Presto Change-O!

The Christmas season is over and my decorations are almost all put away.

I had a lot of help from these two!

I had a lot of help from these two!

It was fun having family and friends visit over the holidays, and I was happy to get this great picture of my parents and my offspring having some killer meatloaf and mashed taters.

You'll have to pry the recipe from my cold, dead hands! (Or just look up The Barefoot Contessa's)

You’ll have to pry the recipe from my cold, dead hands! (Or just look up Ina Garten’s recipe on the interwebs)

The only sad news from our Christmas season is that we have not seen our stray kitty GT in several weeks.  We hope he’s found a family, but we have to be realistic and face the fact that he may be in kitty heaven.  Homeless cats lead hard, dangerous lives and even though he found some food and comfort with our family for several months, he may have met with a sad end.  Here’s the last picture I have of the little guy.

He dearly loved his friend Jim. :(

He dearly loved his friend Jim. :(

In house renovation news, we’ve made great progress in this area.  I teased you with the fact that we were painting the exterior an “exciting” color, but alas I still can’t show you those photos.  The weather has been horrible and the progress for the outside of the house is going painfully slow.  I’ll be able to show you the finished result by mid-week.  Meantime, my neighbors have expressed some nice compliments on the color to may face.  Who know what the buzz is when I’m out of earshot.  :)

The interior renovations are going great!  We’re very pleased with how the little house is turning out so join me on a photo tour of our casita…

The existing lighting was heavy and Gothic.

The existing lighting was heavy and Gothic.

So we replaced all of it with lighter, brighter fixtures that look more “cottage” like.

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We updated all the interior paint to a sunny yellow and minty green.

Upstairs bathroom.

Upstairs bathroom.

We also re-tiled the fireplace which was decorated with a tumbled travertine, that was pretty, but didn’t reflect the new color palette I had in mind.

Before.  Very nice, but too tame.

Before. Very nice, but too tame.

going...going...

going…going…

My tile guy is GREAT!  His real name has four parts to it and it's very pretty, but I would never be able to remember it.  Fortunately his nickname is BOOMBA.  :)

My tile guy is GREAT! His real name has four parts to it and it’s very pretty, but I would never be able to remember it. Fortunately his nickname is BOOMBA. :)

Badda-BOOMBA!

Badda-BOOMBA!

The tile is green onyx.  I know NOTHING about tile, but I saw this in a tile warehouse reduced from $30/sq. ft. to $10!  It was so pretty and shiny.  I couldn’t photograph the amazing color properly, so come by and see it for yourself.  Each tile is like a little piece of jewelry.  The fact that I got it at such a great price makes it even better.

My handsome handy-man re-attached all the outlet covers and turned the electricity back on.

My handsome handy-man re-attached all the outlet covers and turned the electricity back on.

And Voila!

I think it really makes the living room sparkle.

I think it really makes the living room sparkle.

Boomba also made a nice patio for us in the backyard from all the parking pavers we dug up.

Call me if you'd like this guy's number.  He's tiling our backsplash next week!

Call me if you’d like this guy’s number. He’s tiling our backsplash next week!

I can contrast the change in the paint color with these two overhead shots.

Before...

Before…

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After.

The new pieces of furniture were mostly flea market finds.  My mom did buy me the crazy lamp on the left. It came from Pier One and this cheapskate would not have bought it for herself.  Thanks Mom!

And thanks Jim, for not only bankrolling my little playhouse, but for spending the precious free time you have doing my bidding.  I’ll make it up to you somehow.  Riiiiiight. :)

Headlamps are so sexy!

Headlamps are so sexy!

Finally, here is a photo only ONE of my readers will “get”.

Come back to Amuhrica soon Tama.  I miss your weirdness! :(

Come back to Amuhrica soon Tama. I miss your weirdness! :(

Inside Edition

Drumroll please…I can now show you the inside of our adorable little house!

Ta Dahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

Ta Dahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

This is the view of the living room from the front door.  The place is far from finished.  We are painting the inside and out and buying new furniture pieces and art when we find them for dirt cheap at flea markets and thrift shops.  The only NEW pieces we have purchased are the loveseat and of course all the beds.  Everything else is a flea market find or something we’ve used from our own casa.

This is the spiral staircase to the second floor--not for the faint of heart!

This is the spiral staircase to the second floor–not for the faint of heart!

Our daughter and her childhood friend of 16 years braved the climb in their Christmas Jammies.

And here is the view from the top.

And here is the view from the top.

The house is a mere 900 sq. ft. so a conventional staircase was not an option.  The cottage was built in 2007 by the same guy who built our house. (Hi G.T.)  The fireplace is gas and I had to get a tutorial from the gas company guy to figure out how to work the thing.

The loft bedroom.

The loft bedroom.

At the top of the stairs are two French doors leading to a surprisingly huge bedroom and full bath.

The loft has an interesting shape and really feels like two separate rooms.

The loft has an interesting shape and really feels like two separate rooms.

I’m not exactly certain on how I am going to arrange the area, but it will have two twin beds and one of them will be made into a day bed for watching TV. So basically I’ll make a little sitting area and have a separate sleeping area.  The cable guy put in three boxes so there will be three TVs in this tiny little house.  A bit much right?  My pal Susna assured me that people who rent vacation homes expect a TV in the main area AND in all the bedrooms.  I know she’s gonna help out with my cable bill cuz that’s the kind of friend she is. :)

Door leading to full bath.

Door leading to full bath.

The color upstairs is a depressing gray.  I’m changing it to a warm ochre that will go well with the red linens and accent furniture. (I hope)

Upstairs bath.

Upstairs bath.

I’m also changing the wall color in both bathrooms.  They’ll be a soft, minty green.  Both bathroom mirrors were missing so I just grabbed some mirrors from my house to hang temporarily.  I needed mirrors and towels and sheets and beds and such since I had overflow New Years guests staying in the little house for the past three days.  It was a very fast and frantic transformation from empty shell to a place habitable for three peeps.

Walk in shower.

Walk-in shower.

Our tenant left late on the night of the 30th and guests arrived on the 31st.  Jim and I had 12 hours to get the place outfitted with the comforts of home before they arrived that evening.  Of course nothing matched and the comforts were sparse, but we managed to make it work.

Of course it's a pink coffee pot.  What else did you expect?

Of course it’s a pink coffee pot. What else did you expect?

The galley kitchen is small but quite efficient.

Hannah and Uncle Dave inspect the digs. Directly opposite the sink is a closet containing a pantry and stacked washer/dryer.

Hannah and Uncle Dave inspect the digs.

Directly opposite the sink is a closet containing a pantry and stacked washer/dryer.

My favorite room.

My favorite room.

The master bedroom is HUGE and has lots of windows and a little window box. Although we will keep the yellow theme for the living room, kitchen and master bedroom, I’m having them use a lighter, softer yellow.  This is more of a “mustard” color and a bit too dark for the “beachy/cottage” feel I’m going for.

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We'll use one closet for housekeeping supplies and guests will use the other.

We’ll use one closet for housekeeping supplies and guests will use the other.

Well that’s all for now.  The painters come today to complete the inside and then tomorrow they begin painting the outside!  I’m not revealing the new exterior color, but I will give a small hint…It will be SHOCKING! :)

Happy New Year all!

 

A Very Beanie Christmas

Years ago, a friend of mine said upon visiting my home during this time of year that it looked like “Christmas threw up in here.”  Well, of course I took this as a compliment!  I decorate like a crazy person at Christmas and I pay no attention to tasteful, matching décor that looks like Martha Stewart has been all up in herr.  I like color, shiny things and TOYS, TOYS, TOYS!  This year I employed my army of Christmas beanies to give the joint a decidedly goofy charm and I wanted to share this Beanie splendor with you all.

Some of my decorations are actually reverent.

Some of my decorations are actually reverent.

When my kid was little, she called this the “Activity Scene”.

I have kitties, bunnies and chickens in my Nativity.  Don't you?

I have kitties, bunnies and chickens in my Nativity. Don’t you?

I do have a few traditional tableaux evident in my house.

The decorated hearth

The decorated hearth

Decorated chandeliers and shiny, glowing things on the table.

Decorated chandeliers and shiny, glowing things on the table.

The TREE!

The TREE!

Tiny snow globes with Holiday scenes.

Tiny snow globes with Holiday scenes.

Santa holding a kitten.

Santa holding a kitten.

The mysterious Christmas penguin who magically appears on the stairs the day after Thanksgiving.

The mysterious Christmas penguin who magically appears on the stairs the day after Thanksgiving.

Mr. Nutcracker stands guard over the nesting Santas.

Mr. Nutcracker stands guard over the nesting Santas.

And of course everyone has a Ren & Stimpy for Christmas, right?

And of course everyone has a Ren & Stimpy for Christmas, right?

Christmas rodents!

Christmas rodents!

Don't forget Hanukkah Bear!

Don’t forget Hanukkah Bear!

And who doesn't have a glowing chicken with a Santa hat right?

And the traditional glowing chicken wearing a Santa hat.

What? You don't put a costume on your bar sink faucet?

What? You don’t put a costume on your bar sink faucet?

A Christmas tree made of Beanies.

A Christmas tree made of Beanies.

Lurking in every corner, waiting to give Christmas cheer.

Lurking in every corner, waiting to give Christmas cheer.

Beanie Santa and his helpful "elves"

Beanie Santa and his helpful “elves”

I hope you enjoyed my crazy decorations.  I wish you all a happy and peaceful Christmas with your families.

My family.

My family.

:)

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Absentee Blogger

Howdy friends and neighbors.  It’s been a couple of weeks since I posted anything, and although I don’t really have a theme for today, I’ll try to entertain you with some tid bits of information and some nifty photos.

I began decorating for Christmas and Rowdy & Sam took many opportunities to enjoy the chaos and turmoil.

We think you should leave this comfy blanket on the stairs all the time Mom!

We think you should leave this comfy blanket on the stairs all the time Mom!

Buster was particularly fond of this dapper Christmas bunny.

Why can't I have a vest and hat like that guy?

Why can’t I have a vest and hat like that guy?

Of course my chickens always help to add to the Christmas décor.

Chicken and Christmas both start with CH! I'm always having brilliant thoughts like that.

Chicken and Christmas both start with CH! I’m always having brilliant thoughts like that.

Rowdy is always enthralled by the beauty of the Christmas tree.

This is her best attempt at "swooning" with joy.  Later I found some sap in her fur.  :)

This is her best attempt at “swooning” with joy. Later I found some sap in her fur. :)

Of course she might be horrified to learn that her beloved Daddy hunted down and killed this tree with his bare hands!

I swear I could hear it scream.  :(

I swear I could hear it scream. :(

The Beanie Babies are doing their part to add to the festivities, but more on this in a later post.

Be prepared for Christmas Beanie overload!  Santa and his Christmas pony are just the tip of the iceberg!

Be prepared for Christmas Beanie overload! Santa and his Christmas pony are just the tip of the iceberg!

And in news completely unrelated to the holiday season, I upgraded my iPhone and designed my own cover.

I know you want one for your very own, but this is a very exclusive design.  :)

I know you want one for your very own, but this is a very exclusive design. :)

And Mr. G.T. regularly relents to intense scratching sessions with his adopted dad.

A little on the right please.  Don't stop, don't stop!

A little on the right please. Don’t stop, don’t stop!

Our tenant moves out on December 30th and the accumulation of “stuff” has begun in earnest.  I’m shopping flea markets and thrift shops and having a blast “playing house”.

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Our target date for our first night is February 1st.

We need to completely trick out the little house in preparation for turning it in to a VRBO, and although it’s going to be a lot of work, I’m enjoying every minute so far.

And finally, after seven years of living in this golf cart-friendly neighborhood, we finally bit the bullet and joined the “club”.  The cart will be included for use in the VRBO, but when visitors aren’t using it, you find Jim and Deb tooling around in this little burgundy beauty.

Sweet Ride!

Sweet Ride!

I wish for my readers lots of family, fun and food; plus the joy and peace of this meaningful season.

I HO, HO, HOPE it is truly wonderful.  :)

Freaks, Tweaks & Beaks!

OK, here are the FREAKS…

Farmer Jim & his Chick

Farmer Jim & his Chick

And here are the TWEAKS…

We planted a little October Glory Maple tree in the back yard.

We planted a little October Glory Maple tree in the back yard.

Jim finished the picket fence at the back of the new carport.

Jim finished the picket fence at the back of the new carport.

...and I replaced the miniature red rose bushes in the front of the house with Confederate Jasmine.

…and I replaced the miniature red rose bushes in the front of the house with Confederate Jasmine.

As it matures, we're going to train the jasmine to climb along the columns and porch rails.

As it matures, we’re going to train the jasmine to climb along the columns and porch rails.

Won’t that be cute?

Now for the BEAKS!

 I visited my Daisy this week. :)

I visited my Daisy this week. :)

She’s still spunky, although she’s lost weight and she looks like a little old lady chicken now.  Debbie says she’s not laying anymore and it made me sad to see her a bit “faded”.

She and her boyfriend, Claude are still a hot item in the barnyard.

She and her boyfriend, Claude are still a hot item in the barnyard.

Although we didn’t encourage her to jump, jump she did for her beloved bag of grapes.  Debbie handed out the grapes while I took the photos.  I couldn’t get one of her jumping but believe me, the girl’s still got game.

Bring it!

Bring it!

OK, Debbie is going to kill me.  She made me PROMISE not to show her Crocs in the photo.  Debbie, my friend, I’m sorry I broke my word, but those Crocs are the most amazing and wonderful footwear I have ever seen and I really, really, really needed to put them in my blog.  I know that someday you will find it in your heart to forgive me but until that day, just remember your friend is weak and self-centered but you love her anyway! RIGHT?

Later, Debbie told me a sweet story about Daisy & Claude that put a big ole lump in my throat.  Claude had a problem with his beak and Debbie and Walter needed to catch him to they could give it some medical attention.  Well, catching a fully-grown rooster is no easy matter, even if the guy is as good-natured as Mr. Claude.  A time-honored practice among chicken owners who need to capture and treat a chicken in need of care is to wait until they go on the roost at night and then grab them when they are in a semi-catatonic state.  (Chickens sleep HARD and you can almost always finish your procedure before they even realize what is happening.)

So, they waited until bedtime and grabbed Claude and clipped the injured beak and then tried to settle him back on the nest.  Needless to say he was VERY upset.  His agitation woke most of the other chickens and havoc ensued.  Eventually everyone calmed down and the birds began to relax and fall asleep again.  What happened next is the “lumpy throat” part.  Daisy scooted next to her beau and leaned against him, putting her head on his shoulder.  She seemed to be trying to tell him everything was OK now.  If any bird knows what trauma feels like, it’s that girl.  No one can convince me that chickens don’t have the same emotions and feelings that Fido and Fluffy have.  I love that Chicken!  And I love my friend Debbie for having a heart as big as Texas.  (So sorry about the Crocs, girlfriend!)

GREATEST...SHOES...EVER!

GREATEST…SHOES…EVER!

Wrappin’ It Up

All of the major construction on our rental house is done.  There are still some small things we have to do but the really messy, noisy stuff is over.  Chris’ crew finished the privacy fence and I planted a little dogwood tree just outside and next to our neighbor’s carport.

It should flower in the spring and be a nice sight to drive up to.

It should flower in the spring and be a nice sight to drive up to.

I’ve made a brick path that leads from the golf cart shed to our backyard gate.  Of course Jim will install them properly later, but for now they look nice, if a bit wobbly.  We’ve decided to hire Darryl to make the patio in the back yard.  It just looks kind of daunting to us and we know he’ll do a great job.

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Darryl did the pretty golf cart parking pad and we’re very pleased with how that turned out.

Jim still has to do the electrical stuff in the carport and storage shed.  He’ll put a light and outlets in the shed, a motion sensor light in the carport and some outlets in the garage and golf cart area.  Of course we have to get everything painted too, but the treated wood has to cure for about a month, so we’ll put that off until the first of the year.  For now we’re going to take a break from all things related to rental house improvements and focus on being as lazy as possible for a while.

We could help you out with that!

We’re experts at that!