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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Much Ado About To-Do

"You need," said my husband, "three lists."

"Three?"  I asked, looking up from my Wedding To-Do Notebook,
with its ink-and-tear-stained pages.

"Yes," he said.  "One titled 'Things Cass Wants To Have Done Before The Wedding,' 
one for 'Things That Should Be Done Before The Wedding,' 
and one for 'Things That Actually Will Get Done Before The Wedding.' 
That'll be the shortest one."

"Wise guy," I muttered, and picked up my pen.

But the ol' dude is right.
Thankfully there are loads of things crossed off my infamous & lengthy Wedding To-Do List.
Like -- book a venue, line up the florist, reserve the church, and buy my wedding shoes.
Two pairs, in fact.  I do have priorities.

Those sorts of things are skipping along just fine.
It's the "To-Do" List for That Old House that's giving me conniptions.

Things like:
Get the house painted.
House, power-washed and looking sadly nekkid.

Decide what to do about our some-OK and some-not-OK shutters.
Oh yeah, these are fine.
Put in an Instant Garden Of Earthly Delights
and banish those big prickly New Jersey weeds.

"Million Bells," look like teensy petunias, but don't need deadheading.  That's my kind of annual.

I'm not going to mention certain curtain sewing plans I have.  Nope, not gonna mention them.

We are making progress.
On Saturday we plunked a few pots of things here and there,
and Howard did loads of weed yanking, bless his heart.
I love hibiscus, and they bloom till frost.

Sunday afternoon we sorted through the house shutters and found some that we think are still viable.
We hung four "good" ones back on the porch, to make sure they can pass with a little scraping and sanding.
 This is what makes old wood shutters so special -- dimension and shadow.
Lots of shadow.  They add depth to a house, not just color.
 These are working shutters.  They can actually close over the windows, and in theory
their louvers can be tilted up or down, using that vertical rod on the front of the shutters.
This shutter, below, is missing its lower rod, but it's in the old crock, ready to be re-attached.
I say "in theory" because decades of paint make moving the louvers a challenge!
Our painter may not agree with our assessment of the shutters.  Can't say that I blame him.
Even Howard and I admit that some of the shutters may be too far gone to rescue.
 Ya think?
Also on Sunday, I tiled behind the kitchen sink,
so that the wall insulation won't come coyly peeking out anymore.
 I actually put the tile on a board that I'll attach under the window,
where it will impersonate a backsplash.
 These tiles don't go with the other kitchen colors, but they were fairly neutral and crazy cheap,
less than $5 a sheet at Home Depot, and thin and easy to work with, so work with them I did.

I've hit that "I ain't so fussy now, let's just get it done!" point.
Still to do: Grout.  Dirt colored.  My mama didn't raise no fool.

We also put new seats on the bathroom potties, but I opted not to show you those improvements.
You're welcome.

I'd share my entire To-Do list with you, but there's no need to traumatize you gentle folk.
I'm sure pretty much all Mothers-of-the-Bride have similar lists.
It will all get done.
At least, everything on that third list is a dead cert.

Because today is the last day of May.
Beginning tomorrow . . . it's the Wedding Month!
Daughter Alida and Josh tie the knot on the 25th.

I'm so excited!  And that's the best part.  :-)
 -- Cass

Monday, May 30, 2011

POP! Go The Poppies

That Old House, Memorial Day Weekend, 2009.

That Old House, Memorial Day Weekend, 2011.
We have put up the Flag, though; even a stripped-down house should fly the colors on Memorial Day.
 Shutters off, flaky paint powerwashed away, and she's waiting for her makeover.
We're hoping that in a week or so, there will be painters swarming all over her.
She's looking forward to that.

But not everything is gruesome around here.  There was a major metamorphosis this weekend, as this:

 . . . went to this:
Taken from the sunroom this morning; pardon our dishabille! We're tidying up the borders and it's a messy job.
 Anyway . . . this:
 . . . became this:
A popping Poppy!
 Not too much is blooming right now, and I haven't planted annuals yet.
We've got a nice clump of chives battling it out for space with rampant spearmint.
 So yesterday we yanked out the bullying spearmint, much of the ivy that had wandered
down off the stone wall and was covering the border, and began our delayed spring spruce-up.

Last fall we used "professional" landscapers to do the fall cleanup.
Big mistake.  They did yank the dead annuals and leaves and sticks,
but they also yanked Black-Eyed Susans, daylilies, irises . . . oy.
A triumphant iris, one that made it thru the Fall Cleanup Disaster.

Cute beards; aren't they darling?  I'm not going to mention menopause, I promise.

Plants in closeup have such amazing detail.  Look at this Poppy!

The papery petals look like crumpled silk.
 Despite the diminished flowering this May,
it's still a beautiful time in the border.
  On Memorial Day
we fly the flag, and remember, with gratitude,
the many who have served, and are serving, in uniform.

Links today:
Mosaic Monday, Little Red House, click here.
Metamorphosis Monday, Between Naps On The Porch, click here.
Show Off Your Cottage Monday, The House In The Roses, click here.

 Now I'm off to find Howard, who is hiding out somewhere hoping I will forget his promise to continue working in the yard today.  Poor man -- a day off from work, and I have him out in the fields!  -- Cass

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Breakfast For One, In The Sun, With A Scone, Having Fun . . .

And that's enough rhyming of things that sound like done! 
Because we are.  Done, I mean.


I've dipped back to May 2010, for a little tablescape post.
Like that day, it's brilliantly sunny here these days, after a period of relentless rain.
Enjoy your Sunday breakfast!
(May 20, 2010)

After a couple of wet days, it's grand to see the sun again.

Come into the conservatory, where the morning light is pouring through the windows,
and we've got your breakfast all prepared . . . .

Please, sit down.
There's freshly brewed coffee, and a special parfait, just for you!

Layers of sliced fresh strawberries and thick Greek yogurt,
topped with crunchy granola and a few ripe blackberries.

Go ahead, dig in . . .

while I tell you what I used to make your breakfast table setting.

Oh!  Don't forget; there's a cranberry scone on the plate!

The dishes are from a luncheon set for 6 that I bought last year at a hospital thrift shop.
They struck a chord in me when I saw them -- and they were only $15 so that struck a chord, too --
but it wasn't until months later that I realized why they'd struck a chord.

Take a look at this pattern; it's inexpensive "made in China" stuff called China Garden,
and it is my thrift shop bargain:

When I was first married, I fell in love with a Noritake pattern called Adagio.
I couldn't afford them, so I'd visit them at Kaufmann's Department Store in Pittsburgh.

This is the Noritake Adagio pattern:
Guess what?
My Bargain Barn bargain dishes are nearly identical in pattern to the Adagio china I couldn't afford 'way back when.
That pattern clearly imprinted itself in the part of my brain that stores my love of dishes
(and that is a great BIG portion of my brain)
and when I saw it on the thrift shop shelves . . . well, the rest is history.

You know what?  I still love this pattern, even in the knock-off china!

To spoon up your parfait and cut your scone, there's luncheon-sized pieces of Ambassador silverplate,
introduced in 1918.  Some of it has my husband's monogram: HL.
He was not introduced in 1918, thank goodness.

The flatware is tarnished, but we'll pretend we like it that way,
rather than admit that I was too lazy to run the silver cloth over it this morning.

The crocheted tray cloth is from my mother-in-law.
It's gorgeous, and makes a wonderful placemat.

To wipe the scone crumbs from your ruby lips, a vintage Irish linen luncheon napkin.

And to hold a few posies for your pleasure, a small early 19th-century Imari tureen.
It might have been in That Old House since this house was built, but it was not.
I got it on eBay for just a few dollars.  I wonder where it's been in its very long life?

Cobalt blue, a rusty red, a bit of gilt.  And the marks of much usage and many hands.

The parfait glass is part of another thrift store bargain -- 5 handblown goblets in watery blue.

I hope you enjoyed your breakfast in the conservatory, even in make believe.

Now, a confession:  I ate the yogurt parfait, but Howard made it.
He asked if it was legal to actually eat something off a blog Tablescape.
I said, Yes!

He also brewed the coffee that I took from the table to the computer. . .

. . . and it's pretty danged good, too.
The scone?  Back in the bakery box! -- Cass
Meanwhile, back in 2011,
Welcome Back, Followers!
I don't know where Blogger hid you for the past few days,
but I'm delighted to see you returned to the bosom of the That Old House family!
For more re-run posts, visit Chari at Happy To Design, for Sunday Favorites.  Click here!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Tidbits and Faradiddles

I've lost them.
My Followers.

Blogger has snatched them off my sidebar and is holding them in an unknown location,
where they are just hanging around, nothing to do, getting desperate . . .
  and clamoring -- begging! -- to be set free to return to those little boxes on the side.

I did a quick check of a few other blogs; some other Followers have also been taken up.
And plopped down somewhere, poor dears.

Poor Blogger.
It gives us free blogs to play with, and then we complain.
Kind of like children with their parents, huh?

 Meanwhile, in exactly 4 weeks from today, these two young people --
who in this picture demonstrate that they don't have enough sense
not to stand at the edge of an icy cliff -- are going to tie the knot.
Daughter Alida and fiance Josh, Grand Canyon.  They know I am kidding about the "no sense" thing.

I remind myself of the imminence of this event, just to feel that lovely rush of panic in my chest.
Gets me going in the morning, y'know?

I comfort myself that at least my sister Peggy (the godmother) and I
have found our perfect Royal Wedding hats for the big day:
We'll look a treat, will Peggy and I.
Some of the bride's cousins are threatening promising to wear hats to the wedding.
The bride thinks this will be very cool.  Stay tuned!  There will be pictures.

Enjoy this Memorial Day weekend.  Be safe, celebrate, give thanks, remember.  -- Cass

Friday, May 27, 2011

Oh, Spring!

Is any season more fun than Spring?
First of all, there's no snow.
Instead, the whole world is having babies.

 Grape Babies!
 They are a little hard to spot in the tangle of the grape vines,
but they are there, and growing daily.
 And so begins our summer-long vigil of watching the
ancient tangled grape vines at That Old House:

So that in the Fall, we can make this:

 In bigger jars.  Live and learn.
Also producing offspring -- finally! in this cold and wet Spring -- are the Iris plants:
 One of the apricot-colored iris bloomed, but it was almost immediately felled by a heavy storm
and is no longer picture-worthy.  It's up to the more common purple cousins to pose for the camera.

Iris are not shy about their beauty; they flaunt it.  Good for them.
Some of our iris are gone for good, I'm afraid, victims of the vicious winter of 2010-11.

And a totally random shot for today, of our upstairs hallway.
As I write this post on Friday morning, my two daughters are still sleeping
behind a couple of those doors.
 See that teeny tiny step partway down the hall?
That's where the old house (1832) meets up with the new house (1880s).

With two staircases leading off this hallway, and given my worry-wart personality,
we keep a nightlight burning there all the time to prevent (we hope) trippings and tumblings.

So when you come to visit and have to get up in the middle of the night
to wander down the hall to the necessary room, you have been warned.

Why do I have a picture of our upstairs hallway on the blog today?
Probably because it is the only place not cluttered  or in disarray right now at That Old House!

Happy Friday; I hope your weekend is just what you want it to be.  -- Cass

 Glenda at Tootsie Time hosts Fertilizer Fridays . . . go get inspired!  Click here!
Sherry at The Charm of Home is host to Home Sweet Home Friday.  Click here!
And at My Romantic Home, Cindy is hosting Show and Tell Friday.  Click here!