Sunday, January 24, 2016

Things Always Seem Better in the Morning

Things always seem better in the morning, at least that's how I feel. This is the view from our little balcony porch this Sunday morning (which I cleaned at least three times between Friday and Saturday afternoon, when the snow finally stopped). The moon was full and the capitol building can be seen across the river, in the distance.
Capitol and Full Moon, Dawn after #Snowpocalypse2016 Jonas, January 24, 2016
We ended up with just somewhere around 18" of snow in a 24 hr period. My biggest worry was losing power, but if there was any silver lining to this big snow cloud, ours was in the fact that we got the light, fluffy snow (no sleet before, no heavy, wet snow during).

I was a worry wart the entire day Friday, watching local, live news cams driving around the city. Our interstates can be treacherous, winding through and around our hills, and three major roads (I-64, I-77, and I-79) intersect here. Wrecks and car fires (people trying to gun their way through the snow) were common on all three major roads. Hundreds of tractor trailers were backed up as the major interstates were closed for highway crews to safely plow. My RN daughter has worked the entire weekend, sharing a hotel room with fellow nurses the past two nights, while her fire chief husband was called out to duty from his normal day off. I respect their work ethic immensely.

I finally distracted myself awhile late Friday afternoon by baking cookies. These are Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Oatmeal cookies.
Absolutely, just two crazy people together in #Snowpocalypse2016
The recipe is from the blog, Dishing Out Health, and its creator is a registered dietician whom my daughter met while studying at FSU. The cookies include whole goodness ingredients, like oatmeal flour, coconut oil and coconut palm sugar. They taste even better the next day after baking (see, things always seem better in the morning).
Whole Ingredients for Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
Yesterday (Saturday) afternoon, we decided to tackle clearing some snow. We made a path from the front of house to the street, from house to garage, outside of our double car garage doors, and cleared the balcony. It may not look like a lot of work accomplished, but it kicked our butts.
#Snowpocalypse2016 Jonas Cleanup
There's just no place to put this snow, and our street is not one which normally gets plowed, as we live on the flat section of town. Letting the solar power in the next few days help melt some of the rest of this seems to be our best option for the time being.
Today we plan to get back to our walking routine. We'll be taking our Leki trekking poles, for sure, because this stuff is hard to walk through. No matter the obstacles, things always seem to look better in the morning. I hope the rest of the east coast is weathering Jonas with relatively few obstacles.

Sharing: BNOTP Met Monday

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Panoply Booth Space Makeovers Jan 2016

New Panoply booth space displays have been long overdue, and sister M and I just completed our first of 2016. Our last updates were styled in October - to accommodate for the holiday displays - but the last major changes were in September. Caution: mega makeover photos ahead!
Panoply Shabby Chic Main Booth Jan 2016
We're now referring to our main booth space as shabby chic (previously farmhouse), but I suppose we'll use the descriptions interchangeably as there's still a lot of farm-style going on. This main booth space encompasses much of the inventory we acquired from Junky Chic Boutique last October. We also added more of our own smalls. Let's take a look around the booth, starting on the left side.
Panoply Jan 2016 casual linens, vintage hardware trays & birdcage
Panoply Jan 2016 various cabinet displays of smalls
Panoply Jan 2016 shabby chic green display unit
Panoply Jan 2016 shabby chic L corner cabinet & wall
Panoply Jan 2016 shabby chic wall & mantel display
Panoply Jan 2016 shabby chic wall detail above mantel
Panoply Jan 2016 shabby chic fireplace & shelves detail
Panoply shabby chic R side main booth Jan 2016
Panoply Jan 2016 shabby chic divider & table with smalls
Panoply Jan 2016 shabby chic tables & smalls
We necessarily moved a couple of big items out of the main booth to accomplish a more open, brighter and whiter, shabby chic look. First, a mahogany curio was moved to our "encampment" space.
Panoply Encampment Jan 2016
Another step to opening up the main space was moving the black stepback cabinet previously behind the main booth (we dismantled what we called "the back porch"). The black stepback became an anchor in one of another two booth spaces we completely flipped. The following two photos are how those spaces are now styled.
Panoply Keeping Room Jan 2016
The louvered shelving unit still divides these two spaces, but we moved the shelving unit about 2 feet to the left in order to accomplish our latest sets. In the "living room" space (below), the jewelry display case came from what is now the shabby chic area.
Panoply Living Room Jan 2016
The three-panel divider in the living room also came from Junky Chic Boutique, and prior to this, the corner cabinet that's on the left side of the main booth stood there.
Panoply Living Room Vignette Jan 2016
There's an intentional line of sight created in between the shelves of the louvered unit, all the way to the mall's staircase from our "encampment" side, with a similar visual back from the staircase. Below is the view from the mall's staircase. Bonus points for spotting the Swiffer sweeper.
Panoply Jan 2016 LR, Keeping Room, and Encampment :View from Mall's Staircase
Here are the recap photos of the Before & After of Panoply booth space displays since last September/October. One or two of the photos capture the interim changes at Christmastime.
Panoply Main Booth Before (top) & After (bottom) Jan 2016: Shabby Chic
Panoply "Back Porch" L to R: Fall, Holiday 2015, Jan 2016 (Eliminated)
Panoply Encampment Before (L) & After (R) Jan 2016
Panoply Encampment L to R: Fall, Holiday 2015, Jan 2016
Panoply Two Booth Space Flip Jan 2016: Before (Living Room, top) & After (Keeping Room, bottom)
Panoply Two Booth Space Flip Jan 2016: Before (Keeping Room, top) & After (Living Room, bottom)
After two days of shuffling furniture, cleaning, and styling smalls, this pretty much said it all:
Thank you for stopping by today and doing a little armchair browsing as I dragged guided you through the detail. Feel free to leave comments.Until next time, 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Passing Along Savings Info

When I published my last post on Living - By the Numbers, one thing I mentioned was I ordered a 2015 yearbook from Blog2Print, compiling my 2015 Panoply posts. This is not a sponsored post. I just have a savings coupon to pass along, in case you're interested in making your own book. It's a really easy way to memorialize your blog posts in a paper version, beyond the computer backups of digital versions. It looks professional, too!
I just received an email today with an offer of 30% off creating a book, using the code, FORKEEPS, good through January 19th. I'm not getting any sponsorship, kickbacks, or gifts. In fact, I'm a little upset because I only got 20% off on my order in early January. Maybe if you wait long enough in January, they'll go as high as 40% off. If they do, I'll pass that info along also. That's what friends are for.

Blog2Print supports Blogger, Typepad, Wordpress and Tumblr. If you decide to make yourself a book, it can still get pricey, depending on how many of your posts you choose to include (I did all of mine but you can pick and choose), what size photos you choose (I chose medium this year, but large look better), whether you select page breaks between posts (I did not), whether you include comments (nope), and whether you choose a hard vs. soft binding (I picked hard). You select and upload your cover photos (front and back), titles, cover colors, and any inside message for no extra charge. The table of contents and pages are numbered automatically for you.
I know Blurb is another site that creates books. I have no experience with that company, but perhaps other readers have, and may want to comment here for others to decide which may be best for them. I always like reading customer reviews, good and bad, before I buy most things.

Also, I'm not sure if the Blog2Print website is like Shutterfly, where you can stack coupon discounts, but when I just typed in the website, a window popped up, saying I could get 20% off my first book for signing up with them by creating an account (something you have to do anyway). I already have an account (you create one to save your projects), so that one wouldn't have worked for me. I was signing in from my Surface, from which I had never accessed the website, so it thought I was a potentially new customer.

The instructions are pretty easy to follow, but if you run into a snag, they'll help you. I'd say I would help you, but I muddled my way through, just like I did with updating my template last week.

Let me know if you decide to use it, and whether you'd recommend it.

UPDATE: A couple of comments after the original publishing led me to adding this information:

  • Tip #1: I kept my layout as it was in my blog ('SNAPSHOT'), NOT allowing the service to 'COMPACT' arranging (photo & verbiage made no sense that way, but the difference in price was about 25% less if I would have chosen 'COMPACT').
  • Tip #2: You must go to your blogger settings/other and select 'FULL' on 'ALLOW BLOG FEED', and save, or else the feed won't go through to the website and you'll get an error message (mine were set to 'SHORT'). 
  • Pricing: The website has a pricing structure based on the above options I've mentioned. Each of my books were under $200 BEFORE discounts, and page counts were anywhere from roughly 300 - 470 pages each year.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Living - By the Numbers

I'm a numbers nerd, what else can I say? I keep track of most everything, and rerun it all when I lie down to go to sleep (who needs sheep?). I've been doing this for years, since I was a kid. Numbers were a big part of my professional career. I take notice with anything to do with numbers, like the sign I recently saw in the grocery store.
What in the world does "about 15 items" mean anyway?

In the  17 days post-Christmas, I've been doing a lot of the same things you all've been doing. Here's my express lane list, by the numbers. It's about 15 items, but who's counting?

  1. Spent 16.5 hours undecorating Christmas, over the course of 3 days, in 13, 31-gal tubs, plus 2 trees (see #2).
  2. Chris Missy did not sell at the antique mall during the holidays, much to my dismay (because I had to haul and store her). I spent 4 hours undecorating and fluffing the antique mall spaces while my other two Panoply sisters spent 7 days in FL. Sound fair? Spent another 4 hours readying things for the next space overhauls. 
  3. After putting all that Christmas stuff away, I had the nerve to purchase MORE at 50% or more off the retail price. I do NOT want to expand to 31-gal tub #14 for storage, so there will be some purging to come. 
    After Christmas Sale Items
  4. Speaking of purging, I spent 1/2 day purging paper and transporting to the recycle station (Mr. P. is totally retired!).
  5. Spent 1/2 day making my holiday music inactive, and then syncing and updating software on my various technological tools. 
  6. Soaked, laundered, pressed and folded 40 dinner napkins - then found 3 dozen more that needed pressed when I was stowing the 40 away. They remain unpressed - maybe next January.
  7. Spent an hour loading TurboTax and transferring data from prior years' returns - for ours and a few family members' - which I prepare. I spent another 4 hours or so working on our return, reconciling Panoply activity, along with other detailed support records.
  8. Read at least 1 dozen magazines and 1 book (Carly Simon's, Boys in the Trees, her memoir).
  9. Down time Activities, clockwise, starting top L: Updating Tech Tools; Ironing; Preparing Taxes; Leisure Reading
  10. Walked over 50 miles for routine exercise - an average of 3 per day. Mr. P. and I solve a lot of the world's problems on these walks, but no one seems to care or listen.
  11. Spent a good 10 hours on my blog, mostly updating my template and cleaning things up. I added a drop down menu, and organized nearly 250 old posts with labels. I've been wanting to do this for at least two years. It was way overdue, and I hope it makes for smoother navigation for readers, beyond my search button. I also created and ordered a Blog2Print 2015 yearbook, my third in as many years blogging.
  12. In the days immediately following our Christmas Eve buffet, we ate a lot of comfort foods: at least 10 meals (lunch & dinner) from our immediate leftovers. I also made spaghetti/meatballs, beef stew and ham/bean soup with frozen leftovers, racking up another 10 meals. That doesn't even count the food family took home after the buffet.
  13. I bought new bed pillows and pillow protectors in the January white sale - yay! It can be costly, but I found good deals and a good mix (and use them all). We still need a new mattress.
    MBR Pillows, Textiles Winter 2016
  14. I even managed to add a little warmth to the otherwise bare and cold look throughout the house after the holiday decor was gone, mostly with textiles and garden greens.
    Winter 2016 Textiles, Greens
  15. With an eye looking toward February, I pulled out a couple things which hint at romance while trying to embrace what winter we're having (none would be okay with me, except I do enjoy this so-called down time to get other things accomplished inside the house vs. outside in the garden. Down time, yea, right).
    Winter Vignette - Hearts and Birds
  16. Being raised Catholic, I caught a little grief  for having my Christmas put away before the Epiphany (January 6th). It was just too much to leave out the nativity when it's stored at the bottom of 31-gal tub #11 in the stack, you know what I mean? So, I left my lamb vignette out, and updated it a bit, with an eye toward spring, but still representing the concept.
    Christmas Vignette in Transition toward Spring
  17. I have been on an 11 month timeline of having some dental restorative work done - two implants and crowns - following a first abscess of a tooth and another with cracked root in 2015. Yesterday marked the completion of the implant process, followed by measurements for permanent crowns scheduled for February. Patience is key for this complex process; being knocked out at every opportunity is also key IMHO. I deplore dental work.
    Dental Purgatory
  18. Pamela from From My Front Porch to Yours had a giveaway in collaboration with Antique Farmhouse (one of her sponsors) in mid-December. Guess who won, taking delivery last weekend? It's a great reproduction of an antique dress form, yet much lighter to handle. I won't ever say I have too many, but I definitely have an accidental collection of these dress forms. It's rather nice in that they're each different. All 7 of them. :D Thank you again, Pamela!
    AFH Giveaway Prize
  19. Oh, and that $1 BILLION that's sitting in the jackpot for the next powerball winner? They say ya gotta play to win, but I don't play. I will say this, though - I hope some West Virginian wins. That way, our state will be out of its $300 Million projected budgetary debt for this next fiscal year with the state income tax it will collect on the payout. We might even have a few million cushion to go forward, I don't know, but it makes my head hurt to count how high the odds are that one person might win.
That's about 15 items. Thanks for being one of my readers today, stopping by to catch up with me. Your visits are always fun, and your comments welcome!

Oops, one more thing, which is very important to me: no name brands mentioned here were sponsored. I am a non-revenue producing blog. I only mention what I want to, and don't get paid to do it.