Sunday, February 28, 2010

Chalk is Cheap

I know my title is corny, but hey it's Sunday, my brain is fried from finishing up two writing assignments and so it's the best I could come up with.  My other choice was "Chalkin' it up to Experience" and if you prefer that one then just pretend that's what I used! ;-)

On Saturday I gave Mr. Tide a nudge to head out and do something I've been wanting to do for the last 2 years.  That's how we roll around here, sometimes a little like a square block on a mild slope, but we eventually get to whatever it is that we want to get done.

I've been wanting to get the old chalkboard from my parent's house and put it in the hallway in our house.  We really needed to wait until the remodel was finished before doing this, so it really hasn't been 2 years in the making, but it feels like it has been just the same.

This chalkboard has been in my family since I can remember.  My father, who worked for the Navy as an engineer, brought it home when the place where he worked was getting ready to throw it away.  My father had a love for lost and unwanted items, something I think I inherited.  So he was known for bringing home unusual items from time to time which thrilled my mother to no end.  He even once brought home an old Navy chow hall potato peeler.  The thing was roughly the size of a 50 gallon drum and was lined with sand paper.  When you turned it on it whirled around and wore the peels off of the potato.  Great if you were feeding the whole Navy, for a family of 6, not so much!

The chalkboard on the other hand was a stroke of genius on his part.  Over the years it served as the perfect place to teach math, play school, and to write notes to each other (some less than sweet among siblings!).  And when grandchildren came into the picture, it found a new life all over again.  My mother took long term substitute teaching jobs as a way to earn extra money, sometimes filling in for 6 months at a time, so she loved to use it to teach her own children and then her grandchildren different subjects including math and French.  Our daughter who went on to get her undergraduate degree in French would often leave notes for my mother in this romantic language.

So when my mother passed, my father asked the 4 kids to go through the house and put stickers with our birth order number (I'm number 4 of 4!) on the pieces we really wanted to inherit.  I knew right away which pieces I wanted, the chalkboard being at the top of the list.  No one else seemed interested.  My sister "M" already had a chalkboard for her children and my other two siblings had other items that meant more to them, or maybe they sensed how much I really wanted that chalkboard.

When we bought this house it had a hallway which leads back to all of the bedrooms, it's almost identical to my parent's house so I knew just where the chalkboard would one day hang.  I wanted to pass by it everyday on the way to our bedroom, just as I had done all those years that I lived with my parents.  And the same way that our children and nieces and nephews had done whenever they had sleepovers at Nana and Opa's house.

"Before" No Chalkboard!

Today was the big day, and Mr. Tide grudgingly agreed to hang it for me and aside from a massive hunt to find his drill bits, it all went fairly smoothly.

 My Stud, looking for studs!

So now, after a good cleaning, one of my favorite childhood mementos is hanging right where it was meant to be.


I am lovin' how it looks in our hallway and check out the little box I found at Micheal's yesterday to hold the chalk and erasers.  I know, there's a lovely little ledge on the chalkboard for that, but nosey puppy dogs would make a meal of that chalk I'm afraid and who knows what clever Mr. Quinn would do to the erasers!

 It's the perfect size for holding the old erasers we used as kids and the colored chalk I got for 99 cents at

 I love this old eraser that came from Sears!  Wonder when my parents bought it?!

And maybe one day when we have grandchildren I can teach them something by writing on it's lined green surface.  It won't be math, I'm horrible at math!  And it won't be french, unless they want to learn Ou Est La Plage which means "where's the beach" and is one of the only french phrases I remember.  It is an important one to know though! 

I think I'll leave the art lessons up to someone else too!

I'm linking up for Metamorphosis Monday with Susan over at Between Naps on the Porch.

And for more great ideas and inspiration head on over to The Inspired Room.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

My Heart Goes Out

I feel so blessed to have people I can call friends from all around the world.  And my children are also motivated to make connections with people from faraway lands and to experience different cultures.

So this morning when my daughter came in to our office with tears in her eyes I was afraid she was in pain from her recent surgery.  She quickly explained that she feared for the life of one of her friends who was staying with her father at their home in Chile. 

I had been busy working on assignments and hadn't even looked at the news for days so she had to bring me up to speed on the devastating earthquake in Chile that has affected so many!  Right on the heels of the destruction in Haiti, it seems almost surreal that another major earthquake could hit so soon in a different part of the world.  I know in geological terms it's not unusual for one earthquake to be followed by a succession of other earthquakes in following months, but it's almost hard to fathom!

It turns out that our daughter's friend is safe and in South Africa at the moment, and her father is fine back in Chile.  She was also able to reach another friend in Argentina that reported all was well with she and her family too.  Thank goodness for the internet and being able to reach friends and loved ones to know they are safe!

So tonight, my thoughts and prayers are with those affected by the earthquake and those in the path of danger from potential tsunamis, which although a diminished threat now, must have been frightening to say the least.

My prayers also extend to the dedicated workers who, even though exhausted I'm sure from their service in Haiti, will once again heed the call to help others in need!  Godspeed to them as they journey to the areas affected by the earthquake!

A Little Bird Told Me

When I jumped out of the shower this morning, Mr. Tide informed me that we had a baby eagle in the big dead tree out back.  I can see the tree from the table where I do my make-up, but by the time I was done showering he or she had flown the coop!

Now I know the correct term for a baby eagle is an eaglet or juvenile, but I still call them baby eagles!  A young eagle takes 4 to 5 years to mature and their plumage is speckled brown and white so they are often mistaken for hawks.  Eagles can live to be 30 years old so they have multiple offspring over their lifetime.

We are so fortunate to have some of these majestic birds in our own backyard.  They don't nest on our property, that honor is held by the osprey which migrate south each winter and then return each spring.  The osprey and the eagles are not friends!  In fact they detest one another.  So our best chance to see the eagles is in the winter, when they don't have to fight with the osprey and can perch in a big dead tree along the water's edge in our yard. 

This massive tree must have been around for hundreds of years, but sadly a lightning strike caused it to die before we ever bought the house.  The first year we lived here, a pair of osprey began building a nest in it, and they've added to it each year.

We rarely see the juvenile eagles, but often hear their parents calling to them to fly from the creek side to the river.  So it was a treat to see the pictures Mr. Tide snapped this morning of this young, beautiful bird!

The photo at the top of the post is this baby eagle's mom or dad.  I think it's the mother, because female bald eagles are larger than the males.

I love this one, because you can see the two little birds on the right hanging out with the "cool" kid on the block.  If you're a bird and you're going to have friends, why not pick the biggest and baddest bird out there to be one of your homies!

The eagles never go in the osprey's nest.  We don't know where these eagles nest, but it's somewhere far up river.

Even as little tykes, these birds are majestic and it's really quite humbling to be in their presence.

And speaking of birds, if you haven't noticed I'm now on Twitter!  Please join in so that I can give you blow by blow details of every waking moment of my exciting life!  Ok, I don't really lead a very exciting life, but it will help you to be one of the first to know when I put up new posts!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Great Blogs, Great Giveaways!

The wonderful and talented Miss Mustard Seed has reached 1000+ followers and to celebrate she is going to make something special for one lucky winner!

Pop over to her great blog and check it out!!!

Miss Mustard Seed's Creative Blog


The lovely Linda from Coastal Charm is starting a new party to join in on every Tuesday.  Her link party will be called Nifty Thrifty Tuesdays and I can't wait to participate! 

As if that weren't fun enough, Linda is also offering one lucky winner cold hard cash...$40 to be exact to one lucky winner so that they can do some thrifting of their very own!  Head on over and find out how you can win!!!

I've Been Framed

Hello out there in Blogland!  I've been holed up in my house doing work "stuff" and trying not to go out into the wind which is still whipping around here.  But I did get a moment to pick the winner of my latest giveaway, which was a beautiful Raku bowl with sea glass graciously offered by my friend Lili over at Fearless Nesting.

And thanks to my friend Kate from Chronicles of a Country Girl I was even able to post a picture of the wonderful, magical random generated number from Kate!


The lucky winner was Tammy from In Stitches.  If you haven't visited her blog you really should, she's quite a talent!  Here's what Tammy had to say!

I love the copper pieces and that bowl is beautiful !

Congratulations to Tammy and if you missed my Giveaway, you can still buy some of Lili's great wares over at her Etsy Shop by clicking HERE!

And now I return you to your regularly scheduled programming with a look at some of my favorite picture frames!

I love having photos around my house.  I know that decorators often poo poo the notion of having family photos displayed around your home, and I admit that I've seen some houses where it's wall to wall photos and that is a bit of overkill.  But I've never been one to follow rules, so I have photos of those I love on display throughout my house!

I love seeing the smiling faces of loved ones who are no longer with me and to see my children when they were much younger, which seems like just yesterday!  And I think it's so important to give those special photos an equally special place to reside, so I try to find cool and unique frames to compliment them.

Most of my frames are cheap...ahem, I mean inexpensive.  I pick them up at Marshall's, Target, or wherever I find one I like and it's reasonably priced.  So I thought I'd share a few of my favorites with you, both the pictures and the frames!

I know, I know, I put a photo of two boys into a frame with lace and pink flowers!  But doesn't Mr. Tide and his brother look so sweet?!  Mr. Tide is the chubby cheeked blondie on the right, what a cutie...he still is!

I love the little pink flowers and lacy border, and clearly Mr. Tide is in touch with his feminine side if he can hang in a picture frame like this one!

I love this photo!  It's of my mother when she was little.  Look at those of them is almost as big as she is!  The irony of this photo is that my mother was afraid of cats!!!  I have no idea why, and she even let us have them as pets growing up, but she really didn't like them and much preferred dogs...sorry cat lovers!

The gold and delicate vining flowers are perfect for this photo.

This frame came from Hallmark and I love the artwork done by Dutch artist Marjolein Bastin.  I love her cards and think they are worth framing!  The photo is of my children taken while on vacation with Mr. Tide's family at Kiawah Island, South of our favorite beaches!

The details are just beautiful, and it even has a rustic vintage quality, complete with imperfections so that it doesn't look brand new.  Love that!

This is one of my all time favorite frames.  I don't even remember where I found it, but I just love the old green glass they used to make it!  The photo is of my mother and her cousins back in the early 40's.

Here you can see a close up of the pale green glass and the beautiful pattern.  Don't they look like they're having fun?!
This next one is just a simple black frame I picked up at Target.  I love how it really makes the picture of my in-laws on their wedding day stand out!

Don't they look stylish in their wedding attire from back in 1958?!

Now I know you're thinking...doesn't she have any pictures of her father?!  Why all the photos of her mother?!  I do, I promise, but after looking around at my frames today I realized that my mother got the lion's share of the cool frames!  This photo was taken of my mother at the end of her senior year of high school.

I love the mother of pearl frame and the silver beading along the edges.  My sister "M" gave each of us this picture and frame for Christmas the year my mother died.

I found this little beauty at my local Marshall's store a few weeks ago.  I'm not sure what I will use it for, but I loved the color and thought it would look pretty in our bedroom.

I'm sensing a subliminal flower fetish theme going on with my frame choices!  Who knew?!

And this one was just too cute to pass up!  It even has a little ribbon on the back so that you can use it as a Christmas ornament if you want to!  I just love Miss Clickety-Cl@ck!  If you do a Google search you can still find some of her clever creations!

Its retro coolness is beyond fun!

I hope you had fun browsing through my favorite photo frames.  What favorite photos and frames do you have at your house?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Wind

The Wind 
by Robert Louis Stevenson

I saw you toss the kites on high
And blow the birds about the sky;
And all around I heard you pass,
Like ladies' skirts across the grass

Oh wind, a blowing all day long,
Oh wind, that sings so loud a song!

 I saw the different things you did,
But always you yourself you hid.
I felt you push, I heard you call,
I could not see yourself at all

Oh wind, a blowing all day long!
Oh wind, that sings so loud a song!

O you that are so strong and cold,
O blower, are you young or old?
Are you a beast of field and tree,
Or just a stronger child than me?

O wind, a blowing all day long,
O wind, that sings so loud a song!

We have a high wind warning at the moment, with gusts up to 60 mph!  But I'm safe and warm inside my little abode, working diligently on stories!  Is it windy at your house tonight?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Cool Stuff!

I recently had the opportunity to visit a house that was filled with cool and interesting things.  The owner, Susan, is someone I've known for a very long time, but we know one another through the various stores she has owned or worked at over the years so this was my first time visiting her beautiful home.

When I told Susan we wanted to feature her home in the regional publication I write for, she said that I needed to come take a look to see if it was really something we would be interested in.  If there is one thing I've learned over the last 10 years about writing home stories, it's that when someone says their house may not be something I'm interested in, it will be everything I hoped for and so much more!

Susan has had previous homes featured in national magazines, so she's no stranger to putting her house on display.  But she described the home she shares with her wonderful husband Don, as eclectic, quirky, and something that has developed over time with several major additions.  Hello?!...eclectic, quirky, added on to, these are all words that are music to my house loving ears!

Because the magazine story hasn't gone to print, I can't give you a full tour of their gorgeous and conversation worthy house, but I can give you a peek at some of the very cool accessories and antiques that fill it.

Susan has been collecting antiques for years.  She started going to flea markets and antique auctions as a teenager.  One of her passions is collecting children's furniture and old spice cabinets like the ones pictured above.

Everywhere you turn there is something wonderful to look at and admire.  I was like a kid in a candy store as Susan took me from room to room.  Even their everyday kitchen utensils are made more special by being stored in this old stoneware cottage cheese crock!

Susan has a great affinity for things that help her feel connected to the people and places from her past.  This wonderful schoolmaster's desk came from a local one room schoolhouse that was attended by her grandfather.

This gorgeous antique hand carved box was once used to store circus equipment as they moved from town to town.  I love the folk art design and the beautiful original green paint.

And what about this handsome chest of drawers?!  The mellow patina, original hardware, and inlaid keyholes make it simply breathtaking!
A charming boat model sits atop a beam salvaged from an old local lodge.  Steamboats where a main source of transportation along the waterways of Maryland up until the 1930's.  The little folk art cabin pictured in the background came from a local estate sale Susan attended years ago.  While I was at her house, I was trying to figure out if she would notice if some of these very cool pieces went missing! ;-)

Antique baskets sit on, and beneath this lovely old church pew which was saved from the scrap heap.  It came from one of the most historic churches in Maryland and even has Roman numerals on it!  I can just imagine the ladies, gents, and children sitting on it, all dressed in their Sunday finery listening intently to the Priest's sermon!

Tucked under a spiral staircase that leads to a sleeping loft are more examples of Susan's collection of miniature furnishings.  I love how she has them displayed with the tiny pieces of pottery and baskets.  On the wall are antique cross stitch samplers.


In Susan and Don's bedroom is a beautiful Victorian high back bed.  The ornate carving is made from Oak and Walnut.  Gorgeous!

Also in the master bedroom is a beautiful antique hand painted, marble topped dresser.  It's so delicate and feminine looking, and is the perfect compliment to their stunning bed!

Not a single space in this house was overlooked when it comes to being beautifully appointed, and Susan and Don's master bath is no exception.  The vanity is hand carved with a pine cone motif which echos all of the tall pine trees which surround their home.  Susan opted to have a window over her sink instead of the traditional mirror so that she could enjoy the impressive water views and glorious sunsets beyond.  It also gives her a spot to display some of her treasures, like the sea glass she and their grandson often find on their walks along the beach!

I hope all of you have enjoyed your sneak peek into this amazingly beautiful home!  I'd like to thank Susan and Don for letting me poke around their wonderful oasis, and I can't wait to show you more in a later post!

I'm linking up for Furniture Feature Friday over at Miss Mustard Seed's.

Furniture Feature Fridays