September 30, 2014

Letter Better

Hello, all,

Sometimes it really is the little things that make a big impact, right? Here is one:
This is where the mailbox was when we moved here. To give you better perspective, it's way off by the corner of the house, outside our bedroom:
Charming, NOT! Not long ago a campaign was begun to get Mr. B. to relocated it to a more convenient location. Sunday afternoon he finally bowed to pressure and addressed the problem. Now, we have this instead:
Much better!
The episode included the routine ration of drama--the anchors that couldn't be drilled into the brick, the missing bit and my own favorite, the way when it was finally first installed it looked great---but couldn't be opened! All those issues were overcome eventually and now it's much easier to check for mail. Next on the list: figuring out how to disguise the former location. Ideas, anyone?

Take it easy,

September 29, 2014

New week, old room

Hi, Friends,

The effort around here is still concentrated in the library for now. It was nice to get the chair last week. That spurred me to urge Mr. B to go in search of a rug on Saturday. We found one for a decent price and brought it home. 
There are so many straight lines in that room it seemed like a round rug would be a good idea.
Here is a closer look at the center.
And here is one of the border around the edge.
I experimented with using pillows on the back of the chair instead of a quilt.
Not hung yet, but destined to be on the wall eventually, this is a sheet of wrapping paper framed several years ago.

As you may have guessed by the frog and other toys on the rug, that has been a purchase the cats find every bit as popular as the chair. The only reason there were none in the photo is because the vacuum had been recently engaged, which scattered them to the far corners of the other rooms. It is fun so far putting this room together, so stay tuned for more still to come!

Have a good one,

September 26, 2014

Colonel Mustard in the library. . .

Hello, all, and TGIF to you.

We are still having lovely weather, incredibly welcome after the usual Texas heat.

Today I'm going to show you the first piece of furniture we've boughtfor the room  one enters by the front door at this house, which is destined to be a library. 

It is a chair with leather upholstery and nail head trim found at the Sand Dollar yesterday. The wood frame is in good condition, a quick wipe with some Old English polish spiffed it up well. There is a little damage on the seat back, but since we already own dozens of throws and quilts, disguising that is not a problem. The footstool we already had. It's going to be recovered, what is on it now is only a temporary effort with a remnant that proved to be too small. As you see, Junior is giving it a test snooze.
Hmm. He doesn't seem to have any interest in sharing.
Sister Butterball, waiting for a turn.
Victory! She routed him at long last.
Now her daughter, Freckles is on the stool, hoping to outlast her mother. It hasn't been empty for a minute since I wrestled it through the front door. At one point last night there were two cats on the seat and two on the ottoman. It looks like it is a rousing success, especially at the price of $15.00. The only thing is, will a human ever get a chance to sit in it? The jury is still out on that!

Have a wonderful weekend!



September 25, 2014

One more tub

Hello, all,

Can you believe how quickly we are racing towards October? Me, either. 

Despite having been in this house for three months now you have seen only carefully edited sections of the living room so far. This because we are still on the lookout for more furniture and rugs for several areas, and also because there are still things unpacked or in piles. Last night upon walking in there my eye was caught by an empty birdcage near a big tub of red tins and other items. Before we moved they were on a long, narrow shelf over a door in the kitchen. Thus far at the new address Mr. B has resisted putting the shelf back up, and all the contents have languished in a large plastic bin. It seemed long overdue to get this eyesore dealt with; here are the results of my Wednesday efforts.
A bunch are now on top of the fridge.
A fair amount fit inside the birdcage and there are half a dozen thermos bottles alongside.
The red and white tin holding old utensils was too tall to fit there, so is on the small, rolling shelf under the window, along with another one that was a gift last Christmas.
I have three old flour sifters, plus the one on the right that is tiny, probably meant for a child.
Here is a closeup of the things inside the cage.
Here are the other sifters on top.

There are a couple of large biscotti tins that are on top of the kitchen cabinets now, but everything else from the narrow shelf is together, with the exception of the utensils. It's not a huge change, but it is a huge relief to me to get that bin out of the living room floor. Perhaps other folks are more efficient and speedy when they move, but not us. It is a slow and painful process. Stay tuned to see one  chair for the library bought today, which is still lacking a second chair and rug. I'm hoping to find those soon, especially the rug, since 100% tile floors are cold! 

Have a good one. Remember, it's Friday Eve!


September 19, 2014

Really, my fingers were crossed!

Hello, and happy Friday to everyone.

Sorry about being less than honest. Yes, I said I was done with fall decorating, but that was before a box of acorns that my daughter gave me last year turned up that I wanted to use. The dining room table was sort of blah, so it's been revised to this:
The acorns, some pears, another of those big seed pod balls under a cloche.

Simple but seasonal; best of all, cat proof. I will try again later, but right now my other pictures won't load. ????

Have a wonderful weekend,

September 18, 2014

The Clutter Wars

Hello, all,

I was visiting at today where Laura talks about this subject. Although much older than Laura, this is still an issue we struggle with here. Like this:
This is Mr. B's studio, and not necessarily the worst parts. However, it is his place to paint and watch tv so I have kept my opinions to myself about how it looks. It would be hypocritical to do otherwise, since:
since the dining room has these horrible areas. Still, I am trying to find places to put things, although it is a slow process since we moved and so much else has been going on.

Some strategies for controlling it that work for me are:

1. I keep a carton to put discards in all the time. Worn out clothes, gadgets that aren't being used, duplicates all go directly to the box once identified. Either Purple Heart calls and they're picked up in front of the house or I take one or more to a resale shop near a place I have a weekly commitment at. 

2. Analyze what's going on. Does your family really love jigsaw puzzles or board games? Then those may be worth hanging onto and storing in a dedicated cabinet or bookcase. Otoh, if those are ignored in favor of a wii or computer games they don't earn their keep to use up space in your house.

3. Small children make masses of pictures and things like that, to the point saving them all could be a fire hazard. You could let the little ones dictate a letter to their grandparents or other relatives that you write on the back of a crayon masterpiece and send it off via the post office. Think how it would brighten up the day of a doting aunt or special uncle to get a piece of mail that's not a bill or advertisement for a change.

4. When those same children get a little bigger and their efforts more elaborate it gets harder to store them. Think about taking a picture of your proud architect next to their sugar cube model of the Alamo or toilet roll castle and save that instead. 

5. Try to live by a "one in, one out" rule. I've been replacing old plastic containers with glass ones and have done that each time one of a particular size or purpose comes in the plastic version goes straight to the discard box.

6. Think about things that aren't working. I bought a pair of sneakers that once outside the store proved to be such an odd color nothing went with them. They did prove very useful as emergency footwear at work on days when it was raining and saved my better shoes from being ruined wading through the deep spots on the way to the bus stop. Things that aren't perfect enough to use/wear all the time might be perfectly adequate as spare sweater or towel kept in your car. 

7. Think about setting up a staging area. Is there a cupboard or other storage area where you can put library books, the bowl you borrowed for a party, the item you found for a friend where they can be stored till you can deliver them without being underfoot and a pain in the neck till that day arrives? 

8. Don't let paper accumulate. Get rid of junk mail immediately and sign up for paperless billing and statements if possible.

9. Try to get like things together so you can see exactly what you have and make decisions about where/how to store them or if you will never need 14 shirts the same color and can donate some. I like trays and use them in all sorts of ways in many rooms of the house. Ones that are too battered or bent get pitched, though.

10. Think about another generation. If you have many items from beloved relatives, consider giving some to your own grown children or nieces and nephews. If they're younger and starting out these links to their family may hold memories that enrich their homes and lives.

11. Ultimately the best cure for clutter is controlling what comes in your door. If you see something in a store and it doesn't meet the criteria of something you really need or something your really love leave it on the shelf. Wait a couple of days to see if you still want it or if the urge to buy it has passed.

12. In the same vein, think about what your children acquire. My friend G. has a granddaughter. When she was 6 G and her husband gave her an outdoor play set for her birthday. The grandparents on the other side paid for its installation. Other good gifts for children are lessons, music, art, swimming, or gifts of experience like a day at a water park or a family pass to the science museum. Those are all wonderful presents that never need to be dusted or put away!

I hope these ideas will be useful to someone!


September 17, 2014

So deer to my heart.


This is a super quickie today. While I was trying to find places to store stuff a small picture turned up. It needed to go with Monday's vignette, so now it has.
I think that is a Christmas card I framed a couple of years ago.
Here is the whole grouping, fawn, antlers and all and now I'm off to do a few more things before Mr. B, my dear, gets home.

Have a good one!


September 16, 2014

Visiting old friends

Hello, all,

Our lovely, sadly unnatural cooler weather turned my thoughts to the next few months. My main relaxation is devoted to reading. I watch tv, too, and very much enjoyed getting out to a movie on Sunday, a rare treat, but in the daily scheme of life more of my leisure is spent reading than anything else. Sometimes in the cooler months it's fun to re-read some special favorites. There are a bunch of titles in that category: I love Elizabeth Goudge, Nevil Shute and Miss Read, D. E. Stevenson and Doreen Tovey, too. This month I'm thinking of reading the Cazalet Chronicles by Elizabeth Jane Howard. They recount the lives and experiences of an upper-class British family, beginning in 1937. The first volume, The Light Years, covers the two summers before World War II was declared in 1939. 
This is about a big, multi-generation family, with many cousins, intrigues, servants and friends as they reluctantly become aware of the ominous changes looming.

In the second installment, Marking Time, war has arrived. The cousins are older, one goes to London to make her debut. After Dunkirk, another cousin's father is reported missing, although she continues to hope he survived somehow. Food is scarce. The emphasis is mostly on the home front, with the older generation still traumatized by WWI, while their children have very different attitudes. 

The third entry in the series, Confusion begins in 1942, as the war continues its grim slog on. Cazalets dodging air raids in London and those trying to maintain life on the home front in Sussex struggle. Death, disappearance and births occur as the family tries to hang on till VE Day. 

Casting Off is the fourth in this series and reflects the disarray felt at the war's end as the population try to pick up their lives again and move on. It graphically depicts how six years of war had altered attitudes and actions till it was impossible to resume the life before 1939, and what a struggle it was to adapt to the new, post war world. It reminded me of how Angela Thirkell's characters reacted to the stress of no longer being in a life and death conflict with Germany in Peace Breaks Out.

There was a miniseries made of these books, but because they are so long and detailed many plot lines had to be left out for the sake of brevity. It was well done, though. 

I just learned that this year a fifth book was published called All Change. Now I want to get my hands on it, as well as Howard's autobiography, Slipstream. Writing this has definitely helped me decide that this fall and winter the Cazalets will be my first choice for re-reads. Long, detailed sagas seem made for winter months, don't you think? What are you going to plan to read or revisit this year?


September 15, 2014

Oh, Deer!

Hello, friends,

I hope your week is off to a good start. Mine is, aside from being jealous of a friend who lives elsewhere and reported rain this morning. She was directed to shoo it down here but so far none has arrived.

Today features a small vignette on one of the bookcase shelves. Starting with:
an antler someone picked up off the ground in a small twig basket, then adding

a brown-checked deer candle that sits in this brass holder:

festooned with a brown plaid bow that came off a plant:

next to this little darling, found in a bag of mostly junk in a thrift shop once:

while the spring rummage sale at Bering Methodist church yielded these:

and put together you have:

This arrangement makes me smile every time it catches my eye. All the elements were picked up one by one, but clearly, meant to be together, don't you think?

Have a good one!

September 12, 2014

Kitchen Bits

Hello, all,

How are you this fine Friday? We got rain so we're all happy here.

I thought I'd show you some of my collections in the kitchen. On top of the (ugly, warped, melamine covered fiberboard) cabinets there are a few displays:
A selection of mostly old Mary Engelbreit tins on one side.
To the left are cake stands, a Depression-glass cookie jar and a Laurel Burch bowl.
There are a couple of additions to the shaker shelf, an apple on the top level and a wacky cockatoo type bird on the middle. They all make me smile every time I see them. The tins looked better at the other house, over the window by the sink, but since that's not an option here, this will have to do till inspiration strikes. Don't get impatient, that could take quite a while!

Have a wonderful weekend,


September 10, 2014

Cat Hotel

Hi, all,

No, we don't really run a cat hotel, it just feels that way sometimes. Ours have adjusted to the move fairly well, all things considered. Freddy and Tilly had to be trapped and were tremendously traumatized, but even they came out of deep hiding eventually. 
Trixie and Tilly like this chair in the corner of our bedroom.
Sometimes Flossie is a tree dweller, climbing onto the shelf in my closet.
Other times she favors a chair in the dining room. That's Junior, sprawling off the windowsill behind her.
Tilly ran off under the bed when she saw me come back with the camera.
There is Butterball with her favorite prey, the evil stuffed green frog. You would think she had caught a deer sometimes, as loud as she howls over it. 
Poor Freckles is so ugly; you'd never guess she's Butterball's daughter. Come to think of it, Butterball seems none too enthusiastic about acknowledging the relationship either. 

Here's a better shot of Junior. He is really big!
The others weren't feeling photogenic and refused to cooperate. Maybe they'll show up later on. 
That is a small glimpse of the lives of the kitties after being relocated. Tomorrow we'll get back to our regularly scheduled house/decor stuff.
Take it easy!

September 9, 2014

Late, but not forgotten

Hello, all,

I hope your Tuesday is terrific so far and stays that way. Mine has been moderately productive, at least for me. 

One of the things left undone since we moved here is the Fairy Garden. When I found it unceremoniously dumped in the yard next to Mr. B's barbecue pit it was in a sad state. The house didn't survive the move, alas, and the rest of it was a mess. Not to worry, there was a spare house in my stash, and with a little effort it could be classified as respectable again, if not fancy. 
The house is modest, but surely adequate for one small fairy. She may have to use hammocks if company arrives. It still has its loyal little pup sleeping by the front door a table, birdbath and firepit for when the nights cool off.
She's got a rockery near the back of the property and her path is newly defined.
She seems pretty happy perching on the roof. One tiny succulent survived the move; I'll look for some more miniature specimens to add soon. Her little mushroom is still in place, so all in all, she isn't doing badly in the grand scheme of things. We'll have her curb appeal upgraded in no time. 

How's your garden doing as summer starts to wind down? Our pots have enjoyed the recent rain and are mostly doing very well*. 

Have a good one!

* except for you, Gerbera daisy, darn it!