Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Special Invitation from Heart and Home

Hey there! I’m inviting you all to a party!

Read on for more info….

Sometimes when I can't sleep I think about things like these:...

From what I've seen out there in Blogland many of you are a lot like me, and we all have it pretty good! We live in homes that, while they may not be exactly what we want them to be, are warm and safe -with clean, unlimited water, indoor plumbing, electricity, and a pantry and refrigerator full of good, healthy food (with some favorite junk food stashed on the shelves, too!)

We spend a lot of time thinking about how we want to change things around our homes to please us more, and spend a lot of time and energy working on projects - painting, refinishing, sewing, shopping and just doing things for our homes. We might not spend a lot of money on these projects, yet for most of us the ability to do them - to take care of whatever it is that needs taking care of, is no big deal. We enjoy the hunt, finding the great piece, making the deal, and tackling the project that will make our home speak for us and convey the message we want it to convey. We enjoy turning our houses into homes.

Often, in the mad scramble to fix, improve, clean, replace, and beautify- I become a bit restless. The constant search for, if not perfection then close to perfection, in my home means I take a lot of what I have in my life, and my home in general, for granted. Lately, I've been trying to live in a more "aware" state of mind, to appreciate things, and to live more in the moment. Believe me it's not always easy to stay in a state of grace and gratitude when I have a migraine, or the power is out and it's 52 degrees in the house, or the dog just had an "accident" on the carpet - but I really am trying to stay focused on what's important, and let the rest go...

At the risk of sounding a bit like Pollyanna, (and to celebrate my 100th post and 6 month blogging anniversary!) I'm starting a weekly Wednesday party that celebrates gratitude for our gifts, big or small. Some days it's the little things (like waking up without a headache, for example) that seem really big! Other days, because it's more often the norm, I don't even notice my good health. Likewise, the absence of certain daily comforts and conveniences makes them much more appreciated when they return...(think electricity and running water - totally taken for granted until I have to do without for a day or two!)

In other words, absence really does make the heart grow fonder - for all things, not just a loved one. A favorite food, a comfortable bed, a beloved movie or book, a song from days past, all seem sweeter after their absence from my life for awhile! The trick, I think, is to recognize and appreciate those things on a daily basis, when they are part of the normal routine of my life and things are just humming along smoothly. Noticing the good stuff, instead of always noticing the silly, annoying, irritating things that invariably come along day to day, that's my goal for the day, and the weeks, and the months ahead.

Studies have proven that people who take time to be grateful every day are happier! My guess is that by posting about something I feel grateful for on at least one day a week I will begin to notice the other things more, the rest of the time.

Viewing all the great decorating, do-it-yourself projects, tablescapes, recipes, and outdoor scenery everyone shares here in the blogsphere everyday has become one of my favorite things to do, a new hobby for me! I love participating, and getting inspiration from so many creative people! The gratitude that many of you express daily for your beloved homes, families and friends has motivated me to try something new here at Heart and Home:
I invite you to join me on Wednesdays
 and I look forward to seeing whatever it is that really makes your heart sing and makes you smile! It doesn't matter what it is: it could be a favorite collectible, piece of furniture, website, book, song, view, food, or flower. Say thanks for it, feel your appreciation and the happiness it brings you, and show it to us next week, February 3rd, on the first ever (hope-to-be-weekly) Wednesday Gratitude.  Tell your friends, link in, and show us what you've got!

We can share our gratitude, and get happier, together!

Thank you, Beverly, for Pink Saturday!

Thanks for stopping by,
Until next time,

P.S. For a fun look at happiness, go here:
Or read Gretchin Rubin’s bestselling book, "The Happiness Project”

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Primroses to the Rescue at Heart and Home

Hey there bloggers! How's everyone today?

I want to let you know that there were some problems with the link for email subscriptions... I apologize - if you previously signed up to follow via e-mail you will have to resubmit your address on my new e-mail feed at the top of the side bar. So sorry, I hope it works this time! If you experience any problems, please let me know! Thanks.

After such a rich and chocolatey weekend,
(scroll down to the last post if you don't know what I'm talking about, you won't be sorry!)
I've been knocking around here for a bit - rummaging around in a house with no heat, water or electricity. Thank goodness my troubles are so small - and that power was restored just as my fingers were starting to get stiff! How can I complain, when in reality
even without heat I was dry and safe and warmer that a lot of others....

The morning was a little confusing without power or water,
We kind of have a routine for times like these...and we've been able to practice it a lot this winter!
But still, this morning everyone got to where they needed to go!
And, these primroses in the kitchen were a cheerful sight.

It's hard to stay grumpy when such bright, friendly little flowers
grace my table top.


This time, it wasn't stormy weather that knocked down a power pole on our street,
 but rather a clumsy driver.
 (Probably taking that curve way too fast, on a wet and slippery road.)

Lighting the candles made it feel a little cozier in here while I sat in the sunny kitchen and
  waited for PG&E to do their thing (again!).

A big cup of Jasmine green tea with honey, and the morning paper helped my mood, too!
But, just to be safe, I only read the funnies this morning!
Tell me:  What's your favorite way to greet the morning, with or without power?
One thing's for sure:  Your visits always make my day!
Until next time,
PS: Today is my six month blogging anniversary!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sweet and Stormy at Heart and Home

Hey there everyone! It's another wet and windy day here under the Redwoods.   I've been spending a lot of time inside nursing my poor head and drinking a lot of green tea, staying dry and trying to stay warm!

It still looks like this around here:

I hope you've all been having a good week - I've been checking out so many great blogs and getting a ton of inspiration for new projects!

Before I show you what the girls and I did this weekend, I want to let you know that there were some problems with the link for email subscriptions... I apologize - if you previously signed up to follow via e-mail you will have to resubmit your address on my new e-mail feed at the top of the side bar. So sorry, I hope it works this time! If you experience any problems, please let me know! Thanks.

Now, on to more interesting things, mainly: Chocolate! This weekend our town held the annual Chocolate Festival, which is a fund raiser for scholarships for re-entry women at the University. We went last year, and to say we were very excited to attend again this year is an understatement! I had the date marked in RED on the calendar! We were not going to miss the opportunity to indulge in delicious samples of wonderful chocolate treats offered by 36 different vendors.

 First we started with these, and believe me they tasted as good as they looked:

and we ended with these - strawberries in chocolate mint fondue,
and fruit dipped in coconut-ginger-curry fondue:

In between we tried so many other delightful things that for a moment I felt I couldn't face chocolate again.  (That feeling wore off pretty quickly - I'll always love chocolate!)
We indulged in 30 tastes (!) between us, including ice cream, truffles, cookies, chocolate bars, mousse cakes, and even chocolate covered bacon. (Okay, that one is a little weird!)  Because we ate it all in the name of charity I never felt guilty once. We all did feel a little giddy afterwards, though, and headed outside to get some air and clear our heads!

The ocean was stirred up from the storm, there were some great waves - in fact we just missed the surfing contest which took place while we were inside stuffing our faces with sweets.

The fresh air was bracing and felt so good after all that chocolate!

We managed a short walk before it started raining again.

When we returned home, we followed Miss Maggie's lead, and got cozy for the rest of the afternoon.

She's got quite a good life, this dog of ours! That's the down comforter I put on the sofa for humans to snuggle under, but Maggie thinks it's for her exclusive use! She does look very comfortable!
Thank goodness dogs can't eat chocolate, or we would have to share that with her, too!

See you later! Thanks for stopping by, I'd love to hear from you, so leave me a comment! And if you subscribe my e-mail, let me know! I will be monitoring for any problems.

Until next time,

Thank you, Susan!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Heart and Home and a Wet, White Winter

Hi! I'm going to be real quick, because I'm afraid the power's going to go out on us again! Due to the rainy and very windy winter storm our electricity went out at 7:00 yesterday morning, and it was out until late afternoon. Going most of the day without heat, lights, and running water was a gentle reminder for me to remember those less fortunate, and to offer help to those who are struggling daily under far more extreme and difficult circumstances.

 When the lights went out around here, I knew that eventually power would be restored to our community- I just climbed back into bed and snuggled under my comforter. Thank you people at PG&E!! I was thrilled when the lights came back on, and grateful for all the comforts I generally take for granted.

Before this big storm, I managed to make a few meager changes to the decor after the holidays.
Nothing fancy, just some lightening and brightening up
 of the spaces we spend most of our time in.

I kept things very simple, used a lot of white, and really pared down for now.
I'm trying to reduce clutter around the house - while still keeping a cozy feel to each room, and keeping it bright for more of the gray and gloomy days that surely are ahead of us this winter.

On a good day, when the sun streams in these windows it really warms up this room.
But we haven't seen the sun in a few days now!

Even though it was chilly in here yesterday with no heat,
I was still loving my birds and nests on the living room mantel. ( go see more!)

The new burlap runner, (click for a tutorial)  which I made for the dining room table,
 adds just the right touch
for a casual, wintry ambiance.

If you've been stopping by Heart and Home for awhile now,
you know how much I love scented candles!
I light them whenever I feel like it, their warm glow warms the space up so much.
I have so many all around the house, it really isn't a big problem when the lights do go out.
 I just whip out the lighter and in a few minutes our house is aglow with candlelight!

I hope all of you are staying warm and dry inside your lovely homes this winter.
I plan to share a bit of my good fortune with others, and show more gratitude for the things that make my life so much easier. That's what I'm doing right now as I type this in my warm office! Little Maggie is happy, too. Her favorite spot by the heater vent is the best place to nap!

Thanks for stopping by! By the way, I just realized:
it's getting close to my 100th post, I can't believe it!
We'll have to do something fun to celebrate!
 I was thinking of starting a new party on Wednesdays - any suggestions?
Leave me a comment!
Until next time,

I'm linking up with Cindy at My Romantic Home, for Show and Tell Friday,  and Beautiful Life Friday at The Inspired Room. Thanks Melissa!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Transformed By the Outdoors At Heart and Home

Hey there, how's it going? This is what it's looked like around here for most of the week:

It's been a long, wet couple of days! We've even had some thunder and lightening!
All my plans for the transformation of this recent find:

and this one, currently languishing in the garage:

have been forgotten over the past couple of rainy days.

Instead, this weekend my girls and I braved the rain and went into town to see a movie, have tea and pastries, and window shop - and spent the next day and a half hunkered down inside the house to read, bake, watch old movies - and enjoy a "Platinum Weddings" marathon. (My husband and I eloped,  I love to watch brides-to-be with unlimited budgets plan their dream weddings!)  It was nice, spending time alone -just us girls, as the Mr. went out of town with his buddies to enjoy some snow up near Lake Tahoe. With the fire going, a warm cup of tea and piece of freshly baked persimmon bread to enjoy - well it was pretty cozy around here.

At times the rain came down so hard it was like watching sheets of water come crashing down from the sky. Our creek is swollen with rain run-off:

But I will admit it now- after about a million cups of tea, lots of reading, hemming all my new, 3" too long pants, house cleaning, doing about 500 loads of laundry, and way too much television - this house started to feel a little small...and I began feeling just a slight amount of resentment towards the Mr. for taking off on a 3 day school holiday, to play with his friends. I mean, who wouldn't want to get away from it all for awhile to have some fun?! While I understand the whole "spending time with my buddies" thing intellectually, - emotionally I'm not as mature about it as I'd like. Sometimes I really need a break from my day to day responsibilities and some time off - and there's always been 100% support for me to do it, but it's hard for me to arrange, and so "time away for me"  has happened rarely since I've been a full time mom the last 20+ years. Now, on top of feeling resentful, housebound, and a little bored,  I started to feel guilty for not being 100% behind the boys trip - I felt like a rotten wife. Okay, I agree it was not such a great way to spend my time -  I really needed to make the most of the rest of the day....and transform my thinking, right?!

...As soon as the rain let up I was out the door for a walk along the ocean. After too much time cooped up in the house, the fresh air really did me good! I love to walk by the sea in the winter, when the sky is dark and the waves are crashing. There's nothing better than a brisk walk on the ocean cliffs when the sea is all churned up from a storm. Down on the beach I love to comb the sand for my favorite bits of sea glass.  I really love to come home with my pockets full!  I'm transformed by the cold, the wet, the fresh air, and the exercise! Afterwards, I felt almost like an understanding, kind, loving wife again! I hope the feeling lasts!

The beach was transformed by the heavy seas, with the water coming all the way up to the normally dry walkway. Kelp was strewn everywhere - and the waves were really crashing!
It was beautiful out here - windy, cold, and misty! Just what I needed to transform my not-so-nice thoughts.

In light of the world's current events, I feel even more grateful for all my blessings, and for time spent walking along the coast. A lot more rain is expected over the next week, which is good for the environment, but not so good for me. I may not be able to get to my bookshelf painting and slipcover making for awhile -  and there's the distinct possibility of being transformed  into a  women with cabin fever - yet again! What's your favorite way to spend a stormy day, and to change your mood?  Tell me all about it!
Thanks so much for stopping by, I hope you all have a great rest of the week - much dryer than the one we're having here! Hello all you BlogFrog bloggers - thanks for visiting, I'll be by to see you soon!
Until next time

Posted for Outdoor Wednesday, at A Southern Daydreamer, and Transformation Thursday, at Shabby Chic Cottage - thanks, Susan and Gina!

Monday, January 18, 2010

DIY and Trash to Treasures at Heart and Home

Howdy! Thanks for stopping by today. It's still kind of gloomy around here -outside it's very stormy and wet and cold. I spent the last few days hanging around the house, but didn't have much inspiration to do much! I've got some great projects lined up, but I need to take care of a few things before I can start working on them!

I did manage to sort of rearrange a few items around the house to make the place look a little more welcoming, after putting all the Christmas stuff away. First though, I took a couple of days and just looked at the empty spaces until I couldn't stand it any longer. I love to pare down, but all that emptiness was ridiculous!

To spruce things up, I decided to make a table runner with the left-over burlap I had from making tack boards a few years ago.

It was a simple project that took very little time.  First I gathered my materials: burlap, ribbon trim, thread and scissors:

I pulled a thread along where I wanted to cut a straight line:

I stitched three pieces together to make one long piece
( I sewed french seams so there would be no raw edges on the wrong side of the runner,
and to make a stronger seam.)

I stitched the wide grosgrain ribbon trim over the seams, and zigzag stitched along the long sides and the bottom edges.

 On the bottom, I pulled a thread about 1-1/2 inches from the edge, stitched over it with two lines of zig-zagging, and then pulled all the threads out below the stitching to form a fringed edge.

I'm still deciding whether or not to stencil a monogram in black ink onto the ends of the runner.

For now, here's the finished result:

I like the contrast of the textures between the crocheted piece I layered on top of the burlap,
and the colors of the fabric against the black table.

This was so easy, and made me feel like I'd accomplished something worthwhile this week - besides all the regular household chores I think it's nice to have something fun to work on, and something new to add a little pizazz to the decor!

I did it myself, for DIY Day and Trash to Treasure Tuesday, at Reinvented. Thanks Kimba and Kimm! Also linked to Shimmer and Tulle 's blog party, and Transformation Thursday - thanks Gina!

Thanks for visiting today, have a fun time, look around awhile and stop by again soon! Before I forget, check out the BlogFrog widget in my side bar! I thought I'd try it out, and I need your help. Sign up, and become a BlogFrog Friend! It's quick and easy, and will connect you, your blog, and Heart and Home to a bunch of really great blogs and  people with the same interests in home, design and family.

Until next time,

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Heart and Home and a Sunday Favorite

Good Morning! Happy Sunday, and welcome back! I hope everyone is having a great weekend, and will enjoy  a Sunday Favorite, from a post in August:

White conjures up images in my imagination:

Of a snowy white tabletop,

Of turtle doves and garden statuary,

Of grey and white shadows on linen and lace

And treasures from the sea bleached by the sun, iridescent in the candle light.

White is the color of optimism, and hope, and surrender,

and the magic, and promise, and joy of new love.

Thanks, Happy to Design. Thanks everyone for visiting. Leave me a comment, and come back soon!

Until next time!