Sunday, January 20, 2013

Pink Scarf Project at 2BagsFull

I have just read about a special project that truly warmed my heart! I don't even know the blogger's name as this is the first time I've visited her blog, 2 Bags Full, but I am genuinely impressed by her talent and thoughtfulness! In her words:

"The statistics are horrifying~~
It is estimated that over 230,000 women were diagnosed with breast cancer during this past year. Ninety-five percent of these cases occurred in women 40 years of age and older. As horrid as those numbers are, they are an improvement over the previous year. And those numbers are an improvement over the year before -- thanks to increased awareness, better detection methods, and remarkable new treatments.
to participate
in my
"Pink Scarf Project."
Simply stated - it has only one goal~
To bring a smile to the face of a woman who is fighting her own battle with breast cancer".
Image From 2BagsFull

This wonderful undertaking is being held at 2 Bags Full and is running from October 2012 to October 2013. This gives everyone time to make or purchase a scarf or scarves and send to the designated address contained in the blog post.

Please click on the link above or the button on my sidebar and consider participating in this oh so worthy event! I don't knit, crochet or barely sew, but I'm going to figure out how to make something special! I'm sure that with all of the lovely, talented folks in bloggerville, we can donate fabulous scarves that will not only warm a woman's body, but her soul as well.

Thank you so much for stopping by! I really appreciate your visits and comments! Have a wonderful day!

Hugs, Leena
Click for more info and to participate

Friday, January 18, 2013

Silver Tray Chalk Board

I made this chalk board a while ago and never posted about it, but since I heard that Donna over at Funky Junk Interiors was having a chalk board themed linky and it's Friday night, I want to parrrrrrrr-ty! Click the above link and join us! I'm bringing nachos!

I love using chalk board paint on lots of surfaces - metal, wood, paper, fabric, ceramic - the ideas are endless! One of my favorite uses is for silver plated trays. I have a real "thing" for these lovely serving pieces and expanding their use by making something utilitarian like a chalk board out of them really appeals to me! I thought that this large round tray with its neat handles was the perfect canvas! I painted the chalk board paint around the center circle, leaving the rim to show off its patina. Then, just because everything is better if it sparkles, I glued "rhinestones" all around the perimeter - bling bling!

I painted on three coats, letting each dry before applying the next, to make sure I got full coverage. If the piece you're working on has a little engraving on it, don't worry. The chalk paint will partially cover that and it won't interfere with its use. You'll be able to write on it just fine!

Once the painting was complete, I tied a black ribbon to a piece of chalk and hung it from one of the handles. I was really excited over the way it turned out!

This piece was sold a while ago, but I'm working on new ones! After all, I have to have one for myself, right? Plus, now that I've seen all the colors available, how can I resist? I wonder if it comes in PINK?

Thank you so much for stopping by! Have a wonderful weekend!
Hugs, Leena

Sharing with: Funky Junk Interiors - Saturday Night Special, Charming Chalkboards!

Shabbyfufu Ruffled Throw Give Away!

The wonderfully talented and creative Janet Coon at Shabbyfufu is generously offering not one, but TWO of her gorgeous ruffled throws to TWO lucky winners! Color of your choice too! These throws have a retail value of $45.00 and are SO BEAUTIFUL! Just click the link above to enter. Hurry, winners will be chosen on or before midnight, February 1st! Give away open worldwide! Hugs and Good Luck, Leena

Romantic Valentine's Day Project

A few years ago, I wanted to give Jim something special for Valentine's Day. Not knowing what to buy, I resorted to my favorite thing - creating something special just for him.

I started with a clear glass plate from the craft store. Plates like this are made to hold candles. You can also use a clear pie plate or dinner plate from a thrift shop. Then, pick out a pretty paper for your accents, one for the background and another for your border. I chose a textured beige pattern for my background, roses for my accents and a tone on tone burgundy for the border.
Lay your plate right side up on your background paper, then trace around the center of the plate (not the outer edge). Cut out the circle. Next, with your accent paper, cut out a variety of flowers or whatever is featured and dry place them on the background until you know where you want them. Using Mod Podge, adhere the accents to the background paper circle. Now you have open spaces to write your messages and phrases.
I used a Sharpie and wrote little expressions of love, in a variety of styles and on different angles in the open spaces. Anything that means something to you and your mate will do - just let your heart be your guide. When finished, allow the ink to dry, then you can Mod Podge the background with the attached accents and writing, onto the bottom of your plate, so that it shows through when the plate is placed right-side up.
The last step is to randomly tear up your border paper and Mod Podge it to the underside of the plate's rim. The rim size will vary depending upon what type of plate you choose. Play around with it and make it your own special creation!
Jim's plate is displayed in our bedroom on a small easel. You could also attach a plate hanger for wall display. Enjoy!

Hugs, Leena

Sharing with: FrenchCountry Cottage - Feathered Nest Friday
                      Funky Junk Interiors - Link Up Your Crafts, Sewing, Cooking
                      Fox Hollow/DebbieDoo's - Valentine Linky Party

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Today's Smile

Yay! After 5 or more gloomy, grey, chilly, rainy, just plain yucky days, I noticed something strange outside the window this morning; SUNSHINE! It was such a welcomed site! I was so excited, I lifted my face up towards its warm rays and basked in them for a few minutes. Then the clouds came back. We're supposed to get more rain this afternoon and possibly a little snow. That's OK because for a few glorious moments, we once again saw the sun!
It may seem like such a little thing, but these are the ones that often bring the most joy! I hope you are having a bright, sunshiny day, even if only on the inside!
Thanks for stopping by! Hugs, Leena

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Dogs Make The Cutest Vacuum Cleaners

I've had dogs my entire life, up until last June. That was when my last fur-baby, Sullivan, crossed over the Rainbow Bridge at the age of 16. Looking back at all of them - Sullivan, Gilbert, Molly, Riley, Seanmus, Shoshoni, Tashi, Jeff II and the original Jeff (my parents got him before any of us were born), they all seem to have one thing in common; they were really cute and efficient vacuum cleaners!

Jamison and Gilbert hanging out by the kitchen table
While preparing to vacuum the carpet underneath the kitchen table recently, I crawled under it in search of Legos and other toys that I did not want to run over. I did find some Legos, and socks, one of Abigail's headbands, a couple of french fries, a cracker, a shoe, a piece of a hot dog and some gooey stuff that I believe used to be yogurt. Now, before you get all grossed out, and you're entitled to (I sure did! Blech!) we usually don't eat dinner with my daughter and the grand babes, but you'd think that somebody, "SOMEBODY", would clean up afterwards, right? Apparently not. Anyway, it made me wonder why it was such a mess under there. Then, thwapp! I get it! It's because the dogs always cleaned up! In fact, they stood guard, just waiting for something to go airborne so they could pounce on it and gobble it up. It really didn't matter what it was - meat, cheese, veggies, fruit - they went after it all. Poor Abigail's dinner fell victim more times than not, once Sullivan realized she was an easy target. It was kind of funny, but I always felt badly for her, as she'd cry, "The doggie ate my food!".

Sullivan attempting to snag some mac-n-cheese from baby Abigail
I can't recall a time when I cooked dinner without a dog wedged between my feet and the cabinets, hoping I'd drop some yummy treat. When we had the three cockers, one would take up that position while the others flanked my legs. Jim used to love feeding them spaghetti. He'd take a long piece and dangle it until one of them stood upright and slurped it up. It was like having a big furry fish on the line! Wish I had a video of that. It was pretty amusing.
Three Three Mooches - Molly, Gilbert, Sullivan
So now, when I drop something and I immediately think that the dog will get it, I have to remind myself that we no longer have a cute vacuum cleaner. I have to pick up after myself. Where's the fun in that? Oh, and on a side note? I've laid down the law to the others as well. You drop it, you pick it up! Capisch?

Thanks for dropping by today! Hugs, Leena

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Today's Smile

When the grand babies got home tonight, they were so cute! Abigail, hugging her teddy bear announced, "MeeMaw! Bears eat fish!" Jamsion, seeing Jim sitting at kitchen table, silently slid onto his lap, snuggled into his chest and continued to play an Angry Bird type game on his mom's phone. It's the same game but with the pigs being flung instead of the birds. I can't recall the name, Pissed Off Pork or something? LOL! Just kidding! I love how Jamison does that. He never says a word, just side slides onto your lap and snuggles. It's like he knows that he's always welcomed to sit with one of us, which, of course, he is! Then Abigail set to work baking Play Doh clocklit (her version of chocolate) brownies, chatting away constantly. She talks....a lot....loudly. She chatters and chatters and when she says something that she thinks is funny, she does this little sarcastic raspy laugh. SHe just tickles the heck out of me! Meanwhile, Jamison squeeled that he'd completed Level 3! I think that's the bacon level - kidding again. Lastnight, Jamison and I built some kind of Star Wars Lego space ship thing. It has this monkey-lizard looking guy that sits on it. I'm not up on all these creatures, characters and critters, I just build them.

They both just warm my heart and I love spending time with them. Simple little pleasures that bring the warmest smiles! Hope your day is filled with smiles too!  Hugs, Leena

Monday, January 7, 2013

How I Used 2012's Word and New Word For 2013!

(Picture loading is not working, but this is long enough already)

Several weeks ago, I began attempting to come up with a word for the coming year; something that would represent me and my goals, something that would motivate me, inspire me, keep me going on rough days and remind me to remain grounded. While I came up with many contenders, nothing really "spoke" to me. Nothing really said "this is you in 2013!" So, the search went on.

I began reflecting upon 2012's word, BELIEVE. That was an easy one. I was starting many new phases of growth and development in my life and needed a lot of self-confidence and reassurance. Boy, did I ever underestimate the importance of that one simple word! Little did I know how much I would draw upon it; how much of my heart and soul I would place into the confidence of it; how much I would really NEED to BELIEVE!

January was fairly normal - some after Christmas thrifting, Jim's Giants won the Super Bowl, I was posting about regular life with the grand babies, furniture, daily smiles, the usual. Towards the end of February, everything changed. You can read the full story HERE. Basically, my wonderful husband, Jim, suddenly became very ill, required surgery to amputate one of his toes and a portion of his foot and our entire life changed from that point! I had to believe that Jim would make it through surgery and recover well. I had to believe that his health would not be adversely affected by this surgery and that psychologically, he would deal with the amputation positively. I had to believe that the long months of recovery and all that it entailed; the incredibly busy schedule filled with visiting nurses, dozens upon dozens of doctor appointments, visits to the wound center, follow-up x-rays, MRI's and other tests, would be handled well by both of us. I had to believe in myself and my ability to manage Jim's diet, medications and home care of his wound, as well as keeping him upbeat on days when he struggled. I had to believe that this would be the only surgery he would require and that he would be able to drive again and return to work and "normal" life.

In July, my word was given the ultimate test, as, once again, infection had settled into Jim's right foot and another toe had to be removed. While this surgery was not to be as severe as the previous one, and the recovery period was promised to be much shorter, our hopes were dashed and we started all over. Again, I believed, and everything seemed to be going well with his recovery. However, now other hurdles arose. When Jim was placed on long-term disability through his employer, his salary was cut to 60%. I had to believe that our increased expenses including appointment and medication co-payments would not exceed our decreased income. I had to believe that, when they did, we would still be able to pull things together. I had to believe in myself, in my ability to earn some type of income through Internet and local sales which allowed me the freedom to provide Jim with transportation and care. I had to believe that we could cut back on some things, on ANYthing that would make even a minute difference. I had to believe in my prayers, in my faith, that we would be brought through this whole and that I was worthy to make these frequent requests for assistance.

About a month after Jim's second surgery, the tests continued. We were elated the day that the stitches were removed and thought that finally, the road to recovery was within our grasp! Unfortunately, two days later, we noticed that Jim's foot was draining. Why would a healed foot drain? It wouldn't. There was a pocket underneath the bottom of his foot, that was hollow back to the bone - the perfect environment for infection to settle in, which it has. As of now, it is limited to tissue, and he's been on antibiotics to prevent infection of the bone. For the third time, our routine of home nurses, doctor appointments and wound care began. By now, we were so frustrated, so disappointed and just short of breaking. My heart broke for Jim and all he was going through. Depression set in and I had to believe that I could rise above it and keep him going through humor, love and comfort. I no longer prayed - I literally begged! I had to believe that my hidden tears would mean something, that my late-night conversations with God were being listened to. I HAD to believe! There was nothing else I could do.

We continue on this path as healing is slow. We do not know what the future will bring, so I hang on to my 2012 word like the valuable possession and resource that it is. I've added my 2013 word to it, as its partner. My new word is: Undaunted. Definition: Courageously resolute, especially in the face of danger or difficulty; not discouraged. Synonyms include bold, fearless, gallant, gutsy, intrepid, brave, determined, resolute, plucky, undeterred, spunky, impetuous and unafraid. So first, I have to believe that I can be all of these things, then I have to remain undaunted, no matter what. I have to push us both daily, trust that Jim will be whole again and never say never. No looking back, only forward. Once I chose this new word for this new year, the lyrics to "To Dream The Impossible Dream" came to mind. They have several times since.

"To dream ... the impossible dream ...
To fight ... the unbeatable foe ...
To bear ... with unbearable sorrow ...
To run ... where the brave dare not go ...
To right ... the unrightable wrong ...
To love ... pure and chaste from afar ...
To try ... when your arms are too weary ...
To reach ... the unreachable star ...

This is my quest, to follow that star ...
No matter how hopeless, no matter how far ...
To fight for the right, without question or pause ...
To be willing to march into Hell, for a Heavenly cause ...

And I know if I'll only be true, to this glorious quest,
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm,
when I'm laid to my rest ...
And the world will be better for this:
That one man, scorned and covered with scars,
Still strove, with his last ounce of courage,
To reach ... the unreachable star"

So there's my new word and why I chose it. I apologize if this was too heavy for some and too long for others. I felt that how I used my 2012 word and the connection of the two words were important to explain and I really did try to keep it as short and sweet as possible. Thank you so much for baring with me. The bright side, and I always look for one - I am still smiling, I am still thankful, Jim and I are still an extremely strong team and I undauntedly believe that we will get through this!
Hugs, Leena

Linking to: Silver Pennies:Word Of The Year Linky Party

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

 I'd like to thank all of you who take the time to read my posts and those who leave your sweet comments! Your kinds words keep me inspired and motivated and mean so very much to me! I also want to thank all who share of themselves within their own blogs. I have learned many things, met some absolutely wonderful people (hope to meet you in person one day too!) and have had a great time reading, laughing, sharing, admiring, supporting - just all around spreading the love and sharing our passion for what we do and how we live. It's been a blast and I can't tell you how much I enjoy all of your posts and comments! Linky parties are fabulous too, as, while I don't always have a post to share, I have discovered so many beautiful blogs and their writers! I have enjoyed the silliness, the jokes and stories, the home decorating, various tips and projects, gardening, pets adventures, the recipes, the photos - so many things! I have also been glad to be able to console and support others during times of trouble and need and am forever grateful to those who have been here for me!
I wish everyone a Happy New Year filled with joy and love! May 2013 bring you all much  happiness, and may all your dreams come true!
Love, and Hugs, Leena

A White Christmas!

Guess what? We actually had a white Christmas! It started to snow on Christmas Eve around 4pm. Jamison came running upstairs, excitedly screaming, "MeeMaw! It's snowing!" It snowed for several hours, blanketing everything in a bright puffy white. There's something about Christmas snow that feels so magical to me. The decorations seem prettier, the lights appear brighter and a silent peace falls over the land. That peace was dearly appreciated by the time we finished all of our preparations and fell into bed for a short winter's nap!
Christmas morning, my oldest daughter and her boyfriend, Dale, came over for a little breakfast while the grand babies opened gifts. The little ones were thrilled with all they received (and they made out like bandits, as usual) but it was so funny to see the gender difference in action. When Jamison opened clothing, he'd go "Cool shirt!" and immediately look for another gift that contained a toy. Abigail, the little fashionista diva, would open a gift of clothing, hold the item high in the air and squeal "clothes!", then hold them up against her body to be admired by all. Too funny!
Abigail surrounded by gifts and wrapping paper
That afternoon, we headed over to Maryland to my sister Laurie's house. She and her husband Henry really go all out to make a wonderful Christmas meal! They always serve turkey and prime rib and this year, added salmon with capers to the menu. There were all the usual side dishes, including their fabulous whipped sweet potatoes and sausage stuffing! I'm real particular about my stuffing and never thought I would care for the addition of sausage, but boy was I wrong! Everything was wonderful; the food and the conversation. My dad was there and I hadn't seen him in quite a while, so it was so, so good to get caught up!
Dinner-Brianna, Dale, Dad

Dinner-Abigail, Jamison, Shannon
After dinner and dessert (Jamison ate three pieces of apple pie!), we sat by their beautiful Christmas tree and the little ones opened a few more presents. My sister gave us a beautiful Christmas tree plate filled with home-made baked goods, some cow print measuring spoons and the cutest little cow salt and pepper shakers. While I've cut way back on my cow collection over the years, I do still welcome really adorable ones!

Abigail and Aunt Laurie
Shannon, Abigail, Dad, Jamison

Aunt Laurie and Jamison

Oliver and Abigail
Brianna and Dale
Our drive home was quite enjoyable as we listened to Christmas music, admired the lights on all of the homes and the snow clinging to the trees like beautiful lace garments. We drove through town to see some of the decorations:
Town of Leesburg, VA Christmas Tree

Store window with moving ferris wheel and hot air balloons and elves

Store window with gorgeous Nativity

Life-sized Nativity in front of a church
It was a wonderful day which rejuvenated me, body, mind and soul!

The scene at my sister's the next morning:
Dad reading the paper with two doggie pals, before heading home
I hope that all enjoyed a Merry Christmas with family and friends! And now, off to the New Year!!!!

Hugs, Leena
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