Castleberry Hill, Bonsai, Downsizing, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Scale

Saturday’s Castleberry Hill Loft tour reminded me that I didn’t get a chance to share these photos from last year’s tour. This year’s tour stops were all interiors, but last year’s tour included a garden.  Here’s a bonsai for scale —

Bonsai garden: 2016 Castleberry Hill Loft tour

Tiny tree, complicated roots…

Downsizing trees — this might be one way to have a personal forest for people who (like me as of October 6) don’t have a yard. This one was a paradise, and perfect viewing for a clear blue October day —

Bonsai garden: 2016 Castleberry Hill Loft tour

Bonsai garden: 2016 Castleberry Hill Loft tourAnd, backing up for an overview —

Bonsai garden: 2016 Castleberry Hill Loft tour

There’s Sam in the background under the awning, “getting his 500 words in”, talking to the gardener.

An aside on downsizing — after all this time I’m still not quite downsized enough to be Hoarder Came Clean. Moving day arrived too quickly for me to finish, and I still have a storage bin (or two) to empty.

Wish me luck on that?

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Toadstools, Hurricane Irma, and Two Weekly Photo Challenges: Structure, and Waiting

I always get a thrill out of discovering quirky creatures and features in the yard. One sunny day last week I discovered this toadstool mound. I was so taken with its structure that I was ready to use it for the Weekly Photo Challenge. It’s almost a toadstool cliff-dwelling…Toadstool moundThen Hurricane Irma headed this way, and even though we’re far enough inland that it was “just” a tropical storm, the structure I thought about most was my house. Why?  Lots of trees — tall, with shallow roots. Forecasts of 50+ mph winds had me worried.

Pine trees with squirrel

Someone else is waiting for the storm.

Backyard trees

The back yard needs to stay vertical too.

I know the storm danger here was nothing compared to devastation in the Caribbean and Florida, still, for the last two days of waiting out the storm my mantra was “Trees – please – stay vertical.” I worried so much that I left and went to stay with Sam.

Coming home I found that so far, so good, the trees are straight up, the squirrels are fine, and my structure is safe. Sadly, the toadstool mound is not. It was one of several around the yard, and they’ve gone wherever toadstools go. I’m hoping the Irma-rain will sprout some more.

Meanwhile,  why do you suppose I’m so hungry for mushroom soup?

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Buttons, My Goofy Collections Part 5, and Catching up with the Weekly Photo Challenge: “Ooh – Shiny!”

I must have been desperate for distraction…  Sorting out my closet a while back, something caught my eye — a little pile of buttons. Ooh — shiny! Tucked underneath were even more, all in little envelopes, the kind that come attached to shirts and blouses with replacement buttons inside. Over time (20 years at least), I’d tossed them in to keep them handy in case I needed to replace lost ones.

A jar full of extra buttons

Buttons – all together now

Here they are on the day of distraction – and see, I’d even kept the little cards of extra yarn that came with sweaters.

Sorting extra buttons

Sorting extra buttons…

I don’t think I ever used any of the buttons OR the yarn. Later, sorting yet another drawer, I found Bob’s cache of extra shirt buttons.  Apparently still desperate to procrastinate, I took out all the buttons and put the paper envelopes in the recycle bin. All but one or two sweaters were long gone so there was nothing I could do with the yarn.

It’s been a while since I added to the button stash, so I’d almost forgotten I had them (must have something to do with living in T-shirts now that I’m retired).

What to do with the buttons? This afternoon I took them to the lady at the Alterations shop to see if she could use them, along with a bag full of assorted spools of thread, seam binding, and other sewing supplies I sorted out. She seemed happy to get them, and, she’s fixing one of my old favorite shirts that was missing a few buttons.

Are you a fellow button-hoarder?

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The Best Way to Find Lost Things, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Satisfaction

The best way to find something lost is to lose something else.  It’s a complicated dance. It’s as if, in order to find the lost thing, something else must go missing to leave room for it to waltz back into my life.

A few weeks ago I needed my old TWA employee number and guess what, I’d just shredded a file cabinet full of paperwork.   Still, I knew I’d seen an old access badge somewhere. Could  the number be on it? I looked everywhere I could think of, but it remained stubbornly  lost.

Then I needed a pre-phone address book but couldn’t find it.  That must have triggered a call for the badge to come back. I took innocent hold of a dresser drawer handle and the entire drawer jumped out and emptied itself at my feet.

Dresser Drawer Collapse

No, “Up Your Kilt” is not what I was looking for.

And guess what was in the drawer — my badge. I found the number, but my old address book is still lost.

I’d forgotten this dresser drawer and it yielded some crazy stuff.  Among the old employee-anniversary pins, notebooks, and archived glasses were these three kinds of cards.

Computer punched cards

Punched cards! This dis-assember deck would have been Bob’s

Punched cards are nice to for turning over and writing lists on the back.  (In case you’re a compulsive list maker)Grannie Smiles card

This tiny playing card must be leftover from a long-ago and now forgotten deck. That bird looks a little predatory to me, but Grannie seems happy enough and has a cat to keep her feet warm. TWA Term Pass From my TWA Term Pass – I thought I’d hit the jackpot with this card BUT it doesn’t have my employee number on it.

I wanted to photograph the badge I found when the drawer leapt out at me, but now it’s disappeared again. I guess that means it’s time for the lost address book to come back.  But never mind, I’m satisfied, I found the number I needed  — or it found me — and have already sent away for my retiree standby card.

How do you find lost things?

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Keeping Keys, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Collage

This challenge calls for a collection “found in the wild or assembled ourselves.” You could almost say I found this group of keys in the wild, since I found them when clearing out my house and it got a little wild around here, disorganization-wise. Every time I unpacked something and found a key, I added it to the box.

Most of these keys were Bob’s but a few were his father’s. I see Bob’s Celica key, and I’ll bet those Volkswagon keys were for all the beloved Karman Ghias that came before. I like the tiny key in the yellow box. It would be perfect for a charm bracelet.

Bob's keys

Bob’s keys — a multi-year collection. 

I have my own father’s key ring too. He used to hang it on a pocket of his over-alls. Growing up, I saw it on the corner of my parents’ dresser every night.

My father's Key ring

My father’s key ring

They’re old keys now, and some quite beautiful. There’s something so personal about keys, and just a sight of the key ring of a beloved parent or partner somehow slices away the years and brings the person closer.

I keep my own keys too — do you keep yours?

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Remodeling, Painting Paneling, and the Weekly photo Challenge: Delta

One of the biggest changes I made to this house started back in February, documented in this earlier post on remodeling (and chaos).  Here’s a “before” shot of the room behind the mysterious plastic drape in that post —

Dark Judges paneling - I called it the 'Morris Room'

Dark Judges paneling – I called it the ‘Morris Room’ and yes, I knew it was too cluttered, but never got around to styling the shelves before it was time to pack up.

Of course it’s nothing like a real (William) Morris Room, say the cafe at the V&A in London, but I can dream, can’t I?

The Real Morris Room Morris room, 1866 – 8. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London (from the V&A Museum website)

The Real Thing — Morris room, 1866 – 8. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London (photo from the V&A Museum website)

When we first moved in, Bob liked the dark paneling, and I didn’t mind it. Though I eventually came around to the idea of painting it to lighten the room, without help, I doubt I would have trusted anyone to do a good job on the painting. Now I’m indebted to my organizer/designer/Renaissance woman helper, Leigh, able to leap small buildings and boss around unruly contractors. Here’s the room on the way to getting emptied out.

Starting to pack up my "Morris Room"...

Starting to pack up my “Morris Room”…

The other side, with cut-out for the bar area

The other side, with the old cut-out for the bar area

Transition continues with painting, and the bar area gets enclosed —

Changes to the "Morris Room"

Changes to the “Morris Room” (I’m not a fan of the enclosure, but it’s done now).

Painting the "Morris Room"

Painting the “Morris Room” – almost ready for the floor.

Starting over in the Morris Room

Starting over …

Painted paneling - new Morris Room

Painted paneling, and restyling by Leigh – I suppose we shouldn’t keep calling it the “Morris Room”

Lighter, brighter, and with new cabinet hardware and an updated ceiling fixture…I’m hoping it’s enough to freshen up my vintage furniture.

There is one funny thing about all these changes. As each project gets completed, I feel a little thrill of recognition — as if somehow I knew all along this is what I would end up doing, and how it would turn out, even if I couldn’t have articulated it before. I’m hoping that means I’m on the right path.

How’d we do? Let me know what you think — about the room, that is, not about how I’m a day late on the Delta photo challenge.

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A Perfect Vacuum, and the Weekly Photo Challenge – Transient

It’s hard to be a nomad when you have to clean house every day. Why so clean? Here’s why —Home for SaleI’ve been downsizing for a long time now, but the last several weeks have put frantic full-time-focus on getting ready to sell. Finally getting a chance to get back to the blogging world is a good sign. I’m hoping my state of transience comes soon.

Staging is the rage for real estate marketing. Now, every morning I get up and set about obliterating all traces of my habitation. I polish the tub, shower, and sinks, sweep the hardwood floors, tidy up my workstation and put away all papers I had out the night before. Did I drink some coffee? Wash that cup! (or hide it in the dishwasher) Then, the very last thing — I vacuum the upstairs carpet. It’s new carpet, just installed June 5.

Here’s the thing — it tracks. I was so focused on getting a good neutral color that I didn’t even think about tracking. Now I see everywhere I’ve been. At first I cursed myself for not spending a bit more time to come up with a firmer weave carpet that wouldn’t show tracks. Then I realized, this could be an advantage.  When someone looks at the house, I can see where they’ve been!  Were they interested enough to look in the closets? Did they check the view out the window? Now I’m vacuum-obsessed.

Footprints in the carpeting

Bigfoot was here…(that’s me)

My staging-advisor asked what I was reading. “Get out an interesting book or two, put them on your nightstand,” she said, “make it look more home-like.” Mind you, this is after we’d de-cluttered like mad and (under duress) I’d sold, donated, or stored away most of the books. But, I’d hidden a secret stash in my car, so I took a quick look and came up with this —

Bedside Table: Vignette with Stanislaw Lem

Can you see the title on the bottom book?

Here it is in close-up —

How’s this for inspiration as I do my morning vacuum and step-erasure?

Wish me luck?

P.S. The top book is Chasing the Nightbird, by friend Krista Russell

 

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