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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Redecorating

I'm getting bored with the way my house looks.  So, I've decided to make some changes.  I'm starting small - with the bathroom.  When I bought the house, I would have liked to have cobalt blue fixtures, but, something like that cuts resale value, so I went with an almond color.  All the accessories (soap dish, cup, etc.) are the same color.  I did get brave with the towels, they're deep blue, along with the bath mat which Burnie does terrible things on after he's eaten a plant.

I started looking for deep blue accessories to jazz the room up a little.  Do you know how hard it is to find deep blue cups, soap dishes, etc?  I tried all the stores I could think of.  I went on-line and did see a set I liked, but they didn't have the toothbrush holder in stock, so I didn't buy any other pieces.

Then I checked on a major on-line retailer.  While going through the list of bathroom accessories, I saw that they had urns for sale.  OK, that didn't seem too odd until I saw that they were adult or large sizes.  They were nice urns, keepsake urns.  I really didn't think they should have been with the bathroom accessories, should they?

I wonder how many people keep these urns in the bathroom.  I always thought they were kept over a fireplace or on a shelf, but the bathroom.  'Tis a puzzlement.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Soup Weather

It's been cold this week, in case anyone hasn't noticed.  I like the cold.  I like getting  bundled up in a nice heavy sweater at home, or in a nice warm jacket if I have to go out.  It's also a great time for soup.

This morning I went to the supermarket to get some stew meat to make beef vegetable soup.  While there I saw oxtails.  They were a staple when I was young.  My mother made a great big pot of oxtail soup on cold winter days.  The soup was very good, but what I really remember was the vegetables she used.  She would buy cans of either Veg-All or Veg-Pack.  The strange thing about these vegetables was that they were a combination of carrots, peas, lima beans, corn and green beans, all packed separately and  divided by a sheet of paper in the can.  Why they were separated I'll never understand since they were meant to  be put into a pot and mixed up.  Oh well.

When I got home, I realized that I couldn't find my mother's recipe.  It's buried somewhere in one of my cookbooks.  I decided to wing it, after all how hard is it to make soup.  So, I put the oxtails in a pot, browned them, added beef broth, some tomato paste (I think she used ketchup) and the vegetables (a frozen mix).  It simmered for hours.  It tasted pretty good, it should be better tomorrow after everything has had a chance to settle. 

Oh, I also added a small fistful of  barley and that reminded me of my brother.  Several years ago, he decided to make the soup following my mother's recipe.  When he got to the barley, which was supposed to be about a tablespoon, he decided that wasn't enough.  So, he added the whole box.

Of course, the  barley expanded and instead of oxtail soup, he wound up with barley stew.  Once I got through the barley, it wasn't too bad.

I'm looking forward to a nice piping hot bowl of soup tomorrow night.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Decisions

When I chose this house, it had not been built.  That meant that I could make decisions about the room sizes, types of materials used, etc.  I made many decisions, some good and some not so good.  I should have opted for a storage room over the garage and 42" kitchen cabinets instead of the 30".  Oh well, next time.

One of the best decisions I made was to have hardwood floors instead of carpeting.  My thinking was, again, one of economics.  I felt that if I opted for carpet (which would have been installed over the concrete slab, or a cheaper floor) I would be stuck.  If I changed my mind and wanted hardwood, I would have had to install a new floor.  If I so desire, I can always put carpeting over the hardwood.  Enough rambling.  One of the advantages of a wood floor is the ability to move large items.

At Christmas time, I put my tree on an old blanket and just drag it through the house.  One time, I assembled a bookcase on the floor, again on the old blanket.  When it was finished, I just pulled the blanket up to the wall and lifted the bookcase.  So easy.

Yesterday, while sitting in the living/family room I looked around and decided the room was boring and needed a change.  It was time to rearrange the furniture.  Under most conditions, this is not an easy task - I have a sofa, sofabed and recliner, ottoman, two coffee tables and an eterge.  Because of the wood floor, I just slid the furniture around until I had the right arrangement. 

Years ago, in my old house, with carpet, rearranging the furniture was a backbreaking, all day job.  Yesterday, all it took was about an hour.

I like it now, don't know how long it will be until I'm bored with it.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Christmas

I know it seems strange posting about Christmas nearly two weeks after the day.

I love Christmas, I love all the decorating and visiting.  There's only one aspect of Christmas that I hate.  It's putting all the decorations away and dismantling the trees.  Yes, I have multiple trees - one in the family room (that's the main tree), one in the entry and one in each of the two bedrooms.  It's so festive, and having the tree as the only light in the bedroom is sooo nice.

Yesterday, I started taking the ornaments off and packing them away.  That job is almost complete.  In the process, I set a new record.  I dropped and broke three ornaments.  Thank goodness they were fairly new and didn't have many memories attached.

Today, I started with all the decorations, candles, linens, etc.  As I was packing them, I discovered several decorations that I hadn't put up this year, and surprise, I hadn't missed them.

After everything is boxed, they have to be moved to the garage, which is  very cold and the light is  very temperamental.  Some days it lights, some days it doesn't.  Hopefully, it will stay lit today.  When my son was in for Christmas, he replaced all my blown out bulbs and the house is so nice and bright.  Unfortunately, the day after he left, the garage light started its temper tantrum.

I know that when I'm finished, my home will look so bare and I'll have to start thinking about some new decorating project.  Right now, I'm thinking of making a spray of silk flowers to put over the fireplace, or in my room over the bed.  I may even print some of my photographs from my travels, frame them and hang them in various rooms.

Or, I could just sit down and read a book.