Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Midweek Inspiration: Daily Platitudes

I'm Fine, How Are You? 

I was taking my little 20 minute walk today, noticing the pretty roses in bloom and the immaculate lawns of the neighborhood I was walking through, when I began to think about how people interact with one another. How we say so little and yet so much to one another, even when we interact for just a second and never see that person again. 

I encountered two women during my walk. One lady was walking her dog, a gorgeous retriever who appeared to be much more interested in smelling things than actually walking. After exchanging good mornings I remarked at the beauty of her pet and she smilingly told me that they weren't "making much progress" due to the dog's incessant desire to sniff here and there. I told her that he was "stopping to smell the roses." Smart dog to take the time to do so. I don't think he really cared if he was making progress or not. He was too busy enjoying the moment. 

As I rounded another corner I was met by a briskly moving woman of about my age, give or take a few years. Dressed for exercise success, her rapid pace told me this was a person determined to get in her miles. My own leisurely gait paled in contrast. She did flash me a brilliant smile as she passed by calling out, "Good Morning, How Are You?" I smiled back assuring her I was fine and hoped she was too. "Oh yes, I'm fine," she called and went on her way leaving me to ponder, as I often do when I walk. 

How often do we exchange these daily platitudes with people we encounter? The "How are you's" and "I'm fine, hope you are too's" that have become so much a part of our culture that we don't even think about what we are really asking. Of course, I realize that most people are not going to suddenly start telling a stranger they meet on the street all of their personal problems or even the joys happening in their life. But sometimes, these daily platitudes aren't just used with strangers. They are used with friends, co-workers and even family members. It's a way of "being nice" to someone without really letting them in, sharing in their problems, and helping to carry their burdens (and their joys) for just a little while. In this age of technology, human encounters are becoming fewer and fewer. I heard on a recent news show that by 2020, spouses will have more interactions each day with their devices than with their spouse. How sad is that?! Is listening to one another becoming a lost art?

Anyway, as I walked away from Speedwalker, I said a prayer for her and for the other lady with the retriever. I prayed that the Lord would bless them and help them with any problems they were having in their lives. Because, you see, I know that neither of them were "fine." They may have been OK in that moment, but none of us are truly "fine." There are always concerns, problems, issues to be dealt with and, yes, joys mixing in with daily living. That's just life. 

Amazing what one can think about when taking a little 20 minute walk. I think the dog had the best lesson to teach me. Stop and smell the flowers....and don't worry so much about making progress. 

Oh...by the way....I'm fine and I hope you are too....

Until Next Time,

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people.  I Timothy 2:1

*I love comments from my readers and hope you will take a moment to leave one!

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Easy DIY Fall Sign

An Easy Fall Craft

Today's post is short and sweet.  I'm sharing an easy do-it-yourself Fall sign that anyone can make.  I have really enjoyed the off-white Hello Fall sign that I purchased awhile ago at AC Moore and promised to try and make my own sign and share how I did it. So here goes. I don't think my sign looks as "professional" as the AC Moore sign, but I still like it and it works to add even more Fall style to the foyer table!

Add even more Fall style to the foyer table!

I found the frame I'm using for this craft at Goodwill for $2. It's the type of frame that just has the glass and the backing with 4 clamps to hold the two pieces together. I knew I wanted to put things between the glass and the backing to display, so I knew this frame would work really well. I cut orange scrapbook paper to fit the frame size and taped a piece of burlap to the paper and then taped a silk leaf on top of the burlap. I found a print type I liked and typed "Happy Fall" and cut it out to add to the scrapbook paper. It was then just a matter of clamping it all together and I was done!
Of course, my sign is more "orangey" than the white one, but that just adds to the look of Fall. 

Do you like to get crafty in the Fall and make your own decorations?  Would you try to make a Fall sign?  Hope you'll take a moment to comment.  I enjoy hearing from you!

Until Next Time,

Thursday, September 13, 2018

The Pefect Mini-Pleat Fall Top

Enjoying Fall In A Mini-Pleat Top

(Not a gifted or sponsored post. All writing and opinions are my own.)

Hey friends! Why not welcome Fall in a favorite top that is just perfect for transitioning weather? That's what I'm doing with this beautiful mini-pleat top that is one of the two tops I purchased during my May trip to Charleston, SC. Speaking of Charleston, I know we are all thinking of the folks on the coasts of the Carolina's right now as Hurricane Florence comes ashore. Here in Western North Carolina, we are expecting rain coming late Saturday and lasting a few days. We'll see how many inches it amounts too as the days progress.

I am loving this mini-pleat blouse so much!  I was immediately drawn to the colors of it and the fact that it is comfortable and slimming just like my other blue mini-pleat top. To me, this one has a bit more of a "formal look" or dressy look. Perhaps it is the collar that adds that something extra. I am not wearing a necklace, but the collar calls for a bit of bling to be hanging underneath of it, so I may add a pearl necklace for future wear. 

This top is long enough in back to successfully cover the fanny area and wears well with all sorts of pants, leggings, jeans, etc. Very versatile as a top. 

These mini-pleat tops are part of the "Magic It Fits" line which is related to the "Magic Scarf" company. They are one size fits all and the pleats expand as needed to fit each body type. I was pleasantly surprised when I tried these tops, just how well they do fit. And because of the pleated satiny material, they travel really well with no wrinkles. I am interested in adding one of the dresses from this line to my closet in the future. 

And these Faded Glory brand memory foam ballet flats compliment the outfit nicely. 

Let me know if you decide to give any of these mini-pleat tops a try! How do you dress to transition to Fall? Hope you'll take a moment to share. And for those of you near the hurricane, please stay safe!

Until Next Time,

Monday, September 10, 2018

Fall, Friends and Inspiration

A Little Bit of This and That About Fall Decor, Retreating With Friends and Finding Inspiration

Happy Fall!  I have had a busy week with a weekend away, so haven't been in Blog land much the last few days. I'll try to catch you up today in true "this and that" fashion. First, a little look at my early Fall decor. I'm starting simply with a pretty Fall leaf dish, some white pumpkins and a new piece, that pretty Welcome Fall sign purchased at A.C. Moore. I really like that sign and would like to replicate something similar for other holidays. If I figure out how to do that, I'll definitely share!!

I am enjoying this white fabric pumpkin so much. I'm not ready for lots of orange at this point, but the white fabric just says "Fall" to me. I'll be adding Fall decor as we go along, but for early September, this is enough for right now.

I did add my pine cone wreath to the door and my beautiful seasonal quilts are always there for each season! 

I mentioned that I was away for the weekend. I was blessed to spend time with this most awesome group of women enjoying a weekend retreat! Such fun, fellowship and great memories we shared. And, as you can see, we didn't go hungry either!

These dear women encourage me spiritually and provide friendship and support throughout the year. The two women you see above are our leaders and they came up with an awesome theme for this year's retreat, "String of Pearls." Our connections are strong and our support runs deep as we support one another in faith and friendship.

We gather each Fall at a retreat center in the mountains of North Carolina. The house we stay in is called, "Betty's House," and was built expressly for the purpose of providing a place of retreat for those seeking spiritual growth. Betty is no longer with us, but her home provides sprawling rooms for meeting, eating, sleeping and fellowship. This is the living room where we gather for discussion and worship.

There is a large kitchen for meal preparation. 

And a lovely, large dining room where we share our meals. I love that Betty had scriptures written on the walls all around the dining room.

Like this scripture from John 6:35.

Betty's house even has a little prayer closet with room for one person to pray and meditate. 

And there are many bedrooms with ample space for sleeping. This bedroom was Betty's original master bedroom. It is now a dormitory style bedroom for guests.

Our group so enjoyed sitting and chatting on the spacious back porch.

And what beautiful scenery we enjoyed! All in all, it was a blessed weekend!

How are you preparing for Fall, dear readers? Do you ever go on retreats? Would you like to? I hope you will take a moment to share. I love hearing from you!

Until Next Time,

Friday, August 31, 2018

How To Accessorize For Less

Economical Accessories

If you have read my blog for any amount of time, you have probably caught on to the fact that I am an economical kind of gal. I love a bargain, but, at the same time, I enjoy looking nice. I just don't want to spend a mint doing so. In today's post, I'm going to share some of my "secrets" for how I economize when shopping for accessories. Now, I have nothing against having really nice pieces of jewelry or clothing. But, if you can find costume jewelry that looks nice, why not go less expensive sometimes? Take this pretty blue necklace, for instance. I already owned the silver necklace and purchased the blue pendant for a couple of bucks at A.C. Moore and put it on the silver chain. Voila-I had a beautiful new necklace!

Next time you're in your local craft store, be sure to check out their jewelry department. Most craft stores carry pieces that can be used to create jewelry. That's how I came to "create" this necklace. The beads were on closeout clearance and I purchased the necklace to string them onto on the clearance table, as well. For around $5, I fashioned this pretty necklace. See the little teapot charm hanging down in the middle? You know I like teapots!

I've written before on the blog that I am a fan of Paparazzi $5 jewelry, like the necklace you see here.

But, did you know that many Goodwill stores now carry jewelry, that is new and not used, for only $3? That's how I came to find this pretty bee pendant that I love. I've received many compliments when I wear it and no one suspected it was from Goodwill! Shhhh...don't tell!

And whenever I'm in an antiques store, which I enjoy browsing through frequently, I always check out their estate jewelry. Both of these pieces were purchased in antique stores for one or two dollars. 

Now, let's talk about purses. Remember my recent post about subtle ways to wear animal print? I introduced you to this leopard print purse by Adrienne Vittadini. Well, I have a little secret to tell you. 

This "purse" is actually a lunch tote. Yep, I carry a lunch tote as a purse. Who would know the difference if I didn't point it out to you? I saw this on "red dot sale" at Stein Mart marked down 50% off. I had a coupon to take another 50% off the marked down price. So, friends, I paid a whopping $2.80  for this leopard print "purse!"  Now, some of you may be thinking...."I would never do that! Carry a lunch tote as a purse?! What is she thinking???"

Well, I'm kind of thinking I prefer not to pay the $1,850 that this bag costs. 

Or, the $395 for this Coach Bag at Bloomingdales. (Although, it is on sale now for $276.50.)

In my humble opinion, there's not a whole lot of difference between the way my "purse" looks and these ultra expensive purses. Plus, if I want to carry a snack with me somewhere....I'm ready!

And since we're talking about using bags intended for other uses as purses, I'll tell you another one of my secrets. I purchased this "purse" about 4 years ago to carry as a summer bag and received many compliments. It just so happens that this purse began life as a makeup bag. Have you ever considered carrying a makeup bag as a purse before?! Have you looked at the makeup bags that are available now days? They come in a variety of sizes and shapes and are absolutely beautiful! They are also typically much cheaper than purses to buy! I have carried this purse as is....

And, I have on occasion tied pink ribbon or a scarf to the handle for a little extra pizazz! I think it makes a very pretty summer purse. And, I get double duty out of it as a makeup bag when I travel!

Or, if you really want to, you could pay $123.50 for this Michael Kors satchel bag that I found on E-bay. I'm going to stick with my makeup bag "purse!"

And, finally, a word about scarves. These are some of my most favorite type of accessory! I have a fairly large collection of scarves in different colors and weights that I have acquired over the years. These are two of my favorites. And each was purchased for.....$1. The blue and white one on the left was a Goodwill find. The pretty Spring flowered one on the right was purchased at the Dollar Store. Neither one looks "cheap" in my opinion. I find it important to examine the scarves carefully looking for tears, stains, unpleasant odors and quality of material. Many times, I pass on what is offered at these stores. But, occasionally, I hit the "sweet spot" for finding a winner! I enjoy the "hunt" and feel good when I find an accessory that I love and enjoy wearing!

So, those are some of my secrets for finding great accessories. I guess they aren't secrets anymore! Tell me, have you tried any of my secrets before? Would you try them? What economical ways do you enjoy shopping? I hope you will take a moment to share. I enjoy hearing from you!

Until Next Time,

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

How to Wear Animal Print Without It Overwhelming You

Subdued Animal Print

Hey friends! I'm a little late coming to the wearing of animal print party which has been popular for awhile now. To be honest, I always felt that the print might be overwhelming if I wore it as a main article of clothing. That's why I'm styling this outfit using animal print as an accessory with my handbag and shoes. 

This leopard print handbag is fun to carry. It is also roomy without being super big to carry and the zipper makes it easy to get into quickly. 

These copper color flats by euro sofft sport three subtle snakeskin bands across the toe area. I'm not a huge fan of snakeskin, so subtle is good! These shoes are the "Shaina" style and are very, very comfy!! See similar here. 

Animal print goes well with this shirt-style dress. I couldn't get the light quite right when shooting photos to show the exact dress color. It's sort of a cross between olive and brown. The criss-cross ties and front pockets are ornate enough, so there is no need for a necklace. I like the comfort of this style and how the sleeves can be turned up with a loop to secure them. This is an easy dress to wear, which is what I like. I cut the tags out, so I have no idea what the brand name is. I found a similar one I'll show below, although it looks much shorter than the one I'm wearing.

                           This one is available at Belk. 

Sometimes, subtle is good for certain styles and that's how I roll with animal print. I hope you'll join me for my next post, because I'm going to share some of my secrets for finding economical ways to add style to your accessories without breaking the bank. Everyone loves a bargain, right?!

Do you wear animal print? Do you prefer to wear animal print on your clothing or as accessories? Hope you'll take a moment to share. I can't wait to hear from you!

Until Next Time,

Thursday, August 23, 2018

A Friendly Tea Party and An Easy Craft

Teatime With Friends

There is nothing like an afternoon spent with friends drinking tea, munching on goodies and catching up with one another. 

That is precisely what happened this afternoon when these three lovely ladies joined me for a tea party at my home. Not only was I lucky enough to have worked with these awesome women but we also continue to be friends in retirement. 

A tea party takes a little planning and I had a fun time getting ready over the past few weeks. Like shopping for these cute plates and napkins at a local shop called Dreamweaver. 

And no tea party is complete without yummy cakes and sweets arranged on a tiered plate. This plate is an antique gifted to me by my husband's grandmother. I was so pleased to be able to use it for my tea party. 

This refreshing lemon/orange water was served in a pitcher that was a wedding gift when the Mr. and I were married. 

I enjoyed displaying some of my collection of teapots that I have picked up at antique stores and thrift stores. By the way, the teapot in the first picture of this post belonged to my mother-in-law and was part of her wedding dishes when she married my husband's father. 

And it was fun to use some of my Longaberger baskets and pottery on the food and beverage tables. 

I had fun yesterday creating this sign to display on the food table. Let me show you how I created this and perhaps you would like to make a similar sign. 

I started by gathering various stickers and scrapbook paper purchased at A.C. Moore, scissors and pencil.

I then traced around the back of the frame...

Cut it out and taped it to the back of the frame. I used a frame that was missing the glass. 

It was then just a matter of arranging the stickers attractively, sticking them on and replacing the back into the frame. And easy peasy craft anyone can do. I'm good with stickers!

And as you can see, I always have a furry helper nearby!

I wish you could have come to my tea party! How do you like to entertain? Do you cook and bake or keep it simple and buy your goodies? Hope you will leave a comment and share your thoughts. And Jeanette and Carolyn, if you are reading, we sure missed you!

Until Next Time,