"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


Just Hangin'

Any teacher will tell you, that one of the best perks of teaching is having summers off. (Believe me, we earn it most of the time!!) Nine months of eight hour days with 16, 17 and 18 years old can drive me....well batty at times! So when summer comes around, the living is easy. I have spent the last couple of days just puttering around the house getting things done that were easy, but had been pushed to the side during the school year.
First up was this new massive frame I got for Mother's Day. It is always wonderful to have five children, but Mother's Day with five children (and a granddaughter now!!) is like Christmas. I got lots of presents. Among them was this frame.
It is huge, heavy, old, wood and very ornate. It has been covered in gold-leafing. There are a few flaws on it, but that just makes it better. When I first got it, I imagined that I would just lean it up on the fireplace and put it the other way. But the frame is so big, that it did not fit between the sconces. So, I wired it oh-so-carefully right above the mirror. (Look close and you will see.) My mother has given me many, MANY suggestions for what to put IN the frame. She just does not "get" the whole idea that I like the empty frame as is. And I do love it. I decorated the summer mantel (I spelled it correctly the first time. WOOHOO!) today. I will have to show you that later this week. 
I also gathered up my E-6000 glue, some picture hangers and a whole lot of things I wanted to hang. I used the what-does-the-E6000-not-work-on?-glue to put on the back of the things I wanted to frame. I put picture hangers on plates, frames, wooden letters, and even a pair of oars. I also glued something to the back of that L tin you see. I will show you all that tomorrow too. If you haven't tried E6000 glue, then you are missing out!
I was hanging big old frames. I was hanging plates and oars...and I was "hanging" out with my pups. Since I got out of school, I have one of the pups that is my shadow. Mr. Abraham follows me wherever I go. When I got on the floor to glue hangers to everything, he patiently waited on me to finish! Aww, I love summer and just hangin'!


Something's Bugging Me...in a good way!

When we moved into our new (old) house
a year ago,
the house had sat empty for over two years.
There was absolutely no landscaping.
There are seven huge trees that line the 
front and go around the corner of the 
corner lot the house sits on,
but not a single bush or flower.
Looking off the front porch towards our neighbors.
The positives of that are that we don't have 
someone else's plethora of shaggy bushes and 
overgrown "stuff" to deal with.
The negative is that it was just plain bare!
Last year we devoted our time and energy to
1. moving
2. unpacking
3. saving the trees and grass.
We were told by a neighbor that one of the previous owners
had used an industrial farm-strength weed control
on the yard and trees (????).
It showed. 
Ironically, the only thing in the yard were weeds 
and those 
seven trees that line the property
were full of dead branches as well.
The boys and the Hubs trimmed the 
massive tree debacle and got them
back to looking terrific,
and the yard is starting to 
recover as well.
We got the sunny part of the yard looking like
green (bermuda) carpet.
Now we are working on the shady part!
We also started the slow process
of adding greenery, flowers and shrubbery
to the property.
I am a firm believer that this is a process 
and not an over-night fix.
Excuse the randomly placed wicker settee. I had just got it and put
it on the porch and had not 'placed' it yet!
So for the past week or so 
we have been adding.
The boys used some of the stone from 
the garage to create flower beds.
They put it at the front of the house
and around each of the seven trees.
It will take time to fill it all in, 
but it already looks like
someone loves the house.
We found a stone that 'somewhat' resembled
and Coulter chipped away on it,
till it really resembles
So of course,
it had to have a 
prominent spot in the front
(someday beautiful) flowerbeds.
You can't tell because of the way I shot the picture,
but it is actually a big rock
....and very heavy!
We have purchased porch paint
to begin spruce up the porch,
but we have not had a single 'calm' day
to paint the porch
since I have been out of school.
I have no doubt we will have many 
calm and hot days coming up.
Next summer we plan to paint the entire house.
Speaking of that Oklahoma wind,
last night we had a huge storm brewing.
I went out on the front porch to look for the cat
to bring him in before the storm hit.
Much to my surprise I saw a man in our yard
"pouring" something out of two big bowls
onto the flowerbeds that surround 
two of the trees.
Yes, I gave him "the stare".
He saw me giving him "the stare" and 
immediately came over to the porch.
He told me that one of my neighbors
was so happy with the way we were 
fixing up the house and yard
that she wanted to send me something.
He was "pouring" ladybugs all over our
elephant ears and begonias,
impatients and hostas.
In fact he "poured" 
over a thousand of them throughout 
our flowers and greenery.
I wasn't really sure if "thank you" was appropriate
or if I should say "get the heck out"!!!!
If you look at this picture...
and the previous three...
you can see some of our new tenants.
I realize the pictures are a little fuzzy,
but dang, it was hard to focus on those little gals.
Plus the storm had arrived and it was lightening and 
the Hubs was not happy I was outside
under the trees
trying to take pictures of ladybugs.
Remember this? That is why.
Anyway, as it turns out, that man was a
"ladybug farmer".
Ladybugs feast on aphids.
Aphids are the pesky little bug that love
hostas and ferns
and begonias
and elephant ears.
So by giving me the gift of a thousand new
little lady bugs
my neighbor was helping to insure
our newly planted yard renaissance
would stay healthy and beautiful.
Wasn't that a wonderful gesture on her part?
So today I plan on using that 
Oklahoma kindness
and pass it along to someone else.
Have a great day....
wherever you are!
Lining up to:


Home of the Brave

Memorial Day weekend does not get past too many people without a good BBQ or picnic. Unfortunately though, too often the weekend becomes only about food and water and fun.  I made a little outdoor tablescape that brings the "Let's kick off summer" fun to the table as well as a way to remember what Memorial Day really stands for: honoring those that have passed, and especially honoring those that so bravely served our country.
The centerpiece is a 
flag bowl.
Mine was a gift, but I have seen
some this year in stores.
I put a smaller bowl inside my flag bowl
to hold my picture clips.
I also stuffed the smaller bowl with
paper towels to help support all the 
flags I used to circle the bowl.
The red and blue garland is just
kind of wrapped around the top
so no one could see
the way I rigged everything up!
It all stayed together without any problem!

The two pictures above are closeups of how the
centerpiece looks at different levels....
Lots of poignant pictures and memories
and you can't see all the stuff in the middle of the 
bowl keeping it all together!

I have mentioned before about 
going through an old trunk in my grandparent's basement with my cousins....
As we are bravely scavenging the contents
we find a nest of baby mice. Alive.
Oh my gosh.
I hate mice dead or alive.
This was the only time in my life where a mouse
was involved that I 
bravely soldiered on (did you like how I used the military reference?).
ONLY because I was fascinated
by the contents of that trunk did I keep looking.
That is where I got all the postcards and many of the 
pictures of my grandparents.
I love, love, love the link I have
to their correspondence with each other 
during WWI.
The pictures of my other grandfather were also
rescued from the trash after he threw them away.
No mice there tho!
I also love, love my
little collection of Barclay soldiers.
They were sold between the two world wars
for a nickle a piece, as children's toys.
Just Google up Barclay soldiers and look at the images.
They are so much fun.
There is a definite personality to each soldier.
They are made out of metal.
I have a cousin that has a huge collection of these, of which 
I am very jealous!
The star plate, blue bowls, red glasses and kitchen-towels-turned-napkins are all from the Dollar Tree.
I just layered them with my red plates and
some blue placemats I already had.

My dad, my father-in-law, both of my grandfathers, ALL of my uncles and many of my cousins have served
in different branches of the military.
We have someone(s) representing every war.

I think it is very important for my
children to know the stories of their
relatives that served our country.

This tablescape makes it easy to pass on those stories.
The best part is, when there is food involved, 
people are willing to sit around and talk
and remember
and eat.
And especially honor those we love.
Linking this to:


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