Being a Grandparent COVID 19 glamping holidays home decor Life Parkinson's Disease

“Have a Holly Jolly Christmas. . .”

from “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” 1960’s

“It’s the best time of the year. I don’t know if there’ll be snow, but have a cup of cheer. . .” And so the song goes, courtesy of the late great Burl Ives. Remember the snowman on “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” animated special? I was seven years old when I saw it for the first time. It was magical. Now I can’t even get my grandkids interested. The old claymation specials have nothing on today’s computer graphics animation. Ah, but they were magical, at least to my generation.

I got distracted. Sorry about that. I have decided to have a holly jolly Christmas at my house. I don’t care if a pandemic is raging, threatening my family and friends, threatening retailers and restauranteurs, threatening the traditions we all hold dear. Maybe the pandemic is a good thing.

Our Living Room Christmas Tree

What? What did you say? I said, maybe it’s a good thing. It’s changing our priorities. We are focusing more on loved ones, and not things. We are finding out that the most valuable things in life are not things at all. The things we miss are not things, either. Hugging a friend or relative, shaking hands, whispering in someone’s ear, getting close enough to detect a special cologne, gathering in groups at holiday parties, sharing a toast, kids sitting on Santa’s lap, being able to breathe without fogging up your glasses, last-minute shopping in a crowded store. Need I go on?

We have given up much this year because of Covid-19. But look at what we’ve gained: a new appreciation of freedom, gathering with friends, going shopping and dining wherever we want, gathering with family at holidays and special occasions, going to church and fellowship with fellow churchgoers. Boy, do I miss that.

My precious granddaughters enjoying the season.

I’m going to make it a holly jolly Christmas, though. I’m going to:

  1. Enjoy small things like the lights on my beautiful tree.
  2. Behold the wonder in my granddaughters’ eyes as they look at all the decorations.
  3. Experience the delight in the two-year-old’s smile as she touches an LED C9 bulb and finds out that it’s cool to the touch.
  4. Note the pride in the five-year-old’s stance as she finishes decorating the little silver tree for my camper.
  5. Enjoy the taste of pumpkin spice in my morning coffee.
  6. Relish drinking from my special Christmas coffee mugs.
  7. Cozy up to my dog next to me in my chair while wearing comfy pajamas.
  8. Relish a morning when I get to sleep just a little bit later.
  9. Wrap each and every gift with love.
  10. Give thanks for online ordering when I can’t get to a store.
Can you see the silver tree hidden in the tinsel garland? I left it just as she decorated it.

Get the picture? There is a host of ways to make it a holly jolly Christmas. Even as my days are consumed with caregiving and my nights with intermittent sleep between calls from hubby, I choose to focus on the good. Yes, I have days, even weeks, when I wonder how this is all going to turn out–the pandemic, my husband’s disease progression, the next presidential administration, life in general. But I rest in this: my God knows it all, and holds it all, in His almighty hands.

So. . . Merry Christmas. May all your days be holly jolly.


Little “Miss Millie” all dressed up for the holidays.
home decor

Talk Show Hosting from Home: Decor Ideas

Talk show hosts such as Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel have been hosting their shows from their homes.  I have found these glimpses into their homes and the homes of their guests very interesting.

Have you noticed the rustic bohemian look of Jimmy Fallon’s home? The kitchen contains what looks like open cabinets made of old wood, while the office/playroom has antique cubbies filled with small antiques, antique toys, and even has an enclosed slide like the ones at McDonald’s Playland that goes from one floor down to the next.  
His interviews with other celebrities have given us a glimpse into their homes as well. 
Arnold Schwarzenegger appeared in a room with a scaled down tank in front of a large TV.  And look at the beams on the ceiling!  That gallery wall is impressive as well.


Kate Hudson appeared in a dark room with wood paneled walls, open shelving, and traditional chairs, probably an office.


Ben Stiller spoke from a bright neutrally decorated room with neutral furniture and open shelving with black-framed pieces.  It looks like a music room, actually.  


Ryan Reynolds appeared in a room with rustic wood planked walls, a gallery-look art display, and two different style lamps, very masculine, probably his man cave.

LL Cool J appeared in front of a cool gallery wall of various portraits and emblems.  Behind him is a shelf with a cool TIki-looking jar, a New York graphic sign, and letters spelling COSMIC.
This report may have totally put you to sleep but I thought it was interesting to see where these celebrities came from.  Admittedly, some may have filmed their segments in other places besides their homes, but if you go to the NBC Tonight Show page you can see a lot more celebrities behind the scenes in their own personal spaces.  Seeing their personal spaces tells me a lot more about them than anything they could say or do.  Don’t you agree?

Unbeknownst to me until today, there is a couple who rates the rooms people are in when they Skype or Zoom.  Their comments are original and a bit snarky.  You can check them out here:
Here in Texas we are beginning to venture out, keeping social distancing and sanitizing guidelines, of course.  Masks are also strongly advised.  It’s been nice to get out again.  I hope you are safe and well.  
Who is your favorite celebrity?  Maybe we will see them from their own homes on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon!
home decor Life miranda lambert

Junk Gypsy, a Book, and Me

Ever heard of the Junk Gypsy Company?  Who hasn’t heard of these two beautiful sisters who turned their backs on college-degreed careers and made a life for themselves out of hunting, repurposing, and selling junk?  From selling their wares in a booth at First Monday Trade Days in Canton, Texas to hosting their own HGTV series, running a store in Round Top, and making over homes and Airstreams, Amie and Jolie Sikes, along with their parents, children, and Jolie’s husband, have created a junk dynasty.  And now you can read all about it in their new book, Junk Gypsy:  Designing a Life at the Crossroads of Wonder and Wander available through Amazon.

I’ve been a fan of the Junk Gypsies since I learned that they were working with my former student Miranda Lambert, having designed her guns and wings logo and designed and carried out a makeover of her tour bus.  I visited their website and I was hooked.  I joined the Blacktop Rambler Cafe forum and ordered more than I could really afford from their Gypsyville online store.

Then I met them!  I doubt if they would remember, but I was at Miranda’s concert in Tyler in 2006, and when I walked up to the will call window to get my meet and greet pass, the Junk Gypsy girls were standing right in front of me!  Me being me, well, I had to speak to them.  I introduced myself and said something inane about their jewelry, but they were polite to this crazy lady.  I also met Blake Shelton there at the Lambert’s tailgate party that I crashed.  In my own defense, I have known the Lamberts since their and my children were knee high to a grasshopper.  My son was in the same class as Miranda, and my daughter was in the same class as her brother. Blake and Miranda had just begun dating.

The next time I saw the Junk Gypsies was at a Cause for the Paws event, hosted by Miranda to raise money for a local animal shelter.  I actually had a conversation with Amie about the way their art pieces and style was being copied by others.  Who knew they had started a trend in junking and bohemian fashion?  She was so cute dressed in her striped 70’s flared jeans and vintage band uniform jacket.  (if I recall correctly)  And she was sweet, too.

The last time I saw them in person was in Round Top during Antiques Week soon after opening the Junk Gypsy Headquarters, an amazing store and showplace, and worth the trip!

You can imagine how thrilled I was to be included in the Junk Gypsy Book Launch Team!  The book does not disappoint.  It is the world of Junk Gypsy at your fingertips:  biographies, personal insights and tidbits about the family, beautiful photographs of projects and places, and ideas and instructions for redoing and repurposing junk!  If you are a fan of junk, or the Junk Gypsies, you must. Go. Now.

Go forth and buy.  If you want an autographed copy, the Junk Gypsies are touring around the country for specific book signing events.  I plan to be at the one in Lindale, Texas on October 15, getting my copy signed!  I hope to see you there!


holidays home decor

Cheap, Easy, and Simple Fall Decor

I almost didn’t decorate for fall.  I just couldn’t muster the mood.  I spread around some fake fall foliage and a few pumpkins and didn’t even bother with the Halloween decor until my daughter and hubby questioned me about me it, assuming something was wrong with me.

A garage sale box filled with a thrift store birdcage and jars with a real white pumpkin.
The hydrangeas are from my own garden.
I insisted nothing is wrong with me.  I just wasn’t in the mood.  I had moved on.  I just wasn’t interested.

My front porch vignette.  Can you guess which pumpkin is not real?  (It’s the biggest one!)
To appease them I began to haul out some old Halloween stuff and before I knew it, I became enthusiastic and even bought a few more things.

This typewriter was a Goodwill find decorated with flea market Bingo cards, primitive Halloween ornaments from an antique mall, and faux fall foliage.
I found these bouncy Halloween guys at a garage sale for $2.00!  I LOVE these!
This jack-o-lantern box was a lucky estate sale find.
I found this ghostly guy at the same estate sale as the box.  The lady who had them was 94! 
 She had great taste!
The ghost on the pumpkin was another of the 94-year-old lady’s items.  
This vignette sits on my kitchen counter.
This vintage-style Halloween card sits inside the birdcage on my dining table
 with real and faux squash.
Don’t you love my little vintage toy tambourine?  I found it at a flea market for only $5.00.  And yes, that is a Dearborn heater it sits on which is on plywood floors.  
We live in a 1961 frame house with floors in dire need of recovering!
I found this adorable witch at Cracker Barrel one year.
Finally, this little handmade cat I purchased at the Texas Renaissance Festival one year.

And those are most of my decorations!
I’d love to know what you think!  Please leave me a comment!


home decor

$175 Bathroom Makeover Reveal. . .Finally!

Did you give up on me?  I almost did!  A few months ago I posted a photo of my bathroom and told you of plans I had to repaint and redecorate.  I thought I would be finished in a week or two, but weeks became months before I knew it!

I never knew retired life could be so busy!  Between junking, working two days a week, booth sprucing, writing, housework, family, etc. it’s been hard to find time to work on the bathroom! But I am finally finished except for cleaning out the cabinet over the toilet and caulking around the tub.  Here’s how it turned out!

The view from the bedroom door leading into the bath.  I will probably replace the rug.  The shower curtains came from
My new fave is mermaids.  When I couldn’t find what I wanted at the flea market, my sister painted and papered this beautiful mermaid on foam board.  I love her! (the mermaid and my sister!)
I found the little stepladder at my favorite barn sale, Gresham Barn Sale, which is run by a former student of mine, by the way.  I made the wall hanging out of an old chippy board from my parents’ house, a chalkware mermaid from an estate sale, some decorative hot and cold faucet pieces, and letters I printed out.
The same sister who made the mermaid also did the embellished bottle (gorgeous, huh?), which sits on an estate sale vanity tray with an estate sale mercury glass container I bought specifically for our toothbrushes and toothpaste.  It adds an elegant touch, don’t you think?
An adorable old wood carved sea captain peers out from under a small wine crate, also garage sale purchases.
The towel rack under the window I made out of an old thrift store shutter that I spray painted lime green and glued estate sale letters and knobs and another chalkware mermaid onto with E6000.  
On top of the cabinet is a basket of greenery from a garage sale, a ceramic thrift store sea horse, a conch shell that once belonged to my grandmother, and a photo of my kids when they were little in a thrift store frame.
I use a thrift store wire tray on the back of the toilet to hold magazines, tissues, and odor spray.  On the towel rack is a towel from Walmart and a rag garland I made from old sheets.
Above the door is a sign my other sister painted on a piece of wood from her old kitchen!  I love them, too!  Don’t I have talented sisters?
A view from my closet door.  The wall paint is Rolling Sea from Valspar.
Another view from the closet door.  We bought the light fixture over the sinks from Home Depot.  Someday I hope to frame that plain mirror.  I have some ideas. . .
I made the rag window valance from strips of old sheets tied onto a curtain rod.
I had no budget for a new chandelier, so I fashioned one with rags and an old lampshade skeleton turned upside down.  I added a couple of strands of faux pearls for an elegant touch.
I found this metal soap dispenser cover at Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

I’m using this leftover wrapping paper from the shop where I work to line my drawers and shelves.
All together I think I spent less than $175, including the paint, shower curtains, and accessories.  Not bad, huh?

I know that I am happy with the results because of how I feel when I walk in my bathroom and turn on the lights.  On to the next project. . .

Let me know what you think!