Sunday, September 28, 2008

Throughout the house

I've been hesitant to post photos of things around my home but realize that is what I love to see in other blogs. Some photos give me inspiration while others just give me a glimpse of something pretty or interesting. With that as explanation, I am going to take photos of Halloween and autumn decorations that I've collected over the last few decades throughout the years. (That sounds better, doesn't it?)

While visiting a dear friend in Ohio (whom I met through the internet), we shopped in a cross stitch stitch store. This kit didn't just call to me, it screamed BUY ME! especially since a coordinating frame with the pumpkins in the corner was available. I am a sucker for cute.

I have two bay windows in my family room. Most of the ghosts are from craft shows.

Our game table with a Boo Basket and a table runner I made a few years ago

The witch who screens my phone calls and puts a spell on telemarketers

Plants that survive my not-so-green thumb

Here is Paddy O' Spook in my shamrock

Even Teddy gets into the spirit of the season

These Jim Shore pieces are on top of the entertainment center in the living room.

The passage way between the living room and kitchen always has a quilt hanging there. This is one of my favorites. I had just learned to use a stippling stitch on my sewing machine and went to town on this quilt. It also has seven small charms sewn on.

Opposite the quilt is a niche with glass shelves that usually hold my Brandywine buildings. Each one is chosen for a personal meaning to my family. Here is the theater (technically it should be a movie theater) for one of my sons, a jewelry store and a quilt shop. Feel free to guess who the jewelry store and quilt shop represent.

Some of my ghoulfriends

I bought this kit and stitched it in Las Vegas. Not everything that happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

This trio lights up at night

My centerpiece, even if it isn't in the center of the table

More white ceramic pumpkins. These are on top of my tall hutch

I have Snowmen (SnoWonders) for all seasons. Here are the October and November ones.

There are more decorations throughout, but I will save them for another day. Once in a while I have to do something practical. Like fix dinner.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Ahhh, the joys of living near an athletic field

I don't have houses across from me, I have a high school's athletic field opposite my home. Well maintained green grass is a lovely view. Sporting events can be watched from the comfort of my own porch. The track is there inviting me to walk a lap or two or twenty but I still haven't RSVP'd.

Early fall, after a blessedly silent summer, the field awakens again with the marching band as it rehearses. Daily. For hours. With apologies to band students, directors and band parents, I know that practice makes perfect and that the field was there when we chose this house, but occasionally the repetitive tunes get to me. Today would be one of those days.

I can't count how many times I've heard Georgia or Thriller this afternoon and evening. I think each song only made it from beginning to end once or twice. The troublesome passages do seem to be improving, or perhaps my ears are becoming numb. I find myself quietly singing the words to Georgia On My Mind and being annoyed when the music stops and I still have lyrics to sing. You don't even want to picture me doing the dance from Michael Jackson's video while cleaning up the kitchen. If only I was as cute as Jennifer Garner.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Same blog, different view

I should have included this in the post about surprises. I decided to try a new look for fall.
The real reason behind the change is that with the old layout, photos all had a filmy view. That is nice if I am the subject and my wrinkles and gray hairs need to be softened, but not so good on photos where I want the full color to show.


Surprises, when they aren't yellow jackets in your living room or an overnight jump in price at the gas station, are wonderful things. Some surprises are just happy unexpected ones. Some are humorous because of a twist on what you might expect. Maybe you know something is coming, but you don't know what it will be. And sometimes the camera lens catches a surprise nature left for us to discover.

Here is an unexpected happy surprise that has caused me to smile each time I look at my table. I'd forgotten how bright and happy balloons can be.

A twisted surprise can be when someone thinks outside of the box. In this case, there isn't a birthday cake and gift, there is a gift of homemade raspberry preserves with a candle in the wax that sealed the jar. The birthday serenade was a little off key and loud, but that friend doesn't read here so I can get away with saying that.

I belong to a small group of internet friends that have been together for enough years that it feels like we've known each other forever. Periodically we have a gift swap with a theme. One woman organizes it and notifies the senders. As a recipient, you know something is coming, but don't know from who or from what part of the country. We are in the midst of an Autumn or Halloween theme swap and I received these lovely items a few days ago. The bowl is full of homemade Rugalach! To quote Rachael Ray...Yum-O!

And last, but certainly not least, is Mother Nature's surprise. I was sitting on the deck with my camera lens zoomed in an attempt to photograph a bird that seemed to playing hide and seek with me. I didn't notice the spider web from a distance with my naked eye, but my camera lens seemed to stop on its own. My current knitting project is a lace pattern that is giving me fits if I don't give it undivided attention. Ironically, it was in my lap when I took this photo. Do you think the spider had to pay attention, or was she a multi-tasker? Perhaps she has a sense of humor and is telling her spider friends about the funny human she observed yesterday and what the silly creature was trying to create out of sticks and string.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Correction to yesterday's entry

My bee problems aren't bees, they are yellow jackets. If bee/hornet/wasp identification was covered in high school, I must have been absent. Black and yellow flying insects have always been bees to me while brown/black/gray things were wasps and bluish black ones were hornets. I was badly stung by many wasps as a child when I unknowingly ran over a nest with my tricycle. Since then I have had a live and let live attitude towards bugs in the great outdoors, but do try to avoid stinging and biting insects when in their habitat.

The yellow jackets are still finding a way to get in this morning. I heard buzzing in the range hood but haven't witnessed any entering from there. I have killed at least 8 of them in the past two hours. If hubby doesn't find their entry point soon, I am googling for an anti-yellow jacket assault weapon. If nothing else, I am buying a meaner looking flyswatter.
No more of this
I need something menacing, at least this
if not this gadget

If all else fails, this guy's business card is next to my phone.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Bee Graveyard

We haven't been to our cottage the past few weekends for various reasons. We have wonderful neighbors there and crime, specifically break-ins, has not been a problem. I guess if you are small enough to enter the cottage through a vent, it isn't a break-in, right? The little would-be criminals would slip through handcuffs and there isn't likely a sheriff or police officer willing to arrest a bunch of bees anyway.

I am not squeamish about bugs. I simply don't appreciate anyone entering our home or cottage uninvited. We walked into dozens of dead bees on the floor and window sills and a few live ones flying around the range hood which vents outside near the kitchen window. I've been spared both the details of the hive that was constructed in the vent and the battle to dislodge the hive while ducking the bee militia.

After spraying them with something to numb them (I like the image of tiny tasers but we don't have bee sized stun guns), the exterior vent was taped off except for an opening large enough for the hose of the shop vac which ran for an hour. The end of hose has now been taped, sealing the bees in the shop vac to their untimely demise. Do I feel bad? No! It serves the little squatters right! It is a little creepy hearing buzzing inside the vacuum though.
Years ago we had a problem at the house with bees. What looked like a tiny hole in the mortar between two bricks was their entrance to a very large hive. A professional was called in to handle the situation. The hive was at least 24 inches long by a foot or so wide. Have I held a grudge all these years? Possibly, or perhaps I should say....may-bee.

Friday, September 12, 2008

I don't think I am klutzy, but I do go through spells that make me wonder if I am wrong in that assessment. I can hurry through a doorway many times a day for months without incident, then go through a day or two where I turn out of a doorway too quickly and catch a robe pocket (side seam, not a patch pocket) on the strike plate resulting in a robe popping open and spilled beverage, or occasionally being completely stopped in my tracks if the robe snaps are really secure. When I am under the spell of whatever gremlin curses me in such a manner, if it isn't a robe catching the door frame, it will be a knuckle or an elbow.

This week, that gremlin is at it again, but he is off of door frames on onto tape measures as my torture device.

Both of our sons are now out of the house. I am not suffering from an empty nest, I simply thought I would rearrange the nest. Would a narrow chest of drawers from room A fit next to a piece of furniture in room B? Priding myself for thinking to measure before I moved the chest from A to B and finding it won't fit by three-quarters of an inch (been there, done that, haven't you?), I took hubby's steel tape measure upstairs to measure the chest and the space. It isn't as if I have never used the tape measure, so why did recoil so quickly this time, catching my wayward finger that was loitering in its path? That resulted in an expletive but no wound.

The good news was that the furniture would fit where I wanted it to go. I've called it a chest, but actually it is a nightstand with a bookcase hutch that sits on top. When the boys were little, my husband added brackets to the back of the hutch to attach it to the nightstand. Loaded with books, games, trucks, trophies and rocks (don't ask...they were boys), the piece could become top heavy. Two days ago, the hutch and the drawers were empty. I used furniture sliders (Moving Men) to slide it out of one room and into another.

Hmmm, wonder what those nails in the carpet near the baseboard came from? When I am done moving this into place, I will have to see if there are holes in the wall from a long ago poster or something. Boy, I used to work harder than this and not sweat as much. Must be the humidity and not my age, don't you think? Slide, slide, slide this into place and now move it back into the niche and OH CRAP!!! the hutch is falling forward!

I am ok. The hutch is sitting in front of the nightstand, waiting for me to admit what I did and ask for help. Guess everyone knows where those nails came from now, right? I have a black and blue mark on my left forearm that is clearly my own fault, not because of the house gremlins. You think they'd take pity on me, wouldn't you? Not a chance. They even followed me to my son's house.

Husband and son went up on son's roof for a lesson in caulking around the chimney. Once they returned to the ground and I didn't have to worry about anyone falling off (acrophobia could be my middle name), I went inside to measure windows for blinds and curtains. Son's steel tape measure isn't as long so that should be safe right? Wrong! This dang thing didn't lock at all and recoiled faster than ours! I have a blood blister along my thumb nail now.

So what have I learned this week?

I hate to admit it, but maybe I see why I am not allowed to play with hubby's power tools.

A cloth tape measure is my friend.

Monday, September 8, 2008

33 Years

We recently celebrated our 33rd wedding anniversary. The older I get, the more elastic the measurement of time becomes. Thirty-three years is both forever and yesterday, or perhaps just a week or two ago.

I recently found some statistics regarding average costs in 1975 and compared them to today.
Average Cost of new house in 1975: $39,300.00 In December of 2007: $284,400.00
Average Income per year in 1975: $14,100.00 December 2007: $48,000.00
Cost of a gallon of gas in 1975: 44 cents September 8, 2008: $3.658
Ford Mustang in 1975: $4,105.00 Current, depending on options: $18,265.00 - $42,538.00

Our wedding reception was held in a K of C (Knights of Columbus) Hall which was pretty typical for the time in this area. The hall rental, buffet and liquor cost was $750.90.
All of the flowers and renting a runner for the church aisle came to $107.64.
A live band played from 9:00 pm to 1:00 am for $180.00.
A three tiered chocolate wedding cake was $65.71.
Invitations cost $43.11. Good thing we were married before the postage increase went from 10 cents to 13 cents!
I don't remember what the photographer charged us, but we have our album plus all the proofs. The whole wedding was held to a budget of $1,500.00. Hard to imagine now, isn't it?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

My happy, aching bones

After Friday's closing fiasco, I had my doubts that my son's closing would take place yesterday. We still don't have answers that make sense, but the good news is that a closing did take place yesterday afternoon and the moving in process has begun!

I think we all lifted, scrubbed, dried, folded and completed many other motions within six hours yesterday than in many previous full days. Even when we took a break from moving things in, we didn't sit still. The chimney was heavily covered in ivy. It didn't take long for my husband and sister-in-law to decide to see how hard it would be pulling the ivy off. Poof! Within in 15 minutes it was gone!

There is much more yard work ahead, but the ivy was bugging all of us and its removal made the house officially our son's home somehow. Thankfully none of the mortar nor the eaves seem damaged.

Good thing I finished the baby quilt and got that to the baby and her parents over the weekend. Here is the Peek-a-boo quilt. I randomly sewed all the leftover strips of fabric together to make the binding. I echo quilted the seaming in the blocks, outlining the baby faces and adding hearts wherever a space seemed to call for more quilting.

I may not be a baby any longer, but I think a nap is in order this afternoon, especially with more boxes to move and unpack. After we get our son all settled in, I get to clean my own house again. Gee, I'll even have new spaces to claim for work and storage, provided I beat my husband to them!