Saturday, July 14, 2018

Houses, Homes and Home Sweet Home

While tugging on a weed below the bluebird house, I heard a bird come flying out.  In years past we would have been keeping better tabs on that little house.  By now we would have most likely seen a new little family come into the world.  This year, however, we've been preoccupied with all things moving related.
It was a welcome surprise to peek into the house and discover four little eggs.  I'll now pay closer attention as the new residents make this little birdhouse their home.

Inside the updating and sorting continues.
As we continue to purge our belongings and set the stage for the next owners, this house is feeling less like our home.
Surprisingly I am enjoying having my rooms minimally decorated.  Makes it easy to keep them dusted and vacuumed.  
Although, at times I still have the urge to move things around... you know... play!  But since the stager has recommended keeping things in place, I am resisting the urge. Ha!
There was one little spot that I hadn't figured out.
The area above the desk in the kitchen.  When she came to make her recommendations she looked up there and said to remove everything with color.  Once I did that I was left with nothing.
Color had been taking place up there for years as you can see here 
and here.
I pulled what few white things I could find from the cupboards and made a trip to Home Goods.  Not wanting to take anything to the new house that I won't be using, I made careful selections.
A couple of vases, a square white plate and the Welcome Home sign.  I'm hoping that by the time the prospective buyers read it they will already be picturing themselves living here.  Reading that will just be confirmation. :).

 Meanwhile, progress is being made on our next home.
Last week it was just a slab.
Now I am beginning to see Home Sweet Home.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Cookies and Convection Ovens

 I've been craving cookies for a few months now.
Homemade chocolate chip cookies with oatmeal and perhaps a few cherries thrown in for good measure.
For the most part I've been able to ignore the cravings.
That is until today.
A pop up thunderstorm created just the atmosphere for summer cookie baking.

I've been playing around with a new to me feature in ovens...
the convection feature.  It was a success with the cookies.
After all these years of using a plain old oven, I'm trying to decide when it is best to use the convection feature or is it best to always use it?  Just wondering if you have any thoughts on the matter?

I'd be happy to share a cookie with you.
Since that's not possible I'll do the next best thing.
Chocolate Chip Cherry Oatmeal Cookie recipe can be found here.


Monday, June 18, 2018

Post Vacation Garden Notes

Shortly before last week's vacation I snapped a picture in the side garden.  At that time the hostas and coreopsis were filling in nicely along the trail.  The hydrangeas were coming into bloom with the promise of their best show since planting them a few years ago.

While checking out post vacation progress this morning, I see that the hydrangeas and coreopsis are happily pulling a disappearing act on the stepping stones.

Shown from the opposite end of the trail.

The watering can that was hanging above the plant is now being swallowed up by it.  Yikes!  Looks like it's time to reposition the watering can or prune the plant.  Perhaps both.

Another hydrangea along the trail.
This one is also growing profusely and encroaching onto the stepping stones.  I'm content to bypass the path for awhile to enjoy the beauty.

I'm happy to see the purple coneflowers popping out.  They perform really well here which is something I need to remember for my next garden.  Our next garden will be teeny tiny so I am trying to stick to the plants that perform the best.

Our temperatures are supposed to be in the mid 90s for the next few days.  Laundry, closet cleaning and a bit of reading are scheduled for today.  I should pay a visit to the grocery store, but don't really feel like it.  Surprisingly my garden provided enough greens to fix a little salad for lunch or dinner.  I planted the lettuce from seed a little late in the season and was beginning to think there would be no harvest before the heat set in.  

Our travels took us through Georgia where a produce stand was set up right beside the gas station.  While he filled up the tank, I selected a pair of tomatoes and a small basket of fresh peaches.  I hope they taste as good as they smell.  I'm thinking it might be time to take that frozen pie crust out of the freezer and whip up a peach pie.  Come to think of it maybe those tomatoes could pair with the lettuce and the bacon in the freezer to whip up a BLT for dinner.
Now that that's settled it looks like I can postpone a grocery trip for another day or two ;).

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Kitchen Update ~ Before and After

 ~ Hello Hydrangea ~

Why does it seem that when a goodbye is on the horizon one's perception changes?
Things that once were taken for granted suddenly seem so endearing or important.
Now that our upcoming move is becoming a reality, I'm seeing some things in a different light.
Today it's the hydrangeas.
I don't think they've ever bloomed so profusely in the 19 years I have been tending them in this garden.  Although, it may also be that I haven't been appreciating them as much as I should have.
Either way, as this will be my last spring season in this garden, I plan to enjoy them in a big way with many bouquets.

This post isn't really about the hydrangeas.
I'm popping in with a moving update and a kitchen update.
We have now officially purchased a lot in our new neighborhood.
Next week we will be making decisions on all that goes into a new house and soon it will be time to put this one on the market.
The updates are just about complete.
Not too long ago I shared the kitchen demo in this post.
Just before the counters were demolished, I snapped the above picture showing the bar counter above the kitchen sink in all of it's blue tile glory.

 Here you see the new counter.
It was recommended that we do away with the bar height counter.
We chose white quartz countertops with a bit of grey veining throughout.  

 We are pleased with the way the light reflects off of the countertops and the view has opened up to the outside.
I also don't miss the grout lines one little bit.
These countertops are so easy to wipe up and keep clean.
I loved my blue and white kitchen for many years.

 Now I am loving an updated, less cluttered kitchen.
The white appliances have been replaced with stainless steel.
Surprisingly all of the appliances were still in good working order and have found new homes.
The cabinet and drawer pulls have been changed to brushed nickel.
The yellow wallpaper was removed and the walls have been painted Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray.

 The blue tile backsplash was replaced with subway tile.

 When we replaced the refrigerator, we decided on a model with the freezer on the bottom.  This was quite a change from the side by side we have had for years and years.  I must say that I LOVE this refrigerator.  

Though most of my kitchen "knick knacks" have been packed away, given away or sold, I'm having fun playing with a few select pieces that I think look nice with the updated look.
This particular pattern lends a touch of the old with the new and I think that's just the look I'm after in the next house.


Thursday, April 26, 2018

A Dream(y) Getaway

Hello there.
Just dreaming a bit today about the ideal getaway.

When given the opportunity, my preference will almost always lean towards the country vs. the city.
Point me towards rolling green hills dotted with cows and farmhouses and I'm a happy camper.

Breakfast outdoors on a cool spring morning sounds delightful.

If that outdoor breakfast includes a bit of birdsong and a view like this, well just plant me there and keep the coffee cup filled :).

Although, with a bit of coaxing, I could be uprooted for a hike in the great outdoors.  If that hike involved a waterfall, I'd have my hiking shoes on in an instant.

After an afternoon hike, it would be most delightful to head into the nearest small town and discover a new restaurant to try out.
These smiling faces across the table would bring me great joy.

So, imagine my surprise when I was recently told to pack for two nights.
Casual clothes and comfortable shoes were all I was told to bring.
It seemed Brett and I were headed for a wee getaway.

Little did I know that he and the boys had been hatching a plan.
One that included a three hour drive into the NC mountains where the countryside rolled, the cows mooed and the rivers rushed.
After winding our way down a hill the car came to a halt at this charming log cabin.  

Part of the plan was to fly my grandson and his Dad in to be part of the getaway.  He was happy to try out the chair right outside the front door.  A perfect fit I might add.

Just inside the door sat this sign.
This cabin was recently built and so nicely decorated.
In fact, if I were still dreaming, this would be the cabin of my dreams.
Apparently my family knows me well.

 Right down to my preference in cake flavors ;D.
They thought of everything.
Party hat, cake, balloon, gifts.
I honestly couldn't dream up a nicer getaway.
A very nice way to usher in a new decade.

The lower level of the cabin offered an ideal spot for family fun time.
I don't think I've shot a game of pool since I was in high school.
How nice to try again while introducing Jaxson to the game.
He delighted in chalking up the cues and helping Grandpa make the shot.

Another sign in the cabin.
this sounds like a good motto going forward.

*all photos from the real getaway.  Elevating dreams to dreamy! 

Sunday, April 8, 2018

If Every Picture Tells a Story . . .

Welcome to my home.
Please don't trip over the appliances in the foyer.
I'd love to be able to serve you a meal at the dining room table.
However, it is currently loaded with the contents of the kitchen cupboards.

I'd offer you a seat in the family room, but fear you could injure yourself trying to get to that seat.
Doesn't everybody store their kitchen drawers on the floor ; )?

 It would be nice if I could at least offer you a glass of water or a cup of coffee or tea.  That is a bit impossible at the moment as the kitchen sink and faucet have left the building.  Oh my!

Perhaps the story this picture tells is the reason for my extended absence from the blog.
My blogging desk has also left the building.  
This morning I was able to unearth the laptop to pop in for a little update.
The process of updating the house to get it ready for selling is well underway.
Each day brings a new area being tackled.
Things are beginning to take shape and I sometimes wonder whose house I'm in when I get up in the morning.
I'm hoping to be able to share a few before and afters in a future post.
In the meantime, I hope you are all doing well.
When things slow down a bit I plan to get back to regular blog visiting.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Flower Bulbs and Treasured Books

Nothing like a stretch of warm days to coax those bulbs to send forth their beautiful flowers.

With our thoughts turned to getting this house ready to sell, this very well could be the last spring we spend here.  With that in mind I am planning to enjoy each season in this garden.  Yesterday I gathered a daffodil bouquet for the table, a hyacinth bouquet above the sink and one little sprig of quince to force near the kitchen sink.
In all my years of gardening I have never forced spring blooms in the house.  I think it's time to give it a go.

This moving process is an interesting journey.
When the stager came she suggested removing almost everything from the living room.  Coffee table, side tables, all knick knacks, everything on the walls except a large mirror, throw pillows, fireplace screen and everything on the mantle GONE.  I was, however, relieved to know that the books were allowed to stay in the bookcases :).

Although I did spend a recent afternoon editing my book collection, there are still many that I don't want to part with.  That 10,000 Garden Questions above was a recent thrift shop find.  While it's not likely I will consult it with my gardening questions, the illustrations on the spine make my heart sing.

Two books to the left of that one sits Familiar Wild Flowers.
A very old book filled with illustrations like this.  So beautiful.  Sometimes I just like to curl up in a comfy chair and look through them.
The afternoon I spent editing our book collection yielded 4 boxes and 3 bags for donation.  Yikes, I just might be a book hoarder!
When we moved into this house built in bookcases were a top priority.  I hope to find room for some bookcases in the next house, but I doubt there will be as many as we have here.  Hence, the need to edit.

While touring a model home recently we came upon this headboard idea.  That looks like a super cozy spot for reading.  Come to think of it, it might also be a good idea for recycling some of those extra books.