Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Greetings

Happy New Year!

Let this coming year be better than all the others.
 Vow to do some of the things you've always wanted to do but couldn't find the time.
Call up a forgotten friend.
Drop an old grudge, and replace it with some pleasant memories.
 Vow not to make a promise you don't think you can keep.
Walk tall, and smile more. You'll look ten years younger.
 Don't be afraid to say, 'I love you'. Say it again.
They are the sweetest words in the world.

Good advice from Ann Landers....
written years ago, but still meaningful.
Wishing you well in the New Year.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Celebrate the Miracles

May you enjoy the blessings
of this holiday season as you celebrate
the Miracles of Christmas and Hanukkah.

Merry Christmas

Happy Hanukkah

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

God Lives Under the Bed

Dear friends,

Life can be fast-paced and complicated,
especially at this time of year
 when the holidays are nipping at our heels.

Like me, you may need a moment to pause for reflection,
so I offer this message sent by our daughter.

She works with mentally disabled folks each day. 
Her uncle, my brother, is very much like Kevin.
While I don't know who authored this message,
I thank him,
and hope he doesn't mind that I share it with you.


I envy Kevin. My brother, Kevin, thinks God lives under his bed. At least that's what I heard him say one night.

 He was praying out loud in his dark bedroom, and I stopped to listen, 'Are you there, God?' he said. 'Where are you? Oh, I see. Under the bed....'

 I giggled softly and tiptoed off to my own room. Kevin's unique perspectives are often a source of amusement. But that night something else lingered long after the humor. I realized for the first time the very different world Kevin lives in.

He was born 30 years ago, mentally disabled as a result of difficulties during labor. Apart from his size (he's 6-foot-2), there are few ways in which he is an adult.

He reasons and communicates with the capabilities of a 7-year-old, and he always will. He will probably always believe that God lives under his bed, that Santa Claus is the one who fills the space under our tree every Christmas and that airplanes stay up in the sky because angels carry them.

I remember wondering if Kevin realizes he is different. Is he ever dissatisfied with his monotonous life?

Up before dawn each day, off to work at a workshop for the disabled, home to walk our cocker spaniel, return to eat his favorite macaroni-and-cheese for dinner, and later to bed.

The only variation in the entire scheme is laundry, when he hovers excitedly over the washing machine like a mother with her newborn child.

He does not seem dissatisfied.

He lopes out to the bus every morning at 7:05, eager for a day of simple work.

He wrings his hands excitedly while the water boils on the stove before dinner, and he stays up late twice a week to gather our dirty laundry for his next day's laundry chores.

And Saturdays - oh, the bliss of Saturdays! That's the day my Dad takes Kevin to the airport to have a soft drink, watch the planes land, and speculate loudly on the destination of each passenger inside. 'That one's goin' to Chi-car-go! ' Kevin shouts as he claps his hands.

His anticipation is so great he can hardly sleep on Friday nights.

And so goes his world of daily rituals and weekend field trips.

He doesn't know what it means to be discontent.

His life is simple.

He will never know the entanglements of wealth or power, and he does not care what brand of clothing he wears or what kind of food he eats. His needs have always been met, and he never worries that one day they may not be.

His hands are diligent. Kevin is never so happy as when he is working. When he unloads the dishwasher or vacuums the carpet, his heart is completely in it.

He does not shrink from a job when it is begun, and he does not leave a job until it is finished. But when his tasks are done, Kevin knows how to relax.

He is not obsessed with his work or the work of others. His heart is pure.

He still believes everyone tells the truth, promises must be kept, and when you are wrong, you apologize instead of argue.

Free from pride and unconcerned with appearances, Kevin is not afraid to cry when he is hurt, angry or sorry. He is always transparent, always sincere. And he trusts God.

Not confined by intellectual reasoning, when he comes to Christ, he comes as a child. Kevin seems to know God - to really be friends with Him in a way that is difficult for an 'educated' person to grasp. God seems like his closest companion.

In my moments of doubt and frustrations with my Christianity, I envy the security Kevin has in his simple faith.

It is then that I am most willing to admit that he has some divine knowledge that rises above my mortal questions.

It is then I realize that perhaps he is not the one with the handicap.
I am. My obligations, my fear, my pride, my circumstances - they all become disabilities when I do not trust them to God's care.

Who knows if Kevin comprehends things I can never learn? After all, he has spent his whole life in that kind of innocence, praying after dark and soaking up the goodness and love of God.

And one day, when the mysteries of heaven are opened, and we are all amazed at how close God really is to our hearts, I'll realize that God heard the simple prayers of a boy who believed that God lived under his bed.

Blessings to each of you,

Sunday, December 18, 2011

One Final (?) Project for the Year

As the days race toward the holidays,
I'm still painting,
trying to get things done
for clients who
have an idea for a special gift.

Here's the last of what needs to be done,
I think....

I got a call from a woman
who wanted these two items painted 
as gifts for her Father and Father-in-law.

The table had been in their basement for years,
and the John Deer box, never used at all.

She thought both could hold magazines and books
 beside the Dads favorite chair.

One Dad is an avid Chicago Bears fan
and the other a University of Missouri alumnus.

Let the painting begin!

The table was challenging
because the color palette was limited to the school colors,
so I "jazzed it up" with some argyle.

I decided to paint the box to look like an old foot locker.

The challenge, here was to design some 'stickers'
 using names of some iconic Bear football players,
suggested by her husband.
By the time you read this,
they will have been delivered my client.

She promises photos of the Dads reactions
to their special gifts.
I  LOVE my job!


Sunday, December 11, 2011

An Antique Silver Dresser

Here's a project near to my heart,
a painted dresser for our daughter's new home.
Shh-h-h, it's a Christmas surprise.

I can safely share this with you today,
knowing she's so busy packing up her old house
that she'll never have time to read this
and spoil my surprise. 

(M. if you do happen to read this,
at least pretend....won't you?)

The dresser came from a neighbor's garage sale.
I gleefully wheeled it home,
thankful that I lived downhill!

Some may ask what paint color I used.
This is Charred Silver from Faux Effects.
It's neutral, but has a lot of kick!

Where did that crackle come from?
This is what greeted me the next morning.
As the paint dried overnight, it cracked.
Not at all what I planned.
I did all the right preparation,
but there must have been some incompatibility
between the surface and my paint,
causing the paint to crack.

Rather than be disappointed,
I was pleased.
The crackle makes the piece more interesting.
I hadn't intended to create this effect ---
but I'm so glad it showed up!

The original hardware on the lower drawers
 looked fabulous,
so there was no reason to replace it.

However, I couldn't resist changing out
the knobs on the upper drawers
 with a little ZSA-ZSA!

Found these lovelies at Hobby Lobby.
Don't they have the best selection?

Continuing with the sparkle,
I finished the mirror frame with antiqued silver leaf.

I'll give her the mirrored dresser tray, too.
It belonged to her Grandmother,
and we're sentimental about those things.

The boudoir lamp is new.
It caught my eye while I walked through Pier 1
doing a bit of holiday shopping.
The color was just right.
The silver base matched the mirror frame.
With a little extra GLAM,
it would be perfect.

Some sparkle-y trim, and a glue gun.

I learned this from my friend Sherry 
at Creations From My Heart.
She is the diva of transformation!
And an excellent teacher.
Sherry offers instructional videos for this project
and others in her Etsy shop. 
Thank you Sherry!

Now, all that remains is to deliver it to the new address!



Sunday, December 4, 2011

Third Time's a Charm

Before Marcello was born,
his Mom asked me to paint his room with an airplane motif.

A year later, his family moved and I painted airplanes again.

A few years later, the family has moved once again,
and now Marcello was upset about leaving
 his airplane room behind.

So his Mom called
and asked me to paint it for a third time!

You can see by now that he is in a big boy bed.

So here we go, beginning with a dark blue accent wall.

Then adding the airplane.
Inspiration came from the bed quilt and pillows.

I don't often get to see a room totally finished,
but this time I was able to admire the drapery.

The colors and design
work so well in a little boy's room.

And Marcello came home from school
happy to see that his new bedroom,
 looks just like his "old" room.
Thanks, Marcello, for letting me play at your house!


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