Eclectic, quirky, and sometimes edgy…this is how things look from my front porch.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Waiting On the World to Change

I've been in a funk. There's been nothing specifically wrong, but just a general feeling of malaise.

Is my husband laid off? Bless God, no. He has a good job. Bruce is smart, he's a very hard worker and even in his fifties, he's in the midst of getting an MBA. He's a wonderful, encouraging and Godly husband.

Am I facing a health crisis? Thank God, I'm not. I have challenges with my health, but I also have free prescription drugs and excellent, low-cost health care at a major medical facility less than a mile away. I have no co-pay for office visits and no charge for ER care or hospitalization.

Facing foreclosure? No. I pray for my country and all the people affected by this economic downturn.

Alone and friendless? No. God has blessed me with a wonderful family and good friends. God even went so far as to have my mentor in CA call me out of the blue in the midst of all this. Anne (my mentor) has serious kidney disease, is in her eighties, was hospitalized recently for a week, then had eye surgery. She also lost her husband of over fifty years not so long ago and not a complaint from her. She still ministers God's love to others and writes as she has for her entire adult life.

I have friends from Hawaii to the East Coast. I even have my good Internet friend Debra who sent me an e-card this morning.

What is the real source of all this angst? My old, so-called friend, poor self esteem. Sounds pathetic, doesn't it? I've been given a different insight on it lately. Lack of self-esteem seems so sad and tragic. How pitiful. It is indeed, to be pitied. However, the real deal is that it is simply sin and the other side of being an egomaniac. It seems much less repellent than a bragging person, all full of herself, but the result is the same.

It is focus on self, nothing more, nothing less. It is selfish, inwardly visioned and all about me, me, me. Poor self-esteem is one of those lies of the Enemy; the Accuser of the brethren. Being an egomaniac causes you to lose sight of others because everything is all about YOU. Poor self esteem has the same result.

Poor self-esteem also causes you to overlook people in your life. I feel too bad about myself, so I can't get it together to cook dinner. I'm struggling with my feelings, so I'm sharp with my Mom when she calls. I could have gotten Barbara that congratulations card, but, well, I was feeling bad about myself.

I'm chosing to believe what God says about me. He says that I'm fearfully and wonderfully made. He says that He loves me with an everlasting love. He says that He will never leave me or forsake me. In the Greek, that statement is made in what is called (I believe) the imperative sense. So in the original language it reads, "I will never, ever, no not ever, leave you or forsake you." God sees me as perfected in Jesus Christ. And that is the best self-esteen I could ever have. No self-help book could do better.

So last night, as I was sitting in Subway with my long-suffering husband, (because I was too much in a funk to cook dinner) I heard the lyrics of this song by John Mayer.

"Waiting On The World To Change"

Waiting on the world to change
We keep on waiting
Waiting on the world to change
It's hard to beat the system
When we're standing at a distance
So we keep waiting
Waiting on the world to change

As I sat and ate my sandwich, I got to thinking how irritating this song is. First of all, while you're waiting, John, why don't you pick up a middle school grammar text book. You're waiting FOR the world to change not ON.

So I said to Bruce, "Why don't they quit waiting "on" the world to change and do something about it?" As those words came out my mouth, I thought, "Why don't I do something about it, too?"

So I decided to quit waiting for my world to change. I put a Christmas display out front. I'll have a pic up soon. That made me feel better. I did classwork and I felt better because I'm finishing up my long-neglected college education. I made the bed. I put on some make up. I'll go out to a coffee shop and read the word of God. Later on, I'm going to do a little yard work and clean a small part of the attic. Then I'll pick up my contact lenses. Small steps. And I'm going to get that card for Barbara. All those little thing will make my little world start to change.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Labeling Things

I can't remember where I first saw someone using vintage Scrabble letters. It might have been Judy over at Anybody Home In any case, I now have become addicted to labeling items with the Scrabble letters or vintage blocks. I'm not sure what need it fills for me, but it somehow feels satisfying.
I have a confession to make about the crow. I don't think that was actually meant to be a crow. I got it at a garage sale. I think it may have been intended to be a dove, but it was painted a garish metallic gold. Thinking I could use it some day, I bought it.
This Halloween season, I saw a number of "blog girls" using crows in fall displays. Gotta love spray paint...and there you have it.

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Weekend Wandering Walk in Waterview

Bruce and I love to take long walks, especially on the weekend. Last Friday, I met with a retired Navy Captain about a special project I am working on for the City of Portsmouth. I had never been in his neighborhood of Waterview before, but it was breathtaking. Bruce and I returned for a walk over the weekend. Of course I thought about sharing it with all of you.
I love tudor-styled homes. I used to live in one when I was little on Knollwood Road, although it was painted white and red instead of the traditional creamy white and brown.
The homes in Waterview are situated around the Elizabeth River in Portsmouth. The Navy Captain's house is the white one with the red shutters. It was a lovely day in the high sixities. I hope you enjoy seeing the sights as much as we did. I usually take most of the pics for this blog, but all of the ones in this post are Bruce's. That's why none of them are blurry.

Junking Surprise...October Moon in November

Some days are just serendipitous and your spirit often seems to know it is coming. For several days, I'd felt a prompting, a whisper, a little bird in my ear telling me to go to that junk store over behind the Suburban Pharmacy. I think it is part of having the junque gene in your DNA.

This internal prompting puzzled me a little, because the last time I'd been in that store, it depressed me. It was really downright cold and raw inside. The store was unkempt, dirty and the stock didn't look like it had changed since 1972.
YOU know what I mean. Not cool, dusty junque, but rather nasty old plastic drinking glasses, sad rusted metal walkers with tennis balls on the bottom and broken down furniture And not the broken down charming kind you can transform. No cool chairs with a carved back and the seat missing where you can put a geranium in a pot in the empty seat and set it next to the fence...just broken down. The kind that makes you feel sorta creepy. So why the urge to go the the old vintage store? It probably was still closed, I thought, as it had been for years.
The pictures above are of the reborn vintage store, October Moon. What a wonderful surprise! Sadie and Buttons (so-named because people said she was as cute as a buttonm when she was little) were glad to help me. I picked up a sweet vintage flower print in a wonderful frame which I'll show you in another post. I'm debating about painting the frame. I'm so glad that little bird put a "bug in my ear."

Please note the chairs that I have pictured above with the close up on the seat. The chair's seat is woven from old ties! Buttons told me that a gentleman from Connecticut restores these chairs and she couldn't live without them for the shop. They are spectacular. Some much more crafty person than I am who might be reading this should be able to apply this idea to a multitude of other applications.
I love a good vintage, junking day!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween and My Dining Room

Ok, so I hate goulish Halloween stuff, but here is something autumn-y and lovely from my favorite Bowman's Garden Center.

I thought I'd share a shot of my dining room with you.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My Kitchen

There's a word in architecture which I like better than "junking." The term is "adaptive reuse." Adaptive re-use is repurposing a school into an elderly assisted living apartment building vs. repurposing a chicken coop into kitchen decor.

Here is a picture of the adaptive re-use of a chicken coop. This is the type of contraption that one uses to bring chickens to market for sale. I have filled it with my collection of ceramic and fabric chickens and it hangs in my kitchen. I bought it at a junk store in Los Angeles while at a conference. My co-workers were not especially pleased that this very authentic coop, chicken poo and feathers to prove it, sat in the back of the Red Cross van. I scrubbed it off and had it sit in the San Diego sun for a week before bringing it inside.

While I'm at it, here's a picture of my kitchen hoosier cabinet that my mother bought as a house-warming present.

We ran out of funds in the kitchen renovation when we got to the spice cabinets. Our version is craft crates from Michael's which were on sale. Restoring an old house can be pricey. You have to improvise.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Field Trip - McDonald's Garden Center - Now is the time to plant pansies

I love McDonald's Garden Center. It is right next door to the more familar McDonald's, the Golden Arches in Chesapeake VA. McDonald's is a small chain of three stores. They decorate magificently for every season and it is soothing the the soul to browse among the fruit trees, herbs and roses in the Spring. My favorite time, though, is Autumn. You can see why in the picture above. McDonald's staff is very knowledgeable and generous with suggestions and advice. It is one of those places where I feel happy just to walk in the door.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Junk Sophisticate

I love reading blogs. From time to time, something in another girl's blog really inspires me. I recently stumbled across Junk Sophisticate and found some inspiration for my front door from her. Just to give credit where credit is due. It isn't that I copied her autumn front door display, but she gave me the idea to run out grab the antique ladder for the loft in the detached garage.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Annie of Chincoteague

This is where I had lunch today, one of the best crab meals I've ever had...on Chincoteague Island. Chincoteague is on Virginia's Eastern Shore, about a 90 mile drive from my house. Bill's Seafood is one of those places which doesn't look terribly impressive from the outside, but it was just wonderful on the inside. Bills is located at 4040 Main Street, Chincoteague Island, Virginia, 767-336-5851.
I had a hard time deciding between Sugarbaker's and Bill's. I loved the show, Designing Women, so I found the front window and the name of Sugarbaker's charming. My choice was made easy when I realized I was too late for lunch at Sugarbaker's.
The building with the goose out front pictured above is one of the charming shops on Main Street, while the square white building with the patriotic bunting and cobalt blue stained glass is the Chincoteague Public Libary.

This statue commemorates a beloved book from my childhood called Misty of Chincoteague. Chincoteague is home to wild ponies. Misty was an actual pony whose descendents still live on the Island to this day. Each year on July 7, the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Department rounds up these wild ponies for sale to benefit the department and to keep the pony population under control. It is often covered on the national news. Misty of Chincoteague was written at Miss Molly's Inn, which you can see in one of the top pics.

This is one of the lovely bed and breakfasts available on the island. Chincoteague Island is also home to many beautifully restored private Victorian homes.

Many of the shops are decorated in honor of the Harvest. I thought this one was a lot of fun.

This is the marsh area of the national wildlife sanctuary on the Island. I shot it from a moving car and was delighted with how it came out.

Another bed and breakfast in a restored Queen Anne Victorian home.

The detail on the Victorian home pictured is called "fish scale" for obvious reasons. The cat silhouette is a more recent addition. Many of the old homes in this little village show this detail, which commemorates the residents' links to fishing as a way of life.

This is Chincoteague Island's vintage 1930's two-screen theater. I like these much better than the 24-plex monstrosities at the mall.
Though I was only 90 miles from home, I felt like I had stepped into another world. Some of my favorite childhood books were The Lonely Doll, Hide n Seek Fog and Misty of Chincoteague. Just seeing the statue and the actual spot where Misty was written brought back the kid in me. The quiet beauty of nature is everywhere you look on the Island, the kind of quiet waters that do indeed restore the soul.
Here's some information about Misty
and here's some more info about the Island

My Daily Walk

I am really blessed with all the sights and sounds during my walk along Crawford Bay and the Elizabeth River. There is one thing that makes me smile every time I see it and it is the picture above. The round sign up high on the on the pole (which you may not be able to see without double clicking on the pic) says, "Swimming Point." Swimming Point is a tiny, exclusive enclave right on Crawford Bay in Portsmouth. The black and white sign to the left reads, "No fishing, crabbing or swimming. No one else finds it as silly as I do, that there is no swimming at Swimming Point.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Bowman's Is A Magical Place

Sarah Sparrow supervising while Nora Spotted Dog checks a price for me. Any business with a resident dog is tops in my book.

Bowman's Garden Center is one of those magical places that makes me feel happy every time I step across the threshhold. Bowman's used to be a 7-11. I'm not a big fan of 7-11, apologies to all those Slim Jim and Slurpee fans out there. Bowman's magic took over on Green Street years ago, so all you can still see of the convenience store is the brick facade. There isn't a Slurpee in sight and you can't buy lottery tickets.

Behind Nora Spotted Dog in the top pic is one of my favorite people on earth, Sarah. My friend Pat calls her Sarah Sparrow. That isn't her last name, but I like it better than the one she has, a leftover from a husband who was very cruel years ago. However, Sarah is quick, darting and British, so Sarah Sparrow suits her,. Sarah designs exquisite floral arrangements, particularly the ones she lovingly prepares for the church altar each week. One Thanksgiving she decorated with artisan breads, fruits and was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen.

As you can see, the colors in Bowmn's are wonderful, as are the display fixtures. Rich Bowman, the owner, has a careful eye for staging and detail. There are no metal stands of any kind leftover from the old 7-11. Rather he uses things like old shutters, armoires and chippy white painted shelving to display things to their best advantage.

I'm bananas for this blue background.

This bureau with the vintage mirror is also to die for.

These Mardi Gras mummers mask owls speak to me. I'm not sure what I'd do with them, being a little old to go out Trick or Treating... I think they might startle Bruce.

Here's a Bowman's spot which invites me to just pick up a book and sit and read for a while. The staff might think it odd, however. On the other hand, I think the staff already knows that I'm odd.

Please note the invitation for "free broom rides." I don't know about you, but aren't there certain times when you're in the car fighting traffic that you think that a broom might be a more appropriate mode of transportation...just based on your witchy disposition alone?

I think the sepia tones in this area of Bowman's are just lovely. This isn't a color which I typically gravitate to, but in this case, it just makes me think, "Harvest."

If you are in the Portsmouth, VA area, drop by Bowman's, 315 Green Street, Olde Towne, Portsmouth, 757-393-2070. You'll feel happy just walking in. Perhaps Rich will offer you a cucumber (yes, I said cucumber) soda or a latte. That special gift of hand made jewelry for a dear friend may be waiting for you. Sarah Sparrow will be happy to wait on you, just tell her Annie sent you.

Autumn in the Front Hall

I change the items on and around my antique marble top chest in the front hall for each season. This chest is wonderfully carved in the front, has many drawers which I store linen in and little brass rings that serve as drawer pulls. It belonged to my maternal grandmother, who left me some lovely Victorian things, but I have no other information about it. I wish I knew.

The cloche (or bell jar) to the left and the apothecary jar to the right tend to stay, but the garland around the mirror and other items change from shells to Christmas ornaments to fruit to candy corn to pine cones, depending on my mood. Right now, you can see some friendly scarecrows and fall leaf garland. I don't care for gruesome Halloween decorations.

The doorway leads to my kitchen. I adore the transom window over the top of the door. The wreath in the transom is made from feathers. I bought it from a magical place called Bowman's Garden Center in Olde Towne, Portsmouth. I'll have to do a field trip there soon so you can see.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Old Mirror from Ghent

Ilove to restore or reuse old things. One night when I was walking in Ghent near the Donut Dinette, I found an old mirror left for the trash. I'd rather fix something that was trash picked than have someone give it to me new. It is also "green" and re-cycled... just think, the old mirror isn't in a land fill. The mirror reborn as a chalkboard sits over a cedar-lined built in storage "locker" that I just love.

Also trash picked is the pie safe you see at the end of the hallway. It was apparently an old chicken coop and had the chicken poo poo on it to prove it. I cleaned it, sanitized it and Bruce lined the doors with chicken wire. It is one of two real chicken coops I have in my house. Bruce finds this odd having grown up around the smell of chickens. I grew up around the smell of the subway, so I find him odd because he knows how to milk a cow by hand. That reminds me of a funny scene from one of my favorite movies, "Witness," but I digress

I've had a passion lately for chalk boards/slates. I think I first saw Kim at Daisy Cottage writing little messages on slates. I love them because when I see little quotes or things I want to remember, I have my own little soapbox to say what I will.
We pulled out the broken mirror, leaving the frame and spray painted it white. I traced the outline of the mirror's inside and used chalk board paint on the wall. I leave little notes for my husband or what have you on this little framed chalkboard.

The rest of what you see is my long, dark, narrow hallway that I painted a sunny yellow. It is also a TALL hallway, the ceiling is 11 feet high, so you can't even see the vintage lamp. The pic looks odd at that angle, but it is the only way to include most of the elements in the hall.

Autumn Fresh Flowers

I love this primitive yellow tool box with the "Fresh Flowers" on it. I've filled it with pansies and fall mums and put it on my front porch. If you look closely, you will see that the handle of the tool box is made of a spindle from an old staircase. The handle still has traces of wonderful old green paint on it.

The white you see behind it is mosquito netting that we use when eating outside. I don't like the look of screening on a front porch. I think it makes the front of the house look kind of blank. The netting looks prettier, I think.

Another one of my odes to Autumn.