Shoestring Lizzy Rides Again

Joy made me do it.

Category: Uncategorized

Kay and Ida

As promised, a few words about my nana…come to think of it, a few words about BOTH of them.

My Nana Barbara, my father’s mother, went by the name Ida.  She always had Tic-Tacs in her purse (she called it a “pocketbook”) and she made meatballs and gravy at our house every weekend when she came to visit.  She had the strongest hands I’ve ever held and a laugh so hearty I can still hear it.  She taught me and my brother and sister our prayers while we played on the swing set in our backyard and she smelled of Jean Nate after bath splash.  She was a devoted Yankees fan and said her rosary while she watched the game.  She had to drop out of school after the 8th grade to help earn a living  for her family (she was the eldest of nine children) but she never, ever stopped learning and had a particular love of geography.  She died when I was 12 and I miss her and think of her every single day.

My mother’s mother was Kathryn but we called her Nana Kay.   She always wore a string of pearls around her neck and she loved watching football.  She had beautiful, delicate hands and fantastic cat eye glasses with tiny rhinestones at the corners.  When she laughed very hard, she shook and was completely silent except for the occasional (she’d be horrified that I’m saying this) snort. When my sister and brother and I were very young (5 and 6 years old), Nana Kay came to live in our town.  We saw her almost every day.  She took care of us when my mother was out of town on business & my father was a work and we stayed with her if we were home from school with a sore throat.   She was a college graduate, a more-than-meticulous note taker and she taught French and Latin.   She also died when I was 12 and I miss her and think of her every single day.

These two ladies, as different as they were from each other, became great friends in my parents’ house, sharing the bond of grandmothering the three of us.  When I think of them, the only thing I feel is love and gratitude.  That’s why, if you visit my Pinterest page, you’ll see that it’s called, “Designs for Kay & Ida.”  Simply put, it’s named for two of the most important ladies in my life.

Love, Shoestring Lizzy



Hi, Opportunity! Where’ve you been?

Hello out there!  I’m Shoestring Lizzy and the other day I realized something: I’m living The Dream.  At least I’m living one of MY dreams.

I was pushing a large, somewhat snaggletoothed, broom across a filthy tile floor, kicking up clouds of “I didn’t really want to know what it was” dust and making multiple trips to the dumpster in 90 degree heat with incredibly heavy garbage when it hit me: I’m happy.  I’m happy and content.  I’m happy and content and I’m getting the rare opportunity (hi, Opportunity…where’ve you been?) to do something that I never thought I’d get the chance to do:

I am renovating my new house!  We bought a fixer!

My husband, our daughter and I recently moved out of our 3rd floor walk-up apartment and into my parents’ house (more on that later).  We’d just ended a 3-year search for a house (three years, people…this is not for the faint of heart) and were waiting for the closing date on our new home.  As that date approached I said to my mother, “I feel like a racehorse that’s just been loaded into the gate.”  I was all energy and every fiber of my being just wanted the gate to fly open so I could get to work.  Because, trust me, this house needed it.

It was tidy and clean but it. was. a. hot. mess.  To say it was dated is the understatement of the decade (and by decade, I mean the ’70s – and not in the cool way) and to say that it was weird in its quirks canNOT be stressed enough.  Even the old owner, a very sweet gentleman who had been raised there in the 1950s said, “Oh…it’s got its issues.”  Here are just a few:

  • “Kermit the Frog” green wall-to-wall carpet in the knotty pine living room (I’m not making this up)

    Our very large, very GREEN, very pine-y living room.

    Told you I wasn’t kidding. It is powerfully green.  It is powerfully pine-y.  It’s a lot of ….a lot.



Riiiiight inside the front door.

  • a door where a window ought to be in the….bedroom???
  • a window that looks out into….the garage???
  • butter-yellow formica cabinets and flowery linoleum floors in the knotty pine kitchen (a kitchen that boasted approximately 4 square feet of counter space but almost 300 cubic feet of floor to ceiling pine cabinets)

    Formica cabinets in all their buttery goodness.

    Formica cabinets in all their buttery goodness.

Ah....the kitchen.

Ah….the kitchen.  (Spoiler Alert: Keep an eye on those cabinet doors, folks.  You just might see them later on…)










It was PERFECT!  It was exACTly the kind of house we’d been looking for: good bones (even the inspector agreed) and so, er, unique that:

  1. almost no one was interested in it (we were spared the dreaded bidding war) &
  2. we could ultimately transform it from “their house” into “our home.”

And so that’s exactly what we’re doing.  Stay tuned!

Shoestring Lizzy rides again!