Sunday, September 30, 2012

a 31 Day Challenge ... it works for me!

One of the most positive benefits of blogging
 is the sense of community amongst bloggers.

 It feels like a chatting-over-the-backyard-fence world to me.
There's an abundance of encouragement.

Every October, The Nester offers a challenge to write a blog post every day for 31 days 
at The Nesting Place.
 Just pick a subject and write about it every day in October.

I'm going to try to do it.

I see the challenge partly as an opportunity to just do it and take the tedium and pressure out of
trying to make everything just right.

So ... pardon the imperfections ...

I'm going to try to do it.

Recently I was thinking about various things that have worked well for me in one area of life or another ...
and that's what I'm going to blog about.

Frequently I bemoan the fact that I learn things that really do work for me...

about living a life as a growing follower of Christ,
about family,
about homeschooling,
about managing my home,
about managing me ...

and then I forget - or just stop.
 This will be a refresher course, and you're invited to come along.

I'll probably use it as an opportunity to post lots of my favorite random pictures, too.

Hey ... it works for me!

Links to the series:
day 2:  Mom & Me Nights
day 4: Imagery
day 5:  Grace
day 6: A Quick Spin
day 9:  Zero Minus One
day 11: Journaling
day 15: Exercise
day 18:  Talk Back
day 20:  A Place of Quiet
day 21:  Happy Hour
day 22:  Avoid Ironing
day 27:  Be Present 
day 30:  A Prayer Journal
day 31:  Listen to Your Father

Thursday, September 27, 2012

{{12 in 12}} Decking the Hearth

Hurrah for fall! 
It's the most wonderful time of the year, if you ask me.  
I've always changed decor according to the season ... but fall is most definitely my favorite.  

The colors of our house are most suited to the autumn color palate, 
so having my favorite fall decor out ...  
and the sunlight ripening to that deeper gold ... 
and the leaves changing color ... 
and the air turning crisper ...
and I am in bliss the entire season.  

There's a glorious time of day 
when the western sun shines into the family room 
and everything just ... glows.  

... it's my very favorite time of day. 

Our hearth is decked with pumpkins and fall flowers, 
and inside the fireplace are some fall leaves with twinkle lights in them.  

My sister gave me these pumpkins for Christmas a few years ago.  I got them for Christmas, then I put them away and forgot about them.  It was like getting them twice when I pulled them out the following fall.  
I was delighted all over again!

My Aunt Margaret did the cross-stitched piece ... isn't it lovely?

My mother was a most talented seamstress and crafter.  

She had quite a successful business covering baskets like this one ...

I chose the fabric and she made this one especially for me ... I love it so!

Come enjoy the rest of the autumn decor with me ... 

I keep my back editions of Better Homes & Gardens and Southern Living.
They're like old friends coming back to visit each October ...

I cheat just a little bit with the window clings on the back door windows ...

It's okay if you don't like them.  
Because the sign over the back door will help you know what to do ...

Come on in to the kitchen ...

Autumn colors and made for me by my kids?  Oh yes, definitely, it goes on the fridge ... 

I'm with Emily Bronte.  Every leaf speaks bliss to me.

Abbie made this wall hanging a few years ago ...

  I love that it's just a little bit crooked.

Have you seen this cool little hanger things at Ikea?  So much fun ...

 This wasn't my own lunchbox, but it's just like the one I had in elementary school. 
I  found it on Ebay.  It makes me feel about ten years old ...

Fall is the perfect season to sit on the front porch ...

 ( Why yes, I am getting a little more mileage out of the decorations 
from LtDan's birthday party, thank you for noticing! )

See the funny little round guy in the picture below?

He came from Highway 287 Antiques.  Thank you, Sandy :o)

It's the most wonderful time of the year ... it's that golden time of day ... 

  let's just take a minute to savor the joy ... 'tis the season, you know.

I'm linking this post to Kate's sensational Autumn Mantels Link Up Party at Centsational Girl!

and also to Judy's Fall into Fall party at DIYbyDesign

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A new toy!

When I was in high school, I sold my horse for a camera. 

I still have it.  

That camera and I took photos for the yearbook.  It was with me through college.  It accompanied me 
(and my parents) to Europe.  And to the Olympics.  It took our engagement pictures.  Our honeymoon pictures.  It took photos of Ben, our firstborn ... 

and then digital cameras took over the world.  

For years I've had some great little snap and go digital cameras that I've been very happy with.  I love the let-me-see-it-right-now feature (yes, remember film?  remember sending film off to be developed? and waiting forever for it to come back?).  I love the ease of slipping a little camera in your pocket and not worrying about it

But there's just something about a full-feature camera ...
 the way it feels in your hands, and the sound of the shutter.

When we went on vacation this year I FORGOT my cute little digital camera.  
Not to worry!  I hadn't forgotten the "old" one I'd passed down to Abbie.  
But the memory card wasn't in it.  
Not to worry!  We'll get another one.  

But the zoom feature for some reason stopped working.  
It was like missing an arm to be at the beach without proper camera equipment.  

I was so relieved to get home and find that yes, I'd left my camera in the office where I thought it would be.  And after using a camera without a working zoom function (thankful for it just the same!) I was so very very happy to work with my little Canon Power Shot once again.


Let me tell you somethin!

LtDan gave me a new camera for my birthday!!!

Oh my goodness, how I love this thing!

Much to learn, naturally ... but ... 

oh, I am going to like this SO MUCH.  Thank you, LtDan!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

One for the Bucket List, Part 5: Upstairs in Hearst Castle

My sister and I spent three perfect days in California last December.  
We flew into San Francisco and drove down Highway One to Cambria (see that post here), 
took an impromptu trip from Cambria to Walmart Paso Robles (see that post here),
 and visited the astoundingly beautiful Hearst Castle (see part 1 of our Hearst Castle tour here 
and part 2 of our Hearst Castle tour here).  

Hearst Castle was built by William Randolph Hearst and was his private property for many years.
 In 1957, it was donated (!) to the State of California and it is now a historical monument.

Three different tours of the castle are offered.  The Grand Rooms Museum Tour offers the social rooms of the main house (this is the tour recommended for first time visitors).  The Upstairs Suites Tour includes the private rooms of Mr. Hearst, including his study and his library, and several guest rooms.  The Cottages and Kitchen Tour include the wine cellar, tours of two guest cottages and, of course, the kitchen.  All tours include time outside in the gardens and both amazing swimming pools, as well as a 40 minute movie 
(on a 5-story screen!) giving the history of building the castle. 

Every time this magical trip to California starts to seem like a dream, I do a blog post and viola!  
December seems just like yesterday.  

Sandy and I took the Grand Rooms and the Upstairs Suites tours.  
Each tour is about 40 minutes, and is guided by extremely knowledgeable tour guides.  

Mr. Hearst was quite the entertainer and his many and frequent house guests
 were accommodated in extreme luxury.

Naturally, a winding staircase is a must in any castle ... 

Many - probably most - of the architectural features came from authentic and 
(obviously) old castles from around the world.  

These two carvings were on bedroom doors ...   

The corridor was dark, and I wasn't able to get a clear photo of the woman above ... 
but she clearly did not want you knocking at that door ... 
and she really looked as though she were going to step right out of that wood work 
and give you a piece of her mind!

The clothes that you see laid out are period appropriate, 
and could have been worn at the castle back in its hey day when Mr. Hearst 
was entertaining movie stars and socialites.  

Mr. Hearst considered the ability to stay connected of great importance. 
 There are many telephones in the castle, which for the time was unusual.  

And if you didn't want to make a phone call, 
perhaps dashing off a quick letter about your visit on a typewriter would suffice?

This is Mr. Hearst's bedroom ...

and the painting on the right is his beloved mother.  She took him for picnics on this site when he was a boy, and then made a grand tour of Europe with him that obviously influenced his tastes.

Adjoining Mr. Hearst's suite of rooms is the suite of rooms designated for his long time companion, 
actress Marion Davies. 

Evening tours are also offered in the fall and spring on weekends.  It's truly enchanting to look up and see the lights of the castle twinkling on top of the hill.  

But then, Hearst Castle in any light is a magical sight.   

For more information about Hearst Castle, see  

and by all means ... 
if you go ... 

take me with you!

This One for the Bucket List California Road Trip is a Six Part Series.  
Click below for:
( You just read Part 5 )