May 20, 2018:

Hola!

Yesterday Prince Harry married American Meghan Markle and I couldn't get enough of the royal wedding. What a gorgeous dress, the bride was radiantly beautiful and the church at Windsor - oh my goodness, the flowers alone were soooo beautiful. There's nothing like a good love story to make one appreciate how precious we can be (and should be) to each other.

I'm glad the weather was perfect yesterday for the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex's wedding. I can't say the same for around here. Spring keeps teasing and then going away. This morning I woke up to a "balmy" 47 degrees F outside, rain, damp, and I turned the heat back on! It's May 20th, the heat. should. not. be. on. Period.

Last Thursday, however, was beautiful. I was able to get a goodly amount of yard and garden clean-up done over several days last week. I also took some photos of my flowering tree anchoring the north corner of my house and made the current collage. I think it's an ornamental cherry, and on the the other end of the house, I think that's called a purple sand cherry? I'll have to check that. The blossoms on the tree do not have a distinct fragrance, but the purple shrub that wants to be a tree (despite my hacking it back, back and back yearly - I'm losing, by the way) has myriad blossoms with a distinct fragrance. I can't decide if the scent is too beautiful to bear or too awful to smell, it certainly can be overpowering!

This coming week will be the third cut of the grass this season. We had rain late Friday night and then for several hours earlier this morning. This rain, on top of the rain we had over four days the prior weekend, and the grass is growing like nobody's business! I don't mind doing the grass, though, as long as it's not too hot, too cold, not raining, and not too windy. I'm not picky at all, am I...

I still have a lot of raking out of areas that suffered from snow mold over the winter, and have not yet really tackled cleaning out the north flower bed in the backyard. That will be a chore!

But Memorial Day weekend is coming. This coming Saturday I will be out with a friend (who has a nice large van - goody!) stocking up on potting soil, top soil to fill in never-ending low spots in the yard, grass seed, and lots of plants! For some reason, this spring seems busier than those in prior years. I can't figure out why that is...

Jan

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Wait - Where Did Summer Go? Where Did Autumn Go? Holy Hathor!

Hola everyone!  I am in some kind of time-warp evidently, whew!  Here it is, December 3.  No - I didn't die, I'm still here, TA DA!

So far behind on everything - but I have been busy.  Still, somehow summer seemed to not want to end and then it got COLD all at once, hardly any autumn at all.  The trees were caught totally surprised - most of them here had not even begun to turn color yet.  I don't remember an autumn like this, it was truly strange and rather scary.  We got a series of hard freezes and even a nasty storm of sleet/snow one day with 40-50 mph winds:


That's my backyard.  Fortunately, I did catch a few breaks in the weather before this storm hit to get everything out back put away for the winter.  Wowsers.  This storm happened toward the beginning of November.

So, I turned my sights inward - specifically, toward Christmas decorating.  One of the ways I manage to survive the stretch of the march of ever-shortening days toward the Winter Solstice (December 21 this year) is to surround myself with candles galore and lots of fires in my gel-fuel fireplace.  That has been such a great investment.  It burns absolutely clean, no air pollution and no need to vent it outside.  When I use 3 cans of gel fuel to make a fire (I usually only use 1 or 2), it generates 4500 BTUs of heat.  I do that during the coldest days of the year, when even with the heat on and the furnace seeming to kick in every 20 minutes I still feel COLD inside the house.  And I do that as it gets closer to Christmas.

So, this year, instead of moving the sofa into the only spot that logically makes sense to put it (with its back toward the entry way into the dinette, looking toward the large picture window where the tree will be centered, I decided to try a different arrangement.  It took me a good week to decide it was okay enough to leave it.  A few shots of the new arrangement for Christmas season:




I'll have to scootch the wing chair over and angle it closer to the fireplace, which will be just fine with moi, to make enough room for the tree in front of the picture window.

This year, I also took down all my previous curtain arrangements and put up those 92" long sheers that are budget-saving Ikea.  They used to hang as backdrop curtains in my bedroom, where I have two long narrow "ranch" windows that meet in a corner of the room.  I replaced them earlier this year with inexpensive sheets from Ikea that I added a hem to to thread the curtain rod through.  Easy peasy with iron-on hemming tape.  They added a little more opaqueness behind the front layer of curtains, also from Ikea. 

Those sheers now in the living room let in a ton of light and it has made a tremendous different in the light level in the house.  I am loving it.  I only put one curtain on either side of the fireplace because the window is narrow and tall and people cannot see much of the room when passing by that side of the house other than the upper walls and ceiling.  I also like the poofy effect of the excess material on the floor (which you can't see in any of the photos, drat).

The picture window, however, is ginormous and for me, privacy is a problem and a must-have.  One can see the entire living room all the way back through the patio doors into the back yard from the front sidewalk.  I could probably add a few more panels for some extra privacy from the eyes of passers-by, but I don't light up the room at night with lamps, only candles and the occasional fire, and sometimes I have the TV on.  I've done the privacy test from the outside and you really can't see a whole lot.  It's not like I run around naked anyway, har :)  During Christmas season, once the tree is up and decorated the curtains will be drawn back but the tree blocks the view into the room, creating plenty of privacy. 

This new temporary furniture arrangement focuses on the fireplace:



It gives me plenty of cozying up in a wing chair with a good book when I have a fire going while still enjoying the tree, and the sofa to stretch out on (it is used only for my naps when I am not entertaining).  So, the living room is ready - to be decorated.  The sofa table normally sits in front of the picture window behind the sofa, which is centered on the picture window wall when it's not Christmas. 

What's that you say?  Oh yeah, no tree yet.  I am working up to dragging it up from the basement.  Eleven steep, narrow steps.  Eleven steps that seem to stretch from China to here.  Every year for the past 3 years, it seems to get a bit harder to get the heavy tree up those stairs.  Hmmmm, wonder why that is.  The tree hasn't grown any larger ...

That said, I DO have the kitchen and dinette done!  Last year I did pretty minimalist decorating and did not even put out my beloved cardinal tree.  This year, I decorated in the dinette and even the kitchen more than ever, and I didn't even pull up the rich red and black traditional wool rug and hang the teal and red floral curtains on the patio door this year!  I felt it looked great just as it was. 

Pics:  Lots of cardinals everywhere.

 


Looking toward the back hall.  I open that door up when the Sun is shining to let in the
light and lots of solar gain.  That's the beginnings of a Christmas card tree on the far wall.
You can see a wreath complemented with a few cardinals, and also a cardinal camping out
(year round) inside the built-in display case.  The wreath replaced a pendulum clock.

Cardinal tapestry runner - a steal from Family Dollar a few years ago.  The deer are
composite finished to look like burnished wood, purchased at Walgreens on clearance
a few years ago.  They came with janky wreaths around their necks which I cut off.
The candlesticks are at least 30 years old, brass, I don't remember where I got them from,
I suspect it may have been Home Interiors.  The candles are battery-operated.

Okay, Blogger is acting all sort of wonky on me right now, so I'll try to put the rest of the pics in another post and see how that works.

2 comments:

  1. Jan,
    May I say that your house looks AMAZING!!!!!! I LOVE your color theme and all the beautiful pieces that you have chosen for your new home!! Stunning!!I am so glad that you are enjoying your retirement...
    Hugs,
    Deb

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    Replies
    1. Hi Deb, I hope you and Joe had a wonderful Christmas and New Year's Eve celebration with your family and friends. You know how much I like so many elements of your designs and how you've transformed your house over the years. Probably by the time I think this place is finally "ready" I'll also be ready to sell up and go to an assisted living center (knock on wood that's not too soon!) I am very happy with it, though, I've been working more steadily on it the past few years. This year I hope I will get the kitchen countertops replaced and finally get my new backsplash installed, the rest will be painting the wood trim and I'm still dilly-dallying about whether to try and tackle painting the cabinets myself or hiring somebody younger and with the proper equipment (sprayer, for instance) to do it for me! We'll see. I'll be stopping by your blog again soon. My schedule is getting back to more normal with my blog visits, etc. and this winter is going to be a long and cold one!

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