Something for the Dogs

Dashie’s selfie.

Dash has been so bored this summer that he’s started taking selfies on my iPhone.

A quick dip in the Patapsco River cooled both man and dog.

Charlie took him down to the river for a quick wade to cool off and pass the time.

Dash doesn’t really seem to mind getting a bath although he doesn’t get many.

Then he enjoyed (endured) a nice bath in the kitchen sink.

Both dogs, Rory and Dash, are remembering the coolness of winter when this photo was taken.

We’ve been wanting to create something to challenge our longhaired dachshunds who are now about 2.5 years old.

The PVC pipe was cut with a hacksaw — no special tool necessary.

We decided to build them an agility course.

The pieces of PVC were easy to put together with Ts and end caps.

The first obstacle we tackled were the weave poles.  After looking up some inspirations here and here Charlie, Sug, and I headed to Lowe’s to get some PVC pipe and fittings.

Screws were added to the joints to make the uprights stay vertical.

I crunched the numbers and Sug and Charlie cut the tubing and put the event together.

Dashie working the weave poles.

We guided our doggies through it a few times on their leashes then let them go through off-leash with the lure of a treat.

At least Dash is getting better at selfies.

Hoping they’ll not only get the hang of it but also enjoy  the challenge.


Harbor Cruise

Charlie and I enjoy traveling but recent intelligence tells us we shouldn’t leave the state of Maryland.  We also shouldn’t engage activities with large crowds. (Earlier this year we took a balloon ride.)

The Summer Wind, a junk-rigged schooner, is docked at the Ritz Carlton wharf in Baltimore.

With these guidelines in mind we booked a sail around Baltimore Harbor on a junk-rigged sailing schooner that only carries 6 passengers.

The mainsail is hoisted manually by the fist mate while the captain sails away from the dock.

There were lots of options: morning sails, afternoon sails, sunset sails, evening sails.  We chose the morning Baltimore History sail.  Having had our own sailboat for many years we wanted to do more than just look at the sights; a little learning is always good. (We had taken a sunset gondola ride last year in Venice and an informative ride down the Thames in London the year before.)

We were greeted at the dock by the first mate and welcomed aboard by the captain (pictured here) who scanned our foreheads for with a thermometer.

Charlie and I were the only two passengers hosted by a crew of two.

USS Constellation — a ship with a complicated history.

We sailed around Baltimore Harbor and were regaled with histories and details of old Baltimore and its modern development.

Baltimore’s modern skyline includes the recognizable triangular prism top of the National Aquarium.

The fleet at Living Classrooms.

This cruise was a real treat.

Charlie and Jo aboard the Summer Wind.

I’m so glad we found something new to enjoy.


Sug’s Painting Project

Knowing that Sug likes to keep busy I bought her a little project that her attention-to-detail temperament would appreciate.

I found this portrait of Rory in my iPhone photos.

I sent a photo of her dog Rory to MiiCreative to be transformed into a paint by number set.

The set came with lots of little pots of paint and brushes.

The kit arrived about 2 weeks after I ordered it.  It contained a printed canvas, 25 pots of paint, 4 brushes, and a painting guide.

We used a framing square to hold the pieces together while we attached the triangular corners with a pneumatic tacker.

We made a stretcher for the canvas from 1″ by 2″ lumber cut to size on our miter saw then attached at the back with plywood triangles to create a rectangular frame

Notice that the aspect of the original photo and the painting are not the same — one is landscape, the other portrait. I wish they would not have omitted the ball.

Sug ironed the canvas then stapled it onto the stretcher.

In the meantime Dash and Rory are just playing around waiting to see the finished artwork.

Next step is to paint a beautiful picture of her dear little pup.  The perfect gift for the Covid-19 stay-at-home order.


The Sunflower Meadow

When we decided to make a State Park in our backyard I asked Charlie to plant a small sunflower meadow.

In the beginning of July the sunflower grove was just a good idea and barely visible.

He agreed even though he doesn’t see the point of planting something that not for human consumption.

The faith stage.

The hopeful stage.

What’s not to love?!

For me the sunflowers are just reminders of joy and beauty.

The main grove is to the right of the greenhouse but there are a few planted on the left side as well.

This small stand of sunflowers can be seen from every window at the back of the house and from the master suite on the second floor.  Even Charlie can’t deny it’s lovely (if not thrilling) to look at them while brushing one’s teeth.

Charlie can just be seen hidden among the sunflowers to get a sense of size.

The fun thing about these varieties,  Lemon Queen and Vanilla Ice, is that they seem to grow to all different heights.  Some are very tall — taller than a man, some are eye level, and others are waist height.

The blooms all face the house and dance in the breeze for a delicate and lively variety show.

Neither variety is the typical sunflower color of deep orangy yellow, rather they are light and creamy or bright and lemony.

The Sunflower Meadow — 2020.

I am still waiting to spy my first goldfinch.  I think the birds are waiting until seedheads form.  It won’t be long now.


The Toy Purge

I’ve been holding onto a lot of children’s toys since the 1980s in hopes of a grandchild.

A custom made wooden train.

Baby’s first puzzle — about 8 inches tall.

Since it seems unlikely to ever happen I have decided to get rid of a few boxes of toys.

Sug built this hand truck with the Pipeworks set.

With Sug’s help to clean and assemble these toys I have listed them on Facebook Marketplace.

This classic toy has been given to a young boy who talks endlessly about gassing up cars.

One of the people who saw the ads on Facebook is a teacher of special needs children who told me they can no longer share toys due to Covid-19.  I was more than happy to waive the small fee I had listed in the ad.

The Tonka Bulldozer — fully operational.

These photos just scratch the surface.  I’m saving more grown-up toys like the rock tumbler and a microscope for a second wave of listings.

A radio music box plays “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”.

Listed early in the month I’m hoping to be lighter by at least 50% at month’s end.


August 2020: Goals

In the month of August we’re looking to finish up a most beautiful summer with a few diverse projects and more decluttering.

  1.  Work on weave poles with Dash.

    Dash needs a new challenge — weave poles.

  2. Read a book: W is for Wasted .
  3. List toys to sell.

    This classic toy has been in the attic for decades — the bell still rings when a car drives over the yellow hose..

  4. Design and order grave marker.
  5.  Cruise Baltimore Harbor.

    Charlie and I plan to sail around Baltimore Harbor.

  6.  Check workability of Cuisinarts.

    I have a couple of old Cuisinart food processors taking up lots of room in a kitchen cupboard.

  7.  Remove one item or box from pink bedroom.
  8.  Remove one item or box from back bedroom.
  9. Work on pond at shore house.

    We’re going to try a natural cleaner for the shore house pond.

  10. Wash dining room windows.

    There are only 2 windows in the dining room.

  11. Pick a word to focus on for the month. My word:  ENJOY.
  12. Write a goal list for September.


Protecting the Dining Room Chairs and an Issue

I bought 6 dining room chairs from Pier 1 a few weeks ago.

We’re enjoying the new dining room chairs.

We’ve enjoyed the beachy vibe they add to the house.

The new dining room chairs are still covered in plastic.

I finally got around to removing the plastic covering from all the chairs.

Some of the plastic stuck under the seat cushions so I tucked in in with a flat blade screwdriver.

I used a screwdriver to tuck in pieces of plastic that wouldn’t come loose.

I found 2 cans of ScotchGard in the laundry room from a previous project.

I gave each seat cushion a good spray of ScotchGard fabric protector especially along the front edges.

One of the chair legs was completely broken in a jagged pattern.

Unfortunately as I was flipping the chairs to remove the plastic I discovered one of the chairs had a fully broken leg which we’ll need to repair since Pier 1 is going out of business.  I have a couple of methods in mind to use in combination to reattach the leg.

Hoping the rattan covering will help conceal the repair.

Always something.


Moved a Rug

Now that the laundry room has been more or less finished I decided to cover the old floor.

Laundry room from the doorway.

The laundry is on the second floor so the floor is the original pine flooring we uncovered under old vinyl flooring.

The rug is barely visible in this photo of our back bedroom.

I had a rug in the Treetops bedroom that was a little too country for that room.

Now most of the floor in the laundry is covered.

Now it’s in the laundry.


July 2020: Goals Posted

July has been a hot and humid month in Maryland but that has not deterred us from accomplishing a few tasks.

  1. List 3 items for sale.  Kitchen chairs, attic trunks, dining room chairs.  I listed three attic foot lockers and sold them almost immediately for more than I asked.

    Apparently the trunks I’ve been keeping in the attic are highly prized.

    I also posted my kitchen and dining chairs for sale with considerably less interest shown.  Nevertheless, the dining room chairs have been sold.


    And so have the kitchen chairs.


  2.  Read a book:  Killing Jesus.  I was interested in the historicity of this account.  It’s easy reading of a well known story.
  3. Celebrate the Fourth of July.  We opened State Park at The Glade on the 4th and celebrated with a cookout and campfire for roasting marshmallows.
  4.  Paint and refinish dining room table.



  5.  See a movie.  This was not possible again this month but I’ve been busy with many other projects.
  6.  Dye rug in upstairs hall. I have been wanting to change this hall runner from drab tan to dark blue.  The subtle design is still visible even though the dye is dark.

    Time for this rug to get a fresh perspective.

    The dark dyed rug actually looks blue in person.

  7.  Totally empty secretary desk.  Not only did I empty the secretary I also moved it to the shore house where my son is able to use it.

    My grandmother’s secretary has moved to the shore house.

  8.  Remove one item or box from attic.  I actually removed a box of doilies, 2 boxes of toys, and a cube trunk decorated with Mutant Ninja Turtles.  The attic is starting to look manageable.
  9.  Repair and touch up conservatory bathroom.

    The conservatory bathroom has the same issue that the master bath had — unfinished kneewall.

    Charlie mudded the wall and I will paint it. (This wall was more challenging than the one upstairs.)

  10. Wash living room windows.  I have a goal to wash all the windows in the house.  Three more have been finished.

    There are only 2 windows in the living room.

    I washed both living room windows and one in the hall. I was surprised how grimy they were.

  11. Pick a word to focus on for the month. My word:  PROGRESS.
  12. Write a goal list for August.

These monthly challenges have kept me on track for making progress in areas I usually ignore.  Woo hoo!!


Gradual Shift

I’m subtly changing my decor style.  I’m making incremental shifts from Parisian influence (since 2011) to a mid-Atlantic coastal vibe.

Currently The Glade is tied to these colors and patterns.

I am also slightly replacing some of the colors in my color palette with similar but more beachy tints and tones.

My color inspiration.

For instance I’ll be adding “sand” and taking out the dark gray shades I have been using.  The basic palette is still same — true blue not aqua, shell pink, green — but I’m generally going lighter and maybe brighter.

Love this scheme found here.

All this started when I thought I might one day actually have a waterfront home. I’m not planning on moving anytime soon — certainly not before I have the bulk of my international travel plans completed.  Currently we live 6 minutes from the airport.

Certainly I’m drawn to the water.

Anyway, I was feeling our current home at The Glade was a little dark and cluttery so I’ve been purposefully removing items of furniture that add to this heavy feeling.



Recently I changed out our vintage dark wood dining chairs for more modern rattan ones.  That change led me to lighten the table as well by stripping it and leaving the top natural light wood.

These 4 chairs were visually and literally heavy in the kitchen.

The old dark kitchen chairs are gone and replaced with chairs we already own.

I generally use the “Paris” gray slipcover on the living room sofa.

A lighter slipcover in the living room.

I’m trying my very best to keep what I like, get rid of what I don’t, and manage the switch with minor expense.