Everything Southern & So Cotton Pickin Cute

Monday, February 28, 2011

Re-use and Make Do - Spring Is On It's Way

We had gorgeous weather this weekend.  Highs were in the mid 80's and lows were in the 50's.  Ahhhh...Spring is here in Florida.  But typical of  Florida the chill isn't really gone we've got a cool front coming and that means the temperatures plummet back into the 69-71 range.  Yeah, I know don't hate me because y'all be laughing come June when are temps are closer to 100 and we can't walk outside for 6 months.

But while it was feelin' nice I did get a little Spring crafting done.  I've had the old wall tin sittin' in the shed for years so it was due some respect.  Here's the before.
And now for the after.  Ta-da.....
And it didn't cost me a thing.  Yippee!!  First I freshened it up by sponging a little fresh paint on the tin.  Then I went to Graphics Fairy, where I printed out this cute Fresh Strawberries label.  If you haven't ever been over to Graphics Fairy, you don't know what you're missing.  Karen is so sweet and generously shares tons of vintage and graphic images with her readers. I didn't have any color ink in my printer but I didn't let that stop me. 
I just used some colored chalk and gave it a light vintage feel.  Then went over the whole label with a sponge & a ink pad.  The flowers I gathered around the house.  Now the porch is starting to brighten up.  I probably do need to buy some Spring/Summer flowers.  These are a little Fallish but hey you have to go with what's on hand sometimes.
 Thanks Karen!!!
What did you do this weekend?  I'd love to hear about it!
Hugs....Tracy :)
*Be sure to come back tomorrow, I'll be posting a new giveaway

And the winner of the $25 Gift Card Giveaway Is......

First I'd like to thank everyone of you for coming by to join in on my Publix gift card giveaway from General Mills and MyBlogspark.

  I had a great response and you know what that means, well besides you love me, okay besides you love giveaways.
It means the more participation I receive from my readers, the more giveaways I'll be able to provide to you from generous sponsors.    I'd also like to thank General Mills and MyBlogspark for the $25 gift card for myself and one of my lucky winners.  And now what you've been waiting for, the winner is......

Laura @ Frugal Follies
True Random Number Generator 61 Powered by RANDOM.ORG
 Congratulations Laura, please be sure to email me your address at cottonpickincute@hotmail.com, so I cah pass it on to Myblogspark.
*****New Giveaway Starts Tomorrow***** 

Mommies Playground Giveaway ends soon

Here's a new giveaway I just found out about but you'll have to hurry because it ends on March 1st.  Michelle over at Mommies Playground is hosting a giveaway sponsored by D-n-D Ranch Aromas.  It's a great chance to get a fresh spring scent to freshen your home.

Just click here and please tell Michelle I sent you.  And remember to come back tomorrow.  I'll be hosting a new giveaway here.

Have a great Monday.....Tracy :)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

One Persons Trash Is My Treasure

I never have understood how someone couldn't see the beauty in these old cards.  Vintage pictures and such are a favorite of mine.  I can see how everybody might not get the 'old shabby chipped look' that I find endearing and comfortable but these colorful pages?  How can you not love them?  You just can't find cards with this kind of feel, as in the style of the art, the brilliance of the colors, anymore.  
When my next door neighbor Miss Mary passed away and they cleaned out her house earlier this year, tons and tons of stuff when out to the roadside and there I was going through the trash.  I'm hopeless.  I wouldn't have dare done this 20 years ago.  But the dive is worth the treasure. 
This was a small sampling of  what I found.  It's such a shame it wasn't taken care of better.  Miss Mary not only raised her own family in this home but it was also the home she grew up in.  And she seemed to keep everything.  
I wish I could say that I'd gotten to know her better.  I can only imagine the stories she might have had to tell.  I'm pretty sure she led a Southern debutantes life.  
I've got an upcoming giveaway this week so come back to hear more and enter it.  Oh' shoot, just come on back cause I just like to have you visit.  I've still got more giveaway wins to show you too.

What's going on with you this weekend?  I'd love to hear about it.
Miles of smiles or should it be smiles across the miles to y'all!!!!
XXX's...Tracy :)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

$25 Publix Give Card Giveaway Reminder! MIL Update

I have very few family photos with us all gathered together.  Our 2 cherished grandchildren Ki'a  with the birthday doll I made her and Zack with our fur baby Mattie.  The back row is my DIL Christal, Me, our son Ty (you can see he got my height- haa), MIL Nadine and Neil.  I love seeing everyone laughing.

What a busy day.  Neil and I just got home from the hospital.  We received a phone call this morning and Nadine's sugar was as high as 467 (normal is 72 - 100).  It was about 4 times as high as it should have been.  She has never had sugar diabetes.  This was really scary.  It's still very high but they have her on insulin and are checking her sugar every 4 hours.  It is coming down and they say they can control it.  They don't know why it shot up but it could be the feeding tube formula she is on.  They're doing tests to try and figure that out.

But on to better news....
The last few days she had gotten hard to communicate with.  Kind of glassy eyed and hazed.  Not even saying I love you and hardly responding at all.  Then last night I was really worried because we couldn't even get her to open her eyes the whole time we were there.  No response at all.  The nurse had some trouble with that this morning too.  But once they addressed the insulin issue we saw an amazing change.  This afternoon we really had a nice visit.  I had made her a mini photo album with a picture of her high school, I included a copy of her bio she wrote for her 50th graduation book, some of her wedding pictures with a copy of her marriage certificate and even notes she wrote in her wedding book about her meeting Neils dad for the first time and memories of their engagement.  I also included her house when the kids were little all the way through to girlfriends and great-grand children.  I labeled the pictures with husband, son, granddaughter, home, etc....  I was so happy to see her spending time looking at it.  She was a little confused but I think she really enjoyed it and will be spending a lot of time with it. I hope this will help her with her memory so she won't be so confused when we come and go. 
 This was taken during Halloween, duh!! When our son and his family were last home. You can see Neil and his Mom on the first row next to our precious granddaughter Ki'a.  Then Me and our sweet grandson Zack on the 2nd step.  And on the 3rd step is our one and only child Ty and our DIL Christal.

Thank each and everyone of you for your prayers.  I truly know in my heart that your prayers were heard and have lead to a miraculous difference!  Thank you Father for answered prayers and thank you all my prayer warriors.  You're all amazing and I love you.

Just a reminder.  If you haven't enter the giveaway please be sure to if you have a Publix near you or maybe a family member does that you'd like to share this with.  $25.00 at the grocery store would help anyone out.  Did you hear?  They are talking about gas being over $5.00 a gallon by May!  Unbelievable.  You can enter the giveaway here
Have a blessed and peaceful night y'all.    
Tracy :)

Have I Found My Balance?

Before you read my post I wanted to update you on my MIL's condition.  Her leg is healing very well.  The Dr. is really pleased.  Glory to God!  But unfortunately, she went back to the hospital again today.  She has pneumonia in both lungs now.  There was no sign of it until today.  I went to the hospital this evening but she never woke up while I was there. We would so much appreciate your prayers once more.
Ignore them...they're just stuck-up

I looked out the window and what should I see, but 4 birds separated by a tree.  

I love this photo.  The two birds on right came out of the water to make friends, I guess.  One looks like he's saying "what's up with them"?  And of course I picture the taller one saying something like "Oh' just ignore them, I've been here for 20 minutes and they haven't said a thing."

Poor birds.  They don't know the other two on the left of the tree are metal.  I still laugh when I look at that photo.  Which brings me to my title of this post......

Have I found my balance?  I decided that Balance was going to be my word of choice for this year, you can see that post here.  So have I?  Have I found my balance?  Well not exactly but I didn't expect to in just 2 short months.  But I haven't given up either.  I'm still working on it, searching for it each day.  I have found more time to pray.  More time for me, to just sit and read or relax.  I haven't figured out the whole diet, exercise part of balance yet.  To be honest I do a lot of day dreaming about it and not enough doing.  

Balance has always been a tough one for me because I'm sorta AADD.  My mind swirls at a hundred miles and hour.  It never wants to shut off even though I want it to.  And I tend to get bored easily.  My biggest problem right now is feeling sluggish.  That's where the diet could come in.  Whereas, I used to couldn't stop moving, now I'm having a hard time wanting to move.  I'm sleepy all the time.  I never find time for crafting, which I love by the way.  But the important thing is balancing my moods.  And I'm doing a fairly good job at that right now.  I hope to do a blog series on the changes to feeling better, that I want to make.  I'd like to do more writing and that would be as good a place to start as any.  I think this quote by the novelist Ellen Douglas says it all.......
"To be a writer, is to bear witness to all that you have seen and heard"
How many times have you wished that your Mother or Grandmother would have kept a journal of their lives?  Even the mundane can be fascinating to the next generation.  I can just imagine the stories that they would tell.

My story doesn't consist of one particular area.  I have lots of passions and many curiosities.  I love sewing, crafting, decorating, talking (you figured that, right?), saving money, turning old into something new and sweepstakes and giveaways.  I hope to share a little of it all with you. 

Remember the other day when I told you I had more giveaway wins to share?  Well, here's another.  And it fits my balance theme perfectly.  It's just what I needed to pamper myself with.  I had not heard of MOR Cosmetics before I read about Tracy's review and giveaway at Ascending Butterfly.   I was so excited when I got this message from her.  "You will receive one Dear Mr. Patridge Limited Edition Gift Set from MOR Cosmetics! ARV $48!".The scent is  "Cinnamon and Clove" which I love.  It's such a warm scent, perfect for those nice fall/winter evenings.  And look at the beautiful tin it was packaged in.  This is a 5 Star collection and I'm lovin' it!
Inside is a huge bar of triple milled soap, which makes it last longer.  And the way it's going, I'm going to still be working on this one bar until September.  It leaves a really soft scent after you shower.  Then there's the really rich and lush scented hand cream that I have on my bedside table but it's the perfect size for your purse.  And oh' my goodness..........the candle is fabulous!  I'm not kidding.  It's in a tin of it's own and the smell is awesome.  It's not one of those dinky candles that smell good when you sniff them but doesn't smell at all when you light them.  The wax is so silky creamy you could actually rub it in and feel the oils.  OOHH, wouldn't a warm hand wax with this leave your hands silky and smelling oh' so good?

You may think I'm silly but I really wish I could get a roll of the paper they wrapped the soap in.  It's gorgeous too!!!  Embossed with gold in a partridge in a pear tree motif, I'm really wanting to wrap all my gifts with it.  Maybe even frame it.  Laugh if you will, but see if you don't feel the same way if you get a set of this.
So thanks again Tracy for hosting the generous giveaway.  Click on her name above or here to visit her blog.  She's as sweet as can be and has a great blog full of giveaways, fashion and more.  This candle and lotion sit right next to my bed and make me feel pampered which is the first step in feeling balanced.  Also thanks to MOR Cosmetics for generously sponsoring Tracy's giveaway.  I'm definitely a new fan!!!

Hope y'all find time to pamper yourselves some too.  We all need it and 15 minutes out of a 24 hour day is not too much to devote on you!     Big hugs....Tracy :)

Disclaimer - I was not paid or asked in anyway  to write this post.  It's just how much I loved the product I was lucky enough to win.  Transparency is everything!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tulips Make Me Swoon and EWW What A Display Vase

Do I consider myself lucky?  Do I consider myself blessed?  Am I thankful?  Do I work at it?  In one simple word:

Yes to all of the above.  

I do consider myself lucky to have been the winner of Heidi's first giveaway from "Show Some Decor" giveaway winner. You should go check out her blog here and also go take a look at the many gorgeous items she sells with her "Willow House" business here.  You'll love her blog because it's just fun and full of great decorating items.  And she's such a loving, caring person that you're sure to like.

I just love this bowl!

"Isn't this vase gorgeous?  When I first saw it, I fell in love with it.  And this is no little vase either.  It measures 61/2" diameter x 14" tall and holds 10 cups.  Now that makes a statement.  I love the simple elegant shape that stands out in a room.  I can think of a dozen different uses for it too.  Not only would it display any cut flower beautifully but think of  how pretty a display of crocus' growing in pebbles would be.  Christmas, well that's pretty obvious ~ beautiful Christmas ornaments.  Filled with acorns or pine-cones it whispers fall.  How about filling it with miniature pumpkins and gourds for Thanksgiving, or even a candle tucked in a bed of candy corn.  What about a candle nestled in anything from wonderful smelling coffee beans, pebbles, sea glass or even jelly beans for Easter.    

Oh', I've just inspired myself to go do something beautiful with it.  Now I just need to decide where to put it.  The counter, the table.  Maybe I should just spoil myself and enjoy it's beauty in our bedroom or even the bath.  Oh' Woo, what about filling it with Robin's Egg blue speckled soap eggs., or bath salts with a scope.  Oh' I really have to go and get busy!

Share some spring inspiration with me.  I'd love to see what you've done lately and I always love to read your comments.  So tell me what you've been up to so I can come and check it out.

Wishing you all a week of joy......Tracy :)

BTW - does anyone know the correct spelling for EEEWWW  (pronouned like ooey gooy good)?

Oh' Goody...A Giveaway and Help Someone Too!

Would you like to help this little Cutie- Patootie go to college?  I know you would.  And it's as simple as the click of the mouse.  But you'd better hurry this baby girl is already to go there now.  Please take a moment to stop by Keke's @ Cherry Kingdom and read about how simple it is to vote for this young woman's essay on facebook and help her kick off her life into adulthood.  

Not only will you be helping this sweet-pea but you get a chance to win some amazing blog candy at "The Big I Love You Giveaway" from Keke herself!  Surely, you can't resist that.  You'll be bless just by getting to know Keke, she has a heart of gold and a spirit of a really old soul.  Just click here.

Hugs and good luck y'all.......Tracy :)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Life Application Study Bible

It was the nicest weekend here.  The weather was in the mid to high 70's and Neil and I both spent some much needed time in the yard.  Neil climbed up on the roof to blow it off.  A job both of us had been putting off.  I used to get up there and do it and Neil said he's afraid I would hurt myself.  Boy, what a change.  I remember when he wouldn't have gave it a second thought.  He said he was a little scared to get up there anymore too.  He did slip one time.  OOOOHHHHH - that is scary, I've done that.  It's a tall roof, that would definitely be a hospital visit.

You can see how hard I worked, in the picture above?  Just kidding,  I did get out there and do some old fashion clean up.  Nothing to show off pictures of.  Anyway, Neil saw me and snapped this photo.  And I thought well if I'm gonna share it, I want a better picture to share.  And this was better then my book on a table picture anyway.
 I was the lucky winner of  Jenni's giveaway @ My Corner of the Universe! I won a gift certificate for the Life Application Study Bible.  I was thrilled to win too, because I;ve been wanting a study bible for so long.  I wasn't expecting it to be as big as it was.  Since Jenni sent me the gift certificate I went to the Family Christian Bookstore to pick it up myself.  I love that store.  They always have the cutest things and I end up staying in there forever.  

The study bible has so much information in it.  There have been so many times that I've wanted to have a better understanding of what I was reading.  The only thing I can say that's at all negative is that because it has so much information the writing is a little small and I would probably buy the larger one.   Also this one is paperback and if I was purchasing one I would've gotten the leather/faux leather one.  Don't get me wrong, I am in NO way looking a gift horse in the mouth.  This was another of many answered prayers for me.  Something I have really wanted for a long time.  This version of the book is around $26.00.

Thank you again Jenni for hosting the giveaway and thank you Tyndale Publishing for sponsoring it.  I will be using this daily for MANY years to come!

I've been so lucky or blessed over the past few months but with our lives being so busy at the hospitals I haven't gotten to share them.  So this week I'm going to fix that.  Don't go being jealous now, I still haven't won a car.

Have a wonderful blessed Sunday Y'all!  XXOO's....Tracy :)

P.S.  Don't forget to enter my Publix $25 gift card giveaway here.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Take Time...

Take time to pray....it helps to bring God near and washes the dust of earth from your eyes.

Take time for friends....it is the road to happiness.
Take time for work....it is the price of success.
Take time to think....it is the source of power.
Take time to read....it is the foundation of knowledge.
Take time to laugh....it is the singing that helps with life's loads.
Take time to dream....it hitches the soul to the stars.
Take time to play....it is the secret of youth.
Take time to worship....it is the highway to reverence.
                                        ~ Author Unknown
Y'all be blessed on this day.  OOO"s....Tracy :)

P.S.  Don't forget to enter my $25 Publix Gift Card Giveaway here.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Italian Days at Publix and a $25 Gift Card Giveaway


You'd be laughing right now if you could hear my Southern accent and I'm not talking about Southern Italy either.  Being a G.R.I.T.S. (girl raised in the south) we didn't do a lot of Italian cooking in our family.  I didn't even like pizza until I was about 13.  Oh' but how I love it now.  We just finish one for dinner.  I have to add pineapple to my side.  Kinda takes away from the Italian doesn't it, oh well.

And as far as shopping being a pleasurable experience, well it always is at Publix.  The Publix stores are always the brightest and cleanest stores to shop in.  Publix is the closet store to my house and the employees really get to know you when you are in there regularly.  The staff is friendly and courteous, always ready to greet you.  

The reason I'm bring this up is Now though March 2nd, Publix is celebrating "Italian Days at Publix"!  What does this mean for you and me.  In one word "SAVINGS".  You'll want to visit your local Publix to take advantage of the great savings on some of your favorite brands such as Progresso, Green Giant, Pillsbury, Muir Glen and Totino's, and save $5 when you purchase 20 participating products.

While visiting Italian Days at Publix, you can also enter the Publix Italian Days Sweepstakes, sponsored by General Mills, for a chance to win one of four grand prizes of $10,000 worth of free groceries or one of 200 $100 Publix gift cards being given as prizes.

There are three easy ways to enter for a chance to win the Sweepstakes. Enter via phone, mail or at ClickCallMail.com – a convenient one-stop website, where you’ll also be able to download great coupon savings on some of your favorite General Mills brands and other great offers from Publix.

Here’s how it works:
  1. Click – Stay up to date with the latest General Mills promotions happening at Publix by visiting ClickCallMail.com. Once you’re registered and logged in, you can participate in any current promotions.
  2. Call – If you’d prefer to enter the sweepstakes and participate in other promotions via telephone, feel free to call the General Mills/Publix hotline, at 1.800.627.6059, and be sure to say that you want to enter the Publix Italian Days Sweepstakes. Please be sure to provide your complete contact information (Full name/address/zip code/phone #).
  3. Mail – If you prefer to participate via mail-in entry, print and mail your complete contact information (Full Name/address/zip code/phone #) to P.O. Box 43425 Atlanta, GA 30336 and be sure to write “Publix Italian Days Sweepstakes” on the outside of the envelope.
General Mills, though MyBlogSpark, has provided me and one of my readers with a $25 Publix gift card to help us prepare our own Italian feast.

Here's how you can win your own $25 Publix gift card:
  • Leave a comment sharing you own money saving tip(s) when you shop for groceries or anything else for that matter.  Be sure to leave your email or a way to contact you if you win.  (Mandatory entry)

For bonus entries you can do any or all of the below:

  • Become a follower and let me know.  If you're already a follower that counts too. (2 entries - please leave 2 comments)
  • Follow me on Facebook  (3 entries - please leave 3 separate comments)
  • Follow me on Twitter (3 entries - don't forget separate comments for each)
  • Write a blog post about this giveaway or add it to your sidebar (3 entries - again, separate comments)
  • Tweet about this giveaway. (Up to three times a day with at least an hour between post) (2 entries)
This giveaway begins February 17th and ends February 25th, midnight EST.  The winner will be selected randomly using Random.org.

Thank you to General Mills and MyBlogSpark for providing myself and the winner of my giveaway a $25.00 Publix gift card each.  The opinions are my own.  Transparency is everything!

Good Luck & Ciao Bella,
Tracy ;)

Monday, February 14, 2011

What Does Love Mean To 4-8 Year Olds? Part 3


Today is the last installment of  What does love mean to 4-8  year olds?  If you haven't read the first two, you can see them here.

  • "I know my sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones"
                                      Lauren - Age 4

  • "When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you"(what an image)
                                      Karen - Age 7

  • "Love is when Mommy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn't think it's gross"
                                      Mark - Age 6

  • "You really shouldn't say "I love you" unless you mean it.  But, if you mean it, you should say it a lot.  People forget.
                                      Jessica - Age 8

And the final one:

  • A four year old child whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentlemen who had recently lost his wife.  Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman's yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there.  When his Mother asked what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy, said, "Nothing, I just helped him cry."

God Bless The Little Children

Wishing you all the love your heart can hold this Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

What Does Love Mean to 4-8 Year Olds? Part 2

Happy Sunday y'all.  Here are 5 more quotes from 4-8 years old about the meaning of love.  If you didn't see the first post you can click here to read their cute comments.    And the pictures....well the first is a goody filled matchbox I created for a Valentine swap last year.  The other 2 are of aprons that I created that have that Valentine feel.   I hope you enjoy them.
  • "During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared.  I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling.  He was the only one doing that. I wasn't scared anymore."                                                                                                               Cindy - Age 8      

  •  "My mommy loves me more than anybody.  You don't see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night."                            
                                Clare - Age 6
  • "Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken." 
                                  Elaine - Age 5
  • "Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford."
                               Chris - Age 7

  • "Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day."
                              Mary Ann - age 4

Wishing you all love and joy.  Big hugs....Tracy :)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

What Does Love Mean To a 4-8 Year-Old?

I received the sweetest Valentine in the mail.  Don't you just love the Pinkness of it all!  Sweet Viv from Viv Out On A Whim sent this cutie to me.  Making me just grin with joy and feeling all special inside, to be remembered like that.  

I love the ME illustration she used and the vellum paper she layered in between.  I have loved vellum ever since I was a young girl and my Mother bought me a monogrammed stationary set made of rice paper.  It's so dainty and sweet.   

Isn't that the cutest phrase "Don't you "Carrot" all for me, Valentine?  Too, too cute!  Thank you Viv!

I found this post in "Shades of Pink Magazine" and thought I'd share a little each day through Valentines day.

What Love Means to a 4-8 year old!
A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4-8 year-old's, "What does love mean?"

The answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined.  See what you think:

  • "Love is what makes you smile when you're tired."
                                                   Terri - age 4

  • "Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy annd she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK."
                                                    Danny - age 7

  • "Love is when you kiss all the time.  Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more.  My Mommy and Daddy are like that.  They look gross when they kiss."  
                                                     Emily - age 8      

  • "Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen."
                                                    Bobby - age 7 (WOW!)

  • "If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate."
                                                    Nikka - age 6 (we need a few million more Nikka's on this planet)
  • Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everday."
                                                    Noelle - age 7
  • "Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well."
                                                    Tommy - age 6

Isn't love just grand, especially though the innocent eyes of a child?  I Hope y'all are having a sweet Valentine's weekend.  Come back tomorrow to read a few more.  And remember I love y'all and my sweet tooth craves your comments!
Tracy :)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Valentine's Day Banner

I've done zero decorating for Valentines Day but I did manage to make a few pennant banners for my family.  I was sure to take a quick picture before sending them off in the mail.  I made this one for my grandson Zack and Granddaughter Ki'a (top photos).  I also made one this size for my MIL's room at the nursing home, I did glitter her hearts though. 

Good news by the way, they released her from the hospital and sent her back to the nursing home yesterday.  She is the strongest woman I know.  She still doesn't know or ask about the surgery.  Which I'm grateful for.  She said the sweetest thing to Neil tonight when he went to visit her.  It's really hard to understand her but she grinned at him really big and was moving her hands around, kind of in front of his face and said you're just perfect, everything about you.  Your eyes, face.  

I thank our Lord for moments like that.  She had said some very harsh things living here with the Alzheimers.  Things I know she would have never said in her right mind.  I'm so glad that she is able to say these kind things now, for Neil to remember always.  I know it touched him so much.  You could tell how proud he was when he came home and told me.
I also made 3 more smaller versions of these for my Nieces and Nephews.  They were so easy and fun.  I found the tutorial at Very Merry Vintage Style.  You can click here to print a set for yourself.  Mary is just the cutest thing and has generously given her readers permission to to print them.  She has several tutorials and blogging tips.  I hope you go by and visit her and let her know I sent you if you do.

Now go make a banner for someone you love or even better ~ you!  Hugs.....Tracy :)

Forever Decorating's Having a Giveaway

I'm spreading the news.  Uh oh' I feel like I'm fixing to break into song again, New York, New York.  Okay Tracy, get a grip.

Isn't this the most romantic pillow?  Terry from Forever Decorating is having a giveaway to celebrate over 200 followers and over 52,500 visitors to her blog in less than 3 months.  Wow,  that really says something, doesn't it.  

Terry has a beautiful home that she loves to decorate.  Her talent is obvious in this beautiful pillow that she made and now one lucky reader can be the new owner of it.  I hope it's me, I hope it's me.  Oh' what the heck one more time for good measure - I hope it's me!  But if it can't be me, maybe it could be you.  You just have to promise to come back and tell me if you won.  Okay, promise.

So if you'd like to enter just click here and be sure to read her instructions before entering.  Good luck y'all.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I'm Glad I Didn't Miss the Dance

I must be on a song roll this month because I've got another one to share with you today.  Do you remember Garth Brooks song "The Dance"?  I know this song was written about a romantic couples time together but I have a little different spin on it.  Whenever I hear this song I think about both my Mama and Daddy.  Take a minute to read the words and I'll explain.

The Dance by Garth Brooks

Looking back on the memory of
The dance we shared 'neath the stars alone
For a moment all the world was right
How could I have known that you'd ever say goodbye

And now I'm glad I didn't know

The way it all would end the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance I could have missed the pain
But I'd have had to miss the dance

Holding you I held everything

For a moment wasn't I a king
But if I'd only known how the king would fall
Hey who's to say you know I might have changed it all

And now I'm glad I didn't know

The way it all would end the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance I could have missed the pain
But I'd have had to miss the dance

Yes my life is better left to chance

I could have missed the pain but I'd have had to miss the dance
My parents both have had birthdays this month.  Mama's is on Feb 18th and Daddy's is on Feb 23rd.  
I lost Mama in January 1987.  I was only 26.  It was such a shock and unbelievably painful.  Which I know it is for anyone any age.  I found her on the kitchen floor and though it doesn't hurt as bad I can still see her face so clearly at that moment.
Daddy died the very next year in March almost 14 months later.  Another find and another shock.  How could this have happened.  What was most painful was that the night before I told him that Ty and I were planning on moving into an apartment.  He was really upset about that.  The next morning he didn't wake us up like usual.  I found him in bed.  He was gone.

My life was a blur of pain after that.  I was a wreck.  I felt like an orphan.  Ty lost the Grandparents that, as he said in his own words, were like losing a second mom and dad.  He was only 8 years old.  I was a kid who always had my parents to come back too and here he was left with me and I'm sure thinking what will happen without Grandma and Granddaddy.  They made life so safe for both of us.  

My sister Joni lived in Atlanta with her 3 young children but it was the same for her.  Mama and Daddy were always there, always safe and protecting, always taking care of us.

I'm so grateful that God doesn't share his life plan with us.  I just know if he would have, I would have pulled back for fear of the pain.  I would have missed The Dance.  

Thank you Lord for giving me their undying love for the time I had it.  I am who I am because I didn't know the pain to come and I was able to love fully and deeply.

Now I smile when I think of The Dance.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

From Humble Beginnings - Part 2

Hi y'all.  Hope it was another fun weekend for you.  It was wet and cold here but the sun's gonna shine tomorrow.  Yippee!

Okay are your braced and ready for more scary pictures?  We're gonna take a look at the inside today and a little more of the outside.  If you didn't see part 1, you can click here to read it.  I thought this house was built in the mid 1920's but it was actually more like 1919 Neil said.   
He was married to his first wife when he bought this house in the 1982.  They were a young couple with a beautiful much newer brick home in a very nice area.  She cried when he told her they were moving here.  Cried a lot!  Luckily they were both very hard workers and made lots of changes before divorcing.  

He kept the house and stayed awhile.  He did end up building a new house a few years later with much less yard in a nice neighborhood with a homeowners association which was perfect for his now single lifestyle.  He let his mother live here for awhile and when she married (we were dating by then), he rented the home out.  It was a very rustic lake cabin look by then.  All the holes were gone and it was a nice home but not our dream home.  Being on a large piece of waterfront property in a really peaceful old, nicer neighborhood we knew we both wanted to move back and make changes.

So let's start this tour by arriving by boat.  This is the home when Neil first purchased it.  It's at the dead end of the street.  If you were to arrive by car you would drive up on the right of the picture and drive between the dock and the front of the house.

See the little front porch it has now been enclosed and is an office.  Neil actually had a house mover pick up the house and turn it so that the enclosed porch/office is on the left now.  He and Ellen wrapped it with cedar much like you'd expect a lake cabin to be.  After we moved back to the house it needed a new roof.  The beautiful tin roof was unable to be saved plus he built a wrap around porch that I'd always wanted so we wouldn't have been able to match the tin tiles.  This house just screamed for a porch and it made a huge difference.

The old fireplace was demolished and is now the back of the house.  

Below is a picture of the before living room.  It was 4 rooms back then and now we have made it into one large room.  I don't believe there is a wall or ceiling that hasn't been demolished in this old house.  And I'm not talking about when Neil and Ellen first remodeled it.  I'm talking about what we have done on our own since we moved back.  She and Neil had sheet rocked over all the plaster walls but we wanted different changes.  

So I learned how to handle a sledge hammer and between the two of us we had constant demolition going on for years.  The walls and lathe and wire mesh with cement behind the sheet rock.  This was an incredibly dirty project.  I had muscles like you couldn't believe.  I shoveled outdoor trash cans full and pulled them outside down the steps and dumped them into the wheel barrel.  Then I rolled them to the street.  No we didn't have a big dumpster.  I'm sure the trash collector hated us for years.  We were so filthy at the end of the long, long days and hated the thought of getting up just to do it all over again.

Now mind you Neil had never worked construction.  He taught himself and he did an excellent job.  We've had contractors tell us we've done a better job than we would have gotten by hiring someone. 

 The living room now measures approximately 20 ft x 30 ft.

After many  years of remodeling we had the original living room and kitchen hardwood floors refinished.  We tore out the hall was that separated the tiny kitchen and the tiny bath.  The kitchen has the wooden floors and we tiled the dining room floors. 

The photo below shows a portion of what is now our Master bedroom.  We've taken this house from a 4 (teeny-tiny bedrooms) bedroom to a one bedroom.  Although another extension has been started and halted temporarily.   The floor plan is much more open and spacious now.  Our bedroom is about 18 ft x 20 ft not including the separate bath and separate closet.

How is this for a kitchen?

How the family that built this house could have ever raised a family in it, I'll never know.  The owners had owned a printing company and we found lots of old payroll stubs and paperwork in the attic.

The door in the above picture was in the kitchen and the 2 windows to the left of it were over the sink.  Really this room had no storage and no space.  See the old decorative tin tile roof.

Now from the dream kitchen we'll walk across the hall to the only bath.  Isn't this your dream bath?  It even had a pull chain toilet with the wooden tank up high on the wall and a tiny shower.

The window in the photo below actually faces the river since the house has been turned.  We added 2 floor to ceiling windows there and it's now a beautiful dining room.

One more look at the outside before it was moved.

Well are you ready?  Here is the outside before it was finished completely.  This was done years ago and maybe if I get my yard halfway back to nice, I'll take new pictures this summer.

The house originally sat more on the lot to the left.  So we have a big side as well.  The front door was moved from the left side which was the porch to the new front of the house. We of course didn't lay the bricks our self.  The workers standing on the scaffolding are in front of our bedroom section.  We added all new windows but since then added even one more up front in the old bath new dining room section. That's just to the left of the bedroom on the front porch.  We've since added a new door as well.

This goes to show you that anything can be turned into something beautiful.  I'm not saying I would tackle something this big again.  I'm to old for that, but I love the feel of an old house.  It has character that our new house didn't.  We're not finish and I honestly can't say we ever will be but come back and we'll take a peek at the new addition.

I'm glad I posted these photo's because honestly I get so discouraged sometimes and forget how far we've come and how hard we've worked.

Have a blessed day!!!  OOXX's...Tracy :)