Thursday, February 15, 2018

Searching for Signs of Spring in the Garden

When the temperature rises to 75 degrees on a February day, there is only one place I want to be and that is in the garden.
These early gardening sessions are a good time to clean up limbs that have fallen, get a jump on the weeds while the ground is nice and moist and cut the old growth from the perennials.  It is also a wonderful opportunity to peek around for signs of spring.  Something many of us are craving right about now.
From inside the house I had noticed that some of the spring bulbs had started poking out of the ground.  It wasn't until I got out there that I see the hyacinths are forming their flower.  Oh joy!  I can hardly wait to take a whiff of that heavenly scent.

The hydrangeas had a surprise for me in the form of little green buds up and down their dormant looking branches.

What's this strange looking thing, you might ask.
Any guesses?
It is the big fat bud of a Lenten Rose.  This is something that would never be seen from indoors so I'm glad I went looking for it.  Many years I miss the blooming time entirely.  In this instance I was perched on a rock next to the pond (trying not to fall in) while holding the flower bud up with one hand and pressing the camera button with the other.  Amazing it came out at all.  Ha!
Now to remember to keep checking on it until the flower unfurls.

The anticipation builds upon spotting the daffodils almost ready to reveal their beauty once again.  It won't be long now.

Just when I thought it was a tad early for flowers, I spot these two peeking out from under an azalea bush.  Two tiny phlox.  I pause for a moment to appreciate their unique beauty.  Each little petal formed so perfectly with the lavender portion looking as though it had just been painted with a wee little brush.

"If you truly love Nature, you will find beauty everywhere."
- Vincent VanGogh

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Valentine's Day

~ Valentine's Greetings ~

I hope you are enjoying the day with someone you love or doing something that you love or, perhaps, enjoying a treat that you love.
Maybe all three.
Wouldn't that be lovely?

I loved each of these vintage Valentine's planters for many a Valentine's Day.  But now they have found their way to new homes across the USA through the magic of Ebay.

 It makes me happy to know that they have found new homes where they will be loved.  The first one up there was sold within an hour of being listed.  The buyer didn't even try to make an offer for a lower price.  Well, alrighty then.  
Glad to know that there is a market for my old treasures.
It kind of helps make parting with them a bit easier.


Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

As January Comes to an End

~ January 17, 2018~

Since snowfalls here are somewhat rare, I like to document them on my blog.  So, before January is over and done, here's a look at our winter wonderland.  It is long gone now, but it amounted to about six inches of the white stuff.  Very pretty while it lasted.

In other news we have started to tackle the realtor's list.
All wallpaper has left the building  house.
It had been a long time since we removed wallpaper.
Thanks to YouTube our memories were refreshed and Brett did a great job taking it down.  My offer to help was declined ; ).

Here you see the dining room paper lying in a heap.
We were pleased that it came down so easily.
The kitchen, dining room and powder room are back to the white walls we had when we moved in.
Yesterday we took the big step of signing up with a realtor.
I'm a bit hesitant to share that as it may be awhile until the house actually goes on the market.
We are currently waiting for a lot to become available in our future neighborhood.
Because the realtor has suggested a fair amount of updates, she felt it would be good to get things underway so that the house would be ready when we were ready to put it on the market.  We agreed.

The last time we moved it was 1999.
We were lucky that time because before the for sale sign went up our next door neighbor's mother bought the house.  That was the only other house we've had in our married life.
Things sure have changed in real estate since then.
On Monday the "stager" will come to make suggestions for paint colors, etc.  
As I've been decluttering and editing our belongings, it is starting to feel a bit stark around here.  I'm hesitant to add anything new until I hear what the stager has in mind.  I did, however, break down and buy the plant above.  It's called a "bird's nest fern".  I was told that new leaves come from the center and as they are forming they look like little eggs down in the nest.

If you look closely you might be able to see the little white dot down there.  I've got my fingers crossed that it will be a new leaf in the coming weeks.

Thinking that the laundry room needed a bit of life, I got this "rabbit's foot fern".  Have you ever seen them?  I grew one many years ago.  That little thing hanging down in front looks and feels a bit like a rabbit foot and little fern fronds sprout from it.
Houseplants tend to make the wait for gardening season a bit more tolerable.  

Monday, January 8, 2018

A Fresh New Start

Well, I can finally say that every last Christmas decoration is tucked away until next year.  Even more exciting than that is that the attic where they are stored has been thoroughly cleaned and organized.  I'd show you a picture, but it's a tad chilly in there at the moment.  I'm proud to report that there are now seven empty bins residing there.  
We spent the weekend on that followed by a thorough cleaning of the house.  It feels good to start the year off on a clean and tidy note.

As we have been looking at new home choices, it has become clear that some of the things in our 18+ year old home need to be updated.
Recently the walls in the great room and upstairs hallway were painted a light gray.  A few new canvas prints were added to freshen the look a bit.
This morning we met with a realtor just to get an idea of what the house might sell for.  He made a few suggestions for further updates.  A bit more painting is in order and the removal and re-paint of the dining room.  Apparently wallpaper is still not a desirable thing to prospective buyers.  He also suggested replacing the tile kitchen counters with granite or marble.  I'm thinking once we make all of these changes we'll want to stay put.  Ha!
We're planning to talk to a few more realtors and get the general consensus of exactly which updates are really necessary.
In the meantime I'll be working my way through this:

The 75 item checklist the realtor left for us.
Should keep me busy for awhile ; ).

Sunday, December 31, 2017

A Sweet and Enjoyable Christmas

My Christmas cookie baking got started a little late this year.
As thoughts of which ones would be required baking despite the late start, I polled the family for their favorite "it won't be Christmas without..." choices.  Peanut Blossoms are always a unanimous favorite.  In my 36 years of marriage they have been as much a part of Christmas as decorating the tree.  It seems it wouldn't be Christmas without them.

When I polled grandson Jaxson for his favorite, he promptly replied "Santa and reindeer cookies".
That took a bit of thought on my part as I haven't made cut out sugar cookies since my boys were little.
Good thing I haven't been able to part with those vintage red cookie cutters.
I must admit once I got started baking them, it was a whole lotta fun decorating them.
Far from Pinterest worthy, they brought back memories of simpler times.

That freshly painted laundry room proved to be the ideal spot for arranging and storing the Christmas day platters.
The only thing in the room is the washer and dryer leaving plenty of space to spread out.

I even used a corner of the counter to hide the goods, although it wasn't long until my hiding spot was discovered.

It gives me great pleasure to carry on the Christmas cookie baking traditions my mom began so many years ago.
Some of her recipes carry on.  Others remain in her handwriting on the recipe cards.  I like to keep the old favorites and also try a few new ones.
New to me this year is the candy shown above on the pedestal dish.
When I saw the recipe for Peanut Chews on the Mennonite Girls Can Cook blog, I was intrigued by the use of honey in the recipe.
It proved to be a very simple recipe that can be made ahead.
It was a big hit with our crew.

On this final day of December, I wanted to document a few thoughts about Christmas 2017.  The only thing is, after the cookies were baked it seems I set the camera down and just lived in the moment.  Oh, there was that split second on Christmas day that I thought I should be taking pictures.  The result wasn't worth the time to me so I just continued to absorb and enjoy the holiday as it enfolded.
I hope that your holiday season has been a memorable one.
As we look forward to a new year, may it bring to you
good health, peace and happiness.


 Stay warm & safe,

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Unconditional Love in a Fur Coat

Thank you to those of you who took the time to enlighten me on your photo storage methods.  I've decided to store my photos for blogging on the computer.  I'll just have to play around with the editing as it is different than what I did in Picassa.  Sounds like a good project for the new year. 
Anyhow, in revisiting many of my old blog photos, it has occurred to me that a blog is many things.
A place to share with others, a way to appreciate the small things in life, a place to record events in your daily life and perhaps, most important of all, a place to share what's on your mind or in your heart.  On that note, a bit from the heart tonight. . .

This photo from the archives took me right back to this post.
Usually a good sport about her occasional blog features, there were limits :).

She much preferred keeping an eye on my blogging antics from her perch on the top of the chair.

In truth, she was usually happiest cuddled up in snooze mode.

When not snoozing, she was always up for a boat ride.

Walks were always welcomed, no matter what the season.

Swimming... not so much.
Tried it once and couldn't get out of that lake fast enough.

One can learn a lot from their doggy.
Peanut has taught me a few things about being a loyal companion and faithful friend.
I have come to think of her as being unconditional love in a fur coat.  

And, if you are ready to take a break to read a few chapters or catch a few zzzz's, she's your go to gal.  

Christmas has always been her favorite holiday.
It didn't take long for her to catch on to pulling the tissue paper out of the gift bag to reveal her Christmas treat.
A little custom that was soon to be woven into the family traditions.

As much as we had hoped for one more year of that tradition, it wasn't to be.
Peanut's health took a sudden turn.
It didn't take long for us to see that her time had come.
Yesterday, we put on our brave faces and took one last photo by the Christmas tree.

And one last photo at the vet's office.
One last teary hug for our dear pup.

Peanut lived a long and happy life.
Just before her 15th birthday she was diagnosed with kidney failure.  We were lucky and blessed to have had her for another 9 months after that.  The vet was quite surprised that she did that well.

She will be greatly missed around here, but there is comfort in knowing that she is now at peace.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

There's This and Then There's That...

Before December is a mere memory, I resolved to blow the dust off the blog and join the holiday merriment that is such a fun time in blogland.
The problem is, things are a wee bit different this year.
First of all, there's this:
With the downsizing frame of mind I am in, there's nothing new to see in the decorating department.  In fact many of my vintage treasures are finding new homes through Ebay or thrift shop donations. Shocking, isn't it?  When I began my blog in 2009 the thrifty treasures were a big part of what I was all about.

We are in the process of having some rooms repainted.
Most recently it was the laundry room.
In preparation for the painting, I removed everything but the appliances from the room.  The painting was finished days ago, yet I have no desire to return anything to the room.
It's been so nice to be able to work in there without  working around stuff on the counters, the top of the dryer, the floor, etc.
Yesterday I edited the vintage laundry room collection.
It doesn't seem like it was that long ago that I was blogging about those collections.  Now, I'm nearly embracing the minimalist lifestyle.  Ha!  
All this to say, will anybody who's been reading my blog all these years be interested in this pared down home?
So... there's that.

Most concerning of all, there's this:

It was necessary for us to get a new laptop.
All data from the old computer was transferred to the new.
Although, it took me awhile to find where they hid the photos I use for blogging.
Since day one, I stored them by month and year in Picassa.
When I began my blog and had no clue what I was doing, my son set up the Picassa account and that was the only way I knew to get photos from the camera to the blog.  It worked great for all these years.
Picassa is nowhere to be found on the new computer.
The photos are there, but I have to click the month and year to see what's in there.  With Picassa the photos were all there at a glance.
It seems that Google has done away with Picassa.  They said some of my photos can be found elsewhere.  I went there and found some, but they were in no kind of organized order.  Grrrr.....
So, it seems I will need to figure out how to do the picture thing again.

Despite all of the this and that's excuses,
the joy of the season is still happening all around us.
It's been kind of a fun challenge to pare down and re-think the old.
Not sure how fun the challenge of organizing blogging photos will be, however.  If you'd care to share your method for blog photo organization, I'd love to hear.  After you take your photos, what's the next step?  I'm sure my Picassa method is outdated by now, but it worked for me.  Often I find the new methods really are more efficient, it's just a matter of knowing how to do them.

On that note, I wish you a lovely day today.