Sunday, February 26, 2012

New Entry Floor

While the hubs was gone for a week to the upper peninsula this past month,
I took advantage of having the house to myself 
and getting a project completed that had been put off for way too many years.

I installed a new floor!

Well...I can't take all the credit.
I did have help.

I called Lin up to see what she was doing
and she happily and fearlessly donated her services.
She's willing to try anything 
(from what she tells me anyway).

Neither of us had put down flooring before.
What were we thinking...???

But, being women of the 2000's 
and being incredibly inspired by all of the DIY bloggers out there,
and being such a teeny, tiny space ~
we knew we could do it.

We plunged right in.

Pencil?  Check!
Box cutter?  Check!
Level?  Check!
T-square?  Check!
Yardstick?  Check!
Box of new flooring?  Check!
Bottle of FatCat*HappyDog wine?  


"Hey, Lin?"
"It's 10:00 in the morning."
"Yeah, so?"
"We better wait on that."


I had ripped up the old parquet floor a couple days prior
with a hammer and putty knife.

As you can see, it was in bad shape.  
It had gotten wet from snowy, salty, dirty shoes over the years
even though we've always had a rug there.
I couldn't keep it clean any more and it just looked
Not to mention that I've never been a fan of parquet floors.
Too busy for my taste.


The old parquet came up very easily.

"Demolition" = my new middle name.

See what I mean about being tiny? This space looks larger already with the parquet gone.

Ugly gold metal trim.....gone!

I also repainted the risers as well as the little "cubby" which holds our boot tray.

We were laying TrafficMaster Allure Resilient flooring in "Tradition" from Home Depot.
It's awesome stuff.
It looks just like wood, has a distinct wood grain feel to it,
but is actually some type of rubbery material.
You measure, cut, line it up, and stick it down.
That's it!

Looks like real wood, no?

The gray strips are where you line up the planks and stick them together.

After a couple hours of work,
a few choice words,
prayers for said choice words,
a few wrong measurements,
prayers for correct measurements,
a bit of a learning curve,
forgetting to take photos of us in contorted poses with planks in our hands,
lots and lots of laughing about "cheek cracks" while both of us squished together in that tiny, little space,

and not a DROP of wine, mind you...

we had the majority of it done.

Boot cubby


we ran out of flooring.
We were about 6 planks short.

Guess someone didn't calculate correctly.
(Yes, that would be me.
But in my own defense, 
the guy at Home Depot said one box would be enough!)

So, I ordered some more online and it arrived three days later,
which is when I completed it ~
all by myself.

This past weekend,
Hubby and I finally took some time to install new baseboard trim as well as replaced the old, icky gold metal strip on the top step with a new pewter colored one.

Ta da!

I would definitely lay this flooring again ~ and have already started eyeing my carpeted bathroom...

We couldn't believe how much larger this teeny, tiny space looked.
No more make-your-eyes-go-loopy, crazy, parquet squares filled with years of dirt and yuck.

Now, just easy-to-keep-clean, smooth, wood-like planks
that are water, dirt, and scratch resistant
to scruffy dogs
and scruffy husbands.


Thank you, Lin!!!

Love you, girl!!!

(Hey, wanna build a house next....?) 


now....where's that wine....???

[ Blessings ]

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Robin & Sparrow

I didn't really have anything exciting to post about this week
since I've been working on some furniture pieces I nabbed at the
Habitat for Humanity ReStore
last week.

(Stay tuned.
They're almost finished!)

So, I thought I'd tell you about a special blog friend.

(Well....I actually have a gazillion,
but this post is about just one of them.)

Her name is Clare.

That's Clare on the right.  Her sweet momma is on the left.

She has a sweet blog called The Robin and Sparrow 
and a beautiful Etsy shop of the same darling name. 

I ordered a beautiful linen lavender-filled heart sachet from her a while ago
which has traveled throughout the rooms here at Heaven's Walk,
hanging from our TV armoires, pie safe, doorknobs,
and tucked into a vintage wire basket filled with yarn.

Her creations are stunning.

I received a gift from her the other day.

She's thoughtful like that.

I stood there at the counter and just took in how she tied the box up
with tattered strips of a vintage flowered sheet.

(Note to self: Do not throw away any more old sheets.)

I read her little note, and my broken heart filled with a whisper of joy.

You see, 
her gift arrived on the exact same day that I had to painfully cancel spring vacation plans 
to our beloved Florida island this year.

I was having a very sad day.

I slowly, carefully untied the knots and peered into the box.
The beautiful scent of lavender wafted up and embraced me.

This is what she sent me ~
all sweetly wrapped in a beautiful embroidered linen towel.

I delighted over the darling little ceramic bird and pearl filled vintage bottle.

The starfish and striped beach tag was a sweet reminder of ocean-side vacations past.

I imagined myself tying the pretty French postal tags on future gifts to friends.

They all sat atop a breathtaking embroidered handmade linen lavender-filled pillow.
I lifted the pillow from that box and inhaled it's calming fragrance.

The linen towel with the baby blue embroidered bird
was hung on the ladder in my bathroom.

(I'm putting away the red touches for now here at Heaven's Walk,
and bringing back my beloved blue for the spring and summer months.)

The gorgeous lavender filled pillow was placed in the white bowl on my coffee table.
When the sun shines in the window and warms the bowl, 
the room is filled with that delicious scent.

Thank you, Clare ~
for being such a cherished blog friend 
and for taking the time to make a sad day

a little happier.

Be sure to check out Clare's blog
and visit her sweet Etsy shop.

You'll find a new friend there,
I'm sure.

 [ Blessings ]

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Tattered Grain Sack Hearts

While I've been laying low at home with a nasty cold,
(which my darling hubster passed on to me)
I scraped up enough courage (and strength) to haul out my little sewing machine again.

With knocking knees
and whispered prayers on my lips,
I sat down to create some tattered heart sachets using some grain sack material.

I was motivated by all of the hearts I had been seeing of late in blogland. 

Now...I must tell you that this particular grain sack was not of the best material.
Not like the ones I usually purchase from my favorite Etsy source.
I picked this one up at the antique market last summer for cheap,
which is why I had no qualms about cutting it up.
It was clean and very linen-like, however -
perfect for this project.

I remembered that I also had some leftover drop cloth scraps in the basement 
along with a flour sack towel,
so I used those, too.

I found a heart online, traced in on a manila file folder,
and cut it out.

After tracing it onto the grain sack and cutting it out,
I sewed a button or tag here;
a piece of lace or embroidery thread there;
and added vintage seam binding or grain sack twine to hang them from.

No, the machine was not consistent with nice, untangled sewing lines,
and I found myself almost flinging the thing across the room at one point
because of the clumped snags it was making.

But I controlled myself,
re-threaded the bobbin and the needle,
(more than once)
(revisited my self-inflicted sewing assignment)
and attempted it again.

The results were worth my almost patient, prayer-filled effort.

I created a mixed media heart with grain sack material
and some vintage toile,
and I outlined one with red embroidery thread.

I made one using that flour sack towel,
but found that fabric was a little more tricky to maneuver 
with my temperamental machine.

I left the edges rough and tattered.

It made them look well-loved.

 And yes....
the sewing machine survived to see another day...

for now.

Hope that you were blessed with a Valentine's Day 
full of love!

~  ♥  ~

 [ Blessings }

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Friday, February 10, 2012

♥ Thank You ♥

You amazed me.

You comforted me.

You prayed for my family and me.

You blessed me.

I don't even know how to thank you for all of your kind words.

Words of support.

Words of encouragement.

Words of love.

I wish I could give each and every one of you a great big hug.

The stories you shared with me were heartbreaking
yet uplifting,
knowing that we share something else in common.
I was stunned at the number of you who are walking this path with me
or have done so in the past with your own parents.
The advice, suggestions, and information that you passed on to me
will be taken to heart and heeded.
It's such a comfort to know that there are friends out there who
will give me gentle direction
should I lose my way on this journey...

Please know that I treasure each and every one of you.
Know that God loves each and every one of you beyond comprehension.

Know that you are very special

and that He placed you on this earth for a very special reason.

From deep within my heart...

I thank you so


I thank Him 

for you.

[ Blessings ]

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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Blessings In Disguise...

She sat on the examination table swinging her still shapely legs.
Legs that I always envied.
Her arms hugged her body and her gaze settled on the door to the room.

"Are you cold, Mom?", I asked.

"Yes.  A little", she answered quietly.

"Do you want me to put your socks back on?"

"Yes.  That would be nice."

I bent over her and slipped the thick, cotton socks back on her aging feet, noticing that her toes were bent and misshapen a bit and that it was time for a pedicure.

"Mmmm....that's better".

She smiled and continued to swing her legs back and forth. 
Together, we continued to wait.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Ten minutes earlier I had met with her doctor, unbeknownst to my parents. I had slipped a note to the nurse asking to meet privately with him.  When he completed my dad's physical exam and brought Dad into the room with mom and me, the nurse looked my way and said, "I'm going to pull you out of here a minute."

I knew she had read my note.

The doctor walked into the room the nurse had placed me in. 

"What can I do for you, Laurie?" he inquired gently.

Numerous thoughts slipped in and out of my mind.  I caught one and told him,  "I just wanted you to know that the woman sitting in that room is just a shell of the woman that raised me.  A shell of the woman who I knew six months ago."

He nodded knowingly.

I continued. "I know she has dementia. Probably vascular dementia from her strokes and the pituitary tumor, but where do we go from here? She's not only losing the capacity to think of words and carry on a conversation, but she's losing the strength in her legs. She's more depressed and cries so easily. She sleeps a lot.  She can't hear a thing and won't get hearing aids. Does she need a geriatrician? Or a doctor who specializes in dementia? And I can tell that Dad is feeling the stress of caring for her. I can see the weariness in his face and the fear in his eyes. Where do we go from here?  Are there meds she can take?  Extra vitamins we should be giving her? What about support....?

I took a deep breath, realizing I was rambling.

The tone of his voice was soft and caring.  

"I know what you're saying. 
Yes....your mother has Alzheimer's...."

When I actually heard him say those words, it was almost like I was thrown into a slow motion movie with no sound. I could see his mouth moving, forming vowels, but I couldn't hear the words. I was underwater. Drowning. I struggled to break free and concentrate on what he was saying.

"...and she is certainly not going to get any better. She will need more care in the days ahead. It will be a trying time for you and your family.  There is an Alzheimer's Association where you can get more information and support. As far as a geriatrician, I wouldn't be against that at all - if you can find a good one, and that will be difficult.  
She needs to eat three good meals a day with fruits and vegetables.
She needs to get regular exercise, and she needs to get out and socialize as much as possible. 
Don't let her sit in the house and watch TV all day and all evening."

I nodded numbly and took another deep breath as he continued.

"We'll stay on top of this and will give her the best care we can. If and when you need more help or want to talk again, just give me a call."

We walked back the examination room where Mom and Dad were patiently waiting.  

I watched Mom's face as the doctor began to ask her questions while he typed her answers into his computer.  She remembered her last name.  She remembered what month it was.  But her face was pained as she struggled to tell him what year it was, and when her birthday was.  I crumpled inside. I wondered what thoughts were going through her mind knowing that she was failing at her answers.

I watched as the doctor listened to her heart and lungs.  

"Please, Lord....keep her as healthy as possible for as long as possible...", I found myself praying. "Give us the knowledge to know how to help her through the rest of her life. Give her the strength to keep clinging to the strong-willed spirit she was born with."

I thought back to my childhood. Mom always "wore the pants in the family".  She made the decisions in our family life with Dad happily supporting her and backing her up.  She and I butted heads many a time when I was younger.  We had some interesting arguments and disagreements - probably because we were a lot alike in the way we viewed life. But I knew that I also carried my Dad's laid-back attitude as far as letting things get to us. We knew which battles needed to be fought and which ones to let go.

I looked over at Dad sitting next to me.  He looked weary.  I knew that he and Mom butted heads to this day - a sure sign of his frustration and fear. He didn't want to lose the woman he loved, and he had no control over it at this point. She was ever so gradually slipping away from us all. I knew how much he loved her, too.  I had watched his face many times in numerous hospital rooms during the past 10 years while Mom battled for her life with a bleeding liver, clots in her legs, and a pituitary tumor.  He held her hand until the nurses rolled her into the cold treatment room to receive radiation treatments to shrink that tumor.  Treatments that would eventually burn her optic nerves resulting in complete blindness in her right eye and 75% blindness in her left. He was there for her through it all. They were so devoted to each other.  They were bound together by trials and tribulations as well as through the love of God they shared.

Dad & Mom, October 2011

He had stepped into leading the family during these tough times.  He shouldered the responsibility like one of God's faithful soldiers.  He knew it was his time. It was like he scooped up the shattered pieces and and patiently tried to piece them back together. He tenderly cared for Mom while constantly giving time and energy to my brother and me. We became much closer while sharing each others' pain. God planned it that way, I think.  I believe that the trials in this life are His blessings in disguise.

 Mom clung to my arm as she shuffled next to me on our way out of the room, dragging her cane as usual.  I was always reminding her to use the cane instead of dragging it behind her.  Dad headed to the check out window to complete some paperwork.  I took her out to the waiting room and settled her into a chair.

"Where are we going now?" she asked.

"To the building next door to have some blood drawn, Mom," I answered.


"Next door."

"Where's that?"

"Don't worry, we'll get you there, Mom."

"Where are we going?  And where's your Dad...?"

A shell. My mother was a shell of the strong woman she used to be. Her thoughts now jumbled together and her personality childlike. Completely dependent on Dad, me, and my brother. Being faithfully carried in the palm of God's hand through each day.

I will always carry that mother I once knew in my heart and soul. She is part of who I am.  She is the part of me who will stand her ground and not bend under trials. She is the part of me who will claw her way through experiences that are painful and frightening. She is the part of me who will love deeply and fully with the grace of God.

Someday, she may not remember who I am....
but I will always remember who she is.

is bigger than all of this.

I am following Him in my present
leaving tomorrow in His hands...

[ Love & Blessings ]

P.S. ~ The new gadget you see on my sidebar is an option to replace Google Friend Connect which is being discontinued March 1.
I would love to have you follow me there
and I will follow each of you as you follow along as well.
Just click on the "Linky Followers" tool to sign up for your own followers gadget for your own blog.  It's very easy to do.
(Thanks, Courtney, for the tip and link.)

{all images from source except otherwise noted}

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