Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Old Windows and Family Photos

So what seems like, oh, forever ago, I started this project.

My husband's family has a precious collection of old family photos dating back to the late 1800's and early part of last century.
Caleb has always had a desire to go through them and somehow figure out a way to preserve them.
So for our anniversary this year, I thought I would find these pictures and figure IT OUT!

First item of business ~  a sweet afternoon spent with his Grandma going through boxes and boxes of photographs that were up in her closet and garage. 

Then a friend and I came across these old windows at our local thrift store. Since they were a dollar each, I nabbed them and thought they might work for something like this.

You all know the looks you get from your husbands when you bring home crap, garbage, I mean, "vintage bargains". 
 I got one of those...

First I gave them a good cleaning.  

They were disgusting!  Covered in dirt, fly poop, cobwebs and only who knows what else.  Lead paint?  Let's hope not.

 Then, they sat in our living room for almost three months.

I'm really efficient like that.

After coming home with the sorted photos, I headed into our local fancy photo store.

This was the most expensive part.
 I ended up doing a high quality scan for most of the pictures. However, this allowed the quality to come through if I wanted to enlarge some of the smaller photos.

Some of the originals were even tin type!

Here is what I came up with.  Burlap seemed to be the cheapest and easiest route for a background.  

I used a hot glue gun to attach the pictures.  It ended up being a little messy and not perfect, but seemed to be the only thing that was strong enough to hold the pictures against the glass.

This is Caleb's great uncle.  I love that face.

Does anyone know why no one ever seemed to smile in old photographs?

So serious.  

And I totally copied Kristen's idea at  Ella Claire Inspired for how to stain paper.  
She is a genius.
You can check out her tutorial on how to make white paper look old here.

If I had it to do over again I would have torn the paper before I stained it, but I didn't think of that until later.  I think it would have made the edges a little browner.  Next time...

We found these old report cards from 1934.  
I think they broke up the monotony of the collection and I just love having such a precious piece of Caleb's grandpa's life.

One day, I think these will go up in the farm house.  
For now, we are just enjoying them as they sit on our fireplace.

Do you have old family photos?
If so, how have you displayed them in your home?


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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Gratitude, from a Five Year Old Perspective

Good morning!

So today I am going to share I post that my friend Kristin at Simply Klassic home is posting on her blog today.  

Here is a little bit of why she felt inspired to do a gratitude series.  And she has great stuff (in other words you really should stop reading some of my nonsense and head over to her site to check out because you will be inspired.)  To make it really easy on you, just click here to go there.  (Forgive me for sounding like Dr. Seuss).

If I've learned anything in the past year, it's that life, love and all of the things that go with it can be too easily taken for granted. This year has taught that in order to live a life of meaning, a life that's worth something, you have to be grateful for what you have already.

Blogging is all about sharing, and in turn, inspiring.
I was recently inspired to write a series of posts on gratitude, and how it's present in my life. I've asked fifteen of my friends to join me in an effort to inspire an Attitude of Gratitude in YOU  in this season of thanksgiving, and I hope you'll join us.

Beginning November 1 and right up until Thanksgiving, I, along with fifteen of my blogger friends, will be here sharing thoughts on gratitude. What we thankful for, how we teach their kids to be grateful, and how we find beauty in the struggles are just a few of the topics we'll be discussing.

I'm so GRATEFUL to have joining me -

Noelle from Because Nice Matters
Laurie from That Ranch Girl
Korrie from Red Hen Home
Pamela from PB&J Stories
Rhonda from home.made.
Kristen from Ella Claire

Each of these amazing ladies has a unique story to tell. Some of them you may know and some may be new to you. I consider each of them a friend. I hope that you make time to stop by each day in November (Monday thru Friday) to welcome them and see what unique thoughts they have to offer.

Can I just start by saying how much I love Kristin and everything she does here at Simply Klassic?  The name says it all, doesn't it? 
Late at night, after my kids are in bed, one of my favorite things to do is curl up with my I pad and catch up on my favorite blogs to see what everyone has been up to.
Kristin, you have such a gift of connecting people, so I am truly honored to be a part of your "Gratitude Series".

I am rather new to the blogging world, but if you hop on over to "That Ranch Girl", you'll mostly find a little bit of everything.  Sometimes things I've created, and other times stories about life that I hope to share with people I care about that I don't get to see face to face.

Here is a picture of our family last Christmas.  Am I the only one who seems to never find pictures of our family with me in them?  I vow to do better at this in the future.  Or my kids are going to grow up and think I was a fictional creature they made up in their heads.

Our littlest daughter Evie started Kindergarten this year.  Since she has a summer birthday, we had to make the decision to either send her as the youngest kid in her class or the oldest. 
After much debate, we sent her a few months ago with the confidence that she was ready.
Needless to say, the hardest part about this is the doubt that creeps in my head on the evenings when we hear her little voice retell stories of the daily events that do not go her way.

Last week, she started telling us about a particular boy in her class that keeps calling her names.  I think he actually likes her, but soon enough this poor boy has to learn that continually calling a girl "Rat Face" at recess is probably not going to win her over.
Evie was angry and embarrassed at the situation. I wanted to find his address in the school directory and go tie him up by his toes at the nearest tree. She said she was tired of him and the name calling.  And who could blame her?  After she settled down, I asked her if she thought he was a true friend.  She thought about this for a little while and then answered that no, he was not.  So I inquired further.  "What makes someone a true friend, Evie?"

In her five year old ways she started to say that a true friend was someone who would only say nice things about you.  And, she added, that they would save her spot for her in line when she got back. 

I smiled at this.  Funny how not much changes from kindergarten to adult life.
Without any further prompting, Evie then got out her two little hands and started counting her "true friends" one by one on her sweet, child-like, dimpled fingers.  As she was listing off the names, she got to the end of her second hand.  She was surprised as she looked down at her hands and yelled, "Mom, I got more true friends than I got fingers to count!!!"

I don't know about you, but it is really easy for me to be grateful when life seems good.  Or when they go my way.  When my kids make good grades, no one is throwing up in the household and everyone behaves.  It feels easy to smile, write the family Christmas card, and be all full of "thankfuls" as Junie B. Jones would say.

It is another thing entirely for me to try to muster up a serving of gratefulness when life is hard.  Or when I am hurting.  When I feel stressed, tired, or lonely.

As we enter into the Thanksgiving season, I wonder if at times I am grateful only because I am supposed to be.  Do I really notice all that I am given?  Am I really honest?

I think sometimes the thing I struggle with most is the very notion that where I am in life sometimes does not match what the holiday season can expect  of me. Chances are someone reading this or someone you know is likely going through a really difficult time right now.  Perhaps an unraveling of a relationship or a desperate desire to stop feeling so alone.  Or you have been waiting so long for the positive sign on a pregnancy test for what seems forever.  Or maybe you are finding yourself so exhausted from trying to balance or carry it all, the thought of being grateful seems like one more thing on a never ending to-do list.   

I don't know about you, but my life never seems to look like the Christmas card snapshot or perfect Pottery Barn image I sometimes think or want my life to look like. (Do you know how much editing I had to do in the picture above?) I have to remember it is the people in the photo that matter.  It is the lives inside of my home that mean more than any decoration outside or on the walls of it. What my little Evie girl reminded me - by literally counting what she was thankful for on her little fingers - was that maybe it is okay to be thankful even in the mess.  Or pain.  Or ugliness of someone calling me Rat Face at recess.

I can hit pause any time I allow myself to.  I can be honest.  And I can choose to see my situation differently. I can think about gratitude and how I am doing with that. 

Where ever you find yourself in increasingly busy season, I hope you find ways to be intentional about finding gratitude.  And I really hope that once you start counting, you don't have enough fingers.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Cowgirls, Vampires and Old Ladies

In an effort to procrastinate and do anything today besides laundry and paying bills, I have sufficiently distracted myself most of the morning by editing and laughing at Halloween pictures.

Oh!  And I might be on my fourth cup of coffee.

If we could get inside Evie's head she seems to be saying, "I hate waiting in lines.  Lines are so dumb.  Come to think of it, cowgirls should not have to wait in lines EVER.  I need my horse, some tequila, and some country music, Pronto."

Here is Grace as a Magazine for her first costume at the elementary parade.  This was one of those Mom I-told-you-so moments where I wanted to jump in, be bossy, and tell her she was going to really get tired of carrying that old washing machine box around all morning, but I didn't.

So after she came home from school and said precisely what I was thinking earlier, we loaded up and headed to our local thrift store so she could be an Old Lady.  

An old Christmas candy cane, a can of brown spray paint, and $12 worth of stinky clothes later, she had her costume.

Little sister then decided she was over being a cowgirl too so she changed into a vampire.
Luckily we had a cape already and all she needed was a fancy make up job.

Later that evening, Evie posed for some photos with her best friend Kendall.

Kendall is the size of a little pixie fairy.

My favorite part of this picture was the random hand.  Very Halloween-ish don't you think?

This was Kendall's meanest face.  
Evie, at this point, was completely over me taking photos.

Don't you just love seeing kids in costumes?  What were your favorites?


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween Hangover

Good morning, late morning, noon-time, afternoon.

I really wanted to write today about how much fun we had on Halloween.  I wanted to show funny and beautiful and hysterical pictures that were captured yesterday in all of the festivities.

For now all I have is a picture of the intense candy inventory that is currently happening on our living room floor.  
Do your kids do this?
It makes me laugh.

Instead this day has turned out differently for me.  The alarm went off too early this morning and in our sugar-induced hangovers, I ignored it.  Panic ensued as I rushed around to get everyone ready for school and work.  After I ran the kids to school squealing on two tires, I hurried back to the house to finish up a few things before I headed to the office.

This was when things really unraveled.
In my multi-tasking mania, I decided to throw a load of towels in the washing machine so I could get a "head start" on the laundry today.  
While I was in the bathroom picking up the dirty towels, I decided I should quickly wipe down the shower walls as to avoid water spots or something like that.  My frantic wiping and cleaning went a little overboard in my hurried state, and this is when I accidentally hit the shower valve. 


In a flash of a few horrible seconds, I was soaked.  I don't know if I mentioned I had my work clothes on AND my hair and makeup done. I did what any rational woman would do and I screamed.  Loudly. Then I laughed even louder.
So much for being anywhere on time today!
Ahhh.  The best intentions.

Which is why I'll end this post by sharing what my blog friend Kristin is doing over at Simply Klassic for the month of November.  An entire series on gratitude.  I can't wait to see what all she has in store and she asked me to do a guest post later this month, so I will share that soon.

You can check this out Gratitude Series all month long by clicking on the link here or following the button on my sidebar.  Enjoy!