Friday, May 31, 2013

Dinner, Devastation and Guest Post - Words of Hope - God is Faithful

Last Monday was a beautiful Spring day here in Tennessee.  Mini just finished her junior year of high school and she and I bummed around the house all day.  While  cleaning,  I unloaded the dishwasher and set a stack of Fiesta plates on the counter next to the flowers my spare daughter Bri gave me for Mother's Day and saw how beautifully they matched.  Ah ha....beautiful day, beautiful flowers and matching plates = dinner on the deck! 

Nothing fancy or really blog worthy but I was excited to shift dinner outdoors and I love the colors. We prepared Chicken Pasta Florentine (Mini's new favorite dish) and a nice salad (which Mini made a homemade Italian dressing for) and were looking forward to a relaxing dinner.

We set out the dishes, gather the napkins and rings and found a cloth that was just perfect.  I prepped the salad and the pasta ingredients early around 2:30. 

I was just finishing up the prep work when I decided to flip on the tv and catch a bit of Dr. Phil.  I had checked in on the latest on the Jodi Arias trial earlier in the day so when I flipped on the tv it was already on HLN. I expected to see trial coverage but instead saw tornado video.  I assumed they were showing footage from last Sunday's Oklahoma tornado and flipped the channel. 

Fast forward 45 minutes, Wonder Hubby, Mini and I were catching up on our day and flipped on the tv to see the tornado footage again, only this time we realized what we were watching was live.  Live as the first helicopter flew over the devastation of a tornado that has just disappated after literally wiping the lives of many completely away. 

For a good hour we sat shocked and mesmerized by the overwhelming devastation and praying feveriously for all the people in this area.  How could this happen?  Why did this happen?  How could schools in this area not have storm shelters?  What will the people that lost their homes, cars and possibly their employment do? How will the families of lost children deal? 

Suddenly, a dinner on the deck with matching flowers and plates seemed so indulgent. I could only think how I was heartbroken for those that were in harms way and give thanks that we were given the opportunity to gather together around the table together. 
The Oklahoma tornados (including those just yesterday since it is now 5/31/13) have weighed heavily on me and I have been out of sorts with Mini gone to Girls State.

I knew Mini was terribly troubled about the tornados as well, but she was busy all last week packing and preparing to leave.  It wasn't until today when I picked up the local paper and read her most recent column that I realized she was just as deeply affected.  Below is her latest article, I think she does a wonderful job of putting it all in perspective. 
Words of Hope - God's Faithfulness
As many of you know, an F5 tornado recently ripped through Oklahoma, killing a few and completely devastating many. If you were anything like my family, you were glued to the television, scanning the debris left in the path of the tornado in complete disbelief. Shortly after the disaster hit, my mother quickly logged onto Facebook to see what everyone else was saying about this horrific natural phenomenon and she came across a picture of one of the victims who had literally lost everything. In the caption of the picture he was quoted saying “It’s not my stuff, it’s God’s. It’s His decision what He wants to do with it”. As she read off that quote to me, I let it sink in.
Yes, this is a powerful quote at face value, but take a minute to really think about it. This is coming from a man who literally lost everything he had mere hours before he was quoted saying this. I took a minute right then and thought about how I would respond to being in the same situation. No hot shower to go to or warm bed to crawl into anymore. My entire clothing collection (which is a BIG collection) would be completely gone. No shoes or electronics or my phone. What if my dog hadn’t been as fortunate as us too? What if all I had was the clothes on my back and my family? Where would I be spiritually at that moment? I think everyone’s natural reaction at a time like that would to be angry with God. I believe we all would begin to ask a lot of whys. But what did this man do? He kept his faith that God will provide. He had provided the stuff this man had lost in the first place. And our God is not a God who would take away and not give back. This man obviously has faith that God’s love can reach even through this terrible situation, and that’s inspiring.
It very much reminds me of the story of Job. If you can recall, God and Satan had a conversation at the beginning of Job. God boasted about Job’s faithfulness but Satan asked if he was so faithful just because he hadn’t been put through any hard situations. God considered this and agreed He would prove to Satan that Job was faithful because of his love for God, so He allowed Job to be put through some pretty rough stuff. But the whole time, Job kept his faithfulness. He didn’t listen to what his friends were telling him about God or what Satan told him about God. He kept what HE knew about God in mind and knew that it was all going to turn out alright. And did it? Of course it did. In the end, Job was blessed more than ever. Why? Because our God is faithful.
It is stories like these that I want to keep in mind when life knocks me down. A large amount of faith comes with the title of Christianity. It is faith that reminds people that God loves them and His plans are bigger than their circumstance. It is faith that allows a person to stare disaster in the face and not fear. It is faith that gets people out of the deepest of holes and helps heal the largest of wounds. Why? Because faith allows you to believe that you can forever rely on God because he will always pull through.
 Lamentations 3:22-23 “Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Gardening / Here Comes the Rain Again.

If you are of a certain age this song is now stuck in your head.

Here comes the rain again
Falling on my head like a memory .........

 It seems that here in Middle Tennessee we have been singing this song more often than not.  Again this weekend it is soggy with flash flood warnings so I won't be playing in the yard.  We have had the hardest time getting into Spring this year.  In fact, today, along with the rain we are frolicking in the 40's!   Mother Nature seems to be having some serious mood swings.

For the first time in many years, I don't have in "big" projects this Spring.  No big makeovers inside or out just tweaking existing things and enjoying.   Good thing, since the weather has not been cooperative.  In addition to the annuals I will plant I am adding a couple of new ideas that will hopefully be improvements to some of my landscaping.

Sorry the pic is askew....don't know why it won't flip.  A couple of weeks back Wonder Hubby was on vacation and he managed to stay off the lake long enough for us to take a day to junk.  We visited Springfield, TN and a couple of awesome antique malls.  Within 5 minutes I had spotted these garden Obelisk's.  I just couldn't concentrate on anything else. 
We left the mall without them because I am so cheap.  Wonder Hubby was a bit annoyed with me since I initially considered buying only the largest of three and was okay with the price, yet, when that price turned out to be for all three I hesitated!  Guess he was right.  We left and had lunch at The Depot (I would recommend lunch there if you find yourself in Springfield) and went on to mall two.  I just couldn't get these out of my mind so we toured mall two and then headed back for them. 
So glad Wonder Hubby insisted because I love them and can't wait to have them in the garden.

Last year I had many of my plants in by mid April and all by the end of April.  I finally managed to purchase my first plants for this year, last week.  We had nice temps and weather this week so I was able to get in the dirt and complete some other outdoor chores.

Although I clean up in the fall there is still a good amount of garden debris and leaves to clean up in the Spring.  Thankfully, I am done with this now and have already had a massive bon fire to get rid of the mess. 

I love "finding" what annuals made it through the winter that are beginning to make a debut.  Until last year, having an annual come back in this area almost never happened, but with the last two winters being relatively mild I have had several this year.  The photo above (shot this morning from a dry spot!) shows dracaena spikes that made it through the winter. 

Looks like weed but its is a Gerbera Daisy making its way into Spring 2013.  I was very shocked to find this.  It is a bit like Christmas as I wait to see what color it will be!

Also making a reappearance, Calibrochoa also known as million bells.  I discovered this annual year before last and have fallen head over heels for it.   Feed it a bit and keep it watered and it just keeps on producing beautiful petunia like flowers.  I was over the moon to see some of my plants making an appearance.

I also used Calibrochoa in the pot Wonder Hubby gave me for Mother's Day last year and it has come back with a vengeance and is beautiful already.

There is my obelisk, perched in my pot waiting for a Joseph's coat rose to climb it.  I just can't believe how the Calibrochoa returned, full and pretty already.

For years I have had a flower bed in the front yard.   I actually hesitate to call it a flower bed because it has been a mish mash of things people gave me or plants I was rooting.  I had good intentions when I initially plowed it up but I always had another area I wanted to work on more.  This year I have finally decided to put some effort into this bed. 

Wonder Hubby brought in a truck load of garden mix for me and I have worked it in (in between floods) and have moved some existing plants around already.

First change/improvement, a Pinterest inspired planter atop an old bird feeder post.  Poor Wonder Hubby mounted the first planter I was going to try and naturally I found a better option (he should know that I am going to change my mind by now). 
 The better option is more proportionate....sometimes using what you have just doesn't work.

I can hardly wait to see this in a few weeks when everything fills out and begins to spill over! 

Two of my obelisk's will call this bed home.  I am planning to plant Moon flower on them as well as on the post.  Have you tried Moon flower?  It lights up a garden in the evening and smells incredible.  Next year I may try a climbing hydrangea on the large obelisk.

I am ready for the rain to end to plant my Moon flowers (I have them soaked and ready, I guess I could have skipped the whole soaking and planted them directly in the ground! lol).  My peony is on the verge of blooming and I have a few iris in bloom.


This pot is very special for me, it was my grandmother's.  For as long as I can remember a set of two of these sat on the corners of my grandmother's front porch and were always planted with red geraniums.  I brought these home after she passed away and planted them for the first time last year.  I had the set in my back landscaping but decided to rob one of them for the front bed.   The "foot" on this one is broken in half so I had so do a bit of burying to make it work, but that's okay I know what it is supposed to look like!   I didn't go with red geraniums but I think the red calibrochoa will be very pretty.

 Now I will be able to enjoy one when I am out back and the other when I am swilling iced tea on the front porch or when I am at the stove cooking, since this bed is in my direct sight line from the kitchen island.  Hopefully this week I will be able to get some annuals in this bed and bring in the mulch to finish it up.

Also blooming and growing....the old azalea's from our original front landscape.  They are dwarfing the plants we put in last year, which is a bit frustrating as I had expected much more growth of those by this year.  I guess I should just been thankful the new plants made it considering we planted and a few days later we went through almost two weeks of temps of 100 - 108.  They really didn't grow they just survived.

Thankfully we saved a couple of our old azalea's and at least one of them looks fabulous.  The other is still recovering from being crammed between VERY overgrown shrubs.  We added 6 Encore azaleas last spring that hopefully will start really growing and blooming soon.

I truly love Azaleas.  I have ever since we vacationed in Natchez Mississippi when I was a teenager and azaleas were in bloom everywhere.  While my son attended college in Memphis I looked forward to seeing all the azaleas there as well.   Strangely, azalea are not nearly as popular here in the Nashville area as other places in the South.  I am doing my part to change that in my little corner of the world.

We put up the hut and brought out the deck table yesterday.  It finally is beginning to feel like spring on the deck.  We have opened the fish pond and got it up and running.  I have a few things around the pond that are coming out little by little, a few elephant ears, iris and Asian lilies.   I looks a little bare right now, I still have to plant annuals in pots around the pond.  I cannot imagine our backyard without the pond.  Just listening to the water seems to lower the temperature even on the hottest of days.

This is my rear landscaping. Our lilac is in bloom, the hostas are almost fully up and there are a couple of things growing that I know I planted but I can't remember what they are.  Good thing surprise in the garden is a good thing!  Hopefully when this rainy weekend is over I will be able to purchase the annuals for this area and get those in. 

The lilac smells amazing.  Wish I could send it your way.

Oregano and basil are back as having these to use with fresh tomatoes all summer long.

My phlox is looking good. 

I have blogged about my good friend and junk buddy Tammy many times but I thought I would share this little story and how she coined a term we use all the time.  When Tammy got married she and her husband moved to Memphis.  We talked on the phone fairly often (even back in the days of watching your long distance bill) and we were always lamenting about being newly married and broke!  We were always sharing shopping strategies. 
 The big thing you need to know about Tammy is, she is a  clearance shopping nut!  So when she discovered shopping meat that was in the mark down section of the grocery store it was a big deal.   She affectionately named this area The Rotten Meat bin and it stuck!  Boy did it stick.  It refers to clearance of any sort and we are constantly searching for "rotten meat."  Recently we hit Lowes to check out their "Rotten Meat bin".  We purchased quite a few plants at a steal.

  One of the items I purchased was phlox.  Great deal at $2 for a large pot of it.  Seeing this picture of phlox reminded me of how much I love shopping for plants in the Rotten Meat bin! lol  I have also landed several packages of annuals for fifty cents and these adorable drift roses.

They were looking pretty rough when I dropped them in place a few days ago but are already perking up.  At a full grown size of 3 ft. wide and 1 1/2 feet tall, they are perfectly proportioned for Mini's house.  I am so excited to see these fill out.

Lastly, I have been piddling with a bed in the back yard.  When I began to turn the front bed into an actual "feature" bed I started a bed in the back yard to be my feeder bed.  I tossed in iris that I was thinning those out as well as some lilies and vinca from a neighbor.
  I also have been fortunate the last couple of years that the mums from my fall decorating made it through the winter and were transplanted to this bed.  I think I have 10 mums in it now.  This fall it should really be pretty.  For now, I am weeding and added some Phlox straight from the Rotten Meat Bin and need to mulch. 

That concludes the tour of what I hope will be beautiful gardens in a month or so.  Seeing all the beautiful new growth brightened this soggy day for me I hope it brightened yours! 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Dimensional Doodling and Glass Goodies

I have been seeing all the beautiful painted glass bottles and jars on the web recently and I am just in love with them!  From mason jars that are tinted to old Avon bottles being chalk painted I am smitten.
As usual, I am late to the party, so by the time I started looking for glass to paint I was finding mostly old bud vases (boo!).  After some diligent searching I finally landed some vases and an old perfume bottle that I wanted to try and paint.

All the vases came from my old standby, Goodwill.  The two with yellow stickers vases were 1/2 off that day! Woo hoo.  After several attempts I finally managed to get them painted.  It was a little tougher than it looked to get the coverage I was looking for...and I did knock one off the table and break it (another trip to Goodwill required) but in the end I like how they turned out.
I love the sparkle of the paint on the perfume bottle.

The opalescent paint made the vine stand out on this vase. 

I planned to display these on a shelf Wonder Hubby and I whipped up back last fall that was sitting empty.  Of course the bottle were not enough to fill the shelf so I needed a little something else. 
 I had several canvases sitting around so I decided to play around with those.  First step, I made a copy of the fabric covered canvas I blogged about here.  I chose elements from the fabric and transferred those to the canvas by tracing them onto parchment paper (it was what I had laying around) then traced them onto the canvas.

At this point I decide I wanted a tone on tone canvas, so I dug out some dimensional paint (love this stuff!).  I first used it for dimensional Easter eggs here.

This step takes a bit of time and a steady I had to work when I wasn't wired up on Co-cola or Coffee!

While working on the canvas I decided to add some dimension to a paper mache letter as well.  Still not finished with where it will live is any one's guess.

After letting everything dry, I watered down some acrylic craft paint and "washed" the whole canvas.  Once that was dry, I sanded the design lightly to reveal bits of the dimensional design.

I love the way it looks aged.  My junk buddy saw it last week and commented that it looked like an old tin panel.  Hmmmm...okay I like that. 

I placed it on the shelf with the bottles I painted as well as an adorable lantern/candle from OTP.  I absolutely love how calming this feels every time I look at it.

Thanks for stopping by and reading about my doodling adventure!  Have a great week.

I am joining Kim at Savvy Southern Style for