decorating with dodi

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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Giving Myself the Green Light!

Can you tell I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel for "green" references. Any way, we are now in the living room. The above vignette is my PB area. I love all things PB and this pretty much says it all. Again, I seem to have gone mostly "green" with a few St. Pat's things squeezed in.

I still love this leprechaun's hat craft that the kids and I made many years ago. I put it on a candle stick to give it a bit more presence on the sofa table. You will see why it needed more presence when you look at the next picture.

I have once again decided to leave out my rustic box with no idea what I would do with it. The lights are still in it so it looks pretty at night and the candles are switched to green (has anyone else noticed how hard it is to find St. Pat's green candles? Most of the ones I can find are either more avocado or this pale green or lime. If you have found a source, please let me know-but, I digress) but the fresh herbs or green plants haven't happened yet making this a pretty motley looking area during the day. I will try to get right on it but I won't hold my breath!

Hope everyone is having the same breath-taking weather that we are. I spent most of the day outside and am about to pour a glass of wine, grab my book and head out by the pool. The leaves are coming down like crazy but after a quick blow off, the patios still look alright so I am off before that changes and I find myself working again. Just made a new St. Pat's banner so there will be more to come soon. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

It IS Easy Being green... least it is if you live with me! Green really is my favorite color! In all things! It is really my neutral. As I was decorating for St. Patrick's Day this year, I realized that all things green going out would now pretty much be out in my house until I go to orange and black for Halloween. Some of it may take a back seat when 4th of July comes out but most of the "green neutrals" will be my backdrop through decorating for Easter, spring, summer and even the beginnings of autumn decorating.

Now, I will admit to probably having more actual St. Pat's decor than the average person. I LOVE St. Patrick's Day. I will celebrate it whether I can drag anyone else into it or not! I sometimes feel that in a prior life, I must have lived in Ireland-ha-ha. Everything about it calls out to me and I think I would never leave home if I lived in an old stone house with sheep grazing out in my verdant pastures-but, I digress.

So, as I decorate for this holiday, I start by building a backdrop of green-candles, plants, ceramic and dish ware, etc. Then, I nestle in the shamrocks, leprechauns, etc. I love the bells-of-Ireland flowers and will be heading out to see if I can't find more this afternoon. And, of course, I love my pictures. I will do anything-I have no shame-to get the kids into some kind of green gear for this year's pictures. If it takes the props that I own, I am not above it. And, we will have to fit in a green meal or two!

I am still tweaking a few things, but let's get started in the family room. There are slight changes from last year-see if you can spot them. I am still planning a trip to McIntosh and possibly "The Barn" so I might find some new treasures before March arrives!

As you can see, things were kept pretty natural in this room. Just lots of green with a few "St. Pat's" thrown in. It is a very peaceful feel-kind of like being just outside the door in the garden....but way better because right now the garden is still showing the effects a just a few cold nights and not very "peaceful" to me because I know how much work there is to do once I get started! Out of town for a few days but then we will continue the tour-stay tuned.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Now It's Official!

Valentine's Day is over! It was wonderful this year but I have milked it for all I can get and, sadly, tomorrow the decorations will all come down. But, on the happy side, St. Pat's will now go up and I love the "wearing of the green" for my house even more!

I shared with you that my daughter had a dream come true for her 40th birthday-she got to swim with the dolphins. Look at that smile. She was in heaven and I am so happy for her!

That all happened on the weekend of her real birthday. This weekend, my other two daughters, sister-in-law and I celebrated her birthday with a girls' weekend and 40 gifts for 40 years. Each gift was meant to spur a cherished memory of Becky for the giver. We all approached it in our own ways which made for an afternoon of much talking and remembering- and a little wine drinking too! It was wonderful to have all of our memories jogged as someone recalled something from the past that we may have forgotten. Many of us included pictures as we reminisced about "big hair", certain name brand fashions, vacations, etc. My youngest daughter compiled a CD with the top song of the week every year on Becky's birthday and remembered how we couldn't wait to get home from church and breakfast every Sunday as we listened to Casey Kasem's Countdown. As the "mom", it was fun to see the things the girls remembered the most fondly-and, as we all come to know as we get older, it is most often the little things that mean the most when we think back! Becky was reminded of so many things: poignant, embarrassing, funny, loving, etc. I think she was a bit overwhelmed. It is always humbling to find out just how much we really mean to those who love us in this crazy world we live in...and always so nice to be reminded of this!

Some of the aftermath about half way through.

My sister-in-law came up with a Jeopardy game using facts from Becky's life. It was hysterical to hear some of our questions to her answers. My girls always spent a week in Gainesville with my brother and sister-in-law every summer so many "secrets" got revealed-like the apple toss game and ducks being invited into the apartment...all under my brother's supervision while my sister-in-law was at work. And, oh yes, the time they went up a mountain way too large to really climb and saw "puppies" on the trail on the way down-only to find out that said puppies were really bear cubs! And the time they went white water rafting. And the time they had to evacuate Cape Cod just minutes ahead of a hurricane. And....well, you get the idea. No wonder they always loved going with Uncle Joel and Aunt Cyndi! So many life experiences that they never would have had if they hung with boring old Mom and Dad!

Becky got many, many thoughtful, loving gifts but the winner had to be the life quilt made by my sister-in-law. She still needs to put it together but we were speechless as to the meanings of every block in this quilt. She truly captured every highlight of Becky's life in fabric-right down to the cheerleading competitions at Sea World. Now where in the world did she find these fabrics! What a true labor of love!

So now, Becky is officially 40 and we move on to the next birthday-Harrison turns 7 next week. Spring hits our family pretty hard with birthdays, but we love it. Sometimes we party hard and other times we keep it simple but each and every one of us always knows that we belong to a very special family. We are always there for each other and we always know how much we are loved!

Tomorrow I bring out the green! Stay tuned.

Friday, February 17, 2012

"Sweets for the Sweet"

I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine's Day. This post wasn't meant to be about how I celebrated but I find I must add a side note or two. Don't you just love it when you have your day pretty much planned out and then life hands you a detour?!

When these things have happened to me recently, the detours have been places I would rather have avoided-like my daughter's lymphoma diagnosis or the emergency surgery on grand daughter #1 last week. But, this week I got steered to a happy place.

I know I have posted how my youngest daughter and her family have recently moved back here to her home town and how I am still learning to wrap my head around it. Imagine my surprise as I was sitting in the hairdresser's chair on Feb. 14 when my daughter and her 2 youngest rounded the corner to tell me that they had just made an offer on a new house and how they would love to have hubby & me join them for dinner that night. We had had our dinner out the night before as we are old and not so much into the crowds that this day usually brings. Come to think about it, we've really never enjoyed eating out on Valentine's Day because of the waits, gouging prices, etc. But, again, I digress.

We delivered our gifts, heard all about school parties and the new house and had the most wonderful, homemade dinner. It was a totally unexpected end to the day but it truly couldn't have been any nicer and we were honored that they shared this special day with us. Thanks Jen!

And now, back to the real reason for the post. I am not much of a cookie person but there are a few times a year I will make cookies to give as gifts. Since I had a hair appointment on Valentine's Day, I figured I would whip up something to take in to share with everyone. I went to my trusty Pinterest board and found 3 things I have never made before.

The first are called Triple Chocolate Cookies although they really have 4 kinds of chocolate: cocoa, semi sweet chocolate chunks, dark chocolate chips and cherry flavored M&Ms. They are a Brownie type cookie and good if you like chocolate-I don't. But, I think the cherry flavored M&Ms taste like cough drops so if I make them again, I will use regular Valentine M&Ms or the raspberry M&Ms that daughter found and left on my night stand at her house for me on this week's trip to G'vlle. They are yummy if raspberry is one of your favorite flavors as it is mine!

The second is a Pink Chocolate Chip. If you think about it, the only way you can keep a chocolate chip cookie pink would be to eliminate the brown sugar and this recipe does just that. It is more a shortbread chocolate chip and you can really taste the butter, so I like this one.

The last things on the plate are the Rolo Pretzels. They were super easy and taste like a Turtle candy. I got over 200 repins on this recipe so I guess lots of people were trying it this holiday!

The other thing I made is an old tried and true. It is Red Hot Popcorn and the hardest part of this recipe has become finding the red hot candies. It really is a fool proof recipe and so good. I usually bag it up in cellophane bags and add a pretty Valentine tag. This is a picture from last year's batch because the popcorn was all out of the house this year before I remembered to take a picture.

I am off to do some cooking and cleaning for Girls' Weekend. I am so excited!!! I can't wait!!!! I hope I will be back soon with lots of pictures but if not, I will definitely have many stories to tell! Stay tuned.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Even though today is Valentine's Day, I am still seeing things I like and if they are quick and easy, I am apt to give them a try. I found this banner download at "The Scrap Shoppe" blog and it was kind of a no brainer. I simply downloaded it, printed it, cut it out, punched holes and strung. Since I still had this window frame sitting around looking for its new home, I strung it across the front and propped it up on the "garden" themed Valentine mantle.

I know a lot of you are wondering why I would still be tweaking with Valentine's Day upon us but since I am hosting my daughter's birthday weekend this coming week and I have a "calendar full" week this week, I won't have time to get my Valentine stuff down before everyone arrives, so it will be up for about another week. With that being the case, I figured if I saw something I wanted to try, I would give myself permission.

I am also using any free time I have to get a few batches of cookies and some "red hot" popcorn made to use as gifts tomorrow. Three of the four recipes are new and came from Pinterest so I will let you know how they turn out.

With 7 grandchildren, we get many "gifts of the heart" and they are my favorite. I love the things that they make by themselves and the looks of pride their faces carry as they burst through the front door and proudly present their latest creation. And, I ALWAYS find a place to display my treasures. Sometimes finding "just the right spot" is a bit more challenging than other times, but find one I always do. The above heart was made for us by Hudson and presented with several beautiful Valentine bookmarks that his brother and sister helped with as well. Whenever Hud presents me with something, I always ask where he would like to see it displayed and he always knows just the right spot. This beautiful treasure now sits right atop my large bowl of pinecones gathered from the front of Morgan's school (much to her embarrassment and one of the reasons I am now known as "Nana Pinecone" amongst her friends-but that is another story!). He made it all by himself thanks to the self-stick fun foam and I couldn't love it more! It will be out again for many years to come and I hope he always remembers how special all of these things are to us as the years go by!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Kitchen Makeover

I have been going through a lot of old pictures lately in preparation for my middle daughter's birthday surprises. I love all of the good memories those images evoke, but there are some scary images as well. Most of the scary ones involve hair, fashion or decorating!

When we bought the house we are still living in, it was brand new. Unfortunately, we made the final decision to purchase after the builder had already cemented in his design ideas. He did let us pick carpeting and a few colors, but, alas, not the things that would be inexpensive to change. So, I made the best of it for a number of years. The design was a bit off what I would have chosen although, to be honest, my choices right now would be nothing like my choices would have been back then either and I'm sure I would have had to do lots of redecorating in any case.

I thought it might be fun to give you a glimpse of how things have changed as time-and a lack of new seasonal and decorating posts-permits. Since I found a few kitchen photos, we will start there.

I don't have any kitchen per se shots. Let's just say that with a job, many volunteer responsibilities and raising 3 little girls, I really didn't have any reason to just take pictures of the rooms in my house. So, please look beyond the people in these pictures (sorry Becky & Jen) to the surroundings-and after you ask the same question I am asking..."what WAS she thinking?"

Now, from this picture, I know we have already lived in the house a number of years as we bought this house the year Jennie was born and she's a teenager in the photo. I know I must have made my share of changes over the years but they would have been just small changes-perhaps the dreaded wallpaper border or chicken coop shelf(I was primitive country back then after all)-but quite frankly, my memory is a bit shady B.P. (before photos).

My cabinets started out as walnutty brown formica with an avocado green carved detail in a Spanish inspired design. In all of these photos it appears I have already gone over the green carvings with a different color paint to try to rid this room of some of the avocado!Spanish so doesn't fit in with the lovely pig and cow design I had going. The appliances and countertops were all avocado green as well.

In the above transformations, I had already discovered Z-Brick. I remember seeing it in a magazine but this is way before the big box home stores of today. When I found these gems at a local hardware store, I was beside myself! And, I must say, they really did give the feel and look of real brick. I had fun installing them and loved them for many years.

The green appliances went first. They were replaced first with white then black and lastly stainless steel. I still love the stainless but must admit to now thinking possibly about a new French door refrig. We shall see. I still totally love my dishwasher and double ovens-so genius because I very often cook needing 2 different temperatures-well, not VERY often but often enough. Okay, okay, at least for Thanksgiving and Christmas but with just two of us in the house these days, we use the small oven so often and it doesn't heat up the house nearly as much.

After the appliances changed, I finally convinced my husband that we just couldn't live with those avocado green couners one more minute! In my infinite wisdom, I decide to go with white tile on the counter and backsplash. I think I just wanted the biggest change I could come up with. We found a good handy man and had him install the new counters and backsplash as well as adding a skylight to the kitchen. Our kitchen is actually in the middle of our house so it was quite dark even without that hideous green. The above picture shows the white counters and the start of my cabinet transformation. I had forgotten that I had the old exhaust hood removed, the cabinet shortened and the microwave installed. I am now sorry that I didn't just have that cabinet pushed up to the ceiling. I would have kept more storage and I like the look of the uneven cabinet tops. Maybe a project for the near future?

I forgot the first big change to this room. It was originally a kitchen/dining combo but when we enclosed our garage to make a new family room, we moved the dining room to the old familyroom and had a new bar and counter added to the kitchen. We then had some new cabinets and storage added at the other side of the bar. Are you beginning to see how we have over built for our area? Oh well, I love my house and am perfectly happy top live here forever.

The best change in this room came in the change of the cabinetry but that is another long story so it will be part 2. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


It was chilly and dreary today so the Valentine lights cast a really warm glow throughout the house. I tried to capture the feel but I am just not that good a photographer. I am sure my camera could capture the glow I wanted to show you, but I bet you would have to move the dial off of the "dummy" side and I am so not ready for that! Just trust me that the glow today was different from the way these lights look at night and it made me even happier not to have to leave the house.

And, as if that didn't make it all good enough, I got to babysit my 2 youngest grandchildren for a few hours and we had so much fun. Somehow when they are here I don't care in the least that I am not accomplishing anything other than spending time with them! So many wonderful giggles and smiles!

I finally filled the wooden box with something "valentiney". Had actually thought about flowers with lights but I am not the biggest fan of artificial flowers and real ones would have been impractical. I have a lot of old Valentines so I simply placed them in there and then interspersed the white lights. I really kind of thought this would be a temporary fix but after I did it (and quite honestly just never came up with anything better), I decided that I liked it.

Need to get started on my food gifts in the next day or two so stay tuned.

I'm Just "Saying"

We would have a hard time celebrating Valentine's Day in our house without conversation hearts. We don't eat them but be sure love them for decoration! When the kids were over at my house making their conversation heart candies, I threw in another craft project I saw on Pinterest-conversation heart magnets.

Let me preface this by saying that if you head to my Pinterest board to get these instructions you may want to avoid the recipe for air dry dough given and use one you have had success with instead. I went with the recipe given and followed the directions to a T but the "dough" was very gooey and hard to work with. It also "wept" water for quite some time making it more like "slime" instead of "play dough". The kids would cut a perfect heart and the minute they would pull off the cookie cutter it would begin to morph into some unknown shape. They thought it was a hoot and we kind of went with it until we could finally get the dough to hold a "sorta" heart shape.

We then used my metal letter stamps for the sayings. It wasn't until way after the fact that I realized we would have been more successful if I had given them my slightly larger individual letter stamps. I think the words would have been much more visible but then again, maybe little finger muscles couldn't have gotten full words to fit with larger stamps. In any case, it really didn't matter as the end result was no where near as important as the process getting there. They had fun!

After they dried-which quite frankly seemed to take forever-I gave them a quick coat of matte sealer and added the magnets to the back. The kids gave them out this weekend as favors at their Aunt Becky's 40th birthday party and were so proud of themselves-and everyone loved them.

Note to self:clean those finger prints off your refrig! Why don't I ever see these things in real life? It takes a photo on my blog to get me moving-maybe....

Just a few pictures to show from the party. Becky had been whisked away by her husband and children on Saturday morning. It was a total surprise for her as they headed to one of her favorite spots-Palm Coast Resort- and then on to a life-long dream of hers. She got to swim with the dolphins at Marineland. The pictures and video show a smile on her face that I will never forget. She was in heaven on earth and loved every minute of it! What a perfect gift for such a special occasion and for someone who has been through ALOT these last few months. It gave her a much needed opportunity to not think about anything else going on in her life and truly just enjoy the moment-and boy, she sure did!

They got back into town on Sunday afternoon and the rest of the family was all there to surprise her again. We chose to keep this celebration low key so that the guest of honor could just enjoy and not try to jump back into her "hostess with the mostest" mode as we knew she would try to do. We kept the decorations very minimal also. I was going to make a birthday banner but then got the idea to do a photo banner instead. I hustled a bit and found as many of her "blowing out the candles" pictures over the years as I could. One more note to self:this is exactly the reason that you MUST find time to get your photos better organized-although it was fun going back through sooooo many photos to find just the ones I needed. What were we thinking with the clothes and hairdos back then? But, I digress!!

The banner did exactly what I thought it would. It stirred so many memories for everyone and lots of good, family conversation! Especially from the honoree who kept saying "darn I was a cute kid"-ha-ha!

My youngest daughter was the one who thought of the kind of old-world, Tuscan sort of feel for decor. She had a vision for the flowers. I am NOT a flower arranger so my only contribution was the wide choice of containers at my house. Jennie arrived on Saturday evening with a huge armload of flowers and a bottle if wine. Let's just say we needed both! But, some 3 hours later, she had one very large, beautiful arrangement ( and a smaller one too). Just wish I could show you how beautiful they were. Should have taken pictures right then and there. But, alas, I didn't. Let me start by saying it really wasn't my fault! This was a HUGE arrangement and I drive a sedan. I will spare you the the long, sad story. Just know that when I took them out of my car in Becky's driveway, the flowers were no longer an arrangement and were now back to their original state of being armloads of flowers.

Jennie arrived soon after and did her magic for the second time but with the floral foam no longer in a solid piece, it was a difficult challenge. They looked beautiful once again-just not as beautiful as they began- but the party went on as planned. It was a wonderful way to celebrate a wonderful woman, wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, teacher......We love her and hope she felt special on her special day.

And, her celebration isn't over. Later this month we are having "girls' weekend" where we will gather to honor her once again. I guess we have established yet another family tradition. When my oldest daughter hit 40, we were looking for a special gift for her and since we couldn't top the gorgeous ring her husband was giving her we decided to go for memories. We got a suite at the Don Cesar and feted her with 40 gifts-each serving as a memory starter. Some were funny, some were poignant, some were embarrassing, etc. but all were full of love. We doled them out over the course of the weekend so we could have lots of time to reminisce and laugh, cry etc. We all loved it-as did everyone else we came in contact with that weekend as we shared our story with everyone. That was actually how we got the suite upgrade. Never-the-less, we had so much fun we had to do it again. I have some doozies for Becky and will try to keep some of them a bit obtuse so she has to spend some time trying to think of what I may be remembering about her. It will be fun.

Daughter #3 turns 40 next year-guess I better start thinking again! Stay tuned.