27 March 2016

Lost the Lamb

This lamb needs to be resurrected for Easter table. Ignore those Pinterest photos of cute little lamb cakes. Take a look at reality. 

03 March 2016

Longview of Winter

Once upon time we lived through winters like this one in the middle of Illinois.

On a street named Longview, our one acre of land bordered hundreds of acres of corn fields or soy beans depending on the year.

 Winters were particularly snowy in those days.

We sought warmth from the unusually efficient wood burning stove,

 also unusual in its design.

The glass tubular shell surrounded the burning logs and two oven doors behind the shell opened to an oven.

 The only thing ever cooked in the oven was one of those stacked rings from a child's toy--the big red one I think. We didn't know the child had placed it on the oven shelf until we smelled the fumes of melting plastic. This fireplace put out some heat, and it did not take long for the ring to melt.

26 February 2016


Crate and Barrel design photo and my own recreation. The C and B family photos leading up the stairs inspired me to surround a small flat screen TV with framed photos and original watercolors.

03 February 2016

Barn Doors Add Interest

The master bedroom of our home has an adjoining room with a great patio sliding-door and windows looking out onto the landscaped yard. An exterior French-door separated the bedroom and the bright, sunlit room when we bought the house. This door functioned fine, as doors go--open, close, lock--but the exterior look of the interior traditional styled door seemed ill-fit for the Colorado contemporary vibe of the bedroom and house in general. We decided to change the existing door to barn doors.
A creative carpenter, Cris, listened to my design ideas and came through spot on. We tore out the carpet in the room and added bamboo flooring to the "Away Room." Two of the four walls are nearly all glass providing plenty of daylight. The closed barn doors create ideal snoozing darkness for the bedroom, and when the barn doors slide open the bedroom lights up with bright natural sunshine. The doors become a focal point in both rooms when closed and when they open the "Away Room" becomes integrated with the bedroom vibe and welcomes the outdoors into the house.

Ecostruct, LLC (Jay and Gloria Jarvis) took care of every instillation detail. They brought their expertise in ordering the hardware, contracting with Cris, and sending Steven the Carpenter to make this project happen in a timely fashion. We love our new "Away Room" and look forward to spending many relaxing hours in this room reading or just enjoying a great view of the yard and the doors.

20 December 2015

I Miss Summer already

28 November 2015

The BIG Reveal - After

Remind Me Again How Not to Forget

Many years ago I met a woman whose last name was Barb Gowdy. I needed to remember her name because I would be seeing her often at meetings. In order to remember, I knew I had to find a mnemonic (memory trigger) to associate with her and thus recall her name at the next event. Ms. Gowdy was dressed in not so stylish clothes; in fact, I saw her as frumpy. Then, dowdy snapped into my mind and it rhymed with Gowdy. Perfect mnemonic. The next time I met her, I knew her name and greeted her with ease, "Hello, Ms. Dowdy, so nice to see you again."

Most of the time a mnemonic works better than this failed word association I had employed. Looking back, I wonder that I didn't somehow associate her with Gaudi, the artist who designed Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. I'd like to think I'm creative enough to have thought of some connection between this Gowdy and the unfinished cathedral. Or I could have worked out something with Barb. The ideas I have now are endless.

The mnemonic name recollection exercise has been around longer than I can remember. I guess not everyone knows about it, though everyone tends to forget names. The BBC has an explanation of how our memories work and how to make the brain's association patterns work in our favor to remember the names of those we meet.

They've included one important tip "It doesn't matter if the links you make are outlandish or weird. You don't have to tell anyone. In fact, probably it is best if you don't tell anyone, especially your new friend! But the links will help create a web of association in your memory, and that web will stop their name falling out of your mind when it is time to introduce them to someone else." Always remember NOT to say out loud the link--the trigger word--instead of the name you need to remember.


18 August 2015

Art in the Field

Standing on their own in a field below Falling Water (Frank Lloyd Wright), the Red Army spreads out across the green grass.

Hair Beautiful Hair

In 1970 men really cared about their hair enough to buy THE HOT COMB from Remington. Seems to me like blow drying hair has always been something ordinary, everyone knows how to use the hair dryer, and directions are unnecessary. Judging from this booklet that accompanied the THE HOT COMB, some men needed a little help.

10 January 2015

Before and After

The new year brings an end to remodel projects in our home. Before I do the big reveal on the kitchen, I want to take some space in this post for a renovation of the master bath which was finished a two years ago. While organizing the photos for the kitchen big reveal, I ran across the before photos from the bathroom. This was one ugly bathroom I saw in the photos. And now we have an impressive spa like bathroom. Hard to believe, even for me and I saw it all transform before my eyes.

You have to admit, this is ugly--

The bathroom looked just like this when we moved in. Seriously devoid of any style or color. The "Japanese" tub did not actually hold water (the real-estate description called it Japanese-style, though I don't think that has anything to do with it leaking). And shower/toilet room gave privacy, I guess, but it's a bathroom with a door anyway. Pretty useless.

When we tore out the fixtures and cabinets the space automatically improved.

We were amazed at how much space we actually had to work with. Having the empty space allowed us to get a feel for how big the shower could be, how long the tub would be, and led to some creative ideas for the vanity/sink space. Agape Construction brought in the elbow grease labor and the architectural know how. Whatever I could dream up, I trusted they could make happen. And they did not disappoint us.

Vanity is concrete and flooring is tile. Shower surround tile matches flooring. Lighting above the vanity enhances the design and also allows ambiance for shower/tub use. The dim lighting under vanity and above light cabinet provide non-blinding light in early morning or middle of the night trips to the bathroom.
Cascading water from Moen faucet gently fills the air-bubble tub. Shower has a variety of water sources: rain head, adjustable height shower head which can also be taken off pole for hand held sprayer, two power sprays in the wall.

Under the cherry vanity cabinets you can see in the photo a row of pebble tile spotlighted by recessed lighting. This pebble tiling is repeated vertically in the shower wall for dramatic accent.

The bathroom has a sky-light in the sloping, extra-high ceiling, located above the tub for air circulation of steam in addition to ceiling ventilation on a timer. A recessed nook in the shower looks unique and functions as a shelf for bathing products.
 Tub is easy to step into with enough room on ledge for sitting. The modern toilet has water conservation technology.

We love our new bathroom so much that we couldn't wait to get started on the kitchen remodel.

Check out the upcoming post with photos of the BIG kitchen reveal.

29 November 2014

A Work in Progress

Artist on the River click here to view artist site
Follow a work in progress: "the possibilities of what our planet, and more specifically Minnesota’s Mississippi River Valley, will look like over the next 150 years. Using scientific research and historical analysis," the artist will develop "a multi-channel video installation that combines hand-drawn animations, high-definition video footage of the Minnesota landscape, and field recordings to paint a picture of what may come." 

05 September 2014

Can I call this home?

I love a room with a view. And the inside ain't so bad either.

Can I call this home?

30 June 2014

The Big Reveal: Before

We live in a house built in 1987 by some very creative people. The real-estate blurb called it "Colorado Contemporary." It was love at first sight. Rustic Colorado stone exterior in front and cedar siding all around with clear-story windows and a unique floor-plan. In addition to everything we need on one main level, the house features a solarium with full length windows.
The roof lines give that Colorado Rockies vibe, also emphasized by the steep climb up the driveway. Our vision for the interior reflects an eclectic vibe, not as rustic as the exterior.

A few years ago, we started on the kitchen renovation. We stopped with yanking out the Jenn Air stove (with only two burners) and the small wall oven. In their place we installed the cabinets and counter where the wall oven had been, and added a new inductive range with large oven, and a microwave above it. The cabinets remained white, as originally built, except the ones on top over the range/oven. Those we replaced with a wood grain that imitates the original upper cabinets over the sink that have wood-framed glass doors.
In the middle of the kitchen pictured here, you see the enormous island (interior shot after cabinet and counter were removed). An island does not need to be this large, and we wanted to have a hangover for bar stools (get it hangover for....never mind).
Yes, that's a Sub-Zero refrigerator/freezer (right of the photo), original to the 1987 house. Still works well. Since they cost more than most cars and have to be specially installed, we have learned to love it.
Stay tuned. I am not giving away the BIG reveal in this post. This week the finishing touches will be added and all in good time I'll share the photos of this 21st century make-over in another post.

Boats on the Water

The only thing more fun that one peddle kayak would be two peddle kayaks on the water. These speedy water crafts maneuver easily and defy tipping over.

Hobie Kayak with peddles, paddle, and a sail (not shown here)