Intruder Alert!

Yes, that’s the subject of the email I got from Charlie: Intruder Alert!

The attic vent on the middle of the picture sometimes attracts scary creatures.
The attic vent on the middle of the picture sometimes attracts scary creatures.

It was a shocking and I couldn’t open the email fast enough.

Our attic vents are screen to keep bats and other creatures outside.
Our attic vents are screened to keep bats and other creatures outside.

Turns out that while he was in the attic he noticed there was a bat hanging in the vent OUTSIDE of the screen. I see that bat almost every time I go up in attic.

A black snake slithering across the road.
A black snake slithering across the road.

In the same email was a snake, a black snake I think, crossing the road.  That is one of the reason I like to keep the grass cut, especially up by the house.  I don’t mind that we have snakes and that they eat rodents.  I just don’t want to be surprised by one.

Little by little we're clearing useless (to us) stuff from the attic.
Little by little we’re clearing useless (to us) stuff from the attic.

But I digress.  Please notice that a portion of the attic has been cleared out and vacuumed.

Lacrosse sticks
Lacrosse sticks

I posted some old sports equipment on my local “Buy Nothing” Facebook page. (Everything listed is free.)

Tennis Racquets
Tennis Racquets

Hope somebody can use this stuff instead of buying before they’re sure it’s their thing.

Where does your old stuff go?

Saw It, Wanted It, Took a Picture

While I was shopping for curtains I saw a lot of attractive things, especially at Home Goods.

Two identical benches -- $150 each.
Two identical benches — $150 each.

I could definitely see this bench in a couple of places in the house:

A bench might look nice under the large painting in the living room.
A bench might look nice under the large painting in the living room.

Under the painting in the living room,

An airy bench would look nice in the mudroom.
An airy bench would look better than the hope chest in the mudroom.

Or in the mudroom in place of the cedar chest.

I'm planning to build this bench.
I’m planning to build this bench.

I left without making a purchase. Whew, it was close.

What have you got your eye on to purchase?

Sunflower “Vanilla Ice”

I finally convinced Charlie to plant some sunflowers for me.

I like sunflowers to grown along the back (on the right in the photo) of the garden. They're obviously missing in this 2015 photo.
I like sunflowers to grown along the back (on the right in the photo) of the garden. They’re obviously missing in this 2015 photo.

Last year he kept promising but never got around to it.

I have packets of sunflower seeds from Botanical Interests.
I have packets of sunflower seeds from Botanical Interests.

I had a few packets of Botanical Interests’ sunflower “Vanilla Ice” on hand because I love white flowers.

We grew these pale miniature, Italian White, sunflowers in 2013 and I loved them right into Autumn.
We grew these pale miniature, Italian White, sunflowers in 2013 and I loved them right into Autumn.

In the past we have planted “Italian White” which were dainty flowers on 4-foot stems.

Charlie's about 5'-10" so that makes the sunflowers over 8 feet tall.
Charlie’s about 5′-10″ so that makes the sunflowers over 8 feet tall.

We have also planted the happy-faced traditional yellow sunflowers.

Charlie used a mattock to clear out a ditch for the sunflower seeds.
Charlie used a mattock to clear out a ditch for the sunflower seeds.

“Vanilla Ice” is supposed to grow 4 to 7 feet tall and have 6-inch diameter blooms.

Looking from the other direction, the seeds are planted. 4 seeds per hill times 16 hills.
Looking from the other direction, the seeds are planted. 4 seeds per hill times 16 hills.

Won’t that be lovely?

What are you planting now?

Lighter Curtains

Since changing the sofa cover from dark grey back to white the still unfinished living room curtains look a little heavy.

The slip cover is changed for the summer.
The slip cover is changed for the summer.

I found some billowy curtains in Soft Belongings I like but at over $100 per panel I’m going to look around a bit for something cheaper.

I was attracted to this print also.
I was attracted to this print also.

Headed to these stores: Home Goods, Marshalls, Ross, and TJ Maxx.

This subtle embroidered paisley design was my first choice.
This subtle embroidered paisley design was my first choice.

Home Goods has a nice embroidered panel in an off-white color.  I would need 4 panels but alas there was only one.

White eyelet panels at Home Goods.
White eyelet panels at Home Goods.

The Cynthia Rowley eyelet would have been nice and a good price but at only 84 inches long they would be too short. Same for the Laura Ashley curtains.

White plisse churtains.
White plisse churtains.

I found some unpriced pure-white plisse panels at Marshalls.  They are 96 inches long and $30 for 2 panels. I bought 2 sets.  I checked the final two stores but found nothing better.

Changing out these curtains.
Changing out these curtains.

When I got home I took down the still unfinished curtains I started in 2014.

The curtains hooks onto curtain clips.
The curtains hooked onto curtain clips.

On the front window I hung the white panels with clips.

Curtains hung by sewn-in tabs.
Curtains hung by sewn-in tabs.

Behind the sofa I hung the curtains using the tabs that were sewn into the back of the panel.

Hanging from the tabs, the curtains just brush the floor.
Hanging from the tabs, the curtains just brush the floor.

They are the perfect length when hanging from the sewn in tabs and I think they actually look better this way.

Which hanging style do you prefer?
Which hanging style do you prefer?

Unfortunately the stark white fabric doesn’t really look great with the creamy white sofa, Revere Pewter walls, and natural linen shades.

The white curtains need to be converted to the color of natural linen.
The white curtains need to be converted to the color of natural linen.

Naturally my plan is to dye the new curtains.  The color I’m going for is close to the shade tone.  The question is do I try to tea dye the fabric or buy some commercial dye.

Do you change up your décor with the seasons?

Focusing on Décor Again

I’ve been having regular get-togethers for the past 5 months which means the house has been in a state of turmoil during that time.

When the living room was set up for a tea party we brought in extra chairs and an extra table.
When the living room was set up for a tea party we brought in extra chairs and an extra table.

Temporary chairs and tables have been moved in and out of the living room and dining room.

The white sofa cover is both casual and sophisticated at the same time.
The white sofa cover is both casual and sophisticated at the same time.

Now I’m ready to take a little break from all that entertaining and to get back to making the house more personal.

A simple mantel of favorite things.
A simple mantel of favorite things.

Some of my favorite things, like these blue Kosta vases, are back on the mantel.

The slip cover is changed for the summer.
The slip cover is changed for the summer.

And the sofa slipcover has been changed from grey to white.

The shelf on the left of the photo is in a new home.
The shelf on the left of the photo is in a new home.

As a side note on her way home from the Book Swap last Saturday one of my friends asked what I was going to do with the bookcase we had moved from the attic to the porch. I asked her if she wanted it (a thirty-year-old Ikea unit) and we loaded it up in her car then and there.

Are you happier to give or get cast-offs?

Swapped Books and Pulled Pork

Charlie and I pulled off a book swap on Saturday.

Folks put their books in an appropriate category then chose books that interested them.
Folks put their books in an appropriate category then chose books that interested them.

A variety of people, some who didn’t even know each other, each brought ten books to swap which led to conversations about common interests: books.

Non fiction
Non fiction remains

One couple came who was unknown to both of us sent by a mutual friend.

Fiction on the mantel.
Fiction on the mantel.

I am left with a bigger pile of books than I started with which will ultimately be donated to The Book Thing when it reopens after a recent fire.

The kitchen island was set up with the food buffet: pulled pork sliders, tortellini salad, barbecue chicken thighs, bread and butter pickles, grapes, brownies, and ice cream sandwiches.
The kitchen island was set up with the food buffet: pulled pork sliders, tortellini salad, barbecue chicken thighs, bread and butter pickles, grapes, brownies, and ice cream sandwiches.

The menu was very successful and would work for a large or small crowd.

I used a 9-pound bone-in pork shoulder with the skin.
I used a 9-pound bone-in pork shoulder with the skin.

I used Martha Stewart’s recipe for pulled pork.

Bacon is fried to render fat for searing the pork shoulder.
Bacon is fried to render fat for searing the pork shoulder.

The pork was seared in bacon grease.

I had to sear the pork in a bigger pan because it would not fit in my Dutch oven without being trimmed.
I had to sear the pork in a bigger pan because it would not fit in my Dutch oven without being trimmed.

I had to cut down the pork should to fit into the Dutch oven but I added the trimmed pieces to the pot.

Ingredients for the sauce.
Ingredients for the sauce.

The ingredients were mixed together and poured over the pork and bacon.

The pork shoulder is braised for 6 hours to become pulled pork.
The pork shoulder is braised for 6 hours to become pulled pork.

The pork finished cooking at half past midnight for 6 hours in a 300 degree oven.

Pulled pork
Pulled pork

I let it cool until early the next morning when I shredded it into fine pieces and returned it to the pot juices.

We prepared the pulled pork on small rolls to make it easy to eat.
We prepared the pulled pork on small rolls to make it easy to eat.

Later in the day the pulled pork was served on small slider-sized rolls — easy to eat. I can fully recommend this recipe.

Did you have something especially good to eat this weekend?

A Peaceful Mother’s Day

After having a houseful of friends and family yesterday at our Book Swap I’m anticipating a peaceful Mother’s Day.

The kitchen island was set up with the food buffet.
The kitchen island was set up with the food buffet.

Enough food left over so no one needs to cook.

Charlie cleaned up after our party.
Charlie cleaned up after our party.

Charlie has been hired to play music for an afternoon Mother’s Day party at a local assisted living.

Looking forward to a cappuccino.
Looking forward to a cappuccino.

So I’m just chilling.

My grandmother and mother back in the 1950s.
My grandmother and mother back in the 1950s.

Happy Mother’s Day to everyone who is remembering her own mother today.