Saturday Meanderings

Even though the ground hog states we are getting an early spring, it still feels like winter here~cold, rainy, and windy. Below is a stunning picture my neighbor shared of a rainbow after Wednesday’s storm. The mountains are getting lots of snow and with this colder weather, soups and stews are on the menu every day. Happy weekend and welcome to another edition of Saturday Meanderings, where we chat about all good things.

After the rain-photo by E. Johnson

Baby Chicks

After 3 plus weeks in a cage on the breakfast room table, the 15 new chickens are ready to go out to the hen house. Baby chicks are so cute the first week or so, but by week 3 they get a little fragrant.

Our hen house

Since we designed the hen house (see hen house post here) to have a separate section for new chickens, we did some work this week getting it ready for their arrival.

Steam cleaning the inside of the hen house

In this section of the hen house, all the hay is removed and the floor, roosting perch and laying boxes are thoroughly cleaned using a steam cleaner. This small portable one is perfect for this task. To learn more about this steam cleaner, click here.

Exploring their new home

Now clean and with fresh hay, half of the hen house is ready for the new flock. Of course their first night the temperatures dropped to freezing, but with the help of heat lamps, the chicks stay cozy.

Piano Lessons

Yes, it is true I am taking piano lessons. Years ago, I took a few lessons with our children’s piano teacher, Miss Eva. She is so remarkable, as a vibrant 85 year old. Am hoping that learning musical notes, scales and scores will keep my brain healthy.

Yamaha piano

We have a beautiful piano and it will be nice to use it again.

Unscheduled Project

The sitting room off of the master bedroom and home office has been a makeshift art studio for me (see that blog post here). Located on one end of the room is a rather large day bed, purchased many years ago. Is it ever used? No. But trying to get it out of this relatively small room is a complete pain in the butt.

Big day bed

For some reason this week, I decide I want this day bed out. In doing so, I realize this room is a mess. It’s time to repaint the walls, clear out the clutter and try to make it a real office/art studio for me. Have you ever started a project and wish you hadn’t?

Now we move it down the stairs!

Now the enormous day bed is sitting in our upstairs hall as we debate what to do with it. Since it’s hardly been used it is in excellent condition.

In the meantime I will paint goldenrod colored walls to something more neutral this weekend. Hope to show you some good before and after photos soon.

Trying New Recipes for the All Things Lemon class

Citrus cocktails

I am having such fun experimenting with lemon and citrus recipes, in anticipation of the All Things Lemon class on Saturday, February 24th. There are only a few spots left so if you are interested please sign up now.

Experimenting with lemon recipes

You will leave the class with my favorite lemon recipes and your own jars of limoncello and preserved lemons. If you want to get a sense of what a class here at Bella Terra looks like, check out this week’s post on our Valentine cookie decorating class here.

Did You Know?

I am familiar with companies like Stitch Fix and Rent the Runway but I wasn’t aware of Amazon’s Prime Try Before You Buy. Prime Try Before You Buy is a Prime-exclusive program where you can try eligible items from women’s, men’s, kids’, and baby clothing, shoes, and accessories before you buy them. You have seven days to try the items at home and you are only charged for the items you keep.

Prime Try Before You Buy

However, for an extra fee of $4.99 per use, you can have access to Prime Personal Shopper and allows you to work with Amazon’s stylists to find wardrobe pieces that fit your taste and budget.

Prime Personal Shopper

If you’re looking for a wardrobe overhaul or to refine your personal style, enlisting the help of someone with styling expertise can take a lot of the pressure off when shopping for clothes online. Or if you are like me, I am not fond of clothes shopping.

The Difference between Prime Personal Shopper and Prime Try Before You Buy

Prime Try Before You Buy, unlike Prime Personal Shopper, is free as part of an Amazon Prime subscription and is available to all Prime members. The service allows you to do more or less the same things as Personal Shopper, including curating a selection of clothes, shoes, and accessories based on a survey and your selected preferences. The big difference lies in the absence of a stylist to help guide your selections or curate.

Has any one tried this? I have a question into Amazon on how one signs up for the Prime Personal Shopper as it isn’t intuitive when you go to their website. It seems like you will need to use the Amazon app? Will let you know how they respond.

From the Internet

Beth Webb Interiors

I love finding beautifully designed spaces. Beth Webb, internationally known interior designer, is known for her serene and elegant style. If you feel stressed, just look through the portfolio of photos on her website.

Beth Webb Interiors
Beth Webb Interiors

Mary’s Must Haves

For the Face…

I have mentioned this product before and I did reorder it this week. Colorscience Total Protection Brush-on Sunscreen is something I use EVERY day. In lieu of face powder, I brush this on and enjoy the SPF 50 protection.

Colorscience Brush on Sunscreen

Yes, it is not an inexpensive sunscreen but the last time I ordered this was January 2023~13 months ago. If you amortize the cost over time, the initial price of $69.00 ($65.55 if you subscribe), equals approximately 17 cents per day. A bargain to protect your skin from sunspots or worse, skin cancer. I have never seen it on sale either. It comes in multiple skin tone colors. You can find it here.

La Roche-Posay Vitamin C Serum

Speaking of taking care of your skin, my dermatologist recommend I use La Roche-Posay Vitamin C anti-aging face serum to visibly brighten and smooth uneven skin tone and those dastardly wrinkles. Groan. After using her sample packets I just received my first bottle of serum this week. Hoping for good results.

Does anyone use a Vitamin C serum? I sure miss those days when I only used soap and water on my face.

For the Body

The Gym People Yoga Pant

I exercise 5 days a week always live in yoga pants and workout tops. Truly, my inventory is old and so pathetic. Instead of looking like a ragamuffin, I finally purchase 3 new pairs of yoga pants in plum, olive green and blue. A bit of a color is a stretch for me as I tend to wear black and gray.

I am sporting the plum ones as I write this post and I like them~especially the high. thick waist and the pocket for your phone. Great color selection and are on sale (17% off) at a reasonable $24.99. They are very comfortable and hopefully will wash well. Makes me feel a bit dressed up! Ha!

Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides

Last Saturday, one of my subscribers, Corrine, commented about using Vital Proteins and how they have helped her. Do you supplement your diet with collagen peptides? I started using Vital Proteins about 4 years ago. Within 3 months, I noticed less popping sounds in my joints. Also my hair appears thicker too. Collagen peptides are great for your skin, nails, joints and hair.

More information

Every morning I put two scoops into my coffee (equally 20 grams of protein) or hot beverage and it’s part of my daily routine.

There are so many different brands and flavors, but I use the regular, unflavored 24 oz.Vital Proteins. A new Vital Proteins Advanced is available too. Here is a link to a page that has several brands/flavors/sizes.

Occasionally, Costco will have the 24 oz. Vital Proteins marked down and limits the number of containers you can buy. That’s when we generally stock up so we always have it on hand.

Making Meyer Lemon limoncello

Wishing you a happy weekend. I will be painting as it is supposed to be raining all day Saturday with chilly temperatures. Would much rather be curled up with a book by the fire, but the art studio calls.




Prime Day Tips, Benefits and Favorites

 I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Amazon. But since my blog is all about beauty and kindness, I will just share what I love. I find it amazing that you can order something in the morning and you have by the afternoon or the next day. Shopping online proves to be almost necessary as many retail businesses have unfortunately closed. With gas prices ridiculously high (especially here in Phoenix), and with free shipping, it is an affordable option.

Having said that, we strongly support local businesses and restaurants. Small business is the backbone of our country and for us, we limit our online shopping as much as possible. 

However, it is hard not to take advantage of the great deals and savings during Amazon Prime Days on July 11-12! This two-day event is the perfect opportunity to save on various products, including electronics, fashion, home decor, and gardening items. Have someone heading to college in the fall? Student deals are abundant too. Early Christmas shopping? Now is the time.

What is Prime Day?

Prime Day is a shopping event with deals exclusively for Prime members. Anyone can participate in Prime Day by becoming a member of Amazon Prime. If you’re not yet a Prime member, you can sign up for a free 30-day trial and then you can participate in Prime Day. Sign up here for an Amazon Prime free trial or paid Prime membership

What is a Prime Member?

Amazon offers a prime member subscription and for a monthly or annual fee, allowing you to get additional benefits through Amazon. 

  • FREE Two-Day Shipping on eligible items to addresses in the contiguous US and other shipping benefits. 
  • FREE Same-Day Delivery in eligible zip codes. 
  • FREE Release-Date Delivery on eligible preorder items delivered on their release date to ZIP codes within the continental US. 
  • FREE No-Rush Shipping. Select No-Rush Shipping and earn rewards for future purchases.
  • Amazon Day, where you can choose a weekly delivery day for the items you buy throughout the week.

If you watch or stream shows, Amazon Prime Video has unlimited shows that are free or paid. Personally, I don’t operate the television often and my husband is in charge of the controls. But we have enjoyed lots of great shows on Prime.

From groceries to books, you can find it all on Amazon. There is a student discount too.

Shopping Tips for Prime Day

  • Read the reviews. I cannot stress this enough. Before you buy anything, be sure to read the reviews to make sure it’s a quality product and exactly what you want.
  • It’s a busy time for Amazon. Please be patient as Amazon’s servers can get bogged down during Prime Day. Be persistent. If you’re having trouble adding items to your cart or checking out just keep trying.
  • If you own a credit card that offers cash back or rewards, use it. This can help you save even more money on your purchases. Personally I use my American Express so I can turn those purchase dollars into travel points.
  • Apparently you can set price alerts. If you’re watching a specific item, you can set a price alert so you’ll be notified if the price drops. This is a great way to ensure you’re getting the best possible price on the items you want. Unfortunately, I haven’t figured out how to do this yet.

What I will be Buying on Prime Days

First, I am taking an inventory of products I use and getting refills if these products are on sale. Here are a few of my favorite things.

Beauty Supplies

I LOVE this moisturizer as it feels like putting pure heaven on my face.

I am finally running low on this product. It is such a great concealer AND sunscreen for that delicate skin under the eye. It’s a bit pricey, but lasts a very long time. Keeping my fingers crossed that it goes on sale tomorrow.

This is the perfect sunscreen and foundation powder for traveling. No need to worry about meeting liquid restrictions on the airlines. Again, this is a product that lasts a long time! I used it frequently during our recent trip.

Colorscience Brush-on Shield SPF 50

Oribe is a brand of shampoo that I have used for years. I typically buy it through my hair salon and just found out I can buy it online. Having fine hair, I can testify that this Magnificence Volume shampoo really works. Oribe also has one for Beautiful Color, which I use right after seeing my hair stylist to retain my highlights.

Oribe shampoo for Magnificent Volume

The accompanying conditioner is also very good. A small quantity goes a long way and I only apply it to the ends. You can find it here.

Oribe Conditioner for Magnificent Volume

Before blow drying I add both these products to my wet hair to give it even more volume (the plight of having fine hair). This texturizer adds body and has a flexible hold.

Sebastian Hair Texturizer

Just rub a small amount of both and apply.

Bb Thickening Soft Mousse

Health Care

As you may recall, I am conscientiously trying to improve my bone health through more weight training and supplements. Again, please check with your physician before starting any new vitamin regime. Here are the two that I faithfully have been taking over the last few years with great results.

Strontium provides all natural bone support and increases skeletal strength.

Strontium bone builder

Bone Builder Forte is a calcium mineral supplement.

Bone Builder Forte

Clothing

I get so many compliments on this casual boho blouse. It comes in various colors and I own the pink and the blue one. Feminine and affordable too!

Casual Boho Blouse

Though I haven’t tried this particular brand, I love wearing anti-chafing boy short underwear, especially during the hot summer months. This 4-pack has great reviews and is currently 38% off.

Pokarla 4 pack of boy short underwear

Outdoor Decor

This time of year, I love my faux plants on the blistering hot front porch. No worries about watering them when we are out of town, they are easy, easy, easy.

I bought these two 5 foot faux cedar trees over 3 years ago and they still look fabulous! They are the same price too!

5 foot faux cedar trees

In putting some extra touches to our pool house remodel this year, these two 56″ double ball artificial boxwood topiaries from Silk Tree Warehouse look real. Depending on the height and number of balls, there is a good selection on Amazon here.

56″ artificial double ball boxwood topiaries

Miscellaneous Favorites

On Saturday, I mentioned the Delsey Paris luggage I recently bought. As I am writing this post, the roller bag was 20% this morning (30% off last Saturday) and now, this afternoon it is back to 30% off. Goes to show you that it is important to watch the sales.

Delsey Paris Roller bag and backpack

I do not think I have seen this coffee maker below $649! It is currently 9% off at $589.99. You have heard me rave about my morning coffee for a few years now. If your coffee maker isn’t providing sublime beverages to you throughout the day, now may be the time to invest in this.

Breville Nespresso Creatista Plus

As I was walking around the house in the dark the other night, I was secretly patting myself on the back for purchasing this attractive night lights. You hear stories about people falling down the stairs or tripping over objects at night, but these little guys do a great job illuminating your path, without being obnoxious.

Eufy plug in night lights

They are dusk to dawn with a warm LED light. Comes in a 4 pack and easily plug into a wall outlet.

Just a reminder that if you do purchase some of these items, I may get a small stipend for sourcing this for you. It will not change or increase your cost. Thank you for clicking on the links to purchase. Consider me your personal shopper!

Enjoy Prime Day and let me know what bargains you get!




Saturday Meanderings

After a 3 week hiatus from blogging, our international travels are over and I am back in Phoenix. Happy Saturday and I hope you enjoyed a patriotic and relaxing July 4th week. The last time I missed July 4th in the United States was in 2014 when we were stuck at JFK airport coming back from an Italy trip. Thank you so much for joining me today for another Saturday Meanderings where we chat about all good things this week.

Temple roof, Seoul

Our Recent Trip

Seoul, South Korea

I am almost at a loss for words about our trip to Seoul, South Korea and Mongolia, as it feels like a life-changing experience. Why Mongolia? As I have mentioned in the past, my husband is on the board to the Peregrine Fund, a non- profit group that conserves threatened and endangered birds of prey worldwide. For their 50th anniversary, Scott bid on an expedition to Mongolia…and we won.

Golden Eagle Hunters, Mongolia

Since we just arrived back home a few days ago, I am in my jet-lagged fog and still processing how different and enlightening both Seoul and Mongolia in comparison to our own country. So more details to come on this trip.

Still Enjoying Roses

Quatre Saison rose

It’s hard to believe that my rose garden is still producing. With the higher temperatures, the flowers are smaller, but I’ve never had blooms in July. I expected to return to a completely barren rose garden, only to be delighted with new flowers. Unfortunately leaf cutter ants are taking over and I need to research how to get rid of them. If anyone has suggestions or remedies, please let me know.

The Perfect Travel Bag(s)

When you love your luggage, it is hard to move onto another piece. However, the carry-on Rimowa bag I invested in back in 2014, no longer meets airline specifications. It’s just too large now. So when the 21 inch DELSEY Paris Champagne white hard side luggage was on sale back in March, I bit the bullet and purchased it, along with the matching laptop backpack.

I am convinced that I cannot possibly fit enough in this smaller roller bag for a week’s worth of travel. But since I do not like checking luggage, I really have no choice but to try and make this new, smaller size work.

This roller bag is a DREAM! Not only am I able to fit enough clothes for the Seoul portion of our trip, but 2 pairs of shoes and all my toiletries..with room to spare.

The leather-like accents and style reminds me of vintage traveling accessories but with modern construction. In addition, the backpack slides over the handle so I am able to roll everything on board.

Currently, both items are on sale (30% off for the roller bag; 20% off for the backpack), but I’m wondering if they will be discounted even more during Prime Days next week? I hope to do a post on Prime Day deals and I’ll remind you to check these products out.

At the airport…ready for our LONG flight

I’m a bit old fashion when I travel as I like to look nice (no pajama pants for me on an airplane) so these new luggage pieces complement my navy and white traveling outfit!

In summary, I am very happy with both pieces in regard to function and style.

From Around the Internet

Cindy Hattersley

If you are over 50 and need some fashion advice, Cindy Hattersley is a great resource. With our sweltering summer temperatures it’s hard to wear black here in Phoenix, but it’s a great color for summer travel. Check out Cindy’s latest post about Five Effortlessly Chic Ways to Wear Black this Summer.

Since my fashion sense is somewhat lacking, I get great ideas from Cindy.

This Salad, oh my!

Image from Recipe Runner

Elizabeth from Pinecones and Acorns shares her favorite finds on Fridays. Check out this gorgeous salad! Wouldn’t it be perfect for a hot summer day? The original recipe is from Recipe Runner and I hope to make it this weekend…and maybe add some grilled chicken or shrimp for a complete meal.

Learning to Make Paper Flowers

Paper flowers by Abba Kirsten

Want to learn something new this summer~ how to make life-like paper flowers? Join this 3-day online event with 18+ FREE paper flower workshops taught by Abbi Kirsten! Abbi is a paper flower expert with 10+ years of paper crafting experience. The free event starts on Monday, July 10th. Of course if you want access to the classes for more than 24 hours, there is a reasonable fee.

You can find the link here.

Paper cherry blossom wreath

Typically, I am not a very good DIY or craft person, but I did make a paper flower wreath recently and was very pleased with the results. You can see that project here.

Summer Home Tour

Vintage Home Designs

My sweet friend, Michele from Vintage Home Designs, has her home featured in Farmhouse Living as part of their summer home tour series. The 30 minute video is filled with so many great ideas and inspiration! You can see it here.

Passion for Plants

My daughter, Julianna, has a new found passion for indoor plants. She rescues those that are on the “nearly dead and on sale” shelves at plant stores. Recently, her collection tops 30+ indoor plants.

One of Julianna’s indoor gardens

Personally, I only have a few indoor plants which are the ones that thrive with or without me, so I am learning a great deal from her about the care and keeping of various plants.

You are never too old to learn something new! If you want to learn more about plants from her, you can follow her on Instagram @plant_obsessed_witch.

Well, that’s a wrap! Have a wonderful weekend and I look forward to relaxing and getting back to a schedule.




Saturday Meanderings

Since I didn’t have the time to write a Saturday Meanderings last week, this one will cover all the good things (and some not so good) from the last two weeks. Happy Weekend to you!

It’s Galette Season!

Fresh cherry galette

I love making galettes and it’s a great way to showcase all the wonderful fruit that is in season. If you haven’t made one of these, or don’t bake, trust me…..this is E.A.S.Y. and anyone can do it.

What is a Galette?

Galettes are freeform and baked right on a baking sheet. Pies are baked in a sloped pie pan, often with a top crust. With a galette you use the same pie crust dough, but the edges of the galette are folded over the center filling, leaving a wide opening from which the filling can be seen.

Peach Galette

This week I made both an apple and cherry one. You can use really any fruit~peaches, apricots or berries. Links to galette recipes are in a 2021 Saturday Meanderings here.

An Expensive Week

Replacing the well pump

We have a well on our property which provides water for the garden and orchard. Unfortunately, the well pump and associated equipment broke and rendered the well inoperable.

Negotiating big equipment to the back of the property is challenging. Also, it is not an ideal time for the well to quit as it is heating up in Phoenix. The cost to fix this is ridiculously expensive, but a necessity, as using city water would be astronomically more.

Rebuilding the deck

Last year you may recall we replaced the front deck on our cabin. Even though the work was done by a licensed contractor, the new deck is a big disappointment. Twenty-six (yes!) items wrong with it from not being structural to not being level…it’s a mess.

The only solution is to tear it off and rebuild it (with someone who actually knows what they are doing). My advice~make sure your check references on anyone who does construction work. Just because someone has a license, does not mean they know what they are doing.

It’s been a pricey week.

Wonderful Gift

Earlier this year, my sweet neighbor across the street passed away. In cleaning out her home, her daughter and I became acquainted. Look at the pretty rocking chair that she gave me! I cannot wait to refinish it and feel so honored to get this as it comes with a lot of history. Lucky me.

Annual Yarnell Memorial Run

This is the third year my daughter, Julianna and I participate in this special memorial run. Here is some history about this wonderful event:

My daughter and dogs complete the race

On June 28th, 2013, a lightning storm sparked what would become the deadliest wildfire in Arizona history. The Yarnell Hill Fire claimed 127 structures and the lives of 19 brave men as the country watched in helpless shock. These men belonged to the Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew, based in Prescott, AZ, where many of them also resided.

On June 7, 2014, the first Yarnell Memorial Run was held in Memory of the Hotshot Crew to raise funds to support the work of local firefighters. The success and support was amazingly vibrant, prompting the Memorial Run to become an annual event. Participants have the privilege of running through the area of town known as Glen Ilah, which is where much of the burn robbed residents of their homes. In 2014, the burned area was still quite noticeable, but as time’s magic healing process has taken effect, flowers have bloomed, grass has returned with vigor and homes have been rebuilt. The Yarnell Memorial Run has grown, giving runners and walkers four different options including a 5k, 10k, 19k and family/child friendly Fun Run & Walk.

Enchanted Forest table

Enchanted Forest Table

This week we participated in a charitable event, where each table host chooses a theme and decorates their table accordingly. I will be writing an entire post about it because there are so many details, but here’s a peek at my Enchanted Forest table. It was a surprising success!

Apricot Almond tart

For the same charitable event, there is also a dessert auction. I made this delicious Apricot Almond Tart (with fresh apricots!) and am very happy it sold immediately! The recipe is in a 2020 post and you can see it here.

Huge Fruit Harvest

Lots of apricots and peaches

This is the week for apricots and picking the last of the peaches. Typically I make pies, jam and salsa, but really didn’t have the time this year. Instead, I sliced and pitted the fruit and froze as much as possible. Now bagged and dated, I am hoping to use them throughout the summer.

A big garden surprise is finding plums on our newly planted tree. The tree didn’t look very healthy and we had already lost its partner earlier in the year. Quite frankly, I expected this tree to die too, so I didn’t pay any attention to it. Low and behold it is full of delicious plums. Since I didn’t thin them, the fruit is on the small size but big in taste.

Did you know that the silvery white film on plums (and grapes, blueberries) is a naturally occurring substance known as the “bloom”? It acts as a barrier against insects and bacteria and helps to seal in the fruit’s moisture. The bloom is also a sign of freshness, since it fades with time and handling. And all this time I thought it might be an insecticide!

A Weird Egg Anomaly

Tiny fairy egg

Fart eggs (also called fairy eggs, diminutive eggs, cock eggs, wind eggs, witch eggs, dwarf eggs) are teeny tiny eggs laid by normal-sized hens. They usually are just egg white, just egg yolk, or possibly a teeny tiny miniature egg. It’s like an oops, mistake that happens in the chicken’s reproductive system and this tiny egg comes out instead of a normal sized ones.

Even though they are perfectly safe to eat, I just collect them in a bowl. Eventually the contents dry out and I have these perfectly made tiny eggs. Isn’t Mother Nature full of surprises?

Do You Wear Skorts?

I don’t have great legs so I tend to shy away from skirts above my knee. However, during a recent trip to Costco I did pick up 3 skorts. Not only are they super comfortable, but really affordable too (I think around $15.00) I was pleasantly surprised and am wearing them with a simple t-shirt. Plus at my age, no one is looking at my legs!

You can find them online (different style than what is offered in the store) here.

On my mountain walk

Well, that’s a wrap to Saturday Meanderings. Wishing you a glorious weekend and If you are celebrating Father’s Day, please cherish the father (or father figure) in your life. The next few weeks will involve some traveling for me so I hope to continue to blog, but if not, I will catch up with you as soon as I can.

Be well and stay safe out there!




Saturday Meanderings

Happy last Saturday of May! Wait, what? That’s right another month just shushing by..unbelievable. Thank you for joining me on this Memorial Day Saturday Meanderings weekend to chat about all good things this week. I hope this post finds you happy, healthy and full of vim and vigor. What is vim, by the way? It mean high energy and great enthusiasm. Who knew?

A First Time for Everything

First time in a Polaris RZR

While up at our cabin in the mountains, our friends, Mitch and Tevia invite us to go ATV-ing. Honestly, I have never done this before! The day’s weather just happened to be perfect~blue skies and puffy white clouds. There are multiple trails through the forest and we travel to places I have not seen before

Springer Mountain Fire Lookout Tower

One stop is at the Springer Mountain Fire Lookout Tower at the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest. We climb to the top of the 40 foot tower and meet Janie Croxen Ringleberg, a US Forest Service employee who has been watching for fires for 31 years. Her 11′ x 11′ space is filled with maps, radios, binoculars and photographs.

View from the top of the tower

Janie shares her history with us and explains how she is able to assess and know the attributes of fire origins. She works in this tower full time Monday-Friday all by herself. Truly amazing.

Cabin Projects

Remember last year when the brand new roof we purchased for the cabin had a massive water leak in our entry?

To make matters worse, the ceiling is wood and the leak caused severe staining. In an attempt to just replace a few of the panels, we hired someone to replace and try to stain match the non-damaged ceiling. The side walls need new plaster work and the entire project has taken forever.

This week is the first time I have seen the repair work. Unfortunately, the replacement ceiling panels are stained a completely different color from the rest of the ceiling. The question is should we just replace the entire ceiling, or try to stain the balance of the ceiling to match the new wood?

Unwilling to have this torn up yet again, I volunteer to try and see if I can try and blend the two ceiling colors to a point where it is more acceptable.

New darker wood panels vs. old lighter ones

What was I thinking?!? Here is a picture where I stain a few of the existing boards to match the new, darker color of the replacement panels. It takes me a few days of grueling overhead work with a watery stain, but I am finally a bit happier with the results.

Freshly painted with a repaired ceiling

Finally, after several months, the front entry is back together and hopefully the repaired roof will not leak again. I’m not sure my arms and shoulders will ever be the same!

Bargains of the Week

Check out this pretty blue and white melamine tray I find at Big Lots. Priced at $12.99, it is also on sale (at the register) for $9.74. You can find it here on the Big Lots website. They also have really cute matching plates and bowls, very affordable and on sale too.

Sundance Catalog is having a great sale in their Outlet shop..up to 40%. Occasionally I will browse their website and find a really good buy.

This cute eyelet embroidered blouse was $128.00, marked down to $39.99 and now on sale for $23.99.

Sundance Catalog Outlet

Scalloped, eyelet hem with gathered cuffs and tasseled tie give this tiered, peasant-style dress a touch of timeless romance. $148.00 down to $29.99 and then on sale again for $17.99!

Sundance Catalog Outlet

I just ordered these two items so I will let you know if I like them. Not sure how long the sale will last, but you may want to check it out here. I don’t get any kind of commission if you buy something~just enjoy sharing a good sale when I find one.

Need Your Design Feedback

As we open up the cabin for summer use, we are uncovering outdoor furniture, sweeping the decks and fixing all things broken. On our back deck, we have two entertaining venues in the same space~ one for sitting and one for dining.

Here is the back deck area:

Outdoor covered deck

The seating side’s color scheme is mostly red, neutral rug with some navy accents. The primitive pine dining table has grey/white French bistro chairs. Since we have a leftover outdoor rug I place it under the table.

I do like how the table, rug and chairs is visually cohesive.

However, I am not sure I am fond of the entire space. It feels disjointed to me to have a red/blue/neutral palette next to this gray/gold/white one.

What do you think? It’s hard to tell by the photos but I would appreciate your design feedback. Should I live with it? Change out the red cushions to another color? Paint the metal furniture an anodized bronze? Find different pillows? Help!

Garden Harvesting

Black Krim tomatoes

As the weather gets warmer, my garden will soon go fallow for the summer. But right now, I am picking Black Krim tomatoes (which are so delicious) and Japanese eggplant. The San Marzano tomatoes are still green and hoping for a plentiful batch for sauce.

Artichokes are flowering. We had such an abundant crop this year, I am leaving the last few on the plant to bloom. Will cut them and dry them for a future wreath?

Just yesterday, I picked 4 very large sweet figs from our tree.

Fresh figs

The heat has caused all the lettuces to bolt, but the chickens are enjoying them as afternoon snacks. I still have tomatillos, peppers, and kale producing.

Summer Reading List

I am getting ready to compile a new summer reading list so if anyone has great book recommendations please let me know. My friend, Cindy, is reading In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson and seems to like it. The only other Erik Larsen book I read (and really enjoyed) is Devil in the White City back in 2004. My summer reading tends to be light and joyful, without any heavy or demanding topics. Please share your favorites.

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I know Memorial Day is the unofficial start to summer, as most schools are finally finished with classes. But let’s not forget the true meaning of Memorial Day. Wishing you a weekend of loving moments with family and friends as we give thanks, gratitude and honor to the military members who died while serving in the U.S. Forces.