29 April 2016

Feline Friday: Lily Goes to the Vet and Doesn't Kill Anyone

 It was time for Lily's annual exam and vaccinations this week. Of course, we had to be sure she was looking lovely for her appointment, so I grabbed Mr. Furminator and gave her a good brushing. OH, MY!!! Can you tell it's spring? Mind you, I brush both kitties regularly, so I have to wonder where all this fur came from! Needless to say by the time I finished with her, she was looking quite spiffy!

It's never a problem to get Lily into the carrier as she -- strangely -- likes to sleep in it whenever it's out. It's only when we get into the SUV that she realizes that things aren't going her way!

 At the first stoplight, her sweet little nose was pressed out through the bars!
At home, Lily is the sweetest kitty ever but at the vet, she turns into something from a horror movie. Her chart is marked FEISTY and that can be an understatement. So as we drove along to her appointment, we had a conversation about GOOD BEHAVIOR and what that might look like:

Do not hiss or growl (excessively)!
Come out of the carrier without clinging to the lid with your claws!
Do not potty in your carrier like Rory did last week on the way to her vet visit!
Do not lash out and injure the staff with your very sharp claws!
And certainly, do not bite at any time!

Lily took these suggestions under advisement and by the time we reached the vet's office, she promised to be GOOD. :)

 And surprisingly, she WAS good! It only took two of us to remove her from the carrier with just a bit of low growling. There was no gnarling or gnashing of teeth and none of the staff had to go get the First Aid kit!

And to top it off, she was down a couple of ounces from our last visit. I'm pretty sure that was because of the massive amount of FUR I removed beforehand...but still!

With a clean bill of health, Lily was only too happy to be on the way home.

When I pulled into the garage, she was biting on the bar of her carrier, ready to go inside for a snack. :)
Although it's hard to believe, Lily is now ten years old, so I'm grateful for her continued good health...and for an uneventful vet visit!

27 April 2016

Monthly Planner

  I've always kept a calendar or planner of some sort. In fact, I still have ALL of my calendars, going all the way back to high school! If you don't believe me, here's proof from 1978 and 1980! :)

Calendars and planners are great little records of everyday life, and I always refer to them when working on my scrapbooks. Calendars are very important to me!

When I got my smart phone a few years ago, however, my calendar/planner habits changed. With my phone, I could easily sync calendars with Spouse plus keep notes and to-do lists with me wherever I went. So I stopped using my Franklin Planner at that time, as it was an unnecessary duplication of what was on my phone.

Still, the record-keeper in me wanted a paper calendar to keep, so I printed out my phone calendars and put them in a binder. You know, just for the record. :)

So with that as a backdrop, the "new" Simple Stories planners sort of upset my apple cart. They are absolutely beautiful and allow you to not only keep track of everything (like with a Franklin Planner or smart phone) but also decorate the pages however you'd like. So I jumped on the planner bandwagon in January, not sure how things would go.

Since starting up with my planner, I still put every event on my smart phone so that I can sync with Spouse and set reminders for myself. I'll admit that seems like a bit of a duplication, but it doesn't take too much time. And I know that I'll want a paper record anyway, which the planner provides.

  Here is my April calendar with a few events added and some blurred out for privacy. As you can see, the planner accessories are pretty cute. I'm still trying to figure out how to decorate the pages and not lose space for writing.

My friend Katie is an avid planner and teaches a class at Memory Bound. I have learned a lot from Katie about how to use these newfangled planners! We made the cute little divider in one of her classes.

 All in all, I've been enjoying my "new" planner. It's still a work in progress as I try to figure out how to integrate it with my phone calendar and make it both functional and cute, but I think I'm on the right track. At least I haven't missed any appointments! :)

26 April 2016

Bedroom Update: Painting

Awhile back, I shared that we've started updating the master bedroom which adjoins our bathroom. I'm super excited about this change because it means that the two rooms will flow together from a color and design standpoint. 

As I mentioned in that post, the wallpaper border will not come off AT ALL, so Spouse tried painting over it. To my complete surprise, it WORKS! After a couple of coats of paint, it's completely covered. Had I known that we could "just" paint over it successfully, I might have pressed for this update a few years ago! :)

To make sure there is no little "ridge" of wallpaper border, Spouse has been lightly peeling and sanding the bottom edge. This little trick has worked perfectly.

 After this first coat dries, the walls will need a second coat to ensure good coverage.

But I already love the change! Color makes all the difference.

After this room, we will have only one more room with wallpaper border to remove or cover. Somehow Spouse doesn't want to talk about that just yet! :) One project at a time! 

24 April 2016

New/Old Ottoman

During our recent bathroom remodeling project, I collected quite a lot of items to donate to our local Habitat for Humanity ReStore. From switch plates to drawer pulls, from old light fixtures to doorknobs, I had amassed a bit of everything.

On one of Spouse's recent days off, I asked if he wanted to ride along to the ReStore to make the donation. If you've never been to a ReStore, it's a fun place to wander around. For someone who loves to re-purpose, it's a treasure trove! Still, I didn't expect to find anything that day since I'd been there not that long ago when I was looking for glass sconces.

Imagine my surprise when, in the lighting section, we looked down and saw this chocolate brown ottoman on casters, beautifully upholstered, in nearly perfect condition! 

 You may remember that I have been on the lookout for an ottoman for the corner of the bathroom which once housed the large tub. I have not been pleased with what's currently on the market -- way too expensive, poor quality, and limited fabric choices.
Here was this amazing ottoman, the perfect size, and on casters, just like we wanted! And only $19? This was a deal we could not pass up!

Since bringing it home, it has proven to be perfect for the space. Spouse replaced the old casters with new ones which are smoother on the tile. I think I can sell the old casters for around $20, which would make the ottoman FREE! :)

  And of course, Tinsel has claimed it as one of her private napping spaces.

This ottoman was a great find, once again proving that most anything old can be made new again! :)

23 April 2016

Curbside Treasures

I'm sorry to say it, but people are wasteful. 

This fact is painfully obvious at our community's annual "Clean-Up Day". Over the course of a few days, people put unwanted items -- furniture, grills, lawn decor, etc. --  out on the curb to be collected with the regular trash service. On those days, you can see all kinds of vehicles driving through the neighborhood collecting treasures before the trash guys arrive.

One of those vehicles would be mine. :) Much to Spouse's dismay, I love checking out the items on the curb. 

One year, I found a fabulous birdbath in perfect condition. It took all of my strength to lift it into my SUV. Another year, I snagged a great wire shelving unit for a closet.

Spouse reminds me that I am supposed to be getting rid of stuff, not bringing more stuff home, but I cannot help myself. First of all, I'm hopelessly sentimental. It breaks my heart to see once-loved items carelessly tossed aside. In addition, the creative side of me sees potential in just about everything. Beyond that, I'm just plain appalled by the amount of perfectly useful stuff we send to the landfill from our neighborhood alone. I really makes me sick.

This year, I could have collected so much more, but I knew if I pushed my luck, the next thing out on the curb would be me! :)

Why would anyone throw out this nearly new watering can? I'm sorry, but this is just plain wasteful. I brought it home for Bailey to use on her balcony. After washing off the mud and checking it for leaks, it is as good as new. Better than new, in my opinion, because it didn't end up in the landfill.

I'm mainly on the lookout for vintage-type items, and I scored big time with this cool old metal watering can which I found in a huge pile of garden decor. The owner had used it as a flower pot. Once I get this old can cleaned up, it will be a fun addition my patio plantings. And I guarantee I could sell it in my case at the antique mall. But I won't. :)

This year I ran across a lot of Christmas decorations. Sadly, it rained during the days when stuff had been left out on the curb, and a few items I would have rescued and delivered to my favorite thrift store (notably an adorable stuffed reindeer and gingerbread family) were soaked. I did snag this pink table-top Christmas tree, which still had the tag on it. WHY IN THE WORLD WOULD YOU NOT DONATE THIS TREE? The last thing I need is more Christmas decor, but this was just too ridiculous to pass up. Plus, I had a vision for it.

As soon as I saw it, I knew that I could spray paint it and turn it into a perfect tree to display some of my antique ornaments. Unfortunately, Spouse and Daughter have been slow to warm up to this idea. :)

I've never spray painted fake greenery, but it works just fine. It does take several sessions to cover up all of the old color but I'm getting there.

I have just a few more touch-ups and this awesome tree will be done. Imagine THIS:

This tree is going to look amazing tucked in a corner at Christmastime. 

 Who cares if it came from the curb? If I can give something new life or save one item from the landfill, what's wrong with that? 

Look out, because on Clean-Up Day, I'm unstoppable! :)

22 April 2016

Feline Friday: Nightly Routines

 As regular as the sunrise, as certain as the seasons change, you can bet on this: Every night, Lily is in this position.

As soon as I sit down on the couch to watch the news, there she is. Moments later she is in a deep sleep.

Every night, I take pictures of this sweet girl. And every night, Spouse reminds me that I already have 1,000 pictures of her doing the exact same thing. :)

And every night, I tell him that I need just a few more. Because seriously, how precious is this? :)

Any cat person knows that it's a wonderful treat to hold a sleeping kitty. This is one routine that never gets old!

20 April 2016

Hanging Out at the Courthouse

 Earlier in the month, I was summoned for jury duty. As it turned out, I was part of a jury panel for a murder case, and jury selection took four days. FOUR DAYS. I'd expected to be done in a couple of easy half days at the most! In the end, I wasn't even interviewed for the jury, which made four days of just waiting all the more frustrating. Losing those days set me way behind on my various projects and had me (and many of the other panelists) in a tizzy, as you might imagine!

One of the crazy things about the process was the fact that the attorneys took a 2+ hour lunch each day. I am sure they were doing things behind the scenes during that time, but it seemed to me that we could have moved the process along a bit more quickly by taking a shorter lunch! :)

Anyway, since it was cold and windy outside and I had 2+ hours to kill, I spent extensive time walking around the courthouse. If nothing else, the stairs were good exercise!

I'd been in the Polk County Courthouse on a few occasions in the past, but I'd never spent any time really looking at the building itself. It's absolutely gorgeous and is a real treasure for the state of Iowa. Look at these stained glass windows on the ceiling!

  Here's a bit about this beautiful building:
The present courthouse was built in 1906 on the same square as the previous courthouse. It was built for $750,000 in the Beaux-Arts style. It was designed by the Des Moines architectural firm of Proudfoot & Bird. The original columns, stairways and walls were constructed in marble. Murals on the fourth floor were painted by Charles A. Cummings and Edward Simmons.

 The building itself is very bright inside due to those skylights.

 Here's one of the murals mentioned in the above description.

This is a view looking up under the center dome.

Around the outside of the dome are statues and quotes about the legal system.

Each marble pillar is decorated ornately.

I love the old doors with the transom windows at the top. The elementary school I attended (built in the same era) had similar doors.

Many of the original doorplates are still in place.

Although I was frustrated just hanging out at the courthouse, I appreciated the care with which the jury was selected and the unexpected opportunity to learn a little more about this beautiful building. Those four days forced me to stop and appreciate my surroundings, something I need to do more frequently!

15 April 2016

Feline Friday with Rory

It's official: Rory just gets cuter every day. All of this cuteness must have been bottled up inside her when Bailey adopted her last August...and now it is seeping out in daily doses!

I mean, seriously...who can resist this face-grab?

 Rory has the ability to make her neck REALLY long, like a giraffe. This allows her to thoroughly investigate Important Things without moving her bottom. :) And those feet! They are HUGE!

Her legs are also REALLY long, as evidenced here! We think she's done growing, but if she ever grows into her long legs and huge feet, she'll be GINORMOUS! :)

The bathroom is HERS. This includes the bathtub, the toilet, the counter, the cabinets, the drawers, the sink, and now (credit to me!) the cabinet.

There's that long neck again! :)

When it's time to sleep, Bailey puts Rory in a sweater or t-shirt and she hops right on the bed. Here she is waiting for Bailey to give her a bedtime treat! BE STILL, MY HEART!

And she's the biggest little cuddle bunny while she's sleeping! She relaxes so completely that she is LIMP like a noodle. Here she is snuggled in Bailey's arm.

I'm so happy that Bailey found such a precious kitty! I love these girls!

12 April 2016

New Project: Master Bedroom BEFORE

 If you followed along with our master bathroom project, you may remember my mentioning that our master bedroom was next in line. I'm happy to report that this project is now underway!

  Like the original bathroom, the bedroom has not changed since we moved to this house approximately 23 years ago. The bedroom and bathroom are adjoining rooms, so of course the colors/design coordinated. And, like the bathroom, we could never justify spending the money to update it since no one except for us used the space. Even though the color scheme was not our taste, the space was functional, so why change it?

  Still, I've been somewhat mortified when we've had guests venture into the space. It's obvious that we've neglected it, and it's long past due for an update. (Look at the wrinkles in the carpet...yikes!)

 The space itself is fairly large and bright with two sets of corner windows. We'll be keeping the antique furniture set which we bought when we moved to the house. But the bedding has never matched our furniture, so I'm looking forward to choosing something different that will really highlight the beauty of the walnut. 

When I cleaned out my parents' house, I brought home the tall dresser with the mirror which my parents had refinished for me many years ago. It belonged to my dad's dad's mother (my great grandmother!) and coordinates well with our bedroom set. I sold a trunk at the auction to make room for that dresser in our bedroom. The hope chest (which at this time serves as a TV stand...) belonged to my mom's mom (my grandma), as did the wicker chair. These pieces are all special and will remain in the room in some capacity!

While the to-do list is long, the updates in this room are mainly "cosmetic" and won't be nearly as involved as the bathroom. The bedroom projects include:
* painting 
* new carpet
* new window treatments, yet to be determined
* possibly update the corner window frames to match the bathroom
* new bedding
* possibly update lighting/fan

The biggest stumbling block to starting this project has been the wallpaper border. Like the wallpaper in the bathroom, this border was applied without sizing. That means that nothing -- no product on earth, no amount of muscle -- will take it off without taking the drywall with it.

I can recall a few occasions over the years lying sick in bed, counting the clusters of pink and white flowers!

After a few removal experiments, Spouse decided to peel away the bottom border of the wallpaper as best he could, then sand it to eliminate the edge. Then he gave it a coat of paint to see how it would cover. To my surprise, it covers pretty well after just one coat. After a second coat, there should be no evidence of the wallpaper border!

At this time, Spouse is making his way around the room, sanding and covering the border. When he finishes this coat, he'll go back and paint the walls, including the border area. Depending on how the white walls cover, he may have to go back and do another overall coat.

Incidentally, I did not give a lot of thought to the paint color. It's the same color as our hallway and entryway and it matches the bathroom perfectly. The light caramel color highlights the creamy tones of the woodwork and looks great with the furniture.

As they say, this train has now left the station! Stay tuned for updates on this project!