Looming Over The Cottage

Glade Cottage is set in the woods.  There are large trees all around.

The large tree at the center of the picture leaning toward the Cottage was removed in 2016.

Almost 2 years ago we had one removed that was dead because it looked like it would take out both the Cottage and the house if it fell.

The bare-limbed tree directly behind the Cottage is coming down before it does damage.

Another large and threatening tree growing behind the Cottage on our neighbor’s property had succumbed to fungus.

The boom truck was parked in our driveway.(That’s a man dangling from the wire.)

Our neighbor emailed to tell us she planned to take it down to about 20 feet of stump so it would not damage any structures, including ours, if it fell.  In order to access the tree, the tree service’s boom truck needed to park in our driveway.

A lumberman is waving from the tree in the center of the picture.

The lumbermen carefully cut down and lowered the branches.

Large limbs were lowered to ground carefully by the crane on the truck.

In a few hours only the stub of a truck remained.

This enormous truck stayed in our driveway all night.

Unfortunately their bucket truck broke down in front of the Cottage and had to say put overnight until repair parts could be had.

The remaining tree truck may become a home for birds and small animals but it won’t fall on the Cottage.
When the other trees leaf out in spring we won’t notice this bare trunk (near the center of the picture).

We still have plenty of trees but the Cottage and its tenant are a little safer now.

Are you bothered by unsafe plants?

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Trip to Cuba: $3 Haircut

When we travel Charlie and I like to do things like the locals. In Paris we both got haircuts.

Our casa particulare was a few steps from John Lennon Park. Charlie’s hair was not as long as John’s but longer than most Cuban men.

In Havana Charlie got another haircut.

Our taxi driver Valentine was happy to model a standard Cuban cut.

He was talking to our host in the Vedado section of Havana and discovered this mostly bald man got his hair cut for 45 cents directly across the street from our lodgings.

Our neighborhood in Havana.

We walked across the street to the “salon” and it was closed. A few hours later the young lady was shaving a man’s head totally bald.  Unfortunately she said she was all booked up but looked again at her schedule and told Charlie to come back at 5 p.m.

The shop is very basic.

Charlie asked how much the cut would cost.  When the barber said 5 CUC (equal to $5) he was taken aback since our host had estimated $1 to $1.50.  Charlie negotiated the price down to 3 CUC and sat in the barber chair.

In the beginning Charlie was a little worried about the clipper sending his locks to the floor.

She started with the clipper and lots of hair fell to the floor.  Charlie was a bit worried because he usually gets a scissor cut.

The barber was adept with a straight razor.

She cut the back and sides with a clipper, scissor-cut the top, and finished the back of his neck with a straight razor with a brand new blade.

Not sure how we got sidetracked from the haircut.

The fun part was that this lovely barber told us what to beware of in Havana, where her favorite restaurants were, and the story of her entire family.

A Cuban cut.

When the cut was finished Charlie looked a little more Cuban and ultimately paid 3 CUC plus a 2 CUC tip.

When you travel do you go native?

All Trimmed Up

While Charlie and I were away for a week Sug’s carpenter came to the house to install window trim on the last 3 untrimmed windows.

Before — the untrimmed window.
The trim still needs to be painted.

The round windows in both the conservatory and master bathrooms now have extension jambs and trim.

Before — the window is untrimmed in the master closet.
After — the trimmed window only needs paint.

He also trimmed up the window in our not-yet-completely finished walk-in closet.

I have yards of cotton voile that might work just fine.

My next step is to make curtains for the closet window.  This window faces the street so needs window coverings for privacy.

Do you prefer curtains, shades, blinds, or nothing at all at your windows?

 

Master List: Early 2018

You can read about the Master List we’ve been working on for the past couple of years and our progress here.  I’ve decluttered the list again and now I’ve removed anything that has been accomplished before 2017, retaining things that still need work, and adding projects that require finishing or are just plain FUN. (Our room by room to-do list is here.)

Projects to Do:

  • 1. Paint green vanity

    The dressing table is still green.
    The dressing table is still green.
  • √2.  Pump up curb appeal with landscaping upgrades
    This total lack of landscaping needs to be graded, seeded, and planted.
    Last year.

    We’ve added shutters and some immature foundation plants.
  • 3. Move former back door to laundry

    This solid wood door with 4 lights should fit in the laundry room doorway.
  • 4.  Clean closet in Treetops room

    The Treetops Room.
    The Treetops Room.
  • 5. Scrape, sand and paint back bedroom door. Repair jamb.
  • 6. Lighting for walk-in closet
  • 7. Paint trim in pink bedroom

    The trim and this closet door need a fresh coat of white.
    The trim and this closet door need a fresh coat of white.
  • 8. Refinish floor in laundry
  • 9. Replace trim in laundry
  • 10. Finish closet in laundry

    The laundry closet has been on the back burner since the renovation began.
    The laundry closet has been on the back burner since the renovation began.
  • 11. Refinish my tall dresser

    My chest of drawers which belonged to my grandmother needs a surface treatment.
    My chest of drawers which belonged to my grandmother needs a surface treatment.
  • 12. Check interior shutters for size
  • 13. Think about bedroom curtains
  • 14. Make living room curtains

    Working on it.
    Working on it.
  • 15. Finish cushions in DR

    One cushion remains to be sewn.
    One cushion remains to be sewn.
  • 16. Paint all the trim in the house

    Tons of trim needs to be painted.
    Tons of trim needs to be painted.
  • 17. Paint dining room table

    We’re using a smaller table.
  •  18. Consider terrace or deck
  • 19. Decide where art work goes

    We have a lot of original art in the living room.
  • 20. Get rid of art that does not suit
  • 21. Paint design on stair walls
  • 22. Hang photo gallery in upstairs hall
  • 23. Put shelves in pink room and paint stunning color at back of shelves
  • 24. Clean basement and add utility shelves under the steps.
  • 25. Design garden plan for back of yard behind the cottage.

    The yard behind the Cottage could become a shade garden for strolling and sitting.
  • 26. Open an Etsy shop.

What are you waiting for warm weather to accomplish?

Musical Gifts

My sister is a wonderful gift-giver.  She always seems to give the perfect thing.

The tacky little lamp was our only music light over the piano and the bench cushion was not very attractive.

We have a piano between the dining room and the living room that can be seen from almost every room on the first floor.

Charlie received this piano bench cushion in 2016 for Christmas.

In 2016 my sister gave Charlie a tapestry cushion for his piano bench. It was a huge improvement and he really appreciated it.

19-inch piano map illuminates at least two music sheets.

This year she sent a beautiful piano lamp. (We had been using a lamp from WalMart that I had spray painted.)

Sometimes the lamp might want to be dimmed.

Her research had led her to a dimmable model.  When the lamp arrived it worked but wouldn’t dim.

The lamp worked but wouldn’t dim.

Since the dimmer was an extra little box with a dial that fit between the power cord and the lamp base, we were hoping that replacing it would fix the issue.

The new piano lamp is sleek, functional, and dimmable.

The Cocoweb company replaced the dimmer for free and now it works. Tra la.

Do you have dimming lights?

House To-Do List – 2018

I used to organize the house to-do list in one long list that I added to as I thought of something new.  Here’s the updated room by room view at the end of 2015.  I’m cleaning up this list with hope of retiring it very soon. At the beginning of 2017 here’s what it looked like.

Living Room

New bench, new rug, same furniture.
Dining room

Dining Room

Dining room
  • Clean paneling
  • Paint paneling

    The paneling on the back and side walls still needs another coat of paint.
    The paneling on the back and side walls still needs another coat of paint.
  • Paper top of walls
  • Clean floors
  • Paint chairs
  • Get a rug
  • Finish cushions

    The cushions are in place on the window seat but still unfinished.
    The cushions are in place on the window seat but still unfinished.
  • Move piano
  • Paint trim
Caffe bar kitchen peninsula
Caffe bar kitchen peninsula

Kitchen

The kitchen
The kitchen
Coffee bar in the kitchen

Pantry

  • Add shelves
  • Add counter

    Counter in the pantry
    Counter in the pantry
  • Add cabinets
  • Paint wall and ceiling
  • Hang lighting fixture
  • Organize pantry food and tools
A new floor was installed last year in the conservatory.

Conservatory

The floor has made a big difference.
  • Paint floor or lay flooring
  • Lay rug
  • Hang drywall
  • Mud walls
  • Paint walls
  • Move furniture
    • Love seats
    • Bistro set
    • Oak dresser
  • Get TV
  • Move file safe into closet
  • Drywall window
  • Mud closet
  • Paint closet
  • Get doors for closet and bathroom
    Conservatory bathroom
Conservatory bathroom is tiled.
Conservatory bathroom is tiled.
Shower glass in the conservatory bathroom.
  • Choose tile
    ConservatoryBathroomTile
    Conservatory floor tile — white on white basketweave.

    Bookshelves in the bathroom
  • Choose fixtures
  • Choose sink 
    Ikea sink and faucet in the conservatory bathroom.
    Ikea sink and faucet in the conservatory bathroom.

    Conservatory vanity
  • Get shower installed

    The shower is installed.
    The shower is installed.
Our powder room is currently styled the bibliotheque but is in for a continental change.
Our powder room is currently styled the bibliotheque but is in for a continental change.

Powder room

  • Remove wallpaper
  • Add paneling at bottom of wall
  • Paper top of wall

    Anthropologie wallpaper would lighten the space.
    Anthropologie wallpaper would lighten the space.
  • Paint lighting fixtures
  • Rehang towel bar
  • Fix hole in wall
The stairs and landing to the powder room.
The stairs and landing to the powder room.

Stairs

Upstairs hall
Upstairs hall

Hallway

  • Repair wall where door was removed
  • Paint wall
  • Hang gallery

    If these photos could only hang themselves up.
    If these photos could only hang themselves up.
After the renovation we should be able to free up some room in the laundry.
After the renovation we should be able to free up some room in the laundry.

Laundry Room

La buanderie means either laundry room or utility room in a house

  • Finish floor
  • Hang closet door
  • Add hanging pole to closet
  • Add baseboard trim
  • Add chair rail trim
  • Paint and install inside shutters
  • Paint and install old kitchen cabinet above dryer
Master bathroom.
Master bathroom.

Master Bathroom

Master Bathroom

Master bedroom

Master Bedroom

Master bedroom
  • Tear out closets
  • Erect bookshelves

    Shelves to be finished.
  • Patch holes
  • Paint ceiling
  • Paint walls

    Blue master bedroom
    Blue master bedroom
  • Paint trim
  • Lay rug
  • Make bed rustic

    A recent project was refinishing the bedframe of the sleigh bed.
  • Refinish tall dresser
French doors open from a private second-floor terrace into the master bedroom.
French doors open from a private second-floor terrace into the master bedroom.
The master bedroom French doors lead to a private deck.
The master bedroom French doors lead to a private deck.

Master Deck

  • Rug
  • Paint vintage garden furniture

    The furniture is painted and in place on the master deck.
    The furniture is painted and in place on the master deck.
  • Have railing built
  • Have deck surface finished
A tiny but useful room: The Diva Room
A tiny but useful room: The Diva Room

Diva Room

  • Paint trim
  • Add shutters or curtains
  • Clear out boxes
  • Refit closet after ductwork
The Treetops Room viewed from the doorway.
The Treetops Room viewed from the doorway.

Treetops Room

  • Clear out boxes
  • Wash windows
  • Move large painting to living room
  • Reorient bed
  • Paint lamp and refinish shade
  • Paint door
Front painted Sandy Hook Gray.
Front painted Sandy Hook Gray.

Front entrance

  • Choose outdoor lights/sconces
  • Choose blue stone or paving
  • Make planters
  • Add landscaping 

    New and old shrubs planted together.
  • Paint door
  • Door mat
The westside porch.
The westside porch.

Side entrance

  • Choose outdoor lights/sconces
  • Choose bluestone or paving
  • Make planter for front edge
  • Make wood box
  • Bench or chair
  • Door mat
The back stairs to the conservatory.
The back stairs to the conservatory.

Back entrance

The planters are at the entrance to the potager on either side of the iron gate.
The planters are at the entrance to the potager on either side of the iron gate.

Garden

  • Make a plan for foundation plants
  • Plant grass
The shed is both charming and useful.
The shed is both charming and useful.

Wee Little House

  • Organize tools
  • Paint shutters 

    Shutters are out of the shed, painted, and on the house.
  • Clear work bench
  • Organize garden items
The Cottage has come in handy for guests and as a temporary home for our son's friends.
The Cottage has a permanent tenant.

Glade Cottage

Glade Cottage in Spring
  • Clear up unfinished projects
  • Move paint to house
  • New water heater
  • Install kitchen sink 

    Cottage kitchen
  • Move tools to shed
  • Move and repair drafting table
  • Clean up old lumber and flooring
  • Vacuum well
  • Dust and wipe clean
  • Rent

Exterior

  • Paint shingles
  • Paint and install shutters

    The before and after of the shutter installation.
  • Paint trim
  • Hang gutters and downspouts
    New downspouts accentuate the corners of the house.
    New downspouts accentuate the corners of the house.

    We’ll be adding and crossing off as time progresses.

Do you have plans for next year?

Most Viewed This Week

In the past week lots of people have apparently looked up and viewed my 2011 post on ceramic Christmas trees.  I only have one small tree left which I use yearly.  The other 3 I sold on Craigslist to a very happy fellow.

I painted this small ceramic Christmas tree a few years ago.

Since there seems to be some interest in transforming these trees I’m reposting my 2011 article below.  It might be of interest to revisit the original article and read some of the comments. People are very sensitive about these ceramic trees.

Heirloom Ceramic Christmas Tree Desecration

We inherited 3 green ceramic Christmas trees from our grandparents. They’re missing bulbs and have chips at various places on the trees. Charlie was horrified when I asked him what color he thought they should become.  He likes how they are now. (Son said the same thing.) I, on the other hand, think they need some modernizing.

3 green ceramic Christmas trees

First they needed a good bath.  They were dusty and dirty so I removed all the little plastic bulbs (not an easy task) and washed the trees in the kitchen sink using dish detergent, a handled brush and the sink’s sprayer attachment.

Just soap them up and spray them down

I toyed with all kinds of color combos: aqua and lime green, white, yellow and blue. Finally I thought some kind of metallic would be sparkly and holidayish. So I pulled out all the metallic spray paints I have.

Metallic spray paints

And sprayed each one a little differently. The smallest one is painted with a mercury glass finish which is accomplished by spraying bright silver metallic over hammered bronze while the bronze is still wet.  Work quickly.

The small one has a mercury glass appearance

The second one sprays satin nickel over the hammered bronze which gives a pewterlike finish.

Satin nickel over hammered bronze looks like pewter.

The third tree was sprayed with hammered bronze topped with metallic charcoal.  This turned very dark so I gave it just a dusting of bright silver.

Left to right: Satin nickel, bright silver, metallic charcoal with silver highlights

I haven’t decided yet if I should put the little plastic flame-shaped bulbs back in or not.

The plastic bulbs are separated by color; should I replace them?

The trio all lit up.

All 3 trees are now cloaked in sparkle and shimmer.

What your verdict?

I’m partial to the silver one.

Upgraded or ruined?

Have you taken a risk changing a family heirloom? Was it great or ghastly?