A Haven for Vee

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Is Bilbo Baggins Home?

The oil delivery was yesterday. What was I saying about holding my breath? Now I need to get out my long johns! ;>

So the cost of the oil delivery encouraged me to do a little research on energy efficient homes. I never thought I'd find anything like the one you see above, though. It is a real home somewhere in Wales where real people, not Hobbits, live. It has a certain charm, don't you think? Do you think that you could live there? I'm beginning to think that I could.

Here are a few reasons for living in such a dwelling: one saves up to eighty per cent of the energy costs because the home is cooler in summer and warmer in winter; they are low maintainance for a number of reasons including that the water lines will never freeze; they're safe...tornadoes blow right over; and for more interesting reasons follow this link.

Here's an article called Bag End (Hobbit Houses) that you might also find of interest. To find more about the picture source, read this article titled A Low Impact Woodland Home.

Just something to think about...

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Organizing a Life

Kits are wonderful ways to organize. I've been using the concept for a few years now and I can honestly say that it makes a big difference in how organized and well the home is maintained. I have had kits for everything and anything you can imagine, except for one, which I'll tell you about in just a minute. Even baking/cooking items are kept in baskets. It's wonderful to lift a basket from the cupboard knowing that everything I could possibly need for baking will be in there. I hate digging around for the can of baking powder.

This is a picture of what's behind the apron closet door. You'll be simply fascinated, I know.

Everything stays more or less organized. If it doesn't fit in this closet, it is stored on some basement shelves and I just refill the baskets from there. If you're not already doing something like this, try it, you'll impress yourself!

You'd think that with a system like mine, I would already have come up with the following idea, but, noooo, this idea comes directly from Brenda at Coffee Tea Books and Me where she describes creating a basket in order to keep her Bible, devotional readings, a pen and notebook, etc., at hand. Lightbulbs went off reading her words. I could do that; I should do that.

So that's the picture of my new basket with the items I've gathered. There is one that makes me grin—Living Sucessfully With Screwed-Up People by Elizabeth B. Brown. Why? I live alone. Living alone doesn't change the fact that I'm going to finish reading that book...lots of good concepts in there. A new Uniball Vision Elite pen and an empty journal with a picture of a black cat leaping over an alley from a rooftop to a fire escape were added. The leaping cat was so apropos given my current situation of holding-my-breath living.

Just another reason why I love bloggers. They spark me to try things I'd never thought of; they stretch my thinking; they inspire me. Now I'll just be off to see what God can do. ;>

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A Little Apron Picture Story...

What a day brightener a new apron can be! For clearer pictures of my beautiful oo-la-la apron, see here on January 18. Thank you, Zanne! It is even more lovely than I imagined. And, as you can see, it fits! Now what will I do? I really think it looks so at home with the others; although, they must all be jealous. ;>

Some time ago now, sweet Robin presented me with this award: (If you're like me and not quite certain what bodacious means, click here.) Yes, I thought bodacious meant Rubenesque and, as you can see, I qualify! (BTW, Bodacious does not equal Rubenesque.) Thanks, Robin, and even more so now that I know you're not calling me names!! ;>

Now I'm passing this award on to three beautiful bloggers who truly are audacious:

Kari@Just Livin' Large

CC@Six Months of Settled

Zanne of At Home With the Farmer's Wife

Monday, January 28, 2008


Tidying up loose ends here by returning to the humble house tour. I believe that I was going to show you the office and the bedroom. This won't take long so don't run off now.

Here's my office. It's disgusting. I can't keep it organized no matter what I do. Apparently, even my family is concerned since I receive lots of little gadgets and helps for office tidying whenever my birthday or Christmas rolls around.

What's up with that chair? Yes, I can see that you're all wondering. Well, I do have a beautiful chair for the desk, but it is the least ergonomically correct chair ever, much worse than the wicker one that you see there. So here's the beautiful chair serving its new purpose...holding LLBean bags and such.

The next photo is of the office of my dreams. I think you'll be surprised on two points: The first is that it isn't tidy either and the second is that it is not yellow. It must be all those books I love or maybe I really do enjoy chaos. No, it's the white woodwork again! I'm sure of it!

In my hometown, a large Edwardian home with a turret and a carriage house sits on a corner lot. When I was growing up, I always wanted a tour. Lucky for me, friends of mine bought the house and I did eventually get "the tour." I was disappointed to find that the turret room served as a storage room. I always wanted to see it used as a master suite. So, if I ever have the opportunity to own a house with a turret, hahaha, I want my bedroom to look like this...

Not so long ago, I posted a photo of my own bedroom here on December 30...look for a sleepy cat.

And so that ends the humble house tour. When I actually attempt the wonderful suggestions and tips that so many offered, I'll be sure to show you how it turned out.

Happy Monday!

Edited to Add: This was in the early days of blogging and I am appalled that I made no attempt to document sources. Nevertheless, I am making the decision to allow it to stand. I now know that Google Images sends out a "ping" representing every time an image is taken. All the owner has to do is follow the source. It's probably time consuming, but I've not heard from the owners of either of these fine photographs. If I ever do, I'll link properly or remove as the case may be. My apologies for my early ignorance.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Hearth Dreaming

To poke a wood fire is more solid enjoyment than almost anything else in the world. ~Charles Dudley Warner

Guess that's especially true on bitter cold days. I'm dreaming of hearths today and watching a fire burn.

Picture Source

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Wildflowers of New York 1921

Taking a weekend break from the humble house tour to chat about a different topic—specifically, the book you see above.

As you know, I am a blog nut. Love other people's blogs. Love to see where they live, what they do, what they eat, what they create. I'm nosy like that. Very. Don't leave your curtains open at night if you don't want me peeking in! Although I comment at many, many blogs, some blogs are revered so highly that I seldom, if ever, comment there. Isn't that bizarre? I know. I am not well.

One of those blogs is Dawn's The Feathered Nest (another would be Manuela's). Recently, Dawn was working on such an exquisite piece (here) that I remembered a book that I had rescued from the dumpster twenty years ago or more. Now where was that book? I hadn't seen it in ages. After a good bit of hunting, I found it buried beneath scads of other books and the Christmas wrap in the bottom of my closet.

The following are a few photos...

They have faded with time, I would imagine. On many pages, there are penciled notes such as these:

Mr. Whittier finds these growing in his lower field from July through September August 28, 1931

Found growing along Crystal Pond on the north side. June 12, 1929

Orr's Island July 17, 1931

The photos needed to be straightened, collated, and generally tidied. Instead of reburying the book, it is now in an honored spot in the bookcase waiting for the day when my gears are turning instead of churning. I'd love to try doing what Dawn accomplished because it's beautiful and meaningful. Besides, didn't Melissa just recently say that art in the home should be just that...beautiful and meaningful? (Follow the blogroll to The Inspired Room and read the January 23rd entry.)

And, if I ever do attempt this project, I know that I'll need the product that Sandy from Quill Cottage mentioned here.

Sorry to interrupt the flow, but if you really want a nice bedroom tour that'll have you chuckling, visit Suzanne right here.

A relaxing Saturday to all and STAY WARM!

Friday, January 25, 2008

The Kitchen, The Bath, and Beyond

Now that's an original title! LOL!

I love comments. Adore them!! You bloggers are so talented and helpful. Hope that anyone reading yesterday's post will stick around and read the comments. Besides, that's where I've answered any questions you may have had including Sandi's rather personal one. ;>

Now where was I? Oh, the kitchen. Would you believe that the space that you see in my header and the space I've shown you with the dining room table all connects to the kitchen? Yes, it's one large space. The kitchen has not been redone...same old cabinets, same old hardware, same old, same old. But I don't mind because that's the look I enjoy best in kitchens...grandma's kitchen. Of all the kitchens I searched, I found a couple that I'm sharing here by way of explanation. Here they come...

This should please you lovers of red. Red is not my favorite color, but you get the idea that it's a vintage look that I most appreciate. Here's another in greens and lots of colors actually...

The above photo is taken through the pantry. I'd love a pantry. Do you have one? If you do, I'm jealous. The common denominator in both photos is the white...I think. Yes, I do believe it's all the white so I need to remember that: I adore white woodwork!

And here, as promised, is a photo of my own kitchen or a portion of it...

Moving on to my tiny bathroom, which was once described by my carpenter as "substandard." Ouchie! And I put quite a chunk of change into that bathroom back in 1994 because I hadn't been here a month before the sink fell off the wall and the pipes broke and the basement flooded. Still, I know what he means, it's much too small and there's only a shower. That has never been a problem for me because I loathe bathing in a tub. But I can understand why some would prefer one.

Here are two photos of my bathroom...

This taking pictures of one's space has been very helpful. I have seen it with "new eyes" and the first thing that I see is that simple changes are going to be made that will have a big impact. For example, I do not like the "rustic" items on the wall in conjunction with the vintage mirrors. That's going to be changed and soon!

Here are a couple of photos of bathrooms I enjoy. Again, a "farmhouse" style with a chair, etc. My former bathroom had room for a bureau and a chair...loved that!

The unifying theme? That claw-footed tub! And, even as I realize this and know that I will never want such a thing in my home...they're not easy to clean and they take up too much space, and they cost a fortune, and if you had an old one to recoat it would also cost a fortune, I know where this pseudo desire is coming from. It is a childhood memory of pleasant bath times in my grandmother's claw-footed tub. Okay, I can deal with that then. ;>

I think that we'll save the "beyond" for tomorrow. It's too frightening for Friday anyway.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

For the Love of Yellow

Somewhere before the age of ten, I landed on my favorite color — yellow. Yellow does one thing for me that no other color has the power to do. It makes me smile. A bed of undulating yellow tulips makes me smile. A field of dandelions makes me smile. I love yellow.

That will explain a few of my portfolio choices today. My plan is to juxtapose what I have with what I would prefer. We are all familiar with the way that this happens...an inherited piece of furniture, a gift from a dear one, a home where the extra funds just aren't available. I am no exception as you will soon see.

Today, I'm beginning with the exterior and moving inside to the living area. Tomorrow, I'll move on to the kitchen, bath, and bedroom. Perhaps, if I am brave, I'll even toss in an office. I am not excited about sharing my desk area...we've already been there so perhaps we can move on. LOL!

I've been looking at so many homes. Simple is my thing...sort of. McMansions are not my style; don't want a mansion until glory; my dibs are actually in for a simple cottage by the side of the road, if heaven will allow.

First up...two homes that I really like. I'd like the first more if it were, you guessed it, yellow.

To see what I really have, scroll back to January 15 or look here.

Doing this little exercise has shown me that I am strongly influenced by my environment...I live in New England; New England defines my preferences. That's fine, I suppose, as long as I am now aware of it. I visit sites where the French style or the Southwestern style or whatever style is featured and, while I can appreciate the variety and the beauty, it is not my style.

On to living rooms...

Everything about this room impresses me from the yellow, the blue, the white, and the white woodwork, which is typically New England. I don't like the grass carpet. I don't like one white shade and one black shade, but overall it's pleasing to me. I even like the picture arrangements on the wall. I probably would feature the oil painting behind the door more prominently.

And this is what I really have...

or, as I so fondly call him...Blue Boy. Blue Boy and his little brother (the chair) have been with me since I moved to this home and the wallpaper in the former living room dictated the color choice. That and the pocketbook. Blue Boy was bought at a discount furniture house and he is comfortable, huge, and terribly, terribly blue. The wood planked walls were going to be painted; they won't be now...I don't like that look at all, but I can deal with it for the short time that I'll be dealing with it. Still, it's nice to know what I would prefer.

Here's another living room where I could be content...

and it's pretty light on the yellow factor.

And another where the yellow is subtle...

Nooks and crannies are some of my favorite things. In a home like mine where strange architecture reigns, I have a number of them. This is one in the addition above the main beam that ties the new to the old. It could be so charming, I'm sure, and I need ideas. This is how it looks now...

If you have any thoughts, I hope that you'll share.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Changing Perspective

For the past several weeks, I have been enjoying reading blogs where rooms and homes are being discussed in thoughtful, articulate ways. That won't be happening here because I'm incapable of being thoughtful and articulate these days. Still, because of my fascination with the topic, my idea is to pull together a cyber portfolio of sorts where I can do a little dreaming and think deep thoughts about what would be my perfect home this side of heaven.

Norma Zimmer (she of Lawrence Welk's Champagne Lady fame)once wrote about her mother's ability to create a home anywhere. I like that thought and have always set about to make a house a home in short order. I remember my son's telling me within a week or so of moving from our former home to this one that the new house already felt like home. I should have asked him why exactly. What are the ways that change a house from a mere structure to a true home? Is it the decorative items? The way furniture is arranged? Color? Light? Aroma? The food? All of the above? I'm still exploring the idea of home and probably will be for the rest of my life.

For completely wonderful posts on this topic, visit Terri @ Wind Lost here. Terri is so good at explaining her reasons for admiring/earnestly desiring a style; and it's lovely to see the rooms that she has chosen to express her thoughts. Nor can you go wrong to visit Linda @ Restyled Home here where she and Matthew Mead are carrying on a conversation about changing perspective.

Changing perspective is a profound concept! You can't imagine how much I have thought about it over the past two days and have decided that I need to apply the idea to many areas of my life beyond decorating. Thinking about changing perspective in the home may become a metaphor for some serious life changes, but that's a story for another day.

Here is my changing perspective experiment. Linda or Matthew suggested turning the dining room table. Turning the table? That's it? Okay, I could try that. What a scary thought, though. LOL!

The table has always been set to run the length of the room along the length of the bay window installed last summer as you see here:

So, following the suggestion, I turned the table and it scared me. No, I didn't like it so much:

It just looked odd to me; I was all for turning it back when the thought came Just sit with it for a while. Okay, I could do that. I'd have more energy in the morning anyway. So I decided to wait. And this is how it looked in the morning light.

I love it! Why? Because I am able to move about in the space much easier; I can access the closet doors without any difficulty whatsoever. When two people are seated at the table (as is usually the case), they are in closer proximity to each other while still enjoying the view. This is altogether more cozy. The room now appears more expansive on the dining room end since the table goes "against" the length.

So see what you can do in your home today to change the perspective. You may be surprised!

Follow me right over to *Zanne's* where I happen to know that she'll be serving cake!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Which Flower Are You?

I thought my image needed softening. ;>

You are an Iris:

You are logical, analytical, dignified, and wise. You are studious by nature and may prefer books to people. You tend to be a serious person but are capable of making others laugh with your dry sense of humor. Friends always benefit from your advice.

Symbolism: Over the centuries the iris has come to symbolize faith, wisdom, hope, and promise in love.

Just so you'll know, I don't believe a word of it except for the preferring of books to people and I only half believe that. Have a happy Tuesday!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Eight Reasons Why It's Great to Be Who I Am or Something Like That

Sandi, bless her heart, tagged me again! That's Sandi right there just before she tapped me soundly. (Yes, this little giffie is a shameless rip-off and I apologize right up front to both one and all, but most especially to Sandi and to her dear friends who created such a thing of beauty for her only to have it all messed up by moi. Sorry!) ;>

Let me preface this by sharing the definition I once heard for an optimist: An optimist is a person who, after falling from a forty-story building, yells at every floor, "I'm okay!"

And that about describes where I am these days; It feels as if there's a big splat in my future. I hate to be a hypocrite don'tcha know. Yesterday, I shared two quotes that I love and want very much to be true. I don't always feel them; nevertheless, I want them, earnestly desire them, but I am not always living them. Okay, now that I have been perfectly clear, my conscience will allow me to carry on with this list. (Oh, and by the way, isn't Sandi the best little armchair psychologist ever getting me to think about my blessings?)

1. Despite a childhood that wasn't all that pleasant, my parents did their best to love and support me. A challenging childhood helps me to understand others who endured difficulties in their own.

2. Despite marrying the wrong man, I have a wonderful daughter and a wonderful son and two terrific grandsons. I wouldn't have it any other way. Sometimes the trade-offs make a difficult thing worth it all.

3. Despite my sister's also marrying the wrong man, I have two terrific nieces, too.

4. Despite leaving college in my junior year, I was able to return and earn my degree eleven years later. My education has meant a lot to me...much more the second time around than the first.

5. Despite having left teaching, there are those who call me their favorite teacher. This astounds me and humbles me. Their letters are tucked among my treasures. It's still a joy after all this time.

6. Despite being a moping shell of a person lately, people have continually reached out to me. It is a blessing to have friends...real and the not-so-real. Yes, even the figs are a big blessing. (Figs=figments of my imagination otherwise known as you.)

7. Despite living alone, pets are terrific. I've loved so many, lost so many, but a good cat is a wonderful gift. My cat is a sweet companion; she's a good little comforter, too.

8. Despite feeling lonely sometimes, I've known the love of family and friends. Loneliness is a choice.

I should force myself to do this exercise every day, but then you'd be calling me Oprah.

I've seen many versions of this meme about, including one that requires many more than eight points. (I see that Robin did one recently and she did 15! Fifteen! That would've killed me.)

Now I'm choosing the following ladies because I want to know eight things (or more) about them that make them grateful to be who they are or something like that:

CC at Six Months of Settled

Brenda at Coffee Tea Books and Me

Jan at The Life and Times of Li'l Ol' Me (Jan has already been tagged and is sprinting away as fast as a jackrabbit. This will give her even more to ponder.)

Ladies, you know that I won't be one bit offended if this doesn't fit into your blogging plans. Feel perfectly free to interpret this meme any way that you desire...unlike "the good book," adding to or taking away is perfectly acceptable.

A delightful Monday to you all!

ETA: Blogger has been particularly difficult this morning so I apologize for things not looking quite right. I'm going to make a pot of chamomile tea so that I may chill out now.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

A New Day

Photo Source

Finish each day and be done with it — you have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it well and serenely. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Almighty God,
Thy Will
Nothing More
Nothing Less
Nothing Else!

~from a vintage Reader's Digest

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Daily Dose

Just before or was it just after my meltdown, Sandi of Holding Patterns, tucked me in to her list of nominations for "The Daily Dose" award. Now I know what it means to be a blog addict so to myself be on someone's list of a daily dose is pretty incredible. Poor Sandi, though, her pickings here got pretty skimpy for the next bit and they're about to get skimpy again as I'm taking a mini break for the next few days. I will be back, though, the Lord willing.

If you are on my blogroll, you absolutely are my daily dose. Fascinating people all! Three bloggers are receiving this "The Daily Dose" award today because they have something that pulls me back every single day; in other words, they've developed a hook and I find that so clever that I am honoring them.

1. Happyone at Captain's Log

Happyone always provides sunset and day's length at the end of her post. If you are one of those light deprived folks, just the hope in those few minutes' gain are so pleasant. LOL! (I won't be visiting her blog after June. Just kidding!!!)

2. Zanne of At Home With the Farmer's Wife

Zanne writes about all manner of interesting topics and she often/usually ends each post by letting her readers know what the next day's topic will be. I love that.

3. Judy at My Front Porch

Judy shares her life and it includes more than the beautiful and the lovely. I like bloggers who are dimensional — those with whom I feel a connection or that "we're in this boat together." Judy is all of that and this doesn't just include the fact that we're both suffering with colds/flu this week. :) The photos of her exquisite corner of the world are amazing and I'm sure that you will agree.

I apologize for not knowing more or being able to find out more about this award. Feel free to interpret it any way that you choose, ladies. As always, you are off the hook if this doesn't fit into your blogging plans.

Thank you, Sandi. The award blessed me.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Winter storms are so labor intensive! I'm already exhausted by a cold and now the clean-up after the storm. Oh well, one must have grit to live in snow-laden places. After all these years, I really ought to get some...grit that is.

Who cleans up after the snowstorm in your world?

Monday, January 14, 2008


Isn't this cute? I found it at the Catalog Card Generator via a really lovely blog called White Country.

As an update: my father is still in the hospital recovering from a stroke and from becoming toxic on medication. The toxicity was a completely unexpected complication that very nearly did him in. Things are beginning to look more hopeful and I want to thank all of you who have kept me and my family in thought and prayer. Prayer does indeed change things.

Can't wait to get back to blogging for real! (I've been trying to keep up with all of you!)

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Happy Trails

So how is it done in the blogging community? Taking a vacation that is? Does one announce it right up front or does one just walk out, shut the door, and flip the "gone fishing" sign?

Life is so stressful right now that I can hardly think. I am quite sure that it shows. So I am officially "gone fishing" until things calm down. When do things ever calm down? Hope it's soon!

You can still count on seeing me here and there as I adore reading blogs. You are some of the most fascinating people I know.

Hope to be back blogging by month's end, until then, "Happy Trails!"

Saturday, January 5, 2008


...and then there are those lips...disappearing lips. Well, not exactly, they're just slipping off to the right. No, have no worries, I do not intend to go on like this. It's just that sometimes my mind is filled with fascinating thoughts and sometimes it's as empty as the tomb. It's because I'm on overload, I hope. If it isn't that, I have more to worry about than I need.

This morning, I was up early, there was a little red glow in the eastern sky. So I decided to walk up the street and take a photo of my wee house nestled into the snow at the foot of the knoll, all charming and cute against the pines and the forest. I donned my big wool winter coat, my hat, my scarf, my boots and started the coffee knowing full well that I'd need some after my journey.

My intentions were good; they really were, but one can't wear gloves and make those tiny buttons on the camera work. I made it to the bottom of the stairs before deciding it was too dangerous to continue. Well, you can see why.

Have a cozy weekend, everyone!

Friday, January 4, 2008


Some of you may remember the little photo that used to be in my profile. It took me forever to figure out how to get it added. Did anyone wonder where it went? (Yes, it's a terribly slow day for blogging material. ;>)

It's like this, one morning recently I signed in to my blog and took a good look at that photo and said to myself: Yikes! What is going on with those eyebrows? Honestly, I don't know how it happened, but I swear that elves or something had been plucking them while I was asleep. Surely I could not be responsible for the condition of those brows. I know you won't believe me without proof so here it is...
See what I mean? Shocking I tell you! What? You don't see it?

Okay, eyebrows should look like this:

Picture Source

The look is achieved following these guidelines:

Picture Source

So now, here I am, a woman in her &^%$#, trying to grow some eyebrows. Maybe I'll just have to resort to this:

Picture Source

If they ever grow, perhaps I'll dare to add another photo. Until then...