As many of you know, I love the ocean and desperately miss it now that we live inland. What better way to celebrate my 38th birthday this past week then to take a long weekend at the coast? We feasted on wine, cheese, and crackers, filled our lungs with the salt air, and were lulled to sleep each night by the constant crashing of waves on the shore. It was wonderful, and I was home.
My Charles and I went to Anderson Valley and the Pacific Coast this weekend, specifically Little River and the Jug Handle State Reserve. As we pulled into the valley, and even more so as we arrived at the ocean, I felt my bones settle and my entire body relax. Do you know what I mean? It was glorious. As we drove away, I felt the tension return, slowly tightening as we traveled until I was back, stuck in my usual, wound-up self. But for the short bit while we were there, it was wonderful, beautiful, and right.
I love so many parts of the year, all of them in fact, for different reasons and different moods. They're always the most glorious when they are happening, no matter which they are, because of the sparkle in the air or the smell hovering around or because of a feeling that can't quite be explained. Still, I have some favorites, and the false spring at the end of January is one of them.
It was this time of the year, you see, when I was in the seventh grade, that I first read The Lord of the Rings. That was the experience that changed my life, the way I wanted to write, and taught me that the world of storytelling got even more rich, beyond the realms of the Blue and Brown Fairy Books.
False spring is also when I feel a quickening and anticipation for the future. It's when my biggest nesting impulses come to the fore. Last year, there were so many other things that I needed to focus on, I buried those impulses.
This year, I'm embracing them and making changes throughout the house. So far, I've brought in two cowhide rugs, and I love them. Their organic shapes play off of the squareness of our house and slate tiles, softening the feel of the space. We also found a lovely dresser on Craigslist for $75 that fits perfectly in the space I had planned for it. I used Morgan's tutorial, as I do with all of my new/old pieces, to bring it back to its former glory. And I still have so many plans! There are so many exciting things to accomplish this year. This is just the beginning. Spring hasn't even started yet, after all, just its promise.
We have two cats and a dog. What does that have to do with resolutions and goals? Well, I'll tell you. You see that kitty on the left? That's Jazz. She hasn't been completely happy with us since we moved from our rental (a converted barn with a sunroom -- kitty bliss) into the house that we own. She was not pleased and showed it on the carpet. (Mabel, our other cat, is a lot more laid back and would probably be horrified if she made a mess.) Then we added a dog to the list, and Jazzy REALLY wasn't pleased. She ruined the carpet. So the first thing on our 2012 home goals is:
1. Replace the carpeting in the house. We're saving our final call until we go look at flooring, but at this point, we're focusing on bamboo.
2. Paint the outside of the house.
3. Fix and/or replace the deck.
4. Create a garden.
5. Finally build that clothesline.
6. Build a railing for our new, beautiful concrete steps.
7. Finally build a pergola over the front door (and maybe a second one for the deck).
8. Finish the bathroom (sink vanity, flooring, medicine cabinet, toilet).
9. Organize the laundry room.
10. Replace the kitchen countertops with white quartz, change faucet, add backsplash.
11. Extend Bodie's yard.
12. Get a Tough Shed garage.
Plus there are lots of little projects including trimming out the bookcases and adding baseboards to my office. I'm optimistic about getting this laundry list done because we only have one house to focus on this year. And buckle-up because I'm going to share my personal resolutions, too.
1. Nurture an Open Heart.
2. Write more (freelancing, blogging, etc.).
3. Be healthier. (I started the year off with pneumonia, so I'm hoping to only improve from here on.)
4. Let the blog's readers get to know me better. (Have some more diverse posts.)
5. Embrace Nevada County more, seek to make it home.
6. Explore and hike in Tahoe -- it's only 45 minutes away!
7. Take more overnight camping trips with the pup.
8. Keep painting, even if I don't have any upcoming shows.
There you have it -- two very full lists. As always, I'll share the processes, and since I'm hoping my camera will become another appendage, there should be lots of photos.
Happy holidays. You guys are awesome! I hope you have a splendid weekend with tons of goodies and giggles.
The house is slowly finding its space again, after acquiring items that we may not have planned for or expected. Some things had sentimental attachments, like this photo of my Charles' grandfather. Though we're not family-photos-on-the-wall type people, I love the history and styling of this piece and decided to embrace it instead of hiding it in a closet. I hung it on a day when Charles was in Concord, and it startled him in a very satisfactory way when he got home.
This china cabinet used to live in the kitchen of the Concord House. I love its wood tones and storage. We've lived with the piece next to the kitchen for the last month, but I'm planning on moving it to a corner closer to our dining table. In the spot where it currently resides, I'm planning to build a little island to further identify the kitchen space and create more work surface. Once I settle on a piece and a counter top, I'll explain the process of creating an island.
I acquired the secretary's desk that Charles' parents purchased on an antiquing jaunt. The jaunt itself was uncharacteristic for them, so he likes to look at the piece and remember the shock when he heard they were taking a rather whimsical journey. I've always wanted a secretary's desk with its hidey holes and writing surface that folds away, and any place that holds more books is a plus.
My last piece was something that I stumbled upon upstairs at my grandma's house, and she graciously gave it to me. I love this chair so much! It's the perfect height for my almost 5'3" stature. Its low profile doesn't take up much visual space in my little office, and it's the most comfortable chair I've ever owned.
So those are some of the furniture pieces we've recently acquired. My sister just gave me a small table that my grandpa built, and I'm using it as part of a creative console behind the couch. That will be shared at a later time. Have a wonderful week. The heat is perfect for a chilled white or rose. A good wine can take a temperature agony to a treat as the condensation beads on the glass and the chilled flavors roll across the tongue.
I know I'm late to the party. We'll just call it fashionable. I've had the flu this week, so I haven't had a great deal of energy. The lack of get up and go did finally inspire me to get my Pinterest thang goin', and like everyone else that's using it, I LOVE it! So follow me, if you'd like. I'm just getting into the swing of it, but it's addictive as sin, so my boards should grow daily.
I'll have another Concord House update on Monday. Things are moving right along. Now if only we could say the same for our place...
My Charles and I haven't had a fun, frivolous day in quite a while, so we decided to go to Reno to do something that I've been yearning to do for quite some time -- thrift. I've gotta say, I think I've fallen a little in love with the Biggest Little City. Once you get beyond the casinos, it's a college town, and man has my heart yearned for a college town since we moved to Nevada County! We had an awesome lunch at a Taste of Thai. (Arcata friends -- dudes, it was better than Japhy's. I kid you not!) Oh, culture and cheap thrift stores and people talking about college classes -- even hipsters -- I enjoyed it all. My FAVORITE new store of all time? Junkee. People, I swoon. Awesome clothes at great prices, and even more -- awesome antiques for even better prices! Here are a few photos of the store:
Seriously, I could spend every penny we have in that place. I came so close to buying a ton of stuff, but in the end, I restrained myself to four pieces of clothing and this gold mirror from the 19th century for -- wait for it -- $25. I know! I die! I'm so, so, happy with it, and it's going to look sweet in my office.
This was my favorite find of the day. It was hanging out with some poster frames at the SPCA thrift store. Say hello to our new medicine cabinet. We're going to try to mirror the glass ourselves. I'll give you a step by step when that happens. Why the rustic cabinet? Earlier this year, I came to terms with the fact that our house is a cabin in the woods. I figured I should embrace that reality and begin to decorate the house that way. So I'm going to focus on a rustic, with modern elements, plus vintage whimsy feel and hope that it's charming. I'm actually really excited about how this will look in our bathroom. It's solid wood with enough utility to work in our teeny tiny water closet. Plus, it was twenty bucks, and it will replace a cheap, press board with white laminate piece that's hanging out in there currently. I can't wait to show you the before and afters.
I used to live near the ocean. I could feel it, constantly pounding, in my bones, in my blood. Its spray filled my nostrils when I walked outside each day, and its winds sang me to sleep each night. I miss the ocean. Moving from it awakened a longing I didn't anticipate. There is a wound that's a part of me because I now live so far way from it. That ache is a bad thing, but from it has come good. One good has come because from that ache sprung "Ocean Jones." Another good may also come. I will sell my beloved painting for $500 to help Dana, The Broke-Ass Bride, with her medical bills. Dana has an autoimmune disease called Uveitis and will be having her twelfth surgery this year. All $500 will be sent to her cause. I will also be submitting the Kale & Chickpea Soup recipe that I love so much and can eat any day of the week (since she's requesting recipes), but because I do art, and this is a way I can donate more than I could usually afford, I thought I'd offer this too.
"Ocean Jones" is a beast (24"X48"), so I think I'll need to send it UPS. I'll pay for all shipping fees. Interested? Email me at pixyofwhimsy at gmail dot com if you'd like to buy some pretty art and help a pretty great person with her medical bills. Need more convincing? Read The Bowie Bride's blog about it. It will make your heart swell with love and compel you to give. Even if you don't want a pixyofwhimsy original, you know a kick-ass comfort food recipe, don't you?
*Another photo of "Ocean Jones" here.
We just returned from our yearly pilgrimage to Death Valley. It’s one of the places that just feel like home, and it isn’t springtime until we’ve found ourselves hiking up washes, looking for wildflowers. Bloom wasn’t too big while we were there, but I love the Park in all of its moods. We had days of wind, rain, and then glorious sunshine, and being rewarded with finding the treasure of sometimes almost microscopic flowers was always worth hours of hiking.
These photos were taken with my fish eye lens on my glorious Canon Rebel, and they have not yet been edited.