Happy Monday

Happy Monday!  If you are in my part of the world, I hope you are warm and cozy.

I thought I would share a bit of closet organization.  When it is this cold, inspiration strikes and I like to work on putting things in order.  I have a bit of costume jewelry and some scarves.  My new closet at our new Town Mouse residence is not nearly as big as my old one, so I have to be clever.

Farmer Joel attached some window screen to the back of an old window frame we found in the barn.  It makes a perfect earring-hanger!  I borrowed this idea from a friend, Pauline, who hand-crafts and sells her very own line of jewelry.  Her company is the “Pearls of Pauline.”  Isn’t that cute?



See the necklaces to the left and the top of the hanger below?  Here they are a little closer:


You can find the scarf hanger here.

Just for fun, I thought I’d include a view from my Country Mouse House kitchen window:



When the sun shines, the chickadees come around chirping and singing.  This is a lilac bush, which a favorite nest-building spot!



Armoire finished!

Here it is:


And the side that we had to cover with barn wood:


Here is the Before:

photo 2 (33)


And After:


It provides much-needed storage in a 165-year-old house with one makeshift closet!

I must apologize, dear readers, (if any of you are still out there) for the severe lapse.  In the midst of all the crazy stress of life(particularly acute in the past year), we MOVED!  That’s right.  We are in a different “Town Mouse House.”  It’s an apartment, actually.  It cuts our travel time to “Country Mouse House” literally in half!  We did not plan this – this is the kind of thing we only heard could happen to other people – not us!  A friend of a friend asked if we’d consider selling our house because it was in the right location/school district.  We said we would.  They came and looked, liked what they saw, made an offer, and we accepted.  It happened so fast, I have to admit, I believe I’m still in shock.  Things have a way of working out.  If asked this time last year if we’d have moved, I would have said “definitely NOT!”  But the stars aligned, and we are that much closer to our dream of living in the country full-time.  What lies ahead?  Several projects, including, but not limited to, a kitchen renovation.  Oh boy!  Here we go!

Blessings to all!  We are currently trying to stay warm and dry amidst this Winter Weather.




Time to Get Busy

Country Mouse House, since it was built in the year 1850, has precious little closet space.  The one bedroom, which has been claimed as the “Master,” has a small closet, but we need a bit more storage to accommodate both my and Farmer Joel’s needs.  Enter Lisa, who suggested we get a small armoire to fit a niche just inside the entry to the room.  It measures about 83″ high by 35″ wide by 20″ deep.

Adventure time!  Joel and I first looked in the barn, only to come up with nothing.  Pie safes, trunks, etc. were just not quite fitting the bill.  So…we took a trip to one of the local antique stores, to find the right-sized armoire, but it was sitting under a leaky roof(and it happened to be raining, so we saw the damage before our very eyes!)  PLUS, a whopping price tag of $595.00!!!  Ouch!  Sorry, but no thanks!

Next stop was one of my favorite shops, “Charming But Cheap.”  I explored the numerous display areas and found the perfect thing!  It was in a few pieces, but the price tag of $30.00 couldn’t be beat.

photo 1 (33)


See the one door is off to the left?  It also needed a rod, so they threw in a broom handle, which fit perfectly.  The yellow bowl on the floor there contains a rag in a solution of Murphy’s soap and water.  Here is another view(by the way, this is also the interior of our Quonset hut):

photo 2 (33)


Now, one side is pretty warped.

photo 3 (26)


I decided to have Joel cut a couple of pieces of barn wood to cover that up.

photo 4 (19)


Once all this is completed, I hope to give it a fresh coat of paint, and add a little hook inside.  Look at the hook I found:

photo (62)


The hook was just lying on the floor of the barn.  Of course, it needs some elbow grease to get the rust off.  Then I hope to paint it and place it in the side on which to hang up my robe, or Joel’s, depending on who gets the closet and who gets the armoire.  My wheels are turning – I’m thinking of a little bit of cedar on the inside…..hmmmm….

When it’s all done, I will let you see how it looks!  A true work in progress.

Are your wheels turning?


Thurz Day

I keep missing “Wenz Day”…..Yes, things are still going at breakneck speed here. But alas, I thought I would give a bit of an update.

I am in the never-ending process of decluttering the Town Mouse House. We have been here for 17+ years, and oh, how the stuff grows! A friend once told me, “….like a fungus.” And now, with the addition of items from my Mom’s place, well, it has reached exponential proportions. (at least in my mind – of course, those who know me and have seen my house have been kindly disagreeing with that last statement)

The problem with clutter is that it can really slow life down, or even bring it to a grinding halt. There are sooooo many books available that discuss “How To” get rid of clutter. The basic steps are the same – get out your boxes, bags and bins and sort stuff to:

2-Donate to a worthy cause
3-Throw into the garbage
4-Return to the person/people/library you borrowed from
5-Have children/family members look at items before donating or disposing

Those steps are not Rocket Science. It is the motivation to start that can be the worst. I think that, for me, if I know there will be a “reward” in sight, that helps. Also, feeling pressed for time – plan to have people over on such-and-such date, for example – can get the motivation going as well.

Since it is nearly Fall, many people get the itch to clean out their dwellings, and it makes perfect sense. At one time, “Spring Cleaning” was thought to be the way to go, due in large part to the soot on the walls from winter that needed to be scrubbed back in the old days. Now, with modern heating systems, that task is rarely necessary, so Autumn is the new Spring! Hahaha….

Well, I must overcome my procrastination – make this a Productivity Day! I have my dear friend, Dianne, coming over to help me. We have worked together over the years in numerous ways. She is a gifted and talented Designer/Decorator/Organizer/Home Stager/Manager/Musician/Singer.(the list goes on and on) She also happens to be one of the kindest people on the planet, so I’m feeling pretty lucky right about now.

At any rate, have a look at some of my plants and flowers – these were taken somewhat recently, and have almost finished blooming –

Black-eyed Susan, Hydrangea, and Mint

photo 2 (31)photo 3 (24)photo 1 (31)

Don’t just sit there!  Go get rid of a few things from your closet!  Minimum of 5 items!

Have a clutter-free day!


Where do I begin?

Right now, one child is getting ready to move out, and one just recently moved back in.  Oldest got a job which provides an apartment – sweet deal!  In the meantime, all horsie accessories are getting the spit-shine in hopes to be used or sold.  Everything is everywhere.

Second oldest finished Sophomore year of college.  Stuff is in bins, awaiting storage, cleaning, sorting and/or organization.  My living room is looking like an episode of “Hoarding, Buried Alive.”  Everything is everywhere.

And here is what Finn has to say about that:

photo (40)


Doesn’t he look like he’s thinking, “Really?  What is all this and where did it come from anyway?”

So here is full disclosure.  Yes my living room really looks like this!

image (31) image (32) image (33)


It can’t be helped right now.  Sometimes we just have to go with the flow….Add an “er” to that word….I like it!  Go with the flower……Gardening soon- now is a good time to buy a few annuals to brighten the landscape and bring in a little color.

I’m looking forward to some serenity.  Here is a beautiful waterfall near Country Mouse House and I think the photo speaks for itself:

image (34)

Enjoy the weekend!  More to follow…


Another Wenz Day

Once upon a time, I read in the Farmer’s Almanac that you should wear certain colors on certain days of the week to increase your good luck.  The list, as I recall, is as follows:

Sunday – Orange

Monday – White

Tuesday – Red

Wednesday – Green

Thursday – Purple

Friday – Blue

Saturday – Dark Blue

I do this often, more because it helps in the decision-making process than anything else.  If I narrow my choices, I don’t get overwhelmed.  Sometimes, though, blue jeans can count on the “blue” days(in my world, anyway), and accessories can add the color of the day if you don’t have a key wardrobe piece available at that moment.  I haven’t noticed a significant change in my “luck” if I happen to wear a non-recommended color on any given day.  I look at it the same way I look at Feng Shui – it certainly couldn’t hurt.

If nothing else, it can be fun.  Now is a good time to organize your clothes closet.  I do mine by color and type of clothing piece.  I try to do a little purging at a time, each season.  Another thing I find helpful is putting my outfit together the night before.  I have a hook designated in my closet just for this purpose.  If I hang the top, bottom, jacket/sweater, undergarments, socks, and accessories all on one hanger, then the next morning runs very smoothly.  Just grab the hanger and get going with the morning’s schedule.

I’m loving floral prints and patterns right now….but of course, why wouldn’t I?  Garden inspiration!!!

Have a colorful day!



Wenz Day

Well, just when we were enjoying a break in the cold, snowy weather…..here we go again!  The snow was predicted to begin at noon today, but it has been going strong since 8 this morning, and it is sticking on the ground, yada yada yada….

So, what do we Seasoned Storm Survivors do?  We make sure we get to the grocery store as soon as it opens so they will still be stocked with milk and bread.  We get any last-minute errands taken care of (as if this will be the last chance to do it in our lifetime!).  For me, this meant dropping off a package with an item to return at the UPS store.  Thankfully, it was a couple of storefronts down from the grocery store, so that made it relatively painless.  Next, the bank – we know that a power failure could affect the use of ATM’s, so have a little cash on hand.  And, finally, the gas station – make sure the tank is full, or at LEAST half-full.  Post-Sandy gas lines are still fresh in my mind, anyway.  Have the car backed into the driveway to facilitate a quick exit, if necessary, and if the car is going to be sitting outside, pop the windshield wipers up off the windshield.  Keep the cell phone charged.

When Joel gets in, he’ll fire up the snowblower and make sure our little portable generator is accessible – JUST IN CASE!

Here is my backyard as of 1 p.m.:

photo (29)

We probably should have covered up the patio furniture.  Whoops.

And here is what Finn has to say about it:

image (16)

Well, that settles it, then!  It’s a great day to do a little bit of organizing.  Here is my spice cupboard (not too bad, but not too good, either):

photo 2 (9)

Here is a closer look at just the 2 bottom shelves:

photo 1 (9)


I wanted to swap out the 2 bottom shelves because I’m not very tall, and I use a lot of herbs and spices when I cook.  I need them to be on the lowest shelf simply because I need to reach them.

I cleared out the very bottom shelf first:

photo 2 (7)

photo 3 (5)

(It helps to keep a table or other large surface free and clear for this purpose.)

Putting it all back together:

photo 3 (6)

It looks much better now, I think.  Don’t you?  I am going to start digging into other areas.  Then it will be time for a hot cup of tea.  Stay warm and dry today.  Enjoy!


More fixin’

One day, a child’s very fancy, schmancy backpack

photo (28)

had a broken zipper.

photo (27)

You see, the slider had come clean off.  What was I to do?  To replace this backpack would cost a Pretty Penny!  It was not very old and it was loved by its owner.  I looked up “Zipper Parts” on the internet, but was not sure I could do what needed to be done, so our local, very cute Button-and-Notion shop in town was where I headed.  First, the kind lady in the shop tried to fit the piece in place, but kept saying, “This is not going to work.  This is not going to work.”  But, her partner saved the day.  (You see, her expertise was buttons, his expertise was zippers.)  With a nifty, plier-like tool, he removed some of the teeth, plus added stops on both ends, AND put the new slider/pull in place!  All I had to do was stitch the ripped part!  He charged me $10!  Far less than the cost of a new backpack.

I used Dual Duty thread so the hold would be extra-strong:

photo 1 (5)

(Drum roll)  And now for the finished product close-up:

photo 2 (5)

Beautiful – I hope it lasts!

Still organizing, throwing out junk, donating less junky-junk to charity, and putting things back in their places.  Gotta make room for the mini-greenhouse so I can start my seeds indoors!



January Organization

Everywhere I turn I see promotions for getting organized this month.  It makes perfect sense – January marks new beginning.  I don’t know about any of you, but I find myself astonished at how much disarray exists in my house after the holidays!  I thought I had put away all the decorations, but every day I find one more little jingle bell or Santa Claus.  And I didn’t even put out ALL the decorations  this year!  We were traveling a lot, so it just didn’t make any sense to have an over-decorated house for no one to enjoy.

I have a number of organizing projects I must either embark on, continue with, or complete.  One such project is the Paper Avalanche.  I like to start the new year by getting rid of my tax files from 8 years ago(since we only have to keep 7 years’ worth).  I keep the statements going back indefinitely, but the 8-year-old-or-older paper and crud that accompanies the statements can go to The Shredder. (play the theme song from “Jaws” for dramatic effect)

photo (22)

It helps to spread everything out on the dining room table, purge, sort, and then organize what’s left.  Here is my desk area in the kitchen:

photo (21)

Ugh.  What a mess.  The brown desk-top file on the dining room table belongs on the left corner of the desk.  I had to remove it to work properly.  It is still a work in progress – updates to follow!  For now, here is a more orderly part of my kitchen/office area:

photo (25)

Check out Finn sleeping next to the cabinet.  When I sit at my desk he sometimes puts his head on my foot.  Now, for the INSIDE of the cabinet:

photo (24)

These file boxes came from The Container Store and can be found here.  I have had them for about 14 years.  I have only had to replace one of them, the “Banking/Financial” box, because it gets pulled in and out the most, so it got ratty after about 10 years.  I keep my checkbook and bills to-be-paid in that file.  The other file boxes are in wonderful condition because they aren’t moved around too much.  Here are my labels up close:

image (15)

image (14)

image (13)

image (12)

image (11)

photo (26)

The labels were made with my basic P-Touch label maker by Brother.  They are sold at Staples.

Anybody doing any organizing this month?  What kinds of projects have you been working on?