Thursday, September 18, 2014


Yesterday was gorgeous here with temperatures only in the 60s, and when an errand took five minutes when I'd been prepared to be tied up with it possibly an entire hour, I decided to walk around downtown awhile afterward.  It couldn't have been a prettier morning.  The sun made the city sparkle instead of swelter, more leaves had turned color, there was enough of a breeze to make the Goldenrod along the river dance but not enough to make walking difficult, and everyone around me seemed to be in the same high spirits.  And I found charming graffiti!  And an equally charming heart-shaped pizza slice.  These are days, indeed.  ♥ 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Mantel Skirt

A year after finding the right paint color for the mantel, I've finished dolling it up by attaching a skirt to the bottom.  The pink gingham-with-roses fabric is a curtain valance I found at Goodwill about six years ago for a dollar and bought knowing I'd find a use for it someday.  Someday arrived a few weeks ago when I realized this would make the perfect finishing touch for the mantel.  Since I couldn't bear to cut into the material, I just slipped a tension rod through the opening at the top and am letting the extra length drape onto the floor at the bottom.  I now keep my boxes of note cards, holiday cards, stationery, and stickers in the space behind the curtain.  (The Cat in the Hat is the school's next surprise delivery.  He was finally packed away yesterday afternoon.)  The pink skirt ties the white wood and the pink wall together better, and the mantel looks cozier now than it did pre-skirt in the two pictures below. 
And the roses in the skirt match the wooden rose applique above it. 
 And I am much happier now that that's all figured-out.  The "mantel project" still requires--in my mind--some twinkle lights and a hooked rug, and I want to add a  red heart here somewhere too, and I'm thinking about extending the fabric "wallpaper" (in another pattern) to either side of the pink yardstick "borders" so the bare wall won't be showing at all, BUT the skirt, at least, gets me one step closer to the vision I have for this little wall. 
Ah!  The pure contentment of simply puttering around one's home like this! 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The School Library Project

I've written about my love for my former elementary school before.  It holds a huge piece of my heart, and at least a few times a year, I have dreams that I'm again walking through its halls and peeking in on the spaces that used to be my classrooms. This January, it occurred to me to donate a few books to the school's library, and after emailing the current librarian to find out what the students would most want to read, I ordered a number of books from amazon and had them shipped to the school directly.  That was January.  In the months since, finding more books for the kids--and more recently, stuffed animals and dolls of book characters to accompany the books--has become a passion of mine.  As of August 23rd, I've donated 188 books and 22 book character toys/dolls to this sweet school.  That thrills me.  :) 

When the librarian emailed me a picture of one of the students holding a couple books from the Easter-themed order I'd sent in April, I was still smiling hours later when I showed it to Mike.   
And when she mentioned in a thank-you note toward the end of last school year that the books had been a "life saver" since the school had no money in its budget for new books, I was even happier that I'd decided to start doing this.  (That so many schools don't have enough money to buy books--or to maintain libraries at all--makes me shake my head.)   
Since I wasn't sure when staff would be in the school building over the summer, I had the books and toys and dolls I'd ordered in June, July, and August mailed to Mike's and my apartment.  It was fun but cluttered here this summer, then, until I could finally box everything up and we could walk it all to the post office a few weeks ago.  A bow-headed Junie B. Jones had for weeks been staring at us from the rocking chair while we ate.  A green-suited Geronimo Stilton mouse would watch us from inside a plastic bag until we nestled him down into a package.  The hutch had become Sorting Central for some of the classic characters from my own childhood.  Mike just shook his head whenever he spotted the latest googley-eyed stuffed animal on the wing chair or propped up on the dining table, but I got a huge kick out of seeing these characters' faces grinning all around us.  I probably have more fun with all this than the books' and toys' recipients do.  :)
I check the school library's online catalog before buying books so I have a better idea of what the students already have, what they need, which award-winners their collection is missing, and which titles and series and authors are the most popular.  And I also look for donation-worthy-condition copies of rarer but beloved-to-me books I simply want the kids to have, like Fifth Grade Magic and Holly Hobbie's Cookbook. 
One book at a time, the library grows. 
If the time comes when the school can no longer support a library, as the hometown newspaper recently suggested as a future possibility for all the schools in the district due to state budget cuts--and "God forbid," and it would break my heart--I will just mail books to the school's teachers for their individual classroom libraries, I suppose.  But (that would be harder and more expensive, and) I hope it never comes to that.  Libraries matter. 
A new school year has begun, though, and like little Pinkalicious below, I wave my magic wand to the extent that I can, which isn't much, really, but again:  One book at a time.  And I look forward to the next nine months of finding titles and toys for the kids who are lucky enough to be this dear school's current students.