Wednesday, January 30, 2013

retirement philosophy

Having just come off a “mini-vaca” at our friends “retirement home” in Florida, my husband and I have retirement property on our minds. 

When we bought our house in Clarksville, it was far too early to think about retirement.   We’ve had so many ideas about what would be the ideal retirement property for us that it is probably a good thing we haven’t made any purchases yet. 

First, I have to say, I have a difficult time thinking about leaving our home.  We’ve only been there for 10 years and—strange, but true—I still feel like a visitor more than the owners of this old house.  I mean, the house is more than 130 years old—it’s got a story and were only 1/13th of that story.  (I’ll save that blue butterfly thought process for another post.)

Back to retirement properties . . . we’ve often talked about where we would like to have a home for our golden years.  I’ve envisioned two—one where we live and one that we use for long weekends and the entire summer.  But, what I am beginning to  think about is something like what our friends have done.  They bought their dream home in the ideal location for their retirement plans, but they live there now . . . pre-retirement.  “Mr. Friend” is not retired; he still works like a fiend. They have purchased, however, the house “they will die in.” (their words, not mine.)


(The Beach Paradise)

We’ve pretty much always assumed our place would be in or near the Northern Neck region of the Virginia coast.  That is the destination for our annual summer vacations with my sisters and their families.  We love it, but it is a little isolated (for me) for full-time living.  I get a little panicked at the thought of being there alone while my husband continues to work away from home.


That being said, I’ve found this blog—it may change my mind.

Then we think about getting some property near a lake, somewhere nearby, so we could actually get away now would be ideal, but not part of our current reality.  Of course, it could be if we got one of these . . .

vintage camper


You could color me happy with this arrangement!  Especially if we could have several to accommodate guests . . . ooh!  I think I’m onto something.


(the RV park at Cole’s Point, VA)

My sister and brother-in-law, have already made the leap with a camper purchase.  We have a great time when we are there, but I think my husband would prefer something requiring a little less set-up upon arrival.  Back to the drawing board . . . (I just can’t give up the idea of restoring one of those campers!!!)

Then we think about the fact that we live a couple blocks from the Cumberland River.  We could just stay put and get a slip at the marina for our yet-to-be-purchased boat.  This is the most frugal option as it is less expense and work to keep-up just one property.



Okay—just did a quick proof read and added my photos.  I am sounding extremely privileged!  “Lifestyles of the Moderately comfortable and infamous.”  I can’t believe all of the options we have.  I’m just going to shut-up and thank God for our blessings and I certainly don’t want to wish/plan away what we have now.  

Then again, I’m pretty sure God understands my need to wish and plan, so after I give thanks for my abundant blessings, I may check-out EBay for vintage camper listings . . .

Thanks for your, but especially God’s, indulgence!


Monday, January 28, 2013

Winter Vignettes or “How I beat the post-Christmas decorating blues.”

It is a well-documented fact that many of us dread the post-Christmas “blah” that is our home décor.  For many folks, it is the dread of the process of preparing our Christmas decorations for another 11 months of storage—that is part of my issue.  The larger dread, however, is due to the seemingly stark appearance of my house once I’ve stowed all of the greenery, lights and ornaments.

I guess that’s why my post-holiday decorations have begun multiplying and taking on a life force of their own.  I have started using many of the items I would normally display or store in our china hutch and making them a focal point.dr mantel right

I have also started collecting pictures with winter scenes—anything with snow will do.  This includes my every growing collection of vintage photos of children dressed in their snowsuits or finest winter coats.  (Credit for this idea goes solely to Auntie Bliss!)

snow baby

My winter Santos fairy takes center stage on our living room mantel.

winter fairy

This year I’ve added a frosty bird’s nest or two, some pinecone candles and faux bare braches with hints of frost, as well.  as I’ve mentioned before, my velvet pumpkins are always on display, as evidenced here on the mantel . . .

lr winter mantel 1

. . . and here on a side table . . .

winter side table

I am not a big fan of using hearts in my decorating.  {I blame this on the fact that I had started setting-up our first household  when country-style decorating was at the height of popularity, thus explaining my aversion to ducks and geese, as well.} I will, however, make the exception for vintage hearts and any hearts embellished with real glass glitter!

valentine vignette

As I mentioned in my post yesterday, I am making a concerted effort to carve out a little time in my schedule to nurture my creativity.  I’m finally acknowledging creativity takes many forms (more on that later), but the form I am referring to at the moment is that which requires the use of scissors, glue, ephemera and other bits and bots; thus, the decorative bottles seen in this vignette.


I used these great bottles, which formerly contained a very nice bourbon, and decorated them with pages of a very old music book, vintage Valentines and ribbon.  My dining room table has been a wreck for two weeks as I disassembled Christmas, sorted through end-of-year papers and periodically applied Mod Podge  and tied ribbon to these bottles.

For my final winter offering, I will leave you with this . . .

hot chocolate tray

I hope you are enjoying your winter décor as much as I am enjoying mine.  I’d love to hear about the ways you beat the doldrums, so please share.

Again and always, I thank you for your indulgence.


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Nurturing Creativity

My article for The Leaf Chronicle tomorrow touches on the subject of fostering my creativity.  I’ve mentioned it before in various blogs posts (like this one) and I’ve made promises to myself—albeit rather publically—to make creativity a priority in my life time and again, but to no real avail.

Shortly after opening Hodgepodge some 8 years ago, Kendall and I started offering workshops which we called “How do They do That?”  With the intention of investigating how to’s of various crafting and artful endeavors which we found compelling or were mentioned by customers and friends (usually one in the same).  They were well-received and we had a lot of fun.


(making wine bottle lanterns)

(making mixed media pendants)

Unfortunately, however, as time wore on, I had to tend to other aspects of my business and family life, so those workshops were pushed further and further down the path of “someday” and I just stopped offering them.  Until last fall when Kendall, Kimberly Santiago and I decided “someday” was here again. 

We sat down over coffee and cashews at Kimberly’s lovely home and hashed out the plans for Artful Origins.  After two hours of brainstorming, we came-up with a schedule of workshops and commenced to getting creative.

(making Advent candles)

We took a brief hiatus over the holiday season, but now we are back with bells on and have a full schedule of inspiring workshops to encourage you to engage the right hemisphere of your grey matter.

We will be making garlands using old books and ribbons; you can learn to use vinyl stencils to make a graphic sign; you’ll stitch felt hearts onto burlap; and, you will gather your own special mementos into an unique display.  (that’s just a few of the workshops we have scheduled.) 

I hope you decide to join us for at least one, if not all of these get-together’s.  We always have fun and you will leave with your spirit refreshed and a sense of accomplishment.

Please visit our blog specifically dedicated to these workshops—you will find it here.

If you have any ideas for workshops you would like for us to offer, please contact us here. 

Also, if you’d like to schedule a workshop tailored to your group or for a special event (ie.: bridal shower or birthday party), we’re equipped to meet those special needs.  Just leave a comment here, give us a ring (931-647-0444) or drop us an email.

As always, I thank you for your indulgence.


P.S.  if you are an artist or enjoy sharing your creative skills with others, we’d love to talk with you about using our space for your workshops.  you may contact me using any of the above-referenced methods.

Friday, January 25, 2013

New Year . . . changes.

Don’t worry—it’s good stuff.

After much deliberation and angst, I have made the very difficult decision to stop selling Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™.  This is purely a business decision.  I love this paint and will continue to use it for my personal and business needs and hope you will as well.

That being said, I want to let you know where you can find the worlds best paint after Jan 31st.

Please shop:

in dickson—Home Again Antiques & Gifts 

in hendersonville—Then & Again Home Marketplace

in brentwood—C’est Moi


(shopkeeping isn’t for wimps . . .)

Now moving forward . . .

We are going to shift our focus—more vintage and more workshops.

Keep an eye on facebook and your email for information about sales as we prepare to make room for the changes.  We will continue to stock many of our favorite—Archipelago Botanicals soy wax candles and milk lotions, Caldrea Home Care products, and our mini journals, just to name a few.

With regard to the workshops—just follow us on this facebook page or on this blog. 

I hope you will enjoy and appreciate the changes we have in store.  I, for one, am downright giddy!

Thanks for your indulgence,


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