Friday, May 30, 2014

About Friday's Fave Five . . . followed by my five for the week


“The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth, dwelling deeply in the present moment and feeling truly alive.”  (Thich Nhat Hanh) 

At the end of each week, Susanne at Living to Tell the Story hosts a meme called Friday's Fave Five.  In the past, I've been pretty sporadic in my participation, mostly because I tend to be disorganized in planning my blog posts.  (Actually, I have no plan, can you tell?)

However, Susanne's meme is something that I always enjoy doing, because I always find something to be grateful for, even after the most trying of weeks.  Finding joy in the simple things makes life so much fuller and perpetuates more joy.  At one time, I kept a gratitude journal and the results were that, without even realizing it, I would go through my day with a new awareness of things to be grateful for, so that I would have something to write in my journal that night. 

I'm thankful to Susanne for encouraging me to be intentional about gratitude each week and to take the time to write about it.

Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone.  (Gladys Browyn Stern)


Here are some things that filled my heart with gratitude this week.

1.  Timmy.  We've grown quite attached to this little guy (rescued by Lilly), and his brother.  They come out from under the deck to nibble the grass, as long as the dogs aren't outside.


2.  Evenings on the deck with Dan, going over our day. 

3. Pansies!
4.  Finding some extra time to organize my desk and file cabinet.  I'm not super tidy by nature, so it is a struggle for me to stay organized.  But I think better and feel better when things are in order.  I'm grateful for the few hours I had this morning to put things in place.
5.  My morning routine.  Getting up early for coffee, reading and journaling.
For more links to posts about Friday's Fave Five, head on over to Susanne's.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Landscaping with Picasa

The young couple who sold us our house did a beautiful job of remodeling the inside.  Over time, I will show you some more pictures.  Their plan to finish landscaping (they put in a beautiful deck and patio, and a nice front stoop and walk way) came to a halt when they had a baby and decided to move out of state, closer to their families. 
So, Dan and I get to do the fun part, which is planting trees and building gardens, with a clean, fresh canvas.
To get started, I took a photo of our house and used Picasa to print out a 'pencil sketch.' 
Then, I got some landscaping and plant books, and played around to come up with some ideas.  (Note:  DO try this at home!)  I have no experience and spent lots of time cruising through neighborhoods and looking at other houses to get ideas. Our biggest challenge is that our house is so 'flat.'  We wanted to come up with some ways to give it dimension.  This is Phase 1.  To the right of the front door, there's a little sidewalk leading to the driveway.  Phase 2 is to put a section of split rail fence in front of that little walk, so we can plant some rosebushes and stuff in front of it.  Also, Dan wants to put a little roof thingy over the front stoop at some point down the road.
In the meantime, here's my sketch. . . We took it to our local tree nursery and spent an hour or so with the horticulturist, who made a few suggestions for better shrubs, and helped us pick out some trees.

A few hundred shovels full of dirt later. . .

And a few ornamental things and flower pots. . .
And lots of mulch and hauling of landscaping bricks (kindly left by the previous owners). . .

 Voila!  Okay. Doesn't look like much right now. . . but give it a few years!

P.S. Painting the front door is next on the list!  We've had some pretty heavy weather the past week, with thunderstorms and rain every afternoon.  I need a nice, dry, hot day to get that door painted.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Friday Favorites

Friday Fave Five, hosted by Susanne at Living to Tell the Story, is always a great way to wrap up the week.  Some special moments from my week:

1.  Lilly rescued a bunny.  On Wednesday, my four-year-old Springer Spaniel, came running in the house, into the living room where I was reading in my favorite overstuffed chair.  Frantic, she barked at me, running back and forth to the door, pleading with me to follow.  (It was a moment right out of Lassie --  "Timmy's in the well!! Timmy's in the well!!").  I hauled myself out of my chair, and followed her outside, where she ran straight for a window well.  We both peered over the edge and, there in the corner, was a teeny-weeny baby bunny, looking very dazed and confused.  After my initial reaction -- "oooh, he's so cute and tiny," -- I thought, now how the heck do I get him out?  The window well was deep -- about five-feet -- so while I went to collect Dan's thick leather work gloves (I don't know, when DO baby rabbits get their teeth?), I pondered not how I would climb down into the well, but how the heck would I get back out?  Meanwhile Lilly was beside herself.  In no time at all, I skooched down there, grabbed the bunny and skooched back out, and placed the little guy under our deck, where I imagined his mother and siblings wide-eyed and on the edge of their seats, taking it all in.  Lilly and I both sighed with relief.

2.  My favorite 20-year-old is turning 21 tomorrow.  The year he was born, his birthday was just before Memorial Day weekend.  Dan and I spent the weekend putting in raised beds, knowing that once we went to collect our precious bundle from the Cradle Home where he spent his first week, we would have little time to work on such things.  Here's one of those full-circle things again. This Memorial Day weekend, when he turns 21. . . we'll be putting in raised garden beds again. 

3.  At my work, I am the office manager for a group of family therapists.  Our small waiting room can be a lively place when our families with small children come in. Yesterday, two of our regulars were there, sprawled out on the floor playing a game. The 10-year-old brother's comments were muffled (as usual), but I could hear his 7-year-old sister's reactions clearly (as usual).  Especially when she came running to my desk, screeching, "He called me an evil sister!"  Clearly, I'm not a therapist.  "Don't listen to him," I said.  "But I can't help it," she wailed.  "Then do this," I said, sticking my fingers in my ears and saying, 'blah,blah,blah."  They went back to their game.  Hey, I'm just the crazy old lady behind the desk.

4.  If you're still with me, the thunderstorms this week have been in incredible.  Heaven must be bowling, moving pianos and clearing rock slides, all at the same time.  Great for sleeping!

5.  Last but not least, the best part of the week has been reconnecting with blogging friends.  Bloggers are just the nicest people!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Quick-sew valance

This project required the bare minimum amount of sewing, but after setting up my sewing corner in the extra bedroom, I had to make something! 
Our house has an open floor plan, however, the window over the kitchen sink is hidden by cabinets on both sides. It's the perfect spot for something different and a little bit whimsical.  I found these dishtowels at Targ'et.  Fun?  I cut them in half and sewed a pocket for the rod.  Voila!

**(The 'no-sew' option would be to buy some clip on curtain rings and you could just hem the edge of the dish towel by ironing it and clasping the rings on.  However, I have a roller shade under there and when I tried that, you could see the roller.  Not so pretty.)

I can see myself changing it out for different seasons.  Snowmen towels for winter, maybe?  I have a thing about cute dishtowels.  It's a rather harmless obsession, really.

Here's my sewing corner.  The round cross-stitch picture was done by moi, age 8.  My mother stitched the other two silhouettes, and the little black sewing machine was hers.  The sewing baskets belonged to women in my family.  There are certain things that really make me feel that this house is becoming our home.  Setting up the sewing corner is one of them. 
Happy Wednesday, everyone;)
Sew Much Ado

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Neighborhood

First, thank you for all the comments about the front door!  I am still mulling around some ideas for a color, but I have narrowed it down to a few.  Watch for the 'big reveal' soon.

When Dan and I bought our house, we took "coming full circle" to a whole new level.

This is our fourth house together, all have been in the same town, which happens to be the town where I grew up.  We started out in a three-bedroom ranch, moved to a slightly bigger house across town where we raised our kids, and then got a wild hair one day and bought an even bigger house with all the things we thought we needed and wanted, on the far side of town.

Now, we're back in a three bedroom ranch on the same street we lived on when we got married, just four blocks south.

It has everything that was our list.  Something that could potentially be our forever home.  Small house, large yard.  Brick (for him), in an old, established neighborhood (for me). Move in ready (for me), but with enough space to build a shed/workshop (for him) and garden (for me).

Of course it feels like home. . . we hardly left home, since we live a few blocks from my favorite nephew in the whole world, a few blocks from our church, and close to our friends.

Our street is fairly quiet, except first thing in the morning and in the afternoon, when the high school starts and ends its day.  Our neighbors have welcomed us so warmly.  One brought us a rosebush, another baked brownies, and yet another helped us clear snow one day. 

We've planted a couple of trees in the front yard along with some shrubs and flowers. The backyard is going to be a much bigger job, but we're not going anywhere, we keep telling each other, so there's plenty of time.

It's so nice to be home.


Thursday, May 15, 2014


The hardest part of painting, for me, is choosing a color.  I enjoy the actual painting -- especially because DH does most of the prep work. He's so much better at it than I am;)  However, I can spend more time deliberating over the color, than it takes to get the project done.

Here are a few samples I've chosen for the front door.  Any comments or suggestions? (Pam, you can text me! I would welcome your feedback!)  I'm not afraid of color, so if you have any other ideas, throw them out there. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Six months later

I was gently reminded, over lunch with some friends last Saturday, that according to my blog I am still living in an apartment in the next town over.  Perhaps it's time for an update.

Six months ago, we were in our little apartment, wondering if we would ever find another house to buy. And, when we did, would we have the physical and emotional strength to move yet again.  Packing, hauling everything out of storage that we'd just put into storage, unpacking, and putting all that effort into making yet another house a home. It was just too much to think about.  So, we nestled into our little apartment for the winter.

During the five months that we lived there, I learned that less really is more -- the less space we had to take care of allowed more time for other things. I read some books, took some classes online, finished knitting a pair of socks that had been on the needles for a couple years -- and started another pair.  We invited family over and celebrated Christmas in our tiny space that miraculously grew big enough to hold eight people, three dogs, and one small Christmas tree that stretched its branches over a heap of brightly wrapped packages.

There was a period of time when Dan was traveling out of town during the week, so it was just me and the dogs.  In a way, I had finally found my own little "cottage" from Gift from the Sea. 

In the meantime, the housing market was grim.  I stopped my online searches and left everything in the hands of my capable realtor/friend/walking partner.  And, then one day, we met at the trailhead for our morning walk and she smiled and said, "I've found a house for you."

On March 1st, we moved into our new/old house.  It's old -- 1962 -- brick ranch with a big old back yard.  New -- completely remodeled by the previous owners.  While the inside is beautiful (and now freshly painted in the colors I we like), the outside is a blank canvas. 

So, for the past month we've been fertilizing the yard, planting shrubs in the front yard and drawing up plans for the backyard. 

So much to blog about, over our new Backyard Fence!