Monday, December 31, 2007


As I was working today on cleaning up the basement, I had an idea. I thought that I might do a little giveaway.
A Blog Redesign Giveaway!
Just for fun! Fixing up blogs isn't something I do on a regular basis but I thought it would be a nice way to spread a bit of cheer.
If you're interested in getting a little help fixing up your blog or starting up a new one or just a fresh look or a new banner, just leave a comment here in the next day. Tomorrow evening, I'll put the names in a bowl and pick out a winner.

shiny new

Here we are on the dawn of a shiny new year, sparkling with promise and brand-spanking newness!

What happy surprises are in store for you this year? How will you grow? How will you face set backs and disappointments? Will you rejoice in the beauty all around you? Will you make time to see it and take part in it? Will you give thanks, even during the most trying times? Will you use your life to connect with others? Will you recognize the beauty that is in you, that is uniquely you? Will you embrace your own style and not be tempted to be a facsimile of someone else? Will you shine?

The year begins fresh and new and so must you. Yesterday doesn't define's the promise of tomorrow and the realness of today.

I wish you all the very happiest of New Years! And most of all, I hope that 2008 is your sparkling year to dare to shine through, leaving a trail of twinkles behind you!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

that was easy!

Can you believe the mess on the left? Jeezy pete! What a disaster!

Oh, but what a nicely organized closet I have now, just an hour or so after the before picture! Can you believe it? Here I am fussing and throwing a little hissy about having to do something that turned out to be not a big deal at all.

Are you wondering what sort of magic trick made all of the stuff on the left disappear? Well, all the scarves and hats and gloves are now in the red bins on the top. (the two left ones are filled to the brim while the one right one has a single pair of gloves and a scarf for sweet Rich who really likes to find his things quickly and easily without having to shuffle through pink fluff to get to it...especially when there's a sidewalk to be shovelled of snow!)

I used all the same sort of nice sturdy wooden hangers that I gathered from all the closets in the house. Coats just need sturdy hangers, don't they?

Lots of stuff, namely the wreath that is shoved in on the right that is faded from the sun and in which a bird tried to make a nest last Spring, really just needed to be tossed. Other things, like a whole bunch of clothes that my 80-year-old friend who is all of 5 feet tall gives me everytime she sees me even though I'm 9 inches taller and gave up acid wash in the 80's along the rest of the world, are getting donated.

You'll be happy to hear that the American flag is more appropriately stored with lots more dignity than it appears in the before picture.
I took the crates of the backissues of the magazine I used to work for down to the basement for storage. Is this something I need to keep forever, I wonder? Maybe so...but not in the coat closet, for Heaven's sake!

On the floor of the closet now I have a big basket of big purses and a small basket of smaller purses. I need to go through these and decide which I can part with but this is for another day. I don't have the heart for it now.

I'm going to rest for a bit longer and then I will tackle my desk and the office with as much zeal and zest as I can muster.

can't I just rest here awhile?

Boy, am I ever tired! Between the rushing to get everything ready and the late nights and then the endless playing with nieces and nephews, I am exhausted.
But, as they say, no rest for the weary. Today, I tackle the coat closet that I never did get to last week. And then the office. Tomorrow, it's me against the basement. And we'll finish up getting all the rooms this weekend. Our inspection for foster care is on January 2nd...which is right around the corner! We still have lots to do but I think we can make it.
I got a new vacuum for Christmas from my brother-in-law, who'd picked my name. I'd asked for a maid but that was outside the budget. This nice vacuum was rated the best by Consumer Reports. I tested it last night and then in true Tom-Sawyer-style I said to Rich "Oh boy! You've got to try this new vacuum! It's so easy and fun and cool!"
It worked like a charm and he vacuumed the rest of the house. I wonder if it'll work a second time...
Hope lots of Christmas magic is still in the air for you. Did you get everything you wished for?
Let me know if you're interested in seeing before and afters of the coat closet. It'll be embarrassing (hopefully just the befores part) but I'm here to serve you. Maybe it'll make you feel better about your own coat closet, which I'm sure is lovely and organized and spacious.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

a very merry!

I wanted to take just a moment to wish you a very merry Christmas, my friends!

Friday, December 21, 2007


We're all busy, right? But procrastination has made me extra busy. Especially today.

On the top of my list is that I need to paint a rocking chair for little Shelby. How in the world did I manage to put this off until now, I'll never know.

It started with Seth. I made a red rocking chair for him when he was 2 with a puppy and his name across the top. Maggie got her chair when she was about 1 1/2. It was sage green with a humpty dumpty painted on the seat and her name across the top.

I was going to wait until next year to make Shelby her chair but it seems she is ready now. She sits in Seth's chair and loves it so much. If Seth sits in his own chair, she tries to push him out. My mother was just telling me this morning how much Shelby is like a little teenager. She rolls her eyes when you tell her no. She scrunches up her nose when you give her food. And she goes around saying everything is "mine! mine! mine!"

On top of painting the rocking chair, I need to prepare a feast for 50 middle-school-aged children for our church's Advent Party tonight. Yikes! I'm making little pigs in a blanket, vegetables and dip, a stack-your-own cracker platter, and cupcakes. I might add some sort of pizza bites or something like that.

I have lots to show and tell. Maybe I'll catch my breath this weekend and give you an update. I'll definitely pop back in to say an official "Merry Christmas" to you.

Wish me luck, will ya?

Monday, December 17, 2007

blog shower, part 2

1, 2, & 3. Pam made us a fabulous book designed to add mementos and journaling and photos to record special moments to come. She also gave us a copy of a book by an author who was her own children's favorite, Jan Brett.

4. Beth made a special fanciful pincushion especially for our little visitors.

5. Stephanie created this delightful assemblage for us.

6. Lisa sent us these really fabulous (and heavy!) wooden blocks for building. Great for any age!

7. Wendy gave us a collection of wall-art flashcards, a cd full of childhood favorites, and a deck of activity cards. What a bundle of fun!

8 & 9. Heidi sent us a copy of the New Testament and a G.I.Joe doll. Her husband was a foster child in the 60's and he remembers with fondness playing with a G.I.Joe doll while he was there. That story made me cry when I read it.

10, 11, & 12. Cindy sent us a copy of her granddaughter's favorite book, the one that landed her the fabulous nickname of "Lovey". She also made two wonderful dolls and the most fabulous tuffet for storytime seating!

13. My friend Debbie's son, one of my favorite people in this whole wide world, returned home from school last week overjoyed. She'd just shared with him the story about what Rich and I are doing. At school that day they'd had a book-share. This sweet little boy picked up an ancient copy of Huck Finn just for us to share with our little friends. What a very good boy he is!

And that's what really astounds us about all of these gifts. You are all so sweet to help us prepare our lives and our homes for this great new adventure. The love pours out of every box we open, every card we unfold.

Before I went to bed last night I read a little of a book by Mother Teresa. I wanted to share with you a passage of what I read:

To children and to the poor, to all those who suffer and are lonely, give
them always a happy smile; give them not only your care but also your heart. We
may not be able to give much, but we can always give the joy that springs from a
heart that is filled with love.

The love and joy you've shared with us in the gifts and stories and encouragement will transfer to these little ones, I promise. It is fortifying for us, preparing us for the work ahead. We will give these children, these little faces that have seen so much already, we will give them our hearts. We will give them joyful smiles. And patience.

Lots of people have expressed worry about will you be able to let them go after you've loved and cared for them. For certain it will be hard. But when I weigh it on an imaginary scale...our heartache at letting them go countered by the gift of love we will give them (that we hope will stay with them always)...well, the choice is ridiculously simple.

God always asks us to do more than we think we can do. He knows best though that we can handle it. I'm putting it in His hands.

We picked up the crib on Friday night (as well as the bookshelves Rich and I are gifting each other with for Christmas!). Here's an update of how the room is looking...

We worked all weekend preparing for the home inspection. I cleaned out all the of the kitchen cabinets and pantry, rearranging and tossing and cleaning. Rich put together the bookshelves and they are now flanking the television in the family room. I've almost filled them with books already. Rich will install the glass doors hopefully tonight and I'll snap a picture soon.

Today I have a whole bunch of orders to go out (Thank you! Thank you!) and then I think I'll tackle the coat closet in the front hall. I'm going to try to tackle one major project per day. Maybe a coat closet doesn't sound major to you but you've obviously not seen our coat closet.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

it's not too late!

More stockings...

And just look at these fabulous mo-made hats!

Find them all, plus some fabulous bags, right here.

Friday, December 14, 2007

new jewels...

Oh phooey on what they say about the early bird and the worm...just look, my pretties, at what you get for waiting until the last possible moment...

All of these can be found here.

Oh, and one more extraordinary piece to bestill your heart...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

a great card...

Okay, so I know it's pretty late in the game...but just in case you plan to give some peeps on your list a bit o' cash or a gift card and are at a lost for how to present's a great idea for you.

This Santa Pop-Up Card allows you to slip either the folded-up bill or gift card under Santa's thumb so it appears he's taking it out of his pocket just for you.

Very cute...and easy on your wallet at just $3 each.

And these little tags are just too darned cute. They'll add a bit of vintage charm to your gift packages.

Click here to order. I'm all caught up with sending out orders. Folks in Washington State and California should allow about 5 business days for delivery. If you live close to me (Virginia) you'll get your order within 2 business days.

blog shower, part 1

The celebration has begun...what wonderful gifts are filling the little ones' room!

1. From Diane, a stripey cat and The Story of Babar

2. From Heather, Guess How Much I Love You and You're All My Favorites

3. From Brooke, Poky Little Puppy, Baby Animals, and a great wooden puzzle

4. From Carol, A Groovy Doll, A crocheted princess doll, a soft book and a book on trains

5. From Corinne, Curious George's Big Book of Curiousity, Green Eggs and Ham, Put Me in the Zoo, Sleepytime Tales from the Little Golden Book Collection, Olivia, Baby Beluga, Gossie, Time for Bed, Wheels on the Bus, The Very Hungry Caterpillar

6. From Debbie, The Cow Jumped Over the Moon

7. From Janey, The Dangerous Book for Boys and The Daring Book for Girls

8. From Lorraine, a puffy soft snowman

9. From Maija, a gift certificate from Janie and Jack

Thank you all so much for all this love!