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.)

 

 

Wrapped in a Cloud

I’m not talking about the fog that shrouds our home in a blanket of white, or the smoke that’s blown in from the wild fires north and east of here. I’m talking about towels; crazy, awesome, luxury towels.
Now my mom worked for JCPenney for more than 30 years in the bed and bath department. Towels were something we were never hurting for. In fact, though she’s been gone for more than 10 years now, when Sweet Miss was outfitting her duplex, we visited Papa and he showed us a linen closet filled with towels for her to choose from.
I’ve never been that picky about towels; my mom would just give us a new set periodically. Then we moved here, and I had three full bathrooms to supply with towels. At our last home, the girls had always shared a bathroom with guests.
I thought maybe white towels would be a good choice for the guest suite. Oprah told her TV audience that all her towels were white; who am I to argue with Oprah? Then I began living with hard water coupled with a septic system. The towels were looking dingy, but bleach would throw the system out of whack. Maybe white wasn’t the best choice after all.
When the MR finished remodeling the bathroom in the girls wing, I thought bright blue-green would be pretty and picked up some fluffy towels at a discount retailer. They were soft and beautiful—perfect. Fast forward a year, and they’re showing runs and spots.
I decided to throw away my frugal tendencies and see what kind of fancy towels they have out there. I’m tired of looking at all those mismatched towels on our open shelves. (OK, so I probably should clean out and organize the rest of the shelves, but let’s handle one thing at a time.)

Best Messy

Towels are a simple luxury used daily; a little splurge wouldn’t hurt. After researching on Pinterest, I chose Cuddledown’s Daisy House bamboo towels in pewter. They’re a nice contrast to the white shelving, won’t show spots, and not as prone to fading as a navy towel would be.

They arrived yesterday.

Towels in a box

As I unwrapped each one, I made Baby Girl feel the amazing softness. I knew I’d gone a little over the top when she smiled, nodded her head, and told me yes mom, they’re very soft.  Sometimes I can get obsessive. I’d realed it in a little by the time the MR came home, but he had to feel them, too.

Enough about the the softness, how did they look? These babies cost too much for me to just blindly buy a stack of them, so I bought two of each. We’re testing them out first. Doing a little research, they’re not that much more than the regular price of towels at Penneys; I guess I’m just cheap.

New Towels 2

Nice, neat, tidy, they looked perfect. I swapped out the MR’s old towel for one of these new ones. He’d get to try them out first.

New Towels 3

Imagine my surprise when the MR told me as he was leaving this morning “wait till you take a shower”. That’s huge praise from my very low-key guy; he rarely comments on anything. I was almost convinced to hop out of bed and take a shower right then and there before the sun rose—almost.

A few hours later, after my trip to the gym, I was shocked at how absorbent these babies are. It’s like they suck the water totally away.

OK, so this is still the honeymoon phase; I haven’t washed them over and over again. I don’t know how they’ll stand up to regular wear and tear, but so far I’m very impressed.

The towels are 57% cotton and 43% rayon from bamboo. The label reads:

Indulge yourself in its supreme and unrivalled softness.
Experience its superior abosorption.
Enjoy day after day the comfort of pure natural bamboo fibre.

That’s totally the plan. If these pan out, I’ll be filling the bottom shelf with soft, absorbent, hard-wearing towels.

Who knows, maybe I’ll buy some for the guest bedroom, too.  Check out Cuddledown to see if they have the towels for you.

Do you have a favorite brand of towels? How about sheets? I’m in the market for them, too.

Let’s Get Organized

It all started with a pair of shoes. Remember when I went away for the weekend, and the MR left for work, and Baby Girl had to get herself off to school? The dogs had all of 15 minutes to behave. But will dogs behave? No.

Chewed Up Shoes

Cocoa chewed up my slippers and ate my shoes. That’s when I out-smarted her by putting my shoes in boxes and back in the built-in shelves.

Open Doorway

 

Over time, I gathered a few more boxes, and before you know it, I didn’t remember I had any of those shoes. Cocoa was no longer chewing them up, but I wasn’t wearing them either.

Flash forward to this spring when I picked up some shoe bins at Walmart, and some labels online. My shoes held a fashion show, I took pictures, printed off labels, and we were good to go. Unfortunately, the bins stuck out too far, and I couldn’t see the pictures, and I didn’t like the way they looked. So I just up and moved them to the other closet.

Shoes

I liked my new shoe boxes so well, that I went back for a few more. They were out of stock, but Fred Meyer had similar boxes and some larger “boot” boxes, as well.

Boots

These are a little bigger than I wanted, so I haven’t added the labels just yet. The shelves are a bit high, and we didn’t have anything on them before, so maybe it’s just fine.

Now I had the organizing bug, and when I was looking through the list of new online books at my library, I came across The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. This book sounded intriguing, so immediately, I downloaded it. I’ve read more than my share of organizing/tidying books and wondered if this could be as dynamic as the title proclaimed.

Kondo talks about how reorganizing your home causes dramatic changes in lifestyle and perspective. I laughed when I read “Tidy a little a day, you’ll be tidying forever”. I’ve tried that. My cupboards are full, I’m carrying the weight of a lot of junk. Tidying a little every day doesn’t help me get ahead.

Her basic premise is to keep only what you love, what brings you joy, and then put it away. She suggested starting with clothes, books, papers, miscellany, and lastly mementos. I’m still part way through my clothes. You’ll notice I didn’t say the MR’s clothes or Baby Girl’s clothes.

“To quietly work away at disposing of your own excess is actually the best way of dealing with a family that doesn’t tidy.”

Instead of backwards hangars, or asking yourself if you’ve worn something lately, she advises getting rid of anything that doesn’t touch your heart. So I’m guessing that those clothes that make you feel old, fat, or frumpy should go. I’ve donated three trash bags full already, and my closet is so empty.

walk-through closet 2

 

I was able to put all my jackets and tops on one row and bring in my pants and skirts.

One of Kondo’s epiphanies is that people are storing their clothes wrong. By storing them on their sides (usually in drawers), they can breathe, get less wrinkled, and are easier to access. I have found a favorite t-shirt at the bottom of a stack looking squished and lifeless. tshirts tanks and shorts

Paring down my number of sweatshirts, I was able to bring in my t-shirts and shorts, and have easy access to everything.

Another unusual idea was rolling your socks like sushi rather than rolling or folding them. I know I said I wasn’t messing with the MR’s stuff, but I used to have agnst about stuffing all the clean socks in one tiny drawer. Now his socks are organized by color and size, and I always have room for a few more.

Socks from above

 

He isn’t 100% won over on this change. But sometimes you have to appease your crazy wife.

Remember my new shoe bins? Look at that closet now.

Empty closet

I got rid of the wrap dress that looked so chic but wouldn’t wrap around me. Sometimes you make a mistake and just have to let it go.

You may have noticed, I’ve taken Kondo’s advice to arrange your clothes so that they rise to the right, from heavy to light, both in weight and color. It’s sounds a little hokey to me, but why not give it a try? I’ve been organizing by color for years.

All this purging has eliminated the need to store out of season clothes. When I packed things up, often I’d forget to unpack them—especially when we had a particularly cool rainy spring and summer.

As I said before, I haven’t finished all my clothes. I still need to take a look at my jeans, my workout gear, scarves, jewelry and sweaters. Sweaters will definitely be a challenge. Kondo says to dump everything out on the floor and then pick it up, touch it, and you’ll know if you want to keep it.

“To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose.”

I’m a little fearful of tackling the books; we have a lot; and I don’t want to dump them all on the floor. Perhaps that’s why I like that she calls tidying a special occasion. Something you should dress for and not to be performed every day.

“I can think of no greater happiness in life than to be surrounded only by the things I love.”

I think I’d add the people I love, too. Either way, I’m working on it.

Any tidying advice you’d like to share?