Sunday, December 28, 2014

End of Year Wrap Up

I haven't been a very good blogger this year.  It's not that I wasn't busy doing lots of fun stuff, but a few things kind of got in the way and stole my blogging "mojo" for a while.  So, while I usually do an end of year synopsis that includes all the stuff I blogged about during the year, this year, I'm going to post here about some of the things I didn't already post about and put all the last half of the year into one post - so I'm warning you now, this will be long and picture heavy!

So, here we go:

In mid-May we went home to Connecticut to see my family.  We were so lucky that the weather was nice for our trip and we got to experience some of the beauty of the bike path in Cheshire.

 We took a day trip out to Mystic to visit a few little shops I wanted to see and even went by the Mystic Seaport. Me, Doug, and Joao (Ja-wow-wow!)

 Here I am with my sister, Amanda; and my cute nephew, Joao.

We even squeezed in a trip to NYC and had fun seeing the sights and doing some shopping.

At the end of May, our Doll Club hosted Jessica Hamilton and Paula McGee, two fabulous teachers. I ended up taking the class with Jessica Hamilton since I wanted to learn how to make a ball jointed doll. 
The picture below is my face in its initial stages - kind of ugly, I know.

  Here she is all in pieces ready to be strung together:

Here she is all put together but without any clothes or hair as of yet.  For my first ever ball jointed doll, I think she came out pretty good.

At the end of the summer, just as we were moving back into the house after all of the construction, we had some visitors!  My sister and her family came for a few days and we had the best time.  

At the splash pads, I don't know who loved it more -  my sweet nephew or his dad.  ;)

We ate at Osaka, the hibachi restaurant one evening and that was lots of fun.

We spent several nights at the pool staying right up until closing.  The first night, we stayed past closing time and actually got ourselves locked in!  We had to call the homeowner's association and luckily Doug came and was able to let us out with a special key through the clubhouse.  For a while, we thought we were going to have to spend the night sleeping in the pool chairs.  :)  It was a good lesson to be out of the pool, packed up and ready to go.

It was a fun, fun week filled with lots of activities and I was very sad when it was time to say goodbye, and send them back to Connecticut.

I had big plans for my yard this year but they didn't come to fruition with all the other stuff that was going on.  

It was still pretty and a nice sanctuary for lots of birds, butterflies, and

LOTS of hummingbirds!  

At the end of September, my investment club took a trip to Santa Barbara.  

 This was the view from the balcony in our room:

We rode the trolley and walked, and walked, and walked.

We toured the sights,

and enjoyed the views.

We took a wine tour,

we ate, 

and had a *little* too much to drink.

It's okay, we weren't driving - we were on our own private bus.

We even had some down time by the pool, relaxing, reading books, and just enjoying each other's company.
I volunteered at a few events for the Humane Society of Tulsa. We hosted a BBQ fundraiser and then an adopt-a-thon.  Lots of hard work but I loved every minute of each event.  Miranda Lambert even made an appearance!

The next two pictures are from Good Grief Girdie's blog - we took a class from Lesa Dailey at Paper Crown and had a great time.

And the same weekend was Glitter Market and I was a vendor for the first time!

Before I knew it, Christmas was here and gone, and now we are gearing up for another New Year.
I'm looking forward to 2015 - how about you?

Friday, August 1, 2014

Debby Schuh at Paper Crown

Last weekend, Paper Crown hosted Debby Schuh for three fun classes.  I had taken one of Debby's classes last year and absolutely loved the project we made.  I blogged about it here.

This year, I was able to sign up for two of the three classes Debby was offering and here is a peek at what we made.  Friday night was this adorable LOVE book.  It holds small photos and it will be so fun filling this little book.

Here are some of the embellished pages:

Look how cute this page is with the prize ribbon.  The page flips up so I can put a couple of pictures inside.

Debby is very generous with her class kits so there is plenty of extra paper and embellishments to add extra pages into the binder.

Cute, cute, cute!

This is going to be so much fun to fill.  *AND* I finished this!  So, now really all I have to do is add pictures.

The first class on Saturday was this adorable Day at the Seashore book.  I love the beach and now I need a beach vacation for some memories to fill this book with.

There is plenty of open space for pictures, journaling, or whatever.

The colors are fun and festive, and Debby has such a way with mixing product lines and choosing just the right embellishments.

 Lots of fun little envelopes and tags.

 Lots of different pages.

I will treasure these books for years to come.

I wasn't able to take the third class that Debby offered that weekend but the class sample was every bit as beautiful as the others.

Debby lives in upstate New York but travels all over the world to teach.  I would highly recommend taking a class or two if you get a chance.  She also hosts shopping trips to Paris, England, and New York City.  Maybe I'll see you on one of those fabulous shopping trips!  ;)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Here we go again with Restoration #2

I've been kind of quiet around here because I've been preoccupied. Stressed out and preoccupied.  You may remember a little over a year ago, we went through a huge restoration when we had a tiny water leak that affected our entire first floor.  I blogged about it here, here, and here.

After the restoration was complete, everything looked great until about two months after we moved in.  I started noticing the floors weren't "right".  For a YEAR, I went back and forth with the the restoration company who kept telling me everything was fine and I kept insisting it wasn't. My gut told me things weren't right.  I'd wait a couple months and call them back again, over and over.  I finally got two outside opinions and each contractor told me at a minimum we needed to have the floors refinished.

We finally got the original contractor to agree to refinish the floors and were getting ready to schedule a date when I found the source of the problem.  The plumber who installed the toilet in the 1/2 bath didn't install it correctly and it had been leaking under the floors for the past year.  YEP.  Guess I was right.

So that means the ENTIRE job gets to be done again. Not only that, but since it is a 3rd party liability claim, I had to go round and round with everyone to get this project scheduled. I had to deal with the contractor, the adjuster, and the 3rd party insurer.  It took over a month and multiple, draining phone calls to finally get this project underway.

So, the mess gets bigger as they pack us up once again. How do you decide what you need for the next five weeks and what you can live without?

It makes my stomach turn to see our home be upended this way once again.  It's a violation for people to be pawing over our stuff. And the dogs were beside themselves with all these people in our home, packing up our things.

Ugh. So empty.

We really have to do this all again???  If you blow up the picture big enough, you will see the granite countertops on the back porch next to the toilet sitting out there too.  I'm sure the neighbors think we are total white trash.  I don't care.  I'm over it.

Today the demolition finally began and it's a mix of feeling sick to my stomach over what is happening to my home, and a mix of relief that we are finally moving forward and that much closer to getting it all back to normal.

I'm sure the neighbors like seeing all this crap in the garage along with the giant dumpster and pod parked in the driveway, and construction vehicles clogging our quiet little street.

It gets worse before it gets better, right?

Last renovation, we were stupid enough to live in the guest bedroom with the four dogs while all this went on.  This time, I couldn't face all that and started stressing out about going to a hotel with the dogs.  I kept praying about what we were going to do and stressing how I was going to handle it all.  God had a plan and I didn't need to worry about a thing!

We didn't end up in a hotel.  THIS is where we are staying:

 It's a 20 acre property that used to be a mini horse farm.  Our friends own this beautiful place and it has been sitting empty so they allowed us to rent it for the time we need AND it's  no problem to have the dogs here!

The grounds are beautiful!  We're calling it our country manor. ;)
Below is the barn where the mini horses used to sleep. It has cute living quarters on the second level.

The house itself is way bigger than what we need for a rental but we are enjoying our time here.  There is a large room at one end of the house that we think was at one time a home office.  When we saw the windows with this amazing view of the back yard, we decided to camp out in there.  So we wake up to this beautiful view. 

It's aggravating, stressful and just a big pain in the neck to be going through this for a second time but I just Thank God for all the wonderful things in our lives.  I really shouldn't complain because nobody is hurt, nobody is sick, we didn't lose anything, and the house is being repaired.  Plus, look at this place we get to stay! 

Monday, June 23, 2014

A few Birdsong 4 projects

Andrea Singarella taught this beautiful bracelet class and supplied all the vintage findings.

For those who finished early with their bracelets, Andrea generously offered additional beads and findings so we could make earrings.  I love mine!

 Karla taught a fun class of wool spun cotton fairies.  The dog lovers at our table used the additional images Karla provided to make ours into dog fairies.

 Lori Oles taught a sweet, nature inspired shadow box class.

The last class of the weekend was a beautiful mobile that was taught by Karla. It's going to be so pretty when it's done but I didn't quite finish mine before it was time to pack up.  If I get it done anytime soon, I'll be sure to post some photos.