Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Dinner out

The other night, my sweetheart took me and his mom to dinner at Macaroni Grill, which I love.  I can't eat much pasta, but I really enjoy it.  Part of what I enjoy at Macaroni Grill is that they bring you crayons and the table is covered in a lovely sheet of fresh white paper.  I know they're intended to keep kids busy, but they leave the crayons whether there are kids with you or not.  I LOVE that.

So here's what I drew.  (Yes, I know the eyes are a bit lopsided, but wouldn't you want to give a home to a slightly disfigured puppy?  I thought so.)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

PB Knockoff

Well, I tried to go all out.  And most of it was a labor of love.  Part of it I just hated.  I'll get to that later.

I wanted to do a knockoff of this Pottery Barn display for MMM's fireplace.  As you'll see, the fireplace is big and dark and can have a bit of a forbidding appearance.  It's perfect for a dark and scary night kind of Halloween display.  And this is an easy one to attempt for my very first knockoff.  Of course, if I'd used Pottery Barn's picture frames, I'd have spent beaucoup bucks.  Instead, I used a local favorite - Dollar Tree, where I bought nine frames for nine dollars.  Much better than beaucoup.  (Actually, I priced it out and the small PB frames are $31 apiece; the large ones are $47.  You're probably better at math than I am, so you have yourself a field day, and figure out what I saved, if you like!)

I sat down at the computer and found images of everyone's favorite monsters.  I doctored them up in Picnik, (which I recently bought the Premium package for - LOVE!), making them all black and white, and Holga-ish, to add some graininess.  Spookier that way, I think.  I simply printed them, cut them out and layered them on top of a piece of plain white paper before putting them in the frames.  PB may have a mat cutter, and unlimited dollars, but not me.  I think they came out quite crisp and pretty, regardless.  Because of the way MMM's fireplace is, I knew that I'd have to hang them all together, so they're actually hot glued together, so they'll hang as a unit.  Yes.  I know.  I'll never get to use those frames again.  That's OK with me.  I spent nine dollars, remember?

And just for giggles, you should see the backside of this thing.  Here it is, all laid out, a mess of hot glue, duct tape, a length of wood from a pallet, a bit of styrofoam and baling wire.  Sheesh - what a beaut!

I also had some fun with a banner.  I know banners are old news - everyone's doing them.  I just hadn't ever done one.  This is my first, and I think it turned out really cute.  The pennants are just orange poster board, and I hand drew the designs.  The little fluffy bits are just layers of tiny cupcake papers and a sweet little orange button to set them off.

I dressed up some Dollar Tree crows, spiders, and rats with a bit of the same ribbon I hung the banner with, and cut some bats out of cardstock.  I'm still thinking about a set of flickering candles.  I'll show those to you if I get them done. 

The piece that I hated was this:

I went to my local Ben Franklin, which is an amazing store.  I love all their stuff.  But I saw these wonderful twiggy branches with lights already on them - for $18 apiece - and I thought, 'I can do that'.  So I bought me a small string of autumn toned lights, some brown floral tape, and a bit of tulle.  I picked a branch up out of the yard, and set to work.  I wrapped, and wrapped, and wrapped, and then I started to develop a LOT of empathy for factory workers in China, no doubt, who also wrapped and wrapped and wrapped. (Did you ever notice that if you type out a word too many times, it starts to look misspelled?)

Then I wrapped some more.

Then I ran out of floral tape.

I bought more floral tape, but since Ben Frank's was closed, I went to Joann's.  Different color tape.

Sooooooooooooooo.  I went back to the beginning and re-wrapped.  And wrapped........ well, you get the picture.  It was a lot of work.  I was sick of it.  I'm not sure that a couple of those $18 twigs might not have done the trick.  But I wanted to be thrifty, and I surely was. 

Did I ever mention that MMM is a clay artist?  He is.  And he has a marked preference for things that are a bit strange.  These pieces are his. (You can see more and maybe even own a piece of his work if you go here.)  See what I mean?

Just at the end, I needed a little something to balance the hearth.  I said, sadly, to MMM, "I need a skull."  Guess what he came up with?  Lookie!  His mom made it for him.

I do think it turned out pretty cool.  You tell me.

 One more for truly spooky effect:

I'm linking up at
The DIY Showoff
Making the World Cuter
The Lettered Cottage
The Girl Creative
Home Stories A to Z
Momma Hen
All Things Thrifty

I'm off to Chico Hot Springs with my extended family to celebrate my stepfather's 85th birthday.  I'll tell you all about it when I'm back.

Love ya,


P.S.  I have not been paid by anyone for anything I said, bought, or did on this post.  I included names and information just in case you have questions.  And, of course, rookie blogster that I am, I also figured out that I used up about ten days' worth of project posts in one great blowout of a post.  Gotta learn to pace myself!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Very Feminine Lamp

The biggest part of Sassafras Salvation is re-doing furniture and home decor to give old pieces new life.  I love finding something that someone else only wanted to get rid of and making it over into something beautiful and useful.  Here's an example of that.

The lamp was boring.  Plain black.  Otherwise perfectly good.  In fact, not really an old lamp at all.  I later decided that it was donated to Good Sam  because the little thingy on top of the harp had broken off and the lamp's previous owner didn't know it was a simple thing to fix.  ('Course, it's entirely possible that they just really were tired of that lamp.....!)  It came without a shade.

I spray painted the base in Krylon's Brushed Metallic Spray Paint in Satin Nickel, and replaced the harp with one that had a perfectly good thingy.  (I wish I knew the name for that piece, but it's the part that has a screw tip to screw the finial onto.)  This spray paint is like a little magic.  I heart this spray paint.  It made this lamp so gorgeous.  I hope whoever took this little beauty to the thrift store reads this blog and cries themselves to sleep with regret.  Or, even better, I hope they spot it on Craigslist and absolutely have to have it, and end up paying for the same (sort of the same, anyway) lamp twice!!  (Cue my evil laugh!)

I am always on the lookout for a great little lampshade, and I found this one:

Isn't it a horrible pattern and a great shape?  I primed this little sucker until you couldn't see that orange and gold awfulness.  I suppose there will be some that think that it's such a cool vintage 60s or 70s print.  That's because it was before their time.  If you lived through it, like me, not so much.  That print had to go!

Then, I went shopping.  At Joann's I found a sheer fabric - the kind that you'd use for sheer window curtains.  It was a delicate dusky pink, shot through with silver threads and at intervals, tiny little clear sequins.  I bought four yards.  Back at home, I used my quilt guide, rotary cutter, and cutting mat to cut even strips of three inches.  I ran a gathering stitch down the center of each of those strips, and gathered them tightly.

Holding the lampshade between my knees, and with the hot glue gun at the ready, I started attaching the ruffled strips of sheer pink to the now-dry primed lampshade.  I went slowly and carefully, getting the strips on straight and keeping them even.  It seemed to take forever, but I finally got it done - though not before burning myself good with the hot glue.  I manage to do that Every. Single. Time.  *sigh*

It was worth it.  Here's the finished lamp.  Isn't it beautiful and feminine?  It would be so right in a feminine living room, a pretty guest room, or a little princess's room.

When I got it done, and put the shade onto the lamp, it just made me happy.  

Can such little things make you happy?



I'm linking to

P.S.  I have not been paid for anything I did or said on this post.  I only included links and information in case you have questions.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Stack O Punkins!

 Here's a little project I started in on the other night after seeing such beautiful projects out there in the World of Blog.  I was more than a little jealous of all that autumn beauty going on when I hadn't done one thing to celebrate Autumn's arrival.  

Besides, I was kinda broke, so buying a buncha supplies for a fabulous display was not going to happen.  Fortunately, I know how to do a lot with a little.  Here then is what I started with:

Two t-shirts, one orange, one gold, each $1.50 at thrift;
Three 'found' artificial pumpkins in reasonable condition from my local Good Samaritan thrift shop;
Jute string;
A rough bowl I found at Dollar Tree;
Assorted buttons and beads; and
A few silk leaves in fall tones.

I started by cutting off all the sleeves, necklines and hems from the t-shirts.  Then I laid our the remaining fabric and eyeballed approximate two inch strips as if i was cutting from one side seam of the t-shirt to the other.  It really doesn't matter if it's perfect.  I did this once before, using my quilt guide and rotary cutter, but it really doesn't make much difference.  In this case, good enough really is good enough.  I cut many more strips than I needed for this project, but I put them away - I can use them later for something else.

Now, I was taking my own pics and it isn't easy to demonstrate some of what I was doing, so you can see that I got creative with a nice heavy set of pliers in this shot.  What I did at this point was to simply stretch each strip good and hard.  That makes them curl up, as you can see.  It creates a kind of finished edge for the flowers you'll make with them.

Once I had my strips ready, I turned my attention to my three pumpkins.  These were a find, I think, and I only paid $3.75 for all three.  

 I broke off the stems of the largest two of these pumpkins.  I needed the smallest to keep its stem.

 I stacked the three of them up and hot glued them together.

 I primed the stack with Krylon primer and then spray painted it with Krylon's Dover White.  I used ORB to spray the rough little bowl I intended to use as the base for this project.  When the base was dry, I turned the bowl upside down and hot glued the stack to it.  It was good and heavy and would anchor the pumpkins well.

I made rolled fabric roses from my fabric strips.  Here's a good tutorial if you want to learn to make these pretty little roses.

At this point, I sort of got caught up in the creative process and stopped taking photos.  Sorry about that.  I just sort of went a little crazy, putting pretty flowers, beads, buttons, and jute string all over my pumpkin stack.  Here's the final result:
 And another:
 Last of all:

As difficult as it is to remember to record my steps, I just love getting immersed in a project.  That part is just so much fun!

When's the last time you lost yourself in the creative process?



P.S.  I have not been compensated in any way by anyone for anything I said in this blog post.  I include links and other information, just in case you have questions about colors or sources.

Linking up to:

I Heart Naptime at
Polly Want a Crafter at
Tip Junkie at
J and M's eye candy at
The Girl Creative at
DIY Showoff at

Sunday, September 18, 2011

What I Did with my Summer Vacation.

In July of this year, I took on a challenge that I had considered for sometime. I decided I wanted to host GrandmaCamp.  I have six grandchildren. They are 3 boys: Kieran (10), Carter (6), and Landon (4),and three girls: Kai (8), Lily (8), and Paige (4).  I have a friend whose mom annually does a thing they call "Cousin Camp".  I loved the idea and decided that I wanted to take it on.  

It all started when my eldest daughter called to ask if her two might come to spend a week in Montana with me.  They live two states away and I just don't get to see enough of them.  Part of any visit is always an effort to make sure that these kids get to see their as many of their Montana relatives as possible.  And it would be really especially nice for the cousins to spend time together.  From that impulse, GrandmaCamp was born.

I not only wanted to do it, I wanted to do it right.  So I planned everyday to read aloud - something that's important to me, as a former teacher.  So we read Dr. Seuss every day - my favorite children's author.  What camp is complete without singing?  We sang everyday.  I hunted the internet for non-competitive games.  I planned crafts and activities.  I made arrangements for an outing to our local children's museum.  I made arrangements to actually take them camping (an activity that later had to be cut short because we were totally outnumbered by the mosquitoes).  They all had personalized water bottles, T-shirts, and tote bags.

So, on from July 18th - 22nd, GrandmaCamp 2011 officially took place. 

It wasn't easy.  But it was worth it.

Lily, who's 6 months younger, has passed Kai up in height!

Paige and Grandma at the Children's Museum.  Glamor was NOT on my agenda that week.

This fun wall would suck filmy scarves through vacuum tubes and shoot them out over your head.

We learned about and built a solar oven to cook our lunch one day,

I ordered these T-shirts (albeit all the same size).  They loved them, wore them everywhere, and eventually all of them autographed the backs of each other's shirts.

Landon was such a good boy - and loved hanging out with his big boy cousins.

Lily had this silly foam brickworks built up over her head several times.  Kieran was happy to comply.

It was almost impossible to get Carter to take this harness off and try another activity.  He had so much fun.

I encouraged them to use the camera and take pics for their own memories.  This is the kind of shot that results from that kind of artistic license.

They all made a fleece pillow for their camping trip.

This bubble blowing activity was a total FAIL.  It morphed into rolling down the hill, which was probably much more fun.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A Favored Season

We're coming down to the last days of summer. I live in Montana, where there are distinctly four seasons. This year, summer was a long time coming. And when fall arrives, we all hold our breath, hoping that it won't be a big bad fire season. We've had a few fires this year - thankfully not like it was a few years back. That year, the air was so smoky that I came down with pneumonia. This year, we've had some hazy skies, but the autumn days have been gloriously cool at night, warm during the day. This is my favorite season. The leaves are just starting to yellow up a bit, and while we haven't had frost yet, I annually hope for a nice Indian Summer. I'm not sure how anyone else defines that, but to me, it means that we get a good hard frost - maybe even a first snowfall, and then the weather returns to a week or three of that sweet mellowness that defines a fall day. I used to teach school, and after I left education, it was a long time before fall seemed normal again. Back to school was more than a sale at Penney's. It was a season, an event, a state of mind. Now, I just enjoy the days. They're numbered, you know.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Bouquet of Flowers

Do you know my house would look like if I gave free rein to every creative impulse?  Have you seen the show "Hoarders"?

[ S'cuse me while I digress a moment.  I just have to share a funny story with you.  I was travelling for work, and I had the radio station on.  Now I have to tell you that this is not my story - it's something I heard on the radio and something I can't appropriately credit.  But it's too funny not to share.  If you know who I should credit, let me know, and I'll update my blog.  ANYHOO--- I was listening to the morning drive and a professional comedian had joined the two radio personalities, presumably to promote his upcoming show, and they were quizzing him to generate funny-ness.  They asked, "So, do you watch television?"  

He said, "Yeah, I watch TV.  I watch two shows.  The first one is called American Pickers, and it goes like this:  Two guys drive up to a house.  They meet the owner.  They say, 'Hey, you've got a lot of stuff.  That's some cool stuff.  We sure do like your stuff.  It's great stuff.  Can we buy some of your stuff?'  They give the guy money and drive away, saying, 'That was one cool guy and he had some cool stuff.'"

"The other show I watch is Hoarders, and it goes like this:  They drive up to a house.  They meet the owner.  They say, 'Hey, you've got a lot of stuff.  It's awful for you to have all this stuff.  You can't keep all this stuff.'  They take away all his stuff and put him in an insane asylum."


I laughed and laughed until tears were rolling down my face.  I had to fix my makeup before I could visit my next client.  OK, I'm done digressing.  Back to 'every creative impulse'.]

I want to try everything I see that I think I have a fair chance of accomplishing.  Generally, I don't do too badly.  In July, MMM and I went to the Montana Folk Festival in Butte, America.  (Yes, that's the way the folks from Butte, Montana like to say it.) We stopped for a cuppa tea at a little local bakery and they had the cutest little cake sitting on the display counter.  I eyeballed that for a while, and decided that I'd like to give it a try.  I'm going to show you my results first, and then more or less describe how I did it.

My apologies, first, to anyone who's a professional (or good enough to be a professional) cake decorator.  I'm sure I did a million things wrong, but it's OK.  It's OK.

The cake on that bakery counter was made with mini-cupcakes, and mine wasn't, so my result wasn't as realistic.  This cake was for MMM's mom, for her birthday.  She loves birds and flowers and nature, in general, so I thought she'd get a kick out of a bouquet cake.   We didn't eat it right away, since she just wanted to enjoy looking at it a while.

I used a rose tip, and just made roses on the top of unfrosted cupcakes I ordered from the WalMart bakery.  I was very patient and kept going.  Because they were full sized cupcakes, it took a while to get them all frosted.  I refrigerated them as I went along, to set up the frosting.  I had cut bamboo skewers down from about a foot in length to about half that.  Then, I wrapped a rubberband around and around and around each skewer, about an inch from the pointy end.  This served as a 'stop', to prevent the cupcake from sliding further down the skewer.   In the bottom of that very clean terracotta pot, there's a 5" styrofoam ball.  One at a time, I slid a cupcake onto the pointy, rubberbanded end of the skewer, then pushed the skewer down into the styrofoam ball.  I did the bottom row first, then filled in as I went.  I think I used ten or eleven cupcakes. 

When I had them all in place, I used a leaf tip and added leaves here and there until the 'bouquet' appearance was complete.  You can see that I even piped leaves down onto the pot itself.  There were some empty areas, but it was dark in those spots, and I thought it was fine.  (Again, it would have been more realistic and probably more filled out if I had used mini cupcakes.) Then I put the whole thing in the refrigerator overnight. 

I hadn't decorated a cake for years, but this was a lot of fun.

Have you revived an old hobby or craft lately?

Love ya,


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Mirror, Mirror

Just a quickie post about a project I worked on during the past week.  I have long admired the lovely results that come from painting that horrible stuff they built furniture from in the 1970's.  They called it 'Syroco", like it was some exotic wood.  In truth, it was - let's all say it together - PLASTIC.  There's nothing worse than trying to imitate the beauty of wood in plastic, but that didn't stop the style arbiters of the 1970's from giving it their best shot.  They made a ton of it.  We left it to Generation X to figure out how to make it pretty.  I sure can't claim responsibility for that.  I spent two decades trying to keep it out of my house, no matter how affordable the castoffs became.  I practically had hives from remembering it in EVERYONE'S house when I was 14.  The last thing I wanted was for any of it to find its way into my home.  

But a little blogging provided the antidote.  Turns out, spray paint can cure the allergy.  I saw so many pretty befores and afters, with the horrible stuff painted, that I became something of a convert.  

I bought a mirror the other day, and set to work.  I don't have a before picture.  I'm sure that many of you have been previously damaged by having this stuff around.  I don't need to inflict further scarring.  But look at the after:

It's got a coat of Rustoleum's Colonial Red with a wiping of chocolate brown glaze.  And then, to upset your expectations, I set this thing on its head, turning it upside down.  I saw a mirror like this in a store somewhere, and they'd hung it upside down and the result was amazing. I think it completely takes you by surprise.  You absolutely know the original manufacturer intended the filigree detail to be on top, but it shakes the whole look up a bit, which I love.  

I am linking up over at:
Todays Creative Blog -
Katherine's Corner -
Miss Mustard Seed -

Have you had your expectations shaken up a bit lately?

Love ya,


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Summer Can't End Yet!

I think I'd better explain our living situation a bit.  I live in a condominium by myself with two kitties, Max and Punky.  I've introduced you to the showoff that is Max.  He loves attention.  Loves it.  Punky?... less so.  In fact, if you're not a close friend with drop by privileges, you'd be unlikely to even realize I had a second cat.  She's black and uses her camouflage to hide under the bed if anyone new is in the house.

MMM lives in a house on an acre and three-fourths ten miles away. He has a yard and a deck and a garage and work space and lots of lovely things.  One of the things that I love about him is how he's arranged his life.  Let's just say I'm a sucker for integrity.  Some years ago, (long before we met) his dad died, and his mom was living alone.  Unsavory possibilities cropped up in her neighborhood, and her son found that untenable.  So, he and his wife sold their home; his mother sold her home; and they bought a home with an attached (but unfinished) mother-in-law apartment.  Shortly thereafter, without more excruciating and unnecessary detail, his marriage went to hell in a handbasket.  The apartment was still unfinished, and his mom has been living in the main house along with MMM.  Yes, it looks a little like a grown man living with his mom, but it's as much the reverse as anything, because he wants to be sure that she's taken care of.  If that's not integrity, I don't know what it is.  And in this day and age, I'm impressed by it.  Astonishing, I think.  The plan is to finish up the apartment (and there's movement on that front, so we're all very excited), and allow him to make a home of the main house.

In the meantime, maintenance on the house goes on.  This weekend, MMM got this bad boy out:

It's getting pretty late in the fall, and deferred maintenance can be deferred no longer if we're to count on Montana weather allowing us to accomplish a little something before winter comes with a vengeance. So, it was time to prep the deck for a coat of stain.  We cleared the schedule to powerwash the deck.

But 1800 pounds of water pressure per square inch?  Are you kidding me?

Nope, no one's kidding around when there are power tools involved.  The previous homeowner of MMM's house had apparently slapped on a quickie coat of paint or stain (Probably paint, now that I think about it.  I don't think that stain would have stripped off the way this stuff did.)

 Here's a nice shot of my MMM, hard at work.  This deck is 21' by 21', railed all around, with a double-ended step off into the yard.  This is not a sissy deck.  It's literally two or three outdoor rooms.  It's frickin' huge.  No small amount of work.  OK, and now you know that I'm also a sucker for seriously muscle-y calves, too.  I confess.

So, we powered away for nearly three days.  Really.  No.  Really!  MMM started in on Friday night after work, and then he and I worked on both Saturday and Sunday.  That lovely Husky Powerwasher was so easy to use.  And it took all that old loose paint/stain stuff, and all the dirt that was residing in the grain of the wood and just blasted it out of there.  It was amazing how much gunk came pouring out.  We tracked little bits of paint everywhere we went all weekend.  But tonite, it's done.  It needs a couple of nice hot days to dry out, so that the wood will accept the new paint/stain.  Not sure yet what MMM has planned, but I'll be sure to let you know when we've reached that point.  I suspect it's probably as time and labor intensive a job as prepping the deck, so there'll be time for plenty of pics.  I wish I had a better full shot of this deck, but I'll get you one when it's done and you can see it in all its refinished glory. 

Meanwhile, just look at what an amazing job this Powerwasher did on this deck.  If this isn't a fab before and after, I don't know what one is.  (Pretty sure I don't need to point out that the before is on the left, the after, on the right.)

I'm tickled.  The new deck set and the bamboo lounge area will look spectacular on this pretty renewed deck!

I'm linking to the linky party at The DIY Showoff's Project Parade.

Any last minute summer projects for you?

Love ya,


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Finally Finished!

I love to hit the thriftstores.  I call myself the Thriftstore Queen.  Unfortunately, because Montana is so rural, our thrifty scene is a bit limited.  In order to make the most of it, I have to visit our local thriftstores on a really, really regular basis.  What this means is that when I go to lunch (I work a regular 40-hour-a-week job), I grab something quick to eat, then cruise one of our shops.  Many times, an excursion like this ends with a phone call to MMM, which - I guess it's a good thing - he's become accustomed to.  He's even called me at noon, asking, "Whatcha looking at?"  That's because he knows I'm likely to ask if he drove the pickup today, and if he'd be willing to do a pick up for me.  I usually can find room in my car for the treasures I've found, but occasionally, the Titan is necessary.

About the middle of July, I was working out a place to sit on MMM's deck.  He has a lovely backyard and an incredible deck, but there was just no place to sit and enjoy the sunshine.  I have a collection of bamboo furniture I've been working on to create a lounging area (and I'll share that when I've finished), but we needed some dining area furniture too.  I was at the Good Samaritan Thrift Store early one Saturday morning, when I spotted it!  It was a complete dining set - you know the kind.  Brand new, it would probably have cost $600.  There were four chairs, a tempered glass table, two ottomans, an umbrella, and a cast iron umbrella stand.  Every cushion was with it, and all in pretty fair condition.  The olive drab powder coat was pretty drab and rusty in places.  Clearly, this set had seen better days, but just needed some love to bring it back into usefulness.  Best of all -- the price:  $100.  MMM's mom went halves with me, and it was ours! 

I brought it home, and started in to work on it.  I chose a color that went well with the cushions.  It's  
Rustoleum's Painter's Touch, in Strawflower. I love this stuff.  I used the Rustoleum 2x Primer in advance of spraying the color, and I only had to have one coat of each.  I have to confess, it ain't perfect, but I'm OK with that.  It's pretty darned nice.  For a while there, it felt like I'd never get done, and I about emptied the Home Depot of their supply of Strawflower, but I finally got it done.  (I'm not being paid by either Rustoleum or Home Depot, for the record. I just want you to know what I used and where I got it, in case you have questions.)

I don't have a before, but you know exactly the shade of dull olive green that so typically gets sprayed on all kinds of outdoor furniture.  Imagine that.  Now imagine it dull, rusty and ugly.  That's it.

But here is the after:

Isn't it nice?  I don't have any in-process pics. I started the project well before I started the blog, and it simply didn't occur to me.  I'm going to have to learn to be a better blogger.  But you can bet that I put off that umbrella until last.  It was a real challenge. 

By the way, you have to forgive that deck's surface.  It's next on our agenda.

I'm still working on that bamboo set.  All I really have left is some upholstery, and I'll bring that to you. 

Love ya,


Monday, September 5, 2011

I Have a Dream

OK, so I 'borrowed' that phrase.  I don't think he'll mind.  I DO have a dream.  I got to thinking about how important it is that you believe in your dream, but also about how important it is that someone else supports you in your dreaming.  I am fortunate indeed to have just such a someone in my life. 

MMM and I have been together for only about eighteen months.  We actually 'met' on a dating website, then went out for a cup of tea together.  Sometime I'll tell you more about our courtship, but what I do know is that I was blessed to find him.  I hope he feels the same way.  One of the greatest blessings of our relationship is that he supports my dream.  And not just in a small way.  I need to back up a bit.  I have been single for most of my life.  I have never had the means to do much more than just get by, and that includes my home.  I live in a 950 square foot two bedroom, two bath condo with a storage room.  There's no real work space.  My yard is shared.  It's not difficult to imagine how quickly I'd tick off my neighbors if I suddenly started dragging pieces of furniture onto our beautifully manicured (but hardly ever used) lawn and started refinishing furniture there.  Here's a shot of my living room last Christmas.  It's pretty, but it's limited on space. (Ignore the cat on the sofa.  That's Max.  He's just trying to hypnotize you.)

So, instead, I did little pieces here and there.  This, for example: 

I did this chair as part of an art auction for our local symphony.  (What can I say?  Max likes to be featured.)  I'm not exactly a 'known' artist, but I've done a couple of these.  I have done a bit of art for children's rooms, as well, and I have a studio at a local pottery guild.  So I keep my hand in. 

But what I've always loved is home decoration.  Even when my resources were very limited, I could work out creative ways to make my home pretty and comfortable.  Anyone can do that.  But I've always wanted to take it to the next level. 

When my darling grandmother died four years ago, she left me a thousand dollar savings bond.  I sat on it for these last four years, unwilling to spend it just to spend it.  A thousand dollars is a lot of money to me, and holds a lot of possibility.  In July, I told MMM that I wanted to find a way to use Grandma's money to invest into something lasting.  Then I shared my dream.  I showed him Miss Mustard Seed's blog, and a number of others.  (I don't know Marian from MMS, but I know I'd love her.  Our dreams are certainly similar.)  I basically said that I wanted a little business, one where I could put my talents to work, one little furniture project at a time.  And MMM, bless his heart, said - "You could store that stuff in my shop and work there, too."  WHAT??!?!?  I was blown away.  Here he, in one fell swoop, acknowledged that he could see my dream and offered to give me a launching pad.  I have to tell you, there is nothing like having your dream sanctioned by someone who loves you and supports your dream with their own commitment.

And so - Voila!  Sassafras Salvation.

Watch me go!

Love ya,

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