decorating with dodi

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Monday, July 16, 2018

Lovely Memories

Every now and then, something comes along and floods your mind with beautiful, heartfelt memories! That happened yesterday when I was just tweaking little things in my summer decor so I could keep myself busy and inside so as not to get in the way of my pool reno.

I decided that the family room corner...which has always been a thorn in my side when it comes to decorating because it NO LONGER makes any sense but would be WAY too costly to change because the circuit box is located behind that door...needed some punch. When we first enclosed this once-garage to be our new family room, TVs were MUCH smaller and ours fit perfectly on this shelf. All of our furniture was facing in this direction so that the fireplace wall was the focal well it should be. Maybe some day I will get my now, much larger TV mounted above the mantle and this wall will once again be the focal point but, until that happens, I am left with decorating this awkward space. The new placement of the chairs has helped but I still have issues with it.

In any case, I decided that this wood tray that has been on my kitchen desk for many, many years (I actually didn't even remember how many until I looked on the bottom) corralling my calendar and other items of importance might work in here. I did remember that it was a gift to me from a kindergartner that I taught many, many years ago. She had a lovely family and either her mom, dad or grandpa would walk her in and pick her up every day. I know it's hard for you to believe, but we did lots of talking on those visits. Lol Her mom and grandpa were also at every party, field trip, etc. They were truly the perfect family for a teacher to work with-always the first to volunteer for anything I needed.

And so, we had a wonderful year together and I was truly so sorry to see Lindsey move on to first grade although she had made so many strides. Things did not come easily to her and we all worked hard together to see her succeed...and succeed she did!

My heart truly melted when I turned over this tray and was reminded of these sweet words. Her Grandpa was very special and he and I hit it off from day one. He is no longer with us but I pray he is looking down today and seeing just how such a simple gesture on his part and those sweet words and sentiments are making not only my face but my heart smile today! And wow!! Lindsey would be 31 now! I wish I knew where she was and what she is doing. She had the gentlest soul so I'm sure it is only good things!

Teaching may not make one rich in dollars but it sure does make one "rich" in so many other ways! Stay tuned.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Water Out....

...water in! That's kind of how yesterday's pool re-do went. They got all of the water out of the pool, the intruding roots were removed and then some new kind of finish was added to the straight walls. All of that just in time for our afternoon rains to begin. Usually, the showers are fast but, for whatever reason, yesterday's storm raged on and on and, by the time it had stopped, there was more than a foot of water back in the bottom of the pool. So that means, of course, today they had to start with some draining again. I'm not sure how this project will get done during one of our wettest, Florida summers ever! Guess that's why they're the professionals!

In any case, I am once again trying to occupy my time inside. So wishing daughter #3 and her family weren't over in Crystal River scalloping. This would be a perfect game day!

Really not much left to show you as "summer" decor ranks about right up there for me with summer itself-just not my favorite but then, I bet I didn't have to tell you that again!

Let's head into the family room.

I got a little panicky when I realized that in years past, I have put my 2 large PB, LED, orange candles in the wall sconces on either side of the mantle and that has always been fine. But, now that I decided to just leave the off-white candles there, the orange were free to go somewhere else...until I realized that I now have the two PB lanterns on the ends of the mantle as another of my "permanent" vignettes. I could put the orange candles in there but now that I have gotten used to candles "lighting" automatically all over the room, I would not have any others to disperse. And then it hit me, if I used this large, striped candle, I could justify leaving the red candles where they are and putting the orange in other spots in the room. Did you follow that? Can you see that if you move your eye from the red stripe in the candle in either direction you come to the red candles...and it all makes sense. Why do these things matter to me?

And yes, you may have already been thinking what I am will you do this in September when only orange will be in use because the striped candle will no longer be here. Believe me, I have already been on all sorts of sites checking to see if "orange" may have returned. It hasn't yet but I'm banking that it may when the Halloween goodies arrive. I'm always a bit premature but a girls' gotta think ahead-right?

I should challenge my readers to a "can you see the difference?" game. If you look VERY closely (although it truly is hardly visible-hence the reason for the tweak) at the first picture on this post looking into the family room, you will not see this wood tray. I had originally had a white tray here. But, as I was posting, I realized that this area needed some texture. I realized that I don't have any woven trays (a trip to HL may be in my future) but that I did have this wood tray made for me many years ago by the family of a student. It is larger and darker and, in my opinion, just what is needed here now-except for possibly a woven tray but that will be for another post. Lol

I'm really happy that I still love the family room reno as much as I do. The autumn decorating lends itself so much more to the wood tones in my mind but somehow, I'm liking the crispness of the  "classic" gray very much-even if it does look white to me.

As I was outside looking at the pool before anyone had arrived this morning, I realized that as well as neglecting the weed control, I have been neglecting my herb garden. Not much I can do about those weeds in this wet, hot weather-or at least not much I WANT to do-but I figured a bit of a basil harvest was in order. I love basil and use it on and in all sorts of recipes but, since I have not been cooking a lot lately, I have kind of let the plants go to flower. I went ahead and cut a large bunch and I think I will occupy myself in a bit by making some more pesto.

I love pesto. I could eat it on anything-heck, I could eat it on NOTHING! When the mood strikes, I make up a big batch and then freeze any left overs into mini-muffin tins. After they're frozen, I pop them out and into a bag and they are ready for whatever I might want to do with them. I wish I had taken pictures but last week I made a cauliflower rice with pesto and it was delicious! I also found an almost full bag of peas in the freezer and made quinoa with peas and Parmesan...but, I digress.

In any case, this beautiful vignette almost makes me feel like I am cooking in a kitchen in Tuscany. Almost too pretty to use! You might notice that I will be using pecans instead of pine nuts. I love the traditional pine nuts. I always had them in my house and I tossed them in everything from salads to sautes. Unfortunately, they seem to have priced themselves right out of my pocket book. If my palate was a bit more refined, perhaps I could really tell the difference...but, it's not and I don't! Lol I do toast the pecans-or whatever nut I am using-to bring out the flavor.

And just that fast, I am ready for dinner tonight. I almost always grab some of the fresh pasta whenever it is BOGO so this guy was just waiting for me in my freezer. I love to use fresh pasta because it cooks so quickly and the filled pastas make more than a filling meal. Add a small salad and I'm good to go!

Holy BIG, EMPTY hole Batman. I'm not the pro but this doesn't look like it will be finished by tonight! Just saying. Stay tuned.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Trying to Stay Busy

The "real" work on the pool has begun and that is ONE, BIG hole in my side yard! Somehow, without any water in it it looks so much larger. It is 18'X36' and 8' deep at the one end so I guess that is pretty huge no matter how you look at it. There are lots of guys out there descending down into the deep end to contend with roots and whatever else they may find so I am trying hard to stay inside and out of their way although I can't keep myself from going out every now and then just because I need to see what is happening! I'm having a hard time focusing on anything else so I thought maybe if I came in to share another room or two I could give my mind a break from all things "pool".

Let's head on to the dining room. If you look carefully you might notice that the basket on the top shelf of the niche is empty in this picture. A few photos down you will see that it has been gifted with yet one more of my "un-homed" sunflower bunches. I'm sure it is much happier now that it has joined the club!

And here is my PB pot with handle once again firmly secured. Yay Mac Gyver!

Since we're so close, let's take a look out into the sunroom. Not a lot going on in here but that's OK. This room gets so much use when the "littles" are here that the less clutter to start, the better!

And, as often happens, when I posted the pictures from my kitchen hutch, I didn't like the feel of the bowl of citrus. The scale was off for me and so, when I moved this round tin tray from somewhere else and was "shopping" the house for another good landing spot, I tried it here. It gives the bowl a bit more presence. Still not sure I love it but it shall remain until I come up with Plan A,B,C.  Lol

I do like the way that all of the colors in this vignette seem to enhance each other-serendipity!

OK. I have left the pool guys alone long enough. Time to go annoy check on them once again. Stay tuned.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Summer "Daze"

So as life is wont to go, there are lulls and then, all at once, things begin to happen. This week has been one of those happening weeks!!

I have been waiting a long time for some kind of answer to my very debilitating eye issues and, it may finally be here. Out of the blue, I was contacted by my ophthalmologist's office and told I might be a candidate for a new procedure. After a consult, it was determined that I am and I have been scheduled for surgery the beginning of August. Yay! Fingers crossed! I'm trying not to get too excited because I have had every surgery and procedure that has come down the pike but this one may just do the trick!!

And then, when I was just about to doubt that it was ever going to happen, I got a call from my pool company and the work on the re-do of my pool is starting today. Of course, it starts with the draining of 38,000 gallons of water, so it will be awhile before the "fun" stuff starts but that is OK...we are moving forward and, as Martha says, that's a "good thing".

I have also been kept busy helping out with grand children summer schedules. While Mom is playing major catch-up after her long, "relaxing" trip to Europe ( as they also say "pay backs are, the kids' summer activities continue and I am happy to do some dropping off, picking up and having them with me as needed. They are even becoming good little shopping buddies-especially Presley.

Yesterday I picked her up from her second activity of the day and she and I went grocery (and slime) shopping before getting the boys and bringing them all back to my house. It's actually fun to have the house full of kids and energy again...part time. Lol While the boys were entertaining themselves with XBox, Presley and I decided to try a slime recipe new to us- an edible one. We bought the supplies for both marshmallow and gummy bear but, today, marshmallow won out. We had a really fun time making it but I will say, if you are not up to seriously coating your hands with coconut oil (and hence, everything around you as well), this might not be the project for you. The kids did say it wasn't bad tasting but it definitely didn't have the "slime" factor that the others we have made have-this was a truly gooey mess. I did finally manage to contain it all in a bowl...not an easy task because it was SO sticky-and I sent it home with the kids. I'm anxious to hear if it got any more "play-able" over time. All of that aside, it is in the making that most of the fun is had and Presley and I had more than a few laughs as we each got more and more covered with this stuff. There are definitely a few things to do differently from the "normal" slime (which is a really clean craft in my opinion) so now I know and might be better prepared when we try the edible gummy bear slime.

Take note of the marshmallow on her sleeve and the coconut oil all over the table. I will say I expected a much harder clean-up...thought it would act like vegetable oil but it didn't. It dissolved so much easier. Guess that may be why it is healthier to use in your cooking. We also learned something else-Presley doesn't like coconut flavor AT ALL. It apparently evokes a gag reflect in  her so she was adamant that we not use it. I told her since it was a large part of the recipe we would get it and if she really couldn't tolerate it, we would use something else. Interesting fact #2-it doesn't smell or taste like coconut so she was good to go! See, this really is educational kind of play! At least for the old Nana!! Guess you CAN teach an old dog new tricks!

It only takes 3 ingredients and a minute in the microwave.

I'm trying hard to keep busy today but I just can't help going out and checking on the pool progress. I'm truly not sure what all that stuff is under those tarps but the water level is definitely dropping. Here is where we are right now:

And now I wait...for 38,00 gallons to slowly drain!! Can't wait to see next month's water bill after the refill!  Fingers crossed for good weather tomorrow so the real fun can start. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018


We are finally moving forward. I got a call from the pool company late yesterday afternoon telling me they would be here this Friday to begin draining the approximately 38,000 gals. of water from my pool and then reconstruction would start on Saturday...and then came those two fatal words..."weather permitting". Oh well, we shall see. At least now a plan is beginning to come together.

Thought while I was still wondering what the weather may turn out to be today that I would take you into the late summer kitchen. The sunflower theme is still here but also a bit more of the Mediterranean as well. I know I have said it before but I am in love with big urns, olive jars, crocks and all sorts of other chippy pottery. I love this time of the year because I can really bring out a lot of them and they make a bit more sense. While I "fool" myself into thinking that my family room has me living in the Hamptons now, the kitchen and dining room are making me think I'm in Tuscany. Lol! I'm easy to fool! Most of what you see is either from PB or Southern Living at Home.

This is one of the places that I just popped in those extra sunflowers I found myself walking around with. I am nothing if not weirdly symmetrical. When I first put this Southern Living pitcher here (flower-less), I knew it somehow felt "wrong" but I was on a mission so I chose not to dwell on it. But then, later in the day when I just desperately needed a "place" to home the extra flowers, this all came together in my mind's eye. The flowers added just a bit more height and all was right with the world! A happy accident...serendipity!  Can't you just see that pitcher in the middle of a table in "Under the Tuscan Sun"?

So that is the kitchen for this year. I can't wait to get to the store tomorrow and bring home several bouquets of the real deal sunflowers! One will go right here next to my pig and one will go on the table next to "my" chair in the family room.

Thought I would share another one of those "give it to Nana-she can fix anything" moments...except that this one was for me and I kind of felt like MacGyver.

Since I go on and on about how much I love my crocks, it truly pains me when something happens to one, two three of them. I have been having quite a time with my eyes of late and my depth perception seems to be suffering. I have literally cracked two of them putting them down too hard. In both cases, I was able to run a bead of epoxy on the inside of the crack and, if I am really, really careful-and, since these are only used for decoration-save the piece from breaking any further.

The third piece was different. I guess I carried it by its handle on the last go round-and, apparently that was not meant to be done. This is a PB piece and one of my favorites so when I went to put it out and saw that the handle had basically ripped out of the side, I was sad. And there was really no way to display it that the flaw wasn't visible.

And so, figuring it couldn't get any worse, I decided to have a go at it. The handles were actually screwed into the pottery. The screw had pulled out as well as a hunk of the ceramic...but, there was something left in the hole so there was no way it could just be tightened back.

I tried to think of several fixes but ended up bringing out my trusty Dremel and using the tiniest drill bit to clear out as much as I could. Because the ripped out "stuff" made the holes too big, I decided to fill them with epoxy. I gave the epoxy enough time to sort of set but still be soft enough for me to tighten the screws back in. The epoxy gave them something to grip on to. Then I got out my trusty duct tape.

And then I waited 24 hours. When I pulled off the tape, the handles were attached but still not as tightly as they had started...but, the epoxy wasn't completely cured either since it was under the tape. And so, I have put on my "patient" persona-not always easy for me-and have gone back every few hours and just given the screws a 1/4 turn. As the epoxy gets harder and harder, the handle is being drawn closer and closer to the pot and the break is almost invisible now...might just be time to quit! Now I just need to remind myself never to lift by the handles again! You will see the new and improved rendition of the pot when we head to the dining room.

I am off to get ready for an afternoon with daughter #3 and her family...should be fun. I'll be back soon. Stay tuned.

Monday, July 9, 2018

As Long As I Don't Go Outside...

...I can pretend a bit that autumn really IS on its way!

Outside it is still hot, sticky and wet but inside, ahhh, I'm beginning to feel a bit of a change. Lol Late summer decor is done and I think I have already posted that I actually got everything done in one day. I was beginning to think that might be because I was so motivated but, last night as I was walking through the house, I think I realized that it is probably because I am using so many "permanent" vignettes these days. These are the areas where I now have things that I truly love and don't want to have sitting on shelves in the garage even for just one holiday theme. I'm sure I will modify that decision when Halloween rolls around because then I have so much that I really do need to empty the house of all other! But, for the rest of the year...!

And so, decorating does go so much more quickly when I am just changing out flowers, candle colors, pictures, etc. and not having to come up with a whole new design ethic every season.

With that in mind, let's see how I did in the living room. Welcome.

The porch actually needs some work. I want to plant the red, white and blue verbena that are in the urns into the gardens and find some yellow flowers instead. I also am thinking about making a new fence slat sign. Not sure how the sunflower theme has slipped past me the last few years but it might happen soon if this weather doesn't brighten up a bit and I am still looking for more inside projects!

The citrus fruit in the big copper bowl has pretty much all of the same colors as the sunflowers so it gives me (in my mind any way) "permission" to not only use those themes but to pull in the Mediterranean theme as well in other parts of the house. I have a LOT of sunflowers out but even I think it would be WAY too much if I didn't have some relief from that theme here and there. Since a few areas are no longer available for the flowers since we have done a bit of re-decorating and moving around in the last year, I did actually find myself walking around wondering what to do with them all. But, have no fear, new ideas popped into mind and it is just what "the doctor ordered" a matter of fact, I'm wondering why I never had flowers in those places in the past!

Ahhh, copper and rusty and chippy-oh my!

It always amazes me how much greener this room looks in photos as compared to in person!

So that is the start of what will probably be a very long finish to this summer. I am keeping my fingers crossed that the pool reno will get started soon-although I'm not sure how that will play out with our daily deluges but...? At least we can swim in it as we wait! More to come soon. Stay tuned.