Saturday, February 28, 2009

Finished Laundry Room

I finished painting the laundry room last night whilst the Lord of the Manor cooked dinner. It was just the two of us so we had a simple dinner. I guess that's how it's going to be when the little birds finally leave the nest. But it was kind of nice actually.

So here is the laundry room this morning with the dirty clothes piled everywhere. But at least it's functioning as a laundry room! When I had that old frige in there, it was so dark and crowded that it was difficult to even sort the laundry.

This door faces East and I love the way the sun slants in early in the morning. It almost makes doing the laundry a pleasure. Almost.
The sun also lights up the laundry basket and washing powder in a pretty way.

I'm thinking of getting one of these things to help with the mess. Do you think I could train my family to put their dirty laundry in it? And sort it properly? Nah...I didn't think so either.

The color is Kelly-Moore Ferncliffe KM3996 . It almost matches the color of masking tape. It looks beige in the little chip, but looks quite yellow on the walls. It's the same color we used in the kitchen.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Crail, Scotland Family Photo

click to enlarge
This photo was taken in 1889 near Crail, Scotland at the Lord of the Manor's ancestor's home. It shows LOM's great great grandparents and their eleven children. See the tiny lady with the white shawl on her shoulders? That's his great great grandmother and she was only 63 in this picture. Doesn't she look ancient? Having a child every other year for 22 years will do that to you. She had her first baby at 23 and her last at 44. She actually gave birth to more than eleven, but eleven survived to adulthood.

The father of the family is the seated man with the white beard. He was born in 1820, so he is 69 in this photo. The children range in age from 19 to 40. The two sitting on the ground are Charlotte (21), and Ernest (19). From left to right in the middle row are Alex (30), Mother, Susan (23), Father, and Christian (35). Standing on the back row are James (39), Mary (37), Euphemia (24), John (40), Edward (28 and the LOM's great grandfather), and William (31).
Life was certainly different back then, wasn't it? While this family was healthy, well educated and had some wealth, they still lived without indoor plumbing, cars, telephones, televisions, and computers. And what an adventurous lot; some traveled to foreign shores in the Queen's service and came home again to tell the tale. And some traveled to foreign shores and put down roots, had children, and never saw their parents again. But thank goodness their descendants can make the connections, share the photos, visit the old home, and keep alive their memories.
added later::Someone asked why so many of the people are not looking at the camera. I know why the two men in the upper right aren't. One had a damaged eye and didn't want anyone to see that. And the other had a cleft palate which he passed on to his daughter the well-known California artist Effie Charlton Fortune. As for the others, I have no clue.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sky Diving Birthday

Have you seen Bucket List? Great movie. After my FIL saw it last year he and the MIL talked about what would be on their lists and he mentioned skydiving. Hmmmm. So guess what she got him for his 80th birthday today? Yep, a tandem jump! First their sons took him to lunch, then they wandered out the the Parachute Center. Then the Lord of the Manor casually pulled the gift certificate out of his pocket and said, "How would you like to go skydiving? Right here, right now?" Needless to say, FIL was ecstatic!
It had all been arranged for a month, so as he was being briefed and suited up, his friends were gathering at the landing site.
It all happened so quickly, but I got a few photos. Here they are coming in for the landing.

And here he is safely on the ground grinning from ear to ear.

And here are the friends who made it out to the Parachute Center to watch.

Then everyone made their way to the country club where the dinner party was all set up. I made these table decorations by lifting an image off the internet and Photoshopping his face in. They were held up by balloons, one at each table.
He really seemed to enjoy himself and he will have something to talk about for months. And you know what? At the party several friends expressed interest in skydiving, so maybe there will be a whole gang of them out there soon.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Finished Bathroom

The bathroom is finished; the painting is all done, the new drawer fronts are installed, the new mirror is hung, and the girls are using it. And I am going in there every morning after they leave and wiping everything down, trying to keep it pristine.

Here is the new mirror that the Lord of the Manor just hung last night.

Here is the shallow linen cupboard behind the entry door with its new doors.

Here are the new drawer fronts and simple chrome and white porcelain pulls. I know they are not the latest style, but I usually go for classic fixtures and hardware so they will never go out of style.

Looking back towards the shower and door, you see that I still need a new shower curtain. Ooops. I also need some artwork over the tub, and maybe some sort of window mistreatment.

But look at these cool Scented Stones that I found. That should make up for the old shower curtain and the lack of artwork. By the way, how do they make stones smell pretty? And remember all the cute shells, stones, and candles on these little shelves? The LOM and I lit them the other night when we...ahem, well, um, took a bath together. But don't tell the kids.

So that's it from the Spa Amongst The Oaks. It's been tested and found to be quite luxurious.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Another Time, Another Place, Another Spring

These photos were taken on a trip to France in April of 2001. I had to use someone else's A drive to get them off the disks. And their resolution isn't good. Sorry. But they sure bring back good memories.
This is the Grand Allee in Monet's garden looking from his house towards the Japanese Garden.

Monet's house.

Garden at Palais Royale.

It was a cold, rainy trip, but so wonderful. Looking at these makes me want to go back right NOW!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Signs of Spring

I went for a nice long walk this morning looking for signs of spring. I know some of you are totally fed up with winter and would appreciate some fresh colors and signs of life so here are a few things I found blooming Amongst The Oaks.

A daffodil bud.

Ornamental Cabbage.



Almond blossoms.

Almond blossom.

Deciduous magnolia.

Click on photos to enlarge.

And now a note regarding Blogger. Has anyone else noticed that uploading photos is erratic? I thought I had it all figured out: you load the photo you want to be last first and the photo you want to be first last, but lately it's been different. I do know that if you move the photos around after they are uploaded they cannot be clicked on to enlarge so I try not to do that, but it sure is frustrating trying to get the photos in the order you want!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

My Victory Garden

The latest AARP magazine has an article about growing your own vegetables like the Victory Gardens from the war era. I think home gardens are a great way to bring nutritious food to the table anytime. Not only give do they give one a sense of accomplishment, but they teach your children that food doesn't grow in plastic bubbles with price stickers. And there is nothing better than a warm tomato eaten right in the garden. Unless maybe it's Caprese Salad made within minutes of picking said tomato, but I digress.

My family had a large vegetable garden back in the 1970s when it definitely wasn't popular. I remember moaning and whinging when we were forced to help tend it. However, I don't remember complaining about the fresh veggies on my plate. We grew tomatoes, corn, beans, okra, squash, radishes, cucumbers, and Bermuda grass; lots of Bermuda grass.

The magazine has several easy-to-grow vegetables listed and a little chart of a manageable garden. And I will plant warm season vegetables later, but I decided to jump on the bandwagon early this year and plant lettuce while it was still cool.

I started really small because I was too lazy to cultivate the existing garden beds. So I sowed the seeds in a large pot on the patio and they are about 3/4" tall now. The weather here has been wet and cool, just the way lettuce likes it, and it's getting taller every day. Right now I could make a salad for a family of mice if they were dainty eaters, but I feel confident that I will soon be able to make a salad for my family. I'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

On a Roll; Laundry Room Remodel

We seem to be on a roll here Amongst The Oaks. First we painted Teen2's room, then the main bathroom and hall, and now we are painting another room. This time it's the laundry room. Here's the "before". Actually this is more like a "during" since we spent a couple of hours in here yesterday clearing out the junk in preparation.

Every house has a room into which things get dumped, and for us it was the laundry room. The biggest offender was a second refrigerator that we bought when ours was on the blink and we had to wait for the repairman. It was up against this door and when we moved it we discovered that the door was unlocked for ... oh ... er ... maybe ... a year. Thankfully no one tried to break in because if they'd been strong they probably could have pushed the fridge out of the way and gotten in!

Next we removed a disused shelf and the cordless vacuum and patched all the holes and washed all the cabinets. It's looking better already, isn't it?

The Lord of the Manor is going to repaint the ceiling and trim, and I will paint the walls the same color as the kitchen which is right next door. The cabinets will stay white, they are in ok condition. I'd like to get a bracket to hang the ironing board on the wall.

Now that it's all cleaned out I can even iron in here, which is after all what the laundry room is for, isn't it?

But my favorite part so far? Moving the cordless vacuum cleaner to the broom closet. I hated that thing hanging on the wall for all the world to see, and thankfully now it's hidden away.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Mr Jones' Drawing Room

We have exciting news here Amongst The Oaks. A movie is being filmed in our living room! An up-and-coming new director has asked to film Indiana Jones and the Omega Book using our living room as Indie's drawing room. We prepared for it yesterday by finding all kinds of old stuff and staging it to look like a gentleman's rather unkempt study. Think lots of books, maps, and treasures from his travels. See his leather jacket on the chair...
and his sweat stained hat over in the corner?

And there's his battered suit case by the fireplace.

He seems to be studying a map and an ancient journal at the desk. And he has his sextant out dreaming of a distant voyage. Hmmmm, seems to be having a nip of brandy too.

And in this corner are more books, treasures, and a skull! I wonder what ancient secret is written in this journal and how it pertains to this map and skull?

Or perhaps this ship model holds a clue?

There are stacks of books everywhere, several open; perhaps being used for research?

Obviously, Indiana Jones is a man of many interests and I'm delighted that he chose our home to film his latest adventure. I love collecting old stuff and I love helping kids use their imaginations, so today's project delights me to no end. Even if it is just a few high school kids filming a campy Indiana Jones imitation, I'm so excited for them and am willing to loan them almost anything to help. Now, if you will excuse me, I must go iron a blouse for his leading lady.