and easy.

apple craft

book apple

A week after the power-crafting event at our house, I finally swept up the mess. Good grief! I can hardly believe I ignored this for an entire week. It is what it is.


Saturday, September 19, 2009


No matter where we are in life or what we are doing--whether it appears great or not so great--there is always something beneath the surface brewing--just waiting to happen. Sometimes we are not aware of it completely; sometimes maybe we have an inkling; sometimes we don't care. But life is life--as in alive, ever-changing. It's a tapestry of events and emotions woven together to make our stories. And each and every fiber of our lives have to do with the choices we or somebody in our path makes. And that's just the way it is.

Today I chose to find things around my house that make me smile. There is nothing special about any of these things--they just bring a smile to my face in spite of what is going on around me and them--and I mean quite literally, around me and them! You will see. As I crawl out of a bit of depression that has plagued me over the past month or so, I am thankful that today I really was able to smile with very little effort. That's a good thing. That's a God thing.

Of course, Ryan being in boot camp is one of those things that has brought and could again bring me down. And when I don't want to wring his neck for choosing what I think is crazy, I am very, very proud of him. I found a scrap piece of paper on my desk last week that he left behind--I'm sure, without thinking, since that is his way. It said the following:

Because we believe in a cause higher than self, we choose to serve our country, fully understanding that this service could result in our death.

That is a tough one for this mother.

ryan leaving

But then today, while still in my pajamas, the doorbell rang, and my first response was none too happy. I looked out from the second story, praying that it was not somebody who would actually want to come in. It was the florist, praise the Lord! I was a bit surprised since my husband had already told me that he hadn't bought me anything for our anniversary which just happened to be today--32 years by the way. And I know my children would not *waste* money on flowers--much too practical for that.

Michael glanced quickly through the window of the envelope and announced that they were from Ryan--of all people. Surely not. Surely not. Even if all the planets were in a line, there is no way Ryan would even have remembered the date much less been willing to spend money on anything pink in honor of it. I can just imagine him asking his drill sergeant for permission to send his mama flowers for her anniversary. Yeah, I'm thinking not. My husband is some kind of eternal optimist thinking that somehow, some way, Ryan--always-willing-to-aggravate-his-mother Ryan--would send flowers for her anniversary. How funny is that? I am just trying to find my happy place, folks. But there they were: pink flowers!

flowers from friend

They were from my friend Justine--in Canada--who had no idea it was my anniversary. Too funny. And too sweet. I was amazed at the timing. And the sentiment. And I made a choice to believe that God had something to do with this. And it made me smile.

note from friend

I had three places I could have been today: shopping (of course), a birthday party, or a Florida vs. Tennessee football party (pretty low on my list of things to do except for the food). I said no to all in an attempt to get my house in order after a week--or month--of craziness. I also planned to blog as a reward for my day of hard labor. It was actually fun cleaning--well, almost fun--knowing that I was on the lookout for things along the way that make me smile.

You bloggers know what it's like when your mind starts racing as your post starts coming together. Believe me, not every post idea that passes through a crazed blogger's mind is inspired. Sometimes it takes a lot of thinking before you have something worthy. And sometimes that is even debatable. But in the end, if it made me smile today, it is being posted below! I hope something makes you smile as well.

My Staxx ring makes my morning routine a little more interesting and brings a smile to my face every day. Yes, it is true that I have had to add five more minutes to my prep time, but it is so worth it. I suppose I should include my occasional visit to Rowena's for new pieces as something else that makes me smile.


You may wonder why this little purple shelf below brings a smile to my face. Sometimes I do as well. I paid $20 for that little piece of happiness a few months ago and have not regretted it one bit. As you scroll further down, you will see that it is the only bright spot in an otherwise depressing room in need of a total overhaul. I'm secretly hoping that if I post the following photos, it will embarass my contractor husband into getting started on this bathroom.

purple shelf

Yes, that is a drop ceiling and peeling wallpaper and old wiring, and pink wallboard or something holding in the bulging plaster. And what about that window? Doesn't that purple shelf just make you smile?

ugly bathroom

ugly pink bathroom

window in bathroom

Not everybody has a furnace behind a door outside their bedrooms on the second floor. Yep, I'm feeling special again. I suppose the good thing is that we actually have central heat and air--which we did not in the last house, but that is another story. If I get enough requests I may tell that story someday.


Anyway, the word CREATE always brings a smile to my face, as do magnetized chalkboards. I worked on this project a couple of weeks ago. Quick and easy. It isn't quite finished, but that's okay, I'm still smiling.


Then there's my new desk area. I shopped the house and found a table, a bookcase, a night stand, and a chair. Please try to ignore the ladder in the back until I'm done talking about my office area. You see, I work outside the home full-time and then do bookkeeping for my husband's company in my spare time. This is not something I enjoy. Nope, working for a contractor with ADHD--so not kidding--is not enjoyable to me. Remember--bookkeeping requires the keeping of books which requires the keeping of receipts and stuff like that. Before my own little corner with my own little chair, I rarely smiled during bookkeeping time. Now, I almost look forward to it. Almost being the operative word. Unfortunately, you will see in the photos that follow why this is the *smile* in an otherwise *frown* room.

desk area

bird on shelf

Loving the light made from a wire basket, a string of lights with paper lanterns, and some willow balls (need a few more).

basket of lights

Yes, my filing is out of control, but at least it is in a nice basket. And the bills are in a cute tray that a friend's daughter recently made for me. Unfortunately neither really make me smile--filing or bills, not basket or tray--but they are included in the grouping.


And above my head . . . well, see for yourself. Now you know why my little corner brings a smile to my face. Another work in progress.

more ceiling


This IKEA pillow makes me smile. Enough said.

ikea pillow

And this antique map.

old map

And the strand of star lights in the bathroom.

stars in bathroom

And my absolute favorite plant ever. It closes up and goes to sleep at night. Really, it does. And I smile every time I see it.

crazy plant

And the random shots of my children and grandchildren throughout the house.

praying photo

And my newly arranged coffee table.

birds on a table

With the love note from my granddaughter.

love note