Odds & Ends (and, an oddity or two)…

Today is Q&A time – about all the odds & ends I have left hanging out there.

But, first up, let’s get the oddities out of the way.

Today is August 21st, 2017. It is the day of the Total Solar Eclipse of 2017!  I would call the total solar eclipse one of the most interesting oddities in Mother Nature. I love oddities. This is definitely my thing! So, the question of the day is…

Why-oh-why, did you not spend the day in Wyoming (or Nebraska) experiencing this once in a lifetime odd event given it is just a few short hours by car of where you live?

The simple answer is that I am a procrastinator. I had a tentative plan. I requested the day off of work. I tried to find somewhere to spend the night, but there was nothing left by the time I started looking. Then, I decided we could just drive somewhere the morning of the eclipse, spend a few minutes in total darkness, experience the event, and drive home in time for dinner. I thought this was a great idea. After all, I had the day off and nothing else to do. I told Tad the tentative plan. He was definitely not on board. I think it was the getting up in the middle of the night, driving for several hours in likely heavy traffic, and possibly missing the eclipse anyway if traffic was really bad. Tad does not get excited about odd things like I do. So, two minutes of odd was not enough to convince Tad to go on this day trip with me. So, I thought I would just head out on my own. It could still be kind of fun? As the day neared, the final deciding question of whether or not I would be experiencing this 2 minute once in a lifetime event was “Is sleep more important than 2 minutes of total darkness in the middle of the day?”

Yep. Sleep won out. I know. What is my deal?! I wanted to go, but I love sleep. I have missed out on a lot of sleep in my lifetime! Sleep is very important to me. I am not one of those people who lives by the “I can sleep when I am dead” mantra. Anyway, post solar eclipse I am ok with the decision. Plus, I did a quick google search and discovered that there will be a 2024 total solar eclipse in Rochester NY. Tad has family in Rochester! And, in 2045 there will be a total solar eclipse right here in Colorado. It can’t get more convenient than in my own backyard! That will likely be my final chance to experience total darkness in the middle of the day. I won’t miss it – unless, of course, I am sleeping :)

Once I got over the disappointment of being a procrastinator (and choosing sleep above all else), I realized I could still make the best of this day. I showed up at my dentist appointment early and told them that I needed to get out of there ASAP – so, no X-rays, no doctor exam, no fluoride – just the basics. Yes, I had a dentist appointment today – on Total Solar Eclipse Day. I seriously don’t know what is wrong with me sometimes!

Last night somebody on the news said that the eclipse here in Colorado would be like it is at dusk. He was wrong – in my opinion. I would compare the 2 minutes of “total” eclipse here in Colorado to sitting under our courtyard shade screen.  A bit like it is when it is hazy, but without the actual haze. Then, the light had a golden feel, but not like the “golden hour” at dusk. It was like being in a golden city – kind of like what I would imagine Emerald City to look like – a bit odd, but golden nonetheless – if Emerald City (and the Wizard of Oz) were real.

So, here is what Colorado felt like during the solar eclipse of 2017…


I don’t know. It looks mostly like it does any other day. Maybe, the “golden” thing was in my imagination?


Now to the Odds & Ends (and other lesser known oddities)…

Did you win the garden contest?

The good news is that I didn’t lose! So – no, I did not win the contest. However, I have had a bit of an interesting garden year. It has been very unusual…


That is an upside down purple pepper! I realize it is doesn’t really compare to the solar eclipse, but still a bit odd, I think. In case you are wondering, it tasted just like a right side up pepper :)

Is your blueberry bush alive and well?

Yes – yes, it is. It hasn’t grown much and hasn’t produced any blueberries, but it is still alive. The oddity here is that it is still alive! Odd or not, that is a win in my garden book!


Other than the upside down purple pepper and a surviving blueberry bush, what other contributions have you made to the outdoor scene this summer?

I, maybe, saved a bee and cheered up somebody’s day with some alley sunflowers. Somebody might consider this odd. In my mind, every little bit counts. I am willing to risk being thought of as odd if there is even a slim chance of saving a bee or cheering up just one person’s day.



Again, it isn’t a total solar eclipse, but it is a line through one of the items on the To Do List.  I spruced up a drainage swell in the front yard. The exciting part of this project was crossing it off the To Do List…


Our outdoor room (aka courtyard/patio) got some added pep! On a recent out of town trip, I added to my collection of blown glass patio decor…



and a striped pillow or three.


Speaking of outdoor living space – I started a renovation of our patio art table…


I say started because I think it needed an update from it’s original design. I still think it needs something more, though. It is missing color, maybe?

Ok – so – this hasn’t been one of my most productive summers.

And – frankly – the anticipation of the solar eclipse thing kind of overshadowed everything anyway.

Did you find something sculptural for the living room wall – above the wallpaper art?

Yes – I did! We were wandering around a local art show this summer – and it drew me in.


Handmade and very cool. Maybe, a little odd in some people’s (design) book…


It’s a bat.


It’s a totally cute bat!


I seem to recall another bat decor item in your house? You seem to like bats? What is up with that?

I don’t particularly “like” bats. It just so happened that a couple of bat type items crossed my path – and I like those bats for their uniqueness. Though, I like that real bats control insects and stuff. I like that about bats.

Did you ever get the hardware installed for your guest bedroom built in and closet?

Yep. We went with simple in an oil rubbed bronze finish. I love this built in. There isn’t enough room in our guest room for a dresser or any other kind of furniture storage. We thought a built in and a smaller area for hanging clothes was the best utilization of this closet space. It isn’t completely finished – we want to now install some lighting, but at least the hardware is installed. Every little step gets us closer to the finish…


Why did you not have lighting installed for the built in during the recent renovation?

Good question. It is kind of a long story. The short version, though, is that plans changed mid construction. More on that in the future.

Is the bathroom finished?

I think we last left off waiting on hardware installation, the mirror, and some artwork. So – the answer to this question is “Yes, it is mostly finished”…

Finally finished too...

The cabinet hardware was easily installed once I procured the longer screws.

Tile Close Up...

The frame for the mirror was started by Tad, but finished by the woodworker who built the vanity and bedroom built ins.


A photo of a little girl playing the violin for a cat and two dogs was framed and hung.


A huge nutcracker King rules the room…


Is that you playing the violin for the cat and dogs?

Ha – you aren’t the first to ask that same question! No, it isn’t me, but I can see why you might ask – given the antique nature of the photo – and my age…


Why don’t you just take a picture of the finished bathroom and call it good?

I know, right! I have tried taking those exact pictures you speak of. It is impossible to get decent pictures of this tiny space with my little non professional point and shoot camera. I think a video tour of the room might be better to show you around.Yes, I think a future video tour of the new bathroom is in order – stay tuned for that!


Use What You Have – Scrap Wood…

Last week, I was all on task to clean the garage. That was going to be my “project” of the week.

I got sidetracked.


It all started with me gathering together a bunch of small scrap pieces of wood that were scattered around the garage – left over from the wood work during our renovation 6 months ago.


I didn’t know what to do with all the small, seemingly unusable, pieces of cherry wood. I got mentally stuck on these scraps. What to do with the piles? I couldn’t move on until I decided what to do with the scrap wood. Or, maybe, I was looking for an excuse to procrastinate the garage cleaning task. I don’t know. All I know is that I didn’t want to just throw the wood away. On the other hand, I didn’t want to stack it up in the corner somewhere to be forgotten.  Eventually, I decided I needed to use it or loose it. I opted to use it. Also, I justified this side project in my mind – technically I was still cleaning up the garage by getting rid of the scrap wood? Anyway, the jigsaw came out and I started cutting. Two hours later I had cut 32 pieces of wood for an art project…


I hand sanded the sharp edges a bit. I liked the contrast of light and dark of the different pieces so I opted to maintain that. The already older, darker pieces of wood got a coat of oil. The light pieces of wood stayed naked – without oil. A spray finish was applied to everything. I, then, glued the pieces together to create flowers…


I thought the flowers looked pretty good, but they didn’t feel quite finished…


I remembered my fancy hardware experience from just 2 weeks earlier – The Secret Project. This project was going to be out in the open. It needed some fancy hardware, so off to the neighborhood hardware store I went.

Yep. Fancy hardware was the detail these flowers needed to feel finished…


I will pair these posies up with a cow in a sunflower field print and call it an art installation – for work.

Cow in Sunflower Field...

Put your orders in now – we’ve probably got another hundred pieces to transform into something fun :)

The Big Renovation – nearing the end?

Things are moving along!

I just wanted to do a quick update with some in progress photos. Details to follow at a later date – if you are interested in the details…

We last left off waiting for the trim and doors to go in…

Progress had been made! The interior doors have been installed and the trim is mostly in.


The bathroom trim got a few coats of oil in preparation for tile installation.


Tad’s television wall was also finished with 4 coats of oil.


The vanity has been installed. Though, a small snafu surfaced on installation day. Can you see what the problem is? More on that solution later.


Some concrete board problems around the tub surfaced. The contractor came back to make a few revisions to the concrete board in an effort to get it flat and even on the front of the tub.  Yes, that is a school house ruler. I am measuring from the edge of the tub back to the concrete board. It was supposed to be 3/8″. As you can see, this side is perfect. However, the tale quickly turns sad. The other side was 3/4″.  This tub (and everything that touches it) has been a serious thorn in my side.


Here is where we are today…


Yes, that is bathroom tile going in!

Oh, and – the concrete board on the front of the tub is not flat, even, or level –  despite my constant requests for a little attention to detail on this issue. I gave up on this yesterday. I was frustrated. I decided that I just couldn’t have one more conversation about the tub. Unfortunately, the tile on the front of the tub has been installed and it is very obvious that the tub was not framed or set properly. Now, it is too late to fix. I should have made someone fix it. I should have fixed it myself. I don’t know. I should have firmly intervened from the very beginning. I should have persisted. Not really a lesson learned. Maybe, a lesson reinforced…

Ok. Moving on.

We have eliminated our checklists at this point. We are now measuring our progress by what is left sitting in the pile of stuff.


From left to right and top to bottom:

  1. The toilet – should go in next week if we can get the plumber scheduled.
  2. Mosaic tile – being installed as I type.
  3. Sconces – should be installed next week if we can get the electrician scheduled.
  4. Shower fixtures and vanity faucet – should be installed next week if we can get the plumber scheduled.
  5. Paint touch up supplies – this will likely be the last of the details to be completed. The trim guys kind of gouged the walls and ceilings in numerous places. So, the walls and ceilings will need to be repaired and painted again. Plus, the vast majority of the trim still needs to be caulked, oiled, and nail holes need to be filled.
  6. The hallway and entryway light fixtures – again, should be installed next week if we can get the electrician scheduled. I am excited to see these fixtures installed. It is kind of a cool story that we will get into later.
  7. Interior door hardware – should be installed next week when the trim guy comes back to finish a few details. We ran into a small problem with the door hardware. A part had to be added. We should get that part by Monday.
  8. Finally, we need to pass our final inspections. PS – we still don’t have a working air conditioner – not that we need it now – but we do need to resolve the AC problems before we can get a final inspection. They were supposed to be here today. They didn’t show up. Hmm.

Let’s end this story with a positive twist…

Our alley looks (and smells) better.


You might be asking yourself why our alley is relevant to the renovation?

Well, this is why.


Our alley now has one less Porta Potty (at one point, there were four of these things in our alley – now there are only 2.) Yay!

Even though getting rid of the portable toilet is a serious milestone (and a positive twist), I just can’t sign off with a Porta Potty picture. It kind of leaves a smelly detail hanging here.

I will end, instead, with something that is positive, bright, and not smelly.

Here is a sneak peek at our entryway light fixture – because I am kind of excited to get it installed – as mentioned already…

Lighting - entryway...