Saturday, July 30, 2011

Before & After: A Quick Fix

PROBLEM:  The flowers I so carefully planted in the Spring died while we were away on vacation and it's too late to replant before guests arrive for our family reunion.

BEFORE...planted in May...

Blooming in June and early July...

AFTER: Deader than a Doornail in late July.

 With little time to spare, I decided to "shop the house" and try to see the planter in a new way. Here's what I came up with... 
Now driftwood and shells replace the flowers for a quick fix...just in time for guests to arrive.
Sometimes I just need to remind myself to look at things not for what they are but for what they could be. Necessity is truly the mother of invention!

What other ideas might you have come up with?

This post is happily linked to these creative blog parties:
Catch As Catch Can at My Repurposed Life
Show & Tell Friday at My Romantic Home
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage
Saturday Night Special at Funky Junk Interiors
Time Travel Thursday at Brambleberry Cottage
Frugal Friday at The Shabby Nest
Show Off Your Cottage Monday at The House In The Roses

Friday, July 29, 2011

Beauty All Around Us

Why is it that we often fail to see the beauty in our own backyards...or hometowns... until we have guests from "away"? Then, as we make an effort to show them the sights, we find ourselves rediscovering the sights and sounds we take for granted.

This past two weeks have been full of company for us...thanks to a family reunion... and we've been the tour guides...
Recalling the haunting sound of the surf on the rocks...

And the powerful beauty of the sea.

Watching children discover the ocean for the first time...

And run in the sand under the boardwalk...

Smelling the popcorn and cotton candy...

As the grandchildren spin above us against the blue summer sky...

Hearing fried dough sizzle...

And watching lobster swim...

Revisiting places we remember from our own childhoods...

Swinging on ropes...

And exploring a covered bridge.

Stopping by the road to see a sunflower bloom...

And finding beauty in an old iron gate.

But the most beautiful sights of all were these...
A grandmother reunited with a granddaughter she hasn't seen in over 20 years...

Granddaughters smiling in the pool...

And four generations of family together again on a summer afternoon.

What could be more beautiful than that?

This post is linked to:
Home Sweet Home Party at The Charm of Home
Outdoor Wednesday at A Southern Daydreamer
Good Life Wednesday at A Beach Cottage
Simple Pleasures at A Collection of This and That

Friday, July 22, 2011

Our DIY Backyard Vineyard

Six years ago, my husband came home from the town dump with his truck full of cast-off fence posts and announced he was going to build a grape arbor. We had recently visited his Aunt Elva at her farm along the banks of the Appomattox River in Virginia. Although she is in her 80's, Aunt Elva still grows grapes and makes her own wine; she wrote down the recipe for us to take home to Maine. Of course, before we could make the wine, we had to build an arbor and grow some grapes....that's where the old fence posts from the dump came in.

Here is where the project 2005. By cutting, tying and nailing, DH repurposed the old fence posts into an arbor.

Even though we hadn't planted grapes yet, I couldn't wait to decorate the new outdoor space.

Six years later,  it is a shady backyard retreat on these steamy July days...

Where we can enjoy a cool meal on a summer afternoon...

While the grapes slowly ripen in the sun.

"Live in each season as it passes:  breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit."  Henry David Thoreau

For now we're still buying our wine...

But it shouldn't be long before we unfold Aunt Elva's old recipe and bottle the first of our "Winn Farm" vintage.
All it took was an old fence from the dump, a creative DH, and a lot of patience. When the grapes have ripened (and I've finished stomping them?), you'll all be invited for a sip of our first Chateau de Hank. Cheers!

Since I've been "away" and missed so many great blog parties these last two weeks, I'm catching up today and joining them all! I hope you'll enjoy visiting these creative blogs:
Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps On the Porch
Time Travel Thursday at Brambleberry Cottage
Thrifty Thursday at Tales From Bloggeritaville
Under $100. Linky Party at Beyond The Picket Fence
Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style
Outdoor Wednesday at A Southern Daydreamer
Show & Tell Friday at My Romantic Home
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage
Open House Party at No Minimalist Here
Transformations & Treasures at The Pink Postcard
Vintage Inspiration Friday at Common Ground
Cottage Flora Thursdays at Fishtail Cottage
Saturday Nite Special at Funky Junk Interiors
Addicts Anonymous Link Party at Addicted 2 Decorating
Good Life Wednesday at A Beach Cottage

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award

I was honored to return from vacation to learn that I had received the Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award from Tiffany, at The Cranky Queen. I love "Queen Tiffany's" blog and hope you will take a few minutes to visit her.

This award comes with certain conditions. The recipient must 1) Thank the person who sent the award to her (thanks again, Tiffany!) 2) Reveal 7 things about herself, and 3) Pass the award on to 8 other sweet bloggers. They in turn, must do the same. Here goes:

1. I'm about to become a grandmother again...and it's a Girl! She is due on September 10th to my son,. Rob, and his wife, Tomomi. Big brothers, Taka and Toshi, can't wait to meet their new little sister...nor can I!

2. I have the best and handsomest and funniest and most patient husband in the world.

3. My sisters mean the world to does promoting ovarian cancer that no one else will have to lose a sister too soon.

4. I have the best Weight Watcher leader on the planet, Mary Elizabeth. She's my hero! Thanks to her I've lost almost 35 pounds since September. (I secretly hope she might consider adopting me.)

5. As much as I love to travel, I always look forward to returning home to Maine. It is beautiful place and its motto of "Maine...the Way Life Should Be" feels just about right to me.

6. I love old houses; I think I would collect them if I could. Actually, I love old anything, the rustier and chippier the better.  Anything  with history just seems to speak to me.

7. I love to write, sew, craft, and create. I could spend days in my third floor craft room and never be bored.

Now for the sweet blog friends I can't wait to pass this award on to:
1. Claudia at Mockingbird Hill Cottage
2. Lakeesha at Connie's Purse
3. Ceekay at Thinkin' of Home
4. Jane at Mamie Jane's
5. Linda at A La Carte
6. Debbie at Debbie-Dabble
7. Dayle at A Collection of This and That
8. Brenda at Cozy Little House

Congratulations to all. I hope you will check out their amazing blogs.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Inside Scott's Scotty

On the third day of our camping trip, I found myself alone in a deserted old trailer in Middle of Nowhere, Maine with a barefoot and shirtless man I had never met before.

We had left "the wilderness" for a few hours to explore the Rangely area and ended up back in the tiny town of Andover, Maine. While my husband got caught up with the local news at the country store, I decided to take my camera and photograph some of the deserted old buildings in town for my blog. Usually I can do this fairly undetected, creeping through the undergrowth for the perfect shot. But not in small town, Maine. Someone "from Away" walking down the main street with a camera did not go unnoticed for long.

I later found out that as I crept around the side of this house, its owner, who happened to be in the country store, commented on the big doins' in town while my husband was checking out our supplies. "Some reporter from away is out there with a camera", he commented to the clerk. At that, my husband, who thought I was waiting in the car, perked up his ears and thought to himself..."It can't be... Cheryl? Or can it?" He looked out the door just in time to see me creeping through the shrubbery that surrounded the barn next door, camera in hand. Trying to cover for me, he said something to the effect of, "Oh, that's just my wife. She likes to take pictures of old buildings...she's harmless." Knowing my passion for old houses, he continued to make small talk with the "guys" in the store...creating a perfect diversion for his wife, cub reporter, tireless blogger, and frequent creator of potentially embarrassing situations for him.

As I emerged from the thicket next to the barn, I saw this old guest house across the street. It was also deserted and the sign was hanging lopsided by one or two links of rusty chain. Photo op! I decided to stealthily make my way  along the weed-strewn driveway at the right side of the building to take shots from the rear. After all, there was no one around.

As I made my way to the end of the driveway, I discovered the mother-lode...a vintage 1964 Scotty trailer just begging to be photographed for my blog. I checked to be sure there was no one around and snapped the photo...just as a screen door slammed to my left. A man ran out, clad in only his shorts, and headed right for me as he yelled, "Can I help you?"

Oops, time to turn on the "Oh, Hi", I said. "I didn't think anyone was around (Duh!)." The words nervously tumbled out..."I'm a vintage trailer lover and I couldn't resist peeking at your Scotty. Mind if I take a picture of it?" (I already had.)
"Oh...OK", he answered. "Would you like to see the inside?"
"I'd love to...that would be so nice of you," I blurted out. It was only after he unlocked the door and we stepped into the tiny hot interior that thoughts of all of the Stephen King books I've read began to flood my brain..."I'm all alone in here. My husband doesn't know where I am. This guy is practically naked. What if he's a psycho who uses his cute little trailer to lure unsuspecting women "from away" into his camper to rape and murder them? " (As I said, I'd been reading way too many mysteries around the campfire.)

As I admired the perfect vintage interior of the Scotty, my eyes were frantically darting around in search of an emergency exit. The man was standing just inside the door...I was trapped.  My mind continued to sort through possible diversions: "I'll ask him to show me how the yellow cots fold out and, when he does, I'll run to the door and escape... I'll ask him what that is under the dinette and, when he bends over to look, I'll grab my camera and make a run for it."

Turns out that none of that was necessary. My scantily clothed new man friend introduced himself with a firm handshake. "You may recognize me...I'm Kevin Scott...independent candidate for Governor last November? I put 44,000 miles on that old Oldsmobile out there during the campaign."

Kevin Scott proved to be a really nice guy who, with his wife, is actually restoring the old well as many of the deserted buildings on Main Street in Andover, Maine. After a long and interesting visit, and a tour of the town, I never did admit that I voted for one of his opponents. Maybe if I'd known he loved old Scotty's and old houses at the time, he might have had a chance to change my mind.

That's my new man friend at the podium  in the middle at last year's gubernatorial debates.

Just another boring day in the wilderness for me...saw some old houses, toured a vintage Scotty, and met the potential governor in his underwear.

So...what did you do on your vacation?