Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year! (and my favorite project of 2013)

There have been lots of little projects around here that I haven't blogged about, but I thought I'd share my very favorite big project of the year (our only big project, in fact): the basement.

You know what I love MOST about our basement redo?


It doesn't look like a basement. It's bright and cheerful and warm and cozy.
And my girls actually have a place to hang out when friends come over.

Here's a glimpse of the bathroom.





 This was the original sofa. I had it slip-covered many years ago. The family portrait you see was done in chalk by my middle daughter.



Here's the new sofa and slipcover I purchased from IKEA for a steal. It was a seriously good deal, and thus far it's held up nicely. I've washed one cushion cover, and it turned out just fine.



Bookshelves and storage galore—yippee! We had these built over the summer. I was skeptical about making such an investment in a basement, but I'm so glad I did. It really was the difference between feeling and looking like a basement and feeling and looking like an inviting space.


American flags painted by my girls at art camp a few summers ago.





Never thought I'd say I like hanging out in my basement, but I do! I also love that we can all use this space comfortably for family movie night.


Here's to a healthy, happy, prosperous New Year! I can't wait to get the Christmas decorations down and do a good cleaning and start thinking of all the ways to be creative during 2014.
And please tell me how it's already 2014.
Just so you know, I'm grateful for this blog world. I love all your ideas and your sweet friendship.

Monday, December 30, 2013

The Sadness Bath

Sometimes it's good to let sadness wash over you. Rather than fight it with projects and paint and busyness, I've decided to accept the fact that today I am sad. I'm taking a sadness bath, in fact. 

Lest you think I'm drinking vodka at noon…


while reading Sylvia Plath poetry (I do love Sylvia, by the way),


 you should know that I'm simply sitting on my sofa wondering if (when) the tears will come. 


Oldest daughter is headed back to California today.

When my good friend is having a bad day, she jokingly says, "Hide the knives!"




But knowing me I would never find them again, so I think I'll leave sharp objects tucked in the drawer where they belong.

For now, I plan to allow myself a few minutes of this empty feeling, knowing full well that I will get back in the swing of things—painting and projects and work and busyness. I've never been much of a wallower. Instead, I like to move forward. Even so, having a sweet girl who is 
2,661.6 miles away (yes, I Googled it), is a valid excuse for today's melancholy.

And who wouldn't miss this lively trio?


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas 2013: Before and After

Christmas Morning and a look outside my door. The sun is just starting to rise and it casts an orange glow on the bare treetops.


It's the Before stage of Christmas Morning. Everything is clean and pretty.





That's cream-cheese-bourbon-pecan poundcake you see in the dish. She's waiting for a sweet glaze and a decorative garnish.



Santa likes to put his gifts in a separate spot for easy access.



Our Christmas Eve tradition is to read The Polar Express. Every year I cry at the last line. It's a joke in our family.



The paper whites have impeccable timing once again.















And then comes the After...


The mess and the chaos and the joy!



The boxes and paper. All that time and effort unwrapped in a matter of minutes. And that's the point, right?



The stuff.



Lately when I feel stressed and overwhelmed, especially at work, I chant this mantra: 
It's about the people. It's all about the people.

This Christmas was all about having my oldest daughter home from California and all three girls under one roof. These times will be few and far between in the coming years. I know that. Still, having "my people" together is pure bliss.




The happy faces.





The thoughtful, homemade gifts. My middle daughter made this all on her own. She was inspired by something on Etsy. It's my favorite gift this Christmas.



Ah, yes, the After...

The stink bug was hiding out beneath the gifts.



All that cooking and baking and then the mess.



Leftovers!




Christmas of 2013 was a good one—good family, good friends, good food.
Today, I am counting my blessings...


and celebrating Boxing Day!



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