It’s in the Details

A few weeks ago when I was putting together my monthly recap, I spent the afternoon out and about and didn’t get an updated picture I needed during daylight hours.

No worries—after all, it was the fireplace where the MR had touched up the paint to make my cluster of photos look even better. The heart of the home with three sets of lights, it would surely be well-lit. So I turned on all those switches and…

While the sconces flood the sides with light, the mantel and the place of pride above are left in shadows.

Granted, we’ve added some task lighting next to the seating area; and if it was still the sunken “conversation pit”, that area would be lit. But with all the care and effort people put in to decorating their mantel, wouldn’t it be nice if you could actually see it?

That’s why when me and the MR met with an interior designer this week about a possible master bathroom renovation, we talked lighting as well.

These little details can make or break the function of a room.

If you’re a guest at our home in the evening, you’re just going to have to trust me that the copper piece dances in the light and the sweet family pictures are pretty cute, too.

Any lighting dilemmas at your house? Don’t worry; I’ll keep you posted on any changes we make.

You can see the mantel in daylight here, and if you can’t remember the conversation pit or how the fireplace has changed check it out here.

In other news, it’s Baby Girl’s 21st Birthday. Love you Missy.


A Look Back at February ’18

It always makes me laugh. In that big push getting ready for a trip, I write all sorts of posts and have them preloaded for publishing on certain dates, and then I get home and write nothing. Maybe I’m just so happy to be home, I put the blog on the back burner.

So here’s a look back at February, where I posted lots of stories about home while I was exploring the world and then wrote a story about the world once I got home.

I displayed some photos of My People on the mantel. Photos of the MR and the girls make me smile and bring back good memories. Perhaps it was the close-up with the paint chip, but the MR was inspired to touch up the mantel, and it makes me quite happy. Sometimes 3M isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

We also talked about bargains. The fancy linen bedspread and shams that were on sale would have cost a pretty penny, the ones online were just the ticket, because A Bargain Isn’t Always a Bargain.

After I asked Won’t You Join Me? for the crochet-a-long, the designer of the Life of The Sky freeform purse commented on the my blog. I haven’t had people lining up to make bags of their own, but it’s on display in the shop where I work (Quintessential Knits) and has received a lot of positive attention. And with that big project completed, I’ve been able to devote time to half finished sweaters, and socks, and blankets, and hats. It’s been a productive month.

And while we still haven’t officially met the new neighbors (see They Might Be Our Kind of People),  Baby Girl did make me pose with this lovely cow on a recent visit to see the kids.

Now that we’ve been home for a few weeks, the memory of Costa Rica still makes me smile. A Little R&R is a good thing–Pura Vida. I know we’ll be back some day.

Hope you had a lovely month. Spring is almost here.

Pura Vida

Me and the MR have been home from vacation for two weeks, and I always have these great plans. I’ll have a post up and pictures within days, and then there’s snow, and power outages, jet lag, wifi issues, the MR working at home throwing off my schedule, and a visit to the girls, and all my plans go to pot.

So a little late, but better than never, here’s a recap of our trip to Costa Rica. We took an overnight hop from LA to San Jose landing bright and early only to rent a car and begin our adventure. First we were off to volcanoes and cloud forests. Steep and winding mountain roads led us through fog so dense, I couldn’t see the pavement. Good thing it was the MR driving.

We stayed at Nayara Resort Spa and Garden in La Fortuna situated in the shadow of Arenal Volcano. The first day, we were tired and I for one was a little frazzled from the road trip, so we appreciated our welcome drink, ate some lunch and relaxed by the pool.

Our room was quite lovely featuring both an indoor and an outdoor shower, but perhaps the best part was the lush private patio and spa filled with spring water. The MR’s birthday, was just a few days earlier, so we enjoyed a complimentary bottle of champagne in our private oasis one afternoon.


On our first day, we did manage a hike around the property’s forest trail and may or may not have seen a wild pig. I have a photos of a large, black blob running into the forest. Another surprise was the next day when the clouds parted, and we were amazed to find a volcano on our doorstep, sloths in the trees, and amazing food at our bidding.

We talked about visiting the volcano and the lava flow, but after Hawaii, we decided it would probably be similar, so it was hanging bridges and a lovely waterfall instead. I wasn’t that excited thinking it would be hiking and adrenaline rather than nature. Then the naturalist for our group began pointing out animals and plants at every turn. He explained the life cycle of tree frogs, and showed us bats sleeping on a stone and a tarantula tucked away in its den. This was just the first of many guides who shared their passion for their country and its amazing wildlife. The hanging bridges and waterfall were nice, too.

After La Fortuna, we headed to the northern coast–Playa Conchal. It was a day of winding roads driving past the original town of Arenal that was flooded when the dam was built. According to our guide, the spire from the Catholic church can still be seen during sunny summer days. We also drove past endless wind farms–sustainability is very important here–winding up at the beach with iguanas in the morning and monkeys at night.

This was meant to be more or our lazy beach stay, so we spent a few days with our feet in the sand before moving on. While it was a lovely place, this was the least favorite of our three destinations. We’ve been to a lot of beautiful beaches, we were just having too much fun with the animals and nature at the other places.

Our last destination was Arenas Del Mar in Quepos just outside Manuel Antonio National Park. The road to this place is down one of the steepest paved roads I’ve ever seen. It was like that crazy story when people make a left off a cliff because their phone told them, too.  When our good sense saved us from doing that, the nice man at the front desk made us do it anyways.

Check-in looked like an open air cabana at one of our national parks. I was so confused when they put our suitcase in an electric golf cart and took us away through steep winding paths in the jungle. What were we getting ourselves into?

When I saw the beautiful infinity pool in the lobby and the sunset from our room, I was put at ease. This is a very natural property built on cliffs next to the beach. On his morning run, the MR would watch the monkeys making their way through the trees, our guide pointed out wildlife as we made our way to a tortilla-making class, and we wandered the woods at night following our guide in search of sloths, birds, and frogs.

Off-site, we scheduled a mangrove tour through red, black, and pineapple mangroves. Along with monkeys and birds, we saw termite nests, crabs, frogs, bats, and even a boa constrictor. It’s amazing how these guides can spot wildlife while clipping along.

Our last day, we visited the national park before heading back to San Jose and our flight home. With thousands of visitors daily, the paths are crowded with tourists. The monkeys have gotten quite used to all the onlookers, but you can see many animals in a natural setting in a rather un-natural atmosphere.

The guides at the park do have large wildlife spotting scopes, so that we with our untrained eyes can see the wildlife they’ve found. The guides also work together offering their spot to their friend who is coming up with the group behind. These scopes work well with Iphones, and the MR got some great pictures up-close and personal of spiders, birds, sloths, and monkeys.

One of those scopes might come in handy when the owls are in the trees come summer.

Looking back, I should have done a little more research. All national parks are closed on Mondays in Costa Rica. We could have swapped our mangrove tour and enjoyed a less rushed visit. People have asked if we felt safe on our trip. The locals we met were all very kind, proud of their country, and very friendly.  That being said, the rental car company told us to never leave anything in the car, so we didn’t stop much on those long travel days between destinations.

Next time, I want to go to a butterfly preserve. We saw a few of the beautiful blue ones, but I’d like to see more. And finally, I’m going to start using my Spanish language app again. I learned “Pura Vida” on our trip. It roughly means life is good, everything’s great, we’re cool, but I’d like to be able to speak to the people a little more in their own language.

Me and the MR have put Costa Rica on our repeat list. It was a wonderful trip.

Have you traveled to beautiful Costa Rica? Where’s life taking you?


A Little R&R

Me and the MR have been off traveling the world again.

We missed rain, floods, and power outages at home. Seems like a good time to be away.

This is Mount Arenal viewed from a pool at Nayara Springs Resort near La Fortuna, CR.

But all good things must come to an end, so we are trading the sunshine and amazing animals of Costa Rica for the comforts of home.

I’ll try to share some of our adventures with you later this week. Until then Pura Vida!


They Might Be Our Kind of People

You might not know this about me, but I have a thing for weird, giant, fake animals. I can’t help it; I’m just drawn to them.

In Prague last summer, the beer garden we stayed over had a giant clock cow. I forced Sweet Miss to pose with me.

When I visited Baby Girl in Eugene, it was a big green cow. Maybe it’s the dairy history of our valley that makes them so endearing.

When we visited Barcelona, I was intrigued by a statue of a Latin giraffe. In New York it was a random stack of rams that tickled my fancy.

After my nephew’s wedding, I made the girls pose with a dala horse—some kind of Swedish-thing. They had them all over town.

I may have even texted the MR a picture of a six-foot-tall metal chicken and threatened to bring it home to frighten the deer in the orchard.

That’s why I was amazed when the new neighbors up the hill moved in. They brought animals with them— the fake kind.

They even have a giant chicken. They might be our kind of people.

OK, share your quirks. What crazy thing are you drawn to?


Won’t You Join Me?

It’s been awhile since I’ve shared some of my knitting and crocheting projects. I have a pullover for Baby Girl that just needs to be sewn up, a cardigan and a vest for me that just needs a zipper and a little sewing, then there’s a baby sweater that needs some tweaking, and a sock that needs a mate, and yarn that’s bagged with a pattern just waiting for some time and energy, but all that’s been on hold for a bit.

I’ve been finishing up the Life of the Sky Crochet-a-long designed by Kate Veselunka. It is totally challenging, my first real foray into freeform crochet, and really cool. I’m quite happy with how my bag turned out.

I didn’t have access to the recommended yarn, so I used HiKoo CoBaSi and Zauberball Cotton. While both are great yarns, the CoBaSi is loosely woven and becomes more work when weaving in ends–let’s just say there are a lot of ends.

I’m excited to tell you we’re hosting a CAL at Quintessential Knits starting on February 20th. Sign up for the CAL on Facebook, and then stop by the shop for encouragement or advice. We’ve decided to feature a Hempathy for the CAL. I’m excited for take two. After working through it once, I have a few tips and tricks to share.

If our little corner of Washington state is hard for you to get to, I found the information on the Facebook page quite helpful, and I’m just one comment away. (Search for Life of the Sky CAL on FB to join.)

Sometimes I get organized and put a few posts together ahead of time. I’d forgotten that the pictures weren’t loading when I wrote this. Ahh, the best laid plans. Enjoy!


A Bargain Isn’t Always a Bargain

My mom worked retail for 30 years, and I managed to absorb some little nuggets. One of them was that January means inventory (weird work hours when your mom’s not home) and sales (because people want to have less merchandise to count).

So I wasn’t surprised to see lots of “white sales” during January. When me and the MR played hookey on MLKJ Day and headed to the mall, we checked out some furniture I’d been eyeing and then went to see about a bedspread. It was linen, it was on sale, it looked fine, and it was 30 percent off.

When I asked the MR for his opinion, he didn’t care. I told him it was OK, but I didn’t love it. He told me that was my answer and that he was surprised I even thinking about it. Hmm. That man has such wisdom sometimes.  If you feel ho-hum about it, why lay down a ton of cash?

I came home and decided to look online. For around $75, I bought a comforter and two shams for the bed on Joss & Main. It’s lightweight, yeah, a tightly-woven fabric, yeah, and has enough quilted pattern to hide dog fur and drool, yeah. Seems like a great deal.

I know I just bought a new patterned bedspread a year ago, but Cocoa’s paws have snagged it up horribly. And while she’s good about staying down when we’re home, there’s a definite dog-sleeping on the bed indentation when we arrive back from work or errands.

I’m rather excited about the matching shams. It might be too much gray, but for now I’m giving them a trial run.If it’s too bland, I can swap the shams for the ones I made ages ago. Perhaps they’d add some softness to the daybed in the sewing room. Lots of options, and no snagged fabric. I’m happy with my bargain.

Any shopping tips to share?