Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Late Winter Days and a Thrifty Re-do

Hello, Dear Friends, I hope that you are 
staying warm and cozy as we wait out
 these last few weeks of winter, here in the north.

The sun stays low and sends clandestine rays 
flickering inside, creating holograms and illuminating
  dust and cobwebs hiding in dark corners. 

Sunshine can be so fleeting this time of year, 
sometimes flashing for mere moments
as I grab my long-handled duster while opportunity strikes. 

Clouds, mist and fog create changing patterns of 
soft, gray light, sometimes catching a bit of color 
from the setting sun. 

But in winter, the true magic happens when we wake up very early. 
That is when the rising sun comes up in a blaze of glory. 

No matter how late we might be as we are getting ready for 
the day, we have to stop and witness this brand new beginning. 

We can't bring ourselves to turn away. 

And then, just like that, it's over, and we 
settle into another gray winter day. 

Sometimes, if we are very lucky, the clouds subside
and reveal Mt. Rainier. 

We even have a slogan here: "Live like the Mountain is out!"

When the sun shines, I drop everything to get outside! 

We had several days of warm, sunny weather, and I was 
able to get a head start on winter cleanup. 

We had strong wind recently, which brought down 
quite a bit of debris, and also created a surge, which fried our modem. 
We now have a new modem and a surge protector :)

So, if you are wondering where I have been, that is one of 
the reasons why I have been incognito. 
Another reason was a nasty cold. 
Both Ramblin' Man and I barely got up off the sofa
for a couple of weeks.
We still have a lingering cough, but finally have our energy back. 

I've been trying to build up our reserves with 
healthy smoothies and home-made soups. 

My smoothie recipe:

1 banana
1 cup yogurt
1 cup frozen blueberries
handful of baby spinach leaves
and a tsp. of ground turmeric
or cinnamon. 

Ramblin' Man presented me with these gorgeous 
roses for Valentine's Day. 

And a big heart-shaped box of chocolates. 

I put them in the freezer to keep 
temptation at bay.....

I'm not a big fan of 'sweets', but I do like 
an occasional piece of chocolate. 

Ramblin' Man loves sweets, so I try to make 
healthier versions. His favorite; oatmeal raisin cookies. 
It was fun filling my new cookie jar :)

I made blueberry crisp for dessert on Valentine's, 
using these cute little dishes I found at Target. 

I love celebrating holidays in sweet and simple ways.

Life can be so difficult sometimes. 
It's important to take time to celebrate whenever we can. 

I am also celebrating these early harbingers of spring! 

It's so amazing how resilient these seemingly delicate 
little beauties are. They started poking their heads
up in the middle of a February snowstorm. 

I guess they wanted to take a good look around! 

Hellebore and pansy are equally hardy. 
The purple alyssum have survived from 
the previous summer! 

We've had a relatively mild winter, although 
we have had snow and freezing weather earlier this month. 

When the wild Indian Plum blooms, the rufous 
hummingbirds return to join our year-round 
annas hummingbirds.

Oxalis with its tiny, nodding flowers. 

"Don't fill life with struggles - fill life with joy. 
A flower always struggles to survive, 
but it never forgets to bloom with joy."
- Debasish Mridha -

Taking a stroll with our little grandson and the dogs
on a rare sunny afternoon. 

We stopped to feel the soft moss on the tree. 

Grandpa and Grandson.

Opening the door to Grandpa's new workshop. 

Grandpa is looking forward to spending lots of time here 
with his four little grandsons, building birdhouses and planter 
boxes for Mommies and Grammie.

His official retirement date is April 1st.

While I've been waiting for spring, I have 
been trying to get my creativity back. 
Do you ever just feel un-inspired? 
I've been in a funk lately. 

Fixing up a thrifty find always makes me 
happy, and when I found this old magazine holder, 
I knew it needed some love. It had such 'good bones'. 

I painted it robin's egg blue with some chalk paint 
I had tucked away for a rainy day. 

But I felt like it needed something more. 

A sponge-painted hydrangea!

I took two dampened kitchen sponges...

and cut leaf and petal shapes.

I used blue and green craft paints that I had on hand. 

Green for the leaf print and blue and green for the petals. 

Paper plates make great paint palettes.

I used a folded paper towel to blot the dipped sponges
to keep the paint from running.   

I dipped the petal sponge in blue, then a little green around the edges.
I overlapped the petals here and there to form a rounded shape. 
I used plain green for the leaves.  

I used a small paint brush to make the stem and a center line down 
each leaf, and used a bit of off-white paint to dot the centers of the 

But it still looked too 'new'. 

So I used a darker shade of chalk paint, 
(Annie Sloane's 'Duck Egg') to antique it.
I used a dry-brush technique with a small, flat brush. 
I loaded the brush with paint, then blotted the excess paint to 
apply light brush marks, especially along the
edges and corners in areas of normal wear. 

 Much better! 

Sweet Cottage Style. 

I've previously used this same technique on furniture. 
This vintage cabinet lives on my stair landing. 

It holds all of my photos. 

I do love flowers. 

And the color blue. 
Soft robin's egg blue
and sea green. 

Another painted piece at the top of the stairs. 
This one holds all of my table linens. 


Our beautiful, sunny weather ended with this 
dramatic scene at dusk. 
A swirling lenticular cloud, spun off from 
the atmosphere around Mt. Rainier. 

While I was viewing this from the deck... 

Ramblin' Man snapped this on his way home. 

Because we are tucked up into the foothills, 
the Cascade range allows us to see only the top 
of this majestic 14,411 ft. mountain. 

From a distance, the whole amazing view can be seen.  

Since then, Mt. Rainier has been hidden in the clouds, 
but that hasn't stopped us from living 'like the mountain is out'. 


'The winter does not go without looking backwards'
- Finnish -

'In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me
an invincible summer'
- Albert Camus -



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