Saturday, July 30, 2011

Food For Thought....

From China with Love.....
Pin It!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Where to Shop In China....

This is a continuation of the posts I promised to do about my recent mission trip to China and Maria's Big House of Hope in Luoyang.  The main purpose of our trip was to love on the special needs babies in the orphanage, but we had a second objective to meet as well.   We were the first makeover design team to grace the doors of Maria's.  Our design challenge was to redecorate the kitchen/lounge and roof top areas the employees use.  We had also promised to give the nurse's rooms a little spruce up as well.  We took fabrics, wall decals, and other things with us from the U.S., but knew we needed to purchase more things once we got to China.  First stop on our itinerary in Beijing was a visit to Ikea!  Robin Hill, from Hope House orphanage was gracious enough drive Donna and me to Ikea! His only requirement was to take only take a couple of us and not the entire group of 13! 
(Wow, what a man to take two total strangers on shopping trip to Ikea!  
I don't know many men who would do that, do you?)

This picture was taking from Robin's car as we approached our destination!
We were sooooo excited!!!!  What woman doesn't love Ikea???

The building looked very much like our local Ikea in Concord, NC !
Once inside, we rode the escalator up to our shopping destination.  
We were greeted by long panels of fabrics, which were hung
 from the ceiling and fell almost to the bottom level! 
Instant excitement!  

When we reached the shopping floor, it felt like we were  in the states at our 
local Ikea.  The furniture vignettes were very much like what we have.  Lots 
of the exact same furniture.   but also things we don't have as well. 
This  is one of the  bedroom vignette.   I loved the way  the framed art was 
 hung over the bed with no space between the frames.
The answer to "how to keep pictures hanging  straight over a bed"!!!  
Clever, clever chinese!!!

Only major difference in the furniture vignettes, other than having some 
pieces our store doesn't carry, were the small framed pictures sitting 
around the spaces. The pictures were all of chinese people,
 not americans of course!

The major differences Donna and I saw were in the textile department.  
They had so many great, bold, bright fabrics we don't
 have in our Ikea, like the fabric below on the pillow with birds and bird cages.
 Donna and I both loved it!  Wish I could have brought some home for a project.

The fabric at the window below is the fabric we purchased for the kitchen
at the orphanage.  The piece we purchased had a white background with
black print which is reversed from the fabric shown.

The housewares area below looked very much like our Ikea.   Money conversion
 was also an obstacle I had not mastered prior to departure.  Robin gave us a quick
 lesson on the conversion process.  Chinese dollars are called rmb, yuans or kuai. The 
pricing of 4.90  kuai on the sign below would be roughly  $1.00 american dollars, 
depending on the currency  exchange rate  of the day.     100 kuai =  roughly 
15.00   american dollars.  In China, when you convert your money, you feel like  
a millionaire because you have so many 100's!  2,000.00 rmb = roughly 300.00
 american dollars,  so you have to have lots of bills to go shopping.  It feels like
 you are playing with monopoly money so you have to constantly remind
 yourself that you are spending "real" dollars!!!  

Sorry this picture is so dark, but it shows the chinese and english meanings
of the symbols on the dishes.  I was impressed that everywhere we 
saw chinese writing, below the chinese would  be the english translation.

This was the area in the housewares where the dinnerware and 
glassware was displayed.  

Luckily, at the end of the trip we were all still smiling!   
Donna and I were so excited about our purchases!  I don't know who was happiest
 that we made quick decisions, but I think it could have been Robin (smile).... What 
a good sport he was!  I loved meeting him!  He and his wife, Joyce are amazing people.  
They started Hope House in Beijing.  Click on Hope House and check out the good work they 
are doing in China. They have a great new book out that you will want to read called 
"The House of Hope"   If you click on the link, you can order through paypal and have
it shipped directly to you!  We were so lucky to have Robin spend time with us.
He is truly an angel walking on Earth!  He made it such a fun day!  Thank you Robin!  

 Thanks for joining me on our trip to Ikea in Beijing.  I hope you enjoyed

 Next up, arrival at Maria's and our trip to the furniture market in Luoyang!

Pin It!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Return from China...

Just Returned from My Mission Trip to China!
What a Life Changing Experience with a fabulous group of women!
I will be posting about my trip over the next few days
but wanted to share some pics of the rooftop transformation
first so you can get a little taste of what we did when
we weren't loving on the babies at Maria's Big House of Hope
in Luoyang, China

Remember the before picture of the rooftop deck?

Well, here is one of the after pictures taken from the other direction...

Courtesy of Cindi Pitts

As you can see, we added more furniture, hung sunbrella drapery, fun lanterns, even
planted some cute little metal flowers for color!  This is a place where the staff can
escape from the demands of the day.  If you are a visitor at Maria's you may also enjoy the rooftop deck!  
It is so quiet and relaxing!  Mikey and Moriah may even share some of their stories with you!  

Courtesy of Cindi Pitts

Thanks to all of you who donated money for this project!
We still want to add a stand alone swing, some benches, may be even a shuffleboard or
corn hole game or two if anyone who didn't donate wants to now!  It's never too late...

Once we get all of our pictures downloaded, I am sure there will be more to share of the rooftop and the kitchen/lounge we redecorated!  Stay tuned for more!  It was an exciting 11 days. 
 I look forward to sharing more with you!
Pin It!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Getting Ready for China....

(For the next few posts, I am departing from my design topics and posting about my trip to China.  I am hoping while I am away I can share some design posts about the places I go
 but for now, it's all about getting prepared!)

Last year, when I was at furniture market, Feizy Rugs has fortune tellers reading palms for fun.  I gladly joined in on the entertainment.  The palm reader said, you will be traveling to a far away place in the Orient.  I laughed when she said it because the most far away place I typically get is Topsail Beach or Chicago. Little did I know what was in store for me! I have always wanted to go on a mission trip, but never could seem to work it out.  My husband would say, "it is not your time, we still have little children".  He was right.   This time,  I didn't pick this trip, it picked me.  I am leaving on Sunday for my adventure to China!


How does one get ready to go to China? First you have to decide to go, then you decide not to go, then you decide to go again!  Haha!  This is actually what happened with me. I had been invited to go on this chance of a lifetime trip to China, but  couldn't imagine being away from my family for eleven days.  I think it was something about the fact that I wouldn't be able to get in my car and drive home if I got truly homesick for my children.   Through much prayer and hand holding by my friend Donna, who organized the trip, I finally made the commitment to go!  This is Donna at the Great Wall in 2009....

Losing my son in 2009, was the reason I didn't want to leave my family for this trip, but it was also the reason I was invited on this trip.  Mary Beth and Steven Curtis Chapman had lost their beautiful little Maria in an accident and as a tribute to her memory, have partnered with the Chinese government, to build 'Maria's Big House of Hope" in her memory.  When you lose a child, you are still the parent of that child.  They are no long with you but you are still the parent.  You have spent their entire life taking care of them, so even after death you have to come to terms with your role.   It is my belief that a big part of gaining peace through your grieving is to find a way to continue to parent, through parenting  the child's memory.  Some of us establish scholarships, others plant gardens, but being the kind hearted, generous  people they are, with amazing vision, The Chapmans, partnered with the Chinese government to create this beautiful orphanage to help children with medical issues in Luoyang , China.  My friend, Donna is a friend of Mary Beth's so Donna told Mary Beth about me and I was invited to China on the next trip.  Little did I know that shortly after I would commit to this trip, Donna would also lose her precious, seventeen year old son, Michael.  The last time Donna when to Maria's Big House of Hope, she took Michael with here.  This will be a trip filled with many memories for her.  She will revisit places that she shared with Michael.  We will be in another world, walking together as sisters in grief, missing our boys, but thankful we had them in the first place.  Whether you believe there is a plan in place or not, I am here to tell you my friend, there is.  There is no way that we could have planned this trip so perfectly.   It was planned long before Donna and Mary Beth had lunch that day and thought about who would go on this trip. 




I cannot wait to love on these babies!!!!

For more information about Maria's Big House of Hope click here!
Tomorrow I will tell you what I packed in my suitcase...

If you want to provide support to 
help this wonderful program,make sure you tell them I sent you! 
 Send checks to :
Show Hope Inc.
P.O. Box 647
Franklin, TN 37065

    Dang, I need to find that palm reader's number and ask her some other questions!!!!

Pin It!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

I'm Going To Maria's Big House of Hope!!!!

As most of you know, I am leaving  this week for a Mission Trip to China!  This trip has become a reality through many months of prayer and planning.  I am excited and nervous all at the same time!  I think there are fourteen of us going.   I know four people in the group  from my past, the rest are people I have not met.   I am anxious to meet my travel mates whom I am sure will become lifelong friends.  We were all invited on this trip by our friend, Donna!   Donna, along with Kathy from Show Hope and Mary Beth put this trip together for us.  
We are coming from many different states and will all meet in  Chicago and will fly together  to Beijing.  We will travel from Beijing to Luoyang, China our destination. 
When I was first invited, I was so honored to be included on this trip, but as time grew closer, I began to get cold feet about being away from my family for 11 days.  I knew deep in my heart that this was God's trip and not mine, but for some reason, I was resisting.  I could think of a dozen excuses why I shouldn't go, but at every turn, God would show me, I was indeed suppose to go on this trip.  The final decision was made one Sunday, after I sat in church and listen to our minister, David Chadwick, preach about Jonah.  I realized I was like Jonah!  God wanted Jonah to go to Nineveh and Jonah wanted to go to Tarsus.  Like Jonah, God had laid out the plan, the only problem I wasn't listening!  God wanted me to go to China and I wanted to stay at Topsail (Beach).  After many hours of back and forth, I decided I would go on the trip!  The amazing part of all of this was how and why I was invited to go and what happened after I commited to the trip.  I will share all of that in later posts.  
For now, let me tell you a little about our trip.   
This is where we are going.....


Maria's Big House of Hope in Luoyang, China!
To read more about Maria's Big House of Hope you can click here!
 Luoyang is one of the poorest provinces in all of China.   
While there we will have many duties.  I cannot wait to meet the staff and
all the sweet babies!!!!  I don't think there is anything in the world that I love
more than rocking a baby, so that is high on my priority list!  All these
precious children are recovering from medical issues or awaiting surgery.  
Our team members are each taking an extra bag with clothes, toys and goodies
for the children.   We also  have plans to create a special rooftop garden as a  respite 
for the nannies and workers in the orphanage.  .   

Photo courtesy of Mikey 

I will post pictures of what we do to this rooftop deck and the other things we do upon return of our trip.  We are planning to shop at Ikea in Beijing
once we arrive.  Wish us lots of good luck!!!  Tomorrow I will post about my
preparations for travel and packing my suitcase!  I am really getting excited!

Also, if you want to provide support to 
help this wonderful program, all you have to do is send checks to :
Show Hope Inc.
P.O. Box 647
Franklin, TN 37065

Pin It!

Monday, July 4, 2011

"Old Glory"

The American Flag is lovingly referred to as "Old Glory"!
The flag waves above buildings,from front porches, through battlefields,
and many other places  to proclaim our pride, freedom and liberty!  
When I was in design school,  our art history class studied 
Jasper Johns and his controversial encaustic painting of the flag.
Ironically, that was the first thing that came to my mind this morning.
 Controversial because he took a regular object and 
turned it into a work of art.  It began the movement of pop art.  
There are other controversial things about the flag....
did you know that Betsy Ross may not have made the flag?
Only a few historian still believe she did.  It is more likely that Mary Pickersgill, 
a professional Baltimore flagmaker, made our flag and was assisted
by her 13 yr old daughter and two of her nieces in 1813.
The popularity of our flag grew with the birth of Frances Scott Key's
anthem "The Star Spangled Banner".  It gave the flag the respect it needed
to become a national treasure.  

-Jasper Johns

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.
-Leonard Cohen

Nothing seems more American than Norman Rockwell....

I'll leave you with a few beautiful photos with red,white & blue.....


The Upward Bound House by Elizabeth Bomberger asian bedroom

Designer Showcase eclectic living room
Today as you celebrate the fourth, remember our forefathers and the debts they paid for our freedom.  We are the greatest national alive.  Long live America!
Happy Fourth!
Pin It!

Friday, July 1, 2011


Hey Guys!  Sorry I have been "missing in action"
it all happened like this....
You see as soon as school gets out in Charlotte,
my kids and I pack up our car to the brim and
head out!  We look kinda like this....
yep, we look like Granny, Jed, Ellie Mae and Jethro
only we don't have a rocking chair on top of the car 
but we do have a yorkie named Oliver  and a guinea pig named Lucy!

We drive and drive for hours until we reach our destination.....



I have visions on our drive of what I am going to do once we get there....


When In essence what I get is.....Screaming....

Only it isn't Andy Murray and the screamers aren't playing in Wimbledon!

So I posted this sign....Yes I did....Naaaah...just kidding....

There is also an occasional "I'm bored" because the cousins haven't arrived yet!!!
Actually everything is just peachy...
All the things I love about summer are about to happen!
The week of the Fourth with fireworks both in the sky and with family...
Kids playing on the beach, cousins running in and out of the house,
sand in my sheets and between my toes, 
friends who gather from hither, thither and yon...
sandbars and putt-putt, my kids buying candy at the local
store(from the same man I bought candy from when I was a child), 
boat rides, cookouts, tubing, great church services and most of all....
Just being in the place we love most with our family..

I am leaving next weekend for a mission trip to China for eleven days,
so my posts will  be scattered for a while but I will try to let 
post once in awhile....until then.....
Happy Fourth!!  

Pin It!