It’s Been Too Long

Hmmm . . . it’s been two years since I’ve written a post, and to be honest, I pretty much forgot about this blog until I got a reminder to pay my annual dues. I debated on letting it go and read through the posts, trying to make a decision.

I think I’m gonna keep it. Yeah, I’m definitely gonna keep it. I have always found peace and joy in writing, and looking back, I realize that I chronicled some really hard memories of my parents that now – today – touch me so deeply. I don’t need to let those go. But I do need to write more.

Our kids moved last summer in different directions. On the same weekend. Yep, it was almost impossible to keep myself together when Lauren and I hugged before they headed out to Iowa, but I tried. I really did. Because she doesn’t need to carry any guilt with her that she left home. She’s a grown woman, extremely well-educated, and deserves a happy life that, for the moment is taking place in a big, beautiful city where she is finding joy and peace.

On the other hand, I was just excited for our son. They moved close to Denver where he was starting a new job, fresh out of grad school. The had been living in Austin then Fort Worth, so I had already made peace with the fact that they were so far away, but they came home for a few days in the middle of moving, and those days were fabulous. And they are fabulous.

And my kids have the best spouses in the world. We are a pretty high-strung group of people, and Andy and Kendall are laid back and help the kids deal with life in a way I never could. And they love each other. So, so much. When I see Hoss and Kendall together, the love they share is amazing, and they still look at each other like they did the first time I saw them together. And Andy appreciates all of Lauren’s quirkiness, which is the best part of who she is. He is devoted to her and will do anything to make her happy. And she knows, without a doubt, that he is the one. The only one she’ll ever love.

Life for us has been busy but peaceful for the most part. This year I played video poker in Las Vegas with my cousin, who is an expert, and in fact wrote a video-poker-for-dummies book. And about my third spin, I hit a royal flush. My 25 cents turned into 400 bucks! I still have it, too! I met my sisters in Oklahoma where we played at a really fun casino, and I even made us matching shirts, which I might post soon.

We got a new cat – Sally – who reminds me of Betty, an outside cat named after Betty Draper. She was bouncy and happy and loved being in the garden with Chris. She died on New Year’s Eve of 2016, and we buried her in the backyard, exactly one year after my mom’s funeral. We tried so hard to save her, but multiple trips to the vet didn’t do much. I felt horrible guilt because I had debated so long on bringing her inside.

When Sally wondered up in the yard, she was tiny with a beautiful gray stripe, and she bounced just like Betty. I did bring her in the house, and she had some infections the vet treated as well as a hernia after her spay surgery. But she is no longer the petite little kitty we first saw. She’s tall and healthy and happy. And I can’t even begin to say how much I love that little Sally Draper Carroll.

I got a special recognition from my co-workers at graduation this year – one I was not expecting at all, so when I thanked them, I choked down tears because, well, I’m an ugly cryer, but I hate crying in front of people. Especially thousands of people. But the recognition was so precious to me and I even got a standing ovation from everyone – students, parents, coworkers, and friends.

I made new friends, lost a friend or two, changed my office space around, gained 35 pounds, lost 30 pounds, got my sugar back under control and started eating right. I improved my embroidery skills significantly, and started reading for pleasure again.

Oh, I can’t even begin to convey how much I love to read. The whole time I was working on my doctorate, I read only one or two books for pleasure, and when I finished, I got back into reading slowly – it took about a year for me to stop feeling frazzled and guilty for not spending every free moment doing my Texas Tech homework. Every single free moment. But now, I’m reading lots of books about ghosts and hauntings, and none of them are going to end up in the canon of literature, and I love that I am not worried about that anymore.

So now, I’ve pretty much told my life story for the last two years, so I can go ahead and get started moving forward. If you’re reading this, thanks for being patient.

Where Bloggers Create 2015

I’m so excited to include my craft room in the Where Bloggers Create summer roundup. I’ve wanted to participate for several years, but things got in the way, so I jumped on it this year! Thank you, Karen, for letting all of us share our pages.

If you haven’t already, go check out her blog. This annual feature has a great collection of craft and sewing rooms, and the ideas are endless. I set aside a whole day each summer to browse and jot down ideas. Some of the rooms are too pretty to use!

If you followed the link, you are on the original post (and not here, so I’m not sure why I’m talking to you, lol), but in case you got here through some other way, I’m posting pictures again. I won’t waste too much time with comments because most people just want to see the pictures. If you have any questions, though, I am happy to answer them in the comments! I do want to say that my husband built all of the furniture for me and helped me design it so that it would be most usable. I know, right?! He’s perfect. Sometimes I just want to stare at him in amazement, but that’s for another post. Here we go . . .

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This is my room when you walk into the door. Complete with a fat cat.

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I couldn’t leave out Callie. She looks fat, but she’s just furry. This table is an old kitchen table that my wonderful, amazing husband refinished for me.

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This is the view from a different corner. The cart holds my paper, my Cricut and Silhouette, dies, stamps, and paper cutters. See the little wheels at the bottom? Yeah, my husband was smart enough to know we might need to move it to get something into the room, so he added wheels. The drawers are deep and sturdy. the cabinet next to it is storage for all kinds of things, mostly blanks and stabilizers for embroidery. The other cabinet holds fabric and polyfill, and the baskets hold glue, tape, paper bags, and other things.

The picture below shows the shelves on the cart, and I have lots of great things stored in baskets and bins. The inside of the cabinets, including the shelves, are left natural so that they will age and get a beautiful patina. He convinced me to paint the walls and trim white since the cabinets are painted in a wheat color, and I think it was a great decision because the room looks less busy.

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We didn’t want to do anything to cover the windows, so he built a window seat for me. He angled the bottom to allow the air vent to work properly.

This corner is my sewing corner. I have my Brother sewing machine and my Brother SE400 embroidery machine on my sewing table.  I made the curtains and the sewing machine cover. As you can see, my cats follow me everywhere. I’m including some closeup pictures so you can get an idea of some of my storage solutions.

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I made this little pin cushion from an egg cup I got at Pottery Barn. It is so much fun to use. You can also see the hole in the back of the cabinet for my sewing machine cords. It is really nice not to have to mess with them running down in front of the cabinet. 179

Around the other side, I have two window seats with storage underneath, and beside them is a shelf to hold mason jars. They are full of odds and ends that I use for crafting and home decor. It is amazing how much stuff you collect over the years, and these jars are stacked two deep! The cart is from Ikea and holds fabric I’m working on right now. The closet doors were old and heavy, like Thor’s hammer heavy, so we took them out, and I sewed a curtain to cover the closet. Next to that is a shelf for my fabric. I keep it folded on comic book boards, so he built it to dimension.

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This is the side by the door, which I painted with chalkboard paint that makes it a workable place to keep notes. The music cabinet holds plastic boxes with little bits for paper crafts, buttons, small tools, and other things. Underneath I keep large buckets of paint. The little rolling cart beside it holds wrapping paper.

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This is the corner behind the door where I have small paint and glitter along with dye new craft room 2 035and some rolls of Washi. I tried not to leave any space unused. I love Tim Holtz products for paper crafting.

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I love looking at how people arrange things, so I’m going to leave this post with a series of pictures.

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My last picture is one that my daughter made for me. She is the most creative person I know, and she loves tinkering with ideas. She made the little pink dump truck pin cushion for me. And then she made this lovely picture, which I think this is the most perfect exclamation point for my craft room.

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I just had the best blogday ever!

I got an email a little bit ago. It was from Joanne of Joanne Inspired (isn’t that an  adorable name?), and she just told me that she had given me the Liebster Award! It is an award given to blogs with fewer than 500 followers and is designed to help recognize and promote lesser-known blogs.

What the wha!

She chose me?!

I’m not sure I didn’t faint for a couple of seconds when I read that. I mean, I have been so busy and neglected my blog for almost three months while work and family obligations, not to mention that pesky dissertation I have to write, have consumed me. This is a shot in the blog arm if there ever was one! Thank you, thank you, Joanne!

b4765-liebsterawardThe rules for accepting the award say that I should post five random facts about myself and answer the questions Joanne proposed and then share the award with other bloggers.

Here are random facts about myself:

1. My first professional job was coordinating developmental education. I took it because it seemed like a good “foot in the door” to securing a job teaching English at a community college. Seventeen years later, I am the vice president of the college and have never had a full-time job teaching English. I do, however, get to teach part-time.

2. I love french fries. I should marry them. If there was only one food on the planet and it was french fries, I would be perfectly fine with that.

3. I have been in school for all but seven years of my life. I don’t know how not to be a student.

4. I have never cooked a whole meal in my life. I once fried an egg, put it on a styrofoam plate, and watched it melt the plate and fall to the floor. And that was probably my best cooking day ever.

5. I wrote my master’s thesis on Anne Tyler’s body of work and never, ever tire of re-reading her books.

So here are Joanne’s questions . . .

1. Why did you start your blog?

My husband is incredibly generous and has done an amazing job of renovating our home. I wanted a way to share his work and have a chance to talk about the spaces he has created for me. I found that blogging about our home also allows me a chance to talk about life in general.

2. Who has been the biggest influence in your life in terms of creativity?

My whole family. My husband is an incredible woodworker, and he taught me the value of taking my time and doing things right. He never takes short cuts or does anything half way, and as a result, his work is solid and lovely.

My mother is the best storyteller I’ve ever known, and she made me love stories, which turned into a passion for reading and writing.

My daughter made me fearless. She just finds something she likes and recreates it with her own s128ignature style. Her ability to love her own creations gave me courage to try and tenacity when I fail. Her passion for creating is incredible. She’s a science teacher, not an artist, by vocation, but you should see her classroom! (She made this adorable pin cushion for me.)

My son is a musician. He taught himself to play the guitar and ukelele, and I’ve never known anyone with as much raw talent for music as he has. He saved money and took a year and a half off from work to work on his craft, and SMEnow he plays in a band in Dallas/Fort Worth. He turned me on to the value of YouTube as a teaching tool.

3. What was your favorite DIY home improvement?

Oooh, this is really tough. I think my closet and my craft room are dead even. I mean, the two things I love, shopping and sewing, are all tied up in those two spaces. Plus, they were created by my husband just for me, so they both have a sentimental value to me.

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4. What is your favorite post you have written?

My favorite post is the one about taking our honors students to see To Kill a Mockingbird. It doesn’t fit in with the home dec theme of my blog, but it is probably the most reflective post of who I really am.

I can’t believe I get paid to go to college and hang out with these kids every day. No matter what else is going on in my life, when I step into the classroom, I get an hour and fifteen minutes off the beaten path where life is always good.

5. What is your favorite color to incorporate in home decor/design and why?

My favorite color has always been pink. But . . . I don’t decorate with pink because it is too feminine and can be too cloying at times. Blue is my favorite color for decorating and is part of my home in almost every room. It can feel rich and leathery or light and airy, but it always makes me feel cozy and calm.

6. What’s the one place in the world you would love to visit or return to?

Florence. I want to see The David. I want to stand at the feet of the statue and feel the vibrations of its power.

7. What is a favorite childhood memory?

I had a wonderful childhood with a great family, so it’s really hard to choose, but I think one of my things was in high school.

I was the feature editor for our high-school paper, and I did a layout on what it mean to be a Rebel (our mascot) that talked about how you could tell the sophomores, who walked in clusters, and the juniors, who walked in pairs, apart from the seniors, who had the confidence to walk the halls alone, but at the end of the day, we were all the same. We were all Rebels.

The principal read that piece to the entire school one day during announcements! It was so thrilling. Except that I was sick that day and had to hear about it second hand. LOL

8. What is one thing you’d put on your bucket list?

I want to publish a novel. I have one in progress that is about people who live on the same street on the weekend that JFK was killed. I have six of the stories finished, but it had to be put on hold when I started my doc program.

9. If money were no object, what renovation/design project would you tackle immediately?

I would love to open up our kitchen. We have a separate dining room, and the wall between the two is load bearing, so it is going to take some planning. However, everyone wants to hang out in the kitchen when they visit, and there isn’t enough room.

I have chosen the following blogs to recognize with the Liebster Award:

Teach Your Ass Off

D.D.’s Cottage and Design

Designing Dee

Start @ Home

A Little Lagniappe

If you’d like to accept the award, here are my questions for you:

1. How would you describe your style as it is reflected in your blog?

2. What is your favorite thing about your blog that you hope others can appreciate?

3. Who would you be most thrilled to have following your blog and why?

4. What is your profession (and I include anyone who works at raising a family!), and how is it related to your blog?

5. If you could take any class you wanted for free, what would you learn how to do or how to do better?

6.  What is your signature piece of clothing? Why is it your signature?

7.  Who (band, artist, lecturer, etc.) would you most like to see on stage?

8. If you had to choose one character from a book that you feel is most like you, who would it be and why?

9. What is the most creative thing you’ve ever done?

10. If you were to start another blog in addition to this blog, what would it be called? What would be the focus?

I’ve copied the rules from Joanne Inspired to make sure I get them just right.

“Official” Liebster Award Rules:  Once a blogger is nominated, and they choose to ACCEPT the award, they should:

1. Thank and link back to the blogger who nominated you

2. Upload the Liebster award badge to your blog

3. Post 5 facts about yourself and answer the 5-10 questions from the person who nominated you

4. Nominate and add a link to 5-10 blogs with fewer than 500 followers

5. Notify the nominees by email or leave a comment on their blog, include 5-10 questions

fabric storage at the corner farmhouse

I thought I would share a little about my fabric storage since one of my favorite things to do is look at how people store their fabric.

004This cabinet holds most of my fabric. I arranged by pattern instead of color because I kept looking for patterns. I can tell at a glance if it is cotton, denim, or upholstery grade since I don’t have too much.

022Here are my polka dots, stripes, paisleys, and toiles.  I used comic backer boards for folding, and you can find all kinds of tutorials on how to fold. If I had fabric that was bigger than what would easily pin, I used some twine/rope to secure it.

031I lined up my chevron, houndstooth, and check patterns. As best I could, I put like colors together.

038Florals, and one thing I like about the comic book boards is that the fabric is relatively the same sizes and stacks nicely. I gave my husband the dimensions based on this type of fold. I think the book lover in me finds this attractive.

046This is the top shelf, and the fabric here is fabric that is either thick or contains more yardage and folds best this way. Some of it will be used for skirts (if I can muster the courage to try that), and some will be used for home dec projects.

083My holiday stash is on the bottom shelf. I have small yardage for pillows, aprons, and other small crafts on my to-do list.

082This basket contains felt for small projects. I have yardage felt stored in a drawer. These small pieces are wonderful for applique and cutting with my cuttlebug.

063The basket next to the felt holds fabric that matches for aprons. I don’t want to use it accidentally on a different project. I don’t have much time to sew while going to school, but the aprons are a top priority when I graduate.

057These last two baskets hold fat quarters and similar pieces and some sample felt pieces for small projects.

073I have two drawers that hold fabric I want to make sure gets protected – satins, minky, etc.

182I sewed the liner for this huge basket, and it holds stuffing and foam. Sorry for the quality of the picture, but you get the idea, I think.

I hope you enjoy looking at my fabric as much as I have enjoyed looking at storage and folding techniques.

Have a happy day!

Shannon

craft and sewing organization

I love looking at people’s organization ideas, don’t you? I have gotten so many great ideas from Pinterest and different blogs, and I can never get enough. When my sewing room is well-organized, I feel inspired to get in there and get something done.

I thought I would share some of my own organization ideas with you. I’m finalizing the cabinets and closet right now, so I’ll have a new post in a few days, but for now, I hope something in my room will inspire you!

097I like to store as much as I can in these mason jars because it is so much easier to find things this way. I have two rows, so I can put like things together, too. Much of my sewing odds and ends are in these jars, and I even have some electrical supplies for a project or two.

new craft room 2 044I keep my thread on a holder so that I can keep it untangled and also know what I have on hand. For current projects, the thread I need is in this little bucket.

new craft room 2 042This tray holds my sewing supplies, and the little dish holds pins. I got this at IKEA in Dallas and put a heavy duty magnet on the bottom. I also use the little rabbit pin cushion. It’s one of my all-time favorite things!

new craft room 2 035I store some small jars and rolls of washi tape in an old Coke box. The little jars are wedding favors from Walmart, and the little cream and sugar silver set is from an antique store on 6th Street in Amarillo, which is on the old Route 66.

new craft room 2 033I love these jam jars. If you ever get a chance to try Bonne Maman jelly, you should jump on it. It is wonderful jelly, and the jars are adorable. I’m not a paid spokesperson, but I should be because we buy tons of their jelly and use it in all kinds of pastries.

new craft room 2 031This is a behind-the-door solution to lots and lots of small bottles of things. I have everything from glitter to Mod Podge to Rit Dye stored here. I stacked the two units together that I got at Michael’s with a 40% coupon. I also have a paper towel holder on the paper cart. I think it’s important to have paper towels handy, especially for painting and working with other liquids.

208I have only a few books and some embroidery software, so I keep them handy. The vintage muffin tin holds sewing ods and ends, and the green and white picnic pail holds scissors and small embroidery hoops. The pink truck is a pin cushion my daughter made for me. I cherish it because she painted it and sewed the cushion just for me.

192163I keep ribbon and flowers that I want to use for specific projects in this jar to make sure I don’t mix them up with other supplies.

162This little bunny holds cotton balls, and the trophy behind him holds ric-rac. I keep my ribbon on large craft sticks so that I can see what I have at a glance.

157I got this twine-rope holder from Antique Farmhouse, and I can’t tell you how often I used it. I will have to get more of the rope one of these days.  That little camera in the forefront is from Anthropologie, and it holds washi tape.

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the most awesome craftroom in the history of ever, and it’s mine!

Last year, I was incredibly blessed to get a new craft room. I had a couple of spaces before, but neither were very conducive to creating. I pinned thousands of spaces, hoping to find one that felt exactly right. I found a couple of inspiration spaces that I’ll share in another post, and I began designing. My husband took my ideas, sketched out some plans and spent his whole summer making my furniture. I had one cabinet that I kept, and he refinished our old kitchen table.

I can never, never express sufficient gratitude for this work of love. It was the summer after our son moved from home for the last time (he’s married, now) and I lost my beloved beagle, Holly. The year had been particularly difficult at work, too. This room is a gift of immeasurable proportions to me.

new craft room 2 006This is the view from the door. My kitties love to craft with me.

004The cabinet is a music cabinet I bought from my college. I use it to store small notions for scrapbooking and other crafting. The cabinet beside it holds my fabric, and the cart on the other side is one I got from antiquefarmhouse.com to hold wrapping paper.

013This cabinet has large bins for fabric, pillow forms, and stuffing. The top bins hold some of my sewing patterns, backing, and other supplies. The basket in front is one I covered that holds batting and foam.

027Here is a closer look at the top shelf of that cabinet.

056This is a view from the other side of the room. I made the curtain for the closet, which has great storage space. The cabinet that holds the mason jars holds them double deep, so there are twice as many as you can see. I also have the turquoise Ikea cart to hold fabric for projects in progress. Right now I am working on a couple of infinity scarves and a new bedskirt.

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067Here is a view of my sewing cabinet. I have a simple Brother that works great, a small Brother embroidery machine, and a large Singer embroidery machine that I got for my birthday. It has a hoop size that is enormous. I’m fixing to break that baby in with some monogrammed sheets and pillow cases. I feel a little spoiled to have a great tv, but my cute builder insisted on building a shelf to accommodate it, and now I am really glad.129This is the storage in the music cabinet. My husband found one at the high school that was headed for the trash and rescued it. He is going to refinish it since it was painted and the glass was missing, but it is the twin to this cabinet.

new craft room 2 008The cabinet in the corner holds a ton of stuff, and it has three sets of doors in case I change spaces and need it in a different configuration. I can access the entire shelf, but he made sure that it was suitable for any other space if we ever move.

The cabinet next to it is on casters to ensure that we can move it if we need to access the doorway for something big. It is an incredible cabinet that holds my cricut and my silhouette machines. The top shelf holds my ribbons, felting supplies, and smashbooks in various containers.

The table and chairs are our old kitchen table, and he completely refinished them and painted them to match the rest of the furniture.

new craft room 2 001Thanks for stopping by. I’ll be posting some storage pictures later this week to show you how I keep everything organized.

I am proud to link to Miss Mustard Seed!

Have a happy day!

Shannon

my apologies and my bedroom

I’ve been missing for the last month, trying to finish up the semester. It’s like this every semester . . . you marathon grade papers and finals and any extra credit projects, and you forget to breathe the whole time. On top of that, I was finishing my last semester of coursework and attending the winter meeting for our regional accrediting agency, SACS-COC in Atlanta. I’m having a hard time remembering to breathe still, but my little blog, and my little farmhouse are about to get some attention.

A few years ago, we remodeled our bedroom, which was a converted attic. I got a wonderful closet out of the deal, but I thought I would share some pictures of the bedroom. I’ve since changed comforters and rearranged the shelves, but it gives a good sense of the space.

100_0146100_0148The shelf with the baskets now looks like this:

320323337335326339 327341Isn’t that “C” divine?! I think it looks like perfectly aged copper, but it’s a cardboard letter from JoAnn’s wrapped in foil and painted. If anyone is interested, let me know, and I can do a tutorial. I don’t know if people like things like this, but I do. I also made a pail for cat food for our outside cats. It looks wonderfully rusted. Maybe I’ll link a picture of it soon.

I will be doing my craft room reveal around the first of the year, and I’m so excited to share it with you! In the meantime, have a joyful, peaceful holiday.

. . . and have a great day!

Shannon