Sunday, October 23, 2016

Celebrating Autumn

I love autumn. Love the harvests, the cool evenings, the pumpkins. I usually make an apple pie. One of the few downsides of living in Alaska and Arizona is we don’t get those incredible fall colors. Oh, we get some nice golden aspens, and the mountain ash are lovely and covered with berries. Just not the incredible blend of warm shades I’ve seen in pictures of hardwood forests.

But I’m hoping I’ll get my fix. Next week, we’re visiting my husband’s grandmother in southern Illinois. I'm always amazed by the huge variety of trees there, and if we’re lucky maybe the leaves will have started to turn. I can’t wait to find out.

In the meantime, this is my own spin on a fall display. Mums, because they’re traditional and beautiful. Sweet alyssum, because the lacy honey-scented flowers appeal to my romantic side. And hot peppers, just to spice things up a little.

How are you celebrating Autumn?

Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Wealthy Dog

Wealth can be a burden. Just ask Roxy. Two weeks ago, I spent a dollar on a new squeaky ball for her. She loved it! In fact, she loved it so much, she couldn’t stop thinking about it.

We’d play fetch and it would roll under the bed. Roxy would do her best to lift the bed high enough to crawl under, and when that didn’t work she stood at attention and pointed out where the ball was hiding until one of us would get a yardstick and knock it out. She’d grab the ball the moment it shot out and prance around the room, thrilled that her precious was safe and sound.

It was also great for her favorite game, Hide the Toy in the Blanket. She’d sniff and feel around until she’d located the lump, then pump it with her paws to make it squeak until she’d worked it free.

In between playing sessions, the ball went in the bin with the other toys, but she couldn’t be sure it was safe there. She’d stand next to the basket, staring at it and trying to convince anyone who walked by to throw the ball. Sometimes I’d try throwing one of her other toys, but she was having none of that. Only the squeaky ball was good enough. She’d ask for a play session even before asking for breakfast, and if that’s not love, I don’t know what is.

Her love for the ball even led her to crime. If we set the ball on a table or shelf after a play session, Roxy would wait until we were out of the room and steal it. We would return to find it nestled under her chin, or in her mouth. She would try not to squeak it, so as not to draw attention, but eventually she would. We’d take it away and put it in the bin, where she would stand and gaze at it.

Finally, the pressure was too much. Roxy gave in to impulse and chewed a hole in the ball, permanently de-squeakafying it. She still carries it around, but now that's it's less valuable, she feels comfortable going outside and leaving the ball in the house. She doesn’t spend her entire day worrying.

I’m torn over whether to replace the ball or not. It’s a great feeling to provide so much joy, but with great wealth comes great responsibility, and I’m just not sure Roxy’s up to the burden. We’ll see.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Thrift Store Decorating Fun

There's something so satisfying about getting a bargain. I think it's a gene I inherited from my grandmother. She once bought a cashmere coat because it was 75% off, only to discover it was too heavy to wear in Texas. The good news is that when I moved to Anchorage, she gave me the coat.

I've been having fun decorating my guest room. The nice thing about a guest room is there was no huge hurry to get it completed, so I was able to take time and poke around for treasures and bargains. It started with this side table I found in an antiques mall. I've always loved the stacked suitcases look, but this one is even better because it has a real drawer and a map theme. Later, I found a matching box and couldn't resist it. 

Then we got the bed, sort of a modern take on mission style, but needed another night stand. I found one on Craig's list, used gel stain to change the color, and decopauged some antique map wrapping paper on top. Did you know Mod-pauge was still around?

Lamps were next. I found the candlestick base at a thrift store for $5, plus another $3 each for two matching shades and $5 for a harp kit to convert it to the right sort of holder for this shade. I found another lamp whose lines I liked, but the formal shape of the shade and gold base didn't work in the room. A little spray paint in a hammered bronze color and switching the shade to match the candlestick lamp made all the difference. I think I spent about $25 for both lamps, all in.

A green comforter set, a wooden bowl, and a cute map picture, and we had a nice, cozy guest room when our daughter came to visit a couple of weeks ago. 

I think my grandmother would be proud. What projects have you been working on?