May 28, 2013

Let's start at the very beginning...

No matter what happens, travel gives you a story to tell. 


And goodness knows, I love to tell a good story!  But since stories usually start at the beginning, let's take a peek at what all I was dealing with while trying to get ready for vacation.  Not only were my husband and I trying to wrap up projects at our respective jobs so that we could both leave with clear consciences and clean desks, he was also wrapping up his spring season with his youth symphony and giving final lessons to one of his senior students, who has studied with him for close to ten years.  Our family room does double duty as his music studio on Saturday mornings, so I am privileged to get to know his students a little as well, hearing them progress from beginner etudes to marvelous concertos.  
Reception following the concert with some of the youth symphony members
Since the concert was on Mother's Day, my family gathered the day before to celebrate with me. It's fun watching my family expand, with a daughter-in-law and soon-to-be-son-in-law adding to the gaiety.  I love being a mother, and having a day to celebrate it is even nicer!

But since we were leaving on vacation following Mother's Day weekend, I had to celebrate long distance with my own mother.  I sewed something special for her, based on this pillow I found in a catalog.  You can customize a pillow with your choice of a map or nautical chart.  It immediately brought to mind our Massachusetts travel adventures from a couple of years ago, but at $100 a pillow I knew I had to get creative and come up with my own pillow design!
Custom Map Pillow
Original source

I've made pillow cases before, but never the "envelope" style with the back openings for easy cleaning. Nor had I ever used transfer paper with my computer.  So I studied a few tutorials online, and then went "googling" (I'm sure that's a word~~if not, you know what I mean!) for nautical images of my own.  I found a map of Newburyport harbor from 1640, made shortly after our ancestors helped establish the town in 1632, plus an ink drawing of the Mary and John sailing ship that was used for the voyage from England.  All that was left was to purchase some nautical themed fabric, a couple of small pewter charms, plus printer fabric/paper and voilà...pillows that recall our Massachusetts colonial heritage on a Puritan budget! :-)

Here's a peek at how they turned out and according to my mother, they look great on her sofa.  I was so happy with the result, and couldn't wait for her to open the box when it arrived in the mail!

Anchor and sailing ship charms for a little added bling!
And if work, family and concert responsibilities were not enough, I've been living in a disrupted world.  I thrive on neatness and order, and lately my house has been....well, let's just say it isn't neat OR orderly!  First we decided to paint the kitchen and dining room ceiling, which required a lot of taping and covering up and moving the dining room furniture into the living room:

Then, we had our Corian countertops refinished.  Replacing them simply wasn't in our budget, but I was so tired of the dingy almond color and the horrible crack that kept growing quarter inch by quarter inch....

On the upside, my counter tops have never been so clean!  You can't see them, but the counters had many little stains and nicks from years of hard use. 

dang crack!
This, of course, also meant taking out the leaky faucet that was driving me bonkers, pulling out the stove and temporarily storing all the counter 'stuff' on the table!  We ate with plates balanced on our laps in the family room for almost a week...

And, truth be gets worse!  Getting ready for vacation, part two, will appear tomorrow, and in the meantime, Shel Silverstein's poem Messy Room seems sadly strangely apropos...

Whosever room this is should be ashamed!
His underwear is hanging on the lamp.
His raincoat is there in the overstuffed chair,
And the chair is becoming quite mucky and damp.
His workbook is wedged in the window,
His sweater's been thrown on the floor.
His scarf and one ski are beneath the TV,
And his pants have been carelessly hung on the door.
His books are all jammed in the closet,
His vest has been left in the hall.
A lizard named Ed is asleep in his bed,
And his smelly old sock has been stuck to the wall.
Whosever room this is should be ashamed!
Donald or Robert or Willie or—
Huh? You say it's mine? Oh, dear,
I knew it looked familiar!

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