If you have some time, pour yourself a cup of tea or coffee, get comfortable and enjoy my blog. It might be fun, and if you can please feel free to leave a comment, I really appreciate your thoughts. Also make sure you check out some of the blogs I follow. Truly inspiring.
(Photos above are courtesy of Pinterest)


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Its all about Nell Hills.

I was walking my dogs looking up at my porch and laughed to myself as I realized everything on my porch is from Nell Hills store.
Please tell me you know what I'm talking about?  Mary Carol Garrity's stores in Atchison Kansas and Kansas City Missouri. www.nellhills.com  Almost everything I do in my home is a reflection of a visit to her stores, a chapter in one of her books or just photos from her blog.  I admit it!  I am a copier!  I don't care.  I'm proud to be one.
 Nell Hills Below MCG herself.  
A wonderful, lovely lady both inside and out.  She is kind and thoughtful and the happiest person I've ever met.

If you don't know what I'm talking about then please see the site above.  WARNING:  Your life will never be the same again.
So here are some pics of my porch.
 Above my porch a few minutes ago.  It's dark outside so my photos are a bit dark.
 One of the eight lanterns I ordered for the wedding.  Very affordable and beautiful.
On the rockers my custom made Nell Hill monogramed house number pillows I feel in love with when visiting Mary Carol's home in Atchison Kansas.  So lovely.  Had so many people comment at the wedding about my lanterns and pillows.  People strolled around during the cocktail hour and saw them.  
Also above another of the white lanterns.  Look at that pillow stitching!  My goodness what an art!
 Below symmetrical original Nell Hill lanterns.  These are the large.  I adore them.  They also were used in the barn for the wedding.  One guest asked me if they were rented I chuckled and proudly stated:  "they are mine!"
 Below Mary Carol's metal fall orbs.  I have used them two years in a row and place the pumpkins inside.  So fun and so elegant.


 Close up above and below of the lanterns.  Too beautiful.  Love them.  Also have two different lanterns inside and on my deck but too dark to show you.  Will post about them next time.
 If you are on facebook make sure that you check the Nell Hill page.  She posts items almost every day and if you see something that you like all you have to do is call the store number.  It's as easy as that!  The Briarcliff store in Kansas City, MO number is (816) 746-4320
And the Atchison Kansas store number is  (913) 367-1086
Make sure you check out her weekly blog, her website and her page on facebook.  The ladies are lovely and kind and extremely helpful and with a quick description will help you find the item you desire.  Tell them Lisa from PA sent you.  Hee hee.

Friday, October 24, 2014

What Is Left?

It has been 13 days since my son's wedding.  Almost all has been put away, back in it's usual place.  All the items borrowed have been returned safely to their owners and thankfully none were broken.  Tim and Liddy returned from their honeymoon yesterday afternoon tired and thankful to be home after their lovely trip and anxious to move in to their apartment today and this weekend.  Yes I will be helping them move.
So now I'm officially an empty nester.  My youngest is away in college and my oldest is married and as my husband continues to run his business 100 miles away in NYC, I have alot of time on my hands.  Went to my first job interview since the 90's a few days ago.  Trying to reinvent myself.
While I'm still querying my agents, and waiting for that bite for my second novel to be published and currently working on my third, I would love to have a job that can occupy my time and at the same time do something that I enjoy in the interim while I anxiously await the trips home from my youngest from Tennessee.
Ideally I would love to open my own small store and sell the Nell Hill Line.  Anything and everything Mary Carol Garrity.  How fun would that be.  But financially I couldn't do it alone.  So in the meantime I am looking for a design store that can use my help.

It's different now.  Everything seems different.  After being with my sons at all times when they weren't in school or at work, now it will take some adjusting.  The house is quiet all the time.  I find myself trying to find more projects (which is a warning for all of you in my same boat, suddenly you feel like remodeling and redecorating every nook and cranny.)

So for now, what is left? My walks,
I have resumed my afternoon hikes, sometimes alone and sometimes with a friend.
The grass didn't suffer too much damage.  Those lines are actually the sun's rays.
 Except for a few brown patches all looks well.
 
 A few remnants of the wedding.  Pumpkins and still things to put away.
 I kept my lit branches in places to light up during the holidays.

 Strangely enough, Hydrangeas are still blooming.
 My roses have gotten a second wind.

 A few survivors.  Leftover limelight highdrangeas that remained on the plant and were not cut for the centerpieces or the barn arbor garland.
 An empty back yard.
 Below you can still see the dreamcatcher that the bride made hanging on the tree.

Above my little Rudy, he constantly looks for my boys.  He can't understand why they are not home playing with him.

And leaves. . . plenty of leaves.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A Labor Of Love . . . The Making Of A Wedding

October 11, 2014
Low 60's, morning rain, light chill, and no sun appearance at all, but it didn't even matter.  Okay so here we go.  Finally after two days of a mental, physical and creative hangover (I'm speaking metaphorically, I don't drink) I am ready to post.  So I suggest you find a comfy chair, grab your reading specs and maybe even a cup of tea because I've been preparing for this one for a while now.  Here goes.  (Warning, these are not the photographers photos these are mine.  I took 254 photos with my Canon Rebel.   Can you imagine how long my post will be when I get the professional ones?  Can't wait!)
Just a day or two before we were seeing a transformation take shape step by step and although we had the vision and ideas, pinned at least a thousand things on pinterest (A witches tool  - I call it because it puts a spell on you and you can't stop) none of us had any idea of how close reality would become to our vision.
 Above the "MOB" (mother of the bride) is making her way over to inspect the frame of the tent.
Below, my son, the Groom looking a bit nervous is helping the guys from Magpie Vintage deliver their vintage style chairs and farmhouse tables.
 Bride and Groom both helped.  They worked so hard.

 The owners Maggie and Jason are so wonderful. http://www.maggpievintagerentals.com/  Jason makes all these farmhouse tables and they paint and reupholster all the furniture like the settee below.  Their website is absolutely breathtaking.  They have appeared in many bridal magazines and country/farmhouse weddings.
Okay so your not seeing double, these two lovely elegant women below are a powerhouse team.  The woman on the left is Designer and creative wonder, store owner Susan Taylor.   The owner and creator of Black Eyed Susan's in Buckingham Pa. http://www.besusan.com/
Susan is a dear friend of mine and one of my mentors in design (next to Mary Carol Garrity, Caroyne Roehm and my personal friend KC Fitz-Maurice) Susan agreed to do our floral design and over all "wow factor" for the wedding.  Along with Susan is her best friend Linda Giler.  

With the help of Shannon, one of Susan's flower artist, these women guided my friend Lisa, and myself with the flower arrangements.

So basically we began around 9 in the morning.  My friend Lisa ( on the right) arrived first.  She is a flower artist in her own right, and personal friend.




So for months, me, the bride and mother gathered all our pretty pitchers, silver, crystal, and milk glass containers.  We wanted this to be a mixture of everyone's treasures.  And that's exactly what it was.  We started with our individual china, vintage plates and glasses and things, vintage napkins, etc.  And as we shared the thoughts with friends others decided to pitch in and lend us their things.  Some gave pitchers, some lent candelabras, dishes, napkins, etc.  It was overwhelmeing the amount of generosity we experienced once we had gathered everything together.  All was carefully stored in my basement awaiting the special day.  T + L  10 -11-14

Above the boutonnieres and below the most beautiful arbor in the world.  I say that because my husband and father of the bride created it.  It will sit in my barn until the day they own their own home and perhaps it will stand in their garden where they can remember each day the first time they became husband and wife.

The BARN
Above, I love this pic.  Friday night KC and her daughter Kirsten "Kiki" came to help Liddy hang the sheets as curtains.  So much help I still can't believe it.
Susan and Linda created this lovely and massive eucaliptis garland covered with my garden limelight hydrangeas.  And as the Barn was finally done and transformed  . . . 
 With sheer curtains courtesy of Ikea,  (2 panels for under 9 dollars, you can't beat that) white material from Joannes (find the 1.50 dollar a yard fabrics, benches made by yours truly from Michaels
 Lights were turned on ,
 and all finishing touches made
 Every candelabra lit,
Branches and Branches taken from the woods in the back of my property wrapped in white lights.
Below, a gift from the sweetest lady in the midwest, Mary Carol Garrity.  She sent Liddy and Tim one of her hanging votive wreaths from her daughter's wedding which is featured in the book Stylish Weddings.  So I found three more and duplicated them for the barn.
 And each seating card complete and hung.
The barn began to glow.

It was time to transport flowers to the tent.  The system was to take trays that were sturdy enough to transport prepared flower arrangements. (They were a little heavy)   The MOB was an expert table dresser while I made 21 or so trips back and forth carrying trays filled with arrangments.

A moment with the bride and her cousin, my son at the bar.
 And while some worked inside the tent, other's like the FOB and FOG  worked hanging lights outside.  Take a look. (Father of the Bride and Father of the Groom in case you didn't know)
The one on the ladder is my husband the monkey.  He spent alot of time on that ladder.
 Slowly and surely the tent began to take shape, to transform and to magically take on a romantic and elegant mood.

As night fell the tent was closer to being complete.  Everything on them belonged to someone I knew.  We had votives and contianers, silver and candelabras, candlesticks and vintage napkins.  Everything labeled with a different color dot.  It was a combination of my things, Karen's (MOB) my friend and designer Susan, My friend KC and Lisa, so much sharing and working together.  I can't tell you how emotional I was during these last days before the wedding.
The two women above I would like to take a moment to thank and tell you about them.  The woman on the left in red is the mother of the bride's bestfriend.  They grew up together and have photos together when they were literally babies.  Her name is Ellen and she came to the wedding from Alberta Canada. (Teri she is close to you, hee hee) Anyway, after meeting her it only took two minutes to realize that she would be someone I would treasure for life.  Ellen not only did absolutely everything, preparing flowers, cleaning my kitchen, setting up tables, taking photos (most of these are her photos) grilling, decorating, omgosh so so so much.  I am so grateful to God for her and to Karen for bringing her here to spend these days with us.  She was a Godsend.  The woman to her right was Amy who was also someone Karen introduced me to.  Amy was hired as our coordinator for the evening and boy was that a gift.  She was wonderful.  I am so blessed.
Now the entire time that we are working in the kitchen with the flowers, in the tent with the tables and dishes, in the barn with the lights and curtains, outside Rob and Anthony hanging lights, I went wtih Karen to pick up my bestest and dearest friends who were coming from Boston.  My friends Br. John and Br. Greg, two Franciscan brothers that I have known since I was 14.  (Will show their photo in a bit)


As the night winded down, and dinner was made with Ellen's help we began to slow down. It was a long day and time to clean up and organize, make lists and prepare for the big day.  Below the father of the bride, mother of the bride, Amy, Br. John and Br. Greg and the bride's sweet cousin Pam.

Finally it was time to shut everything down for the evening.  We had a long day ahead and it was time to call it a night.
Wedding Morning:
I woke up to the sound of rain streaming down the windows.  
I made atleast 5 trips to the tent and barn before 9am when my hair and makeup time was set.  I was truly taken care of by wonderful women, Kristy and Dana.  They did wonders with my hair and face.  Althought I was a bit stressed by the weather and all that needed to be done, before I knew it, the rain had stopped and although the sun didn't appear, the rain didn't reappear so I was very thankful.  


Above Rob's brother Mike and his wife Lilly.
The hours flew by and I found myself sitting in the barn listening to the most beautiful string quartet and staring at my two handsome sons.  
 Above the loves of my life.  Tim is the groom in blue and Matt my Tennesse boy.
Below the beautiful elegant MOB, Karen.
Below the most incredible string Quartet. http://elegancequartet.com/  If you go to their website go to their music and click on Viva La Vida by Coldplay, for some reason that was the song that most lingered in my mind as the first group of people walked off the trolley and stepped into the magical atmosphere that was my backyard.  Hard to believe but it truly was incredible.
I can't wait to get the photos from the photographer because I missed on taking photos of the details like the mason jars and the Nell Hill lanterns that lined the driveway and barn.  Or the white and cream pumpkins that were everywhere.  We had a lovely dream catcher that the bride made and hanging from the tree or the chalkboards and handcrafted signs that the bride made.  She even made the wooden numbers on the table.  I have never seen someone so creative.  I thought I was, hmmmm.


 And Finally The Bride and Father.
I thought Liddy looked so elegant and beautiful. reminded me of Carolyne Bessette Kennedy in that famous photo where her and John are walking out of the small country chapel.


Cousin Pam read and Matthew did a reading.


 Above the Episcopalean minister Peter did a lovely ceremony with the help and blessings of our priest Fr. Chris.  And as I sat holding Br. Greg's hand, Br. John did the prayer for the faithful and departed and sick.

"I now pronounce you man and wife."


And after a group blessing it was time to party.  
Above Br. John me and Br. Greg.  I've known them forever.  And I'll love them forever.


And as the quartet repositioned themselves outside, and the trolleys began to transport the guests from the parking area to our home the music began to play and it was truly  . . .  Magical.  
See for yourself.








Above Susan and Linda the reason why everything was so beautiful.  Just like they are.
Below Both Father's looking very handsome.

KC & Lisa my sweet friends.  KC's chandelier is hanging in the barn and Lisa's arrangements along with Susan's and Lindas and Shannons fill the tables all around.



Above Stunning Liddy with my two stunning sisters/friends Terry and Jeannie.


Me, my other beautiful friend/sister Laraine and Terry.


 Above mother and son, Karen and her son Michael.  Karen looked like a knock out.
Best Man and hunky son Matt with Grooms best friend Brinton.  Very Mad Men Like in these suits.
Loved Sonali's beautiful beaded dress.
So much love.  Above my friend Lourdes whom I adore and below the strongest women I know.

 All these women have been influencial in my life and crucial to my sanity.  They are my sisters, my friends, my mentors, and my supporters and I love them all.
 I have so many many sisters.

Nancy and Dawn more beautiful ladies and sisters of the heart.  I may be an only child but I don't lack in sisters.
 Below my husbands family dressed very elegantly.  Rob's mom and dad are in the Navy colors.
Below Sonali and Me, friends for life.
Below my aunt and uncle who is a deacon and my cousins.
I had family who flew from Puerto Rico just for the day.  I was so blessed.
Above all the cousins.  In age order.  Yay I'm on the end. . . . . Youngest!
 Below, lovely young ladies.  (Their parents are above, Rob's uncle and aunt Manuel and Julie)

Above Lori and Michelle two gorgeous women and friends.
One of the highlights of my evening was when I danced with my oldest while my youngest serenaded us with the beautiful Josh Groban song 'You Raise Me Up'.  I am still trying to upload the video so as soon as I can I will add it to this post.  For now here is the only photo I have until we get the photos from the professional photographers. Below I am sobbing on my son's Gucci suit which he kept reminded me as we danced.  Trying to make me laugh.  And Matthew my youngest is standing with the band in the wine suit.  Although the piano player and Matt were not in perfect agreement with key and octaves, Matthew did a lovely job.  It was a dream come true for a mother to have this moment.  They are my entire life and I was so so proud.
video


 It was a magical evening and the most emotional night of my life.  I could not have made it happen without the incredible help from my friends and family.  Truly I was humbled by so many who reached out to play a part in such a special evening.  I am touched and changed for ever.  I shall never forget this night, this experience and the love.

 To all who have walked with me throughout this journey. xoxo