04 December, 2012

a breather...

A quick trip to visit Naphtali and Aidan over the weekend
brought the expected pleasures of their company
as well as a couple unexpected projects 
generated by a stop at Unique Thrift.

Charlie's bed has a new cover.
A new tablecloth.
Several new chain loop scarves.

And there is a faux fur throw in the works for me.

My biggest problem recently has simply been that I don't stay home 
on days when I could be home attacking my list.
'Tis also the season for errands and shopping and appointments
while at home:

There are presents waiting to be finished.
Some are waiting to be started.
Packages to wrap.
Cleaning for company.

Tim ran the errand that was scheduled for today which
meant that a couple things - like stopping for 
Charlie's new tags - can be moved to
tomorrow when I have an appointment and will
already be out and on the run.

So today I've been able to get some wrapping done.
New bird feeders have been made and are
setting up in the fridge.
This was a pinterest idea which I've modified slightly.
Turns out my birds prefer their food to be
somewhat stationary.
So rather than thread and hang - as in the pin that caught my attention -
I make a hole to slip over a short twig on
a branch.  The birds can then stand on the branch to eat.
(Using a thin branch will keep the squirrels at bay.)

As you can see below

I cut the top from several plastic cups and packed in the seed mixture 
rather than using the cute cookie cutters featured in the pin as I found it.
It's serviceable.
I've since seen a pin with a large seed wreath that looks 
like it was made in a jello mold.
I'll probably try making a batch to fit a 
square grid suet feeder.

And if I get moving again now I can check off a few more 
items on my list before I go to work.

21 November, 2012

Giving thanks

Another *first* for me today.  
Even though a spring form pan could be found in my cupboard for years
today is the first time it has seen any action.

Thanksgiving will be spent with my mother and sister.
Green bean casserole - french cut is my preference - and a
pumpkin cheesecake 
will make the drive with me.

Today's soundtrack featured a young Jacob questioning the 
wisdom of trying a recipe for the first time on company.

In general he had/has a point but
how many pumpkin cheesecakes can 
the average among us try before the big day?

Tomorrow's plan includes a sleepover to allow for
and tackling outdoor Christmas decorations on Friday.
No shopping.

Tim will be joining his family at his mother's.
Naphtali has plans that will keep her close to home.
Not sure what Jacob has going...
Aidan is spending the weekend with his dad.

Even though the list reads like a fractured fairytale
there is much for which to be thankful.

We all still speak to each other.

19 November, 2012

Monday morning

It's finished!
The Annex is officially open
and nearly full!

Isn't Tim good? 
 You'd never know this wasn't an original part of the house!
He removed the siding from that section of the garage wall and pieced it back
together to cover the shed.
Shelves and hooks help organize the stuff we moved in from the garage.
And there is still some room available!

We both parked in the garage last night.

And  yes - our grass is that green.  
Brown and crunchy all summer and look at it now!

Here's a look at another Sunday project:

Larry and Mary have left the state - headed for retirement in Arizona. - we wish them well.
Larry came down last weekend for a quick goodbye and dropped 
off a huge plant and the large crock.
I took advantage of several crocks already on hand and cleaned up
 the stock of fireplace supplies.
In a serendipitous turn - earlier this week, at JoAnn Fabrics, no less, I found
a package of *clips* for brick surfaces and was finally able to
hang the match holder from my dad's place.

The following is my contribution to the always surprising *small world* category.
Friday I helped serve Thanksgiving dinner at Kennybrook - around
350 people - who were split in 3 different dining halls
and served in 2 shifts.  A fun time.
Afterwords I ran into friends from long ago,
Tom and Laila Messerly, who were there as guests of one the residents.
As we were chatting,  Selma - now a resident -
who used to live in Harvey ND and got to know Tom and Laila 
after she moved to the Des Moines area, joined us.
Growing up in Harvey, she had know Tewkesburys forever 
and, of course, Box T, where I volunteered as a cook for several years.

Probably 5 - 10 minutes of friendly chitchat 
but it touched off a landslide of good memories including this 
breakfast staple from camp:
I'd never had it and couldn't imagine that it would go over well 
but the girls loved it!
  maybe it was just the combination of fresh air and hard work.

Any way, I bought a box during our grocery run on Saturday morning.
Bon Appetit!

14 November, 2012


Time is flying by too quickly!!
Already Wednesday, somehow, Thanksgiving is next week!
A birthday package for a friend back in Nebraska is late!

On the other hand
next week I can begin decorating for Christmas.
My quilt top is done.
The spray painting I needed to get done is done.
I've got bird feed thingies that I found on Pinterest hanging outside.

And I've bottled the first of my cranberry cordial:

04 November, 2012


I will admit that the processes of Christmas 
are beginning to have their way with me.

Understandable if there are projects requiring preparation,
like this one for Aidan,

 which has to be ready to go at Thanksgiving.
Or a quilt waiting for my attention.

I will admit to trolling through the aisles at Hobby Lobby 
humming snippets of Christmas carols, 
making plans,
 trying to remember what I already have in storage.

I haven't done any real shopping yet - other than the few things I need for Aidan's 
countdown packages.  
Oh and, I have ordered a couple things for him from Amazon.

 Well, now that I'm thinking about it there is a package of ornaments in the closet
and I did pick up another small tree.
And something for my mother - 
but I'll probably give that to her before Christmas so it doesn't really count...

But - just look what called my name at World Market the other day:

 for the spare bedroom.  
They'll be adorable on the wall
above the bed and it's going to require
all my self control not to decorate that room tomorrow.

30 October, 2012

turn, turn, turn...

Yes, it's that time of year again.

Leaves have been raked and bagged.

The deck has been stripped of its summertime finery.

Flower pots and garden hoses have been stowed away 'til spring.

Firewood was delivered yesterday.

An extra blanket graces the bed.

Flannel sheets will return on the next wash day.

Jackets and scarves are a pleasure to wear.

Oatmeal with blueberries is back on the breakfast menu.

google images

29 October, 2012

Monday morning

I did something last night that I haven't done for a long while. 

It started out innocently and with the best of intentions while I painted my nails:
Read for an hour, let the polish dry and be in bed by 10:00.

Next thing I knew it was after midnight.

The nails were dry.

The book was finished.

It was a very satisfying tale.

23 October, 2012

Tuesday morning

It's too wet to rake leaves so I've been in the kitchen:

whole wheat pasta with artichokes, mushrooms and spinach in a light alfredo sauce
pumpkin muffins from a pinterest recipe

So very tasty!!

I've also tried something with the fireplace.

The colors on the following picture are skewed on purpose - trying 
to get more definition for the masking tape on the walls.
It's been terribly humid these last few days 
and the masking tape does not want to adhere.  It is
falling even as I write...
probably not the best conditions to try this.
Oops - one side is down.

The picture is so poor but there are boxes taped off on the walls
representing the placement of narrow trim painted in a contrasting
color  - in this case about 6 inches from the ceiling and side walls.
If you click to enlarge it the tape is much easier to see.

This was one of my inspiration photos:

I'm on the look-out for a set - yes, a matched set, of sconces to place in the boxes.
About 15-18 inches tall.  The cabinets can be painted. Or not.

That this will be a very traditional look surprised me but 
hey - it's calling my name.
And while it may be more traditional than expected our own 
touches will keep it on the casual side.

Would you believe I chipped the polish on one nail messing with the masking tape!?
I work after while so I will need to do a quick repair job.

19 October, 2012

Friday morning

Today's attempt.
I'll let this one sit for a few days. The candlesticks have 
already been rearranged.
The window panes sit at an angle rather than
 flush against the wall.

17 October, 2012

Squirrely days

 This post could just have easily borne the title of Jackdaw days 
as my attention seems to be drawn to any variety of shiny distraction these days.
Squirrels, though, with their heads down bounding from spot to spot, 
digging, planning, working so hard at  what may be a fruitless cause in another month or so 
are an apt comparison to the prevailing mood chez moi.

Tuesday morning
There is no lack of reasonable tasks available each day.
More-urgent is not always the same as most urgent.
The siren song of interesting ideas lures me 
from the safe productivity of my lists.

Is it the layering of leaves outside
that prompts such a desire to replicate
the colors and clutter of fall inside our homes?
Is squirrelishness our response to the changing  seasons?

Tuesday night

One of my recent obsessions has been the fireplace mantle.
My pinterest page is suddenly full of mantle pictures. 
Studying them has made me aware that 
the mantle may be only a part of the problem.
It really is a big picture issue.

Let's start with a reminder that I love my fireplace.
Maybe not the glass doors - but the idea and use of it I love.
I've tried a variety of things over the course of the last year.
We have talked about major renovations:
a tile surround
built-in bookshelves.

This week, though, the emphasis has been on 
spending no money - re purpose what is already here - a challenge
I always enjoy.

Wednesday morning

The windows come from Dad's house in Hampton.
They flanked his fireplace.
He gave them to me during the siding/windows project and I've 
carted them several times across the Midwest since then.

There are sliding glass doors opposite the couch which 
limit the seating options in the room.
The small cabinets on the side provide storage and balance.
Perhaps a bookshelf-type hutch on top?
The lamp relieves what had always been a dark corner.
Do I need one on the other table, too?

Well, this is today's look.
We'll see what tomorrow brings.
Another month will mean decorating for Christmas 
and it will all change again.

10 October, 2012

Confessions on a cold morning

My Kindle is searching the Oxford Dictionary for "succumbation" as I start this post.  
The yellow bar is barely crawling along...
My venerable print copy was checked first - found nothing - so I figured I should 
put the resources available through technology to work.
That yellow bar is still crawling...
If it proves to be a word then I may claim the privilege 
of poster child.

You may remember the recent meatloaf incident...
This latest succumbation resets the bar.

I bought Christmas ornaments the other day.
Still crawling....

Yes, I've had a list of projects posted for several weeks already.
Hold on while I put another log on the fire.

 0 results for succumbation.

Yes, I've revised the list several times and actually begun several projects..
Yes, I've looked through Pinterest and various books/magazines
 for Christmas ideas.  

None of that counts.
Buying ornaments is in a different category.
I've succumbed.

03 October, 2012

Color my world

I was on the road yesterday between Fort Dodge and Grimes.
The sky was blue and the fall colors were incredible.
Screaming reds.
Vibrant oranges.
Pulsating burgundies.
Flaming yellows.

At one point I caught sight of the traditional calendar shot
of a country church on a hilltop
surrounded by a wondrous array of color.

Unfortunately, this photo courtesy of google images only begins to 
capture the familiar scene.
It was the iconic image that we all recognize
or have our own variation tucked away ready to be conjured by 
the nostalgic magic of a classic fall day.

Our neighborhood is also arrayed in it's finest fall collection.
Bronze, purple, and gold intermingled in stunning 
                                           combinations as the trees morph from one color to the next.

25 September, 2012

Independent thinking

We all like to feel that we are independent thinkers and as
we age that we are beyond the reach of peer pressure.

Well, today I have a tale of radio propaganda 
and how we succumbed.

 Last week's grocery shopping prompted a request for meatloaf.
Tim just laughed at me.
You see, last week we listened to Prairie Home Companion which 
featured a segment about

Guess what we're eating this week?

20 September, 2012

Columbia River Gorge

Multnomah Falls 

Yes, we went to the bridge and 

is that view.

Horsetail Falls:

You can walk along a path behind the falls.

This is Tim, Jacob and Charlie as they came out the other side.

18 September, 2012

Tuesday started with a trip to Ecola State Park - near Cannon Beach.
We climbed across a trail which cut through the traditional Northwest Pacific forest 
that I had been expecting  all of Oregon to look like.

At one point the trail moved to the front of the bluff and gave us
 this glimpse of the beaches ahead. 
Crescent Beach - which is below us and to the right 
is where we landed.
Cannon Beach is forward - you can see Haystack Rock toward the top of the picture.  
The tide surges between the rock in the center and the cliff face making it impossible
 to walk to Cannon Beach at certain times from this side.

We clamored around rocks in a fairly protected area -
There was a haze over the mountains in the distance adding to the beauty of the morning.
Along one rock face there was a tunnel allowing access to a section of beach that would otherwise be cut off by the tide.  We were there just as the tides were changing and with a bit of artful dodging we were able to make our way through the tunnel to another area.
These next two pictures were taken as I stood just inside the tunnel. 

The dogs - Charlie and Esteban -  had a lot of fun.  
We found sand dollars but very few rocks or shells apart from a few stray piles 
of oyster shells alongside several fire pits along the beach.

17 September, 2012

More to come...

Mt. St. Helens

We arrived home late - really late - Saturday night after a wonderful trip to the Pacific Northwest.

Yesterday was devoted to laundry, groceries, naps,
and a few other essentials.
Today I picked up the mail and I'm in the kitchen with bran muffins and what I hope turns out to be a creamy pesto sauce to rival the one I ate at the Crab Pot on Friday.
I'll let you know...

05 September, 2012

A post...

I'm loving all the fall looks - this one is from Pinterest -
and magazine covers are graced with comfort foods and
 fall cooking (you know what I mean)
but it was 100 degrees here yesterday!!

We leave Friday morning for Oregon.  There are piles everywhere
waiting to be consolidated into packable containers.
Two busy days left to pull it all together.
Can't wait!!

27 August, 2012


made with tomatoes from our garden

google images

24 August, 2012

Feeling pleased with myself

My printer has been offline for quite some time.
I've been reminding myself - for quite some time - to ask Tim to take a look.
By take a look I mean fix it!!

You know, though, how this works:

I don't want to print very often, 
think of it at a convenient time, 
fail to leave a note, 
shuffle the priority list,

This morning I wanted to print this from a pinterest board:

Did I grind my teeth, remembering that my printer is offline 
and I had let another week go by without asking for help?

No.  I opened the control panel, clicked through the process
and reinstated my printer to full function.

I printed the page.

20 August, 2012

Another first

Last week saw another first for me:

google images

Monday was our anniversary so Tim put in a couple early morning hours at work
and we headed to the Iowa State Fair.

Familiar refrain:  
Tim's family did; mine didn't.

Fairs were problematic for us when the girls were little 
but we began making them a regular event when we lived in PA.

Tim and I hit the Nebraska State Fair several times.  
Once we won at bingo.  That small grill Tim works his magic with?  It was our bingo prize.

So we wandered.  Day-dreamed.  Chatted.  Laughed.
Had a fun day.

Yes, we saw the butter cow and the chocolate moose.

10 August, 2012

The view from my hammock

This will tie together eventually - just stay with me!

I enjoy lolling in the hammock on our deck.
With this summer's heat my opportunities have been few
 and mainly limited to around 8AM 
- a time when I normally feel the need to be productive.

I have a variety of decorative geegaws hanging from the lower branches of the tree
which give me a certain satisfied, jackdaw-like pleasure.
A chandelier, 
several small bottles, 
a couple of wire/beaded stars, 
glass balls
you get the idea...

I also enjoy Pinterest but don't want to be one who only gathers other people's ideas.
I actually want to try some of the beautiful/interesting/possible
 things I see posted.

The other day I saw this:

and knew that I wanted one hanging from my tree.

So I gathered my supplies:

a pan and silicon mold from the Dollar Tree
and a bag of $2.99 beads from Hobby Lobby.

20 minutes in the oven at 400 degrees.  
If your timing is good, you can use a toothpick to make the hole
 for hanging while the plastic is still warm.
Otherwise wait until it cools/hardens (about 10 minutes)
 and use a drill.

Can you spot it?

What a Day!!

I hope you can see this and appreciate the significance.

It's noon.  I can't decide which is more exciting:
The air conditioner is off.  The temp in the house is 68 - 68!!

I wish I could tell you how long it has been since we had open windows.

08 August, 2012

Catching up

While I'm still at the computer I may as well fill in a few blanks from the last month or so...

I am done with school.

google images
The paperwork is in the mail.  Somewhere.  But I have finished.
Of course, the keyboard had hardly cooled before we began discussions on *what next.*
*Next* may happen in January which will give me time to look at my options.

We've had company.  We've been company.

We have had Aidan and Proton for visits of varying lengths 
but everyone is sleeping under their own roof again.

We celebrated Naphtali's birthday.

The garden is producing.  
We are in green bean week which means that supper is a variation on green beans.  
Tonight I will add brown rice, baby bellas and 1/2 a chicken sausage to mine.

There are projects in various stages all over the house.  

Charlie and I are still walking in the mornings.

My wisteria produced a few blooms/blossoms/clusters.

I've joined the world of pinterest - barely.

I'm learning to drink fizzy water.

The days are full and I'm tired when it's time to go to bed.

Hope all is well in your world.


It has been a fairly domestic day.
Picked herbs and green beans early this morning.
Laundry, dishes, errands etc.
Moved some furniture around.
Juiced a bag of lemons - freezing the juice for future use.

Why we had a bag of lemons is a mystery...

20 June, 2012

Necessity's Younger Sister

Our last unit in Psychology dealt with intelligence and creativity. 
 At two units per week this is not just an introduction - it is a cursory introduction.  
It discussed convergent and divergent thinking and
the role they play in creativity.
They didn't, however, mention one factor that I have always considered a 
major underlying motivation for creativity:
budgetary constraints.

 One of the first things people told us about the house in Grimes was that the railing
between the kitchen and *family* room had to be changed.  
Paint it.  Replace it. Something.
It just hasn't been a priority.

So, the other day as I was walking dogs inspiration struck.
That may be hyperbolic but I did have an idea.

Cover half the openings with paper.  
Parchment, rice, handmade, gift wrap - something would surely work.

Here is my first attempt - done over the weekend.

I like it.  
Opaque but not restrictive.

It's wax paper.

Today I changed it to this:

which I like better.
It's crumpled wax paper.

Here's a closer look at the texture:

Measure, crumple, uncrumple, cut and apply with scotch tape.

06 June, 2012

It Happened One Night

...Sunday night to be exact.

Sunday morning when I walked the dogs this was an empty city park.

Monday morning as we passed the corner had been taken over by flatbeds and travel trailers.
Each day there has been more activity as spots are paced off and equipment tested, 
leading up to the Thursday evening opening of Governor's Days here in Grimes.

Special events Thursday through Sunday.
Of course, there will be a parade Saturday morning.
Several enthusiastic library employees will be along for the ride on a float.
I will be in the crowd with Naphtali and Aidan.
(Aidan misses Proton so much they're making an emergency visit.)
Tim is going to be in the parade for Kennybrook but the details are rather fuzzy...

For $5 you can enter a cake you've decorated for judging - and then watch as the entries 
are auctioned to raise money for the library building fund. 


28 May, 2012

Productivity x Two

Two weeks ago we returned from moving Naphtali done the street.
 Take my word: it's been busy here though you wouldn't know it from this picture.

Have I mentioned that we brought Proton home with us?
He's ours until the beginning of July.
This morning it felt like the chariot race from Ben Hur as I walked the dogs.

Tim's bathroom has been disassembled.
The carpet has been removed from the stairs.

I helped Tim build these garden beds, which he then planted.  
We were able to use compost from my own compost bin!

I bought and assembled this arbor thingy.  Planted a wisteria alongside.  I've also added
a hydrangea to the front of the house.

The planners/owners in this neighborhood love the narrow, L-shaped beds around the house - they are everywhere!  To me they just mean tight right angles for mowing.  
This was a problem area where grass wouldn't grow and mowing was awkward so it's 
been remedied with a new outline and mulch.  Much better! 

Summer school has begun.  The instructor for my latest (and last!) 
class is pushing a pretty tight schedule.

Oh, yes, as of yesterday the hammock has been hung.