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.


Cooling Down

The last month has been crazy. Sweet Miss and the Fella got married, lots of family, the garden and orchard are on overload, and let’s add some construction for fun.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel like writing when someone is pounding around in my house. I also don’t feel like writing when I’m sweating to death in my home. Now, my midwestern friends and family, and the California cousins may be laughing, but it’s been in the 80’s and 90’s around here. Our grass is brown, and we are hot.

Me and the MR were thinking ahead. Back in the spring, we had a fellow come out and give us a bid on air conditioning. After six years of sweltering during the summer, we decided to splurge on AC.

A few visits and a few months went by before they gave us an estimate. Our great room is huge; and with the number of windows, the height of the ceiling, and size of the room, keeping it cool is a tricky proposition.

Late July, they had a plan and were ready to roll. The MR took pity on my sanity and said we were busy—weddings do take priority— and pushed them off till last week. So we had courteous, professional, friendly visitors every morning at 7:30 am. Have I mentioned that we’ve switched to decaf?

By Thursday afternoon when I arrived home from work, we had a new heat pump installed and four units blowing cool air. The MR was busy taping and mudding all the holes the workers had made in the walls.

That’s one of those things I never really thought about before having so much work done. The workers had to cut holes to run the wiring, but that doesn’t mean they’re going make it look good after they’re done. When we had the radiators pulled out of the upstairs, we were left with missing molding and holes in the carpet. I’m just lucky that the MR is so good at putting things back together.

Our excitement over AC lasted for maybe a minute. The MR texted me that it wasn’t working the very next day. One of the units was making a hissing noise and the temperature was steadily rising. The workers were out again on Monday morning and within a few hours had a broken coupling fixed and cool air blowing our way.

Me and the MR have been wondering how air conditioning will change our lives. When it was so desperately hot inside, we’d make our way out to the deck in the late afternoons searching for a breeze and watching the hummingbirds. Cocoa will be very unhappy if this impacts deck time.

OK, so now you’re wondering about all the important stuff.  Well, the wedding was amazing. Sweet Miss looked beautiful, the Fella came into the reception raising her hand in the air shouting “Yes.” Lots of joy, lots of love, lots of excitement. I’m just thankful for all the friends and family who came together to make it such a wonderful day.

The garden is off and running. We have tomatoes, beans, carrots, lettuce, blueberries, blackberries, plums, apples, and more to come. So I’ve made applesauce, and plum jam, and frozen apple pie filling. We even cooked green beans wrapped in bacon on the salt block. It was a little messy but oh so tasty. And we have salad almost every night.


So what have you been up to lately? Any apple or plum recipes to share?

Drifting Apart

Back in February three years ago, the new furniture and rugs for the great room arrived. It was a fabulous day. Our huge striped rug totally brought the room to life. We had cozy seating areas scattered throughout the room that I enjoyed adding pillows and throws and knick-knacks to. (You can travel back down memory lane to that day at Color Underfoot.)

One of our favorite areas to sit is by the fireplace. We have nice overhead and task lighting, a fireplace for cool evenings, and a place to put up our feet. While we’ve enjoyed many a nice chat in this spot, I’ve noticed one thing. The round rug under the ottoman is a little too small. If you put your feet up and relax, pretty soon you’ll be drifting away from your partner. I don’t like drift.

So I’ve been keeping my eye open for a replacement. The trouble is, we need an odd-size rug. I didn’t want the rug too wide or it would be too close to the fireplace and wander into the walkway. I don’t need any tripping hazards. Most runners that are long enough are too narrow.

After waiting around for years and making do with this small round rug, I decided a 4’x 6′ rug would be long enough to sit under the front of each chair and narrow enough to not run over the hearth or impede passage.

Plush Rugs had a sale over the Fourth of July, so I bit the bullet at ordered Dynamic Rugs, Vogue in the grey and rust colorway. It arrived last week and looks oh so lovely.

The gray in the rug melts into the color of the floor perfectly, and the abstract rust design marries well with the rust in the large rug anchoring our main seating area. I love it when everything plays nice together.

Of course it is summer time now, and we tend to chat out on the deck in the evenings, so we we can listen to the birds and watch Cocoa chase the deer and bunnies. But come winter, I have a feeling we’ll enjoy cozy evenings here. Now, I just have to find a new ottoman, one that’s not too big, or too small, too old-fashione, or too bold, durable without looking ugly. It’s always something.

Snagging any great deals lately? 


Now Listen to That

The MR gets excited about technology, and sound, flat screens, plasma, and all that stuff. Since I am not a connoisseur of these things, I just let him go to town, and do what he sees fit.

For the last few years, we’ve had our TV where the built-in, drop-down screen of the previous owners used to be. It’s in the same spot; you’d think the sound would be OK–not so much. The MR replaced the crackly back speakers ages ago, and he swapped out the yellowed and ugly side speakers with new sleaker models. So we’re golden, right? No.

The side speakers where set into the pillars twenty feet to either side of the screen. Now the great room is big, but it’s not that big.  All those little background noises that are supposed to add to the excitement of the movie would have me up checking to see what the dog was doing in the kitchen.

The problem was, we have only 13.5 inches between each window. So the MR has been searching long and hard to find new speakers that are nice and skinny. A few weeks ago, they arrived, and he was able to install them with little fuss–I only had to stick my hand in the wall a few times, and the phone calls between the crawl space and the main room all remained friendly.

If you look carefully at the picture on the right, you can see where the new speaker is going in a mere four feet from the television and the placement of the old speaker under the sconce about 20 feet from the TV.

The new speakers from KEF are just five inches wide. The MR had them installed and all the patching and painting done in a jiffy. He is quite handy. And here they are in all their glory.

I know you can barely see them, but they’re not there to be decorative. It’s all about the sound my friends. And guess what? Even me with my undiscerning ears can tell a difference. These babies are nice. Suddenly, we can understand all those actors with crazy accents on our favorite shows.

Chalk one up for the MR–well done. Patience and preseverance paid off.

Making any upgrades at your house?

Just for old times sake, I dug out this photo from the past. Remember the coffin-like coffee table and the pop-up projector that triggered the screen? It sure was something. 

I also found this picture of Little Buddy. Bogart sure had a way of getting into the photos.  He was a good dog.



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.


I spent much of last weekend packing up the Christmas decorations and putting the house back in order. After the over-the-top excess of the holidays with stockings, and trees, and nutcrackers, I’ve been slow to put back decorations on the mantel and shelves.

The fall season is over, and we’re not quite ready for fresh spring flowers. Do I give in to the cold and icy feel of winter or add some hearts and red in tribute to Valentine’s Day?

I noticed a friend from college still has her Christmas village decorating her living room just because she likes them. It’s OK not to rush into the next big thing.

Like a palate cleanse between courses, sometimes your eyes need a rest. Besides, this will give me a chance to touch up the paint on the fireplace and get Baby Girl’s sketches framed. It’ll all come together eventually.

Do you change up your decorating with the season or stick with tried and true?