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 -




  1. What a joy to find your post! It's good to see all the new beginnings of the year with the hope of more sunshine for more walks with grandchildren. They will love helping in the workshop, time will fly by and your garden will be full of plants in their new boxes. I love your sponged hydrangea, so simple and so effective. x

  2. You always warm my heart with your enchanting world...Stunning pictures! Your artwork is beautiful and inspiring!Your Grand is cute and adorable. My Father usually said that become a Grand is to be Father twice!Such happiness...Time flies...Hugs,dear Karen. Maristella.

  3. the images of the sky and mt. rainier are really beautiful!! life here is similar, but we have had an extremely mild winter and no snow!! walks with the grandchildren are always so special, he looks like a cut-ie!! your "thrifty re-do" is really gorgeous. i enjoyed the step by step directions you provided!!!

  4. Oh My...this lifted my spirits Karen...beautiful shots of the Mountain with those spectacular cloud formations...
    Love your painting...very creative...maybe this Summer I will have more energy, and get at a few things I had in mind as well...I have the same magazine rack at my cottage...I think it needs to be spruced up!!
    Snowing here today...haven't really had a bad winter here in Southern Ontario Canada...
    Looking forward to Spring!!
    Enjoy these last few days of February...
    Linda :o)

  5. The purple and pink sunrise is beautiful, Karen. So sorry to hear you've been sick lately. These coughs can last a long time, which is sometimes scary. Oh, Oatmeal raisin cookies are one of my favorites. It's nice of you to bake some and put them in your new cookie jar. The yellow daffodils are a sure sign that Spring is on its way. It's a joy to see all the hummingbirds around your house. What a sweet and dear bird this is. I really like the "struggles" quote. The pictures of your grandson walking with the dogs is so precious, Karen. Oh, I love those old magazine racks. They don't make them like that any more, and they're so sturdy. It looks so nice painted blue with the painted hydrangea on the side. You did a wonderful job with this project. The painted dresser upstairs is charming as well. You have many talents, Karen, and I really enjoy seeing all the creative things you do throughout your day. : )


  6. Karen, your photos are so gorgeous and your skill, camera and descriptions take advantage of your beautiful surroundings. I love the pieces that you painted. Typical old pieces of hand painted Cottage furniture and very well done and pretty. We are having sunshine every day and while I am not complaining, we need some moisture so badly. But, it does look so pretty shining in the windows, even if it does highlight the dust and cobwebs. I am in the mood for painting but I will have to find a new subject as Santa just doesn't make it this time of year..Happy Wednesday..xxoJudy

  7. I never tire of your sky views with your mountain, Karen. I’m so sorry that you and Ramblin’ Man were sick. I was sick for most of January with the flu and then horrible cough.
    Your painted magazine rack looks so pretty, and I love your other two pieces that hold your photos and linens. April 1st will be here before you know it! The work shed will be a busy, creative outlet. Thanks for sharing your life! xx

  8. Karen, your cottage treasures are absolutely lovely! I love the colors your chose and the floral patterns! Your mountain views are breathtaking! (as are your oatmeal raisin cookies!!) xo

  9. Sorry to hear that you two have been sick, glad you are on the mend. Gorgeous sunrise pictures and always lovely to see the mountain! I bet your hubby is getting excited to have retirement so close. Love how you colored your magazine rack, beautiful addition to the others you have painted!
    How wonderful to have the flowers starting to bloom, we have some green leaves poking but that is it so far, can't wait for spring!

  10. smoothies sound good anytime. Your dishes are adorable as is the magazine stand like I grew up with... the brown one, not the painted pretty version. Yes I go through funks...but it takes one little spark of an idea to make me want to make something too.

  11. I love what you did with your sponges, paint and fix-up finds! Very nice! And to live like the mountain is out -- that's great! Your sunrises are gorgeous. I'm a tad envious of all the spring there. We had quite a snow yesterday (though not so bad as predicted) and I can't complain since winter has been mild. I'm still getting over the yuck stuff that sounds much like yours. Slows a person down. Just trying to kick it fast. It goes at its own rate of speed! Meanwhile, thanks for stopping by Marmelade Gypsy. It was delightful to see you there!

  12. Lovely post, Karen! I loved seeing your glimpses of spring and your fun makeover project, too! I sure hope you'll both be feeling much better soon! xoxo

  13. Another fabulous post Karen. I always enjoy all your pictures. Glad you and hubby are starting to feel better now. The warmer weather certainly helps.

    Hugs Diane

  14. Thanks so much for stopping by!! Love your painted pieces!! They are so pretty!! Thanks to for sharing your technique for painting the hydrangea!! we too have had a mild Winter but some of our best snow storms have come in March so we will see,
    I hope you are having a great weekend!!

  15. So nice to catch up on all your happenings. Your sunrise is amazing, I would get up to watch it as well. And I love your upgraded magazine stand. Our spring is also just around the corner, exciting times.

  16. Excited !!! Thrilled !!! to see your lovely post, just love seeing such elegant paintings, staring those roses you got for Valentine's day just love the color. I am always fond of vintage furniture it adds extra elegance and a rich to the house……beautiful shots of the mountains with those remarkable cloud formations. Cheers, Linda !!Check out the few wedding photographs http://www.bloghasting.com.

  17. Hello, I am glad you have recovered from your colds. Your sunrise, skies and mountains views are just beautiful. You did a lovely makeover on the magazine rack, it looks very pretty. Sunny days are great for your to get outdoors with the grands and doggies. We are not seeing any blooms here yet, it is still too early. Thanks for visiting my blog. Enjoy your day, have a great week ahead.

  18. I enjoyed your photos in the early spring. Happy new week to you.

  19. Once more, Karen,there's almost too much beauty in one post. :) Lovely landscapes and clouds and flowers and cooking... Your husband's new workshop looks great and you seem to be talented at woodworking too.
    I needed to look for the Finnish proverb about winter... I don't know that one! On the Internet, I found it in English like this "The winter does not leave without a backward glance" but the version you found is more beautiful. :)
    Wishing you and yours a happy new month of March. xx

  20. I always love the sky of an early winter's morning but you are so right in saying you have to savor them quickly because they disappear in an instant. It is always a joy to wander around your beautiful 'sweet cosy' cottage, Karen. So much joy and beauty to drink in, in this post, Karen. Your descriptive language always makes my soul smile. Love your 'new' magazine rack, especially the hydrangea. =) How wonderful for your grandsons to be able to spend many hours with their grandpa, enjoying each other's company. I have a feeling your 'ramblin' man is going to adore retirement.

  21. Just me back again to say thanks for your wonderful comment and to send you good wishes for good health out there in Washington. My bronchiectasis is very similar to CF so I understand your concern at this time. Yes, we have to live our lives and we will, but hopefully safely and with care! Sending good wishes.

  22. Hello Karen, Oh the views of the mountain are just beautiful! I am so sorry to hear that you and your husband were sick. I do hope you are feeling better. I had a bad cold in January and I was sick for 2 weeks. I love the magazine rack and the other furniture your painted. It's so nice to hear that everything is good with you. Take care.

  23. I did enjoy seeing all of your photographs here.
    I always think a walk with grandchildren are so special and extra enjoyable :)

    All the best Jan

  24. Beautiful skies! We have early spring flowers too.

  25. Karen, so sorry you were both sick. That is the worst! Glad you're on the mend and were able to share such a beautiful post with us.

  26. Hi Karen, I haven't visited your blog in a long while. My husband and I moved away from Seattle 3 years ago to East Lewis County in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. I love your images of Mount Rainier.

    1. Oh, Madge, I am so glad to hear from you! I do hope that you decide to blog again - I would love to have a way to keep in touch. I always loved your amazing photos. You live in a beautiful area - such a change from living in Seattle! So happy for you :) Please visit again! xx Karen


Thank you for stopping by! Your comments are important to me and are very much appreciated. xx Karen

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...