I Was Gonna…

I remember when I was a kid and my dad called me to task, I would say, “I was gonna…” And then he would tell me, there’s no such thing. It’s either “yes” or “no”. You either did our you didn’t. Even now, my plans get away from me.

Last year, before we left for Australia, I visited Costco and saw this bag of daffodils. Wouldn’t it be great if the whole driveway was lined with beautiful yellow flowers? I had time to do it before we left. But then there was packing, and rain, and my busy schedule and the bag of bulbs sat in the garage.

I could always do it when we got back. And then somehow it was winter. It was cold, the ground was frozen, it was really too late to be planting them, wasn’t it? Spring came, flowers began to bloom, and with them the guilt of that silly bag still sitting in the garage. It was too late; they would die; the ground was too hard; I’d never plant them deep enough; it was the wrong time of year. As you can see, I had plenty of excuses.

So last week, while we waited for yet another contractor to stop by, I went outside with my hoe and in less than 15 minutes planted 90 daffodil bulbs. Some of the bulbs were rotten, some plain and simple won’t make it. I did not space them evenly along the whole length of the driveway, squirrels quite possible will dig them up. Is it perfect—no, but it’s enough.

And now as I pull my car into the garage, I am no longer greated by a picture of cheery, spring blossoms reminding me of my failings and all I was gonna do.

You can check out other daffodil musings in Planning Ahead or go back to the beginning with A Gift of Spring when it was really rough around here.

 

 

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That Silver (or Is It Gold) Lining

One of the hard things about winter is the shorter days. The sun doesn’t rise till after 7 am, and the sunset is at 4:30 pm today. When you’re craving light, those dark days seem to go on forever. But with the sun further to south, its rays hit just right in the afternoons bathing our great room in a golden glow.

Sure, you have to stop earlier to watch the sunset, but is that really a bad thing?

If you look hard enough, you can find beauty, hope, or promise in any situation. And while I miss the long afternoons and evenings on the deck with the MR, this time of year has its charms, too.

Wishing you the simple pleasures of the everyday.

Dreaming a Little

I may have mentioned something about a laundry room remodel recently. Well me and the MR have been meeting with a designer to try and make better use of a rather odd set up.

The original owners had a tanning bed opposite the washer and dryer. We have just an odd space with cabinets running across the middle of the wall.

He was in the construction industry and liked to come in through the laundry room, get rid of his work clothes and immediately shower. I’m sure it made sense for him, just not so much for us.

Cocoa loves the bathroom in the laundry room—it’s where she eats her meals and snacks and chew sticks are stored. It seems kind of a shame to have a whole room dedicated to a dog and her accouterments.

So we met with Kristi of Studio K2. She’d done some work for a friend of the MR’s; and after seeing the remodel photos, we decided to give her a call. We spent an afternoon chatting about wine fridges, butler’s pantries, extra storage, light issues, and usable space, and she presented us with the following plan.

She also had lovely ideas for drying racks, beautiful walls of cabinetry, and a built-in dog bowl station.

The light issue could be improved by replacing the doors with glass panels. That means the door from the outside, the door between the laundry and adjacent bath, the door to both rooms, and perhaps the door to the deck that lines up with all three other doors. Nothing is every easy…

Cocoa’s bare bones bathroom would be replaced with a wine fridge, an overflow fridge for entertaining, and then a pretty sink and storage for platters and holiday plates, stemware and silver.

It sounds like contractors are booked out a ways, but I’m loving all these ideas.

We’re planning on carrying the white cabinets found in the rest of the house in here, and open shelving doesn’t work when we leave the doors open all summer long.

I’ll probably still move a drying rack out on the deck in the summer, but it’ll be wonderful to have a place to hang up the MR’s button-downs, and my dainties won’t be hanging on the line in front of God and everyone.

I remember when my mom redid her laundry room. And the 20-something I was, I may have rolled my eyes. Sorry Mom. Now I get how exciting it can be to dream a little dream.

Any remodeling plans at your house?

Want a peak at where we’ve started and where we’ve been? You can find our ever changing laundry room here, or here, or here, or here

Eyes Wide Open

Me and the MR spent a weekend at the beach in early March. We were hoping for sun and sand, instead we found gray skies and rain.

Sure we were a little disappointed, but the ladies in the party took the opportunity to walk into town and shop for a party dress.

Even in the rain, there’s beauty and inspiration. Just look at this planter.

These vibrant tiles chase away the gloom. And what about this brick wall?

We were walking past this tiny park when I was stopped in my tracks by the beauty of the brickwork.

While I don’t have the skill to recreate this, I love the idea of turning the basics of life into art.

Perhaps it’s time to give the orchard fence an upgrade.

You may be wondering about that party dress. Grandma MeeMee has a new outfit for Sweet Miss’ wedding.

Sweet Miss, Baby Girl, and the MR are all kitted out. Now I just have to find a dress and we’ll be set.

Where are you finding inspiration?

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?

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?