Monday, January 20, 2014

Just for fun...

I recently staged a "photo shoot" with my kitty, Sabine, as the model.  

She is posed in front of a copy of Sabine's Notebook, the lovely second installment of the Griffin and Sabine books by Nick Bartock.

My husband gave me these books for my birthday this year, and they are dear to my heart.  If you have not read them, they tell the story of two people who have a cosmic connection, an unexplainable psychic hook-up, and their love story unfolds through the letters and gorgeous, hand made post cards they send to one another.  
As both a romantic and one who loves letters, these books touched me profoundly-- 

So much so that Sabine was named for the character in the book, as was Griffin, of one of our other cats.

Sabine makes a wonderful model, doesn't she?

I hope your week is starting off well.

Until next time...


Sunday, January 19, 2014

Decorating by using what is on hand


via Restoration Hardware

I have a deep love of industrial-style shelving units, particularly these examples from RH.  Without even seeing the rest of the kitchen above, I can confidently say this is the kitchen that haunts my dreams-- light, open, solid, aged, loaded with texture.  It doesn't get any better in my humble opinion.

However, despite my adoration of this shelving unit above and the ones following...

via Restoration Hardware

via Restoration Hardware

the reality is that my small space and small budget do not allow for such extravagances.  In my case, both of these are very tight, with little wiggle room for non-essential items.  And besides, using what you already own is better for the environment.  Dumping perfectly sound items in order to purchase something newer and trendier is wasteful.  Through this whole process of downsizing, I am trying to reduce my impact on the planet as well.  Limiting my consumption is one way of achieving this goal.  Having limitations, however, is not necessarily a bad thing.
As necessity is the mother of invention, limitations give birth to creativity.

Using what I have on hand, with a slight and inexpensive modification, I fashioned a make-do shelving unit to sit in front of the window in my kitchen/dining space.

The space is awkward and must accommodate both the unsightly water cooler and the window.  With this shelving unit the open back allows light to stream through the unit and keeps it from feeling visually heavy.  In this small space, everything must be functional, flexible, portable, appropriately sized, and visually light.  

While this set of shelves may not possess the uber cool vibe of the fancy shelving from Restoration Hardware shown above, it works just fine for me, serving my needs without breaking the bank.

What items have you updated, re-used or repurposed lately?

Until next time...


Saturday, January 11, 2014

Returning home

The polar vortex that held much of the country in its grips this week clamped down upon us as well, ultimately forcing us to seek refuge at a Holiday Inn about half an hour away.  It was truly a series of unfortunate events (apologies to Lemony Snicket).

On Christmas Day, I noticed smoke billowing from the upper section of stove pipe, leading us to cease using our beloved wood stove.  It was unnerving to have smoke pouring into the house and unpleasant having the smell linger, but after a few days and some fresh air, it cleared out.  Luckily, it was not terribly cold at that point, and we managed just fine with out heat pump/furnace back-up system. When our local wood stove expert returned from holiday, he scheduled and appointment to come out to diagnose and fix the stove on January 10th.  We were disappointed at having to wait but resolved to be patient until he could get here. 

However, in the meantime, the polar vortex was descending from the arctic.  Once the freezing rain and snow that preceded the sub-zero temps hit our area, things took a turn for the worse.  I awoke on Monday morning to a very cold house.  Our heat pump/furnace had gone out in the night.  We attempted to use the wood stove again to get some heat into the frigid place, but there was intense wind and down drafting occurred, filling the house with smoke and setting off the alarm.  Not long after that failed attempt, we discovered the pipes had frozen.   

At this point, I was becoming afraid.  It was -6 degrees outside.  We had no heat and no running water.  We live half an hour from town on curvy, hilly roads, which were covered with a sheet of ice and layers of snow.  When we later called repair people to come out and look at our heat pump, they were afraid to drive out to our house due to the possibility of getting stuck or running off the road.  Luckily, we still had electricity and a couple of space heaters to create some warmth, which we began using in the office and guest room, setting up a warming zone for our cats, with plenty of food, clean litter, and water.  

Reluctantly leaving the cats behind, we loaded up our Prius and taking Sadie, our dog, we headed into town for a couple of days until heat was restored in the house.  With a front-wheel drive car and slow, careful driving, we were able to make it 5 miles to the main road, which was in decent shape.  A day later, the heat pump was repaired, and luckily, the pipes thawed overnight simply from heat running through the duct work.  Yesterday, the person who installed the wood stove came out to clean the stove and figure out why we experienced poor drafting.  He is still unsure what happened exactly, but it seems to be back in proper working order.

I have never been scared before when an intense weather event arose.  I love thunder storms and snow storms.  I do not fear tornadoes, and was not afraid the one time when we had a derecho (inland hurricane) a few years ago.  This feeling was something new for me.  I think it was the fact that this cold was truly dangerous.  Unexposed skin would freeze in just a few seconds.  And our back-up systems had failed.  We thought we'd been prepared and were in control.  Even with proper planning, things can go awry, and we realize how vulnerable we are to forces beyond our control.

Now we are safely back at home.  We all survived our week's adventures, and while I love waking to sweeping views of forested hillsides, I will be a little less cavalier about the potential dangers of country living.  
Today it feels like spring outside, with temperatures in the low fifties.  The snow and cold are completely gone.  I awoke with gratitude for being back at home with everything working properly.

I hope your adventures have been safer and a little more calm, and I hope the new year is getting off to a good start.  

Until next time...



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