Sometimes you can go home again

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Last week I flew home to Washington and Oregon. Even though I grew up on the WA side of the river, those of us from that area consider both states home. We go back and forth to Portland almost everyday for work and play. It's literally 15 minutes from my home to Oregon. The whole weekend I was wondering why I hadn't made time to come back. But the reality is that it's not always feasible when you live clear across the US. Time, money, work commitments...

Jon and I married and left for California immediately when he was in the military and we never looked back, really. We've been on our own ever since, dotting the US with moves. I think for a few years we thought we would end up back home but with every passing year, that seemed further out of reach. This trip was 7 years after the last.

But going home was fantastic. It was my high school reunion and the time I was able to see my two brothers and their families. My school was small. I think there were only 134 that graduated in my class and most of them I have known since Kindergarten. We have a lot of pride about that. We're all intertwined in some way. A lot of our fathers worked together at the mill, our older or younger siblings went to school with our friends' siblings, we had cousins in different grades, you get the idea.

So when you get together, it's not just with friends who are more like acquaintances, it's with people who know the real you. It's with the people you had birthday parties with in 1st grade, it's with people that came to your house to watch the world premiere of MJ's Beat It video, it's your tennis partner for 4 years who was also your driver's ed partner, it's your best friend Richard who passed notes to you in 6th grade and who, 12 years later, was there putting your heart back together after a break-up.

I always felt pretty lucky to grow up where I did and with whom I did. And after a weekend of laughing until I cried and dancing until 2 am with old friends, and then looking out onto the beautiful vistas of the northwest, it just reconfirmed what I had always known.

My excitement always builds when I see this volcano!

My brothers and families at Cannon beach (3 of the kids are not pictured)

And random phone photos. I kept forgetting to take pictures...

The reason why I still, to this day, have never had a McDonald's hamburger.

And sometimes you close your eyes and see the place where you used to live

Thursday, July 30, 2015

I'm off to my hometown this weekend to enjoy seeing old friends at my high school reunion. I can't wait to reconnect with them, visit my brothers and their families, visit my parents' gravesite, eat real seafood, hit the coast and remember what it was like to not have frizzy hair (from humidity!) It's a jam packed weekend but will be so nice to be back in the PNW. I haven't been back for 7 years. I'll return next week with pictures, a little DIY and thrifty finds from this week.
 Have a great weekend!


View from Clark County, WA where I grew up. That volcano in the distance is Mt. Hood.

View from the building where I worked in downtown Portland. The red brick area is Pioneer Courthouse Square, aka Portland's living room. I spent many a lunch break sitting out there with a hundred other people.

Cannon Beach - one of our favorites! I'll be heading there with my brothers. I got stuck out on one of those rocks once when the tide came in. My friend, who is picking me up Friday night for one of our reunion parties, took a picture of me all helpless. Thanks.

The power of handwritten words

Monday, July 27, 2015

Upon opening the little box which contains one of my most prized possessions given to me from my mom 8 years ago, I saw her little handwritten 'happy birthday' note that she tucked into it. I felt so connected to her at that moment. I've written about that before, how something so simple as seeing her handwriting has buoyed me up in the times I have really missed her.

I was reading an essay, This Living Hand, by Edmund Morris, a writer best known for his presidential biographies.  His eloquent words resonated with me and perfectly described my feelings:

"Why, in the age of voice mail, is script still the preferred style for messages of great intimacy? Because it is both direct and enduring. Spoken words, whether recorded at long distance or whispered across an inch of pillow, may have greater impact, but they evaporate at once, like splashes of acetone. Handwritten words mean more the more they are read, and time only increases their first force."

Four years ago I issued a challenge to do a little more correspondence by way of the written note. Sadly, I haven't been as good about it as I once was so I am issuing another challenge, to myself, mainly. It's time to take pen to paper and write little affirmations ( a lá stuart smalley anyone?) of jobs well done or just to let one know they're on my mind. Time to spread a little cheer and help out the post office, no? But really though, who doesn't like a note?
If you'd like to join me, remember your note cards don't need to be fancy or expensive. I quite like the dollar aisle at various stores myself. Even a 3x5 note card will do. Besides, it's the genuine sentiment that will be of most value.

Have a good day,
True to my thrifting side, I found a stack of note cards for mere pennies at the thrift shop and the dollar aisle at Micheal's, (which are the black chalkboard cards.) The rose postcard is actually a folded set of nine. I like to pick up plenty of cards to have on hand so I can act upon the prompting to get a card out to someone. When I figure I can "get to it tomorrow," I don't always. This will help to keep me ready.

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Magical summer

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

It's been a magical summer for us and thankfully it's not over yet.

New snaps.

Her own pose

Sitting on the dock

The crown of leaves

"Have fun!" I said.

We bought a $3 dress at Goodwill and picked some boxwood and a flower to make a crown. I simply tucked it all into her headband. Nothing too fancy to distract.

Have a great day

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Leather belt book wrap DIY

Friday, July 17, 2015

In the digital age, I continue to be a collector of vintage books. I think the tactile sensation of having an old, beautifully decorated cover in my hands is one reason alone. Some I read and some I use for projects but those very special ones I like to have out on display, whether lining a bookcase or just around the room. I look for good spines, interesting color or script and topics of interest to name a few. When I find that all in one book, I feel I hit the book lottery. Yesterday I picked up A Natural History of Trees  from 1950 and it had beautiful drawings that would look great enlarged for big scale art.

So while I was collecting the books at the thrift store I also picked up a couple of leather belts to create another type of book display, a throwback to when school kids used book straps; DIY leather belt book wraps.  It's so simple and just looks great. I took a minute to switch the books around to figure out thickness and which colors complemented each other and just simply wrapped the belt around them. You could even wrap books in a collection by subject. A larger belt, of course, would work better if you wanted more than a double wrap. I also positioned the buckle on the spines when the books are upright and on top when they are displayed horizontally. I liked the look so much I'm going back for more today. The belts were .50 cents and the books $1.00. My advice is to find a pliable belt and with a nice buckle.

Three things I loved about this:
Every item is re-purposed
It took about 2 minutes
So inexpensive

Just stack and wrap.

Enjoy it!

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Those Hollywood types -a vintage dresser

Monday, July 13, 2015

I recently found this vintage Hollywood Regency Dresser at a thrift shop. It was a great size but still sporting its yellow and white faux strié finish. It wasn't bad but came off outdated, you know?

This picture was taken from my phone after I cleaned her up, removed the hardware and had already primed its formica top.

I gave it a coat of chalk paint in Americana Decor's Yesteryear and waxed to a satin finish. I let the wax dry for a day before I buffed it. I usually don't have to wait a day but the relative humidity made it so. 

You can find Americana Décor at Home Depot but I bought it at Hobby Lobby where I could use a coupon. Every little bit saved helps.

The original hardware was covered in paint so I stripped them and uncovered a nice patina on the brass. The long handles have great bamboo details, matching the surround on the dresser front.

It was a quick and easy project. Love that.
The hardest part was moving this beautiful, heavy beast-ess

Enjoy your day!

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Friday thrifting Finds - Ironstone china

Saturday, July 11, 2015

It's hard for me to pass up white ironstone china, especially when I find it so inexpensively. This seems to be the one item that thrift store personnel don't seem to know much about so it is usually priced really well.

It was first patented in the United Kingdom in the early 19th century but made its debut in the United States in the 1840s. It was a cheaper and more durable alternative to porcelain. I tend to be drawn to more plain, simplistic ironstone but do love transferware as well, which has a lot of pattern.

In my thrifting travels this week, I ended up finding an array of creamy whites: china, ironstone, pottery and porcelain dishes.

Why I love it:

The pottery piece: It's useful, has a great design, good size and sturdy, appears to be mid-century and was only .25 cents.

The plate: Not vintage but cute and useful.

The Platters: The top two are Johnson Brothers English ironstone. Fine dotted detail, slight crazing (which I don't mind) octagonal shape. The bottom one is a newer, everyday piece, sturdy, oval shaped, perfect condition. I used it tonight to bring the burgers off the grill. I have quite a collection of platters which I use all the time because of their versatility and I have never paid much for them, 2 to 3 dollars max.

Lotus bowls: Size and delicate shape, surprisingly useful and not just for Japanese food. But if they were, it would be ok with me - I could live solely off Japanese food. I have.

The little pitcher: Vintage Tepco China, USA. Tepco made restaurant ware from the 30's until 1968 for the hospitality industry. It's also called Hotel china. Sometimes you can find restaurant ware with the logo of a hotel, airline, restaurant or branches of the military. It's heavier than normal dinnerware because it had to stand up to a lot of use, which is why I love it. I use the pitchers to hold other items like vintage silverware or everyday utensils. I also use them as vases but put a glass inside if there is too much crazing where the water will leak.

Lenox Butler's Pantry vegetable bowl. Why I love it - it's a Butler's Pantry bowl. This is the pattern that I have been wanting forever. The whole line is beautiful and complements any simply patterned dishes, like my standard white. Keeping it monochromatic allows me to use all the different thrift store finds I have and is just easy to throw together for a fun, easy to use collection.

Happy hunting!

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