Friday, May 29, 2009

Staging An Occupied Home~Interiors by Design

This is the home we staged last week. I am just experimenting on making a slide show with SmileBox and you are my Guinea Pigs.

Staging an occupied home presents challenges that a vacant home does not. You have to work with what they have, keep the home livable, and bring in things from the warehouse to enhance it. All this happens after an extensive consultation and "to do" list for the homeowner which includes items for removal, cleaning up, de-cluttering, new purchases, repairs, etc.

In the best of all worlds, they follow my written instructions to the letter and everything goes according to the design plan I have worked up from my photos. Often we come and find things not exactly the way we had hoped and then the order of the day is ~ adjust and smile.

We decorate the entire house in one day. It is hard work but very fun too. I could not do this without the help of my assistants, Emily and Maureen. They are the best! Nor could I do it without the technical assistance of Jim who helps me move all the heavy things to the houses and de-stage it when it is sold.

Once the written report is done I take that and my photos and begin the process of deciding what I have that will work in each room in the house. The tricky part is coordinating a feeling with color, texture, art work , accessories, floral and plants, linens, dishes, etc. that will pull the house together.

For this house we brought over two very full van loads of accessories from our warehouse. I spent about $50.00 to buy things we didn't have, but that is normal now that we have a pretty substantial inventory. There were years when most everything we made went into the inventory. As it turned out I didn't even use the items I purchased this time but, that is OK...there is always another house. (Hopefully!)

What made this home more difficult was the colors in the main rooms are so muted. As an example the sofa is a salmon and muted blueish gray, patterned fabric. It is very hard to make that "pop" as the overused term goes. One of the best colors for making a house come alive is red and that just would not work in this house. Also things like wallpaper in the dining room remained in place although removal was recommended. The chandelier, a favorite treasure brought from their larger home was installed here but is way over-scale for this room. That meant finding dishes from our collection that were the right colors to blend with the living room and somewhat plain, and having a shorter centerpiece than I would normally use, so it wasn't nearly touching the light fixture! The challenge is in making something better of what exists. That is redesign in a nutshell. Every detail has to be considered. So, come on in and take the tour!

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Since most of my photos are taken for inventory control so I can remember what I have taken into a house, I wanted to add just a few of the photos taken by the agent's photographer for the brochure. They are great as they are a little more inclusive and not such close-ups.

Our objective is to make the house look inviting and spacious and well cared for by the owners. We also try to make it look like real people live here so it does not have the sterile quality of a model home. We want the prospective buyer to think they would just love to live here where everyday is restful and wonderful! We realize they have probably been working like crazy to get their home on the market too, so when they come here we want things to look and feel done! We want them to feel like they would be leisurely stepping up...!

What do you think? Did we do it?

Last One for This Month!

We are thinking of you today, Robert, and want to wish you a very Happy Birthday! I mentioned a few days ago that you were having a birthday today and that you would be traveling during this time. Well, knowing you, Robert, no one you are with will even know it is your birthday...but I hope they treat you well just the same. I wish you were here so we could spoil you properly on your special day.

You are a wonderful son, Robert! We couldn't ask for a better husband for Laura or Daddy for Spencer and Ross. Thank you for all you do to bring them such happiness and security in all you do.

We love and miss you and look forward to our reunion in a few months! You take care and be safe! I hope your current local isn't too hot! Bet you wish you could wear your contacts!

Wish we could bake you a cake!

Daughters and Girlfriends~Angels in Disguise!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sakes Alive~Zach Is Five!

Zach and his Daddy, our son, Christopher!

Zachy during their recent visit
just hamming it up for the camera.

Cute little face with remnants of spaghetti and s'mores on it!

Doing Bunny Ear Behind His Head

Got It!

Zachary James is five years old today! Happy Birthday Big Guy! With five grand boys and five grand girls we can keep these birthdays rolling in all year long. Today we are celebrating the birth and life of Zach. Zach is one of the sweetest, cutest kids around. He has the most endearing personality and is always smiling!

Zachary is a great hugger and very affectionate. Many times he has called me in the middle of the day to say "Hi" or to tell me something important to him. The last week or so he sent us a love letter in the mail. One time in church he gave me 27 drawings (I actually counted them to be sure) that he colored. He was working so hard. He often asks me if I still have something he made me...of course I do!

He goes to preschool and loves it. In the fall he will go to kindergarten! That is really exciting! Zach loves to help his mom cook in the kitchen on a chair. He is a blessing in every sense of the word! He is a lot of fun and don't forget he had a wedding this year!

Cousin Connection!
~The Bridal Party~
The happy couple in the foreground
~ Zach & Chloe~
Back row: Bridesmaids L to R
Piper, Aynslee, and Julia
The Guy who looks like the Chinese Chef~Connor (The Priest?)
Yes, it is true they are all ours...
and just think there are four more!

Happy Birthday, Zach-a-rooney!
We Love You So Much!!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Hazie's Got Wheels!

Well, not her permanent wheels but she is learning that mobility can be fun. Her physical therapist is encouraging a lot of army crawling. You will never guess what motivates her, not mama or dad, not the big sisters, not a treat, but jewelry! Yup, she does belong to me, don't you think? This girl loves bracelets and anything sparkly. I better pack multiple bags and get over there where my jewels can be of some use to her! You go, Girl...loving you ~little Miss Hazie!

Monday, May 25, 2009

A Simple Woman's Daybook~May 25, 2009

To join in focusing on the simple things and pleasures of your daily life or to read other people's entries, click here.

So, For Today...Monday, May 25, 2009

Outside my window...The sun is setting and it looks very much like it does when I am usually doing my daybook entry at daybreak. Except I hear children playing outside and crickets and frogs instead of birds singing. Old Glory is swaying in the breeze just outside my office window and it seems very fitting today being Memorial Day. But then, we fly it everyday of the year.

I am has been a good and productive weekend and today I was able to return everything to the cupboards and cabinets in the kitchen. Whew! Now the only thing remaining to be done is to paint the cabinet doors and add the new coppery hardware and it will be completely done! Jim has done a fantastic job and I love it and him with all my heart! The best part is his talent and hard work have saved us, literally thousands of dollars and we have exactly what we wanted!!

From the learning rooms...I am gathering information for a talk I will be giving in church next Sunday on following the promptings of the Holy Ghost.

I am thankful for...the sacrifices of so many that have been able to ensure the freedoms we now enjoy.

From the kitchen...I have really weeded out a lot of extra stuff and my kitchen is totally clean and organized. We'll see how long I can keep it like this. So far so good! Less is definitely more in the kitchen.

I am wondering...what it will be like to have a place for everything and everything in its place again after so many months?

I am wearing...sandals, jeans and a creamy colored shirt. But the jammies are calling my name.

I am reading...Teachings of the Presidents of the Church.

I am hoping...that I can feel totally prepared for the talk on Sunday by working hard on it everyday between now and then.

I am praying for...Good health for us, our family and friends.

I am creating...a plan to get some flowers planted in the pots outside this week.

I am hearing...parents calling their kids in to get ready for bed and school tomorrow. Dogs barking and cars driving by occasionally.

I am go to the house we decorated tomorrow morning to make sure it looks perfect for the Brokers' Tour and to take my final photos. Then I am free for the day.

My spiritual thoughts gratitude for specific prayers answered today.

Around the house...things are looking a little better each day and feeling a lot more inviting and comfortable. I feel like the house has been torn up since October decorations came out and is finally getting back to normal after all the remodeling. We just have the main bathroom to go but we will do some outside things, that we are hiring out, so Jim can have a rest before tackling that project in a few months.

I have been procrastinating.....
making some phone calls to check on prices for windows, etc. I do not care for phoning much. Wish I could e-mail them all...!

One of my favorite mom's potato salad...I want to make some but I don't dare...big trigger food for me. I think going to a BBQ today made me think of it.

A few plans for the rest of the week...Make reservations for a weekend get away for our anniversary, plant some flowers, relax, study, and of course blog.

Here is a picture and a thought I am sharing with you...

I love how reading the scriptures and praying together every morning unifies our marriage and how I enjoy preparing to speak in church as a couple. It is a wonderful opportunity to study and learn together and that is always strengthening. In my opinion sharing a common foundation of faith is essential to a happy marriage.

Memorial Day

I have been thinking a lot about Memorial Day this week. I know that Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day and was first observed after the Civil War ended. On that day people would decorate the graves of those fallen in war with wild flowers and pay a visit of respect to the gravesides. On this day now we honor all those of our countrymen (and women) who gave their lives for the freedoms we enjoy in all the wars and battles fought to date in and for country.

The thought that have been going through my mind this week is that I am honoring not only those who have died for our country but those who have sacrificed and lived for our country. Many, many people have been touched by and sacrificed much in the name of being a patriot and in defending freedom.

When a person joins or is enlisted in the military they take an oath to defend our country even to the sacrificing of their lives if necessary. They must be obedient after that to whatever their commander asks them to do. I can imagine that has engendered many of conflict in the hearts of soldiers everywhere, when the things asked of them were extremely difficult or went against everything they had ever believed to be right and true. The wounds of war brought home from the battlefields left scars on many, that left them changed forever. They did not die but what they did was huge and honorable and good for us all. So I am honoring them as well.

And what of those who have sent their loved ones off to war with hopeful hearts and a constant prayer only to hear they were lost in battle? Those who have lost sons and daughters, husbands and wives, parents and siblings and even grandchildren? I am honoring them also. And what of those numberless millions who have gotten caught in the cross fires of all these insane wars? The innocent civilians, the women, children and the elderly and infirmed that fell without a cause, who just found themselves in harm's way? I am honoring them too.

And what of those who lost their spouses and families because of the ravaged relationships by being separated too long while serving our country? Husbands that lost their families and wives that lost husbands because of the distance between them.

My parents got married on September 28th 1941~less than three months before Pearl Harbor. Their first anniversary together was their sixth. Not once during that time did they get a chance to see each other or talk on the phone, or have a private letter between them that was not censored by a third party. Thank God they survived that and went on to have a wonderful life together. But I am honoring them today for their sacrifices, as well as, the countless thousands like them.

And lastly I am honoring our children, Robert and Laura for the 11 years they have served our country. Yes, it is true, they did join the Navy and have seen some of the world, but it is so much more than that. Their service has been a sacrifice in many ways. They have been separated a lot while Robert has traveled to various places and been gone for extended periods of time. He went many many months during his deployment without seeing his little boys or his wife, to keep his commitments to the rest of us. The boys missed their Daddy and did not understand. Laura has had to do many things that the rest of us, with husbands working near home, have never had to face.

She has been very courageous and brave through things like fleeing Hurricane Katrina alone with two little boys, making a lot of decisions on her own, and living like a single parent a lot of the time. Imagine what it was like for Robert to be deployed while his family dealt with the ravages of Katrina on their entire community. Thousands of others are doing and have done the same and I am honoring all of them today.

And I am even honoring other parents and grandparents like Jim and me who have sacrificed years of being without our kids and grandchildren, willingly, to help in this cause we call freedom. Our sacrifices are little by comparison to the losses of countless others, but they count too. Wars, contentions and rumors of wars have and do affect us all in some way.

All I am saying is that it is a day to be thankful for all the sacrifices made by every person for the freedoms we do enjoy, and for the most part, take for granted. Today I am aware and grateful in a more conscious way than I usually am. And I hope you are too!

Sunday, May 24, 2009


"The Sack Lunches "

from an e-mail

"I put my carry-on in the luggage compartment and sat down in my assigned seat. It was going to be a long flight. 'I'm glad I have a good book to read. Perhaps I will get a short nap,' I thought.

Just before take-off, a line of soldiers came down the aisle and filled all the vacant seats, totally surrounding me. I decided to start a conversation. 'Where are you headed?' I asked the soldier seated nearest to me.

'Petawawa. We'll be there for two weeks for special training, and then we're being deployed to Afghanistan.

After flying for about an hour, an announcement was made that sack lunches were available for five dollars. It would be several hours before we reached the east, and I quickly decided a lunch would help pass the time.

As I reached for my wallet, I overheard soldier ask his buddy if he planned to buy lunch. 'No, that seems like a lot of money for just a sack lunch. Probably wouldn't be worth five bucks. I'll wait till we get to base '

His friend agreed.

I looked around at the other soldiers. None were buying lunch. I walked to the back of the plane and handed the flight attendant a fifty dollar bill. 'Take a lunch to all those soldiers.' She grabbed my arms and squeezed tightly. Her eyes wet with tears, she thanked me. 'My son was a soldier in Iraq; it's almost like you are doing it for him.'

Picking up ten sacks, she headed up the aisle to where the soldiers were seated. She stopped at my seat and asked, 'Which do you like best - beef or chicken?'

'Chicken,' I replied, wondering why she asked. She turned and went to the front of plane, returning a minute later with a dinner plate from first class. 'This is your thanks.'

After we finished eating, I went again to the back of the plane, heading for the rest room. A man stopped me. 'I saw what you did. I want to be part of it. Here , take this.' He handed me twenty-five dollars.

Soon after I returned to my seat, I saw the Flight Captain coming down the aisle,

looking at the aisle numbers as he walked, I hoped he was not looking for me, but noticed he was looking at the numbers only on my side of the plane. When he got to my row he stopped, smiled, held out his hand, an said, 'I want to shake your hand.'

Quickly unfastening my seat belt I stood and took the Captain's hand. With a booming voice he said, 'I was a soldier and I was a military pilot. Once, someone bought me a lunch. It was an act of kindness I never forgot.' I was embarrassed when applause was heard from all of the passengers.

Later I walked to the front of the plane so I could stretch my legs. A man who was seated about six rows in front of me reached out his hand, wanting to shake mine. He left another twenty-five dollars in my palm.

When we landed I gathered my belongings and started to deplane. Waiting just inside the airplane door was a man who stopped me, put something in my shirt pocket, turned, and walked away without saying a word. Another twenty-five dollars!

Upon entering the terminal, I saw the soldiers gathering for their trip to the base. I walked over to them and handed them seventy-five dollars. 'It will take you some time to reach the base. It will be about time for a sandwich. God Bless You.'

Ten young men left that flight feeling the love and respect of their fellow travelers. As I walked briskly to my car, I whispered a prayer for their safe return. These soldiers were giving their all for our country. I could only give them a couple of meals.

It seemed so little...

A veteran is someone who, at one point in his life,wrote a blank check made payable to ' America for an amount of 'up to and including my life.'

That is Honor, and there are way too many people in this country who no longer understand it.'"

My Dad serving around 1945 in New Guinea. He worked as a clerk in the medical corps. He never spoke of it much, it must have been pretty traumatic.

Old Glory!

Our favorite Military Man serving now! Thank you so much Robert!

And Happy Birthday, Robert on this coming Friday when you will be away from your family again and serving our country still. God Bless you on your way!

We love you and honor you for all you do to ensure our freedoms!

Ahhh~A Day of Rest

Resting from your labors~enjoy your Sabbath!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Tweener Girlfriends

Piper and her good friend Mitrian~
not little girls anymore and not quite big girls either!
They are tight through thick and thin!
Do you remember this time in your life~I do!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Learning to Read Like He Does

I read this on my friend, Becky's blog the other morning and it got me to thinking about should stop over and meet her.

She has just returned from a get away with her husband and brought home a souvenir. Here is a portion of her post in the green ink.

"Right now I want to share a little turtle I fell
in love with and brought back home!!
He is handmade of clay and is adorable, don't ya think?

He will fit in the palm of your hand, and has
cute little swirlies stamped in his shell.
Each little turtle came with a tag and an
inspirational message. I picked this guy as
my favorite and then was delighted to
read the message on the tag..

I haven't been very at ease in my shell lately...
trying to lose weight, dealing with the effects of
gravity, cellulite, the notion of putting this body
in a swimsuit....YIKES!!!!

Well, my God knew all of that and wanted to
clear it up for me!!!

What a precious message to receive and pass on!

God knit you together in your Mother's womb,
and beamed with utter delight the day you entered
the world...the crown of His creation...
fearfully and wonderfully made!!

What makes you uncomfortable in your shell?

If it's something within your control...set some goals
and work towards changing it. God will give you
all you need to accomplish it!!

If it isn't within your
control, it's the YOU God had in mind when He
created you and is PERFECT just the way it is!!

Even when I weighed 102 pounds, my upper arms
and thighs were a bit out of proportion to the rest of
my body. Do I like that? Not especially. But the God
of the universe designed me that way!!

How can I not be pleased??

He doesn't make mistakes!!

So sweeties, whatever it is that may make you
a bit uneasy in your own shell, embrace it,

work on it if you can, and delight in the truth that
YOU were a GREAT idea in the mind of GOD
before you breathed
your first breath,

And He doesn't do ANYTHING that isn't

God knows we are all a work in progress. He loves us and made us with all of our imperfections knowing that we have the greatest potential to become like Him one day. Being comfortable in our own shell is something that makes God happy. He does not like it when we are self- deprecating and unkind to and about ourselves. We know that unkind thoughts about ourselves lead to sad feelings and less than desirable actions and results. The results of our actions based upon unhealthy thoughts just reinforce those thoughts and the cycle is set.

We absolutely have to know of our intrinsic self-worth because we are a Child of God. ifs ands or buts about it. Pondering it and believing it will help us think better and consequently be better in our quest to improve ourselves. "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he!" Proverbs 23:7. This scripture teaches a true principle. Ironically, we can have more success in our weight loss journey by actually internalizing this truth than by constantly feeling unworthy of love because of our imperfections and beating ourselves up about it. Negative thoughts do not produce positive results. It is not possible.

I love what Becky said about not being fully satisfied even when she was 102 pounds. That is so totally human, isn't it? We need to get right with ourselves and the Lord. We have to remember that we are lovable and capable, even when and maybe especially when, we need His help. He rejoices in who we are and we should too.

One day, our little daughter, Laura, came home from kindergarten crying. She was sad because she could not read. I explained to her that she couldn't read yet, but that she was going to school to learn how to read. Her teacher did not expect that of her yet.

How is it that we can give others wise counsel and often miss it ourselves? Part of enjoying the journey is loving ourselves along the way~just the way we are right here, right now. Our Great Teacher does not expect us to know how to be perfect yet~that is why we are here~to learn to read the way He does.

Anyway, I just loved Becky's post and wanted to share my thoughts about it today. And I love you all...just the way you are. Thanks for stopping by. Hugs to ya, B

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Babies, Babies, Babies Everywhere!

Lovin' the Sweet Peas

Rumor has it that there are some very happy ladies in the neighborhood. Can you believe how happy my dear, sweet friends are? If you have entered the wonderfully enchanting land of grand-motherhood~then you can. If Maureen had a blog I could send you her happy face along with her newest little grandson, Jonah as well. And Michelle will be having a new little grandson on Sunday it seems. And Barbara will have her first little granddaughter soon as well! Wow~the hill are alive with the sound of music...or something like that. It could not happen to a nicer bunch of grannies! You go, girls!

Connie and Chiara!

Faye and Madden

Lanette with JD and Holly

My little Hazie when she was about 5 months old~
in the bat of an eyelash she is 19 months old.

Savor every minute you can hold them in your arms.

As the Grandmammy of the Grannies, I have to say you are all way too hot to be grandmothers but, your kids can do it to you anyway! Congratulations! Love to all and eternal joy forever more! Sweet, huh?

Speaking of Sweet Peas~
look what Jen is growing in her garden!