Cherry Adventure

Last night, Josh and I took our usual walk around our neighborhood. While strolling down one of the streets, we suddenly noticed…..

a cherry tree!

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The tree was loaded with cherries, and popping one into our mouths, we quickly realized that they were sour cherries (the kind used for pies, cheesecake, and other yummy goodies!)

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We continued our walk, but looping back, we passed the tree again. A thought entered both of our minds: “Let’s ask the owner if we can pick them!”  The tree was between two houses, and so we didn’t know which home it belonged to.  It was also 9:30 pm, and we didn’t want to be rude knocking on someone’s door at that hour.

Just then, the front door of one of the houses opened, and an old man tottered out. He was getting something from his porch, and Josh raced up the driveway behind him. After an extra-loud neighborly chat (he was hard-of-hearing), the verdict was that the tree belonged to him, and yes, we could pick as many cherries as we wanted!!!

So this morning before 7:00, Josh and I drove over with a ladder and picked away.

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Unfortunately, many of the cherries were already over-ripe or rotten, but we still managed to pick a fair amount.  And next year…..we’ll just have to come a little earlier.  🙂

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Bedroom #3: the “After”

Our guest bedroom makeover is almost done! Instead of waiting for the final (yet boring) details to be finished, I’m just going to show you the after, seeing that it’s 99% ready for my nieces and nephews.

Before:

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After:

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The main work that we had to do:

  • Change the paint colors
  • Install the curtain rod and blind
  • Refinish the old-fashioned school desk
  • Stain and varnish some of the bunk bed boards
  • Assemble the bunk bed (we’re still finishing the safety rail)
  • Make and hang up decor

Items that we purchased:

  • bedding (sheets and quilts)
  • mattresses
  • blind
  • bean bag filling
  • supplies for painting, staining, varnishing, etc.

Everything else was either free (thanks mom and dad!) or came from somewhere else in our home.

 

Fun Details:

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The rocker had faded maroon cushions. I used the pillow covers that came with the quilts to cover the cushions.

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In order to tie in colors from the owl picture on the right side of the window to the moon on the left side of the window, I hung tissue paper “stars” (that I made) from the ceiling.

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My puppet Pinocchio has been stuffed in a closet for at least 10 years! I bought him in Prague from an enchanting puppet store.  His nose broke multiple times and he has missing fingers, but I really wanted to display him.

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Ain’t he cute? The main part of the quote next to him reads: “How ridiculous I was when I was a puppet! And how glad I am that I have become a well-behaved little boy!”

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The mattresses came in a box which was quite handy! After carefully opening them, they filled with air and expanded to their full 8 inches! They even have coils in them and are quite comfortable. What will they ship next?

Posted in decorating: before and afters | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

An Old School Desk Turned Nightstand

When my mom-in-law asked me whether or not I wanted some old school desks that she had, I didn’t think twice.  Yes please! I’m a teacher and I love antiques, so it was a no-brainer, even if I wasn’t quite sure what I would do with them or where I would put them. And so they sat for a while in our shed. Enter Bedroom #3. I had a bunk bed, but no nightstand…..bingo!

Here’s the before:

IMG_0314.JPG The wood was quite scratched up with tic-tac-toes and names from my hubby’s siblings:

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After a good  scrubbing, sanding, and staining, here’s the after:

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The clock lamp was made by Josh in high school.  I think it’s kinda cute, but I’m thinking of getting a new lampshade and *maybe* a new clock face that’s more kid-friendly.

Tomorrow I’ll show the whole room!  🙂

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Bedroom #3 Window Treatment

For over seven years, ugly metal blinds with too long strings hung in the bedroom:

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I had a few requirements for a new window treatment:

  • Not too much money since it would be somewhat temporary
  • Room-darkening for our guests
  • More feminine, seeing that the carpet and walls are blue, but I want a gender-neutral room

So I used a white curtain rod that I had taken down from our master bedroom, washed and ironed some white curtains that my sister had given years ago (and I had forgotten about, haha), found some old tie backs in my basement, and purchased a cheap(ish) room-darkening roller blind (with no nasty strings).

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It’s also a room with one of the best views: our red barn and beautiful backyard that Josh works so hard on.  🙂

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Today we’re finishing the bunk bed and I’m pulling together some decor items. Guests are coming next week, so the pressure’s on!

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Bedroom #3

So, summer is here, visitors will be sleeping over, and our third bedroom was begging for a makeover!  It’s a room that hasn’t been touched (besides cleaning) in all the years we’ve lived here.  In fact, it’s been used as a catch-all room:

IMG_0256 We hope to do a more extensive renovation in a couple of years, so I didn’t want to spend too much money on a makeover. The blue carpet would have to stay, so we had it professionally cleaned. After that, I was left with painting and decorating. I had a hard time figuring out what colors to pick.  In my opinion, the white upper wall, periwinkle blue wainscoting, and blue carpet did not go well together:

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But what color goes with blue carpet? And did I want to keep the white walls and ceiling a huge, blank canvas?  In the end, I flip-flopped the colors!  I painted the wainscoting white and the upper walls a very light blue.  And I love it!  🙂

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Stay tuned this week as I work on the window treatment, bunk beds, an old-fashioned desk, and decorations!

Posted in decorating: before and afters | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Lilac Jelly

On our property, Spring rushes in with an array of sweet smells (hyacinths, lilacs, lily-of-the-valleys, and viburnum) as well as more pungent smells (wild onion, freshly mown grass, and natural wood chips). I love them all.

Lilacs, however, hold a special place in my heart. I have childhood memories of pulling over in our car and cutting some branches of wild lilacs to fill our home with their sweet smell. On our current property, we’ve planted a hedge of different varieties of lilacs, and every year it only gets better.

This Spring, I decided to try something new in order to savor the fleeting lilac season:

lilac jelly

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 I’m not going to give you a recipe because there are many recipes online that are all very similar. The general gist is that you steep the lilac blossoms (without any leaves or stems) in water and make a jelly out of the resulting lilac “tea”.

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We used white and purple lilacs. The white ones are more fragrant and I thought that they might make a better jelly.

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Josh was willing to help me with the somewhat tedious job of pulling off the individual blossoms. Two cups is a lot when each blossom is tiny!  🙂

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Honest verdict? Unique and delicious!

It’s a light, sweet jam with a pronounced floral note….  I’m picturing it served on warm-from-the-oven scones or else smeared on some brie cheese and a crusty baguette.  Mmmmmm! For now, though, I’m debating whether or not to make a second batch…and also whether or not I want to make sugared lilac blossoms.  🙂

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When Color Panic Sets In

Our red barn doors were sagging, they didn’t close properly (a cinder block held them shut), they weighed a ton, they were starting to rot, and a broken board at the bottom served as a cat entrance.

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It was time to get them fixed!

My dad visited for a long weekend and made new doors (while mom and I went garage-saling, haha). It was quite a challenge because the whole barn has settled to the side and so nothing was square. Yet we wanted the new doors to look natural and fit in, while still functioning. Much to my dad’s chagrin, I also requested a cat door.

dsc_7047The doors turned out fantastic! After my dad was finished, we were left with the job of painting it and installing the hardware. We started with the white trim, and then moved on to the red doors, matching the paint to the back of the old doors. We thought that it would be the true color, seeing that the red paint had really faded on the outside of the barn.

GULP!!!!

After one coat, I desperately sent this picture to Josh:

new “Help!”

The red looked terrible! Having dealt with red paint before, I did realize that adding more coats would improve its appearance, but still!!!!  We didn’t know what to do, but having bought 2 gallons of paint and being Dutch, we decided to just keep painting.

Meanwhile a few weeks had passed as we plugged away at it, and I’m sure the neighbors were shaking their heads, thinking that we had made a huge mistake.

But six coats later on the barn doors and a fresh coat on the rest of the barn, things were finally looking up. And while the new red is definitely more vibrant than the old color, we actually think it’s not that bad (plus it will fade with time!). We also installed the white x’s on the bottom halves of the door, which helped to minimize the glaring red.

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Which brings me to a question for you: Do you think that we should put two x’s on the top of the doors as well (like it used to be)?  Or do you like it with just the bottom x’s as is?

(My dad and Josh are both hoping that it is perfect as is, but I’m not so sure.)

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