Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Julia's Wedding (Part One)

They're only 22 years old, but it seems they waited a long time to get married.
They met in kindergarten, when Julia was five and Ben was six.
They used to orchestrate how to meet in the hallway at school,
and once they were there,
they would kiss.
Just little baby kisses.
I knew nothing of this.
The next year, in first grade,
they were placed in separate classrooms,
and Ben was very sad about that.

My daughters getting ready, early morning, July 29

Julia's dress

Many years washed by.
 Our little girl grew up, strong and gentle, capable and creative, lovely and easy to be with,
 and Ben grew up too (mostly in Georgia). 
They reconnected on social media,
Ben visited Julia in December of 2016,
and by February 2017, 
they were engaged.
Honestly, Nate and I were a little rattled.
It was so fast.
And we knew Ben, kind of, and he seemed like the sweetest kid.
 And we knew his family, both from school and from church.
But marriage.
It's such a big deal.
Do you really love him? I asked my girl.
And she answered with no pause,
Yes, Mom, I really love him.

Lipstick in mama's room. 
Those are my babies, there on the wall.
That little fluffy-headed girl between her big brothers
is our Julia, age two.

Sure. They were so sure of themselves.
Remember being 22, and knowing everything?
I found out later that they almost eloped.
They were tired of being apart,
Julia was tired of our loud household.
They wanted to be together.

 Julia's dress with a pink satin ribbon

So we began to plan.
It seemed like playing Wedding, at first.
Anna Kate started with lists and vendors and pricing.
The budget was tight, we'd have the wedding at home,
in the cute quonset-hut barn that Grandma Murphy had had built.
(Thank you, thank you, precious Grandma).
We had five months to empty out that full barn, and make it pretty.
Every other detail came together like a simple, beautiful weaving.
Emptying that little red barn took most of our time, most of our energy,
and we didn't get the last thing out of there (a huge ladder)
till mere hours before the wedding. 

 In a blur of emotion, I draped Julia's dress over her head, put her necklace (made by me, with love, over many weeks) on her neck, and tied her satin ribbon around her waist. I was crying so hard that I'm surprised any fotos turned out.

Months went by, Ben and Julia were able to see each other a few more times.
They were so sweet together.
Young love is new, unhurt, unsullied.
I was glad they were marrying quickly,
but the dread of her leaving home was making my heart heavy.
At first, I stalked her.
That got old (mostly for her).
I had to loose my grip on this sweetest girl of mine, 
and let her belong to somebody else.

 Giving gifts to the bridesmaids

Julia's bridesmaids were Linnea, Ellie, Lydia and Anna Kate. 
Her sister was her maid-of-honor
(And Chief Wedding-Planner).
Lydia is Ben's sister.
Ellie and Linnea are Julia's oldest friends.
The gifts were pearl necklaces, each unique,
in vintage beaded clutches.
Ellie and Linnea are emotive,
and they said so wonderingly,
"Julia! Julia! Oh Julia!"

 First Look

Ben and his best man waited patiently outside.
The girls did their own hair and make-up,
and it took much longer than we expected.
First look was out in the meadow, in the brilliant morning sunshine,
and it was lovely.

Always be humble and kind...

 And always, always make her laugh.
Humor softens everything.

Lydia, Anna Kate, Julia, Linnea, Ellie

They are so young, fresh and beautiful!

Roses and eucalyptus

I made the bouquets from Farmers Market flowers, several bunches of roses and a big spray of eucalyptus. Caleb and Krista went there for us. The bridesmaids' bouquets were in water-filled vintage glass beakers, they looked special. 

Ben and his groomsmen

These were the most relaxed, groovy groomsmen. Ben's best friend,
his two brothers,
two of his cousins.
They wanted a sunglasses pic,
but no one had sunglasses.
So they borrowed the girls'.

(Fun fact: Julia has two brothers named Isaac and Caleb,
Ben has two brothers named Isaac and Caleb.
All named before I knew Ben's mom.
Weird, huh?)

Julia Jordan-Rose, laughing...

....and pensive.

Luke, Austin, Joe, Ben, Isaac, Caleb

 My baby girl forever

The tent at the back of the barn, where the wedding party was seated.

Caleb and Krista, Ben and Julia, Anna Kate, and the two single guys: Isaac and Malachi

We are totally blessed by our five children.
We're grateful that they're finding spouses who follow Jesus.
We didn't have much of a plan, but God did.
We love them, we pray for them, we do our best to let them go.
That's been the hardest part.

Ben's family: Lilia, Caleb, Ben and Julia, Isaac, Lydia

Oh my goodness. Adorableness.

Julia with Nate and me

 I had to include a pic of Nate! He adores his daughter. 
Also, the wedding would not actually have happened without his hard work.
He built the stage, raked the meadow, took out 100 gopher mounds, cleared the last heavy things from the barn, set up the sound system, and showed up in time to walk his daughter down the grass aisle.

Praying together, right before the ceremony

.....and that concludes Part 1. 
The ceremony and reception will be posted after my friend Jess gives us the fotos,
and after I dry these pesky tears.
They keep falling and falling.

(Beautiful images by Justin and Jessica Wohlrabe, Minneapolis)

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Five Tips for a Summer Refresh

Welcome to our porch! You're probably coming from Noting Grace's lovely home tour, and I'm glad you're here. We switched up a few things, let me show you around. I have Five Easy Tips for summer refresh decorating, they don't cost much and they're easy to do! I'd never want anyone to spend more than they can afford, or needlessly add clutter. Here's how I make summer as pretty as possible, while staying in budget.

1. Don't go little - go big!
Our old chairs were needed elsewhere, for extra patio seating, so we went hunting for something more comfortable. I hoped to find rockers, and these were at a local home improvement store. The colors are perfect for our porch We could have spent this money on pots, plants, rugs, candles and lanterns. Um nope. I'd rather go simple, and have furniture that we enjoy sitting on.

2. Add a new color, and repeat it a few times.
Julia's fiance, Ben, gave her this red geranium, and although red flowers aren't usually my thing, doesn't it look darling here? Julia is picky about how I take care of it. She doesn't exactly trust me with plants.

A peek of the potted lobelia, the brightest, richest blue flowers. They often fade in the heat of summer, I'm hoping these hold out since they're often shaded. A few flags from Target Dollar Spot fill out the pot and tie in the red and blue.

A flag, a fern, a blue ceiling, wicker rockers, and a rolling meadow to gaze upon.
All you need are the classics.

3. Add green, as much as possible, as cheaply as possible.
 This big fern was only $15 at Costco. All the indoor greens are free from our land. Branches, ferns, blossoms and leaves - they make every space lively and interesting.
We are painting, making, cleaning and planting to get ready for our daughter's July wedding. This old piano panel needed fresh paint, then simple lettering by my younger daughter. We'll probably use it at the wedding, with Ben and Julia's names on it.

The flag flutters in the breeze. Last year we didn't have landscaping or many plants. It's so fun to have these blooming shrubs and perennials. They're thriving so far, although several of the peonies didn't bloom. C'mon, ladies, I'm counting on you for all my giant-flower goals.


4. Add a touch of boho 
{Our living, dining and kitchen areas} 
I restyled the cabinet for summer, using a big frame that my husband made from vintage trim. Also tree roots from Lake Superior, a potted Prayer Plant, and an antique bottle cap press. My favorite elements of boho are the plants (sometimes weird ones), the pottery, the macrame and the fresh white to set everything off. I've added plants, macrame and white, but I'm still on the hunt for vintage pottery. 

And now that I've suggested adding this, that and the other thing - here's my last, most important tip:
5. Take away - don't add!
Most rooms need less stuff, not more. The easiest decorating in the world is to simply take everything off the walls and off the surfaces, and start over. 
Instead of shopping, try cleaning. A clean, plain house is a beautiful sight.
Then add your plants, a few pillows, interesting art and whatever makes your heart sing.
But your heart doesn't need to sing all the songs, all the time.
Just one song, maybe even a single note.

The two fotos above are from
my daughter's room, which she decorated completely by herself.
I like the elements of paper, art, live plants, and vintage treasures.

With Malachi on his fifth birthday, when we put a plastic tablecloth on the table and played with a water blob! Grab each summer, they are so precious.

Now click here to head over to Seeking Lavender Lane's beautiful and rustic home.

Below you'll find a list of all 13 bloggers in this Summer Hop. Our posts are short and simple,
but full of lovely ideas.  Enjoy!

Bees N Burlap
Don't Disturb This Groove
Farmhouse for Five
Honey N Hydrangea
 Love Your Abode
Nina and Cecilia
Noting Grace
 Seeking Lavender Lane

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Color for Spring

 March it is, and the weather outside is bordering on frightful.
It's about nine degrees, no hint of spring, no buds or any shade of green to be found,
except in the sod, where little brown mouse trails cut random rivers 
through the dull grass.

Weather notwithstanding, I'm welcoming you to my Spring Tour!
You're probably here from This Rustic Cottage's beautiful blog tour.
Welcome to our house in the country.

Our house is usually white, gray and cream, with green plants as the main accent color.
But last week I decided to make new pillows, and of course couldn't find exactly what I wanted (robin's egg blue linen), and this floral jumped into my cart.
Fabric: Jo-Ann, HGTV Garden Odyssey Fog

It feels like bark cloth, a nubby cottony texture.
Suddenly, these were the brightest things in the house.
Now I had my Spring palette - coral, yellow and a bit of blue.

So I hunted about, and found my daughter's vintage yellow planter, and filled it with new Baby's Tears, which have to be the cutest little greenery ever.

I stuck a candle in a tiny pot that our oldest son made, way back in grade school.

From there, it was easy to add pops of color, especially yellow.
Here's the view from a corner of the dining room, with the living room reflected in the round.
(Tree basket chandelier made by my husband, using copper tubing and painted pvc pipe).
Mirror: Ikea
 Fireplace brick: Nob Hill

And on to the dining room. Our main level is kind of a four-square, with the entry and living room at the front of the house, and the kitchen and dining room at the back.
(The laundry/mudroom/back hallway/powder room are along the left side of the house).
 I kept things simple for spring. I made the pillows, and I painted a few things.
The inside of this old card catalog was too dark, it was looking yellowish.
I painted the catalog, the dining room table, and a little piano bench that sits below the round mirror.
Everything got a coat of Origami White by SW. Honestly, painting is not my most favorite thing.
The table especially gave me fits.
I finally thought to add some Floetrol to the paint, and from there on the task went smoothly.

The fresh white, non-yellow paint made the room brighter and more cohesive.
I love styling this catalog.
The drawers are useful, they're full of candles, playing cards, 
movie dvd's and jewelry making supplies.

In a few months, I can fill this French Market basket with flowering branches.
Not now, my friends.
You get sticks.
Sticks is all I've got.

Honestly, the table still isn't perfect. But it's an old table and I'm okay with that.
I've always liked these little glass beakers in their springs.
The grain sack was found on Etsy.
Curtain panels: drop cloths from Home Depot
Curtain hardware: Ikea
Chandelier: Solento from Bellacor
Wall paint: Light Pewter, BM
Slip-covered sofa and chairs: Ikea

Now onto the kitchen!
Just a few pics here, since I didn't do much new decorating.
The range hood is made from wood and new copper, distressed with salt and vinegar spray till it achieved a verdigris finish. My husband (a master carpenter, he built our house) dreamed it up and made it. It's funny, for how picky I am about design, how many things he decided.

Faucet: Wayfair
Sink: Kohler
Range: Verona
Butcher Block: Boos Block

The bar stools badly needed another coat of light blue paint.
The planked kitchen ceiling is the same color, BM #715. 
Cabinets: Samuelson Cabinetry, Anoka, Minnesota
Cabinet paint: Chantilly Lace, BM
Walls: Light Pewter, BM
Island: Vintage Drafting table
Bar stools: Husky, from Home Depot

Now on to our master bedroom, which is upstairs near the two kids' bedrooms.
I love this room.
It's not fancy or frilly, it's just cozy and simple and comfortable and fresh. 
Walls: Chantilly Lace, BM
Ceiling: Ephemera, Ralph Lauren
Bed frame: West Elm

My husband made the shiplap wall behind the bed. I don't care what they say about shiplap and trends, I love it, especially in moderation. This wall is more comfortable than a wood headboard, it's easier to clean around, it draws the eye up, it adds subtle color (Chelsea Gray, mixed with water).
Bedding is Ikea
Euro pillow shams are Ralph Lauren
Lamps are Target

I pulled this old pillow out of our closet, I had forgotten 
how even fabric flowers cheer up a space so much!  
(Save your vintage buttons, that's what these are. And keep your eyes open for cool buttons at thrift stores, they're easy to put on a boring sweater to make it wonderful. I look for vintage, and Anthro.)

This gray dresser is usually packed with fotos of our five children.
It never, ever looks like this.
I thought you should know that.

Books and flowers and a cleared-off surface.
So calm.

And when you can't find a pillow for the little green chair,
 you just toss some birch bark on it and call it good.
Chair: Maine Cottage
Bench: found at an antique store in Elk River, Minnesota

Thanks so much for stopping by..

Now to continue with this Spring Blog Hop, head over to Little Glass Jar!
You'll love what you see.

"You can cut
all the flowers
but you cannot
keep spring
from coming."