I don’t think I’d ever heard of a brooch bouquet until Sierra broached the subject with me (see how I did that).  But of course Pinterest came through for me and about 8 months prior to her wedding I began collecting brooches from antique shops, Shopgoodwill.com, Yerdle.com, etc. A bridesmaid also ordered a bag of knockoffs from China, which were a great help.

This is a very personal project…especially if you use vintage brooches with a story.  For me, it was something special I could provide for my “surrogate daughter” whom I’ve mentored for some 12 years.

Click each pic for captions…




A friend of mine had a desk that she fondly remembered as her father’s. She wanted to give it to her daughter as she earned her Master’s degree.

I agreed to work on it, thinking it would be awesome painted, with the top remaining stained. She was adamant about keeping the wood as it was, and it turned out she was right!

Look how beautiful that walnut was under all the layers of gunk!  I also polished the cool lions head knobs and found some other vintage knobs to replace the missing ones on the cabinets.

On to the next project….

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for my blog. Apparently in 2016 I really need to post more!

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,200 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 20 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

I’ve honestly been so busy with projects and work that I haven’t kept my blog very updated.  At this very moment, I am working on 4 different quilts, I just handed off yet another custom window seat cushion, am sewing diaper cloths and a baby blanket for a baby shower, making a beaded necklace and a few pairs of earrings, and chalk painting 2 tables with wood-stained tops.  I do a little bit every night after work/dinner, just to keep things moving forward…that’s how to get so much finished!  And…Christmas is just 10 weeks away! I guess I’m ADD….I rarely sit still!

Here is one of my favorite projects of all time.  This 2-piece buffet was a nice, solid wood piece that had been purchased by a friend online for just $125.  I chalk-painted it, stained the top, mercury-glass painted the glass (so you can’t see through very well, for storage-sake), painted knobs, and waxed it all.  Love LOVE it!  Isn’t it perfect for a farmhouse?

I’ve posted dozens of photos on Facebook about our new granddaughter, but just realized I’d never blogged about her.

Everything “they” say about being a grandparent is so true.  We are in love with this adorable little person and also somewhat in awe of what a wonderful mom our daughter is turning into.  She, who has in her life been prone to anxiety, self-judging and feelings of “I’m not good enough”, has taken to nursing, cleaning dirty bottoms and schedule-keeping with surprising ease.  We are so proud of her and see a wonderful future for this new little family.

And little Chloe is nearly perfect in every way. Would a grandma…”GiGi”…say anything less?  Hubz “Papa” enjoys laying with her on his chest, as he did our own children.  I just love to hold her, stare at her, smell her sweetness, and wonder at how perfect she is.  She is very easy-going (ah…to lull her parents into having more?) and has slept through the night from a very early age.  I also get to “babysit” on a fairly regular basis, which is really nice.  Thanks to various resale shops, we have acquired all the necessary equipment, too, which we assume will be used quite a bit in the coming years for other grandchildren as well!

Here are some of my favorite pics…of the hundreds we’ve already taken!

$25 table and chairs was rough, with plaster on it, etc.

$25 table and chairs was rough, with plaster on it, etc.

One missing a slat but we don't care.

One missing a slat but we don’t care.


Scored plank lines into it with a screwdriver.

See how perfect in his little paneled kitchen.

See how perfect in his little paneled kitchen.

Had son and his friend beat on it with chains and yard tools to distress before staining.

Had son and his friend beat on it with chains and yard tools to distress before staining.

I love to paint.  I love to find things on FB marketplaces or Goodwill and repurpose them.  Here’s a table and chairs that I found and paid $25 for…planning to paint and resell.

Well, Kid #3 saw it and decided he “needed” it in his college apartment, so he helped me paint and then we distressed the top.  First, I sanded and sanded it.  Then I set his friend and him loose with chains and various garden tools to beat the heck out of it (technical term = distress…I’d be distressed if someone beat the heck out of me with chains, too!).

Then I decided it needed to look more like planks, so I scored it with a screwdriver and stained it a bit.

Final….son LOVES it! and it fits great with whole vintage-vibe, paneled-like-1962 apartment.  Worth way more than $25.

Murphy’s Law says something about ‘whatever can go wrong,will’ and in our case, it all happens together.  I’m quite sure we’re off the “stress level” charts, but there’s something to be said about the numbness that comes with everything happening at once.
1. First, we lost Neal’s father on Feb.19.  He’d been in a care facility for a year and wasn’t “thriving”…had dementia, was losing appetite, and apparently was also suffering from some digestion blockage that eventually did him in.  When you’re 88 years old I guess it doesn’t have to be something hugely catastrophic…we are very sad to be without him.

7/22/26 (we loved him in the dash) 2/19/15

7/22/26 (we loved him in the dash) 2/19/15

2. Immediately after that, we moved out of our home that we’d built 11 years ago, into a much smaller rental  home.  This will ease the financial pressure caused by 10 years of 10 “budget cut” job losses.  The house and the owner are a blessing;  we feel very comfortable here and may end up owning it ourselves, once we figure out how to fit all our “stuff” inside! Among other amenities, we finally have a fenced yard for the dogs!

3.  A recruiter found me and I ended up with a new job.  I am Account Manager for Classic Stone, LLC, specializing in Cambria natural quartz.  I work directly with designers, builders and kitchen and bath dealers to assist them with countertops, fireplace surrounds, and other stone applications. It is very high-end and I’m loving being part of the design process.

Cambria, USA. Family owned, American made.

Cambria, USA. Family owned, American made.

4. After publishing the Lawrence community magazine for more than a year, we opted to give it back to Towne Post Media Group and Tom Britt.  I am very sad about it, after working so hard to build it and inject ourselves into the growth and development of the city of Lawrence.  Unfortunately Tom ended the magazine, as he could not find anyone else to take it on.
5. I went to Le Seuer, Minnesota for Cambria training.  It snowed 8.5″ as I arrived and I ended up having to scoop all that snow off my rental car with the plastic tray from my hotel room as for some reason rental car companies in Minnesota don’t give you a snow brush, nor does the hotel!  The trip was great, though, as I got to tour the company dairy farm, fabrication facilities,  and learn so much about the product.

6. One day after returning from Minnesota I put on my “Tour Director” hat and boarded a bus with 127 high schoolers and chaperones and drove to Orlando for a 4-day stay in Disney World.  The band marched in Epcot and the choir sang and they attended workshops where they got to play Disney music, then watch parts of the movie with their own music accompanying it.  Very wonderful experience for these kids;  some of them may never take such a trip again and for many it will be the highlight of their lives.  I’m honored to be part of it.  I guess that’s what gets me through the 20+ overnight drive on the bus there and back :-)  And, the weather was absolutely perfect every day we were there.