Thursday, January 31, 2013

Who Wants a PB&J? Then Follow Me...And Put on Your Sunglasses!

I deplore the lights in my pantry.  
Did I tell you, I deplore the lights in my pantry?

Fluorescent...yuck, phewy, icky  

I know this type of lighting is best for "lighting up" a room.  
I know it is useful for the ability to "see" every "nook and cranny" in my cupboards. 
But, hey, look here...
I don't want to see every nook and cranny!
And in this case, what you don't "see" won't hurt you.
Like crumbs left behind from those snot-nosed kids of mine.
Besides, whatever they drop the dogs will find anyway, right? 
Because...It's a pantry not a doctors office!
And... I shouldn't need my sunglasses just to make a pb&j!!

Crystal Chandeliers
Did I tell you, I heart crystal chandeliers?

This is what I want to see walking into my pantry...

Why would I want to look at a boring, blinding box on my ceiling, when I could sing the praises of this little ditty!

I found all three of these chandeliers on, and under a whopping $200.  Yea, can you believe?  Can I get an amen?

Years ago, I purchased my entryway chandelier from this site. 
I take it down and bring it with me every time we move.  It is not grand or expensive, but I lurv it.  So it stays with me wherever we go.  

Check out their website if you like a good deal.  It's ahhhhmazing!  
They have crystal trimmings, lamp shades, and every kind of lighting fixture you can imagine.
But ONE kind you WON'T find... 
boring, blinding boxed fluorescent lighting!

Now...which one do you think will look best in my pantry, x's two?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Blogging, It's All in the Name...

As I have said before, I love snooping around blogs!  
Are you like me, and like reading how people go about life and get things accomplished?  When you drive in your neighborhood and you see your neighbor's curtains open (or door if you're lucky), do you glance inside?
  From afar of course.  I'm not talking stalker, creepy, or curiosity killed the cat kinda thing. 
You know what I'm talking about.  More like, satisfaction brought it back, kinda thing.  As in your blog is interesting and I am curious to what will happen tomorrow, kinda thing.  I'm not too embarrassed to say I peak inside, or maybe I should be, either way it's entertaining.

 For me, it's the curiosity to see how other people decorate their home or their approach to life.

   This curiosity kinda thing got me to thinking.  How do blogger's come up with their name?

A year ago when I wanted to start my blog (and never did 'til now), I was dead-set on the name Magnolia Mama.  How clever!  I'm a mama, I live in Magnolia, and it's my favorite tree and flower.  Over a year I lived with that name like it was all mine and I owned it.  This last December,  my friends Ali, Lisa, and I were talking about blogging.  I told them how I wanted to start a blog and the name I came up with. Lisa said something like, "That's such a cute name. You should at least reserve the name so it doesn't get taken."

What?  Taken? one could be as clever as me.  It's mine, all mine I tell you.  It never dawned on me...

Welcome to this precious blog,  Andrea is a wife and mama to two of the cutest 'lil patooties Emma and Benjamin. She describes her blog as a scrapbook of her family's life.  I get inspiration from her photographs, which are really well done. The name definitely suits this proud mama.  So, roll your window down and drive over to her blog and have a 'look' inside her world :) did I get my name you ask?
From this 'lil sweet thang!
My Maggie-Pie, Moguls, Maggs, or as her Uncle Lee likes to call her~Maglit.  This is my cutie patootie niece.  Or as her proud daddy calls her, Ootsie.  Isn't she presh!  She named me Aunt Coco.  When I discovered I needed to come up with a different blog name I texted my Maggs.  Because, as you know, a phone call is a thing of the past. 
She said, "Dahhhh Aunt Coco...COCOINMAGNOLIA!"

O...M...G...I said.  Why didn't I think of that?

Tell me, how did you come up with your name?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Not Your Average Quilt

We have moved 8 times in our 23 yrs. of marriage.  That averages to about every 3 yrs.  With each move,  I have found there is always something I learn about myself.  Whether it is about my character (I learned it takes me 3 solid months to adjust to change with people and places),  a new creative outlet (I started painting in Beijing), or I would pick up a new hobby (like learning to play golf in Indonesia).  

The last location, Sumatra, started my quilting craze.  Well...I didn't quilt them actually, Ebu Upi had that talent.  Maybe I should say, I discovered that I liked designing them with fun, whimsical pictures.  Like a painting.  Each idea came from a desire I had (like visiting Paris one day),  holding onto a memory (like my doggie quilt), or something fun for my 'lil peanut.  I would draw and cut the patterns and Upi would piece it all together. And in the looked like a finished painting.  Something we created together.  Except, I think she definitely deserves more credit than me!   

I hope you enjoy some of our quilts

This quilt is in memory of our two yorkies, Pepper on the left and Opie on the right.  All the fabric is batik, which I explain about later.  Pepper and Opie are under The Tree of Life with a big heart in the middle for our love for them.  I understand the tree of life's meaning to be, "The tree of knowledge." They were very smart dogs, so I thought that was fitting.  I have St. Martin de Porres' name on the branch.  One attribute St. Martin de Porres was known for was his ability to communicate with animals.  
 We had Opie 13-14 yrs.  We got him right after we were married.  My good friend Lucy was unable to care for him anymore(due to her job).  Since I was babysitting him so much, we decided I would keep him.  Over time he got old and sick.  And sadly we buried him in Beijing.  My good friend Patty K. helped me with his burial, which I am forever grateful!   She really took care of Opie...and me.  Patty K., I  love you girl!  Can I get an amen.  My other two friends Cathy and Patty B. came over and stayed with me for several hours.  I will never forget their compassion and generosity of their time they gave me that day.  Precious women!  Pepper was our second Yorkie.  He was the kids first dog they picked out all by themselves.  We got him right before we moved to Sumatra.  He was just three yrs. old when he passed unexpectedly.  We buried him in our backyard in the jungle.
  I tried drawing my two dogs, but couldn't get it right.  So, I asked my friend Andrew, who is an artist and the kids art teacher at the time if he wouldn't mind lending me a hand...literally his hand.  He was gracious enough to come up with these drawings based on photographs I gave him.   Didn't he do a great job!  We had Pepper looking young and playful and Opie sitting and looking like a distinguished older gentleman.

  This is one of my favorites.  She just looks so sexxxxy and sassssy!  In a, "Come hither dahhhling," kind of way.  She got some tata's goin on too ;) 

Lady in Paris with her poodle.  Enchante (nice to meet you)!  She's so chic with her sunglasses and hat.
This was my way of putting out to the universe, "I want to go to Paris one day!" Five yrs. later, it happened. :)))  She is standing in front of the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe. 

This is for my 'lil Texan Cowgirl. She's havin a heck of a time, as we say in Texas.  I found this image off a greeting card and changed it a bit to suit my youngest.  It is a lap quilt.  Actually, most of the ones I am showing are lap quilts.  

Como sei bella.  Meaning, you are beautiful, in Italian.  I think it sounds so pretty, don't you?  She is a hawwt dancing queen!  I made this to take back to the states to sell.  But, I never did.

My Granny, maternal side, bought this fabric when she lived in Jakarta, Indonesia in the '70's.  My granny and mom both used it as a table cloth.  When it was passed down to me, I thought it would be pretty quilted.  I didn't want to put food on such pretty fabric.  

Indonesian fabric I had quilted too.  They make great lap quilts and look exotic laying on the arm of a sofa or chair.

This is not my design.  I copied it from my friend Beth, she was my neighbor in Sumatra.  She lives in Poland now.  Wow!  What a life, huh :)  She made her quilt in different shades of red and black.  I liked this design because it reminds me of my time in China.  It is made from batik fabric.  Batik is cloth made using a manual wax-resisted dying technique (wikipedia).  
Here is a photo of my 'lil one making batik fabric at her school's  Indonesian Culture Day.

And last, this is one my mom designed.  One summer when we were home visiting, she asked everyone in the family to go to Hobby Lobby and pick out a piece of fabric that we felt represented ourselves.  She had all of us sign our name on transfer paper and then she embroidered it on to a piece of white fabric.  She did this for four quilts (for my brother, sister, myself, and herself).  I brought back all the pieces to Sumatra.  These were quilted my Rini.  A beautiful, young Indonesian woman.  In fact, she quilted these last two.

I saw some very fun and unique quilts on instagram today.  One insta girl had a quilt made out of her daughter's dance costumes.  So f.u.n.!  And she will have a very useful keepsake forever (I wish I could publish her inst handle, but I might be breaking some etiquette rule I haven't read about yet).

There you have it.  My not so average quilts.  Tell me about yours...

Monday, January 28, 2013

Baby Steps...Blogger in Training...

 I am a blogger in training fo shizel!  However, I have been a bloggie nut for several years.  I am pretty sure it was my mom that got me started, which in turn, got me addicted.  She called one evening and told me to go online and type in  That it was an ultra, fabulouoso blog about home interiors (one of our favorite subjects to talk about with each other).  I am sure she used a much more sophisticated adjective than I just did, but this is my story and I'm not sophisticated.  Boy was she right!  I love French Country design and this woman stole my heart, and to boot, she lives in Houston. Yippie! Maybe one day I will be lucky enough to meet her or use her services, fingers crossed. 
My favorite photo of my mom.  We are having tea and pastries in a quaint coffee shop in Holland.

I feel like I am just out of the womb, so to speak, when it comes to blogging.  For example, most of the words I am learning are a foreign language to me.  I am completely clueless about their meaning, please contain your giggles.
host sites
Ok, I made the last one up because that is all I hear in my comment box.

I am a college graduate, but I feel like a pre-schooler when it comes to all this blog stuff.  I read anything I can get my hands on.  So far, I have learned valuable information from sideincomeblogging's newsletter and my supercalifragilisticexpialidocious blog designer littlebluedeerdesign.  

Some bits of information I have learned: 

leave comments on other blogs~this could generate traffic for you 

pick a topic~set a tone~have clear expectations about your blog (mine would be lifestyle of a mom) 

write in your own voice~don't try to copy anyone~be yourself 

use catchy, clever titles to draw the bloggie to your blog

tie your title into your written post with stories

end with a question so bloggies will be prompted to write a comment...helloooooo

bloggies like to see pictures~imagery people!

try not to be long winded, so the reader doesn't loose interest...therefore, I better get done so you will come back :) 

Who knew.  There are rules to blogging as well.  Like ETIQUETTE rules.  
Oh Laud, I hope I haven't broke any!  Well, if I have... it's not brain surgery. And I haven't killed anyone. 
~And neither have these fools~
Any baby-steppers out there like me?  

Friday, January 25, 2013

Dad, Daddio, Papa, Papi, Pappy, and Fred

My Heart!

A Dad of many names.  For all the Dad's of girls, listen up.  This is how you make your baby girl become a woman of CONVICTION.  YOU let her know she MEANS something.  YOU let her know she is IMPORTANT.  YOU let her know someone, daddy-papa-pappy-fred (my brothers name for him), has her back by SHOWING up.  YOU teach her about BOUNDARIES.  YOU let her know your EXPECTATIONS and then follow through with them.

This is a letter my dad wrote me as a teenager.  This is why he was A GREAT MAN.

My dad's uncle gave me my knick-name, Sam.  I came out of the womb looking like I was in a boxing match with swollen, black eyes, and my nose pushed over to left side of my face.  Definitely not looking all pink and petite like every girl is expected.  I fought my way out baby and had the bruises to prove it!  There was nothing feminine about me.  Sam, is what I answered to from my dad.

I love this poem he found.  It is a heartfelt poem from a parent. I adore his funny imagery translation of the letter.  I would like to share what a grateful daughter I am.  To have had a dad that was so thoughtful, loving, and strong.  I wanted to let you all know what a GREAT FATHER I have.

My dad was very well noted around the neighborhood for being the ONE parent that stayed up when you came in on a Friday or Saturday night.  There was no slipping in the house without a good "talk" about your night.  It was one of his way's of showing up.  Letting his three kids know, I will be here to say goodnight to you and also keep you honest, insert Major Payne voice hee, hee.

When I was a teenager, my dad would write my, "To do lists," like this to make them fun and to get a better result from me ACTUALLY doing what I was told.  The time and energy he spent trying to perk me up, make me laugh, and forget about what was ahead of me in the chore department was his little joke.  And I was happy to be part of the humor.  Here is the poem translated in his funny, unique word imagery.

He also wrote me lovely, sweet letters too.

His memory stays with me everyday...his words and actions give me strength behind what I stand for and believe to be right.  And I have ALWAYS KNOWN that, with him, I am loved UNCONDITIONALLY.

You, and my little Birdie you appointed to watch over me, will be with me forever.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Super, Duper, Cuuuticle Shadow Box Memories

Buddha-the perfect enlightened being.
Just look at that 'lil cutie patootie!  My own Little Buddha.

This photo was taken at my good friend Ali's house when that 'lil cutie was a toddler.  I thought her 'lil plump belly was ridiculously cute.  So, I hurried and grabbed the camera because she reminded me of the Fat Happy Buddha I saw all over Beijing, where we lived at the time.  Look at that expression! She's so happy and full of joy.  The Fat Happy Buddha symbolizes happiness, good luck, long life, and love.  The Chinese call this happy monk Pu-Tai. 

If you haven't noticed by now, I love holding on to memories in all sorts of ways.  Whether it is a cup I am drinking from which reminds me of a person or dinner experience, a cheeky accessory in my home that reminds me of a time or place, or making something creative and fun with my family photos.  I saw this idea...jeez louise...probably 15 yrs. ago in a magazine.  I probably spotted it in one of my mama's diamatasse magazines, like Victoria.  I have a binder that was my mama's when she was in jr. high school that I keep all my inspiration ideas from magazines about home decor, d.i.y.'s, and fashion.
I know...Over kill
Here are some of the ways I created memories using family photos, mementos, and shadow boxes.
 Little one is modeling her first pearl bracelet.  She's so darn cute!

Trip to Vietnam, looks like they are hailing a cab!  So adorable those two!

 The original map we used to find our way around Prague.

The two cutie patooties in front of the coliseum in Rome.  I love how my son is holding his sister's hand with a confident expression like he knows his bizness and 'lil peanut is looking up to him with a smile on her face as if she's saying, "Great idea bubba, let's do this!"

Little Dutch wooden shoes called klompens.  We call them clogs.  Good gracious!  What am I wearing? Overalls AND tennis shoes!  This is why I follow totallytikaa blog and instagram for style inspiration. Where was she in 2003 when I needed her most!

Little sombrero from Mexico and my goofballs!

I bought this handmade ceramic Madonna and Child in Italy.  I love spiritual art.  I wanted to keep her safe.  So, I put her in a shadow box so grubby little fingers and flying toys couldn't harm her.

There you have it.  A few of my favorite memories tucked away safely in a box for viewing.  What about you?  I would love to hear some of the ways you keep your memories alive!


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Dust it Off and Buff it Up Baby!

For all my expat fraaannns living out yonder don't even bother reading this post.  It doesn't concern you.  This is a foreign subject to you.  So catch you next time, wink wink.

Have you ever asked for something that you just had to have, have it now, and you can't wait to get started?  Yes? Well, that was me Christmas 2011.  I asked and got my handy, dandy buffer to buff my granite countertops. Today...January 22, 2013...a day late and a dollar short... I pulled it out of the garage cabinet and blew off the dust.  What happened to the urgency?  What happened to, "I can't wait to get started?"  LIFE, that's what.    So, this is supposed to make my job of polishing the granite go by faster and less tiring on those guns.
 I am probably going to get a bit of jibber-jabber about,  "Why in the heck would I ask for a buffer for Christmas?"  For this reason.  My beloved dad always bought my power tools.  He would surprise me on my birthdays or for Christmas.  He was a fantastic carpenter.  I grew up around table saws, circular saws, miter saws, power drills, you name it.  So, I don't mind getting my hands dirty or saw dust in my hair.  One of my favorite smells in the world was when my dad would come in the door after a long day of building someones cabinets or designing and hanging crown molding and give me a big bear hug (as I always called them) with the smell of fresh saw dust on his clothes.
The safest smell in the world!
My hubbs is keeping it going for my dad.
Here attempt to see if a power buffer is better than my big gun (or not) buffers.  
Let's see...
 The counters

 The tools...buffer, pads, and granite polish.

It's out!  Well, what do ya know...after all this time we meet.  
The pad on the left is the buffer pad and the one on the right is the terry cloth pad for application.

 I punctured a small hole in the top of the polish, so it would not pour out too quickly on the pad.
 Directions said to pour polish in a circle motion going from the outer edge to the inside.
Buggers...the directions said to tie the pad around the base.  So I did.  The darn cloth thing spun completely off and whacked me in the head.  I looked at the directions again and it said to tie the string in a bow knot twice and tuck the string underneath the tightened part of the cloth.  It took three times before I got it to stay on.
 It's working...need to work on that hair when I'm done.

Supposed to wait for the polish to create a haze.  Then I can start buffing it out.  I took my son his lunch at school and was gone 20 minutes.  When I got back it looked like this.  It is hard to tell with the sun shining in on the room, but there is a haze going on.

Oh my...tough job polishing these counters...I must quench my thirst

Whew...all done...tough day on the job

Look at that shine!  After all that work it's time for a treat.  How about some chochy (my son called chocolate, chochy, when he was little and it stuck) cake and green tea.

My conclusion
I did not find the buffer provided a better result than polishing and buffing by hand.  I think I need to upgrade my buffing pad next time and see if I get a better result.  I DO LIKE that it cut the time down by half.  I can't say how long it took for application.  Remember, I had to replace the terry cloth three times from coming off the base.  After letting the polish sit 20 minutes, it took 5-7 minutes to buff all the counters.  In the past, when I would buff by hand, it took me at least 15 minutes.  
Thanks hubbs, it was worth it!  I just wish I hadn't put it off for so long.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Mindful Moments~Spreading the Joy

photo Yves-Marie Gorim
"We must each lead a way of life with self-awareness and compassion, to do as much as we can.  Then, whatever happens we will have no regrets."
~Dali Lama

Doctors Without Borders

Wounded Warriors Project

ASPCA Guardians

My mother-in-law, Joy,  gave a gift of compassion this past Christmas in the name of all her children and grand-children.  In lieu of presents, she is making a monthly donation to the above charities.  My two kiddos were very pleased with her selections and thought Granny was 'so cool' for her act of generosity.  My son is an avid reader about Special Forces in the military.  He watches every and any military documentary on Netflix that he can get his hands on.  My youngest loves animals!  She rescued her malti-poo, Schatzi, from the Poodle Rescue Center of Houston.  They both commit their time to community service with the Abandoned Animal Rescue.  How fitting was the donation to the Wounded Warriorrs and ASPCA.  Joy was unaware of two grandchildren's interest in these subjects.  Granny said she has been supporting these charitites for quite some time already.  We all appreciate her gesture and act of compassion as this was a, "Mindful Moment," of thought and spreading selflessness.  Both Joy and I believe in law of attraction and her choice of charities was law-of-attraction at its best!    

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