Friday, March 23, 2012

Time keeps on ticking, ticking...into the future!

"New Life"
B.E. Photography

There I go again with a song. See. They just pop into my head for headlines, and I have no idea why.

Been a while, hasn't it? Now that some events have passed, I feel like I can actually sit down and think again. In His devine providence, the Lord saw fit for me to basically loose about four months of life as I know it, but in doing so, has brought me so much closer to Him.

First, we lost a family member rather suddenly, then it was Christmas, then I did a remodel in record time, got sick while doing so,  dealt with a declining grandmother (who has made a slight upward turn...Ms. Energizer Bunny!), then spent three weeks of my life wondering if something was seriously wrong with my health! UGh! Now that it's over, I can say, God has been incredibly good to me and my family by allowing me to find out I'm totally fine.

I mentioned before I had made three trips to the doctors office with an upper respiratory issue, but could not seem to get well. Long story short, on the third trip, she took x-rays, freaked me out by sending me to a pulmunologist who had me do lung testing and told me that I had some "scaring" showing up in my lungs that "wasn't normal" and scheduled me for CT scan!!! Having just buried someone with lung cancer, I nearly fell completely apart as my nerves were already shot. I seriously started wondering if my doctor really knew what she was doing, and became very frustrated with not ever getting a diagnosis. I got my x-rays, went to a new internal medicine doc and was diagnoised in one visit with bronchitis... something I've never had and the first doctor should have been able to recognize. I then waited a week and had to go through CT scan...something else I've never done. By this point, I was feeling fine and was starting to wonder if the CT was even necessary, but for peace of mind went anyway. In the end, the pulmunologist's office called me this week and told me.....that my lungs were totally normal and fine! The "scaring" (bronchitis) they'd seen was no longer there. Is God great or what?! I nearly went comatose, I was so exhausted from the stress of the last few months:)

There was some serious praying going on during those three weeks. While reading the boys' Bible story one night, I was hit with the feeling that God was speaking directly to me. Ever felt that? We were reading about how the twelve spies were sent out to steak out the promised land by Moses. When they came back, only two (Joshua and Caleb) chose to believe in what they could not see, and told the people they could take the land with God's help. The other ten lost faith and were intimidated by what they saw, so they told lies about how impossible it would be to take the land of Canaan. I not only felt it then, but continued to feel like God was telling me to keep my trust in him,  not in what I saw or heard. I knew I was to trust in the unseen God and his plan for me, not in the info and opinions being thrust in front of my face. It's been a serious evaluation of my faith. I'm not so proud of how much fear I had or how little my faith was, but I am incredibly grateful for the patience of such a loving, heavenly Father who knows what we need when we need it. I had wonderful friends and family praying for me every step of the way. Every time I felt like I was at the end of my rope, He would send a shower of peace over me, reminding me to trust in Him.

A lot of time was spent debating what my future might hold and what changes I might have to make to my business if I was even able to keep doing it. I've mentioned before that I am very leery of chemicals. After coloring my hair with a new dye full of ammonia (and not yet knowing I had bronchitis), my lungs just slammed shut and I ended up at the doctor's office to get a steroid shot. I've always been bothered by fumes, but I've never had issues breathing and it scared me to death! That was confirmation that I am just hypersensitive to fumes. I have made the decision to primarily stick with paint or unfinished applications. No more contact cement and VERY little staining, which will only be done with a respirator and outside. I'm dying to get back to projects and have turned my attentions for now on our house and getting some things done around here to share with you.

Well, there's your update and why I've not written in a while. I feel great now! To top it off, it's my favorite time of year (even with all the yellow pollen). Everywhere I turn, I see new photo shots and beautiful fresh colors. Be inspired to trust in our unseen God! Look at the beauty surrounding us in the spring and marvel that he would take the time to create such grandeur for us to enjoy:)

I sit at my dining room table and work each day, looking out the window at the beautiful birds that flock to the feeder hung in the maple tree. This little guy is one of my favorites! There's a Mrs. Cardinal I'm waiting to get a shot of as well:)

B.E. Photography

This little guy is voicing my praises for good health and God's grace!

"Singing Cardinal"
B.E. Photography

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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Tobi Fairley Inspiration

All images shown on this post via Tobi Fairley's Portfolio.

Yesterday I went searching for some ideas to liven the dining room up. I'm not going to repaint, but I am thinking of recovering the four chairs I already did with something a little more cheerful. (Go ahead...say it. I know what you are thinking, "Are you insane?!")

I took down the damask curtains. I may even sell the rug! I think I'll list them on Craig's List along with the two extra plaid curtain panels that corrdinate with the rug (that's what I used on the chairs). I'm not only realizing I just need color around me, but I also like neutral rugs. I'm going back to my old stand-by – my no fail rug choice: sea grass. No matter what I do, it always goes with a sea grass rug:)

These are just some ideas I'm tossing around. We'll see. Right now I have some valances and drapery panels I'm working on for a client to finish up. I'll show you some before and after pics when I get them installed. I'm also having to rest. I made my third trip back to the doc [in three weeks] today and have now started my second AND third round of antibiotics. I think I just pushed myself too hard with work and all the family events since this fall and it finally caught up with me. Have I mentioned I can tend to be a work-aholic - although not consciously? It's not until I'm about to drop that I realize I've not taken a break. That's great for clients... not so great for me when I'm sick and should be resting. Now, I'm just plain sick of being SICK and will do whatever I need to... including sitting on my rear for a week if need be so the meds can do their job (I SOO don't do that well!). I'll be fine and am working much harder at pacing myself these days:)

During my down time, I decided to go check out Tobi Fairley's website for ideas. I love the way she uses color. It's not over the top, but it's vibrant, happy, and soothing all at the same time. Love it! Here's some of the images I particularly liked:

Hmmmm.... here's an idea for punching up a room with black. Colorful art and accessories layered over a black "canvas".

Subtle use of color on the chair fabric.

Simple but elegant use of contrasts.

This just screams summertime to me!

Thinking I like the more graphic nature of black and white versus black and beige.

How great are those silhouettes in bright colors? Simple art work anyone could do.

I'm a big fan of this color combo.

Great little vignette of complimentary colors!

This kitchen just has my name all over it!

Those are so my colors!

I love that orange is popular again.

Take a color and spread it around in bits to keep it from looking random and to tie it all together.

Just adding some colorful flowers or art can make a room pop!

Great use of white, orange and it's compliment soft blue.

I love a white kitchen with a dark stained island.

I'm fancying some green painted chests for night stands when I look at this picture.

Neutrals but lots of texture and pattern - not boring.



I'm particularly in love with this melon pink right now!

Feel like grabbing a paint brush yet and slapping some color on a small side piece or lamp? How about some beautiful flowers in a vase? Or maybe some colorful throw pillows? Those are fun and easy to switch out when you tire of them. Go for it. Be bold and push yourself to use step out of your comfort zone of neutrals!

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Monday, March 5, 2012

Personal Insight

Biltmore House viewed from one of the walking paths through the gardens.
B.E. Interiors Photography

You know, life is a constant learning process. No matter how old you get, you never know it all (sorry kids!). I love to look at soothing neutral rooms. They really appeal to me and I love to design them. Guess what I've learned, though. I don't like living with them! I totally neutralized my dining room this past fall and had it done just in time for Thanksgiving and the family dinner after my grandfather-in-law's funeral. At the time, I liked it. It was so drastically different than what I'm used to doing in my own home. I experimented... and I learned something new about myself. I'm just not a neutral kinda gal and it's not appealing to me anymore! [Oh, the hubby will just loose it if he reads this!]

It's not that I don't think it looks pulled together, but I can tell I've been going through kind-of a dark season in life. It feels like a funeral home to me now! Maybe it's just because immediately after finishing the room, I was hosting the family meal after burying a loved one. Now, I'm waiting on a second funeral to happen in the near future.

My grandmother is rapidly slipping away. She fell about two weeks ago, hitting her head incredibly hard. I'm surprised it didn't kill her. Also surprising was the fact that no bones were broken. Ever since, though, she's slipped really fast. I wonder as I leave her each morning after our "coffee" (when I check on her, gather up her dirty clothes to wash, etc.) if I'll see her again the next day. I wouldn't trade this time with her for anything. But, it's extremely draining emotionally... spending each day wondering if it's your last with someone you love. The last thing I need right now is to feel like I'm in a funeral home in my place of refuge - my home! Whether it really looks that way or not, it's how it feels because of all we've been through since it was finished. I can't think of anything that lifts your spirits better than a good dose of color and remembering this verse:

"Be joyful always; pray continually;give thanks in all circumstances, 
for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

So, I'm looking to change it up a little. I'm craving some color! There's just too much black and beige. It's almost spring time and things are starting to bloom. Spring is my favorite time of year...when everything seems to be full of life and new beginnings.  I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet in the dining room, but I'm tossing around some ideas. Nothing major. I do still like the paint. Some color just needs to be injected and a little of the black removed. The wheels are spinning....!

The boys in front of the "castle"!
B.E. Photography

Biltmore House viewed from the Italian Gardens.
B.E.  Photography

The brilliant orange of these bushes in the dead of winter really inspired me
to come home and liven things up a bit with some color!
B.E. Photography

In the meantime, I thought I'd share some pictures I took at The Biltmore House last weekend. As a little family celebration of me being done with the rental house and finally home on the weekends, we jumped in the car last weekend and headed up for the day. Nothing was blooming, and there was a bitter cold wind blowing, but it was fun. Not so sure it was good for this upper respiratory mess I've had for what seems like forever, but never the less, we had a good time. I'm not sure if the kids were more  excited to see "the castle" or the animals at the petting zoo:) Enjoy!

One of the gargoyles on the Biltmore.
B.E. Photography

Cherub in the Italian Gardens at the Biltmore House.
B.E. Photography

Big Boy petting the horse at the petting zoo on the grounds.
B.E. Photography

This poor girl made me laugh:) She was about to drop a kid or two at any moment and had decided to rest in the wheelbarrow! I so feel her pain. What I wouldn't have given to be hauled around in a wheel barrow at that point!
B.E.  Photography

I think everyone wanted his woolly coat that day!
B.E. Photography

The two youngest taking a ride before heading home. Don't you just love my middle guy's fashion sense? And to think...I used to swear there would NEVER be camouflage in my home!

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