Jan 31, 2009

A little Blue Sky anyone?

I came home to a lovely little convo in my etsy inbox this evening. Shay from simplydoodles added my Blue Skies scarf to her beautiful treasury.

What the heck is a treasury, you ask? Well, I tried to summarize it, but nothing says it better than this quote that I took from an article written by fellow Etsian, sweetestpea. Treasuries are a very fun way to celebrated the creativity of our favorite artisans.

Please check out this gorgeous treasury right here and leave Shay an encouraging word or two. It wouldn't hurt to mention one really pretty blue scarf either :)

Bless you,

Jan 28, 2009

A little SHMILY goes a long way....



Most people who know me well know that I am a sucker for little grandmas and grandpas. I just love them. There's something so sweet and beautiful about two people who've spent their lives together loving each other. Nothing brings me to tears quite like when I see them walking in the park,


or holding hands.


My favorite is when they dance together.



My husband and I want to be one of those little old couples some day. It isn't always easy to be in love with the same someone day in and day out. We work hard in our marriage to keep the end in mind when life throws us obstacles like bad attitudes, areas of disagreement and misbehavior toward each other and we strive to work things out to the best of our abilities so our relationship can grow and stay healthy. We often look for opportunities to learn new ways to show each other how important we think the other is. My favorite thing we've learned is "SHMILY".

Once, when reading Dr James Dobson's devotional book Nightlight for Couples together before bed, we read the story of SHMILY. We knew immediately that this was something we would make a part of our relationship with each other. Here is the story behind the word:

SHMILY

Written by Laura Jeanne Allen

My Grandfather and Grandmother were married for over half a century, and played their own special game from the time they had met each other. The goal of their game was to write the word "shmily"
in a surprise place for the other to find. They took turns leaving "shmily" around the house, and as soon as one of them discovered it, it was their turn to hide it once more.

They dragged "shmily" with their fingers through the sugar and flour containers to await whoever was preparing the next meal. They smeared it in the dew on the windows overlooking the patio where they always had warm, homemade pudding with blue food coloring.

"Shmily" was written in the steam left on the mirror after a hot shower, where it would reappear bath after bath. At one point, my Grandmother even unrolled an entire roll of toilet paper to leave
"shmily" on the very last sheet.

There was no end to the places "shmily" would pop up. Little notes with "shmily" scribbled hurriedly
were found on dashboards and car seats, or taped to steering wheels. The notes were stuffed inside shoes and left under pillows.

"Shmily" was written in the dust upon the mantel
and traced in the ashes of the fireplace. This mysterious word was as much a part of their
house as the furniture.

It took me a long time before I was able to fully appreciate my grandparents' game. Skepticism had kept some of them from believing in true love-one that is pure and enduring. However, I never doubted my grandparents' relationship. They had love down pat. It was more than their flirtatious
little games; it was a way of life. Their relationship was based on a devotion and passionate affection
which not everyone is lucky to experience.

Grandma and Grandpa held hands every chance they could. They stole kisses as they bumped
into each other in their tiny kitchen. They finished each other's sentences and shared the daily crossword puzzle and word jumble.

My Grandmother whispered to one of her friends about how cute my Grandfather was, how handsome and old he had grown to be. She claimed that she really knew "how to pick 'em."
Before every meal they bowed their heads and gave thanks, marveling at their blessings:
a wonderful family, good fortune, and each other.

But there was a dark cloud in the couples' life: my Grandmother had breast cancer. The disease had first appeared ten years earlier. As always,
my Grandfather was with her every step of the way.
He comforted her in their yellow room, painted that way so that she could always be surrounded by sunshine, even when she was too sick to go outside.

Now the cancer was again attacking her body. With the help of a cane and my Grandfather's steady hand, they went to church every morning. But my Grandmother grew steadily weaker until, finally,
she could not leave the house anymore. For a while, my Grandfather would go to church alone, praying to God to watch over my Grandmother.

Then one day, what everyone dreaded finally happened. My Grandmother was gone.

"Shmily." It was scrawled in yellow on the pink ribbons of my Grandmother's funeral bouquet. As the crowd thinned and the last mourners turned to leave, my aunts, uncles, cousins and other family members came forward and gathered around Grandma one last time.

My Grandfather stepped up to my Grandmother's casket and, taking a shaky breath, he began to sing to her.

Through his tears and grief, the song came, a deep and throaty lullaby.

Shaking with my own sorrow, I will never forget that moment. I knew that, although I couldn't begin to fathom the depth of their love, I had been privileged to witness its unmatched beauty.

S-h-m-i-l-y:
See How Much I Love You.




I am brought to tears again by their devotion to one another and the satisfaction of their souls being knit together so completely. That's love. That's what I desire.

My husband and I leave little notes to one another every now and then expressing our love for each other and whispering encouraging words, buy none are as special to me as that one tiny, silly word. Shmily. It makes you smile to say it. Shmily has been written on the window, in the snow, on notes stuck inside books or magazines, left in sock drawers, coat pockets, suitcases when one of us left on a trip and the other could not go along, I've left it taped to the dashboard of the car....the list goes on. It is my favorite game. When I am having a bad day, my husband is quick to leave me one-word voicemails that make my entire day brighter. "Shmily" he says.
It's the sweetest word.

Jan 21, 2009

Love is in the Air.....

Well, Valentine's Day is right around the corner and lately my eyes have been drawn to my most prized possession.



A painting by Jack Vettriano entitled Dance Me to the End of Love.
This painting captures the essence of my best Valentine's Day memory.

Because I've not been able to divert my thoughts from the subject of love lately I've decided to host a
BLOG GIVEAWAY
centered around it! Hooray for all of you!


Here's how you play:
1. To enter, you must visit my shop on etsy and pick a favorite item then come back here and leave a comment on this post telling me what you've chosen (make sure to include a way to contact you should you win).

2. You can earn a bonus entry if you become a follower of my blog. You'll find the link on the right side bar.

3. You can earn another bonus entry if you share me your most creative Valentine's Day memory. You can read the rest of the story about my best Valentine's Day below.

That's it! You're in. So, what am I giving away, you ask?
How about one of these?



The contest will be open to entries until midnight on February 12th, 2009. The winner will be announced right here on February 14th.

Now, here's my favorite V day memory:

February of 2004 (I think...?), I was inspired to create a special Valentine's Day for my husband. Ideas began to stir in my head and I wrote furiously in my notebook until I'd settled on a plan. I began to pour over my cookbook collection in search of relatively simple gourmet dishes I would be able to pull off with confidence. After a few rounds of elimination, I had assembled a menu for the evening and sat down with some tea at the computer and created my own menu for the evening. When that was done, I opened my CreateACard software and designed an invitation for my husband. Here's the actual card I made him:


I placed the card on the front seat of his truck after he went to bed the night before V day. The next morning after getting everyone out the door to school and work I got down to business myself.

I had searched the house earlier for what I would need to transform our humble little home into the quaint Cafe Rustica. I found an old curtain rod in the garage and found two matching twin sized flat sheets from our linen closet which I used along with a swag from a previous curtain set that I wasn't using at the time to create the curtains separating the entryway from the living room. I moved almost all of the living room furniture out of the living room and set up our dining room table (minus the leaf) with more lovely sheets as tablecloths. The red velvet napkins were a find at an after Christmas sale that I had tucked away for the next year. I pulled out our china and set the scene.

I purged all the shoes, coats, backpacks and bench from the entryway and brought in my outdoor fountain for ambiance. I had created a Cafe Rustica sign on the computer earlier which I hung beneath the painting on the wall. It was really beautiful.

Now it was off to the kitchen to whip up the recipes I had found.
The menu for Cafe Rustica was as follows:

Antipasti:
Baked Brie with Cranberry Wine Sauce
Fresh Bread with Olivada and Basil Garlic Oil

Entree:
Raspberry Turkey Roast

Tuscan Marinated Steak



Verdure (side dishes):
Pear Walnut Salad
Barley Pilaf
Asparagus with Roasted Peppers and Olives


Bevande (drinks):
Sparkling Juice
Lemon-Rose Water


Dolci (dessert):
Cappuchino Teardrop Mousse
Chocolate Marbled Cups with Fresh Fruit

My kids got home from school and I could tell by their amazed looks that my hard work was going to pay off. My mother arrived shortly, as we had arranged, to whisk them all away for a special Grandma's Valentine's Day party at her house and I quickly showered and changed.

A call from my husband saying he had "an errand" to run told me he was out looking for something for me and gave me a few extra minutes to put the finishing touches on the food, put on one of my Andrea Bocelli cds to set the mood, and light the candles.

When the time finally came, he rang the doorbell. Amused, I answered it with "Welcome to Cafe Rustica, how may I help you?" Without missing a beat, he replied "I have a 7 o'clock reservation." Giggling, I let him in and will never forget the look on his face. He was completely thrilled. He made me get the camera so he could take pictures of everything.

I finally got him to sit after taking pictures of every little detail (at the time we didn't realize that I had black and white film in the camera and after developing the film we were sad to see that most of the pictures turned out too blurry), only to have him jump back up and say "I'll be right back!" He came back in carrying that beautiful painting and I cried when he gave it to me.

We finally sat down and enjoyed a wonderful evening together with fabulous food, conversation and even dancing right in the middle of our very own living room. It was the best Valentine's Day we've ever had........so far :)

Here are a few pictures I can share with you:


(the beautiful table)



(a shot of the entryway)


(the Vettriano painting took the place of the other)

Jan 17, 2009

My first TREASURY...

Well, it took me nearly 12 hours to figure it all out, but I finally managed to snag one of the coveted treasury spots.
This is my very first attempt at putting together a treasury on Etsy.
Check it out and tell me what you think!

Blush of Romance treasury

Trying something new...



Well, with the start of a new year I thought a new look was in order. I am trying my hand at designing my own website via weebly. Please feel free to leave me feedback on the contact page about how I'm doing. I am interested in your opinions.

Stay tuned in the next few days for my very first blog giveaway. I'll post details about the contest soon.

Jan 1, 2009

If you have any questions or input about lemonade sun productions I would love to hear from you. Please use the form below to drop me a line and I'll get back to you as soon as I can. Thanks for your interest.


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