Saturday, September 29, 2012


Today is my birthday.
38 years on this old planet.
Last night I helped officiate the wedding of one of my very best friends on this planet.
I also decorated for the reception.
Sweet Man played at the ceremony and his band played the reception, a rooftop party under a cloudy-but not- rainy midnight sky.
Tonight he has another gig and I will celebrate my birthday with nearest and dearest friends.
And then tomorrow, we rest.
Monday it is back to school and work and routine.
I can't say that I am that sad about it. 
This week was a lovely -and much needed break from the norm,
 but in my old age, I have to say there is something lovely and reassuring about having a routine to hold us all in place.

I have lots and lots of post and pictures and stories to tell you about our week and the wedding.
But first, I must rest. 

See you soon friends.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

dinner and a movie - for one

This week has been a roller coaster. I do not want to bore you with all the details, but it has been one of those sort of weeks where I just keep saying to myself "Just do the next thing. Don't think about all the other things that have to be done. Just do the next one." 

That coping mechanism was working well until yesterday afternoon when I had to relieve a little steam from pressure cooker (also known as crying and talking very outloudly to God in my car.)
Once that was over, I decided to treat myself to a little at-home dinner and a movie of my choosing (isn't it lovely how when you are having a date for one you can choose everything yourself?)

So last night I found myself all alone, no boys, no Sweet Man, and a stack of Pinterest type projects to complete for a friends wedding on Friday with a great movie and a yummy semi-made from scratch dinner for one.

I chose The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for my movie. I was not disappointed. A beautiful story of love, friendship, marriage, honesty and not giving up and even starting over. The colors and scenery were amazing, and I wish that I could go stay at the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel myself. 

For dinner I made an enhanced version of a frozen pasta meal.  Creamy pasta is always my comfort go-to girlie food, and while I am capable of making a homemade cream sauce, last night I was tired and emotional so I chose to cheat a little (man I seem to be doing that a lot lately! I feel like I should buy stock in apologies to Julia Child.)

 I started by cooking down some portobello mushrooms in a mixture of butter and olive oil.

Once they were well on their way to perfection I dump the frozen pasta & sauce on top of the mushrooms and cooked it all together ( covered) for about 5 minutes over medium heat.

Next I added a whole bunch of roasted red peppers packed in a jar. Sun dried tomatoes would have done nicely here as well. I may have in fact thought I was buying sun dried tomatoes or that roasted red peppers and sun dried tomatoes were the same thing. I may also have been bone tired an incapable of finishing a coherent sentence at the time I purchased the peppers, so please don't hold this mistake against me. 
Luckily they were a yummy addition to the pasta dish despite not being sun dried tomatoes.

I let it all cook together another 5-7 minutes, until the pasta was done and everything was good and hot. I then  poured my semi-from scratch semi-from a bag dinner it all into my favorite bowl. I topped it with fresh grated Parmesan and some fresh herbs and poured myself a nice large glass of Pinot Noir and settled in to watch my movie.

Between the movie and the wine and the pasta and some snuggling with my favorite fur ball, I felt much better. I was ready to tackle the "next thing." 
Why is it that sometimes the most simple solutions are the best? A little time putting my own oxygen mask on has such huge rewards? That seeing the another bit of the world through someone elses eyes can help you see your bit of the world so much more clearly? 
Whatever the reason for all these things I am grateful for my evening for one. 

"Everything will be okay in the end 
Because if it's not okay
Then it's not the end"
- The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

back in the hen house

Thanks to Jeanetta and her crew, we now have another hen ruling the roost at Casa D'Lovely. 
Seems like my sweet friend is always looking out for me, making sure my little chicken casa in the backyard is not empty for long.  So now Long Neck (as Miles has named her) or Hunny Bunny (as I have named her,) is happily roosting in our backyard and laying her eggs daily.
I have to say, I sure do love being a keeper of chickies. It's nice to be back in the hen house again.

Monday, September 24, 2012

make do {and make lovely} monday - sweetness

 This week, week of our long anticipated Fall Break, I have plans to bake some delicious pastries from scratch. But last week I cheated and used a box mix. Of course I replaced the oil with butter and the water with milk. So that only makes it partially cheating right?

So I will not be ashamed of my pumpkin bread by way of mix. Cause it was still yummy. Especially when it was warm.

Miles helped me make the bread and then he helped me show off it's yumminess.

In his own special way.

And then he helped me eat it. 

I have some plans for this week. 

But I am trying to hold them lightly. To not put too much stock in MY agenda. 

 And instead savor the sweetness in my life, however it comes to me.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

super excited about

Going on a date tonight with  Sweet Man

Our fall break starting in about 24 hours. 
I plan to do lots of baking and bike riding (to offset the baking, you see) and reading. 

Also I really want to make these (but not vegan style. Sorry my v-pals!)

So that is what I am super excited about.
How 'bout you? Excited about anything?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

what I wore wednesday- book lady

The way I figure it, every now and then it couldn't hurt to jump on a band wagon and play well with others. So today I am linking up with the Pleated Poppy's "what I wore wednesday" blog-along.
Now, don't judge the picture too harshly. My 12 year old boy took it, and trust me, there were much more interesting things to do than make his momma look good for the interwebs. I think I look like I am waiting to be beemed up by Scotty.

In this pic:
Target knit cardigan (bought on clearance years ago.)
Old Navy T-shirt
Wal-Mart denim skirt, at least a decade old
Target socks- end of season last year
Rambler Ariat Boots (look for a Country Outfitters giveaway coming soon...)
Bracelet- Vintage, a gift from a friend
Locket-thrift store

We took the pictures in my office/room at school.  I thought it might be fun to show off a little bit of my weekday daytime life, where I am known as the "Bookroom Lady" and "Mrs. Greer." 
A co-worker took this pic and it is much better don't you think? 

In this pic:
Target jacket from years ago
Gray Wal-Mart tank
Green cord skirt fromSavers (St. Johns brand I think.)
Necklace- Dollar Jewelry Galore
Shoes-TJ Maxx
Coffee Cup- P. Allen Smith

So there you have it. A little glimpse at what I wore recently and where I spend a good chunk of my day.

If you read my post yesterday and didn't feel too much annoyance for my self-indulgent pity party I would like to say a huge thank you for sticking with me and I would also like to say thank you bunches if you sent up any sort of little prayer or gentle kick in the pants on my behalf. This blogging thing can be tricky because I never know how my story is going to hit someone else - it might resonate or it might irritate, and often it might do both. So thank you for letting me share the silly (what I wore..) and the messy (foot stamping) and whatever you find lovely around these parts. I really do appreciate you.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

confessions on a tuesday

God is at home, it's we who have gone out for a walk. 
Meister Eckhart 

Last night I went out for a walk.
I had a good gully washing cry. 

I cried for the life I had counted on - the life I thought we would be living at the farm.
I cried because there is part of me that feels like I failed and I am embarrassed.
I cried because I had put a lot of hope into that basket, and now I am faced with making-do where I am.
This weekend it hit me like a ton of bricks, that  instead of starting over (as I had thought of moving to the farm) I (and we)  will have to learn how to change and grow and adjust here, among these already deep and tangled roots.  My mother always says " you take you wherever you go."  I think part of me was hoping to be able to leave some of me & us behind in the city, and start fresh in the country.  But for whatever reasons that is not to be.
Instead, what is to be, it seems, is that I need embrace the other old adage and sow the soil I have, and bloom where I am planted. 

So my heart is a little bit broken, and  my pride is also a little bit wounded, and I am a little bit put-out with not getting my way (okay maybe a lot put-out.)
 These things are not all  mutually exclusive of each other. They are all true. 
I am not a saint. I have selfish bits and sincere bits, as I expect you do too. I am not proud of the selfish bits, but it is no use to pretend that they don't exist.  But it would also not be of any use to stay there, in anger and selfishness and foot stamping. Luckily I have a Sweet Man and the best of best friends who will not allow me to wallow there forever. But yesterday they all let me say it. They let me say all the unattractive, self-indulgent, petty things. They let me walk away from hope and peace and contentment.  And they loved me still. 

But they won't allow me to walk forever. They call me back home; gently, patiently, honestly, bluntly. And for that I am grateful. Because, really, deep deep down, I do prefer being at home.

Monday, September 17, 2012

make do {and make lovely} monday - log cabin living room

For one weekend only, I came out of retirement. Designer Retirement that is.
Years and years ago I used to design and decorate homes. Before the economy bust. Before both my boys where in school.  Before a lot of things. And I loved it. Most of it. But I really don't miss it most of the time. It was a lovely job, a dream come true experience, but I never saw it being my lifetime career. Not even when I was in the thick of it.

Way back then, not long after I began decorating, I landed the best client of all, Liz . Over the past 10 years I have been able to help her design everything from her grandkids playrooms, to a family vacation condo, to her shoppe and tea room - and more.  From the beginning Liz has been more than a client, has been a friend. Now, every so often, Liz will give me a call and need a little fluffing help. And only for Liz do I come out of designer retirement.
Last weekend I got to play designer in her log cabin living room. This is one of the only rooms left in her and her husband Terry's lovely log home that I have not yet completely made over.

Because the ceilings are two stories and the walls are all wood there was a need to both ground and lighten the room up.

(These pictures will not do the room justice because I was in a hurry and I have not quite figure out how to combat the orange glow of solid log walls.)

Liz and Terry's style is a mixture of country, Pottery Barn, vintage and contemporary. They love to travel to the beach, they love their family, and they love to share their home with others. All of these factors went into each and every piece that I chose for them.

I hung the large driftwood lanterns using extra large curtain tie backs from Lowes. I just love those lanterns. They are huge, but they fit the scale of that room just right.

The sofa and two matching chairs are from Bassett. The chairs are a pale robins egg blue and the couch is a linen. We had them overstuffed for comfort. The pillows came from Target and the rug from Pottery Barn. Red stripe may be Liz's most favorite pattern of all time so I had to go for it with the rug. 

Whenever I design a room for Liz I try to use a good mixture of old and new pieces. Their log home lends itself well to this look. I want it to feel loved and lived in without feeling like you have stepped into Cracker Barrell.

My mother made the curtains a few years ago when we re-did an adjoining room, and I used them as inspiration for this project.

Here you can see the curtains in the other room, just through the doorway.

I wish I had a great shot of the mantle but I ran out of time.

The footstools. I love them. What were the chances I would find two exactly the same, from different flea markets?
Maybe it's because I have short legs, but I am never comfortable just sitting in a chair unless I have high heels on (making my legs longer) or I have an ottoman or stool to prop them up. I figured Liz and Terry would appreciate the same sort of thing.

This lamp is Drexel Heritage and came from Home Goods. It is beautiful up close, almost like sculpture. I love the unwound ball of rope on the cake stand. Pretty and functional together.

Sweet Man made the coffee table using an vintage chicken crate and a creeper (the kind of thing you use to go underneath cars.) We left the rope handle on the creeper for added whimsy. I love how these pieces worked together and how it all came together. 

So there you have it. A log cabin living make-over by yours truly.
Hope you enjoyed this little tour, and maybe found some make-lovely inspiration along the way.

Friday, September 14, 2012

you know it's time to chillax when...

You are missing your laundry line.

I have been running on fumes for about five days. I can feel my little engine about to putter out.
It is time to visit the laundry line
It's time to go slow, recharge, not rush, do the small things. 

Fall is almost here. I can see it approaching.  I might even decorate my mantle fallish this weekend. Start a fall garden. Dig out my sweaters.

Or I might just hang some laundry out on the line....

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Goodwill Finding

Today I could blog about my yesterday. About the dog peeing a gallon on the hardwoods, about Sweet Man's emergency root canal, about getting a headache again and then suddenly realizing I had not taken my Zoloft in at least 4 days or about how when the boys and I finally left school, voila! my car battery was dead.
I could blog about all of that, or I could blog about my new Goodwill couch.

Couch you say? Deal.

If you have been around this blog for a while you know about my couch issues. I have been on the search for years for THE COUCH for years. Blogging about my couch issues could have been a blog all it's own.  But despite my search I could never quite find the right one for the right price at the right time. And so for a while now my couch craving laid dormant.

And then this summer my in laws bought us a ginormous television for our birthdays. And then we decided not to sell our house. And suddenly my passionate search for the perfect, cottagey, ultra comfy and adorable couch was re-ignited.  It seemed to make sense that if we were  going to have this huge television,  it would be nice to have a comfy, loungey place to watch it all together.  So for a month or more I have been trawling Craigslist till my eyes crossed. I have been visiting daily wondering if I will ever get Sweet Man there with a truck large enough to bring back a sofa. But honestly I didn't hold out much hope that I would find the right couch for the right price in the right location anytime soon. 

And then I stumbled upon this buttery concoction, quite by accident,  at a Goodwill store this weekend. The price? $60. I bought it on the spot. People, that is just crazy talk. Of course I smelled it first. And then I sat, laid and plunked down it several time, giving it the boy test.  I texted Sweet Man a picture, then  walked ran to the checkout counter to stake my claim (yes, I felt a little bit like Nicole Kidman in that movie where she goes west with Tom Cruise and they both have funny not-real Irish accents) before someone else could discover this diamond in the rough.

 We brought the couch home Sunday, but it wasn't till  yesterday that I got the living room set. After the pee and the dead battery and the tooth surgery, I called a time-out on the chaos and  I set about fluffing my nest. I  rearranged until all my favorite pieces fit  (btw - how great is it to now have a kid big enough to help me move furniture??? Suddenly those 24 hours of labor have paid off!)  And it is even more perfect  than I could have dreamed.

 Now we all want to be in the living room all the time.  There is room for the four us to be napping and studying and blogging all at the same time. Or snuggling (which is a favorite family past time at Greer Casa) and movie watching.  And even though I will probably have a slipcover made for it way on down the road (because slipcovers can go in the washing machine)  for now, this mellow yellow herringbone blends right in with our shabby schoolhouse vibe.

So thank you family who donated your sofa to Goodwill. We hope you love your new sofa as much as we love your old one!

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