Monday, January 19, 2015

Domestic Dee-Va: Exercise Room Update

My project for last week was supposed to be our exercise room. Remember this? Well, it ended up being "one of those weeks". But that's okay. I'll just keep plugging away at it until it's done. I did manage to get a bunch of stuff boxed up:

Boxed up and ready to move out of this house

David and Chris just hauled it over to the back room of our guest house where Chris lives. I have a hair appointment tomorrow afternoon but David will be out of town which means I'll have some time in the evening to work on it again. I still need to find a new home for an old television in there and we will take the bed out soon. I can see it's going to be another week or two before it's all done, mainly because David will have to move things for me and he's terribly busy much of the time. I'll keep you posted on the progress.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Domestic Dee-Va: Exercise Room

Before I tell you about this week's Domestic Dee-Va project I want to show you the results of last week's. If you haven't seen the before pics, here is the link. It wasn't easy but I managed to clear out two sections of the bookshelves for the stereo components and the albums. It was quite a job removing all the books and decorative items from each shelf, dusting everything and then putting them back in some semblance of order which probably only makes sense to me. I also catalogued the books on each shelf.

The bookshelves have all been thoroughly dusted, sorted and catalogued. David built the shelf insert for the stereo components. The top shelf where the turntable sits has drawer slides so we can pull it, open the lid and place the album.

I have a small pile of books to get rid off but mostly I just reorganized and really filled up the bottom cabinets.

This section contains books by Clive Cussler, Michael Crichton, Tom Clancy, John Grisham, Steve Ambrose, etc.

Full but organized. There is another section to the right, too. Yes, I have lots of books. And many more in other parts of the house.

That tall object between the hanging guitar and the piano is one of the speakers. You can't tell very well from the photo but the speaker housing is a really lovely cherry wood. And the sound is exquisite.

The tall item between piano and hanging guitar is one of our new speakers.

Here is a close up of the stereo components taken while playing an album. David built the shelf insert and the top section pulls out so you can open the dust cover on the turntable. He did an amazing job designing and building it. 

We will be adding a CD player in the space between the turntable and receiver as soon as we decide which one we want. And just let me say, this stereo thing is one of the best ideas we've had. The music sounds absolutely amazing. I had forgotten just how rich and warm music sounds on an album played on a good system. It literally brought me to tears the first night we sat and listened. Now we will be seriously collecting vinyl. 

Now playing: The Best of the Grateful Dead #vinyl #GratefulDead

Okay, so that was last week's project. This week I'm going to tackle the exercise room. It used to be our son's room but now it houses our treadmill, exercise bicycle and weight machine. Unfortunately it tends to be a place to dump things we don't know where to put.

That big box in this next photo has some sort of music equipment David bought for our business. I think it's a subwoofer but I'm not sure. I asked him tonight if he'll find another place for it and he said he will take it to the rehearsal studio for one of our bands (they have several pieces of sound equipment we've purchased there). Whatever. Just so it's out of this room! Most of that other stuff you see are things we use at our Happyland Music Festival each May. I had it neatly stowed away beneath the drafting table but things keep getting pulled out to use for gigs. I'm going to ask David to pick up several large plastic storage containers for all this stuff and then take them over to the spare bedroom in our guest house where our son lives. That big lamp belongs to my parents. They let us use it in our family room years ago but we've since replaced the lamps in there and it got shifted to the exercise room. I'm going to ask if they want it back. If not, it's being given away. You can't see it in this photo but there is also an old television we don't need which is also being offered up to anyone who wants it. My plan is to move my craft supplies in here and keep the drafting table free for projects.


I'm also rethinking the need for this bed. A couple of times a year it might be used for a guest but our daughter's old room has a double bed and is really a much nicer place for people to stay. It's pretty rare that we need two guest rooms. I'm thinking that we could always rent a roll-away if we needed it. Well, that's still to be decided. That huge black suitcase holds all our pirate gear. I'm going to clear a space for it in our big storage closet (another project for another week). And the box behind it has filters for our central heat and air system. David stuck them in here a few weeks ago but they really belong in our laundry room. 


See all that stuff piled on the weight bench? It's all washed and neatly folded but these are things people left behind last Happyland Music Fest. I'll pack it all away in those storage boxes David is going to buy and then perhaps I will be motivated to actually use the weight bench again. 


So that's my project for the week. At some point I'd like to repaint the room, get wood blinds for the windows, some artwork for the walls, etc. But this week I just want to make it a functional workout room. 

Monday, January 05, 2015

A new weekly blog series: Domestic Dee-Va (Books and Music)

We have made some changes in our Happyland Music Alliance business which will give me a bit more wiggle room in my schedule. I plan to use this time for several things, including some household projects and more blogging. In fact, I'm going to combine the two for a new blog series - Domestic Dee-Va. Each week I will share a home organization project, cleaning tips, or something domestic.

David and I currently are working on putting together a stereo system in our library. We've been collecting vinyl and want a good system to play it on. Now that some of our evenings will be freed up a bit we want to spend time relaxing and listening to music together.

We did some research and decided to buy a 1974 Marantz receiver on eBay but opted for a new turntable and speakers. We haven't found a CD player yet but we hope to have the rest up and running by the end of the week.

Here is a picture of where the stereo is going:

Our stereo components are going in the bottom center area of these shelves and our albums to the left. I'm going to need to rearrange and <gasp> get rid of a few books.

Yeah, I know. The components are going in that bottom, center section and the albums in the section to the left. It might not be obvious from this photo but those books are stacked two layers deep. That meant this was the next step in the process:


And this:

Operation Install Stereo System: Stage 1 Putting in electrical outlet.

David had to run electricity and install an electrical outlet underneath so we can plug in the system without wires showing. He also built a shelving unit with a pull-out section for the turntable.

My part of this project involved the clearing out of those two sections which sounds easy enough until you think about it. Where the heck are all those books going? I'm not very good at getting rid of books but I did find some I could part with. I then had to re-shelve everything and reorganize the books in the cabinets below. I worked until almost midnight last night. I have been busy with other things today but I'll finish it up tomorrow and show you more pictures.
So that's the "Project of the Week" here at Chez Piercy. Stay tuned for the rest of the story. 

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Two Days in London

I still have so much to share from our Paris trip and I fully intend to finish this series within a couple of weeks of the start of 2015. For now, how about a quick post about our little excursion to London? 

David had the brilliant idea that we should take advantage of proximity and zip on over to London during our trip. He knew that I've long wished for an opportunity to meet my dear friend, Mary, in person. She and I began corresponding via email about 13 years ago. We "met" on an email list for FlyLady followers. One day she asked for clarification of an American term. I responded and also mentioned that her name was the same as my mom's maiden name. It seems such a simple and innocuous beginning for what has become a deep and lasting friendship. 

Mid-way through our Paris trip we caught the train to London. The train trip alone was quite an adventure. I'd love to travel Europe via train someday. We met up with Mary near our hotel. She spotted us from a distance and the three of us embraced right there on the sidewalk. It immediately felt as though we'd all known each other forever. Over the years David has heard me talk about Mary so much that he already felt as though he knew her, too. 

It was a gorgeous, unseasonably warm and sunny day. We had decided that it would be a good idea to hop a tour bus for an overview of the city. We had done that in Paris and it was wonderful. Well, we didn't do so well selecting a tour bus company in London. I'll spare you the details but if you are ever planning to take a trip to London let me know and I'll tell you which company to avoid. 

Still, it was absolutely splendid to spend the day with Mary:

She caught a train back to Birmingham, where she lives, at about 10:30 p.m. and we said our goodbyes in the train station. I truly hope I will get another opportunity to see my dear friend. Maybe someday she can come visit me!

David and I headed back to our hotel which was only a few blocks from the train station. We had, however, walked our ever-lovin' legs off that day. That tour bus thing? Yeah, it didn't work out quite like we planned. Anyway, back at the hotel I had already taken off my boots when I was overcome with a desire - no...NEED - for a cup of hot tea. It was after 11 p.m. and room service was closed for the night. They had a bar downstairs and I took a chance that they might be able to fix me up. I pulled my boots back on and trudged downstairs in search of a fix for my addiction. I should have known that it wouldn't be a problem in England. This is what the bartender fixed up for me to take back to our room:

My opinion of London shot up dramatically at that point. We had endured crowds, traffic, incompetent bus drivers and the worst food imaginable but a perfect cup of tea fixes nearly anything. 

We slept well in a very comfortable hotel room and awoke ready to give London another shot. The weather was more typical - cool and rainy - but we had a better idea how to get around and we had a lovely day. We decided to focus on the two main things we wanted to see. I wanted to see the Globe Theatre and David wanted to see Buckingham Palace:

We saw the Globe first. We didn't get to go inside but we did pick up a couple of things in the gift shop and enjoyed a nice lunch there. Finally...a decent meal. Not quite Paris but then, nothing is. Still, we had a tasty shepherd's pie in a lovely little restaurant. 

We made our way to Buckingham Palace, enjoying a walk through a pretty park. The palace was quite impressive from the outside which is all we saw. That's right, the Queen didn't invite us in for tea. Can you believe that? And we know she was home because literally two minutes after we decided to catch a cab across the street the cab driver pointed out that we had just missed the Queen. If we had waited outside the gate just two more minutes...

Ah, well...that's how things go sometimes. It was time to head back to the train station and back to Paris. I'm really glad we took the time to go to London, most especially because I got to see Mary, but we were both more than ready to go back to Paris. 

Here are a few more pictures from London:

The Tower of London

 A famed double-decker bus

One of their charming red phone booths

A cheerful rebel

Big Ben

Monday, December 15, 2014

Jimmy Page in Paris

Sometimes you just end up in the right place at the right time. On our last day in Paris I wanted to see the Shakespeare and Company bookstore. Several friends who had been to Paris said it was a must-see for a book lover like myself. 


We walked perhaps a mile from our hotel in St. Germain, strolling through the Latin Quarter where we picked up a few souvenirs. When we arrived at the bookstore, David noticed this sign:


That's right. Jimmy Page was going to be there at 1:00 p.m. and it just happened to be about 12:30. Needless to say, we joined the queue. The Q&A took place in one of the small rooms in the bookstore and we just missed making the cut-off. But we were escorted to another room where the session was piped in via speaker. After we were seated in there, along with about 20 other people, they escorted Jimmy Page through to our room where the Q&A was held. He walked within about 3 feet of us.

The session was very interesting and when it was over we joined the line to get a copy of his new autobiography stamped. We had all been told in advance that no photos were allowed and that he wouldn't be shaking hands. I assumed that meant he was not going to be very friendly but I couldn't have been more wrong.

He was seated at a table with an assistant on either side of him. The first one opened our book to the correct page and placed it in front of Jimmy. He then smiled at me, extended his hand and thanked me for coming. He took almost half a minute very, very carefully positioning the stamp. The other assistant then placed a sheet of blotting paper over it, closed the book and handed it to me. Jimmy then offered his hand again, both to me and to David. He was as nice as could be.

Hand stamped by Jimmy Page himself
A photo of the stamp

I'm pretty sure that was the highlight of our trip as far as David was concerned. And I have to admit, I thought it was pretty cool, too. This picture doesn't quite capture how huge the book is but let's just say that by the time David had carried it through the airports in his backpack on our way home he was glad we had only bought one copy. 

Jimmy Page book we bought in Paris

Oh, and on our way out I was interviewed on camera. I have no idea what it was for and since I didn't have anything especially witty to say that's probably just as well. 

*This post contains affiliate links.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

November/December Grocery Haul(s)

Azure Standard coop order (not shown: frozen corn, broccoli, sugar)

(Excuse the terrible lighting.)

My daughter and I did our last big shopping trip of the year back on November 12th (Sprouts and Whole Foods) but I never got around to posting about it. Today I picked up my Azure Standard Coop order and next week I'll pick up my order from the Oklahoma Food Coop. We aren't going to do another shopping trip for the month of December - in fact, I may skip January, as well. Oh, I'll pick up milk and some fresh produce as needed, and there may be a few items for a special holiday meal. But otherwise I'm planning to "shop" from my pantry and freezer for the next several weeks. So when you see the "grand total" keep in mind this is for at least a couple of months. I am hoping for a mild winter but just in case, I like to be well-stocked for bad weather.

I also like to do one of those minimal shopping or "slow month" challenges this time of year. After the extra spending during the holidays it's good to tighten our belts for the first few weeks of the new year. Plus, I find it encourages me to be more creative. I look at what ingredients I have on hand and then start looking for ways to use them. Pinterest is great for this.

So, here is what I bought (not including the occasional purchase of milk and fresh produce which I haven't kept track of):

  • cranberries (2 pkg.)
  • green beans 
  • green bell peppers (2)
  • red bell peppers (2)
  • onions
  • grape tomatoes
  • 5 lb. potatoes
  • bananas
  • pear
  • apples
  • sweet potatoes
  • cereal (3 boxes)
  • chocolate/peppermint squares
  • SunCups
  • chicken broth (2)
  • tomato paste (2)
  • bay leaves
  • rice
  • Emergen-C
  • grass-fed rump roast
  • dish soap
  • razor and refills
Total: $118.55

Whole Foods:
  • eggs
  • cream cheese (2)
  • egg nog
  • coconut creamer (3)
  • orange juice concentrate
  • frozen cranberries (2)
  • Greek yogurt
  • strained tomatoes
  • canned green chiles (3)
  • tomato paste (2)
  • capellini pasta (2)
  • cereal (3 boxes)
  • crackers
  • chocolate chips
  • cheese puffs (3)
  • bbq chips
  • salt and pepper chips
  • dark chocolate wafer cookies
  • hand sanitizer
  • bathroom cleaner
  • moisturizer
  • soap (2)
  • cheddar cheese (2)
  • colby jack cheese
  • sharp cranberry cheddar 
  • parmesan (shredded)
  • flour tortillas (2)
  • baguette
  • mini croissants
  • salad mix
  • celery
  • grapes
Total: $177.07

I placed a huge order with Azure Standard coop this month and am well-stocked on a lot of basics for the next few months. 

Azure Standard:
  • vanilla coconut milk (32 oz. - 4)
  • chocolate mint coconut milk (32 oz. - Chris loves this so I bought a carton for him)
  • bulk spice apple bran muffin mix (5 pounds)
  • mandarin oranges (2 cans)
  • dried, crispy onions
  • crushed tomatoes (2 jars)
  • frozen broccoli (2 pkgs.)
  • black bean flakes
  • artichoke hearts (2 cans)
  • black olives (2 cans)
  • citric acid (1 pound)
  • dishwasher tablets
  • crushed pineapple (2 cans)
  • chunk pineapple (2 cans)
  • angel hair pasta (3)
  • penne pasta (4)
  • cheddar cheese (4)
  • bulk cornbread mix (5 pounds)
  • chicken broth (32 oz. - 6 cartons)
  • chicken broth (8 oz. - 8 cartons)
  • crackers
  • frozen corn (5 pounds)
  • unbleached organic white flour (10 pounds)
  • cheese puffs (9 bags)
  • organic cane sugar (25 pounds)
  • chocolate chips
  • potatoes (5 pounds)
Total: $251.77

Oklahoma Food Coop:
  • handmade dark chocolate truffles (2 packages, 1/2 dozen each - one will be a gift)
  • colby cheddar (3 packages)
  • salad mix
  • green leaf lettuce
  • caciocavera fresh cheese
  • frozen zucchini squash medley
  • toothbrushes (2)
  • frozen sliced bell peppers (red, green, yellow)
  • aged Gruyere cheese
  • ricotta cheese
Total: $116.02

Grand Total: $663.41

note: Almost everything I bought was organic; just didn't want to take the time to type it on every entry. 

I should probably mention that I recently bought a case of toilet paper from Amazon and received my regular shipments of low-mercury tuna, organic Earl Grey tea, and olive oil. A friend of ours raises chickens and the other day my husband brought him some wood for a project. He came home with a dozen eggs and a bottle of homemade wine (which was really quite good). I should be able to get eggs from him as needed. I'll bake him some bread or something in exchange. David also bought 8 bottles of French wine from a friend who has a new liquor store in Enid so we are in good shape in that regard, as well. Oh, and we had a rick of firewood delivered last weekend. I should be able to hibernate quite comfortably should the weather turn frightful. Ha! 

Monday, December 08, 2014

This season of Advent

Our church has Wednesday evening Vespers services during Advent. Last week when I arrived I was struck by this scene and had to take a photo.  Isn't it pretty?

Taken with my iPhone and no filters