Mashie Lane

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A Happy Thanksgiving

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Hope y’all had a Happy Thanksgiving! As hard as it was, I left my fall decor out until the day after. But first, Thanksgiving.

This was my first time cooking Thanksgiving dinner. I had no desire to cook a turkey, so I bought one pre-cooked from Publix. I had some traditional dishes planned, such as cranberry sauce, stuffing, macaroni and cheese and green beans. We started off our day taking the pups to Starbucks with us. All Mike could talk about was getting that remaining clump of stink vine down off of the utility pole. So off he went.

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With Mike outside, it was a good time to start cooking. I started with the cranberry sauce. With the sauce simmering on the stove, I walked away for a minute and whoosh! it overflowed and started a small fire. The entire kitchen, dining room and sun room filled with smoke! The kitchen window doesn’t open, so all I could do was open all of the doors and keep the range fan on high. The only saving graces were that Mike wasn’t inside and we didn’t have a smoke alarm chirping.

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Leftover sauce

Once I got that under control, I started pulling out the china and getting the table and buffet set. This was the first time that I was getting to use the gravy boat and ladle.

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Ready for gravy

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Desserts!

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Table ready

Fortunately everything turned out great! I didn’t burn the turkey or set anything else on fire – success! However, when I tried opening a bottle of wine, the opener broke. That’s a first!

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Pliers will do the trick

Here’s the main course!

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And we can’t forget dessert!

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What else did we do over the holiday weekend?

We bought Adirondack chairs to spruce up the space where the old trees used to be.

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We enjoyed the backyard.

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And we put up our Christmas decor. But y’all will have to wait until the next post to see it all!

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Holiday Prep Week

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It’s that time of year where everything gets hectic and we try to cram months worth of stuff into a few weeks. This year has been no exception so far. Work has been very busy (which is good!), and having two puppy dogs at the house has occupied alot of my free time. We are also hosting some family for Thanksgiving Day dinner, which is a first for both of us. All of a sudden, there were things that needed to be touched up (literally) before the Turkey Day.

Before I move on with the holiday prep, I must mentioned the accordion door, aka the appliance garage in our kitchen. When I first saw it, I hated it. I wanted to rip the thing out and open up the counter space.

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As I settled into the house, it grew on me and I kinda liked it. Hubby said that our handyman needed to fix it so it opened and shut properly. I could never figure out what needed to be fixed until last month. As I was getting ready to host family and of course, it was down to wire getting the place cleaned and ready. I opened up the accordion door so I could clean the counter and make space for some food, and BAM! the door jammed. What the?!? I tried my best to get it to open and close again, until I just had enough and gave it a good tug. This was the result:

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There it is, in all it’s glory. What the handyman had to “fix” was the painters tape that was holding the door together. I seriously wanted to blow a gasket, but then I started to laugh. Duct tape and  painters tape was behind that particle board door. Unreal. But the best part was that I got the opening and counter space that I wanted. Win-win.

To my surprise when this door came off was that they handyman never fully painted the wall. There was blue, gray and white paint in there. What a story this wall has to tell! Time to touch it up and make it nice. Here are some of the spots that needed to be touched up:

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Here is an example of spots in the utility room that needed to be touched up:

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There were several more spots throughout the house that needed touched up. Why? Because when our handyman repainted the entire interior of the house, he underestimated the number of coats of paint that were needed. Our office will need to be repainted at some point because in the right light, you can see the former paint color – Navajo White. So last night, it was me and these guys.

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Overall it wasn’t too bad and went quickly. I still need to touch up some semi-gloss white on our closet doors, but that may wait until after Thanksgiving. I am running out of time and am tired.

We had one remaining outside project that we took care of and that was to remove some gnarly trees between our property and our neighbors’. There’s a long story behind these trees, one that I am saving for when I start writing about the history of the house and its former occupants. The short of it is, is that they have been an eyesore for a long time, but mostly for our neighbors. We had them removed so there’s less maintenance for us, and as a gesture of goodwill to, let’s say, keep the peace next door.

Before:

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After:

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On the eve of Thanksgiving, I am in mad prep and cleaning mode. It won’t be perfect (it never is), but it will good enough to show off to family and enjoy a nice warm meal to say thanks for all that we have. I will be putting all of this to good use tomorrow. Gobble gobble!

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Houzz Clutter Clearing Challenge – Fall Edition!

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I’m behind on sharing my progress on Houzz’s Clutter Clearing Challenge again, but the good news is that I have plenty to share! I made an error in my last post regarding the challenge and used Houzz’s “house to-do’s” instead. Whoops!

If you are new around here, or want to take a look back at this year’s posts about the clutter-clearing plan, check them out here:

January’s Results

February’s Results

March’s Results

April’s Results

May and June’s Results

Summer Catch Up

Curious about the whole year? Click here.

Let’s start with September – the Mud Room. We technically don’t have a mudroom, but our utility room has a door that leads outside, so we made a little area right when you come in that doubles as a mudroom. This area has served us well, between yard work and drying off two soggy doggies.

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I also got the entryway organized, with a coat rack and baskets for shoes and doggie stuff. I didn’t want to buy yet another table or cube, so this will do for now.

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October: Dining Room and Entertaining supplies. I have been slowly working on this one. I have several table runners and table cloths yet I don’t feel like they are organized. Right now, they are stored with each season’s decor, but that may not be the most efficient way. I bought some nice chargers for Thanksgiving and need to figure out some for Christmas. Alas, this one is not done!

That leads me to this month’s challenge – though November is already half over!

Hobbies and crafts. Get ready for holiday crafting and gift wrapping by clearing out your stash and organizing supplies this month.

  • Clean out gift-wrapping supplies, tossing empty tape dispensers, out-of-ink pens and shreds of gift wrap and ribbon
  • Downsize your craft stash by donating spare fabric scraps, yarn, scrapbooking paper and other materials — many organizations (schools, retirement centers and the like) are happy to accept donations of craft supplies, and there are even some craft-specific donation centers, like Scrap in San Francisco
  • Keep works in progress together in bags, bins or boxes
    Habit to cultivate: Take the time to put away your craft supplies neatly when you are done working. A messy stash makes it more likely you will buy something you already have simply because you couldn’t find it!

I already have a head start on this one – phew! Yet, I still have some organizing to do. Plus I need to start using my supplies to make cool stuff!

 

 

 

 

…and life goes on

Time to wind down and enjoy the scenery. Oh wait! The holidays are coming!

Time to wind down and enjoy the scenery. Oh wait! The holidays are coming!

Wow, has it really been three weeks since I’ve posted? And is Thanksgiving seriously in three weeks? Time is flying! Before you know it, we’ll be ringing in 2017!

There is so much to share with you, but where do I begin? The front patio reveal? Houzz Clutter Clearing Challenges (did I even post something for October?)? Holiday decor? More house and life updates? So much to catch up on!

Let’s start by talking about the two new assistants that we hired to help us through the holidays. Meet Bootsy and Geddy.

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To the Rescue!

They will be here through the first of the New Year helping around the house. They haven’t done much so far but are adjusting to their new space quite well.

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Ruff life

For now, I will share some snippets of the past month. I want to share in detail about the items listed above by giving them their own posts. Here’s some of my October!

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This is a Tropicanna plant and it is located on the far side of our property. Fortunately it can withstand heat and drought, because I’m not great about getting over to water it. One day I went to water it and I saw this pretty bloom. I thought it was fake at first because I wasn’t expecting it!

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SPOILER ALERT! We refinished the last of the wood floors in the house in October. The photo on the left is how they looked after the tenant left the house. He had stained them a very dark color which eventually came off because it wasn’t done properly. Or with permission. The photo on the right is after they were sanded down and refinished in their natural state. This room is night and day from what it looked like six months ago. Heck, six years ago!

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I have been in a serious food rut this past month! I usually don’t go out to eat anywhere when Mike isn’t around except for fast food, our Sunday “pizza” spot or chinese takout. One night I wanted something different, so I decided to try Chuy’s, which just opened up a couple miles from us. I got their Special Nachos and they were pretty good. Mike will definitely be going back with me!

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Guess this sleepy dog isn’t helping me plan for the holidays!

And finally, I am starting to plan for the holidays. It’s a bit overwhelming as we have stuff to decorate a small living space, not a whole house. I have inventoried our supplies and planning accordingly. Don’t worry hubby, I won’t be breaking the bank!

Hurricane Special

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The calm before the storm

Where to begin? Once again I am behind on blogging! There is so much going on at Mashie Lane! We were very fortunate last week to be relatively unscathed by Hurricane Matthew.  This was my first Florida hurricane and I was flying solo. Mike sent me a long list of things to do in preparation of the storm. Most of them I had already covered, but there were a couple of minor “major” things to do the day before Matthew was predicted to hit. Like cleaning out the cottage gutters.

The gutters on our side of the property weren’t bad. Our neighbor has a large oak tree that drops leaves like crazy. The back gutters needed a little bit of cleaning but the ones next to our neighbor’s yard were packed.

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Our neighbor has vacated the property and we’re not sure if they are going to rent the house or sell it. All I know is this thing has to go. I have had enough of neighbors at our house and the rental properties who have “landscaping” that ends up costing us money. However, that subject is for another post.

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Out of control and causing us problems

I pulled all of our patio furniture, plants, lights and decorations into the garage. I also rolled in the trash bins and my tenant’s stuff from the cottage.  Boy did that stuff stink up the garage!

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Safe and secure

The rain from the outer bands of the hurricane hit on Thursday evening. Of course, the windows that are in dire need of replacing began to leak. Fortunately, it was only a small amount.

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The kitchen window was sealed up a couple months ago, but water can still get in.

Another side benefit of this storm was high humidity. And with several windows that need to be replaced, the house is not sealed up very well. Time to run the air conditioner to knock out the humidity!

The storm continued through Friday afternoon. There was only one casualty at our house. One tree came uprooted and is leaning on another tree. It is right by our neighbors’ roof line, so they came out and took pictures for insurance purposes. Really??? So, there is some tree work in the near future. Here are some photos of the aftermath:

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And then Saturday came, and it was time to put everything back in place. Just in time for company. This was the first time that hubby’s family had seen the house since we remodeled it.

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The bar was fully stocked

Mike’s nephew was on hurricane cleanup status. He loved the backyard!

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I didn’t get pictures of the BBQ spread that we had, but these cupcakes from Publix were pretty and yummy.

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Cupcakes for dessert!

Though we haven’t done our big reveal of our front patio area (darn hurricane!), this was the first time we got to use it and I couldn’t be happier!

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Enjoying the front patio

I’m looking forward to hurricane season being over with!

 

 

A Tribute

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Getting into trouble, with Gagie’s assistance.

They say that the older you get, the faster that time flies. It really is true!  It has been a year since my Grandmother “Gagie”, as we affectionately called her, has passed. This one really snuck up on me. I never thought that I’d see the day that she was no longer here. She was such an integral part of our family that it seems odd that she is gone. She was fortunate enough to live 95 years and still look damn good for her age.

Home was everything to Gagie. She grew up in a tiny house and slept on a rollaway bed for many years. The back bedroom was reserved for both of her grandfathers, whom her mother took care of until they passed away. It wasn’t until she was married that she had her own bed. Well, sorta. She had to share it with Grandpa.

Because home was everything to her, Gagie had a hard time letting it go. Over the years, it became harder for her to maintain it. She did what she could, but when it came time for her to move to assisted living, it was a blessing that she really didn’t understand what was going on. My family spent months cleaning out her house. She literally did not throw away anything for 60 years. It was sad to see. So much had to be thrown away due to deterioration, odor or just plain being broken.

The one thing that was a staple was spending time on the patio and in the backyard. She loved to garden and did so up until her 90’s. After I was born, the first stop after we left the hospital was Gagie’s patio. Same thing happened with my brother. So many memories. I don’t have alot of good pictures of us outside, but are are some of my favorites:

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Mom didn’t let me get into trouble like Gagie.

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Easter time was always fun at Gagie’s.

Grandma always took care of me. In return, I swatted flies for her.

Grandma always took care of me. In return, I swatted flies for her.

So where did the name Gagie come from? When I was first learning to talk, I couldn’t quite say the word “Grandma”. It sounded like “Gagie”. And thus, the nickname was born. Her other nickname was Cookie, which I much prefer now that I’m older.

 

September Home Checklist from Houzz

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As the sun begins to set on summer, it’s time to think about some cooler weather things. Houzz’s September Home To-do list does just that. Here’s the dirt from Houzz; check back in with us at the first of the month to see what we’re up to.

Schedule chimney and furnace maintenance. Make sure your fireplace and heating system are clean, safe and ready to go by having a pro look at them now. Having your chimney cleaned will also ensure that you don’t try to start a fire when an animal family (or an old nest) is inside. And if you don’t have a chimney cap yet, speak with your chimney sweep about adding a one. The metal cap with screened sides can prevent critters from getting in and helps protect your roof from burning embers.

Houzz Clutter-Clearing Challenge Catch-Up

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We’re back to catch up on Houzz’s Clutter-Clearing Challenge!

If you are new around here, or want to take a look back at this year’s posts about the clutter-clearing plan, check them out here:

January’s Results

February’s Results

March’s Results

April’s Results

May and June’s Results

Curious about the whole year? Click here.

July and August’s challenges were summer-friendly and light as a sea breeze. August was more applicable to me and personally, I thought was more fun than July. Check them out!

July’s Challenge

August’s Challenge

Let me breakdown August’s results for you:

  1. Finish up outdoor projects: Given that we just moved back into the house this summer, it will be some time before we get the outdoors complete. We have finally gotten our lawn service streamlined and worked out the kinks, so that is progress.
  2. Organize family photos: Done
  3. Get organized for back to school and work: Done
  4. Check emergency kits: Done
  5. Clear the way for easy weeknight dinners: Still working on this one.
  6. Organize closets before fall shopping: Well, there isn’t going to be any fall shopping in our house, but our closets are organized.
  7. Clean out the garage: Our handyman finally cleaned out his supplies from our garage this week, so this is almost done.
  8. Schedule some do-nothing time: Ha! This will always be something that I struggle with.

It took months to get our lawn service straightened out and it was worth all the effort. The lawn looks sharp and better than it did when the tenant, who happens to have a lawn business, mowed it himself.

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On to September!

September: Mudroom, entrances and junk drawers. Embrace the back-to-school spirit (whether or not you have kids) by getting the busiest zones of your house clutter-free this month.

  • Put away stray items in entrances that belong elsewhere
  • Add extra hooks or shelves if you need them to help corral items
  • Sort through junk drawers, baskets, trays and any other spots that accumulate random junk
  • Invest in drawer organizers or a wall-mounted organizer to keep small items neat

Habit to cultivate: Do an end-of-day tidy-up of the entryway, putting shoes, coats and random items back where they belong.

I just finished this one and I can’t wait to share the results!

 

…And We’re Back!

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The lights are still on

It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost three months since I’ve posted. SO MUCH has happened since I last posted. We wrapped up a four month remodel project (well, almost!), I relocated to a new city and started a new job. I pretty much took my life and turned it upside down! Things are starting to settle down some, and we are almost finished up with our transition. At the start of our transition, hubby said that things would be settled by September. I laughed but it ended up being true.

But first, on this dark and stormy night, let’s talk about something fun – bar carts and wine bars!  Recently I attended a “Harvest Happy Hour”, which was hosted by Pier 1. I am obsessed with bar carts, and I’ve been looking for some inspiration to style mine. I thought the event would be more bar cart focused, but it was a mix of bar cart and fall styling. I did walk away with some ideas, so it wasn’t a complete waste.

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For the past week, I’ve been throwing around some ideas on how to update things. Our bar cart and wine bar have gone through many looks this year:

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I decided to shift some things around and bring out some pieces that have been stashed away. I bought a couple things from Home Goods and voila! All that’s needed is some more liquor and it’ll be ready to go live! Knowing myself like I do, I will probably shift some things around again. But that’s part of the fun.

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One of the things that I love about our house is the amount of light that comes in. It was sunny day when I took these pictures so I had to open the blinds and let the light in. And with no neighbors across the street, it’s possible to do this on a regular basis.

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If you follow us on Instagram, you have seen some spoilers of our remodel over the past few months. I plan on posting more about it soon but for now, you will see bits and pieces. If you have been following along with the Houzz Cluttering Clearing Challenge this year, I will be catching you up in the next post.

I will leave you with one of my favorite things about where our house is located – beautiful, colorful sunsets. I will never get tired of this view!

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Cottage remodel: The sequel

We’re back….

Be sure to check out our past progress of the cottage remodel:

A Little Place Called the Cottage

The Cottage Remodel Process

The Big Cottage Reveal

While we did a major remodel of the cottage last year, there were still some minor touches that hubby and I figured we’d eventually get around to. We made a decision earlier this year to rent out the cottage once our tenants were out of the main house. This meant that we needed to finish those things that we’d “eventually get around to”.

We started off behind the eight ball. Our original plan was to have our handyman start immediately after the tenants moved out of the house because we were looking to have someone move in to the cottage by May 1. I had spoken with our handyman two weeks prior about all the items left in the cottage to complete. For some reason, he wanted to talk to hubby about it and all of that info got lost in translation. He also started working on painting his own house so we had to wait until he was done with that. That set us behind a week.

The one major item left in the cottage was to replace the 28 year old ac unit. We have a great ac tech who replaced a unit in the house last year and has done other work for us at the rental properties. We also decided to install the Nest thermostat so we can monitor the usage and be alerted to any outages. Of course we ran into some issues.

The first one was that when the original unit was put in, the wood box was built around it. This meant ripping out the wood before the unit could be removed. This also meant that we would have to have some wood work done once the new unit is installed.

Unfortunately we found some mold that we had to treat.

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And then the old beast of a unit came out!

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Hey there!

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Shiny and new

In the end, it all worked out and it’s much less humid in the cottage. We had our handyman and his brother install some wood to seal up the unit. You can’t even tell it was there. Well, you’ll notice that spot isn’t as dirty as the rest of the exterior.

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Now you see it…

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Now you don’t!

Here’s the rest of what we did. Not pictured is fixing a couple spots on the wall and a fresh coat of paint in the back bedroom.

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We torn down the old dilapidated fence in the front, as well as installed new plants and mulch; new cabinet and faucet in the bathroom; new ceiling fan in the living room and a new stone path and mulch in the back and last but not least, a smoke and carbon monoxide detector. Voila! We are finally finished with this project!

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