Thursday, October 29, 2009

If you want to move a chair...

I've been working on my living room lately. You know - reorganizing, rearranging, decorating, thinking about paint and furniture and what I want on the walls and on the mantle. It's been a lot more consuming than I would have thought, but I'm loving the changes.

One change I've decided I want to try is to move a certain brown chair from the living room where it works just fine upstairs to the loft where we need more seating and it would be more useful. But in order to move the chair upstairs, there were a few things that had to happen first.

Before I moved the chair, I had to clean the loft and the living room.

Before I could clean the loft or the living room, I had to move some extra stuff out of the living room.

Before I moved that extra stuff, I had to finish some projects.

Before I finished the projects, I had to work on school planning.

Before I worked on school planning, I had to organize a bunch of school stuff.

(It was like "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" backwards.)

So I got all the school papers organized into their proper binders and put away.

Then I knew what needed to come next in the girls' lessons, so I got some lesson planning done and their work ready for the coming week.

Then I had some free time to work on my projects and got my crocheting and my sewing done.

Once those projects were done, I could move the craft table and stool out of the living room and back into the craft room and I put the crochet projects in a box to mail to my nephews.

Now that the extra stuff was out of the way, I can finish the laundry today and finally clean my living room and my loft. Ok, that will probably have to be finished tomorrow.

And only then can I move my chair upstairs and see if it works in our loft.

All that reminds me of a funny thing that happened this week. When I was finishing up my sewing, L brought her worksheet to the craft table telling me that she was supposed to draw a picture of her mom or dad working, like as a waitress or a doctor or fireman or something. I explained that she needed to draw us doing our real jobs, like Daddy working on his computer or me doing one of the many jobs I do - driving, cleaning, teaching, sewing, etc. She looked at me in extreme disappointment and announced, "I wish you were a waitress." Sheesh! Even my own daughter doesn't think I have a real job.

She ended up drawing me sewing and here's what I was working on.

The other project I finished was making was these little rectangle monsters for my nephews. The youngest's birthday is tomorrow and I thought all the boys might like getting a box in the mail and pulling out these little guys.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

My Better Dressed Nest

On Monday, my parents pulled up in front of my house in their SUV pulling a U-Haul trailer. No they aren't moving in. They brought me a piece of furniture.

A very special piece of furniture.

When my grandmother passed away last month, we had to go through all the papers, photos, and furniture in her home. Relatives were given the opportunity to request things they would like to have. There were two things that I wanted. Of all the furniture and knickknacks that had found a place in my memories of my grandmother, two pieces stood out. One was a small telephone bench. It has a seat and a small table where one could sit and talk on the phone. You know back when phones were plugged in the wall, handsets were attached with a short cord, and you turned a wheel to dial a number. The other piece I loved is an old buffet that has always stood in her dining room. It was covered with desserts at family holiday dinners. We rummaged through its drawers for tape and paper. It was the signature piece that everyone loved. I'd mentioned a few times that I'd love to have it, but everyone else said the same thing. In the days after my grandmother's death, my cousins and siblings and I talked about that buffet and how it was the one piece that WAS Grandmother's house.

When my aunt approached me and said they wanted me to have it, I was floored. Really? Me? It was like achieving Most Favored Nation status. I'm not the oldest, the only, the prettiest, the most, the favorite, or anything like that. I have a way with words and was honored to be asked to write my grandmother's obituary, but to be offered the buffet was HUGE.

I hemmed and hawed and lamented that I just didn't have anywhere to put it and it would be difficult to get it back to NC, blah blah blah. Then I smacked myself upside the head, came to my senses, and declared that I would sell every other piece of furniture in my living room to make room for that buffet. Thankfully, I have wonderful parents who offered to load it into a U-Haul trailer and bring it halfway across the country for me.

Have I mentioned how awesome my parents are? Because they are.

On Monday, my parents and the buffet arrived and we brought it in during a lull in the rain. We placed it against the stairwell wall in my living room and it looks like it was made for that spot. The space between the stair molding and the chair rail molding in the attached dining room is exactly the length of the buffet. The clearance between the front of the buffet and the half-wall separating the living and dining rooms is exactly perfect. The mahogany finish of the buffet exactly matches the finish of my living room tables. It is *exactly* the piece that completes my living room furniture and layout.

The first thing I did was get out the scratch cover furniture polish and go over the whole thing inside and out. The old, dry wood now shines. It needs a few more deep conditioning treatments, but it's looking much better. We then spent the next few days considering what to do with it. Thankfully, The Nester has been running 31 Days to a Better Dressed Nest and she has been addressing exactly the things I needed. Like having a focal point and creating a tablescape and adding seating and using lamps - all things that I've used incorporating my grandmother's buffet into my living room.

I "shopped" my house gathering things I already had that I thought would look nice on the buffet, like the old books, the pumpkins, the iron cage, and the large painting I hung above it. I tweaked the layout, we've all stood back and made suggestions. I picked up a lamp for cheap at Wal-Mart, indian corn from the grocery store, and a glass vase and a frame (on deep, dark clearance!)from Michaels. I added a tiny antique framed picture that I brought back from my grandmother's house. My mother bought me a glass gourd and a candlestick today and they were exactly what the buffet needed. I then liberated a chair from the corner of my dining room and borrowed a pillow for it from the couch and set it in the corner created by the buffet and the stairs. There's never been enough seating in the living room and this worked beautifully.

I love love love the buffet as it sits in my living room. I love admiring the wood and the structure. I love all the beautiful pieces that are displayed on top. I love thinking about what treasures I can store inside. But most of all, I love the memories of my grandmother and the wonderful times I've spent at her house that come to mind when I see her buffet in my living room.

It's my past blending into my future.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Giddy with excitement

I'm positively giddy.

Why, you ask?

Because I get to take a "business trip"!

Did you ever travel for business? Way back when I had a "career", when I was a rising star, the youngest "senior technical writer", I went on business trips. I always managed to work everything out so that I had some time to play as well as attend meetings and training sessions and talks. I've spent a weekend enjoying the white sand of Pensacola and wandered through Muir Woods outside of San Francisco. I've whiled away an afternoon in the aquarium on Pier 39 and bumped along on the Kilimanjaro Safari in Disney's Animal Kingdom.

Ah, yes, those were the days.

I did like to go alone and do the things I wanted to do when I wanted to do it, but the absolute best times I had on business trips was when I had a co-worker or two along for the fun.

So you, my "coworkers", are officially invited to join me on my "business trip".

On Monday, December 7th, the Pioneer Woman will be in Atlanta to sign her soon-to-be-released cookbook.

Pioneer Woman is a writer, a blogger, a homeschool mom. Me, too! So going to meet her at the book signing qualifies as a "business trip". There's nothing quite like going to a book release or a book signing. You're surrounded by excited people who are all talking about the book. Everyone talks to everyone else, an instant camaraderie created as you share your experiences with the book or author, what you've learned, what you love and what you hate.

So I'll probably be driving down early that day so I can find the bookstore and a hotel. I'll do a little exploring, grab an early dinner, then I'll be getting in line early and just enjoying the atmosphere. After a late night of hanging out at the bookstore, I'll be up the next morning for some shopping/browsing/touristing before I head back home to Charlotte.

If that sounds like something you'd love to do, then join me. We'll share the cost AND the fun! I've already got "buy-in" from my "boss" who will be handling my job as well as his own for the two days I'm gone. He did mention something about turning in a "detailed expense report" at the end, though. Maybe I should take it easy on the shopping...

So how about it? Are you in?