Monday, October 21, 2019

We've Moved! Here's where to find us....


As most of you know, my blog has been a bit absent (I say that kindly :-) over the last couple of years, but now I'm happy to say that it's up and running again. I'm not quite up to posting once a a week, but I'm well on the way - the creative voices are back (I'm never quite sure if that's good or bad ha-ha) and the words and paragraphs have started dancing around again in my head, jostling for some outside attention.

So, with the global integration of certain browsers, and this old blogger app bringing us "exciting updates", which is code for "we're changing the format and deleting many of your favorite blogging features",I've decided to move my blog permanently from here at blogspot to it's own page on the blue giraffe website . This site will remain for the time being, but I've also forwarded my old posts to their new blog home on the blue giraffe website (https://www.thebluegiraffe.com/blog).
In hindsight, this is actually a great change, because it gives me more options, is much easier (and more fun, visually) to scroll through the posts, and it helps us connect all the blue giraffe dots :-)

I've imported the subscriber contact lists, so hopefully the blog will continue appearing in your email in-box - the format's a bit different, but you still just click the link. Finger's crossed the transition is seamless, but if you have any questions, or something doesn't seem to work right, please feel free to email me and we'll figure it out together :-)

Thanks for your patience, and we'll see you in your in-box soon!

- Wendy

Saturday, September 28, 2019

The (unexpected) Joy of Polyester!

Like so many of you, the thought of crawling into bed with a pair of freshly-laundered, soft, white cotton sheets at the end of the day makes my heart skip a beat. And, if those dream sheets just happen to be of the particularly indulgent kind, that also boast a high thread-count and exotic beginnings, then you know exactly what I mean. Actually, just writing about them makes my breath pause, then quicken, as I stop and do a mental happy dance in anticipation...

But, the other day I was making the bed, and the current weather had me undecided on which sheets to use. Don't get me wrong, it's not as if I have a linen closet filled with wonderful choices, but when the temperature at night has been going from 90F to 42F in the space of a week, it makes a seemingly dreary task take on some slight measure of importance. Not one to change my sheets very often, I love the blissful results when I do, but never the act itself. 

So, with wacky weather on my mind, and not being quite ready to commit to my favorite, plaid flannel, I grabbed a cheerful, red geometric set that I spied at the bottom of the closet. As soon as I touched them, I remembered why they were sitting, neglected at the bottom, but the saturated colors and fun shapes danced in front of me, and convinced me to give the perky polyester another try. 

As I easily wrapped the fitted sheet around the mattress, I found myself smiling at how pretty it all looked, and how the colors and shapes were still just as perfect as the day I had brought them home. Ridiculously inexpensive, they had been a random purchase (and a small dose of retail therapy) when I needed a quick boost. 

Smoothing the sheets, I marveled at how I didn't have to run from one corner of the bed to the other, doing the crazy diagonal dance, and trying to stretch the unstretchable, as each end ricocheted back on itself as soon as I moved across the room.

I didn't miss the dance at all, and I daren't say that my bed looked like something from a magazine when I was finished, but I will say that I wouldn't have minded one little bit if you'd have popped over that afternoon and felt inclined to take a photograph of it. 

When I went to bed that night, I was once again struck by the beautiful design and gorgeous fit of the sheets, and I can say with complete honesty, that my (perhaps snobbish?) cotton-rich loyalty took a temporary back seat to my pretty, perky, polyester dreams...

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Quick Fixes For Every Day Life

Someone asked me recently if I could repost this Quick Decorating Idea List for them again (so that they could print it out and add it to their design inspiration folder). So, just for Dottie, here it is.....

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Drawers, Debates and Decluttering

Just in case you didn't know, this week (Thursday, September 12th, 2019) brings us yet another round of scintillating Democratic Presidential Debates...

It seems like just a few days ago that I watched the first twenty Presidential hopefuls (or was it more?) fill the stage with their boring, new suits and their desperate need to be seen and heard.

Last time, I taped all six hours; determined to be involved in deciding the future of our country, and wanting to make sure that I was good and ready for when I stepped behind the dark blue curtain at the local polling booth next year. But, four minutes in, I found myself staring at a tall man, vaguely aware that he was speaking, but had no idea what he was saying, or who he was. If you had put him in a line-up shortly afterwards, I couldn't have identified him or remembered what he said. Yes, it was that bad.

So, I paused the debate, grabbed a drawer from my kitchen, and tipped it out onto the coffee table. As I sifted through the contents, I began to watch the debate again. Random thoughts about why I had three sets of measuring cups (doesn't everyone who bakes?) combined with amusement at some of the answers on stage, and the not-so-subtle "dog and pony" show that had them all trotting out together, on their best behavior, but still wanting to be the shiniest star.

I have to confess, even with my decluttering distraction, I still couldn't quite watch all six hours of the debates. But I watched most of it, and in just two short nights I was able to contemplate our future and organize all my kitchen and living room drawers.

So, if like me, you're kind of dreading this Thursday night, but you also can't quite stop yourself from staring at the screen, just grab a glass of wine, empty out some overstuffed drawers from the kitchen, and enjoy some good, old-fashioned decluttering with your debate...

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Life at the Kitchen Sink

A couple of weeks ago, we went to the state fair and my daughter won a goldfish. Well, she actually won two, but one, unfortunately, didn't make it through the night, so the hopes for the second one were less than optimistic. Still, we found him a bowl, popped a plastic tree in it, and started to feed him.

With his future uncertain, we kept him on our kitchen counter, not wanting to make space in another room, or even give him a name for that matter. Quite awful when you think of it, but his first few days we could barely even tell if he was alive or not - sometimes, he slowly floated around the bottom, and other times he would struggle up to the top, peek through the surface, take a gulp of air, then take an unenthusiastic swim as he spiraled slowly around the bowl.

As the week went on, I moved him to the side of my tea kettle - he was taking up too much counter space, but we wanted to keep an eye on him, and it was an easy reminder to feed him (again, laziness on our behalf had not prompted us to make much effort to make him a permanent fixture in our home). We fed him as we passed by, did the dishes or made a cup of tea, and were encouraged by the fact that he seemed to be moving more (and, quite frankly, had escaped the dreaded toilet flush of so many before him).

Then, one day, as I made my morning cup of tea, I noticed him swimming frantically around the bowl, darting back and forth. I fed him a flew flakes, he ate them, calmed down, and I went into the sunroom to drink my tea. Sadly, as I continued about my day, I assumed he was on his last fish legs, and made plans to pick some hydrangea blooms to put in the bowl when he was done.  

Later on, as I puttered around the kitchen (dreaming of hydrangeas and what I would do with my extra counter space) the fish-frenzy happened again, and I wondered if it was my imagination, or if he had actually seen me and was hoping to be fed again. In a very childish move, I hid behind the corner and watched in fascination as he quickly slowed down and went back to his repetitive, leisurely exploration of his glass home. I waited a few moments, then went to the counter to make my lunch. The frantic swimming resumed, and I realized that not only was he feeling better, but he had turned into a greedy little goldfish, responding to people and expecting food whenever he saw one of us nearby.

Days turned into weeks, and we became used to having an orange fish living on the counter. It really was an inconvenience at first (especially with such a tiny kitchen) but I moved the tea kettle and toaster over, and decided that he had gradually become a very small, but welcome (and amusing) part of our home....

(p.s. "Cat" the goldfish is still alive and well, living next to the tea kettle on our kitchen counter...).

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Holding on to Mother's Day...

Fourteen years ago, my daughter and I started celebrating Mother's Day by ourselves. With an emotionally chaotic home life, and a daily uncertainty about where our journey was taking us, that one Sunday in May became the most comforting day of the year for me.

It would begin with total indulgence (usually crepes with treacle syrup and endless cups of tea) then move on to a day of television, lots of talking, and all kinds of delicious food. We would prepare for days in advance, with my daughter writing down her wish-list, and both of us looking forward to blocking out the world for one, blissful day of peace and quiet.

No upsetting phone calls or heart-stopping letters in the mail, just she and I indulging ourselves in the simplicity of being mother and daughter. We would cook together, play board games, stay in pajamas, and anything else that had made it onto my daughter's carefully folded piece of red construction paper.

She was only 5 when we began to do this, and it instantly became our new, family tradition; it was the one that we looked forward to each year, and friends and family knew that we wouldn't answer the telephone or leave our house on that day. It was just meant to be for us.

It reminded us of what was good in the world, the importance of family, and that as long as we had each other we would be okay. For me, it was also a day of comfort - a day of self-care, and a reminder that we really all just want (and need) the same, simple things in life - we want to feel loved, and we need other people to love and care for us.

As the years went on, we never once wavered in our tradition, and absolutely no-one was ever allowed to share our special day together. Until this year...
A new love, and his family, were welcomed into our home this past Mother's Day. With barely a hesitation, we invited them in, and had a wonderful day filled with food, lots of talk. and a cozy fire in our living room.

No longer feeling the need to cling to each other, holding onto the emotional security of our annual Sunday, I realized that we (I?) had quietly stopped being afraid of what we might lose, and had begun to celebrate all that we had been given ...