Thursday, April 23, 2020

World Book Day.

April 23 is World Book Day.
It was designated by UNESCO in 1995 
and April 23rd is the anniversary of William Shakespeare's death. 
I, perhaps, would have chosen the anniversary of his birth. Slightly more upbeat spin but no one at The UN has ever asked my opinion on anything.

Anyway, that being said, I am a book stacker. Yep. I am. 
So in honor of World Book Day and long departed Shakespeare here is a glance at a few of my favorite books in their respective stacks 
and a couple of shots of our Library (that used to be our Dining Room.)

What great books are hiding behind that elephant?

Most of our books, stacked or otherwise, reside in the Library 
which used to be our Dining Room.
We don't live in a grand house at all but we morphed our little used Dining Room
 into a very useful Library over 10 years ago. 
I gave it a big refresh a couple of years ago during a One Room Challenge.
And then another little update recently.

 (We even have a book related Christmas tradition if you want to check that out!)

This old cabinet (originally from an old school library) is on the opposite side of the Library from the bookcases and globes above.


and closed.

I am always thankful for my cozy home but home is more important now more than ever.

I have been enjoying looking through my favorite design books 
during this shelter in place time. 
What about you? 

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Bar Cart in Blue and White

I put together this bar cart as part of a fun and thoughtful challenge created by Lydia from the Party Wagon - her blog and IG feed are fabulous.
She gave a lot of IG friends a challenge to create a blue and white tribute to health care workers who wear blue scrubs and/or white coats.

Lydia suggested creating a tablescape but I thought that when this is over
 all of those doctors and nurses might like a nice long happy hour 
so I zhushed the bar cart on our screened porch.

If we were really ready to party then the bottom shelf of this vintage cart would be filled with liquor choices and bubbly chilling in a silver champagne bucket.

Mollie and I have been enjoying "mocktails" during the week and very fizzy mineral waters with fresh garnishes are our favorite. You can get pretty creative with the combinations of waters, fruits and juices, and garnishes.

In addition to fizzy waters and citrus garnishes I added a salty snack or two in cute bowls.
I ordered a set of dish towels from Amazon last year and it's fun to have all the gingham color choices! I pulled out the French Blue and classic navy.

The leopard napkins are from The Dollar Tree. (I know!) 
I bought a stack when I found them. 
The lemon and palm leaf drink markers (in the pineapple dish on the left) are from The Dollar Spot at Target (purchased last year.) 
Setting up a pretty drinks spot doesn't have to be pricey!

The thrifted tortoiseshell glass holds bamboo straws from The Grove. 
They come with a little brush to clean them with!

All of the blue and white, the bamboo tray and even the pretty glasses were thrifted. 
The vintage silk painting is one of a pair and were a major score.
The camel lamp has a great before and after here.

Thank you to health care workers during this crazy Covid19 time. 
Thank you to Lydia at the Party Wagon for motivating us to post a tribute. 

And think about setting up your own bar cart to make relaxing 
during these stressful times a little more fun!
It doesn't have to be just for adults! Add fun straws and cups for the kiddos. 
Put out favorite soda flavors and a few treats. It would be perfect for movie nights or game night since board games are making a huge comeback while we are sheltering at home.
Stay safe and well.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Quarantine Crafts for the Kiddos

Someday this title will show up in a search engine and the quarantine part won't mean anything to the person searching. It will all be in the past. Cannot wait!

I hope everyone is well and hanging in there (and acknowledging the severity of this situation) while appreciating the little upbeat moments in all of this. 
Find them where you can! 

I used to speak at training events for teachers and my topic was all about creativity and how allowing creative choices and freedoms enhances learning. 
Mollie used to tell people that I went to "teach teachers how to teach!" :)
Not all learning looks like worksheets, quizzes or formal activities. 

In a 2007 clinical report for the American Academy of Pediatrics, the physician Kenneth R. Ginsburg wrote that “play allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength.” Yet “many [children] are being raised in an increasingly hurried and pressured style that may limit the protective benefits they would gain from child-driven play.”
*Also, please do not think that an older child doesn't need play or learn while being creative. 

Since everyone has a lot of time to fill, and I keep seeing how limiting screen time is a goal for almost everyone (Yay!!), I'm linking some old posts that would be a good starting point for sparking some creative time for kiddos of all ages. 

Creative thinking and problem solving abilities are two of the things that colleges and companies are searching for in candidates. Start fostering that now with some creative freedoms!

These projects are pre-Prime and ordering everything to be delivered and I'm a big recycler/repurposer so a lot of these require mostly found items. 
And if you don't have something let your little artist/creator find a substitution!

Also, these posts are early on and the images are not the best but that doesn't mean the projects are not great activities for this time in our lives. 

Dig out some cookie cutters and a few pantry items and make this delicious smelling
Chocolate Playdough 

Puppet play is fun and a great stress reliever. It's a good way for children to express frustrations or fears without even realizing it. And we should have TP rolls to use!
Make a batch of these Puppets on a Stick to go with whatever they are studying or to act out a favorite book.

This angel project was originally for Christmas but they could easily be changed in to garden angels. A great accent for your gardens - we are all spending a lot of time out in the fresh air - might as well grow something. I did order seeds on Prime the other day! These would also be cute neighbor gifts or make some for the grandmothers for Mother's Day. It is really easy to find lots of recycled items to use for angel wings and halos.

Owls are always fun. This painting activity is all about shapes and can be as simple or complex as a child's age allows. Paint on cardboard, posterboard, the inside of a cereal box. Whatever you have. Craft paints, old house paint, markers. Use what you have.

These do require a saw to slice the branches but after that there are so many possibilities. Wood slices are so unique and make even learning spelling words fun!Use a Sharpie to draw letters or tic tac toe x's and o's. Draw simple images and use like story stones. This one is completely free. You just need a small branch from the yard!

These daisy stakes for the garden are a good way to create an instant family garden! If you don't have clay saucers use plastic lids. Cut wood scraps into circles. Look around. Use a branch from the yard if you don't have a wood stake. Or use a paintstick or ruler. Improvise. Each child can make one and decorate the flower bed. Or make them for May Day and leave as a surprise for neighbors!

Use this sign project as an inspiration for all kinds of messages and found items to create your flower decoration.
So many possibilities!

There are more posts with fun, found object projects that will spark everyone's creativity.
Just scroll through the blog and enjoy learning and creating during this unusual time.
Maybe this will spark a love of creating that last long past our quarantine days.
If you have any questions just let me know!! 
Get creative!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Staying Home. 10 Days Later and 10 Things I'm Thinking.

First. By the time I get this post edited it will probably be 12 days since my last post
but Covid19 time has a mind of its own.
I hope you and yours are well.

Second. Cooper thinks sheltering in place is the best thing ever. He's one happy pup. Many friends have said the same thing. Will our pups be depressed when we all suddenly start leaving the house for extended time again? 
My friend says her cat will celebrate. 
That's funny.

No clue about social distance :)

Third. This could make a lot of you feel better. I have seen a lot of posts about working from home, sharing spaces, spouses work stuff all over the kitchen/family room/dining room - wherever. 
I know everyone is happy to be working if they are able but stuff everywhere is annoying. 
Soooo, I share this to cheer everyone up - my husbands company sent him home with a portable office.
 Literally a trailer sitting in the driveway. I kid you not. Until this is over. 
Their work is essential and our house is now a Fed Ex pick up hub among other things. :)
 I would have never thought it possible. Now, it's our new "abnormal." 

(This picture really doesn't do it justice. Haha!)

He's out there all day long doing IDK what! 
He likes the commute. :)))))

Four. I feel that Italians are far more talented while sheltering in place than I could ever be. All of them. From the young children playing Cold Train on violins to Sopranos serenading Rome every night from their apartment balconies. And so much more. 
We've baked muffins. Just sayin'

Very good. Then add Hu Gems (vegan choc chips that are soooo good!) and yum!

Five. I really appreciate the people who have decided to find joy each day no matter what! I'm cleaning out my IG feed and moving on from negative, blame filled accounts. It's liberating. You do this Covid time however you need to (and I'm not judging - cry, rant, be sad, whatever you need for you. And yesterday was a weird day but still I choose upbeat) but I have to move on. There is so much positive, resilient, faith-in-mankind-building action going on that I'm choosing to soak that up. As I mentioned in a previous post - I've been in a similar situation before and there is good to be found along the way. This Covid19 situation comes at almost the end of quite the year for us (see that explanation here) and I know that has definitely affected how I view things moving forward. 

Six. I'm also getting a good laugh from all of the funny memes. I think laughter is good medicine. I've seen people post some major rants and are offended because they feel that people who post these funny things don't have people in high risk categories in their families or aren't taking this seriously or are uninformed. I enjoy the laugh and move on. They are just trying to enjoy a smile or a laugh. I don't think they are being mean. It's just funny. And people have time to think up funny stuff.
And I get this is serious. Believe me. 
My dad is in "lock down" at an assisted living 9 hours away.
My husband is in an essential industry and Mollie is immunocompromised. 
The only place Mollie's been in weeks is the backyard!
He has to come and go. Packages are coming and going. 
So we are living in separate spaces. He has the office in the driveway and uses the master bedroom and bath. He doesn't come in the kitchen 
and has shoes that are for in the house only as he passes through to his spaces.
We wipe down door handles, stair railings, etc that he touches when he comes in the house. 
We have to social distance in our own home. 
But silly, funny things happen because of this and we laugh. 
Watcha gonna do?

Seven. We are cleaning out, getting things done and working in the yard. We have had to use what we have because we can't make 3 Home Depot runs to get what we need mid-project. Some projects work out and some are to the point where the rest happens after Covid19 lockdown ends and we can get the "whatever" we need to move on.  It's okay. Are there a lot of IG worthy pictures to post? Nope. But it's okay. The pace is nice and working with what we have is thrifty and "green."  I keep thinking of "making do" stories that my grandparents (who weathered far worse times in history) used to tell. I think I had lost some of that can-do spirit and I hope this Covid19 learning curve gives me a dose of it!

This is a little area I put together in the backyard using things I had on hand. The table base was in the donate pile pre-Covid. We had the outdoor plywood scrap. Green spraypaint- check. I divided some perennial ferns to fill the elephant planter. The bamboo mirror is a vintage plastic piece I had on the porch. And the lantern was purchased years ago and I added a strand of Christmas lights. 
And one of these days we will use the table for a tray of drinks and snacks when friends hang out at our fire pit again!

Eight. I am surprised at what I realllllllly miss and what I don't. 
How about you? 
There are things that we did/bought/ate/attended (fill in the blank) every week that really weren't as important as I thought.
But there are a couple of things that I do miss and will really enjoy/appreciate when the privilege returns. I hope I remember they are privileges not necessities. 

This meme IS me. If you've been here for my normal content you know it's usually thrifting, painting, and such.

Nine. Technology is amazing, and while often frustrating to amateurs like me, can you imagine this CV19 thing without cell phones and wi-fi and Zoom and FB live? This would have been very different 20 -25 years ago. We would have truly been isolated. And that's just the personal stuff. Technology has saved many lives and allowed people to help our economies as well and so much more. Thank you to the people keeping all that going and making sure things are working for hospitals, our children who are learning online and spouses working from trailers in driveways doing IDK what :)

I feel, from personal experience, that we are changed by life events around us that we cannot control. Some, like being isolated due to Covid19 pandemic, are huge and far, far beyond our control. Others are big in our personal lives but don't affect others. I think the way we handle adversity is the same whatever the size it comes in- it's just the way we each deal with things. I try to take things in stride and not become overwhelmed. (This does not mean that I can't have a royally huge, messy meltdown! I can. I do!) But I try to solve issues a bit at a time instead of reacting to the whole, big, imposing issue at once. I think that having faith makes this possible. I hope that when we can be closer than 6 feet again, we will be shoulder to shoulder in our local places of worship. We've learned a little bit about time through this. I hope "I don't have time" to go to church/take my kids to church  isn't heard as much. I think it will be much easier for all of us to move back in to our lives and heal from this if we are sharing our faith instead of placing blame.
 How the children of today deal with world issues as adults will stem from what is modeled today.
Are they going to be grabbing up toilet paper and hoarding things that people in need really need or will they be helpers, encouragers, people who have faith?
That's up to us right now.

We are thankful to be healthy and comfortable at home with food to eat.
We are thankful for everyone who is working hard to help us return to our previous, social lives - truck drivers, doctors, nurses, grocery employees, parents who have kept their kids home, anyone who has done their part, big or small. 

So, that's what I've got right now.
I wish you peace and hope. And comfort.