Birmingham Snow Shuts Down the City

Hansel and Gretel Courtyard

Tuesday morning I woke up with a smile on my face. One of my best friends, Ashlee came to Birmingham for my birthday party at Bottle Tree the night before and we were going to have a fun day playing. The kids went to school and we sat and drank coffee enjoying the view of Hansel and Gretel and reminiscing about the songs my new favorite singer, Davin McCoy, sang the night before. I heard him at the Songwriter's Fest the weekend before and fell head over heals. Connor surprised me on Friday saying he was coming on Monday! So incredibly blessed with that guy. Connor not Davin. (wink)

I was on the phone with another friend laughing about the events from the night before and I saw a few snow flakes. It was that whole, "Oh, look! It's snowing!" Ashlee asked how I could even see those flakes they were so small. She declared, "It's just flurries.". She had an appointment with TMB Skin Clinic at 11:00, I was going to go with her and then it was lunch, shopping and playing for a few hours. OH, I forgot Connor's car battery was dead and he had to jump it off before he left for work. I'm thinking that was around 9:00. Ashlee and I decided we should get up and get going, so we started getting ready. As we were finishing up, Connor called and asked if the I thought school would get out early. Why in the world would they? I looked outside, the ground was covered and snow was falling as fast as it could! How wonderful! 5 minutes later, I got the phone call, school would be out at 11:30. Ashlee's car was still at Bottle Tree, we needed to pick that up, go to her appointment and get back before the kids got out. We had an hour. Still just taking our sweet little time and trying to look cute for the day, we finally got upstairs and realized there was no time to get her car, that could wait. MY CAR HAD BEEN RUNNING SINCE CONNOR LEFT! #seriously

My driveway!

We start out of my neighborhood toward TMB, there's a hill to climb. It's covered in snow. There are cars going up…slowly. Ok, no biggie, let's get her to her appointment, I will drop her off, go pick up kids and head back to pick her up. We make it up the hill. People are turning around. I freak out a little. These people are panicking. They are worried about not making it over that hill and back. My kid's school is on this side of the hill. I look at Ashlee and say, "We have to go get the kids!". 30 minutes before they are letting them out. I get gas since the light is on….just in case. I tell Ashlee to get some snacks inside the gas station. I go in to help her, she has nothing. She's looking at Vienna sausages and mac n cheese single servings. No, Ashlee, we need chips and salsa, doritos and junk food! It's a snow day!


We jump on Hwy. 119 and this is what we see.


Not a lot of cars, but a lot of snow. I pull in the parking lot and decide to go ahead and go inside. I've since talked to two different parents and need to pick up 3 extra kids. The check out desk was diligent with her "rules" and I had to tell her each kids name one at a time and she had to double check that I was on each ones list. The last two? I was not on their list. She wouldn't let me have them. I told her I would just grab them in the parking lot. Abduct much? I stood in the hall as John Connor walked around the corner in shorts and a short-sleeved t-shirt. All the parents just stared at him, shook their heads and then found me. Yes, he's mine, he only wears shorts. If he's comfortable, I'm comfortable, ok? Sophie walked up next, then Emma with Caelis, "Can Caelis go home with us?", sure. Bryson, one of the kids I'm abducting and we set out to find her brother. I just tell them where the car is and we head out. Guess what? I have 2 seats. 6 kids and 2 seats. Pile in the back, kids. I know it's snowing, the roads are slick, but I was not prepared!! We pull out of the parking lot, to the left 119 is backed up, we can go the other way to pick up Conor from the high school. I'm crossing my fingers we make it the 3/4 of a mile home. As we turn the corner to the high school, it's pretty backed up but moving. We are trying to call Conor and get him to walk down the hill. There are high school kids walking around everywhere. The signal is horrible…has been for the last hour. We finally get him and he's already started walking. We pick him up at our road and he jumps in…that makes 7 kids, 9 people with 4 seat belts. We are on the home stretch, though! Our house is a winter wonderland!! We all pile out and snowballs start to form and be thrown. They can't wait to get on the trampoline and bounce all that snow off!






In the meantime, Ashlee is a little worried about her car, oh and getting home!! She's from Florence, Alabama where it isn't snowing at all. Our first priority is feeding all these kids. If you know me…I do not cook. Seriously, never. My husband cooks and buys groceries on the day that he decides to cook because we eat out 5 nights a week. I'm not kidding, at all. I know we have frozen PBJ and maybe some eggs. We did buy a loaf of bread. Toast? Emma starts making cheese quesadillas for everyone. She's 14. She's so smart. I thaw out some deer meat and find a chili seasoning packet in the pantry. We put on a pot of chili. (I know how to cook some things, I just choose not to) We feel pretty good about the situation. Then we start watching the news and I start getting text and phone calls from friends that are stranded or their kids are still at school. The buses in our district never even left. The next area over sent their buses out and had to turn around or leave their bus. My MIL had to be rescued with her bus full of kids. They were coming home from a field trip. There were teachers on the bus, but she was stuck on the interstate for 2 1/2 hours!!! She said there were so many people helping move cars out of the way. They got a police escort, meaning she still had to drive her bus full of kids through the mess! Thankfully, she delivered them all safely. I felt so much panic for all of those mothers. One of the mothers of the kids I had had to abandon cars and walk home. One was on an airplane and was rerouted to Memphis. She wasn't going to be home until Wednesday. That hill I mentioned earlier, well…those panicky people? They panicked, slid, got slammed by other cars, and realizing they weren't going anywhere anytime soon, abandoned their cars. Panick. I was safe at home, with my kids, my friend and I were panicking for them. Connor was in a meeting, remember? He was in Vestavia, which is not too close to home when there's a blizzard and cars are stuck ALL OVER THE INTERSTATE! He has 4WD and believe me, he was going to take advantage. He is not a patient-sit-in-traffic kind of guy. He was off-roading and taking the "back way" all the way home. Remember the panic? People needed to call people, the phone lines were jammed and not a lot of talking was going on. We were just texting to find out where he was and how bad it was. He was updating and it only took him a few hours to get home. On the way, he was picking up old ladies that had abandoned their cars and taking them up the hill to the church. One told him her car was sliding and she just opened the door and rolled out, letting her car slide away. STOP.THE.MADNESS! I was so glad when he made it, but we still had friends that were stranded. My other friend, Ashlee, really how many people have two besties named Ashlee with 2 EE's? Me. So, she and her mom were on their way to UAB to see her Mom's hubby that had been admitted the day before, when they realized they couldn't make it. Heading down 119 from HWY 280, toward home, they made the 5 mile trek in 3 1/2 hours!! Sliding, blocking traffic, creeping home. Her mom is in a wheelchair…no chance of walking home! They made it to the entrance of her neighborhood about the time Connor with the 4WD got home. He went to help and some other sweet samaritan had already come to the rescue. When he got home, he said it was terrible with all of the cars all over the roads, abandoned. What is going to happen to those people that got out of their cars in the snow and less than 20 degree weather?

We just sat and watched it all unfold on Facebook and the news. The kids were happy and warm and fed, so all we could do was wait. If there was someone in need that we could help, we were ready.



It took my brother 6 hours to get to his kids. Speaking of kids stranded at the schools, there were 1,000's, seriously THOUSANDS, that had to spend the night at school. Not just middle schoolers who were glad to hang out with their friends all night, but preschoolers, kindergarteners, teachers who rocked them to sleep that night.

So many were on the highway over night, in their cars, with limited gas and some without chargers for their phones. A friend's sister was on the highway overnight and sent a picture of around midnight when they were standing on the side of the road by a fire. Gas was limited and it was the only way to keep warm. One friend was sliding down a hill uncontrollably in her car and was hit multiple times. She got out of the car and walked to the hospital nearby. Thankfully, a friend picked her up so that she would have a bed to sleep in. Her husband stayed at work all night trying to get trucks in and her boys were safe with family or in college within walking distance of all that he needed. Another friend also slid down a hill, had a wreck and ended up in a hotel room with a stranger as a roommate. She gave a blanket to a fellow stranded driver that was sleeping in the hallway of the hotel!! There are so many more stories just like these, some a lot worse and some not near as bad. Never the less, we all have a story about this Snowopacalypse of 2014. We were supposed to get a dusting. Our friends on the coast cancelled school this day and the next because they were supposed to get snow. I think they did, but nothing like what we got. Our weather people got it wrong, but man, I don't envy that job. I know they do their best and we have some of the best in the country in our area. I sure don't blame them or anyone for what happened. We get made fun of when there is a chance of flurries around here. The grocery stores have bare shelves of milk and bread and some of my snarky friends make snarky comments laughing at themselves, us southerners. We just aren't equipped, we don't have to deal with it like those northerners do. Remember at the beginning when I said my son was in shorts and tshirt? He has one pair of pants and one small under armor lightweight jacket that I BEG him to wear when it's below 20 degrees. I had on a shirt, jeans and boots that day….with a scarf. No coat, no socks, one layer. We play in the sunshine 9 months out of the year. If it gets cold, it's usually in the 40's. Our city was shutdown on Tuesday and finally made it's way out yesterday, for the most part. My kids are home again today and yes, my son is sitting next to me dressed in shorts and a t-shirt. He's heading to Arkansas with his best friend to go duck hunting. He has his camo….he'll be outside for a long time in the cold. He can handle it!

My friend, Ashlee finally got to go home yesterday, we ate chili and soup and chips and crackers, made cookies and ate the dough. I enjoyed having her here so much and can't believe she's not sitting on the couch with me again today.

Happy Snowmageddon, snowpocalypse, brrrrrrmingham snow 2014!!!

Hansel and Gretel Barn





Lucy's Lockets vs. Lucy Lockets


I, for some reason, started out calling my jewelry Lucy Lockets. You know that nursery rhyme? Lucy Locket lost her pocket? Or something like that. I have a friend, Ashlee, that would always say Lucy's Lockets. I would correct her, as I do. (sorry Ash. I love you more than life). Now, I've started doing the same thing!! So, the question. What do I call them? It seems that Lucy's Lockets is appropriate since I have the Lucy's Inspired umbrella. Branding. Keep it simple stupid. All those things I tell people all the time on how they should present their brand. This is my open apology to Ashlee. You were right. I apologize for correcting you. You should smack me in the head and tell me why. You would never do that, though. Thank you.

So, with all that gibberish. Here is the big news! The Etsy shop is STOCKED!!! I had a few left over from Haven and finally got pictures of them. They are all up. The necklaces are sideways. Who knows why. I will fix them one day.....maybe. Let me know if you know an easy way to do that. I guess photoshop, but who has time for that? I did talk to an Etsy expert a few weeks ago, I LOVE CAROL,  and she gave me a million tips on how to run Etsy to my advantage. I need to work on putting those tips into place. I did update a few about me things. If you take a peek at my shop, let me know what you think and if you have advice....bring it on! I need it!!

Lucy's Lockets will be in a couple of Holiday Magazine issues. Can't wait to see that! Ah-mazing! I've had a blast getting to know Ande. If you know who she is, you know the mags to look for! (Wink) If not, I will make sure you know when they hit the newsstands! So much fun! If you follow me on Instagram, there are hints there!



I've got to quit stripping.

It's so bad for me! Plus, I'm horrible at it. I make zero money.

I'm stripping these corbels for Layla Palmer. She asked me to help her look for corbels several months ago. I found these in Tennessee and they are fabulous, but she wanted them stripped. I should have taken them to Cullman immediately. Instead, I waited until the last minute and tried to do it myself. I went to Lowe's and bought all the supplies.


I took it all over to Ashlee's....she would know what to do. We sat in her driveway: me stripping, her making some AWESOME teacher gifts. Watch her blog this week. I bet you will see them there! (wink)









I was struggling. We went inside for a sandwich and I got a phone call. It was Garlan asking me about an ad for the Southern Makers event book. I told him my dilemna. He tried to say I told you so, but I stopped him and he told me to get to the store and he would put them in the strip tank. Ahhhhh....hero!

I packed my bucket real quick and headed north!


I was planning on meeting Layla and Kevin at 3:00 to help with a project they are working on...check out this post to follow along with this particular adventure! The corbels are for something totally different! ;)

I went straight to the wood shop and Roger helped me tell Rojelio that I needed these corbels stripped. I pulled 4 out of a garbage bag and he threw them in the tank. Wow. Really? He wears and apron and these really thick long gloves so his skin won't burn. I was over there with my camera in one hand and phone in the other. Roger told me to step away from the tank! I decided one weapon at a time!

I'm not sure why Rojelio doesn't have his gloves on here. He needs to be careful! Dipping and stripping? much easier!


He was dunking them and using a bucket to pour the stripper over the corbels.



 Wow, can you believe how it just bubbles up? I just wanted to reach in and peel it all up! I can't wait to see them come out of the tank!








I left them with him and went up front to meet up with Layla and Kevin. I was surprised to see Myra, from My Blessed Life, come in! She had her sweet baby boy with her. He is SO cute! She was meeting them, too. We spent the rest of the afternoon out at the wood warehouse with Ryan finding, measuring, and pulling wood. Loaded it all up for them to take home and realized it was too late to get the corbels. We told them all about the Southern Makers event and they are planning on stopping by...so, we will deliver that weekend! A fun day. I really love helping people find their treasures at Southern Accents.

Color Inspires Me

I am so inspired by color. I think it's interesting that most would describe my style as rustic and old. While I am very inspired by rustic, old pieces, they usually have texture or color. I do love the way these old pieces can be used to make something new. Most of the time if I find a door with a bright color......I have to have it! You could say my go to color is red. I was going through my iPhoto the other day and saw some really fun, colorful photos. I thought I would share them with you!

I subscribed to the Project Life Kit from Studio Calico. March was my first kit. OH MY, I love all those little pieces that come in glassine envelopes and the cards that are all the same size. Yes, those things.


This jar. Ha, this jar is big, really big! It has been this full of flowers for several years! (wink) I might pull out one or two, but then I find a package that has never been opened and stuff it in there!


I went thrift shopping, but not with Macklemore! I went with Ashlee. #giggle 
I walked around the corner and saw all of these 45's and thought I would die! The colors and circles and organization...swoon!



The Smoking Glue Guns had a few hiccups last month; Spring Break, sick kids, and no time! I took on a huge project for March's craft and I do not know if it will ever get done...oh my. It will be so fantastic when I'm finished. I actually have two to make. They are going to be HUGE pillows for the swing bed on the front porch. Anyone want to come over and stitch down an arrow or two? ;-)


New Years Eve: Bringing in 2013 in Style

Happy New Year!







It's all in the details



The magicians. Ashlee (left) is the amazing designer and Lori (right) is the amazing photographer!
 Last minute touches

Food

Drinks


Details

Party girls
 Fireworks!!


I want to thank my good friends, Ashlee and Lori for allowing me to show you their fun New Year's Eve party. It looks like it was all girls, but I think the men must have been out back around the fire, not inside with all the pretties! Ashlee has such an attention to detail. I'm so glad she is letting me show it off! Lori knows exactly how to capture the atmosphere. It makes me want to jump right into the pictures. One funny detail is that this party started at 4:00pm on New Year's Eve and was over by 9:00pm. Life of mom's with small kids! I love that they went all out and didn't even stay up to see the ball drop, not even over New York City! I wish I could pick one favorite detail. She left nothing untouched. I have a feeling you are going to see a lot more of Ashlee's creativity on my blog...at least I hope so!   Happy 2013!

A Wood Project for Christmas

Ashlee called the other day and said she had a project for us to do on Tuesday. We had our day planned to hang out at the Barn at Hansel and Gretel. Well, Emma hurt her neck at gymnastics...that threw a kink in our plans.......literally! 
She is ok, but she couldn't move her neck at all! I took her to the doc and they helped her work it out! 

Ashlee and I changed our plans to Wednesday. She came over around 10am and brought some old wood from her neighbor's fence! It was old and grey and worn out! Perfect!!

We were making mangers for Baby Jesus! Ashlee saw one her friend's husband made and knew it was the perfect project for us. 

We didn't have a pattern, just a picture. We totally just figured it all out. First we cut the long side pieces. The first cuts were a little too long. The proportions had to be right. We just cut 5 or 6 inches off and then cut the other 3 the same. 



Next we cut the pieces for the ends. Those pretty much needed to be a square. It would square up on the ends. We did no official measuring. 


Here are several of the cuts. The top one is probably too long. We cut it to match the two smaller matching pieces. That little piece was going to be an end. We love the rustic-ness of it! 


We didn't have any extra hands to take pictures of us screwing all the pieces together. We just lined up the smallest piece to on of the longer pieces and put in two screws. Next we took the other "side" piece and screwed it to the small pieces matching up the corners. 
The next step was to cut the legs. All of our pieces were the perfect widths from the fence. These smaller pieces made the best legs! We just held them up to the bed area and cut them to fit. The last step was to screw in the legs under the base. We made it and X shape for ease. 


Our finished project! Do you think it is as cute as I do? I was thrilled with the outcome! We literally were finished in an hour. That included Ashlee going through the house looking at all my Christmas decor and finding screws as we went along! 


This project was so simple and fits perfect with my wood Christmas tree and tiny tree with burlap! I added a bit of straw. I do not have a baby to put in my manger, but I may take the top of a post or just a wood ball and wrap it up in a blanket to make it look like a baby!



Ashlee posted a pic of hers on Instagram with this precious star and her "baby Jesus". I'm smitten!


Sharing on Funky Junk Interiors SNS for the first time!




Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly!

Sing it with me.....fa la la la la la la la la! 


I was decking the halls this weekend! I really just finished. And by that I mean, I have 90% of it up! Seriously, like late last night, I decorated the last tree. I'm not completely satisfied, but it will have to do! I have a few odds and ends laying around and I need garland for one more mantel...but, other than that. Gah, I have a lot of stuff!

Tomorrow I am making a manger for Baby Jesus! Ashlee is coming over with some old wood from her neighbors fence. No, she didn't steal it. At least I don't think she did! He put up a new fence and this was laying-there-not-being-used! I can't wait to get it finished. It's going to be so adorable!

I thought I would share a few in-the-process pics of the house as I was up to my eyeballs over the weekend!

This is a portion of my front porch on Friday as my boys were leaving to go to the hunting camp.


This is THE tree. It will be full of red and white goodness when I'm finished with it! The lights. The lights are going to be the death of me. Every year, I say I am going to take all the lights off and start over. I never do. I add more lights on top of the lights that do not work. If I could fix those measly little bulbs that cause all the trouble, I would probably have thousands of lights on this tree! Notice how it is a couple of feet taller than the ceiling there. Thankfully, the ceilings are high in the middle of this room. The only spot for this tree is right where you see it. In the middle behind the couch and right next to the dining room table!

I love my upside down tree! It's so fun and non-traditional! This is how it came home to me from the storage unit. Mesh was all out of order and those paper flowers are a little catty-wompus! Notice how it is flush with the ceiling. It had to be tilted and shoved into place. We have low ceilings at Hansel and Gretel, like less than 8ft. ceilings! The lights. ugh


Just a pic of some of the sticks that go into THE tree! You will see those again, but that's another post!


I can't tell you how much I love this wood tree. It is by far, my favorite! I have several of these wood trees, but this is the one I love! Of course, Southern Accents Architectural Antiques is where this one was born. I went to Cullman one day with Daphney to get a tree for her. She had seen the one Shane delivered to me earlier in the week and she HAD to have one, too! So, off we go on a road trip. We were in the wood shop with Kolby, Garlan and Shane. We were picking through the pieces of wood and I saw this green trim on the floor. I picked it up and immediately saw a tree! The guys all thought I was crazy. This was before I started working for them and bringing them all of my out-of-the-box ideas. They were used to living inside their little world and not being too creative with it. I'm sure if they saw this one now, they would all gawk at it. It's like a Charlie Brown tree. It needed to be made and loved. Now it sits by the giant fireplace at Hansel and Gretel. I may not ever take it down!



Stitching

I love to sew. I don't do it very often, but I love to make something! I went to Florence a couple of weeks ago and got to meet Natalie Chanin of Alabama Chanin. I have been inspired by her for so many years! I can remember reading about her and then about 6 months later finding a tshirt at Barney's in NYC on the sale rack! I didn't buy it....it was still out of my price range!! I was very impressed. One of my favorite facts about Alabama Chanin is that she lives and works out of Florence, Alabama! That is one of my favorite places. I follow her on Facebook and read her Journal religiously. I am dying to take a weekend workshop, but can't justify it right now. I am, however, going to a mini-workshop next weekend! It's on Saturday and I'm making a scarf!

Natalie had a workshop with Faythe Levine a few weeks ago and I was very excited to be there. I took Ashlee with me and we soaked in the Factory and the fabric.  I was a bit starstruck! To top it off, Butch Anthony was there! Seriously, in his overalls and straw hat. I thought I would DIE! I was surrounded by incredible artists that were from Alabama. It was very surreal. We met lots of very kind people and felt welcome the minute we walked in the door. There was yummy food and beverages and just a home feeling.

We went to the workshop the next day. It was how to grow your brand for the artist community. So many artists do not market themselves. It was a lesson on blogging and all that social media entails. So funny that I can do that for other people but not myself. Ashlee and I left on cloud nine....that is after we spent an hour touching every article of clothing there! It's all absolutely beautiful and very inspiring. I left with a kit to make a corset top.....almost finished! I'm putting it together as we speak. I LOVE it!!! Going back on Saturday for a 2 hour workshop. They are having an open house...If you are in the area or just want to do something fun this weekend....you need to go!


I'm coming home...tell the world I'm coming home

Homecoming at UNA! I've been spending a bit more time in Florence, Alabama. I don't know if it's sentimental or just that two of my very best friends live there! I guess it's both. Since Ashlee moved back, I have probably been to Florence 5 or 6 times. Before that, after I graduated, I had only been there 5 or 6 times! It is such a great town. It's small. You have the quad cities; Florence, Muscle Shoals, Sheffield and Tuscumbia. I have a new found love for this area. There are some really cool places. Billy Reid is one of my favorites! I do like his classic clothes, but the store is gorgeous! Then there is Riccatoni's.....YUM! It's a wonderful Italian restaurant that is not to be missed. Trowbridges...chicken salad sandwich and an icecream cone...thank you very much.

Ash and Marisa have taken me to Tuscumbia the last 3 or so times. We always go into Audie Mescales. Great prices on cute clothes. We go into Thread and spend hours picking out patterns and fabric! It's one of my favorite places for inspiration! Alyson is top notch on customer service. I try on samples and she gives us tips on how to make super easy skirts and dresses! A couple of weeks ago we went to eat lunch at Frank's. We passed the alley and saw the lights strung up with gorgeous light fixtures and I insisted that we eat there. They had a couple of big screen tv's out there and we were the only people in the alley! The weather was gorgeous and we hung out for hours! The food was fantastic, btw.

So, with all of this love for the area, I talked Connor into going to homecoming for UNA. We both went to college there. He played football, I was a Lionette. A football game was the perfect event! We had heard there are fun tailgating events before and lots of people we knew go to the games. We told the kids about all the fun we would have and booked a room at the Marriott. That place all by itself is worth going!
We went to the parade on Saturday morning....Marching....oh the memories!!



We had a great time at Kilby before the game. They had a silent auction, lunch and fun activities for the kids. Ashlee and Marisa both teach there and it's in major need of money. The University keeps threatening to close the school. This day was a fundraiser. I hope they continue to raise lots of money!!

We went over the the Hill to tailgate and hung out with some of our best college buddies, Kin and Emily Taylor. They have 4 kids. Collin, Evan, Grant and Ella. Evan and Emma are the same age and Grant and John Connor are the same age. The boys had fun playing football and tag. Clark was there, too. Emma hung out with Charlee Beth, Dillon, Payton and Mattie Reid.....ahem, Billy Reid's daughter. I mean, really? I have the biggest crush on Billy Reid and my daughter is hanging out with his daughter AND she goes to his house!! She met him and his wife. She has no idea who he is or that I think he is fantastic. She thought it was funny when I told her that I think he is a celebrity! (he totally is, right?)

It was such a fun day. I love hanging out with my friends and their families. It was so good to catch up with lots of old friends, too!

UNA won! They have a pretty good team. When we were there, they won a couple of National Championships. They are moving into Division I. I know that will make a big difference in how things are done. I hope it doesn't change too much! Go Lions!