Stuff I Learned This Week

Silver linings, beautiful life lessons, deep thoughts, and discovering John Lennon did not coin the quote below makes up the stuff I learned this week.

“Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans.”

—Allen Saunders

Double-Fantasy-John-Lennon

American writer, journalist and cartoonist Allen Saunders is the author of the line “Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans.”

This gem first appeared in a 1957 issue of the Reader’s Digest, and is mistakenly attributed to John Lennon who included the line in the lyrics of “Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy).”

Heat and humidity go with life in Louisiana like gumbo and filé- thick and hot.

In the dead of a Louisiana summer you tend to run the central HVAC system in overtime.

Junk, funk and general debris can get into the evaporator coil inside the indoor unit causing the drain line to clog up.

If the water can’t drain properly, it can’t drain properly which means it puddles, flows, and drenches the carpet and padding.

stained-carpet

You would know ours did just that late this past Friday night.

Dave the Builder/HVAC specialist is presently recuperating from a surgical procedure, leaving him unable to perform his unclog the drain HVAC magic.

My determination to DIY the issue while avoiding the dreaded double time charge for a weekend emergency plumbing/HVAC call left me defeated in deep water until Monday afternoon when the plumbers showed up and fixed the problem in less than fifteen minutes.

On a side note, the plumbers did observe Covid-19 guidelines by wearing masks and gloves.

carpet-cleaner

I’ve extracted water, cleaned carpet, sprayed a mixture of 1 cup vinegar and 2 cups water over the soaked areas to prevent mildew growth, plugged in and unplugged the 3 speed portable blower (love, love, love this little godsend of a tool), and cursed enough to send my soul to hell several times over.

3-speed-blower

To say it’s been a witch of a mess is an understatement, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

disinfectant-wipes

In between waiting on carpet to dry and paying close attention to the local, state, and world news of late (speaking of a mess), I treated myself to a glass of peach iced tea and a movie.

The-Enchanted-Cottage

The Enchanted Cottage starring Dorothy McGuire and Robert Young is a  love story set within a beautiful life lesson where a house (in this case a cottage) is central to the story.

TCM has the film available on their Watch Now option – link here.

A synopsis:

Filmed in black and white, the story revolves around a a cottage born out of the ruins of the main house of a countryside estate razed by a fire. Legend goes the original owner remodeled the wing to rent out as a honeymoon hideaway.

Current owner widow Abigail Minnett seeks a housekeeper for the cottage, and this is where Laura Pennington enters the picture.

Homely in appearance and in her world all alone, Laura is searching to belong and falls under the spell the cottage cast.

To this day Mrs. Minnett remains deeply saddened and affected by the death of her husband during World War I.

The-Enchanted-Cottage-movie

Feeling an instant kinship with Laura, she hires her, informing her she will work in the capacity of housekeeper for the engaged couple who have rented the cottage for a three month honeymoon stay.

Soon the couple, Oliver Bradford and fiancée Beatrice Alexander, arrive where Beatrice’s disappointed with the cottage’s simplicity.

Where Oliver sees quaint and cozy and Beatrice sees simplicity, Laura sees the beauty and the allure in the enchanted cottage, voicing her enthusiastic infatuation with the surroundings.

War, duty, and a severe injury to his face and arm stands between Oliver and Beatrice’s nuptials.  One year later after the accident, a telegram from a dejected Oliver arrives stating his intention to rent the cottage for an indefinite period of time.

He does not mention the accident, injuries, or even that the wedding has been called off.  Mrs. Minnett and Laura prepare the cottage expecting to greet the newlyweds, and quite shocked when Oliver arrives alone to the cottage, his face horribly disfigured and his arm disabled from an airplane crash.

Olive has grown angry, bitter, and consumed by self-pity however, he does favorably respond to Laura’s compassion and common sense.

Through the example and words of blind pianist John Hillgrove, the brother of the town’s doctor who lives next door to the estate, Oliver accepts his physical disabilities.

Enchanted-Cottage-1945

Growing closer to Laura with a renewed sense of life finds Oliver and Laura in a period of happiness.  Three weeks later, Oliver receives in a letter an ultimatum from his rather overbearing mother: move home or she will move in with him.

Wanting nothing to do with either option, Oliver hastily proposes to Laura and she says yes.

Soon after their wedding, Oliver and Laura invite John  Hillgrove to the cottage where they share with him they have experienced a physical transformation.

John-Hillgrove-Enchanted-Cottage

Laura reveals both she and Oliver believed their marriage a farce until a development on their wedding night.

As she began to voice her devotion to Oliver, the room suddenly filled with enchanted music and she saw Oliver as he was before the accident.

Oliver-Laura-The-Enchanted-Cottage

Oliver comes to quickly realize he is truly in love with Laura, seeing his new wife now as a beautiful woman.

Their mutual illusion is soon destroyed by the arrival of Oliver’s mother and stepfather.  Insensitive and clueless in nature, Oliver’s mother and stepfather see only the imperfections in Laura’s and Oliver’s physical appearances, strongly voicing their feelings shattering the love is blind illusion.

Mrs. Minnett speaks up to console the newlyweds by stating the obvious- their true and unblemished love sees past flaws and imperfections, and in doing so gives them a beauty restored by love and a gift of sight unlike any other.

Loves conquers all, folks.

The-Enchanted-Cottage-window

Sadly, our beloved neighbor passed away last week from Covid-19.

The entire family, fully vaccinated, contracted breakthrough Covid-19 with two recovering and Mr. Don sadly falling victim to this horrific virus.

Keeping the tradition of bringing-sending food when someone dies is rooted in comfort, love, caring, and the purpose of trying to make life somewhat easier in the face of extremely uneasy periods.

This treasured note of thanks and written in neighborly love makes me both sad and happy.

stuff I learned this week

♥♥♥

Thank you, friends, for allowing me to share, show and tell you about the stuff I learned this week.

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Home Sweet Home in the Time of Coronavirus

A little levity while home sweet home in the time of coronavirus by no means makes light of the situation.

What it does do is take some of the stress out of this unprecedented and trying time, if only for a moment or two.

“A good laugh overcomes more difficulties and dissipates more dark clouds than any other one thing.”

–Laura Ingalls Wilder

Between disinfecting surfaces, finding somewhere to put all the supplies and extra food we’ve purchased, corralling Mama Places In The Home who at 80+ years old gets that others need to shelter in place but keeping her standing beauty shop appointment is exempt, and trying not to go crazy with every breaking news update, I’m learning the internet can be a wonderful source of entertaining and educational virtual activities to discover while home sweet home in the time of coronavirus.

For kids and big kids alike, check out these resources and activities from Scholastic and live streams from the Houston Zoo and the Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory.

The Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory

blue butterfly

When I was a freshman in high school, a group of friends and I hosted a progressive dinner at the end of each six weeks.

We carefully planned out the evening, assigned a cuisine theme, dressed in disco and dine attire, and hopped from one house to another enjoying appetizer, salad, main course, dessert and coffee delicacies.

 

It dawned on me a virtual progressive dinner could be a lot of fun.

Sure, dining with friends or family is always better in person, but why not get creative and host a virtual progressive dinner.

You could theme it dinner with the girls, cooped up couples virtual night out, or what’s cookin’ with the kids.

dinner party invite

There’s several ways to do this.

FaceTime

Skype

Facebook Live

Instagram

Blog Hop

Get creative with it, and bon appetit!

gardening-mud-roomHouse & Garden

A garden creates beauty around us.

Use this time to ready, plant or enhance your spring garden.

“Nature always wears the colors of the spirit.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

roses-house-and-gardenHouse & Garden

Take a virtual field trip to Stages Around the World, the Guggenheim Museum, Van Gogh Museum, The Louvre, and Buckingham Palace.

Click the links below to discover.

11 Dramatic Virtual Tours of Stages Around the World

Mantova-teatro-bibiena

Teatro Bibiena di Mantova

Guggenheim Museum

GuggenheimGuggenheim

Van Gogh Museum

Vincent-Van-gogh

The Louvre

Mona Lisa

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace

Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC BY-SA 3.0a

Take in a nightly opera performance via nightly live opera streams from the Metropolitan Opera.

The Metropolitan Opera

Metropolitan Opera

Hand washing as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is an essential must in helping to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease.

In keeping with the scrub-bacterial-germs theme, this snippet from Scrubs comically explains how bacteria and viruses can easily spread from person to person.

Our crew were big Bernie Mac Show fans, and the episode “Now You Got It” was a favorite.

One highly anticipated Vegas trip was totally wrecked after I got sick mid-trip complete with emergency room visits (three to be exact).

I picked up a now you got it germ of my own from one of the Canadian snowbird’s birthday party guests aka the darling little Petri dishes.

Watching this episode brings a little humor and levity to the day.

Look, there’s nothing funny about this pandemic.

Staying close to home may be a sacrifice, but it’s an exercise in social responsibility that is the smart, safe, courteous, and vigilant thing to do at this time.

We must do our part to flatten the curve and slow the spread of this horrible disease by practicing good personal hygiene, social distancing, and following the advice of those in the know by staying home sweet home in the time of coronavirus.

I’m here if you need me, and am keeping you all close in thought and prayer.

stayed home

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Tidbits Of All Things House That Make a Home Information

Today I am sharing tidbits of all things house that make a home information.

A design, decorating, dish and detail show and tell resource of information is what drives us here at Places In The Home.

And away we go!

and-away-we-goJackie Gleason

In a recent survey of home decor consumers, the colors blue and purple top the list of color preference when selecting the decorative throw pillows to decorate their humble abode with.

blue-purple-pillows

Consumers tastes and preferences also trend toward patterned throw pillows.

Buster-kittySir Kitty Kat

Fleas drives me crazy.

What a swing in subject matter, but into every household an unwanted guest of the bug species will creep in.

We’ve been fortunate over the many years of our pet ownership to only contend with fleas inside the house once.

That is until last month when I noticed we had company.

Sir Kitty Kat aka the culprit gifted the entire house with fleas.

Flea bombing the house with unwanted chemicals was out of the question, and calling an exterminator would be an option of last resort.

After conducting a quick google search for help, I decided to go with a natural, safe and inexpensive alternative.

borax information

Is 20 Mule Team Borax a detergent booster or is it a miracle flea be gone treatment?

It’s both!

I used 2 boxes of 20 Mule Team Borax over a two week period.

Patience and persistence paid off.

We treated Sir Kitty Kat with a topical flea treatment under our veterinarian’s advisement.

Kitty was scratching to take up residence outdoors for a few days, and admittedly I was happy to oblige him.

I purchased a plastic storage container, a broom, rubber gloves and a box of disposable face masks from the dollar store.

You’ll need two(2) new empty vacuum cleaner bags- one to use during treatment and a fresh new one for after treatment.

Perform a discoloration test by selecting a small area and applying the Borax to rule out the possibility of discoloration.

I only treated the carpet, rugs and floors with the Borax.

I did not use it on fabric or upholstered furniture.

What You Do:

Fill the storage container about 3/4 full per room with 20 Mule Team Borax.

Lightly dust floors, carpets, and rugs with Borax along baseboards, under furniture, in closets.

Use the broom to work the Borax into the carpet.

The Borax dries out the fleas and larvae.

I let the Borax do its thing in the carpet for one week.

Overkill for sure, but we were on a flea killing mission.

Vacuum up the Borax, discard the vacuum bag into a garbage bag and immediately place outside, and pop in a new vacuum bag.

diy_table_runner

I’ve got the hem tape thing down to a science!

I’ve been called a lot of things in my lifetime, but seamstress is not one of them and rightly so.

All those years ago in high school home economics class I aced the cooking part of the semester.

Sewing cooked my goose.

I come from a long line of no-sew seamstresses.

Button detail and hem tape I’ve mastered, but that’s it for my sewing prowess.

640px-pincushion-tomato

Pincushion curiosity struck while staring at the tomato pincushion that was my mother’s mother’s mother, trying to decide if I really needed the button to be on the pant and not in the drawer.

After consulting with the fountain of information guru that is Google, the what and the why a strawberry is attached to the tomato pincushion mystery was solved.

Emory powder is the filler source for the strawberry.

The powder is an abrasive, and serves as a cleaner of rust and sharpener of pins and needles.

Glad that’s answered.

I was on pins and needles.

crazy-chocolate-cake

Crazy cake is crazy easy and crazy good.

Do you ever look at recipes and projects and wonder if they really are that easy, that tasty and worth the effort?

You now have it on good authority that this easy peasy crazy cake is.

One pan and no eggs- I love this concept.

Crazy Cake

Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups white sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking soda

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3/4 cup vegetable oil

2 Tablespoons distilled white vinegar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups cold water

Directions

Sift flour, sugar, salt, soda, and cocoa together into a 9 x 13 inch ungreased cake pan.  Make three wells. Pour oil into one well, vinegar into second, and vanilla into third well.  Pour cold water over all, and stir well with fork.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes, or until tooth pick inserted comes out clean.

To frost or not to frost.

That is the question only your personal preference can answer.

frosting-caramel

I did not frost the first chocolate crazy cake and it was delicious.

I did frost the second chocolate crazy cake with Duncan Hines Salted Caramel frosting topped off with coarse sea salt, and it was scrumptious.

salted-caramel-creamy-frosting

Choices and caramel make the world go round.

Tidbits of all things house that make a home information does too.

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A Most Fetching Friday 11: The Tasteful and The Decadent

This week’s Fetching Friday 11 accentuates both the tasteful and the decadent.

ff-mantleHGTV

Taste, tastes, style and impressive decor accents come together to create  beautiful homes.

ff-Thibaut_Heritage-Houndstooth-dining-chair_s3x4_lgThibaut

ff-fall-dessertsCountry Living Magazine

ff-traditional-BedroomLonny

Chocolate-Pear-Loaf-Cake-via-BHG1Chocolate-Cinnamon Pear Loaf Cake

ff-wallpaper“Zebras” in Safari Brown from Scalamandré as featured in Traditional Home

ff-hot-cocoa-brownie-cakeHot Cocoa Brownie Cake with Pumpkin Marshmallow Frosting

I hope you have a most fetching Friday.

Love your style!

Louisiana Snow Day

It doesn’t happen often, but look what happened overnight in the deep South!  Here’s pictorial proof that it does snow in.  To quote our local weatherman, “In other parts of the country this would be a nothing story, but here it is a significant event.”  We don’t see it much, but when we do excitement takes over.  You say snow day, and I say Sneaux Day!  I snapped these Louisiana Snow Day pics this morning looking out the kitchen window and standing in the foyer looking out across the street. Too cold and not enough coffee yet to venture outside.

Louisiana Snow Day

The city has come to a halt, schools and businesses are closed, and the interstate and elevated bridges are shut down. Dave the Builder and crew made it to the renovation job this morning to the elation of the client.  Our son, who lived in Canada for two years,  just got back from a quick trip back up to the Great White North.  He quickly reminds me of his winter weather knowledge when I ask him if his jacket is warm enough.

nuts for the winter

Nuts for the winter (and the snow).

snow covered statue

The backyard is not exactly in a state of beauty during the winter months, but the snow crosses out the ugly.

snow angel

A snow angel and a snow covered duck keep watch over winter’s gift to Louisiana.

snow covered fountain

Stay warm, stay safe and enjoy your weekend!