The Pretty Rug and Not-So-Pretty Yard

If you’ve ever shopped for rugs on-line, you know too well how overwhelming it can be. There are thousands more to choose from than in any retail store, and after a while you feel like your eyes will pop out of their sockets.

What made it worse was I was looking for not one, but two rugs. 

Unlike the opinions for the living room rug which were varied, most of you favored this one for the dining area, and so did I. It was backordered for a few weeks, but I got it last week as promised by Wayfair.

It’s an 8′ round, off-white shag rug with a taupe/tan swirl throughout. When I first saw it I was a little disappointed, thinking that it might be too big, but once the table was placed on top it’s actually the perfect size. Just large enough so the chairs won’t get caught but small enough so that it doesn’t interfere with the flow of traffic.

dining room rug

 

rug and outside-4

An unexpected surprise is the swirls perfectly match the fabric of the existing drapes. The same drapes were also in our living room, but a couple of months ago I switched them out so now I have fabric if I want to make some seat cushions. Just what I need…another project. I’m just not sure I want to tackle that right  now that the weather is getting nicer and there’s much to do outside.

Which brings me to my next topic…

Mother Nature has been unpredictable this season. Just the other day, we had the air conditioner on, I put away my winter clothes, we turned off the pilot light in the gas fireplace and I planted some flowers in containers. Notice where the flowers are now? The other day was so cold and although it’s been a bit warmer, a frost is still possible.

Meanwhile, my body looks like a mine field that blew up because the May flies think I’m their personal buffet table. Maybe a frost would be a good thing. Might kill off those m+%&##fu#@!s!

Confession time: I put some tulle over my head and tied a piece of string around my neck to keep them off my face. That’s how desperate I was.  I finally broke down and bought one of those silly looking net thingies you place over your head, but not before a fly bit me on the eyelid and I puffed up like Popeye. 

At least it matched the rest of my ravaged, bitten body, which Fisherman so sweetly pointed out. 

rug and outside-8

We had some much needed tree work done last week. Here’s a couple of piles of wood for your viewing pleasure…

outside yard tree work

and a couple more…

outside2

and one more on the right, but I’ve got some plans for that tree stump. Can you guess what they are? 

fairy garden tree

There was a large tree in the front that was removed and it used to have an outside light attached to it which we definitely need for safety reasons, so we bought this lantern and attached it to the stump. The only thing I don’t like is the cord is visible, but once the plants are filled in it will be fine.

rug and outside-12

First up on the agenda will be to get the backyard leveled and ready for a fire pit and maybe a raised garden bed or two. I also want to put a small stone wall in the front of the house by the foundation and maybe around a small tree on the front lawn. We bought the stone today and it will be delivered Wednesday.

 

In other news…

 

I bought some of those peel and stick ’tiles’ for our guest bath and spent some time putting a few up the other day. I’m not sure how I feel about them just yet. Don’t love them, but don’t hate them. They’re a bit more colorful and busy than what I normally gravitate toward, but maybe that’s a good thing ;).

Memorial weekend we’re going on our first RV event. It’s only about an hour and a half away near the Vermont border and there should be at least 200 other RV’ers there. Should be interesting. :) 

Remember I told you I was going to Elephant’s Trunk in Connecticut? Well, this was just about the best thing there:

elephant's trunk

 (Sorry about the picture, but it seems like every time I use a pic taken with my phone it doesn’t look right). 

Maybe it was because it was Mother’s Day and a lot of vendors didn’t participate, but it was nothing more than a glorified garage sale. A bunch of junk, and what wasn’t junk was way overpriced. I had such high expectations based on Flea Market Flip, but I should have realized after attending Brimfield a few times, everything else will fall short.

 

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A Sophisticated Showhouse

I’m so tired right now I can barely type. I went to sleep around 1:30 (pretty typical for me) and woke up at 6:30. That’s also typical but I usually go back to sleep for a bit, but today all I could think about was the huge amount of work we need to do outside, so the only logical thing to do was get up and get started.

The first order of the day was to dig a small ditch about 30′ long, 6″ wide and about 10″ deep. We need to extend the existing foundation drain pipe that is buried so that more of the yard will be usable. The dirt was completely water logged, as this isn’t water from rain, but from our very high water table, so it’s a constant flow.

After I showered and washed off all the mud, I took a much needed break and picked up some flowers and arranged them in hanging baskets and containers. While I was doing that FedEx came with the delivery of the dining area rug (I’ll show that to you next time) and a sweet and savory surprise for Mother’s Day from my daughter (see below). 

On Wednesday I went on a fun house tour with some friends and I thought I’d share a few pictures with you. When we got to the house I realized I packed the wrong lens, so I wasn’t able to get good shots of an entire room, but I got some close up shots and I also took some pics with my phone so all was not lost.

connecticut show house

The house is a traditional Tudor style built in 1930 and is approximately 7,000 square feet and sits on 5.3 park-like acres in a lovely area of Connecticut. The house was in disrepair, but was beautifully restored in preparation for this event and is now on the market. 

When you enter, the room to your right is the living room. I love the ceilings and the huge fireplace, and although I do think the furnishings are perhaps a bit too modern for everyday living, I like the stylish and elegant feel of the space.

showhouse1

A close up of the living room floor lamps. Gold ‘twigs’…the perfect blend of elegant and rustic.

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The green sofa in the background is what you see when you first enter the home. I love the beautiful color, which is even prettier in person. Oh, and you see those lamps flanking it? They were $18,000 each. Hand carved and covered in 14k gold plate.

showhouse

Each room in the home was decorated by a different designer, and they all did a fabulous job. I’ve been on many home tours, and invariably there’s at least one room where you wonder, ‘what were they thinking?!’ But not in this home. I enjoyed every room, but my favorite was the master bedroom, where the designer combined classic, glamorous and trendy elements and the result was spectacular.

showhouse1-4

It was furnished like a movie set, just waiting for Lombard and Gable. (Strangely, this next picture sometimes looks wonky and other times it’s fine. If it looks weird on your computer, I’d love to know.)

connecticut show houseThe space consisted of a mix of antique and modern pieces, creating a visually appealing and calming retreat.

showhouse1-5

Another drop dead gorgeous room was the dining room, which was embellished in Robert Allen fabrics, china from Richard Ginori and a porcelain mirror from Lladro. That’s the designer in the picture. What do you think of the ceiling? I love it!  All the furnishings in this home were for sale, and we did a quick calculation so if you’re interested in the table settings it will only cost you about $13,000. 

showhouse1-3

The kitchen, while not large by today’s standards, had a very interesting stove which was installed in the 80’s. Although I didn’t take photos, just on the other side of the kitchen wall was a butler’s pantry that was nearly as large as the kitchen itself, with lovely glass-fronted cabinets and a huge double sink.

showhouse1-2

Moving on, there was a lovely little dressing room with so many pretty touches tucked away in the corner on the third floor.  

showhouse-8

showhouse-9

One thing we noticed was a generous use of metallics in many of the rooms. It was highlighted in interesting ways, such as ceilings covered in unique, textured metallic cork wallpaper, aluminum foil cut into squares and given an interesting patina, or simply using Rustoleum metallic products to achieve a bit of glam.
showhouse-13

We ended our tour outside in the charming garden.

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showhouse-17

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Are these not the most gorgeous flowers you’ve ever seen??! We couldn’t remember their name. Anyone know?

showhouse-19

showhouse

 

In other news…

 

Remember my bear incident in my last post? Well, the next day we heard on the news that a bear in the same town was chasing two women. They were not harmed, but when they found the bear they euthanized it. That made me sad because I can’t help but wonder if the women were exaggerating and if they were, well, there should have been a better way. (I don’t think it was the same bear that I saw though.)

Now about that Mother’s Day gift…

It arrived in a cute little wooden box covered in corrugated cardboard…

jam

and inside were six of the most delectable gourmet jams I’ve ever seen.

Jam From Eat This

Flavors like Raspberry Chambord, Orange and Cardamon and Tipsy Peach (which has a touch of irish whiskey!). AND…they come in reusable Wick jars. :)

jam-3

I had a hard time deciding which jam to have but I ended up with the meyer lemon and lavender which went really well with some apricot goat cheese I had on hand. 

Notice that cute little vintage cup on the right? We took a quick trip to Vermont on Monday and came upon a building that houses tons of antique vendors and picked up six of these Stengl ‘Autumn Harvest’ cup and saucers. The colors are so pretty, I wish we could have gotten the entire set of dishes and serving pieces. 

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gourmet jam

 

I’ve never heard of ‘Eat This’, but I think they’re certainly going to be hearing from me again!

If you’re a mom or have a mom, are you doing anything special for Mother’s Day? It will just be the two of us, so even though Fisherman made dinner reservations at one of our favorite places, I decided I’d rather spend the day at Elephant’s Trunk in Connecticut. Have you heard of it? It’s featured on Flea Market Flip a lot and I’ve always wanted to go. Maybe I’ll have some pics to share soon. 

 

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The Living Room is Ready For Its Close Up!

Well, we did it. We finally found recliners that not only are super comfy, but look a lot more stylish than most. Not an easy task. Trust me.

After searching on-line for hours and then pounding the pavement and coming up short, I have to give credit where credit is due…Fisherman found them.

 

And you thought he was just another pretty face.

 

A few weeks ago I was in the same store where we later found the chair with a couple of friends and must have walked right past it.  I saw a couple of chairs I liked so a week later I took Fisherman to the same stores to hopefully make a final decision. At the store (Raymour & Flannigan) he plopped down in a chair, gave me a smirk that clearly meant ‘this is the one’ and threw in puppy eyes to seal the deal.

At first, I thought it was a little too contemporary.

But it’s not. I mean, they’re not. It was a floor sample, and the store only had one. We couldn’t fit it in our car so with the help of a friend we brought it home a couple of days later, then we found another one,  and there you have it. The search is over. 

recliners

I love that the arms are cushioned and the backs are pillow backs, and yet they don’t look bulky like our Frazier chair did. I also like the mid-century design which goes surprisingly well with the overall rustic feel of the space. Not predictable, and a little unexpected, but nonetheless appropriate.

livingroomrug1-3

Now about the rug.

I mentioned in my last post that I had decided on one of the rugs I had asked opinions about, but it was out of stock until June and I didn’t want to wait that long.

The same day we found the chair, we were in another store and found it.

I wanted something that had some color,

something that was nature inspired,

and something that wasn’t too busy.

Was that asking too much?

Apparently not, because I got it, and more. 

Now here’s a test to see if you’re observant: Did you notice how the art work I painted in the above picture has flowers that are almost the exact shape of the flowers in the rug?

I didn’t think so. Now scroll up and see for yourself.

Pretty cool, right?

And how about those umber colored petals? They match the existing wood elements perfectly.

livingroomrug1-4

living room rug

I’m feeling nostalgic today, so I thought I’d show you a picture of the living room as it looked about 4 years ago. Just about everything is gone with the exception of the leather sofa and chair. This picture was part of my first post which you can read here. You can see the living room was pretty kitchy, and my pictures not much better!

log cabin living room

This window that you see next was actually where the house ended when it was built in the 70’s. The previous owners added on just behind it, and created a space for a bathroom (although when we purchased the house it was just down to the studs), a master bedroom and another bedroom. There is a third bedroom in the lower level which was also an add on. The original house actually had no bedrooms, but just a loft space above the dining area.  

rustic living room

Fisherman and I completed the bathroom, but after one too many times witnessing him on the John from the living room (TMI?), we quickly realized it was weird to have a ‘window’ right there so I made the canvas art to provide some privacy.

This next picture is what the living room looked like a few weeks ago. We still have the brown recliner in the foreground and we’re not sure if we’re keeping it or not. BTW, we sold Frazier and the rug on Craigslist super fast and I’m still getting inquiries daily! 

rustic living room

I never liked the grates on the fireplace and they’re not functional either, so a few weeks ago I purchased some philodendron but they didn’t cascade enough, so I got some fake foliage for some instant gratification. Not perfect, but it does soften the overall look a bit.

living room rug

If you look closely at the ‘before’ picture below, you will notice we removed the wall shelf on the left so that we could hang the drapes higher. I think it really opened up the space. We also brought the armoire you can barely see on the left downstairs and replaced it with a wall mounted tv. The kitchy stuff is all outta here, except for the ‘singing’ deer head on the right wall. It found a home downstairs.  

Pick your battles, I always say.

LIVING ROOM BEFORE/AFTER

With the exception of a couple of pillows and possibly changing out the cocktail table (if I come across one that blows me away), I’m done with the decorating bug for this room. I’m really happy with this space now. It feels a lot more open and more like a ‘real’ home, rather than a room that some toothless guy in Alaska named Jethro who hunts for his food hangs out in. 

(My apologies if your name is Jethro and/or toothless, but I do know a good dentist. You’re on your own with the name though.)

 

In other news…

 

Most of you know we purchased an RV recently, and a by-product of that was we decided to trade in one of our cars and get one that can be towed with all four wheels on the road. Did you know that not all vehicles are created equal when it comes to towing? I didn’t. I had no idea that towing was so tricky! We did not want to purchase a dolly to tow a car. Not only are they fairly expensive, but it’s just another thing to deal with when you get to your destination.  Fisherman did some research and learned Ford Fiestas can be towed ‘4 down’, so we purchased a 2012 Ford Fiesta with less than 4,000 miles. I drove it Thursday night for the first time. I was alone and driving on a dark road with no street lights when suddenly a VERY large bear was directly in front of me, crossing the road. I slammed on the brakes and veered into the other lane (no other cars were there) to avoid hitting it head on. I heard a thump and knew contact was made, but I think it was maybe just its back right leg that the car crazed. I don’t think it was seriously hurt because the car sustained no damage. 

(Do you remember our bear incident last year? If not, click on over if you have a minute, but suffice it to say bears are fairly common around here.)

Coincidentally last week we attended a presentation by the Audobon Society about how to deal with injured wildlife. Of course, it was mostly birds, not bears, they were speaking about, but they did say one of the most common forms of injury to many animals in general was from cars.

Less than 20 minutes after narrowly missing the bear, I almost hit a skunk that was crossing the road. 

As happy as I was to get home that night, I think the local animals were even happier.

 

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Gooey Chewy Chocolate Espresso Cookies

 

CHOCOLATE COOKIES

 As you can see from the pictures, these cookies are definitely gooey and chewy. Like small pieces of chocolate lava cake, these cookies demand lots of fresh, cold milk to wash down the richness of the chocolate. If you’re looking for something that’s fairly easy to make and a crowd pleaser, give these a try. 

CHOCOLATECOOKIES1-4

As I mentioned in this post about the living room rug and recliner (more on that later), I made these for the first time a few weeks ago, and while they were good, they looked like pancakes. I learned a few lessons of what NOT to do which I will pass on.

When you make these cookies, make sure you do not melt the chocolate within a few seconds of its life. There should be a few unmelted pieces of chocolate when you’re finished with the microwave portion. Just whisk until those pieces are integrated. The first time I made these, I sprayed the pan with cooking spray. This time I just used parchment paper. I think the cooking spray caused the cookies to spread out too much. 

chocolate espesso cookies

 

 

 

 

Chewy Gooey Espresso Chocolate Cookies
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Total Time
35 min
Total Time
35 min
Ingredients
  1. 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (you can also use a combination of semi and bittersweet)
  2. 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  3. 2-3 tablespoons of espresso powder, depending on your preference. I used 2. *note* If you do not like espresso, this ingredient is completely optional.
  4. 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  5. 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  6. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  7. 2 large eggs
  8. 3/4 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
  9. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  10. 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chunks or chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat over to 350. In a microwave safe bowl in 15 second increments, melt 8 ounces of the chocolate with the butter, making sure not to overdo it! Remove from microwave and if you're using espresso powder, add now until combined.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a stand mixer beat eggs, brown sugar and vanilla on high speed until light. Reduce speed to low and beat in melted chocolate. Add flour mixture just until combined, then stir in chocolate chunks. Your batter should be stiff, not runny. If it's too thin, let it stand until it gets hard.
  4. Cover cold baking sheet with parchment paper and drop dough onto sheet using a tablespoon. If you want smaller cookies, use a teaspoon. The dough should have a dome shape. Do not press dough down. You want the middle of these cookies to actually be slightly underdone after cooking!
  5. Place tray(s) in oven and set your timer for five minutes. When timer goes off, rotate cookies and set your timer for another five minutes. The texture should be soft when you take them out of the oven.
  6. Cool on baking sheet(s) for ten minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  7. Or do what I did...grab some milk and scoff down a couple before they have a chance to cool. Soooooooo good!
Adapted from Taste Of Home
Adapted from Taste Of Home
HouseHoneys.com http://www.househoneys.com/

 

In other news… 

 

We got a rug and a recliner! Actually, we have one recliner now, but we’re getting the second one today so I’ll show you everything next time. Believe it or not, after all that work looking on line, I ended up getting both at nearby stores. I tried to order this one,

rug

but it’s out of stock until at least June and I didn’t really want to wait that long. The rug for the dining room is also out of stock but that’s expected the beginning of May. I’m really happy with what we ended up with!

Now if only I could be as happy about the weather. Yesterday there were actually snow flurries! Seriously??!

 

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Some Honey For This Househoney (& A Fabulous Fruit Salad Recipe)

 

Can you guess who sent me these pretty packages? (Don’t peek!)

Hint: The language on the card is Greek and the sender is a blogger.

 

cookies and honey

 

Yup. It’s none other than our very own sweet, pretty Poppy over at PoppyView

 

poppy

 

Now, we all know she’s an amazing poet and singer, but did you also know she’s a kick ass baker? Neither did I, but I (and my scale) know now!

Thanks Poppy!

 

I think.

 

Nestled inside that lovely wrapped package were these delectable delights that Poppy baked just for lil’ ol me! The moment I unwrapped the container, I was immediately greeted with a delightfully distinctive lemony fragrance, which originated from Poppy’s very own lemon tree.

These delicious Greek Easter cookies, which were carefully and lovingly wrapped, traveled across the pond to my humble abode where, I dare say, they were consumed post haste with afternoon tea or coffee by myself and Fisherman.  

 

cookies-3

 

Although it took over two weeks for the parcel to arrive, the cookies were perfectly intake and tasted as fresh as the day they were made, I’m sure.

This adorable package housed some delicious Cretan honey, which, according to Poppy, derives its delicate flavor from thyme, wildflowers and conifer tree essence. 

 

cookies and honey

 

I use honey fairly often as a sweetener in smoothies, but I wanted to highlight the delicate taste of this honey in a recipe and I remembered I had a fabulous fruit salad dressing using honey as one of its primary ingredients. Now that Spring is here and fresh fruit is readily available, I thought I’d share this easy and healthy dish with you.

 

Fruit Salad with Honey Dressing
Serves 6
A healthy, refreshing fruit salad perfect as a light lunch served on red leaf or butter lettuce, breakfast or snack.
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Prep Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/3 cup honey
  2. 1/4 cup orange juice
  3. 1/4 cup canola oil
  4. 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  5. 1 1/2 teaspoons poppy seeds
  6. 1/3 teaspoon salt
  7. 1/4 teaspoon prepared mustard
  8. 1 cantaloupe, cut into chunks
  9. 1 mango, cut into chunks
  10. 1 banana, cut into 1/4 inch slices
  11. 1/4 raisins or dried cranberries
  12. 1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
Instructions
  1. Combine the honey, orange juice, oil, lemon juice, poppy seeds, salt and mustard in a jar with a tight lid, cover and shake very well. Combine the remaining ingredients in a glass bowl, add the dressing and stir gently.
Notes
  1. You can use any kind of fruit you have on hand for this salad. The original recipe calls for avocado, banana and apple only. I'm not a huge fan of raw apples so I don't use them. The dressing yields enough to coat about 4 cups of fruit salad, so that's the only thing you have to consider when deciding what/how much fruit to use.
Adapted from Paula Deen
Adapted from Paula Deen
HouseHoneys.com http://www.househoneys.com/
 
cookies-5

 

cookies-6

 

Yes, the world is a big place, but seems infinitely smaller and warmer when one is blessed to have such sweet and thoughtful blog friends like Poppy. It’s a wonderful thing…

 

In other news…

 

Thanks so much for the much needed feedback and advice about the rug and recliner a couple of weeks ago. I’ve decided on the dining room rug, which is this one:

diningroomrugs

 

It’s out of stock right now but hopefully should be available sometime in May. I’m still not 100% sure about the living room rug, but I’m leaning toward this one in the middle:

 

living room rug

 

My only hesitation is that the background might be a little too dull, but when I looked at a closeup it looks slightly brighter than it appears in the picture so I’m cautiously optimistic it will work.

Spring has FINALLY arrived here in Massachusetts, and now our thoughts our leaning toward fixing up the yard. The first order of business is to build a fire pit. Do you have one? What kind? Any suggestions would be welcome.

 

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Did I Remember…Life Lessons For My Daughter

I began with the best of intentions.

But somehow

everyday life got in the way

and pushed those intentions aside.

 And now that you’re all grown up and married

I wonder…

 

Did I tell you all the things that I meant to?

 

Did I remember to tell you that flowers come up every Spring

no matter how harsh the winter.

That the sun will surely rise every morning to greet a new day

and yes

it is always darkest just before dawn.

orchids-12

Did I remember to tell you to respect nature

and find a part of it that you love…a mountain, a beach, or a forest,

for it is there you will be restored.

botanical garden orchids

Did I tell you that those things that are most important will often require the most sacrifice and the most work

Worthwhile endeavors take time and don’t always come easy

When you feel like quitting

ask yourself why you started

and the answer can cheer you on to the finish line.

orchids-5

Did I remember to tell you never to move so fast that it becomes hard to stop

Give yourself a break

Take the time to have a long, restorative talk with a good friend

go for a leisurely walk

or take a bubble bath

And go ahead and have a piece of cake

Preferably one you’ve made

And preferably chocolate

Or coconut. 😉

orchids

Did I remember to tell you that everything has a season

You can’t always focus on everything you might like to at once

It’s ok to let some things go for the time being.

It’s even ok to want to quit.

But don’t.

orchids-7

Did I tell you that every day you will be bombarded with choices to make

Choose wisely

Go where the good things are, and leave the bad behind

And don’t look back.

orchids-9

Did I remember to tell you that the things that bother us the most,

that drive us crazy,

are actually life’s greatest lessons?

Embrace them, for you will never have a better teacher.

cactus

Did I remember to tell you that every relationship has peeks and valleys

and will inevitably go through changes

Some welcome, many not so much

Every flower was once a bud

Change is what we need to be who we were meant to be

It can be scary and uncomfortable

But it’s always good.

orchid

Did I tell you to remember your past, but look to the future

Remember that your past made you who you are

but within the future lies endless possibilities for new opportunities and new adventures.

orchid show

 

Did I tell you the joy that comes from making a house a home

Discovering your style and expressing it has joys yet undiscovered for you

It will come

Find a creative outlet and work on it regularly

You’ll find it is then you’re most at peace.

orchids-10

Did I tell you to be brave and bold, but temper those traits with good judgment.

Did I tell you to be courteous, and always in a meaningful way.

Good manners and consideration for others will never go out of style.

orchids-11

Did I remember to tell you that the only love worth giving is unconditional

Anything less is second rate.

orchid

Did I tell you to be thoughtful of others, and to try to consider their needs and meet them halfway

And don’t be afraid to occasionally meet them all the way

You’ll know when it’s right to do so

And you’ll know when you’re being a doormat

Follow your instincts

They are your compass

and they will never betray you.

orchids

Did I tell you to dance, sing and laugh with abandon…

the swiftest way to feeling old is to stop.

 Botanical Garden, Orchid Show

Did I remember to tell you these things as we were living our lives

amidst the day to day hustle and bustle?

I hope so

but whether I did or I didn’t

take what works for you and do what you will with the rest.

Your life is yours and yours alone, to live as you so choose.

 

orchid show 

  

 

And pssssst…did I remember to tell you you’re my greatest treasure?

 

Yes, I do believe I told you that.

 

In other news…

 

I had the pleasure and honor of being interviewed by Floor Coverings International recently! I’d love it if you’d click on over to check it out right here.

 

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Choosing A Rug For The Living Room

Hello all, and Happy Easter and Passover weekend to you! I’ve been spending waaayyyyyy too much time on-line browsing through sites looking at various rug options for the living room lately. I started out looking at RugsUSA where I found a few I liked, then switched over to Wayfair. I can’t believe how many rugs they have! Thousands it seems, and I feel like I’ve looked at them all. Seriously. My eyes are now crossed eyed from looking at just about every geometric, floral, abstract and any other pattern or design ever made.

If you’ve ever found yourself in a position where you have a million and one choices, you know after a while your brain turns to mush and you end up more confused than you might have been in the first place. That’s kind of where I’m at, so I’d welcome an opinion or two…or three.                                 

I’ve had more than a few people say how lucky they think I am because I have a log home. But here’s the thing; with a log home, you have a lot of inherent texture before lifting a finger to decorate. I’m a person who loves texture, but even I have my limits. Too much and it can start to look busy.

There’s also the challenge of color. I love white, but bright white looks a little jarring and unnatural to me in most log homes. If I’m going to introduce white at the cabin (which I have as you can see) it’s going to be a creamy white. Earth tones, especially dark ones, can get lost. Oranges and colors with too much yellow in them don’t work well since the logs have an orange tint to them, and pastels look washed out, so that leaves a couple of the primary and secondary colors like reds, blues, greens, etc. 

 

living room rug

Currently, I have very few patterns in the living room. Whatever pattern exists comes from a throw, one pillow and the wall hangings in the next picture.

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I’ve taken pictures from virtually every angle in this room to give you a good idea of the layout and the existing elements. In this next one, I’m sitting in my Frazier chair (the one in the above pic on the left) while taking the picture. The doorway leads to a bathroom on the left, a closet and an exterior door on the right.

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In this next picture, I’m standing just in front of the above mentioned doorway.

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So now that you’ve seen the lay of the land, here’s some of the rugs I’m considering:

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Number 1 is neutral, and #3 brings in a subtle shade of green. The middle one, #2, echoes the colors in the wall hanging and has what looks like two shades of green in the mix.

living room rugs

If my goal is to bring color into the space, #5 is the clear choice, while #6 has color, but some neutrality at the same time. The sofa and chair are sort of a burgundy brown, so those leaves would blend nicely.

livingroomrug3

If I decide to keep things neutral, both of these rugs would work, but I’m favoring #7. So what do you think?

I’m also looking for a rug to place under the dining table, but my vision for this is a lot clearer. 

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The first one is the same as #8 above, but happens to come in a round shape which is what I’m looking for.

Which is your favorite?

 

diningroomrugs

Safavieh-Cambridge-Ivory-Beige-Area-Rug-CAM140P dining room rug

I really thought this year I would be focusing just on the outside, which definitely needs LOTS of work, but I’m becoming more and more dissatisfied with the living room and I’m itching to make some changes. I’m going to start off with a rug and see if that scratches my itch. If not, I might consider saying goodbye to my oh-so-comfortable Frazier chair and maybe the brown adjacent recliner as well. I could picture that space having two matching chairs, but it’s super important they be recliners as that’s where I spend a lot of time watching tv or surfing the internet. It’s not easy to find good looking recliners that are comfy, and I don’t expect to find one as cushy as Frazier, but here’s a couple of frontrunners:

recliners

 

I prefer the one on the left for color, but I’m not crazy about the exposed base. The one on the right doesn’t really come in colors that I’m happy with, but I like the overall design.

 

recliner

 

This one is from Bassett. I like that this one has the same legs as the existing sofa/chair, but I don’t see it on their website anymore. 

Maybe the rug will be enough of a change…

 

In other news…

 

Aside from looking at endless decor sites, I’ve been spending time researching and booking next year’s RV trip. So far I have January and February booked and a couple of weeks in March. After coming home to snow, snow, and more snow, we’re definitely looking to expand our time away next year. (If I haven’t been by as often to visit, now you know why.) Oh, and yesterday we picked up the RV to have it checked out by a mechanic, and everything looks good! There’s a few rather minor issues that need to get taken care of, but the dealer will fix those. Fisherman drove it from the dealer to the mechanic both ways (an hour each way) and did great. No hydrants, stop signs or trees died in the process. Next time, my turn :/. Yikes!!!

On Thursday I spent part of the day making some chocolate to-die-for cookies. They’re delicious, and I was hoping to share them with you, but they look like I sat on them. I’m bringing them to a friend’s today, and I’m going to call them ‘chocolate wafer cookies’ so she’ll think I made them look like that on purpose. Don’t tell, ok? I think I know what I did wrong. I’m going to try again, because if you’re a chocolate lover, you’re going to want to bookmark these for sure.

We’re going to NY today and visiting the Botanical Gardens in the Bronx then it’s on to nearby Arthur Av. for some dinner. Whatever it is you’re celebrating this weekend, enjoy!

 

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A New Lens, A New Fridge & Old Drapes

I’m not one to make New Year’s resolutions, but I’m not above setting a few goals, otherwise known as to-do lists. (Remember, where other people enjoy mundane things like world travel, front row concert seats to see Adam Levine and a house on the beach, I get all giddy when I gleefully cross off an item on my list.) 

One such item was renting/buying a new lense or two. I’ve been working exclusively with two lenses since getting my Rebel two years ago. At the time that I purchased my camera, I belonged to a camera club and on the advice of the President, I opted not to get the kit lens and went straight for a 18-135mm. It served me well for several months, but I drooled over the beautiful bokeh effects we all covet so I purchased a prime 85mm 1.8 and slowly but surely that became my favorite of the two. 

For a while now I’ve been thinking about either buying or renting a macro lens and maybe a lens that could zoom a bit more than my 135. Rather than go to Amazon or another on line source, I went to a local camera shop. I knew I might pay a bit more, but I like the idea of supporting local small business and having more of a personal relationship, as well as the ability to ask for help or advice when (not if) the need arises.

So let me cut to the chase and the main reason for this post. I walked into the shop fully expecting to purchase a macro lens, perhaps spending $300 or more.

Instead, I walked out with this: 

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I have known about these filters for a while, but never had the opportunity to try them, so Tony, the shop owner and my new bff, let me play around with them. Notice the detail on the penny? The lens was maybe less than two inches away, and normally I would need to be about three feet away or more from whatever I was shooting for the camera to take the shot.

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I will admit it took some getting used to and I still don’t have the process down pat (focusing is a bit inconsistent), but for $58 it’s a great way to get up close and personal with your subject and not invest heavily in a dedicated macro lens.

Tony also demonstrated extenders in lieu of the filters, but they weren’t my cup of tea. As it happened he inadvertently left the extender on my camera and when I returned the following week to return it, I ended up purchasing a 70-300mm lens. (While in Florida, I had wished I had a lens that could zoom a bit more than the 135, especially when we were in the Everglades.)

Both of these shots were taken at the camera shop while standing in the same spot. The first one was taken with my 135mm camera fully extended, and the second with the new lens fully extended. 

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Much better.

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This next picture, taken with my 18-135mm, demonstrates the closest I could get to my subject with that lens with no macro filters. 

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And this picture was taken using my 85mm, again, no macro filters.

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Heres a picture using my 135mm with one 10x filter.

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You can use as many or as few filters as you want. This next one I was using a 10x and a 4x. Notice it’s a bit larger than the last one.

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Here I used the 10x, 4x and 2x. Pretty cool for $58 bucks, right?

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If you’re just an amateur photographer like me and don’t have the need for a dedicated macro lens, you might want to consider macro filters, but if possible I recommend you try before you buy.

Now about those drapes. Notice in the picture below one drape is lower than the other. That’s because I forgot to take a ‘before’ pic and shot this one while we were in the middle of working on them!

Something that’s bothered me for a while is I always felt the drapes were a bit short for this space. The ceiling is high and it just looked out of whack to me. I dug up some drapes that we had in our former house and extended them about 12″ above the window frame.

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Aside from the fact the light is much better in this next picture, I think it looks better this way, and I also like that the drapes are sheer and airy, perfect for the warmer weather…if it ever gets here!

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I’ve got a few other tweaks I want to do to this room…change the rug, get rid of my ‘Frazier’ chair, maybe slipcover the leather sofa/chair and add some pattern to the space…I’m not really sure yet, but for sure I’ll be asking for opinions/advice. Oh, and remember that centerpiece on my Spring table? It’s now on the cocktail table in this room.

For now.

 

In other news…

 

Since I’ve been boring entertaining you for weeks with my tales and woes about the fridge, I can’t pass up the opportunity to show you the new one.

TA DA!!!

 

living room

I would have loved a cabinet depth, but this was the only fridge that would fit the space and I’m fine with it. Heck, I’m just happy it works!!

We’ve got the Grands this weekend. We haven’t seen them since before we left for Florida three months ago so we’re looking forward to it. Till next time my lovelies…

 

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It’s A ‘Sexy Beast’ That Rv…

Those were the words of my daughter when she saw the outside of the RV in a pic on FB and Instagram.

I can only imagine if she saw the inside she might not have been so flattering…but I digress.

We’ve been shopping for an RV for a while. We even looked at several while down in Florida and almost pulled the trigger on a very nice Class C. (For those of you that don’t know what a Class C looks like, you can go to this post, but generally they’re a bit smaller and have more of a look like that of a truck, rather than a bus like the Class A’s).

So after looking at the on line offerings in Class C’s at an RV dealer about an hour away (remember, we’re in the sticks so that’s about as close as it gets around here), we decided to take the drive and hopefully pull that aforementioned trigger. (You know how it is when you’ve been looking for something for a while…you just want to get it over with already and move on.) 

Walking in the lot to the location where the C’s were, we passed a couple of A’s. I remember looking at this one pictured below and thinking ‘hummmm…that’s a new RV that’s been made to ‘look old’, but not in a bad way, but more like in a retro, ‘it’s a little different than all the other RV’s in the lot’ kind of way.

 

fleetwood rv

 

So we looked at the C’s and there was one we liked. But I had to ask the salesman…’are there any A’s that aren’t too big in our price range?’

Surprisingly, he took us to the RV I had been eye balling.

It’s not new. Not by any stretch of the imagination.

It’s a 1997 Fleetwood Pace Arrow with slightly less than 40,000 miles. Apparently its previous owners were in love with it (or highly anal retentive) because it’s in near perfect condition.

Now for the tour.

Here’s the view from the front of the bathroom door. That’s Fisherman doing his best Ralph Kramden imitation.

 

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Those are slipcovers on both the sofa and the chairs, which are quite nice and a departure from the typically horrendous fabric choices that were made on older RV’s (and many newer ones too). 

 

RV-Fleetwood

 

The bottom left of this next picture is where you enter from the side and are looking to your left. You can see not only the kitchen but the bedroom area in the far back, slightly to the left. That’s one of the features about this RV that is unique and welcomed. The bedroom is not totally visible from this vantage point, making it a little more private and tucked away. It even has a ‘real’ door, where many RV’s have plastic accordion type doors, or just a curtain.

 

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Another feature I like is the addition of this chair. That’s something not available in any Class C we saw due to limited space, but comes in handy for TV viewing, which by the way, there are two of, one in the bedroom and one above the driver/passenger area.

 

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There’s even a fold down table you can use for whatever (bottom right of picture)…laptop, snacks, etc.

The ‘box’ you see on the console also pulls toward the seat and can be used for the same purpose. 

 

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Directly across the kitchen area is the dinette and sofa, with lots of cabinets for much needed storage. Both the dinette chairs and sofa convert to potential sleeping areas if needed.

 

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Now on to the bathroom. Plenty of storage and even a small bathtub.

 

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This picture was taken while facing out of the doorway of the bathroom. Whoever designed this, really made good use of every nook and cranny.

 

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And now for the bedroom, my favorite space. I like the way the bed is at a right angle, rather than facing the door. This layout allows for more storage without sacrificing light, which if you haven’t figured out by now, is abundant. There’s additional storage under the bed, and plenty of drawer and hanging space too. 

 

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So that’s the grand tour.

In addition to the things I’ve mentioned that I like, I also like how, because of the abundant natural light, you don’t feel cramped even without slides. (Again, for those of you who don’t know what a slide is, it’s basically a portion of the RV that slides out when it’s parked and expands the living space by 2-3′.) I also like how you can enter from the drivers side, the passengers side and the middle right side of the RV. There’s a button you can press that brings down the stairs on the side which is kind of cool. There’s also pretty good storage beneath the unit, as well as a hand held shower on the outside which is a really nice feature to have. I’ve done some research and learned this RV was considered ‘state of the art’ when it was designed, and I can see why.

Now I’ve told you what I like, now let me tell you what I don’t like. 

I’m not a fan of highly grained oak cabinets.  It was, however, something I was willing to compromise on, and boy did I ever. They’re everywhere in this unit! 

I’m also not a fan of the gold hardware, but unlike the cabinets, that’s a relatively easy fix. There are many other touches I could live without, such as the gold sconces, the floral wallpaper in the bath and bedroom, the flooring, the floral swag in the last picture, and the cheap bedding. 

Will I change these things? Some of them, yes, but probably not the cabinets or the wallpaper, and maybe not even the flooring. If we really like RV’ing, we may trade up in a few years. If we don’t, then I’m not sure it’s worth my time to make any major changes. Time will tell…

 

In other news…

 

Remember the refrigerator fiasco? Well, it turns out it won’t fit in our front entrance, so we had to shovel a path so the delivery guys can get it into the back. This means they have to go up the stairs to the deck, making the process more difficult, but we have no choice. 

We had to shovel a path approximately 40′ long by 3′ wide for them. The snow was packed and very icy, so we had a system where I chopped it up with a regular shovel and Fisherman shoveled it out of the way and so on. It took many hours and a few days to get it done, but we finished on Thursday and hope to have the fridge delivered today. 

Who knew retirement would be so glamorous? 

 

snow shoveling 

 

 

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What’s It Wednesday 

Mid-Century and Bohemian Design

I’m deviating a bit from my usual ‘once a week’ post routine to show you some interesting furniture styles and designs that I’ve always been drawn to, and when the good folks at Charish asked if I would be interested in featuring some of their designs, after looking at their site I jumped at the chance. Their tag line is ‘where design lovers buy and sell’, so I think that tells you what they’re all about in a nutshell. Their web site is completely addicting and full of unique, original designs with something for everyone. The designs cover the spectrum…from classic to modern, contemporary to vintage, and everything in between. So get comfortable, click on over and see for yourself.

(*note* I am not receiving any compensation for this post)

 

What’s the right way to go about designing a room? Some will say pick out your sofa first, others the rug, and yet others say a seemingly insignificant object can be the inspiration. (Such was the case for us years ago when we came across a beautiful, one of a kind piece of sculpture and designed our entire family room around it, and it worked out well in the end.)

For now, let’s start with the sofa for this mid-century, modern living room. With clean lines, tufted backing and a neutral grey color, this small sectional is a perfect jumping off point. 

 

mid century modern sofa

Next up is the rug. There were so many interesting designs to choose from, but I like how this rug makes a statement without adding bright colors into the design.

 

modern rug

 

Paired with a comfortable, neutral, but interesting upholstered chair (note the elephant on the back) and you have a serene space at home in almost any dwelling, whether it’s a rustic, industrial loft or modern beach side retreat.

 

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If you’re looking to liven things up a bit, this chair will deliver. One of the things I loved most about Charish is the uniqueness of their offerings. There are no reproductions and most everything is preowned, but in excellent condition.

 

first chair pic

 

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Add some glass tables along with modern, vintage lighting, fun pillows and bold artwork, and you have an original, interesting space you’ll never tire of.

 

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side tables

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

mid century modern design

 

 

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pillows

 

 

mid century modern design

 
 
 

Could modern, mid-century design be any different than Bohemian?? Not likely, but I love them both nonetheless. When I was a teen a good friend had a home decorated in this style, and not surprisingly it was always the house everyone wanted to hang out in. It’s nothing if not comfortable, and above all, it doesn’t take itself too seriously. 

Characterized by its use of various patterns and colors, it’s not for the faint of heart or timid. Done poorly, it can easily look disjointed and busy, but do it right and you’ll be richly rewarded with a space that reflects your personality and makes others feel welcome and comfortable.

Once again, I started with a sofa as my inspiration. Isn’t this perfect?bohemian sofa

Bohemian style definitely is an eclectic look, and while that allows for cross over from various styles, it can also be confusing, especially when you start adding various patterns to the mix. The trick is not to overthink your design choices, which is not so easy for someone like myself who likes symmetry and limited patterns in my decorating, but I went with my gut and think most of these pieces play well together. 

bohemian rug

 

This armoire, which is made from repurposed shutters, would help ground the space and give some color and design relief to the overall design.  

 

shutter armoire 

Next up are two patterned chairs whose colors coordinate nicely with both the rug and sofa. Now that our main pieces are set, let’s move on to some accessories.

bohemian chairs

There were tons of side tables to choose from (more below), but these were my personal favs, and for sure I’m loving the beautiful chandeliers and fun pillows. 

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colorful cocktail table 

BOHEMIAN DESIGN

 

bohemian pillows

 

Like Bohemian, but is it a bit too much for you? I hear ya’. How about taking it down a notch? 

 

Start with one of these fun and funky sofa designs in a beautiful brown velvet.

 

 traditional brown sofa

 

 

brown velvet sofa

Add a classic or Moroccan inspired rug…

 

 

moroccan rugs

 

 

and some colorful but classic chairs…

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velvet chairs

 

 

 

blue chair

 

 

or maybe a graphic, colorful settee and some fun side tables…

 

colorful sofa

 

SIDETABLE

 

 

and let’s not forget the all important lighting and some accessories!

bohemian design 7033f5aa-25f4-4b66-b044-6813aa1317e8 

 

 

 

bohemian lighting

 

 

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bohemian accessories 

48f43605-3bda-4806-a5cc-255de99abfa5 86ec14fb-a4e7-4288-b77e-97e4516569a2Even though I was asked to design one room, I was having so much fun I had to do two! 

I’m thinking if I know my readers as well as I think I do, you prefer the Bohemian style, right? What’s your favorite piece in this post?   

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