Wednesday, May 4, 2016

ANNOUNCING

It has happened! It took 6 years and 4 more grandsons, but the score is now Boys- 6 and Girls - TWO!
The Lovely Lydia was born on April 19 at 4:09 p.m. weighing 7 pounds and 8 ounces. She is perfect from head to toe and we are all in love with her! 
Lydia's mama is a teacher and her birth came at a perfect time since mommy only had five more weeks of school. Mama is able to stay home with the Lovely Lydia until the first week of September when classes start again! 

Lydia's mama is my youngest daughter and partner in crime. We have all sorts of adventures planned for the summer.  My only concern is that mama has been my assistant for my Gramma Mimi's Annual Cousin Camp and with eight campers this year ranging from age 2 months to 8 years, it is going to be a handful! I can't wait! 
This is Oliver. Don't you want to cuddle him?
Lovely Lydia replaced our former baby-of-the-family as her cousin Oliver was 11 weeks old when Lydia joined us.  And Lydia is expecting TWO new cousins on her dad's side this very week!  In this family you are not the baby for long!
This photo was taken at one day old. I took my gift bag to the hospital and we had a mini fashion show while dad left for a little while to catch up on some sleep! 
I have been collecting items for a baby girl for a while. I put together a blue and a pink gift bag each time and the pink bag just kept growing and growing! About a week before the birth I threw caution to the winds and purchased the pink hair dye, just in case! I wanted to be ready.  

I love dressing my little dolls for my Christmas Card photo. Two years ago they were mini railroaders on a train and last year I dressed them in Rockabilly at a vintage gas station. My plan for this year was to dress my granddaughter as a Beauty and the seven grandsons as the dwarfs! I really never dreamed I would be the gramma of TWO princesses! Back to the drawing board! 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Fifty Dollar Bathroom Refresh

circa 1979/1980
Our house was built in 1970. I remember when the street was put in; my girl friend and I would use it as a shortcut while riding our bikes to the local swim club. I am sure I saw them building my house, it was the first one built - the "show" house. Not much of a show house since these homes were originally built as FHA homes for low-income families. But mine is a little more special with fancier soffits, outside outlets, and a few other minor upgrades. 

We purchased the home conventionally in December of 1978. House prices had risen and those original families were selling at a profit! We were just 21 years old and were married 2 years with a one year old daughter. This tiny 3 bedroom, 1 bath ranch seemed perfect, both for our family and our income. We obviously had no inkling that four more children would join us in the next few years! 

We raised five children in those 950 square feet with a picket fence and when the last one left, added a 500 sq ft bonus room to hold the spouses and grandchildren. We moved some walls, configured a new kitchen, added a front porch and a deck. Sometime in the 90's we updated the bathroom with some subway tile and a new vanity.

BUT - it is time for a WHOLE NEW BATHROOM. Unfortunately, since I retired early, the budget was not as ready for the project as I was.  My husband was on vacation last week and, while I was at church, without my knowledge or consent, began his vacation by stripping wallpaper. It was so horrible, I can't share many "before" photos!
I had really not planned on a "refresh" while we were waiting and wasn't crazy about investing any money in a room I plan to take down to the studs. Luckily my husband is quite handy and was able to patch and smooth the walls with something he had in the garage. 

And while he was waiting for that patching stuff to dry, he painted the cabinets with white enamel he had in the garage (so far this project is costing me $0). 

He did ask me my color choice for the walls. Luckily we had almost 3/4 of a gallon of paint left from our living room and luckily it matches the shower curtain. 
He also painted the ceiling which made the tiny room seem so much brighter. Then the floor. We have hot water heating pipes that are embedded in the concrete floors.  This makes for toasty toes on cold mornings but also left a brown stain on the laminate tile floor. 
Hint: Heat peel and stick floor tiles with a hair dryer for easier removal.  I actually went to Lowe's, Home Depot and even Ollies (a kind of Big Lots) looking for new floor tiles. I stopped on my way home at a Habitat ReStore and found a box of Armstrong floor tiles for $8. (project total so far: $8). 
I am so in love with this floor (until we replace it with ceramic tile). I am especially in love with the price. 
The paint color is more sage in my living room, but against all this white, it looks amazing. And can you believe how well it matches the curtain? I ordered the shelves from Bed, Bath and Beyond. They replaced the ugliest over-the-commode shelving unit and make the room seem larger. I need the shelves because I have a 3 year old and two 2 year olds that wash hands in this sink and reach for everything in sight. 
And it took me about 10 minutes to fill the shelves. The white plastic containers added another $2 to the project, courtesy of Family Dollar Store. I know the toothbrushes look tacky, but there really isn't anywhere else to hide them and put them out of reach. 
And on the opposite wall, I found this home party picture I purchased years ago and had my handy husband place it on the wall. I really wanted it on the wall with the door, but the reflection from the lighting over the sink reflected and you could not see the flowers. But I am not sure what else could have filled this space, so it all worked out. 

There you have it! $28 for the shelves, $8 for the flooring, $2 for the white baskets and the rest went for wall anchors since my husband had no faith in the hardware that came with the shelves.  I think I can live with it for another 2 years until the budget can finance the wrecking ball! 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

My Easter Bonnet

For the first time in a few years I put up my Easter Tree!  I went out in the back and cut some pussy willows and forsythia. The buds were very tight, but after a few days in my warm dining room I had flowers. Also on the table are dishes leftover from another return to my former life - a tea party!

I left my job about 3 years ago. My long time neighbor has retired and she made friends with some new neighbors who are young, stay-at-home housewives. They began to meet on Friday mornings for coffee and invited me! When it was my turn, I invited them to a tea party. It was the first time they were ever served "real" tea and tea sandwiches and they were quite impressed. 

But what I really wanted to share was a recent purchase. I had won a gift certificate to a local "antique" mall and kept misplacing it. I found it a week ago and decided to spend it. I wandered through the store for an hour or two planning my purchases. 

I found a small vintage suitcase for a little more than I wanted to pay, but with the booth offering a 20% discount and my gift certificate (still overpriced after that) I purchased it to hold clothes for my Christmas present. My hubby bought me an American Girl Doll who is my namesake! And I have been busy outfitting her with vintage Pleasant Company clothes. 


 When I posted my bonnet on Facebook, a number of people who use their phones as computers thought it was a cake! Perhaps they need more sugar in their lives.
I am totally in love! I do have a small collection of vintage hats. I usually buy them at country auctions out of people's attics.  I try not to pay more than 2-3 dollars. But this one just called my name! It was around $15, which is so much more than I usually pay!
And you know what that led to . . . I had to order a new dress to match! I am pretty excited about showing it off on Easter Sunday!

I have been crazy busy the last few weeks. I hosted a baby shower for 45 ladies (young and old) for my youngest daughter, as well as a "diaper party" for her husband's friends and family. It was my first time using a caterer and honestly, it is less stressful for me to just do it myself. I am also teaching our church's confirmation class and somehow was put in charge (at the last minute) of a retreat for 20 teenagers the day before the shower. I wasn't really sure if I was coming or going. 

Needless to say, Easter is going to be a casual affair at my house this year (except for the bonnet). Confirmation is the week after and then I am looking forward to hosting my neighbor ladies for another tea. 

Happy Easter!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Current Score: Blue Team 6 - Pink Team 1

One of my favorite parts of being a gramma is dressing up my grandchildren (like little dolls) and having photos taken. This one always makes me smile. First because my husband is completing his 36th year on the railroad and second because those babies were not even in the picture. It turned out to be a cold and stormy day so we posed them one at a time in the bucket and they were photoshopped in. 
For Summer 2016 I knew I wanted Rockabilly. I scouted locations all summer and then pulled into my son's driveway one day and looked straight ahead at his 1920's garage. Later that month I stopped at Hobby Lobby and they had exactly 6 different metal signs in a grocery cart marked $1-$2 each. The rest was all in the top of our garage. Aren't they cute?
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And here is a snapshot from this year's Gramma Mimi's Wild West Cowboy Summer Camp.

AND here is our latest little bundle of joy! Oliver was born on Valentine's Day - almost three weeks early, but weighing a whopping 7 pounds!  Don't you just want to grab him out of the photo and cuddle!

And for those keeping score, that makes SIX grandsons and ONE granddaughter. I am still thinking pink, though. We are expecting grandchild number 8 in April and mom is keeping the flavor a surprise. 

Miss Merry