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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Family Room Updates

A few changes around the Paisley Cottages as of late -

Mr. Paisley and I ran into a deal too good to pass up on a larger flat panel TV, so we bought it...of course it was larger than our entertainment center would accommodate and the entertainment center is solid oak and one no taking off the hutch. 

So after a week of watching Craig's List for a 2x4 Expedit from Ikea we just went to Ikea and bought one. No sooner was it assembled than the same one appeared on CL for 1/2 the price. 

Damn that Murphy and his stupid laws!

So for 3 weeks the TV sat on top of the new Expedit...and then one day I came home from work and it was on the wall. Yep. Mr. Paisley couldn't take it.  Within 2 months he also picked up a blu-ray player, a digital sound bar and a wireless subwoofer. 

So i've been working on redecorating that part of the room since it's drastically different. 

I also picked up a floor lamp at Target to put some light in the dark corner behind the sectional since there is no room for a table. This was a little more difficult than I thought it would be because I needed one where the light pole was off center so the base could go under the sofa...lucky me, I found a plain, basic on that was just what I needed on sale no less, at Target. I think it was $54. SOLD. Who knew a lampshade would fit in a flat box not more than 4" high? 

I'm still pondering an end table and a coffee table.  I'll know them when I see them.  

 I gave up on keeping the curtains hanging the way I want them - Mr. Paisley always pushes them all the way open even though they are never CLOSED.

 Clearly, we like shelves. They're over the windows at Robin's Nest and they're over the windows at the Paisley place to show off my doodads I guess.
 Work in progress...or rather work in slow motion. I need to find something to put under the cloche on the shelf above the TV and clearly, Mr. Paisley hasn't dropped the cables in the wall. And stuff has just sort of landed on the Expedit...def not what it will end up looking like. Obviously it's Fall - the Fall scent Febreeze is out on display...oy vey.
 I still haven't rehung the "stick art" so that it's above the back of the chair...

My decorating style is "buy what I like" and "find a place for it later". Very little of what I buy is planned ahead of time. The chair I picked up on clearance from Beall's Dept Store for less than $30 including the cushion. It was originally somewhere around $100. The little table I shipped home from Italy. The stick art was collected at 2 different Marshall's stores from the clearance shelves. The 3 glass bird top cloches were on clearance at Ross. Two were $3.99 and one was $6.99.  I got them a year or so ago - but I just saw them last week at Pier 1. They are out of stock online - but you may find them in store. The one I was in had plenty of them and they were $40something. Here's a link to them Pier 1 Bird Cloche
The 2 leaf canvas pieces over the TV were ordered online (on sale of course - for next to nothing) awhile back and I didn't have a place to put them so they were in the "future use" bin. The stacked pumpkins under the giant cloche came from Coldwater Creek a few years ago after season. The cloche (which is acrylic) came from TJ Maxx and it was on clearance for $9.99.  That black box on the middle shelf of the Expedit - that's a Discgear. One of the best purchases i've made recently. ALL of our DVDs fit in it with a little room to spare. If you want to ditch all those cases and save a TON of space, I highly recommend it. You can print labels and organize your discs (and print out a list for ref) from the Discgear website which is awesome when you want to add something. There's a little tray at the bottom that slides out and holds the list. You can also lock the lid so if it gets knocked off the shelf or whatever you don't have CDs flying everywhere. Keeps the kiddos out of it too.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Robin's Nest

I took some updated photos at Robin's Nest at the end of September. Here they are - there are a lot of new primitive items that my Aunt Alyce blessed me with on the 2 somewhat unexpected side trips to Ohio.

Her last home was filled with primitive and country decor. Her new house is more French Glam. She likes to change it up when she moves.

This is a really crooked photo of the upstairs bedroom - the gorgeous braided rug under the bed came from Aunt Alyce
 A less crooked shot at the foot of the bed - a couple of trips ago we replaced the glass door to the upper deck and it hasn't been stained yet, but the glass is CLEAN which is a lot more than I can say about the old door
 The bathroom upstairs
 The vanity outside the upstairs bathroom
 The old yellow bamboo dresser after the make-over
 The shelf over the door is a little short compared to the ones downstairs - however it was one that was in a closet at the Paisley Cottage (it was in the house when I bought it)
 The upstairs deck - it looks really tiny - it's small, but larger than it looks in the picture. It is also brand new - Mr. Paisley ripped off the old one in order to fix the leak in the roof of the screened porch below it.
 Finally hung up the stuff over the headboard...
 New artwork on the wall of the staircase and the candle holder at the top of the stairs is an Aunt Alyce piece as well as the three panels on the side wall

 Fall mantle - the Canada Goose came from Alyce - I LOVE it - I just need to add an off center hook for it
 The framed print came from Alyce - as did the glass milk bottles that don't really show up (in front of the red milk can)
 Nothing new here...but it needs an update
 The glittery goose...errr swan? on the far left was from Alyce and I added the thread spindles below the birdhouse print
 LOVE this red console table - yep it came from Alyce. It fits that space perfectly and leaves more room beside the bed with that bench there. The plate holder and battery candle were also from Alyce (the plate came from Marshall's)
 The 5000 pound teak bench was a gift from my in-laws. It is super cool.
 This is a hot mess in the downstairs bedroom. The framed basket print is from Alyce - the shutters are a pending project and the picture in the chair is just there because I didn't put it away.
 The screened porch - clearly, this needed the flash.
 Also from Alyce - there was a wooden pocket star here that now has a new home in the hallway.
 While I love this old bench that I grabbed from my Florida neighbor's trash pile, it doesn't quite take the place of the one in the Paisley Pumpkin banner that was stolen. However...there IS a real bench on my front porch in Florida that will make it's way to Robin's Nest on our next trip. It's a project in progress - you'll see the project here before you see it on the deck at the Nest. Stay tuned ;-)
 Gotta decorate for fall in the mountains!
 Voila! Robin's Nest - almost done with the fresh stain - the dogwoods were starting to turn pinky red at the end of September. Come spring when it's warm enough to stain again, the dormers will get cleaned and stained and we will be good to go!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Pinterest to the rescue!

Today was beautiful in Central Florida. Well, probably not to some. It was cloudy and pretty gray, but really breezy so it felt like Fall! In case you haven't been watching the news, we had Hurricane Sandy blow by for a visit really late in the season...not much rain, but I really appreciate the drop in temperature. Hopefully we're on a downward swing and we won't be creeping back up toward the 90s again. When we get fall and winter type weather, I actually WANT to cook...or bake.

Dinner this evening was compliments of a Pinterest Challenge. Well, not really a challenge...just one of many recipes i've pinned recently.

In my on-going battle with organizing the Paisley Cottage- I noticed the chest freezer was due for a defrost. So we are working on using stuff from the freezer so we don't have to borrow a bunch of coolers in order to defrost.

I found a bag of Tyson boneless skinless chicken breasts (the ones that aren't individually wrapped) that had 3 large breasts. Chicken it is!

I used this recipe from Christy Jordan's Southern Plate and it was pretty darn good. Chicken, cheese, cream soup, yellow rice and a few hours with a crockpot. Delish.

I threw the 3 chicken breasts in the crockpot, topped with a can of Campbell's cream of mushroom soup and some onion flakes (I don't really like onions and Mr. Paisley doesn't like cooked onions...only raw onions). I figured it would need the onion flavor and we can both manage with the flakes.  Cooked on low for 4 hours and dumped in a can of corn (drained). Then I cooked the yellow rice according to the box. When the rice was done, I tossed that in, and dumped in a bag of shredded double cheddar blend cheese. It was an open bag, I would guess it was a little over a cup of cheese. Gave it a quick stir to break up the chicken and let it sit on warm for 20 minutes while the cheese melted.

I served it with a couple of King's Hawaiian sweet rolls. Normally I would also add a green veggie, but I skipped that tonight.  It would probably be good with chopped broccoli thrown in...but I'd serve it on the side.

There is easily enough of this left over for lunch tomorrow and probably Monday for at least one of us. I'm calling dibs!

Next time I make this, I will use reduced fat cheese and reduced fat / low sodium soup. This dish is really rich!    

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Sometimes you have to make your own sunshine...

Ever had one of THOSE weeks? This past one has been a whopper.

My job is...well, it is what it is. As of today, I still have it! That's a plus. There were some MAJOR changes made this week. More than half of our locations across the US and it's territories were shut down. As you can imagine, some massive layoffs. In a meeting with our regional leadership this week, we were straight up told "we don't know" and "we should always have a Plan B".

Well that's reassuring. Apparently, if you make 6 figures you just automatically have a new job dropped in your lap if you get laid off. Please let me know how that works for the rest of us? Seriously...clearly the majority of us have a Plan's called find another job. Easier said than done in this market don't you think? in addition to the the big shut down, there are more layoffs coming over the next fiscal year. Seriously? So in addition to having a Plan B you want me to come to work and be productive and not feel like I have to look over my shoulder for the next 365 days? sweat. It's not like I have bills to pay, 2 mortgages and some high priced repairs to vehicles and houses pending. No problem. See you Monday morning. 

On the plus side, at least with this round of layoffs they actually cut a lot of highly paid folks who were not at all necessary. Of course I feel bad that they're out of work, but at the same time, they were part of the reason the company was being bled dry. Trust me, the people I spend my days in the cube farm with are NOT taking up a large percentage of the money the company is paying out. 

I guess the simple Plan B would be start looking for a new job now. Not so simple. I have 5 weeks of paid time off, plus holidays, and several weeks of banked sick time because i've been at this job for 10 years (just last month actually). So do I get a new job, have no time off to enjoy Robin's Nest and hope that I find one with decent benefits? Thanks to Obama many companies are doing anything and everything to decrease benefits. Why have them, we have Obamacare! How about one of Central Florida's large employers - Darden. The fine folks that brought us Olive Garden and Red Lobster (among others)? They are talking about dropping employees to part time because of the proposed mandatory "paid sick time" on the table for Florida. Of course i'm sure that would only be for the worker bees (chefs, servers, etc) and not corporate workers. I'm sure they would still get all the bells and whistles. They already have medical folks on staff at the office. 

It's frustrating. It's depressing. It blows. 

That said, Mr. Paisley and I have been doing some number crunching and it would be tight, but we could swing it on his income alone. Robin's Nest would, of course, be priority 1. Finish the remaining fixes, move out our personal belongings and put it on a rental program to get some income flowing. I would have plenty of time in my day to actually get some stuff done at the house. Like my office. It's still a disaster. Redoing it was my Christmas Gift from Mr. P last year. I haven't purchased anything. Still at my old desk. Still piles of paper to go thru. Ugly metal file cabinet - still here. With nothing else pressing, I think I could have the office cleaned, sorted, shredded, filed in two weeks. Maybe less, i'm not sure how long it would actually take. I could get back on track with C25K. I could have that yard sale that has been pending since last Spring. I could redo the garden bed and have it read for the spring. I could sort and repack all those holiday decorations that I wanted to do after Christmas last year - get rid of stuff, make sure it's all properly labeled and easy to find. Dreams of being organized...

Alas, i'm still employed (Thank God), so baby steps on the organization and the office. I got a portable, wifi enabled scanner the other day to work on getting the paperwork under control. I have an all-in-one printer/scanner, but it refuses to play nice with this stupid iMac (3 years and I still hate it!). I bought a new one because the old one (the printer/scanner) wouldn't work with the iMac (should have, but wouldn't). So bought one that had the Apple drivers and it worked great for a few weeks and now no matter what I do, it sees the scanner part, but won't actually scan (works fine on my HP laptop, so it's not the printer).  On that note, i'm going to scan some stuff.

More soon - it's a beautiful day here in Central Florida - it's actually fall like (well Florida Fall) and i'm going to enjoy it.

Monday, October 8, 2012


My vacations have been anything but relaxing in recent months and frankly, I am DYING for a good ol' boring, do nothing, sleep in, trip to anywhere but here.

In June we took off for Robin's Nest for a week...with the in-laws. No sooner did we get there, than Mr. P and I bailed on his parents and drove up to Ohio to be with my family. My grandfather was diagnosed with cancer. He was 90. Surgery wasn't an option.

In July we went to upstate NY for a week...with the in-laws. Almost ALL of the in-laws. Mr. P's parents. His sister (and 4 kids under 10), his brother and sister-in-law, his uncle, his aunt, a cousin's family...where we attended a service and celebrated the life of Mr. P's grandmother. 

We just returned from Robin's Nest last weekend and it was somewhat like the June trip. My grandfather passed away the week before and no sooner did we get the truck unloaded, than we were back on the road and headed for OH. Grandpa turned 91 in July. The world lost another proud WWII veteran a month later. Semper Fi granddad - you will be missed, but we are at peace knowing that you are with your wife and son...two losses that you never far from  thought. He lived his life on his terms. Up until earlier this year he was still running around on his scooter - though he had to downsize from the Vespa to a Wildfire. The Vespa was just too heavy. I didn't tell my mother this, but the morning of his visitation, I was up early to iron our dress clothes and Mr. Paisley was still asleep upstairs. While I was ironing there in the hallway (the only space with decent lighting and an outlet for the iron) I caught a whiff of ol' grandpa and I cried for a few minutes before telling him that I was happy he finally got to come see the cabin that we all knew he would have loved - he was just not up to an 11 hour drive from FL, nor the 5 hour drive from OH...and it was hard enough to get him on a plane to spend the summer up there, so no chance of getting him on a plane to Knoxville. No limits on the other side. He's free to come and go as he pleases now. 

Not only have my vacations (or lack there of) been rough, but my whole department at work has had it rough this year. There are 8 of us. My manager lost his mother while I was on that trip in June. My director lost her father. One of the nurses lost her mother-in-law and her mother within a few months of each other. While I was in TN / OH on this trip, her cousin passed away - they were more like siblings. As if that wasn't enough - the program manager's nephew was killed in a motorcycle accident over the weekend.  We all need a break...this is too much.


Friday, October 5, 2012

Great deal

If you happen to be as much in love with my family room rug as I can get it for $119 + $9.95 shipping. I just happened to run across it on the Heartland America website. Actually, it's the smaller size (5'x7'-ish). I seriously love this rug...still. I've had this one in my family room for almost a year and a half. It does shed a LOT in the beginning. There were always big brown or orange dust bunnies in the corners and the Dyson would sometimes look like I vacuumed up a bright orange clown afro wig...but it eventually died down and it still looks like new! 

My rug on Heartland America

And my my family room. Oh look...a sneak peek at the changes in the Family Room at the Paisley Cottage.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

It will never happen to me...

You know when those crazy, random things happen? Those things with 1 in a million type odds? didn't happen to me. BUT it did happen to someone I have knows for more than half of my life.

I mean really...who expects a guy to drive into your bedroom at 2 am? No one...but guess what? It happened. Here are a couple of links to the story, video of the scene and photo slide shows.


Action New Jacksonville 

Please keep Brian and Jenn in your thoughts. While they are out of the hospital and will recover from their injuries, they will clearly be out of their home for quite some time. 

I have always hated the fact that my master bedroom is in the back of the house - because I can't hear anything going on in the front of the house...this has changed my perspective for sure. While it may never happen to you - it may very well happen to someone you know.

So very thankful that they are ok.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Miracle Miles

If you are so inclined, please done a few dollars to Tyler's Trek. Tyler is the son of my very dear friends Matt and Tracy. All money donated goes directly to NICU at Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies here in Orlando.

Here's Tyler's story (there is a video on Team Tyler's Trek page - you really should watch it and see how amazing he is)...he is a miracle!

Tyler was born at Winnie Palmer Hospital at 28 weeks, 6 days gestation weighing just 2 pounds, 13 ounces. The first few days were especially critical, with us not knowing if he was going to survive his early arrival. Before I even left recovery, Dr. Lipman was at my bedside explaining what was going on and assuring me that they were going to take good care of him. The NICU journey is one filled with steps forward and steps back, good days and bad. Because his arrival came so suddenly, we had no time to prepare and no idea what to expect. There are a lot of unknowns and it's so difficult to see your baby hooked up to monitors, wires and tubes when all you want to do is take them home. But the staff at Winnie Palmer Hospital took great care of him - and of us! When Tyler came home 56 days later, we knew that he was ready. Today, Tyler is a ball of energy at 4.5 years old. He's tall for his age and has zero residual effects stemming from his prematurity. He loves superheros and his baby sister and we couldn't be happier. He often looks back at his pictures from the NICU and makes comments - I can only hope that one day he truly realizes the impact that he has had! We're sharing our story in hopes that others can understand that miracles do happen - the doctors and nurses at Winnie Palmer are outstanding and we will always be grateful to them. Please help me in supporting Miracle Miles and in giving other families the chance at the same happy ending!

Saturday, September 1, 2012


Mr. Paisley and I are gearing up for a trip over to the coast to visit KSC (that's Kennedy Space Center) while they are letting people into formerly restricted areas since the government decided to bail on the space program. 

I saw this video and thought it was pretty amazing. Kinda long at 8:32, but totally worth it - especially having grown up with the Space Shuttle in my back yard...well, you know what I mean.

What the Solid Rocket Booster saw... 

and here's a 360 view from the Mars rover

Anywho...apparently, it's going to cost us like $500 to do the KSC thing with all the extra super secret tours. That's CRAZY!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Robin's Nest

Here's a quick round of photos from the cabin in April and June of 2012. Things have been a little extra crazy at the Cottage. Cancer. Death. Unexpected travel. A toddler. Lots of changes...we're getting thru it and well, it is what it is.
#1 the ribbon stripe between the patchwork and check pattern is actually the same color of maroon, it just photographs weird.
#2 all of the "stripes" actually line up between the two curtain panels...I need to move my curtain rod up a few inches.

 My dad gifted me with the red, white and blue bobbins.

 Last changed to the mantle...the basket is filled with cinnamon pine cones.

 The downstairs bedroom.

 The other side of the downstairs bedroom. What? You don't use 5 gallon buckets of stain as decorative objects?
Still love this quilt...

 The door behind the's the laundry room / closet in the downstairs bedroom.

Moved my favorite homemade (not by me - thrift store find) floor lamp to the bedroom and relocated the little cubby cabinet from beside the front door at the Paisley Cottage. Makes a great side table!

 The kitchen...

 The living area...don't ask me why the front door is standing ajar...who knows.

The upstairs bedroom! Finally a new picture or two...with the artwork actually HANGING on the wall.
 The little white bench is temporarily living upstairs.

The sewing table is a WAY better TV stand than the little green side table (now on the back porch). It's taller and more narrow so the love seat isn't so close to the front door anymore.

 Packing up to go home.

It's almost completely re-stained now! Such a difference. The doors and window trim are charcoal gray (I wanted black), but it came out looking more like a dark espresso. Frankly, I'm ready to just use black paint on the trim, but Mr. Paisley said no way. So dark brown it is.

We zipped up to Ohio (part 1 unexpected trip) and my aunt Alyce gave me a TON of her Americana / Primitive stuff from her last house. She redecorates and changes her style somewhat regularly. The white enamel pitcher is one of those goodies. I had a blue and white speckleware coffee pot there with the wheat in it, but this is narrower and fits better.

 From the top of the stairs.

 Over one of the windows in the living area

Some artwork from Alyce.

A beautiful braided rug from Alyce (and a naked bed...go figure) I'm not sure, but I think it's a Thimbleberry. It weighs a ton.
 My side of the bed!

 LOVE this framed print that Alyce gave me - I needed something up there!

I thought the candle/plate holder was working in this spot (also from Alyce, minus the plate), but not loving it in the picture. I'll be moving that in a few weeks when I'm back up there.

 Decorated the front garden for Summer / 4th of July.

The side of the cabin from up on the hill...yeah! It matches the front!

And a closer up shot of the new stain. It's a bit more orange than I was expecting (yeah, I wasn't expecting ORANGE at all...gotta love stain...never quite know what you're going to get until you put it on the wood that you are working with). You can sort of see the previously mentioned blue and white speckleware coffee pot there in the garden window - it has pip berries in it now.