30 Days Hath September, April, June and November!

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30 Days Hath September, April, June and November!

 

How, oh HOW, has the whole month of November passed me by? How, I ask??

Well, the first week I had to work out of town several days. Then we drove south to Mobile, Alabama, for a short adventure on the Inaugural Cruise out of Mobile on the Carnival Fantasy on November 9th.

Carnival Fantasy

Carnival Fantasy Mobile Alabama

Port of Mobile Carnival Fantasy

We had a great time and there will be more on that trip at a later date.

When we got home, I had to work out of town again for a few days. But then it was time to party again. We drove to Tennessee after work on Monday, November 21, and then got up early and packed into the kids van and drove to eastern NC to spend a few days with my family.

Welcome to NC

Art projects at Thanksgiving

Family Dinner at Thanksgiving

Kids Table at Thanksgiving

It was a whirlwind of visiting and then back home. Just in time for a few more days work and then attend a formal Christmas Gala on the 3rd of December.

Christmas Gala 2016, The Moody Mansion

Dress from Rent the Runway

Christmas Gala 2016, The Moody Mansion

Christmas Gala 2016, The Moody Mansion, Bessemer, AL

The Gala was a fundraiser for the Bessemer Historical Society. The Moody Mansion is being restored along with many other dilapidated but fabulous old houses in the city. The house was gorgeous and there will be more on that at a later date.

And so, here we are. Looking at less than 20 days until Christmas.

YIKES!

I feel so old when I say TIME IS JUST FLYING BY! Where did  your November go?

 

 

Need a formal dress? Click here RENT THE RUNWAY.

 

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The Ginger Rock Garden

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Ginger Rock Garden

Gardening

I have a friend who has such cool names for each of her garden areas, so I decided I needed to start naming mine and this is my first, The Ginger Rock Garden.

Gardening

It won’t be obvious to the general passerby why its named this, so let me explain.

Gardening

When we moved into our house 5 years ago, I decided that I wanted my flowers to be planted basically  in gardens by color. Not totally, but for the most part. So I put my transplanted forsythia, and my lady banks rose in the same area since they are yellow. And when I made a new garden bed by the driveway, I put my creeping phlox in three pink shades and some pink echinacea, along with some daisies, candy tuft, and a white camellia. And since there were already red roses in the front of the house I tried to stick with red and white in the front. That is changing now, but that’s another story. And then when I planted my purple butterfly bush, I decided I needed to put all my purple plants nearby and so began the Ginger Garden.

Gardening

Oh. But wait! You still don’t understand? Well, see, Ginger is my sister’s name and she is passionate about everything purple. And we plan to get a really big rock to put at the back of this garden, or either several medium size rocks.  I have added a few very small rocks already, but I want some big enough for the grandkids (and me) to climb and sit on.

And so, Bob’s your uncle! The Ginger Rock Garden.

Gardening

Gardening

Gardening

I have two shrubs planted in the back behind the arch that will one day be large enough to do a little camouflaging of our neighbor’s rather large RV, which sits right at the property line.

 

I love the way this garden is turning out! In a few couple of years, it will be just perfect. Do you name your gardens?

 

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An Orange a Day

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An  Orange a Day

There are only 60 miles of coastline in Alabama, but oh my, what a beautiful 60 miles it is! Some of the prettiest beaches I’ve ever seen, and a lot of people say, prettiest in America.

If you've never visited the Gulf coast of Alabama, it's TIME!

We took a long weekend and went to Orange Beach to celebrate my birthday this summer. It was a gorgeous weekend with tons of sand and sun. Not to mention scenery and food!

The white sand of the beaches in Alabama!

Sand as white as a seagulls breast in Alabama!

Alabama Beaches

Rest and relaxation on the beaches of Alabama!

Enjoy the wild life on the beaches of Alabama!

 

We almost always eat at Lulu’s in Gulf Shores on the Intercoastal Waterway.

Best eating on the coast of Alabama!

Enjoy the view while eating at some of the best on the coast of Alabama!

Enjoy the view while dining at the best on the coast of Alabama

 

And at Tacky Jack’s in Orange Beach on the bay.

Sparkling views on the coast of Alabama

Awesome views from awesome restaurants on the coast of Alabama

Arrive by boat or car to some of the best eating on the coast in Alabama

Blue on blue views while dining on the coast of Alabama

 

And dinner, with a side of dancing, at one of our newest favorites, Cobalt, in Orange Beach, just over the Perdido Bay Bridge.

Bay views from the outside bar at Cobalt in Alabama

Breathtaking evening views on the coast of Alabama

Dining and dancing at Cobalt on the coast in Alabama

 

And here’s the happy couple!

The sights and sounds of relaxation on the coast of Alabama

An orange a day. Orange Beach, that is!

The weekend was over way too quickly and I really didn’t get too many pictures to share with you. But that leaves me wide open to be able to go again and get more pictures to share with you, right?

 

Have you ever visited Alabama?

So many great places to see. And I haven’t even mentioned Fort Morgan, Gulf Shores State Park, Mobile…. HERE are some ideas to get you started.

 

You can also read about some of our other adventures in Alabama:

Mentone

The Shoals Part 1 

The Shoals Part 2

The Shoals Part 3

Lover’s Leap, Vestavia

 

 

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Lighten Up!

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Lighten Up!

I love solar lights. I have quite a few, but always want more. I had seen many light fixtures converted to beautiful solar fixtures on Pinterest and after we bought a hot tub last year, I decided I needed to make one. You can read all about my original DIY Solar Chandelier failure here.

DIY Solar chandelier - Successes and Failures!

A week or so ago, I found solar lights on clearance at Target. I took that as a sign that it was time to do something about that DIY failure. The hot glue had not held. So I added more hot glue. Now it looked messy and it still didn’t hold.

DIY Solar Chandelier - What NOT to do

First things first.

I gathered my supplies and headed outside to work.

DIY Solar Chandelier - How to

SUPPLY LIST:

solar lights
glue
chandelier
glass of tea

DIY Solar Chandelier

STEP 1: Pull the ground stake out of the light.

DIY Solar Chandelier

DIY Solar Chandelier

STEP 2: Twist the top off the globe.

DIY Solar Chandelier

STEP 3: The manufacturer has placed a small piece of paper in the light which breaks the circuit and prevents the battery from running down before you even purchase the light. You will need to remove this piece of paper. Screw the top back onto the globe.

DIY Solar Chandelier

STEP 4: Apply glue to globe. I have read a lot of instructions for these solar chandeliers, and a lot of them say that their new lights fit into their chandelier perfectly with no glue needed. Mine do not fit my chandelier.

DIY Solar Chandelier

STEP 5: Place light into chandelier and hold in place for a few seconds.

DIY Solar Chandelier

REPEAT!

and REPEAT!

and REPEAT!

and REPEAT!

DIY Solar Chandelier

Once I had them all glued in, I set my chandelier in full sun for a couple of hours to charge the batteries.

DIY Solar Chandelier

We are in a drought here in Alabama and my grass is so brown and ugly.

DIY Solar Chandelier

I then hung it up and waited (impatiently) for dark.

DIY

 

DIY

DIY

img_20161015_183335437

img_20161015_183329265

DIY

DIY Solar Chandelier

DIY Solar Chandelier

 

It is the perfect soft lighting for romantic nights in the hot tub. AND this glue should hold up well, but I’ll keep you posted.

 

 

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The Screening

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The Screening

I attended a screening a couple of years ago. It was the movie Miss Potter with Renee Zellweger playing Beatrix. We watched the free movie and then we answered a short questionnaire. I don’t think the movie was wildly popular, but I don’t know why. I liked it.

DIY Shed makeover

DIY Shed makeover

This weekend, I did a screening of a different kind. After we did a makeover on our old, worn out, beat up, metal utility shed it looked GREAT! But there were a few finishing touches that still needed to be done, and the first one was the screen door.

DIY

I took the screen door down and placed it on top of my outdoor tables. The first thing that needed to be done was remove the old screen.

DIY

I used a screwdriver to pry up the staples holding the wood trim and then also to remove the screen itself.

DIY

DIY

DIY

Once everything was removed it was time to install the new screen. I laid the roll of screen in place and temporarily put the trim back on the top to hold it in place. I then rolled it down to the bottom. Holding the left edge in place, I used my staple gun to attach the screen on the left side.

DIY

DIY

DIY

I then removed the top trim piece so that I could pull the screen taut on the right side of the door and I stapled the screen all the way down the right side. Then across the top, and lastly, across the bottom. Next was to cut off the excess screen. I used a box cutter to trim all three sides.

DIY

DIY

DIY

Reinstalling the wood trim pieces made it all look good!

DIY

DIY

This door came with a louver on the bottom. It is amazing how much the door has weathered while hanging there a couple of months. The louver had been stored inside, which is why you see such a color difference.

I turned the door over and proceeded to put it in place. But wait. How does it attach? Hmmmmm, it might have been a good idea to check that out before, because it looks suspiciously like has to be done under the screen. Oh well. Maybe it will just sit in there. NOT!

DIY

DIY

DIY

That will have to be a project for another day. I just hung the door up and placed the louver back inside.

DIY

 

“Read all instructions first.” Does anybody DO that?

 

 

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Forced into Fall

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Forced into Fall

My favorite season is summer. And I never want to give it up. I’m never quite ready for fall. But finally, I have to just admit its here and deal with it.

I love the idea of changing home decor for every season. And I tried doing it for the first year that we lived in our house, but it soon became evident that I am not the kind of person who can do that all the time. In fact, sometimes I have a hard time even decorating for Christmas.

I love seeing all the Facebook pictures and blog posts of everyone’s home decor for spring, and Easter, and Halloween, and Thanksgiving and well, ALL of it is beautiful! And it almost makes me want to get my decor out of the attic. Almost.

But a week or two ago, a cousin of mine posted a fall vignette picture and tagged me in it.

home decor

Photo belongs to Mary Wensing Devorachek

It struck me that this was something I could very easily re-create without taking one single step up into the attic. I grabbed the milk can from the back yard and headed to the porch. On my way, I saw my yellow and green turtle and picked him up. Then I went and got the wheel from in front of the garage, and in about 5 minutes, I had me a front porch fall vignette.

home decor

home decor

I love it. It is so simple and yet, very fall-ish. And then, I remembered that Mr. Menace had commented on some Goldenrod blooming in the yard at lunch. So I looked for a jar or vase that would fit into the milk can and filled it with water. Then I grabbed my clippers, cut down the goldenrod and stuck them in the can. I needed a few more, so I walked across the road and cut a handful to fill up the can.

home decor

Now that’s quick decorating!

Am I the only one that can’t find time to change out decor with the seasons?? Yikes!

 

 

 

 

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A Case of the Shutters

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A Case of the Shutters

DIY

Just a few weeks back, I showed you how my idea of siding the old storage building exploded into this delightful little shed. Here is our pitiful little storage shed in its BEFORE state:

DIY

DIY

 

So now that my shed is so cute, I was ready to start decorating it. The inside is still a work in progress but the outside is mostly complete. Of course, we know that decorating is NEVER really finished.

I knew I wanted to hang my washtubs, so that’s where I began.

Gardening, Decorating

Gardening

Gardening

Gardening

Next, I looked around for something to use as shutters. When I spied these metal rose pieces in my stash of stuff, I wondered…..

decorating
decorating

decorating

 

decorating

decorating

They were a perfect fit!

Now to move on to the front of the building. I knew I wanted to hang these decorative faux window guards/planters and decided that they would look good beside the door.

decorating decorating

And I thought I knew what I wanted on the opposite side of the door, but it took me a couple of tries to get it just right.

decorating

decorating

decorating
decorating


decorating

decorating

 

Next is to get the screen attached to the door and then figure out how to furnish and decorate the inside. Any ideas? I could use some help on this one.

 

 

 

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All Decked Out!

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All decked out!

This weekend I finally decided to make a start on making my screened in deck/back porch into a more comfortable space. When I asked you all for advice on lightening and brightening up the deck, I was surprised to get several responses that said I just needed to continue what I was doing.

DIY

BEFORE

I loved getting that response because, continuing is SOOOO much easier, and quicker, than painting 🙂 I started moving stuff around and trying to finish up the incomplete project.

DIY

I had made these chair cushions above a couple of years ago, and they were fine. But I remembered that I had bought some cushions last year for outside that I never used and the color scheme would be PERFECT for the deck.

DIY

My color scheme was inspired by the green that I was already using and this flower pot that I found at the drug store on clearance. I also had bought blue fans last year. I love the blues!DIY

Now that I have a color scheme in mind, things are starting to fall into place.

DIY

I also had purchased these other cushions at the same time and they work perfectly in the chair swing.

DIY

So far, so good! I am really liking the way this is turning out.

DIY

 

Now for the other side of the deck! Here is what it looked like before:

DIY

I changed out the little table between the chairs for a taller one that is also in the new color scheme.

DIY

Much better! It is actually a stool but the height is perfect to hold a glass of tea.

Then I stole this rug from the basement “mud room” and put it underneath the swing chair.

DIY

Next I decided to move the table and put the chairs in its spot. I feel like I will sit in these chairs more now since they are where I can look out into the yard.

DIY

But it needs something. It just looks bare.  I think I know just the thing! I have some shelves out in the shed that are the perfect color….

DIY

Now we are talking! AND if I take the other rug out of the “laundry room” ……

DIY

DIY

DIY

This shopping in my home is really working and FUN! Although, I now have to find a new rug for the laundry room.

After I got the table set up in the corner, I started thinking about what else I needed. I went into my kitchen and got this ladder and brought it out. I am hoping it will work to hold towels and swimsuits to dry after hot tub use. Those items are usually hanging on the backs of chairs and on the swing. Maybe this will make it look a little neater.

DIY

I first put the ladder in front of the stationary part of the sliding glass doors. Later that night when I went inside, I realized it blocked too much of the view from inside and made it feel darker inside. I sure couldn’t have that. So I moved it down past the glass door and against the brick wall. Much better from inside.

DIY

And here is the corner where I moved the table. Its a little bit cramped, but I like the change up.

DIY

I plan to hang the blue shelf on the wall above the table.

In fact, the next thing I have to figure out is what to hang where. You may have noticed the hanging lamp behind the ladder, and my helicopter landing sign. Both of those need to be rethought and I am waiting on inspiration for the other items you see sitting around that I haven’t done anything with yet. Please give me any suggestions you might have to spur me on to get this job done! And I can’t decide on what color curtains to use. What do you think?

DIY

 

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Hit a Brick Wall

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Hit a Brick Wall

My house has great curb appeal as you can see HERE. But the first thing you see as you approach my house is this end wall. This big brick wall, with its one tiny window and all the utilities.

Gardening

Pretty ugly, blah and boring. So, early on, I came up with a plan to give this end of the house some curb appeal. It has been in the works now for a couple of years, but it’s still not obvious from the road yet. I am thinking maybe by next summer it should start to make an impact.

I decided I wanted evergreens to break up the expanse of bricks. So I began my search at all the nurseries in Birmingham for Italian Cypress trees with absolutely no luck. My favorite nursery suggested a substitute so I bought 7 and planted them. That evening I did some online research to remind me what kind of trees I had bought, (and of course I’ve forgotten again) and discovered that they would not work at all for my plan. These trees would grow 10′ wide and I had planted them 3′ apart! Nope. Nope. Nope. I dug every one of them up and transplanted them to the outskirts of our 1 acre yard.

gardening

Baby Italian Cypress planted in 2014

Then I searched online and found the trees I wanted at Fast Growing TreesI waited until they had their 1/2 price sale and order 7 Italian Cypress trees. They arrived in great shape.

Gardening

Gardening

Italian Cypress right after planting in 2014

The next step in my plan was for some old fashion color with hydrangeas. I moved several tiny ones in front of the cypress trees and I have had a time keeping them watered and alive, but I think they are finally established and are going to make it.

Gardening

This is the same plant, above, shortly after it was planted, and below, this summer. I think this will be a show stopper next year.

Gardening

Next, I decided to add a bit of English vibe to go along with the Italian flavor going on. I planted a whole flat of creeping fig to grow on the side of the house. Ivies can cause damage to the brick and mortar but creeping fig is suppose to be safe.

Gardening

My next plan is to transplant some small growing gardenias here in front of the hydrangeas. I think this will be a great combination. But it will have to wait until cooler weather. Nothing will survive a transplant right now.

Here are a few current pictures. I can hardly wait to see what it looks like in one more year. And then again in two more years.

Gardening

Gardening

Gardening

Gardening

Gardening

The Italian Cypress trees have grown a lot and are really starting to look good. The creeping fig isn’t visible from any distance yet, but I can just imagine it covering half the wall! And then when all the hydrangea are blooming……. *swoon*

 

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The Shoals ~ Part 3

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The Shoals ~ Part 3

In Part 1, we visited right around our hotel in Florence, AL. In Part 2, we visited Tuscumbia, AL. And now for Part 3, we are visiting Ivy Green, also in Tuscumbia.

I thought it was going to be closed, so we just planned to ride by and take a few pictures, but we were surprised to find it open! We were able to tour the grounds and the beautiful home.

Alabama

Alabama

Alabama

The grounds were beautiful. The oak leaf hydrangea and the gardenias were in full bloom when we visited. The scent was intoxicating.

Alabama

Alabama

Alabama

This herb garden is exactly what I aspire to!

Alabama

Alabama

Alabama

There were two outbuildings. The first one was directly behind the house and was the kitchen and the cook’s living quarters. The second one was much fancier and was beside the main house. It was used as Helen’s playroom and later as an office.

Alabama

Alabama

Alabama
Alabama

Alabama

Alabama

Alabama

And just out the back door of the main house was the well. The famous well and pump where Helen signed her first word “water.”

Alabama

I didn’t take a single picture while inside the house, but it is FILLED with memorabilia of Helen’s life and all her accomplishments. Just fascinating to see it all and to see pictures of her as a grown woman traveling and meeting with famous people and lecturing in many countries.

Playwright William Gibson’s epic drama, “The Miracle Worker” is performed on the grounds of Ivy Green each year on weekends from early June through mid July. It is on my list to see!

Read about Helen Keller.

Alabama

We rode to Wheeler Dam one day, the second dam built by the Tennessee Valley Authority.

Alabama

Alabama

Alabama

These core plugs show the layers of sediment from the earth under the river. These plugs are studied to determine the solidity of the ground before building such a monstrous building such as the dam.

Alabama

We hiked several trails and visited several parks.

Alabama

Alabama

Alabama

We have become quite fond of our crows at home and maybe this one at the hotel could tell that because he seemed quite friendly and enjoyed posing for me.

Alabama

Alabama

I think maybe one of Mr. Menace’s favorite stops was the Palace Ice Cream Shop in Tuscumbia.

Alabama

Or possibly it was supper at the Rattlesnake Saloon! After parking in the huge parking lot, you can wait at the “bus stop” for the shuttle. Some people chose to walk it, but I highly recommend the ride in the back of the pickup.

Alabama

Alabama

The drive down to the cave was amazingly steep and a bit scary, but also pretty cool. I can’t imagine trying to drive back up it.

Alabama

The saloon is built under a huge rock and it is VERY family friendly. There is a live band and dance floor which is mostly filled with children and sometimes their parents. The food is pretty good too! All in all it is a MUST SEE!

Alabama

Alabama

Another night we ate at the River Bottom GrilleGreat food and even better views!

Alabama

 

We made one more stop on our way home, and we both have decided that it may have been our favorite. The Dismals Canyon is privately owned, but was designated a National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service in 1975.

Alabama

Alabama

The day we stopped was extremely hot, but down in the canyon the air was a good 10 degrees cooler. We took the 1.5 mile trail to the bottom of the canyon and the sights were truly amazing, from the gigantic boulders to the waterfalls.

Alabama

Alabama

Alabama

Alabama

I desperately want to go back for the night tour, in which you can (hopefully) see the Dismalites!

“Past twilight the canyon lights up with tiny bioluminescent creatures we call Dismalites. These “glowworms” require a select habitat to survive and are unique to only a few places on Earth. They are “close cousins” of the rare glowworms found in Australia and New Zealand.”

Alabama

Alabama

Alabama

My washed out photos do not do justice to the beauty we saw.  In reality it was so green and cool.

Alabama

Alabama

Alabama

Alabama

I have read on Facebook that lately there has been a rash of vandals, destroying parts of this great natural resource with spray paint and by scraping the rocks where the dismalites reside. I simply cannot understand people who get pleasure out of destruction.

Alabama

Selfies at the Dismals. I had a TON of phone/camera problems on this trip and I am so disappointed at how bad all the photos are.

Alabama

I can’t believe how much there is to see and do in this area. We didn’t even get around to seeing everything I had hoped. Oh well. I guess that means there is another trip in store for us.

 

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