Harvest Season has arrived in a Colorful Bomb of Inspiration…

This amazing photo was taken by my mom from her house in Idaho. It’s a view of Henry’s Lake from their driveway. Gorgeous!

My wonderful Aunt Katie came to visit with my mom for 3 days. It’s so fun and special to see her and have a chance to spend time together without all the kids and grand kids. She’s a positive and vibrant spirit and I’m grateful to have the time with her!
The first time entertaining in my new kitchen.
This little foot stool has been in one of the rentals for several years and the burlap, recycled from when I was in the rug industry, is showing signs of wear.
It’s simple to recover it, but I want to make it feel European to match the style of the rental.
I had some extra burlap and this fun French style stencil, which I used to create interest and give it a French flair.
Cute enough! And the fabric is less distressed. Voila’!
A good friend of mine is in the long process of Chemotherapy and I am helping her out with some cooking.
We settled on Lasagna, Baked Penne and Enchilada’s!
While I’m cooking, I might as well make some for my house too!
After the 1 week remodel that turned into a month long remodel, I needed a break from it all and found my way up to Gunnison to see some fall colors and the family. Preston relaxing on the patio, overlooking Blue Mesa!
My beautiful sister, taking in the gorgeous view of the Reservoir.
This is how to find peace and relax! The weather was perfect and the colors in full spectacle!
I drove the dogs past Gothic toward Schofield Pass and found a good place to stop and walk around. They were most interested in the cow pies, so I put them in the back of the truck for a scenic pic of the colors.
There were many people in the area taking pics and walking around. I was fortunate to find this place away from the crowds to enjoy the day.
Once I returned home, I started cleaning and working on the details from the remodel. I had David put up some shelving above the fridge for more storage.
He cut down the pantry doors to fit the cabinet. I Love the texture they add to the space!
Some of the details include shelves and cool brackets, barn wood and ceramic Brick tile.
Before the doors…
These were found at Habitat for Humanity for $10! Super great find! However, they were dirty and needed cleaning. I use TSP cleaning solution with a brush to remove the dust and spills on the wood.
This is my set up to refinish cabinets. Cleaning and prep is the biggest part of the project! Clean with TSP, then a coat of sanding sealer, light sanding, paint (maybe 2 coats), more sanding to distress, glaze to highlight any imperfections and give it patina, then 2 coats of finishing wax. This process must be re imagined with each project. I’ve learned that it takes a few try’s to get the look I want, then I go forward with that process to finish all the cabinets to match.
This is the pantry cabinet David built for me. I took it outside to begin the treatment, looking for the right technique. The outside panel is done and ready to mount the pantry doors again.
I also wanted to try the technique on a small part of the door. I’ll finish it later, but needed to see how it looks with paint and some glaze.
When we cut the door down to size, we exposed some joints in the wood. No worries! Luckily, my style is rustic farmhouse, so I feel comfortable having imperfections in my cabinets and doors. I do need door latches.
My door latch solution is magnetized brackets. Simple!
Before I left Gunnison, Susie gave me fresh produce from the farmer’s market on Saturday morning in town. How cute are these baby carrots?
I feel better having taken a break from my remodel project! It’s always great to get up the the mountains and especially when the fall colors are in full display!

I Had A Delightful Dream To Restore This Relic…

It’s been a crazy fun year and I’m grateful for and proud of the project I’ve been working on!
One Year later, after a great summer season, my house looks fresh, bright and welcoming!
This poor house was so overgrown!
The new landscape is much cleaner and easier to maintain!
The Aspen Tree is still here but,
the front looks otherwise pretty different.
The side yard between my neighbor and I…
looks better with a cedar fence and gate, Breeze material and filled in grass.
It’s hard to see the cedar garden boxes on the right. And impossible to see the gate behind the volunteer tree the contractor is walking through.
Ah, there’s the gate! And a nice clean walkway under the cedar arbor.
And the front door must have been original! Weeds were growing through the concrete step under the door and into the house.
More welcoming! And interesting to look at, from the street.
The back door was also in poor shape.
The new slider is more open, let’s light into the house and is so much prettier.
This is the back porch, but this pic was taken around 2011, before the garage came down. It had plywood paneling on the bottom and screen on the top.
No more plywood! I replaced only the necessary supports with Cedar posts and opened it all up. And a new shed shares the original garage space with a courtyard seating area.
I liked the garage, which had cool original wood siding, but it was so old! The back yard was neglected and overgrown. (pic taken around 2008)
Ahhhh…. Cleaner and low maintenance! Perfect for me!
Straight view of the original back patio.
Today, an Oasis in the City!
Amazing how different it looks now!
I want to hang out here!
The far side of the back patio had 2 different types of fencing between the neighbor and I. Redwood, which turned into chainlink. My neighbor also looked right into my patio from their back door. Awkward for everyone!
I added taller Cedar fencing from the alley to the front sidewalk and everyone is happier! Plus, I hung some outdoor curtains all the way around the patio, giving both of us privacy that can be adjusted.
The back patio concrete was poured with an angle on the left side, starting at the house and ending at the tree.
I extended the concrete to square up the patio which added extra square footage.
One of the best parts of this 893 square foot house is the patio and outdoor living space. I knew this space should be the heart of the house when I first saw it in 2005. I didn’t however, think I would live here 14 years later and make it into what I imagined it could be!
This space is so comfortable and serene. The breeze flows through the patio, keeping it cool. Ceiling fans move the air and the curtains float. Mmmm.
This is what my life looked like in August 2018, 1 year ago.
This is what it looks like today! Rocco is comfortable here too!
The old garage concrete pad with weeds growing out of the cracks.
Same spot, but now it supports my shed! Clean gravel walkway, courtyard and cedar arbor overhead.
I love how organized garden boxes can make your yard. After some clean up and a new irrigation system…
First year gardens. It’s hard the 1st year trying things out and making adjustments as needed. I’ve read that gardening teaches patience and my the case, it’s true! Every year after, becomes a game of what will come back again and eventually you have a mature garden.
Walking through the side gate, this is what you’d see ahead. This is my main entrance. Lovely!
Now this looks like a place I need to explore more!
Same view, to the left, Ugh!
I even got some extra shade from the shed, making the patio more protected. And honestly, the shed is such a focal point, it makes the whole yard seem like a stage set.
I haven’t done as much in the inside, but I’ve done some things and I have plans for more.
I added A/C, fresh paint, lots of cleaning and a new front door.
The arch on the left goes into the kitchen. I replaced the kitchen windows that you see on the left, with a slider door into the courtyard.
It really opened up the kitchen, brought light into the house and now, I walk right onto the courtyard from the kitchen. This was a huge change that made this house feel more updated.
This fun corner of the living room gives the occupant a nice view of the front yard.
I made a cozy seating area with a thick shag rug to give it texture.
A closer view of the arched wall between the kitchen and living area, where I added a new slider door.
I’m planning to take this wall down between the living room and kitchen. This space is the main living space in the house and during the winter, where I spend most of my time.
I’ll lose the upper cabinets and keep the base cabinets. I want to open up the room so it feels bigger, brighter and warmer having the living and cooking space connected.
I’ll remove the weird soffit above the cabinets to open the room up, refinish the existing base cabinets, add rustic support beams, new tile backsplash, new countertops and I’m having a shelf cabinet built…
to match the cabinet you see here, below the windows. As you can see, I need more storage space and I’ll put the new cabinet to the right of the windows. It’s tall and fits the space between the windows and the back door.
Me, happy to be at this point of my project and enjoying my simple life.
I love my newly remodeled space! This project has been so fun because I get to do what works for my lifestyle today. It’s customized for me. And I’m so happy living here.
Happy Anniversary, house!

Fresh on the mind: How we love to Eat, Drink and be Merry

Lauren enjoying her birthday cake slice at PF Chang’s at Park Meadows!
Winnie and I in Westport, Ireland at Sheebeen’s for hot spiced whiskey and dinner.
Mark and Preston at One Barrel in Englewood for dinner.
Mom showing me how to use chopsticks at PF Changes in Lone Tree.
Girlfriends, Beth and Heather joining me for Al Fresco dinner on my back porch.
Here’s the spread on this particular evening. My go to dinner on many evenings.
My friend, Wendy choosing her favorites.
Cheese and crackers ready to go out to the patio.
Kasey at her birthday lunch at Cheesecake Factory in Park Meadows.
Fried Tomato Caprese appetizer at Acres Restaurant in Englewood. So good!
Homemade Granola.
Ready to mix in the dressing…
And bake. This is a good recipe! My breakfast, most mornings!
Happy Hour in Gunnison at Susie and Mark’s house overlooking the Gunnison Airport.
Laughter, snacks and stories…
Fun to be with family!
Brown Bread and chowder at Ashford Castle in Ireland.
Late dinner in NYC after traveling. I’m checking out the scene as I eat.
While walking around NYC, we found this cute outdoor block of restaurants with shared seating. It was 1 block from our hotel.
Finally, after a day of sightseeing, we take a break!
Ready to grill Salmon on cedar planks with Caprese appetizer.
Sitting by the Gunnison River at Garlic Mike’s before a fundraiser starts.
Like any good fundraiser, they give you plenty of time to drink wine and cocktails before the auction.
I found a chair near the river and stayed put until the auction started.
Angel hair Pomodoro at Garlic Mike’s.
We bid on and won a 2 night stay at a private cabin in Tincup. Here we are enjoying happy hour by the fire before dinner. Rocco is wrapped up in the Red blanket.
The offerings are different in Ireland. We ate lots of scones, Irish soda bread, coffee …
This is rashers, similar to bacon.
And this is a traditional Irish breakfast.
Susie, lounging on the boat in Blue Mesa. Rocco is keeping an eye on the food!
Susie and Ryan sampling a feast at a fabulous restaurant in Telluride.
Winnie is planning her approach to the lovely slice of cake before her.
Happy hour, overlooking Central Park. This was fantastic!
Another late dinner in NYC.
Gavin’s in Westport, Ireland. This place became my favorite spot in town for a light lunch or snack.
And who doesn’t love ice cream! This is a “99”; cone with a flake of chocolate in it.
Outside Gavin’s with Maureen in the afternoon for tea.
Checking my email before digging into my panini at the Beehive Restaurant in Achil Island, Keel Beach, Ireland.
They served sugar in these crystal lumps, which remind me of uncut jewels.
Ryan and Preston sharing an Al Fresco dinner on the patio at Two Rivers Winery in Grand Junction.
Greek style salad with Quinoa and pickled beets dinner.
Thanksgiving table set for many at Susie’s house in Gunnison! So pretty!
Ready for tea at Kylemore Abbey in Ireland. Quiche and soup and Brown Bread, of course.
Asian salad. Fresh and crispy!
Breakfast at Mom and Dad’s house for Michael’s family, several years ago!
Sitting on the Thames in London, enjoying the evening with a glass of wine on the patio.
London skyline, Chardonnay and Irish Coffee.
Winnie getting serious about her Shepherds pie dinner.
Mark and Preston assessing their funnel cake at a Rockies game.
Fresh snack, quinoa, feta, olives, banana pepper, red pepper, asparagus.
Fresh produce from my garden in 2016.
My herb garden; Chives, Rosemary, Cilantro, Sage, Garlic and Dill
How I should, and do eat after a fantastic week of drinking and dining out with family in town!

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” -Leonardo da Vinci

When I was little, I did what my parents told me to do. Then I went to school and did what the teachers told me told do. I got a job and did what my boss told me to do. Today, I do what I want to do and I love it!

This miniature Rose was given to me by Susie, in April. It was beautiful but very quickly dropped all it’s leaves and looked dead. I put it in my bone yard with the rest of my pots.
A week later, I start to see new growth! So, I planted it in one of my gardens to see if it would come back.
Look at it today! Blooming in it’s new place!
Do you know Dragonflies eat mosquitos? This one is feasting on Aphids!
I found this mirror in storage. I like it, but it’s dark and heavy looking. I got inspiration from a pic I saw online and decided to paint and distress it.
First coat of paint. I used an off White chalk spray paint.
This ornamental mirror was also being stored and feels outdated with the Cherry colored stain.
Deciding on what color to paint over the Cherry stain. I went with the darker one.
First coat of Turquoise spray paint.
Being single, I generally eat Al Fresco. And when I do entertain, I like to offer a selection of tapas or finger foods so guests can make a meal of flavors they like. I try to stick with healthy menu items and have been able to redirect me attention to cooking more since I’m home more. I definitely eat better!
My niece Lauren, came over to do some cooking this week. We’re assembling some vegetarian salads for lunch and learning how to do some basics.
Another light evening meal.
Simple is better. I spent many years building my life. More money, more stuff, more stress. Once I achieved what I thought was “success”, I started to get rid of all the stuff I surrounded myself with. Now, I love knowing I don’t need stuff to be happy. In fact, the more stuff I get rid of, the lighter and freer I feel.

“I am convinced, both by faith and experience, that to maintain one’s self on this earth is not a hardship but a pass time, if we live simply and wisely” 
― Henry David Thoreau, Walden