I’ve been in a comtemplative mood this month. I encourage us to carry each others burdens, be mindful of our thankfulness, and shared a few reasons I’m thankful.
Besides those heavy topics, posts ran the gamut from nutcrackers to laundry soap with a brand-new shower thrown in for a little excitement. I am obsessed with the morning skies of winter randomly posting pictures and a collage just for fun. And while my family may be camera shy, my dogs certainly aren’t; they try to weasel their way into all the photos.
So here’s a run down of this month plus a little more for all you wonderful people who stop by and keep me motivated with your kind words.
I picked up six new (to me) nutcrackers in Marching Into the Season. They were from the same collection I purchased three from this summer. I’m amazed at the awesome stuff you can find on local Facebook pages, and with December here, those nutcrackers are guarding the fireplace as I write. Over the weekend, Cost Plus had a set of three 14-inch,traditional nutcrackers on sale for $55. All I can tell you is that I got a screaming deal off the trading post.
My mom’s 70th birthday would have been this past October 29. She’s been gone for over eight years now. Perhaps that’s why the new grave at the cemetery at the end of October made me so sentimental. In Past the Old Cemetery, I talked about the strange way living down the street from this landmark has made me more compassionate and encouraged me to share in others’ sorrows. I thought a picture of a cemetery would be creepy and it was a cold, foggy day, so I posted my first sunrise picture. Then on Thanksgiving, once the turkey was in the oven, I posted another thoughtful post about being Thankful and another sunrise photo. Perhaps every time I get sentimental, I’ll post a sunrise? This blog is better than therapy. Then, somewhere in the middle when I was talking about this and that, I shared foggy morning photos. If you don’t like what I write, you can always just look at the pretty pictures.
If you’re not into scenic views, maybe you like shower remodels better. That by far was the most viewed post this month. After the Tile Update, the MR worked hard and delivered a beautiful shower in time for Sweet Miss’ visit home. When your 16-year-old daughter is taking photos of her shower and showing it to her friends, you know That’s Some Shower. This is the MR’s fourth shower remodel and may be the best one yet.
I remember in our first house, the MR unhooked the plumbing on our only shower and promptly went to bed for two days with the flu wracked with fever and chills–oh, the good old days. He also soaked our shower head in vinegar overnight to get rid of the hard water build up. It worked like a charm.
It is November, so we didn’t have a lot of gardening going on, but our decorative tree finally started Putting on a Show rather than looking scraggly.
I just hope next summer it will look as good. I did get my soil test results, but let’s save that for another day.
The sink for the powder room finally arrived in one piece–the third times a charm–in Special Delivery. I hung up the prints I’d been embarrassed to see sitting on the floor and replaced them with a sink in the entry. You never know what you’ll find around here.
One of my more random projects this month was my search for bright whites. Yes, I made my own laundry soap. While I haven’t noticed a huge difference, it was super cheap. I was pleasantly surprised when one of my readers wrote that she’s been using Mom’s Super Laundry sauce for years. She encouraged me to add vinegar or hydrogen peroxide to boost the whiteness. Now that Sweet Miss is finished with all her laundry and back at school, I’ll have to give it a try.
My cozy sweater pillow is just one example of how I let something simple spiral out of control in my mind. Just try it. It’s OK if you have to go with plan B; in fact plan B might be even better.
Just because I didn’t have enough yarn to cover the entire pillow didn’t mean I had to leave my cover languishing in a cupboard for months. Fleece was a perfectly good alternative backing. If you don’t knit or crochet, this could be a great way to give life to that old favorite sweater with a hole in the sleeve.
Finally, my Thankfulness Tree was a hit. OK, so maybe I was the most frequent submitter–surprise, surprise–but I twisted a few arms and everybody ended up writing something except for maybe the MR and Papa, but that’s to be expected. I even received cooperation from Baby Girl’s friends and the extras who came home with Sweet Miss for Thanksgiving. When we were packing the Thanksgiving decor and dragging out the Christmas stuff, I packed up all our thankfulness notes from this year and put them in the storage bin. Now, we’ll have reminders of what was special each year–who doesn’t love good cake, supportive parents, laughter, and pseudo families? This is a tradition I’m going to keep. One of the great things about the project was that all I did was add branches to our existing fall tablescape and set out notes and pens. It was so simple and made me smile each time I walked by.
We celebrated Thanksgiving with the four of us Papa Willy and two of Sweet Miss’ friends from school. While it was a much smaller gathering than last year, this year, we dealt with some food allergies. That meant two kinds of rolls, three kinds of stuffing, two kinds of gravy, and two kinds of green bean casserole. Thankfully, it was only one turkey, and the MR carved it to perfection.
Sweet Miss set a beautiful table. When I was pulling out the large cutting board, I came across this box of pilgrim hats the girls made over 10 years ago. It was fun to be able to add them to our little gathering.
Apparently, no one likes pumpkin pie, so we went with gluten-free chocolate cake that was fabulous. No one seems to have missed out.
Baby Girl was the only one to go Black Friday shopping. She came back with some great deals and a lost phone. I’m not sure she’d still consider the evening a success. We went to a local tree farm and cut down a 10-footer. I told the MR we should have had boys. Sweet Miss’ boyfriend and his buddy cut down the tree lickety-split and even carried it to the car. I didn’t have to hold the tree and get a face full of needles as the MR got it set up. It was nice to have a few extra hands helping. They did end up watching football instead of decorating with my girls, but they’re welcome any time.
After my oldest being gone for two months, it was so nice to have our little family back together again. The next two weeks will zoom past and Christmas will be here before we know it. Speaking of Christmas, decorating calls.
How was your Thanksgiving? Did you enjoy time with friends and family? Is your tree up?
The MR has been faithfully plugging away at the upstairs bathroom remodel since September, and now, just days before Sweet Miss’ return from college, he’s got the shower up and running, and I must tell you it’s a beauty.
So let’s recap a little. First the MR took out the stacked washer and dryer and tore out the old shower, then we had to make some choices on tile and style, he bought a new saw to cut all that beautiful ceramic tile, and last time I left you with the tile all in place. The MR grouted last weekend, sealed the grout, and hung the doors.
Holding a heavy bar over your head and balancing huge pieces of glass can be tricky, so I stepped in to help a little. Let me tell you, those doors glide smooth as silk.
This weekend, it was time for water. With just one little mishap, the MR had the shower up and running in time for Baby Girl’s volleyball try-out weekend and Sweet Miss’ imminent return. The shower tower, as I like to call it, comes in one unit and is fairly easy to install if only the threads on the screws were just 1/8-inch longer. Here’s a closer look.
Now the girls can enjoy a truly fancy shower experience complete with jets and sprays.
Just in case you don’t remember where this bathroom started here’s a little before, all tiled, and after.
Unfortunately, the bathroom saga is far from over. Besides being very messy, this photo of the vanity pretty much says it all.
We’re planning to replace the vanity with a longer version to better fit the space, adding another sink for better usability, fixing the holes in the wall left from the washer and dryer, replacing the beige toilet with a white one and the ugly tile with something pretty (maybe dark chocolate brown like the accent tile in the shower). We also have baseboard issues from where the old radiator was removed. We haven’t even started talking about paint, mirrors, and updated lighting,
At least one corner of the bathroom is pretty, and I do believe replacing the shower was the most difficult part of the remodel. Then again, ask the MR in another month. Who knows what adventures lie ahead.
For the full story you can read all about removing, demoing, deciding, preparing, and tiling by clicking on each of the links. I’m sorry that my photos don’t do the shower justice. Maybe I need to hope for a cloudy day in November in the Northwest to get a better picture? Putting up the glass doors adds so much glare, and even with the lights off, the mirror still bounces light onto the shower. I have the doors open, so you don’t see the reflection of me in my workout gear taking pictures… Maybe it’s time for a new camera or a photography class. Anyways, I did my best.
Any remodeling before the big Thanksgiving week at your house? Prepping for guests?
It’s a crisp morning here in the Northwest with the deck sparkling under its blanket of frost. That’s just one of the reasons a few of our plants have made their way indoors.
The bougainvillea and the plumeria can’t overwinter outside–this is nowhere near their native Hawaii or Mexico. But I was certain the little tree with the blue flowers (Royal Robe Paraguay Nightshade) that I bought for the MR on our anniversary would be fine outside. Before I brought it home, I checked to make sure it was evergreen and flowered for a long time with fragrant blooms. The MR likes unusual plants that he can prune. I thought it was perfect, and it didn’t hurt that it was on sale 70-percent off. I neglected to check the tag for cold hardiness–20-30 degrees F. Now that was a problem.
So all our potted trees came inside with the cool weather. As our little tree began losing all its leaves, I decided maybe the tag was wrong and it wasn’t really evergreen, and I resigned myself to the fact that I’d have another ugly plant sitting on the walkway all winter long. But then something happened; it started sprouting leaves. It began to look rather nice, so when I relegated the other plants to the corner of our bedroom, I decided to let it stay out in public.
I’m so glad I did. Before long, this little tree sprouted a few blooms.
And now it’s totally covered in flowers with more on the way.
I was trying to capture the sunrising to the left through the trees and Mt. Rainier peaking through the clouds to the right and failed miserably. I guess you’ll just have to use your imagination. Here we are a little more up close and personal.
While the tag promises “masses of large, fragrant, rich blue-violet flowers…. a very showy plant”, I’d say the flowers aren’t very big and only slightly scented, but this is the best the plants looked since I bought it. Flowers of any kind are a welcome sight in November.
I’m glad I decided to let it hang out in the great room, and now we all get to watch it put on a show.
Have the temperatures dropped at your house? Anything in bloom?
On these windy, rainy days, I like to snuggle up in a nice big sweater. It’s cozy and warm and keeps the chill off. So last spring when I came across a few skeins of gorgeous, variegated, chunky, green yarn I snapped them up thinking they’d make a great snuggly pillow cover for the fall and winter months.
Over the summer, I started crocheting my pillow cover and soon realized I was running out of yarn. I switched part way through to a pattern that was less of a yarn hog and wound up with just enough to cover one of the old the pillows the former owners left in the conversation pit. These are perfectly fine pillows; I just hate the southwest fabric, and I still have a pile of them in the guest room closet. Now I had to rethink my plan. That’s usually my downfall. I’ve thought things through, they change, and I don’t know what to do.
I could use the faux brown suede I have from a project that fell through years ago. I have some light linen I could use for the back. But I’m moving away from the browns and trying to incorporate more gray in the color scheme. Linen and sweaters don’t really go together. On one of those sleepless nights, I remembered the rolls of fleece fabric I received from a friend when she moved about 10 years ago–I’ve told you I keep everything. Well anyways, I was sure I had some gray fleece out in the sewing room. But had I cut it into strips when I was on that bag making kick? Who knows. I could just piece the back; it would be fine.
Sometimes I need to tell myself, “Get a grip Kim. It’s just a pillow.” And this weekend, I found the perfect piece of fleece, and sewed it up lickety-split, and now we have a new pillow.
First I cut the fleece into a 16×16-inch square to match the size of the pillow and a cut a 16×5-inch flap. Well, my crocheted pillow front wasn’t quite square, so I readjusted the fleece to match up with front.
Next, I pinned both sides together and started sewing. Well, have you noticed how sweaters can stretch? I was quickly running into problems with a standard stitch length. So I switched it to the longest stitch length (this pillow is not meant for pillow fights or heavy wear and tear) and pinned it carefully. I don’t normally use a lot of pins, but with stretchy fabric it helps keep everything in place.
Then I removed the pins holding the flap and the back together and turned just the backing fabric to the right side.
After slipping in the pillow, I turned the flap right-side out and sewed it in place with a running stitch and some embroidery floss. If the pillow cover needs to go through the wash, I will have to resew it, but it took all of two minutes, so I’m OK with that.
And now while I love, love, love my owl pillow; it looks a little bland against the gray couch. Beige on gray is not my favorite.
But when I add our new cozy pillow, it stands out so much more.
The owl pillow might be even better on one of the little green chairs, so my cozy green pillow can hold its on with the faux-fur throw on the couch.
My new pillow certainly adds a punch of color and texture to the loveseat.
Here we are all up close and personal.
I love the texture, the color, and the coziness factor. The dogs on the otherhand can’t figure out why I’m crawling around and not playing with them. They’ve been trying to photo bomb all these pictures with tails and noses everywhere. I don’t believe they have much to say about pillows, although Cocoa did eat the corner of the owl pillow in her puppy days–maybe that’s why she can’t look me in the eye.
Did you get crafty this weekend? Added any cozy touches to your home as winter approaches?
(Note to self: Clean up the den and hang up that silly picture–it’s another plan went awry and has been on hold for months.)
At the beginning of November, I noticed some of my friends on Facebook started daily listing one of the things they were thankful for. I thought how sweet, and did absolutely nothing.
Then I read Centsational Girl’s post on thankful trees and was inspired. I had my table decoration all set up with an empty vase; add a few sticks, and some cards, and I’d be set. Then a week went by, and the month was almost half way over, it would be hard to find sticks, maybe I’m not really thankful, my family will think it’s silly and refuse to participate… Sometimes I have lots of excuses. Maybe I won’t have a whole month worth of thankfulness cards, but a few weeks would still be nice. So last weekend, I picked some sticks from the brush pile and came up with this lovely bundle of sticks.
What was I thinking? This doesn’t make me feel thankful; I was back to dragging my feet. But Wednesday, the sun shone in the afternoon, I talked to my Sweet Miss (I haven’t seen her for almost two months now), and I decided to give it another try. I do have a forest for a backyard, and I should be able to find a few sticks with a little character. So I put on my boots, grabbed a saw, and set off with my trusty helpers.
And sure enough, on my woodsy walk I found plenty of downed limbs and branches covered in moss. Somehow a walk in the woods can make everything better.
Now that I was happy with my thankfulness “tree”, I had to decide what to hang on it. Should I cut leaves out of cardstock, did I want colorful paper, or something more elegant? I settled on some simple but sweet cards from Tater Tots & Jello (for the free download just click on the link). Then I went to town cutting and holepunching. I had some old ribbon yarn that was beautiful to look at and majorly itchy to wear, so I cut up lengths of that and attached it to the cards for tying on to the tree.
While we only have a handful of notes, we still have two weeks until the big holiday arrives. Let’s hope we’ll have plenty to be thankful for in the meantime.
I have cards and pens handy for when the urge strikes, and if people deny that urge, I’ll give them a little poke. The MR asked why last night. It’s a good question. I believe that actively seeking out the good in your life, and thanking God and those around you, makes your life better. On gloomy days, focusing on the positive can lift your mood and bring a smile.
Baby Girl’s note certainly made me smile and might just result in a little something special for dinner tonight. I have been wanting to make an apple pie–maybe it’s time.
How do you show your thankfulness?