Monday, December 29, 2008

The Bedroom is Finished! (Almost)

Of course there are always things I wnat to fix/change. (Curtians, professional framing for the family tree, etc) But for the most part the bedroom is done!

See my Flickr account for "notes" on the pictures with stories and such. Flickr stream

Friday, December 26, 2008

letter on canvas

This is another part of my "antique/family heritage" room. I have a copy of a letter that my Great Grandfather wrote to his parents while he was stationed in the Phillipines as an Army Doctor in 1900 during the Philippine–American War.

There's a local scrapbook store that is going out of business so I bought a few canvases from there. I made copies of the letter on yellow paper and then got out my modge podge.

That's the entire letter and the envelope. I have the date and the letterhead blown up on the last small canvas.
This is the actual text of the letter:
Angelus, PI, Dec 17th, 1900

Dear Mother and Father,
I have been looking for a letter from some of you for some time; have received two from Johny in which he stated that Jessie was writing to me - this was in August. I received the letter yesterday it had been misspent to Pikin, China, and therefore did not reach me. I sent you the envelope which shows the stamps of the different mailing stations. I have learned that at the time the 9th Infantry left here for China, I was under orders to join the third Regiment upon the request of quite a number of the Officers, but being in the hospital sick at the time and Gen Grant also requested that I remain here as it would take some time to get anyone to know the business of the office as I did. So, I am still here at the headquarters.

There is a quite a number of changes going on account of the Volunteer Regiments leaving for the States very soon. I am certainly glad they are going home as few of them have done anything here but many of them have been a disgrace to the Army. They want the credit for the work done by the Regulars and have truly earned the credit as deadbeats and especially Hospital beats. -- I have a small house or “Cassa”, as it is called in Spanish, all to myself just opposite the headquarters building and have it fixed it up very comfortably, the present indications are that I will remain at this place for some time on account of being familiar with all the towns and the stations in the district and can speak the native language very well that I have to do considerable interpreting. I have seen circulars issued by the insurgents giving what was or supposed to be Bryans speeches and extracts from letters by Americans which had eluded many of the natives into believing that they would given 40 acres and a mule if Bryan was elected. We heard the election news here about as soon as you did as the Cable Bulletins were sent all over the island to the different Telegraph and Telephone stations. We are having a few hangings of the natives here for Murder and it is having a good moralizing effect on the insurgent bands. Nearly every day some of the insurgents are captured they are being slowly taken and growing fewer in numbers.

I have a small garden connected with my house and would like for you to send me by mail some seeds. Tomato, cucumber, lettuce, celery, peas, beats, cantaloupe, and watermelon. Also some flower seed. Vines such morning glory, medina ___ . I have a watch which I will send to PaPa sometime soon to keep for me. It strikes the hour and the quarter of an hour all you have to do is to press a spring and it strikes the hour the hands on the face represent. Will send it by registered mail.

Will close at this time

You son, Gordon

I received the pictures. Will send you some in a few days.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Family Tree Wall Update

I posted a while ago about creating a family tree for my antique bedroom. (See this post).

I ordered a number of antique oval Italian frames from ebay (sans glass), made copies of old family photos, bought some thick foam board and satin finish modge podge and went to work on a photo collage. (I'm going for art/design - not heirloom - here)

I've also collected a few gold and white saucers and small bowls at thrift stores that I'll either hang on the wall or use to set on top of dressers and such to collect jewelry, coins, etc

This is what I have so far:

This is a close up on the calligraphy and some of my favorite names on my family tree. They're just pretty names. (Calligraphy work the art of Lisa at Pen and Ink Calligraphy)

These are my paternal Grandfather's parents. Great-grandma is a little off-center there, but oh well.

Here is my father as a wee one. (I'll probably re-do this one later to get rid of the line at the bottom - but for now it works) There's a picture of my younger brother about the same age and they look like twins.

and my mother

One of my ancestors was a B movie actor. Here's one of his head shots. I can't recall his name at the moment..I have it written down somewhere (he's a second cousin or something...not on the family tree)

Some of the plates I've collected.

Hopefully I'll get the family tree framed and everything on the wall soon!

Thankful for my job at Christmas time

I get two weeks off for Christmas vacation. I never really intended on being a teacher - I just kind of fell into that profession. The more invested I've become in the idea of being a single adoptive parent the more I am thankful that God let me to this job. I love knowing that I'll have this time to enjoy the holidays with any future children.

Unless I end up adopting earlier than I plan or older than I plan - my children are not yet in existance - but I'm still praying for them - praying for their birth families. I hope that this holiday season is one of warmth, love, and health for them.

(Of course, I'd love a job that would allow me to homeschool my children as a single parent...So, God, if you want to give me a heads up there that would be great. If you want my preference I'd love to own a small little idea.)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Oh Christmas Tree

I finally got around to putting up my Christmas tree. After Wilbur (cat) destroyed my tree last year I didn't want to put it up too early this year - especially since I have Thing 2 (Mishka) now to join in on the destructive fun.

After a number of years of doing the "fancy" and themed trees with florals and ribbons and what-not - I was in the mood for a little holiday nostalgia. So I dug out my tin of Christmas ornaments from my childhood, invited my mother over, and reminisced about the years when i wanted an ice-skater/teddy bear/car ornament.

First though! The Holiday unpacking:

Mishka plays in the ribbon from last year's tree.

I forgot I had these lovely vintage Hollie Hobbie Christmas glasses. A friend got them for me for Christmas last year - so I didn't really get to use them. I think they're adorable and they so fit my "vintage nostalgia" theme for Christmas this year. (there I go with the theme again...I said I wasn't going to have one!)

I bought a "slim tree" to fit in a corner of my living room rather than using the monster I inherited from my parents - I wanted something cute and simple - not grand and elegant. This picture shows you why I would never get a real tree - I wouldn't know how to put the lights on a real tree!

The tree! It makes me sad that pictures of trees never look as good as the tree. And, the angel is WAY too big - but it's what I had. I need some kitchy star for the top though - that would be perfect.

I also made a centerpieces for the coffee table.

I love the way the star ornaments kind of sound like wind chimes on the side of the vase with the fan blowing. (Yes, I'm running the fan in December. Crazy Georgia weather)
The small angel and baby Jesus is the only thing I have as a nativity. I just want to find a nice nativity where Jesus is not white or black. Is that too much to ask? This small one belonged to my "like-a-grandmother" and I got it when she passed away a few years ago.

Anywho. Time to wrap some presents to go under there!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Busy Life

You know - I know it's possible - and more than that - something I want to do. But, some days I wonder how on earth I will fit a child into my life and even if it's fair to do such a thing.

Example. Yesterday I went to bed at nine in order to get up at 4 a.m. this morning. I left my house at about 5:45 in the morning because I had to some errands before work and then get to work by 6:30. I came home at 4:15 because I was exhausted - but I should've stayed until at least 5 because my desk is a MESS. Leaving that early was rare - but it was the second time this week that I made it to work before anyone else. I typically spent 10-11 hours at work each day - on a normal day. I can get by on about 6 hours of sleep and still feel rested. So, that's 16-17 hours a day. That leaves 7-8 hours a day to do everything else. Make dinner. Clean. relax.

And I want to try to fit in: drop off/pick up from daycare, bathe children, play with children, take children to ballet/soccer/doctor/whatever, make sure children who are coming from traumatic backgrounds are adjusting well/ etc. into those 7-8 hours?

I mean - I know I can and I will make it work. Plenty of teachers are mothers. There are plenty of single working mothers in the world. There are things at my job that I can drop without taking a pay cut and free up some of my time. I know all this - right now I'm single and I do have time so I say yes to things like yearbook and helping after school and planning Shakespeare festivals - - and I won't say yes to those when I have children that become my world.

Sometimes I just wonder, "Is the kid going to hate me for making them be a part of a single parent family?" It's at those times I try to remind myself that in the hierarchy of family situations - I may be lower than a two parent loving family - - but I'm higher than an orphanage.

Just a busy day and realizing how I am so accustomed to coming home at the end of the day and not worrying about anyone but myself - but that's not the life I want - and truth be told I'd rather be sitting in traffic in the rain on the way to a ballet recital right now than typing this. I'd be exhausted either way - but the other one is a better option still.

On another note - I'm reading a book that is the story of a single adoptive mother. It's good. I'm being reminded again of all the paperwork, money, and uncertainties of the process. But at the same time - on the back cover is a picture of a woman with two beautiful boys - and that's really all that matters.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

50 cent decor

I stopped by a local thrift store the other day and found two wine glasses that are so not my style for stemware but I thought they might work for another job so I grabbed them. 50 cents for two wine glasses. (Side note: Luigi Bormioli Esperienze is the stemware I DO love. You know, if you're ever looking for a gift idea.)

I came home and washed them up and then grabbed a cup full of rocks I've had for about 5 years. These are small rocks that I found on the shores of the Oregon coast (Single Domestic Trivia: stones were found the same week that I first tasted Rosemary Eggs. It was a good week) In addition to being free the rocks have the added benefit of having some sentimental value and a story to go with them. I do love things that tell stories.

I put the stones in the bottom of the wine glasses, threw in two red votive candles I had, and voila! A pretty little accent for my guest room.

as you can see the side table needs some work. I'm thinking a quick two-color paint job. Here's my palette:

I'm thinking painting the door the yellow of that solid pillow and the rest of the green of the solid. don't know. Ideas? I'd like to do some kind of design on it - but making things look precise and detailed is NOT my speciality. (In fact - my inability to stay in the lines and do things "straight" is the reason I thought for so long that I was not creative and why I chose to major in English rather than go to art school. But ...that's not what this post is about. We'll discuss the childhood trauma of unidentifiable toy soldier Christmas ornaments at a later date.)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Christmas Decor

My Christmas decorations are VERY limited at the moment. I haven't wanted to put up the tree yet because I know my cats think Christmas Tree = their personal playground. So, I'll probably wait until the semester is over so I can enjoy the tree while I'm off work and not worry about what my little furballs are doing to my Christmas decor while I'm trying to inspire the minds of the future.

However, I do have a couple things up! I started my Christmas Village this year.(click to make pictures larger)

My favorite holiday sight: a tree on top of a car.

Look at the guy inside the hardware store window! The mailbox and fire hydrant are on loan from my mother. I think they look so good there she should let me keep them. Don't you?

I got my inn!! Isn't it cute? Mailbox is also part of the items on loan. I love this little family with their suitcases as well. (We're going to pretend like the snow is not dangerously high in proportion, ok? Good.)

Cute kids building a snowman. Why, yes, that is Nicole's shoe store there in the background. So much fun!

Told you the cats get into everything.

I am also making my first ever adult effort at observing Advent. Here is my advent "wreath"

(if you, like many of my readers, are a reader of Lauren's blog - you'll notice you've seen this before. Great minds think alike. What can I say?)

I like it :) It's really been rewarding to kind of focus on the meaning of this season and to really try to embrace and understand what it was like to wait on the Messiah. In addition to lighting the advent candle each morning I'm using an advent guide that has prayers and scripture passages for each day. I'm really enjoying the guide. On the first day the opening prayer has the following included: "Increase our longing for Christ our Savior and give us the strength to grow in love, that the dawn of his coming may find us rejoicing in his presence and welcoming the light of his truth." I think this idea of "increasing our longing for his coming" is very important to me - I know It's very easy for me to content with this world and my life here and forget that I'm suppose to be longing for more - that there IS something more worth longing for.

Today one of the scripture passages we read was the prophecy in Isaiah 11 that talks about a shoot sprouting from a stump. The guide had this reflection that I found interesting and encouraging: "Our God can transform our weakness, our sin, all conflict and all division from every life-less stump - where any future hope has been cut off - a shoot of new life can sprout."

I hope you're all enjoying a wonderful Holiday season. :) I'll have pictures from Thanksgiving and such later hopefully.