Friday, January 29, 2010

Morning, With Snow & Pancakes

Cold, with candles & snow.

Chimneys, with logs & matches.

Mabel, with pillow & blanket.

Arkansas' Home Design Contest

Attention Arkansans! Are you proud of a recent decorating project? At Home in Arkansas is sponsoring a fabulous design contest. If picked, you could be in the July magazine. Be sure to check it out here.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Her First Home

When my sister, Rebecca, found her very first place I was thrilled. Mostly because I loved it too and we would have come to fisticuffs had I been on a search for a one bedroom cottage rental. But I wasn't. So we didn't. But I have been able to live vicariously through her.

Getting her first place has been an exciting time for Rebecca. It's been filled with flea market victories (like her vintage, 7 foot, 1960's Broyhill couch shown here). It's given her a place to display her black and white group photos (she collects them), McCoy pottery & an assortment of old mirrors. But, it has also had a fair dose of reality mixed into the bag.

Because, as we all remember, with the joy of being on our own comes the cold shower of heating bills, awkward parking, creaky floors, and neighbors that fight with their girlfriends at 2 in the morning. The price of decorating and independence also gets coupled with strict grocery budgets and panicking over flat tires.

And while Rebecca has encountered all of these things, she's held her chin high. She's carried the weight of adult responsibility with grace and dignity. And... all the while pinching her pennies and making her cute cottage into a home.

It's a curious thing, sisters. For so long I was so much older than mine. They were babies, then kids, then irritating pre-teens. But one day, I blinked and realized they were grown women. Women that I not only love, but women I count as my best friends. Women that I have become so proud of that I'm, at times, slightly obnoxious. For example:

"You should SEE Rachel's newest drawing. She's going to be the best children's book illustrator since David Wiesner."

See what I mean? Obnoxious.

But in summation, I'm thankful I've been around to see them grow up. I'm thankful to have donated a few lamps and curtains to Rebecca's cause. I'm thankful to see her house take shape, reflecting the gregarious, fun, loyal woman that she is.

And, I'm also dropping some heavy hints about these old Manganese glass bottles. I mean, eventually she might run out of room and need a place to store them. Like my china cabinet.
*In answer to several emails, the red elephant lamp is a 'created' project. It was originally a dark brown with a shade spattered with palm trees. We threw away the paper shade (it was a lost cause) and found this fun white one at Target for $7. Then we spray painted the elephant base bright red.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Pause for the Vapors...

A few months ago, At Home In Arkansas asked to do a feature on my bedroom makeover. And better yet, Diane (the Editor) asked me to write it. It's currently in the January/February issue, and also available to read online here. Be sure and check out the rest of the online magazine, or better yet, subscribe.

This fantastic photo was taken by Nancy Nolan. I cannot take credit. So thank you so much Diane, Paulette & Nancy for making this the highlight of my year!

Childhood Humiliation Party, Again

As you ladies know, I'm ALL ABOUT embarrassing childhood photos.
Here's a few to brighten your Tuesday. Because as we all know, Tuesdays, more than any other day of the week, need the most brightening. Or in this case, visual representations in the form of a shameful slide show.


Oh, and in case you're wondering, there's more. Lots more.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Perhaps Not Totally In Gear

I had grand plans this weekend guys. And they fell short. I had plans of completing the guest bedroom makeover from top to bottom. Didn't happen.

But then I had to remember a few things:
a. There is only so much you can squeeze into a Saturday.
b. Sundays cant be expected to be productive when you have food poisoning.
c. There was a Sarah Plain & Tall marathon on during the food poisoning bout. The two combined rendered me useless.

The upside? I've recovered and heretofore swear off all Ecuadorian food (at least at that particular restaurant). We made progress on the guest room. Clip on lamps are awesome. And I now have a new place to store globes. Perhaps I wasn't totally in gear, but, it's good enough for now.

PS... Vote for Eddie's window!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Getting "It" In Gear

Warm applesauce helps when the whole getting "it" in gear thing kicks in. I've always wondered what "it" is. I have a pretty good guess.

When we were little this phrase was Mom's motivating tool.

"Get it in gear girls!"

Looking back, it was usually because we were dawdling on a Sunday morning, hair uncombed, propped at the kitchen table with our noses stuck in books. We must have been a daunting wall of estrogen back then. Come to think of it, we still are.

Over the years people are quick to say, "Wow. Three daughters? Your poor father."

But really, Mom bore the brunt of the sass, eye rolling, PMS, and "I don't care what you say, I AM FAT" fits. Dad skated by fairly easy. We always sided with him during my parents (relatively rare) fights. Once, after they had quarrelled, Mom rounded the corner of the living room to find Rebecca rubbing Dad's shoulders and Rachel in his lap, sympathetically patting his face.

My mother had a hard row to hoe.

"Get it in gear" became Mom's call to arms when we were late getting started on road trips, when laundry needed finishing, when basketball needed to be practiced. Mom was practical... and never uttered irritatingly sweet admonitions like Beth in Little Women, "Birds in their little nests all agree..."

Please. Sure. They all agreed until their parents forgot to bring back food and then they turned on each other like the Donner party. But, I digress.

So I'm heeding Mom's long standing advice. I'm getting "it" in gear this weekend. We have a guest room in the middle of a halfway makeover. There are chapters to be written. Bathrooms to be scrubbed. And more importantly, Netflix delivered Season 3 of Big Love this morning.

See you on Monday.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


As much as I've tried to beat the winter blah's with a positive attitude and bright colors, puny-achy-runny-nosiness has come for a visit. I'm fighting it though. I'm fighting it the way nature intended... with advil & movie marathons.

But in other news, it turns out that Mabel has her fair share of the "I Don't Wanna's" these days as well. She got a bath this week, and it did not go well. It was unavoidable. She smelled like rotten, buttery popcorn.

It all went downhill when she insisted on licking the No More Tears soap off her beard mid-bath. This led to a cold, wet, soapy schnauzer dry-heaving in the tub. She felt very sorry for herself. And afterwards, after she was rinsed clean and dried off with a towel, she tucked her bottom and streaked away, disappearing into the living room like an angry, hairy crab.

Honestly, I forgot about her. But later, as I stumbled into the living room garbed in bathrobe and hot tea in hand, she was there. Waiting. Still angry.

Mabel can hold a grudge better than the Daughters of the Confederacy.

And so I stood uncertain at the doorway while Mabel glared from the other side of the room. She was still wet, still gaggy, and spoiling for a fight.

I could see the wheels turning in her mind, carefully planning the best way to show me her distaste for the entire bath process. And with that, she rammed her head onto the carpet, butt high in the air, and began to scoot herself toward me like a deranged, growling missile. With each push of her back feet and elevated behind she gunned toward me, head on the shag carpet, one glaring eye beaming into me like a laser, growls tumbling out of her mouth like profanity from a sailor.

I'd be a liar if I didn't admit that Mabel's outburst caused me to take a step backwards away from the rabid, wet, overly hairy, growling, one eyed lawn mower barreling towards me.

When she came to the end of the carpet she stopped, stood upright and proceeded to pant and smile again. Sometimes... you just gotta let it out.

But I'm still puny. Oddly enough, it's spring-like weather outside. Seriously. See this open window? Heaven. But then again, I find myself looking up, ready to dodge a tornado or two. Arkansas is officially a weather schizophrenic state. And now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to blow my nose. Again.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Beating the Winter Blah's: Wear Pink

Pink scarf: Wal-Mart

Long sleeved pink t-shirt: Target

Black Skirt & Tights: Target

Shoes: Shoe Carnival

Mabel: In serious need of a bath.

In other news today, I got an email entitled "How to Finish Your Book In a Weekend." Wow. Talk about targeted spam.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Happy In My Shoes: But I Don't Wanna...

There's something about single digit temps and downtown commutes in the winter that give me a ripe case of the "I Don't Wanna's."

I don't want to get up at 6 in the morning. I want to get up at 9.

I don't want to go to work. I want to stay home and write.

I don't want to wear a hat and coat and gloves. I want flip flops.

Sometimes it's easy to be happy. When the sun is shining, the money flowing, cars working, jobs interesting, kids happy, spouses genial, and neighbors friendly. It's easy when the stop lights all turn green, when the bills get paid on time, and we're all healthy. It's easy to be happy when everything lines up and the flowers bloom outside the window.

But when it's 11 degrees, the car is cold, and you're driving to a job that isn't necessarily your dream... it's not so easy.

But I've come to realize that when the "I Don't Wanna's" set in, I miss a lot of wonderful things in my life.

Like noticing the jade plant in the window of our warm home.

Like my bosses, who are some of the nicest people I could work for.

Like my warm boots. Don't laugh. Those are important.

Like the ham and beans cooking in the kitchen.

Like Mabel ramming her toy duck into the back of my leg at this very moment.

Like Matt shuffling around in his man-room, searching for a missing sock.

Like the the ring tone blaring from my purse, signaling an incoming call from my sister.

These are all good things, and I don't want to miss them

So today, I hereby banish the "I Don't Wanna's" from my vocabulary.

Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds? And which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? If you then are not able to do the least, why are you anxious for the rest?

Luke 12:22-26

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I'm Not Doing It

"I'm not doing it, you do it."

"I'M NOT doing it either."

This is a well rehearsed spousal exchange. It applies to folding laundry, putting the toilet seat down, taking the trash out, changing air filters, cleaning the muck out of the sink drain and mopping the bathroom floor.

Spouses have been having standoffs since time began. I'm serious. I'd wager good money that at some point George and Martha Washington eyed a kid in a poopy diaper and glared at each other.

"I'm not changing that diaper George. I did it last time, it's your turn."

"Well I'm not doing it Martha... I have a country to run. Who's going to take me seriously with poop on my hand?"

"That's not my problem Georgie. Wear gloves."

And apparently, this scenario applies to Matt & me. Right now there is a cooking pot, lid in place, in our refrigerator that has been there for an indeterminate amount of time. I guess two months, Matt is guessing four. It's lurking in the back behind the lettuce and a jar of applesauce and we have no idea how long it's been there. Or what's in it. That's right. We're gross.

Here's what's happening.

"Matt, are you oblivious to the cooking pot in our fridge or are you purposely ignoring it?"

"I'm purposely ignoring it."

"Do we even know what's in it? You're just waiting for me to do it, aren't you?"

"Liz, I have no idea. It's been that long. And yes, I'm waiting for you to do it."

"Well that's just great. I'm NOT cleaning that out."

"Humph. I'm not either. I have to go play pool w/ the guys tonight and I don't want to get my shirt dirty."

"So? Wear gloves."

And neither side is giving.

So the pot sits there, lid safely in place, taunting us every time we get a snack or make dinner. But I'm not doing it. And neither is he. Fingers crossed that we don't have botulism growing in there. Wish us luck.

* A kindly history buff informed me that Martha & George did not have children together. So, feel free to use your imagination and insert a few other names in their place. Barack & Michelle, Brad & Angelina, Cinderella & Prince Charming. You get the idea.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

On a Scale of One to Ten

On a scale of one to ten, the book writing progress is moving at a snail's pace. Here's why.

My attention span is at a 4.

The daydream factor is riding at an 8.

The "Gosh Matt Is So Cute I Forgot To Be Productive" phase is a 9.5.

And the Cheese Factor in these pictures is definitely a 10.

And finally,the results for the "Can Liz Possibly Finish This Thing Before It's Time For Her To Move Into a Retirement Community" ranking is still out with the jury.

OK. Back to work.
** I think this post helped. Or else the little Dutch Boy that lives in my head pulled his finger out of the dam. Either way... thoughts are flowing.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Burlap Freebie Place Mats

I don't know about the rest of you, but I've needed some pick-me-ups since Christmas. The house feels bare and there's a giant empty spot where my Christmas movie marathons used to be.

So in an effort to keep myself busy and cheer the place up, I decided to dig through the office closet and make something. Anything. While watching Mama Mia. Because that movie could cheer up the grouchiest person ever, even Great Aunt March.

So anyway, I came up with this.

When I recovered my lamp shades, I went a little overboard on the burlap. Basically I have enough to make these place mats for years to come. Hence the term freebie. So while wishing I could run around the Greek islands and sing like Meryl Streep, I colored in the designs and called it this project done. No hemming. Nothing fancy.

I blame this all on Anthropologie. If they lowered the prices on their table linens I wouldn't be forced to do weird things with burlap and black markers. And no, I have no idea how they should be cleaned. I'll probably just throw them in with the towels and dry them on high heat. KIDDING.

And that cactus on the table? No idea what kind it is. All I know is he has a cool bluish cast to his skin and doesn't require bright light (a requirement in our house).

So welcome weird plant.
I hope you'll feel right at home next to our burlap place mats.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Mabel's Winter Weight Loss Regime

Step 1: Sit up, carefully flexing ab muscles.

Step 2: Stand up, working the legs only slightly.

Step 3: Stretch very, very hard, as to avoid a Charlie Horse from aforementioned steps.

Step 4: Sit back down, take a deep breath.

Step 5: Throw in the towel completely and go back to sleep.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Beating the Winter Blah's: Blue Jacket

Blue Jacket: Forever 21
Black T-shirt & Skirt: Dillard's
Bracelet: TJ Maxx

What's more cheerful than my new blue jacket? The fact that the plants in my office have managed to stay alive during this cold snap.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Smell of Snow

All my life I've heard the expression, "It smells like snow." I've never known what that meant, until now. As the clouds moved in, and the sun disappeared, my nose sensed something shifting.

It's almost like the air has an absence of smell all together. Everything is silently moving and changing and crisp and frigid. Maybe that's what snow smells like. Crisp and frigid.

And then the flakes start to fall and we swish by in our cars, briefly noting the white dots of swirling trouble, slicking up the roads, causing rushes on the grocery stores. But when you slow down and stand outside and let the falling silence fill up your ears, you'll notice that you're surrounded by more than just swirling white dots.

You find yourself surrounded by perfectly and magically formed little crystallized individuals, intricate glass-like points and stars and edges. And then you realize that no two are the same.

Just like us.
Nature is full of genius, full of the divinity; so that not a snowflake escapes its fashioning hand.
~Henry David Thoreau, journal, 5 January 1856

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Candle 411

OK. Sorry to leave all of you that asked and emailed about this hanging. Here's the scoop on how I put tea lights in my jars/flower vases.

Basically, it was a lucky fluke. I used a set of really tall and skinny shot glasses found at Pier One on clearance (they have frosted stripes and polka-dots on them). By some mystic twist of fate, they also fit perfectly into the jars and are just wide enough to hang at the top. So... it looks like the tea lights are suspended. I know. So weird. Hope that solves the mystery.