"I do not claim that I can tell a story as it ought to be told. I only claim to know how a story ought to be told." -Mark Twain



 Remember when I told you last week about the new piece of furniture I unexpectedly got? I replaced an old buffet that I had for over 30 years with this piece. It is all wood, already painted white and already distressed. Clearly there was (an invisible) neon sign with an arrow and the blinking word "Lori" by this monstrous piece when it was sitting forlornly in the store! 
I'm not even sure what it is called. I think it qualifies as a sideboard, a step-back and a hutch. It is so perfect for my wall that I'll just call it dreamy! 

 People have asked, and yes, I do plan to change the dishes per season. And yes, I cannot wait! And as my son suggested, it is perfect for holding lots of food for family gatherings. It will be put to good use. In the meantime I put part of my trusty classic blue and white dish collection up to bat first. I figured it was a good summer style, and blue and white is always a winner. 
 As is my style, there is no style!  I like to mix and match and randomly display. I like it best that way. 

 I used a bunch of the various sizes, kinds and colors of blue and white....with a spout. Sometimes they are teapots, sometimes gravy boats, sometimes creamers and sometimes small pitchers. But they had in common their spouts/ladles and their colors. If you'll notice I sat the Blue Willow teapot on an upended cheapola glass candlestick base to give it some heighth separate from the gravy boat. In real life, you cannot even see the candle holder. Notice the little pic to the left? That is a picture I took a couple of years ago, I then ran it through my Waterlogue app and had it printed on cardstock. I need to frame it now. 
 Of course, I need to do a lot of things. Time is ticking and school will be starting very soon! But finding this piece, definitely made it a happy summer for me.

 The top and the bottom are actually two different pieces. When I went to pick it up, I was alone since my husband and all my sons were at work. Also, we don't own a pickup, so I had to try and fit it into my small SUVish type car. I keep a measuring tape in my purse, so I measured the two parts of the hutch the night we found it. 

 At seven feet long, I knew it was going to take up every inch of the space in the back of my car. I actually got another piece of furniture that night as well (which I will show you later this week). So when I went to pick up the pieces, I told the store manager that I had to start with the lightest piece and work my way to the heaviest piece, since I was going to be unloading these ALL BY MYSELF!!  Not only that, but I had to make three trips to get the furniture! One for the piece you haven't seen and two trips (one for the top and one for the bottom) of the big sideboard! Crazzzzzy!!!
 Not only that, but the store was not in the town in which I live, so I had to drive to the other town to get all three pieces! So I ended up making three round trips to pick it all up. And yes, it was one of our 100 degree Oklahoma days. (It was NOT during the cool weather from last week). Also, since these pieces were from a department store, and they had used them as display pieces, there was not really anyone there for "loading" purposes. So the store manager, a very skinny skinny young man (think Don Knotts/Barney Fife) and myself loaded the first two pieces up. I took the piece you haven't seen first. When I got home, I backed up into our driveway, and unloaded the piece under our carport. It really wasn't too bad. Less than 100 pounds I would say. I then took things out of the garage and stacked in front of my furniture prize (so no one would drive by and load-er-up!!). I then got back in the car and headed out for piece #2. 
 Next the manager and I (and the dweepy little man) (said in my nice voice), loaded up the bottom part of the hutch. We had to put the front two seats COMPLETELY forward, so that the piece would fit. Ummmm, I am 5'11.  That was a TOUGH ride home, let me tell you!!  Then I had to wrestle the base of this piece out and put it on the driveway, under the carport, with the other piece. Then I had to "cover it up" with other obstacles too.(I was sweating by now.) I then put my seat back in regular position and went back for piece #3!  When I got back, I found out the store manager had gone to lunch. Oh my gosh. That meant that Dweepy Man and I had to load the heaviest piece (the top) by myself. (I chose to take the heaviest last, that way I could just leave it in the car until my Hubs and sons could help.  
Well, where there is a will, there is a way. I recruited a couple of women sales ladies to help me and the Dweepster heave-ho it into the back of my car. I was going to get it in my car no matter what!  It was wedged in and was not going anywhere. I then wedged myself into the front seat and headed for home with the last load. (All the time I was worried that some unknown person would take my other furniture from the back of my carport....and hidden behind everything I could find!!)  Finally, to make a long story longer, a couple of my sons and the Hubs got it all in the house for me that night. I could finally sleep easy! Ha! And that my friends, is how the Sideboard-stepback-cupboard-hutch-dreamy came to live at my house!  

P.S. You are lucky I left out the part about circling the parking lot of the store over and over again, just waiting to get a front row parking spot so that we didn't have to carry the furniture as far!!
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The Scoop


Pillow Talk

 A couple of days before the 4th of July I decided I needed a new pillow. I have talked before about how little I sleep per night. This summer, for some reason, has been worse than usual. My 4 hour per night sleep routine has been even less. I blamed it on my pillow. So the Hubs and I were in OKC to eat. We were getting ready to head back home and Hubs said we should stop for my new pillow. I had not even thought of it, but thank goodness he did. We stopped at a small department type store that was close to where we were and I headed towards the "home" section to get my new pillow. But then I saw the huge sideboard/stepback cupboard and it stopped me in my tracks. 

 I looked around at the other furniture the store had for sale and spotted the price tag on most pieces. I could not find a price tag on the sideboard. Then upon closer examination, I started to think that the piece was actually a display model.....That was sitting right smack dab in the middle of the other furniture. A nice young salesman asked me if I needed any help. I told him I needed to know the price on the sideboard. He said it wasn't for sale, but was indeed a display piece. I had already thought, "Hmmmm...This store has about a million and a half dishes. Why would they NOT be using this piece to display some of them?"  So, I asked the nice young salesman to go and ask his manager how much the piece was. The nice young man (very polite I might add) assured me it was not for sale. I convinced him that if he wanted me to quit bugging him that he really should go and ask his manager. 
 While the polite young man was finding the manager, I pulled out my handy-dandy tape measure from my purse and began measuring the piece. It was 7 feet long. It was solid wood (NO MDF!!). It was already painted antique white and distressed. It came apart in two pieces, so it would be easier to move.  It was perfect!!  
 The nice young man came back to me and told me that I was right and it was indeed for sale. (I heard the angels singing.) I was ecstatic. I asked him how much. He had not thought to ask that question (!!!!?????!!!!!). So he went off again to find the manager (which I would later find out was actually the assistant manager). He came back and told me that it was either $330 or $350. The manager was gone and the assistant could not remember the price. I had already told myself that I would not go higher than $1200.00 Hahahahaha!!!  (Like I could afford that!!).  I told the polite young man that it was now officially SOLD, and that I would be glad to pay the full $350 and call it even. 
 The polite young man left and this time he just brought the assistant manager back with him! (He was catching on!!) I told her that without a doubt I wanted the piece and I would be glad to pay the entire $350.00 right then and there. About this time, my Hubs finally found me in the store. I told him I had just purchased the giant sideboard. He looked me in the eye and said, "Good".  Really. "Good".  Then "okay".  Really, just "Okay".  I said to him, "I was prepared to chain myself to this piece if you had said no. What made you say yes so easily?"  And his simple answer was, "It looks just like you. It looks like something you would love."  Ohhhhh emmmmm geeeeee!!!  See what being married for years does for a couple????  Then AFTER he had said "Good" and "okay" I told him the price. He too was astounded. Then the assistant manager told us the bad news. We could only buy it when the real manager was there. And he was off the next day. I was going to have to wait 36 hours before I could pay for, and take the piece home. 
I about croaked!! I made her write out two big signs that said SOLD with my name on them and tape them to the piece.  I asked her to go and call the manager at home and tell him I had bought it, but she would not do that! She did make sure the signs were taped down well and she assured me the piece would be fine. She pointed out that it had sat there for several days and no one else had even realized it was for sale. So I begrudgingly left hoping and praying it would still be there 36 hours later, waiting for me to come back! I finally did find the pillow section and got several new pillows too!! (And they have NOT helped my sleep yet, by the way!!) In the meantime, on the way home I was talking a mile a minute. Literally. I decided I would take out the buffet we had had for 30 years (and it was old when we got it!) and put the sideboard in its place. (The buffet is pictured in the second picture above from an old photo. Look how much more room the sideboard takes up!)  So, I have been playing around with the massive piece. Yes, it was still there 36 hours later when I showed up first thing that morning.  I have no doubt I will rearrange it a million times, but for now I have it styled for summer. Those pictures I will share later this week. The above picture is however a sneak peek. And that my friends is the story of how a person goes in to buy a bed pillow and comes out with a 7 foot long sideboard!!  


Venerate Vintage

Last week I was trying to use a patriotic quote each day on my IG account and FB account. I would put the quote with some picture I had previously taken. I found the quote you see below and knew instantly it would go well with a flag picture. Then while looking through my files for a flag picture, I came across my fireplace mantel from last year and knew one of those pictures would work. 

All that hullabaloo leads me to the point of the post: This long vintage piece of patriotic fabric I was gifted some 20 years ago. In our Kansas home, the front foyer was decorated in reds and blues and vintage flags and campaign buttons. One of my daughters had a best friend whose mother owned a cute little shop. 

 One day my daughter's friend brought me the long piece of fabric from her mother's stash. She assured me it was okay with her mother that I have it. I loved the piece, which I knew was old when I got it 20 years ago. I found out years later that the girls mother probably did not okay the gift I was given, but also probably never knew it was gone. I have loved it for 20 years. In our home in Kansas it was draped above the stairway window. (To which I cannot find a picture.) At our home here, I have used it several different ways.
 A few years ago, I used it to drape my mannequin-body 'Lola', dressing her up for the summer with the garland. I pinned it using an antique broach. 
 Lola sat in the upstairs hallway in front of a collage of patriotic pictures. It was a perfect place for Lola and her vintage banner. 
 Last year I used it to drape our 6 foot long mantel. I twisted and draped it until it looked natural like one might find on an old gazebo or podium. 

 The fabric, some type of vintage cotton, is a mix between a rough linen and a fine burlap. It is rather stiff and that makes it easy to drape. I have actually washed the piece before. (!!!!)

 It washed up just fine. Just like many old things, it is hardy and ready to serve for many more years. 

 There are some faded spots in it, but they were there when the fabric became mine and I think it just adds to the beauty of the piece. 

See how the piece wrinkles easily like a linen would? It makes it perfect for draping. 

 This year the vintage fabric served yet another purpose. One of my sons is engaged and his wedding date is the 4th of July...2015.  We set out to take some engagement pictures around our little town. I knew there was a place downtown that had an antique fence with a rock wall in front of it for sitting. I knew the vintage banner would be perfect to be subtly seen behind the 4th of July couple. And it was. 

The purpose of this long-winded story about a vintage piece of fabric? Chances are if you are reading this, you too are a lover of all things vintage. Use them. Use them in many ways. Use them all the time. It is not doing you any good boxed up and put away. Enjoy the vintage that is in your life.  
What do you have that you need to put to good use? 


SUPER Simple Savory Summer Strawberry Pie!

 Honestly, this pie is so simple to make that I feel embarrassed even sharing it. I have the feeling that I was the last person in the world to even make it. Or try it! 
 My Hubs has longed loved this pie. If we were every anywhere that it was offered, he chose it. I looked at it (quite wrong by the way), like it was some kind of congealed blob on a crust. But last week I opened up my freezer to get something out and I saw two Marie Callender (deep dish) pie crusts still sitting there.....Like they had for months. It has been my mission this summer to get rid of some of the things that are sitting in the freezer. So I cooked up the pie crusts. I also had plenty of strawberries, so I googled up strawberry pie recipes. The recipe (formerly known as the) congealed blob came up many times. So I figured why not? 
 Since I had everything I needed I and had already cooked two crusts, I made two pies. For the Hubby, mind you.....Except that I tried it. 
 And I could hear the Hallelujiah Chorus! It will now be my go-to pie in the summer. I put on Instagram  that it takes me longer to blow-dry my hair than it did to make those two pies. That is a true statement. Well we enjoyed one of the pies and shared the other with some deserving people. (They probably think I worked all morning on making it!) Even though I know I am the last person in America to make this, I will share the recipe with you. No doubt you have all ingredients sitting in your kitchen! Enjoy!!!

Fresh strawberries (one large container can be used for two pies)
Deep dish pie crust (I used frozen and it was great. And if you are making one you might as well make two!)
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
4 Tbs. corstarch
4 Tbs. strawberry jello powder (one small box makes two pies)

Prepare pie crust according to directions. Let cool slightly. Add strawberries (cleaned and trimmed) to the pie shell.  Combine water, sugar, and cornstarch in a saucepan. Boil until thickens. Add the jello and stir like crazy. Pour over strawberries into the pie crust. Refrigerate. We added whip cream when serving. 

I told you it was easy! 

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Long May She Wave..................

 I don't really plan on taking off from writing posts, but life happens and I usually have to pick something to put on the back burner and blogging is usually it. Then like most things you put off, the longer you put it off, the harder it is to get around to doing it. That is where I am.  

 Then I tell myself that it's not like it matters anyway. I see some of the homes we look at every day in Blogland and my humble abode does not stack up. That's not a pity party. That is just reality. 

 In the meantime, Life (yes, I meant it as a proper noun) has been changing around here. Some by choice, some notsomuch. To begin with, two of our sons graduated from college on the same day with the same degree (Industrial Safety).  When you're the parents of five children and those are the last two to get through college, it is a BIG DEAL.  Oh happy day. One of my daughters will complete her MBA by the end of the year. That will be another BIG DEAL.

 We are going to be grandparents again. This will be the third one in 2 1/2 years. Again, Oh Happy DAY!!  We have so much fun with Leightyn and Behr.  Baby #3 will be the little brother or sister of Leightyn. We will find out in August whether we get another girl or boy. Not that it matters to anyone, but it just makes pre-shopping easier!!  Leightyn and Behr were both born on March 12, a year apart. This baby is due on January 14.  MAYbe he/she can make it here January 12th and we can keep those 12's up (That is also the birthday of the Hubs late grandfather).  OR maybe it will be born on January 13th, which is my birthday (and my son-in-law's)! Or maybe it will be born January 10th, which is my son's birthday (and the father of the baby). Or maybe it will be born on January 3rd, and it can be born on my daughter's birthday (Behr's mom). Or on the 4th, 6th or 15th, and on one of my nieces or nephew's special day!  Get the picture?  We have LOTS of January birthdays to celebrate. Maybe, just maybe he or she will want to arrive on their very own day! 
 While I was doing the non-blog-writing-thing, I WAS giving end of the year state assessments. Unless you are a teacher, especially one that has to give the tests, you have NO IDEA how stressful that is....For the teacher and the students!!  All of my students have to take them. In fact they have to take a literature/reading/grammar test as well as a separate writing test.  I have about 100 students taking the tests. The writing tests have to be sent off to be graded and then added into the other test. But we do get a raw score on the lit/reading/grammar test. When the students are getting ready to push that last button to see their raw score there are a lot of anxious moments. I teach sophomore and junior English   In Oklahoma, if they do not pass their 10th grade English test, they do not get to graduate from high school.  They do get to retake it in December....or the next year (and the junior English test as well), but let me say, that is a LOT of pressure!  Thankfully, my tests went well and my students excelled. 
 Speaking of work, my Hubs and I both have changed jobs. Really. At our age. Well I have written about it before, but for 12 years I commuted more than 100 miles per day.  For the past six years, my Hubs and I have commuted together to the same school. He was the I.T. Director at the school. The six years before that, we still lived in Kansas. The Hubs commuted one way and I commuted another direction. What a deal (in all that bad Kansas weather too!!) But the Hubs has a new job completely out of the computer and education field. And it is close to home. And he has a company truck. My new job is at the high school in the town we live. It is 1 minute and 30 seconds from my home. The other day I went up to the school to get a book and it took me an entire 2 minutes!!!!  You have no idea how good that sounds to me. It is ALWAYS hard to leave a school though. Bonds are made with other faculty and so many students, but the idea of gaining two extra hours in my day of non-commute time was something I could not pass up. So come August, I'll have a new classroom. 
 We have also entertained lots of family and friends this spring. In March we had a double-birthday party for the babies with 55 people in attendance. It was a carnival theme, so we served carnival food with all the trimmings. We even rented a bounce house for the kiddos to use. There were plenty of adults in it as well! In April we hosted Easter with 30+ people. In May we had a big party for our college grads with 30 or 40 people. We love to open the house to our guests, feed them and sit around and visit. Family and friends are important to us, and that is the reason we moved back from Kansas six years ago. We knew we would never get "do-over" years. 
 My Hubs mother has Alzheimer's.  What a horrible, horrible disease.  In her career as an oil company exec, she had to do all sorts of calculating and complex number problems.  Now even the slightest bit of (coin) change gets her mixed up.  It is a disease that strips away a person's dignity....and does so quickly.  The Hubs and I spend a lot of time fixing meals to take to her, and going to visit her. She is still in her home with her husband, but we worry that things could change any day on that front. I try to make her meals nutritious, but easy to warm up.  I try to make sure I include things I know she loved to eat.  My sister-in-law lives right down the street from my MIL, so she gets the brunt of the duty of checking on her. We do try to relieve her as often as possible. It's another one of those things, that unless you have had to live or take care of someone with Alzheimer's you really can't understand how even the smallest thing becomes the biggest obstacle.  Thank goodness for the good days! 

 I also have not sat around twiddling my thumbs on my "free" time. I have painted three rooms in my home...including all the woodwork. We put up the antique fence in the front of our house. We planted lots of new plants. We are working on the backyard and also painting two more rooms. I have also painted a couple of pieces of furniture and have several pieces in my summer to-do list. This week I am working on sewing curtains for one of the rooms I painted. 
And since this is officially "flag week", I would be remiss if I had not included pics of the outside of our house.  Each year I put up our flags, swags and garland a day or two before Memorial Day(when these pics were taken) and take it down about two weeks after the 4th of July. I know, I know. That's a long time to keep it up. But honestly, I love it. I have always lived in homes that had big front porches and the lent themselves to beautiful red/white and blue swags. This home even has the upper story and two side balconies, so I just go crazy, wild with all my patriotic decor. I even swag up the wooden fence and the antique fence we just put up out front!  Personally, I think it makes an old (seen better days) house, look a little proud. I've said before that we live in the historic area of our little city and we are on the Trolley Tour. We have trolley's come by all day long each day. If I am sitting out front enjoying my front porch (and yes, I LOVE to do that) and the trolley comes by, I wave at everyone. If I have one of the grands with me the trolley operator will ring the bell. I see people in the trolley taking pics of the house, so I'll continue with my over-the-top-patriotic-spectacle! I like to think the house had to look something like this 90 years ago as well. 
I have taken pics of the many projects I have worked on, so I will try to be better about posting some of them. I am not promising anything, but I hope to be better. In the meantime, we will continue to enjoy Life.

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