Saturday, June 24, 2017

Story Central: The Fifty Cent Tour - Part One

I'll be the first to confess that I have been waiting for this room to be perfect. To be completely finished. For everything to be completely organizedAnd then it dawned on me - an organic, active scrapbook room is never any of the above! So, I've done as much as I can to get it all spiffied up for you and to eliminate as many piles of clutter and chaos as possible, and I say now it's time to roll out the intro and move on to scrapping! Overall, I am loving the light airy feel of the room and it feels both calming and energetic to me. The paint is Pittsburgh Paint Aqua Sparkle, the same as we have throughout the house. This color nearly washes out in full sunlight, and deepens nicely as the sun sets. I love how it pairs with the Benjamin Moore Hale Navy on the cabinets.

I shared a bit of the design history on my last post. As I worked slowly and methodically through the design element of the room, I studied my tried and true scrapbooking processes and honed in on my overarching desires for this room:
  • for there to be plenty of countertop workspace
  • for there to be areas where I could stand and work
  • for there to be a nice L-shaped seated workspace 
  • for everything to have a logical and orderly home
  • for there to be enough space to hold everything {in my last house, I had scrap supplies in 2 rooms besides my scrap room}
  • for my big pieces of equipment to have permanent homes and for their to be plenty of plugs for electric access {I currently have fourteen items that require plugs!}
  • for the room to be really well lit, day and night {As a full-time working woman, I love to make use of my weekday evenings}
  • for the room to be beautiful
  • for there to be a spot for Truman and Steve to come sit with me
  • for the room to not look like a bunch of scrapbook throw-up
  • for the room to bring me joy just by seeing it, or by sitting in it
  • for there to be no any piles anywhere
  • for storage of things to not be crowded
  • for the room to truly be an expression of me
  • for there to be a nice spot for a big TV, yet not have the TV be the focal point
  • for the room to aesthetically flow with the rest of the house {and for it not be an eyesore to me or my hubs}
I had - as usual it seems - a lot of demands and desires! I have to say that I could not be more pleased with how it has turned out. I love daylight near me as I scrap. I love being able to sit at my desk and see into the rest of the house, or swivel slightly to my right to see outside. I love having the accessibility to so much countertop workspace, and I love that it can fold up and be out of sight in a second. I love that the room doesn't look like a scrapbook room. I love that it is the best scrapbook room I've ever had. And I love that everything has it's own perfect home, and I can access it fairly quickly.

The doorway and the window of course dictated the placement of the wall of cabinets, and determined the best spot for my desk workspace. Pairing a built-in desk with my antique bread and butter desk seemed like a match made in heaven. It gives me the desired L-space, it puts me near the window, it allows me to face out of the room, and it allows me to face the wall mounted TV. You know, a girl's gotta' be able to see those Property Brothers and Law & Order detectives when she scraps, right? ;-) Bonus - the Apple TV is hooked up behind the wall mounted TV, so I can also YouTube or Netflix the day away if I desire. 

The built-in desk area features a pull-down and hidden keyboard tray, and three drawers. My keyboard tray is so large that it also doubles as a spot for some basic office supplies. The top drawer is where I decided to store my everyday working tools. In reality, the Making Memories carousel that I love so much takes up a fair chunk of desktop real estate, and it's also a hot mess to behold. When it came time to give it a makeover into the new color palette, I decided instead to let it rest. I found a cheap desk drawer liner at Ikea and it fits perfectly and works like a charm. My Go To tools are within easy reach. This has been a great trade-off for me. The second drawer holds my scanner. The third drawer holds my Epson R3000 workhorse printer.

Above my built-in desk, I have a small section of upper cabinets. As a nostalgic nod to Scrap Central, I once again had three bookshelves placed above my computer area. A small cabinet on each side bookends this shelf section.  The upper left cabinets hold some basics: my Scrapbook Generation sketch and class binders, my Epson PictureMate Charm printer (I measured - when it dies someday, the new model will fit there, too) ;-), my bin of markers (stored in a flour container from The Container Store - thank you, Tasha, for this tip!), with extra printer ink tucked behind the markers. My red 3-ring binders are another nostalgic nod to Scrap Central. Who can forget that pop of red everywhere against those white cabinets?

The center section has my collection of angels, which I talked about in this blog post and I am loving their pop against the tiffany blue risers and the navy shelves. Steve had Home Depot cut down fence posts to 24 inch increments for the angels' risers. The back, taller riser is just two fence posts stacked on top of one another. He only did one coat of paint, thinking a more rustic look would work. I agreed! Annie Sloan Chalk Paint {ASCP} Provence or Duck Egg Blue is the color he used on the risers, the lamp, and the sideboard under the TV. We have fallen head over heels in love with ASCP! I had the idea to do risers, he had the idea to use fence posts. We make such a dynamic duo. ;-)

The upper right cabinets hold class binders: Karen Russell's Photographer's Workshop, Stacy Julian's Library of Memories, Ali Edwards' Yesterday and Today, Cathy Zieske's Design Your Life, and a Photoshop manual. The day may come when I'm okay having PDF's of these. For now, I have the prints outs, and want them available to reference. The second shelf holds some scrapbooking idea books that I aim to get around to someday, and some copy paper and photo paper. The top shelf has two mesh CD baskets (from The Container Store) that hold extra label maker tape, a regular sized stapler, and a scotch tape dispenser, and perhaps my secret stash of Christmas stocking candy. I eat it very slowly and live with other people who do not! ;-) That top shelf also holds some beloved older copies of Simple Stories magazines that I just cannot bring myself to toss.

I love that my cabinet guys got the height of the built-in desktop to very nearly perfectly line up with the height of my antique desk. Hubby stained the desktop, and I sanded it and varnished it. It feels so smooth. I need to get a piece of plexiglass cut for it, but man, oh man, I do love rubbing my hands across the top. Hubby also very tentatively drilled the hole for the cables. Boy, oh boy! They used a harder maple wood for the desktop since we were going to stain it, and it was very nerve wracking to watch that drill bit fighting its way through the wood. Two simple picture ledge shelves from Target seemed to be the perfect way to showcase my tiny collection of owls from my husband, my sons, and my cousins. Those are a story for another day, but I love them peeking at me from their perfect perch. The lamp is an older lamp that was red, white, and blue in its Americana glory at our previous home, and Steve painted that for me, too. Its simple white shade is also from Target.

Underneath the built-in desk, I retained usage of my small Alex drawer from Ikea. It is just the right amount of storage space for work in process, unfinished work, Silhouette supplies, and some tools I seldom use, but don't want to toss. It also holds my ARC binder of scraps. {Bless you dear Janet for this incredible idea. It is so wonderful.} I did not want anything under this desk, but having the Alex drawer is a compromise. I want things accessible and not crowded, and until I use up some things, or get rid of some things, I need the space it provides. I've pondered painting it navy to match, but I don't think many house guests will notice it, so let's just keep Alex and his drawers our little secret. I really did not want any extra pieces in my room, but I think the functionality of this outweighs the form. To the left of it are two Iris Bin file folder cases. More projects in process. #notenoughtimeintheday

My little antique desk is one of my favorite things in the whole house. You might remember I bought it at the spring 2013 Round Top Antiques Fair and it was used in Scrap Central for two years. The drawers in it are so deep, and as a piece of furniture that once roamed the ranges in the backs of covered wagon, I feel it is full of story and life. I imagine the days when those drawers held tea towels, or wooden cooking spoons, or treasured dishes. The left one today holds spare adhesives, and the right one holds some loose paper to jot notes on, and my ATG gun, and some old catalogs to use as "glue catchers" when I put dot roller on some elements. It's a perfect size as it was a primitive dining table. It has nice depth and perfect width. It's Bread and Butter name comes from the way the corners are constructed. The table top pops off when you remove wooden dowels and that would allow it to pack down into a covered wagon.


I decided, in the spirit of the new room, to freshen up the top of the desk, changing out my trademark red mat to a clear, translucent gray. My magnetic sheets still reside under it. The look works well enough for me day to day, and it allows me to easily clear the desktop if we are having a gathering. I gave my old Ott lamp to a friend, after first claiming the bulb and placing it in this darling seeded glass lamp from Target. The amber cast of the globe of the old Ott lamp was too much for me. I am really enjoying the clean lines and clear glass of the seeded glass lamp. My antique Ball jar - another Round Top find from probably the late '80's -  now holds artificial tulips and their pop of yellow gives me joy. The tulips may give way later to sunflowers. Depends. I love tulips so much they may just reign for quite awhile. I grabbed this little Cinderella movie quote sign from JoAnn's in April. The quote is a great reminder to have in front of your keyboard. I kept my chair the same. Luckily when Steve gave me my Herman Miller Aeron Chair for Valentine's several years ago, I went with a neutral color. I never tire of sitting in this chair. 

Not only do I love sitting at my desk area, I am absolutely loving the view. Aimee Weaver Designs created my custom sign for me. I love that she sent me a PDF for approval before she began painting it. I designed it in such a size as to visually take over the TV and to become the focal point of that wall. I contemplated for a long time covering up the TV with a Pottery Barn mirrored cabinet, but it's so common anymore to see a big TV hanging on the wall that I just decided to leave it as is, for simplicity sake, and work around it. I thought my cross collection would be a great companion accessory to the Aimee Weaver sign, and felt that they could together surround the TV in a way that dominated the wall, and set the tone for the room.

I absolutely love how it turned out. Steve hung the big Oceans sign from Aimee Weaver first, and then I spread the crosses out on the kitchen island. His retail eye kind of paired them, either by shape or size or material, and he would bring them in two at a time and, sitting at my desk, I would tell him which one would go where. It was such a joy to hang them all at one sitting and bring about a somewhat cohesive display. In Murphy, they went on the wall one by one as they came home to me. Each cross has a story and I love seeing them up now. They were in storage, along with my angels, for nearly two years. I love how organically the wall happened, and feel like it's just perfect.

Just to their right, I have two little galvanized shelves from Magnolia Market that I turned on their side to hold my small collection of vintage and antique cameras. I think I might want to grow this collection. I should grab a couple more shelves while I can, but it might already be too late. I searched for them to add the link and I no longer see them.  I struggle with the concept that they compete with the cross wall, but Steve assures me they look good. Who's right? Me or him? ;-) The cameras come from junking road trips that he and I have taken, except the exquisite red camera, complete with its flashbulb, which is a 2016 Mother's Day present from my youngest son. He found it on the square in McKinney.

Now, on to my sideboard! Some of my dear friends helped me figure this out! I started out in this room with an antique enamelware-top table next to the chaise, but long before the chaise was reupholstered, I knew that chippy base of the table would clash horribly with the fabric I had chosen for the chaise, and I couldn't bear the idea of the chippy paint going away. We re-purposed that table in its original glory to the kitchen and it's a perfect landing spot for the mail. I then went in search of a second perfect piece at The Frisco Mercantile, after the first perfect piece that I found got away from me. {And truth be told, I like the second perfect piece better than the first one, so sometimes all is well that ends well.} 

This little guy came home in a cream color, but once again, ASCP to the rescue. Two coats of paint by Steve, some distressing and sanding by me, and then a coat of dark wax by Steve, and voila' - my statement accessory piece. It provides some storage, and more importantly a perch for a decaf cup of Snickernut coffee, if I ever get the chance to actally sit in my chair. ;-) The 3-ring album binders on the shelf hold my Scrapbook Generation kit club layouts. I mean to make my way through those!! But it will take me awhile, so I had to {compulsively} change out the binders from Becky Higgins' Project Life Kiwi album to the newer and pretty Project Life Navy Weave album. The navy boxes to their right are Bigso Navy Stockholm Office Storage Boxes from The Container Store and the aqua box in between them is a Tjena box from Ikea. The sideboard drawer holds my 13 x 19 and 12 x 12 printer paper, my label maker, some cords, and some extra 12 x 12 and 6 x 12 bags that I use as needed for stash storage and organization.

I wanted to keep the top of the sideboard fairly clean and not have too much on it since it is right up against - and would compete visually with - the cross wall. I have a large vintage wire basket that I grabbed at Round Top the year I bought the Bread and Butter Table. I wanted a place for some books I'm reading through and the wire basket on top of this sideboard seemed as good a spot as any. I also have secretly hidden inside this wire basket my Sonos Sound System Amp. I love hiding things like that! On either side of the wire basket, I have some antique books that were my most favorite gift ever from my mother-in-law. One of my Annie's sits on a stack of four books, and my favorite antique camera sits on a stack of three books. I think at some point if I can find some navy books, I'll change them out, or perhaps I can do some pretty paper book covers on these like my friends Joanna and Jonathan. ;-) This spot is just a little bit of decorative fun, and it doesn't feel cluttered to me right now. I enjoy it, with the exception of the green books really playing up the green in the Duck Egg Blue paint color....

And then there's my beloved chicken chair. Sporting her new dress. {I bought the infamous chicken chair on clearance from Ethan Allen for $300 as a 34th birthday present to myself. It went into our San Antonio bedroom, and it was the napping spot for many afternoons with one or both of my sons, and it was their perch while I dressed, and it was also their Time Out spot.} Our oldest son was home for Father's Day weekend, and he was a little melancholy over the loss of the chicken chair. I told him I had saved some of the upholstery with which to make him a pillow, and he brightened up excitedly. See! I knew we all loved that chicken chair! Truman is impervious to the change, of course. He does love it as a perch, because when sitting there one can see out the front door onto the side of the porch and out into the street. {I have an extra yard of fabric that I need to get hemmed. It's been dubbed the Truman blanket, and it will protect the light white chair upholstery from his shenanigans, and I can wash it as needed. I'm rather proud of myself for thinking of this idea. The yard is the test yard I bought, and when placed on the chair, the wandering eye doesn't pick up on it.} 

This chaise is going to be a comfy and enjoyable spot to sit and talk on the phone, or sit and read, or even just to nap. I'll confess I've already had two short naps in it. Her dress may be different, but it sure sleeps just the same. ;-) My two red slipper chairs from Scrap Central have been moved up to our master bedroom. I hated to have them removed from my scrap space, but the harsh reality is that it's rare for me to have more than one visitor anymore when I'm scrapping. No fly-by teenage boys in and out anymore. Life moves on. The chaise is perfect and one chair fits the room better. I made the PennyScraps pillow at a class that my friend Sheila taught. I love it! 

And now on to the money - the wall of cabinets. China has her great wall. I have mine. ;-) Come back tomorrow for Part Two of Story Central: The Fifty Cent Tour! 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Story Central: Simply Amazing

I began the task of scrapbooking in a rather modest fashion, as a 29-year-old young, stay-at-home mom, working at the breakfast table with a stash of supplies that would fit into a Craftstor bin. 

Did you have one, too? I was rather proud of that bin. And then I required a second matching bin. And the coat closet, seldom used in the gulf winters of Houston, gave way to usher in a scrapbook closet. And before too much longer, the dining room became the formal living room, and the formal living room became a combination home office and scrapbook space. 

And that was just in the first house. I am about 3 months short of the 23rd anniversary of that day I went to that fated, memorable Creative Memories class. ;-) And in that span of time, over the course of twenty-three years, I have worked in the above scenarios: in the corner nook of a playroom, on the side of a bedroom, in 1/3 of a bonus room, in one corner of a home gym, in 1/2 of a home office, and now, finally, in the fifth home in which I've scrapped, and for the first time ever, I finally have my own whole room, dedicated completely to me, designed exclusively for me. It feels like heaven.

Of course, my style of scrapbooking has evolved and tectonically shifted as much in all the time which spans over two decades, just as the space in which I've worked. Thank goodness. ;-) I'm so glad I live in a scrapbooking world that contains the goodness of Echo Park, Carta Bella, and Simple Stories, all companies that have come along in the last ten years or so, companies that have come along "after the scrapbooking boom ended".

When we set about to move to our downsized nest, a downstairs study for my scrap space was on the must have list. When we found and selected the first house's floor plan, the Samuel, which had a 12 x 15 study, I was ecstatic. And then when we changed builders and neighborhoods, and selected and bought our Roseman floor plan, 8 months after the contract signing of the Samuel, it was delightful to discover a 12 x 15 study in it as well. 12 x 15!! So much real estate for my part-time love affair. I've come a long way from that scenario of one end of the breakfast table paired with a coat closet.

Not only was I granted the dream coming true of that much space all to myself, but I was given the permission, and the invitation, and the support by my husband to design my space. I initially planned to use stock Ikea cabinets. But as I thought about the Roseman and the finish-out of this second downsized house, the idea of a "second kitchen" right off the front door did not really appeal to me. I was driven back to Pinterest to start over on my design, and to find inspiration to go perhaps in even a new direction. Somewhere along the way, I saw a built-in secretary type of a bookcase, and my mind had a big light bulb moment, and I took to Numbers to draft up what would become my scrap space storage.

Two months. I spent over two months on the drawing. I studied everything I owned. I measured masses: height, width, quantity. I contemplated future buying potential, the need for expansion, my frequency of use, the need for accessibility.... Every little detail was poured over and over, and over with a fine tooth comb -- with 20 years of history and knowledge and desires and ideas. I decided I wanted to have an L-shaped workspace. I spaced out what would go where within the room. And then I took all of that information, and began slotting its space in the room, and into the designated wall of cabinetry. I finally got the design where I wanted it, and set back and waited for the house to be finished, and for it to become cabinet time.

When the house finished in November, I knew I would need to wait until after Steve's fiscal year-end for his assistance in overseeing the work, as his days off are more often than not weekdays. It was okay. I kept my design fresh in my mind, and busied myself with setting up the rest of the house, preparing for the holidays, having family over for Thanksgiving and Christmas. The New Year rolled around, and Steve's work fiscal year-end passed, and I set out to get quotes on my design. Four quotes. I went with the one that was in the middle on the pricing, and that offered a warranty on their work, and that when talking to him, felt like I was maybe talking to an uncle. Such a kind man. It took them seven long weeks from my meeting with them and paying my deposit on January 19 to the two-day installation which began on March 10. That's the time frame you're looking at for custom, complex work when you currently live in an area that has a booming home industry and several corporate relocations occurring.

Once I got a firm installation date set with my cabinet team, I could then schedule my painters. I had done my painter research during the long arduous weeks of the cabinet build. Armed with a few possible painting dates, I reached out and scheduled the painting. And then I set out to firm up my paint color choice. {Which selection I completely and absolutely adore 110%.} Benjamin Moore Hale Navy. My painting crew was as wonderful as my cabinet crew, but humidity and complications had the painting stretch from March 23 to March 31, and then I had to let the enamel based paint cure for 5 long days. The saying "Great things come to those who wait" had never felt more authentic.

Finally, finally move-in day arrived! The displaced scrapbook stash -- that had come out of four Expedits and been piled in the dining room, the living room, the retreat, the hallway, and one son's bedroom -- could finally begin coming downstairs to its new and beloved home. And as the migration commenced, the utter neglect of my basic and fundamental stash organizational discipline quickly became evident, and quickly came home to roost. Practically everything I went to put away had to be tweaked either by collating new purchases into the existing supplies, or by purging some unwanted excess, or by changing its storage container, and all too frequently, tweaking had to occur in all three areas. That is I guess the ultimate consequence for shopping for twenty-two months and not being able to properly put things away. I had some wonderful friends during this time that kept encouraging me as I waded through my self-made abyss of bliss.

I made lists. I prioritized. I had to go slowly and intentionally, as I wanted everything to be logical and accessible. I religiously studied my initial drawing, and had to adapt the placement of some things as I dealt with the actual masses of certain collections and the finalized dimensions of the cabinet uppers and drawers. {This is where I encountered and slayed daily my inner Perfectionist demon.} Every day I worked hard to cross things off that list. Sometimes the desire to empty a space upstairs would override the next logical thing on the list. I was balancing clearing out the chaos upstairs with creating order downstairs. As I finished or completed an area, I would highlight it in orange to let me know that section was full and done.

I was constantly collating new purchases into an existing stash. Sometimes I would find more of something that had been packed away with the wrong type of items, and have to revamp new spaces again. Lots of late nights. Innumerable trips to The Container Store. {When the managers at two locations greet you, you know you've been in too many times.} A frequent trip to Joann's and Michael's and Hobby Lobby, looking for the ideal storage was sometimes the back-up plan for failed Container Store excursions. Always carrying with me the dimensions for my necessities de jour, and more often than not, carrying my cabinet print out in my purse.

Thankfully, my husband was so patient as I sat in my new digs night after night, listening to reruns of HGTV, Modern Family, Everybody Loves Raymond, and Law & Order episodes. Who am I kidding? He, too, was ready for the return of order to the house! He even patiently spent one evening with me working on a new brad storage system. Poor guy. His lack of fingernails made the end of his fingers so sore and tender after countless times of peeling brads off of cardboard backers. And he's done more than that. He's done just anything I've needed him to! The day recently when he did "my cross wall" was such a day of joy to me. My space is nearly done. There is one pile that haunts me. And, full disclosure, there is memorabilia in the garage to deal with. I count that more on the Moving In/Housekeeping side of the To Do list rather than the Scrap Room Set-Up To Do list. ;-)

But, the small, resolute, lingering, seemingly indestructible pile aside, I'm ready. I'm ready to be done. {There will always be a pile, yes? It's time to move on! Yes? Yes!} I'm ready to play. I'm ready to stop cataloging and purging and organizing and placing. I'm ready to cut paper, and play with photos. I'm ready to sail past the "soft opening" test runs with my new space that I've experienced to meet some project deadlines. I'm ready to launch into the wide open clear spaces of unencumbered scrapping, endless projects going on, fun piles here and there, and embracing the freedom and the time to tell stories that need to be told, stories that are welling up inside of me, stories that are ready to be birthed.

As I contemplated and pondered Every.Little.Detail. of this space, from supply storage to stash placement to workflow to lighting to paint colors to fabric choices to wall decor to cabinet knobs, I came to realize that Scrap Central wasn't going to be the name of my play space anymore. That sounded not only a little pedestrian, but a little too negative. This beautiful new space isn't to be about scraps, it's to be about stories! It's to be about memories, and photos, and sharing what I love about the people I love, and the very good life that I am blessed to live.


  [stawr-ee, stohr-ee] 

nounplural stories.
a narrative, either true or fictitious, in prose or verse, designed to interest, amuse, or instruct the hearer or reader; tale.
a fictitious tale, shorter and less elaborate than a novel.
such narratives or tales as a branch of literature:
song and story.
the plot or succession of incidents of a novel, poem, drama, etc.:
The characterizations were good, but the story was weak.
a narration of an incident or a series of events or an example of these that is or may be narrated, as an anecdote, joke, etc.
a narration of the events in the life of a person or the existence of a thing, or such events as a subject for narration:
the story of medicine; the story of his life.
a report or account of a matter; statement or allegation:
The story goes that he rejected the offer.
a lie or fabrication:
What he said about himself turned out to be a story.
Obsolete. history.
verb (used with object)storied, storying.
to ornament with pictured scenes, as from history or legend.
Obsolete. to tell the history or story of.

And so I knew in my heart that when I unveiled my new space, I would be unveiling a new name as well: Story Central. 
Story: "A narrative, either true or fictitious, in prose or verse, designed to interest, amuse, or instruct the hearer or reader; tale" or "A narration of the events in the life of a person...the story of his life." 
Yes, yes, one million yeses! That is what I want to be about - narrating the story of my life, and the life of my family. 

Thank you for hanging with me during the transition, during all the dusty, neglected days on this blog. It's definitely now time to turn a page and begin a new chapter in my book.  And so I unveil to you Story Central, my beautiful, custom, delightful spot from which I pray I will sit and share with you many more days of my crafting the good story I love. She is simply amazing.

Story Central ~ Documenting the Design ~ April 2017

Sketch Credit: Scrapbook Generation
Paper: Simple Stories
Title Font: Watermelon Script

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

There's No Place Like Home

I unpacked the very last box on Sunday, and as of that day, we'd been in the house six days short of the seven month mark. I never expected it to take me that long to unpack, but there isn't anyone my age that doesn't expect life to throw you some curve balls, and to take them in stride is the best management plan. As I unpacked the box, I was acutely mindful of its contents: Demdaco angels that go on display in my scrapbook room. We knew when we moved in that there was no point in unpacking them, as we were going to have custom cabinets built. So when we came across that box, it and the box holding my crosses were set to the side "for later".

As I unpacked the angels and set them out on the kitchen island, I thought about the years of gifting they spanned. I think the earliest date that I saw inked onto the bottom of one was "May '01"...that would have been the first Mother's Day that we lived in McAllen, Texas. Steve would always take the boys to Quips and Quotes on North 10th Street to let them pick one or two out for me for Mother's Day, or Valentine's Day, or my birthday. And as I looked at all of them {I have 32}, I recalled little blonde-headed boys curling up on my lap, or, later, peering at me through awkward adolescent eyes, as we would sit around our dining room table over our family meal. And when I went to place them on the shelves in my now finished custom cabinets, I did not fret over running out of room. My collection fit perfectly, almost too perfectly, as if planned. But as it happens, it was just a serendipitous, organic moment of perfection. The angels fit perfectly, and I knew I need not worry about the collection growing any, or running out of room. Those little blonde-headed boys have of course grown up and gone away, and Mother's Day came and went this year without anything other than a phone call from New York, and a hug from my son who was with us in Florida.

Life goes on. Our whole exercise in downsizing, or right-sizing, and moving was in fact a testament to that, a full expectation that it would be just the two of us again. Steve and I have embraced the spectacularly mild May and June weather we have been having in north Texas, and he and I have sat out on either our new side patio or our front porch in the evenings as much as possible. As we sat on the side patio Thursday night, I asked him, now that we are basically completely settled in the house, and accustomed to most things around us and our new life, if he was content, or happy, with the choice we made to move. See, we are at the two year anniversary of "THE GREAT RIGHT-SIZING DECISION". ;-) You don't have to peer too far back on my cob-webbed and abandoned blog to see that this whole change began with a conversation on our Murphy front porch on Saturday, June 6, 2015, two years ago from today, the day I am "penning" this post. And as Steve and I talked Thursday night, we both came to the individual and mutual decision that it was the right decision, and we are far happier where we are now. Granted, it's been a long two years, full of lots of temporary situations, hard work, stress, and chaos, but unpacking that last box on Sunday signaled the virtual, and very real, end of it all. 

I've stopped binge watching HGTV. I started reading an actual fiction book Sunday night. The stress is off my shoulders. My level of internal joy is increasing and bubbling up inside me. I smile more. I hope more. I look toward the end of the day, the ensuing days, with possibility and positivity. I have resumed my walking at lunch. My Pottery Barn wish list has dwindled down to only some new bedding, {whenever they finally roll out something I like}. Steve and I have resumed our running. Sometimes I just sit down on the sofa and watch a show or take a nap -- because I can. {In fact, one night not too long ago, I sat on the sofa all night long and just watched TV for 3 hours. Unheard of!} He unloaded the box of a puzzle the other night to piece together. We've chatted with our neighbors. We've invited two couples over for dinner this coming weekend {our inaugural hospitality launch}. We've had our first full week vacation away from our new home. {I missed my home!} We've started our builders' warranty work list. And goodness, it's almost unfathomable to comprehend that we have almost been in the house for seven months, but it's true. I've been working on settling in almost non-stop that entire time, and my body can tell you it's true. ;-) Time does fly.  All these days here have been full, busy, productive, and they have flown by.

And in addition to settling down in the house, I'm settling down now in the scrapbook room. March, April, and May have been a crafty flurry of chaos, mayhem, and organizational rabbit holes. I've lived my life for so many months with a DAILY TO DO LIST, and my lists, for the house and the craft room, are nearing their collective ends. I don't know what I'll do with myself! Wait, yes, I do! I ordered some paper today for a specific set of photos, and I am itching to get to scrapping them! But not just yet, as this week I am seriously focusing on wrapping up the last of the moving in of my scrapbook room. I am down to the final items on my list, and that will mean I can finally live the life I designed! ;-) 

I am, admittedly {and surprisingly to me} suffering a little anxiety at finally being finished with everything, and I am internally adapting to no longer needing to search for ideas, research choices, make decisions, shop for things...but at the same time, I am very eager to re-define and re-shape a new normal! I guess after nearly two years of designing and deciding, it's normal that it has consumed me, and it's normal that it's ending, and it's normal, I hope!, to need to adapt to the change. I have scrapped some basic layouts in my new space during April and May, and I have to say the "test runs", or "soft opening", of the new room's custom configuration have gone very well and leave me longing, finally, to once again and un-abandonedly scrap! I am about to be once again where desire and feasibility collide, and yet in a new way, as I've never before experienced a personal, customized space!

So the last box is unpacked, and the last stack of things to put away sits on my built-in desk, and all the collective lists are nearly done. It finally, finally is about over. The dream we launched 24 months ago, the dream we agonized over for 16 months in an apartment, the dream we have been working on in the house for the last nearly seven months - the dream has now come true! I'm really, really about to live the life I designed. And the house, somewhat like the angels fitting on their shelves, fits us perfectly right now. It's been a serendipitous, organic process, and it feels like perfection. It feels like home. Home Sweet Home. There's just no place like it. 

Home Sweet Home ~ Our New Home ~ November 2016

Sketch Credit: Scrapbook Generation
Paper: Lily Bee, Simple Stories
Title: Silhouette File