Saturday, October 31, 2020

Halloween 2020 -

A favorite Halloween card.

Above - my art from a few years back - nothing new this year.

Sunrise today.

 It will certainly be different this year.
I have a feeling Bob will have to eat a lot of
leftover candy!

Friday, October 30, 2020

This was the week . . . . . . .

Good Morning and good news. . . . . . . the house next door was sold
 and the closing was on Tuesday.

Two months with new owners who at first planned to raze it and build a
 fancy larger home for themselves, then made the decision to sell it on as 
they apparently couldn't fit their 'dream home' on that size lot - thank goodness!

Many people viewed the property offered 'as is', but as major renovations are
needed to bring the house back into shape, wouldn't pay the asking price.
Our new neighbor, Frank, in his early forties, we feel is going to be really
 nice - having chatted with him briefly to date.

Back view of the house next door.

I'm looking forward to  hearing what his plans are for the renovation. 
It may be a while before he moves in but yesterday there were
already people at house with cameras, laptops and clipboards etc. 
perhaps planning interior renovations/changes/updates etc.

The weather is changing. 
Yesterday's fall out from the most recent hurricane to make its final sweep
 across North Carolina, brought some rain and very strong winds. 
Acorns are almost over at last, it's now leaves, leaves, and a million more
 leaves, sailing through the air, piling up along the roadside curbs, and 
covering the garden which means plenty of raking and blowing ahead.

I love my newest mug, one of the many great birthday gifts received from 
granddaughter Jasmin.  Look at that naughty 'exploring' squirrel on the handle.

I also have a new book with a very interesting cover, a birthday gift from
 dear friend Ruth in England who knows what I enjoy reading and always
 picks amazing stories to share. 
This will be the perfect color mug for my coffee while turning the pages.

Autumn inspired breakfasts started this week.
Some days hot oatmeal, today and often, yogurt with toppings such as
 these, dried cranberries, chia seeds, muesli with nuts and oats etc.

Before the weather changed - time for some clean up jobs
 around the garden. . . . 

. . . . . and some perfect days of sunshine and warmth before the leaves started
their change to rust, orange and shades of brown.

Colorful flowers are almost gone other than a few dahlias and re-blooming 
azaleas in the front garden, however the camellias in the back are blooming
 now. . . . . and, as you can see, the newly sown grass is doing well.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Mini Kitchen Renovation -

NORTH Carolina is a great place to live. 
We've called it 'home' since 1977.
This house, 'the cottage', has been our home for 35 years.
Needless to say, a house always requires attention. Repairs and
renovations often rear their ugly heads. Things must be attended to 
in order to keep up one's property, especially as it ages. . . . just like
 its occupants!

My kitchen is OK, but having spent much of this pandemic year in
 said kitchen, cooking non-stop, I've noticed things in need of updating . . 
 . . . . and deep cleaning!!!
The words 'kitchen renovation' bring thoughts of a huge upheaval in the home.
 A total mess for weeks sometimes months, eating most meals out (we used
to be able to do that!), and an expense which could add up to
 thousands of dollars if replacing cabinets, appliances, flooring etc.
Yes, perhaps a beautiful new kitchen of your dreams . . . . . . eventually,
however it comes with a lot of work, disruption, and at a huge cost!

There are however smaller renovations which can be done . . . . . . and I've just
done one so small that most people, might not even notice it!  For me though
it's helping me enjoy my 35 year old kitchen a bit more!

Old Cabinet Pulls

For several years I've wanted a white kitchen - yes, paint all that
 oak woodwork - which was never going to happen as Bob loves "his wood."
Then I tried to cajole him into grey after he actually liked a kitchen 
we viewed at an IKEA store. With that not happening due to a mixed bag
 of reasons, I then fell in love with the amazing deVol English kitchen ads. . . . 
. . . . . beautiful spaces in dark blue, deep green, charcoal etc. Estimates
 to turn my kitchen into one of those requires winning the lottery, or
 inheriting a legacy, neither of which are in the cards!

Three awesome kitchens above all by deVol (UK)

New Cabinet Pulls

Looking at my cabinets I realized they were still in pretty good shape for 
their age, and apparently natural woods are becoming popular again, much
to Bob's joy.
What I really disliked the most were the door and and drawer 
pulls - old fashioned with their curlicues (see first photo), and losing their
 clean antiqued brass finish after being handled for so many years.

So, off I went to search for new hardware and, after looking at so many,
 I decided to try this one, bronze with just a smidgen of antiquing on the edges.
As the hinges are still pretty good looking - after a deep cleaning - and because 
removing and replacing over 50 hinges was beyond me, they are staying.
I bought one pull home to try and really liked it - went back the next day and
bought 25 more.

Together Bob and I removed all the old pulls, and I spent a long time cleaning
and touching up all the woodwork. The 26 new pulls for the doors and drawers
we put on together also.
Really pleased with the outcome which I think updates the kitchen a
little. As I said, this has to be the smallest 'kitchen reno' ever, but it
was easy, fast, caused no mess and upheaval, and cost under $150.00!

Kitchens get such a lot of heavy use, especially these days when we are
 cooking more than ever. Ours is not big by any means but it's comfortable
 to work in, has good light from the large windows, and the view to the back
 garden is lovely.

Speaking of views, my window above the kitchen sink faces the house
 next door across our adjoining driveways. Yes, the house I've recently
 featured which has been for sale. 
I'll have an update on that property very soon!

Any news from your kitchen?
What's cooking today?
I'm roasting veggies and making two Autumn soups.

I just have to add here that I'm overwhelmed by all the generous 
wishes you sent via comments and emails for my birthday on Monday.
Thank you everyone - you are such great friends.

Monday, October 26, 2020

A Memoir at Seventy Seven........................

Today is my BIRTHDAY!

When I was 7 years old, mother, father and I moved to what would be 
their forever family home. Prior to that, as a baby/toddler, I lived
 in a second floor flat in town with my mother and grandma, my father
 still away serving in the Royal Air Force. 
Later we moved to a prefabricated ('prefab') home - modern and
 quite spacious - on one of many housing estates built to accommodate
 the British people across the UK requiring homes following
 World War II. It was there that I made my first friends and we all
 went to school together.
To me, the new 'real' house, was a dream come true. Although small,
the semi-detached bungalow with three bedrooms, and great garden
 areas front and back, and neighbors with children my age, was fabulous.
  On a then very quiet road, more like a country lane, it was just a two
 minute walk from the rolling, lush green Devon countryside, and a ten
 minute bus ride to the seaside and beaches where I spent a lot of time. 
Note, not many people had cars in those years! The year following 
that move, along came my brother, eventually filling that third bedroom!

My childhood there was magical and my memories are still so clear.  
With farms and fields to explore, my mother and I would pull on
our rubber 'wellies' to go gather mushrooms for breakfast in the early
 morning dew - before the sweet-faced Jersey cows stomped on them! 
We'd stop and buy fresh eggs from a farm. 
On long summer days I spent hours learning the names of wildflowers, 
native birds, climbing huge oak trees, and often on warm, sunny days
 picnicking on a blanket and breathing in the fragrance of the rich red 
clay soil, tall grass and flowers.

Oh, by the way, the bungalow house, where I lived until 1962 when I
emigrated to the USA. . . . . .was number 77 on our country road!
It's still there and I always stop and look at it when home for a visit.
Not much has changed other than the front garden being turned
into a parking lot now that people have cars! Not pretty as 
when my mother planted many beautiful shrubs and flowers.

Somewhere, some years ago, I found this brass number.  Probably at 
one time it held a key to a locker, and with such a magical, to me,
 number I had to have it. Today seems the perfect day to share it
  with you as I celebrate yet another birthday. . . . . . . .bet you can
 guess which one!!!

Birthday celebrations, like all celebrations this year, have to be 
different. Mine will be quiet. As October leaves fall and the
 nights turn chilly, I will just be thankful for another year under the
 warmth and safety of my roof, and in good health. . . . . but ready for
 cake, and a glass of bubbly later of course!

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

When life changes . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . we must make adjustments

Dahlias brightening the kitchen window

Searching for healthy beet recipes 

Hunting for new yarns for knitting projects

Awaiting cozy sweater days

Making the most of staying home (I wish this was my room!)

October sunrise from my upstairs window

Soups, wonderful soups.
Making many these days. . . . . .

. . . . . . this one today.

Breakfast nook - green grass germinating in the back garden again, yay!

    No time to write much - just pictures today.
We seem to be so busy this week.
Autumn is lovely when the sun shines and the days are
 cooler. . . . . and we have plenty to do at home!

Friday, October 16, 2020

Coming to America - so long ago!

Autumn is a wonderful time for me.
Many of the special things in my life happened in October through the years.
Celebrations, even in this time of a pandemic, will continue, though
in different ways.

Today it's 58 years since I arrived here in the United States of America as a
legal immigrant. An entire day spent at the American Embassy in London early
 in 1962, several months prior to getting my paperwork in order to enter this country,
included interviews, medical exams, swearing to uphold laws, signing papers
 and such. I was sponsored by an agency who would help place me in a job.
 I was almost 19 and planned to come for a year to work as a secretary in 
Washington D.C., save some money, travel a bit. . . . . all which I did,
then return home to England where I would settle down again.

What happened?
 His name is Bob, haha!!!!!

Thanks Bob for all the great years in America. . . . . . . .and all the amazing 
places we've seen around the world. 

Today the rains are pouring down here but it's still a great day for me.
Hope your day is good too.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Autumn somewhere else perhaps?

Where would you really like to be right now?
If it was still possible to travel anywhere, would you return to a place
 you know, or throw caution to the wind and venture into the unknown?

At this time of year I love being in France but this of course is not
 going to happen.  But I can dream. . . . . . and hopefully next year will
 be better and Autumn travels will be underway - it's my favorite time of
 year to visit EUROPE.

Working with this old laptop I'm only able to open old photos - so, for a while,
anything I might post here will be about former adventures and travel.

In October 2015 - hard to imagine that's already 5 years ago - we had a
a great trip to France. It involved two segments of river boat sailing - with
always exciting Paris days first, then the Normandy Beaches, followed by 
 a long, very scenic sail along the Saone and Rhone rivers from Paris to
 Arles, Provence.

From there we took a train to my brother's village home in the Languedoc 
near Carcassonne in Southwest France and, following the usual sunny
 and golden harvest time in and around the vineyards, another train
 journey took us south to Barcelona, Spain.

Here's a link to my 2015 visit to my brother's village where I'm sure
 little has changed in five years.

Being a huge lover of Vincent Van Gogh, I was thrilled, at long last, 
to spend a day in Auvers-sur-Oise - a few photos above.

Link to a post made back then.

An Autumn day in Southwestern France - along the road and through the
 vineyards to the wonderful town of Mirapoix - complete with amazing
 13th century buildings.

Yes, Autumn memories of France are special.

I was just notified by Apple that my Mac is on its way home 
already and should be at my door by 8 PM TODAY!  
Wow, what great service.