Friday, December 11, 2015

Not So Silent Nights!

Tis the Season for festivities, and here at The Frat House, we have done a little decorating. I've kept it pretty traditional this year with reds and greens, garlands and wreaths. Nothing breakable is always a good rule.

 This is the entryway. I put a garland around the door and ribbons and greenery on the chandelier. Lucky for me that exit signs and fire alarm pulls are red and fit right in!

Here is the top of our mailboxes in the entryway. I got a little crazy here and used glass jars!

 I think the tree turned out pretty, even though it is very simple. I used snowflakes and ornaments, with a large snowflake as a topper. The curly red branches are also used in arrangements throughout the house. Some days I find surprises that the guys have added, but they are reacting to my decorating pretty well. Sorry about the glitter,guys...........................

 This looks a little junky in the photo, but it's actually better in reality. A garland decorated with  the words "Merry Christmas Theta Chi" and lots of ribbons, tinsel, and ornaments. Max has added his "Holiday Hanukkah socks"
 Here is the front entry. The mailboxes are in the vestibule. I would like to add lights to the garland,but as for now it is ribbon, balls, and snowflakes. More glitter, I'm afraid.

The doors to the Alumni room have matching wreaths.Once again, simple but effective. There are lots more little touches around, so it does give a holiday feeling.
This is my doorway. Sometimes I do miss having a house, but I like it here. Not my usual decorating style. Happy Holidays.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Here We Go Again

As some of you may or may not know, I have made a few changes in the last several weeks. I've gone in a new direction and become a fraternity house director or "house mom". And, yes, I did say fraternity! This position became available to me all of a sudden. In fact, I had my first interview an hour after I learned about it. And in a few short days I decided to change my life completely. I am now living at the newly built fraternity house with thirty young men. I'm still discovering what my duties will be and every day is a new experience. I have a teeny tiny apartment suite and am learning to really downsize. Not an easy thing for a woman who still had ten bookcases after the previous move. Now I have only one. ONE!!!!!
I will still have my charming brick tudor for a few more weeks as I clear it out and put my favorite treasures into storage. My new rooms are mostly furnished, as if I needed any more furniture. So I am changing my style and changing my life.
I've loved the duplex and certainly didn't think I would be leaving soon, but life does have a way of surprising me.

This has been my House of Healing.I am sad to leave it but happy to move on to my House of Adventure.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Traveling My Way

I learned a few things on my recent vacation. And I would like to pass them along to the next unwary traveler. We decided it would be best to pack all our clothing in a carry-on bag and a tote. We were lucky enough to have laundry facilities at both the houses, so we decided we could take fewer bags. Also, we worried just how much space there would be in the car that we rented, so traveling lightly seemed like a good idea. Right? Not so much.
When I got to the airport, I decided to check my bag at the last minute. It was heavy, and I thought the layover would be much easier. Well, you can probably guess what happened. My bag eventually got to London, but not on the plane I was on. Tracking down my bag took several hours out of our first day. And, everything I had to wear was in it.
RULE ONE: Don't check your bag on the way there if you can help it.
We had a lot of trouble with our phones this time. Reception was not always good. I knew that I wouldn't be able to make calls to the US, but my phone carrier had assured me that I could send photos to Facebook if I had Wi-Fi available. My friend had bought a special package to be able to use her cell phone, but it barely worked.
RULE TWO: Do not be overly dependent on your electronic devices.
Credit cards are another thing that have changed since I was in England in 2012. All British cards now have chips. Many of the cash machines will not take a card without a chip. We were able to use our cards most of the time, but not always.  The little squares on the backs of our recent cards are not chips. I do not know what a chip looks like. The machines scan the cards, instead of swiping them. Some of the little villages we visited only have cash machines that scan the cards. Most of them are like ours, but when you need cash, that can be a problem. Especially if you find something that you really, really want at a village craft/junk/antique/show.
RULE THREE: Just tell your bank you want the card with a chip. And don't forget to notify them what days you will be gone.
I had planned to mail things home if I bought more than the fold up duffel bag I had packed could hold.. I always think I won't buy much, but I still like stuff. Somehow, I could never find a post office and box to mail said treasures back to Iowa. So the next solution was to buy a vintage suitcase at a local charity shop. Five pounds!! And with three locks and two straps, it looked pretty sturdy. And I tied a cord around it just to be safe. I am such a classy traveler.  HA. The picture above shows what it looked like when I saw it again at home. We watched them load our baggage. They are not gentle.
RULE FOUR:  Do not check a second bag. This idea cost me $100.00. I had no idea it would be so expensive. I won't forget this rule.
RULE FIVE: Just because you speak the same language doesn't mean you will be able to understand them. Everything is different, including appliances and food.
I loved it all and can't wait to do it again. Even with the little snags and snafus. More of my travelogue to come

Friday, May 08, 2015

Road Trip in the Cotswold Villages

I just spent two glorious weeks in my favorite place-England. Here we are a few days into  our trip. Sherry, Gerry, and I have traveled together often since my first trip to England in 2000. I went again in 2003, 2005, 2012, and now.  I never get tired of it, and in my ideal life, I would travel every year.
My other trips have been group tours, organized by Sherry. The first time I went there were over 20 women, but the average since then has been about ten. This time it was just the three of us. We rented a cottage in the Cotswolds for the first week. Our address was One the Square in Upper Slaughter.


 We rented a car and I was the driver except for the times we were leaving or going to Heathrow, and our drive to Norfolk for our second week. We hired Denis, our driver from our previous tours, and he was worth every tuppence, shilling, farthing, or pound that we paid him. This was my first time driving in England, and it was an adventure. I really think I did pretty well, but I'm not sure what my passengers would say. The Cotswolds is full of picturesque hills, and winding one lane roads where most of the speed limits are 60 miles per hour! And of course the steering wheel and lanes are opposite of what we are used to. I did finally begin to like the round-a-bouts. In some parts of  our trip they seemed to be about every mile. They were just like childbirth labor contractions. I would just get through one, catch my breath, and another one would begin. They are time-savers, though, eliminating a lot of traffic lights.
There were several cottages on the square. Here is a view out of my bedroom window, and the cottage across the way. Ours was very comfortable after we understood the heating system. The first two days we nearly froze, and made trips to the charity shops to buy warmer clothing. The weather wasn't the best, and we did wear our coats a lot.                                                    But there really wasn't too much rain. We had a fire in the large                                                              fireplace a couple of times.

Our little town was residential. We had a church right behind us and their was a very nice hotel that once was the vicarage. Very expensive. We visited one morning for coffee. We also walked over to the allotment gardens and met the neighbors. There were a lot of hikers and walkers in the area. And there were many towns nearby. We ate at the local pubs and hotels, and some nights we ate in. We visited the little grocery stores several times and dined on soups, and bread, and salmon, and victoria sponge for pudding. And during the day there was always shopping,  lunch, and tea.
One of our highlights was our "Secret Garden Tour" Not too many pictures, because she likes to keep it secret! Five of us went on a guided tour. We went to the owner's thatched cottage for a tour and coffee, then drove to several villages and out of the way places, back to the cottage for lunch, more beautiful towns, villages, walks, and gardens, and then tea at the cottage. We even went to a few places that Sherry had never been to before. That is really hard to find, because she has been to England more times than she can even count! The Cotswolds was a great mix of history, historic homes, shopping, and books. I didn't want to leave, but there was still another week of our trip to enjoy.                                                                                                

Reading Through England

 If you know anything about me at all, then you know that I have an obsession with the printed word. I have always  loved books, even if just to look at them. I just got back from a wonderful trip to The Cotwolds and Norfolk, England. All of these ended up in my very heavy suitcase on the way home.

 One of my favorite things about England is that they decorate with books. This was in a hotel window. Have to get one! Nearly everywhere I went, there were books. Most pubs and restaurants and hotels and even shops have old books even when they aren't for sale.
 And this is wallpaper in an attic tearoom. What's not to love?
 This is the best garden shop ever in Burford.  An archway of books leading to the children's room.
 More of the garden shop. There are many more cupboards and shelves filling this room with vintage books. It also has several tables, in case you want to have breakfast, lunch, or just a cup of tea.
 One of my favorite concepts-hats and books at The Mad Hatter bookshop. (I was a milliner one day a week in my past life at Living History Farms, you know)
 Another way to decorate with books. It seems that everywhere I went there were things on books.
Every National Trust home has a bookstore with used books for sale. These can range from a few shelves in the corner to this library sized building in one of my favorite places, Blickley Hall.
 This was my favorite old book store. It's called The Brazen Head Bookshop in Burnham Market in Norfolk. Feeling pretty brazen myself, I would have married the elderly man who was proprietor just to stay there. I know, there is a name for women like me. There were rooms and rooms of books, upstairs and down. My friends probably could have left me there, but there are some advantages to being the driver!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Luck of the Irish

                                       Oh, and the fact that most of them are just so darn cute!

                                     Aidan, Tess, Finn, and Cass about to enjoy green eggs and ham

Monday, February 16, 2015

Announcing a Winner of Wishes

Hello everyone,
I have picked a winner for my Grow Your Blog bottle of Wishes. She is Dixie of  Arranged Words. I have emailed her and as soon as I have her address, I will be sending her a package.
I would like to thank Vicki for sponsoring this blog hop. I have 21 new people following my blog, and several more left really nice messages. Unfortunately, those messages have disappeared because of the trouble I have had with Google+. Still working on that.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Be Mine, Valentine

Happy Valentine's Day. Here is a sweet little heart that can be made in a quick minute. Enjoy.

Sunday, January 25, 2015


Hello friends, It's time for Vicki's Blog Party! This is the 3rd year that she has put together this event. It's a wonderful time to find and read other blogs and I am happy to be a part of it. The main premise is to get more followers. I would be so pleased if you are here and choose to follow. (The little gadget is right here on the sidebar) This event came at a great time for me because I have been working on changing and adjusting things in my own little gypsy corner. I didn't get finished, but I did make some improvements. Hopefully, all is now easier to read and to navigate. I've had my blog for several years but have never spent the time to make it what I want it to be. And what is that, one might ask. I'd like it to be a happy place; filled with crafty ideas, ways to live a joyful life and to decorate each day with fun. Obviously, I get sidetracked sometimes!
I am having a give-a-way, so please leave a comment and I will draw a name on February 15 and the winner will receive a bottle of Wishes
Wishes are messages of inspiration and whimsy, rolled into tiny scrolls and packaged in a magical bottle.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Time to Renew and Redo

I am beginning to work on my much neglected blog. So far I haven't done much, but changed the background. I really liked my old background but I know that it was hard to read. I am taking an online workshop with Raine of  Lime Tree Fruits. She designs the most wonderful planner pages. Take a look. This is the time of year when I always want to get organized. I haven't done much with my blog for a long time. I have changed directions in my life so many times since I started my little crafting blog in 2006. It has taken me this long to get 200 posts, so I am obviously not a very active blogger. I have also reopened my Etsy shop and will be adding new items shortly.
Even though I am officially "retired" from my office job, I am still working the same number of hours or more each week, but could use another income source. (Couldn't we all?) I am hoping to be successful at the things I used to love to do.
And, yes, since it is January, it is time again for Word of the Year. I have done this for a while. Last year's word was Discover. Before that was Mindfulness. And in my darkest time, my word was Acceptance. This year I am going with HomeKeeper. Even though I moved a year and a half ago, it has been difficult to feel that this is my house. I like it well enough, but it just hasn't felt like mine, so this is the year I want to concentrate on making it truly my home.
I'll be back soon.