December 4, 2016: Hola everyone! Winter has arrived in Milwaukee and there are snow flurries today. Despite several hard freezes remarkably my "spikes" in two of my patio planters have absolutely refused to die. The rosemary and thyme plants I nursed inside the house through last winter spent the summer in their pot outside next to the side stoop off the driveway, where they get plenty of sunshine all day long. I transplanted them into a cozy sheltered spot right next to the stoop in October and they are still green and growing, too! With the delay in getting the drywall patching done in the relatively minor "reconstruction" work I had done in my kitchen, I am way behind my time in getting the house decorated. But yesterday I got my wreath decked out with extra lights and dressed the front door of the house, and my battery-operated traditional candles were put up on the window sills all around the house Friday evening. It becomes a ritual to go around at dusk and turn the tops to the right to turn the candles "on" and at bedtime to go around and turn the tops to the left to turn the candles "off." Today I put some "glittery" throw pillow covers purchased new last month from H&M on three of my sofa pillows to glam things up a bit in the living room and add some sparkle. Later on, after I sufficiently fuel myself up with wine and snacks and probably to distract myself while I listen to the Packers game on the radio, I will huff and puff and pull my artificial tree up from storage in the basement. I will decorate it simply this year. Every year I say that, and every year I end up throwing just about everything except the kitchen sink on the tree. I am very proud of myself this year, though. I did not buy a single new ornament or Christmas doo-dad for the house (throw pillow covers don't count!!!) Happy Holidays to all, with hope and fervent prayers for 2017. I've a feeling we're all going to need a lot of help from Goddess in the coming year. Jan

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Fireplace and Bookcases Are Put Together!

More progress, woo woo!

Kevin the handyman arrived yesterday shortly after 9 and he had a helper with him -- and thank goodness for her!  She is Kevin's step-daughter and is a machinist by day and helps her step-dad sometimes in his side business (handyman).  She is very detail-oriented and actually reads directions, unlike a certain likeable handyman who tends to go off in his own (wrong) direction at times...

The fireplace took the longest to assemble; they did the two bookcases in less than an hour. I only have a couple of photos taken during the process that sort of turned out:

In the photo above, they were working on assembling the firebox, the mantle and firebox frame had already been completed.  There was a lot to clean up, including little bits of styrofoam everywhere!  Thank goodness I invested in a GOOD upright vacuum cleaner in July - made quick work of it.  And I love me my little Dirt Devil, it sucks styrofoam bits right up!

Here are the asssembled bookcases (a not very good photo):

We're not sure why the cases are not meeting tall-wise as I had planned; perhaps the room is not level.  I'm not sure I'm going to keep them in this configuration.  The bedroom they're in is an odd configuration; because of the front entry and a coat closet, the front part of the room is only 8 feet wide.  The last third or so of the length of the room widens out to about 10 feet.  I seriously flip-flopped for months, since before I actually moved in, as to whether this room would be my den/library or the guest room.  Not too long ago, I finally measured the bed that would go into this room if it was to become a guest room and, no surprise, it fit, but would have left only about a foot to walk past the foot of the bed to get to the other side.  Ach!  Anyway, now the room is giving me fits trying to decide the best arrangement of bookcases, desk, chair, two-shelf bookcase, small file cabinet, and cedar chest upon which rests the printer.  Oh, and I also want to move in my beautiful Queen Anne console table.  Hmmmm....  Something's got to give.  But I can't haul heavy furniture down to the basement wreck room myself.  I've got too much furniture, and not enough house, and it's breaking my house.  I don't want to banish anything to the wreck room.

Ms. Handywoman brought my Christmas tree in from the garage for me:

Rather sorry looking, isn't it, LOL!  But this morning at the crack of dawn I unwrapped it from its sheet, vacuumed the spiders off (eeeuuuuwwww), and put it up/assembled it (it can be broken down to three parts) in front of the humongous picture window in the living room.  I must have grown a couple of brain cells since last year, as I was able to figure out how to get the internal plugs set into each other and the entire tree lit on the first try!  Hooray!  Now it's just a matter (never-ending) of tweaking branches to try and fill in "holes" that seem to magically appear elsewhere the minute you think you've got one filled in.

I wish I had an extra day to putter around here and decorate the tree. How can four days go by so quickly, I ask you!  I can't seem to find key Christmas decorations, even with all of the boxes are labeled!  Where are my white feather boas???  At sunrise I retrieved several boxes of Christmas decorations that had been stashed in the garage.  I had intended to retrieve them long since but, well, you know, time gets away from you sometimes.  From this day forward their new home will be on the storage area shelves underneath the basement stairs.  I have a few more boxes to bring up from the basement and hopefully I'll find my white feather boas.  I want to do a repeat of last year's tree, so it's essential I find them.  In this much smaller house, right now I'm tripping over boxes of Christmas decorations -- they seem to be everywhere.  Geez!

Achh, got off track.  Here's the fireplace newly "installed:"

I haven't inaugurated the gel fuel fireplace by actually burning a can or two of gel fuel in it.  Right now it's decorated with flameless candles - quick and easy and I took them on a test drive last night.  LOVE!  And, truth to tell, I'm just a little bit nervous about using the gel fuel.  I'm sure I'll grow the courage to try it out eventually, but I think I want to have a fireproof hearth underneath the firebox first.  That is a future project for Kevin.  Here's what it looks like now, after I puttered around decorating it a little:

You can see I'm no pro at photography  -- the cord from the vacuum cleaner is showing on the right, geez!  And I see all the paint touch-ups that Kevin did when he finished installing the book shelves in the niche, they look like smut upon my wall.  Holy Hathor.  I knew I should have done the paint touch ups myself.  I knew it.  But he went ahead and did it before I could say nay.  Damn.  Double Damn!  I would have used a water color brush and watered-down paint to fill in nicks; Kevin just went at it with a big honking brush and full-strength paint.  You see the result.  But, I've got to give it to the man, he is talented in other areas -- just not painting, and especially not touch-up painting!  I do love this room, though.  It's small, it's got a vomit green "accent wall" with metallic underlay and the carpeting desperately needs a professional cleaning which ain't happening in this climate this time of year, but it's cozy.  And the fireplace, my brand new fireplace, it's too small.  It needs to be taller and wider.  And I need to totally repaint that south wall.  For pete's sake!

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