Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 - A Year In Review

I can't believe it's almost the New Year already.

A lot has happened this past year. LOTS!

Lots of home improvement.

Lots of travel.

Lots of work.

Lots of play.

Lots of ....

Some of these things I've posted about in depth. Some I didn't. I either didn't have time, couldn't find my camera to download the photos, or just didn't because...well, in the words of my boys when they were little - "just because...."

So, in NO particular order, things I want to remember from 2009....

Phillips 1st, but hopefully not last, trip to Indy 500. He got to meet and have breakfast with Rupert of Survivor fame. Had an ALL-ACCESS pass and used it to it's fullest. Had fun with the camera crew AND was within arms reach of the INDY 500 winner when he drank "the milk".

Our master bathroom remodel. No more sharing a bathroom with boys and guests! Privacy is a wonderful thing.

The new-to-us motor home and camping with friends.

Going to McMinnville to see the Hercules, most commonly known as the Spruce Goose. This plane is GYNORMOUS!!!! Can you see the guy up on the platform???

The "flattening" of the front yard. Well, it's not actually FLAT - FLAT, but it'll be a whole lot easier to mow in the Spring.

The small side of the garage all "dude'd" up. NO more sagging loft. No more gross, spider-web infested window. Newly poured, level floor (even if it cracked because the contractor did it wrong!) Painted floor and walls. Ceiling insulation. New lights & door. Shelves. New power. NICE!!!

Brunch on the Hellgate Boat Trip. Even though we ALMOST missed the boat, we made it - more like, they waited for us!!! Fun day together.

KILZ! Lots of KILZ....Kitchen, bathroom, bedrooms, office, dining room, scrap room, entry room, hallways....Whew! No wonder my arms, neck and shoulders are sore....

Hallway closet shelves. At last.

The front porch. Still not finished, but a whole better porch than we NEVER had....

Aaaaah, yes! THE motorcycle. The first one I ever rode for real. On a real dirt/gravel, mountain road. THE motorcycle that I fell down on and skinned almost my whole right side on. THE motorcycle that is fairly easy to ride on pavement, and fairly easy to ride going UPHILL, but is very scary (for a first-time rider) to turn around on a dirt/gravel road whilst on a descent with a mountain drop off to the right - thus my nervous sweats (yes, girls do sweat!) and "herky-jerky" movements that caused the clutch to pop, the bike to die and roll downhill towards the drop-off, until, finally, I let it fall upon myself to avoid the embarrassment of scratching the bike the first time out. FIRST RIDE. LAST RIDE SINCE. I'll stick to the Automatic Honda Ruckus that does not require coordination of both feet and both hands. My mind just doesn't work that way! I can't dance either. Jr. High Aerobics was like watching Elaine from Seinfeld dance!!! Oh well.

Manx Dunebuggy rides. Lots of them throughout the year. TOO much fun. Yes, I can drive this baby. Clutch. Shift. Gas. NO problem-o. FUN, FUN, FUN! Like driving a street-legal go cart.

Stumpy-the-Rooster! A most unique Kauai bird. We saw LOTS of chickens in Kauai. Weird! But he was by far my fave.

Lots of fun with my girlfriends. Lots of creating. Fun retreats. Lots of laughs. Lots of good food. A good time was had by all.

Trip to Maui. Beautiful Sunsets. To-Die-For Snorkeling. Time Alone. Lots of Relaxing. Lots of Energy. Lots of Great Memories.

OMG. This car ROCKS!!! O.K., so Phillip bought it in 1993, and it was finally completed in 2001, but here it is with new, and I DO mean NEW (designed by a friend of ours) wheels. Truth is, this was for a test-fit, and the Classic CenterLines are back on it, but these wheels look awesome on the Impala.

We brought a TON, well, actually, SEVERAL TONS of stone onto the mountain this last year. These walkway stair slabs were so heavy, they required heavy equipment to move!

AND FINALLY, a little something that I'll always remember, in honor of my three boys. A three-sea-turtle tattoo. I got my first tattoo while we were in Maui this last Summer. I love it! Even if some people I know can't believe I actually got a tattoo. It was really easy and not nearly as painful as I always imagined. I may even get another, someday....

There were a TON of things that happened in 2009. Kyle moved to Idaho and back again. A.J. got his scooter license. Ty worked FULL-time at the shop all year! Went to Las Vegas for the SEMA show. Lots of home improvement. Lots of Treasure Hunting. Lots of work. Many adventures. Many firsts. Lots of Love, Happiness, and Goals Achieved.

Here's to another GREAT year. Welcome 2010!!!!

Now, I'm linking up to The Lettered Cottage. Go check out all the other links too!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Cold Weather. Company. Hot Tea.

So, why didn't I think of this before?
Our cupboards are full of several tea varieties. A.J. is very into tea. Actually, he is very into all things culinary. Blender concoctions. Italian sodas. Teas. Baking up all sorts of goodies - some good, some, let's just say, different. All sorts of kitchen experiments.

For example, a recent cell phone call - "Mom! Can you get me some peanut butter, vanilla ice cream and bananas? I want to make you and Dad something!"

Every one of A.J.'s cell phone calls begin with "MOM!" In a voice SO urgent and matter-of-fact, that I've made his incoming ring tone, on my cel phone, an ALARM - much akin to that of a sinking ship. So realistic, that it prompts all sorts of "alarmed" looks, every time I'm in public, from anyone within ear reach. I admit, I sort of get a chuckle every time A.J. calls me. It's twice-fold fun for me. Sometimes, I even let it ring a couple of extra times...just for fun...!

Anyway, we have so much tea (in bag form), that I decided to bring some out of the pantry for our New Year's company. I have this vintage Kraft Cheese wooden box and guess what? It's the perfect size for tea bags. So, I cut a piece of parchment for the inside bottom - makes a clean surface for the bags. Yeah, they are sealed, but I just felt better doing it.

Next up, are honey sticks displayed in one of my Honey Jars. They were close by. You see, I had sprigs of fir in my three Honey Jars and then the Honey Jars were displayed in the Kraft Cheese Box. The sprigs were a little "dead", so after I washed them out, I put the sticks in.

Of course, the little wooden Honey Bee wanted to join the fun. And so did some Scrabble Tiles....

Simple. Cheap. Fun. AND of course, every bit of it is Second Hand Finds! Well, except for the Honey Sticks and the Tea.....

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

So, Maybe, I Spoke Too Soon....

This afternoon, it's SNOWING!!!! Pretty, pretty white flakes. This was taken from my front door. I opened the door. Click. Shut the door. Baby, it's cold outside.

This morning, I went outside and took some after photos of the new house stone: walls, walkway, retaining/planter walls and stairs. It looks SO much different than it did when we bought this place in July 2004.

We still have a lot more to do, but that list is growing shorter each season we are here.

Here's the story, so far....

This is the house on the day we "found" it. A beautiful Summer day with a crystal clear, sunny sky - July 3rd, 2004. Take note of that HUGE oak tree on the right of the photo. I'll be referencing it later in this post....

The house was barn red T-111 siding with bright white trim. TONS of single pane windows - well some were actually just panes of glass sandwiched between 1x2 wood strips with silicone. (we happened to figure this out in the Winter of 2004 - after the new carpet was installed!) You see, rain water has a way of weeping in "windows" that have dried up, shrunken silicone beads....

Any who, that prompted the removal of several windows and replaced with two 5 x 7 picture windows - all the better to see the distant views. AND THEY NO LONGER LEAK!!!

We don't have central air - as it really only gets super, unbearably hot a few days each Summer. So, we've opted NOT to spend our $$$ there, at this time. Thus, the window air conditioner to "condition" the family room on those HOT days. The rest of the house is bear-able.

The front entry room (I guess that's what I'll call it) has been completely re-built and a REAL front door and FRONT porch added (it will be completed in the Spring), but for now, at least there's a designated entry to our home. Whereas, in 2004, we had FOUR doors to choose from. A bit confusing and not so welcoming.

****A fun footnote: Today, when I went to the door to look out at the snow, there was our FIRST package left by our post-person on the porch at the door. It was a box of Christmas presents from my mom in California. OH, it felt so good. I FINALLY have a PORCH!!!! I'm SO feeling warm and fuzzy inside.....

This is DUDE CAT enjoying the porch too. And that little blue wheel peeking out to the right, is my Radio Flyer wagon. I plan to keep it as a staple on the porch year-round.

Here is the house as it sits today. Many windows gone. Old rock pond gone. Larger garage over-hang. New lights. New porch. New walkway. New stairs. New entry. New shingles. New stone. New doors. New windows. LOTS OF TIME!!! LOTS OF WORK!!! This transformation DID NOT happen overnight. NOT even in a year or two. We have been living in a state-of-disarray since WINTER of 2004.

I've always heard the jokes about how a married couple risk divorce during a remodel. Not the case here, but I can certainly see how, unless both are willing to live in a CHAOTIC and MESSY and TEMPORARY environment for many, many months and even years, this could push some over-the-edge!!! Well, maybe, if you are a bazillionnaire, it wouldn't be so unbearable, because you'd be living in another place whilst a crew of hundreds made things happen in little to no time at all, but....for the rest of us....

The original roof-line was a squashed "W". Not so good for water run-off. So, we've completely changed the right side, so far. We plan to change the left side someday, but for now, we've just had it re-roofed and sealed up tight!

This is a close-up of the garage door, trim, stone, and new down-lights under the over-hang. There are three of them. They still need to be wired into the motion sensor and the shingles are STILL not stained. It's been too wet and cold.

This is the retaining wall/planter area. It will be filled up more with soil so that red and gray area won't be visible.

This is the view of the walkway.Colored, stamped concrete walkway. Huge, heavy sandstone slabs for the stair risers/landings. Once we have it all back-filled and planted, the sides won't be as visible.

Close-up of the porch and stair walls. Keep in mind, the porch is still not finished. That's a whole other project.

Stairs. For some reason, they look really butterscotch here and the grout looks white. But really, the grout is light brown/taupe color. I can't wait to have the "flats" topped with seasonal goodies....pumpkins, miniature evergreens, pots of springtime flowers, galvanized tubs of American Flags....Oh, I can't wait....

Look, it's starting to snow..... Our new porch. We put up the porch lights, well, for light, but it still needs the cladding, gable trim, wall caps and trim, post trim, ceiling wood, ceiling light/fan, door trim. AND let's not forget the flag bracket. Lots for Spring.

These are our porch lights. The same as our side door, only bigger.

Our simple door knob. Simple. I like it that way. I like it even more, that it's installed and can be used. It's amazing the little things we tend to take for granted in our daily lives. Door knob. Who knew such a simple, little luxury could make such a difference....?

Remember that HUGE oak tree in the original photo? Well, here it is today. I just love the leaf-less silhouette it creates against our white winter sky...

On a side note, ever since moving here, I've daydreamed about having a tree house up in this tree. The view of the valley and the river would be absolutely stunning from up there.

...BUT, I have to finish THIS house first!!!

Monday, December 28, 2009

A Bit of 2009 Treasure...

....and a picture-perfect holiday morning mess.

And you thought I was kidding about the Christmas Morning Paper Flying Frenzy, but I know you can relate. It's been at your house at least once or twice on Christmas morning. Maybe even on Christmas Eve. Right?

Well, this is what my family room looked like at about 11 a.m. last Friday. Man, I feel deeply sorry for the landfill and the poor trees that gave their lives for all this paper! At least Ty (maybe due to lack of funds or maybe because he was playing "green") wrapped all his gifts this year in newspaper. Way to go, Ty! Plus, I guess, technically, all this paper makes for great fire starter. O.K. I don't feel guilty any more.

Moving on.

2009 proved to be a fun time treasure hunting. Over-night trips to Eugene, Springfield and all the little towns along the way. Day trips to Medford and the surrounding areas. On-the-way-back trips from La Pine with shops in Shady Cove and Eagle Point. Portland, Las Vegas, California. Local yard sales, garage sales, rummage sales, second-hand stores. Lots of hunting. Lots of finding. Lots of fun on my own, with friends and fellow treasure hunters.

So here are a couple of those me, there are too many to post, but these are a few of them I have
on display right now....

A very cute, vintage Mother Goose Songs For Little Ones book. I have plans for the "guts" of this little gem. Rest assured, I won't be ruining it in any way. The little silver fork is just one of many I have been collecting this year. Forks. Spoons. Ladles. Platters. Dishes.

Speaking of...

This VERY HEAVY serving tray was garish to say the least when I found it. It was heavily tarnished and the detail was all but hidden. It was at a pre-holiday bazaar at our local fairgrounds. There were a few on the table for sale. All the others were cheap-o stamped silver-ish metal. None of them were priced. The vendor-woman said she'd take $10 for the cheap-o ones (that I wasn't interested in) and I was secretly cringing to hear the asking price for this really nice, heavy, silver-plated, potentially beautiful tray.

Then, she dropped the bomb on me! "Oh, that one is $5.00." SOLD!!!. Got it home. Polished it up and created the gem you see here. I didn't take a "before" photo, but you've seen these. All dull, dark gray, and ugly.

Next up, is my heavy, cast, black mailbox. I'm sure it's a reproduction, but given the condition it was in, it must have been reproduced a long time ago....? I can't imagine it is a 1930's original, but I'm no expert on these things.

The Coronet Dominoes box lid is, well, I just liked it. Of course the dominoes housed in the original box were long gone when I found the tattered old box, but I really liked the graphics.


Lastly, I just found this little Mikasa, Made In Japan, off-white dish. Again, it's probably just a little piece from 1990 or something, but the fact that it's not marked Made In China and looks good with the other pieces I collected this year, and it was .99 cents! I was all but happy to bring it home!!!

Plus, I don't know about you, but I'm really very concerned, deep down, that dishes manufactured in China these days may contain lead. Am I just paranoid, or is this a real issue? And what happens when you add heat? Say in the Microwave or the Oven? Does the United States or CAN the United States regulate all that inexpensive imported product? I guess, I'll have to either do more research or stop worrying already.....

Finally, here is today's Scrabble tiles.......

Snow....none here yet. bet ya! 30 degrees (today's high) considered cold? (I promised, when it was 8 degrees outside a couple of weeks ago, I wouldn't complain about 30 degrees EVER again!!!)

Happy Monday......The NEW YEAR is just around the bend.......Let the Party Begin!!!!!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Do These Jammies Make Me Look Phat?

I mean Fat?

What is it about huge, comfy jammies? Why does something SO comfortable, have to make you look FAT???!!!

I know I'm no longer a size 5. I know I'm over 40. BUT, come on...REALLY???

This is me on Christmas morning. Hair pulled up in my Pebbles Flintstone clippy.

These are my new Christmas morning jammies. All washed and dried by my sweetie. All warm. All comfy.

You see, as I was getting ready for the Christmas Morning Flying Wrapping Paper Frenzy, he wrapped me up with just-out-of-the-dryer-Christmas-surprise-jammies. Red Flannel Goodness. Teeny tiny Pink polka dots. Penguins with Pink scarves.(I've heard Penguins mate for life) The sweetest, most thoughtful gift ever. So simple, yet so thoughtful. He's ALWAYS taking such good care of me.....!

They're a bit big, but oh so comfy. AND worth looking FAT .....

....27th Christmas, and you're still surprising me.

Thanks, Baby!!!!

Not-So-Much-Bloggin', but a Whole Lotta Blog Readin'.

That's right. As you can see, I haven't been blogging much lately. I have no lame excuse. No real reason. I just haven't been blogging much lately.

I've spent a lot of time blog reading. Adding myself as a follower. Clicking here. Clicking there.

I've noticed a lot of re-purposing. A lot of Heirloom White spray paint. A lot of Hobby Lobby, Michael's and Dollar Tree. A whole ton of Goodwill and Salvation Army. Maybe it's just the blogging circles I've been "looping" that make it seem that that's all that's going on around the Net. I know there's a whole lot more going on in the world, but really, do I need to read more about recession, more health care reform issues, more gloom and doom? I think not. So, for now, I'll keep looping....

This last month, there have been several linky parties - specialty ornaments, Christmas trees, holiday porches, sweet treat recipes, etc.... Lots of inspiration. I had good intentions, but never really got around to putting it all in motion. Nope, not this year. There has just been too many other things around here to button-up and finish.

I've made a mental to-do list for my holiday week off.

1. I would like to sort and re-pack our HUGE collection of seasonal decorations. Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween, 4th of July. What a task it will be, but hopefully it will make using all the blog land inspiration in 2010 a whole lot easier.

2. Get the dining room window trim finished - that has been cut-to-fit for more time than I care to admit. I got it painted and installed yesterday afternoon. Now, I just have to fill the brad holes, caulk the seams, and touch-up paint it. What a difference a little trim makes.


3. Work on completing the front entry room wall trim, paint, baseboards and finally the flooring. Foyer? Sounds too formal. Mud room? Sounds too dirty. Porch? Not really that either. This room is between the new front door porch and the family room. What should I be calling it??? I've never had a room like this before! Vestibule? HELP!!!!

4. I've decided to scrap (no pun intended) my craft room off the family room. Instead, I'm toying with the idea of taking over the room under the dining room. The "old" 2-car garage. Pros: More room, very temperate daylight basement climate, concrete floor (what better surface to paint upon?), right behind the regular garage (makes bringing re-purposed items in & out very easy), it already has a ton of shelves installed (gotta love storage!), and the cherry on top...a built-in workbench!!! Cons: Gotta go through the laundry room to get to it from inside the house (no more hiding the dirty laundry!), concrete floor (would need a throw rug), less natural light (1 window vs. 4, plus a glass door), not centrally located (maybe that's actually a plus!)

5. Re-purposing the existing craft room (if you can even call the mess in there a craft room!!!) This room, with all the windows, would make an awesome home office/guest room/reading room/library. Yeah. I think this change would be a GREAT plan!!! Now, I just need the energy to put the plan in motion. I swear there's a whole household of stuff between these two rooms!!!

Ok. So, now, before I get exhausted just thinking about it....I'm off to measure, sketch, plan, and daydream....

But before I go, I've wanted to share a little something I did right before Christmas, but I haven't blogged.

I reluctantly, yet hopeful, signed up for a 12 Days of Christmas ATC swap.This was the first ATC I have ever made - Eight Maids-A-Milking, and was quite happy with the swap. Here is a link to the swap hostess. Why re-invent the wheel, when she has posted some really NICE, close-up photos and a VERY cute photo of them displayed in her home? Thanks, Christine!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Our Short, Fat, Bald, 2009 Christmas Tree....

Yep. This isn't the typical $50.00, perfectly groomed Noble Fir from the corner lot. Nor, is it a symmetrical, full-bodied, pre-lit artificial tree. Nope. This is, in fact, one SHORT, FAT, BALD Douglas Fir from our mountain slope. I cut it down last weekend and put its scrawny little 1 1/2" diameter trunk into the Christmas Tree stand - held in place with all 8 bolts screwed in as far as they would go.

Three strings of white lights - 100 lights each - are on all the branches, and in the "open" spaces in between where there are NO branches. Through the window outside, it sort-of looks like a Christmas Tree. Or maybe more like a haphazard grouping of lights. Not your regular, if boring, triangle tree of lights.

So, it would seem perfectly on par to decorate it with "found" goodies. This year, our tree has absolutely NO ornaments from our previous Christmas trees. Nope. Not A One. Weird! Not the Cheerios glued on popsicle sticks covered in glitter ornament. Not the applesauce/cinnamon bell-shaped cut-outs. No crystals. No glass. Hmmm. Now, I'm kind of feeling nostalgic for those little gems from when the boys were little. How could I  be that lazy this year and leave them packed away?

Well, I guess, I got a little carried away this year picking up some "new" and "vintage" goodies. Plus, these little branches are so thin and fragile and probably wouldn't hold the Schiefer Family Classics. Well, maybe except for the Cheerios!

So now, on with the short, fat, bald, 2009 Schiefer Family Christmas Tree Tour....

Tree with Flash.

Tree Topper. Winter Welcome Sign and Bow.
Bow is new. Sign was 50% off.

Candy Canes Sign - Filling Up The Center Bald Spot!
Tree Stand Inside Galvanized Tub - Second-Hand Buy.
Red/White Check Tree Skirt - actually a table cloth - Second-Hand Buy.

Resin Elf Shoes with Bells under the Tree. - New, but on sale.

Little Red and White Pixie - Second-Hand Buy. .25 cents.

Another Red and White Pixie, with strange eyes...
Two dimes and a Nickel.

A .25 cent Faded Green Pixie. I really like him. I have others like him
packed away in a Christmas box. I used to be able to find them
everywhere second-hand. Now, not so much. I'd love to find more!!!!

A new felt elf stocking, bells, and candy canes.
Stockings - .99 ea. Bells - like 12 for $3.99. Candy canes - super cheap!

Just when you though I might have a "theme" going here....
How about a red and white mitten with bells at 50% off?

A couple dozen RED bows. New, but on sale!

A SUPER cute SANTA. .25 cents!!!

An adorable Santa Jacket. Or is it a Coat?

...And his matching pants or trousers and hat.
This set was NEW, but 50% off!

A few Metal Stars. New, but only $1 each.
(and a few Reindeer, but I forgot to take photos of them!)

This little Mouse with a sweet little gift. I wonder if it's cheese?

And this little one too! Nice Tree!!!
Both these mice were sweet finds this year.
NO chips either.
AND not Made in China.

Lastly, this little metal sign - also second-hand.
Too cute under the tree.

So, even though our 2009 tree isn't the holiday "standard", I love it. I love that I got to spend time
collecting new, lightweight decorations. I got to cut it off our mountain.That I dragged it

up our mountain to the house. Set it up. Decorated it AND got to share it with all my friends out
here in blogland! I've enjoyed seeing everyone else's trees. The department store trees, the
Charlie Brown trees, the miniature trees, the silver metallic trees, the tall ones, the short ones,
and even the short, fat, bald trees. Happy Holidays.......

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