NOTE: IN ORDER TO BETTER SEE PHOTOS IN THEIR FULL 1600 PX. RESOLUTION, VIEW THEM IN THE ALBUM FORMAT BY CLICKING ON THE LEAD PHOTO OR ANY PHOTO IN THE POST. This is especially true for landscape shots. Thanks to Mark for the idea of adding this alert so the photos can be seen at their best!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Things I do When Old Man Winter Comes Calling

Late in November I made sure to hit the far north, because they already had their fair share of snow I didn't want to be traversing those roads in December or January!

Just minutes over the border into the Upper Peninsula of Michigan I stopped for a few pictures in Ironwood since I crossed through a neighborhood I hadn't seen before.  The Miners Mural recognizes the Gogebic Range miners with 111 larger than life-size miners across a span of 60 feet in 4 rows deep. Each miner is depicted in period correct clothing telling his name and the local mine that he worked.

Oldest bar in Ironwood, established 1887!

Across the street was a great neon sign I couldn't resist!

Clock in Eagle River

December is the slow time for sales reps in the optical field.  I wasn't on the road much and after the first two weeks I was mostly home for a change which was great because Baby, it's cold outside!   I know it's cold everywhere lately, including Georgia and Florida, but it's been so cold here it literally steals your breath away, and I even had to go get a new car battery even though it is only 3 years old.  Thankfully this week the forecast finally shows an upward swing in temperatures, I'll probably be wearing shorts on Thursday as we go from below zero windchills this past weekend to a high of 52F!

Frosty morning in Crandon

If I were on the road I wouldn't have seen this fox in my neighbor's yard a week ago.  There is another one it travels around with, I wonder how often the cats have seen them as they stare out the window?

Our poor cats are going stir crazy, (as am I) since they are used to being outside and this sub zero weather we've experienced for weeks means we don't even crack open a window for them to smell the outdoors. I can't wait to take them outside again later this week!

That was Celia "helping" me when I made an ornament wreath, one of my many projects I tackled while on my holiday break.  Each wreath takes me about 2 hours, and I made one for my mother and a neighbor too so that was a whole day gone right there.  I made them for the kids 2 years ago as gifts, so now I am done.  They are cool, but very time consuming.  The remaining ornaments I bought on clearance last year I think I will use to make an ornament swag and some ornament garland next year because that looks a lot easier and I won't even need a glue gun!  I'd give you a link but I encourage you to google it yourself because the techniques and color combinations are endless.

I broke an ornament when I took it down,
just pop it out and glue in a new one!

In addition to making wreaths and fabulous yard art, I've been on a beautification kick in general and we've bought new curtains and cellular window shades for almost every room in the house.

Wondering what is in the corner? Display stands for frame shows!

Our spare room may not be fancy, but what a difference curtains make! I ordered a new headboard for our bedroom and plan on putting the old one in this room, and I also took a collage frame I haven't been using and filled in the openings with scrapbook paper and hung it over the bed.  I made a Word document of architectural terms in different fonts and printed it out, then I distressed it and the coordinating paper with some ink to create my own unique piece of wall art.

Obviously we all know I love architecture but it became my room theme since I had a framed enlargement in the room already from downtown Milwaukee and a canvas print of some detail from the Chicago Board of Trade.  I'm going to fill two more smaller collage frames with black and white photos of the Madison Capitol to finish off the theme.  I think the doorknob I found at Hobby Lobby is cool because it matches the colors in the print and is an architectural item!

My winter to-do list now includes stopping at some antique stores for some hunting for arts and crafts pottery (vases at the link are gorgeous but cost over $300 each!) and maybe some architectural pieces.  Why the sudden interest in home beautification?  If I haven't mentioned it before we've decided we are not going to sell our house and live on the road due to our need to stay close to Cory as he continues his life-long battle with mental illness. When we retire in 3 years we will keep the house as a home base and just go on month long vacations a few times a year most likely.  With this in mind we also refinanced the house a few weeks ago at a lower rate and will also pay it off now in 15 years instead of 18 years.

Another quick project I did in 15 minutes was a
scrapbook inspired collage mounted on wood.
Shown are pics of Cory and Katrina in Door County

In November Cory and I attended his hearing in Milwaukee where we gave testimony at his appeal hearing with the aid of our lawyer about his need for permanent social security disability benefits.  While we definitely have a better doctor now after 2 other failed attempts, his condition is unfortunately severe enough that all of his doctors have agreed that he is permanently incapable of the demands of working enough hours to support himself financially.  We don't have the results from the judge yet, but expect them sometime this month and I will give more details at that time in the spirit of mental illness public education.

The master and spare bedrooms aren't the only rooms in the midst of rejuvenation, our kitchen has received a new window, curtains, shades, silverware set and more.  A new light fixture, sink, kitchen table and buffet have been added in the past few months and I went on Etsy a few weeks ago and found some adorable herbal prints there.  They came in a set of six but I left out the cilantro since I never use it for cooking and a grouping of 5 was perfect for the spot.  Frames were less than $4 each at Hobby Lobby so the whole group cost under $100.  The ceramic knobs on the buffet are replacements I found online also since it came with silver ones.  I got the table and buffet at the JCPenney clearance center in Wauwatosa and with delivery both pieces were still under $600 total so I had no problem springing for new knobs!  I wish it wasn't so dark, but I couldn't pass up the bargain and it matched the chairs we already owned so I saved on chairs as well.

I'm running out of improvement projects, so I'm happy to be back in full swing for work this week.  I have time off coming up at the end of February and I'm considering a trip down to North Carolina with my mother to check out the Replacements Warehouse and look at vintage dishes. If anyone has been there let me know what you thought of your visit!


  1. Burr! Too much winter here in Newfoundland.

  2. Boy you sure have been busy! Nice additions to your home. We're getting new kitchen countertops next week. Out with the old 80's blue Formica!

  3. I think of Cory and your challenge of supporting him every time I read your blog.

  4. You did a good job on the house. I feel for you over your predicament, we have done our house up and are resigned to staying there due to our oldest having MS but there is always hope

  5. Replacements was just wonderful. We were there in 2007 or 2008 and really, I just wanted to buy one of everything. Your home improvements are looking good!