Tree hanging and table setting

For anyone taking bets (Lynn), it's true. We did rearrange the apartment yet again. The opportunity was too ripe to ignore.

My sister Kristin called a few days ago and said she couldn't find her husband. My mom asked who that man was talking in the background. Kristin said, I don't know but it sure isn't my husband, because this is the most motivated man I've ever seen. I felt the same way on Saturday with John. Five minutes after walking through the door, he had the furniture all moved to one side and was vacuuming, mopping and scraping paint specks off of the floors with a blade. Me lika this version of my husband. 

Anyway, why move all the furniture back as it was? That would be majorly BOR-ING. Plus we had a Christmas tree to work into the mix. So we swapped the living room for the dining room. Yep, you heard. Didn't think those rooms were interchangeable? Well they're definitely not. Now we absolutely have a dining room table that is squat in between the couch and the TV. Roll with it. John has learned to. And Annie is shaping up nicely to being a girl as into doing and undoing as I am. 

What with a fresh floor plan, we decided to go shopping. Free shopping. My favorite kind - when you gather and spend all the gift certificates you have tucked away from the past year. (like this time)

Annie got a bag full of fake food out of the deal from U.S. Toy. I don't know - is that akin to Luke 11:11 when Jesus asks which of you fathers, if your son asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion instead? Handing your child a bag full of chocolate bars, sunny-side up eggs and pineapple slices only to watch her pop them in her mouth and discover that they're funky tasting, painted plastic. Annie, they're for your play kitchen. You know the one where water doesn't come out of the faucet and you can lick the stove and not burn your tongue. 

Next stop was Sharyn Blond's in Fairway where mommy got a set of super gorgeous napkins. And what do you know but we were having friends over the very next evening. Jackpot. Only problem is that I've worked at one too many restaurants and just couldn't decide how to fold the napkins. 
What the hey. I just left each plate different. Because making them all the same would be BOR-ING, people. 

Want to hear a funny story. We ran out to World Market to buy candles for that table centerpiece and came home with the only ones that were the right size - gold dipped, tapered candles. As I started peeling off the plastic wrap, the gold paint came streaking off as well. Major bummer. So, we left the rest in the bag to return. Well, not before my mom - to whom I had mentioned this disappointment on the phone - dropped by unannounced five minutes before our guests arrived and left a package of white candles on our doorstep. Anyone that knows Mindy won't be surprised at all by that. Funny story, huh? No, silly. I haven't gotten to the funny part yet. 

The funny part is when the fire alarm went off - count em - THREE times during our dinner party from these long-stemmed, white candles. Got to keep people on their toes.

Also, just to be cruel, I put the salt and pepper in the middle of the centerpiece because grinding pepper over your food is just another way of saying, thank you, host, but your dish isn't well seasoned. I thought, if they're going to be that bold, the least they can do is stick their hand through a ring of fire. No, not true. We just have a small table. Salt yourself silly. I won't judge.


On flipping and flopping and other such things

Big Cedar Lodge. If you haven't heard of it, listen up. If you haven't seen it, look. If you haven't been, go. It's at times the scene of crazy beautiful weddings like my cousin Jennifer's this fall. Watch this video. It'll be good for your soul. But be careful. The Lord commands us not to covet. And covet this wedding you will. So promptly repent. (By the way, she married a professional bull rider. Who does that? Cool people, that's who.)

Luke + Jen from Something Blue Cinema on Vimeo.

At other times, in between the minivans full of Kanakuk families and cabin after cabin packed with vacationers, Big Cedar is the backdrop which becomes the foreground on a hundred artists' canvases. And on one such occasion - Plein Air Paint Out 2012 -  my mom and cousin Laura road tripped down to Tablerock Lake to watch them all break out their oils and acrylics. Needless to say, after a full weekend of watching art made, Laura was inspired to boldly paint some herself. 

Thus our enrollment in Artichoke's Abstract Acrylics workshop last month. 

And yes, if you are wondering, when a wedding video is as darling as the aforementioned and aforeshown, any good lady can find a way to weave it into an utterly unrelated post. BOOM. We're in the middle of my story's part 2 and you're still wondering how you can lure your husband into renewing his vows. Bam, thank you ma'am. 

Anyway, here we are. Following the Plein Air weekend, Laura invited me to do this class with her. And I'll be frank. We probably should have taken a happy hour first. The creativity was a little hard to squeeze out as we stared at our white canvases. A cocktail would have helped. Live and you learn. 

Let me tell you a secret. Each of our paintings are based off of the very same image. Huh, maybe one of the two of us did take a happy hour prior to class.

Moral of the story here is that anyone can paint. And everyone should paint.

I didn't think I'd hang mine. I usually throw things I make into the back of the closet until a few months later when I pull it out again only to paint something new over it. But this time I don't totally hate it. So I hung it on our nice new white wall.

The best part about abstract art is you can often turn it upside down and get a fresh new look. You can also pull a Kylie and turn NON-abstract art on its side, completely to the dismay of the artist, I'm sure. Sorry, Marjolyn van der Hart.

But, again, a little flip flop never hurt anyone. Except when it did and tonight Annie totally flipped over a big toy and smacked her bum to the ground. A flip and a flop and a huge rush of tears.

"Abstract" as it may be when I painted it, I've decided to name it Touch Down. Because I love the NFL. Who dat. Or, really, because upside down I think it looks like a red tornado touching down on a field in the middle of an electrifying storm. 

So there you have it. From a gorgeous wedding to slapping up some paint.


The Dog and Now The Kid

Before Annie was born, it was just me, John and the dog. And before John, it was just me and Griffin. I'd say I know this dog pretty darn well. Many a night he slept in bed next to me - before John stole his spot. 

As the years passed, I watched something odd happen. Suddenly, Griffin wouldn't necessarily come when I called him. John says it's because I would annoy him and get him all wound up when he came. Anyway, over time it became obvious that while Griffin would hop up on the bed when I called him most of the time, he wouldn't do it all the time. And when John called him up any time, he would come every time. 

I'd call and I'd call and I'd call and that lazy lump would just stay curled up in the corner. I'd raise my voice, quicken it, deepen it, sing his name. And he wouldn't move. Then John would barely utter the first syllable of his name and suddenly a tail was wagging in our faces. That dog had no loyalty. So that was the year I lost my first kiddo to daddy.  

But Annie was my girl. And she loved her mama. I know that I know that kid better than anyone else. Pops included.

Here's the thing. I've noticed lately that on occasion John will be holding Annie and I'll squeeze her chubby little thighs to make her laugh. And what do you know but that John starts tickling her belly at the very same moment. And Annie explodes with laughter. Everything's fine, right? Wrong. 

It dawned on me last week that I don't have that special touch anymore. Daddy does. Because when I tickle her she only sometimes giggles and when daddy tickles her she always giggles. So when I reach for her thigh, John comes in for the kill on her belly and I'm the fool standing there thinking its me causing the joy.  John knows what's up. He pities me! It's like when your little toddler wants to push the doorbell but isn't strong enough so you press his finger in to ring it and then clap his hands and tell him what a good job he just did.

I haven't told him yet that I'm on to him. So, when he reads this post, he'll know the jig's up. I'm no longer the fool. He can stop feeling bad for me and my failure to get laughs. I guess both our kiddos have swung to John's side. So what's a mom to do but get out her camera and at least record the moments?


Sun + Daughter

We just got back from the beach. And it was glorious. And, too short.

Annie basked in the sun. All week. She dug in the sand. She ran toward the ocean. Straight for the waves. Fearless. Blonde hair got blonder. Wobbly legs pittered and pattered along the waterline.

Man, I love that kid! And that dad!

...More pictures to come soon.


The Master Bedroom

So there was this one time when I went out to buy fabric for Annie's daybed and came home with nothing of the sort. Instead, I had in tow four new fabrics to redecorate our bedroom. Whoops. But it was Nell Hills and walking through their rows of fabric bolts is like walking through the pages of Lonny Magazine. I get giddy. I start to dream of a five bedroom English colonial house in the woods near a river where I can use six different prints in every room and where the beds each have ten pillows. It's a problem. And while there's a whole library of fabrics at Nell Hills that are way beyond our budget, there's also a whole slew of fabrics with prices I can deal with. For all of you graced with a non-ministry salary, you can buy the pillows they've had their seamstresses already sew. But for anyone cheap like me, you buy the yardage and make it yo self. BAM.

So welcome to our bedroom.

LUCKILY, I did not listen to the silly man at Hancock Fabrics who told me to abandon my plans to put zippers in the pillows. Because what this silly man doesn't understand is that I have a brother who sticks trash between cushions, a daughter who vomits without hesitation, and a husband who - less than 24 hours after arguing our way through putting the newly-washed, newly-shrunken slipcover back on the couch - spilled his cup of hot coffee everywhere. And off came the slipcover once more. So whipstitching a seam permanently shut on our bedroom pillows and hoping for no accidents is a little too ambitious for this household. You hear what I'm saying? We're a mess.

Anyway, after years of sloppily sewing pillows, I poured all my attention and effort into making these babies look good. And I'm super excited about it. You'll probably think I'm kidding, but I have to be honest. I actually got excited the first time that I saw a stain on one of the cases. Zip, Zip, UN-Zippity, Zip I did.

So here's me showing off my zippers. And I'm only gloating because sewing them required more brain power than my college senior paper. Something about thinking your way through an inside out pillow with cording AND an invisible zipper is rather complicated. And I'm real bad proud that I made it to the other side.

Frankly, I'm just real bad proud that I made a fabric purchase AND completed the respective project in successive days. That's rather unlike me.

So there it is, the bed. The pillows. The zippers.

P.S. I finished these pillows in the late summer and only just now shot the pictures. But it was the same week that I made these curtains for Annie's room and made this cornice board for ours.


Impatientitis + A Nice White Wall

We're not there yet. There's still work to be done. The base board hasn't been bought, cut or installed yet. And despite having just painted that wall, it needs touch up due to the disease from which I suffer. Impatientitis. It's chronic and painful. It forced me to hang that mirror alone while John was gone. And indeed I did drop it. Thrice. The evidence remains: tread marks against the white paint, a few knicks and a couple straight up dents in the wall. That mirror is a beast. A BEAST, I tell ya!

Anyway, this is the wall that once had the entertainment center built on it. (Posts here and here) It's the wall that looked like a battleground all summer long while we waited for an electrician and drywaller. It's even the wall that was hidden by a hanging rug for a good few months. 

And now, this wall, is nearly finished. 

I had another flare up from my Impatientitis tonight and snapped this picture in the dark. I was just so darn excited about my new antlered friend underneath the mirror that I bought today at Twig Interiors. Had to share him with the world. But once I settle down, I'll straighten things up and take some pictures of the whole living room. 


The Flu + A Fat Man in Red

The flu came. The flu invaded. The flu won. This is Day 4 and John is the only one who has yet to throw up. But he's been thrown up on. Three times. Now, that's got to count for something. 

So that explains some of the silence around here. The other piece to the silence is that I, in an effort to make Christmas less AND more this year, have been a busy little bee working on some secret projects. 

Less and more. I want to spend less money and this time it's not because I'm being cheap. Although I am innately cheap - let's be real. But this year I don't want to say, thanks for being a great grandparent, let me go the day before Christmas (don't judge) and throw thirty dollars at a Chinese-made trinket from Target to show you my appreciation.  

And get ready for me to blow your mind. But, I heard this rumor that Christmas maybe isn't so much about giving each other more stuff as it is about this guy named Jesus. I was like say what?? You mean to tell me that this holiday isn't about me, my Christmas list and a fat man in a red polyester suit? Get outta here. Stop telling lies. And stop being mean. But then, it was confirmed. Christmas is indeed about the first five letters of the word. 

And given the weight of the word Christ, we thought it would be cool if there was a little separation in Annie's mind between images like Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and Jesus. Because one day she'll learn that two out of the three are fake. And we run the risk of confusing her into thinking that that third guy named Jesus is fake, too, if we throw him into the same category. So, we're vying for a little more clarity amidst the holiday chaos and hoopla. 

Less presents under the tree. More purpose in giving each other gifts to show our love in honor of the birthday of the guy who came to save us because of his great, great love. 

But anyway. Let it be known that there's lots of craftiness happening up in here. Lots of glue and thread and ink. Plus a whole lot of blog posts for December 26th. And, oh yeah. In other news, Annie learned how to use a spoon. Praise be to God. 

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