Sunday, October 22, 2023

Time Travel

 Not really time travel, but it has been 8 months since I posted here.  It was a very longe and beautiful spring this year, with a visit from family in early June, which technically is still springtime.  Once summertime came the heat that I so dislike reared it's humid, hot head and stuck around much too long.  The hydrangeas gave me only six blooms due in part I suppose because we had a late hard frost and none of our outdoor flowering bushes really showed off much this year.  Then, just when we thought the maddening heat was done with us life threw us a curve ball.  My husband had a heart attack which required a stent be placed, which meant blood thinners would be necessary, and his body is not taking kindly to them, giving him heavy pain from a condition they sometimes create, very similar to arthritis in his shoulders, hands and knees.  

I have never been a caregiver, but for many of our generation it will happen, and there is no warning or training prior to.  You just kind of have to wing it day to day and know that your loved one's needs may or may not change from day to day.  Doing my best trying to keep his spirits up as well as my own, and it's not easy.  

So, our much beloved autumn time of the year is not what we expected it would be, but here we are....

Hope everyone is doing well if there are still any active blog readers out there.  

Thursday, February 16, 2023

It's Subjective

 Artwork in your home is subjective, but only to your eye.  I've been in homes with only family photos on every wall of the home and sitting on every shelf, dresser, and counter, which seems safe, but oh how boring.  It really says so much less about you than it could.
And I've been in homes that have only walls filled with locations of places they have been and experienced. Perhaps you are an adventurous person who has been everywhere and wants to be surrounded by memories of those moments, or maybe it's combined with photo or artwork of places you have yet to travel to and want to daydream about.  It's good to mix and match.

Some folks only like florals.  Now, that's a safe bet, but the world offers us so much more than just flowers, although I have to admit that I have a couple of these photos in my home.... but I certainly don't over do it with the flowery stuff and rather enjoy a good mix in what I choose to hang on my walls.  The kitchen for instance is all fruit, like apples, oranges, but as of today my plan is to print off a photo I took of a place we have been that evokes a food memory we had. Again... mix things up a little. 

And then there are those that are so paralyzed with decision making that they have no art on their walls, and to them my advice is simply to choose something you like and do not to try to impress the world or  have a need for art that is 'in the style of your home'.  HUH?  What does that even mean?  Art is after all subjective and for your information does not need to be 'in the style' of the rest of your home.  You can change it out tomorrow if you decide it doesn't work for you.... just make sure you like it.  That's the only person it needs to appeal to.  

I have art and photos all over my office walls, just because I can't choose just one.  I enjoy many pieces of artwork.  Eclectic taste I would say.  

Please don't leave your walls empty, just for fear of choosing the wrong thing, or because you don't want a nail hole in your wall.  I've seen some people that have lived in the same house for 10, 20 and even 40 years, and they STILL have nothing on the walls other than the paint they brushed on that long ago. 

If after more than a year or two of moving into a home you just can't decide about what to hang on your walls, then please see a psychiatrist (LOL), because it's known as 'paralysis by analysis, and your mental problem is on full display every time someone enters your home.  
Your brain is a mess.

Monday, February 13, 2023

Naivete In Real Estate Market


This photo is from a year ago when we actually received snow.  We have had had zero this winter, but that's not what I want to talk about.

I'd like to discuss the state of real estate, not only here in Virginia, but in numerous states that people now show a great interest in living in as they make the decision to leave their current home state and move to a state that offers them something new that they will enjoy, especially as they retire.

Listen up.

If you are one of the many couples that are hoping to make a move over the next year, here are only a few of the things you need to know about today's real estate market.  Homes are not cheap, due to not only the effects of the pandemic when so many left the city life and headed to the more affordable countryside where the could have more space between their home and the people around them.  Their children could run outdoors without the threat of breathing in someone else's Covid germs.  Life could continue for their family as more normal than those who remained in the city.  I can't blame them for wanting what we had..... and so the housing market boomed with sellers asking and getting whatever amount of money they listed their homes for. Homes here in Virginia are still showing a shortage.  Those being listed now are rather dumpy looking and are going to require work to make them what you want them to be if we are being realistic.  

We all have a list of 'wants' or 'must haves' on our home buying lists, but you will pay big bucks to get everything on your list.... if that home even exists.  Let's face it, even when we purchased our home in 2013, this house was not exactly what we wanted, and we had only a choice of this house or one other on the market that was not a dump and with changes could be transformed into what we truly wanted.  We are still making changes after 10 years.  That's the reality in real estate.  Don't kid yourself if you are looking to buy an existing home, there will be additional costs to make it your dream home. 

We have added a deck to the back of the house.

Had new kitchen and master bath countertops installed.

Recently installed beadboard in guest bathroom.

Wired the entire house, both upstairs and basement for internet.

Completely re-did the large laundry room with all new cabinets, countertops, tile backsplash, sink, lighting and painted the walls.

Installed new wood floors in master bedroom.

Changed out the carpeting on the basement stairs and added a chatzkye shelf for photos along one side.

In the process of re-doing basement kitchenette with new cabinets, countertop, and backsplash

Installed new master bath shower.

Painted office, two bedrooms, basement bathroom(s) 

Had a lean two roof built over basement outside entrance.

Installed 6 new ceiling fans.

Paved both driveways and had stone walls and entrance columns built, added outdoor lighting everywhere.

Re-surfaced garage floor.

It's been never-ending and expensive too, but unless you plan on building a new house from scratch, then you can count on spending a lot of money if you purchase a cheap house and make it what you want.  You either pay for it now, or you pay for those improvement later, but trust me.... you will pay!

Don't be naive in today's market.

My hat goes off to real estate agents who try their best to find what their customers want; to work miracles where miracles do not exist.  I would not have the patience for dealing with and explaining the market and what's available to buy.  Some clients just don't get it.

Sunday, July 25, 2021


 IF you are back into the swing of entertaining, or simply hosting family gatherings, then you may be one of some, that love putting out a lot of cold meats, sliced fruits, pickles, olives, cheese and crackers for your guests.

We have always loved doing this and used a plastic platter for all of the yummies to be displayed on, but a charcuterie board just adds a special look imho.

I did an Amazon search and couldn't find exactly the look I wanted, although they would probably be a great buy for someone seeking out those particular styles.  I did find this large size at Target, which also comes in a shorter and narrower size.

For now it's home is under an old dough bowl that holds dried flowers, that is until I clean out a few un-needed and unwanted items from the cabinet where we currently keep overflow kitchen items such as holiday plates, platters, and cake pedestals.

If charcuterie is your thing, as it is ours, check out Target for this great looking board by Magnolia.

Party on, Dudes!

Sunday, July 18, 2021

FFS It's Not ALWAYS about YOU!


Summertime and it's dreary, hot and humid days tend to make people spend too much time indoors in front of the screen of their choice.  Desktop, iPad, Phone.  They tend to turn inwards and make each and every little thing about themselves, perhaps because they are feeling sad that they can't get out and do the activities they would rather be doing.  They mope and feel sorry for themselves when the temperatures rise near, and sometimes over the 100 degree mark. 

I have multiple cases where I could point out specific instances to you, but why name people and not only make them considerably more mopey, but possibly cry.

Most of you know that I am not a flowery speaker, so I don't use words like 'lovely', or 'sweetie', 'perfect day', or 'splendid'.  To me these are similar to the Southern phrase 'bless your heart'.  They reek of insincerity and phoniness, something I am not, and I spot the insincere usage of these words and do a HUGE eye roll on this side of the computer screen.

I am much more apt to speak with clear precision and not pretense, and if you see that as harsh, then you are just wrong.  If you think that I am always talking about you or dissing on you simply because I don't use flowery language, then it's really your problem to deal with, and perhaps you should be the one who learns to communicate more clearly rather than in your flowery, phony way.

See the  photo of my hosta from last week?  Weren't they simply lovely?


Saturday, July 17, 2021

A Long Awaited Completed Project

 This project, the remodeling of our laundry room, is finally, after a year and a half, completed! Except for getting rid of the boob light and adding one shelf and some artwork.

I had a vision for it for a few years, after purchasing the home in 2013, when it had a dark and uninspiring laundry room; a room where the mundane task of sorting, washing, drying and hanging of clothes, and YES, sometimes even ironing a piece or two.  

First up on the 'must haves' was getting rid of the dark cabinets that hung over the washer and dryer, and also the inexpensive particle board cabinets in the area that the previous owner had used for a crafting area. I wanted white cabinets, with brushed nickel handles, a place to hang freshly laundered clothing, a cabinet for the sink, and a tall cabinet that the vacuum cleaner could stand inside and be hidden from view, under cabinet task lighting, as well as plenty of room for whatever else we chose to keep in the laundry/utility room.  

Once choosing our cabinets at Lowes, we then chose a light colored granite for our countertops, bead board on the lower portion of each wall in order to break up the monotony of the paint, and then a neutral tile for the backsplash areas.  We kept our tile floors in order to keep down cost, and also because they were neutral enough to support the look that I wanted in this room.  

The only part of this remodel that was farmed out as far as the labor was the installation of the granite, and due to not being able to get any of the companies we had received quotes from on the rest of the work to show up,  my husband and two neighbors who were kind enough to help, did all of the work.  

These photos are the before, and also the end results of their hard work and kindness.

The above photo is from the house listing online when we first saw the laundry room.  It's a great sized room and is an 'L' shape, turning to the right at the far end of the room.  Dark cabinets at the front and particle board white cabinets at the back in the 'L' of the room, which had a small countertop that was not at all convenient for folding clothes.  We chose not to keep the washer and dryer, so the previous owners took them when they moved, and we didn't keep the stand alone freezer either.  The paint on the walls was a chocolate brown, and since the only window in the room is located back in the 'L' of the room, this room was dark and cave-like.  

This photo was the back 'L' shaped area of the room, with a small upright cabinet, an open cubby area on the wall, an opening for a chair to sit and do crafting, and because there was not enough cabinets for storage, you can see the vacuum attachments were on the floor.  

So, what did we do to change things in this room?

This is where the upright freezer stood.  We now have a cabinet with a countertop for folding clothes, and a hanging rod for shirts and pants.  This addition has certainly changed laundry day!  

This is where a free standing sink once stood, but once again we added the cabinetry with a small countertop surround and a cabinet above; places to hide cleaning things.

Previously there were only two upper cabinets on this wall, directly above the washer and dryer, and no lower cabinets.

This area, the 'L' of the room, where the previous owner did crafts, now has added cabinets above as well as under the countertop, and the tall cupboard at the back houses our vacuum cleaner and above our extra paper towels and detergents.  

This long walkway goes from the garage into the rest of the house, and bead board helped to break up the wall which we painted a light gray, which sometimes appears blue.

Over time we will be adding a few pegs for hanging coats, some artwork on the walls, replace the boob light, and perhaps different curtains, but for now, here is a list of what we used and where they were purchased as well.

Cabinets were custom ordered, and they are white with a pewter trim
Bead Board - Lowes lumber department

Home Depot:
Behr Paint - Marquee One Coat, Color is Platinum (PPU26-11)

This all makes for a very neutral colored room that is bright, welcoming, and easy on the eyes.

Friday, April 30, 2021

Gone With The Wind

It's the last day of April so I thought I'd catch you up on what little news there is.

We've bought everything we want for the garden, but of course had two overnight freezes not too many days ago, so potted tomatoes and bell peppers spent their evenings inside the house and by day they would be moved out to a sunny back deck.  Today it's far too windy to set them out on the deck, since they would be knocked over for certain, so they are inside the screened porch.  Not a lot of sunshine there, but temperatures are in the 50's at the moment, so the plants will do fine.  

The porch furniture has been set in place.  My plan was to have bought all new furniture for the porch this year, but instead those dollars are being spent on completing the backsplash, painting walls, and also doing a bit of wainscoting.  Covid kept us from completing it last year, and this year the prices have skyrocketed so that it's taking much more of the money that the porch furniture would have.  There's always next year for the furniture, and I know we'll be happy to have the laundry room done, because there's nothing more unnerving to me to walk into a room with an uncompleted dream.  The new backsplash will really liven things up.

We have both had our Covid shots, so we do venture away from our home a bit more these days.  The most frightening days of the pandemic are behind us, although we do still choose to wear face masks when around other people.  Safety first for sure!!

As many of you already may know, we lost both of our pups, Izzy last June, and Rowdy this past March. Life has been quieter around the house and yard, and we are learning to live with this new norm since we won't be replacing them.  They were in face irreplaceable in our hearts.
I dedicate these springtime photos to the two of them as they romp some where far away over that renowned Rainbow Bridge.

Now I'm going to step outside on this extremely windy spring day and enjoy all of the blossoms before they disappear into the wind for another year.

Be well.