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

Thursday, January 19, 2017

What About That Back Hall Mess - It's DISAPPEARED!

Hola darlings!

I resolved to do something today about that back hall mess that I (and guests) can see when sitting at my dining table.  I wrote about in December.  As I'm trying to gussy-up the place as I work on the kitchen redo, I wanted to come up with an easy and inexpensive way to hide the mess.

I'd been stewing on it for awhile, plowing through Pinterest for ideas, shopping online, looking at all different sorts of put-together closet storage solutions, armoirs, etc. and all cost more than I wanted to spend.  The ridiculous part is -- I believe I had mentioned just hanging a curtain on a rod back in December -- and then proceeded to ignore this simplest and least expensive idea!

Finally, sick of looking at it as I sat hacking through my income tax returns with a machete, today I had enough!  ENOUGH!  I took a short walk to the Family Dollar near me and bought a tension rod that I knew would fit.  Within a few minutes after I got back home and unwrapped the rod, voila!  The mess was hidden away.  I should have done this a long time ago, duh!

Now you see it:


And now you don't!


It doesn't get much simpler than this.  I think I'll press the curtain, though.  Maybe shop for something a bit more "elegant."   This is one of the curtains that was taken down from my Shezebo outside when I winterized it.  It's a little hard to tell in the photo, but the stripe colors are darker and ligher grey, cream, blue, a sort of goldish olive green -- all colors that "go" with the colors used in both the kitchen/dining area and the back hall.  The rings make it super-easy to move the curtain back and forth on the rod and one curtain fits the opening just fine.

I keep staring at it, LOL.  I think I'm in love...

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Kitchen Reno: Big Bad Blank Wall and What I Did (Am Doing) About It

Hola everyone!  I hope you all had a wonderful holiday, whichever one you celebrate. This year Christmas, Hannukah and Kwaanzi all seemed to converge around the same time.  There are always the Winter Solstice celebrations, too, which are probably the most ancient of all.  I always look forward to the day on the calendar when I can mark off that daylight STARTS EARLIER AND LASTS LONGER once again!

That big blank wall staring me in the face every time I walk into my kitchen/dinette area (constantly, it seems) and have tried to avoid looking at --


it didn't exist in quite this form (and was covered up by the fridge) before I had the wall work done, but now POW, there it IS.

I'm not one to decorate every bare wall in my house, but this walls cried out to me for - something.

I dug through my stash of old picture frames and "art" in the basement - several times - and thought I had a plan.  But I ditched it.  The 24 x 36 framed print of a 17th century Dutch still life of flowers against a black background just didn't seem "right" for the space, somehow.  The scale was off, the mood was off, veering too much toward the traditional.

After more pondering and looking around online for abstract art posters (when did posters get so expensive?), I window-shopped online for "marble/mineral" look wrapping paper or wallpaper in tones of gold/grey/white/black.  I found beautiful hand-made papers at Mulberry Paper.  But I didn't want to order and have to wait, then get frames or figure out what I was going to do for frames or not, etc.

So, I continued to poke around my house and online looking for ideas. WHAT can I use?  I ended up using an idea I had used in the living room, just on the other side of that bare kitchen wall.  I used mirrors I had on hand, and borrowed three mirrors from the mirror arrangement from the living room.  That was taken down in preparation for the wall work done.  After I finish painting the patched drywall in the living room, I will make a new arrangement with the remaining living room mirrors.

This is what I ended up with (the borrowed mirrors are the two end mirrors in the top row and the large mirror in the center):



After looking at it for awhile, I lowered the two square mirrors in the bottom row to better even out the spacing so that it matches that in the top row. Turns out the square mirrors are 9" square and the small round mirrors are all about 10" in diameter.  The adjustment made all the difference in how the arrangement looks but I haven't taken a new picture of it yet.

The bookcase I ordered (with two doors on the bottom) arrived on December 22nd and has been hanging out against a wall in my rarely used front entrance, waiting for the living room to be put back to its normal arrangement.  That will clear floor space for me to unpack the box and wrestle with putting the unit together.

The bookcase will eventually have its back against the side of the fridge, and will "just fit" the width and height of the fridge.  It's white, which will be the color of the cabinets when they've been painted.  The two bottom shelves will provide covered storage for my squirrels' nuts and birdseed and the upper shelves will provide space for my cookbooks, my wood canister set, and display of some of my favorite glass and china pieces.

It's coming along!