September 11: 20 Years Later

It’s been 20 years.

Twenty years since I dropped my oldest daughter off for school and drove home with our other three little ones.

Kennesaw Mountain Field of Flags: one for each person killed on 9/11/2001 plus 13 extra at half mast for the Marines, Sailor & Soldier killed in Kabul two weeks ago.

Twenty years since I heard the breaking news of a plane flying into Tower one of the World Trade Center as we were just minutes from our house.

Twenty years since I rushed into the house and turned on the news only to watch in horror as a plane flew into Tower Two on live TV.

Twenty years since the stories of hijacked planes rang in my ears as I hugged my three little ones.

Twenty years since a plane crashed into the Pentagon.

Twenty years since brave men and women stopped a plane from crashing into another target, but lost their lives in a field in Pennsylvania.

Twenty years since I checked my oldest out of school.

Twenty years since I called my husband nonstop while he was working out of town on a construction project. He didn’t know and I begged him to come home.

Twenty years since my daddy opened the doors of the church building and brought the community together for hours of prayer for lives lost, our nation, our government.

Twenty years since we held hands and hugged necks of strangers in our community because we were all shocked, saddened and confused.

Twenty years and my heart breaks for these families and our nation now as much as it did then. It doesn’t seem that long, yet here we are.

A lot has happened in twenty years. My babies are grown. They remember. They’ll always remember, just as I do. That day impacted their lives forever and helped mold them into the young adults they are today. They grew up in a different world than I did. We talked a lot about how the world changed after 9/11. As I said, we have not forgotten.

Unfortunately many of our nation have forgotten and we are not very United. I do not feel very secure and do not trust our government. 9/11 was tragic, but I miss 9/12.

Do you remember?

10 Things September

September has arrived and is barreling through like a freight train! I need it to slow down just a little as we are entering into my favorite season of the year and I want to enjoy every moment as much as possible. Not only do we get to celebrate the end of summer and begin decorating for autumn, I’m doing a wedding cake (its been quite a while) in just a few days, and we are just six weeks away from the arrival of our first grandbaby.

So many exciting things coming up for sure.

But, lets not get too far ahead of ourselves. First, we must enjoy September and here are ten things on my to-do list for the season.

1 – It’s not to late at all to Visit a Flower farm. Did you know 80% of American flowers are imported? It’s time we quit shopping for out of season florals and support our local flower farms. Recently I spent time at Posie Fields in Roswell and enjoyed every last minute of seeing this local flower farm in action. If you aren’t a fan of dirt and bugs, check out you local Saturday farmers market. You are sure to find a local grower there!

2 – Celebrate the end of summer with a delightful girl’s luncheon. My girlfriend Tami, recently hosted a lovely nautical themed luncheon on Lake Lanier. Decorate the table and choose food to fit your theme. If you don’t have time to “do it all” consider hiring out one or more of your party elements. Royal Tea Picnics is a local business here in Atlanta who will create the perfect scene for your next dinner. Time with friends is precious and should be treated special.

Royal Tea Parties did a fabulous job on the table decor!

3 – Attend a 9/11 Memorial near you. This year marks 20 years since our country was violently attacked by terrorists killing thousands and sending us into a war that ended with tragedies as well. We should never forget and take time to honor those who were killed or gave themselves in sacrifice. From diginified memorials to climbing stairs as many of our first responders did that day, there are plenty of ways to “Remember” the anniversary.

Kennesaw Mountain Field of Flags honoring those killed on 9/11

4 – Take a late summer hike. Get outside. It’s good for your health, both physically and mentally. Here in metro-Atlanta I love going over to Kennesaw Mountain or Sweetwater Creek to hit a trail, but my favorite trail in at Foster Falls SP in Sequatchie,Tennessee.

Beautiful Foster Falls State Park

5 – Indulge in pumpkin spice. Yes, I am one of those girls, but y’all I really do love all things pumpkin! Whether you hit up Starbucks for a cold brew or whip up you own at home, take time to savor and enjoy. Add a pumpkin cupcake or muffin for an even more delightful treat.

If you want to make your own pumpkin spice coffee check out my recipe here.

6 – Decorate for fall. Go all out with mums and pumpkins and wreaths and witches hats…. Decorate to match you home or just have fun and keep it whimsical. There are no rules to decorating for holidays; just have fun & give the neighbors reason to talk.

7 – Tis the season for the county fairs to begin! Load up and head out for an evening of rides, exhibits, and competitions while celebrating summer’s end.

Gwinnett, Georgia County Fair

8 – If you want something bigger than the county fair, head down to Walt Disney World and Epcot for the Food & Wine Festival. Purchase a gift card to make life easier (cashless and touch-free) and enjoy delectable tastes from Around the World throughout the park! You might find a new taste you enjoy or inspiration to be creative in your own kitchen.

9 – I’m loving Bath & Body Works Sweater Weather candle. It’s still fairly hot in Georgia, but when I light a couple of candles and fix a cup of tea … I feel fall in the air!

10 – Lastly, take time for tea (or coffee). We stress ourselves out so easily with busyness, news, and the like so take time to unwind, gather your thoughts and relax. I’m loving Tevana’s Lavender Citrus tea. Add a little fresh lavender and honey to your cup and curl up with a good book. No one can take away your stress but yourself. Take time to do things to create peace in your life.

I found my Tevana at our local Ingles … and for a delightful read, pick up a copy of Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life by Marta McDowell

What is on you agenda for September? Let me know in the comments!

Creating a Whimsical Nursery

I love a good DIY project to add personality or character to our home, but with my traditional and eclectic (I was Grand Millennial before it was cool) design style I’ve never thought someone would ask for my help decorating in any shape, form or fashion.

This especially includes one of my daughters asking for help, because all three of them lean towards rustic and farmhouse style which just baffles me to no end.

Then, came a baby announcement. MacKenzie Grace and her hubby are expecting our first grandbaby in October and let me tell you, we are over the moon excited! After they found out a sweet little girl is headed our way, Gracie immediately hit up Pinterest for some fabulous inspiration which led her to tip toe out of her comfort zone.

She asked my for help.

The room that has become the nursery was their office/catch-all room. It was the room which had been stressing Gracie out with its purple accent wall, sloppy baseboards. random mounted deer head and furniture that didn’t match itself. With little Mariah on the way the problem of the extra room has been solved and we have finished all we can until after her baby showers. So, what have we done?

First, I let her and Michael clean the room out (my cleaning up after kids days are over). Many of the things in the space were leftovers from before they were married and didn’t fit into “their” home. These items they donated, sold and packed up what they didn’t need, or finally found a permanent space for them in their home.

BEFORE
The poang chair is getting new life so that it matches the nursery

After the great clean up they headed to Lowes to pour over paint samples. It was not surprising that they went very neutral and chose Valspar’s Swiss coffee for the walls. This was Michael’s first venture in painting, and he did a great job prepping the room. He patched holes and taped the trim and all so we could hit the walls and get them finished in one weekend. We had chosen a paint and primer in one, hoping to make the paint process go a little quicker, as well as give better coverage over stained walls; especially that purple wall! While the plain walls covered nicely, it took three coats to get that purple covered!

After the walls were dry we took the carpet shampooer and went over the floors twice, to make sure they carpets were clean and refreshed. Gracie took care of ordering the nursery furniture (Delta Children) from Target which we assembled the following weekend. I painted a bookcase with a similar color to the crib and dresser and we placed everything where they wanted it to go. Then we let the room set several weeks, just to make sure the first steps were successful.

This is where Gracie surprised me.

She decided that a wallpaper mural/accent wall was just what the nursery needed. Now me? As old-fashioned as it may be, I love a beautifully patterned wallpaper; but my GenZ daughter?!?!…

My heart did little fluttery flip-flops with joy!

Today’s wallpaper comes in every look you can imagine, from classic, neutral or minimalistic to bohemian, farmhouse and artsy. Digital printing has given way to huge changes helping make wallpaper relevant again in today’s design trends. There are so many great color palettes available and pattern size is giving way to bold and vibrant rooms. I didn’t expect her to go all English Country, which would have given me great joy, but I was so excited to see her playfully whimsical choice: a pattern she picked from Photowall called Summertime.

Photowall is one of these fabulous new companies that is producing gorgeous digital wallpapers to fit every taste and style. It was so simple to order. Michael measured the wall that we were planning to cover with the mural. I went on to the Photowall website and entered those dimensions, adding a couple of inches for margin of error and contractor design flaws. We chose the premium paper with an extra matte finish. Photowall’s paper does not fade in sunlight, is scrape resistant, antireflective and suitable for cleaning products. It’s also environmentally friendly. All these things are important when putting together a child’s room. After we placed the order it was only a week and I had the product in my hands! Such a great turnaround time! Everything was going great.

Except I have never hung wallpaper in my life.

We called in the reserves.

Nana (my momma).

And we now had three generations bringing this nursery to life!

The wallpaper came with paste to mix, so all we needed were just a couple of supplies. We put plastic down over the carpet to keep paste from getting on the rug, purchased a 5 gallon bucket, a couple of paint brushes (choose high quality so you don’t have bristles in your paste; we used Purdy), a large sponge for smoothing out wrinkles and wiping off paste, and a sharp razor blade.

Now when I say wallpaper has changed, I wasn’t kidding. Photowall prints the wall paper to the specific measurements and numbers the strips in the order you should hang them on the wall. It arrived in one roll and we cut the strips and laid them in numerical order. We painted the paste directly on the wall and hung each sheet, perfectly coordinated to line right up. When the paper was all in place I took the razor blade and trimmed the excess from the bottom and corner. My mother was floored at how easy it was and I was shocked that I could have hung my first wallpaper without her expertise.

From prep to cleanup was two hours.

I absolutely adore the colors in this whimsical print! It almost looks painted on the wall and not wallpapered!

And just like that, we have the beginnings of a sweet nursery for a precious arrival.

Because every proper southern girl is raised a football fan.

From start to finish, the whole process of pulling this space together was fairly easy. This includes the ordering of and hanging the wallpaper! In fact the most difficult part of my Photowall experience was choosing the design (fun fact … you can upload a personal picture & have it made into wallpaper), and Gracie handled that! I will definitely use this company again when I’m ready for another room upgrade!

And now we all patiently wait until October …

If you are looking to upgrade a space in your home, take advantage of 25% off and use my code ohfiddledeedee25 at checkout for your own Photowall makeover!

FYI I was given the wallpaper mural in return for a review, but the opinions I shared are mine and I will definitely be using Photowall in my home again!

10 Things August

Would someone please explain to me how it is August already?  I know I’ve been absent on the blog (I stay much more active on my social media), but where has this year gone?

In an effort to share a few going-ons in our life, I thought I would share ten things that I’m loving right now as well as give you an idea into our year!  Who knows, maybe this will become a permanent addition to the blog.

 1. It’s farmer’s market season and I love visiting our little local, Saturday market here in Cartersville.  Audley & I do very little grocery shopping during the summer, choosing to focus on supporting local farmers and small businesses.  If you have a chance, check out your own local markets.  Eliminate the middle man and find much better quality food to enjoy!

2. Hit the outdoors and enjoy a waterfall hike.  Our health is one of the most precious things we have, and it’s up to us to protect and nourish our health.  One way to do this is get outside more, taking in natural Vitamin D, breathing in fresh air, and exercising our body, both internal and external.  The North Georgia Mountains are abundant with waterfalls to choose from, but I’m sure there is one near you as well.

Helen, Georgia

3. One of my resolutions this year was to dig a little deeper into Bible Study.  I am loving Candace Cameron Bure’s devotional books geared towards women.  From dealing with our own brokenness that we often don’t want to face, to discovering power in kindness, these little studies are simple yet impactful.  I found my copies on Amazon and  Dayspring and they are definitely worth investing in.

4. Another resolution I had for this year was to write more personal notes and remembering to send cards.  This beautiful stationary from American Stationary really makes that goal easy, as I love the beautiful colors and textures of the paper.  

5. Graphic tee-shirts for all occasions are all the rage right now, no matter your age.  I love these cute shirts from Kelley & Co.  Of course when your daughter is Kelley & Co you can’t help but love her work as well!  Check her out on Facebook or Instagram

Less News, More Nature
Girls trip anyone?

6. I have 6 pounds of fresh huckleberries arriving  tomorrow, so its time for a little jam session.  Huckleberries aren’t native for us here in Georgia, but hopefully the ones arriving from Idaho will satisfy my craving for this sweet berry!

7. Head out one Saturday morning to catch sunrise on the lake/river/creek/secluded field with someone special.  A thermos of coffee, fresh donuts, and a blanket are all you need for this inexpensive but romantic date.  Audley and I love taking our canoe out for sunrise, but believe me, a blanket and viewing point are all your need!

8. From Kindergarten on I’ve maintained a summer reading list every year.  I may not earn a free personal pan pizza or tickets to an Atlanta Braves baseball game any longer, but the satisfaction of finishing another great read is great in itself!  This summer I’ve finished Mary Kay Andrews The Newcomer, The Long Weekend: Life in the English Country House by Adrian Tinniswood, When the Astors Owned New York by Justin Kaplin, The Fabulous Bouvier Sisters by Nancy Schoenberger and Sam Kashner, Below Stairs by Margaret Powell, and The Glitter & The Gold by Consuelo Vanderbilt.  I also purchased several books about Laura Ingalls Wilder while on our road trip (see my social media) last month that I can’t wait to dive into.

9. Summer gardens are at their peak and even beginning to fade away, so now is the time to plan and organize your fall garden/container gardens with cooler weather vegetables.  Start your seeds for sugar peas, collard greens, brussel sprouts, cabbage, spinach, parsley and the like for fresh veggies through the next season.  Hopefully some of the summer heat will begin to loosen its grip soon and help make for a productive winter. 

10. Finally, if you don’t know already, I’m going to be a grandmother in just two months!  It’s a girl!  I’ve spent several weekends up in South Carolina helping Gracie and Michael pull together the nursery this summer using paint and *gasp* wallpaper.  The color scheme is just beautiful and I’m loving this gorgeous mural from Photowall that pulls everything together.  It adds so much color and personality to this sweet room.  I can’t wait to see everything completely arranged after her showers.

I hope August is full of simple pleasures and you find joy in the small things as we roll through the last days of summer!