Friday, March 13, 2015


As I've mentioned here before, I'm purging like a maniac at Chateau Gahan. And grateful, more than ever, that I have a booth at an antique mall where I can get money for all that I'm getting rid of (otherwise, I'd be having weekly garage sales which, as we all know, are the work of the devil to plan and execute).

My paperwork is getting a good cleansing as well. My billing files are thinning out as I shred stuff that I know for sure I can access online. My file folder upon file folder of inspirational and informational articles/images from magazines and catalogs . . . well, all I gotta say is thank gosh for Pinterest. If I have a tearsheet that I absolutely must keep, I try to search it out on the internet so that I can turn it into a Pin.

I came across this in one of my folders and had to smile at the sentiment.

I remember when I became a mom, I felt this sentiment so strongly, especially as a single working mom who juggled an extremely demanding job with raising a daughter. Doing a good job at work was and is always my goal, but turning what I do into a career has never been a priority. A career is the pursuit of a lifelong ambition or the general course of progression towards lifelong goals. I think being a good mother became my "career."

If there are any regrets about my work life, it's that I didn't pursue one of my passions. When I was younger, I dreamt of becoming a magazine editor. I'd make my own magazines using spiral notebooks, laying out each page, writing copy, drawing the images. And there was also my love of interior design — I'd take graph paper and cut-out pieces of furniture and spend hours drawing and mapping out house plans. Archaeology was a long-time love — I devoured books and magazines on the subject, and would stage my own digs in the yard complete with a make-up brush to dust found treasures. In each of these cases, I wonder what my life would be like now had I pursued that passion. This regret has come up in many conversations I've had with Harleigh, and always in the positive light of encouraging her to go after what she loves.

Don't get me wrong. I'm in a good place with what I do. There's lots of perks to being with a company for going on 19 years. Plus, I've built quite a creative life outside of work that keeps me endlessly happy. And most importantly of all, I AM a piece of work.

Here are some Instagram posts from the past couple weeks.

I decided that I should add a case to my booth. 
I do have lots of doodads to sell. I found this one, unfinished, for $15. 
I gave it a coat of ivory chalk paint.

It has slots on the inside long ends (it must have held shelves), 
and I covered them with a pretty paper. And then lined it with a teal blue fabric.
The broaches are pinned to ripped squares of linen.
(The first thing to sell from the case . . . the two worry stones on the left. Who'd a thunk it?)

Evenings as of late = time on the sofa. Him sleeping. Me reading.

What I usually see in the morning when I wake up.
Not too shabby.

Sporting his Valentine bandana from the groomer.
(Don't tell him, but tomorrow he gets his summer cut. It makes him a little self-conscious at first.)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Booth Crafts

Come to find out, the items I craft and put in my booth have been selling like hotcakes. My refinished furniture, gone within days (scroll to the bottom of the linked post). The pieces of wood I've found on beach vacations got prettied up with painted words and images, and I couldn't make them fast enough. Custom-crafted bulletin boards made using old windows. Old chandeliers de-electrified, painted, candles added . . . sold as outdoor decor. Ice skates, embellished and turned into Christmas decor. Valentine gift boxes. A vase made from books. A paper lantern covered in crocheted doilies. A mirror covered in shells. Beachy journals. A patio umbrella recovered in a vintage tablecloth. Calico bunting with ball fringe. Good sellers, all of them.

With 2015 being the year of the purge, I've enjoyed living a simpler life AND gifting others with items that I've lovingly created. It's a win-win.

With probably 15 giant pickle jars taking up real estate in my two-car-garage-that-only-fits-one-car, it was about time to come up with a project. And tah-dah . . . the K-Cup Jar was born! I used one in my kitchen for awhile before the calendar turned to 2015, and my counterspaces were begging to be cleared of stuff — cute stuff no doubt, but stuff nonetheless. Each jar holds 32 cups. And, come on, cute or what???  I even saved up empty K-cups and re-lidded them with white paper so that the jars would stage nicely. These three are "the Kitten Edition." With more jars to get rid of, there's bound to be a new edition to come!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Heathy Stuf

I've written before about my obsession with grocery lists left in grocery carts.
While pumping gas at QuickTrip the other day, I went to throw away
something and saw this at the top of the trash can.

I couldn't resist taking it. 
Makes me smile every time I read it.

Heathy Stuf

I love my mommy
and I love trees
because they need
water, sun, air.
And all of us
need air, water, sun.
And we need water
every day.
And sunlight.
And we need
food for us.
And we need
heathy drinks.
And we need
air because
if we don't
have air
we will die. 
And we need
water. If 
we don't
have water we will

Friday, February 27, 2015

Easter Decorating at Chateau Gahan

I found these little peeps at Big Lots 
and thought they'd be perfect 
amongst my egg trees and bowl of decorative eggs.

Even in its everyday state, Chateau Gahan dons Easter pastels.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Go Team 50!

I'll begin with this excerpt from Amy Poehler's book Yes Please

Getting older also helps you develop X-ray vision. The strange thing is that the moment people start looking at you less is when you start being able to see through people more. You get better at understanding what people mean and how it can be different from what they say. Finally the phrase “actions speak louder than words” starts to make sense. You can read people’s energies better, and this hopefully means you get stuck talking to less duds. You also may start to seek out duds, as some kind of weird emotional exercise to test your boundaries. You use the word “boundaries.” You can witness bad behavior and watch it like you would watch someone else’s child having a tantrum. Gone are the days (hopefully) when you take everything personally and internalize everyone’s behavior. You get better at knowing what you want and need.

I love everything about this. I remember when I was in my 20's. I have a soon to be 23-year-old, so I'm also reminded every day, as I live side-by-side with my daughter, just what being in 20-ish skin feels like. It's not an easy existence. Living as a 20-something is like the stage of a butterfly when it's emerging from its chrysalis; it's awkward, unfamiliar and there's uncertainty about what life will look like on the other side. While something beautiful emerges, getting to that point involves change, effort, and living and looking like the not-as-beautiful-as-the-butterfly caterpillar.

There are people who would give an arm to relive their high school years, others their college days, and some their 20s. I suppose there's a fan club for every decade. But I'm the head cheerleader for the 50s crowd. It feels good to be in my skin; I wear it humbly and with ease. And yes, I do have X-ray vision.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Neighborhood Grocery = Glass Finds

Here in Peachtree Corners, GA, we have so many options for good grocery shopping. Within a 5-mile radius of Chateau Gahan there's a Trader Joe's, Sprouts, Earth Fare, Whole Foods, Publix, Kroger, Ingles, Super H Mart, and Walmart Neighborhood Market. And there's The Fresh Market about 8 miles from our house. We are super fans of Sprouts for most of our shopping (and hit up Ingles, a short walk from our place, for paper and household products).

Harleigh was shopping in Sprouts a few weeks ago and came across organic apple juice in this beautiful bottle. She got the juice for herself, the bottle for me. Once emptied, I cleaned it up and put it on the mantle (along with a glass bowl of shells and a glass vase of cotton bolls). For now it holds a fake flowering branch, but soon it will hold something real, fresh and Springy.

My go-to process for getting labels off glass —

I use Goo Gone Spray Gel. Love it for taking off stuck-on labels and cleaning muck off glass in general. I like the spray better than the straight liquid; easier to saturate the paper.  I first give the label a generous spray of the Goo Gone; let it set for about 15 minutes. Then I take a scraper (the  kind that holds a one-sided razor blade) and begin scraping along the top edge. I then give another spray of the Goo Gone along the frayed top of the label so that it soaks between the glass and label. I let it set for a few minutes. By this time, the balance of the label comes off very quickly. Always remember to scrap away from you. There's usually stray glue left once all the paper comes off. By holding the glass under running water, you can easily see where the glue is left, then give it a swipe with the scraper or piece of cloth.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Favorite Fridays

Before the company I work for, unboundary, moved office space last October, we lived our workdays in a huge train warehouse. Two-story+ ceilings, cement floors, dogs brought to work (still do that, but there are fewer), soaring windows. A real statement of a space.

As Traffic Manager, I conducted weekly company meetings, usually every Monday morning, where we would review the week’s work ahead of us, share personal accomplishments, and talk about client projects, a hodgepodge of content, but always aiming to inform and entertain. We called the meeting unWeekly (playing off the "un" in our name). The meeting would last anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour and was held in our huge auditorium space which we called  TEDome, a space aptly renamed (from Thunderdome) because it is where we held the annual (sometimes bi-annual) TEDxAtlanta, organized by our company and started in 2009 after our president began attending the annual TED conference.

I had a format for the meeting, segments that everyone could expect to happen every week, and  surprises to anticipate. With such a vast space (it seats 200+) and two-story ceilings, it was essential that I be miked; so I was outfitted in an uber cool Britney Spears headset. Each meeting started with a song through our sound system. I had a sign-up sheet for the song to be played each week. I made sure the music was played loud to get everyone in a good mood. Sometimes the music was accompanied by a music video; sometimes the song would go with a theme for the week (one related to the season, or one I made up). Here is some of what was played —

Hold On by Wilson Phillips
Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F) by Katy Perry
Happy Valentine’s Day by Outkast
The Power by Snap!
Funkytown by Lipps Inc.
MmmBop by Hanson
Hot Cheetos and Takis by Y.N.RichKids
1st of May by the Bee Gees
Heaven Is a Place on Earth by Belinda Carlisle
Daydream Believer by The Monkees

And when one person didn't get me their music choice by the deadline, I did what I promised I would do if rendered music-less come Monday morning. Nelson it was. Oh no you dihn't. Oh yes I did.

I gathered some pix from past unWeeklies that made me smile, fondly remembering our old space and how much fun I had hatching ideas.

For Halloween 2011, I made the entire space dark except for candles on every surface. Police tape blocked off the curtained entrance to TEDome. Once everyone was seated, the music began. Vic Mizzy’s The Haunted Organ from the movie The Ghost and Mr. Chicken. Halfway through the organ piece, Molly, our receptionist, rolled a corpse, me the emcee, into the space. I was on a morgue table, covered with a sheet, one hand dangling down, a few spiders on me, and my bare feet sticking out, one toe with a toe tag. At the end of the music, I sat up and began the meeting.

In the spirit of Cinco de Mayo, I made nametages that I, Consuela,  handed out at the beginning of the meeting with Mexican names for everyone. 

For the official start of summer, I created a lifeguard chair by putting one of our auditorium chairs up on a work table, taped on a beach umbrella, crafted a lifesaving floatie, and led the meeting decked out in sunglasses and twirling a whistle. I threw a few beach balls into the crowd for fun. I love being an idiot.

One of my grandest meetings was always for Independence Day. I captured the Lee Greenwood God Bless the USA laser show at Stone Mountain and had it playing on the big screen (in subsequent years, at one attendee's request I added The Charlie Daniels Band The Devil Went Down to Georgia). The laser show ended in an on-screen fireworks display. The usual auditorium chairs were replaced with lawn chairs and blankets and our big fake felt rocks. I had coolers with cold sodas around. Gave everyone American flags and glo-stix. It was magical.

Over the course of the years doing this,

— I visually chronicled a pregnancy. Molly was quite the trooper, posing for the weekly picture that was shown on the big screen every week along with a googled image of what her baby looks like at that particular stage.
— We announced a puppy addition to our dog family (a slide show of a stick couple and how they wanted to add to their family, culminating in the actual puppy being announced and brought into the meeting with squeals of delight and lots of baby talk).
— We heard talks and saw images from trips to Dragon*Con, volunteer efforts, family vacations, a presentation of a Yale University Master's Thesis on color, witnessed Super Bowl bets that resulted in the losers (2 guys, good sports) who had to sing Karaoke to Shania Twain's Feel Like a Woman.

With hundreds of auditorium chairs to use as props, I was constantly putting them in different configurations. One week following a big travel week for lots of our peeps, I put the chairs in rows of 3 chairs and 2 chairs with an aisle down the middle. And had two uninhibited volunteers act as flight attendants greeting people when they arrived on unAir Flight 207, and then walking up and down the aisle before the meeting began checking on the "passengers." When one person chose James Taylor and Carole King You've Got a Friend as the opening music, I put the chairs in pairs scattered all over the room. And when everyone sat down, I asked them to hug the friend next to them. Stupid stuff like that made for some fun times.

Before the Easter holiday, it was only right to supply bunny ears.

And for Presidents' Day, I couldn't help but channel the inner politician and address the crowd with a JFK/Clinton fist-with-thumb-sticking-out to make my point. (I look like a plump, unfashionable Sarah Palin.)

I miss those days.
Here's to Favorite Fridays.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Salty Days

Harleigh and I are 81 days away from our trip to Alligator Point, Florida. It sounds like a long time. And it is, much too long. Hearing JFK's 1962 speech at the America's Cup (aired last night on the Carnival Cruise commercial during the Super Bowl) made me all the more antsy.

“I really don't know why it is that all of us are so committed to the sea, except I think it's because in addition to the fact that the sea changes, and the light changes, and ships change, it's because we all came from the sea. And it is an interesting biological fact that all of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea - whether it is to sail or to watch it — we are going back from whence we came."

This is worth waiting for . . .

Monday, January 26, 2015


I’ve been gone so long from blogging. I have that feeling that you get when you’ve not seen or talked to a friend in a really extended amount of time. And there’s a hesitation about reaching out. But then I think about my really good friends . . . they’re the ones I can reconnect with, we pick up instantly where we left off, and there’s no guilt, shame or blame. And so, with that as my guide, here I am. I may have lost some of you, tired of coming back and seeing over and over again the December 21 post. But for those of you who haven’t given up and are happy to reconnect, here’s to you, really good friend.

Here are some straggling images from the Christmas break. (Most, if not all of these, were originally posted to Instagram.)

Over the holiday break, I catalogued my collection of decorating books.
Sometimes when I'm at a bookstore or the library, I forget what I have.
So images like these on my phone (and this isn't even all
my decorating book!) serve as a great point of reference.

I wish I'd been more creative this year for Christmas gifts for the neighbors.
But my good-ol'-standby poppy seed cake is just so doggone easy and super good. 
One of those cakes you can eat  for dessert AND breakfast.

Harleigh graduated magna cum laude from Georgia Southern University on December 12.
So proud of her!
(It looks like I cut out an image of just her head and put it on another picture of just a body.
What what???)

Ever since we've lived in our humble little Chateau Gahan (since 1999), 
I've dreamed of putting up Christmas lights, especially icicle lights. 
But without a man around the house, the effort
has always seemed too daunting.

Well, 2014 was the year of the lights.
I drove home from work one evening, and this greeted me.
I came to a halt in the driveway, literally gasped out loud, 
and took it all in, with tears streaming down my face. 
A gift from my dear daughter, no doubt.

She had gone to Ace Hardware with measurements in hand, 
and turned to the red vests to help her figure
out how many strings to get, how to hang them from the gutters,
and how to handle hooking them up to an electricity source.

She got up on a ladder and got them all strung.
She then had the idea to hang lights along the top of the 4 windows you see above the roof level.
She got on the roof (if she weren't 22, I'd have spanked her hearing this!), 
got scared, and luckily had her phone on her, so she called Mr. Clif next door and he came over 
and helped her down. Then he loaned a better electrical cord and a timer!

Most nights when I was home, I'd stand at the open front door and wait for 6:00 to hit
so that I could see them light up. It never got old.

While down in Statesboro for graduation, we ate at a Cracker Barrel.
All their Christmas stuff was on sale. 
I scored this light-up plastic, life-size baby deer.
And this large ceramic tree with lights.
Money well spent.

Our boy.

Christmas morning at Chateau Gahan.
It really wasn't cold enough to warrant a fire, but
for pete's sake, it's Christmas!

This was our second year in a row getting matching pajamas.
Harleigh told me last year that she always thought that was a cute tradition,
and she'd wish we'd done it when she was a little girl.
It's never too late to start traditions.
(And one more nod to a parent's "wish I would have's.")

This year Harleigh wanted scottie dogs.
The search proved successful at Kohl's.

For gift wrapping, I usually use a variety of papers, ribbons and baubles.
But this year I found this beautiful kraft paper with pine cones and greenery, and I 
decided to dress all my gifts alike.
I ripped red and white seersucker for ribbon, and used vintage
postcards for the gift tags.

I'm in the process of redoing all six Sunday School classrooms at church.
Over the holiday break, I managed to complete one.
They're all underwater/ocean themes.
This one is a "find the hidden" object picture.
Since it didn't take up the entire wall, I painted the empty sides a glossy deep blue,
and then added little water bubbles.
One down, five to go!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Chateau Gahan at Christmas

The advent calendar on our fridge. I open up a door each morning while drinking my coffee.
This year's calendar has glitter on it. 
I just may keep it and pack it away to look at next year. Much too pretty to throw away.

Christmas books collected since Harleigh was little (and a box of vintage Christmas cards).
On the coffee table to enjoy.

With a tree in the living room, and one in the ken,
I alternate my breakfast each morning between the two room.

The old pail is a $1 garage sale find.
Stuffed with greens and fake candy canes.
(Gideon watches from the window.)

Thanks to Pinterest, we've all tied a tree to the top of a toy car.
This car, in Harleigh's bathroom (and, off-season, atop a pile of clean washcloths)
usually has a surfboard on the roof.

I have a church, a sweet shop and a tavern that are all lit and have little 3-D scenes inside.
They grace my mantle.

This S.D. Kluger toy/decor plays the actual Fred Astaire version of
"Santa Claus Is Coming to Town."
[NOTE: S.D. stands for Special Delivery.]

And our Santa from The Forum.
Is he not the best?

And on a side note, here is the kindergarten cabinet that I saved from the dumpster 
and is now for sale in my booth.



Stay tuned for more pix to come of our holiday decor!

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