Monday, June 30, 2014

My Happy Place - Moss Mountain Love


Some people make annual trips to the Beach or Disney World.

Recently I had the honor of attending two events at MM (P. Allen Smith's farm,)
Garden2Blog and Farm2Blog, and of course I loved both, (and I will have more to share about Farm2Home very soon because it is a topic very near and dear to my heart.)

But what I really love is just being at Moss Mountain. 
Working with Allen and his crew the past couple of years on various projects has only become more fun as I have gotten to know them better, and as much as I love to go and hear what the sponsors have to say at each of these events, my favorite part is getting to hang out with the P. Allen crew and blogger friends who I only get to see once or twice a year.

I also just love every little inch of the Garden Home and farm. The attention to detail is beyond wonderful, without being overly precious, and the part of me that loves design gets all a flutter when there. Allen's home is beautiful AND comfy and appropriate to the setting. Sigh.

And of course there are all the animals.
Why I love farm animals as much as I do I have no idea, but oh my.
Be still my heart.

So just for kicks here is a random assortment of photo's snapped at MM that might give you a little glimpse of why I love it so.





Moose 



Whatever you do, don't bury the crown of your strawberry plants!



The Magnificent Mimi San Pedro who leads us all. 


The Chicken Palace


I am a sucker for old fashioned farm packaging


Lettuce beds in wheelbarrows.


Beauty at the original Garden Home



Spin the Flower Wheel


Gerry Bruno, Producer Extraordinaire





Duck, Duck, Goose
One day I will have my own little flock...


Debbie doing some snooping in Allen's pantry


Alaskan Rhubarb from my friend Nancy's yard ( a little gift for Allen)


Well appointed sofa in it's summer frock.


Family room off of the kitchen. A very well loved and used room.
Those chairs in the back are to die for.


Office space in master bedroom.
Allen and I both have an intense crush on Thomas Jefferson and pieces like this little nook show off how much Allen's personal design style has been influenced by TJ.




Brent who makes us look good


The Man in Charge




Beautiful Bounty.


Mixing Station


My beloved sheep with their summer do's.


Now you understand why I love it so, right?
I wish I could tuck you all in my pocket and take you there with me!

Happy Monday friends!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sunday's Confession - We are linked





Matthew 10:40-42

The Message (MSG)
40-42 We are intimately linked in this harvest work. 

Anyone who accepts what you do, accepts me, the One who sent you. 
Anyone who accepts what I do accepts my Father, who sent me
Accepting a messenger of God is as good as being God’s messenger.
Accepting someone’s help is as good as giving someone help. 

This is a large work I’ve called you into, but don’t be overwhelmed by it.
It’s best to start small.
 Give a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty, for instance. 
The smallest act of giving or receiving makes you a true apprentice.

You won’t lose out on a thing.”


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We are linked.
Giving and receiving.
They are part of the same.
We must give.
We must receive.
One is not better. One is not more noble.
We are all the same.
We all need both.
We are all linked by this need.
By the ability to give and to receive.


I choose my Sunday's Confessions based on the weeks readings from the Revised Common Lectionary as adapted for use in Episcopal worship.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Open House {and a winner...}


Interested in buying? Know someone who might be? 
Want to help spread the word through Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook
Drop by our Open House on Sunday from 2-4

3716 Ridge Road
North Little Rock, AR 72116


#sellthishouse2

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And now for the Westside Wholesale Giveaway Winner...

Congrats to 
I love the blue/white color scheme. And the vintage tablecloth as a curtain? That is so cute!


Happy Weekend friends!
J

Friday, June 20, 2014

Diary of a Bathroom Update - The Details! {GIVEAWAY!}

 (*this post contains a short review of a shower faucet sent to me by Westside Wholesale.  I was not compensated in any otherway by this company and all opinions are my own. Also there is a giveaway involved for readers  *)



Hurrah! A finished bathroom!
(pic from realtor.com)


This bathroom was the first major remodel project that Sweet Man and I had taken on together in quite some time, and I am so pleased with the final outcome. 
In 17 years of  marriage and DIY projects, I feel like we are finally hitting a good groove of understanding, cooperation, and creativity.
These days we are doing a much better job of listening to the other, going slow, asking questions when we don't understand, and trusting each other's intentions and ideas. 
We are a lot less defensive and a lot less cocky. 
Humility may be the best tool you can have on a DIY project.

I feel like the bathroom met our goal of creating a look that was appropriate to the era and style of our 1940's cottage, while still being updated and modern in feel and function.

Here are a few of the details that we used to accomplish this goal.




The shower faucet came from Westside Wholesale  and is a Delta Shower Trim Faucet.

A while back Westside asked me to try a product of theirs and I agreed on the condition that I could give away a gift-card to their site to one reader, which they agreed to. So here we are!

I wanted a modern-ish fixture and in the end chose this Delta model because I loved the square shower head. 
Our plumber added an extender to it so that we can position it just right, and it can function more like a rain shower, which I love.

One snag we ran into is that the faucet required a MultiChoice Universal Rough-In Valve, (R10000 Series) for installation, which is SOLD SEPARATELY and that I failed to order (even though it plainly stated on the website.) 
So if you order this model, make sure to order the extra part. Trust me. They are not easy to come by.

(Giveaway details at bottom of the post.)


The sink faucet came from the orange store.
I love the goose neck spout and the art-deco-ish handles.

The medicine cabinet and light fixtures are original to the house. 
I think they are precious and couldn't imagine taking them out.
Also they add a nice balance for the modern faucet and help keep some of the original character.



The vanity is from the blue store and came complete with the sink and cabinet hardware.
We have been super impressed with the form and function of it.
The clean lines and bead board detail are a nice mix of modern and cottage, and it is a proper height, which I love. 
 Also it has drawers! We haven't had drawers in our bathroom in 11 years!



The toilet is a dual-flush (I feel so fancy,) and is very streamlined.

Both the new vanity and the commode are the newer, taller heights so little visitors to our house need the aid of step, but I can tell you that for the adults, the bathroom is much more comfortable to use.



Our floor is 12 x 12 sheets of ceramic tile in this black and white pattern.
They also came from the orange store and we were pleasantly surprised at how affordable they were.
I have never been a big tile person, and I was afraid that anything I liked would be expensive and a special order.
The moment I saw this tile I knew it was perfect for our project.
(You can learn more about our tiling adventures on my first post about this project.) 



Our tub/shower surround is a subway tile mosaic also in 12x12 sheets.
They have this at both the blue and orange store but the orange store is cheaper :)
I love how clean and timeless the look is.
Also our shower feels so much bigger now!



 The cotton waffle-weave shower curtain came from the thrift store and looks fresh and classic (after a good bleaching.)
I hung it using some hooks I bought at discount store ions ago.
There is an inexpensive white liner on plastic rings behind it, which I guess I should have hidden better. Oh well!



The cafe curtain is a little vintage tablecloth (card table size,) folded over and hung using little clip rings.


So there you have it, our little bathroom update!
Are you planning a big or little home DIY soon? 
Need a little help kicking it off?
Enter to win a gift card to Westside Wholesale (which sells Bath Fixtures, Kitchen Fixtures, Lighting,) by leaving a comment on this post and entering through the Rafflecopter widget!





Happy Weekend friends!
Much love,
J

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Summer Reading


Here it is. 
This summers reading stack.
As is typical it is a random mix of many genres with no real common thread.
Just a mix of things just for fun and things for my vocation and things I have been longing to read.
Almost all of the fiction are books passed on to me by reader friends, otherwise I would be broke right now. 
The only thing I am missing is a really great biography.
I read a lot of memoir, but it has been ages since I read a biography. 
Any suggestions?

Also, I have coupon for one free Kindle book, but that kind of pressure to chose is almost overwhelming.
So to tell me - what one book MUST I read this summer?

xoxo
J

Friday, June 13, 2014

3 is the Magic Number -for Trinity Sunday


Somewhere in the ancient, mystic trinity You get three as a magic number.
-Three is a Magic Number, School House Rock

In the Church Year calendar, this Sunday is Trinity Sunday.
I cannot explain the Trinity to my satisfaction.
I think I understand it, best as a finite human mind can, but my attempts to explain it are lacking . 
Perhaps that is the point. 
The Trinity is something too wonderful and mysterious for simple human words. 
The best illustration I ever heard as a child was the egg analogy. The Trinity is like an egg, the lady at the front of the church said; The egg has three parts, the shell, the white, the yoke.  Each is an egg. Together and apart. See? And she held up the egg, all parts other than the shell, still hidden, invisible to us sitting in the pews. 
For my child mind it sufficed.
An is an egg, no matter how you slice it.

A few years ago I was stitching the above appliques as representations of the Trinity, and while discussing them with Miles, who is always eager to join in the stitching projects, I asked him if he understood who the Trinity was? 
This was his explanation:
God is the father and in charge. 
Jesus is the son and Number One Christian 
and the Holy Spirit is your conscience.
Sounds good to me.
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Recently, ruminating on this mystery, the lyrics of a Christa Wells song kept running through my heart..
In fullness of wisdom, He writes my story into his song, My life for the glory of God.
Fullness. 
In Corinthians Paul writes these words at the close of Chapter 13.
 The amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit, be with all of you. (The Message, 2 Cor 13:14)

Amazing Grace. Extravagant Love. Intimate Friendship.
That is fullness. 
That is the Trinity.
And when this fullness is at work in me, in all their wonder and mystery, then my song is written into the fullness. 
This is my life for the Glory of God.
It is the stitching of the grace, the love, the friendship, into the fabric of my life - into my words, my actions, my thoughts - that brings about a new thing.
A new creation, unique and full to bursting.

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Trinity Applique
Fabric, needle, thread, are the trinity of sewing. To sew anything, you must thread the needle, pull the thread through the fabric, attaching fabric to fabric, creating something that unique. Creating something that is beautiful, that is useful, that tells a story. 
This applique project is a good hands-on way to talk about the Trinity with your kids, and about the fullness of their intricate, complicated and beautiful their relationship in our lives.

This is a *very loose* explanation of how I created the above hoops (I find explaining how to embroider about as easy as explaining the Trinity.)
Materials needed:
3 Embroidery Hoops
3 Coordinating Fabrics for the Base (one for each hoop)
Small scraps of fabrics in a variety of colors and patterns.
Pencil
Embroidery Thread
Embroidery Needle
Scissors

Directions-ish
Cut your fabric squares out and set aside.
Next draw the crown, lamb and dove shapes onto your fabric scraps and then cut (if freehand drawing isn't your thing, there are lots of clip art images you can print and trace as a guide.)
I used 3 different fabrics for the the lamb, two fabrics for the crown and three fabrics for the dove.
Put base fabrics in hoops, pulling until they are taut.
Next, pin your lamb body to the fabric (I simply placed one straight pin in the middle of the lamb body to hold it in place.)  Using the coordinating embroidery threads outline the body of the lamb with a vertical running stitch.
Next, place the tail and head onto your lambs body and repeat the stitching steps. Add a small triangle as the ear, attaching it at the top only so that it is able to flap.
Using a pencil draw a small dot for the eye, a small oval for the nose and two straight, thin rectangles for the legs. Then using a satin stitch, fill in each of the pencil shapes with black thread.
Repeat these same steps to create the crown and the dove. Remember to layer the fabrics one at a time,
For the dove, stitch the first wing, followed by the body and then the send wing. For the branch, simply copy the one on the pattern or draw one free hand, Trace your deign with a running stitch in a green floss.
The crown can be stitched all together, all at once. Using contrasting floss you can create jewels in each crown tip, and create dimension by separating and outlining the two fabrics in a variety of threads.
I chose to create each piece to look homespun and patch-worked,  therefore the stitches are imperfect and varied in size.
For a dainty look, use only one strand of embroidery floss, for a thicker, bolder look, use two.
To finish, trim the edges of the squares away.

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Thursday, June 12, 2014

My Two Sons - On Raising Greers



(photo by Judea Jackson.)

These are my boys when they were littles.
They are not little anymore.

Yesterday Vanessa left me this comment on my Heirloom post
...I too, have two boys. I love them so, but as a very girly girl I struggle with how to parent them well and pass on values that matter (they are still very young).... , you seem to have been successful with your boys passing on the faith and traditions that matter! I got your book and love it. What is your advice specifically for raising boys?!

First of all, THANK YOU Vanessa for the sweet words. Parenting is never a sure bet and half the time I am convinced that I am doing it ALL wrong. But I forge ahead with prayer and patience and tenacity and do what I feel is best.

It is no big secret that I thought I would have girls. 
I came for a very female-dominated family and as a girly-girl, I just sort of assumed that I would have girls and boys, but especially girls. (My dream scenario was two of each and I am still not convinced we won't adopt sibling girls one day...)
But I had boys (and I fell head-over-heels in love, of course) and after the initial shock wore off,  I decided to figure out how to be the best mom I could be for my boys, how to relate to them in ways that would fit their personalities and gender.

Now, I am not a big "boys will be boys" and "girls are just that way" sort of person. 
I believe in individuality and equality and cooperation.
I am a Jesus Feminist after all.

But the reality is that if you want to read a book about how to parent a child who likes worms and baseball and wrestling, well then generally you have to buy a "Boy" parenting book, and if you want to read a book about a child who likes to dance, and paint, and sit quietly and have tea parties, then you have to buy a "Girl" parenting book. 
It is just how things are these days


 





So when Wylie was around the age of 2, and really begin to develop his own interest and personality,  which for him did not include sitting still coloring or throwing tea-parties for his stuffed animals (which I would have been perfectly content with by the way - less noise for me!)  I looked for a book that would help me relate to his active, intense, spirited, dirt loving, cowboy playing, ball throwing self. 

BOYS! was the best book I could find at the time and I personally found the first few chapters hugely helpful. It taught me how to wrestle and tickle as a way to show my active boy affection. It taught me how to handle his intense outburst and how to get in the dirt with the worms and the rocks and enjoy myself. It taught me how to see piles of sticks as gifts and energy spikes as normal and not defiance. To see his imaginary play and need to wear costumes everywhere as his way of trying on parts of himself and testing them in the world.

For Miles, the Spirited Child came in a little more handy. This is the kid who has always wanted to CREATE more than anything. He is almost 10 and he no longer wants toys as gifts. He wants a blacksmith forge.
 As a toddler he colored and painted EVERY surface. He went through a cutting phase where he cut up anything he could - my shoes, pillows, books... And the things he flushed down the toilet... I think he cost us two toilets before age 5. 
Now he hammers everything.
Or tries to wire it up to go faster.


But those early years are behind us and  I no longer have preschoolers or elementary students in my house.
Now I am learning how to parent young men and I am leaning on the wisdom of those who have gone before me, soaking up all I can from moms a little further down the road.
Also, I am expanding on what I have learned thus far, what took root in my own rearing by my marvelous momma, and making it work for us.
Here is a little list of parenting guidelines... Some are tried and true, and some are new to us and we are still working through the kinks... None are done perfectly all the time!

They are, in not particular order:


Family Meal Time: 
You eat what we eat. 
If you don't like what we prepare for dinner, then you don't have to eat it, but you cannot throw a fit, complain or make yourself a separate meal.

Church:  (this one I got from my new pastor, Teri Daily)
Everyone has to serve the body in at least one area. I don't care if it is serving as an usher, singing in the choir, or volunteering in the nursery or helping in the food pantry, everyone gives back. Sometimes we serve as a family and sometimes we serve as individuals. We are not church-consumers.

*We also work to serve in our geographic community as well - working with the homeless in our city, helping with warming shelters and refuge homes for women and children, but these are seperate from our work in our local church family. I believe that both are important.

Faith:
Everyone comes to their own understanding of faith in their own way. However, as the parents we have decided to follow the Christian faith. Therefore the boys are expected to participate in faith traditions and celebrations as long as they live with us. They are free to question, to explore, to have doubts, and  to speak those doubts, and we promise to not shame or bully them into our way of thinking. But they are expected to participate in our expression of faith while they live with us. (So far this has worked out without much conflict, but they are young still.)

Feelings:
Everyone is entitled to their own feelings but that does not mean you get to be rude. You are entailed to be sad, or mad, or frustrated, or excited, but you do not get to run over everyone in your wake. If you are excited and your brother is sad, have compassion, don't throw it in his face. If you are mad at your mother you must still obey her with a good attitude.


Chores:
One boy unloads the dishwasher and the other loads. This started when they were about 7 years old each.
On all other chores they are expected to help when asked -folding laundry, mowing the yard, cleaning the toilet. 
All chores are done for the benefit of the family, not just for the benefit of the individual.
This is why they won't be expected to wash just their clothes on laundry days. They have to help wash everyones clothes.


School:
They are expected to their best and ask for help.
Teaching them to ask for help has been the biggest hurdle. As smart kids they assume they should know how to do everything and are reluctant to look "foolish" in front of teachers or classmates and so do not always get the help they need. Teaching them to be their own advocates has been a huge goal of ours.
They also know that the sorts of colleges they want to go to will require great grades plus. We have worked to find a balance of letting them know the implications their grades will have on their future without just losing our minds and applying so much pressure that it freaks them out.
We don't really care where they go, but they seem to care, so we are trying to help them prepare.


As change that I begin to notice at the beginning of last school year, when Wylie turned 13, was how much more emotional and mental energy parenting was beginning to require.
When the boys where littles I was physically worn out in a way that affected my mental and emotional state from all of their demands - feeding, bathing, changing, keeping them out of the street, preventing them from eating magnets... The usual.

Now we are entering the roller-coaster years of teenage hormones and emotions and radical physical changes on their part.
We have 4 years left with Wylie at home and 8 with Miles.
This is our last shot to pour all we can into helping them become well-rounded, kind, self-sufficient young men on a daily basis.
And that takes a lot of mental energy.
Mommas gotta get her game face on.

So I am scaling back on a lot of things.
Pulling out of various communities, scaling back the variety of writing gigs I take, changing jobs, staying home more, being in the kitchen more (because they will always come to the kitchen,) making myself available when they are ready to talk and cry and bemoan life as an adolescent , as much as I can. 

Because when they were babies 4 and 8 years was a long way off.
And now that it is all I have left I can't believe how fast it will fly.

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Do you have some great parenting guidelines that you have found to be tried and true?
What resources have you used to connect to your kids?


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Heirlooms



When I was a baby, my mother bought me a set of dishes from the supermarket.
These are those dishes.

Growing up I knew of their existence, and from time to time, I would get a glimpse of them.

She did this for all my siblings as well, but I have to say that mine are the best.
They are the most classic.
And they suit me.



Also, they were made in England, so that is a bonus.

Up until the last time we put the house on the market we were using quite a bit of this set.
But then I packed it away in a cabinet in an attempt to de-clutter.
And then recently I had to empty that very cabinet so we could demolish it.
So into boxes these beauties went until we move, and I can unpack them and put them back into service.




I think this idea, purchasing me dishes to give to me when I set up my first house, was such a sweet one. 
My mother has always been creative and loving, but not always terribly sentimental, so these dishes are extra special to me in that way.
Since I have no daughters I am planning on passing these on to a niece or a granddaughter if the opportunity arises.

I have to confess that I have not bought my boys dishes for their first apartments. 
Somehow I don't think will give one hoot about these.

But I have begun to wonder...
What can I buy now, to give to them later, that will help them start their independent lives off that is both lovely and useful?

What sort of heirloom could I start for them to use and pass on?

Do you have heirlooms to pass on? If so, what kind?


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