Far Away and At Home in Ireland

Slai Head Drive, Wild Atlantic Way, Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry, Ireland

Slai Head Drive, Wild Atlantic Way, Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry, Ireland

Far Away and At Home in Ireland.

I went on a trip
farther than I’ve ever gone before.

I went across the ocean
and to another continent.

It was a different country than where I’m from,
and it’s name is Ireland.

Though it was far away
and across the ocean…

Though it was a different continent
and a different country,

I felt just as at home there
as I feel at home.

I felt loved by the people
and one with the land.

It helped me see a bigger world,
but also made the world feel smaller.

I tried my best to breathe it in
and hold it in my heart and soul.

I’m carrying it with me
wherever I go.

I’m embracing it
as part of who I now am…

As part of who it made me…

on my trip far away
and at home in Ireland.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Fireplace Makeover

Fireplace Makeover.

Hubby and I built our current home about 17 years ago.  It is the second home we’ve built, and it is the tenth place I’ve called home.

Growing up, I lived in six different homes.  Since being married, this is our fourth home.

So 17 years is a long time in one home for me.  The longest I’ve ever lived in one actually!

We’ve redone and updated things along the way, but one of the things I haven’t done much with in a long time is our fireplace.  It was in need of a makeover.

Our fireplace is a bit of a focal point in our home.  It is 9 1/2 feet tall and 6 1/2 feet wide.  It is one of the first things you see when you walk in the front door.

We burn fires in our fireplace every night from the first nip of Fall to the first warmth of Spring.  It is a place where friends and family enjoying sitting.   Being raised about 18 inches from the floor, it makes a great warm seat for a few people when a crowd is gathered.

I’ve been following a few home decor instagrammers and loving the clean look of white, so when my oldest DIL recently asked if I wanted to go to Hobby Lobby with her and my grandie girls, besides screaming, “YES YES YES” to a field trip to my favorite store with some of my favorite peeps, I knew just what I wanted to look for – home decor pieces for the fireplace makeover.

I found some pieces I really love – including this little white chipped mirror, artichoke on a pedestal, bird, cotton stems in a clear jar, and metal and wood arched window piece.

I love this new natural cotton wreath, which I placed over the only old thing I left from previous decor – an old chipped metal tile I snagged a while back at another of my favorite field trip shopping destinations – Construction Junction – a warehouse full of used and surplus building materials.  Some fun candlestick holders, another bird and a super cute bird cage that I filled with natural and white spheres in a variety of shapes and sizes finish up the mantel decor.

A serious statement piece now sits on the hearth in this awesome 3 foot tall vase filled with puffy white pussy willow stems.

I had so much fun choosing some new pieces  (especially since there was a 50% off home decor sale), and am really enjoying this cozy new creative space in our home.

As I type this, a warm fire is crackling, the snow outside is fluttering down.  Hubby has his nose in a book and one eye on the television from his cozy chair.  Our bellies are full from a Sunday supper served early – a lemon garlic pork tenderloin, roasted herbed spaghetti squash, and a beet salad.

I’m cherishing the moments – simple and satisfying – from my little space in the world I call home.  And no matter where it is, how it is decorated or what is served, the thing I love best about my home is who I share it with.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Pumpkin it up around the House

Pumpkin it up around the House.

The heat wave finally broke yesterday around here, and it is beginning to feel like Fall!

This year I added a few new pumpkins to my collection in the form of pillows with my watercolor artwork on.

I decided to add a few of my art pieces to a McKinneyX2Designs Society6 shop to see how it would turn out.  I’m pretty thrilled with the quality of the pillows and pouches I ordered.

Besides that are some of my collection through the years, including signs and rustic pumpkins made by my DIL for our McKinneyX2 Etsy Shop and on display at Berry Vine Gifts in Bradford Woods (which by the way is holding a Fall Festival this weekend where I will be working this afternoon!)

I have pumpkins at the front door…

and at the back door.

There are pumpkins here..

and there…

and everywhere!

I’m hoping to add a few more to my collection today at the Fall Festival,

because I still have some pumpkin-less spaces!

If you would like to see more of my art on pillows and pouches and cups and mugs and notebooks and iPhone cases, and even furniture, check it out here:  Mx2 Society6.   There’s even a great Fall sale going on.  We also have some super new stuff added to our ETSY shop so you can Pumpkin it up around the house!

Happy Fall Y’All!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Fresh Blueberry Scones

Fresh Blueberry Scones.

I had a friend come over Saturday morning.

HOORAY!  Excuse to bake something yummy.

I surely couldn’t know someone is coming and not have something freshly baked to share if I could help it.  Right?

Surprise visitors might not be as lucky – but are equally welcomed!   (They may just have to look beyond my make-up-less face, a potentially less than clean house, and deal with frozen cookies.)

It was so good to catch up with this friend I haven’t seen in a while – munching on these tender, buttery, lightly sweet biscuits bursting with tart blueberries and sipping on Cinnamon Dolce coffee with Italian Sweet Cream.

Sometimes it takes a guest to make us sit back and relax and truly appreciate our home.  My friend asked me how I ever get anything done with the beautiful view and comfy surroundings?

It made me think….

I need to quit apologizing for the carpet that needs replaced or the walls that need a fresh coat of paint or the old “stuff” I have.

The greatest compliment I receive is when someone tells me they feel completely comfortable and relaxed and welcome in my home.

Isn’t that what makes a house a home?   I have two signs in my home (one I bought and one made for me by my BFF who didn’t know I had bought the same sign!) that say “The thing I love best about my home is who I share it with.”

That could not be truer for me.  A house is made of wood and nails, but a home is made with love and family and friends.

And maybe fresh Blueberry Scones!

Here’s my recipe.

Fresh Blueberry Scones

Ingredients:

2 1/2  Cups Flour
1/2 cup Sugar
2 1/2 Tbsp Baking Powder
Pinch of Salt
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 1/2 Sticks Cold Butter
1 tsp Vanilla
1 Cup Buttermilk (easy substitute is 1Tbsp white vinegar added to 1 cup milk)
1 cup Blueberries
Coarse Raw Sugar for Sprinkling

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.  Cut butter into small cubes and cut into dry ingredients with a pastry blender until coarse crumbs are formed.  Pour in vanilla and buttermilk, and mix with pastry blender just until incorporated.  Dump dough onto counter, gently incorporate blueberries into dough, and gently shape into a 15″ x 3″ rectangle.  Cut dough in half, then each half in half, then each quarter in half, so that you have 8 rectangles.  Cut each rectangle on the diagonal to form 16 triangular shaped scones.

Place on backing stone or cookie sheet, brush with some milk or water, and sprinkle with coarse raw sugar.  Bake at 400 degrees F for 10-15 minutes.  Cool for a few minutes on stone or cookie sheet, then remove to cooling rack to cool completely.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

The Family Bookshelf – My Memory Box

This week leading up to Christmas, I am sharing a few of my favorite posts from the past.  I hope you enjoy this visit to my family bookshelf – my memory box – as much as I do revisiting it and looking at it every day.

The Family Bookshelf – My Memory Box

the family bookshelf

Do you have a favorite place or space in your home?

One of my favorite spaces in our home is the family bookshelf.

It’s kind of center stage in the great room commanding half of one wall measuring about 8 feet wide by 9 feet tall.

Hubby custom built this a few years after we built our house.

My “usual” seat on the couch directly faces this “memory box,” and sometimes I just stare at all the memories while hubby is staring at the television or the latest book he is reading in the evening.

It’s filled with so many favorite things…

There are a lot of family photos – some from a long time ago and some more recent…

Like our oldest son at 4 years old playing a toy saxophone and then a framed newspaper clipping of him playing a saxophone solo in the high school band.  There’s one of him and his beautiful wife – our beloved daughter-in-law.  There’s one of him and his Dad with a cake they made for a Cub Scouts competition and one in his “cap and gown” at his preschool graduation.

There are photos of our youngest son dressed in his favorite Halloween costume that he wore two years in a row when he was Peter Pan at 4 and 5 years old, in his football uniform for midget football, sticking his tongue out with his Dad and brother on a summer trip to Cedar Point Amusement Park, grinning at me at his preschool graduation, with me at a Kindergarten party where I was his homeroom mom, and with his sweet girlfriend now.

There is a photo of my hubby with his sister when they were young children…  a sister and aunt who we loved dearly and lost way too early from cancer.

And there is a photo of my father-in-law taken on his last day on this earth when he was blessed with a surprise visit from a favorite niece from far away who he hadn’t seen in years.  It is such a sweet memory to see him so happy just hours before he left us.  We will never be able to express enough gratitude to this sweet lady for the joy she brought him that special day.

There are photos of friends and fun times, like a trip to Hawaii with our besties and holiday celebrations with all of our kids.

There are a few books, some significant, some not…  There are high school yearbooks, photo memory books, bibles, favorite children’s books – like our very favorite bedtime read-aloud story book – “Bob and Jack – A Boy and his Yak.”  There are baby books for each of the boys and a special memory book made by my cousin Joyce and given to me at Christmas featuring my first year blogging at LifeinBetween.me.  There are books read at book club and business books and bird books and favorite fiction authors.  There is a copy of the book I wrote and had bound as a gift to my Dad for our second Christmas together after reuniting.  Our wedding photo albums sit on one of the shelves.

Then there are other sweet memorabilia, like our youngest son’s stuffed animal “Curious George” who he loved so dearly as a child and slept with every night.

There is the birthday bear my Dad sent me on my first birthday after we reunited after too many years apart with a sweet note saying, “Happy Birthday Jodi, My Little Girl.  Love you, Dad.”

It was my 48th birthday.

And there is the little trinket box he gave me that says, “Daughter – With all the Beauty on the Earth, there is nothing more Beautiful than you.”

There’s a statue of a yellow lab that was my father-in-law’s sweet memory of his beloved “Brandy.”

There’s a cruise ship trophy our oldest son won singing Karaoke on a cruise with his now wife on a family vacation he went on with her family.

There are “Friends” blocks given to me from my BFF.

There is a photo album of our Cleveland friends wearing Pittsburgh Steelers shirts and poses too explicit to share here after they lost a family bet during a rival football playoff season.

There is a gorgeous painting from a faraway friend who suffered from a life-altering traumatic brain injury that completely changed her life and turned a corporate CEO into an artistic genius and a genuinely beautiful creative inspiration.  I bought her very first piece of artwork, and I treasure it so dearly.

My heart is smiling as I type and recall these memories.

You see – a home is not brick and mortar.  It is not plaster and paint.

It is the memories.

It is the family and friends and people you share it with.

My favorite little plaque hanging on another wall in our home says it all….

“The thing I love most about my home is who I share it with.”

So that is my special home “space.”

What is yours?

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

First Snow

First Snow - 11/19/17 - Mars, PA

First Snow – 11/19/17 – Mars, PA

First Snow.

There’s just something
about the first snow of the season…

That first snow that sticks to the ground and trees –
even if just a briefly passing dusting.

Especially when it happens on
a late Sunday afternoon.

And when it appears suddenly –
as if it wanted to be a special surprise.

And when you are settling in by a warm, crackling fire
in comfy home sweet home.

Cherish the Moments.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Updating the Nursery at Grandma’s House

Updating the Nursery at Grandma’s House.

Some of you may remember the fun I had creating a nursery for my first grandchild about seven months ago.  I turned my youngest son’s childhood room into a baby girly nursery room.  Here is what it looked like when I first created it.

Time is passing way too quickly, and our little girl is growing so fast.  She is starting to get around, so it was time to lower the crib so she won’t pull herself up and tumble out.

Then, though I hope she doesn’t need it very soon, we were so generously gifted with a beautiful antique iron day bed from my our bestie cousins, Joyce and “Oh Rob,” fully loaded with soft and fluffy Pottery Barn bedding in just the right colors to match our room!  Isn’t it awesome?!!?!

I moved some things around to make room.  It will be  a nice spot for us to snuggle up and read books soon I’m sure.  It also adds versatility to this guest room allowing for another “single” to stay over.  We love having campers stay over, so the more beds the merrier!

Remember how I made the bumper pads into curtain valances (since they are a “no-no!” now)?  Well – I still had a piece left, so I cut the ties off, cut about a 6-inch opening on one end, and stuffed it with filling from an old pillow I wasn’t using to create a fun tube-shaped pillow.  Throwing that and the other pillow that came with the nursery set really helps carry the theme onto the day bed and pull the room together I think.  Aren’t I so crafty clever?!?!

I am in love with this little space in the house.  It is the smallest bedroom of the four, but it is my current fave!  I’ve redone all three (now) guest rooms.  I think it may soon be time for a master bedroom makeover!  <wink!>

Hope you are having fun in all of your favorites spaces with all of your favorite people… at life in between.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

My New Creation Station

My New Creation Station / Art Studio is just about done.

A few pieces of art need framed for the walls and some fabric is needed for a window treatment, but besides splashes of paint and scraps of paper on the floor, we are about done.

Hubby has been working so hard this past month transforming  a 22′ x 13′ bonus space we had in our home into a usable space for a few of my “creative life in between” hobbies.

Duct work had to be moved for the air flow of heat and air conditioning.
A cold air return had to be added.
Recessed lighting and a ceiling fan were installed.
Walls were painted.
Flooring was laid.  (And I’m so grateful to my son, Nick, for pitching in last Saturday to help Hubby with the underlayment, padding and laminate flooring.  They did it all in a day!)
Trim was stained and cut and nailed in.

And then I got to start filling it with my painting and stamping and crafting and sewing and photography supplies.  The weekend was spent cleaning out a walk-in-closet that could not be walked in anymore and an office that doubled as a craft room.

Our large garbage receptacle was filled.  The office is now streamlined and breathable.  The walk-in-closet can now be walked in.

It was cleansing and fulfilling and back-aching and tiring work, but so wonderful to accomplish.

And one of the best parts about it all is the only new things furnishing my art studio (besides lighting and fan and flooring) are the Husky Adjustable Wood Work Table and Chrome Shelving Hubby bought me for Valentine’s Day and the fabric organization boxes I bought to organize things in.

Leftover cans of paint from other home projects were used to paint the walls and ceiling.

A very old 8′ folding table that was stashed in the basement, as well as a small four-drawer wooden baby dresser, got a fresh new look with a coat of Tuscan red chalk paint.

I’m keeping one tall wall clear and open for possible photography use.  I received the reflector and Genaray light for Christmas.  Another little spot houses my light box for photographing smaller things.

Another corner is reserved for sewing.

A very special corner is set aside for grandies and other children that may visit with a small child’s art desk that holds a roll of paper (gifted to use by some very special peeps), plastic drawers filled with wooden stamps and a carousel of crayons and markers.

It’s been fun organizing paints and supplies.  I even created a long-needed paint chart for my watercolors and am trying to decide which 20 colors to add to a new palette.

Enjoy this little 30-second Hyperlapse visit of my new little Creation Station.  Can’t wait to splash it up!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

PS – If you can’t view hyperlapse video above, click here to watch video on Youtube.

Creating a Nursery at Grandma’s House

grandmas-nursery-6

I am having so much fun creating a nursery at “Grandma’s house” for our new granddaughter.

grandmas-nursery-7

A sweet little haven for her to rest if I ever decide to let her out of my arms when she is at our home!

grandmas-nursery-4

I promised I’d show you how I turned bumper pads into a window treatment valance.  Didn’t it turn out great?!

grandmas-nursery-10

Almost everything in this room was a passed on from a friend, was given as a gift, is something I made, or something I re-purposed.

Thanks to our friends Sue and Rodney for “gifting” us with this beautiful crib they had outgrown from their two beautiful granddaughters.

grandmas-nursery-3

And thanks to our BFFs Jill and Todd who gifted us with this beautiful rocking chair when we learned we were going to become grandparents.  (Hope you don’t mind I painted and distressed it!)

grandmas-nursery-1

And thanks to our sweet Joyce and “Oh Rob” for this darling antique child’s art desk with paper roll that will be so fun in coming years!

grandmas-nursery-9

And a dear friend, Diane, who sent this sweet little hanging pillow months before our granddaughter arrived, but made me wait until her birth to open (and I really did!).  What truth there is in this message!  What joy!

grandmas-nursery-5

I’m looking forward to reading many, many books – over and over and over – in the years to come.

grandmas-nursery-2

And playing with the basket of toys generously passed down from a sweet friend and incredible young Mom, Stefanie.

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Sometimes I just walk into this room and smile… thinking of the memories that are going to be created and the love that is already there from the sharing of so many.

I remember the days when this was a little boy’s room with blue marbled walls and baseball trophies.  I reminisce about the two boys who shared a wall between their rooms and secrets I still don’t know about…  Two boys who were best buddies when they were little, didn’t like each other very much when they were teenagers, and are back to being each other’s “bests” as young adults.

Creating a nursery at Grandma’s house…
It is so very much
home sweet home.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi