Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Rabbits and Bunnies and Hares, Oh My!

If you visit Meadowsweet Cottage this time of year, you'll see that I have bunnies!  I have...

Wooden bunnies
Big bunnies and little bunnies
I have happy bunnies
And bunnies that are basket cases
Lop-eared bunnies
And friendly bunnies
Blue china bunnies
Some teensy-weensy bunnies that lift weights or play soccer
Even gardener bunnies and walkabout bunnies
Yes, there are bunnies everywhere you look
But my favorite bunnies are Peter Rabbit (of course)...
And this mischievous bunny who started it all. 
He's very old now. My grandma made him for me. She made one for all my cousins too (and I have more than thirty cousins).  Can you imagine how much time and effort and love that took?!

Those of us who still have our bunnies treasure them for the works of heart that they are.  What sentimental critters are you displaying this Easter season??

Cheers, from a very hoppy


Linking up with Cindy's Show and Tell at My Romantic Home

Monday, March 29, 2010

Heavenly Warmth

Got the Tired-Of-Winter, Spring-Isn't-Coming-Fast-Enough Blues?  Me too. What's a girl to do?  Go to California, my friends!

 In three short hours of driving, we arrived where grass is green, wildflowers and wisteria are in bloom, and college girls work on their tans in bikinis while watching their boyfriends play soccer.  Almost forgotten phrases like "pass the sunscreen" and "I should have brought shorts along" were uttered disbelievingly while we soaked up Vitamin D and flaunted winter-white skin.

It's been million years since I visited the UOP campus--I'd forgotten the mellowness of the brick buildings and the sweetness of the carillion chiming the hours.
We got a peek at their Physical Therapy School.
We strolled the grounds and peered into windows.  The Big Guy, who'd never been there, was sufficiently impressed with Stockton and the campus.

Yes, Stockton does have a Habitat ReStore, but after shoehorning two enormous dog crates into our Forester I sadly crossed it off my list of Fun Things To Do In Stockton and settled for Doggy Disc-o-mania instead.The dogs thought they were dreaming when we brought out their frisbees which have been hibernating for months. Kharma and Zelda each gave the green lawns two paws up.
It doesn't get much better than happy dogs and winning a soccer game!

Well, maybe it gets a little better--Stockton has a Joann Superstore which was conveniently located next to our lunch destination. (Okay, maybe I had looked it up before-hand and suggested lunch there.) Oh. My.  I could get to like Joann if Reno had one that was fast, friendly and well-stocked.  I found the perfect, cuter than cute, fabric for a new ironing board cover.  In fact, I can hear my new fabric calling to me now...

Yours truly,
A warmed-to-the-cockles-of-my-heart and very content

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Guideposts---Week12

It is better to have enough ideas for some of them to be wrong, than to be always right by having no ideas at all.
--Edward De Bono
So many of my ideas don't turn out quite like I'd wanted, so it's an extra special delight when one of them turns out as nice as my mailbox makeover.  Can you tell I'm still thrilled with the result?  YES!
Linking up with Notes from a Cottage Industry's Weekly Words To Live By.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Creamy White Delight

 
Mrs. Santa is very clever--she somehow knew I wanted new plates. She found some beaded stoneware plates and bowls and put them in my Christmas stocking. (I happen to know that Mrs. Santa got a great deal on them at Wally World around Thanksgiving.) Unfortunately Mrs. Santa couldn't find the matching salad plates. She should have been more diligent and tried another Walmart store rather than just the one closest to me her.

Still...eating oatmeal in one of my new bowls has been a treat every morning. And I think dinners look more delicious on the new plates.

I looked online to find salad plates but winced at the price. So I've been searching Home Goods and the thrift stores for salad plates with no success. Until yesterday...
A buck forty-nine--a bargain for two Villeroy and Boch porcelain and two stoneware. When I photographed them, they reminded me of a snowman. I'm fairly sure there's no connection between that and the dusting of snow we woke up to.

Pepper jack cheese melted on a slice of homemade wheat bread tasted excrutiatingly good at lunch served on a new-to-me plate.  I suspect lunches will be enjoyed just a bit more each day now. Mmmmmmm.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Debuting My "Vintage" Cherry Mailbox

My little debutante:
 
Polka dots inside!


Let's not forget what Cinderella looked like at the start:
 
On second thought...
let's forget and just enjoy the new look!
And she's not just another pretty face, she'll be keeping my gardening gloves and tools close-at-hand.
 

Learn from my mistakes, no need to invent your own.
p.s. Now I know there must be lots of these little black mailboxes out there who desperately need a makeover--so I'll be posting a how-to shortly.  Be sure and check back/subscribe/follow if you're interested.

Linking up to Funky Junk Interiors SNS #32
Thank you, Donna!!!!
and to The DIY Showoff

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Monday, March 22, 2010

Motrin Monday

Boot camp couldn't be any harder than my Spring Cleaning splurge! Any box that came out of the attic meant I got to climb up the ladder to grab it and down the ladder to stack in the hall. Then each and every box had to be carried downstairs, and I had to come back upstairs for the next box. Then the boxes had to be put in the basement. I should have worn my pedometer and then weighed the boxes to find out how much of a workout I got!

Here's my little maple forest, wiped clean and waiting for their new storage facility to be available.  They'll need some TLC before they get passed down through the family (I think they've currently survived over fifty kids).

I found some forgotten treasures while I was reorganizing--like this rainbow lampshade belonging to my kids.
Everything's all clean and tidy and stored away.

Back to the mailbox...getting better, little by little. Now that I think of it, covering up the ugliness of the primer was big, not little. (I'm sure you agree.)
 
I'm finding multiple coats of red are necessary to cover the white lid.  Why did I think I was going to have any more success with a sponge brush this time?  I'm just not a sponge brush gal, I guess.  I don't have the touch--my red was all streaky and I briefly panicked thinking that the red acrylic wasn't going to cover white spray paint.  It was all the sponge brush.  I'm almost ready to paint the final coats of red (oh, it looks good!) and have started designing the cherries.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Guideposts--Week11

That is one good thing about this world...there are always sure to be more springs.
--Lucy Maud Montgomery

First Day of Spring

Two words:  Spring. Cleaning.

My hair is dirty, my jeans are filthy, my fingers shouldn't even be touching the keyboard--but my garage is rearranged and wonderful.  My day isn't done yet.  The upstairs hall is currently filled with boxes and bags previously stored in the attic waiting to go into the basement.  The basement has maple chairs awaiting an exciting trip into the attic.

Not that we have either a proper attic nor a decent basement (they are just crawlspaces to access pipes and electrical and plumbing).  But storage is where you find/create it!  And Mr. Pogonip is visiting family in California this weekend, so I have  uninterrupted time to make messes and reorganize to my heart's content.

I think every single item I touched today was grimy.  I plan a long soak in the tub to erase the dirt and I'm definitely rewarding myself with some flowering plants from the nursery tomorrow!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Dear Ennablers

If it's Friday then it must be time for another trip to my Habitat ReStore. I dropped by during lunch today; hopeful that they had more donations on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday which I'd get a chance to look'em over before the weekend crowds arrive. I love the thrill of the hunt!

Your encouraging comments last week about the "ones that got away" left me laughing. You are now officially Bad Influences on my wallet and the cleanliness of my garage. Thanks to you, I'm now the proud owner of this extremely homely unloved metal mailbox which still happened to be available (either because no one else had vision or because the price tag had come off).  Said mailbox has been scrubbed, sanded, primed and wet-sanded in preparation for paint tomorrow.
It's at that stage where it's soooo ugly I might be wondering why I bought it. But then I look at that cute scallop on the lid that's just begging for some red paint and I can almost see pristine white paint with a red cherry decal...
I'm  too impatient to wait for the perfect decal so I'll tole paint cherries instead--better for an outside installation anyway.  Won't it be cute hanging on the fence with my garden gloves inside and tools hanging from the hooks?!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Signs of Spring

The swallows return to Capistrano each spring and the sparrows return to Meadowsweet Cottage's roof. East along with her brothers and sisters, aunts, uncles, and cousins are back...pitter, clatter, pitter, pat...as of March Fifteenth.

Morning walks are accompanied by birdsong and sunlight (even with Daylight Savings).

Color has appeared on the hyacinth buds.
The chinodoxia snuck into violet territory. Love these little guys!

The red primrose is a little lazier than his pink friend, or perhaps is a bit more cautious while waiting for warmer temperatures.

Each day brings new delight.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Shamrocks and Irish Lace

Wishing you a rainbow
For sunlight after showers—
Miles and miles of Irish smiles
For golden happy hours—
Shamrocks at your doorway
For luck and laughter too,
And a host of friends that never ends
Each day your whole life through!

Can I admit that one of my pet peeves is the pairing of four-leaf clovers with St. Patrick's Day? Silly, I know, but during my grade school days I enjoyed the story of the Irish saint illustrating the story of the Holy Trinity using the shamrock. Now  I keep wondering what comes after the Father, Son and Holy Spirit if you use a four-leaf clover? Elvis?  Don McLean?  The Fairy Godmother? Anyway, I blame the whole mix-up on Lucky Charms cereal and  mischievous leprechauns.

I was hoping my liturgically-correct shamrocks would resprout from their winter doldrums in time for March 17th, but they're just little brown nublets today. Sigh. No four-leaf clovers in evidence either.  We used to have a four-leaf clover plant--I still check each clover plant before I do my weeding!

Must be a wee bit of lace-curtain Irish in me.  These look fine from outside but inside...high water!

Recently I found a match for the soft ivory color and the filet-lace look and on Monday I added a few inches to the top.  Voila!  Long enough to brush lightly against the carpet, short enough not to tempt my Electrolux.

Happy St. Patrick's Day,, my friends! Don't forget to wear your green today or...ouch!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Miss Itchy Fingernails Makes A List.. or Two... or Three

I received a gift certificate (woo-hoo!) to a local nursery for my birthday waaay back in January.
Since then, we've had just enough sunshine peeking through the clouds to defrost the frost-heaved soil and just enough warm weather and rain to green up the lawns.  It's enough to make any gardener here start to think seriously about springtime even though we've also had a snowstorm or two.  Or three.

The annual longing for gardening weather is a delicate business in northern Nevada--maybe even more crucial than knowing I can't plant tomatoes until the snow's off Peavine Peak.  If I start to think about it too early,  I'm apt to get seriously depressed when I look at all the bare, frozen ground outside and realize I have weeks upon weeks upon weeks before I can get my hands dirty.  If  I start to plan to late--well, springtime's a busy season for teachers and past experience has shown that summer is too late to plant since we have a miniscule growing season.

I despise cold, wet, damp, rainy days.  (We northern Nevadans are a spoiled lot who expect sun for approximately 360 days per year.  Give us a week of clouds and we all come down with SAD, bouts of depression and a raging case of the "poor me's".)  But I have to admit that the gray days were perfect for planning this year's vegetable garden since I was stuck inside anyway.  Developing a list while I had the time hopefully prevented frittering my gift certificate away on plants that I don't have room for and seed packets that I don't need because I still have (tomatoes, beets, basil, you name it) seeds from the last millenium.


Truthfully,  I love making lists. Crossing off an item gives me a feeling of accomplishment and I gain momentum as I go.

I have a Spring Garden Chores list that I'm working my way through right now--pruning the fruit trees (check), raking leaves that escaped me last autumn (check),
 
continuing my search-and-destroy mission to eliminate the white violets while preserving the blue-flowered plants.

Each autumn, I make my Musical Chairs Plants list so I know what plants need to be moved where.  It's essential to make notes while the plants are full size because all the herbaceous perennials are almost invisible by springtime. This year the hardy geranium, the purple mum, the Red Volunteer daylily will all settle into new sites (although it's a tad early to start digging now).  Thanks to my list there will be NO tall plants blocking my view of the pond this year.
 The elimination of our pin oak brought some much-needed sunshine into our backyard--good for flowers and vegetables alike--so my list included seed potatoes (currently "chitting"), bare-root rhubarb (now at five leaves with more unfolding) and strawberries (lying low till the weather warms), chives, and onion sets (sitting on the workbench until St. Paddy's which is, by gosh, tomorrow).  It was satisfying to spend wisely (thanks to my list-making) and fabulous to spend lavishly (thanks to my thoughtful friends).

I still have money left on the gift certificate so I'm making yet another list.  As the snowfalls decline from two feet to six inches to a mere dusting, I tell myself that Spring is winning the battle so primroses and johnny-jump-ups should be making an appearance soon at the nursery.  Or perhaps a peony is hoping for a new home.  The flower list could be my favorite list of all!

Monday, March 15, 2010

ReStore Score

I promised myself a flying trip to our Habitat ReStore on my long lunch Friday. I had a few items I was looking for. And I remembered to take the measurements and the tape measure with me (for once).

Can you guess what my favorite number is?.
These orphans will be painted and hung as garden art this summer.  I sense the beginnings of a new collection.

I acquired some new wood goods--a drawer face, two skins and a cabinet door.
Hopefully these will morph into a stylish new stand for Frodo's birdcage--what a before-and-after that will be!

The cabinet door looked even prettier when I got it out into good light.
Mother Nature and I both love wood grain.

Are you ready for the best part?  Here are my treasures--two wooden shutters!
These babies waited for me to make up my mind for two weeks. Two. Weeks. Two weeks at the ReStore is like two years at the Good Will. I passed them up with some reluctance the first time (I wanted them to be triplets not twins), then I spotted them stuck in an out-of-the-way corner last week, where they miraculously stayed until I finally adopted them.


I woke up Friday hoping that they'd still be there.  Some things are just meant to be.
Because they're made of decent wood, they're still solid even with the minor water damage--blessings on our high desert climate!

They have just the perfect amount of shabby chic texture.
With a coat of apple-green paint, some old hinges and a little distressing, they'll look right at home on the brick patio in back of potted petunias and ivy.  Forget spring fever! My shutters have me longing for the lazy warmth of summer.

The best part?  Check out the price.  Yes, it says one dollar! How lucky can a girl be?!
They even threw in the old tenants for free.
I've served the spider clan their eviction notice and will be bringing Sheriff Scrub Brush out soon.

My ReStore is fast becoming my favorite place to shop. I spent a whopping six dollars there, which is nice, and I feel saintly because:
  1. I passed on an old metal mailbox and 
  2. I  also didn't buy a tall old cabinet that had two fabulous tip-out metal bins on the bottom. The cabinet wouldn't fit in the Subaru but the mailbox would have.  It would have looked charming painted creamy white trimmed in red with some cherry decals as the finishing touch, and
  3. I still got all my housework finished!