A Look Back at June 2017

I’ve been doing these monthly blog posts forever—or five years, whichever comes first—and I decided it was time to shake things up a little. Sometimes you gotta add a little spice to keep things new and fresh.

OK, so it’s just a collage and numbers, not that exciting, but it’s what we’ve got, so enjoy.

  1. It Doesn’t Look Like Much started the month off with a look at our new kiwi vines. Sadly one has died, but the other two are plugging along—make that one, the other is in dire straights. Remind me not to go out of town when it’s hot, and I’m babying plants. It’s going to be a while before we have vines covering the fence but we have time.
  2. This Old Dog is a sucker for an interesting book. So while I’ve been trying out some new techniques, Interweave had a sale, and I’ve stocked up on a few more. I even shortened the table runner just like the MR suggested.
  3. Clean Up the Mess is never a bad idea—even when it comes to the outdoors. While yes, we did have bits of construction debris, the now-spent lilies looked lovely after I cleaned away the daffodil leaves.
  4. This Old Dog Part II (because once is never enough) had me climbing through the treetops and blowing glass with the MR. Our ornaments turned out wonderfully well. We may have discovered a new pasttime.
  5. What’s That Smell? Why it’s your experiment with patchouli and string, you silly woman. While the delphinium still looks pathetic, our columbine looks much better. A couple flowers can make anything look better, right? And after a week or two outside, it still smells.
  6. That Trickle Down Effect talked about how once you’ve started making changes things just keep going. First I changed the coverlet, then I couldn’t ignore the fact that our sheets were tearing, and so it was new sheets, and then new shams. I’m still waiting for the shams…they’re in the mail. You’ve heard that line. And for inquiring minds, Papa Larry bought his sheets at Lake Havasu Linen Company which is now London Bridge Linen Company. They offer custom sheets. He says they’re pricey but worth it. So now we’ve all weighed in on the matter.
  7. Changing Perspective highlighted carrot leaf bouquets. Yes, you read that right. So much of life is about perspective. You can grumble about the overwintered carrots that are too tough to cut with a knife, or you can decorate your house with them. Your friends will never guess what they are.

And now for all the news that didn’t make it into the blog. We had everyone home along with the MR’s folks for a bit this month.  Baby Girl is off to Europe to study wonderful things till September. And Sweet MIss is starting a new job, moving to a new city, marrying a great guy, and searching for the perfect dress and ceremony site. Lucky us; we get to be part of it all.

MeeMee and Papa are visiting, so we’ve had lazy evenings on the deck playing cards and discussing the mysteries of life, relaxing sunset walks, quick trips across the state, and crazy owl fights. And yes, the deck guys are still working—don’t ask. It’s just another day in the life.

Hope June left you feeling happy and blessed just like us.

 

 

 

 

That Trickle Down Effect

The MR was telling me about some friends who are redoing their bedroom. It all started with new throw pillows that made the built-ins look too dark, and before you know it they were in full remodel mode.

I know the feeling. Sometimes one little change leads to another, and then another, and then another. You get the idea.

So I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised when the new coverlet for the bed arrived. After five years of sunshine and dog drool, I thought something with pattern might hide fading and tufts of fur.


I didn’t factor in that little dog paws can snag a loosely-woven fabric. That my mild compulsiveness would make me very concerned about keeping all those stripes straight. And that the shams with all that texture—that I made using dinner plates and gathers—might look washed out against the new coverlet.

I get all foolish and sentimental. I made those silly shams, and Adding Some Softness was one of my top blog posts ever. Oh well, I have new decorative shams on order.

And now let’s move on to sheets. A new bedspread deserves nice sheets, but all our sets are tearing. Don’t sheets last forever? These are barely five years old; they should be fine. I still have sheets from our wedding…

I was in denial, and then another bottom sheet would rip. We’re clean, we bath, we stay well-groomed, we don’t sleep with knives. I was perplexed until I read up on hard water. All those minerals from our well can make fabric brittle and tear. A-ha, things are starting to fall into place. Maybe inexpensive cotton sheets from TJ Maax aren’t my best option.

So I started researching soft, sturdy sheets that will also keep you cool. Bamboo and linen were my top candidates, and I bought a set of each.

Cariloha bamboo sheets were the first to arrive. These sheets are silky smooth and actually slide around on the bed. While I like the feel, I also like my bed to look neat and tidy, so I’m not 100-percent sold on these. They are a lovely bright white, and feel cool against the skin, but I need to see how they hold up under normal wear-and-tear.

Next came a set of linen sheets from Pottery Barn. This set of bedding feels much more substantial—shall I say sturdy? The sheets just have a lot more body and weight. Pottery Barn made it easy to add an extra pair of king pillowcases, and I do like it when everything matches. While I was tempted to buy a linen set on Etsy, I decided to buy from a national chain in case I wanted to return them.

Both linen and bamboo are advertised as fibers that will keep you cool. With the summer months upon us that seemed like a bonus especially in the absence of air conditioning. I’ve been hesitant to write about the new sheets until we’ve had a little more time with them. I imagine the linen will get softer with each washing—like a favorite t-shirt—but we’ll have to wait and see.

With the holiday weekend just a few days out, I’ve been getting lots of sale emails. Who wouldn’t want to save 20-percent on new sheets? So I thought I’d go ahead and share some of my recent purchase with you just in case you’re in the market.

I’m curious. Where do you buy your sheets? Any favorite brands or fiber content? Inquiring minds want to know.

Chaos in the Name of Progress

Remember way back when in February when I told you we were getting carpet? Well this was the week it finally arrived. But why make it simple with just one event? Let’s add spring break for the girls, shopping trips, denist/doctor visits, dinners out with friends, dinners in with family, game night, trips to the train station, the exterminator visit, sinks in the entry, pumping the septic tank, and moving all of the furniture out of three of the bedrooms.

Now that’s a crazy kind of week.

We were lucky in that the master bedroom has a built-in platform bed, so all we had to move was a chair, the hope chest, and some clothes from the closets. The rest of the rooms were a little more intense. I, fortunately, had a meeting at work, and the MR and the girls took care of all the heavy lifting while I was gone. When I went to start a load of laundry, I was surprised to find an antique ice box blocking the way—oh well. And let’s just say the sewing room is filled to the brim with creative endeavors.

Enough of chaos. Don’t you want to see our beautiful new carpet? The sewing room looks so inviting when it’s empty.

Cocoa, I said the room was empty.

I’ve decided not to bring the broken dresser back in, and the MR talked me out of the bed. Now I have to make some decisions about storage. I spent a few hours yesterday, finishing up some projects. Baby Girl is headed back to school this weekend, so it’s less imperative that the upstairs is all back in order. I’m hoping to show you a new and improved creative space in a few weeks.

Our room is basically back together, and I’m rather in love with this new carpet. It is so soft. Even the little step up to the bed is soft.

The gray of the carpet matches the gray of the flooring wonderfully. We’ve finally irradicated the baby blue and emerald green carpets of the past.

The guest bedroom probably has the biggest transformation going from emerald to beige carpet. It’s amazing how much it’s lightened things up in there. But since the MR had to put the queen-sized bed back together after a long day at work, and I’m off this morning to more shopping, Baby Girl’s hair appointment, and “girl time”, you’re just going to have to wait.

Now for those of you who like details, we had Haight Carpet in Woodinville install Mohawk Natural Splendor II in Stormwatch in the master bedroom. In the guest room and sewing room, it was the same carpet in Morning Mist. Since we have radiant heat on the main floor, they recommended the “Victorious” 10-pound pad. With our oddly-shaped rooms, funky closets, and built-in steps around the bed, the installation took most of a day. They arrived at 8:30 am and were gone by 4 pm. It’s only been a day, but so far so good.

Some of you may be wondering about that big list of things that I glossed over at the beginning. The septic tank was simply maintenance. It’d been three years, so we figured it was time. They did encourage me to switch to a liquid dishwasher soap and spread out the loads of laundry. Old habits are hard to break.

The good news from the exterminator was that it was just mice. The bad news was that it’s mice. We live in the middle of 30 acres; it’s a problem we’ll have to deal with. After some of the horror stories he shared, I’m feeling rather thankful. We had Ben from ProTech Pest Control come out to assess our home and install a trapping system. With a few repairs, the situation should be under control.

On a happy note, the MR reinstalled the powder room sink, while I took Sweet Miss to the train station. I didn’t get any pictures, but I can assure you that the drywall behind the sink surrounds the pipes perfectly. The MR did a great job.

So what’s new at your house? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How’s That for Color?

Me & the MR went shopping for carpet last weekend.  We went to Haight Carpet in Woodinville where we’ve had good service in the past.

We’re not looking for anything fancy, since it’s just for the master bedroom, the guest room, and the sewing room. We made the big commitment to the faux concrete floors a few years ago, so we really don’t have much in the way of wall-to-wall carpeting.

We’re looking at a medium-gray tone for the master. We’ve chosen the top sample from below—Stormwatch.

master-carpet-samples

And then for the guest room, which is really dark, we’ve chosen a gray-beige (Morning Mist) that matches the floor color well. We’re hoping it will lighten the room up a bit. It’s the sample on the far right.

guest-room-carpet-samples

That’s the same color we’ll use for the sewing room. I’ve been in a bit of a quandary as to whether to go light or dark up there. The room gets plenty of light, so we could choose the darker gray, but darker carpet shows lint. I always have strings and threads, bits of fabric and yarn scattered on the floor. I’m not sure which would hide that the best. We’ll go with the light and pledge to vacuum more often.

Our sweet dog followed the man from the carpet store around as he measured the rooms yesterday. We could have it installed and looking bright and new in just two weeks. I haven’t made the call yet. I was hoping for a sunny day to check the colors one last time.

Cocoa also tried to help me photograph the samples. Sitting on the floor is an open invitation to dogs.

cocoa-photobomb

She hates to be left out of anything.

What are your carpet buying tips and tricks? Light or dark?

 

Milestones

Me and the MR reached a milestone last week—25 years of marriage. It’s hard to believe all those years have gone by, but I’m sure glad to have spent them with him.

Sweet Miss caught the train home on Thursday, and we picked her up in Seattle. She arrived for our mini-heat wave, so we opened presents out on the deck celebrating her birthday and our anniversary. She and Baby Girl had put together something special for our silver anniversary. They’d had made a canvas with our wedding picture, one of the two of us in Cabo a couple of years ago, our iinvitation, and some numbers quantifying our lives.

Anniversary Canvas

We quickly found a place for it in our room. The girls also presented us with 25th Anniversary salt & pepper shakers they had found when helping my dad move.

We rounded out the weekend with a fancy dinner with friends, an overnight at a lovely hotel, a couple’s massage, a barbecue with my dad, and brother, and sister-in-law, a beautiful slate cheese server from Sweet Miss’ Fella, card games and laughter.

While roses from bell boys, and the massage and presents were great, I think the best part was just being together. Sweet Miss ended our list with “1 Blessed Family”. You know something? She’s right.

Hoping you are blessed with the love of family and friends, too.

March Marches On

No matter how much you want time to stand still, it just keeps marching on. With spring just around the corner, and the girls headed home for spring break—sort of—March was a month of anticipation.

We celebrated birthdays, and Easter, and knitting in https://bigwhitehouseonthehill.wordpress.com/2016/03/25/a-little-of-this-a-little-of-that-2/. And by the by, Sweet Miss’ received a pair of socks from the Easter bunny that were fabulous, if I do say so myself. (And yes, she did make it back from Ireland with lots of stories safe and sound.)

MMO SM Socks

Hard to believe, but we bought original artwork in March for the entry alcove in https://bigwhitehouseonthehill.wordpress.com/2016/03/11/now-thats-art/. Papa Willy was nonplussed, but I really like it.  I’d love to say we’ve balanced it out with other fabulous pieces, but this isn’t a movie it’s real life.

NTA Painting in Place

And the painting over our bed looks lovely—especially when I make our bed. I would definitely order from abroad again, but I’d be certain to factor in the extra cost of having a piece mounted. Check out https://bigwhitehouseonthehill.wordpress.com/2016/03/21/a-matter-of-scale/ for more details.

S Pic Closer

Moving outdoors, we looked at the lovely https://bigwhitehouseonthehill.wordpress.com/2016/03/07/blossom-time/ in the orchard. It’s just such a beautiful time of year.

BT Orchard Blooms

And the blossoms of the past with a whole lot of patience and the support of a paint stirrer resulted in https://bigwhitehouseonthehill.wordpress.com/2016/03/14/anticipation-rewarded/. We grew lemons in Washington state.  OK, so they’re were grown inside, and it took over a year, but we grew lemons in Washington state.

AR Lemons

That’s edible lemons that we ate with chicken and in a lovely lemon pie. It’s these little miracles that can change lives.

Speaking of miracles, I want to tell you that the seeds I planted the other day have sprouted, my garden is covered in the green of new growth. I want to tell you that, but I’d be lying.  It’s only been a couple of days; give me a break. I’m crossing my fingers and looking forward to a great season in the garden. Optimism is half the battle for https://bigwhitehouseonthehill.wordpress.com/?p=6873&preview=true.

And now for the https://bigwhitehouseonthehill.wordpress.com/2016/03/04/magic-powder/ post.  I received a lot of interest from South America with this post, don’t ask me why, apparently they have a problem with ripped jeans, too.  I’m still meaning to check out the CD tutorial; maybe it’ll happen next week.

Hope your March was filled with time with family, celebration, the promise of spring, and the joy of living.

 


 

 

A Matter of Scale

The bed in the master bedroom has given us fits since day one.

This is how it looked in the realtors’ photos.  It was a little dated, but not bad. We’d add some warmth and bring it into the 21st century.

Once upon a time

Then as we’re moving in, the MR sends me a cryptic text that “the bed is king”.  What is that supposed to mean? Well, our queen-size mattress was woefully small on the built-in platform.  https://bigwhitehouseonthehill.wordpress.com/2012/03/23/206/ highlighted how a new mattress got rid of the hop-skip-and-jump of getting in and out of bed.

All Prettied Up

The MR had already painted the wall behind our bed making the navy shower seem intentional.  Now we just need new bed linens and updated artwork.

The MR headed off to Europe for a few weeks in 2013, and I went shopping and brought home what I thought would be a better piece for over the bed.  It had blues and yellows with a nice strong horizontal layout. I picked it up at Cost Plus on sale.  It was perfect—sort of.

Picture

As you can see, it’s a little small for the space.  That’s why when we were at a gallery back in February, we started looking for art for over the bed.  Something to fill the space with a little more presence. We found the perfect piece, but it was too tall and too much, so we kept looking.

Last week, I shared our lovely Etsy find for the great room/entry alcove.  Well, that same night we found a bold graphic painting from itarts on Etsy.  It was the perfect size, a great price, and we could support a local artist—in Hungary. Sometimes I miss these important details.  The canvas was being sent from Europe in a tube; this was going to require some work.

I went to a local art supply shop.  They don’t stretch and mount canvasses, but they’d be glad to give me some tips.  Well, this painting is 3×6-feet.  I didn’t want this to be my beginning art project.  I wound up at the local Ben Franklin, and 10 days later it was ready.

I don’t miss driving the old minivan often, but Friday as I was hunched over the steering wheel with barely room to breath so my painting wouldn’t get crushed in the cargo area, I remembered it fondly.

And now, we have a new painting over our bed.

S Pic over Bed

From this angle, it looks a little crooked, but it’s not.  The MR had out the level and everything.  As you can see, the silver candleholders have been moved.  I had an incident fluffing pillows that led to picking up glass and changing sheets.  Maybe a nice wood vase in white and navy would finish off the headboard.

I was hoping the sunshine would highlight the metallic glints in the painting. The problem is, I’m not in charge of the weather.  While it wasn’t technically raining when I took these photos, it was overcast and thinking about raining.

S Pic Closer

The old picture hasn’t found a home just yet.  I was thinking it could join the silver candleholders that survived my bed making skills over the bookcases in the bathroom. If that doesn’t work out, we can always hang it over the TV.

Where do you find your artwork?  Ever supported struggling artists in Hungary?

(Looking back at the beginning photos, it’s fun to see all the changes.  The weird lights are gone, we have the fresh navy wall color, the ugly mauve tile is a thing of the past, instead of fabric panels for privacy (or nothing for the exhibitionist former owners) we have blinds. So much more than paintings have changed in the past four years. I did really like the super low angle the professional used for the bedroom.  I’m going to steal that idea in the future.)