"Every house where love abides
And friendship is a guest,
Is surely home, and home sweet home
For there the heart can rest."
~ Henry Van Dyke

Monday, January 31, 2011

Combining interests.....

I love combining interests. I want to have 20 pairs of hands so I can do all the things I would like to accomplish. But alas...I have one pair of hands and so things sit until I can get to them.

I love to read. I never seem to find enough time to read all the books I would like to. This year, I decided I wanted to read more. Last time I checked there were still only 24 hours in a day but I pulled 10 books from one of my bookshelves to concentrate on this season. I am now on my fourth book so having done this really has helped me to read more.

I also have a number of quilts that are waiting in line to be hand quilted. I am setting goals for which ones and how many I will achieve this year. This little Irish Chain doll's quilt still needs a border sewn on before I can start to quilt it. I have been very undecided as to what more I want to do to it. For now, I have two other quilts that I am working on so there is time enough to make these desicions...

One thing I love to do is read books that have handwork as a central theme to them. Combined interests!

Wedding Ring by Emilie Richards was a wonderful read. Nancy and her daughter Tessa show up for the summer at Helen's (mother and grandmother) house after being alerted by a neighbor that all is not well. In the course of clearing out the house which is in a start of chaos due to Helen's hoarding, life stories and secrets come to light connected a the wedding ring quilt that Helen pieced and Nancy quilted. Tessa begins the restoration of the quilt while also watching the pieces of her and her families lives come back to life.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Morning routine.....

My morning routine most often starts here in our newly redone bathroom. But it did not look like this when we moved in...

Here is the before picture (see photo below) from the sales brochure. Now this photo actually made it look nicer than it was. The two round sinks had rounded cabinets under them that were totally rotting, all the faucets (sinks, bath and shower) were calcified and unable to be cleaned, drains in both sinks were totally clogged and the copper pipes were green from leaks which we only discovered after we removed the mirrored wall. It took ages to get this mirror and sink construction from the wall but we are so glad we did it. The entire room needed a good deep cleaning as there was mold on the tiles and the shower door was so filthy it looked like it was frosted glass.

What was the mirrored wall is now covered with a slate tile. We added silver accents to bring the slate color out even more. We bought a traditional sink with a retro 30s look and faucet to match. I had been searching for a nice vintage small chest of drawers but have not had any success. I decided to try the little chest of drawers from the bedroom for now. We like it there.

We bought more vintage looking faucets to replace those here at the bath and also the one in the shower. I always keep a book by the bath on a little table as I start off my day relaxing in a hot bath with a good book whenever I have the time.

We had damage to the floor tiles due to the leaking sinks being left for so long. This is a Belgian blue stone floor which is porous and the leakage has eaten marks into the floor. But rather than having to immediately replace the floor, I bought a very large shag bathroom rug which was just the right size to cover the two spots on the floor. I love this rug as it is nice and cozy warm to your feet in the morning. I have little throw rugs for right at the shower and bath also.

The window has been painted in a nice creamy white which looks much cleaner and fresher than the dark blue paint. The radiator had to be removed and repainted as it was rusted. A few accessories on the window sill finish it off.

My step father made me this shelf about 15 years ago and I stitched the sea shells about 24 years ago. Good items never go out of style.

I love glass and there is nothing like placing glass in the bathroom just for the pure luxury of it! Perhaps you noticed from the first photo, our chandelier is now hanging in the bathroom. I love the way the light glimmers in the morning while I am relaxing. I also placed a tray with a piece of handmade lace and crystal carafes on the little dresser. We no longer use these but I think they are so pretty just as they are. You could use carafes like this to hold your bathfoam or other things like this.

The silver hooks are waiting to be hung by Jos. They used to be hanging in Cranberry Cottage to hold a quilt but we made a shelf for the living room there (click here for the post about the shelf) and these hooks are perfect to bring here to use in the bathroom.

We are very pleased with how this bathroom has become a very relaxing space to start our day with a minimum amount of money spent. We bought a sink, faucets and a mirror. Everything else are items we already had. Other than that it has been a question of a good deal of elbow grease.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

It's a birthday!

The birthday of the creator of a special little bear named Pooh. Yes! It is A.A. Milne's birthday today. He was born in 1882 and had a son named Christopher Robin for whom he created the bedtime stories about a bear named Winnie-The-Pooh. And where would most children be without the joy of these wonderful tales? So many children grew up with them.

My childhood memories of Pooh were the excitement of watching an evening television special. You see, then it was only on a couple of nights in a year. My mother would have my little brother and I get bathed and in our pajamas early. You never minded at all as you were so happy that Pooh would be on. She would let us lay down in front on the television...you know that old fashioned large ones that sat on floor as a piece of furniture in itself back in the 60s/70s? We would get a large bowl of freshly popped popcorn to eat. It was put in my mother's large yellow mixing bowl and we still love those bowls to this day as she still has them. I can still smell the freshly popped corn and us just being out of the bathtub. And laying on the carpet, chin resting on your hands as you watched the antics of this funny little bear.

I sometimes wonder if my little brother has these same memories with him too?

Do you have a Pooh memory?

So for A.A. Milne's birthday, I decided it would be fun to get out my book The Complete Winnie-the-Pooh and read the tales again. Who can resist reading a chapter titled 'In which We are introduced to Winnie-the-Pooh and some Bees, and the Stories begin'. You are never too old to read them. It being such a rainy day, they are a perfect way to while away the afternoon. Of course, perhaps it was Christopher Robin walking up and down under Pooh hanging to his balloon saying 'Tut-tut, it looks like rain' that brought it on. What do you think? Well, just in case, here is a little Eeyore wisdom about rain...

'The nicest thing about the rain is
that it always stops.

- Eeyore

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

It's Winter!

Yes...it is winter but all our snow has disappeared like a distant memory. But we have more months of winter ahead so who knows...

Regardless, each January I like to put out my winter decorations as soon as I put my Christmas ones away for another year. I set up my winter tree. I use white lit branches which I then hang handmade ornaments on.

There are mittens, scarfs and ice skates. I also have some icicles and little glass stars. Simple but it says winter.

More signs of winter?


A pair of vintage wooden ice skates...

Vintage snowmen...

Vintage sled with an arrangement I made a couple of year ago. Child's mittens, snow covered pine branches and an even older pair of wooden ice skates...

Remember Murphy? He came back to visit during the week between Christmas and New Year. This is the heater we ordered for our living room. If you remember, there were pipes in this corner but no heater connected to them. When the previous owners had the studio and garage built on to the house, they removed it and we think put it in the studio. There was just no heat in the living room and it was cold. We had someone come measure how large of a heater we needed. We decided to order this one which is reminiscent of the old heaters from the 20s and 30s. It was sprayed in a color close to what we used for all the trim, windows and doors in the house and well worth the wait!

Unfortunately, we had to have the man come back three times as it kept leaking. Then the heating system itself started leaking. Oh my!

Finally, Jos decided to call a man to come look at the heating who we used in our previous home. More fun! He opened the heater and discovered that although there is a sticker with maintenance registration, it has never been cleaned or checked. It is not even that old (2004) but was in bad shape and needed three major parts replaced along with a very good cleaning. We had been hearing tiny explosions each morning in bed which was solved by fixing some bad parts. It was simple neglect and such a shame. I still keep thinking will we be finished finding surprises in this house?

Monday, January 3, 2011

A good book and a cookie.....

Does the start of a new year bring your thoughts to decluttering? It does for me each year. I love reading! I love having books in rooms all over the house. But even with a wall of books, I need more space for them. I decided this year that I will go to one shelf and start reading the books on that shelf before moving on to the next shelf. I am not going to order any new books until I have finished the books on the shelf and passed them on to others to read. I pulled half the books from my top shelf and this is the stack I am going to start my personal reading challenge with...

Included among them are a few children's classics that I had been wanting to read. I do not read fast as I spend most of my time with needle and thread but I am placing these in my book tray and setting myself the goal of finishing these up by spring.

Reading in 2010 was hampered with our busy move but here is my reading list from last year:


  • The Villa in Italy by Elizabeth Edmondson
  • Bread Alone by Judith Ryan Hendricks
  • Shanghai Girls by Lisa See
  • Dark Harvest by Karen Harper
  • The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
  • Folly by Alan Titchmarsh
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  • Shadow of an Angel by Mignon F. Ballard
  • Summer's Child by Luanne Rice
  • Flower Fables by Louisa M. Alcott
  • Jane and the Wandering Eye by Stephanie Barron
  • Emily's Ghost byDenise Giardina
  • Rebecca's Quilt by Fran Smith
  • Jane and the Man of the Cloth by Stephanie Barron
  • Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor by Stephanie Barron
  • The Quilt by T. Davis Bunn (reread)
  • Mariner's Compass by Earlene Fowler (reread)
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
  • The Long Way Home by Jessica Blair
  • The Letter by Richard Paul Evans

We spent the days around the holidays working on hanging things around the house. There are many little jobs still not done. This weekend, Jos hung some picture racks for me to use to stand my speculaas cookie molds on. We painted the kitchen walls in an olive green which works really nicely with the wooden cookie forms.

I hung all but two of my molds which we have decided to sell in the spring. Jos loves going to flea markets up north and sell things so we have been decluttering throughout the house looking for things for him to take along.

Speculaas cookies are a delicious spice cookie here in Holland and they are almost always what I have in my cookie jar. Nothing tastes better with a cup of hot tea! I love to dunk too. *grins*

Are you weighing in some goals for 2011?