Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Blogging Update

I hope everyone is enjoying this week before Christmas....and getting some down time!

Life around here has been seasonally chaotic, like it always is. I don't have much by way of prim talk to add to this blog right now, but I wanted to let you know I have been blowing off hilarious steam over at my other blog, Diary of a Harried Housewife. If you ever wonder if I've fallen off the face of the earth and don't see me here at Prairie House very often, you can always mosey on over to diaryofaharriedhousewife.blogspot.com and visit there! ;-)

Hope to 'see' you soon...Merry Christmas to All, and To All a Happy New Snowman!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Homespun Christmas in a Materialistic World

I say it every year: I'm going to keep our holidays old fashioned and meaningful. I'm going to teach the children to be thankful for what we have and understand that the true gifts are each other, having a roof over our heads and living in a free country.

Then the commercials start.

The kids want this and the kids want that. And my email inbox is bursting at the seams with advertisements for sales at every store and online retailer site. Funny, instead of one Black Friday, they are now advertising things like "Black Friday III" and "Cyber Tuesday" sales! And I'll admit--it's not just the kids that gets caught up in all of this craziness! I go into the season on a budget with a plan but before I know it, I'm completely stressed out, I haven't bought enough, it's not equal between the kids' presents, and oh no, I have to buy that (fill in the blank) because it's the best price I've ever seen it advertised for (even though I never wanted it in the first place!) I get SO stressed out and the depression creeps in and some days, I don't even feel like getting out of bed.

Every other day, I try to start over and calm down. I take the kids to school and come back home, clean up the house and brew some coffee, turn on the twinkling Christmas lights and pop in my favorite holiday CD: Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and Louis Armstrong. I work on handmade Christmas crafts and place old wooden sleds outside the back door dressed up with happy red bows, and I think, "Yes...that's it...I feel it...the old fashioned, homespun Christmastime like the old days."

And then the phone rings and the mailman drops off five more catalogs of toys and gadgets and I check my email and what do you know, Kohl's is offering a million dollars back in Kohl's cash for every billion dollars I spend at their store.

I can't shut it out, no matter how hard I try. It is what it is. It's the environment in which we live. But I will savor moments, here and here...glimpses of yesteryear. Like when little Jillian sang old fashioned Christmas Carols in the church children's program....and when I pulled out all the little preschool ornaments the kids have made for me when they were tiny and so proud of their work...And when I watch Charlie Brown Christmas on TV for the 1000th time.

So, here's hoping that you found some special, old fashioned Christmastime moments to savor this past week. And here's hope that you'll find a peaceful moment or two in the coming days...Stop and listen to Bing Crosby and go listen to a cantata at church...eat some fruitcake.

Ok, maybe not fruitcake. ;-)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Modern Day Holidays, Old Fashioned Dreams

The holidays are upon us. I'm not sure where this year has gone, and I was sure to enjoy every second of October and the beautiful changing colors of the trees...I placed almost forty beautiful pumpkins on the porch and deck and around the outside of the house...I just love the Fall. But alas, the winter is creeping in, Thanksgiving is coming soon, and folks are already shopping for Christmas presents. I spend a lot of time in the van, running kids to school and back, and I've noticed several houses sporting Santa figures, holiday wreaths and twinkle lights. All of a sudden, I feel as though I need to hurry and catch up!

This time of year always makes me look backwards. Not only to my own childhood and the magic of the season, but to the days when people were more patient and kind to each other, the children had manners and respect and were happy with very little. Nowadays everyone is rushing constantly; we are so accustomed to having whatever we want, whenever we want. The TV is loud, the advertisements are loud, and the kids demand instant gratification and obsess over video games and need to be constantly entertained. Rarely is there a "Hello" from a passerby in a store or on the street. Everyone is so private. The world isn't safe. We can't just let our children out the door to play and expect them back for supper. An unattended child is too often turning up as a missing child.

But there is much to be thankful for. We have amazing medical abilities and our life expectancy rate has increased considerably over the last century. Indoor air conditioning and speedy microwave ovens and plumbing! Oh thank God for indoor plumbing. The cars we drive today have more in them as far as heat and lighting and comfort than most homes had in the 19th century! So yes, we can be thankful for many, many things of the modern day.

I just wish children knew the value of a dollar and the value of family time. No matter how much they get, they want more, more, more. The TV and radio and internet have almost become a subconscious sermon to their little brains--"Have more, demand more, want more..." I swore my children wouldn't be this way. They would be thankful with very little and appreciate what they had. But somehow we look around us, and here are these kids who are nearly like every other kid on the street, formed by the modern technical age no matter how hard we tried to shield them from it. Sure, we could've built a cabin in the middle of nowhere, home schooled them, stayed as hermits away from the modern day, but would it have been really worked? Our middle son would have died from pneumonia at 18 months; my husband would've collapsed from the manual labor. (He can't even stand to do the dishes once a year let alone chop wood for heat and raise animals for food!) Our only other option would have been to convert to Amish, which I've threatened for years to do, but that, too, would have had huge sacrifices. We would've had to given up daily contact with extended family and that alone would be too hard for even me to live with.

And so, time marches on. Don't get me wrong: I am thankful for everything around me, the blessings we have been given, and the time with each other that we are allowed. I will continue to make our home reflect the old fashioned times and share stories of the old days with our children so that maybe someday, they'll realize how good they have had it in their own lives. To be thankful, to be respectful, responsible, to be loving and caring for others, to be giving of oneself....these things will continue to be the most important, no matter what century we find ourselves living in.

Today, I challenge you....To say hello to a stranger, to give to the needy, to find within yourself, the old fashioned Christmas...share with your loved ones stories of the old days---even the days way before your time...when families had very little, but loved each other, well, big. Love BIG this holiday season. Stop and enjoy the twinkling lights...the store window displays...Don't be so irritated by the bell ringers at the shop doors, but admire them for the time they are giving to a good cause. Take a moment to listen to a senior citizen, and ask them about their childhood or something they remember about their own grandparents. Don't get so caught up in rushing through the preparations that you forget to pause and enjoy what's around you. Consider doing less, and enjoying more.

Let me be the first to wish you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving and a Very Merry, Old Fashioned Christmas!

Friday, October 29, 2010

I am a Squirrel

I don't believe in reincarnation or past lives or future lives (eternal life in Heaven, of course)....BUT...if I did, I'd be convinced that I was a squirrel at some point. Either that, or I am harboring some secret, undetected illness called Squirrelitis. I have serious squirrel-like traits. I hoard and hide things, often important things, in "safe places" that I rarely remember until years later when I come upon the THING that I tried so desperately to keep safe.

In my primitive home, I have many cupboards. If I had my way, I'd probably have antique cupboards, dry sinks and pie safes lining my walls. I can't get enough of them. They are full of history and character. And storage space.

It just occurred to me a few moments ago, as I was "speed cleaning" the mudroom, that I have a problem. Well, to some it would be a problem--it me, it's more a way of life. For example, I have had two awesome outside light fixtures that I picked up from the middle of nowhere off of a craigslist ad, they look like something out of the 17th century. But since I don't know where to use them, they have sat on my high back settle in the mudroom for, oh...a good two months. I don't want them broken, and I'm not ready to sell them because I really hope to use them. So what did I do? I opened the doors of an old pantry cupboard, moved around some stacks of leftover wallpaper border, kids spiral notebooks, found a stack of DVDs I didn't know were in there, my son's 7th grade band music folder (he's in 9th grade now)...and found room to stash the lights. Closed up the cupboard. Then I noticed the corner of the room, pretty hidden from plain view, but there was a bag of 'stuff' from the van, all sorts of crap the kids left in there at one point or another, and in a rage of infamous "speed cleaning," I dumped it all in a bag to bring in the house--with good intentions, of course--the kids were supposed to claim their stuff out of the bag and put it away. But no, there it is, still stashed in a bag in the corner.

And drawers. Thank God for drawers. I have so much mail and receipts and all that sort of "important paper" stuff that I need to file away...(but never get around to it)...and it all gets stashed in drawers. Doesn't really matter which drawer anymore. When we moved here a year ago, I found four built-in drawers on the other side of the kitchen base cabinets that face our kitchen table. Perfect. One for my bill stuff, one for kids' school papers, one for Jillian's crafty stuff, and the bottom deep drawer to use for my tools. Well let's just say that my one drawer for bills has spilled over into the kids' school drawer. And into the bottom of the Hoosier cupboard. And into one of the drawers of the 1890 butler cabinet from PA. You'd THINK I'd have reached my stashing limit and find the motivation to sift through it all and pitch out what shouldn't be kept, but no. Out of sight, out of mind! And I have this quirky internal emotional thing that makes me feel like in some warped way, I'm organized. After all, in the hasty moment that I need to find a certain paper, I know in an instant that it will be in one of four drawers. That's sort of a version of organized, right??

But it's not just paper stuff and delicate light fixtures. It's anything that isn't being used to enhance my primitive decor. Junk drawers? Got 'em. (Not one, mind you...a few.) I don't mean to keep junk drawers. I'm just not sure where the stuff belongs if it really doesn't have it's own category!) Make-up drawers in the bathrooms. Miscellaneous decor stuff in just about every old cupboard in the house.

Crocks? Yes, I love my crocks. I have dozens. Many of them are empty but many of them are full of God-knows-what. You know what is useful? A crock, when a woman is vacuuming and speed cleaning her home. Just when the vacuum is about to suck up something it shouldn't, we can grab up whatever it is and toss it into a crock! It's safe, it's out of sight, and it's not sucked up into the vacuum.

Wooden bowls are also handy. If they are not kept displayed upside down in a dry sink or on their sides in a bowl rack on the wall, they attract stuff. I don't know why, but in my mind, a pile of random pigtail holders, receipts, a broken zipper, and a handful of candy out of a kids' pocket are much more attractive in an antique wooden bowl in the center of a table, than strewn all over said table.

The garage and the pole barn the big black holes of my squirrely behavior. I don't know what's in them, I just know I can't park in there and that I don't want anyone to see inside them. Well, truthfully I do have some idea what's in them. Holiday stuff, baby stuff to keep, furniture that doesn't fit, bags and boxes of stuff from past houses that keep getting moved but never unpacked, tools too big for my drawer, bikes, shovels, cardboard boxes for mailing "something someday"....you know.

I once attended a wonderful seminar taught by the most organized woman I had ever met in my life. She was amazing and motivational and encouraging. I loved her to pieces. She taught a way of keeping all of your stuff in a dozen, white office-type boxes, each labeled with a number, which corresponded to a number on an index card, which had the list of what things were in the box, and all the index cards were kept in a recipe box neatly placed on your desk. Amazing! I thought I had been taught the secret to a wonderful life. I came home and immediately went to work. I brought home a bunch of white boxes and tackled a big walk-in hall closet. I separated everything into categories (baby stuff, Navy stuff, craft stuff, paperwork, etc) and each had its own box. They stacked neatly up and down the walls of the closet.

After 47 boxes, I was tired of organizing, and that was only one closet. At that point, I had the rest of the house, closets, basement and garage. I don't know if I was the only person who ended up with more than a dozen white boxes, but honestly, it was getting expensive, buying all those boxes and taking up days and days of my time to stash my junk into numbered cubes and writing it all on cards. Good intentions. But exhausting. I had too much stuff for that kind of system!

And so, all these years later, my squirrelitis continues. I bury and hide and stash everything I own and hope to someday get through it all. But in the meantime, my house appears pretty neat and clean for the most part.

Just remember, if you visit my home, open cupboard doors and drawers at your own risk...!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Now You See It, Now You Don't

I may live in the country, but my hometown and that of my birth is Port Huron, which is about 25 miles from our house. I grew up in Port Huron, attending school, college, church, spending time with family and friends, even met my husband (though he was not from there) in Port Huron. I've always had a soft spot for the town, even though it's not on America's Greatest Towns of All Time list...and as far back as I can remember, I've been intrigued by its history.

Lately, there are some things going on in town that have really gotten my attention, and sent my mind in a million directions. Every time I drive through Port Huron, I notice another building or house that has just been demolished. There is a very large project in the works, that has to do with the Bluewater Bridge (which serves as the border crossing into Canada at Sarnia, ONT.) It's been planned for many years, but just recently, they've taken over several properties all the way around the current bridge complex, moved out the previous owners, and they're pulling down the buildings. One of them was a church that I enjoyed attending youth group in, Blue Water Free Methodist. My good friend and her entire family are very active there. It's been there for as long as I can remember---not sure of it's original year but it was before 1900 I'm sure. My baby shower was held there....Kris' wedding was there...we had good ole' fashioned dulcimer jams there on some Friday nights over the years.

It's now a field.

The building that once housed a weekly publication, The Shopper, which was owned and operated by the daily newspaper company, is gone. What once was Kinney Shoes (and then several other businesses, lastly a Mattress Warehouse), is gone. Houses I've walked by as a child near the elementary school I attended, gone. Gas stations, gone. Car dealership, gone. A doctor's office our family went to, gone as well. I know they are far from being finished, and I know the government finds it necessary to enlarge the bridge complex, but it's still disturbing to me.

It has changed the landscape of the town that I've known my whole life, forever. It will never be the same. It's strange to take the same driving routes that I've been taking since I got my license, because it doesn't even feel like the same road anymore. And I keep thinking about how backwards this feels to me, compared to what the first Port Huron citizens were experiencing 150 years ago...The building of a city.

Back in those days, the main street was dirt, and that was it---ONE main street that led in and out of the town. It started with one school, a few churches, one jailhouse. It was the beginning of something new, something miraculous. Can you imagine the excitement people felt when THEY would travel in from the outskirts of town each time, to see ANOTHER new building going up? To hear that the children had outgrown a school, and ANOTHER school was being built? To know that the neighborhoods were filling up so quickly that they needed ANOTHER corner grocery? So much hope, so much promise. And it still is today---don't misunderstand me. Port Huron is a bustling city of 45,000 people and full of major businesses. It's not going anywhere, it's just changing ... the old is coming down and the new is building up....I just feel sad that so much of the old had to be pulled down to make way for new.

It's not like this in many other countries. They build something strong, and they continue to repurpose the building, and use it. It's rare to take down a building. So much goes in to making it in the first place. But in America, if it's in the way, tear it down. Don't like it? Tear it down. And put up another 10 cardboard houses in its place. Or another parking lot to house the dozens of cars Americans own and drive. More, more, more. New, new, new.

I'm not against the expanding bridge complex. Afterall, the border to Canada is part of what puts Port Huron on the world map. I just tend to miss the old days, the old ways, the old buildings....the old stories...what made the town what it is today. I hope there will always be parts of town that I can return to, and feel home again. Places that are left, untouched.

Now, to contradict myself, I must mention one little part of history that may have affected early citizens in a negative way. There are many rivers that run in and out of Port Huron, and one of them cuts through the original downtown area. To expand the downtown, a bridge was built over the river and the dirt that was cleared on either side of the bridge area, had to go somewhere. Do you know what they did? They filled the entire downtown area with dirt---and completely covered up the first floors of all the buildings on main street, forever. Most people don't realize it, but when we walk into a store downtown, we are actually walking into what used to be the 2nd floor. I worked in one of the shops when I was in college, and I was able to go down to the basement and see for myself, the original first floor entrance which was covered up from the outside to block the dirt, but from the inside, the fancy doors and window arches were still visible. The other interesting thing, is that there are tunnels downtown, that lead from one store to the other, all the way through the area! It must've been VERY strange, when that kind of construction was affecting the town.

Another thing that might have been disturbing, is when they had to move the city cemetery in 1850. Yes, I said MOVE the cemetery. They needed the space for expansion, so they literally dug up each grave, took the gravestone, and moved it a few miles north east to a new cemetery. That must've been a very depressing kind of operation. There is an intriguing story about something that happened in the cemetery. A woman had been buried in a very find coffin with a glass cover, which created an air tight seal. Her husband was present when her grave was dug up. He lifted the top, and there was his wife just as wehen she had been laid in the coffin. Overcome with emotion, he lifted the glass cover, and before his eyes, she crumbled to dust. (I've also read that the earliest coffins which were made of plain wood, were too disintegrated to move...so in the area which had been the old cemetery, whenever a basement for a house was dug, bones would often be found.

Yes, Port Huron, like any old city, is full of history and very interesting little tidbits. Time marches on. Things change, the thumbprint has changed several times. Hopefully, those of us who know the old stories of the little port town will continue to pass them on, and folks will always be able to remember and hear about the old days. Good ole' Port Huron.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I was talking to my brother yesterday on the phone after I dropped off the kids to school. He lives in NY. We came upon the subject of my van...the awesome minivan that I drag all over the country to pick up my antique stuff...the van that hauled my refrigerator...the van that should say "Michigan Picker" on the side of it or have a license plate that reads "Prim Junker" or something. Anyway, I glanced down at my mileage and noticed I had turned 97,000 miles.

Yikes. It's only a 2006.

Do you know what that means? That means that all my Craigslist adventures have cost me...(are you sitting down...?) a whopping 35,000 miles a YEAR since I bought my van!! Now, I have to throw in that I drive my kids to school and back every day--and that is 20 miles there, 20 miles back, and the pick up is the same, so you have to allow me part of that mileage for the kids. But yikes!! I think I need to get a prize for having put the most miles on a vehicle without being a door to door salesman! As scary as it is, though, (and the fact that I still owe a ton of dough on the sucker)...I won't be giving up my adventures because of high mileage. Sorry, Charlie.

Today after dropping kids off, I popped in a CD I found in a box that I hadn't heard in ages, by No Strings Attached (one of my all-time favorite dulcimer string bands.) Turned it up as loud as it would go, and hit the country roads to come back home. Normally, fast music makes me drive faster, but I was so intently soaking in the surroundings as I went that I kept it at a steady pace. The leaves are changing and it's glorious. The sun was hitting the tips of the trees which are already shades of red and orange. I just love Fall. There is something about listening to fabulous acoustic old-time music and being able to take in the beauty of nature. Made me want to dance or fly or sing. Next time I go out driving, I need to take my camera and try to get a few shots of the changing leaves.

In other world news, I have the dining room (er, keeping room) about finished as far as decorating goes. It looks nothing like it did two weeks ago and I love it. The living room is coming along too, but I STILL haven't finished painting the doors on the new TV wall. I also visited my doctor for my 6 weeks-past-surgery check up, and guess what? All bans are lifted! That means, I'm completely healed up and you know what THAT means...I CAN CARRY MY OWN JUNK now! I don't have to wait around for someone with muscle to come around and carry my antiques and primitives found on CL for me! I came home and immediately hauled some boxes from one room to the other, just because I could. Now, there is still an overflowing basket of clean laundry at the bottom of the stairs, but I got to really liking other people in the house hauling laundry for me, so I think I'll just leave it there and save my muscle for other things that are more fun.

Remember the lady that had the table that I bought...that had the dry sink I went back for...that had the gameboards I went back for ...and the crocks...and and and? Well she had her estate sale, and her son emailed me to let me know about a few things that were leftover. Guess where my mom and I are off to tomorrow? Yep. You guessed it. Mom wants a wrought iron floor lamp they still have for sale. I don't plan on buying anything. (ha). After we're done there, I'm thinking of hitting a couple of other shops out that way, since we're already driving an hour and twenty. Might as well take advantage of the area. I'm already looking forward to sharing my long lost CDs of happy driving music with my mom for a road trip. ;-)

My nephew called yesterday from Portland, ME. Maine is one of my favorite places to be in the whole world. Every summer growing up, my parents took us in the summer to ME. I fell in love with the history and the winding roads and the salty air ...and the lobster. Speaking of which, my nephew just happens to be what I've dubbed a "wharf master" out there...He buys 1000s of pounds of lobster off the boats daily, and packs em up and ships em out. And he gets to eat them, too, that lucky duck. Half the week now, he's even going out on lobster boats and working. All I can think of is trying to find a way out to ME for a weekend or something. I know I can't afford to take all the family for a major trip, HOWEVER, I keep getting emails advertising really cheap flights now and then, so maybe a little three day trip to ME wouldn't be so hard to do. Hmmm. My birthday is coming up. Perhaps I can let the world know that what I'd like to have is three days in Maine. Maybe my parents could watch the kids over a weekend....Hmmmm. (Of course, if I take a plane, that means less hauling room if I buy any primitives. I guess there is always UPS...or car rentals...!!) If anything, I need to eat a lobster soon. Just hearing about it made my mouth water!

Well, I'm off to run errands, and enjoy this chilly day. It's only 45 degrees. Isn't that grand? **sigh** I even have a fuzzy sweater on today....Funny what things can bring a smile to my face.

May you have a wonderful, comfy-cozy afternoon!

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Well, the school year and Fall Welcoming was going so well! Or so I thought....The night before last, we picked the kids up from their first day of school (and they were just bubbling with details of new friends, old friends, teachers, lockers, you name it!) .. but Jillian was a little off, she had a headache, and she fell asleep within five minutes of being in the van. I chalked it up to the first long day without a nap (she always had a half hour nap in Kindergarten after lunch, and in first grade, it's all business!) Well, she slept the whole way home and then Daddy carried her to the couch, and she slept for another few hours! Wow. Well, I had another Craigslist adventure to go off to take care of with my mom, so Daddy stayed with the kids at home. (I'll fill you in on the CL adventure in a moment, stay tuned!) When I got back into town to my mom's house to drop her off, Daddy called me to announce that Jillian threw up---all over the bathroom and that it was EVERYWHERE. He was not amused, and was trying to figure out how to clean it all up, while she was in the background just WEEPING because she knew she wouldn't be able to go to school the next day!! Oh my poor girl. She's caught the flu on the first day of school??? UGH!! There went the first quiet week. And of course I had visions of the flu going through the whole house and as I drove home, I made a mental list of which cleaning products I was low on, thanked God that I cleaned the house as well as I did, and wondered how I would manage being up all night with one kid and still manage to get the other two to school on time, with a half hour commute.

By the time I got home, Jillian was begging for freezepops and felt oh so much better. She was, in fact, almost dancing around the room, and she had not gotten sick again. I started to wonder if the vomiting was more from the headache, which may be from the excitement and overstimulation of the day, and not from the flu. She's not one to get migraines, at least never before, but she does suffer from severe growing pains, especially during the night, when she's got growth spurts, mostly centralized in her legs,--which her father and I both suffered from as a child, as did our other two kids (though less severe)...so again, it could also be a growing thing. (yes, I do over-analyze, sorry!) So, I tried to keep her motion at a minimum, and got her to eat freezepops while she watched the Little Mermaid two times in a row--her current favorite movie, one of which we didn't have but I scored during my Craigslist run and found it for sale in the seller's garage! Phew! Talk about timing. Anyway, I got the boys to bed and Dad went off to bed (he had to rest up for his 5am fishing venture---don't ask.) I sat up with Jillian until the movie finished and finally got her to go to bed. I slept with one ear open fully expecting a night full of, well, YOU know...but thank God, she never got sick again. I lost sleep anyway, just worrying, but I managed to get the boys to school on time and took her along in her jammies. She was soooo bummed about missing school, but if there was one slight chance that it was a flu bug, I wasn't going to chance her getting sick in school or her passing it on to her new classmates. So I spent the morning yesterday, a complete vegetable. Managed to get through the day without a hitch, but looked forward to bedtime more than ever!

OK on to the Craigslist adventure report!! Two weeks ago (or so), I sold off my dining room set which was too big for the dining room in this house, much to Husband's chagrin--he loved it, I guess. Oh well, Moving ON! I needed more primitives in there...and the reproduction set was too new. I found a circa 1800 Farmhouse table on Craigslist about an hour away, and negotiated a good price, and my mom and I went to get it. Well, did I ever hit a honey hole! I was walked into the finished basement and I noticed that there wasn't just the table, but there were crocks sitting around and a lonely old bench or two...so I HAD to ask..."Excuse me, are those crocks for sale?" Well, turns out I was talking to the son of the woman who was selling----are you sitting down---nearly ALL of her lifelong primitives collection because she was moving to a condo!!! I'm like, um, OK ... I'll take those two crocks and that bench....and my mind was racing! Nothing was really "priced" but he and his mom happily gave me a number on whatever I asked about. Thank God I was able to find a little extra $$ in the car....though I was kicking myself for not having won the lotto before this CL run. I even asked to take pics of her displays because they were so beautiful. She was flattered. They told me they were planning on having an estate sale in two weeks (actually, it begins in forty minutes from now!) I left there with my table, some crocks, and two magnificent benches....OH and four old gameboards. I'm so stoked about this story that I don't even remember if I blogged about it or not, so if you're reading this and it's old news, i guess you can skip over my ranting!! I know I posted it on the CS forum for sure...**sigh**! I think I remember someone saying that short term memory is the first thing folks lose?

ANYWAY....my mom and I were just falling apart all the way home, drooling on all the things we left behind, and I was just shaking. She had WONDERFUL prices--I mean SERIOUSLY low prices compared to shops. OH I just remembered, I got a firkin, too! So I kept chewing on the thought of this really old dry sink she had for sale. I just bought that mustard dry sink...but truthfully, the one this woman had was the style I'd been searching for for years. I knew I had work to do at home: Start Selling and Raise Money to Go Back!! And that's exactly what I did. I sold the mustard dry sink, and I sold two other cupboards which were in front of my kitchen slider door, which was more than enough to buy the dry sink. I was so excited! I emailed the son and told him to hold it for me, and that this past Tues, I'd come back to pick it up.

Tuesday, my mom and I drove back down there, another hour and twenty, and when we went in the house, everything had been brought out for the estate sale and most things were priced. We about fell over!!! Game on!! I bought several old baskets, the dry sink, more crocks, several butter paddles, and a little bench...My mom bought two crock lamps with gorgeous paper punched shades, a small bench, and a gameboard. We packed the car and it took all the willpower we had to get IN the car and not go back for more! We literally got to the end of the subdivision and my mom couldn't help it. She had to go back for the Parcheesi gameboard. We turned around the pulled back in the driveway, and I jumped out of the car---"We're BACK! We missed you so much we had to come back!" The son and his wife cracked up. I bought the gameboard and we left. Well the whole way home, Mom and I chatted about the prices and how we'll never see that kind of quality primitives again let alone at those prices! It was crazy! We had already made two round trips, I'm not even going to attempt to add up the miles.

After I dropped her off and came home, she called, and we blurted out at the same time---"We need to go back and get all the rest of the gameboards!" The woman had an entire wall full. My mom couldn't believe the transformation her family room was taking, just from the new crock lamps and bench and basket! It went from ho-hum to prim-love in five minutes! So I immediately emailed the son AGAIN and negotiated a price for ALL of the gameboards as a lot and also told him I wanted the skinny brown crock jug lamp that I stupidly didn't buy when I was last there.

SOOOO, after being a vegetable all day with Jillian bouncing off the walls, we left to get the boys from school, dropped one off with Grandpa, picked up my mom, and left to drive the hour and twenty AGAIN...third time! This time I knew the route all the way to their house like the back of my hand. This time, we made sure we went room to room to room to be sure we bought all we wanted. I'm in debt now. So much for groceries next week! ;-) THIS time, we left with at least 15 gameboards, another little bench, a jug lamp, a quilt for Mom's family room wall, more baskets, a rolling pin, a masher, two more sifters for my ever growing collection and some other little kitchen gadgets. Unreal. We were just mesmerized! While driving home, we STILL wished we had had the $$ to just literally buy everything she had for sale and call it a day. Oh well, what's done is done. We seriously have to enjoy the loot we hauled and move on. But do you know what? My mom called me last night while I was on the way home, and told me how upset she was that she didn't buy one more old bench and the wrought iron prim floor lamp. AUGH!!! I'm like, 'OK Mom, what time are we leaving in the morning to go back??" "NO, NO NO, we can't go back. We're done. Three rounds is enough!" So we're done. I guess we're done...what time is it? Oh drat. The estate sale is about to begin, and I have to forever live with the vision of other folks buying all that stuff we didn't buy. Can you imagine---I did not buy 15 other crocks? I did not buy three other benches? I mean, I know I'm pressed for space and money but holy cow. I need therapy just to sooth my psyche for leaving that stuff behind!! I did promise to send them pics of all of her wonderful primitives once they're worked into my home decor. (And, p.s., I did tell the son to email me if there was ANYTHING left after the sale....hehe!)

So, today, all three kids are in school and I have major work to do. I have to "find" the dining room which is now literally a giant pile of antiques and primitives. I have to finish painting the living room TV wall and I have a little cupboard that needs paint in the dining room. Not sure how much I'll get done, but that's the list!! I'm seriously sitting here with goosebumps just thinking about everything that transpired these past two weeks....and I am so, so thankful to have been allowed to cherish these old primitive treasures from that woman's lifelong collection. I will love love love them as long as they are in my care.

After all, the love of primitives is more than just a hobby and a collection. It's a journey of responsibility....these precious pieces are part of history, they have been shared by many unknown hands...used in several homes...contributed to the care of many a family. Each piece is part of a long, sweet trail of history, must of which we will never know....but cherish, we will.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

September Arrives

Here in our part of Michigan, it is the first day of school for the kids. I hear people say, "Where did the summer go??" however, my summer was long and I yearned for Fall to arrive. The children had lots of friends to play with over the summer; we enjoyed the dulcimer festival in July; watched tractors go off to farm fests around the community...Summer was a full one. Not to mention my surgery back in August...I am just past five weeks of recovery and looking forward to my check up next week, where I will hopefully hear the doctor say that the recovery went fine and I can resume normal activity. (I think I hit my limit yesterday--not only was I overwhelmed with trying to get all the kids' school supplies prepared but the fact that I have had limited activity due to the surgery, has driven me beyond insane! I've never looked forward to being able to carry baskets of laundry or be able to haul my vacuum up and down the stairs in all my domestic life!)

This year, we have a first grader, a seventh grader, and a ninth grader. WE HAVE A KID IN HIGH SCHOOL!! Now THAT blows me away. I was more distraught over this realization than the day he entered Kindergarten! Our youngest could barely sit still in the van on the way to school ...She couldn't wait to get there. The older two? Could care less. Miraculously our 9th grader jumped out of bed this morning ... (he's the dead sleeper)... but the 7th grader lagged. And complained. And cried. And tried to refuse to go all together. Thankfully, my cheerfulness (though some moments were fake) and my soulful prayers to God worked on this 12 year old bugger, though--by the time we pulled in the parking lot, he was smiling.

I love new school supplies. The smell of newly sharpened pencils and the crisp, clean paper....Boxes of crayons that have never been opened....It reminds me of my own school days and sometimes I wish I could go back. I loved school...(though Middle school was not my favorite, .. Elementary and high school were wonderful.) It is so much fun for me to have a child still loving school! Jillian happily walked in and right to her 1st grade hallway, no nerves at all. I was more interested in seeing who of her Kindergarten classmates would be in her new class than she was, and I also was more thankful to see some familiar faces in line with her, too! When I walked her into her class, and watched her get her name tag from her new teacher, I eyed the room and found a table with girls that had a few empty seats. She sat down happily with her new playdough and I watched as an old friend looked nervously around. I called her over to sit with Jillian. Her name is Olivia, and this year is a BIG first for her--she is separated from her other two triplet siblings! Last year, all three girls were in Jillian's class. This year, each of the triplets have a different teacher. I so wanted to help make her feel included. Two other girls at Jillian's table weren't familiar, and I learned their names and introduced them to eachother and to Jillian and Olivia. The one was very nervous and shy. Her mother had already left the classroom, and even though my own daughter was eagerly pounding her playdough and very sure of herself, I still felt the need to try to make Madison feel more comfortable. I talked to her about her pretty name, and asked if she knew the other girls at the table, which she did not. Before I left, I whispered to Jillian to remember Madison at play time and to try to make her feel welcome.

It was a strange drive home, leaving my three babies at school. Babies. So funny to think I used to haul them all around in carseats and change diapers and walk the floors at night with them when they wouldn't sleep, and here they are, less and less dependent by the moment, it seems. I'm proud of each and every one of them and I can't wait to hear how their first day went.

After I got home, I couldn't help myself. I cleared three rooms of toys and clutter and started cleaning! It's not even 10am and I have the entire first floor of the house finished. The dishwasher is whirring and everything smells so fresh and clean. And there is quiet. Peace and quiet. I can even hear the clock ticking and the chimes singing outside the window. No blaring TV, no loud shooting war games on the Xbox...no Spongebob and his annoying chatter...It's wonderful. Yes, September has arrived and I am thankful for it.

I still have painting to do, in the living room on the new wall which hides the TV and all its stuff. I might get to that today, or I might enjoy the rest of my free time by reading or catching up on emails. My dining room is completely upside down since I sold the furniture in there and there are boxes and crates full of all the stuff I cleaned out of the china cabinet. We have another table, an 1800s farmhouse table and benches, which are wonderful, in the center of the room, but the stepback cupboard that I hauled home still needs some mending before I can bring it in and fill it up. This week I will also make time to bring in the boxes of Fall decor from the barn, and begin to adorn the house. I meant to get to that last week, but time got away from me!

I have had so many adventures, from antiquing with my Kentucky friend to chasing down more Craigslist ads, that I need to write about...but for now, I'll sign off ... sit back...and enjoy the quiet. I hope you have a very enjoyable, new September day.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Fall is in the Air

Country Lane Pictures, Images and Photos

Yesterday I felt a definite chill in the air..something I hadn't felt in months. I had the doors open and the fresh breeze coming into the house...It was delightful. Last night, when I let the dogs out for the last time before bed, it was almost chilly. Had I been out walking, I would've needed a jacket! I just LOVE this time of year, even though I know deep down that there's a good chance it might get hot again, it is the flicker of hope that right around the corner is cooler weather, crispy leaves falling from the golden trees, children looking forward to choosing their pumpkins, and spicy apple cider.

It has taken every ounce of willpower to not haul out my Fall decorations up until today. Many of my primitive friends have been busy filling their homes with gourds and pumpkins and deep orange bittersweet, but I have resisted. Fall is my favorite time of year, the time of my birth (don't ask how many years ago THAT was, just know that it is October) and the season I look forward to the most. I enjoy every breath of Autumn, and the first drive to the apple orchard gives my skin a good goosebumpy cover.

Yesterday, I took my long jaunt to the mailbox at the end of our country driveway much slower than normal. The cool breeze was so refreshing and the fields beyond the houses up and down the road have taken on a noticeable golden haze. In the mailbox I found my Fall issue of Midwest Living, and the cover was glowing orange...the photograph of a hollowed pumpkin full of Fall foliage and the title above read "A Perfect Autumn!" I couldn't help myself from skipping back up the driveway like a schoolgirl.

Speaking of school, my children enjoyed their Back to School Orientation last night, and received many high-fives and hugs from friends they hadn't seen since June. My oldest is now officially a high schooler, and I'm trying to be excited for him, though deep down, I wish I could hold on to his childhood just a little longer. Jillian proudly graduated from kindergarten last June, and now she marched into her school as a first grader, just brimming with excitement to find out who her teacher would be. We found her new classroom and greeted her teacher, and once Mrs. Kleinert invited her to look around the room, Jillian found a wonderful bucket of seashells and a magnifying glass. She studied those shells intently for 15 minutes, the only child in the classroom. I had to pry her away at 8pm because the orientation was officially over. She was sad to leave. She can't wait until the first day of school and every minute it seems, at home, she is carrying around her new lunchbox! I will have to shop for the rest of our school supplies in secret, because otherwise little Jillian will insist on using them. Is there not a happier mother, than one who has children excited to learn?

This morning I was awakened by the dog who just HAD to go outside before 7am. I was so sleepy and didn't want to make the trek downstairs and out the door but knew if I didn't, I'd have to deal with the consequences later. (ha). So, I made it to the door with Drake (our labradoodle) and oh my goodness, it was so chilly that I almost swore I saw frost! It was MIRACULOUS! I stood there in my pajamas and watched the morning sun for just a moment, and ran back inside because I was frozen! I love to be frozen in August. And I decided, the bits of chill that greet me in the morning and lull me off to sleep at night, are just the push I needed to start decorating for Fall. It will be slow going, I'm not even sure where all the decorations are. Last year we moved in August and I wasn't able to do anything other than pumpkins on the porch because the house was so upside down. This year, I'm afraid the house just may be dripping with leaves and bittersweet and pumpkins and wonderful spicy candles burning.

Please enjoy ever second of this changing season time...it is a glorious gift we have from God and I wouldn't give up having four seasons for anything. Well, unless I could delete summer all together or shrink it down to just a week or two...;-)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


During the last few years, I managed my blogging at multiply.com. I actually got a lot of writing done while I was held hostage by the State of Wisconsin after my husband's work transfer over there. (ok I wasn't held hostage, exactly, but it often felt like it and I don't have many good memories of my time there and soon you'll see why...) Anyway, while I was blogging on multiply, I wrote a blog detailing how my husband and I got married--we eloped--and it was like something from a movie. I wanted to share the story with a friend of mine without rewriting the whole thing, so I just went over to my multiply site to copy it. I wasn't sure how far down the blog list it was hiding and as I was skimming over several blogs, I came to one that I decided to actually READ. I'm glad I did, because it truly sums up my daily life in Wisconsin with a 2 year old. I hope you find a few laughs or at least understanding, when you read it. I will repost it here.

Posted by Rochelle on Jan 16, '07 12:49 AM for everyone

I was greeted early this morning with a runny nose. With all the colds and flu going around, even though I was eating vitamins like potato chips and even trying to catch a few extra ZZZZs, I still caught a cold. After the hectic morning of trying to get the boys out the door and to school, I decided to take Jillian out to the store to pick up some cold meds and maybe a few days worth of groceries.

Well, as soon as I went to get Jillian out of the car, it started. She got mad over the fact that I wouldn't let her carry in all of the winter hats she's stolen from her brothers. I told her she could have one on her head and that was enough. She hung from me like a sack of potatos as I hauled her into Wal-Mart. Even the cart lady noticed that. I just chuckled it off like I always try to do, and managed to get her seated in a cart. Not knowing how much time I had for a full blown explosion, I headed straight for the medicine aisles, grabbed my Tylenol Day and Night Severe Cold and Flu (nothing wrong with planning ahead) and so far she was being okay. I noticed a whole rack of pretty hair stuff for little girls on clearance, and grabbed a few and handed them to her, figuring it would give her something to play with. Boy was I wrong. Here came more wailing, since I refused to open the package of elastic headbands! I am such a bad mother! I continued to keep my cool, even though I was not only putting up with her screaming, but also the loudest, sqeakiest wheel'd cart in America (I always end up with the lousy carts!) And as I continued down the end aisle, scouting out more clearance items, I noticed a worker glaring at me. It was all I had to snap at her but I ignored it, and then it hit me, I had forgotten to throw on some jeans before I left the house and I was still wearing my ultra-comfy flannel pants. Not that I looked completely as if I'd fallen out of bed--my shirt actually matched and my hair was done and I even had make-up on! But I guess the worker thought I didn't belong there with my loud toddler. I grabbed a few extra hair pretties, thinking they might change Jillian's mind about hair care-I'm probably wrong, I get that--but to brush her hair I actually have to chase her down and, while her head is on the floor upside down and she's screaming, I manage to put a brush through it. It's a wonderful experience, I assure you.

Her crying slowed long enough for me to make it over to the children's department, I decided to pick up a few things there and of course Jillian noticed a lion stuffed animal. Whether or not she deserved it, I handed it to her in a brief moment of insanity, thinking it would buy me some more shopping time. Boy was I wrong, AGAIN. She wanted the whole selection of animals, not just the lion. I refused, and here came the wails again. Quickly I grabbed what I needed (if you MUST know, a Dora the Explorer Potty Seat--we are working up to the attempt to use the potty, another glorious parenting moment) and headed to the cashier area. She was crying the whole way. It was more aggitating than embarrassing. I could feel my blood pressure rising with every squeaking turn of the cart wheels. Times like these, it's so hard not hear the little voice in your head that is chanting, "Now, why did you have children again?"

Once at the cash counter, I opted for the 'self check-out" thinking it would be faster and I wouldn't have to involve another human being in this little circus show. Besides, I never made it to the grocery side of the store. I quickly scanned all my items and went to pay with my debit card. Of course, even though were four other self check-out lanes open and three live cashiers, two men decided to wait behind me. Why, I'll never know. Jillian screaming, and me trying to swipe my cracked debit card (it's old, and well-used) through the machine. I scribbled my signature across the screen and thought I could hit the highway---but OOOH NO wouldn't you know it, the robot woman decided to shout "CARD DECLINED PLEASE USE ANOTHER FORM OF TENDER" I couldn't believe my ears. I sifted through my purse looking for another card, since I didn't have any cash on hand. Stupid cracked debit card. It expires in February, I sure hope they send a new one. I swiped my Wal-Mart card, signed the screen, and here comes the robot voice: ADDITIONAL APPROVAL NEEDED. What the???? A cashier woman came over the typed in a bunch of numbers on the keypad and told me to have a nice day. Oh yes, of course I'll have a nice day, along with my cracked debit card, squeaky cart, flannel pants, runny nose and my screaming toddler. Thank you so much. (Notice there were no quotation marks in that---it all remained neatly typed out in my head, my mouth stayed closed, I assure you!)

So, I took my screaming toddler outside, put her in her carseat and shut the door. I didn't hear any screaming from outside the car, and it was so tempting to just stay outside. I put the cart in the corral and walked slowly back to the car. Opening the door, the screaming flooded the parking lot. I was frazzled by this point. I managed to drive home with the radio on, but barely disguising her screaming. By the time we got home, she had run out of tears. I took her in the house and hoped she would run off somewhere and play quietly so I could medicate my cold and calm down.

I opened the child-proof packaging and noticed how few pills they give you for your buck. Thinking, "what a rip-off," I went to pop out the two little tablets, and guess what? ONE OF THE EXPENSIVE LITTLE BUGGERS FLIPPED RIGHT OUT OF MY HAND AND WENT DOWN THE DRAIN OF THE SINK!!!! I had to open another package and take one out so I'd get the full dose.

And, it's not even 10am. I just can't imagine I still have an entire day ahead of me. Wherever you are, I hope you will think of my little excursion, and please enjoy every second of peace and quiet offered to you. For me, please, don't take it for granted...

I will have to remember to reread that every time I'm having a bad day here. I will be thankful for how far we've come in our life's journey, and thank God that my beautiful daughter has stopped the incessant crying!! LOL

Monday, August 23, 2010

What a Weekend!

I was already looking forward to the weekend because of the primitive meeting on Saturday---but Friday turned out to be just as exciting! My online friend, Josie, who I have gotten to know through the Country Sampler magazine forum, invited me to join her at her in law's family farm, which is only five minutes from my house, to tour the old farmhouse and barn. What a RIOT! Not only was it delightful to meet her husband and his parents and aunt and uncle, but Josie and I hit it off and had a royal blast together! I hadn't laughed that hard in a long time! We started out nosing around the old barn and shrieking over all the rusty treasures we were discovering---most people would call it old junk---but we were in seventh heaven! I think her husband was a little surprised to hear that there yet another woman on earth that loved primitives as much as his wife! We just had so much fun. I guess our laughter carried so loudly through the farmhouse that it was heard even outside where the rest of the family were gathered! I'm sure they thought we had just lost our sanity that day as we dragged our old rusty treasures out of the attic and the basement and into the kitchen into a big pile. We even discovered an old fire extinguisher on the wall outside the kitchen door to the basement, and we had one heck of a time ripping that thing off its nail! Oh was that hysterical!! And such a sweet family, to welcome me in and let me treasure hunt with Josie. That is one day I'll never forget!

Saturday was our first chapter meeting for A Primitive Journey (where members from around the state meet on the third Sat. of every month to enjoy a day of antiquing, chatting, touring and of course, eating, with other primitives loving friends). The plan was set to meet at the Pride and Country Village in Saginaw, MI at noon for lunch and then shopping. You can check it out here: www.prideandcountry.com.

Before I even left town, I had plans to pick up an old dry sink cupboard from a house in town that had been listed on Craigslist. It was so wonderful that I knew if I didn't grab it asap, someone else would, and Lord knows I've been searching far and wide for a dry sink FOREVER. This one had original mustard paint even! So I took my 13 year old with me to help load it into the van...I had to drop him at a friend's house before I left town for the meeting, anyway.

We knew the street that the house was on and we began watching mailboxes for the address. When we found the mailbox and looked across the road, I said, "NO way, that can't be it. No one lives in that old house!" It looked like a real haunted mansion, with a tree lined little lane leading to it. Sure enough though, that was the house that belonged to the mailbox, so I pulled in up the lane and around to the back of the house. There was a back porch with an open door, but the inside looked pitch black. PJ said, "I'M not going to the door...." and I said, "Um, I don't think I AM either!" I'm serious---it looked haunted. I tried to call the phone number on the listing, but the number was having trouble and wouldn't connect (ironically.) I just kind of sat there in my van, not knowing what to do, when all of a sudden, a woman walked out from behind the garage. She was human, no ghost as I kind of was expecting to see!! So I jumped out of the van and greeted her, she called me by name and asked if I was there for the dry sink. I was so relieved!! Here is what the house looks like:

And this is the dry sink now that it is all cleaned up, waxed, buffed, and decorated!

She told me to back up to the garage and when I did and got out to see the dry sink in person, I was in LOVE with it! It was filthy but awesome. I told her that I didn't realize anyone lived here and she started to tell me about the house! You could tell by the light in her eyes that she is in love with the property. It's always fun to meet someone like that! She told me that the house was built in 1832, and it was the oldest house in town still standing. It originally had 2800 acres! A blacksmith shop, a livery, and several other outbuildings which had been torn down over the years as the property was sold off or bought by the growing community. They even found the original deed and map to the property! I can't wait to see the inside of the house....I was in a hurry to get on the road because I had a 1.5 hour drive to the meeting, but when she told me she had two other primitive pieces for sale, I knew I'd be back. Lucky for me, she was going on vacation and wasn't going to advertise them for sale and she promised to contact me when she got back. The dry sink was loaded up, and we left. I hit the road for the APJ meeting!

I hit traffic on the way there and thought for sure I'd be late, which would be awful for the Director!! By the hand of God, I walked in right at noon and the Phyllis and Jim Wenzel were already there in the wonderful, antique filled deli at the village. It was like we were instantly old friends! I sat with them and started gabbing as we waited for other members to arrive. They own Creekside Country which sells handmade wooden primitives and their work is amazing!! They were just the featured artists in the new ezine, Down the Primitive Path.

Not long after, Tasha Posey arrived, and again--it was like meeting an old friend! There is something special about primitive loving people. They are like an old soul, and you immediately connect with them. We ate lunch, which was wonderful, and shared lots of stories about our homes and where we come from. We enjoyed meeting the chef of the village, John, who often came out to check on us. Had we had more members at the meeting, we would've had our own private vintage dining car from an old railroad to enjoy our lunch in! Maybe next time...that would've been so cool!
After lunch, our little group headed out to explore the village. It is composed of several old buildings, most of which were moved to the property, and they are filled to the brim with antiques and primitives, quilts, homegoods, furniture, clothing, purses, garden decor and candles. It just feels like it is never ending! I found myself even taking pictures when I went to use the bathroom! It was adorable in there!

I really enjoyed spending time with our members. We had so much to talk about and so much to laugh about! It truly was like finding out you had a twin and that you were separated at birth. Having so much in common allows for such enjoyable conversation! Tasha and I were sharing stories and laughing so hard back in the deli when we took a break to get a drink later in the afternoon, that one of the workers even commented about how nice it is to see old friends get together for fun. We tried to convince her that we had JUST met that day for the first time and she couldn't believe it!!

I tried so hard not to buy anything because I blew my spending money on that great dry sink before I had even left town, but in the end, I couldn't help myself. I found a homespun curtain for our master bath, a wrought iron reading lamp for above our pencil post bed, and a quart of Old Forge Mustard paint by Olde Century Colors, which is a paint company I'd always hard marvelous things about but never had a chance to try it, as it isn't sold near my home. OH and an antique cutting board that Tasha found in the 'warehouse' ...only $1! It's kind of like a garage sale back there, mixed with discontinued items and antiques that they didn't seem to find room for in the rest of the village. I got there a moment too late...only to see a wonderful old red cash register go out the door---would've look perfect on my kitchen counter underneath my big Mercantile sign---it sold for only $25!! Oh well. Can't win em all!

Overall, it was a wonderful weekend, and I can't wait to see my prim friends again!! Next month our APJ chapter will meet in Holly, MI for day of antiquing in a vintage little downtown. Sounds like fun to me!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Just for Laughs

I just had to share these obscure thoughts with you...I cracked up....Hope you find some chuckles, too. Have a great day!

1. I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.

2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

3. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.

4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.

5. How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

6. Was learning cursive really necessary?

7. MapQuest really needs to start their directions on #5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.

8. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.

9. I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.

10. Bad decisions make good stories.

11. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.

12. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don't want to have to restart my collection...again.

13. I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page research paper that I swear I did not make any changes to.

14. "Do not machine wash or tumble dry" means I will never wash this -- ever.

15. I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello? Damn it!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voice mail. What did you do after I didn't answer? Drop the phone and run away?

16. I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.

17. I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.

18. I think the freezer deserves a light as well.

19. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lite than Kay.

21. Sometimes, I'll watch a movie that I watched when I was younger and suddenly realize I had no idea what the heck was going on when I first saw it.

22. I would rather try to carry 10 plastic grocery bags in each hand than take 2 trips to bring my groceries in.

23. The only time I look forward to a red light is when I'm trying to finish a text.

24. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.

25. How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear or understand a word they said?

26. I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers and sisters!

27. Shirts get dirty. Underwear get dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.

28. Sometimes I'll look down at my watch three consecutive times and still not know what time it is.

29. Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey - but I'll bet everyone can find and push the snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time!

30. My check engine light has been on for three months now and nothing's happened. I'm starting to think that my car is just an attention whore.

31. I don't understand the purpose of the line, "I don't need to drink to have fun." Great, no one does. But why start a fire with flint and sticks when they've invented the lighter?

32. Sometimes I pretend not to remember details about people because having a good memory apparently equates to creepiness.

33. My GPS says "Estimated Arrival Time." I see "Time to Beat."

34. Whenever someone says "I'm not book smart, but I'm street smart", all I hear is "I'm not real smart, but I'm imaginary smart".

35. My keyboard needs a removable crumb tray like my toaster.

36. What would happen if I hired two private investigators to follow each other?

37. I wish it were appropriate to say to a complete stranger, "Excuse me, would you like me to show you how to discipline your child?"

38. I never understood why the Lions and Cowboys always get to play on Thanksgiving. Shouldn't the Patriots play the Redskins, and then steal their stadium afterwords?

39. Double-Stuffed Oreos should just be called Oreos, and regular Oreos should be called Diet Oreos.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Master Bath

One of the last rooms in the house to decorate is our master bath. When all the other rooms were at least painted, this room stayed the old flat white it came with. There was no door on this bathroom until recently, and truth be told, I pretty much hated the room. Other homes we had didn't even always have a master bath...I should've been more grateful to have it. But without even a door?? Husband often asked when I'd be decorating in there...as much as he isn't into the whole "home decor" project, he does appreciate what I do and obviously prefers that it gets done.
Other than no door and flat white paint, the room has a walk-in, roomy shower, a vanity which is dark cherry, and dark cherry Pergo flooring. The focal point of the room is the gigantic jacuzzi tub, which could easily fit six people (why I don't know, in a b
athroom...) and the tub surround is also, brace yourself...dark cherry Pergo flooring. Yes, that's what I said. Pergo flooring surrounding the TUB. All of the wood in the entire house is honey oak. Floor, doors, trim, cupboards...except all this random dark cherry in the master bath. Oh. Forgot to mention, the trim around the window and doorway in the master bath, is honey oak. Which really looks weird paired with all the Pergo cherry. Overall, I was just completely blocked.

The tub area takes up half the room. As much as I liked the idea of having a huge jacuzzi tub when we bought the house, I have found that I use the main bathroom tub way more often--it is a jacuzzi too, just a normal sized tub. This
master bathtub takes FOR-EV-ER to fill up. If I had my way, I'd prefer a clawfoot tub in its place, with room for a large, antique linen press or cupboard. Oh well, I have to work with it....there is no way to get it out in one piece and it seems like a sin to smash it into bits when tubs like this cost thousands to buy.
I finally got so tired of the blank walls that I picked a color. I knew I wanted some kind of mustard and after spending hours pouring
over paint chips, I went with something called Fall Leaves. It's a gorgeous color inspired by my favorite time of year, and I figured it would work well with the adjoining master bedroom which is a subdued sage green. But when I got it up on the wall, I wasn't so sure. It really is a pretty color, but it is really kind of bright. At first it looked more like tangerine than mustard. Once I started putting a few things around the room, it did warm up a little. I'm still not in love with it for this room but I'm working with it for now.

It is slow going. I have a tin colonial chandelier to put up over the tub, and I need to do something with the tub surround to cover up the cherry. I have since painted the vanity black and I found primitive star drawer pulls to add to that. There are large cut-out areas which were never finished by the previous owner in front
of the tub surround that have to be covered up, too...but until I make a decision about what I want to cover all that with, I've opted to keep decorating so the rest of the room feels cozier and more enjoyable to be in. We moved the oak door from the downstairs laundry up to this bathroom, so at least there is a door, now, too.

Most recently I have decided to put a Shaker drying rack around the tub to create some privacy from the rest of the room. I added se
veral pieces of vintage undergarments to the rack, and I have more in transit from eBay. I love the way it's turning out, though again, it's far from finished. I'm hoping to find some vintage soap cans and/or bath oil bottles to fill the empty shelves with and more vintage undergarments. I also have a larger washboard to add in. What do you think so far?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

New and Ongoing Projects

Here are some photos of my latest projects and Craigslist finds. The cupboard out of a butler's pantry of a house built in 1890, Pennsylvania. Probably not in its "forever' spot in my house, but I'm love it already! The trade sign is original, from 1914. I only know that because I researched it online, and was able to track down an article in a 1914 Veterinary Medical Journal stating that Dr. Cribbs took over a practice in Kalamazoo, MI when the previous veterinarian passed away unexpectedly. It's a large sign--6 ft x 2 ft! Even better in person.
In my living room, I'm having a faux wall built to house our TV and electric fireplace...the photo with the yellow cupboard is what the room looked like before the new wall. Amazingly, the room now feels so much larger with the new wall, even though a foot of space was taken to build it! (I'd have taken a larger room photo for ya, but the little girl has taken it over with a giant pretend dinosaur and stacks of blocks and boxes!) The TV and section with the DVD/cable/boxes will be covered by doors, so when not in use, nothing electronic will be visible. It's coming along nicely and it adds so much to the room.

I've also been working to collect things to fill up my master bath ...there is a huge garden jacuzzi tub and surround that takes up half the room, and I have to say, it's one of the biggest primitive decor challenges I've faced yet! I'm searching for vintage undergarments to hang from a shaker drying rack ...which will take up a good amount of space. I actually posted a wanted ad for 'old cotton underclothes' on freecycle, and luckily I haven't gotten any offers for everyone's old ratty underwear! LOL I did get a few Civil War and Colonial repro pieces from a friend of mine that will fit in nicely, and I won an auction for a turn of the century (1900) chemise and petticoat with handmade lace....can't wait for it to arrive. I'll post pics of the ongoing master bath project soon.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Taking it Easy is Hard to Do

I had surgery two weeks ago yesterday, and I'm supposed to be laying low for six weeks. This is so hard for me to do. I have the best intentions, but things around the house need to be done, and I found out yesterday, that even though I'm TRYING to delegate tasks to the children, they don't always get them done the way they need to be. I wish I wasn't so OCD (ha) that I have to go back and redo them. In fact, had we not had company coming yesterday, I would've just let it go. But seriously. Vacuuming twice and still not getting the dirt? Is vacuuming (with a Dyson, no less) REALLY that hard to do? Hard wood floors and two dogs...sorry. I had to go back and catch it all.

I do have a stack of new primitive decor books to keep me dreaming, and I did pick up a good stack of books to read. But I have such a hard time concentrating on reading when the kids are loud and there are wars being fought (on Xbox of course)....**sigh** I know there have been days when I've begged for downtime, but seriously, two weeks of downtime and I'm flipping out!

I did manage to go on another Craigslist run. I found a wonderful trade sign, that reads "Dr. E.E. Cribbs, Veterinary, Surgeon and Dentist." I wasn't sure of the history, and the seller didn't know either, he had had it since 1971. I did a random Google search for kicks, and actually tracked down info about Dr. Cribbs! It was printed in a 1914 Veterinary Medical Journal, that Dr. Cribbs took over the Veterinary practice in Kalamazoo, MI after the sudden death of the previous doctor. It also listed Dr. Cribbs as being responsible for the control of contagious diseases within the county. I can't wait to have it hung (since I can't lift it, I can't hang it)...it's six feet long by about 2 ft wide. It's two sided as well. If I could figure out a way to post pics here on my blog without screwing up the entire thing, I'd show ya!

I'm looking forward to next Saturday. It's the first monthly meeting of A Primitive Journey chapters. Our chapter will be meeting at the Pride and Country Village in Saginaw. It's a fascinating village full of old buildings just bursting with antiques and collectibles, and a whole lot more! Check it out: www.prideandcountry.com If you haven't joined your local chapter yet, you should! Chapters meet every month at different locations for shopping and learning and touring, and once a year, there will be a national convention so we all can get together from across the nation! Head on over to http://aprimitivejourney.proboards.com for more info and to sign up.

Hope the weekend was a good one for ya! I'm desperately looking forward to Fall. Not only for decorating and enjoying the outside weather, but because I will be getting back to my normal self after this darn surgery! ;-)

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Frustrated Blogging!

I am having one heck of a time with Blogger. I really messed everything up earlier today, trying to figure out why half my words are overlapping eachother, and also overlapping my comment area. I apologize to those of you who are reading my blog and seeing it such a mess! I did try also to add some pics to my last blog but that really messed up the spacing too. If any of you can help me fix my mess, please let me know what to do! Thank you in advance. I'm hyperventilating now so I will sign off before I throw my computer out the window. ;-/

A Boring Week Turned Around

This past week has been a long one. Monday I had surgery, which went very well--I had Novasure ablation, D&C, and LEAP done. I won't go into details but it was outpatient and after I finally came out of the post-op groggy stage, I felt fine. Way better than I ever imagined. I didn't even have to fill the pain meds prescription. The problem is, I have to take it easy. I can't lift anything heavy for six weeks. SIX WEEKS!! If you know me, you know that that's enough to send me to the loony bin. I am always moving furniture, hauling treasures from craiglist ads, painting, rearranging...**sigh**. Anyway, the day after surgery, I felt SO good that I decided I could at least go shopping at Hobby Lobby to pick up some dried flowers for my master bath and some of my favorite Fall candles.

I was wrong. (hate to admit that...)

Half way through the store, I felt as if I had just run a marathon. I was weak and sweaty and thirsty and just felt exhausted. I was so mad at myself. I should be able to walk through one store!! And then it hit me, yes I had SURGERY yesterday. I get it now. I understand what "take it easy" means. And I left the store. From that point, I did do bits of things around the house but made sure I took lots of breaks and put my feet up as much as I could stand. My mother and my husband were calling me every hour to make sure I was ok, and that I wasn't lifting. My husband called to remind me not to carry laundry! I really appreciated everyone looking out for me, but by Friday, I thought I was losing my mind. I felt so edgy. I was tired, but I was bored and even though I had a huge stack of new magazines and six primitive books (which arrived in the mail the day of the surgery), I just couldn't sit still!

I finally hit the road and ended up at my mom's, and she and I went out to some resale shops. It felt so good to get out! I picked up a few odds and ends, including a wonderful comb back Windsor chair, which has a very old label on the bottom, I'm still trying to date it. It's reproduction but I found out that reproductions were being made in the 1800s so who knows!
I also picked up another old Calumet baking powder can for my growing collection and some wooden spoons, as well. Overall, a very enjoyable little shopping trip.Saturday morning with my coffee, I perused the 'net, made my regular rounds between email, the primitive forums I enjoy and of course, Craigslist. I found many treasures I could die for, however, most were out of state, and right now, out of the question. I did manage to find a cupboard taken from the butler's pantry of a house built in PA in 1890, for only $75! I had to sprint for that. But what an adventure it ended up being!
Usually when I go off chasing CL ads, I drop off the kids and pick up my co-pilot (my mom) and we head out. But this time was different, since I am not supposed to lift anything. I had to take the kids along. My dad was at a tractor show so he couldn't stay with Jillian, and my mom knew the area of Detroit better than I did so I wanted her along (besides, she's too much fun to leave behind)...so we left town with a full van before we even GOT the cupboard. I knew it was going to be interesting. We made it to the house and I went in with the boys and saw the cupboard, and immediately loved it. But it was heavy .... and I could do nothing to help it into the van! My oldest is a brute, but the younger one, God love him, has spaghetti arms. Even if he HAD muscle, he'd deny it. He just does not like anything to do with any kind of work. I already promised the boys extra in their allowances to do this for me. But oh my goodness. What a circus. The two sisters ( older retired women) who sold it to me were trying to help the boys, they were the tiniest women I've ever seen and one had had back surgery! PJ was doing all he could but he's only one kid, and Ethan was pretending to help. Finally they managed to get the cupboard to the door of the house, but there was a big step to the porch and three big steps to the ground level! One of the sisters decided to get a big piece of cardboard to put under the cupboard so the "team" could try to slide it out the door. You have NO idea how hard this all was for me to watch. PJ and I could've had the cupboard in the van and been down the road by then!! But I couldn't lift it. Ugh!! Well, the cardboard helped to get it down to the porch and down to the ground. Then they used it under the cupboard to get it across the lawn ...That was hilarious. PJ was pushing, the ladies were "guiding", and Ethan was on the ground pulling the edge of the cardboard. Oh my goodness! Finally got it to the van, and PJ and Ethan somehow managed to get it IN the van. I'll never know how, other than a band of angels helping out invisibly! It JUST fit in, too...with Jillian still in her booster seat and all the other seats in the floor. Before we loaded ourselves up, the sisters offered that we see their garage sale leftovers. Most of their prices were quite high. I did buy an old sugar sack and an old coffee can for my collection. They showed me some handiwork from their uncles, items they were not selling ...how I wish I had taken photos! They built a little wheel chair out of old fruit crates and two wheels from a little bike. It was hilarious! Then they built a storage table, looked something like the shape of a desk, from old fruit crates, and the drawers were made from big olive oil cans cut in half and stuck in the cubbies. It was amazing. True "make-do".

Anyway, we decided to hit the road after that. Ethan climbed in first and sat on the floor, and then PJ climbed in. I drove away...to the tune of PJ moaning. He is bigger than me now and really had very little room to sit. In fact, he ended up trying stand up, bent over, behind me as I drove. It was awful!! Ethan and Jillian were play fighting loudly over some toy, and PJ was moaning and uncomfortable. Turns out he hadn't eaten yet that day. Unbelievable. He begged for Taco Bell, which I didn't mind, but trying to find one was another story. We drove almost a half hour like that before we found one. Before we finally did stop though, Ethan strangely lost control of his arm which 'accidentally' hit PJ and then PJ LOST IT! He hit Ethan and spit at him, which makes me INSANE and Mom and I proceeded to tell both boys off all together. It was just ridiculous! My kids can't manage to ride together for a half hour. I know these were uncomfortable circumstances, but they have it so easy compared to when we were kids. My gosh. My cousins, all five of them, had to ride with their parents in a VW Bug!!! Now THAT, my friend, is close quarters! We finally all ate and managed to find our way home. My husband and PJ carried in the cupboard and we all finally got back to normal! What a ride.

I love the cupboard... I did decorate it a little last night because I just had to see it with something on it before I went to bed. I'm not sure it will stay that way but for now, I'm enjoying it!

Life around here is always an adventure!