Changing It Up

Letting Go

We're back up north for a few days.  While it's always nice to get away, this trip is bittersweet.

Sure . . . it's still plenty warm. The leaves haven't started to turn.  The lake is the perfect temperature for swimming.  It's quiet now that the kids are back at school.  Things are very peaceful.    


But change is coming.  The days are shorter.  Acorns are raining from the trees.  It's time . . . to bring the dock in.  And move the pontoon to dry land for the season.  Because the distance between "plenty of time" and "we waited too long" is really short up here.

We enjoyed our last pontoon ride of the season yesterday.  Later today, we'll bring in the dock.  It's time to bid the lake adieu for the summer (although we won't totally close down the cabin for another 6 weeks or so).

I'm a little sad.  Because I like summer -- and I especially like summer on the lake.  But it's time for me to . . . give in.  Let go.  Because fall?  It's nice, too!


How about YOU?  What signifies the true end of summer for you?



Twenty-five years ago, Tom and my Dad built a little deck on our house (which was interrupted by an emergency bathroom re-do . . . but that's a story for another day) -- just in time to celebrate Erin's 2nd birthday with an outdoor party on the deck.

I was thrilled with the deck -- my first!  I bought a metal patio set - with an umbrella - for $79.99 at Target.

That patio set has seen us through twenty-five summers -- a couple of decks, a patio, countless meals, happy gatherings, and many, many replacement umbrellas (including the one that caught fire a couple of years ago).

Every spring, we drag it out.

Every spring, I cringe at it's deteriorating condition.


But, hey!  Functional.  (Although more faded and shabby each year.)

This year, I suggested painting it.  Tom jumped at the idea.  (Because you know.  Let's make it last another 25 years.)



Several cans of Rustoleum later . . . 


We have a "brand new," 25-year-old patio set!*

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*Today, we also have a 27-year-old daughter!  Happy birthday, Erin!

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(Also . . . See those shorts that Tom is wearing in the photo up there?  Yeah.  Those are the shorts I was talking about in my post on Monday.  I think the shorts are at least 20 years old.  No duct tape yet -- but maybe soon.)

A Confession

For as long as I have been blogging . . . 

(And even before that.)

one of my annual goals has been . . .

Become Proficient With Photoshop.

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I had the software (the full-blown version, mind you) loaded on my computer.  

(I even upgraded once or twice.)

I took classes in using Photoshop.

Live classes.

Online classes.

I'd learn how to use it.  I'd create all kinds of great effects.  Basically, I'd edit the crap out of my photos.

In class.

For my assignments.

But I just never used it on my own.  It seemed like . . . just so much trouble.

So my new-found skills would get rusty.  (Again.)

And then I'd feel bad.  (Again.)

And, each January, declare that this . . . THIS would be . . . The Year I'd Become Proficient in Photoshop.  (Again.)

It has become achingly, painfully clear, though . . . that it just ain't gonna happen.


You know what I did?

I Kon-Mari'd it!

Yep.  I uninstalled that sucker.  Because No Joy.



The photo above?  Lake Michigan waves crashing over the South Haven pier last Saturday.  (And not edited with Photoshop, by the way.)


Coming Together

Last fall, you may remember my sharing the story of our bathroom renovation.

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When what started as a leaky shower (leaking into my kitchen, by the way) . . . 


morphed into an entire bathroom/bedroom re-do.  (With some kitchen updates, too.)  (Because ceiling.)

I took advantage of the situation as an opportunity to get rid of the very dark and very dated wallpaper (you can see it in the first photo; I never did take "before" photos) and the very worn blue carpet.  We even decided to remove the jacuzzi tub (I thought it would be So Cool to Have when we bought the house, but in 13 years, I only used it once. . . ) and replace it with a little fitness spot.

It was a big project, and it ended up taking a couple of months to complete.  Tom and I have done quite a bit of renovating over the years (especially in our very first house, which was a complete fixer-upper and quite the canvas for young, enthusiastic homeowners), but we've never hired contractors to do a project for us.  It was quite a luxury to just . . . pick colors and carpet and shower doors . . . and have someone else do the hard work of arranging and installing.

Everything has been functional since Thanksgiving, and finished since Christmas.  Results?

The bedroom.

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The bathroom.

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The main culprit.

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And the surprise bonus. . .

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discovering that those stained glass windows (there all along) could put on such a fabulous light show whenever the sun shines!

It all really came together . . . and we love it now!

It's the Little Things


It all started about a year ago . . . when I needed to replace my refrigerator.  

It quickly became clear . . . that my kitchen was terribly out of date (although pretty wonderful -- after all, I had a few up-to-date features like granite countertops and recessed lighting).  But out of date all the same because . . . 

Oak cabinets.

Brass fixtures and cabinet pulls.

Black appliances.

Just. Not. Cool.

I ended up switching out my refrigerator with one in a new "color" -- slate.  (Not stainless -- because it really doesn't go with oak at all; not white -- which just seemed way too stark in my kitchen.)  (Of course, black appliances are SO 1990s.)  (And not even available anymore.) Ultimately I replaced ALL the appliances with slate.  (So at least everything matched.)

But the brass?  Really dated.  (Especially with the new slate appliances.)


I would've loved to re-do the kitchen.


Already doing the master bathroom/bedroom.

And so silly, really . . . because everything is in fine shape.  
(Also.  Despite their being SO . . . outré . . . I actually LIKE my oak cabinets.)  (Just sayin.)

And money doesn't grow on trees.

For a while, I thought about painting my cabinets.  But there are just too many. 

So I decided to settle for a few minor tweaks.  Little things that would make a big difference.  Like. . . switching out the brass fixtures with new ones in oh-so-much-more-current oil rubbed bronze.

New cabinet pulls.


New fan.


New recessed light covers.


And . . . "conversion kits" to create pendulum lighting over my kitchen island!


Yes.  I still have my oak cabinets.  (My kitchen is VERY 1990 when it comes to woodwork.)


I have an updated look, and  I'm really happy.  (And it didn't cost a fortune, either.)



I'm thinking window treatments. . . 


And my special thanks to Tom.  Because he did the actual work to switch everything out.  (There were 40 cabinet pulls in the kitchen alone.)  (And I did sort of extend the switching-out into the bathroom off the kitchen.)  (I know that towel rod was a real bitch.)  Thanks, honey!



I found a great online source for cabinet pulls and fixures.  Great selection.  Really good prices.  Excellent customer service.  And . . . quick delivery!  And I got the light covers and conversion kits here.





Soak Up the Sun

Summer is waning, my friends.


Oh, it's still plenty hot.  Humid, too.  But I can sense the change coming.  I see it in my garden.  And in the clouds.  The days are getting shorter, the sunsets are coming earlier.  

There is still much of summer to enjoy and savor, though. 

I'm feeling the need for a little blogging vacation -- to refresh and reenergize . . . and to soak up every moment of what's left of my favorite season.

I'll be back in a week or so.

See you then!

JOURNEY: The Beginning



Begin here 1.4.15

Last year, when I chose the word POSSIBILITY as my "one little word," it was because there was some sort of . . . pull . . . deep inside me for . . . 

something ELSE
something DIFFERENT
something MORE

I thought, then, that I needed to consider new possibilities for my life.  And, at the time, I thought I needed to add something (a new project, new creative ventures, more this, more that).  I never thought about what I might leave behind.  

What I discovered over the course of my year of POSSIBILITY was quite shocking to me!  As the year rolled on, I slowly began to realize that in order to explore/find/discover new possibilities, I first needed to make room for them.  I understand now (because hindsight always makes you wiser) that adding something "new" . . . without considering what was "already there" . . . would have been a horrible mistake, and wouldn't actually help me at all.

(Ah.  The power of one little word.)

So my year of POSSIBILITY . . . became a year of creating space!  I started with my closet.  Most unexpected, but so satisfying.  (And still ongoing, truth be told.  Paring down happens in stages. . . as I realize how lightly I really can pack!)  It moved on to the garden, where I did a lot more digging-up than planting-in last year.  It moved into my head - in a very big way - where I started thinking very hard about commitments and priorities and passions.

And that's when it really hit me.

What I discovered was this:  My time (and my heart) were beging consumed by my job -- a job I'd actually been "tricked" into accepting (can you say "bait-and-switch"?), didn't ever want, and was holding onto for some weird sense of obligation.  My original search for new possibilities, I now understand, was actually a search for my own heart.  Because I felt so empty and drained from the demands of a job I didn't want to have in the first place.

So I cleared space.

I quit.

Today is my first "official" day without that particular job in my life.

Now, my JOURNEY really begins.  I've cleared space -- and now I'm heading out for uncharted territory.

I'm not sure where I'm going, but I know I'm on my way!

Soul Food

Earlier this week, I read dear Jane's post about having flowers at her desk. . . and how she buys them with her groceries at the store.  Because flowers are food, says Jane.  Food for the eyes and the spirit.

Jane's words have been hanging with me all week.

Because she is absolutely right.

Flowers are food for my soul.

So yesterday, when I stopped in at the grocery for my dinner ingredients, I paused first at the flower stand and grabbed a lovely little bouquet of pink tulips.


I grabbed a few of my small vases and my snippers . . . and went to work.


In moments, I had 3 small vases of fresh, happy tulips.  I stuck 'em here and there, in my most-frequented areas of the house.  Today - and through the weekend - wherever I look. . .


I'll have access to my lovely tulips . . .


and I'll feel nourished.


Soul food!

(Thanks, Jane.)

Dirty Little Secret

. . . because sometimes it's just a good idea to Come Clean. . .

I love jewelry.  I have a giant, standing jewelry case in my room.


And because I am Alway in a Hurry, and because I am Always Looking for the Right Earring, my jewelry case tends to be . . .


a bit of a mess.

Let's rephrase that.



(And, as you might notice, it's really the TOP and most-accessible section that is the Real Problem here.  I tend to ignore the drawers, and pile everything in the top section when I am Always in a Hurry.)

Last weekend, things had reached a frustrating, Critical Point in the jewelry selection department.  I decided to Do Something About It.

I cleaned house.


I sorted.  I thinned out.  I organized.


So. Much. Better.

I found things I hadn't even remembered I had!  I found loose buttons.  I found a missing, beloved earring.  I found my high school class ring.  And my Tri-Delt pin.  Amazing things.

I even found enough change for a cup of coffee!


Any guesses how long this will last?