All About April

April showers have given way to May. You know what that means; it’s time for our monthly recap of the blog.

We had speakersSpring, and a generator. The speakers are great, spring is a little fickle, and we haven’t had the need to use the generator, but it’s ready and waiting.

A new laundry room rennovation is in the future. We’ve checked out wine fridges and matching column fridges and met with a contractor. Much more is in store, but we may have to wait a while on this one. In the meantime, be sure to check out the inspiration all around you.

And now for updates and other news. Me and the MR took a quick trip to Palm Springs, for dinners out, sunshine, shopping, hiking, swimming, and games. My garden still needs some work, but the MR has the wall around the generator looking great. We donated a few things to our local MOPS garage sale, but I think it’s time for some more spring cleaning.

And in other good news, we received an invitation from Sweet Miss and the Fella for their upcoming wedding. It’s getting real.

How was your April?

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March was Marvelous in 2018

Sometimes I look back at the month and say “wow” look at all those posts, so many things happened; but other times, I just say “hmm.” It’s not like we did nothing; I just didn’t manage to write about it.

So here’s just a little of what we did in March. Me and the MR flew to LA for a wedding and a rainy weekend at the beach, we spent time with family, and Baby Girl came home for spring break. We met people for lunch, and dinner, and movies, and wine tasting. Plus we went shopping and  bought new tires, and new brakes. The MR bought a suit for the big event this summer, Sweet Miss’ dress arrived (it’s beautiful), BG’s dress arrived (lovely, too), Cocoa chased deer and barked at a bear. I went to a wine and paint night with my buddy. We were busy.

And now here’s the blog in a blink. That Snowball Effect started off with just one job that turned into craziness. While we were out of town, the tree guys came and took down some huge cedars. Everything looked great till, we realized our propane tank was rapidly emptying. There was a break in the line, and we had to do without for a few days. With a little rearranging of the schedule, the new tank went in early, and all is well.

It’s in the Details is a cautionary tale about the need to think things through. Let’s just say, a well-lit mantel is a lovely thing–we just don’t have it. Maybe some day…

The Second Time Around had me planting kiwi vines in the garden. This is take two, and after the wind, hail, snow, and rain of the last few weeks, we may wind up with a third try. Knock on wood for me and my kiwis. The onion sets are looking great, and the orchard is continuing to break out in bloom.

Wishing for Sun showcased our lovely view and the new lounge chairs we’ve bought. It snowed on Easter. It may be a while before they get any use. It’s just one of those months.

And now because I’m glad to be winding up more than a few knit and crochet projects and Cocoa makes me laugh, here’s BG’s new socks and her lovely feet.

BGs socks

The MR is cutting back on his consulting, and we’ve got a bunch of projects on the fire, and I’m hoping to be a little more present in April. After four visits, our wifi is finally working, so I should be a little less frustrated when I do write to you.

Happy April!

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.

January ’18 Flew By

The first month of the year has come and gone with it’s accompanying highs and lows. Baby Girl went back to school, Sweet Miss is off teaching young children how to be better human beings, and me and the MR are holding down the homefront.

This month, I took My First Stab at Salt Block Cooking.  We’ve enjoyed salmon twice. (Note to self: don’t try to squish two fillets on the block, or one might drop down under the burner and create a large fire. Long tongs are a good thing.) I’m going to have to branch out; maybe the salt block cookbook I saw on Amazon would amp up the creativity.

I’ve watched many a beautiful sunrise here. You Just Never Know what secret delights your house will hold. I’ve also learned to deal with mice and ladybugs, but that’s another story.

I was promoting a decorating cleanse of sorts. I dubbed it a Reboot, but the MR was missing my chatchkies, so we put them back out before friends came over the other day. I have mixed things up a little here and there, and I know you’re going to like the mantel.

Just like the next time you visit, if you have to freshen up, you’ll smile at Baby Girl’s watercolors in the powder room. It’s all about Playing to Your Strengths.

One of our strengths–both me and the MR–is our ability to grow things. Houseplants seem to last forever around here with all the great light. Taking that into consideration, we’re Giving It (Our Citrus Grove) Another Go. The last tangerine died after I put Death Rain seasoning on the decorative stones to keep Cocoa from chewing on them and leaving them all over the house. She stopped, but so did the tree.

Finally, we received sad news this month with the passing of the MR’s close friend and another good family friend. Along with two deaths, we celebrated the arrival of another friend’s baby. Good times and bad times; they’re all part of life. We were happy to share a meal with friends and Make It Special.

 

February has already started off with a bang celebrating the MR’s birthday, and I have lots of other good things to share.

Hoping you have an wonder filled day.

 

And That Was July

Me and the MR have been playing hooky for the last few weeks. We’ve been in Europe with Sweet Miss seeing the sites and visiting Baby Girl, and it was wonderful.

Now we are home playing catch up with laundry, and gardening, and grocer shopping, and dead mice, and harvesting. And finally, I’m getting to my blog. So while it’s a little late, here’s what July brought to the Big White House on the Hill.

  1. The MR’s folks were in town, and Papa Larry (aka the Handyman) needs projects to keep him busy. The Handyman Can get the job done…hanging shelves, servicing the lawnmower, replacing a sink. You name it; he’s done it, and we are so grateful.
  2. While the Handyman started this project, the part for our leaky shower didn’t arrive until after he left. Isn’t it amazing The Power of Technology? You can take a photo on your phone of a 20-year-old, leaky valve, send an email to the manufacturer, and someone thousands of miles away knows exactly what you need and mails it off. It’s a crazy world we live in.
  3. Currant Events featured some of our red gems and some of the delicious recipes I want to try this year. Since I’m feeling generous, I thought I’d share one of the new app’s I downloaded recently.  It’s Yummly. One of the great features of this app is the filter system. Since me and the MR can’t eat constant cake and sweets, it’s really nice to be able to select main dish or sides when I’m searching for currant, or plum, or blueberry recipes.
  4. I’m really liking the laid-back vibe of our new linen shams featuring A Little Contrast Please. And the cute bag they came in was the perfect way to wrap up my sandals before putting them in my suitcase. Those ancient cobblestones get pretty dusty.
  5. Now before we left, the garden was looking good. I was like, The Garden Fortress Has Come to Fruition copping attitude and all. Then we came home. Gardens do need a little attention. The lettuce is up, the beans are up, the peas are toast, and the broccoli has bolted. At least nothing seems to be messing with my vegies. And me and the MR enjoyed a lovely zucchini orzo dish our first night back. I predict that this baby is going to make some fabulous vegetable fritters with smoky tomato sauce.
  6. In the Orchard life is good. I’ve been enjoying blueberries and plums in my breakfast yogurt, and we had chicken salad with plums and blueberries for dinner last night. Remember my fears? Remember the stinky string? I was sure I’d find a demolished tree or two, but so far so good. In another year, most of the trees will be big enough to withstand some major deer attack. I’m glad we’re finally getting to that point, and even happier to be enjoying some tasty fruit.
  7. And that brings us to The Mystery Unwrapped, my own personal journey towards using less plastic and making my own waxed fabric alternatives. They are still in the drawer. Apparently after starting with Czech meat-and-potatoes,  enjoying Viennese cake for breakfast, and healthy doses of Italian pasta, we don’t have much in the way of leftovers. The homemade wraps do seem a little stiff, but I’m sure they’ll work out. I’ll keep you posted.

Castles, churches, and museums are great, but the best part of our trip was being together.

I love this bunch. Hope you had a wonderful July. Good luck with all the back-to-school stuff; fall’s just around the corner.

In a side note, my friend’s dad was a farmer and grew carrots. She remembers planting season, and she knew exactly what my green, lacy bouquets were. Check out Changing Perspective to see how pretty carrots can be.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

How Did May Fair 2017?

The other day, the MR says to me, we have workers here a lot at this place… Why yes, yes we do. This is the first day in weeks that I haven’t had my daily routine accompanied by pounding. I’m enjoying the peace and quiet albeit short lived.

We started off the month checking out that noise that Wasn’t Going Away. Turns out that hum from the mechanical room in the entry wasn’t a ball bearing going out; it was pumps seizing up from rust—uggh. It was another day and lots of dollars later that we got it all fixed up. I told the MR I was glad it didn’t happen in the middle of winter, but than he replied at least we’d have noticed if it was cold outside.

While I’m still looking for a shade-loving color bowl for the front steps, it’s amazing what a difference a simple Sweep & Scrub can make. Getting rid of the cobwebs certainly makes your front door more inviting.

On gray days, and yes it’s full on spring and we’ve still had quite a few rainy, overcast days, my Striping It Orange throw keeps me smiling—there is hope. When you can’t have sun outside, a little bit color inside just might do the trick.

While the heating guys were here for a few days, it’s the deck guys that have been a constant. You see we’ve had some Rotten Luck literally. While the upper deck is mostly done, they still have the stair landing and hot tub removal on the docket. Sadly for us, they found a lot more rot than expected extending the project by a few weeks and a few dollars, so they’re taking a break for another job and will be back in mid-June to finish up. Until then, at least it’s getting closer.

When I was talking about Embracing the Crazy, the MR’s experiment with pruning, I noticed one of the smoke trees wasn’t cooperating.

Turns out getting to the soffit on the steep slope hasn’t been beneficial for that middle tree. Several of its limbs are on the ground. I’m not complaining; this is not an easy house to work on and don’t even think about getting me up on a ladder. Next year, when it’s not in the middle of the action it’ll start shooting up.

The MR went around and pruned immediately after I’d taken photos. The evergreen near the deck is starting to take shape although it still looks a little crazy.

You may have noticed the bougainvillea inside has now become the bougainvillea outside. When it starts heating up, we like to move some of the larger plants out on the deck. Now when I’m sitting on the little couch, I smell the sweet scent of lemon. And the hummingbirds vist our bougainvillea.  I bet they’ll visit the plumeria too, if it ever decides to bloom.

As we were moving pots out, we moved pots in. Sweet Miss brought me sedums for Mother’s Day. Now I have Sweet Sedums & Violets on the dining room table. Her plan was to set the out on the steps, but I’m not ready to see them go just yet.

As for the Unexpected vs. Uninvited guests, the Mr has been working on that. We have a new post in place, and he has posts and straps, and netting, and big plans. I’ll keep you posted. (How many times can I use the same word in a paragraph?)

Unfortunately, something’s still getting in. I’m not sure if it’s slugs or bunnies eating the onions. Perhaps I need to throw a party for the slugs, or Cocoa needs to catch a few of the rabbits she loves to chase.

At least the weather has been nice, and we’ve been able to get outside a bit.

In other May news, Baby Girl mentioned how much she liked the flowers before noticing they were the ones we bought together; Mexico was lovely and relaxing; the MR’s new TV is incredibly thin and lightweight, so I didn’t worry about it crashing down on my head while I helped him hang it in place; the local LYS tour was great; hummingbirds are rather violent and territorial; and life is good.

Hoping May faired well for you.