Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Sand Gnats and Sunflowers

So here we are, after months of tablescapes with a failure to launch, back again with a second table in as many weeks. Lest you think this means we've gotten it all together, think again.  We've just gotten it together enough to join the tablescape challenge at Cuisine Kathleen.

This month's challenge is called 
Farewell Summer.  

Something we'd be more than happy to do around here.  

Unfortunately, we probably won't be able to officially bid summer farewell for about two more months. We have, however, already bid a sad farewell to summer's favorite flower. We're using that flower for our tablescape inspiration.




I had two measly contributions to the whole table this week. First, I offered up this happy yellow tablecloth from my mother-in-law.  Not to be confused  in any way with her harvest gold table cloth from last week., this one is definitely sunflower yellow, and happy, happy, happy.



It matches the inspiration dishes, sunflower salad plates 
which belong to the Duchess.  

In fact, the entire place setting belongs to her, from the burlap charger to the bold blue dinner plate, to the completely unnecessary white one we stacked between the two. 

We just put it in there because the rim kind of looks like a paper plate. 
We happen to think paper plates are very summery.  



See? Not actually paper...

She contributed just about everything else on the table, too.  
(Well, not the sunflowers. God contributed the sunflowers.)



We took the farmer gourd and little red wagon right off her summer mantel. 
 He has a little sunflower hat. Not that any farmer I know
 would walk around  with a sunflower stuck to his hat. 


The napkins came off her kitchen table.   


I had to put them at the top of the plate 
because the place card church fans took up all the other space. 


And there was no way we were leaving those church fans off the table. 


Because it's  summer and this is south Georgia, folks.
People aren't the only invisible guests at an outdoor table.  

The gnats are sure to show up as well.  If you've never experienced a south Georgia sand gnat, consider yourself blessed. Old timers used to call them Noseeums...

...because you no see um until you feel um.

They bite. 

Of course, church fans aren't going to keep the sand gnats at bay.
 Nothing short of running in the house whilst screaming will do that.  
  
They will, however, keep their slightly bigger first cousins from becoming 
 no see ums until you taste ums.  


And they might just keep a little summer breeze blowing at the table too, especially when we all start waving them in concert.   Back and forth... betcha think we're sipping on some sweet tea while we're at it, too. 

Well we're not. 
Need I remind you that I don't know how to make sweet tea?

Plus, I was setting this table  in 100 degree weather. 
I needed a little Power Aid to replenish what I was losing in sweat balls. 



Oh who am I kidding...

We picked the Power Aid because it's red, and we thought red would look pretty on the table. 



The fact that I guzzled most of it down
 when I came back inside is just a happy coincidence. 


Yes, indeed, I felt very refreshed, so refreshed 
that I almost... almost...  forgot 
that it's still August, this is still south Georgia,
 and we still have some time to go before we can truly say,

Farewell summer! 

Sharing with  Cuisine Kathleen
 and the good folks over on The Porch as well. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Smoochie the Chair Gets A Makeover


Have you ever wished that once, just once, you could open this blog
 and not have to wade through an hour's worth of yakking?  

Yeah, well, you are about to get your wish.  

What follows is a pictorial story of the pesky armchair
 that I finally finished recovering this morning. 

I've named her Smoochie... 
because she kept trying to pucker up on me.   

I finally got her all ironed out, though, so with no further ado, 

 Smoochie the Chair 








OK, this is the one point where I'll interject. I had originally intended to paint her but changed my mind. Since she didn't need a full refinish, I tried an oil and vinegar rub down instead. I'm very pleased with the result.


Mix, rub, buff, repeat....



And now...


Finished!  
And before the September 1st deadline to boot.

Total cost, including the chair: $25.00

And thanks to a very nice sister with a good heart and a decent sewing machine, 
the contrasting pillows on the prayer chairs are finished too. 


I don't know what shocks me more, that I'm almost finished with that room,
 or that I made it through this post without the incessant yakking.

Wooohooo for both!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

From the Mixed Up Diary of Little Debbie

Can you stand just one more 1974 related post?
I hope so because I have one. 

You see, while digging through artifacts for that very pivotal year in my life,
 I came across this one. 



It's Little Debbie's diary, and it was written in 1974. I know that, not because she bothered to date it, but because on the very first entry on January 1st, she says this:  . 


I'm scared. We're moving to Georgia.
I don't want to go.

If  you think this is yet another blog post about the Great Moving Adventure though, you're wrong.  Little Debbie barely mentions that auspicious event again.  Her thoughts over the next month are occupied with far more pressing matters.  

Yep, forget the kidnapping of Patty Hearst. Forget the national nightmare of Watergate. The top news story every day in Debbie Land was an update from the lonely hearts club. Poor Little Debbie just wanted one thing in her life; she wanted a boyfriend, and she couldn't seem to get one. Bless her heart. 

It all started with a boy named Frank. Now folks, try as I might, I can't conjure up an image of this Frank. Apparently, though, he was very important to Little Debbie back in the day.

She liked him.


He hated her back. 


But the very next day...  


Philip's not so bad...

Now, I might not remember this Frank boy, but Philip is another story. Little Debbie became twitterpated with Philip when he first showed up in the fifth grade, and she never really changed her mind. In mathematical terms, Philip would be known as the love constant.

Not to worry, though. There was plenty of room in her heart for two.  

Three even...
  

Remo

You have to give the kid points for loyalty.  Once a fellow got on her love list, he stayed on her love list. Little Debbie never was much for subtraction. She was more into addition, and apparently she thought it was time to add a little Italian to the mix. (At least I think Remo was Italian... maybe Greek. I'm not sure. )

At any rate, it was probably a good idea to keep her options open,
what with Frank hating her and all.  

And just a few days later....


 Troy. 

Now, though he may not be mentioned here, she hadn't dropped the Italian boy. She continues to pine over Remo... and Frank... and Philip.... and Troy over the next month. It's a dream team of four, and Little Debbie loved them all. 

See? 



It's at this exact point that the writing stops, and Little Debbie inexplicably disappears.  Looks like nothing much has changed in Debbie Land since 1974.

But lo and behold, six months later, she's back again, writing from her new home in southeast Georgia. You would think she had a lot of stuff to tell Dear Diary at this point, stuff about her new house with her new room, or her new school, or new church, or new friends, or a whole new culture.

But no.

Little Debbie came back to talk about the new boys.



And thus was the life of a Little Debbie, chasing from one boy to another. Boy after boy after boy after boy.
What a mess.

I kept reading Dear Diary until I came to the very last entry.  After the usual lamentation about how ugly I was and that no boy would ever slow down enough for me to catch him, I came to the very last sentence in the book.

 (Apparently, I was not only boy crazy but a lousy speller.)



I'm trying to find that God has someone chosen for me in my Bible. 


Now folks, the rest of that rambling Debbie mess made me laugh right out loud, but do you know what that last part did?

It made me smile.

And maybe,  just maybe, it made me a little misty-eyed too. Maybe it even gave me a lump in my throat and a catch in my heart.  Because, you see, I never did find that passage in the Bible. ( If you know of one, please share. I'm sure there are a lot of Little Debbies who would love to see it.)  I did, however, find something even better.

I found him.


And within days, I knew without a doubt that the chase was over. 

I realize that I get a little nauseating when I talk about Sir Lotsa Hair, but friends, that man really  is my knight in shining armor. No other man could fit me the way that he does. No other man would put up with me the way he does.  Indeed, God  had chosen that someone just for me.

He is immeasurably, abundantly, more than I could ask or imagine. 

And here's the thing:   If I had known what was waiting ahead for me, I wouldn't have bothered with all that chasing. I wouldn't have bothered with Frank or Philip or Remo or Troy. I wouldn't have bothered with Walter or any of the other 4,728 contestants on the Love Connection.  I would have spared my heart the sorrow and spent my time and emotions on the better stuff.  If I had only known...

Can anyone relate?

Probably.

We all *get* that, don't we?  We shake our heads at Little Debbie and her lack of belief.  We wish we could go back in time and tell her that what  God had planned for her was so much better than what she could see in front of her. We wish we could convince her that all that stuff she was chasing was well, just stuff.

And yet, here we are, all grown up and still chasing. 

Oh sure, it might not be the incredible ever- expanding boy collection, but we're still out there chasing after the stuff.  What's more? We're chasing it for the exact same reason Little Debbie chased the boys:

 Because we refuse to believe that what God has ahead of us is immeasurably, abundantly, more than anything in front of us.


One day, all the silly stuff we're pouring out in the journals of our hearts will be even less of a memory than poor, faceless Frank. It'll all be gone, and we won't even care.

 Because, friends,  what lies ahead of us is so much better than we can ask or imagine. If we can only convince our little hearts to believe...


No eye has seen,  no ear has heard, no mind can comprehend 
what God has in store for those who love him.`
1 Cor. 2:9

****

Comments off as usual for Sundays

But I am linking this to
 All Things Bright and Beautiful


Thursday, August 21, 2014

That '70s Table

I mentioned a few days ago that my family was having an anniversary celebration this week. 
We're celebrating our arrival in Georgia 40 years ago today.

August 21, 1974.

We thought it would be fun to celebrate by creating a 
1974 themed table. 

We're calling it...

Of course, since 1974 was smack dab in the middle of a recession, we didn't want to spend too much money on it. I set myself a goal of staying within a $10.00 budget.  Everything on the table was either hoarded, thrifted, borrowed, or crafted.


We started with these thrifted salad plates in harvest gold and avocado green... with just the tiniest pop of orange thrown in.   Then, we added dinner plates and chargers already living in the dish closet.



The harvest gold tablecloth  belonged to my  mother-in-law.
It matched perfectly because, apparently,  there was really only one shade of harvest gold. 


The thrft store stemware was dirt cheap. 
because avocado green glasses aren't much  in demand these days.

Gee, I wonder why...


and the flatware was borrowed from a friend of mine. 
It's from her Great Wedding Adventure of 1974.


The rest of the table was filled with icons of 1974.

Like mellow mushrooms. 

Little tidbit: The Mellow Mushroom pizza place is having their 40th anniversary this week, too. The first one opened right around the corner from the husband's house in Atlanta forty years ago yesterday. Cool, huh?


Our little mushroom isn't very mellow at all. 

The happy little pitcher belonged to my grandmother.
 She had a whole set of canisters to match it,  but we couldn't find them.  


 So we used a harvest gold fondue pot for the centerpiece instead.  


What could be more iconic of 1974 than a fondue pot?

Maybe these two crafty staples of the era...


I cannibalized an unloved thrift store plant holder to make those napkin rings.  

And yes, I do realize that they wouldn't have stuffed 
 two different napkins in there in  1974.

Maybe they should have.

I think a little napkin bling kinda jazzes up That '70s Table.


Of course, the Sunshine On My Shoulders helped a little too. 


And that's the way it is, 
Thursday, August 21, 2014.

The day we celebrated with an anniversary table. 


Maybe it doesn't rise to the level of a 
 beautiful one... 



But it sure was  fun!

Happy Anniversary 
from our table to yours!

*****
Sharing with the Porch People
for Tablescape Thursday

Monday, August 18, 2014

The journey of a thousand miles

... began with a single step.

source



My family is celebrating a milestone this week. It's an anniversary of sorts, and if all goes well, I'm planning to include you in the celebration. It's an anniversary forty years in the making.

40 years...

That would take us back to  1974. 

... the year Hammerin' Hank broke Babe Ruth's home run record.




and Patty Hearst was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army. 


 Post- it notes were invented that year too.


And some missing White House tapes contributed to the resignation
of an American president.

Things that make you go hmmmm... 


The speed limit across the nation was lowered to this glacial speed in 1974, too.



Just in time for my parents to pick up stakes 
and take the family on a journey of a thousand miles,
all the way from our home in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts
 to a land flowing with biscuits and honey.



It was a one way adventure.

Yes folks, forty years ago today, my parents packed up the wood paneled station wagon, hitched up the trusty travel trailer, loaded up  four kids and two cats, and headed out to our new home in Georgia.   

It took us three and a half days to make that thousand mile journey.  Sure, we could have done it faster, much, much faster in fact.  In the years that followed, we managed to whittle it down to about 22 hours, 21 if nobody drank coffee. 

Like that was going to happen in our family... 

That trip was longer for a variety of reasons.

For one thing, we were at the mercy of the moving company.  North American Van Lines wasn't scheduled to deliver all the house schtuff  until  August 20th, and Mom and Dad wanted it to arrive before we did.

Chaos control, I imagine.

I did mention the four kids and two cats, right?
And that one of the kids was blond and... me?


Then, of course, there was the other reason for the snail's pace, the one that in retrospect was probably the real one.

Those four kids weren't exactly thrilled about the move, 

Especially this one. She was scared.



I'm pretty sure the cats weren't too happy, either. Somewhere around Virginia, Muffy  tried to make a run for it. She would've made it, too, had Dad not caught her by the scruff of the neck.  I laid aside all plans of my own escape after that and deployed the pout option instead.

It didn't work. Dad just kept driving. Somewhere around South Carolina, I finally decided that we were, indeed, moving to Georgia.

And that we did.

In the heat of the afternoon on August 21st, we finally arrived.  We stopped off at Dad's office, where the secretary offered us a Co-Cola and told us how she had once been crowned Miss Savannah.

I thought she talked kinda  funny.
I'm pretty sure she thought we talked funny, too.

Then we headed to see the new house.  True to plan, all that harvest gold and avocado green schtuff  had arrived and was waiting in its proper rooms. We had about ten minutes to tour the place before we were sent unpacking.

By suppertime, we were completely finished because that's the way the Duchess rolls. We didn't have any food in the house so we celebrated our first night in Georgia with a meal at the Tastee Freez.

Woohoo.

Let's make that one a yee haw instead.

And that, folks, is how Debbie became a Georgia Peach. Not that it happened overnight, of course.  This is the south, after all.  Things move along at a nice, slow drawl around here.  We take our time.  Eventually, though, I not only liked this place but  truly loved it,  and every bit of southern fried Dixie that went along with it, from grits to gravy.

It is home. 

And now, it has been home for forty years. 

40 years....

Don't you think it's time I learned to make sweet tea?

Yeah, I think so too. 

*****
Where were you in '74?


Friday, August 15, 2014

Those Cotton Pickin' Dog Days of Summer

I was planning to share a little project I've been working on this morning. It's a chair that was put on the To Do list way back in February.  Taking procrastination to whole new levels, I have finally finished it in August. 

OK, strike that. I have almost finished it in August. I hope to have it finished by September.

... 2016

At the risk of letting this post get all sidetracked about the terrible horrible very bad no good chair project, I'll just say that I had an unfortunate piping incident yesterday, brought about by an even more unfortunate sewing machine event.



Grrrrrr....

What was left for me to do but toss up my hands and take a drive?  I'm so glad I did because guess what I discovered...

Autumn  is actually on the way! 

No, really. Even down south in the Land O' Cotton, we're seeing signs that the most wonderful time of the year is just around the corner.

See?




Cotton blossoms



They're everywhere, folks.  



And since those cotton pickin' blossoms only last a few days, I'm thanking God for that unfortunate piping incident. Had I been in the house with my nose staple-gunned to the sewing machine, I might have missed this field entirely.


What could be prettier than a cotton blossom field under a cotton candy sky?


Nothing much.
Except maybe a full throttle field of cotton.

Which will be coming soon enough folks. 
After all, if the cotton blossom comes, can cotton season be far behind?

No, I think not. 

I can practically taste the pumpkin lattes now.

So I'm taking the rest of the day off, which kind of means I'm taking the rest of the week off,
and I'm off to find more evidence that the most wonderful time of the year is just around the bend. 

Are you seeing any signs of fall in your neck of the woods?

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