Saturday, September 15, 2018

The Shape of a Week

One week ago today the house was officially put on the market.
Rooms were cleaned, carpets vacuumed and all traces of "us" removed.  The stage had been set.
Right away the showings began and we quickly established a routine to get all the blinds raised, lights on, personal items stashed, tote bag packed and scram.

Meanwhile, Brett's mom and sister had driven up from Florida for a visit.  Mid-week we took them into Charlotte to see our oldest son's downtown condo.  From his 15th floor, the signs of city living loom large and the skies had begun to darken.

Thing were looking very inviting around the pool until large raindrops sent us back indoors.

Back on the homefront the showings continued and a few offers trickled in.
With talk of a hurricane named Florence on the horizon we decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather on Thursday and have lunch on the patio.  The last of the watermelon tasted especially sweet on this late summer day.

Friday brought a 3rd offer and a request for a 2nd showing.
It also brought more warnings that Florence might make her presence known in our part of the state in the form of power outages and prolonged heavy rain.  It seemed like a good idea to stock up on groceries and water.  Since there were no afternoon showings I spent a few hours in the kitchen preparing a few things to keep us fed.  

The granola jar is stocked.
A loaf of banana bread awaits.
The flashlights, candles and oil lamps are handy.
Cars are filled with gas.
The last task will be filling the bathtub with water.  If the power were to go out, this water would be necessary for toilet flushing.

This morning the news coverage is heartbreaking to see so many areas along the coast being flooded. My prayers go out to the people who are being directly impacted and also to the many people who are working around the clock to help where they are needed most.  

Monday, August 27, 2018

Azaleas in August

Do you grow the Encore variety of azaleas?
When we re-landscaped the backyard a few years back, the plan included several of them.
Prior to that we had only spring bloomers.
So, while strolling through the garden this morning, I was caught off guard by them blooming their little hearts out.

For a brief moment I had to wonder whether it was April or August.  My mind still equates azaleas with Easter and springtime.
No matter the month they sure do make a beautiful statement.

Late summer also brings the blooming of the ornamental grasses.
This one also makes me think of springtime as it is called "Little Bunny".

As we prepare to hang the For Sale sign, I am appreciating the special attributes this home provided.  This view outside our bedroom window will be hard to leave.  I think I'll even miss the frog chorus that has become such a part of late spring and summer.
However, the time is right for a new place to call home and I look forward to blooming where I am planted.

Monday, August 13, 2018

A Visit to The New House

Sunday is the day we drive out to the new house to check progress.
Things are moving right along and yesterday I remembered to take some pictures.  
The driveway and windows are in.

I realize the building process may not be too exciting for some, but I'm recording it to look back on the process as it unfolded.
If this holds any appeal to you, I invite you to step through the front door and take a peek.

This week we were surprised to see all the drywall has now been installed.  Every time we visit the place is immaculate inside.
It's kind of hard to make sense of the whole layout at this point , but here we are a few steps into the front entry.
The large opening to the right is called a "flex room".  In other words, use it for whatever you want... a dining room, office, living room, etc.  
Just past this room is a small courtyard with the kitchen across from it on the left.  The long vertical piece you see on the left will be a large island.  
Past this area will be the family room on the right.
The kitchen table will sit in front of the door wall at the end of the picture.
Have I confused you yet ;).

Now, about that kitchen...
It's the room you are looking at here and the room that sold me on the floor plan.  Doesn't look like much now, I know.
The vertical piece in there is another island where the kitchen sink will be.  In the foreground (with my purse on it) is the location of the island previously mentioned.  This will become our new dining area.  No more formal dining room for us.  We're going casual this time around.

Family room view.
Fireplace coming soon.

Master bedroom window view.
I'm already picturing my reading chair positioned there.

By the time we finished checking things out yesterday we were nearly melting.  The heat and humidity continues!
While standing on the back patio I spotted this sign of things to come.


They are estimating our house to be ready for move in by late November - early December.

This house will be going on the market September 1st.  It may seem to you like I've been talking about this for ages and should be moved in by now.  Ha!  A lot has been going on behind the scenes with getting this one ready for selling and purging our belongings.  I think the end is in sight and, at this point, will be relieved when the For Sale sign goes up and order must be restored to the rooms.
It's been all consuming and that also explains why I haven't been commenting on your blogs much.  I try to keep up with what's happening out there in blogland but just can't let myself get too sidetracked or I'll never be done with the work at hand.
I hope you are all enjoying the waning days of summer.

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.