LEARNING WITH LEAVES

Levi told me he was ready to do an art project.  Hmmm!  I didn’t have anything in mind that day.  So I suggested we go on a walk outside and see if we came up with a good idea.  He loves to walk down to the  wooden bridge that covers a small creek on the road to our house.  It’s a perfect place for a little boy.  And he has loved it since he was able to walk.

We found the beginnings of fall laying on that bridge.  Leaves beginning to turn, acorns, sticks, a great rock that rolls.  He put it all into his bag.  We came back to the house and poured it out on the paper.  Then we began to touch and explore them.  UH! OH!  We discovered that some of the ones he picked up were crackly and dry.  They fell to pieces in his hand.  He said that’s because all the juice had gone out of them.  Which is a pretty good way to explain it I think.  Some were a little crinkly around the edges and some were nice and supple.

 

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I unrolled a nice piece of clear contact paper, and took the backing off.  ( You can find the clear contact paper at Michaels or HL and even Wal Mart).  We took the leaves and laid them face down on the sticky paper.  He worked carefully arranging the leaves to his liking.  Even though he was so certain he could add the rock into the design, it jut wouldn’t hold it.  He ended up making 3 collages.  One for his tree here, one for his tree at home, and one for his Mia and Papa.

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We added another sheet of the sticky paper to the top and then he commenced to rolling them as flat as he could. We used a hard rubber brayer, but a rolling pin would work, as well.Also, be sure you leave a large enough margin around the leaves that you can get a good sealed edge when you add the top layer.  It’s necessary to seal those edges well…just rub top and bottom margins  together with some force. There will be some space that won’t stick around the leaves.  That’s OK.  As the leaves dry, the paper will flatten out.   Then we punched a hole at the top…he had to tell me which was the top…and then he chose cord to make a hanger.

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How nice they look!  They would also look pretty just hanging in the window!  Depending on how you cut the contact paper…you can make lots of shapes.  They make great book or Bible markers.  You can always add in some words or a Bible verse.  Or write on it with a Sharpie.

Levi and I did this same project a few weeks ago…before the leaves started turning.  We hung them in the window in the studio and watched them as the color in the leaves faded day by day.  These all started out green…with one white flower.  This is about 2 weeks later.

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What is so neat is that now he can really see how the veins in the leaves give it its shape.  We call these leaf skeletons.

 

 

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A little later on we’ll talk about that big word ‘chlorophyl’.  [Another Lulu/Levi project]

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FALL IS IN THE AIR

We have been slowly adding some touches of fall to our house.  Levi loves to help.  Especially if painting or gluing is involved!  Here is a package of burlap leaves I picked up at HL.  They have a wire attached for hanging.  $4.99 a pkg…16 in each. 40% off.  I set Levi up with his watercolors and showed him pictures of how fall colors seem to blend right into one another.

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These are the colorful leaves he did with his watercolors…

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And here are some I did with acrylic paints…

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He painted with abandon!  Be sure to put something under the leaves if you do this…paint seeps right through.  You can also use regular acrylic craft paint for heavier coverage.  WARNING…acrylic craft paint is NOT washable,  Will NOT wash out of clothes!  We used kids washable watercolor palette.

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Once dry, he hung them his fall tree.  Then …on his own, he decided to paint pumpkins and acorns and cut them out.  I imagine we will add quite a few more things before the season ends!

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I set my big table with dishes and glasses from Pier One.  These are all melamine…but have a rustic weathered look to them.  The runner is an antique piece given to me by Shirl and Tina.  It is all hand wrought and such a treasure of mine.  Th napkins came in a pkg. of 12 from TJMaxx.  They had only 1 package!!!.  My table seats 10 and many times I’m out of luck when it come to having enough of one pattern for my table.

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I want a candle burning all the time!.  But, it sure frustrates me to get one that may put off a tiny bit of scent…or smell until the top layer of wax melts.  This is one of the best candles I’ve found anywhere.   The scent lasts through the whole candle.  It’s from Wal Mart and is their MainStays Label.  I use different scents all year.  A favorite is Cranberry Melon.  They have a myriad of fragrances to choose from, but this is a yummy smelling pumpkin and it’s scents travels from one room all through the house.  Another plus…the label pulls off neat and clean so you do not have to advertise where you got it.  And some prefer just a glass candle holder.  A sure winner all around!

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I went on to deck my mantel for the season.  I found this nice sign that appealed to me with its clean lines.  The writing is done on natural burlap atop a stained wooden frame.  This cute fall couple is made of heavy tin and was waiting patiently for me to pick them up at Tuesday Morning.  I used a greenery garland with fall foliage picks to lay a base.  Then added fall decorative books and 3 wooden stained pumpkins.  It’s a little different than I’ve done before, but I really like the color with the rocks in fireplace.

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This is the buffet behind my table.  The leaf garland is intertwined with teeny tiny lights…

 

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I did go over and help Suzanne, my daughter-in-love, with her mantel, as well.  I think it looks so festive!

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And that is the extent of my decorating for fall this year.  Unless something else grabs my attention.  And, of course, whatever masterpieces Levi creates must be proudly displayed.  The nice thing about his little tree is we can hang everything right in one spot!

Hope you are getting ready to enjoy the changing of seasons where you live.  Here, we don’t really have much fall weather…just a little cooler than summer.  All this decorating just makes us feel like it’s fall!  Blessings to you and yours!

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A FLING IN TENNESSEE

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With my partners in the hunt for all things old and rusty and distressed, Shirl and Tina and I headed north to Franklin, Tennessee for a few days of fun, shopping, catching up, good food and …shopping.  This was the weekend of the City Farmhouse Pop-Up Show in Leiper’s Fork, TN, close to Franklin….close to Nashville.

First of all, Franklin is such a neat town…with lots to do.  Cute little shops and terrific places to eat.  We spent two days exploring the shops and discovering little antique stores…finding little treasures all along the way!  We all did some Christmas shopping…both for giving and decorating!  Here…a few pictures from around town.

 

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Look…It’s MY store…

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Great lunch here…

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The bottles say…FAMILY and FRIENDS…perfect!

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Acting silly in a Christmas store…we all bought a hat for our grands…but we had to make sure they were cute first!

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Oh, what fun this was!  Over 150 vendors from all over the U.S.  It was everything we love!  The grounds were beautiful and it was just delightful being out in God’s beautiful world!

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city-farmhouse-basketAll too soon, Sunday rolled around…

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…another fun adventure in the books…sweet memories made…and friendship bonds stronger than ever!  Till next time, friends!

 

*********Picture credits…..#1,9,14,17,18,19,20,21….The City Farmhouse…..all others…Tonja Owens.**********

 

JACKSON TURNS SIX

Early Saturday morning, Suzanne and I turned our car toward Birmingham.  The occasion…Jackson’s sixth birthday party.  We arrived before lunch and let Jackson dive right in to the presents we had brought from family in Dothan.

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A stop for a quick photo with Lulu, and then off to the YMCA for an afternoon full of festivities!

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The weather was just perfect for the party.  There was a wonderful tented area in the back for the cake and ice cream, and around a corner was a pool just fit for a group of 30! kids to spend a warm…quite warm…afternoon!  Jackson had requested a Lego Star Wars Party and Tina went all out to insure it was one of a kind!  Following are the cake…yes, it’s ALL edible!  Then the cutest accessories for the table that Tina fashioned herself!

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Colorful table cloths and loads of balloons finished off the decor!  It was a little boy’s dream!

 

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Then, on to the pool…

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Ian was called into duty by Jackson….

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…and to help little Levi…

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Someone HAD to do it…the ladies were too busy getting aquainted and visiting…under the only shade in sight!  It was wonderful spending some time with some of those who are so close to Tina.

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A picture of this new sweet family…

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We were all hot and tired, so pizza was the order for supper.  Tina kept the boys entertained while we waited for the delivery man to arrive.  ( Levi couldn’t wait, and we had to dig out some chicken nuggets!)

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Then none of us lingered long…our beds and couches were calling us all!  Levi was the first to awake this morning and that meant soon we were all to follow!  A few quick pictures and it was time for Suzanne to drive us back to Dothan!

Cousins…on Jackson’s sixth birthday

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My own two sweet ‘daughters-in-love’…

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I grabbed a quick moment with my boy…

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As we travelled, Suzanne and I replayed the fun we had at the party and the sweet time we had visiting with Tina, Ian, and Jackson….

Levi, however, had a better way to spend the time driving home!

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“God has given us these times of joy.”  Nehemiah 12:43

READY FOR ROWDY!

Oh what fun it is to hostess a baby shower!  Recently I had the priviledge to honor Amy Elliott in my home.  Her sweet baby boy, Rowdy, is on the way!  Amy is the daughter of one of my dearest friends, Tina.  She and my son, Adam, were friends all through their school years.  So it was with great excitement that I planned this party.  I was even more fortunate to have the help of my daughter in love, Suzanne, to be my co-hostess!  She was in charge of the yummy table of goodies we set out for everyone to enjoy.  She always does a superb job at this…among many other things!

I tried to get a touch of fun and whimsy into the decor, using bears I had saved through the years.  Amy and her husband Chandler, are big outdoors folks…hunting, fishing,racing, etc.  So, I also tried to incorporate a little of their lifestyle into the mix.  All the camouflage bear wear went home with Amy.  They are perfectly baby sized! Here are some glimpses of the afternoon, starting with the front door wreath…which is a little off center, I know.  But, it’s OK...I’m a little off center, myself!

 

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What a blessing it is to be chosen by God to love and nurture another of the children He chooses to send to our world.  Amy will be a terrific mother and Rowdy will also have the best Gannie in town!  We wish them happiness and health and lots of fun in the years to come.  As she and Chandler raise him to know and love God, my prayer is that he grows into a godly man willing to stand and lead in whatever path God leads him to.  Blessings, sweet family!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE BIG DAY FINALLY ARRIVES

Oct 26, 2013…….Part 3 of a story in 3 parts

 

A photo of all the helpers!  (Tina D, Joy, Tonja, Shirl, Patty…minus Suzanne, who was wrangling Levi)

 

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2:00…..Adam began pictures of the Bride and Groom and Jackson…(All the photos were made on the wooden bridge on the road where I live…just 2 doors down.  The remainder are in my backyard)

 

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4:30  All the troops were back, everyone was taking care of the last minute things they saw.  Time for family pics.  Adam set up camera.  Don didn’t like the background, so Adam moved it.  Someone else didn’t like that. Adam was very patient, but finally he put it where he wanted it and we all got in place.  SMILE!   He had to do them quick before Levi jumped again! We managed to get one or two where everyone was looking in the right direction!.  Then the individuals.  Then a few that I wanted.  And, that’s it!  Adam said we were finished!

 

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5:30…time for food… it should have already been delivered.   All guests were arriving and people were milling around and visiting.  Shirl and Tina D lit all the zillion candles, as dark began to descend.  The minister arrived.  The food still is not here.  Don called the caterer.  No answer.  Must be on their way.  Whew!  Tina and Shirl began to lead everyone to their seats, and the food is not here.  Don was still on the phone.  No answer.  Bro. Billy, our minister, was in the other room with Tina and Ian and Jackson.  Everyone was seated.  They say I have to sit down now!   And, still. no. food. “Lord, what am I going to do?  All the food we have is what Suzanne prepared and some crackers and dip that I prepared.  That and a can of nuts.  You know all about it.  Help!  Fix it for me, Lord.  I want this to be perfect and now it is falling to pieces!  Help me, please!”  I went and sat down with Don.

 

 

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6:00…Brother Billy and Ian walked out the side door and got in place.  And, then came beautiful Tina in her gorgeous dress with sweet Jackson holding her hand.  She walked to stand by Ian and Jackson sat in my lap.  Here we go!

 

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Patty went to join Billy to sing a song that I felt would start the evening off and set the mood for the service….”Surely the Presence”

“Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place.

I can feel His mighty power and His grace.

I can feel the brush of angel wings, I see glory on each face.

Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place.”

And friends, even though I intended this to be a duet…everyone there joined in and by the time we sang the words through a second time, there was no doubt the angels were circling round and God, himself, was right in our midst!  I was covered in goose bumps, but not from the cold.  From the fact that with much help from many friends, we had created a little chapel right here on my porch!

“FOR WHERE TWO OR THREE ARE GATHERED TOGETHER IN MY NAME, THERE AM I IN THE MIDST OF THEM.”  Matthew 18:20

Lights twinkling in the trees, with their tall, tall branches silhouetted against a purple sky…candles surrounding the little area and flickering their little wicks…a fire gently burning in the background behind the minister with the coals already beginning to glow a festive orange and red.  And, Ian and Tina standing , surrounded by friends who have loved us and cared for us, and gone through life with us, supporting them with their love.  It was perfect.  It was just the way I wanted everyone to feel…. warm and peaceful and happy…. and they did.  And I did.  And Ian and Tina did.

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The “I Do’s” were said.  And the vows were spoken.  The promises were made and the rings were exchanged.  And the kiss.  Then the pronouncement…Mr and Mrs. Ian David Owens.  And, it was done. They made their way back into the den and I stood up to give further instructions.  I had nothing prepared to say, but I had called on God earlier, so He took over.  I reminded them, as they sat there, that they were invited specifically because of who they were and what they meant to us and that they were an extension of our family.  And, then I told them that since they were family, I felt like they would forgive us for not having more food…because the caterer NEVER SHOWED UP!  So, we would put out what we had and share it and please know that we planned on having a much bigger meal. Suzanne and Joy and Otelida took the extra plates off the table and we replaced them with 2 of everything we had and we had plenty!  Everyone ate and ate and ate.  And then there was cake!  So, it turned out OK…and everyone understood….and we saved a ton of money that would have gone to the caterer!  There’s always something to be grateful for! :).  But, I’ll never use them again…for anything…ever.  (Edited to add:  When Don finally did get in touch with the owner, the excuse they gave was flimsy and not at all acceptable.)  Oh! Well!  Live and learn!  And, besides, it makes for a great story!

 

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We cut the cake and the bride and groom tasted it!  Ian had a few words to say of appreciation and thanks to Don and I and the gathered friends.  Then, to the shock of a few…Shirl started singing (to the tune of “Going To The Chapel”)  “Going to the Creekhouse and we’re gonna get ma-a-a-rried”  I joined in “Going to the Creekhouse and we’re gonna get ma-a-a-rried…”  Joy and Patty and Tina come in with harmony…“Going to the Creekhouse and we’re gonna get ma-a-a-ried…Going to the Creekhouse of Love. Whoa-whoa-whoa… Fa-all is here, The-uh-uh sta-ars will shine. Whoa-whoa-whoa… I’ll be his And he’ll be mine! We’ll love until the end of time, And we’ll never be lonely anymore! Because we’re going to the Creekhouse, And we’re   gonna to get ma-a-a-rried. Going to the Creekhouse, And we’re  gonna get ma-a-a-rried. Gee, I really love you and we’re   gonna get ma-a-a-rried. Going to the Creekhouse of Love … Whoa-a-whoa-a-whoa-whoa Going to the Creekhouse of Love …Whoa-a-whoa-a-whoa-whoa Going to the Creekhouse of Love! And, I tell you, everyone in the room was singing and clapping the beats of the song and having a great time, serenading the newlyweds!  It was the best!  And, I am so glad we did it!  Our little flash mob at the wedding!  (Corny, for sure, but memorable!  And, I don’t think we embarrassed the younger folks too much!)

 

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So much fun! So much love in the room.

 

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The cousins…Ian, Lori, Alex, Tara, Adam

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Everyone visited with each other and caught up on all the news.  But, slowly, it became time for folks to leave and they began to drift away.  First one and then another and another until the only ones left were Don and I, Ian and Tina and Patty and Mike.  I insisted that Joy and Suzanne leave.  They did a lot before they left, but we finished up the rest.  Don was leaving the next morning for a trip to California for the week and I knew that I was going to be sacked out for a day or two…or three.  Mike offered to take all the rentals back, which saved me from loading and returning them.  That was wonderful!  And Otelida washed the last dish.  And we were done.  She and Yazzmine, her granddaughter, left.  Ian and Tina were getting Jackson settled. He was going to stay with us while they went to a quaint little B&B in a neighboring town for the night.    Jackson was on my daybed, watching cartoons.  I got on the couch.  Don and Adam and Alex were watching a ballgame.  When that was over, Alex came and got in the bed with Jackson, because he had promised he would stay right with him all night.  And he did. Good night!  I’m too tired to even dream. Don left early the next morning, and Jackson and Alex and I had breakfast.  He played and watched TV till Ian and Tina came back around noon.  They opened some gifts and said their goodbyes and headed off to Birmingham to begin their lives together!    And, I climbed into bed! It was wonderful!  It was fun!  It was nerve-wracking!  It was blessed!  I am so thankful Ian and Tina decided  to come here and have their wedding.  It popped up out of the blue, but that’s OK.  Surprises are wonderful!  My hope is that when they look back on this night, in years to come…they will remember it as warm and cozy, glowing with good wishes and happiness…and filled with love for those they love and who love them. We felt that God was in our midst and that He blessed their marriage. I was reminded later, as I  pondered the events…we can plan and work and plan and work…and it still may not go according to our plans.  And, so what?  Isn’t life best when the unexpected pops up to surprise us?  That’s when we are our best, really.  Because it’s then that we lean on family and friends and God, most of all.  That’s when we work together and even out the rough spots and laugh about the rest!   “It was a perfect weekend!

“GOD HAS GIVEN US THESE TIMES OF JOY!”  Nehemiah 12:43  To Him go all the thanks and honor and glory!

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