Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Happy Birthday, Sis!

Christmas 1955

Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you,

Happy Birthday little sister.... Happy Birthday to you!!

Come on, my singing wasn't that bad!!

(circa 1957)

P.S. Glad you never lost touch with your wild & crazy side!!!!

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Great (Cottage) Pumpkin Patch

I have finally mastered Halloween minimalism (I used to decorate to the hilt when my girls were young)... I still decorate traditionally outside, but since I've succeeded in going bare bones (no pun intended) inside, I wanted the few things I do put out to match my new color palette. My old black, orange and gold decorations looked great when I had prim decor, but with the cottage style... not so much... So look at what I got last year! (click any of the photos for a closeup look at the beautiful fabrics... and there's a link at the bottom of my post telling where you can purchase these!!)

Have you ever seen such a yummy, shabby/cottage pumpkin patch in your life? It was so much fun getting these out again this year... I LOVE them!

Just look at these luscious colors!! And these are my only fall/Halloween decorations now... Talk about making life simple for myself!! (I'm beginning to see why people embrace minimalism!)

This sweet little pumpkin looks great in my mom's old crystal candy dish...

And I think this is perfect on top of the pie safe!

Oooh, this big one is just the right size for the coffee table...

Awww, this pink & white striped one goes great in the kitchen!

The colors in this one even match the lotus blossoms in my swan PBN!

Flea market cat loves how he looks next to this cottage blue one...

Now if you want your own cottage pumpkin patch, it's as easy as pie!!!

Go visit Ronda at Cherry Blossom Cottage. She has them in stock right now!
I have always been so pleased with everything I've gotten from her, which is why her shop has been on my sidebar since day one... I've gotten office chair slipcovers from her (to die for), and I got my little pink toolbox from her, too (although I don't know if she carries those anymore)... In addition to her beautiful creations, she carries a wide variety of vintage, one-of-a-kind pieces! Her prices are very reasonable and her shipping is very quick... so hurry on over there if you want some soft cottage pumpkins for yourself!
So thank you, Ronda!!! I just love all my goodies and can't wait to see what you're stitching up for Christmas (Try as I might, I just can't seem to get a handle on Christmas minimalism!!)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Autumn/Halloween Giveaway!

Look who's smiling, because giveaways always make people (and jack-o-lanterns) smile!!!

Since I totally missed my 100th post giveaway (by a long shot), I'm going to do an autumn/Halloween giveaway instead!

"Can I enter the giveaway?" asks the little black kitty...

No, little black kitty... You can't enter because you are part of the giveaway!

"Then who can enter?" asks the jeweled Indian corn...

Why anybody who leaves a comment on this particular post, little Indian corn... (And be sure to leave an e-mail if your comment doesn't link back to a blog so that I'll be able to notify you if you win!!)

And the little autumn leaf and acorn want to remind you that, "October will be here before you know it!!" ... therefore, a winner will be chosen at midnight on Wednesday, October 1st (yes, I am a night owl!) But that's only a few days from now, so be sure to leave a comment soon! And if you mention my Autumn/Halloween giveaway on your blog, please let me know and your name will be entered twice!!

"So what exactly does the giveaway winner get?"

Well, the winner will receive all of you!! 1) The outdoor Halloween mat [just like the one on my blog banner]; 2) the assortment of Indian corn; and 3) the autumn leaf/acorn dishtowel...

Happy fall - Happy autumn - and Happy Halloween to everyone!!


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Pink Money!

(ABBA song from Mamma Mia!)
I work all night, I work all day, to pay the bills I have to pay
(village women) Ain't it sad...
And still there never seems to be a single penny left for me
(village women) That's too bad...

Oh how I love Mamma Mia (a shameless plug for my "guilty pleasure" favorite movie of the year!)... And I'm sure we can all relate to the first few lines of Money, Money, Money! With the stock market plunging, retirement funds dwindling, and college tuition soaring, these are very trying times for many people. And believe me, I'm not trying to make light of these issues (they affect us personally, as they do many of you... Our oldest just graduated after four years of college and our youngest is currently in college)... But that being said, I'm going to try to laugh rather than cry about money, money, money!!

And since I have to go through the monthly ritual of paying bills, I figured I might as well do it in style! So I searched high and low for a pretty bill case to keep my receipts and paid bills in and found this pretty pink one at Wal Mart last year...

I also keep some of my office supplies (pens, pencils, and even PINK scissors) in this cute little twin planter... It's so feminine with its little pink roses...

Okay, so now that all of the bills have been paid, it's time to tackle some other projects... "What is this?" you may be asking yourself...

Why it's my handy, dandy PINK toolbox! And while I doubt I'll ever have to rehang shutters like Meryl Streep did in Mamma Mia during the Money, Money, Money song (second shameless plug ... you'd think I was getting royalties from the movie!), I did use it to hang my vintage swan paint-by-number that you see in the background!

Yup - just look at all those pink tools that I can get into trouble with! I can measure and snip and hammer and wrench things to my heart's content :)

And be sure to stop by Sunday as I'm going to do a blog giveaway with an autumn/Halloween theme... It won't be up long because I want to get it in the mail to whoever wins so they can enjoy it during the month of October (which is almost here!!!)

But for now, be sure to stop by Beverly's blog, How Sweet the Sound, to see her PINK Saturday post, and to find a list of all the other bloggers who are posting PINK Saturday items!


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Happy endings....

This afternoon's excitement:

I just love happy endings!

(And I love this vintage 8mm slide show maker! Maybe lots of you are already familiar with it, but one of my clever daughters just introduced me to it! Have fun with it yourself by following the "Make Your Own" link!)

Both of my girls are animal lovers, and while watching Amanda with the blackbird in this little 8mm slide show, it brought to mind one of my favorite Emily Dickinson quotes:

"If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain; if I can ease one life the aching, or cool one pain; or help one fainting robin into his nest again, I shall not live in vain." ~Emily Dickinson

Song: Blackbird by The Beatles


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Is it fall already???

It must be...

....because the "welcome" bunnies are surrounded by gourds, pumpkins, and mums!

But it seems like just yesterday that I took this "spring/summer" picture! Where does the time go??
Happy fall, everyone!
P.S. I got these cute little bunny statues at Target last year in the Christmas section! I just love that store!


Sunday, September 21, 2008

I remember....

... a dog named O'Malley...

Has it really been a year since we lost our handsome boy?

After we lost Malley, I used my computer to put together a little "Memories of O'Malley" book, and actually ended up giving copies to the girls and my dad & sister for Christmas last year.
(click on any photos to enlarge)

It's filled with photos and memories of a very special dog... (I'll share a few of the pages of the book here as I tell you how we came to adopt our Mr. O'Malley)

Back in March of 2000, we finally felt ready to adopt another dog after having lost our beloved little Sooshi (photo in sidebar) a couple of months earlier. I originally said, "Never again," because the pain of losing Sooshi had been so great.

But as so often happens in these cases, the heart-wrenching grief eventually makes way for the sweet and happy memories... And although there will never be another Sooshi, our hearts healed enough to entertain the thoughts of adopting another dog...

Back in 2000 we had 3 cats and our girls were younger, so we needed to find a dog who loved kids and who loved (or at least accepted) kitties!

We did an on-line search and found two dogs who sounded like they'd be ideal. One was a 7 year old lab/shepherd mix (Mr. O'Malley), and one was an 8 year old terrier mix (Ms. Gizmo)...

Decisions, decisions.... Do we get the big dog or the little one? Family meeting time... No consensus... Then the girls said, "Let's get both!"... And so it was...

We first visited Mr. O'Malley's shelter that Friday afternoon in March of 2000. The staff told us Malley was a great dog and that he'd been there for six months (poor baby - October through March - the absolute coldest months here in New England)... I asked why they thought he hadn't been adopted yet and they said it was because of his age. They have a huge turnaround and lots of younger dogs, so at age 7, Malley just kept getting passed by...

We stopped in front of his cage and he came bounding up to the chain link gate, soooo excited that someone was visiting his pen... He couldn't stop kissing the girls' hands through the gate. It was clearly love at first sight for two girls and one dog... Any possible doubts I'd had about how he would be with the girls (or any other kids who came to the house) were immediately dispelled....

We had found our boy, and he had found his forever home...

I'm not certain of the circumstances that led to Mr. O'Malley ending up in a shelter, but I am so grateful that we found him. He was a one-in-a-million dog who filled our little cottage with joy with his ever present dog-smile and sweet disposition...

But a year ago, when Malley was 14 years old, we had to make the toughest decision a pet owner ever has to make... The dog who once lived to eat had now lost his appetite for food, and was having a hard time even keeping food down... A battery of tests told us that nothing could be done, so we made his final appointment for the following day... Someday we will meet again, of that I'm certain... Until then, we miss you every day, our sweet boy... and we love you always...

"I think God will have prepared everything for our perfect happiness. If it takes my dog being there (in Heaven), I believe he'll be there." ~Rev. Billy Graham
Let me just end by saying that there are so many benefits to adopting a shelter or pound dog (or cat)... I swear, they know and appreciate the homes they are given, and will reward you day in and day out for the remainder of their lives for rescuing them... I have a link on my sidebar to a few adoption sites in case any of you are currently looking for the next furry "love of your life"!!

...Recommended Reading...

I know many of you have seen the following book on my sidebar. My daughter, Amanda, bought this book a couple of months after Malley was put to sleep. She passed it along to me to read, and I have to tell you, between Anna Quindlen's insightful, beautiful writing and my daughter's handwritten notes and underlining of certain passages that she especially related to, it was quite an emotional read...

The first time I attempted to read it, I was at the hairdressers... Very bad decision... With tears streaming down my face, I decided that I might be better off reading it at home... After all, I didn't want my poor hairdresser to think a poor cut or color was the cause of the floodworks... A customer who is sitting in a chair crying is probably not the best type of advertising!

Anna Quindlen has absolutely captured the essence of what every dog owner must eventually face...

... but it is far from being a sad book.... And while the book will, at times, bring tears to even the most stoic of readers, it is really a celebration of Beau's life... I even found myself laughing aloud while reading of some of Beau's antics... And while Ms. Quindlen writes specifically about her Beau, he most certainly represents "every man's dog" as you will find yourself relating to the very words she uses and feelings she describes when talking about the special bond between a dog and its human... The title in itself - Good Dog. Stay. - speaks volumes. Absolutely a must read book...

...Recommended Viewing...
And last, but most definitely not least...
Just as Anna Quindlen's book is a must read, if you have never seen it before, you must watch Jimmy Stewart reading a poem that he wrote about his dog (also named Beau). Jimmy Stewart has always been one of my favorite actors, and to listen and watch him reading this poem... well, there just aren't words... Johnny Carson couldn't even contain his emotions by the end of the poem, so you might want to run and get a tissue before watching...
(Click photo above to view video)
"He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion." (Unknown)
Many thanks to all of you who actually took the time to read through this rambling tribute to a dog named O'Malley...
Comment Update: Thank you to everyone who has left such kind comments and who have shared the stories of your own furry family members... I have so enjoyed reading them... And Joanne, I will do a post on how to make a computerized "memory" book like this one. It's a very easy process!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Pink Flamingos in New England!

Okay, it truly doesn't get any pinker than this! I happened to notice (i.e., love / covet) a pair of bright pink flamingos at someones house over the summer...

We had their daughter as a house guest a few weeks ago, and what do you think she brought as a thank you gift for us having her????

Yes!!! My very own pink flamingos! And look there - it's actually spelled right out on the box that everyone who comes into my yard is going to have a smile on their face thanks to this dynamic duo! Another huge plus - these little pink babies were made right here in the USA!! Now that made me smile!!

So here are Mr. & Mrs. F, checking out the backyard... (They're a little out of their element here in New England...)

It's been very cold the past few days and nights, so I expect they'll be sticking pretty close to each other to keep warm through the New England fall and winter...

Uh oh... Mrs. F just spotted our backyard birdhouse... I think she might give my Sammy Squirrel family a run for their money if she decides to make it her winter home... Perhaps I should let Mr. & Mrs. F live in the shed over the winter. Something tells me that they just won't appreciate all the snow that we get up here...

Now you should all fly over to Beverly's blog, How Sweet the Sound, to check out her pink Saturday post and to find a list of all the other bloggers participating in this week's Pink Saturday!!!