(Almost) Free Decor

August has been a busy month for us. We took a trip to Tennessee to visit the grandbaby. Boy she has fat cheeks! And the house is quite full, with the return of youngest son last month and the college kids home also. Now everybody is returning to school, which also involves road trips. Some just for a day, some for two.

So while I am busy having a life, I don’t have much time to write about it. I don’t want you all to think I have forgotten about you, so here is a fluff piece to keep you entertained for a bit.

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After a heavy wind storm I found this nest on my front lawn. No sign of its former occupants. I thought it was pretty so I brought it inside. It seemed a bit empty to me, so I went to the local New Age/crystal shop and bought three blue rocks for a dollar each. I am displaying this charming piece in the corner hutch where the cats can not get to it.

bird nest in hutch

bird nest in hutch

Appropriate Décor

Long time reader Kelly, expressed that a piece of wall art that reminds one to “Live Simply” is just as valid as a landscape painting or any other pictorial representation of something that inspires us.

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She is completely correct.

[And that should end the story right there…but this is my blog…and I am an “over-thinker” or so I have been told many, many times]

If that wall “art” [sorry, I just can not drop the ” marks to call that Art] inspires/reminds you to live simply, then, “YEAH!” Go you. Continue on.

But, since it is my blog, I get to have a whiney diatribe…..

How many times in the past year have I, the hospice nurse, been in a home, whose well-decorated walls instruct me and others to “Live….Laugh……Love!?”

But as the Ecclesiastes instructs us—–there is a time and a place for everything. Including dying and crying and hate. Sometimes the Wall Art is giving us incorrect instructions. As a hospice nurse, my patients are close to dying, sometimes they cry and it is entirely appropriate. Sometimes they hate…but I always prefer it when we humans find a way to love one another.

I accept Kelly’s correction, that having the motto “Live Simply” up on the wall may inspire some of us to do so. Then, nail it up there and enjoy.

I think, if I need to put up instructional motivational words on my wall, they should be the Paul Tillich quote:

“The first duty of love is to listen.”

Prodigal Son

Last night at 8pm, my youngest son showed up at my back door. Homeless. Shoeless. In need of a shower.

dirty feet

So he got cleaned up and I fixed him something to eat and then we went to buy him some shoes.

Apparently, the modern day equivalent of a fatted calf is $250 of clothes at Target.

He is staying here for a couple weeks, until he and his mates get their apartment.

Living Room Remodel

The Living room remodel is done.  I count 9 summer items. In the fall, the fireplace screen and tools come up from the basement.

New couch and pillow

New couch and pillow

Newish red leather chairs and table. One table candle. (I don't count the books--they are consumables, i.e. I read them and pass them on. If I ever encountered a book I could not live without, I would add it to the count.)

Newish red leather chairs and table. On the table, a candle. (I don’t count the books–they are consumables, i.e. I read them and pass them on. If I ever encountered a book I could not live without, I would add it to the count.)

View of the fireplace with two fake plants and the horse head. I don't count the mirror anymore. It is wired to the house and will stay here when I move. Like the light fixtures. I don't count them either.

View of the fireplace with two fake plants and the horse head. I don’t count the mirror anymore. It is wired to the house and will stay here when I move. Like the light fixtures. I don’t count them either.

View of the living room facing  southwest.

View of the living room facing southwest.

Simple Living in 2 Steps

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Step One: Do not buy this ridiculous piece of decoration.

Step Two: Find other ways to simplify you life.

Minimalist Cleaning

Long-time reader Sumarie asked for a post on my current cleaning supplies and items, seeing as I had reduced them from more than 400 items. This post is in response to that request.

I have a vacumn cleaner and a long handled broom. Then I have these objects:

All these things, except the dust pan and whisk broom fit in the blue caddy at the back.

All these things, except the dust pan and whisk broom fit in the blue caddy at the back.

I use the yogurt cup to rinse the tub after a scrubbing and the Comet cleanser is used to clean the tub and the toilets. I also use the product called Bar Keeper’s Friend. Just depends on which is cheaper when I go to purchase.

The blue fluid is an ammonia-based widow cleaner, and there is no label on it, as the kids used it in a film a few years back. After I use this product up, I will likely switch to plain vinegar or water for the things I use it for now–which is mostly cleaning up cat puke. My frequency of cleaning windows and mirrors in this house is so scarce, that it does not warrant it’s own product.

There is a toilet brush that is not in the photograph.

My cleaning routines are thus:

kitchen counters get wiped down daily with water and scrubby sponge. When the sponge starts to smell bad, I microwave it. If you have a dishwasher, you can put it on the top rack.

Cat puke gets cleaned up as it occurs, with ammonia cleaner and paper towels.

The toilets get cleaned when they start to have a pink ring at the water level or fussy company is coming.

The tub gets cleaned…..not near often enough.

The floors get swept when the cat hair tumbleweeds start to bother me…or company is coming.

The Resolve carpet cleaner is for when the cats vomit on the carpet……or I spill food on the car seat.

If I have forgotten to mention your cleaning pet peeve, just ask. I will come clean about how I deal with it. [no extra charge for the bad pun.]

2015 Count: 83 items

It is that time of year, my friends: The Annual Count.

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Person Care items #12: basket, toothbrush/paste/floss, conditioner, mascara, grooming scissors, nail clippers, face powder, lotion, lip balm, razor, hair paste, soap.

Misc. items #18: Back to front-shredder, laundry basket, suitcase, To-go cup, coffee pot, vase (with roses) towel, dryer, book, lap top, wallet, glasses, case and sunglasses, Christmas stocking.

Misc. items #18: Back to front-shredder, laundry basket, suitcase, To-go cup, coffee pot, vase (with roses) towel, dryer, book, lap top, wallet, glasses, case and sunglasses, Christmas stocking.

Miscellaneous items not in photo: bed, car and phone.

Clothing #53 items.

Outfits 1 & 2

Outfits 1 & 2

Outfits 3 & 4

Outfits 3 & 4

Outfits 4 & 5

Outfits 4 & 5

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Outfit 7 and the black dress/sweater outfit.

watch & earings

watch & earrings

“Holy soles, Batman! where did all these shoes come from?”

Here are three of the four sets of exercise clothes.

Here are three of the four sets of exercise clothes.

Gloves, ear warmer, basket with tights, 5 pair socks, 4 bras 5 panties

Gloves, ear warmer, basket with tights, 5 pair socks, 4 bras 5 panties

A et of painting/gardening clothes and the swimsuit.

A set of painting/gardening clothes and the swimsuit.

A fleece and a sweatshirt

A fleece and a sweatshirt

Winter coat, and there are 8 hangers in the photos as well.

Winter coat, and there are 8 hangers in the photos as well.

I need to do something about all those shoes!

Too Much Nature in the Basement

You all may recall that I am helping a friend clean out her 2,300 square foot basement of stuff that has been accumulating for 40+ years. It is a big project and we have been working on it off and on for over a year.

You may also recall that mice got into the stuff stored there, which was a strong motivator for my friend to finally do something about the basement. Well, imagine my delight [heavy sarcasm] when I arrived on Wednesday and she warned me before I headed downstairs, “I should tell you, I found a snakeskin in the basement. He probably was down there hunting mice. He might be gone by now.”

The one she found wasn't quite this long.

The one she found wasn’t quite this long.

We worked for eight hours over two days and filled up two large trash cans with trash, two large trash cans with recycle materials, a pick-up truck full of supplies to be donated to Habitat for Humanity and my car full of objects to go to Goodwill.

I found several dead mice and a couple nests….but no snake.

As I was finishing up, my friend served me lunch and from her kitchen table we watched a doe and new fawn, nursing. And they were in the backyard. Where nature belongs.

Backyard Projects

The weather has been nice here and I have been working in the yard. Last year I told you that the corner with the stone bench needed a little love and this year, it finally got  some attention.

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Those small green plants are Irish moss, that will eventually carpet the corner and the tall vine next to the electric pole is a Trumpet Flower vine and will grow up the pole.

Then I filled some planters with grass to give a little privacy from the neighbors and block the view of the air conditioner.

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The porch is a favorite place to be this summer, especially during a thunderstorm.

Minimalist Decorating

We have a tendency to stop seeing things in our routine environment after awhile. This is evident in my colleague’s office spaces and the homes that I visit during my work day. There are procedure manuals that expired ten years ago and phone books from 1992 in our office. I’ve seen kitchens in themed country blue geese that I know was being marketed in the 1980s. Or roosters from the 1950s. (Surprise-roosters are back!) I prefer a simpler decorating style that gets it’s inspiration from the alcove of the Japanese tea room. tea room Refined. Just a few well chosen objects. Elements of nature. It is not intended to be permanent. There is not a throw pillow in sight. And yet, the possible variations are endless and intriguing.