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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Finally Here!

So the day is finally here! I have got to be honest...if I wasn't wearing a thumb stabilizing brace on my hand right now, this day would have been here earlier this week. It is killing me to wait this long to truly begin my Halloween decorating but I am hoping that by keeping my thumb joint "fixed", when I take the brace off it might just feel better. Not all that hopeful but a few more days of rest can't hurt.

I have what is called trigger thumb-MAJOR clicking and freezing of thumb joints-with a good deal of pain as the day wears on. It is probably arthritis and really not a whole lot to be done short of shots and surgery but, I am giving this a try. As long as I don't bend my thumb, there is no clicking or pain. But, there is also not a lot getting done because you really need both hands for most anything you do.

But, never-the-less, as of tomorrow, I will not be stopped! I have got our calendar pretty much filled in for the rest of September and all of October. So many, many fun things planned and, I am sure, if there is a free hour and something else fun comes along, we will be there!!!

We have a bunch of errands to run tomorrow and then we are off to Lake Alfred on Tuesday with my brother and sister-in-law. We are heading to one of my favorite day trips-The Stable, Seasons, The Back Yard, The Barn Antiques and The Back Porch Restaurant. They are all a part of shopping experience in Lake Alfred, Florida. Each shop carries a unique assortment of goodies and everything-including the food offerings in the restaurant-is very seasonal. This place is kind of like Field of Dreams-if you build it, they will come. It is pretty much out in the middle of nowhere but ALWAYS packed. I love this trip because we use back roads that take us through forests and over water and it is almost as much fun getting to and from as it is being there!

A lot of my favorite decorative pieces come from here. My only problem with this trip will be getting out of there without spending way too much! I always love it all! So excited to share this spot with my sister-in-law. I think she will enjoy it as much as I do and, hubby and brother won't complain because they will get fed. It's a win/win situation for all. I am sure I will be taking some pictures and I will share soon! Stay tuned.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Where There's a Willl...

...there's a way! I am a firm believer in that! If I make up my mind to do something, I can usually find a way to make it happen. That being said, I try to stick within certain parameters. For example, I wouldn't attempt a house addition on my own...but, I might try to come up with an idea that might make a good compromise-like taking a room we already have and changing its function.

I also am a good jerry-rigger. I think I must be related to Mac Gyver somewhere in my past because I love to find ways to fix a problem without spending a lot unless I absolutely have to. And that brings me to this post.

A few weeks ago I discovered that the two end compartments on the silverware holder in my dish washer had broken through. I have no idea how that could have happened but I could no longer use them as the silverware was slipping down into the bottom of the washer and I was afraid it might jam a washing blade and I would have an even bigger concern.

I immediately went online to Kitchenaid and found what I thought might work as a replacement (our exact DW is no longer available of course) but the prices were high and the measurements not exact. So I put on my thinking cap and tried to think what I could use to fix my problem. And then it came to me. What about some of that plastic grid canvas that used to be around for crafting? I wasn't even sure what it was called and honestly hadn't seen anyone do this craft for so long I was pretty sure no one in HL would even know what I was talking about. I checked it out online before I went and, sure enough, it is still being made and apparently used.

Boy did I get a surprise when I went to our HL this morning. Not only is it still around but it comes in all sizes and COLORS! I grabbed up gray because that is the color of our basket and literally, in a matter of about a minute and a half, I have new bottoms to the basket and the problem is solved!!

If you look inside, you can see the new grid that cost me all of 69 cents to do-plus, I have enough of it left to do it again many times over. Granted, the openings aren't quite as large as the originals but I think it will still allow the water to run through. If not, I can simply snip out every other square and we should be good to go!

As I was patting myself on the back for this thrifty fix, I realized that I am fast becoming the queen of thrifty fixes-maybe this retirement "fixed" income has something to do with it but I like to think of it more as an exercise in ingenuity to keep my brain working-lol.

As I was writing this post, two other Mac Gyver fixes came to mind.

Look at this little beauty. It is on one of my barn doors and I originally did it as a temporary set-up to see if it would work to push the one door out just ever-so-much so that where the doors meet in the middle they would meet perfectly. By now you know it is little things askew like that that can drive me crazy. No matter how many times I told myself "they're barn doors...they're not supposed to be perfect", I WASN'T buying it!! And then I realized a little nudge from a flat anything would probably work so I ran and got a tongue depressor and some duct tape. When that worked, I was going to find a flat bar of metal and permanently glue it on but since this worked so well, I just took off the tape and went ahead permanently affixing the depressor. Then, I was going to give it a swipe of some paint but you see how far I got with that. In any case, it works!

And then there is this lovely. We bought our home newly built about 43 years ago. There is truly not ONE SQUARE INCH of the original house left. We have changed the exterior finish, driveways, roof, flooring, walls, appliances, bathrooms, kitchen, lighting, windows, and added on a sun-room, office, garage and terraced pool. But, in doing some of those things that we love, we created other "monsters" for ourselves-albeit in this case, just a mini-monster.

When the hood on the outdoor dryer vent finally just crumbled off, it should have been an easy fix-just buy a new one and install it. Except that we had had a brick facade added to the house and I couldn't get enough of the old hood off to install a new one. And, if I left it the way it was, the "flapping" door would no longer work and be covered and we would be issuing an open invitation to any creepy-crawly or slithery creature who wanted to enter!

And so, before I opened the yellow pages and tried to figure out even who to call, I remembered a sheet of copper I had left over from another project and thought a copper hood would certainly be preferable to the ugly white ones on the shelves at Lowes.

I just got down on the porch and started snipping and bending and when I got it just right, my trusty old friend (E-6000) and I got busy adhering that bad boy. I loved the way it looked then but love it even more now that it has "patina-ed". And, it is still just as "stuck" on those bricks as it was the day I did it! And, even better, it cost $0!!!

I am sure if I opened my eyes a bit I could uncover more of my jerry-rig fixes but today I feel the urge to clean. Hope I'm not coming down with something because we have a busy calendar in the weeks to come-lol! Maybe I'm just starting my autumn nesting! Now if Mother Nature would just co-operate and give me a reason to snuggle in and light a fire! Stay tuned.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Like an International Convocation!

I think we are almost there...almost. Just waiting to hear from one or two more delegates...or at least that is how it feels trying to get this year's family Halloween party on the calendar. Wow! I knew it would get more and more difficult as the "grands" got older and involved in more and more things, but this year takes the cake. There are family trips, football games, jobs, schooling, homecomings and last but definitely not least, sorority inductions. Wasn't sure it would happen but I think we may have it worked out. It will be far from easy but if one gets dropped here, we all go there, others come later, etc., etc., will happen.

And so, I am going on that premise-at least for now and beginning to pick up things as I see them. I've been doing this so long, I kind of just know what we want or need. I am a bit puzzled as to why Target hasn't gotten in our favorite Halloween colored corn chips yet-hope they haven't been discontinued.

In any case, I had some gift cards this morning and saw some goodies I couldn't live without so the buying has begun!

I am not the biggest fan of WalMart but, I must say, when I have time in there to just poke around-especially this time of year-I manage to find some things I can't live without-lol. I do like their BH&G line of housewares and their recent addition of the line from Ree Drummond. If I didn't already have SO MANY decorative serving pieces, I would have gotten into a lot more trouble than I did. I also got a bunch more garden mums.

Since everyone knows I love mercury glass and my mercury glass skull from PB, I couldn't pass these guys up-still don't know where they will hand, but I will find room!

I did find these Cheetos at Target and this beaker in the $ Spot-so much for not doing a laboratory vignette this year!

And I wish someone could tell me why I am so drawn to paper napkins. I have to buy them when I see them. I will say, we do use them all the time during whatever season or holiday it is. But, I still have so many from previous years I'm not sure these were necessary but, they spoke to me. You know, the vintage, words and letters thing-lol.

This cup is from Ree Drummond's autumn line. I love the deep colors and the flowers mixed with the leaves-and, it came at the right time as I had just broken my autumn cup...and pumpkin coffee just doesn't taste as good in any old cup!

Then there is this beauty. Have I mentioned before how much I LOVE copper mercury glass. It isn't always easy to find so when I see a piece, I usually get it. It is one of those colors that is out in my house for a lot of the year.

Here is where it is for now as autumn will be coming down soon to make way for Halloween. If I can find room, it will stay out through Halloween...if not, it will be back in November.

And, if you looked way at the back of the picture of all of today's treasures, you would have seen this beauty.

Do you see it now?

I have wanted a cast iron pumpkin ever since I saw one many, many years ago by Le Cruset. I didn't get it and every time I have seen one since, they have been well over $100. I know they are probably worth every penny of that but I just don't cook enough to warrant that kind of a price on a seasonal pot-although I did spend an awful lot on my regular cookware and still don't cook that much-but, I digress.

In any case, I saw it, loved it and put it right back on the shelf. Then, as I perused the store, I heard this battle going on in my head and since there were only two left, I knew which side was going to win and zipped back there as fast as I could. Isn't she just a beauty? She is also part of Ree Drummond's line and looks to be pretty well made. I can't wait to get a pot of soup going in her! Stay tuned.

Monday, September 19, 2016


Today is one of those days where I am just savoring the "little" things...which always turn out to be the "big" things because they give me so much pleasure.

First of all, I met up with an old friend of mine-my bread machine. I love to make fresh bread. But, gone are the days when I used to make it from scratch. We bought a bread machine and I was hooked. And, I made it often. I would pick up bread mixes every time I shopped and they were easy to find because "everyone was doing it". Fast forward a few years and I guess I am the only dinosaur still around with a bread machine. The mixes are getting harder and harder to find. Yes, I know I can still use the machine and put in my own ingredients but, I got so used to the ease of the mix that I JUST DON'T WANT TO DO IT ANY OTHER WAY. I have picked up some mixes every time I get to a Williams Sonoma...and yes, I know I can order them on line...see previous excuse!!!

And so, I was one happy camper when daughter #2 gifted me with this mix that she happened upon one day. I love fresh bread and I especially love it this time of year! It makes me feel all autumny. Guess it's time to break out the soup pot-nothing better than homemade soup and bread.

And as all of that is happening, I am fighting with myself not to open the newly purchased can of pumpkin and whip up some cinnamon sugar pumpkin doughnut holes! I love these things-too much! Hence the reason I am fighting the temptation!

As I am enjoying the smell of baking bread, I am also reminded of how happy little things around the house make me feel.

For example, this year's BH&G autumn plates. Now I have 12 so bring on the company!

And then there is my newly acquired telescoping valet rod that I found to add to my closet. I love my built-in closet that I did a number of years ago but recently, I have found myself hanging outfits I was going to wear in odd places just so I would remember them. I started to think of ways I could build a small rod and looked everywhere for all different sorts of things I could jerry-rig. Somehow or other I found myself on Google and much to my surprise, there was exactly what I was looking for under the name "valet rod"...and made to fit right into the closet system. It must not have been available back when I put in our system or I am sure I would have added it right away! And, it telescopes so it doesn't have to be out unless it is needed. I love it-so simple yet bringing me so many smiles.

And, what in the world took me so long to think of this? I have had a LARGE PB bag hanging inside the l;laundry closet to store our plastic bags. Even though it was well hidden, I could see it every time I did wash and it was unsightly. Now that I have my beautiful new laundry area, I didn't want to look at anything unsightly any more. A quick trip to the trunk of my car and one Trader Joe's bag later, and things are looking good. Can something this simple really make me so happy? I need to get a life.!

And then, there's this little goody!

Literally as I was drying some cotton shirts that MUST be removed and hung IMMEDIATELY and was pondering a way to hand a rod in this new area, I looked up and what do I see but 13 feet of rod already there and just waiting to be used. One of those AHA moments! What took me so long?

And, of course, fresh flowers always make me smile. This new-to-me flower is in the alstroemeria family and lasts even longer-and, the flowers keep getting deeper in color as they age. These are on their way to a beautiful autumn orange. Ahhh autumn! I love this time of year. Maybe that is why even the smallest things put a smile on my face! Stay tuned.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

10 Minute Facelift

No, not for me but just as exciting.

I was out front this morning doing some clipping and trimming when my "new eyes" struck again! For years I have been looking at this and it hasn't bothered me...

...until today when it did!!!

This is the kind of face lift I like-about 10 minutes start to finish. All I did was grab a stiff bristled brush and give the faded pumpkin a refresher coat of paint. The stiff brush meant an uneven coat of paint-which is just what I wanted because the original had a striated effect. Plus, a solid coat of paint would have masked the rust showing through...and, believe it or not, I bought this rusty.

I found it in one of my favorite little shops in one of my favorite little cities, Winter Park. Our youngest daughter and her family lived in Thorton Park a number of years ago and Winter Park was just a few minutes away. We used to go every time we visited. There was the sweetest little decor shop back in a "secret" area of specialty shops. I loved this pumpkin when I bought it and I still do. But, that being said, it was definitely due some "loving".

Doesn't it look so much better now? Some of the rust got covered but I'm not worried. A week or so back in the elements and it will be looking just perfect again!

And, while I was out there, I got some of the garden mums down. I thought I bought enough but it looks like another garden center trip is in store. I don't know why I love mums so much-maybe because they remind me of autumn. Can't believe we are really in September! I am in my glory. And, because I got a lot of Halloween things done during the dog days of summer, I have my days free to enjoy!!

I feel some autumn trips in my future! Stay tuned.

P.S. For those of you who read my last post before I actually finished writing it and adding pictures, I am sorry. When I caught it, I had hoped I could finish it and re-post...and I am sure I could have but the way I did it just corrected it for future readers and those of you who saw it first-and there were many-must have thought I had gone a bit crazy. Perhaps I did because I still don't know how I ended up posting it but never-the-less, please know that I hadn't meant to send that to you like many typing errors...OY! Sorry. If you would like, you can go back and see the updated version.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Like the Old Days!

Editor's note: Somehow this blog got posted as I was just starting to write it. You all must have thought I'd lost my mind!! Any way, on to the "real" posting...

When my mom used to come visit, she always said it was like visiting "I Love Lucy"...and she was right. There was always something going on in our house, people coming and going, projects under way, animals under foot, etc. And WE LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT!

This past week kind of reminded me of that. We spent most of Saturday at our local football park. Both of our grandsons are playing football this year. Hud's team played hard but went into triple overtime-making their game two and a half hours long (games usually run 50 minutes for this age group) and they ended up losing by an overtime TD. Have I mentioned that it was hot! We ended up under a big oak tree at the end of the field with our chairs and quilt. Our view of the games wasn't as good as if we were in the bleachers but we were in shade and had lots of visitors as everywhere else was pure SUN! We nick-named our area the "touchdown terrace"!

We were at the fields for 6 1/2 hours and got home tired but ready to watch an awesome Gator game that we had thankfully "Ti-Vo"ed!

Sunday was another busy day-we are calling them "second Sundays". Jen and family arrived to help us with some heavy chores and then make dinner. It was a crazy, hectic day! Hazel (their Golden Doodle) was here to join in the fun. We got the poolside gate rebuilt, wheels added to the large gate to the back of the property, another gate latch ground down so it closes a bit better, a Pythagoras costume made for Harrison (who needed it the next day for a project in his math class) and a dinner of tacos with every topping you can imagine, yummy, fresh corn and homemade apple crisp and vanilla ice-cream. In the midst of all of this, we were coming and going, running to and from stores, designing togas and turbans and picking up Hud and Cole (our "adopted" grand daughter) from their day at a volleyball tournament in Crescent Beach. My mom hit the nail on the head-it was crazy and chaotic-just like the old days when our kids were young-and we loved every minute of it! Super fun way to celebrate Grandparents' Day!

And then on Wednesday, we were off to Gainesville. We had another Grandparents' Day celebration. We went to see "Sully" with Becky and my brother and sister-in-law and then met up with Morgan at BJ's for dinner. It was an awesome day and we got to spend the night and do some more visiting with everyone!

We that brings us back to today where we start the cycle all over again. One football game down-the first of the day so the weather was picture perfect!

We're expecting Harrison's afternoon game to be a bit warmer but we've got our chairs and quilts and we're ready for another lovely afternoon. I'm thinking that our coming week may be a bit less hectic-at least I kind of hope so because my chores that are being neglected are beginning to pile up. But, if a better offer comes our way, you can be sure we'll take it. Stay tuned.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Mixed Blessing

A few posts ago I mentioned how the summer rains kept my flowers really pretty and blooming this year. We didn't seem to have as much rain as usual and it was definitely HOTTER-both an invitation for disaster in a Florida flower garden. But, for whatever reason, that wasn't the case this year. Maybe I boasted too soon.

Our flowers are still pretty even though I am now ready to replace a lot of the summer annuals with autumn flowers and color. But, since I don't visit all areas of our yard in the heat of summer, I was a bit distressed this morning to see the amount of vines and weeds that had taken over what we call the "point"...the side of our yard on the far side of the pool and an area we mostly just use as flat ground for games, etc. Because I have a lot of flower barriers growing up to kind of enclose this area (in my mind, some day, I thought about making it a bit of a hidden garden), I don't notice what happens over there as much as I do in the rest of the yard. I guess vines and weeds enjoyed the summer weather this year too because they had totally taken over the border garden. I headed out there this morning to put down a little mulch-and I discovered that it mulch time EVERYWHERE again also-but, I digress.

As so often happens with me, one thing leads to another and four hours later, I have rid the gardens of all of the invading vines and weeds and cut back the azalea hedges yet again. I keep being told by my lawn man that I shouldn't be cutting them back if I want a pretty bloom in the spring but I would rather make sure my yard is relatively snake free as we speak. Many of the times that I have come "face to face" with one of these slithery creatures is as I was weeding over there and stuck my hand under a plant to weed. It is now my habit to keep everything I can free of under-growth so I can see what I am getting myself into.

And so goes just another day in the life of me. Our yard and gardens are a lot of work but it is work that I enjoy. It makes me feel good (mostly when it is done) because there is an immediate visual confirmation of my hard work! And, the cooler temperatures we are experiencing don't hurt at all!

My bones are tired and a good, long soak is definitely in order. Then, I think it will be time to pour a glass of wine and sit down in my favorite spot with all of autumn around me and breathe in a sense of a good day's work-and pumpkin smells coming from everywhere-lol.

 So glad autumn has really arrived-at least in my world. Stay tuned.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

It Takes a Village

...or, in this case, eight hands. We got the trellis done and, as usual on one of my projects, it took a bit more "ciphering" than even I expected. This was one of those projects where one thing depended on the one before it and so on. It seemed simple enough but there was LOTS of figuring to be done before we got the final product. And, it was definitely something that needed many hands...and, in my case, many brains. But, we prevailed and I love the final result. And, I can't thank my brother and sister-in-law enough for all of their help. We truly could not have done it without them!!

As happens so many times with me, I got caught up in the "fun" and forgot to take pictures until we were almost done.

I really do love how this turned out and can't wait for the bougainvillea to grow enough that it is draping over the top of the garage door. It already makes us happy to come home on this side of the house!

And just when you think you couldn't get any happier, my sister-in-law surprised me with a present she brought with her. She had read my blog when I talked about wishing I could find an old wash board. She not only brought me one from her family treasures but also two of her wonderful rug beaters. I am so humbled to have these beautiful pieces. I couldn't wait to get them into my new laundry area so as soon as my brother and sister-in-law left, I was up on that dryer once again. Because the wash board was so tall, I couldn't stand it upright so I placed it on an angle. I liked the way that looked but was afraid it might be wiggled loose when the dryer started tumbling so I did what any red blooded American girl what do-I jerry-rigged a solution. I couldn't think of anything that would work until I spied an Allen wrench in my tool box and knew that would give me just the support I needed. It wasn't fun getting it into the wood trim, but I managed to do it and now, this area is FINALLY perfect. The plant-which I really never thought fit the theme-is gone and I could not love the finished product more!!!

So a few more projects finally put to bed. Don't have another on the front burner right now but we do have a lot of very busy days ahead of us. Lots of family involved and memories to be made. Can't wait to share. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Was There Ever a Question?

If I was a betting woman, I would have taken this one! I knew even as I was posting a picture of my latest update to my laundry area that I really didn't like the old wooden box on the shelf. It was more appealing to the eye because it was a group of three but it just didn't quite "make it" for my eye. And so, while we were out running errands today, we made a little detour into HL and I found this little gem. It fills the bill perfectly and now I REALLY am done with this project and ready to move on  to the next!

Isn't this JUST what this area was begging for?

"Whew"! Glad that's settled-if only all of life's little complications were that simple to solve! Stay tuned.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Going Stir Crazy

We are actually having more rain today than I think we had with Hermine. I am now house bound and going stir crazy. I am looking for projects and just piddling the day away. You can be sure there are closets to be cleaned, floors to be washed, beds to be changed, etc. etc, etc....but, that is NOT the kind of project I want.

And so, I headed where I usually do-straight to Pinterest! I found a cute jar of clothespins on somebody's laundry room post so I went into the garage and grabbed an old Mason jar just waiting to be put to good use and then a bag of old clothespins that I had. I needed to supplement with some new clothespins that I also had but now I have another "something" on the laundry area shelf. Of course, once there were two things my eye kept telling me I needed to find a third. I went out to my potting bench and grabbed this old wooden box I made soooo many years ago. It will stay there keeping the "rule of three" until I find something more appropriate. Thinking an wash board would be so cool!

And then I found this simple spider web glitter doily. Since I had all of those supplies as well, I'm giving it a try.

Pretty idiot proof. You simply chill some Elmer's glue so it is a bit slower to pour, squeeze it in a web shape on to wax paper or plastic wrap and cover with glitter. I only had tinsel glitter in silver so we will see how that works. Now comes the hard part...waiting 24 hours or so before you can peel it off of the wrap. I wanted to make just one to see how it holds up and whether I might want to make a few more as gifts. I am already thinking that I might like it better if it was a bit smaller. We shall see.

Here is the finished product.

It gave me something to do but I don't think I will be making more. It will probably look nice somewhere this year but I definitely don't think it is something that I would attempt to try to store and keep from year to year. Never-the-less, it kept me occupied and now the weather has cleared up and I can get outside again. Lots of errands and appointments tomorrow and Wednesday and then it will be trellis day-can't wait. Stay tuned.