{ one year later }

I'm working tonight on getting things in order for our first Friday weekend at the store.  The shop has been a blessing in so many ways.

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But the hard fact is that I wouldn't be doing it at all if, one year ago, things in my life hadn't come to a complete, heartbreaking stop.

These days are hard.

The trauma of what we endured keeps replaying in my head.  Conversations with doctors.  Driving in the car.  Sounds.  Silence...  Every single minute of those horrific days is still crystal clear. 

Occasionally someone will ask me about my shop name.

The thing is, (and Jane Austen fans will know this already) Pemberley is the name of the Darcy family estate in my favorite novel, Pride & Prejudice.  And so my work at Pemberlie is dedicated to my little Darcy, the one I held for three hours, one year ago tomorrow. The perfect little sister with a knot in her cord.

Tonight and this weekend I am working as hard as I can.  I need to be the best version of me.  For her. 

I welcome a full day of work tomorrow and this weekend with the same arms I held my sweet angel August 3, 2011. 

Good night, Darcy.  You are loved.


{ fairy dreaming }

My Pemberlie project is taking the lion's share of my creative time these days -- and it's wonderful. It's really, truly awesome to be surrounded by so many talented people.  The energy is inspiring and has been a great source of therapy for me.  I can't put into words how good it feels to be productive again.  

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I knew things would have to change for me to move forward...  For a long time after losing Darcy, I was numb when I stepped into my studio.  I walked in, shuffled around, looked at fabrics and patterns, tidied up a bit and walked out.  I had lost any creative drive.  I saw piles of fabrics and remembered what I was originally going to do with them.  No need for a new bumper.  No need for a new rocking chair pillow.  I didn't feel much like thrifting or fixing up things, either... my creative and personal spark was gone.  I don't know how else to describe it.

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With the Pemberlie project, I have deadlines and creative challenges and a completely different perspective.   And so far, so good. I am feeling more like myself.  I feel like my family is getting a better version of me, too.

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The shop keeps me very busy.
I don't have much time for personal crafting, but last Thursday was an exception.  

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A while back, the little girls and I had visited Powell Gardens. Kansas City is so lucky to have this beautiful treasure!  This summer's theme is Fairies and Forts and it. is. awesome.  The girls were so inspired by what they saw, they couldn't wait to make houses of their own for our backyard fairies.  

Lilac's mother's home (and water crafts)

And lets be honest.  Neither could I.

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We began assembling supplies immediately.  I had found some wooden stump cuts (is there a real name for them?) at a thrift store and we collected sticks and rocks and nuts at the park. We decided that our fairies would appreciate some flowers and gemstones as well, so we popped over to the craft store for those and super tacky craft glue.

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When we got home  my girls sat for hours and created whimsical little fairy homes.  Fidget concocted story after story about Lilac and Lucko, the fairies who live in her creations.  

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The littlest easily spent an hour and a half working on her house. She was very patient about waiting until we were outside to add the glittery pixie dust.  And then helped herself in the most generous way.

It's a lovely fairy village.  The girls enjoy watching the birds and bugs explore these new additions to our backyard.  They are quite proud of their creations, making sure that everyone that comes over gets a personal tour.  

Fidget's fairy house - "Lilac's Castle Island"

If you know of any fairies looking for a change of scenery and enthusiastic landlords, send them our way. I'm sure something can be arranged.


{ something new }

My friends, I've had a secret project.

it's wonderful and exciting and terrifying and thrilling.

And oh so much fun.

This June I will be participating in the newest addition to Kansas City's West Bottoms Vintage Mart Event at the Brocante Bliss building on 12th Street.  

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As for now, you can follow my first-time vendor adventures at www.pemberlie.com.  


{ and just like that }

spring seems to be here.

It seems fitting for me this year that it is in all ways not like ones in the past.  It's early, unpredictable and quite welcome.  I keep waiting for the shoe to drop, but so far things look good.  No freezes in the forecast.  The oddest thing for me was starting my allergy meds in February and kicking them up a notch this week as the green came out in full force. 

Still, the change of seasons has put me on edge about some things. My warmer clothes don't all fit yet, so there is the reminder that I am still post-partum and need to give myself a bit more time.  The tug of loss is there, brought about by something as silly as bringing out the 'off-season' clothes.  It's still very raw.

I'm turning 40 next month, as well.  So there is the range of emotions that goes with that.  And we had to put our sweet family pet, Autumn, to rest just two weeks ago, at almost 14 years and a long battle with abdominal tumors.

But spring promises new life and new beginnings.  I want to drink in the delicious greens and delicate blooms I see emerging and follow their lead.


{ valentines day } making

Fidget's Valentine's day party is tomorrow, on the 10th.  This has completely thrown me off this year. The 14th seems like sooo much more time to get things done, somehow.  At any rate, this week I went in to panic mode, because

a) Valentines are due on friday

b) No candy is allowed (so no awesomely easy photo w/ dum-dums this year.  drat.)

c) I'm head room mom so I have a party to throw.  Tomorrow. So I'm blogging.

Ahem.

I totally could have gone the easy route and printed out valentines, especially with this year's mandate of 'No Candy!!'   However, that Fidget is used to mom being all crafty, and I wasn't crafty enough to talk her out of felt and thread and irons and what not. Oy. 

So just in case you DON'T have to turn in your valentines tomorrow and DO have the weekend to work on them and you're a little bit crazy like me, you could do what we've decided to do:

rose barrettes from the purl bee for the girls:

buds!

and

pirate eye patches from ashley ann (at under the sycamore) for the boys.

We printed out some little cards to hand them out, all legit-like.  And now we're going to throw a party with homemade picture bingo cards -- because there is a chance some kids don't know all their numbers, five kinds of hypoallergenic treats -- so no one feels left out, a photo booth-- because that's what people are doing these days, and musical chairs. I think next year I'm going to let the excited first time mommies take over. 

And then I'm going to take a nap.  (But not before my dear friend, Lina, makes fun of me...I'm sure.  I'm laughing, too, lady. Happy Valentine's Day.)

The end.


{ breathing }

We've had the most unusual winter weather this January in Kansas City.  Today was a glorious mid-60s sunshiny treat and I took the littlest out to the park for a bit.  I thought she could use the fresh air and exercise and, selfishly, that some extra running about would mean a long cozy nap for both of us.

I haven't been back to the memorial garden in months, but it was a good stop today.  January has been a difficult month for me, it being exactly a year now since we learned we were pregnant.  

This month brings up the reminders of all my initial feelings and astsonishment and surprise... how one year from now we would have gone through the craze of yet another holiday season and have a little baby in the nursery again.  I had so many worries that I still feel terrible about, things I know I should chalk up to hormones and stress and for which I should forgive myself, but I will carry with me anyway. All I have are memories.  They haunt me all the time.

2011 was one Hell of a roller coaster for me.  I feel like I just got off and still want to throw up.

And in the spirit of honesty and in a sort of sisterhood -- as so many of my friends are bravely putting themselves Out There -- I will not sugar coat it.

Today, I thought it would be good for her to get outside.  But it was I who needed the fresh air.


{ holiday tour } The Kitchen

Part four of the slowest holiday tour ever!

I took photos weeks ago, started this post and never got around to words... so this one will be photo heavy and light on explanation.  At this point, who cares?  I will say that this year was the first with my new kitchen, so I did have fun with it.  In the past I really didn't want to draw attention to my shiny dark den-like space.

{ holiday tour } The Kitchen

 The deer and ornaments were above my pantry on the right.

{ holiday tour } The Kitchen

 I made some boxwood wreaths from the overgrown shrubbery in my yard and hung them over the stove, which now has the new section of cabinets above.  I cannot believe how different this space looks now.  (before)

{ holiday tour } The Kitchen

The kitchen got the tall skinny tree that I've had for 12 years... it's so short that I prop it up on canned goods every year under that skirt.  This angle shows the (1985, free to me) black pedestal table that I painted black. The aluminum chairs and garage-sale-still-needing-slipcovers parsons chairs all fit nicely around it, and we could easily add another 4 narrow chairs around the sides if we needed to.  This works so much better for our large-ish family, friends and littles that are always in and out.

{ holiday tour } The Kitchen

 

{ holiday tour } The Kitchen

This shows off the new cabinetry in its entirety.  If I were to do it again, I'd have added lighting in the top cabinets, but I still love the extra storage.  (before)

{ holiday tour } The Kitchen

From this angle, you can see the now-black secretary and hutch, which looks so much better as a stand alone piece.   I kept my original cabinet stuff up there and added a few ornaments and boxwood sprigs for Christmas.

{ holiday tour } The Kitchen

 (before)

{ holiday tour } The Kitchen

One of my favorite things was the glass jar with lights. 

{ holiday tour } The Kitchen

If I had time to do only a few things, this would make the list.

I hope your holiday season was full of sparkly moments. 

(if you're curious about the kitchen reno, it starts here.)


{ holiday home tour} the living room

I know I said the kitchen, but it's a disaster. And the slipcovers aren't done. I'm thinking about taking those photos tomorrow, slipcovers or not.  For now, how about the living room?

This is the view from the entryway.  Yes, it's a fake tree.  I have had to get over this with all the allergics in the house, me included.  We deal.

Wait.  The door wreath is real.  That counts for something, right?

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Last year I decided to move all of our red decorations to the basement and swap in some lime green, peacock blue, gold and white.  Our main floor is very light and I like it that way ... bringing in too many traditional dark colors makes it feel heavier than it needed to be.  The whites and blues were a welcome change.

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The bannister is a combination of long-needle pine garland (that I got for a stupid good deal for $2 each and am kicking myself for not buying the case), cream burlap, and ornaments.  I have found so many at thrift stores in bags for $1.  Do yourself a favor and pop into a thrift store next November for decorations.  One of my friends picked up a 6' slim pre-lit tree for $12.  Stealio.

You can kind of peek into the kitchen in this photo.  I made those boxwood wreaths from the overgrown shrubbery in our yard. And there is a slim tree to the left of the cabinets.

The pink bag behind the couch is where my afghan lives when I'm not working on it. The bag was a gift from Beki last year.

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I found so many glass (and plastic) balls that put them everywhere.  On top of candelsticks...

in bowls...

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on the piano...

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and even in a vase (with marshmallows) on my dresser. 

I've never added anything in our bedroom before but I like it.  We had a lot of vases left over after the memorial service in August.  I like that I can use some of the again.

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The plastic snowflake was a thrift store snag. So were the cut plastic covered dish and the gold ornaments in the vase... I love it when that happens.

Decorating the house is something we did for the girls.  If it were just the mr and I, it would be difficult to get into things right now.  Setting up was a nice distraction and it was fun to use the same stuff in a different way this time around. 

The one thing I haven't been able to do is hang the stockings.  Fidget is begging me to, and my heart is so heavy.  We were supposed to add a new stocking this year. I go back and forth about what to do.

Enjoy your week, friends.  I know it's hectic and stressful, but I hope you can carve for yourself and your loved ones some time for peace.

xo


{ holiday tour } The Guestroom and the surprise appearance of an afghan

This is the slowest home tour ever.  My apologies... I've been preparing for company!

My folks are flying in later today, so this is already getting some use.  This guest room is in the basement.  One side of our house is walk-out level, so we were lucky to finish this room with bright full length windows.  Makes such a difference.

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I got these three little linen trees thrifting last year.  They are perfect on the window ledge.

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The afghan is a work in progress.  I'm using up my yarn stash (left over from the nursery's granny square afghan) on this king-width simple striped blanket that may take me the whole year to complete.  I've been adding a row or two every night since Thanksgiving as I'm watching shows with the mr.  It's ridiculously soft and I can't stop myself from bright pops of hot pink.  Some rows are single crochet, some are double.  It's completely random and I love it. 

 

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Next up: the kitchen!  Which means I should finish the slipcovers for the chairs. Ahem.


{ holiday tour } the playroom

(Thank you so much for the sweet comments. That deer was quite possibly the best spent $6.  Local KC friends, I picked it up this past weekend at a west bottoms first weekend vintage mart event -- have you been there yet?)

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I thought I'd start the holiday home tour in the playroom because it is 1) pink and 2) clean.

It is also home to our pretty pink tree. The girls love it, and it really is the best showcase for all of the princess and barbie ornaments they have amassed over the years. The room faces the front of the house, so I was more than happy to put a tree in one of the front windows.

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This is also the perfect spot for handmade art.  I love projects that showcase little feet, fingers and toes.

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I picked up this little santa thrifting a few years ago.  He is busy flying around the world in his old toy truck.

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The storage unit was a craigslist find last year.  Best purchase ever. 

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I picked up Alicia Paulson's Santa Lucia dolls kit a few years ago, too.  These little girls make me smile every year when I take them out of the box.

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You can kind of see the striped flat/satin wall treatment Ipainted when this was still an office.  This space serves us much better as a playroom, even if it is directly to the left of the front door and is usually a disaster.

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The glow of a pink tree is totally, 100% like none other. 

Amen.