A Look Back at March 2017

Waking to the sound of rain, sometimes I wonder if spring will ever come. With the weather we’ve been having lately, it seems to have abandoned us even though the calendar says otherwise.

Perhaps that’s why I was so surprised to see a hummingbird seated on this shepherd’s crook as I passed through our bedroom the other day. He seemed to be chiding me for not having the feeder out when he was here for a visit. Soon my friend, I will sit out in the mornings, drinking my coffee, and laughing at your antics, but I won’t do that in the pouring rain.

Me and the MR enjoyed a breath of Spring Inspiration at the Seattle Home and Garden Show. The air was heavily scented with flowers, and I can’t wait to put our outdoor seating to use.

Sadly, this is not our outdoor seating–just inspiration. But a girl can dream.

Daffodils greet us with their bright cheery heads, and hyacinths are just beginning to open. On the one sunny day last week, I spent a few hours working in the garden. All this rain can’t last forever.

Maybe it’s a good thing we’ve been stuck indoors. Otherwise, we might not have noticed that certain scent that proved Life is Messy. The sink is no longer in the entry, all the holes have been filled, textured, and painted, and the exterminator gave me hope when he told me it’s only mice—that’s still not my favorite thing.

I may not be Saving the Planet, but I’m trying to make little changes that decrease my footprint. Earth Day’s coming up; it’s time to step up my game. I don’t want to leave a mess for future generations.

 

I shared with you our banner Citrus Harvest—three whole lemons this year. That’s a 50 percent increase in yield. I was feeling pretty good till we visited the MR’s cousins down in the LA-area, and their friend had trees dripping with lemons, clementines, and grapefruit. I’m just going to be content with what I have. The whole family got to enjoy the fruits of our labors with a yummy lemon pie; it was even full-sized this year. We’re getting there.

And finally, the new carpet came. It’s beautiful, soft, squishy-between-my-toes, wonderful. If you haven’t noticed, I’m rather in love. Now I promised a photo of the guest room—the one with the biggest change going from dark emerald to a lovely morning mist. This will not disappoint.

OK, maybe you’re not oohing and aahing as much as I’d like, but let’s go back a ways. Remember when it was a catch-all sewing/storage/mess?

Like those old ads from the ’70s “You’ve come a long way, baby.”

And sometimes this monthly recap is all about the stuff that didn’t make it in the blog. Like having both girls home for a few days is awesome and exhausting. Baby Girl turned 20, and Sweet Miss is planning a big move and had an exciting job interview. Me and the MR chased the sunshine to California. While it was in the 90’s the week before we arrived, the 70’s felt warm to us. And we explored most of the beach at Santa Monica before it started raining.

All and all, life is good even with holes in the wall, rain, and mice.

How was your March?

 

 

 

 

 

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? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Look Back at September & October 2016

Maybe it’s spending the first part of September in Italy, or moving Baby Girl back to Oregon, or the MR being home so much more, or turning 50, or teaching classes on skills I’m really still learning, or the record-breaking rains we’ve been getting, whatever it is, I’ve been falling short on the blog lately.

I had big plans to share the beauty of Florence and Rome, to deck out the house for fall, and tidy up all those cluttered spots. It hasn’t happened. I sent some photos to my aunt and dropped a bag of the girls clothes off at a collection box. We’re celebrating small victories here.

So here’s a recap of what I did manage to blog about for the last few months plus a little extra cause I’m just that kind of person.

I’m rather excited about our dining room table and chairs that I talked about in An Upgraded Dining Experience. Do they look great? Are they perfect for the space? I’ll let you know when they arrive. It’s so hard to be patient. We also bought a recliner for my dad’s birthday. He’s still waiting, too. That’s what you get when it’s not mass produced.

A lot of fall seems to center around food. Waste Not those crabapples from our friends’ weekend place at the lake. I’d love to tell you how amazing that applesauce is, but when I pulled it out of the freezer, it was really sweet potato butter, which I’ve been enjoying in my yogurt, but I didn’t want to pull out another poorly labeled container before I finished the sweet potatoes. I really can’t eat that much yogurt.

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You’d think I’d be able to recognize the bright pink color. We did try the broccoli I mentioned in Saving the Harvest with mixed reviews. It tastes quite pickled as pickled broccoli ought to do, and we don’t like pickles. What was I thinking? I guess I was just tired of broccoli salad two or three times a week.

Grandma MeeMee was asking about the sage I used in the Onion Jam. It was just regular culinary sage, an herb that deer don’t like to nibble. We’ve had great luck with it here.

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I’m waiting for Sweet Miss to come home to try the beet and carrot slaw; cross your fingers that we’ll enjoy that more than the broccoli. I’ve been happy with our Fall Harvest. We still have broccoli, carrots, and some scraggly lettuce. I’m waiting for a hard freeze and the vines to die back before bringing up one really big pumpkin that has yet to turn orange. Then I can sow a cover crop of old seeds leftover from past years and let the garden be until spring.canned-goods

Our Trees with Attitude will probably have to wait for spring’s new growth before being pruned into shape. I’m hoping the months of ugly will pay off.

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I also shared in Inspiration and Disappointment how we were excited about making more wine from our grapes after visiting a vineyard in Tuscany.

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Well, it was probably raccoons that had a party with our grapes and tore up the vines by the time we got back from our trip. Me and the MR opened our bottle of homemade wine last weekend. After a sip apiece, we decided it was no great loss that we couldn’t make more wine, and the MR poured it down the drain. We need to refine our skills as winemakers or make grape jelly instead.

We saw tons of white houses on the cliffs of Capri in A Dime a Dozen.

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And then I shared a bird’s-eye-view or our home in The Colors of Fall.

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The drive home really is beautiful this time of year. Of course, the MR spends hours trying to keep the driveway clear, but it does give him something to do.

 

I’m just teasing; the MR is always a busy guy. He has been out making sure the blackberries don’t come back after hiring a brushcutter to Clear Out all the brambles.

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One happy surprise has been the reappearance of foxgloves. Perhaps they were being choked out by all the blackberries. I hope they’ll be putting on a show next spring, and I have seeds to sow from MeeMee and Papa.

The MR also bought new garage doors. I’m a girl. I’m not into garages. I don’t spend a lot of time there. They’re not really my thing, but these Garage Doors Have Style.

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It’s so nice to go out to the garage and not have to turn on the horrible, buzzing, overhead light. The new doors look great and make the whole space look so much larger.

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See, I pulled both cars out of the garage to take this picture just for your. The MR was suprised to come home and find cars everywhere. But that’s how much I care about you guys.

He also Finished Up the last of the guest bathroom remodel. Cocoa ran into a bit of problem in the woods yesterday, so I got to try out the shower, or she did, however you want to look at it. It really did turn out nice. The gray counters look much warmer in real life, and the whole feel of the room is much sleeker and more modern.

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Don’t look at the green carpet. It’s going away—I promise. Maybe I’ll make that a new year’s resolution. Baby Girl needs a chance to clean out her room, so we can replace all the bedroom carpets at the same time.

And last but not least that leaves us with the The Big, the Bad, the Broken where one broken window was replaced perfectly and the other was broken as it was being replaced. The new window has arrived, and the installers are on the calendar for next week. Then I’ll call the window film company; eventually it’ll all come together.

When I was crabby about the broken window, I did share some fancy socks I’d made for Sweet Miss. Since then I’ve been working on socks for Baby Girl. They’re in a bright green yarn with speckles of yellow for my favorite University of Oregon student. Maybe I should start calling her Duckling instead of BG?

Maybe the window, the window films, the new table, the new chairs, and my dad’s recliner will all magically arrive before Thanksgiving, but I’m not holding my breath. Perhaps it’s time to pull out the Thankfulness Tree. I think I need a little reminder these days.

How was your fall? Are you shocked that November is already upon us?

 

 

 

 

Garage Door Style

Have you ever given much thought to your garage doors? At our last home, they were the most forward part of the house—a huge part of the look of the place as you approached. Here, they’re tucked away. You see the east side of the house and deck, then you drive past the portico and the glass front doors, and finally at the far end, you come to the garage.

They were big, and white, and pretty uninspiring, but the were just garage doors, right? When the rest of the house looks good, who care about the garage doors?

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If you take a closer look, they’re were starting to show their age.

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The panels were beginning to warp, and they could use a paint job. But like I said, I didn’t give them a thought. It was the MR who decided we needed something new.

You see, he’s been taking some time off work since June and has spent a lot more time at home. While the desk set up is great after the sun goes down, or on a cloudy day, there’s a lot of time in the summer when it’s shining in your face and using the computer is anything but fun.

He’s thinking of setting up a home office in the old sewing room located off the garage, and more light in the garage might be nice. Currently, it’s pretty dark with an obnoxiously noisy overhead light.

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The worms and the garbage cans don’t seem to mind, but the MR was thinking an upgrade was in order. And boy howdy did he choose a nice upgrade.

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These doors are beautiful. The grid and glass carry on the pattern of grid and glass throughout the rest of the house. While the glass appears clear in the photo, it’s actually white satin-etched, so it offers privacy while letting in a ton of light. The rails are insulated, and the representative from Garage Tech told us it would provide better insulation than the old wood doors. While we have a space heater for use in the old sewing room, the garage can get quite cold during the winter.

The old door for the third bay didn’t have an automatic opener. So the MR upgraded to an electric one. I’m not the one who mows the lawn, but I have occasionally been called upon to open that door and just pushing a button has a certain appeal.

I know the outside looks gorgeous, but let’s move to the inside.

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It’s crazy the amount of light these new doors let in. I know you’re dying to see the third bay. The MR has been cleaning, and organizing, and now it looks amazing.

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This side of the garage has three large windows, so it’s always been much brighter than the smaller side, but now it’s crazy bright.

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For the monthly wrap up, I’ll try to get a few photos in different light so you can see the opaque quality of the doors. I might even move my car and Baby Girl’s, so you can see how big the garage feels with the new doors. Simply adding light makes everything feel bigger.

When we moved in, we had to buy a new garage door opener. The old one failed while that move-in day, and we bought one from a local company. We decided to work with this same business, Garage Tech out of Bothell, for the new doors and were pleased with their products and services.

Glass-paneled doors make a lovely addition to our modern exterior.

Have you replaced your garage doors? What have you done to refresh your homes exterior?

 

 

 

 

 

Finishing Up

The MR finished the guest bathroom remodel earlier this week. First it was the shower.

New Shower

Then it was the tile under the window.

Commode & Tile

That left the counter, the sink and the light fixture. The counter, sink, and faucet were a package deal, but someone failed to mention that to the manufacturer. The store received our custom-cut counter without a sink which put everything on hold for a while.

Meanwhile, the MR had bought and installed a new light fixture. After our old, dim lighting system, it was a bit on the bright side, so he also added a dimmer. We don’t want our guests to feel like they’re being interoggated, or do we?

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If we do this again, I’ll have to take pictures before he installs them in a very dark room with no windows.

The sink arrived before we left on our trip, but the MR decided to wait until after we got home to install it—just in case. He didn’t want the housesitter left without a working bathroom. Turns out he was right. While the counter fit perfectly, the sink was a bit deeper than the old one, and the stopper was too low to fit with the current plumbing. He ordered a pop-up stopper which came in the mail this week, and now we’re good to go.

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He used the same accent tile featured in the shower as the back splash.

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Our new bathroom is so subdued compared to where we started.

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I’m hoping our guests appreciate it as much as I do. The MR has been checking a few other things off his to-do list this week, but that will have to wait till next time. You’re going to be amazed.

Any bathroom updates at your house? Remodeling horro stories to share?

 

Somewhere In the Middle

Things can take a while when you’re doing the work yourself. Remember in early July when the MR Started remodeling the guest bathroom? I showed you a few pictures for inspiration and then a little later Teased with photos of the tile we’d picked out.

Well, I’d love to say it’s all finished, but these things take time. Parts, and tiles, and sinks have to be ordered. The plumber has to come, and then he has to come again. While the sink and counter, and lights, and tile behind the commode are all still on order, in process, or waiting to be completed, the shower is finished.

Sweet Miss was home for the weekend, and she gave the new shower the thumbs up. So it’s as nice to use as it is beautiful to look at.

Sadly, my photos don’t do it justice. Something about the confined space of a bathroom combined with glass, mirrors, and low light make it very hard to photograph.

New Shower 2

I should have taken pictures before the doors went up—the sleek, glass doors, that roll smoothly back and forth and are pretty awesome. It took a lot of patience and multiple cuts, but the MR put in a wonderful shelf to keep soaps, shampoos, and other potions neat and tidy.

And just take a look at the new shower system that incorporates gentle overhead rain, and a hand-held wand.

New Shower

It really is quite lovely, and makes the green carpet in the bedroom next to it look even more crazy. Carpeting all the bedrooms is on the to-do list for this fall.

I’ll share a few more photos when the entire job is complete. Looking at it makes you want to be a guest at our house, doesn’t it?

Any bathroom remodel or tile jobs to share?

 

It’s Started

Sometimes things just hit you wrong. They set your teeth on edge. They put you in a bad mood. They make you cringe. The MR has that kind of relationship with the guest bathroom.

Thankfully, it’s tucked behind the kitchen safely out of sight. But occasionally, he’d venture through the guest room to the en suite bath, and it’d just drive him crazy. It wasn’t the chrome wrapped sliding doors or the outdated shower fixtures that got to him.

IS Old Chrome Fixtures

It was the lovely, seafoam green tile.

IS Green Tile

Our home was built in the early 90’s, but the influence of the 80’s was alive and going strong. Pale blue, mauvy pink, and yes, seafoam green were sprinkled around. And who can forget the dark green carpet on the floors? This is almost the last of those once popular color schemes to be irradicated.

After his parents left, the MR was just itching to start on his new project. Tearing out the tile, and redoing the bathroom. For the last week, Baby Girl and I have been serenaded with the sounds of pounding. But now the green is gone.

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For months, he’s been browsing the eye candy on Houzz and found these two beautiful examples of bathroom tile.

Our goal is to give the bathroom a modern, sleek look while adding some light to one of the few dark rooms in our home. We also have the added bonus of hard water, so we’re battling that constantly. That means dark tiles can look cloudy, and light tiles and grout can turn yellowish without constant attention.

This is the only bath tub in the house, if you don’t count the Japanese soaking tub, so wanted to keep it. And then there’s the issue of bathing small children, huh? The MR thinks of everything. We’d talked about a fixed glass door that went three quarters of the way across, but then what if the next people have small children? They might actually need a bath. Some day, we might even have grandkids. It pays to think ahead.

These are the current tile favorites.

IS Tile Samples

As you can see the gray is quite close to the floor color with a hint more blue, so we’re thinking about going a shade lighter, and we’re still not 100% sure of the dark accent tiles. I can’t wait for it all to come together.

When he was tearing things apart, the MR discovered that the original builders had simply tiled over the sheet rock. Perhaps codes were different 20 years ago. Being a guest bathroom, it hasn’t seen much usage while we’ve lived here—just a few months here and there. We were happy not to find any water damage.

New fixtures have been arriving, doors have been ordered, and it’ll be exciting to share all the progress over the next few weeks.

Any horrible color schemes you’ve had to conquer?