Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I promised I'd show you the fabric that I bought for my first little fabric birds and here it is. The darker fabric is a rich navy. I'll use the two navy fabrics for one bird and the reds for another bird, then see where we'll go from there.

I know the colors aren't as bright and cheery as the ones that I showed, but they'll go well with my decor in the living room. If I really like them, I'll make more colors for the different seasons.

Let me know what you think.

Monday, June 29, 2009

More compliments online for the Exit - Glory Road album!!!

You are never going to believe that our friend, Bernie Rolfe found more comments and compliments online about the Glory Road album. For those who haven't known us long, this is the only album that was made by the band that Terry played with in the late 70's (when we met). They recorded it the year before we were married and it actually came out the year we were married. (There's more to that story, but I won't go into it here.)

It's so amazing to find comments online from total strangers raving about the music from an album that was recorded over 30 years ago on vinyl. The internet really is a wonderful thing. You'll see that one of these bloggers lives in Australia! How in the world did he hear of GR ?

Anyway, check out these links and enjoy for yourself...and maybe even leave a comment if you heard the album or the band (and can remember anything about it).

The Ancient Star-Song - is a guy in East Randolph, NY. He has a place where you can download the whole album of music. Not sure about the copyright issues there, but for what it's worth.

Ascending and Descending - is written by Christopher Orczy, an Australian blogger. He also has some kind words to say about the album.

Really took me on a walk down memory lane. Such precious memories of a blessed and unique season of life. Fun times!

If any of the band members read this, it sounds like they would love to hear from you on these sites.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Why is that door green, you ask?

Sorry, I'm not sure what happened with the pics on my last post. If the ideas sound intriguing go to the website and see what I'm talking about.

Since the pace has slowed down over the summer and I've been feeling a little bored lately, I am trying to do some creative things at home...just little projects here and there to keep the creative juices going.

When I was at Home Depot the other day, I picked up one of these cans of RustOleum Chalk Board paint that can be made into custom colors. Unfortunately the colors shown on the can I bought were a little different than these shown at the link. These are updated with a bit more variety. Anyway, I had a can of Spring Green made up for a few projects around the house. BTW, the standard green and black can also be found in spray cans.

As soon as I got home, I painted the inside of the hall closet door, as you can see above. Here's my thinking...this door is directly in front of you when you walk in the front entrance. This way, if Terry or I are not crossing paths for some reason, I can leave him a note on the chalkboard and leave the door open, so there's no way that he'll miss it. Pretty cool, huh? I'm debating about painting the door between the Family Room and Laundry room the same way, as shown here at this great looking blog called, The Inspired Room (I'll have to go back to visit that one.) Not sure yet if I want it visible all the time...could look a little messy. What do you think?

The original reason that I bought the paint, was that I saw pics somewhere (in a magazine, I'm guessing) of some glass canisters with chalkboard labels and loved the idea!

First of all, you can clearly label and re-label any containers that you have so there's no guessing what's inside. Second, you can customize the color to match your decor. Third, you can re-purpose old containers to make them all spiffy and help save the planet with recycling as well. Just imagine all those glass jars in your house or that you see for pennies at yard sales or thrift stores (Linda) that could be dolled up with chalkboard labels and ribbons, then given as gifts or sold on Etsy or at your next community craft sale. This photo (left) will give you an idea of what I'm thinking. These labels have a more ragged edge than the ones I saw before, but you get the idea. You can go either way with that, make them larger or even round if you're skilled at painting. Once I get some finished, I'll post more pics.

Here are some other really great and unique ideas that I came across while searching for the photo of the canisters.

Tins with Chalkboard Labels - you could also do this with round tins of cookies or other goodies with a pretty ribbon and kind words for a teacher or friend
Chalkboard wall calendar - Martha Stewart's site
Chalkboard Idea Globe
I like this repurposed recycle bin with Chalkboard label
There are more great ideas here at The Pleasures of Homemaking - I think I'll steal the idea for the galvanized tub to do with my drink tubs for get-togethers. OH, and I can do the same on my large glass beverage servers to label, water, lemonade, tea, etc. AND on my coffeemakers for Regular and Decaf!

Wow! The possibilities really are endless! Let me know what else you've thought of for this great paint.

OMG and check out these amazing colored chalkboard MARKERS here!!! These are the kind that you see used often at restaurants to display their daily specials. I think they're worth looking into.

So do you have enough inspiration for the day? If you come to my house and see everything painted with chalkboard paint, you'll not it got a little out of hand. Have fun creating!

Next time I'll show you the fabric I bought for my sweet little fabric birds and we'll see if we can find a pattern for fabric quail. Has anyone seen one? I heard it's out there but haven't had a chance to look.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Wow! Check this out if you're looking for ways to help save the planet.

I saw these clever recycled bags in a magazine, went to the Terracycle website and was amazed at all the cool recycled products that they offer.

They started out making liquid fertilizer from worm waste and now, among other things they have bags made out of recycled grocery bags & drink pouches, flower pots made out of old crushed computers and fax machines, rain barrels and compost bins made from old wine barrels , cork boards from wine corks and even more.

You can even pick up some extra cash for your local charity along the way if you're really diligent and want to send them your old wrappers. It could be a great fund raiser and awareness raiser for groups of all ages...

Check it out. Their prices seem pretty reasonable too. Sadly, I don't find the rain barrels on their online catalog, maybe because the shipping would be too much. Apparently though, they have some items in stores in the area...we'll see what we can find.

I'm thinking of ordering one or two of their bird feeders.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Happy Father's Day

In honor of fathers everywhere, Happy Father's Day! I'm so thankful for the fathers that have been in my life.

I'll start with my own dad, William Charles Perkins, Sr. He was one of the oldest in a farming family with 11 children that lived to be adults. He married my mom after only knowing her for 2 weeks (true story). Crazy huh?

The father of six children, (3 boys, 3 girls) me being the fifth of six. The photo here is my dad holding my brother, Pat. I don't think there are any pics of him holding me. I was the FIFTH after all and there aren't very many pics of me as a child anyway. My mom was too busy taking care of kids to be taking pictures.

My dad was a good provider and diligent iron worker. He was an extremely intelligent man who skipped several grades in school. He never graduated from high school or went to college, but was always a leader at work, as a construction foreman or superintendent. He was highly respected by his peers.

As a child I remember him being a man of very few words. When he talked, we listened. He didn't spend much time with us kids, but when my mom got tired of trying to get us to settle down after bedtime, she would have dad come to the bottom of the stairs. He just had to say one word in that booming low voice of his and we'd be quiet right away. He was a bit intimidating when potential dates came around in our teen years too.

I remember him being a fun grandpa to my sister's boys, in the 70's, but he passed away from lung cancer the year after I was married, just as I was beginning to know him as an adult. It makes me sad that Amy & Kevin never had a chance to be around him. He would have LOVED them and vice versa.

This family photo is from 1963, so I would have been 5 years old and the youngest in the family at that time. My younger brother, Michael didn't come along for another 2 years.

Next on the list is Terry's dad, Theron (or Terry to those who know him well). If he wasn't around, my precious husband would have never been born and wouldn't have turned out to be such a sweet guy. I'm so thankful that they moved to Arizona way back when.

I've heard many stories about the Hann family camping trips, vacations, and other escapades. I know that Terry (Sr.) was also an excellent provider and great dad. He has a dry sense of humor which most of his boys and grandkids have inherited (thanks Dad!). He loves to tease and is one of the sweetest guys I know.

This picture above is Terry standing by his (then) wife Carole who is holding their firstborn, (my) Terry. The other 2 are friends of the family.

This next pic is Terry, Carole with the 5 boys, Terry, Tom, Tim, Ted & Tod. Julie came along later. I can't quite imagine having that many boys under one roof. They have all become responsible, caring adults so they must have done something right.

And now, let's talk about the father of my children. What a gift he's been to me and our kids. He's always been a great example of a caring, responsible, patient, loving, helpful, encouraging dad. I remember before Amy was born he was so nervous about holding babies. After she was born he was a pro and helped with everything that needed to be done.

When the kids were a little older we shared responsibilities around the house. For a long time on weekdays after work, I cooked dinner and Terry took care of cleaning up the kitchen afterward, including loading the dishwasher. There came a point when we wanted Amy & Kevin to take turns loading the dishwasher, but Amy would have none of it. She said, "I'm not doing that. It's MAN's work!!!" We laughed so hard knowing just how bizarre that would sound in so many households. He was always a great help around the house even though he had a long commute and work schedule every day.

Terry was also a huge fan of Amy & Kevin, spending many hours at school & church performances, sporting events, plays and concerts. He passed along his love of reading to both of the kids and now they borrow books from each other. He also passed on his love of playing music to Kevin to the point where he was his backup bass player at church when Terry couldn't play.

I'm so thankful that he has been a consistent, positive, loving influence to them (and to me) in a time when so many dads are either physically or emotionally absent from the home.

Thanks God for the gift of our earthly fathers!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I am a HUGE fan of James Taylor

Even though he looks like he could be my dad, he is such a gentle soul and I love the stories he tells in his music.

I am actually signed up to receive his newsletter, mainly with hopes of finding out when he'll be in town or nearby so we could go hear him. Terry took me to one of his concerts at Universal in California and I LOVED it! I felt like I was sitting in his living room. He's the only musician whose newsletter I receive.

Take a look at this recent letter. He and his band are actually playing on a transatlantic cruise of the Queen Mary 2! Wow! I would SO love to be on that cruise to have a chance to hear him in such an awesome setting. There are some nice video of him singing there too.

And I just found out that he's going to be playing in Tucson in September and tickets go on sale TOMORROW!!! I'm excited. I think we'll try to get tickets. Anyone else want to go?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Is Anybody There?
We decided a month or so ago that our team at work would start scheduling some periodic staff days for team building purposes, so today we went on an outing together. We enjoyed lunch at the Grand Lux Cafe at Scottsdale Fashion Square. It's owned by Cheesecake Factory and seems very similar to me. Lunch was tasty and while we were there we shared a few childhood photos and stories to get to know each other a little better. It was fun to hear how each of the group dealt with siblings and some favorite memories from their youth.

Afterward we went to see the movie "Is Anybody There?" with Michael Caine. Although a little slow at times, it was a sweet film. The strange thing is that the boy in the film, Bill Milner reminded me of our son-in-law Andrew. He just looked like I would imagine Andrew looked at that age and some of his interests and mannerisms seemed like those that Andrew may have had too.

So Amy and Andrew you need to see this and tell me what you think. I think you'll agree.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Date Night with Terry
Friday night Terry and I had a nice impromptu date night together. We tried out Fox Sports Grill in Scottsdale for a casual dinner (my idea). Terry got to watch a little bit of the NHL Finals on a flat screen TV just about 5 feet away directly in front of our table while we were eating. We decided it would be a fun place to go to watch the Suns or another big game with friends. The menu prices are varied and include many reasonably priced items, so we would definitely go back again. For this night we were mainly trying to find something relatively quick and easy since we were planning to go to a movie.

After dinner we went to see The Taking of Pelham 123 on the big screen at the Cine Capri.

After watching the previews on TV, I was concerned that this would be more intense and violent than I usually like to see, but since it was Denzel Washington, I agreed to give it a try. It had it's tense moments, but the violence wasn't quite as heavy or graphic as expected, so overall the movie was pretty good. Well done, with some excellent actors...Denzel Washington, John Travolta, James Gandolfini and others.

When we came home it was so gorgeous outside that we decided to sit out back and enjoy the beautiful weather. It's hard to believe, but with high temps in the low 90's during the day, it makes the evenings absolutely perfect. So we took a couple of candles, chairs and glasses of wine out back and relaxed in the quiet breezy yard under the starlight.

What a gift to spend an amazing night with my favorite friend in all the world!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

I love my Plumbago!!!
I'm so pleased with the success so far of the Blue Plumbago that we planted in the atrium outside of our master bathroom a month or so ago. I'm looking forward to seeing it keep growing and eventually spill over the block wall so it can be seen from the back yard too.

I had been extremely hesitant to plant anything in this hot Arizona sun, thinking that it wouldn't survive, but I've been pleasantly surprised and even encouraged by what I've seen lately.

Yesterday, Terry and I also took a drive around a few neighborhoods to get some ideas of what kinds of plants we'd like to try in our front yard when the landscape project is ready for planting. Even though we're planning to do low water/low maintenance plants as much as possible, I'm excited about the possibilities for flowers and color and even shade! I can't wait to get things going and see how it all turns out.

(Ignore the flaws due to the photographer-taking pics thru the window of the car) but check out these Plumbago in the front yard of this house. I like it!

We're hoping to put in some flower boxes under our front windows and I'm thinking of trying these plants in the window boxes. Let me know your thoughts or if you have other ideas. We're also considering lantana (not sure what color) or those gorgeous fushia colored bougainvillea as well.

The Plumbago may be too pale against the pale sage of the house. Let me know what you think.
Summer Changes

In Arizona since the transition of the seasons is relatively invisible, I'm always itching to make changes to my own environment to make up for it. I think I've mentioned before that I get bored easily, especially visually (I'm sure I inherited that from my mom). Although she was always on a very limited budget in an extremely crowded & tiny house with 6 kids, she was constantly tweaking things to get a fresh look as much as she could. In fact, we just went out a week ago and bought a new table and chair set for her to squeeze into her little apartment. She's still making changes at 85! I love her for that. My dream is for her to someday have the freedom and the funds to decorate a room exactly as she would like. I'd love to be able to somehow make that happen for her...we'll see.

So with that said, I had some time and motivation this weekend to make a few minor changes at the house. I had some photos that I liked from our trip to Hawaii and since the inside of our house leans toward coastal, I decided to hang some of them up. Coastal in the desert? I know it's strange but it transports me out of the heat and makes me feel like I'm somewhere else. It's a comfortable style and I've always loved blues and greens anyway, so it works well with that theme.

In the family room I framed this photo of the waves from the Hana Highway. I really like the color of the water in this picture. It's not necessarily a relaxing shot, so at some point I may change it when I find something better, but I do like the color. Cool thing is that our new photo printer will print up to 12" wide, so I got some 11 x 14" photo paper to work with. I also bought a 16 x 20" frame and mat on sale at Aaron Bros. I was thinking that it might look way too big on the wall, but turns out that it really doesn't even fill the space as it should, so I'll be looking to add maybe a few 8 x 10's or something to round it out.

In looking objectively at the room, it also reminds me that I'd really like to change the wall colors to some kind of pale sea glass blue or green. We originally painted the walls in the common areas this tan/beige color because I wasn't sure what direction I was going to go with the decor before we moved in and I thought this would coordinate with most anything. Now that we're settled, I'd like to change the family room and kitchen (which has very little wall space, but connects to the fam rm) to more of a coastal color. Most of the furniture and cabinets are white, so I think it will make it feel even more coastal cottage-like. I know it won't cost much money, but will be a big project with moving furniture, bookcases and all, so we'll see when I get the energy to do it.

Moving on to the Guest bathroom...

I've had this multicolored wooden frame for probably a year or more, but didn't have the photos that had the look and feel that wanted to put in it.

While I was looking at the Hawaii pics for the big frame, I decided to pull a few others for this frame. (Click to see larger.) Top one is a sand castle that someone had built on the beach, next is our initials in the Maui sand and third is a hammock hanging in a perfect spot right next to the beach with the waves lapping in the distance. Terry and I had a chance to try it out and it was a peaceful spot.

These all bring back fond memories of our wonderful vacation last year and perk up the bathroom a bit.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

On Pins and Needles

Some of you may have heard that Terry's company informed their employees at the end of April that they were planning layoffs for the first time in their history and it would impact the company worldwide. The plan was that the layoffs would be completed by the end of June.

This is always a comforting thought, but not surprising in this economy.

So this last month and a half has been somewhat uncertain at his office, to say the least. A week or so ago they heard that the layoffs would probably happen last week or this week. No details were given on where or when exactly it would take place, how many at each office or how many in each department.

Every day when he came home I would ask if he was still employed and fortunately, he said, "yes".

So this morning at 8:53 am, I get this email from Terry. No more, no less, just these two words.

It's starting ..."

So, I write him back and say, "Be sure to call me if you get laid off."

Then I wait, and wait...no call, no email...and I wait some more. At least I had some work to keep my mind distracted. And I wait...

At 1:20 pm I get this email.

"I think I survived. But my supervisor is gone, and her supervisor is gone.
I am now operating with a total lack of accountability.

No more details from him, but Whew! What a relief and I laughed out loud at the last line! Can't you just see Terry running around the call center floor like a wild man because he had no supervisor telling him to stop?

Anyway, we're so thankful that the Lord allowed his job to be spared. When we moved back from So Cal, he spent 6 months unemployed because he essentially changed careers, so he wasn't looking forward to looking for another job.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

The Birdman of Arizona

So I promised you another bird story about Terry and here it is. You might remember the tale of the baby Quail from a few months ago. I don't think this one tops it, but it follows in a similar tradition with Terry's ongoing relationship with the wildlife in our yard.

Yesterday he was outside doing yard work on one of the last bearable days before summer officially hits. He was trimming our Mexican Blue Palm tree in the backyard, which is one of the few that are left in the yard. because he kinda likes the bluish color of the palm fronds (he's not normally a fan of palm trees).

Anyway, I'm sitting in the office and all of a sudden, I hear Terry calling me from the back door to COME QUICKLY with an urgency in his voice. So, of course, I follow him outside and see him standing next to the palm tree looking down at the branches on the ground. He's got a guilty, confused, perplexed look on his face, looks and me and says, "I saw a pigeon sitting on the wall next to the tree, so I made sure to check for bird's nests before I started.

I looked down on the ground to see a palm branch with a nest and two cute little shocked baby birds resting right in the middle of it. Fortunately, when Terry wielded his chainsaw on this particular branch it floated softly to the ground instead of twisting in the breeze and turning upside down. God had His hand on these two little vulnerable creatures.

So before we did anything else I ran in the house to get my camera. This was definitely blogworthy!

Now that I was prepared, we needed to try to figure out what to do with them...after some discussion about the fact that they're pigeons after all (Terry's comment) and doubt that they'll make it anyway, we determined that he would move the whole branch over to a shady spot in the yard in hopes that the mother would come back and take care of them.

As you can see, they do have some feathers, so there's hope that they'll be able to fly soon. Here's a photo of them in the corner of the yard and the mother (we assume) sitting up on the block wall trying to figure out what in the world happened and why her babies are on the GROUND all the way on the other side of the yard from where she left them!

This next photo is Terry showing his wild man murderous form with the chainsaw. Actually he's just getting tired of me taking pictures of the guilty party. He can get testy with the paparazzi at times.

Soon afterward we had to leave for an evening out, so we just hoped that the babies would be o.k. for the night. While we were out, we were sharing the story with a few friends and came up with the idea of putting the branch back up in the tree if we could get it to fit without dropping the nest.

Not sure if it would work, but...this morning when Terry got up, he checked on the birds and they were still there and alive. We had no idea if the mother had been with them, so not sure if they had eaten or what condition they were in.

Terry decided it was worth a shot to try to move the whole branch again. Not sure how he managed, but he was able to gently lift up the branch and set it back in the tree among the other palm fronds. Now it was just a matter of waiting to see if the mother would come back and claim them again. We checked periodically throughout the morning, but didn't see any signs of mom.

Then after lunch I wandered out back to see how they were doing and lo and behold, mom was sitting in the nest with her two little ones!!! Yea! We were happy and relieved.

In this last pic you can see one of the babies sitting contentedly by her mom. And this brings us thru another chapter and happy ending in The Tale of Terry and the Birds. I wonder how many chapters we'll be adding to this tale.

Do you think the fact that he fills and maintains 3 hummingbird feeders and 1 birdseed feeder raises his chances of another chapter?

I'm not a betting person, so all bets are off...I guess you'll just have to wait and see.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Trying out a new template...still in the works, but so far I like the lighter look better.

Let me know if you like how it looks on your monitor.


Check out these adorable fabric birds that my dear friend, Linda discovered on The Yvestown Blog on her April 27th post. She's always on the lookout for great ideas to pass along, which is such a huge help! The post even has a link to the pattern, which I just printed out and it looks SUPER SIMPLE.

Linda suggested that I make some for my branch in the living room, which I agree is an awesome idea! I've had trouble coming up with something for summer and this just might be the answer. I think I even have time to do some sewing.

Now I just need to find some appropriate fabric.

Thanks, Linda!

Oh and speaking of birds, remind me to tell you Terry's latest bird story...kinda sad, but hopefully not tragic. Let's just say that no one's going to be calling him Dr. Doolittle anytime soon. I have pictures too. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Congratulations Amber! You are now authorized to encourage, educate, excite and enjoy the youth of Arizona.

Back in May, our niece, Amber Hann officially received her teaching degree from Southwestern College. We're so proud and excited that she also landed a teaching position already. even in this economy. Wow! She got 2 job offers in a week.

These are pics from the graduation party at her parent's house. (a little late...sorry Amber). Doesn't she look so excited and sweet?

Isn't the house beautiful too? Her dad had it custom built. It's near Union Hills and 16th Street or something like that. It was for sale at the time and may still be, if you're interested. I'm sure she can give you their contact information if you want to put in an offer.

Anyway, we dropped by the party for a little while, but had another party to go to that evening so couldn't stay too long. We had a tour of the house (my request), had some great Mexican food, met her mom and visited with some of the Hann family. Terry's brother, Tod (who is Amber's father-in-law), Jeremiah, her husband and Matthew, Jeremiah's brother. Jeremiah's mom, Tonia and grandmother were also there. That's about all the people we knew.

It was pretty low key and relaxing. We enjoyed the celebration. Thanks Amber for all your hard work to give us an excuse to celebrate and get together.

Back to the house...I would love a house with a view like this. I know, I'm dreaming...o.k, maybe in heaven I'll have a view like that. Can you imagine sitting by the pool with a cool drink and the fireworks that you could see from this back yard? Click on this panorama picture below to see the full extent of the view. I put this together in Photoshop Elements from 6 different photos and it was so easy and fun! I'll have to find places to do more of these. Any ideas?

"Once children learn how to learn, nothing is going to narrow their mind. The essence of teaching is to make learning contagious, to have one idea spark another." -- Marva Collins