Monday, July 28, 2014

The Muir's Victory Garden...

We live on a very nice street, with dutiful neighbors who tend to their yards, religiously, or have a lawn service that does. The people who owned our house before us had a landscaping service and we were excited when we first saw the house because we thought if the inside looked as good as the outside we found our Buffalo home. 

We had a lovely red Japanese maple, a string of manicured evergreen bushes that framed the front of the house and a hydrangea bush in the front right. Well the hydrangea went first. Winter was not it's friend. We had to pull it out. The lovely little red maple went next, along with the bushes in front of the door. They turned an ugly shade of rust and we had to pull them out. Last winter was the final straw, almost everything died. 

We'd get regular 'reminders' from my MIL about how nicely all our neighbors kept their yards and wasn't it too bad Norm didn't 'get' his father's talent-desire-ability-gene-pride - whatever, for keeping the yard 'perfect'. The shame was unbearable...we were homeowner failures :-(  So we sucked it up, put our big girl and boy pants on and...paid someone to pick out the right shrubs and trees, design a plan and plant it! Here is the result.

I picked out the flowers, petunias and geraniums! We can know show our faces in public. Our neighbors are speaking to us again, victory is good and blooming!

Friday, July 4, 2014


I love Stuff! I think I've said this before... I thought I'd share some of my stuff. I'm also a hopeless copy-cat. I have several friends who have started various collections and I've shamelessly started the same kind of collections. They are terrible enablers...

Let me give you a little back story, First, I have a friend who travels all over the world. She collects, among other things, floaty pens. You all remember floaty pens. These are ball point pens that have liquid in the upper portion of the pen and when you tilt them a picture/object/whatever slides up and down in the upper barrel usually advertising the place you are visiting. Easy to collect, easy to pack, takes up very little space - sometimes hard to find. I cannot visit any attraction, museum, airport,  touristy thingy without looking for floaty pens. I send my husband, daughter and friends on floaty pen searches! I'm excited because my friend Barbara brought a pen back from Paris!!! for me. I carry around a pen from Boston in my pocketbook because I want to carry it with me and play with it!

OK, that's one collection. I've got a little collection of old globes because of my same traveling friend. I do specialize in pre-WWII though. The older the better, but, I'm getting off track. The topic was STUFF!

I have a small bedroom in my house that serves as a mini guest room, my computer room, my craft room and my Stuff room...I love everything in this room, clutter and all (and there's lots of that). I've covered the walls and every surface with things that bring a smile to my face. It's my happy place when I'm home. So here's a little peek at some of my stuff.
Every year there is a craft show at the Fairgrounds in Hamburg. Usually there is an artist who makes these miniature flowers out of clay. I've got a collection of mini-orchids; all types, but mostly cymbidiums and phalenopsis - love them! Behind them I have one of the last pictures of my parents with myself, Norm and Alexa. Right where I can see it, everyday.

My motto - "Life is what happens while we are making other plans." It's the title of my life. It's not a negative and in many cases in my life for each negative there are many more positives to off-set. It also helps keep me humble.
More orchids, pictures of Norm with Kasey, my grandfather who I never knew and my little teapots. Also, the tip of my stamps. I keep several stamps at my desk that are there more for their words, wicked and true, and just because they make me smile.
Old stuff and new stuff. There is a gift store near me that sells these hand made embroidered felt and bead ornaments, I have everything from mini stockings to butterflies, bunnies, fall wreathes, birds - I'm always looking for something new. I also collect key chains - unusual key chains. The one in this photo is Achmed the Dead Terrorist, one of the puppets Jeff Dunham has created. This key chain even talks! Most of the rest of my key chains are hanging from my big Cropper Hopper that I take to scrapbook crops with me.

The keychain and butterfly are hanging from two old bottles I found at various estate sales. This is my boss, Sharon's fault! She got me started going to garage sales (didn't care so much for those) and then going to estate sales. I check them out every week. I started by looking for salt and pepper shakers that were made in Occupied Japan. They aren't worth a lot, but I like unique ones, colorful ones, different ones and I'm always on the lookout for the stamp 'Made in Occupied Japan'. The orange ones in the photo below (right back) were my first. Little beakers, unusual bottles, quirky little things, 'smalls' as they are known, are my thing.
On top of the ancient TV in my room I have these stuffed Basset Hounds. The smaller one is WebKidz, remember those?! My daughter had to have many, many of them! The larger was made by a woman from Penn Yan who used to work for one of the companies that made collectible bears. I also have a blonde panda bear she made, but I have a fond affection for Bassets as my first dog as a child was a Basset Hound, Duffy. Like my RCMP salt and pepper shakers? The little wreath on the wall behind the dogs I've had for close to over 30 years. Norm and I would go to a yearly craft show in Chester, NJ and there was a vendor who made tiny mice that were like pin cushions. Hand sewn, very detailed and just adorable. I've got several including several Christmas ornaments. This one was set inside a miniature wreath with ribbon, silk flowers and leaves. Love it!
My daughter the artist! These are all pieces of artwork Alexa did in elementary school. I think they are so cool and if she reads this she will be so embarrassed! So it's worth the post! When she was in Kindergarten or first grade she made a picture that Norm and I loved so much and thought was so good we had it framed. I couldn't get a good picture of it but it is also hanging in my room.

This is my Mom shelf. When Alexa was younger and would pick out presents for mother's day or my birthday, I took to clustering them together. She made the paint can, picked out the 'Donna' on wheels and the little stuffed animals. The movie clapboard was a gift to my Dad from me the year he 'starred' in his first movie, The Hudsucker Proxy. I've posted the picture many times here on my blog and on Facebook of him standing in his costume outside the door marked "Extras". It's hard to spot him in the film (he mostly ended up on the cutting floor), but I swear I see his nose in one shot! I'd know that nose anywhere!
Just more goodies from estate sales, an old wind up duck, spools, a chid's top and several Swedish horses. My Uncle Karl came from Sweden and my aunt always had them in her house. I started collecting them wherever I could find them. I have several sizes and colors. Love them!
Another phrase I live by. I do have what some would call a pessimistic bent to life, but really, I do look for the best and expect the best. I just want to remind myself that life is not perfect. It is not always fair and you don't always have control. You need to change what you can, accept what you can't and 'It is what it is' with the rest. As one of my stamps says, "Put your big girl panties on and deal with it..."
 Lastly, the ultimate goal in my crafting life.
I'm in the running for this and I won't be beat! Welcome to my stuff!