Monday, July 26, 2010

Leavin...On a Jet Plane!

Well, only one Morris actually left on that Jet Plane...ROB Morris!!!

Oh, yeah!  He got to go to Phoenix, AZ for 4 days with Nona, Papa, Lauren, and Micah to visit Aunt Kathy, Uncle Tom, and some cousins Anna and Spence.  This shot (below) was taken with Mom's phone-camera at around 6:00 AM:

Now, I was sleeping soundly, but somewhere over the Birmingham skies, you could have seen something similar to this:
According to Mom, Rob did great on the 1st leg from Bham to Dallas/Ft. Worth.  They had a brief layover and then a flight to Phoenix.  On the 2nd flight, Rob got a little antsy and at one point he said, "Whew!  I'm ready to land this bird!"

1st on the agenda once they arrived:
By the way, that is Tom and Kathy's backyard...not a resort!  Beautiful, huh?
I'm sure they're having a great time!  But, gee, Bobby, Caroline, and I miss him already!
More to come!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Prettying Up the Porch

I love my front porch!  Many times the whole family will hang out here.
[By the way, can you tell hubby's hair is growing out?  You do remember his summer new "do", right?]

It is a nice, cozy alcove...somewhat private as 1.) we live on a cul-de-sac and 2.) the porch does not face the road.  My creeping Jasmine has decided to really creep this year and I have a lovely new "Welcome" mat that Rob picked out for me all by himself on Mother's Day.
However, the title of this post is "Prettying Up the Porch", so let's take a closer look:
Can you spot the improvement needs?  Yeah, me too.  Let's start with this eyesore above!  I love this bench.  The darn thing is quite sturdy -- it weighs about 200 lbs.  I would have sold it at 3 different yard sales if I could have single-handedly moved it to the yard but, about endurance.  I have mentioned once or twice that I like to hold on to things, so the bench is staying...sort of.

First thing I did was sand it, and sand it, and sand it.  In the picture below, look at the before (left) and after (right).
Now just 'cause you're wonderin', yes -- I was absolutely smart enough and prepared enough to do this project in the middle of the the the South!  Excuse me while I try to rehydrate...
That's quite the glamor self-shot, huh?  This is going to be a labor of love...
Well, at least I have some great, Grade-A help from my little man...(PS check out his "worker-man" boots.)
Okay.  A little varnish will go a long way.  So a lot of varnish should change this baby for good!!!
By the way, it was so hot outside, dead bugs melted into my cute candle on the porch. 
But I have a bench to restore and the Bible verse tells me somehow I will survive this...

...and with no further ado (hey, what a pun-coincidence!)...I proudly present my newly restored bench!
Before-and-after shots will come once I'm through prettying up the porch.  Stay tuned for more...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

My Big, Fat, Antique Dining Set Redo

I have a huge confession to make...I'm just a wee bit over-the-top sentimental about some things.  For instance, I have rescued my beloved Great Aunt Josie's dining set.  I can remember as a young child my cousins and I would spend the night with her in her home (just off of Bush Blvd Ensley).  We'd eat Italian wedding cookies and drink powdered milk (why?) either in her very "modern" kitchen or in her traditional neo-classical dining room.  We would sleep on her sleeper sofa.  Christmas Eve was always celebrated by 30 - 40 friends and family members or more at her house and the dining room was filled with festive food and drink...

So it should come as no surprise that when her dining set was up for grabs after its 2nd owner / my aunt and uncle no longer had a place for it, I simply could not see it sold or donated.  It would be mine...

There is this gorgeous buffet that goes with the set which currently stores my fine and Christmas china (someday I would like to own a true china cabinet)...
But the six chairs were less than desirable.  I lived with them happily for a couple of years.  However, remember that redecorating bug Sheila had?  Well, it caught on with me and the chairs needed a facelift.  Er, seatlift...
Yeah, this fabric just isn't cutting it anymore.  So here goes nothing!  My aunt and uncle added the current fabric a few years ago when they took ownership of the dining set.  It has seen better days (and less spilled food in those better days).  Believe it or not I decided to -- gasp! -- toss this fabric away.  But when I pulled it off, I was instantly transported to Ensley, 1989.  This striped fabric is exactly what I remember of bygone days.
What did surprise me was what laid underneath that striped fabric.  There appeared to be two additional layers of fabric!  Let's check it out...
This one above was a think, canvas-ish gold fabric that certainly shimmered during its peak life.  The fabric below is a dark hunter green with some gold threads woven throughout. 
Oh and the smell as I pulled back these fabrics...they smelled like history!  Sentimental me has decided to smooth out these three layers of fabric and cover them.  They shall remain for the next generation of ownership.  I can only imagine some designer, sister, or confidante helping Aunt Josie decide which fabric would look best in her dining room!

Wanna know which fabric I chose?

Ta-Daa!!!  It's this beautiful, cozy gold background with a crimson red, tan, and green plaid.  The colors bring out the gold accents of the woodwork and unify my red kitchen to my Dorset Gold (favorite Benjamin Moore paint color) living room.  Blame it on my heritage, but I really want my kitchen to take on an Italian countryside look and feel.  I'm getting there...

Monday, July 5, 2010

Hometown Fun: Helena

A few weeks ago, Kelly's Korner encouraged us to show her/blog to the world a little ditty about our Hometowns.  I admit, I didn't have a lot to say.  That is no indication of a lackluster hometown; on the contrary, it's because I do not explore Helena, AL very much.  We have a sleepless, pseudo-celebrity who keeps us informed of most goings-on.  I am a regular reader of his blog...I have one park/library/tee-ball field that I became very familiar with this Spring.  The end.  Yup, that's all, folks.  Most of the time, my social calendar takes me to neighboring communities of Pelham, McCalla, Calera, unincorporated Shelby County, etc.  So today, when Rob and I found ourselves without plans (my fault more than anything else) I decided we were going to have an adventure and try something goes.

I took the kiddos down to Helena Amphitheater and Buck Creek.  I have seen the activities and goings on from aforementioned blog and by driving across Hwy 261 daily and not paying attention to the road looking down at the visitors.  First thing: let's touch the water...

Hey, is that my nephew and Rob/Caroline's cousin up there on top of the waterfall?  Yep, it is...

Speaking of Caroline, let's try to take a shot of her...

Okay, she's simply NOT going to look at me.  Moving on.  Rob's having a blast but Caroline, well, not so much...

Hey, a playground!!!  Oh, and a stage area, too! The city uses this stage to host big hometown names like Bo Bice and local talent winners from various competitions.  They also show movies on summertime Friday nights.


We went back to the water which flows around to the rear of the park.  Hey, there's Hunter and co. again!

Oops, I guess Rob had more fun than Caroline did.  Oh well, maybe next summer!

So, that's just about it for Helena Amphitheater.  They do have various activities throughout the spring, summer, and early fall.  Next time I hear of something there, I will be much more likely to attend.  How about you?

Caroline Is 7 Months Old!

(Note: this post is late b/c you had a cold and were not photogenic at all.  Plus, we have been celebrating July 4th.)

Weight: 16 lbs
Length: 26 1/4"

Sleeping Patterns: You go to bed about 7:30 PM. You definitely will let us know when you are ready! You can fall asleep on your own, but you really like a little rocking, and Mommy and Daddy don't mind that snuggle time at all! Major development in the last month:  you sleep through the night!  Woo Hoo!  You wake up for the morning between 5:45 and 6:00 AM, but sometimes I can feed you and let you take a quick cat-nap while I rub my eyes/turn on the coffee maker.  Mid-morning naps are inconsistent these days.  You are still taking a longer mid-afternoon nap.  Just like big brother, you are a busy-body sleeper.  You are never in the same position you started.

Eating Habits: Milestone moment: you eat solid foods now. You take 6 - 8 oz in the morning.  Mid-morning and lunch time is a jar of baby food and 4 oz formula.  Then you will take 2 more bottles: one mid afternoon and one at bedtime.  You love sweet potatoes, bananas, pears, squash, and applesauce.  You are not crazy about green beans (who is?) and prunes are quite a mess-maker later...

New Discoveries & Accomplishments: Milestone moment: You can crawl! You are on the move, little girl!  You are also not sastified with crawling, either.  You have found your feet.  You pull up to standing in your bed, at the coffee table, at the recliner, etc.  Sometimes when you are crawling, you crawl with your feet instead of your knees.  Slow down!  You are only a baby once.  But you make me so proud!  All that toy-in-mouth business of last month has resulted in another excitement: You have two teeth!  Your bottom front ones have popped through the surface and are growing tall.  The first was your right on 6/25/10.  The one on your left came a few days later while Mommy was in Destin with Nona.  You are such a talker! You go on and on sometimes.  You have a huge personality!

Places You Love: You still like your exersaucer, but mostly you just want to be free to crawl around the house.  I have to chase you all the time.  When we go to the store, you now sit up in the buggy (in a shopping cart cover).  You love to smile at all the other customers.  You are a ham!  You got to go to the beach for Memorial Day and you liked the sand.  You have been to the pool, too and you really liked the water.  It didn't bother you at all.  Thanks Godmother Stephanie for our great pool day!

Special Friends: You spent a week with Ms Beth while Mommy and Nona worked a conference in Destin.  All the boys and girls -- Allie, Braxton, Morgan, Ella, and Jacob -- loved on you again. You are still Daddy's princess and Rob's dream-come-true sibling.  You play well with everyone.  You are very outgoing and seem to not be shy at all!

Current Events: The oil has hit the beaches.  It's really sad that it is still flowing and washing up on the beaches.  Hurricane Alex hit Eastern Texas as a category 2, but luckily did not do too much additional damage to the Gulf Oil Spill.  The country is still holding its breath and praying for answers in the case of missing 8-yr-old Kyron Hormon.  Twilight Saga: Eclipse is all anyone can talk about in the movie theaters.  Russian spies have been arrested here in the US living as simple suburbanites.  US Soccer team did very well in the US World Cup. 

What We Did This Day: On your 7-month birthday, Mommy woke up in Destin, FL.  You went to Ms Beth's house while Daddy worked.  I picked you up and loved on you so much!  I had missed you terribly!  Brother spent this day with Rocky.  We're getting ready for the Fourth of July and we're planning a celebration at our house.  I think you are getting a cold.  Your eyes are very red and puffy, and you have terrible congestion.  So we will have to see how you feel in the next couple of days!

Wondering why this post didn't start with our traditional pose?  You won't sit still long enough!!!  I love you, my little busy-body!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Pretty (Simple) Porch Curtains -- A Must

Many thanks to BFF Amber who got me started on my blog-addiction. I now want to redecorate every room in my house weekly using a different technique I have seen. There are so many cahuuuute, cute ideas out there, and I am just eclectic enough to believe each idea would be os-so-fabulous in my house. Enter disapproving redecorating today. Probably not tomorrow, either.

Well, dear friends and cousins-once-removed Matt and Sheila are doing some "staging" and simple redecorating projects to their home. Oh snap! I'm in. I went to their house one Friday night recently and found Sheila atop a ladder replacing their back porch ceiling fan. Great idea, too. The brown-should-be-white old one is gone and in its place is a sleek, sophisicated, 21st century black one. Oh, and she repainted the whitewashed porch ceiling. So the black fan really "pops". She then showed me some nice bamboo shades she was planning to hang for afternoons when the sun is beating into the porch. Um, no no no...Enter motivation.

Look, I have nothing against bamboo shades. They serve their purpose well. But had an even better idea! How about some outdoor curtains? Once I showed the idea to Sheila and assured her they are all the rage on HGTV and DIY Network, she was hooked. Here is a before shot of her porch (with the new fan already hung):

We decided on a nice white muslin fabric. Light and airy, but still thick enough to block the glare. Both of us know our way around a sewing machine, but since that's about the limit of skills, we decided to do a no-sew version. So we first used heat-activated hem tape to secure the edges:
Grommets are the coolest! They come in varying sizes and finishes. They are super easy to use, and just about everyone swears you cannot mess them up! Grommets are very forgiving to a novice skill level. Everyone is correct! I would tell you the steps, but we just followed the package instructions and found success!
Hey Sheila, hold that up so I can put a picture of your smiling face on my blog!!!

And now for the after pictures. I was not present for the curtains' grand hanging. The way Sheila tells it, hanging the curtain rod was by and far the hardest part of the project. Gee, I'm sure sorry my camera missed that hilarity!
(I put another of the "before" for comparison)

Up next, we'll finish the porch with small sitting chairs and perhaps a little side table and lamp. Cozy huh? This was fun. Stay tuned for more decorating dessert!