Mixing Decorating Styles

As much as I LOVE the old chippy paint, and country primitives, I also have a LOVE for the beach and everything tropical! I'm a CA native from sunny Southern CA and have always lived within about a ten minute drive to the beach! My home is a mix of decorating styles and collections. One of my collections is old bathing suits. The swimsuit pictured above is one I've had, but the dress form is new, just brought her home. It's NOT the time of year to buy anything for me. I have a small Catalina Swimwear logo stuff. The framed advertisement above came from an old magazine advertising Catalina Swimwear.The vintage Catalina advertising life preserver was at one time used in a department store that displayed Catalina Swimwear. When I noticed that the dress form pictures above had the Catalina logo, well, as I said, she had to come home with me! My house is filled with vintage furniture and collections. My bedroom is kind of a mix of decorating styles. I love the beach, tropical stuff, and Maui (oh how I miss Maui), so my room is a mix of not only that but blended with old country primitives as well as a few vintage surfboards. The old vintage beauty shop chair is by far one of my very favorite things not just in my bedroom, but my house! It was re-done in a bark cloth type tropical fabric and the chair is so comfortable. The chair also works well as a climbing toy for Riley. She loves to make the chair go up as high as it can go. I always feel bad when customers are never sure if they should buy something they have fallen in love with at Country Roads because they are just not sure it will go with the rest of their house. My house is a "home" and it's filled with things that I love, things that hold a place in my heart. Our houses are meant to be "homes". My "home" is filled with things, family and friends that I love! Happy Monday.


Gifts From The Heart

This was a picture I used for my Christmas cards back in 1983. Bryce was two months old, Katie was almost two years old, and Brande was three. I posted this picture kind of as a reminder to all of us as we enter the holiday season this year. The world we are living in today has been a really financially tough one for so many. And I know it makes it worse that Christmas is around the corner, money is tight for many, and when it comes to buying gifts you may not be sure what to do. It's the "thought" that counts when it comes to Christmas, especially this year. A gift from the heart means so much more to people these days. Photos are a great gift, or handmade items that can be purchased really reasonable from sites like Etsy, or even at Country Roads too. We have many wonderful handmade things that are handmade, affordable and really nice. Just like when I said on my Thanksgiving post, "it's not about the food on the table, but the people who sit around the table", Christmas is the same way. It's not about how many presents you have under the tree, but it is the family and friends that you spend the time with around that Christmas tree! As I look at the picture of my little kids above, I remember their little smiles, and I don't have a clue what I got for Christmas that year! Why, because it is the simple things in life, like our babies smiles that will always be the greatest gifts of all, the things that we will always remember. It's another beautiful day here today, a bit chilly but beautiful just the same. I hope you all get to enjoy it!


Time to Decorate!

The totes came down from the loft yesterday, and it officially was time to decorate for Christmas!I always enjoy looking inside my totes at all the Christmas stuff I've collected over the years, talk about memories! I love how this little house looks when its dark and it lights up. Something simple that makes me smile! I always like to display my Christmas stuff in different places each year. Of course, when you are in this business of antiques, my stuff also changes every year. I love the Shiny Brite Christmas ornaments. I'm always fascinated that something so fragile, the bulbs and the boxes have survived all these years.I love the old hotel silver, which make great containers for Christmas displays. Every year I bring down the old punch bowl and loving cup and use them as the center piece on my harvest table. Some more old hotel silver mixed with some reproduction brush trees.I've still got more of my special little treasures to put up, and am anxious to do that. I love putting the Christmas stockings up. I still have the three stockings my own kids got as babies. My mom needle pointed them, or some other sewing type thing. And this year I get to add Morgan's stocking with the rest. I guess that is one of the reasons I love the holidays. It's family time filled with memories!


Thanksgiving Leftovers!

I had a really nice Thanksgiving yesterday. I didn't have to bring much over to Katie's, so it was nice to have some time for myself. I remember those days when my kids were young, we would have to go to everyone's house. Bryce, Justine, and Morgan were getting ready to leave for her mom's house and rushing around to get ready. I think you can tell by the look on Bryce's face. I don't miss those days. Yes, those ARE wrapped Christmas presents!! I'm so proud of myself, this is a first. I'm never this organized and always up late on Christmas Eve wrapping gifts. And, I've been buying gifts here and there this year, so this will help me have a more relaxing Christmas Eve this year. This year I only had to bring ahi for Brande and I, neither of us eat meat. Also, the rest was easy, store bought rolls and a case of Corona. I was making a cranberry sandwich "something" that Paula Deen did on one of her shows. I don't even like cranberry sauce and as you can tell, my "dish" looks nothing like Paula's! Brande thought her dessert was the ugliest. We were having a "who has the ugliest dessert contest". I won hands down on that one, mine looked disgusting! Katie's house was SO loud and chaotic. Riley's cousin, Applonini who is five is a, what word shall I use, a free spirit. She's always pushed Riley around and is twice Riley's size. This year Riley has started to stand up for herself, so there was lots and lots of screaming! Thankfully, "teacher Brande" came to the rescue and helped the girls make crowns from paper bags and have a parade! Thank you Brande for the quiet time, it was awesome while it lasted. The parade was cute, nice and it was quiet for awhile. And both of the girls seemed to enjoy it! That is Mary Jane, the cat on the ground that Riley has her arms wrapped around! This is the fattest cat I've ever seen in my life. I don't know if the cat is just mellow so she lets Riley hold her like that or just too fat to get up! After Apple went home, things calmed down considerably as Riley lovingly holds her Baby Riley! Another Thanksgiving behind us, more wonderful memories created, and now, time to put the turkeys away and decorate the house for Christmas!!


Happy Thanksgiving!

Brande and Morgan are pictured above being "thankful" that Country Roads is closed on Thanksgiving! We only close three days a year, so we are thankful to have a day off. It's a beautiful, sunny Thanksgiving morning here at my home which is in Long Beach in CA. It's one of those days you really appreciate living here, the weather is just awesome. I'm a little late posting my Thanksgiving post. I've been sitting in my office, listening to music and thinking about Thanksgiving and what it means to me this year. Here are a few of things that I am truly thankful for this beautiful Thanksgiving morning. How could anyone not be thankful for this? Being a part of my two grandbabies lives, Riley & Morgan, is something that I could never put into words. This picture tells it all! My family is something I'm thankful for each and everyday. Even on the days I'm ready to strangle them, which does happen from time to time! This was taken last Thanksgiving down on the beach in Seal Beach. I'm also blessed to have a store such as Country Roads which is so much more than just a business. I am thankful to be able to work with my Country Roads family. They mean the world to me!
I'm so very grateful and thankful to have not just a house, but a "home" to live in. In a time where not everyone has a place to call home, I know how fortunate I am to have a place to call "home". And I never forget that, especially on this Thanksgiving morning. And I'm also very grateful for my friends that are like family to me. You all know who you are and I love each and everyone of you and you hold a very special place in my heart! And extra thanks to Debra over at Common Grounds for her generous way of "paying it forward" by giving to Cheryl & Dan, along with Malaysia, Debbie, Tanza, Jacque, Maureen, Heather and all of those that have sent prayers and good thoughts their way. This is what Thanksgiving is truly about, giving of yourself. With all that said, let's all go out there and try not to kill one of our beloved family members at the dinner table today! Just breathe deep, remember to be thankful that you love them enough not to kill them on Thanksgiving. There are plenty of other days to do that! Happy Thanksgiving!!


White Wednesday

On this pre-holiday "White Wednesday" I wanted to share some really elegant Country Roads "whites" with you all courtesy of Loretta, who is part of our awesome Country Roads family!

As always, please go over and visit Kathleen,our gracious hostess of "White Wednesday". My wish to all of you on this day before Thanksgiving is to think about what you are truly thankful for and what you have been blessed with in your own lives. I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving and would like to end my post with this quote: "As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. -- John Fitzgerald Kennedy


Thanksgiving Thoughts

This is my friend Cheryl. Sorry about the sizing of the pix's, took them off her Facebook page. Cheryl and her husband Dan, have been dealers at Country Roads for some time now. On Sunday, I had to say good-bye to Cheryl with hopes of seeing her and Dan soon. Here's their story in a condensed version. Cheryl & Dan are about my age, with Dan being a bit older. They had a house, have grown kids, a couple of grandkids, one being autistic, and Dan was self-employed. And with the economy the way it was/is, he couldn't afford their health insurance, so he let it go. He had no other choice. Dan is diabetic and hasn't taken the best of care for himself. These past four months he has been seriously ill, and a recent surgery just pushed everything over the top for him and Cheryl. They sold their house, and in this housing market here in SoCal, didn't get much but she was thankful they got "something". After the house sold, Cheryl moved in with a friend while Dan was still in the hospital. Now, she has learned that Dan will be in a medical care facility here for some time. There seems to be some major medical "mistakes" that have happened to him. Meanwhile, Cheryl is driving to Arizona to live with daughter. She told me she didn't even know if her car would make it there! They have to leave Dan, but her and her two grown kids will take turns coming out here to be with him. She said this whole ordeal is surreal! I hadn't seen Cheryl for awhile, and she had come into Country Roads this past Sunday and was telling me the latest in this path in life they've been placed on. I could hear, see, and feel her hopelessness. It broke my heart. She had a few things left at the store she had marked down to 75% and had told me just to donate what was left to charity. If you remember a post I wrote when Rachel Ashwell had been at the store for a book signing a week or so ago, I had a customer want more than 50% off of a $32 item in Cheryl's space. I briefly tried to explain to this woman why there were no further discounts, mentioning what Cheryl was going through and "why" her and Dan needed the money. The woman just looked at me and said, "we all need the money". I'm still in amazement over that comment, actually disturbed at the selfishness of it. And if the store hadn't been so crowded, I may have slapped her! Before Cheryl finished saying her good-byes to me, she was telling me how much she had wanted to come to Rachel's book signing and was sorry she missed it. I told her to hang on a minute, and I got a chair and climbed up on a shelf behind the counter where we have some signed copies of Rachel's books for sale. I grabbed one and gave it to Cheryl telling her that I wanted her to have this. I reminded her that Rachel wrote this book when she was at a point in her life that she was struggling with some issues of her own. I saw Cheryl's eyes fill with tears, her bottom lip start to quiver and everything in me wanted to throw my arms around her and give her a big hug. But I knew in my heart that would cause us both to cry uncontrollably. So instead, I mustered up a big smile, and told her to stay in touch, got her new email address, and watched her walk away. I prayed her car would take her safely to Arizona. The reason for this story? It is the little things in life that can make a difference in peoples lives. It's Thanksgiving, and please remember it's not about all the food on the table, it's about the people "around" that table. Help when you can, it doesn't have to be a lot, but just let someone know you care and please, remember always to be "thankful" for what you have!


Time To Be Thankful

This is my friend Ruthie. I think you might remember her story, the big falling out between her and her daughter last year. Look at that smile on Ruthie's face now. She's at her daughter Susan's new house in Ohio! I gotta tell you, I didn't think I would ever see a happy reunion between this mother and daughter, but here's the photo to prove it! I don't want to get into the whole sad story that happened between this mom & daughter that had been SO very close and then suddenly were apart for a year. Let me just say all of us were so jealous of that mother/daughter relationship they shared and then the unbelievable happened. Ruthie is an amazing woman; my friend, my mentor and my hero in every since of the word. And to see that smile on her face in these pictures warms my heart in a way that words can't describe. It's time for Thanksgiving, and a good week to really dig down deep and think of what we are truly thankful for. And for me, to see the picture of Ruthie and her daughter Susan together again, is something I'm very thankful for. Take some time this week to remind yourself what you are thankful for. I believe this is a good year to be "thankful" and grateful, don't you?


Caution: Christmas Is Rapidly Approaching!

We still haven't gotten the store decked out for the holidays. The time has flown by, especially the month of November! This is an awesome country, primitive cabinet. What you can't see in this picture is the old red paint inside the cupboard, which looks awesome with the chippy white paint on the outside! Great for the holiday season. Interested? Stop on by, we will happily load it up for you! This is the part of Country Roads that Rachel did her book signing at last week at this time. Now it's time to pull Christmas together in this area, which still isn't done yet. I'm not sure if our little fireplace will be working this year, as we try to get this new vignette set up. We could use some "warmth" in the store! Yesterday morning when I left for the store it was 59 degrees out. Let's remember, this is sunny SoCal and that is COLD in my opinion! Our "antlered" friend shines proudly as he helps bring in the holiday season at Country Roads. And a reminder before you get upset with the dead animal, I don't hunt, I don't eat meat, so please remember I did not shoot this poor creature myself nor did anyone else at Country Roads! We found him like this, minus the holiday decorations!I love the look of old winter sleds and skates in our displays. I decorate my own front porch at home with this type of display. Although I have to admit I tried skiing once, hated it, crashed my only toboggan ride down a hill into a tree, and to be real honest, I hate snow. But, I do love to display snow related fun stuff. With all this said, I should start getting ready to go to work. We've got to finish up our Christmas displays before Christmas sneaks up on us!


A Story of Hope

I went and saw the movie Precious. I love to go to this smaller movie theatre that is never too crowded, and I usually go by myself. My time! I have wanted and not wanted to see this movie. I guess I was kind of afraid to see it having read a bit about the movie and knowing it's based on a true story. I think the movie, Slumdog Millionaire has scarred me for life! The one thing that just continued pop out during the movie was it was a story about hope and determination! As tough as it was to watch during different parts, Precious had such determination to improve her life and make a better world for her little daughter and baby son. But getting to that point in her life was quite the story. I always feel life is about choices. We can either "accept" our situations and moan, groan, and complain about them, or we can make a conscious decision to make a positive change for the better. Sometimes change doesn't happen right away, as in Precious' situation. But when you keep that "hope" alive in your heart, nothing can stop you! If you get a chance, please go see this movie. You are reminded how unimportant the little stuff is in life, and how very far you can go in life if you are determined and never lose that "hope" in your heart. And by the way, I "hope" that Gabby Sidibe gets the Oscar for her role as Precious, this girl can act!!


"Thou Shall Not Steal"

I believe, if I'm correct, as I try to remember my childhood Sunday school days, I think commandment number eight is "thou shall not steal". And in today's world, what happens when you do steal is pictured above. The police force you off the road, you are handcuffed, and the Orange Police department searches your car! A little background on the photos above. The two older ladies pictured above that are handcuffed on the side of the road, we have suspected them of shoplifting for years. But actually, if you are good at what you do, you don't get caught. Yesterday they were in Country Roads, again. And again, it was "sport" for them to steal. We all know who they are, but they are brazen enough not to care. On this particular day, "the boys" (Bryce & Tim) followed them after they went out an emergency exit at the store and the alarm went off. They watched these women drive to Watsons, go in the store and come out and load their car. The picture above is what they stole from our store in a very short period of time. It was pulled from their car after they were pulled over by the Orange PD. Apparently they enter the store with big, empty purses. Nothing personal, but I don't think I would risk jail for a stone & iron ant! After the two women left Watson's, they went over to Julep's. The box pictured above is part of what they stole there. Apparently they were preparing for the Christmas holiday. Bryce and Tim watched them load up their car time after time at Julep's. Thankfully, the Orange Police Department was right on top of this situation, and thankfully Bryce and Tim were able to track them down for the police to arrest. You know, if someone steals food because their family is homeless and there children have nothing to eat, in my opinion that is different. Or at least I understand it better. But when two old women are skilled in the profession of shoplifting and make a sport out of it, well maybe they should have paid more attention in Sunday school to Commandment #8, "thou shall not steal". Guess they will have some time to think about that!