Saturday, March 31, 2012


I have a small collection of heart shaped rocks.  It’s small because I’m very picky about the shape – a vague triangle shape doesn’t cut it.  Also, either I or Himself must find it.  I won’t buy one. 

I keep them in this tray on the floor by my bedside desk.  (The inside of that tray is in line for a makeover – tiger stripes be gone!)

The first two came from Alaska.  Himself found them and brought them home for me at different times.

This one is basalt.  It is heavy and so smooth.  It feels really good to run your hands over it.  It would make a great massage stone (it and about 10 buddies…). 

I’m not sure what this one is.  I would guess basalt but it is layered with bands of something else.  Many of the rocks in the Aleutian chain look like this.  The white marks are from the paint on the floor of his ship.  It slid around a bit during some rough seas.  LOL

This stone is from the woods at our home.  Tennessee limestone.  I found it as we were walking along a small cut in the hill that used to be a railroad line.  

The next ones came from Colonsay Island in Scotland. 

I think the rings are so interesting on this one.  I found it on the beach near our B&B.

And on the same beach I found this stone.  I love it!  The heart shaped inclusion is a quartzite in an igneous stone. 

The last two heart stones I have came from a beach in Galloway – very close to Sorbie Tower.

I’m not sure what sort of stone this is.  There were MANY stones with this smooth red material going thru them (you can see that it goes thru the stone and is not something on top of it). 

I couldn’t believe it when I saw this one.  A red heart inside a white heart.  The band makes it look like a locket on a necklace!  

As I was writing about each of the stones and where they came from, it occurred to me that they are all from places I love.  Places that have taken my heart.  And those places have given me hearts to take back with me.
Beautiful trade.

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Evolution of a Bedroom

When we moved into our home I already had an idea of how I wanted to do the master bedroom.  I wanted a room that reminded us of the beaches we loved.  Northern beaches.. rugged and rocky. 

It’s taken a while but I’ve finally gotten it to what I had envisioned 4 years ago.

Top photo was taken in 2008, shortly after we had moved in.  The bottom photo was taken last spring.  This is my dresser.
And here it is now.   
The paint color is Behr “Bayside”.  The focal point is the ‘window framed’ photograph of a beach in Scotland.  I got the window from Best Friend when she had all the windows in her house replaced. 

I love how I can wake up and be looking at one of the beaches I spent time on in Scotland.  I’ve scattered things across the dresser that continues that feeling. 

Most of it was picked up in Scotland but a few pieces are from Alaska.

The old ladder was my Mom’s.  I grabbed it when she redecorated the room she had been using it in. 

The rocker and throw rug are from Himself’s uncle Herb.  The rug was hand hooked by Herb’s mother.  I recaned the rocker seat.  The small blue box belonged to another one of his uncles.  We’re not sure what the CCF stood for. 

Notice our door stop by the waste basket?  It is a single link from an anchor chain.  Himself worked long and hard to cut that free from a pile of scrap at the boat yard.  It is really heavy!

Again… 2008 and 2011.  Himself’s chest of drawers.
And now… 
The huge wreath that’s the focal point on this wall was a find at Home Goods… on clearance!  (I had women stopping me asking if there were any more in the store as I continued shopping.  LOL) 

Himself found the little bird on one of our trips.  It matches the wreath perfectly so I sneaked it out of his office.  The lantern is battery operated so it is safe to use so near the wreath. 

The little lamp was a gift from his mom.  It’s a bit brighter than a nightlight and glows very prettily.  All the shells on the chest are from our travels.

The stained glass came from our trip to Mackinaw Island.  And the chunk of wood is a piece of driftwood from a boat dock that got smashed up somewhere.  I found this in WA State and brought it home in my luggage (I always pack light so I can bring treasures home!  I always wonder what TSA is thinking when they check my bags.  LOL). 

Not much change between 2008 and 2011.   (I need to learn to close doors when I take room photos!  Looks like I was sorting some clothes last year…)
And now in 2012. 

The color really shows up nicely here.  And I remembered to close the other doors!  LOL

Himself found this hand carved oar on a remote island along the Alaskan Inner Passage. 

The large picture is a limited edition print of the Trident Seafoods plant at Akutan, Alaska.  The 4 photos above it are shots I took when I visited Akutan. 

But there were big changes here!  The bedspread is the first thing I bought after we moved in.  Last year I decided that the head board we had in ’08 would look better in the guest bedroom… and I bought a new bed set. 
And this wall continues to have the biggest changes.   
The board wall isn’t the old barn wood it appears to be… it is new 1x12 shiplap board that has been stained with Sherwood Williams “Charwood” stain.  I wanted a rough appearance so I did no sanding and rolled the stain on. 
I love how it pops out the art in my gallery grouping.  The large piece over the bed is a sea chart Himself brought home (he has brought me a lot of them).  What is special about this one is that it is of Adak and Sitkin Islands… where we were when I visited his ship in 2008.  It is the very chart that was in use at that time!  (I’m still working on framing up the chart – it is up for size reference.)
The left side is Himself’s.  He found the end table he uses as a night stand at World Market. 

My ‘night stand’ is an old Craftsman desk that belonged to his uncle Herb.  I bought it at his estate auction.  The chair is an extra from my dining room set.  The lamp was found at the Pottery Barn outlet in Memphis. 

Photos of the babies and a pair of newborn socks from each of them.  Every time I come home from visiting them I marvel at how tiny their feet used to be… and how fast those little feet can run now! 
The vase is porcelain from our trip to Budapest, Hungary.

Here there be dragons! 
Isn’t he wonderful?  Dragoon was made by a talented artist in Austin, MN.  There is a great little gallery in the mall there with many different pieces by talented artist.  It is well worth stopping to visit if you are going by.
The photo of Himself was taken at the headwaters of the Mississippi River. 
I love how our master bedroom has evolved into a room that holds so many wonderful memories.  It is truly unique and “us”. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Just One Box Away...

It is time… 

I’ve gotten my upstairs decluttered and it is great.  If I want something, I can go to exactly where said item is located and get it.  

So now it is time to go into the monster’s lair.  Yes… I am cleaning out the shed.  

Armed with a healthy and productive dose of “sick of it”, I’ve pretty much decided unless I have a plan or a place for something… it is history.  

I’ve been thinking about this whole business of having ‘stuff’.   Dealing with clutter/too much ‘stuff’ has become an industry.  Storage buildings, sheds, a ba-zillion storage containers (and stores dedicated to selling ONLY storage containers), experts at helping a person organize and/or clear out their clutter, books and magazines written about how to deal with clutter, TV shows to entertain us by looking at other people’s clutter… 

According to Becoming Minimalist: 

•The US department of energy reports that one-quarter of people with two-car garages have so much stuff in there that they can’t park a car. 

•According to the national soap and detergent association, getting rid of clutter would eliminate 40 percent of housework in the average home.

•The national association of professional organizers says we spend one year of our lives looking for lost items.

•Harris interactive reports that 23 percent of adults say they pay bills late (and incur fees) because they lose them. 

•If you rent a storage facility to store your excess belongings, you’re contributing to a $154 billion industry – bigger than the Hollywood film business!

•1 in 11 American household’s rents a self-storage space and they spend over $1000 a year in rent. 

•It costs an average of $10/square foot to store items in your home. 

Oh my goodness!  Where does it all end?  How much stuff is enough?  

I started working in the shed last Friday.  At this point, it’s a bit overwhelming. 

I have backed Little Red up to the door and anything that is in good condition is tossed into the truck bed.  Every time I go to town I will drop the truck bed contents off at the charity store… or if I fill it, I’ll make a special trip to town. 

Just outside the shed door I have a pile of “goes to the dump”.  I’ll keep chucking stuff into that pile until I have enough to fill the back of the truck… then I’ll make the drive over to the dump. 

Load… get rid of… repeat. 

My goal is by the end of April, there is nothing in that shed on the floor unless it has wheels or legs (or is a bag of concrete!).  

Whatever I decide to keep will be in a labeled tub so I can find it WHEN I need to use it or up on a pegboard for easy access.  

And I’ll enjoy May without having to be working in a junky shed!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Good Eats: Carrabba's Italian Grill

On one of our shopping trips to Nashville, Best Friend and I ate at a restaurant that is one of her favorites.

Carrabba’s is an Italian chain.  One of the best kept secrets (at least at the one at Green Hills) is that the ‘bar’ seating at the kitchen is open seating… no matter long the wait line for a table is, if there is seating open at the kitchen bar you can take it.

And take it we did!

It’s basically sitting at the Chef’s table.  (I apologize for the grainy photos.  I was using Best Friend’s phone camera – never dreamed I’d want to take pics of our dinner!)

You could see all the action from there.

I found it interesting the way the pasta was pre-cooked to just underdone and portioned out in individual serving sizes.  An order came in and the pasta ball was dropped in boiling water to finish cooking. 

We were right next to the service window and could see everything that came out.  It made picking supper really hard because everything looked so good!

Their pizzas are baked in a wood fired oven.  This margherita pizza looked sooo good!  I almost ordered that.

But instead I decided on a scallop dinner.

Best Friend had rigatoni. 

And we split a decadent chocolate bread pudding for dessert.

I will definitely be going back to Carrabba’s and will be sitting at the kitchen table!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

It's Busting Out Springtime!

With this crazy weather we’ve had (no winter to speak of and 60F or more from late Feb) everything in the yard seemed to bloom at once.  Most of my “spring” flowers are already finished here in late March. 

But they were beautiful while they lasted.  And I’ve enjoyed being out in the yard putting it to right after all the storms and blown leaves.  It’s starting to look good out there.