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. 

 

 

Making My Own Sunshine

I’m not a trusting soul. When the weatherman last night promised sunshine, I took a wait and see attitude. The rains pelting the roof this morning were no surprise. 

Perhaps with only seven days without rain this year he was trying to throw us a bone. 


It is what it is. Eventually the sun will come out. Me and the MR spent the weekend apart, but we still had that couple’s intuition happening. He bought flowers for the outside, while Baby Girl and I chose flowers for the inside. 


I have a habit of buying vases and just leaving them sit there for days, weeks, months, years…. 

Now at least we have a bit of brightness in the great room. And while I love real flowers, these add cheer and won’t wilt. I do believe there’s room for both. 


I was telling the MR over dinner last night about how a rainy spring and moldy, hallucinogenic flour may have contributed to the medieval witch trials. It’s feeling like that kind of year. 

Don’t worry. I’m keeping an eye on the flour. 

How do you add a bit of sunshine to your world?

Me and BG purchased our flowers at Pier 1. If your interested in how chemistry changed the world, check out Napoleon’s Buttons by Jay Burreson. 

Worth the Wait

Last summer I mentioned we’d gone out and ordered a new dining room table and chairs. The table was available immediately, but the chairs were going to be a bit. And so we waited, and waited, and waited. I’ve mentioned before I have a problem with patience.

Lest you get the wrong idea, I’m not some crazy mega-consumer who gets new furniture at the drop of a hat. The MR bought me our last table for Christmas when I was pregnant with Baby Girl.  Seeing how she’s a sophomore in college; it’s been awhile. Over the last 20 years, that table has hosted many celebrations and joyous occasions. But since it was the only table in the house, it’s seen a whole lot of use. It’s been up-close and personal with Sharpies and glitter. There was a Spirograph incident that it’ll carry for life, and we know for certain that Ikea veneers can only handle so much scrubbing.

img_3408

It was time. Let’s also factor in the size. This table was great for an eating area in the kitchen or a small dining room. This room is 15-feet wide from the built-in buffet to the french doors, and it’s even longer length-wise.  We needed a table with some weight.

So color me happy when Leathers Furniture in Issaquah gave me a call earlier this month to say our table and chairs were in. Unfortunately, with our travel schedule, the earliest we could have them delivered was November 23. Why yes, that’s the day before Thanksgiving. We were cutting it pretty close, but the Big Guys delivery company out of Woodinville came through without a hitch. They even complimented me on all the good cooking smells.

So this Thanksgiving our small group of six gathered around this beauty.

thanksgiving-table

Thanksgiving is one of those times we all get to help in the kitchen.

putting-them-all-to-work

Here’s a look at the table a little less fancied up. I mean after all, we don’t live like this all the time, but then again maybe we should. That platter is looking really small. I love the grain of the wood and the the live edge.

live-edge

The table is solid wood, so even though we’re dedicated to avoiding unfortunate toy incidents, if they happen, we have options. We chose a very modern base, but the table is made to accommodate a variety of legs and other supports. So if we get tired of this choice, we can choose something more traditional.

base

The chairs are the Alfa from Bontempi Casa. We had tons of choices with these from leg color, to chair color, to upholstery. We went  medium stain on the legs with a bi-cast leather in a chocolate brown to bring out some of the table’s darker tones. The graphite back adds a nice contrast.

row-of-chairs

The chairs were a place we added some design interest without going too crazy. Another huge factor was comfort. If we’re sitting here for hours, we want our guests as well as ourselves to be comfortable. And these fit the bill.

chair

Another great feature is that the pad is removable. If we decide a different color or perhaps microfiber would be a better choice, we have alternatives. I could buy bright red for Christmas. Note: I didn’t say I was going to—that would look over-the-top—just that I could.

We went with a wood table and the wood and leather chairs in an effort to add warmth to the dining room. With the long line of counter flanked by the white cabinetry and glass of the china buffet, we thought something natural would soften it a bit.

in-situ

As you may have noticed, we have a giant tree in our great room. Our family tradition has been to cut down a Christmas tree and decorate the weekend after Thanksgiving. Since the girls both come home for the holiday, that tradition has served us well during the college years.

This year, Baby Girl had a final today (Monday), so she flew in late Wednesday and out late Friday. We were able to go to the tree farm down the hill, but a bug problem slowed decorating for a bit. Then there was dinner with my family down at Papa’s and the trip back to the airport.

christ-tree-cutting

As you can see, we still had a lot of fun.

christmas-tree-crazy

No, that’s not a worker at the tree farm diligently sawing away. That’s Sweet Miss’ Fella. Apparently, he didn’t hear when I called for everyone to smile. The MR was amazed at how much faster it is to cut down a tree when you have another guy around. I don’t think he’s had a turn with the saw for a few years now.

Sweet Miss and the MR decorated the tree while I was at work Saturday, and we drove her to Seattle this morning to catch the train for home. Our full house is back down to just us two.

I have the mantle, and bookcases, and windows crying out to be decorated, and boxes the MR wants me to put away. So with that I hope you all had a very happy Thanksgiving weekend with friends and family.

When do you get your tree? Fresh or frozen, errgh I mean fake?

 

 

 

 

 

Super Size It

Sometimes you’re just kind of stuck with what you’ve got. It’s serviceable, it’s fine, it’ll do.

We had a traditional rug by the front door when we moved here. It was fairly new and would be just fine, if a bit bland, and small, and boring.

We’ve lived with it for a four years.

Old Rug

A couple of weeks ago, I saw a rug on Joss & Main that caught my eye. It was on sale and matched our color scheme. Who could say no to a little gray, a little orange, a little beige in a playful geometric print? Not me.

New Rug 2

Ok, so obviously the candle and the door stop are just there till the corners stop rolling up. Hopefully nobody breaks a toe before then. Eventually the rug will relax a little. But even now, it adds a punch of color to our neglected entry. This area has simply been a pass through zone. Not that I want to hang out in the entry, but it would be nice if it matched the vibe of the rest of the house.We want it to set the tone, and a little funky color is a great start.

What kind of message does your entry send?

Simply Pretty

A few weeks ago, after we moved Sweet Miss out of her duplex, attended graduation, helped host a BBQ, went to dinner and breakfasts with Her Fella’s family, moved Baby Girl out of the dorms, and drove hundreds of miles home, my first thought was to check on my garden.

The MR was busily untying ropes so we could get Baby Girl’s stuff out of the pickup, and I needed to stretch my legs and see what a weekend of sunshine and neglect had done to the garden and the orchard. As I headed out the back door, I was surprised when Sweet Miss asked if she could come, too.

Well, sure, and when did my children grow up enough that they went out to the garden without being forced? The broccoli and beets were growing; it was time to check out the berries. As we walked over to the orchard, Sweet Miss grabbed a fistful of daisies.

Daisy Stand

We have clumps of daisies growing wild around the meadow and the fields. The MR likes the flowers, so he takes extra time to mow around them. Sure they’re pretty, but they’re weeds, right?

IMG_2849

Our pocekts filled with blueberries and currants, me and Sweet Miss made our way back up to the kitchen. She cut the stems and plunked the flowers down into a canning jar. I added a bit of orange ribbon, and suddenly, we had sweet, humble centerpieces for our dinner party last weekend.

Daisy Bouquets

Pretty doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming. It can be as simple as a few daisies in some old jars. Thanks Sweet Miss for teaching your mother a thing or two.

Do you enjoy fresh flowers? Any centerpiece tips?

 

Solutions and an Umbrella Stand

I don’t know if they were just peeved after we left them for a long weekend, or maybe it was the slight shift in schedule between us and a young sitter, but the dogs could no longer make it through the night without what we’ll euphemistically call troubles.

I was tired of mopping, the MR was tired of the mess when he got up in the morning. We were in the midst of grumbling and kibbitzing, when he came up with a truly genius idea.  Instead of focussing on everything they were doing wrong, he came up with an idea about what we could do to solve the problem.

Just like with people, you have no control over others’ behavior, just your own.  So instead of yelling at the dogs, encouraging them to go out in the rain and cold and “do their business”, we’ve taken a leaf out of the apartment dwellers notebook and are taking the dogs for a walk.

We were lucky; the first few nights, the skies were clear, the stars were out, it was brisk and beautiful.  Then our regular winter weather returned, and the MR grabbed an umbrella.

Baby Girl called it creepy walking the dogs after dark, but it’s what we did when they were puppies, and now that Little Buddy is almost 13, I’d rather laugh at his antics than discipline him for messes. Me and the MR have been enjoying conversation and laughter on our late night walks.

The MR went online and Amazon delivered a few unbrella stands, so we’ve a new addition to entry, and a small LED flashlight is on its way.

Umbrella

Sometimes life’s a lot better when you focus on solutions instead of the problems.  It might also mean a little less mopping.

 

 

 

Share Your Stories

I was talking to my sister-in-law the other day, and she mentioned she’d donated some of her mom’s costume jewelry to a charity that helps women get back on their feet.  She said that she didn’t know where they came from or who had owned them, her mom may have known, but the stories died with her.

That reminded me of an afternoon with my dad.  We’d been cleaning out the basement, and even though my mom’s been gone for 10 years now, it’s still hard to part with her treasures.  I told him it was OK to let go of these things if they weren’t his style and pointed to a large, purple glass vase that had been around for ages.  I figured it was a safe bet that he’d want to get rid of that.

That’s when he told me a story of when they were newlyweds.  Now, I knew the draft notice had showed up on Valentine’s Day bumping their summer wedding to March, and how they spent hours making ceramics on base as cheap entertainment, I’d even heard how my aunt and cousins came to visit and my oldest cousin flushed a watch down the toilet and grabbed a plate off the wall and smashed it on the floor.  Those were the tales of early marriage that I’d grown up hearing.

This was a new one.  When they were first married, my grandma came to visit, and they took her across the border to Juarez.  They’d visited a glass blowing factory where they had watched them make a purple vase.  My grandma had bought a similar one and brought it home.

I remembered seeing it in her house filled with grass plumes, and after her death it had come to my parents.  It was more than just a glass vase—it was memories, and good time, and laughter.

IMG_2496

My dad admitted it wasn’t really his style…  I told him not to worry; I’d find a place for it.

Share your stories before it’s too late.