Saturday, March 27, 2010

Step by Step

Hi, Jules!

I am getting there with my little project.  I would have gotten farther but last weekend Winter returned and the sudden snow storm knocked me off my form.  I just sat by the fire and knitted.  My shawl will be the topic in a future post.

Last night tho' after a lovely couple of hours out in the warm afternoon I began to work on the floor.  It is simply amazing how quickly I fixed the big mess that the leaking trash committed.  So amazing that I can't figure out why I didn't fix it long ago.  Let's not talk about how long 'cuz it would be embarrassing.

I sanded the spot and then repainted and then repainted  some of the adjacent squares and then Jack, the cocker spaniel, walked through one the wet squares and made white foot prints in the adjacent gray squares.  I caught them quickly enough to clean up all but one, where a bit remains, but I am going to repaint the gray squares as well anyway, so no biggy! 

In the pictures the newly painted squares look whiter and duller than the older squares.  One thing explains both.  When I put the finish coat on it mellows out the white and obviously makes it shiner.  I tried oil based finish coat in the very beginning of the project years ago thinking that it would last longer, but it made the colors SO yellow that I decided to go with latex.

Here is a question for you.  I have a wood quarter round running around the perimeter of the dining room.  It is just stained wood.  I sort of painted a section of it last night to see if I would like it better.  Yes, sometimes I experiment cavalierly.  Do you have an opinion after looking at the pictures?

Okay, moving forward on this project.  This weekend I intend to complete the cornice board for over the window and I will have pictures of my progress on that.  More painting will take place on the floor and some finish coats as well.  So...keep watching and ...

Thanks for visiting,


Thursday, March 18, 2010

While You Were Away ...

Jules, while you are off trying to relax in sunny Florida, I am here slaving away at my computer.  Well, not really slaving, actually ... enjoying.  I have been reading a lot of blogs and have come up with some ideas for ours.  In addition tho' I have been inspired to get my so called dining room back into shape.  I know that you are the actual interior designer amongst us, but I am going to refurbish my dining room/sitting area.  I don't really need a dining room, 'cuz there is just one of me and I eat where ever I want to.  'Cuz I am the queen of my castle, and because just sitting and eating seems to be such a waste of my multi-tasking capabilities. Ugh!

My "Sitting Area"  is in need of a few things. 

No.1:  I need to fix the floor.  I painted the floor a few years ago as I am sure you remember, and then one day I left a garbage bag on the floor overnight on its way out to the garbage.  Now I know that isn't a very attractive addition to my decor, but even worse was the result.  It looked as if my garbage had paint thinner in it.  Which I promise you it didn't.  I am afraid to think about what substance I was putting into my body that could leak out of a plastic garbage bag and remove paint from wood, but apparently it's delicious because I couldn't figure out for the life of me what would have caused this mess. 

No.2:  I pulled the ribbon cornice treatment down from the walls a couple of month ago.  The glue that I used to put it up there had bled through over the years.  I thought that the idea for a fix would strike me as soon as I saw the resulting ugliness...not so much...I am still working on an idea, but I think it is just under the surface and it will come bubbling to the top any day now. 

No. 3:  I am going to use the table cloth that I found at TJ Maxx a few years ago to make a sort of cornice board.  The colors are just right as you can see I have been testing them at the window for a few weeks now.  

No. 4: Will be slipcovers for the furniture, or at least the look of slipcovers that quilts might supply.  We will see.

So, here's the plan.  The before pictures are in this post (I will just have to live with the shame) and then over the next couple of weeks (or months) I will show the progress and then the final result.  You can comment along the way.    Remember I am not doing a total makeover, just a refurbishment. :o)

You should start a vegetable garden and then I could comment on that.  What do you say????

The Reward!

Car travel, it always takes longer than you think. We figured it would be 7 1/2 hours the first day and the same the second. Compared to many of my car trips, that sounded like a piece of cake. Well, the first day we got into our hotel and the kids bedded down by about 11:30. The second day we were up and at 'em. But, an hour on the road for lunch, an extra stop here and there with necessities and then two wrecks a half hour apart on the interstate extended the day considerably. I had visions of being at the beach by 4 or so in the afternoon and settling in to watch the sunset with dinner close by. Well, we arrived at the only Wal-Mart within driving distance of our house about 6:40. I suggested that we make this a short stop, everyone hurry and be done with the well conceived list in 40 minutes. The three adults and two children who stayed to complete the task were all on board. Three giant shopping carts loaded to the gills and 2 hours later we were finally trying to cram the groceries in and around our feet, our luggage, the kids games and on top of and under our pillows and head to the house. The last 40 minutes was pitch black and I'm sure that it would have been beautiful it we could have seen it. That 4 in the afternoon was 9:00 p.m. (With day light savings time, (who likes that anyway) it was 10:00 p.m.)

The one great thing at the end of the journey- this house. It really is fabulous. Any one who wants to stay on Alligator Point in Florida should stay here. It is fantastic. Not only is it on the beach, decorated beautifully, complete with hardwood floors and granite countertops everywhere, but it has lots of sitting areas that give you a postcard view of the ocean, and big bedrooms and baths that are great. Fortunately, dinner was waiting for us from my friend's parents who did arrive early and we couldn't eat it fast enough after no fewer than twenty five trips to unload the car with the luggage and the groceries. I don't think we'll starve any time soon.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Travails of Traveling

Hi Bud,

Since I was a child, I loved car trips. Every year my parents would pile all of us into the car, in what seemed like the middle of the night, and leave for vacation. We thought leaving so early was half the fun and certainly a family ritual. The reality of that early start was -- once we were amazed that the whole town looked different at 4:00 a.m., and we were up only once a year that early, us kids would settle down with a blanket and a pillow in about, oh say, 30 minutes, and leave the driving to my parents. Literally, I was an adult before I realized you could leave for a trip at any other time of the day.

In my adult life, I have taken many a car trip - back east, north, around Europe, south and some west. Thousands of miles on different roads, seeing different things, is part of my trip memories. It's been years though, since I've climbed in the car for very long. It seems that with careers and responsbilities come the pressure of time and the necessity of getting there quickly, enjoying as much as you can in the limited time you have, and getting home to start the routine of life again. Don't get me wrong, plane travel is a marvel. And, in nearly every way, a big blessing. But in some real ways I have missed seeing the country side a mile at a time and enjoying the commaradarie of being with people for that time.

Last August my friends and I decided to take their 7 year old twins and go to Florida for Spring Break this week. Growing up, we didn't have spring break, and so it hasn't really been on my radar screen. But, I've heard so many people talk about going to Destin for Spring Break that that seemed like the destination. Well, to make a long story short, we decided on Alligator Point, East of Destin, more secluded and less "Spring Break" like. 7 year olds don't fit in that kind of a scene, and frankly, neither do we. After enormous research, we rented a house right on the beach.

Life has seemed hectic lately, and a week at the beach, a lesisurely car trip there and back, seemed just the ticket. The nature of the trip changed multiple times before we left and as it happened, another family with two small children joined us and a family we know from home, but staying a mile from us, brought a terrific 14 yrd old, yes, she is an anomaly, who is also with us, as well as my friend's parents who joined us from another state. There are 12 of us. Fortunately, we rented a home that accommodates us all really well.

What is it about trying to get out of town that is so crazy???!!! It gives one pause really. Any time you plan a trip, part of that trip is putting up with the exhausting effort of leaving town. Things often go awry even as you're getting ready. One trip to New York a friend tore her retina the day before we left and we stayed home as she endured surgery instead of doing Broadway. Last month I went for a week-end only to discover that my friend on that trip got strep throat the day we left and in our efforts to change our trip, we finally just put a mask on her and got on the plane. I just knew that car travel would be easier and much more relaxing. Well, that is a myth. The one good thing is no hard and fast time to leave and no security to pass through and everything you take doesn't HAVE to fit in those little bottles and be closed up in nice neat bags.

Just the same, my friend hurt her back 48 hrs before we left and once again threw everything into disarray. We decided on a number of scenarios between me driving the 7 year olds out and she flying with her husband, to me flying with her and....In the end, we poured her into the car, several hours after our 'set' leaving time, and drove away. Did I mention it was not 4 o'clock in the morning? It was 3 in the afternoon. The first day out, it didn't take that long before it was dark. I always seem to have a driving turn in the dark. I don't mind it really.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Have You Seen Google's New Bike Path Map

Jules, in keeping with your bicycling theme, I have come across a really cool new thing on Google.  Bike path shock since that is what the title says, but anyway!  Click on the link and check it out.  The good news is we used the exact route that the map would have indicated on our last bike ride.  The bad news is the route was only 3.9 miles and I almost didn't make it.  This could point out a difficiency in my goals for this year, because I don't seem to remember coming up with one for exercise or endurance.  Augh!  There's always next year's goals.

On to other news -- We are having beautiful weather here this weekend so I will be spending most of my day in the garden!   Because of the beautiful weather I went the easy route on our big weekend meal and made Spaghetti and Meatballs.  I also whipped up a little garlic and Rosemary butter for toast to go with~  I used an attachment to my ...i don't know what it is called...but the wand thing, that has a small blade on the end of it, and you can stick it into glasses to whip things up, or into pans to whip things into gravy.  If I weren't so lazy I would get up and walk into the kitchen and read the side of it, but anyway....  I softened some butter put a little garlic power and Rosemary into this little, minature food processor sort of cup that comes with the wand thing, pressed the button a few times and *poof* I had a great flavored butter.  This making a large meal deal every weekend is turning me into a chef. Yeah!

Talk to you when you get back from your trip.  Can't wait to hear about it.

Thanks for visiting,


                             Of course, there was only one picture that I could have possibly put with this post!

                                     She is a thing of beauty. The Volkswagon Bug of bicycles!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Hi Bud

It was fun reading a few things you noted about our mutual interests and activities as well as our diversity over the past 20 plus years of friendship. As I read and chuckled at your thoughts I thought I would add a few of mine.

Do you remember those early days when we first were friends we did some serious cycling together. You had a Raleigh and I had a Trek touring bike and we'd hit the road after work every night. Contrast, if you will, the rides we took together just last summer. We both bought women's 'comfort bikes', hardly the look or feel of a serious cyclist, though sooooo much nicer than crunching over those low handlebars, and the seats, only about 5 inches wider than those skinny rails we were perched on. The only similarity for me between my touring bike and the new one--it's still a Trek. Yours is a great throw back to yester-year, complete with a basket and a bell. For sure I have a computer on mine, why I don't really know, since mileage and cycling times have become so irrelevant. We rode as fast as we wanted and as far as we wanted, and then stopped. Why didn't we do that years ago? I was still wearing cycling shorts, though my running shoes replaced the 'real' cycling shoes and you opted for capris. Funny thing though, 20 years later, different equipment, different abilities and, yet I still had a great time.

Now the other thing was the health club. We would go, swim, do the track and weight machines and swing through The Dog Stop on the way home. Really????? Hot Dogs! What were we thinking? I don't think a hot dog has passed my lips since those days, but I do remember them that with such fondness.

The one fun food treat of those early days that has stuck was the Marble Slab. I remember one of us would call and say, "let's meet at the Slab", and off we'd go. Didn't matter the temperature, warm summer nights or driving rain, it was always great. Nothing there has changed. Ice cream is still tops.

Everyone should have memories that span over 20 years.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Time to get accustomed . . .

Jules, has some great ideas for our blog, but I think that she needs a little time to get accustomed to putting her words down on....keyboard???

I on the otherhand have no problem blathering on!

I would like to discuss mashed potatoes today! 

I have started making one large portioned meal each weekend.  It began with a craving for lasagne that I couldn't justify because my recipe made so much.  Then I thought why not share with Jules and her mom.  Justification complete, the tradition has begun.  Three meals later I made a giant, and not very noteworthy meatloaf.  Accompaning the meatloaf tho' was green beans and mashed potatoes.  Now I like mashed potatoes, but not like some people who just love them.  I must say tho' that these mashed potatoes turned out better than any I ever made before.  To celebrate my little success I am going to share my recipe.  Ha!  Recipe ~ it was sheer luck, but hey!

5lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes 
1 stick butter
2 cloves chopped garlic
3 or 4 tablespoons of plain yogurt
salt and pepper to taste

I added the yogurt until I got the consistancy that I wanted.

That's it!  My first original and recorded recipe.  I feel so accomplished! 

Sorry there are no pictures of my mashed potatoes, but who knew I would want one.  They were yellower than most because of the Yukon Gold Potatoes I think.  I will carry my camera with me at all times for future post's pictures. 

Thanks for visiting,


Friday, March 5, 2010

Just a Little More...

Jules, for one of our earliest posts I thought we could share some of what we have in common.  I am sure that the differences will show up on their own.

We both have an interest in interior design.  I had an interest in getting an education in it and you have an interest in making a living from it. Yours is probably the best use of time, but, hey!  I enjoyed the learning.

We both love fabrics - you love to hang them over windows and fit them around furniture and I love to knit them.

We both have an interest in decluttering.  That interest has grown over the last year for both of us.  The fact that my house was stuffed to the gills with things and yours wasn't means I still am very involved in decluttering and you can tell a very successful story.

We both enjoy travel.  I have been to England and nearly every state in the 48 contiguous states, Alaska and Puerto Rico.  You have been all over the U.S. and Europe.  Looking forward tho' my aspirations are to live more locally.  You have dreams of expanding your travel adventures. 

Well, that is a little more about us. 

Spring is just around the corner and I will be working on Spring decluttering and gardening.  Jules has projects that she will be sharing. I know that we have some beautiful pictures of a doctors office coming up.

Thanks for visiting,