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?

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Looking Back & Forth

A few days ago, I spent the afternoon looking through last year’s posts. Wow! So many crazy things happened, and I’ve totally forgotten about them. So let’s look back a little at the highs and lows of 2017.

Do you remember the Big Stink (aka Life Is Messy)? The MR tore apart the house looking for something dead or a break in the plumbing. The good news, we don’t have rats; the bad news, mice are inevitable in this locale. Not sure what brought on the whole issue, but sinks have been returned to their bathrooms and all holes have been patched.

Then, we also had the Big Sink in Winter Storms & Prepping for Spring. This was a big problem for everyone on our hill not just me and the MR.

I’m hoping this winter won’t be quite as wet as last. We have had snows, but so far we haven’t had to ask When a Tree Falls In the Woods…

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We only had a few big changes around the house. The first was new carpet in the master and guest bedroom and the sewing room. Cocoa approved of both the color choice and the install. (For details, check out How’s That for Color? and Chaos in the Name of Progress.)

We also had the soffit replaced on the deck, which uncovered a ton of rot, which in turn extended the work for months on end. What’s rather sad is that after everything, we have the same thing we started with minus rot and a hot tub. We had hopes of adding some new deck furniture, making paths in the hillside, and enjoying quiet evenings looking out over the valley. I guess we’ll save all that for this summer.

The garden and orchard faired well after the MR got rid of our unexpected guests. He’s installed a veritable fortress around both of them now.

We spent a big part of our year traveling. In January, we visited Miami flying on to Turks and Caicos. Next, we visited family in California, and then it was April and we were off to Washington, D.C. with the MR’s parents. May we traveled back to Zihuatanejo with my brother and his wife. Then in June, we checked out wedding venues in Chelan with the MR’s parents and Sweet Miss. July, we traveled with Sweet Miss to Prague and Vienna before meeting up with Baby Girl in Rome where she was studying. September brought our big adventure down under in Australia with my dad. October we flew to Cabo San Lucas for a few days of sun, and finally the whole family (me and the MR, Baby Girl, Sweet Miss & the Fella) all traveled to Playa del Carmen for a few days before Christmas.

 

Yes, it was a travel-heavy year. But that doesn’t even include all the trips to Oregon to move girls in, move girls out, Dad’s Weekend, Mom’s Weekend, buying a wedding dress, viewing a total eclipse, and visiting my sweet girlies just because everyone needs a skull candy garland for Halloween.

One surprise from my blog blitz was how many times bee’s wraps popped up. OK, so only twice in Saving the Planet and then The Mystery Unwrapped. But we also made bee’s wraps for our Thanksgiving craft for the family, and then for the MOPS ladies as one of my “Favorite Things.” With a few leftovers, Sweet Miss’ friends received them with cookies and beautiful shell candles, and finally Santa stuffed them in everyone’s stockings.  They really are a good thing.

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I was also sad to see our little lemon tree bravely producing lemons beyond its size. Alas, it was a casualty of our European trip.

And now for a little honest reflection. I love the pillow with outlines of trees that I featured in It Feels Like Fall. It’s a beauty, but if you have a black dog, you should never buy a pillow with a white background.  Now, Cocoa isn’t allowed on the couch, but her fur gets everywhere.

Tree Pillow

6. If Feels Like Fall

Fortunately, the pillows I made in the diamond and gray fabric are working out splendidly. I like how the diamond print instantly brightens the feel of the room, and simply turning them over tones it down with the gray.

Another possible miss in the purchase department is the new coverlet for our bed. I like it, but… all the snags are driving me crazy. We feel guilty when we leave Cocoa for a couple of weeks and let her sleep on the bed with us. Her paws have made loops and pulls all aver this bedspread. Let’s just say, I’m keeping my eyes open for a new one. Let’s hope it’ll go with the shams I bought last summer.

New Shams

 

Now that we’ve looked back, let’s look ahead. The sewing room has been in utter chaos for most of the year–since we installed the new carpet. I didn’t want to bring back the old dresser with that was broken, but I wasn’t sure how to fix it or where to store all my yarn. (You know I have a lot.) So last month, when a dresser went up on the local trading post group, I snapped it up. It is now sitting in the hangout room in pieces, but I did finish the Christmas pj’s. Getting organized is a definite must.

So goals for this year include:

  • Putting together the sewing room
  • Completing all those halfway done knitting and sewing projects
  • Making more use of our deck space with furniture
  • Adding some paths to the garden and orchard
  • Not letting travel or workers deter me from putting a garden in
  • Organizing the storage room off the garage

That seems like a good start for now. Along with travel, we are looking forward to Sweet Miss and the Fella getting married in July.

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Baby Girl may be interning in the Seattle-area this summer, so our empty nest might actually by half-full.

We’re looking forward to all the adventures this new year holds.

Wishing you and yours a Happy New Year!

Giving In To Quirky

I’ve always liked the unusual. You might say I march to the beat of a different drum. I simply try not to take things too seriously. This has carried over into my decorating style.

It’s fun to have things that are a little different or unexpected. My brother and his family were over for dinner this summer when my neice picked up something off the table saying she was intrigued and asking what it was.

Why they’re cow hide coasters—doesn’t everyone have a set? We’d put them out on the table and hadn’t given them a second thought. They were a gift from the MR’s folks when they were visiting. MeeMee has worked for a friend at Cowboy Christmas in Las Vegas off and on and came across these in another booth.

With the holiday craft and bazaar season upon us, I want to encourage you to check out your local ones. You never know what you’ll find. People are amazingly creative, and it’s fun to support them.

At a little bazaar on the way to Chichen Itza, we picked up this black stone that shines like gold in the sunlight. I like decorative items that remind me of our travels.

Quirkiness helps keep our home from being too stuffy or predictable.

What inspires your decorating?

Loving My Local Farmers

Me and Baby Girl stopped for groceries on the way home from church, but instead of buying everything at our local market, I saved a few things on my list for the farmstand in the valley.

While they had run out of a few things over the weekend, I did grab a bag of fresh green beans. Somehow, I managed to buy seeds for bush beans instead of pole, and we’ve been feeling the shortage.

While we were there, BG noticed the field of flowers next to the stand. So I gladly forked out $5, so we could pick a beautiful bouquet.

I do love fresh flowers and helping my local farmers.

In our valley, we are lucky to have lots of farms and two farmers markets.

Does every farmstand seem to call your name?

Changing Perspective

Remember a few months ago when I shared an unexpected treasure of overwintered carrots in the garden? Cocoa was breathing deeply as we explored the mess, and sure enough, with a little weeding, I came across two sweet lines of carrots. Me and the MR would enjoy an early harvest. It would be wonderful.

Fast forward a few months, and nothing turned out the way I planned. I picked a few and added cooked carrots to the menu. That was a mistake. Some of the carrots had good flavor, but the cores were so tough, you couldn’t even cut through them with a knife. Others tasted like nothing at all, so it was a bit of a crap shoot deciding whether to eat them or toss them. I’m afraid the worms enjoyed more than we did.

But wouldn’t it be nice to free up some space in the garden? Maybe they just needed a little better weather to sweeten up. It was not meant to be. When I revisited the carrot patch recently, they’d gone to seed. The carrots were hairy and mangled. Perhaps I could add them to my next batch of chicken broth; the upstairs freezer is woefully empty. I put a fistful of vegetables in Cocoa’s outdoor water dish and took a second look at the tops.

These carrots are something. They’re architectural and graceful, swooping and swaying, feathery foliage topped with delicate domes. I think they deserve a little space in my home.

 

 

Sometimes you just have to shift your perspective. You see, I wasn’t trying to grow carrots—you can pick those up at the farmer’s market—I was growing lovely, one-of-a-kind bouquets.

In case you were wondering; those are kombucha bottles. My favorite comes in a plain old clear glass bottle, but when they’re out of it at the store, I pick up one of these (or a couple if Baby Girl is around). I peeled off the label, plopped in some carrot tops, and ta-da, doing dishes just got a lot more fun.

Hope you’re enjoying the first of July. 

Don’t worry, the June recap is on the way. With the girls home off-and-on, the MR’s parents visiting, trips to here and there, and all the other stuff that’s part of life, we’ve been busy. 

 

 

This Old Dog Part II

Along with pushing myself to learn new techniques in my hobbies, I’ve been pushing myself in other ways. Last weekend was all about stepping outside my comfort zone.

First off, I climbed a 30-foot rock wall, ziplined through giant evergreens, and crossed seemingly endless chasms. OK, maybe it wasn’t quite that death-defying, but it was pretty scary.

My sister-in-law—who is obviously way more adventuresome than I—wanted to do the Zip Wild Challenge Course at Northwest Trek for her birthday. And yes it’s just as terrifying as it sounds; it was also amazingly fun. I spent a few hours in the treetops, pushing myself beyond my capabilites, and laughing with a bunch of great women.

I believe I am the black spot in the very center. Thanks Holly for taking the photos.

That sounds like plenty for one weekend, but that was just the start. I bought the MR a glass blowing class for Valentine’s Day, and it was getting ready to expire. He suggested company would be nice, and I again faced my fears. You see, I’ve always been kind of klutzy. If an accident is going to happen, it’ll probably happen to me. I’ve been known to reach out and touch things without thinking. I came home from my one glass-fusing class with plenty of cuts and burns. But anything for my guy.

So Sunday found us at the Redmond School of Glass ready for our lesson.  We could make a glass float or a glass ornament in whatever color we chose. The instructors demonstrated the steps and then carefully walked each student through the process.

Working counter-clockwise from the top right, first we rolled the molten glass in colored glass, then heated it in the furnace, repeated the process, shaped and blew, and ta-da an ornament was born. The MR took a video of me, so you get his smiley face this time.

Hot? Yes. A little intense? Yes.  Very cool? Yes.

We had a great time. The MR’s first ornament broke as the instructor removed it from the tube, so he got twice the experience. It was a very fun afternoon. And yesterday on the way home from work, the MR picked up these beauties.

I’m not sure if they’ll make it on the tree—it’s always my favorite ones that get broken when it takes a tumble. For now, they’re at home on the dining room table.

What new adventures have you started on?

By the by, we also ran on down to Oregon this week to pick up Baby Girl. Year two of college is over, and she’s home for a minute before heading overseas to study this summer. Enough time to recover from finals, do a little shopping, take some photos for Mom, and laugh at Dad’s jokes. If a week’s all we’ve got, we’ll take it. Fun to have our baby home.

 

 

 

Sweet Sedums & Violets

Most times, the girls are busy with midterms and projects and haven’t made it home for Mother’s Day. That’s OK; the MR fills in in a pinch, but this year we had them both home together.

We were looking at wedding venues on Saturday, but Sweet Miss gave me these sedums early before they overheated in her car.

She’d painted the jars at her preschool, and while her kids added footprints, mine were plain. Perhaps her feet were a bit too big for canning jars.

I think they’re delightful. Her plan was that they’d wind up on the front porch, but for now, I’m enjoying their colorful addition to the table.