Thursday, May 29, 2014


 This year, I am leaving my summer mantle in tact until fall.  I pulled out my Chinese blue and white estate sale pieces to decorate.

As you can see, my faux peonies fill one of the vases.

 Peonies are one of my favorite flowers.  My Grandmother grew them in the side yard of the Maywood house.  Before we sold the house, I pulled all of the plantings up.  I gave some to my sister and brought the rest back to Alabama.  This is the second season that they have been in our backyard.  Today, I looked out and found 8 separate plants.  I can't wait to see their blooming season this year.

I ran outside to take a picture of the transplanted peonies on April 29th of this year. There are 7 peony plants in this picture.

But until they bloom, I will use my faux peony blooms to decorate the mantle.

A few seasons back, I took a hike to the woods in our subdivision and cut these branches down.  I keep moving them from one vase to another.  These gangley branches add so much character to the mantle.

I think the mantle will breathe summer freshness indoors.

We all want fresh flowers in our homes when we can get them.  My  friend Susan, so generously gave me bags of already bloomed irises last summer.  I transplanted them into a bed and they have sprung forth just beauty.  Look at these gorgeous blooms!

What better way to show them off than on the
Summer Mantle.

These irises will adorn the mantle until the peonies bloom next week. 

And finally with the peonies blooming, I have come full circle to enjoying Grandma's peonies in my home far, far away.

 Isn't it amazing how just changing a flower creates an entire new look!

Sunday, May 25, 2014


Let us spend some time today thinking of those soldiers that fought to keep our country free.  They have made the ultimate sacrifice.

Friday, May 23, 2014


 The yard on Maywood had always been an issue with the renters.  None of them adequately groomed the yard as it should have been.  A few never cut the grass and the overgrowth of shrubbery was always out of hand.  I would usually have to have someone come in on a yearly basis and literally scalp the entire yard.  One year, the rose bush grew over the driveway onto the neighbor's property.

The following pictures were taken before our arrival last June.

This bush is actually an overgrown weed.

I have to admit that the grass was actually in pretty good condition.

More overgrown weeds.  I always felt bad for the neighbors.  This was one unsightly mess.


This was a brick patio that I laid with the help of a bricklayer friend in 1991. 
 I used recycled street brick from the city.
 It had held up well except for the extensive weeds between the brick. Cleaning up of this patio took many man hours and many days.  The girls were put on this job.

Isn't this next picture just ghastly?

A lot of weed killer was applied before the girls could get to work.
Here are a few pictures of the backyard after I finished the brick patio in 1991.

I forgot how many gorgeous flowers I had in the flower beds.

Here is Grandma's birdbath.  I still have the top since the base was broken in the last move.

A row of hedges separated the yard from the alley.  Because of lack of attention, these bushes were cut down.  The yard was a beautiful respite for us in its day.

So here we are  out back   cleaning the patio of weeds.  This shows about 1/3 of the patio cleaned.

The girls did have fun washing the patio down once the weeds were pulled.
Here are my little worker bees.

This picture was taken before the water fight ensued.

Here is the peony bed.

Before the last grass cutting.

Isn't this cleanup amazing?  My girls are absolutely the best!

It is kind of sad to see the yard cleaned up without the beautiful flower beds.  I hope that the new owner will restore them to their beauty.

The tiger lilies are getting ready to bloom.  I did have the forethought to pull some of them out to transplant in my Alabama garden.  They are growing beautifully here.  I am anxious to have my first crop this summer. 

Only one rosebush remained after we cleaned the bed behind the house.  New mulch was added.

The girls and I were so happy to have the backyard cleaned up.  We are close to being finished on this house project.  Stay tuned for the front yard.

Monday, May 19, 2014


 After Mr. Thrifty,  and I were married, we (My Dad, Mr. Thrifty and myself with the help of Dad's friend, Bill Nailon) gutted the only bathroom in the house and put in a new sink and toilet, tub surround and tiled floor.  Originally, the house had peach and burgundy plastic tiles on the walls.

The Mr. transformed the bathroom into a country cottage, all white bathroom with tongue and groove white paneling.  All hardware was polished nickel.  It had a wonderful clean and pristine appearance.

           Let's travel forward for 13 years and you can see the wear and tear which I found a bit extreme.         

 In this picture you notice that the all white floor that we put down was redone while we were gone.  The floor tiles had been cracked.  I think that it was done with none other than the toilet tank lid.  On further inspection, two pictures down, my Peoria friend, Larry took multiple pictures before we came to the house to get an idea of the condition.  If you look at the tank lid in that picture, you can see that both corners were broken off. 
 The property manager called and told us that the floor tiles were all cracked, so he sent one of his workman in there to retile the floor.  So all the black and white tile was newer to the house.
 The tub surround was just filthy.  It was an almond shade.  I don't know why I ever put that color into an all white bathroom, but I did.  We cleaned this shower many times.  Had I had more time, I would have updated that shower surround.

On further inspection, there was just plain dirt, grime and filth.
My girls definitely learned all about 'elbow grease' those 3 weeks.

Another before shot....

After the wall plate was removed, I took a picture.

 Somehow, another unexplained condition was the triple medicine cabinet mirror.  All of the glazing on the bottom had been stripped off.

My handy dandy fix-it man, Jesse came in like a whirling dervish and tackled 16 jobs in about 4 hours.  One of the more involved one  was to  replace the cabinet because the pipes under the sink had rusted and had been leaking.  With my girls in tow, we went to Home Depot, and bought a bathroom cabinet and sink faucet, faucets for the bathtub and other multiple items for around the house.  By the time that Jesse left, he had fixed a leaking air conditioner unit, overhauled the faucet under the kitchen sink, and done some roof work. I really believe that between Mr. Terry and Jesse, this job would never have been completed.  When I think of both of them, I know that in a moment in time, they both brought much joy to me.
After a pretty thorough scrubbing, my oldest daughter taped off rooms in order to get the painting done faster.

Look at the condition of the bead board.

The after picture of the new tub faucets and caulking.  The tub still needs some more work.  I promise you that it was clean when we left.

Jesse's fine work under the sink.

I could not find a replacement top for the toilet tank.  However, with a few coats of paints, the area really cleaned up well.

 Other than the bottom of the mirror, the room almost looked brand new.
 I am happy with the results, though at times, I never thought we all could pull it off.
One of the renters installed this extra towel bar.  It was easier to clean and paint around it, than remove it and have to deal with the screw holes.

What I always enjoyed about this bathroom was that it was one of the first real projects that Mr. Thrifty did right after we were married.  It really refreshed the house.  With the background of white, any color could be introduced and it would give the room a whole new look.

 With all of the help we had, we returned the room as best we could to it's original glory.

Thursday, May 15, 2014


 It is hard to believe that we have 90 degree temperatures here in Alabama and snow on the ground in Denver in May.  Let's get back and wrap up the last few posts on the Maywood house.
 The basement in the Maywood house was dismal at best.  When we left, we purchased a dehumidifier with a hose running to the basement drain to keep excess moisture out of the basement.  Keeping this running 24 hours a day kept the rooms down there virtually dry when we lived there.
On closer inspection, it was pretty obvious that the previous renters had not followed the instructions in the contract to keep the machine running. 
Here is a picture of the overhead furnace pipes covered with mildew.  Wonder why?

 It was fortunate that I had painted these white before leaving.  Pouring straight bleach into a spray bottle was the answer. Laying newspapers on the floor, I spritzed and spritzed these tubes multiple times.  Then they were dried between turns. Of course I needed to open the windows while doing this job.  This was one job that I would not let the girls do. You will notice in the final picture how well they cleaned up.
Another view.  Check out Grandma's vintage turquoise telephone.
 Along with the mildew came the erosion of the water protected paint on the walls.  My precious younger daughter scraped all the walls in the three rooms by herself.  (Yes, I made her wear a   respirator.)


That was a lot of scraping!!!!

The laundry room was a disaster too.

Besides scraping for hours, my little one swept all the chips up and pitched the debris.  I was so proud of her.
Notice the clear hoses in the left of this next picture.  These hoses carried the water from the dehumidifier in the other room.  Basically, there was no work involved in emptying the machine.  

Even the laundry room sink had to be scrubbed.

One of the men who helped us fix up our house was our painter, Mr. Terry.  He transformed the house by painting every room, hallway, bathroom and entire basement in 8 days.  We can never thank him enough for his help.

After Mr. Terry's painting.(The shower room in the basement.)  All the basement walls were given a double coat of masonry paint for concrete block walls.  This particular paint was excellent in protecting the walls from moisture.

The laundry room wall.
This vintage stove was the one that Grandma used to can fruits and vegetables.  It still works.  I was sad to leave it behind, but there just wasn't time to find it a new home.  The stove made me think of one of my favorite childhood stories,  Mr. Mulligan and the Steam Shovel.  Do any of you recall this story?

It is amazing what 2 coats of paint will do to a basement.

A new shower curtain was purchased and hung.

The screen door from the front door was washed and set aside.  Look at the cute canned goods cabinet.  I painted that high gloss black before we moved in 2000.  The paint held up well.

This picture shows the furnace that I had installed after I bought the house.  The original one blocked part of the entrance into the front room of the basement.

On the floor you can still see where the original octopus furnace sat.

You might laugh but we left not one inch untouched in our cleaning.  My oldest daughter washed down every vent on the front of the furnace.

Sewing new red gingham curtains and painting the walls and the floor in the front room of the basement shows well.

Another view.

The realtor's view.  See how clean the overhead pipes became.
 This basement job was one of the toughest.  I didn't show the leftover garbage that the renter left. Hauling all of this junk out was the first step before we could begin our heavy duty cleaning of the basement.  My two girls were amazing workers.  My oldest loved the fact that I wrote every job in a notebook and she got such satisfaction out of finishing a job and crossing it off the list.  I think she knew that the end was in site when all tasks were scratched off.
Stay tuned for the Bathroom project.