May 31, 2016

Small change, big effect

Hello, all,

I hope everyone had a good Memorial Day weekend with family and friends. We enjoyed shopping for a new mattress and box spring and appreciated the next day delivery. Even with a few small glitches, it's much better than what we were sleeping on and a big quality of life improvement. 

Saturday I also worked more on a slight reconfiguration in the library. It seemed that the light in there wasn't adequate for reading which kind of defeats the idea of having a library in the first place. After moving things around and getting a new lamp, here's the space now:
The chairs have switched places and there is a new, larger lamp.  There was another prettier one at Sand Dollar, but it wasn't  pretty enough to be $18.90 for a used light.The one in the picture came from the Goodwill across the street, $6.99 for lamp, shade and finial. Most importantly, it is heavy and sturdy, not easy to knock over by a cat, or to break if that does happen. 

The corner shelf that was in there was traded for this one with more of a contrasting color and good spot to put some cute little pitchers. It was $3.93 at Family Thrift. 

Last look. Does that chair looks like it's waiting for Colonel Mustard or what?

Have  a good one!


May 17, 2016

Mother's Day

My apologies for not writing yesterday. My good intentions were lost when the electricity was off most of the afternoon once I was home from Manna. The power company said lightening struck a piece of equipment nearby, which isn't surprising since it rained all day long. 

The week before middle daughter Mary came to town and brought my Mother's Day gifts, two prints by an artist I had seen on the internet before, Janet Hill. Here is one of them:

This one we haven't gotten hung yet. This handsome stag is titled "Portrait of a Country Squire". What a great addition to my Oh, Deer collection!

The second has been hung in the library. It seemed meant for that space. Its title is "Cat Burglar". Note the Trixie-ish feline snooping on the right side. I love both these prints, with were beautifully matted and framed when received and highly recommend this artist for her talent and quirky subject matter. Her work can be found on Etsy and at 

I am thrilled with both pictures and sure to enjoy them for many years to come.

Have a good rest of your Tuesday.


May 13, 2016

The Write Stuff

Hello, Friends,

I hope you're well this fine Friday spring afternoon. While on the mend from the annoying head cold, small projects are all I can get done still this week. A recent one involved my address book. Yes, that's a primitive concept, you're right. But storing things on the computer or other device didn't go well for me once in the past, with nearly a whole year's reading list of books wiped out with a hard drive crash, that made me wary. Computer can go bad, phones, get lost, but a hard copy address book is efficient and not likely to tempt a thief. This is the one in current use:
It's probably at least fifteen years old and showing its age.
That's the binding separating at the spine. Time for a replacement! This turned up in a thrift recently, .99 cents on 30% discount day and brand new.
Nothing fancy, but a nice little book, easy to check, small enough to go in a bag if needed.  I used an old vintage postcard to do this:
and make a pocket inside the front cover. Now, there is space for:
stamps! How easy will it be to dash off a note or send a card to a friend now? 

It's the weekend so have a good one!


May 12, 2016


Hello, all,

Sorry for the hiatus. A combination of company from middle daughter Mary and a pesky head cold this past week sidelined me from multiple activities, including writing blog posts. As you might guess, seeing one of my offspring three days a week on a regular basis is wonderful, but does present some problems. We don't have a guest room. Part of the time she's actively working while here, and when it's time to sleep that translates to the living room. There has been a migration of bags, boxes and technical devices that is extensive, if not mind-boggling. This week my thrift shop trips paid off with a couple of items that may help with future trips, at least somewhat. 

First I found this:
A luggage rack at the Goodwill on Wednesday, senior discount day. A man asked if I was going to open a hotel. My reply was it's already open, Mom's Motel, you know the one where rooms are free. It was $6.90 with 30% off, so not a bad deal. It is made of substantial pieces of wood and quite sturdy, a good thing when you see how heavy her suitcase always is. 

Today at the Sand Dollar, this caught my eye:
It's a large split-willow basket and was $8.19. 

Her linens went through the normal Thursday laundry this morning.
They'd been piled in a chair, like so. Now there's someplace to put them:
They can be grabbed quickly but aren't out in view till Tuesday next week. Did I mention storage is generally limited in this house in just about all areas? So, until then her sheets, towel and pillow are stowed. As for the luggage rack, 
it's folded and neatly stashed behind the door. 

Who knows how long this recent chapter in our lives will last, but it's nice to try and make it as comfortable as possible for all involved*. Thus, I'll BOLO for any other items that might aid in this project on my thrifting adventures. 

Have a good one!
*PS The cats are not fans of her booting them out of the living room at night, so this might not be possible for ALL residents of the house!

April 21, 2016

Book Review

Hi, everyone,

I am immersed in a fascinating book you might enjoy hearing about. The title is "Two Wheels North" by Evelyn McDaniel Gibb. It is the story of two young men, Victor and Ray who badly wanted to attend the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in Seattle, Washington. Right after they graduated from high school they decided they had to get there, so they did. Alone, on bicycles they traveled a thousand miles from Santa Rosa, California to Washington state. In 1909, leaving with a total of $5.00 and change to last till their arrival. If the trip was complete by October 1, they would receive a check for $25.00 from their hometown newspaper. While en route they kept in touch by sending penny postcards home. Illness, snakebite, mountains, pickpockets, con men and bad roads were a few of the dangers encountered along the way. Written by the author's daughter from talks with her father and material from the letters printed in the Santa Rosa Democrat, this is a fascinating account of an amazing adventure 100+years ago.

I highly recommend this engaging memoir. 

Have a good one!


April 20, 2016

Not so quick fix.

Hello, everyone,

A couple of weeks ago I got a wire rack at Sand Dollar. Today seemed like as good a time as any to put it to work. Here's a picture of the upper section of  our freestanding pantry before:

Not an efficient use of space at all. After taking everything out and wiping the shelves, throwing out old stuff and consolidating duplicates, the new mini shelf was put into action. 

The lazy Susan was moved to the higher level with the only cans left on it the small ones, like evaporated or condensed milk. 

The second shelf. The wire rack contents could be juggled around a bit, but I was just trying to get it D.O.N.E. 

Here's the whole upper section in its newly tidy state. The bottom part will have to wait for another day. That's what happened on Wednesday at our house. If not a great leap forward, it's at least a turtle creep towards organization. 


April 19, 2016

Quick Fix

Hello, friends,

Unlike Monday, so far today has been calm with little rain. It was busy, since the weather didn't permit any errands run then, which left little time for any creative efforts to speak of. However, in cleaning out the closet yesterday, an item turned up that hadn't been used, so why not give it a turn in the spotlight?


This is the door from the living room to the backyard. Note the ultra cheap mini blind.

Living room door now, with the mini blinds pulled up and a cheery panel as covering instead. The mini blinds were not taken down because Mr. B is afraid that someone will break in and steal all our possessions. Since 90% of those are used books and cats it seems doubtful, but there's no use arguing. How do you hang something when you don't have the right sized tension rod or even any Command Hooks, you ask? You get imaginative and poke holes in the cloth and thread zip ties to string them up, of course. Me having used zip ties may go a long way to reconcile Mr. B to this project, come to think of it. I'll report back later. 

Take it easy,


April 18, 2016

Hello, all,

We began getting torrential rain and thunderstorms last night that have only recently let up around here. All schools, bus, and rail lines were closed, as well as both airports. Fire personnel were rescuing people in city dump trucks that were the only vehicles big enough to navigate water as high as it was in some areas. Which is a long-winded way of saying since Manna didn't open, my Monday was free for a change. 

One of the things I worked on was the coffee table in the living room. It's not great, but here's what it looks like for now:

A wicker circle place mat inside a tole tray with a silver bowl full of spheres in it. 

It's always nice to have favorite decorating books handy for perusal. 

The one on top of the right hand stack is new, found recently at Goodwill. It's called Vintage Vavoom from the editors of Romantic Homes Magazine. 

That's all the views that are fit to print, because nothing else done today was anything but grubby and mundane to the nth degree. 

Have a good one!


April 14, 2016

Simple but satisfying

Hello, all,

I hope your Thursday is going well so far. 

As you may know, some people, especially men, think duct tape is the answer to most of life's persistent problems. Mr. B, though, isn't so limited. He extends his list of preferred solutions to include bungee cords and zip ties. Thus, when this problem occurred today:

This is a rolling milk crate utilized to bring in my reusable bags from the grocery store trip each week. Today's load might have been a little too full. 

Channeling my mate, though, came up with this:

Much better. 

It's a good thing this worked, because who knows where Mr. B left the duct tape the last time he used it? Not me! So that's the news today. Nothing pretty or creative, but definitely useful. 

Have a good one.


April 12, 2016

Good news/bad news

The good news is that middle daughter Mary came to visit yesterday without much warning, which was the cause of the bad news, that after getting back from Manna there wasn't time to write a blog post before she arrived. 

Today after she and Mr. B both left for work, a rare fit of extended cleaning energy appeared, so much of my morning was spent in the cats' room, sanitizing that space. During the process I came across a favorite thrifting find from a few years back and decided it needs to be out and appreciated. 

It is the vintage wicker cat carrier basket discovered at the Bering Methodist sale for the fantastic price of $6.00. 

Now it's in the library on the little drop-leaf table from Sand Dollar, holding--what else?--cat books!

In case you're interested, the titles in it are:

Dora Bell's Village Cats by Nina Epton
A Snowflake in Her Hand by Samantha Mooney
The Gray-Nosed Kitten by Miriam E. Mason
Pinky Pye by Eleanor Estes
Julia's Cats by Patricia Barey & Therese Burson
The Church Mice Spread Their Wings by Graham Oakley
The Church Mice in Action by Graham Oakley
The Church Mice at Christmas by Graham Oakley
Raining Cats and Donkeys by Doreen Tovey
Cats in the Belfry by Doreen Tovey
Double Trouble by Doreen Tovey 

What the verdict? Cute enough to be out and visible or not? 

Have a terrific Tuesday. 


April 8, 2016

Little Pitchers . . .

may or may not have big ears, but they sure are cute! If three similar items equals a collection, here is a new one of mine:

I like all three of these little beauties, and the most expensive was only .90 cents.

Close ups:


They're great for small vignettes or a tiny sprig of flowers. My vote is two thumbs up for three new additions.

Have a wonderful weekend!


April 7, 2016

Mo' BoHo

Hello, all

Although most of my Easter decorations are still up and will be until the season is over, the top of the bookcase in the living room was crying out for a change, so I went into the closet and came out with the carton put away with the BoHo decor. Here is the result:

It's nice to see the bright colors again. I'll string the lights up later.

If nature splashes out her bright colors this time of the year, why shouldn't we do it inside our homes, too? Look for excursions in other rooms coming up soon. 

Take it easy,

April 6, 2016

Cloche Call

Hello, all,

While cleaning my closet last week a hatbox proved to not be empty, as expected, but contained a cloche apparently lost since 2014 when we moved. Since there's been nothing much on the little cart in the dining room for a while, using it there seemed like a good idea. For some reason, spring makes me think of tea parties--I've no idea why, since that's not a form of entertaining that I've ever done much of--and this is the result. 

I added a tiny spoon and embroidered napkin. 

A little bit of seasonal whimsy. What do you think? 

I hope your afternoon and evening is wonderful. Take a few minutes off and have a cup of tea. You've earned it.


April 5, 2016

You're invited . . .

Hello, friends, and how are you this beautiful spring day? Our weather has been amazing, such a blessing. 

It occurred to me that a big part of my everyday life is selling on ebay, so it seems way past time to invite you to come check it out at
Or, you can search by seller and enter bea4books. 

Now you know what I do besides clean up breakage and other cat-astrophes!

Have a great evening,


April 1, 2016

It's that time of the year again,

when spring makes it impossible to ignore dirt and mess one minute more. Like this, for example:

or this:
Some of this is from cats knocking things down, but mostly it stems from me trying to find an outfit to wear to church on Easter. So today I stayed home and worked away at this mess. Now, there is:

Looking straight in. 

Left side, upper.

Left side, lower.

Right side, upper.

Right side lower.

After all the sorting, culling and rearranging the space was vacuumed. I even hung some things on the walls. 

A cheery tulip picture by the window, and:

the metal plaque with a crown on it above the door. And that's how Friday went at our house. Now I'm tired but still left with things to do, drat it. Better get busy. 

Have a wonderful weekend.


March 31, 2016

Dining Table Doings

Hello, Friends,

Today I zipped into Sand Dollar quick like a bunny before it was time for Bible study. I got two books, a Vera Bradley bag, and this,

a bunch of fake succulents in a wooden crate. It's a good size, 16" x 10". With my love of all things succulent and inability to have live plants in the house, it seemed ideal to spruce up the dining room table. After filling in the holes with some extra plants from other parts of the house, this is the result:

It adds a good seasonal touch, don't you think?

A white runner adds some contrast to the wood of the table. 

A birds-eye view, looking down at it. That's my sole effort in decorating today, after going to St. Andrew's, followed by a trip to grocery shop. 

Remember, as my friend Susie used to say, it's Friday eve!