tabled

DIY outdoor table finished!

Our outdoor table is officially complete and we were able to sit around and enjoy it with friends over the weekend! The wood used for the top was all reclaimed wood found in our garage and left by the previous owner; it even includes some ping pong table (the previous owner’s wife was a ping pong champion) and bed frame wood, which I thought was fun. The center pieces come out and reveal two metal food pans which we plan on using to chill drinks in or use as a planter, etc.; the nice thing about the food pans is that we can easily remove them and drop them back in as needed. And we picked up some short hairpin legs which I think worked out great for this little table. 4 new patio chairs, DIY table complete, and we’re ready to enjoy the summer on our patio!

DIY outdoor table finished!

by Valerie | 05.17.15 | Around our home, For Funsies | No Comments »

how does our garden grow?

backyard beauty

We did our first big plant purchase for the season over the weekend and it always make me so happy! We’re starting with lots of flowers in pots and hanging baskets: a rose bush (in honor of my Granddaddy), some really pretty pink dahlias, yellow lantana, a variety of geraniums, coleus, sweet potato vine, and various other trailing greens to fill in and spill down the pots. We also picked up a couple orange mint plants and a spearmint plant for our garden box; we’ll wait until later this month to plant the rest of our herb and vegetable garden. It’s lovely to be able to sit in the backyard and feel as though you’re in your own private oasis; Ann Arbor really is stunning this time of year – the trees are flowering and everything is so beautiful and green…and my lilacs are blooming! Want to see more photos of flowers and plants and/or our garden?

backyard beauty (roses, dahlia, & mosquito plant)

backyard beauty

We also got started on a really cool DIY outdoor coffee table project we’ve been dreaming up and planning for since last fall; I think we my have it all finished and ready to enjoy by this weekend – stay tuned for more on that…

We had the pleasure of chatting with our mothers on Sunday too – hope you gave your Mom some love in honor of Mother’s Day; here’s a fun throwback photo of me and my brother with our Mom (those are some sweet glasses and awesome hot air balloon shirt, Mom)!

Family15

by Valerie | 05.11.15 | Around our home, For Funsies, Garden, Holidaze | No Comments »

Big Country

Kirkwood

Last Saturday we said goodbye to my beloved Granddaddy in Abilene, “Big Country”, Texas. It was so nice to see family, some of which we hadn’t seen in many years, although we wish it could have been under happier circumstances. It feels so strange – filled with sadness and happy memories all at the same time – the business of packing up someone’s life; as we went through my Granddaddy’s home, putting things away and boxing things up, I had so many wonderful memories of years past spent in that house – Christmases and summers and happy times…the smell of him lingering in his closet and in his shirts. We cut some pink garden roses from my Granddaddy’s front yard and brought them in a vase to the funeral home; they were so beautiful and I think he would have liked to have his own roses, that he spent so much time growing and caring for, there.

Roses from my Granddaddy's garden

Before we left Abilene on Sunday, we made it a point to take some photos on my Granddaddy’s front porch in the white porch swing we spent time on even as kids. I will miss his pretty little white house on Kirkwood, but most of all I will miss him. I’ll always have wonderful memories though and he will forever be in my heart.

This was one of my favorites: a photo of my brother, my cousin Trina, and I on that white porch swing… Then…

Then

And now…

Now

More photos from our visit to Abilene here.

by Valerie | 05.04.15 | For Funsies | 1 Comment »

Granddaddy

Talbott Family Christmas 2011

I am heartbroken as this world lost an amazing man yesterday – my Granddaddy, Clifford Talbott; he served through the entire WWII and made it home safely, he would have been 95 next month, and he still lived in the house he raised both his children in and celebrated almost 64 years of marriage with my beloved and dearly departed Mema. He was kind and brave and gave so much to so many. He will be missed by many as he loved so many and was loved by so many.

When my Mom asked my Granddaddy (about 4 years ago) to share his thoughts on marriage and his wife/my Mema (who had passed away), he had this to say:

“I can say that she was probably one of the most beautiful women you could ever want. Whatever I wanted to do, she was always ready to do it. We never did sit there and one of us want one thing, one want the other… When you get married, it works both ways and if you’re gonna keep married you better have it both ways too.

We had two wonderful children (Connie Watkins & Charles Talbott), you couldn’t ask for any better, more perfect kids than what we had.

Like I say, we had almost 64 years…and people would always be asking me, they’d say, ‘Now your wife’s not here, you gonna get married?’ And I’d say, ‘Nope. There’ll never be another one. I’ll never marry another lady.’ Cause you just don’t have a marriage like that. If you ever had to pick another one, if I had to do it over, I’d do the same thing. That’s the way I would do it.”

What a beautiful love story!

cliff army

by Valerie | 04.26.15 | Uncategorized | No Comments »

sunshine and pretty, pink peonies

peony power

It actually snowed here this last week, but my dear friend Jennifer Reedy had this to say and it’s so beautiful and so quotable that I wanted to pass it along: “It was such a soft April snow. So vulnerable that most of it would collapse and dissolve into the earth almost immediately, so fragile it would be obliterated instantly upon contact with warm skin. So delicate and so very fleeting, I thought it beautiful and poignant. These clusters of snowflakes cascading down from the clouds that bore them, with only that brief journey through the atmosphere to exist within. It seemed a little sad, but also peaceful. No part of me felt anything at all akin to “ugh” while watching it. Things begin and things end, and we are at that crossroad in a season of change. So don’t fret Val, spring cannot be stopped now. Vibrant colors have burst forth by way of flowers blooming and the buds are growing every day on the trees and shrubs, as you know.”

Unrelated, but this had me laughing – it’s important to remember…things could always be worse…you could be dead on Mars.

It’s wonderful to witness the change in seasons – with the arrival of spring blooms and signs of growth all around, the sunshine seems somehow extra special this time of year. Our forsythia is blooming, and I see that our lilacs will bloom soon too which I find myself looking forward to each spring. They even had some beautiful pink peonies, which I was happy to take home with me, at the grocery store this week; I’m hoping the peony we planted last spring will come back this year (fingers crossed).

peony power

Even my purple shamrock is blooming…

Soaking up some sunshine

by Valerie | 04.26.15 | Around our home, For Funsies | No Comments »

Spring!

Lenten Rose

While Ann Arbor, MI still has the potential for frost through early-mid May (meaning we won’t be planting anything outdoors until mid-May at the earliest), it is definitely looking/feeling like spring and the change is weather is much welcomed! Last Friday and Saturday were perfection – sunshine and highs in the 70’s. We took advantage of the weather by cleaning out our garage, placing out (and buying some new) our patio furniture, doing some outdoor chores on our home, and firing up the grill for the first time this year. I was so excited to see the forsythia in our yard in full bloom as of last Friday and my Lenten rose plants are looking lovely as well; it’s so nice to be able to cut flowers and plants from our yard and enjoy them in vases inside the house this time of year and throughout the spring/summer. We’re already starting to plan for and think about all the wonderful things we’ll be planting in our garden boxes soon.

Lenten Rose

Lenten Rose

Forsythia

As we were waiting in line to purchase our new patio furniture, we conveniently had a place to sit while we waited – here’s Ryan enjoying one of our new chairs; coming soon, a DIY table in the making…

found some patio chairs we like - bonus is that while waiting in checkout line there's conveniently a place to sit

by Valerie | 04.20.15 | Around our home, For Funsies | No Comments »

ch-ch-changes

my home improvement hero!

It’s been quite an eventful week or so… Some friends of ours welcomed a new baby boy (congrats!), other friends/colleagues of ours announced they will be moving for other job opportunities out of state (you know who you are and you will be missed!), and…Ryan was able to successfully install a new garbage disposal on our kitchen sink – while this may not seem nearly as exciting or important compared to the other items in my list, it was a big deal to us (even the nice lady at the hardware store commented that plumbing jobs always take at least two trips – but ours only took one)! Change can be hard, it can be good, and it is definitely inevitable. And just look at these daffodils… How could you look at these cheery, yellow blooms and not smile?

coffee table tray 4/11/15

Untitled

Last Saturday was National Pet Day and Melody spent it lounging around the house, getting pets, and laying in the sunshine as much as possible…which reminds me that it’s about time for us to switch out our glass insert for the screen insert on the door to the patio – looking forward to enjoying lots of sunshine, some fresh air, and open windows and doors again!

#mywestelm happy national pet day

sunning

by Valerie | 04.14.15 | Around our home, For Funsies, Princess Puppy Pants | No Comments »

Easter/birthday weekend

birthday cake with sprinkles

I enjoyed a really great birthday weekend, full of celebration and fun activities, and thoughtful gifts and wishes from family and friends too – thank you all for making me feel so special! The Birthday Cake at Sava’s is pretty amazing…and it’s on their regular dessert menu so you can enjoy it anytime you visit (this could be good or bad, depending on how strong your willpower is). I don’t think I went a day from Thursday on last week without having some sort of delicious sweet treat – cake, cupcakes, pie, candy, etc. – even the salad I ordered for lunch on Friday had bacon toffee on it (and it was amazing).

We ended our fun weekend with a lovely Easter afternoon brunch (complete with egg dyeing), which Ryan made an excellent vegetarian hash for, followed by a tasty dinner of casarecce pasta with roasted asparagus, grape tomatoes, and fresh basil. And there’s still a pile of Easter chocolates and candy on our kitchen table, a pretty spring-appropriate shade of nail polish, and some beautiful tulips, daffodils, and roses around our house for me to continue to enjoy. We had some rain/thunderstorms last week and I spied pots of pansies for sale around town over the weekend too – more sure signs of spring!

Happy Easter

Easter 2015

by Valerie | 04.06.15 | Around town, For Funsies, Holidaze | No Comments »

weekend haps

sunset 3/27/15

We enjoyed the Animated Films in Competition showing at the AAFF last Friday, as well as this lovely sunset view from the parking deck rooftop. My flowers of the week are pink roses, dark purple hellebores, and pink waxflower. And I’m pretty sure I’m addicted to these jelly beans…they’re really, really tasty!

kitchen flowers 3/28/15: wax flower & hellebores

kitchen flowers 3/28/15: wax flower & hellebores

And Melody strikes a classic pose…

classic

by Valerie | 03.30.15 | Around our home, Around town, For Funsies, Princess Puppy Pants | No Comments »

good fortune

I sure hope so! 👍

I enjoyed finding this fortune in my fortune cookie last week; with my birthday just around the corner, I sure hope this comes true! And I was so happy to walk past this beautiful sign of spring in my neighborhood last week – a yard full of crocus!

crocus

by Valerie | 03.26.15 | For Funsies | No Comments »

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