Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Craigslist Bookcase Score

We were in desperate need of bookcases to house both our own books and the many books in our Etsy shop.

I eventually plan to move my office/studio from the closet-sized 3rd bedroom of our little "split level" cottage into the medium-sized bedroom that belonged to our oldest daughter. The problem is, when she moved out, she left 20+ years of her childhood behind (you know, the stuff she doesn't want to move from apartment to apartment, but the stuff she can't bear to part with!)! And until I can get her back home for several days (weeks! months!) to go through everything, I'm in a state of limbo.

The only possible place to put bookcases until I move into the larger bedroom is along the wall in this small stretch of hallway. It will be tight, but it's temporary ("Famous last words," as my mother used to say.)

Saturday night I went on Craigslist to see what I could find and I scored BIG time!!! I made arrangements with the seller to pick up the bookcases on Sunday. So for the grand total of $30, I got not one, not two, not three.... but seven of these white bookcases!!! I kept five for myself (the other 2 are downstairs) and I gave two to my sister. We spent Sunday afternoon cleaning them (they were pretty grungy, but they sure cleaned up nice!).

 This afternoon was spent sorting through books and trying to arrange them in an order that will make them easy to find. I've always loved the look of an entire wall of bookshelves (although not necessarily in a narrow hallway!). I was also able to play around with the clock shelves a bit (they had been holding books before as well).

Of course this morning, before I started loading books onto the shelves, Miss Baby (the proverbial Literary Cat) made herself at home.

It's amazing how cats must investigate and take ownership of anything new
that comes into the house. 
(In a cat's eyes, all things belong to cats. English proverb)

 It's not an option to a cat. It's mandatory.

Sorry, Baby. Time to move. Mommy's got work to do. Maybe I'll leave a bottom shelf open for you to hang out in.

So loads...

and loads...

and loads...

.. and loads later, I'd made a pretty good dent in it.

I still have another bin or two of books to go through, so you can guess what I'll be up to tomorrow as well!

Have a great week, everyone!


Monday, July 30, 2012

By the dawn's early light...

I couldn't get back to sleep after waking up at 5 a.m. so after tossing and turning for what seemed like forever, I decided to get up.

I should get up at this time more often. Dawn and dusk are my favorite times of day (except in the winter, when I'd like dawn to arrive much earlier and dusk to arrive much later).

Actually, these photos were taken a bit later than dawn. It was probably a bit closer to 6:30 when I thought of snapping some photos. As you can see, my poor window box screenfeeder isn't looking as spiffy as it once did. The lavender is now well past its prime.

But that didn't stop Baby and I from enjoying the view.

 I think she's watching for Mr. Hummingbird, who's been spending a lot of time at the feeder lately.

Of course he's never on the feeder when I have my camera handy. Some day I'll be ready when he visits. 
 In  anticipation of the colder weather that will be arriving all too soon, the squirrels are busy building their tree top nests (as evidenced by all the leaves and small branches dropping to the ground on a daily basis).

I hope you all have a beautiful week.

I'm joining Tracie at the beautiful Fishtail Cottage for her Cottage Garden Party this week!


Monday, July 23, 2012

Organizing as a result of Empty Nest Syndrome

I've been in a funk lately. Our youngest has left home and we're now official empty nesters. I'm trying to look at the positive side of this situation though (yes, I'm one of those mothers who is not anxious to see their kids go)...
Anyhow, looking at the positive, I realize I've now gained additional space, and in our tiny little split entry "cottage," that is a huge bonus!

When our youngest was about 16, she asked if she could move her bedroom down to the larger front-to-back Family Room in our basement (which also had its own bathroom). She made a cheerful space for herself down there...

... but this is what it looks like now. I utilized what she left behind, the bench, desk, settee, the artwork and the pillows. I know you've all seen the commercials on TV where the parents immediately get out their measuring tapes and giddily plan the hot tub that's going to go into the child's "once upon a time" bedroom. Not me. I had much loftier dreams! Etsy shop storage space and a packing area!

The view toward the fireplace when this was Court's bedroom...Look at handsome old Spotty sitting in the window. How I miss that big guy. He was a love.

And this is it now. Again, I've left her decorations on top of the "storage shelf" mantel and used her little square side table for the TV she left behind. Why spend money decorating when your daughter leaves a ton of great stuff behind? Of course come winter I'll have to move the TV as it's sitting right in front of the faux log fireplace heater (which really helps warm the room during our New England winter months!).

Take a look at this coffee table. We have a 'swap shop' of sorts at our local landfill and I eyed this little baby for two weeks in a row before it dawned on me that it would make the perfect surface for packaging up orders!!

It's adorable! Yeah, it has some bubbling in the finish and raised pieces of wood here and there, but how can you beat free? I love it!

So this is where things get wrapped and boxed. Oh, the vintage glass ashtray that I use as a coaster was also a freebie :)

And I might as well enjoy some of my inventory before it sells. I wish I could keep these three pitchers. I think they look great on the windowsill! (Oh, and did I mention that this room is OFF LIMITS to our darling Baby cat?)

So going back several years, this was the back part of Court's downstairs bedroom, a nice sitting area. These photos were taken before we got rid of the old carpet and updated her light fixtures.

And back to the present - this is what that area looks like now. Definitely not as inviting, but oh-so utilitarian and necessary! As you can see, Court left that awesome old white wardrobe. I might move that upstairs at some point but right now it is still crammed full of her belongings! (She still has a LOT of cleaning out to do! She definitely takes after her [ahem] mom.) Oh, regarding Baby cat? I let her come down here with me the other day because she really wanted to; within 5 minutes she'd jumped into her old window (on the right), then jumped to the top of the wardrobe, and was just about ready to leap to the top of my shelving unit to explore (all kinds of breakables from the Etsy shop are kept loose on the top shelf!) So I scooped her up and sent her on her way!
See the Ikea wardrobe with the curtained door on the right side of the photo? That used to hold all tons of Court's dresses and shirts...

Again, not so exciting or pretty, but I've found that free boxes are my friends when shipping is a regular activity!

I know many of you run Etsy or eBay shops. Have you ever received an order and not been able to locate the item you sold?? Please don't tell me I'm the only one that has happened to!! I am sorry to say it happened to me on a few occasions. (I guess with over 500 items in the vintage shop and 100-200 in the art shop, it was bound to happen at some point.) Most of the time, after I'd spent hours of precious time searching for the item, I'd eventually find it. However, once I never did and I had to cancel the order (of course I've since found the item). Anyhow, with all this extra space I decided it was time to get organized, so everything was brought down to Court's old room and arranged with a plan.  All of the merchandise was inventoried and put into numbered bins. I typed up inventory sheets of what is in each bin and I keep it updated on my computer so when something sells, I know right where to go. Sooooooooo much easier! And I'm happy to say this project is about 95% complete.

Ah, yes. My other box storage station which mostly houses USPS Priority boxes. And again, look at that darling poster of Spotty. We had that made for Court's old dorm room. When she came home from college, she hung it in her room. Unless she ever decides to take it, here it will stay. Such a sweet face. And see the ribbon hanging from the door knob? That was for Baby to play with back when this was Court's bedroom. Even though Baby's not allowed in here now, it's still hanging there. (Note to self: Baby is not allowed in this room, time to remove her 'toy.')

So that's what I've been up to, rearranging and getting organized! And as I look at this photo I see yet another of Baby's toys hanging from the ceiling (much more visible in one of the above photos). She used to jump to the top of Court's Ikea wardrobe and bat at this cat toy. She was/is soooooo spoiled! haha

Okay, lights out. Time to go upstairs to my other job and do some transcribing!!! Hope you all have a great week - it's going to be another HOT one here in New England!!!

I'm linking to Cindy's Show & Tell Friday at the beautiful My Romantic Home.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Dog Days, Squirrel Days, Either Way They're Spelled H-O-T!

Oh, yeah. The dog days (squirrel days) of summer are upon us.

When my Sammy Squirrels go flat, and don't even flinch when I open the door, 
you know the temperature is closing in on 100.

It's been brutally hot for at least the past 5 days. How I'd love a good old summer rainstorm.

I think Sammy would, too. 
When he and his friends do muster up the energy to move around a bit...

... they don't go far. They like being near the sound of the water running in the fountain. Sammy brings his peanuts right up next to the fountain to eat. Pretty smart since he can follow up his meal with a nice cool drink. It looks like Mr. Blue Jay in the background has the same idea.

And little Chip is looking awfully impatient while waiting for Sammy to move. 
I think he wants to get a nice, refreshing drink from the fountain himself (either that or steal Sammy's peanut to tuck into his other cheek!) It looks like he found only one peanut for the right side!! Silly Chip.

Wishing you steamy summer heat if that's what you love,
or gentle rains and balmy breezes if that's more to your liking!

This week I'm linking to Tracie's Cottage Garden Party at the lovely Fishtail Cottage
and Cindy's Show & Tell Friday at the beautiful My Romantic Home.


Saturday, July 14, 2012

A study in blue jays

Not really. I just couldn't think of a better title.

 This photo was taken about a month ago, when the babies were everywhere! They've always got their little beaks open and their feathers ruffled it seems. And goodness, do they squawk for mommy & daddy to bring them some food!

...which is what this little fellow was doing. I think mom & dad were practicing tough love, though, and sending him off to search for some food on his own.

Here's a mom or dad visiting the deck.

These were taken much more recently, during our heat wave a week or so ago, which is why this fellow's beak was open even though he wasn't waiting for someone to magically drop food into it like the first little guy.

Birds actually pant when it's quite hot out.

Oops, it looks like I've been spotted.

Of course the other thing they do when they're hot is visit one of the many birdbaths in the yard.

And it never hurts to find the tallest perch to try to catch some sort of breeze! I'm so glad we got this birdhouse put back together because it is a favorite place for the birds to survey the yard for peanuts, bugs, moths, you name it.

Stay cool, everyone! We're in for a run of hot weather here in New England!

I'm linking to Tracie's Cottage Garden Party at the lovely Fishtail Cottage
and Cindy's Show & Tell Friday at the beautiful My Romantic Home.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Open windows and my office buddy...

No more having to sleep in the sink to stay cool...

Nope. The muggies are gone and the window is open in the studio/office...

...and my little friend and I are happy as can be!

But I think if I'm going to get any painting done...

... I'm going to have to work around a certain someone.

Baby and I hope you all have a wonderful week!