decorating with dodi

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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Don't Look Now.....

if you are on my Halloween gift list that is! I am beginning to look for my craft ideas for this Halloween. I like to have my handmade gifts and new craft decor done before I get anywhere near October. That way, I can decorate early and have my days free (well, as free as they ever can be) to shop for and sew costumes. And attend fall festivals. And make a trip to Tennessee this year.....and all of the other wonderful things my favorite season has to offer. Have I mentioned that autumn is my favorite season here before?!!

This is how the process usually begins for me. I see something somewhere and start to think how it was made and how I can reproduce said item. Even when there might be a "tutorial" attached to the item, I can very seldom find all of the supplies exactly as listed, so the craft becomes unique just by the fact that I am adding my own spin.

I love this picture (which I pinned on Pinterest but which came originally from lark and lola I believe) and think I can easily make it by downloading the words to a spooky poem or simply using a page from a book or a dictionary ( I have bought several of these at the $ Tree, so I have no guilt in cutting them up). You can also find pages of script you can download for free in many places. Then download of a coven of witches, decoupage onto a piece of chipboard or luan and embellish. I love it and wouldn't it look fabulous hung on the hook below! So spooky!

I love these! They could be made so simply after a quick trip to Lowes. I'm sure I could find some kind of molding or wooden embellishment that would work. Paint, distress and add the lock and knob findings (available either at Lowes or HL I'm pretty sure!). The Halloween picture would look great hanging here but then the hook could be used all year for keys, leashes, bags, etc. A gift that truly "keeps on giving"!

This frame caught my eye because of its simplicity. Look for an inexpensive frame at HL (remember, they're ALWAYS 50% off) or $ Tree or WalMart-I have found some nice frames there as well. I will go with either black or orange, use a Halloween themed scrapbook paper for the background and fill with either a downloaded Halloween greeting or photo of Halloween past. I don't know about you, but I NEVER have enough frames to display all of the family pictures that I have!

I have recently taken to making embellished clothespins with magnets to use on my frig for overflow seasonal pictures. I thought these might be cute if I turned the wings the other way so the magnet was on the back and the wings would sit correctly on the bat. So simple made from spring type clothespins and probably fun foam. Thought I could make 4-5 per gift and then clip them onto a piece of decorated cardstock for presentation. There are TONS of Halloween tag downloads available that would have just the message I wanted or even I could rig up something on my word program and print it off. I can see it now. Something like "I'm BATTY for you". Well, maybe I'll work on that a bit longer-ha-ha.

Any time I see ANYTHING orange or black, my brain automatically takes me to Halloween...yes, sometimes it IS scary being me. But, I digress. This frame could be made with an unpainted wide wood frame from Michaels for about $1. Paint it orange or black or cover with a themed piece of scrapbook paper and use Halloween embellishments. This might even be a good one to save for the kids for their Halloween crafting weekend with Nana & Papa. I usually give them privy to all of my crafting supplies and it is AMAZING to see what they come up with and how different each one is!!!

And last - at least for right now - are these chocolate covered candy corn pretzels. We've done the pretzel rods many times before so I thought this might be a nice change. I love how the colors "read" candy corn right away. Maybe the kids could do this as well. I know the Dads would like it more than a frame. We'll see. I will be making some decisions soon while I continue to search Pinterest for new ideas as well. Stay tuned. Maybe one of these goodies will be coming in a lovely decorated bag or box to your address soon!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

There's a Change In the Air

No, not in the temperature - that is still registering pretty high around here but the summertime "monsoons" are cooling it down a bit! Oh the joys of a Florida summer!!! The change is happening in the aisles of my local craft stores. That is always where you see it first because we crafters must get busy way before the rest of the world.

I have picked up a few things in HL and Michaels recently - not anything awesome, but I am always looking for fillers - like I really need anything else to fill my house...but, I digress.

The above pedestal and votive holder were on sale for 50% off at Michaels. I can see the pedestal nestled in a grouping with maybe a pumpkin or perhaps a crow on it. We'll see. The votive holder is tiny and I think it would look cute with a battery candle on a shelf in one of the bathrooms. And yes, I decorate the bathrooms - down to a Halloween shower curtain. Was there ever any question that I would? The good thing about that is that there really must not be many people who go that far, so I can always pick up that kind of thing for a song the day after a holiday!

I also picked up some ravens on pedestals at HL for 50% off. Does anyone else ever have trouble with HL's check out? They do not use SKUs on their registers so the cashiers have to know the sales EVERY week! When the store first opened, this was a nightmare! Then, as the cashiers (and the customers) became used to the system, things fell into place for awhile. Recently, my store has had tons of new cashiers. The last 3 times I have been there, I have had an issue at check-out. No offense to young people who don't do crafts, but what are you doing working in a craft store??? Their table top frames - including novelty - are always 50% off. Actually, why don't they just cut the prices in half and give the cashiers one less thing to remember? But again, I digress.

In any case, I have had 2 cashiers insist my frames were full price - haven't EVER paid full price for a frame in HL since the days the doors first opened. Also, I was buying resin ravens which someone insisted was carved wood and not on sale. Now, I am a SHOPPER. And I am a crafter. I know my stuff and almost never buy anything that isn't on sale...especially at HL where everything is almost on sale every other week. Any way, I found one of the "older" workers and things got straightened out in each case, but it took my time and effort as they were not even willing to call someone to be sure they WEREN'T WRONG! Don't know why I'm off on this tangent when I should be happy with my glimpse of Halloween, but somehow these kind of things are beginning to get to me because they are happening more and more frequently. Could it be because there aren't many people older than me left in the world - seems like everyone is younger! In any case, I won't leave HL because of their massive inventory so I should just "go with the flow" and be happy.

I am still waiting for the specialty shops and boutiques to bring out their Halloween Then I will know it is really on it's way. I am checking frequently in Micanopy and will hit The Barn soon, so I will let you know Stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Best Laid Plans

So what do you think? The last time we "talked", I was going to fill this frame with chicken wire and use it in my dining room on the now blank wall. My plan was to fill it with whatever I was in the mood for at the moment - seasonal downloads, photos, words of wisdom, small trinkets, etc. Whatever a decorated clothespin could hold would have been fair game.

So yesterday I finally got to my local Lowes. I wanted 1" octagonal grid chicken wire in a small roll as I am not actually building a chicken coop - which I guess is the obvious use for this stuff (as well as fencing, etc.) - I didn't need nor want a 100' roll. My Lowes only had the 2" grid in small lengths which I thought looked too open. I left thinking I would have to make a trip to Home Depot - and since that is way on the other side of town, I put it off.

Do you ever love it when something that started out to be an annoyance turns into an "ah-ha" moment? As I was passing through the DR this morning and getting annoyed that I haven't actually completed one thing this week - except for getting my teeth cleaned, babysitting my 2 youngest grandchildren while Mom and Harrison got some errands run and managing to once again get a horrible, itchy rash all over my arms and hands (and this time neck and face as well) while pulling some vines out and cutting down some "weed trees" that hang over my fence and drop their big, old ugly leaves into my yard. Now mind you, I have lived in this house for 38 years and I get this rash every time I pull one of the weeds but I have still not been able to isolate which weed is the exact culprit. This happens even though I am wearing gloves. I have recently been told I have Irish skin which apparently is very sensitive - who knew? But, I digress...boy am I good at that!

In any case, I remembered that my first instinct was to simply hang this frame around the sconce but for some reason, I dismissed it. Then, when I asked my girls' opinions, they also came up with this idea and for some reason, I dismissed that as well. Then, this morning, I realized that if I fill this frame with all sorts of little stuff hanging from wire, it might feel just as busy as it did when I had the 2 pictures and sconce there.

Long story short (is it ever really that way in my world?), I think I like this.

Not the best picture but the only angle from which I could fit in both sides of the wall. I like that there is gold and black on both sides of the opening grounded by the black side board in between. What do you think? I think it will work until something else "just perfect" strikes my fancy. Stay tuned.

Monday, July 25, 2011

No Interest in Pinterest....

...or so I thought. The mention of Pinterest has been floating around the blogs for awhile. I have seen it but I think I just thought of it as another photo program or something. Just kind of skipped over any detailed messaging about it.

Then, a week or so ago, my oldest daughter called and asked if I knew about it. She filled me in a bit and said she was addicted! Still, I really wasn't interested but I thought I would see about joining and find out what all of the scuttlebutt was about. Still not excited.

I soon received my invitation to join-yes, they are fancy, schmancy and require that you be invited. You have to join through either facebook or twitter and I am truly not interested in either, so once again it went by the wayside.

I think I mentioned that all of the girls would be through town at one point or another this weekend. Well, Kris convinced me that she could set me up a facebook page that I would never need to use again once I had signed up so I said O.K.

She got me up and running and I am afraid she has now created a monster. At first I still wasn't too excited but the more I played with it, the more enamored I became. I soon discovered that instead of "starring" a blog, and going back to them periodically to print ideas as I used to do, I could simply "pin it" to begin with. I can't pull myself away from Pinterest-hence this feeble attempt at a post today. And which of my files do you think is already overflowing and I'm just beginning? Right you are-Halloween!

Hopefully you will reap the benefits of all of this pinning as I come away with many new and exciting ideas. Stay tuned -and start PINNING!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions!!!

O.K. I must be out of practice! Things have been so hectic in my life the last year or so that I haven't really done any major redecorating that I could get my chops into. My brain is beginning to perk, but I'm having second thoughts about tackling really big projects as I'm having the worst time just re-doing one wall! Where has my inner decorator gone? Of course, it doesn't help that I am trying to do this on a budget so I can save the "big bucks" for things still perking in my brain...but, I digress.

I showed you where I moved the picture that used to hang here. I thought I would look for a framed poster-perhaps a vineyard feel. But then, I had second thoughts. Too many hard edged-rectangular frames already in this room. So, I started to think about just hanging some unframed canvases with the same feel. I hit 3-4 different stores yesterday and couldn't find what I wanted. I settled for these smaller canvases at Kohls -buy one get one for $1 and then another 20% off, so the price was right. Came home and hung them with the "olive branch" sconce and am trying to convince myself that I love it. And up close. it's not bad.

But in reality, I just think the proportion is off for this wall. I think one larger piece would make a bigger statement. What do you think? Am I right or am I over thinking the whole thing?

I just searched the house and found an old, large, oval frame under a bed. It is burnished gold which would complement the large gold letters sitting on the shelf on the opposite wall. I'm thinking about leaving it empty but stapling some chicken wire on the back. I've seen this around blogland. The idea is to use decorative clothespins and pin on seasonal downloads, photographs or even just sentiments for the occasion. I think I might like this-still deciding.

While I was in Kohls, I grabbed up a few other things from their Indian Summer collection. These tri-colored candles are perfect with the citrus colors, so I had to grab more.

And I love these dish towels! I grabbed 2 more sets as well. A different sunflower pattern and a beautiful, graphic pumpkin design for September decorating! Need I say that I can't wait to use that one!

A few more peeks around the house and that is it. I have since added 2 more large sunflowers to the red vase. I had one from last year and it was fine but when I found the same ones again this year at HL and 50% off, I thought 2 more would add to it's presence as it is a pretty tall vase.

So that's how things are going around here. May be MIA for a few days. Daughter # 2 and grand daughter #1 are coming down and we're heading to Jen's new house for the afternoon. Then, tomorrow, oldest daughter and her 2 girls will be here to visit the new house and spend the night with Nana and Papa. My middle daughter and I spent yesterday in Gainesville visiting with my mom and then she and I got to go out for a nice, long quiet lunch-a rare occasion as she is a teacher and almost always tied up at school-even during the summer. Any way, it has been a super fun and super busy week for us. Hope I can spend some time in the yard this weekend, but if a better offer comes along.... Stay tuned.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Indian Summer

I have pretty much finished with the late summer decorating. I have kept the top of the armoire in the living room clear for awhile but didn't want to look any more for room to store this bird cage so I stuck it up there temporarily and now I think I like it. Guess I could put something a little more seasonal in there than the ivy.

How about that ? A little better. When I have a few minutes, I will play with it a bit more.

See the other bird cage under the sofa table? Guess I was either lazy or tired when I was doing this as it sure seemed a lot easier to just put them somewhere than to find more storage area in this house!

Not much really inspirational coming from me this time of the year. Have I mentioned that this is NOT MY FAVORITE SEASON!!! I do like the sunflowers and am trying hard to keep things at a minimum...if for no other reason than that it will be that much less to take down when I finally do get to decorate for my FAVORITE SEASON. It is coming soon. In fact, we got just enough of a hint of it yesterday to make me long for it all the more! We had a record breaking LOW temperature for July 19-66 degrees. You can bet I went out there and sucked up as much of that cool air as I possibly could. If you didn't get to feel it, I'm sorry! I probably sucked up your share as well. But alas, Mother Nature was just fooling us and it was back up in the 90s before we knew it. I actually felt a little better when I heard that the entire week my daughter and family were in Arkansas, the temp never went below 104-and often it went higher! Yikes! I guess you never have to look farther.....

In any case, things are moving right along here and daughter and family are moved in, mostly unpacked and for sure, decorated. She's truly a chip off the old block! We might have had to wade through water from a clogged city pipe (which we did!), but we were going to do it while hanging pictures, moving furniture, etc. All is now well with the pipes and the house looks beautiful! It is going to be so much fun having them so close. I actually cooked a meal and took it over last night. Who knows what doors this may open! Stay tuned.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Wish You Were Here!

Having the MOST wonderful weekend. Sometimes it feels really nice to just forget about all of the "to-do" lists and go with the flow. And, that is pretty much what you should always do when you have the pleasure of spending the weekend with the world's cutest almost 2 year old.

Presley is with us for a few days and even though I have so much waiting to be done, I can't help but spend all of my time with her. Even find my husband hanging around a lot longer when she is here. She is incredible! We find ourselves laughing so much! She has a wicked sense of humor and maybe a bit of an "old soul". She knows just what to do to get us! I love it when all of the kids are here, but it is a joy to have them one on one and really get to know their personalities and have the privilege of time well spent. I don't have the slightest regret about not crossing anything off of that to-do list. I know it will be waiting for me when I do get there but these precious moments may not! They grow up MUCH TOO SOON and I don't want any regrets when they do!!!

Presley reminds us so much of her mommy when she was little. We see a lot of the same mannerisms. It kind of takes us back to when we were younger and raising our own girls....until we try to hop up off the floor and realize that there has been much water under the bridge since we could do that effortlessly and we now know why God doesn't give babies to people in their 60s...but thank goodness he is so generous with grand children!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Can Autumn Be Far Behind?

The feels and colors of the Mediterranean are definitely the order of the day. I love the colors in this large, copper bowl and I think citrus kind of says summer as well.

Why am I looking at this picture as if it is the first time I have seen those shutters? Maybe it is because there is so little of anything else to look at. So much for minimalism!!! In any case, do those shutters scream "paint me, paint me" to anyone else? All of a sudden, the sharp contrast between the soft white of the mirror and the sharp white of the shutters is GLARING to me. I think I'm off to the garage for a quick coat of 'heirloom white' while Presley is down for her nap.

Definitely going a bit more minimalist - and for me that is quite a hard thing to do! I do like how things look more open and consequently, a bit cleaner. But when I look at these areas - especially in these pictures - my gut tells me there are probably a few changes still to come.

This picture has hung on the other side of the dining room ever since I redid the room. I liked it there. But, all of a sudden, I didn't like the old window frame that used to hang here. I moved the picture and I like it but now I have a big empty wall on the other side of the room. I hung a sconce there for now, but the proportions are off and it is driving me crazy. There is already a large mirror in this room just a few feet away, so that idea is out. I am thinking a pretty vineyard poster would be perfect. I know just the one I want - in fact my youngest daughter owns one. It is from the Ravenswood Vineyard and you can't seem to buy them unless you're at the vineyard. If anyone has a trip planned in the near future, let me know. I found one on e-bay, but they were estimating it will sell for $300-$400, so I think I will be looking for something else.

In the mean time, I will try to avert my eyes every time I pass this way until I can get out and about to see what I can find. So much for "shopping the house". I tried - really I did! Stay tuned.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Done for Now!

Well, it took two days, but the 4th of July decorations are down and packed away and the house looks the "lonliest" it ever looks. There really aren't any seasonal or holiday things to use right now. I know a lot of people use shells for summer decorating, but having grown up in south Florida, I am not much of a shell gal.

I do use a lot of "hot" colors - red, orange and yellow .This is the time I also bring out the sun flowers ( they look like little suns), artificial citrus fruit and my Tuscan themed things. The color palette ends up being the hot colors and green and I can live with it although I will be trying to squeeze in some leaves and acorns before you know it.

The above flower arrangement is kind of my inspiration for feel and color. I moved it this year and somehow that one little thing led to many changes. I have been re-working things for 2 days. Still don't have it exactly right but I am doing it by just "shopping" the house, so we'll see how it ends up. I would have taken some pictures but it is dreary and rainy today so that will wait until tomorrow and you can see if you like it.

We will be babysitting Presley the next few days as the Hollands load up from Lakeland and move to Ocala - can't wait. Maybe she will sneak into a picture or two. Stay tuned.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Tawanda Is Alive & Well!

No, I'm not obsessing about Halloween again. I am just posting this picture so you kind of see the piece of furniture I will soon be talking about! The bottom of this piece has another shelf and spaces for umbrellas. It is a hall tree and I have had it about as long as we have lived in this house - 38 years. I remember finding it in a J.C. Penney's catalog and I think it was about $150. It has sure paid for itself many times over.

Any way, as I began taking down my 4th decorations - finally!!!! - I was somehow in the mood to make some changes. I haven't felt this way for awhile - nor have I had the time - so I started looking at everything in the house as fair game. Oh boy did I have some ideas but sanity took over and before I had completely destroyed something of real value, I reined myself in and saw the hall tree for what it was - dated! I thought about painting it or just throwing it out but neither of those options really appealed to me. Then, I remembered a small desk we were no longer using and I went and dragged it out. I knew I saved everything for a reason! I tried the desk where the tree had been, but being the symmetrical person that I am, I didn't like the way it looked with the other things on that wall and knew it needed some height.

To make a very long story short, I thought about sawing off the mirror portion of the tree but then saw some screws on the back and figured they must hold the bottom portion on and how easy it would be to separate the pieces. After removing the 6 screws, I realized that that would have been too easy - there's always a story when I'm involved. So I got out my trusty "meat tenderizer". It has a nice wide flat area and I thought a few taps might nudge the pieces apart. I started hammering and before I knew it, the pieces were actually fracturing instead of just coming apart and that was all I needed to get the adrenalin going.

I found out that that hall tree was actually pegged together before the screws were added. As they say, "they don't make them like that any more". In any case, the back piece of the tree sort of looks like an old door with a mirror. I have it currently just wedged behind the desk and am going to live with it for a few days before I decide if I like it. If I do, there will probably be a few changes made but I didn't want to spend the day on one thing when there is so much else left to do.

This is how it currently looks. Once all of the 4th is down, decorating will happen here. What do you think? I do like the extra merchandising area, but I am afraid I am going to miss the functionality of the old piece. I don't know where we will store our umbrellas now, but I'm sure I will think of something. And boy, it has been a long time since I got to demolish anything. It felt good to have "Tawanda" back!!! (For those of you who aren't fans of "Fried Green Tomatoes", we got that phrase from that movie and use it whenever one of us "women" bring out our muscles and "get the job done" by ourselves without benefit of the male species!). Yeah girl power!!! Stay tuned and I'll show you how it evolves.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Christmas in July?

What is everyone talking about? I love Christmas as much as the next guy, but if I am going to start planning for a future holiday in the middle of the summer, you can bet it will be HALLOWEEN!

In fact, that is precisely the reason I didn't get any of my "to-dos" crossed off of my list this weekend. You see, I subscribe to as many "Halloween blogs" as I can find and just recently, they have all begun to come to life and are posting new ideas for this year. That's all it took to get me off on a tangent! Before I could help myself, I was digging into all of my old files and clippings and making lists of ideas for the next celebration. This has to be an early start record even for me!

Now I know that it seems WAY TOO SOON to be doing this, but you have to remember that I make the kid's costumes as well as my husband's and my own, so as soon as anyone comes forth with her/his idea, I will begin sewing. I like to have my gifts and new decor items done by that time. In fact, last weekend while we were all celebrating the 4th, ideas for costumes were already beginning to float around!

Plus, I am hoarding a gift card to "The Barn" waiting for their incredible Halloween displays to be brought out. I am always the one jumping the gun. Some shop keepers look at me like I am crazy when I ask about Halloween in July, but come on people!!!! So much to little time!

If I am absent for awhile, come and look for me. I fear my family may be planning an intervention of some sort. Is there a treatment center for the "Halloween impaired"? Wait, I can see it now. All decked out in orange and black. I can hang some spider webs from the corner of the room and then....but I digress. It promises to be a long, black and orange (and I think I'll throw in some purple and green this year too) summer. I will share any and all ideas as soon as I get them Stay tuned.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Lazy Days!

The above photo kind of says it all. A hint of the future with the last of the hydrangea blooms but the glow if the 4th still in the background.

I am having the laziest of weekends. Looking around and seeing so much to be done - including taking down my 4th of July decorations - but somehow giving myself permission to "enjoy the moment" instead. Besides, it IS still July! Even though these decorations have been up since May, I'm really not tired of them yet although they are in need of a good dusting if they are to stay up much longer. Hmmm, clean or take down? That is the question!

We are not only in our typical summer weather pattern of afternoon rain, but are getting some additional rain earlier in the day as well. All things put together, it makes for wonderful lazy days. We are watching some movies we missed at the theaters, catching up on lots of reading and magazine perusing and basically enjoying some down time that we haven't had in awhile.

I know I have to get back on track tomorrow as appointments, errands and commitments await, but until then, I am enjoying doing nothing....hope you're having one of those rare weekends as well! Life begins again soon. Stay tuned!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Never a Dull Moment!!

Have you ever had one of those "aha" moments??!

It all started about 4:00 P.M. on Thursday afternoon. I was thinking about daughters # 1&2 and their families. They were off to see the last shuttle launch. They found a motel on the beach somewhere along the coast and were looking forward to a great view! Daughter #3, her family and I were all invited as well but since the last gang was to leave on vacation the next day from my house, we all decided not to go.

Any way, that is how I found myself on my front porch trimming my topiary and thinking how exciting it would be for everyone to witness this moment in history and looking at the sky and wondering if the weather tomorrow would be co-operating when I heard a funny "bang" sound. It was definitely a wood noise, so I wondered if by chance my neighbor was on his roof and dropped something. I took a peek and didn't see anything when I heard a kind of hissing, snapping sound. And then, within seconds, I saw the huge tree that was at the corner of my driveway come falling down!!!

We live at the top of a circle and that thing fell in the most perfect spot it could have fallen! It missed wires, my hedges, my dogwood tree and even my mailbox! It totally filled up the road and median of grass in the middle of the circle! I called the city and literally within minutes, the police were here just to be sure no one was injured and city trucks began converging.

Now the reason that this was so exciting (beside the fact that I had just witnessed a huge tree falling 15 feet in front of my face) to me is that just a few months ago, my neighbors were clearing most of their trees for a solar heating system for their pool. They wondered if we would like to include that tree while the men were out here but the quote was for $1800 and since the tree really wasn't an issue one way or the other and I have many other large oaks on my "to trim list" this year, I decided to save my money for them. One of the guys trying to convince me to do this kept saying that the tree would probably come down and if it fell in the road, I would be responsible. Somehow that didn't seem exactly right - I figured I WOULD be responsible for what was still on my yard - and I filed it away for future consideration.

Well, the city of Ocala totally rocks as not only did they cut up and remove EVERY speck of tree and tree debris, they hauled off the HUGE trunk that was totally still on my property. And, they gave us all much afternoon entertainment as the tree filled 2 trucks and took 2 cranes to get the job done! My grandsons were beside themselves - Nana was pretty happy too!! One more thorn-in-my-side taken care of. Now if I could just do something about that humongous tree that hangs over the shallow end of my pool and new patio and constantly drops junk everywhere! Unfortunately, that one will be a problem if it falls and probably take out my house, gazebo, fence and pool along with it. It belongs to my neighbor but he has said we could trim what hangs over our side, so that is probably where this year's "trimming" budget will go.

So, although we missed the excitement of the last shuttle launch, we had more than enough excitement of our own to make up for it.....and I have one less tree to worry about. Ahhhhh!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Leading up to the BIG Event!

We arrived home from the beach to find that the few "little elves" who didn't go with us had once again set out a beautiful array of appetizers for us and the guests who were soon to arrive to munch on until more food got put out for dinner. I am always envious of the bloggers who post their wonderful spreads of holiday foods. We too have wonderful spreads of food served up in beautiful holiday vessels but apparently I am always too busy feeding my face to get out the camera. Rest assured there is never a lack of food where our family get-togethers are concerned.

This time, the 2 middle granddaughters actually made some of the cake pops that are featured all over the blogs. They used red velvet cake and coated them in red or blue chocolate with 4th of July sprinkles. Then, they tied them up in cellophane with 4th of July ribbon and displayed them in a red, white & blue basket. They looked so great...but, once again, you will have to take my word for it!

The rest of the day was filled with swimming, visiting with friends and family, fire crackers, and sparklers. And then.......

Nana requested the "dreaded" family photo. Believe me, this is the BEST of many, many pictures! Once again, my only requirement these days is that we are all in the matter what! I just love putting out every year's photos and seeing how we all have changed - everyone a year older! Yikes!!!!!

And then we hear, "Nana, look the show has started! " It wasn't "the" show yet, but neighbors up and down the water were shooting off their own fireworks, so it was more than enough to keep us interested until the "big guns" started.

And, I must say, Gulfport really outdid themselves this year! The firework show was absolutely gorgeous and lasted a long, long time. There were colors this year that I don't think I ever saw before! It truly was breathtaking!!!

And then, as if we hadn't had enough of a show, the neighbor just 2 doors down started his own show. He had REAL fireworks! NOT the kind you can buy at the stands or the kind that everyone else was using! Don't know where or how he got them, but he shot them off right over our house and when we looked up, we literally looked up into the fireworks!!! I'm sure it was super dangerous as the embers were falling down on the roof, but by the time I got over the beauty of them and realized the danger, they were done! And, we were all safe and totally awestruck!

Once again, the kids get front row seats!

I saw some blogs this year that had tutorials on how to take pictures of fireworks and I thought I might actually give it a try...for just a moment! Then, I realized that I would rather watch the fireworks myself than sit there messing with camera settings! Hopefully you all had your own wonderful show to watch cause this is all I got! It was a wonderful ending to a wonderful weekend and I really didn't want to head home the next day, but head home I did.

Now, reality must set in. For the last month, I have had either company, grand children, grand dogs or all of the above! This afternoon the last of the gang is heading off on vacation and I will have to face the ugly facts!!! My house is a mess...and still decorated for the 4th! Can anyone guess what I will be doing this weekend?

Once everything is once again clean, the late summer decorating will begin....and can autumn be far behind?! Ah, I think I can already feel the slightest crispness in the air - or is that just the A/C I have cranked up because it's 100 degrees in the shade outdoors? Oh well, I can dream can't I? Stay tuned!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

First Stop: The Beach

After we all filled our bellies with lots of delicious breakfast casserole and warm cinnamon rolls, the girls decided it was time to work off a few of those calories. Since Gulfport Beach is literally right outside the gates of Kris' neighborhood, we decided to head there.

Gulfport is a small, sleepy "old Florida" sort of town. Kind of a Key West sort of vibe. I love the feel of it! It is very "chilled out" - but always something going on. On the 4th, there was a classic car show. There were lots of people celebrating the holiday just the way it should be celebrated - family and friend oriented - and this beach is the perfect place to do just that as it is small and safe. Children were in the water, at the playground or digging in the sand. There were lots of large groups picnicing and much laughter and happiness - a mixture of many generations all having fun together! My 2 grandsons made some new friends in minutes and sand castles and tunnels were being dug.

We also happened upon a family sand sculpture contest. I loved the tiki guy above. There were a lot of other good ones but I waited too long to snap my pictures as apparently part of the family fun is demolition when the "judging" is over!

The girls and a few parents got in several heated volleyball games. It's amazing how competitive everyone gets when a volleyball appears.

Papa and Nana found a comfy seat in the shade and alternated between playing in the surf and sand with the little guys or cheering on one side or the other at the volleyball game. It was a truly lovely way to spend a morning and if I lived where Kris does I would get nothing done as I would wile away my days either at this beach or looking at the bay from her house. Always makes me wonder why I continue to live in central Florida but then when the seasons start to roll around, I am truly happy where it can feel a bit more "autumny' or "springy". I'm not totally enamored with tropical plantings. Although they are beautiful to visit, I love my seasonal flowers alot more. Lucky for me, I can visit any time I want! Stay tuned for the rest of our day.