Thursday, July 31, 2008

Tin cherry jar...

Sometimes you come across a perfect little goodie that you didn't know you wanted - or needed - until you laid eyes on it. Such was the case several years ago when I spotted this little tin jar...

It was love at first sight, and it was one of my first purchases when I started switching over from a primitive to cottage look. (It's actually a perfect mix of prim and cottage!)

It was 'chippy' and distressed to perfection. When I found it in the junktique shop, it had old buttons in it, so I'm assuming that's what it was used for in its previous home...

But since I keep my buttons in vases and bowls around the house, I use it for spare change. That's why I love junktique shops... You never know what you're going to find!


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Martha Stewart I'm not!

Okay… I’m coming clean. My house does not always look like the neat and tidy photos that I post. As a matter of fact, it has quite a “lived in” look most of the time. And then there are the rare occasions when it has even looked like this! (Please, don’t anyone call Clean House to report me!!)

This is a perfect example of me jumping from one project to another without finishing the first. Late last summer I decided to rearrange the family room, but before I finished, I thought it would be a good time to reorganize the closets… and then to go through boxes from the closets… and then to do the laundry, and start setting aside things the girls needed for college, etc., etc. The room was in a state of chaos all weekend….

But by Sunday night… ahhhhhh... It was time to kick back and relax in the newly reorganized family room. Spotty definitely approved, and wanted to be the first to leave some fur for me…

And the next day, our sweet Mr. O’Malley, who had a serious love affair with newly decorated/cleaned rooms, also gave his seal of approval. (If you wanted Malley to hang out in your room, you just had to do a top to bottom cleaning/redecorating and it would instantly become his favorite room!) I miss you, boy...


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Love, pure and simple

Okay, who would think Mamma Mia would make me cry? I mean it's being touted as a "feel good, dance in the aisle" movie (and it is!!)... But when Meryl Streep started singing "Slipping Through My Fingers" the waterworks started. Maybe I relate because I have girls, I don't know... All I know is that sometimes, it doesn't take much...

Now on to 'Love, pure and simple.' You've probably seen the video below this past week. Every TV show seems to be talking about it. It is one of the most touching love stories I've ever seen, and once again the tears started... Several family members (who I won't out on this blog for fear of reprisal) also shed some tears... So I dare you to watch without at least getting a lump in your throat! If you haven't yet seen it, you must click on the photo below (which will bring you right to the YouTube video). If you want more detailed information about what brought about this reunion, you can click on the links below the video...:

(Note: According to one report I read, the man with the walking stick in the video is George Adamson. Born Free, was the 1960 book written by his wife, Joy, about returning Elsa, a lioness they raised, back into the wild. In 1966 it was released as a movie.)

Snopes has a write-up on this video; you can also click here if you'd like to read more about Christian the Lion, Anthony "Ace" Berg (Bourke?) and John Rendall, the two men seen in the video.


The little shed...

Our backyard has gone through many transformations over the past two years. In one post, I wrote about our "Roswell, New England crater," the spot where the old above ground pool sat, and which, little by little, is being transformed into a garden and patio area...

And this is our little shed, or at least a corner of it... It sits next to the old free-standing treehouse. (It seems like just yesterday that the girls would have Mr. O'Malley climb the stairs into the treehouse to play with them...)

We've had the shed for about 2-1/2 years now. It sits where the girls' old wooden swingset used to sit. I suppose this is a natural transition for yards once the children who played there have become young adults; but years ago, the deck was a great place to sit and watch them play on the swings, in the pool, or in the treehouse...

This photo was taken last year, our first summer with the shed. Before planting flowers in the windowboxes, I decided to change the color of the shutters and windowboxes, as we'd only had a small selection of colors to choose from when we purchased the shed. (As you can see from this photo taken late last spring, the treehouse hadn't yet been gussied up with an old window and windowbox... That was done later that summer.)

Since I had picked a vibrant (some might say 'gaudy') green for the windowboxes, I thought it might be a bit much for the shutters as well. Although I'd never seen white shutters on a white house (or shed) before, I thought I'd give it a try.

When all was done, I actually liked the 'white-on-white' look of the shed and shutters, with the only color being provided by the flowerboxes. Just a few weeks ago we put lattice around the foundation and planted hostas on either side of the double-wide doors. (Since they grow so quickly, I'll probably end up separating them from time to time, which is a plus since I have several other areas I want to put hostas into.)

Remember this photo from my "Old windows and flower boxes - a match made in Heaven" post back in May? I was so anxious for my impatiens to grow...

Here they are now. The impatiens really flourish in these northern exposure windowboxes, and the vinca vines now reach the ground. By this time of the summer, my impatiens always look better than any of my other flowers. They don't care if I fertilize and they don't need to be dead-headed... They're actually the perfect flower for a lazy gardener like me!

As you can see, Mary has once again been moved. She is now in her (I think) permanent home under the cherry tree, watching over the garden... Now I need to get out and enjoy this beautiful afternoon as we're finally rain-free for a change!! (And believe me, I wish I could send some of our rain to you gals who need/want it so badly!)


Friday, July 25, 2008

My Favorite Things...

Cindy from My Romantic Home has initiated a fun little blogpost idea... She's asking anyone who would like to join in to post about "their favorite thing."

Now I have lots of sentimental favorites, like my girls' artwork or my Nana's china (that I just posted about), so I thought I'd put sentimentality aside and just pick a 'fun' favorite... my mini-collection (I only have two!) of vintage tin wastebaskets!! Here's the old green one, which gets moved around quite a bit. Right now it sits next to the TV armoire, but as you can see from my blog banner, it also sometimes sits in front of the fireplace!!

And this sweet little pink one now sits in my office and is actually being used as (of all things!) ... a trashcan! But as you can see from the photo, for a while it held my vintage chenille scatter rugs until that collection outgrew the trash can!!

So if you'd like to share your favorite "thing" or favorite "collection," click on the photo above and join in the fun!!! Cindy will be listing any participating blogs from now through Sunday, the 27th. Thanks, Cindy!! Fun idea!!!

And if you'd like to see a bit more of my blog, you can click here!


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Bring on the rainy days and the summer heat!

Can you see the rain coming down in buckets off the end of the awning in the picture below? We are in the middle of a very wet weather pattern here in the New England, with no end in sight!

Once summer arrives, we love to eat out on the deck every evening, and I also love bringing my magazines or whatever book I'm reading out there to relax. Before we got our Sunsetter awning, I dreaded rainy weather forecasts because it meant being stuck inside. But not anymore!

The Sunsetter is also wonderful on sunny days... This is the first year we haven't had a patio umbrella over the table. Now the Sunsetter awning takes care of shading not just the table, but most of the deck.

On hot summer days, it's so much more pleasant out on the deck when the awning is extended. The family room stays cooler, too, as the big sliding glass door to the deck is southern exposure and gets lots of sunlight.

So bring on the rain days or the scorching sun, Mr. Weatherman! We're ready for it!
Comment Update: The awning is attached to the side of the house. When not in use, we press a button and it retracts, rolling up against the house. It actually looks like a very long shade when it's all rolled up. With the model we got, you press the button to extend it; you can have it extend out to its full 10' (I think that's the distance), or you can stop it anywhere in between. Sometimes on hot days, we just put it out about 3 feet in order to block the sun from coming in through the slider.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

And the moral of the story is...

Sunday evening... While leaving my father's neighborhood, I spotted this little guy laying under a truck. Someone got into the truck and started it up, and it was all this little guy could do to get up and out from under the truck...

He was thin, weak, and dirty. To be honest, he looked like he hadn't eaten in a very long time. I pulled my car over to the side of the road. Luckily I spotted a neighbor out in front of their house, so I hollered over, asking if he knew who owned the kitty. He came over and told me it was a stray who had been hanging around the neighborhood for the past few months.

Well, that was all I needed to hear. There was no way I could drive off and leave this poor thing behind. The same neighbor offered to loan me a cat carrier that he no longer used. He put the kitty inside the carrier and I put it in my car. But now what? It was Sunday evening so my regular vet wasn't open. I couldn't chance bringing him home because I have two indoor kitties, and I didn't know if this little guy had feline leukemia or rabies or God knows what else...

So I had no choice but to bring him to the 24 Hour Emergency Animal Clinic about a half hour from my home. They said they needed a name for the paperwork; Rocky seemed appropriate because he seemed like a fighter. I told "Rocky" that as long as he had some fight left in him, we would stick it out together, and that when he was strong enough I'd either find him a good home or keep him myself. They weighed him and said that at 6 lbs, he was about half of his ideal weight. They said they would keep him overnight, feed him, hydrate him if necessary, and test him for feline leukemia. So I left him in their care with the agreement that I would pick him up by noon the next day, at which point I would take him to my own vet for further evaluation.

Monday morning... Good news! The feline leukemia and AIDS test was negative. So now it was on to my vet for more blood work. It was determined that he was an old guy... he had a heart murmur and his mouth was very sore (major dental work would eventually be needed at a major expense). It was agreed that he would stay over for 2 nights at the vet's office so they could keep an eye on him (and so I could work on getting hubby to agree to a third kitty)... While he was in the examining room I took lots of photos of him to post on-line and to put on flyers, just in case he was lost and someone was searching for him. (And if that was the case, it looked like he'd been out on his own for a long time.)

Monday afternoon: Sometimes things just don't work out as planned... It turns out that this little guy isn't a stray, but actually lives across the street from the cat carrier man who told me he was a stray... So not only did I not rescue a stray, I had actually kidnapped somebody's cat!

Once that minor point was discovered, I had no choice but to return kitty back to his rightful owners (passing along the vet's recommendation to them that this little guy get dental work done pronto so he could eat, and that he be kept inside from now on because of his advanced age and poor health).

I then returned the cat carrier to the other neighbor, who asked me how everything turned out... When I told him I had just spent hundreds of dollars on a cat who was not only not a stray, but who in fact lived across the street from him, he felt kind of bad (but not bad enough to offer to pitch in for kitty's vet costs! ha ha)... He said he couldn't believe that anybody owned the cat because of the tough shape it was in...

I've actually done this twice before with kitties who were, in fact, strays... One kitty was very ill, tested positive for feline leukemia, and did end up having to be put to sleep; and then just a few years ago, we found a stray kitten who fell out of a wheel well at a local gas station. The woman driving the car said she did not want the kitten... that it was from a litter of kittens born to a stray that lived under her porch. We immediately took him to our vet where he was diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection; we treated him with medicine and when he had a clean bill of health we gave him to a no-kill cat shelter; within two weeks he was adopted by a veterinarian and, to this day, is living happily in his 'forever' home. Thank goodness that sometimes, there are happy endings...

And the moral of the story is... before rescuing a 'stray,' make sure it is, in fact, a stray!!!

Update to comments: The owners did offer to pay for the rabies shot that the kitty received, but I told them I would take care of it as it was included with the entire bill that I had paid (and to be honest, it was a very tiny part of the overall bill).
I also have to point out that as unfortunate as this whole incident is, it really wasn't the owner's fault that I took their kitty (thinking it was a stray), so I would never expect them to reimburse me. I do know that when I returned him, I told the owners what the vet said about the kitty desperately needing $300-500 of dental attention, they said they didn't have that kind of money. But even though they can't afford to pay for the medical attention he needs, I'm sure he is in a home where he is loved... but it is so hard to see him in his current condition.
Unfortunately, and especially in these times, money is very tight and I don't want to pass judgment on these people because I have no idea what their situation is. I only know that for me personally, I prefer to keep my kitties inside and make sure they go to the vet regularly and get treated when medical issues arise; but I do realize (as hard as it is to accept) that many other people can't do that - and I never would never returned him if I thought he was being abused or hurt.
But thank you all for thinking of kitty and also wanting the best for him. I knew you were all a bunch of animal lovers!!

Update #2: I just wanted to clear up that this kitty is an indoor/outdoor kitty. I didn't want anyone thinking that he is forced to live outdoors. I've also learned that he is very old - 17 years, and his owners are having a hard time deciding on whether it is 'his time' or not.. never an easy decision... His age may have had a lot to do with him being slow moving to get out from under the truck, which I had initially attributed to being weakness from not eating (since at that time I didn't realize he was 17). Some of this info I didn't know when I first posted this, and some I intentionally left out because we never know who is reading our blogs and this family does have kids, and I wouldn't want any information about their cat possibly being put to sleep to get back to them in this manner, but since I highly doubt that they will happen to see this, I'm now sharing this information so everyone has a little clearer picture of the situation...

And I do wish we had a cat leash law like some communities do. I know my "Chips" would like that, too, as I've seen a couple snatched from my yard by well-fed cats (not strays) who roam the neighborhood.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

If I had a million dollars...

If you didn't know it before, you will now... I'm addicted to cottage blue (of course, "cottage blue" to me is any blue that strikes my fancy!)... These are all items from Maine Cottage (, and the blue I am drawn to is Porch Blue... So, for my "someday" cottage by the sea, if I had a million dollars I would buy....

The Living Room:

My Office:

The Dining Room:

And most definitely these sheets for the bedroom...

Heading off to bed now to dream of my cottage by the sea...


Friday, July 18, 2008

Flowers & Arbors & Bears, Oh My! (Awards, too!)

Look at this happy face that greeted us during our visit to western Massachusetts!

What a delightful time Amanda and I had at the Berkshire Flower Co. in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

Just look at all of the the beautiful flowers and rustic twig furniture!

Oh, I think this bench would look FABULOUS in my garden!!! Amanda convinced me it wouldn't fit in the back of the van (I think she inherited those genes from her father!)...

What's this? Why, it appears that the woodland creatures from behind the flower shop have come out to welcome us to western Massachusetts! They posed so pretty in front of this white gazebo, which would also look spectacular in my backyard!!

I am torn between the white iron pieces and the natural twiggy pieces. Isn't this arbor sweet? I can just picture it with morning glories or a moonflower vine climbing up the sides...

Amanda made friends with this little fox... I'd love to introduce him to the Foxy Loxy garden statue that lives in our backyard.

Doesn't Bambi look sweet in front of the geraniums?

And look who howled a big "Welcome to the Berkshires!" for us!

Hey, I think I've seen these two guys in my own backyard!!

Awwww, this litte guy reminded me of my own Mr. B... It's hard to believe that each piece is carved from a single tree trunk... I am in awe of the creativity and talent of the wood carver...

Here's Mama bear and Baby bear... Where could Papa bear be?

"Here I am!!!" And look at that "Papa Bear pose" he got into so we could take his picture! He hopes that you'll stop by to see him and all of his friends if you're ever in the Pittsfield, MA area!

"Tag - I'm it!" I've been tagged to list 7 little known facts about myself by Deborah of Pictures, Pots, and Pens. Deborah covers a wonderful variety of topics on her blog and she takes the most beautiful photographs (such as her recent post where she included incredible closeups of flowers, many of them being visited by busy bees!!)... Thank you, Deborah! Okay, not too long ago I listed 7 things, so I'll try to come up with 7 more!

1) My favorite times of day are dusk and dawn (although being a night owl, I don't catch the dawn as often as I'd like).
2) The older I get, the more I dislike the L-O-N-G snowy New England winters. I wouldn't mind if winter only lasted a month or so, but it seems to go on and on forever...
3) That being said, without the winter, I probably wouldn't appreciate spring as much as I do, and spring is definitely my favorite season!
4) I often include potato chips as one of the ingredients when I make sandwiches. Not on the side, mind you, but inside the sandwich.
5) I never get tired of "I Love Lucy" reruns.
6) If I'm flipping through channels and come across "Under the Tuscan Sun" or "You've Got Mail," I don't go any further. Some people have comfort foods. I have comfort movies.
7) Last summer I bought a GPS unit for my car and immediately after hearing "her" voice named her Delilah (after the Plain White T's song that was a mega-hit at around the same time I bought the GPS - I love that song!!).

And now on to the awards!!!!

Alaura at Cottage Rose was kind enough to pass along this Arte y Pico award to me! Thank you, Alaura!! Be sure to visit Cottage Rose for tons of inspiration... Alaura's blog is full of home projects and before & after photos - so many great ideas!

The guidelines for giving and receiving this award are as follows: 1. Pick 5 blogs that you feel are deserving of the award. 2. Each award has to have the name of the author and also a link to his/her blog to be visited by everyone. 3. Each award winner has to show the award and put the name of the link to the blog that gave it to him/her. 4. The award winner and the one who has given the prize has to show the link of 'Arte y Pico' so that everyone knows the origin of this award. 5. Show these rules on the award page

Kady from Life on Bonnie Lane has presented me with this lovely award!! Thank you, Kady!! Kady is the kind of blogger who I would love to have as a next door neighbor as she would brighten up the whole neighborhood with her smile and sunny disposition!!

Thank you all for your awards and the game of tag! I’m passing along the awards to all the wonderful blogs in my sidebar – you all deserve it!!! And I’m opening up the game of tag to anyone who reads this and would like to post 7 things about themselves on their own blog!! If you decide to do that, you can just leave a comment here so others can visit your blog and learn 7 things about you!!