Monday, October 31, 2011

Grandmummy Halloween Party

Mummie Parade

There's nothing better than being a Grand-mummy. Real mummies have to sew costumes, go trick-or-treating and deal with sugar highs. Grandmummies get to prepare for parties without boo-hoos, howls or shrieks in the background—it's a hoot!

We had cheesy cracker pumpkins, ghostly bananas and sliced lips
(two apple slices spread with peanut butter,
and baby marshmallow teeth in between)
plus a cup of blood . . .

to dippy our mummy dogs in.
(Wrap refrigerator crescent rolls around a hotdog.
Bake 20 min at 350, dot with mustard eyes.
Dip in ketchup.)

The scariest part of dinner was when I choked on an apple. A Grandmummy should not turn blue in front of her boys and ghouls! After I was revived and calmed, we proceeded with the planned party activities.

Mummy Wrap
Who wants to be a mummy? Each mummy is given a roll of TP and a team of wrappers. The first team who finishes a roll wins applause.

Spider Web
Sit in a circle with a ball of black yarn. Toss it back and forth saying "I'll catch Benji (or whoever) in my web." Each person holds on to the yarn when he throws it and a web is created in the middle. When a little ghoul steps in the middle because she's bored, the game is over.

What do spiders catch in their webs? Flies!!

"I know an old lady who swallowed a fly!
I don't know why she swallowed a fly . . .
Perhaps she'll die."
Each kid stuffed something in the old lady's mouth
until finally she swallowed a horse.
"She's dead of course."

Pass out tissues, cotton balls and rolls of tape.
Place a cotton ball in the middle of the tissue, wrap it with tape
and you've got a ghostie. Put them everywhere.

Dance in the Dark
Everybody gets a glow-in-the-dark bracelet.
Then turn out the lights and dance to Monster Mash . . .


. . . and Thriller!

Ghost Stories
While the lights are out, hold a flickering candle under your face
and tell a few spooky stories.
"In a dark, dark wood, there was a dark, dark house . . ."

"And the gob-e-lins'll git you
Ef you don't watch out!!"

Each little goblin picked a spook off the tree,
and flew off into the night.
The Grandmummy Halloween party was all wrapped up!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Sibling Relationships

Cowboy Brothers

I love writing about family relationships. In Son of a Gun some of my favorite scenes explored the relationship of two stepbrothers. This excerpt depicts how young teenage boys show affection. I based it on the interaction between my own sons as they were growing up.

Son of a Gun
Marty Halverson

“You lowdown mavericker! You thievin’ my cattle, agin, boy?” With a whoop, JJ leaped on the back of his brother’s horse, attacking MJ in a Texas wrestle. They had the common knowledge that they were tough, but who was toughest on a given day depended on who could pin who.

Sliding to the ground, MJ had trouble putting down his younger brother, and might never have made it if Trespass hadn’t leaped in and begun licking JJ’s face and nipping him in the side til he hit his ticklebone. That got JJ to giggling so hard he couldn’t fight, and MJ was glad to press the boy’s shoulders flat into the dirt of the trail and quit while he could.

They got up, knocking the dust and twigs off themselves to cover the awkward spell that was bound to set in when big boys had carried on too catnippy for their ages. As always, it was JJ who got to talking first. As they walked toward the barn with Trespass yapping at their feet and pawing for attention, he babbled a blue-tailed streak, as if they’d been separated for a month instead of just a few days.

“Ain’t you had nobody to talk to, Jage?" MJ asked. "That cowlicked filly a’ yours stopped listening to your chatter?” JJ faked a scowl but went right on jabbering, letting his brother lap up the family news.
It's fascinating to create characters—they actually come to life! As I got to know these brothers, I loved the relationship they had.

Do you have young sons, brothers or nephews?
I'd love to hear your observations about how boys show affection for each other.
How is it different from girls?

Leave a comment!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Son of a Gun!

Ruby Barlow, heroine

"Please release me . . ." Ruby cried. And they did!
Tate Publishing released my book today. I'm a novelist!

(It's available on Amazon!)

"You can quit staring," Ruby told the cowboy. "I've known men like you, and I'm not interested." Her voice was kept low, but she had no shyness about her.

Jack tipped back in his chair and ogled her. "You've known men like me? What are you . . . about fifteen? Too young to be so sour on love." He reached out and grabbed her around the waist. "Some schoolboy pull your ponytail too hard?"

"Laws! I'm eighteen, and I can rope a calf and break a colt better than any schoolboy. I support a household and work a farm, so don't toy with me, mister." She refilled his coffee cup and twisted away from his grasp. "Aren't you that pile of dust and whiskers with the red mare? That horse won't know you, all spiffed and shiny."

Left alone to raise Jack's son, Ruby is rescued from life as a soiled dove by a young widower who sees past her desperate bravado and recognizes courage. Together they face a devastating grasshopper plague, a tornado, fire and persecution while raising two young sons on the Texas plains. When a murder takes place on their ranch, the Barlow family is almost torn apart.

Meticulously researched and historically accurate, Son of a Gun shows how values of the Old West are still important today.
I'll give you a second to order your copy.
(Click here)

Now you're all invited over to my brand-new website to celebrate:

Bring your friends!

Click here for excerpts from Son of a Gun.

Scary Business

"What's cooking, Oma?"

I've got a Halloween party brewing, but some little ghouls can't come.
So I invited them over a few days early to spook up the place.

Martha's mice on the stairs. See how they run!

With silhouettes, stickies and squeals they created a rat house.

I'm no dummy!

Since a real pumpkin head was too heavy, this spook's a light-weight with a styrofoam noggin. The ghoulies crumpled newspapers to stuff his shirt, and pieced his squishy parts together with elastics and duct tape. In no time our house was haunted and party-ready.

Oma Superior

Thanks, ghouls!

Now, want to stir up something spooky?
Here's a recipe that haunts me:

Ghost Cake With Glowing Eyes

Bake a cake in an oblong pan.
When cool, dump out of the pan carefully onto a tray.

Now cut off two pieces to create a rounded ghost shape.
The two extra pieces will become arms.

Use white meringue type frosting from a box to glue the arms on the sides of the cake.
Frost the cake.
Use black licorice for the mouth.

Now the spooky part:
Break an egg, dump out the insides, and place each 1/2 eggshell (open side up) for eyes.
Soak two sugar cubes in lemon extract.
Place sugar cubes in egg shells, and light them with a match.
The eyes will glow.

Ghost Cake


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Marriage: What Brings Us Together

"Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday.
Mawage, that bwessed awangment,
that dweam wifin a dweam . . .
wuv, tru wuv, will fowow you foweva . . .
So tweasure your wuv."

I love being married. Last week we were talking to a Social Security guy over the phone (Helen and Morty style: both of us on the line) and he asked, "How long have you been married." "Forty-two years," I said. "To the same person???" "Yes," we said together. "Forty-two years!" he gasped. "God bless you!" Then after a pause he continued, "You must be experts at it. What are your secrets?"

I have learned a lot about marriage over these past four decades and I'm going to share some marital secrets.

"Mawage is wot bwings us togeder." Dee and I stick together. Our first hours together were spent walking and talking. That's literally all we did during our courtship. We met as students on a semester abroad in Salzburg, Austria—no money, no car, no TV, no friends, no family, no place to make-out—we just talked. Quickly we became friends, best friends, and we wanted to officially become bff.

That's a secret: talk. After we were back home with a job, a car, TV, friends, and family there was competition for our talking time. And finally we had someplace to make-out, so babies started coming and the din in our tiny trailer made chatting a challenge. But we've kept talking to each other (about anything and everything, all the time) a high priority.

And the bff thing? Another secret. Best friends don't blab about each others faults, frailties, foibles or flaws. They're loyal. I'm certainly not perfect at this but I must be nearly perfect, because lots of folks think Dee is perfect! (I'll leave it at that.) It's not a totally selfless thing to speak highly of my husband: I think it makes me look better to be married to an awesome guy. Why would I tattle on his quirks and make myself look like an idiot to be hooked up with him? When I do talk about his eccentricities, I try to do it with love and humor, because that's the way I decided to feel about them. (I see it as a choice.)

Beauty experts say to focus on the good stuff to take attention away from the bad stuff. If your eyes are pretty, play them up to take attention away from your double chin. If your ears are huge, don't wear huge earrings, and if your hands are expressive wear rings and bracelets. When you're looking for beauty in your spouse, don't focus on the warts! I don't want Dee looking me over with a magnifying glass—"Hmmm, you spilled coke in your car again . . . I still don't have any clean towels . . . you deleted BEAR GRILLS???" I love it when he says, "I'll make my own dinner. Just keep putting stickers on the grandkid packages. That's the important stuff." He compliments me and I compliment him on our tiny, unique attempts to improve the world, and we both feel good about ourselves. Which makes us feel good about each other.

So what are you thinking right this second? Are you thinking, "My husband NEVER does that. If he'd just change, our marriage would be happy." Or are you thinking, "I ought to do that. If I changed, maybe our marriage would be happy." I've learned that I can't change Dee. Trying makes me miserable—it focuses all my energy in a negative direction. The ONLY person in the whole world I can change is myself, and doing that focuses me in a positive direction.

If my marriage needs more empathy, I can provide that empathy—towards him. If my marriage needs more fun, I need to become more fun to be with. If my marriage needs more forgiveness, I can forgive. If my marriage has too much stubbornness, I can eliminate mine and there won't be as much. When my marriage is stagnant, I need to get out of my doldrums and become interested and interesting. It will be at least 50% better when I make a change.

The "bwessed awangment, this dweam wifin a dweam" sometimes becomes a nightmare. Having interests and hobbies in common, dating for years, living together first . . . none of these things can prepare couples for marriage. Marriage is life, and life is unexpected. You can't practice it first—you learn it together. Couples I know have lost jobs, children, houses, health, money, limbs, eyesight, hearing . . . they weren't ready for these nightmares to snuff out their dreams. But every one of the couples I'm thinking of learned how to be happy again. New characteristics were developed individually; they supported each other as they each learned to live with broken hearts, and then learned how to be a couple again. Being willing to learn is the definition of humility. Marriage is a continuing education that demands humility.

Buttercup's pastor said, "wuv, tru wuv, will fowow you foweva . . ." I disagree with this part. Love is not a noun (person, place or thing) that follows you around, whimsically disappears and shows up somewhere else. Love is a verb, an action word; it's something you DO. That's why people say marriage is work. It takes effort, energy, enthusiasm—it's an endeavor. Think of something you're proud of in life: graduating, raising your kids, running a marathon, growing your bangs out, whatever. It took time and patience, you got discouraged, it was the pits, you thought you'd never make it, but you did. The reason you're proud of that accomplishment is because it was hard. A happy marriage is hard—fun and hard—and it's my proudest accomplishment.

"Tweasure your wuv," the wise old man said. Definitions for treasure are: value greatly, prize highly, hold dear, adore, cherish. To be happy in marriage, I've learned to value, prize, adore and cherish not only my husband, but the marriage itself—our couple-ness. When I'm making a decision, I often boil it down to Will this strengthen my marriage or be divisive? Since my marriage is my top priority, the choice is usually clear, even though it involves a sacrifice. (Secret: don't expect gratitude when you make a sacrifice. Most of the time, nobody even notices you made it. Just revel in the fact that you're becoming a wonderful person.)

Like I said before, I love being married. In fact, we've just moved in together full-time! Dee's office is now in the loft above mine and we can hear each other think. It's not a 24/7 situation—we still have places to go and people to see, but it's fun calling up to him with a geography question and have him ask me how to spell something. We're still learning from each other and about each other. That's our secret.

"wuv, twu wuv . . ."

Tales of Spiderwoman

Drawing by Joel Schick
The Gobble-uns'll Git You

It was chilly in the basement bedroom. I turned on the heat, kicked off my shoes and closed the door before I saw him hiding in the corner. My shriek echoed throughout the house and Brad pounded down the stairs to my rescue. I looked away while he killed the intruder . . . a giant, hairy spider.

Gabi and Brad left on vacation the next day, leaving me to protect their kids. I was walking down the hall when I noticed another large, black spider on the floor. Shivers ran up and down my spine as I realized there was nobody to help. Keeping an eye on the hairy beast, I walked backwards to the kitchen, put on some boots and got the telephone book. I was terrified.

With all the force I could muster I threw the book on the spider with a squeal and then jumped on top just to make sure it was squooshed to bits. Jake heard me yell and ran in to see what was going on.

Illustration by Judy Love

I was shaking as I lifted the phone book off the offensive creature, but I could see it was still big and fat. Jake leaned over to look closer, and picked up a black leg. "Why are you jumping on my plastic spider?" he asked, as he tucked it in his pocket. Duh, Oma.

Jake and Oma, 2009

Thanks for the memories, Jake!

Another of my favorite Halloween memories is the spooky re-telling of

James Whitcomb Riley.

It lends itself to lots of expression and when you're into it, you'll find that comes naturally,
along with a little accent of some sort. It's as fun to read as it is to hear.
Tell it by ghostly candlelight.

Any Halloween tricks or treats you want to pass out here?
(Nothing involving spiders, please!)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Cleaning For a Reason

Sick and tired.

I got a good squeeze today. Being up close and personal with a mammogram machine reminded me of the many women who are sick and tired of being sick and tired, while working hard to get well again. Hanging on the wall of the dressing room was a flyer that made me smile:

"Cleaning For a Reason is a service for women with cancer who are currently undergoing chemotherapy. They can have a free housecleaning once per month for four months with a doctor's note to verify treatment."

Maybe someone who reads my blog is sick and tired and needs this service, or maybe someone who reads your blog knows someone who does. Link to this post and spread the word!

Click here for more info:

Monday, October 17, 2011

Scary Stuff

Pumpkin Heads by Wendell Minor

"I'll bet living in a nudist colony takes all the fun out of Halloween."

Any cool, easy ideas for costumes?
Share or you'll be haunted for life.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Being a Mummy

Jake and Emmie 2009

Being someone's mummy is scary stuff!
(I have forty-one years of experience.)

I was recently asked for my best advice on Motherhood.
It's in an essay I wrote years ago called—

Colonial woman dipping candles.

Wax Strong

Into the hot wax; out of the hot wax. Into the hot wax; out of the hot wax. I watched as the woman dipped her candles. She held a dowel with ten pieces of string looped over it, and repeatedly lowered it into a vat of melted wax.


The first time it looked like nothing stuck to the strings at all. Another dip, and they still looked clean. Patiently, the woman dunked them again, and again, and eventually I could see a film of wax building. Time after time the thin layers adhered to each other, and slowly the strings began to look like candles.

After countless dips.

I've watched other women engaged in an old-fashioned art that also involves patience and repetition. It is mothering. Time after time they dip their kids in character building experiences—"Say Please," "Thank you," "I'm sorry;" share your toys; pick up your coat; mind your dad; love your brother; don't whine; feed the dog; say your prayers—over and over again, the same admonitions. At first it seems nothing is sticking. The kids are still the same. But eventually they begin to wax strong.

A work of art!

Each experience a child has in character building is like one more dip of the candle.
It is repetitious, it can become wearisome.
But it's worth it.

Art by William Adolphe Bouguereau

"Be not weary in well doing,
for ye are laying the foundation of a great work.
For out of small things proceedeth that which is great."
---D&C 64:33

It's a good season for Mummies.
Treat yourself!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Bathroom Decor

Dee is always planning to go somewhere.

Now he can plan where he's going,

Even when he's going.
(Get it?)

Click here for a treasure map to cool maps!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Souper Idea

"I think I can . . ."

Our new kitchen is bigger than our old one,
but we have less cabinet space and our pantry is smaller.

Stuff It

So I read a hundred blogs, magazines and books on kitchen storage ideas
to prepare for the big put-away.

Indispensable IKEA Lazy Susans: $7.00

With lazy susans from IKEA, and spice stackers from Walmart, I hit the shelves about 11 p.m. the night after we moved in. The lazy susans were great, but I could only fit one on a shelf, and there was wasted space above the cans. I unloaded the pantry and started again from scratch at midnight.

The second round worked better using tiered stands on the shelves, but there was still stuff out that needed to be stuffed in. In my pile I found a hanging wire shelf that hooked onto the shelf above it, but I couldn't reach it unless I put it low, which would hinder access to the cans. If I didn't redo it now, I'd never do it, so I unloaded the pantry again and started over at 1:00 am.

An hour later I was sitting on a stool, staring at my cans. They still didn't look quite right. So I rearranged them by category (soup, fruit, veg) and then again by height. Dee wandered down about 2:30 to see what I was doing. By then my head was swimming with obsessive thoughts of canned goods. I invited him to view my efforts.

"Have you been Sleeping With the Enemy?" he asked, referring to Julia Robert's freaky soup-can controlling husband in the movie. "Can you remember him?" "I can," I mumbled and stumbled off to bed.

I must have been obsessing even in my sleep, worrying that my cans weren't as cute as they could be. I dreamed I sewed them all little clothes.

"That's weird."

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Dee, three.

This is a War Baby, born 9 months (plus a few hours) after his WWII soldier dad returned to his waiting wife. A true Boomer. And he's mine.

You could not meet a more interesting guy. That's a direct result of the fact that he's interested in EVERYTHING. By the time I met Dee when he was 22 he was already an expert in European History, World Geography, the British Military, photography, German philosophy, politics and US current events. He collected coins and stamps, knew diverse things about music, Rommel, Hubert Humphrey and art. I was fascinated.

He'd worked in a pizza place, hoed sugar beets, stocked fabric bolts, and managed a pro-shop at a golf course, saving for college from the time he was 13. He'd lived in Germany, met Bobby Kennedy, been a boy scout, worked at Grand Canyon, skinny-dipped in the river, hunted pheasants, and made fires to roast grasshoppers for a picnic. He'd tracked trains, then put nails and coins on the tracks to watch them get flattened. He had a Tom Sawyer type childhood, a hard-working, studious youth, and was smarter than anyone I'd ever met.

We'd been married a couple of years when he received a triple degree in German, European Studies and History from BYU (he had planned to go into foreign service, the CIA or the Intelligence field) and with a wife, a daughter and a son on the way, he continued a job in real estate as a developer and builder. He built about 50 homes, a subdivision, some condos, office buildings and a business park and was involved in the politics of water rights, irrigation feuds, and building permits. He arbitrated, negotiated, and stagnated. It was time to move on.

After reinventing himself with a year at The King's Manor in York, England he received another degree in Architectural History and Preservation. Dee's first business venture after returning home was to sponsor a three-day, world-wide conference on retro-fitting historic buildings with hydraulic springs to prevent damage during an earthquake. The Salt Lake City and County Building was the first building in the world to benefit from the new technology and Dee's conference was well-attended by architects from all over the world who wanted to observe and learn first hand.

Salt Lake City and County Building, World Wide Symposim

He began writing books on historic buildings, and architectural styles and features, which led to books about towns, individuals, businesses and families. He's now written over 50 privately commissioned books, becoming an expert on each new topic, spending months, even years, studying the various subjects.

It's fun to watch Dee immerse himself in a new interest. When he wrote a book about a Jewish Rabbi in Seattle, it led him to 1860's silver mines in Colorado and the beginnings of a rabbinical school in Cincinnati. The story of a San Francisco bridge building company took us to an ancestral winery in Germany, as well as a study of the construction of the Channel Tunnel between England and France.

Early logging in Ontario's rivers, and the establishment of Quaker Meetings in Pennsylvania, pirates settling Newfoundland and ghost towns in Southern Utah have become a few areas of expertise for Dee. He loves to dig out the stories behind the stories and he becomes well acquainted with people long gone. He knows people's businesses and ancestors better than they do themselves, and he appreciates the hard work and sacrifice of unknown heroes. His research skills are superb. He can find everything that's been written about anything, consolidate and unify the information, add to it, and then condense it to a form that's factual and entertaining. He would find the history of dirt intriguing, and you would, too, if he wrote about it!

Dee has an incredible memory for dates and places involving anyone else, and when he gets going on a little historic recitation he's thorough to the point of . . . well, thoroughness. But it's almost impossible to get him to talk about his own memories. He's foggy on the details.

We got married 42 years ago in September, and a few weeks later on his birthday I baked him a cake. He came home from school, saw it on the table and was overcome. "I've never had a birthday cake before," he told me emotionally. He hadn't? Where was his mother? What kind of deprived childhood had he come from? I vowed to make it all up to him. I'd give him memorable celebrations that would overwhelm his past disappointments.

The next year, true to my promise, I baked him a triple decker. When he walked in, his eyes misted over and he whispered tremulously, "Oh, my gosh, Dear. I've never had a birthday cake before."

Like I said, he's an interesting guy. The best part is that he's interested in me!

Happy Birthday, Dear!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Home Decor: Sing Your Own Song

singing the same old song.

I had great plans of developing a new persona when I moved to Daybreak. I'd start over: instead of being a reclusive writer I'd be a community organizer. I'd enhance my full-bodied look and wear leopard driving gloves with huge glitzy bracelets; my ever-present bandana sweatband would be my signature roaring-twenties headpiece.

The basis for my persona was a new house. My decorating style would make a clean, classic statement ala Pottery Barn. Blue, white and red would be updated to blue, white and yellow--fresh, unadorned cream colored walls would soothe and calm my frenzied friends. A neighbor once told me, "Marty, your house makes me dizzy." My new interiors would put her to sleep like a lullaby.


I've discovered that a month of planning does not trump 62 years of living. And 42 of those years I've been married to a collector who loves color and pattern as much as I do. Geometric straw balls placed strategically on bookshelves are for people who don't have 23 boxes of books! Elegant framed swatches of Marimekko fabric are for folks who don't collect coats from the Tyrol. Sad to say, the new persona died in the move. The old persona is sitting at her computer, wearing a bandana, surrounded by a patchwork of dizzying hues.

Our bookcases fit perfectly in a little nook by the entry.
We showcased the books we've written, plus collections of books that reflect our interests.
The suitcases on top are decorated with travel labels of places we've been.
IKEA magazine files on the bottom shelves hold projects in progress.

Someone once said, "You were born an original. Don't die a copy." Sing your own song! Designer shows I've been watching all summer emphasize decorating for your eventual buyer. They have rules for color choices, art groupings, and furniture placement. According to these experts, too much personal stuff detracts from the neutral wall space, and the universally featureless artwork the home-stagers promote. Ridiculous!

Our new townhouse in Garden Park is just over 1600 square feet.
It has two bedrooms and a loft, which we converted into Dee's office.
Half of the Living Room is living room, and the other half is my office,
with a long dining table for a layout table.
When company comes, I'll clear off the writing gear and pass the potatoes!

This is what my office looks like from the staircase looking down.
I used a collection of pewter pieces on an IKEA lazy susan to hold elastics, paper clips, pencils, etc.
(Handy for writing with grandkids coloring on the other side,
and easy to relocate at the dinner bell.)

Here's how the two spaces work together.
(From the kitchen . . .

. . . from the entry.)

A home should be a reflection of those who live there. Where else can you showcase your personality, interests and accomplishments better than your home? If kids are part of the decor, their fingerprints should be all over (both literally and figuratively.) School pictures in the bedroom (hang them on a clothesline with tiny clothespins) birthday invitations on the fridge (create a section for each kid to display their stuff and let them decide what to take down when something new comes in the mail) and towels hanging low in the bathroom (give everyone their own color and their own hook at a reachable level and they might not land on the floor!)

I love to troll decorating magazines and websites, and pinterest is my newest obsession, but if an idea appears too often I run the other way. Ideas are for inspiration, not to replace creativity. I'm wary of trends. If somebody tells you green appliances will spice up your kitchen, decide if guacamole is the look you love before buying the whole avocado. (I speak from experience.) If a trend sings to you, you'll still love it when it's out of style in five years, but if you choose it because it's all the rage, you'll be singing "It's not easy being green" long before the avocado turns brown.

In one house we had gorgeous oak paneling. Gorgeous, I tell you! Plus a rock fireplace. A decorator came in to help us choose fabrics and she informed us that the room looked dark (ja, und?) "Cover this wood up with burlap. The rock fireplace could be redone with Naugahyde and stud nails." She was so confident, so sure future buyers wouldn't like the old-fashioned cabin charm, that we actually thought about it . . . until we remembered we loved the warm, cozy feel we had, and WE were living there! Let your home reflect you.

Letters to and from our family while we lived a year in England
captured our experiences. Here they are displayed on a staircase wall,
available for reading and remembering.

The ambiance of your home is the most important element: the feel, the gemutlichkeit, the atmosphere. Decide which part of your personality to emphasize (elegant, sophisticated, casual, comfortable, colorful, artistic) and look through your drawers for stuff that tells that story. Pieces that represent your talents, interests, memories or heritage can be displayed in unique ways to prompt conversations or recharge your batteries.

Dee's inspiration board is a collage of former projects,
and projects to come. The pictures tell his stories,
which he happily shares with clients and grandkids.

Creativity is the best part of home-making, from my point of view. I love taking an idea and tweaking it with a few grace notes of my own. I've fallen flat with a few looks, but some are pretty sharp.

What tune is your house singing?
Share a description or a link!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Home Again

Oh my gosh! There it is!

I think I found it!
(A mind is a terrible thing to lose.)
After a summer we'll always remember as mind blowing,
things are finally falling into place.

Of course, they really didn't fall there.
It took a team to help them land:
Amy did the balancing act,

while others directed.

And a miracle happened:
all our old stuff started looking new!

The TV cabinet from the bedroom turned into a hutch in the kitchen,

and the dishes that didn't fit in the cupboards
got stacked on top in a display.

It was like playing with a Rubik's cube. I discovered where something should go, and then I had to mess up everything I'd done everywhere else to get it there. There was always a pile of left-over stuff to move to the bedroom or the garage, and then the next day I'd be out searching for whatever had seemed unnecessary yesterday.

It's home. It didn't take a month or even a week. Our first night felt right, in spite of the mess around us. We're like the TV cabinet in the bedroom--we just needed a new spot, new surroundings, and we feel brand new! We're loving it!

This week I'm in St. Louis tending grands, with no boxes to empty or closets to organize, so I'll be giving home tours and tips on moving and decorating. Come on over . . .

TravelinOma is home again!