One of My Favorite People…

File Mar 05, 1 58 01 PMOne of my favorite people ever is my daughter.

I’ve called her Darling Daughter in this blog for the 5+ years I’ve written it.

Since the day she was born and still to this day, I feel lucky. I love every bit of her personality–wouldn’t trade her for any other little girl in the world. She is Perfect. Just as she is. Not like anybody else;  unique, and unique in her outrageousness, always has been. Never what I’d call an “easy” child, but I LOVE that about her. Her sense of humor, intelligence, drive, guts, compassion, kindness, her softness with little kids and dogs, her generosity with her brother, and her (sometimes) patience with me. And that whole mix of complexity that is Darling Daughter. I especially love the “college” version of her, because she’s matured, grown into her personality, and she’s far more relaxed than she was in high school, her younger years.

Riding in the car…

Riding in the car not too long ago, she was mumbling.

ME: Huh?

DARLING DAUGHTER: I’m praying. For patience.

ME: What prayer?

DARLING DAUGHTER: Not saying a specific prayer. Just talking to The Lord.

ME: Oh.

Driving with me apparently didn’t “feel safe” to her.

Speaking of cars…

We tend to have a lot of cars in the driveway, a lot of the time. Last fall, I got a new Mazda. Only had it a few months when I noticed a large dent in its side. The kids were both home on Winter Break (Christmas vacation).

ME (TO SON): Did you see the dent in the car?

SON: Yeah. Just noticed it. Did you hit something?

ME: Me, too. And no, I didn’t hit anything.

Son and I were at the dining table. Daugther was at the stove, scooping dinner onto a plate.

SON: Maybe it got hit in the school parking lot?

ME: Could be.

DARLING DAUGHTER: Yeah. Let’s go with that…

Son and I turned (at the same time) to look at Daughter. Her back was to us. She was still loading her dinner plate.

DARLING DAUGHTER (Heading over to table): That might have happened.

SON: Did you hit it?

DARLING DAUGHTER: Yeah, but I didn’t know it left a dent–with all the snow on it.

ME: When?

DARLING DAUGHTER: A while ago. I backed into it, when I was trying to get out of the driveway.

This was NOT a small dent. But we laughed, continued with dinner. It was a newer car, but just a car. Nobody was hurt.

photo 2

Also last winter…

We suspected there might be a mouse (can’t even think of their being mice…) in the house. I was freaking out. Not handling it at all well. Was looking for contact information to call Orkin Pest Control.

SON (Deadpan): Just give Lenny a call.

DARLING DAUGHTER: Nick just referenced a piece of classic literature, one still considered important enough for high school student reading–in regular conversation.

Son smiled at her.

DARLING DAUGHTER: Let’s just take a moment…

ME: Huh?

DARLING DAUGHTER: …to thank me for making him take those classes.

She referred to the Honors/Advanced Placement track she worked out for Son before his freshman year of high school. Darling Daughter has always guided him with his class schedules. I generally have no idea what he is taking.

She also spoils her brother…

Son googled sneakers one evening, while doing homework. I rang my daughter.

ME: What are you doing? Nick seems to be looking at shoes…

DARLING DAUGHTER: I’m not looking for any shoes.

ME: Oh?

DARLING DAUGHTER: But if HE finds them, he can have them…

ME: His homework isn’t done. He’s searching for black PF Flyers (from The Sandlot).

DARLING DAUGHTER: Tell him he can have them after his homework is done.

She is a second mother to her brother. Takes him to concerts, buys him things when they go shopping together, helps him with homework, and talks to him about college, life, relationships, just about anything. She is truly a model Big Sister to her brother. She is often his first call when there is big news–both good and bad.

“Darling Daughter” Daisies…

There’s something about daisies that has always made me happy. When I started playing with stones, fashioning a trail of daisies on a pale green canvas, I was thinking of my daughter. She identified strongly with the piece. Said I couldn’t sell it. That was the fall of 2014.

I ended up having prints made in the Spring of 2015, because many people wanted it. Each time I put a print together with a vintage frame, it’s gone. They sell very quickly. Darling Daugther has the print above her bed at college.

Special Offer Prints

Darling Daughter – Shopify Site

Those are the links for anybody interested in seeing the print. The original is sold.

To celebrate my new Shopify site, my Daughters print is on sale all week.

I’ve Lost All Control

Today I’m sharing my secret shame.

I used to refinish furniture and home decor. Since 2012, I’ve created Beach Art on canvas, with what I find while walking on the beach. Somehow, I’ve lost all control of my rocks, sticks, beach glass, beach wire and plastic. But I always turn my finds into something. (Eventually.) I have workspace in my basement, but I never work there. I try hard to contain the mess.

And yet…

We cannot eat at the dining room table much of the time. On a good week, we’ve got use of half of it. We have to be careful to walk around the piles of vintage and antique frames neatly stacked against the dining room wall, in a corner.

Mantle Disaster

The mantle used to be attractive. It’s perpetually a mess now. I set completed pieces up there to make sure I’ve got the right colors and nothing needs added; if something is off, I eventually figure out what’s wrong by walking by it enough times. Also, propping pictures up ensures that my Beach Finds are securely attached to the canvas or canvas board. If they get loose after a few days, I fix them.

mess3

 

Lucky me! Our mantle wraps around a corner, with a bookcase below it, giving me more square footage of mantle to ruin.  We used to have family photos there.

Most people store fancy items in their china cabinets. Mine? Full of sticks, beach glass marbles, artists proofs of prints, and more projects in the works.

My desk has a triangular jug of beach glass and random stones on it most of the time.

Sticks on China Cabinet

I do have a couple of china plates in the cabinet–my mom’s china. It isn’t just beach glass that’s a problem for me. I can’t resist old glass; Carnival Glass, Early American Pattern Glass, and glass vases. I do have a few such items in the china cabinet, but it’s mainly books (I’ll spare you photos of the books stacked all over the house, that’s an “issue” for another day) and the junk I find on the beach.

Notice the branches on top of the china cabinet? Even have to walk under sticks to enter the kitchen.

photo 2 (2) giant tree

We used to have art on the walls. Quite a few of my favorites paintings are packed in bubble, being stored. We have no wall space for them. My Beach Art is on our walls now, because I don’t want anything damaged. Once completed, wired on the back, it’s safer to hang on a wall until it sells. Of course, I have my favorites–that I won’t sell. (Ugh!)

The driftwood and metal tree above the park bench is enormous, about 3 feet wide and 5 feet tall. I could have sold it too many times to count, but I won’t part with it.

The upside? 

My Beach Art sells easily, faster than I can create it. Which is why I started having prints made. Yes, signed, numbered, “fine art” prints–of sticks, rocks, and beach glass.

Almost too shameful to admit…

I keep seeing photos on Facebook of local beach cleanups going on in our area. Good stuff, kids and families getting out there and spiffing up our beaches. But what if they throw away something good? Seriously, that’s what I think when I see the photos.

It’s been suggested I play with Legos. Truth. My kids friends sidestep my mess like it’s no big deal, they’ve gotten used to it. Not too long ago, I was arranging stones, coming up with a new design, when one of my son’s buddies said, “Mrs. Lauria, you should invest in Legos. It’s kinda the same thing, right?”

This hit close to home as Legos were my favorite toy as a kid. My very favorite!  The only thing better was going outside–I rarely came inside unless it was dark out.

A new workspace?

I’ve started pinning barns on Pinterest. I’ll need to do something soon! My house is overrun…

barn

 

I dream of having a workspace outside of my home; a barn, an outbuilding, anything with a bit of wall space to hang a gallery of finished work, my stash of vintage frames. Perhaps with shelving to hold supplies. I typically use pretty clear vintage and antique glass jars/vases to hold my stones, beach glass, metal and such. Makes it easy to sort by size and see what I have. I also use ball jars for storage, and even to mix paint in.

My “mess” wouldn’t look like a mess in a workshop. It would look attractive, possibly even stunning.

For now I have a home. And my mess is anything but pretty. It’s destroying the vibe…

Interested in checking out my projects? Head over to my website.

Workspace ideas? Comment below or Contact me. In the meantime, I’ll keep pinning to my “Dream Girl Cave” page on Pinterest.

What’s been keeping me busy…

Summer ~ Part One

1. The Color Run

Quite an experience. Running (and walking) with 10,000 people, some dressed in tutu’s, funky socks, tiaras, silly short shorts and all manner of odd costumes. Scrubbing a rainbow of color off in the shower. I’ve used Q-tips before. Just never to get paint out of my ears…and my nose. The upside? After the race, everybody’s teeth looked really white!! And I got to hang (and get paint thrown at me) with some of my favorite people… color group

2. Dogs (4 dogs to be exact)

I’ve got two dogs. The Red Dog (85 lb. golden retriever) and The Black Dog (55 lb. rescue mutt). They’re large to medium in size. We’ll soon add two more dogs. We’ll be keeping them for a family moving out of the country for a couple of years.

One is a small terrier, who is more like a tiny cat. The other is a dappled, long-haired Dachshund — or Weiner Dog.

Yes.  2 + 2 = 4. (Despite what many are thinking, I CAN count!)

We’ve been socializing The Menagerie for two weeks. And it really could be another blog…

Me outside at midnight with the little doggies, urging them to go potty, as the big dogs whined inside the house, from the back hallway. The Black Dog jumping on the door, causing it to slam shut, locking me out. Me scrambling up the side of the house in my pajamas (with neither grace or style) to crawl through a window, laughing as I landed with a thud on the floor…

The Dachshund standing on the dining table with his head in my purse. I had completely forgotten the half of a club sandwich in there from lunch, until his head popped up from inside my purse, with a dollop of mayonnaise on his little black nose. (He isn’t even as tall as my purse, but twice as long…)

Daughter and my intense two-hour game of scrabble down to the wire. She had two letters left. I had four. Ten points separated us. Until ‘Twinkle Toes’ (the little cat/dog) hopped down off the couch and danced around on the board. Game over. Nick & dogsAbove: Twinkle Toes in the recliner with Son, The Red Dog and The Weiner Dog on the floor and The Black Dog behind the recliner…dog

Twinkle Toes (the cat/dog) is the size of The Black Dog’s head. In fact, her head is smaller than my fist.

3. The Crib Project

Aunt Kate’s precious baby girl grandchild joined our family this week. I refinished a dark wood crib. Took me a week of evenings, made a big mess, had me scrubbing paint off at all hours and falling into bed, but worth the effort. It’s a distressed, antique creamy white now. The room may soon be painted a soft green. Aunt Kate is all set for baby’s first visit. A gorgeous baby (and she is that) needs a special crib.furn 001furn 002crib

4. Moving House

The kids and I (and the dogs…) are in the process of moving out of The Little White Ranch House and into another house in the same city and school district. It hasn’t been easy, because we all loved the ranch house–but its time to move.

We’ll be settled into our new digs before the next school year begins in late August. The new house? I’m calling it The School House (or School House #2) because it was the second school-house in our community back in the 1800s. It even has a brass plaque with historical information, a large cast iron black bell and a flagpole. I love its vibe, its history. That it feels like a park out in the yard…

flag

Summer ~ Part Two

The past several weeks have brought a new baby into our family, a trip to the state championship in track for Son, high school graduation parties for Daughter and her classmates, shopping and gearing up to take Daughter to college, adapting to my new job at our local newspaper, fielding freelance assignments, packing and moving a household, Son getting his driver’s license and MORE dogs. (In my world, there are always dogs…)

No doubt, life is changing. Again. In BIG ways.

Which is terrifying, exciting, chaotic, exhausting, unsettling, energizing, chaotic, challenging, fun, sad, happy and…chaotic.

“All great changes are preceded by chaos” 

~ Deepak Chopra

I’m counting on Mr. Chopra to be right.

After a rather routine childhood and a lifetime of familiar patterns, I’ve learned to adapt to change. To know in my gut when its time to move on, even when I have no idea what lies ahead. To look forward to what this latest round of change/chaos will bring.

A Special Note To My Friends and Family: I’ve been in chaos (even for me). Haven’t seen as much of many of you as I would have liked. I plan to spend the second part of the summer relaxing some, and (hopefully) catching up with you. Hearing about what’s been going on with all of you, the changes in your lives…

The Hunt for #7, or is it #8?

Gallery

This gallery contains 6 photos.

And no…I’m not on the hunt for more children or dogs. Nor am I looking for another man. Though I will be out socializing tonight. And there’ll be alcohol. I suppose you just never know… What I am really looking for is another … Continue reading

Things I’ve Been Thinking About Lately…

In no particular order, some of what I’ve pondered recently:

Why doesn’t anybody from HGTV ever stop me outside of Home Depot?

I would love a bathroom redo. A yard makeover. Pretty please with sugar on top would somebody remove my gravel driveway and install pavers, black top, or cement? They could redo anything. I would cooperate—and not get mad like some of the ungrateful people they show on the design TV shows. They could pick whatever they wanted. Plenty of projects around my house…They could even pick two.

 

 

 

 

How in the he#% does Daughter do her hair with this curling iron?

Seriously. It is in pieces. Most of them long gone. She slides the little metal tube thingy onto what’s left of the curling iron and creates curls and ringlets without burning her fingers. And it looks lovely. She used this method to achieve the look in her senior pictures. How? People go to the salon for curls like that. And should I be concerned that she plugs her ‘rigged up’ contraption into an outlet in my home?

On men, women and relationships…

Why do men see right through men and know exactly what they’re about? And it takes a woman about 2 minutes to know  what another woman is about. And yet men and women spend YEARS in relationships–without a clue. Just no idea what their partner is about. Would it not make more sense if we could read the opposite sex, as we can read our own? And yet, we often cannot. Why. Just, why?

Why can’t I find 31 gothic pickets?

I’ve needed them for a couple of months. When I DIDN’T need them, I saw them everywhere. Now that I am LOOKING for them, I cannot find them. Which means I have a partial fence. I cannot apply the fresh coat of white paint, nor can I install the arbor above the two posts that look silly. And I don’t want to complete the landscaping, because it will get in my way when I paint the doggone thing.

Pulling into my driveway last week:

Me: I’ve GOT to find those gothic pickets.

Aunt Kate: Why?

Me: Look at the fence!! I want to finish it up…make it look pretty.

Aunt Kate: But it makes me laugh every time I pull into your driveway.

I’d hate to spoil her fun…

Why is Table #6 taking such a long time?  

It has been in my garage since June. When I finally started it, I couldn’t get the stain off the top. I dumped a bottle of stripper on it over the course of a couple of days. Scraped. And scraped. Then scraped more. Then spent a few evenings looking like I took a swim in sawdust. Probably the table is ¼” shorter than it started out being. I had thought I might finish today, but I need more paint for the chairs. When I blow my nose, whats coming out is Italian Olive…the green color I’m using. I can look forward to another day of Italian Olive snot tomorrow. Because I am STILL not done!!

How long does it take to grow new toenails?

Son wore old cleats for football Two a Days. And they were too small. His toenails were a mess afterwards. And he walked funny. (Really, really funny) No idea how he played football after that. A couple of weeks later, one big toenail is completely off. And the other is 90% off. How long is it going to take for the boy to have a BRAND NEW set of big toenails? Because I think he needs them. And again, why? Surely he wasn’t the only kid who didn’t yet have his new cleats. Things happen to him that don’t seem to happen to others. But then, he is my son. I will spare everybody the photos. Looking at his toes nauseates me.

Got answers to any of that?

Feel free to share…