Monday, December 12, 2011

A Tale of Two Nutcrackers

Last year I picked up a sweet musical nutcracker at an after-Christmas sale. Packed him away and forgot all about him till I opened up a particular box and there he was.  I put him on the end table next to a Marine nutcracker my daughter bought me a few Christmases ago.

They did not get along.  It's not that I suspected them of dueling at midnight (tho they might have, depending on your belief of hidden nutcracker lives).  They just didn't sit well together.  Tho' one is a few inches taller than the other, they seemed to constantly be competing for space against each other.  Perhaps this visual imbalance was exasperated by the fact they shared the table with my amber compote as well.  There was such tension between them that I couldn't even get a half-way decent photo of them, they all came out over exposed and blurry.

So I replaced the musical nutcracker with this sweet Victorian Christmas cat 3-D card my sister sent me a number of years ago.  It is sitting on a small gift box to add more 'presence' and looks quite at home. I believe the Marine might make a sort of mascot of it.

And where has the musical nutcracker gone to?  He has found harmony on my kitchen counter next to my plate of angels, who are also very musically inclined.  Even the colors on these pieces go together better.  So glad that they each have found their perfect place.

I hope everyone is having a blessed Christmas season. 

I am linking up with Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Table Top Tuesday.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Find - Santa Dessert Plates

It's been an incredibly busy past two weeks for me.  I can't believe I haven't joined in on some of the fun Holiday link parties out there. How do you all do it?  I haven't even been able to read up on many of the blogs posted. I literally just got my tree up this past Monday, altho I spent the day putting up other decorations throughout the house Sunday.  Last Saturday was mostly about a party I was helping out at and attending.  I did spend some of last Saturday morning housecleaning, anticipating having all my decorating done Sunday.  Since this includes my daughters, it became an issue when it turned out they had made other plans.  When in their minds ANYTHING started taking precedence over helping dear old Mom put up the tree, I don't know, but though they wanted to be included in doing so, it took waiting till Monday and then insisting to get them to spend that hour and a half together putting up the ornaments.

I will get the pictures up for the rest of my Christmas decorating later.  Right now I wanted to tell about my latest Goodwill find.  I've become positively addicted to stopping by the Goodwill on my way home from work.  Because I've also been putting together a small 50th birthday party for a coworker this week, I hadn't gotten there until Friday.  I will often do a quick run-through, so as not to have the family wait dinner on me, but this trip I found a set of four fun Christmas dessert plates, still in the box, for $4.  Fair enough, I grabbed those and brought them home.  I finally got a chance this morning to open up the box for a closer look today, and was delighted to find there are 3 different designs on them.

This set is called 'Santa's Ornaments' by Evermore Signatures Housewares Collection, and I don't believe it's a high-end set.  This might have been at any discount or drugstore originally, but I was thrilled to have it land on my table.  This windup Santa toy was the plate on top in the box, I assumed the plates would all have this design.

There are two of these green trimmed Santa designs in the box set.

I think this crescent shaped Santa ornament is my favorite one.  Notice how the 3 designs each have different greetings on the edge.

Bring on the fruitcake, we are ready to dessert in holiday style!

Hope everyone is enjoying their own busy and bright Christmas season. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Small Start

I had a wonderful holiday weekend, as I hope everyone had. A lot of cooking, a lot of eating, a lot of cleaning, a lot of shopping (for me, anyway). Some time spent on Saturday helping mother-in-law out with shopping and cleaning. By Sunday, I was bushed!  As in, even if I was seriously planning on beginning the Christmas decorating I would not have had the energy to do so.  So I didn't. I did, however, pick up a couple of poinsettias I saw Saturday. One for me, one for mom-in-law. This picture doesn't do it justice, it's a lovely plant.

Then I remembered that my Santa snowglobe I picked up at Home Goods last year was tucked safely in my curio cabinet, quite easily accessible.

I now officially have a Christmas vignette on my livingroom table, a small beginning, but a good start. I suppose it may be better balanced with a third piece just to the right of the snowglobe, but let me tell you, I need to keep the coaster placed and available for when someone puts their ever-present soda there. (Sorry these pictures are so light, they always look so good on my camera display screen!  My hubby might be picking up on my hinting for a new camera for Christmas, shhh!)

Since I made a start, I finished the prep work by putting away the Thankgiving and fall decor. Obviously not quickly enough, the gold chargers I had wiped clean and stacked on the staircase to be stored under my bed found a new use by my kitty, Ms. Missy. 

Who knew that plate chargers could do double duty as a kitty bed?

Linking up with Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

We gathered around the table Thursday for Thanksgiving 2012.  My hubby and I prepped and plotted and got the traditional turkey on for the five of us. My hubby also did a ham this year, as he's not a big turkey eater. In fact, the large turkey platter I scored at Goodwill this summer got confiscated for the ham presentation, as it needed a large one. No matter, I always carve the turkey and serve slices on the table, so was able to use a smaller platter for it.

I had showed my planned table setting earlier this week, and lamented that I didn't have another plate to use for bread. Well, on Wednesday I made one more super quick pop into the GW, and found the perfect 6-pack of bread and butter plates for $3.

I pulled out our Reed & Barton flatware to use for the dinner, and was very pleased with how everything worked together. Ultimately, we were all seated together over a predictable but well appreciated Thanksgiving meal, and enjoyed the day and each other.  I hope everyone enjoyed all the blessings of the day.

Note:  I had to go back and edit this a week after posting. I am in the middle of scrubbing pots and pans when it occurs to me.... I put Thanksgiving 2012 on the header instead of 2011. Bwahahahaa! (And yes, I am one of those people whose lightbulbs go off at odd hours concerning random things, like just when I'm drifting off to sleep I'll have an epiphany about a project at work, and I wasn't even thinking of it.)  So I am now typing with my nitril gloves on, as those pots are still awaiting scrubbing.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Wishes

I did a trial run of my Thanksgiving table tonight. I have been for the past few weeks trying to accumulate fixings for making a lush tablescape for Thanksgiving. I had mentioned in a previous post that due to plumbing issues our wedding china is packed away, so I purchased these white plates at Goodwill.

I am working with a couple of handicaps trying to put together a nice table. One is of course, budget as always. I have been haunting my favorite discount and second-hand stores a lot.  The other is storage, with an eye for packing in the not-too-distant future. We hope to sell and move across country this year (more to come on that as it develops) and I am supposed to be eliminating possessions, not adding to them.

I couldn't resist some few items, tho. Besides the plates, which at $1 each for 6, will cover both Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners and cost cheaper than nice disposable dinnerware.  The gold chargers were gotten at Bed, Bath & Beyond, I was so proud of myself for getting the 6 for $8.  I've since been seeing them at all the dollar stores. Well, they'll last a good number of dinners, at any rate.  The chamois soft leaves that so many of you have in your stock were purchased at Big Lots, I wish now I had gotten 6 instead of the 5, I might stop on my way home tomorrow. Big Lots is also where I got the nice table runner. 

 Something I had a surprising amount of trouble finding were cloth napkins.  My hubby doesn't care for cloth napkins, but I really wanted to use them. In hunting for them, I was surprised at the prices. I finally broke down and paid $9 for 6 plain cotton green ones at Walmart. An hour later at Ross I found this bundle of beautiful russet damask napkins with a leaf pattern on it, clearanced at $6. Yay, just the price I was looking for. The green ones will still work for Christmas.  At Annes Linens next to Ross I picked up the napkin rings for 50 cents each. 

I really, really wanted to find a set of those lovely leaf dishes people all over blogland are using as salad plates. The ones I saw were priced too much to validate them for this year's table, tho I might make that investment next year. In my now daily stops at Goodwill I've been fantasizing about finding a set of 6 amber or sage green glass salad plates at a killer deal, but somehow those have not materialized on their shelves.  So the place setting is rather simple, a single dish on a charger, but it works. The flatware I have here on my sample setting is our everyday stuff, I don't even know who makes it. I'll pull out our fancy stuff for Thursday's dinner. The stemware is my wedding crystal, Mikasa Park Avenue. I'm sure an assortment of everyday glasses will join it later, my family will be wanting soda with dinner, and I don't have the more appropriate iced tea glasses. Ultimately, that family around the table is much more important than what's on it, so it will be as it should be.

May you all have a blessed Thanksgiving, and a wonderful weekend.

I am linking with Marty at A Stroll thru Life for Tabletop Tuesday.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Friends and Findings

I walked into my office this morning and found this sweet pumpkin bundle on my desk. My longtime coworker and good friend Gina had given it to me, a little gift for my Thanksgiving table. Perhaps she remembered that I was debating getting a white pumpkin for my decorating this season, but had not made the commitment. She said it was just a token gift of well wishes. Isn't that a thoughtful gesture?  I do love this little piece, too, and you will see it in my tablescaping.  Speaking of which....

I found my plates for my holiday table!  I had been fussing over what to use for holiday serving this year.  I have a beautiful set of Royal Doulton china, my wedding dishes, but there was a plumbing incident in the wall behind where the dishes are kept. A pipe started leaking and there was water dripping onto the dishes and saturating the shelf they sat on. So while we waited for the men to tear holes in the walls, upstairs and down, to fix the leaking pipe, and waited another few weeks for other men to come patch up and repair walls and shelves, I carefully packed each delicate china piece and put the boxes in my bedroom closet. They finally finished repairs this past Tuesday. Our plan is to sell our condo and move next year, so it made no sense to me to unwrap the china to use over this holiday season. I did want to do something nice for this year.

I have over the past few weeks bought felt placemats shaped like leaves, and a set of gold chargers from BB&B.  I'm trying to get sets of 6, since we will be serving 5, and it doesn't seem right to buy an odd number of placesettings. I have been debating whether to just buy some nice, heavier paper plates, but that just doesn't strike me as looking nice, and would feel silly putting it on my new chargers. Since boxed sets are usually sold in packs of 4, I didn't want to get 2 sets, as I am also doing this on a very low budget.  I saw some plates at the dollar store I'd just about decided to go back and get, when I came across this set at Goodwill.  White, a nice scalloped edge on the border, and already packed up in a stack of 6. The price was right, too, at $5.99. 

So I will be exploring my tablescape, and will document my experiments later.  I would love to find another layer, like a salad bowl or bread dish, but maybe I'm being greedy.  Still, the Goodwill is on my way home from work, and it doesn't hurt to keep looking.

I am linking up with Cindy at My Romantic Home for Show and Tell Friday.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

November Touches

I had done the most of my Fall/Thanksgiving decorating a few weeks ago, and felt pretty good about it.  I really was behind in a couple of areas, though, I had not yet located and put out our fall tableclothes and placemats. I also had not shared my new look with my friends here on blogland. This first picture is my curio cabinet, it sits in my livingroom, just before you turn the corner to the dining area.

My curio cabinet top gets the nicest makeover.  Much of the decor I have there is the same as last year, which is being used for my current header. I left out the rooster plate this time in favor of the carved pumpkin I recently picked up at Big Lots. It's raised for display on a crystal Mikasa cake stand I got at an after Christmas sale last year. I am looking forward to using that cake stand this year at Christmas time. I also added my primitive patchwork turkey, and of course the raggedy Ann doll I keep there year round, she always looks at home.

I don't put out a lot on my end tables. A couple of main reasons are two furry creatures known as cats, they do have a habit of making a mess of my endeavors. Two other... well, three, actually.... reasons are my family. Living cozy as we do in our small condo, life with a husband and two teen girls means there is always something - or a bunch of somethings - left lying around on any free tabletop or couch, or floor, for that matter. So tho I do put a few things out on my end tables, they are generally joined by other competing items shortly thereafter. I did do cleaning today for the pictures, and felt comfortable sharing my cornucopia vignette on my end table. See that journal?  That's a nice Fall tree on it, isn't it? It's an accidental accent, since DD #1 left it there. In this case it adds to the look. (I moved the purse she also left there.)

My little corner on the kitchen counter holds a colorful display.  I just love how the warm reds and golds of Fall work so well with so many different finishes.

Finally, I actually did get out my Fall tableclothes, and actually found my placemats from last year.  Please disregard that messy desk area behind it.  We should have an armoire to hide our office mess, or even a roll top desk (so very 80s!)  I tried getting it from the other side, but the light reflected badly from that end.  Here, I'll show you.

I worked very hard to try to get a good picture of this carnival glass compote. The white blurry things inside it are glittered pumpkins being excessively glittery.  It sat so nicely on the new table runner I bought a few weeks ago.  Plus, I found a pair of adorable little sherbert cups in the same marigold color.  Okay, I don't know how very authentic these little sherbert cups are.  I have a feeling they're very recent 'faux' pieces, but they're cute, and for the $1.99 each I paid at Goodwill, they make a nice addition to my carnival glass collection. Three being a collection... I'm just starting.

Have a wonderful week!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Thankfully Toasty

This morning when I opened the door to bring in the paper and let out the cats, I encountered a rarity for our Southern Califnrnia area, a chilly (relatively) morning.  I had noticed during the night that our heat came on several times, and wondered about it. It wasn't that I felt cold or uncomfortable, so the dip in temperature was a surprise.

I grew up in Missouri, in a house over 100 years old, with drafts blowing in from every corner, between the bare plank flooring, under doors and any crack it could find. We heated entirely by wood, there was a grate in the floor which at some point had been plumbed for gas heat, but which our parents assured us was 'broken'.  It was eventually sealed over with plywood, to keep vents which should have brought in warm air from being another source of cold drafts.

Wood heating is an iffy thing. Our one wood stove centered in the livingroom was occasionally adequate to heat the overly large room (our home prior us occupying it served as a general store). We'd close the doors, shove rugs under the front door, and hang an old blanket on the kitchen doorway to contain the heat. But there were many bitterly cold mornings when we were miserable, no matter how we stoked and fed paper and kindling, the fire burned low and refused to throw off heat, and our family would gather around the big metal box which was the stove and lay over it, trying to suck up any warmth from it we could.

How appeciative I am to have central heating. How thankful that my family has only to adjust a dial on the wall to maintain a comfortable environment in our home. I was trying to tell my hubby how grateful I am to have this modern luxury, but he didn't get it. He grew up in middle class suburban Southern California, the coldest he has ever been was probably on our camping trip to the Grand Canyon in April, when the nighttime temps dropped into the 40s and he insisted on dragging our cooking stove into the tent to warm it up.

I am sharing some pictures from last year's Thanksgiving tablescapes. I'm inbetween computers right now, my hubby is transferring our old one into my daughter's bedroom, and we've yet to buy a new router for our new one. I'm borrowing my other daughters laptop, which is very awkward for me to use. Looking at these pictures, it occurs to me that I didn't find my patchwork pumpkin. I thought I was missing something!  I guess I'll look for it again. Maybe I'll even find my fall placemats, I can't think why they are lost.

Hoping everyone is staying warm and toasty this November.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Classic Yarn

I bought this green urn at Michaels a few years ago. I love the burnished, almost verdigris color and classic lines. I've tried putting a variety of floral designs in it, but find I don't usually have the space to put the larger accent piece. For the past long while it's been empty and moved from corner to corner. I've even debated getting rid of it (gasp!) but couldn't make myself do so.

Last week I was picking up assorted items my girls left lying around. My oldest daughter has been teaching herself knitting and crocheting, and had left her yarn and needles piled up on a couch. In a pique of clutter-busting, I put it in the first empty container, which happened to be this vase. It works! It is not what I imagined ever using it for, but it is quite handsome with the yarn and needles bundled into it.

Isn't it funny how sometimes a careless effect becomes a favorite look?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Pfaltzgraff Giveaway

Just in time for the holidays!  Anita over at Far Above Rubies is hosting a giveaway for this classic set of Pfaltzgraff dinnerware, called Heritage.  Can't you just imagine it nestled in among the rich golds and russets on your Thanksgiving table?  Or giving a stylish look to the silver and gold of Christmas decor, maybe offset with a few pieces of red, a gold charger underneath..... there are so many possibilities!

Anita has done a great job of showcasing this handsome set in her own gorgeous dining room.  She even has a bit of fun history to share on it.  I know you'll enjoy her inspiring use of this classic design.  Good luck to everyone, but most of all to me!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Wrapping Needs

I'm not a big shopper lately, it seems to take up too much of my time - and more importantly - my money.  I am trying to get out more and get my inspiration going.  I have to admit I am building up my excitement for the upcoming holiday season.  Today my hubby and I went into Costco. We'd recently renewed our membership after having let it lapse for a year or so, and I was wanting to see what they had going on. Besides, it takes the sting out of that big payout at the cash register if you've made a free lunch of all the food samples they hand out there. I was especially interested in their Christmas section, as they put out wonderful gift packs and decorations early, which are mostly gone by December. Having figured this one out the past few years, I knew to jump on anything desired soon.

Obviously I am a sucker for presentation, but I just love looking at their gift baskets. I know it's probably $10-$40 worth of delicacies I would never want to buy on my own, but something about seeing them prettily assembled and bundled up into a large hamper tied with a bow just thrills me to no end. Take 6 ounces of assorted cookies and pack them into a stacked tier of pretty foil boxes and I am all agog. It's all just so gorgeous, and edible as well!  So I dawdled way too long in that aisle, wondering if I did spend $40 on assorted chocolates and coffees who in the world would I give it to.

Then I found myself in the wrapping paper aisle. I have in the past seen that they carry some very handsome paper and bows collection, but the prices are usually higher than I like, since I do most of my paper shopping at the dollar store. 'Frugal' is our family motto, and if I've made a large point to get the best deal in town on a present, I'm certainly not going to add to the cost by spending more than necessary wrapping it. But I saw a large box of the prettiest handmade Christmas gift tags. They were gorgeous!  There were stars and doves and Santas cut into 3D designs with glitter and ribbon, so sweet. I knew there was no way my cheap soul was going to put out $20 for these tags, even if there were maybe 80 of them, but I was drooling over them.

A few steps further down the aisle, and would you look at that!  A set of 20 Christmas gift bags. Beautiful!  I could see beads and glitter and ribbon and a white pompom that was probably a Santa's hat embellishment. Now, I love using gift bags.  I have had Christmases where half the presents under my tree were in gift bags.  They are attractive, reusable and seriously easy to wrap. I have some I have used for 3-4 years, picking up several new ones every year where ever I find them cheap. Man, I wanted those bags. My husband saw my gaze. 'There are 20 of them, they'd be under a dollar each." I told him. 'Pick them up at the dollar store,' he said. 'For what, a dollar each?' I replied. But I usually wouldn't get 20 at once, so I walked away.

I am now haunted by those darn gift bags.  Why didn't I buy them?  So I put out a whole $20, it's not like I have to use them all this year.  I think I need another trip back to Costco.  Who knows, maybe I'll pick up a coffee gift set as well, bet I'll find someone to give it to.

Happy holiday hunting, all!

Monday, September 19, 2011


Another big home improvement project had been checked off the list.  This time we actually had someone else do the majority of the work. We had our old aluminum framed windows replaced with new ones.  This was a necessary evil, my largest cathedral window, the one which dominates the staircase and led me to fall in love with this condo was cracked and should have been replaced a number of years ago. Last year we had an episode of water leaking in through our patio door and soaking the carpet. We knew the seal on it was bad, there was always fog and condensation inside the dual glass panes, and all the windows let in drafts, but we had been putting off this pricey repair. 

Admittedly these pictures are worse than usual, apparently we had the setting on 'speed' without realizing it. Here you can see the foggy slider with the black frame. It hadn't locked correctly for years, so our back door home security system was a 3 foot dowel rod stuck in the door tracks.

You can barely see the crack in the cathedral window, which is probably why the HOA didn't get onto us about repairing it in a timely manner. I did worry about it every time the wind blew, though.

The new window awaits installment.

A few guys pulled together to do this.  Literally.  Apparently there were a couple of large pulley and winches hauling this thing into place. It was a very organized procedure, as you would expect from a window company. This whole operation happened in about 6 hours while I was at work.

And doesn't the old girl look proud of her new face. Really, the much larger white frames are a good look for the Cape Cod style on our condo.

Here's a look at the finished patio door inside. Definitely a much larger frame, I do feel like we've lost a good bit of actual glass. It does look sharp, and will cut down substantially on heating and cooling bills, and even block more noise. 

This project went a lot faster and smoother than the other projects we have done this year.  Having the professionals do it of course made all the difference.  It did involve a good amount of cleaning and organizing from me, as we had to clear the area in front of all the windows in anticipation of the workers.  That explains the white dresser on the patio, my hubby still needs to knock it apart and trash it. It was no longer working in the girls room and has been replaced with storage bins under the bed.

Now looking at all these lovely white frames, I can't wait to paint. Almost. Maybe after Christmas. We still have a cracked bathtub to replace. I wonder if we can afford those professionals again.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Welcoming Entry

I love walking up to a welcoming entryway.  Our front entrance is not much space, a porch which is more stoop than anything else.  But I do try to have it convey a sense of homeyness. I love the white dogwood wreath I put there for spring. Okay, spring has sprung and I should have gone to something more seasonal, but it didn't happen, I don't mind. My favorite statue, my little deer, has been moved here. A pot of flowers to admire as I pause outside the front door. I have been intending to replace these chrysanthemums with some deep red impatiens, but every time I think to remove them, I notice that they are sending out little buds for their next flowering, and lose heart at the thought of uprooting and discarding them. I actually first planted them last fall, for that season, meaning to repot different blooms every few months. Again, not being updated that regularly, but that seems less important all the time.

Yes, this is one of those cheap little cherubs from my local drug store. Shhh, don't tell her that. Her soul is as classic and artistic as when the design was first imagined.  She looks so sweet and serene there.

It's not much, not lavish, just the final few feet before stepping into my humble home.  It will be finally updated in another month, to allow for a Fall look. In fact, in several more weeks it will look entirely different. We are contracting for new windows and a new door, and will not have that screen door again. But for now, it continues to cheer my soul and make me happy to walk up to my special place.

I am linking up with Cielo from The House in the Roses for Show Off Your Cottage Mondays

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Blinging the Brick

The brick patio is done. Almost. Okay, there's still that cleanup issue, some extra wood and unusable or just a few extra bricks to get rid of. For my good friends - and a few stalwart bloggers - who have heard me moaning about spending the past several weekends immersed in replacing our decaying wood deck with brick, this probably seems to have been in process much longer than should be expected. Well, at least that is how I feel. Seriously, you imagine a project like this lasting 2-3 weekends, not 2 months. Most of the first month was spent just demolishing the existing deck and getting rid of the boards & rubble, some of which I explained in my prior blog. I wanted to put in another blog or two of our work in process, I really did, but my daughter used the family's digital camera on a trip to Austin for 3 weeks, and the pictures we took on my hubby's cellphone never were sent to our email. (I haven't found that button yet.)

He mortared these used brick pavers to an existing concrete step by our patio door, but a few of them did not take, so we need another layer of glue-mortar. Then he is supposed to have a piping bag to put more concrete in between the bricks. So yes, a bit of touch-up there still needs to be done. The sand is a bit unfinished feeling as well, the idea was we were to sweep sand over the bricks and have it fill in the areas between, much like grouting tile. Sounds simple, right? I was thinking this would take all of 30 minutes to an hour. Hmmm. We've swept and stamped, and tried to work sand in between all those lovely bricks, and maybe my hubby placed them just a bit too closely together, because that sand just did not want to fill all those little spaces in between. Oh well, I told my sweaty darling, dirt happens. I'm thinking in another several weeks there will be enough dust and flotsam happening naturally that we'll not be noticing many empty spaces. For right now, there are some stray lines of sand still hanging around corners, but they'll find a permanent home eventually.

What do you think of the bold pattern we used? We were going for a mix of used and new brick treatment. I myself would have spaced the used brick more sporadically, aiming for a more organic feel. My husband really wanted a pattern, though, so our basketweave brick work looks rather like a ribbon has been woven through it. I do hope it's not too bold.

I am very happy with the outcome. Besides cleaning up and finishing the last few things, at least it feels done. I now have my patio back (mostly) and my weekends back. Good thing, because there's a bit of housework needing to catch up on.....when I rest up a bit more...... maybe next weekend.

I'm linking up with Homemaker on a Dime: Creative Bloggers Party
and Between Naps on the Porch Metamorphosis Monday
and Passionately Artistic linky party

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Working on that Patio

I have not been having much time for blogging.  Okay, my computer has been working badly for the past several weeks as well. We finally got a new monitor, and it cleared up a lot of problems, much to our surprise. However, we've got bigger projects to stay on task for. One is getting our windows replaced. A necessary evil, but a project that's way overdue. We have had 4 bids come in, and are going with a local company. Still working on getting that approved through our homeowners association, the paperwork we submitted first time had a couple of missing items, so it's going through again.

The bigger one for the moment is replacing the wood deck on our patio with a brick one.  The wood deck had been in a state of decay for the past few years, we'd had boards actually breaking on us.  I'd hoped the framework underneath would be in good enough condition to just recover with new boards, but when we removed the top boards, the frame itself was rotting. So we decided to remove the whole thing and put in brick.

Sounds simple, doesn't it?  My poor husband has been at it for the past few weeks.  He had to cut the boards into small, manageable pieces for removal.  That air conditioner was a tricky procedure, we gently as possible lifted it, using the boards underneath as a fulcom, just a few inches and put pavers under it so we could pull out the boards from under it.

Then my hubby set to work removing these foundation blocks. These blocks had been buried in the ground to hold up the framing for the wood deck. They had to come out, but it was a lot of work, both digging and hauling.

So my lovely deck is currently a dusty mess.  Today we will be trying to level the ground more, then put in the beams to frame out where the brick will be laid.  We will build a base with gravel and sand, then start putting the actual brick down.  Whew! I'm tired just thinking of it.  Better go throw on my working duds.  My poor man needs some help today, he's done most of it himself so far.