Monday, April 22, 2013

"To Cheer The Ploughman WIth Increaseful Crops..."

"...and waste huge stones with little water drops."  ~William Shakespeare, The Rape of Lucrece.

This is a bit what I'm feeling like - that we're just sprinkling little water drops on the house.  Eventually, the stone will waste away, but in the meantime I'm going to go crazy, I think.  A weird juxtaposition of Shakespeare and Marsiliis' water torture, right? 

Tim has been cutting up the tree in the back that fell.  Slowly.  He has all the branches cut off and mostly split as useable firewood.  The trick now is to attack the trunk of the tree.  One of the things he wants in part of our new landscape design is a place in the backyard to store the firewood -- some type of shed.  We have firewood stacked all over the place since we've lost so many trees in so many different parts of our property.

I've opened the Joyous Porch for the season and added a lot of birdfeeders, which have been a joy to watch!  The Soulful Cricket hosted a Stella and Dot Trunk Show this past weekend and each Monday morning the Den is open as a meditation room for those who have completed the Monday Morning Meditations course.  I also will be hosting our brass quintet rehearsals for a few weeks, which is always fun!

I'm also doing some room-switching, which can be interesting.  Tim and I currently have both of our offices in our bedrooms.  That's not good for a lot of reasons.   The room is big enough - 20x20, but if Tim works late (as he often does) the light is more than distracting for me to sleep.  It also isn't very conducive to a cozy environment overall.  I'm now in the process of moving my office to the breakfast room.  The breakfast room really is too small for our dinette set, but it's working well as my office.

So - that moves the dinette set into the dining room.  It doesn't look good there, but it sure is functional.  We'll have to figure this out somehow.

Tim's office will eventually be moving into our dressing room.  I just have to finish moving my office and cleaning out the dressing room, which is currently my sewing room.  Where I'm going to put my sewing room is a whole other question.  It may go back into one of the rooms it was in previously - before our daughter moved into the south wing. 

Confused?  You won't be, after this episode of "Soap".  No, wait... that can't be right...

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Time to Call In the Big Guns

It is time to fix the landscaping.  The backyard has been getting out hand, especially since the tree came down during Sandy.  We have been making small strides in the front yard, but not enough for my taste.  Tim is really good at doing things both inside and on the house (except plumbing and electrical... have I mentioned that?), but landscaping is something that neither of us are good at.  We finally did an okay job with the backyard in our house in New Jersey, but this house is more complicated.

On Monday we had a friend who is a landscape architect come over and go around the house.  We gave him our ideas and he made some of his own suggestions (like changing how the driveway comes to the house... I'd never thought of that!)  We want to replace the patio in the back, add a patio-like "porch" in the front, grade the backyard to add more space for events, redo the backyard hearth... the list goes on.  And on.  We're going to bite the bullet and get it done right. 

I'll keep you up-to-date with what our friend comes back with for design ideas and such.  I'm really excited because when this is done, we'll have our first real "noticeable" change to the house!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Impending Spring

I have been so wonderfully busy with The Soulful Cricket!  We held our first meditation course, Monday Morning Meditations, in January and February and I thoroughly enjoyed teaching it.  I learned a lot and have revamped the entire course, making it four, rather than five weeks.  I also added two day-long retreat classes to fit the whole course into one day.  SO - you are welcome to sign-up for the four week Monday Morning Meditations class, beginning April 15th or take one of the two day-retreats for meditation on either Tuesday, April 9th or Saturday, April 13th.  More information can be found HERE.

Other exciting things that are happening with The Soulful Cricket are a Stella and Dot Trunk show - open to the public but requiring an RSVP - on Saturday, April 20th, and a seminar entitled "Sculpting Your Inner Goddess" on July 27th.  I have one private group retreat already booked for October at which they've asked me to give them an introductory class to meditation. The entire Calendar of Events can be found HERE.

Some things that I have in the works are a four-week course and follow-up support program on Mindful Eating and I am in talks with a FABULOUS pianist who wants to a concert here to promote her new CD (her 7th CD, I believe).  More information on that once I get the piano tuned!

I'm only teaching meditation-related classes - the rest are third party individuals or groups renting my space for their own purposes.  There is a lot of opportunity here for somebody who wants to rent the space to offer his or her own classes, services or events.

As far as the remodeling goes...  Not much has happened.  We're very close to hopefully finishing the north wing bathroom and getting that off the punch list.  My husband has started graduate school, which has considerably slowed down his progress on the house, so I'm looking into learning how to scrape paint and the like.  This side of things has never been my forte, but it may be time!  Since most of the work needs to be done upstairs, it shouldn't interfere with the downstairs business at all!

The snow drops are out and in full bloom.  They are always so beautiful!  I redid the front beds last year putting a lot of them in groups along the border and am very happy with how they came up this year.  The ones that blanket the woods around the house are the most impressive, though.  Some (very few) daffodils are starting to sprout up, but none of the ones I replanted in with the snow drops are, yet.  We'll see what happens. 

I'm itching to open the Joyous Porch, too!  That is truly my favorite room of the house!

Hopefully I'll have some remodeling pictures for you the next post!  There isn't much to show in the bathroom, since it's a re-do of a bad-do, but the south wing bedroom will show some improvement soon.  I hope!

Monday, January 7, 2013

It's Not Enough To Stare Up The Steps...

...we must step up the stairs" ~Vaclav Havel, Czech playwright, essayist, poet and politician

Here we are!  The second big step toward the broader goal here at The House In The Woods has been taken!!  The first step was actually purchasing this place... making the commitment.  The next step is that I have now, officially, opened the "day-use" part of it!

Introducing...   (drum roll, please...)

The Soulful Cricket
A Cultural Retreat For All The Senses!! 

From The Soulful Cricket's website:  

"The Soulful Cricket is a small cultural arts center located just outside of beautiful and fun Kennett Square, PA.  We provide space for third-party classes, meetings, appointments and more, as well as hosting our own classes and events."

The B&B is absolutely still in the making, but since bathrooms are our biggest hang-up, I decided it was time to jump in and do this thing!  We're offering our first class... a 5 week mediation series, beginning next Monday.  We're also beginning two book groups.   In addition,  a friend of mine who has two of her own businesses, Nature and Spirit and DandeLion Grove, is expanding into Pennsylvania/Kennett Square and will be offering appointments here at The Soulful Cricket.

Please check out the website and "like" our Facebook page.  If you're local and would like to sign up for the classes, please do (and do so quickly - spaces are limited)!  The mediation class is free as an opening special!

It's a step.  It's a big step.  We're getting there!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Mr. Sandman...

Bring us a dream...   "Mr. Sandman" written by Pat Ballard

A dream of a well-maintained and beautiful house that is!  Of course, as we're finding out, not without a lot of elbow grease.

A lot of paint in the house is peeling.  Our suspicion is that a realtor told a previous owner to slap some paint on to "freshen up" the place a bit before putting it on the market. They clearly didn't prime over what was obviously latex paint, so the new layer of paint hasn't adhered properly.  Peeling paint is no fun.

So, Tim has been scraping paint down to the wood when at all possible and starting fresh.  This is what he's been doing for the last two days in our daughter's #2 bedroom.  It's a lot of work and he has been completely covered in paint chips, but already we can see a big difference.  The wood will paint-up very nicely.

Meanwhile... our daughter has moved almost completely into bedroom #3.  She still hasn't decided if she'll stay there, but there is a lot about it she likes.  I think she's getting very, very cozy in there... 

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Shell Game

Our daughter may have decided to change rooms again.  This is bedroom #3.  I feel a little bit like Monty Hall or Wayne Brady... "Behind which door will you find your bedroom???!!"  Interestingly enough, she seems to change rooms when the remodeling gets underway.

Here's the brief history:

February 2008:  Daughter moves into bedroom #1.  It has the fireplace and is farthest away from the family and her brother.  All good things for an 11 year old girl.

September 2008:  Daughter decides that she doesn't like the wallpaper in bedroom #1*, so she and her friends start stripping it during a party.
*Note:  I did like the wallpaper and would have kept it, but it wasn't something fun for an 11 year old, so was okay that she wanted it gone.  Had I known...

November 2008:  Daughter decides that she's too far away from the family, that bedroom #1 is too dark and that she likes smaller spaces.  She moves to bedroom #2, across the hall from the master bedroom. 

Bedroom #2 ready to sand and paint
January 2009:  Daughter and friend decide to strip the wallpaper in bedroom #2, with much better results than bedroom #1.  The wallpaper was easier to get off and was in bad shape.

March 2012:  After ignoring Daughter's room for awhile to deal with the bathrooms, Daughter and Tim finished stripping the wallpaper and Tim began patching the plaster walls.

December 2012:  After more patching and more ignoring because of bathrooms, Daughter finally moves out into the room next door (bedroom #3) so that Tim can start sanding the walls.  Daughter decides that maybe this is a better room!

Bedroom #3 with wallpaper,
antique furniture
and Daughter's desk. 
She's already very cozy.
Bedroom #3 has a full-sized bed, which she loves, gets even more light than the other two bedrooms, which she loves and has wallpaper that I'm refusing to let her strip.  Fortunately, she's matured enough to like the vintage wallpaper and the idea of different furniture.   Bedroom #3 is also a size between the overly large bedroom #1 and overly small bedroom #2 (her opinions on size, by the way).  So it may be juuuussssst right, baby bear.

Bedroom #3 with curtain to Bedroom #3B
on the way to the bathroom
In the meantime, Daughter has agreed to help Tim finish bedroom #2, regardless of whether she chooses that room or not.  Whew.

Bedroom #3B from bathroom
door with view of son's door
and curtain to bedroom #3
This brings up some other challenges for the house, though.  Bedrooms #2 and #3 have a jack and jill bath.  The layout is such that there is another room between bedroom #3 and the bathroom.  This additional room (let's call it #3B) is also the room that my son goes through to get to the bathroom, since his private bath hasn't worked since we got here and isn't on our to-do list any time soon.  There is a door between bedroom #3B and our son's room, but not one between bedroom #3 and bedroom #3B -- just an open doorway with a curtain rod on it.

My thought is to hang a real door between bedroom #3 and bedroom #3B, then turn bedroom #3B into a sitting room for all THREE bedrooms up there.  Even after we get the bathroom finished in our son's room, it will still make a nice office/sitting area for all those rooms.

Which door will she select?  I'll let you know.  At least there won't be a Zonk!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Creating A Teapot...

... In A Tempest.  ~ Me.

As we slowly progress toward opening this place and I feel the pull of the empty nest, I've decided to start doing some day-time things here at the house.  As I've mentioned before, I've already held a wedding reception, baby shower, two author readings, a dharma talk and a third-party birthday party.  All of these were for friends as they help me get my feet wet.  I've learned a lot and am ready to take some baby-steps into other events.

One of my friends, Sue Bara, has two businesses in Delaware.  Nature and Spirit is her website on her love of nature and DandeLion Grove is her website on the spiritual side of her life.  Both websites offer an assortment of services, including reiki, wholistic healing, herbs, meditation, etc.  She deliberately separates the two practices to better serve clients so they can choose to approach their needs from a natural-secular side or a natural-spiritual side. 

I have been wanting to offer a meditation class here at the house for quite some time and Sue has been looking to expand her services into Pennsylvania.  We are now able to do both!

Beginning Monday, January 14th, Sue and I will be co-teaching a five week course, blending her teachings with my own to create an ecumenical class in meditation.  In this tempestuous world, we're trying to create the teapot.

If you're local in the Southeast PA or northern Delaware region and would like to join us for this five-week class, please contact me.  We have ten spots available for the 1-1/2 hour long weekly class beginning at 9am on Monday, January 14th.  The best way to contact me is via email and I will get back to you with details.

Sue will also be able to offer her other services (reiki, wholistic healing consultations, etc) here by appointment.  To schedule an appointment with Sue, please contact her at 302-722-4476 or via email.

Both Sue and I are very excited about this! We hope you'll join us for our maiden voyage!