August 28, 2015

Switching it up outside

Good morning, all,

I was overtaken by a truly unnatural burst of energy this morning upon going outdoors to wave goodbye to Mr. B. The urge to mix things up in the front with the pots and other things took over, and here are the results.
Not too much to be seen there, but as we continue around the area:
The long boxes and other plants that were against the wall were moved to create more of a walk/entry way effect. 
Some were left by the other corner too.

Having no front yard at all is more of a challenge than you might think. Let's hope this is at least some distraction from this lack and will be welcoming to anyone who visits. 
That's my effort for Friday. Now, to go clean some indoors, since middle daughter Mary will be here briefly this evening.

Have a wonderful weekend!


August 26, 2015

Upcycling 101

Or maybe it should be called the equivalent of Pre-K for reusing stuff, since it's pretty rudimentary. When I got a new phone in February it came in this:
It is such a nice box it seemed to be a shame to just pitch it. So today it got a makeover. 
Sand Dollar had a big roll of pretty paper marked .60 cents a while back, so this seemed a good way to use some of it up. FYI, spray adhesive works well. Too bad it sticks to your hands just as much as to paper and cardboard.
The bottom is line with gray felt. It really isn't lumpy and wrinkled. Those are shadows from the light nearby. Sorry.
Now it's a handy box for sewing necessities.
Do you try to creatively re-use packaging or mostly just throw it away? It makes me happy to be able to keep anything out of the landfill. It feels a lot better than mindlessly pitching it out, anyway.

Take it easy!


August 25, 2015

It's a paper thing

Hi, all,

I hope your Tuesday is going well. We were pleasantly surprised with rain in the early afternoon, always welcome. 

Do you have a problem with the accumulation of books and magazines? Even with my 60+ year library membership and constant use, plenty still make it into the house bought at thrift shops, library sales or given as gifts. Many fall into the category of a title that's good, but unlikely to be reread. Non-fiction has the issue of timing. Wedding planning, pregnancy, health, job search  and repair manuals don't always have a long shelf life. You need it for a period in your life, but then it's no longer relevant. You can swap with friends or donate to the FOL, but there is another way to make your books enjoy a second life by using an online exchange site. There are two I subscribe to, but one is much better (imo) so I'll tell you about it. 

BookMooch works this way. After signing up, you list all the books you want to get rid of. When another member wants a title you own, they make a request.  You either agree to send it or not (more about that later) and put it in the mail, paying for postage. It works the other way, too. You can search the whole site for books you want to read, and when you ask for one, that owner pays the $$ to mail it to you. The books can come from anywhere, not just in the United States. Some people don't like to ship to other countries, because of the cost, but others will agree to mail anywhere. 

You can set up a wish list and put anything you ever wanted to read on it. At some point it will usually become available and you're notified. Have a look at mine:

The other site is called Paperback Swap. I don't use it much because encounters with members there have often been unpleasant. People who want a book and write multiple abrasive messages in advance trying to ascertain every detail of the condition are a pain. Plus, they now charge a fee for each transaction, so again, BookMooch wins my vote. 

I keep all the books in a separate area away from our personal shelves and things to be sold on eBay. It's usually fairly easy to get it ready to ship. I like to read a lot of old mysteries from the 1930s and 1940s. Often they are small and thin and able to be mailed with just two or three stamps, so simple to do. It's a good way to find new authors, and a really nice feeling to have a book another member has been dying to read you have available to send them. It's painless to search the site and there is a way to look through Amazon, too, in case the title you want isn't on BookMooch then; you're still able to add it to your wish list. It's a great way to keep books moving around to other readers and out of the landfills, so check it out, readers!

Stay dry!

August 24, 2015

Thursday Update

Hey, folks, how's your week so far? We're back to hot, but that hardly counts as news.

Remember the great disaster last Thursday? Mr. B grumped over to Home Depot on the weekend and this is the result:
The pegboard has some specific purpose, which escapes me now.
Notice the interesting injection of zip ties into the plan.
This confuses me, but it is supposedly to do with ventilation. Whatever.

Meanwhile, a small glimpse of the aftermath of all this carpentry wizardry:
Just inside the front door. Mr. B assures me the final stage of the ceiling repair will look much better. Considering the whole perimeter is covered with wires like those in the first picture, that hardly seems possible. They were all there when we moved in and have nothing to do with any of our phones,tv or other devices, so doubly annoying to have to look at on an already unattractive structure. So that's where we are in our efforts to limp back to normal after last week's debacle. Stay tuned for the last bit that is allegedly going to make it look nice. But it probably wouldn't be a good idea to hold your breath!

Have a good one,

August 21, 2015

Silver lining, sort of

Hello, and TGIF to everyone who works Monday through Friday. 

Ours began with lots of rain this morning so I stayed home, although my productivity has been nothing to brag about. After seeing an idea online about displaying silver, I was inspired to give it a try. Except it turns out my silver is mostly mugs, cups and similar pieces, rather than flatware as in the article. What I do own is a lot of old baby spoons, forks and the like, even if they aren't all or even the majority of them real silver. I started with this:
a decidedly ho hum thing framed with some fancy wrapping paper and scrap book embellishments. Ditching the contents, my sights turned to:
The back was paper Mr. B's birthday gift was wrapped in with two pieces of silver.  For anyone from here, the spoon is actually a demitasse from the old Rice Hotel. Maybe I'll hang it in the kitchen, or save it for a shower gift. 

That's all the news from here. Have a wonderful weekend.


August 20, 2015

Thursday EEK!

This was no ordinary morning. Around 6:15 while reading e-mail and drinking coffee there was a huge crashing noise. Entering the library I saw all the cats staring at the front wall of the house and nothing amiss in there. Apparently, the usual suspects were off the hook for once. Peering out the blinds I saw:
It is the roof of the covered section leading to the front door.
Mr. B was not happy to be urged up earlier than usual because part of the front of the house fell down, but he did concede there was no exaggeration on my part when he ventured outside.
I have yet to try and rescue the plants hit by the falling board, because it started to rain right after the pictures were taken.
How bizarre is this?
It looks as if it hit one of the plants that was really thriving, despite the heat and until now, lack of rain for the past six weeks.
The dangling board has since lost its grasp and is now on the ground.

It looks as if the question of what to do this weekend has been taken out of our hands and decided for us! Are you tremendously upset when things like this happen, or just chalk it up to "It's always something!" ?

Hope your Friday eve goes well.


August 19, 2015

Wednesday Wins

Hello, friends,

That title is a little misleading. You're seeing these on Wednesday, but they weren't all bought today. Here are a few recent scores, some for resale and a few for us:
For us, the puzzles, some of the books, two trays and the cat bed. The other things are for resale. Vera Bradley bags are usually popular. The picture of the bird is from Anthropologie and the clock is Eddie Bauer. The Bible Origami kit is new and unopened.
One of my daughters loves Mercury glass and her favorite color is pink. Perfect!
A new when found at Value Village cat bed/cubby. We can always use those.
A blue wooden mantel clock from Eddie Bauer.
These old wooden hangers are from Manna and were free. Someone was going to throw them away so I claimed them.
Puzzles and two square gilt trays from Pottery Barn. They were found today at Goodwill, $7.98 for both less the senior discount. Look for them on the coffee table in December. 
A vintage apron with candy-striped bias tape trim.

It dawned on me when setting this out to photograph how little I've bought for us lately. It's mostly been books, puzzles and summer replacement clothes as existing ones develop holes or spots. Books, puzzles and magazines are donated back to Manna, so it does seem as if the amount of stuff coming in the house at all is slowing down and there is steady headway being made to get rid of things we aren't using or wearing anymore, or things that just no longer appeal. I'm being very selective even about prized collections; unless it's love at first sight, it stays on the shelf. With continued effort I hope to bring more order into our lives and minimize the chaos. This is very much still a work in progress!

Take it easy,

August 18, 2015

Time Marches On

Hello, everyone,

As everyone over the age of six or so knows, the wheel of time never stops. No matter how nice it would be to halt things at an especially good age, it doesn't happen. Every August my friend Gill celebrates her birthday, so we're getting together tomorrow in honor of the event. I thought I'd show you the gift she's getting. 

Last year I gave her something similar to this:
It's a pyramid-shaped book rest to take the load off your arms reading in bed. There are some pockets on the side for glasses, but I put a chocolate bar in one instead.

To continue the theme, this is what she's getting on Wednesday:

A book, of course. It's recipes inspired by great works of literature.
A light that clips onto your book and has different degrees of brightness. 

A mug with a related message.
I found this super heavy vinyl bag at Sand Dollar, new. It's sturdy enough to use for a long time. 
Also included are some AAA batteries for the light and a bookmark. This should be a useful head start for the cooler months coming soon (we wish!) and more time  spent inside. 

Gill has been a good friend for more than twenty years. After Hurricane Ike she and her equally wonderful husband, Barry, invited us to stay with them while we looked for somewhere to move. The night we got to their house, when we went to the guest room Mr. B said in awe "You're right. They are the nicest people in the whole world!". It is a privilege to know a person as exceptional as Gill,  which makes planning a gift for her fun from start to finish. I hope she likes it! 

Have a good one!


August 17, 2015

A Summer Switch

Hello, everyone,

I hope you all had good weekends. Ours was nice, if hot. The nice surprise was getting some rain both days which was most welcome.

Most of the time I only switch the bed quilt out twice a year, but this time I got tired of the one put on last spring:
When we moved last year there was a huge plastic tub of forgotten bedding discovered in the attic. One set hadn't been used in a long time, so it seemed like as good a time as any to give it an encore presentation. This was a set of eight pieces of Ralph Lauren linens bought at Value Village many years ago for a total of $18 and change. 
In use now is a reversible duvet cover, sham and dust ruffle. The duvet cover is empty, since it's still so hot here we don't need any extra warmth.
You were dying to see Freddy's tail, right? 
No? Sorry about that.
Here's a close up of the pattern and colors.
The other side is this plaid, which is the same fabric used for the bed skirt.
Another big change is getting rid of the lamps on the mantel top and replacing them with a wall-mounted pair. After looking for two or three months I found these at the MAM store. The  cost was <$25 for both. They aren't beautiful, but they are beautifully practical for two readers with troublesome animals. There's one of the usual suspects in the picture now. Trixie is probably longing for the days she could shove a lamp on someone's head at random moments.
One last look. I don't know if this will carry us through the winter or just until Christmas/the first of the year, but it's a cheerful set and I enjoy the effect of it with the drapes and rug. The blue and green paisley clashed with those curtains, and I never found other light-blocking ones that coordinated at a decent price. 

That's my latest project. Do you leave the same coverlet and pillows on year round or make a switch every few months? 

Have a good one!


August 13, 2015

Mid Week, cont'd.

Hello all,

Here it is Thursday again, which means a full day for me with laundry, Bible study and a trip for provisions. I didn't have a lot of time to do much else today, but did try some antique/shabby chic keys with the knob hanger featured on Wednesday. These were in a bin at Sand Dollar not long ago, and it dawned on me "Hey, knob, key hole, maybe you should . . .". Yes, I'm not real quick at times. 
The same old raffia is making a repeat performance.
Here's a closeup of the new additions:
They are faux old and rusty but still pleasing to look at even if they're not real antiques, don't you think? 

Stay cool!

August 12, 2015

Mid week

Hi, friends, I hope your week is going well so far. Ours was much improved with the arrival of rain last night. In the intense heat every drop is welcome. Because of the weather my errands started by 9:30 today with a stop at the post office to leave a package, at the neighborhood paper to drop off an announcement for church, then on to Goodwill. There I found a puzzle and a couple of small things but this was my favorite purchase: 
It was $3.99 less the discount. It was finally hung in the library after an intense search for a nail. Although to the best of my knowledge Mr. B has done no jobs or repairs around the house at all (except for one so awful it's too painful to reveal) there are no nails to be found except ones so large they look more likely to be used in the construction of a major public project than an ordinary home. Eventually it seemed easier to throw in the towel and use a screw, but it is hung in the library, to the left of the desk. Here are the efforts towards staging it:
The Mexican tin mirror hung with raffia and a wooden doll on top. I don't know, she's on the small side.
The mirror is covered by the small shutter like panels that open.
There's the mirror visible and the doll replaced by a folk art tumbler filled with fake succulents. That's more like it.
With the raffia shortened a little. That looks even better to me. That's it for now or until inspiration strikes. Now I need to quit playing and go clean something, darn it! 

Have a good rest of the afternoon.