November 10, 2013


Find the Kitty Friday, Again!

Betcha it will take you a minute.


Did you find her?

By the way, did you happen to notice my beee-yoo-teeful bookshelves? I can’t remember if I bragged about them on this blog or on the social networks *blush* but we are so very happy they actually turned out OK! Miracles do happen!! And we still have all our fingers and toes AND sanity!

Bookcases done

They add so much value to the room. We had to up our insurance recently because of our improvements we’ve made. And we also got a nice new set of appliances not too long ago (my 20-year old washer bit the dust). I didn’t opt for any kind of appliance warranty but after checking out the Choice Home Warranty profile on, I may rethink that. Appliances are scathingly expensive and they just aren’t built like they once were. What say you? Do you have appliance insurance?

It’s good to sit back and enjoy the fruits of our labors before starting any new projects. This winter we will relax and plan for possibly some major new expeditions on the house. And I’m sure Livvy will love the new hiding places we’ll be making! LOL

Continue reading...

October 25, 2013


Find the Kitty Friday!

It’s cooooooold. So where do you think she could be?!


Look a little closer.


Ah! Yes, of course!




Continue reading...

October 12, 2013

Comments Off on Harvesting Apples

Harvesting Apples

Am I the only one who finds grocery store produce bland? For years, I never noticed how bland and uninteresting that shelf-laden stuff is until I planted my own stuff. I just ate it (or my dad forced me to eat it!) and thought nothing of it.

But what a difference your own produce makes!

Homegrown apples

These are apples we collected from our “small” apple tree. They are the Jonathan variety. It’s taken the tree forever to grow, because it’s been outright warfare, beating back the herds of deer that annually chowed down on the tree. But that little tree kept growing, kept trying to keep enough bark and leaves to produce something.


And now the house smells like apples. Oh, my goodness. Have you ever smelled freshly picked apples before??? It’s good. They say the best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago, hahah! I’m so glad I planted my apple trees. The fruit is mighty scraggly because we also have to contend with the wasps and bunnies and fruit flies as well as the deer, but it looks like there is finally enough fruit for all to share.

And once we peel the skin and sink our teeth into the sweet flesh… it’s simply wonderful. What a difference from the grocery aisle!

Continue reading...

October 11, 2013


Bookcases – DONE!

And thus finalizes my living room magnus opus: the 17-foot-long, 9-foot-high sets of bookcases made of oak. Voila!

Bookcases done

It’s my first *real* carpentry project. There were a number of bumps along the way and it took me a full year to finally complete everything… but it’s done! And you can probably see that I still don’t have enough room to hold all my books. Some of the smaller collections are stacked doubly. But it’s done and we are thrilled. It really adds incredible architectural interest to the room.

I also installed my cornice boxes (more on that later).

I’m eager to finish up a few more smaller projects that remain undone since 2011 (after we gutted the downstairs and redid the kitchen). There are still areas of trim work to be done…. it just never ends, does it?

Continue reading...

September 5, 2013


Find the Kitty Friday and YES We Have Been Doing Something This Summer

We got to a late start this summer. With me working, and some crazy things happening the past year, it seems that home renovation has taken a back seat. Make that a stash-in-the-trunk kind of seat. But it IS going on.

I’m finally getting around to patching the siding around the new kitchen window. Well, the kitchen window isn’t exactly new anymore. Remember that 2010 kitchen renovation? It was new then. And I, um, never finished patching the siding til this week. Heh heh.

By the way, can you “Find the Kitty” in this photo?

Fixing Siding

Yes, the house is suffering. I’ve completely neglected the back because the interior has needed so much work. We only have the downstairs completely done… I have such nice, neat little plans to finish the downstairs bathroom, gut and restore the upstairs bedrooms (they are still 1855-style with the original plaster and all), and then get to the siding and porches. But the house has other plans. It’s been clamoring for attention in areas that are NOT in my schedule!

The tub decided to spring a leak (blast those fiberglass cheapos!!!) and ruin the kitchen ceiling. The large garage door spring broke off and we have to manually haul the 100-pound door up and down whenever we want to get into the garage (there’s no “regular” entrance into the garage). The insurance company loudly complained about our “lack of siding” around the kitchen window — although we DO have plywood siding beneath the tar paper but they don’t care, all they see is tar paper so they think it’s just bare wood framing beneath, sigh. Add to the mix a myriad of other problems like flooding damage and the front porch sagging terribly due to excessive water and a washed-out foundation… tired yet?

SO as much as I would love to give the kids a summer vacation where they can play cool video games and play their guitars and keyboards all they want, I must be a meany mom and make them help me. I sometimes feel like the house is going to swallow me up. It’s SO needy. But I love the old thing and it gives me a chance to tinker and build stuff, which I love to do. I just wish it wasn’t so consuming and so durn expensive. I hope that by the time I finish all the “big” renovations, I’ll still be around to enjoy my labors!

What have you been doing this summer? Are you glad to see the season end?

Continue reading...

July 5, 2013


Find the Kitty 07.05.13

Haven’t done this in a while. Where could she possibly be?!


Continue reading...

July 1, 2013


The Year of No Summer

Wait a minute… didn’t I name another blog post with this same title last year? And the year before, too? And the year before that?

Oh, it’s been a long decade. :S

Upstate New York has been plagued with rain. And over-development has created massive flooding problems for communities that, before, were well able to manage extremely wet weather.

Not no more.




This is a real miracle– we only got 12 inches of water this time! Photo taken after waters had subsided. In the past, we’ve had 3 feet. And we were somewhat prepared, so loss of property was minimal. It’s taken us several days to clean out the muck, however.

Basement F1


All this was from the June 28 flood. Communities like Herkimer, Fort Plain, and others were literally, completely under water. Some folks were carried off and we’re still looking for them.

I drove by a neighbor’s the other day and found this gem.



It’s getting crazy. We’ve had over 10 inches for June. July looks to be as soggy, too. Many of us have not been able to plant our vegetable gardens, as we had a late May hard frost and then the rains came and haven’t stopped. Now that it’s July, our summer is nearly over.

It’s another year for the history books.

Continue reading...

June 10, 2013


Find the Kitty: Too Smart For Her Own Good

My cat is smart. Too smart. Well, maybe ALL cats are this smart, but my previous cats must have all been lugnuts because Lizzy is, in my estimation, brilliant.

I’ve told you before how she figured out how to open our 1800’s-style latched French door (and made a video to prove it). I decided to make another little video of Livvy figuring out how to get into our “firebox.”

Our “firebox” is a small, boxed extension off the living room wall. I built it to house a gas log fireplace (when we get one). The gas line is all set up and everything, and we cut a small access panel into the side of the box. We haven’t made a door for the panel yet.

Unfortunately, Livvy likes to slip through the panel hole into the firebox. I don’t like her going in there because I don’t want her to get into trouble, seeing there’s a gas line and valve in there. When she hops in, I scold her to get out but she just gives me the stink eye.

So the husband cut a piece of cardboard to temporarily keep her out. He placed the garbage can in front of the cardboard, for good measure.

But Livvy will not be thwarted!


She’s unbelievable. And did you notice how she turned around inside the hole and looked out at us, blinking cutely?

What a cat.

Continue reading...

May 23, 2013


Sneaker Puss

She didn’t want me to go to work today.

Livvy on sneakers


Continue reading...

April 29, 2013

Comments Off on Another Spring, Another Mini Renovation

Another Spring, Another Mini Renovation

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Flood® Wood Care for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Once again, this will be the year that we skip any major overhauls and work on or finish up the multitudes of smaller projects. For starters, we have a LOT of interior trim work, shelving, and other small carpentry work to do. If you recall, last year we re-painted the living room, got new furniture, and built two glorious built-in bookcases. They turned out SO well. This was my first big carpentry project, and it looks pretty nice.

But it’s not completely done. I have yet to complete the trim work. I’m using a nice red oak for the units, and we re staining everything a pretty mahogany color. I really like it and it adds a formality to the room.

We also have plans to add a small deck on the back porch. Right now, it’s just a dilapidated stoop with fiberglass roof (ugh), but when I close my eyes I can see a wide deck large enough to hold all our Adirondack chairs! I’m not very familiar with outdoor wood staining so I’ll definitely be deferring to the easy-to-apply Flood® Wood Care. They have this cute guide widget called Staining Made Simple that make planning your project SO easy.

 photo floodsimplewood_zpsd7a3e820.jpg

The guide leads you through the selection process, first by determining your project and leading you to the type of stain that best suits it. It even helps you find the store nearest you that carries your chosen Flood stain color and style! How’s that for simple??

In addition, you can enter a very nice sweepstakes to win some terrific Flood products, AND a $1,500 gift card! Sweet!! All you have to do is “like” Flood on Facebook to enter. Check out the Flood Better Backyard Sweepstakes here.

It’s nice to know that– despite all the projects we have planned — things are made a little easier. You can read more about Flood stain for your wood projects online at the website or check out their Facebook page.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Legal residents of the 50 United States of America and (D.C.) 18 years and older. Ends 5/17/2013. To enter and for Official Rules, including odds, and prize descriptions visit Void in Puerto Rico and where restricted or prohibited. This Sweepstakes is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. You understand that you are providing your information to Sponsor and not to Facebook.

Visit Sponsor's Site

Continue reading...