Tuesday, February 28, 2017

15



Today, Grace turns 15 (or as Harris keeps saying, halfway to 30).  While I cannot believe it, I'm so proud of who she is at 15.  It always seemed as if the teenage years were something to dread but so far her teenage years have been a joy- with the occasional wringing of hands and tear shed :).


Here's my annual top ten...

1.  She's an extremely conscientious student- she has way better time management skills than anyone else in the family!

2.  She's not a social butterfly but she loves her close friends and is loyal no matter what.

3.  She loves to write.  It can be short stories, poetry, or fan fiction, it doesn't really matter.  Often, I'll think she's playing a game on her phone or scrolling social media only to find out she's writing.

4.  She loves to adventure and has a definite sense of wanderlust.

5.  Her favorite shows right now are Downton Abbey and Stranger Things.

6.  This year she wrote a fan letter to Angela Lansbury.

7.  She needs a creative outlet whether it be ballet, hand lettering, writing, crafting or baking.

8.  In order to help her go to sleep at night (you might remember this is an ongoing problem) she will listen to a podcast, "Sleep with Me."

9.  She has this voice that she will use on occasion that none of us can copy but leaves us in stitches no matter the occasion.  In this voice she will often say she is "harassed" by all of us.

10.  So far, she has a steady moral compass.  My prayer is that she can keep it to help guide through the tough years ahead and always.


Monday, February 27, 2017

Summer Trip Artwork

Be sure to read to the end of the post!


From the time we were first married, Bryce and I have always collected some form of art from our travels.  While on our epic trip this summer, we thought and thought about what we would get to represent the amazing sights that we saw in the 9 weeks we were on the road.  In traveling to the National Parks we didn't have much access to art galleries or stores (except the Ansel Adams gallery in Yosemite) nor did we really want to buy something that only focused on one of the parks.

Toward the end of the trip, we visited Mt. Rushmore and it was here that we saw the work of Chad Farnes.  His pieces were displayed, he had created a work for each of the National Parks in honor of the centennial, and we loved what we saw.  I contacted him immediately and he agreed to make something just for us.  We collaborated with Chad about what sort of work to do, and in the end, we agreed to do something totally fantastical to represent our trip.  I guess one can do that with art!

We picked our favorites, Bryce canyon, the Sequoias, and Crater Lake, and he created a collage of sorts.  I love that our Airstream is the main character in the piece and I couldn't be happier with the end result.


Ok... are you ready for the truly mind blowing reveal?  The entire piece is made of duct tape!  No paint, no other materials... just duct tape!  Isn't that amazing?



Friday, February 24, 2017

Library Work


this is before we moved in

Today, the library is getting painted!  It's really more of a living room but I'm calling it the library because I've always wanted a library and because there will be lots of books!  This is probably the prettiest room in the house.  At one time, I"m sure it was actually two rooms but the wall was taken down however long ago and we were left with a lovely, large room that gets plenty of light.


There are two fireplaces in the room.  One of them didn't work probably and we had to rebuild the chimney.  The other fireplace had already been taken care of by the previous owner.  What a messy job!


My vision for this room has also been a bit English Country (or my idea of English Country!).  I want it to be beautiful but also comfortable and inviting to everyone.  From the moment I starting thinking about this room, I've wanted to do back to back velvet green sofas.  I was warned about how velvet can wear, but I love the idea of the velvet changing and wearing so that doesn't bother me a bit.  I'm hoping all that wear will make it look even better.  And of course, to go with the velvet one must have a bit of chintz.  I wanted floral but I wanted it to be fresh and pretty and I love the color palette on this one.


Which gets us to paint color for the walls.  You guys, this has been quite the process for me.  I actually really liked the green that was already on the walls but it certainly had to be painted because the paint job was rather poor.  Also, all the trim needed a lot of scrapping and prepping in order to look good again.


At one point I thought I might go for a pink on the walls!  Pink makes everyone look good, it looks great with dark furniture and it always looks amazing with green.  However, in the end, I just couldn't pull the trigger.  I was worried it would read too pink and I would always be a little worried it was just too feminine.  I also considered a beautiful neutral but, honestly, this is the one room in the house that can really hold up well to a strong color and I wanted to take advantage of that.


Which took me back to green.  I felt strongly that if I did green, I wanted the green to be close in color to the sofas (here is where I first saw it) but, again, I was worried that it would be too intense.  Finally, I threw my hands up in the air and decided it's just paint and if we hate it, we can repaint it!



Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Snowshoe with Friends



We spent the long weekend at Snowshoe with our dear friends.  The skiing conditions weren't amazing, it was quite warm, but we had a great time nonetheless.



Besides skiing and playing peanuts, we also went tubing.  We were worried that the snow would be too slow but it turned out to be so much fun.  The best was when we all eight made a train and went down together.  Also, when we raced.  I came from behind to almost win... I"m just sayin.






Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Ring the Bell


You guys, I had to share Rosie's newest, cutest thing.  We got a bell to mount by the door so that she could let us know when she needed to go outside to do her business.  Before, we had to follow her around to see if she was sitting by the door, waiting.  To train her, we we rang it a few times (literally two) when we took her out and by the third time she was ringing it herself.


I feel like she's Lady Grantham and we are the Bates.  She's so civilized.



Monday, February 13, 2017

A Teacup Scoop


Before we move on from the laundry room, I thought I'd share a small thing that I love.  I decant my laundry detergent into a glass jar because it looks so much better sitting on top of the washing machine.  However, the plastic scoop that came with the detergent didn't look so great so I swapped out the plastic scoop for a china teacup!  And because I didn't trust my eyeballing to be accurate, I made a tiny little black dot on the inside of the teacup so I would know how much to put in for a regular load.  It's the little things...

Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Laundry Room



I really, really love my laundry room.  I love having it upstairs, I love having a sink and countertop, I love having a cabinet with pull out shelves and I love having a place to put my cleaning tools and products.  When we bought the house, the laundry room was already upstairs, which was fantastic, but it was very small.  The washer and dryer fit in the room but that was it.  We realized fairly quickly that we could make the laundry room larger by eating up an odd shoe closet that was in the hallway.


When I first started dreaming about what I wanted the laundry room to look like I kept coming back to Downton Abbey (downstairs) and a Martha Stewart picture from years ago.  I wanted it to feel very utilitarian but pretty at the same time.


It's funny but it took a lot of drawing out everything to figure out the best line up of the washer/dryer, sink, countertop with sorter underneath and cabinet.  This was figured out while we were on our summer trip so many hours were spent sketching it out while driving! I've already written about it but Martha's stain chart takes center stage.



One of my favorite things in the room is the soapstone sink.  It came from a local store that specializes in soapstone and I was thrilled to find it.



My very favorite feature of the sink is the washboard that is on the inside of the sink.  It may never get used but I love the nod to the past.



Underneath the countertop my laundry sorter is a perfect fit and rolls on out when it's time to load the washer.


Of course, it's wonderful to have a window in the laundry room and the extra deep sill is the perfect place to keep a felt basket filled with items waiting to be hand washed.  Above the window is my Sheila Maid that I use for air drying any clothes that I don't throw in the dryer.  I can hang clothes from it or spread sweaters out on the bars.  A pulley attached to the ceiling helps to lower and raise it.


There is a task light right above the sink but I love this sweet, scalloped light!


Bryce made me a little, narrow shelf for above the countertop.  We used brackets that we took from another part of the house.  They are different sizes so we believe they were handmade for the window that they were being used in.  I love keeping something that was a part of the house but in a way that works for us.



 A white basket with a lid is where I store any ironing that is waiting (and waiting) to be ironed.


The laundry room is also where the cat litter box is.  We recessed it down in the bottom cabinet and so far it has worked great for them!


Above the litter box is a cabinet with roll out drawers that houses cleaning supplies, rags, sewing gear, and misc. household items such as lightbulbs, batteries, etc.


The floor tile is a really wonderful, large tile that was the very first thing that I picked out!




Monday, February 6, 2017

Kindness



I've been going through my usual once a year sort of funk.  The weather has been so very grey (without snow), the news downright depressing, our house in a state of flux and moving oh, so slowly.  But I've been noticing acts of kindness all around me and have been touched by them.  It's such a good reminder to stop and do something kind for someone else because it's the little things that really can make a difference.  Oh, and people can be all sorts of wonderful.

Here are just a few...

A reader, who I had no idea was even reading this blog, sent me the kindest and sweetest email note.  It genuinely made my day and was such a thoughtful gesture.

My Mom has been having a hard time recovering from her surgery in December (she got an infection) and her neighbor, Claire, has been amazing and the best neighbor one could ask for.  Her friends have also been pretty great.

For my birthday, my friend Barb, got several of my very favorite people together for a surprise lunch. I was having a not great day and this really turned it around.  I'm so thankful for my friends.

We came upon an incident with a car (maybe he hit a deer?) and two cars pulled over and ran back to him to help.

I left fabric samples at a store and the owner popped them in the mail for me instead of asking me to make the trip back to the store.

My in-laws sent me an encouraging text message (sorry I didn't get back to you- it was right after that that I dropped my phone in the toilet!).

Two young adults, children of a friend, have helped me tremendously with a project I'm working on. They've been free with their advice and offers of more help.

What's something kind someone has done for you?























Friday, February 3, 2017

Blocks

Remember our attic room that we loved so and spent many, many hours in when the children were younger?  It has appeared in one of Grace's pieces of writing.   If this poem isn't an advertisement for an open ended, play filled childhood, I don't what is...

Blocks

The simplest object
A block of wood
Sanded beige sides
So pleasing to tiny fingers
Marred by scratches and dents
From when the dragon attacked
Or so we believed
The sound of them
When one met another
Loud and jarring
Yet we did it over and over
A 3 dimensional block of wood
That could become anything we wanted
Anything we could dream up
Any idea that came into our minds
We found ourselves

Playing for hours. Stacking and placing
These multi-faceted blocks
One turned into one hundred
As castles and cities appeared
On the attic floor
Lifeless objects
Seemly meaningless
Yet they meant worlds to us
Different dimensions
Filled with magic and pretend
A shape gave this to us
All that mattered
Was that we could build
The images in our heads
Bring them to reality
We lost ourselves

in those realms. We ran through
Labyrinths and mazes
Clad in feathery hats and bejeweled gloves
Strings of colored pearls
Hanging around our necks
While the blocks stood motionless
Oblivious to our delight
A symmetrical fortress
Unmoving and unfeeling
While we moved quickly
Feeling any and all emotion
They brought us joy
The satisfaction of building something
Only to be knocked down
By the dragon
In the form of a small boy
Lifeless blocks
In a heap on the floor


 
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