decorating with dodi

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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Spring Glorious Spring!

As I mentioned in my last post, we are having the most beautiful spring I can remember in many years. The only thing missing is rain and when you live in Florida, rain water is really important so I have been spending much of my time out in the gardens making sure all of my new plantings manage to stay alive. Of course, while I am out there, I begin to notice all of the details that need attention. Good thing I love being out there, as there are many details crying out about now!

I have decided that this is the year to re-do the pool decking and even though I have done it before, I have now decided to leave it to a contractor friend of ours. The last time I did the deck, I didn't go as dark as my gut told me to go, so this time I chose a fairly dark taupe called mocha. It matches the design in the pool detailing and most of our new cushions not to mention the stucco on the house so I think I am going to be happy. And, while the guys are here, they are going to pressure clean the roof of my gazebo and clean my gutters. These are both usually my jobs and I really enjoy doing them as I get some immediate gratification but my ophthalmologist thinks the infection I had in my eyes last year may have come from the bacteria thrown about as I did these things and would rather I leave them to someone else this year. It is hard for me to let go of some things but I have had a long journey with my eyes and we still aren't back to normal so "let go" I must!!

As you will see, I went simple with my spring decor this year-mostly lots of green and garden feel. It was a simple transition from Easter and will be with us until I decorate for the 4th of July in early June.

Since I had gone on a bird nest kick last year I went ahead and used them again also.

It has been a busy week. Got to spend time with the 3 youngest grand kids and go to a few school events. I've got pictures to share, but the above view is calling right now so I am going to pour a glass of wine and grab a book and head outside once again. The rest will have to wait until the next post. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

What a Weekend!

My hubby was feeling good enough that we took off for the weekend. Our 2nd oldest grand daughter turned 14 and was being confirmed all in the same week and we didn't want to miss it! Off to St. Pete we went. We had some much needed rain on Saturday and it brought in the most glorious weather we have had in a long time. It was cool in the evening and then hovering around 70 degrees with a mild breeze all day long. The sky was the purist blue without one cloud. It was the kind of weather where you truly couldn't get enough!!!!

On Saturday we celebrated Caitlin's birthday. Now that the girls are older, money is always the gift of choice. They are always saving for something special and it is really what they prefer. In the olden days, I always thought money was a "thoughtless" gift. A gift where you might not have taken the time to come up with something the recipient might really want. I NO LONGER feel that way but I like to come up with a fun way to present the money if I can.

Enter Pinterest. I saw a pin for this Kleenex box gift of money and knew it would be perfect for a teenager. I taped all of the bills together and then attached them to a note that said "don"t BLOW it all in one place". Here Caitlin is just reading the note and trying to think what may come next.

Here she has started to pull out the bills and has caught on to what is happening.

And here she is with all of her loot. It was a fun way to present a gift and I think Caitlin would agree, a fun way to receive a gift. This lucky girl was getting confirmed the next day so when her "birthday" was over, we went on to gift her for confirmation as well.

Here she is with her confirmation class, both pastors and class sponsors. It was a beautiful service. The confirmands and their families were called up on the altar one by one where the ceremony took place. Believe me, more than one of us people in heels wondered how we would do on those steps, but the service went off without a hitch-or a tumble thank goodness!

Caitlin surrounded by one proud family. And, once again I am reminded of the tradition of these things. My husband and I did this same thing so many years ago as did Caitlin's mom and dad and in four more years, so will her sister, Olivia. Once again, another tie that binds. It was a wonderful day-I love tradition!

After the ceremony we headed to an eclectic restaurant in Gulfport. I have blogged about Gulfport before. I love that little town. It is very artsy-very old Florida. We had a wonderful brunch and then headed home for a relaxing day of doing nothing! We did fit in a movie or two but the weather was so gorgeous that we spent much of the day watching the sea life in the water from the second story screen porch.

And that is where hubby and I spent a good bit of Monday as well until we finally pried ourselves out of there and headed home.

We did take a bit of a detour and stopped at my new favorite shopping destination, The Shoppes at Wiregrass for a lovely lunch (outdoors of course) and a visit to a few of my favorite stores! Isn't it great when days come together like this! Guess I had better get back to reality. The house is decorated for spring and I will get busy showing you what I have done soon-I promise. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

When Last Seen...

I just realized that I have never gotten back to my kitchen re-do. This is what my kitchen looked like when last seen in this blog. Remember, it was dark and fake! Fake wooden cabinet doors with that lovely avocado green detailing and fake brick back splash. And, for some reason, I had changed the knobs to the colonial white porcelain. It was my version of country in a decidedly Spanish feeling kitchen.

So here we are with the kitchen underway. We have already removed the old vent hood, had the cabinet trimmed (isn't it ironic that I am now thinking of having that "cropped" cabinet replaced with a full sized one and pushed up to the ceiling giving that uneven cabinet top edge that I now love so much-but, I digress) and had a built-in microwave installed, bought white appliances and added the white tile back splash and countertops.

I have also started the single most labor intensive job I have ever undertaken-the refinishing of the cabinets.

Now remember, I did this re-do many years ago. Long before every blog talked about kitchen remakes and every paint store carried multiple "miracle" products for re-doing ugly laminate cabinets.

My cabinets were well made so I knew that any work I put in this project would be around for a long time to come but being a "yesterday" kind of girl, you must know up front that preparation is really not my thing. I am much more apt to dive in and pay the price later.

In any case, as I stood lamenting my horrible kitchen one day with the paint guy at Lowes, he told me about a new (back then) product called "Cabinet Rescue". It is a primer for laminate so it will then accept paint. And that was all I needed. As I have said in the past, my husband always says he doesn't care what I tackle if it doesn't cost him anything and I don't need his help. I knew I had to somehow cover up that hideous carved detail on my cabinet doors but when I priced even the least expensive molding, it would have been a bit more than I thought I could squeak by. And that is how I ended up with simple lathing strips. They were the right size to cover all of the carving and I could use straight cuts instead of mitered.

Of course, my project budget had already gotten a bit out of hand when I decided I needed to buy myself a miter saw even though I wasn't doing mitered cuts for this project. The hope was always that I could some day add other moldings to these doors and perhaps have more nooks and crannies in which a chocolate glaze could settle.

And so the project began. I tried to do things right-at least as right as I was willing to do- so I started with the top cabinets, removed the doors, numbered them, sanded, sanded and sanded some more and painted. Lots of rolling with a small, foam roller. The Cabinet Rescue went on very nicely and since I could get it tinted to the white I wanted, I actually used it for my top coat as well.

This was a big project! I have a lot of cabinets even though my kitchen isn't that large. I took my time and let everything cure the way I wanted. I used Liquid Nails for the trim and put in a few thin finishing nails on each piece for good measure.

Then I rehung everything. I used the original hinges (which I have since replaced with brushed nickel hinges) but once again, new hardware.

At this time, I also decided that I liked the "furniture look" for some of the kitchen, so I added the posts along the oven sides and the ball feet under the sink unit. I also had the crown molding added along the top of the cabinets for a more finished look and added a wooden embellishment on the valance over the sink. And I guess by this picture, we had now had the sky light and dome lights added.

And then I did the impossible! I convinced my husband that we simply had to add a pantry to this space. We had one made that looked just like the cabinets I had just produced. I added several pull-out units to the pantry and have room to store all of our food stuff which opens up all of our other cupboards for storage of plates, glasses, pots and pans, serving pieces etc. And still, stuff falls out every time someone opens a door. Perhaps I just have too much stuff!!!

In any case, my kitchen stayed like this for a few more years before I changed a couple of other things. But that is for another post Stay tuned.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Well, we made it again!!! Not in quite the same way that we have done in the past, but make it we did none the less. Our whole family was there! We were there to support our grand daughter Caitlin - an almost 13 year survivor of liver cancer - and our daughter Becky - a 4 month survivor of Hodgkins Lymphoma. And, yes, we were there to support ourselves and everyone else who has lived through hearing the "horrible diagnosis" given to someone they love!

The Relay for Life is a wonderful event that we have done as a family team (Caitlin's Crusaders) ever since Caitlin was first diagnosed. Most years we do it BIG and really go for it. My husband has been the number 1 individual fund raiser every year we have participated and our team has won many awards. But that is really not why we do it. All of the competition is wonderful to get everyone motivated (and it does feel good to "win" recognition now and then) but everyone there is really doing it all to hopefully make a difference to help find a cure! It is truly uplifting to meet others going through the same adventure as you and your family and share stories of love and triumph!

This year was a different year for our family. Between my daughter's diagnosis in early September and my husband's health issues the last few months, I wasn't sure how our family would be able to participate. But Becky and Hannah decided we needed to be a team this year more than ever and pushed us on. They didn't want to give up and so by some miracle, we were all able to be there and share in the joy of the Relay once again. We didn't do a decorated site this year as the planning and preparation for that takes many months but we gathered together, made our donations, walked the laps, shed a few tears but many more laughs and vowed to be back next year in FULL FORM!

The Relay is set up for a good time as well as some education and inspiration thrown in and I always love to see the way the cousins enjoy each other.

Our reason to relay-Becky and Caitlin.

I know it looks like a lot of our relaying involved food - and it did- but it was all bought from the different sites and was part of their fund raising so it was all for a good cause-ha-ha! Besides, we NEED all of that sugar for energy to keep walking!

And that brings me back to the title of today's post. Tradition. It is a word that I use often. I even joke about being buried by the amount of tradition we have in this family. But make no mistake about it, I would not have it any other way. As I read everyone else's blogs about Easter (and yes, St. Pat's, Valentines, etc.) I take great comfort in the fact that so many of us are doing the same things every year, over and over. Sometimes I wonder why we don't mix it up a bit but then I realize....tradition is what keeps us all somehow linked together. It is what takes the grand parents' memories of childhood and passes them to their children and, if you are lucky enough, your children's childhood memories passed on to their children. It grounds us. It makes us know that even in this ever-so-fast changing world we live in, not everything has to change. And so we dye and hunt eggs, make frilly hearts, carve pumpkins and trick-or-treat, etc. It just feels good and is the stuff from which memories are built!

And so, I will very soon take down my Easter decorations and put up my next tradition-spring. Away will go the bunnies and eggs and out will come the birds and nests. And I will once again take comfort in tradition and feel a part of the community of "traditionalists" - and what is wrong with that? Stay tuned.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Spring has Sprung!

I am still finding it hard to believe that a few more holidays have slipped through our family's fingers. Spring is a very busy time for our family and hardly a weekend goes by without some sort of celebration. This obviously happens to us every year, but still I am always taken aback. Seems like I kind of get on auto pilot and then one day I look back and I have lived through it all. Now, I don't mean to sound like I don't enjoy every minute of the madness-I do! I just marvel at how quickly it all goes and then - poof- it is behind you.

We had a wonderful Easter weekend this year although we missed our oldest daughter and her family. They had just returned from 9 days in Europe for spring break and had much to catch up on before school resumed again on Monday. Since they had such a wonderful vacation, we weren't feeling too sorry for them!

We spent most of Saturday in and around the pool and in preparation for Easter - mainly decorating eggs and eating lots of goodies.

This is the only shot I got of some of our eggs. The kids all had a great time this year and a number of eggs were eaten before the dye had even dried!

My youngest daughter made this delicious cheese "carrot". She found the recipe on Pinterest. If I knew how to link you up I would, but I now have the recipe on my Easter board so you can find it by following the button on this blog. We had lots of appetizer goodies through the day and then a simple dinner of subs, chips and salads. Everything we could either make ahead or just purchase so no one had to spend time in the kitchen-it was far too beautiful outside for that!

Of course we had the obligatory egg hunt. It never fails to amaze me how much the kids always love this!

We also had another momentous occasion on Easter Sunday. Our oldest grand daughter, Hannah, turned 16!!! Talk about time passing in the blink of an eye!!! I am hard pressed to believe that it has been 16 years already but when I start to remember ALL of the magical moments we have spent together, I am in awe that we have squeezed them all in to only 16 years!!!

Our beautiful, sweet "queen of 16"!

Presley wanted to make sure Hannah looked good for her close-ups!

Most of Hannah's gifts involved reading lots of notes full of happy memories.

And most of her gifts involved money. Here she heads out on her own special egg hunt to find gifts from Mom and Dad. Lots of cash to now add to that much longed for "first car". Yikes!!! I have known it was coming ever since she got her learner's permit but somehow I was able to push it out of my mind. No longer! It will happen sooner than I am able to comprehend. Watch out world....Hannah is on her way. I am already missing my sweet little one but so proud of the beautiful, intelligent young woman she has become. She has much to offer and I know she will make her mark!!

Hope everyone else had as wonderful a weekend as we did. I will be thinking of spring decorating and gardening soon. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Easter Snippets

Today I am just showing you some close-up, snippets of my Easter decorating this year. Nothing grandiose. Mostly just simple things I had around stuck into something that "says" Easter and I called it a day.

This has been a funny year. I always decorate for Easter but because of the religious nature of the holiday, I usually find myself going a little more natural and not so "cutesy" as I may on other holidays. Also, we are always in Gainesville for this holiday. With my husband's surgery this year, we decided to stay closer to home-meaning my house! I really can't believe I am not stressing about how much I haven't done, but I am not. The girls and I are just beginning to formulate the menu and activities but if they don't all come to fruition that will be O.K. too.

I guess I am realizing that the best part of a family holiday is the family. The rest is just icing on the cake. I haven't stepped foot on a store forever, haven't bought (or even thought about) the first gift and cleaning the house is so far down the list that I feel silly even mentioning it. Yet I am so excited about this weekend. My house will be open to all family and extended family-and pets. I hope we fill it to the rafters with love and laughter! That is so all that really counts and we are so grateful for all of the support, thoughts, prayers and help we have received to get to this point!

We will have a very blessed Easter and hope you will too. Enjoy the snippets.