Projects around the house

I decided to post some things I’ve done around here, because it will:
1. remind me I have been productive
2. I have completed projects on my list
3. prod me to move on to a new project

For one, outside I did finish, mostly, the front garden area since it’s seen when approaching. I keep moving the birdbath to different spots to see how it feels for me, but basically I got that done as soon as it warmed up in the spring. It is amazing how many bags of mulch this thing took, and really it’s still thin and needs more. At Lowe’s, they tend to clear out plants in groups by around June. They don’t advertise these sales, so I found myself dropping in every other day, if not almost daily, to see what new bargains they had. This photo doesn’t have the birdbath in it and the plants have grown and filled in. I have also added a few others since the photo was taken. The edging was not finished then, and more mulch has been added.

I also kind of got my sewing room in order. With my husband ill, some shelving I need designed and installed in the sewing closet will have to be on the back burner and my room is a bit unfinished, but I can work on a project if I shuffle things around a bit. We bought tables at Ikea that are nice and sturdy and fit around the room well.

I had a vanity I bought for my designated space in the bedroom, and it’s actually a drop down secretary desk.
vanity front
The front drops down open to give me access to all my makeup tools without having to drag things out and then put them away. Just close that door and it’s tidy again. I loved the paint I used, which was a spray paint, Rustoleum Metallic in Soft Iron and also Silver Nickel for the drop down interior.
Satin Nickel interior empty
Satin Nickel interior filled
The drawers I just painted the fronts, but the sides I am considering a stenciled on pattern like I saw on Pinterest to dress them up a bit, but really not necessary at all.
frames and old escutcheons
My little collection of owls and my peacock prints and textile art decorate my space. I painted those frames, as well as the old door knob escutcheon plates, the same Soft Iron to make the space feel coordinated. I like the way it all turned out and that paint is so durable.
paint used
vanity space

I am working one of the guest rooms now. I hung some pictures and my plate holders and decorative plates I like, hemmed up some sheer blue drapes, and plan to paint my personal 1950’s dresser in a very pretty navy Velvet finish spray paint by Valspar. And I want to repaint the bedside table and a small book shelf my husband made in 1980 for our son’s nursery. It has traveled with us all these years. I have a very old iron bed in there that I painted navy blue years ago and I like that blue a lot. It will go well with the Ralph Lauren postage stamp patchwork quilt and shams I currently have on the bed. I hope to get that going this weekend, but we have company coming so it may be delayed a few days.

My projects are a great diversion each day once the daily drive to take my husband to radiation is completed. Since gardening is probably going to wait till Spring, this will give the inside of the house some new focus.

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Waiting for Fall

We got a taste of Fall last week here in north Texas. The air conditioning was off and the windows thrown open. The temperature dropped to highs of 60’s for a few days. Of course, this week, we are back into the 90’s, but the hurricane is bringing us some much needed rain. We may get drenched this weekend.

My husband’s illness has limited my time and energy in getting to work as I had planned in the flower beds. I have decided to do what I can here and there as I feel like it. For me, working after a rain is really nice because I can just hand pull those weeds out and easily hand spade a flower bed.

At our last house the previous owner raised buffalo and built a very sturdy corral. We had that taken down and put a nice barn in place for our alpacas. The stockpile of pressure treated fence posts were great to use as garden edging around the house. When the plants matured they covered the edges of the posts and you couldn’t really see them. I wish I had some of those here to use. I may just gather some downed wood from the trees along our fence line to use. Metal edging and wood posts are more than I care to spend right now.

I really want to get some more perennials in place. I have had good luck with purple coneflower, Shasta daisies, rock rose and any salvias. I planted Black and Blue salvias and really like the looks of those. The rock rose reseeds and offers up new seedlings that can be replanted elsewhere. The coneflower does as well and is a very sturdy plant. My Knockout roses, rosemary, and Russian sage are also dependable. The roses even bloom for me through most of the winter. I read that the Knockout roses bloom in cycles, so that explained for me flushes of growth and blooming and then no blooms, followed by more blooms. I have not had any issues with pests with them.

And so, my husband’s brain surgery was successful and uneventful. His surgery that day was delayed a couple hours as his surgeon had an emergency surgery first, and so our surgery was not started till 9 pm and finished at 11 pm. My husband was already being taken for a walk down the corridor early the next morning, and bounced back from surgery so quickly they released him at noon on day two in the hospital. He never had any swelling or pain from the removal of his golf ball sized tumor. He started two weeks of whole head radiation this week. After these two weeks are completed, chemo will start for about 12 weeks of treatments. I said in my last post, after surgery we would make lemonade with our lemons, and so we did.

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Those cancer demons, again

Well, a visit to the neurosurgeon revealed a tumor on the outer membrane of his brain and so he will be going into surgery on Tuesday. They want to remove this before it can get into the brain; hopefully it has not yet and the doctor indicates it is contained there but needs to be removed. A 3 1/2 hour surgery and titanium plate should be the answer. Radiation after surgery will be done, as will more radiation to the spine, and chemo after all radiation is complete.

It is very hard to make lemonade out of the lemons right now. We keep getting hit with more cancer concerns that must be addressed and the spine is one area he can’t have surgery done, so radiation and chemo is all we can do for that.

Fingers crossed that Tuesday is a success. Then I can make lemonade.

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Billy Jacobs Art: An Art With Unique Charisma


I really like Billy Jacobs art; shop for him also on

Originally posted on Quality Framed Art ~ Affordable prices:

The most popular type of art form that has been extensively used to decorate houses is the Billy Jacobs Art. As the Billy Jacobs Poster can add unique charm to the home decor, it has become the popular choice of thousands of home owners and decorators. It will depend up on the liking and creativity of the people to use these pieces of Billy Jacobs Artwork in bedrooms, dining rooms, or on the walls of living room. This is because, the uniquely Framed Billy Jacobs master pieces has capacityto turn any dull place into an amazing one and can ideally enhance and refresh any home decor.

If you are planning to modify the décor of your home, office, restaurants, etc. you can indeed decorate the walls with an extraordinary piece of Billy Jacobs Art Print that can render exclusivity to every décor. As these Billy Jacobs Framed Print

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A little set-back

We thought the road ahead was clear from cancer. My husband went through esophageal treatment last summer, with radiation, chemo and surgery (removing the esophagus and resectioning to stomach; recovered nicely) and a final round of chemo in Feb this year to zap all the lingering meanies. Well, lo and behold, a few renegades lingered and he has a tumor on his spine that caused tremendous pain for two months until it was found with an MRI in July, last month. Needless to say, we felt like we had been hit by a truck. It was wonderful to finally get his pain diagnosed and treated, but we had not expected this.

He was immediately put in the hospital (from doctor’s office visit down the hall, he walked into hospital admitting) for more tests, and radiation started within two days. That’s how urgent it was. He was on radiation for two weeks and now has two weeks “off”. He’s ready to start chemo in two weeks for a 9 week session (three 3-week rounds).

I had a “to do” list for around the house, but now that’s all on hold. I am going to keep doing a few little projects around here that I can manage and will post what seems worthy, watch the hummingbirds, work on my genealogy, and probably some posts including our 3 year old grandson’s visits.

Since we have been through this before it’s not quite as daunting to think about, and no surgery this time, but still it kind of puts your life on hold. Since his immune system gets destroyed during treatment, he must avoid crowds and sickness, so we tend to not go anywhere and he may not feel like it anyway. The wedding we planned to attend in Kansas City will have to be declined; the visits to our grandson in Okla City will have to be delayed. He cannot drive and will have to work from home as he is able (as an architect, a lot of things he can do from here; job site visits he cannot do). I run my errands as needed by myself. I’ve been doing all the yardwork (mowing 4 acres or our 26, and planting and working the flower beds before the scorcher weather set in) as he has been recovering from his last chemo.

Last year we were building a new house amidst his treatments, and so this year it is nice to be in the house and not have any additional stress with that. Looking for any silver linings I can think of.

I researched this type of tumor, and 5-10 percent of all cancer patients develop it. It is not operable as it is in a very sensitive area of nerves and things. Chemo and radiation will hopefully kill the cells and keep it from spreading, and maybe shrink it down a bit to relive some pressure. He may have pain to be controlled from this point on, and will need to be monitored and dealt with as needed. He will be on regular monitoring
with CT, MRI and bone scans. He just filled out all the paperwork for his disability insurance assistance.

Heading into fall, we can just hibernate for several weeks and enjoy the cooler weather that I hope is heading our way.

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Not ready for Fall

I love the warmth of summer, even in it’s scorching worst, unless I have to be out in it much. Now that we don’t have alpacas to care for and chickens to worry about in the heat, there is less anxiety and I don’t have to be in that heat if I don’t want to. This summer has been really pleasant and we have had some nice intervals of wet and rainy weather that cools everything down for a a few days.

I’ve been trying to keep all of our new trees well watered. The nursery we bought them at installed them for us (what a blessing that is) and gave us a watering schedule for each month. Right now, for July and August, we water daily. I have one row of trees hooked up so I can water three at a time which saves me time. They are a distance from the house and I only have to move the hoses twice to get them all watered in an hour. The other three trees are just a few steps off the back porch and are easy to handle; I usually take that time to rock in the porch rockers and listen to the birds and watch the hummingbirds flit about.

When it gets really hot and miserable outside, I work on my computer on my Genealogy, or plan something to sew. I really like the website for great discounts and they price designer fabric odds and ends pieces really, really low. I need some new and interesting pillow covers for Fall.

Seeing all the new Fall merchandise on the shelves already always gives me a bit of anxiety knowing that soon the leaves from the trees will drop and the days will get shorter. And I must always remind myself that we still always have nice weather here usually up till Thanksgiving when we start getting winter blasts. We are originally from Kansas, so I have vivid memories of really nasty weather up there.

This week it’s hot, reaching the 100’s. I need to work on more of my flower beds, but I don’t like planting anything in this heat. I did have some zinnia seeds bloom and they are always a sturdy plant in the heat. My Coneflowers are my second sturdiest heat bloomer.

Back to tree watering and porch rocking.

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Honed vs. Polished granites

Before we built this house, we had never had granite and I never wanted it. I thought it was just ugly. I am not a lover of speckly, blotchy, in-your-face granites that I seemed to see everywhere. However, knowing we would be putting granite countertops in this house after all, and during my research on line, I found some very lovely, swirly and motion filled granites. The Juparana granites were very interesting with their colors and drama. The websites I liked to look at had photos of full size slabs of granites so you can see the variations. Our granite supplier had some of these. After much deliberation, we decided that, because the kitchen backsplash was more of the focal point, the countertops would be more neutral to blend in. However, the large kitchen island could be a more dramatic granite, but still needed to blend with the surrounding floor tiles and backsplash stone and honed Uba Tuba countertops.

After visiting the granite supplier several times to choose our various materials, we chose a neutral Uba Tuba and had it honed for the kitchen countertops to create a more organic surface that doesn’t reflect the light like a polished surface.

The granite guy had a most interesting granite slab right at the front door of his warehouse every time we walked in and we always commented on it. We needed to choose an interesting granite for the island on our last visit and see what was new or caught our eye. We finally stopped to investigate this interesting slab and he told us it was Verde (green) Marinace (mare-uh-notch-ee). There is also a black type and a gold (the color showing in the background of the pattern).

Verde Marinace is a collection of rocks and stones that are captured in the granite and when the granite is sliced into slabs, the rocks also get cut. What you see are the cross-sections of these age-old rocks. It is most fascinating once you realize what you are looking at. We chose this for our island, but instead of the shiny polished, we paid a bit extra to have it honed, to achieve a natural and organic look. We love our honed Verde Marinace granite island. It is a conversation piece, and fun to look at every day.


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