Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Monks in the Monk's Room

Every square inch of space is needed when you live in a tiny house. When we turned our 70x76 inch catch all closet in to a tiny bedroom - or monk's room - I made a list of all the things it would need to be cozy, comfortable, and whimsical. Obviously, some signage or representation of monks was noted. Luckily the room has a huge window and high ceilings, which makes it all the more pleasant. I have an Etsy shop for digital art, featuring custom pet portraits. I thought it would be nice to support another artist for this unusual request. So I searched Etsy on the word "monk" to see what might come up. As soon as I saw Diana's Dolls, I found what I wanted. They were 2 1/2 inch porcelain penny dolls handcrafted by Diana in Ohio. There were three of them - one laughing, one praying, and one singing. Since they were so small I got all three. They arrived yesterday in particularly cute packaging with the history of the penny doll enclosed. I found the perfect spots for all of them...sort of a "where's Waldo?" approach. If you look hard enough, one can be seen upon entering the room on the shelf next to the plant; another is above the door frame looking down from above inside the room; and the last one is in the corner behind the door next to the window. When the door is closed and you are sitting on the bed, there he is. Neither my husband nor I care for nick nicks, but we thought this was a cute idea. I actually like gnomes more. But that just isn't the point here!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Sunshine Please!

I am no longer enamored by heat, but I do love sunshine. And it has been an awful long time since we have seen any around here. I'm sure it's still better than the all winter feel of the Midwest, but it is almost June and it has been raining almost every day, or there is the threat of it, or there are continuous cloudy skies above us! In spite of it all, we still walk every morning. I no longer have an excuse not to walk in the rain since we have adequate rain gear. So instead of getting any sunshine, I need to get some inspiration from the flowers and gardens we walk through. And they never disappoint. My husband thinks I am crazy - whenever I see a bird, or a squirrel, or a bee - they all seem like long lost friends.  He thinks I bother them when I take their photo. I like to think I'm just a Nature photographer and leave plenty of room between them and me. So yesterday was a lovely day for flowers, and insects, and birds. I have a feeling they would like to see some sunshine too.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day in DC

About seven years ago our grandson from California came for a visit. One of the places he wanted to see was Arlington National Cemetery. I have been there a few times -  before I was married - and several times afterwards. I saw the changing of the guards at the Tomb of the Unknowns when I was a child, and a few times since. The view of the city from the top of the hill is breathtaking. While we were there with our grandson, a funeral procession was in process with the full caisson. Though we didn't know the family, it was moving all the same. We made several stops along the way and ultimately found ourselves at the Vietnam Memorial Wall. So today it is fitting to think about all the times we passed through these places and remember what we saw there. It never gets any easier, I just get older and think about it from different sets of eyes.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

AAA Maps

Yes, we use Google maps when we travel, but it sure eats up a lot of data. And since we no longer have an unlimited data plan, I turn it off when we are on long stretches of road. The Subaru navigation system is terrible, but it is always on so we know at least where we are and the name of the streets. So when we go on long road trips I always get hard copy maps through AAA. I have been a member since the 70's! But I do now wonder why we really need AAA anymore. We have used it for changing tires more than a few times. And in the early days we relied on Trip Tiks for all of our destinations. Sometimes it is easier to just read the map when we are rolling along rather than the small screen phone or iPad. We also use AAA for hotel discounts whenever we can. Last fall when we traveled to California and back, I ordered the tour books but didn't even look at them. I look up the cities we pass through and read about them on line, amd search for food and gas stations the same way. So last week we got a few maps and a trip tik. I really just wanted the maps but I also wanted to see what path they would have planned for us by just giving the final destination. It all seems to different now. I'm just not quite ready to give it all up yet.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Crate and Barrel Drinking Glasses

When we lived in the Midwest, we had three types of dinnerware - every day,  better than every day, and china for special occasions. Along with those sets were a variety of glasses and stemware. Since we moved to DC from the Midwest over ten years ago, we didn't bring any of those pieces with us. We ended up getting four pieces of the white every day dinnerware that matched the set our kids had who lived just down the street. That way, we could borrow whatever we needed. We rarely did need much more. But when it comes to glasses, that's another story. We had four of the small tumbler glasses from Crate and Barrel. When one of those breaks, it needs to get replaced. So we took a ride to Crate and Barrel and headed to the glass section. But we couldn't find what we wanted in the "bar" section. We didn't want to get another set of something. We wanted to match what we had. So we checked out another "barware" area, and there they were. And we liked the price even more - $1.95 each. So rather than replace just the one, we got three more so we have six in all. It's not often that we entertain in our small space, but now we are better prepared!

Friday, May 26, 2017

LU Cinnamon Sugar Spice Cookies

My husband loves cookies and candy - but not just any kind of cookies and candy. So I order a lot of it in bulk because he runs out of it so fast. Every few months the Amazon packages arrive filled with Bali's Best coffee assortment, Nips, and Werther's Original treats. We can find most of these items in the store, but the LU cookie assortment is quite limited. We have even asked Safeway store management to locate a particular type for us, but to no avail. So I ordered his favorite - LU Cinnamon Sugar Spice cookies on Amazon. I have ordered them before and they arrived in no time. But for whatever reason, this shipment took three weeks! One usually tries to avoid gettting packages whenever a vacation is planned. This wasn't the case, but what if it was? So I contacted the source about ten days past the order date and received notice that the cookies would be shipping soon, and a thank you for our patience. It would be another ten days before they finally arrived, and the tracking slip was still not updated routinely. My husband opened the package with a lot of enthusiasm when it finally arrived. But he had to admit that the cookies were kind of "stale" but it really didn't matter to him. I'm not sure where these treats originally came from, but the box had a New York return address. It felt more like overseas somewhere. This may be the last time we go after these LU cookies. So yesterday we got tiny cookie sized cinnamon buns. I much prefer those anyway - but he doesn't feel the same way. So now we have six boxes of stale cookies - and he will eat every last one.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Container Store Baskets

When we moved to DC over ten years ago, we had California Closets added to our tiny space. But to make the spaces even more useful, we went to the Container Store to get a couple of small laundry hampers. They have been through the ringer all these years, so it was time to refresh the baskets and search for another container for the new tiny "monk's room" for an additional storage place. The laundry bins had specific dimensions so we decided to get what we already had, but in grey rather than linen. What a difference a small thing like this makes in the linen closet that houses the combination washer and dryer, and assorted other household items. Rather then put things on the floor of the cabinet in the "monk's room," we added a grey plastic like basket to the lowest level so hangers can be stored there until they are needed for a guest - then they go on the rack. Then the guest can use the additional small space to put personal items while they are visiting. I love going to places that have essential and practical solutions for every day living. As for the old bins? I would never throw them away. We put them in the outside shed to keep things neater there too. It doesn't matter if they don't look all that good. But it keeps things off the shelves and organized.