Sunday, August 26, 2012

Wine and Cheese Please

Okay Chumps. Gotta unload some furniture.  I stumbled upon a garage sale on Saturday morning and made an impulse buy of a "new-to-me" sofa. So out with the old and in with the "not-so-new".
The couch to the left I bought from a friend this spring. It's a Mitchell Gold sofa slipcovered in a linen looking tan fabric. Solid frame, and super duper comfy!! In fact, my family is a little irked with me for replacing it with a more modern looking and sooo NOT comfortable couch. Oh well, form over function I say.
Email or contact me if you're interested in this one.
It comes with four brand new cushions to replace the originals if they ever sag. The discoloration in the pic. is not at all obvious in person. $300 to the first Chump that wants it. You can order a new slipcover from Mitchell Gold if you want a different fabric. They still carry this frame.

Anyway...I know this isn't Craig's list. Blogging forward now.... :)

I promised you pics of my backyard sometime this summer and I don't know what I was thinking when I did that because it was not a banner year for my landscaping and grass, what with all the heat and lack of rain. However, the beginning of August presented me an opportunity to spruce things up back there because it was my turn to host Team Centrennial's Wine and Cheese night.
Ten of my fabers (friends/neighbors) have been meeting once a month to learn more about various wines and different types of cheese to pair with them. No, it's not an excuse to drink and gossip...we really mean business and have been learning a lot! Of course it does help that we have a neighborhood professional caterer/chef that is part of our group (no pressure there) and she shares lots of interesting tips and facts.

Sidenote...(Ken just walked into the room and asked what the 'blog' topic of choice was today....I told him "backyard wine party". His response, "Oh, oh, will there be tears or cheers"? I think that's his kind way of saying that I've been a little too sappy lately...sorry about that, Chumps)!

Here's some pics of the occasion:

I hauled out the farmstyle table from the garage that I just finished painting and used that with an assortment of different styles of chairs.  The table btw, is now for sale at Not So Shabby!

I layered the table with white newsprint paper and a green paper runners, burlap and natural ribbon. I filled small clay pots with spanish moss for an organic look and used galvanized metal storage pieces along with white platters. These white plastic sign holders I had from Ikea and I filled them with wine quotes.

Our theme for the night was "Summer Whites". I had a stack of vintage flashcards and found two that seemed appropriate. The bucket I filled right before the party with ice to chill the wine they brought.

Literally 15 minutes before the party, my faber shouted over the fence, "Fabes...what are doing?? I just pulled up the radar and a storm is rolling in and should be here in 1/2 hour"!

I was not about to pack everything and drag it inside. I hadn't spent any time cleaning or preparing the interior of my house that day. This isn't happening!!!....
Faber once again to the rescue. I borrowed her canopy and the show would go on!

Not quite as attractive looking but better to be safe than sorry. We ended up not getting even a drop of rain that night. Phew!

I had found these metal numbers at an estate sale and thought they'd be a fun way to number the bottles as we discussed and rated each one.

Here's the rest of my yard. 

These antique director's chairs are at my booth this week as well!

The chicken crate coffee table that we retrofitted with wheels is also at Not So Shabby! I only have one so get it while the gettin's good!
Love this doormat that my sis Cherie bought me for my b-day!

This sign that I had hanging there that night was a copy of the one I had originally painted for a Chump that ordered it for her lower level. I made an extra one to sell because it took me so long to cut the stencils for it. I'll be bringing this to the booth this week sometime. Here's a pic. said Chump sent to me when hers was in place. She hung it next to pictures of all the vacations they've been taking as a family. Great idea!
Chumps...I can't believe summer's almost over. Hate to admit it but I might be ready. I'm a creature of habit and I NEED structure and routine. Plus my girls are driving me nuts. :) It's time.
Cheers to a great summer!!


Monday, August 20, 2012

Little Sister's Turn

Okay, Chumps. Same song...second verse. Same as the first. Or is it third verse or fourth verse now? I am losing count. Let's just say that I feel like I'm growing a paint roller out of the fingertips on my right arm.  You remember the bedroom remodel that I surprised darling daughter Kennedy with while she was at camp this summer? Well, I couldn't very well leave the adorable and much-less-demanding second born daughter with no make-over of her the fun began all over again while she was away!

It started with a duvet cover that she had picked out on Ikea's website. As luck would have it wasn't one that I could order online, so Kennedy and I made a day of it and headed off to Detroit on a random Tuesday which meant we had T-minus 4 days to pull this room together and surprise the pants off sister.

Above is the usual condition of little sister's room, (on a good day). Sigh.
Let's get this show on the road....
First we'd have to start by painting over Brecken's life verse. That seemed like a very sac-religious thing to do, but I felt better knowing that I'd be replacing it with a verse that I had found written all over her things in the recent weeks. Still...I remembered the hours it had taken me to hand cut this cursive lettering and stencil it on the wall. Double sigh.
Paint and more paint.

I started by painting the walls a creamy white just as I had in Kennedy's room. This color was Navajo white which was a bit more yellow than Kenn's Antique White.  I liked the way it instantly brightened the room but we didn't have enough to complete it. So without a lot of forethought -(there never is with me) I forged ahead and did what any logical person would do who doesn't have enough paint to finish the job.
I mixed my own.

I started by taping off sections and faux painting a leather look on the wall. I was having fun and loving this new look. Slapping it up there with a brush instead of a rollar. I didn't think I'd mind the tape lines because it would almost appear to look as though it were grasscloth wallpaper from a distance.

Subtle. Peaceful. Serene.
And not at all what Brecken would ever like.
Again...Sigh. And swear. And pout.

So we jazzed it up a bit. Here's the bedding we bought from Ikea. (above)

And here's a little taste of what Brecken would like. (We hoped).
No turning back now.

I hand painted the flowers and dots on the wall with paint and outlined them all with black paint marker.

I repainted her nightstand a bright reddish-orange. Her favorite color.

She had asked for a basketball themed room a while ago. This handpainted mural (b-ball sign which I patterned after an image in her bedding was all I could muster). I just couldn't do the sports' themed room. Not on my watch. :)

I loved these adhesive flowers that we found at Ikea. Only $10.00 and they came with about 2 dozen different images.

Her new verse was from the book of Psalms.  She had left herself notes with this verse everywhere so I knew she would appreciate the permanent reminder on her wall.

We pulled it off. A few late nights, a tree mural that was hand painted and then painted over, a few drips, splatters and sore arms and lots of putting everything else on the back burner that week and we were finished!
Immediately upon arriving home, she raced upstairs to unpack her suitcase and take a peek at the makeover we later found out she was anticipating and expecting...("Well, you did it for Kennedy, you'd have to do it for me, right?") and she wasn't disappointed. She said she loved it all. I suspect that I'll hear the truth of the matter years later as I usually do with two girls who try to spare my feelings in the moment. She'll probably reveal later that she actually really wanted the basketball room and that she's scarred by the fact that I'm so controlling and opinionated even when it comes to her own space.
OR, on the other hand....I have raised both of my girls to speak their minds in the moment. So maybe she is telling me the truth that she really does love her new room. She didn't hold back in telling me that the notes and letters I had hidden in her suitcase the week of camp were unappreciated.
Here's the letter I received from her on Friday morning, the day before she returned home (stuffed with all the notes (above) that I had sent along):

Oh well. You win some. You lose some.
'till next time Chumps. Hope you're enjoying the last of these gorgeous summer days!


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Same Kind of Different as Me (or something like that)

Well, my sister warned me. She did.
6 years ago when we were contemplating our move from an up-and-coming higher-end subdivision to the downtown streets of the inner city Zeeland 'hood, she warned me.  She very nicely took me aside to lay things out the way only a sister could do and reminded me that if I chose to move into a neighborhood that was a mixed bag of people...(age groups, diversity, religious beliefs, parenting skills, socio-economic status, etc) that I had to be prepared for that, and was I? SHE could be...she's much more 'accepting' (read: "liberal") than I at the time, but could I be?

She knew that I was used to the cushy, plush lawns of the "keeping up with the Jones'" type neighborhoods that I had grown accustomed to as we were 'moving on up' in life and that I admittedly grew to appreciate and assimilate.  Don't get me wrong, I loved my neighbors in those subdivisions-so much so that when we moved from our old cul-de-sac into our new "end-all-be-all" home, I sank into a depression because I missed them so much!  However, the perfectly manicured lawns and meticulously maintained homes perpetuated the lie to me that I had to reflect that as well...that my own life, my kids, my faith, my marriage had to be just as perfect as the exterior of my newly constructed home.

Thus, the mini pep talk that sister Lo gave me before asking me the question...are you prepared to live RIGHT next door to people that don't think, act, believe, and live exactly the way you do? Was I prepared for that?
My answer six years later...NO, I was in no way, shape or form prepared for that and the amazing  blessings that have ensued because I wasn't.

I wasn't prepared for Nascar-jacket-wearing neighbors to become like family to me. Or spending most fall  friday nights by the campfire with  DINKS (Double income-no kids) and couples so young that they could be our own children. Or comiserating with older couples with teenagers that were finding their way in the world. Or baking each other cookies, giving each other haircuts, crying on shoulders, borrowing spices, sitting on porches, laughing and learning, biking and drinking, kickball and wine club, progressive dinners, potluck parties, holiday celebrations, cottage vacations, and so much more. I was never prepared for what became
"Team Centrennial"...the corner of Central Ave. and Centennial where we live life. Real life with all our bruises, hurts and imperfections. Unsolicitated. Unapologetic. Unbelievably REAL.

I've never been great at following rules or living out most of God's commandments with any sort of consistancy, but I do know this. I have no problem with His admonition to "LOVE YOUR NEIGHBORS AS YOURSELF".
I love them. Unabashadly, Uninhibitedly,and Understandably. They're all amazing. I love them all. Like this one:

And this one:

This one on the corner:

This one too:

Can't forget about this one:

And this one:

This one:

And this:

And of course, this one:

This one I call "Faber" or "Fabes". We dubbed ourselves that one night at a neighborhood progressive dinner where we may, (or may not have) had a few glasses of wine.  We thought the nickname (derived from "Favorite/ Friend-Neighbor)" was so clever at the time and it just stuck. ie."Hey Fabes, can I borrow your wheelbarrel?" "Fabes, do you like salmon? Ya want some tonight?" you need anything from Aldi's when I go?" to the more serious..."Fabes, my Mother-n-law has in-operable brain cancer".  "Fabes, my sister needs prayer". "Fabes, I am going to miss you when I leave for Mexico for a year because of work".

...And that's what they did today. Left for a year.  And my heart is still in my throat and there's a chance it still will be until they return.

No, I wasn't prepared for this.
I wasn't prepared to meet a family that likes dirt biking, fixing cars, riding quads, and David Hasselhoff. I wasn't prepared to have very little in common but so very much love and respect for.  I wasn't prepared to experience their generousity...everything from yard tools and equiptment to vacuums and the endless time they carved out for us and the investment they made in our lives.
I wasn't prepared to live less than 10 feet from my 'faber' and write notes back and forth in the windows through the years.(can ya see it in the pic above? our house is to the right). This is our window conversation yesterday after our verbal good-byes, hugs and tears.

I can see this window of hers every time I step into my kitchen. I'm glad she left it up there. I'll need the reminder. I heard their suburban pull out of the driveway this morning at 4 AM. and I watched them drive away into the dark- into this new adventure. I know they'll be back soon and Team Centrennial will be just as it should be with all 'fabers' present and accounted for but until then..I'll remember my sister's question and ponder my response that has only develped after living it out these last few years...  "Are you prepared and open to others who may be different than you are"?  I'm so glad that all my Team C. fabers made it easy to say YES.
Different, in many cases isn't always better and I think that may be why we're afraid of it. But when it comes to the 'hood where I live and the fabers that dwell here...different is the best.
Cheers to my Fabers who have shown me what truly loving your neighbors looks like.
Hasta La Vista Fabey.

Here's what they really look like...not just in costume for our redneck driveway party:

Love you Fabes. "Tall Christy" and I will be holding down the fort until you guys return.