Monday, August 31, 2009

A Promise of better things to come ...

O.k. This is my promise to be a better blogger friend! With the move, finishing my masters and then getting pregnant, I admit that I have not had as much time as I'd like to read other blogs or blog myself, but I promise to be better.

Now that I am in "mommy" mode I think I have come up with a system to accomplish this. Each time I post on one of my blogs (this one or A Cup of Tea with Friends (Military Life Blog) I will put a colored star on my calendar (a different color for each blog.) My goal is also to visit the blogs on my sidebar weekly. Each week I visit each blog I'll put a different colored start on my calendar. (If I missed you, please let me know. As I get comments I will check to make sure you are on the list.)

I think this way I will be able to see at a glance how I'm doing. Isn't it a bit sad though that I have to revert to the system parents use to get their kids to do chores? I promise it's not a chore, my days seems to run together now that we prepare for ANOTHER move and the baby. I've already done two posts in two day on this blog, so the system must be working!

I hope everyone has a great week!

Until our next cup of tea ...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Just wanted to Announce ... We're having a ...

For those who don't read my Mil-Life Blog we announced over Father's Day that we are expecting our first child. It has been an exciting two months as we start on this new journey. At this point my expected due date is Feb. 16, but I'm sure that the baby may have his own date set.

For more updates on all things baby, check out my Mil-Life Blog.

Until our next visit ...

Saturday, June 6, 2009

You've got to see this ...

For those who have been following my first blog about my life as a military spouse may recall a post about an art piece I had commissioned for my husband's return from Iraq last fall. For those who didn't read it, let me explain ...

I am a HUGE support of military spouses, particulary artists and am always looking for original art pieces (as an artist myself!). Another military spouse gave me the name of military spouse artist who could recreate anything using the person name or a word or phrase. To be more specific she creates a picture by writing a word over and over in different ways to give depth and demension. Anyone from Texas knows how proud Texans are so this was the perfect piece.

I had so many people asking for the artist's contact info after I posted it and I was happy to pass it along. Well, ask no more, my friends, because now the artist Maria, has her own blog as well as a Esty shop! Now you can explore her beautiful art without waiting! GO! See what she's up to now ... I am am off to explore more of her work!

Until our next visit ...

Monday, June 1, 2009

Pretty Pink Pot

A few weeks ago I was looking for a quick and easy craft project to help with the stress of unpacking and settling in. I had a clay pot and was wanting to plant the Pink Pearl Hyacinth that I had be "forcing" but was having trouble with since we moved. So after a little bit of creative thinking, I came up with an idea ...

Off I went to Michael's (Crafts) and picked up a small bottle of "Hydranga Pink" paint and a spounge stamp. A few hours later, this is what I'd created ...

Until our next visit ...

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Farewell to Friends

This week I got two new items to add to my pink kitchen (which seems to be the theme of late.) I recently posted about my farewell gifts from my military unit on my military life blog at my farewell luncheon on March 23. On March 25 Misty, the Rear Det Cdr who became a close friend of mine joined me for a final lunch farewell at the painting pottery place in the nearby community. It was a great way end my days there. Anyway, she painted a cute red, white and blue heart-shaped icecream bowl, but I didn't get a picture. I painted this cute flower plate.

On Thursday, I stopped by the office to finish my clearing papers (you clear your unit every time you leave, Soldiers also have to clear the installtion when they leave as well). Misty said she had a gift for me, so I met her in her office and this is what she gave me ...

It also had a sweet personal message on the back. I am so excited to put this in our new house (we are moving the week after Easter.)

Until our next cup of tea ...

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Pink Pretties for my Cozy Kitchen

This week I am profiling my beginnings for my pretty pink kitchen. As I'd said before, my great-grandmother's Pink Depression glassware was the inspiration for this room. With that thought in mind, I'd recently started painting pottery with friends at a local pottery place. Here are some of my "works of art." It was a lot of fun! The teapot I did with my sister-in-law and best friend Mindy and the teacup I did with my friend Misty.

A cute mug perfect for hot cocoa and whipped cream!

I painted this planter when Mindy came to visit.

Last weekend I was in Houston for a bridal shower and found this at the local grocery store, it was for Easter eggs, but I couldn't pass it up ...

Thanks for stopping by! I will be busy this weekend prepping for my exit exam for my master's degree ... wish me luck!

Until our next visit ...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A Polka Dot Planter How-To

Monday, the MP Battalion where I work held their Volunteer Recognition Ceremony. Each of the four units in the battamed a volunteer of the year, someone who had done an outstanding job over the past year. They each got a special certificate and gift. They were fun to make. Here's how I did it:

Step 1: Chose the pieces you want. I used medium-sized terracotta planters with saucers.

Step 2: Sand them to remove any ridges or rough spots.

Step 3: Let them dry completely. Be sure to flip over so the interior drys as well. I let them dry for more than 24-hours.

Step 4: Paint them. I used 3 coats for the base, letting each dry at least and hour or two before adding the next one. Dependingon the paint you can get creative and drag a dry-brush over the top coat while wet to get striping. After dry, do secondary color. Try sponding a complementing over the top.

Step 5: After the pieces are completely dried, add accessories. I glued ribbon of the complementing color to the rim and then added ribbons.

It is a very easy project, but does take time for the drying. If you want, you can add a clear coat once the paint dries for a shiny look. Later, probably next week, I'll add pictures and instructions for using these pots for other projects.

Until our next cup of tea ...

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A New Beginning and A Obsession

Now, Pink Depressionware is not so new to me, as you may recall an earlier post featuring my great grandmother's pieces I acquired a few years ago.

I'd decided that these would be the inspiration for my kitchen decor. They are so delicate. So I've been looking around for other pieces ... glass knobs, candleholds, goblets. Soft touches of pink everywhere.

I've learned from senior spouses, that in military life deployments and moves are inevitable, but the best way to make it feel "normal" amidst so much change is to make sure there are common "comforts" or "constants" that remain. So as we make plans to start a family, these things have become more important to me. Until now, my constants have been work and school, but both of those are coming to an end and I am excited to now focus on creating a beautiful home.

What are some of the "comforts" in your life? You don't have to live the life of a nomad to have a "happy place" or items that sooth you.

Until our next visit ...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Date Night Marinade

Here is the marinade we use every Friday for date night. A few of you had asked for it and I wanted to share it.

1 c. olive oil
1/2 c. Sherry Wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. minced garlic cloves
1/4 tsp. (coursely) ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. red peppercorns
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. sugar (we use 2 Splenda packets)
1 Tbsp. worcestershire sauce
2 (6-10 0z.) steaks

1. Place all ingredients except for steaks in bowl and mix.
2. Pierce steaks with fork and then place each in a seperate ziplock bag and pour of the 1/2 mixture over each.
3. Place steaks in refridgerator for 12-24 hours.
4. Grill to desired doneness.

I hope you enjoy. This is the best steaks EVER!

Until our next visit ...

Monday, February 16, 2009

Fit for a Princess

I hope everyone had a great Valentine's Day weekend. We had a visit from George's best friend, Gordon, and his fiance, Mindy. She and I get along great together. If you'd visited my military life blog A Cup of tea with Friends, you'd have read stories of shared vacations and other activities. They are our closest friends, despite distance.

Anyway, they came to visit for the weekend and we had a blast. For dinner Valentine's Day George and I made steaks, marinated for 24-hours in an AMAZING marinide, sauted green beans with garlic and onions and a cucumber and tomato salad with parmasean cheese and a basil dressing. We drank Pomegranate wine, ate by candlelight with Sinatra playing in the background. It was great. For dessert we had strawberry cheesecake.

When they arrived Saturday, they'd brought presents/ None of us had exchanged Chistmas presents, though we'd seen each other a time or two since then. We'd gotten Gordon a bottle of some Cask 16 Crown Royal No.88 and I got Mindy a cheese and wine basket with candles and glass candleholders. For her birthday (in December) I got her a beautiful jeweled 'M' charm, a velvet elephant (she collects them) and a cute book of friendship quotes.

They'd gotten us a bottle of wine that they'd made and monogrammed wine glasses. George got an Astros jersey and hat. For my birthday, Mindy had gotten me these adorable teacup notepad and 4 creme brulee dishes that I'd been wanting.

After eating and unpacking we all headed our seperate ways. The boys were going to go to the shooting range, then back to the house for some beers and catching up. Mindy and I headed out to paint pottery! Yes, this is my ew favorite activity.

Last weekend, I went with a friend Misty, who is also my Rear Detachment Commander (unit commander that stay's behind when a unit is deployed.) We painted princess plates in the MP Battalion colors (I am the 'Viper' Princess ... the unit is called the Vipers.)

I also made a cute cappuccino cup and saucer. It had to be re-fired so I'll have to post picks later ...

Anyway, Mindy and I went to paint pottery. I painted this cute teapot and she made a cute post-it note holder with flowers for her desk at work. After about 3 hours we headed home to greet the boys who'd skipped the range and went straight to the beer! After much amusement of watching the boys "be drunk" we cleaned up the mixed alcohol mess and started dinner.

After dinner we just hung out talking and Mindy and I made some progress on the wedding planning.

The next day, the boys decided to go to the shooting range and Mindy and I headed back to paint pottery. This time I painted a planter for some plants I brought back from (George's) Dad's house when we cleaned it out and she painted a teapot to put her teabags in. Cute idea, huh!?!

Well, all in all it was a great weekend. Being in Houston taking care his father gave us the chance to spend nearly everyday with them. So coming back home made the seperation that you often feel when you leave your loved ones at the start of your military life, vivid once again.

When I pick up the pieces after they are fired, I'll be sure to post pictures.

Until our next visit ...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Rosy Family Treasures

Today I want to show you a "rosy" treat that was passed on to me about 5 years ago.

This pink Depression Glass roster and chicken belonged to my great-grandmother. My mom got them years ago. I don't remember when she got them, but I do remember when they were buildingn their house that she had them. I recall them siting on the kitchen windowsills once the house was built. I implored with my mom to clean them and put them in a better place. They were speckled with paint from when we painted the inside. Eventually she gave them to me and I cleaned them up.

Now they sit on the counter in my kitchen. I see them everyday and remember my great-grandmother who passed away the month after George and I were married. They were the inspiration for the pink glass heme in my kitchen. I am always looking for pieces that I think she would appreciate.

She was a tiny, delicate woman with skin as soft as satin. She smelled of cookies and powder. She was quite, but not timid. When you spoke, she listened as if you were the only person who mattered. I remember she used to hold and pat my hand when we talked.

The lace that the pieces are sitting on was something that my mother got in a bag of scraps. It was tattered and torn and has holes in it. She was going to throw it out, but I begged her for it. I have yet to figure out what to do with it, but as you can see it has some holes in it.

Any ideas? It is about 4x6 feet. I'm not sure what I'll do with it, but it was too beautiful to throw out.

Until our next visit ...

Family Portrait and A Reading Nook Project

Greetings all! Its a peacefully rainy day here in the deep south and I am sitting here blogging to keep busy while my husband plays games on the XBox and the puppy snores peacfully at my feet. With this in mind, I wanted to share with you a picture of "my two boys".

George is always complaining that the puppy doesn't love him as much, but Sgt. Major is a momma's boy and as anyone with a clingy kid can tell you, sometimes it gets overwhelming. He is always under foot when I am home. When I do dishes, he sits on my feet! Well, one night last week I came into the livingroom to see why they hadn't come to bed yet and this is what I saw.

Sgt. Major had actually fallen asleep on George and he didn't want to move for fear of waking him up. Too funny!

On another note, I wanted to show you the pillow that I finished for my reading nook. Do you see the puppy's kennel across from me. He likes to lay in it and watch me stitch or read ... see, Momma's Boy!

I used one of my favorite fabrics. I am hoping to make a quilt out of what was left, but I ahve to find complimentary fabrics. You can see at the base of the chair is my craft basket. It holds all of my current working projects. I change them monthly so I don't get bored. I have to stay motivated or a project will never get finished.

Until our next visit...

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Join me for a cup of tea ... Part 11

Welcome to another Saturday Tea. This has been a long week for me as I started working out 5 days a week with me husband, so I am really ready for a relaxing cup of tea. Please pull up a seat, join me for a cup of tea and some sweet treat of your choice. Last time we had tea I showed you the Teacups and Saucers from my friend Kristin.

This week I want to show you a cup that I had fun searching for. My husband was sent to an Army school at Fort Gordon, Georgia that ran over Easter weekend 2007. I flew up to meet him for the weekend and we spent the weekend exploring Augusta which included a variety of antique stores. Among them I'd seen a few teacups and saucers, especially in this particular store, but for some reason, I'd kept coming back to this one. Maybe it was the vivid colors, or the classic beauty of it, but it was the one I'd chosen to document the weekend.

After dinding my teacup, I joined my husband for an Easter Sunday game of golf (which neither of us is really good at) inspired by the Master's happening in Agusta that weekend.

Until our next visit ...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Book of Treasures

Today I want to share with you my pretty pink photo album. I saw it at Target I think and JUST HAD TO HAVE IT! Though at the time I didn't know what to use it for.

One day I was trying to organize my teacups and other tea-related items and thought, while not catolog them. I was already photographing them for my blog.

So on the back of each photo is the date, description and story of how each one came to join my collection. Many of those stories are recounted on my Saturday Tea posts, as I go through each one in chronoligcal order.

So do you think I am oddly organized yet? My husband and friends think so. DO you organize your collection or anyhting like this? Next week I will preview another binder or two that I have.

Until our next visit ...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Trying something new

Yesterday my husband and I went to the the "city" to watch the new Underworld movie and stopped at Michael's Craft Store so I could get stuff to re-string the pearl necklaces he'd sent me from Afghanistan.

Now I am not to admit that PEARLS are this girls best friend and the fact that both necklaces broke has had me in all sorts of turmoil, since all that I had left was my set of pink pearls ... what do I wear if I've got red on?

So, there we are. George is off somewhere doing something as he tends to wander and I was immersed among the shiny beads. I'd found some beautiful pink glass beads that match some metal beads that I'd bought when George and I were planning on renewing our vows in May for our 5 year anniversary. I'd also found some antique glass pearl beads that I "just had to have" to make a necklace and bracelet for a wedding I am a bridesmaid for in May.

So once we got home after the movie and dinner, George had fallen asleep while watching TV so I took out the beads and proceeded to start on some pieces.

There I sat at the kitchen table just working away and this is what I accomplished ...

I love the toggle clasps. I don't know why, but they seem to be a favorite. The double heart beads are the ones I'd bought to make a headpiece for our vow renewal. They were just too pretty not to make something with.

Now, I must admit, I'd never done beading before other than maybe putting beads on a cross stitch project, so it was new to me. Here is what I learned ...

1. Beading requires patience
2. Puppies cannot help, no matter how much they think they can.
3. Those suckers are REALLY slippery
4. Never bead on top of carpet, especially if it is the same color as your beads.
5. If your husband tells you that the oil and grime on the needlenose pliers will not get on your beads because it is "all dried" don't believe him ... especially if wearing white pants!
6. Don't bead in silence, because if your husband walks up and startles you, the beads will go EVERYWHERE!

All in all, it was a fun project and I have a few more ideas. Have you done any beading? What tips do you have for a beginner?

Until our next visit ...

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Join me for a cup of tea ... part 10

Welcome to another Saturday Tea. I hope your week has been a good one. Please pull up a seat, have a cup of tea and some sweet treat of your choice. Last time we had tea I showed you the 5 Teacups and Saucers from my Grandmother's collection but I forgot to mention there was also a pretty saucer wh'd lost it's cup mate a long time ago. If I can find a picture of it, I will post at a later date, but today I am going to share with you the cups given to me by my closest friend, KG.

KG is also a military spouse. We'd met one fateful day in early 2006 when she got a job as a fellow staff writer at the post newspaper where I worked. She was given the office next to me and we'd hit it off from the start. So much in fact that the door that actually linked our officed on the shared wall was always open with our desks also being on or near that wall so we could chat throughout the day. (The previous writer actually had closed and blocked the door with a bookcase ... Point taken!)

At the time George had been deployed in Afghanistan. After long conversations and shared stories we realized just how much we had in common, aside from being military spouses and writers. She too was a Captain's wife with no children and furbabies who kept her busy. We lived in the same neighborhood, one street away from each other (there is actually a little path through the wooks that connect our homes) and she too has family in the area.

We bonded quickly as our higher education levels had made us outcasts at work (don't ask, but it appeared that HAVING an education was a negative thing.)

Anyway, shortly after George came home we had the chance to introduce our husbands after two power surges knocked out two TVs and computer, I offered her one of our TVs since we didn't really need three TVs in a house with two people! When she returned them she brought along these (below) teacups and saucers that had been given to her by her mother but she didn't want them and thought they'd have a loving home with me.

There were so many to look at. My poor husband was forgotten about for a day or so while I sorted, washed and cataloged them. There were a few that stood out to me, but I'm having trouble finding some of those individual pictures since I got my new computer. If I find them I will posts.

KG and I still continue to be close. We both left the newspaper within a week of each other, both taking jobs as Family reps ... she for my husband's unit and me for the MPs which her husband's unit fell under at that time. True to our "one is never without the other" repuation, both of our husbands recieved orders for their next duty station. We will leave at the same time and go to military posts and hour and a half away from each other. I guess that'll make our seperation transition a little easier.

Until our next visit ...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Teacups to share ...

So there are mornings when I wake up and think, "I wonder what Jan is doing today?" Now for those of you who visit Jan and Tom @ Rose Haven, know what I'm talking about. Every week there is something new and surprising, but she also does a variety of weekly events like Rose Wednesday.

Well, I was not surprised when I logged on this week and found that she was sharing again with others in a tea cup give-a-way. These Give-Aways will last for 15 weeks...every Thursday, starting today. The last Give-Away will be on April 30th. The Photo below is of the ACTUAL cups and saucer sets.

So here's how it works ... You must:
1. Live in the USA only
2. Have a blog
3. Only comments left the on the weekly post will be considered for the Teacup and Saucer being given away that week
4. You may ONLY win ONCE in the 15 week Give-Away
5. If you do NOT win, you will have to post again the following week, for another chance.
6. Each week there may be a topic of discussion for the comment section, so be sure to read before entering.

For 5 EXTRA ENTRIES into the weekly drawing, take the GIVE-AWAY BUTTON , just below (it's smaller and will fit on your side-bar) ~ put it on your blog side-bar, with this HYPER-LINK to her blog:

Now that you know where to find Jan, take time to browse through her blog. I will guarentee you'll find something you like.

Until our next visit ...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Filling a Room Full of Flowers

This week I am going to share with you one of my favorite current projects.

Decorating my house is one of the most exciting hobbies. The search for "just the right fabric, furniture piece, accessory" to make it a home and to express myself is a very satisfying reward.

In our home, while I take in to account my husband's comfort and the puppy's needs, when it comes to the kitchen, that is my place of solice.

Until recently, we had a sitting area in our dinningroom with the dining table pushed under the window like a bistro table for two. I'd started to stitch some pillows for the seating area.

I loved this pattern from the first time I found it. It was a free pattern on the Internet two years ago. I wish I could find it again, because I want to make another one. I think I'd also like to make a wall hanging. I'm just really in love with the pattern. I'm hoping that there is another copy of the pattern in the stack of free patterns in my craft closest.

The fabric was a gift from an online friend in an exchange, and I wish I could find more of it as well as more soft colors like that. Any ideas, suggestions?

Below is the material for additional pillows and stuff.

I'm really excited because at our next duty station we're looking to rent a house off post which will give us a chance at a larger house for the housing allowance we get. George said that if there is a dining room and breakfast area that I will be able to make the breakfast area into a sitting room with a cabinet for my teacups. I'm really excited. I'll definitely post pics when the pillows are done and if I get my sitting room.

Until our next cup of tea ...