Thankful

On this Thanksgiving I am thankful for having both my girls at home, for my dad visiting this afternoon, for being able to open our home to friends, for the love and laughter that surrounds me each day, and for the joy of each sunrise.

Wishing you God’s blessings this Thanksgiving Day.

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Now That’s a Shower

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.

shower 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.

sliding mech

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.

shower tower

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.

Shower Collage 3

Unfortunately, the bathroom saga is far from over. Besides being very messy, this photo of the vanity pretty much says it all.

cramped vanity 2

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 removingdemoingdecidingpreparing, 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?

Putting On a Show

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.

Boug & Plumeria

I’m so glad I did. Before long, this little tree sprouted a few blooms.

Tree

And now it’s totally covered in flowers with more on the way.

Blue Flower Tree

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.

Flowers Up Close

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.

Close Up

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?

Cozying the Couch

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.

backing pillow topper

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.

cut fleece

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.

sewn together

Then I removed the pins holding the flap and the back together and turned just the backing fabric to the right side.

pillow inside 2

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.

owl

But when I add our new cozy pillow, it stands out so much more.

owl and sweater

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.

owl on green chair

My new pillow certainly adds a punch of color and texture to the loveseat.

sweater pillow

Here we are all up close and personal.

sweater pillow up close

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.

dogs

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.)

A Little Thankfulness

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.

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.

Trail & Bogey

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.

Mossy Branches 3

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.

Thankful tree

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.

Thanks card

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?

Special Delivery

Yesterday, I had to spend the day at home. Now it could be said that I spend plenty of days at home; I enjoy being at home. I’m a homebody, so why does it matter? It’s the principle of the thing–I don’t like being told what to do. I want to go to my exercise class and knitting circle; I don’t want to sit around waiting on some delivery man to show up.

I know I’m being a little petty. I don’t have to wait around that often, but this is the third time I’ve had to wait around for this particular delivery, and I’m beginning to lose faith.

Let’s back up a little. Remember our blue bathroom? We started with a baby blue toilet, blue tile, faux-finished powder blue walls,  and a matching baby blue sink in the main floor powder room. Have I mentioned that the MR hates blue and that the room made him cringe? The toilet didn’t last a month, since it kept flushing constantly. Then last winter, we got rid of all the faux-finishing and went with a soothing taupe. Unfortunately, the tan made the blue seem even bluer.

Powder Room Collage

The MR replaced the tile immediately.

A Closer Look

And so all that’s been left is the blue sink for the last nine months. Just get a new one right? It should be simple, but this is a strange house. With 11 corners in the powder room, we don’t want to add any more angles. We have a lot of mirrors and no storage. How can we update this room tastefully? We toyed with the idea of having a built-in vanity made for the awkward sink area, but decided a sleek pedestal sink in an oh-so boring white would do wonders.

That’s where the delivery comes in, or should I say deliveries? You see I’ve waited around twice to not sign for smashed porcelain sinks. The delivery man had lost faith, too. When he arrived, he asked if I’d like to check out the sink in the back of the truck, so he didn’t have to mess with moving it all around just to but it back again. So I took a ride on the hydraulic lift and lo and behold the box looked like a brand-new box. No huge dents; the pallet was wider than the box, this was promising. With the aid of box cutters, we opened the outside wrapping, found another box on the inside, removed some styrofoam  to reveal a real sink all in one piece.

Now of course, the MR is quite busy remodeling the shower upstairs, but this little gem is waiting for his attention when he gets done with that big project. So here’s a hint of what’s to come.

sink 4

I know it’s not much to look at at the moment, but I promise you that it’s going to look good.

It wasn’t just big trucks bringing special deliveries yesterday. Baby Girl came home with her own sweet gift. She’s the FFA treasurer for her school’s club. That means she’s required to take a shop, floral, or agricultural class. Can you guess which one she chose? That’s right–floraculture for the win, and she came home with this lovely arrangement she’d created.

Flower arrangement 7

Any deliveries planned or surprises at your home? Do you like being told what to do?

Tile Update Plus a Little More

The MR has been hard at work the last few days getting all the tile in place on the upstairs shower. Now if this were a technical blog I’d go into great detail about measuring, cutting, spacers, and all that. But I don’t tile; the MR doesn’t write. I know he made a lot of noise and a lot of dust, and now the shower is starting to look quite lovely.

So without further ado, here’s progress.

Tiled Shower

Let’s take a closer look at the accent tile that will run behind the spa shower tower.

Accent Strip

Me and the MR were both surprised at how dark the tile is. Part of the issue is probably that we looked at it on the main floor where we have walls of natural light rather than in the upstairs bath with one small window. While it wasn’t exactly what we’d envisioned, it still looks beautiful.

This shower is for our teenage daughters. Have you noticed that long hair is totally in style these days? Our girls use a lot of shampoo, and a lot of products in the shower. With that in mind, the MR added not one but two shelves in hopes of keeping them organized.

Two Shelves

Once the mortar has set, the MR will remove the duct tape and start grouting. We’re going with a dark, gray-ish/brown grout. He was saying he could have it all done as early as next weekend. Now that would be exciting.

One of the things I was super impressed with was the way the MR matched up tiles with similar veining as he went along. He did mention it was total luck and involved zero planning, but I bet he did it subconsciously because he’s just that good.

matching veins

So while the MR was being noisy, dirty, and creative, I did get a few little things done over the weekend. Along with ladybug issues, we have troubles with cluster flies, wasps, and fruit flies. The recent frosts and low temps have gotten rid of most of these pests, but we still have quite a few fruit flies driving me crazy. Well, I’ve been eyeing a glass pear at Gardners.com for years and finally ordered one last month. Somehow, I always thought it would be the size of a real pear–it’s not. It’s rather large, but not bad looking, and after filling it with the lure solution, it’s trapped a ton of fruit flies overnight.

Pear Trap

While it’s just another Monday in most of the world, in the US, we’re celebrating Veteran’s Day. That means no school, so Baby Girl and her posse spent the night upstairs. One of her friend’s dads had asked if we have any food at our house. I think the gluten-free, soy-free thing has thrown a bunch of her friends for a loop. They just don’t know what to feed BG. I decided bacon and pancakes would be fairly normal–BG doesn’t eat eggs, so that’s out. BG and I were totally shocked when the recipe for Buttermilk Pancakes off the Bob’s Red Mill coconut flour bag came out light and fluffy. Those aren’t words I use to describe most of my GF creations; they’re all rather dense. I was a little leery of using the coconut flour recipe–it’s very unusual stuff–but the recipe also called for a cup of white rice flour and only 1/3 cup of coconut flour, so I thought I’d give it a try. Bob got it right this time; those pancakes were tasty.

Pancakes

So we’ve covered tile, fruit flies, holidays, and pancakes, what more can I add? How about painted ceramics? When the power was out last weekend, BG and I went with some friends to a local ceramic painting studio. I’d been at a conference for the last day and a half and was exhausted. But at least the studio was warm and had lights. So while BG painted a travel mug, I decided to decorate a spoon rest in our chosen color scheme–a little gray, a little yellow, a little green.

BG went off to a birthday dinner and picked up our treasures over the weekend.

Mug & Spoon rest 2

And finally, the fog is clearing and it’s shaping up to be a beautiful day. While I love the view on a clear day, sometimes the fog adds mystery and makes the mountains even more of a delight. Here are pictures looking out to the mountains, over the valley, and then again from the second floor.

Fog Collage

Hope you’re enjoying your Monday. Thank you to Papa Willy, Papa Larry, Uncle Mark, Grandpa John, our friend Nello and all the other brave men and women who are serving and have served our country.

What have you been up to this weekend? Any painting? Tiling? Catching bugs? Admiring the view?