Monday, November 28, 2011

Weekend scenes

Patrick and I spent lots of time out enjoying the glorious sunshine. Then we came inside and did our best to ignore the sunshine while we started decorating for the holidays. November, month of paradoxes.

I hope your Thanksgivings were warm and peaceful and delicious.

Psst! Click here to subscribe to the feed!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Gratitude 2011

It's the day before Thanksgiving, and that means gratitude. For the past three years, I've set myself the ambitious goal of "no repeats," but this year, I'm going to cut myself some slack. Here we go.

1. GILBERTSVILLE. Really, how could that not be first?
2. Everything we've accomplished, together, in the past year.
3. Sunchokes
4. Genevieve's eggs
5. Pete tearing around like a maniac, outside.
6. That cozy feeling settling in.
7. A new dryer that dries clothes in one cycle.
8. Having a dishwasher again for the first time since May.
9. Our dads: handy, dogged, generous, kind.
10. Our moms: creative, enthusiastic, generous, kind.
11. Our quaint little post office
12. Our quaint little general store
13. Weekly phone consultations with my best friend and bride-to-be, Alexis
14. Every freelance assignment I've been given this year. So grateful.
15. Maker's Mark bourbon
16. Homemade pickles
17. My neighbor's porch swing.
18. The same neighbor's early Christmas decorations.
19. The same neighbor's excellent cookie-baking skills.
20. Land.
21. A different neighbor's horses, which I can see from my office window
22. Our friends with babies.
23. Our friends without babies
24. Old buttons.
25. Roasted Brussels sprouts
26. Gillian Welch & David Rawlings
27. A Dirty Life, by Kristin Kimball, which has been entertaining and inspiring me lately.
28. Clean sheets.
29. Feeling pretty.
30. Fabric-covered embroidery hoops
31. Plate wall
32. Nesting
33. Glee. (Yes...)
34. Supportive family
35. Local meat
36. Mentors
37. Putting down roots in our new home
38. Meeting new people who live on our street
39. Gorgonzola-stuffed olives
40. Chobani yogurt
41. Spotted Duck honey
42. My growing garden
43. Feeling like I have more storage than I know what to do with
44. Hiking with Patrick
45. Goofing off with my husband
46. Borscht
47. My "chicken boots."
48. Dutch Bucket System
49. Singing along to my husband's guitar
50. Decorating
51. Driving the truck
52. Dunderberg Brook.
53. Sourdough pretzels
54. Campfires
55. Looking back
56. Looking ahead
57. Old spools
58. Anna Maria Horner
59. Resiliency
60. Pumpkin bread
61. Pumpkin beer
62. Trick-or-treaters
63. Closure
64. Hosting
65. Porches
66. Galpals
67. Lilacs
68. Arugula
69. Orioles
70. Old cemeteries
71. Craigslist
72. Antiques shows
73. Lockets
74. Pedal steel
75. Old mirrors
76. Repurposing
77. Working from home
78. Old photographs
79. Getting organized
80. Feather duvets
81. Family heirlooms, old and new
82. Flannel shirts
83. Blog comments
84. Colored pencils
85. Sam Adams Octoberfest
86. Portabello mushrooms
87. Ducklings
88. DIY blogs
89. Pinterest
90. Being a band wife
91. Milkshakes
92. Potential
93. Feeling that the toughest of the work is behind us
94. Rag rugs
95. Live music
96. Making soup on rainy afternoons
97. Creme fraiche
98. Old keys
99. Yellow tulips
100. Plaid

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

Psst! Click here to subscribe to the feed!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Presto, chango!

I don't think I'd ever showed you our downstairs bathroom, had I? Well, don't get attached to the view above, because now it looks like this.

Oh, what a difference a coat of paint makes. I did trim, walls, and ceiling. If the color looks familiar, it's because it's the same as our hallway. Behr Baked Brie.  All else being equal, I'd rather have a gallon of actual baked brie than a gallon of baked brie-colored paint. Every time I think of the color, I start to salivate.

As far as plans go, I've been inspired by a couple of Pinterest pics. Namely,

Pinned Image

Pinned Image

..which means I'm thinking of painting the vanity... green, perhaps? Wrong! I'm actually envisioning a vibrant yellow, which will tie the shower curtain (made from a sheet, in case you're wondering) in nicely. Though I did just come home with some very punchy brown-and-white voile to make curtains from, and once those are hung I might decide it's just a little too much punch, and try bleaching the curtain to make it more muted. Who knows. Decorating is such an evolutionary thing.

Oh, and for reference, this is a close-up of the trim before.

YUCK! Kids, don't smoke. This is what happens. Smoking will turn your crisp white window trim to dinge in no time. 

So, here's another thing crossed off my before-Christmas punch list. Paint downstairs bathroom. Check!

Psst! Click here to subscribe to the feed!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

How I A-door

There's a long list written on a yellow legal pad in my dining room, and yesterday I got to cross off two things:
  • Paint kitchen ceiling (check!)
  • Hang headboard
It's the to-do-before-Christmas list. This is my first time hosting Christmas, and also our first Christmas living here. It's important to do it up right, and apparently to me doing it up right involves a 71 1/4" door hung on the wall in our bedroom. The door came from our Binghamton house, where it had moldered in the attic for who knows how long. At some point somebody hacked the upstairs of that house into pieces, and there was one door too many. So we've brought it here to live with us, a nice reminder of our old house.

It wasn't an overly difficult project, but it did involve a table saw at the last minute. Fortunately, both dads own table saws. How crazy is that? You know you're in a DIY family when...

All I did was trim a few inches off one end (to center the panel), paint it (three coats), and then follow these crazy ingenious instructions to hang it on the wall, all while holding my breath. 

Our bedroom continues to make progress. Now for a new bedspread and a rug and some rearranged art and to hem the curtains... and a full length mirror... oh, it's still a very long road ahead. One step at a time, one step at a time.

Psst! Click here to subscribe to the feed!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Last hike

November has been kind, weather-wise. After September's two hurricanes and October's snow, we were overdue for some kind weather. It's been in the fifties and even sixties for two weeks. The rarity and wonder of this fact is not lost on me.

I know this time is fleeting. November is a flighty month.

This year, we've already set out on three hikes we thought would be "our last" of the season, but yesterday we found ourselves striking out on yet another.

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, and more snow predicted this week, I was pretty sure this would be our real last hike. I savored more than usual: wrinkled berries hung like ornaments on winter-ready bushes, great drifts of crispy oak leaves, milkweed pods setting their down adrift in the breeze, the sapphire blue of reflected sky. The bravery of one extremely cold-tolerant frog.

November's colors we often miss entirely in this month of freezing drizzle and knife-edged wind.

Now we have the whole winter ahead to sit and dream and anticipate next year's hikes. A whole season of mornings to sit inside with oatmeal and wool socks and watch, and be thankful I don't have anywhere to go away from my oatmeal and my wool socks. At least on those mornings, twice a week, when I get to stay home. The more I think about it, the more I'm looking forward to it. Can you tell?

Psst! Click here to subscribe to the feed!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Still lifes

I feel like I'm breathing again for the first time since May. Does that make any kind of sense? Like I've been holding my breath-- too forward driven to pause and look around and think anything deeper than and next...

This has been a common theme lately around this blog, I know. But as I've begun to unwind, and unwind, and unwind, it seems I was a lot more wound-up than I'd realized. 

Just when I think I've relaxed as far as I can go, I go further.

The whole long gorgeous summer is a blur. It feels-- though it fortunately doesn't look-- like we moved in yesterday. I try to be mindful, I try to be present in the moment, but suffice to say this year I flunked that lesson, big time.

Really, I don't think it could've been any other way. It was a lot to take in. A lot to process. A lot to accomplish. 

A big, heady transition. The changing and adjusting has finally slowed to a sensible pace. I can notice things just for the sake of noticing. Genevieve in the early afternoon sunshine. Apples in a McCoy bowl. A basket of goodies waiting to be carried in from the car. 

Part of it is the season. Every year since I started doing home food preservation, I've come to savor winter. My mother-- and most of the greater Northeast-- loathes winter, and understandably so. Windows creak. Ice-dams conspire. Drafts occupy. Cabin fever sets in. Heating oil bills burgeon. There's a lot to resent, but there's a lot to love about taking a break from outside to focus on in. Summer is too many balloons to hold onto, so you let some go: laundry, clean sheets, dust bunnies, homemade bread. You feel guilty, like you should be able to handle it all, but come on: sunshine! flowers! garden! It's too good, and so fleeting, and you leave your messy house and soak it in.

Winter, life starts to feel manageable again. No more garden means time for baking bread. No more raking, no more mowing, no more flower gardening. It feels good. It's easy to ace life, and that's a satisfying feeling.

I'm not saying that visions of carrot seedlings haven't already begun to dance in my head. They have. (Groan.) I'm just saying I'm going to remind myself to savor the simplicity of winter, the stillness, the ease of being mindful and in the moment.

I hope you will, too.

Psst! Click here to subscribe to the feed!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


I will confess, I'm just a little bit obsessed with this here shelf. It is everything I need it to be: strong, white, clean but not hit-you-over-the-head-with-minimalism. And that storage. Oh my. Yesterday I finally checked off a dinky little project-- a prettifying project-- that ended up taking way longer than it should've. That happens, sometimes. But it's okay. It was worth it.

I hacked the big IKEA boxes the shelf came in into tidy 13 x 13" squares, covered them with fabric, and made sort of a checkerboard background for my shelf. It isn't perfect, but it makes me smile. 

On the bottom shelf, I turned three office paper boxes into "drawers" (by trimming off a few inches and reshaping each box with ample duct tape) and used the fabric-covered cardboard on the fronts, not the backs. The effect is, I think, pretty darn similar to the inserts IKEA sells for this shelf, but these had the distinct advantage of being free. Here's a better picture of the "drawers."

Pretty good, I think. 

Anyhow. Just wanted to pop in and show that off. Cheers!

Psst! Click here to subscribe to the feed!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Three days of November sunshine.
Azure lakes, grapevine-fringed fields, gold-smudged hills.
A beautiful wedding shared with friends.
Grape pies, farm stands, free donuts.
Antiquing and salvaging.
Hiking, walking, wandering, and lots of eating.

This year has been a little short on Patrick-and-me-alone time, which has the predictable (and slightly wonderful) side effect of making this sort of time so very precious when it comes. We had a wonderful weekend.

Psst! Click here to subscribe to the feed!

Friday, November 4, 2011

What an awesome week

Do you know how long I've waited to hang embroidery hoops?

Do you know how long I've waited to hang a plate wall? YEARS. ETERNITIES. EONS.

This week was my first week of quote-unquote working from home part-time. Tuesdays and Thursdays I stay home, the rest of the week I take care of Patrick's grandma-- which has been my main gig since April 2009. It's cake, most of the time, except for when it isn't cake. And then it's the hardest job imaginable.

Well, maybe not imaginable. Not as bad, I would imagine, as coal mining. Or applying tar to a blazing stretch of highway in the middle of July.

Anyway. I had originally planned on walking away from that completely, but then that damned Voice of Reason piped up, urging me to put on my big girl pants and do the responsible thing. Baby steps, right? Don't walk away completely, it begged me. Most of the time, this is cake. What if that assignment falls through? What if you end up sleeping in a cardboard box? 

I opted for part-time. I moped for about two weeks after I did The Responsible Thing, thinking I was selling my dreams short or some other melodramatic such nonsense, but now I realize the truth: this is the best of all possible worlds.

At "work," I do my writing. Clickity click go the fingers. If it's a good week, I can easily do all the writing I need to do on my at-work days. Which means I get to spend Tuesday and Thursday unabashedly playing at home.

Eventually, I tell myself, I'll calm down and settle in to actually working from home. That was the initial idea. But, for just this first month, maybe, I'm going to use this precious, GLORIOUS free at-home time doing all the little exciting things I've been thinking about-- and haven't had time for-- for a year.

Things like that plate wall, and those embroidery hoops.

A few notes: last week, we received some wonderful furniture. Patrick's other grandma is downsizing, and don't you love it when timing works out perfectly like that? For years we'd been using a glass-topped patio table in our dining room. Now we have a gorgeous, extendable, wooden table that makes me smile every time I walk in. I've already ordered the fabric I'm going to reupholster those seats with, but that sort of thing really shouldn't surprise you.

We also got a big china cabinet, a curio cabinet, and a bench out of the deal. Things are shaping up.

Also shaping up? Our stairwell. Patrick's parents have decided to give us a stairwell for Christmas. Isn't that nice? Whenever I come home and find that more progress has been made on the banister, I praise the good heavens that we are saved from having to do the job ourselves. Our banister turns four times on its way down. Do you know how many screw-up-able measurements that takes? How many perfectly mitered cuts?

We're hosting Christmas this year. Did I tell you that? We are. That sort of occasion calls for a proper tree, not the dinky four-footer we've been using since the beginning. To that end, I brought home an 8-foot artificial Christmas tree yesterday. For thirty-five dollars.

This has just been an all-out amazing, wonderful week. Hope yours was, too. Now that I'm going to have time to be home and do things and take pictures during daylight hours, I'll probably be bringing the old blog back to twice-weekly posting. That feels good, too. Happy weekend! I'll be back, Tuesday probably, with pictures of our whirlwind wedding weekend in the Finger lakes.

Psst! Click here to subscribe to the feed!
Related Posts with Thumbnails