Change Happens

Books are a uniquely portable magic.
– Stephen King

My last post was over a year ago. I celebrated my mother, who taught me my love of reading and my quest for lifelong learning. She showed me what love and compassion look like. She set the example for perseverance and loyalty. If I can quote myself, “Everything about me that I love, I got from her.”

I miss her. I need her.

I had a life-changing 2016.

My youngest niece (whose wedding you may remember) had a son, my great-nephew. He was born the day after my birthday. It was the best birthday present ever.

I also suffered through the end of a 13 year relationship. The end came swiftly and unexpectedly. My whole life changed.

So

I took seven months to heal, cry, learn to breathe again, and find my purpose. I’m still a work in progress but I feel like I am taking my life back.

One constant through all the changes has been books. I love to read. It is healing. It provides much-needed escapism from my overly stressful life. It helped keep me sane.

That is why I am changing the face of Kudzu and Romance. When 2016 began, I had a goal to read 200 books. I read over 400. My reading list grew like kudzu! I love words. I love how different writers use them to evoke vastly different emotions and reactions. Words can be so healing. And they can be so hurtful. And I love them all.

I have set an even higher reading goal for 2017. I want to be more present as I read those books. I want to sip them like fine wine…or sweet tea. And then I want to share and discuss them with you.

My reading list for 2017 is quite diverse. I have some old friends I want to revisit. I want to educate myself more on social issues. And I will definitely wallow in my love of all things Stephen King.

I cannot wait to go on this journey with you.

(If you did not catch the reference, Stephen King refers to his readers as “Constant Readers”. I have tried to track the origin of this phrase. I know Dorothy Parker used it. Does anyone know who said it first?)

I am currently reading Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

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A mother is she who can take the place of all others but whose place no one else can take.

 

ec16f5579a7d28383622630fe35faa60Two years ago, the world lost a beautiful soul, my Mama. She was my defender, my encourager and my example. Because of her,

I became an avid reader

I became a lifelong learner

I learned compassion

I learned unequivocal love

I learned loyalty

I learned perseverance

I learned how to laugh, be silly, talk ALL the time

Everything about me that I love, I got from her.

Two years ago today, she didn’t wake up. Even though she died on July 5, this was the day we lost her.

I’m in a pensive mood and I’m feeling quite melancholy. So…to mitigate these feelings, I’m going to share one memory/story each day for every day Mama was in hospice.  Lucky y’all, you get 6 days of my reminiscing.

Today I’ll start with Mama as a teenager. She graduated from high school several weeks before she turned 16. She started school early (at 4) because she wanted to be like her cousins. At that time, there were only 11 grades, so she graduated at 15. She had a job, but had to wait until she was 16 to be legal.

At some point, she moved to a girls home in downtown Atlanta and worked at Atlanta Gas Light with computers! She ran the key punch machine. She was so modern for her time.

We think she is in front of the boarding house she lived in. She's probably 17 or 18.                      So full of life and so fun!

We think she is in front of the boarding house she lived in. She’s probably 17 or 18. So full of life and so fun!

 

Think about that. 16 years old, living away from home, working in downtown Atlanta. She was so smart and so brave!

My daddy courted her the whole time, before and after he joined the Navy. (He was eventually successful in his courtship, but that’s another story!)

Although she spent most of her adult life raising children and having “no job”, she was actually a very independent woman.

My Mama was always slight insane

but

aren’t we all?

She was everything to me and no one will ever come close to filling the gaping Mama-shaped hole in my heart. I guess no matter how old you get, you still need your mother. I miss mine every single day.

I’ve always been so proud of my Thoroughly Modern Mama!

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Pinterest is my new obsession!

I swear, I’m going to blog more!

But right now, all I can think about is

PINTEREST!

I started a board for my gift wrapping. I am obsessed with kraft paper. You know, that brown paper that looks like paper bags? I love it.

It is so versatile. You can add lace and tulle for women, duct tape for men. You can actually decorate the paper itself or add fabulous embellishments.

My theme for Christmas this year was burlap, with red and white accents. It was really pretty! I’ll post pictures of that soon.

Here is a peek at some of my wrapping:

Wrapped in kraft paper, embellished with lace, burlap, muslin and a handmade tag.

Wrapped in kraft paper, embellished with lace, burlap, muslin and a handmade tag.

I love the muslin; it is so organic and elegant! I didn’t cut it. I love the raw edges. Since muslin tears in a straight line, I just ripped away.

Here’s all the the packages look all in a pile:

Don't they look pretty together!

Don’t they look pretty together!

I’ve also color coordinated my Pinterest page again.

I know.

It’s a sickness.

But it is

FUN!

For January, I went with black with touches of gold and white.

Fancy, huh?

I have a new project coming up that I am very excited about. I’ve decided to decorate our mantle for each month. Since we are already more than halfway through January, decorating will be kept simple this month. But I’ve already started coming up with ideas for the rest of the year.

February will be romantic, with pink and a teal-y, aqua-y, light-ish blue color. Trust me. It will be pretty.

I have started Pinterest boards for each month. You can check them out here.

I will post pictures of the finished product. If you’re lucky, I will even post pictures of the process (if I remember to take them).

Oh.

One more thing.

I don’t do New Year’s resolutions. It seems like it just set you up for failure.

How about you? Do you make resolutions?

 

Hello there!

WHEW!

It has been one month since my sweet niece got married! I have SO much to tell you.

But

Not today.

I was going to tell you about it. I swear.

But

I got distracted.

I have been obsessed with audio books lately. At first, I felt like I was cheating. I mean really…I can’t read my own book?

Then I heard something from one of my favorite writers: Stephen King.

Stephen King is one of my heroes. But that’s another blog.

He suggested that by listening to a book, you actually hear/read

Every. Single. Word.

Think about when you read. Do you skim over some parts? Speed read? I know I do. I’ve caught myself going back and re-reading parts because I read over it so fast, I missed important parts.

When you listen to a book, you hear/read

Every. Single. Word.

So

I’m obsessed with audio books. Love them. I’ve listened to dozens in the past year.

Right now, I am listening to On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King. The great thing about this book is that it is narrated by Stephen King himself…nasally Maine accent and all.

It’s an amazing conglomeration of autobiography, how-to book and “how I did it” book. And it is fascinating.

If I could have any talent in the world, I think I would want to be a writer. I mean, a real writer.  A great novelist. Like Stephen King. I know he’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but he certainly is mine.

And that brings me to the topic of this blog.

In On Writing, King stresses that you must have a reader in mind when you write…your Ideal Reader (IR). You write for your IR and don’t worry about everyone else.

Because

If you please your IR, you will please your audience.

What an awesome concept. Don’t try to please everyone. Just please THE one. Or ones, in my case.

I started thinking about this blog and I started thinking about who my IR is.

I realized I have several, specific Ideal Readers.

My nieces.

My sisters.

And two of my great friends. We’ll call them

Candi.

And

Cherry.

‘Cause that’s their names.

So…when I write my blog, I have six Ideal Readers in mind. I feel like if I please them, then my target audience will be pleased.

These women are smart. And funny. And supportive. And tough. And I love them all dearly.

I know I will never be the

NEXT STEPHEN KING

That’s okay. He’s the only one we need. I would like to be a better writer, though, even if it’s just for my blog.

So

My goal for the next year or so is to become a better writer…to please my Ideal Readers.

How’d I do, ladies?

Oh yeah…

I also have set a goal to write at least 500 words a day. Today, I’m at about 515.

(Tomorrow, I will fill you in on “The Big Day” or “How I survived my niece’s wedding with a little moonshine and a lot of love”.)

Who is your favorite author? Leave me a comment!

(3/600. #110 on the list.)

My sister got mauled by a tail-free cat

Sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, doesn’t it?

See…

Here’s what happened.

My sister took in an abandoned kitten about a year ago.

This psycho sweet little kitty doesn’t have a tail.

Isn’t that sad?

It’s okay…she was born that way.

So…

We took our new puppy to her house.

Her psycho sweet little kitty got scared.

Sister picked up scared kitty.

(Do you see her mistake?)

Here’s the card I made for her:

Sorry your cat mauled you

Sorry your cat mauled you

I can make cards for any occasion! Literally!

(Notice the cat on the card has no tail. Seriously, she was born that way.)

I got mauled by a cat one time. He belonged to my soon-to-be boyfriend…

Let’s call him

Mike

Because that is his name.

I was helping him move. He forgot the first rule of moving…

ALWAYS move the cat first!

So here’s this terribly upset cat and, being the compassionate animal lover that I am, I tried to soothe it.

Yes

I picked up the psycho sweet little kitty.

It bit me.

Hard.

My arm looked like it had a tennis ball under the skin. Green stuff came out of the puncture wounds. Red streaks were going up my arm.

It was not pretty.

And that is the story of the first time I ever went to the emergency room.

Did I mention that I was 38?

Somehow, as klutzy as I am, I had never been to the emergency room until I was 38.

All it took was one psycho sweet little kitty!

This is also the story of how I can design a greeting card for any occasion.

Literally!

(2/600. # 251 on the list.)

(And no…I’ve never picked up a psycho sweet little kitty who was very stressed out again.)

Have you ever been in the emergency room? Tell me why here:

I turned FIFTY this week!

“One should never trust a woman who tells one her real age. A woman who would tell one that would tell one anything.”
― Oscar Wilde

I turned fifty this week.

50

The big five-oh

I remember when 50 was really old.

Is 50 considered vintage?

Is 50 considered vintage?

I don’t feel old. Most of the time.

But

turning 50 definitely made me take stock of my life.

You know what?

I like my life.

If I could do anything with my life that I wanted to

I would choose

this.

I’ve started my own business.

I get to be creative all the time.

I have pushed myself to learn new things.

Scary things.

Fun things.

I love being creative.

I love making something from nothing.

My oldest sister is the one who suggested I start my own business. I thought it was a great idea…since I didn’t have a job. I have thought about it for years. 

But

I had to do something first.

I had to

believe

in myself.

That takes courage.

A bit of bravery.

Do I have courage?

That bit of bravery?

Do I?

You better believe I do!

And

you know what?

Being creative makes me

happy!

Working with old things with hidden beauty makes me

happy!

If I could drop everything and pursue my happiness, do you know what I would do?

Exactly what I am doing now.

Except

Maybe I’d do it in

Paris.

Rome.

Florence.

London.

St Simons, Georgia.

Or

Maybe I’d do it

right

here

right

now

I love my life.

It’s not perfect.

But it is mine.

“Just remember, when you’re over the hill, you begin to pick up speed.” 
― Charles M. Schulz

(1/600, #28 on the list)

I’ve been busy…

Busy as a Bee

Busy as a Bee

I know!

Excuses

Excuses

Excuses

I really have been busy, but I’ve also been a little stuck with what to blog about. When you start a blog, it seems so easy.

Then

reality shows up

And

you are starting a new business

And

doing research on your new business

And

you are busy planning your niece’s wedding

And

it is so much fun!

So

I got writer’s block

And

I got distracted.

I’m sorry.

To make it up, I’m making a new goal. I am going to write a blog on all 631 topics on

Kludgy Mom

Some of them don’t apply to me. I’ll try to change them to make them appropriate for this blog and my life.

Some I will just have to skip.

I figure it will take me two years.

Do you think I can do it?

I also plan on interjecting my own ideas as my brain (and my niece) come up with them.

I am setting a goal.

GREAT!

What next?

Goal setting involves establishing specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-targeted (SMART) goals.

My goal

Write at least 600 blogs on the topics listed here by May 31, 2016.

Is it

Specific?

Yes

It covers all the bases: Who (me), What (write), Where (blog), When (2 years), Why (because I can!)

Measurable?

Yes

600 blogs, two years

Achievable?

Yes

because I can!

Realistic?

Yes

that’s less than one per day

Time-targeted?

Yes

Two years

Setting goals is important.

When I began this blog, I had a “goal” of blogging daily.

But

It wasn’t written down.

It wasn’t specific.

It wasn’t SMART.

Now that I have told you all about it, I have to do it.

Right?

I can already tell my creative juices are flowing.

Thanks, y’all!

Romantic Colors | The Trend for Spring

I found out something new today.

Each season, Pantone lists the colors that are trending.

For Spring 2014, the colors are gorgeous!

Romantic.

A little spicy.

Perfect for any event or project!

Here are the 2014 Pantone Spring Fashion Colors

 

Placid Blue

Placid Blue

Placid Blue

Even the name is calming.

Wouldn’t this be a great wedding color? Your something ‘blue’.

 

 

 

 

Violet Tulip

Violet Tulip

Violet Tulip

This color exudes Spring to me.

It makes me think of spring flowers, Easter eggs and jelly beans.

 

 

Hemlock

Hemlock

Hemlock

Soothing, lovely green.

The plant may be poisonous, but the color certainly isn’t!

 

 

Paloma

Paloma

Paloma

The name Paloma means dove.

That is exactly what color this is. A soft, romantic dove gray.

 

 

 

 

Sand

Sand

Sand

The beach.

Enough said.

 

 

 

 

The preceding colors are basically neutrals.

How about some more vibrant colors to add POP!

 

Freesia

Freesia

Freesia

Yellow is my very favorite color.

Imagine a color palette of Paloma and Freesia. Stunning!

 

 

Cayenne

Cayenne

Cayenne

Here’s the spice to add the flavor.

This isn’t just red. It is almost a pastel red, a soft red.

What about Cayenne and Sand? A perfect complement of colors.

 

Celosia Orange

Celosia Orange

Celosia Orange

A rich plant-based orange.

Celosia Orange and Violet Tulip are contrasting colors that work well together.

 

 

 

Radiant Orchid

Radiant Orchid

Radiant Orchid

Radiant…shining or glowing brightly, a perfect description.

This beautiful color can be combined with Hemlock for an earthy look.

 

Dazzling Blue

Dazzling Blue

Dazzling Blue

A bright, vibrant blue that calls to mind the wide open sky.

Combine Dazzling Blue with Placid Blue for a monochromatic look.

 

If you are feeling bold, how about

Freesia and Cayenne?

Celosia Orange and Radiant Orchid?

The beauty of these colors is that you cannot make a bad combination.

Try two, three or more for your next event.

Imagine a mass of balloons in these colors.

Or a magnificent bouquet.

Or even your next outfit!

With these hues, you can’t go wrong.

Which is your favorite?