April 6, 2019:


The income taxes are finished and were taken to the Post Office yesterday to send out via certified mail, which now costs nearly $16 for two 8 1/2 11 envelopes with return receipt. Yikes! But worth it because I have proof positive once I get the little green cards back that the returns were delivered and received. And just in case, there are tracking numbers that I can also tap the U.S. Post Office for to verify that delivery was made. In these times, it's better to be safe than sorry

I have been working in little bits and pieces outdoors whenever a window in our crappy weather has presented itself. Today, however, was the first day where I was able to spend an extended period of time outside. First, I cleaned up areas on the sidewalk and driveway along the edges where pine cones and branches tiny branches blown off during the seemingly wind storms we endured over fall and winter 2018-2019. After resting for a bit, and removing the winter hat, gloves and jacket, I moved to the back yard because I'm sick of feeling sick to my stomach every time I look at it through the patio doors in the dining room and window above the kitchen sink. This winter left it a true disaster zone. I worked steadily raking small areas and filled two trash can size black trash bags full of debris blown down from my arborvitaes and neighboring trees over the winter, in addition to about half a ton of nut shells. The nut shells are my fault because I feed all the neighborhood squirrels. They are so entertaining, and very smart! I also made a small dent in starting clean-up of the flower beds, where the "mild" (ahem) weather and thawed earth has encourages perennials to start popping through, whether I'm ready for them or not!

All in all, a somewhat decent start to making a larger dent in clean-up operations. I worked outdoors about 4 hours off and on. I didn't want to overdo it, and truth be told, I'm pooped! It's humbling to not be able to work as long or as hard as I used to. I can get it done, but I have to take lots of rest breaks so it takes quite a bit longer now. Good thing I'm retired


Monday, June 10, 2013

Gallery Wall: I Think I Finally Got It (Nearly) Right

Hola darlings!

For months I've been working on and off, trying to create a gallery wall on the one area in my dinette crying out for it.  It is the east wall and sits on the other side of my smallish dinette area opposite the sliding patio door to my deck and backyard. 

For years it held three simply framed Chinese silk embroidered panels with two candle sconces on either side across the top third of the wall.

Here is one of my posts on the subject, from back in February, 2013.  It starts out with a photograph of the totally stripped-down wall with only seven items on it.  The photo below is what I more or less ended up with during that time:

Well, it was better than the bare nekked wall I was faced with after removing everything that had been hanging up there for years!  By the end of that post I was pretty satisfied with the collage I'd put up on the wall after many struggles to try and get it all balanced out.

Then, in March, I threw a wrench into the works when I bought a Queen Anne style console table from my youngest sister and her hubby, who sold their house and moved up north (northern Wisconsin, that's what we call it here in southeastern Milwaukee County, LOL!)  Suddenly, my nearly to the floor wall arrangement wasn't going to work because I wanted to put the console table on that wall!   Console Table Design Inspirations. 

Some major switcherooing occurred.  I had been struggling with the "balance" thing.  So many of the largest photographs had ended up at the top of the arrangement and then down at the bottom I had all these 5x7 photos in smallish frames and it just wasn't working right!  So, I kept switching things around and around, and totally aerated the wall with lots and lots of nail holes (most of which have since been filled in).  I think I got on the right track when I moved out the square framed mirror bought on clearance from Target and added an already-owned round mirror with small candle sconces on either side.  That note of formality and symmetry made me feel more comfortable. The black finish on the metal candle holders gives a nod to the black furnishings in the family room, which is fully visible and wide open to the dinette area and gallery wall.

Maybe in the back of my mind I had this gallery wall in mind, from an article I posted back in July, 2012, on "the chartreuse apartment."  Drop dead gorgeous!  And I was much struck by how so many big paintings and such were at the TOP of the arrangement.  Of course, their walls are a lot taller than my eight foot walls.  Scale is everything!  But something to strive for -- that look! 

Which brings me back to today.  Within the confines of my eight foot tall walls and limited space, and with the addition of my sis' lovely Queen Anne console table, here is the new and improved and, hopefully, will stay for awhile gallery wall of my family and friends.  These photographs were taken from various positions around the dinette table underneath my vintage chandy (you can see part of it intruding into the first photo below, in the upper right hand corner -- looks sort of like a bullet, actually):

The photo above was taken in the early evening; it was overcast yesterday and the lamp cast a homey glow that just made me feel like I was being hugged as I sat here working on my trusty old Toshiba laptop (it had been outside with me earlier, at the patio table).

Here you can get a sense of the intimate scale of Maison Newton.  A short hall to the left holds the door to the basement, the door to bath/powder room (it has a full-size shower so it counts as a second bathroom), and the open staircase to the upstairs, overlooking the front room, which has beautiful round-topped window, the fireplace, and a sloped ceiling from first floor all the way up to the second floor that runs across the back of the house.  On the right you get a glimpse into the family room. 

You can see more of my vintage chandy (from my first house, an art-deco era brick bungalow bought in 1986) in this photo, in the upper left corner and partially reflected in the mirror!  In the lower right hand corner on the gallery wall is a rose of remembrance that is very special to me. To balance it out in the awkward upper left corner (see photo 2 above) that didn't have enough space to anchor another photograph but needed something, I added a copper and brass floral purchased from Home Interiors many moons ago.  You can't see it in this photo!  Check it out in photo 2. 

As you can see, I was working around a light switch and a thermostat.  I tried to blend them in as much as possible while not obstructing easy access, especially to the light switch, which controls the center ceiling light fixtures in the kitchen and dinette. 

I am so very happy right now, sitting here working on my Toshiba laptop still not moved back to the front room desk and admiring my gallery wall -- a wall of incredible memories -- as the sun is slowly setting in the west, shining through my patio doors.

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