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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Bench Cushion That Kismet Made

This is the best project I never planned! A no sew custom bench cushion for about $12 and 15 minutes!

No kidding - the most time consuming part of this endeavor was finding where the Mister keeps the iron. This isn't our forever house (or even our house) so I didn't want to spend much. But this little spot needed a cushion. Throw pillows still left it looking bare.

So there I was at Walmart scouting supplies for Biggest Brother's monk costume. I tossed two body pillows in my cart thinking maybe I could cover them (for the benches, not Padre Pio). As I could barely see over them to forge ahead, I figured they were too fluffy to be seats. But in the same department, a $24 full size foam mattress topper? Maybe so. 

Would you believe that the spare fabric I had for this little project was an old full size duvet? I think it was my own Biggest Brother's. I didn't realize until I started measuring and snipping, but of course, the mattress pad fit perfectly inside the duvet. Kismet!

My pig kept close tabs on the proceedings.

Hot glue is also how I sealed the monk's costume. I had every intention of finally firing up my sewing machine yesterday, but glueing was even easier.

Pull tight and staple closed like an envelope.

Pop into place!

The foam remnants aren't enough for a similar bench upstairs, but with a little more luck, they just may be enough to cover the dining room chairs. By the coffee next week. Eegads! And good news on that front, too - people are actually coming!

I love when a plan comes together. Even when I don't plan it.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Ladies Who Lunch

One of the best parts of our new life in Nashville is Baby Sister's school schedule. If we'd stayed in London she would be in Reception (akin to American full day kindergarten but for four year olds) where I'm sure she would have been super. But here she's just old enough to be in pre-kindergarten and goes to school three days a week.

It seems to suit her perfectly and assures that all four children will have an entirely different early experience with school. When in Rome, I tell ya. Or Virginia, Illinois or the UK.

Best of all, twice a week Baby Sister and I have the whole day to pal around. Some days we research how people lived years ago. I feel strongly that kids should learn about push button telephones, typewriters and metal lunch boxes. But it's not all antiquing and lunching, you should know.
In fact, sometimes we hit fantastic shops that trade in new wares. There's a Nashville High Street of sorts nearby with some of my very favorite all-American shops (Paper Source, Kayce Hughes, Vineyard Vines, Binks, Vera Bradley, etc.). Linking for my European girlfriends who will love these! They'll also agree that it is important that I reintroduce Baby Sister to her native culture.

One of the best compliments my French girlfriend gave me while we browsed that street last week was that the stores' styles reminded her of me!  I think Baby Sister has adopted an American look pretty quickly.

It sure is nice getting her back a bit this year. Found time with super company. Even if I spend some of the day coveting her outfit.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Walking in Memphis

Well, not really. We took a great hike with Big Brother's class at a church camp here in Nashville.

And really, it still feels somewhat surreal enough that we're here and not in London (or LaGrange for that matter), that we might as well be in Memphis, I suppose. 

I am getting fantastic dispatches from across the Atlantic about beautiful Christmas decorations twinkling on Oxford Street. 

But in Music City we're still thinking hay bales and pumpkins. The leaves have finally turned and it was sure worth the wait.

The hike gave us a chance to meet new school friends and parents and chat longer than we would just doing the school run. In a beautiful and peaceful setting.

I just mailed invitations to a Thanksgiving coffee. Not unlike two years ago in London, I had to do some sleuthing to recall names of Nashville moms I want to get to know better. 

The coffee will be further insurance that little things around the house we've put off will get done. Isn't that always the way with company? It will mostly be a small way to say thanks.

Making new friends and keeping the old again. Collecting an armload of sticks when naptime beckoned.

Remembering this time last year when we explored Tuscany. And shuffled through red paper poppies that carpeted the Marylebone High Street. 

Seems both out the ordinary and perfectly natural that this year we're crunching dry leaves underfoot. Planning to jump into leaf piles this weekend, too!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

A Bit Busty

I've been in the market for a bust. And a few vintage trophies and a faux mounted animal head. All seem perfect for fall decor but I think some may go on my Christmas list. Meanwhile, I suggest if you're also looking for a bust, by all means don't Google it. Or put that search into ebay. Definitely not preceded by any sort of size preference. ha.

In fact, I'll save you lots of trouble, online searching and antiquing. I'd found a few busts that were very close to what I wanted but not quite right or too pricey.  So here's my shortcut.

Rescue one from Ross on the cheap. Yes indeedy. Disregard the poor color and finish and material of heavy plastic. Are your guests going to pick her up and discover her lack of heft? No. But you are, so next carry her to your car like an infant - her head facing over your shoulder for passersby to coo at her. Resist patting her on the back at the same time.

Spray paint her on the deck with leftovers from Big Brother's last school project. Paint while the Mister is away to avoid discussion of not painting someone else's home. We had glossy white paint and it looks pretty. Extra credit that I don't think any got on the deck.

The most time consuming part of this step is reading the articles you didn't get to in this weekend's paper. Just like afternoons after high school making our class homecoming float. As we started shredding newspaper to stuff into chicken wire, we'd come across funny articles that we'd to stop to read to each other.

I digress, but you're done! Give her a jaunty pilgrim's hat or Indian headdress and let the festivities begin. 

The kids are worried that the pig is getting replaced. That I'll find funny ways to dress my new bust (Oh, the traffic I'm sure to bring to the site now!) for various holidays in the same ways I've done with the pig. Not to worry. There's plenty of whimsy to go around. But we may need a few more hats.

PS: I've since found a version of my $24.99 Ross Dress for Less steal for $2500 on the web and also discovered that she is Diana, Roman goddess of childbirth and women. That's all very nice and close to my heart (both bargains and babies!). My favorite tidbit, though is learning she was "associated with wild animals...and possessed the power to talk to and control animals." Teach me, my goddess!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Funny Girl

Here's Baby Sister in one of my mother's coolest tops circa 1964. It has hung in my closet and moved about 8 times without my finding the right occasion to wear it. Perhaps overdressed for an afternoon of coloring, but she wears it well.

She is a complete hoot these days. She's always been entertaining, but lately her bon mots have us in stitches. Hardly a day goes by without a really fantastic outburst or two. Mostly non sequiturs.  To include:

- "Can I have an apple? What am I wearing? (while sporting my kindergarten Valentine's ballet costume) Are we going to a bear party now?" [Said in rapid-fire bursts to her dumbstruck mother who eventually managed to tell her yes, she could have an apple.]

- "Momma, do I have whiskers?  Like a cat?"

- "Did you know a unicorn is made with a horse?"

- "I had a dream last night. About 2 eyeballs sitting on a bench."

What can I say to that all, really? That I hope we never get beyond this stage. There's something so wildly creative about being 4 that ought to be harnessed. It is also really funny.

And what really would a bear party entail?

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Soldiering On

Doing double duty and then some.

This costume has already proved to be a winner. Biggest Brother wore it trick or treating two nights in a row and to our school's 5K yesterday where his class costume was supporting the troops. The jacket was a birthday gift for dressing up a few years ago and the pants are size 14 (!) so they ought to get wear for a long while, right?!

The leaves have finally turned which promises a beautiful day for a hike with Big Brother's class today. We've had another three day weekend and filled with all sorts of activities so we needed that extra hour today and may need a quiet week to rest up from all the festivities.