July 31, 2015

Congratulations and wah!

Hello, everyone,

This is a post to celebrate my friend Linda today. She has a birthday coming up soon, so I got a present for her. That's the good news. The bad news--well, she thinks it's good too--is that in a few days she's moving to another town. Bad news for me, but I am happy that she found an amazing house in a small town away from the city. It's also good the timing allows her to zip over and visit tomorrow, right ahead of her birthday so her gift doesn't need to be mailed. 

Here it is:
The contents were gradually accumulated over the past few months.
This is a new pincushion found at the Sand Dollar. It is stuck in the ring of a mason jar. Inside:
is a mini sewing kit with tape measure, scissors, buttons, thread and more.

Also in the bag are these:
a card of vintage buttons in a frame and:
a handmade (not by me!) holder for scissors. Lastly, there is this:
It's a device for marking hems, but don't bother to ask me how it works. I found one a few years ago and she admired it, so when a second one appeared in a thrift shop it had to go live at her house. It was fun putting this all together and it will be fun to see Linda tomorrow. I will make every effort not to say "Hooray" and immediately follow it with "Boo, hiss, you're leaving!". It's a wonderful house, built in 1888. There will be a tour in pictures when she's settled and we can go see it in person. 

Have a great weekend,

July 30, 2015

Changing things up

Hi, all,

Thursdays are busy for me and today was extra busy. I ran six errands, did laundry and made a pie, so this was a late-in-the day effort.  The shells started to get old, so it was time to switch to something else. Starting with this traditional blank slate:

I played around to come up with this as filler for now.

More faux plants and a red and white orb.
A little closer view. Pretty soon it will be time for sunflowers. They are always a welcome, cheerful presence.

Take it easy!

July 29, 2015

The ultimate xeriscaping

Hello, all,

We're stretching towards triple digits this week, so staying indoors is more appealing by the minute, although I did go out long enough to sweep the front and clean off the door mat earlier. Meanwhile, although native plants that don't need much water are good, sometimes the kind that needs none at all is even better. I foofed the bird cage this afternoon, adding a fern in a silver cup to the succulents:
It's sitting on one of those iron chairs to give it height.
Although you can't see the silver cup in the picture, it's there.

I added a silver bowl under one succulent to make it taller, too.

A cool spot of green for the library with no maintenance effort needed at all-- perfect!

Stay cool,


July 28, 2015

One small switch

Hello, Friends,

Sorry about earlier. I ran out of Monday and energy both after a crazy busy day at Manna.

Tuesday was all about several no-fun, necessary errands, followed by some serious cleaning, ugh, what a combination! But I did take time to make a homemade chicken pie so Mr. B should be happy with that. 

Here's a little (VERY little) project from the library, where I spent a couple of hours working on the weekend:
I bought a bag of assorted toys at Goodwill last week, just to get the big wooden die, then re-donated all the rest of the forgettable contents right back. The other dice and balls with numbers were found on the ground, mostly, except for the huge example. The blue one came from a cracker last Christmas.
I like assembling things in the small single drawers that turn up occasionally, too. 

That's it for today. I need to go put the crescent roll crust on the pie now. 

Have a good one!


July 24, 2015

The thing with feathers

Hi, folks,

How's the week treating you so far? We're nudging triple digits in our temps, so well and truly into summer, ever a test of endurance in Texas. 

Today I had an idea for a small project using an item from the Sand Dollar and found objects. It began with this:
a 60 cent find a while back. The silver color didn't work well with anything here, though, so I located this:
Amazingly, after not being touched in years it works fine.
These are from the yard and sidewalks. With these, the mirror now is:
transformed! The longer, curly feathers are from an old duster that came apart a while back. The glass is circled by a piece of--well, I don't know what it is. It's like wired ribbon but covered with woody, vine-like material. And looking at the label doesn't help because it's in French. Purchased at Jo-Ann Crafts, it is terrifically useful in a variety of circumstances and certainly is fine with the other elements of the piece. That's my effort for Friday. Off to finish the rest of my chores and head for the sofa!

Have a great weekend!


July 23, 2015

Ten Things You Don't Know About Mr. B

1. He was named after both his grandfathers, which turned out better than you might expect, because his parents use their middle names. Otherwise, I'd be married to Gerhard Sidney. One of his childhood neighbors was named Merlin.

2. He was a bad boy teen, whose father enlisted him in the Navy on his 17th birthday, which meant he went to active enlistment right after his senior year in High School. This was in 1968. Good morning, Viet Nam!

3. We met in 1979. He is 6'3" tall and at that time weighed 145 lbs. He now tips the scales at 175 and thinks he's fat.

4. He taught himself both photography and water painting since we met. He has been teaching photography at a local place called Leisure Learning U for 30 years.

5. He started reading mysteries after seeing how much I enjoy them and prefers British writers, especially British women authors.

6. Despite complaining about the high cat population, he was responsible for bringing several of them into our lives, most recently Freddy and Flossie in 2011.

7. After my ex-husband died in August, 2014 he did a wonderful job escorting middle daughter Mary down the aisle when she married in October that year. 

8. He is known in the family for his (ahem!) interesting approach to fixing problems. Years ago an arrangement involving ropes, pulleys and a ladder on a porch roof was turned down by the actual repairman hired. Lance said "No, Tim. No, we are not going to do it that way." This was the day after he'd *solved* a leak in the window unit air conditioner by drilling into it with predictable results. He is legendary among hundreds of people in Houston for an incident that involved a burning mattress.

9. He once saw a man on the service road of the freeway walking a full-grown turkey on a leash.

10. He is smart and creative and caring and always, always makes me laugh.

Here's to my other half!


July 22, 2015

Mr. B's Birthday Celebration

Good morning, and a happy hump day to everyone.

Monday was Mr. B's birthday, but he had to teach that night. Plus, the restaurant we wanted to go to isn't open on Mondays anyway, so there was a day's delay. We had been to this place before several times, but always during the winter and wanted to see it out during DST. It is here, called The Rainbow Lodge:

There is an exotic menu, featuring elk and buffalo as well as more traditional entrees, and seafood.The birthday geezer had one of the specials of the day, buffalo--or maybe bison, I forget--tenderloin served with fried green tomatoes on a bed of something else. I got the summer stone fruit salad which included peaches and nectarines, some kind of ruby lettuce, toasted almonds and feta cheese and along with that the crab cake entree, which was heaven on a plate.
Here is the room where we sat:
We were across from the fireplace near windows looking down to several decks.
Mr. B. After dinner we both had fabulous creme brulee for dessert.
Sorry this isn't a good picture. The wood on the staircase was really cool and I was trying to show it off. It might be cypress.
The venue is a warren of small rooms on multiple levels with a total lodge vibe throughout.
There are multiple fireplaces, too, which makes it very cozy and inviting during the winter.
Another fireplace and set of giant antlers. After we finished we went through a door exiting from the bar to look at the grounds.
They are lush and beautiful.
There are decks and bridges at different levels and spaces that would be lovely for an outdoor event.
It's hard to believe this tranquil, verdant place is in such a busy urban area.

Obviously, the Rainbow Lodge caters to carnivores, but there is seafood on the menu too, and salads and vegetables for those with other tastes. Service is impeccable and there is always valet parking at night. We had a wonderful time.
See for yourself if you ever have the opportunity

Till next time,

July 21, 2015

A little lemonade

Hey, there. I hope your day is going well and isn't as hot and humid as Houston. 

A while back a bag of assorted wooden doll furniture turned up in a thrift shop. I thought it might sell on ebay, but was wrong.
There are two chairs, a dining table, a stool and my favorite, the floor lamp. Since it's still here, why not use it myself?

Here is a stuffed mouse enjoying the ambiance.
A comfy sofa, side chair for guests and a lamp--what else does a mouse need?

I've got to run off to change clothes soon. Tonight we're celebrating Mr. B's birthday a day late, since the restaurant isn't open on Monday. Which we found out last year when we tried there for mine in January. Thus the quickie today.

Take it easy!

July 20, 2015

More Time Travel

Hello, all,

Who's up for a trip to the past, nearly 60 years ago to May, 1958? We'll do this the easy way, via a vintage Family Circle magazine and skip all those dangerous machines so often seen in science fiction movies. Here's our vehicle:
For the record, despite the wear due to age, the upper right corner was intact. Until it was put out to be photographed and a cat decided to chew on it while the camera was located. Breathing heavily through my nose.
Great advice on page 4, saying nothing is better to clean the infant ear than a Q-Tip.
Here is a double-page spread on cooking for a crowd. The menu includes
macaroni favorite
fiesta caserole
merry mix-up
jumping jack
fruit-bowl salad
and much more

Okay, jumping-jack involves canned beans and bologna. Merry mix-up contains canned corn and frozen lima beans. Fruit-bowl salad has only one canned ingredient, the pineapple. The dressing is whipped cream mixed with mayonnaise.
Magazines often had fiction included back then. This story is called "Upon a Peak in Darien" by Nelda Gardner White. It's about a young couple and the foolish female who wants her guy to accept a wonderful offer he's got for after graduation.
Another story, this one about a good girl who marries a man society firmly expects to be a wastrel.
A prize-winning house from a couple of years earlier.
The shocking account of a woman who got pregnant at the advanced age of 42, simultaneously with her recently married daughter. Oh, the embarrassment and shame!
Here's an advertisement recommending the use of Lysol as a douche. 
Afternoon radio shows for the bored stay at home mother.

Day-before-payday dinners, yum yum!
Strollers hadn't taken over the world then and there were no ads at all for slings or wearable carriers. People still took their babies out in a carriage. Maybe the woman who had a third pregnancy at the unbelievable age of 42 used one like this. 

The fashions were nearly all still of the tight waist/full skirts with petticoats variety, not comfortable at all. Recipes emphasized quick and easy, not fresh or organic. And to save the best for last, the back cover has a full page for Old Gold cigarettes, complete with a scientist creating the triumphant new blend for straight smoking. 
And there are people who lament the passing of the 1950s and regret the loss of those good old days! 

Till next time,

July 17, 2015

Fifty on Friday

Hello, all,

Last night when my 95-year old co-worker from Manna called to ask me to do an extra shift today to fill in for another volunteer, I agreed. Not long after that Hoarders came on, always a dire cautionary tale for all but the most extreme minimalists. This morning after getting up way early it occurred to me to use the impetus from the television show to improve living conditions here. Therefore I scrounged for fifty things to take for donation to the thrift shop this morning. Collected were:
ten magazines,
ten books,
ten pillow cases/shams,
ten pieces of clothing and
ten scarves. Not a bad declutter total to collect before 8 am, is it? Do you stick to annual or biannual purges or keep an ongoing container of things to discard and pitch or donate as soon as it's full?

Take it easy!


July 15, 2015

Back again

Hi, folks,

I'm sorry to have been AWOL. Friday was a family crisis, I don't remember Monday and yesterday right when there was time to work on a blog post we had no internet, not all the rest of the afternoon or evening, until this morning. Now I'm trying to play catch up.

This morning I decided to try and make a few changes in the living room. Mr. B told me one cable from the tv  box could be lengthened with an extension cord, which seemed to offer some hope for getting the various wires and so forth against the baseboards, rather than strung clear across one large corner of the room. I started and soon there was this:
as I shifted things around. You may have already guessed that each time something was moved it uncovered hidden piles of dust and fluff and dead pillbugs that had to be vacuumed up. I moved the table that was at the right end of the sofa previously. 
The table that was at the left side of the sofa is now in the right. The book case revolving one was next to a chair across the room.
The tv used to be on top of this bookcase and didn't look good at all.
Now it's on this folded down gate leg table instead.
The gate leg was in this corner before.
This chair didn't move and often has a cat in it, this time it's Freckles.
This little bookcase beside the door to the yard stayed the same,
as did the wall with my mother's old washstand on it.

Here's an overview of the room now from one side:
and another:
The card table is up in hopes of me finding another jigsaw soon. Freckles is still holding down that chair.
Minnie is working the contrast between her dark coat and the light wicker like a pro, don't you think? Meanwhile, over by the door:
Flossie keeps an eye out for birds, squirrels and the yapping dogs that live next door. 

This room still needs a lot of work. The wall where the tv is could use a big piece of furniture, which I'm still on the lookout for, as well as a rug. Once we get a rug it will be time to choose curtains and the space will be warmer and more inviting, at least, that's the hope. Tile is extremely practical, but aesthetically falls far short of ideal. Covering it with a rug of some kind will help  tremendously so that's the goal. For the record, the walls are a sandy tan, not white, although that's how photos make it look.

What do you think? What am I missing/screwing up/not doing that it is screaming for? Your input will be appreciated, so let me know.

Have a good evening!