Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Recycle, Reinvent

This old white cabinet is a knock off of the antique version. I bought this over 20 years ago because, at the time, I couldn't afford the real deal, but this gave me the feel I wanted. It has lived in the barn for quite a while, but, I decided I wanted to make it a TV cabinet for temporary use. So, Mister and I took the glass doors from the top and put them on the bottom, removed the bottom solid doors, and removed all the upper shelves. I patched her up, sanded her, added some wood trim, and got her ready to paint.

I started by searching through my Annie Sloan Chalk Paints to see what I had enough of to mix to create the colours I wanted. I love purple, so I knew the drawers' interiors would have to be purple. What a nice surprise to open them and see that lovely color! I mixed Old White with Henrietta to get the tone I wanted. Then, I wanted the cabinet itself to be a soft yellow, so I mixed Old White with Gold until I got the soft, butter colour I envisioned. And, last, the inside had to be black to hide the TV when it was off and to show off the quilts that I wanted to store in the base.

Then, I gently mixed a little of the dark and clear wax and gave her a good rub down... I was so happy with her...

 For now, this is making me happy. And, I especially like that I have reused and reinvented something for short term use.

How do you recycle or reinvent?

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Round House

This little house sits on the hill above the New River in Mouth of Wilson. It is where my family spent every summer, swimming, playing, fishing, jumping from the porch, and watching the night lights. I had my worst case of poison ivy Ever In the History Of the World here after I fell from my bike smack into the midst of a poison ivy bed. We worked puzzles, tons of puzzles, under the downstairs porch.

Long before this rail was installed, my siblings and I would take a run-and-go from the second story and fling ourselves into the open space, hoping to fly, and land with a THUD! right by my Mother's feet as she sat downstairs reading, napping, or working her puzzles. No doubt she stayed a nervous wreck, but we had a terrific time sailing to the ground and sinking to our ankles in the soft ground below.

We slept on the porch, in sleeping bags, waking up wet from dew, with the morning sun dazzling on the river below. Mother would have coffee perking, biscuits in the oven, and fresh fish frying. We caught them in the evening and put them in the holding pool next to the kitchen for our morning nosh. Then, we would rush upstairs, throw on bathing suits (was there really a time I wasn't self-conscious enough I'd wear one all day?), and hop on our bikes to ride the dirt road to the "waterfall" to play. Scabs covered our knees (I wasn't graceful, after all) and we smelled of sunshine, water, and dirt. Pure health....

The "bathroom" consisted of a small toilet and sink. We bathed, even though we spent the day in the water, in a wash tub. I was first, so the water was cleanest then. By the time my baby sister got in, the water would be nearly as muddy as the dusty holes in the dirt road. The nights would be cool and we'd run to jump in our sleeping bags, ready to watch the stars, speculate about space men, and build our castles in the air.

The kitchen had an enormous rock in the middle that the original builders couldn't get out of the door, so we had to walk around it to get to the refrigerator. The wiring was DC, so we had a rubber mat in front of the fridge to avoid the pending shock from touching the door and grounding ourselves. If one were angry with a certain, a-hem, brother, she would step from the mat, touch the brother, and then the door. Instant revenge! 

Below, the river would continue her centuries old song, lulling us to sleep. She sang of Scot-Irish who traveled this river to "discover" the "Natives" who had lived here for millennia. She sang of floods and droughts and log canoes. She sang of her journey north, as the New River is one of two rivers in the world that flows northward. Today, she is a protected River, a "national treasure." But, to a handful of small children, she was the world. Our days revolved around her -- both in and out.

I miss those days. I miss the innocence and I miss the shocking blue sky. I miss wearing my bathing suit all day. And, I miss gathering berries, nuts, creek lettuce, and catching fish for our dinner.  Most of all, I miss the swinger of trees and catcher of fireflies that I was. When do we grow old? One day at a time or just all at once?? Yet, when I go to the river, I am young again...at least for a moment....

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Power ...

Yesterday I met with an adult female student who wanted to withdraw from her LPN program. Reason? "I'm not being there for my children or my husband," she wept.

Then, we talked.

In short, her husband, who works out of state and is home a grand total of four days a month, has decided that she needs to be more present for him and their three children -- one who is in college, a senior in high school, and a six-year-old who has discovered that acting out earns everyone's attention. She disclosed that her husband came home to inspect the house and found anything that wasn't clean and scolded her. He refuses to tell her their income, except that it is "over $100,000", and, he believes she isn't giving him enough attention the four days a month he is home. She wept harder and harder as she told me this.

"But," she said, "I have such a heart for helping people. I take care of everyone and everything. He sleeps, eats, and wants sex when he is home. He doesn't pay any attention to the children. And, he pays me a salary for being home."

At this point, I wanted to shake her and scream, "Why are you doing this?? What about your desires? Your dreams? Your gifts?"

She's a straight A student in nursing. Holy cow.

One day, I fear, she will wake up to find he has found "his soul" with a woman half his age. She will have no skills, not experience, nothing.

I wanted to tell her that education is power. It is freedom. Choice. Control of one's life. Opportunity. A chance to make a difference in her children's lives by modeling how to pursue a dream and achieve a goal. She is showing her daughters how to stand on their own two feet. How she is becoming an adult instead of her husband's child, maid, housekeeper, and baby maker.

Instead, I patted her arm and told her that she had to do what would give her peace.

She filled out the form. And left. I was shattered.... for her, her children, and even her bully husband. A chance to grow and learn was lost.

If you educate a man you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman you educate a family (nation). -- Dr. James Emmanuel Kwegyir-Aggrey

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

A Little Magic...

Recently, I was favored with a surprise visit to Philadelphia to see family I haven't seen in 15 months and, while I was there, imagine this... a guy from Rome showed up!

Papa Fransisco! Papa Fransisco! 

What an amazing event! All things magically fell into place for me to see my loved one and to win a ticket to see "Papa Fransisco!" when he spoke at Independence Hall. The love, peace, and joy were overwhelming!  I loved hearing the crowd chant for "Papa Fransisco!" as he rode past in the Pope Mobile, waving, smiling, and blessing them as he passed. I was close enough to the podium that I could see His Holiness AND read the translation on the 40-foot screen as he spoke. Fortunately, I speak enough Spanish that I could follow most of his speech, but it was nice to have the translation at times! 

Philadelphia is such a lovely city. The people were generous, kind, and helpful.... and the city, gulp, the city took my breath away! Here's a few of the sights that took my breath! 

A Circular Rainbow appeared as I was going through the third security check point.

Cakes! The one on the right has a fondant icing for the miter and the painting is icing.

The Holy Mother at the Shrine of Mary's Miraculous Medal. I love the Holy Mother and wept.

Another grotto at the Shrine of Mary's Miraculous Medal. I counted around 16 grottoes in the cathedral.

On the left background is the Cathedral where the Pope held mass; the back right is the City Hall.

Quilt, handpieced, at the Arch Street Friend's Meeting. It was stunning!

I would have liked to have known this guy! Safecracker? Awesome!

Ben and I were sharing a moment.. He wouldn't let me sit in his lap -- gout...

Preparations for the Independence Hall event... I was standing under the tree on the far right...

And.... the one photo that sums up the "Phillie Woodstock" for me... 

Yup. He was going "nature boy" and waiting on "the man"!