A Crafty Centerpiece

image
This idea was taken from Pinterest com
image.jpeg
My version of a Graduation centerpiece, with trimming left to do on picture. You get the idea.

 

 

 

 

As many of you know, I just posted my window box project. Lately a craft tendency runs in my veins! I truly relish dabbling with different projects, such as transforming a vintage ruler to a  cork board display for pictures. ( I will post that soon!) My newest plan is crafting centerpieces. While browsing Pinterest a few months ago, a certain centerpiece came into my view and I knew adamantly that I was going to make them for my son’s graduation party. The last graduation party we had for D, my mother in law, Theo made the centerpieces. They were bottles covered in foil with decorative sparkly tinsel in them. They were cool and unique.

 

 

 

Years ago I possessed different sizes of canning jars in my lost pursuit of canning and gave them away shortly after. The search for mason jars was on. If I didn’t find any locally, my sister in law Bev had some I could have, but we live a distance from each other. While pondering over how I was going to acquire jars, a bright idea visited me to check at home first. In my intensive search I found some unique jars ( not necessarily mason jars) in different cabinets. There was a cobalt blue jar with handles, which held a small candle. A matching glass jar, but clear color, would serve as a centerpiece. The only problem was the Christmas motif on one side, forcing me to problem solve and decide to create class of 2016 and Congratulations labels. A label would cover that perfectly! An old mason jar was on my kitchen counter holding wooden spoons and metal utensils. Lastly Under my kitchen sink I discovered a cool tall embellished jar that would be a fantastic addition.

 

The next step is getting small rocks to fill the jars. Then choose favorite photographs and cut to size, frame or adhere to cardboard or heavy card stock. Attach to dowels ( these can be found at craft stores or at Wal-mart). Place the mounted pictures in jars….I chose two to a jar. Next I fixed my computer generated labels to the jars. The last step is tying the raffia bows around the jars to give them the rustic look.

 

 

The finished product

image
One of the centerpieces in a cobalt jar

This project was so much fun to do! It took me a few hours on different days to work on them. I spread it all out on my wooden bar in my kitchen, a great workspace. While peaceful music rang in the air, I created. Okay, I know they are just centerpieces, they are works of love to me!

If you desire to make similar centerpieces, you will need:

  • Mason jars or  unique jars of varying sizes
  • Rocks gathered from outside or bought at crafts store
  • dowels
  • favorite pictures cut into large or small sizes
  • cardboard or heavy card stock
  • tissue paper to cover back of pictures
  • tape to adhere pictures to dowels ( I used masking because it’s heavy duty)
  • Raffia to tie ribbon
  • Computer generated labels, made to fit occasion

Until next time, craft away with your heart and soul.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

 

 

 

Window Boxes

Last year I had a budding idea to build wooden window boxes for our house. When driving by neighborhood homes, the flowing flowers embedded in troughs just below windows appealed to me. I decided on doing this and actually asked my husband to teach me how to build them.

 

We ambitiously started planning our new project, which had to be done for spring. The questions raised, how many boxes? What material will they be made of? Where do we start? In the beginning I wanted six boxes for our front windows, five for flowers and the sixth one would be outside the kitchen window for herbs.

 

 

imageimageimageimageMy husband had the sturdy wood from a discard pile in the shed and transported it here. He cut the right boards into three long pieces( two for the sides, one for the bottom) and two end pieces. I don’t work the electric saw he used so I just handed him the pieces and threw the scraps aside as he worked. Next we screwed the pieces together with an electric screwdriver. I tried this and did a couple. For someone who has never used power tools, I managed. You have to push hard on the tool for it work best.

 

When the boxes were complete, we had four nice boxes for my flower mix. I decided four would be enough and my herbs can go in my garden as always. Tom’s former employer, Mrs. Geneen, had a tradition of planting this mix in her planters. ( Someday I will enlighten you all on our story with this special woman and our storybook life at her estate!) Of course Tom planted them every year so he has memorized the mix. I placed a spike in the middle, two red geraniums on each side, two purple ( blue) petunias on each side and white bicopa which will drape over the edges.

 

I painted the boxes with a deep brown stain to match our rustic house, while sunshine warmed my face and demeanor. I thought of how thankful I was to have my husband teach me the ropes. Although I never will make products like this alone, now I have an understanding of the steps it takes. I’m happy that he let me help and when the electric saws came into play, he took over. Tom is a good teacher and I will never forget this experience!

 

 

As I joyfully planted the posies and sifted through the soil, my cat Katie sat inside as a committed spectator. She sniffed, tried to bite the spike through the screen, and got her claws stuck in the screen. I actually had to drop the window down so she wouldn’t wreck our screen. Now that it’s been a day, the cats are used to the flowers and their inability to reach them. They jump up on the window sill and enjoy the picture show of the newly planted flowers with fluttering birds on the lawn.

 

 

 

The lovely presentation dresses up our front yard with two neighboring lilac bushes. Even from inside the flowers create a peaceful beautiful space. There is a rich harmony  to both spaces as I thank God for this small gift of life, life that will certainly enhance mine the next few months!

image

 

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

Sowing Seeds Soon!

imageimageimageAfter months of dreaming of green plants and veggie growth, the time is almost at hand! Tom tilled our garden last weekend, slow and steady like the farmer I mentioned awhile ago. Black flies hovered viciously and fed on us, yet this sudden bug fest will pass and the quiet peaceful days in the garden will remain.

A pungent, fresh aroma of cut grass hangs in the air, smelling of melon. The  New England air feels warmer , a nice invitation to garden planting. This Memorial weekend ,as squawky and chirping birds flutter about, we will play in the rich soil and plant.

 

Are you planting soon or have you already started your garden? Whatever it is, dig deep in the peace and be grateful for this old practice of feeding your family!

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

 

 

Party Planning 🎉🎉🎉

image

 

 

I love to make my own platters for parties, whether it’s a graduation party or cookout or birthday party. I know the basics of meat and cheese and vegetable platters from working in a deli for 12 years. I bend the rules a little and create different things every time. For instance when I made the fruit platters for two special young ladies who graduated last year ( one being my son’s special girlfriend and the other being a long time neighbor),  I decided to use the cantaloupe shell I was about to toss in the trash and realized  it would be unique to put blueberries in it. I also used a cookie cutter to make watermelon star shapes.

 

If you search your kitchen you may find acceptable trays, plates or platters to shocase your delicious foods. You can be creative as you want, which saves you money and is valuable to use what you have. Currently I am collecting different platters for special parties. The oval plastic platter above was a cheap find at wal- mart and is large enough for any large tray of goodies. The green rectangular tray belongs to a set from Old Temptations on QVC. It serves as a gorgeous tray for rolls, sandwiches, even fruit plates. I have a Christmas tray I use all year, because all you have to do is cover it with aluminum foil and a doiliy or two and you’re ready to fill.

 

 

 

 

 

image

 

 

 

 

 

Two years ago we hosted a party for D’s graduation from high school. We invited about 50 people and they were coming and going for a few hours, making it very hectic. I was fortunate to have a nice neighbor who offered to help set up for the party, while we were at the graduation ceremony. I had prepped burger patties ahead and Tom worked the grill cooking burgers and hot dogs. We had salads, fruit salad, cheese and crackers, and chips. In the end Tom and I worked most of the party filling coolers and dealing with food. We hardly got to visit with everyone so I vowed to myself that this time will be different!

 

 

 

In three weeks B will be graduating from high school and that means the party planner in me comes to life! Time to jot down lists, look at sales, start picking up items like paper plates and plasticware. The crazy thing is that I get nervous about hosting dinners and parties but I make myself do it for my family and myself. Anything out of my comfort zone prods me to grow and so I embrace the difficulty I have with it and hope someday it will be easier.

 

 

Our plan for this party is altogether different. No grill…Actually I stole this clever idea from my sister at my nephew’s graduation party last year. Barb had platters of food and salads and it was less stress without the complication of working the grill. I plan on doing assorted salads, a meat and cheese platter, veggie platter, fingerroll platter, appetizers like seven layer dip, deviled eggs, and crockpot dishes.

 

 

My sister in law, Bev gave me a great idea of hiring teenagers to work at the party. They would help serve, fill food as needed, fill soda and water coolers, and clean up after. I’ve posted a help wanted sign at school but no one has responded. A few teachers have recommended certain people and I’ll approach them to see if they are interested. The luxury of paying this person would help me relax and enjoy all our company at my son’s grad party, a special time for our family.

 

 

Does anyone have party suggestions to share with me, regarding big crowds, food, clean up, or anything that would be useful for us?  Thank you kindly.

In a future post I’ll share my centerpieces I’m making from an idea on Pinterest.

 

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

 

 

School Moments That Matter

image.jpeg

 

 

 

 

Upon entering the school door, you just never know what emotions you’ll come across that day!  There are happy beaming faces with rosy cheeks. Sometimes you will encounter somber and crying faces. Then there’s the excited gleaming children with a twinkle in their eyes. A deluge of  emotions can sometimes be packed into one school day. Sometimes a kind word and smile will fix it. Sometimes not. It’s our job to reassure children that all will be okay.

 

I can’t promise that I’ll totally fix what’s wrong or make it go away. I do know I can listen and sympathize. Then I go home and on my terms, I pray. I pray for that little one and their school career. I hope that his or her life will end up being beautiful and blessed by God. Sometimes that’s all I can do but it’s enough.

 

 

 

Just yesterday my heart swelled with love and appreciation for my job at school. Like any vocation, it has it’s tough stressful times and like others, I persevere because most of  the time I truly love what I do. At day’s end I went to the office to ” punch out” when a little boy in Kindergarten saw me and beamed the biggest smile, lighting up like a Christmas tree. ” Hi Mrs. Blowey!” That special energetic greeting uplifted me, reminding me why I do what I do at school.

 

Kindergarten students are the most excited when they see you out of your element. If shopping at Wal- mart with their parents and they see me, outstanding smiles grow and even one little boy asked me one day, ” Why are you here and not at school?” This reminds me of a book I read with some of my groups about the teacher sleeping at school. Does she sleep at her desk? Does she sleep in the gym? No, she sleeps at home in her bed!

 

It’s the moments kids come running up to you in the classroom, begging to come see me  to work. I think most of them  love being singled out, one on one attention to get work done and squeeze a little meaningful conversation as well.

 

 

 

This job is a magnificent blessing in my life, a chance to try to make a difference in a child’s day. A chance to positively affect lives in the smallest way. At the end of the day, these precious moments actually mean more than the paycheck and that’s why I work at a school.

 

Livin’ in a Small Town

 

image
One thing that I love about small towns is a dirt road and now we live at the corner of one.

 

 

 

 

 

An oldie but goody song blasted from our car radio the other day…John Cougar Mellencamp’s Small Town. I vaguely remember hearing this hit in the 80’s, having no emotions tied with it. Yet hearing it over thirty years later, it inspired me to reflect on life in a small town.

 

 

Growing up in a small town, I had the traveling itch to get out! I couldn’t wait to venture south of Franconia Notch to Boston ,where no one knew my name or story. That desire seems a commonality, the dream is to see much more and live in a bustling ,busy, exciting city. Teenagers and young graduates can’t wait to leave the quiet predictable small community and explore what the world has to offer.

 

 

 

 

Now, it has come full circle….as a young woman I recollect how everyone knew what was happening in my life and they seemed to know more about my doings then I did! Growing up and being a teenager enveloped within a small town was boring and an embarrassment! Yet, it’s funny how the older I become, the more close and dear a small town is to my heart. It doesn’t really change but we do!  I’ve evolved while an acceptance was born. That small town acceptance grew with maturity and ripened like grapes into a fine wine. The very things that disgusted and embarrassed me at a young age are the tried and true reasons I stayed in a small town!

 

 

The repeating problem is that once teenagers break free from the chains of a small community, many times they find out it’s not what they expected. At first I was excited beyond belief to live in such a busy and well known city like Boston. After time spent away, I realized that the big city lacked community ties, old dirt roads, unlocked doors, family and friends. I missed it all…realizing that my small town was enough, for everything and everyone I loved was there.That sense of belonging is something special, a part of a community.

 

My husband and I raised our sons in a small town with parents dedicated to raising wonderful human beings. Everyone knows our name and our business, but it’s okay. Livin’, Lovin’, and Stayin’ here was the best parenting option.Unlike many people who move constantly or switch towns or cities like ice cream flavors, our commitment was to create stability and establish strong roots. We wanted them to grow and love this place we call home. We taught our sons to value small towns and the people who live and love here.

 

 

 

 

 

image
Taken from thingsIloveaboutthesouth.com

 

 

 

You will find closely knit families and friends thriving in a little community, helping each other when sickness strikes or laughing together at their kids sporting events. My mother in law, Theo and I used to love going to D’s baseball games. It was fun watching the boys play and was a time to visit with friends at the small town games!

 

 

 

 

 

As I write this, my gratefulness is overwhelming…

 

for this small town has provided

 

 

 

my family and I peace and stability!

 

As we have already raised our children and they seek their place in the world…I hold grand hopes for the future of my unborn grandchildren. Possibly livin’ in a small town.

 

 

This is written in a small town that I call HOME!

All My Best,

 

Heart and Soul ❤️

 

 

Women and Their Hair & Feminity

image

 

 

 

 

Consider this….think of all the family, friends, co- workers you know and their hair attitude. Do you know of any of them who are 100 % content with their hair? I don’t. Hair is women’s nemesis and it seems that we are never truly happy with our hair! Long locks,short styles, smooth beautiful heads…hair, hair, hair.

 

 

 

My new neighbor Tammy has suggested this topic, coincidentally I have been planning to write about my change in hairstyles in a future post. While I’m growing my hair longer ( for the first time in 43 years), Tammy did just the opposite. She had her hair cut short, a radical change after having long hair. It took her a long time to do this, but now that she has acted with resolve, she’s happy with the cut. Needless to say, hair is on our minds.

 

 

 

Tammy boldly states that, “I would like to see women feel beautiful and empowered no matter what their hair style. I have a feeling many women need a reminder that hair is just that…Hair. It can grow out. There are wigs, hair extensions, etc. Why allow hair to consume so much of our time or let it affect our self esteem and confidence? ” Females cut it, curl it and dye it different colors. It’s a financial burden to upkeep their hair. Not only that, it’s an emotional drain on many.

 

image

 

 

 

Watch women on television, flip through ads in magazines or notice women at the mall. Many are defined by their hair.The problem is that society has falsely taught women that their beauty depends upon their locks and the longer it is, the better. Like other females, Tammy also believed that having long hair was more feminine.Why are so many women brainwashed that everything depends on perfect hair? ( This is an unreachable goal…there is no such thing as perfect hair.) They are taught at a young age that beautiful hair qualifies them as feminine and that is simply not true!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tammy also says with conviction, “I wish for you to express to women that long hair does not define their femininity.”Instead of teaching that perfect hair is what makes us or breaks our  feminity, let’s spread the word that feminity is found in a smile, a little laugh or a monstrous hug filled with love. It shows in a woman’s glow on their face. It lives in grace and confidence. My husband married me, when I had a short hair style. The odd thing is that he told me he prefers long hair but it must have not really mattered, for love is love. Now that I’ve grown my hair out past my shoulders, the love remains the same.

 

 

Tammy remarks, “Many struggle with no hair due to cancer.” These points are true and worth pondering over. Strong dignified women sometimes lose their hair from harsh cancer treatments. This is not only a physical battle but emotional. Because of women’s learned values concerning hair, I would surmise that it is a profound struggle to expose their loss. Yet, what I see and many other people see is that these women are stunning…without hair. Their beauty is not defined by hair, but beautifully shaped heads, powerful eyes (the windows to the soul),and  facial features like cheek bones. This deep beauty lives in their everyday strength to fight.

 

 

 

 

Let’s start a hair revolution of acceptance and love for what we have! When women peek in the mirror, Tammy and I wish for them to love their hair. If one simply can’t accept what it is, then change it! If you crave a change, take the giant leap that Tammy took, what do you have to lose( but a little hair) ? Remember that hair is simply hair…straight, curly, shoulder length or short and sassy. It doesn’t define you or how feminine you are, you do that on your very own!

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️