Dec 31, 2007

A Good Fling is Just the Thing We Need

Happy New Year!
Happy New Beginnings!
Happy New Memories!
Happy New Friends to be Made!
Happy New Places to Visit!
Happy New Clean Slate from which to Hope!

Yes, January 1st is always a day filled with anticipation for the next 364 days yet to come. It is a day to reflect on the last 365 days. So much can happen in just 365 days - it is amazing isn't it? In one year, we all may encounter anything and everything from new births, to burying a loved one, to buying a home, to losing a job, to getting a promotion, to finally taking that piano, French, or cooking class, or fighting an illness, to winning the lottery (okay, that is a stretch), to making a new friend, or losing a friend either to a death or to a death of the friendship in of itself.

We may encounter wonderful parties, picnics, a new love, a new hobby, or forgive someone that needs forgiving. We may encounter unfairness, heartache, emotional struggles, loneliness, or illness. We may have encountered moving to a new location, leaving friends behind, fearing a lab result, or taking care of a very sick parent or child. This is just the menu of life really. For some of us, I am sure, wish for a different menu at times, but basically, we humans all order from the same one. And sometimes our orders don't come as expected.

Yet, despite all the hardships the last 365 days may have brought to us, we humans are forever hopeful and even the most pessimists among us even feel somewhat optimistic on that first magical day of January. What a wonderful thing to experience, even if only for a day - hope.

I love this piece of stamp art (above photo) that is located in my friend's art gallery here in St. Louis. Henry's (my friend) gallery and day spa, Eve's Garden, has a collection of wonderful pieces from various artists. This stamp piece of a woman is my favorite. To me, she is leaning into the wind, without fear, her hair blowing freely and full of hope. Yet, she is made of paper - a fragile substance that can soften if rained upon with tears; can burn if caught in the crossfires, and fall apart at the seams if pulled in too many directions at the same time. I love that she is "well traveled" via her postage stamps. She is well traveled in emotions, experiences, heartache, joy, and she is stamped in the glory of it all. I especially like how she is leaning out, flinging herself out actually, into the wind of all what life has to offer - both good and not so good. But mostly in hope.

And that is what the first day of January is to me - a day to "fling myself" out into the new year with hope. To embrace fully all that awaits and to continue to "stamp" myself with new challenges, new awakenings, and new experiences. It is my wish, that if I get to be 90 years old, that I am so "stamped" up with life's experiences that any stamp collector would find me priceless - or at least worth a second look. And with that second look, one would find a multitude of "flinging" that I did in my day. And how my days continued to be filled with hope.

Happy New Year! And may your fling just be the thing that makes 2008 a year of beautiful new stamps on your hopeful soul.

From my house to your house

Note to all my cyber friends: I
am doing better since my car wreck that took place on Dec 11th. My head still hurts but my heart is filled with joy to be here with you all. I realized after I wrote this post that I promised you a sneak peek of my photo shoot in my next post - well, I guess I got hit pretty hard on the head, as I forgot that promise until now. I will next post a sneak preview of that shoot and then a post about my beloved Randy. God Bless!

Dec 15, 2007

Hugged by an Angel

While I promised to show you a sneak peek of a photo shoot I did for the April issue of Romantic Homes, I decided to post an event that I experienced that truly touched me on many levels. I promise design photos in my next post!

Last Tuesday, December 11th, was my 44th birthday - and it very well could have been my very last one at that. Having celebrated my birthday the prior evening, I was free to do some painting work for a client. I painted a couple of bathroom cabinets at my clients' home and took the drawers and doors of cabinets in my car to be painted in my workshop. It was getting late, but I wanted to get in a short run.

I was in West County (St. Louis proper) and unfamiliar with the location of the YMCA so I called my fiance, Randy, to get directions. Yes, you read correctly - I have a fiance and I was hoping to introduce him at another time and tell you how we met and so on, and I will, but just not in this posting. I was wearing my bluetooth and listening to Randy's directions and as he directed me, he told me to look for the bridge that goes over highway 40.
I then said, "Oh! I see the sign for 40 and the bridge...." and that was the last thing I said to him.

Out of no where, and I mean no where, a car slammed into me full force on the driver's side. No braking, no slowing down. I was so shocked because I had no warning. It was as if I was calmly walking down a sidewalk, looking straight ahead, and large football player came bolting out of an alley and slammed me to the ground. I never saw it coming.

I saw headlights, bright lights coming through my driver's side window. I spun, then flipped (twice I believe) and landed upside down, smashed against the guard rail and lamp post at the side of the overpass bridge. That is the short version of what happened in a nutshell.

Now let me tell what really happened:

Upon the first impact and seeing headlights coming right at my door, I immediately, without thinking, threw both of my hands up over my face and tucked in my elbows across my rib cage and curled up my knees to my stomach - sort of like a fetal position. I held that exact position for the entire ordeal. I was shocked first, then I realized I was rolling, and then I realized I was rolling towards the edge of the bridge and I let out a blood-curdling scream because in my heart, I knew I about be tossed over the bridge and fall to my death on the highway below.

And in that split second, time seemed to stop.

As I continued to roll, I screamed in my head, "I am going to die! I am going to die!" I believed that with all my heart, that I was truly going to die in that moment. The entire time, my eyes were shut and my hands firmly planted over my face, but I still saw a very bright, solid white light. And for just a millisecond I told myself, in a very calm voice this time, "I am going to roll over the bridge, and land on the ground and will be killed instantly, and it will be over. And that is okay." For just a fraction of second, I felt a very calming peace.
I was actually okay with it being my time.

And at the very moment I was "okay" with what was happening to me, the noise stopped, the rolling stopped, and I found myself hanging upside down by my seat belt. I immediately began to shake, cry, and started screaming, "Help me! Help me! Help me!" over and over again as I listened to glass clinking to the ground. I was convinced that I was on the edge of the bridge, ready to go over any moment. The real fact is that I was at the edge of the bridge, but "safely" smashed against a very strong guard rail.

Several people stopped to help and a man unbuckled my seat belt and pulled me out of the crushed window. I was shaking uncontrollably and tried to walk, I just wanted to get away from the car. The people helping me had me lie down and they started to cover me with their coats. Then I heard my phone ringing from my smashed car. I thought, Randy!

You can see in above photo how on the other side of the sidewalk, it drops down to the highway.

Randy, unfortunately, heard the entire crash over his cell phone while he was driving home from a business seminar. He said that one moment I was talking with him and the next moment he heard the whoosh noises and banging noises. It took him about five seconds to realize what was happening to me. He said heard me screaming, then crying and then very faintly calling for help over and over and over again.

He didn't want to hang up, but he did to call 911. This dispatcher told him that the accident had already been reported and asked him, "you mean the overturned car?" He couldn't believe what she said. He called his mother and raced to wreck site and all the while, he believed I was dying or already dead. He was about 5 miles away and even at 9PM, the traffic jammed the streets. He then finally approached the bridge only to see firetrucks, ambulances, police cars flashing all their lights. As he slowly approached the scene he saw a very smashed car, upside down and thought it was someone Else's. Then with a closer look, he realized it was my car. Police wouldn't let him see me as they worked on me and he just about lost it. Some bystanders were trying to convince him I was okay, but he didn't believe them. He finally got a chance to see me on the stretcher and saw that I was awake and not bleeding. His mother pulled up, sees all the commotion and her son leaning on a bystander, crying, and of course she thinks the worse as well.

As I am loaded into the ambulance people are wondering what happened because there were no other cars involved - or so they thought. I told a policeman that I was hit. I am 100% sure of that. I never lost control of the car, as in slipping on ice (there wasn't any ice anyway) and I was hit. It appeared to be a hit and run. However, a little later, Randy saw a woman at the end of the bridge being given a sobriety test, seemingly failed, and was handcuffed and taken away. Her car was way down the entrance ramp to the highway. At this time, we do have not any official report other than she did in fact hit me. We do not have any official report stating it was a DUI or that she left the scene.

I was taken to the emergency room and the EMTs and doctors could not believe that I had NO broken bones, NO cuts, NO internal bleeding, NO broken teeth, and not even a broken fingernail. I did however, have a huge, huge lump on the back of my head, mostly likely from a gallon paint can flying about and knocking me from the back. It was (and still is) so painful that they couldn't even put a neck brace on me because it barely touched that part of my head. They did a CAT scan and it was clear. I couldn't stop shaking and I never shook like that before. The doctor gave me a couple of pain pills to calm me and to help stop the shaking.

Now I ask you: by looking at these photos, how, how, how in the world did I literally walk away from it all? I will tell you how....I was hugged tightly by an angel. And I firmly believe that. Remember when I said that upon impact that without even thinking, I covered my face with both hands, tucked in my elbows and curled up my knees? And through the entire ordeal, my arms and hands remained in that very tight position, never budging once. Had my arms and legs thrashed about, they surely would have been broken or cut up. I believe my guardian angel is the one who held my hands, arms, and legs securely around my body. No one, and I mean no person could possibly have the strength to remain in that position during such a crushing slam, hard roll and slammed against the guard rail. But I did - with help from my angel.

After I was discharged from the hospital, about midnight, Randy took me to his home. We were pretty quiet on the way home and being in a car again made me very nervous. I had several cans of paint and stain in my car when it crashed, and a lot of it landed in my hair. Randy got black paint all over himself as he tried to retrieve my briefcase, lap top, files, papers, purse and so on out of my paint-filled car. Once home, he drew me a bath and as I sat in the hot water, hugging my knees and letting my tears fall freely, Randy very gently washed my hair, careful to avoid my bump, and slowly and carefully picked all the dried paint out of my hair. It was finally quiet...there was no screaming, no sirens, no flashing lights, no people, no doctors, no IV's, no CAT scans, no questions...just me, sitting in the tub, hugging my knees, silently crying, while my wonderful fiance gently washed my hair. I will tell you about this wonderful man in another, happier, post.

Once out of the tub, Randy got in it to soak as well. He didn't have the pleasure of silence that I had. He still heard the noise, my screaming and my cry for help playing over and over in his head. He choked up and just simply said, "I thought I lost you." My tears flowed as I got a wash cloth and gently washed the black paint off his head and neck and we just stayed quiet.

It was a miracle. Only hours before I was being tossed around in my car and lying in the street with broken glass all around me, and now, here I am, clean, in a fluffy robe, eating a bite or two of my birthday cake to settle my stomach for all the medicine I took. My head was (and is) very tender, my shoulders, neck, and back are tight, but I will be fine.

Yup, Happy Birthday. I would like to think that God isn't done with me yet and I have much more to do in this world and that is why I am still here. But there is a small part of me that thinks that in that very moment, when I thought I was going over the bridge, and I felt a second of calmness, that God might have changed His mind and realized that I am just too ornery for Him to handle at this time. He probably would have a handful of people who would agree with Him as well. :-)

Life is good, but living it is better.

Please be safe and live as if there is no tomorrow - because you know, there just might not be...and I personally know that it is all okay.

from my house to your house,

Dec 7, 2007

Really Missing You...

Note: New posting on my Shop Talk series....please check it out...


Oh, how I miss you all and thank you so much for the kind and concerned emails you sent me. First, please allow me to apologize for worrying you and for just falling off the radar for a bit. I have a list of reasons (or excuses as some may call them), but the main reason? I just pooped out. I had a lot of adjustments, challenges, and personal issues that came full force these last 5 months or so. And sometimes, even the most energetic, optimistic, always-seeing-the-silver-lining-kind-of-person can hit a dry spell. I was simply spent. In fact, for a while, not only "spent" but sometimes I felt a deficit as well.

In this Dec issue of Redbook magazine, Shania Twain gives an interview in which I can relate to a certain extent. I don't have the article right in front of me, but she states that while she doesn't want everyone to "know her dirt" she still wants to "remain real." I totally understand her feelings. While I always want to be "real" with you all, I don't necessarily want to share (or rather bore) you with all my "dirt."

But I will share at least some "dust" with you. Several months ago I found myself suddenly flying home to Texas after getting a call from my sister that my mother broke her back and was also diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease - which seemed to affect her fairly quickly. She had to move out of my brother's home and into a nursing home and will be confined to a wheelchair the rest of her life. It is also sad to "lose" your mother and yet she is still alive. While sitting with her at the hospital, there were times she didn't know who I was or why I was there. I know I am not the only daughter who ever dealt with this, but it is never easy to witness what is to only become worse with time.

My own health has been a challenge as well. I have been in chronic pain for about a year now and the last several months the pain has been sporadic at best, and extremely unbearable at worst. I am a disabled vet and part of my disability is sciatica or performis muscle syndrome (caused during training from running 16 weeks on cement in combat boots). This pain can make just sitting unbearable at times, sleeping can be impossible, and forget running - which I love to do. I have been in physical therapy several times a week for weeks now and I seem to spend more time at the doctors' than in my own home. I am not used to living in chronic pain, and those of you out there that do...God bless you...I am use to being "healthy and strong" and not having my body work in perfect order is not many of you probably know first hand.

These things, along with some additional personal challenges and other life disappointments eventually drain a person and soon sleep deprivation takes it toll. Then focus, concentration, and creativity are the first to be tested. And once focus and concentration are drained, then even the most joyous of activities (like writing this blog) seem overwhelming. So having said that, rest, recluse, and reassessing the situation are in order. And so that is what I have been doing these last months...resting, staying under the radar, and reassuring myself that I am only in a tired slump, and that like most things, it is only temporary.

I then begin to wonder if I should share this with you, or just blog a design and photo blog and pretend that I never "disappeared" for several months, and continue as before...or...should I remain real (as I always tried to be) and share with you some of my challenges I have been experiencing these last months. I decided on the latter simply because I like to share but mostly because I know there are many of you out there that enjoy reading my blog for inspiration (thank you so much) but maybe it will comfort you to know that even a creative and very energetic person such as myself has moments in which the creative flow doesn't flow so well, or the energy level can drop off, or that sometimes, life hands you situations that simply take priority.

So my dear friends, I hope I didn't lose too many of you and I want to share so many things with you in the near future! And I will share more with you in future blogs, but for now, please know that I have an article out in the Jan 08 issue of Romantic Homes magazine as well as the Feb 08 issue and the April 08 issue. Below are some photos from the Jan issue - only a few - you will have to buy the issue to see the rest! :-) I will show you a sneak preview for the April issue in the next blog. I also have plans to do another shop talk posting as well. I have other big news to share - but that will come later as well.

Thank you so much for your concern - your emails truly touched my heart. And my heart is feeling a little more rested, a little more hopeful, and a lot more happier now. I hope to come back "full force" in the new year with inspirational blogs, ideas, photos, and more.

The photos below are from my photo shoot for the Jan 08 Romantic Homes issue (on the stands now). The feature is how to have an intimate private party for two on New Year's Eve in a little corner of your home. The article called "A Moment in Time."
Please enjoy the photos!

from my house to your house,
P.S. Thank you my dear Sharon for strongly encouraging me to share my challenges...and to "dip back into the inkwell" again...

Aug 10, 2007

A little Loo Looking

Some call it "The Throne" some call it "The Reading Room" and my beloved, WWll veteran of a father (God love him) use to call it "The Crapper." And then we have our wonderful British neighbors, across the pond, that refers to it as "The Loo" or "WC" meaning water closet.

Of course there are the familiar terms such as "The John" or simply the "Bathroom" I find myself liking the term that my 3-year old niece likes to use when she must "go poo-poo" and she happily announces that she is going to play music in her "music room." She has a special big girl potty that plays music when she completes her "duty." (Pun intended.)

No matter the name, one's bathroom is the one room in the home that can be completely different, unique, and not have to "match" the rest of the home. It is a room all of its own. It is a room, for many of us, that serves as a place to soak in a hot tub and recharge our weary selves at the end of a long day. If you have children, it is a fun place in which to learn about daddy shaving, mom soaking, how eating soap does not produce bubbles when you spit out water, and that slippery floors aren't as fun as first thought.

When designing my bathroom (photos below), I wanted to give it a worn, but unique look. I incorporated non-traditional elements in a new way. Of course, I use the colors of black, cream and tan. I aged the walls and used an old chenille bedspread for the shower curtain. The bathroom is tiny, but I personally feel that the smaller it is, the bigger the impact you can make. Think about it: if you love big, bold stripe painted on a wall, a tiny bathroom is just perfect. There isn't much wall to begin with, thus not too many stripes. You may not want those stripes in a large master bedroom, but in a small bath, it could be perfect. Enjoy the photos!

As you can see, my bathroom is very small - but I had big plans for it! I wanted a Gothic feel with a little whimsy. It all started with the sink. The sink I made from an 1880's church baptismal font. I painted it (gasp!) and distressed it. I had to special order a small "bar sink" in order to make it fit. I then had antique tin counter top mounted on it. I painted and distressed the tin, then sealed it many times over. I just love this sink! I always wished that instead of it being a baptismal font, that instead it was the fountain of youth. Now that would be one hot seller! :-)

The mirror is actually a church's stations of the cross frame that I found at a flea-market in Belgium. It dates about 1870 and I actually bought two of them. One day, I hope to have a bathroom large enough for two sinks and have them both on the wall. I had a beveled mirror cut and placed in it. If you ever have a super special frame for a mirror, please spend the extra expense to have it beveled. It makes all the difference in the world. In fact, I rarely (if ever) buy any mirrors (old or new) that aren't beveled.

An old French potato basket holds bathroom necessities as storage is at a premium. How do I keep the white towels white in the basket? Scrub the basket with a stiff brush, dry and seal with a polyurethane. No more stains on clean white towels.

Accessories in a bathroom (or any room for that matter) are so important. A room without interesting, or any, accessories is like June Cleaver without her pearl necklace - it just isn't complete! There is a fine line between too much and too little and I don't have a secret formula to give to you to help you decide. It is really just in the eye. But, if you stick with really unique things, they will add to your home no matter how many or how few. Just pick some that mean something to you and something you enjoying seeing everyday. For example: above is a photo so a very old French incense container. I just love it. It contains a couple of small incense cones that were lit on a small dish and "smoked" a scent to mask any oder. I have this on the lid of the toilet along with other items of interest.

On my window sill, I have a photo of my father, born 1916, with his mother. Being the father of five children gave him very little private time....except for the bathroom....the only room in the house that wasn't filled with kids. I am convinced that he would take his pipe and newspaper in there and just read, nothing more, and escape the little circus of a family that surrounded him day and night.

Color and texture are always prominent in all of my designs. Dried flowers, sticks, lace, antique shaving brushes, ironstone, and tin. The different shade of creams, tans, and ivories are relaxing.

An antique chenille bedspread, hung from the ceiling is a wonderfully simple (and inexpensive) shower curtain. A tin valence, painted black, covers the rod and clips. An old Virgin Mary print from Mexico hangs next to the bathtub. The frame is almost falling apart, but I estimate it dates about 1860 or so...very old, and I just love it the way it is.

The walls are aged to look like an old European church. The sconces are simple, French, aged bronze and I made sconce shades out of old French cuffs. A bare bulb is not flattering while applying make-up at my age! I need all the help I can get! :-)

I found a bag full of old porcelain faucet knobs that I just loved and I just simply piled them in an old ironstone dish and set it on the toilet tank lid. A pain to dust, but then again, I rarely dust, so it really doesn't matter now does it? I try to convince myself that dust only adds to the "look" of the place (yeah right).

The window in the bathroom faces the rooftop - not a pretty one at that, but I love light and didn't want to cover the window. So, I simply hung a French table cover on two little nails, and in the center of the window put an old 1880's lithograph of a woman taking a foot bath. It gave some privacy without hindering a lot of the light. I then lined up a few ironstone pitchers on the sill - I just love the different shades of ironstone and the smoothness of the shapes. They blend nicely with the walls without making a huge statement.

Thank you for visiting my little loo and I hope you found some ideas that inspired you to look at your tiny bathroom with big eyes. Don't let a small space dictate your design - use it to your advantage. When you think about it, we do that in life all the time. We all learn to "make do" with our limitations - or do we?
I can't afford a huge SUV, but that doesn't keep me from driving my little Kia Sportage from state to state, now does it? My little 13 pound pug, Lulu doesn't let her size keep her from letting the neighbors' Dalmatian know she ready and able to play. And I don't let my 1939 OKeefe and Merritt stove keep me from cooking as if I owned a Viking either. It is just a matter of perspective. And from my perspective I like to think that "small isn't all", but small is only a bigger things.

May your perspective see the big in the small, grand in the plain, and excitement in the mundane.
from my house to your house,

Jul 13, 2007

Meet My New Neighbors!

Welcome to my new neighborhood!
Well, I am almost moved - not quite complete, but getting there. As I shuffle my inventory, office equipment, workshop, design studio, photo studio and personal living items to six different locations, I am determined to find time to get out and meet my new neighbors!

Okay, first, I must tell you about a little shop called Francesca's located in South City St. Louis. The address is 5400 Nottingham. Actually, we are really on Macklind Ave - a very up and coming district. I have a small presence in this little co-op which is ran by eight dealers. We are open only Friday and Saturdays from 10-4pm. My local customers may stop by and get the usual Elizabeth House items such as baby clothes, soaps, lavender and candles. These items will be available on line as well once my online store is up and running. The other dealers carry a variety of items from retro to painted furniture, to fun flea-market finds....please stop by!

I just want to share a few photos of my new space...

Signage! I get to hang up my sign and no one is taking me to court! :-)

Yes, I am still custom designing baby crib bedding. This set, which is made of silk and chenille is $575. It includes a ruffled bumper pad, dust ruffle, diaper bag, and blanket. If interested, or you would like your own custom set, please just email me at Elizabeth House.
I would like you to meet some of my neighbors just a block away on Macklind Ave. If you haven't been in this area of town in a while, you really need to see all that is going on! First, one of my favorite new spots is a fabulous coffee house called Murdoch Perk. The owner, Stephanie Seemiller, is just about the hardest working business owner you will find. I am all for supporting women business owners. And it is easy to do when the business is top notch.

I LOVE her crepes! And, she has the best gooey butter cookies in town - I promise! Oh, yes, the coffee is wonderful too. The interior is nicely designed with stained cement floors, fireplace and free wireless Internet! She also has a wonderful deck on which to eat her scrumptious Belgian waffles or Chipolte Turkey sandwich or Asian Chicken Crepe....okay, I need to stop now and call in an order - I just made myself hungry. What do I really love to get on the run? A naked crepe - yup, just a hot crepe she cooks up for me and and I roll it up and munch on it while driving to my next appointment.

Another little gem on Macklind Ave is yet another, woman-owned business. It is St. Louis' first and only Green General Store called, Home Eco. Its owner, Terry Winkelmann, along with Phil Judd, have created a store that is so environmentally friendly, you will find yourself looking for the nearest tree to hug after you leave. Do you ever feel that recycling your paper, glass and plastic is just not enough sometimes? Well, visit Home Eco and your guilty conscious will be set free! The store carries alternative fiber clothing, locally made and Fair Trade gifts, Beeswax and Soy Candles, natural flooring, renewable energy products and zero VOC paints and stains.

After you are done saving the environment at Home Eco, go ahead and treat yourself and cross the street to Manzo Importing Company, owned by the Manzo family since 1956 but has been in this location off Macklind since 1967! This wonderful grocer imports food products from Italy, Greece, and the Middle East. Pete, one of the owners and brothers of the business, is very friendly and loves to share what he knows about his merchandise - which is a lot! If you are looking for authentic Greek olives, or 15 varieties of Italian olive oil, speciality meats, cheeses or just want a deli sandwich, you must stop in! I live only a block or so away which is both good and bad, if you know what I mean....I think Pete and I will become fast friends very soon. :-)

Below are photos of other neighbors....local sandwich shops, bar and grille and a wonderful retail space that is under construction - just wanted to show you what was going on in this part of town:

Well, I hope you enjoyed the little tour of my new neighborhood. There is always something exciting about "starting again" in a new location. Yes, my house is a wreck, boxes still need to be unpacked, and I couldn't find a stamp or envelope in my office to save my life right now...but even with all the packing chaos, there comes the fun side of having new adventures, new friends to be made, new sandwiches to be tried, new running paths to learn and oh yeah, find new places to park - I live in the city after all...and finding parking near your home is an art.

I hope you find new adventures where you live too. Maybe a new store just opened not far from you? Or a new deli? There is something so wonderfully energizing about patronizing a new business. Believe me, the owners appreciate it very much. They just may be too pooped to tell you. So, set out and find a new business and welcome them to the neighborhood - and take a friend. After all, selling two sandwiches is always better than selling just one!

Thank you for allowing me to share my adventures,


Jul 2, 2007

If only I could buy an hour or two...

Is it just me, or do you also believe that you get more than 24 hours in a day, unlike the like the rest of the world? I am so pooped you can't imagine....wait....yes...I am sure you can. Like I am the only person who ever moved? Of course you know that lovely fact of life - moving. This photo is of me and my new best friend - the broom. I call her Helga. It is a sturdy name. And I lean on Helga a lot lately - mainly because my feet are tired. And dirty. And stinky, if you really want to know - I know, I know. TMI. (Too much information.)

But moving should be a snap for me, of all people because in the last 24 years, I have had 16 addresses! Some are from one country to another and some are from state to state and some are from one side of town to the other. After 16 moves, you'd think I would have it figured out. But then again, I use electricity 365 days a year for 43 years, and I still don't have that figured out either.

But, just a short update for now - as I am up to my eyeballs in boxes, files, paint brushes, bolts of fabric and deadlines. Yes, I am alive! And thank you so very much to all of you who have emailed me with your concerns and worries about me be "absent" for so long. How heartwarming to know that so many care.

I apologize for the long silence, but my technical world has been out of sorts for a bit. New office, hooking up phones, faxes, computers, Internet, wireless at that, and then a brand new cell phone and service carrier. My phone numbers can't be transferred and I have to do it all by hand - but my charger is packed somewhere in this place of mine, and I have no access to any of my numbers just yet. I've also been out of town quite a bit and in short - I just refuse to accept that I get 24 hours like the rest of the population.

But in short:

I am still living in St. Louis. I will have an online store - but that has been temporary delayed as my online store is still being "put together" and I promise, you will be the first to know when it is up and running. I have a small presence in a store called Francesca's located in St. Louis on the corner of Nottingham and Mackland (South Hampton Neighborhood). This is a wonderful little street with wonderfully new coffee house, stores, and grocers. I will post photos of the street for you. If in the area, you need to check this little section of town out. It is a co-op and is opened ONLY Fridays and Saturdays. It is brand new, and I am still in the process of stocking my space. So, my local customers can still get soaps and candles, lavender and baby items. These items will be available on line as well. I will get the actual address and photos of the space in my next blog. (It is 11PM, and I can only guess where my address book is at this time and I am too pooped to hunt it down right now....but I promise to get you information soon.)

I still paint, design bedding, drapes, and do design projects. I will still do photography as well. But it takes time to set up my office, my workshop with all my tools and equipment, my design studio, my Internet business space and of course, my living space.

Future postings to this blog will include updates on my new neighborhood, projects, before and after pictures, and yes, the after pictures of that bedroom that I posted the before photos for you. Oh, and I will post some photos of my bathroom in my old apartment. I have had that request several times now, and I finally took some time to shoot it before I took it all apart.

Well, back to work again. Helga awaits. The photo above is me in my bare studio. Moving out of this apartment is bittersweet in many ways. So many hours spent painting and designing it. So many memories. But as I stood in my empty apartment, all alone, and walked through it one more time, I felt contentment. Content that I did my best. Content that I will continue to grow. Content that my time spent in this apartment, was time well spent. As I walked down my favorite tree-lined hallway towards my apartment door, I ran my fingers across the beautiful trees that my friend, Sherrie painted for me so long ago. Along the branches I wrote in tiny, tiny letters my favorite quotes all along the limbs. My fingers stopped on a particular quote that has carried me well:

"It is never too late to become what you might have been." by George Eliot.

I thought about that for a moment and decided that whatever it is that I am meant to be, I will be it with all my heart and soul. And with that last thought, I left my apartment and trotted down the steps to the street (I never walk down stairs, always trotting). And as I pulled out of the parking lot, I glanced over to the paper-covered windows of my empty store front, and my bare balcony of my apartment and thought "it was good, really good. I am now ready for better. Much better."

Thank you for helping me to be better. Without you, being better wouldn't matter much to me.

Have a very safe and happy 4th of July. We are so fortunate to have our freedoms and our safe home. And I hope you join me in finding a way to thank a military member for their service. Without them, our way of life would be so very different. And frankly, I love my life.

from my (new) house to your house,

May 16, 2007

A Little Bit of This and a Little Bit of That

You know the saying: "There are no original ideas"? Well, that is so true. And I only steal from the best. My good and dear friend, Debbie Dusenberry of Curious Sofa, recently posted what she called a "themeless posting" in which she covers several unrelated topics that she has been wanting to cover, but just lumped them all together. Well, I am stealing that idea, as I have a couple of short topics that I am going to lump together as well.

Wanna see a home so fab that it will make you drool??

Sooo, speaking of my good friend, Debbie, owner of the wonderful Curious Sofa in Kansas City. She has been featured in Country Living and numerous other magazines and newspapers. She recently made the local paper and the article gives you a little insight to this creative friend of mine. I was honored to be intereviewed by the writer of the article - I got to put in my two cents worth about my much admiration for my dear friend. Please take a look: Story about Debbie Dusenberry. You will love reading about her fab home!

If junk had a social class, then meet self-proclaimed Junk Queens!

And before I leave the subject of Debbie....she and I recently had a nice visit. Some of you may know that she and I really are real friends - not just in the cyber sense. I met this wonderful woman only a couple of months after I opened my store. She writes about that first encounter in her blog and includes some photos of us junking together. I took photos - but I accidently deleted them! I was so upset because it was going to be a great post. So, please take a quick view of our junking photos and read how we met and how we remain very good friends. Elizabeth and Debbie junking.

Have you ever wanted one of those really cool, old gas stoves???

Yup. I am selling my very beloved 1939 circa O'Keeffe and Merritt gas stove! I hate to sell it but I won't be needing it for now and I hate to have it sit, unused in storage. It is white enamel, 4 gas burners, center griddle and storage bin as well as broiler. It works great but the oven gets really hot, and for years I just got use to putting the flame low and watch what I am baking - I made many Thanksgiving turkeys in that oven!

If you are a lover of these old stoves, you know they go in the range of $2500 up to $5000. I am letting my go for $1500 AND it has all its components such as the removable salt and pepper shakers, the knobs, and a working stove top light. I won't ship nor do I have time to research shipping with my moving and closing the store right now. If interested, and you have a way to come pick it up, please post a comment to me with your email and contact info (I won't publish your comments with your private information). Thanks for viewing it!

May I crow just a bit for a new business owner?

As many of you may know by now (if you read my blog) that I am a big supporter of those who go after their dreams, take a chance and step out on the edge. I am so proud to learn of those women (and yes, some men) that finally open their doors to their little shop.

Believe me when I tell you, I know the stress, the happiness, the worries and the pride the new shop owner feels when she opens her door for the first time, rings up the first sale, answers her first phone call, places her first ad in the paper, and then, turns off her store lights for the first time, and before she walks away to go home after a long and very exciting day, she will turn and look at her store, with the windows all lit, and her name on the door. That is a feeling that is just reserved for only those brave enough to step out of their comfort zone.

Also, if you read my blog, you will know that I am a VERY big believer in helping others because I believe with all my heart, that there is more than enough to go around - meaning - I don't see other boutique owners, or on-line stores as competetion because there are enough customers for everyone. I couldn't service everyone even if I wanted to! I have a new posting on my shop talk series on this very topic: competition. Please take a moment to read my latest shop talk posting.

So....I got a lovely email from Becky Maples, of North Carolina, who just opened her first little store, Rusty Rooster Gift and Curiosity Shop. She has only two postings and has a lovely way of writing about her first days as a new shop owner. Please stop by and read her blog (read Becky's blog) - especially for those of you in the dream stage and planning stages of owning your own store - you will be getting a fresh look at a very brand new braveheart!

I don't know Becky and have never been to her store, but I am bursting with pride at her courage, her talent and pride in living her dream. Feel free to drop her a note of encouragement - we store owners never, ever, ever tire of words of encouragement. Lord knows, sometimes, those words are what keep our dreams alive.

One Last Note...

And just one last reminder to those who have asked me to continue my shop talk series. I do have a new blog on this topic. To check if I have a new posting - just click on "view my complete profile" and you will see my blogs listed. The latest topic is about competition and getting your share (or piece) of the pie. Please read, if you wish, (shop talk posting) and forward it to those you feel would benefit from it. If you have a particular topic you would like me to address, please feel free to email me and I will do my best to cover that topic if I feel qualified.

Thank you so very much for your kindness, support, and encouragement. I hope to meet you all someday - and I do mean that.

from my house to your house,


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