The world is but a canvas to the imagination...
Henry David Thoreau

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Sometimes life doesn't go the way that we plan it. Usually when we look at the big picture, there is a rhyme and a reason to it. The hard part is looking at the big picture. There are many ways to deal with this. Prayer, scripture study, talking things out with someone you trust. I also firmly believe that you need a sanctuary. Just a little spot that you create that is totally you. My craft room is that place. When we moved into our house, the laundry room was designated as mine. Not just for the massive amounts of laundry that my family produces. (Really, I thought I had just 4 kids....) No, I picked it because it has a built in wall to wall desk, linoleum floors that were already a bit trashed (now I feel less guilty about paint) and lots of cupboards. It was cream and kind of a tomato soup red. It was cute and totally suited the personality of the friend who lived here before. Not my style though, so I have been working to transform it to my taste. I knew I would have to compensate for it being in the basement and not having a big window and having to get ALOT of craft stuff in a small space. I also wanted items that inspire me. Oh yeah, and it has to be done without spending any money. Hmm...tall order.
Here is what I ended up with. Starting with the walls, mixed some paint I had left over and came up with a grey/blue that is the perfect foil for any other color. Painted the cupboards white as well as the shelves for the wall. Hung some funky indigo blue curtains that I have had kicking around for years across the back wall to deaden the sound of the washer and dryer. Now comes the quirky fun factor...These pictures were taken standing in the middle of the room turning counter clockwise (skipping the door ~ boring!)

This shelf used to be in a florist shop as part of a hutch. They were throwing it away and a friend claimed it and gave it to me. I love the bird picture painted by my sister in law Colett, she is an amazing artist. Her blog is linked to should check out her art. :-) The rest are items that inspire me, either things I have made or found. Check out the sweet vintage table runner that I put on top of the dryer.

The drawers are actually the plastic ones you find at Target that I added paper to. They are sitting on a shelf that had five spaces on it with vertical dividers that Shon's Grandpa Howard used to have in his shop. He made it, which makes me love it even more. I added the wood medallions on the bottom and painted it. The items below are sitting on a narrow table that is desk height which is ~ not white! But it will be when the weather gets better. :-)
I added some peg board to hang the things that I use a lot. My scrapbook paper is kept close at hand, sorted to my own whimsical filing style. Easy access for those spur of the moment decoupage or crafting urges! The fun little wooden statue of the African woman is something that my Nana brought back from one of her trips before I was even born. I love the clean lines of it.
A few changes since this picture was taken, I was in the middle of a project so it was messy. I have rearranged the top, and put stuff away. I like things to be handy, but you also need room to work. BTW, is that not the cutest desk chair ever? Thanks to Aunt Betty, several years ago, she was getting rid of it and wondered if I wanted it. She told me I could recover it if I wanted to...don't want to. I love it just the way it is. (plus it is so comfy!)
Lots going on in this picture. I know that visually it is busy, but I have found that if things are not out and labelled, I forget to use them. I found these cute wooden shelves at the Robert's outlet for a $1 each. Sweet! I want to paint them white. They hold lots of little things in clear paint cans.

Wayne-O made that wonderful orange shelf for my 30th b-day. Yay way cool father in law! It didn't start out orange, but in it's current life, orange it is! I love the pop of color! The big white shelf is one that Shon hates, but I won't let him touch. When we were first married, someone gave us a gigantic water bed. We had a different bed that we liked. We didn't have money for wood to make shelves, so my sweet hubby cut up the waterbed and made me a bookcase. He did this with barely any tools. Just a saw and a drill. He looks at it and sees it's imperfections, but I look at it is and see his love. :-) Sigh. I like that boy!

I love this cupboard! Seriously someone threw it out! The kids and I found it on the side of the road. Made a few changes, there were country duck curtains instead of the metal and I changed out the knobs...Believe it or not, it was the same color as the indigo curtains I already had!

Little bits to spark creativity....The bottles are vintage food coloring. Some of the food coloring has dried into powder and is still in there. The little porcelain girl statue is one that my Nan and Papa gave me when I was 4. The owls just crack me up. They look so satisfied with life. The cute little shelf that they are in is actually an old cardboard box that was filled with mini-jam jars. Repeat after me...spray paint is your friend!

Sadly necessary, but not cute...maybe I should spray paint them orange? ;-) I don't usually want everything to match, I just like things to look like they are "friends" with each other, but in this case the room is so small that I have chosen some things as basics, like the white, grey and indigo. Then it was fun to branch out with pops of color. Welcome to my sanctuary.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

I just finished this book and absolutely loved it! I am fascinated by that time period in history anyway, but this book really brought out the simple dignity of the Japanese people during WWII in the US while the internment camps were being filled. There was such a fear of the unknown, and it is so sad to think of these hardworking citizens being judged by who their ancestors were. The racism was heightened by the negative feeling between many of the Chinese and Japanese immigrants. That being said, there is the "sweet" to the "bitter" and that is the way that children can see through the color of our skin, shape of our eyes and weight of our ancestry to what is truly important. Dignity, honesty, music, love and laughter. I almost never read books more than once, but this is one that I will read many times over. The joy outweighed the sorrow in it. The characters had many layers, so that you were able to understand the "why" of certain behaviors even if you don't agree with them. This would make a wonderful book group book. If anyone reads it, let me know what you think!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Disturbing signs....

In my head, I am not turning 38. When I think about age (which is rarely) I still feel like a young adult. However, reality can be cruel and truth can be brutal as I am reminded in small ways of getting older...wrinkles around my eyes, being "creaky" from arthritis when our weather changes, having a son old enough to drive and being called Ma'am. Sometimes, these reminders can be funny as well as brutal. I walked into my bedroom the other day and found these two items sitting side by side on the table under my window. (Thanks again for those cute curtains as a housewarming Colett...Love them!)

Hmm...sometimes looking good needs a little more help than just foundation! Made me laugh. We are fixing up our bedroom and I hadn't put everything back in the garage yet.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Gettin' it done...Joey style!

I wonder what it is about 12 year old boys that makes their rooms so incredibly toxic?
*I know that my sweet child bathes...and when forced to he even uses soap!
*I know he wears clean clothes, I have learned from having an older son, to make sure to inspect his feet, and to reiterate that clean clothing means clean socks too. Socks were not designed to be worn until they can stand alone and aloof from the world~driving the rest of us away from their previously white cotton goodness by the rank scent emanating from them. *Bedding is changed and washed often ~ probably even more often than most bedding because of his asthma.

All of that being said, I want to let you in on a little truth.....

Boy's rooms are SCARY!

There are little bits of wire, string and tape. Creations line the dresser, items are stuck up on the board. Little collections, precious to the mind of a 12 year old, dot the room, roosting in odd places, an open drawer, on the desk, under the slips unheeded from hangers to puddle on the closet floor. When encouraged to hang these back up, it provokes a stare and an eyeroll when your son thinks you aren't looking. Written on his expression you can read his thoughts like a book...really mom! Only the mindless masses hang their clothes, I want to be an original!

It is amazing how many things there are, washers, crazy glue, clay, pencils that are worn to the nib...the silly eraser on the end is longer than the wood. Encouraging a 12 year old to throw these out provokes a wounded look and the timeless protest, "I have plans for that! It is part of a _______!" (fill in the blank)

I was unsure if I was making any progress convincing my son that he needed to clean his room before it was deemed unsafe for human habitation. Apparently he came around to my way of thinking. I sent him in to clean his room the other day. He called out that he needed to prepare first. Here is what he had in mind......A helmet, safety glasses, gloves and a mask....I think I agree!