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Posts tagged ‘home’

Spring, Sprang, Sprung

It’s here today and gone tomorrow. Spring finally showed up and I put out my welcome sign. In the next moment, we went back to winter then summer and finally spring again. What we had of spring was lovely  Everything is confused except the bees. I’m listening to them.

 

Dressing in layers is the only way to go these days. We get a cold rainy day then a scorcher.  One day I have lots of energy to put into the yard  The next day I’m spinning my wheels and sitting trying to decide if I can do anything of use.  I’ve been here in my cozy home for four years at the end of this month and made so many changes.

 

Spring is the month I can get the most work done outside and even inside. Once I could open all the windows, I took a day to clean my oven. Four years ago, it took 4 hours to clean that nasty mess the previous owner left for me. Now it’s taking me a whole day to clean a rarely used oven. Looks like some of my spring, sprang.

Ground cover spreading and front porch in need of serious help.

Weeding on the hill and the front yard took lots of rest periods that would never have happened four years ago. But the end result was worth it.

 

The entire top of the hill was covered in these sticker weeds. Birds carry the seeds everywhere as does the wind.

 

 

beginning of the weeding

 

Still more work to do but a good start. Lower bed is the Oregano and Thyme.

I have been gifted with pieces of many plants from friends around here. I take those gifts seriously and nurture them to the best of my ability. Of course, I gift in return. A neighbor came looking for Thyme to cook his dinner.He said what I gave would have cost him $5 for a small bundle, he wound up with triple for a thank you. I’ve offered my Oregano as well to anyone that wants fresh. I’ve passed on ground cover and anything that I’m growing that can be split. It’s how the world should work. I get a lot of my plants from a fellow blogger and photographer, Sabine.

There are lots of projects on the list. This week I had the distinct urge to take care of my window trim as it was the last cool, cloudy day on the sunny side of the house. If the butterfly bush blooms, it will be covered in bees which are not conducive to standing on the ladder with black paint. I’m embarrassed to say it’s taken two years to get to this. I’ll do the one on the front porch tomorrow. Then I must sand the stairs and railing on the front porch and re-stain. Today I can’t move. Old feet on ladders takes its toll. I’ll wait for the next surge of energy.  They don’t come so often anymore.

So I’ve hung up the Welcome Summer sign since my spring is sprung anyway. How about you? Are you ready to welcome the next season or is there still a spring in your step?

This one goes up Memorial Day and stays until after Labor Day.

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

 

An Organizing Goddess

This month has turned out to be all I had hoped for after my January letdown. My bookcase is plastered with the valentines I received from friends and family. I didn’t get any sent out. Other things called for my attention.

Valentines

As I’ve mentioned, I have been trying to clear clutter and make my space more user friendly. It’s been ongoing since I moved into my house. I have a lot of stuff for creative endeavors.

On Valentines Day I received a special gift. My blogging friend, Alys from Gardening Nirvana came to visit. It was our first meeting and I was looking forward to it as she is dear to my heart. Alys is an advocate for kindness, animals, and an uncluttered life. She has another blog that she rarely posts on entitled Organized at Heart. It’s how she makes her living.

Coming off the airplane I’d recognize her anywhere

Soups all gone Very tired traveler.

I spent many days cleaning and clearing before she arrived as you would guess. There is more company coming next week. I couldn’t think of where to take her to show her around the Portland, Oregon area. So we just let it happen. We had a simple dinner of homemade lentil soup and veggies,  The next morning we went to Bob’s Red Mill for breakfast. She buys their products but had no idea of what we would find there. Who knew it would be a huge birthday party for Bob’s 89th birthday with a band for entertainment. We even got a slice of birthday cake and a free cup of oatmeal to take home.

Entertainment getting ready

Bob at 89 stops in every weekend when he’s not working. The oldest working CEO in the country I think.

He looks great at 89. Saying happy birthday.

After breakfast we needed to walk a bit so I took Alys to Fabric Depot. It’s an acre of fabric and notions where you can find anything you can possibly imagine. She did find something that had to come home with her. I left it all there. I shop at home now. The party continued through the afternoon. Back at my house, I had to sit and rest my poor sore foot and Alys started to move like someone had set fire to her. She was everywhere at once. Asking how I felt as we proceeded. She immediately honed into the areas that were causing me the most grief and visualized an immediate solution. I was awestruck!

Right at home

We can make this easily

Watch yourself Vanna

Shelves were emptied and moved and other shelves were emptied and moved and then everything went back together looking like a department store had set up a beautiful display but she didn’t do what I was so afraid an organizer would do. She didn’t suggest I throw things away. I looked at things with different eyes and a lot more left to the thrift store. We found things my daughter wanted to keep with her.

Above the washer has never been so pretty. One day maybe a closing cabinet.

The next day, we had a light breakfast to fortify us for a trek through Powell’s City of Books, occupying an entire city block and housing approximately one million books. We only spent and hour and a half but managed to find things we couldn’t live without.

My sister had to drive us there as it’s out of my safe range. Then we went to have lunch at a nice and noisy restaurant friends of my sister own. We waddled out but stopped at Salt and Straw for our evening dessert to go. My sister drove us by the Rose and Japanese gardens but it was too cold and wet to stop.

Much lighter without the bookcase on top.

This bookshelf was on the kitchen desk.

That rack was originally in the laundry room looking quite ugly. Much better here.

Getting back home, Alys once more became more energized and the next thing I knew three more rooms had their Chi fluffed big time. I hobbled along the best I could but Alys was moving like lightning making changes to make my life so much easier. It’s like she read my mind and saw how I needed things to flow. I’m now able to do my sewing and crafts in a way that brings peace to my soul.

This was next to the desk in the kitchen. An emergency basket on the floor by the back door. I’ll paint this bookcase and the others this summer.

Will be putting a tension rod to cover the detergents.

 

My daughter came the next morning and was overwhelmed by how well Alys had read my needs and provided them. My daughter has dubbed Alys her new Goddess Hero for making my life so much lighter. She was gleeful as we moved more things around. In Feng Shui, there is a phrase that if you want to change your life, move 27 things. I think big changes are coming now.

Would you be able to let an organizer help you?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

In Search of an Update

So I lied. I was only going to do the one post this month. I just can’t hold it in any longer. It was probably one of the best Thanksgivings I’ve ever had.

I was asked to model the apron. It really looks better on the ironing board.

I was asked to model the apron. It really looks better on the ironing board.

No one noticed all the fancy placemats or decorations I had scattered around. They were invisible among the hugs and laughter of family coming together after a long absence. The whole day was a rush and a blur of food being brought in and prepared by different cooks each in turn. I had my part under control…well maybe not so much. My oven does not cook evenly so the turkey was done more on one side than the other but it had a lovely taste.

Dining and kitchen table pushed together and had an informal gathering.

Dining and kitchen table pushed together and had an informal gathering.

Board games were played before and after dinner. Some Zen Tangle and adult coloring books of intricate detail were brought out after. My daughter made sure everyone had something to do. My son copied and shared photos for some family members and the pots and pans were washed as used so after dinner, clean up was quick with many hands making the work light. With my family, my sister’s family, and my niece’s family here, all blended well and no one left hungry. There were few leftovers.

We did turn the couch around to face the others and 3 of us had the most comfortable seat.

We did turn the couch around to face the others and 3 of us had the most comfortable seat.

There was no formality here and almost no order. It was just pure fun. My new home has been christened with love and joy. It doesn’t get any better. How was your Thanksgiving?

On that note, welcome to the Hanukkah and Christmas season. Are you going to be ready in time for the next holiday?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of What I’ve Gained

Last week I lost my mind and discovered it had slipped away due to a short-term fever of unknown origin, caused by a vague and undetermined malady. After finally having the energy to get to the doctor, I gained his approval of my course of treatment. Liquids, rest and a sip of brandy every so often. Only a sip now, mind you.

I saw my mind peeking round corners blowing raspberries at me, taunting “catch me if you can.” I had to sneak up on it and it looks like I have a slightly better grip on it as of yesterday.

As I look back on the year behind, I count my blessings with deep gratitude. I gained the first home of my own. Nothing fancy, yet quite adequate in that it allows me to have space to share with those in transition. I’ve also gained the opportunity to look at my life differently.

An ornament from my ex-DIL. Still a sweety. Hers is the round one.

An ornament from my ex-DIL. Still a sweety. Hers is the round one.

The world that I thought was shrinking, became so large that even I’m astounded. So is my mail carrier, Mo. Thanks to Jackie at To Breathe is to Write and Pauline at The Contented Crafter, I’ve received cards, letters, and even gifts from all over the world. In my little area of Sleepy Hollow, Mo rarely sees these postmarks on cards and packages. We are both having fun. Thank you both, Pauline and Jackie for initiating such fun.

Yes, I live in Sleepy Hollow. Scary, isn't it?

Yes, I live in Sleepy Hollow. Scary, isn’t it?

These are the results. First, from the lovely Pauline’s own art studio several much coveted postcards and note cards that will be shared with good friends. I’m still going to get one of her original works of art for my wall soon.

Even a tiny Angel for the collector in me. The bookmark will be much used as I read several books at once

Even a tiny Angel for the collector in me. The bookmark will be much used as I read several books at once

There is a beautifully stitched bag from mommermom that had my daughter and I peering at every angle of this piece. I have never made anything as well stitched as this. I would love to take some lessons from her.

It's like a surprise package just waiting to be opened

It’s like a surprise package just waiting to be opened

The outside is like an envelope

The outside is like an envelope

A handmade card to go with the beautiful drawstring bag

A handmade card to go with the beautiful drawstring bag

A new friend I’m getting acquainted with courtesy of Pauline is Jem Arrowsmith who sent this lovely book and knit shawl. She wasn’t sure if I’d like the color. As you can see from the quilt I made behind it, it’s a color I would choose anytime and see everyday. The book was about her town. What a fascinating way to get to know someone! I looked around. There are no books on my little town but plenty on Portland. I’m finding other bloggers from this area as well.

I don't knit but wish I could when I see work like this. Stunning and lacy.

I don’t knit but wish I could when I see work like this. Stunning and lacy.

Gardening Nirvana has a new word this year. Connections. I had to point out that by first following her blog, then following her followers, I’ve made most of those connections. She has inadvertently been connecting people all along. Her talents are eclectic and here is just one small sample of it. I wish she lived closer as she is an organizer extraordinaire and that is my word for the year. Organize. It will be an ongoing project this year.

I couldn't decide what was the best part

I couldn’t decide what was the best part

hand made cards inside the card box

hand made cards inside the card box

She made this one herself as well to send the rest. A quilted card.

She made this one herself as well to send the rest. A quilted card.

The Eco-Grandma has moved this year as well. She’s been a little harder for me to follow as her moves included her blog as well as her home. I don’t get to visit as often as I’d like but hopefully with a little time, I’ll get more of her earth-wise advice. Another blogger with a huge heart who knows how to make a big statement with a little bit of thread.

The card held the perfect surprise. She couldn't have said it better.

The card held the perfect surprise. She couldn’t have said it better.

Just like most everyone this year, it’s been lose some and gain some. Pounds that is. The perpetual cycle. I’ve finally gained the understanding that I cannot diet. The deprivation sets me up for failure. So I’m trying a different tactic and I’ll let you know how it goes.

This year I’ve gained insights, books, information, and wonderful new friendships. The cards alone made my day. I’m an old school letter writer. With all the gifts and the vast amount of kindness I see in my world, there is no other choice but to pass it forward. I will share all the wonderful cards I’ve received with others and start making a few of my own creations to pass on as well.

Snail mail in addition to virtual is a great balance of old and new. These gifts though, were the kind that touched my heart. Thoughtfulness, kindness, and reasons to keep marching on. When you reach out, there is no limit to how your actions can affect others.

What have you gained that you’d like most to share?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of the Next Big Adventure

Things change fast in my little world. I was finally catching my breath. Completing the simple pillowcase dress that is going with many others to an orphanage in Haiti, and 2 quilt squares for my quilting group that scared me to pieces. Quilts do that to me. I was ready to get on with the unpacking and putting away of MORE BOOKS.

Simple drawstring dress for little girls with so little

Simple drawstring dress for little girls with so little

bottom border of the dress

bottom border of the dress

I bought 3 more bookcases so I could get the rest of my books out of storage and eventually get a smaller, more inexpensive unit. I have more to give away and more to sell. There has been a lot of work going on here and a lot of play. Let’s break this down into bite sized chunks.

This was the prototype (experiment)  to see how the final one would look

This was the prototype (experiment) to see how the final one would look

I thought about making another like this prototype but changed my mind.

I thought about making another like this prototype but changed my mind.

My house is starting to look like a home and my sister who has been with me for the last three months is looking for a place of her own closer to her new job and all the places she goes to regularly. My place puts a lot of miles on her truck so the search is on.

Now I’ll be heading back to California for a month of working with my son to pack and paint his house. He has an offer on his home and they want a 30 day escrow. There is no realtor involved so they must do the paperwork. After putting my home together with the help of my children and sister, I’ll be helping to dismantle his.

ready to turn in and combine.

ready to turn in and combine.

A closer look at my take on a quilt square

A closer look at my take on a quilt square

This little birdy faces the other way.

This little birdy faces the other way.

My quilt squares were turned in this week and I thought they would be put into a big quilt and raffled off. That wasn’t the case. They were divided in two and names drawn to win each of the stacks of 12 blocks. I won a stack and now I’m supposed to put it together and bring it to the Christmas meeting. It’s obviously not going to happen. I doubt I can get it done when I get back in time for the December meeting but maybe for the party after Christmas. It will be a keepsake of each member that made a square.

We all started out with the same 2 fabrics. Then added our own touch. Now the fun begins...in December.

We all started out with the same 2 fabrics. Then added our own touch. Now the fun begins…in December.

Can you see why my mind is a little scattered these days? Our weather went from hot to canoe weather. Wish I could send some of it to those who need it. My son hasn’t seen significant rain in a year. I’m grateful every day I found this perfect place to be a platform for transitions. That’s the story of life. Nothing every stays the same. It’s all one big adventure, if you choose to see it that way. Go with the flow, that’s what the canoe is for. Paddle in the direction of the current, not against it.

Home is where we can ground ourselves and share with others. I hand embroidered this piece.

Home is where we can ground ourselves and share with others. I hand embroidered this piece.

Life has offered many challenges opportunities. Even my health challenges have an upside. Since my mouth doesn’t work as well as it used to, I spend more time listening and learning. So much for being the biggest talker in the family. On to this next adventure. I’ll let you know how it goes.

What’s your next big adventure?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of Optimism

We are getting a whole new year. At least I hope it’s a whole one. I’m looking for a better one than the last. Not that the last year was awful, just…challenging. Apparently it shows up in my writing.

My stories for our memoirs class had a run of sadness to them. The instructor asked me point blank if I always saw the glass half empty. I just looked at her and shook my head no. Of course my face was frozen up from the stress of reading my story, so speaking elaborately wasn’t an option. As they proceeded on to the next story reader, I thought to myself, “Sure, I see the glass as half full all the time. Someone just shot the damn glass full of holes”. My optimism leaks out and is replaced with pragmatism. I read “Mark and Angel“, “Abraham-Hicks”, “Tut from Mike Dooley”, and everyone else that has something positive to say daily.

This is my computer wallpaper

This is my computer wallpaper

To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure what optimism really is. The online dictionary said this is the definition: “A tendency to expect the best possible outcome or dwell on the most hopeful aspects of a situation.” That’s what my daughter does. She’s been out of work twice this year and after a month, she can’t pay the rent or anything else. I want to be optimistic, I really do, but this is not looking like a short term problem. She was out of work for two years before finding temp work. That’s all she has had for the last year and a half, temp work. What is the best way for me to be helpful? It’s very tricky. When people I love are struggling, it causes me to feel stressed with them and it affects my outlook.

I’ve been looking for the last year for a home to purchase. There is very little available in my price range. They showed me a lovely place where the bedrooms must all be passed through to get to the bathroom and had no foundation. The realtor got really frustrated with me for turning it down. I couldn’t afford to rebuild it. I’m optimistic that the right place in my budget is out there and my daughter will find a real job that she likes. I’m optimistic that my son will find work in this area that pays what he makes in Los Angeles. Ok, maybe not as optimistic as I’d like to be on that one. I’m optimistic that this will be the year I get well enough to drive where ever I want to go. Health will no longer elude me.

it's too big and expensive but a girl can dream, can't she?

it’s too big and expensive but a girl can dream, can’t she?

I’m optimistic that 2014 will bring us all the good we have all been looking for. Are you an optimist or like me, more pragmatic? Has your glass been shot full of holes as well? What are you expecting from this New Year? Whatever it is, I wish you the very best 2014 has to offer.

Don't know where this came from but it resonates

Don’t know where this came from but it resonates

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of the Next Step

In this season of gratitude and giving, there seems no end to my list of things for which to be grateful.

On Wednesday, December 5, 2012, I stopped at the mailbox on my way to run errands. It was the first dry day in a week and since I don’t drive at all when it rains, there was much to be accomplished. Windshield wipers add to the dizziness.

I was not expecting any mail but i nside my tiny box was a thick packet in one of those yellow-brown envelopes. It was from a title company in the town where my house was for sale.

The first page read: Congratulations on the sale of your home. Here are 50 pages of documents to read, sign and have notarized. Well, that added to my to-do list. I would need to find a notary close to home so I searched the internet and made some calls, all from the convenience of my front seat with my smart phone. How did we ever live without them?

Arriving at the notary, I can’t tell you how relieved I was to be greeted by a mature woman who knew what she was doing. I certainly didn’t.I handed her the documents. The process took us the better part of an hour and with each page I signed, a feeling I could not immediately identify, crept over me. Before the last pages were signed, I was blotting quiet tears. What the heck was this all about? I had asked St. Joseph to find someone to care for the home and he had complied, within days of my prayer. So why the tears? Melancholy set in and stayed for the next day as well. I would miss that home for all hopes and dreams it represented.

It was a wonderful home

It was a wonderful home

I’ve been afraid to say a word about selling my home because it’s not done till it’s done. Homes have fallen out of escrow at the very last-minute and I didn’t want to jinx it. Yes, I’m slightly superstitious. How silly is that? Waiting until the closing completed, was a must. On December 18 at 1:18 pm I was notified that escrow had officially been closed.

This will be the last thing that ties me to the ex-husband and we can be done. We can both move forward in different ways. In deepest gratitude, I am a free woman in every sense of the word.

oh so grand but not for me.

oh so grand but not for me.

This Christmas season has brought many gifts. The best part is I have both my adult children and my sister with me for the holiday. What comes under the tree is just icing on a very tasty cake. I am filled to the brim with joy and I hope some of it spills over onto you.

The process of selling this home has taken a lot of energy during this holiday season so very little of my usual routine has been done but I am oh, so grateful it has found new caregivers. bringing a fresh breath to the New Year. Here’s a toast to mixed emotions. I am soaking up this moment, then I have to wonder, what’s next? What would you do as a next step?

Sometimes moving on with the rest of your life starts with goodbye. ~ author unknown

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself