Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014 in Review

Well I wouldn't be much of a blogger if I didn't do a 2014 wrap up post. So for the 10 of you who read my blog lets take a look back at 2014. **

Leukemia: well this one really sucked. But almost a year later the good news is my numbers look good and the disease is under control. I was also approved for another $15,000 grant for 2015 for my medicine which costs $350 a day (!!!!). Thank God I have health care and they pay for a good portion of it with the grant picking up the rest of the cost. Up until September I was still suffering with the brutal daily side effects of my leukemia medicine. Getting though a day was an accomplishment. But I finally found an equilibrium this fall and was once again interested in life, decorating and crafting. Unfortunately my interest in cooking, cleaning and laundry still remain gravely diminished. :)

I found some wonderful pink Murano lamps and decided to change up the entire house (again). With the thought that life is too short to not do exactly what you want, I'm redecorating in a cottage / shabby chic style using pinks, greens and blues with lots of neutrals and whites. I'm happy to use vintage pieces and quilts to finally (hopefully) express my personality and vision for a calm, soothing, feminine environment.

At the end of May my Son graduated from SCAD with a Bachelor in Fine Arts and I started enjoying my bonus days with him. In September he received multiple job offers and decided to stay in the Chicago area much to my delight. In October he moved out on his own to his first apartment and I tried desperately not to take over and decorate the place. I will admit to gifting him items I think he needs (like pillows for the couch) and suggesting he decide on a color scheme and overall look he wanted but refrained from making him mood boards and shopping lists, ha ha.

I started a new job working with a family with a 10 and 6 year old girl. The kids are nice, the hours are what I need. It seems to be working out.

I am still blessed with a loving family and caring friends and neighbors who really stepped up and helped out when I was at my sickest. And thank you, dear blog readers, for stopping by for my sporadic postings and not complaining when I talk about depressing things like leukemia.

2014 was a challenging year. But I'm hopeful that 2015 will much improved!

** This post went live some places accidentally on 12/24. If you saw it already I'm sorry!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

OMG So much is Happening

Hi there. Sorry about the silence lately. Things have been happening! 

First of all I stopped (again) in the middle of the 30 days of blogging. The funny thing is that I had everything written in a word document and just had to create blog posts. But I didn't get it done. I might do a quick post with all the rest of the blessings just to finish it off. 

My son Forrest has moved out on his own into his first apartment. Such an exciting time for him. I've used this as an excuse to gift him my Crate and Barrel dishes and flatware and purchase new for myself. I'll do a post coming up with what I bought. I'm so happy with it.

My job as nanny for twin 7 year old boys has ended. The family wanted more household help during the day and has decided to hire a full time housekeeper who will also pick the boys up from school in the afternoons. I've been scrambling to find a replacement job. It's a horrible time of year to lose your job with all the holiday expenses. I've got something lined up to start Monday taking care of a 10 and 6 year old girl after school, take them to after school activities, help with homework and get them dinner. I'm nervous about starting a new job, but excited to have employment! It's not as close to home nor are the benefits as nice as my previous job. But I'm happy to have a job doing what I like. 

I've been taking steps to turn my son's bedroom into my sewing room. I need my son to clean out the rest of the stuff he has left behind and either take it, donate it or store it long term in the basement. He's been busy settling into his new job and apartment and life as an adult, but has promised that around Christmas he will help get it done so I can proceed with my sewing room plans. I'm anxious to get my machine set up and get a few projects done. But I haven't forgotten about finishing my bedroom!

I still have Thanksgiving decorations up! I need to get some paperwork done Monday and Tuesday in my free time and then I'll be free to get decorating. I'm just not feeling it again this year. It seems like such high pressure to make things "perfect" when it will only be decorated for 25 days (well only 18 days now). It's only me in the condo. I'm not having any parties or people over. So much work and expense. I think I overwhelm my self with Pinterest and all the possibilities. And you can't read a blog without a Christmas tour of their home and gift guides. Gah! 

As my blog is really a diary for me of changes to my home and things happening in my life, etc I think I'm going to take a few pictures of each room to document where they stand at the beginning of the year. I've made some drastic changes in all rooms but I have a long way to still go. Nothing is close to being finished so I hesitate to post progress pictures. I can *see* what they are going to look like. Just not sure anyone else will be able to. 

So that's whats been up with me. How are you? Are you done decorating for Christmas? Do you feel overwhelmed?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Blessings Day 20 - Craigslist

Another weird one I’m sure. However, almost all of my condo furnishings have come from Craigslist. With a small budget available for decorating it’s my go to source. I eventually find what I’m looking for, for little $$. It might take a while, but the hunt is half the fun.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Blessing Day 19 - Home

My condo is safe and cozy. It’s big enough to meet my needs but small enough to be easy to take care of. It’s got wonderful trees outside. It really fits my simple lifestyle. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Blessing Day 18 - My Dr's.

I have a great care team. They are knowledgeable and caring. They answer all my questions and put me at ease. I’m blessed to have healthcare. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Blessing Day 17 - Music

I played music growing up, the accordion, flute, piccolo, violin. I had lessons for all of them at various time and mastered them. I’m trying to teach myself guitar but am not motivated enough to practice enough to matter.  Any way I have a deep appreciation for music. It can lift me up, bring a smile to my face, get me dancing, bring back memories and generally makes me feel good. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Blessings Day 16 - Financial Stability

I have enough money to meet my needs with a little left over for fun. I live a very simple life by choice. This allows me a lot of free time to pursue things I find interesting. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Blessing Day 15 - Food

OK this might be a little weird, but I volunteer at a Food Pantry and see people who don’t have enough food to eat each week. I’m thankful that I’m able to purchase enough food for myself and my family.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Blessing Day 14 - Neighbors

When the leukemia medicine was making me so sick my neighbors were such a help. One came every morning and walked my dog. For 5 months. Another brought me homemade food many times. I know if I have an issue I can call them for help and they will do whatever they can to help me. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Blessing Day 13 - Reliable Car

Last year I had a 13 year old Saturn. It was a great car. I got to 100,000 miles and started having problems with it. It broke down a couple times and was in and out of the shop. A year ago I bought a new car. I feel so much more comfortable and safe in my new car. With the old one I was always anxious and fearful of being stranded somewhere. Some people take their cars for granted. But every day I feel blessed that I was able to purchase a new, reliable car for myself.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Blessing Day 12 - Work

I have a great job. I work 17 hours a week taking care of twin boys after school. The family is very nice, the boys are fun and generally well behaved, its 10 minutes from my house, I get paid vacation days and holidays. It’s perfect.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Blessings Day 11 - Pets

My pets give me such joy. I have an 18 year old cat and a 10 year old dog. They are always ready for a cuddle. They greet me at the door so happy to see me. No matter how my day was they just want to be with me. Unconditional love. It’s a wonderful thing.

I'm participating in the Nester's 31 days of blogging. I've decided to blog on 31 days of blessings. These are in no particular order. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Blessings Day 10 - Books

I love books. I love my public library. I get interested in a topic and read everything I can find. I discover an author and devour all they have written. Every day I look forward to waking up and having coffee and reading. I schedule trips to the library on my to do list. I love the scent of the library. You know? They way the books smell. Kind of musty and warm. Sounds gross. But its pleasant wandering the stacks seeing whats new. My birthday present is a Kindle. I'm so excited. I can take books with me everywhere and read whenever I have a few minutes.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Blessing Day 9 - Family

I am so blessed to have my family. They have been there for me in tough times and times of joy. It's easy to take them for granted. I don't see them as often as I would like. We're all busy. But it feels good knowing they are there. I think I'm going to make some phone calls!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Blessing Day 8 - Volunteering

I volunteer a couple days a month at a food pantry. I had to stop when the side effects of the leukemia medicine were so bad. But I've started again. I think I get more from volunteering than the people who come to get food. It feels so good volunteering. I like the connections I make with people. I like seeing their smiles and their gratitude for the pantry. I like hearing their stories. I like that some of the regulars give me hugs when they see me. I like the camaraderie with the other volunteers. I like that I'm helping people. It just feels good.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Blessings Day 7 - Fall

I love fall. It's my favorite season. I love the crisp, cool air. The crunching sound leaves make. The way it smells. Wearing sweaters. The way the light shines through changing leaves. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Blessing Day 5 - Birthday Cake

Today is my birthday - 47 years old! There is something about birthday cakes. They just taste much better than regular cake. I think it's the well wishes of family that celebrates with you. Or it can be the candles. Anyway I really enjoy celebrating my birthday. And eating cake!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Blessing Day 4 - Chocolate

Maybe I should have entitled this series Things I'm grateful For. Whatever. Chocolate is a blessing. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Blessing Day 3 - My wonderful son

I am so thankful for my son, Forrest. He is the best part of me. He's funny, smart, caring. I am so lucky to have him in my life. I'm thrilled that he received several job offers and picked the job located in Chicago! In the next couple months he will get an apartment of his own, but be still close by.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Blessing Day 2 - Coffee

I continue my 31 Days of Blessings (in no particular order of importance).

I love my morning latte. My daily schedule allows me to have a wonderful slow, late start to the day. I stay up late and sleep in late. I enjoy my daily coffee. I REALLY enjoy my coffee. I tend to be very grumpy if I don't have it.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

31 Days of Blessings

So this is the 3rd year I'm trying to participate in the 31 days of Blogging thought up by the Nester. In the past I've failed to complete it, only making it to day 15 or so. Blogging every day is hard! So for this time I've thought of something easy. 31 Days of Blessings. Now I know that might not be every ones cup of tea. My son rolled his eyes at me as I told him my topic.

But it's really appropriate this year. What I didn't tell you is that my health scare that I've referenced a couple times was really Leukemia. I was diagnosed with Leukemia in January. So yeah, a scary health scare. Luckily its treatable. And was caught early enough to make a difference. I take a pill every day and it stops the damaged chromosome from producing the cancer. It's a little more technical but basically that. The side affects have been wicked. I am just now adjusting to it and starting to feel "normal" again.

My little daily pill (which I will have to take for the rest of my life) costs about $10,000 a month. I didn't type that incorrectly. My insurance pays a  portion of that but its still a huge financial burden. A social worker in the Cancer Center told me about a non-profit foundation that could help me pay for my life saving medication.

So for my first blessing in my 31 day series 2014 is the Healthwell Foundation and my $15,000 grant for my medication. Truly a blessing.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


Last time I left you I had sold my draper chests and was going to pick up the new dresser / tv stand for the living room. Well, that fell through. The people decided they wanted to sell everything as a set instead of separately. Of course they never called and told me that. I had to call them 4 times prior to the Sunday pickup trying to confirm that we were still on. At the last minute they called back. I had to quickly cancel the van rental and my high school boy helpers to move it into the condo. Bummer #1.

I'm tired that I'm mid decorating in most of my house, AGAIN. How come I keep changing things so radically? I was basically done except for my bedroom. I swear - pinky swear, that this is the last time. When I get a room done I will leave it alone and find something else to spend my time and energy on. Like teaching English as a second language (something I've been wanting to do for a couple years now). or taking a walk, or cooking a good meal. Seriously I spend so much mental time and energy decorating and redecorating spaces but actually accomplishing very little because I can't make up my mind. And really I don't enjoy the process. It's fun to buy new things, but that's about it. So I don't have a decorating problem I have a shopping problem that I then try to make work in my home. (WOW that really caught my attention. Funny what comes out when you sit down to write sometimes). Bummer #2.

A couple more semi-serious health issues have been discovered. Again! How can I be falling apart so much? I'm only 46. I seriously have to focus on being as healthy as I can possible be. Bummer #3.

On a positive note I purchased a couple bundles of dried lavender. The house smells so nice! Lavender is one of my favorite scents. So clean and soothing. If I ever have a yard again I will definitely grow some lavender!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Gone Baby Gone

So this happened

I sold the Dorothy Draper chests. I still really have mixed emotions about it. I loved those chests. I was so excited when I found them. But I wanted something lighter colored but really didn't have the time and energy for a new project to paint them white. And I didn't want to spend the $1000 to re lacquer them. I love the storage they had, and they fit the space nicely. But in the end I sold them for a handsome profit from my $65 Craigs List score (including delivery). 

With the sale I will have enough money to purchase a new dresser (I pick it up Sunday! Fingers crossed its as amazing as its picture since I'm renting a truck and driving an hour to go get it. And its a super bargain), a new loveseat and take care of some necessities like new eye glass.  So yeah, that would have been hard to turn down. 

You also get a sneak peek into other changes going on in the living room. The blue chairs are gone with a pair of pink ones in their place. The chevron rug is gone with a brown/tan hounds-tooth taking its place. That's a cute little needlepoint stool in the center of the picture. 

I finally picked a paint color to paint the living room and dining room. I had 9 different sample colors. I just couldn't find a direction that worked with all the elements. I think over Thanksgiving weekend I'll paint the ceiling and walls. I'll show some pictures after that since it will be a big change and I might have another couple things done also.

But for now I'm really concentrating on my bedroom.That's a whole other post but progress is being made! With the new dresser in place in the living room all the crap that lived in the Dorothy Draper chests will be removed from my bedroom floor and put back where it belongs. Then I can take some progress photos for you. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Bonus Days

My son graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design at the end of May with a Bachelor's of Fine Arts in Digital Media. I'm so proud of him. Since then he's been looking for a job in making video game art and working on his portfolio. Luckily his Dad came thru with a substantial graduation gift so there is no urgency in finding work for awhile.

I consider these my bonus days with him. I know the time he will live at home is limited and can end abruptly at any time (when he finds employment) and I'm trying to enjoy every minute of it.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Living Room and Dining Room Drapes

I bought some fabric for new drapes in the living room and dining room. Its a pretty Waverly print from the 1990's. I found it on Etsy and got 12 yards.  I think its perfect for my romantic country / cottage look I'm decorating with now.

Just to get a feel for how they will look I cut the length of them and hung them with the clip rings in the living room. They are pretty. Not as full as I would like, but I don't have enough fabric for double widths. I won't use these as drapes because I don't need privacy but they will just hang as stationary panels.

I'm going to sew them myself so I am thinking just a straight panel lined, no pleats, and gently pleat them with the ring hooks. I'm not sure though. I'm also thinking of putting a ruffled leading edge and bottom of a green check that coordinates well. On the one hand I think ruffled drapes are terribly out of style. However Miles Redd uses them and they seem classic in his interiors. So I might go for it. I'm going for romantic not grandma style!

One last thing. This fabric is a chintz meaning it has a stiff, glossy finish applied. Part of me wants to wash them multiple times so I have a nice soft fabric. But I do like the chintz look, they just don't lay as well for the relaxed style I'm going for. I wish I had some extra fabric so I could experiment a little.

Are you sewing anything new lately? I think chintz is coming back in style. Would you use it?

Sunday, June 22, 2014

New Living Room Lamps

So you've heard me talk about wanting pink in my home, or trying to introduce some fuchsia a while ago. It never really worked because most of my things were blue, turquoise and green. It just never went together. Well after my health scare I decided life was too short to not do what I want. So I totally changed up my condo. This is the first time ever I'm decorating with only what I want. I've not kept old things because they were in good shape or family antiques or I can't afford to buy new, and decorated around them. Everything was up for grabs and I kept only what I really wanted. Everything else has been sold or moved to the basement awaiting sale.

This pair of  beautiful Murano glass lamps was the jumping off point for the new decor. I bought the pair for $150 on Craigslist. They weren't listed as Murano but I had done my research prior to going to pick them up. Murano lamps are pretty distinctive so I was 98% sure before I went to get them. I kind of felt bad for the lady since I was getting such a good deal. But she was downsizing and happy to have them gone. Even then $150 is usually more than I spend for things.

I intended to purchase and resell them, never thinking to make a drastic decorating change when I bought them. But they sat around my condo waiting for me to resell them. Life happened. And then I thought that I must keep such beautiful lamps. Dare I make the changes necessary to incorporate them? I was both nervous and excited at the prospect of redecorating both color and style-wise!

The picture really doesn't do them justice. They are nice and tall. There are little bubbles of silver in the glass. The way the light plays off the layers in the glass is stunning. So pretty! The shades mimic the ribbed effect the middle glass orb has. They are the prettiest lamps I've ever seen. Totally worth redecorating the living room around them!

More changes to come!

Monday, June 16, 2014

I've Gone Cottage!

Hi friends, sorry for the radio silence. I had a health scare at the beginning of the year and am just now finding my equilibrium again. One of the things that came from it is a sense that time is limited and I should be doing exactly what I want because one never knows.

So I went cottage! I took stock of what I want my home to be like and I wanted to use my vintage pieces and quilts. I wanted some rustic furniture and PINK. Every room in my condo has been under going a transformation. It all started with some gorgeous Murano lamps I purchased on Craigslist and snowballed from there. I still have some painting, drapes to make and general tweaking before I show off the final product. But I will be sharing snippets in the weeks to come.

This is the imaginary place that I now live. I haven't moved. Just changed my mindset. I can't have this but I can create this same feeling. I can't wait to share the changes!
And you might have noticed some changes to the blog. Of course I had to redecorate it also. There are still things to be done but I'll be updating it over the next few days. I apologize if things look wonky for a bit in the process.