Monday, October 31, 2016

Dreams, Fears, Miss Mustard Seed, and Me

I am going to shamelessly plug my blog today. I have this weird accountant person hiding somewhere in me and she is a numbers person. I try to keep her medicated with good chocolate but recently, when looking at some stats on the blog, I realized that after two and half years of blogging I have a grand total of 37 precious followers-I picked up a new one this week! I would guess most of you are family, (except my family is not that big). It is my own fault really. I have not added one of those pop-up things on the blog that prompt visitors to sign up partly because I have not taken the time to learn how to do it and partly because I didn't want to bother my readers and partly because I didn't want to feel like a failure for not putting out posts as often as the bloggers I follow. It's pressure!

After meeting Miss Mustard Seed, (oh, yes I did!), a few weeks ago I am rethinking my thinking.

Not the best photo of me but she is just so cute!

At a recent 'meet and greet' a group of women sat around a table asking questions of her and she was so very gracious to share with us, throwing out ideas as she listened to where each of us were in our creative endeavors.

Miss Mustard Seed, Marian Parsons, at Signature Finishes in Grafton, MA. The
 display behind her is Miss Mustard Seed paint.

There was one common thread in each woman's answer, including mine, whenever she asked "Why don't you ________?" That blank was whatever would seem the next step in marketing our creativeness.  The answers: "I'm scared.", "that scares me", "I am afraid", "I'm worried", "It terrifies me". Every woman that answered said basically the same thing! So what are we afraid of? that what we are afraid of?

Marian Parsons, aka Miss Mustard Seed, did not point that out but spoke about her parents' encouragement during her childhood. If she failed at something or found out she didn't like something or wasn't good at it -she just did something else. As I listened it started sounding like bells pealing in my ears. I was convicted.

II Timothy 1:7 "for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control." and Romans 8:31 "If God is for us, who can be against us?" 

Now, don't misunderstand me, I know that these passages of Scripture are not talking about my desire to do something I love while making money at it. I am afraid I may fail, so much so that I have procrastinated on even trying to figure out what direction to move in. One thing is certain; if I do nothing I will have failed-100%. If I step out, I may fail but then I can just try something else. Right? I have a lot of different interests...I can't stink at all of them, right? And, maybe I will find the ones I really want to spend time improving upon. I am blessed with a husband that will support me and provides me the resources to pursue my wacky thoughts.

There will be some changes on the blog. Maybe you will notice them and maybe not. It will be a slow go as change for me is always a hard thing. (I know, you would never know it by looking at my home.) Big things, though....a different story for me. I still feel scared. Even writing this post to you is giving me a little case of butterflies. Accountability! Will you be reading this blog in a year saying to yourself "I thought she was going to make some changes, she failed." Maybe. 

There is one thing I do not want change.  I do not want to ever do anything with this blog that will keep me from speaking truthfully about my faith when the occasion arises or the moods hits me. It is the biggest part of who I am and why I am. Anything creative in me is only because I have been made in the image of the Creator, my heavenly Father, and the ways I am allowed to display that creativity are a gift.

So, all that to say this: if you have not signed up to follow the blog pleeaase consider doing so using the box under the "About Me" section to the right of this post. An email will be sent to you when there is a new post on the blog! You can also follow my on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Instagram and Pinterest accounts. I am not nearly as savvy as I would like to be on any of those social media sites but I am learning. 

Thanks for stopping by, taking to time to listen and thank you, in advance, for signing up!

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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Fall Home: In the Living Room 2016

Can you believe October is almost over! I can't. The older I get the faster time seems to fly by. I love decorating my home for the different seasons and always seem to be a little behind but I know at this stage I have a good amount of time to enjoy my home before decorating for Christmas. I have shown you the front porch, kitchen, and dining room. Today, we are going into the living room.

I don't buy all new decorations every year. Some do and that is fine but I tend to grow an attachment to my stuffs. I remember when I bought something, who I was with, where we were.... Looking at my treasures reminds me of those people, times, places, ect. Sad? Probably, but that's me. So, come on in and grab a cup of tea, coffee or cocoa and visit for a while.

I made the paper and burlap banner last year. I picked up the burlap banner for $3, I think, from Target. I used an old book to cut out triangles and a Sharpie to draw on my letters. 

I love these cement acorns. I have only two but I make sure they always find a place where I can easily see them.

I recently saw a variation of the glass cloche decor over at Hunt and Host. I liked her leaf in the mix so I grabbed one that I had made and put it inside. 

My relatively "new" gallery wall got a bit of a fall update with paper leaf and burlap garland. I used Country Design Style's printable leaves and cut them out of an old book and burlap scrap book paper.

Yes, you've seen them here before. I used them to make the garland in the dining room. And, yes, I still have to have some summer in there somewhere!

The funky wheat-y looking thing is from one of the ornamental grasses in my yard that has gone by. 

About six years ago, Mister and some men from church replaced our front porch. In the process we found these beautiful corbels that had been covered over. I had to save what I could. I cleaned them up then sealed them in about 10 coats of a clear, matte finish. I couldn't save all 4 pair but this one I managed to squirrel away while Mister wasn't looking. I like to think he is secretly glad that I did...

On the lantern I used one of the hydrangea picks I put together when I made the wreath for the front door. I used them in the dining room, too. 

The leaf print was found at A Night Owl. It is free to download. I just clipped it to a cheap board I picked up at Walmart for less than a dollar. I use them for all kinds of things from school to decor.

In the middle of trying to shoot pictures the sky turned dark and it started to rain; not good for a room that has no overhead lighting, just lamps.

So, I put away my camera and I called it quits for the day. It was good time to grab a magazine and cup of tea. Ahh.... there it is, autumn is bidding me to settle in for a season.

It's party time!
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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Fall Home: On The Front Porch 2016

Thank you to all of you who left kind and lovely comments regarding my kitchen and dining room post! I was so thrilled that it was featured on several other blogs. I am trying to grow my blogging audience but sometimes feel like I am spinning my wheels. A kind word of encouragement goes a long way. It is a reminder to me, also, to be sure to reach out to others who are writing and sharing their hearts and homes.

The weather this week has been crazy here in Massachusetts. Mid week I was wearing flip-flops and regretting having packed away my summer clothes. I spent Friday afternoon taking pictures around my town and surrounding areas. My youngest, like her mama, has caught the shutter bug....

I have lived in a lot of different places, (states, continents, climates) and have to say that New England autumns are hard to rival, although the aspens in Colorado's autumn air are a good contender.

The view from my front yard.

Stone walls decorate the New England landscape.

The leaves along this split rail fence beckon one to shuffle their feet through them. 

This old stone house has been a long-time favorite of mine.

And, this one, too!

Saturday morning it was so warm I was sweating while making blueberry pancakes for breakfast. Mister and I went for a walk a few hours later and the winds of change had ushered in a cold, raw air that had blown down many of the leaves that I had just taken pictures of the day before.

As we turned onto our street I was struck with thankfulness for the welcoming warmth of home.  I want to bring all the beauty of fall to my front porch; giving my guests a hint at what is inside. year's wreath will have to be more colorful to stand out....or I will have to paint that door!

My fall wreath. You can find the wreath tutorial here.

I planted four packets of seeds in my beds and this is one of the very few that made
 it past the hungry pests in my yard.

Fake pumpkins last for years!
I am a creature of habit. I made this sign several years ago from an old door. I like the colors and it has weathered well. Perhaps I will do something different next year....maybe not.

Time to go to the parties!
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Monday, October 17, 2016

Blithewold and Bristol, Rhode Island Field Trip

Mister took a day off from work and he took me exploring into Rhode Island. I love little New England towns and if they are close to the water the magnetic pull for me is irresistible. We love Newport and the mansions and all the opulence of a bygone era. I am an architecture junkie. I love the old stone work, the carved wood, paneling...ahhh. Come on, lets go on a field trip. (Homeschool mom's call everything a field trip.)

Because he knows me so well, Mister finds places he thinks I would like and he did not disappoint. Blithewold Mansion is on 32 acres, located on the harbor in Bristol, R.I. It was the home of the Van Wickle family who purchased the land in 1894 to build their summer home. They made their money in coal mining during the Industrial Age that produced mega-wealthy families like the Vanderbilts and Rockefellers. Ten years after it was built there was a fire that destroyed the house but the Van Wickles rebuilt. The home is now open to the public and the grounds available for hire to accommodate weddings and events.
The front entrance.

The back door in the center gives an excellent view of the harbor.

Dentil molding and carved wood work surround the interior of the front entry.

Corinthian still, heart.

Plaster work surrounding the simplest light in the front entry way. Even the modern bulb couldn't make this look bad.

The property boasts beautiful gardens to include this cutting garden.

The volunteer staff at Blithewold told me that they decorate for Christmas so maybe we will have to take a trip back here in December.

This is the view from the back lawn.

Bristol is a seaport town with cute little protected harbors and tree lined streets. In the summer it hosts a "home-town U.S.A." type of Independence Day parade. From what I understand Bristol is packed that day. But, summer is gone and the town was back down to it's regular population. Sweet boutiques, quaint shops and restaurants were conveniently located within walking distance of one another. Mister took my hand in his and we strolled along streets that New Englanders have strolled for hundreds of years. I imagined men returning from whaling trips, captains returning from long voyages across the Atlantic to trade with Europe....

This little building sits empty waiting for someone to open a cute shop. Couldn't you just see cupcakes or fresh bread coming out of here!?

Then there were houses trimmed in the most scrumptious gingerbread trim. This house was so sweet and I so much wanted to just pull the political signs out of the front yard to just get a good photo. 

Seaport towns have homes and buildings set along the water that were used to unload cargo. Many times today we see these buildings have been turned into condominiums. 

I was walking down the street I passed a shop window that made me stop in my tracks. The color and design on the wall screamed at me to enter. Mister dutifully asked "Do you want to go in?" Me: "Um, YEAH!" He really is a good sport...

This place screamed HAPPY to me! I loved everything in there but truly the color is what got me most! Where can I use this wallpaper? I need a room with some height! That dark blue wall in the back along with the wall behind the counter set it over the top for me. Anyway, if you are in Bristol, this shop is worth a stop! Another shop, across the street, caught my attention with some of the wares on display outside on the fence. Yes, I did make my way over there....

This was my first trip to Bristol, Rhode Island but I will be back, Lord willing. Even though summer is past the sea still calls to me. My guy knows this and indulges me a bit. Regardless of where we end up as long as my hand is in his I am blessed beyond measure.

Party time!