the guest room

After losing Mom and Dad, we had to clear out their home. I took the bedroom furniture that was in my childhood bedroom and made a guest room. Our kids visit frequently enough to benefit from a bed instead of the air mattress we had been using, so it made sense to bring the furniture home with me.

This room was my first craft room before I moved to the other bedroom, and we didn’t have time to paint it before we moved the furniture in. Next summer, we will repaint it and repair the walls, so don’t judge! Some of the pictures are hung to cover previous hangers, so they aren’t the best placement, but they will end up being moved after we repaint.

guest room 013

Mom loved cheerful colors and patterns, so I decorated in a way that reflects her but also makes me happy. I think I have buffalo check in every room of my house except my downstairs bedroom. It has mattress ticking, so it’s kind of the same thing. LOL

guest room 011The other side of the room houses this gigantic movie cabinet, which is pretty much full already.I had the bottom piece that was open shelving but solid wood. Chris added doors and then made the upper pieces to match. It has a bit of a ledge to set movies on, and the inside has shelves that are the perfect size for DVD’s. We keep movies in the top and television shows in the bottom. guest room 035 All of our blue-ray are stored in a different cabinet, and we are buying more and more movies on the cloud. We have an extensive collection.

guest room 007I sewed the curtain on the closet for my upstairs shower curtain, but when I redid the bathroom a few weeks ago, I moved this curtain downstairs, and it fits nicely. When we repaint, I’ll hang an appropriate curtain rod, but for now, this works fine.

guest room 018I love this chair. I hunted everywhere for one, and Wal-Mart had this one. It’s small, probably child size, but it’s a nice little rocker for me. I got the picnic basket at World Market a few years ago and had no idea what to do with it. Now it has a perfect place to sit. I sewed the curtains from chambray and added the buffalo check border. I left them short to expose the baseboards. In an old home like ours, I’ve learned to take advantage of the architectural features and not cover everything. I also added the borer on the sheers for a fun touch.

The plant on the floor is a rubber tree that the college sent when Mom died. I had it in my office and decided it needed more natural light before I killed it, so we repotted it and brought it into this room. It is recovering nicely. I do not have a green thumb at all, and I really want this little tree to live, so I’m trying to take good care of it.

I wanted to find lamps that were just right for the room, and I found this little red lantern. It lights up and is perfect for bedside reading. It sits on an Ikea stool that I use on occasion. It takes up less room than the side table takes up, so it fits perfectly in this corner.guest room 043

 

guest room 019I found this lamp online and purchased it because it is not overpowering and brings a nice blue glass into the room. The plant on the bed frame is one that the president of a neighboring community college (and my alma mater) sent when Dad died. I’m struggling with regulating the water it needs, but it’s been alive for nine months, and that is a miracle for me! I already had the basket on the wall for craft storage, so I put some silk hydrangeas in for color.

guest room 024This corner is one of my favorite spaces in our whole house. The window was original to the house, and I saved it when we installed new windows. I found the little concrete lion at a local flea, and his birthday hat is one that our daughter gave to our son for his 20th birthday. He let me keep it, and it is a cute accessory for the lion.

I made the sampler, and the bottom says ” . . . now I know.” Learning to read was the most important skill in my life, and I remember learning the alphabet in first grade and telling Mrs. Strickland that I was done with school. “I came to learn everything,” I told her, “and now I know.” That story passed around my little elementary school for years!

guest room 004I saw a painted lampshade like this on Pinterest and made one for myself. I held typing paper up to my computer screen and traced the pattern, then taped it inside the lamp, turned the lamp on, and traced it on the outside of the shade and painted it. The woman who posted it gave a great tutorial, but I didn’t have a printer that worked at the time, so I improvised.

guest room 017This is a painting my husband painted in a college art class based on a Monet painting. I absolutely love it, and when the room is painted, this painting will have a prominent place in the room. Right now it sits on an antique printer tray from the newspaper in Canadian, Texas. My dad was raised in a nearby town until he was ten or so, and Canadian was the place where everyone “went to town.” It is also the location of the farm where Tom Hanks finally delivers the Fed Ex package in Castaway.

guest room 047This was my dad’s shaving cup when he was a teenager, and I keep small toiletries in the pail for guests in case they forget something. The yellow marshmallow ducks are a tribute to my daughter. Once when she was about five, we went to the mall and bought a bag of Easter candy corn. While she was sleeping, I stayed up all night talking to my dear neighbor, Lyndall, about a difficult decision I needed to make. We ate all of Lauren’s candy corn, and she has never let me forget that!

guest room 053I embroidered this pillow to say, “home.” It’s always been important to me for our kids to feel like this was their home and will always be a welcoming place to return. I saw this on a Pinterest post and knew it was what I wanted. I want to add a couple of red pillows made from mattress ticking, but I haven’t figured out what I want them to look like yet.

guest room 052I love this room. I sewed the bed skirt and built everything around it. I found the perfect bedding and then added the chambray curtains. It makes me happy because it reminds me so much of Mom and what she loved in her own home. I know she would be happy here, and I know she is looking down and loving that I am taking care of her Ethan Allen furniture and honoring her life in the best possible way.

 

my world turned up side down . . .

My world turned upside down since the last time I posted.

Last July, I was waiting for approval to move on with my research on my dissertation, and I was helping tend to my ailing parents. When I posted last year, I thought that things were going to get back to normal very soon. But they didn’t. They didn’t at all.

My dad was battling a nasty infection in his foot, especially dangerous because he was diabetic. At the end of July, I got a call from my doctor who informed me that my blood work indicated I, too, was diabetic. I immediately began eating differently. Out of fear, but also out of a sort of respect for my dad. I knew that he could have managed his diabetes years ago had he eaten the way he was supposed to.

In September, we took him to the doctor, and they told him that he had to have his foot amputated. He decided not to go through with the surgery, so he and my mother talked to Hospice. He was at peace for the first time in two years after numerous falls and becoming incapacitated.

Dad in the Navy

Dad in the Navy

A week later I received notification that my dissertation was approved and started working on research. On Monday, September 15th, I conducted my first focus group, and on Wednesday, my dad passed away.

My mother was wheel-chair bound, suffering from COPD, and she would not let anyone driver her anywhere except me. Everyone else, she said, made her feel rushed and frantic. On the day of Dad’s funeral, she and I drove together to the cemetery. Everyone else drove separately, so we had time alone to talk about things. I remember reaching over, taking her hand, and saying, “Well, Nanny, if we have to take the ride, it is a privilege for me to take it with you.”

The next week, I did my second focus group and got busy writing my fourth and fifth chapters. I talked to my chair and told her that I had an opportunity that would require me to have my doctorate by December, so she agreed to help me reach that goal. I spent countless nights staying up until two or three in the morning writing, coding, rewriting, wash . . . rinse . . . repeat.

In the meantime, Mom’s health was failing. And I was teaching seven college classes with a full-time administrative job. Looking back, I am not sure how I held things together, but somehow I did, and on December 3, I defended my dissertation. My husband went with me, so the first person I called when I was done was Mom. Her birthday was the next day, and she was so excited for me. She never said anything to me, but I found out later that she called my sister and cried because my dad wasn’t there to know that I was now Dr. Shannon.

The college gave me a reception, and my sister took lots of pictures to show Mom, who couldn’t travel the hour drive to the college, and Mom was so happy to see the pictures. A couple of weeks later, I took her to the eye doctor, and we ordered her new glasses.

Our kids come home for Christmas, so we didn’t go to Mom’s like we usually did, but the day after Christmas, we went to see her. She was not doing well. Her legs were swollen, and she just felt miserable. My brother and I talked her into letting us call an ambulance so that she wouldn’t have to sit in the emergency room waiting.

At the hospital, they determined she had suffered a heart attack at some point during the day, and while there she had another one. They took her in for a heart cath and assured us that she would move into ICU for one day and then go to a regular room. She passed away during surgery. Exactly one hundred days after we lost Dad.

Mom and Starlite

Mom and my oldest sister shortly after she lost her own mother. She was such a tiny woman and so, so beautiful.

I have learned in the last six months to be grateful that she did not suffer through the last stages of COPD. I have learned that she had more faith than anyone I’ve ever known. But I also learned that she was lonely after she lost Dad. And I’ve dealt with guilt. A. Lot. Of. Guilt. That I didn’t do more, didn’t spend more time with her, didn’t put off things that turned out not to matter so that I could spend time with her.

But I’ve also realized that she wanted me to finish my degree. She told everyone, everywhere we went, that I was “her doctor.” I’m eternally grateful that she got to know that I finished. That she was alive when I defended.

I graduated in May, walking with several of the members of my cohort, and it was a wonderful day. My whole family came, and my sisters cried, and we drove three hours in pouring rain, the beginning of the end of the drought we had suffered in Texas for ten years. And in that rain, I realized that, no matter how bittersweet it was not to have Mom and Dad there, the rain was cleansing. It was a new beginning, a new stage in my life. And it would have made Mom and Dad very happy.

My childhood home

This is Mom and Dad’s house. Mom had the most beautiful mums in her flower bed.

My sisters, brother, and I have spent months clearing out their home, dividing their things, and wrestling over decisions we don’t want to make. We have not yet sold their home, and I know that locking the door for the very last time will be one of the worst days of my life.

I grew up in that house. Had my first kiss there, practiced ballet using my dresser as the barre, learned to drive a stick shift, got proposed to in the drive way, slept in “my” room for the last time the night before our wedding, watched my mom and daughter make mud pies in the sandbox, celebrated fifty Thanksgivings, watched a gazillion football games, and loaded up my mom in her wheelchair on the day of my dad’s funeral. I don’t know how to let that house go. How to detach myself from a place that symbolizes my childhood. Every good thing in my life happened while my parents lived in that house.

So I did something that I thought would be a horrible mistake and turned out to be a blessing.

I loaded up their living room furniture and my mom’s bedroom set that had been in my old room, and I took it home. And I sat on the couch and felt calm. Connected. Close to them. And I told my sisters and brothers to take things from the house so that they could feel the same peace I felt. And they took things. And they all have said they feel better having this piece of Mom and Dad with them. And we all plan to send these pieces down to our children, who loved Nanny and Poppy and know, without a doubt, that they had the very best grandparents of any kids they know.

So my blog is going to take a different direction. I started it with some misplaced, ill-conceived idea that it had to be perfect. It had to be themed. It had to appeal to people I don’t even know. And I realized that the blogs I love belong to women who have no full-time job outside of their home and who have a skill I don’t have. I don’t have a design degree. I don’t have an eye for things, and I don’t have “the knack.” And I don’t have any followers. LOL

But I do have things I want to talk about. Things I love. Things I know, and things I want to share. I am an expert at a few things. Mostly grammar and Anne Tyler, and now that my dissertation is done, the perceptions of community-college students in terms of the spaces in which they learn. I’m not an expert at films, but I love watching them, and my background in English gives me a fair amount of insight. I’m not thin or beautiful or rich, but I love dressing cute, and I have days where I want to share what I’m wearing.

My decree is to change the fabric of my blog so that it is a place where I speak from my heart, share some things that a few people might find interesting, and chronicle the life I live. It is a good life. No, it is a great life. It is full of laughter and learning and doing good things for people. It is also full of sadness and regret and hope for the future. It is what I have been given, and I will be honest about it. And I’ll jump, jump off the edge and believe that my family and friends will look kindly at this blog and this little corner farmhouse and find it interesting and insightful.

Wish me luck. Because the one promise that is hardest to keep is to be true to who I really am and believe that I am good enough.

Why I’m MIA

Image

It has been really hard to stay active for the last few months because of my obligations to both the college I attend and the college where I work. I have finished all three of my chapters for my dissertation, proposed, and sent off my application to the IRB. Once I get permission to proceed, I’ll do my research then write up the rules and submit. I should be able to defend my dissertation in the fall and graduate either fall or spring.

What a relief!

Just as a little treat, I have a tutorial of a lamp I made. The lamp is cute – the tutorial is not. But . . . I always have questions about things that I see online, so having even a couple of pictures to show how things are made is helpful.

100_1563First, you will need lots of coffee filters. I bought the cheapest ones I could find at the dollar store, and I bought white. For a little more, you can buy the natural colored filters, and they would be pretty. You can also dye them, but I didn’t want to spend that much time until I knew if I could actually make a whole lamp shade.

 

Each coffee filter should be folded in half (a half circle) and then100_1553 folded again (a quarter circle). When you have folded about ten of them, fluff them a little, but make sure you keep the bottom of the triangle flat to use as a sort of handle. This is what you will glue to your lampshade.

I did about ten at a time so that I could keep the hot glue gun rolling along.

 

100_1561Start with the top of the shade and glue the first row. When you glue, make sure that the first row is glued to the inside of the lamp shade.

This picture shows the top of the lamp. The reason you want to start at the top is that you will have the least weight on your paper as you work your way down.

The next row will glow slightly underneath the first row.100_1554 It doesn’t matter how much you space, but the closer together, the tighter your ruffles will be. The other thing to watch is to try to get the ruffles as straight as possible. If I did this again, I would make lines on the lampshade as a guide, but I intended this to be a practice run where I would learn all the tricks for the next one.

You continue to glue filters down your lampshade and fluff as you go. I did a row and the fluffed.

100_1559100_1557100_1552

100_1564The lampshade has held up remarkably well for several years now. It doesn’t catch nearly as much dust as I thought it would, and I’ve been able to turn it upside down and shake it to keep it clean.

It’s not my best project by any means, but I felt bad for not keeping up better with my blog, and it’s one I had handy to share.

Soon, I will be done with my doctorate and have more time to get back to working on the things I love. Until then . . .

Have a great day!

Shannon

 

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.

closet 147new craft room 2 011

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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