Monday, December 5, 2016

...all I want for Christmas...

Well, I had hoped to be more active with my blogging this year, but...not so much.

Mark (my new dog!) and I have been getting to know one another, and what a goofy joy he is.  He even has his own Facebook page now!

I have been single now since 2008, when a 15 year relationship ended with a betrayal that took me several years and several thousand dollars to recover from.  I had dated here and there, but when you're over 50 and over a size 2, well...let's just say it's pretty grim.  Most men in my age group are either divorced and bitter with no intention of ever getting in a long-term relationship...much less (gasp!) re-marriage, or just really, really, REALLY weird.  Really.

Some of my more memorable dates and online dating experiences have included:
  • the fork-licker.  When our entrees arrived, he licked the salad dressing off of his fork as if it were a lollipop
  • "separated men" who " in half a duplex I own and my wife and kids live in the other half"
  • divorced men who "still vacation with my ex and my sons" .  The sons in question are both over 20...I suggested to him that if his ex was still so great they vacationed together, he should just re-marry her and recoup the tax breaks.  Heh.
  • men who made it clear they wouldn't date plus-sized women, yet had breasts larger than mine.
  • men who didn't want to date with an eye toward a possible relationship, but who wanted to "hang out".  Translation - they wanted to eat my food, drink my wine, sleep with me, and then leave.
  • men who made fun of me because I use cloth napkins and actual china when I serve meals
  • the man who gave me the full-court press for 3 months and then just as I was starting to fall, decided to go back to his former girlfriend - with whom he had only broken up with about a week before I met him.  Funny how that never came up in conversation.  Heh.

You get the picture - I'll spare you the other gory details.

After adopting Mark, I made up my mind that this is how it would be.  I would be single and I would have a pretty good job and I would knit and read and cook my way through "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" and I would take day trips and I'd paint and have a life that was about the same (and probably better, actually) than the lives of most 50-something women.  I finally made peace with myself and the fact that I would be single from here on out.

I had a lot on my plate health-wise.  I was diagnosed with acute anemia in March.  I had hired a personal trainer last August and when my progress started reversing seriously, she made me promise to see a doctor.  Thankfully, I listened and with the help of a series of iron infusions, I was able to recover quickly and get back on track.

Around the time I was in the middle of my iron infusions, I received an email from a man with whom I had briefly exchanged a few messages on an online dating site.  He asked if we could meet for dinner.  I told him I wasn't really up to meeting anyone because of my health issues, but that we could write and text.  We did for a while, and then he asked if he could call me.  I thought "what the heck - why not?", so he did.  He was very polite and we could talk and text about a lot of things.  He was a reader and had a great vocabulary, used proper punctuation (hey - we all have our turn-ons, right?  Hah!) and was employed.  Divorced for 13 years,  he had 3 grown sons - 26, 23 and 18 - whom he had raised on his own.  He lived about 80 miles away in NY state (for those of you who have not had the distinct fun of online dating, a distance of 80 miles is practically next door).

After we had been communicating for a while, he asked again if we could meet for dinner.  By this time, I felt really good and healthy, so I said yes.  I figured it would end the same way as before - dinner, some laughs, and then he'd move on to find someone closer/thinner/younger/whatever.

That was 6 months ago, and now we have a year plan for him to relocate and move in with me.  I still can't believe it, sometimes.  He's the kind of man who texts you the video of Eric Clapton's "Wonderful Tonight" while you're at your office Christmas party.  He thinks driving 80 miles to be with me is nothing (not to mention getting up at 4AM on Monday morning to be at work back in NY state at 5:30AM)  He brings me my tea in bed when he's here.  He loves Mark (and the feeling is mutual)  He's real.  He's a big, hairy mean-looking Irishman (his words) who treats me like I am made of fine crystal.

All I want for Christmas - I have.  In spades.

This year - Christmas decorating is traditional and features polar bears.  Jay loves them and I wanted my tree to make him feel like this is his home, too.

This candy cane topper was all over social media (as a wreath), and I have to say it turned out beautifully

I am linking up at:

Wednesday, April 13, 2016


My beloved German shepherd Cody died just about two years ago.  I couldn't bring myself to get another dog right away - it just didn't seem "right"

I finally met the right dog at the end of February  :) 

He is a five year-old German shepherd mix named Mark.  He was a little underweight when I met him - not starving, but definitely ribby.  He's a rescue from St Hubert's Giralda in Madison NJ; he had only been at their Mt Olive NJ PetSmart adoption center for two days when I got lucky.

Of course, it was the ears that did me in.

He's just a joy.  He's well-trained, walks beautifully off- and on-leash, is gentle and loves people and other animals.  For the first two weeks, I walked him on-leash in the yard (I live on 3 acres in a rural setting) around and around the perimeter of the property.  Now that he can be outside off-leash, he never leaves the yard.  And he has a funny personality.

He's gained 4 pounds since I've had him and now he's at optimum weight.  People say he hit the adoption lottery, but I know I'm the really lucky one.

I am linking up at:

Dwellings - Amaze Me Monday
Savvy Southern Style - Wow Us Wednesdays
French Country Cottage - Feathered Nest Friday

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Wearin' O' The Grey

I haven't made a blog entry since the Christmas holidays.  Life has been pretty busy - I was ill the 1st two weeks of the new year and my scope of responsibility has increased at work.  Here in NE PA, we've had non-stop snow events; I don't think I've worked a single Monday in my office because of our weekly Sunday-into-Monday snowstorms.

Today's blog entry is inspired partly by a post over at Debbie-Dabble, but more so by what I think was a very rude comment on her post.  You see, Debbie had the temerity to "go gray" and post about it.  One reader couldn't quite wrap her brain cells around this fact and wrote that "you can look ten years younger blonde".

Alrighty then.  We'll skip the part where I throw a 1942 edition of Emily Post's "Etiquette" in the general direction of this "lady", and get to the hair stuff.

My original hair color was an auburn reddish-brown.  

Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!

In the Florida summers (I grew up in Jacksonville), it would get gold and bronze highlights.

"...beach baby, beach baby here in the sand - from July to the end of September..."

Senior prom - 1979

high school graduation photo - 1979

Around the time I turned 25, I started going gray.  It started with a "Lily Munster" streak on my right temple and I wasn't going to let it get any further.  L'Oreal's "Extra Light Beige Blonde" was my friend for 20 years.

circa 2003

After a traumatic period in my life finally ended in 2008, I wanted to simplify - simplify everything.  When I had to downsize my life, I also had to downsize a lot of other things.  I had a very carefree, financially secure life that suddenly didn't exist any longer.  I had to take stock of the things and decide was was a want and what was a need.

Long tired of the expense and time involved in keeping my hair blonde, I decided that coloring my hair was a want, and would be the first thing I'd simplify.  I stopped coloring it. It took about a year to grow out and I will state right here it was an awful year.  What was once a pale lovely blonde looked brassy and fake against the new hair that was growing in.

Was it worth the wait?  You bet it was.  I drew the lucky card - I have a head full of healthy, beautiful silvery white hair.

(My apologies for the "selfies".  When you live alone...yadda yadda yadda...

men love that librarian look ;)

leopard is my favorite color!

It's hard to take a selfie and remember to smile  :D

with my favorite singer - Nick Lowe

off to see Lyle Lovett last summer

And the kicker is that if it were still blonde, I'd still look like I was 53 (54 in June).  I'd look like a 53 year old woman who colors her hair.  Now, I look like a 53 year old woman who simply doesn't color her hair.

If you color your hair because it makes you feel better - I think that's great, because feeling better is what it's all about.  If you don't color your hair because it makes you feel better, I think that's pretty damned great, too.  I'm not against enhancing our beauty - but that's just it.  Our beauty is our beauty - not yours.  As a women, we should understand and embrace this in our "sisters".

What's not great is women not being supportive of other women.  My mother (and all her gray hair, God bless her) was of an upbringing and generation where if you couldn't say anything nice, you didn't say anything at all.  If a woman chooses to change or stop changing something about her appearance, that's her business.  It seems that women are expected to be beautiful until the grave, yet no matter how they try to achieve their own personal beauty, they're condemned for it, and sadly, by their own sex.  So stop that merde - be supportive or move on.

By the way - here's a photo of one of my biggest fashion idols - the legendary model Carmen Dell'Orifice.  She's 83 and still on the runways.  Has she had work done?  Absolutely - as she says "if your living room ceiling is falling down, wouldn't you fix it?".  It's her hair that is insanely gorgeous and I would love to be around if anyone ever said to her "Hey - could look 10 years younger blonde" ;)

I'm linking up at:

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Christmas - 2014

"As God is my witness, as God is my witness it's not going to lick me. I'm going to live through this and when it's all over, I'll never make another ruffled Christmas tree skirt again. No, nor any of my folk. If I have to lie, steal, cheat or kill. As God is my witness, I'll never make another ruffled Christmas tree skirt again."

From a little-known film called "Gone With The Drop Cloth" (I kid...I kid...sorta)

I made a drop cloth tree skirt from the instructions from The Pinning Mama  The instructions were great and I liked how it turned out, but be warned - it is a LOT more work than you think.  Thank God the instructions used hot glue - if it had to be sewed, I wouldn't have it finished until next Christmas.

The decorations for this year were natural and neutral.  The "naturals" actually came from 5 boxes of scented, decorative potpourri I bought at HomeGoods over the past few years.  The first thing I did was open it all up and set it to air out on the sun porch for about a month.  I hot glued ribbon to the pieces and that was it.  Ditto the pine cones, which I've collected & either painted or glittered over the past years.  There are some silvery ShinyBrites, and mercury glass hearts.  These came strung on red velvet in a group (HomeGoods again), and I separated them and hung them separately.

The tree topper is a twine ball I made and painted grey and silver - thanks to The Thinking Closet

and the pink ball in the middle of the tree is my favorite childhood ornament - a ShinyBrite that says "Silent Night".  Sometimes, your color scheme takes a back seat to nostalgia  :)

My mantel was inspired by this stunning photo from Restoration House.  The blog seems to be defunct, but I hope somehow she learns how much she inspired me.

I ordered the birch branch from Etsy!  The lovely Christine in Maine cut it to my specifications for an astoundingly small amount of money.  It was worth it to see the look on the face of the guy at the Post Office when I explained it was a tree branch  :D  Please stop by and see what she offers on AdHocStock!

The burlap-wrapped Christmas tree was the ugliest thing on the $3.00 shelf at Target.  I spray painted it as I did my tree and tarted it up with some little baubles.  I love how it turned out.

Merry Christmas!

I'm linking up at:

French Country Cottage - Feathered Nest Friday
Mod Vintage Life - Mod Mix Monday
Dwellings - Amaze Me Monday
Savvy Southern Style - Wow Us Wednesdays

Friday, November 28, 2014

I Got Flocked! ;)

OK, so not really - but saying that cracks me up.  "Hey, Pamela - whatcha doin'?"  "I can't talk now - I'm flocking!"  I slay me sometimes.

Anyway.  I have a lovely artificial tree that was given to me by a friend.  When I moved to my current place, I was effectually running away from the trauma of my former life and relationship.  This was a new start for me, and the first Christmas here, I did not decorate.  A live tree wasn't in my budget and I just let the holiday pass by.

When my friend heard that, she gave me this tree.  I've always thought it was symbolic in more ways than one, and I love decorating it every year.

In 2011 (the first year I had the tree), it was a traditional red and green tree

2012 - pink!

2013 - glam silver and white

I've always loved flocked trees.  A new tree isn't in my budget, and besides - I love this one.  I tried the spray-on snow one year.  That stuff is manufactured by Satan, Inc.  Ugh - as soon as it dried on the branches, it started flaking off.  I guess in that respect, it was pretty authentic, but it was a real nuisance.

One year, I tried the Ivory Snow flakes snow.  That was an idea from my childhood - you mix Ivory Soap Flakes (not the liquid) with water, and you whip it like you would DreamWhip (also another thing from my childhood best left there).  You then scoop it into your hands and run them along the branches to deposit the "snow".  It looks great, but the smell of Ivory Snow for 4 weeks made me insane.  It never dissipated and it overpowered every Yankee Candle known to mankind.

So this year, I painted the damned thing.  Yep.  I painted my Christmas tree.  

Here's how I did it:

1.  I used Valspar's "Color Radiance" spray paint.  I bought mine at Lowe's - it's about $5.00 a can - I bought 4 cans and ended up using about 3.5 cans.

The color is "Azure Snow".  It's not white.  It's not blue.  It's not gray.  It's that perfect combination of the three that looks like ... well, snow!  It's gloss, but that doesn't matter.

Before I started, I gave some thought as to how real snow falls on real trees.  It doesn't cover the trees completely (usually).  The undersides get less snow than the tops of the branches.

2.  I pulled out the branches (my tree assembles row by row) by row groups and re-shaped the branches as they had been stored in Rubbermaid containers all year.

With the thought of how the snow looks on real trees in mind, I started.  I sprayed the underside of the branches lightly.  Just long strokes of spray up and down the branches.

I then turned it over and did the same on top.  I sprayed a heavier coat on top.  Not so heavy that it drips or clumps the "needles" together, but I tried to mimic how snow would look.  Don't forget the tips of the branches.  

3.  I sprayed two rows of branches and just laid them on the grass to dry.  It was about 50-55 degrees that day and they dried very quickly.

4.  I assembled the first (bottom) row and then brought out the 3rd row of branches and sprayed them.  While they were drying, I assembled the 2nd row of branches.  I followed this method until all the branches were sprayed.  I'd say the entire thing took 3 hours, so there is a bit of time to be invested.

5.  As I moved up to the smaller branches, I realized that since these would be higher up the treed, they'd be eye level and above.  These branches received a heavier coat on the underside because once they were on the tree and adjusted, they would point upwards a bit and the undersides would be more visible.

This is how a finished branch looks:

It's still green, but it has that hazy, snowy look that I love.

Once the entire tree is assembled, it is a very subtle look.  It's not as "in your face" as an actual flocked tree, but I think it's beautiful

Regarding the paint odor - once I assembled the branches, there was a definite spray-paint odor.  The weather permitted me to open the house and I kept it open that day.  Within 48 hours, the odor was gone.  Please keep this in mind if you choose to try this.

My next post will be the fully decorated tree - I'm excited to see how it looks once it's all tarted up ;)

PS - we had real snow for Thanksgiving!

I'm linking up at:

Mod Vintage Life - Mod Mix Monday
Dwellings - Amaze Me Monday
ReFresh/ReStyle - Inspiration Monday
Savvy Southern Style - Wow Us Wednesdays

Saturday, November 8, 2014


I made cornices for my bedroom today.  I used the tutorial and photos from The Polka Dot Closet

Everything went just as described in the tutorial.  Everything was pretty inexpensive; the lecture from the guy at Home Depot about why I should pay eleventy billion dollars to a "professional" and "do it the right way - with wood" was free, so woot.

You can see what my bedroom looked like "before" here

The draperies are duvets - "Linen Rose" from Court of Versailles.  I've been collecting them from eBay for two years now with the express intent of making draperies.  Their retail price is horrific - I think the queen duvet was $495.  I managed to buy 2 queens and a king over the past 24 months at prices I can assure do not approach $495 each.

(not my actual bedroom)

detail of the bedding

The bedding is very heavy.  Heavy to the point that when there's even a down alternative filler in the duvet, it's too heavy for me.  So - after I took the duvets apart, here's what I did:

floral side of the queen duvets - I actually used the reverse side.  These are so well-made that I was able to do that.  The reverse floral picks up the bedroom color (I had Annie Sloan "Paris Grey" duplicated in Behr) and the cream reverse almost has a sheen to them.  I lined then using a plain white bed sheet I bought at SprawlMart.  A plain top to slide on the poles.  The sheers are a lace with a medallion that echoes the floral motif.  I'm not sure if I'm keeping them or going to switch to drop cloth panels (more on drop cloth later)

striped side of the queen duvets - these will become my dining room drapes...I'll use the reverse as well.

floral side of the king duvet - I'll hem that and back it with drop cloth and use it as a coverlet on the foot of the bed.

striped side of the king duvet - cornice for my living room.  I also have enough fabric for sofa/settee pillows and I have yards and yards of beautiful cording for trim.

The cornices for the bedroom are done with good ole' Lowe's drop cloths.  I like the 8-ounce weight.  I wash them, and then bleach them in the washer and let them sit in the water overnight.  They come out a beautiful shade of cream.  

Probably the most difficult part was ironing the drop cloth.  It turned out really well, I think.  The trim is a striped piece from the reverse of the duvet.

As usual, I take awful photos - the link above to my bedroom progress has better photos of the true color of the bedroom walls.

This is my other bedroom window -
 to show what they looked like before the cornice

The finished cornice.  The shadows make it look wonky, 
but I assure your my OCD self made certain it was plumb :)

I had been standing on the bed to put up
the L-brackets that support the cornice, so
it looks like I've been wrestling in it.  
(as if...)

My night stands are actually garden
furniture (wrought iron and marble) from 
Bombay Company.  I wish they'd bring that store

I'm very pleased with the outcome - it makes a definite impact when you walk in the room and see the cornice and the beautiful draperies.

I'm linking up at:

ReFresh ReStyle - Inspiration Monday
Dwellings - Amaze Me Monday
Mod Vintage Life - Mod Mix Monday
Savvy Southern Style - Wow Us Wednesdays
French Country Cottage - Feathered Nest Friday